Nonacademic misconduct

Overview

The missions of the University of Wisconsin System and its institutions can be realized only if the University’s teaching, learning, research, and service activities occur in living and learning environments that are safe and free from violence, harassment, fraud, theft, disruption, and intimidation.  In promoting such environments, the University has a responsibility to address student nonacademic misconduct; this responsibility is separate from and independent of any civil or criminal action resulting from a student’s conduct.  The University of Wisconsin La Crosse is committed to respecting students’ constitutional rights.  UWS Chapter 17 is the guiding legislative document that outlines the process for resolving student misconduct. It outlines both the procedures involved and your rights as a student. The full document can be found here. Nothing in this chapter is intended to restrict students’ constitutional rights, including rights of freedom of speech or to peaceably assemble with others. 

The University's nonacademic misconduct process resolves cases that a student's behavior violates policies established in the student handbook. This process is distinct from the local, state, or federal legal systems. The campus process does not use the same procedures, burden of proof or rules of evidence as the court system.

The University, focused on it's educational mission, uses a preponderance of evidence standard in most cases. Preponderance of evidence standard is information that persuades a reasonable person that it is more likely true than not true that misconduct occurred. In cases involving student status sanctions, such as enrollment restrictions, suspension or expulsion, a clear and convincing standard-- information that would persuade a reasonable person to have a firm belief that the misconduct occurred--is used.

 

Information for students

What is nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

Nonacademic misconduct are issues that stem from incidents outside of academic work.  This misconduct could occur on or off university lands. 

What are examples of nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

Examples of nonacademic misconduct include, but are not limited to: 

  • dangerous conduct 
  • sexual assault 
  • stalking 
  • harassment 
  • hazing 
  • illegal use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of alcohol or controlled substances 
  • unauthorized use of or damage to property 
  • disruption of university-authorized activities 
  • forgery or falsification 
  • misuse of computing resources 
  • false statement or refusal to comply regarding a university matter 
  • violation of criminal law 
  • serious and repeated violations of municipal law 
  • violation of UWS Ch. 18 
  • violation of university rules 
  • noncompliance with disciplinary sanctions 
  • dating violence 
  • domestic violence 
  • sexual harassment 
How can I avoid nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

There are many ways you can avoid nonacademic misconduct.  Some ways include: 

  • Review and familiarize yourself with UWS Chapter 17.09. 
  • Review and familiarize yourself with UWS Chapter 18. 
  • If you live on campus, review and familiarize yourself with UWL’s housing policies and procedures. 
  • Abide by all federal, state, and local laws. 
  • The best way to avoid nonacademic misconduct is to familiarize yourself with the various policies and procedures which students are held accountable. 
What happens if I engage in nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

If your violation occurred within the residence halls, more than likely you will receive an email from your Hall Director or Assistant Hall Director. 

If your violation occurred outside of the residence halls, you will receive an email from the Office of Student Life.  You will more than likely be asked to meet with a representative from the Student Life Office or contact the them to schedule a meeting.  If you need an accommodation (ACCESS Center need, translation need, etc.) to participate in the meeting, please make us aware of that in advance of your appointment. 

Regardless where your violation occurred, carefully read the allegations in your letter.  Please note that these allegations represent the University’s concerns based only on the information provided to our office.   The purpose of the meeting is to provide you an opportunity to review the allegations and to admit or deny responsibility for the reported behavior. Where you may admit responsibility, the staff person may also discuss university response, which can include sanctions or other learning obligations that are consistent with our student code and the intended learning of our conduct program. If you believe you are not responsible for a violation, you will have the opportunity to share information about the incident before a decision is made. 

Based on the information provided in your meeting, one of following outcomes is likely:  

  1. The information shared at your first meeting may result in a resolution in which the investigating officer has determined that no disciplinary sanction is warranted.   
  2. If the investigating officer has determined that nonacademic misconduct has occurred, the investigating officer will prepare a written report which will contain the following: a description of the alleged misconduct; a description of all information available to the university regarding the alleged misconduct; specification of the sanction(s) sought; notice of the respondent’s right to a hearing; and a copy of UWS Ch. 17 and/or the institutional policy and procedure which was violated. 
What if I need accommodations? expanding section

If you believe you have a need (disability, language barrier, etc.) that requires an accommodation, please contact the Student Life Office prior to your meeting.

Any student with a documented disability (e.g. ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Acquired Brain Injury, PTSD, Physical, Sensory, Psychological, or Learning Disability) who needs to arrange accommodations for their meeting, must be registered with the ACCESS Center.  In addition to registering with The ACCESS Center, it is the student's responsibility to discuss their needs with the Student Life Office prior to their meeting so that all efforts can be made to ensure accommodations are met.

You can find out more about services available to students with disabilities at The ACCESS Center website.

What outcomes can I expect if I'm found responsible for misconduct? expanding section

At UWL, the student conduct process focuses on assessing the impacts of an individual’s behavior on the learning environment of others and facilitating student growth, learning, and development. Our philosophy is guided by the notion that mistakes made can be invaluable learning opportunities for students. It is our hope that you learn from any mistakes made and are more cognizant of your actions and the impact it has on those around you, the environment, and the community.

It is our goal with the student conduct process that we cultivate a safe community for all students, staff, faculty, and guests at UW-La Crosse. If you are found responsible for engaging in nonacademic misconduct, the university officer will likely assign a sanction from the university as means to to rebuild trust between the university community and the student. A listing of our sanctions can be found here.

What happens if I do not agree with being found responsible for engaging in nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

As noted in UWS Ch. 17.11 (4)(c), you have the right to contest the determination that nonacademic misconduct occurred (i.e. finding of responsible), the choice of disciplinary sanction(s), or both. To do so, you must file a request with the Student Life Office within 10 days of the decision. To request a hearing, please complete the Hearing Request Form. 

If you do not request a hearing within this period, the determination of the nonacademic misconduct shall be regarded as final and the disciplinary sanction(s) shall be imposed. 

 

What happens with my disciplinary record when I am found responsible for nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

Your disciplinary record is private between you and the institution. It is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. Your disciplinary record is only able to be released as a result of a subpoena or at your written request.

Violations are not noted on transcripts with the exception of suspension and / or expulsion.

Can / Will UWL notify my parents of an alcohol or drug violation? expanding section

At UWL, our process is to notify parents on a first-time drug violation and / or a second time alcohol violation for students under the age of 21, or in situations of detox / safety pertaining to substance usage. FERPA provides an exception for notification of alcohol and drug law violations for students under the age of 21. The goal of the communication is to create a partnership around student's safety. Our hope is that parents will discuss the incident with their student and talk candidly about the challenges and risks of using alcohol. We believe that positive choices have the most impact on the quality of a student's experience and success at UWL. 

I want to go to graduate school / transfer but now have a disciplinary record. What does this mean? expanding section

A disciplinary record is private between a student and the institution. However, transfer applications, graduate school applications, etc. can request a student request their institution disclose information in their disciplinary record as a part of the application process. It is recommended that a student be transparent by honestly responding to the specific question asked.

Below are other commonly asked questions relating to a disciplinary record:

  1. Can a student request to have something removed or expunged from their disciplinary record?

Generally speaking, no, a disciplinary file is a record of any alleged misconduct and corresponding outcomes. This information is not able to be removed or expunged from a student’s file for the duration of the records retention policy.

  1. How does a disciplinary file affect a student transferring or going to graduate school?

Most often, a disciplinary file does not affect a student transferring or going to graduate school. The time when it does affect a student is when a violation results in a student status sanction (probation, suspension or expulsion). Schools who request files generally want to know if a student is in good standing (i.e. eligible for return at an institution) or if they have had violations resulting in probation, suspension or expulsion.

  1. Is my violation noted on my transcript?

Most violations are not noted on a transcript. Exceptions to this include suspension or expulsion notations.

If you have specific questions relating to your file, contact the Student Life Office at studentlife@uwlax.edu.

What should I do if I know about nonacademic misconduct? expanding section

If you believe that someone is violating a policy or procedure, please contact your RA if you live on campus, your Hall Director or Assistant Hall Director, University Police, or the Student Life Office.    

If you are reporting a Title IX related misconduct, please know that you may speak to any of our confidential resources.