Student Personal Misconduct

What to do when you observe a student non-academic policy violation

Complaints alleging that MIT students or student organizations have violated Institute policy should be directed to the Office of Student Conduct ("OSC"). Complaints against MIT faculty and staff should be directed to Human Resources.

How to report a situation:

If you are considering submiting an incident report or making a complaint against a student, we encourage you to meet with the staff in OSC to discuss the situation, review the process, and answer questions you have. You can meet with us without reporting the situation so that you may learn about your options, or you can meet with us to make the report. To make an appointment, email or call 617-258-8423.
You can also report a situation without having a meeting if you would like, using our online form. Please complete as much of the form as you can and be as detailed as possible when writing about what happened. Someone from OSC may or may not follow up with you if we have additional questions.

When reporting a situation, consider the following:

  • Focus on the facts.  As much as possible, describe someone’s behavior (example: “He raised his voice to a level I would describe as yelling”) rather than what that behavior led you to conclude (example: “He was angry.”).
  • Include the names of all individuals involved in the incident. The narrative should focus on specific information about an individual's role in an incident.
    • If there is more than one individual involved, list them all in one incident report.
  • The discipline process is designed to determine if a student is responsible or not responsible for alleged policy violations. To the best of your ability, identify the policies you believe were violated.  OSC can assist you with understanding the policies, but providing an initial list is helpful.
  • If there is any documentation (emails, screenshots, photos, course assignments), include these in the incident report.


Q. What happens after I submit the complaint?
Staff from OSC will review the report and may contact you if necessary. If you are contacted, staff will review the information and ask any clarifying questions. The complaint will be shared with the student alleged to have violated policy (the respondent).  Staff will meet with the respondent. You can learn about that process here.
Q. Does the respondent have to know I reported the incident? 
 If you are considering submitting a case anonymously, we suggest you contact OSC staff to discuss your cases. You may do so via email or a third party if you are more comfortable. MIT can accept "anonymous" complaints. However, you will still be known to OSC staff.
Q. Is there a deadline for filing a complaint?
Generally, cases should be submitted as close to the incident as possible, so the details are fresh in your memory and the behavior can be addressed quickly. Sometimes, however, complainants may want to wait until some time has passed or their circumstances have changed.  In those cases, consider writing down the details of what occurred for your own future reference.  Please note if you are concerned about the respondent continuing to contact you, we can provide you with information about a no-contact order.
Q. What if I want to file a report about multiple people?
This may be done by listing each respondent’s name in the complaint form.  Be sure your narrative specifies who did what and who is alleged to have violated which policy.  Feel free to contact OSC if you need additional assistance with this.
Q. How much detail do I need to provide?  What if I cannot prove the respondent violated MIT policy?
Provide as much detail as you can that is relevant to the alleged violations you are listing. For the respondent (student alleged to have violated policy) to be found responsible, MIT requires that a case meet the standard of evidence known as "preponderance of the evidence." This essentially means that evidence needs to demonstrate it is "more likely than not" that a violation occurred. You do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the respondent committed the alleged violations, but the evidence needs to indicate it is more likely than not that they did so. 
Q. Can I find out the outcome of my complaint?
Not always. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as “FERPA”) protects the confidentiality of discipline records. Some exceptions apply for cases of sexual misconduct; for those cases the person identified as a victim/survivor would be informed of the outcome. 
Q. Can I submit evidence with my case?
Yes, you may submit photographs, emails, and other evidence. If evidence includes an illegal and/or dangerous item (e.g., drugs, weapon, etc), that should be turned over to MIT Police for appropriate storage. Photos can be submitted as attachments. You can also take a "screenshot" of any computer-based evidence.