skip to main content
Student Code of Conduct

Academic Code

Academic misconduct is subject to an academic penalty by the course instructor and/or a disciplinary sanction by the University. Academic misconduct is defined as all forms of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to:

1.   Plagiarism

          Representing another person’s words, ideas, data, or materials as one’s own.

2.   Misconduct during an examination or academic exercise

          Copying from another student’s paper, consulting unauthorized material, giving information to another student or collaborating with one or more students without authorization, or otherwise failing to abide by the University or instructor’s rules governing the examination or academic exercise without the instructor’s permission.

3.   Unauthorized possession of examination or other course materials

          Acquiring or possessing an examination or other course materials without authorization by the instructor.

4.   Tampering with course materials

          Destroying, hiding, or otherwise tampering with source materials, library materials, laboratory materials, computer system equipment or programs, or other course materials.

5.   Submitting false information

          Knowingly submitting false, altered, or invented information, data, quotations, citations, or documentation in connection with an academic exercise.

6.   Submitting work previously presented in another course

          Knowingly making such submission in violation of stated course requirements.

7.   Improperly influencing conduct

          Acting calculatedly to influence an instructor, the instructor’s supervisor, or any Western administrator to assign a grade other than that actually earned.

8.   Substituting, or arranging substitution, for another student during an examination or other academic exercise

          Knowingly allowing others to offer one’s work as their own.

9.   Facilitating academic dishonesty

          Knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including assistance in the arrangement whereby any work, classroom performance, examination activity, or other academic exercise is submitted or performed by a person other than the student under whose name the work is submitted or performed.

10. Altering transcripts, grades, examinations, or other academic-related documents

          Falsifying, tampering with, or misrepresenting a transcript, other academic records, or any material relevant to academic performance, enrollment, or admission.

Academic Discipline Procedures

     The focus of inquiry in disciplinary proceedings is to determine if a violation of the Standards of Student Conduct Code has occurred and, if so, to decide an appropriate academic penalty and/or University sanction. Student Conduct Code proceedings are administrative proceedings and do not follow formal rules of evidence applicable in judicial proceedings. However, the accused student must receive due process, and for a University sanction to be imposed, the University has the burden of proof to establish a violation by clear and convincing evidence. It is assumed, unless shown otherwise, that the faculty member and the Dean of Students make impartial judgments concerning academic misconduct and fairly impose an appropriate academic penalty and/or University sanction. Minor deviations from prescribed procedures will not invalidate a decision or proceeding, provided they do not significantly prejudice the student or the University. 

The adjudication of any alleged academic misconduct must be initiated within two years of discovery. 

The following procedures apply in adjudicating charges of academic misconduct. 

1. Investigation by Course Instructor. 

a. Consultation with the Dean of Students: The course instructor should, in all cases where academic dishonesty is discovered, consult with the Dean of Students to report the incident and to determine whether any record of prior academic misconduct is in the student’s disciplinary file, which is maintained in Maxient. 

b. Academic misconduct alleged during the term of the course: When an incident of alleged academic misconduct is discovered by or brought to the attention of the course instructor during the course, the instructor personally contacts the accused student within five (5) working days to arrange a meeting. The course instructor and the student may each have a person of choice present at this meeting. (Student Rights Section). The role of legal counsel, if any, at this stage should be restricted to consultation with the student. At this meeting the course instructor will: 

i. Inform the student of the alleged academic misconduct and present the evidence supporting the allegation. 

ii. Inform the student of the Student Conduct Code rules of procedure. 

iii. Allow the student an opportunity to respond to the charge(s) and evidence. The student is not required to respond. 

iv. Discuss the academic penalty and possible University sanctions, and allow the student to respond. 

v. If the student is willing to admit to this infraction and does accept the academic penalty, the instructor may opt to not file a formal charge of academic dishonesty with the institution. However, the student should be informed that the instructor is required to report the infraction, in writing, to the Dean of Students, thus becoming a part of the student’s permanent record in Maxient, which may be considered in the event of a subsequent infraction. 


c. Misconduct alleged at or after the conclusion of the course, or after a student has withdrawn from the course: When an incident of alleged academic misconduct is discovered by or brought to the attention of the course instructor at or after the conclusion of the course, or after a student has withdrawn from a course, the course instructor notifies the student in writing within five (5) working days. The instructor documents 1.a above in writing. Additionally, the instructor informs the student that an “N” grade will be given for the course or the assigned grade will be revoked and replaced by an “N” grade until there is a final resolution of the charge(s). 

d. Resolution of charge by Course Instructor: 

i. If the instructor concludes the student engaged in academic misconduct, the instructor will inform the student of the instructor’s academic penalty to be imposed within the course. If the student is willing to accept the instructor’s academic penalty then the instructor may consider the matter to be informally resolved. Formal charges at the institutional level may still be pursued by the Dean of Students. The academic penalty does not take effect until the final resolution of the charge(s), or until the deadline for an appeal has passed. An “N” grade may be assigned in the interim. 

