- Will my parents find out?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it is possible your parents would be notified. When you meet with your University Hearing Officer you can ask him/her the likelihood of a letter being sent home. We would encourage you to discuss your situation and violation with your family before they receive any notification.
While, your disciplinary records are kept confidential according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), there are exceptions to this which permit WCU to notify parents. The majority of time these cases involve alcohol, drugs, and/or other serious violations of the Code of Conduct. Parents may also be notified if a significant sanction is imposed for the violation. (i.e. loss of housing, suspension, etc…)
- Should I get a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to go through the University judicial process. If you are facing criminal charges you may wish to consult with an attorney. Free student legal advice is provided at the University for students who wish to consult with a lawyer about any civil or criminal issue. Please note that this is just a consultation and this attorney does not represent students in court. You can check out the following web site for more details about this service: http://www.wcupa.edu/_SERVICES/STU.OCC/services/legalAid.asp
- This happened off campus, why is the University involved?
The University is concerned with student safety and well being which includes how students behave both on and off campus. When a situation happens off campus that involves a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, it not only impacts our neighbors in the surrounding community, but the University community as well. In an effort to encourage civic responsibility students participate in the University judicial process to learn from this incident and find ways to make better decisions going forward.
- What if I also received a citation and/or criminal charges?
The University process is separate and distinct from the legal process. If you are charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, that violation must be resolved through the University judicial process. Your case can be resolved through the University judicial process prior to the resolution of your legal issues. Remember, the outcome of one does not impact the outcome of the other.
- If my charges are dropped in the borough, will they also be dropped by WCU?
Not necessarily, sometimes there are technicalities that occur in the legal system that have no bearing on whether or not you are actually responsible for committing a University violation. Since the two processes are separate, you would still need to go through the University process to determine your level of responsibility in violating the Student Code of Conduct. Also keep in mind the University uses a different standard of proof “Preponderance of Evidence” which means is it more likely than not that this occurred, to determine responsibility.
- Why do I have a judicial hold?
A judicial hold would have been placed on your account if you did not complete one of your sanction conditions by the required due date. If you have a question about this you should contact your University Hearing Officer. This person is listed on your Sanction Assessment letter. Once your Hearing Officer verifies you have completed the sanction, he/she can contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance to remove the hold. If you are unable to get in contact with your Hearing Officer, you can contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance in 238 Sykes or 610-436-3511.
- Does this stay on my record?
Your case becomes part of your disciplinary record at the University. Disciplinary records are kept for a minimum of two years after your graduation. Disciplinary records of students who have been expelled or suspended are maintained indefinitely.
- Does this go on my WCU transcript?
Your disciplinary record does not appear on your University transcript. The exception to this is if you have been suspended or expelled from WCU. If that is the case, it would appear on your transcript.
- Who has access to my disciplinary files?
Your disciplinary file is confidential. Your written consent is needed to release information from your disciplinary file. Some on campus jobs require your consent to check your disciplinary history as part of their application process (i.e. Resident Assistants and Orientation Leaders). Some programs (i.e. Study Abroad), graduate schools, professional schools (i.e. medical and law), and jobs requiring the handling of sensitive information (i.e. US Government positions) often ask for you to obtain disciplinary clearance as part of the application process. See the Disciplinary Clearances page
for more details. Additionally, if you are a member of an Athletic Team or serve on the Executive Board of your organization or club, your Coach or Organization/Club Advisor may also be notified.
- What if I don’t agree with my sanction or the outcome of the hearing?
You have the right to appeal your sanction. If your case went to a hearing you can appeal the outcome decided by the hearing officer or judicial board. All appeals must be made within five University business days from the exit date on the Sanction Assessment you received. Appeals must be submitted in writing (either hard copy or e-mail) to the Director of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance. More information about the appeals process can be found in the Student Code of Conduct
- I have been called as a witness in a hearing, what does this mean?
If you have been called as a witness in a hearing that means that you many have information to share that would help clarify what took place during the incident. As a witness you would participate in the hearing by answering questions about what you observed during the incident.
- What sanctions will I be given?
You can refer to the Student Code of Conduct
for more detailed information about the types of sanctions you may receive. A hearing officer or judicial board takes into consideration a variety of items when determining your sanction
- Your prior judicial history, including whether or not you are currently on University Disciplinary Probation
- the severity of the charges and situation
- your attitude and demeanor during your Judicial Conference
- What are the fines for Alcohol and Drug Violations?
If you violate the University’s alcohol and/or drug Policy (found in the Student Code of Conduct – link) you will receive the following fines in addition to the cost of any citation you have received:
Alcohol Fines: 1st offense ($100.00), 2nd offense ($200.00), 3rd offense ($300.00)
Drug Fines: 1st offense ($100.00), 2nd offense ($200.00), 3rd offense ($300.00)
Fines increase with each violation (i.e. you violate the alcohol policy in February 2013 and get a $100.00 fine for a first violation; then you violate the alcohol policy in November 2013 and get a $200.00 fine for a second violation).
Alcohol and Drug fines are treated separately even if they are part of the same violation. If you are involved with a situation and violate both the alcohol and drug policies, you will be fined for both violations (i.e. if it is your first violation for both, you will be fined a total of $200.00 - $100.00 for the alcohol violation and $100.00 for the drug violation).
- What if I witnessed a policy violation or was a victim in an incident and I want to file a complaint?
Please contact the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Assistance so that we may assist you and provide you with the information that would be most helpful to your situation.
- I didn’t do anything wrong, why do I have to go through this process?
The goal of this process is to find out what happened, a part of which is hearing from you about what took place. Sometimes you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and inadvertently become part of a situation. Please know that our process is designed to be fair and educational in nature.