Student Code of Conduct
The Office of Community Standards | Bridgewater State University
Part III: Proscribed Conduct
The Student Code applies to students and Student Organizations.
A. Jurisdiction of the University
1. Each student shall be responsible for their conduct from the time of admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment (and even if their conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded). The Student Code shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from the University while a Community Standards matter is pending.
2. Each Student Organization may be held responsible for the conduct of any of its members or guests in addition to any sanctions received by any student member in their individual capacity.
3. Generally, University jurisdiction shall be limited to conduct that occurs on or about University premises or in connection with University-sponsored, University-supervised or University-affiliated events, programs, and activities (including students involved with off-campus internships, study abroad programs, and recognized or unrecognized Student Organizations). However, the University may apply The Student Code to students, Student Organizations, and unrecognized Student Organizations whose misconduct may have an adverse impact on the University, members of the University community, and/or the pursuit of University objectives regardless of where such conduct may occur.
The following examples describe the kinds of off-campus acts that may be addressed through the University Community Standards system: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; physical assault; sale/distribution of illegal substances; and malicious destruction of property. These examples are illustrative in intent and they should not be regarded as all-inclusive. Should the Director of Community Standards reasonably determine that a particular alleged act of off-campus misconduct falls within the jurisdiction of the University, the case will be referred to the University Community Standards system.
4. University Community Standards proceedings may be instituted against a student or Student Organization charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and The Student Code (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under The Student Code may be carried out prior to or simultaneously with civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the Director of Community Standards. The University cooperates with law enforcement, or other agencies, in the enforcement of laws on campus and in regards to its students. This includes providing information requested by subpoena or as otherwise permitted by law.
Determinations made or sanctions imposed under The Student Code shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of University rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.
5. Sexual violence, including but not limited to, sexual assault and sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalk, sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment are prohibited by the Sexual Violence Policy and may be adjudicated under the Investigation and Resolution Procedures.
6. Discrimination and discriminatory harassment are prohibited by the Policy Against Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Retaliation (included in the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan) and may be adjudicated under the Investigation and Resolution Procedures. Additionally, matters involving potential violations of both the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan and the Student Code may be co-investigated by both offices.
7. Generally, the influence of drugs and/or alcohol on a student’s judgment or behavior will not be accepted as a mitigating factor with respect to the resolution of an act of misconduct.
8. Students are responsible for the consequences of their actions even when the conduct may have been influenced by their physical or emotional state (irrespective of any medical of clinical diagnoses). Students seeking an accommodation are encouraged to review Section I: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities for additional information.
9. Students are responsible for the contents of their rooms, cars, lockers, or person regardless of claims of personal ownership. Students may also be held responsible for shared common areas.
10. Students and Student Organizations are responsible for the conduct of their guests and should be with guests at all times. Guests may be removed from the University at the discretion of University Police.
11. If an incident report involves more than one charged student, or if there is more than one incident involving the same student, the Director of Community Standards, or designee, in their discretion, may determine whether an Administrative Conference and/or Investigation concerning each incident will be conducted either separately or jointly.
12. Student Organizations.
a. Student organizations may be held accountable under The Student Code for the Student Organization’s misconduct and/or for the misconduct of any one or more of its leaders, members, guests, or other representatives.
b. The Student Organization must designate one Student Organization Representative by written notice to the Director of Community Standards or designee within 3 days of being sent notice of alleged violations of The Student Code. The Student Organization Representative will represent the Student Organization during the Community Standards process.
c. Review of allegations of misconduct of individual student members will be determined under The Student Code prior to determination of Student Organization alleged violations.
d. Student Organizations are prohibited from conducting their own disciplinary proceedings prior to resolution of alleged violations of The Student Code.
e. Nothing in The Student Code shall preclude holding students who are members of a Student Organization responsible for their individual violations of The Student Code committed in the context of or in association with the Student Organization’s alleged violation of The Student Code. Both the Student Organization and individual students may be found responsible for violations of The Student Code in connection with the same behavior.
f. The Student Organization Representative is required to notify the Student Organization’s advisor of any alleged violations of The Student Code and any sanctions imposed.
