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Frequently Asked Questions for Students

What is the Student Code of Conduct?

How do I file a conduct complaint?

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

I got a letter from the Conduct Officer. What does this mean?

I will not be able to attend the scheduled meeting.

What will happen if I do not attend the scheduled meeting?

What will happen in this meeting?

How do the Conduct Officer and the Conduct Committee differ?

What do I need to do to prepare for this meeting?

Do I need an attorney?

Will my parents/professors/classmates find out about this?

What will happen if I am found to have violated the Code of Conduct?

I was found to have violated the Code of Conduct and I disagree with the decision. What is my next step?

I have a hold on my account: why is it there and how do I get it removed?

Will this charge stay on my transcript/permanent record?

How are false allegations handled?

I have additional questions about my specific circumstance.

What is the Student Code of Conduct?
The Student Code of Conduct outlines behavioral policies that apply to all Portland State Students. As stated in the Student Code of Conduct, Portland State "seeks excellence in instruction... supports the right of all people to live and learn in a safe and respectful environment... [and] promotes the free and vigorous expression of ideas. [The code is] designed to protect these freedoms and fundamental rights of all members of this community. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with these principles." The complete Code of Conduct is available online at www.pdx.edu/dos/conduct.

How do I file a conduct complaint?
The Conduct complaint form is available online here. Please submit the form electronically. If you have supporting documentation regarding your complaint please attach it to the complaint, email it to conduct@pdx.edu or bring copies to our office in 433 SMSU.

Can I make an anonymous complaint?
Our office often works with members of the PSU community who have concerns about submitting a report. If you have any concerns, please call our office to discuss your options.

I got a letter from the Conduct Officer. What does this mean?
Letters are sent when the Office of the Dean of Student Life receives a conduct complaint about a student or student group. Complaints can be generated by Campus Public Safety (CPSO), Residence Life staff (RES), faculty, staff, or other students. This letter serves to notify you that the University is looking into a specific incident. As part of the initial investigation of the incident, the Conduct Officer will meet with you, provide you with information about the Student Code of Conduct, talk to you about the complaint, and listen to your side of the story.

I will not be able to attend the scheduled meeting.
The letters sent to students include a scheduled time for the student to meet with the Conduct Officer. The Office of the Dean of Student Life schedules these meetings when you are not in class. This meeting is an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story and it is important for you to make every effort to be there. Although these meetings are usually not rescheduled, if you have extenuating circumstances please call the Office of the Dean of Student Life as soon as possible (503.725.4422) to discuss your options.

What will happen if I do not attend the scheduled meeting?
This meeting is your opportunity to present information about the incident in question. If you do not attend the meeting the Conduct Officer will determine whether you are responsible or not responsible for the alleged incident/conduct using the available information.

What will happen in this meeting?
The administrative review meetings typically last between 30 and 45 minutes and are designed to be informative both to you and to the Conduct Officer. The Conduct Officer will explain Portland State's conduct process and provide you with your options. You will provide the Conduct Officer with any information you have regarding the incident or conduct in question. After the exchange of information, the Conduct Officer will decide whether to find you responsible or not responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct.

How do the Conduct Officer and the Conduct Committee differ?
Hearings with the Conduct Officer and hearings with the Conduct Committee are very similar. The primary difference is that the hearing with the Conduct Officer is likely to be shorter and is more easily scheduled; it takes longer to schedule hearings with the Conduct Committee due to the number of people on the Committee. In both cases the hearing is formal and closed to the public. In both cases the information in the hearings remains confidential. In both cases hearings can result in any outcome, ranging from not responsible to suspension/expulsion.

What do I need to do to prepare for this meeting?
The letter that you receive will outline the nature of the complaint against you (i.e., academic dishonesty, illegal drug use, trespass, etc.) and you should bring any and all information that you think is important to the meeting. Important information can include rough drafts of papers, notes, study guides, and/or names and phone numbers of witnesses. Be prepared to respond to requests for information regarding your behavior in connection with the alleged violation.

Do I need an attorney?
You may bring an attorney to your scheduled meeting/hearing if you feel it is necessary. Under the Student Code of Conduct, you are allowed to bring an advisor with you to your conduct meetings and/or hearings for consultation and support, but you are expected to speak for yourself at all times. An advisor can be anyone: a parent, mentor, professor, attorney, or community member. If you are bringing an attorney with you, you must notify the Office of the Dean of Students in advance of your scheduled meeting.

Will my parents/professors/classmates find out about this?
Federal law and University regulations place a high priority on your privacy. Information about you cannot be shared with your parents, other students, or professors unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances. If you would like our office to speak freely about your case with your parents or your advisor, you must sign a waiver and return it to our office. The FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) waiver for the Office of the Dean of Students can be found on our website here (pdf).

What will happen if I am found to have violated the Code of Conduct?
If the Conduct Officer or Conduct Committee finds you responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct you will be assigned sanctions. Sanctions can range from letters of reprimand to expulsion and can include (but are not limited to): educational assignments, community service projects, restitution, restrictions, loss of privileges, suspension, and degree revocation. Additionally, if you are found responsible for academic dishonesty you may also be subject to additional sanctions from your academic program, department or college. Procedures for complaints about academic dishonesty can be found in the Student Code of Conduct here.

I was found to have violated the Code of Conduct and I disagree with the decision. What is my next step?
  If you believe that there was an error in the conduct process, or if you believe that the hearing body failed to consider a piece of evidence/information during the hearing, or if relevant information/evidence was not available at the time of the hearing,  you may submit an Appeal Request. Appeal Requests must be filed, in writing, no later than ten (10) days after the date on the decision letter informing you of the outcome. If your appeal request is granted, the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs (or designee) will make a final decision.

I have a hold on my account: why is it there and how do I get it removed?
If you are found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct you will be assigned sanctions. If you do not complete your assigned sanctions by the due date listed in the decision letter, a hold will be placed on your account. Once your sanctions are completed your hold will be lifted. Contact the office responsible for assigning your sanctions (either Residence Life or the Office of the Dean of Student Life) if you have questions.

Will this charge stay on my transcript/permanent record?
In most cases, if you are found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the University will retain a record of your case for five (5) years. For cases involving suspension, records are kept for ten (10) years and for cases involving expulsion, degree revocation, or negative transcript notations, records are retained for seventy-five (75) years.

How are false accusations handled?
If a complaint is discovered to be unfounded at the administrative review meeting, and it becomes apparent that the person filing the complaint knew the allegations were unfounded, the Office of the Dean of Students may file a conduct complaint against the individual who filed the false report. It is a violation of the Code of Conduct to submit false information to the University.

If you have additional questions about your specific circumstances, please feel free to contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life via email at conduct@pdx.edu, by phone at 503.725.4422, or in person in 433 Smith Memorial Student Union.