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Approved by the Board of Trustees of Boston University May 12, 1983.
As amended through September 30, 2003.
Boston University seeks to provide all members of the University community with an environment conducive to learning. Membership in this community entails rights and responsibilities for each of its members. By enrolling in or attending a course or program of study at the University, all persons are deemed to have agreed to respect the rights of the University and its members, to abide by the provisions of this code and the rules and regulations of the University, and to be subject to any sanctions which may be imposed for their violation.
The Code of Student Responsibilities presupposes that there will be civility and respect for others within the University. Because academic life requires standards of behavior of a higher order than those of the wider society of which Boston University is a part, the University’s standards substantially exceed the minimum expectations of civil law and custom. The general laws of society confer rights and impose obligations on all citizens. When they enter the University, students retain their rights under the laws of society, but student status confers no immunity or sanctuary from federal, state, or municipal laws. Nothing in this code is intended to infringe upon or limit the jurisdiction of courts and law enforcement authorities over the Boston University community. By the same measure, nothing in this code is intended to restrict the rights of the University to the modest limits of public law. The University reserves and will exercise the right to insist upon the highest standards of personal conduct from all members of the University community.
Boston University is an independent, autonomous institution; admission to the University, continued enrollment, graduation, and use of its facilities are privileges, not rights. The Code of Student Responsibilities is established to provide a system for dealing fairly and responsibly with students whose actions fail to meet the standards of the University or infringe upon the rights of others. The Code of Student Responsibilities establishes procedures to deal with violations of University standards. Behavior that violates the rights of others or the standards of academic life is not a private matter. Such violations threaten the ability of the University to exist as an authentic university.
While this code establishes University-wide standards of conduct, it does not supersede the codes, rules, and regulations of the schools and colleges and other units of the University, nor does it supersede the procedures established by the schools and colleges of the University for resolving violations of conduct or academic behavior relating to the schools or colleges.
Disciplinary action against any student may entail serious consequences. It may result in the student’s temporary or permanent separation from the University and thus may jeopardize his or her future career. In recognition of the support and concern provided by most parents and in light of the importance of such support to a student who faces serious disciplinary action, it is the policy of Boston University that a student’s parents be notified of serious disciplinary action involving their son or daughter, subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.
The University reserves the right to amend this code or the rules and regulations of the University and its schools, colleges, and programs at any time.
II. Rights and Responsibilities
The legitimate expectation of all students is that the University will provide an environment in which they may study, learn, work, and live without unwarranted interference from others.
The basic responsibilities of the student include:
- Respecting the rights of others.
- Respecting the highest standards of academic integrity and reporting any violations of those standards to the dean of his or her school or college or the Dean of Students for appropriate investigation and disposition.
- Respecting the property of others, and the property, equipment, facilities, and programs of the University.
- Refraining from actions that endanger the health, safety, or welfare of any member of the University community or its guests.
- Complying with the normative standards, rules, and regulations of the University as well as with federal, state, and local laws.
The failure to fulfill any of these responsibilities is a basis for disciplinary action under this code or the academic regulations of the schools and colleges of the University. The Trustees of Boston University require that all employees of the University report and assist in the investigation of violations of the normative standards, rules, and regulations of the University.
Specific conduct expected of students at Boston University is set forth in the rules and regulations of the University, its schools, colleges, programs, and residences. The official publications, bulletins, and notices of the University, its schools, colleges, and programs, as well as other publications (such as the student handbook, residence handbooks and notices, the student residence license agreement, etc.) contain additional specific regulations. Because of the size of the University and the diversity of its programs, no one document sets forth all of the rules and regulations governing student conduct. Some of the major regulations of the University are set forth as an Appendix to this code.
In instances of disciplinary hearings based on charges brought by the Dean of Students, the student will have the following rights:
- The right to receive from the Dean of Students a clear notice of the alleged violation in reasonable time to permit adequate preparation of his or her defense.
- The right to have his or her guilt or innocence determined by an impartial panel.
- The right to have an advisor present at the hearing.
- The right to call witnesses and to introduce evidence at the hearing.
