Table of Contents

 

 

Introduction 

As student organizations, leaders must follow all guidelines and policies in place for undergraduate students. You should familiarize yourself with the documents that have been linked below to ensure that your organization will stay in compliance with all University rules and regulations. These documents are frequently applied to student organization activities. By following these policies, your organization will be able to thrive.  

 

Links


Student Organization Conduct Policy

 

Philosophy
The organization conduct process is designed to complement the educational mission of the University and focus on upholding the commitments inherent in the Sewanee community. The Division of Student Life facilitates a conduct process in which members of the undergraduate community may resolve alleged violations of University policy with fairness, education, and mutual respect. Student organizations are held accountable for their actions with the ultimate goal of encouraging and fostering personal growth in the community while ultimately protecting the safety and wellbeing of all community members.

Guiding Principles 
When there are alleged violations of the policies outlined in the Student Organization Handbook or other policies by student groups, the conduct process will be governed by the principles outlined below. For alleged violations by individual students, please refer to EQB: The Guide for Living in Community for policies, processes, and protocols. 

  • Fairness. The process should strive to be consistent, clear, comprehensive and, when possible, efficient.
  • Education. The process, including potential consequences, should strive to be educational. Students are encouraged to consider responsibility for their actions and to make wise choices. 
  • Respect. The process should strive to be characterized by mutual respect for all individuals as well as the community as a whole and the commitments outlined for our campus. 

Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty
As outlined in the EQB: The Guide for Living in Community: In order to promote the safety of all University of the South students in situations involving medical risk from alcohol or drug consumption, any student (Good Samaritan) who calls 911 or the Student Life staff to assist another student needing emergency and/or medical attention may not be cited for any offense under the alcohol or drug policy. The student needing emergency and/or medical attention will not be cited for any offense under the alcohol or drug policy but will be required to meet with Dean of Students staff, and complete alcohol education, will receive a substance abuse assessment, or will be assigned other remedial activities deemed appropriate. If a student violates any other college policy while intoxicated or under the influence of other substances, those infractions are subject to citation. If the student is taken to the hospital, the University reserves the right to contact the student’s parents/guardian. An individual needing emergency and/or medical attention is protected under this policy once during his or her university career. Likewise, a student serving as a Good Samaritan repeatedly may not be protected under this policy should they be seen as a contributor to unsafe behavior.


Jurisdiction 
The University reserves the right to address student behavior within an organization or student organization activity that takes place on campus, off-campus, or online when such behavior or activity is inconsistent with this Code of Conduct or has an adverse impact on the Sewanee community. The University has the authority to address behavior that occurs during sponsored off-campus events and programs (including the University’s international programs) when it is determined that the behavior conflicts with the University’s policies and/or educational mission. Any incident involving an individual student’s behavior within an organization or a student organization’s activity that is believed to be inconsistent with University policies or federal, state, and local laws may be referred to the appropriate authority. Violations of University policies or federal, state, and local laws can be individual AND/OR organization violations. Authority for student organization conduct ultimately rests with the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee.

 

Search and Entry
A search of a student, a student’s possessions, or a student’s on-campus residence, a fraternity house, or campus building may be authorized by the Dean of Students’ Office or by the Sewanee Police Department. Any items found that violate the Code of Conduct, policies within the Student Organization Handbook or any local, state, or federal laws will be removed and reported to the appropriate authorities. Additional details about residence hall room searches are noted in the Room Contract.


Interim Administrative Measures 
The University may impose interim administrative measures upon a student organization when there is reason to believe, based upon available information, that the student organization or a group of members of the student organization has engaged or threatened to engage in behavior that (a) poses a danger of imminent physical harm to the group or to individuals, (b) directly and substantially impedes the lawful activities of other members of the campus or (c) has or is likely to cause property damage. Following the imposition of interim administrative measures, the standard organizational conduct process shall be provided as expeditiously as possible. Additional violations that occur during an interim suspension period shall be seen as a violation of the cease and desist and subject to disciplinary action. Interim administrative measures include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Cease and Desist: This action requires a student organization to immediately cease organizational operations, refrain from meeting, and/or comply with other stated conditions for a specified period.  These conditions and other specific details will be outlined in the letter provided at the time of its issuing.
  • Temporary House Closure: This action requires a student organization to relocate its members currently residing in the house to another space within facilities operated by the University’s Office of Residential Life within 24 hours. If students disregard this action, they shall be subject to further disciplinary action. The organization must secure the house, and no one will be permitted entry until the temporary closure is resolved.

