Community Standards FAQ
What does it mean to be alleged to be violating the Code of Community Standards?
If you are alleged of violating the Code of Community Standards, a Stetson University student, faculty or staff member, or a member of the community has submitted a complaint claiming that your behavior, as described in your alleged violation letter, is a violation of the Code of Community Standards. Know that the university, not that individual, is actually alleging the violations.
What is an alleged violation letter?
An alleged violation letter is a document sent via email that outlines to the accused the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Community Standards. It also outlines an appointment time and meeting place for the hearing.
What should I do if I receive an alleged violation letter?
Please review the information in the Code of Community Standards to become more familiar with the process. Please contact us to confirm your appointment.
What happens if I ignore the alleged violation letter?
An appointment will be set by the Office of Community Standards and a notification of it will be sent to you via email. If you fail to attend the hearing, you may be found responsible for the alleged violation in absentia.
If I am alleged of a violation under the Code of Community Standards, could I face charges from law enforcement?
The conduct process does not inform external agencies of your involvement in the judicial process. However, if a law enforcement agency has information to suggest that your behavior might have broken local, state, or federal law, the agency may proceed with its own investigation and charges.
What if I cannot meet at the scheduled time of my administrative hearing?
It is your responsibility to meet at the specified time. If you cannot meet at the scheduled time, you will need to contact the Office of Community Standards to reschedule your hearing.
What will happen at the hearing?
At the hearing, you will be informed of the alleged violation(s) and the judicial process. You will have the opportunity to tell your version of the allegations, ask questions, provide information and respond to the alleged violations.
What should I wear to my judicial hearing?
It is suggested that you wear something nice but casual.
Can I bring someone with me to the conduct hearing?
You are entitled to have an advisor/support person. An advisor/support person can be any person that you wish. It is helpful to choose someone who knows you, is reliable and whom you trust. An advisor/support person can be a friend, faculty, or staff member. Please note that a resident assistant (R.A.) is not permitted to serve as an advisor/support person due to their role on campus. The role of an advisor/support person is to provide peer support.
A sanction is determined on a case-by-case basis and reflects the needs of the individual student and the impact of the student's behavior in the community. Sanctions can range from an administrative warning to expulsion, as well as educational sanctions.
Suspension (separation from the university for a specified period of time) and expulsion (permanent separation from the university) are reserved for the most serious violations of the Code of Community Standards. When behavior is harmful to a member of the community, severely interrupts the educational process, or repeats past violations, suspension or expulsion may be a necessary sanction.
Without an appeal, you will be responsible for completing the sanctions that have been imposed. Failure to do so will result in additional violations and more severe sanctions. A hold may be placed on your student's account which will prohibit you from registering for classes or making changes to your schedule. Holds will also prevent you from being able to request transcripts.
If you withdraw from the university before an administrative hearing, the issue must be resolved before you will be allowed to re-enroll.
In cases of academic dishonesty, a notation may be made on your academic record. If you are sanctioned with expulsion or suspension, a notation will appear on your academic transcript.
A Student Conduct Record Request (commonly referred to as a dean's certification) occurs when a student submits the proper form to the Office of Community Standards so that we can report their disciplinary record at Stetson University to interested educational institutions (graduate or professional schools) or government agencies. A Disciplinary Record Request also occurs when a member of the federal government requests information on a student.
In either case, a release authorization is required. Please complete the Authorization and Consent to Release Education Records form from the Office of the Registrar and return it via fax or campus mail to our office.
All disciplinary request forms must be submitted five to seven business days prior to their deadline.
A student may request an appeal of a decision within three business days of the decision being made. The student must complete the Conduct Appeal Request within three days of the decision being made.
For an appeal to be considered, one of the following must apply:
- New evidence exists, which was unavailable to the party submitting the appeal request at the time of the decision and would likely have affected the outcome. A summary of the new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the appeal request;
- A significant procedural error occurred that reasonably may have impacted the outcome; and/or
- The sanctions are not appropriate to the violation for which the student and/or organization has been found responsible.
