Washington State University

Office of Student Standards & Accountability

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who can file a complaint?

    Anyone who believes they have been subjected to acts that violate his/her rights, welfare or individual dignity may file a complaint. The Office of Student Standards and Accountability (OSSA) will review written complaints and determine if there is a violation of the Standards of Conduct for Students. A conduct officer will meet with the complaining party to explain the process and answer questions. The complaining party must be willing to appear at a conduct hearing if necessary.

    How will I be notified of a complaint against me?

    When a complaint has been filed, the OSSA will mail a letter scheduling the accused student a time to meet with a conduct officer. Students are expected to maintain up-to-date local and permanent addresses with Washington State University at all times. Changes of address can be made in zzusis at https://portal.wsu.edu. Students failing to maintain up-to-date addresses are still responsible for all materials mailed to the prior address. OSSA is responsible for making a reasonable effort to properly deliver materials to a student's address. If a local address is unavailable, OSSA will send notification to the permanent address.

    What is going to happen to me when I find out that I am being referred to Student Standards and Accountability?

    You will receive a letter from this office asking you to meet with a conduct officer. It is important that you keep this appointment or call to reschedule 24 hours prior to the appointment. Ignoring the situation will NOT make it go away and will result in additional charges, as well as a hold placed on your registration.

    If I admit to a violation, will it keep me from going to professional or graduate school or getting a job?

    A single violation will NOT ruin one's life. As an educational institution, the primary goal of the campus disciplinary process is to help students learn from their mistakes. Disciplinary records are confidential and generally cannot be released to others without the student's consent. However, students should understand that once a consent form is signed, we are obligated to release information when there are multiple violations.

    What if I did not know the rules?

    Every student is responsible for knowing the rules. This is why it is important to ask questions if one is unsure of the Standards that apply. For example, if a student does not know the proper rules for citing sources in a paper, or does not know whether to what extent students can work together on a homework assignment, the student must ask questions about the rules BEFORE completing and submitting the assignment. Ignorance is not an excuse. If you find yourself worrying about whether something is OK or not, don't ignore your instincts - ask for clarification.

    What if I was not drinking but other people in the room were?

    If you are under age 21 you may NOT be in the presence of alcohol! If you choose to remain in a room where others are consuming you WILL be held accountable. If someone enters your room with alcohol or drugs, immediately ask them to leave! You are responsible for what happens in your room.

    What if I live in a hall that allows 21 year olds to drink, my roommate is 21 but I am not?

    Know the residence hall rules! The 21 year-old roommate may consume alcohol in his/her room in your presence, but no one else can be in the room, and you clearly may not drink. If this is an uncomfortable situation for you, talk to your RA about relocating or relocating the roommate.

    If the conduct violation also involves an alleged crime, can I be prosecuted criminally AND also be referred to Student Standards and Accountability?

    Yes, and this does not constitute double jeopardy. Students have a separate relationship with the University that is different from their responsibilities as citizens. As an example, if an employee steals from his/her employer, he can be fired as well as prosecuted for embezzlement and imprisoned.

    Why do I have a hold preventing me from registering, adding or dropping?

    An academic hold is used when students fail to comply with a request from the Office of Student Standards and Accountability, whether that is for attending a meeting or completing a sanction. Unless there are unusual circumstances, holds will not be released until all sanctions are complete.

    What happens to my grade if I am referred for suspected academic misconduct?

    Faculty members have the authority to assign grades. If the student is found responsible for dishonesty, the usual penalty is a zero on the test or project, “F” in the course, or whatever the faculty member deems appropriate, as per the syllabus, for the violation. Faculty also may request the Registrar to block the student's ability to use a withdrawal (W) in the class.

    What can I do to appeal a grade?

    Academic Rule 104 in the university catalogue describes the appeal process. The final decision on the grade is made by the academic department or the Dean of the College.

    What happens if I fail to complete a mandatory sanction?

    Failing to complete a required sanction is a serious offense at Washington State University. It is considered an additional violation of the Standards of Conduct for Students, and almost always results in more serious sanctions. Within two weeks of a student's failure to complete a sanction, a hold will be placed that will prevent future class registration, adding, and dropping classes.


    Ask us anything...

    Have a question about the conduct process? Want to know more about a specific policy?
    E-mail standards@wsu.edu and we'll respond directly to your concern.

    Office of Student Standards and Accountability, PO Box 641062, Lighty 260, Washington State University,
    Pullman WA 99164-1062 | (509) 335-4532 | Contact Us