The College of St. Scholastica is dedicated to academic achievement and personal development as exemplified in the Catholic intellectual and Benedictine traditions. The College of St. Scholastica expects each student to contribute to an environment in which all members of the community have the freedom to develop spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.
Choosing to be a part of the College of St. Scholastica means choosing to embrace the values of this institution. Our code of conduct is a baseline of community standards. As a member of the CSS community, you are expected to strive to higher values and expectations. Enact in every word and deed our Benedictine values of:
Community + Hospitality + Respect + Stewardship + Love of Learning
If there is a violation of the Code of Conduct or a concern within the community, it is through the lens of these values that we will examine what has happened and make decisions about how to move forward, preferably in a way that repairs the community and relationships within it. Disciplinary action is primarily viewed as an educational experience and an opportunity to repair and strengthen relationships between individuals and the community, which takes place whenever a student's conduct interferes with their own or others' ability to attain personal and educational goals, or violates the values of the community.
The College, like many educational institutions, is a living, changing thing that may not reasonably be expected to remain static. The statements of College policies in this publication do not necessarily become a term of a contract between the College and the student. The College reserves the right to modify its policies and requirements at any time. This handbook is intended only as a general reference, and not as a full statement of College procedures and policies. This handbook is not intended to be a legal contract, but a general statement of policies, to be applied by the College in its sole discretion. Final interpretation of these policies lies with the Vice President of Student Affairs.
The College affirms the right of each student to:
The student body shall have clearly defined means of participating in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs. Students shall have the right to establish and elect a student government. The student press shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy. Its editors may develop their own policies, but it shall be explicitly stated on the editorial page that opinions there expressed are not necessarily those of the College or of the student body.
Each member of the College community must be cognizant of the rights of others, and each person has the responsibility to respect those rights. The institution functions on the basis of mutual responsibility to protect such rights. Students are both members of the College community and citizens of the state of Minnesota. As citizens, students are responsible to the community of which they are a part and the College neither substitutes for, nor interferes with, regular legal processes.
The College jurisdiction and discipline may cover conduct and behavior of undergraduate, graduate, extended study, or online students that occurs on or off College grounds, between St. Scholastica students, or at a College sponsored event that adversely affects the College community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. Students are responsible for the standards of behavior of these policies beginning with their first participation in a school sanctioned or associated event, activity, or class after first registration of classes and will continue until graduation or official withdrawal from the College regardless of physical location.
Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures --NEW POLICY effective August 14, 2020
General Harassment or Bullying (not otherwise covered by Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy)
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Our community expectation is that all students will strive to live our values, be bold and Benedictine, in every word, thought and deed. Our values are:
Our baseline minimum behavioral standards are outlined in the Code of Conduct. Please note that these are the minimum rules of conduct and we expect students' behavior to meet or exceed these standards.
The College has found that the activities listed below are disruptive to the community and may violate the rights or property of other members of the community. Usually when there is a violation of the Code of Conduct, it is a violation of our CSS Benedictine Values.
When a Code of Conduct violation has occurred, in addition to a review of whether the specific behavior violates this or other college policy, there will be a review of whether there has been a violation of community, hospitality, respect, stewardship or an impediment to learning for any member of the community. There has been no attempt to define all variations and interpretations of these standards, or to include every regulation. It is also recognized that within each activity a wide range of severity is possible and any of the available disciplinary sanctions may be appropriate.
A. Academic misconduct, including but not limited to cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. (See Academic Honesty Policy and Dishonesty Procedures)
B. Violation of Residential Life policies. (See the Residential Life Handbook).
C. Theft or other abuse of computers or computer access including, but not limited to, unauthorized entry into a file, unauthorized use of another's password, or use of computer facilities to interfere with the normal operation of the College computer system.
