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Community Standards

Purpose

Expectations of student conduct as defined in the Student Conduct Code and Guide to Residence Living are designed to promote and maintain an atmosphere conducive to community living in an environment that supports academic success and positive peer interactions. All residents are responsible for knowing and adhering to these expectations. The pursuit of responsible freedom is consistent with the tenets of the Seminole Creed and efforts to promote civility at the University, as students balance their pursuit of excellence and exploration with consideration to the impact of behavior on themselves and others. The University expects students to abide by the Student Conduct Code at all times, regardless if they are physically present in a residence hall or on University property. Any alleged violation of these expectations may result in conduct review and action. The student conduct process is designed to be educational in nature and promotes the University’s mission. The University fully recognizes the right of all students to seek knowledge, form opinions, and express and discuss their ideas in accordance with the behavioral expectations set forth in the Student Conduct Code and Guide to Residence Living. Being a member of the University Community is a privilege, and the conduct process will determine if a student’s conduct warrants they should no longer share in that privilege.

Conduct Process

Conduct action may be initiated upon the receipt of documentation submitted to an appropriate Student Conduct Authority. This may include written documentation submitted through a secure University reporting function (such as report.fsu.edu), reports from staff members, or police reports obtained by any law enforcement agency. Upon receipt, all documentation is reviewed for possible conduct action. The University has discretion on action taken in response to the review of documentation.

The University has several options related to case resolution. If conduct violations are alleged, the University may initiate conduct action by sending an electronic letter to the student who allegedly violated a policy. University Housing may opt to send a student a warning letter for violations of the Guide to Residence if there is no record of prior violation. If behaviors do not violate a policy, additional resolution methods such as conflict coaching, mediation, or connecting a student with relevant campus resources may be utilized.

In the event a student is confronted by a University staff member regarding an alleged policy violation of the Student Conduct Code or Guide to Residence Living, all students are expected to produce identification as well as truthful information. Students are expected to comply with the requests of University staff members. Failure to comply with a reasonable request of a staff member may result in additional conduct violations and may result in law enforcement involvement.

All staff reports and documentation submitted through the “Report On-Campus Housing Incident” link from report.fsu.edu is reviewed by a University Housing staff member. This staff member will determine the appropriate next steps. If a policy violation is alleged, the student may be sent either a warning letter or a letter that initiates conduct proceedings. A warning is not in and of itself disciplinary, but serves to notify a student of the alleged violation and provides an opportunity for a student to interact with a staff member to obtain more clarification if necessary. A letter outlining alleged policy violations with an invitation to attend a Conduct Information Session initiates conduct proceedings. Students are responsible for checking their FSU e-mail account regularly and failing to open or respond to meeting requests may result in a conduct case being heard in the student’s absence.

Students are afforded due process rights while navigating the student conduct process. The two fundamental due process rights within the conduct process are:

  • Notice - Responding students are given written notice of the Student Conduct Code violation(s) and the allegations upon which the violation(s) is/are based.
  • Hearing - Responding students will be given an opportunity to present information, including witness testimony and/or statements, during a fair and impartial hearing.

The Conduct Information Session is the initial meeting residents will have regarding their conduct case. No determinations of responsibility are made during the Conduct Information Session. An invitation to attend a Conduct Information Sessions precedes a case resolution method. The student may have an option in determining the method of resolution, but at times the resolution method is pre-selected by the University. A responding student will have the opportunity to review documentation supporting the alleged violation(s), review their rights in the conduct process, ask questions of the Student Conduct Authority, and select the hearing body unless the case requires hearing body pre-selection.

Unless a resolution method is pre-selected, students have two options: an Informal Hearing Case Resolution or an Informal Hearing.

