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Judicial Standards and Processes

Policies, codes and processes for Point Park University

The following policies, codes and processes are part of the Point Park University Student Planner/Handbook.

Key Sections

Alcohol and Other Drugs

University Alcohol Policy

Point Park University upholds the standards set forth in all state and federal laws with respect to the consumption, sale, and possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21. Behavior which abuses the lawful use of alcohol is also prohibited.

The University prohibits alcohol intoxication; the unauthorized possession, use, consumption, manufacture, sale, or distribution of alcohol; and driving while impaired due to alcohol consumption. Specifically this includes, but is not limited to:

  • Students under the age of 21 are not permitted to consume, transport, or possess alcoholic beverages.
  • No Point Park student, regardless of age, may provide alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age.
  • No Point Park student or guest, regardless of age, is permitted to be intoxicated on campus.
  • The possession of beer kegs, cases of beer, or any common source container in any University building, facility, or property, unless authorized by University administration, is prohibited. There may be no more than 1 case quantity of beer per room/suite/apartment.
  • The consumption of alcohol in public areas on campus is prohibited unless otherwise stated by University officials.
  • The possession of any apparatus used to facilitate the rapid consumption of alcohol or drinking games is prohibited.
  • Students will be held responsible for the actions of their guests who fail to comply with the University Alcohol Policy.

Residential Alcohol Policies

  • No person, regardless of age, may consume or possess alcohol in a room where the residents are under the age of 21. Also, there may not be alcohol in a room where all room residents are under the age of 21, regardless of the age of any guests present.
  • Residents and their guests of legal drinking age may consume alcoholic beverages within the privacy of their room, with the door closed.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in public (common) areas of the residence halls (e.g., lounge spaces) without the express, written permission of the Dean of Student Affairs.
  • Alcohol consumption is prohibited in all residence building hallways.
  • Students and their guests who appear to be intoxicated will be stopped by Security, Public Safety, and/or Campus Life staff to assess any wellness or safety issues. Intoxicated, or seemingly intoxicated, guests will not be permitted access to the residence halls. Students who appear intoxicated must comply with the direction given by staff.
Disciplinary Action

All alcohol policy violations will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action; and as permitted under FERPA, Point Park University, at its discretion, may contact parents or guardians of students under 21 in alcohol-related incidents.

University Drug Policy

Point Park University strictly adheres to federal and state laws with respect to prohibiting the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of illegal or controlled substances and drug paraphernalia. Per PA Senate Bill 1006 synthetic marijuana (salvia and bath salts) are now illegal in PA as well.  The misuse of legal drugs is also prohibited—this includes the misuse of one’s own prescription medical and using a medication prescribed to another. Evidence of drug use such as paraphernalia, smoke, or smell is also prohibited and a violation of this policy.

Any student believed to have violated the drug policy will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs; and as permitted under FERPA, Point Park University, at its discretion, may contact parents or guardians of students under 21 in drug-related incidents.

Student Code of Conduct

Statement of Purpose

Any campus judiciary must have, at its core, the intention to adhere to the fundamental rights and responsibilities inherent in scholarly inquiry, civil discourse, and intellectual rigor. No university community can exist if these values are not safeguarded and explored, free from violence and bias.

With this in mind, the University has set forth reasonable expectations and standards of behavior in the Statement of Community Responsibilities and Expectations. The goal of this statement is to put in place the community’s procedures for resolving conflict, educating community members as to standards of interaction, and, if necessary, removing from our community those who will not adhere to these standards.

Statement of Community Responsibilities and Expectations

The purpose of the Student Code of Conduct is to delineate non-academic standards of conduct appropriate to the University in consonance with the educational goals of the University. A student enrolling in the University assumes a responsibility to conduct him/herself in a manner compatible with the University’s function as an educational institution. All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code and their individual responsibility with it, and the Code applies to all students of Point Park University. The Code and the Procedural Guidelines may be changed at the discretion of the University.

The student is expected to respect and abide by local ordinances, and state and federal statutes, both on and off campus. As a member of the educational community, s/he is expected to abide by the institution’s Student Code of Conduct which clarifies those behavioral standards considered essential to its educational mission.

