Appendix D: Code of Student Conduct
I. Students Rights and Responsibilities
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility. The responsibility to secure and respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the community. The present code is designed to establish policies and procedures which provide and safeguard this freedom.
Towson University’s mission to the community at large is one of academic excellence and achievement. To that end, its campus community must be one wherein respect for the individual pursuit of academic excellence and achievement is given priority. In order to foster this environment, it is incumbent upon students to conduct themselves within the framework of the reasonable rules and regulations designed to enhance and protect the academic environment of the university. By specifying behavioral standards and by establishing fair and efficient processes for adjudicating conflict, the university seeks to protect the environment in which learning is nurtured and respect for that goal is continually afforded.
C. Individual Rights and Responsibilities
- Access to Higher Education
- Within the limits of its facilities, the institution and its courses, programs and activities shall be open to all applicants who are qualified, according to its admission requirements.
- The institution shall, in the catalogs, make clear to the students the standards of its programs.
- Admission to Towson University shall be in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations that prohibit illegal discrimination.
- Within the limits of its facilities, the institution and its courses, programs and activities shall be open to all applicants who are qualified, according to its admission requirements.
- Classroom Expression
- Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter are permitted in the classroom, subject only to the responsibility of the instructor to maintain order and reasonable academic progress.
- Faculty comportment shall be in accordance with standards set forth by the American Association of University Professors.
- Students shall not be penalized for expressing controversial views relevant to the subject matter in class.
- Evaluation of a student’s academic performance shall be neither prejudiced nor capricious.
- Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter are permitted in the classroom, subject only to the responsibility of the instructor to maintain order and reasonable academic progress.
- Personal Expression
- Discussion and expression of all views is permitted within the institution subject only to requirements for the maintenance of order. Support of any cause, by orderly means, which does not disrupt the operation of the institution, is permitted. Refer to Towson University Policy on Time, Place and Manner (06-04.11) at https://inside.towson.edu/generalcampus/tupolicies.
- Students, groups and campus organizations may invite to hear any persons of their own choosing, subject only to the requirements of the use of institutional facilities and regulations of the university, and the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland.
- Students’ dress and grooming, of any style, are permitted subject to legal prohibitions.
- Students, groups or organizations may distribute written material on campus, providing such distribution does not disrupt the operations of the institution.
- The right of assembly is granted within the institutional community. The institution retains the right to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property and the continuity of the educational process.
- Orderly picketing and other forms of peaceful protest are permitted on institutional premises. Interference with entrances to institutional facilities, intentional interruption of classes, or damage to property exceeds permissible limits.
- Orderly picketing and orderly demonstrations are permitted in public areas within institutional buildings subject to the requirements of non-interference.
- Every student has the option to be interviewed on campus by an organization authorized to recruit at the institution.
- Students have the same rights of privacy as any other citizens and surrender none of those rights by becoming members of the academic community.
- Information about student views, beliefs and political associations acquired by faculty and staff in the course of their work as instructors, advisers and counselors is confidential and is not to be disclosed to others unless under legal compulsion or with permission of the student.
- The privacy and confidentiality of all student records shall be preserved. Official student academic records, supporting documents, and other student files shall be maintained only by full-time members of the institution’s staff employed for that purpose and students employed by them who may have access in line of employment. Separate files shall be maintained for the following: academic records, supporting documents and general educational records, records of disciplinary proceedings, medical and psychiatric records, and financial aid records.
- No entry may be made on a student’s academic record and no document may be placed in the student’s file without actual notice to the student.
- Every student is guaranteed the right to inspect and review all information in his or her own files maintained by the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, subject only to reasonable regulations as to time, place and supervision. However, the student may not have copies of items in a file.
- A student may challenge the accuracy or presence of any item by following the standard appeal process (see Appeal Procedures below).
- When a case is referred, a disciplinary file may be developed in the name of the charged student.
- The file will be voided if the charges against the student are not substantiated.
- The file including any university hearing audio recordings will be retained for seven years if the charges are substantiated. Disciplinary records may be retained for longer periods of time or permanently if the sanction is suspension or expulsion from the university or university housing.
- Any record, file or incident report to which the student has access and an opportunity to respond, or records of previous hearings, may be taken into consideration by the decision-maker in arriving at an appropriate decision.
- Pursuant to recent changes in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as revised, the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education reserves the right to notify parents of students under the age of 21 who are found responsible for alcohol or drug violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
- No record may be made in relation to any of the following matters except upon the express written request of the student: religion, political or social views, and membership in any organization other than honorary and professional organizations directly related to the educational process.
- Agencies of the university which keep student records must make students aware of how and to whom those records may be divulged. No information in any student file may be released to anyone except with prior written consent of the student concerned or as stated below.
- Administrators may have access to student records for internal educational and administrative purposes.
- Members of the faculty may have access to academic records for internal educational and administrative purposes.
- Non-academic records shall be routinely available only to administrators and staff charged with their maintenance. Faculty and staff may have access to all records for statistical purposes.
- Directory information, as defined in this Appendix, may be released to any inquirer unless the student has specifically asked the director of Enrollment Services to withhold that information.
- Unless under legal compulsion, all other information regarding students’ records shall be denied to any person making an inquiry.
- Upon graduation or withdrawal from the institution, the records and files of former students shall continue to be subject to the provisions of this code.
