Information for Families

Your son or daughter has begun yet another phase in his or her life, which can prove to be both exciting and challenging. It is a period of joy, pain, relationships, discovery and, sometimes, disappointments.

Your involvement as a parent can enhance the learning process as students go through these moments of disappointment and success. This section is designed to assist parents in understanding Suffolk's expectations for our students and for the disciplinary process that addresses alleged violations of University policy.

We have also included some answers to questions commonly asked by parents, and some hints that might help you and your son or daughter to prepare for what lies ahead.

Parental Notification of Student Disciplinary Matters

Suffolk University recognizes that students and parents are our partners in promoting a healthy and productive educational experience. We believe parents assist students in fulfilling their educational goals through open dialogue. Therefore, in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Suffolk University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students when a student is under 21 and is found responsible for an alcohol or other drug violation or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her ability to live in on-campus housing.

Talking About Alcohol or Illegal Drugs

(This section has been adapted from the Century Council.)

In speaking with your son or daughter about drug and alcohol use, please share realistically your own experiences, both positive and negative. Keep in mind, however, that it may not be helpful to boast about amounts used. In addition, be clear in what you expect from your son or daughter about things such as:

  • Attending class
  • Drinking and driving
  • Financial responsibility
  • Choices regarding drinking
  • Study time vs. social time
  • Staying in touch

To assist with this process, below are some conversation starters:

  • How will you decide whether or not to drink, smoke pot or use other drugs?
  • What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcohol to drink?
  • What will you do if someone offers you illegal drugs?
  • What will you do if your roommate only wants to party?
  • How will you handle it if a friend is drunk or high and you think he/she needs medical attention?

Helping Your Son or Daughter Through the Disciplinary Process

Before your student begins the semester:

  • Have an open discussion with your student about the process of making right choices, peer pressure and taking responsibility for their actions.
  • Make sure that your student is clearly informed about your expectations and the values you hold. Be open to discussing difficult topics such as substance abuse, alcohol use, intimate relationships, and other risky behaviors.
  • If your student is documented for an alleged violation of the Community Standards or another policy of the University, make sure that your student knows the disciplinary process.
  • Have your student review the Community Standards and Student Conduct System, which is published in this Student Handbook.
  • Encourage your student to speak with you about the incident and help them to process all the information.
  • Have an open discussion with your student about the expectations the University has in regard to their behavior. Discuss ways to modify their behavior to meet those expectations. Encourage your student to seek help and support and direct them to the available resources on or off campus. Challenge them to ask questions and take the initiative in the process and continue to support your student emotionally while they resolve the issue.