Notice of Interim Administrative Measures
A student organization will receive written documentation of any interim administrative measures, which will explain the nature and reason for the action as well as any conditions that may apply. This documentation will be sent to the Sewanee email address of the president on record, its organization advisor, and if applicable, the inter/national organization. The letter will include a time for the student organization president to meet with a member of the Dean of Students staff for further explanation.

Group Responsibility 
Any student organization can be held responsible for its actions or the actions of those affiliated with the organization, including but not limited to: one or more of its members (active or inactive), former members, alumni, guests, contractors, and agents. Every student organization has the duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent violations of University regulations, policies, and local, state, and federal laws related to the activities of the organization. To this end, each organization is expected to educate its members regarding their own risk management policy and all applicable University policies, Student Organization Handbook guidelines, and local, state, and federal laws.

 

Authority 
The Division of Student Life is responsible for facilitating the process for addressing student organization conduct matters. Under the direction of the Office of the Dean of Students, professional staff members from the Division of Student Life and/or the Greek Conduct Board are responsible for implementing the conduct process for student organizations.

Confidentiality
Student organization conduct records are not subject to the same confidentiality requirements of individual student conduct records, and the University may share student organization conduct outcomes with the following audiences: including but not limited to its students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, and prospective students and families. These outcomes may be shared in various locations, including but not limited to University websites and reports. 

Student Organization Code of Conduct
As illustrated below, the University has specific expectations of student organizations and their members. The EQB Guide outlines expectations for individual student conduct, and the Honor Code and other University policies outline other directives for conduct, which should also be followed by student organizations.  At any time, if a policy or rule pertaining to student organizations at Sewanee is more restrictive than another stand-alone policy or individual student expectation, the more restrictive policy should be followed. This also pertains to differences in University policies and inter/national policies.

  • Alcohol
    The University regards intoxication as irresponsible behavior both because of its effects on an individual’s ability to exercise sound judgment and because of its potential threats to health and safety of both the intoxicated individuals and others in the community. The University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. It is also unlawful for a person over the age of 21 to buy, furnish and/or make available alcoholic beverages for anyone under the age of 21. Student organization hosts bear the responsibility for abiding by University policies and federal, state, and local laws, for establishing reasonable guidelines for the behavior of their guests, and for taking measures to discourage public intoxication and disorderly conduct at their social functions. Refer to the Undergraduate Student Social Host Policy for stipulations. Please note that no glass bottles will be permitted in student organization houses or meeting spaces without the express permission of the Dean of Students. Student organizations who have repeated violations of the alcohol policy within a semester or year may be suspended for the remainder of the semester at minimum.

  • Complicity
    Students have a responsibility to take action to preserve our community standards and values. Sewanee students routinely pride themselves on “looking out for each other.” Opposed to that spirit of shared responsibility is “complicity”—the conscious failure to take reasonable action in the face of a clear wrong. It is “approval by inaction.” Students who are demonstrably complicit in the conduct violations of others may face disciplinary consequences individually as well as the organization being held accountable for policy violations.

 1Please note that all individual student conduct records will be kept confidential as outlined on page 13 of EQB: The Guide for Living in Community