An Informal Hearing Case Resolution requires the student to accept responsibility for all alleged violation(s). This is commonly utilized when the student acknowledges that their behavior(s) violated the Student Conduct Code and/or the Guide to Residence Living. The student may have the ability to identify specific educational outcomes they find beneficial. It should be noted that this method is not meant to be reflective of what may be colloquially referred to as a “plea deal;” assigned outcomes must still comply with University policy and regulations.

An Informal Hearing is an appropriate resolution method if a student disputes that their behavior(s) violated any policies as outlined in the Student Conduct Code or Guide to Residence Living. The Student Conduct Authority overseeing the Informal Hearing would either be a University administrator or the conduct matter can be referred to the Residential Conduct Board. The Residential Conduct Board is a panel of peer students who reside within University Housing who make a recommendation to the Executive Director of University Housing or designee. This administrator has the authority to affirm the recommended decision and associated outcomes, modify the decision and associated outcomes, or order a new hearing. All hearings are be audio recorded. Unless the venue of the hearing is pre-selected, the student has the ability to propose when the hearing takes place. Regardless, the student has the ability to present evidence on their behalf, have an advisor present during the hearing (with a minimum of three day advance notice), and has the ability to call witnesses with information relevant to the incident.

Conduct hearings provide the following stipulations, which are communicated to students during their Conduct Information Session:

  • The student will have the opportunity to present relevant information.
  • The student may choose not to answer any and all questions posed by a hearing body.
  • The student may be accompanied by an advisor of the student’s choice.
  • Witnesses may be questioned by the responding student through the hearing body.
  • All hearings are conducted in private, unless the student requests a public hearing.
  • All hearing decisions are communicated in writing to the responding student.

There are two types of conduct hearings: informal and formal. Informal hearings are most common, and will not result in a cancellation of a student’s University Housing contract or separation from the University. Informal hearings may be administered by a hearing officer (a University Housing staff member) or the Residential Conduct Board. Formal hearings may result in a student’s removal from University Housing or separation from the University. Informal Hearing Case Resolutions may not be used as a resolution method for conduct incidents requiring a formal hearing. As a matter of practice, University Housing will refer student conduct matters that may result in student separation from the University to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities. Conduct matters that may result in a Housing Contract cancellation will most commonly be referred to the Residential Conduct Board.

The Residential Conduct Board (RCB) is a group of residential students trained to administer formal or informal hearings involving alleged violations of the Florida State University Student Conduct Code and/or Guide to Residence Living. Every RCB hearing consists of 3-5 Board members that review case documentation and administer a hearing to gather testimony from responding residential student(s) and relevant witnesses. If the RCB is in session, students may always elect to have their conduct case heard by this hearing body. There are instances where a student’s incident may be pre-selected to be heard by the RCB.

Although Board members conduct the RCB hearings, a professional or paraprofessional staff member will be present during the hearing as an advisor to the conduct process. Staff or student witnesses may be called by the University or the responding student. The chair of the RCB will draft a recommendation letter to the Executive Director of University Housing or designee following the hearing. Hearing outcomes are typically communicated electronically to the responding student within ten business days of the hearing.

Students interested in being part of the Residential Conduct Board can find more information here.

Reporting a Concern

Florida State University allows all students the opportunity to provide information regarding incidents or concerning behavior impacting the FSU community. Students may submit documentation through report.fsu.edu. This documentation option provides reporting students the opportunity to document an incident or behaviors that may be of concern. All incidents impacting residential students should be reported through the “Report On-Campus Housing Incident” link at report.fsu.edu.

Appeals

An appeal may be requested following the adjudication of a hearing. Appeal requests do not guarantee an appeal will be heard if it is determined the request has no merit. Appeals are not opportunities for full re-hearings of cases already decided. Appeal considerations are limited to:

  1. Due process errors involving violations of a responding student’s fundamental due process rights or a reporting individual(s)’s rights (see “Procedures” in the Student Conduct Code) that substantially affected the outcome of the initial hearing.
  2. Demonstrated prejudice against any party by the person presiding over the hearing. Such prejudice must be evidence by a conflict of interest, bias, pressure, or influence that precluded a fair and impartial hearing.
  3. Newly discovered, relevant information that was not reasonably available at the time of the original hearing and that would have substantially affected the outcome of the original hearing.
  4. An outcome imposed is extraordinarily disproportionate for the violation(s) committed and the cumulative conduct history of the responding student.
  5. The preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing does not support the finding with regard to responsibility. Appeals based on this consideration will be limited solely to a review of the record of the first-level hearing, except newly discovered evidence under sub-bullet (c) above may also be considered.

