Students walking on south campus

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to pay a fine?

The fine helps UMass Lowell pay for the courses provided to students who violate policy along with any medical transportation given. Other fines include payment for damaged property or restitution to another party.

Will I get kicked out of school?

It depends on the severity of the situation or it depends on your past history with the same behavior. Suspension and/or Expulsion are not common on campus.

Why are my sanctions different than those also involved in the same situation?

Our conduct sanctions are progressive, meaning past sanctions will be taken into account. If you had a previous alcohol violation and the other students involved did not, your sanctions will be more severe. Additionally, sometimes it is determined that there is a difference in the level of involvement of each student.

What happens if I get caught for this again?

If you are found responsible for the same type of violation one or more times, your sanctions will become more severe for each incident. Additionally, students with a lengthy conduct history will face severe sanctions for any new violation.

What is the difference between a conduct conference and an investigation?

A conduct conference is typically one meeting that deals with lower level conduct violations. An investigation consists of a rights meeting, an investigation meeting, and an outcome meeting. An investigation is typically for higher level violations or for repeat offenses.

What is the difference between a rights meeting and an investigation meeting?

A rights meeting occurs at the beginning of the investigation process. During this time, a member of the conduct office will meet with you to discuss the process and your rights as a student. This person will serve as your administrator in the case and walk you through the process. No details of the incident are discussed during the rights meeting. During an investigation meeting, a different member of the conduct office will meet with you to discuss the incident. This person serves as your investigator and will determine responsibility and appropriate sanctions.

What is the difference between the review panel and the appeal panel?

The review panel occurs after sanctions have been suggested but before sanctions are in place. During phase of the investigation process, you have the opportunity to meet with your administrator and review all documents related to your case. If you wish to go to the review panel, you will be able to submit a response for the review panel to read. This response can include any information you would like, but we suggest focusing on why you think the recommend charges and sanctions should be changed. The appeal panel occurs after the review panel is complete. At this point, all sanctions and charges are in place.

Appeals can be made on two grounds:

  1. there is new and significant information that was not previously known to the student or
  2. there are significant procedural errors that could alter the outcome.
Why does the investigation process take so long?

The length of the investigation process depends on how many witnesses there are, if any, and the difficulty of trying to set up meetings that work for everyone involved.

If marijuana is legal, why am I getting in trouble for using it?

Since UMass Lowell is a federally funded institution and marijuana is not legal on a federal level, it is still against policy to have it on campus.

What is the difference between being in the presence of alcohol versus use/possession of alcohol?

In the presence of alcohol refers to being in the same vicinity of alcohol, but not consuming it. In use/possession of alcohol is if it is found the student consumed alcohol before or during the incident.

My friend had this same violation last year and received different sanctions, why?

Each case we hear is unique. Different circumstances will result in different sanctions.

Can the RAs come into my room without asking?

Yes. RAs are university employees and therefore allowed to enter university property after properly identifying themselves as residence life. If a student fails to allow an RA into his/her room, they may also be held responsible for failing to comply.

Can RAs force me to open my fridge?

If it is a personal fridge the answer is no, but it is best to comply with the RA. If the fridge belongs to UMass Lowell, RAs can ask for you to open it.

Do I have to give my ID when asked?

Yes, on the back of any UMass Lowell ID it states that it is property of UM ass Lowell. Therefore, when asked to hand over your ID you must as it does not belong to you.

If I use a bong for smoking tobacco can I keep it in my room?

No, drug paraphernalia of any kind is against UMass Lowell’s policy.

I was documented for an incident, what happens now?

If you have been documented for an incident, you will receive a letter via your student email address requesting you to attend a conduct meeting. The email will provide the date, time, place, and the name of the hearing officer you will be meeting with.

What should I do if I cannot attend my scheduled meeting?

The meetings are scheduled based on your academic schedule; however, if there is another conflict you must contact your hearing officer as soon as possible.  His or her contact information can be found in the letter you received in your email.

