community life policies & procedures


The School of Theology expects all students, regardless of status, to maintain high standards of integrity in academic and personal conduct. This document articulates the School of Theology’s procedures and policies, which seek to maintain those standards. It is a student’s responsibility to be aware of all school policy statements contained herein. While these statements reflect internal policy and process at the School of Theology, students should be aware that the School’s policy statements serve as supplements to the policies and procedures listed in the STH Code of Academic Conduct. Students are further directed to the Bulletin of the School of Theology, which also presents policies and procedures by which students must govern themselves while enrolled in the School’s graduate programs, and to the University’s policies on student conduct and responsibilities.

Persons matriculating at the School of Theology, as well as those with special student status, are likewise subject to all federal, state and municipal laws.

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 hindrance from others.

The basic responsibilities of the student include:

  1. Respecting the rights of others
  2. Respecting the highest standards of academic integrity and reporting any violations of those standards to the Dean of his or her school or the Dean of Students for appropriate investigation and disposition
  3. Respecting the property of others and the property, equipment, facilities, and programs of the University
  4. Refraining from actions that endanger the health, safety, or welfare of any member of the University community or its guests
  5. Complying with the established standards, rules, and regulations of the University as well as with federal, state and local laws

Failure to comply with and fulfill any of these responsibilities is a basis for disciplinary action under this Code or the academic regulations of the school and colleges 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 residence halls. The official publications, bulletins and notices of the University and its schools, colleges and programs, as well as other publications (such as the student handbook, residence hall handbooks and notices, the student residence contract, 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.

In instances of disciplinary hearings based on charges brought by the Dean of Students, the student will have the following rights:

  1. 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
  2. The right to have his or her guilt or innocence determined by an impartial panel
  3. The right to have an advisor present at the hearing
  4. The right to call witnesses and to introduce evidence at the hearing

– adapted from Code of Student Responsibilities, approved May 12, 1983

The School of Theology at Boston University seeks to provide an educational environment where all persons are met with respect. Upon enrollment in the School, persons subject themselves to the rules and regulations of the University as well as those of the School of Theology. By enrolling in the School, all students are asked to respect the rights of members of the University and the School of Theology. Upon enrolling students also agree to submit themselves to penalties and/or sanctions imposed after the violation of rules and regulations that set the standard for respectful behavior by the School of Theology and the University.

In the case of all Master of Divinity (MDiv) candidates, the manner of proper personal conduct is relevant to the standards and criteria as it relates to continued good standing in the School. The School reserves the right to examine all MDiv candidates as to an assessment of their gifts and graces, character and fitness for ministry (School of Theology Bulletin).

Violations of personal conduct include:

  1. Disruptions of classes, activities or programs of the School of Theology
  2. Theft, vandalism or destruction of School of Theology property or the property of others
  3. Improper possession of keys, passwords and their unauthorized use in the School
  4. Verbal or written abuse or threats to other persons
  5. Physical abuse or assault of persons
  6. Any behavior involving sale, distribution and/or possession of drugs or narcotics without medical authorization
  7. Setting of fires or tampering with fire detection equipment
  8. Any behavior involving possession or use of weapons or firearms
  9. Violation of the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or federal laws


We, the faculty of the School of Theology, affirm the equality of persons through God’s all-inclusive love, the importance of respect for persons and the goal of an inclusive community.

We affirm the importance of both spoken and written language in proclaiming these beliefs and expressing these commitments.

We recognize the diversity of our spiritual journeys in pursuing a relationship with God, and the need for language, which opens rather than closes the doors for purposeful communication.


We encourage the use of rich and diverse language and imagery about God, which goes beyond predominantly male language. This may be done either by avoiding gender references or by using a richness of language which includes both female and male imagery.


We recognize that there are both cultural and religious language usages which reflect stereotypical views concerning age, gender, race, ethnic heritage, or handicapping conditions. We further recognize the diversity of language which reflects the theological journeys of particular classes or cultures. We encourage the use of language that goes beyond such stereotypes and limitations, and includes the variety of human experiences.

In accordance with these principles, we urge members of the School of Theology community to use inclusive language in publications, teaching, research, worship, and other aspects of our life together.

Some Guidelines For The Encouraged Use Of Inclusive Language
    1. Inclusive language affirms individuals; it does not catalog them according to cultural/physical/religious differences. Use care to ensure that people remain people and do not become stereotypes or caricatures, i.e., “Those people,” “that religion,” “all deaf children.”
    2. Individual gifts and graces vary among individuals. All people are encouraged to expand the boundaries of their gifts throughout all levels of society and use language to affirm individuals in their dreams and aspirations.
      1. Instead of the third person singular try the third person plural or the second person singular or plural:’Each child should make a copy of his paper before it is due” becomes “Students should make a copy of their papers before they are due” or “You should make a copy of your papers before they are due.”
      2. Instead of the possessive pronoun try repeating the name with the possessive: “Praise God according to His exceeding greatness” becomes “Praise God according to God’s exceeding greatness.”
      3. Instead of using the possessive pronoun try using an article: “Each student must submit his Choice of Advisors Form to the Dean of Students by the end of his junior year” becomes “Each student must submit a Choice of Advisor Form to the Dean of Student by the end of the junior year.”
      4. Instead of the active voice try the passive voice: “Each student must have all class work in before her scheduled exam” becomes “Class work must be in before the scheduled exam.”

