A criminal conviction is a serious matter. Upon conviction, a person may face incarceration, fines, and/or other penalties. When the convicted person is a college student, the conviction could also result in consequences at school.
For example, the University of Maryland’s Code of Student Conduct specifies that any criminal conviction, other than a minor traffic ticket, constitutes a Code violation. The university handles Code violations via disciplinary proceedings.
University disciplinary proceedings
The first step in the university disciplinary process is a preliminary interview between the student and an Office of Student Conduct staff member. This interview is an opportunity for the student to explain the situation. After the interview, the university may dismiss the proceedings, or the case may proceed to either a disciplinary conference or hearing.
A disciplinary conference is an informal proceeding that is available to students who are not facing expulsion or dismissal from campus housing. A hearing is a more formal proceeding that takes place before either the Central Board or Resident Board and a panel of Student Judiciary members.
University disciplinary proceedings may begin before a student faces criminal charges and may take place before or during judicial proceedings. The university does not automatically dismiss these proceedings if the court dismisses the criminal charges.
Potential university sanctions/penalties
The university may impose a wide variety of sanctions upon a student, depending upon the nature and severity of the crime together with the surrounding circumstances. These sanctions may be administrative in nature, such as reprimand, probation, suspension or expulsion. The university may also impose other, “educational” sanctions, such as community service, substance or sensitivity programs, academic papers, letters of apology or counseling sessions.
For a college student, a criminal conviction could only be the beginning of a lengthy series of consequences for what may have been a few moments of poor judgment.