Who will my hearing officer be?

Your hearing officer will be determined by the Office of Student Conduct.  It can be an array of university staff including but not limited to:  Coordinator of Student Conduct, Complex Director, Resident Director, etc.

Do I have to attend my conduct hearing?

No, it is your choice whether you want to attend your conduct conference; however, your responsibility will be decided whether you attend your conduct meeting or not. It is in your best interest to attend the meeting and talk to us about the incident. Additionally, failing to attend your conduct conference means you forfeit your right to appeal.


Can I bring someone with me to my hearing?

You are allowed to bring an advisor to the hearing. The advisor must be a member of the faculty, staff or student body of the university. If you are facing criminal charges, you may bring a lawyer to advise you. However, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the student.  Please refer to page 13 of the Student Conduct Code (pdf) for full details on advisors.

Can I be documented for something that occurs off campus?

Yes. The university has jurisdiction for behavior on and off campus. Even if the incident occurs off campus, it may still be a violation of the Student Conduct Code, which would be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

What happens during my meeting?

During this meeting, you will meet with a hearing officer to discuss the details of the alleged violation. You will be given a chance to tell your side of the story and the hearing officer may choose to ask you questions.  You may ask questions of the hearing officer.  For the majority of incidents these meetings are informal. Please refer to page 11 of theStudent Conduct Code (pdf) for full details of the conduct process.

What is the standard of proof used to make a determination of responsibility?

The Student Conduct system is a not a court of law. The beyond a reasonable doubt is a criminal standard and is not used. The Student Conduct system uses the  “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard, meaning that determinations will be made based on whether it is more likely or not that the violation occurred.

What happens if I do not complete my assigned sanctions?

If you do not complete your assigned sanctions, a hold will be placed on your account until the sanctions are completed. This hold will prevent you from being able to register for classes.

Will my parents be notified, if so, when?

The Office of Student Conduct encourages students to be honest and talk to their parents/guardians about any violation of the student conduct code.  The office will contact your parent/guardian if you are under 21 and found responsible for a violation of the alcohol or drug policy.  The notification can be in writing or by telephone, depending on the violation.  If a letter is sent it will not contain specific information about the incident, however, if your parent/guardian contacts the office details can be shared.

What if I want to appeal the decision?

Appeals are due within 5 business days of being notified of the decision of the case.  All appeals are to be in writing and must be based on at least one of the four criteria:

  1. If the student can demonstrate bias against him/her by the Conduct Officer which had the likely effect of materially influencing the outcome.
  2. If new information of significance has come to light which was not available at the time of the initial Campus Conduct Conference, Campus Conduct Board Hearing, or Administrative Hearing, and would materially affect the outcome.
  3. If the student can demonstrate that sanctions imposed were unsupported by the charges. 
  4. If the student can demonstrate that unusual procedures were followed, or if the procedures outlined herein were not followed, and such unusual procedures or the failure to follow procedures materially affected the decision of the Conduct Officer or Campus Conduct Board.

Appeals must be sent electronically to studentconduct@uml.edu. They must be received by 4 p.m. on the due date. The due date will be at the bottom of your outcome letter. Please refer to page 16 of theStudent Conduct Code (pdf) for full details of the appeal process.

How long are records kept?

Conduct incidents remain on a student’s record for seven years from the incident date (assuming all sanctions were completed), except for expulsion which is noted on the student’s transcript.

How do I obtain a copy of conduct record?

You may request to you review your student conduct record at any time. Please send written requests to studentconduct@uml.edu. A member of the office will contact you to set up an appointment.

Does my conduct record go on my transcript?

Only incidents resulting in expulsion from the university will go on a student’s transcript.

Where can I find the Student Conduct Code?

The Student Conduct Code (pdf) can be found online.

What if I have more questions?

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us by email at StudentConduct@uml.edu or by calling 978-934-5160.