Frequently Asked Questions from Family Members


The Office of Student Conduct recognizes that family members are a critical factor in student success, and works diligently to make family members a part of the educational discussion. However, the Office of Student Conduct must also balance this with privacy allowances made for students under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as the recognition that students, as young adults, must assume more responsibility for their own behavior and academic matters.

The Office of Student Conduct encourages family members to discuss situations with students prior to contacting our office. In most cases, the Office of Student Conduct cannot discuss a student’s disciplinary case with family members without the student’s explicit written consent.

For your convenience, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions from family members.

Q: I just received a letter telling me that my student needs to come in for a meeting. How can I find out what is happening?

A: Ideally, you should first discuss the matter with the student. If your student would like our office to share information with you, they should complete a Release Authorization Form granting us permission to do so. Normally, the Office of Student Conduct will share information with a third party only with the student’s written permission.

However, we are always happy to answer any general questions about the student conduct process. Our web page provides details about the process so that you can read up on what will happen and how.

Q: My student just told me that they are involved in a disciplinary matter. What can I do?

A: The student disciplinary process at Rutgers University does not provide for the direct involvement of a student’s parent or guardian. Each student is expected to act as their own advocate. However, family members can provide important moral support to the student and can assist them in understanding both the student conduct process and the expectations of the University.

Q: My student is scheduled to appear at a hearing. Can I attend?

A: A family member can attend a hearing as a support person if requested by the student. A support person is required to sit behind the student and is not permitted to participate or addresses anyone during the hearing. Family members are also welcome to sit in a waiting area and consult with the student during breaks.

Q: Should I hire an attorney?

A: The decision to consult an attorney is a personal one, to be made by the student with the help of their support system. However, please understand that attorneys are considered support persons, and while they may accompany the student to meetings and disciplinary proceedings, they may not participate in any fashion. If you or the student choose to consult with an attorney, you do so at your own expense.

If your student is considering consulting an attorney, Rutgers University Student Legal Services can provide advice and referrals. If you and your student do retain an attorney, please share the Frequently Asked Questions from Attorneys with them.

Accused students are entitled to the assistance of a Campus Advisor, a member of the University community who can advise the student and help them prepare for a meeting or hearing.

Q: My student is also facing criminal or civil charges. Can the University proceedings be delayed until the court's decision?

A: The Office of Student Conduct is obliged to move forward with all disciplinary matters as soon as it has collected sufficient information to do so. The University is not required to defer to the timeline of the criminal or civil courts and will not typically grant postponements based on court proceedings. Please remember that the University is not attempting to determine if a student committed a crime—only to determine whether or not the student has violated University policy.

Q: My student has been the victim of an offense by another student. What are their rights?

A: Any student who has been the victim of an offense by another student has specific rights in the student conduct process. The victimized student can file a complaint with the Office of Student Conduct by completing our online reporting form. The student can also contact:

If a complaint results in a hearing, the complainant has the right to attend the entire hearing, provide information, review the case file, ask questions, provide witnesses, and have a Campus Advisor and/or support person present. If the accused student is found responsible for a violation, the victim can submit an impact statement, explaining how they have been affected by the offense. This impact statement is considered in determining the sanction.

Q: I am concerned about sending my student away to school. Is Rutgers University - New Brunswick a safe campus?

A: Rutgers University – New Brunswick is a community of over 40,000 students, located in an urban setting of over 100,000 people. As such, Rutgers faces the same issues as any comparably sized community. Rutgers is, relatively speaking, strict about the enforcement of behavioral standards within our community. The Office of Student Conduct works closely with Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD). For information on crime statistics, please visit the RUPD website.