Community Standards Program

GSU’s Community Standards program, coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Students, strives to promote a safe and secure community while upholding the rights of all community members. The office promotes student learning, student development, and a campus culture of respect and responsibility. We aim to encourage a community of acceptance and accountability by creating processes and policies designed to resolve conflict in a manner consistent with university expectations. Community Standards is responsible for administering the Student Code of Conduct (Policy 4), which is the primary policy used to outline the university’s expectations for students and the role that they play in our community. 

Student Handbook

The Community Standards Student Handbook outlines the administrative procedures used in addressing the conduct of students and/or recognized student clubs/organizations that fail to abide by the University's community standards. The student handbook includes, but is not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, University overview, student rights, and general policies and procedures.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about your student rights and responsibilities, please contact us.

Kelly Grab, Director of Community Standards and Student Advocacy

Office: C1310

Phone: 708.235.2845


  • Community Standards Process


    The Community Standards process is used to determine if a student or student organization engaged in behavior that violates the Code of Student Conduct. Additional details are available in the Student Handbook, including exceptions to this process.

    Report of Alleged Misconduct
    When Community Standards receives information that indicates that a student may have engaged in behavior that violates the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be notified of the alleged violations and scheduled conduct hearing via their GSU student email.

    Conduct Hearing Scheduled

    The purpose of a conduct hearing is to determine what occurred during the incident and if students are responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Failure to attend a scheduled hearing will result in the conduct case moving forward without the students input. Depending on the alleged violations and a student's conduct history, the case will be referred to an Administrative Hearing Officer or the Student Conduct Committee. More information on hearings is available in the Student Handbook.

    During the Hearing

    During the conduct hearing, a student has the opportunity to review all reports and documentation associated with the incident. The student will have the opportunity to present their perspective on the incident.

    Conduct Hearing Outcome
    After the hearing, the hearing body will determine whether it is more likely than not that the student violated the Code of Conduct. A decision letter will be sent to the student's GSU email. If a student is found responsible for policy violations, they may be assigned sanctions to complete in order to resolve their case. Sanctions aim to help a student reflect on their actions, to learn how to act in ways that are congruent with the community expectations, to repair any harm caused, and sometimes to remove the student from campus if warranted.

    Students have the right to request an appeal. Appeals must be submitted to Community Standards within five (5) business days of receipt of the decision letter. See the Students - Submit an Appeal tab for information on how to submit an appeal.

  • Students - I've Been Reported


    If Community Standards receives a report that a student has been involved in an incident that may violate the Student Code of Conduct, you will receive an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter to your GSU student email account. If you receive an email about possible violations of the code, please note that it is just that - a notification about possible violations. Community Standards is contacting you because we received information that indicates you may have acted in a way that is not aligned with what is expected of you as a student. Community Standards has a process in place that outlines how the process proceeds, which includes allowing you to have your voice heard about what happened.

    What should I do when I receive an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter?

    • Read the letter carefully to make sure you understand the alleged violations. If you have questions, please contact Community Standards and we will help answer your questions.
    • The letter will include a time and date for your assigned hearing. Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend and share their perspective on the incident. Please call our office by the deadline if you need to reschedule.
    • Research the Community Standards process so you will know what to expect. The overview of the process provides a good summary of the process and the Community Standards Student Handbook is the formal document that outlines the processes.
    • Review your rights and responsibilities as a student (see below).

  • Students - Submit an Appeal


    The GSU Student Code of Conduct provides the opportunity for a student to appeal a decision made by a conduct body (ie. Administrative Hearing Officers or Student Conduct Committee). A student must file a request for an appeal, and appeals may be submitted based on any one or combination of the following reasons:

    1. Procedural Error: A procedural error occurred in the handling of the complaint which substantially affected the outcome of the hearing.
    2. New Evidence: New evidence exists, sufficient to alter a decision, which was not available at the time of the original hearing. Information will not be considered “new evidence” if the respondent or complainant did not attend the original hearing or voluntarily withheld information during the original hearing.
    3. Sanction(s) not Appropriate for Violation(s): The sanction(s) imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation(s) for which the respondent was found responsible.

