Standards of Conduct: Information and Policies - Graduate and Professional Studies

A community exists on the basis of shared values, principles, and ideals. At EMU these ideals are articulated in Life Together: Commitments for a Community of Learning - Love for God and one another, wisdom, equality, sustainability, and accountability. EMU strives to build a community in which all belong and see themselves as members, owners, and curators of community. For the continuation of community in digital spaces, see additions for Digital Life Together.

All members of the community are expected to uphold and abide by standards of conduct that form the basis of the Standards of Conduct. Together with the ideals stated in Life Together, the standards of conduct are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, justice, respect, community, and responsibility.

Integrity: members exemplify honesty, honor, and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings.    

Justice: members are just and equitable in their treatment of all and act to discourage and/or intervene to prevent unjust and inequitable behaviors.

Respect: members show worth and positive regard for each other, for property and for the community.   

Community: members seek relational, collaborative, accountable and restorative ways of being with one another. 

Responsibility: members conduct themselves ethically and faithfully, using all resources wisely and generously. 

EMU seeks to provide an educational setting where faculty, administrators, staff and students work together in the common purpose of creating and maintaining the highest standards of academic and community life. This task occurs in the context of a community that is characterized by Christian discipleship and responsibility for each other.

EMU is committed to building and maintaining a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, engaged campus life, and thoughtful study and discourse. The student accountability program is committed to educational, developmental, and restorative processes that meet the needs of individual students as well as the needs of the university community.

Restorative Justice and Student Accountability at EMU

Restorative justice is a philosophy that emphasizes healing and accountability to repair harm and wrongdoing, build community, and strengthen relationships (definition developed by Dr. Johonna Turner, Assistant Professor of Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding at CJP at EMU). Restorative justice begins with the assumption that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, recognizing that each person has a unique perspective. By our presence we are all members of communities and are therefore connected to each other. Each of us needs to be responsible for our own actions and need to be held accountable for those actions. Restorative justice is a philosophy that focuses on meeting the needs of individuals and groups through community/relationship building as well as through the development of processes that lead to active and meaningful accountability. RJ embraces community empowerment and participation, multi-partial facilitation, active accountability, and social support. Restorative justice is not an easy way out for those who do harm, because restorative justice requires taking responsibility and being accountable in ways that are not easy.

The purpose of a restorative justice process is to bring together all parties involved in an incident for the purposes of addressing the harms associated with the incident. The RJ process enhances the opportunity for learning amongst all involved, as well as providing a venue for discussion of various points of view.

As far as possible, the student accountability processes at EMU attempt to embody this restorative justice philosophy by creating space for inclusive decision-making, active accountability, repairing harm, and rebuilding trust. However, there may be incidences where respondents/those who have done harm refuse to take responsibility and/or need to be held responsible for harm done or for a violation of university standards of conduct. While highlighting the restorative processes (conferencing and circles) used for repairing harm, rebuilding trust, and building community, the EMU student accountability procedures also contain mechanisms for incidents in which those who have done harm/respondents are held responsible for harm/wrongdoing/violation of policy.

Scope of Community Expectations

Students at EMU are provided a copy of the Student Handbook annually in the form of a link on the EMU website. Students are responsible for reading and abiding by the provisions of the standards of conduct.  The standards of conduct apply to the conduct of individual students. A student will be considered enrolled if the following conditions are met:

  1. the student is pre-registered for courses in any term (fall, spring or summer); and
  2. the student’s attendance in at least one class has been verified.

After classes begin, students need to attend classes to continue their enrollment status. Students are considered continuously enrolled when they are registered for consecutive fall and spring terms.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the standards of conduct, whether or not on university premises/property, and may be considered for disciplinary action whenever and wherever a breach of conduct has occurred*. The standards of conduct applies to conduct that takes place on campus, at university-sponsored events, and off-campus, especially when the conduct has impact on the campus community.

*In cross-cultural settings, students may encounter different cultural standards and values. They, along with faculty leaders, will agree upon culturally appropriate behavior that still honors EMU’s standards of conduct. Outcomes for violations of standards of conduct while on cross-cultural trips may include but are not limited to the student being sent home early from the cross-cultural at the expense of the student.