ii. If a University sanction is recommended by the Dean of Students in consultation with the instructor, then the course instructor will notify the student that the case will be transferred to the Dean of Students through Maxient. 

iii. If a University sanction is recommended, or if the student appeals, the course instructor will prepare a written summary, including a concise statement of the act of academic misconduct and the evidence and will submit this document through Maxient to the Dean of Students, who will provide a copy to the student, and to the student’s advisor. A copy of this written summary will be placed in the student’s disciplinary file maintained in his/her Maxient file. The student also may provide a written statement to be placed in the file. The written summary may also be prepared by the instructor and included in the student’s file in cases where the student accepts the instructor’s academic penalty but where institutional charges are not filed. 

e. Resolution of the charge by the instructor when the student does not appear for the meeting: If the student does not appear for the meeting with the course instructor, the course instructor informs the student in writing of: 

i. The academic penalty recommended. The academic penalty is not formally imposed until final resolution of the charge(s) or until the deadline for an appeal has passed. If a grade is required before final resolution of the charge(s) or before the deadline for an appeal has passed, an “N” grade is assigned. 

ii. The transfer of the case to the Dean of Students through Maxient if a University sanction is recommended. 

iii. The Student Conduct Code rules of procedure and appeal. (A copy of this code will suffice). 

iv. The fact that a written summary of the case has been sent to the student, the student’s advisor, and the Dean of Students with a copy placed in the student’s disciplinary file maintained in Maxient. The student also may provide a written statement to be placed in the file. 


2. Sanction Imposed by the University. 

a. Investigation by the Dean of Students: After reviewing the course instructor’s recommendation and written summary of the case and the instructor’s recommended academic penalty and after consulting with the instructor, the Dean of Students reviews the student’s academic disciplinary record, reviews the evidence, and interviews individually or together the instructor, the accused student, and possible witnesses. Before the interview, the accused student is informed by email through Maxient, that he/she may bring a person of choice and that he/she also has the right to have legal counsel present during the interview. The student must notify the Dean of Students at least three (3) working days before the time of the interview of any intent to be accompanied by legal counsel. The role of legal counsel, if any, at this stage should be restricted to consultation with the student. The student is not required to make any response during the interview. 

b. Resolution of the charge(s) by the Dean of Students: 

i. If the Dean of Students decides not to impose a University sanction, the Dean of Students notifies and provides written justification of the decision to the student, course instructor, and the student’s advisor. The decision of the Dean of Students not to impose a University sanction may not be used by the student to justify or support an appeal of an academic penalty by the course instructor. Thus, an instructor’s chosen academic penalty may be implemented regardless of the outcome of the Dean of Student’s decision about imposing a University sanction. 


ii. If the Dean of Students decides to impose a University sanction, the Dean of Students informs the course instructor and the student’s advisor, and the student is notified through email. Before imposing a University sanction, the Dean of Students will consult with the course instructor. When a University sanction of Denial of a Degree, Revocation of a Degree, Expulsion, or Suspension is proposed, the Dean of Students will present the recommendation to the Provost for review and approval prior to notifying the student. The notice to the student includes: 

• a statement of the specific academic misconduct committed; 

• a concise summary of the facts upon which the charge is based; 

• a statement of the University sanction; and 

• a statement of the appeal procedure. 


3. Student Appeal of the Academic Penalty and/or University Sanction: 

a. If, within ten (10) working days, the student does not appeal the decision to impose the academic penalty and/or University sanction, the allegation in the notice of University sanction will be considered accepted by the parties. The Dean of Students will instruct the appropriate University officials to implement the sanction. A written summary of the case will be placed in the student’s disciplinary file in Maxient. 

b. No academic penalty of the instructor and/or University sanction is imposed until final resolution of the charge(s) or until the deadline for an appeal has passed. If the accused student chooses to waive his/her option to appeal and instead accepts the instructor’s academic penalty and/or the institutional sanction then the issue is considered resolved. 

c. If the student denies the charge(s) and/or does not accept the academic penalty imposed by the course instructor and/or the University sanction, the student may appeal to the Provost. A student’s request for appeal with supporting evidence must be presented in writing to the Provost within ten (10) working days after the student is informed by the instructor of the imposed academic penalty or within ten (10) working days after the student received the notice of a University sanction, whichever occurs later. The Provost shall have twenty (20) working days to render a written decision. 

d. After receipt of the Provost’s decision, if the student denies the charge(s) and/or does not accept the academic penalty imposed by the course instructor and/or the University sanction, supported by the Provost, the student may appeal to the University Court. A request for appeal with supporting evidence must be presented in writing to the Provost within ten (10) working days. When a student appeals the Provost’s decision, the Chair of the University Court, schedules a hearing date. The Chair gives notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing sending copies of this notice to the student, course instructor, the 

