FAQ about Probation

As part of a Settlement Agreement or Conduct Hearing with the University over a student conduct matter, you may have been placed on disciplinary probation. The information provided here is meant to answer frequently asked questions about probation and how it affects you as a student. Feel free to contact the Office of the Dean of Students by calling (760) 750-4935, sending an e-mail to dos@csusm.edu, or visiting the office in University Student Union 3500 for further information.

What does probation mean?
The word probation derives from the Latin word probare, which means "to test." In criminal courts, probation usually follows, or may be required instead of, jail time. At Cal State San Marcos, it serves as an official warning that something you have done has required the University to pay special attention to your behavior lest that behavior be repeated. In effect, you are being "tested" to show that you have learned from your prior experience and will not repeat it.  Your time at the University is conditional on your good behavior; pass the test and you're welcome as a member of the community.  If you fail the test, you will not be allowed to remain here.

Can I still take classes if I'm under disciplinary probation?
Disciplinary probation is different than academic probation and students may continue (and are encouraged to continue) taking classes.

Will my probation be part of my permanent record?
Your disciplinary probation will be noted on your transcript during the probationary period and will be removed at its successful conclusion. The term "disciplinary probation" will appear, but not the reason why. This information is available to anyone who has reason to access your transcript or those with whom you choose to share it, such as potential employers, scholarship sources, and the like. The file which contains information about your situation will remain in the Office of the Dean of Students, typically for seven years following the conclusion of your probation.

What happens if I do something wrong while on disciplinary probation?
In legal terms, your probation will be revoked. In reality, it means that you have chosen to demonstrate that your membership in the Cal State San Marcos community is less important to you than your actions. Hence, you will be separated from the community, usually by suspension for a minimum of one semester and up to as many as four. The general period of suspension is one academic year, or two semesters, with suspension beginning immediately, regardless of the time of the academic semester. This means that if you are suspended after the refund or add/drop period, you will receive no academic credit for the semester or refund of your tuition fees. In addition, you may need to repay any financial aid already awarded for the semester.

What does suspension mean?
Suspension (from the Latin for "to hang up") means that your status as a student at Cal State San Marcos has been temporarily stopped. You may not take classes either here or at any of the campuses of the California State University system during your suspension. In some cases, your suspension will be extended to deny you permission to even be on any of the campuses without prior approval. Certain conditions might apply to return to campus, such as proof of counseling, completion of certain activities, or the like. Your disciplinary suspension will be noted on your transcript during the probationary period and will be removed at its successful conclusion. 

What happens if I do something wrong after I'm no longer on disciplinary probation?
When the probationary period ends, it is not as if the slate has been wiped clean. A second offense will be treated as a repeat offense whether you are on probation or not. The difference is generally in the severity of the sanction, such as duration of the suspension, when it begins, and what conditions might be attached.

What happens if I do something wrong after I've finished my suspension?
Students who continue to choose to violate the University's rules and policies will be permanently separated from both the campus and the system by means of expulsion. Expulsion (Latin for "forcibly ejected") is a permanent sanction and means that you are prohibited from returning to this or any other of the campuses of the California State University as a student. Expulsion is permanently noted on the academic transcript.