When you hear that your student has potentially violated the conduct code, you may have questions or concerns. While the conduct process should be taken seriously, it is also a learning opportunity. At Whatcom, we use our conduct procedures to educate students about the importance of community standards, about how their actions affect others, and about taking accountability for their choices. Sanctions are designed to be as educationally focused as possible with an emphasis on student growth and restorative justice. Our process is always implemented with a strong focus on the due process rights of WCC students and creating a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment.
While there are high-level conduct cases every year, a vast majority of violations concern academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating, etc.), drug and alcohol violations (this is a drug and alcohol free campus), and matters of disrespect (failing to comply with a college official when asked, obstructing the learning environment, interpersonal conflicts, etc.).
In line with the current national trend, we are also beginning to see an increase in frequency and severity of concerns related to mental health issues. We offer several on-campus resources to mitigate and address these concerns including free counseling and our Access and Disability Services office. Additionally, we work to connect students with off campus resources as applicable.
We ask students to resolve their disputes at the lowest possible level before coming to our office. As with any other time in their life, they will need to learn to resolve conflicts using direct, assertive language, to listen, and to compromise. However, if the student is in fear for their safety, or the safety of others, or direct communication does not work, they can fill out an Incident Report.
Hearings are educational / learning opportunities and we encourage students to take the opportunity to self-advocate, reflect on choices, and discuss their options/goals. Students may be accompanied by a support person, but that person may not speak for the student or ask direct questions of the Conduct Officer.
Download our conduct process guidelines for parents and support systems.
Student disciplinary records are kept separate from student academic records. However, holds (or blocks) may be placed on academic records if they fail to honor the conduct process, which may affect their ability to register for classes or graduate. Records are kept for six years and require written permission to be released.
Probation places specific conditions around a student’s continued attendance at Whatcom. Probation can be for a limited period of time, or for the duration of their attendance. If the student violates the terms of their probation, they may be subject to deferred disciplinary sanctions, up to and including immediate dismissal from the college. Students on probation are considered “not in good standing”, which prevents them from participating in student athletics, government, organization membership, or any other college-related function.
Due to FERPA regulations, student conduct records will not be shared with anyone who does not have the legal “right to know”. If you need access to some of your student’s records, your student must file a FERPA release form with the registration and records office. Parents may be notified in the rare cases where there is a concern for health or safety of the student.