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Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution

Preparing for Your Disciplinary Conference

JAMS - Judicial Resources

A case that has been referred to our office will be resolved in one of three ways: through mediation, in a disciplinary hearing, or in a disciplinary conference. This page is devoted to discussing what to expect should you receive notification to attend a disciplinary conference. If you are looking for information about mediation or a disciplinary hearing, please refer to those pages on our site.

Disciplinary Conference Overview

A disciplinary conference is designed to be an informal discussion between you and a Hearing Officer about the incident in question. You may also have an advisor present at this meeting. The advisor must be a current AU student, faculty, or staff member. The individual who submitted the Student Conduct Referral Form will not be present at the meeting. Prior to your conference, you will be offered the opportunity to provide a written statement describing your recollection of the events in question. During the meeting with your Hearing Officer, your Hearing Officer will ask you to describe the incident and may ask for clarification. You will also be asked to indicate whether you are "Responsible" or "Not Responsible" for each of the alleged violations of the Prohibited Conduct or Residence Hall Regulations sections of the Student Conduct Code. You will have a chance to ask the Hearing Officer any questions you may have. A Hearing Officer may want to meet with all parties involved prior to making a decision on each individual case. The Hearing Officer will make a decision about your case based upon a preponderance of the evidence standard (the Hearing Officer must believe that there is a greater weight of credible evidence or that it was "more likely than not" that a violation occurred).

When a case is assigned to be resolved in a disciplinary conference, the student will not be removed from housing, suspended, or dismissed. A student may appeal any outcome where there is a finding of responsible. 

Before Your Disciplinary Conference

Before your disciplinary conference, we recommend that you look over the description of the incident that you received from our office (it can be accessed via a link you will receive in an email from our office). One of our primary goals in a disciplinary conference is to give students an opportunity to share their perspective on the events described in that report. With this in mind, we encourage you to think carefully about the incident, trying to recall as much detail as possible. Some students find it helpful to make an outline of the events of the incident. With an outline, you are better able to ensure that you cover any and all points you think are pertinent during the conference. This is helpful, as your Hearing Officer will want to hear the details of the incident relayed in a concise and chronological manner.

Advisors

You may have an advisor to assist you throughout the case. It is your responsibility to acquaint your advisor with the incident. The role of the advisor is strictly limited to consultation. Your advisor may be present during the disciplinary conference but is not permitted to speak on your behalf to your Hearing Officer. Advisors must be current student, staff, or faculty members at American University. Participation of persons acting as legal counsel is not permitted. For more information on advisors, see Section XI of the Student Conduct Code. Please note that, if you wish to use an advisor, it is your responsibility to inform them of the time and date of the disciplinary conference —our office only contacts you with this information.

Witness Statements

You may submit witness statements in connection with your conference. Statement forms may be picked up in the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolutions Services Office before, during or after your disciplinary conference and are also available on our website. Your witnesses will need to complete the form which will include a section where they can submit their statement. The witness should return the completed form to our office, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please note that any witnesses should either submit their statement in person or have a Housing & Dining staff member sign it to verify identity. Witnesses may be either fact or character witnesses. It is your responsibility to inform your witnesses of all logistical deadlines. If you would prefer to have a witness speak to the Hearing Officer, please inform the Hearing Officer.

No Obligation to Participate

If you decide not to schedule or appear to a disciplinary conference, the outcome of your case will be decided in your absence based on the information available. If you do appear, you do not have an obligation to answer questions or speak throughout the conference.

Purpose of Sanctions

Our office’s goal is to educate students who are found responsible for a policy violation about the consequences of their actions and to help them make better decisions going forward. All of our sanctions have been designed with this goal in mind. Moreover, sanctioning determinations will also be guided by factors such as the nature of the violation and whether or not a student has violated the disciplinary code in the past. A student is also welcome to suggest any sanction that they feel would provide an especially effective learning experience.

What are possible outcomes of the case?

The range of consequences may include: warning, censure, disciplinary probation, educational classes, reflection or research papers, or community service. Relocation within housing, an off-campus alcohol and other drug evaluation, or restitution may be warranted given the circumstances of the case. 

Parents may be notified for alcohol and drug offenses. At American University, it is typical for parents to be notified if a student is found responsible for a second alcohol offense or for a first marijuana offense.

HONESTY AND CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY

An academic community exists to promote the pursuit of learning and truth. Honesty is the cornerstone of this pursuit. Furthermore, a disciplinary proceeding requires honesty if it is to be fair and just to all concerned. Therefore, it is the policy of American University’s Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services office to accept into any investigation, disciplinary record or proceeding only those statements/evidence in which the attesting party has clearly sworn to the truthful nature of the statement in the presence of an authorized University Official or Notary Public. This policy pertains to all statements, written or verbal in nature, issued by complainants, respondents, or witnesses who may have knowledge of incidents or information pertinent to any case on file in the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services office. In the event that any individual knowingly offers false testimony in violation of this policy, that individual may be subject to disciplinary action taken by the University, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal from the University.

Any information disclosed at the proceeding is confidential and shall not be disclosed to parties outside of the hearing. The information disclosed at the hearing is not be discussed, shown, or shared in any way with anyone outside of the membership of the hearing body or the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services office. Discussion will be constrained by institutional and statutory regulations and policies.

If you will be participating in a disciplinary conference and have any further questions, you are urged to meet with a staff member in Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services. To make an appointment, please call (202)885-3328.

Additional Information

Finally, please note that disciplinary hearings and conflict resolution services are discussed on separate pages on this website. Additional information about the disciplinary process is also outlined in the Student Conduct Code, available on the Student Conduct webpage.