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Student Honor Code

Reviewed & Approved: March 2019

Honor is that principle by which we at Chatham form our code of living, working, and studying together. The standards of honor at Chatham require that all Chatham students act with intellectual independence, personal integrity, honesty in all relationships, and consideration for the rights and well-being of others. As citizens of the campus community focused on education, students must accept certain obligations that accrue by virtue of such citizenship. Consequently, students must adhere to community standards in accordance with the University’s mission and expectations.

Individual rights are ensured to the degree that these rights require a respect for the rights of all within the community to the same extent. In accepting admission to Chatham University, undergraduate and graduate students automatically agree to be personally responsible in all matters pertaining to honor and pledge to abide by those rules, which are considered by the community, as part of its Honor Code.

While the University articulates specific community standards, both academic and social, the Honor Code is maintained through the acceptance of personal responsibility by each community member in their on and off campus behavior. This code has been established in order to protect a specialized environment conducive to learning which fosters shared responsibility, integrity, academic success, personal and professional growth, and responsible citizenship.

The Honor Pledge

During Orientation, each new member of the Chatham student community will be required to recite the Honor Pledge. The pledge states: "Realizing the trust placed in me, I affirm my faith in the individual and in personal integrity and I assume the responsibility of maintaining the tenets of the Honor Code in all attendant matters." A copy of the pledge will be provided to each student.

Jurisdiction of Chatham University generally shall be limited to conduct which occurs on the Chatham University premises or at University-sponsored or University-supervised functions. However, the University may take appropriate action against students for conduct occurring in other settings, including off campus, online and on social media in order to protect the physical safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors or if there are effects of the conduct that interfere with or limit students' ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs and activities.

Being under the influence of drugs or the use of alcohol will not diminish or excuse a violation of the Honor Code. 

Zero Tolerance for Violence Chatham University supports all efforts to prevent violence on campus. Any violation of another person's rights, including but not limited to physical or verbal threats, mental abuse, intentional libel, slander, hazing, physical harm or the harassment of another person will result in the campus taking the necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community, which may include the immediate removal of the student from the college setting and potential expulsion.

Health & Wellness

The health and safety of Chatham University students is of utmost importance.  Every attempt is made to support students’ overall health and wellbeing.  Our actions and interactions impact all members of the Chatham community.  Consistent with Chatham University’s mission and values, it is the expectation that students will be active participants in prioritizing the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of themselves and others. In instances where a student and/or the community’s health, well-being or safety are at significant or imminent risk of harm, further response, as determined by the University on a case-by-case basis, may be required. In such instances, the University will conduct an individualized assessment and consider reasonable and appropriate accommodations. The University will treat students’ confidentiality regarding health, wellness and safety with the utmost respect and in accordance with applicable laws.

Presidential Interim Suspension

When the actions of a student threaten the order of the University, the President reserves the right to impose an interim suspension of the student, pursuant to the Chatham University Student Honor Code, pending disciplinary procedures under the Student Honor Code, criminal proceedings or medical evaluation.

The President also reserves the right to determine whether the student may or may not remain on campus property pending the completion of the disciplinary process. The interim suspension shall become immediately effective without prior notice whenever the continued presence of the student at the University poses a substantial and immediate threat to her/himself or to others or to the stability and continuance of normal University functions.

  1. The Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students initiates a presidential interim suspension by providing the president with information of: (a) the events causing the threat to exist; (b) the name of the student and actions allegedly violating the University Student Honor Code (c) a statement of the conduct allegedly violated by the student.
  2. The Vice President for Student Affairs /Dean of Students will immediately notify the student of the presidential interim suspension. The Vice President for Student Affairs / Dean of Students will subsequently notify the student of the need to schedule a preliminary conference and the regular student conduct process will proceed while the student is on interim suspension.
  3. The student has the right to appeal a Presidential Interim Suspension in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the suspension.  

Contact Standing

Any students with an active conduct file is not in “good conduct standing.” Students going through the University Student Honor Code process and in process of completing sanctions are not in good conduct standing. Students not in good conduct standing may be prohibited from participating in formal campus processes, such as future course registration, future housing selection, and applying for or running for a campus leadership position. Students who fail to complete sanctions by the designated deadline will have an indefinite conduct hold placed against their student account by the Office of Student Affairs. Such students will not be able to resume formal University processes until they complete their conduct process.

Students who have been charged with Student Honor Code violations and completed assigned sanctions will be in good conduct standing.

