Charges and Hearings
Any member of the University community may provide information to the Office of Student Conduct regarding an alleged violation(s) of the Student Code by a WMU student. The information shall be presented in writing and directed to the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee. Information should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within five University business days.
The appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct may conduct an investigation to determine if the information has merit and/or if the situation can be resolved administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis acceptable to the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct. Such resolution shall be final and there shall be no subsequent proceedings. If the situation cannot be resolved by mutual consent, the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee, may later serve in the same matter as the conduct body or a member thereof. If the student admits responsibility for violating University policies, but sanctions are not agreed to, subsequent processes, including a hearing if necessary, shall be limited to determining the appropriate sanctions.
Any formal charge(s) that result from information brought to the Office of Student Conduct shall be presented to the alleged violator in written form by a conduct body. Cases that are likely to result in suspension or expulsion shall be heard no sooner than 24 hours after notice to the student. All other cases shall be dealt with in a more informal manner and may be heard simultaneously with notice.
Hearings shall be conducted by a conduct body according to the following guidelines:
- The appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee shall decide hearing type for each case.
- When the choice is made to use a member within the Office of Student Conduct/or designee to hear a case, the conduct body may be expanded, at the sole discretion of the appropriate staff in the Office of Student Conduct, to a total of either three or five members, with the staff member from the Office of Student Conduct staff/or designee, serving as chairperson.
- Hearings shall be closed to the public.
- Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the
appropriate staff member in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee.
- In cases involving more than one alleged violator, the hearing concerning each student may be conducted separately or together. This determination will be made solely at the discretion of the appropriate staff member in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee.
- The person(s) bringing the information forward regarding an alleged violation(s) and the alleged violator may be assisted by one support person of her/his own choosing and at her/his own expense. Support persons are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a conduct body. All communications related to the case (before, during and after a hearing) shall be directed to the alleged violator and not to any support person.
- The person(s) bringing the information forward regarding an alleged violation(s) and the alleged violator shall provide the hearing body with a written list of corroborators or any support person at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.
- The person(s) bringing the information forward regarding an alleged violation(s), the alleged violator, and the conduct body, shall have the privilege of presenting corroborators. Corroborators are subject to questioning in an appropriate manner by the charging party, the alleged violator, and the conduct body.
- Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by a conduct body at the sole discretion of the appropriate staff within the Office of Student Conduct/or designee.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chairperson of the conduct body.
- After the hearing, the conduct body shall determine (by majority vote if the conduct body consists of more than one person) if the alleged violator is/is not responsible for violation of each section of the Student Code for which the student is charged.
- The conduct body’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether a reasonable person would conclude that it is more likely than not that the
alleged violator violated the Student Code.
- When a student is accused of engaging in sexual harassment or sexual discrimination against an individual other than another student (ex: faculty, staff, community member) the investigation regarding those allegations shall be conducted by the Office of Institutional Equity (" OIE "). OIE shall conduct the investigation and issue a finding regarding the facts and merits of the allegation. The findings shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Vice President shall determine whether sanctions are appropriate and shall determine whether to refer the case to the Office of Student Conduct for sanctions, or make the determination her/himself and impose sanctions or appoint a designee to do so.
There may be a single verbatim record, such as a digital recording, of hearings before a conduct body. This record shall be the property of the University.
Except in the case of a student charged with failing to set up or keep an appointment with a staff member in the Office of Student Conduct/or designee, no student may be found to have violated the Student Code solely because the student failed to attend a conduct hearing. In all cases, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered. The failure of a student to appear shall not preclude a hearing from proceeding.