The complainant and respondent have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct via the online form available at wmich.edu/conduct within five University business days (regular business hours 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) An appeal letter must meet two conditions: (1) cite the basis of the appeal from the options outlined below and (2) provide sufficient and detailed information to support the appeal. Failure to meet either or both of these conditions shall be sufficient cause to deny an appeal. The Chair of the Appeals Board for cases involving suspension or expulsion or the Appeal Officer for all other cases, in consultation with staff in the Office of Student Conduct, shall make the determination as to whether both conditions have been met.
In cases not involving suspension or expulsion, decisions of the Appeal Officer are final.
The Appeals Board shall review cases involving suspension and expulsion only. The board shall consist of one faculty member appointed by the Faculty Senate, one staff member appointed by the President’s office, two undergraduate students, and one graduate student. Each shall serve a term of one calendar year and may be reappointed for subsequent terms. If appointees are unable to serve for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled immediately by the appropriate appointing body. Appeals Board members must attend training seminars provided by the Office of Student Conduct as a condition of their initial and continued membership on the Board.
An Appeal Officer is appointed and authorized by the VPSA/Dean of Students/or designee to hear cases not involving suspension or expulsion as a sanction. An Appeal Officer may, at the sole discretion of the VPSA/Dean of Students/or designee, expand to a panel of a total of three people appointed by the VPSA/Dean of Students/or designee. The Appeal Officer shall be chairperson of the panel.
In cases involving suspension or expulsion, the decision of the Appeals Board may be appealed by the respondent or University to the Vice President for Student Affairs/or designee by submitting the online appeal form within five (5) University business days of receipt of the Appeals Board’s decision.
The appeal process shall be limited to a review of the file and supporting documents (except as necessary to gain insight into any new information). The following are the only accepted bases for appeal.
a. To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complainant a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present information that substantiates that the Student Code was violated, and giving the respondent a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present rebuttal of those allegations.
b. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the actions of the respondent were based on sufficient information, that is, whether the facts in the case were sufficient to establish that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Student Code occurred and the student was responsible
c. To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.
The Appeals Board, the Appeal Officer or the Vice President for Student Affairs/or designee may take any of the following actions in response to an appeal: choose not to review the case, which leaves the findings and sanctions from the previous level intact; review the case and uphold the findings and/or sanctions from the previous level; review the case and reverse a finding of responsibility for any or all charges; review the case and modify the sanctions (enhanced or lessened); review the case and require that it be heard again by the original conduct body.
Decisions made by a conduct body shall not be final until an appeal deadline is passed, when the appeal process is exhausted, or when a student chooses not to appeal. The appeal process shall be exhausted upon one review of the appeal by the appropriate appeal body.
Appeals regarding the resolution of complaints under the Western Michigan University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy will be reviewed under the guidelines and procedures set forth in that policy.