WSU Tri-Cities Student Services

Student Conduct & Accountability

Student Conduct Code Procedures

WAC 504-26-401 Complaints and student conduct process.

(1) Any member of the university community may file a complaint against a student for violations of the standards of conduct for students. A complaint is prepared in writing and directed to a student conduct officer. Any complaint is to be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within thirty days.

(2) A student conduct officer, or designee, may review and investigate any complaint to determine whether it appears to state a violation of the standards of conduct for students. If a conduct officer determines that a complaint appears to state a violation of the standards of conduct, she or he considers whether the matter might be resolved through agreement with the accused or through alternative dispute resolution proceedings involving the complainant and the accused. The complainant and the accused are informed of university options for alternative dispute resolution and may request that the matter be addressed using alternative dispute resolution techniques. Generally, the accused and complainant must agree to the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques. If the accused and the student conduct officer reach an agreed resolution of the complaint, the disposition is final; there is no right to appeal from an agreed disposition.

(3) If the conduct officer has determined that a complaint has merit and if the matter is not resolved through agreement or alternative dispute resolution, the matter is handled through either a conduct officer hearing or as a university conduct board hearing.

(a) When the allegation involves harm or threat of harm to any person or person's property and the accused disputes the facts and/or denies responsibility, the matter may be referred to the university conduct board for resolution.

(b) If the possible or recommended sanction is expulsion or suspension, the matter is referred to the university conduct board.

(c) Matters other than those listed in (a) and (b) of this subsection are heard by a conduct officer, unless the conduct officer exercises his or her discretion to refer the matter to a conduct board at any time before a decision is issued. A student may request that a conduct board hear the case, but the final decision to refer the matter to the university conduct board for hearing is made by the university conduct officer and such decision is not subject to appeal.

(4) The student conduct officer provides complainants who have been targets of alleged misconduct or who feel victimized thereby with names of university and community advocates or resources who may be able to help the complainant address his or her concerns about the behaviors and provide support to the complainant throughout the conduct process. Upon request, a university advisor from the office of the dean of students is available to the complainant and the accused student to assist in understanding the student conduct process. Due to federal privacy law, the university may not disclose to the complainant any sanctions taken against the accused student, unless the complainant was the victim of a violent crime for which the accused was found responsible as defined under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), or the accused student consents to such disclosure.

WAC 504-26-402 Conduct officer actions.

(1) Any student charged by a conduct officer with a violation of any provision of standards of conduct for students is notified of the basis for the charge or charges and of the time, date, and place of a conference between the student and the conduct officer through one of the following procedures.

(a) The conduct officer provides notice by personal delivery or by regular United States mail addressed to the student or student organization at his, her, or its last known address. Duplicate notice may be provided by electronic mail.

(b) If the student is no longer enrolled at the time notice is sent, the notice is sent to the student's permanent address recorded in the registrar's files. The student or student organization is responsible for maintaining an updated mailing address on file with the registrar.

(c) Any request to extend the time and/or date of the conduct officer conference/hearing should be addressed to the conduct officer.

(2) In order that any informality in disciplinary proceedings not mislead a student as to the seriousness of the matter under consideration, the student is informed of the potential sanctions involved at the initial conference or hearing.

(3) After a review of the evidence and interviewing the student(s) involved in the case, the conduct officer may take any of the following actions:

(a) Terminate the proceeding, thereby exonerating the student or students;

(b) Dismiss the case;

(c) Impose appropriate sanctions as provided in WAC 504-26-405. Such sanctions are subject to the student's right of appeal as provided in these standards of conduct; or

(d) Refer the matter to the university conduct board pursuant to WAC 504-26-401(3).

(4) The conduct officer may consider the student's past contacts with the office of student standards and accountability in determining an appropriate sanction and/or deciding whether to refer the case for a university conduct board hearing.

(5) The student is notified in writing of the determination made by the conduct officer within ten business days of the proceeding. The notice includes information regarding the student's right to appeal pursuant to WAC 504-26-407.

WAC 504-26-403 Conduct board proceedings.

(1) Any student charged by a conduct officer with a violation of any provision of standards of conduct for students that is to be heard by a conduct board is provided notice by personal delivery or by regular United States mail addressed to the student or student organization at her, his, or its last known address.

(a) If the student is no longer enrolled at the time notice is sent, the notice is sent to the student's permanent address recorded in the registrar's files.

