Questions From Accused Students

Q. What penalty will I get if I violate of the Code of Student Conduct?

A. The sanction imposed depends upon the violation, the severity of the offense, the impact of the violation on the complaint party and the University community, and the circumstances of the particular case. A list of possible sanctions can be found in Part IX of the University Code of Student Conduct, “Disciplinary Sanctions.”

Q. Will my parents find out?

A. Disciplinary files are considered part of your educational record and cannot be disclosed without your consent. Your parents will know only as much as you choose to reveal.

If you would like your parents or some other party to have access to information about your case, you must grant the University written permission to release that information. You can find a release authorization form here (PDF).

Q. Will the disciplinary charges appear on my transcript?

A.  If you are suspended or expelled, that sanction will be noted on your transcript. A suspension is noted only during the suspension period; once the suspension has been served, the notation will be removed from your transcript. Expulsions are permanently noted on the transcript (except in cases where clemency has been granted).

Transcript notations indicate only the sanction; there is no detailed information about the complaint or the charges.

The Office of Student Conduct maintains a disciplinary file that is separate from your transcript. All information about your disciplinary case is contained in this file. This information is considered part of your educational records and cannot be released to outside parties without your permission.

The file maintained by the Office of Student Conduct is automatically destroyed ten years after the final resolution of your case (except in the case of expulsion; expulsion records are retained permanently). However, you may request that your file be expunged before ten years have passed. See Disciplinary Records and Transcripts for more information.

Q. What happens if I'm charged with a Code violation that's also a criminal or civil offense?

A. The University disciplinary system is entirely separate from the criminal and civil justice systems. University proceedings may occur before or even during the resolution of a criminal or civil case. The resolution of a case in civil or criminal court has no bearing on the University’s disciplinary process.

Q: Do I need a lawyer?

A: Disciplinary proceedings at the University do not follow the same criminal or civil procedures used in a court of law. Most cases can be resolved without lawyers. You may hire an attorney at your own expense, if you choose, but it is not required. If you are charged with a violation of the Code that is also a criminal offense, you may find it helpful to seek the services of an attorney. However, your attorney cannot speak for you in a University proceeding; he or she can can only accompany you as a support person.

If you are considering hiring an attorney, Rutgers University Student Legal Services can provide you with legal guidance and referrals.

If you do decide to retain counsel, please share Frequently Asked Questions from Attorneys with him or her. If you would like your attorney to have access to information about your case, you must grant the University written permission to release that information. You can find a  release authorization form here (PDF).

You may wish to consult a Campus Adviser, a member of the University community who can help you understand the disciplinary process and prepare your case.

Q: What's the difference between a Disciplinary Conference and a University Hearing?

A: If you are charged with a violation, and you deny responsibility for the charges, you can choose either a Disciplinary Conference or a University Hearing to resolve the matter (with the agreement of the complaint party).

A Disciplinary Conference is an informal meeting with a Conduct Officer, who will consider information presented by the complaint party and the accused student and determine whether the student is responsible for the charges.

A University Hearing is a more formal process, in which the parties present their cases to the University Hearing Board (a panel of students, faculty and staff). The Hearing Board then determines whether the accused student is responsible for the charges.

Q: What is an interim suspension?

A: When a student is alleged to violated the University Code of Student Conduct  and  poses a potential threat to him- or herself, to others, or to property, an Interim Suspension may be implemented. A student under Interim Suspension is immediately removed from the University community. He or she may not attend classes, reside in the residence halls, or otherwise be present on University property until the matter has been resolved.

Questions from Complaint Parties

Q. How do I file a complaint?

A. If you are an instructor wishing to report an academic integrity violation, consult From Complaint to Sanction: A Step-By-Step Guide for Instructors (PDF). Then, complete the Academic Integrity Reporting Form. If you wish to speak to a staff member before filing a complaint, please contact the Office of Student Conduct at 848-932-9414.

If you would like to report the non-academic behavior of a Rutgers University student, use our online reporting form. Someone from the Office of Student Conduct will contact you. While you can anonymously report behavior, please note that we are sometimes unable to take any action from anonymous reports.

Q. What happens after I file a complaint?

A. The Director of Student Conduct will review the complaint. He or she may refer the case to a Conduct Officer, who will conduct a Preliminary Review. The Conduct Officer will interview you and the accused student. The Conduct Officer examines the evidence supporting the complaint and determines whether to charge the student with a violation. If the student is charged, there are several options for resolving the matter. See The Conduct Disciplinary Process for an explanation of the next stages.

Q. What do I have to do as the complaint party?

A. You will explain your side of the case to the Conduct Officer conducting the Preliminary Review and provide any information or witnesses that support your complaint. If the case goes to a University Hearing or Disciplinary Conference (not all cases do), you will be responsible for explaining the complaint and presenting your evidence and witnesses. If you are reporting an academic integrity violation, a Campus Adviser or Academic Integrity Facilitator may present the case on your behalf, while you participate as a witness.

The burden of proof rests with the person making the complaint. A student can be found responsible for a violation only if the allegations are proven by clear and convincing information (in academic integrity matters) or by a preponderance of information (in all other cases).

If the case goes to a University Hearing or Disciplinary Conference, you must be prepared to ask questions of the accused student, his or her witnesses, and your own witnesses. The accused student and the Conduct Officer or Hearing Board will also have the opportunity to ask questions of you and your witnesses.

You may wish to consult a Campus Adviser, a member of the University community who can help you prepare your case.

Q. I want to report a possible violation, but I don't want to act as the complaint party in the disciplinary process. What will happen?

A. If you are reporting an academic integrity violation, a Campus Adviser or Academic Integrity Facilitator may present the case on your behalf.

In non-academic matters, another member of the community may be appointed to bring the complaint forward on your behalf, if the Director of Student Conduct believes that it is in the best interest of the University community to proceed. You will be called as a witness if the case goes to a University Hearing or Disciplinary Conference.

Q. What happens to the accused student if he or she is found responsible?

A. The sanction imposed depends upon the violation, the severity of the violation, and the circumstances of the particular case. A list of possible sanctions can be found in Part IX of the University Code of Student Conduct, “Disciplinary Sanctions.”

Q: What's the difference between a Disciplinary Conference and a University Hearing?

A: If an accused student is charged with a violation, and denies responsibility for the charges, he or she can choose either a Disciplinary Conference or a University Hearing to resolve the matter (with the agreement of the complaint party).

A Disciplinary Conference is an informal meeting with a Conduct Officer, who will consider information presented by the complaint party and the accused student and determine whether the student is responsible for the charges.

A University Hearing is a more formal process, in which the parties present their cases to the University Hearing Board (a panel of students, faculty and staff). The Hearing Board then determines whether the accused student is responsible for the charges.