Student Conduct Code
- Applies to:
- Current Students
- Approved by:
- Office of Student Conduct
- Last updated: August 1, 2020
The Student Conduct Code contains important information regarding Calvin University’s expectations for student conduct as well as information about procedures for reporting and the process for resolving problems and addressing conduct violations within the Calvin University community.
Students are expected to comply with the conduct requirements set forth in this Code, and they may in turn expect the university to address issues or concerns fairly, consistently, and in accord with the policies and procedures set forth in the Conduct Code applicable at the time an issue arises. This Code is not a static document or an unchanging set of policies and procedures. On the contrary, updates to the Student Conduct Code may be made whenever necessary to comply with government regulations and when the information presented here can be made clearer or better aligned with best practices. It is the responsibility of all Calvin University students to become aware of and to remain familiar with campus policies and procedures. In the event of substantial mid-year revisions to the Student Conduct Code, students will be alerted by a notice in Student News. Students can expect annual updates to the conduct code prior to each academic year and available in the on–line version of the Student Conduct Code on the Student Life Division web page.
Printed copies of the Student Conduct Code are available upon request at the office of the Vice President for Student Life (Spoelhof Center 364K).
The official and most current version of the Student Conduct Code is always found online on this page.
Table of contents
- Student Responsibilities, Rights, and Related Policies
- Policies and Expectations for Students
- University Student Conduct Process
- Student Conduct Sanctions and Appeals
- Academic Integrity Policies
A. Vision Statement
Calvin University is a comprehensive liberal arts university in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity. Through our learning, we seek to be agents of renewal in the academy, church, and society. We pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ, offering our hearts and lives to do God’s work in God’s world.
B. Building Community
Building community is an integral component of Calvin’s educational mission. Perhaps this vision is best characterized by an image of students, faculty, and staff helping one another day by day to "cultivate aspirations, nurture commitments, and practice what we profess” (Expanded Statement of Mission, Calvin University, p. 52). Seen in this light, being a member of Calvin University is not ultimately about personal gratification, “doing one’s own thing,” or peaceful co-existence, although Calvin is certainly a place where its constituents can enjoy considerable freedoms, excel, and build lasting friendships. At its best, Calvin seeks to weld its participants together around the beliefs that all are made in God’s image and that members of Christ’s church need one another, such that their educational endeavors, interpersonal relationships, and personal actions might reflect the Lord’s provisions more closely.
Building community is not easy. Christian belief also testifies that a person’s disregard for God’s provisions for life lead to brokenness, alienation, and wrongdoing. As a result, Calvin is not a perfect place; people act, speak, and think in ways that are in conflict with biblical standards. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension provide relief from brokenness, alienation, and wrongdoing; followers of Christ are emancipated, enlightened, and empowered to experience life in ways that are mutually fulfilling and meaningful. Consequently, Calvin can be a place where the blessings of community can be pursued and experienced, albeit partially, by some more than others, and sometimes more than other times.
Building community doesn’t occur automatically; it requires commitment and perseverance. Moreover, building community suggests intentionally striving to enact self-control, integrity, and justice as appropriate expressions of Christian belief. Self-control involves acknowledging God’s presence in all of our actions; integrity concerns being above reproach in dealings with others; and justice indicates a desire to pursue righteousness, compassion, and shalom in private and public settings. Taken together, these three characteristics of the Christian life are important building blocks of the kind and quality of community that Calvin envisions.
Building community also involves avoiding various behaviors. Calvin proscribes or "outlaws" certain conduct because it impedes the kind of community that it hopes to build. More specifically, if a student becomes intoxicated, he is not self-controlled; if a student cheats on a test, she has compromised integrity; or, if a student harasses a colleague, he has acted unjustly. In each case, the building of community was diminished. What follows, then, are signposts as to how students might pursue the goal of building community.
C. Theoretical Basis for the Code of Conduct
The theoretical basis for this Student Conduct Code can be derived from the law of God as summarized in Matthew 22:37-40, the Christian law of love. Christians must learn to love God above all and their neighbors as themselves. Yet such love is often feeble, fragmentary, and deficient. Recognizing sinful resistance to God’s love, this Christian academic community, resting in the grace of God and moved by His Spirit, joins to build in one another a will to obey this law of love. This code expresses how, in part, this community will act to correct the deficiencies in their love for God, for themselves, and for one another.
The Christian law of love cannot be stated in narrow, legalistic terms, for it can never be fulfilled simply by the observance of a set of rules and regulations. Consequently, this code does not seek to develop a detailed and exhaustive summary of what a student may or may not do. On the other hand, it is sound Biblical principle that everything must be done in good order; hence, this code does contain, in addition to positive Christian principles of behavior, a list of proscribed conduct and a well-defined procedure for the implementation of the code.
D. The Scope of the Student Conduct Code
- Calvin University’s conduct code applies to both individual students and to the actions of student organizations. The conduct code applies to every Calvin University student’s behavior from the time of a student’s admission to the university until the actual awarding of a degree.
- The conduct code applies to student behavior that occurs before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during break periods and when students are between terms of enrollment.
- The conduct code applies to behavior in the classroom and at all locations and events on Calvin University owned or leased property.
- The conduct code also applies to student behavior in locations and at events not occurring on-campus, including those involving non-campus individuals and organizations.
- The conduct code applies to behavior in locations abroad and in situations involving technology as a means of recording or communication.
- The student conduct code allows the university to take action or assign sanctions to students for behavior that adversely affects self or others at off-campus sites or disrupts the community wherever it may occur.
- Calvin University conduct action does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual nor does the filing or dismissing of civil or criminal charges preclude action by the university.
- The conduct code applies to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a conduct matter is pending.
- The Director of Student Conduct and/or his/her designee shall decide whether university conduct action related to student conduct code violations shall be applied in a variety of novel situations, on a case by case basis, at his/her sole discretion.
- A Student Life dean or the Vice President of Student Life may authorize a search of a particular room in a university residence hall or on university owned property to determine compliance with university regulations and/or compliance with federal, state, and local criminal law. Decisions to search are evaluated on a case by case basis when there is reason to believe that a violation has occurred or is taking place in that room or area.
- The university generally requires that outside police or other government officials obtain a valid warrant to search a student’s campus room or apartment.
- Calvin students may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer or a hair test when reasonable suspicion exists that the student may have violated the conduct code. Reasonable suspicion exists where the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the institution indicate that a violation has been or is being committed. While students have the right to refuse, students who do not comply will face conduct action and such action may impact a student’s continued enrollment at the university.
E. Relationship with Local Law Enforcement Authorities and the Legal System
Calvin University Student Conduct views university students as adults who are responsible for the consequences of their actions. Calvin students are required to abide by the laws of local, state and national governments and are subject to university conduct action for violating any law. Students are expected to notify the university within 5 business days when they are arrested for and/or charged with civil and/or criminal offenses. Criminal and civil laws still apply within the academic community. In addition, the university has the authority to establish further policies and to hold students accountable for violating these policies.
While the university will not shield students from involvement with local law enforcement, sometimes the university is in a better position to deal with a student infraction than the local police. Calvin University’s department of campus safety and local law enforcement authorities have drafted a memo of understanding (MOU) which outlines on-campus situations where students in violation of university policy and/or local laws are processed through the university student conduct process.
Except for violations of civil or criminal laws, the internal affairs of the university may best be handled by the university itself without resorting to outside intervention. There can be no guarantee that outside agencies will not choose to intervene on their own or that a victim of a crime will not request the involvement of outside law enforcement.
If Calvin University is the victim of a minor crime and has identified a responsible, cooperative student, Calvin may decide not to involve the police. Calvin University decisions about involving local law enforcement in student conduct matters are made by evaluating the set of facts available in the situation. The key facts reviewed may include:
- Seriousness of the crime and its impact on individuals and/or community;
- University’s ability to fully investigate and resolve the issue without assistance;
- University’s legal requirements for notifying the police;
- Possibility of current or future safety issues for the campus or local community;
- Multiple/repeated violations versus a single isolated incident;
Students who witness or experience crime are encouraged to report violations of federal, state, or local laws and ordinances to the university and to local authorities. Campus Safety and Student Life are prepared to assist students in reporting crimes to local authorities.
Some violations of the Calvin University Student Conduct Code are also violations of federal, state, or local law. In these situations, students may face both criminal charges and university conduct action. Resolving an issue through these two separate processes does not constitute double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment double jeopardy clause applies only to successive criminal prosecutions for the same offense.
Calvin University’s student conduct process is not a criminal process. Calvin University makes decisions about a student’s status and continued enrollment at the university. The legal system makes a determination about criminal responsibility for a person’s actions. The university conduct process is separate from, and does not involve, legal proceedings.
Because Calvin University’s conduct process is completely separate from the legal system and utilizes a different standard of proof, it is possible that a student will face different outcomes from the university than from the court system. University student conduct action does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual, nor does the filing/dismissing of civil or criminal charges preclude conduct action by the university.
II. Student Responsibilities, Rights, and Related Policies
Calvin students are responsible for living in accord with the principles and provisions of this code. This code recognizes that Christians seek to live their lives out of the positive law of love in obedience to God’s commandments. It has further recognized, however, that, as members of a Christian community, our love is often feeble, fragmentary, and deficient. It is in recognition of this fact that this code seeks to assist the community by a listing of proscribed conduct. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and the Director of Student Conduct has the authority to review incident reports and make judgment calls on whether to pursue conduct action on a case by case basis.
Calvin students are obliged to respect the procedures of this code, which have been established for the just and fair administration of corrective action and for the promotion of a Christian lifestyle. Students are expected to cooperate with university officials in matters related to the implementation of the Student Conduct Code. Students who choose to withhold information from university officials when being interviewed during investigations are impeding the work of the university and may face conduct action.
Members of the Calvin community (students, faculty, and staff) may report violations of the Calvin University Student Conduct Code by contacting or speaking with a Student Life dean, or by contacting Campus Safety. Any member of the Student Life staff can assist you in making a report or help you to understand the reporting process.
A. Commitments in the Student Conduct Process
In the administration of the conduct process, the university seeks to act in a way that fosters the growth and development of students and supports the vitality and safety of the learning community. To that end, Calvin University is committed to:
- Clearly articulating conduct expectations to students.
- Providing students with information about the university conduct process for responding to incidents, problem reports, and violations of the Student Conduct Code and the university Safer Spaces Policy.
- Providing a variety of options for reporting possible violations of community standards, the student conduct code, or the Safer Spaces Policy.
- Establishing provisions so that witnesses and complainants may report misconduct and participate in the resolution process without retaliation or adverse consequences.
- Providing trained and experienced individuals to administer the conduct system.
- Interacting with students in a respectful manner during the university conduct process.
- Providing students with an opportunity to appeal sanctions and requirements which result from either an informal resolution or from a hearing with the Safer Spaces Hearing Panel.
B. Expectations for Students in the Conduct Process
When notified that they are involved in an incident, a problem report or a possible conduct violation, Calvin Students are expected to:
- Respond truthfully about their actions, even at the risk of negative consequences.
- Take responsibility for their choices and actions.
- Make an effort to learn and grow, even in difficult situations.
- Participate respectfully in the university conduct process.
- Cooperate fully with university investigations into problems or violations.
- Refrain from attempting to influence or intimidate witnesses or complainants.
- Refrain from undermining the university conduct process in any way.
- Maintain appropriate confidentiality as directed and subject to legal requirements.
C. Student Rights When Referred for University Conduct Action
When referred for university conduct action, Calvin University students have the right to:
- Hear a summary of the evidence/report initiating the referral.
- Respond to the information/evidence supporting the referral.
- Present further information/evidence regarding the situation.
- Offer additional perspectives.
- Suggest witnesses and/or avenues of investigation to the conduct officer.
- Request additional time to prepare for a conduct meeting (generally 7 calendar days, can be extended by the conduct officer).
- Be accompanied by a process advisor. Students can select a process advisor from any member of the Calvin University community (current faculty, staff, or student) to serve as an advisor during a resolution meeting or during a Safer Spaces hearing.
- Note: The advisor cannot directly address the proceeding but may accompany and advise the student during and after the meeting or hearing.
- Appeal a sanctioning decision based on university established appeal processes.
For more information go to IV. Calvin University Student Conduct Process
D. Reporting Options for Students
For more information regarding the list of reporting options, please visit this page.
- Residence Life staff and Student Life deans can receive reports regarding possible violations of the Student Conduct Code. For a complete list of these Student Life staff members, go to: https://calvin.edu/offices-services/residence-life/contact-us/
- To report crimes anonymously, go to: http://www.silentobserver.org/
- To report on-campus incidents, contact campus safety: http://www.calvin.edu/offices-services/campus-safety/
- To report sexual offenses and/or Safer Spaces violations, go to: http://www.calvin.edu/about/safer-spaces/
- To report a problem or issue in the Calvin community, all students, faculty, and staff may call the university’s reporting hotline: 1-866-943-5787.
E. Related University Policies
1. Self-Report Policy
Students at Calvin University may self-report to Office of Student Conduct that they have been involved in a situation where they have violated or may have violated the Student Conduct Code, provided that the specific incident has not come to the university’s attention via normal reporting channels and/or any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Self-reports do not become a part of a student’s conduct record.
Student Life will work with the student to understand the situation and assist the student in addressing the situation so that they will be in compliance with the student conduct code in the future. This may include connecting the student to appropriate interventions or resources that fit the situation.
While sanctions are typically not given for self-reported violations, the university reserves the right to require restitution, educational interventions and/or restorative justice when this is applicable. If the self-report involves serious safety issues, violence, or behavior that has injured another party, the university will evaluate the needs of the community or the individual(s) in determining whether the sanctions can be waived.
Self-report situations may be complicated, and the outcomes referred to above may be hard to predict. Thus, students have the right to inquire whether a scenario or type of situation would be eligible for a self-report.
To make a self-report, please use this form.
Example of a Self-Report
A self-report could be utilized by a student who is using (or has used) marijuana. The following is a potential scenario which might generate a self-report: A student realizes that according to Calvin’s drug policy they risk serious disciplinary action (up to or including suspension) if they continue to use marijuana. The student realizes that they need help or resources to address the situation fully. Perhaps a friend or roommate is troubled by their use or has recently realized that the student is using marijuana.
If the student self-reports the above situation to a Student Life dean, then he or she would not receive a sanction for the reported marijuana use. The dean would receive the report and listen to the student’s experiences and concerns. The dean would work together with the student to identify appropriate resources to assist the student in bringing their behavior in line with the student conduct code. The self-report plan might stipulate that the student would submit to a future drug testing to support the change in behavior, and so together, the director and the student would establish a timeline in which the student would submit to a hair test, to confirm that the student has come into compliance with the student conduct code.
2. Good Samaritan Policy
Calvin University seeks to encourage students to help each other by seeking appropriate medical attention when the need arises. When a student calls for medical aid for himself/herself or another student out of a safety concern, s/he will not be sanctioned for any accompanying conduct code violations. The university's main concern is getting the proper medical care for the student in need. Students should call for help and NOT drive anyone in need of medical attention. Most students are not trained to care for a person who may become ill or disruptive which could impact one's ability to drive safely. Students observing another student "in danger” due to alcohol or substance consumption are expected to take action and seek medical attention for the impaired person.
3. Amnesty for Reporting Sexual Misconduct
Calvin University seeks to remove any barriers to reporting sexual offenses and cooperating in investigations or conduct process by making the procedures for reporting transparent and straightforward. The university recognizes that an individual who has been drinking or using drugs at the time of an incident may be hesitant to make a report or participate as a witness or respondent because of concern that he or she may be subject to conduct action for alcohol or drug misconduct during the period of the alleged offense. An individual who reports sexual misconduct, either as a complainant, respondent, or a third party witness, will not be subject to conduct action by the university for his or her own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that the specific incident has not come to the university’s attention via normal reporting channels and/or any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The university may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies for the student regarding alcohol or other drugs.
4. Medical Emergencies
A student who experiences a physical or mental health emergency may be referred or transported to appropriate off-campus medical facilities for stabilization and treatment. These decisions will be made by appropriate professional staff members, based on university protocols. In medical emergency situations, these decisions may be made with or without the student’s expressed consent.
5. Medical Clearance Policy
Students who are absent from campus due to a medical emergency and/or a hospitalization must notify the appropriate university staff members and seek medical clearance prior to returning to campus and resuming full participation in university life. To review the entire medical clearance policy, click here.
6. Administrative Leave of Absence
The university retains the right to make an administrative determination (outside of the processes outlined in the Student Conduct Code) to place a student on administrative leave of absence when the student is unwilling or unable to make the decision to take a voluntary leave of absence. For a full statement on the policy and procedure for administrative leave of absence, click here.
7. Information about Sex Offenders
In accordance to the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2000, which amends the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the Jeanne Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Calvin University is providing a link to the Michigan State Sex Offender Registry. All sex offenders are required to register in the state of Michigan and to provide notice to each institution of higher education in Michigan at which the person is employed, carries a vocation, or is a student.
The Michigan Public Sexual Offender Registry can be found here: http://www.communitynotification.com.
Students are encouraged to check their local addresses to familiarize themselves with the location and identity of any sex offenders in their vicinity.
In addition to the above notice to the State of Michigan, all sex offenders are required to deliver written notice of their status as a sex offender to the university no later than ninety (90) calendar days prior to their enrollment in, employment with, volunteering at, attending public programs at, or residence at Calvin University.
For students, notice of sex offender status must be directed to: Jane Hendriksma, Senior Safer Spaces Coordinator.
For university employees, vendors, or guests of the university, notice of sex offender status must be directed to: William Corner, Director of Campus Safety.
Such notification may be disseminated by Calvin University to, and for the safety and well-being of, the Calvin University community, and may be considered by Calvin University in decisions regarding a student’s continued enrollment or residence on campus, and the university may decide to refer the student for university student conduct action. Upon notice of sex offender status, the university will review the facts in evidence and make a decision on a case by case basis regarding the student’s status, matriculation, enrollment, or residence on campus. The university may impose appropriate limitations upon a registered sex offender enrolled or employed on campus.
III. Policies and Expectations for Calvin Students
A. Calvin University Alcohol Policy
The Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1989 requires institutions of higher education to adopt and implement effective policies which prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. Colleges and Universities are required to review polices and sanctions to determine effectiveness, implement needed changes, and ensure that conduct sanctions are consistently enforced.
Calvin University is committed to the intellectual and personal development and Christian discipleship of all students. Alcohol misuse inhibits students' development and is negatively correlated with academic success and personal safety. The vitality of the academic community relies on each member taking personal responsibility for his or her actions regarding alcohol use and for safeguarding the well-being of others.
Calvin University welcomes and supports the decision of any student not to consume alcohol. Calvin University seeks to emphasize education about the choices, risks, and personal responsibility regarding the use of alcohol. Students are expected to make conscious choices that do not diminish Christian community or impact one’s academic pursuits and do not risk the personal safety of community members.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) of 1989 - also known as the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act - requires institutions of higher education to establish policies that address unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs.
Calvin University expects students to observe state laws regarding alcohol use, particularly those that address underage drinking, and the university holds students accountable for their choices regarding alcohol.
In general, students may not possess alcoholic beverages or empty alcohol containers on campus, on university property, in personal vehicles on university property, or in on-campus student living areas. All campus buildings and events shall be alcohol-free, and exceptions are only made by the Office of the President (e.g. private staff residences, Prince Conference Center, etc.) Students present in a residence hall room, in an on-campus apartment, or an off-campus setting where alcohol is present and/or being consumed in violation of the Student Conduct Code may face conduct action for complicity with an alcohol violation. Calvin students who are 21 or older are free to make a decision whether or not to consume alcohol. These students are expected to consume alcohol responsibly and to honor the biblical expectations of moderation.
Calvin students are expected to observe scriptural instructions which caution against intoxication. Intoxication can occur when consuming alcoholic beverages and also with a variety of other intoxicants, some of which are legal and some of which are not.
