A student reads in a hall lounge.

Policies & Procedures

Winona State University is dedicated to the growth and development of all students. Policies and procedures are put in place to ensure every student is receiving an education in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning both inside and outside of the classroom.

All of our policies and procedures can be found online.  Students can request a copy of the 2015-2016 Housing & Residence Life Policies & Procedures Handbook at their residence hall front desk.

Residence Hall Policies

The following information outlines the Winona State University Housing & Residence Life policies & procedures as well as the Residence Life Conduct System. 

The following is a listing of the Residence Hall Policies. The following list is not all-encompassing as there are situations that are outside the scope of the Residence Life Code of Conduct. In such incidences, the student(s), and/or their guest(s), will be held responsible for their behavior and any sanction(s) that may be assigned. Any student who is believed to be in violation of any of the stated Residence Hall Policies will be subject to disciplinary action through the Residence Hall Conduct System.


Note: In this section, the term “residence halls” refers to all residence buildings (Conway, East Lake, Kirkland-Haake, Lourdes, Maria, Morey- Shepard, Prentiss-Lucas, Richards, Sheehan, Sustainability House, and Tau Center), and the grounds/surrounding property of the halls, except where designated. The term “room” refers to rooms, suites, and apartments except where noted


Alcohol: Possession and/or consumption of alcohol on state property is prohibited in accordance with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) guidelines. Alcohol will be disposed of when confiscated.

Note: All individuals present in a room that contains alcohol may be found in violation of the alcohol policy regardless of their level of participation.

Alcohol Containers: To ensure compliance with the alcohol policy at Winona State University, alcoholic beverage containers (empty or full) are not allowed on campus. This policy applies to cans, bottles, shot glasses, kegs, party balls, crates, cases, wine boxes, bongs, and so on. Display of such items is also not permitted.

Balconies, Roofs, and Ledges: Students and/or guests are not allowed on balconies, roofs, ledges, or the Lourdes sun deck. Students may not place any objects in these areas.

Candles/Incense: Burning candles and incense in the residence halls is prohibited. Candles in a room must have the wick cut off or not be burned. For safety reasons, candle/oil warmers are not allowed.

Note: You are financially responsible for any fire alarms, damages, cleaning, or painting charges associated with the misuse of candles or candle/oil warmers.

Civility: Students will respect the dignity and value the worth of all persons. Students will at no time physically, psychologically or sexually abuse any member of this community; or participate in or condone any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation or threat; whether verbal, written, online, physical or psychological, direct or implied. If you are disturbed by inappropriate activity of another student, you should address that student (when appropriate) in a nonthreatening manner before involving your RA/CA. Hostile or inappropriate language or gestures, words which penetrate and hurt, words which destroy relationships rather than sustain them, or physical aggression in any form are not tolerated at WSU or within the residence hall community.

Cohabitation: Cohabitation is not allowed in the residence halls. Cohabitation is defined as an occurrence, which would prompt a reasonable person to believe a guest has a continual presence in the room or hall. For example, anyone receiving mail, regular telephone calls, using the showers, maintaining clothing changes, or keeping personal effects in a residence hall. (See also “Guests”)

Community Bathrooms: Community bathrooms are to be used by men only or women only as posted. Utilizing a bathroom of the opposite gender is considered a misuse of University facilities. Public rest rooms are available in each lobby.

Compliance with University Officials: Failure to comply with the directions of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties, willful refusal to identify oneself to these persons when requested, or false identification may result in disciplinary action. University officials include, but are not limited to, Residence Hall Directors/Area Coordinator, Assistant Hall Directors, Resident Assistants, Community Assistants, Desk Assistants, Fitness Center Assistants, Security Guards, Student Dining Service Managers, Parking Officers, and all other personnel delegated supervisory responsibility by a University official.

Damages: While living in the residence halls, you are financially responsible for the condition of your room, including doors and windows. Nails, duct tape, packing tape, tacks, staples, and glue must not be used on walls, ceiling, floors, or doors. Charges will be assessed for any damage found in the room and charged to your student account. If responsibility for damage to a room cannot be determined, roommates will be billed equally. Damages to a community area will be assessed to the responsible person(s). If the responsible person(s) cannot be identified, the charges may be assessed to the community members (which may include the entire floor or building). Damage costs are listed at the end of this document.

