Frequently Asked questions
1. How does your office know when and who violates the Student Code of Conduct?
The Student Conduct Office (SCO) receives various incident reports of alleged student misconduct from a variety of sources, e.g., the University Police primarily, but also the Valdosta or Remerton Police or the Lowndes County Sheriff too. VSU's Housing and Residence Life Office also reports incidents as well as faculty, administrative staff, and students.
2. How is it determined IF a Code of Conduct violation occurred?
The alleged violator is notified by the (SCO) by their local address listed in the VSU Banner system as well as their official VSU email account to call and schedule an appointment to discuss the report. The Conduct Officer then explains why the student has been contacted and refers to the Student Handbook’s Student Code of Conduct to discuss the violation(s) believed applicable. The Conduct Officer typically describes the disciplinary procedures and options too. The student then either does or does not accept responsibility for the alleged violations. Depending on their response the next course of disciplinary action results.
3. What are the student’s rights in this process?
Please click on the "Rights of the Student" link on the Student Conduct Office homepage or read Appendix B, Section I, of the Student Handbook's Code of Conduct.
4. Will parents or guardian be notified?
As a rule, NO. The incident is between the student and the University. If a parent calls about a disciplinary matter, normally the (SCO) refers them back to the student for clarification or permission unless the student and parent(s) meet to discuss the matter or the student has given prior written permission to the (SCO) to discuss the matter with the parent(s) or other designees via the proper Release of Student Information Form from the VSU Registrar. The Higher Education Amendment Act of 1998 Public Law 105-244 (FERPA) does authorize and give institutions the option to inform parents or guardians of conduct code violations relating to alcohol and illegal drug usage.
5. Can a student be disciplined for an incident occurring off-campus?
As a citizen of the VSU Community, you are expected to represent yourself and the institution in the best possible manner. VSU reserves the right to deal with alleged violators on or off campus for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
6. Will a disciplinary record be noted on one's transcript or revealed to another institution or agency?
No, disciplinary records are NOT noted on a student's transcript at VSU, but periodically other need to know institutions or agencies make inquiries into a student's past disciplinary record at VSU as a part of their admissions or pre-employment process. If a record exists regarding a past disciplinary case or action it will be reported per the guidelines given under FERPA.
7. How is an allegation of misconduct reported?
Anyone wishing to report an incident that might be a violation of the Student Code of Conduct you are encouraged to use the on-line reporting process via this link or you may call the (SCO) at (229) 333-5941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is a crime on campus, it is best to report the incident directly to the VSU University Police at (229) 333-7816 first. These reports are generally passed on to the (SCO) for further investigation. One must realize that the accused will have a right to call into question the report and know who has made an allegation against them. You must also be prepared to give an account of your allegation if required usually in writing as well as in person IF a disciplinary hearing occurs.
8. Suppose I have a “problem” with a faculty, staff, or administrative person at VSU. Do I file a complaint with this office?
NO. The (SCO)'s principle responsibility is for issues regarding the Student Code of Conduct and its relationship to a student or organization’s behavior. If a student has a problem with a faculty member, the grievance / reporting process is the departmental chain of command, e. g., speak to the instructor first if possible, then the department chair, then the dean of the appropriate college, then the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and finally the President for resolution. For an issue regarding Staff or Administrators, one should follow a similar process, i.e., talk with his/her immediate supervisor, next the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Vice President for Finance and Administration depending on the department or you may wish to report to the VSU Human Resource Office.
9. If I am charged with a crime and arrested by the campus police or local law enforcement will VSU assist in “bailing me out” and are there any legal defense services available on campus to a student?
No to both. It is the policy of this institution not to intervene in a criminal or civil matter between law enforcement and a student. No such legal services exist at VSU. The local Public Defenders Office may be able to assist only those charged with felonies and determined to be indigent.
10. If I am arrested and face criminal charges, why do I also face possible disciplinary action with VSU? Isn’t that “double-jeopardy”?
The VSU student disciplinary process is just that, a student-focused educational process that does not seek to“mirror” the legal system. Its methodology and consequences are of an educational nature. Double Jeopardy is when one is actually tried twice for the same “crime”. The (SCO) does not conduct trials. Hearings are used to hopefully redirect the student's focus and behavior toward the goals of the institution, i.e., successful completion of one's degree program. The (SCO) does NOT incarcerate or deprive a student of his property and personal freedom.