13. Parental Notification.
As recommended by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the University may notify parents/guardians when students under the age of 21 have been found responsible for violating the University’s alcohol or drug policies.
B. Conduct Rules and Regulations
Students and Student Organizations must adhere to and uphold The Student Code and obey University policies, rules and procedures as well as federal, state, and local laws. The Director of Community Standards or designee shall make the final determination on what constitutes a potential violation of The Student Code and shall establish the specific behavioral allegations(s) as appropriate.
Students may be hesitant to report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation out of concern that they, or witnesses, might be charged with violations of the State Universities’ drug/alcohol policies. While the Universities does not condone such behavior, we place a priority on the need to address sexual violence and misconduct. Accordingly, university officials may elect not to pursue discipline against a student who, in good faith, reports, witnesses or possesses personal knowledge of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation.
Similarly, the University recognizes that there may be alcohol or drug-related medical emergencies or other safety emergencies in which the potential for disciplinary action could act as a deterrent to students who want to seek assistance for themselves or others. When a student aids an intoxicated or impaired individual by contacting the Bridgewater State University Police or Residence Life staff, it is up to the discretion of the Director of Community Standards, or designee, to determine if any involved parties, Student Organizations or Unrecognized Student Organizations will be subject to disciplinary action. This does not preclude disciplinary action regarding other violations of university standards such as causing or threatening physical harm, damage to property, harassment, hazing, or violations of the Sexual Violence Policy. Students who are transported to a local hospital, placed in protective custody, or evaluated as a result of the abuse of alcohol or other drugs will be contacted by a University official to meet to discuss the incident.
The following list of behaviors is intended to represent the types of acts that constitute violations of The Student Code. Although the list is extensive, it should not be regarded as all-inclusive. All community members are responsible for knowing and observing all Policies.
1. Acts of dishonesty including, but not limited to: furnishing false information; forgery, alteration, or misuse of any document (including but not limited to: student admission materials), record, or instrument of identification; or misrepresenting oneself as another. This may also include violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Alleged academic dishonesty violations will be addressed according to the provisions of the Academic Integrity Policy.
2. Disruptive behavior which is defined as participating in or inciting others to participate in the disruption or obstruction of any University activity, including, but not limited to: teaching, research, events, administration, Community Standards proceedings, the living/learning environment, or other University activities, on or off-campus; or of other non-University activities.
3. Harming behavior, which includes, but is not limited to: the true threat of or actual physical force or abuse or bullying. In determining whether an act constitutes bullying, The Office of Community Standards will consider the full context of any given incident, giving due consideration to the protection of the members of the University community, and the individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom and advocacy required by law. Please note that not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily will be considered a violation of The Student Code. In addition, please note that any allegation of harming behavior and/or bullying involving alleged discrimination and/or discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, marital or parental status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or veteran status, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, will be considered under Section 4 and 5.
4. Violation of University Policy Against Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, and Retaliation. The University prohibits discrimination and discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, marital or parental status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or veteran status. The University also prohibits retaliation against any person who files such a claim, complaint, or charge or who assisted or participated in an investigation or resolution of such claim, complaint, or charge. For further information regarding this policy, see the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan and the Investigation and Resolution Procedures.
5. Violation of the Sexual Violence Policy. The University prohibits sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual violence (including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, incest, and statutory rape), dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking. The University also prohibits retaliation against any person who files such claim, complaint, or charge or who assisted or participated in an investigation or resolution of such claim, complaint, or charge. For further information, see Sexual Violence Policy and Investigation and Resolution Procedures.
6. Endangering behavior which includes, but is not limited to, conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including one’s self.