Decorating: Hanging lights outside your room and wrapping your door is prohibited. Obscene, offensive, or drug/alcohol-related materials posted on the outside of a student’s individual door/room will be removed at the discretion of the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator. (see also “Fire Safety Regulations”)

Drugs: Possession and/or use of illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia (purchased or home-made) on state property is prohibited by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) guidelines as well as state and federal law. This also includes the use or sale of prescription drugs by anyone other than the person to whom they are prescribed. Prescription drugs should remain in their original container with proper labeling. All paraphernalia and/or drug substance will be confiscated and destroyed. Students who violate this policy will face immediate housing agreement cancellation and any financial penalties associated with agreement cancellation, an educational sanction, and restriction from the residence halls though the Residence Hall Conduct Process.

Fire Equipment—Misuse: The fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinkler equipment, exit signs, areas of refuge, and firefighting equipment installed in the halls and in your room are for your safety. Tampering with them hinders the efficiency and endangers the safety of all students. All cases of tampering are investigated, and students found responsible may face immediate housing agreement cancellation, suspension from Winona State University, and/or criminal charges subject to a maximum penalty of $700.00 and/or a 90-day jail term.

Gambling: Gambling that includes the exchange of money or other things of monetary value, except as permitted by law, is prohibited in all University housing.

Guests: Guests (WSU students or others) are welcome to visit your room at your invitation with the permission of your roommate(s). However, the following restrictions apply to all guests:

  1. You (the student assigned to the room) are personally and financially responsible for the actions and behaviors of your guests. 
  2. You (the student assigned to the room) must inform your guests of the policies and procedures of the residence halls. 
  3. Guests who exhibit inappropriate behavior may be required to leave and the host will be held responsible for the actions of the guest. 
  4. The number of guests is limited to 3 (three) per student at any time. 
  5. The rights of a roommate and other students in the hall always supersede those of the guest.
  6. You must have your roommate(s) permission to have an overnight guest. Guests may stay no longer than 3 (three) consecutive nights in any University housing facility. 
  7. All overnight guests must register at the front desk with their host and a photo ID. 
  8. All guests must be escorted by their host at all times. 
  9. Students must check-in their guest between the hours of 11:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m., even if they entered the building prior to 11:00 p.m. Security will require a photo ID to check-in all guests and hosts. 
  10.  Students whose housing agreements have been cancelled may not be guests in the residence halls.

Hallways: Hall corridors are designed as passageways and not intended for recreational activities. Frisbee, golf, throwing balls, and other games played in hallways may be harmful to students or the condition of the building. The use of radios, stereos, rollerblades, bikes, long boards, scooters, etc. are not allowed in the hallways. Students are not permitted to block the corridors with items such as bicycles, trash, or boxes.

Harassment: The harassment of students and/or guests is prohibited. Harassment is defined as any unwanted, deliberate, or repeated unsolicited comments, gestures, graphic materials, physical contact, or solicitation of favors. Offensive material may not be displayed in the public domain; under certain circumstances, offensive material displayed within a room may be subject to removal. Please notify the appropriate University official (Hall Director or Security) if you feel you are being harassed or become aware of someone who is being harassed.

Health and Safety: Students are expected to refrain from, or condone, behavior that could cause harm to themselves or others. This includes, but is not limited to, attempting to hurt or harm others or oneself, being incoherent and/or unconscious due to chemical use, permitting access to a residence hall by a non-resident who is not their guest, propping doors, disabling locking mechanisms, exiting buildings from alarmed doors, or disabling any other safety mechanism in the residence halls. In addition, students should keep their room door closed and locked when not in their room. Please report any person(s) of concern to the front desk or Campus Security (507.457.5555) immediately.

Note: When looking out for friends/students, please know your limitations in ability to provide proper care. Please do not accept responsibility for a friend/student that is under the influence of any substance.

Mistreatment of Staff: As University officials, residence hall staff members are to ensure compliance with all University policies as well as state and federal laws, and are bound by their employment contract to deal with violations. Students may not interfere with, mistreat, or otherwise undermine a staff member’s responsibility or authority. The harassment of University staff, particularly RAs/CAs and Campus Security, will not be tolerated; this policy applies regardless of whether the harassment is done face-to-face, over the phone, online, or in any other manner. Students exhibiting harassing behavior can expect strong consequences, including the possibility of immediate housing agreement cancellation.

Pets: Fish are the only pets allowed in residence hall rooms and they must be kept in an aquarium no larger than 10 gallons. Please consider the use of marbles instead of rocks within fish tanks, as rocks easily clog sink drains. No other pets are allowed in the Residence Halls.

Postings: Before posting any signs or flyers in the residence halls, you must receive approval from the designated staff member in each complex. The materials you wish to have posted should be brought to the hall front desk for approval. Residence hall staff members will hang signs that are approved around the complex. All unapproved signs will be taken down. Obscene, offensive, or alcohol/drug-related materials posted on the outside of a student’s door/room will also be removed (see also “Decorating”). The below policy is subject to change; however, any changes will be updated and published on the RHA website: http://www.winona.edu/housing/rha.asp.

