Widener University’s Student Code of Conduct is direct and simple: Widener students are expected to be honest, mature, and responsible and to respect the rights and property of others. The purpose of the Student Code is to promote, preserve, and protect the educational mission of the university.
A violation of any policy, rule, regulation, or standard of the university constitutes a violation of the Student Code. The following general policies, rules, regulations, and standards are published to help students understand Widener’s expectations for their behavior. The listing is not exhaustive, and additional policies, rules, regulations, and standards may be established by the university at any time. In addition, any policy, rule, regulation, or standard may be amended or revoked by the university at any time. Students are advised to refer to additional university publications such as the catalogs, Parking Regulations Policy, Electronic Communications Policy, and departmental policy documents for more information. All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves thoroughly with all policies, rules, regulations, and standards of the university, including those relating specifically to residential students as set forth in this handbook. Questions or recommendations for new policies, rules, regulations, or standards should be directed to the Division of Student Affairs.
Core Values of Student Conduct at Widener University
- Integrity: University students exemplify honesty, honor, and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings.
- Community: University students build and enhance their community.
- Social Justice: University students are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the community and act to discourage and/or intervene to prevent unjust and inequitable behaviors.
- Respect: University students show positive regard for each other, for property, and for the community.
- Responsibility: University students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others, and to the community.
University students are responsible for knowing the information, policies, and procedures outlined in this document. The university reserves the right to make changes to this Code as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. Students are encouraged to check online at http://www.widener.edu/academics/handbooks/ for the updated versions of all policies and procedures.
Section 1: Mission and Philosophy Statement
The Office of Student Conduct serves the Widener University community by fostering ethical development and personal integrity in students. To support both the success of the Widener community and individual students, the Office of Student Conduct initiates and encourages transformative educational programs and services to positively impact student lifelong goals. The Office of Student Conduct supports student involvement in Widener University’s diverse communities, thus engaging people and groups different from themselves to achieve success in common interests with civility. The Office of Student Conduct relays the ownership of personal actions in the communities students reside, socialize, learn, recreate, work in, and congregate. From these experiences, students develop identity and culture to better understand the purposes and policies of any community. To accomplish this, the Office of Student Conduct works with students individually and in groups connecting and accessing all appropriate resources.
The university community is committed to fostering a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, a productive campus life, and thoughtful study and discourse. The student conduct program within the Office of Student Conduct is committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the university community.
A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles. Student members of the university community are expected to uphold and abide by certain standards of conduct that form the basis of the Student Code of Conduct. These standards are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, social justice, respect, community, and responsibility.
Each member of the university community bears responsibility for his or her conduct and assumes reasonable responsibility for the behavior of others. When members of the community fail to exemplify these values by engaging in violation of the rules below, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Student Code of Conduct.
The student conduct process at the university is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations. When a student is unable to conform his or her behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct proceedings are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice of charges and an opportunity to be heard before an objective decision-maker. No student will be found in violation of university policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Section 2: Jurisdiction
Students at the university are provided a copy of the Code of Student Conduct annually in the form of a link on the university’s website. Hard copies are available upon request from the Office of Student Conduct. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions to the Code of Student Conduct.
A violation by any student or any student group of the Code of Student Conduct or of any of the general policies, rules, regulations, or standards of Widener University found in the academic catalogs, Student Handbook, Residence Hall Agreement, or any other generally available set of guidelines or codes of conduct shall be resolved according to the procedures set forth in this Code, unless such violation is subject to a specific code or set of regulations adopted by the university.
Except as otherwise provided herein, the Student Conduct System shall have jurisdiction in all matters arising under the general policies, rules, regulations, and standards of the university against all students other than law students, whether they be undergraduates, graduates, professional students, or others, including students who are on unexpired leaves of absence. In general, a “student” is any individual who has been admitted, matriculated, enrolled, or registered in any academic program or other educational activity provided by the university; provided, however, that the university reserves the unilateral right at all times to deny admission or revoke an offer of admission to any applicant or accepted applicant prior to the commencement of classes without utilizing the procedures set forth in this Student Code of Conduct.
The Campus Student Conduct System shall not apply to law students, as the Schools of Law have adopted their own sets of codes, policies and procedures.
Approved or unapproved absence from the university is not a bar to the conduct or completion of proceedings under this Code. In addition, the term “student” includes persons who attempt to withdraw from the university after allegedly violating this Code or who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the university; it also includes persons who are living in university student residential facilities. In certain circumstances and where warranted, the term “student” shall also include persons who have graduated from or taken courses at the university, such as cases involving degree revocation. Prohibited conduct may be sanctioned regardless of whether the conduct occurred pre-admission or post-admission.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Code of Student Conduct does not ordinarily handle complaints against graduate and professional students when such cases lie within the jurisdiction of a hearing board or other disciplinary body established by the school or college of the university in which the student is enrolled. When such a school-based or college-based disciplinary procedure exists, it should be the recourse of first resort for the resolution of the alleged violation, unless the administration of the university decides that it is appropriate in light of the circumstances for the Code of Student Conduct to govern the matter. In all cases, the university reserves the right in its sole discretion to determine the manner by which a disciplinary complaint will be processed. The Student Conduct System is managed by the Office of Student Conduct and housed in the Student Affairs Office.
Off-Campus and Online Incidents
The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on campus and at university-sponsored events as well as behaviors online via email or other electronic mediums. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats, and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The university does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of university officials. However, most online speech by students not involving university networks or technology will be protected as free expression and not subject to this Code, with two notable exceptions:
- A true threat, defined as “a threat a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily harm upon specific individuals”; and
- Speech posted online about the university or its community members that can reasonably be interpreted to cause a significant on-campus disruption or significant adverse impact upon a community member.
