The University of San Francisco: Student Conduct, Rights & Responsibilities

FAQs from Parents

The Office of Student Conduct recommends that parents read the Student Conduct Code and the Conduct and Disciplinary System found in the Fogcutter Student Handbook which may answer many of the questions listed below.


1. What is the purpose of the Student Conduct Code and other University policies?
The Student Conduct Code and other University policies are designed to support the university's educational mission and to ensure a safe environment where people can work, study, and live without undue interference. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, by teaching students responsibility and interdependence, and to promote moral and ethical development.

2. My student has been notified of a disciplinary violation. Does he/she have the opportunity to defend him/herself?
Every student notified that s/he may have allegedly violated the Student Conduct Code or other University policy is given the opportunity to respond to the allegations during their conduct meeting.  This meeting allows them the opportunity to provide their responses and discuss their involvement or knowledge of the incident.

3. What happens if my student is found responsible for a violation of the Student Conduct Code or other University policy?
Student that are found responsible are issued sanctions as a means to hold them accountable for their behavior.  These sanctions are educational opportunities designed to help the student learn from their misconduct and prevent further violations or misconduct.

4. What is my role as a parent in the university judicial process? How can I help my student?
You can best help by encouraging your student to be honest and forthcoming and by being supportive while holding the student accountable to your expectations and those of the university. You should remind your student of the importance of attending meetings and fulfilling sanctions. It is not beneficial to the development of the student, or resolution of the matter, for you to take over the process.

5. My student was charged criminally. Why go through University's conduct process?
Our conduct and disciplinary process is completely separate and independent of civil or criminal proceedings.  Our process may proceed prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings.  Additionally, our process is not subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving similar factual circumstances have been dismissed or reduced in civil or criminal proceedings.

6. Do I need to hire an attorney to represent my student?
Hiring an attorney is your choice.  However, the University’s relationship is with the student. The University’s conduct and disciplinary process is designed with the purpose that it is an educational process which promotes the student taking on the responsibility of managing his/her own affairs. Having anyone else take on this role for the student detracts from the learning opportunity for the student. Our staff will only communicate and interact directly with the student; we will communicate with their parent/guardian to the degree that is appropriate and permissible by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Our staff will not interact with legal counsel who is representing a student in a campus disciplinary matter.

7. How are sanctions decided?
Sanctions are decided upon by taking into account how best the student will learn from the sanctions in relation to the violation(s) for which they were found responsible.  Sanctions may be imposed independently or in combination with other sanctions. Sanctioning is determined case by case, since it reflects the needs of the individual student, the student's cumulative disciplinary history, and the impact of that student's behavior on the community. 

8. Can my student appeal a disciplinary decision?
A student may request an appeal on one or more of the following grounds:

  • The decision is not supported by the information.
  • The sanction(s) is not in line with the violation(s).
  • The procedures provided in the Fogcutter Student Handbook were not followed.
  • New relevant information is avialable that was not available at the time of the meeting.

The appeal process is a review of the process and all materials are submitted in writing to the Appeals Officer.  In making their request, the student must submit a written statement in support of their appeal which must meet one or more of the above criteria.

9. Does the outcome go on my student's record?
A notation is made on a student's transcript only in the case of expulsion. However, a student is considered to have a disciplinary record when a conduct officer finds the student responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code or other University Policy.  All disciplinary files are maintained by the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities.

10. Will a disciplinary record keep my student from getting into law school, graduate school, etc.?
A disciplinary record does not automatically exclude a student from further study, jobs, etc. That usually depends on the type and severity of misconduct in which a student is involved. A disciplinary record may lead an admissions office to more closely scrutinize the student's application.  Disciplinary files may also adversely affect a student's ability to participate in other opportunities such as Study Abroad programs, University-sponsored immersion trips, student leadership opportunities, etc.  

11. I know my student could not have done this so why is he/she being put through the judicial process?
Developmentally, this is a period of exploration, experimentation, and testing for students. They may be in a period of transition from late adolescence to adulthood. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents for the first time. As students are testing the beliefs and values they learned at home, they may sometimes make choices that are inconsistent with these values. Such testing is part of the development process and is normal, however, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences.