Housing Appeals Guide and Marijuana Guidelines
This guide is meant to help students prepare appeals to the requirement to live on campus at Western State Colorado University. Utilizing this guide does not guarantee that a housing appeal will result in an appeal being granted but it will provide the student with the information that will allow them to make an appeal that will receive consideration by the Housing Appeals Board. Additionally, some housing appeals are made in order to not be assigned in traditional residence halls but rather in apartment style housing. A section of this guide will address appeals of this sort as well.
Two sections of the housing contract provide guidance when making an appeal:
Number 1 of the housing contract states:
1. STUDENT LIVE-ON REQUIREMENT: All full time entering students are required to live on campus for their first two years in attendance at Western State Colorado University. Students in their first year are required to live in Living-Learning communities which are located in traditional Residence Hall units. All students residing in traditional residence halls are required to have a meal plan. Students in their second year may continue to live in traditional residence halls or if available opt to live in apartment style housing where a meal plan is not required. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Director of Residence Life and will only be granted under the following circumstances: (1) the student is married; (2) the student is living with parents or legal guardian; (3) the student is at least 21 years of age by the first day of classes; (4) the student has lived on campus for the equivalent of two full academic years at another college or University, or at Western; (5) the student is an honorably discharged veteran. Students who are enrolled full-time during any part of a term and do not meet these requirements will be assigned a space and required to pay all room and board charges associated with the space for the term. Students who fall below full time status after the first day of classes of their first semester at Western are still subject to the live on requirement for the full contract period.
- Students who are in civil unions or will be should be able to produce a license as documentation and to have the requirement to live on campus waived.
- Students who will be residing with a parent or a legal guardian and commuting to school must have their parent provide proof of residence. Additionally, that residence must be within a reasonable commuting distance of the campus.
- Students who will be 21 years of age prior to the first day of classes in the fall semester must notify the Director of Residence Life that they do not wish to live on campus. A simple check of the student’s birthday will be enough to waive the live-on requirement. Students who turn 21 after the first day of classes may still appeal but the appeal will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
- Students who have lived on campus at Western for two years already are exempt from having to live on campus for any additional years even if they are not yet 21 years of age. Students who have transferred into Western and have lived on campus for 2 years will need to have the institution they were at verify with the Office of Residence Life that they have lived on campus for two years. Students who have transferred into Western with one year of having lived on campus at their previous institution of Higher Education and then live one year on campus at Western need only have their previous institution verify with the Department of Residence Life that they do have a year on campus elsewhere to be eligible to live off campus.
- Students who are honorably discharged veterans need only produce their discharge papers in order to not be held to the two year live-on requirement.
2. Number 5 of the Western Housing Contract States: pertains to Contract Termination/Cancelation and covers Termination/Cancelation for students who either are leaving the University or remaining enrolled but having their contract canceled/terminated.
Section A of number 5 states: A student may cancel/terminate their Housing Contract at any time without penalty under any of the following circumstances:
3) Military Duty
4) Untimely Death of an Immediate Family Member
5) Serious Medical Condition
6) Significant Financial Hardship (must have occurred after the contract was signed)
7) Withdrawal from the University.
Written notice must be provided to the Director of Residence Life along with the appropriate documentation in order to be approved for the contract termination and to receive a refund of the housing deposit and any portion of the housing fees as described in section #6 of this housing contract. This Contract will be considered null and void with no financial obligation if the student does not enroll at Western, however, any cancelation of this contract made after July 1st will result in a forfeit of the $100 deposit. Students, whether they have signed a contract or not are required to live on campus for two years if they are under the age of 21 years. Those who fail to complete a contract but who are registered for classes are subject to the same terms contained in this contract.
- Once again if a student is getting married or has gotten married a copy of the license will suffice to allow the contract to be cancelled without penalty.
- Obviously a student who graduates after the fall semester is not subject to having to live on campus for a full academic year. Students who sign the contract who remain enrolled as a student are required to live on campus for the full academic year.
- Military duty automatically releases a student from the contract.
- The untimely death (during the semester or academic year) of a brother, sister, mother, or father will allow a student to be released from the housing contract if they wish to be.
- A serious medical condition will be grounds for a student to make an appeal of the requirement to live on campus. This can be either a physical condition or psychological one. To be released there must be documentation substantiating the condition that requires the release. A simple note from a Doctor that says something to the effect that it would be in the student’s best interest to be released will not suffice. The documentation must explain the reasons living on campus will not be possible and the physician/psychiatrist must go on the record in writing that it is a Medical Requirement. A release form, authorizing your licensed Medical Doctor/ licensed Psychiatrist/ licensed Psychologist/ licensed Counselor to release information regarding your condition/diagnosis to the Housing Appeals Board is included with this Appeals Guide. The Release Form provides space for a written description and explanation of your condition and why your condition requires that you not reside on campus in any type of housing that Western State Colorado University has to offer. This section must be completed by your Medical Doctor/ licensed Psychiatrist/ licensed Psychologist/ licensed Counselor. The form has a section that you need to sign in order to authorize the release of information supporting your appeal to the Housing Appeals Board. The Housing Appeals Board at its discretion may contact your Medical Doctor/ licensed Psychiatrist/ licensed Psychologist/ licensed Counselor in order to determine the specific issues that make living on campus untenable for you.
