Office of 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 and the Office of Student Conduct are committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusive excellence that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive.
Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct describes behaviors that students need to avoid as they are inconsistent with the essential values of Penn State. The Office of Student Conduct is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Code of Conduct, ultimately determining whether or not a student or student organization has violated that code. The Code of Conduct applies to conduct that occurs on University premises; at University sponsored activities; at functions, activities or events hosted by recognized student organizations, on- or off-campus; and at other off-campus locations when the behavior affects a substantial university interest.
When a student or student organization participates in the formal conduct process, a record is created and maintained by the Office of Student Conduct.
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. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, copying, 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.
Parental Notification Policy
Under FERPA, Penn State notifies parents and families in specific instances where a student accepts responsibility, or is found responsible, for a violation of an alcohol or drug policy or receives a sanction that may impact their status as a student. This notification, a letter, summarizes the outcome of the student's conduct process and lists the official University charge(s) and sanctions that were assigned. Parental notification is intended to involve families in the total educational experience of the student and to provide an opportunity for conversation between students and their parents/legal guardians about the experience or incident that was a violation of the Code of Conduct.
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 Antihazing Law
In 2018, Pennsylvania adopted the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law which:
- Establishes a tiered penalty with stricter punishments for hazing (including felony-level violations)
- Holds individuals and organizations accountable for hazing
- Requires schools to publish anti-hazing policies and publicly report hazing violations
In addition, the statute provides immunity for individuals in need of medical assistance as a result of hazing or underage alcohol consumption, as well as for those who seek help for others. To the extent possible, any student, organization, faculty or staff member, contractor, or volunteer of the University will be held accountable for hazing-related violations both by the University and by the appropriate law enforcement agency. Any allegations of hazing should be reported to the University’s Office of Ethics and Compliance or the Office of Student Conduct, in addition to the police.
Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response
email: [email protected]
Wanda L. Ochei, Director of Student Services and Engagement
email: [email protected]
office: 101 Hayfield House
Penn State is committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment or misconduct on the basis of sex or gender. The Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response (OSMPR) ensures compliance with Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on the sex or gender of employees and students, as well as Penn State policy AD‑85 (Sexual and/or Gender-based Harassment and Misconduct). Behaviors that fall under AD‑85 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
Any sexual contact that occurs without consent violates Penn State’s policy. Consent must be informed, freely given, and mutual. If coercion, intimidation, threats, or physical force are used, there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated due to alcohol or drug consumption, being asleep, or being unconscious, consent cannot be given. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent.
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.
Pennsylvania's Medical Amnesty Law
Pennsylvania law provides immunity from prosecution for underage drinking and/or hazing for an individual who seeks help for a friend who has a medical emergency due to underage alcohol consumption or hazing. The immunity also applies to the friend for who medical assistance was sought. When a person is in violation of underage drinking or hazing laws and dials 911 to get help for a peer who needs immediate medical attention due to excessive alcohol consumption or hazing, the called and the peer for who assistance was sought will not be charged with underage drinking or hazing as long as:
- The person's phone call was the initial way law enforcement found out about the hazing and/or underage person's drinking violation
- The caller reasonably believed they were the first to call and report the emergency
- The person correctly identified themselves by name when reporting the emergency
- The person remained with the individual needing medical assistance until emergency services arrived
What are my reporting options?
Penn State offers a variety of confidential and non-confidential reporting options if you or a friend are a victim of sexual or gender-based harassment or sexual misconduct. Student survivors, witnesses and bystanders who report, in good faith, any incident of sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking will NOT be charged with an alcohol or drug violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Confidential Reporting Options
Visit the University’s Title IX web page to learn more about campus, community and University resources.
Non-Confidential Reporting Options
- Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response (OSMPR), 814-867-0099, [email protected]
- Title IX Resource Person, Wanda Ochei, 570-675-9225, [email protected]
- Campus Police, 570-675-9111 or 570-675-9249
- Lehman Township Police, 570-675-1483 or 911
What happens when a report is made?
A prompt response is activated when an incident is reported to a non-confidential resource:
- The Title IX Coordinator leads the University response, which may include a University investigation.
- The Title IX Coordinator or designee will inform you of your rights and options.
Accommodations and/or interim remedies may be taken, including:
- a no-contact order
- classroom and housing adjustments
- access to on-and off-campus support services
A thorough investigation of the incident will be conducted by OSMPR staff. The University will:
- review all relevant information, and
- determine if the behavior violates the University’s Code of Conduct