Student Handbook

Student Code of Conduct

Preamble

A. Philosophical Approach

 
Houston Baptist University has chosen to set itself apart for the purpose of preparing students for meaningful lives and work and for service to God and the peoples of the world. The University is dedicated to the development of moral character, the enrichment of spiritual lives, and the perpetuation of growth in Christian ideals. Spiritual maturity, strength of character, and moral virtue are considered foundational for successful living. The University shall stand as a witness for Jesus Christ expressed directly through its administration, faculty, and students.

Students, by their voluntary membership in this Christian community, assume responsibility to abide by all the standards, rules, and regulations of the University, as well as to use personal discretion involving any activities which may be morally or spiritually destructive or reflect poorly on the campus community. All members of the campus community share mutual responsibility for confronting actions that violate established standards for conduct or reflect poorly on the University. It is essential that this confrontation is exercised in a spirit of love and gentleness-a hallmark characteristic of biblical Christianity.

The Student Code of Conduct serves the educational mission of the University in achieving the aforementioned objectives. Community standards, policies and regulations, and the Student Conduct System are in place for the expressed purpose of moving students towards personal maturity and creating an environment that is conducive to academic learning, personal development, and spiritual growth.

The Student Conduct System is an educational and restorative process, not a legal proceeding. The process always attempts to confront misconduct in an educative posture that the student might learn from the experience, respond to the correction, and be reconciled to the community whenever possible. The conduct system provides University personnel opportunities to educate students and to help them attain better decision-making, character formation, and spiritual maturity. The effectiveness of these teachable moments requires that each student be treated with equal care, concern, honor, fairness, and dignity.

 

Article I: Definitions

  1. The term “University” means Houston Baptist University.
  2. The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies. Persons who withdraw after allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct, who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission are considered “students” as are persons who are living in University housing, although not enrolled in this institution. This Student Code of Conduct applies to the main campus, University-sponsored events, and activities at which the University is substantially represented.
  3. The term “faculty member” means any person hired by the University to conduct classroom or teaching activities or who is otherwise considered by the University to be a member of its faculty.
  4. The term “University official” includes any person employed by the University, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
  5. The term “member of the campus community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, University official, enlisted volunteer, or any other person employed by the University. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Vice President of Student Life.
  6. The term “University premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
  7. The term “organization” means any number of persons who have complied with the formal requirements for University recognition or charter.
  8. The term “Student Conduct Administrator” means a University official authorized by the Vice President of Student Life to impose sanctions upon any student(s) found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct. A Resident Director may serve as the Student Conduct Administrator in less severe violations involving residents under his or her supervision.
  9. The term “Appellate Administrator” means a University official authorized on a case-by-case basis to consider an appeal from a student, either the complainant or the respondent. The Vice President of Student Life will serve as the Chief Appellate Administrator.
  10. The term "Student Conduct Board” means a committee of HBU students assembled by the Student Conduct Administrator that may be called upon at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator to resolve lower level discipline cases. 
  11. The term “Appellate Board” means a committee of persons authorized to consider an appeal as to whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct or from the sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct Administrator. The Chief Appellate Administrator or an alternative designee from the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee may serve as the chair of the Appellate Board.
  12. The term "Student Conduct and Appeals Committee" refers to an appointed committee of faculty, staff, and students available to serve as members of an Appellate Board at the request of the Appellate Administrator. Faculty and staff nominees are confirmed by the University President. Student members are nominated by the Student Government Association President and appointed by the Vice President of Student Life.
  13. The term “shall” is used in the imperative sense.
  14. The term “may” is used in the permissive sense.
  15. The term “customary(ily)” is used to provide the prerogative to diverge from the typical action.
  16. The term “community standards” refers to general or overarching guidelines and biblical principles represented in University policies, rules, regulations, codes of conduct, and other reasonable expectations for Student Code of Conduct.
  17. The term “policy” means the written regulations of the University as found in, but not limited to, the University Catalog, Student Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, Housing Agreement, web site, or other relevant publication.
  18. The term “Complainant” means any person who submits a charge alleging that a student violated this Student Code of Conduct. When a student alleging the violation believes that he or she has been a victim of another student’s misconduct, the student who believes he or she has been a victim will have the same rights under this Student Code of Conduct as are provided to the Complainant, even if another member of the University community submitted the charge itself.
  19. The term “Respondent” means any student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct.


Article II: Student Conduct Authority

A.  Authority and Responsibility


The Vice President of Student Life is that person designated by the University President to be responsible for the administration of the Student Conduct System. The Provost is that person designated by the University President to be responsible for the administration of the academic policies and procedures addressing academic dishonesty (see the Houston Baptist University Catalog, section entitled “Dishonesty in Academic Affairs”). Faculty are designated by the Provost to be responsible for general classroom conduct management.


B. Student Conduct Review Oversight

 
The Vice President of Student Life is the person designated to appoint Student Conduct Administrators and/or convene the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee when needed.
 

C. Procedural Authority
 

The Vice President of Student Life with input from the Student Conduct Administrator and/or Student Conduct and Appeals Committee shall develop policies for the administration of the Student Conduct System and guidelines consistent with provisions of the process.


D. Finalizing a Decision
 

Decisions made by a Student Conduct Administrator complete the conduct process, unless a formal appeal is petitioned. Decisions made by the Chief Appellate Administrator shall bring to conclusion the formal student conduct system protocol.


Article III: Proscribed Student Code of Conduct

A. Jurisdiction of the University Student Code of Conduct
 

The University Student Code of Conduct and Community Standards shall apply to conduct that occurs on University premises, at University-sponsored activities, and to off-campus conduct that is deemed to adversely affect the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. Each student shall be responsible for his or her conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment (and even if his or her conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded).

The Student Code shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a conduct matter is pending. The Vice President of Student Life shall decide whether the Student Code shall be applied to conduct occurring off campus, on a case-by-case basis, at his discretion.


B. Community Standards
 

“Community Standards” refer to general guidelines or biblical principles that are represented in University policies and expectations for the conduct of community members. They may be articulated in written or spoken directives or may be implicitly understood as “common sense” or basic to Christian teaching or practice. The following Community Standards are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather touch on topics of particular concern, interest, or conflict with contemporary culture.

  1. Respect. Students are expected to demonstrate respect for those in authority including faculty, staff, and student leaders/workers. Respect is also expected to be extended to policies, procedures and regulations established by the University for the orderly administration of University activities and the welfare of the members of the HBU community. Furthermore, respect for the rights and human dignity of others, especially in the conduct of relationships; Respect for the rights and needs of the community to develop and maintain an atmosphere conducive to academic study and personal development; and, Respect for Federal, State, and Local laws and ordinances is expected.
     
  2. Integrity and accountability. Members of the campus community are expected to maintain lives of integrity regarding biblical principles and standards of conduct adopted by the campus community. The University firmly believes that mature individuals submit themselves to accountability within a community of persons and take responsibility for actions that violate that covenant relationship. Members are equally responsible to bring to bear accountability where there is knowledge that fellow members are violating community standards for conduct and should exercise such action in humility with concern for the offender.
     
  3. Affirmation of diversity. The University recognizes the influence that diversity has in shaping the unique contributions of community members. The University is committed to affirming these contributions and creating opportunities for synergistic reasoning and insights. This commitment is based on a belief that community members should be able to maintain their unique distinctiveness while sharing mutual respect and dignity for the experiences and beliefs of others. Consistent with its educational objectives, the University refrains from endorsing or permitting conduct deemed to be in conflict with biblical principles or expressions of non-Christian religious worship or ceremony on University premises or at University-sponsored gatherings.
     
  4. Sanctity of life. The University embraces a biblical position which honors the sanctity of life. Consequently, the University cannot support actions which encourage or result in the termination of human life through suicide, euthanasia, or abortion-on-demand. The University’s belief in the sanctity of life influences its response to those students who are involved in a crisis pregnancy. The campus community is prepared to stand with both the father and mother of the unborn child as they consider the results of their actions and experience forgiveness that comes from genuine repentance. Subsequently, abortion is not advised or entertained as an alternative solution. The University is committed to assisting the student(s) with other alternatives. Continuity of on-campus student residency will be considered in light of what is best for all those impacted by the pregnancy. As always, persons in such a crisis will find University officials supportive and redemptive.
     