Standards of Conduct

The standards of conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email, or other electronic medium. Community members should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats, and social networking sites and applications are considered to be in the public sphere and are not private. The university does not regularly search for this information, but may take action if and when such information is brought to attention.

The standards of conduct apply to guests of EMU campus community members, whose hosts may be held accountable for the behavior of their guests. Visitors to and guests of the university may seek resolution of violations committed against them by members of the EMU campus community.

Whenever conduct violates federal, state and/or local law and EMU policies, the university is obligated to follow through on its own accountability processes separate from and independent of action taken by civil authorities.  A civil and/or criminal process may move forward simultaneously and independently from the university’s process. The university enlists assistance from civil authorities if and when the lives, property, or safety of its students or personnel are endangered and cooperates with law enforcement officers as they carry out their duties.

The list of standards presented below is not comprehensive, but is believed to be in the best interests of all members of the campus community and are applicable to cross-cultural and other off- campus programs. These standards apply to all students (undergraduate and graduate/seminary). The university considers the behaviors described in the following section to be in opposition to the core values set forth above. In addition, the behaviors described below are harmful (to self, to others, to the campus community). The university encourages any and all students, faculty, and staff to report instances of harm that they have experienced or participated in.  

NOTE on Self-Reporting/Amnesty: Individuals who self-report behaviors, consumption or potential misuse harmful to self  will not face university disciplinary action. In cases of self-reporting, a member of the student life staff will meet with the student to determine the best educational and/or recovery options available for the student, if needed. In cases of self-reporting, the university will offer its own resources (Counseling Center, Health Services, Mentoring, AOD educational activities) as well as community-based resources to help.

Integrity: EMU students exemplify honesty, honor, and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Dishonesty
    All forms of dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, forgery, furnishing false information to university officials acting in the performance of their duties, and falsification of official documents. See “Academic Integrity” in the policy section.

  2. Falsification
    Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified, or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification, or financial instruments.

  3. Unauthorized Use or Entry
    Unauthorized entry into, presence in, or use of university facilities, equipment or property which has not been reserved or accessed through appropriate university officials.

  4. Collusion
    Action or inaction with another or others to violate the standards of conduct.

  5. Election Tampering
    Tampering with the election of any university-recognized student organization.

Community: EMU students seek relational, collaborative, accountable and restorative ways of being with one another. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Disruptive Behavior
    Substantial disruption of community operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, residential life, athletics events, and/or other university activities that occur on campus.

  2. Damage or Destruction
    Intentional, reckless, and/or unauthorized damage to or destruction of university property or the personal property of another (student, faculty, staff). Conduct which threatens to damage, or creates hazardous conditions such as dropping, throwing, or causing objects or substances to fall from windows, doors, ledges, balconies, or roofs.

  3. Endangerment
    Actions or threats which put other persons in danger, whether physical, psychological, or emotional.

  4. Inappropriate Use of Technology 

Any violations to the Technology Code of Responsibility for Students

Using technology to include any form of social media and or electronic devices in a

threatening, harassing or bullying manner, using technology in a way that is inappropriate or offensive to students, faculty or staff or in ways that interfere with the University’s technological infrastructure, using University owned devices to access pornographic content, use of someone else’s University email account, gaining or attempting to gain unauthorized access to a computer facility or software, illegally using copyrighted software and materials on University information systems, knowingly engaging in any activity harmful to the information system.

The misuse of social media and other technology platforms to harm and disrespect others, as in cyberbullying or cyberstalking is prohibited. This behavior includes, but is not limited to: sending mean, threatening or harassing messages to another person through texts, emails, instant messaging, telephone communications, private social media messaging, or social media postings, spreading lies and rumors through the internet or text messages, posting pictures without the consent of the individual, creating websites, polls, blogs or other internet postings that are meant to embarrass or harass others, recording conversations or videos without consent and posting the content online.

