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 community infractions. Students violating community standards may be held accountable through the student conduct process. For a complete description of the College’s student conduct process, please see the section on Student Conduct Policies and Procedures.

Conduct expectations are outlined under the following policies:


Academic Misconduct

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Assault, Endangerment, or Infliction of Physical Harm

Banners, Chalkings, and Posters

Bullying and Intimidation

Discrimination, Including Harassment, Based on Protected Class 

Disorderly Conduct

Events and Parties

Failure to Comply

False Representation

Fire Safety

Hazing

Housing Violations

Retaliation

Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Assault, Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Stalking, and Intimate-Partner Violence

Smoking

Theft, Vandalism, or Property Damage 

Unauthorized Entry or Access

Unauthorized Use of College Facilities and Services

Violation of Local, State, or Federal Law

Weapons and Fireworks


Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is defined as a violation of the College’s standards of academic integrity whether these violations are intentional or unintentional. Academic misconduct consists of cheating on an exam, plagiarism on an academic assignment, or unauthorized collaborative work.

Evidence of academic misconduct may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Some of the student’s work coincides with or closely paraphrases a source that is not properly acknowledged.
  • Glaring coincidences in the work of students on exams, papers, problem sets, etc., where cooperation in producing the work was not permitted.
  • Submission of the same work in more than one course. When submitting any work to an instructor for a course, it is assumed that the work was produced specifically for that course. Submission of the same work in more than one course without prior approval is prohibited.

Sources that must be acknowledged include, but are not limited to, lab manuals, books, articles in books, journal articles, and web pages, along with graphs, charts, tables, data sets, etc., in any of the sources just mentioned. Proper acknowledgment must indicate both the source and how it served as a source for any specific portions of the student’s assignment.

The informal nature of some writing may obviate the necessity of rigorously formal citation, but still requires honest attribution to original authors of all borrowed materials. Students should feel free to consult with instructors whenever there is doubt as to proper documentation.

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. 

Swarthmore College recognizes that there may be situations in which students would be in need of swift medical assistance for themselves or others, as a result of alcohol and/or drug use. The College expects each student to share in the safety and wellbeing of their fellow students and to seek out assistance from College officials (Public Safety, Resident Advisors, Dean’s Office Staff) and/or medical emergency services through 911, without fear of College disciplinary action for the consumption of alcohol and/or use of controlled substances.

Under the College’s Alcohol and Other Drug Amnesty policy, typically neither the student in need nor the student or student organization requesting assistance will be subject to disciplinary action as a result of a violation of the Alcohol and/or Drug Policy. 

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

As stated in the Academic Freedom and Responsibility Policy, membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off campus. These freedoms of expression extend so far as the expression does not impinge on the rights of other members of the community or the orderly and essential operations of the College. These are fundamental norms and expectations of expression for Swarthmore College. Banners,  chalkings, and posters are subject to reasonable requirements on their display and may be removed when a violation of College policy or the requirements described below occur. Some examples of behaviors that are inconsistent with our norms and expectations include actionable harassment or bullying; threats, intimidation, or incitement of violence; and defamation or other unlawful invasion into the privacy of others. All are encouraged to engage in the civil exchange of viewpoints, with the understanding that even where we disagree, we can still recognize that we are all valued members of the Swarthmore College community.

Students are also encouraged to read the Disorderly Conduct policy within the Student Code of Conduct.

Banners. Banners may only be hung on Clothier Hall’s façade facing Parrish Beach, in Cosby Courtyard, or in Sharples Dining Hall. Banners hung elsewhere, including on or in Parrish Hall, will be removed. The standard maximum duration for banner display is one (1) week; groups and student organizations 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 banners must be reviewed by the Office of Student Engagement prior to installation. Students acknowledge that a banner is at risk of being stolen, and the College is not responsible for such loss or damage. External advertisements and solicitations of a commercial nature are prohibited.

For banners in Sharples, once approved, students may hang their banner using tape or string. Students are responsible for removing their banner after the five-day display period.

For banners hung on Clothier or in Cosby Courtyard, once approved, students must deliver their banner to the Facilities Service Building by 2 p.m. 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 and are subject to the availability of staff. During the first weeks of the semester and the move-out period, staff are not available to hang student banners. 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 removed 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.
 
Chalkings. 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 while members of the community are present. 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, 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, handrails, 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 to cause 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 their physical well-being. 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 student conduct process will be in violation of retaliation as described within this handbook and will be subject to disciplinary action.

When acts of bullying and 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.

Discrimination, Including Harassment, Based On A Protected Class

Discrimination, including harassment, based on a protected class is defined as unreasonable, unwelcome conduct, 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 legally protected classification, that objectively and subjectively harms the person by severely, persistently, or pervasively interfering with the person’s educational opportunities, full enjoyment of residence and community, or terms of employment. This type of discrimination can occur in any form and can be directed at individuals or groups. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, infractions may be resolved through a variety of appropriate methods, ranging from informal, remedial steps, including training, counseling, or mediation to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion. In all cases, the College encourages individuals to seek support and assistance as soon as possible. Before any behavior 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 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, stalking, physical assault, and discrimination. The full policy can be found at http://www.swarthmore.edu/share/sexual-assault-harassment-policy. 

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.

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 expression does not impinge on the rights of other members of the community or the orderly and/or essential operations of the College. In light of the principles and expectations described within the policy on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, disorderly conduct is not permitted. 

Disorderly conduct is a violation that prevents the orderly operation of the College, which 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 operations of the College, such as lectures, meetings, events (such as admissions tours or job interviews), ceremonies, or other necessary business and community functions.

Events and Parties

The College defines an event as an academic, intellectual, cultural, and/or social gathering, held by students or a student organization, in campus space. Events can be open to the entire campus community, open to all enrolled students, or closed events held for a smaller group of students and/or members of an organization. Typically, guest(s) of enrolled students are permitted at campus events; please see the guest policy for additional information on the College’s guest policy. Usually, events are not open to the general public without written permission from the Office of Student Engagement. Both open and closed events follow the same expectations and process for registration.

The College further differentiates between alcohol registered events (A.R.E.s) and dry events (events where alcohol is not present). A.R.E.s are registered events where alcohol will be present, either provided by the host or brought by attendees, and/or alcohol will be served. All A.R.Es. require advance registration and approval of a College Alcohol Permit.  

Unless specifically authorized in writing by the Associate Dean of Students or designee, 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 event may be held on- or off- campus and may only be sponsored by Swarthmore students. All events held on-campus are automatically subject to this policy. An individual and/or organization holding an event off-campus may be subject to the student code of conduct and/or Pennsylvania state law.  

  • Open events are defined as an event where all students are permitted to attend, without an entry fee.  Open events may or may not be open to the larger campus community.
  • Closed events may be held for a smaller group of students and/or members of an organization. A guest list may be required depending on the size and scale of the event. 

If a student is unsure about whether their event is ‘open’ or ‘closed’, they make seek advisement from the Office of Student Engagement. 

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.

Upon request, students are obligated to provide College personnel with accurate identification and must present their OneCard when requested. A student may not knowingly provide false information or make misrepresentations to any College office. Swarthmore Police Department will accept a Swarthmore College OneCard as proof of identification, expect when a driver’s is required for operating a motor vehicle.  

In addition, the forgery, alteration, or unauthorized possession or use of College documents, records, or instruments of identification, or forged or fraudulent communications (paper or electronic mail) are prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.

Fire Safety

Fire regulations prohibit personal cooking appliances (hot plates, toaster ovens, or other items with open-heat elements), space heaters, candles, incense, other open-flame items, vapes, and halogen lamps. 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. It is also a violation to hang items from any part of fire safety equipment including conduits and sprinkler heads. Any student with an open flame (e.g., candle, incense, etc.) may be subject to a $500 fine.

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. Failure to vacate any College building during an active fire alarm, including drills is a violation of College policy, may result in disciplinary action. 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.

Any student in possession of prohibited items and/or in violation of the fire safety policy may be referred to the student conduct process.

Hazing

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 Antihazing law, Act 175 of 1986, as amended by Act 31 of 2016. 

This law defines hazing as “any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person or which 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. 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 any 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 antihazing law.

Housing Violations

General housing policies and regulations described below are established by the Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Engagement. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the policies and rules concerning conduct in the residence halls. Acceptance of space in College housing constitutes knowledge of, willingness, and agreement to abide by these housing policies. Living in College housing is a privilege and not a right. The Dean’s Office and/or Office of Student Engagement may, at any time and at its own discretion, withdraw this privilege due to behavior, which does not rise to the standards outlined below. Students who lose their housing privileges are not typically entitled to a refund of their room and board charges for the remaining weeks of the semester.

Read the full policy.

Retaliation

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

Smoking and vaping is prohibited in all indoor spaces throughout the College, including meeting rooms, lounges, offices, and residence halls (including individual’s residential rooms). Violation(s) may result in a referral to student conduct, a fine, and/or other potential penalties, including exclusion from campus housing. Altering smoke detectors creates danger for all building occupants and may be met with disciplinary action.

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

Theft, Vandalism, or Property Damage

Theft, negligent, intentional, or accidental damage to personal or College property is prohibited, as is possession of stolen property. Restitution may be charged to the appropriate individual(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 may 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 may 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.