D. Rights and Responsibilities of Campus Organizations
- Organizations, groups and NCAA teams may be established within the institution for any legal purpose. Their recognition will be in accordance with established guidelines.
- Membership in all institution-related organizations, within the limits of their facilities, shall be open to any fee-paying member of the institution community who is willing to subscribe to the stated aims and meet the stated obligations of the organization.
- Individual members, as well as the organization, group or team itself, can be charged with violations of the Code of Student Conduct, including those actions defined in university policies not specifically listed in this document.
- Use of university facilities shall be granted to recognized student organizations. Student organizations shall be given priority for use of space as outlined in procedures established by Event and Conference Services and the Student Government Association.
- The authority to allocate institutional funds derived from student fees for use by organizations shall be delegated to a body in which student participation in the decision-making process is assured.
- Approval of requests for funds is conditional upon submission of budgets to and approval by this body.
- Financial accountability, in full accordance with university and state policies, regulations, procedures and practices, is required for all allocated funds, including statement of income and expenses on a regular basis.
- Otherwise, organizations shall have independent control over the expenditure of allocated funds.
- The student press is to be free of censorship. The editors and managers shall not be arbitrarily suspended because of student, faculty, administration, alumni or community disapproval of editorial policy or content. Similar freedom is assured oral statements of views on institution-controlled and student-operated radio or television stations. This editorial freedom entails a corollary obligation under the canons of responsible journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.
- All student communications shall explicitly state that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the institution or its student body.
E. Rights of Students in Institutional Government
- All constituents of the institutional community are free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of interest to the student body. Clearly defined means shall be provided for student expression on all institutional policies affecting academic and student affairs.
- The role of student government and its responsibilities shall be made explicit. There should be no review of student government actions except where review procedures are agreed upon in advance, or where actions of the government are either potentially illegal or present a clear danger to either individual or institutional rights.
- On questions of educational policy, students are entitled to a participatory function. Students shall be designated as members of standing and special committees concerned with institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs, including those concerned with curriculum, discipline, admission, academic standards, university governance and allocation of student funds.
F. Student Grievance Procedures
- Any student or group may file a grievance against an administrative official or faculty member for violation of student rights as listed above.
- Students choosing to file a grievance should contact the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education who will serve as a resource to the student. The Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education will direct the student to the appropriate university department based on the nature of the student’s grievance.
II. Code of Student Conduct
The primary purpose for the imposition of discipline in the university setting is to protect the campus community. Consistent with that purpose, reasonable efforts will also be made to foster the personal, educational and social development of those students who are held accountable for violations of university regulations. However, the university must commit its policies and procedures first of all to protect and promote the academic enterprise. Consequently, it may be necessary to suspend or expel students who have been found responsible for violations of this Code, or who otherwise pose a substantial danger to the campus community.
- The terms “university” and “institution” mean Towson University (TU).
- The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at the university, both full-time and part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, professional, certificate, or continuing studies. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the university are considered “students.”
- The terms “faculty member” and “instructor” mean any person hired by the university to conduct classroom activities.
- The term “university official” includes any person employed by the university, performing assigned administrative, professional, or paraprofessional responsibilities (including student resident assistants and building managers).
- The term “member of the university community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, university official, or any other person employed by the university.
- The term “university premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the university (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).
- The term “organization” means any number of persons who have complied with formal requirements for university recognition (including SGA, Greek and NCAA).
- The term “group” means a number of persons who are associated with each other but who have not complied with university requirements for registration as an organization.
- The term “Hearing Board” means the hearing officer and student conduct aides authorized by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education to determine whether a student has violated the Code of Student Conduct.
- The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education is that person designated by the university president to be responsible for the administration of the Code of Student Conduct.
- The term “policy” is defined as the written regulations of the university as found in, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, the Policies for University Housing, the Faculty Handbook, the university catalogs, the Towson University Procedures for Alcohol events, Student Organizations Handbook, and the Event and Conference Services Guide for Student Organizations.
- The term “interim disciplinary action” means discipline which is imposed pending the outcome of a court case for off-campus behavior.
- The term “banned from campus” means that a student is prohibited from coming onto university property. A student who is banned from campus may be allowed to finish current course work off campus, if appropriate, and a tuition refund may be granted. As a result of a ban, the student will not have a permanent file in the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. A ban will normally only be issued after the student has been offered a meeting with a representative of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.
- The USM Policy on Sexual Misconduct can be found at http://www.usm.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionVI/
- The term “harassment” is defined as conduct directed at a specific person or persons which seriously alarms or intimidates such persons and which serves no legitimate purpose. Such conduct may include: threats, including gestures which place a person in reasonable fear of unwelcome physical contact or harm; following a person about in a public place or to or from his or her residence; making remarks in a public place to a specific person which are by common usage lewd, obscene, expose a person to public hatred or that can reasonably be expected to have a tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom the remark is addressed; or any other conduct which is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a person’s ability to participate in, or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by the university.
- The term “event-related misconduct” is defined as serious misconduct that is related to university-sponsored events including athletic events. Event-related misconduct includes rioting, vandalism, fire-setting or other misconduct related to a university-sponsored event, occurring on or off-campus that results in harm to persons or property or otherwise poses a threat to the stability of the campus community.
- Preponderance of evidence is that evidence which, when fairly considered, produces the stronger impression, has the greater weight, and is more convincing as to its truth when weighted against the evidence in opposition thereto.
