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Terms to Know for Students

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The following is a list of alphabetically-arranged terms and their definitions that are frequently used on the Office of Student Conduct website and during the conduct process:

Administrative Directive:

An administrative directive is a written notification for a student to have no direct and/or indirect contact, whether physical, electronic, or verbal, with another person. Additional information about administrative directives is available.

Advisor:

An advisor may be any person selected by the respondent or complainant to assist and accompany them through the University conduct process (including Conferences, Administrative/University Conduct Board Hearings, Sanction Reviews, and formal Appeals) Peer advisors are available through UPUA Student Conduct Advisors. You may bring one individual to serve in the advising role.

Advocate:

An advocate is a person who assists and supports a victim by providing emotional and moral support; arranging for other services or referrals such as counseling or medical treatment; and accompanying a victim through a hearing. The advocate may be someone from inside or outside the University community.

Alcohol Education Program:

All students found responsible for behavior on or off campus involving Prohibited Underage Possession or Use of Alcoholic Beverages, Excessive Consumption of Alcohol, or Driving Under the Influence will be required to complete a University alcohol education/intervention program. At University Park, the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program is administered by University Health Services and constitutes the mandatory sanction for first-time alcohol violations in these categories. Students transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center because of alcohol consumption, whether or not they face a conduct process, are also mandated to complete BASICS. BASICS is a non-adversarial intervention that focuses on harm-reduction. Students mandated to BASICS are responsible for the $200 fee for the program. For more information about BASICS, please visit http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/basics/.

Case Manager:

A case manager is the Office of Student Conduct staff member who manages a student case. The case manager meets with students, conducts conferences, assigns charges and sanctions, and guides a student through the conduct process.

Charge:

A charge is the allegation by the University that specific section(s) of the Code of Conduct been been violated by a student during the course of an incident. Charges are determined by the case manager during a conference.

Code of Conduct:

The Code of Conduct describes behaviors that are inconsistent with the essential values of the University community. Students are held accountable by the Office of Student Conduct when their behavior is in violation of the Code. Assisting in these behaviors may also be considered as serious as engaging in the behavior.

Conduct Probation:

Conduct probation is assigned for a specified period of time and is intended to foster reflection, responsibility, and improved decision-making. Future misconduct, failure to comply with any conditions, or failure to complete any sanctions can lead to more severe disciplinary action, up to or including suspension or expulsion.

Conduct Probation with a Transcript Notation:

Conduct probation may be recorded on the official University transcript when the Office of Student Conduct determines a notation is merited due to the serious nature of the offense or because of a significant discipline history.

Conduct Warning:

A conduct warning indicates to a student that his or her conduct was questionable and/or inappropriate and that further misconduct will result in more severe disciplinary action. The warning is recorded in the files of the Office of Student Conduct.

Conference:

The conference is an informal, non-adversarial, and educational conversation between a student and an Office of Student Conduct staff member. The purpose of the conference is to examine the complaint, listen to the student, discuss circumstances related to the incident, and hear student concerns. At the conference, the case manager decides upon and assigns charges and sanctions. Typically, formal charges are not assigned prior to the conferences except in special cases like Interim Expulsion.

Conduct Records:

A student's conduct record is part of that student's educational record. The Conduct Record includes: Office of Student Conduct records related to the Student Code of Conduct, Residence Life records related to the residence hall Community Standards Program, and records related to the Academic Integrity Policy. Records can be released to the student or to specified third parties with the student’s authorization. Information about discipline records and fees for discipline checks.

Drug Education Program:

All students found responsible for behavior on or off campus involving illegal drugs will be required to complete a University drug education/intervention program. This program may be delivered as a face-to-face intervention or an online delivery. Students are responsible for any fees required for participation in mandated drug education programs.

Educational Record:

Any information about a student that is kept by the University is part of the student's educational record, which includes a student's conduct record. These records are confidential and in most cases, the student's permission is needed in order for the record to be released. Often this information is requested through background checks and/ or job references. See the University Records Policy.

Expulsion:

Expulsion of the student from the University is permanent. The student will be prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Office of Student Conduct. Expulsion requires administrative review and approval by the President. The sanction of expulsion will be permanently noted on the student's official University transcript.

Hearing:

Students have the option to contest the charges that are assigned during a conference and request a hearing. An Administrative Hearing consists of a single administrative hearing officer. A University Conduct Board Hearing consists of a board of five, including staff, faculty, and students. During the course of a hearing, the hearing officer or board members evaluate all available information, including witness testimony, and determine whether a violation took place. If it did, they determine appropriate sanctions.

Indefinite Expulsion:

Indefinite expulsion involves the removal of the student from the University for no less than one calendar year. The student is prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Office of Student Conduct. If a student wishes to return to the University, he or she must request re-enrollment in writing from the Office of Student Conduct. Re-enrollment must be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee at University Park or by the Chancellor at other campus locations. During the period of the expulsion, a notation will appear on the student's official University transcript.

Interim Suspension:

Interim suspension requires that a student leave the campus immediately pending disciplinary proceedings (or medical evaluation). During the period of the interim suspension, the student is prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Office of Student Conduct. Any student who is separated from the University and returns to campus during the Interim Suspension shall be subject to an Indefinite Expulsion or permanent Expulsion.

Sanction Review:

Students have the option to contest the sanctions that are assigned during a conference and request a sanction review. The student submits a written request for a sanction review, including a rationale as to why he or she believes the sanction is not justified. A staff or faculty member from outside the Office of Student Conduct who is acting as a sanction reviewer evaluates the case, examines the student’s rationale, and makes a decision as to whether or not the assigned sanction should be sustained or modified.

Sanctions:

Sanctions are the term used for the consequences assigned to students as a result of their disciplinary charges. These may be primary administrative (e.g., conduct warning, conduct probation, suspension) or active (e.g, community service, alcohol education program). Typically, both primary administrative and active sanctions are assigned when students are in violation of the Code of Conduct.

Suspension:

Disciplinary suspension of the student from the University is assigned for a specified period of time. During the period of the suspension, a notation appears on the student's official University transcript. During this time, the student is prohibited from course registration, class attendance, residence on campus, and use of University facilities. During the period of suspension, the student may not use or visit University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Office of Student Conduct.

Transcript:

The academic transcript is a record of the student’s academic work and the grades received for each course. Notations are placed on the transcript during a period of Conduct Probation with a Transcript Notation, during a period of Suspension, and (permanently) when a student is expelled.

University Conduct Board:

The UCB consists of a chairperson along with four other people: two faculty/staff members and two students. The UCB is convened for hearings for cases in which the sanction of Suspension or higher was assigned. Students interested in training to be part of the UHB should contact the Office of Student Conduct.

Witness:

A witness is any person who has information regarding an alleged incident of student misconduct. This information may be factual or hearsay. Witnesses can be brought forth by accused students or by the University, and can be required to participate in the conduct process or in hearings if it is determined that they have information to contribute that is important to the case. Witnesses are required to contribute information that is true to the best of their knowledge; providing false statements or testimony is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

XF Grade:

The "XF" grade is an official University sanction noting a serious violation of academic integrity. The XF grade appears on the student's transcript and indicates that a student has failed a course because of an academic integrity violation.

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