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Conduct FAQs for Parents

What are the standards for conduct?

Our behavioral expectations are provided in the Student Handbook in the Code of Conduct and the Honor Code.

How will I know if my student has been referred for discipline?

We encourage, but do not require, students to inform their parents of any incidents, as we believe parents can be effective allies in helping their children learn from their behavior and develop into fully-mature adults. The College's practice is to treat its students as adults, and as such, we allow the student to decide if and how to inform his or her parents. Students may elect to sign a Release of Information form to indicate that they wish for their parents to be notified of the final results of any student conduct matter. If the student has chosen to release this information to parents, we will send a letter home to let you know about a particular incident and its resolution.

How can I help my student avoid becoming involved in the conduct process?

Speak with your son or daughter about the challenges ahead, particularly during his or her first year of college. It is helpful to understand basic student development theory in order to anticipate these challenges and help your son or daughter make positive choices regarding behavior. It is probably not surprising to learn that the vast majority of conduct violations involve alcohol as a factor, so we recommend you discuss the issue of alcohol with your child as well.

What is my role in the student conduct process? How can I help my student?

You can help your son or daughter by learning about our conduct policies, procedures, and goals. As our process is developmental in nature, we believe it important for the student to take responsibility for the process and attend required meetings and sanction requirements, if any. By assuming responsibility for the process, the student is encouraged to develop a sense of confidence and competence in managing his or her affairs in the future. It usually is not helpful to the educational development of the student if the parent attempts to overtake the process on his or her behalf.

Can I be present during the informal conference or discipline/Honor hearing?

The first step of the student conduct process is a meeting with the Case Administrator when the student is informed of the nature of the report and the student's options for resolving the report of possible misconduct. This initial meeting involves only the student and the Case Administrator. If the matter progresses to a hearing, the student is permitted to bring one silent observer to the hearing--the student may elect to have a parent observe the hearing.

What happens if my son or daughter is found responsible for misconduct?

If your student is found responsible, he or she will receive one or more sanctions. Sanctions are usually designed to be educational; however, when the violation involves significant or potential harm to the community, or when the student has a history of violations, the sanctions may become protective of the interests of the community.

Does my son or daughter need a lawyer?

The College's Codes reflect the unique values of the William and Mary community. Because of this, our conduct process is separate and distinct from the criminal or civil court systems. While a student may, on his or her own, seek the assistance of an attorney, attorneys are not permitted to take an active role in our processes. Students are provided with the right to student counsel, and in the case of an allegation of serious misconduct, the student may request an administrative counsel to assist him or her.

Are disciplinary and Honor decisions appealable?

The student may request an appeal of a decision based on grounds specified in the Handbook. Appeals must be received by the appropriate party within five business days of the date the student received written notice of the outcome of his or her case.