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Student Affairs - Inspiring Student Success

Frequently Asked Questions for Students

 

If you have been charged under the Code of Student Conduct, you may have questions regarding your rights and responsibilities, the conduct process, and the consequences of these charges.  This page is designed to help answer some of the questions you may have about Tulane’s conduct process.  We recognize that the conduct process can feel overwhelming for our students and their families, and we hope that this page helps address your concerns.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Student Conduct at 504-865-5516 or conduct@tulane.edu. 

 

OVERVIEW

 

1.              What is the Office of Student Conduct?

The Office of Student Conduct manages all non-academic misconduct allegations that involve Tulane students. The goal of the Student Conduct system is to educate students about appropriate behavior and foster a safe and healthy community in which academic success can occur.  The Office of Student Conduct recognizes that college students (like all of us) make mistakes.  At the same time, actions carry consequences, and these consequences may include conduct proceedings.  Through the conduct process, we hope to help students learn where they could have made different decisions and offer them strategies for making better choices in the future.

 

2.              What is Tulane University’s Code of Student Conduct and where can I find the Code?

Tulane’s Code of Student Conduct sets forth the behavioral standards that the University expects its students to meet, the rights that accused students and complainants have, and the process by which possible violations are heard. 

 

3.              Who may file a complaint or report alleged misconduct?  How do I file a report? 

Conduct referrals will be accepted from anyone.  Most cases originate from Incident Reports that the Office of Student Conduct receives through Tulane’s online reporting system.  You may file a report electronically here.  Please provide as much information as possible in the report. 

Reports may be made anonymously, but this can limit our ability to proceed with an investigation.  Alternatively, you may provide your name with a request that we keep your name confidential.  We will make every effort to protect your privacy, but we cannot guarantee that your name will be kept confidential. 

 

4.              What happens after a complaint or report is filed?


After receiving a report, the Office of Student Conduct makes an initial determination regarding whether the report suggests that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct may have occurred.  When a complaint is accepted, the Office of Student Conduct will notify the charged student in writing of the charges and schedule a time to meet with him or her to review the charges, the conduct process, and his or her rights under the Code of Student Conduct.

 

5.              Why would the Office of Student Conduct charge students for conduct that occurred off-campus? 

 The University has jurisdiction over violations of the Code of Student Conduct on University premises, at University sponsored events, or elsewhere when the University has an identifiable interest.  Remember, you represent Tulane wherever you go.

 

6.              What if a student is unaware of the existence of the policy they are charged with violating? 

Lack of knowledge of a rule is not an excuse for misconduct. Every Tulane student is responsible for knowing the rules, regulations, and academic policies of the University.

 

7.              I was charged criminally. Why am I going through Student Conduct too?

The criminal justice system and Tulane University’s Code of Conduct are not mutually exclusive. Because you are enrolled at Tulane, you are held responsible for upholding not only local and state laws, but Tulane’s Code of Student Conduct. The university conduct process does not constitute “double jeopardy” when a student is facing concurrent criminal proceedings.

Tulane recognizes that the criminal process sometimes needs to take priority over the resolution of the conduct charges. Except in cases involving sexual misconduct, you have the right to request that Tulane defer conduct proceedings until the resolution of the criminal proceedings by submitting a written request for Tulane to defer conduct proceedings pending the resolution of the criminal case.  If you have been charged criminally, we recommend that you speak with your criminal attorney before participating in the conduct process.  Keep in mind that conduct proceedings may go forward without you. 

 

8.              Will my parents be notified? 

The Office of Student Conduct will not routinely contact parents when their student has violated university rules. However, the Office of Student Conduct will notify parents under the following conditions:


  • If you are under the age of 21 and have been found responsible for an alcohol violation;
  • If you have been found responsible for a drug violation;
  • If you have been found responsible for a violation involving weapons or an act of violence, including sexual misconduct;
  • If you have been placed on deferred suspension, suspension, or expulsion;
  • If your health or safety is at risk.