This Code may also apply to off-campus behaviors and online actions when the Dean of Students determines that the off-campus or online conduct affects a substantial university interest. A substantial university interest is defined to include:
- Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law. This includes, but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state, or federal law committed in any municipality where the university is located. With respect to criminal charges brought against students, bail money will not be posted by the university.
- Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the safety and well-being of the campus community.
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property, or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace or causes social disorder.
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the university.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to guests of community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The Code may also be applied to resident non-students, campers and high school bridge/extension/partner/dual-credit programs, and continuing education programs by contractual agreements. Visitors to and guests of the university may seek resolution of violations of the Code of Student Conduct committed against them by members of the university community.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Code of Student Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the more difficult it becomes for university officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations.
Though anonymous complaints are permitted, doing so may limit the university’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to the Office of Student Conduct and/or to Campus Safety.
A responding student facing an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct is not permitted to withdraw officially from the university until all allegations are resolved. The university retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, attempt to withdraw, or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, request for withdrawal, or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll and/or to obtain official transcripts and/or to graduate, and all sanctions must be satisfied prior to reenrollment eligibility, release of transcripts, or graduation. In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled but reported after the accused student has graduated, the university may invoke these procedures, and should the former student be found responsible, the university may sanction the former student, including revocation of that student’s degree.
University email is the university’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their university email addresses.
Section 3: Violations of the Law
Alleged violations of federal, state, and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Code of Student Conduct. When an offense occurs over which the university has jurisdiction, the university conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
The university reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint (additional grounds for interim suspension are outlined in Section 5.F.(b)). Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held, typically within two weeks. Within that time, the suspended student may request a preliminary hearing from the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct to show cause why the interim suspension should be lifted. This hearing may resolve the allegation(s), or may be held to determine if the interim suspension should be continued. The interim suspension may be continued in the sole discretion of the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct. The university may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation and resolving the allegation(s) by the pendency of the criminal process. In such cases, the university will only delay its hearing until such time as it can conduct an internal investigation or obtain sufficient information independently or from law enforcement upon which to proceed. This delay generally will be no longer than two weeks from notice of the incident unless a longer delay is requested in writing by the complaining victim and approved by the university to allow the criminal investigation to proceed before the university process or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the university.
Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from the university until the criminal charges are resolved. In such situations, the university procedure for voluntary leaves of absence is subject to the following conditions:
- The responding student must comply with all campus investigative efforts that will not prejudice his or her defense in the criminal trial or as otherwise required by law in the sole discretion of the university; and
- The responding student must comply with all interim actions and/or restrictions imposed during the leave of absence; and
- The responding student must agree that, in order to be reinstated to active student status, he or she must first be subject to, and fully cooperate with, the campus conduct process and must comply with all sanctions that are imposed.
Section 4: The Standards of Conduct
Core Values and Behavioral Expectations
The university considers the behavior described in the following sub-sections as inappropriate for the university community and in opposition to the core values set forth in this document. These expectations and rules apply to all students other than law students, whether undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, or professional. The university encourages community members to report to university officials all incidents that involve the following actions. Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the sanctions outlined in Section 5.F.
Integrity: University students exemplify honesty, honor, and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Falsification. Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments; this policy includes knowingly supplying false information or causing false information to be supplied to university faculty or staff who are in pursuit of their official duties.
- Academic Dishonesty. Acts of academic dishonesty as outlined in the Academic Integrity Policy.
- Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized access to any university building or unauthorized possession, duplication or use of means of access to any university building (e.g., keys, cards, etc.) or failing to timely report a lost university identification card or key.
- Aiding and Abetting. Action or inaction with another or others to violate the Code of Student Conduct.
- Trust. Violations of positions of trust within the community.
- Election Tampering. Tampering with the election of any university-recognized student organization (minor election code violations are addressed by the SGA).
- Taking of Property. Intentional and unauthorized taking of university property or the personal property of another, including goods, services, and other valuables.
- Stolen Property. Knowingly taking or maintaining possession of stolen property; including, without limitation, theft or unauthorized acquisition, removal, use, or misuse of property, including computer hardware and software, belonging to the university, other members of the campus community, or other persons or entities.
Community: University students build and enhance their community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Disruptive Behavior. Substantial disruption of university operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other university activities, and/or other authorized non-university activities that occur on campus.
- Rioting. Causing, inciting, or participating in any disturbance that presents a clear and present danger to self or others, causes physical harm to others, or damage and/or destruction of property.
- Unauthorized Entry. Misuse of access privileges to university premises or unauthorized entry to or use of buildings, including trespassing, propping, or unauthorized use of alarmed doors for entry into or exit from a university building.
- Trademark. Unauthorized use (including misuse) of university or organizational names and images.
- Damage and Destruction. Intentional, reckless, and/or unauthorized damage to or destruction of university property or the personal property of another.
- IT and Acceptable Use. Violating the University Acceptable Use and Computing Policy, found online in the Computing and Information Technology section.
- Gambling. Gambling as prohibited by the laws of the State of Pennsylvania or Delaware. (Gambling may include raffles, lotteries, sports pools, and online betting activities.) (See the section on ”Community Standards ” for further information).
- Weapons. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives (including fireworks and ammunition), guns (including air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons, and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, darts, axes, machetes, nun chucks, throwing stars, or knives, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on university property (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information).
- Tobacco. Smoking and/or tobacco use in any area of any university campus are prohibited; (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information).
