Code of Student Conduct

Contents:

FOREWORD

Augustana University’s code of student conduct is committed to fostering an environment that promotes informed citizenship, respect for human community and fairness.

The following statements of policy, standards and rules define inappropriate conduct for the Augustana community. These behavioral expectations apply to all students, whether undergraduate or graduate.

Each student bears responsibility for his or her conduct and to also assume reasonable responsibility for the behavior of classmates and guests.

Augustana strives to respond to all reports of violations in a prompt manner with an emphasis on non-adversarial resolution, reasonable determination of consequences, and meaningful implementation of remedies.

FREEDOMS

Augustana is committed to the acquisition of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and promotion of the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the Augustana community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.

Freedom to Teach and Learn. The responsibility to secure and to respect conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the campus community. The professor in the classroom and in conference shall encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance shall be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

Freedom from Discrimination. Augustana University is committed to providing equal access to and participation in employment opportunities and in programs and services, without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, or disability. Augustana complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other applicable laws providing for nondiscrimination against all individuals. The University will provide reasonable accommodations for known disabilities to the extent required by law.

Freedom of Association. Students are free to organize and join associations to promote common interests provided the organization’s purpose is consistent with the University’s mission and values. Student organizations shall submit a constitution (i.e., a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, and rules of procedure) to the Center of Campus Life as a condition of institutional recognition. Institutional recognition also requires the organization to have an advisor who is affiliated with Augustana. Official recognition affords an organization with support from the Augustana Student Association, use of facilities and general support for programming.

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression. Students and their organizations are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and express opinions publicly and privately. They shall always be free to support causes by orderly means to the extent that these activities do not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the University. Officially recognized student organizations shall be allowed to invite persons or organizations of their choosing. Procedures for inviting and hosting guest speakers are coordinated through the Center for Campus Life as a point of scheduling and approval for the event. Augustana University maintains that the invitation and/or sponsorship of speakers and no-institutional organizations by recognized student organizations does not imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed either by the sponsoring student organization or the University.

The student body has a clearly defined means through the Augustana Student Association to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs.

As the publisher of student publications and related media, Augustana University bears the legal responsibility for the content. In the delegation of editorial responsibility to students, Augustana provides sufficient editorial freedom and financial autonomy for students to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community. The Publications Board has the responsibility to provide clarification about editorial freedom for all recognized student publications.The editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by elements of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and the techniques of harassment and innuendo.

The student press shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy. Its editors and managers are free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage keeping in mind the rights of all students in respect to valid coverage of all aspects of student life.

All university published and financed student publications and related media shall explicitly state on the editorial page that opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Augustana or the student body.

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of Augustana’s Code of Student Conduct, the following terms and definitions will apply.

The term “Augustana,” “university” or “institution” means Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The term “student” means any person enrolled or participating in Augustana University courses and sponsored off-campus programs. Enrollment begins when the student physically arrives on the campus, at the program’s location, or logs on to the online instructional delivery program. Enrollment lasts for as long as the student maintains a continuing academic relationship with Augustana University.

The term “university officials” means any person employed by the University who performs assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.

The term “charge” means an allegation of a potential violation of a policy, standard or rule.

The term “complainant” means any person who submits information indicating that a student may have violated the Code of Student Conduct.

The term “respondent” means any student charged with a violation of the Code.

The term “investigation” means the follow through on a complaint to ascertain details and circumstances associated with a complaint alleging a violation of the Code.

The term “hearing” means any meeting, conference or other formal review processes in which decisions are made regarding matters of student conduct.

The term “advisor” means a person selected by and assists a complainant or respondent throughout the student conduct process. Students may choose any person as their advisor, including but not limited to staff, faculty, family member, and legal counsel. The advisor’s role in the hearing is to personally advise the student. During the hearing, the advisor may consult with their advisee quietly or in writing, or outside during breaks. The advisor may not conduct or direct cross-examination, ask questions, or make presentations or comments to the student or hearing body during the hearing.

The term “burden of proof” describes the standard of evidence used to make a determination of responsibility in a student conduct hearing. Augustana uses a “Preponderance of Evidence” standard which means that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

The term “sanction” is used to describe remedies and/or requirements given to a student in response to a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. University. 