- The accused and the complainant may each be accompanied by a friendly observer. A friendly observer is someone who provides support, guidance, and/or advice to the accused or the complainant during the University Hearing process, however this individual cannot speak or directly participate in the hearing proceedings. The friendly observer cannot serve as a witness for either the accused or the complainant. The friendly observer may remain in the room with the accused or complainant for the duration of the hearing. This individual may be a family member, friend, faculty member, staff member, or other adviser/support. This party may not act as legal counsel, but may advise the accused or complainant through written communication methods. Should a friendly observer not adhere to these expectations, or attempt to play an active role in the University Hearing, the Hearing Officer, at his/her discretion, may remove the friendly observer from the University Hearing.
- Generally, student or group conduct subject to institutional discipline is limited to: on campus actions; off-campus actions which affect the university community or the university’s pursuit of its mission, policies or procedures; off-campus actions by officially sponsored organizations, groups or NCAA teams; or actions on university property which is leased to, or managed by, an entity other than the university.
- However, a student charged with a violation of federal, state or local laws for off-campus behavior may be disciplined by the university without a university hearing or informal investigation when: the student is found guilty by a court of law; the student pleads guilty or nolo contendere to the charges; or, the student is given probation before judgment. Allegations of off-campus-event-related misconduct (see definitions) must be supported by a report, statement or accusation from a law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the misconduct is alleged to have occurred.
Additionally, interim or final disciplinary action may be taken before any court action is completed. Examples of charges that may result in action include acts of violence, drug and alcohol-related violations, and a citation for a disorderly house. Such action will be taken only after a limited investigation by the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The student will be offered a meeting with a university official to discuss the incident. In situations where a student is not able to meet with a university official, interim action may still be taken pending a meeting with the student.
Any interim action shall be reviewed, and appropriate final action taken, at the student’s request or at the university’s discretion, when a final court decision is rendered or when the university receives additional persuasive evidence.
- Some conduct clearly disturbs only the campus environment; when such behavior occurs, the university shall take internal action.
- When there is evidence that a student has committed a crime on campus, disciplinary action at the university will normally proceed independently of pending criminal charges, including when charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or dropped. The student may then be subject to civil authorities as well as internal disciplinary action.
- When a student is charged with a violation of one or more provisions of this Code, a letter listing the charges will be given or sent to the student within a reasonable amount of time. At a meeting with a representative of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education, the student will be informed of:
- specific violation(s)
- description of alleged incident
- hearing or informal investigation procedure
- rights of appeal
D. Prohibited Conduct
The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:
- Intentionally furnishing false information to the institution; this includes lying to university officials.
- Forging, altering, or using instruments of identification or institutional documents with intent to defraud, or to otherwise benefit there from.
- Possession of false identification (e.g., a false driver’s license).
- Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration or disciplinary proceedings or normal university operations.
- Disruption or obstruction of university-sponsored activities or events.
- Off-campus conduct that is disorderly and disrupts others in the community.
- Lewd, obscene or indecent behavior.
- Physical abuse of any person.
- Unwanted physical contact or threat of physical contact with a university official.
- Threats of violence or placing a person in fear of imminent physical injury or danger.
- Any endangering conduct that imperils or jeopardizes the health or safety of any person or persons, including oneself.
- Stalking of any person.
- Inflicting mental or emotional distress upon a person through a course of conduct involving abuse or disparagement of that person’s race, religion, sex, creed, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
- Acts that invade the privacy of another person.
- Violation of the Towson University Policy on Sexual Misconduct and/or the University System of Maryland Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
- Abuse of any person; this includes verbal, written, email or telephone abuse.
- Intentionally or recklessly damaging, destroying, defacing or tampering with university, public or personal property of another.
- Uncooperative behavior and/or failure to comply with proper instructions of officials acting in performance of their duties.
- Event-related misconduct (see Definitions)
- Violation of published institutional regulations and policies.
- Violation of state, federal and local laws.
- Unauthorized presence in institutional facilities.
- The possession or use of illegal drugs, unauthorized controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia when not in accordance with established policy.
- The sale, distribution, or intent to distribute and/or manufacture of illegal drugs or controlled substances when not in accordance with established policy.
- The possession or use of any firearms or instrument which may be construed as a weapon, without express permission of the University Police.
- The possession of explosives, fireworks or pyrotechnic paraphernalia on campus.
- The possession or use of alcoholic beverages in the following manner: by any person under 21 years of age; or, possession of or consumption from an open container in any public area which has not been approved by Towson University; or, a person 21 years of age or older purchasing for, serving to, or otherwise distributing alcohol to any person who is under 21 years of age.
- Public intoxication.
- The unauthorized use of or entry into university computer systems.
- Violation of the university housing policy.
- Violation of any disciplinary sanction.
- Charging telephone or telecommunications charges to university telephones or extension numbers without authorization.
- Theft, attempted theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy to steal or misappropriation of another’s property. This includes, but is not limited to, removing, possessing, concealing, altering, tampering or otherwise appropriating goods or property without authorization.
- Violation of the Student Academic Integrity Policy.
- Harassment of any person.
- Unauthorized use of the name “Towson University” or the unauthorized use of any university trademark, service mark, logo or seal for advertising or promotional purposes in a manner that expressly, or impliedly indicates the university’s endorsement.
The following penalties may be imposed upon students and all student organizations for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. With certain exceptions, federal regulation prohibits disclosing the outcome of disciplinary proceedings to anyone other than to the accused and to appropriate university personnel. The first exception relates to the disclosure of the final results of the University's disciplinary proceeding to a victim of an alleged crime of violence or of a non-forcible sex offense regardless of whether the University concluded a violation was committed. In addition, the parents of students under the age of 21 may be notified when students are found responsible for violations of the University's alcohol or drug policies.
- CENSURE: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, including a warning that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action. This may include a specified period of probation.
- PROBATION: Notice to the student that any further disciplinary violation, during a specified period of time, may result in suspension or expulsion from the university and/or university housing.
- SOCIAL PROBATION: Exclusion from participation in privileged or extracurricular institutional activities, including NCAA athletic events or practice, for a specified period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of social probation, or any other violation of this Code during the period of probation, will normally result in a fine, suspension or expulsion from the university.
- SUSPENSION: Suspension involves separation of the student from the university for a specified period of time and usually impairs a student’s ability to pursue work at other colleges and universities. Normally, the student will also be barred from university premises during the period of suspension. Any student who is suspended shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
- EXPULSION: Expulsion constitutes permanent separation of the student from the university. Normally, the student will also be barred from university premises upon expulsion. Any student who is expelled shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
- EVENT-RELATED MISCONDUCT SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION: In general, a student found responsible on a charge of event related misconduct shall be suspended or expelled. Any decision to impose a sanction less than suspension or expulsion for university-sponsored event related misconduct (see Definitions) must be supported by written findings signed by the Vice President for Student Affairs. A record of any suspension or expulsion for university-sponsored event-related misconduct shall be noted on the student’s transcript for the duration of the sanction, or longer, if so specified in the final notice of sanction. A student suspended for event-related misconduct shall not be admitted to any other institution in the University System of Maryland for at least one year from the effective date of the sanction. Any student who is suspended or expelled shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund.
- SUSPENSION OF GROUP: Suspension shall consist of the withdrawal of an organization’s recognition by the university, for a stated period of time, when an organization is found to have violated regulations. Suspension shall result in complete suspension of activities of the group during the stated period of time and may also include conditions for removal of suspension.
- ORGANIZATIONAL DISSOLUTION: Organizational dissolution is a sanction imposed only upon student organizations guilty of serious and/or repeated violations of these standards. The sanctions involve permanent withdrawal of recognition by the university, denial of the use of university facilities or funds, and official dissolution of the organization on the campus.
- RESTITUTION: Restitution may be imposed on students whose violation has involved monetary loss or damage. Fines may be imposed in addition to restitution. Restitution becomes a financial obligation to the university and either full payment or an agreement for partial payment according to a schedule agreed to by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education is required before a student may register for classes again, or in the case of seniors, before the student may graduate or before the diploma is released. The University typically does not issue restitution to third parties, including other students, as part of a disciplinary action.
- REMOVAL FROM ON-CAMPUS HOUSING: This sanction prohibits residing in on-campus housing for a stated period of time. Any student who is removed from on-campus housing shall not be entitled to any refund of housing costs. In addition to removal, students are typically banned from being in or around (as defined by University staff) all on-campus residence halls.
- FINES: Fines of varying amounts may be imposed for certain violations. Fines issued to students for misconduct typically start at $100 and may increase incrementally for subsequent violations or instances when the student is found responsible for multiple charges related to the same incident. These increases are typically in increments of $50. It should be noted that the severity of the incident may also impact this fine resulting in a higher amount charged. Additionally, students with a prior disciplinary record may receive higher fines if their prior history supports such action. Fines must be paid prior to the end of the current term, otherwise a student's registration privileges will be withheld or prior registration canceled.
- OTHER SANCTIONS: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified above. For example, students may be required to participate in and complete an approved alcohol or drug education/treatment program. Students may be subject to restrictions upon or denials of university parking privileges for violations involving the use or registration of motor vehicles on campus; community service hours or research projects may be assigned educational sanctions or workshops may be assigned; or the university housing contract may be placed on probation.
F. Standards and Procedures of Due Process
- Students subject to suspension or expulsion from the university will be entitled to a university hearing, except as described in section C.2. With the exception of allegations of academic dishonesty (see the section below: Student Academic Integrity Policy), students subject to any other sanction will be entitled to an informal investigation.
- The purpose of a disciplinary proceeding is to provide a fair evaluation of an accused’s responsibility for violating disciplinary regulations. Although formal rules of evidence need not be applied, procedures shall comport with standards of fundamental fairness. Harmless deviations from the prescribed procedures shall not necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding unless significant prejudice to an accused student or the university may result.
- Any person may refer students or student groups or organizations suspected of violating this Code to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. Allegations of violations occurring within university housing should be referred to the Department of Housing and Residence Life. Those referring cases are normally expected to serve as a witness and to present relevant evidence in disciplinary hearings or informal investigations. The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education may appoint a member of the campus community to serve as an adviser to university witnesses. The role of the adviser shall be limited to consultation with the witnesses.
- Suspensions and expulsions from the university will be made by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee. All other sanctions will be determined by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education designee. In all cases, the accused will be notified in writing of any sanctions to be imposed and of his or her rights of appeal.
- The University's process and procedures for students accused of violating the Towson University Policy on Sexual Misconduct and/or the University System of Maryland Policy on Sexual Misconduct can be found at www.towson.edu/SexualMisconduct.
G. Informal Investigation and University Hearing Procedure
- Informal Investigation: The informal investigation is designed to reduce unnecessary proceduralism and potential contentiousness in disciplinary proceedings. An informal investigation will normally begin with an informal, nonadversarial meeting between the accused and a university administrator, as designated by the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The university shall consider all matters that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, including documentary evidence, written statements and hearsay. The accused will be given access to documentary evidence and written statements in advance or during the initial meeting and allowed to respond to them. Accused are also allowed to submit the names of appropriate and relevant witnesses. The accused will be found responsible if the University administrator decides that a preponderance of evidence supports the charges.
- The following procedural protections are provided to respondents in the informal investigation.
- written notice of the specific charges prior to or at the initial meeting.
- reasonable access to the case file during the informal investigation or at the student’s request.
- an opportunity to respond to the evidence and call appropriate and relevant witnesses.
- University hearings are scheduled when a student disagrees with the charge(s) against him/her.
- The following procedural protections are provided to respondents in the informal investigation.
- University Hearing: University hearings are scheduled when a student disagrees with the charge(s) against him/her. The following procedural guidelines shall be observed for all hearings held by the University Hearing Board. The University Hearing Board will be composed of the hearing officer, who shall preside and make the final decision, and student conduct aides. In the absence of the student conduct aides, the hearing officer may hear and decide the case alone. A case may not be heard if the hearing officer is not in attendance. The hearing officer shall be responsible for submitting the hearing panel’s report to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.
- The accused shall be given notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against him or her at least three calendar days in advance and shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. (In some cases, the accused may choose not to wait three days for a hearing to take place.)
- The hearing will be audio recorded.
- The accused will be present for the hearing. If more than one student is charged with the same incident, the university may hold a combined hearing. If the accused fails to appear, this will be stated for the record and the hearing will continue.
- The accused and the complainant may be accompanied by a friendly observer. This party may not be or act as legal counsel, except when concurrent criminal charges have been filed. Then counsel may not participate in the hearing, but may advise the accused.
- The hearing officer shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the accused, who disrupts a hearing may be excluded by the hearing officer.
- The accused will be found responsible if the hearing officer decides that a preponderance of evidence supports the charges.
- Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this Code. The hearing officer shall admit all matters into evidence that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, including documentary evidence, written statements and hearsay. Repetitious or irrelevant evidence may, however, be excluded. Documentary evidence and written statements shall only be admitted into evidence if available to the accused before or during the hearing.
- The director of the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education may appoint a special hearing panel member in complex cases. Special panel members may question all parties, participate in hearing panel deliberations, and offer advice to the hearing officer.
- The hearing officer’s report will be presented to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. The student may view the hearing officer’s written report by appointment.
- The accused will receive the decision in writing from the vice president for Student Affairs or designee.
H. Disciplinary Procedures for Student Organizations, Groups, and NCAA Teams
- Student organizations, groups and NCAA teams (referred to here collectively as “group”) may be charged with violations of the Towson University Code of Student Conduct.
- When one or more members of a group are charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, the university may charge the group as well. A student group and its officers may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this Code by those associated with the group have received the consent or encouragement of the group or of the group’s leaders or officers.
- A position of leadership in a student group entails responsibility. Student officers or leaders cannot knowingly permit, condone or acquiesce in any violation of this Code by the group. This section of the Code is designed, in part, to hold a group and its officers accountable for any act of hazing. The express or implied “consent” of the victim or participant is not a defense.
- The officers, leaders or any identifiable spokesperson for a student group may be directed by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee to take appropriate action designed to prevent or end violations of this Code by the group. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the vice president for Student Affairs’ directive shall be considered a violation of this Code, both by the officers, leaders or spokesperson for the group and by the group itself.
- An informal investigation or whenever appropriate, a university hearing for student groups will be conducted in a manner similar to the procedures listed above. Conferences shall be conducted with one spokesperson representing the group, usually the president. Any sanction listed in the Code of Student Conduct may be imposed on a group and its individual members. If individual members are subject to suspension or expulsion from the university for actions of the group, those individuals will be offered a university hearing.
- A group may be held responsible for violations of the Code of Student Conduct resulting from the actions of its members, if the actions’ arose out of activities related to the group were encouraged, fostered, or condoned by the group; were known or should have been known by members of the group; or were activities that the group could have prevented.
- To be held responsible for Group Misconduct, it is not necessary that the misconduct be approved by the entire group nor is it necessary that more than one group member be involved in the misconduct.
- In determining whether a group is responsible, the university may consider, among other factors, whether the misconduct would have occurred if the participating individuals were not members of the group or whether the misconduct was encouraged, fostered or condoned by the group or whether the misconduct could have been prevented by the collective action of the group.
I. Emergency Suspensions
- When there is evidence that the continued presence of a student on the university campus poses a substantial threat to him/herself or others, or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions, the vice president for Student Affairs or designee may immediately suspend a student from any or all university activities, including university housing, for an interim period pending a hearing or medical evaluation. Such an emergency suspension may become effective immediately without prior notice.
