1. If my student gets into trouble, will I be notified?
No, not for every incident. However, in efforts to help reduce the increasingly dangerous alcohol consumption incidents, parents are regularly notified when a student is found to be responsible for violating a University alcohol and/or drug policy. Yet, University of Central Oklahoma encourages students to speak with their parents on their own.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows for Universities to contact the parents of students, if their student has been found “RESPONSIBLE” for violating any University alcohol or controlled substance policy or any local, state, or federal law and are under the age of twenty-one (21). Therefore, parents may be contacted if the aforementioned criterion is met. Additionally, parents may be contacted, without consent of the student, if their student’s health, safety, and/or welfare are in clear and present danger.
2. If my student is accused of violating a University policy, what happens?
Students may receive a phone call, email, text message, face-to-face request and/or a letter from the Office of Student Conduct or another University Official (i.e. instructor, Housing and Dining staff member, etc.) requesting them to make an appointment to meet with the Office of Student Conduct. The communication will most likely describe any complaints that may have been communicated or filed against the student(s). This notification should be taken very seriously. Students should make an appointment at their earliest convenience and prior to the stated deadline. Ignoring this notification and/or failing to make an appointment may result in a hold being placed on their University account, a decision being made regarding their case without the benefit of their input, or other more severe disciplinary actions.
The Office of Student Conduct shall provide due process for students by providing notice and seeking to hear the various perspectives from each complaint. If respondents who have been provided with notice do not appear before a hearing body for an informal hearing, then the information in support of the complainant shall be presented and considered in the absence of the respondent. A decision shall be made without the benefit of the respondent’s personal input, unless a documented emergency can be verified to account for the respondent’s absence. The purpose of informal hearings is to give complainants and respondents the opportunity to voice their version of the incident and recommendation for outcome. Students will also be given the opportunity to indicate a preference for an informal or formal hearing. Whereas student preferences will be considered, some preferences for a hearing type may not be honored, due to the specific nature and/or circumstances of the case and matters involved.
The Office of Student Conduct may determine if the complaints can be disposed of administratively by an informal resolution or dismissed. If the allegations are not admitted to and/or cannot be reasonably disposed of by an informal hearing, the Office of Student Conduct may refer the case to another hearing body to be resolved formally (see Section III.Q.). The hearing body that hears the complaint, either informally or formally, will make a determination of responsibility based upon a preponderance of the evidence standard. Under this standard, the designated hearing body will seek to determine what more than likely occurred. Formal rules of due process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence applied in criminal or civil court are not used in student conduct proceedings.
3. How can I participate in the University conduct process?
Parents and/or guardians may indirectly participate in the student conduct process by being supportive while holding the student accountable to the University’s expectations. You can also help identify and provide necessary interventions, such as alcohol or drug evaluations, anger management, and others, so that the student can recover from their current challenge and be successful in the future. Allow, encourage, and expect the student to set appointments, attend meetings, and fulfill sanctions, if any are assigned. It is usually not helpful to the educational development of the student, or resolution of the matter, for you to attempt to take over the process for the student.
4. Can I be present with my student in a Student Conduct Hearing?
According to the UCO Code of Student Conduct (section III.), students (Complainants and Respondents) shall have the right to be assisted by any advisor they choose, at their own expense, unless that person’s presence and / or actions disrupt the operations of the hearing. The complainant, the accused student, and / or the accused student organization representative(s) may be assisted by no more than one (1) advisor. The advisor may be an attorney. The Complainant, the Respondent, and or organization is responsible for presenting his, her, or their own case and, therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a student conduct body. Participating students should select as an advisor or person whose schedule allows attendance at the allotted dates and times for Student Conduct Hearings. Generally, delays shall not be allowed, because of scheduling conflicts of advisors.
5. What factors are considered when determining whether a student is “responsible” for an alleged behavior?
The University of Central Oklahoma uses a “preponderance or weight of the evidence” standard in determining whether a student should be held responsible for an alleged behavior. Primarily, the Director of Student Conduct or qualified designee shall make the determination of responsibility on the basis of whether it is “more likely than not” that the accused student violated the Code of Student Conduct.
The factors that are considered in each case include, but are not limited to, the following:
(listed in no particular order)
6. What is the difference between probation, deferred suspension, suspension, and expulsion?
A student may be placed on probation in Housing or on a University level. As defined by the UCO Code of Student Conduct, section III. there are two (2) levels of University probation. The following descriptions apply to University Probation only.
Probation 1- A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations and a loss of privilege from representing the University in on- or off-campus co-curricular academic, athletic, or other social functions sponsored by the University during the probationary period. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion, if the student is found responsible for violating any further institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.
Probation 2 – Due to previous university violations at other institutions and/or law violations prior to admittance to the University of Central Oklahoma, a specified conditional period of enrollment may be applied to an incoming student. The conditional period may include a denial of access to one or more of the following areas and/or events of the University of Central Oklahoma:
The conditional period may also include one or more of the following requirements:
Deferred Suspension are utilized when official suspensions may be deferred for a semester or an indefinite period of time. The suspension will be automatically enforced for any subsequent violation of the Code of Student Conduct or local, state, or federal laws. In addition, the student or student organization may be responsible for completing subsequent sanction assignments applied for the most recent violation.
Temporary Suspension occurs when a student may be temporarily suspended from the University or University Housing facilities prior to, before or during an investigation if one (1) or more of the following is necessary:
a) To ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or the preservation of University property.
b) To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; and/or,
C) If the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University.
University Suspension occurs when a student may be suspended from a University residence hall/apartment and/or the University for a finite period of time, not less than the remainder of the current semester in which he or she is enrolled. The student who has been suspended may apply for readmission at the close of the period for which he or she was suspended. Conditions for readmission may be specified. A suspension hold may be placed on the transcript during the period of suspension. Likewise, a notation of the suspension may be placed on the student's academic transcript at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct.
University Expulsion is a permanent separation of the student from the University. When a student is expelled, a notation of the expulsion will be placed on the student's academic transcript at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct. A student who is expelled will not be allowed to reenter the University premises.
7. How does my student appeal a disciplinary decision?
A decision reached or sanction assigned by a hearing body may be appealed by the respondent and complainant. Complainants and Respondents may request that the decision reached or sanction(s) assigned, if any, by a hearing body be reviewed, according to the grounds described below.
a) Disproportionate Sanction(s): To consider whether the sanctions outcomes assigned are significantly disproportionate to the severity of the violation. (Simple dissatisfaction with a sanction is not grounds for overturning a sanction assignment under this provision.)
b) New Information: To consider new documentation, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction assignment(s). A summary of this new documentation and its potential impact must be included.
c) Procedural Error: To determine that a procedural or substantive error occurred during the investigation or hearing that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. unjustified and significant deviation from published procedures, etc.).
Appeal requests related to decisions made by the Office of Student Conduct, may be submitted online at the Office of Student Conduct OrgSync page at https://orgsync.com/114403/forms/145119. Appeal requests related to decisions made by Housing Officials may be submitted online at the Housing OrgSync page at https://orgsync.com/85227/forms/205741.
All appeal requests must be completed, signed, submitted, and received within three (3) business days after the disciplinary decision has been rendered and received. Failure to check or claim notice of the disciplinary decision by email, US Postal Service, or campus mail will not constitute an acceptable reason for non-receipt of the original decision.
a) Request Denials: If the appeal request IS NOT submitted within three (3) business days and/or the appeal request DOES NOT substantially articulate one (1) or more of the appeal merits, then the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the requesting party and other party that the appeal request is denied.
b) Requests Granted: If the appeal request IS submitted within three (3) business days AND the appeal request DOES meet one (1) of the appeal merits, then the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will notify the requesting party that the appeal request is granted and will notify each party (complainant and respondent) that an appeal hearing or review will be forthcoming.
For granted appeal requests, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs will inform the opposing party of the granted appeal requests (e.g., if the respondent’s appeal request is granted, the appeal request will be shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response). Furthermore, each party will be contacted to coordinate the date and other necessary logistics for the appeal review or hearing. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, the Committee on Student Conduct, and/or the Sexual Misconduct Panel will make every attempt to hear or resolve an appeal within fifteen (15) Business days of the submitted appeal request.
8. If my student is found to be responsible, does the outcome go on my student's academic transcript?
Usually, behavioral disciplinary sanctions will not appear on a student’s transcript, unless the student was found responsible for academic misconduct and/or sanctioned with a suspension or expulsion.
9. Will a student conduct record prevent my student from being accepted into Graduate School or getting a job?
No, not necessarily. If a student completes an Educational Records Release Authorization (ERRA) form or an official release form from a potential employer or a graduate school registration program, then the Office of Student Conduct may release the requested information from the student conduct file. If a prior conduct record is discovered about your student, the graduate school and/or potential employer may decide to investigate the application and/or the severity of the conduct incident(s), and then make a decision. This information will not be released unless the student grants the University written permission.
10. My student has to appear in court for the same incident. Why do we need to go through the University process too?
Contrary to popular belief, this is not double jeopardy, which only applies to the criminal court system. Students are held responsible by the University of Central Oklahoma for their behavior under the UCO Code of Student Conduct.
University conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student with violation of a law which is also a violation of the UCO Code of Student Conduct; such as, when both violations result from the same incident. Proceedings under the UCO Code of Student Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus. Moreover, determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Code of Student Conduct shall not be subject to change because of criminal charges arising or dismissed out of the same facts.
11. This incident occurred off campus. Why is the university involved in this matter?
Generally, University jurisdiction and discipline shall be applicable to misconduct which occurs on or near activities, events, and premises which are owned, leased, or controlled by the University, including UCO owned social media and electronic communications Additionally, the University shall exercise jurisdictional discipline to address misconduct which violate local, state, and/or federal law and adversely affects the University Community and/or the safe and orderly pursuit of its educational objectives.
12. What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
Further details about FERPA may be accessed online within the UCO Undergraduate Catalog at http://sites.uco.edu/academic-affairs/files/ug-catalog/ug-generaldegree.pdf
13. Well, how can I check on how my student is doing regarding his/her grades?
The Office of Student Conduct encourages direct communication between parents and their students as
the primary effort. The college years are sometimes difficult and stressful, which lead to
less than desirable communication between family members. Even so, your balanced efforts, support and desire to be involved in their lives is invaluable.
The University of Central Oklahoma has an information access system called “Proxy Access”. Proxy Access lets the student create accounts for parents, spouses, employers, etc., which allows for the proxies to view certain student information. Information accessed can include student records for financial account(s), financial aid, registration, transcripts, grades, and other personal information, either online or when the proxy is talking to UCO by phone.
14. Who can I contact to find out more information on Student Conduct at UCO?
The Office of Student Conduct, may be reached by calling (405) 974-5380 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org