Section 4. Community Standards and Policies
2012-2013 student guide
The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for developing, disseminating, and upholding behavioral standards that comprise the University Code of Student Conduct. It is the belief of the Dean of Students that this responsibility can be discharged best within an educational context.
As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, Boston College has a strong emphasis on self-awareness and a distinct consideration for the lives and feelings of others. The University Code of Student Conduct reflects the ethics, values, and standards of the University community and its concern for all involved parties. Self-discipline, knowledge of limits, proper exercise of freedom, responsibility for judgment, and accountability for actions are all critical components of personal formation. When behavioral standards on or off campus are violated, an appropriate educational response will be forthcoming from the University through the Student Conduct System.
See Section 5. Student Conduct System for more information.
All Boston College students are expected to fully comply with all the policies and procedures listed in the Student Guide. In addition, resident students are expected to fully comply with the provisions detailed in the Office of Residential Life's Conditions for Residency, available on the Residential Life website at www.bc.edu/reslife.
All student members of the Boston College community have certain rights. These include:
- The right to learn, which includes the right of access to ideas, the right of access to facts and opinions, the right to express ideas, and the right to discuss those ideas with others.
- The right of peaceful coexistence, which includes the right to be free from violence, force, threats, and abuse, and the right to move about freely.
- The right to be free of any action that unduly interferes with a student's rights and/or learning environment.
- The right to express opinion, which includes the right to state agreement or disagreement with the opinions of others and the right to an appropriate forum for the expression of opinion.
- The right of privacy, which includes the right to be free of unauthorized search of personal spaces.
- The right to have access to a process through which to resolve deprivations of rights.
- In the case of disciplinary procedures:
- the right to be informed of any charges of misconduct,
- the right to adequate time to prepare a response to the charges,
- the right to hear evidence in support of the charges,
- the right to present evidence against the charges,
- the right to an advisor,
- the right to a fair procedure which is appropriate to the circumstances,
- the right to be informed of the outcome of any proceeding.
For more information please refer to the Boston College Notice of Non-Discrimination policy found at http://www.bc.edu/offices/diversity/compliance/nondiscrim.html
All student members of the Boston College community have certain responsibilities to the institution and to its members. These include:
- Respect for the rights of others, which includes the obligation to refrain from conduct that violates or adversely affects the rights of other members of the Boston College community.
- The obligation to refrain from conduct in the general community which adversely affects Boston College.
- The obligation to refrain from interfering with the freedom of expression of others. This includes such activities as newspaper thefts, attempting to shout down speakers, and intentional jamming of computer networks.
- The responsibility for the avoidance of force, violence, threat, or harassment.
- The responsibility for the avoidance of disruption. Certain kinds of conduct can convert the expression of opinion into disruption. The Student Demonstrations policy describes the procedures and limitations appropriate to the public expression of opinion.
- The responsibility to comply with state, federal, and municipal laws and regulations. Student members of the Boston College community must be aware that they continue to be subject to the obligations of all citizens while they attend the University. The University is committed to the observance of the laws. There is no immunity on campus from the prohibitions of state and federal law.
- The obligation to ensure that the conduct of others who come to the University through a student's invitation or permission complies with the rules and regulations of the University.
- The obligation to respect the environment of Boston College, which includes respect for the physical features of the campus and its facilities as well as the special needs of an institution of learning, such as quiet and privacy.
- The obligation to provide proper identification when requested to do so by a representative of the University. All students are expected to carry their Boston College identification card at all times and to produce it when requested. ID cards may be electronically scanned by a University official to confirm a student’s status.
- The responsibility to cooperate with University officials in the performance of their duties.
- The responsibility to respect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.
Students are expected to maintain high standards of integrity in their academic work and comply with the University’s policies with respect to academic integrity. The pursuit of knowledge can proceed only when scholars take responsibility and receive credit for their work. Similarly, the educational process requires that individuals present their own ideas and insights for evaluation, critique, and eventual reformulation. Academic integrity is violated by any dishonest act committed in an academic context including, but not limited to, acts of cheating, plagiarism, falsification of data, alteration of University records, misuse of University facilities or resources, and helping another individual to commit an act of academic dishonesty. See the University’s Academic Integrity Policy within the Academic Policies and Procedures at http://www.bc.edu/publications/ucatalog/policy.shtml#integrity.
