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Student Code of Conduct

Right of Privacy, Release of Confidential Records (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) grants students certain rights, privileges, and protections relative to individually identifiable student educational records that are maintained by Montana Western. Specifically:

  1. Students’ educational records (with the exception of directory information) will be released to third parties only with the written consent of the student.
  2. Students have the right to inspect and review their own individually identifiable educational records. This right may be exercised by contacting the Registrar.
  3. Students have the right to challenge information contained in individually identifiable educational records. Contact the Registrar for information.
  4. A copy of the policy statement describing Montana Western’s regulations for this Act is contained in the University Catalog.

FERPA permits the release of directory-type information to third parties without written consent of the student provided the student has been given the opportunity to withhold such disclosure.   As of January 3, 2012, The U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records – including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information – may be accessed, without your consent.  First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, The U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal-or state-supported education program.  The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.  Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research.  Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.  In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems. Montana Western releases, upon inquiry from third parties and for Montana Western’s News & Publications Office purposes, directory information without written consent of students. Directory information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, age, date, and place of birth, gender, names and addresses of parents, student classification, class schedules, photos of students (if available), class, major, dates of attendance, and degrees, honors, and awards conferred; and/or the height, weight, name of high school attended and year of graduation of members of athletic teams.

Students may withhold directory information by checking the appropriate box on Montana Western’s registration form for that particular semester/term, or by contacting the Registrar’s Office, ADM-105, (406) 683-7371. 

NOTE: While a request to withhold directory information may be made at any time, students wishing to have directory information withheld from the student directory for a specific term/semester should submit their requests no later than the end of the second week of classes for that particular term.

Right to Confidentiality

The University of Montana Western complies with the principles of privacy found in the Montana Constitution, Montana Code Annotated, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The student’s name and other identifying information, including address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, degrees awarded, and honors received may be considered public information, unless the student requests the University in writing to hold the information in confidence.

A student’s rights in a proceeding involving the Student Conduct Code include the following:

  1. All disciplinary proceedings are closed to the public. An open conference/ hearing may be held at the discretion of the administrative officer/chair of the adjudicating court only if requested by the student, unless closure of the proceedings is necessary to protect the overriding individual privacy rights of others.
  2. The University, including individuals involved in a disciplinary proceeding, will not disclose information to anyone not connected with the proceeding. The fact that there is a disciplinary proceeding concerning the incident may be disclosed; however, individual student identities will not be disclosed.
  3.  The University, including individuals involved in a disciplinary proceeding, will disclose the results of the proceedings, including sanctions imposed, only to those who need to know the results for purposes of record-keeping, enforcement of the sanctions, further proceedings, or compliance with federal or state law. The fact that a disciplinary proceeding has been concluded and appropriate action taken may be disclosed. The Campus Security Act of 1990 allows, but does not require, the University to disclose the results to an alleged victim of a violent crime.

Right to Due Process

1. The Accused

Any student accused of violating the Student Conduct Code has certain rights:

a.   The right to be advised that a complaint is being investigated, and the right to be advised of the potential charges.

b.   The right to review the evidence.

c.   The right to decline to make statements.

d.   The right to submit a written account relating to the alleged charges.

e.   The right to know of the identity of individuals who will be present at an administrative conference or a Court hearing.

f.    The right to have a person of choice, including legal counsel, present throughout any and all proceedings provided for in this Code.

g.   The right to a reasonable period of time to prepare for a hearing, and the right to request a delay of the hearing for urgent circumstances.

h.   The right to hear and question witnesses and the accuser.

i.    The right to present relevant evidence and witnesses.

j.    The right to have past conduct that is irrelevant to the case not discussed during the proceedings. In the case of rape and sexual assault, this is specifically provided for in Montana law.

k.   The right to timely adjudication of charges as provided in this Code.

2. The Alleged Victim

  1. Some actions that violate the Student Conduct Code involve a person who is an alleged victim of a violent crime. Violent crime may include acts such as robbery, vandalism, aggravated assault, sexual assault, harassment, and acts that endanger another’s safety. When a member of the University community files a complaint and is identified as an alleged victim of a violent crime, that individual is entitled to certain rights in the disciplinary process.
  2. An alleged victim of a violent crime is entitled to the following:
  3. The right to meet with the designated administrative officer to discuss the various aspects of the disciplinary process.
  4. The right to submit a written account of the incident and a statement discussing the effect of the alleged misconduct on himself/herself.
  5.  The right to have a person of choice, including legal counsel, present throughout any and all proceedings provided for in this code.
  6.  The right to be informed of the date, time, and location of the administrative conference (or University Court hearing), and the right to be present at all stages of the proceedings except the private deliberations of the administrative officer (or University Court).

Statement of Responsibility

The Montana Western community values personal and academic freedom and embraces the ideals of academic honesty and integrity. All members of the campus community have the personal responsibility to promote an atmosphere of civility in which the free exchange of ideas and opinions can flourish. We do so by learning from individual and collective differences and respecting every person.

Civility Standards at Montana Western

Civility is not a sign of weakness…let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.---John Fitzgerald Kennedy

It should consistently be remembered that all Montana Western employees and students are working under the following set of standards for the betterment of the University, its employees, and its students. It is the responsibility of each of us to live up to these standards. All of the expectations below apply to face-to-face as well as virtual interactions. This document is expected to be congruent with objectives of the 2013-23 Strategic Plan.

Trust

  • Trust what others say is genuine and honor their word

  • Talk to, not about, others

Respect

  • Model respectful treatment of others by treating others as you would like to be treated

  • Be generously understanding and accepting of diverse ways of thinking, teaching, learning and accomplishing things

  • While discussions may become heated and passionate, they should never become mean, nasty or vindictive in spoken or printed or emailed words, facial expressions, or gestures

Listen

  • Employ active listening by giving undivided attention to speakers, allowing them to complete their thoughts before you respond to them

  • Use “I” statements in conversations so others know you own your own words

  • Talk face-to-face with others as much as possible, especially on areas of disagreement

Understand

  • View conflicts as learning opportunities to understand why individuals hold conflicting viewpoints

  • If someone informs you that you are doing something offensive, frustrating, or wrong, try and understand what they are telling you without getting angry with them

  • Externalize conflicts; do not view conflicts as between individuals but as between ideas

Responsibility

  • Be accountable and take ownership of all your communications and other actions; do not make unauthorized anonymous one-way communications to or about others

  • Never involve students or community members in campus politics to gain support for your point of view or to gain personal allies

  • If someone is doing something you find offensive, disruptive, frustrating, or wrong, tell them clearly, calmly, and politely

  • Be kind to others at all times

Student Responsibility Enrollment and Attendance

Students are held responsible for making informed enrollment decisions and for knowledge of and compliance with Montana Western policies and procedures as outlined in this handbook, the current University catalog, the official UMW web site and the current printed class schedule as well as special registration instructions which may be issued on a semester-by-semester basis.

Students at the University of Montana Western enroll on a semester basis and are expected to register (including paying tuition and fees) prior to the start of the term for all classes they plan to complete during that term and once registered, to actively participate in learning activities associated with courses in which they are enrolled.  Academic calendar add and drop deadlines are strictly enforced.  

Faculty outline requirements for satisfactory completion of courses in a syllabus made available to students at the beginning of a class.  Students are responsible for ascertaining attendance and course completion requirements of each class in which they are enrolled.  Regular class attendance and participation is critical to student academic success.  

Requirements for degrees and programs of study offered at Montana Western are listed in the University Catalog.  Students should consult their adopted catalog and contact their advisor or Advising Office staff with questions concerning course and grade requirements for graduation.