Rules and regulations to follow on campus

College is not like in the movies. It is not a free-for-all party with no rules, no limitations, and no non-stop carelessness. You know that song “I Love College?” Yeah, well welcome to the real world.

Here at Western Carolina University, students come from all different backgrounds, walks of life, races, genders, families, heritages, and more. A different opinion among students is like hair on a polar bear, there are a lot of them. To make sure all of these opinions are spoken for and that everyone can agree, the university created the Western Carolina University Community Creed. In it are five bullet points on how students are expected to “practice,” “respect,” “demonstrate,” “engage,” and “celebrate” while on and off campus as a Western Carolina Catamount. This creed is a list of responsibilities, not laws. Laws are to be upheld everywhere on every day.

The creed is to encourage and remind Catamounts that as a Western student, this is how one should behave, and he or she will be expected to maintain their responsibilities as listed below:

+”I will practice personal and academic integrity.”

+”I will respect the dignity and rights of all persons.”

+”I will demonstrate concern for others and live up to my community responsibilities.”

+”I will engage myself in the arts, culture and intellectual life of my University.”

+”I will celebrate and take pride in Western Carolina University.”

In charge of it all is Walter Turner, director of the Department of Student Community Ethics, and his staff including Holly Taylor (Assistant Director), Miles Komuves (Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Education. In the early 2000’s, Turner’s predecessor directed the Department of Judicial Affairs, but the name was changed due to the word “Judicial.” The term just did not have the right sound to the students.

“The name of the department was changed to better represent the work that we do,” said Turner. “We work with students within the community. We are not just a judge and jury court.”

Turner explained that the word “judicial” could be intimidating. A student would visually imagine a judge and jury-type court, but the DSCE is nothing like that. “We don’t function like a court,” explained Turner. “Our process differs from the court process in a few ways. {We} work with alleged violations of student conduct not the law, though someone could simultaneously violate both…”

When dealing with a case, the important phrase to remember is “more likely than not.” If a student does not uphold one of their responsibilities, his or her case will be individually reproached in the attitude of “more likely than not.” No one is there to judge a student, find him or her guilty, and charge them, next case. There is no reason to walk into a session with a hearing officer and assume the voice of student will not be heard. While consequences are based on a minimum standard set by Western, students are more or less dealt with on a case by case basis. The university wants to professionally and personally address and correct misbehaviors in correlation to the Community Creed and Student Code of Conduct.

“{Integrity} is a practice,” Turner stated. “We’re all humans. We all make mistakes.”

Thus the Creed was invented to encompass the wide range of opinions and beliefs that come with Western’s large body of students. Turner explained, “We’re all here in one great community…what is it that makes us the same? I would say our creed… We think everyone within the community can agree to and be held to it as a standard.”

An important bullet in the Creed is being proud of and becoming involved in Western’s university. There are a lot of grumblings about the size and limitations of Cullowhee and   sister city of Sylva. However, if one looks around, the university provides many activities to enjoy.

“Data shows an engaged student is… more successful, academically,” insisted Turner. “I learned a lot of my social skills in college. The more engaged a student is… the more fun they’re going to have with their college experience.”

And the sooner, the better! The Week of Welcome is the best place to start hunting and discovering the niches, activities, and friends that will become a part of a student’s every day college experience.

Plagiarism, which carries a significant consequence for stealing someone else’s words or thoughts, and alcohol abuse, these are the most academic and non-academic common offenses on Western’s campus. Alcohol, however, is constantly a concern, and regularly and  illegally makes its rounds throughout dorms where it should not be. Also making the Most Popular List is illegal drugs, illegal downloading (which could lead to losing your Internet), and violations of resident life regulations. University Policy 91 is the restriction of weapons on campus. Unless it is a three inch, retractable blade, there better be no weapons hiding under the dorm bed. Cell phone use and eating/drinking in class is typically a professor preference so keep cell phones tucked and eat snacks earlier until you get to know your professor’s pet peeves. If a student wants to get a bit rowdy before a football game, tailgating is allowed as long as “individuals participating in tailgating activities… conduct themselves in a manner of respectful of the nature and character of the University,” according to the Student Handbook, University Policy 103. Alcohol is allowed during tailgating but only in certain areas, such as the Field House lot, Ramsey Creek Lot, and FPAC.

A full list of allowed alcohol areas during tailgating, along with all of the university’s policies, is available to view on the online Student Handbook.