UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Residence Life Conduct Procedures


Purpose

The UW-River Falls Residence Life conduct system exist to provide students alleged of violating Residence Life policies the opportunity to meet with a member of the Residence Life staff to discuss the incident. This process is designed to address inappropriate or illegal behavior with the goal of improving future behavior for the overall benefit of our communities and the individual.

The Goals of the Residence Life Conduct System are:

  • To protect the rights of all students.
  • To provide a mechanism by which someone may bring a formal complaint of violations of Residence Life policies against a member of the residence hall community.
  • To provide an opportunity for students to explain their account of the incident.
  • To hold students accountable for their behavior.
  • To encourage students to reflect on their behavior, how it affects both them and the community in which they live, and to change the behavior accordingly.
  • To maintain and reinforce community standards.
  • To be timely in the adjudication of incidents.

General Residence Hall Conduct Hearing Procedures

Residence Life conduct procedures will be applied only to UW-River Falls students living in University residence halls. Students residing off-campus who are involved in residence hall incidents may be directed to the University disciplinary process. In serious offenses, off-campus students and other individuals may be banned from visiting residence halls for specified periods of time or indefinitely.

Residence Life Conduct Process

Residence Life Conduct Process

  1. An Incident Report is written and submitted by a student or staff member to the Department of Residence Life.
  2. A Residence Life administrator reviews the incident and outlines any alleged policy violations.
  3. Each student allegedly in violation of a policy will receive notice (Charges Letter) via their UWRF email account with a pre-scheduled Conduct Conference date and time and the policy(ies) they have allegedly violated.
  4. A Conduct Conference is an opportunity for the student to meet with a Hearing Officer to discuss the incident, determine any responsibility, and come to a resolution on sanctions, if applicable.
    • If a student does not attend a Conduct Conference, a decision will be made without the student’s perspective, based on the information available. The student will receive the decision via their UWRF email.
    • If a resolution could not be reached a decision will be made by the Hearing Officer. The student will received the decision via their UWRF email.
  5. Prior to the Conduct Conference a student may elect to have a Conduct Hearing. The student must email the Residence Life Hearing Officer 24 hours prior to the scheduled Conduct Conference to request a Conduct Hearing. The Conduct Hearing process is outlined below.
  6. If a resolution could not be reached or the student elects to have a Conduct Hearing the student will have the opportunity to appeal the decision under certain parameters. The appeal process is outline below.
Residence Life Conduct Hearing Guidelines

Residence Life Conduct Hearing Guidelines

A student may elect to have a Conduct Hearing instead of trying to resolve the incident informally. The Conduct Hearing is typically overseen by the Area Coordinator of the building in which the student resides.

Student(s) involved in a Conduct Hearing process have the following rights:

  1. The right to be informed of all charges.
  2. The right to question witnesses.
  3. The right to present evidence and witnesses on their behalf.
  4. The right to a fair and impartial hearing.
  5. The right to appeal the decision.

Student(s) involved in a Conduct Hearing process have the following responsibilities:

  1. Attend the Conduct Hearing.
  2. Be honest and respectful throughout the conduct process.
  3. Comply with all agreements reached or decisions rendered.

During the hearing the Residence Life Hearing Officer may only discuss charges outlined in the Charges letter. New or additional charges may not be introduced at the hearing. Questions will be restricted to the incident and the charges.

In incidents where multiple individuals are involved, hearings will be held for each student, unless the Hearing Officer allows otherwise.

The Hearing Officer may summarize the incident as recorded on the incident report. The incident report(s), police report(s) and other documents may be presented for additional information.

Witnesses will be asked to wait outside of the hearing until needed. When a witness is excused, the individual will leave the hearing, but may not discuss the case with witnesses who have yet to share their story. Any other person(s) who is allegedly involved in the policy violation cannot be a witness. The student may bring an advisor to the Conduct Hearing, who may remain throughout the hearing and serve only in a consulting capacity to the student. The advisor may not address the Hearing Officer or speak for the student. The student may consult with the advisor at any time during the hearing.