III. Disciplinary Action
The value of any grade, credit, honor, or degree received by a student presupposes that all work submitted by a student is his or her own. A student who uses or relies upon work of others or who, except under conditions expressly permitted by the instructor, furnishes assistance to another student violates the standards of the University. Students must insist upon academic honesty and integrity from their fellow students and must report promptly any case of alleged violation of academic conduct. Failure to do so is a violation of this code.
The resolution of matters involving academic conduct and standards is determined by the appropriate school, college, or program of the University through the procedures established by the dean and faculty. All such cases are subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Provost or his or her designated representative.
- Matters relating to the retention or continued good standing of a student are subject to the determination of the school or college in which the student is enrolled. All such actions are subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Provost.
- Matters relating to a course taken by a student in a school or college other than the school or college in which the student is enrolled are subject to the determination of the school or college in which the course is offered. All such actions are subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Provost.
- A school or college may act on a matter previously adjudicated by the Dean of Students, the Residence Life system, another school or college, or a unit of the University where the matter is relevant to the standards and criteria of that school or college as they relate to the student’s admission, continued good standing, promotion, graduation, or honors. All such actions by a school or college are subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Provost.
- A school or college, the Vice President for Enrollment & Student Affairs, or the Provost may withhold credit for a course or program or deny graduation pending completion of an investigation under this code or an investigation of allegations of academic misconduct.
Any act authorized by this code to be performed by the Provost may also be done by an authorized designee of the Provost.
Dean of Students
The Dean of Students is vested with the principal responsibility for the implementation and administration of this code. The Dean of Students may investigate and act on any allegation of violations under the code. He or she may refer any such matter to the school, college, or unit of the University he or she deems appropriate. A matter acted on by a school or college will be subject to the procedures and rules established by the dean and faculty of that school or college. The Dean of Students will refer any matter involving academic misconduct to the dean of the appropriate school or college. Actions of the individual schools and colleges are subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Provost.
Upon receipt of an allegation of misconduct or violation of the code, the Dean of Students will determine whether the matter is to be referred to a school, college, or other unit or resolved by his or her office. The fact that a matter has been referred to a school, college, or other unit of the University does not prevent the Dean of Students from imposing an interim sanction pending resolution of the matter by a school, college, or other unit.
The Dean of Students will attempt to resolve allegations of misconduct or violation of the code as follows:
- He or she will seek to determine the facts and relevant information relating to the complaint or allegation. During the investigation, he or she may interview the student or students against whom the allegations have been made.
- Before making a determination or imposing any sanction, other than an interim sanction, he or she will inform the student or students against whom allegations of misconduct have been made of the nature of the allegations.
- If, as a result of the investigation, the Dean of Students determines that the matter should be closed without findings, he or she may do so, and will so inform the student or students involved.
- If, as a result of the investigation, the Dean of Students has made a preliminary determination that a student has violated the code, he or she will notify the student in writing of the nature of the misconduct and will give the student an opportunity to meet with him or her, accompanied by a representative from the University community or a family member. The dean will review his or her findings with the student and give the student an opportunity to respond. The failure of a student to meet with the dean will not prevent the Dean of Students from acting on the matter.
- The Dean of Students may make a formal determination of findings and impose such sanction or sanctions as he or she deems appropriate. He or she will inform the student of the student’s right to have a hearing before a panel of the University Board on Student Conduct if the student wishes to contest the findings. He or she may agree with the student to a negotiated disposition of the matter that may include or may be in lieu of a formal disposition. The Dean of Students will endeavor to complete the investigation into a complaint within 45 days of the filing of the complaint.
In his or her discretion, the Dean of Students may impose conditions on one or more students pending resolution of, or in resolution of, a particular matter. Such conditions may include: not entering or being in or on particular buildings or areas of the University, avoiding contact with a specific person or persons, and such other conditions deemed appropriate. Unless issued as part of a disciplinary finding, such conditions are not disciplinary sanctions. A student who violates the terms of such conditions may be deemed guilty of a violation of the code and is subject to disciplinary sanction for such violation.
Any act authorized by this code to be performed by the Dean of Students may also be done by an authorized designee of the Dean of Students.
