Preparing for a Conduct Meeting
The purpose of this website is to help you prepare your statements for a conduct meeting. A conduct meeting is a time to discuss an alleged violation with a conduct officer from the SCEA staff and is typically held in 328 Student Union. More information can be found in Section III Part C of the Student Code of Conduct.
It is important to think about what you want/need to say ahead of time so that your comments are focused, relevant, and thorough. Use this outline to help you present your information.
A. The conduct officer will explain the conduct process and the allegations that will be discussed at the conduct. Feel free to ask any questions about the conduct meeting.
II. Describe what occurred from your perspective.
A. Provide a thorough but concise explanation of what happened during the incident. Point out how you made decisions during the events, and talk about what you think you did right and if, and when, you used poor judgment. It is most helpful to provide the sequence of events in chronological order so that it makes sense. Try not to get off on side topics that are not relevant.
B. Explain any mitigating factors (e.g., What prompted you to make a particular decision — was your judgment clouded for some reason? What/who influenced you? What were you feeling at the time? What stresses were you facing at the time? What past experiences impacted what you did?).
III. Describe your level of responsibility in what occurred.
A. Ultimately, the university expects that students will be accountable for their actions. If you are responsible for what happened, you should state this. Rather than trying to mitigate what you did, simply state that you committed a violation and would like to try to fix it and learn from it. Furthermore, if you take this route, it is helpful to talk about what you are now doing to be pro-active about avoiding the situation in the future and preventing yourself from violating the Student Code of Conduct again. The university community expects responsible citizenship of students. Talk about what you are doing to be a positive contributor to the community and how you have addressed your behavior so far (e.g., Are you doing community service? Did you seek treatment/education? Are you focusing more on your academic progress? Did you get involved in a positive student organization? Have you been going to counseling?). What are you doing to seek self-improvement on your own?
B. Sometimes you may feel that you are somewhat but not entirely responsible for what occurred. If this is the case, it is important to explain what specifically you take responsibility for and what specifically you feel you are not responsible for. If there are mitigating factors that you feel detract from your level of responsibility, it is important to state those factors. For example, now might be the time to say that you did not plan ahead properly because you had not slept and were not thinking as clearly as usual. Another example might be any overriding feelings or stress at the time that impacted what you did at the time (e.g., sickness, recent traumatic event, past family behaviors in similar situations). If you think someone else is responsible for certain actions, you should specify who was responsible, what they were responsible for, and how their actions impacted yours.
C. Sometimes you may feel that you are not responsible at all for what occurred. You should state why you think this and provide any evidence that you are not responsible (i.e., “I was not there at that time”). You might reiterate any facts that establish you are not responsible for the alleged violations (i.e., “I was not intoxicated at the time and no alcohol showed up on the breathalyzer,” or “I had only been there three minutes, as established by my witnesses, and was not aware that alcohol was present in the room,” or “The fight was between two of my classmates and I was the one trying to stop the fight. I got in the middle because I was trying to separate them, as my friend confirmed.”). However, remember that just because you disagree with a law or policy does not mean that you did not violate it. Regardless of your personal feelings about a law or policy, if you chose to violate it, you would be best served by admitting this and taking responsibility for your actions.
D. If you are at fault and are taking responsibility for it, do not blame others in the course of admitting responsibility. This detracts from your stating that you are responsible (e.g., “I take full responsibility for what occurred. However, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police are just looking for people to arrest. I was violating the law, but I did not hurt anyone and just got caught.” Essentially, such statements actually mean, “I AM responsible except I am really not responsible because everyone else is.”). If you violated the law, do not say, “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time” as this is not true and reflects poorly on your sense of personal accountability for your actions. You were committing a violation and got caught. While you may not be happy that you got caught, this does not mean you were not in the wrong. It is not a sign of taking responsibility to say things like, “The police officers here are just looking to get people in trouble.” Additionally, saying things like, “I know tons of people who do this and don’t get caught — I’m just unlucky,” is not a sign of taking responsibility, either. Show you are being an adult and being accountable for your actions. Just because other people have not been caught does not mean they were not committing a violation or that you should not be responsible for your commission of a violation. Strive to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Be better than the others — do not let your behavior become lax just because those around you are misbehaving.
IV. Describe what you plan to do differently in the future and recommend sanctions, if appropriate.
A. What can the university community expect from you in the future? What are you going to do to prevent the behavior from reoccurring or to show that you are a good citizen? Even if you did not commit a violation, it is always a good idea to reflect on what positive behavior you plan to engage in to help yourself avoid problems later. Take steps to be proactive about your behavior and show that you will be a responsible citizen from now on, and discuss what you have already done and what you will do.
B. Recommend an action plan/sanctions that you feel would be appropriate. What can you do to show that you are behaving in a positive manner? Review the range of sanctions in the Student Code of Conduct. How will you be accountable to yourself and the community?