Community Standards Program

Coordinated by the Office of the Dean of Students, GSU's Community Standards program strives to promote a safe and secure community while upholding the rights of all community members. The Student Code of Conduct (Policy 4) is the primary policy used to outline the University's expectations for students and the role that they play in our community. 

Student Handbook

The Community Standards Student Handbook outlines the administrative procedures used in addressing the conduct of students and/or recognized student clubs/organizations that fail to abide by the University's community standards. The student handbook includes, but is not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, University overview, student rights and general policies and procedures.

Community Standards Program Staff

If you have any questions or concerns about your student rights and responsibilities, please contact us.

Community Standards Office: A2129
Phone Number: 708.235.2845

  • Overview of Community Standards Process


    Overview of Community Standards Process

    The Community Standards process is used to determine if a student or student organization engaged in behavior that violates the Code of Student Conduct. Additional details are available in Community Standards Student Handbook, including exceptions to this process.

    Report of Alleged Misconduct
    When Community Standards receives information that indicates that a student may have engaged in behavior that violates the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be notified of the alleged violations and scheduled conduct hearing via their GSU student email.

    Conduct Hearing Scheduled

    The purpose of a conduct hearing is to determine what occurred during the incident and if students are responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Failure to attend a scheduled hearing will result in the conduct case moving forward without the students input. Depending on the alleged violations and a student's conduct history, the case will be referred to an Administrative Hearing Officer or the Student Conduct Committee.

    Administrative Conduct Hearing is an informal conversation between the responding student (student who allegedly violated the code of conduct) with an Administrative Hearing Officer (AHO). An AHO is a university staff member who is authorized to hold conduct hearings. The AHO may hold the student responsible or not responsible for violating policy or determine that more investigation is needed.

    Student Conduct Committee is comprised of appointed student, staff, and faculty representatives to hear cases involving serious violation or repeated minor/mid-level violations of the Code of Conduct. Prior to the hearing, the student has the opportunity to submit witnesses and review the information

    During the Hearing

    During the conduct hearing, a student has the opportunity to review all reports and documentation associated with the incident. The responding student will have the opportunity to present their perspective on the incident.

    Conduct Hearing Outcome
    After the hearing, the Administrative Hearing Officer or Student Conduct Committee makes a decision about whether it is more likely than not that the student violated the Code of Conduct. A decision letter will be sent to the student's GSU email. If a student is found responsible for policy violations, they may be assigned sanctions to complete in order to resolve their case. Sanctions aim to help a student reflect on their actions, to learn how to act in ways that are congruent with the community expectations, to repair any harm caused, and sometimes to remove the student from campus if warranted.

    Students have the right to request an appeal. Appeals must be submitted to Community Standards within 10 business days of receipt of the decision letter. Request for appeals are primarily granted based on the following criteria:  new information not available at the time of the hearing, significant procedural error, inappropriate sanctions for the violation. See the Community Standards Handbook for information on how to submit an appeal (page 30). 

  • Students - I've Been Reported


    If Community Standards receives a report that a student has been involved in an incident that may violate the Student Code of Conduct, you will receive an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter to your GSU student email account. If you receive an email about possible violations of the code, please note that it is just that - a notification about possible violations. Community Standards is contacting you because we received information that indicates you may have acted in a way that is not aligned with what is expected of you as a student. Community Standards has a process in place that outlines how the process proceeds, which includes allowing you to have your voice heard about what happened.

    What should I do when I receive an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter?

    • Read the letter carefully to make sure you understand the alleged violations. If you have questions, please contact Community Standards and we will help answer your questions.
    • The letter will include a time and date for your assigned hearing. Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend and share their perspective on the incident. Please call our office by the deadline if you need to reschedule.
    • Research the Community Standards process so you will know what to expect. The overview of the process provides a good summary of the process and the Community Standards Student Handbook is the formal document that outlines the processes.
    • Review your rights and responsibilities as a student (see below).

  • Student Rights & Responsibilities


    As a student, you have rights and responsibilities, which you should know and understand to help make the best decision for your outcome. The appropriate balance of rights and responsibilities is a critical component of our community. These processes have been developed with students' rights in mind, but students are also asked to be respectful of their responsibilities as members of this community.

