The Catholic University of America

Archived 11/15/05

Code of Student Conduct


1. The Catholic University of America ("university" or "CUA"), as an academic community committed to research, teaching, learning, and service, acknowledges specific core values that characterize the university community in all of its activities. These core values include integrity, respect, excellence, scholarship, responsibility, freedom, confidence, faith, service and community building. The ways in which the university community uniquely embodies these core values become trademarks of the CUA experience and an enduring part of the life of each and all of its members.

2. A student enrolling in the university assumes an obligation to conduct her/himself in a manner compatible with the university's function as a Catholic educational institution. Each student must make choices that preserve a safe and secure environment in which all individuals are able to pursue their academic endeavors. Each student is expected to practice responsible citizenship and to respect the rights of others. Each community member is responsible for her/his own actions and the conduct of her/his guests. Failure to uphold university, district and/or federal laws and regulations are serious infractions and will likely result in disciplinary action within the university under the authority of this Code of Student Conduct ("Code").

3. The primary purpose for maintaining discipline in the university setting is to protect the rights of each member of the campus community. The purpose of campus disciplinary proceedings is to provide an evaluation to determine if an accused student is responsible for violating university regulations. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applied, nor shall deviations from prescribed procedures necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice to an accused student or the university results.

4. This Code provides a means for the exercise of individual and collective student rights and responsibilities, the preservation of orderly processes in student regulation, and the maintenance of the individual freedom of students while ensuring the rights of the entire university community.

Authority for Student Discipline

5. Ultimate authority for student discipline is vested in the president of the university ("president"), who may take immediate action at her/his discretion for any violation of university policies and procedures whatsoever. Disciplinary authority may be delegated to university administrators, faculty members, committees and organizations as set forth in this Code, or in other appropriate policies, rules, or regulations adopted by the president.

Student Participation

6. Students are asked to assume positions of significant responsibility in the university disciplinary system so that they may contribute their skills and insights to the resolution of disciplinary cases. Final authority in disciplinary matters, however, is vested in the president, and in the university administration.


7. When used in this Code:

  1. "Case file" means the file containing those materials pertaining to a specific disciplinary matter that would be considered an "educational record" pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The personal notes of university staff members and privileged information of other students are not included in the case file and thus are not accessible. The case file will be retained in the Office of the Dean of Students, Judicial Affairs and Ethical Development ("JAED").
  2. "Disciplinary record" means the file containing all materials pertaining to disciplinary matters that would be considered an "educational record" pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The disciplinary record contains the entire judicial history of a student, including materials for all resolved cases and incidents referred for administrative action.
  3. "Distribution" means any form of exchange, gift, transfer or sale.
  4. "Institution" and "university" mean The Catholic University of America and all of its undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, divisions and programs.
  5. "Respondent" means any person charged with a violation of this Code.
  6. "Student" means any person who is taking or auditing classes at the university, or is matriculated in any university program.
  7. "University Hearing Board" or "board" means the panel of community (students and/or faculty and/or staff) members that hears cases that can result in eviction from residence, or suspension or expulsion from the university. A quorum of the board necessary to conduct a hearing shall consist of at least one student and two other members.
  8. "University premises" means buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled or supervised by the university.
  9. "University sponsored activity" means any activity on or off university premises that is directly initiated or supervised by the university.
  10. "Student organization" means a group of at least six students enrolled at least part-time for the current academic year who have organized for a common purpose or activity, and have sought and gained formal registration with the Office of the University Center, Student Programs and Events ("UCSPE").
  11. "Appeals Committee" means the panel of community members (students and/or faculty and/or staff) that manage appeals for disciplinary cases heard at a disciplinary hearing. A quorum of the Appeals Committee necessary to review an appeal shall consist of at least one student and two other members.

Interpretation of Regulations

8. The purpose of publishing disciplinary regulations is to give students and student organizations general notice of prohibited behavior and their rights and responsibilities during the disciplinary process. This Code does not, nor is it intended to, afford the specificity nor the due process rights of criminal or civil statutes or procedures.

Inherent Authority

9. The vice president for student life or a designee ("vice president") reserves the right to take immediate, necessary and appropriate action to protect the health, safety and well-being of an individual and/or the university community. Such action may include pursuing disciplinary action for any violation of university policy or district or federal law off university premises by a student that affects the university's interests and/or is inconsistent with university's expectations for students. Administrative action, in lieu of formal disciplinary action, may be taken at the discretion of the university, in an appropriate and reasonable manner, to address student behavior.

