FAQ for Respondents
If you have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct, we encourage you to seek assistance through the many resources at NC State.
Although being contacted by our office can be overwhelming, Student Conduct will provide a prompt and equitable process that is fair and impartial through our Student Discipline Procedures. Participating in the conduct process ensures your right to due process and gives you the opportunity to be heard. We will provide a transparent environment to review all of your rights, responsibilities, questions, and options. In addition to connecting with our office, a variety of other departments on campus can also help provide support to you during this time. Information on resolving cases involving allegations of relationship or interpersonal violence (including dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking) and sexual misconduct can be found in the Procedures, specifically, Appendix G.
Below are some commonly asked questions.
I’ve been accused of relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. What should I do? Should I contact the complainant?
No. Do not contact the complainant. While it is normal to want to ask questions to clear up any confusion, this may lead to an individual feeling harassed. Instead, the university will assist in gathering information about an incident. You will have the opportunity to review your concerns and questions with a staff member, and you will have the opportunity to share your perspective.
I’ve received contact from Student Conduct. What does that mean?
A referral to, or contact from, Student Conduct doesn’t imply any type of decision. Rather, we connect with students to walk them through an important process. You will always be notified of any alleged conduct charges (if applicable), and be given the opportunity to respond. This most commonly occurs through the conduct process.
What should I do next?
If you have been asked to meet with Student Conduct, please contact us at 919.515.2963 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we encourage you to seek assistance through the variety of resources that NC State has to offer. If you need help and aren’t sure what to do, a staff member in Student Conduct can help connect you to a specific resource. We will also be able to explain the procedures for investigating and/or adjudicating these types of cases.
May I have an attorney?
Yes. NC State does allow the participation of licensed attorneys and other advocates in Title IX related conduct cases. Despite the presence of attorneys or other advocates as part of the disciplinary process, NC State’s conduct process remains non-adversarial and educational in nature. If there are criminal charges arising from the same incident it is always wise to seek advice from legal counsel.
I see cases like this on the news. Is Student Conduct going to contact the media?
No. Student Conduct will never release your information to the media.
Student records are confidential and protected by a Federal law called FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA’s 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.
Student records are only shared if there is an educational need to know, or in the very rare occasion that a record is subpoenaed by a government agency, such as a court.
What if the alleged incident occurred off campus?
The Code applies to conduct that occurs on University premises, at University-sponsored activities, and to off-campus conduct (whether in NC, another state or a foreign country) that adversely affects the university community, its mission, programs, the pursuit of its objectives, or poses a serious risk of danger to, or disruption or interference with, a member of the university community. The university will investigate reports of interpersonal or relationship violence or sexual misconduct which occur on or off campus.
The Conduct Process
What are my rights and responsibilities?
Your rights and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3 of the Student Discipline Procedures.
Does the University automatically think I’m responsible?
No. All complaints will be investigated and adjudicated promptly and equitably. Section 3.1.5 of the Student Discipline Procedures states that you will “be presumed not responsible unless proven by a preponderance of the evidence to have violated the Code.”
If I have an attorney, what does an attorney do during the process?
Licensed attorneys and other advocates may fully participate in disciplinary procedures to the same extent afforded to the student or student organization they represent. An attorney or other advocate may be present with you for a meeting and/or hearing, they may assist in preparing you for a disciplinary procedure, and they may speak or ask questions on your behalf. The conduct process remains student-centered.
What happens during my meeting(s) with Student Conduct?
A staff member will help you understand your rights and responsibilities, briefly discuss the concern that the university has received, answer questions about the alleged charges, and give you the opportunity to add additional information regarding your perspective.
The staff member that you meet with initially is a procedural resource person, and will not serve in the role of a decision-maker. They will help you prepare procedurally for the conduct process. They will also be able to help answer any questions that you may have.
What, if anything, will my parents be told?
NC State’s primary relationship is to you, the student, and not to your parent or guardian. Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and will not be shared without a signed release from a student. Although you are not required to contact your parent or guardian, many students often do consult with family members for support.
Will my professors know about the complaint?
No. Students sometimes request interim academic measures (such as extensions on assignments or rescheduled exams). In order to preserve the privacy of students, we often work with Student Ombuds Services, which can assist with academic flexibility requests to instructors.
Will there be a hearing?
Yes, if there are charges of relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. A case that results in charges of this nature will most often be referred to an administrative hearing.
Is the hearing like a trial?
No. While the student conduct system does incorporate some principles associated with the legal system, it is fundamentally an administrative review process and should not be compared to the system of resolution offered in the court system. Neither the rules of civil procedure nor the rules of evidence applies.
NC State’s responsibility is to provide a safe environment for all members of the university community, to educate students about appropriate conduct, and to provide a fair hearing process. Hearings are held in a conference style room.
Will I be drilled with questions from an attorney like I see on TV court dramas?
No. Since this is not a criminal process, what occurs here is not like what you see on TV. It’s important for you to know that you will be treated with respect throughout the process. Although attorneys are permitted, they often play a small role in the hearing itself.
All questions will be directed to the hearing officer, who will filter the questions to make sure that they are relevant and appropriate. There is no direct cross examination or direct dialog between parties. Instead, this element of the process is managed by the hearing officer. It is the expectation that all parties participate in a manner that is civil and respectful.
Will students be involved in the hearing?
No. Cases that involve charges of relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct are referred to an administrative hearing. Unlike the student conduct board, students do not participate in the administrative hearing process.
How should I prepare for the hearing?
First, you should familiarize yourself with both the Code of Student Conduct and Student Discipline Procedures. You should also attend any and all pre-hearing conferences or meetings with a conduct staff member, who will help familiarize you with the process and help you prepare for the hearing. You may also consult with an attorney or non-attorney advocate.
What information and materials will I receive about the case and the complaint in order to best prepare for the hearing?
A staff member from Student Conduct will briefly review the concerns that the university has received during one of your first meetings. Additionally, you will receive a full copy of the current case file prior to any hearing procedures. Other resources, including rights and responsibilities as well as other relevant forms, are sent to students through electronic correspondence from Student Conduct.
Who can I bring to the hearing with me?
You may be represented by an attorney or non-attorney advocate. You may also have a non-participatory observer as support during the hearing. An observer may not serve as a witness in the hearing.
Can I bring witnesses?
Yes. You are permitted to have both factual witnesses and character witnesses participate in the hearing. Each witness can only serve in one role. It is your responsibility to ensure that a witness attends the hearing.
Will I be suspended or expelled?
There are two phases to a hearing. The first is a fact finding phase to determine responsibility, or lack thereof, for the charge(s). If you are found responsible for one or more charges, there will be a sanctioning phase to determine how the university will respond.
Cases which are reviewed in an administrative hearing can result in several potential outcomes. If a student is found not responsible, sanctions will not be issued. If a student is found responsible, they are subject to a full range of sanctions. Misconduct that involves relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct may result in suspension or expulsion from the university.
How is a decision made?
The decision to find a respondent responsible for a charge or charges will be based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, that is, whether the respondent “more likely than not” engaged in the alleged misconduct. This standards of proof is typically used nationwide for Title IX related cases within the university setting.
Do I have the right to appeal a decision?
Yes. You will receive information about your appellate rights with the hearing outcome letter. Information about appeals can also be found in Section 7 of the Student Discipline Procedures.
How long will the process take?
The length of the process depends on each case. For example, the time needed to conduct a thorough investigation, the number of witnesses, any college breaks or university holidays, etc. Generally, the process should take around 60 days. The university will not usually wait until the conclusion of a criminal investigation or proceeding to investigate a report of relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct.
What resources are available to me?
Please see a full list of resources available to you on our website.
Students whose behaviors are reviewed by the student conduct process often feel a great deal of stress. For some students, the additional time taken by an investigation or hearing process further aggravates their discomfort.
If you are finding that you are having difficulty focusing on your daily activities or that stress resulting from your current disciplinary status is manifesting itself in other negative ways in your life, please contact the Counseling Center at 919.515.2423.