Apr 21, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2023-24 
    
Undergraduate Catalog 2023-24

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities



University Policies, Statements and Procedures

As set forth in the Student Code, all students are expected to follow University Policies, Statements and Procedures, which is found at 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 Misconduct

Charges of academic misconduct should be made through the Office of Student Conduct within 20 business days of discovery of the misconduct. In some instances, academic misconduct may be discovered after a course or program of study is completed. No academic sanction shall be assessed without a finding of responsibility through the Academic Integrity Hearing process managed and facilitated by the Office of Student Conduct. The complete policies and procedures regarding student academic misconduct may be found in the Student Code at wmich.edu/conduct/code.

Research Misconduct

The policies and procedures regarding research misconduct may be found at wmich.edu/policies/research-misconduct. After receiving an allegation of research misconduct, the Vice President for Research and Innovation, in consultation with the appropriate University official(s), including the Office of Student Conduct if the allegation involves a student, shall assess the allegation to determine whether the investigation should proceed under the Research Misconduct Policy or under other
governing policies and procedures (e.g., Academic Misconduct).

Animals on Campus

For rules regarding animals on campus, in Residence Halls, and in WMU apartments (including service and emotional support animals), please see the Animals on Campus Policy, at wmich.edu/policies/animals-on-campus, the Service Animals Policy, at wmich.edu/policies/service-animals, the Reasonable Accommodation Policy, at wmich.edu/policies/accommodation and the Community Living Expectations/Residence Life Policy Book, at wmich.edu/housing/info/policies.

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 Ombuds is available to students and faculty members for assistance on procedures and clarification of the rights of all parties.

The accepted bases of course grade appeal are:
  1. 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.
  2. The grade(s) was/were erroneously calculated.
  3. Grading/performance standards were arbitrarily or unequally applied.
  4. The faculty member failed to assign or remove an Incomplete or to initiate a grade change as agreed upon with the student.
  5. Late withdrawal from class(es), after grades have been assigned, due to genuine hardship. Students appealing on this basis should proceed by contacting the Ombud’s Office and following the procedures for hardship determination wmich.edu/ombuds/appeal-hardship.

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 Academic Integrity Hearing process, described in the Student Code at wmich.edu/conduct/code.

The steps to be taken in appealing a grade are:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 protected class discrimination or sexual harassment should be taken to the Office of Institutional Equity or other office, pursuant to other University policies and procedures.
  3. 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 Ombuds. 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.
  4. 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 Ombuds 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:
  1. The program dismissal decision was made in a manner inconsistent with University policy or the program policy.
  2. The program dismissal procedures were not followed.
  3. Evaluation/performance standards were arbitrarily or unequally applied.
     

The student’s status, as dismissed from the program, will remain unaltered until a successful appeal is completed.

A program dismissal appeal cannot be made in response to an academic integrity or conduct dismissal from the University.

NOTE: A program dismissal appeal based on charges of protected class discrimination or sexual harassment should be taken to the Office of Institutional Equity or other offices, pursuant to the other University policies and procedures.

NOTE: A program dismissal based on genuine hardship should be addressed according to the University hardship policies.

When appealing a program dismissal, a student must take the following steps:

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 Ombuds. 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, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination

President’s Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination

Western Michigan University is committed to advancing diversity, inclusion and equity across our campus and to a fundamental belief in the dignity and the value of every human being, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, physical attributes and abilities; and religious, political, cultural, and intellectual ideologies and practices.

In addition to recognizing the importance of the University’s diverse and inclusive human population, it is also important to consider its history and physical space. The University is located on lands historically occupied by Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodewadmi nations. We acknowledge and honor this ancestral land of the Three Fires Confederacy, the sacred lands of all indigenous peoples, and their continued presence.

We understand it is our differences that enrich the educational experience. We constantly strive to better understand one another and to make our campus an open and welcoming place for all. Every member of our community carries a shared responsibility for helping create an environment where every person is seen and heard. That responsibility is ours because of the power and strength that diverse perspectives, ideas and experiences bring to our society as a whole.

We encourage all students to take part in opportunities that elevate and enhance their individual understanding and also contribute to our broader, shared goals to build an open and welcoming campus for all. This includes academic and cocurricular experiences, campus and local educational activities and events.

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 by:

  • Recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff who represent the full complement of human diversity;
  • Promoting civil and respectful dialogues that move us deeper in our understanding;
  • Supporting initiatives that foster the development of a community who appreciates and values their commitment to a campus that is inclusive, equitable and diverse; and
  • Integrating diversity, inclusion and equity in all aspects of our work.

To learn more about our efforts to advance diversity on our campus, visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s website at wmich.edu/diversity

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

Western Michigan University prohibits discrimination or harassment that violates the law or that limits opportunities of admission, employment or education based on the protected classes of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, height, weight, or marital status. Retaliation against any person or group who makes a good faith complaint or participates in a grievance, investigation or related processes is prohibited by law and policy.

The following two positions have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policy and the sexual and gender-based misconduct policy:

  • Associate Director and ADA Coordinator
  • Director Title IX Compliance/Title IX Coordinator

Contact Information: Institutional Equity, 1220 Trimpe, (269) 387-6316, wmich.edu/equity/directory

ONLINE INCIDENT REPORTING FORM - wmich.edu/equity
The full non-discrimination policy is available at wmich.edu/policies/non-discrimination
The full sexual and gender-based misconduct policy is available at wmich.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct

Inquiries or complaints concerning the application of federal law may be referred to the appropriate external agency:

Office for Civil Rights (Regional Office)
U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH  44115-1812
Phone:  (216) 522-4970
Fax:  (216) 522-2573
DD:  (800) 877-8339
email: OCR.Cleveland@ed.gov


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Detroit Office Patrick V. McNamara Building, Room 865
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI  48826
Phone:  (800) 669-4000
Fax:  (313) 226-4610
TTY:  (800) 669-6820

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 wmich.edu/policies/ferpa.

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. All employees, students, contractors and other University-affiliate persons have a duty to promptly report activities they believe could be criminal in nature.

Reporting Illegal and Unethical Activities

In the case of any emergency or you encounter something you believe may be a crime, call 911.  If you encounter a non-emergency situation that may involve a crime, call the Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety at (269) 387-5555.

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.

To report an incident of sexual misconduct, go to wmich.edu/sexualmisconduct/report. This website also has information about the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, related institutional policies and other resources. You may find the Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy at wmich.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct.

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 Report to prospective students, faculty, and staff. It can be obtained from the website of Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety at wmudps.wmich.edu/AnnualSecurityReport.pdf. A paper copy is available to review upon request at Western Michigan University Department of Public Safety 511 Monroe St Kalamazoo, MI. Additionally, the report is published October 1st of every year and includes statistics for the preceding three calendar years and efforts taken to improve campus safety.