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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS)

What does the OSCCS do?

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) helps uphold Cornell’s community expectations for all students and student organizations established in the Student Code of Conduct (Code). Our office manages Cornell’s student conduct system, including addressing reports of possible Code violations involving students and student organizations, following the procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct Procedures. We strive to provide a fair, restorative, educational, and equitable process for all students.

What will I learn from participating in the conduct process? What makes the conduct process at Cornell educational and restorative?

We strive to create a student conduct process that helps students think carefully about the decisions they make and how their decisions might affect others in our community.  For Respondents who are responsible for violating the Code, we hope they can learn from their mistake in an educational and encouraging environment so they may repair any harm caused to a Complainant and/or the Cornell community. For Respondents who are not responsible for violating the Code, we hope they will feel they have been treated fairly and were given the opportunity to be heard.

For Complainants, we hope the student conduct process will give students a voice and, where appropriate, an opportunity to collaborate on resolving an incident that affected them.

We hope every community member who engages with our office will learn more about the student conduct process, including how our office can be a resource to our community.

Student Conduct Process and Procedures

Can anyone submit a report to the OSCCS? If so, how?

Anyone in the Cornell community, whether student, staff, or faculty, can submit a report by filling out the incident report found here. If you are not a current member of the Cornell community, you may submit a report by emailing

What is the difference between a Complainant, a Respondent, and Witness?

  • A “Complainant” in the conduct process is someone who may has been negatively affected by the behavior/conduct of a Cornell student or student organization. A Complainant can be a Cornell student (“Individual Complainant”) or a Cornell employee (“Community Complainant”) where there is an institutional interest. Community Complainants may also provide additional support to Individual Complainants in cases where violations of the Code have potentially affected both individual(s) as well as University concerns.
  • A “Respondent” in the conduct process is a Cornell student or student organization against whom a report or a Formal Complaint has been submitted, alleging their behavior violates the Student Code of Conduct.
  • The Complainant and the Respondent are collectively known as the parties.
  • A “Witness” in the conduct process is someone who might have information to share regarding an incident reported to OSCCS. A Witness can be anyone, whether they are affiliated with Cornell or not.

What happens if a student submits a report or is reported to the OSCCS? 

For Complainants, a member of our office will reach out to offer support resources, listen to your goals in submitting a report, and explain the possible options for resolution of your report in the student conduct process.

For Respondents, a member of our office will reach out to offer support resources, discuss your rights under the student conduct process, and explain the possible options for resolution of the allegations against you in the student conduct process.

Available resolution options to resolve a report include several Informal Resolution pathways or signing a Formal Complaint, which begins the formal investigative process. A Formal Complaint may result in a hearing but may also be resolved before hearing through Summary or Alternate Resolutions.  Regardless of the resolution option, we will go over the steps in the conduct process and answer questions you may have. Complainants and Respondents in the process may also bring an advisor and a support person to any meeting with our office.

What is the Good Samaritan Protocol?

Cornell’s Good Samaritan protocol (GSP) encourages students to call for help if a person is in an alcohol or drug-related emergency. Students who are concerned about consequences such as being reported to the OSCCS for underage consumption of alcohol and/or drug use will receive immunity under GSP. 

For example: Julian gets sick and needs medical attention from drinking too much alcohol with their friend, Caroline. Both Julian and Caroline are under 21 years old. In this situation, if Caroline calls for help for Julian, neither Julian nor Caroline will go through the student conduct process for drinking underage. 

Who can advise and support students through the conduct process?

Throughout the process, both Complainants and Respondents have the right to have one advisor and one support person provide them assistance and advice, including accompanying them to meetings with our office. An advisor/support person can be anyone and is chosen by the student. Cornell offers a free resource called Respondents’ Codes Counselors and Complainants’ Code Counselors, who are graduate and professional level students and serve as advisors/support persons to Complainants and Respondents. 

Prior to our office discussing a conduct matter with a student’s advisor/support person, the student must complete a release form. However, the conduct process is a student-centered and it is generally expected that the parties will speak on their own behalf. Advisors and support persons will not be permitted to interfere with or disrupt meetings or proceedings. For more information about the role of an advisor and support person, please see page 11 of the Procedures.

What if a Respondent does not agree with the charge(s) in their notification letter?

All the resolution options in the conduct process can result in a Not Responsible outcome. Respondents will always have an opportunity to share information about the incident and allegations reported. Respondents may actively participate in the conduct process so their perspective is shared and considered in the resolution process.

What are the possible sanctions if my behavior violates the Code? 

