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FAQs for Parents/Guardians

Will I be notified if my student gets in trouble: i.e., if student is charged with violating the Student Conduct Code?
We will notify parents if their student has an alcohol violation and is under the age of 21. This is allowed by the amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act governs the release of educational records. We encourage students to speak with their parents and believe that as adults, students should take responsibility for initiating the conversation. We also encourage students to sign releases that allow us to speak with parents about a situation, so that we can all work together to resolve the issue and help the student. In addition, you may be notified if there is an imminent risk to the student's health, safety or welfare.

If my student is charged with violating the Student Conduct Code, what happens?
The student will be asked to set up a meeting with a hearing officer. A hearing officer can be any of the following individuals: assistant dean of students, coordinator of student conduct and mediation programs, and resident directors. The student will attend an administrative hearing to discuss his or her involvement in the incident. After the hearing, the hearing officer will review the case information and make a decision of responsible or not responsible. If a student is found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code, they will likely face educational sanctions to help them learn from this experience. For more detailed information, please see the Student Conduct Code.

What is my role in the student conduct process? How can I help my student?
You can help to guide the student through the process and be supportive while holding the student accountable to your expectations and the university's. You also can help identify and provide necessary interventions, such as alcohol and drug evaluations, anger management, and others, so that your student can be successful at Salem State. Allow and expect the student to set appointments, attend meetings and fulfill sanctions. It is usually not helpful to the educational development of the student, or resolution of the matter, for you to attempt to handle the situation for them.

Can I be in a disciplinary meeting or conference with my student?
The student may have an advisor present, who may be a parent. The role of the advisor is to support and advise the student but not to speak for or represent the student.

Do I need to hire an attorney to represent my student?
Students may have an attorney serve as an advisor, but may not be represented by counsel. Students most often hire attorneys when there are criminal charges that relate to an incident.

How are sanctions decided?
Sanctions are determined by considering the following factors: nature of the violation, the student's role in the incident, the effect of the incident on others and on the student, the student's developmental and educational needs, and the student's prior disciplinary record. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are considered.  Please refer to the Student Conduct Code for information about what each possible disciplinary sanction means.

Can my student appeal a disciplinary decision?
Any recommendation of a hearing body which affirms the charges against a student may be appealed to the associate vice president and dean of students or designee by the student found responsible by the board, including those cases where it has been recommended that a student be suspended. For cases where it has been recommended that a student be dismissed or expelled from the university, the student found responsible by the board may appeal to the president or designee. In all cases, the request for appeal must be submitted in writing to the student conduct and mediation programs office within five business days of the date of receipt of the original written decision by the student. If no appeal is made within the prescribed time period, the original decision of the hearing body shall be final and conclusive. View more information on the appeal process.

If my student's case is appealed, what happens to the sanctions while the appeal is being decided?
Unless the welfare of a person or the community is threatened, all of the sanctions imposed in a case that may be appealed will not go into effect until the appeal is decided.

Does the outcome go on my student's record?
All records of disciplinary action are maintained confidentially in the student conduct and mediation programs office. In cases which involve suspension, dismissal or expulsion, the academic departments are notified and the action is also recorded on the student's academic transcript permanently.

Will a disciplinary record keep my student from getting into law school, graduate school, etc.?
A disciplinary record does not automatically exclude a student from further study, jobs, etc. That usually depends on the type or severity of misconduct in which a student is involved. A disciplinary record may lead an admissions office to more closely scrutinize the student's application. We will only release information about a student's disciplinary record to another school or potential employer as allowed by the records policy, or with the permission of the student.

Why is a particular rule or policy in place?
Policies are designed to support the university's educational mission. They are meant to support a safe environment where people can work, study and live without undue interference. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, teach students responsibility and interdependence, as well as promote moral and ethical development.

My student was charged criminally. Why go through the student conduct process, too?
The criminal justice system and the Salem State University student conduct process are not mutually exclusive. By virtue of being a student, your student is held responsible for upholding the standards of behavior in the Student Conduct Code, as well as public laws. A conduct code violation may be heard if the criminal case is not completed or if the criminal charges are dropped.

This incident happened off campus. Why is the university involved?
The university has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on-campus and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the university community and the university mission.

I know my student could not have done this; I didn't raise my student that way. So why is my student being charged?
Developmentally, this is a period of exploration, experimentation and testing for students. They may be in a period of transition from late adolescence to adulthood. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents for the first time. As students are testing the beliefs and values they learned at home, they may make choices that are inconsistent with these values. Such testing is part of the developmental process and is normal.  However, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences.