The Office of Student Conduct works closely with the University Police and Campus Security Authorities to maintain student safety. However, the campus student conduct system process exists apart from and in addition to the West Virginia criminal justice system. Institutional discipline for any criminal offense is not dependent on prosecution or conviction in the state or federal courts. In addition to upholding the laws of the nation, state, and locality, students must uphold the Code of Conduct, fully outlined in the Student Handbook.
The campus student conduct system is designed to maintain safety, order and due process on campus. Students charged with an alleged violation are informed of their due process rights on a University campus. Students charged may choose an administrative sanction or a campus student conduct board hearing, where three impartial individuals will hear and decide the case.
The procedures and appeals process are outlined in the Student Handbook. The maximum penalty assessed in the campus student conduct system is expulsion from Shepherd University and possible expulsion from other West Virginia public universities and colleges. Other outcomes include warnings, community service, mandated substance use or anger management education programs, restitution, restrictions, disciplinary probation, or other outcomes appropriate for the violation.
The Office of Student Conduct at Shepherd University maintains and reinforces a safe and equitable community where the rights of all students are protected by upholding institutional policies and procedures. In circumstances where the behaviors or actions of individual students, student groups, or student organizations do not meet the guidelines set by the Student Code of Conduct, the Office of Student Conduct pursues the resolution of policy violations in an equitable, timely, and unbiased manner through due process. Within this process, the Office of Student Conduct promotes opportunities for appropriate educational and developmental learning using a restorative justice model.
Restorative Justice in Student Conduct
Shepherd University utilizes a developmental, restorative justice model in addressing Code of Conduct violations and student behaviors. Using a restorative model allows for behaviors to be addressed in an appropriate manner, individualizing processes so each individual is treated with respect and equity.
What is restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a method which utilizes mediation, educational, and developmental outcomes to address Code of Conduct violations and individual behavior. It focuses on addressing and reducing negative behaviors while reinforcing positive behaviors. Restorative justice encourages outcomes to address harm caused to the community, individuals, and self as a result of violations. Outcomes include reflection processes, educational models, community restitution, assessments and more designed to increase individual learning and development.
Developmental and restorative Justice Practices in Student Conduct
Shepherd University Student Conduct uses developmental and restorative justice practices to support a positive and engaging educational community. While some punitive outcomes such as suspension or expulsion may still be utilized, most violation outcomes will not result in this manner since they are reserved for violations which impact the campus community in a more serious manner. A majority of processes and outcomes result in sanctions which are appropriate to the violation, increasing based on the severity of the violation. The goal of Student Conduct processes is not to remove an individual from the educational community, but to remove a behavior which creates negative impact on the educational community. The outcomes in the form of sanctions addresses the needs of the community as well as the developmental needs of the individual.
The developmental learning which takes place in outcomes is often summarized in reflections discussed by the individual who violated policy. This way, individuals can demonstrate what they have learned and gain an increased sense of self-understanding.