Standards & Consequences

Code of Conduct

At Castleton, the students, faculty, and staff join together and create a community of learners and teachers (an academic community). Our community has a strong commitment to our traditions and to the innovation, creativity, and worth of each individual. Through the Code of Conduct and the policies and procedures in this handbook, we outline the balance between personal freedom, and respect for the rights and needs of others, and the community. The University expects that each member will respect the rights of other members and use the principle of respect to guide his/her behavior.

Students are expected to abide by local, state, and federal laws. The University reserves the right to discipline students charged with criminal violations. Any student convicted of a criminal offense is expected to notify the Dean of Students of said conviction prior to resuming attendance in classes.

While most disciplinary action will result from alleged infractions of University rules that occur while the student is on the campus, a student involved in off-campus incidents may also be charged through the University’s disciplinary procedures if, at the time of the offense, the student was participating in a University-sanctioned program or activity; if the incident jeopardized the University’s positive relationship with the local community; or, if as a result of the offense, the student jeopardized the safety of others from the campus community or the operations of the University.

The following are tenets of our code of conduct

  • Plagiarism, cheating and academic dishonesty in all forms are prohibited.
  • Offensive, disruptive, or disorderly acts which interfere with the rights of any member of the University community, or jeopardize the University's positive relationship with the community, are prohibited.
  • Failure to comply with directions of, and/or disrespectful behavior toward, University officials acting in the performance of their duties is prohibited.
  • Direct interference with faculty, staff or other officers of the University in pursuit of their official duties is prohibited.
  • Falsification of information on University records or providing false information to the University or University officials is prohibited.
  • Use of physical means to resolve conflicts is prohibited as are threats of harm to person or property, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • Harassing behavior in every form is prohibited. Harassing behavior is considered to be behavior not addressed in VSC Policies 311 and 311A which interferes with the personal liberty of others and may lead to injury, emotional disturbances, physical discomfort, humiliation, or feeling threatened. Stalking is a form of harassment.
  • Sexual activity of any kind without expressed consent is prohibited. (See Sexual Misconduct Policy)
  • Lewd or indecent behavior as defined by Vermont statute or reasonable community standards is prohibited.
  • Drugs other than those prescribed by a licensed physician for legitimate medical purposes may not be used, stored, manufactured, dispensed, or solicited on University property.
  • Possession or use of alcohol by minors is prohibited. Possession or use of alcohol by legal-aged drinkers is restricted as outlined in the University Alcohol Policy. Public intoxication is prohibited.
  • Violations of conventional health and safety standards are prohibited.
  • Setting fires, initiating false fire alarms, tampering with fire safety or firefighting equipment, or failure to adhere to fire evacuation procedures are prohibited.
  • The use, display, possession, and storage (including in personal vehicles) of weapons is strictly prohibited on the campus of, and properties belonging to, the University, except as authorized in the Firearms and Weapons policy.
  • Possession or use of fireworks or other pyrotechnics on the University campus is prohibited.
  • Entering any University building or event except in accordance with established procedures is prohibited.
  • Stealing is prohibited.
  • Removal and/or displacement of books and/or materials from the University grounds or from any University facility without following prescribed procedures is prohibited. Students with improperly procured books and/or materials in their possession will be considered as knowingly participating in the use of stolen articles.
  • Destruction or defacement of or tampering with University property or the property of others is prohibited.
  • Door-to-door soliciting by individuals or groups in the private areas of the residence halls is prohibited.
  • Knowingly participating in or assisting in the violation of any University policy is prohibited.
  • All students and employees have a duty to cooperate in investigations undertaken by the University.

Complaints

Complaints, grievances, or disagreements arising from or among students at Castleton should be handled, as far as possible, directly by the students involved and, of course, always peacefully. Students are urged to resolve personal disagreements before they cause major problems. If a student needs assistance working out a problem of this sort, he or she should speak with a member of the Student Life staff or, for on-campus residents, a member of the Residence Hall Staff. Such a third party can often prove very helpful when serving as a sounding board or mediator.

When an individual who has a complaint wants recourse through the University’s judicial processes, he or she should discuss the matter with the Dean of Students.

Complaints concerning alleged violations of equal opportunity policies/laws (i.e., discrimination, sexual harassment, ADA, Title IX, et al) should meet with Janet Hazelton, Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, in Woodruff Hall (Ext. 1208). Additionally, complaints concerning alleged violations involving students may be addressed to Victoria Angis, Associate Dean of Students, in the Campus Center (Ext. 1231). Complaints concerning alleged violations involving athletes may be addressed to Deanna Tyson, Associate Dean for Athletics, in the Spartan Athletic Complex (Ext. 1365). 

Complaints or grievances directed at an employee of the University should be taken up with that individual or his/her supervisor. The President supervises the Provost, Deans, Athletics, Marketing and Communications, Information Technology, and Human Resources. The Provost supervises the Dean for each College, Academic Support Services, Fine Arts Center, Registrar, the Library and faculty. The Dean of Students supervises Student Activities, Career Development, Residence Life, Food Service, Facilities, Conference and Events, Public Safety, and the Wellness Center. The Dean of Enrollment supervises Admissions, Financial Aid, International programs, and Financial and Registration Services. The Chief Budget and Finance Officer supervises Development, Alumni Affairs and Grants.

Discipline

Students are representatives of the University and are expected to show respect for law, morality, personal honor, and the rights of others, and to adhere to the University's Code of Conduct as described in this Handbook or as amended. The privilege of enrollment in Castleton University may be withdrawn from a student at any time, on any grounds, if the University considers such action to be for the welfare of the institution. Disciplinary cases will be investigated by the Dean of Students or his/her designee and may result in a hearing convened and conducted according to the procedures set forth in the University’s Discipline and Due Process procedures as described in this Handbook or as amended. See Due Process & Disciplinary Procedures and Parental Notification.

Due Process & Disciplinary Procedures

The procedures contained herein protect the rights of students at Castleton and are followed in all University disciplinary hearings. Students are responsible for knowing and following these procedures.

I. Temporary Suspension

When a student is determined by the President or his/her designee to present a threat to person, property, or academic environment, the President or his/her designee may impose immediate temporary suspension pending disciplinary proceedings. The terms of the suspension are to be stated in writing and may involve either complete or partial suspension. Subsequent disciplinary proceedings shall be expedited so that the period of suspension may be as brief as possible. In cases in which criminal charges are possible or pending, the University need not postpone student disciplinary proceedings until after the outcome of the criminal matter. See also related “Policy for Mandatory Leave.”

II. Complaints/Allegations of Violations

When a Castleton student or employee has a complaint against a Castleton student or believes a student has violated one or more University policies, he/she may discuss the matter with the Dean of Students or designee and may file a complaint. The Dean or designee may also receive information from other sources (e.g. a newspaper article, referral from local law enforcement, or complaint from a Castleton town resident) and treat such information as a complaint.  

If following investigation of a complaint, the Dean of Students or designee determines that a violation may have occurred and that a disciplinary procedure is in order, the Dean of Students or designee shall provide the charged student with a written notice of the alleged violation. This notice shall be presented in person whenever possible. In lieu of in-person delivery, notice of an alleged violation, and the hearing in connection therewith may be sent through campus mail, campus electronic mail or, in matters of serious allegations shall be sent to the student via registered mail. The notice shall include:

  • a statement of the charge(s), including the nature and circumstances of the alleged offense;
  • the date, time, and place of the hearing;
  • the name of the person to contact to read the report(s) pertaining to said allegations of violations; and
  • a copy of, or link to, the due process and disciplinary procedures in effect at that time.
  • The hearing date shall be set no sooner than five days after receipt of notice of an All-University Hearing Committee or Dean’s Hearing and no sooner than two days after receipt of notice of an Administrative hearing or a Peer Conduct Board hearing. If a student fails to appear for a hearing, the disciplinary matter may be adjudicated in his/her absence.

III. Disciplinary Hearings

In all cases, adjudicators will apply the “preponderance of evidence” standard to determine whether a policy violation has occurred. The “preponderance of evidence” standard means that, upon careful review of all evidence presented, it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

In any/all conduct processes, all parties involved have the right to an advisor of their choice.

Disciplinary matters will be adjudicated by means of one of the following three types of disciplinary hearings.

A. All-University Hearing Committee or Dean’s Hearing

Matters involving allegations serious enough to result in dismissal from the University will be heard by the Dean of Students (or designee), or by an All-University Hearing Committee comprising a University administrator appointed by the President or his/her designee, a faculty member appointed by the President of the Faculty Assembly, and a student appointed by the President of the Student Government Association. The administrative representative shall be the presiding officer of the disciplinary hearing. Each member shall have an equal vote, and a majority shall be required for a decision.

All hearings will be closed to the public in order to protect the confidentiality of those involved as well as the integrity of the process. The accused student shall be informed at the beginning of the hearing:

            (a) that the student is not required to make any response;

            (b) that the student has the right to have an advisor present but that the advisor may speak only to the student;

            (c) that the student has the right to confront and ask questions of witnesses through the panel; and

            (d) that the student has the right to present witnesses and/or evidence.

Under normal circumstances, the accused is informed of the outcome of the hearing before the hearing is adjourned. To the extent permitted or required under federal law, the University may make public disciplinary findings to the victim or campus community.

B. Administrative Hearing

Matters involving allegations of less serious infractions may be reviewed at a disciplinary hearing with the Dean of Students or designee. The accused student will be presented with the charges against him/her and the evidence for those charges, and will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges and evidence as well as to present evidence and question witness statements in his/her defense. Under normal circumstances, the accused is informed of the outcome of the proceeding at the conclusion of the hearing.

C. Peer Conduct Board

The Dean of Students may delegate less serious matters to a duly constituted peer conduct board composed of members of the SGA Student Court. The accused student will be presented with the charges against him/her and the evidence for those charges and will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges and evidence as well as to present evidence in his/her defense. Under normal circumstances, the accused is informed of the outcome of the proceedings at the conclusion of the hearing. This body is required to abide by written principles governing the conduct of hearings.

 IV. Outcomes

Outcomes may include but are not limited to, fines; restitution; housing probation or termination of contract; disciplinary probation; suspension; and dismissal. Only the All-University Hearing Committee or Dean of Students may impose the penalties of suspension or dismissal. Additional outcomes such as counseling, therapy or treatment may be imposed.

A student who is dismissed from the University for disciplinary reasons may not enroll in any course offered by Castleton. Dismissed students may seek, but are not guaranteed, readmission to Castleton. To be readmitted a student is required to submit a new application form and all credentials requested to complete the admission folder. The decision to readmit will normally be made by the Director of Admissions in consultation with an Academic Dean and the Dean of Students. A dismissal will be noted on a student’s transcript.

A student who is suspended from the University for disciplinary reasons may not enroll in any courses offered by Castleton for a specified period (not more than two academic semesters from the date of precipitating incident) unless specifically approved by the Dean of Students. If additional requirements (e.g., counseling) are imposed during the suspension period, the suspension will continue until the requirements have been completed.

A student who is placed on disciplinary probation may not represent the University publicly in a leadership capacity in intercollegiate athletics or any recognized student organizations for a specified period of time. This means that the student may not hold a leadership position (i.e., be a team captain or club officer). A student is encouraged to participate in these activities if otherwise eligible; they are only barred from taking a leadership position. Failure to complete the terms of probation and/or further violations of the code of conduct while on disciplinary probation could result in more serious discipline.

A student who is placed on housing probation will meet with the Director of Residence Life, and/or a designated administrator in the Residence Life Department if he or she is documented for a violation of University policy during the duration of the probationary period.  If a student violates University policy while under housing probation, he or she is subject to the termination of his or her housing contract and eviction from the residence halls.

 V. Appeals

Written requests for an appeal shall be made to the designated appeals officer within seven calendar days of the issuance of hearing body's written decision. The written request for appeal shall specify the grounds for the appeal, including specific supporting factual or legal arguments, which may address one or more of the following:

  • that the student's procedural rights were violated,
  • there was no substantial evidence supporting the decision,
  • the hearing body misapplied the governing standards in reaching its decision,
  • newly discovered evidence could change the outcome of the proceedings, or
  • the penalty is disproportionate to the offense.

Failure to specify a ground for appeal may result in dismissal of the appeal. After review of written

appeal and all documents used in the hearing process, the appeals officer may affirm the decision of the hearing body, reverse the decision, modify the penalties, establish a new committee to consider the case, or return the case, with specific questions to consider, to the original hearing body for further investigation and reconsideration. The appeals officer shall mail the notice of the decision to the individual who initiated the appeal. The decision of the appeals officer is final.

Fines

When a student is found in violation of a University policy or regulation, a fine may be assessed.

Guidelines for Students as Citizens in the Community

  • Open avenues of communications through mutual initiative (e.g., introduce yourself to your neighbors and make yourself approachable in any situation, and continue to contact neighbors. Have neighbors contact you in order to foster communication).
  • Notify neighbors of any and every planned gathering involving more than twenty people and/or excessive noise.
  • Avoid noise, no matter what time of the day, which disrupts the comfort of the individuals living within the general vicinity of you.
  • There should not be gatherings of unreasonable noise after 11 pm weekdays and 1 am on weekends; although noise before these hours is not acceptable if it disturbs your neighbors (as previously stated in above).
  • Be responsible for all problematic and detrimental behavior exhibited by your guests; be willing to cooperate when requests from your neighbors are made.

In the event that guideline violations are brought to the attention of the Dean of Students, appropriate disciplinary action may be instituted in accordance with the current student Code of Conduct for Castleton University.

Mandatory Leave

Castleton University may require a student to take a temporary leave of absence if, in the judgment of the Dean of Students or designee, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the student:

  1. a) displays behaviors that pose a threat to the lives or safety of himself/herself or other members of the Castleton community.
  2. b) has evidenced a medical condition (such as highly contagious airborne virus) or behavior that seriously interferes with the student's ability to function and/or seriously interferes with the educational pursuits of the student and/or other community members.

When a temporary leave is required the student will receive a letter stipulating length and requirements for return to campus. At the conclusion of the temporary leave, and with all requirements completed, the student may choose to return, take a voluntary leave of absence, or withdraw from the institution. As with all types of leaves, the policy on refunds contained in the undergraduate catalog will apply.

Course instructors have the discretion to determine whether such absences are excused for the purposes of course requirements. Students are expected to contact their faculty to make arrangements to meet course expectation.

Off-Campus Behavior

Castleton University enjoys and strives to maintain constructive, harmonious relationships with the Town of Castleton and its residents. Such a relationship is clearly in the best interest of the University as a whole and of Castleton students in general. For these reasons, students of Castleton University must respect the rights and property of those who live and work in Castleton. Students who violate this principle and/or whose behavior jeopardizes the University’s positive relationship to the local community may be subject to University discipline. See also Code of Conduct and Guidelines for Students as Citizens.