Community Standards Program

The 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 and development as well as a campus culture of respect and responsibility. We encourage a community of acceptance and accountability by creating policies and processes that are 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 student behavior and accountability. 


Student Handbook

The Student Handbook outlines the administrative procedures used to address students and recognized student clubs and 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, student rights, and procedures.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. The Office of the Dean of Students is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Kelly Grab, Director of Community Standards and Student Advocacy
Office: C1310* 
Phone: 708.235.2845
E-mail: communitystandards@govst.edu

*At this time, services are being provided remotely; however, staff will be available in person Tuesdays and Thursdays. For a faster response, please e-mail communitystandards@govst.edu. If this is an emergency, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 708-534-4900 or call 911.

 

 

  • Overview of the Community Standards Process

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

    Report of Alleged Misconduct
    When Community Standards receives information 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.

    Scheduling a Hearing

    The purpose of a conduct hearing is to determine what occurred during the incident and if the student is responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Failure to attend a scheduled hearing will result in the conduct case moving forward without the student's input.

    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 information and share their perspective about the incident.

    After the Hearing
    After the hearing, the hearing body will determine whether it is more likely than not that the student violated the Code of Conduct. If a student is found responsible, sanctions may be imposed. Sanctions are reasonable consequences to communicate expectations for future behavior, provide opportunities for reflection, and repair any harm. A decision letter will be sent to the student's GSU email.

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

  • Student Rights & Responsibilities

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    During the community standards process, students have both rights and responsibilities.

    Students have the right to:

    • Written notice of the alleged violations and information about the process and procedures
    • Be presumed not responsible 
    • Have the opportunity, but not be required, to respond to the allegations*
    • An advisor / support person
    • Written outcome with rationale
    • Timely resolution
    • Appeal 

    The complete list of student rights can be found in the Student Handbook.

    Students have the responsibility to:

    • Read and uphold the Student Code of Conduct
    • Be honest and forthcoming
    • Respond to communication and meeting requests
    • Consider the perspectives of others
    • Recognize that the impact – not simply the intent – of their actions is important

       *Remember: If a student chooses to not participate in their conduct hearing, the process will move forward without their input. Community Standards encourages students to advocate for themselves.

    • Students Involved in an Incident / Reported

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      If Community Standards receives a report that you have been involved in an incident that may violate the Student Code of Conduct, you will receive a letter sent to your GSU student email account. If you receive an email about your involvement in an incident and possible violations, 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 to give you the opportunity to share what happened.

      What should I do when I receive a letter?

      • Read the letter carefully to make sure you understand the alleged violations. If you have questions, please contact Community Standards.
      • 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. 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 Student Handbook is the formal document that outlines the processes.
      • Review your rights and responsibilities as a student (see below).

    • Submit an Appeal

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      The Student Code of Conduct provides the opportunity for a student to appeal a decision made by a hearing body (i.e., Administrative Hearing Officer or Student Conduct Committee). A student must file a request for an appeal based upon one or more of the following reasons:

      • Procedural Error: A procedural error occurred in the handling of the complaint which substantially affected the outcome of the hearing.
      • 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 hearing or voluntarily withheld information during the hearing.
      • 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 an appeal must be submitted within five business days of receipt of the decision notice. The specific date will be listed in the decision letter. Appeals must be submitted online at www.govst.edu/conductappeal.

      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 may submit an amended appeal within 24 hours in order for the appeal to be considered. 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 student's GSU email.

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

      Please review all parts of the appeal directions and process to submit an appeal. If you have any questions, please contact us at communitystandards@govst.edu.

       submit request for appeal

       

    • Student Conduct Committee - Accepting Applications

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      The Office of the Dean of Students seeks students to serve on the Student Conduct Committee for the 2020-21 academic year!

      The Student Conduct Committee is composed of students, faculty, and staff who hear alleged academic and non-academic violations of the Student Code of Conduct. As a committee member, you will meet with students to determine if they have violated the Student Code of Conduct and decide sanctions for students who are found responsible.