(b) The student or student organization is responsible for keeping an updated mailing address on file with the registrar.

(2) The written notice shall be completed by the conduct officer and shall include:

(a) The specific complaint, including the university policy or regulation allegedly violated;

(b) The approximate time and place of the alleged act that forms the factual basis for the charge of violation;

(c) The time, date, and place of the hearing;

(d) A list of the witnesses who may be called to testify, to the extent known;

(e) A description of all documentary and real evidence to be used at the hearing, to the extent known, including a statement that the student shall have the right to inspect his or her student conduct file.

(3) Time for hearings.

(a) The conduct board hearing is scheduled not less than seven days after the student has been sent notice of the hearing, except in the case of interim suspensions as set forth in WAC 504-26-406. Ordinarily, the hearing occurs within fifteen days of notice.

(b) Requests to extend the time and/or date for hearing must be addressed to the chair of the university conduct board. Requests made by an accused student must be copied to the office of student standards and accountability; requests made by the office of student standards and accountability must be copied to the accused student. A request for extension of time is granted only upon a showing of good cause.

(4) University conduct board hearings are conducted by a university conduct board. A goal of the hearing is to have an educational tone and to avoid creation of an unduly adversarial environment. The hearings are conducted according to the following guidelines, except as provided by subsection (6) of this section:

(a) Procedures:

(i) University conduct board hearings are conducted in private.

(ii) The complainant, accused student, and his or her advisor, if any, are allowed to attend the entire portion of the university conduct board hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the university conduct board hearing is at the discretion of the university conduct board chair and/or the student conduct officer.

(iii) In university conduct board hearings involving more than one accused student, the student conduct officer, at his or her discretion, may permit joint or separate hearings.

(iv) In university conduct board hearings involving graduate students, board memberships are comprised to include graduate students and graduate teaching faculty to the extent possible.

(v) The complainant and the accused student have the right to be assisted by an advisor they choose, at their own expense. Upon request, a university advisor from the office of the dean of students is available to the complainant and the accused student to assist them in understanding the student conduct process. The complainant and/or the accused student is responsible for presenting his or her own information, and therefore, during the hearing, advisors are not permitted to address the board, witnesses, conduct officers or any party or representatives invited by the parties to the hearing, or to participate directly in any university conduct hearing. An advisor may communicate with the accused and recesses may be allowed for this purpose. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the university conduct board hearing because delays are not normally allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.

(vi) The complainant, the accused student, and the student conduct officer may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information to the university conduct board. The conduct officer tries to arrange the attendance of possible witnesses who are identified by the complainant. Complainant witnesses must provide written statements to the conduct officer at least two weekdays prior to the hearing. Witnesses identified by the accused student must provide written statements to the conduct officer at least two weekdays prior to the conduct hearing. The accused student is responsible for informing his or her witnesses of the time and place of the hearing. Witnesses provide information to and answer questions from the university conduct board. Questions may be suggested by the accused student and/or complainant to be answered by each other or by other witnesses. Written questions are directed to the conduct board chair, rather than to the witness directly. This method is used to preserve the educational tone of the hearing and to avoid creation of an unduly adversarial environment, and to allow the board chair to determine the relevancy of questions. Questions concerning whether potential information may be received are resolved at the discretion of the chair of the university conduct board.

(vii) Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements (including student impact statements) may be accepted as information for consideration by a university conduct board at the discretion of the chair.

(viii) Questions related to the order of the proceedings are subject to the final decision of the chair of the university conduct board.

(ix) After the portion of the university conduct board hearing concludes in which all pertinent information is received, the university conduct board shall determine (by majority vote) whether the accused student has violated each section of the standards of conduct for students as charged.

(x) The university conduct board's determination is made on the basis of a "preponderance of the evidence," that is, whether it is more likely than not that the accused student violated the standards of conduct for students.

(xi) Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in conduct proceedings. Relevant evidence, including hearsay, is admissible if it is the type of evidence that reasonable members of the university community would rely upon in the conduct of their affairs. The chair of the university conduct board shall have the discretion to determine admissibility of evidence.

(b) If the accused student is found responsible for any of the charges brought against the accused, the board may, at that time, consider the student's past contacts with the office of student standards and accountability in determining an appropriate sanction.

