What is the student conduct process?

The process by which individuals and/or recognized student organizations discuss with university officials alleged violations of university policies in a structured manner. The process is designed to be an educational experience not an adversarial one.

Is there a way to resolve an incident without the formal student conduct process?

Yes, it is possible to resolve a dispute with another student through mediation, as opposed to going through a conduct board process. Alleged violation of the NIU Student Code of Conduct require the use of the formal conduct process.  It may not be necessary to go all the way through the process and have a full conduct hearing.  It is possible to resolve conduct violations with a one-on-one meeting between a student conduct administrator and a student.

How does the student conduct process work?

Please see our flow chart of the student conduct process.

What happens if I miss my preliminary conference or conduct board hearing?

We notify students electronically about preliminary conferences and hearings. It is the responsibility of each student to check his or her student email address. As outlined in the student Code of Conduct if you miss a preliminary conference or student conduct hearing, the process will continue in your absence. When a cellular telephone number is available, the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct sends a text message to a student once an email has been sent to the student.

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How can I appeal?

Request for appeals must be submitted in writing to the appropriate person or office, as outline in the student Code of Conduct.

What can I appeal?

You may appeal the decision of the board (finding of responsibility) and/or the sanctions imposed by a hearing officer or conduct board.

To whom must I appeal?

For cases heard by the residence hall conduct board appeals must be submitted to the Executive Director of Housing & Dining, or his/her designee.

For cases heard by the Student Conduct Hearing Board or Organizational Conduct Hearing Board letters of appeal should be submitted to the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct.

How long do I have to appeal?

You have five (5) business days from the date of receipt of the decision letter. The date of receipt is defined as the date on which the notification letter was delivered to your physical mailbox or to your student e-mail.

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Who determines sanctions?

Recommendations are initially determined by the student conduct administrator.

If a student accepts responsibility and the recommended sanctions then the sanctions go into effect as indicated. If the student doesn't accept responsibility or the sanctions then a Student Conduct Board will make a determination regarding the sanctions imposed.

What are the standard sanctions?

Sanctions are determined based on the facts of the particular case and if a student or recognized student organization has any prior conduct history.

What are deferred sanctions?

Deferred sanctions are not immediately applied to the student. Deferred sanctions become the recommended sanctions if a student admits responsibility for or is found responsible for another violation.

What is the range of fines?

Fines range from $50-$200 for individuals and Recognized Student Organizations.

What is the $25 user fee?

Students who admit responsibility for a violation, or who are found responsible in a conduct hearing are assessed a $25 user fee. This administrative fee is used to offset the costs associated with the student conduct process. These fees are used to help provide funding for programming and publicity about the student conduct process. Students who are found not responsible or whose cases are dismissed are not charged the $25 user fee.

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In most cases notification is made electronically to your student email (Z-ID email). Only in rare instances will you be notified VIA U.S. Mail. It is your responsibility to check your Z-ID email.

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What is the purpose of the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct?

The Student Conduct Office coordinates the University student conduct system, which provides an opportunity to confront and resolve academic, residential, student conduct, and disciplinary conflicts.

If I am called into the office am I in trouble?

No, not necessarily, students are contacted by our office for a variety of reasons. You may be a witness to an incident. Your name may have come up during the course of our investigations. You may be the one reporting the alleged violation. However if you are contacted by our office, it is your responsibility to respond to the communication.

Will my parents be contacted if I am called into the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct?

Your parents will not be contacted unless that is part of the recommended sanction by the Student Conduct Administrator or by the Student Conduct Board.

If I am found responsible or admit responsibility to a violation how long will this record remain?

Student conduct records will be maintained by the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct until at least the graduation of the student from Northern Illinois University. Students wishing to have their disciplinary records expunged upon graduation must make their request in writing to the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct.

Cases involving sanctions or suspension, expulsion, revocation, or withholding of a degree shall be retained indefinitely and shall not be expunged.

Violations of the Student Code of Conduct which are reportable under the Campus Security Act of 1990, now known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) will be maintained for the period of time defined under the Clery Act.

Will this information be put on my academic transcript?

Currently information from the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct is not placed on your academic transcript.

When can the information in my Student Conduct record be released?

The Student Conduct Office from your student conduct record under the following conditions:

  • With the signed permission of the student 
  • Upon receipt of a lawfully issued subpoena 
  • When allowed by the exemptions listed in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974 (as amended)

Can I bring a lawyer?

Under our Student Code of Conduct lawyers are not allowed to participate in the Student Conduct process. You may have an attorney serve as your advisor, but the role of the advisor to confer with you, as the advisee. The advisor is not allowed to speak on your behalf. Questions from lawyers should be directed to University Legal Services 815-753-1774.

Who may I have as an advisor?

Any student who is involved in the conduct process may have an advisor. The advisor may or may not be related to the institution. The Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct maintains a list of trained advisors.

Can I bring witnesses to a hearing or preliminary conference?

Yes, a preliminary conference and a hearing is an opportunity for your to present your side. If you have witnesses this is your opportunity to bring them.

What is the difference between state law and the Student Conduct Code (SCC)?

State law is a legal requirement passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor of the State of Illinois. The Student Code of Conduct is a governing document of Northern Illinois University. The Code of Conduct outlines the policies all student s are expected to abide by. Additionally, it outlines the process by which students and Recognized Student Organizations are entitled to when a complaint is filed against them alleging a violation.

What is the burden of proof in a student conduct hearing?

The burden of proof in a student conduct hearing is called preponderance of the evidence. This means that based on all of the evidence, it is more likely than not, that the student or Recognized Student Organization committed the alleged violation. This is a lower standard of evidence than in a criminal trial.

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When can I refer a case to the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct?

Any member of the university community may generate an incident report at any time if they believe a policy violation has occurred. Please complete the online incident report by clicking here.

Who do I inform about incidents involving students who live in a different building than me?

You may inform either Housing and Dining Staff and/or the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct.

I was involved in an incident off campus, why is the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct contacting me about this incident?

The Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct receives reports from a variety of entities and agencies both on and off campus. With concurrent jurisdiction you may be charged both criminally and in the University Student Conduct Process.

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Illegal File Sharing

What is Illegal file sharing?

Illegal File Sharing is the unauthorized transmission (uploading or downloading) of any copyrighted material without the permission of the author.

What happens in illegal file sharing cases?

In all copyright infringement cases you are notified electronically by ITS. For first time copyright infringement cases you will meet with a computer abuse investigator in ITS. For subsequent copyright infringement cases you will initially be contacted by ITS and subsequently contacted by the Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct.

For more information please view the ITS acceptable usage policy and/or contact ITS at 815-753-8100.

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