- Significant Financial Hardship must be demonstrated through documentation and the documentation must show that circumstances have changed since the first contract to live on campus was signed for freshman year. If one or both parents become unemployed, either termination papers or a record of the parent’s application for unemployment benefits needs to be submitted. Any other type of financial hardship that arises such as excessive medical bills etc. that your parents must pay must also be documented and submitted. Many students come in and state that their parents are no longer contributing to their attending college. This will not be accepted as a legitimate excuse for making an appeal. The Federal Government expects that parents contribute to their student’s attendance at college. If your aid package is calculated based upon an expected contribution, the University cannot make exceptions to the amount of aid you receive or to its requirement that you live on campus based upon your parent’s decision not to contribute. Financial hardship is extremely difficult to substantiate, however, in cases where that does occur, we will ask financial aid to re-evaluate your situation and perhaps help you obtain additional aid. Refusing to accept available loans thus lessening your available aid will not be grounds to grant an appeal for financial hardship. You must also submit a budget that shows your costs for living off campus that includes the following: length of the lease you anticipate signing, your monthly rent, your monthly utility costs such as electric, heat, water usage, internet usage, Cable or Satellite TV, garbage collection, etc. Documentation of these costs should be obtained from the leasing agent or property owner. This is needed so that your true savings can be legitimately evaluated by the Housing Appeals Board.
- Obviously the contract is void if you withdraw from the University.
Appeals that pertain to special placement such as in a single room or in an apartment should follow the same approach as outlined above. Every appeal must be substantiated with proper documentation. Medical appeals must state that it is a requirement of your condition that you reside in a single room or in an apartment. Appeals of this sort need to be authorized as a disability and must be registered in the Academic Resource Center with the Disability Coordinator. Additionally, we can only grant such appeals if there is the availability of the type of housing required.
Included with this Housing Appeals Guide is a separate form which should be used when submitting your Housing Appeal. The form will help to guide you through the process and will also help the Housing Appeals Board to better determine the validity of your housing appeal.
Marijuana Guidelines for Western State Colorado University
As a University participating in the Federal Student Aid programs, Western State Colorado University is obligated to uphold and enforce policies which are based on The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) of 1989 - also known as the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act - requiring institutions of higher education to establish policies that address unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs.
The purpose of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention regulations is to implement section 22 of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which added section 1213 to the Higher Education Act. These amendments require that, as a condition of receiving funds or any other form of financial assistance under any Federal program, an institution of higher education (IHE) must certify that it has adopted and implemented a drug prevention program as described in this part.
- The Federal programs covered by this part include:
(A) All programs administered by the Department of Education under which an IHE may receive funds or any other form of Federal financial assistance; and
(B) All programs administered by any other Federal agency under which an IHE may receive funds or any other form of Federal financial assistance.
- A student with a valid Medical Marijuana card must exercise its use and storage off campus, in a lawful place and in a manner consistent with the ordinances of Gunnison Municipal Code, Colorado State and Federal Law. Medical marijuana use will not be considered as reason for appealing the 2 year live on requirement.
- While CO has decriminalized medical marijuana, as well as marijuana possession and use for those over the age of 21, the Federal government has not, therefore we are required to enforce this policy, or risk losing the opportunity to participate in the Federal Student Aid programs. Approx. 72% of our students receive some form of financial aid, including Federal grants, scholarships or loans. In an effort to protect the continued opportunity for the institution and our students to participate in Federal Student Aid programs, the University reserves the right to not accommodate for Medical Marijuana.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal law and specifically states that an individual who is using illegal controlled substances (as defined by the Federal government) cannot qualify as a person with a disability, and therefore receive federal protection. In other words, it does not violate ADA for Western to ban individuals with medical marijuana cards from using marijuana on campus.
- Students who have a documented medical condition, and wish to live off campus, may submit a medical appeal to the housing appeals board following the guidelines provided below. (You may read the entire Housing Appeal Guideline by requesting such from the Office of Residence Life).
“A serious medical condition will be grounds for a student to make an appeal of the requirement to live on campus. This can be either a physical condition or psychiatric one. To be released there must be documentation substantiating the condition that requires the release. A simple note from a Doctor that says something to the effect that it would be in the student’s best interest to be released will not suffice. The documentation must explain the reasons living on campus will not be possible and the physician/psychiatrist must go on the record in writing that it is a Medical Requirement”.
Please note that the consideration of a medical appeal will not take in to consideration any medical marijuana documentation.