FAQs for Parents or Guardians

My student is being accused of a policy violation at UK.  What is he/she supposed to do now?  Your student should read any notification letters and communications from the Office of Student Conduct and familiarize him/herself with the student conduct process.  The student conduct process is meant to be an educational opportunity to resolve the allegation.  Just because a student receives a notification from our office of an alleged policy violation does not mean he/she will be automatically found responsible for violating the policy, as the student conduct process provides a fair opportunity for all sides to be heard and arrive at an outcome that serves both the needs of the student and the University.  An allegation may be uncomfortable, but the student conduct process is the fairest way to address allegations of non-academic misconduct.


My student is involved in the student conduct process.  How can I help?  The best thing you can do is encourage your student to respond to communications from the Office of Student Conduct in order to take full advantage of his/her participation in the student conduct process. The Office of Student Conduct is willing to provide general information about the student conduct process.  Because of federal privacy laws, staff members are unable to discuss a student’s specific student conduct record or any specific incident without written permission from the student.  If your student would like us to speak with you about their student conduct record, please have him/her complete the Release of Information Form.


Why can’t you speak to me about my student’s student conduct record?  FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) protects students’ educational records, including their student conduct records.  If your student would like us to speak with you about his/her student conduct record, please have him/her complete the Release of Information Form.  For more information on FERPA, visit the Office of the Registrar or the US Department of Education.


The incident my student was involved in occurred off-campus.  Why is the University student conduct process moving forward?  The proceedings outlined in the Code of Student Conduct applies to behavior that occurs on or off University premises, at University activities, or to any behavior that adversely affects the reputation and welfare of the University.  Students are expected to abide by the Code and all other University policies from the time they are admitted into the University until they graduate, regardless of whether they are participating in classes, as long as they are enrolled at the University.


What happens if my student refuses to participate in the student conduct process?   Respondents have a right to not participate in the student conduct process.  However, the process will proceed based on the information at hand and an outcome will be determined without the student’s participation.  A student’s decision to not participate in the process is not held against him/her, as decisions are made based on the presented information and the policy in question.  However, a student who does not participate in the student conduct process forfeits his/her right to participate in the appeals process.


Does this mean my student also has criminal charges pending? Criminal proceedings and student conduct process are completely separate.  The student conduct process is designed to be a learning experience that facilitates student engagement in responsible conduct that reflects credit upon and models positive citizenship among both the University and greater community.  However, if you are aware your student also has criminal charges pending, the student conduct process may be instituted against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and the Code of Student Conduct without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and/or prosecution. Proceedings under this Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct.  Findings or restorative actions imposed under this Code of Student Conduct are not subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.


Should my student hire a lawyer?  A student has the right to obtain legal counsel, however, the student conduct process and criminal proceedings are not the same.  A lawyer may not speak on behalf of your student or represent your student in any way.  If you would like a lawyer to attend your student’s student conduct meeting, he/she must adhere to the expectations set for Advisors during the student conduct process.


My student is the victim of physical assault, rape, sexual assault, harassment, hazing, or stalking.  What should he/she do?  If your student is the victim of any of these types of incidents, whether on- or off-campus, and the threat is immediate, call 911.  Once your student is safe, your student may do the following:

  • Report to law enforcement (UKPD for on-campus incidents or Lexington PD for off-campus incidents).
  • Report the incident to the University. The Office of Student Conduct, Community of Concern, Violence Intervention Program, Counseling Center, Fraternity or Sorority Affairs, Office of Student Involvement, or the Office of Residence Life are several offices on campus that can help you through this incident and discuss your options for moving forward. Keep in mind that when notified, the Office of Student Conduct, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and the Office of Residence Life are required by law to conduct an investigation and the student conduct process, if applicable, per Title IX, while the Violence Intervention Program and Counseling Center are allowed to maintain complete confidentiality.
  • Report to both law enforcement and the Office of Student Conduct, if the perpetrator is a UK student.
  • In the cases of rape or sexual assault, report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator. Patty Bender, Assistant Vice President of Equal Opportunity, serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator and specifically assists the student conduct process in cases of sexual misconduct and assists the institution in managing the conduct process per Title IX requirements.  Contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at (859) 257-8927 or email pbender@email.uky.edu.


What is going to happen if my student is found responsible for violating University policy?  Your student may be required to complete a Restorative Action Plan, which is your student’s opportunity to learn from the incident at hand and be held accountable in accordance with University expectations.  Sanction means any educational or disciplinary measure provided to encourage self-reflection regarding the respondent’s policy violation, to stop further inappropriate behavior, and deter any subsequent violations.  Sanctions are appropriately connected to the violation and tailored to meet the respondent’s developmental needs and repair the harm done to the community.


Can I attend any scheduled meetings with my student?   Student conduct meetings are generally closed to the public, unless permission is granted by all participants of the meeting.  If you are permitted to attend a student conduct meeting by your student, you cannot speak on behalf of or "represent" your student and students are encouraged to fully participate in the student conduct process in order to provide the most educative experience.  Parents and guardians can provide moral support and assist their student in understanding the process and expectations of the University.


I received a letter from your office stating my student violated the University’s alcohol or drug policy.  What should I do next?  FERPA permits the University to disclose limited information about a student’s education record when a student is found in violation of the University’s alcohol or drug policy and the student is under 21 years of age at the time of the disclosure.  In such cases, parents or guardians will be notified in writing after the final outcome of the student conduct process.  If this type of notification is received, parents or guardians are encouraged to speak directly with their student to learn more information about the student’s involvement in the incident or ask the student to sign a Release of Information Form with the Office of Student Conduct.