(c) The accused student or student organization is notified of the conduct board's decision within ten calendar days from the date the matter is heard. The accused student or organization shall receive written notice of the decision, the reasons for the decision (both the factual basis therefore and the conclusions as to how those facts apply to the standards of conduct for students), the sanction, notice that the order will become final unless internal appeal is filed within twenty-one days of the date the letter was personally delivered or deposited in the U.S. mail, and a statement of how to file an appeal.

(i) The conduct board's written decision is sent by regular mail or personal delivery, and may also be sent by electronic mail to the accused student's or the president of the student organization's last known address, as set forth in the registrar's files.

(ii) The written decision is the university's initial order.

(iii) If the student or organization does not appeal the conduct board's decision within twenty-one calendar days from the date of the decision letter, it becomes the university's final order.

(5) There is a single verbatim record, such as an audio record, of all university conduct board hearings (not including deliberations). Deliberations are not recorded. The record is the property of the university.

(6) If an accused student to whom notice of the hearing has been sent (in the manner provided above) does not appear before a university conduct board hearing, the information in support of the complaint is presented and considered in his or her absence, and the board may issue a decision based upon that information.

(7) The university conduct board may for convenience or to accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused student, and/or other witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, audio tape, written statement, or other means, as determined in the sole judgment of the vice-president for student affairs or designee to be appropriate.

WAC 504-26-404 Procedure for academic integrity violations.

(1) Initial hearing.

(a) When a responsible instructor finds that a violation of academic integrity has occurred, the instructor shall assemble the evidence and, upon reasonable notice to the student of the date, time, and nature of the allegations, meet with the student suspected of violating academic integrity policies. If the student admits violating academic integrity policies, the instructor assigns an outcome in keeping with published course policies and notifies the office of student standards and accountability in writing of the allegations, the student's admission, and the sanctions imposed.

(b) If the instructor is unable to meet with the student or if the accused student disputes the allegation(s) and/or the outcome proposed by the instructor, the instructor shall make a determination as to whether the student did or did not violate the academic integrity policy. If the instructor finds that the student was in violation, the instructor shall provide the student and the office of student standards and accountability with a written determination, the evidence relied upon, and the sanctions imposed.

(c) The student has twenty-one days from the date of the decision letter to request a review of the instructor's determination and/or sanction(s) imposed to the academic integrity hearing board.

(2) Review.

(a) Upon timely request for review by a student who has been found by his or her instructor to have violated the academic integrity policy, the academic integrity hearing board shall make a separate and independent determination of whether or not the student is responsible for violating the academic integrity policy and/or whether the outcome proposed by the instructor is in keeping with the instructor's published course policies.

(b) The academic integrity hearing board is empowered to provide an appropriate remedy for a student including arranging a withdrawal from the course, having the student's work evaluated, or changing a grade where it finds that:

(i) The student is not responsible for violating academic integrity policies; or

(ii) The outcome imposed by the instructor violates the instructor's published policies.

(c) Students who appear before the academic integrity board shall have the same rights to notice and to conduct a defense as enumerated in WAC 504-26-403 except:

(i) Notice of hearing and written orders shall be sent to the address provided by the student in the student's request for review (unless an address is not provided therein); and

(ii) The written decision of the academic integrity hearing board is the university's final order. There is no appeal from findings of responsibility or outcomes assigned by university or college academic integrity hearing boards.

(3) If the reported violation is the student's first offense, the office of student standards and accountability ordinarily requires the student to attend a workshop separate from, and in addition to, any academic outcomes imposed by the instructor. A hold is placed on the student's record preventing registration or graduation until completion of the workshop.

(4) If the reported violation is the student's second offense, the student is ordinarily required to appear before a university conduct board with a recommendation that the student be dismissed from the university.

(5) If the instructor or academic integrity hearing board determines that the act of academic dishonesty for which the student is found responsible is particularly egregious in light of all attendant circumstances, the instructor or academic integrity hearing board may direct that the student's case be heard by the university conduct board with a recommendation for dismissal from the university even if it is the student's first offense.

(6) Because instructors and departments have a legitimate educational interest in the outcomes, reports of academic integrity hearing board and/or conduct board hearings shall be reported to the responsible instructor and the chair or dean.

WAC 504-26-405 Sanctions.

(1) The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the standards of conduct for students:

(a) Warning. A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations.

(b) Probation. Formal action placing conditions upon the student's continued attendance at the university. Probation is for a designated period of time and warns the student that suspension or expulsion may be imposed if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) or fails to complete his or her conditions of probation during the probationary period. A student on probation is not eligible to run for or hold an office in any student group or organization; she or he is not eligible for certain jobs on campus, including but not limited to resident advisor or orientation counselor, and she or he is not eligible to serve on the university conduct board.