    Appeal Directions & Process

    Requests for appeals must be submitted within five (5) business days of receipt of the decision notice. This is the date listed on the Conduct Decision Letter. Appeals must be submitted online at

    Community Standards reviews the written appeal to determine if it contains appropriate grounds and sufficient detail to allow the appellate body to make a decision. If the appeal is improperly drafted or is insufficiently detailed, Community Standards may inform the student and they must submit an amended appeal within 24-hours of the notice. If the request merits an appeal hearing, Community Standards will schedule an appeal hearing and notify the student. If the request does not merit a hearing, Community Standards will notify the student that their request for an appeal hearing has been denied. All communication will be sent to the students GSU email.

    If an appeal hearing has been granted, the student will be notified of the date and time for the schedule hearing. Following the appeal hearing, the appellate body considers the appeal, determines a final decision and notifies of the decision via email. Adjustments to sanctions or deadlines will be outlined in this notification if applicable.

    Please review all parts of the Appeal Directions and Process to submit an appeal. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

     submit request for appeal


  • Student Rights & Responsibilities


    As a student, you have rights and responsibilities, which you should know and understand to help you make informed decisions The appropriate balance of rights and responsibilities is a critical component of our community. These processes have been developed with students' rights in mind, but students are also asked to be respectful of their responsibilities as members of this community.

    During the community standards processes, students have responsibility for:

    • Reading and upholding the Student Code of Conduct
    • Being honest and forthcoming
    • Responding to communication and meeting requests
    • Considering the perspectives of others
    • Recognizing the impact of their actions is important, not just the intent behind them
    • Maintaining the high standards of our community by taking action with friends/peers if they are acting in concerning ways

    During the Community Standards process, students have the right to be notified of the alleged charges and provided an opportunity to respond to the charges. A full list of student rights can be found in the Student Handbook. 

      Remember: Students have the right to not participate in their hearing. However, if students choose to not participate in their conduct hearing, then the process will move forward without their input. Community Standards  encourages students to be proactive and allow their voice to be heard through formal interaction.

    • Frequently Asked Questions


      What are the Community Standards?

      The Community Standards Student Handbook is a document that contains all the policies and procedures relating to the student conduct process, including the Student Code of Conduct and other important policies. The Community Standards Student Handbook applies to all GSU students, as defined in the document. The Community Standards Student Handbook is available online:

      What is an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter?

      If you receive a alleged conduct violation (letter, it means that Community Standards has received a report regarding an incident in which you may have been involved. The primary purpose of an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter is to notify students that may have violated the Student Code of Conduct and they have an opportunity to attend a meeting to discuss the incident. The meeting (called a conduct hearing) will be with an Administrative Hearing Officer (a University staff member authorized to hear alleged violations of the code) or the Student Conduct Committee (a board of students, staff, and faculty who hear alleged violations of the code) and decisions are not made about whether or not students are responsible for violations until the hearing. However, if you do not attend your hearing or notify Community Standards of your need to reschedule, a decision may be made based on the information available. 

      How is the Community Standards process different from criminal court proceedings?

      The University student code process is not a criminal or judicial trial/practice. The purpose of the hearing is to determine what transpired during the incident and whether the Student Code of Conduct was violated, and if so, by whom. The hearing process is designed to educate students and hold them accountable for their conduct and decision-making. The standard of proof that applies to all University student conduct proceedings or determinations is a preponderance of the information. A finding of a violation of the Code of Conduct must be supported by evidence that is “more likely than not” that the violation was committed.

      What kind of consequences/sanctions can be imposed?

      Governors State University (GSU) has designed the system to educate all parties to the highest ethical standards of behavior. A student who is found in violation or admits that they violated a code would receive a sanction based on the severity of the behavior. Sanctions are meant to be educational in nature and range from warnings to probation to suspension or dismissal from GSU. Often, the sanction will include community service, an educational program, and/or a reflective essay. Students who fail to complete their assigned sanctions will have a hold placed on their student account, which prevents the student from registering for courses.