  • Damage to Property or Premises
    The damage, destruction, or abuse of personal or University property and/or premises is prohibited. Fraternity and sorority houses are situated on University property. Student organizations may be charged for any damage to University facilities and public areas that result from misconduct or misuse. This includes, but is not limited to, trash remaining after a social event, damage to University property, unauthorized removal of University property, and/or destruction of organization property in a dangerous manner.
  • Deceptive Behavior
    Students should engage in honest interactions and refrain from deceptive behavior. Any student or student organization that intentionally or knowingly deceives a University official and/or provides false information will be referred to the Honor Council.
  • Disorderly Conduct
    Public intoxication and/or drunk and disorderly conduct in public or private locations (including residence halls and Greek houses) is a violation of University policy. Student organizations should be mindful to address this conduct at any social or other event.
  • Drugs
    The University prohibits the unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, and/or distribution of marijuana, narcotics, hallucinogens, and/or dangerous drugs. Sewanee intends to send a “zero tolerance” message regarding illegal possession or misuse of drugs or knowingly being in the presence of those who possess or misuse drugs. The presence of illegal drugs in any campus facility, at any student organization sponsored meeting or event, and/or as a part of any student organization off-campus gathering will not be tolerated. Student organizations will be held accountable for any drug violations on their property or at their sponsored events, including suspension of the organization for a minimum of one semester.
  • Endangerment
    Students are expected to protect the safety of themselves and others by making responsible choices to reduce the risk of danger. Physical abuse or force against one’s self, another individual, or group, or conduct that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of one’s self or another person or group will not be tolerated.
  • Failure to Comply
    Students and student organizations are expected to be cooperative and respectful to University officials who are acting in the performance of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, faculty and staff, including the Sewanee Police Department. Further, student organizations are expected to comply with instructions, requests, or orders of a University official, a University official’s designee or University document. Note: failure to comply during the adjudication process may result in adjudication in the student organization’s absence. A failure-to-comply violation can result when a student or student organization knows or should have known of the instruction, request, or order.
  • Fire Hazards and Combustible Materials
    Combustible materials including, but not limited to, gasoline, gunpowder, flammable chemicals, explosives, etc., are not permitted. Incendiary devices, including fireworks of any kind, are strictly prohibited in University facilities and on the premises of the Domain. Smoke detectors must remain plugged in (if not battery operated) and in good working order. This policy also applies to fraternity, sorority, and theme houses.
  • Hazing
    Hazing is any conduct that causes or would reasonably be expected to cause another person to experience humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation, harassment, or endangerment of mental or physical health or safety as a condition of association with a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate and regardless of whether the organization or group is officially recognized. Acts of hazing by groups, individuals, and/or alumni are prohibited. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts but constitute complicity. Students and organizations may be charged separately through the University conduct process. Further information regarding hazing can be found in the student organization handbook online.
  • Noise
    Loud music or an unacceptable level of noise is that which can be heard beyond the immediate premises. Student organizations should observe the following guidelines regarding noise: no bands or other amplified music are permitted while classes or labs are in session, on reading days, or during final examination periods. No amplified music may be situated outside the building where the event or gathering is taking place, unless it is approved during the event registration process.
  • Other Policies
    All University policies and departmental guidelines are imposed to create a safe and productive learning environment.  Students are responsible for knowing and following all policies. Most University policies can be found on the Provost’s website and should be reviewed annually with the entire student organization to ensure compliance.
  • Retaliation
    Any person who brings a good faith report under EQB: The Guide for Living in Community or the Student Organization Handbook, or has information about or is involved in a complaint resolution process is encouraged to do so without fear of adverse action. See the full policy at https://new.sewanee.edu/files/resources/non-discrimination-policy-1.pdf.
  • Sexual Misconduct
    The University of the South has a detailed policy regarding sexual misconduct and a process for resolving such cases that is complementary to the processes in this Code. See the full policy at https://new.sewanee.edu/titleix/title-ix-policy-procedures/.
  • Smoking
    Smoking and the use of tobacco products is prohibited by federal law for use or possession by individuals under 21 years old. Prohibited tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, hookahs, all smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes. Smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of all campus buildings, including fraternity and sorority houses, academic buildings, etc.
  • Theft
    Students should respect the property of individuals, the University, and others. Student organizations are expected to not take another’s property without express permission.
  • Unauthorized Entry
    In the interest of student safety as well as successful living and learning, students are expected to not physically enter non-public areas of the University without first receiving the appropriate permission(s) that grants access. Permission may be provided in many forms, and therefore students are expected to refrain from assisting others without permission to enter such areas. Non-public areas include, but are not limited to, residence halls, residence hall rooms, construction areas, athletic playing surfaces, staff or faculty offices, card-restricted rooms/areas, rooftops, and balconies.
  • Weapons
    Students and student organizations may not possess, use, or intend to use weapons on the Domain without express permission of the Sewanee Police Department. No weapon or item that could reasonably be assumed to be a weapon is permitted on the premises of the Domain. Students are expected to follow procedures related to weapons and not make assumptions about what is permitted.  The University prioritizes safety in situations involving weapons. The University’s Weapons Policy can be found on the Provost’s page at: https://new.sewanee.edu/files/resources/weapons-policy.pdf.

