Frequently Asked Questions for Students

The following are questions frequently asked by students during the conduct process:

 I received a Notice of Charge (NOC) from the Dean of Students Office requesting that I schedule a Conduct Conference. What is the purpose of this meeting?

A Conduct Conference is your opportunity to share your account of the incident with a member of the Dean of Students Office. 

 What happens if I choose not to attend the Conduct Conference?

If you fail to respond to the Notice of Charge, an administrative hold will be placed on your account preventing you from enrolling in classes and your case may be referred to a Student Conduct Hearing Board.

 Can someone like a family member or a lawyer attend a Conduct Conference with me?

A family member and/or attorney may attend your Conduct Conference as an advisor to support you through the process. You must complete a Confidentiality Waiver to allow any third party to be present. 

 Are there campus resources outside the Dean of Students Office that can help me through the conduct process?

Many students utilize the help of Conduct Advisors during the conduct process. Conduct Advisors, a subsidiary of the Student Government Association, are students trained on the Code of Student Conduct and conduct process/procedures. They can assist students by answering questions related to the conduct process and informing students of their procedural rights. Conduct Advisors can help students prepare for conduct meetings and, in some instances, attend meetings with students in an advisory role. 

The Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) is another office that students tend to go to when seeking help throughout the conduct process. SLSO is a student-funded law office that provides legal assistance to fee-paying UMass Amherst graduate and undergraduate students and student groups. They offer advice and/or referral in most legal matters affecting students. 

For a complete list of Student Conduct Resources, please click here.

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 What is a Student Conduct Hearing Board?

A Student Conduct Hearing Board consists of 3 to 5 individuals (Faculty, Staff and Student) who are trained by the university to hear cases and determine if a student/group is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct. The Board submits a report outlining the findings to the Dean of Student or their designee who then make sanction determinations if applicable. 

 What is the difference between the conduct process and the legal/court process?

While many University expectations of conduct parallel the laws of society in general, the University sets higher and more stringent standards than those found elsewhere in society. The University focuses primarily on educating students about their behavior, but may impose sanctions to preserve a safe and healthy environment for the University community. The University uses a preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not) standard to make conduct decisions. 

 Will my family be notified of any sanctions that I receive?

Parents/ legal guardians of dependent students under 21 years of age are notified when a student is found responsible for an alcohol or drug violation.

 Will conduct sanctions appear on my transcript?

Your student conduct record is kept by the Dean of Students Office and is separate from academic records. However, students who were expelled prior to July 1, 2012 will have their dismissal noted on their transcript.

 Will potential employers or graduate/law/medical schools have access to my conduct records?

Your conduct history is not released to any third party without your written permission. Graduate and professional schools, state bar associations, government agencies, and/or independent agencies may request a clearance to review your conduct history while attending UMass Amherst. For more information about how to request a clearance and/or the university reporting policy review our Clearance Policy.

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 What will happen to my conduct record after I graduate?

Official conduct records are maintained for seven years from the date of the incident which led to the initiation of disciplinary action. Expulsion records are kept indefinitely.

 Can I be charged with violating the Code of Student Conduct if the incident occurred off campus?

Yes. The regulations contained in the Code of Student Conduct apply to student conduct that occurs at UMass Amherst, exchange programs, its international programs, on the grounds of the other four colleges within the Five College Consortium (Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College), at any event sponsored by any of these institutions. Additionally, the Code of Student Conduct applies to violations of the law or acts of misconduct that are contrary to the pursuit of the educational mission of the University, regardless of location.

 How are sanctions determined?

Since conduct cases are considered on an individual basis, there are no “typical sanctions” for specific violations. Sanctions are determined based on several factors including the nature of the incident, your conduct history, demeanor, and if there is evidence that you learned from the experience.

 What happens if I withdraw from school, graduate, or transfer to another institution before my conduct process is resolved?

The University may proceed to resolve the case and a hold will be placed on your academic account, preventing you from enrolling in courses, re-enrolling at the University, and will prevent your degree from being conferred. 

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