10. The vice president, in his/her sole discretion, may evict a student from university housing, restrict a student's access to and movement about the campus, and/or suspend a student from the university for an interim period whenever the continued presence of the student at the university is deemed to pose a serious threat to her/himself or to others or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions. The interim action shall become effective immediately upon delivery of verbal and/or written notification to the student or his/her designee. A disciplinary hearing or conference will be granted as soon as possible, under all circumstances.

11. The vice president or a designee may take necessary action to address the behavior of a student organization and/or its members, when members of the student organization have engaged in potential violations of this Code for which they received the consent or encouragement of the organization or the organization's leaders/officers. Appropriate action seeks to restore successful student organization management through education and leadership development.

Disciplinary Action While Criminal Charges are Pending

12. Students may be accountable both to civil/criminal authorities and to the university for acts that constitute violations of law and this Code. Disciplinary action at the university will normally proceed during the pendency of criminal proceedings, and 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. Penalties shall not be increased in severity because civil or criminal action may be pending.

Student Organizations

13. The officers, leaders or any identifiable spokesperson(s) for a student organization may be directed by a designee from the Office of the Dean of Students or UCSPE to take appropriate action designed to prevent or end violations of this Code by the organization. Any administrative action requested of the organization to remedy the situation will be coupled with resources and information to assist the organization in being a constructive part of the university community. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the designee's request may be considered a violation of this Code.

14. If an organization is found responsible for a violation of this Code, sanctions may include revocation of privileges, loss of registration, or loss of recognition as well as other appropriate sanctions.

Prohibited Conduct

15. Any student or student organization found to have committed misconduct may be subject to disciplinary action and to the sanctions outlined in this Code. The following are examples of misconduct subject to disciplinary action:

A. Dangerous Conduct: Intentionally or carelessly engaging in conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety or causes physical harm to any person, including the violator.

  1. Placing a person in fear of imminent physical danger or bodily harm.
  2. The use of aggressive body contact that causes harm to an individual.
  3. Sexual Assault: Forcing, threatening, or coercing an individual into sexual contact against his or her free will with or without his or her consent. It includes, but is not limited to, any sexual act performed on an individual, any sexual act required to be performed by an individual, or forced or coerced intercourse. Sexual assault includes having sexual contact with a person while knowing or having reason to know that the person was incapacitated by drugs, including alcohol, or by other means or reasons.

B. Harassment

  1. Any actions, threats, gestures, and/or words directed toward another person which have the purpose or which tend to incite a breach of the peace, create a hostile environment, or cause emotional distress to that person because of the humiliating, degrading, intimidating, insulting, coercive, ridiculing, and/or alarming nature of the conduct. It frequently, but not always, involves a pattern of conduct.
  2. Sexual Harassment: Any unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over status as a student or an employee; unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic admission or advancement;
    2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis (or threatened to be used as the basis) for employment actions or academic decisions or evaluations; or
    3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment.

C. Dangerous Items: The use, possession or storage of any firearms, explosives, other weapons, fireworks or dangerous chemicals.

1. Firearms, ammunition, knives or other weapons, objects that could be construed as weapons and/or items that pose a potential hazard to the safety or health of others.

a. Firearms are defined as any gun, rifle, pistol or handgun designed to fire bullets, BBs, pellets or shots (including paint balls), regardless of the propellant used.

b. Other weapons are defined as any instrument of combat, or any object not designed as an instrument of combat but carried or used for the purpose of inflicting or threatening bodily injury or damaging/destroying university property or the property of others.

2. Unauthorized hazardous materials or chemicals.

3. Fireworks including, but not limited to, firecrackers, cherry bombs, smoke bombs and similar devices.

D. Interfering with Fire Safety

  1. Misusing, tampering with or damaging fire safety equipment including, but not limited to, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems or exit signs.
  2. Unauthorized burning of any material in any university building, on university property or on areas adjacent to university property.
  3. Disregarding a fire alarm signal or refusing to evacuate a building or a section of a building when a fire alarm is sounding.
  4. Recklessly or intentionally activating an alarm when an emergency situation does not exist.

