Student Disciplinary Systems
The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, the pursuit and cultivation of new knowledge, and the robust intellectual exchange among faculty and students. In support of this mission, every member of the University - student, faculty, other academic appointees, and staff - makes a commitment to strive for personal and academic integrity; to treat others with dignity and respect; to honor the rights and property of others; to take responsibility for individual and group behavior; and to act as a responsible citizen in a free academic community and in the larger society. Any student conduct, on or off campus, of individuals or groups, that threatens or violates this commitment may become a matter for action within the University's system of student discipline.
The University believes that students must take responsibility for their own conduct. Under some circumstances, students also must take responsibility for the conduct of a group, or individual members of the group of which they are part. The group may be informal, such as a study group, or formal, such as a student organization.
Groups are often bound by shared interests, values, and a mutual trust. Trust is also a critical underpinning of our community—trust between and among peers as well as trust between and among individuals of different rank or status.
Every student bears responsibility for his or her misconduct, regardless of whether the misconduct takes place in a group setting or as a member or a group. However, individual misconduct may also be, at least in part, the responsibility of other members of the group and the group leadership. Misconduct by individual members of a group thus may become a matter for disciplinary action against the individual, the group, and the group leadership.
The goal of the student disciplinary systems is to ensure a fair and orderly proceeding on questions of possible student misconduct. A disciplinary proceeding enjoys neither the advantages nor the limitations inherent in an adversarial proceeding of a court of law.
The University's disciplinary systems and the legal-judicial structures of the general society differ and are distinct in principle. Students who are subject to or involved in University discipline do not automatically abdicate any of the rights that are guaranteed to them by the civil society and, indeed, they remain at all times free to claim and assert those rights through the institutions, presumably judicial, of that society. At the same time, however, students must recognize that the University is a private enclave, dedicated to a purpose that imposes additional and special obligations while, at the same time, granting privileges to its members.
Student misconduct therefore may be simultaneously subject to external legal or administrative proceedings and the University's disciplinary system. Under those circumstances, the University's disciplinary system normally will proceed independently and notwithstanding the pendency of external processes. Furthermore, University disciplinary committees are not bound by external findings, adjudications or processes, and thus they make independent judgments about the extent to which (if at all) to consider such matters.
The University's disciplinary procedures therefore should not be confused with the processes of law: the University's regulations are applied to incidents that are not "cases," the bodies that hear and dispose of incidents are not "courts," individuals who may accompany a student in the course of a disciplinary proceeding are not "counsel" advocating on behalf of the student and scrutinizing procedures for compliance with "rules of evidence," and requests for review of disciplinary decisions are not "appeals." As a leading illustration of the sense of this statement, it should be understood that the relation of collegiality and trust that binds all members of the University community entails an obligation of truthfulness and candor on the part of everyone who participates in a disciplinary proceeding. An accused student, the accuser, and others must appear before a disciplinary committee if summoned and participate in a manner that helps the committee reach a complete and fair understanding of the facts of the incident at issue.
The University has four student disciplinary systems:
- Area Admission Review Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School of General Studies address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students who have accepted admission but have not yet assumed the role of a student at the University. Area Admission Review Systems are described here.
- Area Disciplinary Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School of General Studies address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students. Area Disciplinary Systems are described here.
- University-wide Disciplinary System is a procedure for student offenses that involve unlawful discrimination or sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking). The University-wide Disciplinary System is described here.
- College Housing Discipline applies to offenses within or against The College Houses (e.g. vandalism, disruption, excessive noise). Serious offenses within The College Houses are referred to an appropriate Area Disciplinary System. The rules and disciplinary procedures for the House System are described here.
For more information about this and other disciplinary policies, please visit the University of Chicago Student Manual site.