The Association for Student Judicial Affairs (ASJA) has been in existence since 1986 and is the primary professional association for administrators working with student conduct. The membership comprises 1200 members working at over 750 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada.
ASJA is an organization of professional educators who are responsible for administering standards of student conduct within colleges and universities. The membership of ASJA believes that the purposes for the enforcement of such standards are to maintain and strengthen the ethical climate and to promote the academic integrity of our institutions. Clearly articulated and consistently administered standards of conduct form the basis for behavioral expectations within an academic community. The enforcement of such standards should be accomplished in a manner that protects the rights, health, and safety of members of that community so that they may pursue their educational goals without undue interference (Editorial Note: adapted from ASJA Preamble on website).
ASJA created this guide in order to aid you in helping your student navigate the student conduct system at his/her college or university. Student conduct systems in higher education have been in existence for many years, and have evolved over time. Today, the main purpose of most student conduct systems is education. The goal is to have each incident of misconduct create a learning opportunity for the student. In addition, conduct officers strive to repair any harm done to the community. There likewise is a deterrent aspect of the student’s participation in the conduct process.
Staff responsible for student discipline at most institutions have very specialized training in student conduct. Most have at least a Master’s degree and some have doctoral or law degrees.
This guide will focus on general procedures of most campus discipline processes, with particular emphasis on the difference between the campus process and criminal prosecution; goals of the conduct process; and student records and confidentiality. Additionally, the guide offers a general overview of the various types of misconduct with a focus on alcohol and drug offenses. It also includes some general advice you can use in working with your student who may be involved with the campus conduct system. We hope this guide aids you in understanding what your student may be facing as they begin to navigate their way through the student conduct system.
Before delving into the content of this guide, it is important to understand its limitations. First, as stated above, institutional student conduct processes are as unique as the institutions’ themselves. Please contact the student conduct officer on your campus to obtain a copy of the student conduct code. This guide is an attempt to discuss some of the most common practices at institutions across the country.
Another limitation of this publication is that public institutions have very different guidelines that they need to follow than private institutions do. Generally, private institutions have greater flexibility in their hearing standards, consequences for misconduct, and what types of conduct they can regulate. We therefore strongly encourage you to check your institution’s own conduct code to find out what types of procedures are used.
Finally, the terminology used at various institutions is very interchangeable. For example, some campuses will call this process the student judicial process; others will call it the student conduct process. Additionally, the administrative unit that handles student conduct matters varies from institution to institution. In fact, the uniqueness begins with what the office that addresses student conduct is called and where it is situated. In general, these offices are called: the Office of Student Conduct, the Office of Student Judicial Affairs, the Office of Student Discipline, the Office of Student Development, or the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards. Many offices are located within the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Residence Life, the Division of Student Affairs, or the Office of Student Life.
This guide serves as a basic introduction to the student conduct system and as a springboard for investigating the procedures specific to your institution. With your support and understanding, you can help your student navigate the student conduct process and encourage the growth, development and accountability that we all want from our students.