Introduction for Student Code of Conduct and Related University Policies


The status of the State University of New York College at Cortland as part of the SUNY system and as a predominantly residential academic community makes it appropriate that this institution protect its educational purpose through the establishment of certain regulations designed to promote positive standards of scholarship as well as community living for the students.

The primary objective of the College at Cortland is to pro­vide the necessary human and physical resources for the complete education of its students.  This commitment to the education of the whole person includes educational experiences in and out of the classroom which facilitate intellectual, emotional, social and physical development, clarification and critical assessment of personal values, effectiveness in interpersonal relationships, understanding and participation in the democratic process, social responsibility and preparation for personally satisfying careers.

The State University of New York College at Cortland is committed to providing a positive learning environment for all members of the community regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.  The College explicitly promotes diversity and attempts to provide an educational and socially acceptable setting that encourages every member of the community to develop and grow to their fullest potential.  As a result, the College will not tolerate behavior by any member of the community which threatens another member's ability to participate fully in the collegiate experience.

The freedom and effectiveness of the educational process de­pend upon the provision of appropriate conditions and opportuni­ties for learning.  Therefore, the purpose of regulations governing student conduct is to meet this need as well as to en­sure an equal opportunity to grow personally and academically for each individual.  Cortland's student conduct processes reflect the pri­mary objective of the College and the necessary interrelationship of the College community:  students; staff; faculty; and administra­tion.  It follows then that violations of College regulations fall within the scope of these processes.  Procedures and sanc­tions are directed toward guidance and behavior redirection with an educa­tional intent as opposed to retribution with a punitive intent, where at all possible.

The total community of Cortland encompasses two environments - one is within the College community while the other is our larger society.  The College community utilizes a campus student conduct process which, being educational in nature, encompasses more regulations than society in general in order to achieve the goals and aims of our unique academic environment.  However, there are certain areas which may overlap.  The College does not protect or shield students from their responsibilities under local, state, or federal laws. Students who violate the law may be referred to local authorities for appropriate action.  However, just because a student's case is adjudicated in a public court or hearing does not guarantee im­munity from further review and action by the appropriate College office or student conduct body.

This document is designed to acquaint all members of the College community with the rights and responsibilities of students; to fa­cilitate the daily process of student conduct; to inform students of their rights and responsibilities as members of the College community; and to inform the College community of the disciplinary actions and sanctions applicable for violations of this document.

In May, 1994 (most recently revised and approved, April 23, 2018), the College Council of the State University of New York at Cortland approved the document entitled the SUNY Cortland Student Code of Conduct (also referred to as the Student Code or Code).  That document is available to members of the College community as both a major section of this document and as a separate publication.


This publication shall be cited as The State University of New York College at Cortland Student Code of Conduct and Related Policies.

Authorization For Establishment of this Document

Section 356 of the Education Law of the State of New York delegates to the State University Board of Trustees authority to establish rules and regulations governing the operation of col­legiate units.  Within this authority, the Council of the State University of New York College at Cortland is authorized to:  (Section 356, Item G) make regulations governing the conduct and behavior of students; and (Section 356, Item H) prescribe for and exercise su­pervision over student housing and safety.


In order to ensure an understanding of the policies and procedures contained in this document, key words and phrases have been defined in Section One of the Student Code of Conduct portion of this publication.

Statement of Rights and Freedoms of Students 

Basic Concepts Established by the College Council

 On June 27, 1968, the College Council endorsed the Declaration of Rights and Freedoms, with the following explicit understandings, as described in the Council's minutes:

  • That the Statement is in no way intended to abrogate the legal powers invested in the Board of Trustees or the College Council under American corporate law;
  • That interpretation of the Statement's principles and procedures be understood as a continuing joint process, and that application be worked out according to the educational purposes of this particular institution;
  • That the implementation of the Statement's recommendations take place in the context of the total academic community with all responsible consideration for rights and freedoms of the other constituents of the academic community;
  • That the concept of community itself implies the interdependence of faculty, students, administration and governing boards and that, therefore, the arrogation to itself of absolute autonomy or of absolute freedom by any one sector of the academic community contradicts the very concept of com­munity;
  • Finally, that the Statement on rights and freedoms of students is welcomed as a thoughtful and significant contribution to the dialogue that is essential to the well‑being of the academic community.

