Student Conduct and Community Standards

Oberlin College policies are designed to create an environment that is conducive to excellence within and outside of the classroom.

Oberlin College conduct system seeks to create an environment that educates students about the relationship between their personal freedom and their responsibilities to their community, that promotes the orderly functioning of the community, that holds all members of the community accountable for their behavior, and that promotes habits of effective and engaged citizenship.

Students are expected to be responsible for their actions and to conduct themselves in accordance with the rules and regulations of the college. Violations of the Oberlin College Code of Conduct are grounds for a process under the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Official language and a detailed explanation of Oberlin’s student conduct and community standards is available on the "Student Conduct Resources and Policies" webpage.


Students who are suspected of having broken an Oberlin College policy will ordinarily be contacted by a hearing officer at least seven days after the incident date. A student will meet with a hearing officer to talk about possible charges after receiving a "Notification of Complaint."

A student has three business days to respond to the complaint before it is turned over to the Community Board.

At this initial meeting, the hearing officer and student will discuss the incident. There are three possible outcomes:

  • Both the student and hearing officer agree that they are responsible for the policy issue. The hearing officer offers educational outcomes and/or sanctions. Once completed, the case is closed;
  • Both the student and hearing officer agree that they are not responsible for the possible charges. The hearing officer does not file charges and closes the matter without assigning sanctions;
  • The student and hearing officer are unable to come to an agreement on the level of responsibility.

If the student and hearing officer are unable to come to an agreement on the level of responsibility, the student will receive a formal notice of charges. The case is then referred to the Community Board:

  • The Community Board is a trained panel made up of both faculty and students selected by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Student Senate, and General Faculty. They are authorized to make determinations on cases and offer sanctions.

Once a case is referred to a board, a responding student will be able to see all applicable case materials at the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. After a hearing board makes their determination, a student is expected to comply with any and all sanctions. However, a student does have the right to appeal based on the following grounds:

  • New information not reasonably available at the time of the hearing;
  • Procedural error that could reasonably be judged to have materially affected the outcome of the hearing;
  • Unreasonable or inappropriately severe sanctions.

Please know that Oberlin College views its Student Conduct process as an opportunity for education and restoration. Thus, it is not intended to be an adversarial process.

For questions, resources, or support, please contact Thom Julian (Director of Community Life and Standards) at