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Cause for Disciplinary Action Against University Recognized Student Organizations
Activities sponsored by University recognized student organizations (RSO) must comply with the rules, policies, and procedures of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as well as with federal, state, and local laws/ordinances. When a sponsored activity of a recognized student organization violates law, University rules, policy, or procedure and/or causes injury to persons or damage to property, the organization may be subject to disciplinary action. If, in a fair process, the organization’s actions are found to have caused such violation, injury, or damage, the organization shall be subject to disciplinary warning, probation, suspension, or permanent revocation of University recognition.
At the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Career & Leadership Development Department (CLD) has administrative authority to determine University recognition of student groups, as outlined in the University Recognition Policy for Student Groups. Because the authority to grant University recognition is an administrative process, the authority to adjudicate discipline cases that may affect the status of a University recognized student organization is also an administrative process. The Dean of Students Office has authority to investigate, determine whether or not a violation(s) has occurred, and if so, determine appropriate sanctions. It is the responsibility of Career & Leadership Development to inform student leaders and organization advisers of their responsibilities outlined in this policy, help student organizations under investigation understand and follow the procedures outlined in this policy, and communicate as needed with appropriate stakeholders throughout the process.
Code of Conduct and Expectations
Recognized student organizations and their individual representatives (officers and members [student and non-student]) are expected to comply with the rules, policies, and procedures of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as well as with federal, state, and local laws/ordinances. This includes rules, policies, or laws relating to off-campus conduct, and facilities or locations where the organization may be located or conduct activities. Individual student officers or members of a recognized student organization may be held personally responsible and subject to disciplinary action under UWS Chapter 17 or any other applicable federal, state, or local laws or ordinances. Note: the investigation and disciplinary procedures against the RSO and individual student(s) can be happening concurrently.
Any organization found in violation is subject to disciplinary action by the University. While recognized student organizations are expected to comply with all law and policy, the following are examples of key laws and policies for which recognized student organizations may be held accountable:
Eligibility requirements and financial regulations for University recognized student organizations.
All related University of Wisconsin-Whitewater nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity policies that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed other than commitment to the beliefs of the organization, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, veteran or military status, or sex, unless pursuant to an exception recognized by applicable federal or state law.
Student organizations that select their members or officers on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g., religious or political) may limit membership, officer positions, or participation in the organization to students who, upon individual inquiry, affirm they support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Anti-Hazing Student Conduct Code Chapter 17.09 (5) and
Wisconsin State Statue 948.51 pertaining to hazing.
Violation of the legal drinking age and the provision of alcoholic beverages to minors.
Use or sale of illegal drugs at organization events or in organization facilities.
Incidents of theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct, or harassment.
Creation of an unsafe or dangerous environment at an organization event or facility, which may include, but is not limited to dangerous or excessive use of alcohol or drinking games, fighting by members or guests, and physical or sexual assault.
All other University of Wisconsin-Whitewater policies, procedures, or regulations.
Procedures for Complaints
Anyone may file a written complaint of an alleged violation by a University recognized student organization with the Dean of Students Office. Complaints should be completed via an online form (Student Organization Misconduct/Hazing Reporting Form) and should include the following information:
Detailed description of the alleged violation,
Date, time, and place of the alleged violation,
Name of the University recognized student organization(s) involved in the alleged violation,
Name(s), if possible, of the individual(s) involved in the alleged violation,
Name(s), if possible, of witnesses,
Name(s) and address of the person filing the complaint (complainant).
All complaints must be filed with the Dean of Students Office within fourteen (14) calendar days of when the complainant had knowledge of or should have known of the alleged violation.
At any time during or after the fourteen (14) calendar days, if other information is received that a recognized student organization may have violated campus policy, city ordinance, or state or federal law, a complaint may be generated against a University recognized student organization and an investigation conducted.
Notice, Investigation, and Findings
Within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the complaint the Dean of Students Office will provide written notification to the student organization (President or other identified leadership) that a complaint has been filed and provide a summary of the allegations contained in the complaint. Contact will be made based upon officer and/or advisor information as recorded with Career & Leadership Development as well as information provided by the complainant. Failure to update campus records does not negate responsibility to respond or the potential for being held accountable.
The Dean of Students Office will conduct an investigation into the allegations to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that the student organization (officers, members, and or representatives) more likely than not violated University policy. If there is insufficient evidence to find that a violation occurred, the Dean of Students Office will notify the student organization and CLD Director and no further action will be taken. If there is sufficient evidence that University policy was violated, then the Dean of Students Office will:
Within fourteen (14) calendar days following the completion of the investigation, the Dean of Students Office will notify the student organization leadership and advisor(s) to schedule a meeting to review the findings and communicate the disciplinary sanctions.