See the Academic Policies and Procedures at http://www.bc.edu/publications/ucatalog/policy.shtml.
Boston College students are expected to comply with local, state, and federal laws relating to the use of drugs and alcohol. The University will not tolerate conduct that disrupts the campus or the academic or residential environment. The University values its relationship with the adjoining cities of Boston and Newton and recognizes the right of its neighbors to be secure from abusive conduct caused by illegal use of drugs and alcohol on and off campus.
The majority of offenses against people and property committed at Boston College are a direct result of alcohol use and abuse. Such behavior is unacceptable to the student population and the community at large.
- Massachusetts state law, applicable to all BC students regardless of home state or country, makes it illegal for anyone under age 21 to purchase, arrange to have purchased, transport, possess, consume, or carry alcoholic beverages.
- It is a violation to provide a setting that allows for the underage consumption of alcohol.
- Regardless of age, it is prohibited to be drink or possess an open container of alcohol in public or common areas (the Dustbowl or Campus Green, outdoors, lounges, hallways, etc). Open containers of alcohol are prohibited on the streets of Boston and Newton and could result in arrest and court action.
- Regardless of age, engaging in drunk and disorderly conduct (including assault and battery and property damage), are serious offenses and will result in disciplinary action and possible suspension from Housing and/or the University.
- Students under the age of 21 are expected to remove themselves from social gatherings where they are in the presence of alcohol. Typically, the first instance in which a student is found to be in the presence of alcohol is handled as an administrative, non-disciplinary matter. Repeated instances of being in the presence of alcohol under the age of 21, however, may result in formal disciplinary action and conduct sanctions.
- Enabling underage alcohol use is prohibited. A student, regardless of age, will be considered enabling the underage consumption of alcohol if he or she possesses or has alcohol present in their residence for use by others. The student is also responsible for misconduct if he or she passively allows illegal alcohol or drug use to occur within his or her residence hall room or off campus dwelling.
- Under Massachusetts state law, it is illegal to transport alcohol in excess of the following quantities: 9 cases of beer or 3 gallons of any alcoholic beverage. Transporting quantities in excess of the legal limits will be subject to confiscation as well as University disciplinary action and/or arrest.
- Possessing, furnishing, consuming or serving from a large quantity or common source of alcohol (i.e. 12 or more servings, kegs, beer balls, punch bowls or other approximate equivalent number of servings) is prohibited. Hosting or participating in the rapid consumption of alcohol, including drinking games, is prohibited.
- Tailgate parties are limited to the designated areas adjacent to Alumni Stadium; must include appropriate amounts of food in relationship to drink; and must be kept "litter free" by participants. Kegs and beerballs are prohibited at tailgates and are subject to confiscation. Alcohol is prohibited inside Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, and violation may result in expulsion from the facility and/or disciplinary action.
- In the Modular housing units (Mods) during football games, Marathon Monday, Senior Week, or any other special event, any student under the age of 21 found in possession of, and/or under the influence of alcohol, will lose the ability to live in the Mods during his or her senior year. In addition, students attempting to gain access to the Mods (e.g., climbing the fence) will lose the ability to live in the Mods their senior year.
Violation of alcohol rules and regulations (illegal use or misuse) will be handled through the Student Conduct System and will result in sanctions that may include fines, mandatory participation in alcohol education classes, community work projects, probations, and/or Housing or University Suspension or Dismissal.
The University prohibits the possession, use, consumption, manufacture, sale or distribution of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
The term “drugs” broadly includes, without limitation, any stimulant, intoxicant (other than alcohol), nervous system depressant, hallucinogen, or other chemical substance, compound or combination when used to induce an altered state, including any otherwise lawfully available product used for any purpose other than its intended use (for example, prescription or over the counter drugs or household product misuses). The term “drug paraphernalia” broadly includes any material, product, instrument or
item used to create, manufacture, distribute, use or otherwise manipulate any drug and includes, but is not limited to, hypodermic needles, syringes, bongs or pipes.
Persons convicted of drug possession under state or federal law may be ineligible for federal student grants and loans for up to one year after the first conviction and five years after the second; the penalty for distributing drugs is loss of benefits for five years after the first, 10 years after the second and permanently after the third conviction.