7. Failure to abide by the Hazing Policy.
8. Failure to abide by the Alcohol Policies. Notwithstanding the Alcohol Policies, specific violations include:
a) Being a student, under the age of 21, not engaged in an employment or other permissive activity, in the presence of an alcohol container.
b) Possession, or use, of alcohol by a student under the age of 21.
c) Serving, distributing, or obtaining alcohol for, or allowing consumption by, any individual who is under 21 years of age.
d) Possession, use, sale or distribution of a false identification card, or other false age or identity verification form.
e) Use of an alcohol container (including, but not limited to empty beer cans or bottles, etc.) as a room decoration, vase, or storage item.
f) Possession of alcohol at Bridgewater State University is limited to those who are 21 years of age and older. Possession of alcohol in a residence hall is limited to residents of the Great Hill Apartments who are 21 years of age or older who may possess alcohol in their rooms subject to the following limits in any 24 hour period: either (A) 72 oz. of beer or wine cooler or (B) 200 ml of hard alcohol (80 proof or under), or (C) 75 ml of wine (limits apply to full, partially full, or empty alcoholic beverage containers). No alcohol stronger than 80 proof is permitted.
g) Commercial delivery of alcoholic beverages to the campus is prohibited.
h) Any alcohol stronger than 80 proof is not permitted on campus.
i) Drinking games are prohibited. Paraphernalia used to administer drinking games or assist the user in ingesting alcohol at a fast rate are a violation of The Student Code. This includes, but is not limited to, funnels and beer pong. Such paraphernalia may not be maintained on University property and will be confiscated if discovered.
j) Common source containers containing alcohol are prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to kegs, beer balls, and/or punch bowls being used to serve alcohol.
k) Public intoxication, either on campus or off campus, is prohibited.
l) Public consumption of alcoholic beverages or possession of an open container of alcohol in an area not authorized by University Officials, is prohibited in public.
m) Operation of a motor vehicle which contains alcohol, by a student under the age of 21, regardless of the age of any passenger, is prohibited.
n) Use of alcoholic beverages to render another person physical or emotionally incapacitated is prohibited.
o) Operation of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol on campus or off-campus is prohibited.
9. Failure to abide by the Drug Free Policies. Notwithstanding the Drug Free Policies, specific violations include:
a) The possession, use, cultivation, manufacture, participation in a conspiracy, or distribution of illegal drugs, narcotics or controlled substances, or attempts to commit the same, is prohibited. This includes the use or possession of legally prescribed drugs which fall outside the parameters of the medical prescription.
b) Being under the influence of illegal drugs is prohibited.
c) Being a student in the presence of illegal drugs is prohibited.
d) The use of drugs to render another person physically or emotionally incapacitated is strictly prohibited.
e) The possession, use, sale or distribution of drug paraphernalia is strictly prohibited.
f) Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs on-campus or off-campus is prohibited (exception: the use of medication prescribed by a doctor in accordance with such prescription).
While Massachusetts state law permits the use of medical marijuana, federal law prohibits marijuana use, possession, distribution, and/or cultivation at educational institutions. Therefore, the use, possession, distribution or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is not allowed in any Bridgewater State University residence hall or on any other Bridgewater State University premises; nor is it allowed at any University-sponsored event or activity off campus or any Student Organization event or activity. Anyone who possesses or uses marijuana at any University premises may be subject to civil citation, state or federal prosecution, and University discipline.
In addition, no accommodations will be made for any student in possession of a medical marijuana registration card except that Bridgewater State University may release students from their Residence Hall License Agreement if approved as a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability requiring use or possession of marijuana for medical purposes.
10. Failure to abide by the Tobacco Free Policy.
11. Failure to abide by the Weapons and Firearm Policy.
12. Uncooperative behavior which includes, but is not limited to, uncooperative behavior and/or failure to comply with the directions of, providing false information, and/or failure to identify oneself to University officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties. This includes failing to provide identification when asked by University Officials.
13. Creating a fire hazard or a situation that endangers others such as arson; the unauthorized or improper possession, use, removal or disabling of fire safety equipment and warning devices; failure to follow fire safety procedures or instructions; or interference with firefighting equipment or personnel.
14. False reporting of fire, bombs, or other emergency situations.
15. Assisting another person or a Student Organization in the commission, or attempted commission, of a violation of The Student Code.