E. Alcohol: The use, abuse, possession or distribution of alcohol, except as permitted by law and university policy.

  1. Possession of containers that previously contained alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 years of age.
  2. Possession of common source containers, whether full or empty, of alcohol such as kegs, beer balls or boxed wine.
  3. Possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 years of age.
  4. Consumption of alcoholic beverages, including:
    1. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 years of age;
    2. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons 21 years of age or older in any public area (unless it is an official university-approved event), including public space within a residence hall.
  5. Intoxication by any person, regardless of age.
  6. Sale, distribution or provision or attempts to sell, distribute or provide alcoholic beverages to and/or by anyone under 21 years of age.

F. Drugs: The use, possession or distribution of any controlled substances, except as permitted by law, or possession of drug paraphernalia.

  1. Possession of paraphernalia including any item used to inhale/ingest/inject/mask illegal substances.
  2. Possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances.
  3. Use of illegal drugs or controlled substances.
  4. Distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances.

G. Theft/Unauthorized Possession of Property:

  1. Theft of property or of services or knowing possession of stolen property.
  2. Unauthorized possession of university property (including residence hall lounge furniture) or the property of others.

H. Damage to or Misuse of University/Individual Property:

  1. Intentionally or carelessly destroying or damaging university property or the property of others.
  2. Unauthorized entry into university facilities or property.
  3. Unauthorized use or misuse of university property or the property of others.

I. Disorderly Conduct:

  1. Acting in a manner to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct or be offensive to another/others.
  2. Shouting or making excessive noise either inside or outside a building to the annoyance or disturbance of others.
  3. Verbally abusing university officials (including students appointed to act as representatives of the university) acting in the performance of their duties.
  4. Behaving in a lewd or indecent manner.

J. Nonacademic Dishonesty:

  1. Knowingly furnishing false information to the university or member of the university community.
  2. Furnishing false information at university judicial proceedings.
  3. Possession or use of false identification cards.
  4. Forgery, misuse, unauthorized alteration or creation of documents, records or identification cards.
  5. Fraud committed against a member of the campus community or others.
  6. Knowingly initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning or threat.

K. Interfering with University Events:

  1. Interfering with any normal university or university-sponsored events, including but not limited to studying, teaching, research, sponsored social programs, university administration, and fire, police and emergency services.
  2. Any effort by conspiracy or omission to impede or hinder any disciplinary proceeding.

L. Smoking: Smoking in any building or vehicle that is owned, operated or leased by the university.

M. Violating University Rules and Regulations:

  1. Any violation of other published university regulations including violation of rules governing residence in university-owned or controlled property.
  2. Involvement in a violation, including being present during any violation of this Code, in such a way as to condone, support or encourage that violation. (Note: Students who anticipate or observe a violation are expected to remove themselves from participation and are encouraged to report the violation.)

N. Noncompliance: Failure to comply with reasonable directives of university officials, including students appointed to act as representatives of the university, acting in performance of their duties. Directives to provide identification and/or participate in a university disciplinary process are included in the scope of this provision.

O. Sanction Violation: Violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction as imposed in accordance with judicial procedures, including the failure to complete sanctions by the imposed deadline.

P. Gambling: Participation in any form of illegal gambling.

Q. Violation of Law: Violation of local, state or federal laws, regulations or ordinances.

16. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by this Code or encouraging others to commit acts prohibited by this Code shall be treated as violations of this Code.


17. The imposition of sanctions is based on the nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury or harm resulting from it, present demeanor of the student, and the past disciplinary record of the student. In some cases, a sanction may be held in abeyance for a specific period. This means that, should the student be found in violation of this Code during the stated period, he or she may be subject to the deferred sanction in addition to the disciplinary action appropriate to the new violation.

