Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does the Office of University Community Standards do?
  2. How is the Office of University Community Standards different from criminal court proceedings?
  3. What kind of sanctions can be imposed?
  4. How do I file a complaint?
  5. What happens after I file a complaint? What happens if a complaint is filed against me?
  6. What is an "informal" resolution?
  7. What will my role be if I choose to file a complaint, OR, am accused of violating the Conduct Code by someone else?
  8. Is any help available to me?
  9. Will my parents be contacted by the University if I file a complaint or a complaint is filed against me?
  10. What role will University Officials have in the processing of my complaint, or the complaint filed against me?
  11. If I file a complaint, or a complaint is filed against me, can I change my mind?
  12. Evaluation Procedures

What does the Office of University Community Standards do?

The Office of University Community Standards receives, investigates, and resolves alleged violations of the University Student Conduct Code involving (non-academic) misconduct by students (Undergraduate, Graduate, Full Time, Part Time, Resident, or Commuter) or a student organization.

For policies/procedures regarding Academic Dishonesty, contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, at (631) 632-7090. For policies/procedures regarding Scholarly Misconduct, contact the Office of the Vice President for Research, at (631) 632-7932.

Any member of the University community (Student, Faculty, Staff) or visitor to the campus, may bring a complaint to the attention of the Office of University Community Standards. The jurisdiction of the system extends to alleged misconduct that takes place on University owned or controlled property; at any University-sponsored event; or at any location when the misconduct has a significant impact on the mission and well-being of the University community.

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How is the Office of University Community Standards different from criminal court proceedings?

The Office of University Community Standards is completely independent of criminal proceedings, and procedures under both may take place concurrently. The Office of University Community Standards is administrative rather than criminal, or civil in nature. It does not use technical "rules of evidence" and requires lower standards of proof to reach a conclusion. This lower standard of proof is known as a "preponderance of evidence" and indicates that it is "more likely than not" that an incident did, or did not, occur.

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What kind of sanctions can be imposed?

The University at Stony Brook views its judicial system as a means of protecting the individual rights and property of the members of its community. The University has designed the system to educate all parties to the highest ethical standards of behavior. Sanctions are intended to secure these goals, and may range from individually designed remedial and educational sanctions up to and including temporary or permanent separation from the residence halls or University.

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How do I file a complaint?

Complaints may be filed by any student, faculty or staff member of the University or visitor to campus against any student(s) or recognized student organization. One can file a complaint with the Office of University Community Standards, Room 347 Administration Building, or with a staff member in the Division of Campus Residences

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What happens after I file a complaint, OR, if a complaint is filed against me?

The Office of University Community Standards or Division of Campus Residences, will send correspondence (Directive to Appear) to the accused student(s) or student organization, and indicate that a complaint has been filed. This correspondence requests an investigative meeting and/or hearing with the accused student(s) to review the allegations, and evidence.

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What is an "informal" resolution?

A large percentage of approximately six hundred judicial complaints filed each year with the Office of University Community Standards and Division of Campus Residences, are resolved within a two to three week period by mutual agreement of the accused student(s), and a University Official. In these cases, the University Official indicates to the accused student(s) what is a reasonable sanction based upon the allegations and the evidence.

The accused student or student organization may then formally "waive an administrative hearing" and accept the proposed sanction(s). This resolution is confirmed in correspondence to the accused student(s) and is not appealable.

If the accused student(s) denies the allegations, or does not accept the proposed sanction, and, therefore, wishes to contest the allegations, the matter is forwarded to the appropriate University Official or Administrative Hearing Board for formal resolution in an administrative hearing.

Occasionally, a student will choose to leave the University rather than appear at a hearing. In such cases a block may be placed on the student(s) ability to register for future classes until the matter is resolved.

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What will my role be if I choose to file a complaint, OR, am accused of violating the Conduct Code by someone else?

If you choose to file a complaint, or are accused of violating the University Student Conduct Code and an informal resolution is not reached, it will be the student's responsibility to appear before a University Official or Hearing Board as a Complainant or Respondent, and personally present any testimony, evidence, or witnesses that you wish to be considered by a University Official or Hearing Board in reaching its decision. If an accused student, or students, or organization, chooses not to attend the hearing, the hearing will be held anyway, "in absentia", and the University Official or Hearing Board, will review/hear the available evidence/witness(es) and reach a decision on the matter. The hearings are generally closed in that only persons actually participating in the hearing may enter or remain.

All parties are expected to comport themselves in a respectful manner throughout the process, to present only the truth, or remain silent, and to abide by any restrictions that may be put in place while the matter is pending.

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Is any help available to me?

Each party (Complainant or Respondent) is allowed to have an Advisor (who can be an attorney) to assist her/him throughout the judicial process, but the responsibility for presenting information to the University Official or the Hearing Board rests with the Complainant and with the accused, student (Respondent).

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Will my parents be contacted by the University if I file a complaint or a complaint is filed against me?

University disciplinary proceedings are confidential and subject to strict confidentiality on the part of the University in a manner consistent with all applicable laws.

As a general rule, violations of the CODE and sanctions imposed will not routinely be reported to parents, but in the case of serious violations of law that include alcohol and other drug violations, violations of the law, or medical/psychological emergencies, the University may notify parents in cases where we believe the student might benefit.

The University does encourage students to inform their parents (as a courtesy) if they have filed a complaint, or have been accused of alleged violations of the University Student Conduct Code.

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What role will University Officials have in the processing of my complaint, or the complaint filed against me?

  1. Initial Contact/Investigative Meeting.

    At the initial stage of the judicial process you will meet with a University Official who will investigate the allegations. This person will be a professional staff member from the Office of University Community Standards, or from the Division of Campus Residences. Any student who is Directed to Appear for an investigative meeting and chooses not to meet with a University Official, may be subject to disciplinary action.

  2. Decision to Proceed/Notice of Charges.

    If the evidence/witnesses support the allegation(s) brought forth in the complaint and the seriousness of the matter warrants, a Notice of Charges is prepared stating the alleged Conduct Code violation(s).

    If an informal resolution of the matter cannot be reached, through an administrative hearing waiver, the matter is forwarded to a University Official, or Hearing Board for an Administrative Hearing.

    When an Administrative Board Hearing is required, a University official will assure that all proceedings are scheduled, processed, and conducted in a fair and timely manner.

  3. Administrative Oversight.

    The judicial decisions of University Officials are subject to review by the Director of the Office of University Community Standards, who will assure that decisions and resolutions are in accordance with University policy and due process guidelines.

  4. Administrative Responsibility.

    The University Judicial System is administered through the Division of Student Affairs, Executive Area, within the overall responsibilities of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Assistant Vice President for Campus Residences becomes involved in the judicial process to the extent that he/she may invoke a "temporary suspension" that involves a student's removal from the residence halls pending a hearing. This can be appealed to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

    The Vice President for Student Affairs can request from the President a "temporary suspension" from the Residence Halls or University, or general restrictions from University classes, or facilities, other people, or property. In these cases every effort is made to assure that a student's academic progress is not impeded by restrictions during the judicial process, unless the allegations are serious and/or the safety and well-being of the accused student(s), or member(s) of the University community are at risk.

  5. Appeals.

    Any decision by a University Official or Hearing Board (except Administrative Hearing Waivers) can be appealed.

    A designated University Official will review the appeal in the context of criteria and procedures outlined in the University Student Conduct Code.

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If I file a complaint, or a complaint is filed against me, can I change my mind?

Once a complaint has been filed, the Office of Community Standards and the Division of Campus Residences will make every effort to assure that no pressure is involved in the decisions that must be made at each step during the judicial process. A complaint may be withdrawn if a designated University Official is satisfied that the complainant's decision has not been influenced by pressure or intimidation.

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Evaluation Procedures

Medical or Psychological Evaluation

A student may be directed to participate in a Medical and/or Psychological Evaluation whenever the behavior of the student appears to pose a serious threat to the health and safety of such student or others. Failure to respond to a directive from a University Official to complete the medical and/or psychological evaluation, or failure to provide necessary records of prior treatment by the date requested may result in administrative action, up to and including temporary suspension from the University or the residence halls until the evaluation and records request requirements are met.

Withdrawal by Administrative Action

The Vice President for Student Affairs (designee) may initiate and approve procedures for the administrative withdrawal from the University or the residence halls of any student for the following reasons:

  1. Behavior that poses a threat to the health and safety of the student, or others.
  2. Behavior that disrupts University activity.
  3. Behavior that continues to pose a threat to the health and safety of the student, or other, or significantly disrupts University activity.

Administrative withdrawal determination shall be made by the Vice President for Student Affairs (designee).

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For further information, and to obtain a copy of the University Student Conduct Code, contact:

Office of University Community Standards
Room 347, Administration Building
Phone: (631) 632-6705
Fax: (631) 632-5757
E-mail: communitystandards@stonybrook.edu