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FAQ

The DSCE is committed to providing transparency about the conduct process. The following are common questions about the process for WCU students, parents, staff members, complainants, and attorney/non-attorney advocates.

Please note that due to FERPA regulations, we cannot discuss the details of individual cases with third parties unless the student consents. If a student decides to share their records with you, they must complete the FERPA Waiver form.

Any member of the WCU community may file a report regarding an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If you are making a report regarding alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct, you may be contacted to provide further information regarding the incident. You can submit a report via our Conduct Reporting Form.

Support Resources:

WCU prohibits retaliatory behavior against any individual for participating in the student conduct process in any role. If you feel you are experiencing retaliatory behavior, report it to your Hearing Officer or to a student conduct administrator immediately. If you are in any physical danger, please contact Campus Emergency Services at 828.227.8911 or call 9-1-1.

If you need support, we encourage you to reach out to different support services available on campus.

The report will be reviewed to determine whether any violations of the Code of Student Conduct are present. If there are any perceived alleged violations present in the report, the case will be assigned to a Hearing Officer. The assigned officer will meet with the complainant (the person making the complaint), respondent (the person alleged to have committed a violation), and other parties involved. After investigating the alleged violation(s) present, the Hearing Officer will determine if the information provided reaches preponderance of evidence for a finding of responsible or not responsible. If the individual is found responsible for the violation(s), the Hearing Officer will provide educational sanctioning through a mutual resolution process.

There are different types of reports available for different concerns, which you can see in the description below. If you are not sure which one to submit, simply submit a conduct report and we will forward it to the appropriate office.

  • Bias Report: a method to report an incident that possibly involves discrimination, harassment or intimidation of a person or group of people based upon a perceived protected class as defined by University Policy 10 and University Policy 53. This includes hate crimes.
  • Conduct Report: a method to report a possible violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
  • Student Concern Report: reports are used to communicate concerns for a student who may be experiencing difficulties that may impact their ability to function well in the University environment.
  • Title IX Report: a method to report discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

Certain complainants are entitled to notification of the outcome of the case per UNC System Policy 700.4.1, Section VII(D): “Victims of crimes of violence must be notified of the results of the disciplinary proceeding of the alleged assailant. “Results” means the name of the student assailant, the violation charged or committed, the essential findings supporting the conclusion that the violation was committed, the sanction if any is imposed, the duration of the sanction and the date the sanction was imposed.”

We understand that you may have many questions as the parent of a student undergoing the conduct process. Our hope is that some of the answers to common questions below can clarify the conduct process. If you still have further questions regarding the process, we encourage you to review the WCU Code of Student Conduct or contact us by email at DSCE@wcu.edu.

Due to FERPA regulations we will not be able to share specific information with you without your student’s consent. Your student can sign a FERPA Waiver Form, which will allow us to discuss your student's case in a meeting.
Please note that your student may choose not to share information about their case with you, in which case we will not be able to discuss it with you.

We encourage you to start a conversation with your student. All students are continuously learning about themselves as they go through their college experience. We want the conduct process to be educational as possible, and your involvement is vital to that goal. Please explore with your student how their experience has impacted them and how they can move forward during their college experience and be successful as a member of the Catamounts community.

Student disciplinary cases and records are confidential educational records under the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA). We are not able to share student records without receiving a signed FERPA Waiver from your student.

Please refer to University Policy 74 which outlines FERPA regulations and release of information.

Generally, students attend the meeting on their own. The student is permitted to have an advisor or an emotional support person present in the meeting with them. The student can choose to attend the meeting alone or indicate they would like an advisor present with them. As parent/guardian, you may act as an advisor with your student’s approval. Please refer to the WCU Code of Student Conduct Article VI, Section 6.07 for further details.  

Parents who wish to attend the meeting with their student can communicate with the student, and their student can complete a FERPA Waiver.

The Hearing Officer will investigate and meet with all parties involved in the case to learn each perspective on what took place. Once all information is received, the Hearing Officer will review the alleged violation(s) present in the report that was submitted and will determine based on all the information present if it is more likely than not that the student committed the violation(s).

This standard is called preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance means that, more likely than not, a violation either took place or did not take place. In other words, preponderance is met if the information available suggests that there is a greater than 50% chance that a violation occurred.

If the preponderance of evidence indicates that the student most likely violated a policy, then the student and the Hearing Officer will discuss the mutual resolution process. If the student is found responsible for the violation, then the Hearing Officer will discuss educational sanctioning to make the process a learning experience for the student.  

The legal process and student conduct process are different. Therefore, the student conduct process will continue in order to ensure the student is provided due process, which requires that their case is heard in a timely manner. The student conduct process will not be delayed due to the legal process.

Please refer to the WCU Code of Student Conduct to review the policies.

If you observe a student engaging in a behavior that is a possible violation of the WCU Code of Student Conduct, please utilize the reporting form to submit a report detailing the incident. Once the report is received by the Department of Student Community Ethics, DSCE staff will review the report to determine if any violation(s) is/are alleged.