  5. Sexual harassment.  The University desires to maintain a working and learning environment free from the sexual harassment of its community members and guests. Any behavior determined to constitute sexual harassment will be viewed as neither complimentary nor humorous and will be subject to student conduct action. The University recognizes that the perception of sexual harassment behavior is often subjective and that the circumstances surrounding the conduct, as well as its pattern, frequency, and severity need to be considered in assessing the behavior. Although statistical analysis has shown that sexual harassment is usually committed by an individual in a position of power or influence, sexual harassment can occur between any two individuals regardless of gender, employment status, work relationship, or academic association. Sexual harassment may be verbal, graphic, written or physical in nature. Each may be grounds for student conduct action.
 

C. Policies and Regulations


The following acts in addition to the standards discussed in Article III.B are defined by the University to be unacceptable. The list may not be all inclusive:
 
1.0 Administrative Policy. The following are prohibited:
 
1.1 Knowing presence contribution.  Behavior, active or passive, which fails to confront or correct the misconduct of fellow community members. Students may be held accountable for an incident at which they indirectly participated in the violation through their own complicity.
 
1.2  Non-Compliance. Violation of any University policy, rule, or regulation. Failure to comply with the requests or directions of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties. Failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
 
1.3 Acts of dishonesty. Dishonesty including but not limited to the following:
 
a. Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty.
 
b. Furnishing false information to any University official, faculty member, or office.
 
c. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any University document, record, or instrument of identification.
 
1.4 Disruption or obstruction. The disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, student conduct proceedings or free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, other University activities, including its public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized non-University activities when the conduct occurs on University premises. Participating in an on-campus or off-campus demonstration, riot, or activity that infringes on the rights of other members of the University community.
 
1.5 Abuse of the Student Conduct System.  Including but not limited to:
 
a. Failure to timely respond and/or obey the notice from a University official to appear for a meeting or review as part of the Student Conduct System.
 
b. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Student Conduct Administrator.
 
c. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a Student Conduct and Appeals Committee proceeding.
d. Institution of a student conduct proceeding in bad faith.
 
e. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the Student Conduct System.
 
f.  Attempting to influence the impartiality of a Student Conduct or Appellate Administrator or member of the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee prior to, and/or during the course of, the student conduct proceeding(s).
 
g. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Conduct System.
 
h. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the Student Conduct System.
 
2.0 Property, Facilities and Grounds. The following are prohibited:
 
2.1 Theft or vandalism. Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to, or unauthorized alteration or misuse of, property of the University or property of a member of the University community or other personal or public property, on or off campus.
 
2.2 Unauthorized use.  Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any University premises or property, or unauthorized entry to or use of University premises or property.
 
2.3 Abuse of computer resources. Theft or other abuse of computer facilities and resources, including but not limited to:
 
a.   Unauthorized entry into a file, to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
 
b.   Unauthorized transfer of a file.
 
c.   Use of another individual’s identification and/or password.
 
d.   Use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member, or University official.
 
e.   Use of computing facilities and resources to view, download, or send pornographic, obscene, or abusive messages or images.
 
f.    Use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with normal operation of the University computing system.
 
g.   Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.
 
h.   Any violation of the University Computer Use Policy.
 
2.4 Unauthorized motorized vehicles.  Operating unlicensed motorized vehicles, except for those prescribed for a verifiable physical disability, anywhere on University premises without the prior written consent of the Vice President of Student Life.
 
2.5 Postings and solicitation.  Posting flyers, posters, advertisements, etc. without departmental sponsorship or the approval of Student Life. Postings must be stamped “Poster Approved” and displayed in compliance with written policies available in Student Life. Solicitation of goods and the services on University premises without the prior approval of Student Life is prohibited.
 
3.0 Safety and Security.  The following are prohibited:
 
3.1 Failure to evacuate. Failure to evacuate a campus building immediately upon the sound of an alarm, or to follow specific prescribed procedures or the on-site directives of a University representative.
 
