Conduct Review Process

SCCS Flow Chart

Allegations

The Student Conduct and Community Standards Office receives incident reports from various departments within the University, including but not limited to the SMU Police Department, Residence Life & Student Housing, and individual complainants. Each incident report is reviewed to determine whether or not there is sufficient information to warrant an investigation and/or to proceed with the conduct review process.

Notification

If enough information exists to send a notice of alleged violation, the respondent is formally notified in writing (which is sent to the mailing address on file with the University Registrar - my.SMU) and through his/her SMU email account. The notice shall include the following information: the time, date, and place of the hearing and where further information concerning the incident may be obtained. Notice will be given to the student a minimum of four (4) calendar days (excluding school holidays) prior to the hearing.

Hearings

Conduct Hearings: All offenses are eligible for resolution through a conduct hearing. These hearings are held between a Conduct Officer and the respondent.

University Conduct Board: A Conduct Officer may assign a case to a University Conduct Board.

Case Heard In Absentia

If the student does not appear for his or her hearing, the hearing will be held in the student's absence. The Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board will review the available information to determine whether or not a violation occurred. If it is determined that a violation occurred, those reviewing the case will decide upon the sanctions that will be imposed. The student will then be notified of the decision via mail (which is sent to the mailing address on file with the University Registrar - my.SMU). The student is responsible for keeping this address current and complying with the assigned sanctions.

Sanctions

The following sanctions may be imposed in any combination or individually and in a manner that fosters a student's self-reflection, learning, and sense of commitment to his or her community: Formal Conduct Warning; Conduct Probation; Deferred Suspension; Suspension; Expulsion; Fine; Restitution; Notification of Parents/National Organizations/Authorizing Body; Cancellation of Housing Contract; Disqualification from Holding Official Student Positions or Participating in University Activities; Disciplinary Violation (DV) Transcript Record; Suspension of Privileges; Educational Sanctions; Drug Testing; Referrals to Other Offices; and other sanctions.

Appeals

A respondent who has been found responsible shall have the right to request an appellate review. Such written request must be received in the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards no later than five (5) business days from the date the decision was given to the respondent in person. Grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. Clearly erroneous findings of fact;
  2. Significant procedural irregularities that denied the respondent a fair hearing;
  3. Substantial new relevant evidence not available at the time of the hearing;
  4. Sanction unreasonably harsh.

The University Conduct Council reviews all cases that are appealed.

This is not the official statement of the conduct review processes at SMU. For the most current information, refer to the online version of the SMU Student Handbook. It is every student's responsibility to read and be fully aware of all campus rules and procedures.

Further comments or questions regarding the conduct review process at Southern Methodist University should be directed to the Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards, 214-768-4563, or send an e-mail to conduct@smu.edu.

What is SMU's jurisdiction?

The Student Code of Conduct applies to student behavior both on and off the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU). This includes travel on University-sanctioned trips and other locations where students are representing SMU.

I got referred to the "Conduct Office," what's next?

When a student is referred to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, they receive a written Notification of Hearing letter from a member of the office which includes the date, time, and location of their hearing. This letter will also include the date of the incident and the alleged violation(s).

What is the "Standard of Proof" used in conduct cases?

Preponderance of the Evidence- Is it more likely than not (a 50.01% chance) a violation of policy occurred.

Should I bring my attorney or hire an attorney?

The Conduct Review Process is an educational process and an attorney is not needed or allowed. If your parent, guardian, or friend/support person is attending your hearing and they are an attorney, they cannot act as an attorney at that time.

Can my parents attend my Conduct Officer Hearing?

Yes, your parent can attend your hearing, but you must have already given them access to your disciplinary records or sign a waiver before the meeting.

What sanction status' impacts my standing with the university?

Conduct Probation, Deferred Suspension, Suspension, and Expulsion. These status' can impact your ability to participate in certain university activities. 

Will this information be noted on my transcript?

If a student receives a Disciplinary Violation, Honor Violation, or is suspended or expelled it will be noted on their transcript.

Will my parents find out that I violated the Student Code of Conduct?

It depends. If a student is found responsible for violating the Alcohol policy and is under the age of 21, a letter will be sent to their parents informing them a violation occurred. If a student is found responsible for violating the Drugs and Paraphernalia policy, a letter will be sent to their parents regardless of the students age. 

How can I get a conduct HOLD removed from my student account?

Once a student has completed all overdue sanctions the office will remove the hold from the student's account.

How many days does a student have to appeal a decision from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards?

Students have five (5) days to appeal a decision from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.

If I am found "Responsible" for violating the Honor Code by the Honor Council, what will happen?

The recommended minimum sanctions assigned for students found "Responsible" for violating the Honor Code is Deferred Suspension and an Honor Violation being placed on their transcript. 

What is one thing an Honor Violation (H.V.) can prevent me from doing? 

For a period of one (1) year, no student with an H.V. on his/her record shall be entitled to a scholarship based on any factor other than need.

How long does an Honor Violation stay on my transcript?

An Honor Violation will remain on a students transcript three (3) years after a student graduates.

Part of our mission is to promote community, scholarship, and civility. One way we do this is by assigning sanctions to students who violate the Student Code of Conduct, Honor Code, or other University policies. The purpose of our sanctions are to 1) further a student's development and enable them to become a positive contributor to the community; 2) discourage a student's inappropriate behavior from reoccurring in the future; and 3) to ensure a healthy and safe campus community.

The purpose of this page is to provide students with a brief overview of our educational sanctions. It also provides direct access to selected sanctions if a student no longer has access to their Outcome Letter.

Educational Sanctions

*This is not an exhaustive list of every sanction a student can be assigned, but reflects the most common sanctions used in our office. A Conduct Officer can assign other educational sanctions if appropriate for the student.

Personal Reflection Paper- The student will complete a paper reflecting on an agreed upon topic, such as their decision‐making process, understanding of a policy, or purpose of a policy. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Values Clarification Worksheet- Students will complete a worksheet that will help them identify their personal values, clarify how their values are used in their decision‐making, analyze how their values will influence future decision‐making, and create an action plan for future situations. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Letter to Future Self- Students will write a letter addressed to their future self using the website www.futureme.org. The letter should aim to remind their future self about values, feelings, lessons learned, hopes for the future, and/or wanted change. The letter should be a minimum of 750 words. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Fictitious ID Paper/Poster- Students will write a paper (1,000 word count) or create a poster to explain the legal consequences of having a fake ID in Texas and the impact of these consequences on their future goals. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Goals Worksheet- Students will complete a worksheet that helps them identify personal and academic goals for their time at SMU. The worksheet also has questions which will help students reflect on how their violation could hinder their success with those goals and articulate their plans to avoid future violations. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Decision Making Workshop- The decision-­making workshop is offered through the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards. The workshop is designed to help students clarify values and learn decision‐making strategies. Students sanctioned will also have to complete a post workshop reflection. Once you have completed the post workshop reflection, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Consequences Worksheet- Students will complete a worksheet that will help them analyze the potential consequences of being suspended from SMU. The worksheet also provides students with an opportunity to set goals and develop strategies for the future. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Marijuana 101- Students will use this online educational program to explore drug use and consequences. There is a cost associated with this sanction, which the student is responsible for paying. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, submit your Certificate of Completion to your Conduct Officer.

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Referral to Substance Abuse Counselor- Students will complete a personalized assessment online and bring the results of that assessment to an appointment with a counselor at the Health Center. During this appointment, students will work with their counselor to identify elements of risk in their decision-­making regarding alcohol and/or drugs, develop strategic alternatives to consuming alcohol and/or drugs in social situations, recognize high risk behaviors regarding substance abuse.


Understanding Pathway Project Examples

Fake ID Research Project - Students will write a paper (1,000 word count) or create a poster to explain the legal consequences of having a fake ID in Texas and the impact of these consequences on their future goals.

Buzzfeed Quiz/List - Student will create a Buzzfeed list or quiz that will provide advice/information to help other students make better decisions while attending college.

College Alcohol Online Fact Finder - Students will be provided website links to educate them on the use of alcohol amongst college students and minors.


Perspective Pathway Project Examples

Decision-Making Workshop - The workshop is designed to help students clarify values and learn decision‐making strategies. Students sanctioned will also have to complete a post workshop reflection.

Letter to Future Self - Students will write a letter addressed to their future self using the website www.futureme.org. The letter should aim to remind their future self about values, feelings, lessons learned, hopes for the future, and/or wanted change.

TED Talk Video - Students will select the TED Talk video they want to view. After watching the video, students will reflect on the speakers main points, what resonated most with them, and how they can apply the information learned to their life.


Restorative Pathway Project Examples

Apology Letter - Students will write an apology letter to the appropriate party. Using the “Six Essential Elements of an Effective Apology” article provided to them.

Potential Employer/School Conduct Questionnaire - Students will complete this questionnaire to better prepare them to answer questions about their conduct history to future employers and graduate schools.

Future Employer/Human Resources Interview - Students will contact aspirational companies in which they hope to work for upon graduation at SMU. The student interview someone in Human Resources department or someone at the company who makes hiring decision. The students will ask what types of experiences they look for on students resumes. Students will also ask how employers interpret conduct records of new college graduates.


Well-Being Pathway Project Examples

Student Organization Involvement Plan - Students will explore the various student organizations and clubs SMU has to offer. Students will identify at least three that are interest to them.

Referral to Substance Abuse Counselor - Students will complete a personalized assessment online and bring the results of that assessment to an appointment with a counselor at the Health Center. During this appointment, students will work with their counselor to identify elements of risk in their decision-¬making regarding alcohol and/or drugs, develop strategic alternatives to consuming alcohol and/or drugs in social situations, recognize high risk behaviors regarding substance abuse.

Well-Being Self Care Plan - Students will develop their own Well-Being Self Care plan for the next month. The student will need to have their plan approved by their Conduct Officer and will meet with them at least twice after it is approved.


TED Talk Videos

In your Outcome Letter, your Conduct Officer assigned a specific TED Talk video for you to watch. Please choose the correct video below and answer the questions provided to you from your Conduct Officer. Once you have completed the assigned sanction, please submit your document to your Conduct Officer for review.

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Building Integrity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8kQ2beNztw

Staying committed to your goals. What happens when you break your promise to yourself? Do you make bad decisions?

Presenter – Eric Rainey

Duration – 10:21

Self Control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPQhj6ktYSo

Self-control and how it impacts our impulsive behavior. The difference between long term and short term goals.

Presenter: Dan Ariely

Duration: 17:48

Slayinator.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JroHZZXIz00&t=39s

Change is possible only if you change your mindset.

Presenter: Matin Eshaghi

Duration: 6.01

The key to transforming yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLt_yDvdeLQ&t=183s

Being fixated on the old way of doing things when we want to really change. To transform yourself you should avoid running away from your issues and stay committed to making the change.

Presenter: Robert Greene

Duration: 18.29

Is there a real you?

https://youtu.be/Q80MfH7xPPE

Discover the real you. You can shape, channel and change yourself in that process of discovery. (slightly philosophical)

Presenter: Julian Baggini

Duration: 11.59

What’s your 200-year plan?

https://youtu.be/Qzmt2wQMhYo

Using your creativity to plan your life.

Presenter: Raghava KK

Duration: 10.42

Why we make bad decisions?

https://youtu.be/c-4flnuxNV4

We make bad decisions because we make errors in estimating the odds of being successful. We only think short term. We often forget to think about the long term consequences.

Presenter: Dan Gilbert

Duration: 33.21

The fringe benefits of failure.

https://youtu.be/wHGqp8lz36c

Convocation address by J.K. Rowling at Harvard in 2008. She speaks about how she used her failure as an opportunity to succeed.

Presenter: J.K. Rowling

Duration: 20.58

The battle between your present self and future self.

https://youtu.be/t1Z_oufuQg4

Resisting temptation is hard. People often use commitment devices to stick to their goals. But these commitment devices are not fool proof. Making better decisions by imagining what it’s like to be in the future.

Presenter: Daniel Goldstein

Duration: 15.59

Are we in control of our own decisions?

https://youtu.be/9X68dm92HVI

Decision making can be difficult and complex and sometimes we are pretty irrational when we make decisions. Speaker uses behavioral economics to discuss decision-making. Bottom-line – understand your limitations when you make decisions.

Presenter: Daniel Ariely

Duration: 17.03

FakeID-Don'tDoIt!

The practice of minors using fake IDs to obtain alcohol continues to be widespread on college campuses. Unfortunately, Southern Methodist University is not immune to such acts.  As a University, we do not condone the use, possession, or manufacturing of fake IDs as stated in the Student Code of Conduct. Students found with a fake ID in their possession are required to go through the conduct review process. However, the consequences of being caught with a fake ID may extend beyond the conduct review process.

What are the legal consequences of possessing a fake ID in Texas?

Under Texas state law, a person under 21 who is in possession of a fake driver’s license with intent to misrepresent one’s age is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable up to a $500 fine. If the altered driver’s license has a fake identity rather than just a fake age or was issued to someone else, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a potential $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

Did you know that the TABC implemented Operation Fake Out to counter the use of fake ID's by underage drinkers?

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) agents collaborate with alcoholic beverage retailers to detect the use of fake ID’s. The venue’s doorman checks an ID presented and passes it to the TABC agent who then evaluates the ID for tell-tale imperfections. An individual found to be using a fake or altered ID is arrested and transported to jail.

For more information on Operation Fake Out - Click Here

What are some of the unforeseen risks associated with ordering a fake ID online?

  • Increased vulnerability to identity theft
  • Enabling a threat to national security

For more details, here is a KCTV5 News investigation on fake IDs - Click Here

Fake IDs on a College Campus:

In the Chronicle of Higher Education article "A River of Booze," Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover take a closer look at the stakeholders of fake IDs and underage drinking in one college town.

Read Article

(Image adapted from one found in the December 14, 2011 issue of The University Daily Kansan.)

Call For Help Program: Good Samaritan / Medical Amnesty Policy

Student welfare is a primary concern at SMU. Everyone is responsible for creating a healthy community whose members care for one another. One demonstration of caring involves seeking medical assistance for fellow students when lives may be in danger due to alcohol and/or other drug intoxication. To seek medical assistance, please call 911.

Students who seek medical assistance for themselves (Medical Amnesty) or another student (Good Samaritan) due to intoxication of alcohol and/or other drugs will not normally be subject to the SMU conduct review process, except when it has been determined that another violation of University policy has occurred (for example: destruction of University property; fire safety violation; physical harm to another person, etc.).

Any exemption from the SMU conduct review process which is granted under this policy may only apply to disciplinary action and/or sanctions under the SMU alcohol and/or drug policies in the SMU Student Code of Conduct and, therefore, does not prevent the SMU Police or another police agency from detaining a student, issuing a citation, or making an arrest if they deem that action necessary.

In order for this policy to apply, the student must meet with their assigned Conduct Officer, complete an application and, once referred, complete any and all recommendations made by a substance abuse counselor in SMU Counseling Services. (These recommendations will include at minimum an individual appointment with a counselor and a follow-up appointment.)

While this policy applies to individual students, if an organization has been found in violation of the university’s alcohol and/or drug policies, then the organization’s willingness to seek medical assistance for a guest may be viewed as a mitigating factor if or when sanctions are issued.