(c) Loss of privileges. Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.

(d) Restitution. Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.

(e) Education. The university may require the student to successfully complete an educational project designed to create an awareness of the student's misconduct.

(f) Community service. Imposition of service hours (not to exceed eighty hours per student or per member of an organization).

(g) Residence hall suspension. Separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student may be eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

(h) Residence hall expulsion. Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.

(i) University suspension. Separation of the student from the university for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to request readmission. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

(j) University expulsion. Permanent separation of the student from the university. Also referred to as university dismissal. The terms are used interchangeably throughout this chapter.

(k) Revocation of admission and/or degree. Admission to or a degree awarded from the university may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of law or university standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.

(l) Withholding degree. The university may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in the standards of conduct for students, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.

(m) Trespass. A student may be restricted from any or all university premises based on his or her misconduct.

(n) Loss of recognition. A student organization's recognition may be withheld permanently or for a specific period of time. A fraternity or sorority may be prohibited from housing freshmen. Loss of recognition is defined as withholding university services, privileges or administrative approval from a student organization. Services, privileges and approval to be withdrawn include, but are not limited to, intramural sports (although individual members may participate), information technology services, university facility use and rental, campus involvement office organizational activities, and Office of Greek life advising.

(o) Hold on transcript and/or registration. A hold restricts release of a student's transcript or access to registration until satisfactory completion of conditions or sanctions imposed by a student conduct officer or university conduct board. Upon proof of satisfactory completion of the conditions or sanctions, the hold is released.

(p) No contact order. A prohibition of direct or indirect physical, verbal, and/or written contact with another individual or group.

(2) More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

(3) In determining an appropriate sanction for a violation of the standards of conduct for students, a student's or student organization's past contacts with the office of student standards and accountability may be considered.

(4) Other than university expulsion or revocation or withholding of a degree, disciplinary sanctions are not made part of the student's permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student's disciplinary record.

(5) In cases heard by university conduct boards, sanctions are determined by that board. The student conduct officer has the authority to assign sanctions in any conduct officer hearing.

(6) Academic integrity violations.

(a) No credit need be given for work that is not the student's own. Thus, in academic integrity violations, the responsible instructor has the authority to assign a grade and/or educational sanction in accordance with the expectations set forth in the relevant course syllabus. The instructor's choices may include, but are not limited to, assigning a grade of F for the assignment and/or assigning an educational sanction such as extra or replacement assignments, quizzes, or tests, or assigning a grade of F for the course.

WAC 504-26-406 Interim suspension.

In certain circumstances, the vice-president for student affairs, or a designee, may impose an interim suspension prior to the university conduct board hearing or at any time prior to the university's final order.

(1) Interim suspension may be imposed only in situations involving an immediate danger to the health, safety or welfare of:

(a) Any part of the university community or public at large; or

(b) The student's own physical safety and well-being.

(2) Conduct that creates an ongoing disruption of, or interference with, the operations of the university and that prevents other students, employees, or invitees from members of the university community from completing their duties as employees or students, is conduct harmful to the welfare of members of the university community.

(3) During the interim suspension, a student may be denied access to the residence halls, and/or to the campus (including classes), and/or all other university activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the vice-president for student affairs or designee may determine to be appropriate.

(4) The vice-president for student affairs or designee ordering an interim suspension prepares a brief written decision containing the reasons for the decision (both the factual basis and the conclusions as to why those facts constitute a violation of the standards of conduct for students), and the policy reasons for the interim suspension. The vice-president of student affairs or designee sends copies of the decision by personal delivery or by U.S. mail to all persons or offices bound by it (including, at a minimum, the suspended student and the office of student standards and accountability).

(5) The interim suspension does not replace the regular hearing process, which shall proceed to hearing as quickly as feasible, ordinarily within five working days of the notice of the interim suspension where the accused student has not consented to a longer time frame.

WAC 504-26-407 Review of decision.

(1) A decision reached by the university conduct board or a sanction imposed by the student conduct officer may be appealed by the accused student(s) in the manner prescribed in the decision letter containing the university's decision and sanctions. Such appeal must be made within twenty-one days of the date of the decision letter.

