Campus Conduct Records and Program Eligibility
Friend, Julie, International Educator
SHOULD A STUDENT WHO HAS BEEN DISCIPLINED FOR UNDERAGE DRINKING be admitted to a semester abroad program in Italy? Is it sensible to allow student who has been found guilty of selling pot to participate in a faculty-led program to Turkey? Is it acceptable to refuse admission to a student for these or other violations?
Most education abroad programs have eligibility requirements, such as class standing, minimum age, major, grade point average (GPA), etc. Increasingly, higher education institutions, organizations, and providers offering education abroad opportunities also require a review of conduct or disciplinary violations, or a statement of understanding in their applications stating that the institution reserves the right to deny or revoke acceptance if a student violates the university's or organizations codes of conduct. Such practices, however, vary greatly. Evaluating an education abroad applicants campus conduct or disciplinary record is important because it may help to identify behaviors that might jeopardize the effectiveness of an education abroad program. However, review procedures must be applied fairly and consistently to all applicants. Developing specific, transparent procedures that complement institutional practices will ensure that records are reviewed fairly and accurately.
Identifying Campus-Based Conduct Policies and Procedures
Before creating a new policy or revising current practices, review existing campus-based conduct policies and procedures. Most institutions have general student regulations that apply in academic buildings and residence halls, but often there are additional, specific residence hall regulations that apply to university-operated student housing. Learn how student conduct or disciplinary violations are identified, managed, and recorded by meeting with colleagues in student life or university housing. Bear in mind that most conduct violations occur in the residence halls and may include infractions related to noise, pets, guests, and prohibited appliances (microwaves, hot plates, etc.). These may be of less concern to you than violations for underage drinking, illegal drug use, petty theft, or assault. Ask about the most common violations and typical penalties or sanctions.
Inquire about the immediate, short- and long-term consequences of a conduct or disciplinary violation and ask how a violation becomes part of a student's written record. At some institutions, the smallest conduct violation in a campus-owned residence hall will result in a written record; whereas at other institutions, a student is given one or two oral warnings before a written record is made. In such circumstances, a written record may denote a pattern of behavior that could continue abroad. Students with alcohol or drug violations are often required to participate in an alcohol awareness and dependency assessment program. Learn how you can determine whether or not this requirement has been fulfilled, and what the consequences are for noncompliance. You may also wish to ask if the consequences or sanctions appear to deter repeat offenses.
Partnering with Campus Experts to Develop Review Policies and Procedures
Once you understand how conduct or disciplinary records are established on your campus, you are ready to develop a review procedure. There are many units on your campus (or divisions within your organization) that you can consult to ensure transparency and due diligence before publishing a binding policy, such as residential life, general counsel, student life or student judicial affairs, campus police/security, and risk management.
Work with your general counsel to ensure that the timing of your review and notifications are permissible. For example, you may wish to admit applicants based on their academic qualifications, but indicate that their acceptance is pending a review of their disciplinary record. Inform students that if a conduct or disciplinary violation record exists, the record will be reviewed before any action is taken. …