Dean of Students
Frequently Asked Questions of Student Conduct
"Do I have a confidential, or privileged, relationship with my students?"
University faculty and staff generally do not hold a “privileged” relationship with students – these relationships are not confidential. Unless – the faculty/staff is licensed (doctor, nurse, counselor), was hired for the purpose of using their license, is actively “doing” that specific job, the student knows that the faculty/staff member is doing that job, and the information was learned in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. It may be helpful to let your students know in advance (i.e. in a syllabus, general announcement at the beginning of the semester) that you are not able to keep information they tell you secret or confidential. You can let a student who approaches you wanting to tell you a "secret" that you're only going to tell the people that you think can help.
“I’m supposed to document my advising sessions with students using Banner. If I make note of a conversation about a student’s welfare or concerning behavior in Banner, do I violate FERPA?”
Notations in Banner should be limited to academic-related information. Other information should be recorded through a report to the CARE team.
“Should I keep my own written notes about meetings/conversations I have with students?”
NO! Record-keeping outside of the University’s established policy and procedures (i.e. using Banner, reporting to CARE) increases your personal liability risk as well as the University’s.
“If a student comes to class requesting accommodations, should I give accommodations immediately and then send them to the Access center?"
NO! Regardless of whether the student has information from his/her doctor or medical provider, the student must go through the Access Center in order to have his/her medical documentation confirmed and have the appropriate accommodation applied. Rely on the University’s policy and process (i.e. refer and use the Access Center) to ensure that accommodations are equitable and appropriate.
If a student has an accommodation through the Access Center but chooses to reject the accommodation on one or more instances in your class, the student can do so and the faculty/staff should notify the Access Center.
Faculty/staff should not meet with a student to determine what an appropriate accommodation should look like in their class. The Access Center has responsibility and expertise to determine accommodations.
“Can a faculty/staff member put restrictions on a student’s speech?”
If there is a true threat and disruption occurs, then speech can be restricted. However, speech cannot be restricted on the basis of an anticipated disruption. Students can present information and material on controversial topics, especially if they are given the option to do so (i.e. The assignment is for the student to pick any topic of their own choosing and do a presentation for the class).
“As a MSU Denver faculty or staff member, am I required to report potential Title IX, or sexual misconduct/discrimination, issues to Student Conduct?”
YES. Students may reasonably think that the faculty or staff member he/she approaches has the ability to remedy a situation, and because of this MSU Denver requires faculty/staff to report issues to Student Conduct.
Even when a faculty/staff member learns of an issue/incident/concern as a 3rd or 4th party, the faculty/staff member still needs to report what they heard or learned.
“As a faculty member, if I make a report which turns out to not be true, can I be held liable for slander?”
No, as long as you are reporting the facts or behaviors as you heard/witnessed/learned of them, and not your opinions or conjecture about why something may have happened. When reporting, using “This is what I observed…”, or “This is what I was told…”, are good methods to ensure you’re reporting only what you saw, heard, witnessed, learned, etc.
“What should I do if it seems like a student’s concerning conduct or behavior is a manifestation of a disability or mental health issue?”
Report it! There is no accommodation that allows disruptive or conduct-concerning behaviors. Disability or mental health related issues may mitigate the sanctioning process but does not excuse the behavior. By making a CARE report, faculty/staff can help the student potentially access additional resources while also ensuring that other campus community members (i.e. other students) can take full advantage of their educational opportunities.
“What if, after I tell a student that I can’t keep a secret, he tells me about a situation that needs to be addressed by Student Conduct. I direct him to make a report with Student Conduct . Do I also need to make a report?”
Yes. Although some students may follow through with making a report, once a faculty/staff member learns about an issue, he/she must file a report independent of what the student does.