DEFENSE OF STUDENTS BEFORE THE WVU STUDENT CONDUCT BOARD

 

When a West Virginia University (WVU) student is charged with a criminal offense, or a member of the WVU community has brought a student conduct code violation charge against a WVU student, and the student faces the possibility of expulsion from WVU, that student is entitled to an attorney to represent them before the Student Conduct Board.  In many instances, the difference between expulsion and the outcome the student deserves is quality attorney representation.

It is not uncommon for a WVU student, or their parents, to receive a Notice of Charge letter from the WVU Office of Student Conduct giving a notice allegations being filed against the student and the student to believe the allegations and the consequences are not serious and the expense of hiring an attorney unnecessary.  Do not make this mistake.  A WVU Student Conduct Board Hearing has all the nuances of a criminal trial and requires the same amount of investigation, preparation, and execution as a criminal trial.  However, a Student Conduct Board Hearing is unique, with its own standards, procedures, and rules that only an attorney experienced in representing WVU students can navigate to ensure that you are prepared for your hearing or conference.

What Punishment Could I Face For A Violation of the WVU Student Conduct Code?

There are a number of sanctions possible when students are found responsible for a violation of the Student Code.  The possible sanctions include the following:

    1.  Expulsion – When a WVU student is expelled, the student is permanently separated from the University and such expulsion will permanently appear on the student’s academic transcript.

    2.  Suspension – When a WVU student is suspended, the student is separated from the University for a specific period of time and such suspension will permanently appear on the student’s academic transcript.

    3.  Probation – When a WVU student is placed on probation, the student receives a written reprimand that designates a period of time that during which, should the student violate any laws or fail to comply with WVU policies, the student is subject to more severe sanctions.

    4.  Warning – When a WVU student receives a warning, the student is provided written notice that the student has violated the Student Conduct Code and that any further violation may result in more severe disciplinary action.

    5.  Loss of Privileges – When a WVU student receives this sanction, the student is denied specific privileges for a designated period of time.  This can include attendance at WVU athletic events.

    6.  Restitution When a WVU student receives this sanction, the student is required to make payments to the person or entity that suffered damages or a loss due to the students conduct.  This sanction may also include the students time and/or services in addition to monetary restitution.
  
    7.  Other Sanctions The WVU Student Conduct Code provides that sanctions may be imposed in addition to those listed above, as appropriate for a specific circumstance.  This can include dismissal from WVU Housing, community service, educational classes, and other work or research projects.

When Am I Permitted To Have A Lawyer Represent Me Before the WVU Student Conduct Board?                   

The WVU Student Conduct Code permits that anytime a student is brought before the WVU Student Conduct Board for a hearing in which Stacy Vander Velde or LiDell Evans are seeking suspension or expulsion as a sanction, the student charged with the violation, and any alleged victim, may be represented by an attorney.

What Violations of the WVU Student Conduct Code Are Punishable by Expulsion?

The following violations of the Student conduct code may subject a student to suspension or expulsion from WVU: 

  1. Acts of dishonesty: Plagiarism; cheating and dishonest practices in connection with examinations, paper, and projects; and forgery, misrepresentation, or fraud.
  2. Disruption or obstruction of, or leading or inciting others to disrupt or obstruct, teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other WVU activities.
  3. Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person. Including, but not limited to, stalking.
  4. Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property of WVU or property of the WVU community or other personal or public property.
  5. Hazing.
  6. Sexual offenses.
  7. Failure to comply with directions of WVU officials or law enforcement officers.
  8. Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any WVU premises or unauthorized entry to or use of WVU premises.
  9. Violation of any published WVU policy, rule, or regulation.
  10. Violation of any federal, state or local law.
  11. Use, possession, or distribution of narcotic or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law.
  12. Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by WVU regulations), or public intoxication.  Any use, possession by or distribution to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age.
  13. Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on WU premises or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear to others.
  14. Improper obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on WVU premises or at WVU-sponsored or supervised functions.
  15. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on WVU premises.
  16. Theft or other abuse of computer time.
  17. Abuse of the WVU Student Code of Conduct and hearing procedures.
  18. Actions which cause of attempt to cause a fire (i.e. burning couches) or explosion, falsely reporting a fire, explosion or an explosive device, tampering with fire safety equipment or intentionally failing to evacuate WVU buildings during a fire alarm.   

What If My Alleged Student Conduct Code Violation Occurred Off-Campus or In-between Semesters?

Simply stated, any act or conduct of a WVU student, or applicant, from the time of application through graduation, no matter where occurring, is subject to the WVU Code of Conduct.

The WVU Campus Student Code applies to numerous types of conduct, on and off-campus.  The Code provides that it shall apply to conduct occurring on West Virginia University premises, at University sponsored activities, to off-campus conduct that adversely affect or interferes with the educational or orderly operation of the University, to off-campus conduct that does not occur on University premises that endangers the health, safety, or property of the University or the neighboring communities, and to off-campus conduct which violates federal, state, or local laws, or violates the directives of University officials, including failing to observe conduct which is appropriate for an academic institution.”

The WVU Student Code is in effect, or has jurisdiction, over a student from the time of application for admission to WVU through the actual awarding of a degree, even if conduct occurs before classes begin or after classes end, and includes periods between actual enrollment at WVU.  In fact, the Campus Student Code provides that it applies to conduct that is not discovered until after a degree is awarded.

As you can see, the WVU Student Code is written so that any student conduct, at anytime, anywhere, is subject to the Student Code and subjects the student to possible University action.               

Should I Hire An Attorney to Represent Me At a WVU Student Conduct Board Hearing?

Appearing before the WVU Student Conduct Board can be intimidating and confusing to any student and, in some cases, may impact the defense of any pending criminal charges. Slavey & Shumaker PLLC has experience appearing before the WVU Student Conduct Board to represent the interests of West Virginia University students to help prevent a potentially life-altering expulsion and remain on track for graduation.  

Should I Hire An Attorney Even If I’m Not Going Before the WVU Student Conduct Board?

An experienced WVU Student Conduct Board attorney is instrumental through every step of the WVU Student Conduct Code process, including those prior to the actual Student Conduct Board Hearing and in those circumstances in which you will not have a hearing at all, but rather a Conduct Conference. Having an experienced attorney assist you in gathering facts and information and prepare you for your Conduct Conference is instrumental in securing the outcome you desire and deserve.  

If you are a WVU student, or the parent of a WVU student, who has been charged with a crime or violation of the WVU Student Code of Conduct and have received a notice to appear in the WVU Office of Student Conduct or the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, contact Slavey & Shumaker PLLC for a free consultation.