- An emergency suspension may be imposed only:
- to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the university community
- to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being
- if the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the university
- A student issued an emergency suspension shall be denied access, as determined appropriate by the vice president for Student Affairs or designee, to
- the entire campus, including classes
- university housing and dining facilities
- all other activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible
- In these cases, a university hearing or medical evaluation will be scheduled as soon as is practicable.
J. Appeal Procedures
- Any disciplinary determination resulting in expulsion or suspension from the university may be appealed to:
- the Student Appeals Committee
- the president of the university
- Any disciplinary determination resulting in removal from on-campus housing may be appealed to the Student Appeals Committee.
- Any disciplinary determination resulting in any lesser sanction except as provided below may be appealed to the vice president for Student Affairs or designee.
The basis for appeal of a disciplinary sanction must be one of the following:
- a flaw in the student’s right of due process
- evident bias in the decision of the hearing board or the individual conducting an informal investigation
- inconsistent or overly severe sanction imposed
- new evidence or insufficient consideration of all aspects of the situation
Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education by the deadline indicated in the sanction letter. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original decision final and conclusive. Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original proceedings, written letters submitted by the parties, and any further information requested by the committee, Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.
The imposition of sanctions will not be deferred during the appeal process unless the student presents a compelling reason to the vice president for Student Affairs.
To view the most recent version of the Code of Student Conduct go to www.towson.edu/studentconduct.
05-09.00 – HAZING POLICY
I. Policy Statement
“Hazing” is against the law (Section 3-607, Criminal Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland) and is strictly prohibited at Towson University (“University”). Hazing risks human lives, mistreats those involved and jeopardizes the affiliation of campus organizations at this University. The most damaging action a campus organization (social, honor, service, athletics) can take is to engage in Hazing.
- “Hazing” is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off campus, inflicted on person(s) joining a group or member(s) of a group, that a reasonable person would consider as having the potential to create mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, without the individual’s consent. Hazing includes any mental or physical requirement, request, or obligation which emphasizes one individual’s or a group’s power over others; that could cause pain, disgrace, or injury; that is personally degrading; and/or that violates and federal, state local law or University policy.
Such activities and situations include, but are not limited to:
- Team initiations.
- Requiring Inappropriate dress (including, but not limited to: militaristic garb and/or apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste, for the purpose of public embarrassment.)
- Paddling in any form
- Creation of excessive fatigue for Inappropriate reasons.
- Road trips taken that have not been authorized by the Towson University senior Administrators (i.e., the Associate Vice President of Campus Life or the Director of Athletics and/or their designees).
- Scavenger hunts without prior approval from the Towson University senior administrators (i.e., the Associate Vice President of Campus Life or the Director of Athletics and/or their designees).
- Inappropriate labor required by a specific group (e.g., labor which is not inherent in the scope of the group’s activities. Examples of labor inherent in the group’s activities would include following appropriate direction given by University representatives with authority over the group, such as coaches or faculty advisors requiring members of the group to put away equipment after using it.)
- Mandated branding or tattooing, or any form of body mutilation.
- Any act of physical abuse, psychological abuse, or verbal abuse (including but not limited to “line-ups,” forced calisthenics (unless part of an organized athletic activity sponsored by a recognized/sanctioned sports program), surprise or fake initiations, etc.
- Exposing participants to adverse weather conditions.
- Engaging in public stunts and humiliating games and activities.
- Mandated late night sessions that interfere with scholastic and occupational activities.
- Running personal errands for members or mandating tasks only of new members.
- Mandated consumption, included but not limited to: illegal substances, food, alcohol, or any other type of liquid.
- Inappropriate activities required of a specific group (new member, rookie, etc.) including but not limited to new member all-nighters, shaving of heads, servitude, etc.
- Any other activities not consistent with the academic mission of the University.
- “Inappropriate” will be determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education.
- “University Community” means Towson University students, faculty and staff
III. Responsible Executive and Office
Responsible Executives: Vice President for Student Affairs
Responsible Offices: Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education (OSCCE) and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
IV. Entities Affected by this Policy
The University Community
- Anyone experiencing or witnessing a violation of this Hazing policy should report the incident to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education (OSCCE). Any individual or group alleged to have engaged in Hazing will be referred to OSCCE, which will handle allegations in accordance with its usual procedures for alleged violations of University policies, except as otherwise noted in this policy.
- If OSCCE finds that a student organization has engaged in Hazing, or that the organization did not take reasonable steps to prevent Hazing by its members or affiliates, culpability may be attributed to the individual perpetrators, the student organization, its members, and/or its elected or appointed officers, subject to the defense that the individual student could not reasonably have prevented the Hazing.
- All students, including potential new members and current members of any student group or organization, have a responsibility to avoid participating in Hazing.
- Process for Specific Student Groups at Towson University:
- Fraternity and Sorority Life – Any sanctions will be imposed by OSCCE. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs – Campus Life, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process.
- Recognized Organizations including Competitive Sporting Clubs – Any sanctions will be imposed by OSCCE. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs – Campus Life, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Campus Recreation Services. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process.
- Athletics – Any student/athlete or athletic team found responsible for violating this policy by OSCCE will be sanctioned by OSCCE, and may also be sanctioned by the Department of Athletics. A student-athlete and/or team found violating this policy may be suspended for the remainder of the academic year. All remaining contests may be forfeited. Additional penalties may be placed on the program following an investigation, and will be imposed by OSCCE and/or the Department of Athletics. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Athletics or designee. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process.
