Community Standards at Lake Forest

The Lake Forest College Community Standards program strives to create a Transformational Experience by being community focused, learning centered, and procedurally sound. 

The Community Standards process is designed to be an educational process to help students learn how to take responsibility for their actions, how their behavior affects others, and how to be accountable to the community that they are a part of here at Lake Forest College. We affirm that education ennobles the individual. This process aims to be informal, conversational, non-confrontational, and educational whenever possible; however, some violations or repeated violations require a more formal and more direct process.  

Students who engage in the Community Standards process will: 

  • Understand the educational value of the Community Standards process and the behaviors that violate student conduct expectations. 
  • Be able to articulate, reflect, and demonstrate their understanding of how their personal values and actions impact their educational goals and future. 
  • Be able to articulate, reflect, and demonstrate their understanding of how their personal values and actions impact the Lake Forest community and others. 
  • Be able to identify behaviors, actions, and values that enhance their ability to create, maintain, and contribute to healthy relationships within their communities. 
  • Be able to identify resources, articulate how to utilize them effectively, and apply responsible decision making to become “responsible citizens of the global community” and “solve problems in a civil manner, collectively.” 

For more information, contact the Dean of Students Office 

What are my rights?
  1. An explanation of procedures 
  2. A description of the alleged violation and summary of the incident 
  3. A list of charge(s) that you may have violated in the College’s policies  
  4. The date and time of the Administrative Hearing or Conduct Board Hearing 
  5. To be advised of the appropriate appeal process
Who knows about the hearing/sanctioning?

Specific information is kept in the strictest confidence. Only people directly involved with the case will know; this includes the complainant, the respondent, any advisor you bring to the hearing, any witnesses involved in the proceedings, and the conduct officer. Your faculty and advisors are not informed about the hearing or the outcomes.  

What if I didn’t know about a rule?

At the beginning of each academic year, you receive notification of the Student Handbook. Failure to be cognizant of policies and procedures outlined in the Student Handbook does not relieve you from responsibility for the information in the Student Handbook and does not constitute an excuse in the event of a violation of policy or procedure. 

Does the violation go on my record if I am found responsible?

Findings of Responsibility become part of an internal student record but not part of the permanent record or external reports of a student. There are some exceptions. Some employers and some professional and graduate schools require, as part of the application process, a statement from a College official concerning disciplinary action taken while the student was at Lake Forest College. Upon a student’s waiver of FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act), this information will be released. 

Where can I go to get other questions answered?
  1. Start with the person who sent you the email letter informing you of a meeting. You can also get information from the Office of Residence Life or the Dean of Students office (who manages the overall conduct process at Lake Forest College). 
  2. The Conduct Process is outlined in the Student Handbook. 
Can the outcome be appealed?

Yes. The Student Handbook (p. 144) defines reasons an appeal can be filed, a timeline for appeal, and the appeal process. 
Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final.

  1. Administrative Hearing: a meeting between a Hearing Officer and a Respondent after an alleged violation(s) has occurred. The purpose of the Administrative Hearing is to provide the Respondent with the opportunity to review any alleged violation(s), allow the Respondent to provide relevant factual information on their behalf, and for the Hearing Officer to make a determination as to whether a Respondent is Responsible or Not Responsible for the alleged violation(s).
  2. Appeal: refers to the process offered to parties after the findings of responsibility (and sanctions, if applicable) have been announced. Appeals will be heard by different Hearing Officers, or – in the case of a Conduct Board – a new Appellate Board.
  3. Appellate Board: convened to uphold or deny appeals of a Conduct Board decision submitted by a Respondent or Complainant.
  4. College: Lake Forest College
  5. College official: any person employed by the College performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities. 
  6. College organization: any group of students that has complied with College requirements for recognition as a student organization. 
  7. College premises: all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College (including adjacent streets and sidewalks). 
  8. Complainant: any person who formally reports an alleged violation committed by one or more students or student organization. 
  9. Conduct Board: a more formalized hearing during which a Respondent is found Responsible or Not Responsible for any alleged violations. A Conduct Board will consist of one student, one staff member, and one faculty member. A Conduct Board will be held for certain violations of the college’s policies at the discretion of the Director of Residence Life or Dean of Students. Each Conduct Board is chaired by a Hearing Officer.
  10. Faculty member: any person hired by the College to conduct classroom or teaching activities or who is otherwise considered by the College to be a member of its faculty.
  11. Hearing Officer: College staff member who may serve as the facilitator of an Administrative Hearing or chair a Conduct or Appellate Board. All staff members in Residence Life, and others in Student Affairs, serve as Hearing Officers. Any staff member at the College may volunteer and receive specific training to serve as a Hearing Officer. 
  12. Member of the College community: any person who is a student, faculty member, College official or any other person employed by the College. 
  13. Notice of Alleged Violation: formal notification to the Respondent that there is information to support a possible violation of the Code of Conduct. 
  14. Policy: the written regulations of the College as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code, the College website and computer use policy, and the Student Handbook. 
  15. Preponderance of Evidence: a standard of evidence used in the Lake Forest College Student Conduct process to determine whether a student is responsible or not responsible for any alleged violations. Using this standard of evidence, it must be more likely than not that the Respondent committed the violation for a finding of responsibility to be reached. This standard of evidence is used for all hearings in this process.
  16. Respondent: any student or student organization that has been charged with an alleged violation of the Code of Conduct or College policy. 
  17. Student: includes all persons taking courses at the College, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies. Persons who withdraw after allegedly violating the Student Code, who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the College, or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission are considered “students.”