Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions from students regarding the overall student conduct process and what to expect.  If your question is not addressed contact the office directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Incidents of alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct can be reported in writing to your Resident Success Assistant (RSA), your Residence Hall Director (RHD), or the Public Safety Office. Student can meet with anyone of these staff members to discuss a concern, but written documentation is needed to move forward in a student conduct process. If you are unsure, ask a staff member, they are hear to help enhance your experience at the University. 

All potential student conduct violations are provided in the Code of Student Conduct and Community Standards section of this website. Some examples of behaviors that could violate the Code include; underage possession of alcohol, illegal possession of drugs, failure to comply, disruptive behavior, assault, theft, interfering with the conduct process, and possession of weapons.

In 2014, the most common violation of the Code included alcohol related violations. Students are expected to know and abide by the alcohol regulations outlined in the Code. The University recognizes that alcohol can be part of a college campus, provided that a student is of legal age to consume and does so responsibly. All other instances of alcohol violations are addressed by University staff members to ensure the safety and success of our community. 

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is located in Angelo Roncalli Hall Office 127 – in the Office of Residential Life. For questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Channing Vidal, Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards at 203-416-3421 or via email at vidalc@sacredheart.edu

The majority of the case reports come from the Office of Residential Life Staff – the RSA’s, RHD’s or Public Safety. The Office of Student Conduct can also receive reports from other departments and offices throughout the campus community as well as referrals from individuals in the University. The University does also review reports of misconduct submitted by agencies outside of the University community. The expectation is that our students model behavior that is in keeping with the values of the University in every community. 

In addition to serving as support to students and staff in their respective areas, Residence Hall Directors also serve as conduct officers for the University. If documented in an incident, you'll receive an emailed letter from your Residence Hall Director, indicating you have been involved in an incident where an alleged policy violation(s) may have occurred. The email will include the date, time and location of your Student Conduct Hearing and it will also note the alleged violation(s) with which you are being charged. It is important that you keep this appointment or call to reschedule 24 hours prior to the appointment. Failing to attend the hearing will result in the matter being adjudicated in your absence, and may result in more severe consequences. As an added piece, we include a link to the Code of Student Conduct so you can fully review your rights and responsibilities prior to the meeting.  

Before your meeting, you should review the Code of Student Conduct, which has helpful information about the conduct process. You can also go to your RSA, who can answer some questions and assist you in knowing what takes place and how to go prepared for the meeting.

Yes. You have the right to present supporting information, an oral statement, and witnesses on your behalf. You will have the opportunity to know and question the nature and source of information presented during your hearing. If you are planning to submit witness statements, you should notify the conduct officer with 24 hours notice. 

Every student is responsible for knowing the rules. This is why it is important to ask questions if one is unsure of the standards that apply. For example, if a student does not know the proper rules for citing sources in a paper, or does not know whether or to what extent students can work together on a homework assignment, the student must ask questions about the rules before completing and submitting the assignment. Ignorance is not an excuse for a violation of the Code. If you find yourself worrying about whether something is acceptable or not, don't ignore your instincts - ask for clarification. Remember that the University is a place of learning, inquiry, and growth - the faculty and staff are here to help enhance your experience at SHU. 

Students have the right to be assisted in a student conduct hearing / appeal hearing by one, SHU administrator, faculty member or student of their choice provided that individual is not legal counsel/attorneys, parents/family members. This individual may not address the conduct hearing officer, but may consult freely with the student. (If at any time the adviser’s participation interferes with the stated hearing procedures, s/he will be dismissed from the hearing.)

The Office of Student Conduct conducts an educational process that is separate from a legal process. It is not necessary for a student to have an attorney present during meetings with a conduct officer, and our process does not allow attorneys or any legal counsel to be present during a hearing. 

The student conduct hearing will be held in an office or conference room in an informal atmosphere. Although less formal than court proceedings, there is structure and order followed in every hearing. During the meeting, the student conduct officer (often an RHD) will review the narrative that was documented and discuss the conduct process that will take place in your meeting. The incident report(s) and any other information will be read to you so that you know what was documented. You will be asked a series of questions; you will also have the opportunity to share your side and any additional information regarding the incident.

After a discussion and a statement of pleas, of either responsible or not responsible, the conduct officer will have enough information to move forward with the case and sanction appropriately. If additional information or considerations are needed, the conduct officer may schedule a follow-up meeting with you to deliver any appropriate sanctions. 

