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Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is a private university located approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco. Credit: YAYImage / Deposit Photos

Sanctions and Their Practical Effects

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Students’ interests are best served if they take the time and effort to educate themselves about all phases of the judicial process, and particularly about possible sanctions and the impact those sanctions may have on their Stanford careers. Responding students have the responsibility to provide all documentation to their respective Judicial Panels regarding the impact of potential sanctions. With the exception of a recommendation for expulsion, sanctions cannot be challenged by students after the hearing or changed by anyone without following the formal appeal procedures.

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Assistance with Sanction Statements

Responding students are strongly urged to discuss sanction precedents and their sanction statements with the Judicial Advisor well before a hearing. If students are uncomfortable talking with the Judicial Advisor, or would like a second opinion, they should take the opportunity to consult with a Judicial Counselor. Judicial Counselors are current or former panelists who can give responding students substantive feedback on both position and sanction statements.

How Sanctions Are Applied

Judicial Panels may issue one or more of the following sanctions listed in the Penalty Code. Judicial Panels commonly issue a combination.

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Guide to Sanctions and Their Practical Effects

This guide will help you understand the ramifications of the sanctions listed in the Penalty Code.

Please note that the name of the sanctions and the definitions below are taken directly from the Student Conduct Penalty Code. The Board on Judicial Affairs approved the explanations.

A. Formal Warning


The Judicial Panel may give a student a formal warning. Should the student later be found guilty of any other offense the Judicial Advisor shall inform the panel during the penalty phase of deliberations that the student received a formal warning for a prior offense.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

Judicial Panels may issue a formal warning if panelists characterize the nature of the offense as extremely minor.

Note: In all cases, when a student is found responsible for a second violation, the later Judicial Panel will be informed of the prior violation and sanction only during the sanctioning phase of the subsequent hearing.

B. Probation


The panel may place a student on probation for a specific period of time, during which time a penalty or some part of a penalty is postponed. The time period, terms or conditions, and the reasons for granting probation must be communicated in writing by the Judicial Panel hearing the case.

Probationary status will be automatically revoked and the postponed penalties automatically reinstated, effective immediately, if the probationer is found guilty by a Judicial Panel of committing another act of student misconduct while on probation, unless that panel specifically deems the subsequent violation as trivial or irrelevant to the offense for which the probation was granted. Successful completion of probation cancels the postponed penalties.

The Judicial Panel determining penalties for a subsequent violation may allow the reinstated penalty to suffice for both violations, or impose additional penalties to the original penalties, or impose independent penalties.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

Judicial Panels sometimes issue  probation—a period of observation and review—until conferral the terminal degree  and a suspended sanction (most commonly a one-quarter suspension held in abeyance) in lieu of immediate sanction if the offense has been found to be relatively minor in nature. This combination also may occur when either the impact of a quarter of suspension is deemed unduly harsh or because of significant mitigating circumstance. When this accommodation is made, Judicial Panels often increase another penalty, usually community service hours.

When students violate the terms of their probation, the suspended sanction usually goes into immediate effect. For instance, a suspended sanction would go into effect if a student were found responsible for another violation if that violation occurred while the student was on disciplinary probation (even if the second hearing took place after the probationary period ended). In this example, the suspended sanction would be activated and effective as of the date of the second Judicial Panel’s finding. Note, however, that the second panel would have the option to recommend that the suspended sanction become effective at the beginning of the next academic quarter. If the violation of probation does not entail a second Honor Code or Fundamental Standard violation but, rather, another condition of probation, a second Judicial Panel will be convened to determine the effective date of the suspended sanction, unless the offending student agrees with the timing recommendation of the Office of Community Standards.

C. Deprivation of Rights and Privileges


Loss of particular student rights and privileges for a specified time, including but not limited to: taking part in intercollegiate activities, including athletic events; serving in positions of trust and responsibility; using university facilities, such as libraries and gymnasiums.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

In general, the deprivation of a right or privilege correlates to the student’s misconduct. Note that a student’s transcript or diploma may be withheld to ensure completion of all sanctions.

D. Monetary Restitution


A specific amount of money to be paid by a specific date. A student may be assessed a reasonable monetary penalty to defray actual financial losses to the university, individuals, or student organizations attributable to and caused by the offense for which the student was found guilty.

The student will be provided documentation of actual financial losses, and the money collected will be used only to reimburse those individuals and/or organizations incurring the loss. No monetary penalties will be assessed to defray costs associated with the investigation and adjudication of the offense by the university.

A student who fails to pay as ordered shall be treated as though suspended from the University until full payment is made.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

The Office of Community Standards, the reporting party and the responding student have the opportunity to present evidence to a Judicial Panel regarding possible monies owed by the responding student. Judicial Panels generally authorize the Judicial Advisor to verify and document the actual loss due for restitution, if the precise amount is unknown at the time of the hearing.

The Office of Community Standards places an enrollment and/or a degree conferral hold on students who have not made timely restitution. Such holds prevent students from registering or having their degree conferred until they have paid their debt in full.

E. Community Service


A specific number of hours to be worked in unpaid university or public service within a specific period of time.

Ordinarily, community service should be limited to on-campus facilities or organizations. Off-campus community service may be appropriate in some cases, but must be related to educational, charitable or public service organizations. Written confirmation by the person responsible for supervising the student that he or she worked satisfactorily for the specified number of hours will conclusively establish successful completion. The Judicial Advisor shall be responsible for monitoring the student’s progress.

A student who fails to meet a community service deadline shall be treated as though suspended from the university.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

The community service generally is performed within the Stanford community, unless the Judicial Panel believes that it would cause undue hardship or the student persuades the Judicial Panel that another venue for service is more fitting.

Community service is not typically assigned while a student is on disciplinary suspension, although a Judicial Panel may authorize such an exception. The student may nominate specific community service project(s) but the Office of Community Standards must pre-approve it. Please note that community service engaged in by a student prior to his/her hearing, and/or community service for which the student otherwise might receive any type of credit or compensation shall not satisfy a community service sanction unless specifically pre-approved by the Judicial Panel issuing the sanction.

Judicial Panels wanting to direct a student toward a particular type of service, or to encourage a student to seek (or continue to seek) academic or other counseling not permitted by Penalty Code item #K may stipulate that hours spent in such a manner may be credited toward the total number of community service hours assigned. Note, however, that these are intended as incentives or suggestions, and are not mandatory. In short, students may meet their community service obligation with any pre-approved service project(s).

The Office of Community Standards places an enrollment and/or degree conferral hold on students failing to timely complete their community service sanction. Such holds prevent students from registering or having their degrees conferred until documentation verifying completion has been provided to the Office of Community Standards.

F. Delayed Degree Conferral


The panel may delay the conferral of a Stanford degree for a specific period of time.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

Delaying conferral of a degree is a standard sanction when students found to have violated the Honor Code or Fundamental Standard (or other student-related institutional policies) have already graduated, or are in their final quarter and therefore would not be enrolling in a future quarter. A long-established conversion is that a two-quarter delay in conferring a degree is as equivalent to the impact of a one-quarter suspension as reasonably possible.

Delaying conferral of a degree means that students do not receive a diploma, nor does the university consider them graduates. Students in this category may not transfer to Stanford academic units earned elsewhere, nor may graduate students enroll TGR or work on their thesis or dissertation. Please note that all Stanford students are now required to be enrolled in a “graduation quarter” in the quarter they apply to graduate (see the Stanford Bulletin or contact the Registrar’s Office for details).

International students are strongly encouraged to discuss with staff at the Bechtel International Center before a judicial hearing the possible negative impact that a delayed conferral (as opposed to an actual suspension) might have on their immigration status. Because of university academic process and procedures, visa/SEVIS issues, as well as post-graduation requirements by graduate schools and possible employers, international students facing a likely delayed degree conferral are strongly encouraged to present to their respective Judicial Panels verifiable documentation outlining the impact of this sanction as opposed to other possible sanctions.

G. Suspension


Loss of student status for specified period of time. All rights and privileges of student status are suspended during this time, including but not limited to: the right to attend classes; use library facilities; use any other facilities of the university except those open to the general public; obtain credit for any academic work; engage in any activities, or hold any position on any University committee or student organization, whether appointive or elective; live in student housing; participate in intercollegiate athletics.

A student under suspension or who has been suspended in a future term continues to be subject to university rules governing student conduct and shall be treated as a student for all disciplinary purposes.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

For first-time violations of the Honor Code, the standard sanctions are a one-quarter suspension and 40 hours of community service. Judicial Panels will specify which quarter is to serve as the term of suspension; generally, that term is the next quarter in which students had intended to enroll. Students may request a different term, but Judicial Panels are not obligated to agree (for instance, they have no obligation to help ensure offending students graduate “on time”). Only in limited circumstances have Judicial Panels granted requests to move a quarter of suspension (Sanctioning Factors).

Judicial Panels also may impose an immediate suspension, even if the student already has enrolled in that particular quarter. This scenario is most likely to occur when students are seen as a danger to themselves or others, when it is early on in the student’s final quarter of enrollment, or in extremely egregious cases. (Students in this situation should contact the Registrar’s Office and Housing Assignment Services to inquire about financial consequences.)

Judicial Panels have consistently agreed that there is no sanction or set of sanctions comparable to actual suspension. Thus, if the facts justify suspension, and actual suspension is possible, it would be extremely unusual for a panel to consider alternate sanctions.

Two commonly overlooked implications of a judicial suspension are that students may not transfer credits earned elsewhere during a suspension to meet Stanford degree requirements, nor may a student participate in any university-sponsored activity during a suspension, whether the activity is academic or extra-curricular. A suspension does not prevent someone from working on campus if the position does not require the employee to be an enrolled student.

H. Conditional Suspension


Suspension for a specified period of time followed by a suspension for an indefinite period of time during which the student may petition for reinstatement according to criteria established by the original Judicial Panel. The petition shall be decided by a Judicial Panel.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

Students must submit a petition of reinstatement to the Judicial Advisor with sufficient notice to permit the Office of Judicial Affairs to timely convene a Judicial Panel prior to the time students propose to return. Sufficient notice would be no later than the end of the first week of classes of the prior quarter. Later petitions will be accepted and processed as quickly as the set hearing calendar allows.

I. Expulsion


Expulsion from the university is the permanent termination of an individual’s status as a student, with the loss of all rights and privileges appurtenant thereto.

If a Judicial Panel recommends expulsion from the university, the case will be automatically reviewed by the provost. The provost has the option of supporting the recommendation of expulsion or imposing lesser sanctions.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

An expelled student’s transcript will denote his/her Stanford status as either “dismissed” or “discontinued.” Requests for release of transcripts will require the student’s personal signature and, generally speaking, transcripts will be sent directly to potential schools or employers.

J. Academic Penalties for Honor Code Violations


When the panel has determined that a violation has occurred, only the instructor may apply an academic penalty, consisting of the whole or partial denial of credit for a course or an examination, the determination of a grade for a course or an examination, or the rejection of a thesis or other program requirement. No academic penalty may be imposed in a course or project unrelated to the violation.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

A student may retake a course within the guidelines set by the Registrar’s Office (see Stanford Bulletin or the Registrar’s Office website). When a student drops or withdraws from a course after submitting work that is later found, by a Judicial Panel, to be in violation of the Honor Code, the instructor is allowed to override the drop or withdraw and post a grade.

K. Education


The panel may require a student to complete a specified education course, seminar, workshop or program.

Examples could include, but are not limited to: a course on ethics; a seminar on alcohol or drug education; or a workshop on proper citation practice when writing papers; or on stress management. The panel must specify with particularity what is to be completed. Ordinarily, the student will be limited to on-campus courses, seminars, workshops or programs. However, should hardship or extenuating circumstances be present, the student may request permission from the Judicial Advisor to substitute a substantively equal off-campus offering.

Written confirmation by the person responsible for the offering that the student satisfactorily finished it will conclusively establish successful completion. The Judicial Advisor shall be responsible for monitoring the student’s progress.

Explanation by the Board on Judicial Affairs

The panel will specify the educational activity and the required date of completion. The Office of Community Standards places an enrollment and/or degree conferral hold on students failing to timely complete their education sanction. Such holds prevent students from registering or having their degrees conferred until documentation verifying completion has been provided to the Office of Community Standards.