- Fire Safety. Violation of local, state, federal, or campus fire policies including, but not limited to:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages university or personal property or which causes injury;
- Failure to evacuate a university-controlled building during a fire alarm;
- Improper use of university fire safety equipment; or
- Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on university property. Such action may result in a local fine in addition to university sanctions; (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information).
- Ineligible Pledging or Association. Pledging or associating with a student organization without having met eligibility requirements established by the university.
- Animals. Animals, with the exception of service animals (e.g., seeing-eye dogs) or approved assistance animals, (as outlined in the Residence Life section of the Student Handbook), are not permitted on campus except as permitted by law. No pets are permitted on campus.
- Wheeled Devices. Skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, bicycles, and similar wheeled devices are not permitted for use inside university buildings, residence halls, or on tennis courts. In addition, the use, storage, and possession of hoverboards and other electronic self-balancing devices is banned on all university campuses. Skateboards and other wheeled items may not be ridden on railings, curbs, benches, or any such fixtures that may be damaged by these activities, and individuals may be liable for damage to university property caused by these activities.
Widener University has adopted an equal opportunity, harassment, and nondiscrimination policy effective August, 2020 as amended (“EOHN Policy”). All allegations against students of discrimination, harassment, retaliatory discrimination or harassment, sexual misconduct, threatening behaviors (threats and intimidation), bullying and cyberbullying, hazing, intimate partner/relationship violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, and public exposure shall be defined in, governed by, and processed under the EOHN Policy. The EOHN Policy can be located at: http://www.widener.edu/campus_life/resources/sexual_misconduct/default.aspx
Social Justice: Students recognize that respecting the dignity of every person is essential for creating and sustaining a flourishing university community. They understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others and are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the community. They act to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to and/or diminish the worth of others. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Discrimination. Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status (sex, gender, race, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, genetic information, or other protected status) that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program or activities. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Harassment. Any unwelcome conduct based on actual or perceived status including: sex, gender, race, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, genetic information, or other protected status. Any unwelcome conduct should be reported to campus officials, who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of the victim and community. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Hostile Environment. Sanctions can and will be imposed for the creation of a hostile environment only when unwelcome harassment is sufficiently severe, pervasive (or persistent), and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational or employment programs or activities. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Retaliatory Discrimination or Harassment. Any intentional, adverse action taken by a responding individual or allied third party, absent legitimate nondiscriminatory purposes, against a participant or supporter of a participant in a grievance proceeding or other protected activity under this Code. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Complicity with or failure of any student to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law;
- Complicity with or failure of any organized group to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law by its members.
- Abuse of Conduct Process. Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, university processes including conduct and academic integrity hearings including, but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information.
- Failure to provide, destroying, or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation.
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the campus conduct system.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a campus conduct body prior to, during, and/or following a campus conduct proceeding.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the campus conduct system.
- Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.
Respect: University students show positive regard for each other and for the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Harm to Persons. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or endangering the health or safety of any person. This includes but is not limited to physical assault.
- Threatening Behaviors:
- Threat. Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property.
- Intimidation. Intimidation defined as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Bullying and Cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally, and are not protected by freedom of expression. A single or isolated incident of such behavior may constitute bullying or cyberbullying, and bullying and cyberbullying need not include intent to harm or be directed at a specific target. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Hazing. .”Hazing.” A person commits the offense of hazing if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, for the purpose of initiating, admitting or affiliating a minor or student into or with an organization, or for the purpose of continuing or enhancing a minor or student’s membership or status in an organization, causes, coerces or forces a minor or student to do any of the following: (1) Violate Federal or State criminal law; (2) Consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance which subjects the minor or student to a risk of emotional or physical harm; (3) Endure brutality of a physical nature, including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics or exposure to the elements; (4) Endure brutality of a mental nature, including activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment; (5) Endure brutality of a sexual nature; or (6) Endure any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to the minor or student. “Aggravated Hazing.” A person commits the offense of aggravated hazing if the person commits a violation of hazing (as defined above) that results in serious bodily injury or death to a minor or student and: (1) the person acts with reckless indifference to the health and safety of the minor or student; or (2) the person causes, coerces or forces the consumption of an alcoholic liquid or drug by the minor or student. “Organizational Hazing.” An organization commits the offense of organizational hazing if it intentionally, knowingly or recklessly promotes or facilitates a violation of hazing or aggravated hazing. Failing to intervene to prevent and/or failing to discourage and/or failing to report those acts may also violate this policy. (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information). See also the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence. Violence or abuse by a person in an intimate relationship with another. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Stalking. Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Sexual Misconduct. Includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, and/or sexual exploitation (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information); See also the EOHN Policy for further information.
- Public Exposure. Includes deliberately and publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination, defecation, and public sex acts. See the EOHN Policy for further information.
Responsibility: University students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others, and to the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Alcohol. Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and the university’s Drug and Alcohol Policy. This policy includes individuals under the age of 21 who are in the presence of alcohol. (See the section on “Community Standards ” for further information.)
- Drugs. Use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs and other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and the university’s Drug and Alcohol Policy. (See the section on Community Standards for further information.)
- Prescription Medications. Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications;
- Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the reasonable directives of university officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so;
- Financial Responsibilities. Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to the university including, but not limited to, knowingly passing a worthless check or money order in payment to the institution or to an official of the institution acting in an official capacity.
- Arrest/Conviction. Failure of any student to accurately report an off-campus arrest by any law enforcement agency for any crime (including non-custodial or field arrests) to the Office of Student Conduct within seventy-two (72) hours of release or failure to report a criminal conviction. (See the section on Policy on Disclosure of Criminal Convictions .)
