Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Community Standards

I. Preamble

The University is committed to providing an atmosphere of academic freedom where students can achieve academic success and personal growth.  The Community Standards embody this commitment and establish certain guidelines to coordinate the interactions of individuals in order to create a safe environment which promotes the free and open exchange of ideas for all community members.  Students are responsible for knowing their rights and responsibilities stated within the Community Standards. 

As members of the University community, individuals have certain rights and responsibilities in addition to the limitations imposed by federal, state, and local laws.  In order for our community to thrive, all students and their guests must conduct themselves respectfully, lawfully and responsibly in a manner that preserves the integrity of the learning environment.  As befits an institution of higher education, standards of behavior and conduct generally are more demanding than those required of the general public.  Students bear responsibility for their own conduct. Students are required to follow a code of behavior consonant with the high standards of professional behavior and the reputation of the University.  Standards of professional behavior include honesty, integrity, civility and where possible, assistance to one’s colleagues with problems or in distress where appropriate.  

By accepting admission and registration, students accept responsibility for compliance with academic regulations, course syllabi, classroom polices as determined by classroom instructor, the Student Handbook, the Community Standards, University Catalog, College Handbooks, departmental or program specific handbooks and websites, and any other policies, manuals, or guidelines pertaining to any specific operation or program within the University.  In addition, students shall comply with all rules and regulations duly established within their respective colleges.  Additionally, students must abide by all local, state, and federal laws.

When a student fails to abide by these guidelines, the University may investigate and resolve any concerns through the University student conduct system as described in this document. 

II. Student Rights

Thomas Jefferson University recognizes its responsibility to support and uphold the basic freedoms and citizenship rights of all students. Within that context, students have the following rights:

A.      Academic Freedom

Because intellectual development is best fostered in an atmosphere of active engagement in the educational process, each faculty member should encourage free discussion, free inquiry and free expression regarding issues within the domain of the instructor’s course or program. Students are free to take reasoned exception to the facts or to views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.

B.      Student Records

Thomas Jefferson University complies with The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in its maintenance of student records. Each college’s policy statement on FERPA is on file and available in the University Office of the Registrar.

C.      Student Organizations

Students are free to organize and join associations that promote their common interests. Organizations that operate in a manner consistent with the University’s mission, regulations and policies, including its non-discrimination policies, and meet the requirements below may be recognized by the University. If recognized, such organizations may seek funding from University sources.

D.      Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

1. Students and student within organizations may discuss all questions of interest to them; may express their opinions privately and publicly, so long as they make it clear that they speak only for themselves and not for the University or their college; and may support causes so long as these activities do not violate civil law or rules, policies and procedures of Thomas Jefferson University or their college, or adversely affect the operations of the University.

2. The right of free speech and expression does not include activity that may endanger the safety of any member of this University community or damage any of the University community’s physical facilities, nor does it include any activity that disrupts or obstructs the functions of the University or threatens such disruption or obstruction. Moreover, modes of expression, including, but not limited to, electronic transmissions that are unlawful or indecent or that are offensive on matters such as race, color, national and ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, age, disability or veteran status are inconsistent with accepted norms of conduct of the University and are subject to the sanctions described in the section on Actions.

E.       Rights of Student in the Community Standards Process

Students have the following rights during the Community Standards Process:

1.       To request a meeting in writing by email to the assigned Community Standards Officer in which community standards process and procedures are explained. The University reserves the right to mandate such a meeting.

2.       To have a fair and impartial hearing.

3.       To be presumed not in violation unless found in violation for any charge(s).

4.       To advance notice of at least five business days before a hearing is to be conducted.

5.       To be informed of all charges prior to a hearing, and in the event of a board hearing review pertinent incident documentation. Documentation that includes information about other individuals may be redacted. Copies of incident documentation are not released to students.

6.       To request witnesses to speak in the student’s defense during a hearing panel. The Community Standards Officer may limit witnesses or statements deemed repetitious. Students will be notified of the timeframe required for submitting witness names.

7.       To be present at the hearing, except during deliberation. Exceptions may be needed for some witnesses; exceptions will be granted by the Community Standards Officer.  A student who does not appear for a hearing is not assumed to be responsible, but the hearing may occur in his or her absence. 

8.       To have all applicable procedures followed, including the opportunity to invoke any applicable appellate or review procedures.

III. Community Standards

Students enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University are required to follow a code of behavior consonant with the high standards and reputation of the University. Standards of professional behavior include honesty, integrity, civility and, where possible, assistance to one’s colleagues with problems or in distress.

Set forth below is a brief listing of misconduct prohibited by the various standards, policies, and regulations generally governing behavior of community members.  This listing is not exhaustive and where appropriate reference is made to where each particular policy can be found in entirety.  To the extent that there is any discrepancy between referenced policy documents and the lists below we will defer to the referenced policy documents.

A. Violations of the Academic Integrity Policy 

1.       Found in the individual college handbooks: http://www.jefferson.edu/university/academic-affairs/schools/student-affairs/student-handbooks/college-handbooks.html

B. Non-academic dishonesty including but not limited to:

1.       Providing false, misleading, or misrepresented information to any University official or office. 

2.       Forgery, alteration, or misuse of documents, or instrument of identification pertinent to the student’s role at the University

C. Violations of the University Alcohol Policy

1.       The possession, consumption or manufacture of alcohol by individuals under the legal drinking age under applicable law or the provision, distribution or sale of alcohol to individuals under the legal drinking age under applicable law, or conduct that violates the alcohol policy.

a.       Drug & Alcohol Policy

b.      Student Alcohol Policy

2.       Additional rules regarding alcohol are set forth in the Office of Residence Life rules and regulations and in rules governing other University programs.

a.       Office of Residence Life

b.      Office of Student Life & Engagement

D. Violations of the University Drug Policy

1.       The unauthorized or illegal use, possession, manufacture (synthesis or growth), sale, storage, transfer, transportation, or distribution of any controlled substance (including without limitation illegal drugs), or conduct that violates university policy.

a.        Drug & Alcohol Policy

2.       Additional rules regarding drug use and possession are set forth in the Office of Residence Life rules and regulations and rules governing other University programs.

a.       Office of Residence Life

E. Harassment

1.       Verbal, physical, electronic, or other conduct which denigrates or shows hostility on the basis of membership in a protected class with the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational opportunities. 

2.       Sexual Harassment: Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

3.       Violation of the University’s policy on the use of electronic and other recording devices

4.       Active discrimination based on any characteristic protected by law including but not limited to race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status.

5.       Retaliation against an individual who has made a good faith complaint

F. Abuse of, assault and/or battery upon, or threat of force or violence against any member of the University community.

1.       Physical abuse or assault or placing another in reasonable apprehension thereof;

2.       Expressed or implied threats and/or intimidation including bullying

3.       Verbal Abuse: use of language to undermine an individual’s dignity and security through insults and/or humiliation in an persistent or pervasive manner

G. Violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy

1.       Sexual Misconduct Policy

H. Actual or attempted unauthorized possession or misappropriation of any property of the University, a member of the University community, or other personal, public, or intellectual property, either on or off campus. 

I. Abuse, malicious misuse, damage, destruction, or vandalism to public property, private property, University property, or property permanently or temporarily located on campus. 

J. Unauthorized entry into, use of, occupation of, or obstruction of any University facilities (including computing networks), buildings, structures or part thereof at any time anywhere on any Jefferson property.

K. Intentional obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, other University activities or other activities authorized to take place on University property or creation of an unreasonable risk of harm to any member of the University community (including on premises owned or controlled by the enterprise or premises on which students pursue activities in their roles as students of the University). 

L. Disorderly conduct, including acts which breach the peace and/or are lewd, indecent, or obscene.

M. Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of University, local, state, or federal officials performing official duties including, but not limited to:

1.       Falsification of or failure to provide personal identification when requested by an authorized official or faculty member of the University

2.       Failure to complete assigned conduct sanctions

3.       Failure to vacate any premises when requested

N. Violations of the Weapons policy

1.       Possession of weapons on campus including, but not limited to, firearms of any kind, numchucks, klackers, kung fu sticks (or any other similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic, or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather), shuriken (or any other similar pointed star-like objects intended to injure a person when thrown), knives (other than eating utensils), cap guns, air guns, ammunition and explosives (or explosive chemicals), among other dangerous weapons or substances.

2.       Weapons Policy

O. Being complicit in any act which violates the community standards.

P. Violations of any other duly established rules, regulations or policies of the University including but not limited to:

1.       University, College, and departmental/program policies

2.       All rules governing University facilities, programs or services including but not limited to:

a.       Academic Policies

b.      Financial Policies

c.       Housing and Residence Life Policies and procedures

d.      Student Life and Engagement policies and procedures 

Q. Violations of statutes, laws, ordinances and/or regulations locally, state, federal and/or any other jurisdictions in which the University resides. 

R. Failure to safeguard confidential information including but not limited to:

1.       Sharing of computer ID or password.

2.       Accessing medical records computer based or otherwise for purposes unrelated to personal responsibility for patient care.

3.       Accessing or sharing confidential information of another student.

4.       Violation of the HIPAA Privacy Policy (#122.0)

S. When a student fails to abide by these guidelines, the University will investigate and resolve any concerns through the University student conduct system as described below.  

IV. Organization of the Conduct System

A.      Filing a Complaint

Any individual (“Complainant”) wishing to initiate a formal complaint against a Thomas Jefferson University student (“Respondent”) should refer to the chart below for reporting information.

College(s) Complaint Contact Person
Jefferson Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions, Pharmacy, Population Health, or Biomedical Sciences Community Standards Violation Office of Student Affairs, 215-503-6335
  Sexual Misconduct Policy Violation Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Center City: Nannette Vliet, Associate Dean, Jefferson College of Health Professions, 215-503-7941
  Academic Integrity Violation College Dean or Office of Student Affairs, 215-503-6335
College of Architecture & The Build Environment, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering & Commerce, College of Science, Health, and the Liberal Arts, School of Continuing & Professional Studies Community Standards Violation Dean of Students Office, 215-951-2805
  Sexual Misconduct Policy Violation Title IX Coordinator: Zoe Gingold, 215-951-2733
  Academic Integrity Violation College Dean or Provost
Sidney Kimmel Medical College Community Standards Violation Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling, 215-503-6988
  Sexual Misconduct Policy Violation Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Center City: Katherine Trayes, Associate Dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, 215-503-6988
  Academic Integrity Violation Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling, 215-503-6988

While prompt reporting may aid an investigation, there is no time limit imposed as to when a formal complaint may be initiated against a current student, provided he/she was a Thomas Jefferson University student at the time of the alleged incident. Any passage of time may decrease the efficacy of an investigation.

The Dean of Students Office, Provost’s Office, or the designee of either office reserves the right to pursue disciplinary action on behalf of the University and serve as the Complainant and to initiate or pursue an action.

In addition to the above general guidelines for filing a complaint within the University, procedures specific to reporting mechanisms and the resolution of allegations of sexual misconduct are described in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

B.      Disciplinary Actions

1.       Written Warning or Reprimand: A written notice to the student that he or she is violating or has violated The Community Standards, and that such conduct will not be tolerated within the University community.

2.       Educational Activity: An educational sanction is a required activity that is intended to engage the student in a positive learning experience related to the student’s inappropriate behavior.  An educational sanction may include, but is not limited to: (1) writing a reflection paper (2) performing community service on and/or off campus; (3)  attending programs or workshops at the student’s own expense; (4) drug or alcohol counseling.

3.       Loss of Privileges: Denial or restriction of specified privileges or use of specified facilities for a designated period of time.

4.       Fines and/or Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage or injury through the payment of money or through appropriate work requirement related to the offense.

5.       Referral to Community Standards Board: If a Community Standards Officer feels a violation needs further review or suspension or expulsion might be an appropriate sanction the case will be referred to the Community Standards Board. 

6.        Report to the College or School in which the student resides for appropriate disciplinary action.

7.       Disciplinary Hold: Restricts a student’s ability to conduct the following nonexclusive list of activities: register for classes, drop or add classes, receive a diploma, participate in experiential learning (clinical, internships, etc.), and have access to grades.  Disciplinary hold will be used if a student receives sanctions based on a finding that he/she was in violation of a University policy but has not completed the sanctions.

8.       Parental Notification: The University may notify parents/guardians if a student under the age of 21 is found responsible for an alcohol and/or illegal drug violation.  The purpose of this practice is to both keep parents informed and to help provide students additional assistance as they cope with the consequences of their actions.  The parental notification recommends to parents that if they haven't, to have a conversation with their student about the events that have precipitated this incident.

9.       Housing Actions

a.       Room/building reassignment: Immediate relocation of the student to another campus residence.

b.      Termination of the Housing Agreement; removal from campus residence halls and/or restriction from access to campus housing.

c.       Restriction of access to housing or loss of privileges in housing

10.   Probation: Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe judicial sanctions if the student is found to be in violation of The Community Standards during a probationary period. Some University programs and activities consider a student’s probationary status when determining their eligibility for participating in the program/activity (for example study abroad, or varsity athletic competition). 

11.   Suspension: Removal from classes and other privileges or activities as a student for a designated period of time. A suspended student must turn in campus photo ID, University keys, and all other University property at the time the suspension goes into effect. Students on suspension lose all privileges of enrolled students and there may be financial repercussions when removed from the institution. The University may specify conditions prior to reinstatement.

12.   Expulsion: Permanent removal from classes and other privileges or activities as a student. Expelled students must turn in their campus photo ID, University keys, and all other University property at the time expulsion goes into effect and are no longer part of University. 

C.      Community Standards Officers and Administrative Hearings

The Community Standards are implemented by a system composed of several officials at the institution called Community Standards Officers and the Community Standards Board. The following members of the university community are Community Standards Officers:

1.       Associate Provost, Student Affairs

2.       Assistant Provost, Student Affairs

3.       Dean of Students

4.       Associate Dean of Students

5.       College Deans

6.       College Associate Deans      

7.       Housing and Residence Life Directors

8.       Housing Assistant Directors

9.       Area Coordinators

10.   Residence Coordinators

11.   Other Student Affairs Staff Members as designated by the Offices of the Provost or Dean of Students

When a report of the violation of the Community Standards is received the University will determine if the violation is referred to an administrative hearing or the Community Standards Board.  An administrative hearing involves a meeting between the Community Standards Officer, or a committee assigned by the Community Standards Officer, and the student charged with a violation of the Community Standards (respondent). While there may be disciplinary actions imposed following an administrative hearing the purpose is to be educational, corrective, and developmental.  Administrative hearings will not be utilized in cases where the student could be suspended or expelled from the institution.  In those situations the case will be referred to the Community Standards Board.

To begin the administrative hearing process the Community Standards Officer will meet with the respondent.  The respondent will then have the opportunity to present their side of the situation and either take responsibility or not take responsibility for the alleged violation. If necessary, the Community Standards Officer may conduct an investigation and meet with the reporter of the violation, witnesses and others involved and obtain and review relevant information. The Community Standards Officer will determine whether the respondent is responsible for the alleged Community Standards violation, and, if so, issue appropriate actions.  If the respondent is not satisfied with the outcome of an administrative hearing he/she has the ability to appeal the decision. See section E:6 for information about the appeal process.

D.      Boards and Hearing Panels

1.       Community Standards Board

The Community Standards Board hears non-sexual misconduct cases involving alleged violations of the Community Standards.  The board is made up of faculty, administration, and students from the institution.

When a Community Standards case needs to be heard a hearing panel will be compiled.   Panels are comprised of, at minimum, three administrative/faculty Community Standards Board members and two student Community Standards Board members. During summer session or semester breaks, any three Community Standards Board members may hear a case.

2.       Sexual Misconduct Board

The Sexual Misconduct Board hears complaints of alleged violations of The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.  The board is made up of a pool of faculty and staff specifically trained in matters related to sexual misconduct and is advised by the Title IX Coordinator.  When a Sexual Misconduct case needs to be heard a hearing panel will be compiled.   Panels are comprised of five Sexual Misconduct Board members. In cases of dismissal for SKMC students, the decision of the Sexual Misconduct Board is delivered to the Community Standards Board for final review. 

3.       Academic Integrity Boards

- For students on the East Falls campus the Academic Integrity Board hears alleged violations of the Academic Integrity Policy referred by faculty members at the East Falls Campus. Composition: three faculty members from The Student Experience Committee; three student representatives selected by the Director of Judicial Affairs; and a presiding officer (the Chair of the Student Experience Committee or faculty delegate). The Committee is advised by the Dean of Students Office

- For students on the Center City Campus issues of Academic Integrity will be heard by the Community Standards Board, the composition of which is described above.

4.       Additional participants in the Hearing Panel Process

a.       Community Standards Officer

A Community Standards Officer acting as a hearing moderator will be present at a hearing to control the hearing and ensure the hearing follows procedural guidelines.

b.      University Resource Person

A university resource person is generally a Community Standards Board member who can assist a student charged with misconduct in responding to the allegation. Any other current member of the University community can also act as a resource person if he/she agrees to act in that capacity. A resource person should not speak for the student but can attend a hearing, assist the student in developing and presenting a response to the charges, and act as a general support for the student.

c.       Support Person

A student can choose to bring a person to the hearing to support them through the process.  The support person must be willing to assist and advise the student during the hearing but may not speak on behalf of the student. The support person may be any individual of the accused student’s choosing, as long as he or she is not also a hearing witness. Students may choose to bring an attorney as their support person.

E.       Panel Hearing Process

1.   Investigation

Where appropriate, the University shall investigate allegations of misconduct. Such investigations may be performed by appropriate administration authorities including, but not limited to, Student Affairs, Security, college based committees, and the respective college deans or their designees. Investigations will occur in the event of violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct policy at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

Investigations may include interviews of the complainant, the respondent and any material witness presented by either party and/or the review of any material evidence.  Both parties will have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence during the process.