Except where the student’s health or safety is at risk, the Office of Student Conduct generally will notify the student’s parents by letter and include a copy of the student’s outcome letter in that communication.  We strongly encourage students to speak with their parents before they receive this letter.  The Office of Student Conduct is happy to participate in this conversation at the student’s request or to answer any questions your parents might have.  Please note we will have to verify that you have signed the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver in order to disclose any information to your parents.

Tulane University encourages you to keep your parents informed of your life at Tulane, including any conduct proceedings.

9.              What are my rights as a student involved in the conduct process?

Whether you are a complainant in the conduct system or an accused student, you have procedural protections under the Code of Student Conduct.  You can view the full lists of your rights by clicking here.


10.           I got a letter from the Office of Student Conduct, but I’m a graduate student.  I thought the Office of Student Conduct only handled undergraduate cases?

Graduate and professional students are held accountable for their behavior as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.  For certain complaints, graduates and professional students also may be held accountable for their behavior through professional standards, codes of ethics, or honor codes.  This does not preclude the University from taking action in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct. No graduate or undergraduate student will have multiple hearings for the same offense.  Please follow the instructions in your conduct letter or contact our office at 504-865-5516 to discuss your conduct case.

 

THE HEARING PROCESS

 

11.           What standard of proof does the University use to determine if a violation took place?

Tulane uses a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.  Under this standard, the hearing officer or board will determine for each charge whether it is more likely than not (51%) that the student violated the Code of Conduct. 

 

12.           Do I need a lawyer? Can anyone help me with this process?

Although you may retain a lawyer to work with you during the process, lawyers are not permitted to attend conduct hearings. 

Recognizing that participating in the conduct process can be a challenging experience for any student, the Office of Student Conduct encourages accused students to seek the assistance of an advisor.  The advisor is there to guide and support the student throughout the conduct process.  We have found that students who take advantage of the services of a trained advisor are more fully informed and better prepared as they approach a possible hearing.

Although a student may select any member of the Tulane community who is not a witness, TUPD officer, or practicing attorney to serve as his or her advisor, the Office of Student Conduct maintains a list of individuals who have volunteered to serve as advisors.  These individuals have been trained in the conduct system and most frequently work with students who are under investigation for a possible violation of university policy.  

 13.           I received a letter notifying me that I have been charged under the Code of Student Conduct and scheduled for a pre-hearing meeting. What happens now? 

First, know that the Office of Student Conduct strives to have a fair and unbiased process in which all students have the opportunity to be heard.  The charges are not a finding that you have violated the Code of Student Conduct.  The Office of Student Conduct recognizes that the reports we receive reflect only part of the story and you will have the opportunity share your side of the story with the Office of Student Conduct before any decisions are made. 

Next, note the date of your pre-hearing and take steps to prepare. The best way to prepare is to reflect on the event and be ready to describe what happened. Your pre-hearing will focus on your choices, behavior, and role in the event; as such, it generally does not help to blame others for your behavior or compare yourself to other students.   At your pre-hearing meeting, your rights and the charges will be reviewed.  After sharing your description of the events, you will be informed of the hearing officer’s decision regarding responsibility and sanctions, if any.  You will then have the option to resolve the matter at the pre-hearing or to request an administrative hearing.

Before your pre-hearing meeting, we recommend that you review the Code of Conduct and your rights as a student.  If you have questions prior to your pre-hearing meeting, please contact the Office of Student Conduct at (504) 865-5516 or conduct@tulane.edu.

 

14.           I have received a letter informing me that I have been scheduled for a procedural review and could be suspended.  What can I expect? 

If you have received this letter, the Office of Student Conduct has determined that you could be suspended or expelled if you are found responsible for the charges, either because of the severity of the alleged conduct or because of your conduct record.  We recognize that the possibility of being suspended or expelled is scary.  The Office of Student Conduct will work with you to ensure that you understand the hearing board process, your rights, and the steps that you can take to present yourself to the Hearing Board in the best possible light. 

