Michigan State University has a number of bodies, including administrators and hearing boards, which serve the interests of undergraduate and graduate students by contributing to the protection of an environment for learning. Although specific procedures vary from one hearing body to another, all operate in a manner designed to assure due process.

This overview focuses on the student conduct system established through the report on Michigan State University Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Michigan State University Student Rights and Responsibilities (formerly known as the Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University) was adopted in 1967; was amended in 1971, 1977, 1983; and was completely revised in 1984, 2010 and 2014.

What does the Student Conduct System do?

In addition to hearing alleged violations of regulations governing student conduct, the MSU student conduct system also protects student rights against infringement by other students, by faculty or administrators, by groups, or by the University itself. For example, the system provides for consideration of challenges to regulations or administrative decisions alleged to be inconsistent with fundamental student rights outlined in the Michigan State University Student Rights and Responsibilities. In addition, there is a provision for considering allegations that legislative bodies or officers have acted inconsistently with their respective constitutions. It is through performance of these functions, as well as through consideration of alleged violations of regulations, that the conduct system seeks to maintain the delicate balance between maximum freedom and necessary order so fundamental to the protection of an environment for learning.

Relationship of the Conduct System to Campus Governance

Legislation and adjudication are two separate functions of campus governance, although interdependent for their validity and effectiveness. Each needs the other for support and criticism. The conduct system is structured on the principle that legislative authority requires judicial responsibility. Accordingly, there is provision for a hearing body to parallel each legislative body, depending upon it for provision of members and having corresponding jurisdiction. All-student hearing bodies are established in general through the MSU Student Rights and Responsibilities, but may be defined more specifically in the constitution of the student governing bodies whose jurisdictions they share.

Other Hearing Bodies

Several hearing bodies within the University have special areas of jurisdiction and may or may not have a direct link with the aforementioned systems.

A. Graduate Judicial Structure. A completely separate judicial structure is provided for adjudicating cases brought by and against graduate students in the areas of: 1) academic rights and responsibilities; 2) professional rights and duties of graduate assistants; 3) professional rights and duties of other graduate students. Judiciaries are provided for at the departmental, college and University levels. Each judiciary is composed of an equal number of faculty and student members with a faculty member serving as chairperson. (Consult Graduate Student Rights and Responsibilities, the Council of Graduate Students, or the Graduate School.)

B. Employment Hearing or Grievance Procedures include those for students, the faculty, the administrative-professional personnel, the unionized clerical-technical employees, and the unionized hourly employees. (Students consult the Student Employment Policy Manual or the Student Employment Office.)

C. Medical Student Judicial Structure. A judicial structure is provided for adjudicating cases brought by and against medical students in the areas of: 1) academic rights and responsibilities; 2) professional behavior of medical students; and 3) professional rights and responsibilities of graduate assistants. Judiciaries are provided for at the departmental, college, and university levels. Each judiciary is composed of equal numbers of faculty and student members. In addition, medical students alleged to have violated General Student Regulations, student group regulations, living group regulations, or all-University policies which apply to all students, may be referred to the appropriate judiciary as outlined in Michigan State University Student Rights and Responsibilities. (Consult Medical Student Rights and Responsibilities or contact the Dean’s office of the appropriate medical college or the Graduate School.)