The University may conduct other forms of investigation as needed before the matter is referred for a hearing. In the event of an Administrative Hearing a full investigation may not be required.

2. Evidence

For panel hearings, parties will be allowed to present witnesses and other evidence at the hearing so long as such witnesses or evidence were presented during the investigation. All evidence and witness names must be submitted 3 business days prior to the hearing. All evidence will be available for review by all parties 2 business days prior to the scheduled hearing and will be available to all participants during the hearing. The respondent will be asked to present a statement during the hearing regarding responsibility for alleged violation.  Newly discovered evidence will be allowed only at the discretion of the Community Standards Officer.  Parties are not be allowed to directly question or cross-examine witnesses but may submit questions to the Hearing Panel for its consideration.  References to prior incidents or prior behavior of any party will not normally be permitted unless probative and material to the matter at hand in the opinion of the Community Standards Officer.

3. Hearing Protocols

a.       All hearings shall be conducted in private and are confidential.  Participants may not disclose any part of the proceedings outside the hearing.  Hearings are limited to the Community Standards Officer, respondent, complainant, University Resource Person, a support person, approved witnesses and the hearing panel members. A representative from the University’s Office of Legal Affairs may also be present at the University’s discretion.

b.      In hearings involving more than one respondent, the Community Standards Officer determines whether the hearings will be held jointly or separately.

c.       All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Community Standards Officer.  Technical rules of evidence associated with criminal and civil courts are not applicable to University community standards hearings.

d.      Hearings will be conducted in a timely manner, as determined by the Community Standards Officer appointed by the Dean of Students or Provost’s Office.

e.      At least five days’ notice of a hearing will be provided to the parties.  Postponements or other changes to the hearing schedule will only be considered in the case of an emergency.

f.        All Panel Hearings will provide opportunities to present statements as well as opportunities for questioning facilitated through the Community Standards Officer.

4. Determination of Responsibility

After all parties have participated, the respondent and complainant will be asked to make closing statements. All persons will then be dismissed, and the hearing panel will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the respondent is responsible for violation of The Community Standard in question.

In the case of a finding of responsible, the hearing panel will assign the appropriate sanctions. If the respondent has prior violations of the Community Standards, they will be introduced in the consideration of appropriate sanctions.

Decisions made by a hearing panel shall be final, pending the appeal process delineated below. Following the hearing, the respondent and the complainant will be informed of the decision of the hearing and of the sanctions imposed in writing through their University email account. It is very important that the respondent check their University email account daily throughout the hearing process. In sexual misconduct cases, the complainant will also receive written notice of the outcome of the proceeding.

5. Standard of Proof

The decision of the judicial hearing board shall be made on the basis of the preponderance of evidence; that is, whether it is more likely than not that the respondent committed the violation.

6. Appeals

A decision reached by a Community Standards Officer in an administrative hearing or by a hearing panel may be appealed by the respondent(s) or the complainant(s). A request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Community Standards Officer within two business days of the decision being delivered in the University email account. The Community Standards Officer will direct the appeal to the appropriate appellate officer.

Appeals must be submitted in writing and be based on at least one of the following criteria:

a.       Violation of the University’s hearing procedures.

b.      Misinterpretation of the policies alleged to be violated.

c.       New evidence not reasonably available at the time of the hearing.

d.      Decision not supported by a preponderance of evidence

Appeals are heard as follows:

a.       Appeal of a decision of Administrative Hearing or a hearing panel: Provost Office or Dean of Students / Designee.

b.      Appeals of academic integrity violations:

i. East Falls Campus: The Dean of the School in which the violation occurred. 

ii. Center City Campus: Provost Office or Designee

Upon receipt of the appeal, the appellate officer may take the following action:

a.            Deny the appeal for lack of sufficient reason for appeal.

b.            Agree to re-hear the case.

c.             Investigate and amend the decision and/or the sanction.

Each alleged offender shall have the right to a final appeal to the Chancellor of Thomas Jefferson University within five (5) business days of the rendering of an appeal decision. The Chancellor will only consider appeals that meet the criteria listed below. Upon such appeal, the Chancellor may:

a.       affirm the decision,

b.      require the Hearing Panel to reconsider the decision or rehear the case,

c.       reduce the severity of the penalty.

All decisions of the Chancellor are final. In reaching his or her decision, the Chancellor may discuss the case with any witness, the alleged offender or any participant in the process.

Review of all hearing transcripts or supporting materials will be available to the appellate officer upon request.

   
   
   
   

 

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(215) 503-6335
(215) 503-2787

 

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