Matters involving conduct in the residence system will be subject to investigation and disposition by the Director of Residence Life or his or her authorized designee. The Director of Residence Life may authorize the establishment of or continuation of existing panels within a particular residence or cluster of residences to assist in the determination of matters involving that residence or cluster. The rules and procedures governing each such panel shall be subject to the approval of the Director of Residence Life, who will ensure reasonable uniformity of standards, rules, and procedures in residences.
The Director of Residence Life will establish specific procedures to govern the implementation of the provisions of this code relating to the Residence Life system. The procedures applicable to each residence or cluster will be posted in the appropriate residences.
A student who is found guilty of misconduct involving residence life may appeal the findings or the sanctions to the Dean of Students. Such appeal must be filed with the Director of Residence Life not later than ten days after issuance of the findings. The decision of the Dean of Students will be subject to review and final determination—including determination of the sanction—by the Vice President for Enrollment & Student Affairs.
The maximum sanction which may be imposed by the Director of Residence Life is restitution, a monetary fine, and expulsion from the residence system. Any matter involving conduct in the residence halls may be referred to the Dean of Students or to an appropriate school, college, or unit of the University. The fact that the Director of Residence Life has acted on a matter will not be a bar to further proceedings by the Dean of Students and/or the appropriate school or college.
In his or her discretion, the Director of Residence Life may impose conditions on one or more students pending resolution of, or in resolution of, a particular matter. Such conditions may include: not entering or being in or on particular buildings or areas of the University, avoiding contact with a specific person or persons, and such other conditions deemed appropriate. Unless issued as part of a disciplinary finding, such conditions are not disciplinary sanctions. A student who violates the terms of such conditions may be deemed guilty of a violation of the code and is subject to disciplinary sanction for such violation.
Any act authorized by this code to be performed by the Director of Residence Life may also be done by his or her authorized designee.
IV. Hearing Procedures
University Board on Student Conduct
There shall be a University Board on Student Conduct composed of not fewer than twenty-four and not more than thirty persons. The membership of the Board will be as follows: One-third of the members will be members of the faculty appointed by the Provost. The Provost will make his or her designation from among a list of fifteen nominations made to him or her by the Faculty Council. One-third of the members will be students selected by the Dean of Students from among a list of fifteen nominations made to him or her by the Student Union. One-third of the Board will be appointed by the Vice President for Enrollment & Student Affairs and may include students, faculty, or members of the administrative staff of the University. Temporary imbalances in the composition of the Board caused by the absence or withdrawal from the Board of any member(s) will not affect the validity of actions taken by a hearing panel of the Board.
Membership on the Board shall be for a term of two years except that the term for student members shall be one year. Individuals appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall serve for the duration of the term.
The Dean of Students will be responsible for the administrative functions of the Board. Each panel will consist of not fewer than three and not more than five members of the Board. At least one member of each panel will be a student and at least one member will be a member of the faculty. Each panel will sit for one month, but its term may be extended by the Dean of Students, or the Dean of Students may create an additional panel or panels as may be necessary to assure the prompt adjudication of cases. The term of any panel will be deemed to be automatically extended to the completion of its work on any case it has commenced hearing. The Dean of Students will designate the chairman of each panel.
If, during the summer or during any other period, sufficient members of the Board are not available to create a panel, the Office of the Provost, at the request of the Dean of Students, may designate individuals to serve as interim members of the Board for the purpose of serving on a panel.
A student who has been found guilty of a violation of the code by the Dean of Students may request a hearing before a panel of the University Board on Student Conduct. Such a request must be filed with the Dean of Students in writing not later than ten days after notification by the Dean of Students of the findings of the dean. In his or her discretion, the Dean of Students may accept a late request for a hearing.
A student who requests a hearing will be notified in writing by the Dean of Students of the time and place of the Board hearing; he or she will be informed of the charge(s) against him or her with sufficient specificity to permit the preparation of a response to the charges(s). The Dean of Students will endeavor to commence a hearing before a panel within 30 days of the receipt of a request for a hearing by the student. (Additional time may be required for scheduling the hearing during the period from the end of classes in the spring semester to the commencement of classes in the fall semester or to requests made immediately prior to the winter intersession.)
