This section provides an overview of the procedures to be used when a student has been accused of cheating or other misbehavior. Students, staff, and faculty are strongly encouraged to research the various procedural options prior to coming to any conclusion regarding a particular behavior.
Individuals seeking a complete description of the NC State’s disciplinary process should refer to the Student Discipline Procedures.
Procedures Related to Academic Misconduct
Academic Integrity policies include cheating, plagiarizing, aiding and abetting others to cheat as well as falsifying academic records. In most cases, charges of academic misconduct are resolved by the faculty member for the course.
The procedure in such cases usually begins with a meeting between the student and the professor involved—although it is not required. The student will be presented with the allegation and supporting materials. The student is then given a document called the Report of an Academic Integrity Violation form (RAIV), which contains a summary of the allegation(s) and a listing of any sanctions the faculty member has recommended. The document has two options for the student to consider: (1) either sign the portion of the form taking full responsibility, or (2) sign the portion of the form denying responsibility. NOTE: A student may request up to 2 days to review the decision prior to making this decision.
If the student signs the portion of the form taking full responsibility, there are four outcomes: (1) the student is accepting responsibility for the allegation involved; (2) the student is accepting the recommended sanction provided by the professor; (3) the student has waived the right to appeal the decision; and (4) the student will be placed on Academic Integrity Probation. Academic Integrity Probation states that a student will be suspended or expelled if that student is found responsible for a subsequent academic integrity violation. The signed paperwork is then sent to the Office of Student Conduct where an official record of the infraction will be maintained. NOTE: A faculty member may not lower a student’s grade in the class unless the student has signed the portion of the form taking full responsibility.
If the student signs the portion of the form denying responsibility, it generally means the student does not believe a violation has occurred or that there is disagreement with the recommended sanction. In either case, the allegation will be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct where preparations for a hearing will begin. The hearing is designed to allow a neutral third-party to decide whether or not the student is actually responsible for the allegation and what, if any, sanctions should be imposed.
Soon after the paperwork is received, the student will be notified to set up a meeting with an advisor from the Office of Student Conduct. The meeting is designed to educate the student about the relevant hearing options and procedures. In many situations, students have a choice between two hearing options, or they may choose to plead responsible and accept the recommended sanctions provided by the Hearing Advisor (called a Mutual Agreement). Regardless of the hearing type, the student will have an opportunity to present information, ask questions, and to respond to the charge(s) in question.
Once the student’s case has been finalized (i.e. a decision has been reached via a hearing), the student will be notified of the decision in an outcome letter. A student may appeal the decision of the hearing body within ten days after the electronic delivery of this letter.
Procedures Related to Non-Academic Misconduct
Non-academic cases involve allegations involving alcohol, drugs, vandalism, infliction or threat of bodily harm, sexual misconduct, harassment, and most other behaviors unrelated to cheating or plagiarism. This also includes classroom disturbances, which can be reviewed as non-academic misconduct. These cases are generally reported through University Housing or University Police.
The procedure in non-academic cases usually begins by notifying the student of the alleged misconduct and requesting that the student establish a meeting with the Office of Student Conduct. During the meeting, the student is provided with access to the conduct file and made aware of the specific allegations involved. The student is often given an opportunity to provide additional information that may become part of the case file. Once an allegation of non-academic misconduct has been provided, the student may choose to be represented by an attorney or non-attorney advocate (click here for details).
What happens next depends on the nature of the incident (i.e. minor vs. serious). Minor incidents involve those behaviors that are not likely to result in Suspension or Expulsion from the University. Serious incidents, on the other hand, involve behaviors that could result in Suspension or Expulsion from the University – and therefore must result in a formal hearing. For additional information, please review UNC Policy 700.4.1.
Minor incidents are generally dealt with and finalized during the initial meeting with the Office of Student Conduct. This is known as a Disciplinary Conference.
For incidents that are considered “Serious,” the student will have a choice between two hearing options and may also choose to plead responsible and accept the recommended sanctions provided by the Hearing Advisor (called a Mutual Agreement).
