Dec 05, 2019  
2009-2010 Student Handbook 
    
2009-2010 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information and University Policies


2009-10 Student Handbook

Index

University Mission and Goals
University Values
A Brief History of USP
Division of Student Affairs
Policies on Alcohol and Other Drugs
Campus Weapons Policy
Cancellation of Classes Policy
Computing Policy
Copyright Policy
Criminal Background Check Policy
Disability Support Services Policy
Discrimination and Harassment Policy
Harassment Policy
Hazardous Materials on Campus Policy
Health Policies
Housing Policy
Identification Cards Policy
Logo Policy
Off-Campus Address Submission Policy
Online communities—Considerations
Parking Enforcement Policy
Printed Materials Policy
Security and Crime Statistics Policy
Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy
Student Conduct Policy
Student Grievance Policy


General Information

University Mission and Goals 

The mission of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is to educate students to become leaders and innovators in the sciences, the health professions, and emerging related disciplines. Building on our legacy as the nation’s first college of pharmacy, we provide excellence in teaching, research, and service.

We accomplish our mission by achieving the following objectives:

  • Our graduates will have the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful in their professional careers
  • Through academic and personal development, our graduates will gain the intellectual, cultural, and ethical understanding and awareness needed to become leaders and innovators in a global society
  • Our students will embrace the value of service
  • The University will promote the advancement and dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarly activity
  • The University will provide a student-centered learning and living environment
  • The University will foster and cultivate an environment of respect and appreciation for diversity among people, cultures, and ideas
  • The University will be an active partner with our local communities to promote the values and practice of responsible citizenship
  • The University will commit itself to institutional effectiveness and continuous improvement throughout the organization

University Values

  • We believe that the University is a partnership of people; our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are our principal assets
  • We accept teaching as primary to our mission and recognize the contribution of scholarly activity to the learning process
  • We support a personal educational experience in which intellectual, social, and professional development of the individual student is of paramount concern
  • We recognize the unique composite of liberal and scientific learning as the basis of education at the University
  • We equip our students with the tools for lifelong learning, recognizing that knowing how to continue learning will be more important than any single set of skills acquired in school
  • We affirm that the University is a scholarly community where students, faculty, alumni, and staff participate together in personal and professional growth
  • We value the loyalty and commitment of individuals to the institution
  • We accept our responsibility to conduct our affairs in a collegial manner and with a firm sense of integrity
  • We acknowledge our commitment to provide responsibly managed, high-quality programs at reasonable costs
  • We accept our responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we live and work
  • We strive to continually improve our academic and service programs

A Brief History of USP

To provide the means of instruction by the establishment of a school of pharmacy in which shall be taught those branches of knowledge essential to the education of an apothecary; to invite a spirit of pharmaceutical investigation and research…”

The original objectives of the University, drafted in 1821, were based on the traditional roles of the academy—teaching, research, and service. The proud legacy of University of the Sciences began when 68 Philadelphia apothecaries met in Carpenters’ Hall in 1821 to establish improved scientific standards and to train more competent apprentices and students. These visionaries sought to enhance their vocation, as well as protect public welfare. A year later, they organized and incorporated the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP), the first college of pharmacy in the nation. Thus, education in the profession of pharmacy in the U.S. was born.

The college began to grow in enrollment, curriculum, and stature. Although matriculation was originally limited to men, the college became coeducational in 1876. The college initially emphasized the biological and chemical sciences as mainstays of the curriculum in pharmacy but later instituted separate curricula in three other areas: bacteriology, biology, and chemistry.

In 1921, the name of the institution was changed to Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, with state authorization to grant not only the baccalaureate degree, but also the master’s and doctorate in all four disciplines.

As the world of science continuously made advancements throughout the decades, the college evolved and expanded its curriculum to prepare students for the new wave of scientific breakthroughs. The college also enhanced the role of the humanities and social sciences in its science-based curricula. Primarily a commuter campus in its early days, the institution began to transform into one in which residential life and extracurricular activities played a larger role in student development.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the institution’s application for university status in February 1997. In recognition of the broad spectrum of new health and science programs introduced by the institution, the college changed its name to reflect the broader range of academic opportunities offered to its students. On July 1, 1998, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science officially unveiled its new identity as University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

In the course of its nearly two centuries of existence, the University has launched the careers of many innovative and pioneering individuals in the field of health care, including the founders of six of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies:

  • Dr. Eli Lilly (Class of 1907) and his father, Josiah K. Lilly (Class of 1882) - Eli Lilly and Company
  • Gerald F. Rorer (Class of 1931) - founder of Rorer Pharmaceuticals, which is now Sanofi-aventis
  • William R. Warner (Class of 1856), founder of Warner-Lambert Company, Inc., which merged with Pfizer Inc.
  • Robert L. McNeil, Jr. (Class of 1938) and his grandfather, Robert McNeil (Class of 1876) - founder of McNeil Laboratories Inc., which was split into two separate corporations: McNeil Consumer Products Company (now McNeil Nutritionals) and McNeil Pharmaceutical (now part of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc.)
  • John Wyeth (Class of 1854), founder of John Wyeth & Brother, which is now part of Wyeth
  • Silas M. Burroughs (Class of 1877) and Sir Henry S. Wellcome (Class of 1874), founders in England of Burroughs Wellcome and Company, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline

Today, the University continues to build on that esteemed reputation and is now home to 25 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs in five colleges. Its 3,000 students have enrolled in premier programs in the health sciences, ranging across pharmacy with its direct entry doctoral program to pre-med to physical therapy to healthcare business and health policy. Students study almost the entire range of the health sciences in one of its five colleges:

  • Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
  • Misher College of Arts and Sciences
  • Samson College of Health Sciences
  • College of Graduate Studies
  • Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy

Alumni have made significant contributions in fields beyond pharmacy, from pioneering the use of X-rays (Martin Wilbert, Pharmacy - 1890) to motor oil additives (Vincent J. Cease, Pharmacy - 1956) to rechargeable batteries (Paul J. Nigrey, Chemistry -1970). USP alumni have also contributed to the inventions of well-known products, including:

  • Hires Root Beer extract
  • Photocopy toner and electrographic inks
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silicone-based adhesives
  • Water repellency treatments
  • Gas discharge laser development
  • Plant growth regulators

Numerous modern-era alumni have made contributions in nearly every aspect of pharmacy, science, and health sciences. Some of our alumni’s remarkable discoveries that have had a global impact include:

  • Invention of medical ultrasound gels that allow expectant parents to get their first glimpse of their unborn child (Martin Buchalter, Pharmacy - 1955)
  • Development of advanced time-release formula, found in many over-the-counter and prescription medications (Dr. Gerald P. Polli, Pharmacy - 1956)
  • An arthritis drug that may hold the key to preventing and possibly curing cancer (Dr. Philip Needleman, Pharmacy - 1960, MS Pharmacology - 1962)
  • Design of a portable infusion pump that delivers antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other medication solutions intravenously (Glenn Herskowitz, Pharmacy -1983)
  • Discovery of an inherited adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutation in individuals predisposed to colon cancer that can be detected by a simple blood test (Dr. Kenneth Kinzler, Pharmacology/Toxicology - 1983)                                                    
  • Invention of a machine that helps patients regain range of motion after a knee injury (Michelle Fontana, Master of Physical Therapy - 1990)

Division of Student Affairs

Mission Statement and Goals

The Division of Student Affairs contributes to the academic mission of the University through quality student-centered programming and services that support the emotional, intellectual, personal, and ethical growth of the individual student.

To accomplish its mission, the Division of Student Affairs will focus on programs and services to:

  • Support the student in scholarly pursuits and the pursuit of career and personal aspirations
  • Enhance student learning
  • Promote student development
  • Promote a shared sense of community
  • Facilitate the development of life skills
  • Create and maintain a support network that includes partnerships among faculty, administration, and staff
  • Engage students in opportunities for productive citizenship
  • Promote the health and well-being of students
  • Encourage an environment that is tolerant and respectful of individual differences
  • Develop a viable organization that is responsive to the needs of students and proactive in its preparation of students for the future

University Policies

Policies on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol Use Policy

The goal of the Alcohol Use Policy at USP is to foster alcohol awareness and responsible drinking practices and to promote the health and safety of the faculty, staff, and students. With the growing problems of alcohol and drug abuse in our society, the University seeks to encourage a campus social life that does not emphasize the role of alcoholic beverages in either private or group activities. This policy allows those of legal age an opportunity to develop responsible behaviors for the use of alcohol.

  1. The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the University campus and at University-related events off campus are regulated by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These laws make it unlawful for persons under 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport any alcoholic beverages. It is also unlawful to serve, sell, or furnish alcoholic beverages to persons under 21.
     
  2. Any University-related organization holding a function on or off campus will be subject to the following guidelines:
    1. If alcohol is to be served, the host’s supervisor or advisor must be notified in writing in advance of the event. At this time, a process to screen minors must be described, and an individual must be designated to be responsible for compliance with the policy. 
       
    2. If alcohol is to be served and underage persons may be present, a process must be in place to screen minors. During the social function while alcoholic beverages are available, the advisor, the sponsor, or the designee must be in attendance and must observe the area where alcoholic beverages are served and prohibit underage persons from obtaining alcoholic beverages.

    3. If alcohol is to be served, food and nonalcoholic beverages must also be available in a prominent place and in adequate amounts. Alcoholic beverages must be clearly labeled as such.

    4. Visibly intoxicated persons must not be served alcohol.

    5. Advertising to members of the USP campus for any social functions or campus events must not refer to the availability of alcoholic beverages, either specifically or in code. “Advertising” defined here includes flyers and posters as well as online community announcements.

    6. No student government funds may be used to purchase or supply alcohol. 

  3. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at all times in the residence halls. Violations will be subject to student conduct procedures as outlined in the Residence Hall Handbook.
     
  4. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public areas of the campus, except under special circumstances with approval of the President.
     
  5. Disciplinary procedures for violations of this policy may be imposed by the dean or the senior administrator responsible for the organization or department.
     
  6. All fraternity and sorority policies on alcohol use must be in compliance with the above-stated policy.

Drug-Free Environment Policy

Recognizing the wide variety of health risks associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs, the University is committed to maintaining a drug-free environment for its employees and students. Because of our special responsibility as an educator in health sciences, we have implemented a campus-wide program to increase awareness concerning alcohol and substance abuse. The Alcohol Use Policy provides information on the regulated, legal use of alcohol for University organizations. The Substance Abuse Policy provides information on available counseling, rehabilitation, and assistance programs for those experiencing problems with alcohol or other drugs.

The University prohibits the unlawful manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance on the University campus. Controlled substances may be appropriately used in a supervised classroom or research setting. Federal law requires compliance with this policy to maintain a person’s status with the University. The law also requires that the institution be notified of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace and/or a University-sponsored clerkship or traineeship site. Students must notify their college dean within five days of any such conviction.

Anyone so convicted must participate satisfactorily in an approved drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program to resume his or her status with the institution. The University’s Student Conduct Policy and Substance Abuse Policy outline additional information and requirements for disclosure and continued enrollment or employment.

In addition to any legal sanctions imposed in conjunction with the unlawful use of alcohol or controlled substances, violations of this policy will also be subject to appropriate internal action whether remedial, rehabilitative, and/or disciplinary. If the offender is an employee, the appropriate action will be determined by the Supervisor and the Director of Human Resources. If the offender is a student, the case will be referred to the Student Conduct Committee for resolution.

Safe and Drug-Free School Act Policy

The University complies with the Safe and Drug-Free School Act (formerly known as the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989).

Each year, the University distributes a pamphlet to all incoming students describing:

  • Standards of conduct and sanctions for violations involving
    controlled substances and alcohol use
  • Selected local, state, and federal regulations
  • Available rehabilitation and counseling programs
  • Health risks of drug and alcohol use

This pamphlet is mailed to students along with the Health Packet mailing from Student Health and Counseling.

Smoking Policy

 As an institution committed to the higher education of health professionals, the University has an obligation to maintain a smoke-free campus environment, which promotes the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, smoking is prohibited in all campus buildings.

Substance Abuse Policy

This policy reflects the institution’s concern about any member of the University family who is experiencing a problem with alcohol and/or drug abuse (referred to hereafter as substance abuse). The aim of the policy is to encourage and support the recovery of all impaired members of the University community. The Substance Abuse Policy is initiated by the college dean in conjunction with the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will assist the student in obtaining an evaluation from an independent clinical expert and coordinating any recommended aftercare program. The Dean of Students receives the evaluation as well as recommendations for treatment and aftercare services for policy participants and coordinates the treatment component of the policy. Clinical decisions regarding the diagnosis and treatment are made by external experts. Questions concerning the Substance Abuse Policy should be directed to the Dean of Students at 215.596.8535.