Dean of Students and the Provost. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, the hearing is held within fifteen (15) working days of the appeal. A student appealing to the University Court may be accompanied by a representative. If the representative is an attorney, the student must notify the Chair of the University Court in writing at least three (3) working days before the scheduled hearing. A student’s failure to give notice of the involvement of legal representation may delay the hearing. If the student is to be represented at the hearing by an attorney, then the University may also be represented by legal counsel. Hearings are closed to the public. However, at the discretion of the University Court Chair, an open hearing may be held if requested by the student and if the individual privacy rights of others are protected. The Chair of the University Court is responsible for conducting the hearing in an orderly manner. The student presents witnesses and/or evidence in support of the appeal. The course instructor, the Dean of Students and the Provost also present witnesses and evidence. Each party may question the other party's witnesses. The burden of proof is on the University to establish that a violation did occur, by providing the Court clear and convincing evidence which supports the allegation. Formal rules of evidence (such as in a legal proceeding) do not apply. The Chair decides the admissibility of all evidence presented and rules on all procedural issues. Minutes of the hearing are taken at University expense. The Chair may prescribe additional procedural rules for the hearing that are consistent with this Code. The University Court reaches a decision by majority vote. The Chair has the right to vote. The vote upholds, alters, or overturns the academic penalty and/or the University sanction. The decision of the University Court is submitted to the Chancellor of the University for review and final approval. Within ten (10) working days, a copy of the University Court’s decision is provided by the Chair to the student, the course instructor, Dean of Students, and the Provost. 

e. The final step on campus is a written appeal to the Chancellor (which may be filed by either party) to review any allegations of procedural irregularities during steps 1 through 3. The student has ten (10) working day to appeal to the Chancellor. The Chancellor may interview each person involved in the process and request additional written material if needed. The Chancellor shall have twenty (20) working days to render a written decision concerning allegations of procedural irregularities. 

f. If an allegation of procedural irregularities is not resolved on campus, the student has the right to submit an appeal sequentially, to The University of Montana President, to the Commissioner of Higher Education, and finally to the Montana University System Board of Regents. 

Academic Penalties

Depending on the severity of the acts of academic misconduct, a student may incur one or more of the following penalties: 

1. Academic Penalty by Course Instructor

The student receives a failing or reduced grade in an academic exercise, examination, or course, and/or is assigned additional work that may include re-examination. The option to be selected is solely the province of the faculty member.  The decision may be appealed, as outlined in Section IV.A.1.3, of this Student Handbook.

2. Denial of a Degree

A degree is not awarded.

3. Revocation of a Degree

A previously awarded degree is rescinded.

4. Expulsion

The student is permanently separated from the University and also may be excluded from any University-owned or controlled property or events.

5. Suspension

The student is separated from the University for a specified period of time and also may be excluded from participation in any University-sponsored activity. Suspension may not exceed one calendar year.

6. Disciplinary Probation

The student is warned that further misconduct may result in Suspension or Expulsion. Conditions may be placed on continued enrollment for a specified time.

7. Disciplinary Warning

The student is issued a written warning that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary sanctions.

General Behavior Code For Campus Housing

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is not permitted in the residence halls at any time.  Students of any age found to be in the presence of alcohol are in violation of the policy. Students on campus found to be in a clearly intoxicated state as documented by University staff members are in violation of the policy. Residents of Family Housing are allowed to have moderate amounts of alcohol in their apartments. Alcohol is not to be outside or in the presence of students under the age of 21. Alcohol is not allowed in bulk and gatherings of greater than 5 people cannot have alcohol present.

2. Medical Marijuana

Although Montana state law permits the use of medical marijuana, i.e., use by persons possessing lawfully issued medical marijuana cards, federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds.The use, possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is therefore not allowed in any University of Montana Western housing or any other University of Montana Western property; nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus.

3. Candles, Incense & other fire hazards

Because of the threat of fire to residents and their property candles, incense, beanbag chairs, wall hangings that can obstruct fire sprinklers and halogen lamps are prohibited.  Possession of any of the above items will result in community service hours.  Items will be confiscated by Residence Hall Staff and held until semester ends.

4. Chemicals & Explosives

Chemicals and explosives (including firecrackers, explosive devices, combustion engines, flammable and explosive liquids, ammunition, and fireworks) are not allowed in the residence halls or Family Housing. This includes materials and devices which by themselves, or when combined, could be explosive, flammable, toxic, or dangerous (such as camping fuel).

