Community Standards and Policies
By enrolling at SPU, students agree to live according to the expectations outlined here. Non-matriculated students admitted to special programs are also expected to maintain these standards. Violations may result in disciplinary action. Any questions regarding these statements should be addressed to the chief judicial officer or the dean of student life in the Office of Student Life.
Community Support and Redemptive Discipline
When a situation involving a student or student organization appears to violate University policies, rules, regulations, or standards, it becomes the responsibility of the dean of student life, the chief judicial officer or their designees to implement the University's behavioral and disciplinary process. Because the primary goal of the disciplinary process is educational and redemptive, the process is non-adversarial and is not to be considered analogous to court proceedings. Review meetings are not courtroom dramas. They are meetings among community members to give all parties the opportunity to identify concerns, explain perceptions, explore behavior, and hear suggestions. The emphasis is placed on student behavior, and the relationship of behavior to commitments and responsibilities inherent in accepting membership into the University community.
Students alleged to have violated the University's behavioral standards or expectations will be advised of the alleged violation or conduct concern and will be given the opportunity to provide oral and written statements and other relevant information to the chief judicial officer or the dean of student life or their designee(s) as determined by the dean of student life. Students will receive written notice of the outcome of any conduct review meeting or proceeding, including a description of any disciplinary action or sanction. The University may suspend a student immediately if, in the judgment of the University, the student's continued presence on campus or participation in an activity or program presents a threat to the health or safety of the student or to a member of the University community or is otherwise incompatible with the orderly operation of the University.
The University expects students to assume responsibility by fully participating in the disciplinary review process. Students are expected to appear for review meetings or proceedings. If a student fails to appear, the matter may still proceed. Sanctions may be imposed on a student refusing to appear or cooperate. Throughout the conduct process students have the responsibility to present truthful information and conduct themselves courteously.
The sanctions imposed depend upon the particular circumstances of each situation. Sanctions may be imposed singly or in combination, as appropriate to the circumstances of each situation. A student's conduct history will be considered in determining a sanction, as will the nature of the violation. Repeated violations of policy may result in more severe sanctions and may eventually result in the removal of the student from the University. A student's failure to fulfill the terms of an imposed sanction may result in the imposition of more severe sanctions. The types of disciplinary action or sanctions that may be implemented include, but are not limited to, warning, written reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension (termination of student status for a specified period of time and with specific conditions), or dismissal (termination of student status). In some circumstances the student may also be required to participate in an educational activity; attend counseling; pay restitution or fines; provide community service; transfer to a different residence hall or housing unit; be suspended from housing; lose privileges; be excluded from activities; or be excluded from areas on campus.
Appeals. Students have the opportunity for a self-initiated appeal of a disciplinary action. Appeals may be addressed in writing to the appropriate University official within 48 hours of receipt by the student of the written notice of disciplinary action. If the University official instituting the discipline is a member of the residence life staff, then the appeal should be directed to the chief judicial officer. If the official instituting the discipline is the chief judicial officer, then the appeal should be directed to the dean of student life. If the dean of student life instituted the discipline, then the appeal should be directed to the vice president for academic affairs. Except in the case of dismissal, a student may appeal a decision once. Grounds for appeal are limited to four categories: (1) new information is material and was unobtainable at the time of the original review; (2) the sanctions imposed are not appropriate to the violation(s); (3) procedural irregularities or errors occurred; and (4) the student had the lack of a fair review.
The University attempts to provide ample information about community structures, expectations, and practices to all members, especially to those who are new each year. If you would like more information about behavioral standards or the disciplinary process, contact the chief judicial officer or the office of the dean of student life.
Seeking Help to Grow and Change
A problem of this nature is defined as a personal issue, and the faculty or staff member will seek to work with you toward the goal of restoration. (Exceptions to this approach may be where behavior is repetitive, self-destructive, hazardous to others, or involves a significant legal issue in which the University is obligated to uphold the law.)
If a faculty or staff member knows about the incident or situation from another member of the community, it can no longer be defined only as a personal issue. It may be considered a community issue and therefore may be subject to disciplinary actions. Any community that ignores problem behavior in effect condones it. Ignoring problem behavior in others not only gives tacit approval to the behavior in question, but also (biblically speaking) is the withholding of love from that individual.
In this light, if you believe a student is behaving in an unacceptable manner, you are encouraged to go directly to that person and express your concern about the behavior and the consequences it may bring to the community and/or to the individual. Community expectations should be clarified and the student should be asked if he or she is willing to agree to change the offending behavior. If there is a positive response and the behavior changes, the problem is resolved. If your confrontation does not solve the problem, or there is a continuing pattern of adverse behavior, encourage the student to seek assistance from a faculty or staff member.
If a student takes the initiative to seek help, it will be handled as a personal issue as described previously unless there is continued complaint from the community.
This written attempt to clarify the University's position on discipline is intended to call members of the SPU community to responsibility for their own behavior, and not to shift this responsibility to a select few leaders who are expected to maintain the standards. In sharing a more specific understanding of redemptive discipline, University officials recognize that each disciplinary issue has its own set of circumstances. Because of this, the disciplinary response may not be the same in every situation, but the desired outcome will always be the same: the reconciliation of the individual to himself or herself, to the SPU community, and to God.
Context for Community Standards
Legal Authority. Local, state, and federal laws address matters that directly influence University policy. Theft, possession or use of illegal substances, under-age use or possession of alcohol, any kind of harassment, physical abuse against persons or property (rape, assault, and vandalism), possession of firearms on campus, and violations of copyright laws are examples of the way laws interface with policy.
Scripture. Scripture addresses issues relating to matters of character and integrity that impact the community and the relationships of those who are a part of the community. We affirm that all persons are of sacred worth and affirm that God's grace is available to all. The University provides counseling services for those who need help in clarifying personal character issues, relational and behavioral; or those struggling with issues of morality and moral behavior.
Historic Christian Tradition and the University Mission. This area is the most difficult to define because our community is diverse in its concerns over certain issues. Nonetheless, our roots and values are deeply connected to the Free Methodist and other evangelical Christian churches. Evangelical churches are those that find their authority in God's word and stress the need for a personal, redemptive faith in Jesus Christ.
Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct that violates the integrity and trust in human relationships. Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional appropriate compliments.
Rather, it is behavior that is personally intrusive, offensive, debilitating to morale, and insulting to human worth and dignity. Sexual harassment of students is marked by inappropriate sexually oriented attention by anyone (faculty member, staff member, or student) who is in a position to determine a student's grade or to adversely affect the student's academic performance, job performance, professional future, participation in campus activities, use of campus services and facilities, or ability to function comfortably in the SPU community.
Students who believe they have been sexually harassed or who have concerns about the appropriateness of faculty, staff, or student behavior may seek support and counsel from among a variety of helpful campus resources and people trained in the prevention of sexual harassment. The consultation will remain confidential if the student wishes. Formal complaints of sexual harassment may be addressed to the dean of student life (on campus, dial x2481), the director of human resources (on campus, dial x2678) or the Office of Academic Affairs (on campus, dial x2125).
Further information and SPU's complete statement concerning sexual harassment is available from the Office of Student Life (on campus, dial x2481), Human Resources (on campus, dial x2809), or Safety and Security (on campus, dial x2922).
Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy and
Discrimination Complaint Procedures
As a religious educational institution operating under the auspices of the Free Methodist Church of North America, Seattle Pacific University is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.
If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact either of the following persons:
Associate VP for Academic Affairs/Dean of Student Life
If you believe you may have been discriminated against in violation of this policy, please immediately contact one of the individuals designated above. Copies of the complaint resolution procedures may be obtained from the above designated individuals; the Office of Student Life; or the Office of Human Resources. Copies of the complaint resolution are also posted on the University’s Web site at www.spu.edu.
1. Actions that constitute violations of municipal, state, or federal law. The University reserves the right to follow its normal conduct process whenever a student is accused of a criminal act, regardless of the location of its occurrence and regardless of whether civil or criminal proceedings have been instituted against the student.
2. Actions that interfere with the educational process or the administration of the University, including those that obstruct or disrupt the use of University premises, buildings, rooms or passages, or which incite a disturbance.
