President Sarah Bolton emailed the following message to all students, faculty, and staff this evening:
Dear Wooster Community,
I write to provide a further update on the matter of the racist Facebook postings made by one of our students and brought to the College’s attention over the weekend. That student has been removed from campus until the conclusion of the investigation and conduct process.
Many of you have expressed frustration with this process, and especially with its timing, but our policies for responding to student conduct issues are legally binding – essentially a contract between the College and our students – and we must follow the process mandated by those policies in every case.
While it may not lessen your frustration, it may be helpful for you to know how the process works.
- In any incident involving a potential violation of our student conduct policies, the first step is a careful investigation to determine the facts. Our investigation of the current incident began as soon we were made aware of the postings last Saturday.
- When the investigation is complete, its results are compared with the student expectations and policies in the Scot’s Key. If evidence of a potential violation is present, the student receives notification in writing of the charges being brought against them and a copy of all materials related to those charges. The student is also given an opportunity to meet with a representative from the Division of Student Affairs to discuss, and ask questions about, the process.
- A date is then set for the conduct hearing, and the student is given time to prepare for it, typically no less than three business days.
- The hearing itself, before a conduct panel, uses a “preponderance of evidence” standard to determine whether violations have taken place.
- Following the hearing, the outcome is delivered to the student. The student then has the right to appeal, and the subsequent decision of the appeal officer is final.
This has been a challenging week for us as a community. We have felt shock, disappointment, and anger, and we have had some difficult, but very important, conversations. It has been a week in which we began the new semester by honoring and drawing inspiration from the work and legacy of Dr. King, but also were reminded how much work yet remains to be done.
As I said on Saturday when we first learned of these posts, you have my commitment that we will do that work – urgently, relentlessly, and together.