The appropriate Student Conduct Authority will initially review the student’s file. The appellate officer may make a determination based solely on this review. If the appellate officer determines a need for additional information, that officer may request written materials and/or an appellate meeting with the responding student(s) and/or reporting individual(s). During an appeal period, any action that would have gone into effect as a result of a hearing decision is placed on hold until the full conclusion of the appellate process. The appellate officer may recommend to affirm, modify, or reverse the original hearing decision, or may order a new hearing to be held. All appellate recommendations are provided to the Vice President who renders their decision which serves as final agency action.

Appeal requests must be submitted within five business days of the date on the student’s outcome letter. Appeal requests can be submitted online by completing the Appeal Request Form.

Conduct Holds

Why do I have a conduct hold on my account? What should I do?

Students who fail to complete assigned outcomes by the given deadline will have their academic account placed on hold. A hold prevents class registration or the obtainment of transcripts. Even if a student is no longer enrolled at the University, the University expects students to complete all outstanding obligations, regardless of how much time has passed since a case resolution.

Students who have a hold on their account should contact the Residential Student Experience (RSE) Office at 850-644-2863 to determine the steps needed to resolve the hold. Action will always be required, and typically a student must comply with the University’s expectation before a hold can be lifted. Hold lifts may take upwards of two business days during peak registration periods. Students are advised to contact the RSE Office immediately upon notice that their account has been placed on hold.

Online Forms

Advisor Form
The Student Conduct Code affords all students involved in the University student conduct process the right to an advisor. The term "advisor" means any one person chosen by the involved party throughout the conduct process. Regardless of who the advisor is, the advisor cannot speak for a student in the hearing unless authorized by the hearing body. The University shall be notified three business days prior to the hearing of an advisor's presence by submitting an Advisor Form.

Appeal Request
Appeals must be submitted within five business days from the date the outcome letter was sent. Students who completed an Informal Hearing Case Resolution are ineligible to appeal the decision. Appeals will only be considered on the grounds as outlined in the Student Conduct Code. For more information, please select the “Appeal Request” link above.

Conduct Information Session
This is a template of the form used for the Conduct Information Session. This form outlines student rights in a hearing process. Though Conduct Information Sessions are now completed electronically, the content of the form and the student’s rights are the same.

Informal Hearing Case Resolution
This is a template of the form used if a student would like to choose an Informal Hearing Case Resolution. This includes some of the most common outcomes assigned by University Housing.

Waiver of Confidentiality
Student conduct records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. Information about a specific student’s conduct record cannot be disclosed to any third-party without the student’s consent, regardless of the student’s age. If a student would like to permit the University to discuss their incident with a third party, the student must waive their protections as outlined by FERPA by completing and submitting the Waiver of Confidentiality.

University Policies

Medical Amnesty
Florida State University and University Housing encourage students to make responsible decisions in seeking medical attention for life-threatening situations brought about due to alcohol or drug use without fear of disciplinary repercussions. When a student seeks medical attention for themselves or a peer, the reporting student(s) as well as the student(s) in need of medical attention may qualify for the Medical Amnesty process in place of the University’s conduct process. The resident will receive notice of a Medical Amnesty meeting. Students are required to meet with a University Housing staff member and will be required to complete outcomes designed to educate the student from repeating behavior. Additional information on Florida State University’s Medical Amnesty Policy can be found on the Dean of Students web site.