Quiet Hours: Students are expected to exercise good judgment and consideration in maintaining a living environment that complements the University’s educational mission. Students are expected to accept responsibility for their behavior at all times and respect the rights of others. All students have the right to study and sleep in their room, at any time, without unnecessary interruption. Therefore, students are not permitted to make noise that disturbs others or to exhibit disorderly conduct within the residential facilities or on University grounds. (See also “Stereos and Amplified Equipment”)
Official quiet hours begin at 11:00 p.m. every evening and end at 7:00 a.m. the following morning. Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day. All students are expected to confront any noise problems of concern to them, or respond politely if asked to be quiet. If assistance is needed, a student may call upon an RA/CA or Campus Security.

Note: Quiet Hours are extended the weekend before the final exam period begins each semester. Quiet hour violations during this period will result in more severe sanctions. Refer to your WSU e-mail and/or postings within your complex for details about continuous quiet hours.

Respect for the Community: Students are expected to respect and care for their personal property; as well as, the property belonging to other community members and the University. Students will at no time damage or condone damage committed by others. Students are directly and financially responsible for any damages or losses that occur to the property of other students or the University which are caused by their actions, carelessness, or negligence. Students will promote a clean and safe living environment in their individual room, building bathrooms, and all other common areas (including grounds).

Smoking/Tobacco: All tobacco use is prohibited in all campus buildings and on all University grounds. This consists of academic and administrative buildings, the student union, and all residence halls including private rooms and campus-owned apartments. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is prohibited on all university properties, including outdoor athletic facilities. The sale of tobacco products on campus is prohibited, as well as the free distribution of tobacco products on campus, including fraternities and sororities. Smoking on non-University grounds should take place 25 feet from doorways, open windows, covered walkways, and ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering enclosed buildings and facilities.

Solicitation: Students are not allowed to use their residence hall room for commercial purposes. Solicitation is prohibited in the residence halls without prior approval by RHA. The policy can be viewed on the RHA website: http://www.winona.edu/housing/rha.asp.

Stereos and Amplified Equipment: Stereos, radios, musical instruments, computers, and televisions should be played at a volume/ bass level that cannot be heard outside the student’s room. Speakers may not be placed in or facing out of windows. The use of amplified music equipment (without headphones) is prohibited in the residence halls. These restrictions may include the mandatory use of headphones or limitations on hours of use.

Trash/Recycling: Students are responsible for the proper disposal of their trash in the dumpsters or trash chutes located at each complex. Room trash must not be placed in common areas. The Housing & Residence Life Department is supportive of Winona State’s commitment to sustainability. Please utilize the recycling containers provided in your room/hall to support this effort as well.

Unauthorized Access: Students will not enter restricted access areas unless specifically authorized to do so by University personnel. The restricted areas may include, but are not limited to, hall front desks, roofs of residence halls, attics, janitorial or maintenance rooms, machine/storage rooms, crawl spaces, tunnels, dining services facilities, or locked conference rooms. In addition, unauthorized entry into any residence hall, student’s room, or bathroom designated for the opposite sex is prohibited (except where clearly noted).

Weapons and Explosives: Except for law enforcement officials performing their duties, the possession, use, or display of weapons is inappropriate in an academic community. The possession of any firearm, dangerous weapon, or explosive is strictly prohibited in conformance with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board Policy, 5.21 “Possession or Carry of Firearms.” Examples include, but are not limited to, air guns, slingshots, rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammunition, bows, paintball guns, knives, fire crackers, bottle rockets, and any other material which may create a health hazard or inflict bodily injury.

Wireless Access Points: WSU does not allow any wireless access points to be connected to the network except those installed or managed by WSU Information Technology Services. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, cable modem wireless routers. Most wireless networking devices operate within non-licensed portions of the radio frequency. In a confined environment, the radio frequency must be managed and, thus, user access points must be prohibited. Wireless Internet is available throughout the residence halls.

Alcohol: Possession and/or consumption of alcohol or possession of alcohol containers on state-owned or state-controlled property, except as expressly permitted by law and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) guidelines. In addition, at no time should you provide alcohol or, by your inaction, actively or passively condone consumption of alcohol by anyone on the WSU campus.

Code Violation: Violating the terms of sanctions imposed in accordance with code violations.

Disorderly Conduct: Disorderly conduct; breach of the peace; engaging in offensive, obscene, or abusive language or conduct; and aiding, abetting, or procuring another to breach the peace on University-controlled property or at University-sponsored or University-supervised functions.

Drugs: Use, possession, and/or distribution of narcotic or illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on state-owned or state-controlled property, except as expressly permitted by law. This code includes the abuse/misuse of prescription drugs.