There are no pre-determined sanctions/outcomes because every case is unique, however a full list of sanctions available following a finding of responsibility under the Code is available on page 24-25 of the Procedures. Students can expect that there will likely be an educational component as part of the sanctions.

Will a student’s parents/guardian/caretaker be called if they are reported to the OSCCS?

We rarely call a student’s parents/guardian/caretaker without the student’s permission and only do so consistent with the Student Record Privacy Statement.

What are situations where a student would have a “conduct hold” on their student account?

A conduct hold is placed on a student account by our office in the following situations:

  • when a student has overdue sanctions, or
  • when a student is on a leave while there is a pending report with our office where the student is a Respondent in a situation.

We always notify a student when we place a conduct hold on their student account, because the conduct hold prevents students from enrolling in classes and receiving your diploma.

 A conduct hold is removed from a student account when overdue sanctions are completed or after the student resolves their pending report with our office.

What are situations where a student might have their transcript notated?

Consistent with the University Registrar’s transcript notation policy, a transcript notation is placed on a student account in the following limited circumstances:

  • when a student has a Formal Complaint pending against them. 
  • when a student is suspended following a finding of responsibility.
    • Please note: Students with a transcript notation for a suspension may request that it be removed one-year following the conclusion of the suspension.
  • when a student is dismissed from Cornell following a finding of responsibility.

Questions about Conduct Records 

What does it mean to have a conduct record? 

When a student/student organization are responsible for violating the Code, a conduct record may be retained documenting the Code violation, but this does not happen in every case. In fact, most cases involve minor violations of the Code and result in nothing more than an oral warning and educational interventions; these cases are neither retained nor reported.

If a conduct record is retained, it is reportable, meaning the violation of the Code can be shared with others with a need to know or with the student’s express permission. Finally, conduct records can be reportable for various lengths of time, depending on how long they are retained, including a semester or number of semesters, until graduation, some length of time after graduation, or permanently.

If you have concerns about having a conduct record, reach out to our office and we can help you understand how to best disclose conduct record or answer questions ethically regarding conduct records.

How can a student find out whether they have a conduct record?

We always communicate to Respondents whether resolution of their case created a conduct record. The following general principles apply to when a student might have a conduct record:

  • If a student has never been reported to our office, they do not have a conduct record.
  • If a student was reported to our office, but were granted Good Samaritan Protocol (GSP) status, they do not have a conduct record for underage drinking or drug consumption.
  • If a student is not sure whether they have a conduct record, they can contact our office at so we can confirm the most accurate information.

Please note that conduct records can also be generated from violations of Policy 6.4. Students may contact our office to confirm whether they have conduct records from violations of the Code and of Policy 6.4. Students should contact their college to confirm whether they have a conduct record from violations of the Code of Academic Integrity; OSCCS does not maintain those records.

Does violating the Code show up on a student’s “permanent record?”

Students have an academic record (their official transcript). If there is a violation of the Code, there may be a conduct record. These two are separate and do not overlap in most situations. Only students who are suspended or dismissed from Cornell will have a permanently reportable conduct record, including a transcript notation on their official transcript. 

What exactly is reported as part of an OSCCS conduct record? 

When a student/student organization are responsible for violating the Code, a conduct record may be retained documenting the Code If a student has a reportable conduct record, the following information is generally shared:

  • the approximate date for when the violation occurred,
  • the violation under the Code’s list of prohibited conduct,
  • the sanctions the student completed as a result of the outcome of responsible, and,
  • the student’s current conduct standing with Cornell. Once sanctions are complete, it will be reported that the student is in Good Conduct Standing with Cornell.

A student who does not have a reportable conduct record will receive a short letter that just states they are in Good Conduct Standing with Cornell.

Will having a conduct record prevent a student from going to graduate school and/or getting a job? 

Not necessarily. We generally will share a student’s conduct record with a graduate school or future employer only with the student’s permission. We have supported students in the past to help them disclose their conduct record in a manner that shows personal growth and what a student learned from the student conduct process.

How can a student get a copy of their own conduct record?

Upon a student’s request (via email to, we can send the student an electronic letter summarizing the student’s conduct record. If a student has no reportable conduct record, the student will receive a short letter that states they are in Good Conduct Standing.

How are Dean’s Certification forms completed?

Dean’s Certification forms should be submitted to the student’s Student Services Office of their College. That office will reach out to us on the student’s behalf.

Does OSCCS provide letters detailing a student’s conduct record to other Colleges and Universities?

Yes, but generally only at the student’s request and with their permission. To request a copy of your conduct record, please email with the following information:

  • Your Cornell ID number.
  • The name of the person to which the letter should be addressed and the email address to which it should be sent. This may, of course, include you.

Please allow us at least two weeks to fulfill this request.