The University’s conduct system is designed to educate students and ensure the safety of the entire community.  In preparation for your hearing, we suggest that you reflect on this incident keeping these goals in mind.  In our experience, students who can demonstrate to the Hearing Board that they have engaged in this reflection and have learned from the incident often fare better before the Hearing Board.      

We encourage you to review the section of our website devoted to the hearing board process for more information.       

 

15.           What will happen if I am found responsible at my hearing?  What if I’ve had other conduct cases in the past?

Students are given the opportunity to be heard during the conduct process. If the hearing officer or Hearing Board determines that you are not responsible, then the case is concluded.  In the event you are found responsible for charges, however, sanctions will be imposed.

A hearing officer or board considers many factors for sanctioning including the following:

  •  How serious is the current violation?
  • Are there any mandatory sanctions (e.g., parental notification and BASICS for alcohol and drug offenses)?   
  • What is your conduct history?  How many times have you been found responsible in the past and how severe were these incidents?  Are the new charges different than previous charges?  
  • When was the last time you went through the conduct process and were found responsible?
  • Were you on an active sanction at the time of the incident (e.g., disciplinary probation, deferred suspension, etc.)?
  • What is your present demeanor?  Have you demonstrated that you have learned from the incident?  Do you accept responsibility for your behavior?

 

 

16.           Can my parent attend my hearing?

Parents can attend pre-hearing meetings but cannot participate in hearings (other than as a character witness).  We strongly encourage students to inform his or her parents of the situation.


 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A HEARING?

 

17.           Do students have the right to appeal a responsible finding or sanction?

All students have the right to appeal.  Students who elect to resolve the matter through the informal process (i.e., agree to accept responsibility and sanctions) waive their right to appeal.  Students who proceed to an Administrative Hearing or Hearing Board or whose cases are heard in absentia may appeal the decision.  To appeal, you must submit a written statement that details the grounds on which your appeal is based and a supporting statement of those grounds.


An appeal may be based on one or more of the following grounds: (1) a procedural error occurred that is so substantial that it denied you the right to a fair hearing; (2) new and significant evidence is available that could not have been discovered before or during the hearing; (3) the finding of responsibility was arbitrary and capricious; and/or (4) the sanctions are grossly disproportionate to the offense.  If you fail to submit a written statement outlining your grounds for an appeal and a supporting statement of those grounds within the allotted time period, the original hearing decision will be final.  For more information regarding the Appeals Process, click here.


18.           Will disciplinary sanctions appear on my transcript?

Only sanctions of expulsion will appear on your academic transcript.



19.           What if I don’t complete an assigned sanction?

Most assigned sanctions are associated with a deadline for completion.  Students who do not complete their assigned sanction by the deadline will be sent a letter informing them that they will be fined $100.00, a block will be placed on their registration account, and they will be given one month to complete the sanction from the date of the letter.  If the student does not complete the sanction by the new deadline date, the process will repeat.  The registration block will not be removed until the sanction is completed satisfactorily.

 

20.           I was suspended.  What happens now?

For questions about suspensions, please see the Hearing Board FAQ  section.

21.           Does Tulane keep a permanent record of my disciplinary file?

The Office of Student Conduct maintains all disciplinary records for students who attend(ed) Tulane University.  Except in cases that result in suspension or expulsion, when a student is found responsible for any violation of the Code of Student Conduct, the record is maintained for 7 years from the date of the incident.  The University retains the records for conduct cases that result in a sanction of suspension or expulsion indefinitely.


22.           Who will find out about my record and who has access to my file?

Within Tulane, conduct records are internal files that can only be accessed through direct request to the Office of Student Conduct.  A small number of Tulane University staff have been given access to our database so that they may assist students with the Tulane University Conduct process.  This number includes but is not limited to: Student Conduct staff, Student Resources and Support Services staff, Conduct Officers, and Community Directors acting in the role of a Conduct Officer.  If you are placed on disciplinary probation or higher, a small number of University administrators, staff, and Deans will be notified of the decision. 

