Section Five: Organizational Misconduct

Return to Section Four: Procedures


The section below is a NEW ADDITION to the Student Handbook


Charges and procedures for student organizations follow the same guidelines described for individual students in the Code of Conduct. For the following procedural aspects, there are differences noted for student organizations. The following procedures will be used to address reports received alleging violations of the Code of Conduct and Honor Code by Student Organizations.

Group Responsibility

A student organization and its officers and membership may be held both collectively and individually responsible when violations of the Code of Conduct or Honor Code allegedly by the organization or its member(s):

  • Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or implied;
  • Have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
  • Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.

The standard of proof applied is preponderance of the evidence.

Initial Review

The University strives to work in partnership with the national or international offices of a student organization. To that end, the University may notify the national office of alleged organizational misconduct at any point in the process. Additionally, the University recognizes the right of a national or international office to initiate its own proceedings regarding alleged organizational misconduct. To the degree the University believes it is appropriate, the University will honor any sanctions imposed by the national or international office of a student organization as additions to any sanctions the University imposed.

Investigation

A notice of investigation will be provided to the President on record for the organization and the Associate Dean of Students, Student Engagement, or designee.

Investigation procedures may differ from those described above. The investigator, in consultation with the Offices of Student Engagement and Student Conduct, may choose any combination of the following techniques, or others not defined here:

  • Individual interviews with selected members of the organization
  • Facilitated discussion with the leadership and other selected members of the organization
  • Group sequester with individual interviews

Notice

When a report has been filed and has not been dismissed following the Student Conduct Administrator’s initial review and does not require investigation, the student organization’s President on record will receive written notification (sent via electronic mail to WFU student address) of the allegations from the Office of the Dean of Students. That notification will include the date of the report, the alleged conduct regulation violation(s), a brief summary of the alleged behavior, an electronic link to the Code of Conduct. Additionally, the chair of the Student Life Committee will be notified of the charges.

Formal Resolution

All incidents resolved through a Formal Resolution require a hearing panel be convened.

Sanctions

Recommendation for Charter Revocation: An official request to a national office that the local chapter’s charter be revoked.

Revocation of University Recognition: Permanent severance of the organization’s relationship with the University.

Suspension of University Recognition: Removal of the organization’s recognition by the University for a specific period of time. The period of time and any requirements, which must be satisfied prior to re-recognition, may be specified in the decision of the hearing officer or Hearing Panel.

Deferred Suspension of University Recognition: Removal of the organization’s recognition by the University is deferred pending the completion of requirements specified in the decision of the hearing officer or Hearing Panel. An additional finding of responsibility during the suspension period will result in suspension or revocation of University Recognition.

Probation: A status imposed on a student group or organization for a specific period of time to allow the group to demonstrate the ability to abide by University policies and expectations. The organization’s behavior during the period will fall under greater scrutiny and any policy violations committed during the probation period may result in additional or more serious sanctions.

Restitution: Reimbursement for a loss caused by the organization’s actions.

Restrictions: Restriction or removal of some or all of the organization’s activities or privileges, including, but not limited to, social, recruitment, and lounge privileges.

Other Educational Sanctions: Projects or assignments designed to educate an organization and its members in connection with the effect of its member’s actions. Educational assignments include, but are not limited to, alcohol awareness programs, and/or risk management programs.

Appeals

Groups may request an appeal to the Student Life Committee within 10 calendar days from the date of the notification of the decision. Appeals are directed to the chair of the Student Life Committee.


Go to Section Six: Other Policies


We appreciate your willingness to participate in updating the Student Handbook. Please be aware that this is a moderated process and abusive posts will be deleted. When leaving a comment, please copy/paste the text you wish to comment upon and keep in mind the following questions:

1. What objective is this policy/procedure trying to meet? How does it fail?
2. Can you suggest an alternative to the language proposed?
3. How would the alternative language meet the same objective or be more effective?

If you have any questions about the public comment process, please contact Matt Clifford at cliffomw@nullwfu.edu.


2 Comments

Betsy Adams says:

I think it is important that we include language similar to what American University added to their Code regarding continuing to support groups that operate “underground” after losing recognition due to Code of Conduct violations. We have been addressing this challenge ever since two organizations were closed in 2013-2014 and continued to operate. We need the ability to hold students/organizations accountable that continue to support or perpetuate these groups.


Alex Fulling says:

Hello,
I’d like to leave a comment about the following section under organizational misconduct, with the headline “Group Responsibility”:
—-
A student organization and its officers and membership may be held both collectively and individually responsible when violations of the Code of Conduct or Honor Code allegedly by the organization or its member(s):
– Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or implied;
– Have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
– Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.
—-
My concern is specifically for the 3rd bullet point: “Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.” This bullet point, specifically the latter portion, is incredibly vague and comes off as a malleable inclusion that has the potential to be abused by the administration and its investigators. The concept of “…should have known” is way too subjective to be utilized appropriately and can not/should not be available as a rule in any form of organizational investigation.

I believe the “should have been known” portion needs to be removed from this clause. If an investigation is wholesome enough, the administration should be able to find evidence that could appropriately satisfy the “were known…” portion of this bullet point (with which I have no problem and which seems like an agreeable inclusion in this section). But, if the evidence is insufficient, the prosecution can not continue off of the mere speculation that “should have been known…” implies.

As a side note, I think this subsection would benefit heavily from a more quantitatively-dependent clause that wholly removes subjectivity. For example, “A student organization and its officers and membership may be held both collectively and individually responsible when violations… occur at a gathering of more than X members of the organization in question.” I am in no position to determine what number ‘X’ should be – and I think a robust conversation between student organizations and the administration needs to happen in regards to what that number should be – but I think it’s unjust to hold an entire organization of often dozens or 100+ individuals responsible for the actions of an ambiguous (small) number of individuals.

Thank You.


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