Conference Resource Page

The following information is presented In an effort to educate students and provide transparency to the Conference setting which is administered by the Office of Community Standards.  In addition to the resources found on this page, students may also find interest in these links found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life:

The Conference Process

The following outline and timeline is intended to provide students with a general understanding of the different steps involved in a typical Conference.  Please know that the outline is only an example, and it is subject to change given the nature of an incident, the number of students involved, the time of year for a particular incident, etc.  For specific questions about what to expect with your Conference timeline, please contact the staff member who sent you the Conference Notification Letter via e-mail.

  • Student is contacted via e-mail by the Office of Community Standards
    • A secure link is provided in the e-mail for the student to download a PDF copy of their Conference Notification Letter
    • Student's Rector (if student lives on campus) receives a copy of the letter via e-mail
  • Student prepares for Conference
    • Student reviews the FAQ on this page
    • Student reviews pertinent University Standards of Conduct
    • Student contacts their Rector to discuss the incident and hall staff attendance at the Conference
    • Student contacts the Office of Community Standards at least 24 hours in advance of the Conference if they wish to bring a witness
    • Student arrives at the Office of Community Standards on the day/time of the scheduled Conference
    • Conference is held with the Student, Conduct Officer, Rector, and University Support Person (optional)
      • Conduct Officer provides an introduction
      • Conduct Officer reads the incident report that was forwarded to the office
      • Student is asked to share their account of the incident from their perspective
      • Conduct Officer asks questions to better understand the incident
      • Student shares their understanding of University Standards of Conduct related to the incident
      • Rector is offered the opportunity to share insight about student's learning and growth.
      • University Support Person (if one present) offered the opportunity to share insight about student's learning and growth.
      • Conduct Officer provides closure and direction for the Student to write a Reflection
      • Student schedules a follow-up Decision Meeting (typically one week after the Conference)
    • Student writes Reflection and e-mails to the Conduct Officer
    • Conduct Officer makes a decision based on the information presented at the Conference and in the student's Reflection
    • A Decision Meeting is held with the Student and the Conduct Officer.  Hall Staff and University Support Staff do not typically attend the Decision Meeting.  The meeting can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the nature of the incident and the information shared in the Reflection.
    • Decision letter is e-mailed to Student as a PDF.  Parents are sent a copy of the letter via US Mail.
    • Student has an opportunity to file a case review within 7 calendar days after the notification of the outcome.
    • File of the incident is maintained by the University as an educational record.

FAQ CATEGORIES

The following FAQ have been organized into three categories below below. If you have a particular questions that is not addressed below, please don't hesitate to call our office at 574-631-5551 or e-mail us at >ocs@nd.edu.

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE FAQ

I received an e-mail with a subject line that read "IMPORTANT - From the Notre Dame Office of Community Standards."  What is this?

The e-mail you received is an official message from the Office of Community Standards regarding a Conference that has been scheduled.  A link is provided to download a Conference Notification Letter.  The letter is accessible through authentication of your netID.

What is the difference between a Conference and a Hearing?

Hearings are reserved for addressing alleged violations of Standards of Conduct where dismissal from the University may be a possible outcome.  Conferences are scheduled with the Office of Community Standards to discuss matters of student conduct which will not result in dismissal from the University.

Why am I meeting with the Office of Community Standards?

A report was forwarded to the Office of Community Standards and your name was listed as someone who was allegedly involved.  The purpose of the Conference is to discuss the extent of your involvement (if any) with the incident. The Office of Community Standards does not assume that you have violated a University Standard of Conduct.

Who will I meet with?

Conferences are most commonly administered by the Director or Assistant Director of Community Standards. Based on the nature of the incident, an additional University Conduct Officer may also participate.

Who else will be present at the Conference?

In addition to the Respondent (student) and the Conduct Officer(s), the following individuals may be present:

  • Hall Staff (Rector, Assistant Rector, or Resident Assistant):  Rectors are invited to participate in Conferences to provide insight to the student and Conduct Officer about the learning and growth the student has experienced during their time at Notre Dame, particularly related to the alleged incident.
  • University Support Person (Notre Dame Faculty, Staff, or Student):  A University Support Person is an optional.  The purpose of this support is to provide moral support for you and help you learn from the incident by discussing the Conference proceedings.  A University Support Person may be present for the entire Conference, and will be asked for his/her observations on your learning and growth. Attorneys and parents may not serve as University Support Persons.
  • Witness:  Witnesses only participate for a portion of the Conference.  Witnesses will be invited to join the Conference and (see below for more questions about witnesses)

I don't want my Rector to come to the Conference.

Consistent with the University's mission of fostering the development and formation of students, a student's Rector is invited to participate in the Conference setting.  An Assistant Rector or Resident Assistant may attend in the place of a Rector.  Students are advised to contact their Rector after receiving the Conference Notification Letter if they have concerns about their Rector attending the Conference.  If a scheduling conflict arises, a student may call the Office of Community Standards (574-631-5551) to re-schedule his/her Conference.

I live off-campus.  Will my former Rector be attending the Conference?

The Office of Community Standards does not contact former Rectors about conduct matters involving students who live off-campus.  A student may invite their Rector to serve as a hall staff member.

