Our Educational Philosophy

The mission of Housing and Residence Life is to provide welcoming, vibrant communities that foster personal growth and enhance the student experience at NAU. This mission remains the focus of our department’s work in the area of student conduct. We know that college is a time of transition and uncertainty; just like the rest of us, college students sometimes make mistakes. The student conduct process is a means of enforcing positive community standards to foster personal growth and success. Our intention is to educate and develop students, not to punish them for their mistakes.

Our student conduct philosophy centers on three goals:

  • That the student conduct process be fair and transparent
  • That the student conduct process be educational
  • That the student conduct process be community-focused
You can read more about each of the three goals below. Please do not hesitate to contact our student conduct staff at (928) 523-7616 or NAUconduct@nau.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Fair and Transparent
We strive to make the conduct process fair and equitable for all of our students—no matter their personal background or what policies they may have broken. To this end, our student conduct staff, policies, and processes do not discriminate on the basis of physical/mental ability, age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, political affiliation, physical appearance, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or veteran status.

Our policies in the Student Code of Conduct and Standards of Residence apply equally to all students and residents. As adults entering into a contract, student residents are expected to read and abide by all published policies. As staff focused on the personal development of students, we in Housing and Residence Life work hard to communicate proactively and explain thoroughly the content and purpose of our policies.

This website contains many resources and a lot of information for students and families. Making our goals and processes public is one way we strive to be transparent. Finally, we seek to be fair and transparent in providing each student with their full range of rights in the student conduct process .
The point of college is to learn—and yes, to channel learning into a degree! Learning from our mistakes can prove to be some of our most powerful life lessons. A conduct hearing is an opportunity for students to reflect on whether their actions relate to the goals they have for their time at NAU and beyond. For example, let’s say a student’s goal is to graduate from NAU and ultimately become a lawyer. How does drinking excessively and missing class due to a hangover help them achieve that goal? It likely does not.

Our conversations during conduct hearings focus on strategies for the future in order to help students meet their goals for themselves. If a student realizes their choices and goals do not align, we discuss some next steps to get back on track. The emphasis is on developing the student as an adult and as an upstanding citizen in society. The central question is always, how do my choices impact myself and others in the NAU community?

If a student is found to have violated a University policy, they will likely be assigned sanctions as a result. These sanctions are a continuation of our educational conduct process. Sanctions may involve some follow-up on the student’s part to further personal reflection, get involved on campus, or to restore harm done to others in the community. We try our best to tailor sanctions to the individual student, based on the goals and discussion we share in a conduct hearing.

Living in a residence hall or college apartment community can be a very new experience for students. It is often quite different from students’ living environments at home. There may be different expectations for behavior, partly because there are so many people sharing a common living space. 

All of the policies that we have in the Standards of Residence (and the NAU Code of Conduct) are based on four principles, called the Compelling Community Interests. These community interests seek to find a balance between the individual rights of students and the responsibility to a greater community. They are: Health and Safety, Property Loss or Damage, Disruption of the Educational Living Environment, and Legitimate Educational Purpose.

Health and Safety 
The health and safety of students is of utmost importance to NAU and to Housing and Residence Life. Many of the policies in place are meant to protect the emotional, physical, and mental health and safety of students and residents. As such, there is a need to limit certain individual rights in order to safeguard the health and safety of the community. 

Property Loss or Damage
NAU’s campus has a relatively low rate of serious crime. However, no community can completely eliminate risk of property loss or damage. Every member of our community shares the responsibility to care for and protect both community and personal property. 

Serious Disruption of the Educational Living Environment
As student residents of NAU, we are a community of scholars. For us to live together successfully, we must respect the needs and rights of our fellow scholars. Everything that we do directly or indirectly relates to our academic and personal success, so we must always maintain a living environment conductive to pursuing this success. It is important to remember that we are responsible for our own behavior and for the behavior of our guests, as both may have an impact on the communal living environment. 

Legitimate Educational Purpose
The vast majority of students at NAU would say they came here to earn a degree and graduate. This is the foundation and premise of the university, as well as University housing. Any behavior or actions that do not contribute to accomplishing this goal therefore go against the educational goals of NAU and Housing and Residence Life. As such, we have policies, programs, and processes that seek to promote our educational purpose.