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Article IV: Proscribed Conduct

A. Jurisdiction of the University

Generally, the Student Code shall apply to conduct which occurs on University premises and at University sponsored activities. The University may take action in off-campus situations involving 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 property of any individual or group; or any other activity which adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. The appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee, shall decide, on a case by case basis, whether the Student Code shall be applied to conduct occurring off-campus. The Student Code shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from the University while a conduct matter is pending. The Student Code does apply at Western Michigan University branch and overseas campuses. In the event a Student Code violation occurs at a location off of University premises, it may not be feasible or practical to follow the procedures outlined in this Student Code. Therefore, the University reserves the right to take those actions which are necessary for the safe and orderly maintenance of its programs and relationships with others.

B. Conduct Policies

Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to conduct sanctions outlined in Article IV:

  1. Academic misconduct – Including but not limited to the following: Cheating, fabrication, falsification, forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity, or other forms of academic dishonesty. (These violations are defined by the academic community, recommended by the Faculty Senate, adopted by the Board of Trustees and are described in the Undergraduate and Graduate catalogs. The procedures for adjudicating this type of violation are also contained in the academic catalogs.)
  2. Alcohol use or possession – Including but not limited to public intoxication, use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as expressly permitted by law and University regulations.
  3. Credit card misuse – The unauthorized use of another’s credit card, debit card, charge card, secured card, smart card or any other instrument of credit.
  4. Dishonesty – Including but not limited to the following:
    1. Furnishing false information to any University official, faculty member, or office.
    2. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, account, computer account, or instrument of identification.
    3. Tampering with an election conducted by any Western Michigan University Registered Student Organization.
    4. Acting as an agent of the University without authorization.
  5. Disruptive behavior – Behavior by any student, in class or out of class, which for any reason materially disrupts the class work of others, involves substantial disorder, invades the rights of others, or otherwise disrupts the regular and essential operation of the University. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    1. Disruption, or interference which impedes, impairs or obstructs teaching, research, administration, conduct proceedings, other University missions, processes, or functions including public-service functions or other authorized University or non-University activities when the conduct occurs on University premises.
    2. Participation in a campus demonstration which disrupts the normal operation of the University and/or infringes on the rights of other members of the University community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; or intentional obstruction which unreasonably interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus or other University property.
    3. Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on University premises or at University-sponsored or supervised functions.
    4. Conduct which is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on University premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in, by the University or members of the academic community. Disorderly conduct includes but is not limited to: any unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio or video/digital record of any person without her/his knowledge, or without her/his effective consent when such a recording is likely to cause injury or distress. This includes but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in an athletic facility, locker room, or restroom.
  6. Drug possession or use – Use, possession, exchange, manufacturing, or distribution of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, other controlled substances and/or paraphernalia, except as expressly permitted by law.

    The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 (MMMA) notwithstanding, WMU is subject to the Federal Drug-Free workplace Act of 1988 and the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act amendment of 1989, both of which prohibit controlled substances on campus, including marijuana. The use or possession of medical marijuana is not permitted within the residence halls or apartments.

