Resources and FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions and Resources
- I called the main telephone number (814-863-0342), but no one answered.
Staff will receive and respond to voicemail Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am- 5:00 pm EST.
Please provide the following as part of your message.
- Name (First and Last),
- Student ID number or PSU access id,
- a phone number to return your call
- and a brief message.
We will respond as soon as possible or redirect your message to the appropriate party. Messages can be left after 5:00 pm EST but will not be addressed until the following business day. Please email your case manager concerning any case management questions.
- Is the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response office open?
Yes, the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response's physical office location in 120 Boucke Building is open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am- 5:00 pm EST, except for during University closures, and provides services both in person and virtually.
- I need to report an incident.
If this is an emergency, please contact University Police at 814-863-1111 or call 911.
You may report a concern to the University office that is best able to assist you on the Report a Concern page. To report an incident alleging a Code violation involving any student or student organization at Penn State, you may submit a report directly to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response. When a report is received, our team will review the report and determine next steps. Please note that due to FERPA, the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response is limited in disclosing information about any action taken, even to reporting/impacted parties.
For incidents involving the Commonwealth Campuses, the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response will connect with Student Conduct designees at the Commonwealth Campuses, if necessary, for further evaluation and potential management of the case.
- I've been contacted to participate in an investigation. What should I do?
Investigators in the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response will reach out to students via email to schedule interviews with witnesses, victims, and others who may be able to provide valuable information regarding alleged Code violations. These emails will include the date and time of the interview and how the interview will be held (i.e. Zoom, phone, in-person). Investigators ask that students reply to those emails to confirm their attendance at the scheduled meeting.
It's important to note that your participation is voluntary. Our investigators are available to answer questions, discuss the investigation process, and help out in any other way they can. We understand investigations can be stressful; with that in mind, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if there is something specific we can assist you with.
- I'm a student or alumni and need a conduct record check. How do I request one?
The conduct record check process is explained on our Student Records page. You can access the Student Consent form for Release of Conduct Record(s) to Third Parties on this site as well.
Please note that requests are processed as they are received and may take up to seven (7) business days to complete, provided all requirements have been satisfied, to include remission of the conduct record check fee, if applicable. If, after reviewing this information, you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to email our inbox at email@example.com for assistance with the process.
- I need a government discipline/conduct check. How do I request one?
A conduct background check for a Government Agency, Police Agency, Firearm Office, or Company, can be requested by faxing a request to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response at 814-863-2463. This request should be on your company or agency letterhead (please include your badge or certification number if you are a government agent). You will also need to send the student’s signed release of information. A Conduct Background check will typically take a business week to be completed. If you have questions, or need additional information, you can call the office 814-863-0342 and leave a message.
- I'm having a dispute with someone; are you still offering mediation services?
Mediation is one of several adaptable resolutions offered through the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response. Please visit our Adaptable Resolutions page to learn more about the different options as well as how you can request a conflict response consultation.
- I received a parental/guardian notification letter for my student. What does this mean?
If you received a letter regarding a conduct situation, please visit our Information for Families page. If after reviewing this information you have additional questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your student’s name and an email with which we can contact you.
- What is the Student Code of Conduct, to whom does it apply and how can students be informed about the Code?
The Student Code of Conduct (“Code”) sets forth the community standards and procedures that maintain and protect an environment that is conducive to learning and supports Penn State’s educational objectives. Students are advised to acquaint themselves with the Student Code of Conduct and with the rules and regulations associated with University housing. Additionally, faculty can invite Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response staff into their classroom to deliver presentations about the Code, the conduct process or any special topics related to the Office’s services. Lastly, students will need to complete the Know the Code quiz at the start of their first semester.
- I was involved in an incident of misconduct. What can I expect?
You will be contacted by the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response or Residence Life, who will inform you about next steps. Visit the Student Code of Conduct and Procedures page to review the applicable procedures for your particular case.
- What are some of the common outcomes for Student Code of Conduct violations and how are they decided upon?
Outcomes are determined based upon the nature of the misconduct, its impact on the community, individual student or student organization factors, and any prior conduct history. Administrative outcomes may include a formal warning, a period of conduct probation, or some kind of separation from the University among other options. Additionally, an educational program or component will typically be included in the action plan in order to further help the student or student organization learn and grow as they move forward from the incident.
- What happens if I don't participate in the conduct process?
