- What is the Student Code of Conduct and to whom does it apply?
- Why am I accountable to a Student Code of Conduct if I am legally an adult?
- I was involved in an incident of misconduct. What can I expect?
- How are sanctions decided upon?
- What happens if I don't cooperate with the conduct process?
- Can I be held accountable to the Student Code of Conduct if I was found not guilty in court?
- Will I have a conduct record if I am involved in an incident of misconduct?
- I am a victim of another student's misconduct. What should I do?
- How can I get involved with OSC as a student volunteer?
- What other services are offered by OSC?
- Pre-Admission: What happens if I answer yes to having a criminal or disciplinary history?
- What happens in a pre-admission review?
The Code of Conduct is a set of expectations by which all Penn State students are required to abide. It applies to all students, including undergraduates, graduates, full-time, part-time, and World Campus students.
The Code exists to maintain a civil and safe community in which all Penn Staters can live and learn. Most colleges and universities, including all of the Big 10 schools, have a conduct and/or honor code governing student behavior. The many privileges associated with being a Penn State student, and eventually an alumnus, mean that you have a corresponding responsibility to maintain the values and ethical standards of behavior befitting a proud member of this community.
You will be required to make an appointment with an Office of Student Conduct or Residence Life case manager, who will talk to you about what happened and, through that conversation, determine what, if any, violations of the Code of Conduct occurred. If it is determined that you are responsible for a violation, the case manager will assign sanctions. If you contest the outcome, you will be able to challenge them through a sanction review or hearing. See "Terms to Know" and "I Was Contacted by OSC."
Sanctions are decided based upon the nature of the misconduct, its impact on the community, individual student factors, and any prior discipline history. Administrative sanctions may include a formal warning, a period of probation, or some kind of separation from the University up to and including expulsion. Additionally, an educational program or component will typically be included in order to further help the student learn and grow as he or she moves forward from the incident.
It behooves you to participate in the process so that your voice may be heard and information you feel is important may be considered. However, you may refuse to participate actively. In that case, a decision will be made based on the information the case manager has, and if you are determined to be responsible, charges and sanctions will be assigned to you. You would still have the opportunity to challenge the outcome through a sanction review or a hearing.
The student conduct process addresses your obligations to Penn State University and the Code of Conduct. Any legal process in the courts or with a criminal case relates to your separate obligations to state and federal law. Therefore, whether or not you are found guilty in court has no impact on the Penn State conduct process.
If you are charged by the University and accept responsibility, or if you are found responsible for charges, a discipline record is created. The record is considered part of your educational record and is kept for 7 years past your date of graduation. It can be reported outside the University for 3 years after graduation. Your record can also be disclosed to parties inside the University at any time if it is determined that they have a legitimate educational interest. Your record can be shared with you at any time, released to a court of law via subpoena, and in certain, limited circumstances, may also be shared with your parents or legal guardians. Information about discipline records.
In the two semesters before a student’s graduation or any time thereafter, a student may request that his/her conduct record not be externally disclosed. If approved, the conduct record would no longer be externally disclosed but would continue to be maintained. This decision shall be at the sole discretion of the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct at University Park (or his/her designee at another Penn State campus) and shall include the entire record (i.e., no partial deletions are allowed). Contact the Office of Student Conduct for more information regarding External Non-Disclosure.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or 814-863-1111 (on campus) to summon assistance. Otherwise, you may complete the online Incident Report Form. Doing this does not commit you to being a part of a formal conduct process against another student, but may provide the opportunity to do so if a case develops. The case manager will gather information and, if necessary, put into motion a formal conduct process. The case manager can also help you access resources and victim services. A list of other resources at the University is available.
Students are able to work with OSC as University Conduct Board members. Students may also serve as peer advisors, supporting other students as they move through the conduct process, through UPUA Conduct Advisors. Call OSC to speak with someone about getting involved!
OSC case managers can help you access referrals to student services on and off campus, including counseling, sexual assault information and services, alcohol and drug education programs, mediation and conflict resolution, legal services, and more. You may also request a presentation or workshop for your class, department, or student organization. Please call the Office of Student Conduct and ask to speak to a case manager to discuss how OSC can help connect you with what you need!
Pre-Admission: What happens if I answer yes to having a criminal or disciplinary history?
Please note that answering affirmatively does NOT automatically preclude the applicant from admission. The vast majority of pre-admission reviews of applicants who indicate they have a criminal history are actually approved for admission consideration. If an applicant answers yes to the criminal or disciplinary history questions, the matter will be referred to Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct (OSC). OSC may then conduct a review of the information.
What happens in a pre-admission review?
The review may include, but is not limited to, reviewing the information that is initially provided, as well as any other information that is requested, including probationary or parole expectations and considerations, criminal dispositions, records from previous institutions, and any other information that is necessary to evaluate what occurred and the applicant’s readiness to attend Penn State.