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Resources for Students - FAQ

Welcome to The University of Maine community! College is a time of experiencing new freedoms and responsibilities. One responsibility as a university student is to know all of the policies found in the Student Handbook. One of the freedoms is to have new options and to make choices, including whether or not to follow University policies. But for each choice you make, you need to be ready to take personal responsibility for its consequences. This brochure was prepared to help answer questions about the outcomes of decisions that do not match the University’s values as outlined in the Student Handbook. Ideally, after reflecting about your personal goals and values, you will chose actions which are in sync with the University and contribute to a positive campus atmosphere.

How am I expected to behave in this community?

If you behave in a manner that encompasses common sense, fairness, honesty, and civility, then you will likely do well. But becoming informed will clarify the details. An outline of our community standards can be found in the Student Conduct Code. A copy may be obtained from the Memorial Union’s Information Center, from Student Affairs’ Office, through the FirstClass system, or from your residence hall staff.

I don’t plan to get into trouble; why should I read any further?

Few students purposely set out to violate the Student Conduct Code, but some find that a poor choice has consequences which they had not anticipated.

What is the Student Conduct Code?

It is a document promoting the pursuit of activities which contribute to the intellectual, ethical, and physical development of the individual. It protects the free and peaceful expression of ideas and assures the integrity of various academic processes.

What is an Incident Report?

It is a written document, generated by a member of the University community, who has witnessed or become aware of a possible violation of the Student Conduct Code. Students are members of the University community and may come to the Community Standards Office to complete a report.

What happens to the Incident Report?

In some cases, a Resident Director or faculty member may choose to handle the case. Otherwise, the reports are forwarded to the Director of Community Standards. After reviewing the report, she will then send the student an allegation letter.

What is an Allegation Letter?

It is a letter outlining which parts of the code have allegedly been violated. For most cases, it will state the time and date of a hearing with the Director of Community Standards.

What if I have a conflict with the assigned time of the hearing?

Call the office at 581-1409 and reschedule. The hearing is your opportunity to share your side of the story, so it is in your best interest to follow through.

If I don’t show for the hearing, I can’t be sanctioned, right?

Wrong. If you choose not to attend, a Judicial Decision will be made in absentia (your absence) and you will receive a letter notifying you of your disciplinary status.

If I’m charged, does that mean that I’ll be kicked out of school?

Only a few violations are serious enough to result in suspension or dismissal. Our discipline system is based on an educational model, therefore the majority of sanctions are structured to be learning experiences. Ideally you will reflect on what happened and make better choices in the future.

What is it like to have a hearing with the Director of Community Standards?

The hearing officer will review the charges with you and gives you an opportunity to share your story. Together you discuss the situation and what you learned from it. They may talk about expectations for the future. The Hearing Officer also provides support and referrals for students who may need additional assistance.

What is a Judicial Decision?

It is the final outcome reached by the Hearing Officer. A student is found either not in violation or in violation of the Student Conduct Code. A Summary Letter is sent to the student. If the student is found not in violation, then that ends the process. If the student is found in violation, then sanctions are assigned.

What is a Summary Letter?

It is a letter sent to the student which summarizes the outcome of his/her conduct process.

Who are the people being “cc”ed on my Summary Letter?

They are members of the University community with a legitimate need to know the outcome of a specific case. For example, if the person lives on campus, it would include her/his Community Coordinator.

What is a sanction?

It represents the consequences of violating the Student Conduct Code. Sanctions may affect one’s status (being placed on probation or suspension); privileges (being prohibited from operating an automobile on campus or participating in privileged activities); finances (being required to make restitution for property damages); and allocation of time (being required to attend substance abuse, anger management, or study skills workshops). In most cases, a combination of sanctions is utilized to meet the needs of the individual within the community.

Would I then have a “record”?

Yes. If you are suspended or dismissed from the University, then your record is kept permanently. If your conduct status is less than suspension, your discipline record is expunged seven years after the last violation.

Who can see my record?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) makes a student’s disciplinary record part of her/his educational record. This record may be accessed by a) you (the student), b) if you sign a waiver, c) by your parent(s) if you are their financial dependent or if you are a minor, or d) in response to a court order. This educational record may also be shared with those members of the University community who have a legitimate need to know.

Could a potential employer ask me to sign a waiver to see my record?

Yes. It is common to do a background check for applicants seeking a position working with children (such as education), in the field of law enforcement or in the government.

How do I go about seeing my record?

Contact the Office of Community Standards at 581-1409 and schedule an appointment with the Director.

What if I disagree with the Judicial Decision?

You have the right to appeal and have a hearing before the Student Conduct Code Committee. The appeal must be made within seven days of receiving the decision.

What are the possible outcomes of a Student Conduct Code Committee hearing?

They could decide that you are not in violation. But if they find you in violation, they can also change the sanction. The sanction might increase, decrease, or remain the same.

If an incident occurs off-campus, can I be charged on-campus?

If misconduct occurs off-campus during the course of a university function, the Student Conduct Code applies. Actions which adversely affect the university and/or the pursuit of its objectives may also be adjudicated on-campus.

If an incident is being handled in the courts, may the University also take action?

Yes. Students sometimes find their conduct reviewed by two or more authorities. This is not “double jeopardy”, which is a legal concept regarding being tried twice in a criminal court. The university’s discipline process focuses solely on determining if a person should remain as a member of our academic community and, if so, under what conditions.

What if I have additional questions not answered in this brochure?

Please contact the Director of Community Standards. The phone number is 581-1409 and the office is located in Student Affairs’ Office on the third floor of the Memorial Union.

Brought to you by Student Affairs. This information was adapted from the Frequently Asked Questions site on the home pages of the University of Illinois, 1999 and Western Illinois University, 1999.

July 2004

 


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