Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty
How do I report an alleged violation of University Rules to the Office of Student Conduct?
The information we MUST have to process a case is the student’s full name and M number along with a detailed account of the behavior in question and any supporting documentation necessary to prove the case. You can simply submit a word document with the necessary information. You can email referrals, drop them off in person to our office, or send them to our PO Box, 17.
What is a behavioral referral?
A behavioral referral is a referral for student misconduct related to any behavior other than academic misconduct. There are over thirty-six categories of prohibited behavior at MTSU, with academic misconduct only being one. Examples of prohibited behavior include alcohol violations, drug violations, disruptive behavior, firearms, harassment, etc. Please see the current Student Code of Conduct handbook for the full list.
What information must be included in a behavioral referral?
You must submit a written account of the incident in question with specific details about the behavior or behaviors that you feel are in violation of our rules. It is not enough to say “the student became unruly.” You must provide specific detail, “The student pushed over a desk, shouted that he was going to kick me, and threw his backpack at the white board.” The behavior in question must link specifically to a prohibited behavior. You cannot refer someone for disciplinary action because you think they are “weird” or because “they make you feel creepy.”
Will I be able to find out what happens to the student I refer?
Yes and no. We will inform the instructor of whether or not the student was found responsible for a rules violation. We are not permitted to release all sanctions due to FERPA restrictions. We ARE permitted to release disciplinary sanctions on a need-to-know basis. For example, if a student is placed on probation, required to do community service, and restricted from being present in the building where you teach, we would be permitted to tell you that the student is not permitted to be in the building where you teach. We would not be able to tell you that he/she is on probation and performing community service. Decisions on what information may be released are made on a case-by-case basis.
When a student is found responsible for a rules violation, are they automatically
suspended or expelled from MTSU?
No. We deal with violations on a case-by-case basis. Suspension and expulsion are two possible sanctions, but other sanctions may also include a written reprimand, probation, and/or various educational sanctions such as research assignments and papers. For academic misconduct cases, if we are dealing with an inexperienced student, the sanctions are lighter than they are for a seasoned student. For all other cases, we look at intent, actual damage, past history, seriousness of the infraction, etc. to determine an acceptable consequence. It is important to note that if we recommend a sanction of suspension or expulsion in an administrative hearing, the student may chose to accept that consequence or an alternate adjudication method. In other words, a student has to agree to a suspension or expulsion in the administrative meeting.
Will this process require a lot of my time?
Typically, it only requires the amount of time that it takes for you to fill out the referral form and gather any supporting information/documentation. At times, a staff member may call or email you for additional details and information. If the case goes before the University Discipline Committee, you will be asked to appear as a witness. The majority of our cases are handled administratively without going to a committee hearing.
What should I do if a student I referred drops the course?
You should still refer the student. Our office will still follow up on the case.
Am I required to meet with the student?
It is always best to communicate clearly with your students including your concerns about their behavior. If you decide to send a referral, you should attempt to inform the student of the allegation and notify the student that the information has been forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct. Should you decide to meet with the student, you are required to comply with the following procedures:
- the student will be provided notice that he/she is believed to have committed behavior in violation of University rules;
- the student will be presented with all evidence in the knowledge or possession of the instructor which tends to support the allegation(s) of academic misconduct; and
- the student will be given an opportunity to present information on his/her behalf.
- the student will be told if you wish to permanently remove them from class
Is the student allowed to stay in class while the case is under investigation?
YES. The student may stay in class pending a hearing if the faculty member determines that the student's presence in the class does not interfere with the instructor's ability to teach the class or the ability of other class members to learn.
Can I permanently remove a student from class?
You are authorized to TEMPORARILY remove a student from class. For example, a student has disregarded your cell phone policy. You can ask the student to leave class and return the following class period. It is best to discuss the removal with the student and explain the basis for the temporary removal. If you wish to remove them PERMANENTLY, you must make a referral through our office and indicate that you want the student permanently removed. You must also clearly instruct the student to NOT RETURN to class until the case is resolved through the Office of Student Conduct.
Traffic Citation Appeals
Student traffic citation appeals are heard by the Court of Traffic Appeals. Please visit the Student Government Association web site for full information.
Appeals may be made by visiting the SGA website.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party (mediator) facilitates the discussion and identification of issues between the disputants, the development of alternate solutions, and the negotiation of a mutually satisfying outcome to the dispute.
"Training Peer Mediators in the College and University Setting: A Trainer's Guide" by Rick Olshak