Did You Know?

How to File a Complaint & The Fact Finding Process


  • You can file a complaint against another student through the university student conduct system. A complaint can be filed with a residence life staff member or the dean of students office.
  • For reports of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, retaliation, and/or relationship abuse, you can proceed with an on-campus complaint through the university student conduct process. A complaint can be filed with a residence life staff member (e.g., resident assistant, resident director), the dean of students office, or the Title IX coordinator.
  • Though the decision to contact the police is a personal one, the university is committed to supporting victims/survivors who decide to report the crime to the police. Deciding whether to report the crime to the police may be very difficult, but if you do decide to pursue criminal charges, you can proceed with off-campus criminal charges by filing a complaint with the Salem State University police department.


What is the student conduct process?

Students contacted by the dean of students office will typically be contacted by email or phone indicating that the student has been referred to our office for possible violations outlined by the Student Conduct Code.

Students are required to meet with a hearing officer to begin the conduct process. Please note that we will NOT give additional details about the alleged violation over the phone, nor will any staff member discuss your disciplinary records with anyone except the student, without a signed FERPA Release of Information waiver [PDF]  that expressively permits such disclosure.

What is a fact finding meeting?

A fact finding meeting is a conversation between you and a hearing officer in which you will:

  • Be informed of your rights as a student
  • Review the alleged violations of the Student Conduct Code
  • Be given the details of your file and referred incident
  • Present your side of the story, ask questions and respond to the allegations
  • Mutually reach a determination of responsible or not responsible
  • Be assigned sanctions (when applicable) and sign the Resolution Form

A hearing officer can be any of the following individuals: assistant dean of students, coordinator of student conduct and mediation programs, or resident director.

During your fact finding meeting, you may also request copies of the contents of your disciplinary file.

How are appropriate sanctions determined?

A variety of factors are considered when determining what sanctions will be effective in helping students to recognize misconduct, identify potential consequences, and make informed decisions in the future. The sanctioning considerations begin with educational opportunities and become more punitive as each factor is considered along a continuum of potential outcomes.

Your right to an advisor

Please be aware it is your right to have an advisor (i.e. family member, friend, etc.) present at all student conduct and mediation proceedings. If you choose to have an advisor present, they are not permitted to speak on your behalf during the hearing process. They are only to serve as support and give you advice as you respond to the allegations.