    During the community standards processes, students have responsibility for:

    • Reading and upholding the Student Code of Conduct
    • Being honest and forthcoming
    • Responding to communication and meeting requests
    • Considering the perspectives of others
    • Recognizing the impact of their actions is important, not just the intent behind them
    • Maintaining the high standards of our community by taking action with friends/peers if they are acting in concerning ways

    During the community standards processes, students have the following rights

    • Notice of Charges
    • Reasonable Accommodations 
    • Presumption of Not Responsible
    • Choosing Not to Participate
    • Respond to Charges
    • Submit Witness
    • Opportunity for an Advisor
    • Notice of Outcome
    • Right to Appeal

    Remember: Students have the right to not participate in their hearing. However, if students choose to not participate in their conduct hearing, then the process will move forward without their input. Community Standards and Student Advocacy encourages students to be proactive and allow their voice to be heard through formal interaction.

      A full list of student rights can be found in the student handbook on page 21.

    • Student Advocacy Services


      Student Advocacy at GSU is designed to empower students with the resources to make informed choices and take a proactive stance in the resolution process.


      We will:

      • Offer a safe space for all students to discuss complaints, concerns, or problems
      • Listen carefully to your concerns
      • Explain relevant policies and procedures
      • Discuss possible courses of action while respecting students' rights to privacy within the limits of the law and university policy
      • Supports students in making decisions in related to educational, personal, and other barriers that may impede on the completion of their academic goals
      • Connects students with appropriate on and off campus resources

      How can we help?

      • Serve as a liaison for students by helping them understand and navigate through the university policies & procedures
      • Can provide initial notification to University in the event of a student's major illness/injury
      • Assist with emergencies that impact a student's educational experience

      Our advocacy program DOES NOT substitute or replace: Academic or non-academic grievance, appeal processes, or any other university policy or process.

      To schedule an appointment with a Student Advocate Liaison, consider stopping by A2134, call: 708.235.2845 or email

    • Frequently Asked Questions


      What are the Community Standards?

      The Community Standards Student Handbook is a document that contains all the policies and procedures relating to the student conduct process, including the Student Code of Conduct and other important policies. The Community Standards Student Handbook applies to all GSU students, as defined in the document. The Community Standards Student Handbook is available online:

      What is an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter?

      If you receive a complaint letter, it means that Community Standards has received a report regarding an incident in which you may have been involved. Complaint letters include a list of possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct. The primary purpose of an Alleged Conduct Violation Letter is to notify students that they need to meet with Community Standards or the appropriate conduct administrator to discuss the incident. The meeting (called a conduct hearing) will be with an Administrative Hearing Officer (a University staff member authorized to hear alleged violations of the code) or the Student Conduct Committee (a board of students, staff, and faculty who hear alleged violations of the code) and decisions are not made about whether or not students are responsible for violations until the hearing. However, if you do not attend your hearing or notify Community Standards of your need to reschedule, a decision may be made based on the information available. 

      How is the Community Standards process different from criminal court proceedings?

      The University student code process is not a criminal or judicial trial/practice. The purpose of the hearing is to determine what transpired during the incident and whether the Student Code of Conduct was violated, and if so, by whom. The hearing process is designed to educate students and hold them accountable for their conduct and decision-making. The standard of proof that applies to all University student conduct proceedings or determinations is a preponderance of the information. A finding of a violation of the Code of Conduct must be supported by evidence that is “more likely than not” that the violation was committed. The University bears the burden of proving the charges.  

      What kind of consequences/sanctions can be imposed?

      Governors State University (GSU) has designed the system to educate all parties to the highest ethical standards of behavior. A student who is found in violation or admits that they violated a code would receive a sanction based on the severity of the behavior. Sanctions are meant to be educational in nature and range from warnings to probation to suspension or dismissal from GSU. Often, the sanction will include community service, an educational program, and/or a reflective essay. Students who fail to complete their assigned sanctions will have a hold placed on their student account, which prevents the student from registering.