Process
When the University is made aware of any alleged violation of policy by a student organization, the information will be reviewed by the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee. Should enough information exist to support an alleged violation of policy, the incident report will be made into a case and the process will move forward. Should there not be enough information to move forward, the report will be maintained as information only. Once a case is created, the following steps will be followed:

  • Cases are either assigned to the appropriate conduct officer or hearing board for adjudication:
    • Student Organization Handbook policy violations, Undergraduate Student Social Host Policy violations, and other violations will be adjudicated by the Greek Conduct Board or the Office of Campus Activities. Other violations could include but are not limited to the following: noise, trash, unauthorized events, alcohol, alcohol distribution, common source of alcohol, disorderly conduct, offensive behavior, theft, and failure to comply.
    • High risk violations, including but not limited to hazing, sexual misconduct, harassment, retaliation, drug use, drug possession, drug distribution, death, or serious injury, as well as organizations already on a probationary status who have a subsequent violation will be handled by the procedures below. These types of issues may be accompanied by interim measures or restrictions while the next steps unfold.
  • Within one week of notice about the incident, a staff member from the Office of Campus Activities will reach out to the organization president (and advisor and inter/national organization representative as appropriate) to communicate the concern and request information via email. A description of the incident or issue will be included in this initial contact.
  • The student organization’s leadership has three class days to schedule a meeting with the staff member who initially reached out to them. If a meeting is not scheduled by the student leader within three class days, the process will move forward without a meeting.
  • After the initial meeting with a Campus Activities staff member, the appropriate conduct board or staff member will communicate with the student leadership of the organization via Sewanee email about how the process will work as it moves forward. Charges will be assigned and a timeline will be set for resolution of the case.
  • If an internal investigation report is deemed necessary, it should include, but is not limited to the following items:
    • Who was involved and in what capacity
    • A detailed account of what happened
    • Where applicable, steps taken to discipline members individually or action taken organizationally to increase mutual respect between the University and student organization.
    • This report may also include any immediate next steps that will be taken by the organization and any individual student sanctions that have been assigned by the organization.

  • The report will be reviewed with the appropriate conduct board or conduct officer. In a hearing, members of the organization’s leadership, the advisor on record, and inter/national organization representatives may attend the hearing/meeting. Local organizations without the support of an inter/national organization may utilize members of the IFC or ISC at the organization’s discretion as a support person but are not required to do so.
    • Additionally, it is possible that a formal investigation will be needed to further clarify details of the incident. This investigation may be completed by the appropriate hearing board, inter/national organization staff, University staff, or all of the above.
    • To conclude the process, findings will be shared or the case will be closed. Findings on the charges and a summary of the investigation will be communicated to the organization’s leadership via Sewanee email and copied to the advisor and inter/national organization, where applicable.

  • A formal hearing will be scheduled to review the charges and investigation report. Should the organization wish to accept responsibility for all charges, a meeting will be scheduled rather than a hearing to receive proper sanctions. This meeting must be scheduled within 3 class days of receipt of the charge letter.
    • A hearing will be chaired by the appropriate conduct officer or conduct board member. The hearing will only be recorded by the University, no other audio recordings may be made.
    • The organization will provide a statement and the organization’s spokesperson will receive questions. Only the spokesperson will have a speaking role and advisors may attend for support purposes only. Inter/national organization representatives may listen in via phone but have no speaking role.
    • The organization may call upon witnesses who have first-hand knowledge of the incident or issue. Those witnesses will provide a statement and receive questions from the panel. The hearing chair reserves the right to discontinue hearing from witnesses once it is established that their accounts are consistent.
    • Once information has been shared, the appropriate conduct board or conduct officer will deliberate on an outcome and if appropriate, sanctions will be assigned. The outcome will be shared in a similar format as the charges with all relevant parties receiving a copy, which will be shared via Sewanee email.
  • Sanctions may be both disciplinary and educational in nature, and often include educational action steps that are decided on by both the organization and the University.

