Student conduct process – parent & family FAQs

Chances are you never thought that your student’s Western experience would include the student conduct process. First, we recognize that college is a time when students are learning and growing, a process that includes making mistakes. Western’s student conduct process strives to provide students an opportunity to learn where they could have made different decisions and offer them strategies for making healthier choices in the future. One way we do this is through educational sanctions, assigned when a student is found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code.    

These sanctions are intended to both help a student learn from their mistakes and to hold them accountable. These sanctions may include a warning, conditional status, reflection papers, and, sometimes, separation from the University, either temporarily (suspension), or permanently (expulsion). While any sanction imposed may impact a student, we also feel strongly that our process and sanctions play an important role in a student’s education at Western. We encourage, but do not require, students to talk with their parents when they find themselves in the student conduct process. Often, students share that they are afraid of the reaction they would receive. If you are on this page it is likely that your student has confided in you about their participation in the student conduct process.  The below information is provided to help answer some of the questions you as parent may have about our conduct process and give you information that can help you best support your student.  

For information, more broadly on the Student Conduct Code and the student conduct process at Western please see the general process and general FAQ pages in the drop-down menus above.   

Any member of the university community may file a complaint against a student for a violation of the student conduct code. A complaint should be made in writing to the Office of Student Life ( or submitted at Reporting a Concern or Complaint. Complaints involving sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking or any other type of sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination should be directed to Western’s Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance Office.

We encourage everyone to report possible criminal behavior to local law enforcement authorities including University Police (360 650-3911) or your local police.

For more information on filing a complaint and resources available at Western see Reporting a Concern or Complaint.

We encourage parents to provide emotional support and a willing ear while their student actively engages in the student conduct process. Often a student just needs to know that their parent(s)/family will support them regardless of the behavior they have engaged in while helping them to make meaning of the process.  

It depends. Your student’s records are protected by The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA prevents the University from discussing your student’s record with you unless: 

  • your student designates that we can communicate with you; or 
  • your student’s housing or student status is in jeopardy due to a drug or alcohol violation, including probation, deferred eviction or immediate eviction, disciplinary probation, and/or deferred suspension. (As allowed by the 1998 amending of FERPA). Your student will be told in advance and encouraged to talk with you first.  

Yes, a student may by accompanied through the student conduct process by an advisor of their choice and at their own expense. This advisor may be an attorney, a parent, a faculty member, or a mentor.   

An advisor’s role in the student conduct process is to provide your student support. Within the student conduct meeting, your student may seek support or advice from their advisor. An advisor is not an active participant in the conversation with the conduct officer.   

Our office is also happy to speak with you regarding our process or other concerns you may have. Feel free to contact us by phone at 360-350-3706 or email