Where related offenses are charged against more than one student, the Dean may assign a panel to hear the cases together. If the chairman of the panel assigned to hear the case concludes that this may result in unfairness to one or more students, he or she may direct that separate hearings be held.
The chairman of the panel will preside at the hearing and may make such rulings as he or she deems necessary for the orderly conduct of the hearing. The hearing will be closed to the public; the chairman will, however, have discretion to admit parents, relatives, or friends of the student where, in the judgment of the chairman, the presence of such persons will not jeopardize the decorum and orderliness of the hearing.
The rules of evidence and procedures applicable to courts of law will not be applicable at the hearing. The chairman may make appropriate rulings to safeguard the integrity and fairness of the hearing. The hearing will be conducted with emphasis on common sense in attempting to ascertain the truth and reach a finding appropriate to the rights of the student and the University community. All witnesses before the panel will be expected to tell the truth. The hearing will be mechanically recorded and the student will have the right of access to a copy of the recording without cost, or to obtain a copy of the recording at his or her expense.
The Dean of Students will be responsible for the presentation of the charge(s). This may include the introduction of evidence and the calling of witnesses. The student may also introduce evidence and have witnesses testify on his or her behalf. Members of the panel may ask questions of any witness; they may request that additional witnesses or information be obtained, and the chairman may grant a continuance of the hearing for such purposes. The members of the panel may take cognizance of facts or information within the knowledge of the University community or based on the records of the University. The chairman may permit direct questioning of a witness by the student or the Dean of Students.
The chairman may permit a witness to remain in the hearing room before or after giving testimony, and he or she may exclude any person from the hearing room to the extent necessary to ensure a fair and orderly hearing. The chairman may limit or exclude the testimony of any individual to the extent that such testimony is repetitive of matters previously testified to or is not probative as to the guilt or innocence of the student. The student may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choice; however, the advisor may not participate directly in the hearing. In the face of pending criminal charges arising from the same events, legal counsel for the student may be present to safeguard the rights of the student relating to the criminal charges but not to participate directly in the hearing.
After completion of the hearing, the panel will deliberate and will issue its decision within five days. The members of the panel will be the sole arbiters of the weight of the evidence, the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses, and the guilt or innocence of the student. Each finding of guilt must be concurred in by a majority of the panel. The specification or description of an offense may be modified by the panel to conform to the evidence, provided that the modification does not deprive the student of his or her right to respond to particular charges.
The Dean of Students will notify the student of the decision of the panel and, if the student has been found guilty, of the sanction or sanctions imposed by the Dean.
Except for good cause shown, the failure of a student to attend the hearing will be deemed a withdrawal of the request for a hearing. For special reasons out of the ordinary, the Dean of Students or the panel chairman may grant a postponement of a scheduled hearing if a request for postponement, supported by good cause, is received twenty-four hours prior to the time of the hearing. Either may, for good cause shown, grant a new hearing or the reopening of a hearing. Except for applications made during a hearing, all such requests shall be filed with the Dean of Students.
If, in the judgment of the Dean of Students or the Provost, a student is prejudiced by the University’s failure to do or complete a procedure required under this code, appropriate corrective measures may be directed by the Dean or the Provost at any stage of the proceedings. Such procedural error will not invalidate the proceeding or disposition. The proceedings of a hearing panel will not be invalid by reason of a defective mechanical recording of the proceeding.
V. Appeal Procedures
A student who is found guilty of misconduct under the provisions of this code by the Dean of Students or a hearing panel or who has interim sanctions placed against him or her by the Dean of Students may appeal the determination and sanctions imposed to the Provost.
- An appeal from the findings of a hearing panel or sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students shall be taken by filing a statement of appeal with the Dean of Students not later than ten days after receipt of the Dean of Students notification of the findings and sanctions.
- If the student has waived his or her right to a hearing before the panel, he or she may appeal the findings and sanction imposed by the Dean of Students by filing a statement of appeal with the Dean of Students not later than ten days after receipt of notification of the Dean of Students findings and sanctions.
