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.
Designated Conduct Administrators shall be responsible for investigating reports for violations of the Student Code of Conduct by utilizing the following:
A student who is alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct is entitled to procedural rights to ensure a fair conference of information is provided. These rights also apply to those students representing student organizations charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
A student/organization will:
- Receive notice three (3) business days in advance of meetings and notification of the charges in writing.
- Have the right to a support person at all phases of the proceedings.
- Receive periodic status updates regarding the investigation.
- Receive notification of the outcome.
- Be informed of their right to appeal.
All students and organizations will be:
I. Recieve notification of the charges in writing
II.Provided periodic status updates regarding the investigation;
III. Receive notification of the outcome;
IV. Be informed of their right to appeal.
The Director of Student Conduct will establish contact with the charged student or organizaiton 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 Office 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.
A hold, which prevents a student from being able to register for classes and make registration changes or access enrollment and other services, such as transcripts, diplomas, etc., will be placed on a student's University account until they complete any of the following listed below:
- Schedule an appointment with the Student Conduct Administrator by the date specified in their notification email
- Attend a scheduled meeting with the Student Conduct Administrator
- Complete an assigned judicial outcome(s) by the specified deadline
To remove a hold, the student should contact the Office of Student Conduct.
What happens at a conduct conference?
At a conduct conference, students will receive an overview of the rights and responsibilities afforded to every participant in the student conduct process. Students will also be provided with a review of the report, which indicates the name(s) of the referral agent(s) and provides a narrative description of the alleged activities which substantiated the notification. It is important for a student to thoroughly review the policies and incident description. The student will have the opportunity to provide their statement surrounding the incident in question and present information/evidence that supports their statement. Decisions made regarding any potential policy violation will be based on information gathered at the conference using the Preponderance of the Evidence standard.
The Office 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.
In instances where a student is accused of violating a policy punishable by a suspension or expulsion from the institution, termination of residence in campus housing or loss of network access, interim measures may be implemented during the duration of an investigation. Following written notification of interim measures, a student will have the opportunity to participate in a Interim Measure Hearing with a third-party conduct administrator to determine whether there is substantial evidence the interim measure is appropriate. *
Disciplinary action and outcomes for finding a student responsible for a violation of policy may range from Behavior Agreement to Expulsion if found to be responsible of violation of this policy.
Incidents that involve a student or student organization accused of violating a policy punishable by a suspension or expulsion from the institution, termination of residence in campus housing or loss of network access shall be referred for a hearing following conferences(s) with the accused and, as applicable, any complainant (reporter) and witness(es) to collect information relevant to the incident. Pursuant to state law, in such instances, the adjudicator of the disciplinary process shall exclude individual that conducts an investigation or presides over alternative dispute resolution.
In cases that may result in suspension or expulsion from the institution or termination of the campus housing contract or loss of network access, student(s)/student organization(s) have the right to be represented by legal counsel (or an advisor) at each material phase of the process.
Suspension & Expulsion - Incidents that involve a student or student organization accused of violating a policy punishable by a suspension or expulsion from the institution or loss of network access* will be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.
The University Disciplinary Committee 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 of expel any student for severe violations of the WKU Code of Student Conduct or a gross disregard for the civil rights of others in the campus community.
Title IX - Incidents that fall within the University’s Title IX Policy will follow the process outlined at https://www.wku.edu/titleix/
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.
Termination of Campus Housing - Incidents that involve a student accused of violating a policy punishable by the termination of residence in campus housing will be heard by the Assistant Director for Student Behavior and Conduct in Housing & Residence Life.
Hearing Details – Notification of the date, place, and time of the hearing will be provided in writing to the student(s) at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing.
Student(s) shall receive reasonable continuing access to the administrative file, redacted if the disclosure of the evidence is otherwise prohibited by law, beginning seven (7) business days prior to the hearing. All documentation and evidence must be in the file three (3) business days prior to the hearing or may not be admissible except upon the discretion of the hearing officer.
During a hearing, a participant or their counsel may:
- Make opening & closing statements
- Present relevant evidence
- Cross-examine testimony personally or through council. (In cases related to Title IX, cross-examination shall follow the guidelines established in the Title IX Process at https://www.wku.edu/titleix/
Due to the delicate nature of the conference and because of the need to protect confidential records and any alleged victim, hearings 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 an outcome of removal/denial of housing issued by the Assistant Director of Student Behavior and Conduct in Housing and Residence Life must submit a written appeal to the Director of Residence Life within five business days following the decision. If the Director upholds the outcome of removal from housing, an appeal may be made to the Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life. If the Executive Director upholds the outcome of removal from housing, an appeal may be made to the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience or their designee. The decision of the Vice President is final.
Students who wish to appeal the outcome of the Director of Student Conduct must submit a written appeal to the Vice President of Enrollement and Student Expereice or thier designee 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 of Enrollment and Student Experience or thier designee. If the Vice President 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.
A participant who has the final order overturned for an appeal of suspension, expulsion, or denial of housing/network access shall be entitled to actual damages from the institution, including reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.
*Various aspects of the Student Conduct Process are a direct result of Kentucky House Bill 290, an ACT related to student discipline at public, postsecondary education institutions, signed by the Governor of Kentucky on 4/8/22. This act is available for your review here
**Interim Policy effective July 2022 pending review of the Board of Regents
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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.
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