Code of Conduct | Methodist College

Code of Conduct

(Effective: August 2021)

The Methodist College Code of Conduct policy can also be found in the Student Handbook

Code of Conduct

Methodist College requires students to act in accordance with a defined Student Code of Conduct, the tenets of which are described in this policy. When there is a report of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, students are afforded due process as described herein.

The values of Methodist College: human dignity, integrity, inquiry and social justice are expected to guide the behavior of the Methodist College students and become an integrated part of their value system as they begin their professional careers. As such, human dignity, integrity and social justice are directly related to the Code of Conduct for all students. Integrity defined as, "Displaying strong moral character and acting in accordance with accepted standards of behavior and an appropriate code of ethics" clearly identifies the expectation of honesty, truthfulness and exemplary behavior. Social justice defined as "Acting in accordance with fair treatment regardless of gender, economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, age, citizenship, disability, or sexual orientation," Human dignity defined as "Unconditional respect for the inherent worth, uniqueness, and autonomy of individuals," speak to the responsibility for fair and equal treatment that the student has for his fellow students, as well as the College to the student. These College values form the foundation for the Student Code of Conduct.

When used in this code:

A. The term "UPH" means any hospital or clinic under the umbrella of UnityPoint Health.

B. The term "Complainant" means any person who notifies the College of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

C. The term "Respondent" means a student who is suspected of violating the Student Code of Conduct.

D. The term "cheating" means using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise including electronically accessed information or devices. This includes the solicitation of unauthorized materials (e.g. existing tests or assignments) from classmates, advanced students, or other sources, as well as seeking to attain or successfully attaining assistance for the intent of using others' work as one's own.  At Methodist College, test questions are considered protected and confidential unless released by the faculty member who created them to the students.

E. The term "fabricating" means falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

F. The term "plagiarism" means the presentation of another person's idea or product as one's own. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following: copying verbatim all or part of another's written work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions or research without citing the source; or using all or part of a literary plot, poem, video, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator.

G. The term "unauthorized reuse of work product" means the submission of work for academic credit, work that was previously used for a previous assignment without the express approval of the faculty member in the current course. Small parts of a project, e.g. a PowerPoint slide, would not be conduct violation under this definition.

H. The term "business day" means any weekday (Monday through Friday) that is not a college holiday.

I. The term "student" means a person who has been admitted to Methodist College and is eligible to register for courses.

J. The term "Methodist College premises" means buildings, grounds, websites, or computer networks owned, leased, operated, controlled, or supervised by Methodist College/UPH.

K. The term "official" means an employee/representative of Methodist College acting in the capacity of his/her position.

L. The term "weapon" means any object or substance designed or used to inflict a wound, cause injury, or incapacitate, including, but not limited to all firearms, pellet guns, switchblade knives, knives, chemicals, electronic devices, drugs or alcohol, chemicals such as mace products, pepper spray, or tear gas.

M. The term "Methodist College sponsored activity" means any activity on or off Methodist College premises that is initiated, aided, authorized, or supervised by Methodist College/UPH.

N. The term "conference" refers to a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to electronic communications), through videoconferencing, or in person.

O. The term "harassment" means unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Prohibited Conduct


The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:

A. All forms of academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to: cheating fabricating; unauthorized reuse of academic work, bribery offered for grades, transcripts, or diplomas; obtaining or giving aid on an examination; having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination; doing work for another student, presenting another student's work as one's own; and plagiarism.

B. The written or spoken use of words, epithets, or phrases that are widely recognized to be derogatory references to personal characteristics including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, when such words are used to create a hostile or intimidating environment for any person on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

C. Participation in any form of discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment) against Methodist College faculty, staff, and/or students on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities. Many instances of sexual harassment are not handled through this process but, rather, are reported and investigated under Methodist College's Title IX policy (A-015). Please see Methodist College policy A-015 and/or contact the Title IX coordinator for additional information.

D. Intentional and substantial interference with the freedom of expression of others on Methodist College premises or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

E. Intentional or reckless assault or harm caused to any person on Methodist College premises or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities, or intentional or reckless cause of reasonable apprehension of such harm.

F. Intentional or reckless interference with normal Methodist College activities, or Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying, teaching, research, administration, or fire, police, or emergency services.

G. Non-compliance with emergency protocols including but not limited to fire, tornado, evacuation, and disaster.

H. Failure to comply with the direction of any authorized institutional representative, law enforcement called to the campus, acting in the performance of their duties, including failure to wear masks, maintain social distance, and comply with protocols during the times of a pandemic.

I. Intentional use of the Methodist College/UPH computing resources to upload any content that contains a software virus, time bomb, Trojan horse, or any other computer code, files, or programs that may alter, damager or interrupt the functionality of the Methodist College/UPH computing resources or the hardware or software of any other person.

J. Intentional or reckless destruction of, or damage to, property of other on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

K. Intentional initiation or instigation of initiation of any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency on Methodist College/UPH premises or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

L. Intentional or reckless misuse of or damage to fire-safety equipment.

M. Theft of property or of services on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities; knowing possession of stolen property on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

N. Violation of the College's alcohol and drug-free policy, Student Policy S-043.

O. Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any weapon on Methodist College premises, or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities

P. Abuse of the procedures of the Code of Conduct, including false allegations or misrepresentation of information to a College Official.

Q. Intentional submission of false information to Methodist College/UPH.

R. Forgery, unauthorized alteration, or unauthorized use of any Methodist College document or instrument of identification.

S. Unauthorized use or possession of fireworks on Methodist College premises or at Methodist College/UPH sponsored activities.

T. Knowing violation of the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code of Conduct.

U. Violation of published Methodist College regulations or policies.

V. Conviction of any crime, other than a traffic violation.

W. Attempts to commit acts prohibited will be punished to the same extent as completed violations.

X. The recording and distribution of any lecture, classroom resources, or course materials is strictly prohibited unless permission given from directly from the assigned faculty.

Reporting Alleged Violations


This process requires form completion and submission as an attachment to an email. Only

Methodist College email may be used in this process. 

Any person may report an alleged violation to the Chief Academic Officer using Code of Conduct Initiation Form (link below in Standard of Due Process). The form must be filed within a reasonable period of time, defined as five (5) business days of the occurrence of, or becoming aware of the occurrence, of the alleged violation. All allegations will be treated as confidential.

The Chief Academic Officer may refer the case to another official of Methodist College or administrator according to the standards of due process described in Section VI. Due care will be taken such that no person who has a conflict of interest with the case will be involved in the investigation, decisions, or appeal concerning a Code of Conduct Violation. If a conflict of interest is determined and that person has a role in the process, the Chief Academic Officer will reassign the role to another administrator.

The Complainant is required to provide information pertinent to the case and will be expected to provide information as requested and appear before an Investigation Committee (referenced in Section VI.B.).

The Complainant cannot remain anonymous to college officials, i.e. the College will not act on anonymous complaints. Unless approved by the Chief Academic Officer, the Complainant's name and copies of the complaint will be provided to the Respondent. College officials and the Respondent shall keep the Complainant name confidential. Likewise, College officials and the Complainant shall keep the name of the Respondent confidential.

Any alleged violation, other than a traffic violation, that also may violate a United States, Illinois, or local law, should be immediately reported to the Director of Student Affairs and Diversity Equity and Inclusion or the Chief Academic Officer, who will inform the Chancellor. Appropriate action will then be taken.

Interim Suspension


The Chief Academic Officer may suspend a student for an interim period pending a preliminary inquiry and an investigation, such interim suspension, to become immediately effective without prior notice whenever there is evidence the continued presence of the student on Methodist College premises poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal Methodist College/UPH sponsored activity.

A student suspended on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to appear personally before or communicate in writing to the Chief Academic Officer within five (5) business days from the effective date of the interim suspension to discuss the following issues only:

A. The reliability of the information concerning the student's conduct.

B. Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student at Methodist College premises poses a substantial threat to himself or herself, to others, or to the stability and continuance of normal Methodist College sponsored activity.

C. The Chancellor may then lift the interim suspension.

If alleged conduct potentially violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the case will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator. Such cases involve sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment or sexual violence. All investigations will be under the direction of the Title IX Coordinator.

Standard of Due Process


A. Initial Inquiry

a. Upon receipt of the Code of Conduct Initiation Form, the Chief Academic Officer will notify the Respondent of the alleged Code of Conduct violation in writing via Methodist College email as soon as possible, but no later than five (5) business days afterward, using the CAO Letter to Respondent. Notification will include details of the alleged act or acts that are in violation of this policy and specifically what Code of Conduct violation may have occurred (e.g. theft, cheating, giving aid on an examination, etc.)

i. Should the Respondent concede to the allegation, they have five (5) business days to communicate this to the Chief Academic Officer who will then complete the Letter of Resolution, extending sanctions as necessary, and obtain the student's signature. Once the student's signature is obtained on the Letter of Resolution, this will halt the Code of Conduct process. The Respondent is to understand that this occurrence will be noted in their file and any additional occurrences will be viewed as subsequent and, as such, will be given the appropriate consideration.

ii. Should the Respondent not concede to the allegations, the Chief Academic Officer shall refer the case to an Administrator (hereafter known as the "Administrator") to handle the initial inquiry using the CAO to Administrator Letter.

1. Allegations of academic misconduct shall be referred to either the Academic Dean not serving as the Chief Academic Officer or Department Chair.

2. Allegations other than academic misconduct shall be referred to the Director of Student Affairs and Diversity Equity and Inclusion.

B. Administrator Review

a. Upon receipt of the referral, the Administrator will:

i. Conduct a preliminary administrative inquiry within ten (10) business days of receipt of the referral. The Administrator or Administrator's designee must consult the central records file in the office of the Chief Academic Officer to determine if the student has a previous record of violations of this Code. All materials reviewed will be considered confidential and shared only with those with a need to know.

ii. The Administrator will dismiss the referral if the following conditions are met:

1. The Complainant has failed to comply with procedure;

2. The allegations, even if true, do not constitute violation of this Code; or

3. There is no evidence of violation of this Code based upon the inquiry conducted by the administrator or designee(s).

4. The Administrator will immediately notify the Chief Academic Officer, the Complainant, and the Respondent in writing via Methodist College email of the dismissal using the Administrator Dismissal Letter. All materials collected will be given to the office of the Chief Academic Officer to add to the case file for permanent archive.

iii. If not moving toward dismissal, the Administrator will:

1. Appoint a three-member ad hoc Investigation Committee using the Administrator Letter to the Investigation Committee.

2. Forward all case materials to the Investigation Committee as well as the Investigation Committee Chair Checklist, Investigation Committee Tips, and templates for interview and deliberation meeting minutes

3. Inform the Respondent the case has been referred to an investigation committee using the Investigation Committee Notification Letter.

a. Provide the Respondent:

i. Copies of the original complaint and any evidence documents submitted. Names other than the Complainant and Respondent may be redacted from these documents

ii. The date the complaint was filed

iii. A statement where the Respondent can view a copy of this policy and that his/her obligations and rights are contained in the policy.

C. Investigation Committee

a. This committee will consist of exempt staff or faculty members, with one member appointed chair of the committee. The Investigation Committee may be advised by legal counsel during this process. The Investigation Committee will make every effort to complete the investigation and render a decision in fifteen (15) business days, however, unforeseen circumstances may delay this process. Any delays will be promptly communicated to both the Complainant and Respondent.

b. The Investigation Committee will work to uncover all the facts of the case and collect all pertinent evidence from college employees and students using appropriate templates designed for this process. This fact finding should, but not in all cases, include interviews of the Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses (students or college employees).

i. All parties except the Complainant may either agree or decline to interview. The interviews may be conducted in person or by videoconference. The Complainant may not decline an interview. The Complainant may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense.

ii. Representatives may advise during the interview, but shall not personally participate. If the Complainant wishes to be accompanied by an attorney, he or she must inform the Administrator in writing at least five (5) calendar days before the scheduled date of the interview.

iii. Representatives may not appear in lieu of persons accused. The interview committee will take minutes of all questions and answers during any interviews.

iv. An administrative assistant may be assigned to assist with minutes.

v. The Administrator will keep the Chief Academic Officer informed of the timeline of all activities of the committee for the file log.

c. After all evidence has been gathered from the Complainant(s) and witnesses, the Administrator will communicate with the Respondent and give him/her the opportunity to present any relevant evidence.

i. Copies of any new evidence or documents found by the Investigation Committee will be provided to the Respondent within five (5) business days of meeting with the Respondent.

ii. Names other than those of the Complainant and Respondent may be redacted from the document.

iii. The Respondent may submit questions in writing for the Complainant or Investigation Committee regarding how the Code of Conduct was violated.

iv. The Administrator must provide the Respondent an answer to these questions five (5) days prior to the Investigation Committee meeting with the Respondent.

v. The Investigation Committee Chair will schedule a time for the Investigation Committee to meet with the Respondent with a date set at least five (5) business days in advance.

1. The Respondent may decline to participate.

2. The meeting may either be in person or via videoconference.

3. The Respondent may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense. Representatives may advise during the course of a fact-finding conference, but shall not personally participate.

4. If the Respondent wishes to be accompanied by an attorney, he or she must inform the administrator in writing at least five (5) business days before the scheduled date of the proceeding. Representatives may not appear in lieu of the Respondent.

d. After the review is complete, the Investigation Committee will deliberate and render a decision which will be recorded in the Investigation Committee Deliberation and Decision Rendering Minutes.

i. If the Investigation Committee finds the allegation to be supported, the Investigation Committee will recommend appropriate sanctions, as described in Sanctions section below. Any previous record of violations of this Code may increase the sanction. The chair of the committee will complete the Investigation Committee Chair Report to Administrator which, at a minimum, should contain the following:

1. What evidence the committee uncovered and by what means

2. Who the committee interviewed and when

3. Specifically what Code of Conduct Violation occurred, if any, e.g. cheating, plagiarism, consuming alcohol on campus, etc., and cite the paragraph above the violation falls under

4. What specific evidence supports the violation

5. What sanctions are recommended, if any

ii. The committee chair shall submit the report, all materials collected for the investigation, all correspondences, and all notes and minutes of interviews to the Administrator.

iii. If the Administrator does not agree with the recommend sanctions, the administrator may reduce the sanctions, but not add to them.

iv. Within five (5) business days of the Investigation Committee submitting their report, the Administrator will notify the Respondent of the decision and sanctions, in writing via Methodist College email using the Letter of Sanction

1. A copy of the written notification will be submitted to the Chancellor, Chief Academic Officer, and if the sanction results in a change of grade, to the Registrar's office for filing in the student's file.

2. The Administrator will also notify the Complainant of the decision, but not sanctions, within the same period using the Administrator Notification to Complainant Letter 

3. The administrator will deliver all materials collected for the investigation, all correspondences, and all notes and minutes of interviews to the office of the Chief Academic Officer to add to the permanent case folder.

D. Appeal to the Chief Academic Officer

a. Within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Letter of Sanction, the Respondent may appeal the decision in writing to the Chief Academic Officer using the Appeal to CAO Letter

b. If no appeal is filed by the appeal deadline, the Chief Academic Officer shall inform the Administrator, who will administer the sanctions. Any sanction that has a deadline for the student will be set using the guidelines in the previous paragraph.

i. If an appeal is filed, the Chief Academic Officer shall review the information collected for the original preliminary administrative inquiry, the Investigation Committee's report and findings, and their decision.

ii. The Chief Academic Officer may request additional evidence if they become aware of additional documentation that was not provided or if anything in the Investigation Committee's report is unclear.

iii. The Chief Academic Officer will render a decision and sanction, as appropriate, based on this evidence. The Chief Academic Officer may render one of the following decisions:

1. Affirm the finding and the sanction imposed by the Administrator.

2. Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction, if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.

3. Remand the case to the Investigations Committee, if procedural errors or errors in interpretation of College regulations were substantial, or if new and significant evidence became available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person accused before or during the original investigation.

4. Dismiss the case.

iv. The Chief Academic Officer will notify the Respondent in writing via Methodist College email, within fifteen (15) business days of the elevation of the appeal using the CAO Decision Letter. Copies of this letter and all administrative inquiry materials will be added to the records file in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer.

v. The decision of the Chief Academic Officer is final and cannot be appealed.

Sanctions


A. Sanctions for violations of disciplinary regulations include, but are not limited to:

a. Dismissal: The student is permanently separated from Methodist College. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student will also be barred from Methodist College premises. (Dismissal requires approval by the Chancellor.)

b. Suspension: The student is separated from Methodist College for a specified period of time. Permanent notification will appear on the student's transcript. The student shall not participate in any Methodist College sponsored activity and may be barred from Methodist College premises. Suspended time will not count against any time limits of the college for completion of a degree. Credit earned elsewhere during the period of suspension may not subsequently be transferred to Methodist College. (Suspension requires approval by the Chancellor.)

c. Disciplinary probation: The student shall not represent Methodist College in any extracurricular activity or run for or hold office in any student group or organization for a specified period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed.

d. Disciplinary reprimand: The student is warned that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.

e. Restitution: The student is required to make payment to Methodist College or to other persons, groups, or organizations for damages incurred as a result of a violation of this Code.

f. Other sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified in paragraphs 1 - 6 above.

B. No sanctions may be administered until the appeal process is complete.

a. Any sanction requiring a completion date for the Respondent shall not be set earlier than two weeks after the Chief Academic Officer has ruled on an appeal.

b. The two-week period may not include the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas to New Years Day, or Spring Break.

c. If performing any sanction will hinder the Respondent's progress in current coursework, the respondent may request an extension to the due date.

Disciplinary Files and Records


The reporting of any violation of this Code will result in the development of a student's disciplinary file, which shall be nullified if the student is found innocent of the charges. The records of students found guilty of any of the charges against them will be retained as permanent disciplinary records.

A. Disciplinary records may be expunged from the student's disciplinary file by the Chief Academic Officer or designee for good cause, upon written petition of the accused student, up to three years from the date of final written decision. Disciplinary records shall not be expunged without unusual and compelling justification. Factors to be considered in review of such petitions shall include:

a. The present demeanor of the person accused.

b. The conduct of the person accused subsequent to the violation.

c. The nature of the violation, and the severity of any resulting damage, injury, or harm.

B. The Chief Academic Officer will respond, in writing, within 10 business days of the receipt of the petition. If the Chancellor denies the petition, copies of this letter will be kept in the central records file in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer.

C. Expunged records shall not be destroyed but maintained in a separate file and shall not be made available or considered for any future alleged conduct violations under this policy.

Confidentiality of Code of Conduct Violations


A. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects student records including code of conduct accusations and violations. Other laws may supersede FERPA. For instance if the code of conduct violation also results in criminal charges, the College may release case records to the criminal authorities or Respondent's attorney. A civil case may also compel the college to release records if a subpoena is served. Only the Chancellor can authorize release of Code of Conduct case information in those instances. FERPA does not prevent investigators questioning any witnesses in a conduct case.

B. For the above and other student privacy issues, no College employee who plays any role in a Code of Conduct case (e.g. administrator, investigation committee, witnesses, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor, Registrar) shall discuss any case or release any student names or student information to anyone outside of the case investigation process. Exceptions to this are:

a. Criminal or civil cases as described in paragraph A above.

b. The Chancellor may report on cases to the College Board or the College's parent company.

c. Certain cases where there might be a campus safety concern may require the notification of the Campus Safety staff, Director of Student Affairs and Diversity Equity and Inclusion, the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT), and in rare cases the faculty and Residence Hall assistants.

C. No student who is a Complainant, Respondent, or witness in a Code of Conduct case shall release the name of any student involved in the case to anyone, including other students, not involved in the case.