Frequently Asked Questions
The University and the Office of Community Standards & Civility
The Office of Community Standards & Civility educates the campus community about the policies and procedures that support our core values. In addition, the Office facilitates the process of holding community members accountable for their actions under the Code of Community Standards & Civility and assists Academic Affairs with application of Academic Integrity Policy violations when asked.
The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, of which Winston-Salem State University is a member institution, supports the right to academic freedom for every student in pursuit to his or her education. This includes the freedom to learn, freedom to teach, and the freedom to speak the truth, all which should be done in atmosphere of mutual respect.
"Possession" can be defined as having actual knowledge of an illegal substance or illegal property or being in such close proximity to the substance or property that it a reasonable persons might presume that the student(s) had knowledge of the illegal substance or illegal property.
If you are in the presence of a policy violation and are not actively involved, you have three choices: 1) leave the situation; 2) ask the student(s) to stop the behavior and/or take it out of the room; or 3) seek assistance from a University staff member (Resident Assistance, Staff, Faculty, or Campus Police). If you choose not to do any of the above, you can be held responsible for the policy violation and will be cited for Aid and abet the violation of the Code.
Students should initially attempt to resolve the matter by bringing concerns to the individual with whom he or she has an issue, or that person's immediate supervisor. Other options include: talking to the Director for Community Standards & Civility, utilizing the Community Standards & Civility Mediation Program, or you may file a Grievance with the leadership of the Division, Program or School (follow the procedures in the Undergraduate Catalogue or program manual).
Behavior, Rights and Infractions
Students have the right to a fair and timely hearing, full knowledge of accusations, the opportunity for secure an Advisor, and confidentiality under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
If you are a student, administrator, faculty, or staff member, who needs to report an infraction of the WSSU Code of Community Standards & Civility, enter the information on the Incident Reporting Form and submit. The information will be processed and handled accordingly.
Yes. The Code of Community Standards & Civility may be invoked against students whose off-campus behavior potentially harms the interest of the University or threatens the well-being of students or employees. The University addresses cases involving violations of WSSU policy only. The court system adjudicates cases involving violations of local, state, and/or federal law. Depending on circumstances, students may have to go through one channel or the other, or in some cases, may be subject to both.
Conduct process and Hearings
Decisions with respect to student responsibility for alleged actions are made based on a "preponderance of the evidence"; that is, the hearing panel or administrator will determine what is "more likely than not" to have taken place. Even if a student is found in-violation within the Code of Community Standards & Civility process but not within the court system, since we are two separate entities, this will not be seen as "Double Jeopardy" due to the two different levels of standard of proof.
At the PHC, students who are going before the Code of Community Standards & Civility Council will have an opportunity to review allegations and gather information. The PHC allows the accused student to review fundamental fairness procedures, ask questions, and make decisions about how he or she intends to proceed with the case. Students will receive their PHC Notifications via their rams.wssu.edu email account and a hard-copy sent to their residential hall.
During the AH, the hearing officer will have a conversation with the student(s) about the incident. They will accept or not accept responsibility for the infraction, discuss how the incident occurred, why it happened, and measures to take to ensure that the behavior will not happen again. Following this conversation, sanctions are assigned that are designed to help the student learn from the experience. Students will receive their AH Notifications via their rams.wssu.edu email account and a hard-copy sent to their residential hall.
A SCCH is held before the WSSU Student Conduct Council. During this time, participants engage in a full discussion of infractions, evidence, and circumstances. Students will have the opportunity to share their perspective on what happened. If the Code of Community Standards & Civility policy has been violated, appropriate sanctions (punitive and educational) will be assigned. The Student Conduct Council is comprised of trained students, faculty, and staff members who will hear suspension and expulsion cases. Students who are going before the SCC will receive their SCCH Notifications via their rams.wssu.edu email account and a hard-copy sent to their residential hall. Know that when going before the SCC, for any infraction that carries a sanction of suspension or expulsion, a student MUST have an Advisor/Advocate. A student is also allowed to have an Attorney present during the hearing process in place of an Advisor/Advocate.
Yes, but only in the capacity of an Advisor/Advocate. Attorneys may not represent students at a hearing, but they are permitted to advise them. If an Attorney is hired it is at the student's own expense.
