Supporting your student after sending them to an institution of higher education is as much of a transition for parents and family members as it is for students. The relationship you have with them will undoubtedly change. Students are expected to make decisions on their own, to learn to resolve conflict independently, and to take responsibility for their actions. At the same time they covet your love, respect your opinion, and generally operate on the values you instilled in them. So what should you do when your student becomes involved in the campus conduct system? The following section provides some recommendations for parents and family members when they discover that their student is involved in the campus conduct process.
1. While colleges and universities recognize that your goal is to provide support for your student, conduct officers ask that you provide this support unconditionally, but not blindly. Understand that there is a process in place to hear all information regarding the incident in question and encourage your student to prepare him or herself for the process.
2. When your student receives paperwork regarding conduct procedures and has questions, direct him or her to contact a staff member in the conduct office for information. Staff members are not permitted to give specifics to parents or family members and will most likely recommend that the student call anyway. This also empowers the student to solve his or her own issues and concerns.
3. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 precludes the college or university from discussing your child’s academic and disciplinary record without his/her written permission.
4. Educate yourself on the institution’s student conduct process by going to the department’s web site or by requesting a copy of the conduct code. Many of your questions may be easily addressed through this medium and many colleges and universities are putting information on the World Wide Web to assist parents and families in understanding the student conduct process.
5. Practice the “24 Hour Rule.” You may receive a phone call or email message from your student because he or she is upset about facing conduct charges. You may be tempted to try to immediately fix the problem for them. This intervention invariably fails. Try to allow 24 hours to inform, guide, teach, observe, and chastise (if necessary). Lessons learned through participation in a student conduct process must be experienced to have the desired effect. After all, gaining a higher education degree is about learning.
College and university conduct officers take their responsibilities as educators very seriously and do their best to provide a fair and unbiased system for all students. While these professionals understand that involvement in the conduct process may be difficult for students, they do their best to provide them support to effectively handle the situations in which they find themselves.
(The information referenced above is from the Association of Student Conduct Administrations: "The Student Conduct Process: A Guide for Parents" 2006)