Information regarding the University's alcohol and drug abuse prevention program is provided as part of the Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Program. The document, distributed each year to all members of the University community as part of the Boston College Important Notices and Disclosures mailing, is available from the Office of the Financial Vice President and Treasurer. In addition, the following related policies may be found in the Boston College Policies and Procedures Manual at www.bc.edu/policy: Drug-Free Workplace, 1-300-020; Drug-Free Schools and Campuses, 1-300-025; and Use of Alcohol at Boston College, 1-300-050.
The health and safety of Boston College students is of paramount concern. As a result, all students are expected to seek appropriate assistance for themselves or others in situations where help is needed to ensure proper care of a person who is significantly intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
In situations where students seek medical attention due to alcohol intoxication or drug ingestion, Boston College will support and encourage this behavior by treating it as a health and safety matter, not as a disciplinary incident. This practice will also be extended to anyone seeking or calling for help on behalf of another student. Students who seek and receive medical attention will be required to complete certain educational and/or counseling initiatives which are intervention and prevention based and will also be subject to all fees related to their medical care. Students who demonstrate consistent and repeated patterns of such behavior may require further medical review and/or treatment up to, when necessary, mandated medical leaves of absence. Failure to complete these referrals would be treated as a disciplinary matter.
Students will be held accountable for misconduct accompanying or incidental to the use and/or abuse of alcohol or other substances. For example, disorderly behavior, violence, property damage, or distribution or intent to distribute will be treated as disciplinary violations and will be responded to accordingly. For medical assistance, please contact Health Services at (617) 552-3227; for an immediate response contact the BC Police at (617) 552-4444. For a list of possible referrals and programs, please visit www.bc.edu/ade.
Boston College students are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and inoffensive manner at all athletic and social events (e.g., football games, concerts). The use of offensive and/or vulgar chants or signs is unacceptable and may result in the confiscation of Boston College IDs, ejection from the facility, and the possibility of additional disciplinary action.
Boston College and the Boston College Police Department have a zero tolerance policy for any bias-motivated offensive conduct or hate crimes.
A hate crime is any traditional criminal offense that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias toward the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, or ethnicity.
Bias-motivated offensive conduct is behavior that, whether or not criminal, constitutes a violation of behavioral standards and policies listed in the Student Guide and Professional Standards of Boston College, and that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias toward the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, or ethnicity.
Students found responsible for committing bias motivated offensive conduct or a hate crime face sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University as well as possible arrest and criminal action.
Boston College has recently established a new protocol with respect to these types of violations. This protocol is available at www.bc.edu/diversity. Any bias-motivated offensive conduct or hate crime should be reported immediately to the Boston College Police Department at 617-552-4444 or may be reported through the website.
Conditions of Residency
Students residing in Boston College residential facilities are held by the policies and procedures of the Student Guide as well as their signed Residency Agreement. Therefore all residential students must abide by the policies and procedures as outlined in the Conditions for Residency and the Fire Safety and Security Policies. These documents can be found at http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/offices/reslife/lifeinhalls/communityexp.
Misappropriation of food and beverages within the dining facilities is a serious matter and will be dealt with through the Student Conduct System in an administrative or disciplinary fashion (depending on the nature of the offense or repetitiveness). Actions of an administrative nature will also be taken by Dining Services.
See the Boston College Policies and Procedures Manual at www.bc.edu/policy: Discriminatory Harassment.
Disorderly conduct is the unreasonable or reckless behavior by an individual or group that creates a potentially unsafe situation to members of the community or property; disrupts the peace or interferes with the normal operation of the University or University sponsored events; and/or infringes on the rights of others.
A system of alarm boxes marked by blue lights is installed on campus and linked to the Boston College Police. The purpose is to provide protection and assistance in an emergency such as assault and battery or rape. Misuse of the system (e.g., asking for bus schedules, pranks) is considered to be in the same category as pulling a false fire alarm and will result in disciplinary action.
Failure to Comply
It is a violation for a student to fail to comply with the directives of a University or law enforcement official in the performance of his or her duties.
Failure to Complete Sanctions
If a student fails to comply with or fails to complete an imposed disciplinary sanction by the established deadline date, they may face additional disciplinary action including more severe sanctions and a failure to complete sanction fine of $100.
Student may not intentionally provide false or inaccurate information or records to the University or local authorities. This includes but is not limited to providing a false report of an emergency, crime or code violation, providing false statements during a University investigation or proceeding, or misrepresenting oneself.
Deliberately setting a fire on the campus will be treated as one of the most serious forms of misconduct and will result in immediate suspension from Housing and/or from the University. Any conduct having a foreseeable risk that a fire will result is unacceptable, even if no fire is intended or does occur. Lighting a trash fire, bonfire, door decorations, or materials on a bulletin board will be treated as deliberate attempts to start a fire.
Candles and burning incense are absolutely prohibited in the residence halls and will result in confiscation and disciplinary sanctions. Misuse of fire protection devices such as extinguishers, smoke detectors, and alarms threatens the safety of the community and is unacceptable. Setting off a false alarm will result in University Suspension.
Sale, possession, and use are prohibited under Massachusetts law.
Boston College expects students to abide by federal and state laws prohibiting illegal gambling. Such prohibited activity includes but is not limited to: betting on, wagering on, or selling pools on any athletic event; possessing on one's person or premises (e.g., room, residence unit, car) any card, book, or other device for registering bets; knowingly permitting the use of one's premises or one's telephone or other electronic communication device for illegal gambling; knowingly receiving or delivering a letter, package, or parcel related to illegal gambling; offering, soliciting, or accepting a bribe to influence the outcome of an athletic event; and involvement in bookmaking or wagering pools with respect to sporting events. Students involved in illegal gambling, particularly bookmaking, risk suspension or dismissal from the University.
Any student who hosts a visitor, guest or any individual accompanying a guest on campus is responsible for ensuring that such person knows and adheres to all regulations of the University Code of Student Conduct. Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests and may be held accountable for violations committed by their guests. The students’ responsibility also includes restitution for damage to University facilities or other restitution that is necessary. Responsibility under the rules may occur even if the host is not a participant in the activity or has left the guest(s) alone. The university may also restrict student’s guests from campus or University activities.
Any form of hazing is prohibited by University policy and Massachusetts State Law.
Hazing refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. Hazing is a complex social problem that is shaped by power dynamics operating in a group and/or organization and within a particular cultural context.
Hazing activities are generally considered to be physically abusive, hazardous, and/or sexually violating. The specific behaviors or activities within these categories vary widely among participants, groups, and settings. While alcohol use is common in many types of hazing, other examples of typical hazing practices include personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing, and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one's skin; brandings; physical beatings; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault.
For such activities to be considered hazing, forced or mandated participation is not required. If a new member feels that he or she will not be considered a fully participating member of the group or feels that they would be ostracized for not participating in particular behaviors (for example, alcohol use), then such implied coercion would be considered hazing.
The following are some examples of hazing divided into three categories: subtle, harassment, and violent. It is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviors because many are context-specific. While this is not an all-inclusive list, it provides some common examples of hazing activities.
A. SUBTLE HAZING
Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team are termed "subtle hazing" because these types of hazing are often taken-for-granted or accepted as "harmless" or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members/rookies on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members/rookies often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. Examples include:
- Implied requirement to participate in illegal or dangerous activities
- Silence periods with implied threats for violation
- Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
- Requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members
- Socially isolating new members/rookies
- Line-ups and drills/tests on meaningless information
- Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members with titles (e.g. "Mr.," "Miss") while they are identified with demeaning terms
- Expecting certain items to always be in one's possession
B. HARASSMENT HAZING
Harassment Hazing involves behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members. Examples include:
- Verbal abuse
- Threats or implied threats
- Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
- Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
- Expecting new members/rookies to perform personal service to other members such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Sleep deprivation
- Sexual simulations
- Expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness
- Being expected to harass others
C. VIOLENT HAZING
Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional or psychological harm.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Forced or coerced (explicit or implied) alcohol or other drug consumption
- Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
- Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
- Water intoxication
- Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
- Public nudity
- Expecting illegal activity
- Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection
Massachusetts General Law
Chapter 269: HAZING
Sect 17. Definition; Penalty: Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term “hazing” as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
Section 18. Reporting Hazing Offenses; Penalty for Failure to Report Violation:
Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
Section 19. Notice to schools and colleges; Annual Reports; Adoption of
Disciplinary Policy: Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.
Each such group, team, or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgment stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen. Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibilities to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of regents and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.
It is considered fraud and misrepresentation to alter, deface, or falsify IDs or in any way obtain or conspire to obtain fake identification for the purpose of presenting oneself as age 21 or older. Conspiring to obtain, possession, and/or use of such items may result in arrest and criminal actions being taken off campus under state law and will be addressed through the University's Student Conduct System. Manufacturing fraudulent IDs (including attempting to manufacture or assisting in the manufacture or distribution of such IDs) is an extraordinarily serious offense and will result in suspension or dismissal from the University as well as possible criminal prosecution.
As members of both the Boston College and the neighborhood communities, students who reside in off-campus apartments have a responsibility to demonstrate respect and concern for all members of the local community. As a result, Boston College imposes an obligation upon all its students to demonstrate responsible citizenship in the local neighborhood. Excessive or unreasonable noise, the illegal use and/or sale or distribution of alcohol or drugs, objects being thrown out of apartment windows, excessively large parties, and/or rude and abusive language or behavior are not in concert with this obligation. Off-campus arrests have occurred for such offenses as false IDs, disorderly conduct, illegal sale or possession of alcohol, and public drinking. Therefore, the University reserves the right to refer any students identified as being involved in this type of behavior to the University's Student Conduct System for disciplinary action.
Students have a right to be free from violence, threats, or abuse, and they have an obligation to respect these expectations in relation to fellow students.
Physical violence in any form cannot be tolerated in a civil, educational environment. This category of misconduct encompasses but is not limited to assault and battery (simple and/or by means of a dangerous weapon), fighting/brawling, and relationship violence. Under no circumstances is physical violence an acceptable means to resolve problems, disputes, or interpersonal relations.
Physical violence violations are subject to review within the University's Student Conduct System—aside from civil or criminal court actions—and may result in sanctions up to and including a University Stay Away Order or dismissal from the University.
All postings on the Boston College Campus must be approved and stamped. The physical posting of material on campus must be done in a way that ensures the appropriate use of available space, prevents the defacing of University property, and reduces unnecessary expenditures of University resources used to repair and/or replace University property. Postings must be consistent with the principles and values espoused by Boston College. In addition, the content of the postings must avoid demeaning or discriminatory portrayals of individuals or groups, cannot be libelous, violate copyright law, or contain any material that is inconsistent with the community standards of BC, including any references to alcohol, drugs, or sexual innuendos. A full description of this policy as well as requirements, approval process, and hanging of banners can be located here.
Damage or destruction of University property is considered a very serious offense. Instances of wanton damage will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary action to include suspension or dismissal from University housing and/or the University.
Registered Student Organizations (RSO)
All registered student organizations are expected to abide and operate in accordance with the terms and conditions contained within the Boston College Student Guide as well as the RSO rules and regulations in the Student Programs Office (www.bc.edu/spo). Should violations of the Code of Conduct arise, RSOs as an entity may be held accountable for violations and given an organizational sanction (i.e. probation, suspension of activity, restitution, etc.), in addition to individual member accountability. Information for all RSOs can be located at RSO Resources.
Boston College prohibits retaliation of any kind against any individual filing a complaint or participating in an investigation or conduct hearing involving a Boston College student. Such retaliation would result in disciplinary action.
As a Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning, Boston College adheres to the Church's teachings with respect to sexual intimacy. Consequently, sexual activity outside the bonds of matrimony may be subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions.
Boston College attempts at all times to maintain a safe environment that supports its educational mission and is free from exploitation and intimidation as well as discrimination based upon gender. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual misconduct of any kind is antithetical to the mission of Boston College and the values it espouses and will be responded to accordingly. In accordance with Title IX, the University strives to eliminate sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. This policy describes the University’s response to victims, what conduct is prohibited, available University and community resources, and how to file a complaint.
1. Immediate Response and Care
The University encourages students to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct immediately. To report an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual misconduct, the victim/survivor or a friend of the victim/survivor may contact the Boston College Police at 617-552-4444, the Sexual Assault Network at 617-552-BC11, a member of the Residential Life staff at 617-552-3060, the Title IX Coordinator at 617-552-3280, or the Office of the Dean of Students at 617-552-3470.
Boston College recognizes the importance of offering victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct immediate treatment, counseling support, and assistance. In addition, appropriate interim measures to help assure the safety and well being of the victim will be offered. Consideration of the victim's wishes will be taken into account throughout the process, provided that the University may have a legal obligation to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, even without the participation of the victim.
2. Prohibited Conduct
The University prohibits all forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct, whether perpetrated by a stranger or acquaintance, whether occurring on or off campus, and whether directed against a member of the Boston College community or someone outside the University community. Such behavior by a Boston College student is a violation of the University Code of Conduct, and in certain cases, may also be a criminal violation and/or result in a violation of Title IX. Please also see the University’s Discriminatory Harassment Policy, at http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/policies/pdf/policies/I/1-200-025.pdf, which addresses the resolution of complaints of discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, against University employees and faculty.
Prohibited conduct ranges from acts of non consensual sexual intercourse and non consensual sexual contact, to sexual misconduct including, but not limited to, harassment of a sexual nature, sexual exploitation, stalking, voyeurism, exposure, video or audio taping of sexual activity, and sexual activity resulting from emotional coercion.
In the context of this policy, active consent is needed to engage in sexual activity. For the purpose of this policy, consent is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is incumbent upon both parties to both obtain and give active consent prior to any sexual activity. Consent may never be given by minors (in Massachusetts, those not yet sixteen (16) years of age), those who are incapable of giving informed consent as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary), or those who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless. Effective consent may never be obtained as a result of coercion, intimidation, threat of force or force.
Complaints of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault against a student member of the University community will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the Student Conduct System policies and procedures, as described in Section 5 of the Boston College Student Guide (http://www.bc.edu/publications/studentguide/judicial.html). University disciplinary action may be taken whether or not criminal charges are filed and without regard to whether the conduct occurred on or off the Boston College campus.
Any member of the University community found responsible for violating this policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Boston College. The standard used to determine responsibility is a preponderance of the evidence, that is, whether it is "more likely than not" that the accused has violated the policy.
It is also a violation of University policy to engage in any form of retaliation or intimidation in connection with complaints of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault. Any such acts of retaliation or intimidation by a Boston College student should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students. Complaints against other members of the Boston College community should be referred to the University Harassment Counselor and will be addressed in accordance with the University Discriminatory Harassment Policy. http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/policies/pdf/policies/I/1-200-025.pdf
3. University Resources
Boston College is committed to providing support and assistance to victims as well as taking active measures to help assure the physical and emotional well being of survivors/victims. A number of University offices are available to assist a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct.
Sexual Assault Network
The Boston College Sexual Assault Network (SANet) 617-552-BC11 (2211), is a hotline/information line available 24/7 during the academic year to respond to the needs of those affected by power-based personal violence (sexual assault, rape, partner violence, stalking, etc). Any individual seeking information, resources, or advocacy, related to sexual violence is encouraged to call (even if the caller is not a survivor himself or herself).
SANet can provide assistance with:
- Emergency rape crisis treatment and emergency medical services, including accompanying the survivor to the hospital or Health Services, to the police, or to the Office of the Dean of Students
- Seeking professional support (on or off campus)
- Evidence collection options within 120 hours (for rape and sexual assault)
- Seeking medical evaluation and treatment and/or counseling (on or off campus)
- Reporting (internally or through the police department)
- Connection with BC's HEAL support group for survivors of sexual violence
- Academic concerns
- Residential issues
The network is comprised of a group of highly trained professionals who have volunteered to serve as advocates for survivors of violence. Male and female advocates are available to serve the diverse needs of our survivors.
*Please note that we do utilize cell phones for our response and may at times be in areas without service. Individuals are encouraged to leave a message or to call back.
Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator
Katherine O'Dair, Executive Director for the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Maloney Hall 260
The Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator oversees the University's response to complaints of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault in cases where a Boston College student is the complainant. The coordinator or designee is available to meet with students as needed. The coordinator will help ensure that appropriate measures are taken to adequately address complaints and protect the safety and well being of victims. The Title IX coordinator also maintains records of all cases, documents the University's response, and sees that appropriate measures are taken to identify and address any patterns or systemic problems that contribute to a hostile environment for students at the University.
Boston College Police
The Boston College Police Department is also available twenty-four hours a day at 617-552-4444 to respond, immediately if need be, to assure the safety of a victim as well as to provide support and assistance.
Boston College Harassment Counselor
Rubenstein Hall 001
The University Harassment Counselor, Linda Riley, is available at email@example.com, or by phone at 617-552-0486 to counsel individuals who believe they may have been sexually harassed and to assist victims in filing complaints. Her office is located in Rubenstein Hall 001.
The staff in the Campus Ministry is available for pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. Some members of the staff reside in the residence halls. A resident minister is also available twenty-four hours a day by contacting the Boston College Police at 617-552-4444.
Cushing Clinic – 617-552-2225 (9-5, M-F)
Cushing Primary Care – 617-552-3227 (24 hours a day during the academic year)
Medical personnel are available on campus 24 hours a day. In addition, the University has developed a relationship with the Beth Israel Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, for the treatment of sexual assault and rape survivors. The Primary Care Center, in Cushing Hall, is also available 24 hours a day to provide a safe haven or a meeting place for survivors to access campus support services.
University Counseling Services
617-552-3310 (during normal business hours)
University Counseling Services (UCS) is available twenty-four hours a day to assist student victims of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault. UCS is available during normal business hours at 617-552-3310. During nights, weekends and holidays, a University psychologist is available on call by contacting either Boston College Health Services (617-552-2225) or the Boston College Police (617-552-4444).
Members of the Sexual Assault Network, BC Police, the Office of Residential Life, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Office of the Dean of Students can provide the following:
1. Assistance with emergency rape crisis treatment and emergency medical services, including accompanying the survivor to the hospital or Health Services, to the police, or to the Office of the Dean of Students.
2. Guidance and support with filing charges through the University's Student Conduct System and/or through the criminal justice process.
3. Advice and assistance in obtaining either University Stay Away Orders or court-issued restraining orders.
4. Assistance in addressing academic concerns of the victim.
5. Assistance in addressing living arrangements.
6. Assistance in arranging other forms of assistance as appropriate, including on-campus counseling through University Counseling Services, medical assistance through University Health Services, and pastoral care and support through Campus Ministry.
7. Assistance in contacting community resources such as The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center or other support services.
8. Assistance in contacting the appropriate police department.
9. Assistance with securing a University Stay Away Order. In situations where the alleged offender seriously disturbs or presents a potential threat to the victim/survivor, a University Stay Away Order prohibiting the alleged assailant from having any contact with the victim may be imposed. Such an order could also require the alleged offender to adjust his/her academic or work schedule and/or living arrangements, if on-campus.
10. Assistance with securing a summary suspension. In situations where the alleged offender may pose a threat to the safety of the victim, the Dean or designee may impose on the alleged offender a summary suspension from either housing or from the University, pending final resolution of the matter.
Accused students, as well as victims, will have access to the above-listed resources for support and care, including, but not limited to University Counseling Services, Campus Ministry and an on-campus conduct system advisor.
4. Filing a Complaint Within the University
Victims are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual misconduct to the Office of the Dean of Students and to the Boston College Police in order to receive assistance in accessing support services and in filing charges against the alleged offender.
Any member of the University community who is informed of an incident of sexual misconduct should contact the Office of the Dean of Students for advice and assistance and to assist the University in eliminating a hostile environment. A standardized sexual assault reporting form is available from the Office of the Dean of Students. The name of the victim need not be disclosed without the victim/survivor's consent, provided that the victim should be aware that the University’s ability to respond in such cases may be limited. University administrators who are designated as Campus Security Officers under the University’s policy on Reporting Crimes and Other Emergencies are required to immediately disclose reports of criminal sex offenses to the University Police for the purpose of the University’s compliance with Jeanne Clery Disclosure and Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, as described further in that policy. http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/policies/pdf/policies/V/5-350-210.pdf
Upon receipt of such a complaint, Boston College will provide the complainant with written notification of survivor options including information on filing a complaint within the University, information on filing a criminal complaint, and information on pursuing both options at the same time. This notification will also include a listing of resources and supportive services available to the complainant both on and off campus.
Complainants will be treated with respect and sensitivity before, during, and after the disciplinary process. The University will make all reasonable efforts to preserve confidentiality, restricting information to those with a legitimate need for it. Complainants may request changes to academic and living situations and will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available. Both complainants and accused students may have advisors to help support and guide them through the conduct process.
