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Frequently Asked Questions by FACULTY about Academic and Classroom Behavior Misconduct Reporting
1. If I want to file a complaint against student, what do I do?
Any member of the University community (faculty, staff, student, or community stakeholder) may file a complaint against any student for misconduct reasons. Complaints should be prepared in writing and directed to the Office of Student Conduct, which is responsible for the administration of the University student conduct system. All complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the incident takes place, preferably within two (2) University days.
Complaints may be submitted online at http://www.uco.edu/conduct, hand-delivered, or faxed to (405) 974-3817. There is a specific complaint form dedicated to faculty under the “File a Complaint” tab and under the “Faculty” tab. In addition, the Office of Student Conduct may be visited in the Lillard Administration Building, Rm. 231, (405) 974-2361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What is the intent and purpose of the Academic and Classroom Misconduct [Report] form?
The purpose of implementing an official Academic Misconduct Report form has three (3) primary purposes. Primarily, the intent of the form is to establish a standardized process for faculty members to file complaints against students, who have allegedly violated University policies. Secondly, the implementation of a standardized process for filing complaints against students will help to facilitate a better understanding for all faculty members and students of the rights, procedures, and options of resolution involved in the student conduct process. Lastly, the Office of Student Conduct shall serve as a centralized University entity for advice on matters of precedence and statistical data regarding possible recidivism.
3. How will the form be used?
The Academic Misconduct Report form will be utilized as a form of documentation for the reporting faculty member, the Chair of the Department, the Dean of the College, and the Office of Student Conduct. The accused student has a right to review a copy of this report.
A secondary use of the Academic Misconduct Report form will be to establish a uniform tracking system of academic misconduct within the different colleges and the University as a whole. The Academic Misconduct Report form, if used properly, will simplify the process of calculating the various reported academic misconduct incidents and how they were resolved for a particular semester, academic year, or calendar year. The Office of Student Conduct possesses an incident tracking software that can produce reports of the various forms of academic misconduct for a specified time period, how they were resolved, and from which department the cases originated.
Lastly, many faculty members prefer to handle certain misconduct situations by themselves. This form and process does not discourage such efforts. In fact, the Office of Student Conduct applauds the proactive approaches. This Academic Misconduct Report form provides a standardized medium to inform the Office of Student Conduct and accused student(s) of a misconduct issue, which may have been addressed by the
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faculty member already. In other words, this form can serve as an “F.Y.I.,” in case a pattern of the same behavior forms in the future in the same or other departments. Furthermore, if a faculty member suspects academic misconduct from a certain student, then they may contact the Office of Student Conduct and inquire of a possible academic misconduct history. However, if the faculty member prefers to just have a conversation or issue a verbal warning with the student without filling out the Academic Misconduct form, then the faculty member has this option as well.
4. If the matter that I report will be investigated, then who will investigate? What factors are considered when determining whether a student is “responsible” for an alleged behavior?
If the reporting faculty member specifies on the Academic Misconduct form that they would like to file a formal complaint against the student, then the matter would be investigated by the Director of Student Conduct or designee. While investigating a matter, the Director of Student Conduct and/or designee interviews all involved parties and relevant and available witnesses (eye witness or circumstantial) to the alleged University violation, reviews all relevant information to the allegation(s), and considers any previous allegations against the accused student. Note: The Office of Student Conduct must remain neutral during the investigation process, prior to making a final decision.
The University of Central Oklahoma uses a “preponderance or weight of the evidence” standard in determining whether a student should be held responsible for an alleged behavior. Primarily, the Director of Student Conduct or qualified designee shall make the determination of responsibility on the basis of whether it is “more likely than not” that the accused student violated the Code of Student Conduct.
The factors that are considered in each case include, but are not limited to, the following:
(listed in no particular order)
• Police reports, if any
• Statement(s) of the Alleged Victim
• Statement(s) of the Accused Student(s)
• Witness statements, if any
• The nature of the incident
• The intent of the student(s) involved
• The effect on the University community
• Prior conduct records of involved students
• Prior criminal record(s), if any
• The role of the accused student(s) in the incident
• The cooperation and honesty of the involved student(s)
• The development and education of the student(s) involved
• The safety, well-being, and recovery of the surrounding and/or impacted University community
5. Who decides what actions will be taken?
On the Academic Misconduct Report form there is a section which allows the reporting faculty member to specify one courses of action:
1. Informal Complaint (FYI)
2. Formal Complaint to O.S.C. (Investigate & Pursue Action, if necessary)
If option #2 is selected and the reporting faculty member specifically requests a suspension, expulsion, or a similar type of sanction, then the Office of Student Conduct shall make the final decision as well.
The reporting faculty has the option of deciding what type of complaint to file. However, once a formal complaint is filed with the Office of Student Conduct, then the final decision shall be rendered by the
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Office of Student Conduct, pending normal appeal procedures, according to the current UCO Code of Student Conduct.
Appeals that are grade-related should be referred the grade appeal process. Information regarding the specific steps involved in filing a grade appeal may be found at http://broncho2.uco.edu/academicaffairs/Academic%20Appeals%20ProcedurePacket.pdf.