16. Conduct that is lewd, indecent, or disorderly such as public urination, public defecation, streaking, stripping, solicitation of a stripper, and/or participation in acts of a sexual nature publicly or in the presence of others that do not rise to the level of a violation of the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan.
17. Violations of campus guest regulations – student hosts and Student Organizations are responsible for their guests’ actions.
18. Violation of any published University policies or rules whether or not specifically listed in The Student Code.
19. Violation of the Residence Hall License Agreement or published Residence Hall Policies and Procedures:
a) Alteration of Premises - Residents shall not make any changes, alterations or improvements to an apartment or room.
b) Pets - excepting fish, and those permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legislation.
c) Bathroom Designation - Residence hall bathrooms are designated as male, female, or gender-neutral.
d) Room Inspection Procedures - Rooms may be inspected for health, safety and security reasons on a periodic basis and prior to each vacation period, by a residence life and housing staff member, with or without notice or the presence of residents.
e) Hall Sports – Any type of sports or sports-related activity (such as bouncing a basketball) is prohibited at all times.
f) Furniture - All furniture and furnishings brought into a residential facility are subject to approval by a residence life and housing staff member. All personal furniture must be removed at the end of the occupancy period. No personal upholstered furniture is allowed in the residence halls. University supplied furniture cannot be removed from the room without the approval of a residence life and housing staff member. Additional university supplied furniture, based on availability, may be provided upon request. The furniture in lounges and recreational areas is for the use of all the residents of the building and may not be moved into resident rooms or apartments.
g) Room Decorations - Pictures, posters and other decorations may be hung on the walls with tape that will not mar the wall surface. Nails, tacks, pins, screws, scotch tape and duct tape are damaging, and their use may lead to damage charges. No more than a third of the room door should be covered with decorations. No items should be posted on or suspended from the ceiling, smoke detector or sprinkler head.
h) Guest Policy – As found in the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures.
i) Prohibited Items – As found in the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures.
j) Quiet Hours – Quiet Hours are observed in the residence halls from 9:00 PM to 8:00 AM Sunday night through Friday morning and from 12:00 AM to 10:00 AM Friday evening through Sunday morning.
20. Theft, which includes, but is not limited to, attempted or actual theft or unauthorized use or possession of property, resources, or services.
21. Forcible entry or unauthorized entry and/or presence in buildings or property, or attempts to commit the same.
22. Damage or misuse of property which includes, but is not limited to, attempted or actual damage to or misuse of University property or other personal or public property as well as actions which obstruct, disrupt, or physically interfere with the use of University equipment (including safety and security equipment) or premises.
23. Unauthorized possession, duplication, or misuse of University property or other personal or public property, including but not limited to records, electronic files, telecommunications systems, forms of identification, and keys.
24. Violation of federal, state, or local law or conduct that would violate the legal rights of others.
25. Failure to abide by the Gambling and Bookmaking policy.
26. Failure to abide by the Commercial Solicitation Policy.
27. Failure to abide by the Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy.
28. Failure to maintain a hygienic living and learning environment.
29. Unauthorized use of the University name, logo, mascot, or other symbol.
30. Abuse of the University Community Standards system, including, but not limited to:
a) Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a Community Standards proceeding.
b) Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information to a Community Standards officer or Administrative Review Committee.
c) Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the Community Standards system.
d) Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the Community Standards system.
e) Attempting to intimidate or retaliate against a member of a review body, a complainant, respondent or witness, prior to, during, and/or after a Community Standards proceeding.
f) Institution of a Community Standards code proceeding in bad faith.
g) Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under The Student Code.
31. Attempted use or actual use of electronic devices that invade a person’s privacy.
Continued participation in any Student Organization activities, including but not limited to, meetings or acceptance of new members, during any period that a Student Organization is subject to a Loss of Recognition, is not recognized by the University or other conduct in violation of a sanction imposed on a Student Organization.
Updated 8/2016 by Beth Devonshire, Office of Community Standards
Student Handbook 2016-2017
All Rights Reserved