Student Code of Conduct: Rules and Regulations

The following is a summary and explanation of the rights, responsibilities, and rules governing student conduct at Swarthmore College. This statement serves as a general framework and is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of all possible infractions. Students violating any of the following are subject to disciplinary action. All sanctions imposed by the student conduct system must be obeyed or additional sanctions may be levied. For a complete description of the College’s student conduct process, please see the section on Student Conduct Policies and Procedures.

Alcohol and Other Drugs
Assault, Endangerment, or Infliction of Physical Harm
Banners, Chalkings, and Posters
Bullying and Intimidation
Disorderly Conduct
Events and Parties
Failure to Comply
False Representation
Fire Safety
Discrimination, Including Harassment, Based on Protected Class
Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Assault, Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Stalking, and Intimate-Partner Violence
Theft and Vandalism
Unauthorized Entry or Access
Unauthorized Use of College Facilities and Services
Violation of Local, State, or Federal Law
Weapons and Fireworks

Alcohol and Other Drugs

The unlawful possession, use, purchase, or distribution of alcohol on College property or as part of any College activity is prohibited. The unlawful possession, use, purchase, or distribution of illicit drugs, controlled substances (including stimulants, depressants, narcotics, or hallucinogenic drugs), or paraphernalia—or the misuse of prescription drugs, including sharing, procuring, buying, or using in a manner different from the prescribed use, or by someone other than the person for whom it was prescribed—is prohibited on College property or as part of any College activity. Read the full policy

Assault, Endangerment, of Infliction of Physical Harm

Physical restraint, assault, or any other act of violence or use of physical force against any member of the community, or any act that threatens the use of physical force is forbidden. Conduct—whether reckless or intentional—that a person knows, or which any reasonable person under the circumstances would know, places oneself or another at risk of bodily harm is subject to disciplinary action, whether or not the risk is realized. The director of student conduct, in consultation with the dean of students, will review the conduct and the circumstances in which it occurred and decide whether it falls under a minor or major adjudication, or to refer it to the College Judicial Committee for adjudication. The more reckless the conduct and the greater the risk of serious bodily harm and/or the greater the actual bodily harm caused, the greater the likelihood of a severe sanction.

Banners, Chalkings, and Posters

Banners: Banners may only be hung on Clothier Hall’s façade facing Parrish Beach, Cosby Courtyard, or Sharples Dining Hall. Banners hung elsewhere, including on Parrish Hall, will be removed. The standard maximum duration for banner display is one (1) week; groups are limited to one (1) banner reservation per month. Priority is given to student organizations or community-wide events (e.g., Winter Formal, Large-Scale Event, etc.).

Requests for banner space must be made to the Office of Student Engagement five (5) business days in advance of the requested starting display date.

All banner designs must be reviewed by the Office of Student Engagement prior to installation. Once approved, students must deliver their banner to the Facilities Service Building by 2:00PM on the Friday before the start of the reservation to ensure their banner is properly hung and according to the schedule. Installations will not occur on weekends.

Banners must be no more than 8-feet wide and
no more than 5-feet tall; made of vinyl or durable plastic or color-fast printed/painted fabric (hemmed); grommets should be present on the banner corners to ensure secure attachment to the wall; and a few short slits should be cut in the banner to inhibit the wind from catching and ripping the material.

Banners will be taken down by facilities on Monday mornings, and students must retrieve their banner from facilities no later than noon the following day. Failure to do so could result in banner disposal. Students acknowledge that a banner is at risk of being stolen, and the College is not responsible for such loss or damage. Free expression guidelines and policies apply to all banner spaces. Harassing, demeaning, uncivil expression, or threats of violence, whether anonymous or signed, will not be permitted. External advertisements and solicitations are prohibited.