The Hearing Officer’s finding will be “responsible” or “not responsible” of violating a Residence Life policy. In all proceedings, the student will be presumed “not responsible” until it is determined that a violation of a residence hall policy occurred based on preponderance of evidence. Preponderance is defined as “more likely than not”.

The Hearing Officer will issue a written response to the student outlining their decision and, if applicable, the assigned sanction(s) for the violation.

Appeals

Appeals

Students have the right to appeal a decision made after a Conduct Hearing or if a resolution could not be met in a Conduct Conference. The purpose of the appeal is to review the case and provide the student with an opportunity to present their argument based on the criteria outline below. An appeal is not a rehearing of the case. Appeals will only be considered if one or more of the following occurs:

  • There is new information pertinent to the case to be presented by the student that could not be presented at the time of the hearing.
  • There is information that established conduct processes were not followed.
  • The sanction is too severe.

To initiate an appeal students will need to email Kenneth White, Assistant Director of Residence Life for Community Development and Education at kenneth.white@uwrf.edu. Appeals must be filed within 5 business days of notification of the decision. Appeals must include the student’s name, address, telephone number and the subject line needs to be Conduct Appeal. In the email students will need to provide a detailed explanation of the particular ground(s) and argumentation in support of the appeal. Possible outcomes from an appeal are; upholding the previous decision, changing the violations or sanctions, or referring the case back for a new conduct conference/hearing.

Upon receiving an appeal a member of the Residence Life staff will contact you for a meeting to further examine the information you have provided.

Grounds for appeal do not include the stress, expense, or inconvenience of relocation or contract termination; cost of educational sanctions such as Restorative Justice; separation from friends; lack of familiarity with rules or good character.

Conduct Process File Management

Conduct Process File Management

Students involved in residence hall incidents, whether found responsible or not, will have a record of the incident and summary of all actions on file while the student is enrolled at UW-River Falls and for seven years past their last date of attendance. Some records may be held longer depending on the nature of the incident. A student’s file will be available only to the student, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and to Department of Residential Life.

Parental Notification

Parental Notification

The Department of Residence Life may contact parents or legal guardians in the event of health and safety concerns or when their student under 21 years of age and has violated the alcohol or drug policy.

Conduct Status and Sanctions

If a student is found responsible for a policy violation, the Residence Life Hearing Officer will inform the student of their conduct status and may impose one or more of the following sanctions:

Conduct Status

Conduct Status

Written Reprimand: Found responsible as charged, warning that more severe disciplinary action may result should the student be found responsible for any future violations.

Residence Hall Probation: An official notice that a student is responsible as charged and that more stringent disciplinary action, including removal from the residence hall and/or referral to the University disciplinary process, may result if future violations occur during the probationary period.

Housing Contract Termination: It may be determined that the severity of the incident or the repeated violations of the individual is in direct conflict with the purpose of the residence halls and the removal of the student is in the best interest of the student and/or the community. A student who has their housing contract terminated 1) will forfeit their housing deposit, 2) be financially responsible for 35% of the remaining cost of their contract, and 3) will be restricted from entering any residence life building for up to 1 year.

Sanctions

Sanctions

Community Service: A student may be required to complete a specific number of hours of community service. The community service location is typically assigned by the Hearing Officer.

Restitution: A student may be required to pay financial compensation in cases such as theft, destruction of property, or deception. The assessed cost to be paid may be in addition to other sanctions. Billings for physical damages, clean-up, and/or repairs will be assessed by Residence Life and charged to the student’s University account.

Educational Sanction: A student may be assigned to complete an educational project. The type of project will be determined by the Hearing Officer. In cases involving alcohol or other drugs a student may be referred to an Alcohol and Other Drugs counselor for an assessment.

Reassignment to another Residence Hall: A student may be required to live in a different hall because it may be determined that an individual may benefit from living in another residence hall or that the community may benefit from their removal.

Restriction for a Residence Hall: A student may be restricted from visiting a specific residential community because it may be determined that an individual’s presence within a community is such a disruption that the community may benefit from their removal.