Student Groups and Organizations

Student groups, organizations, including athletic teams, may be charged with violations of this Code. A student group or organization may be held collectively responsible and its officers may be held individually responsible when violations of the Code by those associated with the group or organization have occurred.

A position of leadership in a student group, organization, or athletic team entails responsibility. Student officers cannot permit, condone, or acquiesce in any violation of this Code by the group or organization.

Definition of Terms

“Student” means any person registered or enrolled in a University program or course of study at Point Park University, either full-time or part-time; any person who may not be enrolled for a particular term but has an ongoing relationship with the University; or any person notified of their acceptance for admission.

“University Official” means any person employed or contracted by the University who is assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.

“Member of the University Community” means any student, alumni, faculty member, University official, or employee of the University.

“Offense” means conduct and/or attempts to engage in conduct inappropriate to the University community for which disciplinary action may be instituted.

“University Property” means all property owned, leased, or controlled by the University.

Prohibited Conduct
Article 1: Offenses Related to Persons

(are committed when a student or student organization):

  1. Intentionally or knowingly, and without authority or consent, limits or restricts the freedom of a person to move about in a lawful manner.
  2. Uses intimidation, verbal abuse, threats, harassment, coercion, and/or any other conduct which causes a person to be fearful of physical harm or threatens or endangers the health or safety of a person.
  3. Physically abuses, assaults, or injures another person.
  4. Intentionally slanders or libels another person.
  5. Obstructs or interferes with another person’s civil rights.
  6. Commits an act of sexual misconduct.
  7. Sexually harasses another person.
  8. Exhibits behavior of any kind that imperils or jeopardizes the health and safety of any person or persons. This includes any action which could be injurious to self or others.
  9. Knowingly, whether with or without consent, hazes another student.
  10. Commits any act prohibited by this Code or University policy because of a person’s national origin, sex, age, religion, ancestry, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, caregiver status, or familial status.
  11. Creates a hostile educational, living, or work environment through harassing or other bullying behaviors.
Article 2: Offenses Related to Property

(are committed when a student or student organization):

  1. Knowingly, and without consent or authorization, has in his or her possession property of another person or the University.
  2. Knowingly, and without consent or authorization, removes, uses, misappropriates, or sells the property of another person or the University.
  3. Damages or destroys property owned or in the possession of another person or the University.
  4. Obtains the property owned by another person or the University, by misrepresentation or fraudulent means.
  5. Enters property or uses facilities of another person or the University without consent or authorization.
Article 3: Offenses Related to the Operation of the University

(are committed when a student or student organization):

  1. Fails to comply with the directive(s) of a classroom instructor or causes disruption of the classroom atmosphere; including but not limited to the classroom, fieldtrips, group projects and electronic correspondence.
  2. Abuses or damages University property by using it in a manner inconsistent with its designated purposes.
  3. Forges, alters, takes possession, duplicates, or uses documents, records, keys, or identification without consent or authorization.
  4. Falsifies records, or submits false information or records to a University official or office.
  5. Fails, without just cause, to comply with the lawful directions of a University official acting in the performance of his or her duties and authority.
  6. Refuses to respond to a legitimate request to report to a University official.
  7. Fails to present University identification upon request by an authorized University official.
  8. Purports to represent the University or another person in the University community improperly and without authorization.
  9. Intentionally obstructs the operation and functions of the University.
  10. Knowingly, and without consent or authorization, misuses or misappropriates services provided by the University.
  11. Violates any other published University policy or regulation.
  12. Exhibits conduct unbecoming a University student.
Article 4: Offenses Related to Welfare, Health, or Safety

(are committed when a student or student organization):

  1. Possesses or manufactures, without University authorization, firearms, explosives, dangerous weapons, or other articles or substances injurious to persons or property.
  2. Falsely reports a fire, activates emergency warning equipment, or communicates false information regarding the existence of explosives on University property.
  3. Refuses to vacate buildings, sidewalks, driveways, or other facilities of the University when directed to do so by an official of the University having just cause to so order, unless official government actions be declared.
  4. Abuses, misuses, removes, or damages fire or safety equipment.
  5. Uses, possesses, distributes, sells, or is under the influence of narcotics, hallucinogenics, illegal drugs, dangerous drugs, or controlled substances except as permitted by law.
  6. Possesses, consumes, or dispenses alcoholic beverages in violation of the law and/or in violation of the University alcohol policy.
Article 5: Offenses Related to the University Judicial System

(are committed when a student or student organization):

  1. Attempts to intimidate, coerce, or influence a person by any means in an effort to discourage or prevent his/her use of, or participation in, any disciplinary process or proceeding.
  2. Attempts to influence the impartiality of any member of a disciplinary body prior to, or during, the course of a disciplinary proceeding.
  3. Fails to respond to the summons of a disciplinary body or official.
  4. Knowingly falsifies, distorts, or misrepresents information before a disciplinary body.
  5. Disrupts or interferes with the orderly conduct of a disciplinary proceeding.
  6. Knowingly institutes a disciplinary proceeding without proper cause.
  7. Fails to complete disciplinary sanctions by the stated deadline or violates the terms of any disciplinary sanctions imposed in accordance with this code.
  8. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the student code of conduct system.

Student Judicial Processes

Inherent Authority

The University reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. Such action may include taking disciplinary action against those students whose behavior off-University premises constitutes a violation of this Code. Students are responsible for their behaviors on and off campus and are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct, as well as all University policies and procedures at all times. Students are obligated to notify the Office of Judicial Affairs of any behavior that occurs off campus that violates local/federal law and/or University policies including being documented on another University’s campus. Students may be accountable both to civil authorities and to the University for acts that constitute violations of law and of this Code. Disciplinary actions at the University will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced or that no criminal charges have been brought.

All University community members including guests should report infractions of this Code, as well as any behavior they believe to be suspicious, to Point Park Public Safety.

The Public Safety officers will take a report of the individual infraction/behavior and send the report to the Director of Judicial Affairs.

Procedural Guidelines
  1. All incident reports will be received and investigated by the Director of Judicial Affairs.
  2. Based on that review/investigation, the Director of Judicial Affairs will make the decision regarding what policies were violated, if any, and what each student’s charges will be, along with the process that the student can follow to resolve the issue.
  3. The charged student will receive a letter that includes:
    1. The policies in which they are being charged with violating
    2. The date in which the alleged violation occurred
    3. The time, date, and location to report to resolve the judicial matter
Disciplinary Conferences

A disciplinary conference will normally consist of an informal, non-adversarial meeting between the accused student and a University administrator as designated by the Senior Assistant Dean of Campus Life, designee, or the Director of Judicial Affairs.

Charged students may request the Office of Judicial Affairs to call appropriate and relevant witnesses on their behalf. Charged students may also request an informational meeting prior to the disciplinary conference to ask any questions, go over the charges, and review the process. Accused students who fail to appear after written notice (including email) has been given will be deemed not to have contested the allegations against them; however, a student may elect not to speak on his or her own behalf.

Students who fail to be present for their disciplinary conference will waive their right to appeal.

Procedural Guidelines Applicable To Charged Students In Disciplinary Conferences
  1. Written notice of the specific charges and date of the scheduled conference at least three days prior to the conference.
  2. Reasonable access to the case file at least three days prior to, and during, the conference. A case file is part of the student’s education record under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The personal notes of University staff members are not included in the case file. The case file will be retained in the Office of Judicial Affairs. Students should schedule an informational meeting prior to their disciplinary conference with the Office of Judicial Affairs to review his or her file.
  3. The opportunity to respond to the evidence and call appropriate and relevant witnesses. It is expected that all witnesses will provide information that is true and correct. Any student who knowingly provides false information during a disciplinary conference will be charged.
  4. Accused students have the right to a support person of his/her choosing, but this person has no role in the disciplinary conference and may not speak or address the Disciplinary Conference Officer for any reason.
  5. Written statements may be accepted, or other accommodations made, at the discretion of the Director of Judicial Affairs in lieu of live testimony if a witness is out of state or otherwise determined to be unavailable.
High Level Disciplinary Conferences

A high disciplinary conference will convene if charges may result in a sanction that would remove a student from the residence halls, suspension, or expulsion from the University.

Procedural Guidelines Applicable in all high level disciplinary conferences
  1. Charged students will have a pre-hearing conference with the Director of Judicial Affairs or designee to review the charge letter and the election of action form.
  2. The accused student will be given written notice of the specific charges, date of the scheduled conference at least three days prior to the conference and will be given reasonable access to the case file, which will be retained in the Office of Judicial Affairs.
  3. The Office of Judicial Affairs will take steps to compel the attendance of student witnesses whose statement may help establish the factual record. Failure to appear when called may result in charges under this Code but will not invalidate the proceedings. Character witnesses will not be heard.
  4. Accused students who fail to appear after written notice, which includes email notice, will be deemed not to have contested the allegations against them; however, a student may elect not to speak on his or her own behalf. In such cases, the disciplinary conference officer’s decision will be based solely on witness accounts and other information presented during the proceeding.
  5. Disciplinary conferences will be closed to the public.
  6. The disciplinary conference officer will exercise control over the proceedings to maintain proper decorum and achieve an orderly completion of the hearing. Anyone disrupting the conference, including the charged student, the support person, or witnesses, may be removed or excluded from the hearing by the disciplinary conference officer, the Director of Judicial Affairs, or the Senior Assistant Dean of Campus Life, or designee. Such disruption is a violation of this Code, and a person may be charged following his or her disruption and removal.
  7. Conferences will be audio recorded at the discretion of the Senior Assistant Dean of Campus Life, Director of Judicial Affairs, or designee. Audio recordings are only for the purpose of appeal and may be listened to at the discretion of and by the Dean hearing the appeal.
  8. Prior to the disciplinary conference, the charged student may challenge the disciplinary conference officer on the grounds of personal bias. The Senior Assistant Dean of Campus Life will review the case and decide if a new disciplinary conference officer will be assigned.
  9. Witnesses will be truthful in giving their statement in the disciplinary conference. Furnishing false information in such a context is a violation of this Code and appropriate sanctions will be applied.
  10. Only the immediate parties, and the charged student’s support person if applicable, to the alleged violation may be present throughout the hearing.
  11. The disciplinary conference officer will question all parties in an effort to establish the factual record. On disputed points, a preponderance of the evidence available, fairly considered, will decide the facts. A “preponderance of the evidence” means that it is “more likely than not” that a fact is true or an event occurred. 
  12. Formal rules of evidence will not be applicable in disciplinary proceedings described in this Code. Confidentiality will be observed.
  13. The charged student may question all witnesses.
  14. Reports of the disciplinary conference shall include a finding of fact, mitigating and aggravating circumstances, a determination if the charged student is in violation of the alleged misconduct, and possible sanctions. If the disciplinary conference officer determines the charged student to be in violation, the Office of Judicial Affairs will present the findings of the disciplinary conference officer, and any case precedent to the Associate Dean for Campus Life or designee. The Associate Dean for Campus Life or designee will impose all sanctions.  Sanctions may be appealed based on criteria set by the University (see Appeals).
  15. The accused student will receive, in writing, within a reasonable amount of time, the decision of the disciplinary conference officer and the sanction(s) determined.
  16. Accused students have the right to a support person of his/her choosing, but this person has no role in the hearing and may not speak or address the disciplinary conference officer for any reason.
  17. Statements may be accepted, or other accommodations made, at the discretion of the Director of Judicial Affairs or designee in lieu of live testimony if a witness is out of state or otherwise determined to be unavailable.  These arrangements are to be made prior to the day of the disciplinary conference.
Appeals

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of Judicial Affairs no later than (5) five business days after receipt of the findings and sanctions letter.  Absence from a disciplinary conference may limit one’s ability to appeal. The appeal content must be based upon (a) new, relevant information not previously presented at the disciplinary conference that would significantly alter the finding of fact upon which the sanctions are based, or (b) the sanctions were not consistent with the nature of the offense.

 Appeals of disciplinary conferences will be reviewed by the Associate Dean of Campus Life or designee.  All high-level disciplinary conference appeals will be reviewed by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee.

 Failure to appeal within the allotted time, or denial of the appeal, will render the original decision final and conclusive. Decisions to grant or deny the appeal will be based on information supplied in the written appeal and, when necessary, on the record of the original proceedings. The Associate Dean or Dean of Student Affairs may either alter the sanction or grant a new disciplinary conference—the outcome of either is final and conclusive. 

 Alleged victims of physical violence have the same right to appeal as outlined above.  (Refers to Article 1 of the Student Code of Conduct, the Sexual Misconduct Policy, and the Harassment Free Policy and the Title IX policy)

Judicial Record Expungement

For sanctions other than termination of housing contract, suspension, or expulsion, a student may apply to have their judicial history expunged after two years from the completion of all sanctions or in their semester of graduation. For details, contact the Office of Judicial Affairs at 412-392-8029, or visit the website at www.pointpark.edu/StudentLife/OfficeofJudicialAffairs.

Conflicts

In the event of conflict between the terms of this Student Code of Conduct and any other provision of the Student Handbook, the terms of this Code shall govern.

Judicial Sanctions

The following list includes possible outcomes from the University’s judicial process if the charged student was found to be in violation of policy.

Alcohol Incidents
  • Alcohol Education— a student may be required to meet with the Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Education, the University mental health counselor, or be assessed for addiction. After the meeting, an activity will be assigned to the student based on the needs of the student and the incident.
  • Fines—all fines go toward Alcohol and Other Drug Education initiatives and programs.
    • Standard Alcohol Offenses
      • 1st Offense-$25
      • 2nd Offense-$75
      • 3rd Offense-$125
    • Severe Alcohol Offenses: when the student is intoxicated to the point where medical assessment or intervention is deemed necessary by the University staff.
      • 1st Offense--$75
      • 2nd Offense-$125
  • Depending on the nature of the incident, possible sanctions range from censure to University probation.
Other Drug Incidents
  • Other Drug Education—a student may be required to meet with the Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Education, the University mental health counselor, or be assessed for addiction. After the meeting, an activity will be assigned to the student based on the needs of the student and the incident.
  • Fines—all fines go toward Alcohol and Other Drug Education initiatives and programs
    • 1st Offense-$75
    • 2nd Offense-$125
  • Depending on the severity of the situation, possible sanctions include the range of reprimand to expulsion from the University. Those students who live on campus risk losing their housing contracts as well.

Censure – A written and formal warning that behaviors and/or actions were not appropriate.

Reprimand – A disciplinary status for a set time period. While on reprimand, should a student violate the Student Code of Conduct or any University policy, further judicial action will be taken and the reprimand status will be taken into consideration when the student is sanctioned.

Disciplinary Probation – A disciplinary status for a set time period.  Disciplinary Probation is a serious encumbrance upon your good standing in the University. Departmental or extracurricular restriction may be imposed while on probation. Additionally, should you violate the Student Code of Conduct or any University policy during this period, your disciplinary probation status will be taken into account when considering future sanctions.

University Probation – A final and formal warning that a student risks being suspended or expelled from the University if another policy or the Student Code of Conduct is violated.

Suspension – A student is no longer considered a student for a set period of time. The student will be withdrawn from classes, their housing contract will be terminated if applicable, and the student will be banned from the campus and all University sponsored events (on or off campus). All tuition and fees will be forfeited.

Interim Suspension – A student may be removed from the campus community for an interim amount of time while a formalized hearing is organized if the student is deemed to be a clear and present danger to the campus community, an individual, or to him/herself. Students will not be able to attend class, reside in the residence halls, or be on campus during an interim suspension. During an interim suspension, the student is banned from the University campus and University-sponsored events, on or off campus. 

Expulsion – A student is removed from the campus community on a permanent basis. The student will be withdrawn from classes, their housing contract will be terminated if applicable, and the student will be banned from campus and all University-sponsored events, on or off campus. All tuition and fees will be forfeited.

Housing Probation – for a set period of time, a student on housing probation may not be able to participate in certain residential activities. Additionally, a student on housing probation who violated the Student Code of Conduct or other University policy risks having their housing contract terminated.

Housing Contract Termination – A student’s residence hall contract is terminated immediately and the student is given a deadline to be completely out of the residence hall and return their room key and id. The student will be banned from all residential areas on campus. All housing fees will be forfeited.

Administrative Move – A student may be moved out of a specific community and into another area on campus.

Persona Non Grata (PNG) – A list of banned students is maintained at the Office of Judicial Affairs, the Department of Public Safety, and at each building’s front desk. If a student is on the PNG list, they are trespassing if found in the area from which they are banned. A student may be banned from all residence halls, individual residence rooms, suites, or apartments, or a certain floor of a building. A student may also be banned from the entire campus to include off campus University sponsored events.