Community & Ethical Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Office of Community and Ethical Standards?

The Office of Community and Ethical Standards administers the campus student discipline program. The staff investigates reported violations of student regulations, arranges for cases to be adjudicated, and maintains confidential student discipline records. In order to provide students with an environment that is conducive to learning, the University establishes behavioral expectations and encourages free inquiry and expression that is essential to the development of responsible adults.

The Office of Community and Ethical Standards also advises the Student Attorney General of the Student Government Judicial Branch. OCES and the Student Attorney General recruit and select students for the Student Judicial Boards. The Office of Community and Ethical Standards is responsible for training all student members of the Student Judicial Boards. If you are interested in serving on a Student Judicial Board, please contact Randall Williams at 864-656-0510, or rw2@clemson.edu.

The Office of Community and Ethical Standards is dedicated to serving students, faculty, and staff. We offer programs on student rights, Clemson community standards, ethical decision-making, safety, and living in a community. For more information please call (864) 656-0510, or come by our office in suite 912 of the University Union.

2. I have received a charge letter. What does this mean?

The receipt of an alleged charge letter means that the Office of Community and Ethical Standards has received a report of violation of the Clemson University Student Code of Conduct. The letter will inform you of the alleged violation(s), the date and time of the conference, and other relevant information.

3. What is a discipline conference?

Upon receipt of an incident report, police report, or written complaint, the report will be reviewed and the student(s) will be contacted by a staff member via letter, telephone, or email to schedule an appointment for a discipline conference, when possible, to discuss the allegations and the disciplinary process. During the discipline conference, the student will be given an opportunity to review the information describing the alleged violation (or violations) and to respond to the allegations. If the facts and/or sanctions concerning the alleged violation(s) cannot be agreed upon by the staff member and the referred student(s), the student(s) will be provided with the following options:

  • If the contemplated sanction does not include eviction from University Housing, or suspension or expulsion from the University, then the student may plead no contest, have the staff member impose sanctions, and waive his/her rights to an administrative hearing or they may appeal to the Student Conduct Code Review Committee (SCCRC).
  • If the contemplated sanction includes eviction from University Housing or suspension or expulsion from the University, the student may plead no contest, have the staff member impose sanctions, and waive his/her opportunity for a hearing; or they may request a hearing before the administrative hearing board so that a broader exploration of the facts and circumstances may occur.

If a referred student(s) fails to appear at a scheduled discipline conference, an additional charge of failure to comply with an official request will be added, and the staff member may render a decision in the absence of the student(s).

4. What is a judicial hearing?

A judicial hearing is the opportunity for a student to respond to the charges brought against him or her. There are generally two types of hearings: an administrative hearing and a student judicial board hearing.

An administrative hearing results from cases where the contemplated sanction is eviction from University Housing, suspension or expulsion from the University, and the referred student requests an administrative hearing. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will serve as the chairperson of the Administrative Hearing Board. A student, a faculty member, and a staff member will also serve on the Administrative Hearing Board unless the student waives this option or extenuating circumstances occur. The chairperson shall exercise control over the hearing to prevent the harassment or intimidation of participants.

A Student Judicial Board hearing results from cases involving students who violate policies in the residence halls or who violate general student regulations, as well as cases in which a student has been arrested. The Student Judicial Boards are part of the Student Government Judicial Branch and are made up entirely of students.

5. What happens in the hearing?

In the hearing, the student will have the opportunity to present and examine statements, facts, and any relevant information regarding the case. The referred student shall have the privilege of presenting any questions for witnesses to the Student Judicial Board when appropriate. Once this is completed, the Student Judicial Board members will move to a closed session to determine whether a student committed the alleged violations. The determinations are made based on whether it is more likely than not that the referred student violated the Student Code of Conduct. As soon as a decision is made, the referred student will be informed of the outcome. Please see the Student Code of Conduct for more details.

6. I have been charged by a criminal court and Clemson University. Why am I being charged twice for the same alleged incident?

Clemson University expects its students to act as an upstanding member of Clemson and the surrounding communities. When a person becomes a member of the Clemson Family, they agree to follow the rules created to maintain a safe educational community. This goes for events both on campus and off campus. Students who are alleged to have violated public law may have also violated a student regulation and will be subject to dual jurisdiction, which means the University can process a student's case separate from any action taken by the criminal justice system.

7. If my charges have been dropped by a criminal court, will they also be dropped by Clemson University?

Not necessarily. It is likely that, even if charges are dropped by a criminal court, the Office of Community and Ethical Standards will continue with its process and review the alleged violation(s). Remember, the University is not pursuing criminal charges against its students. Rather, we are reviewing whether or not your actions violated a student regulation.

8. Do I need an attorney present during the University Judicial process?

Students do not need an attorney present during the University Judicial process. However, the Student Code of Conduct does provide information in regards to the use of an advisor during judicial proceedings. For more information, consult the Student Handbook.

9. What if I want to appeal the decision?

Administrative discipline conference decisions not resulting in eviction form University Housing or suspension or expulsion form the University may be appealed by the referred student to the Student Conduct Code Review Committee (SCCRC) within five calendar days of the receipt of the decision of the staff member. However, if the referred student fails to appear at a schedule discipline conference and the case was heard in the absence of the student, the student loses his/her right of appeal.

Administrative Hearing Board decisions resulting in eviction from University Housing or suspension or expulsion from the University may be appealed by the referred student to the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee within five calendar days of the receipt of the decision of the Administrative Hearing Board.

In cases heard by the Student Judicial Board where the sanction(s) recommended are not eviction from University Housing or suspension or expulsion, the referred student may appeal the decision to the student supreme court. In cases where the recommended sanctions are eviction from University Housing or suspension or expulsion from the University, the student will be referred to the administrative process.

Please see the Student Code of Conduct for more details on the guidelines of filing an appeal.

10. Will my parents be notified if I am found responsible for violating University policy?

Parents are usually notified when there is an alcohol or drug violation committed by a student under the age of 21.