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Accountability and Support

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.  EMU strives to be a community characterized by love for God and one another, wisdom, equality, sustainability, and accountability, and further, to be a place in which all belong and see themselves as members, owners, and curators of the community.  

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 positive regard for each other, for property and for the community.   

Community: members build and enhance their community.

Responsibility: members are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others, and to the community.

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 within the student life division 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 (RJ) 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.

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.  

EMU has also developed a table of common outcomes for incidents involving alcohol and other drugs. See the last page of the EMU Student Conduct and Conflict Worksheet for this information.

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 undergraduate 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. Please note that those who arrive to campus prior the start of classes for official university functions including, but not limited to student employment, trainings, athletics, orientation staff, etc. are considered Eastern Mennonite University students.

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 apply to conduct that takes place on campus, at university-sponsored events, and off-campus, especially when the conduct has impact on the campus community.   

While on an EMU cross-cultural experience, students may encounter different cultural standards and values. During preparation for the Cross-Cultural students and 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.

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 part of the public sphere and are not private.

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.

Standards of Conduct

The following standards of conduct are believed to represent the commitments referred to in Life Together and take into account the best interests of the campus community. . The standards are applicable to cross-cultural trips and other off-campus programs. These standards apply to all students (undergraduate and graduate/seminary) and include off-campus university-sponsored activities, including cross-cultural trips. The university considers the behaviors described in the following section to be in opposition to the core values of Integrity, Justice, Respect, Community and Responsibility set forth above. In addition, the behaviors described below are harmful to self, to others and to the campus community. The university encourages any and all students, faculty, and staff to report (to a student life staff person) instances of harm that they have experienced or participated in.  

Integrity: EMU students exemplify honesty, honor, and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings.
Community: EMU students build and enhance their community.
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.
Respect: EMU students show positive regard for each other, for property and for the community.
Responsibility: EMU students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others, and to the community. 

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.

6. Disruptive Behavior

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

7. 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.

8. Endangerment

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

9. Social Media and Social Networking

Many students use social media on a regular basis to communicate with friends and acquaintances.  When inappropriate, threatening, or otherwise questionable entries are reported, the university may take action to further investigate. The university reserves the right to hold individuals accountable for social media posts that violate the Standards of Conduct. It is important for students to be aware that the web is considered “public” not “private” space.  Anything that is not encrypted can be read by others. Old information that is erased may actually be stored in various databases of search engines such as Google, etc. In cases where inappropriate use of the internet is suspected, the university may choose to retrieve such information and hold individuals accountable if use constitutes a violation of the Standards of Conduct.

10. Fire Safety

Violation of local, state, federal or campus fire policies including, but not limited to:

a) Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages university or personal property or which causes injury;

b) Failure to evacuate a university building during a fire alarm;

c) Improper use of university fire safety equipment; or

d) 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.

11. Gambling

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

12. Inappropriate Use of Internet

Visiting pornography sites, viewing pornography, and use of apps and/or social media for the purpose of developing harmful  relationships (i.e. “hooking up,” sexual relationships with minors, etc.) is prohibited. It is an inappropriate use of the internet to download and/or view films or other media content that has not been legally released. Additionally, it is inappropriate to use 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).

13. 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 vice president for student life must be contacted for prior approval. The vice president 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.

14. Abuse of Conduct Process

Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, university processes including conduct and academic integrity hearings including, but not limited to:

  1. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information;

  2. Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation;

  3. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the campus accountability system;

  4. 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;

  5. Failure to comply with the outcome(s) imposed by the campus accountability system;

  6. Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.    

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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 via the Campus Safety Incident Report (emu.edu/safecampus/), who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of the victim and community.

18. Hostile Environment

A hostile environment occurs 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. Reports of alleged hostile environment that involve sexual misconduct will be investigated by the university's Title IX coordinator. See Eastern Mennonite University Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct.

19. Retaliation

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

20. 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.   

21. 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; destroying or removing public or private property; involving the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or in violation of any of the policies of the university. Reports of alleged 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.

22. 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.

23. Pranks

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

24. Relationship Violence*

Relationship violence is a broad term used by EMU to categorize types of violence other than sexual violence that occur in the context of an intimate relationship, often including emotional, psychological, physical, or fiscal abuse. Relationship violence encompasses domestic violence, dating violence, and intimate partner violence. An incident of relationship violence can consist of a single act of violence or a pattern of violent acts. Incidents of relationship violence can occur separate from or in tandem with incidents of sexual misconduct. Conduct that constitutes relationship violence is covered under the Eastern Mennonite University Policy on  Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct- emu.edu/titleix/relationship-violence-policy.

The following terms are also defined in the Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct

Domestic Violence

Dating Violence

Intimate Partner Violence

Stalking

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

25. 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: 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: 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.   

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 titleixcoordinator@emu.edu OR complete a Campus Safety Incident Report at https://emu.edu/safecampus/ OR see EMU Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct “Reporting” section for full details on reporting options and process.

26. Theft

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

27. 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 (see below)

NOTE on Self-Reporting/Amnesty for Alcohol and Other Drugs: Individuals who self-report consumption or potential misuse of alcohol and other drugs 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.

28. 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

29. Prescription Medications

Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications is prohibited;

30. Non-Compliance

Defined as 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.

31. Tobacco

The possession or use of tobacco (including vape pens and e-cigarettes) is prohibited in all university buildings as well as at university related functions. Smoking is not 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 Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life or their designate.