Behavioral misconduct appeals not involving suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation shall be addressed by the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Director of Student Conduct. Behavioral misconduct appeals involving suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation are referred to the Committee on Student Conduct. The current UCO Code of Student Conduct outlines the steps for filing appeal requests to the.
6. Are the faculty members the only ones that can assign a grade or change a grade?
Yes. The reporting faculty member may inquire about the thoughts of the Director of Student Conduct regarding the case. The Director of Student Conduct may advise the faculty member. However, the final decision about a grade assignment or grade change shall rest with the reporting faculty member.
7. Are these private reports?
Yes. The University of Central Oklahoma abides by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, which is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. However, the student(s) about whom the report is filed has a right to know about the file and review the contents within the file.
8. Where will the reports be stored?
The reports, which are filed with the Office of Student Conduct, will be stored in the Office of Student Conduct for at least seven (7) years. (Why is it this long?—Clery Act standards.) Records of more severe incidents may be kept for longer periods of time.
9. It might not be easy to get all the banner numbers of students involved as witnesses, etc.
This is not a problem, unless a name has been misspelled or there are multiple students with the same name. If the reporting faculty members do not have the Banner Identification numbers of the involved students, then the Office of Student Conduct will acquire them when possible.
10. Is this a way to accumulate a paper trail of certain students that might be disruptive?
It can be used as a paper trail. However, the Academic Misconduct Report form will be utilized as a form of documentation for the reporting faculty member, the Chair of the Department, the Dean of the College, and the Office of Student Conduct. The accused student has a right to review a copy of this report as well.
Another use of the Academic Misconduct Report form will be to establish a uniform tracking system of academic misconduct within the different colleges and the University as a whole. The Academic Misconduct Report form, if used properly, will simplify the process of calculating the various reported academic misconduct incidents and how they were resolved for a particular semester, academic year, or calendar year. The Office of Student Conduct possesses an incident tracking software that can produce reports of the various forms of academic misconduct for a specified time period, how they were resolved, and from which department the cases originated.
Additionally, the Office of Student Conduct has a significant role within the UCO BAT (Behavioral Assessment Team). The Office of Student Conduct regularly communicates with the UCO Police Department, UCO Student Counseling Center, Housing and Dining Services, and other campus entities regarding the behavior of students. Thus, the reports of unusual, strange, disturbing, and/or disruptive behavior from one area on campus may be relevant to reports of similar behavior in other areas on or off
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campus properties. The awareness of these reported behaviors may serve the University well in the timeliness, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the responses to the student(s) of concern, their behavior(s), and the community thereby affected.
11. What degree of disruption/disturbance warrants this form being submitted?
Any disruption/disturbance that violates the UCO Code of Student Conduct could warrant a complaint being filed. The Office of Student Conduct is available for consultation, if desired, prior to filing a complaint.
The key is preparation for classes prior to start of classes. A good syllabus will outline some key guidelines for assignments, exams, attendance, as well as behavior expectations, which correspond with the current UCO Code of Student Conduct. In addition, a brief definition and/or examples of “classroom disturbance/disruption” would prove useful to students.
Ignorance of the rules is not an “exemption pass” to break the rules. However, if each student in your classroom is aware of the rules, then everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom. Therefore, when someone “disturbs/disrupts” this opportunity for themselves or others, then the “ignorance excuse” is nullified.
Each instructor has the responsibility to set a tone in their own classrooms. Henceforth, each instructor has to decide when to utilize this form. Of course, in times of CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, then the University of Central Oklahoma Police Department (UCOPD) should be called immediately at (405) 974-2345. After the proper departmental and college entities have been made aware, then the Office of Student Conduct should be contacted soon thereafter at (405) 974-2361.
12. Who monitors for multiple offenses?
The Office of Student Conduct monitors for multiple offenses. However, faculty members may monitor for multiple offenses if they are aware of any for particular students. The Office of Student Conduct encourages the reporting of offenses,
13. Who initiates an action if multiple problems are beginning to arise?
The Office of Student Conduct investigates all student complaints that are filed through the Office of Student Conduct.
14. Does there need to be a series of offenses with a student before it is filed for the first time or a sequence of events before this form is completed?
No, there does not need to be a series of offenses that a particular student has to commit prior to a complaint being filed with the Office of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct does encourage talking with students, if possible, when a minor violation occurs.
15. Is there due process for the student?
Oh, yes! This Academic Misconduct Report form facilitates due process by asking the instructor if the following courses of action have been executed:
• Has contact been established with the student(s)? Yes or No
• How were the student(s) contacted? _______________________
• Did student(s) have opportunity to voice their version of the incident? Yes or No
• Did student(s) admit or deny responsibility for allegations? Admitted Denied
Furthermore, when a formal complaint is filed with the Office of Student Conduct the following steps are made:
• The allegations are thoroughly investigated.
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• The student is notified of the allegations.
• The student is afforded an opportunity to meet to voice his/her side/
• The decision is made by the Office of Student Conduct.
