University Policies, Statements and Procedures
In addition to the several policy statements articulated below, please note that the official location of all University policies in wmich.edu/policies.
Western Michigan University Student Code
The Student Code describes the boundaries of acceptable student behavior and is approved by the Board of Trustees. The Office of Student Conduct interprets and enforces the Student Code, which is found at wmich.edu/conduct/code.
Academic and Research Misconduct
The policies and procedures regarding student academic misconduct may be found in the student Code at http://www.wmich.edu/conduct/code.
The policies and procedures regarding research misconduct may be found at http://wmich.edu/policies/research-misconduct.
Except in situations which have specific additional requirements due to the project’s funding, any student involved in alleged misconduct while conducting research for academic credit will go through the Academic Integrity process managed and facilitated by the Office of Student Conduct.
Animals on Campus
For rules regarding animals on campus, please see the Animals on Campus Policy wmich.edu/policies/animals-on-campus.
Course Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals
Course Grade Appeals
This section applies when a student wants to appeal a final course grade that has been recorded by the Registrar on the student’s academic record. Appeal panels are assembled from the faculty under the authority of and by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or designate. Throughout this process, the Office of the Ombudsman is available to students and instructors for assistance on procedures and clarification of the rights of all parties.
The accepted bases of course grade appeal are:
- Grades were calculated or the program dismissal decision was made in a manner inconsistent with the University policy, the syllabus, or changes to the syllabus.
- The grade(s) was/were erroneously calculated.
- Grading/performance standards were arbitrarily or unequally applied.
- The instructor failed to assign or remove an Incomplete or to initiate a grade change as agreed upon with the student.
- Late withdrawal from class(es), after grades have been assigned, due to genuine hardship. (Students appealing on this basis should proceed by contacting the Ombuds Office and following the procedures for hardship determination.)
A grade appeal cannot be made in response to a grade penalty assessed as a result of an official finding of responsibility for academic integrity violation(s). Such a finding will have been made through the procedures provided in the academic integrity policy.
The steps to be taken in appealing a grade are:
- Informal meeting with instructor: A student is encouraged to begin the appeal process by meeting with the instructor who assigned the grade. Such meetings often help students understand the grading practices of instructors and often lead to resolution of differences over grades.
- Written appeal and conference with the academic unit chair/director: A grade appeal must be in writing, in hard copy, and must be submitted to the academic unit chair/director. This appeal must be received by the academic unit chair/director within 20 business days of the last day of the semester or session in which the grade was recorded on a student’s record. The Provost or designate may grant an extension should a genuine hardship arise (i.e., illness, death in the immediate family). The letter must identify the basis of the appeal and must state in detail why the student believes the grade should be changed. Following a conference with the student, the chair/director must respond in writing to the student with a copy to the instructor, their dean, and the Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals Committee (GAPDAC) within 20 business days. In this letter, the chair/director should confirm the meeting with the student, recap their discussion, and state whether the student has an appeal which meets the established criteria (A, B, C, or D above). If the situation appears to meet the criteria for appeal, the chair/unit director may recommend that the instructor reevaluate the student’s work. The chair/director cannot change the student’s grade without the instructor’s agreement. Note: Grade appeals or other complaints based on charges of discrimination or sexual harassment should be taken to the Office of Institutional Equity or other office, pursuant to other University policies and procedures.
- Appeal to committee: After the chair has completed the response to the student’s appeal, the student may appeal to the Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals Committee (GAPDAC). This appeal must be initiated within 20 business days completion of step 2. If the student has requested a meeting with the academic unit chair/director and has not been granted such a meeting within 40 business days of the student’s request, the student may then initiate an appeal to GAPDAC. The student will initiate an appeal through the Office of the Ombudsman. When the Ombuds receives an appeal, the Provost or designate will schedule a meeting of GAPDAC using procedures determined by the Professional Concerns Committee (PCC) of the Faculty Senate. The GAPDAC will consist of three members drawn from a pool of faculty established for this purpose. In a grade appeal, both the student(s) and the instructor should provide a written statement describing the situation under consideration. An appearance to provide additional information at the appeal by either the instructor or student(s) may be requested by the appeals committee. A GAPDAC can effectuate a grade change by majority vote. The decision of the hearing panel is final and not subject to appeal.
- Instructor unavailable to assign grade: Circumstances may arise which may prevent an instructor from assigning a grade in a timely manner. In such instances, the academic unit chair/director will make reasonable efforts to contact and ask the instructor to supply a grade. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the instructor’s academic chair/director will appoint another qualified faculty member to assign the grade.
