Policy on Conduct and Discipline

Columbia University Policy on Discipline

The continuance of each student upon the rolls of the University, the receipt of academic credits, graduation, and the conferral of any degree or the granting of any certificate are strictly subject to the disciplinary powers of the University.

School of the Arts General Statement

The School of the Arts is committed to providing its students with equal opportunities to learn and train in their chosen disciplines. While students are free in the choice and expression of content in their work, the following guidelines refer to conduct that interferes with the rights or well-being of members of the School of the Arts and Columbia community. The School expects that in and out of the classroom, each student will act in an honest way and respect the rights of others. 

Reporting and Disciplinary Process

As part of the process of educating students about the potential impact of their actions on their individual lives, the School of the Arts, and the University community at-large, the School of the Arts has partnered with the University’s Center for Student Success and Intervention (CSSI).

CSSI 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 who have concerns or complaints about a School of the Arts student’s behavior may file a report directly with Student Conduct or they may file a report directly with the School of the Arts Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs. Based on the information available, the Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs, in consultation with CSSI, will determine the appropriate follow up and may refer the student(s) alleged to have violated policy to a formal disciplinary hearing. 

Disciplinary Hearings

Formal disciplinary hearings are held to discuss the allegations with the student and, when necessary, determine appropriate sanctions. Students will be summoned, in writing, to a formal procedure. The written notification will indicate the nature of the charges. Disciplinary hearings are not intended to be adversarial procedures; instead, they are meant to serve an educational function as well as to determine the degree of truth of the accusations.

When a report is received, the Deans’ Office will make the determination whether a matter will be reviewed in partnership with CSSI. Policies can be found on the CSSI website

Hearings Held at the School of the Arts

At hearings conducted by the School of the Arts, the student appears before a committee comprising the Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs, the chair of the student’s program, and a faculty member designated by the Dean. The student is given the opportunity to give his or her version of the events in question and to make a written submission, if the student so desires. After careful consideration of all the factors that emerge from the inquiry, including the strength of the evidence, information from the hearing, and the student’s response, the committee will make a determination. The Dean will notify the student of the decision within 10 business days after the hearing is concluded. If it is determined that the student violated a policy, the student may receive a written warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, or dismissal. 

Sanctions and Appeals

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 circumstances and community impact. Potential sanctions include: warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, and dismissal. Disciplinary probation generally lasts until the student graduates but may be limited to a shorter period of time. A second offense for students on disciplinary probation will usually result in suspension or dismissal.

As the disciplinary process is also an educational one, students may be referred to resources and campus support services or asked to complete additional projects. Students who are required to complete an assignment(s) as part of the sanctioning process can expect the work to be reviewed with standard academic expectations and meet the required page length using single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. 

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. When a student is found to have committed an act of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or cheating, the student may fail the course involved and will be subject to probation, suspension, or dismissal.

If a student is found responsible for a second policy violation, the student can expect that the likely outcome will be dismissal.

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 appropriate appeals officer. Appeals of decisions regarding academic violations and appeals of School of the Arts hearing decisions will be decided by the Dean of the School of the Arts or the Dean’s designee. Appeals of decisions rendered by SCCS regarding non-academic violations will be decided by the School of the Arts Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs or the Dean’s designee. There are 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
  • Excessiveness of the sanction

Requests for appeal are considered at the discretion of the appeal officer. 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.

Informal Complaints Concerning Misconduct

Any instructor, officer, staff member, or student who chooses not to put a complaint in writing can instead make an informal complaint. In these cases, the Dean of Student and Alumni Affairs usually discusses the matter with the student and, if warranted, the student will receive a formal warning, which will be noted in the student's educational file, along with any recommendations made to the student. Such warnings will be taken into account if and when similar complaints are made in the future. A pattern of informal complaints may lead to formal disciplinary action.

More information can be found at the Center for Student Success and Intervention website.