Code of Student Conduct
Code of Student Conduct
The Rockford University Code of Student Conduct is adapted from the NCHERM Group Model
Developmental Code of Student Conduct and is used here with permission.
The Rockford University community is committed to fostering a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, a productive campus life and thoughtful study and discourse. The student conduct program within the Office of Student Life is committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the University community.
A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles. At Rockford University, student members of the community are expected to uphold and abide by certain standards of conduct that form the basis of the Code of Student Conduct. These standards are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, social justice, respect, community, and responsibility.
Each member of the University community bears responsibility for their conduct and to assume reasonable responsibility for the behavior of others. When members of the community fail to exemplify these five values by engaging in violation of the rules below, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Code of Student Conduct.
The student conduct process at Rockford University is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations. When a student is unable to adjust their behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision-maker. No student will be found in violation of University policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Students at Rockford University are provided a copy of the Code of Student Conduct annually in the form of a link on the University website. Hard copies are available upon request from the Office of Student Life. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct.
The Code of Student Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students, both undergraduate and graduate, and all University-affiliated student organizations. For the purposes of student conduct, the University considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the University.
The University retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll and/or obtain official transcripts and/or graduate and all sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at University-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus when the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include:
- Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others; and/or
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the University;
The Code of Student Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic medium. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials. However, most online speech by students not involving University networks or technology will be protected as free expression and not subject to this Code, with two notable exceptions:
- A true threat, defined as “a threat a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily harm upon specific individuals”;
- Speech posted online about the University or its community members that causes a significant on-campus disruption.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to guests of community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The Code may also be applied to resident non-students, campers, visitors to and guests of University may seek resolution of violations of the Code of Student Conduct committed against them by members of University community.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Code of Student Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for University officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations.
Though anonymous complaints are permitted, doing so may limit the University’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to the Office of Student Life and/or to Campus Safety and Security.
Rockford University email is the University’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their University email address.
Violations of the Law
Alleged violations of federal, state and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Code of Student Conduct. When an offense occurs over which the University has jurisdiction, the University conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
The University reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint (additional grounds for interim suspension are outlined on page 19). Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held, typically within two weeks. This hearing may resolve the allegation, or may be held to determine if the interim suspension should be continued. The interim suspension may be continued if a danger to the community is posed and the University may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation and resolving the allegation by the pendency of the criminal process. In such cases, the University will only delay its hearing until such time as it can conduct an internal investigation or obtain sufficient information independently or from law enforcement upon which to proceed. This delay will be no longer than two weeks from notice of the incident unless a longer delay is requested in writing by the complaining victim to allow the criminal investigation to proceed before the University process.
Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from the University until the criminal charges are resolved. In such situations, the University procedure for voluntary leaves of absence is subject to the following conditions:
- The responding student must comply with all campus investigative efforts that will not prejudice their defense in the criminal trial; and
- The responding student must comply with all interim actions and/or restrictions imposed during the leave of absence; and
- The responding student must agree that, in order to be reinstated to active student status, they must first be subject to, and fully cooperate with, the campus conduct process and must comply with all sanctions that are imposed.