Student Policies : Conduct Parent Questions

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA), students attending colleges or universities, regardless of age at entry, are afforded the right to privacy as it pertains to their education records. However, Alfred University recognizes that parents/guardians of dependent students have a strong and understandable interest in the academic progress of their student.

Philosophy of Parents as Partners

At Alfred University we value a community environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and growth, promotes and models good citizenship, encourages enlightened leadership and respects each individual. Your student is learning to become an independent thinker and self-advocate; we will educate them to explore the opportunities available to them, make decisions and learn from them, and take responsibility for their own learning. We ask that you support your student’s developmental process by encouraging his or her dialogue with us in solving problems and expressing ideas.

It is normal and natural to advocate for your child and we welcome questions from parents; however, we will work directly with your child in exploring situations of concern. While it may seem easier in the short run to "solve the problem" for your student when asked, this doesn’t always allow for a learning experience on how to manage conflict or advocate for oneself. We ask that before you contact us, you ask your son or daughter to get in touch with the appropriate faculty or staff member to start the discussion. If he or she doesn't know where to begin, the Dean of Students, Dr. Norm Pollard, in the Student Affairs office in Carnegie Hall (871-2132), is always a good starting point.

In most cases, you will learn about your students' accomplishments, grades, judicial violations, physical health or mental health concerns from them. With your student’s knowledge and consent on occasion you may hear from a faculty or staff member. We encourage you to discuss with your student your expectations for sharing information with you. Please feel free to review and ask about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) , available online at www.alfred.edu/policies (see the Academic Regulations section) or http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

Family connections are critical to today’s college students. With our shared goals of student success, Alfred University faculty and staff view parents as partners in preparing students for life after college.

General Questions

The Alfred University Student Code of Conduct is the University's guide for the behavioral expectation of students. As a code, it details the expectation that students will adhere to, a common set of standards that will actively be promoted within the community. In addition the Student Code of Conduct, Alfred University has Student Life Policies and General University Policies, all can be found http://my.alfred.edu/student-policies/.

The student will be asked to attend a meeting with an AlfredUniversity staff member to go over the student conduct process. Depending on the seriousness of the case, if the student accepts responsibility and agrees with the educational sanction(s), the case is settled as an informal resolution conference. If the student does not accept responsibility for; the incident, disagrees with the sanction, or is suspected of violating a serious infraction, a formal hearing will be scheduled. For more detailed information, please see visit http://my.alfred.edu/student-policies/ or contact the Office of Student Conduct 607-871-2132.

The Office of the Dean of Students notifies parents of dependant students to the extent that is allowed by the amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This federal act governs the release of educational records.

  • The parents of dependent students who violate Alfred University’s Substance Use and Abuse Policy or Student Code of Conduct which involves alcohol or drugs are notified of the violation. The notification will occur once the imposed sanctions are final and the appeal process has been exhausted. This also includes when a student is granted "amnesty" for alcohol or drug violation.
  • In a conduct case that involves a serious threat to oneself or the physical or emotional safety of others, the Dean of Students or designee may notify the parents of dependent students.
  • If as a result of violating the Student Code of Conduct the dependent student is suspended or expelled the Dean of Students may contact the student’s parents.

We encourage students to speak with their parents and believe that as adults students should take responsibility for initiating the conversation.

"Amnesty" is granted when a student seeks medical assistance (or help is sought for a student) as a result of consumption of alcohol or drugs. This means that students will not face conduct action for a violation of the code of conduct related to alcohol or drugs, or the Substance Use and Abuse Policy, as long as no other University policies were violated.

While there will not be conduct action (and thus no notation on a student's conduct record), the Office of Dean of Students will communicate with parents of minor student. The student seeking amnesty will meet with a Student Affairs staff member, who will refer the student to the Health and Wellness Educator in Counseling and Wellness Center for mandatory substance education program. Failure to comply will result in student conduct action.

Parent’s will be notified if there is an imminent risk to their student's health, safety, or welfare.

All conduct violations are processed through the Office of the Dean of Students. Student conduct records are retained for seven years from the date of a student's departure from the University, except in cases resulting in suspension (if the student does not return) or expulsion, in which conduct records are kept indefinitely.

There is no hard and fast rule about the impact a conduct violation may have getting into a graduate program or getting a job. Variables include; the nature and severity of the violation, how much time has lapsed since the violation and what the student has learned as a result of the violation. Minor offenses will likely have a minimal effect. Violations such as fighting, sexual misconduct and drug violations are likely to have an impact through an admissions process. A student may find that his/her options are limited by his/her conduct record, but there have been many Alfred University students who have been found responsible for significant violations who have gone on to law school or medical school because they proved their willingness to learn from the mistake and move on.

