Frequently Asked Questions 

Scroll down, or click the links below for answers to commonly asked conduct code questions. 


I received an email about potentially violating the Code of Student Conduct.  What should I do?

Please call the number listed on your letter to set up an appointment for an administrative meeting where you get to discuss the incident and your role in it.  The quicker you set up a meeting, the quicker your case can be resolved!  You may also want to research our conduct process by reading the information available on each of the tabs on this website so you will know what to expect as you go through the conduct process.  


Does receiving a letter mean that I have already been found guilty?

No. We do not use those terms. Responsibility for an incident is not determined until after you have had an opportunity to meet with a Conduct Officer. The letter simply indicates that you may have violated the Code of Student Conduct and invites you to meet with a Conduct Officer to discuss the incident. This administrative meeting provides students an opportunity to share their side of the story and discuss their role in the incident before a decision of responsibility is made and sanctions are assigned.


What are my rights while going through the conduct process?

Students must be notified of the allegations or charges and must be offered an opportunity to be heard. Students have the right to view relevant information related to said allegations and charges. You have the right to have an advisor present during an administrative meeting or formal conduct hearing, but they cannot speak on your behalf. And students have the right to go to formal conduct hearing.


What happens if I choose not to meet with a Conduct Officer?

If you fail to respond to the letter inviting you to speak with a Conduct Officer about the alleged violations by the deadline indicated in the letter, an administrative hold will be placed on your account preventing you from adding or dropping classes for the current term or enrolling in classes for future semesters. Failure to participate in the student conduct process may also result in you  facing additional charges for failing to comply.


How should I prepare for my meeting?

Be prepared to have a conversation regarding the incident as well as the alleged policy violations that were listed in the letter emailed to you.  As mentioned above, you may also want to read the “Know your Code” website so you know what to expect from the conduct process.


Can I ask someone like a family member or a lawyer to attend my meeting with a Conduct Officer?

If you would like to have an advisor for your meeting, you are welcome to bring one at your own expense. Typically advisors are members of the campus community, but the parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor (including attorneys).  Please note, however, that even if you are accompanied by an advisor (including attorneys), you are responsible for presenting your own case. Advisors are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any hearing. The advisor may not make a presentation, speak for or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. Advisors may confer with their advisee, exchange notes, and clarify procedural questions with the Presiding Officer or Hearing Officer.  


I am being charged criminally.  Why do I have to go through the student conduct process, also?

The criminal justice system and the student conduct process are not mutually exclusive.  The University reserves the right to take action based on any student conduct, regardless of location, that is contrary to the pursuit of the educational mission of the University or that may adversely affect the University community. Furthermore, the purpose of our conduct process is to reinforce and encourage the development of good decision-making.  Meeting with you through our student conduct process in addition to any interaction you have with the courts allows us to speak with you specifically about how your behavior may impact your success at MSU as well as how it may impact the broader university community.


My case was dropped in court. Will it also be dropped by the University?

University disciplinary proceedings may precede, follow, or take place simultaneously with criminal investigations or proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced. 


How does a Conduct Officer decide if I am found responsible for violating a policy?

All University officials hearing conduct cases use a standard called “preponderance of the evidence.”  This means that more likely than not, an alleged violation occurred.  This is not the same standard as a court of law, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Can I be found responsible for violating a University policy if the incident took place off campus?

Yes.  We set high expectations for our students whether a particular student lives on or off campus and whether the incident in question took place on or off campus.  The student conduct process serves an educational purpose and allows the University to check in with students to discuss the impact of their choices and behaviors.  Furthermore, certain behaviors, even if they happen off campus, impair or infringe on the rights of others or interfere with the educational interests of our academic community and are therefore addressed through the student conduct process.


Can I be held accountable for law or conduct code violations posted on social media accounts?

Yes. As outlined under section 610.00(D), you can be held accountable for law or conduct code violations posted on social media.


If I am found or agree that I am responsible, how are sanctions determined?

Sanctions are assigned after a hearing but are agreed upon by the student and conduct officer on a case-by-case basis. Some factors that may affect sanctioning include your role in the incident, the nature of the violation, the number and severity of your past conduct violations, and the nature of the conversation you have with the conduct officer during the conduct process.


Will my family be notified if I am found or agree that I am responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct?

Typically, no.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of your educational records, including student conduct records.  As a result, most conduct records are not released without your written permission. However, MSU is allowed to contact family members if your behavior poses an imminent threat to yours or others' health, safety, or welfare.  For more information about confidentiality and conduct records, please visit Confidentiality and Maintenance of Student Conduct Records.


If I am sanctioned through the courts to an alcohol or drug education course, do I also have to complete the INSIGHT course I was assigned as a sanction during the student conduct process?

The court-sanctioned alcohol or drug education course will satisfy the requirement for the INSIGHT course assigned to you through the conduct process.  You are, however, responsible for providing proof that you completed the court-sanctioned class to the Office of the Dean of Students, who will add it to your conduct record.  Even if you have completed the court-sanctioned class, an administrative hold may be placed on your student account if the deadline for completion passes and you have not provided proof of completion to the Office of the Dean of Students. 

Please note that your INSIGHT class may or may not substitute for your court-sanctioned class.  You will want to check with the judge to determine if they will allow INSIGHT to count.


What if I fail to complete my sanctions?

An administrative hold will be placed on your account preventing you from adding or dropping classes for the current term or enrolling in classes for future semesters.  Failure to complete sanctions may also result in you facing additional charges for failing to comply.


What if I do not agree with the outcome of my meeting?

If you have an administrative meeting and accept an administrative agreement with a Conduct Officer, you waive your right to a conduct hearing and an appeal.  However, if you do not accept an administrative agreement, your case will be referred for a formal student conduct hearing. The processes and procedures pertaining to conduct hearings can be found in the Code of Student Conduct, Section 653.00-655.00.  After a decision has been made and any sanctions assigned, you may appeal the decision of the Conduct Hearing Officer or Conduct Hearing Board to the Vice President for Student Success within seven (7) days of being notified of the hearing outcome.  Appeals can only be made on the following grounds:

  1. The student's rights as set forth in this Code of Student Conduct were violated
  2. New evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, has been discovered that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction.

More information about the appeals process can be found in Section 670.00 of the Code of Student Conduct, or go to this page. 


What will happen to my conduct record after I graduate? 

Official conduct records are maintained for seven years from the date of the incident which led to the initiation of disciplinary action. Expulsion records are kept indefinitely.

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