Within fourteen (14) calendar days following the meeting the Dean of Students Office will send a written report summarizing the finding(s) and disciplinary action(s) to the student organization and other appropriate stakeholders (e.g., organization advisor, inter/national offices, Director of Career & Leadership Development, Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs).
Possible Disciplinary Actions
Following is a list of possible disciplinary actions that may be imposed on a student organization found in violation of University policy. The severity of the actions assigned are based upon the seriousness of the violation and the real and/or potential impact on student safety This is not an exclusive list, and other sanctions may be imposed. Note that individual student members of the organization may be investigated by the Dean of Students Office and disciplined under Chapter UWS 17.
Community Service. The student organization may be required to organize and/or participate in specified community service activities or events.
Educational Programs. The student organization may be required to attend and/or plan an educational event held for organization members and/or the campus community.
Loss of University Privileges/Services. Including but not limited to access to University funds, accounting services, posting, room reservations, hallway tabling, printing services, etc.
Probation. While the student organization continues to be a University recognized student organization, probation signifies a warning status that any further violation of policy may result in Suspension or Revocation of University Recognition. When probation status is assigned it is accompanied with a timeline to return to good standing, and may also include other sanctions.
Restitution. The organization may be required to pay for damages.
Revocation of University Recognition. Permanent loss of University recognition.
Specific Conditions Related to Organization Functions and Activities. Limitations or parameters may be placed on the activities and functioning of the student organization.
Suspension of University Recognition. Suspension signifies loss of all University privileges and services for a specified period of time. Upon conclusion of the suspension the student organization must re-apply for University Recognition.
Temporary Emergency Suspension. All activities of a student organization may be immediately suspended if the Dean of Students Office has reason to believe that the safety of individuals or the community may be in jeopardy. The emergency suspension must be communicated to the student organization leadership, advisor(s), inter/national offices, and the CLD Director immediately. An emergency suspension is followed by an investigation as outlined earlier in this policy.
Warning. A written warning that the conduct of the student organization was not appropriate and should not be repeated.
Organizations that are sanctioned may request an administrative review. Should a student organization wish to do so, it must submit a request for a review in writing to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee) no later than fourteen (14) calendar days from receipt of the written summary of the findings and disciplinary action(s) provided by the Dean of Students Office.
An organization may request an administrative review based solely on one or more of the following factors:
The evidence does not support the finding or disciplinary action(s) issued;
New evidence or information has been received that was not available and of which a reasonable person would not have been able to obtain during the investigation, that is relevant and material
to the issue at hand;
The procedures outlined in this document were not followed.
Upon receipt of the request for an administrative review, the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee) shall conduct a review and make a final determination as to whether the decision shall be upheld, modified, or reversed, and the decision shall be provided to the student organization and the Dean of Students Office in writing no later than fourteen (14) calendar days from receipt of the written appeal, unless extenuating circumstances warrant additional time. The decision of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee) is final.
This Release of Information Form allows a student to release their records to another party. The Dean of Students Office will not typically release information about a student without a signed copy of this form on file. This form is unique to the Dean of Students Office and must be completed regardless if the student completed a different release of information form with another office. Please contact our office at 262-472-1533 with questions regarding our record release policy.
Know what your triggers are. If there are certain behaviors that have a tendency to get under your skin or things that students do to push your buttons, recognize what they are before a situation occurs in or out of the classroom.
If a student does become disruptive, some of the following strategies may help to de-escalate the situation.
If a student will not stop being disruptive, you have a responsibility to maintain the environment for all of the other students. In this case, consider these options:
The University of Wisconsin- Whitewater strongly values free speech both in the statement of an idea and in the response to that idea. Generating and exploring innovative ideas and realities requires us to permit multiple perspectives and dynamic discourse. We are committed to freedom of expression and the right to assemble for the purpose of expressing differing opinions or to request certain actions from the University.
This Protest Response Procedures (PRP) is intended to provide general guidance to UW- Whitewater’s community (students, faculty, staff, families, alumni and our governing bodies) concerning our response to protests and demonstrations consistent with our shared priorities and institutional values. The campus’ 400-acre main campus footprint is host to almost 50 buildings. The Connor University Center, Center for the Arts, classrooms and other spaces across the Whitewater campus host numerous events. In addition, the UW- Whitewater at Rock County campus has a footprint of 50 acres that also hosts events in the Janesville community. Continuity of operations among these facilities is important in setting consistent expectations for expressive activity.
