Code of Conduct
Widener University’s Student Code of Conduct is direct and simple: Widener students are expected to be honest, mature, and responsible and to respect the rights and property of others. The purpose of the Student Code is to promote, preserve, and protect the educational mission of the university.
VIOLATIONS OF THE STUDENT CODE
A violation of any policy, rule, regulation, or standard of the university constitutes a violation of the Student Code. The following general policies, rules, regulations, and standards are published to help students understand Widener’s expectations for their behavior. The listing is not exhaustive, and additional policies, rules, regulations, and standards may be established by the university at any time. In addition, any policy, rule, regulation, or standard may be amended or revoked by the university at any time. Students are advised to refer to additional university publications such as the Undergraduate Bulletin, Parking Regulations Policy, Electronic Communications Policy, and departmental policy documents for more information. All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves thoroughly with all policies, rules, regulations, and standards of the university, including those relating specifically to residential students as set forth in this handbook. Questions or recommendations for new policies, rules, regulations, or standards should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs. Violations of any policy, rule, regulation, or standard of the university are subject to the sanctions set forth in the section entitled “Campus Judicial System.”
Federal law requires that in order for an institution of higher education to receive federal funds, it must adopt and implement a program to prevent the possession, use, or distribution of illegal or illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. In keeping with the foregoing, all students are required to strictly adhere to the standards of conduct outlined here.
The unapproved possession or use of ammunition, chemicals, flammable liquids, items that constitute a fire hazard, fireworks, offensive weapons, or explosives of any kind are strictly forbidden on campus. Offensive weapons include, without limitation:
- firearms of any kind
- pellet guns
- B.B. guns
- paintball guns
- dart guns
- bows and arrows
- pepper spray and mace
- any instrument that can hurl a projectile
- brass knuckles
- hunting knives
- and any other cutting instruments as determined within the sole discretion of the university, except those whose purpose is related to the preparation or consumption of food, as well as ammunition that can cause bodily harm.
In addition, items that are not generally considered to be a weapon but could be used or viewed as a weapon are prohibited. Such items will be confiscated immediately. Students violating these guidelines will be severely sanctioned up to and including expulsion. The university will report such violations to civil authorities if warranted.
Any of the above mentioned implements that are needed for a student’s activities or involvement on or off campus must be registered with the Office of Campus Safety and the Student Affairs Office; control and storage of these items shall be at the discretion of the director of Campus Safety. The university may permit exceptions to this procedure regarding items for the ROTC detachment, in which case control of these items shall be coordinated between the director of campus safety and the military science professor. All such weapons must be placed in the secured arms area on campus.
Gambling is strictly prohibited. Raffles and sales must be cleared with the Office of Student Affairs and may not include alcoholic prizes (see also Student Organizations—Fund-Raising).
Hazing is prohibited both by state law and university policy. A student or student group found guilty of such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension, dismissal, or expulsion from the university, as well as adjudication in criminal courts of law. Any organization that authorizes hazing intentionally or unintentionally may be prohibited from operating at the university.
The university adheres to the following definition of hazing issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
“HAZING:” Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or any forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property.
For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
Hazing also includes any action or situation that requires or encourages violation of public law or university policy. Any complaint, suspicion, or accusation of a group hazing will be promptly investigated.
DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT POLICY
It is the policy of Widener University that no individual may engage in conduct that constitutes discrimination or harassment, as defined in the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Codes, with respect to any member of the university community. Such codes prohibit discrimination against or harassment of any individual based upon an individual’s sex, age, race, national origin or ethnicity, religion, disability, status as a veteran of the Vietnam era or other covered veteran, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in any form and may result in disciplinary action being taken against any person found to have discriminated against or harassed another, up to and including expulsion.
A student who feels that he or she has been discriminated against or harassed may seek advice from his or her academic advisor, the associate provost for undergraduate studies, the associate provost and dean of students, or any member of the dean’s staff. Copies of the Discrimination and Harassment Codes of Widener University are available in all principal offices of the university and will be made available upon request to any member of the student body, faculty, or staff.
In addition, the university calls attention to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s “Ethnic Intimidation Act of 1982,” which notes that certain criminal acts are a result of manifestation of malicious intent toward the particular race, color, religion, ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity of an individual or group. All students are responsible for their actions relating to this act. A complete copy of the act is available in the Student Affairs Office.
Students are expected to conduct themselves within the local community in a responsible and considerate manner at all times. Any conduct that tends to bring discredit to the university or its members will result in disciplinary action regardless of where such conduct occurs. Any student charged with a felonious crime of violence may be immediately suspended from the university pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and may also be subject to proceedings under the “Campus Judicial System.”
Students are required to carry their Campus1Card (identification card) at all times. Students may be required to present these cards to use services in the library, Enrollment Services, University Center, computer labs, and other offices. These cards admit students to home athletic games and most student activities.
Campus1Cards are not transferable, cannot be borrowed, and may not be altered. Misuse of or tampering with any Campus1Card is strictly prohibited. The use of the card is governed by university regulations. The Campus1Card must be submitted upon request to any university employee who requires it for official performance of his or her duties or fulfillment of his or her responsibilities. If a student’s Campus1Card is validated for meal service, it must be presented at each meal. Check-in officials have the authority to deny any person access to the dining center who does not have proper identification or cash payment.
The procedure to follow in the event a card is lost or stolen is as follows:
- Report the lost/stolen card to the Office of Campus Safety
- Report the lost/stolen card to ARAMARK Campus Dining Services before the next scheduled meal
- Make payment of the Campus1Card replacement fee ($25) at the Enrollment Services Center, where a new card will be prepared
All athletic activities must be confined to the proper playing fields or gym. All Department of Athletics policies and rules in effect for athletic contests must be followed. Check with the Department of Athletics for complete details of its policies for the stadium and gymnasium. Ball playing, Frisbee, and other recreational games are restricted to the appropriate athletic fields and areas designated by the Student Affairs Office.
ADDITIONAL VIOLATIONS AFFECTING EDUCATIONAL MISSION
- Plagiarizing or other forms of cheating.
- Knowingly supplying false information or causing false information to be supplied to university faculty or staff who are in pursuit of official duties, or to a hearing officer or board in the course of a disciplinary proceeding.
- Tampering with or unauthorized use or accession of official university records.
- Failing to comply or fully cooperate with university employees, including, without limitation, resident assistants, graduate assistants, campus safety officers, maintenance workers, and dining center personnel. This includes failure to evacuate a building when instructed to or to present an I.D. card upon demand.
- Refusing to identify oneself to representatives of the university who are in pursuit of their official duties.
- Interfering with faculty or staff of the university in the performance of their official duties.
- Disturbing the community resulting in the disruption of authorized university activities, including conduct in classrooms or laboratories.
- Failing to respond to official university business or correspondence in a timely manner.
- Misrepresenting information about, or intentional defamation of, an individual or group.
- Violating any agreement a student has entered into with the university, including, without limitation, dining service contracts and housing agreements.
- Failing to comply with any condition of a disciplinary sanction.
ADDITIONAL VIOLATIONS AFFECTING HEALTH AND SAFETY
- Physical assault or the threat of physical assault to any person.
- Sexual assault and sexual exploitation
- Abuse or intimidation of any person, whether verbally, in writing, in person, or electronically.
- Terroristic threats and/or acts of intolerance: A person is guilty of a crime if he or she knowingly or recklessly puts another person in fear of bodily or psychological harm. This includes placing on Widener University property or elsewhere a symbol, object, characterization, or graffiti that exposes another person to threats of violence, contempt, or hatred on the basis of sex, age, race, national origin or ethnicity, religion, disability, status as a veteran of the Vietnam era or other covered veteran, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
- Discrimination or harassment of any person (see the Discrimination and Harassment Policy): Note that while the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Codes provide members of the university with procedures by which to bring complaints against other members of the university community, the university reserves the right at all times to institute and process charges of discrimination and harassment against students under this Code of Conduct.
