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Process and Policies

It's important to know that student conduct processes are not the same as courts. Colleges are determining if a policy has been violated. Courts are determining if a law has been broken. 

SUNY Oswego ensures that every student – those harmed by others and those who are accused of causing harm to another person or the community – is guaranteed due process. Due process is emphasized in the effort to ensure that all involved parties receive equitable and fair treatment.

Every student has the right:

  • To be notified in writing of the allegations against them;
  • To respond to the allegations and have an opportunity to share their perspective of the incident
  • in question;
  • To be notified in writing of the outcome, and
  • In cases where Suspension or Expulsion has been imposed, at least one level of appeal.
Language Used in Student Conduct vs. Courts of Law
Student Conduct Court of Law
Conduct/Hearing Officer or Hearing Board
A college administrator or panel who will meet with students, review information and determine an outcome.

Charge Letter or Outcome Letter|
Notice of alleged policy violations outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and notice of the decision after the student conduct process ends.

Subpoena, Warrant
Standards of Evidence
Preponderance or more likely than not is the standard of evidence used at SUNY Oswego.

Beyond a reasonable
doubt or Clear and

Responsible or Not Responsible
findings of policy violations
Guilty, Innocent

Reporting Party, Victim or Complainant
A student bringing forward a complaint alleging they another student with another student with violating a policy or causing harm to another person

Defendant, Plaintiff

1. Reviewing Incident Reports

Once a complaint has been reported and/or filed and received by the Office of Student Conduct, a preliminary review into the nature of the incident, the evidence available, and the parties involved will be initiated.

The preliminary review may lead to:
• A determination that there is insufficient evidence or no indicated policy violations;
• Further investigation when it is clear more information must be gathered;
• An Alternative Resolution and bypass the conduct process, or
• An Informal or Formal Resolution and referred to the appropriate Student Conduct Officer or Hearing Body.

2. Notification of Alleged Violations

A notice of alleged violation(s) is the document that a student, student organization, or student group will receive if they have allegedly violated the Student Code of Conduct. This notice will include the date, time, and location to attend an information session which will discuss the alleged violations as well as the student conduct process. Failure to respond to the notice of the charges by the time designated in the charge letter shall result in the hearing scheduled without the benefit of the respondent's choice of hearing option.

3. Resolution Options

If an investigation reveals the need for disciplinary action there are multiple resolution options depending on the severity of the allegation.

Informal Resolutions

When the Director of Student Conduct determines that outcomes are not likely to include College Housing Removal, Suspension, or Expulsion, the matter will be referred for an Informal Resolution.

When cases are referred for Informal Resolutions, the following opportunities are available for students to respond to the allegations against them:

Accept Responsibility

By accepting responisbility, a student is admitting responsibility for the alleged violation(s), agree to the prescribed sanctions outlined their Charge Letter and waive their attendance to meet with a Student Conduct Officer.

Deny Responsibility

By denying responsibility, a student is contesting responsibility for the alleged violation(s) outlined in their Charge Letter and agree to attend a Disciplinary Conference.

Disciplinary Conferences are one-on-one meetings with a Student Conduct Officer to resolve incidents when a potential sanction does not rise above disciplinary probation.


Formal Resolutions

In cases where the Director of Student Conduct determines that outcomes could reasonably include College Housing Removal, Suspension, or Expulsion, the matter will be referred for a Formal Resolution.

When cases are referred for Formal Resolutions, the following opportunities are available for students to respond to the allegations against them:

Accept Responsibility

By accepting responsibility, a student is admitting to the alleged violation(s) and the Director of Student Conduct will convene an Administrative Hearing.

Administrative Hearings are typically conducted by the Dean of Students or a designated Hearing Officer when a student has accepted responsibility for allegations of violating policy or when a student has violated the terms and conditions of their Disciplinary Probation or Deferred Suspension status.

Typically, a hearing will consist of one Hearing Officer but at times may require two Hearing Officers.

Deny Responsibility

By denying responsibility, a student is contesting the alleged violations(s) and the Director of Student Conduct will convene a hearing before the Student Conduct Board.

Student Conduct Board Hearings are panels comprised of 3-5 trained faculty, staff and students who hear disciplinary cases when a student is contesting responsibility for allegations of violating policy.



Waive Right to Appear

By waiving right to appear, a student is neither admitting or contesting responsibility for the alleged violation(s) and declines their attendance at a hearing. The Director of Student Conduct will present all information in support of the alleged violations to the Dean of Students, and a decision will be made In Absentia.

Amnesty Policies

Good Samaritan Policy

Students, student groups, and organizations are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance for any person who may be suffering from a medical emergency. To minimize hesitation in getting help for a person experiencing adverse side effects from alcohol and drug consumption, amnesty from disciplinary action for minor alcohol and drug violations may be granted to anyone who, in good faith and in a timely manner, seeks emergency medical assistance for themself or someone in need. The conditions of this policy are as follows:

  • Students involved in a situation where alcohol/drug consumption led to a medical emergency must, as a condition of this policy, agree to participate in additional educational programming surrounding responsible use of alcohol/drugs. Fees related to these activities will be waived or significantly reduced for all parties.
  • Amnesty from disciplinary measures will be revoked whenever a student fails or refuses to complete educational programming following the incident.
  • In most circumstances, parents/guardians will not be notified of the outcome.
  • Amnesty will not be granted for violations of M.10. Operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, including but not limited to a DUI/DWI and N.4. Manufacturing, selling, or distribution of drugs, controlled substances, or non-prescribed medication.
  • Incidents that qualify for the Good Samaritan policy will not be added to student disciplinary records and will not be subject to disclosure to third party entities requesting access to view student disciplinary records.
  • Amnesty is not guaranteed in all circumstances. The Director of Student Conduct makes final determinations on the application, scope, and appropriateness of the Good Samaritan policy for each unique incident.
Amnesty Policy for Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual Violence Cases

(See full policy under Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention, Policies and Procedures.)

The health and safety of every student at the State University of New York and its State-operated and community colleges is of utmost importance. SUNY Oswego recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. SUNY Oswego strongly encourages students to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to the Title IX coordinator. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to SUNY Oswego officials or law enforcement will not be subject to SUNY Oswego code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.