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Behavioral Expectations
Seattle Pacific University's standards for behavior are representative of the University's identity and are designed to provide a positive learning environment while promoting the intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical well-being of students. The expectations of the Seattle Pacific community, explained below, reflect SPU's commitment to its Christian philosophy of education in the context of a Wesleyan heritage.

By enrolling at SPU, students agree to live according to the expectations outlined here. While students may not fully agree with every facet of the University behavior expectations, it is expected that they are followed. 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 dean of students for community life (DOSCL) in the Office of Student Life.

Community Support and Redemptive Discipline
Seattle Pacific University seeks to follow the biblical model of discipline as described in Matthew 18:15–18 and Galatians 6:1–2. The purpose of this kind of discipline is redemptive in nature, seeking to reconcile the person to God and to his or her neighbor. It is also progressive, normally beginning with a private conversation between two people (student to student).

If those two people cannot resolve the problem, the next level would include consultation with a staff member such as a peer advisor (PA), residence life coordinator (RLC), or a faculty or staff member. If it then cannot be resolved, it will be referred to counseling and/or judicial action by the dean of students for community life or DOSCL designee.

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 students for community life, or the DOSCL designee, 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 dean of students for community life, or the DOSCL designee. 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.
  • The student has a history of disciplinary conduct; the student does not comply with the conduct process.
  • The student’s behavior 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 and/or sanctions that may be implemented include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Warning
  • Written reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Suspension (termination of housing and/or student status for a specified period of time and with specific conditions)
  • Dismissal (termination of housing and/or 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
  • Be excluded from areas on campus


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 director of residence life. If the official instituting the discipline is the director of residence life, then the appeal should be directed to the dean of students for community life, or DOSCL designee. If the dean of students for community life instituted the discipline, then the appeal should be directed to the vice president for student life, another vice president, the university provost, or University president. 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.
  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 vice president for student life.

Seeking Help to Grow and Change
It is our hope that each member of the SPU community is fully aware of his or her own behavior and the effects — positive or negative — that it may have upon the rest of the community. If a student knows that his or her behavior is outside of the limits established by the University and wishes assistance in changing this behavior, the student may take the initiative to discuss this concern with a peer advisor (PA), residence life coordinator (RLC), or faculty or staff member without the threat of disciplinary action.

A problem of this nature is defined as a personal issue, and the faculty or staff member will seek to work with the student 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
As the University develops and implements its policies relative to lifestyle expectations, the standards are shaped and informed by four sources: legal authority (local, state, and federal law), Scripture, historic Christian tradition, and the mission of the University:

  • 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 university 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
Seattle Pacific University is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment free of sexual harassment and assault. Members of our community have the right to work, study, and communicate with each other in an atmosphere free from unsolicited and unwelcome communication of a sexual nature.

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 reasonably 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 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 following:

  • Vice President for Student Life at 206-281-2481
  • Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator at 206-281-2809
  • Office of the Provost at 206-281-2125

Further information and SPU's complete statement concerning sexual harassment is available from the Office of Student Life, Human Resources, or from Safety and Security at 206-281-2922.

Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy and Discrimination Complaint Procedures
It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations.

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:

Vice President for Student Life
Phone: 206-281-2481
Campus location: Room 209, Student Union Building
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 212
Seattle, Washington 98119-1950

Director of Human Resources / Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 206-281-2809
Campus location: 330 West Nickerson Street
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 302
Seattle, Washington 98119-1957

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.

Lifestyle Expectations
Lifestyle expectations are the general standards that govern the personal conduct of all students and student organizations at SPU. Behaviors for which students or student organizations are subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to the following:

  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.
  4. The possession, use, distribution, or sale of alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs, or the illicit use of prescription drugs. Students must abide by state and federal laws regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The University does not permit students to use or possess marijuana on or off campus, or alcohol and/or tobacco products on University property or as part of any SPU activities. For further information see statement on Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools and Communities.
  5. Dishonesty such as cheating or plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information; unauthorized or alteration 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, self-harming behaviors, 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 the Acceptable Use Policy Statement).
  10. Failure to comply with the directions of authorized University officials in the performance of their duties, including lack of compliance with the terms of disciplinary sanctions, failure to identify oneself when requested to do so, etc. A $500 fine may be assessed.
  11. False reporting or warning of an impending fire, bombing, crime or other 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, storage, manufacture, transport, display, sale, or distribution on University property of any firearms, weapons, fireworks, live ammunition, incendiary devices, explosives, flammable liquids, or other items that are potentially hazardous to members of the campus community. Propane and other compressed gases (including spray paint) are also prohibited unless approved for a specific purpose.
  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 or health hazards 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 and Communities

SPU is subject to the requirements of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989. The University strongly supports the 1988 and 1989 acts and consistently ensures compliance with them.

SPU annually distributes information regarding the restrictions and consequences of violations of each act. Any student who has not received copies of the statements should contact the Office of Student Life in the Student Union Building (SUB), Second Floor, or Human Resources at 330 West Nickerson.

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 of legal age who choose to consume alcohol off-campus, to do so responsibly and to refrain from drunkenness (intoxication) at all times, and to not involve themselves in situations where excessive consumption and/or irresponsible behavior is taking place.


Misconduct related to alcohol consumption or drug use that creates risks for one's safety, threatens the safety of others, detracts from the living-learning community, disrupts the university community (either on or off campus) is a violation of SPU's policy and may result in disciplinary action.

Illegal, underage consumption and/or possession of alcohol will not be permitted either on or off campus. Students who host or in any way assist or promote a gathering (on or off campus) that includes alcohol given to underage persons, underage consumption of alcohol, illegal drug usage, or any drunkenness (intoxication) will be subject to the disciplinary process, up to and including dismissal. Those living at the location where a party is hosted may be held responsible as hosts regardless of who provides the alcohol.


The use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal use/possession of drugs on campus or at any of SPU’s activities will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. A student who is found on campus, or at any university activity, to be exhibiting behaviors that indicate that she or he may be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, can expect to be confronted, challenged, and disciplinary action may be taken.

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.

Other University Policies

Representing the University. No individual or group of students may represent the University outside the campus without the explicit sponsorship of an SPU department or the written permission of the vice president for student life.

Church- or Parachurch-Related Activities on Campus. Christian parachurch and Christian church-related groups must obtain permission to be a registered campus group from University 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 University 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. 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. 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.
  • 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 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.

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 vice president for 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.

Solicitation. Recognized on-campus groups or organizations are permitted to solicit in approved campus locations provided they have:

  • A completed and approved reservation form (available at the Uni-Com desk)
  • Payment of appropriate vending fee, if required.

The time, place, and manner of solicitation is subject to regulation by the University, and will be granted only for organizations that are consistent with the University's mission.

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 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 of Student Programs 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.

Refer to the Acceptable Use policy for details on these expectations and requirements.


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