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Student Guide - Standards of Conduct

General Guidelines

Individuals living in a community bear responsibility for their behavior as it affects not only themselves, but other individuals as well as the community as a whole. Standards and policies are implemented to safeguard the satisfaction and well being of the individual as well as the entire community. In the Bethany community, those standards and policies are formulated under the following guidelines:

  • Federal, state, and local laws.
  • College rules and regulations as stated in this guidebook.
  • The answer given by Christ himself when asked for the greatest commandment:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)

While a strict adherence to numbers one and two above would ensure order, the overriding guide in the Bethany community is the third, the law of love as expressed in the Scriptures. This standard, admittedly of the highest degree, is set toward achieving the goal of creating an optimal learning and living environment for the Bethany student while equipping him/her for a life of love and service to the larger community.

In any instance, Bethany students will be expected to evaluate their actions and decisions in the light of such questions as:

  • Does this glorify God and/or benefit my neighbor?
  • Are my actions in accord with God's loving will as revealed in the Holy Scriptures?
  • Has this or will this harm myself, another individual, or the community as a whole?

Language
It should be noted that in a Christian community it is naturally understood that each member will want to honor God and each other in the manner in which they speak to one another and the words used in conversation. Because of this, cursing, swearing, and the use of profanity will not be tolerated.

Sexuality
We recognize that human sexuality is a wonderful gift from God, which He has given as a blessing to be used solely inside of marriage.

Again, following the law of Christian love that compels us to love and honor God first, and also to respect and love one another as ourselves, we naturally understand that this gift from God is to be reserved for relations between a husband and wife. All abuses of this gift, such as premarital sex, extramarital sex, and homosexuality will not be tolerated, but dealt with in a spirit of repentance and forgiveness, as the Scriptures instruct. Though there is much room for discussion and education of these subjects, there will also be no toleration of any public promotion of those things which contradict the Bible's instruction regarding human sexuality.

Clothing
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). How we dress at Bethany sends a message about our mission. We will want to glorify our gracious Lord and Savior for all his loving-kindness in every aspect of our lives. In keeping with such an attitude we will dress in such a way that is not offensive to our Savior or others in the Bethany community. We ask that faculty, staff, and students assist each other in how we model Bethany's message of Christ's love and our reaction to his love, so that our Christian freedom will not be misinterpreted.

Restoration in God's Word
As Christians we believe that all people are dear creatures of God, bought with the precious blood of Christ, who takes away the sin of the world. We see sin, first of all, in ourselves and confess to God that we do not always show love to others as we should, and we ask God's forgiveness for our unloving and intolerant attitudes, words, and actions. God's forgiveness is for all, and we want all people to enjoy the blessedness of faith and the promise of heaven. With people of other faiths, other cultures, or other denominations we seek to use the opportunity to learn about our own faith and other people's perspectives as well. When someone sins or struggles with sin, we try to restore them, with gentleness, with the patience and love and forgiveness that God has for all people, because He wants all to be saved.

Standards of Conduct

The following is a list of misconduct or activities that are considered to be violations of Bethany's Standards of Conduct and/or municipal, state, and federal regulations. They apply to the behavior of students, residents, and guests of residents while in the residence halls or on the Bethany campus at large.

