Understanding the Process

The Office of Student Conduct oversees the resolution of complaints involving alleged misconduct by students. The document which describes the principles and explains the process which govern the disciplinary system is the Charter of the University of Pennsylvania Student Disciplinary System.

The Office of Student Conduct has jurisdiction over all four of Penn’s undergraduate schools and many graduate programs (see here for details regarding jurisdiction). The primary regulations enforced are the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Academic Integrity. However, the Office of Student Conduct also has responsibility for complaints arising under the policies governing computing use, open expression, sexual harassment, alcohol and drug use, recognized student organizations and others. The Office of Student Conduct does not investigate alleged violations of the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy, such cases are handled by the Office of the AVP of Equity and Title IX Officer.

To learn more about each step of the OSC process, click here.

General Principles of the Disciplinary System

  1. The University’s Student Disciplinary System is not a legal system, and University disciplinary proceedings are not civil or criminal litigation. Thus, they operate under different rules, standards, and procedures, and seek to achieve ends different from criminal or civil proceedings.
  2. Any member of the University community may bring a complaint about student conduct to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct (Only faculty may bring a complaint about academic integrity). Doing so does not limit a complainant’s rights or obligations to bring such matters to the attention of other University offices, officers, or resources, including the Office of the Ombudsman and appropriate Deans, or to seek recourse outside the University through civil or criminal legal proceedings.
  3. In all cases, the University reserves the right to determine how to process a disciplinary complaint. Once a complaint is brought to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct, the OSC, on behalf of the University, will decide how the complaint will be handled, including whether disciplinary charges should be brought against a student.
  4. Any individual involved in the disciplinary process (respondent, complainant or witness) may be accompanied by an advisor from the University community when meeting with the Office of Student Conduct or attending a disciplinary hearing. See the list of Advisors here.
  5. All members of the University community are required to cooperate with the Student Disciplinary System. This cooperation includes meeting with the OSC in a timely manner, providing honest and complete statements to the Office of Student Conduct and, if necessary, to disciplinary hearing panels.
  6. The disciplinary matter brought to the Office of Student Conduct may be resolved in any of a number of ways. These include: dismissal of a complaint, referral of a matter to mediation or to another appropriate University office, resolution through voluntary agreement, and resolution by disciplinary hearing.
  7. In the interests of fairness and privacy, disciplinary proceedings are confidential. The identity of individuals involved in a disciplinary matter, and all records pertaining to that matter are confidential. Disclosure of confidential information about a disciplinary proceeding by any member of the University, other than the respondent to whom the confidential information pertains, may subject that individual to disciplinary action. See Confidentiality.