The Investigation Procedure
The Director of Student Conduct shall be responsible for investigating reports involving student-to-student concerns by utilizing the following:
A student who is alleged to have violated Student Code of Conduct is entitled to certain procedural rights to insure a fair conference of information is provided. These rights also apply to those students representing student organizations charged with violations of Student Code of Conduct.
Both the complainant and the respondent will be:
I. Provided periodic status updates regarding the investigation;
II. Receive notification of the outcome;
III. Be informed of his/her right to appeal.
The Director of Student Conduct will provide both the complainant and the respondent with information concerning counseling or emotional support.
The Director of Student Conduct will establish contact with the respondent as soon as possible following the report.
The Director of Student Conduct will have notified the student(s) in writing as to the time and place of the conference to be held by the University Disciplinary Committee (UDC)-(see below) for student conduct matters, the nature of the problem or charge, and the information against the student(s).
Preponderance of evidence:
This is the standard of proof used in the WKU Conduct Process. For a student to be found responsible for a violation, the information must indicate that it is more likely than not that the violation occurred. This is very different from the criminal court system.
Preponderance is the standard is necessary to ensure a fair and equitable conduct process.
Receipt of a Report:
The Director of Student Conduct will review all (Incident Reports, Complaints, Police Reports, written notices or indictments) upon it being sent to the Office of Student Conduct. After a report is received in the Office of Student Conduct, an email is sent to the student(s) or student organization(s) involved in the incident. The email indicates which policies the student(s) or student organization may have violated, and the time and date of the conference. A notification will be sent to all students included in the report. Students will receive an email detailing when and where their conference will take place, and which Student Code of Conduct should be reviewed in preparation for the meeting. At the conference, the student will be able to describe their version of the alleged events and learn the outcome.
Why do I have a hold on my account?
If there is the potential that a policy was violated during the incident, the student is looked up in Banner and TopNet to verify student status, a hold is placed on their student account and a file is created. All holds are removed subject to the outcome of the conference.
What does the conference mean?
There is also an overview of the rights and responsibilities which will be afforded to every participant in the student conduct process. In the student file are copies of the report which indicates the names of the referral agent(s) and provides a narrative description of the alleged activities which substantiate the notification. It is important that the student thoroughly reviews the policies and incident description. Decisions made regarding any potential policy violations will solely be based on what takes place at the conference. Cases will be heard through informal discussion, or meetings with the complainant and respondent student.
The Director of Student Conduct will evaluate and consider mechanisms for remedies which address both individual and community safety, including but not limited to implementation of no contact orders, academic support, and adjustment of academic schedules or living arrangements.
A University committee for student conduct matters has been established by action of the Board of Regents of Western Kentucky University in accordance with the Kentucky Revised Statutes which authorize the Board of Regents to invest the faculty/staff or a committee of the faculty/staff with the power to suspend or expel any student for severe violations of the WKU Student Code of Conduct or a gross disregard for the civil rights of others in the campus community. Therefore, this Committee will consider all cases involving sanctions of suspension and expulsion.
Notification to the student(s) shall be made at least three days before the conference is held. The student will meet with the Director or his/her designee to discuss the UDC process and sign a conference consent form. In the student's absence, a written report of facts related to the case and all related documents will be presented and reviewed by the UDC. A decision will be made as to whether or not a violation of misconduct occurred and an appropriate sanction will be levied at that time.
The Director and other persons on the staff shall provide the committee with a written report facts related to the case.
If so desired, the student(s) may be accompanied at the conference by a WKU faculty, staff, fellow student, or any third party approved by the University. Written approval must be secured at least three working days prior to the conference.
Persons accompanying the student may advise, but not represent and/or address the UDC in any fashion without permission from the UDC Chairperson.
Due to the delicate nature of the conference and because of the need to protect confidential records and the alleged victim, these meetings shall be otherwise closed.
Outcome and Corrective action:
If the respondent of the sexual misconduct/assault is a WKU student, the provisions of the student conduct process will apply, and may include disciplinary action ranging from Behavior Agreement to Expulsion if the respondent is found to be responsible of violation of this policy.
Appeals may only be filed in the event:
1. To determine whether the original conference was conducted fairly and in accordance with the Office of Student Conduct outcome determination and procedures.
2. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on substantial information to determine the preponderance of evidence and/or the level of responsibility. This is not information you chose not to share or obtain prior to the conference.
3. To determine whether any outcome imposed (suspension, expulsion or denial of housing/network access) were appropriate and not unduly harsh for the violation(s) set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.
4. If you are the complaining student in a sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct case. For sexual misconduct and/or sexual harassment cases both the complainant and the charged student can file an appeal regardless of the outcome. Both students have the same grounds to appeal and the same time frame in which to submit an appeal.
*An appeal cannot be filed simply because you are unhappy with the decision.
A student who files an appeal must do so in writing to the appropriate reviewer:
Students who wish to appeal the judicial outcome of the Residence Life Staff must submit a written appeal to the Assistant Director of Residence Life within five business days following the decision.
Students who wish to appeal the outcome of the Director of Student Condcut must submit a written appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs within five business days following the decision.
Students who wish to appeal the outcome of the University Disciplinary Committee must submit a written appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs. If the Vice President for Student Affairs upholds the outcome of suspension, expulsion or separation, an appeal may be made to the President of the University. In the event the President considers the outcome to be inconsistent with the ethical principles and standard of conduct of the University community, the President may request that the case be reopened and reheard by the University Disciplinary Committee. If the President upholds the outcome of suspension or expulsion, an appeal may be made to the Board of Regents. The decision of the Board of Regents is final.
It is the position of The Office of Student Conduct that among the violations of misconduct considered to be of an especially serious nature are those that represent a threat to the safety and health of members of the University Community. These include but are not limited too, harassment, physical violence or threat of violence, non-consensual sexual contact, rape or any form of sexual violence.