Escort: Failure to properly check-in with University personnel and/or escort guests between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Fraud: Acts of fraud or attempted fraud committed by forgery, alteration, or use of University documents, records, ID, etc.

General: Violation of residence hall or University established rules, policies, procedures, or regulations that have been posted or publicized. Provisions contained in, but not limited to, University contracts or publications such as the Housing and Residence Life Policies and Procedures shall be deemed “rules” under this code.

Hallways: Any misuse of hallway space. This includes, but is not limited to, Frisbee, golf, throwing balls, and other games played in hallways that may be harmful to students or the condition of the building. The use of radios, stereos, rollerblades, bikes, long boards, scooters, etc, are not allowed in the hallways, nor are any other items that may block the corridors.

Harassment: Any unwanted, deliberate, or repeated unsolicited comments, gestures, graphic material, physical contact, sexual misconduct, online misconduct, or solicitation of favors directed toward students and/or guests.

Health & Safety: Conduct that endangers or could endanger the health and safety of any person; including oneself.

Noise: Disruption of a residence hall, through excessive noise, practical jokes, and/or the flagrant violation of other rules and regulations set by the Department of Housing and Residence Life.

Noncompliance: Failure to comply with directions of University officials and/or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties, or willful refusal to accurately identify oneself when requested. University officials include Resident Assistants, Community Assistants, Assistant Hall Directors, Residence Hall Directors/Area Coordinator, Campus Security, Parking Officers, Dining Service employees, and all other personnel delegated supervisory responsibility by a University official.

Smoking/Tobacco: Smoking or use of smokeless tobacco on University grounds, or within 25 feet of Winona State University buildings and facilities. 

Trash: Students are responsible for the proper disposal of their trash in the dumpsters or trash chutes located at each complex. Room trash may not be disposed of in any other location.

Unauthorized Entry: Unauthorized entry to or use of University facilities, building, grounds or equipment, including unauthorized possession or use of University keys. This also includes, but is not limited to, trespassing by individuals who have had their housing agreement cancelled, unauthorized use of University telephone, mail, or computer systems.

Vandalism: Theft, possession of, or damage to property belonging to the State, a member of the University community, or a visitor to the University.

When a student applies for Housing and makes their pre-payment, they sign their Housing Agreement.  The following forms are what the student agrees to when they sign their Housing Agreement.

2015-2016 Housing Agreement (PDF)

2015-2016 Refund/Penalty Schedule (PDF):  This form explains any fees associated with canceling your Housing Agreement prior to its end date (end of the academic year).

2015-2016 East Lake Apartments Application & Lease Agreement (PDF)

2015-2016 East Lake Apartments Refund/Penalty Schedule (PDF):  This form explains any fees associated with canceling your Housing Agreement at the East Lake apartments prior to the agreement end date (May 15). 

The following is a listing of the Residence Hall Procedures, however it is not all-encompassing as there are situations that are outside the scope of the Residence Life Code of Conduct. In such incidences, the student(s), and/or their guest(s), will be held responsible their behavior and any sanction(s) that may be assigned. Any student who is believed to be in violation of any of the stated Residence Hall Procedures will be subject to disciplinary action through the Residence Hall Conduct System.

Note: In this section, the term “residence halls” refers to all residence buildings (Conway, East Lake, Kirkland-Haake, Lourdes, Maria, Morey- Shepard, Prentiss-Lucas, Richards, Sheehan, Sustainability House, and Tau Center), and the grounds/surrounding property of the halls, except where designated. The term “room” refers to rooms, suites, and apartments except where noted.

Changing Locks: Lock cores are automatically changed when a lost key is reported, and all room occupants are given new keys, generally within 24-48 hours. The person who lost the room key will be assessed a $50.00, non-refundable, replacement fee.

Check-In: When you move into your room, the assigned RA/CA will ask you to complete a Room Condition Report (RCR). Be sure to survey the room thoroughly and list any damages in your room before you complete your check-in. The information listed on the RCR is the basis for determining whether you will be assessed damage charges at check-out. It is your responsibility to make sure the RCR is completed properly and that it lists all damages at check-in.


Check-Out: Each student is responsible for the condition of their room upon check-out. Residence Life staff will provide specific cleaning/check-out instructions. After all check-out procedures are completed, the student must have the RA/CA inspect the room. The student will turn in their room key to their RA/CA at this time. If any damage(s) occurred since the student checked into the room, charges will be assessed. Failure to clean thoroughly (PDF) will result in additional charges. Failure to complete proper check-out procedures will result in an additional charge. Final charges will be determined by the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator, and additional charges may be assessed after you leave. Charges will be applied to your student account. Most damage costs are outlined on the Residence Hall Charges form (PDF). An overview of Residence Hall Check-Out procedures and cleaning expectations can also be found online.