• The appropriate sanction is enforced, if the student is found responsible.
• The student is informed of appeal request rights.
The Office of Student Conduct does not make a decision on a case until all available perspectives have been heard and evaluated with the relevant information.
16. Will the student know that these forms have been placed in their file?
Yes. Faculty may inform student and student will receive notice of formal and informal allegations.
17. Does the Department Chair or Dean need to be informed?
The Code of Student Conduct (Section IV.) provides guidelines for who should be informed of what severity of incidents. Additionally, you may have responsibilities under the Faculty Handbook and Departmental protocols to follow. Informing the Chair is highly recommended. The Office of Student Conduct recommends that the Chair be involved or at least aware of all complaints filed within the Office of Student Conduct from their department.
18. Is this form for the instructor?
Primarily, the Academic Misconduct Report form will be utilized as a form of documentation for the reporting faculty member, the Chair of the Department, the Dean of the College, and the Office of Student Conduct. The accused student has a right to review a copy of this report.
19. A. Should there also be a form a student fills out when they complain? b. Or is this form for students also?a. Definitely.
b. This form is strictly for faculty members filing complaints against students. Students may fill out a Student Issue File form. Their issue may consist of a faculty complaint. In these cases, the Office of Student Conduct would refer the student(s) to the Alleged Violation of Professional Ethics section of the current Code of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct only manages complaints against students, not faculty or staff.
***Special Note: The Office of Student Conduct recommends that each Academic College and/or Department holds a Student Conduct portion in their annual faculty orientations. During these orientations, the Office of Student Conduct could review some sample examples of how to fill out the forms.
Every conduct incident will not have a witness. The roles (accused, alleged victim, and witness) are just labels to attach to students that were involved in the alleged University violation. For example, if a student is found to be responsible for plagiarizing a paper, then there may not be any witnesses. The accused student and information, which illustrates that the student “more than likely” plagiarized may be the only documentation needed from the standpoint of the reporting faculty member.
There may or may not be witnesses for students who are accused of cheating on exams. The exact situation determines whether there are witnesses or not.
20. So what is the exact process of filing an Academic Misconduct Report?
Academic/Behavioral Misconduct Reporting Procedures for Faculty
1. Faculty member becomes aware of possible University violation by student.
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2. Faculty member investigates issue or contacts supervisor and/or the Office of Student Conduct for advice on how to proceed.
Action A: If faculty member decides to conduct internal investigation and finds that no University violation occurred, then process ends. (Note: An internal investigation may consist of one (1) discussion with the accused student. On the other hand, an internal investigation may include several discussions with the accused student, possible witnesses, gathering of relevant information, and consideration of prior allegations.)
There is no need for further paperwork.
Action B: If faculty member decides to conduct internal investigation and discovers that a University violation did occur, then faculty member contacts student and discusses issue. (This can be done as a one-on-one with the student and instructor only. This meeting can also be conducted as a one-on-two with the student, reporting faculty member, and supervisor or Director of Student Conduct.)
Result #1: If student admits to alleged University violation, then faculty member may address and assign an appropriate sanction. Faculty member may fill out Academic Misconduct Report form, indicate the University violation, indicate the action taken by faculty member, and send to the Office of Student Conduct.
Result #2: If student denies alleged University violation, but relevant information overwhelmingly supports that student is “more than likely” responsible for University violation, then faculty member may address and assign sanction. (*Note: Student cannot be permanently removed from class, suspended, or expelled without being afforded a student conduct hearing.) Faculty member may fill out an Academic Misconduct Report form, indicate the University violation, indicate the action taken by faculty member, and send to the Office of Student Conduct.
Result #3: If student denies alleged University violation or refuses to informally meet with faculty member and/or faculty member’s supervisor, then faculty member may consult with supervisor and/or Office of Student Conduct. This action step may lead to Result #4 or #5.
Result #4: If faculty member decides to file a formal complaint with the Office of Student Conduct, then the Office of Student Conduct may launch an investigation.
I. A member of the Office Student Conduct interviews student, other individuals involved in case, and gathers and evaluates relevant information.
II. An Informal Conduct Meeting is initiated by the Office of Student Conduct. Informal Conduct Meetings may include the reporting faculty member. Depending upon the nature of the case, the matter may go to a formal Student Conduct Hearing.
III. Students may be found to be responsible or not responsible based upon interviews and relevant information.
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IV. After the appropriate student conduct body makes a decision on case, then all involved parties are informed. Student and reporting faculty member are informed of sanction and appeal procedures in writing.
Result #5: If faculty member decides to drop case and deem case inconclusive or unnecessary, then faculty member may fill out Academic Misconduct Report form and send to the Office of Student Conduct as an “FYI,” in case a pattern develops in the future. (Note: The student is informed of the report, which is placed in their file. The student has the right to challenge any content in their file through a formal Student Conduct Hearing.)
The Office of Student Conduct is located in the Lillard Administration Building, Rm. 213; 974-2361; fax 974-3817. Reports may be filed online at http://www.uco.edu/conduct.