3. Cohabitation and related forms of premarital, extramarital, or homosexual sexual activities. For more information on the subject of sexuality, refer to SPU’s Statement on Human Sexuality, available in the Office of Student Life.
4. The possession, use, distribution, or sale of alcohol or illegal drugs, or the illicit use of prescription drugs. The University does not permit students to smoke, or to use or possess, alcohol or tobacco products on or off University property or as part of any of its activities. In keeping with our heritage, we require that students refrain from the use of alcohol while they are members of the SPU community. However, SPU makes no attempt to preempt the customs of the family, which may include the use of alcohol at a family meal or family event (see statement on Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools and Communities).
5. Dishonesty such as cheating or plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information; alteration or unauthorized use of University documents, records or property; or the misuse of student identification.
6. Participation in any actions that involve discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or gender.
7. Any form of coercive or unwelcome sexual behavior, including sexual assault, rape, acquaintance rape, indecent liberties, or related actions.
8. Activities that cause or threaten emotional, mental, or physical harm or suffering; that demean the dignity of any individual; or that interfere with one’s academic process. Examples of such actions are verbal threats or abuse, harassment, intimidation, threatened or actual physical assault, or consistent disregard for the rights and welfare of others.
9. Conduct or activities that are lewd, indecent, or obscene, whether demonstrative, visual, verbal, written, or electronic (see Acceptable Use Policy Statement at www.spu.edu/ CISHelpDesk/computerpolicies/index.asp).
10. Failure to comply with the directions of authorized University officials in the performance of their duties, including the failure to comply with the terms of disciplinary sanction. This also includes the failure to identify oneself when requested to do so.
11. False reporting or warning of an impending fire, bombing, crime or emergency, or tampering with safety equipment.
12. Unauthorized possession of, or damage to, University property or services, or property belonging to others. Unauthorized presence in, or unauthorized use of or duplication of keys to, University premises or property.
13. Possession, use or display on University property of any firearms, weapons, fireworks, live ammunition, incendiary devices, or other items that are potentially hazardous to members of the campus community.
14. Activities that may cause damage or constitute a safety or health hazard or interfere with the academic process. Such activities include, but are not limited to, entering or exiting buildings through the windows; throwing, projecting, or dropping items that may cause injury or damage; and pranks that create safety and health hazards for others and/or cause damage to University or personal property.
15. Any violation of other University policies, regulations, or rules.
Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools
The purpose of SPU’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Policy is to support the educational mission of the University with standards of personal health, moral integrity, and social consciousness. The policy is also intended to provide guidelines for members of the University community who are sensitive to the varieties of Christian perspectives represented on campus, the Free Methodist Church, and the community at large. For some, this represents an area of personal liberty, but for others it is a stumbling block. In keeping with our heritage, we expect undergraduate students to refrain from the use of alcohol on and off campus while they are members of the Seattle Pacific community.
The use of alcohol or tobacco on or off campus or at any of its activities will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. An undergraduate student who is found to be exhibiting specific, objective signs of having consumed intoxicating beverages or illicit drugs, or of abusing prescription medications, will be placed on disciplinary contract.
If the abnormal behavior resulted from prescription drug use in compliance with a physician’s instructions, then the policy may be waived. If the behavior is a result of drug abuse or alcohol use, the student will be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal and referral for prosecution. If the behavior results in a conviction of a violation of criminal drug or alcohol laws, the disciplinary actions will be dictated by the Drug-Free Workplace regulations.
If a student is required to complete a drug treatment and rehabilitation program as part of the disciplinary action resulting from a violation of this policy, official records of the diagnosis or treatment will be kept for three years in the student’s records. The file will be held in the strictest confidence and will be used only as evidence to governmental and granting agencies that the University did in fact take steps toward correcting the problem.
For additional information, please refer to the Student Life Web page at www.spu.edu/depts/studentlife/drugfree.asp.
