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Code of Conduct

University discipline shall be applied to conduct by a student or recognized student organization occurring on University premises, activities off campus, or at University sponsored programs off campus. University sponsored programs by a student or student organization off campus include but are not limited to internships, field study, student teaching, community service, international study programs, recreational, intramural and club sports activities, and intercollegiate athletics. 

The University will take disciplinary action against a student or student organization when it is required by law to do so, or when the nature of the conduct:

  1. Interferes with or is disruptive to the learning environment, University process or activities, and/or educational interests and mission of the University, or
  2. Endangers the health or personal safety of a member(s) of the University community, or
  3. Harms, intimidates, or threatens another member(s) of the University community.

Note: A violation of the Code of Conduct may also constitute a violation of local, state, or federal law and vice versa. Therefore, resolution through both the student conduct process and prosecution through the criminal justice system may result. Resolution of a violation of the Code of Conduct will proceed separately from prosecution through the criminal justice system or any other method. A delay in resolution through other methods will not delay resolution through the student conduct process. Students should be aware that student status does not insulate them from awareness of and compliance with laws or other policies outside the University.

Within the parameters stated above, the following conduct is subject to disciplinary action:

A. Academic Integrity

Statement on Academic Integrity
At SUNY Oswego, we are committed to maintaining rigorous intellectual standards and the highest level of academic integrity. As leaders and role models, faculty and professional staff must adhere to the highest standards of intellectual integrity in scholarship and professional practice. The College endeavors to foster an environment in which students adhere to these same standards that will extend beyond their time at SUNY Oswego.

Any act that is designed to obtain fraudulently, either for oneself or for someone else, academic credit, grades, or other recognition that is not properly earned or that adversely affects another's grade or misrepresents one's academic status. Intellectual Dishonesty, including but not limited to:

  1. Plagiarism - Plagiarism is the practice of deliberately or inadvertently taking someone else's work or ideas, in part or in full, and passing them off as one's own, in text or other mediums. Plagiarism of any kind, including taking from either published or unpublished material, is contrary to established ethical practices. All members of the University are expected to acknowledge the intellectual work of others. In some cases, plagiarism may also involve copyright violations (see Copyright Violation).
  2. Fabrication or Falsification - Fabrication or falsification is a form of academic dishonesty in which someone invents or distorts the origin or content of information cited.
  3. Cheating – Cheating is an attempt to use unfair means to gain an advantage during an examination or on an assignment which gives the appearance of having the knowledge or a skill that an individual has not actually obtained.
  4. Copyright Violation – Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship including, but not limited to: texts, images, photographs, illustrations, sound recordings, dramatic works, music, and video. The copyright holder is guaranteed the exclusive rights to perform, display, reproduce, and distribute the work as well as to make derivative works. Currently, these rights are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. Copyright violations occur either when one uses media in websites, blog posts, videos, papers, etc. without securing permission (usually in the form of a license) for the specific use of when the use does not fall under the "fair use" clause of the copyright law. Many classroom uses of copyrighted materials fall under fair use, but not all (see Penfield Library's guide to fair use for specific details).
B. Misrepresentation

Including but not limited to:

  1. Knowingly or willfully providing false or misleading information or statements to the College, college official or law enforcement officer.
  2. Forgery, alteration, unauthorized possession or use of institutional documents including University issued identification cards.
  3. *Withholding information, including failing to disclose records of convictions or disciplinary actions, on applications after admission to the Univeristy.
  4. Manufacturing, distributing, delivering, selling, providing, purchasing, using, or possessing any form of fraudulent identification.
  5. Acts of dishonesty which harm an individual member(s) of the University, the integrity of the academic programs or the educational interests and mission of the University, or a University activity or procedure whether by act or omission.
  6. Abuse, interference, or failure to comply with University processes including conduct meetings, investigations, conferences or hearings.

*State University of New York (University or SUNY) policy prohibits SUNY Oswego from inquiring into an applicant’s prior criminal history. After a student has been accepted for admission, if such student seeks campus housing, or seeks to participate in clinical or field experiences, internships or study abroad programs, campuses shall inquire if the student has a prior felony conviction. (See full Prior Felony Convictions Policy, Guidelines and Procedures)

C. Harassment or Endangerment

Including but not limited to:

  1. Harassment, intimidation, bullying (including cyberbullying) or coercion toward an individual or group of individuals, that is severe, pervasive, or persistent to a degree that it interferes with a person's ability to work, learn, live, participate in or benefit from educational activities.
  2. Creating a hostile environment toward any individual or group of individuals.
  3. Inciting violence, targeted toward an individual or group of individuals.
  4. Physical abuse, assault and/or battery to any individual or group of individuals.
  5. Verbal or written threat toward any individual or group of individuals causing harm or reasonable apprehension of harm or invasion of privacy.
  6. Creation of or participating in a condition or situation that endangers the mental or physical wellbeing of self or others.
  7. Conduct which inhibits the peace or safety of members of the College community.
  8. Retaliation, harassment or coercion of parties, including witnesses, participating in student conduct actions or proceedings.
D. Disruptive or Disorderly Behavior

