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Parent Frequently Asked Qustions

Although this guide is designed to assist parents who have students interacting with the University Student Conduct System, it is strongly recommended that you review the Student Code of Conduct (available online here) for complete details of the process.

 

How can parents or guardians help during the judicial process?

Assisting students in learning acceptable community behavior is a job that requires assistance from many people. While parents are generally not involved in the formal process related to University Conduct, young adults can always benefit from the support and guidance of their parents. It is important to remember that the University holds students accountable for their behavior primarily as an educational tool. The “teachable” moment can be magnified if they are held accountable at home as well as at school.

 

My son/daughter has a hearing or disciplinary conference and I have several questions:

1. Can parents or guardians be present at the hearing?
No. Parents are not permitted to attend a hearing. Your son or daughter is entitled to advisory assistance of their choosing as long as that person is a faculty member, staff member, or student at Lehigh, and not an attorney except in special circumstances. The advisor's role is to assist, support, and advise students at any stage of the conduct process.  The advisor may not, however, ask or answer questions for students or make summation statements on their behalf.  This person is  not a participant in the hearing except in speaking with the accused student.

2. My son/daughter has a hearing, should we get a lawyer?
The Lehigh University Student Code of Conduct states, “Generally, legal counsel shall not be permitted to attend the hearing to represent the student. However, in cases where there are pending criminal charges, the accused student may have legal counsel present as an advisor. If present, the counsel may not participate in the hearing in any way except in advising the accused student. In these cases, the Conduct Officer may request that university counsel be present in a non-participatory role.”

 2.A. Why can't our lawyer be present at my student's hearing?
The process that Lehigh University uses to resolve conduct cases is not a courtroom; it is a fundamentally fair process administered by educators.  Attorneys, while experts in their particular area, are not experts in this process and hinder resolution. When a student’s rights in criminal court need to be protected the attorney may attend (see above).

3. Who will be determining if my son or daughter is responsible?
In the case of a hearing before the University Committee on Discipline, the panel making decisions is made up of trained members of the faculty (2 members), the student body (2 members), and the Dean of Students office (one member).

In the case of a Disciplinary Conference the Conduct Officer or a trained representative will be making that decision.

 

I pay the bills; I want to know what is going on, why can't I find out the details of my student's case?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) prohibits educational institutions from disclosing information from a student's educational record to any third party including parents without the student's consent, with some exceptions. In most cases disciplinary records cannot be released to parents without the student’s permission. The Office of Student Conduct always encourages students to discuss issues with their parents.

There are exceptions to FERPA concerning the release of information to parents:
1. Parents of students who are under 21 may be notified of drug and alcohol violations. Lehigh University notifies parents of these violations.
 
2. Parents may provide the registrar’s office with information proving that the student is a dependent to gain access to student records. Please contact the University Registrar’s Office for further information.

3. If the health or safety of a student is in question, the information can and will be released.

 

I believe that the hearing my student had was unfair, can this decision be appealed?

Yes, there is an appeals process listed in the Lehigh University Student Code of Conduct. A student may appeal for three reasons: (1) information was not available at the time of the hearing, is now available, and could reasonably be expected to have altered the outcome of the case; (2) the university disciplinary procedures were violated in a way that probably adversely affected the outcome of the case; or (3) the sanction was unduly harsh and not justifiable.
The deadline for submitting an appeal is seven days (calendar days) from the date of the letter stating the outcome of the hearing. When an appeal is granted a response is generated either by the Conduct Officer or the Faculty person chairing the hearing and a separate committee made up of faculty and students review these documents and the case materials to determine if an appeal should be granted. If an appeal is granted, the accused student is granted a new hearing.

 

My son/daughter was suspended/expelled as the result of a sanction, will the tuition be refunded?

A student who is suspended from the University during the semester in which the incident occurred is eligible for a tuition credit that will be applied to the semester immediately following the period of suspension. The amount of tuition credited will be based upon the tuition refund schedule for a voluntary withdrawal and the tuition rate in effect during the semester in which the incident occurred less any required financial aid adjustments and any outstanding balance on the student’s account.  The date used to calculate the tuition credit will be the date of the incident that resulted in the suspension. Tuition credit not utilized in the semester immediately following the period of suspension is forfeited.

A student who is expelled from the University forfeits all payments for tuition and fees incurred for the semester the incident occurred.

If the decision to suspend or expel a student is made in a semester subsequent to the semester in which the incident occurred, the student is eligible to receive a 100% tuition refund less any required financial aid adjustments and less any other outstanding balance on the student’s account for any courses that the student is unable to complete as a result of the suspension/expulsion. Refunds will not be distributed until all disciplinary procedures including the appeals process are complete.
The University may, in its sole discretion, place a hold on the student's academic records at the time of the incident, which will limit access to transcripts and other educational records until the disciplinary process is complete.

Please note that financial aid is not guaranteed for students who exceed 8 semesters of enrollment because of a disciplinary suspension.

 

How does this disciplinary charge affect my student's record?

Lehigh University maintains disciplinary records for five years after the student graduates, except for suspensions and expulsions (which are kept indefinitely).  In most cases, Lehigh University cannot disclose information about the student’s record to third parties without the consent of the student, but there are exceptions to this law.

Graduate School Admissions
When a student applies to graduate school, most institutions of higher education will require what is known as a Dean’s Recommendation. This is a document that Lehigh University will complete for the student and it will outline the charges and sanctions imposed for any violations of the Code of Conduct that a student has been found responsible for. It is recommended that if a student has one or more violations of the Code of Conduct on their record that they provide a written statement along with a graduate school application outlining the incident and the actions they took to correct your behavior. It is always in the best interest of the applicant to be honest concerning a past conduct record.

Employers
Most employers do not require a review of your conduct record, but others especially those involving security clearances may. Again it is in your best interest to be honest about conduct violations when asked.

 

Can a student’s disciplinary record be expunged?

No, Lehigh does not expunge or wipe clean student disciplinary records.  Disciplinary records are kept for five years after the student graduates, except for suspensions and expulsions (which are kept indefinitely).

 

My son/daughter was cited off campus by the local police, why is the University involved in this?

Lehigh University is a member of the local community as are its students. As a member of the community, the institution has an interest in educating students about behavior that happens on or off campus. The Student Code of Conduct makes this clear in Article II, Section 1.B: Jurisdiction of the Lehigh University Code of Conduct shall not be limited to conduct that occurs on Lehigh University premises. It will be applicable to any conduct which affects the Lehigh University community as a whole, its individual members, or the pursuit of its objectives.

 

For More Information

For additional Information contact the Office of Student Conduct