The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, the pursuit and cultivation of new knowledge, and robust intellectual exchange among faculty and students. In support of this mission, every member of the University - student, faculty, other academic appointees, and staff - makes a commitment to strive for personal and academic integrity; to treat others with dignity and respect; to honor the rights and property of others; to take responsibility for individual and group behavior; and to act as a responsible citizen in a free academic community and in the larger society. Any student conduct, on or off campus, of individuals or groups, that threatens or violates this commitment may become a matter for action within the University's system of student discipline.
The University believes that students must take responsibility for their own conduct. Under some circumstances, students also must take responsibility for the conduct of a group, or individual members of the group of which they are part. The group may be informal, such as a study group, or formal, such as a recognized student organization.
Groups are often bound by shared interests, values, and a mutual trust. Trust is also a critical underpinning of our community—trust between and among peers as well as trust between and among individuals of different rank or status.
Every student bears responsibility for their misconduct, regardless of whether the misconduct takes place in a group setting or as a member or a group. However, individual misconduct may also be, at least in part, the responsibility of other members of the group and the group leadership. Misconduct by individual members of a group thus may become a matter for disciplinary action against the individual, the group, and the group leadership.
The goal of the student disciplinary systems is to ensure a fair and orderly proceeding on questions of possible student misconduct. A disciplinary proceeding enjoys neither the advantages nor the limitations inherent in an adversarial proceeding of a court of law.
The University's disciplinary systems and the legal-judicial structures of the general society differ and are distinct in principle. Students who are subject to or involved in University discipline do not automatically abdicate any of the rights that are guaranteed to them by the civil society and, indeed, they remain at all times free to claim and assert those rights through the institutions, presumably judicial, of that society. At the same time, however, students must recognize that the University is a private enclave, dedicated to a purpose that imposes additional and special obligations while, at the same time, granting privileges to its members.
Student misconduct therefore may be simultaneously subject to external legal or administrative proceedings and the University's disciplinary system. Under those circumstances, the University's disciplinary system normally will proceed independently and notwithstanding the pendency of external processes. Furthermore, University disciplinary committees are not bound by external findings, adjudications or processes, and thus they make independent judgments about the extent to which, if at all, to consider such matters.
The University's disciplinary procedures therefore should not be confused with the processes of law: the University's regulations are applied to incidents that are not "cases," the bodies that hear and dispose of incidents are not "courts," individuals who may accompany a student in the course of a disciplinary proceeding are not "counsel" advocating on behalf of the student and scrutinizing procedures for compliance with "rules of evidence," and requests for review of disciplinary decisions are not "appeals."
Guiding Principles of University Student Disciplinary Systems
While the University’s student disciplinary procedures are distinct from those applied in the legal-judicial systems, UChicago is committed to ensuring that policies and procedures are transparent and accessible and that students participating in any University disciplinary process are treated fairly and with respect.
University disciplinary committees make no assumptions or presumptions (including about the credibility or culpability of the parties to the proceeding or witnesses), and reach decisions as to whether the respondent has violated University policy solely on the basis of the evidence and testimony presented to them. In incidents where the University is the complainant, the respondent will be presumed innocent until the appropriate disciplinary authority, using the preponderance of evidence standard, determines that a policy violation has occurred.
When participating in any of the University’s disciplinary systems, neither the respondent nor complainant bears the responsibility to prove or disprove allegations. It is the University’s role to gather information and apply and unbiased and transparent process so that disciplinary committees or the appropriate University official can determine whether a Policy violation has occurred.
It should be understood that the relation of collegiality and trust that binds all members of the University community entails an obligation of truthfulness and candor on the part of everyone who participates in a disciplinary proceeding. A respondent, the complainant, and others are expected to appear before a disciplinary committee if summoned and participate in a manner that helps the committee reach a complete and fair understanding of the facts of the incident at issue. Refusal to participate denies committee members from learning important information that could influence the outcome of the proceedings, and compels the committee to continue with the proceeding and reach a decision based on the information before it.
The University has Four Student Disciplinary Systems:
Area Admission Review Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students who have accepted admission but have not yet assumed the role of a student at the University. Area Admission Review Systems are described here: https://studentmanual.sites.uchicago.edu/page/area-admission-review-system.
Area Disciplinary Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students. Area Disciplinary Systems are described here: https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/area
University-wide Disciplinary System is a procedure for student offenses that involve unlawful discrimination or sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking). The University-wide Disciplinary System is described here: http://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/university_dicip_system.
Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct provides a set of processes and standards that ensure the fair and impartial investigation of allegations that a student has engaged in disruptive conduct, i.e., conduct that falls outside of the principles of free expression and meets the definition supplied by Statute 21. The Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct is described here: https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/page/disciplinary-system-disruptive-conduct