We encourage individuals and groups who plan to use UW-Whitewater as a site for expressive activity to reach out to the UW-Whitewater Police Department (UWWPD) so we can assist in making your event successful and safe (especially if you believe the event might draw controversy).
Public universities are venues for creative and thoughtful discourse where differing perspectives are debated and thoroughly discussed -a “marketplace of ideas” consistent with the goals of a liberal education. The guiding values of the institution – Inspire, Engage, Transform - set the framework for our commitment to being a principled, value-driven University. To that end, the University provides an environment for freedom of expression, as well as a forum for ideas, perspectives and viewpoints to be stated and questioned, as well as tested and clarified. In doing so, we uphold a long standing tradition at UW- Whitewater of supporting critical thought and expression, engendering greater awareness of systemic societal issues, and championing the development of one’s own mind.
By creating this type of open climate for free expression, inevitably there will be moments in time where viewpoints conflict and dissent occurs. We will challenge each other as community members, and the community at large will challenge us. There will be times when one may be offended by the tone or content of speech being expressed. There will be times where viewpoints differ and moral codes are called into question. This will likely elicit negative feelings and/or responses; however, it is the University’s responsibility to uphold the US Constitution and the right to freedom of expression, and we will do so with as few constraints as possible. There shall be no restrictions on legally protected free speech activity based on the content of such speech or expression, or on the political, religious or other affiliations of speakers.
Further, speech that is otherwise protected may not be disallowed solely because it is offensive, or because members of the audience find it offensive, even where such members react to the speech in a disruptive manner. In such circumstances, while there may be a legitimate need to take action against the disruptive members of the audience, the speech itself must be allowed to continue.
The University may impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the exercise of the right of free expression in order to preserve the safe and orderly operation of the campus. generally prohibited and as such, may be directed to cease.
Three general principles apply to all events:
UW- Whitewater’s approach to protests and demonstrations will consist of the following: Clear Communication of Rights and Responsibilities
The University will strive to ensure that there is no confusion about the rights of individuals to express themselves and to assemble lawfully for that purpose. But the more challenging situations arise when protesters decide to violate laws or University regulations. Voluntary compliance with laws or University regulations is the primary objective. The University intends to respond to the violation of such laws or regulations as indicated in this PRP, but we may also employ a range of measures up to and including arrest, corrective counseling for employees, or student discipline.
Ongoing Relationship Building
The University endeavors to increase trust and understanding among campus stakeholders. Some protests can be avoided if there are effective lines of communication between would- be protesters and campus administration, and ongoing opportunities to raise substantive concerns with the administration.
Transparent Decision-Making Processes
To ensure an effective University response to protests, coordination between University representatives is essential. The campus will evaluate events in a viewpoint-neutral manner and avoid or limit the use of force against protesters wherever possible.
Protest Response Priorities
Our priorities when responding to a protest or demonstration:
DISRUPTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: REGENTS’ POLICY
On October 6, 2017, the UW System Board of Regents adopted the current Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression policy1. It prescribed conduct outcomes for students who violate the freedom of others to express themselves. This policy added to existing guidelines on computer use, picketing, rallying, parades, demonstrations, protests, sound amplification, and other behaviors found in Section UWS 18.11 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code (Offenses Against Public Peace and Order)2. One pertinent section in the new Regents’ policy states:
Students and employees have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself, as the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution permit. Students and employees shall be permitted to assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activity as long as such activity does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of an institution.
Protests and demonstrations that materially and substantially disrupt the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity shall not be permitted and shall be subject to sanction. This policy shall not prohibit administrators, faculty, or other instructors from maintaining order. Access to UW institutions for purposes of free speech and expression shall occur within the limits of reasonable viewpoint- neutral and content-neutral restrictions on time, place, and manner of expression and the provisions of Chapter UWS 21(Use of University Facilities) of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
This section of the PRP clarifies how UW-Whitewater will interpret and operationalize the Regents’ policy. The intent is to provide a clear sense of appropriate behavioral parameters for students and the processes related to addressing disruption. Because it is not possible to anticipate every scenario given the organic and emerging nature of freedom of expression, more specific questions should be directed to the UW-Whitewater Police Department. These standards and practices will be reviewed, and if needed, revised at the end of each academic year and publicized on their website and through various communication means on campus.
Students and student organizations can request a training on free speech and freedom of expression by contacting the Dean of Students Office at 262-472-1533 or University Police at 262-472-4660.
Components of a Disruption
Behavior will be evaluated for whether it is disruptive based on when, where and how it occurs. Determining whether those elements will occur takes the following into consideration:
Behaviors which occur during and near the time of an event.
Behaviors that occur at “university-run or university-authorized activities,” as noted in Section UWS 17.09(8)3. Such activities are usually one of the following:
Behaviors which materially and substantially disrupt another person’s freedom of expression or the ability of others to receive the expression. Indicators include:
Any limitations imposed on an event are acceptable as long as they are reasonably applied to all participants.
Examples of Disruptive and Non-Disruptive Behavior
Campus Process for Confronting Disruptive Behavior: Guests, Campus Community Members, and/or Students
Behavior in violation of any of these regulations is subject to intervention by university and/or law enforcement officials. In the event of an alleged or perceived violation, those in violation will be asked to comply with the applicable regulations by the appropriate campus authorities (e.g. Dean of Student 262-472-1533, Center for Students with Disabilities 262- 472-4711, Career and Leadership Development, University Housing, University Center, School/College department) by contacting the UWWPD at 262-472-4660.
If a violation persists or is repeated, or if the assembly poses an imminent danger to public safety, those assembled may be required to disperse immediately. Continued violation may result in arrest and subsequent legal action by the university. If the violation occurs at a scheduled event, the permission for the event may be summarily revoked, and future requests by those individuals or groups in violation may be canceled or denied.
Additionally, documentation of disruptive behaviors related to students should be submitted to Dean of Students or Career and Leadership Development for evaluation depending on if it was an individual or a student organization. If a student is investigated for possible disruption, the student should be afforded all of the rights and process as outlined in Chapter UWS 17. The possible consequences if a student is found responsible for second violation of this policy during their enrollment is suspension for a minimum of one semester. Any student who has been responsible for a third disruption will be expelled.
Nonacademic Misconduct Process for Students
If an incident of disruption occurs, the University will proceed under Chapter UWS 17 procedures (found on the Dean of Students website; please also refer to Chapter UWS 17 for the full description of the procedures). UWWPD may impose additional criminal justice system procedures as necessary or warranted and mitigate the situation.
Misconduct Campus Employees Process
If an incident of disruption occurs, UWWPD may impose criminal justice system procedures as necessary or warranted, mitigate the situation, or the employee may be referred to the Office of Human Resources.
Misconduct of Community Members Process
If an incident of disruption occurs, UWWPD may impose criminal justice system procedures as necessary or warranted, mitigate the situation, or restrict a community members access to campus.
PREPARATION FOR PROTEST OR DEMONSTRATIONS
To ensure the campus is prepared and all potential alternatives have been considered, the University is committed to dedicating reasonably necessary resources when protests and demonstrations occur, and to continuously assess processes of event registration, event review, decision-making mechanisms, communication and coordination with outside agencies.
The University conducts ongoing training for staff and administrators in the areas of crowd management, mediation, de-escalation techniques, the Incident Command System, and police force options. Exercises and trainings are jointly conducted with campus administration and police to rehearse responses to protest and civil disobedience scenarios.
To request a training for students or student organizations, contact the Dean of Students Office call 262-472-4711 or University Police at 262-472-4660.
Campus Event Reservations
The Connor University Center Reservation Office assists student organizations, academic departments, and others in planning and coordinating events and campus activities in the Connor University Center, and other campus buildings. It offers event planning; room reservations; food selection, technology and room set-up; and campus facilities and outdoor spaces reservations. Reservations is the primary office to facilitate space use/reservations for all events. For general information and reservation requests, go to: https://www.uww.edu/uc/reservations
Campus Grounds Reservations
Groups wishing to reserve green space in the academic area must contact UWWPD at 262- 472-4660. The request will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member who will contact the group leader with further information.
Event Notification and Security Review
Reservations’ Office and those persons responsible for reserving spaces will notify appropriate campus offices of an upcoming space use request for approval and/or support. Based on the nature or location of the proposed event, space requests may also require a security review by the UW- Whitewater Police Department to assess site feasibility and safe facilitation of the event.
Event notifications to specific offices as outlined in policy will be required whenever a use request involves the following elements:
Whenever a request involves any of the following elements, the Reservations Office will notify the UW-Whitewater Police Department to conduct a safety assessment:
In these circumstances, the organizers will be notified that a security review is required and the specific concerns will be clearly communicated. In such instances, it will be the responsibility of the organizer to work with the University to remedy the concerns prior to the event taking place. If a threat of violence exists in connection to the planned event, the University reserves the right to cancel the event or provide alternative time (s), and or place (s) to facilitate.
