Student Disciplinary Process: Overview
This section provides a basic overview describing what occurs when a student has been accused of violating the Code of Student Conduct. For a complete listing of rights, responsibilities, and procedures related to student discipline, please refer to the Student Discipline Procedures and the Code of Student Conduct.
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.