While the student conduct process is intended to provide students and student organizations with the opportunity to participate fully so that your voice may be heard and information you feel is important may be considered, you are not required to participate. In the event you elect not to participate, a decision will be made based on the information available. Your case manager will share information about the process in their communication to you (make sure you are checking your official Penn State email), however it is important you also review the Student Code of Conduct and Procedures page for information as it pertains to your individual case.
- Why are students accountable to the Student Code of Conduct if they are legally an adult?
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.
In line with the Penn State mission and values, the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response works to uphold our community and university standards through compassionate interventions in which students are heard, respected, and treated with dignity. These students, including student organizations leaders, have the developmental opportunity to participate in fair and impartial resolution processes which encourage personal accountability and responsible decision making; promote reflection and restoration; and reduce and prevent behavior which undermines student success and community safety.
- Can I be held accountable to the Student Code of Conduct if I was found not guilty or my case was dismissed in court?
The student conduct process addresses your obligations to Penn State University and the Student 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 or if your case was dismissed in court has no impact on the Penn State student conduct process.
- Will I have a conduct record if I am involved in an incident of misconduct?
Typically, a Student Conduct Record is established when information on a student is received and maintained by the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response or the Office of Residence Life. An electronic database maintains all pertinent information required for government reporting indefinitely. To learn more about conduct records and how they are maintained and/or disclosed, please visit our Student Records page.
- What is the policy about incidents that occur off-campus?
The Pennsylvania State University expects students and student organizations to conduct themselves in accordance with the law as well as University policy. Behavior off the premises of the campus that may have violated any local, state, or federal law, or yields a complaint from others alleging law violations or student misconduct will be reviewed by the University. Upon receipt of a report alleging off-campus student or student organization misconduct, the Senior Director of the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response or their designee will review the information and if necessary consult with a Senior Student Affairs Administrator to determine the appropriate course of action by the University.
- I am an impacted party of another student’s misconduct. What should I do?
If this is an emergency, please contact University Police at 814-863-1111 or call 911. 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 a student or student organization, but may provide the opportunity to do so if there is a conduct process. The Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response can also help you access resources and victim services. If you have questions, you may also contact our office at email@example.com.
- Can someone accompany a student during the conduct process?
Yes. Students may be accompanied by a person of their choosing at any point throughout the conduct process. For more information, please visit our Information for Support people page.
- What is the University’s policy related to alcohol and how are alcohol violations handled?
Students and student organizations are held accountable by the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response for alcohol violations that occur on- and off-campus. Information about prohibited conduct as well as the Standard Operating Procedures for addressing substance use misconduct and information on Alcohol and Drug Amnesty can be found on the Student Code of Conduct and Procedures page.
In addition to the above, in order to address the issue of problem drinking among Penn State students, the University has implemented a number of programs intended to educate students about alcohol and reduce problem drinking.
- All incoming first-year students are required to complete an online education and learning module that provides detailed information about alcohol, including the effects alcohol has on mind and body, alcohol-related state laws, and university policies related to alcohol consumption.
- A mandatory alcohol education program known as the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) is assigned for all students who are charged with an alcohol violation for the first time.
- The Penn State Commission for Substance Abuse Preventions (CSAP) has been created to support the campuses in identifying, implementing, and delivering evidence-based strategies for alcohol and other drug prevention.
- What should I do if I am concerned about a student's behavior?
If you are concerned about an immediate or serious threat, call 911 or contact the Behavior Threat Management Team at Penn State. If you believe that a student's behavior constitutes a Code violation, are concerned about a disturbing interaction you've had with a student, or are concerned about a classroom disruption that occurred, you can report an incident and bring the behavior to the attention of the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response in the form of an allegation of student misconduct. See Faculty and Staff for information on addressing classroom disruptions and managing student mental health concerns. You can also report an incident here.
- How does the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response handle Academic Integrity issues?
The resolution of an allegation of academic misconduct is managed, in accordance with applicable policy by the instructor and the respective college, school, or campus academic integrity committee. After this resolution of the alleged violation, the case is referred to the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response for recordkeeping and consideration of whether student conduct action plan is appropriate. The student conduct process does not allow for a reconsideration of the finding of an academic misconduct violation. For more information, please visit our Academic Misconduct Procedures page.
- Pre-Admission: What happens if I answer yes to having a criminal or conduct history?
The presence of prior conduct or criminal history DOES NOT automatically preclude the applicant from admission. In fact, the majority of pre-admission and re-enrollment reviews of persons who indicate a criminal or conduct history are approved for admission consideration. However, in some circumstances, the review may result in the student being denied admission, or, if the review is of a current student, the University may prevent the student from enrolling in a subsequent semester. For more information, please visit our Information for Students page.