Student Code of Conduct and Administrative Policies and Procedures
The university has established the policies and procedures that comprise the Student Code of Conduct (the “Code”) to both promote the university mission and protect the rights of Students, faculty and staff. The official university rules and regulations are contained in the Georgia State University General Catalog and the Student Handbook. The most current version of the Code may be found online at codeofconduct.gsu.edu. In the event of a conflict between the Code and other university policies, the most current version of the Code governs.
Interaction between Student Code of Conduct and Law
Student conduct is governed by the Code, university policy and applicable law. Students involved in criminal matters may be sanctioned by the university in addition to any sanctions that may be imposed by a court of law. However, the relationship a Student has with the state or federal court system does not alter the Student’s relationship with the university unless the Student is also found responsible for violating university policy.
B. Student Rights and Obligations
- Purpose of the University Experience
The university strives to promote the advancement of knowledge through excellence in teaching, research and public service. The university also endeavors to facilitate the development in each Student of a respect for the dignity and worth of individuals; a desire and capacity for critical reasoning; an appreciation and understanding of scholarship and creativity; an appreciation of diversity in student life; the ability to communicate; and a continuing desire for knowledge. Academic and co-curricular events, activities and programs are considered important means by which to attain these goals.
- Rights and Obligations - General
Membership in the community of scholars known as Georgia State University is a privilege and carries with it obligations to participate in and contribute to the educational mission of the institution. Concurrent with these obligations are rights and freedoms for each individual as guaranteed by the United States Constitution including, but not limited to, the right to inquire, to learn, to communicate by speech and action, to assemble peaceably and the right to due process. The university desires to maintain an orderly climate in which academic inquiry and freedom may occur while still preserving the freedom and rights of all members of the University Community.
- Continuing Duty to Disclose Criminal/Disciplinary Matters
Georgia State University Students have a continuing duty to report criminal/disciplinary events that occur after application to the university. The criminal/disciplinary events that must be reported are described below and reports must be made to the Office of the Dean of Students, email@example.com, within 72 hours of the Student’s notice of the event. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in sanctions up to and including immediate withdrawal from the university.
- Conviction of a crime other than a minor traffic violation;
- Criminal charges filed against the Student;
- Entering a plea of guilty, a plea of no contest, a plea of nolo contendere, an Alford plea, or a plea under any first offender act in response to charges filed against the Student; and
- Disciplinary or academic misconduct charges initiated or sanctions imposed against the Student from a high school or former college or university.
The university will review all reported incidents to determine if the Student’s conduct poses a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the University Community.
- Compliance with University Policy
In addition to the general rights and obligations of the University Community, students are obligated to apprise themselves of and comply with all university rules, regulations and policies. Students are individually responsible for understanding and exercising their rights, fulfilling their obligations and respecting the rights of others. Lack of knowledge of a university policy will not be accepted as an excuse for failure to observe it. Members of the University Community are responsible for their invited guests at all times while visiting the university or engaging in university related activities whether on or off campus. It is the responsibility of the University Community member host to accompany their invited guests at all times, and ensure those invited guests are aware of and comply with all university policies and procedures.
C. Jurisdiction and Authority
The Code applies equally to individual Students and Student Organizations. The university has jurisdiction to hear all matters related to violations of university policy and reserves the right to take appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the University Community. The Dean of Students has authority to make determinations on all charges of alleged General Conduct violations as defined in the Code (see II. General Conduct Policies and Procedures ).
The Code applies to all Student conduct on University Property, at University-Sponsored Activities and programs including those in remote and international locations, and at student organization activities, or that otherwise violates the institution’s student conduct policies, regardless as to where such conduct occurs. The Code continues to apply to student conduct while a conduct matter is pending even if the Student withdraws from school.
D. Non-Academic Withdrawal
In the judgment of the Dean of Students, a Student may be withdrawn from the university for non-academic reasons when it is determined that the Student has demonstrated behavior that: (a) poses a significant danger or threat of physical harm to the person or property of others; or (b) interferes with the rights of other members of the University Community or with the exercise of any proper activities or functions of the university or its personnel. Except in situations where the Student is believed to be an imminent threat to others, as determined at the sole discretion of the university, a Student shall, upon request, be accorded an appropriate hearing prior to the final decision concerning his or her continued enrollment at the university. In situations involving an imminent threat, the Student will be provided a hearing as soon as possible after the withdrawal occurs. Students who are non-academically withdrawn from the university will be administratively withdrawn from their courses and assigned grades of W or WF (depending on whether they have exceeded their maximum number of withdrawals allowed).
E. Guarantees of Student Expression
Collective Rights in Policy Making
Students have a collective right to participate in the formulation of standards of conduct and preparation of rules governing student activities and affairs. This right is collectively exercised through the participation of the Student Government Association on the university’s Committee on Student Life. The Committee on Student Life is empowered by the President of the university, through the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, to make standards and rules, subject to the approval of the Chancellor and of the Regents. Upon request, Students also have a collective right through Student Government Association participation, to be heard in the making of other institutional policies that affect their rights and well-being. In addition, Students have the right to take a stand on university issues, to examine and discuss questions of interest and to support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt normal university operations or interfere with the rights of others.
Freedom of Expression
Students have the right to freedom of expression by word or symbol as long as it does not materially or substantially interfere with the orderly operation of the university or with the rights of others as conferred by the Constitution.
The publications and communications of Registered Student Organization media groups are guaranteed the rights inherent in the concept of freedom of the press. They have the right to publish and distribute material on the university campus provided that the materials are identified by the name of the organization and are done in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted by the Committee on Student Communications. All publications are subject to the canons of responsible journalism, including the avoidance of libel, avoidance of indecency or obscenity and undocumented allegations.
F. Official Means of Communication
The university’s official means of communication with students is by email to their GSU email address. An email sent by the university to a student at their GSU email address is considered to have been received by the student on the date sent. Written communication with the university should be submitted in the manner instructed, which most commonly will involve email or online submissions.
The terms defined below are capitalized when used throughout Section I Introduction and Section II General Conduct Policies and Procedures.
“Advisor” means someone who is permitted to accompany the Respondent or Complainant to meetings and proceedings during the investigatory and/or resolution process for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel to the student. An Advisor may but does not have to be an attorney and is allowed to advise their advisee in any manner including providing questions, suggestions, and guidance on responses to any questions posed to the advisee. However, an Advisor may not advocate or participate directly during the investigation or hearing process.
“Amnesty” means that Students are encouraged to come forward and report violations of the law and/or student code of conduct notwithstanding their choice to have consumed alcohol or drugs. Information reported by a student during the conduct process concerning their consumption of drugs or alcohol will not be voluntarily reported to law enforcement; nor will information that the individual provides be used against the individual for purposes of conduct violations. Nevertheless, these students may be required to meet with staff members regarding the incident and may be required to participate in appropriate educational program(s). The required participation in an educational program under this Amnesty procedure will not be considered a sanction. Nothing in this Amnesty procedure shall prevent a university staff member who is otherwise obligated by law (the Clery Act) to report information or statistical data as required.
“Business Day” means any day on which the Office of the Dean of Students is open.
“Code” means Student Code of Conduct.
“Complainant” means an individual who has experienced conduct alleged to have violated the Code.
“Controlled Substance” means a drug or substance in which the use, possession, or Distribution is controlled under state or federal law.
“Criminal Trespass Warning” means a written notice that the individual must leave University Property and may not return for the duration of the Criminal Trespass Warning. An individual who enters onto University Property in violation of a criminal trespass warning may be arrested for criminal trespass.
“Dean of Students” means the administrative officer bearing this or similar title and may include their designee.
“Discrimination” means unfair or unequal treatment of an individual based on race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, veteran status or national origin.
“Disruption” means to interrupt, impede or obstruct teaching, instructional, research, disciplinary, public service, administration, or other university activities. Examples of Disruption include, but are not limited to the following: allowing personal electronic communication devices to ring or beep, making or receiving phone calls, messages, or otherwise disrupting class or scheduled university instructional activities; assembling in a manner that is disruptive and not peaceful, refusing to follow the direction of a university official, entering or attempting to enter any athletic, dance, social or other event without the credentials for admission (e.g. ticket, identification card or invitation).
“Distribution” means sale, exchange, transfer, delivery, or gift.
“Endanger” means to bring into danger or peril.
“Fabrication” means falsification or invention of any Information or citation.
“False Complaints/Statements” means giving knowingly false statements to a university official. Any person found to have knowingly submitted False Complaints, accusations, or statements, including during a hearing, shall be adjudicated pursuant to applicable Board or university policy and subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion.
“FERPA” means the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a Federal law that governs the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Under certain conditions, FERPA requires schools to disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records. Accordingly, per FERPA regulations, the university notifies the victim of an alleged crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense of the final results of a disciplinary hearing with respect to the alleged crime. (For more information: https://registrar.gsu.edu/academic-records/records-access/#1).
“Hazing” means to subject a student to an activity which: (1) endangers or is likely to endanger the physical health of a student; (2) forces or coerces the student through the use of social or physical pressure to consume
any food, liquid, alcohol, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to a likely risk of vomiting, intoxication, or unconsciousness; or (3) causes an individual pain, embarrassment, ridicule or harassment as a
condition or precondition of gaining acceptance, membership, office or other status in a student group, whether or not such group is formally recognized by the university.
Examples of activities that may violate this policy include but are not limited to the following: forcing, requiring or encouraging nudity at any time; paddle swats; treeings (e.g., tying someone up and throwing food or other
substances on them); line-ups (e.g., yelling at or harassing people in a formation); calisthenics (e.g., push-ups, sit-ups, jogging, runs); causing an individual to be sleep deprived and/or to suffer from unreasonable fatigue;
conducting activities that do not allow adequate time for class attendance, study and completion of assignments, participation in group projects; theft of any property; road trips (e.g., dropping someone off and leaving them to find their own way back); performing acts of personal servitude for members (e.g., driving them to class, cleaning their individual rooms, serving meals, washing cars, shopping, laundry); scavenger hunts without prior approval from the appropriate university appointed official, or which includes activity that would
otherwise constitute hazing; forcing or requiring the violation of university policies, federal, state, or local law.
For purposes of this definition, Hazing occurs regardless of whether the action, activity, or situation is intentionally, negligently, or recklessly caused, and regardless of a student’s willingness to participate. Also for purposes of this definition, “student group” or “school organization” means any association, corporation, order, club, society, fraternity, sorority, athletic team, or a group living together which has students or alumni as its principal members, including local affiliate organizations.
“Hearing Panel” means any entity authorized by the university established to determine whether a Student or Student Organization has violated the Code and to determine sanctions.
“Hearsay” means testimony given by a party or witness who relates what others have said, rather than what the individual knows personally, (i.e. testimony by a party or witness about statements made outside of the conduct hearing by someone other than the person that is testifying). Hearsay is admissible except in certain Title IX proceedings, but the Panel will take into consideration that the testimony is based on Hearsay rather than personal knowledge.
“Illegal Drug” means any drug the use, possession or Distribution of which is prohibited or restricted by state or federal law.
“Information” means any Witness, testimony, documents, statements or other material presented in support of either the Complainant’s or Respondent’s case.
“Joint Hearing” means a hearing in which two or more Students or organizations are charged with violating one or more university conduct regulations arising from the same set of circumstances or events.
“Officer” means a Student holding any elected or appointed position (as defined in Section IV.H of the Code) in a Student Organization; or, a position of responsibility for a specific function or event (e.g. membership/education chair, social chair, concerts chair, or multicultural chair); or any leadership role in the organization, including serving as an official representative of the organization.
“Preponderance of Information” is a standard of proof that means that a charged violation is proven if the Information in support of the charges is more credible and convincing to the mind than the opposing Information. This standard does not require Information that frees the mind from doubt but, rather, is met when the Information reviewed as a whole indicates that responsibility for the charged violation is more probable than not. The term Information applies to any observation, admission, statement, or document which would either directly or circumstantially indicate that a charged violation has or has not occurred. A decision to suspend or expel will be supported by substantial evidence showing that a Preponderance of Information standard has been met.
“Registered Student Organization” means any organization which is registered in accordance with university policies and procedures. As used throughout the Code, “Student” may refer to a Student or Registered Student Organization.
“Reporter” means an individual who reports an allegation of conduct that may violate the Code but who is not a party to the complaint.
“Retaliation” means a reprisal against someone because they have made a report or complaint, provided information, assisted, participated or refused to participate in any investigation or resolution under applicable Board or university policy.
“Respondent” means an individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates university policy.
“Sexual Misconduct” means unwanted behavior such as but not limited to dating violence, domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, nonconsensual sexual penetration, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.
“Stalking” means Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. As used in this definition, “course of conduct” means two or more acts including but not limited to acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties and by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with person’s property. “Reasonable person” as used herein means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim. “Substantial emotional distress” as used herein means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
“Student” as used throughout the Code refers to both individual Students and Student Organizations. The types of student status are as follows:
- “Current Student” - a person who has been admitted and is enrolled in classes at the university. This status continues unless and until the Student drops, withdraws or is withdrawn from all classes during a semester, at which time the individual may be classified as a:
- “Non-Enrolled Student”- a person who is enrolled during a semester but drops, is withdrawn or withdraws from all classes; or, one who is not enrolled, but is eligible to re-enroll for subsequent semester(s) without seeking re-entry admissions status. Non-Enrolled Students may not benefit from the privileges reserved for “Students” unless they meet the criteria of a “Continuing Student.”
- “Continuing Student” - a person who does not enroll in the Summer semester, but who has either completed or has been granted an emergency withdrawal from the immediately previous Spring semester and who has registered for the subsequent Fall semester. Continuing Students are eligible to request the governing authority for access to designated university resources typically available only to Enrolled Students, may serve as Student Leaders (per the policy on Student Leadership Positions) and may be members of and/or participants in Registered Student Organizations.
- “Non-Student” - a person who does not enroll for three consecutive semesters. Non-Students may not benefit from the privileges reserved for “Students” including accessing university resources, holding Student leadership positions, nor being members of and/or participating in any Registered Student Organization.
“University Community” is comprised of Georgia State University students, staff and faculty.
“University Property” means all things owned, controlled, operated or in the possession of the university, including but not limited to real and personal property, information systems and resources.
“University-Sponsored Activity” means any activity on or off campus initiated, approved, or supervised by the university.
“USG” means the University System of Georgia, including the Board of Regents, all institutions recognized as part of the system, and all students or employees thereof.
“Witness” means any person determined by the Dean of Students to have information relevant to a conduct matter. A character reference is not a Witness.
Amended - University Senate - January 19, 2012
Amended - Administrative Council - January 16, 2013; May 1, 2013; May 7, 2014; February 3, 2021
Amended - Student Life Committee - March 17, 2016
Amended - Student Life Committee - March 25, 2021
Amended - Administrative Council - June 2, 2021
Amended - Administrative Council - July 1, 2021
Amended - Administrative Council - June 1, 2022