We all know a student is expelled because he committed something extremely bad. But how is extremely bad? Must the student commit a crime or something? Unfortunately, university policies do not give details of that. (In America and Canada)

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    This will be highly dependent on country and university. E.g. having sexual intercourse in the lavatories of a christian university in the US might get you expelled but will have no consequences in a regular german university. I therefore vote to close. Nov 14, 2018 at 5:50
  • Many relevant Q&A on here, this is but one : academia.stackexchange.com/q/28966/72855
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 14, 2018 at 6:42
  • Likewise, reporting that you were a victim of sexual assault will get you expelled from BYU, but in other places, people might investigate the crime. Nov 14, 2018 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


As an undergraduate, I served on the disciplinary hearing board for a large private secular university in the United States. I saw the full spectrum of cases that came before the board, from minor infractions to severe violations of university policy (and the law).

In my experience, the university was reluctant to fully expel someone. Minor infractions typically resulted in some form of mandatory training and/or disciplinary probation. Repeated minor infractions might result in a short suspension. For most severe policy violations (e.g., assault), the university preferred to hand out lengthy (1-2 year) suspensions rather than permanently expelling the student. Obviously, I'm sure that many students chose not to return after this setback.

The exception to this was sexual assault cases, which provoked a more unequivocal response from the university. Expulsion was certainly on the table for cases where a student was determined to have committed sexual assault. At the very least, the perpetrator would be suspended as long as the victim remained on campus, to ensure that the victim did not have to interact with the perpetrator. Inevitably, Title IX requirements and liability concerns shape both the hearing process and the outcome for sexual assault cases. This type of scrutiny was generally absent from other cases.

I can think of one other case where the hearing board recommended expulsion for a student. In that case, the student dealt tens of thousands of dollars of hard drugs to an undercover police officer over many months. The student was arrested and the university subsequently began an internal hearing process.

The standards and process may differ for other types of universities, but generally I got the sense that my experience was representative of other large secular universities in the United States.

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    Good answer! Can you please add an explanation of "Title" IX"? Nov 14, 2018 at 17:28
  • Can the university do anything to a student who has not yet graduated but already finished the degree and left the university? Nov 15, 2018 at 23:22
  • @problemofficer Title IX is a federal law in the United States that ensures gender equality in universities. It is probably best known for improving women’s sports offerings, although recently it has played a large role in addressing sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus. The Wikipedia page for “Title IX” explains it better than I can. Nov 16, 2018 at 4:59
  • @Rapidturtle I’m not sure that I understand your situation but the outcome will depend on the location and type of university that you’re attending. It will also depend on the nature of the infraction. If I had to guess, I would say that the university would probably be reluctant to pursue it if you’re no longer a presence on campus. Nov 16, 2018 at 5:02

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