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Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Frequently Asked Questions

Code Of Student Conduct

Reports

Hearing Process

Appeals

Parent notification

Student Conduct vs. Court

Conduct Holds

Financial / Study Abroad

Disciplinary Records

Medical Amnesty

Student Conduct Board Membership

Code of Student Conduct

1.  Where can I find a copy of the Code of Student Conduct?
A hard copy of the Code of Student Conduct is provided to students at Orientation.  Additionally, the Code is available on the OSCCR website.  During “I Am Here” students must agree to review the Code of Student Conduct. 

2. Does the Code of Student Conduct apply to students who live off campus?
Yes, the Code of Student Conduct applies on and off campus, as the University sets appropriate and clear guidelines for the behavior of its students, regardless of their location. The guidelines are established to ensure that student conduct does not adversely affect the educational mission of the University or its relationship with the surrounding community, sister institutions, or members of the University community.

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Reports

3. How are reports filed?
Reports of alleged inappropriate conduct may be made directly to OSCCR.  Additionally, allegations that may also be violations of the law should be reported to the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD). Resident students should contact Residential Life, and Northeastern neighbors should contact the Office of City and Community Affairs.

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4. How long does it take for OSCCR to contact the student(s) named in a report?
Typically the Hearing Administrator will reach out to student(s) named in a report by email within three days of receiving the report.  Some incidents require further/additional investigation before OSCCR receives a report and moves forward with a hearing. OSCCR does not typically investigate incidents, rather it relies on the Northeastern University Police Department or Boston Police Department to conduct investigations. Therefore, when further investigation is needed, a report will be put “on hold” until the additional information is received. Once additional information arrives in OSCCR, a staff member receives the case, reviews the report and begins the hearing process.  For complaints involving allegations of an Academic Integrit y violation, faculty will provide the investigation.

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Hearing Process

5.  What happens after a student is documented in an incident report?
Most incident reports involving Northeastern students are forwarded to OSCCR, where the reports are reviewed and evaluated to determine what action should be taken. If the report indicates that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct may have occurred, the student will receive a hearing notice that identifies the charges and type of hearing, along with the date, time and location of that hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to allow the student to share their account of the incident.

Depending on the severity of the alleged violation and/or the student’s conduct history, the case will be heard in either an Administrative Hearing or a Student Conduct Board Hearing. Cases that could result in suspension or expulsion from the University are typically heard by the Student Conduct Board. Incidents that occur in the residence halls that do not rise to a suspension or expulsion are typically heard by staff in Residential Life.  Cases occurring outside of the residence halls are typically heard by staff in OSCCR.  See the Code of Student Conduct for more information.

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6. How are charges determined?
Once the reports are received and reviewed, the staff member assigned to the case reviews the report and compares it to the Code of Student Conduct, University policies and Guide to Residence Hall Living. Based on the information in the report, the staff member determines what violations occurred and includes those as charges in the hearing notice.

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7. Do students have an opportunity to share their side of the story?
During the hearing, students receive an opportunity to provide their account of the incident and answer questions from the Hearing Administrator or SCB.  Hearing Administrators and SCB members are trained to enter the hearing with an open mind. Students should refer to Code of Student Conduct for the specifics on policies and procedures of the hearing process.

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8. Can a student choose not to attend the hearing?
If a student chooses not to attend the hearing, the Hearing Administrator has the option to dismiss the action with or without prejudice to either party, set a new hearing date, or make a decision based on the availability of the information. Students who do not attend the hearing lose the opportunity to advocate for themself and/or provide information on their behalf.

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9. Who is permitted to participate in a hearing?
Parents/friends/lawyers do not have a direct role in the student conduct process. The Hearing proceedings are closed. Students are responsible for their behavior while enrolled at the University, and they are expected to discuss their actions and be held accountable for any violations of the Code of Student Conduct. However, a student may bring relevant witnesses and an advisor from the Northeastern University community. If parents have questions about conduct processes in colleges and universities, we recommend the following link for information:  ASJA Parent information. OSCCR’s Frequently Asked Questions for parents is available here.

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10. How are decisions of responsibility made?
Hearing Administrators and/or the SCB weigh all of the information presented, using a “preponderance of information” or “more likely than not” standard to determine if the student is responsible or not responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct.  If the hearing body determines that “more likely than not” a student violated the Code, the student will be found responsible and receive sanctions. Both administrators and the students on the Student Conduct Board receive regular training to assist them in weighing information.  

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11. Why might by-standers (witnesses) be called to attend a hearing?
The SCB is comprised of Northeastern University students who share a commitment to maintaining a respectful and diverse community. Students who may have relevant information regarding an incident may be called to appear as a witness.  Students are encouraged to cooperate fully and should contact the Director of OSCCR immediately with concern that participation could result in retaliation.

