The Duke Community Standard

Your resource for supporting students regarding community expectations.

Get Assistance The Duke Community Standard

Understand our community expectations, application, and how to report matters.

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards strengthens personal responsibility and accountability through investigation and resolution of alleged violations of university policies. We encourage honesty, integrity, and respect within the campus community as promoted by our honor code, the Duke Community Standard. 

We are committed to an environment free of harassment and sexual violence. Students who have experienced what they believe to be harassment and/or sexual misconduct by another student are encouraged to contact our office (919-684-6938; conduct@duke.edu) to learn about available options and support resources.

The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards promotes honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability within the university community.

The details you need to know.

Every individual should know their rights and role in any policy, enforcement or violation situation. Below, you’ll find the details you need to navigate the process.

You've probably clicked on this page because you have been documented (or "written up" as many students say) by a Resident Assistant. Or perhaps you've had an interaction with Duke Police and been told that a report of what happened is being forwarded to the dean's office. Maybe you have been accused by another student of engaging in inappropriate conduct. Or, maybe one of your faculty members has accused you of cheating on an exam or plagiarizing a paper.  If you are being accused of sexual misconduct, please also see the section, "Information for Respondents," under the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Whatever your situation, this page is designed to help you identify resources available to give you more information about what happens next, your rights under the university's disciplinary process, and other information available to make you best prepared to respond to an inquiry of your alleged behavior. Please note that there is no assumption that you are responsible for any allegation made against you; rather, the presumption is that there is no violation of university policy unless you accept responsibility for the allegation and/or the threshold for a finding of responsibility of a violation is met ("preponderance of the evidence").

Preparing for your Administrative Conference or Hearing

If you are contacted for an administrative conference or hearing, you will be invited to meet one-on-one with the staff regarding your alleged involvement in the reported behavior. The staff member is interested in hearing your perspective on what may have happened and will discuss with you how the matter might be resolved.

The conversation may also focus on what you may have learned or can take away from the incident.

  • Review carefully the contents of the correspondence you receive and ensure that you are available to meet at the time indicated in the message (or, in some cases, you may be asked to contact the staff member to schedule a meeting). If you have a conflict, call the phone number indicated in the email (or write the staff via email) and request a new meeting time.
  • Familiarize yourself with the policies that may be at issue, which are also listed in your letter. The policies listed are based on the staff member’s interpretation of the alleged behavior stemming from the report. You may believe that your behavior did not violate some of those policies listed. Consider your actions during the incident in question and reflect on how they intersect with university expectations.
  • Show up to the hearing location on time. It is not necessary to dress up for these meetings; your regular attire is fine.
  • The conduct officer is interested in your perspective on what may have occurred.  Share your understanding of what may have occurred, the extent of your participation, and perhaps what you have learned or changed in your thinking to prevent what happened from occurring again.
  • Following the hearing, you will receive another email describing the decision made by the staff member, sanctions (if appropriate), and details for having the matter reconsidered, if you wish.

Preparing for your Conduct Board Hearing

You may have received a letter stating that the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is launching an in inquiry into your role in (a) possible violation(s) of university policy. The letter outlines the situation in question, the date it occurred, and the applicable university policy that pertains to this incident.

  • Request a student or staff peer advisor. Peer advisors are trained students and staff who serve as valuable resources and are thoroughly familiar with the conduct process. A student who utilizes his or her peer advisor in the conduct process is more fully informed and approaches a possible hearing much better prepared.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to seek advice from whomever you choose throughout the conduct process. In sexual misconduct or harassment proceedings, that advisor may accompany you to any meeting or hearing. In all other cases, an advisor who is a member of the Duke community (current faculty, staff, or student) may accompany you to a hearing. 
  • Become familiar with the policy(ies) that you are alleged to have violated.
  • You are encouraged to give your perspective on the incident in question through a written statement and throughout the conduct process. Your advisor can assist you in writing this statement.
  • Once your response is received, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards may: 1) follow up orally or in writing with additional questions; 2) drop the matter; or, 3) continue to the next stage of the process.
  • If the incident is forwarded to a hearing of the Conduct Board, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will coordinate an appropriate time and location for your hearing. You will receive in advance all written information pertaining to the matter at hand.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Conduct Board hearing process, found on our website. Again, your peer advisor will serve as a valuable resource for helping you prepare for the hearing and understand what will occur during and after the hearing.
  • Show up on time for the hearing.
  • Answer the panel’s questions as thoughtfully and honestly as you are able to.
  • The panel will make a determination about each potential policy violation based on a preponderance of evidence standard. 
  • You will receive a hearing report outlining the outcome and a brief explanation of the reasoning of the panel. The hearing determination will also include information on how to submit an appeal based on the specific grounds listed in the Duke Community Standard. Your advisor can help you process and reflect on the outcome when the hearing has concluded.