The filing of a statement of appeal will not operate to stay the effect of sanctions imposed. The statement of appeal may request that sanctions imposed be stayed or modified pending the determination of the appeal, and the reasons for such request are to be set forth in the statement of appeal. The Dean of Students or the Vice President in his or her discretion may suspend, stay, or modify sanctions imposed, subject to such conditions as either may deem appropriate.
Upon receipt of a timely appeal, the Dean of Students will forward to the Provost the relevant record of the matter. The Dean of Students may file with the Provost a written response to the statement of appeal and will provide the student with a copy of his or her written response. The Provost or his or her designee will review the record and the statements submitted. The decision of the Provost will be in writing, with copies provided to the student and the Dean of Students. The decision of the Provost will be final.
The Provost may:
- Affirm, modify, or reverse the findings of guilt.
- Affirm or modify, either to increase or decrease, the sanctions imposed.
- Remand the matter to the Dean of Students or a hearing panel for additional investigation, a new hearing, or a reopening of the hearing, as he or she may deem appropriate. If a case is remanded, the decision will specify whether the sanctions are to be maintained, modified, suspended, or reversed pending completion of the matter on remand.
Any act authorized by this code to be performed by the Provost may also be done by an authorized designee of the Provost.
The following, individually or in combination, are authorized disciplinary sanctions. Where appropriate, the statement of the sanction shall include the period of duration, any conditions to be observed during that period, and the conditions for termination of the sanction.
The Dean of Students, or in a matter involving academic integrity, the dean of the appropriate school or college, may approve a negotiated sanction and may agree, but will not be required to agree, that such negotiated sanction not be entered on the student’s permanent academic record. Such negotiated sanction may provide for the voluntary withdrawal by the student from the University or a program of the University or continuation under specified conditions and restrictions. Such negotiated sanctions are subject to review and final determination by the Provost.
- Expulsion from the University or a program of the University.
- Suspension from the University or a program of the University for a specific length of time.
- Deferred suspension from the University or a program of the University.
- Denial of credit, grade, or honors; denial of graduation, diploma, or degree; deferral of graduation, diploma, or degree for a specific period of time; imposition of a grade of failure for any course or program of the University; revocation and withdrawal of credit, grade, honors, diploma, or degree previously credited, awarded, or conferred.
- Residence expulsion.
- Residence suspension for a specific length of time.
- Deferred residence expulsion (with or without relocation to a different residence location).
- Disciplinary probation. Disciplinary probation may involve counseling with faculty or administrative staff; restriction of student privileges; prohibitions against participation in University activities or events, including athletic or non-athletic activities; and prohibitions against holding office or participating in student organizations or residence, school, or college organizations or activities.
- Residence probation. Residence probation may involve periodic meetings with a member of the residence staff and/or restriction of specific residence privileges.
- Disciplinary reprimand or warning.
- Restitution. The student will reimburse the University and/or other appropriate party for damage to or loss of property or for costs or expenses incurred by the University or other party. Restitution will be made at full cost of replacement or repair, and other expenses.
- Fine. A fine will not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
- Impounding of prohibited materials or equipment used in violation of the code. The University may impound materials specifically prohibited by law or the rules and regulations of the University; the University may impound equipment utilized in a dangerous manner or in violation of the rules and regulations of the University. The sanction may provide that once equipment is impounded, the student will lose all further privileges of use or possession of such equipment or similar equipment on University property permanently or for a stated period of time.
If, in the judgment of the Dean of Students, the health, safety, or welfare of the University community or the preservation of academic integrity requires action prior to the final determination, the Dean of Students may impose an interim sanction, including suspension from the University, or the imposition of specific conditions or restrictions on the student. If such sanctions are imposed prior to his or her having received notification of the complaint, the student will be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint within one day. The continuation, modification, or recision of an interim sanction will rest in the discretion of the Dean of Students. The student may appeal an interim sanction imposed by the Dean of Students to the Provost in accordance with the appeal procedures provided in Section V of this code. The decision of the Vice President will be final.