Any student(s) who provide false information, lie, or obstruct the conduct process will be charged individually and where applicable, sent to the Honor Council. Student Organization advisors, inter/national organization staff, and/or alumni who provide false information, lie or obstruct the conduct process may be limited from participation in the future and the organization may be held accountable.

Sanctions
Sanctions issued to student organizations are intended to address community impact, education and personal growth of members, and to reduce risk on campus. Conduct history of the organization will be taken into account. The following are organizational conduct statuses that will be posted on the Office of Campus Activities website:

  • Organizational Warning: Official disciplinary action conveying to the organization that their behavior was unacceptable and that any further violations of policy may result in more severe consequences. Notification of this warning will be shared with inter/national organization affiliates but will not be posted on the Sewanee website.
  • Organizational Probation: A pre-suspension period in which the organization’s behavior is under University review, conveying that the behavior is unacceptable and that steps are needed to remedy the behavior. Further violations of policy while on probation may result in immediate suspension or removal of registration. Probation will be shared with the inter/national organization and will be listed on the Sewanee website. Probation may include limitations, such as:
    • The organization loses the ability to host social events and events with alcohol for no less than the remainder of the current semester.
    • Limits on the recruitment of new members and/or the initiation of members.
    • Reduction of approved activities while action steps are being focused on and completed.
  • Organizational Suspension: Suspension of official University registration and recognition for no less than the remainder of the current semester. Notification will be shared with the inter/national organization and will be listed on the Sewanee website, along with the earliest potential return date. Suspension may be effective immediately or deferred until the end of the current semester at the discretion of the appropriate conduct officer or hearing board. The following terms of suspension may include:
    • The organization shall cease all operations effective immediately. Only action steps as outlined specifically in the outcome letter may permit the organization to assemble.
    • During the period of suspension, the organization will not have any benefits of University recognition and may not participate in University-sponsored activities, participate in events and activities as an organization, use or schedule University facilities, and cannot use Sewanee’s name or marks in any manner for any purpose, unless approved to do so by the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee.
    • The suspension and all associated documentation shall be maintained by the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students’ Office, or their designee and communicated with the inter/national organization.
    • A petition to re-register will be submitted to the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee for review no earlier than the time specified in the outcome letter.  All action steps must be completed in order for the petition to be submitted for consideration.
    • Members of the organization may not meet, assemble, or represent in any way the formerly registered organization during the period of time that University recognition is revoked. Any students or other persons doing so by forming "underground" or affiliate groups within The University of the South community in any way, shape, or form will be held accountable individually, and the organization may be delayed in, or prohibited from, petitioning for permission to reorganize and to receive University recognition.
    • With regard to individual members of the organization living in residence or asking to utilize a facility in which the organization has ownership, stipulations may apply, including vacating the facility during the suspension period.
  • Removal of University Registration and Recognition: Permanent revocation of University registration, subject to the right to petition for reinstatement, shall be immediate. Notification will be shared with the inter/national organization and will be listed on the Sewanee website. The following terms may include:
    • The organization shall disband and cease all operations effective immediately. By a designated date and time all facilities owned by the organization may not be occupied or utilized until the organization returns as a University-recognized organization in good standing.
    • The period of removal shall be no less than 2 years.
    • During the period of removal, the organization will not have any benefits of University recognition and may not participate in University-sponsored activities, participate in events and activities as an organization, use or schedule University facilities, and cannot use Sewanee’s name or marks in any manner for any purpose.
    • The removal of registration and recognition and all associated documentation shall be maintained by the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students Office, or their designee.
    • If the removal of University registration and recognition is not permanent, a petition to reorganize may be submitted at the time indicated in the organization’s outcome letter. This petition should be submitted to the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee for review.
    • Members of the organization may not meet, assemble, or represent in any way the formerly registered organization during the period of time that University recognition is revoked. Any students or other persons doing so by forming "underground" or affiliate groups, within The University of the South community in any way, shape or form, will be held accountable individually, and the organization may be delayed in, or prohibited from, petitioning for permission to reorganize and to receive University recognition.
    • With regard to individual members of the organization, all are required to attend a meeting facilitated by the Office of Campus Activities, the Dean of Students, or their designee to discuss vacating any facilities owned or managed by the organization and with a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff to discuss impact of the organization’s removal.

