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Code of Conduct

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The Code of Conduct describes behaviors that are inconsistent with the essential values of the University community. Any student found to have committed, to have attempted to commit, or to have assisted in the misconduct listed in the Code of Conduct may be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Section V, E. A person engages in an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific violation of the Code of Conduct, he/she performs any act that constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that violation.

Links are provided for University policy statements that inform the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  1. ABUSE/ENDANGERMENT/HAZING OF A PERSON: Physically harming or threatening to harm any person, intentionally or recklessly causing harm to any person or reasonable apprehension of such harm or creating a condition that endangers the health and safety of self or others, including through the facilitation of or participation in any mental or physical hazing activity (also see Policy Statement 8).
  2. SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND MISCONDUCT: Engaging in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education, or access to University programs, activities and opportunities, and such conduct would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence (as described in AD-85).

    Sexual misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and refers to attempted or completed unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity, including, but not limited to the following: rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, forcible sodomy, sexual penetration with an inanimate object, intercourse without consent, sexual touching and fondling, the touching of an unwilling person's intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast or buttock, or clothing covering those intimate parts), forcing an unwilling person to touch another's intimate parts, sexual exploitation, and sexual coercion.

  3. HARASSMENT: Engaging in behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to threaten an individual or substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities or opportunities, and such behavior would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. (also see Policies AD-85)

    Behaviors that meet the above definition may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • directing physical or verbal conduct at an individual because of the individual’s age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas;
    • subjecting a person or group of persons to unwanted physical contact or threat of such;
    • engaging in a course of conduct, including following the person without proper authority (e.g., stalking), under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or to suffer emotional distress.
  4. WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES AND OTHER DANGEROUS ITEMS: The possession, storing, carrying, or use of any weapon, ammunition, explosive, or dangerous chemical or gas by any person is prohibited on all University property except by authorized law enforcement officers and other persons specifically authorized by the University. No person shall possess, carry, or use any fireworks on University property, except for those persons authorized by University and local governments to discharge such fireworks as part of a public display.   Additional guidelines found through University policy  SY-12, SY-08).
  5. FIRE SAFETY VIOLATIONS: Tampering with fire or other safety equipment or setting unauthorized fires. Exhibiting behaviors that risk health and safety of self or others during a fire related incident.  Burning candles, incense or other items in the Residence Halls or other University facilities, whether attended or unattended. (Additional information regarding University Policy pertaining to fire safety can be found by review of SY10, SY28, SY30)
  6. ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUGS: Illegally possessing, using, distributing, manufacturing, selling or being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.  Use, possession or distribution of beverages containing alcohol on University property shall comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and University Policies and Rules.   Note: Anyone, including those under 21, serving alcohol to persons under 21 is in violation of both University regulations and state law.   (also see Student Guide to University Policies and Rules, Policies AD-18, and AD-33).

    It is also a violation of the residence hall contract for a student to be in the presence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs in any residential area (also see http://www.hfs.psu.edu/housing/housing-contracts/terms-and-conditions/tcr-res-halls.cfm )

  7. FALSE INFORMATION: Intentionally providing false or inaccurate information or records to authorities. Providing a false report of an emergency, University Policy and Rule  and/or Code violation.  Knowingly providing false statements or testimony during an investigation or University proceeding.
  8. THEFT AND POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY: The taking, or possession of, items belonging to another individual or entity.  The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
  9. DISRUPTION OF OPERATIONS: Obstruction or disruption of classes, research projects, or other activities or programs of the University; or obstructing access to University facilities, property, or programs. Disruption is defined as an action or combination of actions by one or more individuals that unreasonably interferes with, hinders, obstructs, or prevents the operation of the University or infringes on the rights of others to freely participate in its programs and services (also see Student Guide to University Policies and Rules, AD-57).
  10. VIOLATIONS OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.  Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 and G-9 Procedures).

    Special Procedures are used to address violations of academic integrity. (See Section VI: Protocol for Violations of Academic Integrity)

  11. FAILURE TO COMPLY: Failing to comply with reasonable directives from University or other officials when directed to do so. Failure to provide identification or to report to an administrative office or, when reasonable cause exists, failing to leave University-controlled premises or dangerous situations when directed to do so by properly authorized persons, including police and/or other University staff.
  12. FORGERY/ALTERATION: Making, using or possessing any falsified University document or official record; altering or forging any University document or record, including identification, meal or access cards. This includes but is not limited to forging (signing another’s name and/or ID number) key request forms, manufacturing IDs or tickets, altering permits, and misuse of forms (letterhead stationery, University forms).
  13. UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OR USE: Unauthorized entry into or use of property or University facilities including private residences, offices, residence halls, classrooms,  and other restricted facilities. Unauthorized entry or use of facilities is referred to in University policy regarding the rights of individuals and the rights of the institution. Specifically, policy refers to an “obligation not to infringe upon the rights of all members of the campus to privacy in offices, laboratories and residence hall rooms, and in the keeping of personal papers, confidential records and effects, subject only to the general law and University regulations.”  The University also has the right to control use and entry into facilities for reasons of security, safety or protection of property. This includes closing facilities at specified times. It should also be recognized that an open or unlocked door is not an invitation to enter and use facilities. The same concept applies to computer entry or misuse, including violation of any University computer policy (also see Policy AD-20 and). Student Guide to University Policies and Rules).
  14. DISORDERLY CONDUCT:

    Engaging in disorderly, disruptive, lewd or indecent conduct.  The item includes but is not limited to: inciting or participating in a riot or group disruption; failing to leave the scene of a riot or group disruption when instructed by officials; disruption of programs, classroom activities or functions and processes of the University; creating unreasonable noise; pushing and shoving; or creating a physically hazardous or physically offensive condition.

  15. VIOLATIONS OF UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS: Violating written University policy or regulations contained in any official publications, administrative announcements, contracts and/or postings.
  16. VIOLATION OF LAW: When it is established that a student has violated federal, state, or local law and the violation of law affects a Substantial University Interest, the student may be charged within the Code of Conduct for Violation of Law.
  17. RETALIATION: Taking adverse action against any individual on the basis of a good faith report made by such individual, or on the basis of such individual’s participation in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by the University or an appropriate authority, or the individual’s participation in a court proceeding relating to suspected wrongful conduct. (See Policy AD-67)

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