- What is UWS 17?
- What Conduct Is Prohibited?
- Disciplinary Penalties
- The Disciplinary Process
- The Right To A Hearing
- Can I Make A Report?
Looking for academic misconduct? Our academic misconduct page can be found here.
Non-Academic Misconduct - An Overview
Every member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison community has the right to conduct his or her academic and social life in an environment that is free from threats, danger, harassment, or other disruption.
What is UWS 17?
The UW System and UW-Madison have devised regulations defining responses to behavior of students which interferes with the life and work of the University and its members. Chapter UWS 17 is a part of the University of Wisconsin Administrative Code and was adopted by the Board of Regents as a set of disciplinary procedures for the University System. It defines conduct by students that may result in University discipline because it causes harm either to another member of the University community or to the University itself. UWS 17 also describes the penalties which may be imposed and the procedures for carrying out disciplinary actions. Of course, due process for students accused of misconduct is an important part of these procedures. (Note: Academic misconduct is covered in UWS 14. UWS 17 applies to student conduct; faculty and staff are governed by other regulations.)
At several specified points in the system-wide procedures, the Board of Regents either directed or allowed each institution to adopt definitions or procedures which may be unique to individual universities but which are consistent with the system-wide guidelines. Our campus specific procedures are entitled "Student Non-academic Misconduct Campus Procedures."
What Conduct is Prohibited?
Non-academic conduct rules cover a broad spectrum of conduct involving students':
- behavior toward other community members
- actions on University property or
- actions related to a University activity.
A student may be subject to discipline for conduct that is or already has been the subject of a police citation or criminal action. This means that a student ticketed for an alcohol violation or charged with vandalism may also be subject to misconduct proceedings. A student may also be subject to discipline for conduct that is or has already been addressed by a University Housing breach of contract action.
UWS 17 defines prohibited conduct in the following areas:
- "For conduct which constitutes a serious danger to the personal safety of a member of the university community or guest." UWS 17. 03(1). Examples include, but are not limited to: engaging in conduct that is a crime involving danger to property or persons such as sexual assaults; attacking or otherwise physically abusing, threatening to physically injure or physically intimidating a member of the university community or a guest; throwing objects at law enforcement personnel, or inciting others to do so; selling or delivering a controlled substance, or possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver; or tampering with fire or safety equipment.
- "For stalking or harassment." UWS 17. 03(2)(a). Stalking and harassment are defined by state law. In part, "stalking" is described as intentionally "repeatedly following or remaining in visual or physical proximity to a person, or repeatedly conveying verbal or written threats or threats implied by conduct...." "Harassment" is described in part as intending to harass or intimidate another person by "striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact or attempting or threatening to do the same... or ... engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which harass or intimidate another person, which serve no legitimate purpose."
- "For conduct that seriously damages or destroys university property or attempts to damage or destroy university property, or the property of a member of the university community or guest." UWS 17.03(3). A large portion of non-academic conduct matters involve damage to university property or the property of other community members by a student while under the influence of alcohol. Such conduct may result in a permanent disciplinary record in addition to citations or other legal action.
- "For conduct that obstructs or seriously impairs or attempts to obstruct or seriously impair university-run or university-authorized activities, or that interferes with or impedes the ability of a member of the university community, or guest, to participate in university-run or university-authorized activities." UWS 17.03(4)(a). Examples of the conduct prohibited under this subsection include, but are not limited to: preventing or blocking physical entry to, or exit from, a university building, corridor or room; engaging in shouted interruptions, whistling, or similar means of interfering with a classroom presentation or a university-sponsored speech or program; obstructing a university officer or employee engaged in the lawful performance of duties; obstructing or interfering with a student engaged in attending classes or participating in university-run or university-authorized activities; or knowingly disrupting access to university computing resources, or misusing university computing resources.
- These rules include the use of a UW email account or UW computing facility. A student may not send messages that mask or change the sending student's identity. No student may communicate with another through email in ways that are prohibited if done in person or by telephone or regular mail. See the complete rules for "Appropriate Use of UW Information Technology Resources".
- These rules do not prohibit conduct that is protected under a student's right to free expression, such as peacefully picketing a campus event. A more detailed discussion of how certain conduct is prohibited or protected by First Amendment rights can be found in UWS 17 or by contacting the Dean of Students Office.
- "For unauthorized possession of university property or property of another member of the university community or guest." UWS17.03(5).
- "For acts which violate the provisions of UWS 18, Conduct on University Lands." UWS 17.03(6). UWS 18 includes a wide range of conduct such as vandalism, removing trees or flowers, improperly entering or remaining in a university building, misusing university keys, or violating campus alcohol or smoking rules.
- "For knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agent regarding a university matter, or for refusing to identify oneself to such employee or agent." UWS 17.03(7).
- "For violating a standard of conduct, or other requirement or restriction imposed in connection with disciplinary action." UWS 17.03(8).
If a student is found to have engaged in non-academic misconduct under these rules, one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions may be imposed:
(a) A written reprimand
(b) Denial of specified university privileges
(c) Imposition of reasonable terms and conditions on continued student status
(e) Removal of the student from the course in progress
(f) Disciplinary probation
The Disciplinary Process
If a report is received alleging that a student has engaged in conduct which is in violation of UWS 17, an Investigating Officer will investigate the matter. The student will be invited to meet with the investigating officer in an informal meeting. The purpose of that meeting is to hear any statements the student wishes to make and to answer questions about the procedures. The student may be accompanied by a person of his/her choosing at the meeting. If the student lives in Residence Halls and the alleged misconduct occurred in Residence Halls, a University Housing staff person will serve as an Investigating Officer. Otherwise, a staff member from the Dean of Students Office will serve as an Investigating Officer.
If it appears that misconduct has occurred, the Investigating Officer will prepare a report describing the misconduct and the sanction he or she believes is warranted.
The Right to a Hearing
If the investigator determines that misconduct occurred, the student has the right to a formal hearing to contest the decision that the student engaged in misconduct, the disciplinary action imposed, or both. The hearing may be available at the student's request or may be scheduled automatically, depending on the sanction imposed. When the discipline imposed is less severe, the student may request a hearing by submitting a written notice within 10 calendar days after the finding of misconduct. In cases where the discipline imposed includes suspension or expulsion, UWS 17 provides for the hearing to be scheduled automatically unless the student waives the right to the hearing in writing.
Hearings are conducted either by a hearing committee or by a hearing examiner, at the student's choice. Separate academic and non-academic misconduct hearing committees are appointed by the chancellor and include faculty, academic staff, and student members. The committee for a specific case is composed of at least three members with at least one student member. A hearing examiner is appointed by the chancellor from the faculty or academic staff. A hearing examiner or hearing committee conduct hearings in the same manner and under the same policies and procedures.
In any hearing (whether by student election or automatically scheduled) the student maintains:
- the right to have a representative present on his/her behalf, including the right to be advised by counsel at his/her own expense;
- the right to question witnesses;
- and the right to obtain a transcript of the proceedings at his/her own expense.
Can I Make a Report?
If you are being harassed, threatened or harmed by a student, or if you observe conduct which you believe may be in violation of university rules, you are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office in 75 Bascom Hall (263-5700). A staff member will be happy to talk to you in confidence about the situation. Staff will then review with you which disciplinary procedures might apply, as well as other avenues for solving problems or taking action.
*Note: UWS 17 covers non-academic student misconduct. Faculty and staff are subject to other University policies and procedures. The policies and procedures for student academic misconduct (cheating) are contained in UWS 14.*