Thomas Jefferson University (the “University”) is committed to providing an atmosphere of intellectual fulfillment 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 to create a safe living and learning environment. Students are responsible for knowing their rights and responsibilities as stated within the Community Standards, and bear responsibility for their own conduct.
By accepting admission and registering for course(s), students accept responsibility to be compliant with academic regulations, course syllabi, class policies as determined by course instructors, student policies, the University Catalog, applicable handbooks, college/program policies and procedures and all other policies, manuals, or guidelines pertaining to any specific operation, program, or course within the University. In addition, students must comply with all local, state, and federal laws and directives.
When a student fails to abide by University policies and procedures, as set forth above, or comply with the law, the University may gather information and/or resolve concerns through the University Community Standards process as described in this document.
II. Definition of Terms
A. “Adjudication” refers to the process of resolving a Community Standards matter through a determination of responsibility followed by appropriate disciplinary action as warranted.
B. “Administrative Hearing” refers to the resolution process in which a Community Standards Officer determines if a Student or Student Organization is responsible for violating the Community Standards.
C. “Appeal” refers to a documents-only review of the case with the purpose of granting or denying a Respondent’s appeal.
D. “Community Standards” refers to the policies and standards of behavior set forth in this document.
E. “Community Standards Board Hearing” refers to a resolution process in which the University Community Standards Board members determine if a Student or Student Organization is responsible for violating the Community Standards.
F. “Community Standards Officer” refers to a faculty or staff member responsible for administering and resolving cases involving alleged violations of the Community Standards. As part of their role, Community Standards Officers may be tasked with information gathering in connection with the alleged violations. They typically serve as moderators at Community Standards Board Hearings to ensure the integrity of the process and to provide guidance as to adherence to the Community Standards Process. A Community Standards Officer may also be referred to as an “Adjudicator” or “Decision-Maker”.
G. “Community Standards Process” refers to the sequence of events that occurs when there is a report of misconduct, which, if determined to be true, violates the Community Standards.
H. “Complainant” refers to the party who has reported a formal complaint of alleged misconduct.
I. “Disciplinary Outcomes” refers to any action taken, including but not limited to, assignments given, fine or financial charge imposed, and/or restrictions placed on a Student or Student Organization, upon a finding that the Student or Student Organization is responsible for violating the Community Standards.
J. A “Hold” refers to a suspension of a Student’s account that may prevent a Student from registering for classes, adding classes, having transcripts released, and receiving a diploma. A Hold may further affect a Student’s ability to conduct any other official University business.
K. “Information Gathering” refers to the process in which the Community Standards Officer may engage relevant parties in collecting information about alleged violations of Community Standards. This may include interviews.
L. “Interim Measure” refers to any action deemed necessary to protect the safety and well-being of members of the University community until information gathering concludes or a resolution is reached. This may include emergency removals.
M. “Policy” refers to any written rule, regulation, or standard of behavior in the Community Standards or otherwise authorized and enforced by the University.
N. “Preponderance of the Evidence Standard” refers to the evidentiary standard used in the Community Standards Process. Preponderance of the Evidence means that it is more likely than not, or that the evidence is greater than 50%, that the alleged violation occurred. For more information visit here.
O. “Resident” refers to any Student that has signed a University Housing Agreement or an agreement with a University affiliate to reside in University owned, affiliated, or managed property.
P. “Resource Person” refers to a University faculty or staff member, or enrolled student, who supports a Complainant or Respondent through the Community Standards Process.
Q. “Respondent” refers to a Student or Student Organization that has allegedly violated the Community Standards.
R. “Social Host” refers to a Student or Student Organization who provides alcohol or a space for the consumption of alcohol in a social setting.
S. “Student Organization” refers to any number of students who, in association, are recognized by University.
T. “Student” refers to all persons registered or actively enrolled to take courses at the University or on a Leave of Absence from the University. This includes both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and certificate studies.
U. “Thomas Jefferson University Campus” refers to all land, buildings, facilities, and other property affiliated, owned, used, or controlled by the University.
V. “University Community Standards Board” refers to trained faculty, staff, and students who have been selected to serve as representatives of the University in making determinations of responsibility in cases of alleged violations of the Community Standards and for recommending disciplinary action where applicable.
W. “University Housing” refers to any property owned, operated, or affiliated with the University.
X. “University Official” refers to any person employed by the University performing assigned administrative or professional duties. This includes student workers including, but not limited to, Building Managers, Resident Assistants and Office Assistants.
III. Authority of the University
The University has the authority to resolve cases of alleged violations of University policies, rules, regulations, and standards of conduct. The University’s authority through the Community Standards Process applies to the following individuals, groups, and circumstances:
1. Any person registered or actively enrolled to take courses at the University or on a Leave of Absence from the University is considered a Student and is held in accordance with Community Standards.
2. Students who have not yet withdrawn from the University remain accountable to the Community Standards.
3. Organizations, groups, or associations of students must follow the Community Standards, and established guidelines by their University office or department of recognition. If a Student engages in prohibited conduct on behalf of their Student Organization, both the Student and the Student Organization may be held responsible for violations of the Community Standards. The University has the authority to determine whether the Student Organization, individual members, or both should receive notice of alleged violations on a case-by-case basis.
4. The Community Standards applies to Students and Student Organizations both on and off Thomas Jefferson University property.
5. If a Student withdraws from the University after engaging in conduct that may violate the Community Standards, but before the alleged violation has been resolved through the Community Standards Process, the Student’s record may be placed on a Hold and the case resolved even if the Student declines to participate. A Student’s ability to return to the University may be contingent on the outcome of the Community Standards Process.
6. A Student may not be approved for graduation until all allegations of misconduct have been resolved.
7. The University expects that all Students and Student Organizations abide by laws enforced by the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and local municipalities. When a Student or Student Organization’s misconduct implicates federal, state, or local laws, the appropriate law enforcement officials may be contacted. If the University is made aware of allegations of misconduct by law enforcement officials, a concurrent Community Standards Process will be initiated. Upon request, the Community Standards Process may be delayed pending the resolution of a criminal process. Legal proceedings and the Community Standards Process are otherwise separate processes.
IV. Community Standards
Jefferson Students 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, assistance to one’s colleagues as appropriate.
Set forth below is a listing of misconduct prohibited by the various standards, policies, and regulations generally governing behavior of University community members. This listing is not intended to be exhaustive. As appropriate, reference is made to where each policy can be found in its entirety. To the extent that there is inconsistency between a referenced policy and the list below, deference is given to the referenced policy.
This section contains two categories of policies that comprise the Community Standards.
1. The RAM-nesty (Amnesty) Policy - A policy that can apply to Students or Student Organizations that seek medical assistance for someone experiencing a medical emergency due to the use of alcohol or drugs.
2. Policies Subject to the Community Standards Process - Policies that apply to all Students and Student Organizations.
A. Amnesty Policy
The University’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students. The University is aware that Students are sometimes reluctant to seek medical attention in alcohol and drug related emergencies out of fear that they may face disciplinary action related to possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs. Given that these emergencies are potentially life-threatening, the University seeks to create a culture of trust and care paired with safety and responsibility while reducing any barriers that prevent students from seeking assistance. In compliance with the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law, C.S. § 2810, et seq. (Safe Harbor), RAM-nesty (Amnesty) Policy (RAP) provides amnesty from disciplinary action for Students or Student Organizations who seek medical assistance during an alcohol or drug related emergency.
Applications of the RAM-nesty (Amnesty) Policy
Requirements for the RAM-nesty (Amnesty) Policy (RAP) to apply are as follows:
A. An individual Student who experiences a medical emergency due to consumption of alcohol or drugs and personally seeks medical assistance will not be considered responsible for violating the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy.
B. Students who seek immediate medical assistance for another Student who could be in violation of the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy will not be considered responsible for violating these policies. Students who call for assistance must remain with the Student experiencing the medical emergency until assistance arrives, barring immediate threats to personal safety.
C. Students who report allegations of hazing activity related to Alcohol or Drugs will not be considered responsible for violating the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy.
D. Student Organizations and Social Hosts must seek immediate medical assistance for a Student who is experiencing an alcohol or drug related emergency. The responding Student Organization or Social Host will not be considered in violation of the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy. Representatives of the Student Organization or the Social Host must remain with the Student experiencing the medical emergency until assistance arrives, barring immediate threats to personal safety.
E. For RAP to apply, the Student(s), Student Organization, or Social Host will need to attend a meeting with a Community Standards Officer and complete any educational and/or wellness related education. Failure to attend the meeting or complete the required education may result in allegations of misconduct to be addressed through the Community Standards Process.
Examples in which the RAM-nesty (Amnesty) Policy (RAP) will not be applied to Students or Student Organizations include, but are not limited, to the following:
A. Mandatory reporting of violations of the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy may be required by some of the University’s professional programs regardless of amnesty status.
B. Students should be aware that RAP does not provide amnesty for criminal, civil, or other legal consequences for violations of Federal, State, or Local laws.
C. RAP only applies to the Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy within the Community Standards and will not be applicable to other alleged violations of Community Standards. The use/abuse of alcohol or drugs does not excuse other forms of misconduct.
D. RAP does not apply to Students or Student Organizations when a Student experiencing a medical emergency is found by Law Enforcement or a University employee, including, but not limited to, Public Safety, faculty and staff, Resident Assistants, and other student staff.
E. RAP is not intended to shield or protect Students or Student Organizations that repeatedly violate the Community Standards.
F. RAP cases will be maintained by the University but will not be a part of the Student’s official disciplinary record.
G. The Dean of Students (Dean), the Vice Provost for Students Affairs (VPSA) or their designee reserve the right to revisit the applicability of RAP on a case-by-case basis.
H. The Dean, the VPSA or their designee reserve the right to contact any Student or Student Organization to discuss an incident or related matter regardless if RAP could be applied.
B. Policies Subject to the Community Standards Process
Alleged violations of the following University policies shall be addressed through the Community Standards Process:
1. Academic Integrity Policy Violations
Found in the Academic Integrity Policy.
2. Alcohol Policy (Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy)
The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the campus of the University and at University-related events is regulated by the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is therefore prohibited to those under the age of 21. The use of alcohol, by any person(s), to the extent that the safety to self or others on the campus is jeopardized, is prohibited.
Violations of the University Alcohol Policy include, but are not limited to:
* Consumption, distribution, manufacture, transportation, or possession of alcoholic beverages by any person less than 21 years of age, either on or off-campus.
* Providing alcoholic beverages to any person less than 21 years of age. Directing, requiring, or encouraging underage persons to be in a space where alcohol is easily accessible may be considered a violation of this policy.
* Being less than 21 years of age and in the presence of alcohol.
* Possession by any person less than 21 years of age of paraphernalia associated with consumption of alcoholic beverages including, but not limited to, and empty alcoholic beverage bottles.
* Public intoxication as indicated by appearance or behavior, such as slurred speech, unstable walk, unconsciousness, destruction of property, use of abusive language, smell of alcohol on breath or on person, vomiting or disturbance to others.
* Possession or use of kegs or similar bulk containers of alcohol.
More information on the University’s policies regarding alcohol:
Additional rules regarding alcohol are set forth in the Residential Facilities Policies and in rules governing other University programs.
Students and Student Organizations should familiarize themselves with the RAM-nesty Policy (RAP) and how amnesty can apply if conditions are met during a medical emergency. The Community Standards Officer will make the final determination on the application of RAP to any alleged policy violation.
3. Bias, Discrimination and Harassment
The University holds itself accountable, at every level of the organization, to nurture an environment of inclusion and respect, by valuing the uniqueness of every individual, celebrating, and reflecting the rich diversity of its communities, and taking meaningful action to cultivate fairness, belonging and opportunity. Bias, Discrimination and Harassment, as defined below, is prohibited. Retaliation against an individual who has made a good faith complaint is prohibited.
1. Bias incidents include conduct or behavior (verbal, nonverbal, or written) that is threatening, harassing, discriminatory, and is grounded on any characteristic protected by law including but not limited to a person’s sex, age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, military status, veteran status, disability or any other protected group or status.
2. Discrimination, under this policy, is conduct that is grounded on any characteristic protected by law including but not limited to a person’s sex, age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, military status, veteran status, disability or any other protected group or status; or is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s working, education, living environment or participation in a University activity.
3. Harassment is unwelcome verbal, written, electronic, or physical conduct when that conduct is grounded on any characteristic protected by law including but not limited to a person’s sex, age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, military status, veteran status, disability or any other protected group or status; and such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or offensive employment, academic or social environment.
4. Camping or Shelter Construction
Constructing shelters, camping, or sleeping on University-owned or operated properties is prohibited at all times, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Public Safety.
Encouraging, assisting, conspiring and knowledge of or being an accessory to any prohibited or unlawful conduct will be considered a violation of this policy.
6. Destruction of Property
Damage, attempted damage, or participating in the damaging of property belonging to or in the care of the University, by a member of the University community, or a campus visitor is prohibited.
Acts of vandalism on and off campus will be considered a violation of this policy. Damage that is caused accidentally must be promptly reported to the appropriate authority or University official. Failure to report significant accidental damage will be considered a violation of this policy.
Additional policies concerning damage/destruction of property in residential facilities can be found in the Residential Facilities Policies. Students residing in residential facilities should familiarize themselves with damage reporting procedures.
7. Disorderly Conduct
Behavior that disturbs the peace, academic study, or sleep of others either on or off campus is prohibited.
Disorderly Conduct in Class/Experiential/Research Settings
Examples of disorderly conduct in class/experiential/research settings includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. Excessively leaving and entering a classroom/virtual learning environment without authorization.
2. Intentional obstruction, or disruption of teaching, research, or administration.
3. Making loud or distracting noises.
4. Persistently speaking without being recognized such that it interferes with the learning environment.
5. Repeatedly dominating online discussion boards or forums such that it interferes with the learning environment.
Students are required to comply with reasonable requests from a professor, instructor, or other University official regarding appropriate behavior.
Disorderly Conduct Outside of Class/Experiential/Research Settings
Examples of disorderly conduct in settings outside of class/experiential/research settings include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Excessive noise.
2. Lewd or indecent conduct.
3. Throwing, dropping, or projecting any object or substance that has the potential for causing damage to property, injury, or disruption.
4. Inappropriate interference with the ability of others to enter, use, or exit any University facility, service, or activity.
5. Intentionally and inappropriately interfering with the freedom of expression or movement of others.
6. Interfering with a University activity such as recreation, meetings, and public events.
7. Disorderly conduct at gatherings on or off campus.
8. Interference with the University’s Community Standards Process.
Various outdoor student activity programs require the use of sound amplification equipment. The University reserves the right to specify where and when such amplification equipment may be used.
8. Dishonesty/Falsification of Information:
The following behaviors constitute Dishonesty/Falsification of Information. This list is not exhaustive.
1. Providing false, misleading, or misrepresented information to any University official or office.
2. Awareness of false information being provided by others and not taking action to correct the information.
3. Withholding information from University officials.
4. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of documents, or identification.
9. Drug Policy (Alcohol, Drugs and Prohibited Substances Policy)
The possession, distribution, and/or use of illegal drugs on the campus of the University are regulated by the laws and statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States and are therefore prohibited. The University reserves the right to test students for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system upon reasonable suspicion or for other reasons necessitated by their programs, such as participation in clinical or experiential learning.
Violations of the University Drug Policy include, but are not limited to:
* Any student attending a University event, class, or experiential learning under the influence of prohibited drugs or who has a positive drug screen.
* Except as permitted by law, being in the presence of, consumption, use, distribution, manufacture, transportation, or possession of illegal drugs or any controlled substance on campus (including, but not limited to, marijuana, inhalants, and abuse of over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs).
* Being under the influence of illegal drugs or any controlled substance (including, but not limited to, marijuana, inhalants, and abuse of over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs) as indicated by appearance or behavior, such as slurred speech, unstable walk, unconsciousness, destruction of property, use of abusive language, smell, vomiting or disturbance to others.
* Sale, distribution, or trade of illegal or prescription drugs.
* Providing a space for the consumption of illegal drugs.
* Possession of drug or drug-related paraphernalia.
More information on the University’s policies regarding drugs:
Additional rules regarding drug use and possession are set forth in Residential Facilities Policies and rules governing other University programs.
Students and Student Organizations should familiarize themselves with the RAM-nesty Policy (RAP) and how amnesty can apply if conditions are met during a medical emergency. The Community Standards Officer will make the final determination on the application of RAP to any alleged policy violation.
10. Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with the directives of University, local, state, or federal officials performing official duties including, but not limited to:
1. Failure to identify oneself or cooperate with Public Safety, Residential Life staff, or other University officials.
2. Failure to complete assigned disciplinary outcomes.
3. Failure to vacate any premises when requested.
11. Failure to Safeguard Information
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.
12. Fire Safety
In order to protect the personal well-being and safety of the community, the University enforces all fire safety regulations including those listed in the Residential Facilities Policies and the Fire Safety Policies.
13. Gambling & Solicitation
Students are expected to abide by the federal and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania laws prohibiting illegal gambling. Gambling for money or other things of value on campus or at University-sponsored activities is prohibited except as permitted by law.
Solicitations and sales are not permitted without proper authorization from the University.
Thomas Jefferson University Students are responsible for the guests they invite, bring, or host on campus. The behavior of guests on campus will always be attributed to their University host.
Guests are required to provide an acceptable form of photo identification (government issued identification or university/college/school ID) when requested by a University official.
Additional policies concerning guests in residential facilities can be found in the Residential Facilities Policies.
15. Hazing Policy
The purpose of the Hazing Policy is to protect the safety and rights of all University students who choose to join or associate with a sorority, fraternity, varsity sport, club or other University affiliated organization as defined under Pennsylvania’s Anti-Hazing Law.
Students and Student Organizations should familiarize themselves with the RAM-nesty Policy (RAP) and how amnesty can apply if conditions are met during a medical emergency. The Community Standards Officer has the final determination on the application of RAP to any policy violation.
Intimidating conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel as though there was an imminent threat to their health (mental or physical), safety, or personal property is prohibited under this policy.
Engaging in conduct, including any gesture, written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication (i.e., emails, text messages, and Internet postings on websites or other social media) that is severe or pervasive and/or that substantially disrupts or interferes with the rights of a Student or any other member of the University community will result in disciplinary action.
17. Law and Policy Compliance
Violations of any University policy, rule, or regulation is a violation of this policy.
Violations of any federal, state, or local laws and ordinances are a violation of this policy.
Students have an ongoing obligation to notify the University of any criminal conviction of a misdemeanor or felony regardless of location within thirty (30) calendar days of the occurrence of the conviction or as detailed in the University Catalog & Handbooks.
Students are not allowed to bring any animal, regardless of ownership, into any University-owned or operated building, or chain an animal outside any University owned or operated building.
All animals that can be leashed must always be kept on a leash while on campus. Animals that cannot be leashed must always be securely contained while on campus. All actions of, or damage caused by, any animal will be the responsibility of the owner and/or the guardian at the time of the incident.
For information about service or assistance animals, please refer to the University’s Assistance Animals Policy which can be found here. Failure to comply with the Assistance Animals Policy guidelines may be a violation of this policy.
19. Physical Abuse
Physical violence or threatened physical violence against another person or group is prohibited. Responding to violence with violence may also be a violation of this policy unless such violence is a direct response of reasonable self-defense.
20. Privacy and Electronic Media Violations
The misuse of electronic media devices, systems, or methods (“hacking”) is prohibited, including but not limited to using cellular phones, tablets, data storage devices, cameras, printers, computers, computer lines and networks or computing facilities in ways that:
1. Make or disseminate an audio, photo, or video record of any person(s) without prior knowledge or effective written consent where a reasonable person would find the audio, photo, or video inappropriate, or where the audio, photo, or video was made in violation of state or federal law.
2. Alter or access another’s voice mailbox, email account, website, social media accounts, or other online presence without permission or creating social media accounts for someone without permission.
3. Recording or eavesdropping on video or audio communications where there is an expectation of privacy may be a violation of this policy.
4. Students should also refer to the Use of Electronic Recording Devices Policy, which can be found here.
The University prohibits any member of the community from retaliating against any person for raising good faith concerns about student behavior that may violate the Community Standards. Retaliation is defined as any adverse action taken against a person in response to that person’s participation in the Community Standards Process including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Reporting an incident of alleged misconduct.
2. Filing a complaint through the Community Standards Process, other University complaint process.
3. Cooperating in an inquiry or information gathering about an incident of misconduct.
4. Participating in any of the University’s complaint resolution processes in any capacity.
5. Participating as a Board member on a University Community Standards Board.
Retaliation can include a wide variety of behaviors. Examples of retaliation behavior include, but are not limited to:
1. Stalking, harassment, intimidation, threats, or engaging in physical violence.
2. Adverse social actions such as exclusion or removal from a living community, student organization, or committee, or publishing personally identifiable information about an individual including on websites or social media sites.
3. Encouraging or asking others to engage in retaliatory behavior on one’s behalf.
This policy applies to retaliation by Students. Allegations of retaliation by faculty or staff should be directed to the faculty or staff member’s supervisor, Human Resources, the Office of Student Affairs, or the Office of the Dean of Students.
22. Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy
The University prohibits misconduct based on sex or gender and is committed to ensuring compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Alleged violations of the Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy should be reported to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. For more information on reporting and resolution of Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct concerns please see the Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. If the grievance procedures outlined in the Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy are not applicable, as explained in the Policy, the prohibited conduct may be addressed through the Community Standards at the discretion of the University.
Violations of the University’s Theft Policy include, but are not limited to:
1. Taking, attempting to take, or assisting in the taking of money, property, services, identity, or any item of value for which the person does not have rightful possession.
2. Using property or services without proper authorization or permission.
3. Knowing, possessing, retaining, or disposing of any stolen property even if there is intent to return the property.
24. Unauthorized Access/Entry
Unauthorized access or entry to any property (including computer networks) owned or operated by the University is prohibited.
The University prohibits access to, roofs, balconies, railings, ledges, and fire escapes of all University owned or operated buildings. In addition, the University prohibits using windows as entries and exits into buildings.
25. Weapons Policy
The possession of weapons on University property or at University-sponsored events is prohibited. Students should not keep, use, possess, transport, or display the following list of weapons. This list is not exhaustive.
1. 3-D printed weapons
2. Airsoft rifles/pistols
3. Ammunition including rounds, casings, shells, clips, magazines, cartridges, and paint pellets
4. Bows, crossbows, and arrows
5. Brass knuckles
6. Dangerous knives (for example: switchblades or any knife with a blade over 3” that is not designed or used for food preparation or eating)
7. Decorative swords
8. Explosives or explosive chemicals
9. Guns (handguns, shotguns, semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons, rifles, etc.)
10. Lethal or dangerous devices capable of causing injury
11. Makeshift weapons
12. Martial art weapons (for example: nunchucks, clackers, kung fu sticks, shuriken)
13. Pellet, BB or Cap guns
14. Projectile weapons triggered by air, gas, explosion, or mechanical means
15. Stun guns or Tasers
Realistic facsimiles of weapons are also specifically prohibited. Please also refer to the Department of Public Safety’s Weapons Policy.
V. Organization of the Community Standards Process
When a Student or Student Organization fails to abide by these guidelines, the University will gather information and resolve any concerns through the University Community Standards Process as described below.
Any individual wishing to initiate a formal complaint of alleged misconduct against a University Student or Student Organization should refer to the information below for reporting options.
Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions, Pharmacy, Population Health, Life Sciences, or Rehabilitation Sciences
Community Standards Violation
Office of Student Affairs
Academic Integrity Violation
College of Architecture & The Built Environment, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering & Commerce, College of Humanities & Sciences, School of Continuing & Professional Studies
Community Standards Violation
Office of Residential Life and Community Standards
Academic Integrity Violation
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Community Standards Violation
Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling
Academic Integrity Violation
To report incidents of:
There is no time limit as to when a formal complaint may be initiated against a Student, provided they were a University student at the time of the alleged incident. However, passage of time may impact the availability of information relative to the complaint and impede the information gathering process.
The University reserves the right to pursue disciplinary action and to serve as the Complainant by initiating disciplinary action as it deems warranted.
VI. Interim Measures
The University may impose interim measures upon a reasonable belief that a serious offense of the University’s Community Standards has occurred in order to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community, to protect University property, or to prevent disruption of University operations. The Dean, the VPSA or their designee can impose a range of Interim Measures. Students or Student Organizations must comply with the requirements of the interim measure(s) and failure to do so may result in additional disciplinary action.
A. Interim Suspension
The Dean, VPSA or their designee shall have the authority to interim suspend a Student or Student Organization. During an interim suspension, a Student is denied access to campus (including all residential and campus facilities on all Thomas Jefferson University Campuses), clinical rotations, classes, University activities and privileges. Student Organizations that are in receipt of an interim suspension notice must cease operations as a formal organization until the matter is resolved. Student Organizations must follow all restrictions outlined in the interim suspension notice. The University will notify the Student or Student Organization representative in writing of the suspension including the reason for interim suspension, the specific restrictions in place, and the Student/Student Organization’s right to have the interim suspension reviewed.
Examples of conduct which may result in an interim suspension include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Violations of University policy related to health, safety, or welfare of the University or any of its community members.
2. Unlawful possession, sale, distribution, or trade of illegal or prescription drugs.
3. Distribution, sale, or trade of alcoholic beverages on University property to underage members of the community.
4. Active discrimination or harassment against another individual under circumstances that in the University’s discretion warrants an interim suspension.
5. Physical abuse or assault.
6. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other activities authorized to take place on University property.
7. Disorderly conduct, including without limitation acts which breach the peace and/or are lewd, indecent, or obscene.
8. Where a student is arrested and/or charged with violation of State or Federal laws.
B. Interim Ban from Campus
The Dean, VPSA or their designee shall have the authority to restrict a Student’s rights to be present on campus, or on other property owned, operated, or controlled by the University. In the case where a Student is placed on an interim ban from campus, they may be permitted to take courses remotely.
C. Interim Removal & Ban from Housing
Where there is a reasonable belief that a serious offense has occurred, the Dean, VPSA or their designee may require the immediate removal and ban of the individual or individuals allegedly involved from University owned or operated housing. While on this status, Students are banned from entering any University owned or operated housing.
D. No Contact or Communication Directive
The Dean, VPSA or their designee may issue a No Contact or Communication Directive to Students involved in alleged misconduct, whether disciplinary action is taken or not. No Contact or Communication Directives may also be issued as an interim measure while alleged violations of the Community Standards are adjudicated. A No Contact or Communication Directive is used to restrict encounters and communications between individuals. This measure may be issued temporarily and/or permanently. The Dean, VPSA or their designee determine the issuance and length of a No Contact or Communication Directive.
While a No Contact or Communication Directive in and of itself does not constitute discipline and will not appear on a Student’s disciplinary record, refusal to adhere to the order after written or verbal notification of its terms is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion.
Appeal of an Interim Measure
A Student may request to have the interim measure reviewed by submitting an appeal in writing within five (5) business days of the imposition of the measure. The appeal should be submitted via email to the Dean for East Falls Students or to the VPSA for Center City Students. The interim measure will remain in effect for the duration of the appeal. If requested, the Student may, at the University’s discretion, be granted the opportunity to appear personally before the Dean, VPSA or their designee.
The student is permitted to have a support person of their choice attend the review. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the interim measure was improvidently imposed, and only facts and issues related to the decision to impose the interim measure may be addressed.
As a result of the review, the Dean, VPSA or designee may:
1. Uphold the interim measure;
2. Revoke the interim measure; or
3. Amend the interim measure (e.g., permit the student to attend classes but otherwise remain off campus).
VII. Student and Student Organization Rights
As members of the University community, individuals have certain rights and responsibilities in addition to the limitations imposed by federal, state, and local laws. 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, the University’s standards of behavior and conduct generally are more demanding than those required of the public.
Within the context of the Community Standards Process, Students and Student Organizations have the following rights:
A. Student and Student Organization Rights
All Students and Student Organizations have the right:
1. To be presumed not responsible unless found responsible for any policy violation(s).
2. To receive written notice of the alleged Community Standards violations and have those allegations explained clearly and fully in a conversation with a Community Standards Officer.
3. To have the opportunity to review relevant, documentation concerning the alleged violations.
4. To dispute oral or written statements, including the complaint or report.
5. To have a Resource Person of their choice from within the University community to support them throughout the entire Community Standards Process.
6. To present relevant information and witnesses during the process.
7. To choose not to answer questions asked by a Community Standards Officer.
8. To be advised of the Appeal Process.
B. Student and Student Organization Responsibilities
Students and Student Organizations are responsible for:
1. Educating themselves and their members on the Community Standards and the Community Standards Process.
2. Fully cooperating in all parts of the Community Standards Process.
3. Providing truthful and complete information to any University official to the best of their ability.
4. Completing, in a timely fashion, all imposed disciplinary outcomes of a Community Standards case resolution.
5. Regularly checking their University email account as reported in Banner for official correspondence regarding Community Standards policies and procedures.
VIII. Information Gathering and Case Resolution Process
Once an alleged violation of the Community Standards has been reported the Community Standards Process will begin. This section of the Community Standards will outline the information gathering and case resolution processes for both Students and Student Organizations. The University will ultimately determine if a case is referred to an Administrative or Community Standards Board Hearing. Administrative Hearings may not be utilized in cases where the respondent could be removed from their program, suspended, or expelled from the University.
A. Community Standards Officers
The following members of the University community are Community Standards Officers:
* Vice Provost, Student Affairs
* Dean of Students
* Associate Provost, Student Affairs
* Associate Dean of Students
* College Deans
* College Associate Deans
* Office of Residential Life Staff
* Community Standards Board Members
* Other faculty/staff members as designated by the Dean or VPSA Offices respectively
B. Preliminary Review of Complaints
A Community Standards Officer will review all complaints of misconduct to decide as to whether the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of the Community Standards. The Community Standards Officer has the discretion to make this determination and will issue written notifications of alleged violations where warranted. The Community Standards Officer will take steps to gather relevant information pertaining to a particular report or complaint.
a. Notice of Alleged Community Standards Violations
The Community Standards Process begins with a formal notification of alleged violations, which will be sent to the Student(s) or Student Organization representative (hereafter: Respondent) via their assigned University email address. The Notice will include the list of alleged Community Standards violations, the name and contact information of the Community Standards Officer who will be assigned to the case, and information about a scheduled meeting. Students are responsible for checking their assigned University email account regularly.
C. Administrative Hearing
An Administrative Hearing involves a meeting between the Community Standards Officer(s), and the Respondent alleged to have violated the Community Standards. There may be disciplinary outcomes imposed following an Administrative Hearing. The Community Standards Officer(s) and the Respondent will be the only parties permitted to attend and participate in an Administrative Hearing.
During the first part of the Administrative Hearing Process the Community Standards Officer will meet with the Respondent and go over the Community Standards Process, the Respondent’s rights, the alleged violation, and the potential outcomes if found responsible. During the second part of the Administrative Hearing process the Respondent will have the opportunity to provide their perspective on the allegations, including additional information and witnesses that they want the Community Standards Officer to interview. The Respondent may be asked to either accept or deny responsibility for the alleged violation. If warranted, the Community Standards Officer may gather further information about the incident based upon the meeting with the Respondent.
After the Administrative Hearing and following any additional information gathering, the Community Standards Officer will determine whether the Respondent is responsible for the alleged Community Standards violation(s), and, if so, issue appropriate disciplinary outcomes.
The Community Standards Officer shall refer the case to a Hearing Board where the potential outcome of a case would rise to the level of removal from a program, suspension, or expulsion from the University.
The Respondent has the right to appeal the decision and outcomes resulting from an Administrative Hearing or a Community Standards Board Hearing.
D. Information Gathering
The University has the discretion to determine the extent and breadth of the information gathering process. Information gathering may be performed by appropriate administrative authorities including, but not limited to, Student Affairs/Life staff, Public Safety, and/or college deans or their designees. Information gathering may include interviews of the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witness presented by either party, or the review of any evidence. In the event of an Administrative Hearing, additional information gathering may not be required.
Information gathering relative to potential violations of the Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct policy will occur in accordance with the Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. Allegations of potential violations of the Bias, Discrimination and Harassment cases Policy will be addressed in consultation with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives.
E. Community Standards Board Hearing Process
A Board Hearing will be used within the University’s discretion, typically in cases where the Respondent could be removed from their program, suspended, expelled.
1. Community Standards Board
The Community Standards Board hears cases involving alleged violations of the Community Standards, with the exception of Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct matters, which are heard by a single adjudicator (see Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy). The Hearing Board is made up of University faculty, administrators, and students.