  1. The University recognizes that dependence upon any psychoactive substance is a debilitating condition that requires medical, psychological, and social assistance.
     
  2. The University is committed to a comprehensive educational program to prevent substance abuse among its students and staff.
     
  3. The University encourages the treatment and recovery of any person who seeks assistance or who has been identified as having substance abuse problems by his or her college dean or the Dean of Students. Assistance and referrals for treatment will be provided through the Dean of Students. The cost for any external evaluation and any related fees are the responsibility of the student.
     
  4. The University will not perform random testing for drugs; however, drug screens may be required as a condition of participation in experiential education.
     
  5. All matters relating to substance abuse and subsequent treatment will be confidential.
     
  6. The University will support the continued enrollment or employment of any impaired person provided he or she agrees to undergo evaluation and, when necessary, treatment for a substance abuse problem. In the event treatment is recommended, the impaired person will:
    1. Enter a treatment program without delay
    2. Complete the treatment program
    3. Participate in an aftercare regimen

*Students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program are required to enroll and actively participate in the Secundum Artem Reaching Pharmacists with Help (SARPH) program. SARPH is supported by the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy and is designed to support the recovery of impaired pharmacy students and pharmacists through interaction with peers and random drug monitoring. The duration of enrollment in the SARPH program will be for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the PharmD program or three years, whichever is longer. When applicable, students progressing into the profession after graduation, but who have not completed a minimum of three years in the SARPH program, will continue to be enrolled in the program, under its contract, until they have successfully completed the minimum three-year monitoring requirement.

  1. The University will not support continued enrollment or employment of anyone found guilty through conduct action or legal prosecution of :
    1. Illegal possession of controlled substances with intent to divert or distribute
    2. Stealing controlled substances
       
  2. All decisions regarding individual treatment and aftercare will:
    1. Be made by an outside independent organization in consultation with the substance abuser
    2. Be in accordance with the person’s ability to participate successfully in these programs
       
  3. The facility that will provide an evaluation and treatment plan must be approved by the University.

The University reserves the right to dismiss a student who fails to comply with the terms of the Substance Abuse Policy. In such matters, the decision for dismissal will be referred to the college dean by the Dean of Students.

Campus Weapons Policy

The health, safety, and welfare of students, faculty, and staff are of the utmost importance to the University. The presence of weapons poses a direct and substantial threat to the safety of our faculty, students, employees, and visitors to our campus. All students (except for those on the USP rifle team during practices and competitions), former students, faculty, employees (except for USP Public Safety Officers and law enforcement officers acting within the scope and course of their employment), former employees, customers, vendors, and visitors are prohibited from possessing, carrying, or storing weapons on their person, on University premises, and in any vehicle on campus without specific authorization from the Executive Director of Public Safety.

For purposes of this policy, the term “weapons” includes any device, instrument, material, or substance that under any circumstances is readily capable of causing death or injury. Weapons include, but are not limited to rifles, shotguns, handguns, pellet or BB guns, starter pistols, dangerous knives, sling-shots, billy-clubs, blackjacks, makeshift weapons, martial arts weapons, explosive materials, or any other lethal or dangerous devices capable of casting a projectile by air, gas, explosion, or mechanical means.

This prohibition includes licensed firearms or weapons and applies to all who are licensed to carry firearms or concealed weapons. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be addressed in writing to the Executive Director of Public Safety.

The University shall have the right to seize any firearm or weapon from any persons on the USP campus. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and expulsion. In addition, any person authorized to carry a weapon on campus, including any USP Public Safety Officer and any member of the rifle team, who uses a weapon in an unauthorized or inappropriate way is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination and expulsion.

Cancellation of Classes Policy

In the event of severe weather or other emergency, information regarding cancellation of classes at USP will be available through the following methods:

  • Radio and TV – Information will be broadcast by number on KYW Newsradio (1060 AM) and by name on WTXF Fox TV-29. The broadcast number assigned to the University is 117 for cancellation of day classes and 2117 for cancellation of evening classes
  • Internet
  • Telephone
    • Call KYW Newsradio at 215.224.1060 (automated)
    • Call the University’s Severe Weather Hotline at 215.596.USIP (8747) 
  • USP Emergency Notification System – Students, faculty, and staff who subscribe to this system will receive updates and campus-wide alerts about emergency situations or inclement weather conditions on users’ cell phones, PDAs, and e-mail. (For more information on this system, see Security in the Student Services section of this Student Handbook.)

Computing Policy

USP is a completely wired campus. Every residence hall room, office, and classroom is directly connected to the Internet. Public access computers are available in various labs across campus. The University also provides e-mail accounts to all students.

Privileges:

All students may have an e-mail account if they are willing to be responsible citizens on the Internet.

Responsibilities:

Students must abide by the University’s Responsible Computing Agreement (available on the University website or at the Library’s Information Desk).

University account holders are expected to behave responsibly, ethically, and legally with respect to hardware and software owned and run by the University.

Students must not:

  • Share their account password with others
  • Attempt to gain unauthorized access to the University-owned system or use the University’s network to gain unauthorized access to other systems
  • Send mass mailings (i.e., “spamming”) or chain letters, since this greatly slows down our and others’ servers
  • Send harassing, intimidating, or threatening messages by e-mail
  • Use the University’s equipment or network for commercial activities
  • Post copyrighted text or art onto public sites
  • Copy, store, install, display, or distribute copyrighted music, movies, or other electronic media via the Internet through the University systems or networks without the permission of the copyright owner (See Digital Copyright Policy below)
  • Use University computers, systems, or networks to transmit defamatory, harassing, fraudulent, obscene, threatening messages, or any communications prohibited by law

Failure to abide by these policies, and others described in the Responsible Computing Agreement, will lead to disciplinary action and may result in the loss of e-mail privileges.

Violations of this policy should be reported to the University Conduct Officer.

Digital Copyright Policy

 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 prohibits students from copying, storing, displaying, or distributing copyrighted material through University systems or networks without the permission of the copyright owner. File sharing of copyrighted materials without the express written permission of the owner constitutes a violation of this federal statute. Students violating this statute may be subject to prosecution by law enforcement entities and will be subject to sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct Committee of the University.

Software Statement

 Computer programs are protected by copyright law–Section 117 of the 1976 Copyright Act as amended in 1980–governing the use of software. It is the intent of the University to adhere to the provisions of copyright laws in the area of microcomputer software. It is also the intent of the University to comply with the license agreements and/or policy statements contained in the software packages used in the University. In circumstances where the interpretation of the copyright law is ambiguous, the University shall look to the applicable license agreement to determine appropriate use of the software.

Student E-mail Accounts

Official University communications with students are done through the student’s University e-mail address. Examples of this essential communication include billing, financial aid, residential issues, and accessing WebAdvisor (including online registration).

It is the student’s responsibility to check his/her University e-mail address regularly. Student e-mail is Web-based and can, therefore, be checked anywhere there is an Internet connection.

An e-mail address consists of the student’s first initial and last name, with a number added when there is more than one student with the same first initial and last name.

Students may gain additional information on this subject at www.usp.edu/it/helpdesk/forstudents.

Copyright Policy

USP expects that all members of its community, including students, will adhere to the United States Copyright Act (www.copyright.gov/title17) and the related acts that further define the proper use of copyrighted materials. USP students should be familiar with the provisions of the Copyright Act. See www.usp.edu/policies/USPcopyright.shtml for links to excellent online materials available to learn more about copyright.

Videotapes and DVDs rented or purchased for home use may be shown on campus only as part of a class session to enrolled students. An instructor should be present to lead a discussion during or after viewing.

Multiple copies of limited amounts of copyrighted materials may be made, but for classroom use only. While it is not a violation of the Copyright Act to use others’ ideas (which cannot be copyrighted), using ideas without attribution may cause you to be charged with plagiarism and be subject to academic discipline.

Everything on the Internet is copyrighted, whether or not there is a copyright statement. See the Computing Policy on p. 11 for further information on the penalties associated with the unlawful use of materials obtained from the Internet.

Any use or reproduction of copyrighted materials will be done either with the written permission of the copyright holder or within the bounds of “Fair Use” guidelines provided in the Copyright Act; otherwise, the individual responsible for use or reproduction may be liable for infringing the copyright under existing laws. In the case of a court action for damages, a finding of willful infringement:

  • Would preclude the University from paying any judgment rendered against the faculty, staff, or student
  • Would preclude paying any attorney’s fees or costs, which the said individual would incur in conjunction with a lawsuit
  • May render the said individual liable to the University for any damages that the University is liable to pay

Criminal Background Check Policy

Healthcare institutions affiliated with USP for student experiential education or clinical rotations mandate that all students complete a criminal background check as a requirement for placement into their facility. This requirement is driven by the following internal and external reasons:

 To protect the safety and well-being of patients and clients in settings where they are in direct contact with USP students

  • To meet accreditation requirements or policies of the host institution
  • To avoid potential liability issues for both the host organization and USP
  • To assist students in identifying and addressing any criminal record that may impact their ability to complete their experiential education requirements and/or their ability to become licensed as a professional

All full- and part-time students enrolled in professional, clinical, or other programs involving professional or therapeutic learning activities or practice with the public are subject to the Criminal Background Check Policy.

Criminal background checks will be required for students entering the first professional year of the program and will be repeated at intervals determined by each program. Additional background checks in the pre-professional or professional years may be required as a condition of participation in experiential education or clinical courses, community service activities, or as mandated by University policy.

Some rotation sites may require that a student undergo an additional, specific criminal background check and/or screening in addition to those generally required by USP. If required by an assigned rotation site (e.g., Veterans Administration facility using Office of Homeland Security mandated check or pediatric clinical sites requiring child abuse clearances), the student must submit to the check consistent with site policy and procedure.

Successful completion of experiential education courses is required for completion of many USP programs that require clinical or other experiential practice with the public. Student eligibility for participation in experiential education is contingent upon completion of criminal background checks.  Students who choose not to participate in the criminal background check process will be unable to progress to the experiential education component of their professional program, will not be able to complete their degree requirements, and will not be eligible for licensure.   

Students who have a criminal record identified by the background check may not be allowed to progress into the experiential education or clinical rotations depending on the outcome of the review process. The review process is conducted by a University faculty committee.

Students unable to complete experiential education requirements due to lack of compliance with the Criminal Background Check Policy or due to a positive criminal record incompatible with experiential placement will be withdrawn from their academic program and, if they choose to continue their studies at USP, will be required to change their major to another program.

Students are responsible for all costs associated with criminal background checks.  Students should direct any questions about their academic program’s specific requirements under this policy with their program directors or college deans.

Disability Support Services Policy

USP recognizes that a diverse campus community is essential to enriching intellectual exchanges and enhancing cultural understanding and, as such, values equality of opportunity, mutual respect, and diversity. USP, therefore, is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all members of the University community who have documented disabilities.

Two pieces of legislation, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the programs, services, and activities of public entities, including postsecondary institutions. The University is, therefore, mandated both philosophically and legally to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified individuals. This applies to virtually all aspects of campus activities, including employment, academic studies, student programming, and services provided to the community at large. USP’s reasonable accommodation process is intended to provide reasonable support to meet the individual needs of this diverse population, which includes faculty, staff, prospective and enrolled students, and others involved in the University’s services and programs. Accommodations may be altered based on the individual’s needs; changes in the law; or changes in the University’s curriculum, programs, job requirements, or services. 

Contacts: 

If you are a student who may have a disability and would like to request accommodations, please contact the Director of Academic Accommodations (Whitecar Hall, Suite 1110) at 215.596.7480.  Faculty and staff should contact the Affirmative Action Officer (AAO) (Griffith Hall, Room 105) at 215.596.7484.

Appeals Policy

Any individual who has been approved for an accommodation should contact the appropriate Disability Support Services person if he or she experiences any of the following situations:

  • A delay in the implementation of an approved accommodation
  • Any discrimination due to an approved accommodation
  • Denial of an approved accommodation

The Director of Academic Accommodations or designee will work with that individual to try to informally resolve any concerns. If the informal approach does not result in a mutually agreeable outcome, the unresolved issue should be presented in writing to the AAO. The written request must be submitted within 10 working days after the last meeting with the Director of Academic Accommodations or designee. It should provide the name and address of the individual filing the complaint and a brief description of the alleged violation. Upon receiving the written request, the AAO will investigate the complaint and render a decision within 30 working days of receiving the complaint. The AAO’s decision is final and cannot be appealed within the University.

Students who are not satisfied with the AAO’s decision have the right to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education. Faculty and staff have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation are prohibited. USP is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work and learn in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment and learning opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment.  Therefore, USP expects all relationships among persons in the workplace and/or learning environment to be professional and free of bias, prejudice, and harassment.