Status as a Student

Status of a Student/Group Pending Final Resolution of a Disciplinary Case. Until a disciplinary action is fully resolved, in accordance with applicable University policy including any applicable appeal process, the status of a student/group will not change unless interim measures have been imposed to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the university community or any member of it. A student with a disciplinary action pending at the time of graduation, however, is not eligible to graduate and may not participate in commencement exercises until the student's case is fully resolved. A student currently on leave, suspended, or withdrawn from Duke who has a pending disciplinary matter is not eligible to seek readmission until that matter is resolved.

Disciplinary Hold. The University, at any time after the initiation of a disciplinary action, and after consultation with the appropriate academic dean, may place a “disciplinary hold” on the academic and/or financial records of any student. A “disciplinary hold” may be placed to ensure full resolution of a disciplinary action prior to the scheduled date for degree conferral, or to enforce a disciplinary sanction. A “disciplinary hold” may prevent, among other things, registration, enrollment, matriculation, the release of transcripts, and the awarding of a degree. In the event a disciplinary hold is not placed prior to the conferment of a degree, or a degree is conferred in error of this policy, the University retains the sole discretion to revoke the degree in accordance with its Degree Revocation Policy.

Disciplinary Action While Civil/Criminal Charges Pending. Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and to the university for acts that violate local, state or federal laws. (Students are encouraged to seek advice of legal counsel when they face criminal charges.) Disciplinary action through university processes concurrent with criminal action does not subject a student to “double jeopardy.”

The university operates under different policies, procedures and standards and thus, will not be bound by the findings of a court of law. If the court’s outcome satisfies the university’s interests, such outcome may be recorded on the student’s disciplinary record without invoking the university disciplinary process. Should any criminal proceeding result in a felony conviction, as a result of an incident on or off campus, the Vice President/Vice Provost for Student Affairs reserves the right to summarily dismiss a student.

University disciplinary action will normally proceed during the pendency of a criminal or civil action. A student may request, however, that the university disciplinary process be placed on hold until criminal actions are resolved. The conduct officer or designee will decide whether this request will be granted. In such a case, interim measures may be imposed. The university reserves the right to proceed with the disciplinary process at any point.

Resources

Support. A student may seek advice from anyone he/she wishes. If a student has been charged criminally, we recommend that the student seek professional legal advice. The North Carolina State Bar has resources to help find an appropriate licensed attorney.

For students going through the university's conduct process, the use of peer advisors -- staff and students trained specifically in helping students through the on-campus process -- is strongly encouraged. [A student, though, may bring any advisor with him/her to a hearing before the Conduct Board, but the advisor must be a member of the university community (current faculty, staff, or student)]. Experience has shown that students who tap into the services of the university's trained peer advisors are well-prepared for a hearing and have a much better experience. 

Possible Outcomes. What can happen to you if you are found responsible for a policy violation? Learn about sanctions.

Disciplinary Records. Become familiar with how violations of university policy are recorded and kept on file here.

There are a number of steps you can take as an instructor to cultivate and sustain a climate of academic integrity in your course.

Let students know the extent to which collaboration is permitted and the degree to which resources may be used in completing assignments. 

A good rule of thumb is that students will interpret more liberally than you intend in deciphering what acceptable rules for collaboration and outside resource use are.  Therefore, be as granular as you can-- perhaps with explicit examples from your course-- for acceptable parameters. Also, be explicit about what happens in terms of grading if a student is academically dishonest in your class-- will the student fail the assignment at issue?  Fail the course? 

Tips to Promote Academic Integrity in the Classroom

On the Written Syllabus

  • Include the text of the Duke Community Standard
  • Set expectations for academic integrity in all aspects of the course
  • Provide specific guidelines for collaboration
  • Note standards for use of data, electronic translators, etc, specific to your discipline

In the Classroom

  • Be a role model (cite sources in lectures, etc.)
  • Highlight issues of academic integrity through ongoing discussion
  • Require students to write and sign a pledge on all assignments that their work was completed honestly
  • Instruct about proper research techniques, including note-taking strategies and citation methods
  • Inform students of such resources as the Writing Studio, reference texts, websites, etc.
  • Thank students for their honesty in taking an exam as you pass it out.  Research suggests that "priming" students in this regard reduces instances of dishonesty.
  • Have students put all electronic devices (including watches) in their bag off to the side of the room/their desk during an exam.  While most classrooms have a clock, it is a good idea to periodically announce (or write visibly) the time and how much time is left for the exam.  
  • Give different versions of an exam (even as simple as reordering questions) to reduce opportunities for looking on another's test during the exam.
  • If you give students an opportunity to submit a request for a re-grade, scan the exams prior to returning them-- and better yet, tell students that you do so.  This not only reduces student temptation to change answers, but also makes it easy to identify should it occur.

