Transition from the Office of Residence Life


A "Conduct Process Review" began in 2011 to review the University of Notre Dame's student disciplinary procedures which were managed by the Office of Residence Life.  The two year review was approached from 4 perspectives:

  • Benchmark research of student conduct processes at 17 colleges and universities
  • Campus feedback from 4 primary sources:
    • Focus Groups, including:
      • Rectors
      • Assistant Rectors and Resident Assistants
      • Students who have participated in the disciplinary process managed by the Office of Residence Life
      • Students who have not participated in the disciplinary process managed by the Office of Residence Life
      • Faculty and staff
      • Colleagues from the Division of Student Affairs
    • Listening Sessions (scheduled sessions in LaFortune Student Center and campus housing locations for students to provide convenient, face-to-face feedback)
    • Open Office Hours in the Office of Residence Life (for students, residence hall staff, faculty and staff to provide feedback)
    • Informal feedback received from students, residence hall staff, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni throughout the process
  • Emerging trends in student conduct processes and alignment with professional standards in the field of student conduct administration
  • An understanding of Notre Dame's unique residential mission and Holy Cross traditions in the context of the student conduct process

Topics of Interest

Items discussed throughout the review included, but were not limited to:

  • Different settings for conduct meetings
  • Incident types that the Office of Residence Life should handle
  • Method of communication with students
  • Student involvement in the conduct process 
  • Role of residence hall staff in disciplinary meetings
  • Involvement of support persons in disciplinary meetings
  • Effectiveness of sanctions
  • Case review processes
  • Records retention and reporting


Feedback received through the process indicated:

  • Procedural inconsistencies with which cases were referred to the Office of Residence Life
  • Rector relationships with students are essential for the formation and development
  • The need for tailored sanctions to best support student development
  • Privacy is a sensitive topic for students
  • Accessibility of people and conduct processes is important for transparency
  • Myths & ghost stories impede the conduct process
  • A need for defined learning outcomes and an assessment strategy
  • Students are concerned about their "conduct record"

Moving Forward

The findings of the review resulted in the establishment of three guiding themes: 
  • Transparency and accessibility of the student conduct process
  • Education of the University community on student life policies and procedures
  • Articulation of, and adherence to, the practice of student conduct administration rooted in the University’s mission as a Catholic institution founded in the tradition of the Congregation of Holy Cross

These three themes will inform the work of the staff responsible for managing the University's conduct processes.  The mission of the office will be to:

... educate the campus community on expectations for student conduct and administer formative and developmentally-based opportunities rooted in the Holy Cross tradition to challenge students to reflect on their choices, take responsibility for their actions, and understand the balance between the needs of the individual as well as the University community.

One of the most visible outcomes from the review was the name of the office responsible for administering the student conduct process at Notre Dame.  The Office of Residence Life has evolved into the Office of Community Standards effective the 2013 Fall Semester.

Please contact the Office of Community Standards staff with questions about the transition from the Office of Residence Life.