Student FAQ

Welcome to the Student FAQ page for 2019 – 2020. This page presents the most frequently asked questions students have about the student conduct process. For FAQs often asked by parents, guardians, and families, please visit the Parents & Families FAQ.

While the FAQ page provides a more conversational approach to understanding the conduct process at Syracuse University, students and families should always consult the Student Conduct System Handbook for official policies and processes.

The University Student Conduct System (USCS) is the process used by Syracuse University to resolve complaints regarding a student’s or recognized student organization’s alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Implementation of the USCS is the responsibility of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The Code of Student Conduct is a statement of behavioral expectations that apply to all Syracuse University students and registered student organizations.

Jurisdiction of the USCS extends to alleged misconduct that occurs on University-owned or controlled property or on property close to the University, including Greek chapter houses; alleged misconduct that occurs at any University-sponsored event; and alleged misconduct that has an impact on the educational mission and well-being of the University community that takes place at any location off campus.

Yes. Having voluntarily enrolled at Syracuse University, all students have entered into an agreement to abide by the rules and regulations identified in the Code of Student Conduct. Each student is responsible for conforming their conduct to the requirements of this code and applicable international, federal, state, and local laws.

A Student Conduct System complaint can be filed against any student or student organization, or any member of the University community. A student, faculty member, or staff member may file a complaint by completing the standard complaint form.

When filing a complaint, it is very important that all documentation and other evidence associated with the complaint (e.g., Department of Public Safety reports, police reports, or witness statements) be included with the standard complaint form and submitted to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. More than one complaint can be filed regarding the same incident.

Once a complaint is submitted, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will process it through the Student Conduct System.

Yes. Syracuse University considers student leaders to be those that hold positional offices in organizations (i.e., president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, recruitment chair) or those that influence the behaviors and decisions of an organization (i.e., unofficial membership coordinator or event planner). Students who fit into this definition of student leaders have specific obligations when it related to the health and safety other individuals. More specifically, for student leaders, failure to intervene or notify the University when a student knows of a situation that threatens the health and safety of another individual or the campus community is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Review the letter that was sent to you by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities that states the date and time of your meeting. If you are unable to attend, or anticipate being late, it is imperative that you call the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at 315.443.3728 to reschedule. Failure to attend this meeting during the scheduled time without prior notice may result in a decision being rendered in your absence.

Arrive with an understanding that the intent of an informal resolution meeting is to allow yourself and the case manager to discuss the incident in which you were allegedly involved.

Although it is understandable that you may feel some stress prior to and during your informal resolution meeting, we ask that you always make an effort to be courteous and professional throughout the process. It is important to trust the Student Conduct System process and understand that the intent in resolving discipline matters is educational rather than punitive. Please review the page on informal resolution meetings for more information.

Whether you have a formal hearing depends on the type of alleged misconduct. If you are referred to the USCS for an alleged violation involving sexual assault, stalking, gender- related harassment, and domestic/relationship violence, your case will be resolved by a formal hearing panel specifically trained to hear cases involving this type of alleged behavior. You will be invited to be a part of the resolution process, which may or may not involve your presence in a formal hearing. For detailed information on the conduct process for such cases, refer to the Student Conduct System Handbook.

For all other alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct, you will be invited to participate in an informal resolution process with a conduct officer. During the informal process, you and your conduct officer will discuss the incident and work to come to a resolution for the case. In order for a case to be resolved informally, you and your conduct officer will need to agree on whether you are responsible for the alleged behavior and,if you both agree, on what the sanction(s) will be. If you and your conduct officer are unable to come to agreement, your case will move to a formal hearing process. More information on the conduct process, is available in the Student Conduct System Handbook.

It is important to attend your informal resolution meeting or hearing as they are your opportunities to share what happened during an alleged incident from your perspective. If you do not attend your informal resolution meeting or hearing, the process may continue without your participation and a decision may be made in your absence.

