The University of Florida Office of Student Judicial Affairs has revealed within the last couple of weeks that they are implementing a new sanction to address first DUI offenders and those who are charged other minor misdemeanors that violate the Student Code of Conduct.
Previously, under section 6C1-4.047(3) of the Student Code of Conduct the major sanction options were suspension and conduct probation (expulsion is also available but rarely used except in very serious cases not addressed here).
Suspension meant the student was not allowed to register for, attend, or receive credit for classes, usually for one semester. Sometimes the suspension would be for the semester in which the offense occurred (in which case the student lost the tuition and credit for classes taken) and sometimes it would be the next semester.
Conduct probation meant the student was allowed to stay in school but could not represent the school in any official capacity (fraternity/sorority, student government, athletic, etc) and usually had to do community service on campus and/or educational projects in a subject related to their offense. Students placed on conduct probation were subject to suspension if they violated the conditions placed on them by the school.
The University is now going to try a “deferred suspension” sanction which sounds like it’s going to be a blend of conduct probation and suspension. It will go on the student’s record as a suspension but imposition of the suspension will be “deferred” pending the student’s successful completion of the other terms of their sanction order.
We expect the other sanctions will be much like conduct probation and may include: reprimand, loss of University privileges (e.g. athletic function attendance, unrestricted library use, parking privileges, University computer usage, residence hall visitation, cannot represent the University, cannot hold an office in any student organization, or participate in any study abroad program. Additionally, students may be required to pay restitution, perform University community service, and complete a specified educational sanction related to the violation.
The primary difference between the new “deferred suspension” and traditional conduct probation is that if the student commits a violation of the Student Conduct Code or Student Honor Code while on deferred suspension and is found responsible, the student is automatically suspended for the prior violation in addition to whatever other sanctions are imposed for the subsequent violation.
We expect that the University will utilize the “deferred suspension” for most DUI offenses in the future. However, if there are egregious facts such as an accident, an extremely high breath test result, fighting with or even demeaning the police officers, the University may still opt for an immediate suspension.
We will keep the University student community advised of the continuing changes to the University’s Student Code of Conduct as we review the recent changes that have taken place.
Link to Student Conduct Code: http://www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/honorcodes/conductcode.php#s4047
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