  • The possession, use, or being in the presence of alcohol on campus. Alcohol/Drug Policy
  • The illegal use, possession, distribution, or sale of alcohol off campus. Alcohol/Drug Policy
  • The illegal use, possession, or distribution of drugs on or off campus or in the presence of such use, possession, or distribution. Alcohol/Drug Policy
  • Possessing, using, or distributing fireworks.
  • Illegally using fire alarms, extinguishers, hoses, or smoke alarms.
  • Engaging in residence hall raids.
  • Violating residence hall visitation hours.
  • Engaging in any type of fight night, fight club, or other boxing type of activity on campus.
  • Entering unauthorized areas without appropriate permission (i.e. all roofs, maintenance shop, locked buildings and rooms).
  • Tampering with any security system, including, but not limited to: building exits, locks, surveillance, corridors, altering or propping open any locked exit doors, and propping open any exterior windows other than those in student rooms.
  • Intentionally or recklessly causing physical or emotional harm to any person.
  • Disruptive behavior that interferes with the personal or academic activities of others or the institution and its mission.
  • Setting or fueling a fire.
  • Storing, possessing or using firearms. (Bethany bans guns on its premises.)
  • Unauthorized possession or storage of any weapon (i.e. firearms, sling shots, bows, arrows, martial arts weapons, knives with a blade four inches or longer, decorative weapons, hatchets, or axes). See also the paragraph on Firearms/Dangerous Articles and Weapons etc. in the Campus Security section.
  • Intentionally initiating or causing any false reports of an emergency.
  • Intentionally destroying or defacing college or private property.
  • Theft of property or withholding information about stolen property.
  • Failure to comply with the directions of a residential life staff member, college officer or security personnel acting in the performance of his/her duties.
  • Unauthorized possession, use, or duplication of college keys or fobs.
  • Throwing, dropping, or causing any object to fall from a building.
  • Displaying, using, possessing, distributing, or forwarding hard- or soft-core pornographic posters, materials, stories, or movies.
  • Displaying movies, videos or other materials which are saturated with offensive language or depict gross violence without any redeeming educational or social value.
  • Students on roller blades or skateboards are permitted to pass through campus utilizing paved areas. Those transiting campus on skateboards or roller blades must not endanger other individuals. Jumping off walls, stairs, railings, or any other hazardous activities are not permitted. The use of roller blades or skateboards is prohibited in any campus building.
  • Violating residential life or other campus policies.
  • Gambling is strongly discouraged.
  • Refusing to cooperate with Bethany officials during an investigation of misconduct or violation of Bethany policies.

This list is not necessarily inclusive of all the standards that will be enforced. Bethany reserves the right to include other standards and regulations for its students that are in agreement or not in conflict with its stated philosophy and objectives. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed a limitation upon the expressed or implied authority or duties of the Board of Regents or the administrative officers of the college.

Allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment should be brought under those policies contained in the Sexual Misconduct sections of the Student Guidebook.

Tobacco-Free Buildings

The use of tobacco in all its forms (including e-cigarettes), in keeping with federal, state, and local laws, is not permitted on the Bethany Lutheran College campus except where stated in the following paragraph. The "campus" is defined as all property owned by Bethany, both inside of buildings and outside in common areas, as identified on the campus map found at www.blc.edu/maps-and-directions.

Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) may be used within 10 feet of the posted /designated smoking area/signs, on city-owned property adjacent to Bethany, and in personal vehicles parked in accordance with Bethany's parking regulations. Anyone using tobacco products in designated areas is asked to dispose of cigarette butts and other trash in the receptacles provided.

Sanctions

When violations occur, one or more of the following sanctions may be imposed:

  1. Warning: A warning may be in the form of an oral or written warning or reprimand.
  2. Probation: Probation is a status with condition imposed for a defined period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation during the probationary period.
  3. Required Compliance: Required compliance means satisfying College requirements, work assignments, community service, or other discretionary assignments.
  4. Confiscation: Confiscation means confiscation of goods used or possessed in violation of College regulations or confiscation of falsified identification or identification wrongly used.
  5. Fines: Fines mean monetary payment to the institution. For the year of this Guidebook publication, maximum fine amounts will not exceed $250.00 per individual incident. Fines and fine limits are separate from and are not to be confused with restitution (see point 6).
  6. Restitution: Restitution means making compensation for loss, injury, or damage.
  7. Restriction of Privileges: Restriction of privileges means the denial or restriction of specified privileges, including but not limited to, access to an official transcript for a defined period of time.
  8. Housing Suspension or Expulsion: Housing suspension means separation of the student from campus housing for a defined period of time. Housing expulsion means permanent separation of the student from campus housing.
  9. Suspension*: Suspension means separation of the student from the College for a defined period of time, after which the student is eligible to return to the College. Suspension may include conditions for readmission. The absence is unexcused.
  10. Expulsion*: Expulsion means the permanent separation of the student from the College.
  11. Withholding of Diploma or Degree: Withholding of diploma or degree means the withholding of diploma or degree otherwise earned for a defined period of time or until the completion of assigned sanctions.
  12. Revocation of Admission or Degree: Revocation of admission or degree means revoking a student admission to the College or revoking a degree already awarded by the College.

*Tuition, room and other fees will not be refunded for students suspended or dismissed for academic or conduct reasons during the semester. Board plans may be refunded on a prorated basis.

Disciplinary action may also include communication with parents and/or referral for mandatory counseling. The College has identified Standard Sanctions for Substance and Alcohol Abuse Related Violations.

The Dean of Student Services may convene a Dean's Advisory Committee to assist in determining level of responsibility and/or sanctions. Criminal behavior may also be referred to the police department for investigation.

Appeal Procedure

If in the student's opinion that the sanction is inappropriate or unfair, the student has the right to appeal. An appeal is to be made in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs within one (1) week of the pronounced sanction.

In cases where a suspension or expulsion is being appealed, the student has the right to request a hearing before an advisory committee. Members of that committee will be representative of the campus community and selected by the V.P. for Student Affairs. At the hearing the student will have the opportunity to address any evidence used in making the decision to suspend or expel. The student may also call witnesses to provide information relevant to the evaluation of the suspension or expulsion. The advisory committee will submit to the V.P. for Student Affairs a written statement regarding their findings and/or recommendations.

The decision made by the Vice President will be final. He will send his decision in writing to the student. A copy will be sent to the Dean of Student Services.

The Judiciary Process and the Law

Students should be aware that misconduct may subject them to penalties prescribed by municipal, state, or federal law. Bethany does not consider a college campus to be a sanctuary from public law and may report infractions of municipal, state, or federal law to proper authorities. The imposition of penalties by courts of law does not constitute double jeopardy, inasmuch as college punishment is not criminal in nature. The Dean of Student Services may take disciplinary action toward a student who is charged with or guilty of a criminal offense. Criminal charges or court decisions do not limit the college in taking disciplinary actions for violations of campus regulations.

Complaints
If a student feels that they have been treated in an unfair manner, they may appeal a disciplinary decision per the Appeal Procedure, file a grievance per the Grievance Policy, or submit a formal written complaint. Formal written complaints must be submitted to the institutional officer with the responsibility to handle the complaint. BLC shares information about non-trivial formal complaints with its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission. Individual identities are shielded in these reports.

Grievance Policy (abbreviated)
Bethany Lutheran College's policies and practices are designed to create optimal work and learning environments for its employees and students. When the occasion arises where an employee or student feels that he/she has been illegally discriminated against and where the issue (e.g., sexual harassment) is not addressed elsewhere in the faculty handbook, administrative and staff handbook, or student guidebook, the employee or student may use the grievance process to seek resolution of the issue.

The grievance process is restricted to complaints of discrimination as outlined in federal anti-discrimination statutes, state and local laws against discrimination, and College anti-discrimination policies, except where allowed by Bethany's status as a religious institution.

This grievance process is internal to the College and applies to incidents that take place at the College and its affiliated off-site activities or that are related to College operations. Individuals who may use this grievance process are limited to current students and employees.

The College is committed to resolving complaints of discrimination in a timely manner. Students, faculty, and staff are expected to cooperate fully and in a timely way with all investigations into complaints of discrimination. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Employees and students are not to be penalized or retaliated against for proper use of the grievance process. However, it is not considered proper if an employee or student abuses the process by raising grievances in bad faith or solely for the purposes of delay or harassment, or by repeatedly raising grievances that a reasonable person would judge as having no merit.

The College encourages students and employees to use the internal grievance process. However, employees have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and students have the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education, without first using the College's internal grievance process.

Individuals who feel they have been illegally discriminated against may use the grievance process within the following timeframes:

  • Employees: within 15 business days of the alleged incident(s)
  • Students: within 15 class days of the alleged incident(s)

For purposes of this policy, class days includes finals week. If the alleged incident(s) occurs during the last 15 class days of the academic year, a 15 business-day summer timeframe will be used.

Contact Paulette Tonn Booker in the Human Resources office (ptbooker@blc.edu; 507-344-7840) to request, in confidence, a copy of the complete grievance policy and the process to be used for submission and resolution of grievances.