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Handbook for Student Organizations

Procedures for Complaints

Any student, faculty, or staff member of the University may file a written complaint of an alleged violation with the Student Organizations Coordinator in the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office or with the Dean of Students. Complaints must include the following information:
      A.    Detailed description of the alleged violation
      B.    Date, time and place of the alleged violation
      C.    Name(s) of the student organization(s) involved in the alleged violation
      D.    Name(s), if possible, of the individual(s) involved in the alleged violation
      E.    Name(s), if possible, of witnesses
      F.     Name(s) and address(es) of the complainant(s) (any concern of harassment may
             be expressed to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Police Department by the
             Student Organization Conduct Committee upon request of the complainant)

All written complaints must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days (excluding breaks) of the alleged violation.

All recognized student organizations shall be accorded due process. The following guidelines will be followed upon receipt of a written complaint or incident report.

I.    NOTIFICATION

      A.    Within three (3) business days of receiving the complaint or incident report, the
             accused recognized student organization (RSO) will receive written notification
             outlining the allegations and a request to meet with the Student Organizations
             Coordinator and the Student Organization Conduct Committee (SOCC)
             Chairperson.

      B.    The RSO, upon receipt of notification, must schedule a meeting with the Student
             Organizations Coordinator and the SOCC Chairperson to occur within fourteen (14)
             calendar days (excluding breaks).

II.   PROCESS MEETING

      A.    During the Process Meeting, the Student Organizations Coordinator will review the
             allegations against the RSO and explain the Full Partnership Process and the
             University Conduct Process. Use of the appropriate process will be determined
             based on allegations.

III.  FULL PARTNERSHIP PROCESS PROCEDURES

      A.    RSOs opting to participate in the Full Partnership Process will be afforded the
             opportunity to conduct an internal investigation of all allegations against the
             organization. Within ten (10) calendar days (excluding breaks) of the Process
             Meeting, the organization is to provide a full, written report detailing each allegation
             and proposed corrective or disciplinary action to the Student Organizations
             Coordinator and the SOCC Chairperson.

      B.    Upon receipt of the written report, the Student Organizations Coordinator and
             SOCC Chairperson will review the information presented and schedule a
             Post-Investigation Meeting with the RSO to discuss the findings of the
             internal investigation.

      C.    Within seven (7) calendar days (excluding breaks) of the Post-Investigation
             Meeting, the RSO must provide a written Organization Enhancement Plan,
             outlining all corrective action and self-imposed sanctions the RSO will complete
             to remedy the situation. The Organization Enhancement Plan must be approved
             by the the Student Organizations Coordinator and the SOCC Chairperson.

      D.    Upon approval of the Organization Enhancement Plan, the RSO leadership must
             obtain proof of consent by the RSO membership within ten (10) calendar days
             (excluding breaks) and submit a Commitment Contract, indicating full responsibility
             for completing all outlined conditions in the Organization Enhancement Plan.

      E.    If applicable, the University will issue a letter of reprimand to the RSO, outlining all
             deadlines for Organization Enhancement Plan completion. For record keeping
             purposes a copy of the letter of reprimand will also be placed in the RSO’s file, in
             the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office.

      F.    If the RSO obstructs the process by providing false or inaccurate information,
             omitting information, or refusing to participate in the full partnership process,
             the RSO will move to the University Conduct Process, and a formal hearing
             will commence.

      G.    If the RSO misses any deadlines or violates any condition of the Organization
             Enhancement Plan, it is charged with a code of conduct violation and moves to
             the University Conduct Process.

      H.    If at any time it is determined that the allegations are pertinent to individual conduct
             and not RSO conduct, the process will end and individuals may face charges under
             UWS Chapter 17.

      I.    The Student Organizations Coordinator reserves the right to deem behavior as
             “egregious” or “dangerous misconduct” and require proceedings through the
             University Conduct Process (Section V).

IV.  UNIVERSITY CONDUCT PROCESS

      A.    Should an RSO opt to participate in the University Conduct Process, the Student
             Organizations Coordinator will work with the SOCC to schedule a formal hearing.
             The hearing must be scheduled within twenty (20) calendar days (excluding
             breaks) of the Process Meeting. Once the hearing is scheduled, the accused
             RSO and individual(s) filing the complaint shall receive the following information:
             •    Written notification of the time and place of the hearing;
             •    A statement of allegations against the RSO;
             •    A copy of the procedures for student organization conduct hearings.

