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The Conduct Code

Mercyhurst University expects and requires of its students behavior consistent with its high standards of scholarship. Upon matriculation to the University, a student accepts its regulations and acknowledges the right of the University to take disciplinary action for conduct deemed unacceptable or disruptive, both on and off campus.

The Conduct Code is divided into numbered headings describing prohibited behavior. Accompanying these headings are illustrative examples of potential violations and sanctions that may be applied. By listing such prohibited actions, the University does not seek to create an all-inclusive list. Instead the code serves as a guideline and means of clarification for the standards of conduct expected from community members. Students may not claim exemption from responsibility for their behavior because a violation is not listed. A student’s conduct record is cumulative over the course of a student’s university career.

While proceedings under the Conduct Code are not criminal proceedings and shall not be construed as such, Mercyhurst University recognizes its responsibility to provide procedures for handling student conduct that are fair and consistent. The University, for the purposes of this code, shall adopt the following guidelines:

  • the student shall be notified of a conduct meeting;
  • the student shall be notified of matters requiring the student’s response;
  • the student shall receive impartial proceedings;
  • the student shall be given the opportunity to provide relevant information during the conduct meeting;
  • the student shall have the opportunity to request an appeal.

Any student found responsible for violating the Conduct Code may receive one or more of a variety of sanctions tailored to the specific violation(s). The sanctions listed in the Student Handbook are presumptive. Individual mitigating circumstances, as well as aggravating factors, such as past misconduct by the student, or failure to comply with previously imposed sanctions, may be considered when determining the level and scope of the sanction(s). Sanctions are imposed on a graduated scale, increasing in severity with subsequent violations.

Students residing off campus should understand that in the event of any disturbance at any off-campus residence for which police are involved, all signatories to a lease may be held equally accountable for an incident occurring at their residence, whether they actually received a citation or not, and all signatories may be adjudicated through the Conduct Code.

  1. Any action or situation involving verbal, mental, or physical abuse and/or assault, including threats, harassment, initiation of a fight, fighting, intimidation, or creation of a hostile environment. Conduct that recklessly or intentionally endangers or intends to endanger or threaten the emotional, mental, or physical health, safety, or welfare of any person, including him or herself, is prohibited.

Physical Assault/Abuse

Suspension

Possible Expulsion

Stalking

$350.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Counseling Assessment

Possible Suspension

Initiation of a Fight

$200.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Participation in a Fight

$100.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Suspension

Reckless Endangerment

$100.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Suspension

 

 

Creation of a Hostile Environment

$100.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Possible Reassignment of University Housing

General Harassment

$100.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Possible Reassignment of University Housing

  1. Threats or harassment through any medium, including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, social-networking websites, computers, telephone, letters, is prohibited.

Terroristic Threats (as defined by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code)

Expulsion

Threats to or Harassment of Any Employee of the University (including RAs)

$150.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Verbal Threats

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Verbal Abuse

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

  1. Any bias-based acts that violate another person’s rights are prohibited (i.e. race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, color, creed, religion, disability, national origin, age, or status as a veteran).

Bias-based Acts

$250.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

  1. All forms of sexual misconduct are expressly prohibited (refer to Title IX – Sexual Misconduct Policy).

Sexual Assault

Suspension

Possible Expulsion

Possible Arrest and Prosecution

 

Sexual Harassment

$350.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Counseling Assessment

Possible Suspension

 

  1. Bullying fosters a climate of fear and disrespect that can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of its victims and create conditions that negatively affect learning, thereby undermining the ability of students to achieve their full potential. As such, all forms of bullying including those taking place through electronic media are prohibited.

Bullying

$100.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Counseling Assessment

Possible Reassignment of University Housing

  1. Conduct that significantly interrupts or prevents a University or civil authority from carrying out his or her duties or responsibilities is prohibited. Failure to comply with a reasonable directive from a University or civil authority is prohibited. The University will not tolerate disrespect toward University and/or civil authorities especially when performing their duties.

Presenting False Information i.e., misrepresentation as a student of Mercyhurst University, University official, or member of a University organization

$200.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Providing Inaccurate Information to a University/Civil Official

Written Reprimand

Fleeing from an Incident or from a University/Civil Official

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Failure to Comply

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Disciplinary Probation

  1. While on campus, students are expected to carry proper identification. When identification is requested, it is the student’s obligation to provide it. Students asked for verification of age have an obligation to provide a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, or passport.  Possessing, altering, manufacturing, and/or providing false identification is prohibited.

Manufacturing False or Altering Identification

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Confiscation of Illegal IDs and/or Equipment

Possible Suspension

Possession of or Providing False or Altered Identification

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Confiscation of Illegal ID

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Failure to Provide Identification

Written Reprimand

  1. Any activity on University property that negatively affects the University’s pursuit of its mission is prohibited. Any behavior that disrupts or has the potential to disrupt the functions of the Mercyhurst University community, including behavior that disrupts the peace or violates the rights of others, is prohibited. Intentional disruption or obstruction of teaching, study, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other University activity, is prohibited.

Interference with University or Civil Authority

$200.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Disorderly Conduct

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Disruption of University Activity

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Removal from Activity

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Disrupting or Harming Campus Wildlife

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

 

Public Expression that Intends to Incite Disruptive Disturbances

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Disciplinary Probation

Attempt to Coerce Participation in Disruptive Behavior

Warning

Pranks

Written Reprimand

Restitution

Excessive Noise

Written Reprimand

Confiscation of Equipment (e.g. stereo)

  1. Lewd or indecent conduct, such as public urination, is prohibited.

Lewd or Indecent Conduct

$25.00 Fine

Written Reprimand

  1. Hazing is prohibited and is cause for disciplinary action. Pennsylvania’s Hazing Law defines “hazing” as

“Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of, or recognized as, an organization by an institution of higher education. [Any such] activity…upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in and organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be ‘forced’ activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.”

In addition, subjecting a person to treatment intended to put him or her in a humiliating or disconcerting position, including the forced (as defined above) consumption of alcohol, drugs, or any other liquid, gas, or solid substance, for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization on University-owned or operated property or at University-sponsored activities or related to any University group shall be considered hazing, and is prohibited.

Hazing

$200.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Suspension

Possible Action Against Club or Organization

  1. Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited. Use or possession of any item on campus that could jeopardize the health and/or safety of the community is prohibited. The University reserves the right to determine whether a specific object jeopardizes the health and/or safety of the community. Fireworks (including sparklers), explosive materials, and weapons (knives, swords, brass knuckles, guns, rifles, hunting equipment, lawn darts, Tasers, stun guns, paintball guns, pellet guns, BB guns, “Air Soft” guns, “fake” guns, other simulated weapons, ammunition, fencing equipment, etc.) are all specifically prohibited and may not be used, possessed, or brought onto campus.

If the student needs assistance in determining what may be a hazardous device, the Police & Safety Office should be contacted. Mercyhurst University adheres to all municipal, state, and federal laws regarding weapons, ammunition, fireworks, and other dangerous substances.

Possession of Weapons/Dangerous Item(s)

$350.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Possible Counseling Assessment

Possible Suspension

Possible Expulsion

Possible Arrest and Prosecution

Use of Fireworks

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Restitution

Confiscation of Materials

Possession of Fireworks

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Confiscation of Materials

  1. Setting off a false fire alarm, submitting a false report of a fire or other dangerous conditions, failing to respond to fire alarms, tampering with fire, safety, and/or emergency equipment, and blocking exits are all prohibited.

Intentionally Activating a False Fire Alarm

Suspension

Tampering with Fire/Safety/Emergency Equipment

$200.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Educational Meeting with the Fire Safety Officer

Disabling Detectors

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Educational Meeting with the Fire Safety Officer

Blocking Fire Exits

$25.00 Fine

Written Reprimand

Failure to Evacuate During a Fire Alarm

Written Reprimand

Educational Meeting with the Fire Safety Officer

  1. Recklessly or intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion is prohibited.

Recklessly or Intentionally Starting a Fire

Suspension

Possible Expulsion

  1. The University prohibits a student from engaging in, or threatening to engage in, behavior that poses a danger of causing harm to self or others.

Mandatory Counseling Assessment and compliance with counseling recommendations.

 

Depending on the nature of the situation, possible removal from the University until the student can demonstrate and document his/her ability to return to a learning environment and communal living situation without threat of harm to self or others.

  1. Theft of personal, civil, or University property, including theft of services or resources from Mercyhurst University -owned or -operated property is prohibited. Unauthorized possession of another person’s property or University property is also prohibited.

Theft

Suspension

Restitution

Misuse of University Property

Written Reprimand

Restitution

Unauthorized Use or Possession of Property Belonging to the University or Another Person

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Restitution

 

  1. The solicitation of sales, services, memberships, or gifts on campus without prior permission from the Director of the Campus Involvement Center is prohibited. Solicitation is strictly prohibited in the residential areas.

 

Solicitation

First Offense

Warning

 

Second Offense

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

  1. Duplicating, altering, manufacturing, inappropriately using, misusing, or inappropriately providing keys, computer access codes, student Identification cards, or other devices meant to afford access to restricted areas, services or information is prohibited.

Misuse of University-Issued Key/Access Codes

Warning

Restitution

Possible Suspension

Improper Use of University-Issued Identification Card with Dining Services

Warning

Restitution

  1. Tampering with official university documents, or attempting to falsify any University record(s), including, but not limited to, computer files and parking passes or permits, is prohibited.

Tampering with Official University Documents, or Attempting to Falsify any University Record(s)

Suspension

Restitution

Possible Expulsion

Altering or Manufacturing a Parking Permit

Warning

Unauthorized Possession or Use of a University-Issued Parking Permit

Warning

Possible Denial of Parking Privileges

  1. Unauthorized entry into, or tampering with, facilities, property, services, or resources belonging to the University, its community members, guests, or licensees is prohibited.

Unauthorized Entry or Burglary

Suspension

Restitution

Possible Expulsion

  1. Defacing, damaging, or destroying property belonging to the University, its community members, guests, or licensees is prohibited. Littering is prohibited.

Vandalism

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Restitution

Deliberate Damage or Defacement

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Restitution

Littering

Warning

Restitution

Possible $50 fine

 

 

  1. Bookmaking, establishing, or promoting a game of chance for personal profit is prohibited.

Establishing a Game of Chance Involving Money

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Participation in a Game of Chance Involving Money

Warning

  1. Any violation of the Information Technology Policy is prohibited (see Information Technology Policy).
  2. Any violation of the Alcohol Policy is prohibited (see Alcohol Policy).
  3. Any violation of the Drug Policy is prohibited (see Drug Policy).
  4. Any violation of Housing Rules and Regulations is prohibited (see Residence Life).
  5. Any violation of Mercyhurst University policies or regulations is prohibited.
  6. Encouraging or aiding Conduct Code violations or providing a haven for misconduct is prohibited.
  7. Consistent with the provisions of the Student Conduct Code, Mercyhurst University students are responsible for conducting themselves so as not to bring disrepute to the University. Conduct or activity by members of the student body living off-campus or hosting functions at off-campus locations that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with the rights of neighbors is prohibited. This standard of conduct recognizes and affirms a responsibility similar to that of students living in residence halls or on-campus apartments. It is also the responsibility of Mercyhurst University students living off-campus to control the nature and size of activities carried out in or on their premises, consistent with standards of the University.

Students residing off-campus should understand that in the event of any disturbance at any off-campus residence for which police are involved, all signatories to a lease may be held equally accountable for an incident occurring at their residence, whether they actually received a citation or not, and all signatories may be adjudicated through the Conduct Code.

Disorderly House

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Revocation of Off Campus Housing Privilege

 

  1. Violations of civil or criminal statutes or violations of the Mercyhurst Conduct Code committed off-campus may result in the University’s review of a student’s conduct. Generally, an individual’s actions off-campus are subject to the actions of civil authorities. However, the University reserves the right to take action for off-campus behavior independent of civil authority when the interests of the University are involved. Any student charged with a serious crime by civil authorities will be suspended for an interim determined by the Director of Student Conduct. An action involving a student in a legal proceeding in a civil or criminal court does not free a student of responsibility for conduct in University hearing. Regardless of whether a student is charged in both jurisdictions, the University will proceed with its internal review according to its own schedule and sanction according to its own policies.

If the University learns that there has been an allegation or instance of misconduct off-campus involving a student (which includes a citation, arrest, or conviction), the student is required by the University to provide a copy of information or documents received from public authorities relating to the alleged misconduct.

  1. Violations of civil or criminal statutes committed on University -owned or -operated property are considered violations of the Mercyhurst University Conduct Code, whether or not such violations are referred to and/or prosecuted by public officials. Many such violations, including all violations classified as misdemeanors or felonies under municipal, state, or federal law, may be referred to the appropriate civil authorities and may also be addressed through Student Conduct system.
  2. Contempt of the student conduct system, including failure to appear for a student conduct meeting, providing misinformation in a student conduct meeting, or failure to observe and comply with student conduct sanctions, is a violation of the Conduct Code.

Failure to Comply with Disciplinary System

$50.00 Fine

Social Probation

Possible Adjudication of Case in the Student’s Absence

Dishonesty Before the Student Conduct Board

$100.00 Fine

Disciplinary Probation

Failure to Complete Community Restitution

Community Restitution Hours Converted to a Fine Amount at a Rate of $8.00 per Hour