Frequently Asked Questions by Students about the Office of Student Conduct

  1. If I am being referred to the Office of Student Conduct, what will happen?

    You will receive an e-mail from us telling you of an appointment with a hearing officer. The letter will also describe any alleged policy violations that may apply and will include a copy of the complaint or report.  The notification will outline that he/she may have participated in a behavior that is in violation of the Code of Student Community Standards and the he/she will be given the opportunity to explain what happened during the incident and to present additional relevant information-through witnesses and other means during their hearing.  At the conclusion of the hearing, a decision of responsibility will be made.  In addition, sanctions will be applied if necessary.

  2. What if I don't show for my meeting with the hearing officer?

    Ignoring the situation will not make it go away. If you don't show, the hearing officer will make a decision in the case without the benefit of your input and involvement. This decision could affect your status as a student.

  3. What if I was not aware of a rule and didn't know I was breaking it?

    Policies, or rules, are designed to support the University's educational mission and to ensure a safe environment where people can work, study, and live without undue interference. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, by teaching students responsibility and interdependence, and to promote moral and ethical development. Lack of knowledge of a policy is not an excuse for misconduct. Every student is responsible for knowing the policies and regulations of the University. It is important for you to read the Code of Student Community Standards, located on the Current Student web page. Also, if you are unsure about any policies, ask for clarification.

  4. What if the incident happened off-campus?

    The University has jurisdiction for behavior off-campus. Our main concerns are serious behaviors and/or behaviors that may have an effect on the University community. So even if it happens off-campus, it may still be a violation of the Code of Student Community Standards, which will be handled by the Office of Student Conduct.

  5. If I am being charged in court, why do I also have to deal with the University? Isn't this double jeopardy?

    Members of the Ferris State University community and their visitors are subject to all University policies and regulations, including those contained in the Code of Student Community Standards. Additionally, those individuals are simultaneously subject to all local, state, or federal laws. The University disciplinary process does not constitute double jeopardy for situations in which a student is facing concurrent criminal proceedings. This is a Constitutional provision that does not apply to the administrative process of the campus disciplinary process.

  6. Do I need to hire an attorney?

    The accused student has the right to consult an advisor of his/her choice before, during, and after any meeting, hearing, or appeal. Advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing, conference, or appeal.

  7. How are sanctions decided?

    Sanctions may be imposed independently or in combination with other sanctions. Sanctions can be assigned to an individual student, group of students, and registered student organizations. Sanctioning is determined case by case, as it reflects the needs of the individual student, the student's cumulative disciplinary history, and the impact of that student's behavior on the community.

  8. Will disciplinary sanctions appear on my academic transcript?

    A student’s disciplinary record is separate from his/her academic record. The only time that your academic transcript may reflect a disciplinary outcome is if the decision included suspension or dismissal. For those individuals who are either suspended or dismissed from Ferris, an AW (Administrative Withdrawal) will be placed on the student’s transcript prior to the deadline for withdrawal from classes published by the University. This means that no grades will be issued for that semester in which a student was suspended or dismissed. After the deadline for withdrawal an AW/F (Administrative Withdrawal/F Grade) will be assigned in the same manner as other students who withdraw after the deadline. That is, after the withdrawal deadline, a suspended or dismissed student would receive a grade of F for the semester in which they were suspended or dismissed.

  9. What if I do not complete an assigned sanction?

    Failing to comply with a disciplinary sanction is a violation of our Code of Student Community Standards and would warrant additional disciplinary action. Additional sanctions may be added. In some cases, a registration hold may be placed on student records. In other cases, failure to complete sanctions may result in suspension or dismissal from the University. Remember that sanctions are placed as a result of your violation of the Code of Community Standards policies and are designed to educate you about the expectations and norms of the University community.

  10. Can I appeal a disciplinary decision?

    A student may request an appeal on one or both of the following grounds:

    1. Failure by the hearing officer or committee to afford the student due process, or a procedural error in the hearing which may have been substantial enough to change the case outcome.
    2. The discovery of substantive new evidence which was unknown to the charged student at the time of the hearing that could have a significant effect on the case outcome.
    3. The severity of the sanction (only for cases that result in suspension or dismissal from the University).
  11. Do I have to complete the sanction if I am appealing the decision?

    Disciplinary sanctions do not become final until the opportunity to appeal has passed. If you have filed for an appeal, the decision is placed on hold and need not be acted upon until the appeal is finalized. Students who file to appeal suspension or dismissal decisions may continue to go to class and engage in customary University activities (unless otherwise stipulated) until an appeal decision is made. Once the appeal has been decided, you will then take action. If the appeal decision upholds the sanction, you must complete the assigned sanction. If the appeal decision grants a new hearing, the previous assigned sanction becomes void and you will have the opportunity to attend a new hearing.

  12. Who will have access to my disciplinary record?

    There may be University officials who have a need to know your disciplinary record. Beyond this, your disciplinary record will only be accessible to people beyond yourself only if you provide written permission allowing it through a disciplinary record FERPA release.

  13. Why was my parent notified about my violation of the alcohol policy? Can he/she get more information about it?

    Amendments to the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) permit institutions of higher education to notify parents if their son or daughter is found responsible for an alcohol and/or other drug violation on the first offense if serious and/or the second offense when placed on Disciplinary Probation. Your parent will only be notified that a case exists if you were found responsible for violating the University's alcohol and other drug policy and as a result you were placed on disciplinary probation. They do not receive information regarding the content of the case from the Office of Student Conduct. Your parent may communicate with you for any additional information, or he/she may ask for you to sign a disciplinary record FERPA release from the Office of Student Conduct. Please understand that this decision is left to you, the student.

  14. What violations in the Code of Student Community Standards are most likely to result in suspension or dismissal from the University?

    In no particular order:

    • academic misconduct
    • sexual assault
    • possession and/or use of weapons
    • behavior that threatens the safety and security of the community
    • fire safety issues
    • theft/vandalism
    • physical assault/violence
    • alcohol and other drug violations
    • any repeated pattern of violations