Can I receive an excused absence to attend my Conference.

The Office of Community Standards can provide a student with an excused absence.  Our office recommends that you call in advance to reschedule your Conference if you have a class conflict.

What are my responsibilities if I change the date of my Conference?

If you change the date of your Conference, please contact your Rector (if you live on campus), your University Support Person (if you choose to invite one), and any witnesses that you invited.

What happens if I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I am not guilty?

The Conference is an educational process, not a legal process.  A student is not asked to "prove" that they are "not guilty."  The standard of evidence used in the Conference is referred to as the "preponderance of the evidence," meaning if it is "more likely than not" that a policy was violated.  As such, the standard is not the same as the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that is used in some court cases.  At the conclusion of the Conference process, a student is not found "innocent" or "guilty."  Students are either "found responsible for violating a Standard of Conduct" or "found not responsible for violating a Standard of Conduct."

What types of questions can I expect?

The Conference is a dialogue between a student and a Conduct Officer(s).  The questions that will be asked are dependent on the nature of the incident and the student's level of learning and growth.  The student will be asked to provide their perspective on their alleged involvement in an incident.  Additional clarifying questions are also asked.

Where can I find the conduct procedures?

Conference procedures can be found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life in the University Conduct Process section.

Can I bring a witness?

Yes.  Students may invite a witness to the Conference, provided that they notify the OCS at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled Conference. For more information about witnesses, please read through our Witness Resource Page.

I already have a court date scheduled for my underage drinking citation.  Is the Conference necessary?

Students are responsible for their behavior both on and off-campus.  The University will address alleged violations of University Standards of Conduct that are reported to the Office of Community Standards in the setting of a Meeting, Conference or Hearing. The court process is separate from the University Conduct Process.

Do I need legal representation at the Conference>?

The Conference is an educational setting to discuss an alleged incident.  Attorneys are not permitted in the Conference setting.  If you have a pending legal matter in the court system and you have hired an attorney, he/she may contact the Office of General Counsel if they have questions about the University's Student Conduct Process.

Do I have to come to the Conference?  What if I decide not to show up?

Students are encouraged to attend their scheduled Conference so that they can share information about their involvement (or lack thereof) in a reported incident.  In the event a student receives notice and fails to appear for a Conference, the Office of Community Standards and/or designee reserves the right to render a decision in their absence.

What happens if I choose not to answer any questions that are asked of me?

Students are asked to use the Conference opportunity to share information.   Students should keep in mind that the standard of evidence used by the Office of Community Standards is the "preponderance of evidence," meaning, is it more likely than not that a standard of conduct has been violated. 

I may be late to my Conference based on when my lab gets finished.  What should I do?

Students may re-schedule Conferences provided that they call at least 24 hours in advance of their scheduled Conference.  If you think you will be late, please call in advance to re-schedule.

I am not satisfied with the outcome of my Conference.  How can I appeal?

The Student Conduct Process defines two criteria for requesting a case review:  procedural defect or substantive new information not made available at the time of the Conference.  Severity of outcome is not grounds for filing a request for a case review.  For more information, please read the Conduct Case Review Procedures.

AFTER THE CONFERENCE FAQ

What if I am found guilty?

The Conference is an educational dialogue, not a legal proceeding. We do not use terms such as "guilty" or "innocent."  One of the purposes of the Conference setting is to determine if a policy was violated.  If the Office of Community Standards determines that a student has violated a policy, the student will be "found responsible" for violating a particular University Standard of Conduct.  The student will receive a letter at a Decision Meeting (usually scheduled one week after the Conference) that will articulate which standards have been violated.

I heard that my punishment will be different than other students

The Office of Community Standards does not "punish" students; we hold students accountable for their decisions, and we challenge students to consider on their behavior and how it reflects (or does not reflect) their personal values and believes.  Outcomes from every Conference are tailored to each individual student. As such, a particular student's outcome may be different than other students.  The University strives for consistency in process, not consistency in outcomes.

What are the likely outcomes from my Conference?

Separation from the University (i.e. Temporary or Permanent Dismissal) is not a possible outcome from a Conference.  Outcomes from Conferences can include any of the other outcomes found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life.

The e-mail I received stated that my letter will be available on the secure website for 30 days.  I forgot to save a copy of my notification letter.  Can you please re-send it to me?

Yes.  The Office of Community Standards maintains copies of all correspondence.  Please e-mail us at ocs@nd.edu.

PARENT-RELATED FAQ

At what point will the Office of Community Standards contact my parents?

If you are found responsible for violating a Standard of Conduct, the Office of Community Standards will contact parents by sending a copy of your decision letter at the conclusion of your Conference process.  If your parent calls before a decision is made, the Office of Community Standards will answer questions about the conduct process, but will not discuss substantive details of the case.

My parents are divorced.  Which parent will you contact?

The Office of Community Standards sends notification letters to the individual who is "financially responsible" for the student. In most cases this is a parent, but in some situations it may be a different family member or legal guardian. You may ask at the Conference who the financially responsible individual is.

Can you send a copy of the incident report to my parent/guardian?

No.  The Office of Community Standards will read the report to the student.  A hard copy is not available.