Student Rights and Responsibilities

Mission and Purpose

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities’ mission is to provide for the safety and well-being of the University environment; to aid in the growth and development of a student as related to a student’s behavior; and to serve as the management agency for the University Conduct System.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities utilizes fundamental fairness and strives to inspire trust and confidence in the University’s Conduct System. We strongly encourage individual responsibility and promote the incorporation of community standards for acceptable behavior via the Student Code of Conduct.

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities receives all referrals regarding alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Any member of the University community may refer a student for an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct. All referrals must be filed in writing with the appropriate signature.  Our office also reserves the right to initiate or follow-up any informational leads where there is a reasonable belief of possible violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Online Complaint Form
Student Code of Conduct

Other Important Information

Student Rights

  1. The right to participate in self-governing student bodies which provide channels of communication and means for using democratic processes to solve problems.
  2. The constitutional rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
  3. The right of freedom to hear and participate in dialogue and to examine diverse ideas.
  4. The right to a learning environment free from harassment, discrimination, and violence.
  5. The right to due process in disciplinary procedures in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed in the Student Code of Conduct.

Student Responsibilities

  1. The responsibility of assuming the consequences of one’s actions.
  2. The responsibility for knowledge and observance of established University policies presented in official University publications.
  3. The responsibility that free discussion represent the scholarly nature of the learning community.
  4. The responsibility to insure that no student organization, constitution nor other organizational document include discriminatory clauses.
  5. The responsibility to respect the rights and privacy of others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be tried in the Municipal (Criminal) Court and by USF? Isn’t this double jeopardy?

As the Code of Conduct states, “Students accused of a crime may be prosecuted under the appropriate jurisdiction and also disciplined under the Student Code of Conduct. The University may pursue disciplinary action even if criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, and it may also act independently of the criminal judicial process.” This is not double jeopardy because these are two separate bodies with separate jurisdiction.

What if I was involved in an incident that took place off campus?

University jurisdiction and discipline extends to conduct which occurs on University premises, at a University sponsored event, or dealing with conduct which adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its mission. Specifically, University officials may initiate disciplinary charges for conduct off campus when the behavior relates to the good name of the University, the integrity of the educational process, or the safety and welfare of the University community, either in its public personality or in respect to individuals within it.

If I accept responsibility, what happens next?

If you accept responsibility for an alleged violation, the Disposition Letter will contain all of the pertinent information you will need to complete any possible sanctions. This would include names of individuals you may need to contact, descriptions of assignments you may be required to complete, and deadlines by which sanctions would need to be completed.

Are the sanctions worse if I select a formal hearing as opposed to the sanctions proposed in theDetermination Letter following the Initial Review meeting?

When a student elects to go through a Formal Hearing, the determination of whether a student is found “responsible” or “not responsible” for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be made by the University Conduct Board or the Administrative Officer. If a student is held responsible, the sanctions may be similar to the sanctions proposed in the original Disposition letter or they could be increased or decreased. Proposed sanctions are based on the judgment of the conduct officer(s) based on the report of the alleged violation, the account of the student, reports of witnesses or others involved in the case, and any prior disciplinary history.

Do I need a lawyer? What is the role of the advisor?

No, but you may have an attorney present if you choose for them to serve as an advisor. The advisor may speak with the charged student but may not speak for the charged student, act as attorney, nor otherwise participate.

Do I need witnesses?

If you have witnesses that have relevant information then you are encouraged to have them provide written statements or to be present at the hearing process. However, it is not necessary to bring character witnesses because as a student of the University of South Florida your character is not in question, only the alleged behavior. Witnesses appearing on your behalf will NOT be summoned for you. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure your witnesses are present and on time. They will be allowed to make their statements at the appropriate time and then be dismissed.

Can I appeal a decision by the University Conduct Board or an Administrative Officer?

The charged student may appeal in writing the decision of the University Conduct Board or Administrative Officer within five days of the decision to the Dean for Students. The decision of the Dean of Students is the final decision of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

What happens if I don’t show up for a meeting with a Conduct Officer?

If a student against whom a referral has been made does not respond or appear for a meeting, an In Absentia review will be conducted by the Conduct Officer and a determination and appropriate sanction levied. Notice will be provided to the absent student(s) and all appeal rights will be explained.

What are my rights?

Please review the listed rights found in the Student Code of Conduct.

What kind of evidence is used to determining if I violated the Student Code of Conduct?

The provision of proof shall be the duty of the complainant. The standard of proof the University uses in order to determine if a violation of policy shall be “substantial evidence,” that is, whether it is reasonable to conclude from the information submitted that the student did commit the violation(s) for which he or she has been referred, and shall not be the strict criminal law standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

What if I did not do anything wrong?

If this is the case, then you should have nothing to worry about. Just come in and tell the truth.

To whom does the Student Code of Conduct apply?

Any student, registered organization or a person who has submitted an application for admission, housing, or any other service provided by the University which requires student status will be subject to the Student Code of Conduct for any action found in violation of the Code which occurs on University property, at University-sponsored events, or off campus if the action adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of the University’s mission.

What will happen to me if I fail or refuse to complete sanctions imposed upon me?

Students failing to fulfill sanctions will have holds placed on their records, which will prevent them from obtaining transcripts, registering or withdrawing from classes.

Do student disciplinary records appear on the academic transcript?

Disciplinary actions do not appear on academic transcripts. However, if a student is suspended for a period of time, during that period a notation will appear on the academic transcript noting that the student is suspended due to conduct issues.  Once the suspension period is over, the notation is removed.

Will my disciplinary records be made public? Will the records be given to the media? Who has access to my record?

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities maintains all campus conduct records in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Office will not comment on the identities of parties involved in the student conduct process. This confidentiality extends to all Student Rights and Responsibilities staff, including the University Conduct Board. In cases involving alleged violent or injurious behavior Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will inform the complainant, whenever appropriate, of the outcome of the conduct proceeding.

Students may choose to sign a release form granting Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities permission to discuss any and all information related to their disciplinary file with any individual that they designate. This form is available from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Additionally, any educational institution or agency requesting a disciplinary check on a current or former University of South Florida student must be done in writing.

Does Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities contact my parents if I am found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct?

The University of South Florida is committed to the success of its students both inside and outside of the classroom. Therefore, it is our goal to maximize students’ learning and development, and promote their health, safety and welfare. In this regard, USF has implemented a Parental Notification Policy in compliance with the request of the Florida Board of Education. The Parental Notification Policy permits the University to inform parents or guardians when their dependent student, under the age of 21, has been found in violation of the University’s alcohol and substance abuse policy.

Students whose parents are to be notified under these guidelines will be informed before such notification occurs and given an opportunity to initiate contact with their parents.

In non-emergency situations, parents of dependent students, under the age of 21, will be notified in writing. However, in emergency situations, parents may be notified by an immediate telephone call from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Dean of Students.

These guidelines do not preclude parental notification for other policy violations that may endanger the health, safety and well-being of a student or other individuals in the University community. In addition, parental notification may occur in health and safety emergencies regardless of the student’s age or dependent status.

NOTE: For official language and procedures governing student behavior, please consult the Student Code of Conduct link found on this website. Any questions concerning the University Student Conduct Process should be directed to

Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities
8350 N. Tamiami Trail A114 | Sarasota, FL 34243
Office: 941-359-4268
Fax: 941-359-4528