Nonacademic Misconduct

This may include things like hate or bias, sexual violence, hazing or other issues that may work against the university’s living and learning environment that is safe and free from violence, harassment, fraud, theft, disruption, and intimidation.

This guide walks through the process following a report of nonacademic misconduct, including student responsibilities, outcomes, and appeals.

Reporting an issue

Nonacademic misconduct can occur inside and outside the classroom. When classroom behavior disrupts other students’ abilities to learn or disrupts research or teaching activities, it may be nonacademic misconduct.

This misconduct is structured according to the Wisconsin State Legislature Administrative Code, Chapter 17: Student nonacademic Disciplinary Procedure.

Amnesty through responsible action

In the interest of student safety, this program serves to remove or reduce punitive consequences faced by students in violation of nonacademic misconduct. This allows a student who required medical assistance to receive medical attention without a violation of misconduct policies. It would also remove violations for those who assisted the student in need.

About Amnesty Through Responsible Action

Steps involved in the nonacademic misconduct process

To help with transparency, set expectations, and to provide agency for those involved in the nonacademic misconduct process, the following information contains an overview of the entire process and a detailed look at some of the components.


  1. A report is made.
  2. The allegations are recorded, and a record is created in the campus Student Conduct database.
  3. The case is assigned to an investigating officer.
  4. The accused student is notified.
  5. A conference between the investigating officer and student.
  6. An investigation is conducted.
  7. The investigation concludes and outcomes are decided.
  8. The investigation findings and rationale are shared.
  9. The student has the opportunity to challenge the outcome.
  10. A hearing can take place.
  11. Outcomes from the hearing.
  12. Opportunities to appeal.

Student rights and responsibilities

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What are my rights if I’m involved in misconduct?

Students are encouraged to fully review Chapter UWS 17 to understand their rights if they are participating in the misconduct process.

When a student is involved in the misconduct process, we strive to ensure that each student receives due process, consistent with constitutional law. Individuals should experience a process where we consistently follow the established procedures of Chapter UWS 17. Student rights include:

  • To be notified of the allegations against them.
  • To have an opportunity to share their perspective on the incident.
  • To be notified of the findings of the investigation.
  • If found responsible, to have educational outcomes that are reasonable for the nature of the behavior, past misconduct, and the overall welfare of the student and wider campus community.
  • To request a hearing to dispute the findings of an investigation or recommended sanctions, as provided for in Chapter UWS 17.
  • To have a support person during any disciplinary conference and hearing.
  • To inspect your student conduct record, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  • To privacy of your student conduct records, except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or with written authorization for release by the student.

What are my responsibilities as a student?

As a student, you are joining our community of scholars and professionals. We hope that your choices will reflect the highest ethical conduct, consistent with the established policies of the community, in order to foster the very best learning environment. However, we understand that students experience a developmental journey and may engage in behaviors that go against community expectations. The following documents are the primary sources that list student behavior expectations. Links to them can be found on the Home page.

  • Nonacademic Misconduct (UWS 17)
  • Conduct on University Lands (UWS 18)
  • Academic Procedures (UWS 14)
  • Student Housing Handbook

If a student chooses to act in a manner that violate an established university policy, the matter is referred for investigation. In the investigation and resolution process, we have the following expectations for students:

  • We expect that students cooperate with all staff, including student staff, police officers, investigating officers from the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards or University Housing, and hearing committee members.
  • We expect students to answer our questions.
  • We expect students to be honest.
  • We expect students to take responsibility for their behaviors in the incident reported.
  • We expect students to take actions to repair the harm caused by their actions.

Why do we have conduct policies and procedures?

Student conduct policies are an integral part of the educational mission and goals of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to foster teaching, learning, research, and service activities in living and learning environments that are safe and free from violence, harassment, fraud, theft, disruption, or intimidation. The student nonacademic misconduct process is one of many tools that the University can use to foster the personal and academic development of its students. Additionally, the disciplinary process may also be an appropriate means for the University to ensure the safety of our community.

Our procedures provide for, and help maintain, an educational atmosphere with emphasis on developing individual understanding and acceptance of personal and social responsibilities. The established procedures ensure that student rights are respected.

What are the differences from the legal system?

While the nonacademic misconduct process does resolve cases where a student’s behavior violated established policies, which at times may be defined by state statute, it is separate and distinct from any legal proceedings. The campus process does not use the same procedures, burdens of proof, or rules of evidence as local, state, or federal legal systems.

Core to our educational approach, the University takes steps to ensure that the process is as non-adversarial as possible, while still safeguarding the rights of involved students. In most cases, including all cases of sex-based discrimination, University staff make decisions based on a preponderance of the evidence—information that persuades a reasonable person that is is more likely true than not true that misconduct occurred. In certain cases, clear and convincing evidence—information that would persuade a reasonable person to have a firm belief that the misconduct occurred—is necessary to remove a student from campus or restrict them from a course or program.


Student Conduct and Community Standards Contacts

How can we help?

Email us at:



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Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
724 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53715

Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm

After Hours Contacts

Crisis response:
Call Mental Health Services
608-265-5600 (option 9)
Dial 911 for immediate help from the
UW Police Department
UWPD Non-emergency line: 608-264-2677