Clearing Rooms: Residence Life and Campus Security staffs have the authority to clear a room and ask all guests to leave the building upon the discovery of any violation(s) of University or residence hall procedures or policies. Individuals asked to leave the building are not allowed to return for 72 hours.

Confidentiality: Students may form bonds with Housing and Residence Life staff members; however, any information presented to a Housing and Residence Life staff member concerning policy violations or health and safety concerns must be reported to the housing staff member’s supervisor. This information is kept private.

Door Locking: The residence halls have a 24-hour card access system in place for all outside entrances into the building. Students are given access to their assigned residence hall and will need their Warrior ID in order to access the building. Access to the Tau Center Conference rooms or the Math Achievement Center (M.A.C.) does not require special access to utilize these spaces.
Should any issues with the ability to access your assigned complex using your Warrior ID arise, please contact your Hall Director/Area Coordinator as soon as possible to get the issue resolved. All guests must be met at the door and escorted throughout the building. For your protection and the protection of others, shut the door behind you, and do not provide entrance to anyone when these doors are locked.

Keys: Your room key is issued to you and you alone. You are not to share your key with anyone. If someone other than the resident owner is accessing your assigned room, the person who the key is issued to will be found in violation of Housing & Residence Life policy. If you lose your room key, report the loss to your RA/CA or the front desk of your hall immediately. (See also “Changing Locks”)Lock Outs: If you are locked out of your room, report to your hall front desk. You will be required to provide proof of your identity. Once your identity has been verified, you will be assessed a fee and granted access to your room.

Property Loss: The University does not accept liability for the damage or theft of personal property, or for the loss of money. Please be sure you lock your room door at all times. In the event property is lost or stolen, call 457.5555 to notify Campus Security immediately. Please consider purchasing renters liability insurance to safeguard your property/belongings.

Room Changes: Requests for room changes can be submitted after the first two weeks of each semester. You must get approval from your Residence Hall Director/ Area Coordinator before you move. A request for a room change does not guarantee approval and is based on room availability. If you move without approval from the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator, you will be required to move back to your original assignment, and you may receive disciplinary sanctions in addition to being billed for occupancy of both rooms.

Room Entry: The University respects the student’s right to freedom from illegal or unreasonable searches and invasions of privacy. However, the University reserves the right to enter the living quarters of a student. Residence hall staff members have the authority and responsibility to enter students’ rooms under the following guidelines: 

  1. By authorized University personnel with 24 hours advance notice to ensure that health, fire, and safety regulations are maintained. This includes monthly inspections.
  2. By authorized University personnel without notice if you request repair or maintenance work to be done or to make improvements, repairs or routine maintenance services in your living unit, whether or not you are home.
  3. By authorized personnel without notice, in emergency situations to protect the health and welfare of the student or to make emergency repairs to prevent damages to the property of the student and/or the University.
  4. By authorized University/Housing officials without notice when there is reasonable cause to believe there is or has been a violation of University policies or federal, state, local laws or ordinances. 
  5. By law enforcement officers in the performance of statutory duties and in accordance with legally defined procedures governing search and seizure.
  6. By authorized University/Housing officials without notice for check-in/check-out, for safety checks at semester/University breaks, to investigate an activated alarm, to retrieve University property, and for work orders submitted prior to occupancy.
  7. By authorized University/Housing, maintenance, and/or facilities management personnel where a major remodeling project is taking place (i.e. replacing shower walls). The student involved will be notified of any such projects.
  8. By authorized University/Housing personnel to shut off items disrupting the community when the student is not present (alarm clocks, stereos, TV, etc). In all instances, such entry shall be made only for the purposes set forth above. Observed alleged contraband will be confiscated and/ or alleged violation of University policies will be referred to the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator for follow-up action.


Note: Rooms will not be opened for anyone other than the official occupant.

The University’s conduct process is based on an educational philosophy. The primary goals of the residence life staff are to help all students in the pursuit of an education, promote growth for each student, and foster development within the residence hall community. If a staff member observes a student violating Residence Life Policy and Procedures or the University Student Conduct Code, the staff member will inform the student the behavior is inappropriate and request for them to discontinue the behavior. Online behavior brought to the attention of a staff member will be handled consistent with the General University Sanction Guidelines. Depending on the situation and the seriousness of the alleged behavior, the staff member may initiate the disciplinary process without warning. Staff members are instructed to thoroughly document all violations of University or residence hall policy/procedure whether or not disciplinary action is appropriate.