Venue/Facility Security Review
The Security Review Team consists of the following additional offices:
The security review may include a walk-through of the potential site to assess feasibility. In some instances, the walk-through may reveal changes necessary for the safety of those participating.
Examples include identifying specific entry and egress points. If it is determined during the event review process that the venue is not suitable for the organization’s request, alternate sites and or times may be required or the request deemed unsuitable and the event denied.
Communication with Event Organizers and Demonstrators
With effective communication between event organizers, demonstrators, and campus administration, disruptions can sometimes be avoided – or at least, can take place peacefully without any police intervention. When possible, Dean of Students staff and UWWPD are open to meeting in advance with groups organizing events or those opposed to it with the intent to learn more about the issues at hand and suggest routes for resolution. Campus administration may also ask questions or propose adjustments that can facilitate the event while maintaining safety. Topics to be discussed concerning an event may include, but are not limited to:
The goal of pre-event planning is to share any known information so that all parties are informed of campus expectations, options and responsibilities, and any possible consequences that could arise due to actions of protestors or demonstrators. Groups consulting with the University should not expect confidentiality about their plans. After the pre-event planning, the University can clarify what resources beyond the University’s normal provision are needed and the associated costs and payment for such costs may be required.
Communication to Campus
Campus administration may communicate with the community about anticipated disruptions prior to the event as well as any safety concerns that arise during the protest or demonstration. This communication may occur through University online website announcements, campus email messages, audible announcements, and InformaCast (or other methods).
For planning and review of an event, Campus administration, Dean of Students Office, and UWWPD will have responsibility for the campus’ response to a protest or demonstration, subject to the supervision of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs and/or Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
Coordination with Outside Agencies
To facilitate coordination and ensure a consistent police response, the UWWPD will coordinate pre-event planning with any outside agencies that may provide assistance. Pre-event planning will include establishing an Incident Action Plan (IAP) - outlining police operations for the event. UWWPD will conduct any and all event briefings and distribute, as appropriate, the IAP. In its communications with all involved agencies, the UWWPD will emphasize the importance of respecting the freedom of expression of all those involved in protests or demonstrations.
ACTIVE PROTEST RESPONSE
In active situations UWWPD has the responsibility of command and control.
Once a potential protest or demonstration has been identified, campus staff will generally assume the following roles:
The Protest Decision-Making Team (PDT) is comprised of senior campus administration charged with the ability to quickly assemble to evaluate on-going protests and demonstrations, provide guidance to campus staff facilitating specific campus events, and make necessary decisions regarding the event. The team will consist of the following standing members:
Notification of Potential Protest
University Marketing and Communications Staff Roles
Event Organizer Roles
Protest Decision-Making Team (PDT) Roles
Conclusion and After Action Review
1 https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/policies/commitment-to-academic-freedom-and-freedom-of-expression/ 2 https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/uws/18/11
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does the PRP apply to outdoor campus spaces that are able to be reserved? Yes.
What if a group disrupts a group that is protesting within the allowed guidelines? The disrupting group would be subject to having its conduct reviewed.
What about disruptions like taking over an office? The assumption is that most other types of institutional disruption are generally covered in Section UWS 18.11 (Offenses Against Public Peace and Order7). https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/uws/18/11
If a person is part of a group that plans a disruption (assuming it doesn't violate a law or policy), but doesn't do it themselves, can they be held responsible? No, the University would not usually go forward with action against an individual who did not participate in the disruptive behavior if the person did not engage in it themselves. We may hold a Recognized Student Organization responsible through Career and Leadership Devolvement.
Are all individuals in a group that disrupts treated the same? 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 conduct histories that may warrant differential outcomes.
Can a person wear a mask? Does it matter if it is political? If masks are allowed in the building or venue where the event is being held, yes. The nature of the mask may be subject to interpretation as disruptive. This does not apply to masks worn as part of COVID-19 or other health crisis.
Does the BOR policy apply to a University event that occurs at an off-campus venue? Yes. Is a campus/RSO sponsored Facebook live feed that is hacked or flooded with comments
considered a disruption? Potentially.
How late can the organizers of an event wait to determine and announce the ground rules of an event? Can they change them in the middle of the event? Groups are encouraged to notify those attending of the ground rules for their event. That said, it is the organizers’ event and they can change them as long as the change equitably applies to everyone.
What are recommended ways to communicate the interpretation and operationalization of this policy to students? Social media, print materials, orientation, presentations, meetings.