Additional Participants in the Hearing Board Process
a. Community Standards Officer (Hearing Moderator)
A Community Standards Officer acting as the Hearing Moderator will be present at the Board Hearing to run the hearing and ensure procedural guidelines are followed.
b. University Resource Person
A University Resource Person is a University community member who can assist a Complainant or Respondent in preparing for a Board Hearing. A Resource Person cannot speak for the Student but can attend a Board Hearing, assist the Student in developing information to be presented the Board, and provide general support to the Student.
c. Support Person
A Complainant or Respondent can choose to bring one (1) person to the hearing to support them through the process. The Support Person can advise the student during the Board Hearing but cannot speak on behalf of the Student. The Support Person may be any individual of the Complainant or Respondent’s choosing, as long as they are not involved in any other aspect of the case. Respondents and Complainants may choose to bring an attorney as their support person during a Board Hearing.
A Complainant or Respondent can choose to bring Witnesses that can provide information that is relevant to the Board Hearing, provided that the Witnesses were submitted to the Hearing Moderator per the guidelines outlined in the Evidence section below. Witnesses will not be present for the entirety of the Board Hearing, only during their testimony.
2. Student and Student Organization Rights in a Board Hearing
All Students and Student Organizations have the right:
a. To advance written notice of at least seven (7) business days before a Board Hearing is to be conducted; and to be informed in that notice of the alleged Community Standards violations that will be presented at the Board Hearing.
b. To be presumed not responsible unless found responsible for any policy violation(s).
c. To review relevant incident documentation that will be presented at the Board Hearing.
d. To request witnesses, that will present relevant information regarding the case, participate in the Board Hearing. The Hearing Moderator may limit witnesses or statements deemed repetitious or irrelevant. Students will be notified of the timeframe required for submitting witness information.
e. To choose not to answer questions asked by a Hearing Board.
f. To have a Resource Person and a Support Person present during the Board Hearing.
g. To be present at the Board Hearing, except during deliberation. A Student who does not appear for a Board Hearing is not presumed to be responsible for the violation(s). However, the Board Hearing may proceed in their absence.
h. To have all applicable procedures followed, including the opportunity to invoke any applicable appellate procedures.
3. Board Hearing Process-Pre-Hearing Process
a. Notice of Hearing
Respondents will receive a Notification of a Board Hearing seven (7) business days via their University email account detailing (1) the date, time, and location of the Board Hearing, (2) the name and contact information of the Community Standards Officer moderating the Board Hearing, and (3) instructions on how to prepare for the Board Hearing. Failure to appear at the Board Hearing may result in a decision made in absentia and the Respondent will be held accountable for any disciplinary outcomes.
All evidence and witness names must be submitted five (5) business days prior to the Board Hearing. All evidence will be available for review by all parties three (3) business days prior to the scheduled Board Hearing and will be available to all participants during the Board Hearing. Newly discovered evidence that was not shared during the information gathering phase will be allowed only at the discretion of the Hearing Moderator. References to prior incidents or prior behavior of any party will not normally be permitted unless relevant and material to the matter at hand in the opinion of the Hearing Moderator.
4. Board Hearing Protocols
a. When a Community Standards case needs to be heard by a Hearing Board a board will be compiled. Hearing Boards are comprised of, at minimum, three (3) administrative/faculty members and two (2) During summer session or semester breaks, any three (3) Community Standards Board members may hear a case.
b. All Board Hearings shall be conducted in private and are confidential. Participants may not disclose any part of the proceedings outside the Board Hearing. Board Hearings are limited to the Hearing Moderator, Respondent, Complainant, a University Resource Person, a Support Person, approved Witnesses, and the Hearing Board members. A representative from the University’s Office of Legal Affairs may also be present at the University’s discretion.
c. The Complainant and Respondent will be asked to present a statement during the Board Hearing regarding the incident and alleged violation(s) of the Community Standards.
d. Parties may not directly question each other or witnesses but may submit written questions to the Hearing Moderator for consideration by the Hearing Board. Questions may be submitted prior to and during the hearing.
e. In Board Hearings involving more than one Respondent, the Hearing Moderator will determine whether the Board Hearings will be held jointly or separately.
f. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Hearing Moderator. A Community Standards Board Hearing is not a legal proceeding, therefore technical rules of evidence associated with criminal and civil courts are not applicable.
g. Postponements or other changes to the Board Hearing schedule will only be considered in the case of an emergency. Requests should be directed to the Community Standards Officer assigned to the case.
5. Determination of Responsibility
After all parties have participated in the Board Hearing, the Respondent and Complainant will be asked to make final statements. All parties will then be dismissed, and the Hearing Board will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible for violating the Community Standard(s) in question.
In the case of a finding of responsibility, the Hearing Board will assign the appropriate disciplinary outcome. If the Respondent is found responsible and has prior disciplinary history, the history, and disciplinary outcomes previously received will be introduced to the Hearing Board for consideration relative to appropriate disciplinary outcomes for the current matter.
Decisions made by a Hearing Board shall be final, pending the appeal process outlined below. Following the Board Hearing, the Respondent will be informed of the decision of the Hearing Board in writing via their University email account in a timely manner. Complainants do not have appeal rights.
6. Standard of Proof
The decision of the 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 violated the Community Standards.
IX. Disciplinary Outcomes
Disciplinary Outcomes can include but are not limited to the following:
1. Administrative Relocation of Housing: A student is involuntarily reassigned from one campus housing location to another campus housing location.
2. Ban from University Housing: A student is prohibited from entering all or specific University residential buildings for a designated period or permanently.
3. Deferred Loss of Housing: Deferred Loss of Housing serves as a final warning that any further violation(s) of University policy obligates the University to consider Loss of Housing privileges as a primary response.
