Topic: How has WSU addressed accusations of lack of due process in decisions made by the Student Conduct Board?
Challenge/opportunity: Community organizations and individuals raised public concerns during the fall of 2016 about lack of due process in decisions made by WSU’s Student Conduct Board. In addition, on December l, 2016 Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals ruled at WSU and other public institutions of higher education in the state must use a full adjudication process in conduct cases in which student face possible expulsion or are accused of sexual assault.
- In October of 2016, the University engaged an independent third party law firm to examine the specific issue of alleged racial and ethnic bias in the student conduct process.
- The University implemented emergency rules for student conduct hearings following a ruling in December of 2016 by the State Court of Appeals. Those rules will remain in effect until the University finalizes new, permanent conduct rules.
- In December of 2016, President Schultz formed a task force of WSU faculty, staff, students, and alumni to review the Student Conduct Code. The group completed a comprehensive review of the University’s conduct process in January of 2018, submitting 32 recommendations for revising the conduct rules. The changes to the Conduct Code are expected to be in place by the beginning of the spring semester in 2019.
- The law firm’s review found no evidence of ethnic or racial discrimination or bias on the part of those involved in hearing conduct cases. The report, published in March of 2017, makes several recommendations to improve fairness, as well as the perception of fairness, of the student conduct process.
Current/future areas of emphasis or next steps:
- Continuing review of the task force recommendations for approval by the President and Board of Regents.
- Rewriting of the Student Conduct Code in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) to ensure it is consistent with approved changes.
- Revising of materials related to the Student Conduct Code and processes for the Office of Student Conduct with an emphasis on helping students and the University community better understand student’s rights and responsibilities.
- Developing a regular review and feedback system for the Student Conduct Code and the Office of Student Conduct is being developed.
For more information at WSU:
NWCCU standards reference: 2.D.14