- Disorderly conduct: Any disruptive conduct that threatens, harms, or interferes with the health, safety, and welfare or peace and good order of the university community, university personnel, students, visitors, guests, and/or university processes and functions—including but not limited to physical altercation, unreasonable noise, creating a physically hazardous or physically offensive condition, and prohibited athletic or recreation activity.
- Violation of any federal, state, or local statute, law, regulation, or ordinance. Note: Any student charged with a felonious crime of violence may be suspended from the university pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and may also be subject to proceedings under the Campus Judicial System (see also Campus Judicial System, External Proceedings).
- Lewd or indecent behavior, obscene conduct, or exhibitionism.
- Creation of a fire hazard or other dangerous condition, filing of false reports regarding fire or other dangerous conditions, or tampering with or attempting to tamper with fire or other safety equipment.
- Safety: Smoke detectors are placed in student rooms and public areas for the safety of the community. Students may not tamper with this equipment (e.g., remove batteries). Students caught tampering will be subject to immediate disciplinary action. Nothing may cover smoke detectors. Hot plates (exposed and internal coil elements), candles, incense, live trees, decorative lights, lava lamps, and George Foreman and other grills are not allowed in the residence halls. If discovered, they will be confiscated. Students responsible will be subject to disciplinary action. As per the instruction from the Fire Commissioner of the City of Chester, “No couches, chairs, or futons are permitted in the residence halls unless a student can provide manufacturer’s certification that the furniture meets California Technical Bulletin 133 for fire retardancy of upholstered furniture.” All residents are required to attend a fire safety meeting at the beginning of the semester.
- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all buildings and public areas of the university, including the residence halls. Students who fail to comply will be subject to disciplinary action. Students must indicate on their housing cards if they are smokers or nonsmokers. The Office of Residence Life will honor that designation and assign rooms accordingly.
- Pets: Animals, including lab specimens, are not permitted in residence halls or other university facilities because of health hazards (service animals for the blind excepted). Persons violating this regulation will be referred immediately to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action, and violators will be required to remove the animals from campus immediately. Fish may be kept in the residence halls if they are cared for responsibly and kept in a maximum 10-gallon tank.
- Becoming intoxicated through the use of solvents, aerosols, or propellants.
- Any act or omission, the effect of which may be detrimental to, endanger, or create a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of any person, including the student responsible for the act or omission.
ADDITIONAL VIOLATIONS AFFECTING PROPERTY
- Theft or unauthorized acquisition, removal, use, or misuse of property, including computer hardware and software, belonging to the university, other members of the campus community, or other persons or entities.
- Theft of services, such as telephone or computer services, including, without limitation, copyrighted computer programs and other copyrighted materials such as movies or music.
- Misuse or destruction of library resources or other academic materials.
- Misuse, destruction, defacement, or vandalism of property belonging to the university, other members of the campus community, or other persons or entities.
- Trespassing or unauthorized presence in or on any university property, including faculty or administrative offices.
- Tampering with locks or vending equipment or unauthorized use, distribution, duplication or possession of any key issued for any university building, laboratory, facility, room or elevator.
- In addition, any Widener University student who hosts a guest who violates the provisions of this section will be subject to judicial action.
ADDITIONAL VIOLATIONS AFFECTING RESIDENCE HALLS
- Interference with the normal residential life of other community members.
- Violation of residence hall contracts or residence hall regulations.
- Intimidation or verbal abuse of a residence hall staff member.
- Interference with or failure to respond to the directives of residence hall staff members in the performance of their duties.
- Noise beyond a reasonable level or quiet-hour violations.
- Throwing items out of a window.
- In addition, any Widener University student who hosts a guest who violates the provisions of this section will be subject to judicial action.
Note: The residents of a room where a policy violation has occurred may be held responsible for the violation regardless of whether they were present in the room at the time of the violation.