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

      The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your educational records (including disciplinary records) from being accessed by others without your permission. However, there are exceptions that permit Community Standards to notify parents/guardians of the outcome of a student’s disciplinary case. The university reserves the right to notify parents/guardians if students for incidents involving violations of the following policies: Alcohol, Controlled Substances (drugs), and in instances in which the student may be a threat to themselves or others.
      Because not all cases result in this level of sanctioning, parents will not automatically be notified when their student becomes involved in the conduct process. However, if parents would like information regarding their student’s disciplinary history or status at the university from Community Standards, they can request that their student grant Community Standards written permission allowing the release of that information. Students should complete and submit the FERPA Waiver Form to give Community Standards permission to release information.

      What does it mean if there is a "ODOS Hold" on my account?
      An "ODOS Hold" is applied by the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) when students are not in compliance with the conduct process, typically resulting from failing to complete assigned sanctions. Students with a hold cannot add classes, register for next semester, or receive transcripts from the university. If you have a hold and wish to have it lifted, contact Community Standards.

      Can I expect confidentiality in my interactions with Community Standards?
      Privacy is a crucial component of the Community Standards program. All information shared through the conduct process (hearings, meetings, etc.) will be kept private, with two exceptions: 1) If there is mention of a serious violation of the Community Standards or law, a staff member would be required to act upon this information as appropriate and to ensure the safety of the community. 2) If a staff member becomes aware that someone may be in danger of serious, imminent harm, they would be required to address the situation as appropriate to ensure the safety of the community.

    • Information for Faculty & Staff


      Everyone on campus has a responsibility for helping us as we strive for academic freedom, integrity, excellence in scholarship, justice, diversity, and access to education.

      As such, please know that the Student Code of Conduct, along with other University policies, provides clear guidance to students regarding GSU’s expectations for both academic and non-academic conduct. The Handbook also provides the procedures that guide the Community Standards process which aims to hold students accountable for violations of University policy and help students reflect on their behavior while developing skills that promote personal and community responsibility.

      The safety and inclusivity of our campus community is a joint effort of students, staff, and faculty. As such, please report alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct (Policy 4). Anyone seeking additional information about academic or non-academic misconduct reporting procedures and process may contact Community Standards with questions at 708.235.2845 or

      Submit a report regarding non-academic misconduct at

      Faculty who wish to report academic misconduct should submit the Academic Misconduct Reporting Form or email information to the Office of the Dean of Students.

      Concerned about a student's behavior or well-being? Submit a report to the CARE/Students of Concern Program.

    • Information for Parents & Guardians


      Parents & Guardians: If your student receives notification from Community Standards that they have been reported as possibly violating University policies, here are some things to keep in mind as you support your student:

      1. Remember that receiving notice of possible violations does not mean that your student is responsible! There is a process in place to allow your student to share their perspective about whatever happened.
      2. Encourage your student to follow the process and meet with Community Standards if they are interested in resolving the conduct case. Students have a right not to participate in the process, but we want to hear from your student to gather a comprehensive understanding of the incident and to collect as much information as possible.
      3. Review our website and the Code of Student Conduct and encourage your student to do the same so they have information about the process.
      4. Encourage your student to be honest and to act with integrity during the process, including accepting responsibility if they did violate a policy.  
      5. Remember that this process is not about judging your student's character but about assessing specific behavior and considering consequences for those behaviors.
      6. Recognize that this is not a legal process or criminal process. In a majority of cases, students receive educational sanctions that assist them in learning from the experience while they continue with their coursework.
      7. Be aware that there are decisions your student may make through this process. If it appears there is responsibility for violating a policy, your student can accept the resolution or file an appeal. 
      8. Finally, talk to your student about what they have learned from this experience. Holding oneself accountable is a valuable lesson that can be learned both inside and outside the classroom. Many students make mistakes or have bumps in the road of their college journey - the learning that comes from these experiences in invaluable to the college experience.
      Remember: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as well as University policies preclude college staff from discussing your student’s academic and conduct record without their written permission. Staff can answer questions about the process, but cannot provide specific details about a case without a written waiver.