The term "premises" includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of, owned, used, leased or otherwise controlled by Augustana University (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).

The term “university” means Augustana University.

The term “organization” means a group whose members are primarily Augustana students including but not limited to academic, social, athletic, recreational, religious, or similar groups. Under most circumstances, an organization has complied with requirements for university recognition and are advised by a member of the faculty or staff.

JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY

Augustana University’s student conduct procedures have as a primary purpose to be educational. Decisions that resolve incidents of misconduct and those determinations that remedy violations are made in a spirit of equity and fairness.

The Code of Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on campus, at university-sponsored events and may also apply to off-campus settings including the online environment when the conduct affects a substantial university interest.

At Augustana, the following designated personnel, boards and panels as defined have a responsibility for the student conduct process.

Administrative Hearings
The administration and faculty serve as an initial level of response with most code of student conduct violations. Augustana personnel responsible for activities, programs and facilities in most cases assume responsibility to investigate, to review the facts, and to exact sanctions if necessary and appropriate.

Administrative hearings are also convened when there is concern for inappropriate disclosure, at times of extreme emergency, or when immediate action is warranted either for the sake of the welfare of an individual or of the campus community. During times when the Conduct Review Board cannot be convened (i.e., the end of an academic year or end of a semester, summer school, etc.) the administration will act on all student conduct matters.

Conduct Review Board
The Conduct Review Board has authority to review incidents involving violations of policies, standards and rules except complaints involving academic integrity (Honor Code) and civil rights (discrimination, harassment, stalking, retaliation etc.). This board may review appeals and referrals from administrative hearings.

The Conduct Review Board is composed of three students appointed by the Augustana Student Association, three faculty members and one administrator. The Dean of Students (or designee) will serve as the convener of the board and non-voting advisor.

Equity Grievance Panel
The Equity Grievance Panel is convened by the University’s Title IX Coordinator to review complaints of violations that involve discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. The Equity Grievance Process outlines the policies and resolution procedures that guide the Equity Grievance Panel.

Honor Board
The Honor Board has a responsibility to review reports of violations of academic integrity policies.
Augustana’s Honor Code consists of interrelated elements that guide scholarship and learning; the Honor Pledge, the Honor Board, and a set of judicial procedures that guide the University’s adjudication of academic integrity violations.

POLICIES, STANDARDS AND RULES

The following statements of policy, standards and rules define inappropriate conduct for the Augustana community. The Code of Student Conduct applies to all students, whether undergraduate, or graduate, in settings that take place on campus, at university-sponsored events, and may also apply to off-campus settings including the online environment when the conduct affects a substantial university interest.

Academic Integrity is vital to the academic classroom at Augustana because it involves the search for and acquisition of knowledge and understanding. Any willful misrepresentation of the relation between the work being evaluated and the student’s actual state of knowledge is a violation of the Honor Code.

Alcoholic Beverages. The possession and use of alcoholic beverages on the premises and at university sponsored functions are prohibited. The following provides additional clarification regarding alcohol-related standards and procedures:

  • It is unlawful in the State of South Dakota for persons under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcoholic beverages. It is also illegal to sell or distribute alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21.
  • Medical Amnesty – Seeking medical assistance when faced with an alcohol or drug related emergency far outweighs the consequences of a policy violation. No student seeking medical assistance for oneself or for another will be subject to disciplinary action for the sole violation of an alcohol or other drug violation provided the student acts in good faith and cooperates with university officials.
  • Alcoholic beverage use is permitted in designated housing facilities (theme houses and apartments) when students are 21 years of age or older.
  • Intoxication and other alcohol-related behavior are not condoned.
  • Alcoholic beverage paraphernalia such as beer bongs used for drinking contests is prohibited.
  • The possession of alcoholic beverage containers, either full or empty, is taken as a presumption of use and possession.
  • It is a violation, even when present in a defined location such as a residence hall room where alcoholic beverage containers are present.
  • Advertising that promotes the use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted.
  • Student organization funds may not be used to purchase alcohol or sponsor an event where alcohol is available.