Chalkings: Chalkings, by their very nature, are meant to be impermanent. Chalkings are permitted only on paved, outdoor walkways that are open to the rain. Walkways under porches or archways and vertical surfaces may not be used, and such chalkings will be washed away. Science Center outdoor blackboards are meant for dynamic use, being used while members of the community are present. Harassing, demeaning, uncivil expression, or threats of violence, whether anonymous or signed, will be washed away or removed without notice. Questions about particular chalkings or postings should be directed to the Office of Student Engagement.

Posters: All advertisements, flyers, notices, etc., constitute posters and may only be posted on public bulletin boards. Outdated posters must be promptly removed; anyone may remove outdated posters from public boards.

Recommended posting spots include the post office boards, bathroom stalls (not in the general room), residence hall bulletin boards, Sharples boards and tabling, and Clothier in Tarble boards. Masking or painter’s tape is approved for use for securing the posters—duct tape is not allowed. Posters may not
be placed on light posts, trash cans, buildings, walls, floors, doors, windows in doors, walkways, bike racks, hand rails, stairs, or trees, nor may they be placed on the assigned group bulletin boards in Parrish without permission from the group.

Posters need to be “signed” with a recognized student organization or the individual name of a matriculated student. No mentions or images of alcohol are allowed. If posters do not conform to these rules, they may be removed, and the individual or group may be fined or held financially responsible for damage.

Bullying and Intimidation

Bullying. Bullying includes any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts of physical, social, or emotional domination that is intended or any reasonable person should know would cause physical or substantial emotional harm to another student or group of students. Bullying conduct may not only cause a negative effect on individuals targeted, but also others who observe the conduct. Bullying conduct is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following:
(i) substantially interfering with a community member’s education, employment, or full enjoyment of the college;

(ii) creating a threatening or intimidating environment; or

(iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the College.
Bullying is prohibited, and participating in such acts will result in disciplinary action.

Intimidation. Intimidation is any verbal, written, or electronic threats of violence or other threatening behavior directed toward another person or group that reasonably leads the person(s) in the group to fear for her/his physical well-being constitutes intimidation, is prohibited, and will result in disciplinary action.

Anyone who attempts to use bullying or intimidation to retaliate against someone who reports an incident, brings a complaint, or participates in an investigation in an attempt to influence the judicial process will be subject to disciplinary action.

When bullying or acts of intimidation occur in the context of intimate-partner violence or when the behavior is perpetrated on the basis of sex or gender, the conduct will be resolved under the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy.

Disorderly Conduct

Students at Swarthmore College have the right to express their views, feelings, and beliefs inside and outside the classroom and to support causes publicly, including by demonstrations and other means.

These freedoms of expression extend so far as conduct does not impinge on the rights of other members of the community or the orderly and/or essential operations of the College. Disorderly conduct is not permitted.

Violation of the orderly operation of the College includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Excessive noise, which interferes with classes, College offices, residence hall neighbors, or other campus and community activities;
  2. Unauthorized entry into or occupation of a private work area;
  3. Conduct that restricts or prevents faculty or staff members or student employees from performing their duties, including interruption of meetings, classes, or events;
  4. Failure to maintain clear passage into or out of any College building or passageway, and/or work space;
  5. Failure to disperse when a building, office, or campus space is closed; and/or
  6. Other conduct that disrupts the normal operations of the College.

Events and Parties

The College defines an event as an academic, intellectual, cultural, and/or social gathering, which is open to all or a registered group of, current Swarthmore students, in a designated campus space in which alcohol may/may not be present for the entirety of the event. Funds and approval for College events can be obtained through the Student Budget Committee (SBC) or other funding sources and approved through the Office of Student Engagement at least two (2) weeks in advance of the event.

The College defines a party as a social function where alcohol may be served, regulated by the Alcohol Permit, in a designated campus party space and more than ten (10) students are present. Unless specifically authorized in writing by the Director of Student Conduct, no College funding may be used to purchase alcoholic beverages (written authorization may be given for senior only events, associated with senior week/senior class only events at off-campus locations where all participants are over 21 years old).