This policy exceeds the requirements of applicable law as our policy offers protection to all individuals in circumstances that might not be determined to be illegal. Thus, bullying, stalking, and discrimination and harassment, which do not meet all of the criteria for unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment, are also prohibited under this policy. Discrimination and harassment are also illegal under certain circumstances.

Discrimination: USP does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs on the basis of gender, pregnancy, age, disability, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or may be in violation of federal, state, and local laws or executive orders.

Harassment: USP does not tolerate harassment, in any form, including the creation of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, learning, or living environment.

Retaliation: USP will neither engage in, nor tolerate, retaliation of any kind against any individual who makes a complaint of prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and anyone who serves as a witness or who otherwise participated in the investigatory process.

The AAO is responsible for addressing all grievances related to discrimination and sexual harassment and, in cooperation with the Office of Human Resources and the Division of Student Affairs, seeks to support and advance these principles by providing leadership and coordination to ensure that the University adheres to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and nondiscrimination policies.

For questions and concerns regarding affirmative action or equal employment opportunity policies, please contact: Sara M. Gallagher, Affirmative Action Officer, Office of the President, 215.596.7484, s.gallag@usp.edu.

Harassment Policy

USP recognizes that a respectful and safe campus is essential to upholding the University’s mission and the intellectual and personal growth of our students. USP is committed to achieving this goal and will not tolerate acts of discrimination, harassment, or intimidation. Further, retaliation against any member of the University community who files a harassment complaint or cooperates with a harassment investigation will not be tolerated.
Harassing behavior may be a one-time action or may be persistent and pervasive, and it may be directed toward an individual or a group. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with employment, education, or opportunities within the USP community environment. USP recognizes that there may be incidents that do not fall exactly into one of these categories; therefore, other types of behaviors directed at one or more individuals may be determined to be harassing behavior and will be addressed accordingly.

Definitions

Discrimination: The failure to treat similarly situated people in the same way because of a bias or prejudice.

Unlawful Discrimination: Discrimination is unlawful when directed toward a person because they are a member of a protected class, which results in an adverse employment or academic action.

Harassment: A form of discrimination defined as unwelcome conduct directed toward an employee or student when:

  • Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic, employment, or living environment
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis or factor in decisions affecting the terms or conditions of employment or education of any individual
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used either explicitly or implicitly as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance

There are many types of harassment, including but not limited to sexual, racial, bullying, psychological, religious, stalking, and physical assault. The conduct that creates harassment can be verbal, physical, visual or retaliatory.

Unlawful Harassment: Harassment based on an individual’s membership in a protected class that is severe and/or pervasive

Protected Class: Individuals or groups who are protected from discrimination and harassment by law; “protected classes” include gender, pregnancy, age, disability, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Intimidating, Hostile, or Offensive Environment: Conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to create a work and/or learning environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to: offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, comments, staring, offensive objects or pictures. The determination of whether an environment is intimidating, hostile, or offensive must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include the frequency of the conduct, its severity, and whether it is threatening or humiliating. Simple teasing, an off-hand comment, or an isolated incident while not necessarily illegal may still violate USP policy.

Sexual Harassment: Includes unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances; sexual attention; requests for sexual favors and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature; or other offensive behavior directed toward a person because of, or on account of, his or her gender, whether by a person of the opposite or same gender. Such conduct constitutes sexual harassment when it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment.

Bullying: A type of harassment that is repeated, unwanted, offensive, and malicious behavior, which undermines an individual or group through persistently negative attacks. Bullying can take one or more of the following forms: 1) verbal abuse, 2) offensive conduct, both verbal and nonverbal, which is threatening, humiliating, patronizing, demeaning, and/or intimidating, or 3) interference with and/or sabotage of work or academic performance.

Stalking: A form of harassment that involves ongoing and/or continual pestering of an individual, either in person, in written or electronic formats, or on the telephone. Stalking can also involve following or spying on, alarming or causing one or more individuals distress, and may involve violence or fear of violence.

Physical Assault: A form of harassment and a criminal offense that brings harm to an individual by way of a physical attack. If you have been attacked, it is important that you seek help immediately. If a charge of assault is being pursued through the criminal courts, USP will determine whether, and at what stage, it is appropriate to initiate its internal procedures.

Psychological Harassment: A behavior intended to cause distress through hostile, inappropriate, and unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions, or gestures that affect an individual’s dignity, integrity, and/or self-image. Psychological harassment has many forms, the most common being verbal abuse; for example, constant negative remarks, repeated criticism or sarcasm, intimidation, threats, insinuations, efforts to humiliate, circulation of false information, or attempts to socially isolate one or more individuals. Psychological harassment can cause physical and psychological illness.

Retaliation: Occurs when adverse actions are imposed against individuals who have reported allegations of harassment or discrimination or have participated in a harassment or discrimination investigation.

Reporting an Incident

Harassing incidents should be reported as quickly as possible, so that the University may respond promptly, equitably, and in a manner that moves toward eliminating such behavior or conduct. The University will make every reasonable effort to ensure the confidentiality of all parties involved.

Students should contact the Dean of Students at 215.596.8950 or the Department of Student Life at 215.596.8756. After normal business hours or at the discretion of the individual, Campus Security may be contacted at 215.596.7000.

Process

The Dean of Students will coordinate, as needed, with Campus Security, the AAO, or other appropriate administrators (e.g., Office of Student Life) to investigate the complaint. Based on the findings, an individual may be subject to remedial, rehabilitative, and/or disciplinary action through the grievance process, student conduct process, or other administrative avenues as appropriate. (See Student Grievance Policy or Student Conduct Policy)

Hazardous Materials on Campus Policy

The presence of hazardous materials poses a direct and substantial threat to the safety of our community and, therefore, is prohibited in or on any property owned, managed, leased, or controlled by the University.

This policy does not include the University-authorized use of chemicals and materials for educational purposes.

Hazardous materials, for the purpose of this policy, are defined as any substances that are possessed, prepared, and/or used for the purpose of producing a combustible reaction, detonation, or to create an unsafe environment in or on any property owned, managed, leased, or controlled by the University.

The University reserves the right to seize any hazardous materials from any or all persons in or on any property owned, managed, leased, or controlled by the University.

Violation of this policy may result in separation from the University and may require notification to the proper authorities.

Health Policies

To ensure the continued health and well-being of students, USP requires that all full-time students comply with the following policies. These policies are designed to comply with mandates from state and local health agencies and to support the uninterrupted academic progress of the student.

Failure to comply with health policies will result in an administrative HOLD on the student’s record. This will block the student’s ability to register, attend classes, and/or receive grades. In addition, the staff will not be required to give medical assistance except in the case of an emergency.

Upon acceptance to USP, students are mailed a Student Health Information Packet, including a Medical History Questionnaire and Immunization History. These forms must be completed and returned by July 15, prior to the start of classes.

The University reserves the right to bar a student from attending classes if he or she presents a health risk to the general University community as determined by the University’s physician consultant. The University’s physician consultant will determine when a health condition will prevent a student from attending classes. The physician consultant will also assist with the appropriate medical resolution and the student’s return to classes. The student has the right in such cases to provide documentation from a licensed physician of his or her choosing for additional consultation on such matters.

Health Insurance

All students must show proof of health insurance coverage prior to attending the University. While attending the University, it is the responsibility of the student to provide any changes in their health insurance coverage to Student Health and Counseling. Students without health insurance coverage may subscribe to a student health plan available through USP Student Health and Counseling. Information regarding rates and enrollment can be obtained via the Web (www.usp.edu/shac) or by contacting Student Health and Counseling at 215.596.8536. Questions regarding claims and coverage should be directed to the student’s insurance provider. Only students enrolled full-time at the University are eligible for participation in the plan. All international students are required to enroll in the University-sponsored student health insurance plan.

Immunization

The University requires all entering full-time students to adhere to the immunization schedule recommended by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health and the American College Health Association. Information on the specific immunizations required before enrollment at the University is mailed to each student prior to the first day of classes.

Medical Excuses

The Student Health Office adheres to the recommendations set forth by the American College Health Association concerning medical excuses for missed classes and examinations. Excuses are given to students when they have been seen and treated in the Student Health Office and have been advised by the medical staff not to attend classes. Students who are ill or injured and have not been advised to remain home or in the residence halls will not be given medical excuses. Their absence is of their own discretion and should be discussed with their professors.

For additional questions, you may call the Student Health Office at 215.596.8980. You may also speak to Student Health and Counseling staff in person at 4140 Woodland Avenue

Housing Policy

Based upon research in the field of higher education, we know that living in university housing facilitates the overall adjustment to college, enriches the educational experience, and increases the likelihood of success. For this reason, we require that all noncommuting (outside a 30-mile radius from campus to permanent residence), unmarried, first- and second-year students, under the age of 21, live in University housing.

Summer housing is available while classes are in session. Contact the Department of Student Life at 215.596.8756 for more information.

For additional housing policies, see the Residence Life Handbook. A copy may be obtained in the Division of Student Affairs.

Identification Cards Policy

Identification cards are issued to all USP students, faculty, and staff members. ID cards should be worn at all times and be shown upon request of any faculty member, security person, administrator, or official members of the University staff. ID photos for most new students are taken during the summer welcome program. Those students not attending this program can have photos taken during the Incoming Student Welcome Program in August, at which time all new students will be issued their cards. These cards are multiuse cards supplying the following services:

  1. Security – The cards have the student, faculty, or staff member’s name, photo, and identification number or department. The cards are to be worn at all times and allow easy identification by our Department of Public Safety and Security.
  2. Library Access – The cards are encoded with a barcode, which is used by the library to check out materials.
  3. Residence Hall Access – Access to individual residence halls is restricted only to the resident students, and the cards provide pass/fail verification of resident status. The cards are also used to verify staff’s access to the buildings.
  4. Meal Plans – The cards provide access to the dining hall as well as the declining balance account for a la carte food purchases.
  5. All-Campus Account – The cards are used for bookstore purchases, for chemistry lab breakage, to obtain transcripts in the Registrar’s Office, to pay for fines, and to transfer money onto the vending stripe for Debi-Cash or Dining Dollars. The All-Campus Account is the large bottom stripe on the back of the ID card.
  6. Debi-Cash – Residence hall washers and dryers, copiers in the Library and Wilson front desk, mailroom for postage and the fax machine in the mailroom. Debi-Cash is an off-line service, and lost cards mean lost value. The vending stripe for Debi-Cash is the smaller stripe on the back of the ID card.

A fee is charged for replacement of a lost ID card. A pass can be given for one day or one week. If after that time the ID is not found, a fee of $10.00 for a replacement card will be charged (cash, check, or from All-Campus). For subsequent lost cards, there will be a fee of $25.00—no exceptions. Arrangements can be made to replace the card through Student Auxiliary Services in Kline Hall, Room 102. Cards are not transferable, remain the property of the University, and must be surrendered upon disassociation from the University.

Logo Policy

Students must request permission to use the USP logo or any of the official USP graphics (such as “Drake”) from USP’s Marketing and E-Marketing Department, located in Suite 2500, Whitecar Hall. The Marketing and E-Marketing Department will approve appropriate usage of the logo and will provide the high-resolution files needed to reproduce the logo directly to the vendor. Contact the Marketing and E-Marketing Department at 215.895.1166.

Off-Campus Address Submission Policy

To ensure that students receive important University information whether residing in the residence halls or off-campus, all students (full-time and part-time students; all undergraduate, professional, and graduate students) are required each academic year to submit their local (in-session) address to the University. This is the address where students live while they are attending classes during the fall and spring semesters and summer sessions.

Providing this information to the University ensures that students will receive all information provided by the University for a variety of issues, including accessing student services and safety and security in the University City community. In addition to providing the University with a local (in-session) address, all students are strongly encouraged to register with the University’s Emergency Alert System to receive updated emergency information via text message to their cell phone or designated device

It is the responsibility of each student to provide updated address information by the end of the add/drop period of each fall, or newly enrolled semester if entering the University during the spring semester or summer session. Additionally, students are asked to provide updated information when relocating to a new address if they move during the academic year. This information will be used only for educational purposes and is regulated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Failure to provide a local address or providing a false or incomplete address or contact information will result in a hold on a student’s account. This will prevent any further registration activities, use of WebAdvisor, receiving transcripts, and may also include the initiation of the Student Conduct Process.

When students log onto WebAdvisor at the beginning of the fall semester each year, or if entering the University in spring or summer, students will be directed to update their local address online through WebAdvisor. This process can be completed in minutes and is required on an annual basis each academic year.

Online Communities—Considerations

Facebook, MySpace, and many other online communities serve as a window to the world for students. Online communications are not, however, private conversations, so users of online communities should be mindful of what others will see.

The following are just some of the considerations students need to keep in mind when setting up an account with an online community.

Safety

There are reports that college students have been stalked through the use of an online community. How does that happen? Sharing too much personal information is the problem. With greater access to the information placed on the Internet, including the information displayed through online communities, concerns for safety have increased. Incidents involving college students across the country have occurred as a result of too much information sharing within online communities.