- Student Organizations not recognized by any of the following: The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, The Office of Campus Recreation Services, The Office of Student Activities, and Athletics – This includes but is not limited to Honorary Societies, Honor Fraternities, and Professional Social Greek-Lettered Organizations supported by University offices and/or employees. Any sanctions will be imposed by the OSCCE. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process.
Towson University’s policies, programs and activities comply with federal and state laws and University System of Maryland regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability and sexual orientation. The university does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Sexual harassment (see following section) is considered a form of sexual discrimination.
Procedure for Filing and Investigating Complaints of Discrimination in Education or Employment
Students and employees may bring concerns about discrimination or unfair practices in education or employment to the fair practices officer for investigation (Administration Building 205, 410-704-2361). After a student or employee has filed a formal complaint, full information from the complainant, from university records, and from university personnel involved in the incident will be gathered and a determination as to the merits of the complaint will be made.
The investigation will normally be completed within 30 days. If a key person is unavailable or if the complaint is complex, involves a grade dispute or other faculty matter, the investigation may take longer. Every effort will be made to complete the investigation within the term in which it is filed, unless the complaint is filed within the last two weeks of a term, in which case every effort will be made to complete the investigation by the beginning of the following term.
Students are encouraged to bring incidents that they think are discriminatory to the attention of university officials. The university cannot take appropriate action unless it is aware that a problem exists. For more information, visit www.towson.edu/odeo.
SEXUAL OR GENDER HARASSMENT
www.towson.edu/odeo. Sexual Harassment includes any non-consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Exploitation, or requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions. Sexual Harassment is especially injurious in relationships characterized by inequality of power, where one party has authority over the other. Such relationships can be immediate or based upon future expectations, e.g. the need for future evaluations and references. Visual displays of degrading sexual images, sexually suggestive conduct or offensive remarks of a sexual nature may also constitute Sexual Harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether between people of same or different genders and sexual orientation, constitute Sexual Harassment when: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment by the University or an individual’s participation in a University-sponsored program or activity; or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment; or such conduct by an Employee, a Student, or by a third party is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to:
- deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity
- create a hostile or abusive educational environment
- have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment at the University
When the alleged perpetrator of an incident of Sexual Harassment is a student, report the incident to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility for investigation (Administration Building, room 236, 410-704-2057). When the alleged perpetrator of Sexual Harassment is a faculty or staff member, report the incident to the Office of Fair Practices for investigation (Administration Building, room 211, 410-704-2361).
In accordance with the university’s Non-Discrimination Policy, no student, faculty or staff member shall be denied access to the academic, social or employment opportunities offered by Towson University solely because he/she has AIDS or is an HIV carrier. A university committee will be appointed by the president to evaluate individual cases of HIV infection and to make recommendations as questions of risk or cases of specific exigencies. Educational programs will be implemented for the campus and the campus community to assist in preventing further spread of the virus.
POLICY ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE FOR FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS
University System of Maryland Policy
The University System of Maryland, as an employer, strives to maintain a workplace free from the illegal use, possession, or distribution of controlled substances (as defined pursuant to Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Sections 801, et. seq.). Unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of controlled substances by university employees in the workplace is prohibited under university policy. In addition to any legal penalties under federal and state law, employees found to be in violation of this policy or the Maryland Governor’s Executive Order on Substance Abuse, 01.01.1991.16, may be subject to corrective action under applicable university personnel policies. The university supports programs aimed at the prevention of substance abuse by university employees. Employees are encouraged to seek assistance for substance-dependency problems. Employee-assistance counseling and leaves of absence to attend rehabilitation programs are appropriate means of dealing with these problems.
Towson University Policy
The use of controlled substances and the abuse of alcohol present a serious threat to individual health and everyone’s safety. Moreover, the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol can result in less than complete reliability, stability and good judgment which is inconsistent with the standards set for the faculty, staff and students of this university. Towson University, as an employer, strives to maintain a workplace free from illegal use, distribution or possession of controlled substances. Any person found to be participating in such activity will be subject to administrative disciplinary action, mandatory counseling, and treatment and/or criminal proceedings.
The use, possession, and/or sale of illegal drugs are considered violations of Towson University’s Code of Student Conduct, the faculty contract, and the terms of employment of regular, contingent (exempt/non-exempt) staff. Faculty, students and employees who use, possess or sell illegal drugs shall be subject to discipline, including mandatory counseling, suspension or dismissal from the university. The university will take disciplinary action based on reasonable available information; such action will be independent of any civil or criminal processes precipitated by the same incident and will follow the policies and procedures of the university and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. In the workplace, use, possession, and/or sale of illegal drugs and controlled substances are also violations of state and federal laws for which individuals are subject to university disciplinary processes and/or arrest and criminal prosecution.
These serious workplace situations must be handled in ways which ensure the protection of the civil rights and handicapped rights of the accused, the treatment and rehabilitation of employees, and the notification of the necessary administrative and legal authorities.
Specific procedures for reporting drug use, penalties and appeals are part of the Towson University Code of Conduct. Employee disciplinary measures and appeals for violations of this policy as well as other policies of the university are part of the Faculty Handbook, the Part-Time Faculty Handbook, and the Personnel Manual.
In addition to the university policy on substance abuse, all employees of the university, including student employees, are subject to the Maryland Governor’s Executive Order 01.01.1991.16 on the Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace.