      Membership on the Student Conduct Committee is a great privilege, and offers many positive and challenging experiences to the individuals who serve. The knowledge that members of the Student Conduct Committee gain is transferable to many different majors and future goals. Connect with other students, faculty, and staff while fostering accountability and healthy community membership for GSU students!

      Complete the application on Jaguar Connection today! Applications for students who are interested in joining the Student Conduct Committee for the 2020-21 academic year should submit an application by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 11, 2020. Applications will only be accepted on Jaguar Connection. New applicants will need one GSU faculty or staff reference. References should e-mail the completed Reference Form to communitystandards@govst.edu. Reference forms are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 11, 2020.

      Any questions regarding the Student Conduct Committee, Community Standards Process, or the application process, should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students at communitystandards@govst.edu or 708.235.2854.

    • Frequently Asked Questions

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      What is an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter?

      If you receive a alleged conduct violation letter, it means that Community Standards has received information about 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 conduct hearing may be with an Administrative Hearing Officer (a university staff member) or the Student Conduct Committee (comprised of students, staff, and faculty). Decisions about whether or not a student is responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct are not made 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/legal court proceedings?

        The university process is not a criminal or legal trial. 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?

        A student who accepts responsibility or is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct will receive sanctions based on the nature and severity of the incident and violations and any prior conduct history. Sanctions are designed to promote the university's educational mission and safety of the university community. Sanctions are meant to be educational in nature and may include educational programs or writing assignments. 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 and accessing transcripts. Some behavior may be so harmful or disruptive that more severe sanctions, such as suspension or dismissal from the university, may be imposed. 

        Will my parents or family be contacted by the University?

        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 of students for incidents involving alcohol, controlled substances (drugs), and in instances in which the student may be a threat to themselves or others.

        What does an "ODOS Hold" on my account mean?
        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/drop classes, register for next semester, or receive transcripts from the university. If you have a hold, 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 Student Code of Conduct or law, 2) If a staff member becomes aware that someone may be in danger of serious, imminent harm. A staff member would be required to act upon this information to ensure the safety of the community.

        Where can I find more information?

        The Student Handbook is the document that contains all the policies and procedures relating to the student conduct process, including the Student Code of Conduct. The Student Handbook applies to all GSU students, as defined in the document. The Student Handbook is available online: www.govst.edu/handbook  

      • Information for Faculty & Staff

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        Everyone on campus has a responsibility for upholding the educational mission and creating a safe and secure community. The safety and inclusivity of our campus community is a joint effort between students, staff, and faculty. As such, please report incidents of alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct (Policy 4) promptly to the Office of the Dean of Students or the Department of Public Safety. Anyone seeking additional information about academic or non-academic misconduct reporting procedures and processes may contact Community Standards with questions at 708.235.2845 or communitystandards@govst.edu


        Submit a report regarding non-academic misconduct at govst.edu/conductIR

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

        Concerned about a student? Submit information to the CARE Team.

      • Information for Parents & Guardians

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        Parents & Guardians. Here are some things to keep in mind as you support your student if they receive notification that they may have violated university policies:

        • 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 what happened.
        • Encourage your student to follow the process and meet with Community Standards. Students have a right not to participate in the process. We want to hear from your student to gather a comprehensive understanding of the incident and to collect as much information as possible.
        • Review our website and the Student Handbook and encourage your student to do the same so that they have information about the process.
        • Encourage your student to be honest and to act with integrity during the process, including accepting responsibility if they did violate a policy.  
        • Remember that this process is not about judging your student's character but about assessing specific behavior and considering consequences for those behaviors.
        • Recognize that this is not a legal 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.
        • Be aware that there are decisions your student may make through this process. Please encourage your student to read all correspondence carefully and to be mindful of any deadlines.  
        • Finally, talk to your student about what they have learned from this experience. Accountability is a valuable lesson that can be learned during this process. Many students make mistakes or make uninformed decisions – the learning that comes from these experiences in invaluable!
        Remember: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as well as University policies prevent university staff from discussing your student’s educational record without their written permission. Staff can answer questions about the process, but cannot provide specific details about a case without a written waiver. 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.