D. Harassing or sending harassing, threatening, or unwanted messages to any member of the community by any means, including those accessed through technology systems. This includes, but is not limited to: email, social media sites, texting, etc. Note, however, that if such behavior might constitute harassment or stalking, as those terms are defined by the College's Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy, the behavior will be addressed under the College's Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy. Moreover, if such behavior might constitute general harassment and/or bullying (E), as those terms are defined in the General Harassment and Bullying policy, the behavior will be addressed under the applicable policy (See Power-Based Violence Policies)
E. Bullying, which includes systematically, chronically and/or intentionally inflicting physical hurt or psychological or emotional distress on one or more students, faculty or staff and may involve verbal, written or physical expressions intended to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, humiliate, taunt, threaten or intimidate. Bullying may be carried out using any electronic communication device through means including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games, websites or social media. Such behavior may also constitute general harassment and/or bullying, as defined in the General Harassment or Bullying policy in which case the behavior will be addressed under the applicable General Harassment or Bullying policy. (See Power Based Violence Policies)
F. Bias incidents, which include single or multiple acts of verbal, written, electronic or physical expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, intimidation, or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group's actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, disability, veteran-status, marital status, gender identification, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Expressions may be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm or fear in others or that endanger the health, safety, and welfare of members of the campus community. (See Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy)
G. Threatening or inflicting physical or psychological harm upon any person. This behavior may fall under the Violence within Community Relationships policy. If such behavior might constitute sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, as those terms are defined by the College's Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy, such behavior will be addressed under the Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy. In turn, if such conduct might constitute prohibited conduct under the General Harassment or Bullying policy, such behavior will be addressed under bullying policy (E) or general harassment (D). (See Power Based Violence Policies)
H. Attempt or actual theft of and/or damage to property of the College or property of a member of the College community or other personal or public property.
I. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities on or off campus including authorized non-College activities on college facilities.
J. Trespassing or unauthorized entry into a building, facility, or room, including student residences.
K. Unauthorized possession, use, or creation of a key for a building or room of the College without expressed and authorized permission.
L. Knowingly providing to a College employee (including Resident Assistants) written or oral information that is false or misleading including providing a false ID card.
M. Failing to produce identification upon reasonable request of a College employee.
N. Flagrant disrespect of persons or community or inflicting of harm, including flagrant disregard for the health and safety of others. Note: During times when COVID-19 is present in our state and region, this can include failure to follow community standards around safety precautions as outlined by the College (such as wearing adequate face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, truthful reporting of symptoms, honesty and forthright participation in contact tracing process, quarantine, isolation, etc.)
O. Misuse, unhealthy, or unauthorized use of alcoholic beverages as defined by the Alcohol Policy. This includes elements of misuse, possession, consumption, and furnishing of alcoholic beverages. (see Alcohol Policy).
P. Unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs or other controlled substances. This includes possession of paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law. (See Drug Policy)
Q. The possession or carrying of a dangerous weapon or firearm, fireworks or dangerous chemicals is prohibited on all property owned, leased, or occupied by the College. (See Weapons Policy)
R. Abusive or disorderly behavior on any campus site or at a College sponsored event.
S. Hazing, defined as committing an act against a student, or coercing a student into committing an act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student group or organization.
T. Misuse or unsafe operation of motor vehicle violating regulations of the College.
U. Incurring financial obligations on behalf of the institution without proper authorization.
V. Misuse, abuse or tampering with alarm systems, safety equipment including fire extinguishers, or operating systems of College facilities and/ or failure to promptly follow safe evacuation procedures.
W. Unauthorized or unsafe use of fire including candles, campfires, incense, etc.
X. Violations of federal, state, or local law on College premises or at College sponsored or supervised activities.
Y. Gambling for money or other things of value, except as permitted by law and authorized by the College.
Z. Abuse of the College's Student Conduct System, including but not limited to: failure to obey formal participation requests of the College, misrepresentation of information, interference with student conduct proceedings or an individual's participation in the student conduct process, destruction of evidence, or harassment or intimidation of a person involved in or connected to an investigation or hearing.
The process below is set up to provide a level of fundamental fairness for all parties involved. Please note that this is the process that will be followed unless the process is explicitly outlined differently in a separate specific policy statement. For example, as noted above, some forms of student misconduct are covered by other College policies. Where applicable, such forms of student misconduct will be addressed in accordance with the procedures set forth in the applicable College policy. Incidents of sexual misconduct (including sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation), harassment, bias, discrimination and retaliation should be reported in accordance with Equal Opportunity and NonDiscrimination Policy, which establishes separate procedures for reporting and resolving allegations covered under the policy. For more information , including definitions of sexual misconduct and reporting options, please visit the College's Title IX website page at: http://www.css.edu/titleix.
