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    Standards of conduct

    Bluffton University seeks to provide an environment for broadening the mind. It aims to become a place for growing, liberating experiences, stressing not only learning through classroom situations but also learning outside the classroom through the exchange of philosophies and experiences with other members of the campus community.

    It is the goal of Bluffton to guide students in becoming more sensitive toward humankind and society; in growing in understanding of other races, religions and peoples; and in developing heightened awareness of today’s world – its history, its needs, its future.

    Bluffton encourages a positive response to the variety of opportunities available through its programming: friendship, study, group activities, worship, discussion, service.

    The purposes and qualities of life sought in this campus community are determined by the Board of Trustees in cooperation with faculty, staff and students. Bluffton affirms that rules controlling smoking, drinking and drugs serve purposes which are appropriate on grounds of health, cleanliness, safety and regard for others. Bluffton realizes that its rules can scarcely be expected to regulate behavior when students are not under its jurisdiction. However, that is not to say that off-campus behavior is a matter of indifference to the college community. Off-campus conduct may detrimentally affect a student’s own academic effectiveness and the lives and activities of others.

    Bluffton retains the right to exclude any students whose conduct does injury to themselves or to the college community. Persons are admitted to Bluffton University with the understanding that they will be responsible members of the academic community.

    There are some specific expectations which members of the community have developed as important to the quality of life desired for Bluffton. As members of the campus community, students are encouraged to worship regularly on campus and in the church of their choice. As part of this emphasis on building community, self-selective fraternities and sororities are not permitted. In addition, students are expected to:

    • Practice openness and honesty in all relations with members of the community: faculty, staff and students;
    • Conduct themselves with respect for persons and property;
    • Practice the honor system in taking examinations and writing research papers;
    • Follow the rules and regulations necessary for orderly community life which are established in areas such as the library, residence halls and Marbeck Center; and
    • Refrain from patterns of behavior which do injury to self and others: e.g., smoking, drinking, drug use, gambling, sexual exploitation, promiscuity and profanity:

    1. The use of tobacco on campus and on all official college trips (e.g., athletics, field trips, student teaching) and at college-sponsored activities is prohibited. The sole exception to this rule is provision of two designated outdoor areas on campus where smoking is permitted;
    2. Alcohol: Bluffton University forms, as part of its foundations, a community of respect. Respect includes understanding how individual actions impact a community. In an academic community, learning for life happens outside the classroom as well as in the classroom. It is the desire of Bluffton for students to learn and to be encouraged in behavior that will positively contribute to their whole person as individuals created by God.
      Consumption of alcohol may promote unhealthy lifestyle choices: create dependencies, waste money, abuse health and take lives. The consumption of alcohol may generate behavior offensive to other people and to the public, including the Bluffton University community. Students are not full participants in the community of leanring and respect at Bluffton if they are under the influence of alcohol.
      Bluffton expects students to understand the consequences of consuming or possessing alcohol on campus, as well as the ramifications of consuming alcohol off campus, particularly as it relates to the potential impact for on-campus behavior. The possession and consumption of alcohol on campus at all campus-related activities is prohibited. Students are also reminded that alcohol possession and consumption of alcohol on or off campus is illegal for those under the age of 21.

      The following behavior would be considered a violation of the campus alcohol policy:

      a) Drinking alcohol on campus;
      b) Being present in a room or other area on campus where an alcohol violation is occuring;
      c) Possession of alcohol-related container(s) in the residence hall, common area, vehicles on campus property; window exhibits that display items relating to alcohol are prohibited, as are displays on room doors, hallways and other public areas on campus.
      d) The possession and/or consumption of alcohol at any university-sponsored event;
      e) Disruptive actions associated with the possession and/or consumption of alcohol, including disruptive behavior on campus when a student is under the influence of alcohol;
    3. The illegal use or possession of hallucinogenic or narcotic drugs or marijuana is prohibited.

    In this campus community both students and faculty share in the responsibility of maintaining campus standards. The student life staff and the Campus Judicial Board, composed of elected faculty and student representatives, handle campus disciplinary cases. Infractions of the rules and any serious misconduct become the particular concern of student life staff and the Campus Judicial Board.

    For students’ welfare and in the best interests of the campus community, the college reserves the right to suspend or dismiss any student at any time when the university authorities deem such action imperative.

    Harassment policy
    Bluffton affirms the principle that students, faculty and staff have the right to be free from any racial, sexual or any other type of harassment by any other member of the campus community. This is simply a restatement of the expectation that members of our campus community will respect others who are a part of the community and the positive gifts they bring to the community. Bluffton's policy is that any type of harassment is unacceptable and will be viewed as a violation of campus standards.

    Examples of the types of harassment that are unacceptable include threats or verbal abuse directed toward another member of the community, including verbal assaults, derogatory racial, sexist or homophobic remarks, defamation of character or any other type of behavior that knowingly puts another member of the community in a state of fear or anxiety. This applies to any type of communication (e.g. telephone, e-mail, face-to-face, group interaction) and it may involve a single or repeated incident.

    The honor system
    Bluffton University observes the honor system in taking examinations and writing research papers. No monitor is in the classroom during test or examination periods. Students are asked to write and sign the following pledge on every examination paper: “I am unaware of any aid having been given or received during this examination.” If a student cannot conscientiously sign this pledge, the course instructor is to be notified. Plagiarism is considered a serious violation of the honor system. (The Student Handbook contains a complete statement on plagiarism.) Reported offenses are normally resolved through the campus judicial system. Although the honor system applies specifically to the academic area, it is understood that the spirit of the honor system should pervade all aspects of campus life.