Students should be aware that virtual communities, like the tangible ones, include individuals who may abuse the open access to information for inappropriate and sometimes illegal and detrimental purposes. Identity theft is also a growing concern, particularly with electronic and easy means for communicating.

Conduct

USP seeks to prepare students to become leaders, professionals, and contributing members of society; therefore, students are expected to uphold the policies and values of the institution at all times. Students should remember to reference the University Values as a guideline to the appropriate means to communicating with members of the University community; specifically, “We accept our responsibility to conduct our affairs in a collegial manner and with a firm sense of integrity.” University Values hold true whether students are communicating through e-mail, face-to-face, or through the use of an online community.

The conduct and behavior of USP students via online communities will not be regularly monitored by University officials, but should a violation come to the attention of a University official in the normal course of business, the student will be held responsible. If a student profile on an online community includes pictures or text that implicates a student in a conduct violation, that information is fair game during conduct proceedings. Violations of University policies are subject to the Student Conduct Process, and members of the University community who wish to report a violation may contact the Office of Student Conduct in the Student Affairs Complex in Whitecar Hall. (See more on the Student Conduct Process.)

Image

Prospective employers have begun to use online communities as a means to screen potential employees. Just as a student might check voicemail messages to make sure that a professional message is going out to callers, students want to make sure that a professional image is also conveyed through the online community networks. Employers, parents, and many others may gain access to the messages and images students display on online community pages. Students should consider whether the image projected is the one they intend to convey.

Additionally, the image of the University is an important consideration to bear in mind when establishing a page on the Internet via an online community or other site on the Web. USP requires students to obtain permission to use the logo or other copyrighted and trademark protected images of the University. (See Copyright Policy and Logo Policy for more information.)

Responsibility

With privilege comes responsibility. The use of online communities is a privilege, and students, faculty, and staff are given that privilege through the use of a USP e-mail account. Any misuse of a USP e-mail account and violations of the Student Conduct Policy may result in the revocation of privileges to use a University e-mail account. Any misuse of University computers, networks, and systems may also result in additional charges through the Student Conduct Process. (See Computing Policy). 

Members of the USP community, including students, faculty, and staff, are considered members of the University regardless of whether they are on the physical campus or in the community, including the virtual community. Students, as members of the USP community, are expected to uphold the greatest degree of integrity and to uphold the standards of conduct as outlined in the policies in the Student Handbook. Students are expected to be responsible to others as well as themselves and to act responsibly and respectfully when communicating with others. Any student who engages in conduct that violates the policies of the University, irrespective of the location of the incident and including online communities, is subject to the penalties outlined in the Student Conduct Policy; but more importantly, students have the responsibility to maintain their own reputation and safety; mature use and moderation of online communities are increasingly more important, both personally and professionally.

What is libel? What is defamation? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of “libel” is a false statement or representation published tending to expose another to disgrace. “Defamation” is the making of harmful statements that impact negatively on the reputation of a person. If a student puts onto his or her online community page information that is not true and may serve to negatively impact on a person’s reputation—possibly their livelihood—that student may be subject to the Student Conduct Process for causing harm by defaming another or making libelous statements.

Parking Enforcement Policy

The Department of Public Safety is responsible for the enforcement of parking policies and parking regulations for all parking lots owned, operated, or managed by the University. Individuals found in violation of University Parking Policies are subject to the following fines, booting, and/or towing of the vehicle in violation.

  • First violation – a warning citation, with no fine
  • Second violation – a citation and a $20 fine
  • Third violation – a citation and a $40 fine
  • Fourth violation – a citation, booting of the vehicle and a $75 boot removal fee
  • Fifth violation – towing of the vehicle at the owner’s expense. The fee for towing by the private towing company is $150 plus $25 per day for storage fee. The towing fee is subject to change without notice by the contracted towing company.

All fees associated with parking violations are processed through the Office of Student Auxiliary Services, Kline Hall, Room 102.

Fees for towing will be paid to R&K Towing Company, 3200 Vare Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19145; 215.271.0505.

Parking Citation Appeal Process

  1. To appeal a parking citation, a written appeal must be submitted within 10 days of the date of receiving the citation. Appeals should be e-mailed to dps@usp.edu.
     
  2. The appeal letter must explain why the violation in question should be rescinded or mitigated.
     
  3. If an appeal is not received on time, the appeal request will be denied.
     
  4. All appellants will receive a written answer within 30 days.

Printed Materials Policy

All printed materials (e.g., publications, T-shirts, etc.) utilizing the USP name, the name of a University organization, or the name of a University event must contain an appropriate USP logo and are to be approved by the Marketing and E-Marketing Department prior to printing. Students, clubs, and organizations also must receive approval from the Office of Student Activities. All University-related material must contain items, printed or alluded to, which are in compliance with school policy, the Student Handbook, and US copyright law.

Photos taken by University staff or designees during University functions and/or events may be used in University publications or on the USP website without prior approval of individuals portrayed. If for any reason you do not want your picture included in publications, contact the Division of Student Affairs.

Security and Crime Statistics Policy

The Department of Public Safety and Security is the designated University Department for matters relating to crime reporting and security on campus. The Department of Public Safety and Security complies with the Pennsylvania College and University Security Information Act (PA Act 73) and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (formerly known as the Federal Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990). These laws require that USP prepare, publish, and distribute an annual security report.

The Department of Public Safety and Security will prepare, publish, and distribute an annual security report by October 1.

The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, reporting crimes and emergencies, sexual assaults, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report by accessing the security website at www.usp.edu/security, or a paper copy by calling 215.895.1128 or 215.596.8595. There is no cost for a paper copy of the annual security report.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to Bernard D. Gollotti, CPP, Executive Director of Public Safety, at 215.895.1116, e-mail dps@usp.edu.

 

Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy

Resources List

On-Campus Resources List

Emergency Assistance:
(24 hours a day/7days a week)

Public Safety and Security                       215.596.7000

Confidential Medical/Mental Health Assistance:

Student Health
215.596.8980

Counseling
215.596.8536

University Administrative Support:

Dean of Students    
215.596.8535

Department of Student Life                     215.596.8756

Office of Student Conduct                       215.596.7554

Off-Campus Resources List

Emergency:
911 (local law enforcement)

24-Hour Hotline/Organizations:

Woman Organized Against Rape
215.985.3333

Women Against Abuse
1.866.723.3014

Menergy, Men’s Resource Center 
215.242.2235

Sexual Assault Medical Evaluation:

Episcopal Hospital ER                              
215.707.0800

Thomas Jefferson Hospital ER
215.955.6840

Overview

USP is committed to creating an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community. Honesty, trust, fairness, and respect for others are all essential components of our community and of healthy interpersonal relationships. Sexual intimacy requires all involved parties to consent to all aspects of the intimacy. When students are the victims of sexual misconduct or relationship violence, their sense of safety and trust is violated. This can significantly interfere with their lives, including their ability to pursue educational goals.

Sexual misconduct and relationship violence can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, or race. These acts are committed by those who seek power and control over another person. Statistics show perpetrators are often acquainted with their victims and many have planned out the acts in advance. Over half of acquaintance rapes involve drinking or drug use prior to the incident, and 60% of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual or steady dating relationships. An estimated 5% of college women experience a completed or attempted rape in a given year.

To continue educating our community, USP has joined with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University to form the Campus Community Consortium to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women. Through this partnership, the University has created several initiatives to engage members of the USP community. Some of these initiatives include, but are not limited to, the training of USP community members to be Sexual Resource Consultants, Stalking and Sexual Assault Awareness for the Greek community and paraprofessional staff members, and training of key administrators and security staff. Additionally, all incoming students at USP are empowered to accept responsibility for stopping these violent crimes through programming during campus orientation, self-defense courses, and physical education classes in the fall. For more information, visit our campus consortium website at www.combatviolenceagainstwomen.org.

USP will take seriously every report (whether from the victim, a third party, or anonymous) and work to ensure that all parties are given appropriate support and are treated fairly. Any student who is involved in or charged with a violation of this policy may be subject to the Student Conduct Policy and, if found responsible, will be further subjected to sanctions as described under the Student Conduct Process.

Some acts of sexual misconduct or relationship violence are criminal acts that may subject the accused to criminal and civil penalties under federal and state laws. In addition to any sanction that may be imposed by the University for violations of policy, an accused individual may be subject to criminal sanctions and personal civil liabilities independent of those imposed by the University. Nothing in this policy shall prevent any member of the University campus community from filing a complaint with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency or a court with jurisdiction. USP may pursue Student Conduct Policy charges against an accused student regardless of whether charges are being pursued by legal authorities and whether the student is convicted or acquitted of these charges. Proceedings under the Student Conduct Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.

What Should a Survivor of Sexual Misconduct
or Relationship Violence Do?

  1. Get to a safe place. Call a friend or someone else to be with you.
     
  2. Immediately seek help. Regardless of your immediate intentions to prosecute or pursue the Student Conduct Process, reporting the incident is important because it provides the opportunity to collect evidence and the documenting of facts while they are still fresh in your mind. This does NOT force you into making any decisions. It will potentially provide you with a stronger case in the future should you decide to file a formal complaint.
     
  3. Do not shower, wash, douche, or change your clothes, even though that may be your immediate desire. Rather, go to the ER at Episcopal Hospital or Thomas Jefferson Hospital for an examination.
     
  4. If you decide not to seek immediate help, but later want to talk and explore your options, contact someone from the resources list, such as the Dean of Students or Student Health and Counseling.
     
  5. The University will make every effort reasonably possible to preserve your privacy. The degree to which confidentiality can be protected depends upon the professional role and reporting obligations of the person being consulted. The professional being consulted is encouraged to make these limits clear at the beginning of the conversation.
     
  6. Whether or not you choose to take any formal action, talk to a trained individual to support your recovery process.

You are in control of what resources you seek or options you choose. Different students move through the process of recovery at different paces. There is no correct response.

Special Arrangements
The survivor, accuser, accused, or any witnesses may request changes to academic and/or living situations. The student will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available. These individuals may also request a “no contact” order. “No contact” orders are bi-directional. None of the individuals listed may contact any of the other individuals listed. To make any of these requests, please contact the Dean of Students.

Definitions

Complainant(s)
The term “Complainant(s)” means any person(s) who submits a charge alleging that a student(s) or student organization violated the Student Conduct Policy or this policy.

Consent
The term “Consent” means an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words. Participants must obtain and give consent in each instance of sexual activity. Relying solely upon nonverbal communication can lead to miscommunication. If confusion or ambiguity on the issue of consent arises any time during the sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stop and clarify verbally a willingness to continue. Students should understand that consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. A person is incapable of giving consent if under 17 years of age, if intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol, if developmentally disabled, or if temporarily or permanently mentally or physically unable to do so. Examples of situations where consent has not been obtained include, but are not limited to, when an individual is intoxicated, “high,” scared, physically or psychologically pressured or forced, unconscious, intimidated, or mentally or physically impaired. Being intoxicated or “high” is never an excuse for sexual misconduct or relationship violence.

Respondent(s)
The term “Respondent(s)” means any student(s) or student organization accused of violating the Student Conduct Policy or this policy.

Survivor
A term used instead of “Victim” in describing someone who has experienced sexual and/or relationship violence. While “Victim” implies passivity, “Survivor” recognizes the active role of individuals in their healing process.

Witness
The term “Witness” means any person with information relevant to an incident.

Prohibited Behavior

USP recognizes that prohibited behavior can occur regardless of gender or sexual identity of the survivor or the accused. This list is intended to be illustrative; additional behaviors may be prohibited.

  1. Sexual misconduct: Any physical act of a sexual nature perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Acts of a sexual nature include, but are not limited to, touching or attempted touching of any sexual or other intimate part of the body, either directly or indirectly, and/or rape, forcible sodomy, or any sexual penetration of another person’s oral, anal, or genital opening with any object. Sexual misconduct also includes sexual exploitation, defined as taking nonconsensual, unjust sexual advantage of another for one’s benefit or the benefit of another party. These acts may or may not be accompanied by the use of coercion, intimidation, or through advantage gained by the use of alcohol or other drugs.
     
  2. Violence in relationships: A single event or pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, including the threat or use of violence. The first sign may be arguments that involve abusive language, insults, or name calling. As the level of hostility rises, physical acts like hair-pulling, pushing, shoving, and slapping can occur. Aggressive activity may increase and lead to severe injury, both physical and emotional. Once the cycle begins, it almost always escalates and becomes more difficult to break. It is unacceptable for anyone to harass, beat, or sexually assault another person, regardless of the type of relationship.
     
  3. Detrimental behavior: Conduct or actions of a student, or group of students, that risks the health, safety, or welfare of the University or an individual.
     
  4. Retaliation: Retaliation or attempted retaliation by the accused or an associate against individual(s) who bring complaints of sexual misconduct or relationship violence is not acceptable. Retaliation can be in the form of direct or indirect interference, harassment, or intimidation of anyone involved in the process. It can be verbal or nonverbal.
     
  5. Stalking: Actions toward another person that demonstrate either intent to place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress. Stalking is more than one act, but may occur in a very short period of time. Examples of inappropriate actions are following an individual; repeatedly making contact with the person via phone, electronic mail, or other means; or watching or staring, all of which occur without the individual’s consent.

The use of alcohol or other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol or other drugs can lower inhibition and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and effectively given. Being intoxicated or impaired due to drug usage is never an excuse for sexual misconduct or relationship violence.

Procedures

The following procedures have been developed to guide the actions of survivors, those providing assistance and support to survivors, and those accused of perpetrating sexual misconduct.

Reporting

If a student would like to engage the University’s Student Conduct Process, he or she should submit a written statement regarding the alleged incident to the AAO, Security, or the Dean of Students Office. The process is most effective when incidents are reported within a few weeks of their occurrence because memories, information, and evidence are still fresh. The longer a student waits to initiate the process, the more difficult it will be to gather and process the information or evidence. If either the perpetrator or the survivor is a faculty or staff member, the Director of Human Resources will be responsible for overseeing the process.

Anyone may file a third-party report detailing an incident involving one of the prohibitive behaviors. The University will not initiate the Student Conduct Process or criminal process without the consent of the survivor. If the survivor is unable to give consent and there is adequate information to support the occurrence of the prohibited behavior and the identity of a specific individual(s), the University may initiate the Student Conduct Process. Nonetheless, the third-party report is vitally important and contains useful information for protecting the community and connecting similar reports while protecting the survivor’s anonymity.

Amnesty
The Dean of Students and/or the Conduct Officer may grant limited amnesty in relationship to other violations for students who come forth with truthful information regarding sexual misconduct or relationship violence (e.g., if a student accuses another student of sexual misconduct and during the course of the investigation that student discloses they were drinking, the accusing student may not be charged with an alcohol violation).

Investigation

Allegations of sexual misconduct and/or relationship violence will be investigated in a thorough and timely manner. A University official in conjunction with the survivor may serve as joint complainant(s) during the process. The survivor will be actively involved throughout the investigative process.

Complainant(s) and respondent(s) will:

  • Be kept updated on the status of the investigation
  • Be informed of the date, time, and location of any hearing and have an opportunity to discuss the process with the Conduct Officer prior to a hearing
  • Have the right to review all written information that is in the Conduct Officer’s possession within 48 hours prior to a hearing in the presence of the Conduct Officer

Interim Sanctions
The Dean of Students and/or the Conduct Officer may apply interim sanctions to the accused during an investigation and pending a hearing. Interim sanctions will be imposed: 1) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; 2) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or 3) if the student poses an ongoing threat to, disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. (See Student Conduct Policy, p. 37.)

Hearing Process

Upon completion of the investigation, the survivor and the University will determine if a hearing will occur. The hearing process will follow the process outlined in the Student Conduct Policy. The Conduct Officer will determine whether an Administrative Hearing or Conduct Hearing will occur. Participants are reminded that any information shared during a hearing is private and all action associated with the process should be truthful and respectful. The Conduct Officer and/or hearing Chair will decide what witnesses or other information is relevant and may exclude information or a witness that is deemed duplicative or immaterial. Complainant(s), active witness(es), and respondent(s) have the right to an appeal based on the grounds described in the Student Conduct Policy.

The standard for evaluating responsibility is the same as all other hearings, which is “more likely than not.” Respondent(s) found responsible for violation of this policy will receive sanction(s) as outlined in the Student Conduct Policy (See p. 53). These include, but are not limited to, educational programs; community service; psychological, physical, or drug/alcohol evaluations; counseling; fines and restitution; probation; suspension; and expulsion.

Post Hearing

The complainant(s), active witness(es), and respondent(s) will be informed of the outcome of any institutional conduct process brought about from an alleged violation as outlined in this policy. For the purpose of this policy, the complainant(s), active witness(es), respondent(s) and those outlined in the Student Conduct Policy will be informed of the University’s final determination with respect to the alleged violation and the sanctions, if assigned.

In the tragic event the victim of sexual assault, as defined by University Policy, is deceased, the University shall inform the next of kin of the outcome of the conduct proceedings as outlined previously.

Rights/Responsibilities of the Complainant(s), Active Witness(es), and Respondent(s)

  • All complainant(s), active witness(es), and respondent(s) are entitled to:
  • Receive a fundamentally fair process and to be treated with respect and sensitivity before, during, and after the Student Conduct Process
  • Maintain as much privacy as feasible; the University will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the preservation of privacy, restricting information to those with a legitimate need to know
  • Seek confidential counseling and support available through resources such as the Student Health and Counseling Center
  • Request changes to academic and living situations and to be notified as to what changes are reasonably available
  • Report criminal sexual conduct to local law enforcement, which does not preclude University action
  • Present opening and closing remarks during the hearing
  • Present relevant witnesses during the hearing
  • Have a Conduct Advisor (must be a member of the University community) attend meetings and/or hearings
    • Legal counsel is permitted to attend the hearing only if a criminal case has begun (See the Student Conduct Policy on p. 41 for a description of these roles)
  • Communication with the Conduct Officer before, during, and after the process to facilitate an understanding of the University’s Student Conduct Process
  • Receive notification of the date, time, and location of the hearing in advance
  • Ask questions
  • Have romantic or sexual history of either the complainant(s) or respondent(s) with others excluded in a hearing, except that information offered by the individual about him/herself; if such information is offered, the other party has the right to respond to that testimony; testimony and questions regarding any romantic or sexual history of the active witness(es) or respondent(s) with each other are permitted so long as it is relevant to the current violation
  • Be informed of the outcome of the Student Conduct Process

For a more complete explanation of the process, please read the Student Conduct Policy. Respondent(s) can expect to be presumed not responsible unless found responsible and will be treated with respect throughout the process.

The following universities’ policies were reviewed and used to develop the Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy. Some of the language in these policies has been directly used in the creation of USP’s policy. Permission was sought for the usage of this language.

Arizona State University
Central Washington University
Edgewood College
Duke University
Miami University
North Dakota State University
North Carolina State University
Northern Arizona University
Penn State University
San Francisco State University
Stanford University
Southern Methodist University
Trinity International University
University of Arizona
University of New Mexico, Los Alamos
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of Santa Barbara
University of Wyoming

Student Conduct Policy

The USP student conduct system fosters an environment that contributes to the mission and goals of the University. It allows students to explore their actions in a safe environment that is fair, just, and without any preconceptions. The Student Conduct Policy will govern the process to determine whether or not a student violated a University policy. If a student is found responsible, the Office of Student Conduct will work with them to explore the cause of the action and address any underlining challenges or concerns. Ideally, students should be able to accept the consequences of their actions and acknowledge the effects these actions may have had on others.

Mission Statement and Philosophy

The USP community of faculty, administration, staff, and students has a collective responsibility for modeling behavior of the highest integrity in academic, personal, and professional pursuits. We are committed to the education and guidance of USP students with regard to responsible, ethical, and professional behaviors. It is vital that USP students understand that inappropriate academic, social, and professional conduct will have consequences. The impact of this conduct may not only be detrimental to the student involved, but to classmates, the University, and society. In addition, there will be conduct sanctions to actions deemed inappropriate and unprofessional. These conduct sanctions may also require that a student make restitution for inappropriate actions, as well as reflect upon the implications of such behavior. It is our expectation that such a student will work toward personal change in order to meet the social, academic, and professional standards of USP, as well as society at large.

The USP community of faculty, administration, staff, and students will address student conduct issues with dignity, fairness, and respect as a caring educational body. Conduct processes are educational proceedings. Any necessary conduct action may be paired with self-reflection and education. The aim will be to facilitate the necessary personal and professional development of students, so that they too may demonstrate academic, personal, and professional behavior of the highest integrity. It is the responsibility of all faculty members to state clearly the importance of academic integrity in their syllabi.

Student Conduct Process

At USP, we recognize that the primary purpose of the existence and operation of a student conduct process is to promote learning; foster students’ academic, personal, and professional development; and better prepare students to handle the responsibility of citizenship.

All students at USP will be held to a high standard of conduct. It is, therefore, necessary to remedy violations of the Student Conduct Policy to ensure an orderly campus community as well as to prevent violations by educating members of the USP community.

In this matter, the interests of the University in student conduct extend beyond the geographic limits of the University; thus, conduct action is appropriate regardless of where student misconduct occurs or where the student resides. Each student shall be responsible for his or her conduct from the time of admission to USP through the actual awarding of a degree or permanent removal from USP, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. Misconduct that is discovered after an individual has graduated or separated from USP, but that occurred while the individual was a student at USP, may be subject to conduct action. The Student Conduct Policy shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from the University while a conduct matter is pending.

Conduct action also is appropriate regardless of whether law enforcement officials have taken criminal action and, where such action has been taken, regardless of the outcome in the criminal system. A student who is, or has been, under investigation by any law enforcement agency for any potential violation must report to the Dean of Students when he or she becomes aware of such investigation. Any student who has a “no contact” or restraining order applicable to any USP community member must report this information to the Dean of Students.

Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Conduct Policy shall be referred to the Director of the Office of Student Conduct or designee for final determination. This individual will confer with one of the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee prior to making a decision.

Definitions

The term “Accountable” means to answer for and accept ownership of one’s action, words, or intent.

The term “Complainant” means any person who submits a charge alleging that a student(s) or student organization violated the Student Conduct Policy.

The term “Conduct Advisor” means a University community member who may attend the Administrative Hearing and/or Conduct Hearing on behalf of the complainant or respondent. This individual can provide procedural advice and moral support to the person they were invited to support. This individual may speak only to the person they were invited to support, not on their behalf. The Conduct Advisor shall not be permitted to serve as legal counsel prior to, during, or after the hearing.

The term “Conduct Deactivation” as a sanction means termination of a registered organization’s privileges for a period of time.

The term “Conduct Expulsion” as a sanction means that the student will no longer be enrolled at the University and all rights and privileges of being a student are revoked. A notation of the action becomes a permanent part of the student’s transcript.

The term “Conduct Probation” as a sanction means that the student will not be allowed to participate in cocurricular activities. The probation period is generally at least one semester and may include University breaks. During this period, Conduct Probation includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.

The term “Conduct Suspension” as a sanction means that the student will no longer be enrolled at USP and will lose all rights and privileges of being a student, but may return to the University after a specified period of time, assuming proper conduct on the student’s part during this time and the student meets all requirements for returning. A notation of the action becomes a permanent part of the student’s transcript. When on Conduct Suspension, students may not obtain academic credit at USP or elsewhere toward completion of a degree at USP.

The term “Hearing Officer” refers to the individual designated to coordinate and supervise a specific incident that will be processed under the Student Conduct Policy.

The term “Incident” means an event, action, or communication that is reported to the Office of Student Conduct as a potential violation of a University policy.

The term “Not Responsible” as an outcome to a hearing means that the respondent’s behavior was not found to have violated the Student Conduct Policy.

The term “Office of Student Conduct” refers to the department designated by the University to facilitate the Student Conduct Process, educate the campus community on the process, maintain records, and evaluate the program. The Office will serve as a resource, not as an advocate for faculty, staff, and students. The Office shall maintain communication with the Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee. The Office will appoint a hearing officer for each hearing and will serve as a nonvoting ex-officio member of the Student Conduct Committee.

The term “Respondent” means any student(s) or student organization accused of violating the Student Conduct Policy.

The term “Responsible” as an outcome to a hearing means that the respondent’s behavior was found to have violated the Student Conduct Policy.

The term “University Community Member” means any person who is a student, faculty member, site coordinator, University official, contractor or vendor with a contract with USP, or any other person employed by USP. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Office of Student Conduct.

The term “Witness” means any person with information relevant to an incident.

Prohibited Conduct

Prohibited Conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following student actions:

  1. Abuse of the Student Conduct System: Examples include, but are not limited to, failing to obey the notice from a Student Conduct Committee or University official to appear for a hearing or other meeting associated with the Student Conduct Process; disrupting or interfering with the orderly conduct of a hearing; instituting a Student Conduct Process in bad faith; providing the Student Conduct Committee with false or misleading information; breaking confidentiality of a student conduct proceeding; attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the Student Conduct system; attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of the Student Conduct Committee prior to, and/or during the course of, the proceedings.
     
  2. Academic Dishonesty: Academic Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to the following:
    1. Fabrication. Defined as the presentation of information for a classroom assignment, exam, or lab procedure that is fictitious or falsified. Examples include, but are not limited to, listing invented references for a report assignment or concealing the identity of the source of information presented in an assignment by omitting the secondary source identification.
    2. Cheating. Defined as the act of or attempted act of deceiving or misrepresenting the acquisition of a skill or body of knowledge. Examples include, but are not limited to, copying from another student’s exam; aiding in the attainment of the answers to an exam; allowing another student to copy from another exam; impersonating another student during a class or exam; bringing unauthorized materials to an examination (e.g., calculators, notes, etc.).
    3. Plagiarism. Defined as the presentation, whether intentional or unintentional, of the words or ideas of a source as if they are the student’s own words or ideas. This definition applies to unpublished and published material. Examples include, but are not limited to, presenting in a written report a direct quote without quotations and an appropriate reference; paraphrasing without providing an appropriate reference; copying the writings (sentence, paragraph, or an entire work) or graphic materials of a fellow student or another source and not giving credit to the author; reusing one’s own work developed for another purpose (self-plagiarism). Students should familiarize themselves with the specific standards of USP by referring to resources available in the Student Handbook, Library, and academic departments.
    4. Unauthorized Collaboration. Students are not permitted to collaborate in a manner that does not allow the faculty member to determine their individual work. Examples include, but are not limited to, working on a group project and then submitting the group work as your own or working with a partner to whom you were not assigned.
       
  3. Alcohol*:
    1. Possession: USP prohibits the possession of alcohol in any University building or on University premises unless approved by the University President or designee. Students are accountable for being in the presence of unauthorized alcohol on campus.
    2. Consumption: Unless approved by the University President or designee, students regardless of their age are prohibited from consuming alcohol on University property. Additionally, underage drinking and or public intoxication are prohibited on and off campus.
    3. Sales/Distribution: USP prohibits illegal dispensing of alcohol and all sales of alcohol by a student or student organization.

*Parental or Guardian notification will result when a student is found responsible for violating the alcohol policy.

  1. Arson: Attempting to or igniting a fire.
     
  2. Assault: Assault is defined as a threat or an attempt to cause harm or injury to another person.
     
  3. Attempted Theft: Students found to be in the process of stealing or abetting others in stealing property.
     
  4. Battery: Battery is defined as the infliction of an injury or the unauthorized and unwanted touching that causes harm or injury.
     
  5. Co-Curricular Violation: Violation of the Policies on Co-curricular Activities, or the Rules of Eligibility for Fraternity/Sorority, or the Rules for Student Organization Participation. Student Organization leaders may be held to a higher standard of responsibility and may be held accountable if they knew, or should have known, of misconduct of students in the student organization.
     
  6. Complicity: Attempting to engage in, soliciting another to engage in or passively allow another to engage in prohibited conduct under the Student Conduct Policy.
     
  7. Computing Violation: Failure to abide by the Computing Privileges and Responsibilities or Software Policies. This includes images, sounds, and/or words on the internet that would constitute a violation of University Conduct Policies.
     
  8. Destruction of Property: Destruction of, damage to, misuse of, or abuse of property.
     
  9. Disorderly Conduct: Students are required to engage in responsible social conduct that reflects positively upon USP’s community and to model good citizenship in any community. Conduct that is lewd, indecent or a breach of peace is disorderly. As a member of the University, the University City, and West Philadelphia communities, USP recognizes its obligation to respect the members of the University community and its neighbors. Students, as members of the University community, are required to refrain from behavior that interferes or obstructs the orderly process of the University or the surrounding community (e.g., excessive noise; inappropriate, loud, or disruptive behavior; or failure to maintain property).
     
  10. Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia*: Intentional use, possession, sale, transfer, manufacturing, or offer of transfer of any drug paraphernalia or illegal or controlled drug for a nonmedical purpose; inappropriately providing care or prescribing medicine without the proper supervision, authority, or license.

*Parental or Guardian notification will result when a student is found responsible for violating the drug and drug paraphernalia policy.

  1. Endangerment: Behavior or activities that endanger the safety or health of oneself or others.
     
  2. Failure to Identify or Comply: Failure to comply with directions of a university official or law enforcement acting in performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
     
  3. False/Misleading Statements: Making a false or misleading statement with the intent to deceive a University official. This includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty, misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, or knowingly using or providing false information, documents, or instruments of identification.
     
  4. False Report: Intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency.
     
  5. Fleeing the Scene: Leaving a scene where a violation may have occurred prior to the resolution of the matter.
     
  6. Forgery/Alteration of Property: Forgery or alteration of any document or instrument of identification for any purpose.
     
  7. Gambling: Illegal or unauthorized gambling or gaming as defined by state or federal law.
     
  8. Harassment/Intimidation: Violation of the University’s Policy on Harassment.
     
  9. Hazing: An act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group, organization, or team. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations of this rule.
     
  10. Interference with University Activities: Intentionally or recklessly interfering with normal University or University-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying; teaching (including class sessions and office hours); research; University administration; or fire, police, or emergency services. Examples include, but are not limited to, loud disruptive continuous noise during class, prohibiting the continuation of a sponsored event through disruptive behavior, or preventing a University official from caring for a person in need.
     
  11. No-smoking Policy: Repeated violations of the University No-smoking Policy (more than three documented incidents).
     
  12. Parking Violation: Repeated violations of the University parking regulations (more than three documented incidents).
     
  13. Sexual Misconduct: Violation of the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence.
     
  14. Tampering/Fraud: Students tampering with, or unauthorized or fraudulent use of, campus telephone equipment, telephone credit cards, or access codes/passwords.
     
  15. Theft: Theft, possession, or unauthorized attainment of property or service. Any found item for which ownership is not clear should be immediately submitted to lost and found in Student Affairs, Whitecar Hall.
     
  16. Unauthorized Soliciting: Soliciting or canvassing by an individual, group, or organization without proper authorization
     
  17. Unauthorized Usage of USP: Unauthorized use of the University’s name, logo, or symbols.
     
  18. Violation of Residence Hall Policy: More than three documented incidents, or at the discretion of the Dean of Students or his/her designee.
     
  19. Violation of Sanctions: Failure to make amends as ordered through the Student Conduct Process.
    1. If the student violates suspension or expulsion, a Conduct Hearing will be convened to address the matter.
    2. If the student violates any other sanction, the student will be put on probation for one year or their current probation will be extended for one year. In addition, appropriate sanction(s) will be imposed by the Conduct Officer.
       
  20. Violation or alleged violation of the Law: USP students may be held accountable for receiving a citation or being found guilty through the legal system for violating a local, state, or federal law if the incident occurred when the individual was a student. When University is made aware of a potential violation of local, state, or federal law the University may choose to initiate the Student Conduct Process based upon a potential violation of the University Code of Conduct regardless of the status of any pending criminal or civil legal matters.
     
  21. Violation of University Policies: Students are responsible for knowing, observing, and complying with all University policies.
     
  22. Violation of University Policies communicated through an online medium (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, internet posting): The University will not regularly monitor online activities of student, however, if an alleged violation of University policy is brought to the attention of the University the conduct exhibited may be addressed through the Conduct Process.
     
  23. Weapons: USP has a strict policy prohibiting weapons of any kind on any property owned, operated or managed by the University, including parking lots. This prohibition includes licensed firearms or weapons. Additionally, the University has the right to seize any firearm or weapon from any persons who violate the policy. (See Campus Weapons Policy for more information).
     
  24. Wrongful Entry: Entering, attempting to enter, or remaining without authority or permission in any University office, residence hall room, University-sponsored event, or University premise.

Student Conduct Committee

 In establishing a conduct process, the University recognizes that two distinct but overlapping areas of the community, the academic and non-academic sectors, affect the students. The student conduct process must, therefore, address both areas equally to meet the goals of personal and social development of the students involved. It is for this reason that the University has established the Student Conduct Committee.

The role of the Student Conduct Committee is to serve as facilitators during Administrative Hearings and adjudicators during Conduct Hearings.

The Student Conduct Committee will be made up of a pool of appointed faculty, staff, and students. The Student Conduct Committee will consist of 9-12 faculty members appointed by the President of Faculty Senate, in consultation with the Student Conduct Committee Chairs and the Office of Student Conduct. The Student Conduct Committee will also include 9-12 student members who will be selected by the Dean of Students and the Office of Student Conduct, in consultation with the Student Conduct Committee Chairs by a procedure that will ensure adequate representation of the various segments of the student population. The Dean of Students, in consultation with the Student Conduct Committee Chairs and the Office of Student Conduct, will also appoint 9-12 staff/administrator members to serve on the Student Conduct Committee. Due to the nature of the material that the Student Conduct Committee reviews, staff members eligible for appointment include those deemed appropriate by their department chairperson or director. The President of Faculty Senate and the Dean of Students will have final approval of all members of the Student Conduct Committee. All Committee members will be committed to confidentiality and upholding the Student Conduct Policy.

Committee members must complete an educational seminar on Student Conduct Committee membership requirements, responsibilities, and standards prior to serving at a hearing. Membership from the previous academic year continues until the new members of the Student Conduct Committee have completed their training.

From the appointed faculty members, the President of Faculty Senate will appoint two faculty members to serve as Chairs for alleged academic violation for a one-year term. For non-academic violations the University Conduct Officer shall chair the committee. These two Co-Chairs will complete an additional educational seminar on the duties of a chair.

Quorum of the Student Conduct Committee will consist of the Chair, one faculty member, one staff member, and one student. In cases involving the alleged violation of academic dishonesty, the Chair will be a faculty member; in non-academic cases, the chair will be the University Conduct Officer. In exceptional cases, for example, but not limited to, during University breaks, winter and summer breaks, or emergency situations, quorum can be at least two members and a Chair, not to exceed the standard Committee quorum, with a Chair, a faculty or staff member, and a student. None of the members of the Committee should have a direct relationship with either the respondent or the complainant. In the event that a quorum is not reached, all parties must agree to proceed with a scheduled Conduct Hearing without a quorum. If either party chooses not to proceed under such circumstances, then the Conduct Hearing will be rescheduled as quickly as possible.

In the deliberations of the Student Conduct Committee, student members, staff members, and faculty members shall each have an equal voice and vote, except for the Chair, who shall have one vote only in the event of a tie.
Faculty and staff members of the Student Conduct Committee may be asked by the Conduct Officer to serve as the facilitator for Administrative Hearings.

Student Conduct Process

Any member of the USP community may file charges against a student for violation of the Student Conduct Policy. During experiential learning, the site coordinator is considered a USP community member. A charge shall be prepared in writing and directed to the Conduct Officer. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within five business days. A University community member may also bring charges against a student organization. The president of the organization will represent the organization. If the organization is found responsible or admits responsibility for the misconduct that it is charged with, the Conduct Officer will impose sanctions upon the organization. Any charges should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within five days. Charges submitted after this time may be addressed at the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct.

Upon receipt of an alleged violation, the Office of Student Conduct or designee will review the charges to explore what process will be implemented. The Office of Student Conduct may guide the complainant to gather additional information prior to determining how to proceed. If additional information is recommended, the goal is to have the alleged violation resubmitted within 10 business days to allow a timely resolution. If there are questions about the information, the Office may suggest that the complainant withdraw the alleged violation. The individual(s) reviewing the charges may later serve as the hearing officer at an Administrative or Conduct Hearing. There are three avenues to determine the outcome of an alleged violation: disposition prior to a hearing, an Administrative Hearing, or a Conduct Hearing. All conduct matters shall be addressed through one of these avenues.

In matters involving more than one respondent, the Office of Student Conduct may permit the matter to be processed either separately or jointly.

For alleged prohibited conduct that is related to academic courses or documentation related to academic work, the following levels will be used to guide the process. Levels will be tentatively determined by the complainant and the Office of Student Conduct prior to the hearing and then affirmed prior to sanctioning if the student is found responsible. The tentatively determined level may change based on the information presented.

Level 1*:

  • Prohibited conduct that occurs because of a student’s inexperience or lack of knowledge regarding the principles of academic integrity. These would involve a small proportion (i.e., < 20%) of the total course work, are not extensive, and/or occur on a minor assignment
  • May be addressed through any of the three avenues

Level 2:

  • Prohibited conduct characterized by dishonesty of a more serious nature or which affects a more significant proportion (i.e., 20-<50%) of the course work
  • May be addressed through any of the three avenues

Level 3:

  • This prohibited conduct includes:
    • Dishonesty that affects a major (i.e., ≥50%) or essential portion of work done to meet course or program requirements and/or involves premeditation, OR
    • Those where the respondent has previously been found responsible for a Level 1 or Level 2 violation (i.e., second offense)
  • Will automatically go to a Conduct Hearing

Level 4:

  • This prohibited conduct represents the most serious breaches of academic integrity
  • Will automatically go to a Conduct Hearing

*Given the expectation of increased maturity and learning, a Level 1 will not be an option for any student (regardless of major) in the third year of a program and above or for graduate students. If these students commit what would typically be considered a Level 1, it will automatically be considered a Level 2. The prohibited conduct currently listed as Level 3 or Level 4 will remain as such for these students.

