The University of Wisconsin-Madison, in common with all institutions of higher education, has the authority to adopt and enforce behavioral standards that maintain the order and safety of the University community, and that further the University’s educational mission and goals. Those standards are detailed in Chapter UWS 17 and Chapter UWS 18 of the University of Wisconsin’s Administrative Code. The following information is intended to assist attorneys working with students who are alleged to have violated the University’s behavioral standards.
As the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, the university is “an academic institution, not a courtroom or administrative hearing room.” Bd. of Curators of University of Missouri v. Horowitz, 435 U.S. 78, 88 (1978). Therefore, the student disciplinary process operates independently of the municipal, state, and federal legal systems. Consequently, in most cases, the University will not delay its disciplinary process.
The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards permits attorneys to attend meetings between a student accused of misconduct and an Investigating Officer (referred to as a disciplinary conference in Chapter UWS 17). The attorney’s role in such meetings, however, is that of a support person. Consequently, an attorney will not be permitted to speak on the student’s behalf. The same is true for a hearing, unless the student has been charged with a crime in connection with the same conduct for which the disciplinary action is sought, or the recommended sanction is suspension or expulsion, in which an attorney may question adverse witnesses, present information and witnesses, and speak on behalf of the student. In accordance with the educational purposes of the hearing, the accused student is expected to respond on his or her own behalf to questions asked of him or her during the hearing. See Chapter UWS 17.11 and 17.12.
Reading on Higher Education Disciplinary Processes:
Gehring, D.D. (2001, Summer). The objectives of student discipline and the process that’s due: Are they compatible? NASPA Journal, 38(4), 466-481.
Court Cases Involving Student Misconduct Processes:
- Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education, 294 F.2d 150 (5th Cir. 1961).
- Esteban v. Central Missouri State College, 415 F.2d 1077 (8th Cir. 1969).
- Goldberg v. Regents of the University of California, 248 Cal. App. 2d 867 (1967).
- Gorman v. University of Rhode Island, 837 F.2d (1st Cir. 1988).
- Henson v. Honor Committee of University of Virginia, 719 F.2d 69 (4th Cir. 1983).
- Murakowski v. University of Delaware, 575 F.Supp.2d 571 (D. Del. 2008).
- Nash v. Auburn University, 812 F.2d 655 (11th Cir. 1987).
- Osteen v. Henley, 13 F.3d 221 (7th Cir. 1993).