Students whose drinking creates a risk of danger to the health and safety of themselves or others are subject to conduct action.
Students who host off campus gatherings are responsible for ensuring the safety, well-being and conduct of their guests, whether the guests are invited or uninvited. Hosts are responsible to ensure that all guests consume alcohol according to the state of Michigan provisions and according to the biblical standard of moderation. Hosts are also responsible to ensure that guests do not use illegal drugs or engage in criminal sexual behavior while attending an event at their home.
2. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of the Alcohol Policy with Definitions.
Possession of Alcohol or empty alcohol containers on campus.
Definition: Students (regardless of age) are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or possessing empty alcohol containers anywhere on the Calvin University campus. Alcohol and empty alcohol containers are not allowed in personal vehicles parked on campus. Note: The Prince Conference Center, located on Calvin’s property, has independent alcohol policies and restrictions apart from this code, though consistent with it in most respects.
Underage Possession and/or Consumption of Alcohol
Definition: Possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages by any student under 21 years of age.
Complicity in an Alcohol Violation
Definition: A student who is present and fails to intervene in a situation where another student(s) violate(s) the Calvin University drug or alcohol policy.
Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages/Intoxication
Definition: A person who, having consumed alcoholic beverages, exhibits signs of intoxication and/or experiences any loss of the normal use of his/her mental and/or physical faculties. Examples include but are not limited to: slurred speech, vomiting, stumbling or needing assistance to walk, loss of motor coordination, aggression, brief loss of memory, or abusive behavior.
Extreme Alcohol Intoxication
Definition: A person who, having consumed alcoholic beverages, exhibits signs of significant and/or dangerous intoxication. Examples include but are not limited to: blacked out, loss of consciousness or limited responsiveness, no withdrawal from painful stimuli, loss of bladder/bowel functions, excessive vomiting, or severe physical depression (slow or shallow breathing, pale or blue-tinged skin, or reduced heart rate).
Misuse of Alcohol: Rapid Consumption of Alcohol, Binge drinking or Actions that May Endanger the Well-being of Self or Others
Definition: Any form of rapid consumption of alcohol or participation in drinking games which lead to overconsumption and/or intoxication, alcohol consumption which may create a risk of danger to self, or others. Examples include but not limited to: bongs, shots, keg stands, beer pong, flip cup, etc.
Provision and/or Distribution of Alcohol to Students Under 21 Years of Age
Definition: Purchasing for, providing to or distributing alcohol to any individual under 21 years of age.
Irresponsible Hosting of Alcohol Event
Definition: Irresponsible hosting occurs when students have gatherings where underage guests (invited and uninvited) are consuming alcohol, where persons are misusing alcohol or consuming alcohol to the point of intoxication, where persons are using illegal or prohibited drugs, where excessive amounts of alcohol are present and/or alcohol is being misused as defined in items D and E above.
Alcohol-related vehicular violations
Definition: Any operation of a motor vehicle during or following consumption of alcohol that creates a risk of danger to self, others or the university or wider community.
B. Calvin University Drug Policy
The Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1989 requires institutions of higher education to adopt and implement effective policies which prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. Colleges and Universities are required to review polices and sanctions to determine effectiveness, implement needed changes, and ensure that conduct sanctions are consistently enforced.
Calvin University is committed to the intellectual and personal development and Christian discipleship of all students. Substance use/misuse may inhibit students' development and is negatively correlated with academic success and personal safety. Substance use/misuse or prescription drug use not as intended undermines individual student’s academic performance and can diminish one’s experience of Christian community.
Calvin University observes and strictly enforces all local, state, and federal laws related to possession, use, sale or distribution of controlled or illegal substances. Calvin students are also expected to observe scriptural instructions which caution against intoxication. Intoxication can occur when consuming alcoholic beverages or illicit drugs, and also with a variety of other intoxicants, some of which are legal and some of which are not.
Calvin University drug policies prohibit the use, possession, purchase, distribution, sale, or manufacture of a controlled substance (including marijuana, CBD), and of designer drugs.
Students who are found responsible for violations of University drug policies are subject to serious disciplinary action from the University, up to or including disciplinary suspension from the University.
Calvin University does not recognize medical marijuana as an exception to its drug policies. Students are expected to contact a Student Life dean to discuss possible exceptions in medical situations in advance of any marijuana use.
Calvin University drug policy prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia, including but not limited to roach clips, bongs, hookahs, blow tubes, papers, scales or any material or apparatus containing drug residue.
Individuals who are involved in any drug-related violation may be subject to criminal action, as the University may report these individuals to the legal authorities. Students who are convicted of any criminal offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance risk continued eligibility to receive Financial Aid.
Students are accountable for upholding Calvin University drug policies even when traveling to states or countries in which certain drugs have been decriminalized. Though some impairing substances may be legal to purchase in some states, Calvin University prohibits the possession and/or use of these substances by its students. Students are responsible for knowing, understanding and observing Calvin University’s drug policies.
2. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of the Drug Policy and Definitions.
Use or Possession of Prohibited, Controlled, or Illegal Substances
Definition: Possession or use of a prohibited, controlled, or illegal substances or use of (or intent to use) substances for purposes or in manner not as directed. Examples include but are not limited to: possession or use of illegal substances; possession or use of prescription drugs without a valid/current medical prescription; use of prescribed medication not as directed (over-use, snorting prescribed medication, etc.); huffing, snorting, smoking or otherwise possessing or using legal substances not as intended. Substances such as JWH-018 (K2, “Spice”), salvia and pyrovalerone derivatives (found in substances marketed as “bath salts”) are not intended for human consumption and are prohibited for possession or use by any Calvin University student.
Distribution or Sale of Prohibited, Controlled, or Illegal Substances
Definition: Any sale or distribution (including distribution without financial gain) of controlled or illegal substances or any substances prohibited by Calvin University drug policy. For example, sharing prescription medicine would be a violation of this policy.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Definition: Possession and/or use of drug paraphernalia, including, but not limited to, roach clips, bongs, hookahs, blow tubes, papers, scales or any material or apparatus containing drug residue.
Complicity in Drug Use, Possession or Sale
Definition: Being in the presence of or aiding and abetting the possession, sale or use of prohibited, controlled or illegal substances.
C. Calvin University Community Life Policies
Calvin University has a responsibility to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment for students, faculty, and staff. When individual behavior threatens to undermine the individual and/or disrupt the University community, the University will respond with appropriate corrective action to facilitate the growth and development of the individual and/or to restore and protect the community.
In Christian community, students will develop important relationships. Calvin University encourages students to rely on the wisdom found in God’s Word to guide choices and actions in all relationships.
In the area of sexuality, Calvin University expects students to follow biblical guidelines for intimacy and for sexual relationships. The student conduct code prohibits sex outside of marriage, casual sexual encounters, cohabitation, involvement with pornography, and internet cybersex.
The visitation policies (Open House hours) in the residence halls at Calvin University are intended to promote healthy Christian relationships between men and women for the purpose of studying and socializing, within the context of large communities of students living under the same roof. Open house hours are limited so that some privacy is assured for students and so that individual floors are able to create strong communities. When hosting significant others and opposite sex guests, students are required to leave their room doors ajar because Calvin recognizes the importance of roommate courtesy and the temptations which closed door privacy may represent.
In the next three sections, the student conduct code seeks to define expectations for community living and to identify conduct which is prohibited because it undermines the educational environment and/or the experience of Christian community. The three sections identify violations of Community Life Policies, violations against Community Members, and violations of Community Safety Policies.
2. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of Community Life Policies
Sexual Misconduct in Consensual Relationships
Definition: Calvin University holds that premarital intercourse and casual sexual relationships are in conflict with biblical teaching, and that conduct promoting such intimacy (i.e. nudity, partial undress, lying or sleeping in bed together) is ill advised and unacceptable. For information on other forms of sexual misconduct, refer to the Sexual Offenses/Sexual Misconduct section of this code.
Definition: Whether students live on campus or off campus, Calvin University expects students to take seriously our commitment to a Christian view on relationships and sexuality. Examples of prohibited cohabitation include: students in romantic relationships sleeping/napping together or “sleeping over,” students in romantic relationships living together, students of opposite gender living together. [Note: Students who believe they have a legitimate exception to this policy should contact a Student Life dean to arrange for permission prior to committing to a living arrangement].
Involvement with Pornography, Illicit Sexual Activity, Internet Sexual Activity
Definition: Students are expected to embrace biblical sexual purity and to avoid activities which have the potential to distort the good gift of human sexuality. Examples include but are not limited to: involvement with pornography, illicit sexual activity, and internet sexual activity.
Smoking in undesignated areas
Definition: Smoking on campus is permitted only in a limited number of designated outdoor areas. These designated areas are clearly marked by appropriate signage and cigarette butt receptacles. Smoking is prohibited inside all campus buildings, including all residence halls. For the purpose of this policy, smoking is defined as the act of lighting, smoking, carrying a lighted or smoldering cigar, and inhaling e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and the like. Hookah use is not permitted on campus. Please note: Calvin University's smoking policy may be subject to change depending on campus regulations. Students are responsible of knowing if any changes in the smoking policy occur on campus. Smoking cessation programs are available through Calvin’s Health Services Department. Here is a list of Calvin’s approved smoking areas.
Disrupting the University Conduct Process
Definition: Any behavior that disrupts the orderly process of a university investigation and/or the university conduct process. Examples include, but are not limited to: failure to respond to notice of a university official, providing false testimony, making a false report, misrepresenting information during an investigation or a hearing, attempting to influence the testimony or participation of a witness or attempting to influence the participation of an individual in official capacity, threatening or intimidating any individual’s participation in the conduct process, withholding information regarding the reported incident, or failure to comply with a conduct sanction.
Failure to Comply with the Directive of a University Official
Definition: Direct disobedience of an order/request of a university staff, faculty or student employee. This includes, but is not limited to, failure to evacuate a building, campus, or area of campus when so ordered by a university official, failure to identify self/produce university ID when requested to do so, failure to comply with a reasonable request of a faculty or staff person, failure to comply with a drug-test, or failure to complete prescribed sanctions as given by an administrative hearing officer or by the university hearing board.
Definition: A statement, action, or representation that is false, misrepresents the truth, and/or is intended to deceive another, or to deceive for purpose of gain. Examples include, but are not limited to: falsely reporting an incident; falsifying statements, records, admissions materials, forms, computer applications, or parking permits; manufacturing, altering or falsifying an official identification card or possession and/or use of another person’s ID or a fake identification card; or presenting another person’s university ID Card, name or ID number for identification, meals or purchases, or allowing another person to use one’s university ID Card for fraudulent purposes. Academic integrity violations are also acts of dishonesty and are separately addressed elsewhere in this code.
Definition: To play a game for money or other valuable stakes with the hope of gaining something significant beyond the amount an individual pays. Gambling is prohibited where it distracts form the academic environment and Christian community, threatens financial security and/or undermines spiritual or mental health.
Profane or Obscene Expressions including Decency Offenses
Definition: Any conduct involving actions, images, words or data which are indecent, abusive, profane, harassing or sexually offensive whether via telephone, e-mail, audio, film, video, printed materials, homepages, or online social networks; “Peeping Tom” activity; sexual exploitation; public nudity and indecent exposure.
Possession of Lost or Stolen Property
Definition: Possession of property reported to be or known to be lost or stolen, regardless of the item's place of origin; possession of traffic cones, signs, markers, and/or other public property.
Definition: Unauthorized taking or using of property or possessions of the university or of another person or organization. Examples include but are not limited to: “borrowing” items without prior permission, consumption of food without prior permission, taking another individual/group/organization's belongings, unauthorized possession of permits or parking decals.
3. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations Against Community Members
Definition: Behavior which threatens or undermines the health and safety of another person. Abusive behavior may be physical, emotional or verbal in nature.
Definition: Any on-going behavior directed at or about a student, staff/faculty, or community member that is degrading, humiliating, malicious or defamatory. Behaviors may occur in person, in print, via electronic means or through social networking (cyber-bullying). Examples include, but are not limited to: ongoing pranks or ridicule directed against an individual, graffiti, posting insults against a student in a public setting or on any website. For more information about bullying, click here.
Fighting or Acts of Physical Aggression
Definition: An encounter with blows or other personal violations between two or more persons. This includes but is not limited to actual or attempted pushing, hitting, kicking, spitting, wrestling, pulling hair, etc.
Definition: Any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation (or other protected category under federal, state, or local law).
Definition: Any action or situation created, either directly or through innuendo that jeopardizes a student’s psychological, emotional, or physical well-being, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Subtle hazing – behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of a group or team.
- Harassment hazing – behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like a part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for the recipients of this behavior.
- Violent hazing – behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional or psychological harm or injury.
Videotaping, Audio Taping, and Photography Without Consent
Definition: Videotaping, audio taping, or photography (camera and video phones included) of students, faculty or staff without their prior expressed consent is not allowed. The prohibition and need of consent by a staff/faculty, student, or community member related to recording and photography applies to locations or situations where there is an expectation of privacy. NOTE: Video cameras and audio recordings are utilized by the university in conducting normal business or utilized in the safety and security of the campus. To review the Calvin University Video Surveillance Policy, please click here.
Stalking/Invasion of Privacy/Unconsented contact
Definition: Behavior directed against another person that violates reasonable expectations of personal privacy and/or privacy of personal information; behavior which the student knows or should know is unwelcome; or behavior which would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or anxiety. This includes actions or contact through a third party. Examples include but are not limited to: repeatedly contacting or following a person regardless of formal notice; use of electronic devices or software to obtain or attempt to obtain private data; entering or opening a student’s private property without express consent; use of another person’s password or ID to attempt to gain access to personal information.
For information about Michigan state law regarding stalking, click here.
Definition: Any behavior within a relationship (typically, an intimate or domestic relationship) that causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to those in the relationship. Violence is considered the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person that results in a high likelihood of resulting in injury and/or psychological harm and sometimes may result in death.
For information about Michigan state law regarding domestic violence, click here.
Definition: Any controlling, abusive, coercive and/or aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. This can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination.
For more information about understanding abuse in relationships click here.
4. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of Community Safety Policies
Endangering the Health & Safety of Self and/or Others
Definition: Any behavior that creates a risk of danger to self or others. Examples include but are not limited to propping doors to residence halls; not calling for medical assistance when a fellow student is at risk due to alcohol or drugs; throwing objects from windows or balconies; water balloon fights; giving door access cards to nonresidents of the community; failure to evacuate a building during a fire alarm; and being on the roof or unapproved areas of any buildings.
Destruction or Defacing of Property
Definition: Destruction, damage or defacement of personal, public, or university property; including, but not limited to: defacing structures, bulletin boards, equipment and facilities; parking/driving on grass and sidewalks; grinding or rail sliding with skates or skateboards; littering; and removing window screens.
Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct
Definition: Any behavior that is disruptive (regardless of intent) to the rights of others, behavior which disrupts the daily productive functioning of self or others in the university community, and/or conduct which adversely affects self or others. Examples include but are not limited to: intentionally preventing others from listening or presenting their ideas in class; manipulating others to gain sympathy or attention, use of cell phones in classrooms or during campus events; excessive noise; engaging in public urination or defecation; horseplay, practical jokes, hiding from university officials, hall sports and general pranks or annoyances.
Threats or Threatening Behavior
Definition: Conduct which directly expresses or implies a threat or dangerous intention(s) to an individual or to a specific or general target. Examples include but are not limited to: direct threats, implied threats, behavior which suggests possible dangerous intentions, angry outbursts, expression of violent fantasies, brandishing weapons or illegally concealing a weapon, or any suggestion of or actual planning or preparation to carry out a violent act.
Definition: Lighting or attempting to light a fire or to cause or attempt items (other than cigarettes) to combust/burn without authorization.
Definition: Setting fires with the intention of destroying property.
Firearms and/or Weapons
Definition: The possession or use, whether openly displayed or concealed, of any weapon, or ammunition is strictly prohibited on the university campus or at university-related events or displayed electronically via university network or elsewhere when the individual is a Calvin student or identified as a Calvin student. Examples of “weapons” include, but are not limited to: guns, rifles, pistols, bullets, explosives, BB guns, air soft guns, paint pellet guns, potato guns, rockets, fireworks, bow and arrows, sling shots, bowie knives, daggers, switch-blade knives, metallic knuckles, throwing stars, knives of more than six inches when opened, and any other weapon of any kind or any object used or displayed as a weapon.
Fireworks and/or Explosive Devices
Definition: Possession and/or use of fireworks or explosives on university owned or leased property or at university sponsored events. Examples include: homemade explosive devices, fireworks purchased legally or illegally.
Misuse of University Property
Definition: Unauthorized use of university property including, but not limited to, unauthorized use of university keys, duplication of keys or unauthorized use of or access to university spaces, university vehicles or university equipment.
Tampering with Fire and/or Life Safety Equipment
Definition: Conduct that involves causing a false fire alarm, any conduct that involves tampering with, covering or removing smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, exit signs or other life safety equipment, as well as unauthorized use of fire extinguishers and the breaking of pull station or fire extinguisher covers.
Observance of Local State and Federal laws
Definition: All students are required to abide by the laws of local, state and national governments and are subject to university conduct action for violation of any law. Note: University Student Conduct action does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual, nor does the filing of civil or criminal charges preclude Student Conduct action by the university.
D. Policy for the Prevention of Diseases
Calvin University recognizes that the prevention of infectious diseases and viruses is a community effort. The University expects students to abide by the Love Your Neighbor covenant, based on Jesus Christ’s call to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22: 39). During pandemics or seasons when infectious diseases are spreading rapidly, students and community members are expected to comply with University policies and local public health orders to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
The University will be monitoring local and state mandates from the Kent County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to stay informed on any changes to mitigating the prevention of infectious diseases. As the University implements protocols for the safety of the Calvin community, students are expected to stay informed of the changes in policy to prevent further spread of diseases. Students are expected to actively support the living and learning experiences of all members of the Calvin community, whether learning occurs in-person or remotely.
For more information regarding the University’s policies and protocols for disease prevention, please click here. For more information regarding local and state prevention requirements, please visit the Kent County Health Department and the MDHHS websites.
When students become aware of other students living on or off-campus who are not complying with the University and/or local public health guidelines and expectations, they can report concerns here. Students who are in violation of the policies for the prevention of diseases are not eligible to appeal.
Faculty that are aware of students who are not complying with University and/or local public health guidelines and expectations, they can report concerns here or contact the Director of the Office of Student Conduct, Martin Avila, email@example.com.
2. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of Calvin community safety policy, public health orders, and definitions.
a. Failure to comply with the University and Public Health Orders Violation
Definition: Direct disobedience of the University and local public health orders. This includes: failure to comply with wearing a mask (or any other required protective gear), failure to practice social distancing, failure to comply with medical testing protocols, quarantine, and contact-tracing efforts, failure to comply with professor and classroom requirements, failure to comply with residence life and dining requirements, failure to avoiding crowded areas, failure to comply with campus indoor and outdoor recreation requirements, hosting gatherings on and off-campus, failure to observe our smoking policy, failure to maintain sanitized living and study areas, or failure to comply with any other requirements implemented by Calvin University in order to reduce the spread of diseases. To ensure a safe and healthy campus, students are expected to protect themselves, others, the community, and engage in the mission of Calvin.
b. Failure to Observe Local, Sate, and Federal Laws During the Prevention of Diseases
Definition: All students are required to abide by the laws and public health orders of local, state, and national governments and are subject to university discipline of any law and mandate. For more information regarding local, state, and national public health orders, please visit the Calvin University Safety Return Plan (which specifically to COVID-19), Kent County Health Department, and MDHHS websites. Note: University student conduct action does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual, nor does the filing of civil or criminal charges preclude Student Conduct disciplinary action by the university.
c. Irresponsible Hosting During the Prevention of Diseases
Definition: Irresponsible hosting occurs when students have indoor or outdoor, on or off-campus, public or private gatherings during pandemics and/or seasons when diseases are spreading rapidly. During these times students must abide by the state, local, and University public health orders. All on-campus gatherings should comply with Calvin University policies and be reviewed and authorized through university approval process.
E. Calvin University Safer Spaces Policies
The Safer Spaces Policies and Procedures address Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. To review the entire Safer Spaces Policy, go here.
Calvin University affirms its commitment to maintaining a learning, working, and living environment which is fair, respectful, and free from harassment. Calvin University will apply this policy to all persons who are members of the faculty, staff, or student body. This policy expressly applies to forms of harassment which are prohibited by federal, state, or local statute or ordinance. In addition, there are other forms of improper harassment, based on characteristics which are not protected by these statutes. It is the policy of Calvin University that, although such harassment may not be expressly prohibited by law, such harassment nevertheless has no place here and will be subject to conduct action. Illustrative examples include harassment based upon physical appearance or social or economic status.
The process for reporting a Safer Spaces problem or violation can be found here.
The process for resolving Safer Spaces complaints can be found here.
Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation of any form are a violation of a person’s rights, dignity, and integrity. Such acts debase the integrity of the educational process and are contrary to the mission and values of Calvin University. In response to any reported misconduct, the university will take appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The university will review and investigate all reports and provide for fair and impartial evaluation and resolution. Retaliation is prohibited against a person who makes a report of discrimination or harassment.
Calvin University Statement of Non-Discrimination
Calvin University prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or other characteristics protected by federal, state or local statute or ordinance. Discrimination is defined as unequal treatment of an individual because of his or her protected legal status, such as race, age, or gender.
Safer Spaces Administrator
The Vice-President of Student Life at Calvin University serves as the university’s Safer Spaces Administrator (SSA) and will oversee the implementation of all civil rights policies and claims, including those arising under Title IX, related to discrimination and harassment. The administrator is charged with directing the university’s efforts to end alleged discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on individuals and the Calvin community. Reports of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation should be promptly reported to the SSA or one of the university’s Safer Spaces Coordinators.
Dr. Sarah Visser
Vice President of Student Life
Calvin University Safer Spaces Administrator (SSA)
Spoelhof Center 364L
Student Life Safer Spaces Coordinators
Student Life Safer Spaces Coordinators (SSC) are available for consultation regarding problems and situations of concern or to receive complaints regarding situations that involve students. Problem Reports involving students may be directed to the Safer Spaces Coordinator for Students or to the Vice President for Student Life:
Director of Safer Spaces
Spoelhof Center 364P
Assistant Director of Safer Spaces
Vice President for Student Life
Spoelhof Center 364L
2. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of Safer Spaces Policies and Definitions
Definition: Conduct toward or against an individual in which a student suffers a loss of academic, employment, or educational opportunity on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived race, color, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Definition: Conduct which is persistent or pervasive such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s employment access, benefits or opportunities, and/or the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities. Behavior may become harassing when it creates a hostile environment, or is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), or it constitutes retaliation. Examples of harassment based on actual or perceived membership of a protected characteristic, whether race, ethnicity, gender, age, or any other protected characteristic include, but are not limited to:
- Epithets, slurs, denigrating jokes or negative stereotyping;
- Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers health or safety;
- Written or graphic material that degrades or shows hostility or aversion;
- Pranks or horseplay intended to embarrass or humiliate;
- Imposing submission to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct;
- Stalking, bullying, hazing;
- Any other action that is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the victim in a protected class.
Definition: Unwelcome gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation. Sexual harassment is a particular type of harassment and is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence. Sexual harassment generally may be described to include, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical and expressive behavior of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of or a condition of education, employment, or participating in university activities;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is or could be used as the basis for evaluation in making academic or personal decisions affecting that individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, or unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s employment access, benefits or opportunities, and/or the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), creates a hostile environment, or constitutes retaliation.
Definition: Harassing remarks or actions serving no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose that are made directly or indirectly toward individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity or culture. Intimidating, hostile, humiliating or demeaning remarks or actions based on race ethnicity or culture which, whether intentional or unintentional, interfere with or threaten an individual’s or group’s participation in the life of the university, including academic or co-curricular activities. This may include actions or public displays of material that serve no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose.
Retaliation or Retaliatory Harassment
Definition: Any adverse educational or employment action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or harassment of any kind. Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, for supporting a complainant or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of Calvin University policy. Individuals who engage in such actions are subject to the Student Conduct Process up to and including suspension or dismissal from the university, consistent with the university’s procedures. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to a Student Life staff member. The safer spaces coordinators will promptly investigate and respond to this matter. Calvin University is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear they may be subjected to retaliation.
F. Calvin University Sexual Offenses/Sexual Misconduct Policies
Federal regulations require institutions of higher education who receive federal funding to address with specificity sexual misconduct. In addition to the biblical standard for sexual conduct listed in the Community Life Polices of this code, Calvin University prohibits sexually violent acts, termed “Sexual Misconduct” by the Calvin University student conduct code and the Calvin University Safer Spaces policy. Sexual misconduct is a broad category of sexual offenses which includes non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, interpersonal relationship violence, sex/gender-based stalking and sexual harassment.
Calvin University acknowledges that some forms of sexual misconduct listed in the student conduct code may be crimes as well. While Calvin University utilizes different standards and definitions than the State of Michigan Penal Code, sexual misconduct may overlap with crimes of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.
Students are encouraged to contact the local police to report sexual violence and the university will assist students in this process.
- For university assistance in reporting incidents, click here.
- To report a crime directly to local police, go to report a violation.
- For information regarding the state of Michigan laws regarding sexual violence and relationship offenses go here.
In the event that sexual misconduct, gender-based violence or the crimes of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence do occur, Calvin University takes the matter very seriously.
Calvin University can employ interim protection measures such as interim suspension and/or no contact orders in any case where a student’s behavior represents a risk of violence, injury, threat, pattern or predation. If a student is accused of sexual misconduct, other gender-based violence or the crimes of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence, s/he is subject to action under the Student Conduct Code and the Safer Spaces Policy of Calvin University.
A student wishing to officially report such an incident, or who has inquiries about a situation or the policy, may contact Jane Hendriksma, who is the Senior Safer Spaces Coordinator. Alternately, a student may contact any trusted member of the Student Life staff who can assist by addressing concerns and/or facilitating a report. Calvin University will investigate such situations promptly and thoroughly.
2. Calvin University Policy Statement on Establishing Consent for Sexual Intimacy
Calvin University policy defines consent for sexual contact or sexual intimacy as a clear, freely given, verbalized "yes" or clearly communicated actions to every step of any sexual intimacy or sexual contact. The absence of "no" is not consent. Furthermore, a verbalized "yes" which has been coerced, does not constitute a freely given "yes." Use of force does not constitute consent. In such cases, consent has not been given, and one who continues to have sexual contact without full clear consent potentially could be charged with a serious violation of university policy and/or face criminal prosecution.
- The burden of obtaining consent will be on the party seeking to initiate sexual activity.
- Silence, in and of itself, is a “no,” not a “yes”.
- Consent cannot be assumed from the lack of resistance or as a result of ambiguous communication.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot be construed as consent to any other form of sexual activity.
- To be valid, consent must be given prior to or contemporaneously with the sexual activity.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated by the person withdrawing it.
Coercion occurs when a reluctant or refusing party’s decision is not respected but instead met by manipulation or pressuring toward agreeing to sexual contact or sexual intimacy. This may involve:
- Talking someone into having sex.
- Using alcohol as a tool to break down sexual reluctance or gain sexual advantage.
- Engaging in sexual acts with a person who is intoxicated.
- Threatening to sever the relationship.
- Threatening to harm or embarrass the person.
- Not letting someone leave a room and/or locking a door so they can't leave.
Under Calvin policy, consent for sexual contact cannot be given by:
- An individual who is mentally incapacitated or rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his/her behavior due to the influence of narcotic, anesthetic, or other substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.
- An individual who is physically helpless due to being unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
- An individual who is less than 16 years of age.
- An individual who is legally determined to be mentally handicapped.
- Students in K-12 settings cannot give consent to a sexual experience with a teacher, coach, or school employee.
For information about the law in the state of Michigan regarding establishing consent and the limits of legal consent view this document.
3. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
Violations of the Sexual Offenses/Sexual Misconduct Policy and Definitions
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Definition: Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by one person upon another that is without consent and/or by coercion or force. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Definition: Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by one person upon another that is without consent and/or by coercion or force. Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, or oral copulation.
Definition: A situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and situations in which the conduct does not fall within the definitions of sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse or non-consensual sexual contact.
Romantic and/or Sexual Consensual Relationships between People with Unequal Power
Definition: There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (e.g., faculty and student, supervisor and employee). The unequal power inherent in such relationships, even if the relationship is consensual, heightens the vulnerability of the person with less power and heightens the potential for coercion and abuse. In addition, these relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of this policy. Such relationships can also create a hostile learning and work environment for others.
Examples of the kinds of relationships prohibited by this policy include:
- Faculty and students. The decision to become a faculty member at the university presumes an educational and mentoring relationship with any student and precludes engaging in such a romantic relationship with any student.
- Staff or volunteers who have mentoring or supervisory relationships with students. The decision to become a staff member or a volunteer in a position that is defined by mentoring or supervision precludes engaging in such a romantic relationship with any student.
- Supervisors and subordinates. Romantic relationships are not allowed between employees of Calvin University when a supervisory relationship is involved. This applies to all employees and their supervisors. The power differential makes such relationships open to abuse and to charges of sexual harassment or unprofessional conduct. Such relationships can also create a hostile work environment for others. Should romantic relationships develop, the supervisor should inform his/her supervisor so that appropriate actions can be made to remove the involved supervisor from direct supervision of the employee.
Note: Calvin’s Policy on Employment of Relatives (Handbook for Teaching Faculty Section 6.7 and Employee Handbook) forbids spouses and other immediate family members from supervising one another and requires approval of the Associate Vice-President for Human Resources for spouses to be co-workers in the same department.
Exceptions to the above prohibitions (e.g., in the circumstances of a pre-existing relationship) will be considered by the Provost or the Associate Vice-President of Human Resources on a limited, case-by-case basis. Faculty or staff with questions about the application or effect of this policy should consult with the provost or the Associate Vice-President of Human Resources.
Where students have supervisory employment roles with other students (e.g., in Food Services), a mentoring role (e.g., resident assistants in the residence halls), or otherwise have authority that affects the work or educational environment of other students, they are discouraged from having a romantic relationship with a student under their authority. If such relationships exist, the student in the supervisory role must disclose this to his/her supervisor.
G. Calvin University Policy Regarding Responsible Use of Technology
"Grateful for the advances in science and technology, we make careful use of their products, on guard against idolatry and harmful research, and careful to use them in ways that answer to God's demands to love our neighbor and to care for the earth and its creatures." (Paragraph 52, Our World Belongs to God, CRC Publications, 1988.)
As a community that yields to the leadership of Jesus Christ, Calvin University expects responsible use of technology by enfranchised users of Calvin information technology resources. This policy was created to amplify what this community intends by responsible use. This policy defines responsible use as:
- Respect for one another’s need for access.
- Respect for one another’s values and feelings.
- Respect for one another’s property.
- Respect for one another’s privacy.
- The stewardly use of the university’s information technologies.
- Respect for the ownership, right to use, and protection of information.
2. The Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all enfranchised users of Calvin information technology resources. An enfranchised user is anyone who has been given permission to use Calvin information technology resources.
3. Consequences for Policy Violations
Use of information technology resources at Calvin University is a privilege, not a right. Violation of any part of this policy will subject the violator to conduct action, which may include any of the following: warning, loss of access, or referral to the appropriate Student Conduct body.
- Students: A breach of this policy will result in referral for university conduct action.
- Staff: A breach this policy will result in referral to their immediate supervisor.
- Faculty: A breach of this policy will result in referral to the Provost’s Office.
- Alumni and guests of the university: A breach of this policy may warrant loss of access to Calvin information technology resources.
**To review entire policy, go here.
IV. Calvin University Student Conduct Process
- Note: Violations of Safer Spaces Policies are investigated and resolved through the Safer Spaces Resolution Process. For information about this process, go to: https://calvin.edu/about/safer-spaces/
A. Responding to Violations - general outline
1. University Receives Notice
The Conduct Officer receives an incident report, problem report or an anonymous report. The Conduct Officer reviews report, gathers facts, and assigns the case to a staff member or assigns a staff member to begin a fact-finding process to more clearly understand the situation.
2. Student Receives Notice
The student is notified via email that the university has received an incident report or problem report which involves this student. The office sends a notice to the student to schedule an initial conference with conduct officer.
3. Initial Conference with Student
During this meeting the conduct officer will:
- Review report with student.
- Allow student to respond to the report and the evidence.
- Provide student with opportunity to:
- Present further information.
- Offer additional perspectives.
- Suggest avenues of investigation.
- Review relevant policies and issues with student.
- Review process and answer student’s questions.
- Establish temporary measures where necessary.
- Decide on process options.
During or after the meeting the conduct officer will:
- Prepare a statement that is reviewed and signed by the student, if applicable.
- Communicate a process decision to student.
At the conclusion of this meeting, the Conduct Officer will decide based on the facts of the situation and the input of the student to:
- Move to closure because no further action is necessary.
- Move to investigation to gather additional information.
- Move to investigation and/or resolution under Safer Spaces Policy.
- Move to informal resolution. Resolution meeting is scheduled. Student may request extra time to prepare (generally one week and more can be requested).
4. Informal Resolution
The university will refer a case for informal resolution when:
- The student and the university achieve general agreement regarding the facts of the report/violation.
- The evidence supporting the violation is so strong that the student’s testimony does not adequately challenge the finding based on preponderance of evidence standard.
- In cases involving injured parties, where all parties agree to move to informal resolution.
5. Resolution Meeting
During the resolution meeting, the conduct officer will:
- Provide student with written notice of any conduct violations.
- Review with student the role of prior conduct history in the sanction decision.
- Present written copy of the resolution agreement which will be based on the violations and will list requirements. Requirements may include:
- Educational interventions
- Restitution and/or restorative measures
- Clarification of temporary measures
- Answer student’s questions about policy, process or resolution requirements.
- Determine student response/acceptance of resolution requirements.
- Provide appeal Information, if applicable or upon request.
- In cases involving injured parties, the Conduct Officer will provide the complainant with notice of the outcome and the opportunity to appeal.
B. General Operating Guidelines
1. Process Decisions
Given the scope of the university’s responsibilities, the university will review each reported problem or violation and decide which process to employ to address the situation.
2. Standard of Evidence
Calvin University’s student conduct process requires a preponderance of evidence for finding an individual responsible for a violation. Unlike the criminal system, which requires evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a university conduct decision is based on the “greater weight of the evidence.” A preponderance of evidence standard requires that the available information indicates that it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred.
3. Types of Evidence
Formal rules of evidence used in a court of law are not applicable to the university student conduct process. The university process will consider all information or statements with probable value, such as hearsay or anonymous reports. The responding student has the right to hear and respond to all information that may be utilized for a decision.
4. Process Advisor
Students may select any member of the Calvin University community (current faculty, staff or student) to serve as an advisor during the resolution meeting. The faculty, staff or student serving as the advisor cannot directly address the proceeding, but may advise the student during and after the meeting or hearing.
5. Resolution Meetings and Hearings
Trained university hearing officers will conduct the meeting in a manner that is according to university policy and protocol and is also thorough and respectful. Family members and attorneys are not present during these meetings or hearings.
C. Resolving Violations Through Referral to University Hearing Panel
- Violations of the Safer Spaces Policy will follow the hearing process outlined in the Safer Spaces Policy itself. For more information, go here.
- The university reserves the right to refer conduct matters to a hearing with the University Hearing Panel usually when the situation involves:
- An injured party or personal violations.
- A violation of the Safer Spaces Policy.
- Community safety issues.
- Repeated violations.
2. Outline of Hearing Process for University Hearing Panel
- Ensure Process Steps are Completed:
- Notice to student
- Initial conference with student.
- Investigation and preparation of summary report.
- Process decision communicated to student.
- A Conduct Officer or the Safer Spaces Administrator (SSA) appoints a University Hearing Panel (UHP) and designates a chairperson.
- UHP reviews investigation summary and notes from process steps.
- UHP communicates with student: right to advisor, request for witnesses, preparation time.
- UHP decides on witness participation, confirms witness list.
- UHP sets hearing date and notifies responding student, and witnesses.
- UHP conducts hearing.
- UHP prepares written report which details each alleged violation and the findings and sanctions for each one. The UHP chairperson will prepare a written summary for the file and for the student.
- The UHP findings and sanctions will be presented to student parties by the UHP chairperson.
- The chairperson will record the student response to the sanctions.
- The chairperson will review appeal process for student, if applicable or requested.
V. Student Conduct Sanctions and Appeals
A. Student Conduct Sanctions
The purpose of sanctions is to help students understand their behavior in the context of the university community and to deter inappropriate behavior in the future. Conduct Officers and University Hearing Panels strive to apply sanctions that are commensurate with the misconduct and to assign an educational element and/or intervention measure, and where appropriate a restorative element to address harm to individuals and/or the community.
Sanctions are decided based on the facts available in each situation on a case by case basis. For consistency, there are standard sanctions for high frequency violations which serve as guidelines for staff members addressing the situation.
The following range of sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Code:
- Admonition - An oral statement to the student that the student is violating or may be violating university policies. The conduct officer will review the policy and rationale and explore resources/supports for the student.
- Warning - A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations. The conduct officer may include policy statement and rationale for clarification purposes.
- Warning Status - An official conduct action in response to a violation of specified regulations. Warning status is set for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more serious conduct sanctions if the student is found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) in the future and especially during the warning period. Warning status may affect a student’s ability to travel on an off-campus program or interim, and may affect an athlete’s eligibility.
- Personal Probation - An official conduct action in response to violating specific regulations. Personal probation is set for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more serious conduct sanctions if the student is found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) in the future and especially during the probationary period. Personal probation may affect a student’s participation in leadership roles in student organizations, eligibility in university athletics and acceptance into off-campus travel programs.
- Loss of Privileges - Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Fines - Monetary fines may be imposed by conduct officers for violations of the student conduct code. Fines are decided based on the facts of the situation and can range up to $500.
- Restitution - Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Restoration - A plan to address injury or harm caused to an individual and/or the community.
- Community Service - An assignment of appropriate community service that is both beneficial to the community and likely to assist the individual in understanding the harm caused by his or her misconduct.
- Parent/Guardian Notification - Notification of parents or guardians is likely in cases of alcohol or drug policy violations, abuse or injury to self, or in conjunction with disciplinary probation or disciplinary suspension.
- Discretionary Sanctions - Participation in classes or assignments designed to address decision-making and consequences of behavioral choices within a Christian educational community; mandatory drug or alcohol assessments, or other related discretionary assignments (such assignments must have the prior approval of a senior conduct staff member).
- Disciplinary Probation - An official conduct action in response to violating specific regulations. Disciplinary probation is set for a designated period of time and includes likely notification of parents and the probability of more serious conduct sanctions if the student is found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) in the future and especially during the probationary period. Within disciplinary probation, staff members can specify the violation to be a level one, level two, or level three type of violation. Disciplinary probation may affect a student’s participation in leadership roles in student organizations, eligibility in university athletics and acceptance into off-campus travel programs.
- Suspension from Campus Housing - Separation of the student from on-campus housing (residence halls or apartments) for a definite period of time, after which the student may be eligible to return. Conditions for return to on-campus housing may be specified.
- Disciplinary Suspension - Separation of the student from the University for a definite period of time, after which the student may apply to return. Conditions for readmission will be specified. Parents of students are notified of the suspension sanction by the senior conduct staff member. During suspension the student is not permitted to be on Calvin University property except by prior permission by a Student Life Dean.
- Withholding Degree - The University may withhold or delay awarding a degree otherwise earned until completion of the student conduct or safer spaces process including the completion of educational sanctions imposed.
- Revocation of Admission - Admission to the University may be revoked for fraud or misrepresentation during the application process and for violations of the student conduct code prior to enrollment.
- Revocation of Degree - The University may revoke a degree previously awarded as a sanction for serious violations of the student conduct code.
- University Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student from the University. During expulsion the student is not permitted to be on Calvin University property except by prior permission by a Student Life Dean.
- Academic Sanctions - Imposed on any student found to be guilty of academic dishonesty: a grade of zero for the piece of work involving academic dishonesty or, in egregious or repeat cases, a failing grade for the course.
- Provisional Suspension - In certain circumstances, the Vice President for Student Life, or the Dean for Student Conduct may impose disciplinary suspension prior to a hearing with a Conduct Officer or a University Hearing Panel or pending an appeal of a conduct decision.
- Provisional suspension may be imposed to:
- Ensure the safety and well-being of members of the university community and campus property.
- Ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being.
- Address situations where a student faces criminal prosecution or the university is notified of criminal prosecution.
- Address a definite threat of disruption or interference with the normal operations of the University.
- During the provisional suspension, students shall be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other university activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Vice President for Student Life or the Dean for Student Conduct may determine to be appropriate.
- Provisional suspension may be imposed to:
3. Retaining, Releasing, and Expunging Confidential Student Records
The Office of Student Conduct maintains all confidential student conduct files for matters involving cases where students were sanctioned for violations of the student conduct code according to a due process.
These files are maintained separately from a student’s academic transcripts but are considered educational records subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Student conduct records are generally maintained for five years beyond the incident. Student records involving a sanction of expulsion (permanent separation) may be retained indefinitely. Upon graduation, a student may apply to the director for the Office of Student Conduct to request to have their conduct record expunged. After seven years, the Office of Student Conduct routinely expunges student records. In some cases, Calvin may retain student conduct records beyond this timeframe.
Calvin University’s Office of Student Conduct may legally disclose information related to student conduct records to Calvin University officials with legitimate educational interests without prior consent from students. For routine internal record checks as part of application processes (off campus travel, admission to academic departments/programs, student leadership positions, etc.) the Office of Student Conduct requests that these departments notify the students in advance of the record inquiry and/or have students sign a waiver related to the confidential record release.
For record release requests beyond Calvin University, (graduate school applications, job applications, background checks) students can make these requests and will sign a waiver prior to the release of the educational record. With written consent/request from the student or as otherwise provided by the law, student conduct records are externally reportable when the conduct record is retained by Calvin.
The Student Conduct Code and the protocols related to its implementation are under the direction of the director for the Office of Student Conduct. In consultation with the Vice President for Student Life, the director has the authority to make decisions related to protocols, policy interpretation, policy development, and policy exceptions.
B. Appeal Processes related to University Student Conduct Action
For information about the appeal process involving the Calvin University Safer Spaces Policy, go here.
For the appeal process involving all other violations of Calvin University Student Conduct Code, the following information applies:
Accused students or complainants may appeal both the decision and the sanction imposed by conduct officers (Student Life deans, resident directors, and faculty members). To find the appeal form online, students may go to this form. A paper copy of the appeal form is also available from the office of the Vice President for Student Life.
In order to file an appeal of a conduct decision, students must present in writing the completed appeal form and attach any and all evidence and rationale to support the appeal. The appeal is submitted to the Director of Student Conduct or the Vice President for Student Life within five (5) university business days of the sanction decision. Upon receiving an inquiry regarding an appeal, the Vice President will schedule an appointment with the student to discuss the appeal and the appeal process. The Vice President for Student Life serves as the ex officio secretary of the Appellate Board.
Appeals are limited to a review of the written or verbatim record of the original decision or hearing, the student’s appeal submission and the hearing officer’s response to the student’s appeal. In the event of new evidence, the Appeal Board has the option to conduct interviews or pursue other information to fully understand the nature and meaning of the new evidence.
2. Appellate Board Review
The Appellate Board will review decisions where there are questions about whether:
- The original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the violations and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence that the Student Conduct Code was violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a rebuttal of those allegations.
- To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on substantial evidence using the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. whether the facts in the case were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred).
- To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Student Conduct Code which the student was found to have committed.
- To consider new evidence, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such evidence and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.
3. Appellate Board Decision
- If an appeal of a student’s responsibility for the violation is granted by the Appellate Board, the sanction will be lifted immediately.
- If an appeal of the severity of the sanction is granted, the Appellate Board will impose a modified sanction which will be implemented by the Vice President for Student Life.
- If an appeal of the student’s guilt or the severity of the sanction is denied by the Appellate Board, it may not impose a more severe sanction(s) for the accused student.
- The decisions of the Appellate Board are considered final.
4. Appellate Board Mandate and Composition
The Appellate Board shall function as the appeals body for student conduct cases.
- The board meets each fall for organizational purposes and thereafter only as needed. It shall be convened by the Vice President for Student Life.
- A quorum is constituted by two students and two faculty members.
- A minimum of two-thirds votes is required to sustain an appeal.
- The board does not have the right to increase the sanctions.
- The board shall conduct appeals according to the Student Conduct Code.
Seven members: the Vice President for Student Life who shall serve as secretary and a non-voting member; three faculty members who shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Vice President for Student Life; and two students, identified leaders, one from the residence halls, one from the Knollcrest East Program Activities Council, and one (junior or senior) from Student Senate who are all appointed by the Student Senate’s Appointments Committee in consultation with the Vice President for Student Life; by graduation of each year.
Approved by Faculty Senate: September 2014
VI. Calvin University Academic Integrity Policies
At Calvin, the student-faculty relationship is based on trust and mutual respect. This trust can be seriously undermined by the suspicion or reality of academic dishonesty.
A. Purpose of Academic Work
Faculty members design academic assignments in order to help students learn. Calvin University expects students to display honesty and responsibility in completing these assignments. Faculty members assign course grades based on each student’s performance and on each student’s independent mastery of course objectives. Calvin University therefore expects that all course work submitted by students reflects each student’s own individual efforts toward learning.
These principles about academic honesty also apply to the lectures, Powerpoints, handouts, audio/visual materials, or any other content produced by a faculty instructor. While students may reproduce course content to enhance their own learning, they may not share that content with audiences outside the course without the express permission of their faculty instructor. All online lectures recorded and provided by the faculty instructor should be erased immediately by the end of the semester.
B. Forms of Academic Dishonesty
Definitions and Examples
1. Cheating and Using Unauthorized Material on Examinations
All examinations are to be completed by each student alone, without assistance of any kind. For tests, that means no help is to be sought, given to or received from other persons; no books, notes, cellphones, iPods, calculators, online sources, or other materials or devices of any kind are to be consulted unless expressly authorized by the instructor.
If a professor allows certain aids or materials during a test or exam, it is the student’s responsibility to fully understand the expectations and limits of the situation prior to completing and submitting the coursework or evaluation. For example, if a calculator or other hand-held electronic device is permitted to be used for mathematical calculations, no other information may be programmed into or retrieved from the device.
2. Cheating and Using Unauthorized Material in Coursework
There are many types of course assignments ranging from collaborative to individual assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to fully understand the expectations and limits of the situation prior to completing and submitting the coursework. This also applies to in-class and online assignments. For homework assignments, it may not be appropriate to consult and submit solutions found in published solution manuals or online.
3. Attempting to Commit Academic Dishonesty
Attempting or preparing to cheat constitutes academic dishonesty, even if the attempt is discovered before it is completed. For example, possessing unauthorized notes or devices during an examination constitutes academic dishonesty even if they have not yet been used. Asking others for help in cheating constitutes academic dishonesty even if nobody responds and no cheating ultimately occurs. It is the student’s responsibility to approach all academic assignments in a way that does not raise suspicions of academic dishonesty.
4. Improper Collaboration
Many classes emphasize working with a partner or in groups. Permission from the professor to "work together" on a homework assignment, project, or paper allows students to collaborate on certain clearly defined stages of an assignment; it does not allow them to violate the rules of integrity by copying answers from someone else or by presenting another student's work as their own. Unless the professor specifies otherwise, it is assumed that all work submitted for a grade will represent the student's own understanding, and will thus be expressed in the student's own words or symbols (e.g. calculations, computer code, etc.). When a student's work is identical or very similar to someone else's at points where individual variations in expression would be expected, it is reasonable for the professor to suspect that academic dishonesty has occurred.
5. Multiple Submission of Coursework
Submitting the same assignment or substantial portions of the same work for more than one class violates the principle that every assignment should advance a student's learning and growth. Unless a professor expressly allows it, submitting an assignment that has already been submitted for another class is a form of academic dishonesty.
6. Fabrication, Falsification, Forgery, Lying to Gain Academic Advantage.
Note: “Falsification” means falsely altering data or results. “Fabrication” means inventing personal experiences or data or counterfeiting data or research results.
Lying or otherwise falsifying information in order to gain academic advantage constitutes academic dishonesty. Examples: Lying to an instructor or submitting falsified or fabricated documents in order to gain exemptions from or alterations to course requirements (e.g. to obtain excused absences, deadline extensions, makeup examinations, grades of Incomplete, or admission to a class or program); falsifying documents or forging signatures for academic advantage; falsifying data (e.g. in an assigned lab project), or fabricating quotations or sources (e.g. for a paper); reporting false information about a practicum or clinical experience; altering a returned examination or paper to seek re-grading. All of these actions will be treated as forms of academic dishonesty, for they undermine the integrity and fairness of the University’s policies and dishonor the expectation of mutual trust among all members of the academic community.
7. Assisting Others in Academic Dishonesty
Helping someone else to cheat is itself an act of academic dishonesty. Examples: Providing completed assignments, papers, copies of quizzes, tests, or examinations, or any other form of written or oral help, to another student when you know or should reasonably suspect that the other student may use it to cheat.
8. Stealing or Vandalism of Academic Resources
Stealing or tampering with another student’s work in order to gain academic advantage is a form of academic dishonesty. For example, it is a form of academic dishonesty to take, conceal, or withhold work submitted by another person in order to prevent others from using it or benefiting from it; to take reserved academic resources or to remove or destroy library materials, examinations, or computer programs for academic advantage; and to steal or destroy other students' work if the action will foreseeably lead to an academic advantage for oneself. It is also a form of academic dishonesty to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to faculty offices, email accounts, course management services, or other restricted domains in order to alter grades, gain access to examinations, or otherwise gain improper academic advantage.
All written assignments submitted for credit must demonstrate the student's own understanding in the student's own words. This means all writing assignments, whether completed in class or out of class, are assumed to be composed entirely of words composed by the student, except where words written by someone else are specifically marked as such with proper citation. Drawing on other writers’ words and ideas is a valuable and sometimes indispensable part of academic writing, but when one makes use of other writers’ words and ideas, it is essential to acknowledge the sources fully and accurately. Using other writers’ words and ideas without proper acknowledgment is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is one of the most serious forms of academic dishonesty.
Some students arrive at university without being completely familiar with the rules and conventions of academic citation. Calvin University endeavors to familiarize all students with these conventions thoroughly in English 101 and other classes that deal extensively with written rhetoric. The English Department’s definition of plagiarism in written rhetoric is given here: http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/writing/plagiarism
It is each student’s individual responsibility, however, even before completing English 101, to know and abide by the basic principles of citation enumerated below.
More detailed explanations and examples of these conventions can be found in the “Writing with Integrity” guide of the Rhetoric Across the Curriculum website.
Each of the following offenses constitutes plagiarism:
Copying verbatim, (word for word) without acknowledgment.
The most egregious form of plagiarism is to copy part or all of another author’s text without indicating in any way that the words are someone else's. This suggests a deliberate intent to deceive the reader and take credit for another’s work. This kind of plagiarism on a large scale (e.g. copying all or most of a paper from an unacknowledged source) may lead to failure in a course.
Copying verbatim and identifying the source but failing to acknowledge direct quotation as such.
If you borrow language from another author, it is not adequate to acknowledge the source in a general way (e.g. in a parenthetical source reference or a footnote). All direct quotations from sources must BOTH place the quoted material in quotation marks AND use an acceptable form of citation to indicate where the words come from.
Copying distinctive language or sentence structure from a source without acknowledgment.
Expressing someone else’s ideas in your own words is called "paraphrasing." Language that is genuinely paraphrased does not have to be identified as a quotation. But language that is only partly paraphrased, and still retains distinctive characteristics of the original source (e.g. by mixing unacknowledged phrases from the original with one’s own words, or by extensively mimicking the sentence structure of the original without acknowledgment), can also constitute plagiarism. (This kind of plagiarism is often called “mosaic plagiarism.”)
Further examples of mosaic plagiarism can be found on the RAC website under “Avoid these plagiarism pitfalls”.
Presenting the results of other writers’ research, or significant arguments, information, or citations from other sources, without acknowledging these sources.
Not only quotations, but ideas and information from other sources that is not widely known must be acknowledged with proper citation. It can, admittedly, be difficult for students to know what information can be considered “widely known” and what is unique enough to a given source to require citation. But students must always avoid conveying a false impression that the conclusions in a paper rest on their own research or reading when they are in fact based on others’ research or reading.
The Rules against Plagiarism apply to all assignments.
The rules of plagiarism apply to all university level assignments including take-home tests, comprehensive examinations, "review of the literature" sections of assignments, and all university writing assignments.
Resources for Avoiding Plagiarism
Each of the links provided below have additional information about citations, writing and avoiding plagiarism:
- Plagiarism tutorials:
Many academic websites offer online tutorials that give further illustrations of mosaic plagiarism and similar pitfalls, and tips on how to avoid them.
C. Faculty Process for Responding to Academic Integrity Issues
The Office of Student Conduct staff members are available to assist faculty members in responding to academic integrity issues.
Office of Student Conduct contact information:
Director of Student Conduct
Addressing Academic Integrity Issues
A Step by Step Process
- Faculty member discovers or receives a report of an incident (or suspected incident) of plagiarism or academic dishonesty.
- Faculty member investigates, gathers, and reviews evidence.
- Faculty member prepares a written summary of the evidence to support a charge of academic dishonesty.
- Faculty member contacts any member of the Office of Student Conduct to determine whether the student has any prior reports of academic dishonesty. According to university policy, in egregious cases or in repeat cases of academic dishonesty, the faculty member has the option to impose an F for the entire course.
- Faculty member may opt to consult with the Office of Student Conduct when facing a complicated or unclear situation or when dealing with a difficult student. Office of Student Conduct staff members are available to discuss evidence, explore options, or clarify the process. Faculty members may also decide to refer the entire case to the Office of Student Conduct for the student conduct process and resolution.
- Faculty member informs the student of the accusation and presents the evidence.
- Faculty member asks for a student response to the evidence. Several possible scenarios may then develop, each of which calls for different consequences:
- The student provides new evidence that leads the faculty member to withdraw the claim of academic dishonesty. In this case, no further action is required.
- Student admits to academic dishonesty and accepts responsibility for the violation. In this case, the faculty member may impose the sanction that s/he finds appropriate. The faculty member must also fill out an academic dishonesty report and forward it to the Director of Student Conduct, Martin Avila, for filing. This confidential file will be kept and accessed in the event of another academic integrity incident with the student.
- The student neither admits guilt nor provides satisfactory evidence to change the faculty member’s assessment of the evidence. The faculty member imposes the sanction that s/he finds appropriate and informs the student that the case will be referred to Student Life/the office of Student Conduct for follow up. The faculty member must also fill out an academic dishonesty report form and forward it to the Director of Student Conduct, Martin Avila, for filing.
- The student denies guilt. The faculty member contacts the Office of Student Conduct (Martin Avila or Karine Rose) to refer the student for follow-up. The faculty member proposes the appropriate sanction, summarizes the evidence, and forwards a copy to the Office of Student Conduct. Once a decision has been reached on the case, the Office of Student Conduct will contact the faculty member with the outcome and prepare a report to file on the student.
- If the facts of the case are complicated, the faculty member and the office of Student Conduct may opt to adjudicate the case together.
- If the academic dishonesty is discovered at the end of a semester when grades are due, the faculty member can submit a NR (no report) grade for the student while waiting for the case to run the course of a due process hearing. Once a decision has been reached in the case, a course grade can be submitted to replace the NR.
NOTE: Students have the right to due process when facing a charge that they deny. A Student Conduct staff member will conduct a due process hearing. Students also have the right to appeal the original decision and/or sanction to an Administrative Hearing Panel. the office of Student Conduct will assume responsibility for the process and may request some assistance from the faculty member in preparing the evidence for the hearing and/or appeal.
D. Students Reporting Academic Integrity Violations
If a student becomes aware of academic dishonesty during a test in class, the best thing to do is to notify the professor immediately. This way the professor can address the situation and gather evidence in the moment.
Here are some examples of ways students have alerted professors in past situations: Students have walked to the front of the class and told the professor, “John Doe is using his cell phone during this test.” Or, students have pretended to have a question for the professor and then pointed to a message to the professor written on the top of their own test paper: “Joe Smith is cheating, he has answers written on his hand” or “The woman in the pink sweater is cheating, she keeps reaching into her tote bag and pulling out cheat sheets.”
If the student cannot figure out how to alert professor during a test, students have the option to email a professor or stop by the professor’s office soon after the test is completed. It is most helpful if the student sends or communicates detailed and descriptive information about what they observed. The professor will respond and work with the reporting student to fully understand the situation and the evidence. The professor will address the situation using the established university process.
Here is an example of a descriptive report sent via email to a professor:
Dear Professor, I noticed during our exam today that a male student (I think his name is Andrew) was cheating. I am not sure of his name, but he is the guy with brown hair who always wears a baseball cap to class. He sits one seat ahead of my seat and in the row of desks to my left.
I think he was cheating because I heard him paging through his test a lot and from my angle, I could see that he had a cheat sheet in between the pages of his test. The cheat sheet was an index card, so it was noticeable because it was much smaller than the pages of the test. I noticed he kept paging to the back of the test to read what he had written (it looked handwritten) on the index card.
Later, I noticed that he also took out his phone and he seemed to be scrolling through notes on his phone. He did not type or text, it was more using his index finger to scroll on the screen of his phone. He would look at his phone and then he would turn to his test and write on it. Then, he would look at the phone again and then write on his test. He kept the phone “hidden” between his knees while he wrote on test and then he would pull it out again.
Also, I think Audrey noticed this too. I saw her looking at him when he was using his phone. She looked up to see if you noticed he had his phone out and then she went back to working on her own test
In the event that a student is hesitant or prefers not to report the issue to the professor, students may send an email to an office of Student Conduct staff member (see contact information below) to report a situation of academic dishonesty. The student can make a report by sending an email with a detailed description of the situation of the academic dishonesty. The staff member will respond and work with the student to fully understand the situation and the evidence. The staff member will address the situation using the established university process.
If a student has concerns about making a report as an identified witness, the student may contact a staff member in the office of Student Conduct to discuss the situation. The staff member will try to address the student’s concerns and may be able to protect the identity of the witness and still pursue student conduct action. If the student concerns cannot be addressed, then the student retains the right to withdraw the witness testimony. While Calvin does allow and pursue anonymous reports, anonymous reports almost always limit the university’s ability to follow up on the misconduct.
Contact Information for the Office of Student Conduct Staff
Acknowledgments: This document is based on the Calvin University Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, adopted in March 1977, as well as ATIXA’s one policy one process model, and ATIXA’s VAWA/Clery Template. The code format was developed after a review of Elon University’s student conduct code and some content was obtained from the Center for Academic Integrity’s published information.
- Course code: