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Washington State University Our Community Standards Process

Our Community Standards Process

 

We have provided a step-by-step guide to the community standards process. Items with a check box () indicate something that may help you along the way.  A printable, quick reference guide is available. Use the outline for the academic integrity process for incidents related to cheating, plagiarism, etc.

1.  An incident has been reported, listing you as potentially violating our community standards.

We (the Center for Community Standards) review the report and decide whether or not to proceed with initiating the community standards process. At any time, we can take immediate, interim action to support you, or anyone involved, in and out of the classroom. Examples may include re-assignment of a student's residence hall room or changes in academic schedules or assignments. Anyone filing an incident report also has unique rights as a "complainant".

If we determine there is no reason to further investigate the incident, the report is documented and the matter is closed.

If we believe there is a potential violation, we will begin the community standards process. 

2.  Your community standards process begins.

We will send you an email with information about the next steps, including your information session. We will use your WSU email address to contact you throughout the process.

When engaged in the process, we want you to know your rights and responsibilities every step of the way. Until a decision is made at your hearing, you are assumed not responsible for the reported incident. It is possible that your Conduct Officer will schedule a meeting to gather more information prior to a hearing being scheduled. These next steps will help you prepare to meet with your Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board.

Attend an information session. These are led by WSU students who are trained to clarify the community standards process from a student perspective and answer any questions you may have. These sessions help you understand your rights and responsibilities and what you can expect moving forward. For your convenience, these sessions are held in multiple locations across the Pullman campus at various times throughout the day. Sessions are available through AMS for other WSU campuses. The information session schedule can be found here.

This is a good time to reach out for support from friends, family or campus resources. A few resources you may find useful are outlined below:

⬜ Select an advisor. An advisor can help you throughout any stage of the process. This is not the same as your academic or career advisor. For your benefit, we have selected and trained WSU faculty and staff members who have volunteered to serve as advisors. You can find a list of those trained advisors here. You may also choose to have any WSU faculty or staff member, or community member serve as an advisor, as long as they are not a witness to the reported incident.

Your advisor can support you by providing advice, clarifying the process, and attending meetings and your hearing. They can contact us to get information about meeting dates, your status in the process, and assigned sanctions (if any). It’s important you know that your advisor cannot speak on your behalf or represent you as an attorney.

☐  Request disability or medically related accommodations. If you would benefit from accommodations, please contact us.

☐  Request a language interpreter. Contact us if you need an interpreter to attend meetings, your hearing, or review documents. You can request a language interpreter at any stage throughout the process.

3.  Prepare & attend your scheduled hearing.

You will receive another email with your hearing date, time, and location. You will receive this email at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing and it will state whether your hearing is with a Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board. 

  • Conduct Officer hearings

    Prepare for your Conduct Officer hearing.

    ☐  Gather your information. Sharing your information ensures that your experience is part of the conversation and recorded in the conduct file. You can provide a written statement, submit additional documentation (such as text messages, emails, phone logs, videos etc.), provide witnesses, and/or ask witnesses to contact your Conduct Officer.

    ☐  You may request a new Conduct Officer if you feel there is a conflict of interest. You must provide reasoning and submit this request at least 5 days before your scheduled hearing so the newly assigned Conduct Officer has time to review the file.

    ☐  Review all the materials and documents in your file. You can schedule an appointment to review your file by contacting us.

    ☐  If you are unable to attend your scheduled hearing, you can discuss changing your date and/or time with your Conduct Officer, preferably 24 hours prior to your hearing.

    ☐  If the reported incident occurred off-campus and you would like to challenge the jurisdiction, you must submit a jurisdiction challenge form no later than 5 calendar days after your hearing notification email was sent. Community standards of conduct apply to off campus incidents when the behavior negatively impacts the health, safety and/or values of the community.

    Attend your hearing.

    A Conduct Officer hearing is held on campus, generally between you and your Conduct Officer. These meetings are closed to the public and usually last no more than one hour. Although attending your hearing is optional, this is your opportunity to provide input before any decision is made. Together, you and your Conduct Officer will review the information that has been gathered and submitted, and discuss the reported incident and possible outcomes. If you choose not to attend your hearing, a decision will be made (based on the information available) in your absence.

    ☐  If you choose to have an advisor, invite your advisor to your hearing. They cannot speak for you, but you can take breaks during your hearing to consult with them.

    A decision is made.