Assault is conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of a person by acts that are painful, injurious, intimidating, insulting or offensive. This includes any willful attempt or threat to inflict physical or emotional harm, with an apparent ability to commit the act.

Bullying and cyberbullying is a repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or emotionally.

Computer and technology resources are provided for non-commercial, academic use. It is expected that students apply a normal standard of academic integrity, polite conduct and respect for the rights and privacy of others and abide by all state and federal laws.

Augustana uses campus email as a primary way of communicating with students and staff. It is expected that all students will check their university assigned e-mail regularly.

Dishonesty is possessing false and/or misleading information and furnishing false information to university officials acting within the scope of their duties. Dishonest acts include lending, borrowing or altering university identification, forgery, alteration, or misuse of school documents and/or records, and the manufacture, attempted use, distribution, or sale of false identification.

Disorderly conduct is prohibited on university premises and at university-sponsored activities. Disruptive conduct is an act that intentionally obstructs teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, freedom of movement, and other lawful activities on the campus and at university-sponsored events. Augustana prohibits acts that violate the civil rights of others and any actions that obstruct university programs through the use of force, violence, or obstructive behavior.

Domestic and dating violence is violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class (this includes romantic relationships, dating, domestic and/or relationship violence). Any such discrimination will be appropriately remedied according to the Equity Grievance Process.

Drugs. The use and/or possession of drugs except when prescribed by a physician, and the distribution of drugs and is prohibited on the premises and at university sponsored activities. The following provides additional clarification regarding related standards and procedures:

  • A violation of this drug policy (i.e., narcotics, stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens) is subject to state and federal laws and may be referred to law enforcement officials.
  • The possession of drug-related paraphernalia such as bongs and pipes is a violation of state law and may be referred to law enforcement officials.
  • Medical Amnesty – Seeking medical assistance when faced with an alcohol or drug related emergency far outweighs the consequences of a policy violation. No student seeking medical assistance for oneself or for another will be subject to disciplinary action for the sole violation of an alcohol or other drug violation provided the student acts in good faith and cooperates with university officials.

Failure to comply with directives of university officials or law enforcement officials acting in the performance of their duties.

Firearms. (See policy on weapons.)

Fire Safety. The following prohibited acts are subject to city and state fire codes and violations may be referred to local authorities.

  1. Tampering with fire safety equipment such as extinguishers, smoke detectors, alarms and building fire exits.
  2. The possession and/or discharge of fireworks.
  3. Burning candles, incense and other actions involving an open flame, particularly in campus housing facilities.

Harassment is a form of discrimination that may be created by oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct that interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from university-sponsored programs, activities, or opportunities.

Hazing is an act likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism when related to the initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity on the basis of actual or perceived membership.

Intimidation is an implied threat or act that causes an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, or harassment against any person reporting a student conduct incident and/or cooperating in the investigation of an incident including witnesses.

Sexual Misconduct. Augustana is committed to a safe environment that promotes dignity and respect and will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form. Sexual misconduct is not only a violation of an individual’s rights and dignity, it is an act that affects our entire campus community. This policy relates directly to federal and state civil rights laws banning discrimination in institutions of higher education. Any such discrimination will be appropriately remedied according to the Equity Grievance Process. The following acts constitute a violation of this policy: sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, and sexual exploitation. These acts are presented in detail as part of the University’s civil rights policies and procedures.

Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Any such discrimination will be appropriately remedied according to the Equity Grievance Process.

Theft is stealing from, causing damage to, or malicious misuse of university premises or controlled property or the property of any member or guest of the campus community.

Tobacco (Smoking)
Augustana is a tobacco-free campus. The use of tobacco products in or on university premises is prohibited and includes: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco, such as hookahs or simulate the use of tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes.

Unauthorized entry into or exit from university premises.

Weapons defined as all firearms, air guns, sling shots, bows, knives with blades over 6 inches in length, etc. are prohibited on the premises and at university sponsored activities. Secure storage for hunting weapons is available in the Campus Safety Office.

FILING A COMPLAINT

Any member of the campus community may file a grievance against a student for misconduct. It is preferred that the complaint be presented in writing and delivered to the Dean of Students Office (Note: Honor Code grievances are directed to the Academic Affairs Office). It is desired that a complaint or grievance be reported within ten class days as the longer someone waits to report, the harder it becomes to obtain information and to make determinations regarding an alleged violation.