(a) The university president or designee, of his or her own initiative, may direct that an appeals board be convened to review a conduct board decision without notice to the parties. However, the appeals board may not take any action less favorable to the accused student(s), unless notice and an opportunity to explain the matter is first given to the accused student(s).

(b) If the accused and/or the student conduct officer or designee wish to explain their views of the matter to the appeals board they shall do so in writing.

(c) The appeals board shall make any inquiries necessary to ascertain whether the proceeding must be converted to a formal adjudicative hearing under the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW).

(2) Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal is limited to a review of the verbatim record of the university conduct board hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:

(a) To determine whether the university conduct board hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present information that the standards of conduct for students were violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures are not a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.

(b) To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on substantial information, that is, whether there were facts in the case that, if believed by the fact finder, were sufficient to establish that a violation of the standards of conduct for students occurred.

(c) To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the standards of conduct for students which the student was found to have committed.

(d) 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 university conduct board hearing.

(3) The university appeals board shall review the record and all information provided by the parties and make determinations based on the following:

(a) Affirm, reverse or modify the conduct board's decision;

(b) Affirm, reverse, or modify the sanctions imposed by the conduct board.

(4) The appeal board's decision shall be personally delivered or mailed via U. S. mail to the student. Such decision shall be delivered or mailed to the last known address of the accused student(s). It is the student's responsibility to maintain a correct and updated address with the registrar. The university appeal board's decision letter is the final order and shall advise the student or student organization that judicial review may be available. If the appeal board does not provide the student with a response within twenty days after the request for appeal is received, the request for appeal is deemed denied.

(5) The appeals board decision is effective as soon as the order is signed, except in cases involving expulsion or loss of recognition, the appeals board decision is effective ten calendar days from the date the order is signed, unless the university president or designee provides written notice of additional review as provided in subsection (6) of this section.

(6) For cases involving expulsion or loss of recognition, the university president or designee may review a decision of the appeals board by providing written notice to the student or student organization no later than ten calendar days from the date the appeals board decision is signed.

(a) This review is limited to the record and purposes stated in subsection (2) of this section.

(b) Prior to issuing a decision, the president or designee shall make any inquiries necessary to determine whether the proceeding should be converted into a formal adjudicative hearing under the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW).

(c) If the accused and/or the student conduct officer or designee wish to explain their views of the matter to the president or designee, they shall do so in writing.

(d) The president or designee's decision is in writing, includes a brief statement of the reasons for the decision, and is issued within twenty calendar days after the date of the appeals board order. The decision becomes effective as soon as it is signed and includes a notice that judicial review may be available.

(7) Students may petition to delay the date that the final order of the university becomes effective by directing a petition to the chair of the appeals board, or the president or designee, as applicable, within ten calendar days of the date the order was personally delivered to the student or placed in the U.S. mail. The chair, or the president or designee, as applicable, shall have authority to decide whether to grant or deny the request.
(8) There is no further review beyond that of the findings of responsibility or outcomes assigned by university or college academic integrity hearing boards.

ARTICLE V

RECORDS

WAC 504-26-501 Records.

(1) Standards of conduct for students records are maintained in accordance with the university's records retention schedule.

(2) The disciplinary record is confidential.

(3) A student may request a copy of his or her own disciplinary record at his or her own reasonable expense by making a written request to the office of student standards and accountability.

(4) Personally identifiable student information is redacted to protect another student's privacy.

(5) A student may authorize release of his or her own disciplinary record to a third party in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) by making a written request to the office of student standards and accountability.

(6) The university may inform the complainant of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding involving a crime of violence as defined by FERPA (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

(7) The university informs the complainant of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding alleging sexual misconduct. (34 CFR 668.46(b)(11)(vi)(B).)

(8) The university may not communicate a student's disciplinary record to any person or agency outside the university without the prior written consent of the student, except as required or permitted by law. Exceptions include but are not limited to:

(a) The student's parents or legal guardians may review these records if the student is a minor or a dependent for tax purposes as defined by FERPA (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

(b) Release to another educational institution, upon request, where the student seeks or intends to enroll, as allowed by FERPA (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).

ARTICLE VI

INTERPRETATION AND REVISION

WAC 504-26-601 Interpretations. Any question of interpretation or application of the standards of conduct for students is referred to the vice-president for student affairs or designee for final determination.

WAC 504-26-602 Periodic review. The standards of conduct for students are reviewed every three years under the direction of the student conduct officer.

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