Including but not limited to:

  1. Disruption of administration, disciplinary processes, or other University activities.
  2. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, learning or research.
  3. Disruption to the campus community including, but not limited to, excessive or unreasonable noise, excessively large parties, throwing of projectiles, or rude and abusive language or behavior.
  4. Lewd, indecent or obscene behavior including public urination or defecation.
  5. Conduct which inhibits the safety or infringes upon the rights of members of the University community.
E. Sexual Misconduct

All forms of unwanted actual or attempted sexual activity encompassing non-consensual sexual behavior, including sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, and sexual exploitation. Sexual Misconduct including Sexual and Interpersonal Violence in all forms, but not limited to:

  1. Imposition of sexual contact without affirmative consent.
  2. Sexual assault/Sexual violence
  3. All forms of intimidation or coercion to take part in sexual activity.
  4. Sexual contact upon another who is reasonably unable to consent for any reason, particularly due to their age, use of alcohol or other substances, incapacitation, involuntarily restraint, emotional distress or sleep.
  5. Stalking
  6. Domestic Violence
  7. Dating Violence
  8. Sexual Harassment
  9. Sex discrimination
  10. Sexual exploitation
  11. Retaliation

(See full Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Policies and Procedures)

F. Hazing

Hazing Statement
Student groups, organizations, and athletic teams are an integral component of campus life. At all times participants in University programs and activities are expected to act in accordance with the Code of Conduct and treat others with respect. Hazing can happen in any organization and is not limited to fraternities or sororities. In all forms, hazing is abusive, degrading, psychologically damaging, often life-threatening, and has no place within our community. The University takes every report of hazing seriously and will investigate all complaints thoroughly and vigorously to ensure all students are treated fairly with dignity. Those found responsible for committing, soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or recklessly permitting hazing to occur will be subject to disciplinary action and could face either suspension or expulsion.

Any act, creation of, or participating in a situation or activity that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers an individual or group of individuals mental or physical wellbeing, for purposes of initiation into or affiliation with any group or organization regardless of a person's willingness to participate.

  1. Activities that disrupt or interfere with an individual's pursuit of academic endeavors.
  2. Activities which harass or intimidate.
  3. Any activity for human degradation, or public embarrassment and by its nature, has the potential to cause severe anxiety, distress, or panic.
  4. Activities that deprive individuals of sleep, edible meals, or personal hygiene.
  5. Activities that involve tests of endurance including leaving a person in a location without means of identification, communication, or ability to return.
  6. Activities that expose members or prospective members to potentially dangerous or hazardous circumstances, including lockdowns, overcrowding rooms, or locking exits.
  7. Activities that involved the forced or required consumption of food, beverages, alcohol, or other drugs.
  8. Activities which have a foreseeable potential for personal injury, impart pain or cause mutilation or alteration to the body.
  9. Activities which involve illegal acts.
G. Propery Violations

Including but not limited to:

  1. Damage to University premises or property.
  2. Damage to property of another person.
  3. Theft of University property.
  4. Theft of property of another person.
  5. Physical or digital theft of intellectual property, including computer programs, software files or documents, or library books and materials.
  6. Possession or distribution of stolen property.
  7. Unauthorized entrance, access, or misuse of University property and facilities.
H. Failure to Comply

Including but not limited to:

  1. Failure to comply with the reasonable directives or request of a University official, law enforcement officer or student staff acting in the performance of their duties.
  2. Failure to complete assigned conduct sanctions and/or mandated assessments.
  3. Failure to comply with administrative or interim actions, including no-contact orders, no-trespass notices, building or campus ban/restriction, removal from campus housing facilities or interim suspension.
I. Violation of Policies Governing the Residence Halls.

Students shall comply will all provisions of this Code of Conduct, and should refer to the Rules Governing Residence Halls, found in the Resident Student Handbook 2022-23, and the Housing License for additional rules and responsibilities related to on-campus housing that supplement the Code of Conduct. Students living in university housing are responsible for the behavior of their guests and for ensuring that guests comply with all university regulations.

J. Violation of Current University policies, Procedures and Rules

Including but not limited to:

  1. Weapons and Dangerous Materials Policy*
  2. Facilities Use Policy
  3. Solicitation and Posting*
  4. Computer and Network Acceptable Use Policy
  5. Student Organizations Policies and Procedures*
  6. Student Athlete Code of Conduct

*Policies listed above without external weblinks may be found in the Student Handbook

K. Fire and General Safety

Including but not limited to:

  1. Tampering with or improperly using portable fire extinguishers, elevators, fire sprinkler systems, EXIT lights or any other life safety equipment such as smoke detectors.
  2. Failure to evacuate buildings and follow emergency procedures issued by University officials or local authorities or emergency personnel during a fire drill or alarm.
  3. Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages University or personal property or which causes injury.
  4. Smoking of any kind, including by use of vaping devices, electronic cigarettes, and other nicotine delivery devices, is prohibited on University premises and in all facilities.
  5. Storing, possessing, or igniting combustible materials on campus including, but not limited to: flammable materials, fireworks, explosives, gunpowder, fuel containers, candles, or gas.
L. Violation of Law

Students are members of many communities, including many outside the University. As such, students are expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior in all settings and locations. 

Notification of Criminal Arrest - A student is responsible for notifying the Dean of Students of any off-campus criminal arrest within 5 business days of the arrest. Failure to provide timely notification may result in additional charges for failure to comply with University processes. When the University is informed of the arrest of a student, notice will be sent to the student requiring that they make an appointment with the Office of Student Conduct. During this interview, the University may review the underlying facts underlying the student's arrest to determine if there is an associated University policy violation, the student's obligation to keep the University informed of the progress of the criminal charges, and the student's obligation to advise the University of the final disposition of the criminal charge(s) will be discussed with the student.

M. Alcohol Policy Violation

Including but not limited to:

  1. Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of alcohol under the legal age.
  2. Being in the presence of alcohol under the legal drinking age.
  3. Purchasing, providing, or serving alcohol to or for an underage person.
  4. Manufacturing, distributing, or engaging in the sale of alcohol.
  5. Possessing or consuming alcohol in public, common areas of a residence hall or facility, or on University premises.
  6.  Creating or possession of drinking games or engaging in drinking games that induce, encourage, or result in rapid consumptions.
  7. Possession of empty alcohol containers and paraphernalia.
  8. Conduct under the influence of alcohol as demonstrated through one's actions, regardless of age including, but are not limited to, impaired motor-skill coordination, difficulty communicating, vomiting, verbal and/or physical aggressiveness, destructive or disruptive behavior, or public intoxication.
  9. Possessing, consuming or being under the influence of alcohol during registered University events, activities, trips, or classes.
  10. Operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, including but not limited to a DUI/DWI.
N. Drug Policy

Including but not limited to:

  1. Possessing, consuming or being under the influence of drugs, controlled substances or non-prescribed medication. The odor of marijuana may suffice to constitute a violation of policy.
  2. Being in the presence of drugs, controlled substances or non-prescribed medication.
  3. Possessing and/or use of drug paraphernalia.
  4. Manufacturing, selling, or distribution of drugs, controlled substances or non-prescribed medication.
  5. Possessing, consuming or being under the influence of drugs, controlled substances or non-prescribed medication during University events, activities, trips, or classes.
  6. Conduct under the influence of drugs as demonstrated through one's actions including, but not limited to operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs.
O. Bias-Related Incident

Bias Crimes and Prevention Statement
The University's values and goals advocate a broad degree of human understanding amongst its community members: students, faculty, staff, visitors and alumni. We seek to enroll and engage a diverse population of students across diverse cultural and national experiences. A vibrant, productive learning environment requires a richness in the variety of voices and life experiences that are represented among us. For this reason, prejudice, discrimination, and bias related actions by community members or visitors and guests, based on race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, are counterproductive and harmful to the purposes of our educational community. 

The University does not limit freedom of expression, particularly speech, even if the ideals and values held by some of its members are challenged by that speech. Even bigoted or racist speech or other forms of intolerant speech or offensive expression are protected. In this way, the University values of an inclusive and diverse learning environment may occasionally be challenged by, or at least not by furthered by, freedom of speech. However, conduct that targets a specific individual or group of individuals and creates an unreasonable interference with that individual's or group's ability to pursue educational purposes or to benefit from University life is prohibited by the University through this policy, the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, and Maintaining Public Order on Campuses of the State University of New York. (See full Bias Crimes and Prevention Policy and Procedures)

Bias-related crimes (also called hate crimes) are defined, when a person commits a specified offense and either:

  • Intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding their protected characteristic, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct; or
  • Intentionally commits the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding their protected characteristic, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

Any act of bias or inciting violence targeted toward an individual, a group of individuals or property based on actual or perceived identities so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the educational institution's programs or activities, including but not limited to:

  1. Bias-related harassment or inciting violence through verbal, written (including electronic mail and/or digital communication), graphic or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent.
  2. Threatening, intimidating or fear provoking.

Protected characteristics including race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction.

P. Policy on Student Organization Affiliation

Students are prohibited from affiliating with groups/organizations that have had their campus recognition withdrawn or suspended, either temporarily or permanently. The definition of affiliation includes joining, rushing, pledging, or involvement in any activity that would normally be associated with being a member of the group. Residing in facilities owned, rented, or controlled by an unrecognized organization is also considered affiliation and is prohibited. Students are responsible for ensuring they meet eligibility criteria prior to affiliating with any recognized organizations or groups.