All reports are acted upon promptly. The University will attempt to treat each report with as much concern for privacy as possible. Subject to the Augustana’s obligation to redress violations, the University reserves the right to notify, investigate and warn as necessary in order to appropriately pursue resolution of the complaint. In all cases, Augustana will give consideration to the complainant with regard to how the grievance is pursued.

INVESTIGATION

Upon receiving a grievance report, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to determine if the report merits further investigation and/or whether the grievance can be addressed by an administrative hearing, by mutual consent of the parties involved, by the Campus Review Board, the Honor Board, or the Equity Grievance Panel.

All investigations will be thorough, reliable and impartial, and will entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, and by obtaining available evidence and other information as necessary.

Investigations may take longer when initial reports of grievance fail to provide direct first-hand information. Upon occasion, it may be required to undertake a short delay when civil or criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. Augustana’s action will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that other non-college (civil or criminal charges) involving the same incident has been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.

The imposition of interim restrictions or a suspension may be considered prior to the completion of the investigation in order to ensure the safety and well-being of persons involved in the complaint and other members of the campus community.

HEARINGS AND CONFERENCES

Every effort will be made to provide fair and just educational measures for students against whom complaints are being made (hereafter referred to as the respondent or responding student).

  • The respondent shall be entitled to an expeditious hearing of the case. The hearing shall be conducted in such a manner as to provide substantial justice but shall not be unduly restricted by rules of legal procedure or legal evidence.
  • If brought before a hearing as a member of a group, the respondent has the right to have the case heard individually.
  • The responding student shall be informed of the reasons for the hearing with sufficient information and sufficient time to ensure the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.
  • Hearing proceedings are private. While the content of the hearing is private, parties have the discretion to share their own experiences. If at any time during the hearing, invited attendees are disruptive of the proceedings, the chairperson may exclude such persons from the hearing room. In those cases, the chairperson may direct that the hearing be recessed and reconvened in closed session.
  • The responding student shall be entitled to refuse to answer questions and may also choose to not attend the hearing. If the respondent elects to not attend, the hearing shall proceed. No respondent may be found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct solely because they did not appear. In all cases, the evidence in support of the charges shall be presented and considered.
  • In the event of a hearing by the Conduct Review Board, the complainant and respondent will be given a list of names of review board members. If either party objects to a review board member, they may with a statement of cause, challenge the seating of a board member. Review board members will only be unseated if the chair concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing.

ADVISORS

Students have the right to be accompanied by an advisor. The advisor’s role in the hearing is to personally advise the student. The advisor may not conduct or direct cross-examination, ask questions, or make presentations or comments to the student or hearing body during the hearing.

BURDEN OF PROOF

All decisions are made on the basis of a preponderance of evidence standard (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual committed the alleged violation).

INTERIM ACTIONS

In certain circumstances, Augustana may take interim action(s) to safeguard the university community before a student conduct hearing begins or is completed. Interim action(s) may be imposed immediately without prior notice when there is a need to take an individualized response based on the status of the student, the seriousness of the alleged violation(s) and/or the potential for an ongoing threat or disruption to the university community. 

Interim actions may include, but are not limited to, “no contact” orders, relocation in campus housing, adjustments to class schedule, and denied access to the premises and/or all other activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible.

A student may also be suspended on an interim basis if the student has engaged in, or threatens to engage in behavior which causes physical harm to self, to others, would place others in fear of imminent danger, and/or causes disruption of, or interference with the normal operations of the university.

SANCTIONS

Student conduct sanctions are educational in nature with the desired outcome of instilling an understanding that Augustana students are responsible for their actions. Sanctions for most violations will include consequences that; redirect a student’s behavior toward an acceptable standard expected of all members of the university community,  protect the university community from the potential for harm or injury, require restitution for property that is lost, stolen or damaged, and give support for financial redress to a victim for loss, harm or destruction of personal property. At times, sanctions may be specified that involve educational assignments such as research papers and planning and/or presenting a program related to the policy violation. Such sanctions will not involve physical labor unless the assignment is a service-related project that is directly related to the violation.