Should you encounter potential academic dishonesty in undergraduate courses, please complete this form. The OSCCS will be in touch with you within three business days to discuss the allegation and advise on next steps.

It is imperative that faculty/instructors follow through on each and every possible instance of academic dishonesty encountered? Yes! Why?

  • To ensure consistency of response across departments 
  • To protect faculty/instructors by ensuring due process 
  • To verify that a student has no prior incidents 
  • To identify resources for students who may need assistance.  Academically dishonest behavior may indicate an (additional) signal that a student has other underlying issues motivating the behavior. 
  • As a gauge for evaluating the academic integrity climate on campus. 

Read more about our policies regarding Academic Dishonesty.

Welcome to our graduate and professional students!

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is responsible for responding to allegations of misconduct in which an accused student is an undergraduate (for social and/or academic misconduct), and for graduate students who are accused of sexual misconduct or hate/bias-related misconduct.  

Do you wish to report student misconduct? You may do so here. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will follow-up with you and determine the most appropriate means of resolution.

Are you serving as an instructor or teaching assistant? Encounter academic dishonesty? Call us at 919-684-6938 or email us to discuss how to address it.

Graduate & Professional students volunteer to serve as members of the Conduct Board. If you may be interested in serving as a hearing panelist on the Conduct Board, reach out to conduct@duke.edu.

Welcome to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards! If you are navigating to this page, chances are you never thought that your son or daughter's Duke experience would include an interaction with our office. Students interact with our office in a myriad of ways. Your student may have been selected to serve as an intern with our office. Interns gain diverse experience in helping to establish campus behavior norms, serving as hearing panelists or peer advisors, educating the campus community, and much more. This part of our website is designed to help answer some of the questions you may have about our disciplinary process and give you information that can help you best support your student.

First, we recognize that our students (like all of us) make mistakes. Sometimes this involves the consumption of alcohol. Other times it may involve a rash decision made at a late hour while writing a term paper. The competitive environment at Duke, in which students want to excel both academically and personally (i.e., be socially accepted and liked by their peers) can sometimes lead to decisions and behaviors that students later regret. Through our conduct process, we hope to help students learn where they could have made different decisions and offer them strategies for making better choices should they face a given situation again.

The expectations (or policies) we have in place for our students flow from the philosophy of the Duke Community Standard, which is the university's honor code. As you know from your own experience, actions carry consequences. This is no different at Duke. When students are found responsible for violating a university policy, they may face a set of sanctions. This may include community service, disciplinary probation, reflection papers, and, sometimes, separation from Duke, either for a period of time (suspension) or permanently (expulsion). These are not consequences that we take lightly. We recognize that any sanction imposed upon a student is a burden. However, we also feel strongly that our process and sanctions play an important role in a student's education at Duke -- not just for here in the Duke community, but in life beyond Duke.

We encourage students to talk with their parents immediately upon finding themselves in a tough situation that may involve violation of a university policy. (For students who were engaged in high-risk drinking behavior, we require that students inform their parents about what happened and then ask their parents to follow up with us with a phone call.) We have found that students are often fearful to talk with their parents about their situation because of the reaction they think they will receive. While you will understandably be concerned about what may have happened, you will undoubtedly want to show support to your student. Listen to their perspective. Encourage them to accept responsibility for the role they played in a situation. And show that you still stand behind them.

A common reaction from parents is that their student could not have possibly engaged in the behavior of which they are accused. Or, at worst, the behavior of their son or daughter was unintentional and simply a mistake. We strive for a fair and thorough process in determining the extent to which a student was involved in a situation. Intent -- or lack thereof -- is most often not considered in a determination of responsibility, but in a determination of the sanctioning. We have high expectations for our students, and this includes seeking appropriate help when facing a difficult decision (for example, not turning in a paper and seeking an extension from an instructor versus making the decision to cut and paste from a source on the Internet).

So what if your student faces disciplinary action, including separation from the university? How does this impact his or her record or chances of gaining admission into a graduate/professional program? Parents have many questions about how disciplinary action may affect their child's future. Please feel free to explore our pages to learn more.