Student Conduct Code
The Student Conduct Code outlines behavioral expectations of all Florida State University students.

Guide to Residence Living
The Guide to Residence Living outlines behavioral expectations of all students residing within University Housing. The behavior of students residing on-campus are also guided by superseding policies as specified in the Student Conduct Code.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone may submit documentation through the report.fsu.edu portal. If reporting an incident involving a resident of University Housing, the “Report On-Campus Housing Incident” link should be used. All documentation is reviewed by University Housing personnel who will determine the appropriate response. This may range from outreach to involved or reporting parties, a warning notification and reminder of University policy, or initiation of the University conduct process, amongst other potential resolution methods. To speak to a University Housing staff member to confirm receipt of submitted documentation, please contact the Residential Student Experience Office at 850-644-2863.

Students documented for an alleged violation of University or Housing policy should check their FSU Webmail on a regular basis. A letter with the subject line, “Correspondence for Housing Incident” should be received soon after the incident. The letter will inform the student as to the next steps in the process. A student may contact the Residential Student Experience Office at 850-644-2863 at any point to determine the status of a potential conduct process.

Students are made aware of University and Housing policies through multiple methods. All students are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code and the Guide to Residence Living. These documents are accessible from the FSU web site. Additionally, Resident Assistants (RAs) hold floor meetings during the opening weekend to educate students of hall policies. Fliers reminding students of policies are conspicuously posted around the residence halls. Some common policies and prohibited items are outlined during Orientation. Additionally, University Housing will provide reminders of policies through a variety of social media platforms. If at any point a student has a question about a policy or potentially prohibited item, the student should contact their Residence Coordinator or the Residential Student Experience Office.

All students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Student Conduct Code and Guide to Residence Living. This expectation is noted in the Student Conduct Code as well as the contract signed with University Housing. Ignorance of a policy is not an excuse as the community impact is not diminished simply because a student was unaware the behavior is problematic.

There are numerous reasons why a student may be documented, even if they had minimal interactions with staff or involvement in an incident. The student is invited to attend a Conduct Information Session and will be provided the opportunity during a hearing to share their perspective of an incident. Regardless of a student’s alleged involvement, participation in the conduct process is expected.

Yes. The University process is completely separate from any legal process(es) for which the student may be responsible. Regardless of a student’s standing in the legal system, the University will proceed with case adjudication.

Yes. Regardless of the testimonies provided or acceptance of responsibility by other students, each student is expected to participate in the conduct process. Students who fail to attend their hearing will forfeit their ability to produce information to the hearing body. Additionally, students who do not participate will limit their ability to appeal as information could have been provided in the first hearing.

Students may always request a postponement; however, University Housing does not make a regular practice of delaying a conduct case until the conclusion of a concurrent legal process. Postponements are at the discretion of the Student Conduct Authority and will not be allowed to unnecessarily delay the conduct process. There is no formal process to request a postponement; students should contact their designated hearing officer (communicated in the initial letter a student receives after an incident) to discuss when they can resolve their conduct matter.

Students who fail to complete assigned outcomes by the given deadline will have their academic account placed on hold. A hold prevents class registration or the obtainment of transcripts. Even if a student is no longer enrolled at the University, the University expects students to complete all outstanding obligations, regardless of how much time has passed since a case resolution.

Students who have a hold on their account should contact the Residential Student Experience (RSE) Office at 850-644-2863 to determine the steps needed to resolve the hold. Action will always be required, and typically a student must comply with the University’s expectation before a hold can be lifted. Hold lifts may take upwards of two business days during peak registration periods. Students are advised to contact the RSE Office immediately upon notice that their account has been placed on hold.


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Division of Student Affairs at Florida State University

 

University Housing Department
Division of Student Affairs
109 Askew Student Life Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306

Phone: 850–644–2860
Fax: 850–644–7997
Email: housinginfo@fsu.edu

University Housing: