Frequently Asked Questions
- I want to report a violation, what should I do?
- I was documented in an incident report. What happens next?
- I received an administrative hearing notice with a list of charges and a hearing date and time, where did these charges come from?
- I was charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Do I have the opportunity to defend myself?
- Am I required to attend my hearing?
- If I live off-campus, am I required to follow the Code of Student Conduct.
- I was involved with an incident two weeks ago, why am I just getting a hearing notice now?
- I have been charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and I’m also facing criminal charges for the same incident, doesn't that violate "double jeopardy"?
- I am charged with a disciplinary violation. Will my parents find out?
- What is the Medical Amnesty policy?
- How do you qualify for Medical Amnesty?
- What are the exceptions to the Medical Amnesty policy?
- I was an innocent bystander. Why did I receive a notice to attend a Student Conduct Board Hearing as a witness? Must I attend?
- As a charged student, can I bring my parents, boyfriend/girlfriend or lawyer to a hearing?
- What is an advisor?
- How are decisions of responsibility made?
- I have been found responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and have been sanctioned. What happens if I do not complete my sanction?
- What does it mean if I am "blocked?"
- I don't agree with the decision/sanction. What action can I take?
- I want to be a board member, what does it involve?
- What is a disciplinary record?
- How are disciplinary records maintained?
- If a graduate school or future employer request to view my disciplinary record, what do they see?
- I am applying to law school/graduate school/an employer, and the application asks whether I have ever been subject to disciplinary action. What should I say?
- I am facing suspension/expulsion from Northeastern University. If I am suspended or expelled, do I get a refund for tuition?
- Can my disciplinary history affect my scholarship?
1. I want to report a violation, what should I do?
Reports of inappropriate conduct may be made directly to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. Additionally, allegations that may also be violations of the law should be reported to the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD). Resident students should contact Residential Life, and Northeastern neighbors should contact the Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs at 617-373-3168.
2. I was documented by Residential Life/Northeastern University Police Department/Boston Police Department/Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs in an incident report. What happens next?
All incident reports are forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) where the reports are reviewed and evaluated to determine what action should be taken based on the circumstances of the incident. If the report indicates that a violation of the Code of Student Conduct could have occurred, the student will receive a hearing notice with the charges listed. The purpose of the hearing is to allow the student to share their side of the story. Depending on the severity of the alleged violation, the case will be heard in an Administrative Hearing or a Student Conduct Board Hearing. Incidents occurring off campus, or involving off-campus students, are referred directly to the OSCCR. Cases where the result could be suspension or expulsion from the University may be heard by the Student Conduct Board. All other cases are heard by an Administrator in the OSSCR or in Residential Life (if the incident occurred in the Residence halls.) See the Code of Student Conduct for more information.
3. I received an administrative hearing notice with a list of charges and a hearing date and time, where did these charges come from?
The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution receives reports from various places including Residential Life, Northeastern University Police Department and Boston Police. Once the reports are received, a staff member is assigned to the case and the report is reviewed. Based on the information in the report, the staff member determines what violations of the Code of Student Conduct could have occurred and the charges in the hearing notice are a result of that review.
4. I was charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Do I have the opportunity to defend myself?
Yes. Students are not assumed responsible for the violation(s). The hearing is the opportunity for the student to tell his/her side of the story. Students faced with potential sanctions that include suspension or expulsion from Northeastern may have their case heard by The Student Conduct Board. Most other cases are processed through Administrative hearings. Administrative hearings are conducted by a member of the OSCCR staff or a staff member in Residential Life, depending on the circumstances of the case. After the hearing, the hearing body will determine what was more likely than not to have occurred by weighing the information in the report and the student’s account of what happened and any other available information. Please see the Code of Student Conduct for the specifics on policies and procedures.
5. Am I required to attend my hearing?
You are not required to attend. If you choose not to attend the hearing, the administrator has the option to dismiss the action with or without prejudice to either party, set a new hearing date, or make a decision based on the information available to the administrator. If you do not attend, you are losing the opportunity to provide information on your behalf.
6. If I live off-campus, am I required to follow the Code of Student Conduct?
The University sets appropriate and clear guidelines for the behavior of its students. The guidelines are established to ensure that student conduct does not adversely affect the educational mission of the University or its relationship with the surrounding community, sister institutions, or members of the University community. Therefore, behavior occurring off campus may be subject to the Code of Student Conduct.
7. I was involved with an incident two weeks ago, why am I just getting a hearing notice now?
It is possible that the incident you were involved with needed further investigation before it got passed onto the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR). OSCCR does not investigate incidents; that is primarily taken care of by either the Northeastern University Police Department or Boston Police Department. Therefore, if further investigation was needed, it’s possible that our office did not receive the report until a few weeks after it occurred. Once it arrives in OSCCR, a staff member is assigned to the case, reviews the report and then sends out a hearing notice to the student(s) involved.
8. I have been charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and I’m also facing criminal charges for the same incident, doesn't that violate "double jeopardy"?
Northeastern University’s Code of Student Conduct is an outline of the University's expectations of behavior that promotes the safety and welfare of the community. The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution is responsible for the process that determines violations of the Code. This process is entirely separate from the court system and furthermore is not a legal process. However, it is possible that some of the violations in the Code of Student Conduct are also violations of state or federal law. Thus, students may have to face both criminal charges and University disciplinary charges. It must be noted that the findings in one area will not be an acceptable challenge to the findings in the other.
These simultaneous proceedings are not considered "double jeopardy" because the two proceedings are a part of different systems and they are different in their outcomes. The Constitution's "double jeopardy" clause applies only to successive criminal prosecutions for the same offense. OSCCR’s conduct process is not a criminal process and is not related to the court system.
9. I am charged with a disciplinary violation. Will my parents find out?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of students educational records, including disciplinary files, from disclosure to any third party without the student's permission. This means that the specifics of a student's disciplinary case will not be discussed with his or her parents or with anyone else unless the student has waived that right to privacy. You can check the parental notification selection you made by going onto myNEU. (See below for an exception to this rule.)
So if FERPA won't let OSCCR talk to my parents, why did my mom/dad get a letter about the incident I was involved in?
FERPA's provisions are not absolute; there are limited exceptions. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 1998 allows colleges and universities to contact the parents of students in disciplinary cases involving drugs and alcohol. The University's parental notification policy provides for different types of contact depending on the type of violation:
- The parents of students found in violation of the alcohol or drug policy may be sent a copy of the decision letter that the student receives.
- The parents of students who are at risk of being suspended or expelled and are sent a Student Conduct Board pre-hearing notice, may receive a copy of the pre- hearing notice.
10. What is the Medical Amnesty policy?
The Medical Amnesty policy was enacted in Fall 2006 to encourage students to report potential alcohol or drug emergencies without disciplinary repercussions. As long as qualifications are met, students who seek medical attention for another person and the person who receives medical attention during that alcohol or drug emergency will not face disciplinary action by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for the possession or use of alcohol or other drugs.
11. How do you qualify for Medical Amnesty?
To qualify for Medical Amnesty, a student/organization must call for assistance. The emergency number for the Northeastern Police Department is 617.373.3333. That student/organization is required to remain with the student experiencing the emergency until medical assistance arrives.
The student requiring medical assistance (and possibly the referring student(s) / organization) will receive information from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution explaining their requirments to receive Medical Amnesty. The requirements may include attending a meeting with the Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (O.P.E.N). As long as the student(s)/organization complies with all directives, there will be no diciplinary action taken related to the violation of possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs and no disciplinary record of the incident kept in the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.
12. What are the exceptions to the Medical Amnesty policy?
In cases where an individual or organization fails to seek emergency medical assistance when it is clearly needed, disciplinary action may be taken against the individual/organization as well as the student who required the medical assistance.
Additionally, medical amnesty does not apply if a student is found by University officials (professional or student staff).
Medical amnesty applies only to alcohol or other drug-related emergencies but does not apply to other conduct violations such as assault, property damage, or distribution of illicit substances. If other violations occur, then a student will face disciplinary charges for those violations. The use/or abuse of alcohol or drugs is never considered a mitigating circumstance for any other violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
13. I was an innocent bystander. Why did I receive a notice to attend a Student Conduct Board Hearing as a witness? Must I attend?
The Hearing Board is comprised of Northeastern University students who share a commitment to maintaining a respectful and diverse community. If you have been called to appear as a witness, it is because they feel you have information that is relevant to the case before them. As a Northeastern University student, it is imperative that you cooperate fully. If you are afraid to testify because of retaliation, contact the Director of OSCCR immediately so that your concern can be addressed.
14. As a charged student, can I bring my parents, boyfriend/girlfriend or lawyer to a hearing?
Parents/friends/lawyers do not have a direct role in the student conduct process. The Hearing proceedings are closed. Students are responsible for their behavior while enrolled at the University, and they are expected to discuss their actions and be held accountable for any violations of the Code of Student Conduct. However, a student may bring relevant witnesses and an advisor from the Northeastern University community. If parents have questions about disciplinary processes in colleges and universities, we recommend the following link for information: ASJA Parent information.
15. What is an advisor?
An advisor is a member of the Northeastern University community who has been trained by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution to advise students on the Student Conduct Hearing process. Students who receive a Student Conduct Board Hearing notice will also receive a list of University advisors from which to choose. The advisor can help to inform you of the process and can assist in preparing the student for the hearing. The advisor is allowed in the room during the Student Conduct Board Hearing, but will not be permitted to speak for the student.
16. How are decisions of responsibility made?
Administrators and/or the Student Conduct Board decide whether or not a student is responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct by weighing all of the information presented to them. The standard of information used is called “preponderance of information” or what we refer to as “more likely than not.” If the hearing body believes it was more likely than not that a violation of the Code occurred, the student will be found responsible. Both administrators and the students on the Student Conduct Board receive regular training to assist them in making sound decisions of responsibility.
17. I have been found responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and have been sanctioned. What happens if I do not complete my sanction?
Students who are assigned sanctions are required to complete them by the designated deadline. Students who do not complete sanctions will have a conduct hold placed on their University record. Blocks will not be cleared until all sanctions are reviewed and determined to be completed satisfactorily.
18. What does it mean if I have a "Conduct Hold"?
Students may have a hold placed on their student account by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for two reasons. If a student has failed to meet the requirements of an imposed disciplinary sanction by the prescribed deadline, they will have a conduct hold placed on their account until the sanction is fulfilled. Additionally, a student may have a hold placed on their account if they have a pending matter that must be addressed with the Office. This hold will not be removed until all required sanctions have been completed and approved. Having a conduct hold may prevent you from registering for classes, or if you have already registered, your classes will be purged unless the hold is cleared before the end of the “I AM HERE” period. Please contact the office for additional information.
- the student asserts that the proscribed process was not followed and that impaired his or her right to a fair opportunity to be heard
- information has arisen that could not reasonably have been made available during the original hearing and may have been sufficient to alter the original conduct board/officer’s decision
- The student requests review of the sanction(s) because of extraordinary personal circumstances
Please see the Procedures for Student Appeals in the Code of Student Conduct. Appeals must be turned in within five (5) working days of the date on the decision letter.
20. I want to be a board member, what does it involve?
As a student conduct board member, you will hear cases of misconduct that could result in suspension or expulsion, as well as complaints of alleged Academic Integrity Violations. If you would like to contribute to the Northeastern community want to be involved on campus and are willing to make a commitment to serving for at least one semester, we encourage you to apply. Interested students are asked to fill out an application and participate in an interview process. Recruitment periods are held at least once a year. Please contact the office for additional information.
22. How are disciplinary records maintained?
The University will keep the file until a student graduates, at which time the file will be destroyed. The exception to this rule is for students who were suspended or expelled from the University. The University will permanently maintain the disciplinary records of students who are separated from Northeastern by suspension or expulsion. The comment “Withdrawn, Expulsion” will be printed on the student’s transcript if the student is expelled. The comment “Withdrawn, University Action” will be printed on the student’s transcript if the student is suspended.
If a student withdraws from the University, disciplinary records will be maintained until the student’s original expected graduation date. If the student re-enters the University, the records will be destroyed upon graduation.
23. If a graduate school or future employer request to view my disciplinary record, what do they see?
If an institution or company requests your disciplinary history, they will ask that you sign a waiver so they can access the information. This request, along with your signature is brought to our office and we look up your disciplinary file. If you do not have one, we tell the requesting party such and they go on their way. If you do have a history, we share the information with them. Students who have been charged with a violation and are found not responsible are considered to have no disciplinary record.
24. I am applying to law school/graduate school/an employer, and the application asks whether I have ever been subject to disciplinary action. What should I say?
Students should tell the truth on background check forms. A disciplinary violation in college, depending on its severity, is unlikely to prevent you from being admitted to law school or graduate school, or keep you from getting a job or security clearance. Providing false information is never a good idea. These questions are asked of applicants not only to find out what their disciplinary history is but also to see if they are honest. If the school or employer finds information relating to a disciplinary case and you did not report the case originally, the school or employer could take action of its own up to and including dismissal (depending on policies of the school or employer).
25. I am facing suspension/expulsion from Northeastern University. If I am suspended or expelled, do I get a refund for tuition?
The University’s refund policies are outlined in the Financial Aid and General Financial Policies and Procedures section of the Undergraduate Student Handbook. If you are suspended or expelled after the fifth week of a full semester (Fall or Spring), there will be no refund given. Please see the policy for details.
26. Can my disciplinary history affect my scholarship?
All scholarships are different and each of them has a different set of requirements. If you are applying for a scholarship and you have a disciplinary history at Northeastern University, it is possible that the scholarship will request information about your disciplinary history. If this request is made, you will be notified because the scholarship will need to obtain your permission in order to view your disciplinary record.
If you are currently on scholarship, our office does not proactively report information about disciplinary incidents. We will share information when requested as long as the student has given the scholarship permission to access his/her file.
If you are suspended or expelled as a result of a disciplinary incident, a notice is sent to your school to inform them of your withdrawal as a result of disciplinary action. This action could affect your scholarship. Please refer to the terms of your scholarship for more information.