What to Do When Your Student is Involved in the Student Conduct Process
Sending your student to an institution of higher education is as much of a transition for families as it is for students. The relationship you have with your student will undoubtedly change. Students are expected to make decisions on their own, to learn to resolve conflict independently, and to take responsibility for their actions. At the same time they covet your love, respect your opinion, and generally operate on the values you instilled in them.
So what should you do when your student becomes involved in the campus conduct system? The following section provides some recommendations for family members when they discover that their student is involved in the campus conduct process:
1. While colleges and universities recognize that your goal is to provide support for your student, conduct officers ask that you provide this support unconditionally, but not blindly. Understand that there is a process in place to hear all information regarding the incident in question and encourage your student to prepare him or herself for the process.
2. When your student receives paperwork regarding conduct procedures and has questions, direct them to contact a staff member in the conduct office for information. Staff members are not permitted to give specifics to parents without permission from the student and will most likely recommend that the student call anyway. This also empowers the student to solve their own issues and concerns.
3. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 precludes the college or university from discussing your student’s academic and disciplinary record without his/her written permission.
4. Educate yourself on the institution’s student conduct process by reviewing the student handbook. Many of your questions may be easily addressed by reviewing these materials, but staff are always willing to answer questions about the process.
5. Practice the "24 Hour Rule." You may receive a phone call or email message from your student because he or she is upset about facing conduct charges. You may be tempted to try to immediately fix the problem for them. This intervention invariably fails. Try to allow 24 hours to inform, guide, teach, observe, or reprimand (if necessary.) Lessons learned through participation in a student conduct process must be experienced to have the desired effect. After all, gaining a higher education degree is about learning.
College and university conduct officers take their responsibilities as educators very seriously and do their best to provide a fair and unbiased system for all students. While these professionals understand that involvement in the conduct process may be difficult for students, they do their best to provide them support to effectively handle the situations in which they find themselves.
Adapted from THE STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESS: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS, a publication of the Association for Student Conduct Administration, 2006