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Impact of Sanctions on an Individual Student

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In order to protect and uphold the integrity of the judicial system, Judicial Panels strive for consistency and evenhandedness in the sanctioning phase of the process—tempered, of course, by the particular facts and circumstances (mitigating or aggravating) in each case. But panels cannot ensure that all students are equally affected/impacted by a sanction. For instance, if four students are suspended, one may go home and work for the company he/she interned with the previous summer; one may be forced to leave the country; one may miss preseason practice or actual competition with his/her varsity team; and one may decide to study abroad or at another school, even though no academic credits earned elsewhere during a suspension can be transferred to Stanford.

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More About Impact of Sanctions on an Individual Student

When they are deciding sanctions, Judicial Panels must consider the facts in each case as well as precedent/“case law.” Panels do, however, have discretion to consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances, the impact of outside proceedings, and/or the impact of particular sanctions on a particular student. Panels may deviate from imposing a standard sanction in cases where responding students have presented convincing evidence that it would have an unduly or unreasonably harsh impact. However, multiple aggravating circumstances or a particularly egregious violation may be considered sufficient cause to apply a standard sanction even if the impact is harsher than normal.

In every case, responding students are responsible for providing convincing evidence regarding the specific impact or consequences of potential sanctions. Panels should not give serious consideration to speculative or unsubstantiated claims, nor alter sanctions to help a student “hide” a violation.

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Academic Consequences

Judicial Panels are not obligated to choose sanctions that would ensure that a responding student graduates “on time” or is able to complete multiple majors. However, if students can show that, for instance, a suspension in the following quarter would have a disproportionate effect on their graduation date, panels may consider moving the term of suspension or; if the effect of a quarter of suspension would in fact cause a year’s delay, panels may substitute another penalty and/or increase others (such as community service hours). Responding students should provide supporting evidence such as corroborating statements from academic advisers, their academic plan and the course schedule of required courses in their field of study (published in the Stanford Bulletin). Only in extraordinary circumstances may panels consider postponing a suspension quarter beyond one, or at most, two future quarters.


Judicial Panels have no jurisdiction to determine what grade, if any, is to be assigned in an Honor Code case. Grading is strictly a faculty prerogative. While most faculty issue a “No Pass” for the course, some assign a zero for the work at issue and factor that into a final grade; in any event, panels may not consider as an unduly harsh consequence the possibility that a student may have to repeat a class.


Judicial Panels are not obligated to ensure that international students can remain in the U.S. if they are suspended, nor are they obligated to ensure that international students remain eligible for “Optional Practical Training.” Furthermore, Judicial Panels may not assume that a given sanction, such as a suspension, would impact international students and domestic students differently. In order for panels to consider substituting another sanction, international students, like domestic students, must show, with supporting documentation, that a given sanction would have an unduly harsh impact on them compared to the impact that the sanction would have on the average Stanford student. In the case of international students though, the supporting documentation should come primarily from Bechtel International Center.

International students are strongly encouraged to discuss their sanction statements with the Judicial Advisor and to obtain from Bechtel International Center corroborating information about the impact of particular sanctions—such as suspension or a delayed degree conferral—on their student status.


Students may lose a scholarship if they are found responsible for violating the Honor Code or the Fundamental Standard, but that is not a decision over which Judicial Panels have jurisdiction. Panels may not assume, absent convincing evidence, that the loss of a scholarship will in fact result if a student is suspended (or as a result of another particular sanction). Nor may panels assume that the loss of a scholarship will affect the responding student’s ability to remain in school.

Athletes on scholarship are strongly encouraged to consult early on in the judicial process with the Judicial Advisor, the Athletic Department, and with their coach(es) to ensure that they understand what the impact or ramifications of certain sanctions would be on their eligibility to compete or their eligibility to retain the scholarship.

Loss of Stanford Job

In most cases, the loss of a student-related Stanford job (for instance, as a Research Assistant, or a residential staff position) does not affect the responding student’s ability to remain in school. However, if that job is the student’s sole means of support, it is the student’s responsibility to provide corroborative and conclusive documentation for the panel’s consideration.

Loss of Job Offer or Admission to Graduate School

Panels are not obligated to ensure that responding students who have a documented job offer or have been admitted to graduate school graduate as planned, even if the job offer or offer of admission is based on a particular graduation date. Responding students are responsible for providing documentation confirming the job offer or offer of admission for the panel’s consideration. Students are also encouraged to provide possible options for deferring acceptance of the offer.

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The Judicial Charter’s assurance of confidentiality to responding students restricts the university from providing information identifying a student or identifying the circumstances of the alleged violation. It does not mean that such information cannot be shared internally with those with a need to know.

Some students claim that a suspension during a specific quarter, or any quarter, will result in a loss of their confidentiality. That is not the kind of confidentiality contemplated by the Charter. While the Office of Community Standards, Judicial Panels and others involved in a judicial case will not identify a student or the circumstances of the matter, the university cannot ensure that no one will find out that Student X is not enrolled, whether that be friends, roommates, parents, academic advisers or the media. What responding students tell others about their enrollment status is their choice.

Responding students are responsible for providing convincing evidence that a suspension would have an unduly harsh impact—for instance, intense and unavoidable public attention—for the panel’s consideration. In rare instances, a quarter of suspension may be postponed for a quarter, or at the most, two quarters.

It should be noted that panels have concluded that there is no sanction or set of sanctions comparable to a quarter of suspension. Thus, if the facts of a case merit a quarter of suspension, it is rare for them to impose alternate sanctions.

 Opuntia species like this prickly pear are the most cold-tolerant of the lowland cacti, extending into western and southern Canada. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)