Bluffton 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 Bluffton's goal 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 programming, study, group activities, worship, discussion and service.

The purpose 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 Bluffton University 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 students whose conduct does injury to themselves or to the Bluffton University community. Persons are admitted to Bluffton with the understanding that they will be responsible members of the academic community.

In this campus community both students and faculty share in the responsibilities of maintaining campus standards. The student life staff and the Campus Conduct 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 Conduct Board.

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



Any students found to have committed or to have attempted to commit any of the following misconduct is subject to disciplinary procedures as outlined in the Campus Conduct Process.

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. In addition, they 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, lab reports, and other assignments.
  • Follow the rules and regulations necessary for orderly community life which are established in areas such as the library, residence halls and Marbeck Center.
  • Refrain from patterns of behavior which do injury to self and others: e.g. smoking, drinking, drug use, gambling, sexual exploitation, promiscuity and profanity:
    • Smoking on campus and on all official Bluffton University trips (e.g., athletic field trips, student teaching) and at Bluffton University-sponsored activities is prohibited. The sole exception to this rule is provision of two designated outdoor areas on campus where smoking is permitted. Vaping is not allowed in buildings.
    • Alcohol Policy - Bluffton forms, as part of its foundation, a community of respect. Respect includes an understanding of 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 learning 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 the 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:
      • Drinking alcohol on campus;
      • Being present in a room or other area on campus where an alcohol violation is occurring;
      • Possession of alcohol-related container(s) in the residence hall, common area, vehicles on campus or anywhere else on campus; 
      • Window exhibits that display items relating to alcohol are prohibited, as are displays in windows, on room doors, in hallways and other public areas on campus. 
      • 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 

        Infractions to the stated policy will normally incur the following sanctions

        First violation: $50 fine; 5-10 hours of supervised service on campus; enrollment in a course related to alcohol education; and parental notification if student is under 21 years of age. Student will be placed on disciplinary probation for one year. If a student violates the alcohol policy within the probationary period, the student would be subject to suspension from Bluffton University

        Second violation: Minimum $100 fine; 10 hours of supervised service on campus; probation for remainder of enrollment; participation in an alcohol assessment program administered by a professional counselor (at the student's expense) and parental notification if student is under 21 years of age

        Third violation: Student will be suspended from Bluffton University. 
    • Drug Policy
      • Bluffton University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, purchase, distribution, sale or manufacture of a controlled substance (including marijuana), and of designer drugs.
      • Bluffton University strictly enforces all local, state, and federal laws related to possession, use, sale or distribution of controlled or illegal substances.
      • Bluffton University prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia, Individuals who are involved in any drug-related violation may be subject to criminal action, as the university may report these individuals to the legal authorities. Students who are convicted of any criminal offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance risk continued eligibility to receive Financial Aid.
      • The following behavior would be considered a violation of the campus drug policy: 
        • Being present in a room or other area on campus where a drug violation is occurring;
        • Possession drug paraphernalia in the residence hall, common area, vehicles on campus or anywhere else on campus; drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to roach clips, bongs, hookahs, blow tubes, papers, scales or any material or apparatus containing drug residue.
        • Possession or use of prescription drugs without a valid/current medical prescription; use of prescribed medication not as directed (over-use, snorting prescribed medication, etc.); huffing, snorting, smoking or otherwise possessing or using legal substances not as intended.
        • Window exhibits that display items relating to drugs are prohibited, as are displays in windows, on room doors, in hallways and other public areas on campus.
        • Disruptive actions associated with the possession and/or consumption of drugs, including disruptive behavior on campus when a student is under the influence of drugs

Sexual Misconduct Policy
Information regarding the sexual misconduct policy.

Disrupting the College Disciplinary Process
Any behavior that disrupts the orderly process of a college investigation and/or the college disciplinary process. Examples include, but are not limited to: failure to respond to notice of a college official, providing false testimony, making a false report, misrepresenting information during an investigation or a hearing, attempting to influence the testimony or participation of a witness or attempting to influence the participation of an individual in official capacity, threatening or intimidating any individual's participation in the disciplinary process, failure to comply with a disciplinary sanction.

Failure to comply with the Directive of a College Official
Direct disobedience of an order/request of a college employee. This includes, but is not limited to, failure to evacuate a building, campus or area of campus when so ordered by a college official, failure to identify self/procedure college ID when requested to do so, failure to comply with a  reasonable request of a faculty or staff person, or failure to complete prescribed sanctions as given by an administrative hearing officer or by the college hearing board.

Possession of Lost or Stolen Property
Possession of property reported to be or known to be lost or stolen, regardless of the item's place or origin; possession of traffic cones, signs, markers and/or other public property.

Unauthorized taking or using of property or possessions of the college or of another person or organization. Examples include, but are not limited to: "borrowing" items without prior permission, consumption of food without prior permission, taking another individual's belongings, unauthorized possession of permits or parking decals.

Any on-going behavior directed at or about an individual that is degrading, humiliating, malicious or defamatory. Behaviors may occur in person, in print, via electronic means or through social networking (cyber-bullying). Examples include, but are not limited to: ongoing pranks or ridicule directed against an individual, graffiti, posting insults against a student in a public setting or any website.

Fighting or acts of Physical Aggression
An encounter with blows or other personal violations between two or more persons. This includes but is not limited to actual or attempted pushing, hitting, kicking, spitting, wrestling, pulling hair, etc.

Any action or situation created, either directly or through innuendo that jeopardizes an individual's psychological, emotional or physical well being, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Subtle hazing: behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of a group or team.
  • Harassment hazing: behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like a part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates and causes undue stress for the recipients of this behavior.
  • Violent hazing: behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional or psychological harm or injury.

Hate Crime
Any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of a victim's actual or perceived race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gander, gender identity, disability or sexual orientation (or other protected category under federal, state or local law).

Videotaping, Audio Taping, and Photography without Consent
Videotaping, audio taping or photography (video phones and drones included) of students, faculty or staff in private spaces without their prior expressed consent is not allowed. Similarly, in public spaces (where an expectation of privacy is not assumed), recordings of this nature are not permitted to be done secretly, or to cause embarrassment or other undesirable attention.

Destruction or Defacing Property
Destruction, damage or defacement of personal, public or college property; including, but not limited to: defacing structures, bulletin boards, equipment and facilities; parking/driving on grass and sidewalks; grinding or rail sliding with skates or skateboards; littering; and removing window screens.

Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct
Any behavior that is disruptive (regardless of intent) to the rights of others, behavior which disrupts the daily productive functioning of self or others. Examples include, but are not limited to: intentionally preventing others from listening or presenting their ideas in class; manipulating others to gain sympathy or attention, use of cell phones in classrooms or during campus events; excessive noise; engaging in public urination or defecation; horseplay, practical jokes, hiding from college officials, hall sports and general pranks or annoyances. 

Setting fires with the intention of destroying property.


  • No partitions of any nature may be erected in a room. Sheets or fabrics may not be hung from the ceilings or walls in student rooms. This does not include posters on walls or other common wall hangings.
  • The burning of incense is not permitted in residence halls.
  • The burning of any object with an open flame (e.g., candles and lanterns) is not permitted in residence halls. Burnt candles are also not permitted. Candles must have a new wick or no wick at all.
  • Live Christmas trees are not permitted in any building on campus.
  • Halogen lamps are not permitted in the residence halls.
  • It is a violation of state law to tamper with fire extinguishers and fire alarm systems. Any students involved in this type of activity will be subject to suspension from the university. 

Smoke detectors have been installed in each room for the safety of the residents. These should be tested once a week by pressing and holding the test button 1-5 seconds and listening for the alarm. When the battery begins to weaken, a warning chirp will sound at least once per minute for seven days. Hall directors should be contacted when the battery needs to be replaced. Residents will be given a new battery to place in the alarm.

Misuse of College Property
Unauthorized use of college property including, but not limited to, unauthorized use of college keys, duplication of keys or unauthorized use of or access to college spaces, college vehicles or college equipment.

Observance of Local, State and federal laws
All students are required to abide by the laws of the local, state and federal governments and are subject to college disciplinary action for violation of any law.

Note: College disciplinary action does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual, nor does the filing of civil or criminal charges preclude disciplinary action by the college. This provision also requires students to comply with the laws of foreign jurisdictions in which they may be visiting or studying.