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While the University has a primary duty to supervise student behavior on its premises, there are many circumstances where the off-campus actions of students affect a substantial University interest and warrant conduct action.

The Pennsylvania State University expects students to conduct themselves in accordance with the law. Student behavior off the premises of 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 complaint alleging off-campus student misconduct, the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct or their designee will review the allegations and if necessary consult with a senior Student Affairs administrator to determine the appropriate course of action by the University.

In cases in which criminal or civil action is involved, such action and the review of the Off-Campus Conduct Policy and administration of the University’s conduct process will occur simultaneously. However, the University may defer action until the proceedings of the criminal or civil action have been completed. A deferment will be considered by the Office of Student Conduct following an initial review of the circumstances. Students may also delay action by the Office of Student Conduct by seeking a conduct withdrawal, whereby they would withdraw from the University until the criminal matter has been resolved.

In addition, where there is a compelling reason (such as concern for the safety of other students), the Office of Student Conduct may, after an initial review of the evidence, impose the sanction of interim suspension, requiring that the student leave the campus pending conduct proceedings or medical evaluation.

Any off-campus student behavior that affects a Substantial University Interest violates the Code of Conduct and is subject to conduct action following standard procedures as outlined in the Code of Conduct.

Student conduct committed off the campus which affects a Substantial University Interest is conduct which:

  • Constitutes a violation of local, state or federal law, including repeat violations of any local, state or federal law committed in the municipality where the University is located;
  • Indicates that the student may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of themselves or others;
  • Significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; or
  • Is detrimental to the educational interests of the University.

In accordance with University conduct procedures, students are entitled to contest any allegations and/or sanctions (of conduct probation with a transcript notation or of a form of separation) and may request a hearing or review (see Contesting a Charge or Sanction). The hearing body will review the referred incidents for off-campus misconduct in the same manner they do for violations that have occurred on University premises. The hearing body may also consider whether or not the referred off-campus misconduct affects Substantial University Interest and whether the behavior should be subject to University conduct action. When respondents are found responsible for behavior off-campus that both meet the definition of affecting Substantial University Interest, and violates the Code of Conduct, sanctions will be applied.