Under the Student Code of Conduct, any member of the University community or interested person may refer a possible violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other non-academic University policy against a student. Referrals should be made to the Dean of Students Office using the California Campus Incident Reporting Form and include as much specific information as possible such as details of the behavior with times and date(s), names of those involved or witnesses, and location. Referrals will be evaluated for merit prior to Student Conduct starting an investigation. A person making a referral can be accompanied by an advisor of their choice to any conduct-related meeting. A meeting can be conducted prior to a referral to discuss situations, possible approaches and available support, although the University is obligated to investigate any report involving certain topics such as sexual harassment, assault or child abuse.

Some actions that violate the Student Code of Conduct may also violate local, state or federal law. Such incidents should be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency in addition to the Dean of Students Office. Due to the administrative nature of the student conduct process, there is no double jeopardy standard for students going through the conduct process and the legal system for the same incident. Referrals involving sexual violence, harassment or discrimination will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator (see Title IX). Hearing Officers can assist students in making these reports if requested.

Immediate threats or concerns should be directed to the appropriate police agency. Local police departments include University Police at 724-938-HELP (4357) and California Borough Police at 911. Concerns about students in distress should be directed to the Behavioral Intervention Team  using this notification form.

All complaints should be filed using the Student Complaint form. The PennWest Student Complaint form can be found here and the Dean of Students staff will route it to the appropriate Division/Office/Department for resolution.

What If I am Referred?

You will be notified if a referral is made for you, including the specific part of the code allegedly violated and other appropriate information. A meeting will be scheduled with the assigned hearing officer to review the reported details, discuss the conduct process and answer any questions. You can be accompanied to any conduct-related meeting by an advisor of your choice.

During the conduct process, you will have an opportunity to review the referral, present your side, provide names of possible witnesses, and offer information and physical evidence about the situation. If the hearing officer believes there is sufficient information to support the allegation that a violation occurred, you will be offered a mutual resolution, usually during the conduct conference. You may request time to gather information or consider options prior to discussing a referral or deciding whether to accept a mutual resolution or request a board hearing.


Sanctions are imposed if it has been determined a student violated the code of conduct or other behavioral expectations. Sanctions are intended to assist students in learning from the incident, including developing a better understanding of why certain behaviors are unacceptable, stronger decision-making skills and/or a better understanding of how actions can impact themselves or others. More serious sanctions are intended to be used with repeat violators, serious incidents or protect the University community from further harm.

The Student Code of Conduct outlines the range of sanctions available. The specifics of some sanctions - such as educational activities - may be determined by the hearing officer or board depending on the circumstances of the violation. Hearing officers may impose sanctions not included in the code if they feel it is something that will support a student learning from the situation.

Parental Notification

Written notification will be sent to parents or guardians of financially dependent students under the age of 21 who have been found responsible for violating the code of conduct's drugs or alcohol rules. The notification will be sent after the conduct process has been completed and a final decision made. This process is in place so families will be able to support students in making appropriate choices in regards to substance use. Other conduct-related information is confidential and can only be released with a student's written consent.