Undergraduate Student Handbook
Johns Hopkins University


Student Conduct System

OverviewAuthority of the Conduct Board
Complaint Process
Student Conduct Board

Overview [Top]
The Office of the Dean of Student Life has responsibility for disciplinary matters relating to the non-academic life of undergraduates in the Homewood Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. Included in this are:

  • formulating and refining a student conduct code;
  • formulating and refining a system for addressing and adjudicating complaints of misconduct;
  • educating the undergraduate community about conduct standards and resolution mechanisms; and
  • upholding the conduct code and related policies governing undergraduate life, including residential living.

When a complaint is made alleging violation of the conduct code, the matter may be resolved by:

  • the Student Conduct Board,
  • the Dean of Student Life, or
  • a designee of the Dean of Student Life, most frequently the Associate Dean of Students or the administrative staff in the Office of Residential Life.

Mechanisms used to resolve incidents or misconduct include:

  • administrative resolution of minor, non-disputed conduct violations,
  • Student Conduct Board hearings,
  • administrative hearings with the Associate Dean of Students or a designee, or
  • a mediation process, with an administrative mediator or through the University’s mediation service, when mediation is an appropriate alternative to a disciplinary hearing process.

Authority of the Conduct Board
Members of the University community have the responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the law and respects the rights of others. The Student Conduct Code outlines the standards of behavior established by the University for undergraduates.

The conduct code is enforceable until the undergraduate degree is conferred on commencement day. The code governs behavior which occurs on or off University property. It is enforceable throughout the entire matriculation period, regardless of whether classes are in session or the student is enrolled in classes.

The University may institute action on a disciplinary matter when the interests of the University community are at stake. The conduct system is not intended to replace public law enforcement or to provide non-Hopkins community members with a personal redress mechanism.

Some acts of misconduct also may constitute violations of criminal law. The University’s policy is to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities. The University’s conduction of its disciplinary proceedings is independent of any criminal proceedings arising out of the same incident.

The conduct system coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Student Life addresses alleged violations of the student conduct by individual undergraduate students. The disciplinary structures and processes of the Interfraternity Council and the Student Activities Commission address alleged violations by fraternity and student organizations of the policies of those groups. A student who commits misconduct that violates both the conduct code and student organization policies may be held accountable through both the conduct system and the disciplinary structure of their organization. Academic misconduct is addressed by the Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board.

Complaint Process [Top]
Conduct system complaints may be generated by:

  • undergraduate and graduate students
  • staff and faculty
  • neighbors, landlords, and community groups
  • law enforcement reports
  • campus security reports
  • individuals and entities not affiliated with the university community.

An individual who wishes to make a complaint speaks to the Associate Dean of Students in the Office of the Dean of Student Life, or the administrative staff of the Office of Residential Life.

The Associate Dean manages complaints of major conduct code violations regardless of where they occur and of any violation that does not occur in University housing. The Director of Residential Life, or her designee, manages complaints of minor violations that occur in University housing.

As a preliminary step, the conduct process is explained to the complainant, options are discussed, and the complainant decides whether to pursue the complaint. If the complainant decides to do so, and in instances in which the University is the complainant, the process continues through the following steps:

  • The investigating administrator meets with the accused student and other individuals involved in the case as warranted.
  • The investigating administrator determines whether there is sufficient cause for charges to be initiated against the accused student.
  • If the accused student is charged, the investigating officer evaluates whether the case should be handled administratively, referred to the Student Conduct Board, or referred for mediation.
  • When warranted, the investigating officer works with the complainant and respondent to identify witnesses and to assemble information relevant to the case. The complainant and the respondent are given opportunity to review this information in preparation for the hearing.
  • The complainant and respondent are responsible for notifying their witnesses of thehearing date and time and for bringing all relevant evidence to the hearing.

Minor disciplinary cases that occur in University housing in which the accused student admits to the misconduct are likely handled administratively by Office of Residential Life staff. In most other instances, cases are referred to the Student Conduct Board. Cases of high sensitivity and complexity may be referred to an administrative hearing with the Dean of Student Life or her designee, including cases alleging sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The Student Conduct Board [Top]
The Student Conduct Board is part of an undergraduate student conduct process created by the Dean of Student Life to assist her in resolving cases of non-academic misconduct. It is designed to give students a formal role in upholding the standards of community life at the University and to give students who are victimized by or accused of violations of these standards the opportunity to have their cases heard by their peers.

The Board reports to the Associate Dean of Student Life. The Board is comprised of up to 20 students and 4 to 10 staff/ faculty members who hear cases on a rotating basis in groups of five. These five-person hearing panels are composed of three student members and two staff/ faculty members. A student member of each panel serves as the presiding officer for that hearing. Membership on the Board is open to all full-time undergraduates through a selection process coordinated by the Associate Dean of Student Life.