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Office of Student Conduct

TERP NATION HAS NO BOUNDARIES!


In May of 2013, President Loh authorized the expansion of the Code of Student Conduct, as voted on by the University Senate. There is now no geographical limit to where the Code applies in regard to all students at the University of Maryland. The Office of Student Conduct has taken efforts to educate to the campus community, and will continue to do so.

As students, it is imperative you understand that your behavior off-campus may affect your disciplinary status at Maryland, so remember to act accordingly. 

It's important to think about your behavior when it comes to living and going off-campus to socialize.  Below are some frequently asked questions regarding off-campus jurisdiction.

– What are the geographic boundaries associated with the expansion of jurisdiction for the Code?
– There are no geographic boundaries associated with expansion of jurisdiction for the Code. You're a Maryland student wherever you go, so the Code applies wherever you go. The Director of the OSC will consider whether the behavior meets certain criteria to be adjudicated. The misconduct will be considered on a case-by-case basis, which is how peer institutions handle discretionary off-campus jurisdiction.

Q What was wrong with the old jurisdiction of the OSC and the Code?
A There were concerns over the limitations of the Code to address certain types of misconduct off-campus, most specifically acts of hazing and violence. Additionally, residents of the City of College Park raised concerns about off-campus misconduct as it relates to UMD students in the community. The University has received numerous complaints of misconduct off-campus that directly affect UMD, to which the University would like to respond but could not due to limitations in the Code. The UMD Department of Public Safety (UMDPS) is currently in the process of expanding its jurisdiction within College Park, and the University believes that the expansion of the Code was warranted.
   
Q Is it considered “double jeopardy” if a student is referred to the OSC and is also charged by the police for a crime committed?
A No. Students can be simultaneously processed by a civil or criminal court and the OSC, because they are separate processes. Students may be accountable to both civil authorities and to the University for acts which constitute violations of law and of the Code. Disciplinary action at the University will normally proceed during the pendency of criminal proceedings, and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced. This is the process that is followed for misconduct occurring on-campus, and it will not change for off-campus violations.
 
Q What are the benefits of referring a student to the OSC?
A The OSC and the UMDPS would have more opportunity and flexibility for handling complaints when students come forward with concerns about their peers, or about circumstances that could potentially escalate into dangerous situations. In addition, if a student’s family contacts the OSC with concerns about misconduct that has occurred off-campus, the Director of the OSC would be better equipped to explain the situation and the student’s options.  With expanded jurisdiction, the UMDPS will have more flexibility in how to handle a situation with students, since they would the option of referring the students to the OSC rather than only having the option to file criminal charges or not. With expansion of jurisdiction for the Code, students must be more cognizant of their behavior off-campus, as a result of recognizing that the University has a vested interest in their off-campus conduct.

Before, there was often no accountability taken for off-campus behavior, such as noise violations resulting from a large party. As a result, corrective action may not have been taken for these types of off-campus violations; for instance, if a landlord pays a fine and the student renters are not charged with the related offense. With the expansion of jurisdiction for the Code, students could be held accountable to the University for their off-campus conduct, which may have more of an impact on overall behavioral change. Even though a student might face different sanctions for their misconduct through the OSC than through the criminal justice system, knowledge that the student could be held accountable to the University often appears to have a large influence on student behavior. We also expect that expansion of jurisdiction will improve the safety and security of students living off-campus. For instance, if a student is the victim of assault or hazing by another student off-campus, expansion of jurisdiction of the Code will allow for there to be a simultaneous on-campus recourse, which is particularly helpful if criminal charges are not filed, or are dismissed in a court of law.
 
Q Does the expansion of jurisdiction for the Code have any effect on graduate students?
A The Code applies to all students. The term “student” is defined in the Code as a person taking or auditing courses at the institution either on a full- or part-time basis.
 
Q Is there any guarantee that a student would only be referred to the OSC for misconduct committed off-campus, instead of being charged by the police?
A No. They could go through both processes (e.g., criminal proceedings, as well as referral to the OSC for potential sanctioning). It would be up to the police’s discretion whether they decide to file criminal charges, as well as refer the student to the OSC.
 
Q What types of off-campus offenses will be referred to the OSC with expansion of jurisdiction for the Code?
A Examples of serious misconduct that could be referred to the OSC with expanded jurisdiction of the Code include, but are not limited to, rioting, hazing, theft of property, public intoxication, sexual assault, illegal drug use, stalking, cyber-bullying, large parties with excessive noise, distribution of  alcohol to minors, and repeated offenses. The OSC will not be able to manage every violation that occurs off-campus (e.g., trash/garbage violations that break city ordinances). The OSC would like to be able to handle cases of off-campus misconduct that are significantly tied to the University and are serious in nature.
 
Q - What do I need to know if I don't live on campus, but I live in the College Park area? 
A - So long as you always abide by the Code of Student Conduct, you will have much less to worry about. As a resident of the area, you should know the resources at your disposal. Visit the Off-Campus Housing Services website for more information.  

QWhat if I get referred to the Office of Student Conduct for an off-campus related matter?
- It is always a good idea to contact the Office of Student Conduct to set up a meeting with a staff member about any referral you may receive. Any initial meeting with the Office of Student Conduct is informational and will not result in disciplinary action. It is encouraged that you also speak with the Undergraduate Student Legal Aid Office about any referral you might receive. There is also a Graduate Student Legal Aid Office. Both offices are located on the 3rd floor of South Campus Dining Hall.