3.2 Breaching security systems. Jeopardizing or interfering with the safety and security systems established within the campus community, including the propping of locked doors, altering locking devices, permitting unauthorized access to another, etc.
 
3.3 Misuse or tampering with emergency equipment. Illegitimately engaging alarm pull stations, discharging fire extinguishers, or disengaging smoke detectors. Individuals misusing or tampering with emergency equipment may be subject to criminal Complaint.
 
3.4 Weapons possession.  Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on University premises or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens, or potentially causes fear to others.
 
3.5 Flammable agents or burning objects.  Use or storage of flammable agents or materials in or near buildings, including gasoline, solvents, paint, propane, butane, or other machine dependent upon combustible fuel for operation. Unauthorized burning of any object, including candles, incense, charcoal, gas barbecues, etc. in or immediately adjacent to buildings.
 
3.6 False Report of Emergency. Causing, making, or circulating a false report or warning of a fire, explosion, crime, or other catastrophe.
 
4.0 Social, Moral, or Biblical. The following are prohibited:
 
4.1 Unlawful acts. Violation of any federal, state, or local law. Students convicted of a crime during continued enrollment or residential status in University housing must report this information to the Vice President of Student Life.
 
4.2 Abuse or threats. Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, including oneself, whether acted upon or not.
 
4.3 Sexual harassment. Including but not limited to the following:
 
a. Sexual advances
 
b. Requests for sexual favors
 
c. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that expressly or implicitly imposes conditions upon, threatens, interferes with, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for an individual’s (1) academic pursuits, (2) University employment, (3) participation in activities sponsored by the University or organizations or groups related to the University, or (4) opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University life.
 
4.4 Sexual assault. Acts of sexual aggression including rape, attempted rape, sexual battery, and/or assault. Any sexual act that occurs without the consent of another person or that occurs when the person is unable to give consent.
 
4.5 Sexual misconduct. Consensual sexual behavior when it falls outside biblical intentions and/or explicit guidelines, such as sexual intimacies outside of a heterosexual marriage, including any type of intercourse, sensual nakedness, fondling of sexual organs, or sleeping intimately with one another.
 
4.6  Inappropriate dating, living, or displays of affection. Including, but not limited to, the following:
 
a. Single students dating married persons.
 
b. Married students dating anyone other than their spouse.
 
c. Homosexual relations.
 
d. Cohabitation with members of the opposite sex.
 
e. Public affection deemed inappropriate for the context.
 
4.7   Pornography. Possession, display, or distribution of pornographic materials or images. Use of pornography for personal entertainment, including Internet and telephone services that provide pornographic images, sounds, or sensual conversation.
 
4.8   Offensive Entertainment. Entertainment played or displayed publicly on University premises or at University-sponsored activities that contain levels of violence, profanity, and sexual overtures that would be found offensive and/or in conflict with community standards.
 
4.9   Hazing. Defined as an act which has the potential of endangering the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group or organization. The expressed or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not a neutral act; it is a violation of this rule (see 1.1 Knowing presence.)
 
4.10 Drugs. Use, possession, manufacturing, promoting use, or distribution of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law. Possession of drug paraphernalia or items that display or encourage drug or drug use is also prohibited.
 
In an attempt to create a conducive environment and influence lifestyle choices by which its community members may be successful in attaining the mission of the institution, the University takes a firm stand regarding the possession, distribution, or use of controlled substances or drugs on campus, which may result in a suspension of one full academic year.
 
The Student Conduct Administrator may adjust customary sanction(s) if the student has exposed the violation on his or her own with the intention of reconciling himself or herself to the community and submitting to structures of support and accountability.
 
4.11 Alcoholic beverages. Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages. Facilitating or encouraging the off-campus use or possession of alcoholic beverages by persons less than twenty-one years of age is prohibited. Displaying alcohol containers (empty included). Promoting the use of alcohol in any way.
 
4.12 Intoxication or drunkenness.  Under the influence of drugs or alcohol on University premises or at University-sponsored events.
 
4.13 Smoking. Smoking on University premises or at University-sponsored events, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and other smoking substitutes.
 
4.14 Disorderly conduct. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on University premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in by, the University or members of the academic community. Disorderly conduct includes but is not limited to any unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio, visual, or video record of any person while on University premises without his/her prior knowledge, or without his/her effective consent when such a record is likely to cause injury or distress. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a gym, locker room, or rest room.
 
4.15 Profanity and obscenity.  Use of language, or verbal depiction of activity, that is vulgar, coarse, crude, or indecent. Wearing articles of clothing that are construed as vulgar, coarse, crude, or indecent, or in other ways violates our community standards.
 
4.16 Gambling. Any activity that involves betting, wagering, raffles, or games of chance for which there exists the potential of personal or financial loss. “Drawings” are permitted when entry into the drawing is free, an entry fee is optional, or a gift of approximate or greater value is received upon paying a participation fee.

4.17 Unauthorized On-campus dances.  Any unauthorized dance sponsored by a University official or recognized student group. The University or a recognized student group may sponsor dance activities on or off University premises under the direction and supervision of assigned University personnel or advisors. Dances are subject to University guidelines and community standards. Specific program guidelines and protocols are outlined in the “Dance Policy” (available in the Office of Student Life).
 
D. Violation of Law and University Student Conduct Process
 
  1. Separate processes. University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and the Student Code of Conduct (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of the Vice President of Student Life. Determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Student Code of Conduct shall not be subject to change because criminal complaint arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of University rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.
     
  2. University cooperation with law enforcement.  When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the University will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his or her status as a student. If the alleged offense is also being processed under the Student Code of Conduct, the University may advise off-campus authorities of the existence of the Student Code of Conduct and of how such matters are typically handled within the University community. The University will attempt to cooperate with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators (provided that the conditions do not conflict with campus rules or sanctions). Individual students and other members of the University community, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with governmental representatives as they deem appropriate.


Article IV: Student Conduct System Procedures

A. Complaints and Resolution of Complaints
 

  1. Complaint.  Any member of the University community may file a complaint against a student for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. A complaint shall be prepared in writing by the Complainant or interviewing University official and directed to the Student Conduct Administrator. Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after a violation takes place, but no “statute of limitations” prevents the Student Conduct Administrator from acting when deemed warranted.
     
  2. Initial Notification.  The accused student shall be notified via HBU email that there has been a complaint. The accused student shall be provided notice of the allegations against the student and a copy of the written complaint, when deemed appropriate, as determined by the Student Conduct Administrator. The accused student shall be required to respond within 48 hours accepting or denying responsibility for the alleged violation. Failure to respond within 48 hours may result in additional sanctions. After a response from the accused student, the Student Conduct Administrator may conduct an inquiry.
     
  3. Inquiry.  The Student Conduct Administrator may conduct an inquiry to determine if the complaint has merit. Subsequent proceedings may be arranged at the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator. The Student Conduct Administrator may, at his or her disretion, ask a HBU faculty or staff member to sit in during the inquiry process. During the course of the inquiry process, if new information is obtained that the student may have violated additional policies and procedures not inlcuded in the initial notification, the Student Conduct Administrator shall make every effort to notify the student of the additional violations.  
     
  4. Resolution. If the complaint is not admitted and/or cannot be disposed of by mutual consent, the Student Conduct Administrator will make a decision based on the information revealed in the inquiry. If the respondent is found in violation of the Code of Conduct, sanctions shall be assigned by the Student Conduct Administrator. 
     
  5. Notification. The Student Conduct Administrator will notify the Respondent in writing of the decision(s) reached. The student will be notified of his/her right to appeal and information on the appeals process will be included in writing.
 

B. Student Conduct Board
 

At his or her discretion, the Student Conduct Administrator may convene a Student Conduct Board composed of HBU students, faculty and staff, to resolve lower level violations. The accused student shall be notified that he or she will be appearing before the Student Conduct Board. Under the guidance of the Student Conduct Administrator, the Student Conduct Board will conduct an inquiry and submit its recommendation to the Student Conduct Administratorarrive. The Student Conduct Administrator shall then review and either approve or deny the recommendation reached by the Student Conduct Board, and may reconvene the Student Conduct Board if necessary.
 

C.  Sanctions


Reconciliation to the community after a violation of the Student Code of Conduct often requires some form of consequence for the action. Intermediate consequences are employed wherever possible to avoid expulsion from the University or on-campus Housing. Each incident is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with consideration to:
1) the severity of the violation,
2) the context of the incident,
3) a history of prior misconduct,
4) the responsiveness of the respondent to accountability, and
5) the degree to which the individual displays genuine repentance.

Community members are encouraged to provide firsthand testimony that will bring greater clarity and understanding to the student conduct process. While painstaking efforts are taken to maintain consistency from case to case and individual to individual, confidentiality often prevents the disclosure of details that contribute to a decision, occasionally resulting in unanswered questions regarding an outcome. Uninformed members of the campus community are asked to extend the benefit of the doubt to officials, knowing that prayerful consideration has been employed in the proceedings and the subsequent outcome. 
 
1.   Sanctions.  The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct:
 
a. Verbal Warning-Verbal notice to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations, accompanied by a request to desist and refrain from the misconduct.
 
b. Written Warning-A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations, accompanied by a request to desist and refrain from the misconduct.

c. Loss of Privileges-Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.

d. Fines-Previously established and published fines may be imposed.

e. Restitution-Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
 
f.  Discretionary Sanctions-Work assignments, essays, service to the University, or other related discretionary assignments.

g. Probation-A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.

h. University Housing Suspension-Separation of the student from University Housing for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

i.  University Housing Expulsion-Permanent separation of the student from University Housing.

j.  Interim Suspension-Requires that a student immediately leave University premises or a University-sponsored activity when it is fair and reasonable to believe that a student is an immediate threat to the safety of others or himself/herself or to the disruption of University operations. Conditions for return will be specified. (Also see IV.B.2.)

k. Suspension-Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions regarding access to University premises, attendance at University-sponsored activities, and subsequent readmission may be specified.

l.  Dismissal-Separation of the student from the University with no promise (implied or otherwise) of readmission at a future date. Conditions regarding access to University premises, attendance at University-sponsored activities, and subsequent consideration for possible readmission may be specified.

m. Expulsion-Permanent separation of the student from the University. Conditions regarding access to University premises and attendance at University-sponsored activities may be specified.

n. Revocation of Admission and/or Degree-Admission to, or a degree awarded from, the University may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation. The endorsement of the appropriate governing body and approval of the President are required.

o. Withholding Degree-The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Code of Conduct, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.
 
2.   Guidelines for imposing consequences. The following guidelines attempt to establish some continuity in administering consequences for the violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Student Conduct Administrator will customarily employ the following guidelines in determining an appropriate consequence, unless there are circumstances that warrant an alternative response on the part of the University. Multiple sanctions may be employed for a single violation, and cumulative violations may result in greater consequences than a single offense.
 
a.   Level 1 Violations: Minor violations likely to result in a minimum consequence of a verbal or written warning with additional sanctions, fine, or restitution on the first occurrence include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
(1)  Violation of smoking policy
(2)  Violation of burning objects policy
(3)  Failure to respond to a request for appointment
(4)  Minor abuse and damage to property
(5)  Profanity and obscenity
(6)  Violation of residential visitation policy
(7)  Violation of residential noise policy
 
Customary action: Verbal warning; written warning; loss of privileges, monetary fines, restitution, and/or discretionary sanction(s).
 
b.   Level 2 Violations: Intermediate violations likely to result in a minimum consequence of probation or limited-term suspension with additional sanctions and conditions on the first occurrence include, but are not limited to the following examples:
 
(1)  Disrespect to persons of authority
(2)  Significant damage to property
(3)  Misuse of safety equipment
(4)  Petty theft
(5)  Sexual misconduct
(6)  Cohabitation
(7)  Violation of alcohol policy
(8)  Intoxication or drunkenness
(9)  Repeat offenses of Level 1 Violations

Customary action: Level I customary actions, educational sanctions, probation, multiple-day suspension, and/or suspension of privileges.
 
c.   Level 3 Violations: Major violations likely to result in long-term suspension, dismissal, or expulsion on the first occurrence include, but are not limited to the following examples:
 
(1)  Use or possession of controlled substances or illegal drugs
(2)  Intentionally causing physical harm to another person
(3)  Sexual assault
(4)  Arson
(5)  Grand theft
(6)  Possession of a weapon or firearm
(7)  Repeat offense(s) of Level 1 and/or Level 2 Violations

Customary action: Level I and/or Level 2 customary actions, interim suspension, academic term suspension, dismissal, and/or expulsion.
 
3.   Interim suspension. In certain circumstances, the Vice President of Student Life, or a designee, may impose a University or Housing suspension prior to the resolution of the complaint.
 
a. Conditions. Interim suspension may be imposed:
 
(1) To ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or the preservation of University property.

(2) To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being.

(3) If the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University.

(4) To prevent repeat violations of the Code of Conduct that the Student Conduct Administrator reasonably believes may occur absent the interim suspension.

(5) During breaks where University services and/or resources are limited.
 
b. Campus access.  During the interim suspension, a student shall be denied access to University premises (including housing, food services and classes) and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Vice President of Student Life, Campus Police or the Student Conduct Administrator may determine to be appropriate.

c. Process. The interim suspension does not replace the regular process, which shall proceed on the normal schedule, up to and through an appeal review, if exercised. However, the student should be notified in writing of this action and the reasons for the suspension. When timing necessitates a more immediate verbal notification, the written notification should be provided as soon as possible, thereafter. The notice should include reference to a meeting at which the student may demonstrate why his or her continued presence on campus would not fall under one of the conditions above for imposing the interim suspension.
 
4.   Student conduct holds. The Student Conduct Administrator places a “hold” with the Office of the Registrar preventing subsequent enrollment when a student is suspended, dismissed, or expelled from the University.  A permanent record of the student conduct action is noted in the student’s academic record.

5.   Disposition of student conduct records. Other than student conduct suspension, dismissal, expulsion, or revocation or withholding of a degree, student conduct sanctions shall not be made part of the student’s permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student’s student conduct record. Upon graduation, the student’s student conduct record may be expunged of student conduct actions other than Housing expulsion OR University suspension, dismissal, or expulsion OR revocation or withholding of a degree. All remaining student conduct records may be expunged from the student’s confidential record seven years after graduation or separation from the University.
 
6.   Group sanctions. The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations:
 
a.   Those sanctions listed above in article IV.B.1.a-g.

b.   Loss of selected rights and privileges for a specified period of time.

c.   Deactivation. Loss of all privileges, including University recognition, for a specified period of time.
 
7.   Notification of sanctions.  The Student Conduct Administrator is not limited to sanctions listed above. Upon completing a review of the situation, the Student Conduct Administrator shall advise the respondent, group and/or organization of the sanction(s) imposed, if any.
 

D. Appeals

 
1.   Initiating an appeal. A decision reached by a Student Conduct Administrator may be appealed by the Respondent(s) or Complainant(s) within three (3) academic school days of the student conduct resolution notification.   Such appeals shall be addressed to the respective Appellate Administrator in writing and shall be delivered to the Student Conduct Administrator. If after reviewing the appeal, the Student Conduct Administrator maintains the veracity of the disciplinary process, findings, and action, the appeal is forwarded to the appropriate Appellate Administrator. Sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct Administrator are customarily suspended until the appeal process is completed, unless otherwise notified by the Appellate Administrator.

2.   Conditions for appeal.  Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the record of the Student Conduct Administrator and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes. If the appeal is not based on one of these purposes, the appeal may be dismissed, at the discretion of an appropriate University official as assigned by the Vice President of Student Life:
 
a.   To determine whether the inquiry and follow up meetings was conducted fairly in light of the complaint and information presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present information that the Student Code of Conduct was violated, and giving the Respondent a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.

b.   To determine whether the decision reached regarding the Respondent was based on substantial information, that is, whether there were facts in the case that, if believed by the fact finder, were sufficient to establish a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

c.   To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Conduct Code which the student was found to have committed.

d.   To consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original review, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original Student Conduct and Appeals Committee Review.
 
3.   Appeal Review Process.  If conditions for an appeal are met and forwarded to the Appellate Board, the review shall be conducted by the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee according to the following guidelines:
 
a. Student Conduct and Appeals Committee reviews normally shall be conducted in private.

b. In a review involving more than one Respondent, the Student Conduct Administrator, at his or her discretion, may permit the review concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.

c. The Complainant and the Respondent have the right to be assisted by an advisor they choose, at their own expense. The advisor must be a member of the University community and may not be an attorney. The Complainant and/or the Respondent are responsible for presenting his or her own information; therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any Student Conduct and Appeals Committee Review before the committee. A student should select as an advisor a person whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for the review because delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.

d. The Complainant, the Respondent, and their advisor(s), if any, shall be allowed to attend the entire portion of the review at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the review shall be at the discretion of the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee and/or its Student Conduct Administrator.

e. The Complainant, the Respondent, and the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee may arrange for witnesses to present pertinent information at the review. The University will try to arrange the attendance of possible witnesses who are members of the University community, if reasonably possible, and who are identified by the Complainant and/or Respondent prior to the review. Witnesses will provide information to and answer questions from the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee. Questions may be suggested by the Respondent and/or Complainant to be answered by each other or by other witnesses. This will be conducted by the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee with such questions directed to the Chairperson, rather than to the witness directly. This method is used to preserve the educational tone of the review and avoid creation of an adversarial environment. Questions of whether potential information will be received shall be resolved at the discretion of the chairperson of the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee. 

f.  Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by a Student Conduct and Appeals Committee at the discretion of the Chairperson.

g. All procedural questions and decisions are subject to the final discretion of the Chairperson of the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee.

h.   After the portion of the review concludes in which all pertinent information has been received, the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee shall determine (by majority vote) whether the Respondent has violated each section of the Student Code of Conduct which the student is charged with violating.

i.    If a respondent, with notice, does not appear before a Student Conduct and Appeals Committee review, the information in support of the Complaint shall be presented and considered even if the Respondent is not present.

j.  The Student Conduct and Appeals Committee’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is reasonable to conclude that the Respondent violated the Student Code of Conduct. A higher standard determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not to conclude culpability in cases likely to result in significant consequence. The University is not obligated to a legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

k. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in student conduct proceedings. Reminder: The Student Conduct System is an educational process, NOT a legal proceeding.
 
4.  Bringing closure to an appeal. The Appellate Board’s opinion and recommendations for subsequent action are submitted to the Appellate Administrator to inform his/her final judgment. The Appellate Administrator will notify the student in writing of the decision. There shall be a single written Administrative Review summarizing the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee Review prepared or delegated and approved by the Chairperson or Student Conduct Administrator. The summary will be filed as a part of the student’s student conduct record.
 

E. Records

Student conduct records will be maintained by the Student Life office and be available in compliance with FERPA guidelines for viewing and requesting copies.  The Student Conduct Administrator and/or the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee may, subject to their discretion, utilize audio and/or visual recordings during the student conduct proess.  No other party shall use audio or visual recordings during the student conduct process without the explicit consent of the Student Conduct Administrator and/or the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee.

 

F. Special Accommodations

The Student Conduct Administrator and/or the Student Conduct and Appeals Committee may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant, Respondent, and/or other witness(es) during the review by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means, where and as determined in the sole judgment of the Vice President of Student Life to be appropriate.
 

G. Confidentiality


All participants involved in a particular matter under this Code are expected to keep the matter confidential in order to preserve the integrity of the process.  Authorized University officials with a need to know may have access to information regarding the discipline process and outcomes. The University may also be required to release information in response to duly issued subpoenas in criminal, civil or administrative proceedings. In cases where any participant involved in the process chooses to make public the process and/or the decision of any University official involved in the process, the University may respond accordingly.
 

Article V: Interpretation and Revision

A. Authority


Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Conduct System shall be referred to the Vice President of Student Life or his designee for final determination.
 

B. Review and Revision Time Line


The Student Conduct System and Student Code of Conduct shall be reviewed every three (3) years under the direction of the Vice President of Student Life. Revisions shall be implemented with the approval of the President.
 

C. Disclaimer


The Student Conduct System and Code of Conduct are subject to change when deemed necessary by the University to meet the evolving needs of students, the community, and the University. All substantive changes will be widely communicated by the Vice President of Student Life through various means available.