Frequently Asked Questions for Conduct

  • What is the role of Student Rights and Responsibilities?

    Our services include:

    • Coordinating the student conduct processes described in the Student Code.
    • Acting as a resource for students, faculty and staff on matters related to student conduct.
    • Coordinating and advising conduct panels and the University Appeals Board.
    • Facilitating the procedures necessary to support the student academic conduct process.
  • What is the Student Code?

    The Student Code describes the boundaries of acceptable student behavior,  approved by the Board of Trustees, and is interpreted and enforced by Student Rights and Responsibilities.  Students are encouraged to develop integrity through self-discipline and a sense of responsibility to the community.

  • I just received a letter charging me with a violation of the Student Code, what is going to happen? What are my rights?

    The SRR staff member and the student will be in attendance at the initial appointment. The purpose of this informal meeting is to provide students with information about the charge(s) and the process, give them the opportunity to indicate responsibility or lack thereof, and ask any pertinent questions.

    You have the right to receive information about the incident of concern and relevant policies ahead of the hearing. You have the right to have your questions about the policies and conduct process answered before the hearing. You have the right to share your perspective on the alleged incident before a decision is made about whether you violated WMU policy. You can request witnesses be called to share information during the hearing. You can have a support person with you during the hearing. If you have a disability, you have the right to have your accommodation needs reasonably met to allow for your full participation in the process.

  • What are the possible consequences if I am found responsible for a violation?

    When found responsible for a violation, students are subject to the sanctions outlined in the Student Code.

    Students found responsible for violating B.01. Academic Misconduct are also subject to a grade penalty, up to and including failure of the course (see Academic Integrity process).

  • Will my parents be notified of any sanctions I receive?

    Not necessarily. A student’s conduct record is considered to be a part of the student’s educational record and therefore is protected to the student under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Under FERPA, conduct records may not be released or disclosed without the expressed written permission of the student whose conduct record is being sought, unless provided by law.

  • Why are you going to notify my parents of my alcohol (or drug) violation?

    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act permits institutions of higher education to notify parents/guardians of students who are under the age of 21 if their student has been found responsible for violating institutional policy related to alcohol and other drugs. Western Michigan University has adopted the practice of parent notification. Parent Notification is usually given as one of the a sanction(s) when a student, under the age of 21, is found responsible for violation of the alcohol/drug policies contained in the WMU Student Code.

    The goals of parental notification include:

    • Reducing alcohol/other drug use by WMU students.
    • Engaging parents in dialogue about their student’s behavior related to alcohol/drugs.
    • Assisting students and the WMU community in understanding that WMU takes underage alcohol/drug use seriously.
  • If I am involved in an incident that occurs off campus, will I be charged for violating the Student Code?

    Possibly. Generally, University jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct which occurs on University premises. The University may take action in off-campus situations involving: student misconduct demonstrating flagrant disregard for any person or persons; or when a student’s or student organization’s behavior is judged to threaten the health, safety, and/or University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives.

    Additional/detailed information can be found in the Student Code, information about jurisdiction can be found on page 11. The Student Code is WMU’s official description of expectations for students and the student conduct process; it will be the guiding document for any questions/concerns about student conduct policies or processes.

  • My case is going to a hearing. What can I expect?

    A conduct hearing is the opportunity for a student who has allegedly violated the Student Code to discuss the incident with a hearing body. The student describes the incident in which they played a certain role and the hearing officer asks questions. The hearing body determines responsibility or lack thereof based on a preponderance of evidence. If a student is found to be responsible, the hearing body may also determine the appropriate sanction(s).

    More information about the student conduct process is available here.

  • Can I hire an attorney to represent me at the hearing?

    If the case goes to a hearing a student is afforded the opportunity to be assisted by a support person of their own choosing and expense. Please be advised: The support person is not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a hearing body. All communications related to the case (before, during and after a hearing) shall be directed to the accused student and not to any support person.

  • How is a student conduct process different from the criminal process?

    The Legal Process:

    The Conduct Process:

    - You, me, and that person walking down the street

    - WMU students (defined in the code) - higher expectation!

    - Judges, courts, legal terminology

    - WMU faculty and staff and conduct terminology

    - Prosecutor v. Defendant

    - Complainant v. Respondent

    - Guilty v. Innocent

    - Responsible v. Not Responsible

    - "Beyond a reasonable doubt"

    - "Preponderance of the evidence"
           * More likely than not      

    - Public records

    - Private Records

    - Often punitive

     - Educational and safety oriented sanctioning

  • Will there be a student conduct record maintained if I am found not responsible for a violation?

    Student Rights and Responsibilities maintains internal records of all reports/resolutions. A finding of not responsible would not be reported in requests for student conduct records. Only findings of responsibility are reported as policy violations. During student conduct records checks/requests.