We appreciate that being accused of violating University policy is stressful and may be scary for some students. You do have the right to have a procedural advisor assist you throughout the conduct process. Depending on the type allegation made against you and whether you have crominal or civil proceedings pending against you, the type of Proecural Advisor you have may have is different. Please review our Procedural Advisement section for more details on options available to you.

In addition, requests for disability accommodations should be made to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students may also work directly with the Center for Disability Services. Please contact their office at disabilityservices@syr.edu if needed. Since accommodations may require early planning and are not provided retroactively, students should contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities regarding accommodation needs or the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible.

The University views its student conduct process as a learning experience intended to help students in their growth and understanding of individual responsibilities. Sanctions issued for violations of the Code of Student Conduct will be designed to address the safety and security of persons and property and to educate students in regards to higher standards of behavior.

The primary goal of the USCS is to educate students and registered student organizations on ways they can raise their standards of behavior. Students and registered student organizations responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct will receive both a University status sanction as well as one or more educational/developmental sanctions.

Sanctions are assigned based on the context and nature of the behaviors and the status of the respondent. Specifically, conduct officer and University Conduct Boards will consider the following:

  1. the extent of harm caused to or impact on individuals and the community (i.e. living environment, University community, and the surrounding community) including the level of intervention necessary;
  2. the potential for ongoing risk to the student, other individuals, the community, or property;
  3. a student’s disciplinary record and history of past conduct status sanctions;
  4. level of intent, remorse, cooperation, and willingness to take responsibility;
  5. evidence that the student’s conduct was motivated by bias regarding an individual or group’s real or perceived race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, reporductive health decisions, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, political or social affiliation, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and/or veteran status;
  6. whether the student or student organization engaged in help-seeking behavior (i.e. calling for assistance, remaining with another student while help arrived); and,
  7. sanctions issued in prior similar University conduct

University status sanctions provide notice to students on how their behavior impacts their continuation at the University. Status sanctions are designed to provide opportunities for students to reflect on their decision-making in order to make more informed decisions. Examples of University status sanctions include the following:

  • Disciplinary Warning This action is a formal admonition on behalf of the University community and is intended to clearly document in a student’s or registered student organization’s disciplinary file that the behavior has been deemed inappropriate. The length of this status will be determined by the conduct officer or formal hearing body.
  • Disciplinary Probation This action constitutes a change in status between good standing and suspension or expulsion from the University. The student or student organization is permitted to remain enrolled at or retain recognition by the University under stated conditions, depending upon the nature of the violation and upon the potential learning value that may derive from specific restrictive measures. Further violations may result in immediate suspension, or expulsion from the University. The length of this status will be determined by the conduct officer or formal hearing body.Social Probation This status is applied as a result of a breach of specific social regulations. Its primary effect is to suspend a privilege related to the nature of the offense and/or restrict access to specific campus facilities or programs.
  • Interim Suspension This action by the Dean of Students, or a designee, in consultation with the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and the Student Experience, or a designee, is a temporary suspension of certain rights or privileges while a conduct case is pending. An interim suspension may be broad and inclusive or may be restricted to a specific location and/or function and is based on the determination that the safety and well- being of the University community or specific persons are at risk.
  • Suspension This action results in the involuntary withdrawal of the student from the University, or in loss of University recognition for a registered student organization, for a specific or indefinite period of time. A suspended student or student organization is prohibited from any presence or activity on University owned, operated, or controlled property, including but not limited, to University-owned property leased to a non- University affiliated party, and from participation in any class or program offered by Syracuse A student or student organization placed on a status of suspension is permitted, after a minimum period of separation, to submit a petition demonstrating good citizenship in the time away from the University and potential for making positive contributions in the future.
  • Expulsion This action results in the permanent separation of the student, or registered student organization, from the University, its programs, and facilities. It is the most severe disciplinary action that the University Student Conduct System can impose.