Students are expected to represent themselves in all student conduct matters, regardless of whether the student is facing concurrent criminal charges for the same set of circumstances. Students may have a licensed attorney present during all student conduct proceedings with the student's written permission. The student needs to inform the OSC that a licensed Attorney will be a part of the student conduct proceedings. Once the student informs the office, forms will be provided to the student to complete allowing for the release of information to the attorney. These forms include a FERPA Release Form, guidelines for the licensed attorney to follow, and a document listing the attorney's name, state bar license information, phone number, firm or practice information, and email address.
A Student Conduct Officer is a university administrator who facilitates the process by managing all steps. Students are responsible for defending themselves. The student may have an advisor/advocate provided by the Office of Community Standards & Civility (a list of advisors/advocates will be provided with paperwork informing student of their hearing) or of their own choosing. The advisor/advocate can be an administrator, faculty, staff, or adult that may assist the accused student in preparation for their defense. Students may also ask the Community Standards & Civility Officer for assistance with clarifying policies.
If a student accepts responsibility in a PHC, the Administrative Hearing Officer will inform the student of their sanctioning during their hearing and how he or she will obtain their decision letter. If a student accepts responsibility during a SCCH, then he or she will be informed of their sanctions, via electronic notification (to their rams.wssu.edu) and hard-copy (sent to your residential hall and/or permanent home address). A student's decision letter will outline the appeals process, grounds for appeal, deadlines, etc.
The Administrative Hearing Officer and SCCH Chair will allow evidence if it is relevant to the case.
Appeals must be submitted in writing within ten (10) business days of the findings as directed in the Administrative Hearing Decision Letter and/or the SCCH Decision Letter. An appeal must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Procedural error sufficient to have altered the outcome of the hearing:
- Discrimination based on the student's membership in a protected class (race, creed, color, sex, national origin, physical disability or age over 40)
- New, or newly discovered evidence previously unavailable
- Excessive or inappropriate sanctions
- Decision or judgment not supported or justified by the evidence
Yes. The University may pursue conduct action even if the criminal charges are incomplete, reduced, or dismissed. The University conduct system is educational and completely separate from the criminal court system.
A Student Conduct Disciplinary Hold will be placed on the student's records if he or she withdraws from the University with a pending conduct violation or without completing the requirements of the student conduct process (i.e., failure to fulfill a sanction). This "hold" prevents, among other things, registration, enrollment, transferring, or the awarding of a degree.
Conduct records are maintained in the Office of Community Standards & Civility. They are accessible to the accused and others as provided by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
Under FERPA, parents/legal guardians of dependent students under the age of 21 may be advised by the Division of Student Affairs of serious student misconduct involving violence, alcohol, or drugs when such conduct results in sanctions of probation or separation from the University or in any second offense involving such cases. Parents may also be notified of conduct cases where the student may be harmful to themselves or others.
Conduct Record and Sanctions
Yes. Records are created for all student cases in which charges are alleged. If you are found "not in-violation" the records will reflect that finding.
Files are purged five (5) to seven (7) years after graduation or the student's last attended date at the University. Information about suspension or expulsion is maintained permanently in the student's conduct record.
Sanctions are consequences and/or penalties assigned to a student when he or she is found in-violation of the Code of Community Standards & Civility. Sanctions are intended to help the student learn about the repercussions of their behavior which resulted in a violation of the Code of Community Standards & Civility. Sanctions are also intended to assist students in making better choices in the future. Sanctions are based on the student's intent to act, prior experience, violations, or related behavior. Sanctions may be punitive (Disciplinary Warning, Disciplinary Probation, Suspension, etc.) or educational (educational seminars, community service, reflective essay, etc.).
Sanctions are typically the same, regardless of which process the student engages. However, if a student does not show for their hearing, it will be heard in their absence based off of the information from the evidence (ex. Incident Report, photos, Campus Appearance Ticket, etc.) and a Student Conduct Disciplinary Hold will be placed on your student account. If any other issues surface during the hearing process, additional sanctions will be applied.
Yes. You are required to cover expenses related to your sanctions, but only if applicable.