FAQs

The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities has compiled a list of frequently asked questions on various topics. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any specific questions you have.

Academic Integrity

No, this would circumvent the procedures outlined in the Code of Academic Integrity.  Students have the right to contest the charge and proposed sanction by having their case referred to a hearing panel.

A transcript notation will be made if the sanction includes failure of the course, suspension, or expulsion, or is independently sanctioned.

Failure of the course will only be noted on the transcript if it was sanctioned. Failure of the course as a result of failing an assignment will not be noted as academic dishonesty on the transcript. Only the final grade for the course will appear.

Yes, it is possible in particularly egregious cases or repeat offenses.  Only an Academic Integrity Council Hearing Panel can impose sanctions of suspension or expulsion

You have the option to accept the charge and proposed sanction, contest the charge and proposed sanction or accept the charge and contest the sanction. If you contest the charge or the sanction, the matter will be referred to an Academic Integrity Council Hearing Panel.

No, you are not required to attend your hearing- in such a case the Academic Integrity Council would identify you as being “in absentia” and read into the record your plea and any statement.  The hearing would otherwise follow its normal case procedures.

Yes, the panel will review the case materials that have been presented and determine if the recommended sanction fits the violation.

A record of academic integrity violation is permanent and is not expunged.  Information related to this record is not released to third parties without the written permission of the student.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that, among other functions, protects the privacy of student education records.  The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Once enrolled at the George Washington University, students have the right to inspect and review their own education records, as defined in FERPA, within 45 days of when the university receives a request for access. 

Students also have a right to ask GW to correct any education records they believe are inaccurate or misleading.

GW may not disclose students’ education records without their consent, unless an exception applies. 

Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe the university has not complied with the requirements of FERPA.
 

A student who wants to inspect their conduct record should submit a written request to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities.  In either case a staff member will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected or explain how the student may otherwise gain access to them. 

 

FERPA does not apply to certain records in the university’s possession so students have no right to inspect or review them under the statute.  These records include:

  • Financial records of parents.
  • Confidential letters and statements of recommendation received by the university after January 1, 1975, to which the student has waived right of access.
  • Personal notes of professors and other educational personnel.
  • Campus law enforcement records.
  • Employee files, if the student is employed by the University.
  • Medical, counseling and psychiatric treatment records and case notes relating to a student.

If a student believes their conduct record is misleading or inaccurate, they should contact the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, clearly identify the part of the record they believe should be corrected, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

If the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities decides not to change the record as requested by the student, the student will be notified of that decision and informed about the procedure they can follow to appeal it.

 

The university may disclose without a student’s consent an education record or the personally identifiable information contained in it under limited circumstances. 

These circumstances include disclosure to protect the health or safety of the student or others, disclosure to other school officials for legitimate educational reasons, and disclosure to officials of other schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. 

The university may also disclose to parents/guardians of any student under the age of 21 if the student has violated the law or school policy regarding alcohol or illegal drugs.

The university may also disclose without a student’s consent certain non-private “directory information” including name, address (including e-mail), telephone numbers, dates of attendance, enrollment status and other basic information. 
 

Sanctions

Sanctions are determined on a case by case basis so that each respondent is afforded appropriate and just treatment. Additionally, the determination of sanctions are balanced by the university’s goal of providing an effective learning environment for all members.

Determination of sanctions is influenced by factors including but not limited to: the nature of the violation and the incident itself, the impact of the conduct to the individuals, and the impact or implications of the conduct on the university community.

A complete listing of factors that influence the degree and nature of sanctioning as well as a list of sanctions can found in the Code of Student Conduct (link new Code here).

In your outcome letter, a rationale should be provided for the specific sanctions assigned in your case.

SRR can extend your deadline, including the possibility of setting up a payment plan (for monetary sanctions). In order to request these adjustments, contact your case manager (the SRR staff that emailed you regarding your case). Your case manager can help set up the payment plan and adjust your sanction deadline. When you contact your case manager, include the following information: your name, the sanction deadline for which you need an extension, the new date by which you can have it completed (typically no more than two weeks from the original deadline), the reason for the needed extension (e.g. illness), and your plan to complete it on time (e.g. “I have scheduled the required meeting for the day before this proposed new deadline.”) Until you hear back in writing, you should assume the original deadline is still in place.

  • Notation of student conduct action will be made on the transcript whenever a student is expelled or suspended, or in accordance with university policies or applicable laws.
  • In Academic Integrity cases, all sanctions except failure of the assignment in question shall be marked on the respondent's academic transcript with the phrase “Academic Dishonesty.”
  • Maybe. The decision about whether or not a student may study abroad is generally determined by the Office of Study Abroad. Study Abroad does not allow students to study abroad while they are on disciplinary probation.

You will receive a separate email with directions on how to log in online and complete your required course or courses. This email will contain more detailed information regarding your course or courses. If you are unable to locate the email with instructions or did not receive it, please contact your case manager.

If you do not complete your sanctions, a hold may be placed on your account. The hold would typically prevent you from registering for classes, and may also include, but is not limited to preventing you from withdrawing from classes, applying for on-campus housing assignments, or receiving copies of academic transcripts. Depending upon the nature of your case, it is possible that additional violations would be alleged for incomplete sanctions.

Parent/Guardian/Family

Most issues of non-academic student misconduct are evaluated by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities to determine whether a student should be charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.  Not all students are charged with a conduct violation in all circumstances; sometimes an administrative action is appropriate.  Decisions whether to charge a student and with what type of violation are made on a case by case basis. 

Yes.  Every student charged with a disciplinary violation is afforded the opportunity to provide their perspective of the incident in question and to present additional relevant information through witnesses or other means regarding their involvement.

The  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records and prohibits educational institutions from disclosing information from a student's education record to any third party including family members without the student's consent.  This federal privacy law significantly limits the access that family members may have to the education records of their student after they turn 18 or enroll in a post-secondary institution.

Students can ask that we share information regarding their conduct records by signing and submitting the Consent to Release Confidential Information form.

An exception to FERPA permits the university to notify parents/guardians of students in conduct cases involving drugs and alcohol. The university's parental/guardian notification policy provides for different types of contact depending on the type of violation for students under the age of 21:

  • students who are transported to the hospital for drug or alcohol use  
  • students found in violation of an alcohol or drug policy
  • students involved in other alcohol-related incidents

The university's student conduct system is intended to encourage students to take responsibility for their behavior.  Letting the student know that a conduct violation is not the end of the world is very important.  Families should encourage their student to continue to be an active member of the university community while any conduct case is pending.  In these conversations between families and students, the university encourages families to strike a balance between supporting the student and challenging their decision-making process regarding the incident(s) in which the student was involved.

Factors that do not relate to the student's behavior at the time of the incident(s) (e.g. financial situation, health conditions, character statements, grade point average, involvement in student organizations, etc.) are not considered in determining the facts of the case and/or when recommending sanctions.

In accordance with the Code of Student Conduct, a student who is sanctioned with the cancellation of their Housing License Agreement, suspension, or expulsion by the university is not entitled to receive a refund of any applicable fees or tuition.