For students living in campus housing, residential status sanctions may also be applied. These include the following:

  • Residential Warning This action is a formal admonition on behalf of the residential living program and is intended to clearly document in a student’s disciplinary file that the behavior has been deemed inappropriate.
  • Residential Probation This action signifies that a student is no longer in good standing with the University’s residential living program. Further violations may result in the immediate loss of eligibility to live in or visit the University’s residence and/or dining facilities or in more serious disciplinary action.
  • Residential Relocation/Suspension/Expulsion These statuses indicate that a student is not eligible to live in or visit some or all of the University’s residence and/or dining A residential relocation involves the reassignment of a student’s living unit within University housing and usually prohibits the student from returning to the residential area associated with the former living assignment. A residential suspension or expulsion involves the student’s removal from housing altogether. These statuses may extend for a specific period of time, until the completion of specific conditions, or permanently. These statuses may be limited to a specific facility or applied to all facilities.

Educational/developmental sanctions are designed to provide students with opportunities to contemplate their behavior and identify ways they can be successful at the University. Some examples of educational sanctions may include the following:

  • Character Strengths Workshop This workshop provides students with the tools necessary to be resilient and use their strengths to grow as a positive member of the Syracuse University Students are provided time to reflect their behavior and learn how to use their strengths when making decisions.
  • Civility @ Syracuse University This workshop is designed to engage students in various activities that will help them analyze the civility on the University campus and how they can become a better member of the community.
  • Community Involvement Assignments This program is designed to provide students with opportunities to make constructive contributions to the campus community. Students typically attend a specific number of events on campus and write a reflection paper on their learning.
  • Community Service This sanction is designed to have students give back to the community in some way as a result of misconduct that negatively impacted the University or greater Syracuse community.
  • Options Education Group This workshop, facilitated by the Options Program staff, focuses on the impact of alcohol and drug use on physiology and the impact on emotional regulation and decision making. The group also discusses harm reduction and how to identify steps for minimizing the negative consequences of alcohol and drug use.
  • Reflection Papers This sanction is customized by the student’s case manager to assist them in identifying ways they can be successful at Syracuse University. Such papers may require students to reflect on how they could have made different choices, discuss goals they have while attending the institution, and what they will do if they violate another policy that results in a change in their status as a student.
  • Research Papers At times, students may be asked to complete a research paper related to their misconduct that assists them in learning more about the specific topic.

Sanctioning guidelines have been adopted by Syracuse University to respond to substance abuse-related and other serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct. In all cases the appropriate sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of all the circumstances. The presence of substantial mitigating or other appropriate circumstances may result in the reduction or augmentation of sanctioning guidelines.

Sanctions are designed to help you learn and grow from your experience. Failure to complete a sanction(s) may result in additional conduct charges being filed against you and/or a student conduct hold being placed on your account. Such a hold will restrict your ability to register for classes, request a transcript, or have a degree certified.

Many times, you will be able to upload your sanctions to our office by using our Educational Sanction Submission Form. Your outcome letter will detail how you should complete your sanction(s).

Syracuse University offers amnesty for help-seeking behavior and encourages all community members to care for themselves and others. Therefore, when a student or student organization initiates help from a campus or community resource, involved students or organizations will generally not be subject to the University’s Code of Student Conduct.

Students may be required to complete educational interventions designed to assist them in their decision-making process and/or the outcomes of their decisions and the University will generally alert emergency contacts. The University retains the right to hold individuals and organizations accountable when the health and safety of community members is at risk.

Please review Amnesty for Reporting Individuals for information on amnesty in cases of alleged domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Your ability to participate in campus programs and activities depends on your disciplinary status. You are in good conduct status if you have been issued a disciplinary warning. If you are placed on disciplinary probation, you are no longer in good conduct standing. Some restrictions on your ability to participate begin at this level. For example, according to Syracuse University Abroad, students on disciplinary probation may not study abroad.

