Disciplinary Response to Misconduct
(See the current Student Handbook for detailed information on Western’s Student Conduct Process)
Students who violate Western Colorado University’s standards of conduct are subject to disciplinary action. The administration of this action shall provide procedural fairness to an accused student or recognized student organization. The procedure will afford an appropriate process, which will be educational and developmental in nature.
The process for conduct actions begins with documentation by a Resident Advisor, Campus Security Guard, other University personnel or a Gunnison Police Department Incident Report. Appeals in any student conduct issue will be referred to a higher authority. The final level of appeals for any issue relating to student conduct is the Vice President for Student Affairs, who will serve as the final conduct authority.
General Overall of the Conduct Process – What to Expect?
(This overview gives a general idea of how the University campus conduct proceedings work. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of University rules).
In order that a student is guaranteed due process and a fair conduct meeting, the following steps will be followed:
- Informal Conduct Resolutions may be used for Level 1 conduct violations (see chart for examples) and may be issued with or without an official conduct meeting. Notification may be made in writing or verbally.
- Formal Conduct Resolutions
When a preliminary inquiry is held, the possible outcomes include:
- A decision not to pursue the allegation based on a lack of or insufficient evidence. The matter should be closed and records should so indicate;
- A decision on the allegation, also known as an informal or a formal administrative resolution to an uncontested allegation. If the student accepts responsibility for a policy violation, this will be considered an uncontested allegation. In an uncontested violation the conduct process will move directly to the sanctioning process. In an uncontested case, only the sanction may be appealed as follows, the conduct sanction(s) is not reasonable to the misconduct determination of responsibility.
A decision to proceed with additional investigation and/or referral for a formal administrative student contested resolution as follows:
- Alleged policy violations are made in writing via campus email. This notice will include the allegation, date, time, place and name of the conduct officer(s) (Conduct meetings may be heard by a three (3) member conduct panel comprised of Western faculty and staff).
- A Student Conduct Meeting will be scheduled within ten business days of the written notice.
- If a student does not attend the conduct meeting, a decision of responsibility and any sanctions may be made by the conduct officer(s) with the information available at the time of the scheduled meeting.
- Any student participating in the Formal Conduct process, may have an advisor of choice attend any conduct meetings or interviews. The advisor, including legal counsel, may not speak on the student’s behalf, but may only advise the student.
Appeals must be filed in writing, using the Student Conduct Appeal Form which may be obtained from the conduct officer, or on the Student Conduct webpage, to the administrator designated as the Appeal Officer(s) within three (3) business days of the decision of the Conduct Officer(s)/Conduct Panel.
Appeals for sexual misconduct determinations/sanctions are to be delivered to the Title IX Administrator who will then assign the appeal to an appeal panel.
Appeals will only be granted consideration based upon one or more of the following reasons: 1) new information, not available at the first conduct meeting, pertaining to the case can be produced, 2) due process as delineated in the Conduct Response to Misconduct (Student Handbook) has not been followed, 3) the conduct sanction(s) is not reasonable to the misconduct determination of responsibility.
Appeals are NOT a new conduct meeting/hearing but will address only the specific appeal made by the sanctioned student.
- The Preponderance of Evidence is the official standard of evidence used in all University conduct proceedings. The Preponderance of Evidence is defined as just enough testimony and information to make it more likely than not that the fact sought to be proven is true. This preponderance is based on the more convincing information and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of information.
- Sexual Misconduct
For information concerning the University’s response to Sexual Misconduct (Title IX), please visit our Title IX / Sexual Harassment & Discrimination Policies page.