Information for Students
The MSU Billings community seeks to foster a campus environment conducive to academic inquiry, productive campus life, and thoughtful study and discourse. The student conduct process at MSUB is an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the academic community.
Students are essential members of the MSUB community and are expected to uphold and abide by certain standards of conduct that form the basis of the Code of Student Conduct. The student conduct process at MSUB is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies and to foster a better understanding of the expectations that exists for members of our academic community. Educational interventions are intended to improve the students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them learn more about what is expected as members of our community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in the student conduct process are conducted with fairness, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts in criminal cases. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before a hearing officer. No student will be found in violation of the MSUB Code of Student Conduct without a determination that is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. Any educational intervention will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Frequently Asked Questions
(click on question to view answer)
I received an email about potentially violating the Code of Student Conduct. What should I do?
Please call the number listed on your letter to set up an appointment to discuss the incident and your role in it. The quicker you set up a meeting, the quicker your case can be resolved! You may also want to research our conduct process by reading the information available on each of the tabs on this website so you will know what to expect as you go through the conduct process.
Does receiving a letter mean that I have already been found guilty?
No. Responsibility for an incident is not decided until after you have had an opportunity to meet with a Hearing Officer. The letter simply indicates that you may have violated the Code of Student Conduct and invites you to meet with a Hearing Officer to discuss the incident. This administrative meeting provides students an opportunity to share their side of the story and discuss their role in the incident before a decision of responsibility is made and sanctions are assigned.
What happens if I choose not to meet with a Hearing Officer?
If you fail to respond to the letter inviting you to speak with a Hearing Officer about the alleged violations by the deadline indicated in the letter, an administrative hold may be placed on your account preventing you from adding or dropping classes for the current term or enrolling in classes for future semesters. Failure to participate in the student conduct process may also result in you facing additional charges for failing to comply. Additionally, failing to appear for your meeting will result in the Hearing Officer making a decision about your level of responsibility based on the information provided in incident or police reports.
How should I prepare for my meeting?
Much of the meeting with your Hearing Officer will be spent by them asking you questions in an effort to get to know you and about your experience at MSUB. Be prepared to have a conversation regarding the incident as well as the alleged policy violations that were listed in the letter emailed to you. As mentioned above, you may also want to read the website so you know what to expect from the conduct process.
Can I ask someone like a family member or a lawyer to attend my meeting with a Hearing Officer?
If you would like to have an advisor for your meeting, you are welcome to bring one at your own expense. Typically advisors are members of the campus community, but the parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor (including attorneys). Please note, however, that even if you are accompanied by an advisor (including attorneys), you are responsible for presenting your own case. Advisors are not permitted to speak or participate directly in any hearing. The advisor may not make a presentation, speak for or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. Advisors may confer with their advisee, exchange notes, and clarify procedural questions with the Presiding Officer or Hearing Officer.
I am being charged criminally. Why do I have to go through the student conduct process, also?
The criminal justice system and the student conduct process are not mutually exclusive. The University reserves the right to take action based on any student conduct, regardless of location, that is contrary to the pursuit of the educational mission of the University or that may adversely affect the University community. Furthermore, the purpose of our conduct process is to reinforce and encourage the development of good decision-making. Meeting with you through our student conduct process in addition to any interaction you have with the courts allows us to speak with you specifically about how your behavior may impact your success at MSU as well as how it may impact the broader university community.
My case was dropped in court. Will it also be dropped by the University?
University disciplinary proceedings may precede, follow, or take place simultaneously with criminal investigations or proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.
How does a Hearing Officer decide if I am found responsible for violating a policy?
All University officials hearing conduct cases use a standard called “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that more likely than not, an alleged violation occurred. This is not the same standard as a court of law, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Can I be found responsible for violating a University policy if the incident took place off campus?
Yes. We set high expectations for our students whether a particular student lives on or off campus and whether the incident in question took place on or off campus. The student conduct process serves an educational purpose and allows the University to check in with students to discuss the impact of their choices and behaviors. Furthermore, certain behaviors, even if they happen off campus, impair or infringe on the rights of others or interfere with the educational interests of our academic community and are therefore addressed through the student conduct process.
If I am found responsible, how are educational interventions determined?
Educational interventions are assigned on a case-by-case basis. Some factors that may affect sanctioning include your role in the incident, the nature of the violation, the number and severity of your past conduct violations, and the nature of the conversation you have with the hearing officer during the conduct process.
Will my family be notified if I am found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct?
Typically, no. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of your educational records, including student conduct records. As a result, most conduct records are not released without your written permission. However, MSUB is allowed to contact family members if your behavior poses an imminent threat to your health, safety, or welfare. For more information about confidentiality and conduct records, please visit Confidentiality and Maintenance of Student Conduct Records.
If I am sanctioned through the courts to an alcohol or drug education course, do I also have to complete the Insight course I was assigned as a sanction during the student conduct process?
The court-sanctioned alcohol or drug education course may satisfy the requirement for the Insight course assigned to you through the conduct process. You are, however, responsible for providing proof that you completed the court-sanctioned class to the Office of the Dean of Students, who will add it to your conduct record. Even if you have completed the court-sanctioned class, an administrative hold may be placed on your student account if the deadline for completion passes and you have not provided proof of completion to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Please note that your Insight class may or may not substitute for your court-sanctioned class. You will want to check with the judge to determine if he/she will allow Insight to count.
What if I do not agree with the outcome of my meeting?
Any student shall have the right to appeal the final decision of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee within 10 business days from receipt of sanction.
In general, appeals must be based on the issue of substantive or procedural errors which are prejudicial and which were committed during the formal resolution process.
- The specific questions for the review which should be addressed in any written appeal are the following:
- Were the procedures of this Code followed?
- If a procedural error was committed, were the rights of the accused materially violated?
- Has the student discovered new evidence, not previously available, which would have materially affected the decision?
What will happen to my conduct record after I graduate?
Official conduct records are maintained for seven years from the date of the incident which led to the initiation of disciplinary action. Expulsion records are kept indefinitely.