5. Cooking in Rooms

Because of health concerns, only minimal cooking is allowed in residence hall rooms.  Popcorn poppers are allowed if there is no exposed heating element.  Coffee pots are allowed only if equipped with an automatic shutoff, but care should be taken to maintain these appliances.  Small microwave ovens are allowed if under 750 watts.  Refrigerators under 4 cubic feet are allowed.  Toaster ovens, toasters and George Forman-type grills are not allowed.  Items will be confiscated by Residence Hall Staff and held until semester ends.

6. Credit Requirements

Students living in campus housing are required to be a registered student while in residence.

7. Disruptive Behavior

Inappropriate behaviors that necessitate an additional response from campus or city personnel, or any behavior that can be construed as disruptive to the housing community are considered violations of policy.

8. Firearms

All weapons must be checked into the Residence Life gun safe. Under no circumstances are guns, bows, or ammunition to be carried onto residence hall floors or stored in family housing apartments. Knives which are intended for legitimate hunting purposes and simple pocketknives are allowed in the residence halls and family housing apartments (must be approved by Director of Residence Life).  However, severe disciplinary action will be taken against students displaying these knives in a threatening or challenging manner.  Any other sharp and/or pointed objects are not allowed-this includes decorative knives or swords. Handguns, pellet/B.B. guns, paint ball guns, wrist rockets, sling shots, blow guns and any other self-propelling apparatus are not allowed in the residence halls or family housing apartments; possession will result in immediate confiscation and possible removal from the residence halls and/or Montana Western. Ammunition is not to be stored in the Residence Life gun safe or Residence Hall/Family Housing rooms. 

9. Fire Drills & Fire Equipment

Misuse of any fire equipment, starting fires, setting off false alarms, or failing to evacuate and/or hindering in the evacuation of others will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal action.

Participation in fire drills is mandatory.

Fire drills are conducted at least once each semester in each hall to inform residents of the proper evacuation procedures. The RA on each floor will explain the evacuation procedures at the first floor meeting and an evacuation plan is posted behind each residence hall room door. Be sure you are familiar with these procedures. Your life may depend on it. 

Evacuation Guidelines:

  1. Open curtains, pull up blinds or shades.
  2. Close window.
  3. Put on shoes and a coat, in case you must remain outside for an extended period.
  4. Turn off all lights.
  5. Close door and take your room key as staff will enter your room to conduct a visual check and will lock your room door.
  6. Leave building by the nearest exit, unless that path is obstructed by fire, in which case, find an alternate exit.
  7. Use stairs, not elevators during evacuation, as you could become trapped.
  8. If you smell smoke while in your room, first feel your door and doorknob to determine if heat is present. If it is not, place a towel over your mouth and open your door. If you see smoke, crawl to the nearest exit (heat and smoke rise, and you are safer closer to the floor).
  9. When you feel your door, if heat is present, do not open your door. Put a towel over your mouth and under your door, open your window, hang a piece of white cloth out the window, and then close the window. The cloth will let firefighters know where to find you. Unless you live on the first floor, do not jump out of your window. Never break your window, as this will draw smoke into your room. Notify the Hall Director (406-925-9828) that you are still in your room.
  10. Remain outside until a signal is given to re-enter the building.

10. Fire Hazards

Residents are responsible for taking all possible precautions to prevent fires.  The use of multi-socket extension cords or the installation of non-approved wiring by residents is prohibited by fire regulations.

The use, possession, or storage of Hoverboards, Swagways, IO Hawks, Skywalkers, and similar devices, is prohibited on campus until safety standards for them can be developed and implemented, and the prohibition is lifted. Recent information has revealed that the batteries in the devices are dangerous and prone to explosion, creating a safety and fire risk. Until a time that the safety standards for these devices are improved, Residence Life has prohibited them from being in any of our residence halls or apartments.

11. Fire Safety

Do not risk your life in the case of fire. Call the fire department immediately at 911, evacuate your family housing apartment. In the interest of fire safety, keep all stairways, landings, and breezeways clean and free of obstructions such as barbecues, children’s toys, bikes, boxes, furniture, tires, large planters and the like. If barbecuing on the premises it is the responsibility of tenants to operate equipment using proper safety measures. Keeping barbeque grills at least 10' away from all buildings or proches. Barbeque grills (propane or briquette) are not permitted on the second or third floor balconies due to fire hazard. We reserve the right to remove any obstructions that create unsafe or unsightly conditions. Garbage cannot be stored for any amount of time outside your apartment. Your garbage needs to be taken immediately to the dumpster in the back. If garbage is left outside your apartment, you will be billed for removal. 

12. Furniture & Furnishings

Residents are not permitted to remove or alter any furniture or fixtures in their rooms or public areas. Due to limited space, residence hall room furnishings cannot be stored elsewhere in the halls. Additionally, public area furniture is intended for the use of all students and may not be used in private rooms. Due to significant fire hazard, halogen lamps are not allowed in the residence halls.