Program Dismissal Appeals
This section applies when a student wants to appeal a decision to dismiss the student from an academic program for reasons other than charges of violations of academic integrity policies. Appeal panels are assembled under the authority of and by the designate of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Throughout this process, the Office of the Ombudsman is available to students and instructors for assistance on procedures and clarifications of the rights of all parties.
The accepted bases of program dismissal appeal are:
- The program dismissal decision was made in a manner inconsistent with University policy or the program policy.
- The program dismissal procedures were not followed.
- Evaluation/performance standards were arbitrarily or unequally applied.
A program dismissal appeal cannot be made in response to an academic integrity or conduct dismissal from the University. The student’s status, as dismissed from the program, will remain unaltered until a successful appeal is completed.
NOTE: A program dismissal appeal based on charges of discrimination or sexual harassment should be taken to the Office of Institutional Equity or other office, pursuant to the other University policies and procedures.
The steps to be taken in appealing a program dismissal are:
- Appeal to committee: The student may appeal to a Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals Committee (GAPDAC). This appeal must be initiated within 20 business days of the notification of program dismissal. The student will initiate an appeal through the Office of the Ombudsman. When the appeal is received, the Provost or designate will schedule a meeting of a GAPDAC using procedures determined by the Professional Concerns Committee of the Faculty Senate. The GAPDAC will consist of three members drawn from a pool of faculty established for this purpose. In a program dismissal, the student appellant should attend the meeting of the appeal panel and must provide a written statement describing the grounds for appeal. A University representative from the program must attend the meeting and must provide a written statement describing the grounds for and circumstances of dismissal.
A GAPDAC may reverse or sustain a program dismissal by majority vote. The decision of the hearing panel is final and not subject to appeal.
Selection, Training, and Organization of Grade and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee
A Grade and Program Dismissal Appeal Committee (GAPDAC) will be drawn from a pool of faculty who are trained under procedures determined by the Professional Concerns Committee (PCC) of the Faculty Senate. For each appeal that requires review, a GAPDAC panel will be selected to hear the appeal and to decide the matter.
Each academic college shall provide a cohort of tenured or tenure-track faculty members to serve on the GAPDAC pool in proportion to its respective student credit hour production. Faculty members will serve three-year terms. It will be necessary to include in the pool those who can serve during summer sessions.
Each GAPDAC shall be composed of three faculty members, at least one of whom is from the college where the course or program in question resides. Each GAPDAC will elect a faculty member to chair the committee, and each GAPDAC must have all three members present to have a quorum. Procedures for selection of a GAPDAC will be constructed and administered by the PCC.
Faculty Oversight of Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals Committee
The PCC shall function as an oversight committee for reviewing and monitoring all University policies and procedures dealing with grade and program dismissal appeal issues. A report of all GAPDAC activities shall be made to the Faculty Senate Executive Board each year by the PCC, and recommendations for changes in policies and procedures regarding grade and program dismissal appeal issues may be part of that annual report. Such recommendations may result in modifications to these policies and procedures.
Diversity, Multiculturalism, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination
President’s Statement on Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Inclusion
As the president of Western Michigan University, I am proud to reaffirm our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and to our fundamental belief in the dignity and worth of every human being, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical attributes and abilities; and religious, political, cultural, and intellectual ideologies and practices.
It is our differences that enrich the human experience and make us stronger. As members of the WMU community, we carry a collective responsibility to create an environment where every person is appreciated and treated with civility and respect. That responsibility is ours not only because of the vibrant campus culture a diverse community creates, but also because of the power and strength that diverse perspectives, ideas and experiences bring to our society as a whole.
We will always honor higher education’s role as a place that nurtures the open exchange of ideas and advances our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and expression. However, we abhor attempts to use those freedoms to take us back to a darker time or place. Efforts to threaten, demean, or degrade one of us is an assault against our whole community. The strength of this campus is its people, and we will vehemently guard against expression that is rooted in hatred and the kind of violence that should be abhorrent to every citizen. As an inclusive and welcoming campus, we cannot let such speech or actions go unchallenged.
The Board of Trustees took a significant step in reinforcing our dedication to inclusion by adopting a carefully developed Diversity and Multicultural Action Plan–the DMAP. The plan was intended to provide a framework and guidelines for us to continually update and revise as we work to fulfill the expectations we’ve imposed upon ourselves as well as uphold the laws of our nation. In addition, our University strategic Plan continues to advance, strengthen, and refine our commitment towards building a more diverse and inclusive University community.
Our institutional pledge to promote inclusive behavior is also reflected in the nondiscrimination policy adopted by the Board of Trustees. That policy prohibits discrimination or harassment that violates the law or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment opportunity, University facility access, or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight or marital status.
