Office of Student Life

Student Conduct

The UNK conduct program develops civic-minded students by holding individuals accountable for their behavior, educates them about the consequences of their actions, and protects the university’s faculty, staff, students and property.

The Conduct Officer coordinates the student conduct process at UNK. This includes consulting with faculty and staff on matters of student behavior, including classroom disruption and academic integrity; updating the University Rules of Conduct, maintaining the conduct records database, training and advising conduct and appeals board members, coordinating education seminars, responding to conduct records inquiries, and ensuring compliance with applicable laws.

We help students to:

  • Understand the purpose for community standards.
  • Know how to bring their behavior into compliance with the community standards.
  • Maturely accept accountability for his/her behavior.
  • Make more positive self-directed choices that will better enable him/her to assume adult roles.
  • Consider the consequences of his/her behavior.

Ways we can serve students:

  • One-on-one or group consulting on concerns of student behavior.
  • Explain policies.
  • By encouraging students to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct
  • By requiring education and training on how to protect ones self from assault or harassment, and if one is a victim of assault or harassment, how to report the activity and adjudicate the perpetrator of such behavior.

Contact Information

Brandon Benitz

Assistant Director Student Life-Conduct/Leadership

308-865-1619

Student Code of Conduct

Welcome to the UNK family! In a continual effort to promote a safe, egalitarian, and eclectic campus community, we take pride in initiatives aimed to educate the University populous on UNK policies, regulations, rules, and the Student Code of Conduct. You may access the aforementioned materials via the link below.

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT

The UNK Student Handbook is updated and published annually; individuals who encounter possible typos, errors, or misinterpretations should contact the Office of Student Life at (308) 865-8523 at the earliest possible convenience. Questions or concerns about the UNK Student Code of Conduct my be directed to the Assistant Director of Student Life at (308) 865-1619.

Parents FAQs regarding student conduct matters

How can I learn how my student is doing?
The best approach is to ask your son or daughter directly. Communicating with young adults isn't always easy. They may not be as forthcoming as we would like. The college years, however, are a period of remarkable growth and maturation. The ability and willingness of students to share information and insights usually grows, especially as they acquire the confidence that comes with assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.

Does the University have any written policy about information from student records that can be shared with parents?
Yes. Like other colleges and universities across the country, the University of Nebraska at Kearney is subject to a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also called "FERPA" or the "Buckley Amendment"). FERPA sets privacy standards for student educational records and requires institutions to publish a compliance statement, including a statement of related institutional policies.

Where can I find out more information about FERPA?
FERPA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department maintains a FERPA website.

What records does FERPA cover?
The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions, the FERPA regulations give privacy protection to all student "education records." Education records are defined as "those records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution." Examples of student records entitled to FERPA privacy protection are grade reports, transcripts, and most disciplinary files.

What does it mean to say a record is "protected" by FERPA?
Unless personally identifiable information from a student's education record falls under a specified exception, the information cannot be released to third parties (including parents) without signed and dated written consent from the student.

What are the exceptions to FERPA's coverage?
There's a detailed list of exceptions in the FERPA regulations. Perhaps the most important exception allows "disclosure [of information in student education records] to the parents of a dependent student, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986" (Part 99.31 (a) (8)).

I had easy access to my student's high school records. Why don't I have the same access to records kept by the University?
Under FERPA, the access rights that parents and legal guardians had in the elementary and secondary school setting are transferred to students, once a student has turned eighteen, or is attending any post-secondary educational institution.

I've seen press reports about a new FERPA provision allowing notice to parents when a student violates drug or alcohol laws. What position has the University taken on with this new rule?
FERPA regulations authorizes - but does not require - disclosure to parents of "the student's violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if--(A) The institution determines that the student has committed a conduct violation with respect to that use or possession; and (B) The student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent."

The Dean for Student Affairs, or designee, has the authority to notify parents or guardians when students under the age of 21 are found to have committed violations of University policies related to the possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or drugs. The notification is permissive and at the discretion of the university. The notification of parents is indicated when: (1) the violation involved harm or threat of harm to persons or property; (2) the violation involved an arrest in which the student was taken into custody; (3) the violation resulted in the student being suspended from the University and/or dismissed from residence halls; (4) the student has shown a pattern of violations - even if they are minor. Two or more violations associated with alcohol use would be reasonable cause for notice; (5) the student who committed the violation became physically ill and/or required medical intervention because of consumption of alcohol and/or drugs; and/or (6) the violation involved the possession of drugs.

Students FAQs regarding student conduct matters

If I am being charged with a violation, what will happen?
You will receive a letter from us asking you to make an appointment or assigning you a time to meet with the Hearing Officer. The letter will also describe any charges. It is important to make an appointment and keep it. Ignoring the situation will not make it go away. If you don't respond, a decision can be made in the case without your input. This decision could affect your status as a student. In the meantime, our office may place a "hold" your student account, this may prevent you from registering for classes. The hold may remain on your account until the case has been resolved and if necessary sanctions have been completed.

What if I don't show up for my meeting with the conduct officer?
The hearing officer will make a decision in the case without the benefit of your involvement and perspective.

What if I was not aware of a rule and didn't know I was breaking it?
Lack of knowledge of a rule is not an excuse for misconduct. Every student is responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Rules of Conduct. It is important for you to read your Student Handbook containing the Rules of Conduct. If you are unsure about any policies, ask for clarification.

Will my parents be notified of any sanctions I receive?
Not necessarily. Conduct proceedings conducted by the University are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Generally, under FERPA conduct records may not be released or disclosed without the expressed written permission of the student whose conduct record is being sought unless provided by law. Release of student conduct records is permitted without prior consent to University officials with legitimate educational interest; victim/s of an alleged crime of violence or of an alleged sexual assault; and parents of a student who can provide written documentation that the student is financially dependent or if the student violates the drug or alcohol policy and is under 21 years old.

What if I do not complete an assigned sanction?
Additional sanctions may be added and a hold may be placed on your record. In some cases, failure to complete sanctions may result in suspension or expulsion. In addition, a hold will be placed on your registration and records. Remember that sanctions are placed as a result of your violation of the Student Rules of Conduct, and are designed to educate you about the expectations and norms of the University community.

Will potential employers have access to my conduct record?
Your conduct record will only be accessible to them if you provide written permission allowing it.