Conduct Policies and Procedures

Student/Institutional Relationship

Through enrollment at Marywood University, students accept the responsibility to meet all academic requirements and to act in accordance with the University’s mission, core values and policies. The University accepts a corresponding responsibility to make decisions that promote the community’s well-being and provide appropriate process to its members. All members of the community are encouraged to report and/or respond to potential policy violations.

Philosophy of Conduct

A vital part of a college education for students is the opportunity to develop and strengthen values and attitudes that guide responsible behavior in all areas of life. The conduct program challenges and supports students to learn about the consequences of their actions and to enhance their growth and development as mature adults.

The Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students is the reference document for the establishment of the conduct program (“Program”). To that end, the program strives to provide a fundamentally fair process in which behavior that infringes on others’ rights, the common good and/or the University’s rights as a corporate entity is addressed. The conduct process values community rights over those of the individual and promotes an educational atmosphere for students to learn and behave within the context of a University guided by a distinct mission and values.

Through involvement in the conduct program, students will have the opportunity to learn to appropriately self-advocate, reflect on their choice of behaviors and live responsibly in a diverse and interdependent community.

General Provisions

The Dean of Students is authorized to define and interpret the conduct policies and to manage the conduct program. Academic policy violations normally are adjudicated by an academic dean or designee. Sexual misconduct violations are handled through the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.  All correspondence with students related to the conduct program is through University email, which students are responsible for checking regularly. The standard of evidence in the conduct program is that of a preponderance of evidence, more than 50% certainty that the student is or is not responsible.

The conduct process is separate from and independent of the system of criminal and civil law, regulations and ordinances. The University will cooperate appropriately with civil authorities in the enforcement of the law.  The University may bring conduct charges concurrent with civil and criminal charges.  If a student faces concurrent charges, the Dean of Students may decide that the University should postpone its conduct hearing until law enforcement has completed the fact finding phase.  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as semester breaks, all investigations should be completed within 60 days following the receipt of the report of possible policy violation or following the accuser’s decision to pursue charges.  Additionally, students may, and are encouraged to, file complaints with local law enforcement officials at any time consistent with federal, state and local law. 

Rules and Regulations

The conduct process usually is limited to behavior that negatively affects the pursuit of educational objectives and support of the University’s core values. No specific policy statement can apply to every situation, and the following are examples of behavior that are subject to the conduct process:

  1. Dishonesty: All forms of dishonesty including lying, cheating, plagiarism, providing false or misleading information, forgery, alteration, or fraudulent use of documents or identification. (See also Academic Honesty Policy)
  2. Disruptive Conduct: Disruption or obstruction of University activities or operations.
  3. Abuse: Harassment, stalking, bullying, physical harm, risk of physical harm, verbal abuse, hazing or similar actions of intimidation or coercion. (See also Anti-Discrimination and Complaint Procedures, Sexual Misconduct and Complaint Procedures and Hazing policies)
  4. Endangering Conduct: Any self-inflicted action or inaction that is a danger to a student’s health, safety, or welfare or that inhibits the student’s success at the University.
  5. Weapons: Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, other weapons or dangerous chemicals or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear to others. (See also Deadly Weapons and Fireworks Policy)
  6. Fireworks and Explosives: Unauthorized use, possession or storage of fireworks, explosives or hazardous materials on University property. (See also Deadly Weapons and Fireworks Policy)
  7. Theft: Unauthorized possession or use of University property or the property of another.
  8. Damage/Vandalism: Damaging, making unusable or vandalizing University property or the property of another.
  9. Failure to Comply: Failure to comply with the direction of University officials in the performance of their duties.
  10. Unauthorized Entry: Entry into any University building, office or other facility (roof, ledge, window, stairwell, closet, etc.), room or container (file cabinet, desk drawer, computer etc.) without proper authorization. Remaining without authorization in any building after the building is locked for the evening.  (Also see Safety Procedures and Campus Safety)
  11. Alcohol: Regardless of the person’s age, the possession, use or distribution of alcoholic beverages, being in the presence of such violation (constructive possession), possession of empty alcohol containers or being intoxicated on campus. (See also Alcohol & Controlled Substances Policy and Medical Amnesty Policy)
  12. Drugs: Possession, use, manufacture, solicitation or distribution of illegal or controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law; being in the presence of such violation; possessing paraphernalia to assist in the possession, use, manufacture, solicitation or distribution of such substances; or use, solicitation, or distribution of non-controlled substances for intoxicating purposes or effects. (See also Alcohol & Controlled Substances Policy)
  13. Indecent Conduct: Indecent, profane or obscene conduct.
  14. Failure to Act: In the presence of a violation, failure to intervene/confront, notify University staff or leave the area.
  15. Failure to Respect Each Person: Demonstrated lack of civility in resolving disputes and disagreements.
  16. University Regulations: Violation of any published University regulations.
  17. Laws: Violations of any federal, state or local laws. 


Drug and Alcohol Amnesty

This policy assures the community that when a student’s health and safety are in danger due to intoxication, alcohol poisoning or other drug-related emergencies, students who seek help for themselves or others will not be subject to conduct action for a violation of the University Alcohol and/or Other Drug regulations. Further, students should, and are encouraged to, report all known and suspected incidents relating to sexual discrimination, including harassment, assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking  (pursuant to the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy), when drugs and alcohol are involved.  No student will be penalized for violating the University’s Alcohol and/or Other Drug policies when reporting such incidents.  In such cases, student(s) will be required to meet with the Dean of Students or designee shortly thereafter to address the issues that caused the risk to the student’s well-being. To assist students in learning from the experience, the student(s) may be required to complete an alcohol/other drug assessment and/or to participate in counseling. Only in cases of a repeated pattern of similar incidents or failure to cooperate, the Dean of Students may review the situation on an individual basis and determine whether conduct action and/or potential sanctions are appropriate. If additional or egregious policy violations occur during the same incident, the Dean of Students reserves the right to adjudicate the non-alcohol related violations.

Off-Campus Behavior

Enrollment at Marywood University is a voluntary decision, which includes a student’s acceptance of the responsibility to meet academic requirements and to behave consistently with the University’s policies, purposes and objectives at all times, on campus, off campus and in cyberspace. The University reserves the right to alert civil authorities to problems on or off campus.

Additional Resources

Complainants or the University also may choose to file a report with the proper law enforcement authorities.  Marywood University has personnel on staff who can explain criminal complaint procedures and assist complainants in beginning the process and filing a complaint.  Additionally, if necessary, University administrators will notify the appropriate law enforcement officials in accordance with any obligations under applicable federal, state and local laws.  Police investigation and legal prosecution are conducted outside of and in addition to University procedures.  Criminal charges and a disciplinary charge may be pursued at the same time.  However, the complainant need not pursue criminal charges in order to file a disciplinary charge with the University.  Should the complainant elect to proceed with both, however, the University will comply with and help to enforce any applicable judicial no-contact, restraining, and protective order.

Students as Neighbors: Most students who live in the local community make positive contributions, but all must understand the behavior expected of them as residents of these communities. Students should demonstrate respect and concern for all members of both communities and behave as responsible citizens. Students should understand that conduct investigation and charges will be initiated when the University’s interest, reputation and/or capacity to function as an academic community is involved.

Conduct Procedures

Conduct cases will be handled in accordance with the University conduct policy of appropriate process. If any member of the University community believes s/he has been the victim of or a witness to, or otherwise has reason to believe or become aware of, a violation of University policies by a student or student organization, s/he may file an incident report against that student(s) or student organization as soon as possible to the Dean of Students, Director of Housing and Residence Life, or the Chief of Campus Safety. In cases where a student organization is charged, the organization will be represented by two members, preferably the president and vice president, and will follow Marywood’s student conduct procedures.  For incidents of a sexual nature, please see the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.

No one should assume that the University knows, or has reason to know, about a particular situation involving misconduct.  The University encourages all students to report the incident as soon as possible, but preferably not later than 30 working days, except in unusual circumstances, after the alleged incident(s) occurs, to the Dean of Students, Director of Housing and Residence Life, or the Chief of Campus Safety. When the accuser is a student, the accuser will have the choice to act in a role similar to a plaintiff or in a role as a witness.  When the accuser is not a Marywood student, then the accuser’s role will be as a witness.

If the accuser chooses to file a complaint with the University, the individual may proceed formally or informally.

In situations when the complainant elects to proceed informally, the Dean of Students will determine the steps to take to resolve the issue.  The parties may elect to resolve the matter through mediation.  Should the complainant elect to proceed informally, s/he may elect to stop the informal process at any time and proceed through the formal process.

If the complainant decides to proceed formally, either initially or after opting out of the informal process, the complainant should submit within ten (10) working days a formal complaint, preferably in writing, to the Dean of Students.  The complaint must include detailed factual information concerning the incident(s), and should include what the complainant feels will correct the situation.  The Dean of Students will appoint an investigator from a pool of trained faculty, administrators and professional staff.

Within five (5) working days after receipt of a formal complaint, the investigator will commence a thorough investigation.  Investigations will be conducted as expeditiously as possible.  The entire process, as outlined below, should be completed within sixty (60) calendar days after the complaint, either formal or informal, is filed.  This timeframe may vary, however, depending on confidentiality requests, availability of witnesses, the scope of the investigation and any unforeseen circumstances.

Within ten (10) working days after the initiation of the investigation, and every ten (10) working days thereafter until receipt of the final outcome, the investigator must provide, simultaneously, a written summary of the complaint and the proceedings to date to both the complainant and the alleged offender.

Should the investigation include meetings with the complainant and/or the alleged offender, the complainant and the alleged offender are permitted to be accompanied by a Marywood employee or Marywood student whose role will be advisory.  Requests for additional attendees as a reasonable accommodation for a disability will be considered on an individual basis. 

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Dean of Students will appoint a hearing panel of three independent members from the pool of trained investigators.  The investigator will present his/her findings to the hearing panel, who may question the investigator, the complainant, and/or the alleged offender. 

The hearing panel will determine, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether the alleged offender violated the Conduct Policy.  The hearing panel will then provide conclusions and disciplinary recommendations to the Dean of Students.  After a decision is made concerning resolution of the complaint and any disciplinary actions to be imposed, the Dean of Students will notify simultaneously the complainant and the alleged offender in writing of the outcome of the investigation.


Procedures for Appeal

Either party may appeal the decision of the hearing panel by stating so in a letter to the Vice President for Student Life within five (5) days after the decision has been communicated orally or in writing/email for one or more of the following:

that s/he did not receive a hearing consistent with the principles of appropriate process;

that the sanction was arbitrary or capricious;

that certain relevant evidence was not reviewed; or,

that new evidence is available.

For an appeal to be heard, the Vice President must agree that the accused student has demonstrated one or more of the reasons listed above.

When grounds for an appeal have been established, one of the following procedures will be followed:

The Vice President for Student Life may 1) accept the report as presented; 2) accept the report with a specific reduction or increase in the sanction; 3) return the case to the hearing panel for further proceedings; or 4) dismiss one or more of the charges entirely, or 5) establish an Appeal Board including an administrator and two (2) representatives from the Conduct Board. The Vice President or designee will sit as Chair (ex-officio) of the Appeal Board.  Board decisions in all cases are advisory to the Vice President. The Appeal Board will determine the procedure to follow after consideration of the specific case. The Appeal Board will adhere to the principles of appropriate process as stated in the University’s conduct procedures.

Notification of the result of the appeal will be sent in writing/email to both parties in the original complaint. The outcome of the case is considered a student’s educational record and disclosure of information must follow FERPA guidelines. In accordance with federal law, the victim will be notified of the outcome of the case (finding of responsible or not responsible) in cases of violence. Victims will be notified of any sanctions assigned to the accused that impact the victim. Additionally, in cases of crimes of violence or non-forcible sex offenses, anyone may be informed of the outcome of the case if the accused is found responsible.


Conduct action is based on the seriousness of the offense, individual circumstances, the best interest of the University community and the student’s education and growth. As such, the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions based on various factors in the case.  Sanctions will be stated in writing and maintained as a formal record in the Dean of Students Office. A combination of sanctions may be invoked when appropriate. Students who repeatedly violate University policy will be assigned progressively more serious sanctions. If sanctions are not completed, a Conduct Hold will be placed on the student’s account. The sanction, or combination of sanctions, which may be imposed upon individuals or organizations, includes the following:

Policy Reminder
A Policy Reminder is a written notice that the student’s behavior required conduct proceedings. The nature and circumstances of the conduct does not deserve further action, but the reminder is recorded in the Office of the Dean of Students for future reference for the duration of the student’s enrollment. 

Restitution is the reimbursement for damage, destruction or misappropriation of property on University premises. When imposed, restitution to the University or a member of the University community will be made in addition to a previously defined sanction. 

Fines are penalty fees payable to the University depending on the degree of infraction. The amount is determined by the Preliminary Hearing Officer/Investigator, Conduct Board or Administrative Hearing Officer. 

Educational Tasks
Projects or programs that promote the education of the student through experiences are designed to enhance personal growth, improve understanding of the community and/or contribute to the larger community outside of the University. 

Restricted Access/Loss of Privileges
Loss of Privileges may include visitation, parking, attending University functions or representing the University in extracurricular activities. Restricted Access is official notification that an individual is not welcome to visit campus facilities or a specific community member(s). This may be administered for a specific building or general areas of the campus with or without a termination date. In some cases, it is known as a No Trespassing Notice or No Contact Order. The University may request intervention of civil authorities if an individual violates this restriction.  

Removal from University Housing
A student may be dismissed from living in University Housing and/or banned from visiting University residence facilities. Students with board contracts receive a pro-rated refund as described in the Housing Contract; no reimbursement is provided for the balance of a housing agreement. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from the University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested. 

Conduct Hold
A Conduct Hold is a restriction placed on a student’s academic records for failure to complete a sanction. A Conduct Hold prevents the student from registering for classes and receiving grades, and/or other services normally provided by the Registrar’s Office.

Probation is a sanction that includes a specified period of time during which the student must demonstrate the ability to comply with University rules, regulations, and/or other conditions imposed. Students who are recipients of University scholarships and are placed on Probation may be subject to gradation or removal of that scholarship during the term of probation. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when the sanction of Probation has been imposed. Any additional violation of University policy, however minor, may result in Suspension or Dismissal. Probation may be administered in two forms. 

  1. Specific Probation: with or without conditions, is imposed for a specific period of time. Conditions may include any combination of the sanctions listed above.
  2. General Probation: imposed for the student’s tenure at the University. 


Interim Suspension
Interim Suspension is the temporary suspension of a student’s enrollment, housing, or other University privileges, pending full consideration of a conduct case. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will determine if there is a reasonable cause to believe a student has violated any of the University’s rules and regulations and that danger or disruption will be present if the student is permitted to remain on campus or in University housing. 

Suspension is the termination of student status for a specified period of time. Conditions of reinstatement are included in the Preliminary/Formal Hearing Results notice. A suspended student is charged fees for the semester in which the suspension occurs in accordance with the published University Withdrawal and Refund Policy Statement. A grade of “W” is assigned for the same semester courses remaining on the student’s transcript. A statement of the student’s status is sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Enrollment Management, and the Registrar and the record of the sanction is maintained for seven years in the Dean of Students Office. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from the University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested. 

Dismissal is the permanent termination of student status and separation from the University. A dismissed student is charged full fees for the semester in which the dismissal occurs in accordance with the published University Withdrawal and Refund Policy Statement. A grade of “W’ is assigned for the same semester courses remaining on the student transcript. A statement of the student’s status is sent to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Enrollment Management and the Registrar and recorded permanently in the Dean of Students Office. Since the majority of undergraduates are legal dependents of their parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to contact parents and/or guardians when sanctions of Removal from University Housing or Suspension/Dismissal from the University are imposed. Independent students should notify the Dean of Students of their independence and verify that status if requested.