18. Sanctions that may be imposed in accordance with this Code include:

  1. Censure: An official written reprimand for violation of specified regulations.
  2. Disciplinary Probation: A specified period of time in which a student is expected to demonstrate positive behavioral change and may be excluded from participation in privileged or extracurricular institutional activities. Additional restrictions or conditions for behavioral changes may be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation, or any other violation of this Code during the period of probation, may result in eviction from residence, suspension or expulsion from the university.
  3. Restitution: Repayment to the university or to an affected party for damages resulting from a violation of this Code.
  4. Denial of Access to Specific Areas: Ban from certain nonacademic area(s) for a specified length of time.
  5. Eviction from Residence: Termination of the residence hall agreement and exclusion from visiting within certain or all residential facilities, as set forth in the notice of eviction, for a specified period of time. A student who is evicted is not entitled to a refund of room fees. A student who is a freshman or sophomore and is evicted from residence is unable to fulfill residency requirements and may be suspended, upon review.
  6. Revocation of Privileges: Restrictions placed on a student organization's activities and/or use of university services and facilities for a specified period of time.
  7. Loss of Registration: Removal of registered student organization status, resulting in revocation of all university privileges for a specified period of time, normally for at least the remainder of the current academic term and no longer than one full calendar year.
  8. Loss of Recognition: Removal of registered student organization status.
  9. Suspension: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities, including access to university premises or university-sponsored activities off campus, as set forth in the notice of suspension, normally for at least one semester. A student who is suspended is not entitled to any tuition or fee refund and is banned from university premises for the duration of the suspension.
  10. Expulsion: Termination of student status, and exclusion from university premises, privileges and activities. A student who is expelled shall not be entitled to any tuition or fee refund and is banned from university premises permanently.
  11. Discretionary Sanctions: Other sanctions that bear a reasonable relation to the violation for which the student or student organization has been sanctioned may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified above. Discretionary sanctions include, but are not limited to, restitution service hours, fines, educational reflection assignments, and participation in alcohol or drug awareness programs.

Case Referrals

19. Any person may refer a student or student organization suspected of violating this Code to JAED. Referrals should normally be made within 10 working days after the discovery of the alleged violation and/or identification of the alleged violator.

  1. If the referral involves harassment or a similar charge where there is a succession of documented violations, the referral should normally be made within 40 working days after the initial discovery of the alleged violation and within ten working days of the latest alleged violation.
  2. A sexual assault complaint should normally be filed within 60 calendar days after the alleged incident.

20. The associate dean of students or a designee ("associate dean") will review the reported allegation to determine the appropriate disciplinary or administrative action to be taken in accordance with this Code.

Disciplinary Proceedings

21. A student subject to formal sanctions other than eviction from residence or suspension or expulsion from the university is entitled to a disciplinary conference. A student organization subject to formal sanction other than loss of registration or loss of recognition may participate in a disciplinary conference. A disciplinary conference will normally consist of an informal meeting between the respondent and an administrator.

22. A student subject to eviction from residence, or suspension or expulsion from the university is entitled to a disciplinary hearing before the University Hearing Board ("board"). A student organization subject to loss of registration or loss of recognition is entitled to a disciplinary hearing before the board.

  1. A disciplinary hearing will normally consist of a formal meeting between the respondent and members of the University Hearing Board, selected from an overall pool of available members. In the event that the board is not in session or the requisite number of board members is unavailable, a judicial officer will conduct an administrative hearing. The full range of sanctions may be imposed during the administrative hearing.
  2. A student or student organization referred for a disciplinary hearing who accepts responsibility for a violation(s) of this Code (prior to the disciplinary hearing) may meet with the associate dean of students or designee to determine an appropriate sanction(s), in lieu of attending a disciplinary hearing. The student must plead in violation in writing, affirming that he/she accepts responsibility for the charge(s) and acknowledges that the full range of sanctions may be imposed.

Procedural Guidelines

23. The following procedural guidelines shall be applicable in all disciplinary hearings and conferences:

  1. A respondent shall receive written notification of the specific charges and the date, time and location of the scheduled proceeding normally at least two working days prior to the proceeding. The respondent may request an extension of time to prepare for the proceeding. Requests for an extension will not be granted for a period to exceed two working days except in unusual circumstances where the respondent can demonstrate the necessity for a longer delay. All requests for extension of time should be made in writing at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled proceeding, except in cases of documented serious illness or emergency.
  2. The respondent shall be afforded reasonable access to the case file prior to and during the proceeding.
  3. The respondent shall have an opportunity to respond to the evidence and to call relevant and necessary witnesses. Character witnesses will not be heard. All witnesses are expected to provide information that is true and correct. Any student who knowingly provides false information during a disciplinary proceeding or who knowingly fails to appear as a witness may be charged with violation of this Code.
  4. The respondent shall have the right to be accompanied by an adviser as provided in Parts 25-26 of this Code.
  5. A respondent may elect not to speak on her/his own behalf. A respondent who fails to appear at a scheduled proceeding, upon proper notice of such a proceeding, will be deemed to have pled "not in violation" to the charges, may be adjudicated in absentia, and forfeits all rights to an appeal unless it is for lack of proper notice, as required herein. In such cases, decisions will be based solely on witness testimony and other written information presented during the proceeding.
  6. The charges against the respondent must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. A "preponderance of the evidence" means it is "more likely than not" that a fact is true or an event occurred.
  7. Disciplinary proceedings will be closed to the public.