Any member of the College community may make a report or make a charge against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and provided to the Dean of Students or designee. Oral reports may be made in certain circumstances, with the approval of the Dean of Students. Students at extended sites, or online programs should submit their written charges to their site director and/or online advisor, who will assist the Dean of Student's office with the process of resolution. Any charges should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within seven days. This time limit may be extended at the discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee).
Amnesty Statement: When a violation is reported in good faith, other lesser violations may not be charged. For example, if someone reports a sexual assault and underage drinking was involved, the reporting student probably will not be held accountable in our judicial system. Concerns about health and safety may still be acted upon. We do not want concern about lesser charges to hinder someone's decision to report a violation.
Good Faith Obligation: All reports or complaints of alleged misconduct should be made only in good faith. Reports or complaints that are not made in good faith may be a form of retaliation under this policy and/or may violate other College policies. All parties and witnesses have an obligation to be truthful in the process. False accusations can have serious effects. Allegations that are not made in good faith may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion. Discipline, if any, will be determined on a case-by-case basis after a review of relevant information.
Upon receiving the charges, the Dean of Students (or designee) reviews the incident and may arrange for the College to conduct an investigation to determine whether the charges have merit.
Interim Action: As a general rule, the status of a student shall not be altered until the charges brought against the student have been adjudicated. Experience has shown, however, that prompt and decisive disciplinary action may be required in extreme cases before there is an opportunity to conduct a hearing. The College has the right to respond reasonably, in light of known circumstances to ensure the safety and pursuit of learning of all members. Examples of cases that may warrant interim action include those in which a student's continued presence on campus or in an academic program may constitute an immediate threat of injury to property or members of the College community, or the orderly functioning of the College. Interim actions may include, but are not limited to, interim suspension from housing or the college, "stay away" or no-contact orders or a change in academic schedule. The Dean of Students or designee has the authority in such cases to take interim action. The imposition of interim suspension shall entitle the suspended student to a prompt hearing.
If it is deemed that charges do have merit, the following options exist for hearing and reviewing the information of the case, deciding responsibility, and assigning appropriate sanctions.
JUDICIAL HEARING PROCESS OPTIONS:
These processes are set up to provide a level of fundamental fairness for all parties involved. Decisions will be made based on a preponderance of evidence (whether something is more likely than not to have happened).
After a meeting with the parties involved, a resolution is determined by mutual consent on a basis acceptable to the Dean of Students or designee. Such disposition shall be final and there shall be no opportunity for an appeal.
If a disposition cannot be reached to the satisfaction of the Dean of Students (or designee), a formal hearing a will be conducted. In such cases the student will be notified in writing as to the charges and the time and place of the formal hearing. No serious disciplinary sanctions may be imposed upon any accused person without written notice to the accused of the nature and cause of the charges and a full and formal hearing of those charges (for exceptions refer to interim suspension). Mutual Consent/ Restorative Mediation meetings will be organized by the Dean of Students (or designee) with collaboration of site directors and/or program advisors for extended studies and online students.
The purpose of a formal hearing is to determine if a person(s) is more likely than not to be responsible for the actions/behavior in question, and from there determine appropriate sanctions. A formal hearing shall include the right to confront witnesses against the accused, the opportunity to share one's own perspective and perception of events, and to respond to the charges of the Code of Conduct.
A. Residence Life Judicial Board Hearing: For many violations that occur in the realm of campus and residential life, the case will be heard by either a member of the Residence Life professional staff, or a small panel consisting of Residential Life staff, Resident Advisors, and/or trained residential students. This includes violations of the alcohol policy and other community based violations. These Conduct board decisions about responsibility and sanctions will be made as a recommendation to the Assistant Director or Director of Residence Life who will make the final decision. Appeals can be made to the Dean of Students Office. See below for appeal process.
B. Formal Hearing before the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, or designee shall conduct a formal hearing on the charges to determine whether a person(s) is more likely than not to be responsible for the actions/behavior in question, and from there determine appropriate sanctions. This hearing option may include other staff at the discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee).
C. Formal Hearing before the Judicial Panel. The Judicial Panel is activated at the discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee), or through a written request from the accused. The Judicial Panel will determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the code of conduct has taken place and recommend to the Dean of Students (or designee) the sanction, in the case of violation. Formal hearings for extended sites and online students may be adjudicated with direction from the Dean of Students (or designee) by appropriate staff in these programs.