Conduct records are educational records protected by FERPA.  As such, the Office of Student Conduct does not share information regarding conduct records with anyone outside of Tulane without a student’s written consent except in certain limited circumstances.


23.           I am applying to graduate school or a study abroad program, and I have been informed that I need to have a Dean’s Certification form completed.  Who do I contact about this?

The Office of Student Conduct works in conjunction with the Academic Dean’s Office to complete all certification forms.  If your school has provided a form for completion, please sign the form in the appropriate location and deliver it to the Office of Student Conduct.  You may deliver it by e-mailing conduct@tulane.edu, dropping it off in our office located in the LBC, Suite G02, or mailing it to:

Tulane University
Office of Student Conduct, Campus Life
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

24.           How can I find out what is on my record?

Any student can find out the information contained in their disciplinary record by contacting our office at (504) 865-5516, conduct@tulane.edu, or by visiting us in the Lavin-Bernick Center, Suite G02.

25.           What does a disciplinary record mean for my future?  Will I still be able to get into a graduate program?

Take a moment to breathe!  Having a disciplinary record does not necessarily mean that you won’t get into the graduate program of your choice.  The reality is that a large number of Tulane students have had a minor conduct case during their college tenure.  The Office of Student Conduct oversees more than 600 cases a year so you are not alone. 

The most important thing for you to do is to honestly and accurately respond to the questions posed to you on the application.  If you are unsure of how to answer any of the questions, contact the Office of Student Conduct at (504) 865-5516 or conduct@tulane.edu.  We want our alumni to succeed in their lives after Tulane, and we will respond to any inquiries honestly but positively with this goal in mind.

Most graduate schools recognize that college students, like all of us, sometimes make mistakes.  While every graduate program is different, most schools review an applicant’s conduct record for serious incidents or patterns of behavior.  If you have been involved in a serious incident or have multiple conduct offenses, your application may receive additional scrutiny.  It is likely to help your application if you can demonstrate that you learned from the experience and took steps to address any underlying problems that caused you to engage in the conduct at issue.       


26.           I have a registration hold on my account from Student Affairs.  How can I get this removed?

Most often registration holds are placed on a student’s account when he/she has sanctions that are overdue.  We recommend that you review your email for correspondence from our office informing you of your sanctions and that you make efforts to complete any outstanding sanctions as promptly as possible.  If you need assistance, please contact our office at (504) 865-5516, conduct@tulane.edu, or stop by our office in the LBC, Suite G02.  Our staff will work with you to resolve your conduct case and get you back on track to register for classes.


27.           Why is there a “Student Affairs Judicial Fine” on my accounts receivable bill?

The two main reasons students will find a fine from our office on their account are:

  1. $50: Missed Appointment fine.  Check your e-mails!  We sent you an e-mail with the subject: Official Correspondence from Tulane University with information regarding a conduct case.  This letter stated a date and time for you to come to our office for an appointment.  Missing these appointments results in a $50.00 fine.  After the second missed appointment, your case is heard in absentia.

  2. $100: Incomplete Sanctions fine.  You were found responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and were assigned sanctions to complete.  Every sanction is given a deadline date for completion which is detailed in your hearing outcome letter.  Failure to complete your sanction(s) by the assigned deadline date results in a $100.00 fine and a block on your registration.

28.           How can I receive a copy of my conduct file?

The Office of Student Conduct does not release copies of conduct files.  A student may set up an appointment to view their file by calling (504) 865-5516 or e-mailing conduct@tulane.edu.  If a student cannot gain the information they are seeking by reviewing the file, he/she can request a file through the General Counsel’s office by calling (504) 314-7682.

 

 

Division of Student Affairs, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-314-2188 studnaff@tulane.edu