You can use our online reporting form listed on the WCU Department of Student Community Ethics website if you believe a student was in violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Once you open the online reporting form, it will provide you with all the relevant fields for information regarding the incident you are reporting. Some of the important details to include in the reporting form are:

  • the student or organization’s full name
  • student ID number (if you are reporting an individual student)
  • a summary of the incident
  • information of any other individuals included in the incident

You can reach out to us by emailing DSCE@wcu.edu or by calling our office at 828.227.7234. If you need to submit a report regarding an alleged violation of the WCU Code of Student Conduct, please use our reporting form on our website at dsce.wcu.edu.

You can become involved by being part of the DSCE Hearing Board Panel. If you would like to be part of the Hearing Board, please fill out the application form and we will contact you to set up a time for training. As a member of the Hearing Board, you will work with other faculty/staff and students to assist in addressing alleged violation(s) of the WCU Code of Student Conduct. You will also assist in determining sanctions that are educational and appropriate for the student or organization involved.

This bi-annual training will take place for each member prior to participating as a hearing board member.

WCU students are required to abide by the WCU Code of Student Conduct. The specific policies and the descriptions of the policies can be found in the Code. If you are unsure whether a violation of the Code occurred, you can submit the report anyway. DSCE staff will review the report and determine if any policy violations are present.

Pursuant to Article VI, Section 6.07 of the WCU Code of Student Conduct, students are permitted to have an Attorney or Non-Attorney Advocate present during their conduct meeting.

The right to have an Advocate represent a student or student organization applies when a student or Student Organization is initially accused of a violation, as defined herein.

Consistent with this regulation and the rules, policies, and/or guidelines governing WCU Conduct Procedures, an Advocate may fully participate in such procedures to the extent and in the same manner afforded to the student or student organization they represent. An attorney or other individual representing WCU may participate in disciplinary or conduct procedures in which an Advocate represents a student or a student organization.

When scheduling a conduct meeting, WCU will make reasonable efforts to accommodate an Advocate. However, the availability of students or student organization members; witnesses; the designated administrator, panel members, or board members assigned to the matter; and other necessary participants as well as the expectation to promptly complete the conduct procedure may, in WCU’s discretion, take priority when determining the date and time for a disciplinary or conduct procedure. Additionally, an Advocate may not delay, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the conduct procedure.

Requirements to Serve as an Advocate During WCU’s Conduct Procedure

In order for an Advocate to represent a student or student organization in a disciplinary or conduct procedure, the student or student organization must provide the Department of Student Community Ethics at WCU, which administers the disciplinary or conduct procedure, with the three (3) documents described below. These three (3) documents must be submitted three (3) days prior to the date of the hearing. If the required documents are not completed and submitted within the timeframe, WCU may, in its discretion, determine an appropriate remedy, up to and including denying the participation of the Advocate in the conduct procedure.

  1. Notice of Representation: Students and student organizations who plan to have an Advocate represent them during a conduct procedure must notify in writing the Department of Student Community Ethics, which administers the procedure, of the Advocate's planned participation in the conduct procedure. This notice must specify:
    • the identity of the Advocate
    • whether the individual is a licensed Attorney or a Non-Attorney Advocate;
    • an address, telephone number, and email address where the Advocate can be reached.
  2. FERPA Authorization: In order for an Advocate to represent a student or student organization during a disciplinary or conduct procedure or to speak with an official of at WCU regarding the student or the members of a Student Organization, the student(s) must complete and submit a written authorization that meets the requirements of a valid consent as specified by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Even if a student executes a valid FERPA consent authorizing the Advocate to receive information or documents regarding the student, WCU may at all times correspond directly with the student or student organization. It is the student's or student organization’s responsibility to communicate and share information with the Advocate.
  3. Certification by Advocate: Students or student organizations who plan to have a licensed Attorney or Non-Attorney Advocate represent them during a disciplinary or conduct procedure must submit a certification form signed by the Advocate stating that the Advocate has read in their entirety and understands the following documents:
    1. the applicable Disciplinary or Conduct Rules;
    2. any additional rules, policies, or guidelines that WCU has enacted for its disciplinary or conduct procedures, consistent with this regulation;
    3. Section 700.4.1 of the UNC Policy Manual and this associated regulation.

To assess the responsibility of an alleged violation(s), the university must determine presence of preponderance of evidence which shows that it is more likely than not that the violation(s) took place or did not take place.

The violations present under student’s case can also be violations of federal, state, or local law. Due to the information involved in the case, the student may face both criminal charges as well as University Conduct Process. This does not constitute double jeopardy. University Conduct Process is not a criminal process and is meant to provide students with educational opportunities to learn what took place and how it may have impacted them as well as their community. 

WCU's conduct process will still continue based on the information present in the case. Should a student choose not to participate or if they do not respond within the timeline that is provided, the case will be heard in absentia and the outcome of the case will be determined based on the information present in the case. It is a voluntary process meant to provide students with educational opportunities to learn what took place and how it may have impacted them as well as their community.

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