Student Life

Community Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

**These are brief answers to frequently asked questions. For more complete information, please reference the Student Handbook.

General Community Standards Questions

Alcohol Policy Related Questions

Hearing or Meeting Related Questions

Discipline Record and Hold Related Questions

 


General Community Standards Questions


How does the Community Standards process begin?
Any member of the University community (“complainant”) may file a complaint against a student(s) or student organization (“respondent”) alleging violation of the Community Standards. An incident report completed by a Public Safety or Residence Life staff member or a written complaint prepared by any other member of the University community and directed to the Office of Community Standards begins the process. In the case when the University initiates an incident report, it becomes the complainant. A complaint shall be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within one week; however, the timeliness of a complaint shall be determined by the Vice President for Student Life/Associate Provost based on the fact and circumstances presented.

Why do the standards apply to off campus behavior?
SJU is strengthened as an institution by our surrounding neighborhoods, who contribute greatly to the diversity of the educational opportunities available to students. The University expects students to behave as exemplary citizens when in the surrounding neighborhoods and to demonstrate respect and concern for all members of the local community. It is important that behavior not in keeping with these expectations in the surrounding community and beyond is addressed, so that we all can continue this beneficial relationship and promote the good work of SJU students.

What if conduct may also be a violation of law?
University Community Standards proceedings may be instituted for conduct that potentially violates both criminal law and the University's Community Standards without regard to pending criminal arrest or prosecution. Proceedings in accordance with the Community Standards process may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal proceedings. Determinations made or sanctions imposed in accordance with the Community Standards process shall not be subject to change solely because criminal charges arising out of the same facts were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of the criminal law defendant. The University may refer violations of the law to local law enforcement agencies.

Am I responsible for the behavior of my guests?
Yes. Students may be held responsible for the behavior of their guests. For this reason, students should take care when inviting non-student guests to campus and welcoming student guests into their on campus residence.

Are there specific residence life policies that I should be aware of?
Yes. Even if you are not a resident student, there are specific Residential Living Policies and Procedures that all students should be aware of. These policies cover such things as items prohibited in the residence halls, damage to rooms and common areas, quiet hours, guest and visitation policies, etc... Students should reference the Student Handbook for more information.

Do I always have to carry my SJU Identification Card?
Yes. All students are required to carry their SJU ID Card with them at all times and are not permitted to give the ID to another person (other than a staff member in the fulfillment of his or her duties), regardless of the intended use. All students need to be able to show their ID to inquiring University staff/personnel. Everyone at SJU plays a role in making the community safe.

Can the University Impose Interim Remedial Measures?
If at any time during the Community Standards process, the University through the VPSL determines that a student’s participation in activities on campus would be disruptive to the Community Standards process or risks harm to another student, him or herself, or the broader University community, the University may impose interim remedial measures. During this time, the student may be restricted in his/her access to the residence halls, and/or to the campus (including classes), and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. There is no appeal of this status, but the University shall make every effort to conduct the Community Standards process without undue delay. The remedial measures may stay in place until the hearing and/or appeal process is complete. In addition, at any time after the filing of a complaint, the Office of Community Standards may place a registration hold on the record of any student pending the outcome of proceedings or enforcement of a sanction. A registration hold may prevent, among other things, registration, the release of transcripts, and the awarding of a degree.

What if I withdraw from the University during the Community Standards process?
If a respondent voluntarily withdraws from the University while a complaint is pending, a registration hold shall be placed on the respondent's account and the respondent shall not be permitted to re-enroll until after the complaint has been resolved. In most cases, the Community Standards process shall continue and a decision may be rendered based on available information whether or not the respondent is available.

Alcohol Policy Related Questions

If I am 21 years of age or older, can I have alcohol in my on-campus residence?
Yes, but there are restrictions to keep in mind. Reference the Residential Living Policies and Procedures for more information.

What if someone else brought alcohol into my residence? Am I still responsible?
Yes. Students may be held responsible for the behavior of their guests and those they invite into their residence. Allowing minors to consume alcohol in your residence can also be a violation of the alcohol policy, regardless of your age.

Are there alcohol laws in Pennsylvania that I should know about?
Yes. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a person commits a summary offense if he/she, being less than 21 years of age, attempts to purchase, purchases, consumes, possesses or knowingly and intentionally transports any liquor or malt or brewed beverages. A full listing of laws and potential legal consequences can be accessed through the Office of Community Standard's Resources and Programming page [Resources].

What should I do if I am underage and in the presence of alcohol?
When an underage student knowingly is in the presence of alcohol being consumed or possessed, the University expects him or her to do one or more of the following: notify University staff, ask the individual(s) with the alcohol to leave or dispose of the alcohol, or remove himself or herself from the situation immediately. All students should recognize that their presence during an alcohol violation may subject them to disciplinary action.

Hearing or Meeting Related Questions

Why is my hearing with the Peer Review Board, Community Standards Board, or an Administrator?
When an incident report/complaint is received, it can be heard by an individual Administrative Hearing Officer, the Peer Review Board, or the Community Standards Board. There are a variety of things that are considered when determining the appropriate hearing type. Ask your Hearing Officer or Board Moderator for more information. Or you can contact the Office of Community Standards.

What is an Alternative Resolution?
Click here for more information and how to prepare for Alternative Resolutions.

Do I have to attend my Administrative, PRB, or CSB Hearing?
No. But keep in mind...failure to attend the hearing does not limit the Hearing Officer, PRB, or CSB from making a decision based upon available information. If you miss a hearing due to an emergency, it is your responsibility to contact the Hearing Officer or Moderator within 24 hours after the scheduled hearing. Remember, the hearing is your opportunity to discuss the incident in question and the Hearing Officer's opportunity to understand your role, if any.

How do I prepare for my upcoming Administrative, PRB, or CSB Hearing?
Click for more information on preparing for a hearing: [Administrative Hearing] [PRB Hearing] [CSB Hearing]

What is a pre-hearing meeting?
Sometimes a pre-hearing meeting is scheduled in advance of the hearing. During the pre-hearing meeting, the Community Standards process will be explained in more detail and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions that you have about the charges, reports, and/or the process. Some deadlines in the process will be discussed as well. If you have specific questions, you can contact the administrator who is scheduling the pre-hearing meeting with you. Or you can contact the Office of Community Standards.

Are hearings recorded?
No. The taping of hearings in any fashion is prohibited. The University does not record hearings.

Can I bring a witness to my hearing?
Yes. Witnesses of fact are permitted at hearings. Generally speaking, you should notify the Hearing Officer or Board Moderator in advance of the hearing with your intentions to bring a witness of fact. Character witnesses are not permitted in hearings.

Can my parents/guardians or legal counsel attend my hearing?
No. Only approved Community Standards Advisors may attend the hearing. Click here for help finding an Advisor?

What factors are considered in sanctioning?
If the Hearing Officer, PRB, or CSB determines that there was a violation of the Community Standards, a sanction(s) shall be imposed. In addition to the egregiousness, which is predominate, of the violation itself, the following may be considered in determining sanctions: motivation; present attitude; past record, both positive and negative; the severity of the damage, injury, harm, or disruption, or the potential for such; honesty; maturity; cooperation; willingness to make amends; and compliance with previous sanctions. Likely sanctions are outlined in the Student Handbook.

How do I complete my sanctions?
Click here for more information on sanction compliance. Keep in mind that, failure to complete your sanctions by the due date, may result in further administrative action and/or violations of the Community Standards. Contact the Hearing Officer or Board Moderator if you would like an extension on the due date of a particular sanction.

Will the University notify my parents/guardians of the findings of a hearing?
Sometimes the University does notify parents/guardians of the outcome of a hearing, consistent with our published Community Standards process and FERPA exceptions. If you have any question regarding notification for a specific incident, discuss it with the Hearing Officer or Board Moderator. Or you can contact the Office of Community Standards.

Is there an appeal process?
Yes. Click here for more information on the specific guidelines for appeals.

Discipline Record and Hold Related Questions

Can I study abroad with a discipline record?
Contact the Office of International Programs with specific questions regarding your study abroad eligibility. Keep in mind that being placed on a disciplinary probation or deferred suspension period can impact some leadership positions and opportunities on campus.

What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a United States federal law which protects the educational records of students. For more information on the retention and maintenance of student discipline records see the answer to the next question, or click here.

How long is my student discipline record retained by the University?
Student discipline records not relating to expulsion from the University are kept for five years after the conclusion of the semester last attended by the student. Student discipline records relating to expulsion from the University are kept permanently. Case notes shall not be made a part of the student's educational record, and will be destroyed upon the conclusion of the appeal period.  Click here for more information about your record and disclosures.

I have a disciplinary hold on my account. What does that mean? How can I get it removed?
Disciplinary holds can be placed on a student's account for a variety of reasons (pending case, outstanding sanctions, etc..) If you have questions regarding a hold on your account please contact the Office of Community Standards.