University of Wisconsin–Madison

Nonacademic Procedures

Nonacademic Misconduct Procedures

Click the steps below for a summary of key facets of the misconduct process. Please refer to UWS 17 for the full description of the procedures (PDF).

  • Notice of Allegations

    When allegations of misconduct are received by University staff, a record is created in the campus student conduct database. The case is then assigned to an investigating officer for resolution.

    The investigating officer will send the respondent (student alleged to have violated policy) an email message alerting them to the allegations.

    This message, securely accessible only by the respondent, will convey:

    • A brief summary of the allegations
    • A list of the policies allegedly violated based on the information currently available
    • Information about campus policies and procedures under UWS 17
    • An invitation to the respondent to schedule a conference to discuss the allegations, and the option to provide information in writing as well as other rights in the process
  • Conference with Respondent

    In order to quickly resolve the incident, respondents are encouraged to schedule a conference as quickly as possible. In the conference with the investigating officer respondents are asked to share about their student experience and about the incident itself.

    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.

    The information gathered in the investigation, including the conference, will be used to determine the outcomes for the incident. The findings and rationale for the decision and outcomes will be emailed to the student using the same secure method as the notice of allegations.

  • Findings and Rationale

    After concluding the investigation, the investigating officer will compose their findings in a letter and email this message to the respondent. The letter will include the policies for which the respondent was found responsible, the basis and reasoning for that decision, and the outcomes recommended for the student based on their unique case.

    • All decisions are made based on a preponderance of the information–what is more likely true than not true–with the exception of decisions to suspend or expel students for incidents that do not involve responsible findings for sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. In those cases, clear and convincing information is necessary to recommend suspension or expulsion.
    • When multiple students are involved in the same incident, each may not receive the same outcomes. While the behaviors in question may be similar, each student has unique learning needs and conduct histories that may warrant differential outcomes. The obligation of the investigating officer is to provide a fair process consistent with the procedures outlined in UWS 17 and to make a determination on sanctions/outcomes appropriate for each student consistent with our educational mission.

    If a respondent accepts responsibility and does not contest the outcomes, then the decision of the investigating officer becomes final after ten days from the date of the decision.

    Students who disagree with the findings or the UWS 17 outcomes may request a hearing on the matter. Note: Residence hall-specific outcomes (contract cancellation, disciplinary moves) have a separate appeal process. Refer to the finding letter for information.

    Suspension and expulsion recommendations are automatically referred to a hearing for resolution, unless the respondent waives his/her right to a hearing or resolves the case via settlement agreement.

  • Nonacademic Misconduct Hearing

    Respondents have the right to a hearing before a nonacademic misconduct committee or examiner if they wish to contest the findings or outcomes recommended by the investigating officer.

    • The nonacademic misconduct committee represents the university community in matters of student misconduct.
      • Committee members are trained by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards on conduct procedures, effective questioning, and determining appropriate sanctions.
      • Committees are composed of at least one student and at least two faculty/staff, from a pool appointed through shared governance processes.
      • Examiners are a faculty or staff member appointed to the Committee and may resolve cases at the request of the respondent.
    • Hearings are conducted in private, unless the respondent requests the hearing to be open and student privacy rights are waived by all student participants. Access the privacy waiver here.
    • Hearings involving allegations of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment are resolved by a misconduct committee only and must be conducted in private.
    • Hearings are audio recorded and the record is maintained as part of the involved parties’ (respondent/complainant) student record.
    • Hearings maintain the same educational purpose as the overall misconduct process. Respondents and witnesses are expected to answer questions and fully participate.
    • Advisors, including attorneys, may only consult with their advisee, except when suspension or expulsion are recommended, or criminal charges for the same behavior are pending. In these cases the advisor may pose questions to parties to the hearing. Respondents are still expected to answer questions directed to them.
    • The hearing chair may take appropriate steps to ensure the order in the hearing, including designating procedures by which questions may be asked of the complainant or respondent.

    The decision of the hearing body will be rendered within 14 days of the date of the hearing and delivered to the respondent (and complainant, if applicable) via email.

    Respondents, and in certain cases the complainant, have the right to appeal the decision of the hearing body.

  • Appeals

    Resolutions may be appealed to the Chancellor in two specific situations. When the case involves allegations of sexual assault, stalking, dating/domestic violence, or sexual harassment, the parties may appeal investigator and hearing decisions to the Chancellor’s office as outlined in UWS 17. When a sanction of enrollment restrictions, suspension, or expulsion is/are prescribed by a nonacademic hearing committee or examiner, a student may appeal the decision to the Chancellor. Any other sanction may not be appealed to the Chancellor.

    Decisions made via conference, via hearing, or after an appeal to the Chancellor shall be final, except that the Board of Regents may, at its discretion, grant a review upon the record.