  • Educational Action Steps
    The action steps assigned as a part of a warning, probation, suspension, removal of registration and recognition, or in an effort to remedy an organization's impact on the Sewanee community shall be issued with clear deadlines and criteria for completion. Questions or concerns that arise during the process should be directed to the Office of Campus Activities. All action steps are aimed to address the issues causing the violation and restore mutual respect between the University and the organization. The following are examples of educational action steps that can be effective in changing behavior within a student organization:
    • Educational speakers: the organization will host a speaker or presenter on an educational topic related to the violation and will discuss the information shared in a meaningful way.
    • Revision of constitution or bylaws: the organization will review and update the constitution & by-laws to reflect areas of self-governance that could be enhanced to reduce risks within the operations of the organization. Inter/nationally affiliated organizations should consult their headquarters when making updates to ensure they are in line with expectations.
    • Revise new member education programming: the organization will review and update the plans for new member education to reflect areas of concern with regards to risk, alcohol/drug use, and hazing behaviors. Inter/nationally affiliated organizations should consult their headquarters when making updates to ensure they are in line with expectations.
    • Organizational training or skill-building: complete training or an educational workshop on a particular topic of relevance where a certain percentage of members and new members must attend.
    • Collective service hours: organization members will be asked to complete service hours on the Domain in lieu of fines for alcohol and drug policy violations.  These service hours are logged by individual members and totaled to meet the minimum assigned. The organization does not complete the work as a group but members are encouraged to serve in pairs or small groups as appropriate.

  • Student Organization Alcohol Sanctions
    Alcohol served in common sources, large quantities, in conjunction with hazing or inappropriate activities, to people under age of 21 years and/or in violation of the Undergraduate Student Social Host Policy will result in:
    • 1st offense - Organization is not permitted to host any event with or without alcohol pending completion of 300 collective service hours where 90% of members must participate AND a drug education workshop or program by an approved speaker where 90% of members attend AND achieving 100% of its members trained as sober monitors.
    • 2nd offense - Any organization that has a second alcohol violation within 12 months of the first violation will be suspended for a full academic semester. Reinstatement will occur only with stipulations set forth by the Vice-Chancellor.

  • Student Organization Drug Sanctions
    Drugs found in the fraternity/sorority/theme house or at a student organization sponsored event (regardless of location):
    • 1st offense - Organization is suspended pending completion of 1000 collective service hours where 90% of members must participate AND a drug education workshop or program by an approved speaker where 90% of members attend.
    • 2nd offense - Any organization who has a second drug violation within 12 months of the first violation will be suspended for a full academic year. Reinstatement will occur only with stipulations set forth by the Vice-Chancellor.

  • Appeals
    Cooperation and partnership is expected between student organization leaders and the University.  Even so, there may be times when an organization wishes to appeal a decision of this process on the basis of:
    • Procedural error, which had a bearing on the original decision.
    • New information that was not available at the time of the hearing that would affect the original decision.
    • Information demonstrating that there is no way a reasonable person could have arrived at decisions similar to the original decision without bias.  

The right to appeal does not entitle a student organization to a full rehearing of the entire case. The Appeals Board or the Vice-Chancellor (in cases of suspension only) reviews the appeal only if sufficient and appropriate grounds for appeal exist. The functions of the Appeals Board are outlined in full in the EQB Guide. All appellate decisions are final and end the process.