Minimum sanctions are the least that can be given to any violation. Alcohol and drug related violations can be viewed on the form called Guidelines for Alcohol and Drug Violation Sanctioning. Additional sanctions can be assigned and are at the discretion of the hearing conduct officer based on circumstances regarding the incident and prior record. You can review the minimum sanctions for alcohol and drug violations at the following link: Alcohol and Drug Sanctions 2016-2017

Examples of sanctions outlined in the Code of Student Conduct include written and verbal warnings, fines, disciplinary probation, restitution, community service, educational sanctions (papers, letters of apology, and/or alcohol education), suspension from the residence halls/University, and expulsion. This list is not exhaustive, and sanctions are assigned to meet the specific circumstances of a given situation. Sanctions are also impacted by a student's prior violations and behaviors. 

Once the student conduct hearing is completed and the hearing sanction form is signed an appeal can be filed. A request for appeal form may be obtained from the Director of Student Conduct & Community standards within 24 hours (one business day) of the time the (verbal or written, whichever is first) student conduct hearing decision is given to the student . The student submitting the request for appeal, must state in writing the grounds for the appeal which may be as follows:

  • the sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the University for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student;
  • to consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction (A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included);
  • a procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing 

Information detailing the submission of an appeal for a formal hearing is provided on the appeals section of the Code of Student Conduct. Submit a request here: Request for Appeal Form

Any violation of the Code of Student Conduct is noted on the student’s conduct record. The conduct record is a separate record from the academic transcript; violations are not noted on a student’s transcript or diploma. However, many graduate or professional schools and some employers may request a copy of the conduct record (see "Will anyone ever request to see my conduct record?" below). In the case of expulsion, a notation may be made on the student’s transcript at the request of the Dean of Students. 

Student conduct records are confidential to the specific student involved in the case. Only certain University staff, including the Office of Student Conduct, and Office of Residential Office, have access to your student conduct records. You may, however, sign an authorization to release your student conduct records to another person or organization (e.g. parent/guardian, or study abroad program).

In compliance with federal law, we maintain student conduct records for seven years from the time of the last violation. Records involving suspensions, and expulsions from the University are maintained permanently.

As outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, we will notify your parent/guardians each time you are found to have violated the University policies on the use, possession, or being in the presence of alcohol or other drugs while under the age of 21. The first violation of alcohol will warrant a letter or possible call if the student has been transported to the hospital. For a first violation for drugs, a phone call will be made home and follow-up may be needed.

If you have been suspended from the residence halls, the weekend suspension begins at 6:00 PM on Friday and ends at 3PM on Sunday. The suspension is a formal separation from all Sacred Heart University Residence Halls and may include other SHU sponsored activities and academics as approved by the Dean of Students or designee.

Failing to complete a required sanction is a considered a serious offense at Sacred Heart University. It is considered an additional violation of the Code, and will result in more serious sanctions. A hold may be placed on your student account, which prevents you from registering for classes, ordering transcripts, or conducting other business with the University. You will also be called back in for another student conduct hearing and a new violation will be applied, for “failure to comply” in completing a prior sanction and additional sanctions will be imposed.

The standard used to determine responsibility for a violation of the Code is a “preponderance of the information,” in other words, it is more likely than not that the violation did/did not occur. There are several reasons this is the standard in such cases. In many cases, there are two or more parties involved in an incident (this may be multiple students and/or a student and the University). The only standard that treats all parties equitable is the preponderance standard t 50.1%. Additionally, in the most serious of cases, including instances of sexual misconduct, the Office of Civil Rights has determined that preponderance is the appropriate standard used in adjudicating these cases, and directs universities to use that same standard in less egregious cases. The student conduct process is not intended to be akin to the judicial process, and as a result, does not use a “clear and convincing” or “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. 

In keeping with national standards and best practices in the field, the University does not wait for a court case to be heard before making its decision on the misconduct as it relates to Sacred Heart. Even if the student's misconduct case becomes a legal matter in criminal or civil court, the University will move forward in conducting its investigation and rendering a decision on the case. The University's Code of Student Conduct is not a legal document, nor is the conduct process a criminal matter. Because of this, the University will limit its review to whether or not the behavior violates the University's Code, regardless of whether or not the same behavior violates any local, state, or federal laws.