Reporting and Disciplinary Process
As part of the process of educating students about the potential impacts of their actions on their individual lives and the University community at-large, GSAPP has partnered with Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS).
SCCS assists the Columbia community with the maintenance of a safe, honest, and responsible campus environment. The office may contact students if it is alleged that they have engaged in behavior that is inconsistent with University, affiliated school, or program policies and/or federal, state, or local laws. When such an allegation is made, students may be referred to the Dean’s Discipline process.
Students, faculty, and staff may file a report directly to Student Conduct and Community Standards for any incident involving a GSAPP student.
Students, faculty members, or Columbia staff who have concerns about a student’s behavior or believed that a student violated policy, should file a report with SCCS at the link above. Based on the information available, the Dean of Students, in consultation with SCCS, will determine the appropriate follow up and may refer the student(s) alleged to have violated policy to a formal disciplinary hearing. If a formal disciplinary hearing is to be held, a representative from SCCS will contact the student, explain the procedure, and set up an appropriate time and place for the disciplinary hearing.
A disciplinary hearing is held to discuss the allegations with the student, and to determine the appropriate outcome (and sanctions, when necessary). GSAPP reserves the right to determine whether to designate a representative from GSAPP to serve as a hearing officer or to have the matter reviewed solely by SCCS. Present at the hearing are the student alleged to have violated policy, a member(s) of SCCS, and, if the school deems appropriate, a representative from GSAPP. On the strength of the evidence and the student’s response, the SCCS representative(s) and, if applicable, the representative from GSAPP will reach a determination of responsibility based on the preponderance of the evidence standard. The student will be notified of the decision within 10 business days after the hearing has concluded.
If a student is found responsible for a policy violation, sanctions will be issued in consideration of the specific circumstances of the case, institutional precedent, disciplinary history, aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and community impact. Potential sanctions include: warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. As the disciplinary process is also an educational one, students may be referred to resources and campus support services or asked to complete additional educational projects.
A violation of academic integrity compromises the intellectual foundation of our institution. To violate that principle is one of the most serious offenses a student can commit at Columbia University. A student found responsible for an academic integrity violation can expect to receive a minimum sanction of disciplinary probation and may be expelled from the University. Irrespective of the disciplinary outcome, faculty members reserve the right to assign grades as they deem appropriate.
If a student is found responsible for a second policy violation, the student can expect that the likely outcome will be expulsion from the University.
A student found responsible for violating policy has the right to request an appeal of the decision and the resulting sanction(s). This appeal must be completed by the student and should be submitted electronically within five business days from the date of the decision (or as indicated in the hearing outcome letter) and addressed to the Dean of the School. There three grounds upon which a request for appeal may be considered:
- A procedural error affecting the determination or sanction;
- New information that was not available at the time of the investigation or hearing and that may change the determination or sanction; and/or
- Excessiveness of the sanction.
Requests for appeal are considered at the discretion of the appeal officer and disagreement with the finding or sanction is not, by itself, grounds for appeal. Requests that do not appropriately address the ground(s) for appeal may be denied. If the appeal is considered, the appeal officer will determine if a change in decision is warranted. The appeal officer reviews the request and entirety of the student’s file and does not meet with the requestor nor does s/he personally rehear the case. The appeal officer may change the sanction making it either less or more severe or may request a re-hearing of the case based upon information that is provided in the appeal request. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the appeal officer will notify the student of the final decision in writing. This final decision is not appealable.
In general, under University policy and Federal law, information about dean’s disciplinary proceedings against a student is private to that student and may not be disclosed to others without the student’s consent.
If members of the community do not wish to file a report but would like to consult with GSAPP Office of Student and Academic Affairs or the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office, please contact:
GSAPP Office of Student and Academic Affairs
400 Avery Hall
- More information can be found on the University's Student Conduct and Community Standards Office website.