VII. Disciplinary Records, Readmission, and Transfer of Credits
A sanction of expulsion or suspension from the University or a program of the University and any sanction resulting from academic misconduct, other than an interim sanction, will be entered on the student’s permanent record unless this provision is waived by the Dean of Students and the Provost concurs, or, in a case of academic misconduct, the dean of the appropriate school or college and the Provost concur.
The University Registrar will be informed of all sanctions involving suspension or expulsion from the University or from a program of the University, and no student will be permitted to re-enroll in the University following such sanction unless he or she presents evidence to the Registrar of satisfaction of the sanction and of appropriate permission for re-enrollment.
Withdrawal and Readmission
If a student voluntarily withdraws from the University or a program of the University while charges against him or her are pending, or as part of a negotiated settlement of such charges, this fact will be communicated to the University Registrar and the student will not be permitted to re-enroll unless he or she presents evidence that appropriate permission for re-enrollment has been obtained. Such permission shall be granted solely at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the Provost. If the student withdrew while charges against him or her were pending, permission for readmission will be granted only after the charges have been resolved.
If permission to re-enroll is not granted, the student may petition the Provost for permission, setting forth in his or her petition the relevant facts and the basis upon which the petition is made. The decision of the Provost will be final.
Failure of a student to comply with a sanction or condition imposed or to obtain permission for re-enrollment in accordance with the above requirements may be a basis for denial of re-enrollment or may be deemed a violation of the Code of Student Responsibilities and may result in expulsion and denial of academic credit obtained during such period.
Policy on Transfer of Credits Earned During Suspension for Misconduct
It is University policy that no progress can be made towards a degree during a period in which the student is suspended from the University for disciplinary reasons. The University will not accept for credit courses taken at another institution during any period in which a student has been suspended from Boston University for academic or for other misconduct under the code.
This policy does not apply automatically to cases in which a student is separated or suspended from the University because of academic deficiency. In such cases, it may be appropriate to permit, encourage, or even require that the student take courses at another institution with the possibility that that coursework will be accepted for credit by Boston University.
Specific Violations of Student Responsibilities
Specific violations of student responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Conduct in subversion of academic standards including but not limited to cheating on examinations; plagiarism in the preparation of written work or assignments; misrepresentation or falsification of data; theft of examinations; alteration, theft, or destruction of the academic work of other students; and alteration, theft, or destruction of academic records, library materials, laboratory materials, or other University equipment or property related to instructional matters or research.
- The making of false statements, theft, destruction, alteration, or unauthorized possession or use of materials related to University documents including forging, transferring, altering, or otherwise misusing any student fee card, identification card, course registration materials, schedule card, or other document or record.
- Obstruction or disruption of classes, research projects, or other activities or programs of the University or obstruction of access to University facilities, property, or programs.
- Unauthorized presence in University premises, facilities, or on University property; unauthorized use or possession of University property, equipment, or keys.
- Conduct in violation of University rules, regulations, and standards as established for the University, the schools, colleges, and programs of the University, University facilities, and the residences.
- Physical or verbal abuse, or assault or the threat of assault to other persons.
- Sexual assault, abuse, or harassment of others.
- Theft, vandalism, damage, destruction, or defacement of University property or the property of others.
- Behavior that endangers the safety of oneself or others, including but not limited to possession and/or use of firearms, fireworks, dangerous weapons, or hazardous chemicals except where expressly permitted under conditions approved by the University; illegal, unsafe, or improper use of a motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or bicycle.
- Possession, use, sale, or transfer of drugs or narcotics without medical authorization.
- False reporting of emergency, including false reporting of bombs, fires, or other emergencies on University property or premises.
- Failure to identify oneself upon the request of an appropriate University official or security officer, or failure to leave University premises upon such request. Identification may be required as a condition of entering or remaining upon University premises for the security of the University community.
- Making excessive noise by any means, including but not limited to the use of sound reproduction equipment.
- Failure to notify the University of change of address or failure to have current address on file with the University.
- Conduct in violation of public law occurring within the University or occurring outside the University when that conduct affects the interests of the University or the standards of the University community.
- Violation of University policy and rules and/or the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regarding possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages.