Frequently Asked Questions for Families
1. My student received a letter from Student Conduct Education and Administration. What does that mean?
If your student received a letter from Student Conduct Education and Administration (SCEA), this means the office received information that there was a potential violation of the university Student Code of Conduct and he/she needs to schedule and/or attend an appointment with the assigned conduct officer to discuss the alleged violation. This appointment is private and information from the meeting cannot be shared with others, including parents or other family members, without a written release from the student. Please see information on FERPA for complete rules about confidentiality, as well as exceptions to the law that allows schools to disclose information without consent.
2. Why was I not directly notified of my students’ alleged violation? Will I be notified if my student is charged with a violation?
As stated previously, FERPA does not allow universities to share student records without a signed release by the student. We encourage students to speak with their parents and believe that, as adults, they should take responsibility for initiating that conversation.
We may notify parents of students under the age of 21 when a student has been found responsible for an alcohol or drug related violation as allowed by an amendment to FERPA. Students are generally notified when parents will be contacted and are given the opportunity — and encouraged — to contact the parents first.
3. What is my role in the student conduct process? How can I help my student?
SCEA strongly believes that parents and guardians play a vital role in the development of college students as they learn to manage their independence and responsibilities. You can help guide and support your student through the conduct process while holding the student accountable to your expectations and the standards of the university.
As outlined in the Section IV. Disciplinary Responsibility, Subsection B of the Student Code of Conduct, students are allowed to bring one advisor to the meeting with them. An advisor can be an OSU faculty or staff member, another OSU student, a friend, parent, attorney or any other person of the student’s choosing (who is not involved directly in the situation).
4. What is the role of an advisor in OSU’s student conduct process?
According to the Student Code of Conduct, students are allowed to bring one advisor to the meeting with them. The role of an advisor is to support and offer guidance to a student. For conduct meetings, advisors are limited to advising the student and may not present information, ask questions or make statements during the hearing. An advisor may not speak for or on behalf of a student. They may quietly converse with or write notes to a student. During conduct hearings and and committee hearings, however, an advisor may also participate only to the extent and in the same manner as afforded to the student they are advising, so your student should check their communication to be sure of which type of meeting/hearing they have.
5. My student told me she/he did not do the things suggested in the letter. What happens now?
Your student will need to follow the instructions given in the letter and make an appointment to discuss the alleged violation(s) with the assigned university conduct officer or hearing officer. After talking with your student and getting her/his side of the story, the conduct/hearing officer will make a decision regarding the student’s responsibility in the alleged violation. If the student is found responsible for the violation(s), an action plan may be implemented. Your student needs to be prepared to tell the truth during the meeting and make sure she/he has read the Student Code of Conduct.
6. Why does my student have to come to a conduct hearing when they are already going through the legal system for an offense? Isn’t that double jeopardy?
Under authority granted by Article 6, Sections 31 and 31a of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma and Title 70, Oklahoma Statues, Sections 3412 (1), (15), Oklahoma State University is granted full authority to adopt policies and procedures governing the conduct of its students.
By enrolling at Oklahoma State University, students accept responsibility for compliance with all university policies and contracts. Disciplinary action may also be taken for any violation of local ordinances, state or federal law, on- or off-campus, that adversely affects the university community or the pursuit of the university's lawful educational mission, process or function. The university reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. Students shall have the right of due process and appeal as prescribed in the Student Code of Conduct and other relevant university policies, rules or regulations. Students may be subject to civil and criminal penalties in addition to campus sanctions. Campus resolution may proceed before, during or after civil or criminal actions are concluded and is not subject to challenge based on the action or inaction of civil authorities.
7. What is an action plan, and why was my student given one?
Action plans are implemented for a student if they are found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Assignments in the action plan are intended to be educational measures designed to teach students why certain behavior is inappropriate and not condoned and to ensure that certain behavior does not occur in the future. College is a time of learning, and action plans help facilitate learning when a student has engaged in behaviors that violate university policies. They are not designed to be punitive but, rather, the focus is on education. If found responsible for a violation, action plan assignments can range from a verbal warning to disciplinary suspension or expulsion. A list of possible action plan items can be found in the Student Code of Conduct.
8. What kinds of off-campus behavior could warrant a student to go through the university’s student conduct process?
Examples of off-campus behavior which may be addressed by SCEA include but are not limited to: selling or otherwise providing alcohol to underage students, selling or distributing illicit drugs, sexual violence, hazing, actions which result in the serious injury or death of another person(s), repeated alcohol or drug offenses, or any alleged violation that jeopardizes an individual's or community's educational opportunities.
9. How will going through the student conduct process affect my student moving forward?
When SCEA receives information about a potential violation of the Student Code of Conduct, a conduct file in the name of the accused student is created. If the student is found not responsible for the violation, the file will be marked as such. The files of students who are found responsible for violations, with sanctions less than suspension or expulsion, will be kept by SCEA for seven years from the calendar year of record, after which they are destroyed. Records of cases in which the student was suspended or expelled from the university are kept for ten and fifteen years, respectively.
All conduct records are confidential and may not be disclosed except as provided by law or after a signed release from the student. Many graduate and professional schools, employers, and study abroad programs require that students obtain certification from Oklahoma State University that the student is in good standing, not on probation, or has never had any major violations of the Code of Conduct. If a student signs a release, SCEA will provide this information to the requesting organization/institution. If the student has no conduct history, certification will be sent indicating that. If the student was found responsible for violating the university’s Student Code of Conduct, the certification will generally include the date of the incident, a brief summary of the behavior, the action plan items and the current status of those assignments. If a student has been suspended or expelled from the university and requests a transcript in order to transfer to another institution, the Registrar’s Office will notify SCEA and a letter will be sent to the institution informing them of the suspension or expulsion status.
Conduct records are maintained separately from the student’s academic record but are part of the student’s educational record.