- Other Policies. Violating other published university policies or rules, including all Residence Hall policies;
- Health and Safety. Creation of health and/or safety hazards (dangerous pranks, hanging out of or climbing from/on/in windows, balconies, roofs, etc.)
- Violations of Law. Evidence of violation of local, state, or federal laws, when substantiated through the university’s conduct process.
- Disorderly Conduct. Any disruptive conduct that threatens, harms, or interferes with the health, safety, and welfare or peace and good order of the university community, university personnel, students, visitors, guests, and/or university processes and functions—including but not limited to physical altercation, unreasonable noise, creating a physically hazardous or physically offensive condition, and prohibited athletic or recreation activity.
- Terroristic Threats and/or Acts of Intolerance. Conduct by which a student knowingly or recklessly puts another person in fear of bodily or psychological harm. This includes placing on Widener University property or elsewhere a symbol, object, characterization, or graffiti that exposes another person to threats of violence, contempt, or hatred on the basis of sex, gender, age, race, creed, national origin or ethnicity, religion, disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, genetic information or other.
- Endangering Act or Omission. Any act or omission, the effect of which may be detrimental to, endanger, or create a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of any person, including the student responsible for the act or omission.
- Guests. Any Widener University student who hosts a guest who violates the provisions of this Code will be subject to disciplinary action. Note: The residents of a room where a policy violation has occurred may be held responsible for the violation regardless of whether they were present in the room at the time of the violation.
Section 5: The Conduct Process
The Dean of Students is vested with the authority over student conduct by the President. The Dean of Students appoints an Assistant Dean for Student Conduct to oversee and manage the student conduct process. The Dean of Students and Assistant Dean for Student Conduct may appoint administrative hearing and appeals officers as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process.
The university’s student conduct system is not a legal system, and university disciplinary proceedings are not civil or criminal litigation. As such, the right to counsel is not a procedural requirement. Similarly, there is no general requirement that procedural due process be afforded in private institution student disciplinary cases. The procedures set forth below, however, have been established to guarantee that all students accused of violations have the opportunity to be heard.
No complaint will be forwarded for a hearing unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy has been violated. Reasonable cause is defined as some credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information will not be forwarded for a hearing.
Under the university’s student conduct system, all charges, allegations, or complaints are brought on behalf of the university, not on behalf of the complainant(s); that is, alleged victims, witnesses, or others, who may have brought the matter to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct or the parties who may have been directly or indirectly harmed or affected by the alleged conduct or violation. Any member of the university community (including trustees, officers, faculty, staff, registered students, and alumni) may bring a complaint involving student conduct to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct.
In order for a complaint to be processed through the university’s formal student conduct system, it should be submitted in writing. The filing of any such complaint shall in no way limit a complainant’s rights or obligations to bring such matters to the attention of other university officers or offices or to seek recourse outside the university through civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the university reserves the right at all times to institute charges against a student based upon any information that may be brought to the attention of the university or come into the possession of the university.
A student who fails without good cause to appear for a hearing after receiving notice, or to cooperate with an investigation may be charged with a separate violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Repeated disruption of disciplinary hearings or of the disciplinary process by a student or the student’s representative may result in charges against the student of noncooperation or exclusion of the student or the student’s representative from disciplinary proceedings or hearings. Such exclusion shall not serve as a bar to the completion of disciplinary proceedings involving that student.
C. Group Violations
A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this Code by the organization or its member(s):
- Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit;
- Have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
- Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.
Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. In any such action, individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.
D. Initial Investigation and Informal Adjudication
- Any member of the university community who believes in good faith that any student or student group has committed a violation of any policy, rule, regulation, code, or standard of the university may file a written complaint with the Office of Student Conduct. Upon the filing of a complaint, the Office of Student Conduct shall consider the matter for investigation or referral. Any member of the university community may also consult informally with the Office of Student Conduct to determine whether he or she wishes to file a complaint. A complaint is not a charge that a student has violated university regulations. Charges are only made by the university following an investigation.
- Upon receipt of a complaint or other information that may constitute a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, the Assistant Dean of the Office of Student Conduct shall evaluate the complaint or information to determine whether any applicable rule, regulation, code, policy, or standard of conduct may have been violated. If the Assistant Dean determines that no such violation may have occurred, he or she may dismiss the matter without further investigation. If the Assistant Dean determines that a violation may have occurred, he or she shall conduct, or appoint a member of the staff (the investigator) to conduct, an investigation of the incident and to render a recommendation for its disposition.
- The investigator shall conduct such investigation as is deemed appropriate under the circumstances, taking into consideration the nature and gravity of the alleged offense.
- If, following such investigation, the investigator determines that the allegations appear to have merit, the investigator shall confer with the Assistant Dean to determine whether the university will institute charges against the student(s) alleged to have committed the violation (the alleged violator). If the Assistant Dean determines that the university will institute charges (which may include charges in addition to or different than those charges alleged in the complaint), the investigator or his/her designee shall notify the alleged violator of the charges and provide an opportunity for the alleged violator to present a response to the charges. Such response may include oral or written statements from the alleged violator or from any other person having knowledge of the facts and circumstances of the incident at issue.
- After reviewing all information presented, the Assistant Dean of the Office of Student Conduct or the investigator shall issue a determination that either the alleged violator has committed a prima facie violation or dismiss the case for lack of sufficient evidence.
- If the Assistant Dean of the Office of Student Conduct or the investigator determines that the alleged violator has committed a prima facie violation, he or she shall recommend appropriate sanctions.
- If the alleged violator accepts the determination and sanction recommendation issued, the matter shall be concluded.
- If the alleged violator does not accept the determination issued, then the alleged violator may request a formal student conduct hearing.
- If the alleged violator accepts the determination but not the sanction recommendation, then, in all cases including those where the sanction recommendation includes removal from campus residence, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the university or degree revocation, the alleged violator may appeal the sanction recommendation to the Dean of Students within three working days of the alleged violator’s receipt of the sanction recommendation. The basis of an appeal is limited to only issues of substantial noncompliance with the procedures set forth in this code, relationship of the sanctions to the alleged violation(s), or to the discovery of substantial new evidence. The Office of the Dean of Students shall process the appeal in any manner it deems appropriate. The decision of the Dean of Students shall be final and unappealable.
E. Formal Student Conduct Hearings
- Procedural Rights: All alleged violators whose cases are to be processed pursuant to a formal student conduct hearing shall be afforded the procedural rights as set forth below. The alleged violator shall:
- Be advised in writing of the charges against him or her.
- Be advised in writing of the time, place, date, and type of hearing to which his or her case has been referred. The ONLY factors considered when scheduling hearings are class or other formal academic responsibilities.
- Be afforded the right to present a defense and witnesses on his or her own behalf.
- Be afforded the right to remain silent and be assured that silence shall neither be held against him or her nor raise any implication of wrongdoing.
- Have the right to be accompanied by one advisor or personal representative of his or her own choosing during any aspect of the student conduct procedure, provided that any such advisor or personal representative does not participate.
- Be entitled to written notification of the findings of any university officer or board, including a copy or summary of any applicable complaint, and, if sufficient evidence exists to support the allegations against the alleged violator, the sanction recommended to the Dean of Students.
- Be afforded the right to a hearing before an impartial board. The hearing shall be closed to the public.
- Be afforded the privilege to continue his or her residence on campus and attendance at classes while the student conduct matter is pending or on appeal, except when, in the sole discretion of the university, continued presence on campus, in classes, or in residence may pose a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the student, other individuals, or the university community, or would negatively affect the normal operations of the university.
Any of the procedural rights set forth above not utilized by the alleged violator will be considered waived. If an alleged violator impedes the orderly continuation of the judiciary process, the chair (as defined below) will proceed with the judiciary process in such manner as he or she deems most appropriate to ensure protection of the rights of all parties involved and the interests of the university.
- Formal Hearing Procedure:
- Structure. Formal student conduct hearings shall be conducted before a board of three to five members appointed by the Office of Student Conduct, which may comprise faculty, administration, and staff, all operating under confidentiality and respect for the alleged violator’s, complainant’s, and witnesses’ privacy. The Office of Student Conduct shall also appoint a chair of the board and a student conduct administrator.
- Notification. The Office of Student Conduct shall give written notice to the alleged violator and the complainant of the charges against the alleged violator, and the names of the chair of the board and the board, the investigator, and the student conduct administrator.
- Power and Duties of the Chair. The chair shall preside over the hearing and ensure that the alleged violator is informed of his or her procedural rights as set forth above. The chair shall have the power to delay, continue, or reschedule any hearing for cause on request of any party or witness or for any other reason at the discretion of the chair.
- Powers of the Board. The board shall possess all the powers necessary to carry out its assigned functions, including the power to:
- Conduct preliminary investigations and hearings.
- Make a recommendation to the Dean of Students as to whether the alleged violator has violated any university policy, rule, code, regulation, or standard.
- Make a recommendation to the Dean of Students as to appropriate sanctions to be imposed for any purported violation.
- Issue written requests to witnesses to appear and testify.
- Do anything else necessary to the proper discharge of its duties.
e. Powers and Duties of the Student Conduct Administrator. The student conduct administrator shall serve as the presenter of the charges against any alleged violators during a formal hearing procedure.
3. Hearing Process:
- Scheduling. The chair shall schedule a hearing date within a reasonable time after initiation of charges against the alleged violator. Notice of the hearing shall be served upon the investigator, the student conduct administrator, the alleged violator, the complainant, and any other individuals involved by any or all of the following means: electronic delivery provided confirmation of receipt is received, campus mail, personal delivery, overnight courier service, and/or home-delivered certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to the individual’s last known address as reflected on university records. The complainant and the alleged violator will be notified by at least two of these methods.
- Representatives. The investigator, alleged violator, and complainant may choose a representative to assist in preparing for and attending the hearing. Such representatives may be present but shall not be entitled to participate in the hearing.
- Waiver of Attendance. The complainant and the alleged violator may elect to waive attendance at the hearing. If the complainant and/or the alleged violator fail to attend the hearing, the board may adjudicate the case in the absence of such person.
- Conduct of Hearing. The board shall conduct the hearing in any manner it deems appropriate subject to the following:
- Procedure. The student conduct administrator or his or her designee shall have the burden of going forward and shall present the investigatory findings to the board. Thereafter, the complainant and the alleged violator shall be given the opportunity to present his or her case to the board.
- Record of Proceedings. The board shall keep a record of the hearing proceedings by stenographic means, on magnetic tape or by digital means, at its discretion. No party or witness may record the hearing proceedings by any means. The alleged violator, the complainant, the investigator, the student conduct administrator, members of the board, and appropriate administrators of the university shall have the right to review the record of the proceedings if, as, and when such record becomes available. The record will be maintained by the Office of Student Conduct for seven years after the accused student’s departure from the university.
- Requesting Attendance of Witnesses. The investigator, the student conduct administrator, alleged violator, complainant, or their representatives may request the chair to issue to witnesses notices of attendance for the hearing. In the event that requests for witness notices are unduly burdensome or are requested in bad faith or for harassment or other improper purposes, the board may refuse some or all requests for witness notices. The parties acknowledge that the board has no formal subpoena power. Requests for witnesses shall be filed with the board no later than two days before the hearing date at which such witnesses are to appear. The board may request the attendance of witnesses not requested to appear by the investigator, the student conduct administrator, alleged violator, or complainant. Service of notice of attendance may be made by electronic delivery provided confirmation of receipt is received, personal delivery, campus mail, overnight courier service, or by certified mail directed to the last known address of the witness as disclosed by university records. When witnesses cannot or will not appear, but the board determines that the interests of justice require admission of their statements, the board shall identify the witnesses, disclose or order disclosed their statements, and, if possible, provide for interrogatories. The board shall also have the right to sequester any or all non-party witnesses at the board’s discretion.
- Admission of Evidence. Testimony shall be taken under a statement by each witness acknowledging the duty to tell the truth. The board will not be bound by strict rules of legal evidence, and may admit any evidence that is, in the board’s sole opinion, of probative value in determining the issues involved.
- Adjournments. The board may grant adjournments to enable any individual to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made.
- Rights of the Parties. The investigator, the student conduct administrator, alleged violator, and complainant each have the right to be present during the hearing. At least 48 hours prior to the hearing, any of the parties may challenge any board member for bias or interest, provided such challenge is made in writing, with the reasons therefor. Each side may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses through the chair. All cross-examination shall be conducted by the chair, or designee, following submission of written questions by the party seeking cross-examination. Any party may supplement the initial set of questions for cross-examination at the reasonable discretion of the chair.
- Publicity. Except as may be required or permitted by law or for such simple announcements as may be necessary relating to the timing of the hearing and similar matters, public statements and publicity about the case by the student conduct administrator, alleged violator, complainant, witnesses, or board members, and all of their respective representatives, shall be prohibited. Violation of this prohibition may result in disciplinary measures imposed in the sole discretion of the university, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion.
- Pre-Hearing Conference. The board may, but is not required to, convene a pre-hearing conference to discuss any pre-hearing issues and procedures.
- Privileged Communications and Nondiscoverability of Board Deliberations and Materials. Except as otherwise required by law, all communications and deliberations between board members and all documents, notes and other materials prepared by board members that are not part of the official record of the hearing are absolutely privileged and shall not be subject to discovery in any other proceeding, either within or without the university. The privilege described herein can be asserted by any board member or by the university.
- Board Action After Hearing:
- Deliberation. After the close of the hearing, the board shall sit in executive session to deliberate only as to whether a violation has occurred and to consider appropriate sanctions. The deliberations shall be based upon the evidence presented at the hearing and any written statements filed by a party or witness. The board shall continue its deliberations until it reaches a decision by a simple majority as to whether the alleged violator has violated any university policy, rule, regulation, code, or standard.
- Standard of Persuasion. The board may find that the alleged violator has committed a violation only if the finding is supported by a preponderance of evidence.
- Recommendation to the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct. Within five working days after completion of the hearing, the board shall issue in writing to the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct a statement of the charges and the findings and recommendations of the board.
- Decision. The Assistant Dean for Student Conduct will review the findings and recommendations of the board and make a determination and may consult with appropriate university officials. The Assistant Dean for Student Conduct shall advise the alleged violator and the complainant in writing of his or her determination. The Assistant Dean for Student Conduct shall also advise the alleged violator of the sanctions to be imposed, and, the complainant in cases where the sanction affects the complainant. A copy of such determination and sanctions shall be retained in the Student Affairs Office. The determination of the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct shall become a final decision if no appeal is filed by the alleged violator or the complainant.
- Right to Appeal. The determination of the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct may be appealed by the alleged violator or the complainant by submitting a written request for an appeal to the Office of the Dean of Students within three working days of receipt of the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct’s determination. The basis of an appeal is limited to only issues of substantial noncompliance with the procedures set forth in this Code, relationship of the sanctions to the alleged violation(s), or to the discovery of substantial new evidence. The Office of the Dean of Students shall process the appeal in any manner it deems appropriate. The decision of the Office of the Dean of Students may be appealed in writing by the alleged violator or the complainant to the Provost or his/her designee within three working days of receipt of that decision only in cases of removal from campus residence, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the university or degree revocation. Any such appeal is without further hearing.
In cases involving less severe sanctions, no appeal shall lie to the Provost. The Provost’s or his/her designee’s decision on any such appeal is final. In all other cases, the decision of the Office of the Dean of Students is final. Students should be aware that, when they consider an appeal, the Dean of Students and the Provost or their respective designees have the authority both to increase and to decrease the sanctions imposed by the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct. Should the alleged violator choose to appeal any or all sanctions, including suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the university, the imposed sanctions are held in abeyance until the results of the appeal have been determined and notification provided to the student.
At any time after receipt of an appeal, the appellate decision maker may, at his or her sole discretion, request the alleged violator to execute a release in favor of the appellate decision maker or his or her respective designees as to any records, including relevant medical records where a medical condition has been placed in issue, which the appellate decision maker deems relevant to his or her review. Failure of the alleged violator to execute such a release may, in the sole discretion of the appellate decision maker, operate as a waiver of the alleged violator’s right to an appeal to the appellate decision maker. Any appellate decision maker may uphold, overturn, or modify any determination or recommendation presented to him or her or remand to the individual or body issuing such determination or recommendation.
- University Action. Failure of the university to act within any prescribed period of time or in strict compliance will not be deemed a waiver or invalidation of any university finding or action unless such failure substantially and materially affects the procedural rights of the alleged violator or the complainant set forth herein. Any prescribed time period herein may be extended in the sole discretion of the university to address breaks in the academic year or similar circumstances. The university shall be deemed to have abided by all procedural requirements, provided it can demonstrate substantial compliance with those requirements. The disciplinary hearing is not a civil or criminal proceeding and does not require a literal or strict construction of procedural requirements.
- Available Sanctions: When sufficient evidence exists to support the allegations contained in a charge or complaint against a student or student organization or group, one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions will be imposed. The sanction should be consistent with the gravity and nature of the offense. Prior judiciary records will be considered when sanctions are decided. For those sanctions that suspend privileges, a specific time period shall be set indicating when and how the privileges may be regained, if at all. Sanctions may be appealed through the appeal procedures set forth above. Moreover, when a student receives a student conduct sanction, a “hold,” which prevents that student from preregistering and registering, is placed on that student’s record. This hold is removed only when the student demonstrates that he or she has fulfilled whatever obligation his or her student conduct sanctions may have specified. Student organizations may also be held accountable for policy violations of their governing body in addition to the sanctions outlined below. All violations and/or sanctions listed below are noted in the records of the Office of Student Conduct.
- No Further Action. This sanction is interpreted to mean that although a violation has been established, discussion with the investigator and/or student conduct administrator or appearance before the board has been sufficient in and of itself and further action is not deemed necessary. However, the violation is still noted in the records of the Office of Student Conduct.
- Written Official Warning. In instances of minor violations, students may be warned in writing of the possible consequences of continuing such behavior and written conditions regarding future behavior may be attached when appropriate.
- Removal from Living Unit/Eviction. The primary effect of this sanction is to preclude continued residence in a particular living unit. This action would normally be taken after one serious violation or repeated violations of community standards of behavior related to the living unit environment. This may affect a student’s status.
- Assignment to Alternate Housing.
- Limitation of Access to Designated University Housing Facilities and Other Campus Facilities by Time and Location.
- Campus Service Hours. This sanction requires students to perform a specified number of service hours/tasks that benefit the individual, campus, or community. The specific assignment is determined by the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct or his/her designee. Failure to work the service hours within the time specified may result in additional sanctions as determined by the Assistant Dean for Student Conduct.
- Disciplinary Probation. This sanction implies a middle status between good standing at the university and suspension or dismissal. Students are permitted to remain enrolled under certain stated conditions, depending upon the nature of the violation and the potential educational value that may be derived from such conditions. Probation usually extends over a stated period, during which it is clearly understood that further disciplinary measures (up to and including expulsion) will follow if the terms of probation are violated. Probation is a final warning to students to conduct themselves as responsible members of the university community. Students who are on disciplinary probation may not be awarded a degree or attend commencement events, even if they have completed all requirements for a degree.
- Removal from Student Organization Office or Athletic Team. This sanction is levied when it is thought that a student should not serve as a public representative of the university. Removal can be either temporary or permanent.
- Suspension. This sanction is involuntary separation from the university for a specific period of time after which a return may be possible. It differs from dismissal only in that it implies a stated time when return will be possible. Suspension may extend to a semester or academic year or a designated date (e.g., when a stated condition has been met). Students suspended for disciplinary reasons cannot transfer into Widener using any credits earned during suspension. A student who is on suspension at the time of commencement events may not be awarded a degree or attend commencement events, even if he or she has completed all requirements for a degree. The student may not be a registered student, be present on the campus, or attend any university-sponsored event for any reason what so ever for a specified period of time.
- Dismissal. This sanction is involuntary separation from the university for an indefinite period of time but minimally one academic year, after which time the student must apply for readmission to the university. Students dismissed for disciplinary reasons cannot transfer into Widener using any credits earned during dismissal period. A student who has been dismissed may not be awarded a degree or attend commencement events, even if he or she has completed all requirements for a degree. The student may not be a registered student, be present on the campus, or attend any university sponsored event for any reason whatsoever unless officially granted re-entry to the university.
- Expulsion. This sanction is permanent involuntary separation from the university. A student who has been expelled may not be awarded a degree or attend commencement events, even if he/she has completed all requirements for a degree. The student may not ever again be a registered student, be present on campus, or attend any university-sponsored event.
- Fines and Restitution. Certain violations subject students to fines and restitution to be determined at the recommendation of the board or its designee. Restitution is defined as compensation for damage caused to the university or any person’s property. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for labor costs and/or the value of property destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.
- 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 admission or a degree, or for serious violations committed by a student prior to admission or graduation. Students are advised that an offer of admission may be revoked by the university at any time without implementing the procedures or affording the rights set forth in this Code, if it is deemed by the university to be in the best interests of the university, the university community, or the student to do so.
- Withholding the Degree. The university may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in the Code of Student Conduct, including the completion of all sanctions imposed. All students must comply with all university policies in order to receive their degree and must resolve all outstanding charges of misconduct before being approved for graduation. The university reserves the right at all times to withhold a degree from a student who has completed academic requirements but who is subject to disciplinary action or other sanctions.
- Constructive or Educational Task(s). The student is assigned a task that benefits the individual, campus, or community. This task is assigned as a condition of another sanction, such as disciplinary probation. Tasks must be reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct. Examples of tasks include educational papers, educational classes, attendance at educational programs or relevant community meetings, substance abuse education, alcohol education programs, or community service.
- Counseling Center Referrals. Counseling sessions are occasionally necessary for students who violate university policy. The purpose of engaging in counseling is for the student to further assess his/her behavior and attitude in certain areas of his/her life.
- Medical/Health Center Referrals.
- Psychological/Psychiatric Screenings, Evaluations and/or Clearances.
- Restriction of Communication with Named Individuals or Groups within the University Community.
- Requirement to Secure Advance Authorization to Engage in a Specified Activity.
- Rescission, withdrawal, or termination of university scholarships, grants, loans, employment, or other financial aid.
In addition, the university reserves the right to impose additional sanctions related to specific incidents involving students on or off campus.
- Interim Sanctions: While firmly committed to the concept of student conduct procedure, the university recognizes that students may be charged with violations that may present a clear danger of serious harm to the alleged violator, to other members of the university community, or to the surrounding community. When university officials judge a student to pose a threat to himself, herself, or the community, or where the student has been charged with a crime of a serious nature, the Division of Student Affairs may impose temporary sanctions pending a hearing. Interim sanctions may include:
- Suspension from the university.
- Suspension from the residence halls.
- Assignment to alternate housing.
- Limitation of access to designated university housing facilities and other campus facilities by time and location.
- Restriction of communication with named individuals or groups within the university community.
- The requirement to secure advance authorization to engage in a specified activity.
Within three working days after the imposition of interim sanctions and after oral or written notice to the student regarding the alleged conduct, the Dean of Students or his/her designee will meet with the student. At the meeting, if the alleged conduct is denied, the student shall be informed of the basis of the allegation and offered the opportunity to present his or her own version of the facts. The Dean of Students or his/her designee shall determine whether the interim sanctions will continue or others be imposed, and shall state such determination together with the reasons in writing to the alleged violator.
The decision of the Dean of Students or his/her designee may be appealed by the alleged violator by submitting a written request for appeal to the Office of the Provost within three working days of receipt of the Dean’s determination. The basis of an appeal is limited to issues of substantial noncompliance with the procedures set forth in this Code, relationship of the interim sanction to the alleged violation(s), or to the discovery of substantial new evidence. The Provost or designees shall handle the appeal in any manner he or she deems appropriate. Any such appeal is without further hearing. The Provost’s or his/her designee’s decision on any such appeal is final. Students should be aware that, when they consider an appeal, the Provost or designees have the authority both to increase and to decrease the sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students.
At any time after receipt of an appeal, the appellate decision maker may, in his or her sole discretion, request the appellant to execute a release in favor of the appellate decision maker or his or her respective designees as to any records, including relevant medical records where a medical condition has been placed in issue that the appellate decision maker deems relevant to his or her review. Failure of the appellant to execute such a release may, in the sole discretion of the appellate decision maker, operate as a waiver of the appellant’s right to an appeal to the appellate decision maker. Any appellate decision maker may uphold, overturn, or modify any determination or recommendation presented to him or her or remand to the individual or body issuing such determination or recommendation.
- Imposition of Sanctions: The university takes violations of its policies, rules, regulations, codes, and standards seriously and will apply appropriate sanctions against students found responsible for violations thereof. Students should be aware that, if they are responsible for an incident that involves multiple violations, or if they have committed previous violations, the overall and cumulative nature of the violations will be considered when sanctions are levied. In addition, depending upon the nature and severity of the offense(s) committed, sanctions as severe as suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the university may be imposed even in the case of a first offense.
G. University Administration of Code of Conduct Violations
All students should be aware of the following university policies with respect to the administration of Code of Student Conduct violations:
- Cumulative Record of Violation: A student’s record of violations of the policies, codes, expectations, standards, and rules of the university is cumulative over the course of his or her enrollment at the university.
- Notification Policy: Whenever, in the sole discretion of the university, the health, safety, or welfare of any student is jeopardized or threatened, the university may inform any student’s parents, guardians, and emergency contact designees regarding the circumstances that have placed or may place that student in jeopardy. In addition, the university may, if permitted by applicable law, contact the parents, guardians, or emergency contact designees of any student who, in the sole discretion of the university, may be responsible for or otherwise involved in a situation that has placed or may place another individual at risk. With respect to incidents involving alcohol, drugs, or controlled substance offenses, the Division of Student Affairs may inform parents, guardians, or any other emergency contact designee, especially when:
- A local, state, or federal law enforcement agency is involved.
- Abusive, disruptive, or destructive behavior is involved.
- A student is intoxicated to the extent that he or she is seriously incapacitated and is at high risk to himself or herself, or to another person’s health, safety, or welfare.
- A student is apprehended on criminal charges and Campus Safety is notified of the arrest, a representative of Campus Safety will notify the Dean of Students. Upon this occurrence, the university will attempt to contact the student’s parents, guardians, or emergency contact designees.
- External Proceedings: In the event that any proceedings are instituted with any federal, state, or local court, tribunal, or administrative agency, the university reserves the right at its sole discretion to proceed with, continue, suspend, or terminate any internal university investigation, proceeding, or adjudication relating to the issues, facts, or circumstances pending before any such court or agency. In the event a student is suspended in accordance with the interim suspension provisions and the university defers proceedings, the interim suspension may continue in place pending the outcome of the civil claims and/or criminal charges and the university’s subsequent proceedings Students who plead guilty, plead nolo contendre, or who are found guilty of violating federal, state, or local laws are in violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and the university may impose sanctions without additional hearing. Students retain the right to appeal only the sanctions consistent with this Code.
- Conflicts of Interest/Bias: Any claims of conflict of interest or bias shall be raised at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of a formal disciplinary hearing or shall be waived.
- Disciplinary Records: All conduct records are maintained by the university for seven (7) years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension, dismissal or expulsion, including from housing) and those that fall under Title IX, which are maintained indefinitely.
- Approval and Implementation: This Code of Student Conduct was approved on August 2, 2016 and implemented on August 9, 2016, and last amended on June 1, 2019.