      B.    Once the hearing is scheduled, any witnesses shall receive written notification
             of the time and place of the hearing.

      C.    The accused RSO, if unable to attend the hearing, must give a forty-eight (48) hour
             notice to the SOCC Chairperson and the Student Organizations Coordinator. They
             must also, if unable to attend, submit a written statement addressing the allegations
             to the SOCC Chairperson and Student Organizations Coordinator at least
             twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing.

      D.    Should the RSO decide not to cooperate with the hearing through the University
             Conduct Process the SOCC reserves the right to issue a decision in the matter
             with all pertinent information available at its disposal.

V.   HEARING PROCEDURES
 
      A.    The Student Organization Conduct Committee (SOCC) shall preside over
             all hearings.

      B.    All conduct hearings shall be recorded.

      C.    At the outset of the hearing the SOCC Chairperson shall:
             1.    Call the meeting to order
             2.    Establish the attendance
             3.    Ask those present to state their name and association with the case
             4.    Explain the format of the hearing to all assembled
             5.    Have the Student Organizations Coordinator read the allegations against the
                    accused student organization
             6.    Answer any questions about the complaint or the format of the hearing

      D.    The Chairperson will ask the accused RSO to claim or deny responsibility of the
              allegations.
             1.    If the RSO claims RESPONSIBLE:
                    a.    The individual(s) filing the complaint and the accused RSO will be
                           provided the opportunity to make a statement.
                    b.    The individual(s) filing the complaint will be asked to leave the hearing.
                    c.    The SOCC will have the opportunity to question the accused RSO.
                    d.    All persons other than the SOCC will be asked to leave the room after the
                          accused RSO has answered any questions pertaining to the matter in
                          question.
                    e.    The SOCC (in a closed session) will discuss the case and decide on a
                          suitable sanction for the RSO.
             2.    If the RSO claims NOT RESPONSIBILE:
                    a.    All witnesses will be required to leave the hearing during the opening
                           statements, but remain in the area to be called for questioning.
                    b.    The individual(s) filing the complaint, or their designee, will be permitted
                           to make an opening statement.
                    c.    The accused RSO will be permitted to make an opening statement.
                    d.    The individual(s) filing the complaint will be permitted to call witnesses
                           and/or present information. Upon conclusion, the accused RSO may ask
                           questions. Following any questions by the accused RSO, the SOCC may
                           ask questions.
                    e.    The accused RSO will be permitted to call witnesses and/or present
                           information. Upon conclusion, the individual(s) filing the complaint may
                           ask questions. Following any questions by the individual(s) filing the
                           complaint, the SOCC may ask questions. Questions must be relevant
                           to the incident being reviewed.
                    f.    The individual(s) filing the complaint will be permitted an opportunity to
                           make a closing statement.
                    g.    The accused RSO will be permitted an opportunity to make a
                           closing statement.
                    h.    Once all information and witness accounts have been heard, all persons
                           other than the SOCC will be asked to leave the room. The SOCC
                           (in closed session) will discuss the case and decide whether the RSO is
                           to be found in violation or not in violation, and if necessary, decide on a
                           sanction. A majority vote of the members present is needed to find an
                           RSO in violation, with the SOCC chair casting the deciding vote in case
                           of a tie.
             3.    The University shall the SOCC findings and decisions in writing to the RSO,
                    outlining all sanctions, deadlines, and, if applicable, requirements for
                    reapplying or retaining RSO status. For record keeping purposes a copy of
                    the findings and decisions will also be placed in the RSO’s file, in the Activities,
                    Involvement and Leadership office.

VI.    POSSIBLE SANCTIONS

Possible sanctions which SOCC may impose include but are not limited to the following:

      •    Warning. A written warning that the conduct of the RSO was not appropriate and
           should not be repeated.

      •    Probation. Probation means that a RSO will remain recognized providing that it
           abides by all applicable laws and policies. Probation may also have several
           conditions attached. RSOs currently on probation that are found responsible of
           further misconduct will be subject to a minimum of one semester of suspension
           of University recognition.

      •    Loss of University Privileges/Services. Including but not limited to accounting
           services, posting, room reservations, duplicating, etc.

      •    Restitution. RSOs may be required to pay for damages.

      •    Fines. RSOs may be required to pay a sum of money, the amount of which shall be
           determined through the conduct process.