When alleged misconduct is reported by staff or another student and the Department of Residence Life determines probable cause to initiate disciplinary proceedings, the student is given written notification, via the student’s University email account, of the specific charge(s) and the requirement to attend a conduct hearing with a specific hearing officer (usually, the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator). During the hearing, the student is allowed to review the redacted report(s) pertaining to the alleged violations. The student is also given an opportunity to provide information on their behalf. Based upon the preponderance of evidence, the hearing officer will determine whether or not the student is in violation. Violations of the Residence Life Code of Conduct usually result in the student being subject to a sanction(s) according to the General University Sanction Guidelines. The terms of the decision are conveyed by the hearing officer, in writing via the student’s University email account, to the student.

The hearing officer has the sole responsibility for all decisions relative to a hearing, including the determination of responsibilities and the imposition of a disciplinary sanction(s), based on the General University Sanction Guidelines, if any. Should the accused student fail to appear at the hearing, the hearing officer may consider the evidence in the absence of the accused and arrive at a decision. Repeated violations or violations occurring after a student has already received a disciplinary sanction usually result in further, more serious disciplinary action, which could include cancellation of their Housing Agreement.

Students who fail to complete any assigned sanctions by the deadline will receive a hold on their University record/account. A hold prohibits the student from making any administrative changes such as adding/dropping a class, receiving transcripts or registering for classes. The hold is only removed once the student completes the sanction(s). The initial hearing officer is the only individual who can remove the hold from the student’s account.  Sanction(s) may be carried into succeeding academic years.

There may be circumstances when it is appropriate for a more severe sanction(s) than those listed in the General University Sanction Guidelines. Some incidents may require further investigation before a decision can be reached. These cases are usually outside the scope of the Residence Life Code of Conduct and will be referred to the Office of Student Life and Development, Campus Security, Affirmative Action and/or local Law Enforcement to be processed under the WSU Student Conduct Code. Students found responsible for WSU Student Conduct Code violations face disciplinary sanctions such as probation or suspension. The Director of Student Conduct and Citizenship generally hears alleged violations that fall outside the Residence Life Code of Conduct.

All students are bound by the University Student Conduct Code. Information pertaining to the WSU Student Conduct Code is available in the Office of Student Life and Development.

Conduct Files: Information regarding a student's conduct record is kept in an online database and is on file in the Office of Student Life and Development.  Conduct records are part of the student's educational record.  The information existing in a student's conduct file will be used during the sanctioning phase of a hearing.  This information is only accessed by University officials who are doing so in a student's educational interest.  However, this information may be shared with others if the student gives written consent.  Many graduate schools, professional programs, and government agencies require that students provide access to this information as a condition of acceptance or employment.

 

The University’s conduct process is based on an educational philosophy. The primary goals of the residence life staff are to help all students in the pursuit of an education, promote growth for each student, and foster development within the residence hall community. If a staff member observes a student violating Residence Hall Policy and Procedures or the University Conduct Code, the staff member will inform the student that the behavior is inappropriate and request that they discontinue the behavior. Inappropriate online behavior brought to the attention of a staff member will be adjudicated by Residence Life Policy and the Student Conduct Code. Depending on the situation and the seriousness of the alleged behavior, the staff member may initiate the disciplinary process without warning. Staff members are instructed to thoroughly document all violations of University or residence hall policy/procedure whether or not disciplinary action is appropriate.

When alleged misconduct is reported by staff or another student and the Department of Residence Life determines probable cause to initiate disciplinary proceedings, the student is given written notification, via the student’s University email account, of the specific charge(s) and the requirement to attend a conduct hearing with a specific hearing officer (usually, the Residence Hall Director/Area Coordinator). During the hearing, the student is allowed to review the redacted report(s) pertaining to the alleged violations. The student is also given an opportunity to provide information on their behalf. Based upon the preponderance of evidence, the hearing officer determines whether the student is in violation. Violations of the Residence Life Code of Conduct usually result in the student being subject to University sanctions. The terms of the decision are conveyed by the hearing officer, in writing via the student’s University email account, to the student.

The hearing officer has the sole responsibility for all decisions relative to a hearing, including the determination of responsibilities and the imposition of a disciplinary sanction(s). Should the accused student fail to appear at the hearing, the hearing officer may consider the evidence in the absence of the accused and arrive at a decision. Repeated violations or violations occurring after a student has already received a disciplinary sanction usually result in further, more serious disciplinary action.

Students who fail to complete their sanction by the deadline assigned will receive a hold on their University record. A hold prohibits the student from making any administrative changes such as adding/ dropping a class, receiving transcripts or registering for classes. The hold is only removed once the student completes the sanction(s). The initial hearing officer is the only individual who can remove the hold from the student’s account. In addition to the University hold, five extra community service hours will be assigned. Sanction(s) may be carried into succeeding academic years.

The circumstances and nature of an incident are taken into account in determining the most appropriate sanction, including the severity and repeated nature of a violation. Some incidents may require further investigation before a decision can be reached. These cases are usually outside the scope of the Residence Life Code of Conduct and will be referred to the Office of Student Life and Development, Campus Security, Affirmative Action and/or local Law Enforcement to be processed under the WSU Student Conduct Code. Students found responsible for WSU Student Conduct Code violations face disciplinary sanctions such as probation or suspension. The Director of Student Conduct and Citizenship generally hears alleged violations that fall outside the Residence Life Code of Conduct.

All students are bound by the University Student Conduct Code. Information pertaining to the WSU Student Conduct Code is available in the Office of Student Life and Development.

Rights

Students have the right to: 

  1. Receive written notice of behavioral expectations 
  2. Receive advance notice of the disciplinary proceeding and the nature of the alleged misconduct 
  3. Have an opportunity for a hearing
  4. Testify on their own behalf
  5. Have an opportunity to read all redacted written reports concerning the alleged incident and to question all evidence against them
  6. Receive notification of the hearing results
  7. Have an opportunity to appeal the decision (see also “Appeal Process”)


Responsibilities

Students are responsible for the following:

  1. Read and understand the information provided in the Housing & Residence Life Policies & Procedures, University Housing Agreement, and University Student Conduct Code
  2. Read the information provided in the written notification, and respond as indicated
  3. Appear at the hearing at the scheduled time
  4. Read and question all written reports and evidence presented
  5. Tell the truth with the intent of clarifying the incident for the hearing officer so a responsible decision can be made 
  6. Read and follow all sanctions set forth in the sanction letter
  7. Follow the procedure for submitting an appeal

If a student is found to be in violation of the Residence Life or University Conduct Code, the sanctions available include, but are not limited to, the following:


Administrative Warning: Warning is given to inform the student that a specific behavior does not meet the minimum expectations for residence hall living. It is generally imposed after isolated and less serious incidents of misconduct or agreement violations. Examples may include a mild first time noise incident or use of public trash receptacle for personal room trash. This sanction takes the form of a written warning issued to a student following the disciplinary hearing with a hearing officer. An administrative warning is not imposed for a specific length of time; however, further misconduct may lead to other sanctions such as residence hall probation or cancellation of housing agreement.

Cancellation of Housing Agreement: This sanction involves removal from the University residence hall community for conduct that is a serious violation of residence hall rules and regulations. Cancellation of agreement may also result from less serious, but repeated incidents of misconduct. A student whose housing agreement is cancelled for disciplinary reasons must permanently vacate their residence within 72 hours of their disciplinary hearing. Students
removed from the residence halls must accept all financial penalties. Removals are permanent and usually coincide with restriction from all residence halls (see “Restriction”). Cancellation of agreement will affect the student’s status for residence hall living for future years.

Community Service Hours: University community service hours are intended to provide an avenue for students to give back to the residence hall community that may have been negatively affected as a result of their violation of residence hall or University policy. Community service hours are generally performed in the hall where the violation took place.

Educational Sanction: An educational sanction is a developmental sanction that requires a student to actively participate in a program, paper requirement, or other appropriate sanction consistent with the infraction. Students assigned to an educational sanction will accept any fees associated with a class or program.

Hold on University Records: Holds are placed on the records of students who do not complete their sanction(s) as dictated in their sanction letter. These students are not allowed to register for classes or make any administrative changes to their student account until the disciplinary sanction(s) has been completed.

Residence Hall Probation: Residence hall probation is a formal disciplinary status imposed for the duration of the students’ time living within WSU residence halls. During this probationary period, any subsequent infraction of University or Residence Life policy (including failure to complete any and/or all parts of prior sanctions) usually necessitates more severe disciplinary action. Such action includes, but is not limited to, a hold on University records, restriction from University residence halls, and cancellation of housing agreement.

Residence Hall Relocation: As part of the disciplinary process, moving a student from one residence hall to another may be required. This relocation is a mandatory and permanent change of room assignment within the University’s residence hall community. The student is usually given 72 hours to complete the relocation. However, this time period may be shortened as permitted by agreement and student behavior.

Restitution: Restitution is monetary reimbursement for actual damage to, destruction of, or misappropriation of University property, or the property of any person while on University premises. It is not a fine. Restitution may involve paying for damages or performing community or educational service.

Restriction: Restriction is a formal action taken by the hearing officer that results in a student’s loss of visitation rights within all WSU residence halls. Restricted individuals are prohibited from entering designated residence halls and/or other specific areas. Violation(s) of this restriction will result in a citation for trespassing from an agent of Law Enforcement as well as possible disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University. If the restricted student is seen in/on any residence hall property, the police will be called.


Policy Violations that may lead to Housing Agreement Cancellation

The actions identified below infringe upon other students’ rights and will be handled more severely. If a student is found in violation of offenses not limited to, and similar in nature and magnitude to those listed below, they may be subject to cancellation of housing agreement and restriction from the residence halls and may be referred to the Director of Student Conduct and Citizenship for further disciplinary action.

Alcohol: Hosting a large party, possession of large quantities of alcohol, or sale or distribution of alcohol within the residence halls.

Drugs: Possession, use or distribution of illegal drugs (including the misuse of prescription drugs) or drug paraphernalia within the residence hall or on University property.

Harassment: Willful harassment of students, guests, and/or University staff either face-to-face, over the phone, electronically, or in any other manner.

Health & Safety:

  • Conduct or behavior threatening the safety or well-being of self or others
  • Misusing or tampering with safety equipment that includes, but is not limited to, false fire alarms, inappropriate discharge of fire extinguishers or tampering with smoke detectors
  • When students are a clear danger to themselves or the residence hall population as indicated by arrest for assault and battery, possession or use of a weapon, possession or sale of illegal substances, or any other crime as may be determined to have serious implications for students living in the residence halls
  • Harm or attempted harm to oneself or others such as: suicide attempts or other behaviors that result in a determination that continued occupancy could likely result in severe, adverse psychological problems for other students. This may also include substance abuse or other addictive behavior. 5.

Theft/Vandalism: Theft, possession of, or damage to property belonging to the State, a member of the University community, or a visitor to the University.

Other: Violations or attempts to commit violations that include, but are not limited to the following: sexual assault, physical violence, arson, terrorist threats, stalking, or the use of a weapon of any type.

Students may appeal the decision and/or sanction imposed by the hearing officer. An appeal must be submitted to the Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life, Candice Guenther, at cguenther@winona.edu (or designee), in writing, within three working days of the disciplinary hearing. Failure to submit an appeal, or request for an extension, within that time period constitutes a waiver of any right to request an appeal.

The written appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • New evidence not reasonably available at the time of the hearing
  • Violation of hearing procedures or process that substantially affected the outcome of the hearing
  • Violation of students’ rights (see “Student Rights and Responsibilities”)
  • Inconsistency of the sanction relative to the severity of the behavior.
  • Decisions contrary to the weight of evidence


An appeal hearing is not a re-hearing; it represents a procedural safeguard for the student. In an appeal process, the burden of proof is shifted from the University to the student charged with the offense. The student must demonstrate in their written appeal that one or more of the grounds for appeal have merit.

Decisions made by the Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life (or designee) may be forwarded to the Director of Student Conduct & Citizenship for review to be determined if the student’s case warrants further consideration under the Student Conduct Code. The Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life (or designee) reserves the right to enforce a sanction pending further appeals if the situation warrants. The Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life (or designee) may refer an appeal directly to the Office of Student Life and Development for consideration pursuant to the WSU Student Conduct Code.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “preponderance of evidence” mean?

Preponderance of evidence is the burden of proof a hearing officer uses to make a decision of responsibility. It means that if a hearing officer believes it is “more likely than not” that a student violated the Policies and Procedures of Housing & Residence Life, they will find the student responsible for the violation and possibly issue sanctions.


What is a sanction? What sanction will I receive?

The Policies and Procedures of Housing & Residence Life are established and conduct is adjudicated from an educational perspective. The primary purpose is to help students learn from choices they make and to become a positive contributor to the residence hall community. Consequences, or sanctions, are assigned when a student is found responsible for violating the Policies & Procedures for Housing & Residence Life, contractual obligation, or law. Sanctions are intended to help students learn and each subsequent violation/sanction builds upon the last.


What if I disagree with the appeal decision?

Cases will only be reopened if new information is identified and confirmed, and that information could have a material impact on the original decision.


If my roommate is doing something in our room they shouldn’t do, can I get in trouble?

If you are present and/or realize a violation is occurring, you must leave the room and/or area immediately and report the violations to hall staff. Knowingly remaining in the presence of activities/behavior that violates policy is equated to an implicit approval of such violations and, thus, transfers a responsibility to all those present.


How does this incident/conduct relate to my academic record?

A student’s conduct record is independent from their academic record, unless a finding of responsibility results in suspension or expulsion from the University. Students are also held to a high standard regarding academic integrity. A violation of this policy could result in disciplinary action. More information regarding Academic Integrity Policy can be found on the Student Life & Development website.