  1. Be aware that all societies and individuals have their own biases. This is also true of interfaith relations. Know your biases and be wary of using double standards, good/evil stereotypes, group stereotyping, or difference-based put-downs.
  2. Cultural biases are also reflected in Biblical criticism. The most obvious example is the traditional use of the masculine/father images for God. We encourage STH students to explore the vast array of imagery available for God, thereby welcoming all people to participate in life and worship by avoiding gender specific pronouns – as discussed in section two above.
  3. In worship language, attempts need to be made to refer to God in other than exclusively masculine terms in order to balance our images of the deity.

Some options include:

Adonai, Master Giver of All Good Things
Almighty Giver of Good Giver of Immortal Gladness
Binder of Wounds Giver of Peace & Love
Comfort of Sufferers God of Ages Past and Future
Companion of the Lonely Great Ruler of the World
Creator of All Guardian of our Lives
Desire of All Nations Healer of the Sick
Elohim, Lord, The Strong One High and Holy One
Eternal Source of Peace Jehovah-Almighty
Ever-living God Jehovah-Elohim, Lord Jehovah
Ever-loving God Maker of All Things
The First and the Last Mighty God
Fountain of All Holiness Mighty Redeemer
Fountain of Life Most Merciful God
Fountain of Light and Truth Our Creator and Teacher
Our Refuge and Strength Shelter From the Storm
Redeemer and Deliverer Steadfast and Loving One
Redeemer of the Oppressed The Great I Am
Ruler of All Peoples True and Only Light
Ruler of the Universe Vindicator of the Oppressed
Searcher of Hearts Watchful and Caring God


Hymns in the public domain can usually be altered quite satisfactorily and the revised version can appear in the order of service. The Church has always felt free to change the content of hymns as its understanding of the faith has changed.

Hymn texts which are still under copyright, however, present special problems. Minor changes can be announced orally and/or particularly offensive stanzas can be omitted.

There are more than 100 hymns in The United Methodist Hymnal that avoid sexist language and many others that can be used with minimal change.

Please contact the library staff for more information on copyright laws.


Compare biblical translations and use the translation that is most inclusive. When it is possible to ascertain that the gender exclusive terms in a biblical text did not exist in the original document, it is appropriate to replace them with inclusive terms, e.g. use “the one” instead of “he”; “human beings” or “people” rather than “women.” Introduce the scripture and set it in its context, so that the sexist language and biases are not given undue weight and attention.

When gender exclusive language does exist in the original text, it is the function of the liturgist/preacher to set forth in the sermon the import of gender inherent in the biblical material.

When dealing with biblical texts which completely ignore women, the liturgist/preacher is encouraged to acknowledge the omission and incorporate the mission dimension in the sermon text.

Reservations for the Oxnam and Hartman rooms must be made in person in room 110 with the Assistant to the Associate Dean of Community Life and Lifelong Learning. All reservations and requests for space are subject to availability and the programming needs of the seminary. Reservations should be made two to three weeks in advance. No approval is final until an individual or student group receives written confirmation from the Associate Dean of Community Life. The Associate Dean will not be held responsible for any publicity or other arrangements made by a group before final approval of space reservation is granted. Any request, which involves the solicitation of funds or sales, requires the requestor to arrange a meeting with Associate Dean before authorization can be considered. Requisitions must be filled out in order to request that a room be set up.

  1. To obtain keys to the designated rooms once approval has been made, individuals or groups must sign out keys from the Office of the Associate Dean of Community Life (OADCL) and leave a student ID with the office. The student ID will be returned when the keys are returned to the Office of the Associate Dean of Community Life.
  2. All approvals are subject to change or cancellation by the STH Office of the Associate Dean of Community Life due to emergencies.
  3. Any group that does not meet on an approved date is expected to call the OADCL to cancel the space reservation. Any weekly group that cancels for two consecutive weeks will lose its approved status, and will need to reapply to reserve a room.
  4. The removal of tables and chairs from the lower level rooms is unacceptable. Tables and chairs must be rented from a university vendor by requisition for use in other parts in the building such as classrooms. Building and Grounds personnel must be the only persons to move furniture.
  5. No tables and chairs can be used in the hallways. Such placement of tables and chairs violates the fire code.
  6. No candles or incendiary devices may be used in the building.
  7. All rooms should be returned to the original setting after event is over. Liability for any damage of property is the responsibility of the group or individual who reserved the space at the time when the damage occurred.
D. The Use of Lewis O. Hartman (B-23) and G. Bromley Oxnam (B-24) Rooms
  1. The Hartman and Oxnam rooms may be reserved until 8:30 p.m. by any STH group without additional costs. The doors of the building are locked at 9:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday).
  2. Reservations must be made through the Office of the Associate Dean of Community Life. Registration forms must be filled out in full with the name and address of a contact person.
  3. Any STH/University group using the rooms on Saturdays or Sundays, or on holidays, must pay for Buildings & Grounds services by requisition. Student groups must fill out OADCL forms as designated. The Office of the Associate Dean will notify B&G of weekend events.
  4. Outside groups are not allowed to reserve the space.
E. The Use of School of Theology Rooms and Walter G. Muelder Chapel