The University complies with applicable laws and regulations and pursues opportunities to engage in efforts within the law to maintain and support an environment that is welcoming to all. We will continue to secure the University’s future success and fulfill the letter and the spirit of the law by:
- Recruiting students, faculty, and staff from every part of the nation and around the globe;
- Promoting discussion that is civil, courteous and respectful;
- Supporting initiatives that help the entire University community appreciate and value the benefits that come from being part of a campus where all are welcomed; and
- Ensuring that WMU becomes a school of choice by modeling inclusion not exclusion.
Together, we are stronger as a University and stronger as a campus community.
Non-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
Western Michigan University prohibits discrimination or harassment which violates the law or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment opportunity, University facility access, or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, protected veteran status, height, weight, or marital status (revised April 2006). Sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence and other forms of sexual and gender-based harassment are prohibited under Title IX, the Cleary Act and University policy.
Institutional Equity and the designated ADA/Section 504 and Title IX coordinators handle inquires regarding the non-discrimination and sexual misconduct policies. Retaliation against any person or group who makes a good faith complaint, cooperates with an investigation, or participates in a grievance or related processes is prohibited by law.
For more information contact:
1903 W. Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5405
For the most up to date version of the Non-Discrimination Policy go to: wmich.edu/policies/non-discrimination.
For the most up to date version of the Sexual Misconduct Policy go to: wmich.edu/policies/sexual-assault.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Office of the Registrar is the institution’s official custodian of educational records. This office also holds the final responsibility in the enforcement of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Specific information may be found at http://wmich.edu/policies/ferpa-policy.
Minors on Campus
WMU has a Policy specifically addressing Programs and Activities Involving Minors. For the most up to date version go to wmich.edu/policies/minors.
WMU’s Office of Pre college Programming provides leadership and direction for individuals, programs and units at Western Michigan University involved in outreach with precollege students. If you are considering or are involved in any such programs and activities involving minors, the University Policy and information on how to participate are located at wmich.edu/precollege.
Reporting Criminal and Unethical Activities
Duty to Report Criminal Acts
The Western Michigan University board of Trustees’ Policy on Duty to Report Criminal Acts is located at wmich.edu/policies/criminal.
President’s Statement on Reporting Illegal and Unethical Activities
(December 8, 2011)
“This has been a fall rife with scandal and underlying tragedy for individuals connected with two of our sister institutions - Penn State and Syracuse. I write to share my views and opinions about the shortcomings illustrated in those situations. This is a topic of discussion and deep concern among all of us on this and every campus in the nation.
In reflecting on these sad and appalling national stories, it is important to reaffirm what I believe are the core responsibilities of every citizen in our University and broader communities. Above and beyond any misplaced desire to protect or preserve the reputation of an individual or an organization, it is imperative that we all remember our primary obligation is to protect and defend those among us who are most vulnerable. In the long run, our reputation and strength as an institution will only be enhanced by our commitment to come to the aid of victims and discipline any individuals who take advantage of the positions of trust in which we have placed them.
If you encounter a situation in which you see someone being victimized, or you encounter something you believe to be a crime, call our Department of Public Safety. Do this first. Afterward you can inform your supervisor. Our public safety officers are trained to determine the facts of any incident. Simply call (269) 387-5555 to alert the proper officials.
As is sometimes the case in any large organization, there may be a time when you hesitate to report a crime, because you worry that you or your position may be vulnerable. Much earlier this year, we decided to enhance our ability to receive information from faculty and staff about possible wrongdoing in a way that would address such concerns. We now have a contract with a highly respected company called Ethics Point that provides an anonymous website to report possible criminal or ethical violations. There is also a phone line that can be used to report wrongdoing. We had intended to publicize this option after the coming holiday break, but because of the timely nature of this tool and a strong statement issued by our Board of Trustees today, I want you to know the system is already in place.
If you feel the need to maintain anonymity and report a situation that is legally or ethically wrong, you may do so by going to wmuhotline.ethicspoint.com, select Make a Report in the top right menu and follow the prompts. To use the phone line, call (855) 247-3145. I suspect - and hope - we may never need this tool, but am mindful that, at nearly 30,000, we are a community the size of a small city and we might have someone who does not meet our exacting standards.
Thank you in advance for your commitment to ensure everything we do is accomplished using the strongest moral, legal, and ethical standards.”
Clery Act Annual Report
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires availability of the annual security and fire safety compliance document to prospective students, faculty, and staff. It can be obtained from the website of Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety wmudps.wmich.edu/AnnualSecurityReport.pdf.