  7. Entry or use – Entry into or use of University premises or property, or remaining in any area on University premises which is unauthorized.
  8. Failure to comply – Failure to comply with direction of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties.
  9. Fire or safety equipment misuse – Tampering with or misuse of fire or any other safety equipment, or disregarding, circumventing, or disabling any security or safety device or system.
  10. Hazing – Any act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person, embarrasses, frightens, or degrades a person or which destroys or removes public/private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership, in a group, organization/team. The expressed or implied consent of the alleged person against whom the actions have been taken will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations of this rule.
  11. Identification misuse – The use of another person’s identity, password, identification number, University identification card or any other identification card; or assisting another to misuse any identity, password, identification number, University identification card or any other identification card.
  12. Conduct system abuse – Including but not limited to:
    1. Failure to set up and/or attend an appointment when directed to do so by a University official.
    2. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a conduct body.
    3. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a conduct proceeding.
    4. Initiation of a conduct proceeding when one knows or reasonably should have known that the proceeding was without cause.
    5. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the conduct system.
    6. Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a conduct body prior to, and/or during the course of, the conduct proceeding.
    7. Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a conduct body, complainant, or corroborator, prior to, during, and/or after a conduct proceeding.
    8. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code. A student who fails to complete any sanctions imposed upon her/him by the deadline imposed by the conduct body, is not eligible to register for classes, receive financial aid, receive a diploma, or obtain any transcripts (official or unofficial) until she/he complies with the terms of the original sanctions and any additional sanctions imposed due to the failure to complete the original sanctions in a timely manner.
    9. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the conduct system.
  13. Obscene or harassing communication – including but not limited to: Making obscene or harassing telephone calls, sending obscene or harassing letters, email, or using any medium to communicate in an obscene or harassing manner.
  14. Physical or verbal abuse – Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health, well-being, or safety of any person.
  15. Sexual misconduct – Any form of sexual activity or sexual contact, including sexual harassment (see Appendix C for additional resources), which is unwanted, that occurs as a result of intimidation, threat of force, use of force, or other coercive behavior or occurs without consent. Examples include but are not limited to circumstances where consent is expressed but ruled invalid due to coercion; and/or, circumstances where consent is expressed but ruled invalid due to incapacitation and/or physical helplessness.
  16. Telecommunication process/procedure misuse – The unauthorized use of another person’s cell phone, phone card, telephone credit card, or the unauthorized acceptance of collect telephone calls.
  17. Unauthorized use/destruction/defacing of property – Attempted or actual removal of, use of, and/or damage to property of the University or property of another or the removal of other personal or public property without proper authorization. Leaving or placing unauthorized materials on University property or defacing University property is also prohibited.
  18. Unauthorized use or other abuse of University computing resources – including but not limited to the following:
    1. Any attempt to breach or the actual breach of network or computer security.
    2. Unauthorized entry into a file, to use, read, delete, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
    3. Unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted computer software or other materials.
    4. Unauthorized transfer of a file.
    5. Use, or attempted use, of another person’s identification and/or password or assisting another to misuse any identification or password.
    6. Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member, University official, or any other member of the University community.
    7. Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.
    8. Use of computing facilities to send unauthorized mass emailing or chain mail.
    9. Use of computing facilities to interfere with normal operation of any University computing system network.
    10. Use of computing facilities/resources to violate any campus policy or rule to violate any local, state or federal law. (see for a complete description of all computing policies.)
  19. Unauthorized key possession or use – Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys, key cards, or other access or security devices.
  20. Unauthorized posting – Placing of notices, posters, signs, handbills, etc. anywhere on University premises and/or through university resources without proper authorization.
  21. Violation of the law – Violation of federal, state, or local law on University premises or at University sponsored or supervised activities or that which is in the jurisdiction of the University.
  22. Violation of University policy – Violation of any University policy, rule or regulation published in hard copy or available electronically via the University website; and/or any attempt to commit prohibited activities defined herein; and/or enticing or inciting others to commit prohibited activities defined herein, and/or conspiring to perform any prohibited activities defined herein; and/or any other conduct which adversely affects the student’s suitability as a member of the University community.
  23. Weapon possession or use – The possession, use or storage of firearms, explosives, other lethal and non-lethal weapons, dangerous chemicals or compounds is prohibited on University owned or controlled premises and at University sponsored events without authorization from the appropriate University official. Using or possessing a weapon, even with proper authorization, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear in others, or is otherwise in violation of the Weapons on Campus Policy contained in the Registered Student Organization Handbook, is also prohibited. Weapons may include but are not limited to pellet guns, BB guns, paint ball guns, nun chucks, throwing stars, bows and arrows, knives, firecrackers and ammunition.

C. Violation of Law and University Conduct

  1. University conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law, which may also constitute a violation of the WMU Student Code. Proceedings under the WMU Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneous to, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus at the sole discretion of the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee. Conduct proceedings will be carried out independent of any off-campus proceedings. Determinations made or sanctions imposed under the Student Code shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of University rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor or against the criminal law defendant.
  2. If a student is charged only with an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local laws, but not with any other violation of the WMU Student Code, conduct action may be taken and sanctions imposed. In such cases, no sanction may be imposed unless the student has been found guilty in a court of law, has declined to contest such charges, although not actually admitting guilt (e.g., “no contest” or nolo contendere) or where a conviction results from plea bargaining which is accepted by the court of competent jurisdiction.
  3. When federal, state, or local authorities charge a student with a violation of law, the University will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of her/his status as a student. If the alleged offense is also being processed through the Student Code, the University may advise off-campus authorities of the existence of the Student Code and of how such matters will be handled internally within the University community.

The University is committed to cooperating fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of violations of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators (provided that the conditions do not conflict with campus rules or sanctions.) Individual students and faculty members, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with governmental representatives, as they deem appropriate.