Dean of Students
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions about the student conduct process.
For detailed information on the conduct process related to sexual misconduct/Title IX cases, review the MSU Denver Title IX Policies, Procedures, & Resources guidebook.
Who can file a complaint or incident report?
Any person with relevant information concerning a possible violation of the Student Code of Conduct may provide information or file a complaint or incident report.
How do I file a complaint or incident report?
Visit the reporting an incident webpage for more information. For information on your reporting options involving sexual misconduct, visit the page.
What should I include when filing a report?
It is important that the information be as clear and detailed as possible. Report on the behaviors you observed or were involved in rather than opinions or assumptions about why a behavior may have occurred. If possible, include the following:
- The names of those involved and any witnesses
- Whether the matter was reported to police or any University staff or officials
- The sequence of events and any other relevant facts
- Include specific times, dates, names and quotes when possible
- If any injuries resulted, indicate what the injuries were and whether any medical treatment was obtained.
What happens after I submit a complaint or incident report?
Typically, staff in the Dean of Students Office will:
- Make contact with the person who reported the incident or concern;
- We’ll listen and ask follow-up questions about the issue, attempt to assess for risk of harm, and ask for the reporter’s help in connecting with the student or students involved;
- We’ll attempt to contact the student and discuss with him or her our role and the conduct process; and
- We may discuss interim remedies that may be available, the investigation process, and sanctions that may be available.
If someone has filed an incident report involving me, what will happen?
Typically, you will receive a letter from us asking you to make an appointment to meet with the Student Conduct Coordinator or other staff member in the Dean of Students Office. The letter may also describe any potential charges related to a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. It is important to make an appointment and keep it. Ignoring the situation will not make it go away. If you don't respond, a decision may be made in the case without your input or a hold could be placed on your account. This decision could affect your status as a student.
I received an email that indicates that I've been reported for possible violation of the Student Code of Conduct. What does this mean?
It most likely means that an incident report containing your name has been filed and the report indicates that there may have been a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. You should follow the instructions in the email letter and set up a meeting with the individual staff member cited in the letter as soon as possible. If the communication contains a specific date and time for a meeting, you are required to appear for that meeting.
May I have a support person with me?
You may have a support person with you throughout the process. The person serves in an advisory and supportive role, and he/she may not speak for you. Your support person should not be a witness related to the potential violation.
Please note, if your advisor is an attorney, you must notify the Student Conduct Coordinator in advance so that the University’s General Counsel (lawyer) can be notified.
As a reporter alleging a student violated the Student Code of Conduct, can I choose to stop the process from happening?
That depends on the nature of the allegations. In some cases, you may be able to stop the process. In some others, if there is an issue of safety for you or members of the MSU Denver community, the University may have to take action, even if you do not want it to. For more information that may help you decide on what steps you want to take related to sexual misconduct, visit the page.
What are my options if it is alleged that I violated part of the Student Code of Conduct?
If you are alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct you will have an opportunity to meet with a Student Conduct Coordinator and/or other Dean of Students Office staff member such as the Title IX Investigator to review the allegations and clarify your rights and responsibilities in the conduct process. At these meetings, you may also be asked to either admit or deny the allegations, and the conduct process will be explained. At this meeting you may or may not be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
What if I was not aware of a rule and didn't know I was breaking it?
Lack of knowledge of a rule is not an excuse for misconduct. Every student is responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of MSU Denver’s Student Code of Conduct. It is important for you to read the Student Code of Conduct. If you are unsure about any policies, contact us and ask for clarification.
Can't I just lie about the situation and get away with it?
Maybe, but it is not a good idea. If it is found that you lied, there may be additional disciplinary charges or consequences.
Does double jeopardy apply? Can I go through the criminal justice process AND the University’s conduct process?
Double jeopardy does not apply since the University is dealing with violations of the Student Code of Conduct and the University’s expectations of its students. Double jeopardy only applies to the criminal court system. The University conduct system is separate and distinct from a criminal or civil court proceeding. Therefore, a student may experience both the University disciplinary process AND off-campus legal proceedings.
What if I am off campus when I violate the Student Code of Conduct?
In general, if the behavior adversely affects the University community or its members, the University may assume jurisdiction for the off-campus behavior and may contact you to initiate the conduct process. Sexual misconduct/Title IX Student Code of Conduct violations are concerned with the “who”, not the “where” or “when”, of an alleged violation.
What happens if I choose not to respond to the requests from Student Conduct to meet, choose not to appear for a scheduled meeting, or choose not to comply with a sanction?
If you choose not to set an appointment within a reasonable period of time or fail to appear for a scheduled appointment, a hold may be placed on your student account, preventing access to registration and/or records, and an additional violation of failure to comply could result. If you fail to appear for a scheduled hearing or meeting after formal charges have been issued, a decision may be made in your absence without your involvement.
