The SAO’s Conduct Division handles conduct issues for students accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct for actions including, but not limited to, alleged cheating, destruction of property, and assault.
Below you’ll find a drop-down of frequently-asked-questions and helpful guides related to the above issues. Our Division contact information is available at the bottom of the page.
The Conduct Division provides assistance with accusations of misconduct – including plagiarism, cheating, hazing, theft, and any other alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Our services include confidential advice and representation at informal meetings with the Center for Student Conduct and/or instructors – depending upon your needs.
Please see below for information on how to handle accusations of misconduct. We encourage you to immediately seek our help when if such a matter arises. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance.
Notice of Possible Violation
The Center for Student Conduct (CSC), a division of the Office of Student Life, investigates misconduct claims sent to them by any member of the University faculty or staff. When an investigation begins, the student in question is sent a “Notice of Possible Violation” (NPV) letter. This letter explains what the student is accused of with respect to the Student Code of Conduct. Receiving an NPV does not mean that you are being charged with misconduct by CSC. It simply means a complaint has been filed against you and CSC is investigating the charge.
Preponderance of Evidence and Notice of Charge
During an investigation CSC uses the burden of preponderance of evidence which means “more likely than not.” If CSC finds that it is “more likely than not” that you have violated the Code of Conduct you will be officially charged. This is marked by the receipt of a “Notice of Charges” letter. This letter will specifically state what you are being accused of.
Once a charge has been filed, you will be asked to meet with a Conduct Officer in an informal meeting. A student has the right not to attend this meeting, but our office strongly recommends attending the meeting as it gives you the opportunity to explain your story. Almost all cases are settled through this informal process. At times, CSC will decide to withdraw the charge. In most situations, a punishment resolution (called an “administrative disposition”) will be negotiated between you and CSC which will outline the sanctions.
You may have an advisor with you during the informal resolution meeting, such as a caseworker from our office. A representative from SAO can also prepare you for the informal meetings and assist you during the meeting itself.
If you cannot or refuse to reach an agreeable resolution through informal meetings with CSC, you have the right to a formal hearing, in which a hearing panel (usually comprised of two faculty members and one student) will hear the case. While the procedures of a hearing are similar to those of a court trial (including opening statements, closing statements, and questioning), a hearing is much more flexible and does not need to adhere to many of the rules found in standard legal practice (such as orders of procedure and standards of evidence). The hearing panel will act as a fact-finding body and will also use the “more likely than not” standard.
You must request permission from the hearing panel to have a representative at the hearing. The advisor may also help you prepare for the hearing. In a formal hearing you may consult with your advisor throughout the proceedings. But advisors may not participate directly in the hearing process.
If the hearing panel comes to a ruling that is unfavorable to you, you may appeal the decision to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. Appeals can be made only on the basis of: a) procedural errors that occurred during the judicial process, and/or b) new and compelling evidence.
The Center for Student Conduct, or CSC, is responsible for investigating student cases and determining appropriate punishments, and prosecuting cases that go to a formal hearing. The CSC:
- Consists of three officers that investigate campus related offenses, and one officer that deals solely with violations in the Residence Halls.
- Works in cooperation with local police departments (UCPD and Berkeley PD), and it also relies on other campus offices, such as Greek Affairs, Residential and Family Living, and various faculty members to report disciplinary violations to CSC.
- Is usually made aware of potential academic-related violations by a GSI or professor, and non-academic violations are generally reported by students, UCPD, or university officials.
It is important to know that anyone, regardless of status, may report alleged violations to CSC. The Center for Student Conduct can be found at 205 Sproul Hall. You can also find their website here.
The Student Code of Conduct explains in comprehensive detail the current judicial process on campus, including the array of activities that the University considers misconduct.
In short, these activities fall into two categories: academic violations and non-academic violations:
- Academic violations include cheating and plagiarism.
- Non-academic violations include vandalism, theft and harassment.
You can find the complete Student Code of Conduct here.
The above information is meant to be a brief guide to some of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate conduct processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more in-depth support or for cases that relate to academics beyond the processes listed here.