Other University Policies
Church- or Parachurch-Related Activities on Campus. Christian parachurch and Christian church-related groups must obtain permission to be a registered campus group from the Office of Campus Ministries. They must provide, upon request, a doctrinal/ purpose statement and are required to have a faculty sponsor and student contact person. Regular meeting times and events must be cleared with the Office of Campus Ministries, so as not to conflict with existing University programs.
Distribution of Literature. University departments and recognized campus organizations may distribute handbills or program announcements through the campus postal system. Materials not distributed by a faculty or staff office must be approved by the Uni-Com information desk or the Office of Student Life. A copy of the item to be distributed must be filed with the Uni-Com desk, located in the Student Union Building, at the time approval is requested.
University departments and organizations may also distribute information by hand, but must make provisions for collecting all discarded material to prevent campus littering. On-campus groups mailing printed material to 25 or more off-campus individuals should seek clearance for their mailing from the Office of University Communications. Off-campus groups may distribute literature on campus only with the written approval of Uni-Com (or Office of Academic Affairs in Demaray Hall). Normally, approval will be granted only to organizations that are noncommercial in nature and consistent with the University’s mission. Information presented must be in conformity with the philosophy and policies of SPU.
Facilities Usage. In accordance with University policies and procedures regarding scheduling and fees, student groups may use University facilities on a space-available basis. Compliance with institutional policies as set forth in this publication, and the mission and educational goals statement of the University are required for authorized facility use. Students found in buildings after closing hours must have in their possession a note signed by the appropriate departmental chairman or the dean of student life. Safety and security patrols routinely check late occupants of buildings. Students are expected to comply with the security officers’ requests, which may include vacating buildings or producing proper identification.
All signs, posters, and handbills for distribution in and around the SUB and campus kiosks must be approved at the Uni-Com desk and may be posted only in designated areas. A copy of items to be posted must be filed with the Uni-Com desk when approval is requested. Items may not be affixed to walls, light poles, trees, or other non-designated areas such as windows and doors. Individuals and organizations are held responsible for costs incurred in removing improperly posted items and are liable for damages caused by improper posting. Posting on departmental boards or on boards designated for specific offices requires the additional approval of the person responsible for the board. The department director or his or her administrative assistant will determine where you may post approved materials in their area. Posters larger than 24" by 35", banners and other nontraditional items require special approval by the Office of Student Programs. Student election posters must conform with the ASSP Student Elections Task Force policies and procedures. Violations of those posting procedures are reviewed by the Elections Task Force. Approved notices from local churches may be displayed only on the designated board in Gwinn Commons. Materials from commercial organizations normally will not be approved for posting. Materials posted in residence halls require the approval of a residence life coordinator.
Solicitation. Recognized on-campus groups or organizations are permitted to solicit in approved campus locations provided they have:
The time, place and manner of solicitation is subject to regulation by the University. Recognized SPU organizations may solicit door-to-door in residence halls for selected projects only. Door-to-door solicitations require approval from the director of residence life. Students, student groups, and off-campus persons selling commercial products or services are not permitted to sell door-to-door in the residence halls under any circumstances. They may sell at other campus locations only with the written approval of the Office of Student Life.
The University will not assist commercial agents (such as insurance agents or other salespersons) in contacting students. They may not have access to student directories or campus postal facilities. Private parties may inform students of items for sale through an ad in the campus newspaper, on SPU Classifieds online, or by posting a notice on designated bulletin boards in the SUB or Gwinn Commons.
Speaker Policy. As a Christian institution of higher learning, SPU values the sharing of knowledge, the search for truth and the social, intellectual, and spiritual development of students. The University recognizes that free inquiry and free expression are essential to learning. Therefore, SPU promotes the development of an atmosphere in which one can ask questions and evaluate divergent points of view.
For information on speaker policy, contact the director of student programs at (206) 281-2483, or visit the office in the Student Union Building, second floor.
Acceptable Use Policy and Campus Computer Network Use. The Purpose of the University’s “Acceptable Use Policy” is to outline individual responsibilities in the legal, ethical, and appropriate use of University computer systems and network resources. All persons utilizing the campus network are expected to review, understand, and abide by the conditions set forth in the policy. Please refer to the Acceptable Use policy link found at www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/computerpolicies/ for details on these expectations and requirements.