Conduct for which students are subject to Student Honor Code sanctions falls into the following categories:

  1. Dishonesty directed toward a University official. This includes but is not limited to lying, cheating, or providing false reporting and/or information. 
  1. Forgery, theft, misuse, or alteration or duplication without University permission, of any University property. This includes, but is not limited to documents, records, computer software, keys, or the students' illegal use of copyrighted materials over the internet, in which case additional legal action may be taken against a student by the Recording Industry Association of America or the Motion Picture Association of America. The University will not shield students from such action and will comply with proper subpoenas. 
  1. Unauthorized entry into University facilities or use of University facilities/equipment without proper authorization. This includes entry into faculty or staff offices and other students' residences.
  1. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, conduct proceedings, or other University activities, including its public service functions on or off campus.  This includes classrooms, offices and meeting areas or any intentional act to impair or prevent accomplishment of the mission, process, or function of the University. Examples of obstruction or disruption would include pulling a fire alarm or making an anonymous bomb threat to get out of taking an exam or holding a campus event.  Other examples include: engaging in violence; taking actions that a reasonable person would consider a threat of violence; breaking the law or engaging in criminal action; taking action that prevents other members of the campus community from carrying out their job or pursuing their education.  
  1. Mental or bodily harm to others which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any personViolation of University Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence and violation of another person's rights including but not limited to the following:
    • intentionally inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person;
    • attempting to inflict mental or bodily harm upon another person;
    • taking any reckless, but not accidental, action from which mental or bodily harm could result to another person;
    • causing a person to believe that the offender may cause mental or bodily harm;
    • sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual assault;
    • bullying, repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally;
    • stalking, repeated following or engaging in behavior with no legitimate purpose that puts another person reasonably in fear for their safety or would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed, coercing another to engage in an act of membership in a student organization that causes or creates a risk of mental or bodily harm to any person (e.g. hazing); This includes violations that occur via the internet, such as but not limited to instant messenger, via websites, via e-mail, or through online communities.
    • any act which threatens, intimidates, demeans, degrades, disgraces any person. 
  1. Discrimination/Harassment. Civilly, criminally, or administratively prohibited unequal treatment of a person on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status or any other legally protected status. 
  1. The unauthorized use, or the abuse, destruction, or theft of property of the University or of any of its members. This includes property of external vendors, guests or neighbors of the University; or the "borrowing" of common property for personal use. This includes unauthorized use of the University computer server and University e-mail addresses when used in a manner that violates the Chatham University Honor Code. (See the "Computing Ethics Statement."). 
  1. Civil disturbance. This includes conduct which involves disturbing the peace in conjunction with a civil disturbance in a lewd, indecent or disorderly manner on University property or at University sponsored or supervised activities. 
  1. Creation of a fire, safety, or health hazard. This includes intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report or warning of a fire or other emergency. 
  1. Ejection of any objects from windows, roofs, or balconies of University buildings. This includes being present on the roofs of any University building. 
  1. Embezzlement or procurement of any money, goods or services under false pretense
  1. Duplicating or tampering with computer access codes, or other such devices without proper authorization
  1. Unauthorized use of office long-distance phone lines, the computer system and/or computer access code
  1. Failure to comply with the written and verbal directions of University officials. This includes directions of staff, faculty, public safety officers, and other law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, the failure to identify oneself to any such persons when requested to do so and repeat traffic violations. This also includes staff at studying abroad programs for which the student receives academic credit. 
  1. Failure to comply with University policies, rules or regulations. This includes but is not limited to those governing residence in University-provided housing, or the use of University facilities, of the time, place and manner of public expression. 
  1. Failure to comply with policies, rules or regulations of local, commonwealth, and/or federal laws.
    • Failure to comply with alcohol statutes.
    • Failure to comply with drug statutes.
    • Public arrest by a police department on or off campus.
    • Committing an act of Hazing, as defined by The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Hazing Law and 2018 Act 80 [P.L. 535, No. 80] 
  1. Possession of a device (drug paraphernalia) that has been used to ingest an illegal drug or narcotic
  1. Possession or use of weapons, firearms, explosive or hazardous chemicals. 
  1. Misrepresenting oneself as a Chatham University affiliate at an on or off campus event to falsely solicit services. This includes but is not limited to obtaining funds for a service project or a student organization fundraiser and using the funds for personal use. 
  1. Aiding and Abetting. Helping, procuring, or encouraging another person to engage in a violation of any offense.

The purpose of listing and publishing Conduct for which students are subject to Student Honor Code sanctions is to give students a general notice of prohibited conduct. However this is not meant to be an inclusive list of Honor Code violations as it is a violation to fail to comply with any University regulation.

Authority for Student Honor Code and Procedures

The Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students is responsible for the overall coordination of the Student Honor Code and Procedures on behalf of the University. The Vice President may authorize a designee to directly manage the Student Honor Code and Procedures. In this role the duties include:

  1. Oversight of the University Student Honor Code Committee and the appointment of members. All previous members will hold over until new members are elected or appointed.
  2. Educating and advising members of the University community of the Student Honor Code and Procedures.
  3. Providing advice and assistance to the University Student Honor Code and other appropriate University officials regarding student honor code matters.