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12. What is a Hearing Advisor?
A Hearing Advisor is a member of the Northeastern University community who has been trained by OSCCR to assist students with the Student Conduct Hearing process. Students who receive a Student Conduct Board Hearing notice will also receive a list of trained advisors from which to choose. The advisor can explain the process and assist in preparing for the hearing. The advisor is permitted to attend the Student Conduct Board Hearing may not speak on behalf of the student.  In some instances, a Hearing Advisor may also attend Administrative Hearings or the Admitted Student Responsibility hearing.  More information on Hearing Advisors can be found here.

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Appeals

13. Is the outcome of the Hearing Administrator or SCB final?
Students may appeal disciplinary actions based on three grounds:

  • Procedural Error:  The student asserts that the proscribed process was not followed and that impaired his or her right to a fair opportunity to be heard.
  • New Information:  Information has arisen that could not reasonably have been made available during the original hearing and may have been sufficient to alter the original conduct board/officer’s decision.
  • Review of Sanctions:  The student requests review of the sanction(s) because of extraordinary personal circumstances

Students must file a written appeal to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution within five (5) business days of the date on the decision letter.  Students should refer to the Procedures for Student Appeals in the Code of Student Conduct for more information.

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Parent Notification

14. When are parents notified about their students’ participation in a conduct process? 
Northeastern and OSCCR view students as responsible adults and direct most communication to the student, while encouraging the student to communicate with their families as they feel appropriate. 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of student’s educational records, including conduct files, from disclosure to any third party without the student's permission. This means that the specifics of a student's conduct case will typically not be discussed with parents/guardians or anyone else unless the student has waived that right to privacy.

FERPA's provisions are not absolute; there are limited exceptions. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1998 allows colleges and universities to contact the parents/guardians of students in conduct cases involving drugs and alcohol, can result in suspension/expulsion, and/or create a health and safety concern. The University's parental notification policy provides for different types of contact depending on the type of violation or concern.

When a student authorizes the University to notify parents, Hearing Administrators will provide parents with the following: 

  • A copy of the decision letter when an alcohol or drug violations or Hosting a Disruptive Gathering off-campus results in a finding of Responsible.
  • A copy of the pre-hearing notice in cases that may result in suspension or expulsion of their student.  In these cases, parents will also receive a copy of the decision letter.
  • In cases of health or safety concerns for the student.  The University may contact the Emergency contact in the manner the University deems appropriate.  Emergency contact may come from OSCCR or may come from a member of the WeCare Team and may come via phone, e-mail, or letter depending on the nature of the concern.

Students can check the parental notification selection by going onto myNEU. (See above for exceptions.)

Other code violations (such as noise or Academic Integrity) typically do not result in parent notification. 

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Student Conduct vs. Court

15. If a student Is charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and faces criminal charges for the same incident, doesn't that violate "double jeopardy"?
"Double jeopardy" is a term that applies only to successive criminal prosecutions for the same offense. Because OSCCR’s conduct process focuses on education, it does not qualify as a criminal process and does not connect to the court system.

Northeastern University’s Code of Student Conduct is an outline of the University's expectations of behavior that promotes the safety and welfare of the community.  OSCCR is responsible for the process that determines violations of the Code. This process focuses on educating the student on the impact of their choices and is separate from the court system and furthermore is not a legal process. It is possible that some of the violations in the Code of Student Conduct also violate state or federal law. Therefore, students may face both criminal charges and University conduct charges. In most instances, the findings in one area will not be an acceptable challenge to the findings in the other.

These simultaneous proceedings do not result in "double jeopardy" because they incorporate different systems and result in different outcomes.

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Conduct Holds

16. What is a "Conduct Hold"?
OSCCR may place a “conduct hold” on a student’s record if a student fails to complete imposed sanctions by the deadline date.  The hold remains on the student’s record until the sanction is received, reviewed, and approved.  In addition, a student may have a hold placed on their account if they have a pending conduct case. This hold will remain in effect until the student resolves the case with OSCCR. 

A conduct hold may prevent a student from registering for classes.  If a student has already registered, classes will be purged unless the hold is cleared before the end of the “I AM HERE” period. Students should contact OSCCR for additional information.

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17. What happens if a student does not complete their sanction(s)?
Students who receive sanctions must complete them by the designated deadline, or a conduct hold will be placed on their University record. Holds will be cleared once OSCCR has received, reviewed and accepted all sanctions. Please note that it may take a few business days to review and approve sanctions and remove the hold. 

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Financial / Study Abroad

18. Do students receive a refund for tuition if they’ve been suspended or expelled?
Students who are suspended or expelled after the third week of a full semester (Fall or Spring) or after the second week of a summer session will most likely incur a financial loss.  The University Refund policy, as well as the Residence Hall and Dining License Agreement, provide more information regarding this matter.  

