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For more information, see our Parent section.

Can a parent be involved in an Accountability Board case review?

An accused student’s parents can act as a character witness in a case. Guidelines for support persons and attorneys apply to parents. If a parent does not meet those guidelines, s/he may not serve in that capacity.

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What policies should my student be aware of?

It is your student's responsibility to know and obey federal, state, and local laws in addition to the James Madison University policies found in the Student Handbook. The handbook can be accessed online at

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What happens if my student is charged with a policy violation?

The student will go through JMU’s Accountability Process to determine whether they are responsible for violating JMU policies as listed in the JMU Student Handbook.

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Where does the university get information regarding a student policy violation?

JMU policy violations are most frequently reported by Campus Police, Residence Life, Parking Services, Harrisonburg/Rockingham Court System and faculty members. Students can also directly report violations to the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices. All reported violations are reviewed by a case manager who determines if there is enough evidence to place a charge. An email is sent to a student indicating the charge and the individual or department where the charge originated.

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Will I be notified if my student is charged with a violation?

The Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents us from disclosing information regarding judicial charges to parents unless the charge is related to alcohol or drugs.

Therefore, parents are only notified by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices for students under 21 for alcohol and/or drug violations. Parental notification will occur after the first alcohol and/or drug violation(s) and any subsequent violation thereafter. Cases that may involve parental notification include those where students' cases have been adjudicated on campus and the student has been found responsible or when a student is arrested or received a citation off campus for an alcohol and/or drug charge(s). If your student is charged with any violation, we may discuss the case with you if your student signs a FERPA waiver form. We encourage you to talk to your son or daughter directly regarding any charge.

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What constitutes a major or minor alcohol/drug violation?

Some examples of major alcohol/drug violations are:

  • Distribution of drugs

  • Hospitalization due to alcohol/drugs

  • Driving Under the Influence

  • Keg registration violation

  • Under the influence of drugs

  • Felony possession of drugs

  • Alcohol and drugs in the same incident

  • Minor violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Open Container

  • Underage possession of Alcohol

  • Possession of marijuana

  • Drunk in Public

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What are my student’s rights in the accountability process?

Student rights are explained in the JMU Student Handbook at

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My student was a victim of an assault, harassment, or theft What should they do?

Your student can come into the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices and meet with an Advisor. The advisor will explain the student’s rights, explain the accountability process, and present additional options your student has for reporting the incident.

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If the incident occurs off-campus, will JMU get involved?

James Madison University reserves the right to hold students accountable for off-campus behavior that falls within the jurisdiction of the University. Alcohol violations, drug violations, felonies, and violations of state or federal law, that occur in the City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County may be addressed by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices in accordance with university policies and procedures. Student behavior that is against the educational atmosphere or mission of the institution, including felonies or sexual misconduct, may be addressed by the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices regardless of the location in which it occurred.

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How are sanctions determined?

Our goal in sanctioning is to educate students on policies, decision-making, and risk-reduction strategies.

Sanctions are determined based on the charge, the student's previous judicial history (if any), the student's perceived needs, and the guidelines of the Student Handbook. For detailed information, refer to the JMU Handbook: Sanctioning at

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What are the “Big Four” alcohol and drug strategies?

These strategies include:

  1. Three Strikes
  2. Parental Notification
  3. Off-Campus Adjudication
  4. Enlightened Citizen Amnesty Process

A complete description of these policies can be found on the JMU Student Handbook at

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My student was placed on probation. What does that mean?

Probation means that the student has a record with our office. This does not affect his/her academics in any way and is not reflected on the student's transcript.

If a student violates university policy while on probation then his or her sanction will be more severe. Repeated violations of JMU policy could result in a student's suspension from the university.

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How can I help my student through the accountability process?

The most important way you can help your student is by being supportive while holding them accountable for their decisions if they were involved in the alleged incident. You can also help identify and encourage them to seek resources on campus for intervention opportunities regarding alcohol or drug use and abuse, anger management, and others so that your student can be successful at JMU. Finally, allow and expect your student to make the necessary arrangements to have this matter resolved. This includes setting appointments, attending meetings, and completing sanctions. When family members intervene and take over, it is not generally educationally beneficial for the student or for effectively resolving the matter. For more information, see our Parent section.

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