The hearing options consist of an Administrative Hearing or a Conduct Board Hearing. Both are procedurally the same. The Administrative Hearing is considered a time-saving option for some students and consists of a hearing in front of an administrator identified by the Office of Student Conduct. The Conduct Board Hearing takes place before a panel of five students, one of whom will be identified as a presiding officer. In both hearing types, the student will have an opportunity to present information, ask questions, and respond to the charge(s) in question.
Once the student’s case has been finalized (i.e. a decision has been reached via a hearing or a Mutual Agreement), the student will be notified of the decision electronically in the form of an outcome letter.
Students who are in crisis or who are exhibiting concerning or worrisome behaviors often need additional attention in order to ensure they are safe, the community is safe, and that they continue to be successful while at NC State. The Department of Community and Student Standards works closely with other campus partners to help identify and support these students.
If you think an immediate emergency situation exists, contact 911 or Campus Police at 919-515-3000 and report the behavior you have observed.
FERPA and Student Confidentiality
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law, and its corresponding regulations gives students certain rights to privacy of their education records and rights of access to their education records. This university regulation explains the various rights that students enjoy under FERPA as well as information on how to waive those rights.
University Regulation 11.00.01 (FERPA) also contains information regarding the notification of parents and legal guardians of alcohol or drug violations. The Office of Student Conduct may notify parents or guardians of students under the age of 21 of certain alcohol or drug violations. This notification generally will take place upon the determination of a violation by a decision maker in the student conduct process. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Office of Student Conduct will generally not notify parents or legal guardians of students under the age of 21 of first time alcohol violations.
Frequently Asked Questions by Parents
My son / daughter has a conduct case. Can you talk with me about it?
Staff members in the Office of Student Conduct are always able to share information regarding the Code of Student Conduct and Student Discipline Procedures. A student may sign a release permitting staff in the Office of Student Conduct to discuss the specifics of his/her case. This release must be made voluntarily and will stay on record in our office for one calendar year unless the student revokes it prior to that end date. Sometimes it is necessary for a parent to explain the importance of open communication to the student and the reasons behind the request to allow staff to share information.
If this fails, there is a mechanism by which a parent can prove that the child is still classified as dependent, which would result in the ability to communicate with staff in the Office of Student Conduct. It is our hope to work as openly and as often as we can with parents so that we might help the student be successful.
Can I be present while my student is meeting with the Office of Student Conduct?
Yes, as long as the student signs a release allowing you to participate. Students records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law, which prevents universities from disclosing a student’s educational records without that student’s permission. In cases where the student agrees to have their parent present during a meeting or hearing, the student must first sign a document allowing their disciplinary records to be disclosed. In most situations this is a minor issue that takes minutes to resolve.
In general, our office strongly encourages the involvement of parents in the disciplinary process.
Can I speak for my student at the meeting or hearing?
Students are expected to present their own perspective while participating in a meeting or hearing. Parents and others may assist the student in preparing their presentation, but only the student may present the information unless a Notice of Representation has been submitted.
Without a formal Notice of Representation, parents and others involved in the hearing process are considered “observers.” This role allows them to be present but not participate in the meeting or hearing unless called upon by the advisor or hearing officer.
Should I hire an attorney for my student?
The decision of whether to hire an attorney should be made on a case by case basis and might depend on the severity of the circumstances involved. For additional information about the role of an attorney within the university’s disciplinary process, please visit Attorneys/Advocates.
How will this incident affect my student’s ability to get into graduate school?
This depends on the materials in the student’s file and the educational plans of the student. In general, the more serious the charges and events in the file, and the more intrusive the scrutiny of the graduate program—medical or law schools for example—then the more likely there will be some post-undergraduate effect from the incident(s). Staff in the Office of Student Conduct have sufficient experience to review your file and describe the possible effects, as well as any opportunities you might have to mitigate those effects.