Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty
How do I report an alleged violation of University Rules to the Office of Student Conduct?
You must submit a written incident report and any supporting documentation necessary to prove the case. Please submit the incident report via the online form.
What is a behavioral referral?
A behavioral referral is a referral for student misconduct related to any prohibited behavior other than academic misconduct. Examples of prohibited behavior include alcohol violations, drug violations, disruptive behavior, firearms, harassment, etc. Please see the current Student Code of Conduct 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. We consider intent, actual damage or harm, 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 meeting, the student may choose 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 for it to happen immediately.
Will this process require a lot of my time?
Typically, it only requires the amount of time that it takes for you to gather and submit 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 or through the UAPA process, you will be required 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 my 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.
- 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 meeting 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 from your class. You must also clearly instruct the student to NOT RETURN to class until the case is resolved through the Office of Student Conduct.
Can I refer a student who has threatened my job or to report me to my supervisor?
Students have the right to file grievances and express their concerns about teaching styles, methodologies, language, grading policies, etc. This behavior is not prohibited even if they express themselves in a rude or disrespectful way.
What credentials and training are required for the professional staff members in the Office of Student Conduct?
The office is staffed by one administrative assistant and two professional staff members. The professional staff members must have a minimum of a Masters degree in an appropriate field with additional training and emphasis on student development theory, crisis management/intervention, ethical standards, higher education law, threat analysis, counseling techniques, and process management. The current staff have over 20 years of combined experience dealing with student conduct issues.
I am having trouble reaching a professional staff member by phone. What should I do?
Be patient. There are only two people dealing with ALL of the various conduct issues that occur on campus. The volume and seriousness of cases dictates staff member availability to discuss matters via telephone or in person. The best course of action is to contact a staff member via email or schedule an appointment so that you will have dedicated time with that person. Professional staff members spend the majority of their time in meetings or training sessions with students.