Student Affairs Podcast — Episode 4: Disclosing Student Conduct Reports and Other Issues

Episode 4 of “Conversations with Student Affairs,” the podcast managed by the Student Affairs team at Penn State World Campus in collaboration with our many colleagues and partners across the University’s Student Affairs teams, is now available.

Title: Navigating Disclosure

Participating staff members: Meg Brower, assistant director at the Penn State Office of Student Conduct, and World Campus career counselors Lynn Atanasoff and Matt Soroka

Summary: Making a disclosure to a graduate school or employer is not an easy conversation to have or step to take. Join us for a discussion on navigating disclosures involving Office of Student Conduct referrals, academic integrity violations, or felony records, and how this may impact your application for graduate school or employment.

Three interesting or helpful takeaways from this episode:

Not every interaction with the Office of Student Conduct results in a report that appears on your record. Meg says, “Only once we’ve moved through the process and resolved the process and if it is determined that the student is responsible for the violation, then there may be a record and the question of disclosures may be relevant, depending on the level of administrative outcome. Meaning, if the outcome results in on academic probation or higher. That’s when the University can disclose if the student has a conduct history — but only if the student has completed a Release of Information. We must have a valid Release of Information because of federal laws; we cannot just arbitrarily disclose — even within the University, in most cases.”

Be honest, but don’t volunteer information that isn’t specifically requested. Meg says, “I always advise students who are worried about how this may impact them down the road that if they are asked any questions — say, on an application for grad school or a job — read the question carefully and only answer the question that is asked. Be truthful and honest, but don’t provide information that isn’t being sought.” Lynn echoes that advice: “You do want to be honest if someone has asked you. For example, there are often questions on job applications asking whether you have a criminal record. Read the question carefully — they may only ask you to disclose a felony or specific types of criminal records — but if it applies to you, answer honestly, because that is much better than withholding information and having it come up later in a background check.”

Each employer or graduate school handles these situations in their own way. “It helps to research and understand the organization’s policies, so you are clear about what information they require and what you need to share.” Matt says. “There are resources within the Penn State network where you may be able to get that insight and insider information.”

Catch up on all episodes:

“Conversations with Student Affairs” Podcasts 

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