If you fail to comply with the terms of an assigned sanction, you can be charged with Failure to Comply and/or a hold may be placed on your records and registration. The results of such a charge will most likely be more severe than the original sanction.
How do you determine sanctions?
Sanctions are determined using a variety of factors including the nature and severity of the violation, related circumstances, impact on the campus/community, past history, precedent, and educational value of the sanction.
What if I do not complete an assigned sanction?
Additional sanctions may be added. In some cases, failure to complete sanctions may result in suspension or expulsion from the University. In addition, a hold may be placed on your registration and records. Remember that sanctions are placed as a result of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and are designed to educate you about the expectations and norms of the University community.
Will disciplinary sanctions appear on my academic transcript?
In most cases, conduct violations, sanctions and other outcomes do not appear on academic transcripts.
What is FERPA and how does it relate to alleged incidents or violations of the Student Code of Conduct?
FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that provides for the confidentiality of student education records. Education institutions may not disclose information about students nor permit inspection of their records without the student's permission unless such action is covered by certain exceptions as stipulated in the Act. For more information on FERPA, visit the Registrar’s Office FERPA site.
Will my parents find out about a violation of the Student Code of Conduct?
We encourage you to discuss the situation with your parents. However, we will not discuss your case with your parents unless you either provide us with a written release or the situation falls under one of the exceptions to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
Will potential employers have access to my disciplinary record?
In general, information about your disciplinary record with the University is not available to third parties without your written permission. Visit the MSU Denver’s Registrar’s FERPA site for more information.
I want to go to graduate/law/medical school. Will potential schools find out about my disciplinary history?
Many graduate, and most law and medical schools, request information about a student's disciplinary history. Students who are sanctioned through the University’s Student Code of Conduct process may have a disciplinary file at the University.
Keep in mind that your disciplinary history may or may not affect your admission. You will want to discuss your history with the admissions staff of the potential schools if you are concerned.
MSU Denver provides a method to expunge disciplinary records after a student graduates. For more information, contact the Student Conduct Coordinator in the Dean of Students Office.
Can I appeal the outcome of my case? If so, who hears the appeal?
Both the reporting and responding student have the right to appeal the original decision. For more detailed information, see the Appeals section in the Student Code of Conduct, or visit our Appeal Process page for more information.
What is the Hearing Board? Who is on the Hearing Board?
The Student Conduct Hearing Board is made up of a group of trained staff, faculty, and student members who are brought together to hear cases where a student has allegedly violated the Student Code of Conduct and the sanction may be suspension or expulsion from the University. The board hears the case and makes a recommendation as to whether or not a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred and if suspension or expulsion is warranted.
Visit the Hearing Board webpage for more information.
If the case I am involved in goes to a hearing board, am I required to attend?
We strongly encourage the reporter and respondent to participate fully in the hearing board process. If you are unable to attend a hearing, you may provide a statement to be read and/or given to the panel members or hearing officer at the hearing.
If you are uncomfortable with attending a hearing, we may be able to make arrangements so that you will not be in the same room or be required to interact face-to-face with the respondent. The respondent will have the right to ask questions of you, but the hearing officer or panel chairperson can determine how this will occur. We make great effort to keep the questioning from being done in an inappropriate manner and to make the environment feel as safe as possible.
If my case goes to a Hearing Board, may I have someone present with me?
Yes, you may have an advisor present with you during the hearing process. You have the responsibility for presenting your side of the case. The advisor may support you (i.e., whisper or write notes to you), but they may not speak for you or represent you.
Can I withdraw from school in order to resolve this?
No. The student conduct process may continue, even if you withdraw from school. In addition, there may be a hold on your records and registration that will keep you from withdrawing and obtaining transcripts. Resolving allegations of misconduct through the student conduct process is an obligation you have as a student.
Who can contact Student Conflict Resolution Services?
As part of the Dean of Students Office, Student Conflict Resolution Services is funded by student fees. This requires Student Conflict Resolution Services to only provide assistance to current students and faculty and staff with student related issues.
Why should I consider Student Conflict Resolution Services?
As a neutral third party we can:
- Help you and another person reach agreements and find solutions to disputes before they escalate;
- Provide an opportunity to say what is important to you and help you to hear the other person’s perspective;
- Teach you to communicate more effectively, both orally and in writing;
- Provide you with the tools you need to successfully resolve conflicts in the future;
- Help you find win-win solutions in disputes; and
- Support the rebuilding of relationships.
Will Student Conflict Resolution Services be an advocate for me?
No, as a neutral third party Student Conflict Resolution Services will help you explore options and assist you in solving a problem on your own but will not advocate for any party involved in a conflict.
How can I make an appointment?
Students can schedule an appointment with the Student Conflict Resolution Coordinator by contacting the Dean of Students Office. Visit the Student Conflict Resolution website for more information.