* Rooms 115, 306, 441 are assigned by the Registrar’s Office  – Room 108
* Rooms 111B, 325, Hartman (B-23), Oxnam (B-24) Muelder Chapel (Rm-343) are assigned by the Dean’s Office, Room 110

The School of Theology is designated a non-smoking building.

  • In order to prevent damage to lower level spaces, moving of bulletin boards or pasting of documents and pictures on walls is not allowed. Any decorations used for any event will need to be displayed on easels or on tables.
  • Documents from official University and School events must be posted on bulletin boards and mounted on easels
  • Posting on doors, walls, and other areas is unacceptable and against University policy

All student journals of opinion must operate independently of the University and without University financial support. Student organizations may publish informational newsletters and gazettes that contain a calendar, scheduling and informational news. The Associate Dean of Community Life and the advisors of the student organizations are responsible for ensuring that such informational newsletters are in accord with the University standards of informational purpose and accuracy, and must maintain good taste, responsible journalistic practice, proper grammar, and must meet all requirements of law.

Various academic departments and administrative offices of Boston University are responsible for a variety of information bulletins, newsletters, handbooks and journals of opinion. Each such publication is the responsibility of a member of the Boston University faculty or administrative staff. Students may be involved with such publications under direction of the faculty and/or staff.

Leaflets, handbills, circulars (other than those for commercial purpose) and newspapers may be distributed in areas on campus, such as the George Sherman Union, and in the lounges of the schools and colleges designated for this purpose. Distribution of materials may not take place in an academic class, credit program or activity of the University. Posting signs, posters and flyers is permitted only on authorized bulletin boards. Materials may not be placed on walls, doors, windows, or trees and may not be attached with permanent adhesives.

The Boston University Police Department’s Office of Special Events assists special event planners with safety and security arrangements.

Special event planners are asked to contact the Office of Special Events at 353-9533 to coordinate safety and security planning for special events, which are likely to involve any of the following:

  1. When alcoholic beverages will be served at an event.
  2. When the event requires a special one-time entertainment license issued by a municipal licensing authority (a written security plan usually needs to accompany the license application).
  3. When more than two hundred and fifty (250) attendees are anticipated, or when attendance is expected to exceed the capacity of the facility.
  4. When a cash admission fee is collected at the event and where expected collections exceed $100.
  5. When an event involves the public exhibition of rare or valuable items without a continuously operating electronic anti-theft or tamper alarm/monitoring system.
  6. When past experience or reasonable caution suggests that disruptive or unpredictable behavior is reasonably foreseeable at the event.
  7. When an event involves a reasonably foreseeable hazard or a disruptive condition, including an extended disruption to normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon Boston University property, such as construction sites and hazardous material clean-up operations.
  8. Routine educational activities normally are excluded from special-event security considerations (e.g., academic classes, student organization meetings, recitals, etc.).
  9. For planned events, the Chief of Police, or a senior police official, will review the security needs for planned events, and determine what, if any, police presence or security arrangement is required. The Chief of the Boston University Police Department may require the presence of one or more police officers, or the use of other security arrangements, where certain conditions affecting public safety warrant.

Wherever feasible, the Police Department will consult with the appropriate University personnel and with the event coordinators before making a determination of necessary security precautions at a special event or function.

The Chief of Police or his designee, with administration approval where feasible, may halt a University activity where there is a clear demonstration that public safety is jeopardized.

Exemptions may be authorized when the Boston University Police Department approves of installed safety mechanisms (alarm system, cash drop safe, camera, etc.), and the facility has written procedures for safeguarding cash and for notifying police in case of emergency.

Student groups should check with the Associate Dean of Community Life and Lifelong Learning before they agree to endorse any event of a non-University related group. The implications of endorsing a non-University group or event opens the STH as well as the University to liability, should there be an accident, injury, or damage to property. All student groups wishing to endorse non-University related groups or events must submit a proposal to the Associate Dean of Community Life, which will in turn submit the proposal to the University’s Director of Risk Management. Upon approval by the Risk Management Office, the student group may endorse said event or group. If Risk Management rejects a proposal, endorsement by an STH organization, the School of Theology name, or the student group’s name or University seal shall not be used.