The Judicial Panel will consist of at least one faculty member, one staff member and one student drawn randomly from a pool appointed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs (faculty) and the Vice President of Student Affairs (staff). The Dean of Students or designee will serve as chair and vote in the case of a tie. The accused student and the reporting student each has veto power over one student and one faculty/staff on the Judicial Panel. This should be exercised only to address concerns about conflict of interest.
CSS judicial processes will determine whether it is likely that a violation of the code has taken place (more likely than not) and determine the sanction in the case of a violation. Proceedings before any of the judicial hearing options (listed above) will follow these guidelines:
1. One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the student code of conduct:
a. Assessment or Education: A student is required to seek an assessment or participate and complete activities on campus or within a community agency, and follow the recommendation of that agency (i.e. complete any recommended course or action or program). The student must allow the agency to notify the dean of students, in writing, of compliance. Any costs associated will be the responsibility of the student.
b. Warning: A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations. A warning also should be understood to mean that further code of conduct violation (especially one of a similar nature) may result in more serious sanctions.
c. Probation: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the high probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violating any institutional regulations during the probationary period.
d. Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time. This includes use of CSS student technology if it has been used in the violation.
e. Fines: Appropriate or previously established and published fines may be imposed.
f. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
g. Discretionary Sanctions: Work assignments, service to the College or other related discretionary assignments.
h. Campus Housing Suspension: Separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible for return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
i. Campus Housing Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
j. College Suspension: Separation of the student from the College for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
k. College Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the College.
Other than expulsion, disciplinary sanctions shall not be made part of the student's permanent academic record, but shall become part of the student's confidential record. Upon graduation, the student's confidential record may be expunged of disciplinary actions other than college and/or housing expulsion.
Students directly involved in the case may appeal the decision or the sanction imposed by the Residential Life Judicial Board/Residential Life Director, Dean of Students, their designee or the Judicial Panel to an Ad Hoc Committee of faculty, staff, and students selected by the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. The appeal must be filed in writing to the Dean of Students within seven (7) calendar days of the decision. The appeal will be scheduled within 14 calendar days of the filing. Sanctions determined by the original hearing will be upheld until the appeal process has been completed.
Appeal proceedings before the Ad Hoc Appeal Committee shall be conducted in private and the proceeding kept confidential. Admission to the proceedings shall be at the discretion of the chair of the Ad Hoc Appeal Committee. However, open hearings may be held by mutual agreement between the accused and the committee.
Appeals can be made only on the following grounds and the written request for the appeal must indicate upon which grounds the appeal will rest (i.e. which of the following is the reason you are asking for the appeal.) An appeal shall be limited to review of the verbatim record of the initial hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:
a. To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence that the student code of conduct was violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a rebuttal of those allegations.
b. To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on substantial evidence; that is whether the facts in the case were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Student Code more likely than not occurred.
c. To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Student Code which the student was found to have committed.
d. To consider new evidence (sufficient to alter a decision) or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such evidence and/or facts were not known or reasonably discoverable by the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.
The Dean of Students or Vice President of Student Affairs will review the request for appeal to determine whether the appeal has merit. Appeals of decisions made by Residential Life Conduct board/Residence Life Director will be reviewed by Dean of Students. Appeals of decisions made in a formal hearing process with Dean of Students will be reviewed by the Vice President of Student Affairs. If the appeal has merit based on the grounds listed above, the following guidelines for appeal will be followed:
Recognized student organizations in violation of College policies are subject to probation, revocation of recognition, or other disciplinary action through the Dean of Students (or designee). Questions about these guidelines or requests for additional information should be referred to the Dean of Students.
College disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law that is also a violation of this Student Code, for example, if both violations result from the same factual situation without regard to the pendency of civil litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out before, simultaneously with, or after civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
If a student is charged only with an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local laws but not with any other violation of this Code, disciplinary action may be taken and sanctions imposed for grave misconduct that demonstrates flagrant disregard for the College community and its values. In such cases, no sanction may be imposed unless the student has been found guilty in a court of law or has declined to contest such charges. Interim action may be taken while legal proceedings are in process.