4. Deferred Suspension: Deferred Suspension serves as a final warning to a Student that if the Student is again found in violation of any University policy, the University is obligated to consider suspension as a primary response.
5. Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary Probation is imposed for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe outcomes if the student is found to be in violation of 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 (i.e., study abroad, or varsity athletic competition).
6. Educational Activity: An Educational Activity is a required activity that is intended to engage the Student in a learning experience related to the Student’s inappropriate behavior.
7. Expulsion/Dismissal:A Student who is expelled or dismissed is permanently removed from classes and other privileges or activities and may not be permitted to reapply. Expelled students must move out of University Housing, 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. Expelled students will not be permitted on campus, for any reason, without prior approval from the Dean or VPSA Offices, respectively. Expulsion or Dismissal may be noted on the student’s transcript.
8. Fines: A required monetary payment to the University. All fine money is used toward staff development and student education as it pertains to the Community Standards.
9. Informing College or School: The Community Standards Officer who hears the case or the Hearing Moderator will send notification to the Dean of the College/School indicating that the Student has been found responsible for violation(s) of the Community Standards. The notification will include the policy that was violated and the disciplinary outcome that was imposed for the violation. This notification will not be sent until after an appeal is heard or the appeal submission deadline has passed.
10. Loss of Housing: Loss of Housing is an involuntary removal from University housing for a designated period or permanently. Removal from University housing means that the Student must properly check out of their room in accordance with existing University procedures within the time constraints established by Residential Life. As indicated in the occupancy agreement, the resident Student will be liable for the full room charge specified.
11. Loss of Privileges:Denial or restriction of specified privileges or use of specified facilities for a designated period of time.
12. No Contact/Communication Directive: A No Contact or Communication Directive is used to restrict encounters and communications between individuals. This measure may be issued temporarily and/or permanently. The Dean, VPSA or their designee determine the issuance and length of a No Contact or Communication Directive.
13. Parental Notification: The University may notify parents/guardians if a student under the age of 21 is found responsible for an alcohol and/or drug violation. The purpose of this practice is to both keep parents/guardians informed and to help provide students with additional assistance as they cope with the consequences of their actions.
14. Random Drug Testing: Students will be required to report to a University designated location for drug testing on a random basis. The results of the testing will be shared with appropriate University administrators for further action or referral, if needed.
15. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury through the payment of money or through appropriate work requirement related to the incident.
16. Revocation of Guest Privileges: The residence hall guest privileges of the resident Student are revoked for a designated period or permanently.
17. Suspension: Removal from classes and other privileges or activities as a student for a designated period of time. A suspended Student must move out of University housing, 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. Suspended Students will not be permitted on campus, for any reason during the Suspension, without prior approval from the Dean or VPSA Offices, respectively.
18. Transcript Notation: A notation of the disciplinary outcome will be placed on the Student’s transcript.
19. Written Warning or Reprimand: A written notice to the Student that they have violated the Community Standards, that such conduct will not be tolerated within the University community and that further violation of policy will result in additional disciplinary action.
X. Appeal Process
A. Appeal Rights and Submission
All Students or Student Organizations have the right to appeal their case resolution decision and/or disciplinary outcome(s) to a University Appellate Authority, either the Dean of Students, VSPA, or their designee. The Appeal must be based upon an appropriate rationale, as set forth below, and be submitted by the specified deadline in the Outcome Letter to be considered. The Outcome Letter is the letter sent to the Respondent indicating the finding, and if applicable disciplinary outcome(s), from the Community Standards Officer in an Administrative Hearing or the Hearing Moderator in a Board Hearing.
A decision reached by a Community Standards Officer in an Administrative Hearing or by a Hearing Board may be appealed by the Respondent(s). A request for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Community Standards Officer (Hearing Moderator for a Board Hearing) within five (5) business days of the decision being delivered to the Respondent’s University email account. The disciplinary outcome(s) will remain in effect for the duration of the appeal. The Community Standards Officer/Hearing Moderator will direct the appeal to the appropriate Appellate Authority.
B. Rationale for Appeal
The following are the established rationales for a Student or Student Organization to appeal their case resolution decision or disciplinary outcomes. Appeals must be submitted in writing and be based on at least one of the following criteria:
Information that was not available at the time of the Hearing is now available and could reasonably be expected to have altered the outcome of the case.
The Hearing did not follow the proper protocol outlined in the Community Standards.
Decision Not Supported by the Preponderance of the Evidence
Whether a reasonable person could find that the facts in the case were insufficient to establish that it was “more likely than not” that a violation of the Community Standards occurred, and that the Respondent was responsible for the violation.
Appeal of a decision and/or disciplinary outcome resulting from an Administrative Hearing or Board Hearing will be reviewed by the Dean, the VPSA or their designee.
XI. Community Standards Record Retention
All Community Standards records are kept in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and the Clery Act of 1990. Subject to the provisions and exceptions of FERPA, all Community Standards files are private. Files may only be reviewed in the process approved by Office of Student Affairs or Dean of Students. Copies of files, including the content of Hearings or Outcome Letters, will not be provided except in compliance with government regulations or legal subpoena.
The University will retain Community Standards records (non-Clery) for no less than seven (7) years from the date of the incident. The University reserves the right to keep records for a longer period of time if unresolved or deemed necessary. In cases of expulsion, the University will retain the records indefinitely.
XII. Community Standards Review Process
The Community Standards will be reviewed on an on-going basis in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders and decision-makers. Students and Student Organizations are expected to review the Community Standards on regularly to understand the current Community Standards process. The University reserves the right to make necessary changes to the Community Standards as needed.