24. Supplemental information regarding a disciplinary hearing will be provided to a respondent normally within two working days prior to the hearing.


25. Representation is not permitted in university disciplinary proceedings; however, a respondent may be accompanied by an adviser. The role of the adviser shall be limited to support and consultation with a respondent; the adviser may not speak on behalf of a respondent at any time during any disciplinary proceeding, nor shall the adviser cross-examine witnesses. Violation of this expectation will result in the adviser being removed from a disciplinary proceeding at the discretion of the judicial officer, presiding officer or associate dean. In extraordinary circumstances, the adviser may be legal counsel. A respondent should notify the associate dean at least two working days prior to the proceeding if he/she will have legal counsel at the disciplinary proceeding.

26. In consideration of the limited role of an adviser, and of the compelling interest of the university to expeditiously conclude the matter, a disciplinary proceeding will not, as a general rule, be delayed if an adviser is unavailable.


27. In certain circumstances, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding may be appealed. The appeal must be submitted in writing by the student or student organization to JAED within three working days of receipt of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding. A student or student organization adjudicated in absentia forfeits all rights to an appeal process unless it is proven that it is for lack of proper notice, except in an extraordinary circumstance.

  1. An appeal originating from a disciplinary hearing process (including a disciplinary conference resulting from the waiver of a disciplinary hearing) will be forwarded to the Appeals Committee. All other appeals will be reviewed by the associate dean.

28. The appeal request must state the specific reason for the appeal, based on one or more of the following:

  1. The disciplinary proceeding was not conducted in conformity with prescribed procedures, resulting in a substantial lack of a fair process;
  2. A preponderance of evidence does not exist to support the decision reached;
  3. The imposed sanction is not in accordance with university guidelines; and/or
  4. New evidence that significantly alters the findings of fact, that was previously unknown to the respondent, has been discovered.

29. The associate dean or Appeals Committee, after reviewing the appeal request and documents pertaining to the case, may:

  1. Deny the appeal for lack of adequate grounds;
  2. Accept the appeal and remand the case to the original judicial officer or board for re-opening of the disciplinary proceeding to allow consideration of the new evidence; or
  3. Accept the appeal and revise the original sanction(s). A respondent may be contacted to provide additional information as necessary.

30. The decision of the associate dean or Appeals Committee will be conveyed to the student or student organization in writing, normally within three working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Appeals Committee in cases involving student organizations is final.

31. The imposition of sanctions will be deferred during the pendency of the appeal process, unless, in the discretion of the associate dean, the continued presence of the student on the campus poses a serious threat to her/himself or to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal university functions.


32. Any student found responsible for a violation of this Code may petition the president for clemency after a sanction has been imposed and all other appeal options have been exhausted. This petition must be filed within three working days of receipt of the appeal decision. The president shall have complete discretion as to whether he or she will hear the petition or grant clemency.

Disciplinary Files and Records

33. The files of students found in violation of any prohibited conduct will normally be retained as a disciplinary record in the Office of the Dean of Students, under the authority of the vice president, as outlined in the university policy governing student records. The record may be used as a reference by university officials, but in no case shall the period exceed five calendar years from the student's terminating date from the university.

34. Disciplinary records may be expunged by the dean of students ("dean"), upon written request by the student at the time of his/her graduation from the university. In deciding whether to grant the request, the dean will consider such factors as the current demeanor of the student, the student's conduct subsequent to the violation, and the nature of the violation, including the severity of damage, injury or harm resulting from it.

35. All student organization records will normally be maintained by UCSPE. The student organization's record may be used as a historical reference by university officials; individual student records will be maintained as outlined in Part 33 of this Code.

Rules of Conduct

36. JAED shall have the power to enact rules for the conduct of all proceedings provided that such rules do not conflict with any provision of this Code and that notice of these rules is given to all concerned parties.

~Updated June 2004 and 2005