    You will be notified of the decision at the end of your hearing or by email, within 10 calendar days of your hearing. Possible outcomes include:

    1. You are found not responsible for the reported incident. No further action is needed on your part.
    2. The reported incident is dismissed. You have not been found responsible, but the review of the incident can continue and can be reopened at a later date.
    3. The Conduct Officer decides that more investigation is necessary before a decision can be made. 
    4. The reported incident is referred to the Conduct Board for further review.
    5. You are found responsible and educational/disciplinary outcomes (sanctions) are assigned. A range of possible sanctions can be found here.  Remember that Conduct Officers cannot assign sanctions that suspend or expel students, revoke degrees, or revoke university recognition from a group. Only incidents that go to the Conduct Board can result in those outcomes.

  • Conduct Board hearings

    Prepare for your Conduct Board hearing.

    ☐  Gather your information. Sharing your information ensures that your experience is part of the conversation and is recorded in the conduct file. You will receive an email from the Office of Administrative Hearings that outlines how you can provide your information to the Conduct Board. The Office of Administrative Hearings is the state agency which assigns the Presiding Officer for your Conduct Board hearing.

    You may request the removal of individuals from your process if you feel there is a conflict of interest. You will need to provide reasoning for these requests and submit them on time. 

    ☐  To request a new Conduct Board Member you must submit this request at least 5 days before your scheduled Conduct Board hearing.

    ☐  To request a new Conduct Officer you must submit this request at least 5 days before your scheduled Conduct Board hearing.

    ☐  To request a new Presiding Officer, you must submit this request 3 days before your first scheduled hearing. Instructions for making this request are outlined in your hearing notification email. 

    ☐  Review the materials and documents in your file. You can schedule an appointment to review your file by contacting us.

    ☐  If you are unable to attend your scheduled hearing, you can discuss changing your date and/or time with the Presiding Officer. Their contact information was included in the email with information about your hearing.  

    ☐  If you choose to have legal representation, provide their information (name, address and phone number) to your Presiding Officer prior to your hearing. A legal representative can speak and act on your behalf. 

    ☐  If the reported incident occurred off-campus and you would like to challenge the jurisdiction, you must submit a jurisdiction challenge form no later than 5 calendar days after your hearing notification email was sent. Community Standards of conduct apply to off campus incidents when the behavior negatively impacts the health, safety and/or values of the community. 

    Attend your Conduct Board hearing.

    The Conduct Board hearing will include at least 5 Conduct Board members, the majority of which are students who are trained in the community standards process. Conduct Board hearings are located on your campus, they are closed to the public, and you can expect them to last between 2-3 hours. Although attending your hearing is optional, this allows you the opportunity to provide input before any decision is made. Together, you and the Conduct Board will review information submitted by the University, yourself (or your legal counsel) and discuss the reported incident and possible outcomes.

    If you choose not to attend your Conduct Board hearing, a decision will be made (with the information available) in your absence. The members of your Conduct Board want to ensure you know your rights and responsibilities in the process and are required to remind you of the following at the beginning of your board hearing: At this point, you are presumed “not responsible” for the reported incident, the university must find that it is “more likely than not” that the violation reported against you occurred, and you have the right to have an advisor present.

    ☐  If you choose to have an advisor, invite them to your hearing. They cannot speak for you, but you can take breaks during your hearing to consult with them.

    ☐  If you choose to have legal representation, invite them to your hearing.  

    A decision is made.

    You will be notified of the decision (by email) within 10 calendar days of your Conduct Board Hearing. Possible outcomes include:

    1. You are found not responsible for the reported incident. No further action is needed on your part.
    2. The reported incident is dismissed. You have not been found responsible, but the review of the incident can continue and can be reopened at a later date.
    3. You are found responsible and educational/disciplinary sanctions are assigned. A range of possible sanctions can be found here. A majority of Conduct Board members must agree on your responsibility and any sanctions that are assigned to you. A supermajority of board members is required if the sanction involves expulsion, revocation of degree, or loss of recognition of a recognized or registered student organization.


4. You can appeal the decision of the conduct officer or the conduct board.

Whether you have completed a hearing with a Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board, you will receive notice (by email) of the decision within 10 calendar days of the hearing. You then have the option to appeal the decision by following these steps:

☐  You may choose to submit an appeal of a conduct officer decision or a conduct board decision within 21 calendar days of the decision. You will be asked to provide reasoning for your request. 

Appeals Board members will review all the content in your file, as well as the appeals materials you have submitted. The Appeals Board can uphold the initial decision, reverse it, modify it, or send it back to the Conduct Officer or Conduct Board for additional review. The Appeals Board must respond to your Conduct Officer hearing appeal within 20 calendar days or within 30 days if it was a Conduct Board hearing.

☐  You have the option to request the Appeals Board to reconsider their decision. You must submit your request for reconsideration within 10 calendar days from receiving your Appeals Board decision.

☐  You may request to delay the effective date of sanctions. You must submit your request within 10 calendar days from receiving your Appeals Board decision.


Still have questions?

Please contact us, the Center for Community Standards, if you need help at any point.