Declaration of Rights and Freedoms

The following Declaration of Rights and Freedoms was endorsed by the College Council as a basis of conduct for students.  The Declaration is an integral part of the Code and acts as a basis for prescribed student conduct at the College at Cortland along with the statutes found in the "Maintenance of Public Order" (See Section L or College Handbook, Section 470).


Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of the student and the general well‑being of society.  Students have become increasingly aware that learning is a broad process whose boundaries extend be­yond the classroom and encompass all aspects of their lives.  Thus the academic community includes all those members of this College who promote the learning experience.  Membership in the academic community should provide for the development of the ca­pacity for critical judgment, for involvement in a sustained and independent search for truth and knowl­edge, and for participation in the decision‑making pro­cesses which are inherent in the attain­ment of these goals.  Realizing this, provision for the recogni­tion and protection of academic freedom are essential to the functioning of this community.  Achievement of the es­tablished goal of this Uni­versity, To LearnTo SearchTo Serve, can come only with the ac­knowledgment of the continuing need for learning among all mem­bers of the community and the realization that a sense of commu­nity is imperative for the creation of an atmosphere for in­dividual growth.

It is impossible to separate the concept of student freedom and rights from the concept of student responsi­bility.  Coinciden­tal with any rights are corresponding responsibilities.  Developed from this document and in­ternalized within student social codes and constitutions will be the specific applications of the rights and re­sponsibilities stated herein.  These responsibilities will be meaningful to students only with full coop­eration and communi­cation among all segments of the academic community.  To this end, it is imperative that students, desiring respect for their rights, must then accord to the other segments of the community the same respect.  It is only logical that student responsibility can be the best deterrent to student irresponsibility. Hopefully, then, this document will be viewed not as one which gives freedom, but rather as one which illustrates the willingness of students to ac­cept a good measure of responsibility for their own actions.

This document recognizes all legal responsibilities mandated to the College and its members.  It is meant to be operable within the context of existing laws govern­ing the College and its com­munity.

Freedom of Government:  Students have the right to organize and maintain maximum democratic government in order to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the individual.  Students also have the right to formulate within existing laws their own social rules and code of conduct.

Freedom of Access to Higher Education:  The admissions policies of each college and university are a matter of determination by the academic community provided that each college and university makes clear the standards which it considers relevant to success in the institution's program. Within the limits of its facilities, this College shall be open to all of its enrolled students, and it shall use its influence to secure equal access for all students to public facilities in the local community.

Right to the Best Possible Education:  It is a basic right that students have a well‑devised curriculum, adequate library and laboratory facilities, and competent teaching staff, operating in an environment of academic freedom which nourishes the education process.  Students have a right to guidance, advisement, and ancillary services that aid in education and/or career planning which helps them progress toward their goals.

Right of Freedom of Thought in the Classroom:  Students should be informed of the standard of academic performance expected by each professor or department.  Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.  Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation.  At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

Freedom of Expression:  Students and student organizations should be free to discuss, pass resolutions, distribute leaflets, circulate petitions and take other action by orderly means which do not disrupt the essential operation of the institution. They are free to examine and to express opinions publicly or privately.

Freedom of Communications Media:  All forms of student expression must enjoy full freedom of the press as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.  The communications media are free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and the editors and managers are free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage.  The editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism.  At the same time, it should be made clear to the academic and larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students and student organizations speak only for themselves.  Editors and managers of communications media are protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or content.

Freedom of Association:  Students must be free to organize and join associations for educational, political, social, religious or cultural purposes.

Freedom to Choose Speakers and Topics:  No area of investigation and no point of view shall be excluded from the precincts of the College.  It is consonant with the principles of academic freedom, the traditions of free inquiry, and the educational purposes of the State University of New York to assert that the student body, acting responsibly in the spirit of free intellectual inquiry, is free to invite any person it chooses to address it on any topic.

Freedom from Disciplinary Action Without Due Process:  The student body must have clearly defined means to participate in the formulation and application of regulations affecting student affairs.  No sanction or other disciplinary action shall be imposed on a student by or in the name of the State University of New York in an arbitrary manner.

Freedom from Improper Disclosure:  Protection against improper disclosure of information is a serious professional obligation of faculty members and administrative staff which must be balanced with their other obligations to the individual student, the institution and society.  (Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances).  Information about student views, beliefs and political associations which professors and College staff acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors should be considered confidential.  No information from records is available to prospective employers, graduate or professional schools, or government agencies without the explicit consent of the student, and such information must be limited to their academic experiences only.

Freedom to Rights as a Private Citizen:  College students are citizens as well as members of the academic community.  As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and right of petition that other citizens enjoy and as citizens they are subject to the obligations which accrue to them by virtue of this membership.  Faculty members and administrative officials should ensure that institutional powers are not employed to inhibit such intellectual and personal development of students as is often promoted by their exercise of the rights of citizenship both on and off campus.  Activities of students may upon occasion, result in violation of the law.  In such cases, institu­tional officials should be prepared to apprize students of sources of legal counsel. Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by civil authorities, but institutional authority should never be used merely to duplicate the function of civil laws. Only where the institution's interests as an academic community are involved de facto should College disciplinary procedures be initiated.  Institutional action should be inde­pendent of community pressure.

Right to Participate in Decision‑Making:  Provisions must be made for the widest participation possible of the student body in the decisions which will affect their lives and future careers.  This participation shall range from advisory to full and voting membership in the group which is evaluating, recommending, planning or deciding.

Right to Privacy:  Students must be protected from invasions of privacy and arbitrary and capricious searches of their residences, except where a civil search warrant has been legally obtained or where existing housing inspection laws and regulations permit or require.

Right to Be Informed:  The College community, and the student government in particular, has the obligation to inform students of their rights and responsibilities upon appointment and throughout their College career.

(Reference: College Handbook, Section 320)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

Students' rights with respect to their education records (also known as the Buckley Amendment).

SUNY Cortland FERPA and Student Records Policy

 The SUNY Cortland Student Information Policy outlines the appropriate use of student information to support the protection of student privacy in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC §1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).  


Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually through the Student Code of Conduct and Related Policies including the Summer Mailing, the online College Catalog, online at, and within specific functions of myRedDragon. This policy and the law are available upon request or online at

I. Policy Definitions

Student: any person who attends or has attended SUNY Cortland, for the time period in which they were a student.  Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship as a student with the College are considered students.

Education Records: any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, electronic, or other medium) maintained by and entrusted to SUNY Cortland or an agent of SUNY Cortland, which is directly related to a student EXCEPT:

  1. Records which are in the sole possession of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and which are not accessible to any other person except a substitute.
  2. University Police records created and maintained by University Police for law enforcement purposes.
  3. Medical or psychological records maintained for diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Employee records of student employees.
  5. Information relating to an applicant who does not attend SUNY Cortland and alumni records about an individual who is no longer at SUNY Cortland.

School Official: School officials include SUNY System Administration, and other SUNY colleges who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests (i.e., necessary to fulfill their professional responsibility). A school official is employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff, a person or company with whom the College has contracted), a person serving on the Board of Trustees, or a student serving on an official committee such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or assisting another school official in performing their tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is performing a task related to the student’s education, a task related to the discipline of the student, or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or the student’s family such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.

Custodian of Record: An office or college official responsible for maintenance of records in furtherance of their duties.