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19. Can conduct history affect a scholarship?
All scholarships are different with various requirements. Most University-based scholarships look for conduct history and disqualify a student not in good student standing.  Students applying for University scholarships provide permission for a history check when completing their scholarship application.  In regards to most scholarships, OSCCR does not automatically reach out to the scholarship office to report student conduct.  However, for those scholarships that require the recipient to remain in good student standing, OSCCR reports conduct history.

When a student receives a sanction of suspension or expulsion, a notice is sent to the student’s college, advisor and/or co-op advisor, and Student Financial Services informing them of this sanction.  This information could affect a scholarship and/or co-op opportunity. Students should refer to the terms of the scholarship or co-op for more information.

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20.  What about Study Abroad?
Students who participate in Study Abroad must be in good student standing.  Therefore, students on Disciplinary Probation, Deferred Suspension or Suspension may not be permitted to participate in Study Abroad the semester for which they are not in good student standing.  When applying to participate in Study Abroad, students give the OISD authority to check conduct history.  Students should refer to the OISD website for more information.

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Disciplinary Records

21. What is a disciplinary record or conduct history?
A disciplinary record is a file maintained in the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution that details a student’s conduct history at Northeastern University.

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22. How are disciplinary records maintained?
Unless the student was suspended or expelled, OSCCR maintains a student’s disciplinary record until a student graduates, at which time the file will be destroyed. If the student has been suspended or expelled, OSCCR permanently maintains the disciplinary records. The comment “Withdrawn, Expulsion” will be printed on the student’s transcript if the student is expelled.

If a student withdraws from the University, disciplinary records will be maintained until the student’s original expected graduation date. If the student re-enters the University, the records will be destroyed upon graduation.

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23. If a graduate school or future employer requests a student’s disciplinary record, what do they see?
The University and OSCCR will only release conduct history when authorized by the student.  If an institution or company requests conduct history, they need to produce a signed waiver to access the information.  If the student has conduct history, and has permission from the student, staff in OSCCR generates a memo that includes a brief description of the incident along with any accompanying charges and sanctions.  Students who have been charged with a violation and are found not responsible are considered to have no disciplinary record.  Therefore, no memo will be generated and the requesting agent will be provided with a copy of our Records Maintenance policy.

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24. What should I say to a prospective employer or graduate school about my conduct record?
When asked, students should tell the truth regarding conduct history.  In most instances, conduct history is unlikely to prevent a student from being admitted to law school or graduate school, or keep a student from getting a job or security clearance. Providing false information is never a good idea, and these questions are asked of applicants not only to find out about their conduct history but also to assess whether they act with integrity. If the school or employer finds information relating to a conduct case that is not reported, the school or employer could take action of its own up to and including dismissal (depending on policies of the school or employer). We encourage you to consult with the Department of Career Development for guidance about handling questions from potential employers or graduate schools.

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Medical Amnesty

25. What is the Medical Amnesty policy?
The Medical Amnesty policy encourages students or organizations to call for medical assistance when self or others experience a medical emergency due to excessive consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.  In most instances, neither the student who seeks medical attention for another person nor the person who receives medical attention during that alcohol or drug emergency will face disciplinary action by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for the possession or use of alcohol or other drugs.

In cases where an individual or organization fails to seek emergency medical assistance when it is clearly needed, disciplinary action may be taken against the individual/organization as well as the student who required the medical assistance.

Additionally, Medical Amnesty does not apply if a student is found by University officials (professional or student staff) before they seek help.

Medical Amnesty applies to alcohol or other drug-related emergencies only, and does not apply to other conduct violations such as assault, property damage, or distribution of illicit substances. If other violations occur, then a student will face disciplinary charges for those violations. The use/or abuse of alcohol or drugs is never considered a mitigating circumstance for any other violations of the Code of Student Conduct.  For more information on the Medical Amnesty policy, click here. 

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26. How do students qualify for Medical Amnesty?   To qualify for Medical Amnesty, a student/organization must call for assistance. The emergency number for the Northeastern Police Department is 617.373.3333. That student/organization is required to remain with the student experiencing the emergency until medical assistance arrives.

The student requiring medical assistance (and possibly the referring student(s) / organization) will receive information from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution explaining their requirements to receive Medical Amnesty. The requirements may include meeting with the Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (O.P.E.N). As long as the student(s)/organization complies with all directives, there will be no disciplinary action taken related to the violation of possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs and no disciplinary record of the incident kept in the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

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Student Conduct Board Membership

27. What does being on the SCB involve?
As a student conduct board member, you will hear cases of alleged misconduct that could result in suspension or expulsion. If you would like to contribute to the Northeastern community want to be involved on campus and are willing to make a commitment to serving for at least one semester, we encourage you to apply. Interested students are asked to join the OrgSync group available through MyNEU to access the application.  More information on the Student Conduct Board can be found here.

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