40 Common Code of Conduct Violations

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Every institution is different, and most colleges and graduate schools have dozens of rules. In our experience, these are the most commonly charged Code of Conduct violations.

Academic Dishonesty

A person could fall under a broad category of academic dishonesty for any number of violations, some of which once were violations themselves. These may include plagiarism, cheating, forgery, sabotage, falsification and bribery. Some schools will also consider the mere attempt to commit such acts as academic dishonesty.


A person may be found to commit an alcohol violation for a number of reasons. Some colleges may limit this to students under the age of 21 using, possessing or distributing alcohol. Other schools may also have restrictions as to on-campus alcohol use, even by those over the age of 21. Those over 21 may also face disciplinary action for providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21. Read more: Drug & Alcohol Violations

Attempt or Complicity

Schools may have violations for mere attempts to violate the Student Code of Conduct. A student may even be considered complicit in the act for failing to report a violation if the student is aware of the violation.

Disruptive Conduct

This category can be quite broad. Actions that interfere with, impair or obstruct school functions or processes may count toward a violation. For some schools, this may be excessive noise or obscene language in a public place.

Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, or Dating Violence

Schools may use any of these terms to apply to disciplinary actions for behavior against current or former romantic partners, intimate partners or spouses. Depending upon the school, whether or not a relationship qualifies under one of these terms may depend upon the length and nature of the relationship. A violation under this section will typically include physical or sexual violence, but may also include verbal or psychological abuse. Read more: Title IX Violations


Schools will typically have no tolerance policies where it comes to controlled or dangerous substances. A person could receive disciplinary action for possession of drugs or paraphernalia, which can include bongs, pipes, needles and other items related to drug use. Drugs may also include prescription drugs if the student does not have an authentic prescription. Read more: Drug & Alcohol Violations

Electronic Communication and Technology Violations

Schools will typically have rules regarding the use of electronic communication and technology. The misuse of this technology may constitute hacking, sending spam, sharing school software licenses, or other violations of the school’s user agreement.


Endangerment occurs when an individual creates or contributes to the creation of unsafe or dangerous environments. The actions may be intentional or if they are unintentional, they must be reckless. Some colleges may apply this to actions only on campus, while other schools may broaden the scope to off campus actions.

Failure to Comply

Schools may proceed with disciplinary actions if a student has failed to comply with directions of school officials – as well as local, state and federal officials – during the performance of their duties.

False Information

A student may face disciplinary actions for providing false information to school officials or organizations.

False Reporting of an Emergency

It is a violation in most schools to intentionally report a false fire, attack, or other emergency.

Fire Safety Violations

A student may face disciplinary actions for Fire Safety violations for a number of different reasons. The first is obvious: creating or causing a fire, even if unintentionally doing so. Someone might also be charged for tampering with safety devices, like smoke or heat detectors, alarm systems, etc. Even a false report, failure to evacuate in emergencies or drills, or inappropriately using the fire alarm system can result in a fire safety violation.

Forgery, Fraud, and Dishonesty

A person may face disciplinary action for forgery, fraud or dishonesty for misusing or altering documents, stored data, records, or identification. Furnishing false information to a school official can also fall under this category.


A student may be penalized for operating or participating in contests of chance and illegal lotteries, or even promoting these activities on campus.


Student conduct violations for harassment may include any number of actions against another. The term can be applied broadly. It may include repetitive behaviors designed to intimidate, insult, or bully another or include targeting an individual based upon race, color, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Hate Crimes

A crime that is committed or intended to be committed due to a perception or belief about the victim’s race, national origin, color, gender, ancestry, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion may constitute a hate crime, which can not only have serious criminal consequences, it is typically its own category of crime under most schools’ disciplinary policies.


Though many organizations may still have some form of hazing rituals, a person may be found to have a disciplinary violation if this conduct humiliates, degrades or endangers the mental or physical health of another, or damages, destroys or removes property. Read more: Hazing Violations


Most schools consider it a violation of student conduct to duplicate keys or keycards. The unauthorized possession and/or use may also lead to disciplinary action.


This is a broad category and could potentially constitute a violation of any other number of student conduct rules for the school. These code of conduct violations may involve possessing paraphernalia associated with drugs or alcohol, suspicion of previous drug use, or taking or removing property from campus.

Mission Statement Violations

Some schools will have school-specific mission statements and/or core values. Violating the terms of these documents for a particular school could require disciplinary measures.

Obstructing or Disrupting Activities

Some schools issue disciplinary actions for acts that disrupt or obstruct certain school activities. “Activities” can be a broad term, including teaching and research, but it may also include school administration actions and disciplinary procedures. Even students participating in demonstrations that disrupt scheduling or affect other students’ freedom of movement could face this violation.


Many schools will have limitations or total restrictions on all pets or at least certain types of pets that are not service animals, and a student could be found in violation for possessing a certain type of pet.

Property Damage

A disciplinary action for property damage may follow removing, destroying or damaging property belonging to or under the supervision of the school. This may also involve the destruction or damaging of property belonging to others on or off campus.

Rape and Sexual Assault

Some campuses may have a separate violation for rape or place the violation in the broader category of sexual assault. Though some schools may limit the category of rape as intercourse between a man and a woman, some will include broader acts of intercourse. The more severe sexual assault charges will likewise include intercourse or sexual penetration, however slight, of another person’s oral, anal or genital opening with any object without the consent of one of the parties. Many schools will have a second tier of sexual assault that includes touching a person’s intimate parts without the consent of the individual being touched. Read more: Title IX Violations

Residence Hall Issues

Most residence halls have certain rules and regulations, such as a ban on alcohol, signing in overnight guests, and respecting quiet hours. Other rules may overlap, such as fire safety and possession of dangerous objects.


Retaliating against a student for filing a student conduct complaint or filing a sexual misconduct complaint can constitute a separate disciplinary action of its own.

School Name and Graphics

Many schools will restrict how, when and if students may use a school’s name, logo, slogans, etc. Use that has not been previously permitted by the school could lead to a disciplinary action, as well as potential civil law issues.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation often includes a number of sexual acts that do not fall under other categories of sexual assault. This category may include tampering with condoms or birth control, nonconsensual video or audio taping of sexual activity, allowing others to watch sexual activity without the consent of a sexual partner, observing someone dressing, undressing, or engaged in sexual acts without their knowledge or consent, etc.

Sexual Harassment

A student could face disciplinary action for unwanted verbal or physical conduct that is sexual in nature. Some schools may base their determinations on this issue based upon how the behavior impacted the victim’s learning environment, access to campus resources, or ability to work or live on campus. Read more: Title IX Violations


Most schools have some restriction on where students may smoke, and students caught smoking outside of these designated areas may face disciplinary action.


Soliciting for business, selling items, or advertising without prior authorization from the school can constitute a student conduct violation.


By intentionally engaging in a behavior that is likely to place a reasonable person in fear of his or her safety or in fear of the safety of others or to cause the persons to suffer emotional damage, a disciplinary action for stalking could follow. This may include repeatedly following a person or communicating with them by phone or other means in way that would annoy or alarm the person.

Student Conduct System Abuse or Violation

If a student violates certain procedures of the student conduct system, the student could face disciplinary action. Possible violations include failure to obey a summons of a school student conduct group or university official, falsifying information for a student conduct hearing, referring another student for student conduct violations without justification, and harassing a student conduct group member.

Student Group Violations

Disciplinary actions can follow certain issues with student groups. Members and officers of certain groups could face school punishment for actions that would lead to penalization of an individual. Some schools also have restrictions on whether a student may joint or participate in a student organization that has had its school recognition suspended or revoked.

Student ID Misuse

The unauthorized misuse, transfer or theft of student identification or another school ID could lead to disciplinary action. Misuse could constitute using another’s card to enter a building, use another’s meal plan, or access accounts linked to the student ID.


If a person steals property or services or possesses stolen property, that person may receive a theft violation.

Threatening or Abusive Behavior

Many schools will pursue disciplinary action against a student who has displayed Threatening or Abusive Behavior. Many schools define this behavior as intentionally or even recklessly causing physical harm to another or placing them in fear of that harm. Though some actions may be excused as defensive, if a student responds physically to a verbal provocation, for example, the school is unlikely to excuse the behavior as defensive.

Unauthorized Entry or Use and Trespassing

A person may receive a disciplinary violation for entering or using facilities belonging to another, university groups or corporate entities without authorization. This may also be labeled as a trespassing action.

Vehicle Issues

Schools may also have certain vehicle violations, including parking issues, impermissibly having a car on campus, using a parking decal of another student, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Weapons and Dangerous Objects

Weapons and Dangerous objects include the use or possession any object or substance that can wound, injure or incapacitate a person. These objects may include firearms, specific types of knives, explosives, or dangerous chemicals. Though some schools may have narrower definitions of firearms, some apply the term even to pellet and air guns. Even if a school might allow a student to possess these items on campus, if the student has not first asked for permission, the student may face disciplinary actions.