Student Conduct

Accused Students

You've probably clicked on this page because you have been documented (or "written up" as many students say) by a Resident Assistant. Or perhaps you've had an interaction with Duke Police and been told that a report of what happened is being forwarded to the dean's office. Maybe you have been accused by another student of engaging in inappropriate conduct. Or, maybe one of your faculty members has accused you of cheating on an exam or plagiarizing a paper.  If you are being accused of sexual misconduct, please also see the section, "Information for Respondents," under the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Whatever your situation, this webpage is designed to help you identify resources available to give you more information about what happens next, your rights under the university's disciplinary process, and other information available to make you best prepared to respond to an inquiry of your alleged behavior.

  Please note that there is no assumption that you are responsible for any allegation made against you; rather, the presumption is that there is no violation of university policy unless you accept responsibility for the allegation and/or the threshold for a finding of responsibility of a violation is met ("clear and convincing" for most policies at issue; "preponderance of the evidence" for sexual misconduct and harassment allegations).

Preparing for your Administrative Hearing or RC Conduct Meeting

If you are contacted by a Residence Coordinator for a conduct meeting; or, if you receive an email from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards requesting your presence at an administrative hearing, you will be invited to meet one-on-one with the staff regarding your alleged involvement in the reported behavior. The staff member is interested in hearing your perspective on what may have happened and will discuss with you how the matter might be resolved.

The conversation may also focus on what you may have learned or can take away from the incident.

  • Review carefully the contents of the correspondence you receive and ensure that you are available to meet at the time indicated in the message (or, in some cases, you may be asked to contact the staff member to schedule a meeting). If you have a conflict, call the phone number indicated in the email (or write the staff via email) and request a new meeting time.
  • Familiarize yourself with the policies that may be at issue, which are also listed in your letter. The policies listed are based on the staff member’s interpretation of the alleged behavior stemming from the report. You may believe that your behavior did not violate some of those policies listed. Consider your actions during the incident in question and reflect on how they intersect with university expectations.
  • Show up to the hearing location on time. It is not necessary to dress up for these meetings; your regular attire is fine.
  • The conduct officer is interested in your perspective on what may have occurred.  Share your understanding of what may have occurred, the extent of your participation, and perhaps what you have learned or changed in your thinking to prevent what happened from occurring again.
  • Following the hearing, you will receive another email describing the decision made by the staff member, sanctions (if appropriate), and details for having the matter reconsidered, if you wish.

Preparing for your Undergraduate Conduct Board Hearing

You may have received a letter stating that the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is launching an in inquiry into your role in (a) possible violation(s) of university policy. The letter outlines the situation in question, the date it occurred, and the applicable university policy that pertains to this incident.

  • Contact one or both of the disciplinary advisors assigned to you in the letter you received. Disciplinary advisors are trained students and staff who serve as valuable resources and are thoroughly familiar with the disciplinary process. A student who utilizes his or her disciplinary advisor in the disciplinary process is more fully informed and approached a possible hearing much better prepared to state his or her case.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to seek advice from whomever you choose throughout the disciplinary process. In sexual misconduct or harassment proceedings, that advisor may accompany you to any meeting or hearing. In all other cases, an advisor is who a member of the Duke community (current faculty, staff, or student) may accompany you to a hearing.  Members of the Undergraduate Conduct Board are not eligible to serve as advisors.
  • Become familiar with the policy(ies) that you are alleged to have violated.
  • You are encouraged to give your perspective on the incident in question through a written statement and throughout the disciplinary process. Your advisor can assist you in writing this statement.
  • Once your response is received, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may: 1) follow up orally or in writing with additional questions; 2) drop the matter; or, 3) continue to the next stage of the process.
  • If the incident is forwarded to a hearing of the Undergraduate Conduct Board, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will coordinate an appropriate time and location for your hearing. You will receive in advance all written information pertaining to the matter at hand.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Undergraduate Conduct Board hearing process, found on our website. Again, your disciplinary advisor will serve as a valuable resource for helping you prepare for the hearing and understand what will occur during and after the hearing.
  • Dress appropriately for the hearing and show up on time.  Typically, students dress in business casual attire.
  • Answer the panel’s questions as thoughtfully and honestly as you are able to.
  • The panel will make a determination about each potential policy violation based on clear and convincing information (or preponderance of evidence in sexual misconduct and/or harassment-based allegations). In most circumstances, the panel will deliver its decision to you immediately following the hearing. Your advisor can help you process and reflect on the outcome when the hearing has concluded.
  • You will receive a hearing report outlining the outcome and a brief explanation of the reasoning of the panel. The report letter will also include information on how to submit an appeal based on the specific grounds listed in the Duke Community Standard: A Guide for Undergraduates.

Status as a Student

Status of a Student/Group Pending Final Resolution of a Disciplinary Case. Until a final resolution is determined, the status of a student/group will not change unless interim measures have been imposed to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the university community or any member of it. A student with disciplinary action pending, however, is not eligible to graduate and may not participate in commencement exercises until the student's case is resolved.  A student currently on leave, suspended, or withdrawn from Duke who has a pending disciplinary matter is not eligible to seek readmission until that matter is resolved.

Disciplinary Hold. At any time after the filing of a complaint, the conduct officer or designee, after consulting with a student’s academic dean, may place a “disciplinary hold” on the academic and/or financial records of any student pending the outcome of proceedings or to enforce a disciplinary sanction. A “disciplinary hold” may prevent, among other things, registration, enrollment, matriculation, the release of transcripts, and the awarding of a degree.

Disciplinary Action While Civil/Criminal Charges Pending
. Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and to the university for acts that violate local, state or federal laws. (Students are encouraged to seek advice of legal counsel when they face criminal charges.) Disciplinary action through university processes concurrent with criminal action does not subject a student to “double jeopardy.”

The university operates under different policies, procedures and standards and thus, will not be bound by the findings of a court of law. If the court’s outcome satisfies the university’s interests, such outcome may be recorded on the student’s disciplinary record without invoking the university disciplinary process. Should any criminal proceeding result in a felony conviction, as a result of an incident on or off campus, the Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs reserves the right to summarily dismiss a student.

University disciplinary action will normally proceed during the pendency of a criminal or civil action. A student may request, however, that the university disciplinary process be placed on hold until criminal actions are resolved. The conduct officer or designee will decide whether this request will be granted. In such a case, interim measures may be imposed. The university reserves the right to proceed with the disciplinary process at any point.


Support. A student may seek advice from anyone he/she wishes. If a student has been charged criminally, we recommend that the student seek professional legal advice. The North Carolina State Bar has resources to help find an appropriate licensed attorney.

For students going through the university's disciplinary process, the use of disciplinary advisors -- staff and students trained specifically in helping students through the on-campus process -- is strongly encouraged. [A student, though, may bring any advisor with him/her to a hearing before the Undergraduate Conduct Board, but the advisor must be a member of the university community (current faculty, staff, or student)]. Experience has shown that students who tap into the services of the university's trained disciplinary advisors are well-prepared for a hearing and have a much better experience with the disciplinary system than those who do not.

Possible Sanctions. What can happen to you if you are found responsible for a violation? Learn about sanctions.

Disciplinary Records. Become familiar with how violations of university policy are recorded and kept on file here.