II. Right to Inspect and Amend Educational Records

Students have the right to inspect and review their education records. Students should submit to the appropriate record custodian a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records to be inspected. The record custodian, or an appropriate college staff person, will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access must be given within 45 calendar days or less from the receipt of the written request. When record information contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the specific information about the requesting student.  A student may not inspect and review confidential letters and statements of recommendation placed in the student’s records before January 1, 1975.  Appendix A lists Education Record Custodians at SUNY Cortland (records and list are not exhaustive).

Amendment of Education Records

Students may ask the College to amend a record they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their right of privacy. Following are the procedures for amendment of records:

  1. The student must make a written request to the custodial office responsible for the record, precisely identify the part of the record they want changed and specify what is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy.
  2. SUNY Cortland may comply with the request or may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, the College will notify the student of the decision within 45 calendar days and advise the student of the right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights.
  3. Upon request, SUNY Cortland will arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place and time of the hearing.
  4. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student's education record. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
  5. If the custodial office maintaining the record reports to a Vice President, the hearing will be conducted by the Vice President (or designee) responsible for the supervision of this office.
  6. If the custodial office maintaining the record is a Vice President, the hearing will be conducted by the President (or designee).
  7. SUNY Cortland will prepare a written decision, within 10 business days of completion of the hearing, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
  8. If SUNY Cortland determines that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights of privacy, it will notify the student that a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision may be appended to the record.

Right of University to Refuse Access

SUNY Cortland reserves the right to refuse a student or applicant request to access to the following records:

  1. The financial statement of the student's parents.
  2. Letters and statements of recommendation for which the student has waived the right of access.
  3. Records connected with an application for admission to attend SUNY Cortland or another unit of the State University of New York if that application was denied.
  4. Those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of education records (20 USC §1232g (a) (4); 34 CFR §99.3).

For those records that contain information on more than one student, the requesting student has the right to view only those portions of the record that pertain to their own education record.

Refusal to Provide Copies of Records

SUNY Cortland reserves the right to deny to the student transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available under FERPA if the student has any accrued debts or outstanding obligations, owed to the College or to any agency thereof.

Fees for Copies of Records

The fee for copies of education records is included in the current Tuition and Fee Schedule (identical to current processing cost of student transcript).

III. Disclosure of Education Records to Third Party

SUNY Cortland will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written or electronic consent of the student, EXCEPT:

  1. To school officials, SUNY System Administration, campus-related entities (e.g. Auxiliary Services Corporation), persons employed by or under contract to the campus to perform special tasks (e.g. attorneys or auditors), students serving on official committees (e.g. disciplinary or grievance committees) or assisting another school official in performing his or her professional responsibility and other SUNY colleges who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests.
  2. Upon request to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  3. To certain federal, state, SUNY, and local education officials in connection with certain federal or state supported education programs.
  4. In connection with a student's request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of that aid.
  5. If required by a state law concerning the juvenile justice system which law requires disclosure and which was adopted before November 19, 1974.
  6. To organizations conducting certain studies/research for or on behalf of the College, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs and improving instruction, if such studies are conducted in such a manner as will not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of such organizations, and such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which it is conducted.
  7. To accreditation organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
  8. To parents of an eligible student who claim the student as dependent for income tax purposes (26 USC §152).
  9. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena after making a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance.
  10. To appropriate parties in a health and/or safety emergency.
  11. When the student and SUNY are engaged in litigation SUNY Cortland may disclose to the court education records that are relevant to the litigation.
  12. To an alleged victim of any crime of violence as that term is defined in Section 16 of Title 18 USC, or a non-forcible sex offense, the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the campus against the alleged perpetrator of that crime or offense with respect to that crime or offense if the College determines as a result of the disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the College’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.
  13. To anyone the final results reached on or after October 7, 1998 in a disciplinary proceeding in which a student has been determined to have perpetrated a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and a violation of College rules or policies.
  14. To the parents of a student under the age of 21: information that the College has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation relating to alcohol or a controlled substance.
  15. To Veterans Administration Officials pursuant to 38 USC 3690 (c).
  16. To the Military: Directory information as it is presently defined under the Solomon Amendment, even if the institution has not designated such information as directory information in its policy. (Directory information that must be released to the Military: student’s name and address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, class level, academic major, degrees received, and the educational institution in which the student was most recently enrolled. Information that is not required to release to the Military: directory information, but only if the student has requested that the College not release such information to anyone, information the institution certifies it does not have, and information not defined as directory information.)
  17. Where the information to be disclosed is designated as Directory Information.