      Will my parents or family be contacted by the University if I file a report or if a report is filed against me?

      The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your educational records (including disciplinary records) from being accessed by others without your permission. However, there are exceptions that permit Community Standards to notify parents/guardians of the outcome of a student’s disciplinary case. The university reserves the right to notify parents/guardians if students for incidents involving violations of the following policies: Alcohol, Illegal Drugs, Prescription/Over-the-Counter Medication, and in instances in which the student may be a threat to themselves or others.
      Because not all cases result in this level of sanctioning, parents will not automatically be notified when their student becomes involved in the conduct process. However, if parents would like information regarding their student’s disciplinary history or status at the university from Community Standards, they can request that their student grant Community Standards written permission allowing the release of that information. Students should complete and submit the FERPA Waiver Form to give Community Standards permission to release information.

      What does it mean if there is a "ODOS Hold" on my account?
      An "ODOS Hold" is applied by the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) when students are not in compliance with the conduct process, typically resulting from failing to complete assigned sanctions. Students on hold cannot add classes, register for next semester, or receive transcripts from the university. If you are on hold and wish to have it lifted, contact Community Standards to find out what steps to take.

      Can I expect confidentiality in my interactions with Community Standards?
      Privacy is a crucial component of the Community Standards program. All information shared through the conduct process (hearings, meetings, etc.) will be kept private, with two exceptions: 1) If there is mention of a serious violation of the Community Standards or law, a staff member would be required to act upon this information as appropriate and to ensure the safety of the community. 2) If a staff member becomes aware that someone may be in danger of serious, imminent harm, they would be required to address the situation as appropriate to ensure the safety of the community.

    • Information for Faculty & Staff


      Everyone on campus has a responsibility for helping us as we strive for academic freedom, integrity, excellence in scholarship, justice, diversity, and access to education.

      As such, please know that the Student Code of Conduct, along with other University policies, provides clear guidance to students regarding GSU’s expectations for both academic and non-academic conduct. The Handbook also provides the procedures that guide the Community Standards process which aims to hold students accountable for violations of University policy and help students reflect on their behavior while developing skills that promote personal and community responsibility.

      The safety and inclusivity of our campus community is a joint effort of students, staff, and faculty. As such, please report alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct (Policy 4).

      Submit a report a non-academic misconduct using the "Report an Incident" link on the top right of this page.

      Faculty who wish to report academic misconduct should submit the Academic Misconduct Reporting Formor email information to the Office of the Dean of Students.

      Concerned about a student? Submit a report to the Students of Concern Program


    • Information for Parents & Guardians


      Parents & Guardians: If your student receives notification from Community Standards that they have been reported as possibly violating University policies, here are some things to keep in mind as you support your student:

      1. Remember that receiving notice of possible violations does not mean that your student is responsible! There is a process in place to allow your student to share their perspective about whatever happened.
      2. Encourage your student to follow the process and meet with Community Standards if they are interested in resolving the conduct case. Students have a right not to participate in the process, but we want to hear from your student to gather a comprehensive understanding of the incident and to collect as much information as possible.
      3. Review our website and the Code of Student Conduct and encourage your student to do the same so they have information about the process.
      4. Encourage your student to be honest and to act with integrity during the process, including accepting responsibility if they did violate a policy.  
      5. Remember that this process is not about judging your student's character but about assessing specific behavior and considering consequences for those behaviors.
      6. Recognize that this is not a legal process or criminal process. In a majority of cases, students receive educational sanctions that assist them in learning from the experience while they continue with their coursework.
      7. Be aware that there are decisions your student may make through this process. If it appears there is responsibility for violating a policy, your student can accept the resolution or file an appeal. 
      8. Finally, talk to your student about what they have learned from this experience. Holding oneself accountable is a valuable lesson that can be learned both inside and outside the classroom. Many students make mistakes or have bumps in the road of their college journey - the learning that comes from these experiences in invaluable to the college experience.
      Remember: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as well as University policies preclude college staff from discussing your student’s academic and conduct record without their written permission. Staff can answer questions about the process, but cannot provide specific details about a case without a written waiver.