Student Conduct

The Student Conduct process is designed to:

  • assist in the development and education of students
  • promote mutual respect within the University community
  • contribute to maintaining a safe campus environment
  • provide a process for tracking repeated incidents of student code violation

The vast majority of issues can be resolved at an informal level. Informal resolution of grievances is strongly encouraged. If satisfactory resolution is not achieved through informal means a more formal process may be pursued. Informal or formal resolution may be sought through the academic department or college, the Dean of Students Office, or the Due Process Officer.

Students should be aware that if they are interviewed regarding allegations that they have violated the student code, they are allowed to bring an advisor, who may be an attorney, with them. The advisor may not actively participate unless a formal hearing is held, but may consult with the student throughout the process. The University wants to make sure all parties are treated fairly and abides by Board of Regents R256 in student disciplinary processes.

WSU Student Code WSU Policy and Procedures Manual section 6-22

To efficiently address the wide variety of issues arising on a university campus, Student Conduct is divided into two areas of focus:

Student Behavioral Issues

Contact: Dean of Students
Dr. Jeffrey J. Hurst
Phone: 626-7256

Examples: Behavioral issues, harassment, disruption of teaching, alcohol violations.

Academic Issues

Contact: WSU Due Process Officer
Dr. Valerie Herzog
Phone: 801-626-7656

Examples: Cheating, plagiarism, course requirement, and grade disputes.

Partnering for Student Success

The Office of the Dean of Students is eager to assist students, faculty, and staff with any questions or concerns regarding Student Judicial Affairs.

Free Speech Under the Student Code

The Student Code must always be viewed under the lens of the Constitution and the First Amendment of the United States. This means taking care to understand that while behaviors may violate the code, certain speech activities may be protected and not subject to regulation. 

The Supreme Court has said that students do not shed First Amendment rights when they are on campus. Generally, particularly in public speech areas, students can and are encouraged to engage in expressive activity. However, not all speech is protected and speech can be regulated, depending on the circumstances. 

Academic Disruption

  • As identified by the Utah Supreme Court, classrooms are not open fora for all expressive activity. Students may not be disruptive and may be required to follow the reasonable rules of the classroom based on the teaching and learning needs of the class. For example, a faculty member may create rules to limit disruptions, including prohibiting interruptions, requiring students to stay on topic, and limiting students who monopolize or dominate the conversation. 

The university has also identified certain academic speech rights of students under PPM 9-5.

"Faculty members have a responsibility to their students to entertain all relevant questions and to discuss controversial questions objectively and freely. Where faculty members find it pedagogically useful to advocate a position on controversial matters, they should exercise care to assure that opportunities exist for students to consider other views. Faculty members shall not reward agreement or penalize disagreement with their views on controversial topics, but they can reasonably expect their students to learn the rationale behind certain positions."

Faculty should take care to engage with students, recognizing these rights. At the same time, faculty have the right to reasonably direct the course of their class. Care should also be taken by facutly to recognize the pedagogical purpose of the rules of their classroom, make those clear to students, and not restrict more speech than necessary to accomplish those pedagogical goals. 

The University has recently passed Section 3.2 of PPM 6-22, Student Code, that describes certain behaviors that may constitute "academic disruption." Faculty members who would like assistance in determining how to set rules for their classrooms are welcome to contact the Dean of Students' Office for ideas and assistance, particualarly if faculty are seeing repeated behavior. 

Other Disruptive Behavior

  • Note that students cannot substanially interfere with the work of the school or impinge on the rights of other students, including doing things that would interefere with other's speech rights. This language is also captured in the Student Code, including prohibitions on substantially or materially disruptive behavior, harassment, and hazing.
  • Off-campus, non-university student speech is generally not regulated by the university, unless it creates a substantial disruption or material interference on campus, constitutes a true threat, or is otherwise unlawful or unprotected. Care should be taken when students engage in off-campus activity not to limit speech that does not fit these criteria.

The Dean of Students' office provides trainings and other resources for those who would like assistance in further understanding the Student Code or how to navigate difficult student situations.