The dean of students is willing to advocate and intervene on the behalf of any student who been adversely effected by their conduct history.

Student conduct records are not released with out a signed released

Student conduct records are only released if the person requesting the information has a signed release from the current or former student.

University probation is a status indicating that a future violation of the Student Code of Conduct or General University Policy while on University Probation may result in suspension from the university for a period of time.

Legal counsel representing the student charged may be present for the hearing only when the case has resulted in or may reasonably be expected to result in criminal litigation. The lawyer cannot participate in the hearing process. He or she can observe the hearing process and give the accused student personal counsel.

The purpose of Alfred University’s Student Code of Conduct system is very different from the civil system. A student may bring an advisor with him/her to a hearing before the University Conduct Board although the advisor must be a member of the University community. Lists of trained advisors are available from the Dean of Students.

When an incident is documented there is a process that involves several stages. An investigation needs to take place; a hearing is then scheduled and must take place, and then an appeal process needs to expire before parent notification is sent.

You can help to guide the student through the conduct process and be supportive while holding the student accountable to the University's expectations. You can also encourage your student to seek necessary interventions, such as alcohol or drug evaluations, anger management, and other services. Allow and expect the student to set appointments, attend meetings, and fulfill sanctions. We hope that the conduct process will be educational and assist your child in developing adult skill sets necessary for future success.

Parents and/or legal guardians are not permitted to be present in hearings. The office of the dean of students can assist students in locating an advisor.

Sanctions are determined by considering the following factors: nature of the violation, the student's role in the incident, the effect of the incident on others and on the student, the student's developmental and educational needs, and the student's prior conduct history. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are considered.

The word "strike" is used by students to refer to a violation of the alcohol and/or drug policies. Violations of those policies count towards a possible suspension. A single violation would not typically put a student in danger of being suspended. First infractions usually require the successful completion of an on-line drug or alcohol education class. If a student receives a second substance abuse infraction, they are typically required to complete a more personalized alcohol or drug class. It they should get a third, that student may be subject to suspension. Alcohol and drug violations ("strikes") remain on a student's record throughout their tenure at this university. The student's record is not wiped clean after they complete their probationary period or move out of the residence halls. A student found to be in violation of alcohol policies on three occasions over the entire period of their enrollment will be subject to suspension.

If a student is found in violation, the “notice of sanction letter” includes information on how to appeal the decision.

An accused student or complainant may appeal the final decision of an administrative hearing officer, Peer Review Board, or University Student Conduct Board. All appeals must be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct in writing within seven (7) business days of written notification of the hearing results. The imposition of sanctions will remain in effect during the appeal proceedings, unless the dean of students determines otherwise. Please refer to the Appeal Form which is attached to all notice of sanction letters.

An appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

i. A procedural error occurred during the process that had a direct impact on the outcome;

ii. New evidence has come to light that has a direct impact on the outcome which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person before or during the original proceeding;

iii. The sanction is too severe (appeal from respondent); or the sanction is too lenient (appeal from complainant);

An appeal must set forth concisely the grounds for appeal and contain any relevant supporting material. A written decision will be rendered by the dean of students or vice president for student affairs and e-mailed and/or mailed to the student. The dean of students or vice president for student affairs may:

a. Uphold original decision and sanctions.

b. Uphold original decision and alter sanctions.

c. Refer the case for rehearing or review.

Policies are designed to support the University's educational mission. They are meant to support a safe environment where people can work, study, and live without undue interference. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, teach students responsibility and interdependence, as well as promote moral and ethical development.

The criminal justice system and the Alfred University Student Code of Conduct are not mutually exclusive. By virtue of being a student, your student is held responsible for upholding the standards of behavior in the Student Code of Conduct, as well as public laws. A Student Code of Conduct violation may be heard if the criminal case is not completed or if the criminal charges are dropped.

Alfred University has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on-campus and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the University community and the University mission.

Developmentally this is a period of exploration, experimentation and testing for students. They may be in a period of transition from late adolescence to adulthood. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents for the first time. As students are testing the beliefs and values they learned at home, they may make choices that are inconsistent with these values. Such testing is part of the developmental process and is normal. However, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences.

How do I find more information about FERPA?

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

The Student Conduct Process: A Guide for Parents A publication of the Association for Student Judicial Affairs, 2006

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