Likewise, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs restricts students on disciplinary probation from participating in the rush process. If you are applying to a campus organization or experience and the requirement is that you are in good conduct standing, you would not be able to participate if you are on disciplinary probation. In addition, there are other situations in which your participation may be prohibited or restricted. These include being on a lower status, such as disciplinary warning, but having incomplete sanctions as well as having an open, unresolved case in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The University values parents/guardians as partners in helping you improve your decision making and raising your standards of behavior. As such, the University will inform the parents/guardians of dependent students in the following situations:

  • an emergency;
  • after assignment of educational intervention, for a case involving amnesty for help- seeking behavior;
  • after final adjudication and finding of responsibility in all alcohol and drug-related offenses; and,
  • after final adjudication and finding of responsibility in all offenses resulting in disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Your academic record may have a student conduct placed on it until an investigation or conduct case is resolved or if you have overdue sanctions. A student conduct hold restricts you from being able to register for classes, receive a transcript or a diploma, or have a degree certified. If you have a student conduct hold on your account while an investigation or conduct case is pending, a temporary release of the hold is possible to permit you to register for your next semester of courses. Please contact the office at 315.443.3728 to request a temporary release of the hold for this purpose.

If you have overdue sanctions, you can submit them to our office online using the Educational Sanction Submission Form. Until OSRR receives confirmation that the overdue sanction(s) is completed, reviewed, and approved, the hold will remain on your account.

If you resolved your case through an informal resolution, your outcome letter will indicate that you have three business days to request that the director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities review your case. If your case was resolved through a formal hearing process, you may appeal the decision levied by the University Conduct Board. Both the request to have your case reviewed and the formal appeals process are described in detail in your outcome letter as well as in the Student Conduct System Handbook, available online at studentconduct.syr.edu.

It is important to remember the being suspended from the University is educational. While it may not feel like it at the time, a suspension is designed to remove you from an environment in which you have made serious or repeated poor decisions that have negatively impacted you and/or the community. The time away from Syracuse is an opportunity to reflect on the choices you made, learn new skills that will help you to succeed upon your return, and provide time for you to practice those skills outside of the university environment.

If you are suspended from Syracuse University, you will have the ability to petition the University after a specified period of time to request a return to the institution. The conditions of your suspension and the requirements of this Good Citizenship Petition are found in your suspension letter. Typically, in order to petition to return to the University, suspended students must complete the time period of their suspension, write an essay, complete community service, provide proof of employment and/or an academic transcript during their time away from the University, and provide letters of reference that attest to your ability and readiness to return to college life. Depending upon the circumstances involved in the incident(s) leading to suspension, additional requirements may be added as a condition of your petition to return. Once your petition is reviewed, you will be provided notice whether and under what conditions you would be permitted to return to the University in a future semester.

Student discipline files are separate from a student’s academic transcript. However, under specific circumstances, specific transcript notations will be made. Students found to be responsible for non-violence related violations who are suspended or expelled will have the notation “Administrative Withdrawal–University Initiated” noted on their transcript. Students found to be responsible for violence-related violations as defined by the Clery Act (murder; sex offenses [forcible or non-forcible]; robbery, aggravated assault; burglary; motor vehicle theft; manslaughter; and arson) who are suspended or expelled will have their University transcripts issued with the following notations:

  • In cases of suspension—“Suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct ”
  • In cases of expulsion—“Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.”
  • If a student who has alleged to have been involved in an incident involving violence- related violations withdraws from the University with an investigation or conduct case pending—“Withdrew with conduct charges pending.”

Students who have the suspension notation on their transcript for a violence-related violation may appeal to have the notation removed no sooner than one year after the conclusion of the suspension process. Notations for expulsion for a violence-related violation will not be removed. Refer to the Student Conduct System Handbook, available online at studentconduct.syr.edu, for details on the transcript notation appeal process.

Disciplinary records are retained for seven (7) years from the date of the most recent incident in the student’s conduct file or until one (1) year after the student has graduated from the University, whichever is longer. Records of students who were suspended, expelled, prohibited from future enrollment or otherwise withdrawn for disciplinary reasons are retained indefinitely. The USCS records retention policy is important because students may be asked by graduate schools, law schools, and future employers to provide access to their disciplinary history as a condition for enrollment or employment.