      •    Community Services. The RSO may be required to organize and/or participate
           in specified community service activities or events.

      •    Education Program. The RSO may be required to attend or participate in an
           educational program or the planning of an educational program for the RSO
           members and/or the campus community on a specified topic.

      •    Specific Conditions Related to Organization Functions and Activities. Limitations or
           parameters may be placed on the activities and functioning of the RSO.

      •    Suspension of University Recognition. Includes loss of all University privileges and
           services. This suspension of University recognition would be for a specified period
           of time.

      •    Referral of Individuals from the RSO to the Dean of Students Office. If from the RSO
           conduct hearing it becomes apparent that the policy violations were conducted by an
           individual(s) of a RSO, without the knowledge of the RSO, the individual(s) can be
           referred to the Dean of Students office for individual conduct hearings.

      •    Revocation of University Recognition. This is a permanent withdrawal of University
           recognition for the RSO.

      •    University Prosecution. The University may choose to prosecute through civil court
           system. The University reserves the right to proceed with this option with or without
           the recommendation from SOCC.

Any complaints of harassment or assault by the complainant which stem directly from the accusation or the sanctions thereof, may be reported to the Dean of Students office or the UW-Eau Claire Police Department.

VII. APPEALS

      A.    RSOs have First Right of Appeal to the Student Court. Appeals must be submitted
             in writing to the Student Court within ten (10) calendar days (excluding academics
             breaks) of the notification of the finding and sanction(s) issued by the SOCC.

      B.    RSOs have a Final Appeal to the Dean of Students. Appeals must be submitted in
             writing to the Dean of Students within ten (10) calendar days (excluding academic
             breaks) of the notification of the decision by the Student Court.

      C.    Reasons for appeal include:
             •    An error in due process, such as: inadequate notice, failure to follow
                  procedures, or failure to be notified of the hearing procedures.
             •    Significant new evidence has come to light, after the initial hearing has been
                  completed and a decision rendered.
             •    If the RSO feels that issued sanctions are too severe.

      D.    All sanctions will be upheld until an appeal is accepted to be heard and sanctions
             either modified or overturned.

      E.    The Student Court and/or Dean of Students will take up the matter within twenty
             (20) calendar days of the receipt of the appeal and form an opinion based on
             the original complaint, the findings of the conduct hearing, the decision and
             sanction, and any necessary records.

      F.    Decision of appeal may include the following:
             •    Affirmation of the original decision and sanction,
             •    Affirmation of the original decision, but modification of the sanction
                  (either positively or negatively for the alleged organization),
             •    Reversal of the original decision and sanction.

VIII. CRITERIA USED IN DETERMINING ORGANIZATION ACTIVITIES

The following questions are used to help determine whether or not an activity should be considered as a “student organization sponsored activity” as opposed to the actions of some individual members:

      A.    Purpose of Activity
             •    What is the purpose of the activity?
             •    Is the activity held to promote group development and bonding?

      B.    Attendance
             •    Who is attending the activity?
             •    Why are they attending?
             •    Will a significant number of the members of the RSO attend the activity?
             •    Do members perceive the activity mainly other members will attend?

      C.    Resources
             •    What resources will be used to fund the activity?
             •    Were RSO funds used to support the activity?

      D.    Publicity/Advertising
             •    How was the event publicized or communicated?
             •    Was the RSO’s name, initials, or logo used on publicity material?
             •    Was the RSO’s listserv or email account used to promote the activity?
             •    Was the activity posted on the RSO’s website?
             •    Was the RSO’s name associated with the activity through word of mouth?

      E.    Location
             •    Where was the activity held?
             •    If the RSO owns or rents a house or common living area, was the event
                  held at this dwelling?

      F.    Reasonable Person
             •    Would a reasonable person think that the activity is associated with the
                  RSO in question?

      G.    Organization Responsibility
             •    As a leader in your RSO, do you believe that you are in any way responsible
                  for this particular activity?
             •    If not, who would be held responsible in the event of an accident or mishap?

Each activity will likely have a unique set of circumstances and should be evaluated separately. These are a sample of the type of questions that decision-makers (university officials, courts) will use when determining whether or not your organization is responsible for a specific activity. Ask yourself these questions as you plan safe and effective activities. If you have questions or would like to talk about these issues, contact the Student Organizations Coordinator.


The Student Organization Conduct Committee Procedures will be reviewed and revised as necessary each academic year by the Student Senate Organizations Commission.

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