A College party may be held on- or off- campus and may only be sponsored by Swarthmore students. All parties held on-campus are automatically subject to this policy. If an individual and/or organization holds a party off-campus they may be subject to the student code of conduct and/or Pennsylvania state law.  

If held off campus, a party becomes subject to this policy if either of the following conditions are met:

1. College funds or funds from the Social Affairs Committee (SAC) of Student Council or the SBC, or from any approved student organization, are used in whole or in part to sponsor the event. This includes expenses that are reimbursed at a later time.

2. The social function is broadly advertised on campus in such a way as to invite student attendance. This includes verbal, written, or electronic personal invitations to individual students.

Read the full policy

Failure to Comply

The College expects students to comply with the directions of law enforcement officers or College officials acting in the performance of their duties.

Furthermore, the College expects students held responsible for Student Code of Conduct violations to fully comply with all disciplinary sanctions imposed by the College. A responsible student’s failure to comply with imposed sanctions or any related directions of a College official in the performance of their duties will be subject to further disciplinary action.

False Representation

A student may not knowingly provide false information or make misrepresentation to any College office. 
In addition, the forgery, alteration, or unauthorized possession or use of College documents, records,
or instruments of identification, forged or fraudulent communications (paper or electronic mail) are prohibited.

Fire Safety

Open flames, including the burning of candles, incense or other unauthorized objects, are not permitted in residence halls or any other unauthorized area of campus.

Tampering, interference, misuse, causing damage, and/or destruction of fire safety and fire prevention equipment are prohibited and are a violation of state law. Any student who causes an alarm to be set off for improper purposes may be liable for the expenses incurred by the fire department(s) in responding to the alarm, in addition to any fines, charges or sanctions that may be applied for violation(s) of this policy.

If no individuals accept responsibility when a violation of this policy occurs in a residence hall, all residents of that residence hall may be subject to fines and charges for costs incurred by the College and/or fire department(s).

Fire drills are held on a regular basis. Directions for fire drill procedures are posted in every building. Hallways and stairwells must be kept clear of bicycles, trunks, and furniture, and may not be used for storage. Items impinging on free movement in public spaces, including halls and stairways, will be removed (including cutting locks, when necessary) and their owners may be charged for their removal.

Students are financially responsible for damages resulting from reckless conduct or violation of this policy. Any student in violation of the College’s fire safety rules (e.g., unauthorized candle/incense/object burning, tampering with fire safety equipment, etc.) may be subject to restitution and replacement costs, a fine, adjudication through the student conduct process, or other reasonable resolution as deemed by the student conduct administrator.

Discrimination, Including Harassment, Based On A Protected Class

Discrimination, including harassment based on a protected class is defined as unreasonable, unwelcome conduct that is based on an individual’s sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, disability, or 
any other College-recognized protected classification. This type of discrimination can occur in any form and can be directed at individuals
or groups. When appropriate, minor infractions can be resolved informally and with remedial steps, including training, counseling, or mediation. When this discrimination objectively and subjectively harms the person by severely, persistently, or pervasively interfering with the person’s educational opportunities, peaceful enjoyment of residence and community, or terms of employment, it is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion/dismissal. In all cases, the College encourages individuals to seek support and assistance as soon as discriminating conduct occurs. Before any conduct can be considered for the student conduct process, it must be
clear that no substantial free expression interests are threatened by bringing a formal charge of discrimination. If a person has been subject to discrimination including harassment on the basis of a College-recognized protected classification as described above, the student should consult with the director of equal opportunity and engagement for guidance.

The College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure, intimate-partner violence, dating violence and domestic violence, retaliation, stalking, and other misconduct that is sex or gender based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship including: bullying and intimidation, physical assault, and stalking, discrimination.

The College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy applies to sexual misconduct of all forms, including sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment and stalking, and intimate-partner violence.  

If a person has been subject to sexual misconduct in any form, the person should consult with the Title IX coordinator for guidance and resolution of sex or gender based complaints under the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy.


Hazing by College community members in any form
is prohibited, whether the activities occur on or off campus. The College supports and will strictly enforce the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing
law, Act 175 of 1986.

This law defines hazing as “any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of a student or willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in any organization operating under
the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include but not be limited to any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property.

For the purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be ‘forced’ activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.”

Individuals and/or organizations as a whole found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, in addition to any liabilities faced under Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing law.


The College will not tolerate retaliation. Retaliation against any person or group who makes a complaint, cooperates with an investigation, or participates in
a resolution process is a violation of College policy. Retaliation can take many forms, including continued abuse or violence, bullying, threats, and intimidation. Any individual or group of individuals, not just a complainant or respondent, can engage in retaliation.

Retaliation should be reported promptly to the senior class dean and director of student conduct and may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegation of misconduct.

Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Indecent Exposure, Intimate-Partner Violence, Dating Violence and Domestic Violence, Retaliation, Stalking, and Other Misconduct that is Sex or Gender Based, or in the context of an Intimate Partner Relationship Including: Bullying and Intimidation, Stalking, Physical Assault and Discrimination 

Swarthmore College is committed to establishing and maintaining a community rich in equality and free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.
The College seeks to create an environment in which the greatest academic potential of students and professional potential of employees may be realized. In order to create and maintain such an environment, the College recognizes that all who work and learn
at the College are responsible for ensuring that the community is free from discrimination based on sex or gender, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and intimate-partner violence. These behaviors threaten our learning, living, and work environments and will not be tolerated.

The College’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure, intimate-partner violence, dating violence and domestic violence, retaliation, stalking, and other misconduct that is sex or gender based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship including: bullying and intimidation, physical assault and stalking, discrimination. 


Smoking is prohibited in all indoor spaces throughout the College, including meeting rooms, lounges, offices, and residence halls. A $25 fine in addition
to other potential penalties, including exclusion from campus housing, will be charged for violating this policy. Altering smoke detectors creates danger for all building occupants and will be met with disciplinary action.

Smoking is allowed outdoors at a minimum distance of 25 feet from all buildings.

Theft and Vandalism

Theft, negligent, intentional, or accidental damage to personal or College property is prohibited, as is possession of stolen property. Restitution will be charged to the appropriate student(s) and may warrant College disciplinary action. In the event that damage occurs in residence-hall common space for which no one assumes responsibility, restitution may be divided equally among all residents of that hall. Administrative fees will be added if students do not comply by the end of the semester.

For damage that occurs during a student event in
a space other than a residence hall and for which
no individual student(s) accept(s) responsibility, the sponsoring students and/or organization will be held accountable for the money for replacement or repair of the damaged property and may be subject to further disciplinary action.

Unauthorized Entry or Access

Unauthorized entry into or presence within enclosed College buildings or areas, including athletic facilities, construction sites, and student rooms or offices, even when unlocked, is prohibited. Climbing on any College building or College-owned structure or being present on building roofs is prohibited without authorization. Tampering with locks to College buildings, unauthorized possession or use of College keys, and alteration or duplication of College keys is against College policy.  Participation in any of these activities may subject a student to fines and/or further disciplinary action.

Unauthorized Use of College Facilities or Services

The unauthorized use of College property, including but not limited to College buildings, spaces and grounds; College documents and records; or College furnishings, equipment and materials, is a violation of College policy and is subject to disciplinary action. The Acceptable Use Policy under Academic Policies provides guidelines for use of College computer systems and networks.

Violation of Local, State, or Federal Law

Any violation of local, state, federal, or international law may subject a student to College disciplinary action. A pending appeal of a conviction shall not affect the application of this rule.

Weapons and Fireworks

No student may possess or use a firearm on Swarthmore College property or its environs. Firearms, including rifles, shotguns, handguns, air guns, and gas-powered guns and all ammunition or hand-loading equipment and supplies for the same, are not allowed. No student may possess or use fireworks, dangerous devices, chemicals, or explosives on Swarthmore College property or its environs. Items such as knives that could be viewed as weapons are forbidden.