FAQs - Conduct Process
Common questions about the Student Conduct Process
Where is the Dean of Students located?
Where can I find the rules?
What is the Student Conduct Code?
What does it mean to be written up?
What will the meeting be like?
What should I do if I receive a notice of a meeting?
Can I call the RD or the Conduct Officer and clear everything up over the phone?
When do I find out the results of the meeting?
What is going to happen to me if I am found responsible for violating the code?
What is a sanction?
What if I fail to complete my sanction?
What does it mean to get a strike?
What is meant by a sanction of deferred housing contract termination?
What if I do not agree with the decision?
What is the $35.00 fee or why do I have to pay the $35.00?
Will my parents be notified?
Will this incident appear on my transcript?
The Dean of Students Office is located in 113 Upton Hall on the Gorham campus (enter Upton on the side by Health Services). You can call our office at (207) 780-5242 or fax us at (207) 780-5958. You can also check out our website: www.usm.maine.edu/deanofstudents
The majority of the policies and procedures are online and in the Student Conduct Code. You can find the link to the Residence Hall Policies and the Student Conduct Code here: www.usm.maine.edu/deanofstudents.
The Student Conduct Code is a University of Maine System document that outlines University policies and provides students guidelines for appropriate behavior on campus. The Code is a contract between the student and the University and it applies on and off campus.
When a Residential Life Staff member and/or the USM Public Safety address problem behavior that may or may not violate University policy, they are required to document the interaction. This documentation is shared with the Department of Residential Life and the Dean of Students Office. Depending upon the violation and the student’s conduct history, a Resident Director (RD) or a Conduct Officer (Officer) will send a notice of a meeting to the students listed on the incident report.
When meeting with a RD; the student and the RD will discuss the incident and come to a mutual agreement as to the violations and the sanctions. The meeting will generally be a one-on-one meeting between the student and the RD unless it makes sense to bring in other students involved in the incident during the same meeting. If the student and the RD agree that a policy was violated, then by signing the resolution, the student is placing themselves on an agreed upon sanction. The student will need to sign off on the Resolution Form to close the incident. When a student signs an agreement with a RD resolving a case they have 48 hours in which they can revoke their agreement. To revoke the resolution, the student needs to fill out a Revocation Form from the Dean of Students Office within 48 hours. After the form is completed, the case will be forwarded to an Officer and the Officer will schedule a meeting with the student to resolve the case.
If the student and the RD cannot come to an agreement on the violations and the sanctions, the case will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for a meeting with an Officer and resolution.
When meeting with a Conduct Officer, the student will receive a notice of a formal University hearing with an Officer that includes the date and location of the alleged violation, the charges against them, and the date and time of the meeting. The meeting will generally be a one-on-one meeting between the student and the Officer unless it makes sense to bring in other students involved in the incident during the same meeting. After the meeting the officer will decide if any policy was violated and issue a written decision with any sanctions imposed.
The most important thing to do is to attend the meeting. If you cannot attend the meeting as scheduled, it is your responsibility to reschedule the meeting. If you are scheduled to meet with a RD and you do not attend, your case will be referred to an Officer. If you are scheduled to meet with an Officer and you do not reschedule prior to the initial meeting time, the meeting will be held without your input and a decision will be made as to whether or not you violated policy.
This meeting is your opportunity to share what happened and to ask any questions you may have about policies and procedures. The RD or the Conduct Officer will ask you about the alleged violation and your involvement in the incident. Honesty is important and it will be used as a factor when resolving the case. Sometimes students are called in to meet with a RD or an Officer simply as a part of an ongoing investigation and not because they are being charged with a violation of the Code.
The Dean of Students Office and the Resident Directors will answer general process questions by telephone; however in most cases you will need to attend an in-person meeting to discuss the incident. If attending in person cannot happen due to how far you live from campus, etc. you may contact the Dean of Students Office to discuss what other options may exist for resolving your case.
If you meet with a Resident Director, the Resident Director will work to resolve the case with you during the meeting. If you meet with a Conduct Officer a decision will be sent to you a few days after your meeting.
Appropriate disciplinary and educational sanctions are imposed according to the nature of the violation. Students are held accountable and sanctions are imposed with the goal of changing behavior. Sanctions range from an Official Warning through Dismissal from the University of Maine System. While the majority of student conduct cases do not warrant suspension or expulsion, these sanctions are imposed for serious violations of the Code and/or for repeated violators.
Sanctions are imposed when a RD and a student agree to a resolution regarding an incident or when an Officer has found a student in violation of the Code. They are all assigned with a beginning and an end date.
Sanctions can have many components including the following:
1. Housing contract action (warning, probation, deferred termination, or termination)
2. University wide action (warning, probation, deferred suspension, suspension, deferred dismissal, and dismissal)
3. Alcohol strike(s) (only when the violation is alcohol)
4. Educational assignments (including things like community restitution, research and reflection papers, and counseling)
5. Restitution (for damages)
6. Criminal Trespass Notice
7. Loss of Privileges
If a student fails to complete a sanction (such as a research paper or attending an educational course) by the due date they will be charged with a violation of the Code called Failure to Comply with Sanction and additional sanctions may be imposed.
USM has a three strike alcohol policy. You can only be sanctioned a strike for an alcohol violation. Violations of the alcohol policy generally result in one or two strikes and three strikes may jeopardize a student’s ability to remain in housing. Students found responsible for hosting, allowing others to violate the alcohol policy in your room, will minimally receive two strikes.
A deferred sanction of housing contract termination means that any new violation of any policy will result minimally in loss of housing. Students who receive this sanction are clearly in jeopardy of losing their housing.
If you cannot come to an agreement with the RD, your case will be referred to a Conduct Officer and a meeting will be scheduled with you and the Officer. If you initially sign off in agreement with the RD and then change your mind, you have 48 hours from signing off with the RD to fill out a Revocation Form with the Dean of Students Office. After receiving this form, the Dean of Students Office will schedule a formal hearing with you and an Officer.
If you do not agree with an Officer’s decision, you may file a written request for a review of the case by the Student Conduct Committee. Your written request for a review must be filed with the Office of Community Standards within seven days of receiving the conduct officer’s decision. Student Conduct Committee decisions can only be reviewed if the sanction is Suspension or Dismissal. Review procedures are detailed in the Student Conduct Code. For more information on the appeal process, visit www.usm.maine.edu/deanofstudents/review-committee-process
Students found in violation of the Student Conduct Code are billed a mandatory fee of $35.00 per incident. Failure to pay this fee to the Dean of Students office by the due date, results in a $35.00 late fee and the late fee and the original bill is placed on the student’s bill with the Student Billing Office as a $70.00 Dean of Students fee. If your student bill gets sent to your parents’ address, they may see that you have received a Dean of Students fee.
The alleged violation is an issue between the student and the University. Your disciplinary files are confidential and protected by University policy based on federal law. If a parent calls the University about a disciplinary matter staff may answer general questions, but they will refer the parent to their student for specifics. You may sign a confidentiality waiver with the Dean of Students Office to allow non-involved parties (such as your parents, advisor, or employer) access to your disciplinary files. Your parents may also gain access to these files if they claim you as a dependent on their income taxes.
Most violations do not become part of your academic record, but are maintained in a separate disciplinary record in the Dean of Students Office. Students who are suspended or dismissed from USM are not permitted to attend any institution in the University of Maine System for the duration of the sanction period. When a student requests a transcript to apply to a non University of Maine System school, a letter is sent to the transfer institution for those students suspended or dismissed for a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense.