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Section III. Student Code of Conduct

The student conduct system at the university exists to provide a living and learning environment which reflects the values of the institution. Through it, the university seeks to guide students toward the development of personal responsibility, respect for others, and mature behavior. While the university’s conduct system may have some similarities with the legal system established in the broader community, it is essentially educational and administrative in nature and is not governed by narrow legalisms or the restrictions found in criminal or civil proceedings.

Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following violations is subject to the sanctions/educational measures outlined in Section VII.  (The examples of misconduct contained in the footnotes are illustrative, not exhaustive.)

A.  Conduct Affecting Persons

1.  Causing physical harm, threatening harm to any person, or behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would find alarming or intimidating. Negligent conduct that results in injury to others violates the Student Code.

2.  Behaving in a manner that endangers the health or safety of another person or in a manner that a reasonable person would consider indecent or disorderly.

3.  Engaging in conduct that infringes on the rights of others.(2)

4.  Holding or transporting another person against their will, or otherwise impeding a person’s ability to exit any property.

5. Violating the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy.

6.  Engaging in Harassment or Sexual Harassment. (3)

7. Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol level (as shown by a lawfully administered blood or breath test) in excess of that permitted for driver by Virginia law or driving under the influence of marijuana/cannabis or another controlled substance as defined by Virginia Law.(4)

8.  Hazing, including acts that endanger the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroy or remove public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition of continued membership in, a group or organization. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not considered a neutral act; it is a violation of this policy. Tradition, intent, or the express or implied consent of the victim of such acts is not a valid defense.

a.  Amnesty from Allegations and Protection from Retaliation When Reporting Hazing or Participating as a Witness in an Investigation
In order to encourage reporting of hazing, the university will extend amnesty from student conduct allegations and sanctions to parties and witnesses for minor violations of the alcohol and drugs policies, such as underage consumption of alcohol, public intoxication, and possession or ingestion of illegal drugs for reporting parties, witnesses or respondents where such disclosures are made in connection with a good faith report or investigation of hazing or retaliation.

This amnesty provision does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug or alcohol distribution that contributed to the commission of a policy violation.

The university also considers retaliation to parties and witnesses to be a serious violation and will investigate and hold accountable students found to have retaliated against another student as a result of that student’s reporting of, or participation in an investigation of, hazing.

9.  Disrupting or obstructing the normal living and work environments of other members of the university community or the functions or activities of the university (as well as activities conducted on the university's property with its permission).(5)

a. Classroom Disruption. Instructors are vested with the primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment. The instructor may direct a student to leave the classroom for the remainder of class if the student engages in prohibited acts resulting in disruption of a class. Longer separations from a class must be preceded by formal conduct action resulting either from the Interim Measures Policy or from a finding of a violation via the student conduct process.

See the university's Use of Campus Facilities Policy for additional regulations policies regarding disruption of campus events and activities.

10.  Using electronic or other devices to make an audio or video recording of the private activities of any person without the person’s prior knowledge or effective consent from the person.

11.  Violating the University's Firearms, Combustibles, Weapons and Explosives Policy (see Appendix I)

B.  Conduct Affecting Property

1.  Damaging Property of the university and/or members of the university community or other personal or public property, on or off campus.

2.  Possessing property of another person, the university, or another entity without proper authorization. (6)

3.  Violating the university's Fires/Emergency Equipment policies.(7)

4. For reasons of safety and security, all roofs, balconies, porches, window ledges, mechanical equipment areas, and steam tunnels of university buildings are closed to all but authorized employees.

C.  Conduct Affecting the University Community

1. Breaching Campus Safety or Security, including intentionally damaging door locks, and unauthorized possession or use of university keys or access cards.

2. Unauthorized Entrance or Presence includes unauthorized entrance into, or presence in, university facilities, offices of a faculty member, administrative personnel, or other person on university property, or the private rooms of a student. Students also cannot remain in a facility when the facility is officially closed (examples include the library and student centers). Students cannot enter into or upon any restricted area; nor can any student assist or make possible the unauthorized entry of any person into any restricted area. Restricted areas include but are not limited to tunnels, roofs, monuments, posted or enclosed construction sites, and secreted utility areas.

3.  Violating Information Technology's Acceptable Use Policy for Students.

4.  Failing to comply with the 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;(8) and/or failing to comply with a sanction issued by an appropriate Case Administrator or panel.(9)

5. Violating any university policy, rule, or regulation published in hard copy or available electronically on the university website or disseminated via official means of communication (e.g., email or letter) including the terms of the Housing Agreement

6.  Failing to Disclose or Update Records of Convictions or Disciplinary Actions on Application. Students who do not comply with the university’s requirement to disclose records of criminal conviction or disciplinary action taken by the student’s school, either before or after applying but before matriculation, will be considered in violation of this section. Failure to disclose will be considered a serious violation and may include suspension or dismissal from the university.

7.  Abusing the student conduct system.(10)

8.  Knowingly abusing a position of trust or responsibility with the university.(11)

9.  Hosting guests who violate university Policy. All guests are expected to abide by university regulations. Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests and may be sanctioned for violations committed by their guests.

D.  Alcoholic Beverages and Drugs(12)

1.  Violating the Alcoholic Beverage Policy. Use, underage possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by university regulations), public intoxication, or driving under the influence of alcohol (see Appendix II).

2.  Violating the Drug Policy. Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia. For the purpose of these regulations, drugs include any controlled substance, including marijuana/cannabis(13), cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD compounds, mescaline, psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms), DMT, narcotics, opiates, and other hallucinogens, except when taken under and pursuant to a physician’s prescription in accordance with law.(14)

E.  Violations of Local, State, or Federal Law

The university has an interest in respecting the safety and welfare of members of the university community and protecting its institutional integrity and resources. Conduct leading to arrest, charge, indictment, or conviction for violation of local, state, or federal law may result in conduct action by the university if the Dean of Students or designee determines such action affects a substantial interest of the university.

The Student Code of Conduct and its processes reflect its educational objectives and therefore differ from those of criminal courts. Therefore, it is not double jeopardy for the university to sanction conduct that also is sanctioned under local, state, or federal law. Proceedings under this Code can be carried out prior to, concurrently with, or following the resolution of criminal proceedings. Determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Code will not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same set of facts were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the Respondent. When criminal charges are pending, the university may not be able to conduct its own investigation and/or hold a proceeding to resolve the Student Conduct allegations. In such cases, the university can delay its proceeding until it can obtain sufficient information upon which to proceed. The university reserves the option to impose interim measures, including interim suspension, in such circumstances.

F.  Withdrawal Due to Pending Felony

A Respondent accused of a felony criminal charge may determine it is in their best interest to withdraw from the university until the criminal charges are resolved. The university has an existing procedure for voluntary administrative withdrawals that may be applied, with the following conditions:

  1. During the withdrawal, the student may not be present on University premises or attend University-activities.
  2. The student cannot register for or attend any classes, including course offerings through remote learning.
  3. The university will place a hold on the Respondent’s registration, graduation, and/or transcripts.
  4. The Respondent must agree that in order to be eligible to reenroll at the university, they must first be subject to and fully cooperative with a campus investigation (if conducted) and proceeding, and must comply first with sanctions, if assigned, that are administered arising from a proceeding. Re-enrollment in a specific academic degree program is subject to that program’s approval.

Students prepared to meet these conditions may submit a written request to the Director seeking a voluntary withdrawal due to a pending felony. If the Director approves the request, the Director will forward the request for a withdrawal to Enrollment Support Services. A student granted a voluntary withdrawal while felony criminal charges are pending will follow the same procedures and will be subject to the same conditions as outlined in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, except as outlined in this section.

(2) Examples include: exposing one's own genitals, buttocks, or breasts in a public place (unless specifically authorized for activities such as theater productions or class) and entering a student's residence room without explicit or implicit permission

(3) Harassment includes conduct sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to threaten an individual or limit the ability of an individual to work, study, or participate in the activities of the University. Prohibited conduct also includes, but is not limited to stalking (repeated conduct directed toward another person, including following that person or engaging in acts that harass); making unwanted obscene, abusive or repetitive telephone calls; electronic mail; instant messages; or similar communications with intent to harass.

 Sanctions for sodomy, object penetration, or sexual intercourse without consent (whether by acquaintance or stranger) include indefinite suspension or permanent dismissal.  Sanctions for intentional touching or fondling range from probation to dismissal.

(4) This does not include controlled substances taken in accordance with directions prescribed by a licensed treatment professional.

(5) Examples include: blocking entrances, corridors or exits; interfering with ongoing educational activities cultural events, or recreational, extracurricular or athletic programs; unauthorized presence in a building after normal closing hours or after notice that the building is being closed; interfering with vehicular or pedestrian traffic; and interfering with any other effort to protect the health and safety of members of the university community or larger public.

(6) Stealing is a violation of the Honor Code, and reports alleging stealing will be referred to the appropriate Honor Council.

(7) Including intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion or other emergency; tampering with fire safety or emergency equipment; intentionally, carelessly or recklessly causing a fire to be ignited ; intentionally interfering with or failing to follow emergency procedures; or entering or failing to evacuate a building when a fire drill is conducted or when an alarm is sounded.

Fires may not be started in campus buildings or elsewhere, including the University’s woods, unless approved by the University’s Fire Safety Officer. This prohibition includes the burning of personal or organizational property. The Fire Safety Officer may approve fires in fireplaces in residence halls.

(8) Such a request must be made by one who identifies them self and acts in the reasonable and good faith belief that compliance with the request is necessary for the safety and welfare of the person or persons or others, to prevent the disruption of any lawful activity carried on by the University, to maintain University or personal property, to maintain vehicular traffic, or to perform the official’s duties.

(9) The Dean of Students Office may issue a hold on the student’s record pending completion of any outstanding sanction.

(10) Including refusing to appear, provide information, or remain present during an official university proceeding or meeting with any person connected with the disciplinary or honor processes; distortion or misrepresentation of information before a committee, administrator, or the Honor Council; contacting witnesses or any other party to an incident to intimidate them or to get them to change their testimony; or institution of a Student Conduct or Honor proceeding in bad faith.

(11) Students holding positions of trust or responsibility include student workers (paid or unpaid), student leaders, Resident Advisors, Student Conduct Council and Honor Council members, and Orientation Aides. Students in these positions have a special relationship with the University and are expected to respect the privacy of other students and members of the University community, including by maintaining confidentiality of student records, abiding by University policies, and using resources in an ethical fashion.

(12) In situations where a student is seeking medical attention for self or others, the Good Griffin policy will apply with respect to allegations of violating the Alcoholic Beverages and Drugs policies.  (Also see Appendix IV).

(13) Delta 8 and Delta 9 products are included in the definition of “Marijuana/Cannabis”.

(14) The sanctions for manufacturing or providing drugs range from suspension to dismissal from the University. The sanctions for possession or use of drugs range from probation to dismissal from the university. Loss of housing can result for drug use in university residences. For freshmen and sophomore students, removal from residence may require disenrollment, as these students are not permitted to live off campus unless they receive an exception from the Dean of Students. (Also see Appendix V.)