In accordance with federal legislation, Towson University’s substance abuse policy will be distributed annually to all students and employees through the campus or U.S. mail.
In accordance with federal legislation, there will be an annual distribution in writing, to each employee and student of:
- the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace (to include student employees);
- the institution’s policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace and drug-free campus;
- standards of conduct that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on university property or as part of any university activities;
- a description of applicable legal sanctions under local, state or federal law;
- a description of health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol;
- a description of available drug or alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation and/or re-entry programs;
- a clear statement of the disciplinary sanctions that the university will impose on students and employees.
All supervisory faculty and staff will receive training on drug awareness and treatment. This training program shall include existing as well as new supervisory personnel. Drug awareness training will be an integral part of the university’s student orientation program.
Faculty and staff orientations will include programming especially designed to focus on the university’s policy toward substance abuse.
Employee/Student Assistance Programs
The university has an established counseling program for students and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for faculty and staff. These programs have been designed to provide counseling and rehabilitative services. Employees and students are encouraged to contact the appropriate program in the event they have a substance abuse problem.
Employees or students who need help with a problem of drug abuse shall be encouraged to call the Counseling Center, the Health Center, Human Resources or the office of the vice president for Student Affairs. The resources of the Counseling Center shall be available for supervisors who seek consultation in handling employees who may have substance abuse problems.
Voluntary participants in an assistance program will not jeopardize their continued employment or enrollment at the university provided that their job performance or behavior is consistent with established standards. However, voluntary participation in an assistance program will not prevent disciplinary action for violation of the policy described herein, where such violation has already occurred.
Procedures for Reporting Substance Abuse
The following information shall provide the basic guidelines for the reporting of student or employee drug use, possession, sale or distribution. Other procedures to be followed have been specified in other sections of this policy.
Upon observing or receiving a report of suspected use, possession or distribution of an illegal drug or the illegal use of alcohol, faculty and staff, and/or students shall proceed in the following manner:
Step One: Report suspicions of illegal drug or alcohol use or possession to the administrator of your area or the appropriate vice president. Any faculty or staff member who observes the workplace use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol must take appropriate action.
Students observing drug activity in the residence halls should notify a housing staff member. These administrators will notify the appropriate authorities and take appropriate action.
Step Two: Use judicious thought and sound judgment when approaching individuals suspected of illegal drug or alcohol use, possession or distribution. It is preferable to leave drugs or alcohol in their original location until the authorities take action.
Step Three: The university administration will determine if state or federal laws may have been violated. University employees should not become involved in mediating any situation involving illegal drug or alcohol use.
Penalties for Substance Abuse
Penalties for Faculty and Staff
Towson University strongly encourages the use of drug rehabilitation programs as an effective measure in creating a drug-free workplace program. However, penalties may be implemented (in consultation with Human Resources’ Manager for Employer-Employee Relations) up to and including reprimand, suspension, mandatory counseling, mandatory participation in a drug rehabilitation program and/or dismissal. Appropriate university grievance procedures shall be used for each classification of employee.
Penalties for Students
In addition to federal and state law, and the policies of the University System of Maryland, students shall be governed by the “Towson University Code of Student Conduct.” Within these campus guidelines, students shall be subject to institutional discipline if they violate the Code of Student Conduct. Various penalties may be imposed depending on the violations. If a student is suspected to have violated state and/or federal laws with regard to illegal drugs or use of alcohol, the student will be subject to arrest and possible criminal prosecution.
All students suspected of substance abuse violations may be referred to the director of Student Conduct & Civility Education in accordance with the Towson University Code of Student Conduct. Disciplinary action may proceed whether or not criminal charges related to the same incident have been processed and sustained. The university encourages voluntary counseling and may require participation in an approved treatment program.
Recipients of Federal Grant/Contracts/Awards
Any faculty, staff member or student applying 1) for a federal grant/contract in which an in-the -workplace drug-free policy has been required, 2) for a “Pell Grant” or any other student/faculty grant/award or fellowship in which an in-the-workplace drug-free policy has been required, and 3) for a subcontract with the Department of Defense, will be required to comply in accordance with federal regulations.
- Each individual must certify in writing to abide by the terms of the Towson University Drug-Free Workplace Policy.
- Each individual must notify the Office of University Research Services or the Office of Financial Aid of any criminal drug conviction occurring in the workplace, no later than five days after conviction.
The university will be responsible for notifying any contracting or granting agency, within 10 days of employee notification otherwise receiving actual notice, of a conviction in (2) above.
If a grant or award is directly made to an individual, rather than the institution, the individual will certify in writing to the institution to not engage in unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of any controlled substance in the workplace or while conducting any work activity with the grant/contract and will abide by the terms of this Towson University Substance Abuse Policy.
Relationship with External Contractors
The university is committed to encourage all non-state entities, who do business with the university or otherwise receive funds from the university, to make a “good faith” effort to eliminate illegal drug abuse from their workplace. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 01.01.1991.16, the university shall take whatever action necessary and appropriate to require a drug-free workplace, in accordance with applicable federal and state law, on each recipient of a state contract, grant, loan or other state funding instrument.
“Good Faith” Efforts
Towson University will at all times make a “good faith” effort to maintain a drug-free and substance abuse-free workplace and campus through the implementation of this policy.