General Standards and Conduct

Text: COVID-19 Update

Students are required to abide by the guidelines in the Columbia Community Health Compact. Non-adherence may result in disciplinary action according to the Enforcement Plan for Enhanced Health and Safety Policy.


Clear expectations and guidelines for behavior help keep our community safe. Each member of the residential community shares responsibility in establishing and sustaining a living environment that balances individual and community needs.

Students are encouraged to have direct conversations with their peers about behavior that is disruptive or unacceptable. Students may also reach out to their RA, House Manager if living in a fraternity or sorority, or any member of the Residential Life team to strategize alternative approaches for follow-up or to request assistance with a community issue. Resident Advisers (RAs) and Hall Directors (HDs) are responsible for community development, upholding community standards and enforcing policy in the undergraduate residence halls.

Students may not engage in behavior that infringes on individual or group rights by jeopardizing the health and safety of individuals and property. Students may not incite or assist another person with violating University policy. Some examples of prohibited behaviors include: behavior that interferes, interrupts, or disrupts an academic or University activity and conduct that is lewd, disorderly, or indecent.

Administrators from Undergraduate Student Life and/or Student Conduct and Community Standards, in conjunction with the Dean of the applicable school or their designee, may take appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the residential community and its members. This may require interim action and/or the termination of a student's Housing Occupancy Agreement if it is determined that a student poses a threat to them or to others or if the student is significantly disruptive to the community.

All residents must abide by the policies set forth in the Guide to Living, as well as regulations of Columbia College and SEAS, Federal, State, and Municipal laws. Violations of these regulations will be subject to the Dean's Discipline Process and may result in the termination of the Housing Occupancy Agreement and dismissal from the residence halls by the Student Conducts and Community Standards.

Please visit the Columbia University Student Policies page for more information.

Through the Residential Life Administrative Conduct Process, RAs and Residential Life staff are responsible for documenting community issues and policy violations, as well as sanctioning and the appeal process.

RAs and Residential Life staff are trained and required to document community issues and policy violations for follow-up by the appropriate staff members in Residential Life and/or Student Conduct and Community Standards. Columbia Housing, Public Safety, Security Desk personnel or other University staff may also document incidents. Students may also bring behaviors to the attention of an RA or staff member, who will then follow up and document the issue.

Incident reports are reviewed and may be referred for follow-up. Follow-up regarding community issues and alleged policy violations may include a conduct meeting with a member of the staff within Residential Life and/or a referral to the Dean's Discipline Process, overseen by Student Conduct and Community Standards. In all cases, staff members are committed to educating students through engagement in meaningful dialogue, directing them to the appropriate University resources, and holding them accountable for their actions when necessary.

When Residential Life staff are responsible for follow-up, a staff member will contact the involved person(s) via e-mail with notification for attendance at a conduct meeting. This private meeting presents an opportunity for the person(s) involved to share their perspective of behaviors leading to the incident.

Based on the information shared in the conduct meeting, the Residential Life staff member will resolve the case through a finding of responsible or not responsible for violation of the policy/policies relevant to the circumstances. If a resident is found responsible, sanctions may be issued as a component of the resolution.

If the resident does not appear for the administrative conduct meeting, a decision will be made based upon the information available in the incident report and any other information gathered as part of the investigative process. The resident will be responsible for any outcomes and accompanying sanctions determined by the Residential Life staff member.

Residential Life Sanctioning

If a student is found responsible for a violation of policy, the Residential Life staff member will issue one or more sanctions. The staff member will take into account the nature of the current incident and any history of previous violations when making a decision.

Residential Life sanctioning may include:

  • A disciplinary warning
  • Educational sanctioning, including, but not limited to: community service, presenting a program or performing a service that demonstrates an understanding of the issue and impact, making a formal apology, or writing a reflection paper
  • Loss, restriction, or modification of privileges
  • Participation in a specified workshop or participation in an awareness-enhancing discussion with a specified person, group, or class
  • Restitution
  • Transfer to another room in the same residence hall or brownstone, or to another residence hall or brownstone.

Residential Life Appeal Process

There are limited grounds for appeal if a student is found responsible for a violation. They are:

  • New information not available at the time of the administrative conduct meeting;
  • The student has concerns with the process that may change or affect the outcome of the decision;
  • Severity of the sanction.
  • A written appeal, based on one or more of these specific grounds, should be submitted to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Life/Executive Director of Residential Life within 72 hours after a written decision has been rendered. The Associate Dean will determine if the appeal has merit.

For more information on Sanctions and Appeals, please visit Dean's Discipline.

Dean’s Discipline is the process utilized by Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to investigate and respond to allegations of behavioral or academic misconduct. Dean’s Discipline is not meant to be an adversarial or legal process, but instead aims to educate students about the impact their behavior may have on their own lives as well as on the greater community. Learn about Dean's Discipline, which is managed by Student Conduct and Community Standards.