Disposition Prior to a Hearing:
The Office of Student Conduct may choose to afford a respondent, based on the severity of the alleged violation and the prior conduct history of the respondent, the opportunity to accept responsibility and the assigned sanctions without a hearing. Sanctions, with the exception of allegation of Academic Dishonesty, will be determined by the Office of Student Conduct after conferring with the complainant. In allegations of Academic Dishonesty, the complainant will determine the proposed course sanction based on the level system. The respondent will receive, in writing via hard copy or e-mail, an explanation of the alleged violation and the option of either accepting responsibility and the assigned sanctions or having the matter addressed through an Administrative or Conduct Hearing. The respondent will have five business days to respond to the notification. If the Office of Student Conduct does not receive a response, the proposed Administrative or Conduct Hearing will occur. If the respondent does not accept responsibility, the matter will be addressed through an Administrative or Conduct Hearing.

Administrative Hearing:
The purpose of the Administrative Hearing is to allow the complainant and respondent to evaluate, discuss, and determine the outcome of the alleged violation. The Hearing Officer (or designee) is there to help facilitate the process. All efforts should be made to facilitate an agreement that satisfies all parties. In the rare case that the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the Hearing Officer for academic cases may recommend an outcome or forward the matter to a Conduct Hearing; in non-academic cases, the Hearing Officer may determine a matter of fact and render a decision or forward the matter to a Conduct Hearing.

If either the complainant or the respondent does not agree with the outcome or recommended resolution of the Administrative Hearing, he or she shall submit, in writing, a request for a Conduct Hearing. This request must be made within five business days of the Administrative Hearing. Conduct Hearing protocol will be followed.

It is the responsibility of the complainant(s) and respondent(s) to bring any witness(es) they deem necessary to an Administrative Hearing. Witness testimony may be written or given orally at the hearing. Witnesses may be asked to leave the room before or after their testimony. The exception to this is a witness (referred to as an active witness) who was potentially a victim of the alleged violation. This exception will be made at the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct. Questions of whether potential information will be considered shall be resolved at the discretion of the Hearing Officer.

All Administrative Hearings will be closed to the public. The exceptions are for witnesses who are not USP community members, but who have direct information regarding the incident in question or if there are criminal or civil charges pending against the respondent regarding the incident in question. These exceptions will be made at the discretion of the Hearing Officer. The complainant and respondent may have one University Conduct Advisor attend on their behalf. The Conduct Advisor may speak only to the individual they were invited to support (either the respondent or the complainant), not on their behalf. Conduct Advisors must be a member of the University community and may not be the complainant’s or respondent’s attorney. Administrative Hearings will not be delayed due to scheduling conflicts for anyone except the respondent or complainant, and they must have appropriate approval from the Office of Student Conduct.

If the respondent fails to appear at the Administrative Hearing without receiving prior appropriate approval, the respondent will be found responsible and sanctions will be applied or the matter will be forwarded for a Conduct Hearing. If the complainant fails to appear at the Administrative Hearing, without receiving prior appropriate approval, the respondent will be found not responsible. A scheduled Administrative Hearing supersedes all classes, examinations, and University functions.

An individual may not serve in more than one role (e.g., witness or Conduct Advisor) during an Administrative Hearing.

The Student Conduct Process may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, respondent, and/or other witnesses during the hearing by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means where and as determined appropriate by the Office of Student Conduct.

The Administrative Hearing proceedings will be documented on the Administrative Hearing Report Form. It is the Office of Student Conduct’s responsibility to notify the respondent, the complainant, the academic advisor, and the Program Director of the student’s matriculated program of the results of the Administrative Hearing. Individuals notified are responsible for maintaining confidentiality.

Conduct Hearing:
The following procedures will guide the Conduct Hearing process:

  • The Office of Student Conduct will notify the complainant and respondent in writing of the alleged violation, the date and time of the hearing, and the date of a prehearing (for the respondent)
  • A hearing should occur within a reasonable period of time (preferably 15 business days) of the request for a hearing; the Office of Student Conduct has the discretion to make exceptions to this time frame (for example, but not limited to, during exam weeks or during University break times); emergency hearings may be scheduled in cases that involve safety, health, or welfare of any member of the USP community (e.g., complaints involving violent misconduct)
  • During the prehearing, the Hearing Officer will review the process and answer any questions the respondent or complainant may have; additionally, the Hearing Officer will present the respondent with a list of members of the Student Conduct Committee who could possibly hear the case; either the respondent or complainant may challenge the impartiality of any member of the Student Conduct Committee; a challenged member of the Student Conduct Committee will be excused from the Conduct Hearing unless the Hearing Officer determines that the challenge is unfounded, in which event the committee member may continue to participate in the hearing; if the Chair is excused, either the other Chair or a Vice Chair will serve as Chair of the Conduct Hearing; if all four of the Chairs and Vice Chairs are excused, a designee may be appointed by either the President of Faculty Senate or the Dean of Students; this designee must be a member of the Student Conduct Committee
  • The Office of Student Conduct is responsible for notifying each member of the Student Conduct Committee of the charge and of the date, time, and location of the Conduct Hearing

It is the responsibility of the complainant(s) and respondent(s) to bring any witness(es) they deem necessary. Witness testimony may be written or given orally at the hearing. Witnesses may be asked to leave the room before or after their testimony. The exception to this is a witness (referred to as an active witness) who was potentially a victim of the alleged violation. This exception will be made at the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct. Questions of whether potential information will be considered shall be resolved at the discretion of the Chair, in conjunction with the Hearing Officer.

All Conduct Hearings will be closed to the public. The exceptions are for witnesses who are not USP community members, but who have direct information regarding the incident in question or if there are criminal or civil charges pending against the respondent regarding the incident in question. These exceptions will be made at the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct. The respondent and complainant may have one University Conduct Advisor attend on their behalf. The Conduct Advisor may speak only to the individual they were invited to support (either the respondent or the complainant), not on their behalf. Conduct Advisors must be a member of the University community and may not be the complainant’s or respondent’s attorney. Conduct Hearings will not be delayed due to scheduling conflicts for anyone except the respondent or complainant and they must have appropriate approval.

The Student Conduct Process may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, respondent, and/or other witnesses during the entire process by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audio tape, written statement, or other means where and as determined appropriate by the Office of Student Conduct.

The proceedings of the Conduct Hearing (except deliberation) will be audio recorded and remain the property of the University. The Conduct Officer may approve the review of the audio recordings. The request should be made in writing. The review must take place in the presence of the Conduct Officer or designee and only approved individuals may review the recording. Recordings may be copied or officially transcribed; either choice is at the respondent’s expense. For either the audio or transcribed copy, the recipient may only use it for personal use; any additional uses must have prior approval by the Office of Student Conduct. The recipient is responsible for all regulations governing the audio or transcribed copy as outlined in the form signed upon receiving the copy. Recordings may be used during the appeals proceedings. Recordings may only be used in the Grievance Process or other proceedings with the permission of the Conduct Officer. Audio recordings will be held for one year or until the end of the appeals process, whichever is longer.

If the respondent fails to appear at the Conduct Hearing, the hearing may continue at the discretion of the Chair, in consultation with the Conduct Officer. If the complainant fails to appear at the Conduct Hearing, without receiving prior appropriate approval, the respondent will be found not responsible. A scheduled Conduct Hearing supersedes all classes, examinations, and University functions for the respondent.

At the close of the Conduct Hearing, the Student Conduct Committee shall deliberate privately as to whether the respondent violated the Student Conduct Policy. The Committee will seek to reach a consensus in adjudicating cases. In the event there is not a consensus, a majority vote will determine the outcome. The Committee should use the standard “more likely than not” to determine the outcome.

The respondent may have up to two members of the University community serve as character witnesses during a Conduct Hearing. The character witnesses may submit a written statement or present in person on behalf of the respondent. The character witnesses’ comments are to be limited to what he or she knows about the respondent’s character. Character witnesses are not permitted to comment on the Student Conduct Process or on statements made during the Conduct Hearing. The Student Conduct Committee will hear character witnesses only after the respondent has been found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Policy, but before the Committee determines the sanctions.

At no time may a character witness or Conduct Advisor also represent the respondent as his or her legal counsel at the time of the hearing or in future matters pertaining to the hearing. An individual may not serve in more than one role (e.g., witness, character witness, or Conduct Advisor) during a Conduct Hearing. The Hearing Officer will collect and retain all records and documents submitted in connection with a hearing. All evidence shall be held for one year or until the conclusion of the appeals process, whichever is longer.

The proceedings of the Conduct Hearing will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct. It is the Office of Student Conduct’s responsibility to notify the respondent, the complainant, the academic advisor, and the Program Director of the student’s matriculated program of the results of the Conduct Hearing. Both the dean of the appropriate college and the Dean of Students will be notified if a student is placed on probation, suspended, or expelled. Individuals notified are responsible for maintaining confidentiality.

The administration of the sanctions determined by the Student Conduct Committee will be the responsibility of the Office of Student Conduct.

Sanctions for Student Misconduct

All students found responsible will receive, at a minimum, a written reprimand. More than one of the sanctions listed may be imposed for any single violation or hearing. Definitions of Conduct Probation, Conduct Suspension, and Conduct Expulsion can be found under the “Definitions” section in this policy.

When assigning Conduct Probation or Suspension, the summer semester will not count toward the number of semesters assigned. Students remain on Conduct Probation or Conduct Suspension during any University breaks (i.e., summer, winter, spring break) that fall during an assigned sanction.

Academic Hearing Sanctions:

Level 1:

Academic Sanction (all students will receive one of the following):

  • “0” on the assignment
  • Make-up assignment (with student receiving only 50% of the earned credit)

Conduct Sanction (all students will receive one or more of the following):

  • One semester of Conduct Probation
  • Community service
  • Other sanctions to make amends for the misconduct (e.g., stress management seminar, skills development seminar, alternative research paper)

Level 2:

Academic Sanction (all students will receive one of the following):

  • “0” on the assignment or examination (grade must be used in calculation of final grade [i.e., this grade cannot be dropped, if applicable])
  • One letter-grade reduction in the final grade (e.g., B+ → C+; B → C; B- → C-)

Conduct Sanction (all students will receive the following):

  • One semester or more of Conduct Probation

Students may also receive one or more of the following Conduct Sanctions at the discretion of the Student Conduct Committee:

  • Community service
  • Other sanctions to make amends for the misconduct (e.g., stress management seminar, skills development seminar, alternative research paper)

Level 3:

Academic Sanction (all students will receive one of the following):

  • D in the course (this would be the highest grade that the student can achieve in the course) OR P (for pass/fail course)
  • F in the course
  • Failure of program requirement

Conduct Sanction (all students will receive one of the following):

  • One semester or more of Conduct Suspension
  • Conduct Probation until 30 days prior to graduation from the University or until the student separates from the University

Students may also receive one or more of the following Conduct Sanctions at the discretion of the Student Conduct Committee:

  • Community service
  • Other sanctions to make amends for the misconduct (e.g., stress management seminar, skills development seminar, alternative research paper)

A notation of Conduct Suspension will be placed on the student’s transcript and will remain permanently.

Level 4:

Academic Sanction (all students will receive one of the following):

  • F in the course
  • Failure of program requirement

Conduct Sanction (all students will receive the following):

  • Conduct Expulsion from the University

A notation of Conduct Expulsion will be placed on the student’s transcript and will remain permanently.

Non-Academic Sanctions:

Sanctions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Having the student complete some activity to make amends for misconduct. Activities may include community service, work on campus, or project for a faculty member.
     
  2. Completion of educational program(s); psychological, physical, or drug/alcohol evaluation(s); or counseling.
     
  3. Fines and restitution. Fines may be imposed to cover costs or as a learning outcome, as well as to compensate for loss, damage, or injury.
     
  4. Other sanctions appropriate to the violation. This may include revoking various University privileges, limiting access to University buildings or events, removal from University housing, or other actions relevant to the details of the incident.
     
  5. Conduct Deactivation. (See Definitions)
     
  6. Conduct Probation. (See Definitions)
     
  7. Conduct Suspension. (See Definitions)
     
  8. Conduct Expulsion. (See Definitions). Expulsion may only be administered at a Conduct Hearing.
     
  9. Revocation of admission and/or degree. Admission to or a degree awarded from the University may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violations of University standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations

Once a matter is resolved, no University faculty, staff, or administrator may impose additional sanctions that were not approved during the Student Conduct Process. The exception to this is substance abuse rehabilitation, removal from campus, or removal from residence hall living, which normally occurs within 24 hours of the sanction, suspension, or expulsion, unless an exception is granted by both the Director of Student Life and the Conduct Officer. The dean of the appropriate college or the Dean of Students (or his/her designee) must approve these exceptions.