You can help to guide your students through the process and be supportive while holding them accountable to your expectations and the university's. You can also help identify and provide necessary resources that will help your student be successful. Encourage your student to attend all meetings and complete sanctions in a timely manner.
The student may have an advisor present, who may be a parent/guardian. The role of the advisor is to support and advise the student but not to speak for or represent the student.
No. Some students may choose to have an attorney accompany them as their advisor/support person, but please note that this is not required. An attorney may serve as an advisor/support person, but the attorney may not speak on behalf of the student or represent the student or organization.
Sanctions are decided after considering several factors, including:
- The nature of the violation
- The student's role in the incident
- The effect of the incident on others and on the student
- The student's developmental and educational needs
- The student's prior disciplinary record
Probation lasts for a specific period of time and serves as notice to the student that any violation of the Code of Community Standards while on probation will subject them to further disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion.
A disciplinary record does not automatically exclude a student from consideration for jobs or academic programs. That usually depends on the type or severity of misconduct in which a student is involved. We will only release information about a student's disciplinary record to another school or potential employer as permissible under FERPA requirements or with the permission of the student. We encourage all students to be truthful regarding their disciplinary history and to demonstrate personal growth and learning from the incident.
Policies are designed to support the university's educational mission. They are meant to support a safe environment where people can work, study and live. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, teach students about personal and community accountability, and challenge students to make moral and ethical decisions.
My student was charged criminally. Why must the university also get involved?
The criminal justice system and the Code of Community Standards are not mutually exclusive. By virtue of being a student, your student is held responsible for upholding the standards of behavior in the Code of Community Standards.
This incident happened off campus. Why is the university involved?
The university has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on- and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the university community and the university mission.
College is a period of exploration, experimentation and testing of limits. They are transitioning into adulthood and may find themselves in new situations where they are testing boundaries. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents/guardians for the first time. Students may make choices that are inconsistent with the values taught to them at home. Such testing is a normal part of the developmental experience. However, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences. The Office of Community Standards balances holding students accountable for their actions while also providing the opportunity for learning, reflection and personal growth.
We may notify parents if their student has an alcohol violation or a drug violation as allowed by the amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This act governs the release of educational records. We encourage students to speak with their parents and believe that as adults, students should take responsibility for initiating the conversation. We also encourage students to sign releases that allow us to speak with parents about a situation so that we can work together to resolve it and help the student. In addition, you may be notified if there is an imminent risk to the student's health, safety or welfare.
Attorneys may serve as advisors/support persons during the student conduct process. However, they may not speak on behalf of the student, represent the student, and are restricted from any participation in the proceedings. If a student would like to have an attorney serve as their advisor/support person, they must contact the Office of Community Standards to make them aware of this in advance of the meeting. Students are expected to represent themselves in all student conduct matters, whether or not they are also facing other proceedings related to the same conduct. Should the actions of an advisor become disruptive, they will be asked to remove themselves from the room. In addition, the Office of Community Standards will communicate directly with the student at all times, and not through any third party.
The Office of Community Standards is not attempting to determine whether or not a student has violated the law; we are trying to determine whether or not a student violated university rules and regulations. As such, the goals and the means of the criminal justice process and the student conduct process do not align. No delays are given to students to accommodate their interests in the criminal process. If a student chooses not to participate in the process, a decision on the matter may be made based on the information provided.
No. "Double jeopardy" is a concept that applies solely to criminal proceedings. Being involved in a criminal matter does not exempt someone from any concurrent civil or administrative proceedings.
The student disciplinary system was not put in place to judge criminal guilt; instead, its role is to determine whether a student has violated campus rules. The courts have long recognized the differing interests of the university community from that of the criminal justice process. Although there are basic concepts of fairness that apply to student disciplinary proceedings, the student disciplinary system serves administrative and educational functions relating to the mission of Stetson University. Many of the intricate rules and processes found in a court system are not necessary for the campus. The process at Stetson University is less complex than the court system.
Decisions with respect to student responsibility for alleged actions are made based on a preponderance of the evidence; that is, the hearing body or conduct officer will determine what is "more likely than not" to have taken place.