  1. Fire Safety
    Violation of local, state, federal or campus fire policies including, but not limited to:
    1. Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages university or personal property or which causes injury;
    2. Failure to evacuate a university building during a fire alarm;
    3.  Improper use of university fire safety equipment; or
    4. Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm of fire detection equipment while on university property. *Such action may result in a local fine in addition to university outcomes.

  2. Gambling
    Gambling as prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The exchange of money and/or goods by betting or wagering.

  3.  Inappropriate Use of Internet
    Visiting pornography sites, viewing pornography, and use of so-called “hook-up” apps for the purpose of developing inappropriate relationships. Also included in inappropriate use of internet is downloading and/or viewing films or other media content that has not been legally released, we well as using the internet for purposes of gambling. #11 above. (See also University Policies: Information Systems Policies and Eastern Mennonite University Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct).

  4. Weapons
    The use or possession of firearms, explosives, knives, bows, flammable materials or weapons of any kind (including BB, paintball, pellet, and airsoft guns) is prohibited on the university campus or at any university-related function. If any of these items are needed on campus for educational purposes, the Dean of Students must be contacted for prior approval. The Dean of Students must also be contacted for storage questions related to hunting weapons.  If weapons are allegedly stored on campus in a locker, room, or vehicle, campus authorities may search said location and confiscate weapons or other contraband that may be found.

Justice: EMU students are just and equitable in their treatment of all and act to discourage and/or intervene to prevent unjust and inequitable behaviors. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Abuse of Conduct Process
    Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, University/College processes including conduct and academic integrity hearings including, but not limited to:
    Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information; Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation; Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the campus accountability system; Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a campus conduct body prior to, during, and/or following a campus conduct proceeding; Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the campus accountability system; Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.

  2. Bystanding
    Complicity with or failure of any community member to appropriately address known or obvious harm to other community members and/or violations of the standards of conduct.

  3. Discrimination
    Eastern Mennonite University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any legally protected status. Discrimination is defined as any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program or activities.

  4. Harassment
    Respect for the dignity of all persons is the EMU standard. Any unwelcome conduct based on actual or perceived status including: [sex, gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status]. Any unwelcome conduct should be reported to campus officials, who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of the victim and community.

    Hostile Environment. A hostile environment happens when harassment is sufficiently severe, pervasive and/or persistent and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational or employment program or activities.

  5. Retaliation
    Retaliation against any student, faculty or staff member reporting an alleged policy violation, regardless of where such conduct or retaliation might occur.

Respect: EMU students show worth and positive regard for each other, for property and for the community. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Assault
    Acts of violence or use of physical force against any member of the community, or any act that threatens the use of physical force.

  2. Bullying
    Bullying includes any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts of physical, social, or emotional domination that cause physical or emotional harm to another student or group of students. Bullying conduct may not only cause a negative effect on individuals targeted but also others who observe the conduct. Bullying conduct is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following: substantially interfering with a community member’s education, employment, or full enjoyment of the college; creating a threatening or intimidating environment; or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the University. Bullying is prohibited at EMU.

  3. Hazing
    Hazing is prohibited at EMU. Hazing is defined as “actions which are initiated against someone’s will by harassing through force, banter, ridicule or criticism”. Hazing is an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment; destroys or removes public or private property; involves the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or violates any of the policies of the university. Hazing that involves sexual misconduct will be investigated by the university's Title IX coordinator. See Eastern Mennonite University Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct.

  4. Language Abuse
    Profanity, vulgarity, and the use of words or names that demean, intimidate, or contain threats of unwanted physical contact or damage to property.

  5. Pranks
    Actions which cause harm, damage and/or inconvenience to others and property.

  6. Relationship Violence*
    Relationship violence is a broad term that encompasses domestic violence, dating violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking (definitions provided below). Relationship violence often includes ongoing emotional, psychological, physical, and fiscal abuse. Conduct that constitutes relationship violence is covered under the Eastern Mennonite University Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct.

    Domestic Violence: violence committed by a current or former spouse, or sexual or intimate partner of the alleged victim, a person who is living as a spouse or who lived as a spouse with the alleged victim, parents and children, other persons related by blood or marriage, or by a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Dating Violence: violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the reporting party’s statement, taking into consideration the following factors: a) the length of the relationship, b) the type of relationship, and c) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Intimate Partner Violence: includes dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence, includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic, and/or other intimate relationship with that person. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Stalking: occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or to experience substantial emotional distress.

    1. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to, or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.
    2. A reasonable person means a person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
    3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

  7. Stalking includes cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    *To report an instance of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct, contact the Title IX coordinator at 540-432-4302 or by email at OR complete a Campus Safety Incident Report at OR see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct “Reporting” section for full details on reporting options and process.

  8. Sexual Violence/Misconduct*
    Sexual violence/misconduct is a broad term that encompasses sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and indecent exposure. Conduct that constitutes sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct is covered under the Eastern Mennonite University Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct.

    Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful gender discrimination. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Gender-based harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Sexual assault consists of sexual contact and/or sexual intercourse that occurs without affirmative consent. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

    Sexual exploitation is purposely or knowingly doing any of the following:
    1. causing the impairment or incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give affirmative consent to sexual activity;
    2. allowing third parties to observe sexual activity from a hidden location (e.g., closet) or through electronic means (e.g., Skype or live-streaming of images);
    3. engaging in voyeurism (e.g., watching private sexual activity without the consent of the participants or viewing another person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy);
    4. recording or photographing sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without affirmative consent;
    5. disseminating or posting images of private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without affirmative consent;
    6. prostituting another person; or
    7. exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without the other’s knowledge.
      (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)

  9. Indecent Exposure: A person commits indecent exposure if that person exposes their genitals, buttocks and breasts in any public place or in any place where there are other persons present and under circumstances in which one knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront, or alarm. (see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct)
    *To report an instance of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct, contact the Title IX coordinator at 540-432-4302 or by email at OR complete a Campus Safety Incident Report at OR see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct “Reporting” section for full details on reporting options and process.

    Procedures related specifically to conduct that has occurred that is listed in the EMU Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy as prohibited conduct can be found in the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy Appendix A if the violation is between two students and in the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy Appendix B if the conduct has occurred between a student and an employee.

  10. Theft
    Theft of money or property, shoplifting, possession of stolen property and/or the unauthorized use of personal or institutional property.

Responsibility: EMU students conduct themselves ethically and faithfully, using all resources wisely and generously. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Alcohol
    Eastern Mennonite University supports nonuse of alcohol and prohibits the misuse of alcohol, where misuse refers to underage drinking and/or drinking to excess. (See alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug policy in “University Policies” section.). The possession or use of alcohol is strictly prohibited from the EMU campus as well as at all university-related functions. Remaining in the presence of persons who are consuming alcohol on campus or at EMU-sponsored activities without objecting to its use may be considered a violation.  Those who host (i.e. provide a venue and/or provide alcohol or other substances where misuse occurs) will receive more serious outcomes. *All members of the community are encouraged to report alcohol use by themselves or others preferably as a self-report for follow-up by EMU personnel

  2. Drugs
    The use and possession of drugs prohibited by law (such as hallucinogens, heroin, cocaine and marijuana) and the abuse of those drugs controlled by law (such as prescription drugs, narcotics, amphetamines and barbiturates) are prohibited. In addition, any substances which mimic the effects of illegal drugs or controlled substances (e.g. K2, bath salts, “designer drugs”, etc.) are also prohibited. Drug paraphernalia or other contraband are also prohibited.  If for any reason drugs are suspected in an on-campus location, those said locations including residence hall rooms and personal vehicles may be searched and drugs or other contraband confiscated, even without the owner of the location present.

  3. Prescription Medications
    Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications.

  4. Non-Compliance
    Failure to comply with the reasonable directives of university officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so. EMU students are expected to have their EMU ID card with them at all times and must show it to university officials if and when they are asked.

  5. Tobacco
    The possession or use of tobacco (including vapors and e-cigarettes) is prohibited in all university buildings as well as at university-related functions. No smoking is permitted within 25 feet of any university building, nor anywhere on EMU property unless specifically posted as a designated smoking area.  Exceptions are made for unique circumstances with explicit permission from the Dean of Students.