The University may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth, including the completion of all sanctions imposed.

Interim sanctions may be imposed prior to the completion of the Student Conduct Process. Interim sanctions will be imposed: 1) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; 2) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or 3) if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. Interim sanctions will be imposed by the Dean of Students (or designee). During interim sanctions, a student may be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as determined by the Dean of Students (or designee). The interim sanctions do not replace the regular process.

Conduct Hold

At any time after the filing of a complaint, the Office of Student Conduct, in consultation with the student’s college dean and the Dean of Students, may place a “Conduct Hold” on the academic and/or financial records of the student for the purpose of preserving the status quo pending the outcome of proceedings, enforcing a sanction, or ensuring cooperation with the Student Conduct Process. A Conduct Hold may prevent, among other things, registration, the release of transcripts, and/or the awarding of a degree.

Notification to Victims of Violent Crime

Victims of a “crime of violence” may request in writing to the University Conduct Officer to be informed of the outcome of a conduct proceeding. In the tragic event the victim is deceased, the next of kin may submit said request. A “crime of violence” is interpreted under 18 U.S.C. §16(a) and (b) as:

(a) an offense that has as an element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Right to Appeal the Outcome of a Conduct Hearing

The respondent or complainant has the right to appeal a decision rendered through the Student Conduct Process by submitting a written appeal to the Office of Student Conduct.
There are four reasons for which an appeal may be granted and an Appeal Panel may be convened. An appeal must be substantiated by one of the following four reasons:

  1. Question of New Evidence: Either the respondent or complainant may appeal on “questions of new evidence” by introducing new evidence that would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Evidence introduced that was not known by the respondent or complainant shall be considered new evidence. Evidence that was withheld by the respondent or complainant shall not constitute a “question of new evidence” and will not be considered upon appeal.
     
  2. Question of Procedure: Appeals will be considered on the basis of “question of procedure” by demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established were breached, and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.
     
  3. Question of Sanction: Either the respondent or complainant may appeal the sanction that has been imposed by presenting a statement that explains why the sanction is perceived to be substantially disproportionate to the offense and/or not consistent with the precedent rendered through the Student Conduct Process.
     
  4. Question of Findings: Either the respondent or complainant may appeal if there is evidence that the findings are against the weight of the evidence.

Appeal of Conduct Hearing:

If either the complainant or the respondent wants to appeal a Conduct Hearing, they shall submit, in writing, an appeal to the Office of Student Conduct. The request must be made within 10 business days of the Conduct Hearing. The written appeal should clearly indicate why the decision is being appealed based on at least one of the four above-stated reasons for an appeal. The Office of Student Conduct will submit the matter to an Appeals Board which will consist of one faculty representative, one staff representative, one student representative and the Conduct Officer as an ex officio member to ensure consistency. Members of the Appeals Board may not have prior knowledge of the original case. The purpose of the Conduct Officer will be to provide the panel with the record and ensure consistency with past practice in deciding similar matters. The Appeals Board will engage in a two-step process. The Appeal Board will first consider if the appeal has any validity based upon at least one of the aforementioned appeal questions through a review of the appropriate student’s conduct file. Audio recording of the original hearing will only be reviewed at the request of the Appeals Board. The Appeals Board may initially take one of two steps:

  1. Dismiss the appeal based on a lack of merit.
    1. Based upon the content of the student’s conduct file, take one of the three following actions:
    2. Sanctions may be reduced or increased only if found to be substantially disproportionate to the offense and/or not consistent with the Student Conduct Committee’s precedent. Any recommendations for changes to the originally approved course sanction will be reviewed by the faculty member, the faculty member’s department chair, and the University Conduct Officer or designee. This review panel will make a final decision on the course sanction based on the Level system. This decision is final. Cases will be remanded for rehearing if the majority of the review panel does not agree on the changed sanctions.
    3. Cases may be remanded for rehearing.
  2. The original decision of the Student Conduct Committee may be affirmed.

The Office of Student Conduct will be responsible for following up on the decision within approximately ten business days of the Appeal Board’s decision. The imposing of sanctions rendered during the original Conduct Hearing will be deferred while an appeal is pending, except when the Office of Student Conduct, in consultation with the Dean of Students, determines the sanction should be upheld immediately for the safety of the student or the community.

Expunge Records

Conduct records will remain on file for a period of seven years after the incident. Once a year, records will be reviewed and destroyed if applicable. The exception to this process is cases involving sanctions of suspension or expulsion. These records will remain in some form indefinitely.

A student or alumna/alumnus may request, in writing, that the Dean of Students eliminate an incident or incidents from his or her conduct record prior to the expunge date. The decision to eliminate a record will be based on the nature of the violation(s), the individual’s conduct history, and evidence of appropriate behavior since the violation occurred. A request will not be considered for at least two years after the incident occurred. Suspension or expulsion may not be eliminated from a conduct record.

On June 7, 2009, the Faculty Senate of USP voted to amend the Student Conduct Policy. The original document and prior amendments may be found in the Faculty Senate archives. The updated Policy will govern cases that are presented to the Office of Student Conduct after the Policy has been made public through the Student Conduct Policy.

Student Grievance Policy

A grievance is a complaint or allegation made by a student who feels that an action (or lack of action) by USP is unfair; is arbitrary, capricious, or unjust; or does not comply with University policies. Some grievances, however, cannot be initially addressed through the Student Grievance Policy. These include allegations of discrimination related to gender (including sexual harassment), race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, all of which must be referred to the AAO. In addition, conduct matters cannot be grieved, as stated in the Student Conduct Policy.

It is the policy of the University to provide a mechanism by which grievances can be openly and objectively reviewed, with a goal of reconciliation or resolution of University-related issues. If an issue cannot be resolved informally, students may use the Student Grievance Policy and procedures without fear of reprimand or reprisal.

General Procedures of the Student Grievance Policy

The following procedures are not meant to serve as detailed procedures, but rather, general guidelines to the Student Grievance Process.

Prior to initiating a grievance process, the student should make every reasonable effort to resolve the complaint informally by discussing the situation with the person most directly involved (“respondent”) and/or the respondent’s supervisor.

If an informal discussion between the student and the respondent does not resolve the issue, the student may initiate a grievance. This should be done within one month of the incident. If a student wishes to initiate a grievance beyond 45 calendar days of the incident, he or she must get approval from the Chair of the Grievance Committee. Grievances that are filed later than one calendar year from the date of the incident will not be accepted by the Grievance Committee.

To begin the process, the student should inform the Chair of the Grievance Committee that he or she has a grievance, and then follow up with a written grievance. The letter must be delivered to the Chair no more than 10 working days after meeting with the Chair. The written grievance must contain the following:

  • Date and location of issue(s)
  • Nature of complaint
  • Student’s explanation of issue(s), which should be as specific and factual as possible
  • Resolution being sought
  • Steps already taken to resolve issue

There are two stages (Informal and Formal) to the grievance process, as broadly outlined below:

Informal Process:

If the issue is not resolved after the student has made every effort to speak informally with the respondent or supervisor, or if he or she does not feel comfortable speaking directly to the respondent, he or she may speak to someone designated as a mediator by contacting the Office of the Dean of Students. The mediator is impartial and has the primary role of determining if mediation is appropriate and, if so, assists both parties in resolving the grievance. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which an impartial, third party assists people in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their problem (American University Mediation Services, 2004).

During the informal process, the mediator meets separately with the student and respondent. The mediator discusses the options for resolving the grievance and listens to each party’s explanation of the events.

If both parties agree to an informal grievance process, the mediator brings together the student and respondent. During this meeting, the mediator will assist both parties to resolve the grievance. Once the student and respondent agree to the resolution, both parties will sign a written agreement that states the resolution.

  • To begin the informal process or for detailed procedures, a student should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 215.596.8950

Formal Process:

If either the student or respondent chooses to forego mediation after speaking with the Chair of the Grievance Committee about their options, or if the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal process to resolve an issue, he or she may initiate a formal grievance. A formal grievance requires a student to notify the Chair of the Grievance Committee, in writing, that he or she wishes to proceed.

Once the letter has been received, the Chair reviews it and meets with the student to discuss the grievance. In addition, the Chair forwards a copy of the student’s letter to the respondent, who in turn can respond to the Chair in writing. The Chair may dismiss the case if deemed unsubstantiated or frivolous, arbitrate the case (Chair or designee), or convene a hearing.

  • To begin the formal process or for detailed procedures, a student should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 215.596.8950

Grievance Committee

The Committee is composed of a Chair (nonvoting) and five other individuals chosen from a pool of trained faculty, staff, and students.

  • If the respondent is a faculty member, the Committee will be comprised of two faculty, two students, and one staff
  • If the respondent is a staff member, the Committee will be comprised of two staff, two students, and one faculty
  • If the respondent is a student, the Committee will be comprised of two students, two faculty, and one staff

None of the members of the Committee may be a party, even secondarily, to the grievance. Committee members are not advocates to either party, but rather, serve as impartial fact-finders. If necessary, and at the request of the Committee, the Chair can request additional information or evidence from either or both parties involved in the situation.

The Hearing

Upon receipt of all relevant documents from the student and respondent, the Chair of the Grievance Committee will have a prehearing with both parties separately. During the prehearing, the Chair will review the process and answer any questions the student or respondent may have. Additionally, the Chair will present the student with a list of people who will serve as members of the committee and who could possibly hear the case. The Chair is responsible for notifying each member of the committee of the date, time, and location of the meeting and for providing each committee member with a copy of the grievance.

All hearings will be closed to the public. Both the student and respondent may have one University advocate attend on their behalf. The advocate may speak only to the student or respondent, and not on their behalf. Legal counsel is not permitted. If either party fails to appear at the hearing, the hearing may continue at the discretion of the Chair of the Grievance Committee.

It is the individual party’s responsibility to bring any witnesses he or she deems necessary. Witnesses are individuals who observed the incident in question and/or have knowledge that can help clarify the incident in question. Witnesses’ testimony may be written or orally presented at the hearing.

The proceedings of the hearing (except deliberation) will be audio recorded and remain the property of the University.

Appeals Policy

 A student or respondent may appeal any outcome from a grievance hearing within 10 working days after the written outcome is delivered to both parties. The written letter of appeal must describe:

  • The basis of the appeal (see appeal criteria outlined below)
  • Evidence or testimony that supports this claim
  • Resolution sought

The appeal panel will consider the viability of the appeal based on the criteria below:

  • New information (not available at the time of the hearing) that significantly alters the finding of fact
  • Evidence of improper procedure(s) that significantly affected the outcome
  • Findings that are against the weight of the evidence
  • Excessive or insufficient recommendations for remedies

The appeal will be reviewed by an appeals panel, consisting of members drawn by the Chair from the Grievance Committee pool who did not participate in the original hearing. The appeals panel will be comprised of a Chair (nonvoting member of the Grievance Committee who manages the process but not the outcome) designated by the Chair of the Grievance Committee, and one faculty, one staff, and one student member of the Grievance Committee pool.

Appeals will consist of a two-part process:

  • The appeals panel will consider the viability of the appeal based on the criteria above. If the appeals panel does not deem the appeal to be viable, then it will be dismissed and the original findings of the grievance hearing will be affirmed
  • If the appeal is deemed viable – meaning that it meets one or more of the criteria listed above – the appeals panel will consider appropriate outcomes based on consideration of the letter of appeal, a review of the grievance hearing record, and supporting documentation

The following standards will apply when appeals are considered by the appeals panel:

  • Remedies may be reduced or increased only if found to be substantially disproportionate to the offense and/or not consistent with precedent
  • Cases may be remanded for rehearing if specified procedural errors or errors of interpretation of University policies were so substantial as to deny the student or respondent a fair hearing
  • Cases may be remanded for rehearing if new and significant evidence not available at the time of hearing becomes available that alters the finding of fact (This does not apply if the student (or respondent) deliberately withheld information of evidence at the time of the hearing and now wishes a new hearing based on disclosure)
  • Outcomes of grievance hearings may be dismissed if the findings are considered unsupported by the evidence

Decisions reached by the appeals panel are by majority vote, are final, and may not be appealed.

The imposition of remedies will be deferred while an appeal is pending.

Within ten working days of the final appeals panel meeting on this matter, the Chair of the appeals panel will confirm, in writing, the outcome of appeals to both parties and the appropriate supervisor of the respondent.

Confidentiality Statement

In all cases, participants in grievance procedures take appropriate steps to safeguard the confidentiality of information gathered under a guarantee of confidentiality, yet exercise due regard for the rights of the individual grievant and respondent. In accepting appointment to the Grievance Committee, each member makes a commitment to maintain confidentiality with respect to documentary and other evidence presented during the investigation and hearing of individual cases.