What are the Differences Between the Ferris State University’s Student Disciplinary System and the Court System?

The purpose of the following is to clarify the basic differences between the Ferris State University student disciplinary system and the court system.  The FSU student disciplinary system (like all college disciplinary systems) uses a different "standard of evidence" than is required by the criminal court systems.  Additionally, the purposes of the systems are very different.  For example:

  • In the criminal court systems the standard of evidence is generally "beyond a reasonable doubt."  
  • In college disciplinary systems the standard of evidence is "preponderance of the evidence."  In other words, is it "more likely than not" that a student violated the student code of conduct?
  • Both systems must ensure that proper "due process" is followed. 
  • The two systems run independently of each other. 
  • The student disciplinary system cannot put students in jail and has no relation to the criminal court system. 
  • Colleges do have the legal right and responsibility to determine if their students are responsible for violating their student code of conduct, regardless of what the court system does or does not do. 
  • The student disciplinary system is intended to be an educational and remedial process, while the criminal court systems are often punitive.