Our commitment to undertaking a comprehensive review of the University’s student conduct process took another important step forward today when we announced formation of a 15-member task force that will examine the entire conduct process.

I want to thank Professor Craig Hemmens for agreeing to chair this far-reaching effort and express my thanks in advance to the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors representing WSU campuses statewide who comprise the task force.

Our goal going forward is simple: We will revise our student conduct process as needed to reflect best practices nationally.

The task force’s work is expected to take three to four months to complete. The group will document its findings in a report and make recommendations for changes to the conduct process. The Board of Regents will consider any proposed changes to WSU rules. Our goal is to implement an updated conduct process for the beginning of the fall 2017 semester.

The broad review of the task force will be complemented by the narrower review led by the law firm Lyons O’Dowd, which is examining the specific issue of alleged racial and ethnic bias in the student conduct process. The firm’s report should be available in early to mid-January and will be considered by the task force.

In the meantime, we plan to implement some emergency rules for student conduct hearings occurring prior to the adoption of the task force recommendations. That decision was made after Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals ruled December 1 that WSU and other public institutions of higher education in the state must use a full adjudication process in cases where students face expulsion or are accused of sexual assault. WSU does not plan to appeal the court’s decision.

Let there be no doubt—at the conclusion of our efforts we will implement conduct standards that provide a fair and equitable process for all students while protecting the safety and rights of the entire WSU community.

Go Cougs!