Student Conduct FAQs: For Parents and Guardians
If a student receives a Notice to Appear email from OSRR, it means that an alleged violation(s) occurred within the Student Conduct of Conduct. This letter states which rules may have been violated and includes a brief description of how the rule was allegedly violated. This letter also indicates the time, date, and location of the student conduct meeting with OSRR. It is imperative that the student attend their scheduled conduct meeting. If two or more students were involved in the same incident, then separate conduct meetings will be held for each student.
Student rights during the conduct process can be found in the Student Handbook under Student Code of Conduct, Article II: Judicial Authority. An attachment of the Student Rights in the Conduct Process will be sent with the Conduct Notice to Appear Email to the student’s university email address. Students are advised to read over their rights as an accused student before the official conduct meeting with OSRR.
The conduct process at Texas A&M University-San Antonio is considered a formal process. This entails that the student meet with the Student Conduct Officer during the assigned conduct meeting time to review the alleged violations, briefly review the student’s rights in the conduct process, explain the range of sanctions that could be imposed, and answer any questions the student may have. It is the student’s responsibility to bring any materials/ evidence or witnesses that may pertain to the incident to the scheduled conduct meeting.
The student will then have an opportunity to explain their perspective on the specific incident that has been documented. During this time, the Student Conduct Officer can present questions in regards to the incident and will document the student’s answers. The student will also have the opportunity to present any witnesses or additional supporting information that pertains to the incident.
At the end of the conduct meeting, the student may accept responsibility or not accept responsibility for the charges that have been assigned to the incident. If the student chooses to not accept responsibility, they may still be found responsible by OSRR based on preponderance of evidence. If the student accepts responsibility or is found responsible for the charges assigned, then they will be issued an appropriate sanction(s).
The Student Conduct Officer will conclude the student conduct meeting and a follow-up email regarding the conduct meeting outcome will be sent to the student within five (5) business days. An Outcome Notice letter will be sent to the student’s university email address and will review the incident, the finding(s) of the student conduct conference, any assigned sanction(s), and the appeals process. If OSRR needs to investigate the matter further, then the student may be requested to appear again for a follow-up meeting.
The Student Conduct Officer will then answer any last questions the student may have before concluding the student conduct meeting.
The burden of proof during the student conduct process relies on the standard of “preponderance of the evidence,” which means more likely than not that an incident occurred, or at least 50.01%. This is a different standard of evidence than is used in the criminal court system standard of “without a reasonable doubt.” The student conduct conference is not a criminal proceeding, nor does it follow the same guidelines as a criminal proceeding. A University conduct hearing is not a trial or Court of Law. Any attempt to make the hearing something else would seriously impair the educational function of the hearing, which requires open discussion rather than adversarial debate.
There are several factors that are taken into consideration by OSRR when determining what an appropriate sanction(s) for a student would be. The student conduct officer will examine the following:
- The nature of the violation
- Previous conduct history
- Aggravating or mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation
- Motivation for the behavior
- The developmental and educational impact of the sanction
Please refer to the Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct, Article VII: Sanctions for a complete list of sanctions that may be imposed for a violation of the Student Rules.
Your student is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Your student may discuss his/her case with anyone of their choosing. The university is restricted to discussing the case with your student, those your student designates that we can communicate with, and those with an educational need to know such as University administrators. If you want to speak with us concerning specifics of your student’s case, please have a conversation with your student. They may sign a FERPA waiver that will allow us to speak with you.
For security and confidentiality reasons, we do not provide information on a student’s conduct file over the phone or make any copies. If your student would like to review their conduct file with OSRR, they can schedule a meeting by calling (210) 784-1353.
If you want a copy of your student’s file, you may submit a Public Information Request to the Public Information Officer at the following website link: http://www.tamusa.edu/universitycommunications/publicinformationrequest.html . Please note that this process can take up to 10 business days to fully process.
Parents or guardians may be contacted only if there is a case of emergency, which may include hospitalization, criminal actions leading to jail-time, incapacitation, death, etc.
Parents or guardians are not contacted in regards to allegations of the Code of Conduct. OSRR has direct contact only with the student through university email and those who may be directly involved. It is the decision of the student to provide that information to their parents or guardians. If the student signs a FERPA waiver with the University and the parent or guardian directly contacts OSRR, then we may be able to provide information regarding alleged violations.
Please notify OSRR three (3) days prior to the scheduled conduct meeting regarding the accommodations you would require.
The focus of your student’s conduct conference is regarding your student and their behavior during a particular incident. The incident in question will be the main focus of the conduct conference, but it is the student’s responsibility to report any other student(s) who are involved in a possible code violation. Any student can be brought in again if an investigation finds additional information or finds another conduct violation allegedly occurred.
Students have a right to be accompanied by one advocate as stated in the Student Rights in the Conduct Process and in the Student Handbook. In order to have an advocate present, the request must be provided in writing at least three (3) business days prior to the scheduled hearing and a release form must be signed by the student. The availability of an advocate should not hamper on the timeliness if the conduct hearing.
According to the Advocate Request Form, which is attached in the Notice to Appear, advocates are not permitted to represent on the student’s behalf at a University conduct meeting. Except in Civil Rights or Title IX Cases, the selected individual may not be an individual and/or student that is or may be charged as a result of the same or similar fact pattern. The advocate is limited to advising the student and may not present the case, question relevant parties, or make statements during the proceedings.
If the student would like to move forward with having you as an advocate during the conduct hearing, the conduct office could make electronic accommodations. Based on the technology available, this could include telephone conference or skype. The stipulations of having an advocate are the same through technology as it is in person. The availability of an advocate should not hamper on the timeliness of the conduct hearing.
Your student will need to resolve both issues separately. Students have a separate relationship to the University that is different from their responsibilities as citizens in the larger community. The student conduct meeting will only resolve conflicts with University Rules.
Your student has the right to appeal a conduct decision within five (5) university business days from the date the conduct outcome notice email was sent. An appeal of the conduct decision must be based on four factors:
- Substantial new evidence not available at the time of the original findings of Responsibility;
- Violation of due process;
- The sanction is not commensurate with the violation;
- The finding of responsibility is inconsistent with the factors presented by the respondent.
The appeals process information will be shared with the student in the conduct meeting outcome email. If the student does not appeal the conduct decisions, then the findings and sanctions will stand.
Generally, a conduct hold means that a student failed to respond to a conduct letter or is pending to fulfill some other obligation concerning disciplinary/ academic matters such as assigned sanctions. The student can contact OSRR at (210) 784-1353 to make an appointment.
Suspension, expulsion, banishment and dismissal are currently the only sanctions assigned by OSRR to appear on your academic record, or transcript. All other sanctions are kept on record in the student’s folder in the OSRR.
A student’s financial aid can be affected due to expulsion or suspension. For more information regarding your financial aid, please contact the Office of student Financial Aid at (210) 784 1324.