William Paterson University

Students of William Paterson University are placed under the Student Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is intended to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the members of the University community. The University defines a number of potential behaviors which it believes have the potential to jeopardize or infringe upon the community as violations. Committing a violation subjects a student to swift and immediate disciplinary action from the University.

Due Process

William Paterson University allows for its version of Due Process for students who violate the Student Code of Conduct, however, it is significantly simpler, quicker, and more informal than the standard criminal procedure. The process begins with allegations of a code violation against a student being sent to the Director of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct will then notify the student of the allegations. From that point, the student will be known as the "responding student."

Hearings will be held in one of two ways: either by a single hearing officer, or by a review from the University Hearing Board. Hearings conducted by the University Hearing Board are typically limited to allegations that are serious enough to warrant suspension or expulsion. The University Hearing Board will also hear cases that may affect the University Community as a whole. Violations that do not constitute the seriousness reserved for the University Hearing Board will be heard out by a single Hearing Officer. A Hearing Officer will either be the Director of Student Conduct, or a designated representative.

Hearing Officer

A hearing with a single Hearing Officer will follow a mostly informal process. After the responding student is given their official notice, they will be given the date and time of their hearing, and informed of what specific violations they face. Responding students will be given the opportunity to present their own eye-witnesses to the situation, so long as these witnesses were not given any violations. Students are welcome to have an attorney at their hearing alongside them as well. After the investigation and hearing has concluded, the Hearing Officer will make the decision as to whether or not the responding student is responsible for a code violation.

University Hearing Board

Cases heard by the William Paterson University Hearing Board follow a slightly stricter process, and more closely follow a process that can be likened to a criminal trial. The responding student will be notified of what violations they are alleged of committing. They will also be notified of a pre-hearing meeting to discuss the violations and possibly present additional information for the University Hearing Board to review during the hearing.  During the hearing responding students will be able to present eye-witnesses in their favor.  Responding students in hearings before the University Hearing Board are also welcome to the presence of an attorney.  Legal counsel at a University Board Hearing will greatly boost a responding student's confidence, and can greatly influence the overall outcome.  In addition, a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the university disciplinary process can provide invaluable advice as to what a responding student should emphasize or avoid when presenting evidence or testimony.  The University Hearing Board itself will consist of three voting members, and will make the determination of whether a responding student is responsible or not responsible for the violations after the hearing has concluded. The basis of the determination relies on the preponderance of information; meaning that if there is simply more evidence levied against the responding student they can be found responsible for the violation.

Sanctions

William Paterson University will impose disciplinary sanctions if a responding student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, University and/or Campus Activities, Service and Leadership policies and procedures.  More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for a violation, and the full range of sanctions is available depending on the nature and severity of the violation.  Possible sanctions include:

  • Official Warning
  • Campus Life Probation
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Restitution
  • Loss of Campus Housing
  • Suspension from the University
  • Expulsion from the University
  • Order of No Contact
  • Administrative Relocation
  • Other Sanctions (as deemed appropriate)

In addition to any of the above, the University will impose additional sanctions for academic integrity violations as deemed appropriate. 

Regretfully, some William Paterson University students, despite their and their parents' best intentions, proceed with the University disciplinary process without a full understanding of the possible consequences, both immediate and long-term.  Those unfamiliar with the realities of the disciplinary process often do not realize until it may be too late that William Paterson University imposes suspensions and expulsions as a sanction more often than would be expected; even in disciplinary matters that may seem to be less serious.  The stakes are very high, and some consequences are unforeseen; even sanctions lesser than suspension or expulsion can greatly jeopardize a student's academic and professional goals.

William Paterson University sanctions for Title IX sexual misconduct violations, which include sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, will always be severe, and Title IX sexual misconduct violations can have lifetime consequences.  William Paterson University will also promptly impose interim measures as deemed necessary to protect the complainant before the final outcome of a Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceeding involving Dating, Relationship or Sexual Misconduct or Violence.

Experience Matters - An Experienced Attorney's Role When Representing a William Paterson University Student

William Paterson University and a student's attorney may be able to work together to achieve an agreeable resolution before Student Code of Conduct disciplinary violations and/or academic misconduct charges are filed in certain instances.  If charges have already been filed against a student, the accused student's attorney, also in certain instances, may be able to serve as an a liaison between William Paterson University, the accuse