13. Guests & Visitation

Residents are allowed to have guests during the school year. A guest is limited to a maximum stay of six nights per month. Guest stay overs must be approved by a roommate. In all residence halls, members of the opposite sex must be escorted into the building and out of the building by a resident of that living area during quiet hours (Sunday through Thursday 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.; Friday and Saturday midnight to 10 a.m.). Guests without an escort may be removed from the building by a staff member. Residents are responsible for their actions and the actions of their guests at all times. Visitors and residents are reminded that they are not to use the bathroom facilities of the opposite sex at any time!

14. Quiet Hours & Noise

Students are expected to respond to each other’s requests for quiet whenever their behavior or the behavior of their guests is such that it creates a disturbance. Residents are expected to maintain a level of quiet conducive to community living and respond courteously to other residents’ and staff requests for quiet. Quiet hours are in effect Sunday through Thursday nights from 10:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m., and Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 10:00 a.m. Noise during quiet hours must not be audible outside the room with the door closed.

15. Roofs, Ledges, & Fire Escapes

Students are prohibited from being on rooftops, building ledges, or outside fire escapes.

16. Smoking

The use of tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, pipes, bidi, hookah, snus, orbs, vape, vapor, vaporizer pens, all forms of smokeless tobacco) by students, faculty, staff, guests, visitors, and contractors is prohibited on all properties owned or leased by The University of Montana Western.

17. Solicitation

General sales or solicitation are not allowed in the residence halls or Family Housing apartments, with the exception of newspaper delivery. Residents approached by unauthorized salespeople should notify a Residence Life staff member or the RLO.

18. Prohibited Items

The following items are not allowed in residence hall rooms or family housing apartments. Christmas trees, pets, firearms & ammunition, television antennas, waterbeds, and motorized equipment.

General Behavior Code For Computer Use

Violators of computer use policies will be subject to the normal disciplinary procedures of the University.  Violations of the policies described below for legal and ethical use of computing resources will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner.  Illegal acts involving Montana Western computing resources may also be subject to prosecution by local, state, or federal authorities.  Computer use violations are divided into four categories, described below with examples listed. 

1. Computer Use Policy

The University of Montana Western provides electronic communication services to students and utilizes them as a primary communication mechanism between Western and its students.

2. Purpose

The UMW email system is a primary communication mechanism between Western and it students.  UMW has established generally accepted guidelines for use of this communication medium including university use of email, assignment of student email addresses, and expectations of email communication between faculty and students, staff and students, and administrators and students.

3. Procedures

a. University Use of Email

All students currently actively enrolled at UMW are provided with a campus email address. Email is a mechanism for official communication within the university.  UMW expects and requires that students open and read such communications in a timely fashion.  As steward of the electronic communication services, the Technology Steering Committee is responsible for overseeing the usage of student email and other communications.  The primary administrative offices (Dean of Students, Registrar, Director of Admissions, Director of Student Success, Director of Financial Aid, and Director of Business Services) will review special requests for access to the campus email system.

b. Assignment of Student Email Accounts

Official University email accounts are created automatically for all actively enrolled students. These accounts expire approximately one year after the end of each semester. The email address is used in all other campus computing systems.

c. Expectations About Student Use of Email

Students are expected to check their email no less than twice a week in order to stay current with University-related communications. Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical. “I didn’t check my email”, and non-delivery of email because the student’s mailbox is full, are not acceptable excuses for missing official University communications via email.

d. Confidential Information

Since email is an insecure method of communication, Montana Western officials will never transmit nor solicit confidential information via email. Students should never respond to requests for Social Security Number, credit card, or other personal information via email. Because the Banner Student Self-Service System (DAWGS) is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), it can be used to provide additional information.. Only DAWGS, face-to-face, or written communications will be used to provide confidential information to or request confidential information from a student.

e. Privacy

Users should not use email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters and should not assume that email is private and confidential. It is important that users be careful to send messages only to the intended recipient(s).

  1. All use of email must be consistent with Board of Regents policy on use of electronic communications.
  2. Confidentiality of student records is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). All use of email will be consistent with FERPA.
  3. Email shall not be used for notification of any legal action.

General Behavior Code For General Misconduct

Students have the responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that does not impair the welfare or educational opportunities of others in the Montana Western community. Students must act as responsible members of the academic community; respect the rights, privileges, and dignity of others; and refrain from actions that interfere with normal University functions.