Sanctions become effective immediately following the completion of the hearing and receipt of the conduct letter unless otherwise stipulated.

Sanctions may be appealed in accordance with the procedures specified in Section XII.

Parents/guardians may be notified of a drug policy violation and of an alcohol-related violation resulting in probation and/or a serious incident indicative of substance abuse or dependency.

The following sanctions may be imposed for violations of a conduct policy, standard or rule. It is understood that more than one of the following consequences may be imposed for any single violation.

Warning ‒ Notification that the behavior was unacceptable with a warning that further infractions of any policy, procedure or directive will result in a more severe sanction or responsive action.

Probation ‒ Formal reprimand for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, that specifies a more severe disciplinary sanction in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any university policy, procedure or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation may also include “no contact” orders, relocation in campus housing, denied access to premises and activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, and other measures deemed appropriate.

Suspension ‒ Termination of enrollment status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years, and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation for the remainder of their tenure at the University.

Residence Hall Suspension ‒ Separation from campus housing for a specified period of time. Suspension may result in the forfeiture of all or part of the housing fee for the remainder of the academic term according to Augustana’s published refund policy.

Expulsion ‒ Permanent termination of enrollment status, revocation of rights to be on the premises for any reason or attend Augustana-sponsored events.

Residence Hall Expulsion ‒ Permanent separation from campus housing that may result in a forfeiture of all or part of the housing fee for the remainder of the academic term according to Augustana’s published refund policy.

Withholding Diploma ‒ Augustana may withhold a student's diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has a grievance pending or as a sanction, if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.

Revocation of Degree ‒ Augustana reserves the right to revoke a degree awarded from the University for fraud, misrepresentation or other violation of policies, procedures or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.

Organizational Sanctions ‒ De-activation, derecognition, and/or loss of privileges for a specified period of time.

Denied Access and Other Actions ‒ Augustana may exercise reasonable authority, in its sole and absolute discretion, to deny access to the premises if it is believed that an individual poses a threat to the safety, health or welfare of oneself or other persons, or property.

The University may also assign other consequences as deemed appropriate. Examples of “other actions” include restorative experiences, restitution, and mandated referrals to educational workshops or counseling. Failure to complete assignments and/or sanctions may result in a monetary assessment.

Monetary Assessments ‒ Restitution, the compensation for loss, damage, or injury may take the form of service-related assignments and/or monetary or material replacement. Failure to pay or make arrangements for payment of monetary assessments may result in a business office hold that will prevent class registration/enrollment in a subsequent academic term.

STUDENT CONDUCT RECORDS

The Dean of Students Office shall maintain student conduct records. Relevant student conduct records and related information shall be made available to hearing boards to assist in the recommendation of an appropriate sanction, and to other university officials who require such information to fulfill their official duties.

Students may arrange to review their own student conduct records and related information by contacting the Office of the Dean of Students.

Except as provided elsewhere in this code and/or as required by law, the University shall not communicate a student's conduct record to any person or agency without prior written consent of the student.

Student conduct records shall be maintained for seven (7) years from the last recorded entry, then destroyed.

APPEALS

A request for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing within five (5) class days or business days of the delivery of the written finding.

Any party may appeal, but appeals are limited to the following:

  • A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
  • To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the original hearing or investigation that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included. New evidence that could not have been previously discovered and that, had it been presented at the initial hearing, would have substantially affected the original decision will be treated as grounds for a new hearing by the original judicial body.
  • The sanction imposed is substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.

The original conduct decision will stand if the appeal is not timely or is not based on the grounds listed above and as such, the decision is final.

All parties should be informed of whether the grounds for an appeal are accepted and the results of the appeal decision.

Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final and further appeal is not permitted.

REVISIONS TO THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

Because this code of student conduct cannot anticipate every circumstance regarding institutional policy, Augustana reserves the right to amend, supplement, interpret, rescind, or deviate from policies from time to time as it deems appropriate based on the facts and circumstances surrounding each situation, in its sole and absolute discretion. The contents of this code of student conduct supersedes and revokes all prior statements of policy.