University Policies

Support When Seeking Help

Seattle Pacific University is deeply committed to the health, safety, and well-being of its students. Students are strongly encouraged to call 206-281-2911 or seek other medical attention when their health or safety or the health and safety of others is threatened or appears to be at risk. The University wants to eliminate barriers for students who may be hesitant to seek medical or emergency help, or reluctant to report the incident to University officials because they fear being held accountable for drug or alcohol policy violations. To encourage student health and safety, the University offers support to students who are accessing medical help for themselves or others. This means students seeking medical help will not be charged with drug or alcohol policy violations related to the particular incident.

Similarly, the University has established a support policy for students who wish to seek help for drug, alcohol, pornography use, or consensual sexual activities which may be in violation of SPU Student Standards of Conduct. Knowing that students who struggle with these issues may be fearful of asking for help because of perceived consequences, SPU allows students who want to work through these issues without going through the disciplinary process to do so. Be aware that requests for support must precede any disciplinary confrontation resulting from violations of the Student Standards of Conduct. Please contact the dean of students for community life for more information.

While there may be no disciplinary sanctions for individuals seeking support as described above, the University may provide elements of education and assistance, which may take the form of required participation. Seeking help will not necessarily result in amnesty for other policy violations committed in connection in connection with the incident (e.g., hazing, violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy), but will be taken into account as a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate disciplinary sanctions. If you are a victim of sexual misconduct, amnesty from campus discipline for drug and alcohol violations is available when you seek medical help or report the misconduct. For more information, see the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.


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. Violations of the University’s nondiscrimination policy should be reported as soon as possible after the alleged action. For more information, see SPU’s Nondiscrimination & Title IX webpage

Bias-Related Incidents and Hate Crimes

Seattle Pacific University seeks to be a community free of hurtful bias incidents and hate crimes.

Bias-related incidents can be any physical, spoken, visual, or written acts of abuse, harassment, intimidation, or vulgarity, or remarks of a personally destructive nature toward another person because of actual or perceived defining characteristics. This can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional, or is directed toward an individual or group regarding race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable local, state, or federal law. Some bias-related incidents may also constitute acts of discrimination and/or harassment.

A hate crime can occur when a bias-related incident involves a criminal act being committed. These crimes may involve, but are not limited to, physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters. Some hate crimes may violate Washington and/or federal law, as well as University policies.

The University seeks to support students who have experienced bias-related incidents, educate the campus community about the harmful effects of bias, and hold students accountable for violations of University policy. If you have experienced or observed a bias-related incident while at Seattle Pacific University, you are encouraged to make a report to the Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement, the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, or the University Chaplain. These individuals can assist in identifying options and University processes for addressing bias-related incidents. University officials will seek to respect any request for confidentiality from a person who makes a report, but they may not be able to guarantee complete confidentiality depending on the circumstances (e.g., the University may determine that it must disclose some or all of the information it receives in order to comply with legal requirements or processes, or to protect the health and safety of individuals). Reports of hate crimes are shared with the Office of Safety and Security for purposes of campus safety and for publishing campus crime statistics. Depending on the situation, bias-related incidents may be addressed informally or through a formal University procedure (e.g., the Student Accountability Process). 

This policy is not intended to prohibit or limit the free exchange of ideas presented or debated in a respectful manner. Bias-related incidents do not include, and this policy does not prohibit, the University exercising any of its rights or enforcing any of its policies, including this policy.

The University strictly prohibits retaliation against any student or employee who, in good faith, makes a report about a bias-related incident or hate crime. Any person who believes he or she has been retaliated against can make a report to the Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement, the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, or the University Chaplain. Any student engaging in any such retaliation is subject to discipline, possibly up to dismissal from the University.

Sexual Misconduct

Seattle Pacific University is committed to maintaining an environment free of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct. For more information about the University’s policies and procedures relating to sexual misconduct, including recommended action for those who are victims of sexual misconduct or who observe or suspect sexual misconduct, see the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.


The University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person who files a complaint or otherwise participates in a University investigation or proceeding. This includes retaliation against anyone who makes a report or files a complaint about a violation of University policy (e.g., regarding incidents of bias, discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct), who expresses an intent to make such a report or complaint, or who testifies as a witness or otherwise provides information as part of an investigation or proceeding. Retaliation can be any type of adverse or negative action taken toward a person who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in a University investigation or proceeding (however, an adverse action would not be retaliatory if it was taken for some other justifiable reason). Examples of retaliation can include intimidation, coercion, harassment, threats, acts of violence, acts intended to embarrass another person, unjustified negative grades, or taking any other action that is likely to dissuade a person from making a complaint in the future. Any student who believes he or she has been retaliated against can contact the Dean of Students for Community Life, the Dean of Multi-Ethnic and Wellness Programs, the Director of Residence Life, or the Assistant Director of Residence Life. Any student who commits retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. Retaliation by a student will either be addressed through the Student Accountability Process or in connection with an existing complaint proceeding, depending on the circumstances. 