What if you want to intervene on behalf of your student? Sometimes the best support you can provide -- and the most growth-enabling for your student -- is to support him or her while they work with university processes to resolve the situation at hand. Of course, we are happy to address questions or concerns you may have, but we encourage you to speak with your student to exchange information firsthand. Feel free to contact us via email or call us at 919-684-6938.

The university hopes that students will keep their parents informed of their lives at Duke. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will not routinely contact parents when their student has violated university rules. However, parents of students under the age of 21 will be notified of alcohol-related disciplinary violations when a student's health or safety has been/is at risk (including when a student is granted "amnesty"). Parents may also be contacted by Trinity College or the Pratt School of Engineering if a student is suspended as a result of a disciplinary infraction. 

FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99, is a federal law that guides the release of students’ education records, of which disciplinary records are a part. Generally, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will not disclose information about a student without consent from the same student.  Duke University adheres to a policy of compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The policy (1) permits students to inspect their education records, (2) limits disclosure to others of personally-identifiable information from education records without students' prior written consent, and (3) provides students the opportunity to seek correction of their education records where appropriate.  You can find out more about Duke’s obligations pursuant to FERPA here:  https://registrar.duke.edu/student-records-resources/ferpaFor additional information about FERPA, see www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html. 

All "recognized" student organizations (i.e., a student group in good standing with the university) -- including residential groups, fraternities, sororities, and athletic teams - may be subject to the conduct process.

If you have any questions about these or other policies, or about the implications of planned group activities, please contact us at 919-684-6938 or conduct@duke.edu.

Do you believe you may be the victim of student misconduct? If you are a member of the Duke University community (with a NetID) you may submit an incident report. If you are not a member of the Duke community or do not have a NetID, you may report incidents involving students by emailing details to conduct@duke.edu. In either case, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will follow-up with you and determine the most appropriate means of resolution.

Current or former students may be asked to self-report their disciplinary history as part of an application process.  Most often this occurs in the admissions process for transferring to another institution; seeking admission to law school, medical school, and some MBA programs; and, when applying to work for the federal government or sensitive industries.  You may be required to give Duke University permission to release your disciplinary record as part of your application. 

If you have a form for us to complete as part of the application (often called a "Dean's Certification" form), send it to us via one of these mechanisms:

  • Email: conduct@duke.edu (Please send as a PDF).
  • Fax: 919-681-7390
  • Mail (Allow 4-5 business days for us to receive the form):

Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
200 Crowell Building
Box 90893
Durham, NC 27708-0893

If you are applying for admission to a state bar and that state has an online form for Duke to complete, send the request to complete to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at conduct@duke.edu

Please allow 5 - 7 business days for your request to be processed.  Because of the volume of requests received, we cannot guarantee a response earlier than five business days, though we do our best to process all requests sooner.

Sometimes the form will ask that documents about the matter be sent to the requesting institution/agency. Please understand that Duke does not do this; rather, we will prepare a summary of the disciplinary matter(s), ensuring that we have answered the questions asked.

If you do not have a form that has as part of it a signed release giving Duke permission to release this information; and, you no longer have access to your Duke email account from which you can email your request, you must complete this disciplinary request form and return it as part of your request.

Note that disciplinary records are maintained by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and kept in accordance with FERPA. Individual disciplinary records are kept on file until a student graduates or eight years from the date of the student’s matriculation (whichever occurs first), except in cases resulting in suspension or expulsion, in which disciplinary records are kept indefinitely.

We will respond to the questions asked on the form.  If you need a generic letter describing your disciplinary history, send us a signed request (you may use the form linked above) with the address to where we should send it.  If we no longer have any information on file for a student, we will send a letter stating that we are unable to confirm or deny that the (former) student/alumnus has a record.

Our intent with these letters is not to prevent students/alumni from achieving whatever goals they may have. We will place any incidents noted on the disciplinary record in context and describe the university response. If students had an isolated incident during their time at Duke, with no further disciplinary actions, we will note that.

It is critically important to be honest in sharing information about your disciplinary history.  Perhaps the worst thing one can do is minimize or even lie about an incident in which one was involved. Often, a student's forthrightness about an incident, and an explanation of what the student has learned from the incident, can be a plus factor for a student.

The letter below is sent with Dean's Certification forms. It details the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards policy for reporting students' disciplinary histories.

Duke Undergraduate Disciplinary Record Reporting Policy

Have questions? Feel free to contact us.