General Misconduct includes all forms of misconduct, except academic misconduct. Some, but not all, of the acts listed below are criminal acts under the laws of Montana. In all cases, Montana Western concerns itself with general, or non-academic, misconduct insofar as it directly affects the Montana Western community. General misconduct is subject to University disciplinary action(s), and includes:

Standards of Conduct

  1. Forgery, falsification, or fraudulent misuse of University documents, records, or identification cards.
  2. Furnishing false information to the University or members of the Montana Western community who are performing their official duties.
  3. Causing false information to be presented before any judicial proceeding of the University or intentionally destroying evidence important to such a proceeding.
  4. Theft of property or services on University premises or at University-sponsored activities, or knowing possession of stolen property on University premises or at University-sponsored activities.
  5. Unauthorized use, destruction, or damage of University property or the property of others on University premises or at University-sponsored activities. “Unauthorized” means entry, use, or occupancy to which the student is not authorized by virtue of his/her enrollment, class schedule, and/or legal or Student Conduct Code action.
  6. Unauthorized or fraudulent use of Montana Western’s facilities, telephone system, mail system, or computers, or use of any of the above for any illegal act.
  7. Unauthorized entry, use, or occupancy of University facilities.
  8. Failure to comply with the directions of University officials, including Resident Assistants and Security Officers, acting in the performance of their duties within the scope of their authority.
  9. Violation of published University regulations or policies. Among such regulations are those pertaining to student housing, entry and use of University facilities, use of amplifying equipment, campus demonstrations, etc. Montana Western regulations and policies may be obtained from various offices (Residence Life, Dean of Students Office, Registrar, Financial Aid, Business Office, and Chancellor’s Office).
  10. Intentional obstruction or disruption of normal University or University-sponsored activities, including but not limited to studying, teaching, research, administration and disciplinary procedures, or fire, police, or emergency services.
  11. Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages on University premises or at University-sponsored activities except as permitted in University policies (Facility Use Policy, and Alcohol Policy). NOTE: According to Montana law, use or abuse of alcohol does not justify abusive or damaging behavior; such use or abuse will not constitute grounds for reduced sanctions for Conduct Code violations.
  12. Use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.  Although Montana state law permits the use of medical marijuana, i.e., use by persons possessing lawfully issued medical marijuana cards, federal laws prohibit marijuana use, possession and/or cultivation at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds. The use, possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is therefore not allowed in any University of Montana Western housing or any other University of Montana Western property; nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus.
  13. Disorderly or indecent conduct on University-owned or controlled property or at University-sponsored activities.
  14. Hazing, defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group  or  organization.
  15. Interfering with the freedom of expression of others on University premises or at University-sponsored activities.
  16. Malicious intimidation or harassment of another. When a student, with the intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy, bully, or offend, (a) causes bodily injury to another, (b) causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in another, (c) damages, destroys, or defaces any property of another or any public property, or (d) makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language. Off-campus incidents are subject to procedures in Section I, Jurisdiction, of this Student Handbook.
  17. Illegal use, possession, or distribution of any controlled substance on University premises or at University-sponsored activities; or illegal distribution of any controlled substance off-campus, subject to procedures in Section I, Jurisdiction.
  18. Illegal or unauthorized possession or use of firearms, explosives, other weapons, dangerous chemicals, or other noxious substances on University premises.
  19. Sexual misconduct.  See sexual misconduct policy on the web or contact Title IX coordinators, Liane Forrester, 406-683- 7530 or Nicole Hazelbaker, 406-683- 7900.
  20. Homicide, assault, aggravated or felony assault, or threat of the same, to any person on University-owned or controlled property or at University-sponsored functions, or conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any such person; or off-campus homicide, assault, aggravated or felony assault, or threat of the same.
  21. Retaliation against a person for filing a complaint, or acts of intimidation directed toward the person to drop a complaint.
  22. Violation of the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code.
  23. Attempts and Complicity: Attempts to commit acts prohibited by the Standards of Student Conduct, or knowingly or willfully encouraging or assisting others to commit such acts are prohibited by this Code and may be punished to the same extent as if one had committed the prohibited act.
  24. Smoking & Tobacco:  The use of tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, pipes, bidi, hookah, snus, orb, vape, vapor, vaporizer pens, all forms of smokeless tobacco) by students, faculty, staff, guests, visitors, and contractors is prohibited on all properties owned or leased by The University of Montana Western.
  25. Dangerous or disruptive student, Montana Western is concerned about the physical, mental, and emotional welfare of its students.  The University believes that all students have a responsibility for self-welfare, self-guardianship and self-care.  In addition, students are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner that is nor violent or disruptive.  Any behavior that may threaten the well being of Montana Western students will be dealt with in a sensitive and appropriate manner.  Montana Western strives to promote the health and safety of individual students with those of the broader campus community.  When, in the judgment of appropriate University administration, a student’s behavior constitutes a disruption or danger to the living/learning environment which the University seeks to create, the University will intervene.
  26. Suicide attempts: Montana Western will consider all suicide attempts as serious.  The University views any decision to attempt suicide as an indication of problems that are beyond the student’s immediate ability to cope.  The counseling office will assist in the identification of resources for students in need of immediate help.  In addition, Montana Western recognizes that others in the community are affected by suicide attempts.  Upon Notification of a Montana Western student attempting suicide the University will provide crisis intervention. The Counselors, The Residence Life Director, and the Dean of Students are to be notified immediately so that appropriate intervention may be coordinated. If a student requests it, the Dean of Students may arrange for any student who attempts suicide to withdraw from the University, effective immediately, so that the student can give full attention to recovering.  Students who would like to re-enroll must follow the University’s re-admission procedures for returning to Montana Western.

General Behavior Discipline Procedures

The focus of inquiry in disciplinary proceedings is to determine if a violation of the Standards of Student Conduct has occurred and, if so, to decide appropriate sanctions.  Student Conduct Code proceedings are administrative proceedings and do not follow formal rules of evidence applicable in judicial proceedings.  However, the accused student must receive due process, and the University has the burden of proof to establish a violation by clear and convincing evidence except for alleged violations of Section IV.C.18 of the Student Conduct Code, which require the University to establish violations by a preponderance of evidence.  Minor deviation from prescribed procedures will not invalidate a decision or proceeding, provided they do not significantly prejudice the student or the University.

The following procedures apply in adjudicating charges of general misconduct:

1. Investigation

Whenever it appears that a student may have committed an act of general misconduct, a University official designated by the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs investigates the incident.  The official conducting the investigation:

  1. Determines the facts of the incident through interviews, reports, and other evidence.
  2. Informs the student of the findings of the investigation and the alleged misconduct.
  3. Informs the student of the Student Conduct Code rules of procedure, and ensures the student has a copy of the Code..
  4. Allows the student an opportunity to respond to the evidence and potential charge(s).
  5. Makes an impartial judgment as to whether or not any general misconduct occurred, and, if so, proposes appropriate sanctions.
  6. Allows the student an opportunity to respond to the proposed sanctions.
  7. Informs the student of the right to an administrative conference with an official designated by the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs, and a hearing by the University Court, if the student denies the charge and/or does not accept the proposed sanctions.
  8. If the student accepts the charges, the designated officer consults with the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs regarding the student’s past disciplinary record, and propriety of proposed sanctions.
  9. If the student accepts the charges and the sanctions, the designated officer summarizes the case in writing to the student, with a copy to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs. A written summary, including a concise statement of the evidence, findings, and sanctions, will be sent to the student via Maxient within 5 days of the action.

Sanctions of Expulsion and Suspension require review and approval by the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.

2.   Administrative Conference

If the student denies the charges and/or does not accept the sanctions, the student has 5 working days to appeal the charges and/or sanctions in writing to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.  The Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs can hear the case or designate an administrative officer or committee to review the report.

a. If the administrative officer/committee concludes that no violation of this code has occurred, and/or that there is insufficient evidence to support further action, a recommendation to that effect is sent to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs, with copies to the student and investigative officer.

b. If the administrative officer/committee concludes that a probable violation of this code has occurred, and that the evidence supports sanctions, he/she sends a written notice of charges to the student specifying:

  1. The alleged misconduct:
  2. A Concise summary of the facts upon which the charges are based; and
  3. A statement of proposed sanctions.

The notice of charges requests the student to meet with the investigative officer and the administrative officer/committee on a specific date, time, and place, and informs the student of the right to bring along a parent, guardian, counsel, or other appropriate witness.  The notice states that the role of legal counsel at this conference is limited to consultation with the student only, and that the student notify the administrative officer/committee at least three (3) working days before the time of the conference of the intent to bring legal counsel.

c. The purpose of the conference is to inform the student of the Student Conduct Code Disciplinary Procedures and to provide a final opportunity for informal resolution of the charges.  The student, however, is not required to make any response at the conference.

d. Following the administrative conference, the administrative officer/committee consults with the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs concerning the charges and proposed sanctions.

Sanctions of Expulsion and Suspension require review and approval by the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.

e. If the student agrees to the sanctions, the administrative office/committee summarizes the case in writing to the student, with a copy to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.  A written summary, including a concise statement of the evidence, findings, and sanctions will be sent to the student via Maxient within 5 days of the action. 

f.  If the student denies the charges and/or does not accept the sanctions, the administrative officer/committee transfers the case within five (5) working days to the University Court for a hearing.

g. If the student does not appear for the conference with the administrative officer/committee, nor request transfer after the proceedings to the University Court, the allegations in the notice of charges are accepted and, upon review and approval by the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs, the University imposes the disciplinary sanctions specified in the statement of charges.  The administrative officer/committee notifies the student of the actions taken with a copy to the Vice Chancellor of Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.

h. Except for temporary suspension or eviction, no disciplinary sanction is imposed until final resolution of the charges or until the deadline for an appeal has passed.

3. Disciplinary Records

a. The sanctions of Expulsion and Suspension affect the student’s academic status and are entered as notations in the student’s permanent academic record maintained by the Registrar during such time as the imposed sanctions are in effect.

b. Whenever charges against a student are pending, the student, unless temporarily suspended or evicted, continues to have the same rights and privileges as other students. At the request of the student, transcripts may be released to an institution or prospective employer with the understanding that if there are pending charges which are determined to adversely affect the student and result in alteration of the transcript previously released, the institution/employer may be so notified and a corrected copy of the transcript may be forwarded to the institution/employer.

c. A record of sanctions imposed for any violation of the Student Conduct Code is retained on file in Maxient.

General Behavior Penalties

1.   Computer Use Sanctions

Category A, Possible Sanctions

The user may be issued a verbal, E-mail, or hard copy warning that their actions were not acceptable. Any repeated Category A offense will be raised to a Category B offense.

Category B, Possible Sanctions

The user’s account or computer access (including access to the computer labs) may be suspended until a formal session with an ITS staff member has been attended. A copy of this document will be handed to the user with the specific area of offense highlighted. Any repeated Category B offense will be raised to a Category C offense.

Category C, Possible Sanctions

The user has committed an offense that warrants investigation and a formal report by the Dean of Students. The user’s account and computer access (including access to the computer labs) may be suspended. The user must attend a session with an ITS staff member. The ITS staff member will contact the Dean of Students to report the incident.

All computer privileges will continue to be suspended until the completion of the investigation and issuance of a report by the Dean of Students Office. In most cases, the appropriate Montana Western official will make the determination if computer privileges are to be returned to the user. Any repeated Category C offense will be raised to a Category D offense.

Category D, Possible Sanctions

Any user committing a Category D offense forfeits all rights to computer privileges. Any and all information requested by the Dean of Students Office, local, state, or federal law enforcement will be provided. If the user is found guilty of the offense under investigation, any future access to University computer resources must be first approved by the appropriate Montana Western official. The official may stipulate usage only under supervised circumstances.

2.   General Behavior Sanctions

(These also apply to Residence Hall and Family Housing violations)

  1. Sanctions may include any one or more or the following:
  • Expulsion

The student is permanently separated from the University and/or from University-owned or controlled property or events. This sanction requires an administrative review by the Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.

  • Suspension

The student is separated from the University for a specified period of time, and may also be excluded from participation in any University-sponsored activity. This sanction requires an administrative review by the Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance, and Student Affairs.

  • Disciplinary Probation

The student continues attendance at Montana Western and is subject to restrictions and/or conditions imposed by the University for a specified period of time.

  • Disciplinary Warning

The student is warned that further misconduct may result in severe disciplinary sanctions.

  • Restitution

The student is required to make payment for damage to Montana Western as a result of violation of this Code.

  • Other Sanctions

In addition to or in lieu of the above, other sanctions may be imposed. For example, the student may be evicted from the Residence Halls or Family Housing, may be prohibited from attending campus events or participating in organized activities, and/or may be required to attend and complete classes, programs, workshops, or counseling dealing with specific behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse and sexual offenses, as conditions of current or future enrollment.

  • Community Service

Students may be required to perform a certain number of unpaid volunteer service hours.

b. Repeated or aggravated violation of this Code of Conduct may result in more severe disciplinary sanctions than any individual violation might warrant.

c. Committing any act prohibited by this Code of Conduct may result in expulsion or suspension from the University unless specific and mitigating factors are present. Factors to be considered in mitigation may include the present attitude and past disciplinary record of the offender, as well as the nature of the offense and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it.

d. Notification of any sanction imposed is sent to appropriate University officials.

e. Readmission to Montana Western following General Misconduct suspension is dependent upon the student’s compliance with the conditions designated at the time of suspension and the student’s fitness to return to the campus community. These decisions are made by the Dean of Students upon consultation with appropriate professional staff on campus and/or in the community. Appropriate documentation, depending upon the nature of the original violation and the conditions of suspension, is required.

3. Temporary Suspension

Montana Western reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well being of the campus community.

a. A student may be temporarily suspended from the University or evicted from University housing by the Dean of Students, pending disciplinary or criminal proceedings, such suspension or eviction to become immediately effective without prior notice whenever there is evidence that the student’s continued presence on the campus constitutes a threat to the student or others or to the continuance of normal University operations. In cases of temporary suspension or eviction, the student is given an opportunity to appear before the Dean of Students within five (5) working days from the effective date of the suspension or eviction in order to discuss the following issues:

  1. The reliability of the evidence against the student.
  2. Whether the alleged conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the student’s presence on campus constitutes a threat to others, or to the continuance of normal University operations.

b. Faculty members have the independent authority to exclude a student from any class session in which the student displays disruptive behavior that threatens the learning environment or safety and well being of others in the classroom. The student remains eligible to return to the next class session. The faculty member maintains the authority to remove the student from each class session during which the student is disruptive. The student may be suspended permanently from a class upon recommendation of the Dean of Students under the disciplinary procedures outlined in this Code.