Organizational Misconduct

News headlines show us that student organizations are a microcosm of the world beyond the collegiate experience. On our campuses, these organizations represent the full spectrum of the student population in pursuit of myriad interests. Our students engage in organizations that relate to personal betterment, cultural connections, legacy status, and physical engagement. Although no two organizations are the same, each one must similarly tackle the challenges posed by social expectations, operational decision making, and their group’s “traditions”. In navigating these challenges and questions, the activities sponsored by student organizations may result in violations of our conduct code.

As campus professionals we can set up conduct practices that help to educate, adjudicate, and enhance their experiences in organizations. We can help them understand their responsibilities as leaders and members, and engage in dialogue to better support our organizations. As campus professionals we are connected to the organization’s success, failure, and growth. During this track, we will explore:

  • Laws and regulations informing our work
  • Best practices for investigative techniques
  • Evaluating institutional due process afforded to student organizations,
  • Reflection on the sanctions and education we provide for student organizations
  • Examination of issues surrounding the identity of groups and the identity of the conduct administrator
  • Collaboration with advisors, student activities staff, faculty, senior leadership, the media, and national affiliations.




Kathleen Shupenko: Track Coordinator- is an Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct at The Pennsylvania State University. She served as a faculty member for the inaugural Organizational Conduct Track at the 2018 Gehring Institute. At Penn State University she is responsible for the management of all organization conduct cases at the University Park campus. There are over 1000 recognized student organizations for which the code applies. She has participated in each part of the process including decisions on interim actions, investigations, and assigning outcomes. Additionally, she is the liaison for all conduct professionals at the 23 Commonwealth Campuses, including on-boarding, on-going training, and case consultation for individual and organization conduct cases. Kathleen earned her master’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University, and bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.