Record of Requests for Disclosure

SUNY Cortland will maintain a record of all external requests for, and/or disclosures of, information from a student's education records for as long as those records are maintained. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be re-disclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting the information. The record of requests may be reviewed by the parents of eligible students.

Record keeping is not required if disclosure is to:

  • The student
  • A school official with a legitimate educational interest
  • A party with written consent from the student
  • A party seeking directory information
  • A federal grand jury or law enforcement agency pursuant to a subpoena that by its terms requires non disclosure

Student Consent to Release Information

If a student wishes to grant access to student academic information to a particular party (e.g. parent, legal guardian), they must complete the Consent for Access form in the Student Registration and Record Services Office. In addition to the form, SUNY Cortland requires a copy of the most recent IRS Tax Return indicating dependency of the student.

Departmental Releases

The Student Accounts Office has a waiver available for download on their website. Permission must be granted by the student in order for the Student Accounts Office to discuss the student invoice or financial account with any third party, including parents or guardians. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Student Accounts Office.

The Financial Aid Office shall communicate with all aid applicants and their family members whose income information is appropriately reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Right to File a Complaint

Students are afforded the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SUNY Cortland to comply with the requirements of FERPA by contacting:

Family Policy Compliance Office - U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-4605

IV. Personally Identifiable Information and Directory Information

Information may be shared by a school official in furtherance of their duties for educational purposes. When information is requested by non-school officials, the request must be reviewed according to the following criteria. There are two categories of student information relevant to this policy. The first, Personally Identifiable Information, is data that SUNY Cortland will not share without written consent of the student. The second, Directory Information, is data that may be shared without written consent of the student. Exceptions are possible based on federal and state legal statutes.

Disclosure of directory information is discretionary rather than mandatory. SUNY Cortland has the right to disclose Directory Information to some persons/entities but not others. Requests for student directory information that meet a legitimate College interest, and which are in compliance with Information Resources security policies, must be addressed to the Student Registration and Record Services Office for approval.

Personally Identifiable Information (consent needed)

  • Email addresses that are not assigned by SUNY Cortland
  • Date and place of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Campus ID or digital identity
  • Citizenship
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Grades including mid-semester evaluations
  • Schedule of classes
  • Withdrawal date
  • Vehicle registration plate number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Credit card numbers
  • Criminal record
  • Name(s) of student family members
  • Address(es) of student family members

Directory Information (no consent needed for release)

  • Name
  • Permanent address
  • Telephone number(s) (other than local number as listed in the Campus Information Directory)
  • SUNY Cortland email address
  • Local telephone number as listed in Campus Information Directory
  • Local Address as listed in Campus Information Directory
  • Individual photograph or electronic image
  • Class standing
  • Age in years (does not include birthdates of individual student)
  • Academic Major
  • School of Study
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degree(s) earned
  • Honors, awards, special recognitions, scholarships
  • Participation in officially recognized college activities, events, and sports
  • Height and weight (student athletes only)
  • Student's most recent educational institution attended

Student Request for Confidentiality

Any student who wishes their directory information to be unlisted must submit a written request to the Registrar – advisably by the end of the first week of the semester.  Thereafter, the student’s directory information will remain unlisted until the student requests otherwise.

Consent to Use of Photographic Images

Registration as a student and attendance at or participation in classes and other campus and College activities constitutes an agreement by the student to the College’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the student’s image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions, or audiotapes of such classes and other campus and College activities.

[October 2008]

Education Record Custodians at SUNY Cortland