False Reporting

Any student found to be falsely reporting and/or falsely accusing an individual may face appropriate disciplinary action and/or sanction, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University.

University Response to Threat to Self

SPU has offices to support the medical and mental health needs of students within the context of our campus community. At times, a student's medical or mental health condition may require a type or level of professional care that either exceeds what the University has the resources to provide or is incompatible by its nature with the individual's responsibilities as an SPU student (e.g., required in-patient care or rehabilitation for an extended period).

If SPU determines that a student may have such a medical or mental health condition, the student will be assessed individually and on a case-by-case basis, including evaluation by a medical and/or mental health professional. Examples of conditions whose care and treatment may exceed University resources or be incompatible with student responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, eating disorders, substance abuse, life-threatening behaviors, and severe or chronic psychotic episodes.

If a student presents a substantial risk of harm to himself or herself, the dean of students for community life or designee will review the situation, taking into account the advice of a medical and/or mental health professional, and will determine the appropriate course of action, which may include administrative withdrawal of the student from the University. Additionally, the Dean of Students or designee may restrict the student's access on an interim basis to any or all of the University's programs, services, and facilities, pending a full review and final decision. This may include academic programs, student housing, and other nonacademic activities. Any such restrictions will be communicated in writing.

Disruptive Behavior

Students are expected to cooperate with one another and with University officials. Students should not interfere with the educational process or the administration of the University, including, but not limited to, actions that obstruct or disrupt the use of University property, endanger the safety of the residential community, or incite a disturbance. Students who harass, provide false identification or information, fail to identify themselves, do not permit access to a room or apartment, or in any way fail to cooperate with University officials acting in the performance of their duties are subject to disciplinary action.

Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco

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, or disrupts the University community (either on or off campus) is a violation of SPU's policies and may result in disciplinary action.

Undergraduate students of legal age may consume alcohol off-campus if they do so responsibly and refrain from intoxication. Alcohol is not permitted on SPU property or as part of any SPU activities, and students are not allowed to be on campus or at University-sponsored events (including athletic events, international programs, SPRINT trips, study abroad programs, and performance group trips) while under the influence of alcohol even if their consumption occurred off campus or away from these events. Students under the age of 21 are not allowed to possess or consume alcohol regardless of their location. Students who provide alcohol to those under the age of 21 regardless of the location or form may be subject to discipline.

Students who possess, distribute, and/or use narcotics (including marijuana, Salvia, and any form of hallucinogens) or any paraphernalia on or off campus may be subject to discipline. The misuse of prescription drugs is also prohibited.

In the interest of common health concerns, the campus is a tobacco-free environment. Use or display or any form of tobacco (including but not limited to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, snuff, smokeless tobacco, chew, hemp, hookah, vaping/vaporizers, and other tobacco paraphernalia or devices) on SPU property or at an SPU activity is prohibited.

Prohibited substances and/or paraphernalia will be confiscated and disposed of by University staff members if found on campus or at SPU events. For more information about drug and alcohol policies and resources, see the Campus Annual Notification.


Seattle Pacific University permits students and other members of the University community to express their views by peaceful protest against actions and opinions with which they disagree. The University also stresses an obligation to maintain a campus atmosphere conducive to academic work, to preserve the dignity and seriousness of University ceremonies and public exercises, and to respect all individuals. The following rules are intended to reconcile these objectives.

Those organizing demonstrations must meet with the dean of students for community life or designee prior to the event (preferably 72 hours or as far in advance as possible). This meeting will allow for event planning, space, or facility reservations, and coordination with the Office of Safety and Security.

Campus demonstrations may be conducted only when such demonstrations:

  • Are conducted in such a manner as to respect the rights and welfare of others;
  • Do not interfere with automobile or pedestrian traffic;
  • Do not disrupt scheduled class meetings, teaching, administration, or disciplinary procedures, and/or University functions or authorized activities; and
  • Do not interfere with approved demonstrations by others.

The University retains the right to control the use of all University property at any time and for any reason.

Distribution of Literature

University departments and recognized student 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 materials to prevent campus littering.
  • On-campus groups mailing printed materials 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 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 or 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 Involvement and Leadership.

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.


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); and payment of the 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 student 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 involvement and leadership at 206-281-2831 or visit the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership in the Student Union Building, second floor.

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 Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement.

Transportation Policy

Some Student Life and Residence Life events occur away from the main University campus. Unless specifically stated, the University normally assumes no responsibility for determining transportation of students to the site of an event or activity, whether such event or activity occurs on or off campus.

Surveillance Videos

The Office of Safety and Security maintains an extensive network of surveillance cameras across the University's campus for the safety of the campus community and for the security of campus facilities and property. Actions of individuals on and near campus may be recorded and preserved. Such recordings may be used in formal campus proceedings, may be shared with law enforcement officials in criminal investigations, and may be used for other University purposes.

Permission to Photograph

Seattle Pacific University may at times use photographs, audio, and/or video recordings of employees and students for purposes of education, publicity, and student recruitment on behalf of the University through the Internet, print publications, and other media. Should an employee or student (or the parents or guardians of such persons who are under the age of 18) not want the University to use such recordings as described in the preceding sentence, that person must notify the Office of University Communications in writing. Individuals who choose to opt-out are also responsible for removing themselves from areas in which photography and/or recording is taking place, or notifying the camera operator of their opt-out status. Failure to do so may result in that individual's inclusion in a photograph or recording and will be treated as consent for the University to utilize that photograph or recording accordingly.

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, including those set forth in this handbook, 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.

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 University Ministries, so as not to conflict with existing University programs.

Babysitting and Child Care

Because of safety concerns and insurance limitations, facilitating on-campus child care is not permitted unless approved by University administration.

Computer and Information Services (CIS) User Policies

Students are expected to adhere to policies developed by the University with respect to the use of the University's computers, network, and other information technology, including policies that prohibit downloading copyrighted materials without permission and that prohibit sending or storing inappropriate content. Refer to the SPU User Policies for a full listing of such policies.

Residential Living Requirement

Since it was founded in 1891, SPU has been committed to the education of the whole person. For this reason, the residential experience is considered an integral part of a student’s education. Research shows that students who belong to a campus residential community have a more productive, and ultimately more satisfying college experience than those who live off campus. Recent SPU data also indicates that students who live on campus are more academically successful and more likely to persist in their educational journey.

As a part of the strategy to facilitate student success, students are required to live on campus for their first two years at Seattle Pacific. Undergraduate students who are registered for eight or more credits are required to live on campus unless they graduated from high school two or more years before the start of the current academic year. SPU strongly encourages all students to live on campus.

Students who wish to petition for an exemption to the Requirement can submit a request by using the Residential Living Exemption Form that is available on the Housing Portal. Exemptions are rare and may be considered based on a student’s marital status and/or parental responsibilities, if a student is living at home with parents/guardians, their commute distance, or in light of significant financial circumstances.

Any student living off campus without approval may incur a fine and a hold on their account which prevents course registration until they are in compliance.

Other Residential Policies

For other University policies applicable to residential living, see Residential Guidelines.

Academic Schedule Religious Accommodation Policy

The purpose of this policy is to allow SPU undergraduate and graduate students to observe holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization as required by RCW 28B.137.010. SPU faculty must reasonably accommodate students who, due to the observance of religious holidays, expect to be absent or endure a significant hardship during certain days of a course or program. “Reasonably accommodate” means coordinating with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for completion of the program and may include rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities.

A student who wishes to obtain an accommodation pursuant to this policy must provide written notice to each faculty member from whom the student is seeking an accommodation within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course. The written notice must identify the specific dates for which the student requests accommodations regarding examinations or other activities. SPU will not require students to pay any fees for seeking reasonable accommodations under this policy. Taking an approved accommodation under this policy will not adversely impact a student’s grade.

If a student makes a request to a faculty member for an accommodation under this policy, the faculty member will evaluate whether this policy applies to the request and whether the request has been properly made. If the faculty member believes that the student is entitled to an accommodation pursuant to this policy, the faculty member will discuss options for accommodations with the student. The goal would be to find an alternative arrangement that is workable for both the student and the faculty member. The faculty member should document in writing (which may be done by email to the student) any accommodation agreed upon by the student and the faculty member.

Faculty members will offer reasonable accommodations to students requesting accommodations under this policy. In doing so, for situations involving tests, the faculty member must offer more than one alternative testing time that is not in conflict with either the religious event or the class schedule of the student. If reasonable accommodations have been offered to a student in writing and the student has not accepted one or does not show up at the agreed upon time, the faculty member is not obligated to make other accommodations for the student. Failure to show up at an agreed upon time for an accommodation may impact the student’s grade.  

If a student does not believe that they have been treated in accordance with this policy they may file a grievance by submitting a written complaint to the faculty member’s dean.  Contact information for SPU deans is listed on the Academic Leadership Team webpage . If a student does not know the faculty member’s dean, the student may send the written complaint to SPU’s Provost at The written complaint must be submitted within two weeks of the date on which the student believes their rights under this policy were not honored.  The dean (or designee) will evaluate the student’s written complaint and may speak with one or both of the student and the faculty member. The dean (or designee) will attempt to complete a written decision within two weeks of receipt of a written complaint and will issue the written decision to the student and the faculty member after it has been completed. The decision of the dean (or designee) is final.  

Other Residential Policies

For other University policies applicable to residential living, see Residential Guidelines.

Other Residential Policies

For other University policies applicable to residential living, see Residential Guidelines.

Last published on 9/14/2021