FAQs from Students
The Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities recommends that students read the Student Conduct Code and the University Conduct System found in the Fogcutter Student Handbook which may answer many of the questions listed below.
What are my rights as a student?
As a Jesuit institution of higher education, USF seeks to be a socially responsible learning community of high quality scholarship and academic rigor sustained by a faith that does justice. As such, our process is designed to afford these rights to any student that goes through the conduct process .
How can I file a complaint?
Any person may file a complaint against a student or organization for alleged misconduct. The complaint must be submitted to either the Residence Director of the appropriate residential facility or to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities (UC 5th Floor). All complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place.
What if I was not aware of a section of the Student Conduct Code or other policy and I didn't know I was breaking it?
Lack of knowledge of the Student Conduct Code or other University policy is not an excuse for misconduct. Every student is responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of the University, so it is important for you to read the Fogcutter Student Handbook. If you are unsure about any policies, ask for clarification.
Who hears cases and applies sanctions?
The following officials review and process issues of student conduct.
- Resolution Officers
Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) Staff - All Residence Directors (RDs), Assistant Residence Directors (ARDs) as well as the Senior Director for SHaRE and Assistant Directors are resolution officers. Typically, residential students will meet with a resolution officer from their living community.
Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities (OSCRR) - The Director, Associate Director and the Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students are the primary resolution officers for the entire campus. Residential students are typically referred to OSCRR for repeat or higher level violations.
- University Appeals Boards
The University Appeals Board (UAB) is comprised of Faculty, staff, and students trained on the conduct and appeals process. The UAB conducts appellate reviews for all matters handled through the student conduct process. The appeals process is a review process initiated by a student's submission of a request for an appeal.
Does the University keep permanent record of my conduct history?
A student is considered to have a conduct record when a resolution officer finds them responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code or any other University policy. Conduct files are maintained by the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities for a total of seven (7) years from the date of the incident. Conduct files that include egregious violations or violations that result in expulsion will be maintained permanently.
Will my involvement in the office of Community Standards and Student Conduct go on my transcript?
A notation is made on a student's transcript only when a student is suspended or expelled from the University.
Is it acceptable for a lawyer to represent me?
Hiring an attorney is your choice. However, the University’s relationship is with the student. The University’s conduct process is designed with the purpose that it is an educational process which promotes the student taking on the responsibility of managing her/his own affairs. Having anyone else take on this role for the student detracts from the learning opportunity for the student. Our staff will only communicate and interact directly with the student; we will communicate with parents/guardians to the degree that is appropriate and permissible by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Lawyers may not participate in the University's conduct process.
Who can I talk to if I have questions about the conduct process?
For procedural information and general advice you can talk to any staff member from the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities or any Residence Director or Assistant Residence Director. The phone number to OSCRR is (415) 422-4099.
If I am charged under the Code of Student Conduct, could I face charges from the court system?
It is possible to also face charges from the court system, however, our conduct process is completely separate and independent of civil or criminal proceedings. Our process may proceed prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings. Additionally, our process is not subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving similar factual circumstances have been dismissed or reduced in civil or criminal proceedings.
What types of sanctions can be assessed if I am found responsible?
Sanctions may be imposed independently or in combination with other sanctions. Sanctioning is determined case by case, since it reflects the needs of the individual student, the student's cumulative conduct history, and the impact of that student's behavior on the community and may range from a warning up to and including expulsion - all dependent upon aforementioned factors.
What will happen if I don't complete my sanctions?
If a student fails to complete their sanctions a disciplinary hold will be placed on their student account, and s/he may face additional conduct action. Among other things, a disciplinary hold prevents a student from registering for classes, adding or dropping classes, receiving transcripts and receiving a diploma.
Will you call my parents if I am found responsible?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), a federal law, prohibits educational institutions from disclosing information from a student's educational record to any third party, including parents, without the student's consent. The university strictly adheres to the provisions in FERPA, but there are exceptions in the law. Parents of a student under 21 years of age may be notified by the university if their student is involved in an alcohol or drug related incidents.
Do I have to go to my conduct meeting? What happens if I just blow it off?
If a student fails to attend their conduct meeting a disciplinary hold will be placed on his/her student account and the case and decision may be rendered without the involvement of the student.
Can I bring a buddy to "testify" for me?
Admission of any person to the process will be at the discretion of the resolution officer. The complainant, the respondent, the resolution officer all have the privilege of presenting witnesses.
How does the resolution officer make decisions about a policy violation?
All decisions shall be made on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more likely than not that the student violated the Student Conduct Code or other University policy.
What do I do if I think the outcome isn't fair?
Simply thinking that the outcome is not fair does not meet the criteria for an appeal request. However, the University Appeals Board will consider the request if a student meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Procedural irregularities sufficient to affect the determination of the resolution officer.
- New evidence that was not reasonably available for presentation during the conduct meeting, the introduction of which would reasonably be expected to affect the decision of the resolution officer.
The appeal process is a review of the process and all materials are submitted in writing to the appeals officer. In making their request, the student must submit a written statement in support of their appeal which must meet one or more of the above criteria.
What if the incident happened off-campus?
The Student Conduct Code and Conduct System addresses misconduct that takes place on and off university premises as it relates to behavior which has an adverse impact on the University community.