Dean of students office

A lady smiles.

The Dean of Students Office, part of PennWest’s Division of Institutional Effectiveness, Student Affairs and Police, is responsible for addressing student conduct along with assisting students with complaints related to services and leading Behavioral Intervention Teams. The role and functions of the former Office for Student Conduct at the Cal Campus have been moved into the PennWest Dean of Students Office.

Student Code of Conduct

An educational institution's atmosphere is important in fostering learning and personal growth. The Dean of Students Office addresses incidents, both on- and off-campus, that disrupt the learning environment at PennWest California. The University's Student Code of Conduct outlines behavioral expectations for all students to encourage an appropriate environment and applies to on- and off-campus behavior. The University’s process for responding to allegations of violations of its behavior expectations is outlined in the code as well. This process is overseen by the Associate Dean of Students on the California Campus with assistance from designated hearing officers and a graduate assistant. The Student Code of Conduct is separate and independent from any criminal or civil complaints that may come out of an incident.

The Dean of Students Office works to promote an educationally appropriate environment for the PennWest California community by encouraging students to make responsible decisions that demonstrate respect for others and property and maintain the safety of the community. The Student Code of Conduct provides a framework for acceptable behavior that respects individual rights and outlines informal, formal and alternative resolution processes that encourage reflection and personal growth by addressing inappropriate actions.

The Office of Student Conduct implements this mission by:

  • Maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures that reflect best practices and respect individual


  • Providing the same opportunities to all students and treating each with


  • Promoting students' personal growth and development through the conduct


  • Encouraging students to give their best to achieve their immediate and long-term goals including career


  • Promoting awareness of the Student Code of


The Student Code of Conduct is intended to provide guidance and structure for students in their relations with others, use of University and other's property and development of appropriate decision-making abilities. Students learn from each situation they are involved in to refine decision-making and problem-solving skills and reflect on actions and decisions. In addition, students come to understand how their actions impact others and their future career goals.

The Dean of Students Office utilizes University email as the main source of communication with students. Students should be checking their University email accounts on a regular basis.

All students should review the Student Code of Conduct and the University's methods of handling alleged violations.

Allegations of Violations

PennWest California utilizes a variety of means to resolve allegations of violations including student conduct conferences, formal hearings and conflict resolution.

  • Student Conduct Conferences, conducted by a designated hearing officer, allows some alleged violations to be resolved informally between the administrator and student by mutual agreement.
  • Formal hearings can be with either an administrator or a board composed of faculty, staff and students. Formal hearings will occur when a mutual resolution cannot be reached, a situation may result in a suspension or expulsion or comes from a formal complaint under Title IX.
  • Conflict resolution options may include mediation, conflict coaching, restorative justice conferences and facilitated dialogues to assist in resolving conflicts or These methods are not appropriate for all situations. Conflict resolution can be requested using this form.

Role of Hearing Officers

Hearing officers are responsible for investigating complaints, conducting student conduct conferences, explaining the conduct process, informing students of their rights and responsibilities, and referring cases to formal hearings.

The Associate Dean of Students acts as the primary hearing office for PennWest California while other University administrators may be designated as hearing officers.

Filing Referrals

Under the Student Code of Conduct. any member of the University community or interested person may make a referral of a possible violation of the University's behavioral expectations set out in the code of conduct using the California Campus Incident Reporting Form. Read more about how to make a referral, what to do if you are referred, possible sanctions, and when parents are notified in the REFERRAL section. Referrals will be assigned to a designated hearing officer at the University's discretion which may change as the referral moves through the conduct process.

Assistance or Accommodations

Students needing any assistance in participating in any part of the conduct process should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at 724-938-4012 or go to their office at G-35 Carter Hall.

Important Links

Student Code of Conduct

Student Handbook 


If you have questions about the Student Code of Conduct, the conduct process or conflict resolution, contact:

Jim Pflugh
Associate Dean of Students
311 Natali Student Center