Student Rights & Responsibilities

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Student Conduct

The Office of Student Conduct is responsible for interpreting, enforcing and promoting the Code of Conduct. Student Conduct is dedicated to supporting students through a disciplinary process that is educational, equitable, expeditious, and just. Student Conduct not only meets with students accused of violating the Code of Conduct, but also works with victims to help them hold students accountable for their conduct. Recognizing the need to be proactive in educating students, it is recommended that incoming students learn more about the Code of Conduct and what is expected of them as members of the Penn State Community.

Penn State, as an institution of learning and a community with a special purpose, accepts its obligation to provide an environment that protects and promotes its educational mission and guarantees its orderly and effective operation for your student.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct outlines 17 behaviors that students need to avoid as they are inconsistent with the essential values of Penn State. Student Conduct is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Code of Conduct, ultimately determining whether or not a student has violated that code.

All members of the University community, including students, share the obligation to respect the fundamental rights of others as citizens, the rights of others based upon the nature of the educational process, the rights of the institution, and the rights of individuals to fair and equitable procedures regarding violations of University regulations. The goal is to support the University’s educational mission by promoting a safe, orderly, and positive University climate through enforcing behavioral standards, managing disciplinary proceedings, mentoring students, developing leadership skills, and fostering peer education.

The Code of Conduct fosters a University culture that is self-disciplined, where civility is embraced, and the norms and foundational beliefs validate the essential values of Penn State.

  • INTEGRITY: We act with integrity and honesty in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.
  • RESPECT: We respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse and inclusive community.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: We act responsibly, and we are accountable for our decisions, actions, and their consequences.
  • DISCOVERY: We seek and create new knowledge and understanding, and foster creativity and innovation, for the benefit of our communities, society, and the environment.
  • EXCELLENCE: We strive for excellence in all our endeavors as individuals, an institution, and a leader in higher education.
  • COMMUNITY: We work together for the betterment of our University, the communities we serve, and the world.

Student Conduct encourages the expression of diverse views and opinions, validates healthy life choices, and supports the concept of community respect. Through programs and services, students become responsible and contributing citizens within Penn State and the local communities.

In addition to the Code of Conduct and the University’s discipline process, students are also held accountable to local, state, and federal laws through traditional criminal procedures. Off-campus student behavior that violates the Code of Conduct may be subject to disciplinary action following standard University procedures.

Academic Integrity

One of the essential values at Penn State is academic integrity. Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Penn State, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, and tampering with the academic work of other students.

The University takes violations of Academic Integrity seriously. When an act of academic dishonesty is believed to have occurred, the process begins with a conversation between the faculty member and the accused student and follows the procedures outlined by the Faculty Senate.

Parental Notification Policy 

Under FERPA, colleges and universities are afforded certain liberties relative to notifying parents or guardians of information concerning their student. The goals of the parental notification policy are to:

  • Identify additional supportive points of intervention for students
  • Become better partners with parents and/or guardians in support of their student
  • Identify at risk behavior thresholds for which notification would be effectively applied

Pennsylvania’s Medical Amnesty Law States:

If an individual, in good faith, calls and believes they are the first to call 911, police, ambulance or campus security, gives their name and stays with the person to prevent that person’s death or serious injury, the caller is immune from prosecution for consumption or possession of alcohol.

Penn State’s Responsible Action Protocol States:

Students who act responsibly by notifying the appropriate authorities (e.g., calling 911, alerting a resident assistant, contacting police) typically will not face University disciplinary action for their own alcohol violations, unless they are responsible for other violations (e.g., vandalism, assault) as well. However, these students will be required to attend the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) Program or a similar program; the fee will be waived. If you suspect that someone may need medical assistance, CALL 911.


Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response

Paul Apicella, JD, Title IX Coordinator

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex or gender.  Resources are available to members of the university community to provide prompt and effective response when such incidents occur.  Behaviors that fall under policy AD-85 (Sexual and/or Gender-based Harassment and Misconduct) include:

Gender based Harassment Behavior consisting of physical or verbal conduct based on gender, sexual orientation, gender-stereotyping, perceived gender, or gender identity

  • Sexual Harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • Sexual Misconduct Rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity
  • Stalking Repeatedly following, harassing, threatening or intimidating including by telephone, mail, electronic communication, or social media
  • Dating Violence May include emotional, verbal, and/or economic abuse
  • Domestic Violence May include emotional, verbal, and/or economic abuse
  • Retaliation Adverse employment, academic, or other actions against anyone reporting or participating in an investigation of Title IX allegations


Penn State offers confidential and non-confidential reporting options for those who have become a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.  The University strongly encourages students to report incidents violating this policy.  Therefore, students who act responsibly by reporting information about sexual and/or gender-based harassment or misconduct typically will not face University disciplinary action for their own drug or alcohol possession or consumption in connection with the reported incident.