If other policy violations have occurred in connection with an assault, particularly alcohol or substance use/abuse violations, the University generally will not pursue disciplinary actions against the complainant or against student witnesses of the incident.
The University will promptly conduct an investigation of the alleged incident, which will include a review of statements obtained from either party, interviews with the complainant and the accused (if identified), interviews with appropriate witnesses, and a review of other relevant information. Once the investigation is complete, the University will take appropriate action, even if the complainant does not want to participate in the University disciplinary process. The University will make every reasonable effort to resolve the complaint within 60 days.
If the alleged perpetrator is a Boston College student, the victim can file a formal conduct complaint with the Office of the Dean of Students in Maloney Hall, Room 212 (617-552-3470). The Dean or designee will assist the complainant in the filing such a complaint for possible disciplinary action against an alleged offender as described in Section 5 of the Boston College Student Guide (http://www.bc.edu/publications/studentguide/judicial.html)
In situations in which an accused student seriously disturbs or presents a potential threat to the victim or complainant, or otherwise engages in retaliatory conduct, the Dean or designee may impose a University Stay Away Order, prohibiting the accused from having any contact with the victim or complainant. Such an order could also require the accused student to adjust his/her academic or work schedule and/or campus housing arrangements. In the event of serious allegations against a student, the Dean or designee may also impose a summary suspension from housing or from the University, pending final resolution of the matter.
If the complainant proceeds with both a disciplinary complaint and a criminal complaint, the University conduct process will normally proceed while the criminal action is in process. However, in such cases, the Office of the Dean of Students may elect to stay the disciplinary process if a student is summarily suspended and the criminal matter remains open.
5. Filing a Criminal Complaint
If a student reports a sexual assault to the Boston College Police, the Police will conduct an investigation and assist the victim to file criminal charges against the alleged offender if he or she chooses. The Boston College Police also help in obtaining protective restraining orders for domestic violence incidents. If the incident occurred off campus, the Boston College Police will assist the victim in informing the appropriate municipal police department if he or she so desires.
The Boston College Police have specially trained officers to respond to sexual assault and domestic violence complaints. The police make every effort to offer female victims/survivors an opportunity to have a female officer present during all interviews. As stated above, the Boston College Police will help a victim/survivor make contact with local police if the assault occurred off campus, as well as with the district attorney's office for criminal prosecution and victim-witness assistance. The Boston College Police work cooperatively with the Office of the Dean of Students to investigate and resolve cases under this policy. The Police will refer cases to the Office of the Dean of Students as appropriate and will also assist in protecting the safety of complainants.
As an educational institution, Boston College must continue to increase its involvement in the fiber of our society and encourage its students to become engaged in this effort. A meaningful commitment to society must include the examination of the roots of society and a willingness to challenge aspects of society that are the subject of debate and uncertainty. The very nature of such a commitment presupposes the necessity of the presentation of opposing viewpoints and an openness to confrontation between ideas. The involvement of the University or its students in this process cannot achieve any meaning if the methods of engagement, reason, and dialogue are inhibited or constrained. No greater injury to the intellectual climate of an academic institution or the academic freedom of its members can occur than the curbing of the free exchange of ideas by imposition of fear or repression. The tactics of intimidation and coercion are never more repugnant than when applied to stifle the reasoned partisanship of opinions.
The right to express opinions in public is an important part of the engagement of the citizen in the affairs of the community, but the right can carry with it the risk of infringing on the rights of others holding differing views. To ensure that public demonstrations of opinion do not violate directly or indirectly the rights of others by preventing the ordinary operation of the University, applications for permits for all activities in the nature of a public speech, rally, demonstration, march, or protest must be submitted a minimum of 48 hours in advance to the Office of the Dean of Students. If approved, the activities must be conducted in accordance with the rules set forth below. The Dean reserves the right to determine the time and place of any public demonstration. Participation in a demonstration without prior authorization could result in disciplinary action. The organizers of any demonstration should be aware that they are also responsible for compliance with local, state, and federal law. The following types of conduct will be treated as disruptive and unacceptable:
1. Physical or verbal abuse of any person on property owned or controlled by the University.
2. Causing damage to the property of the University, an organization recognized by the University, or an individual.
3. Obstruction or disruption of the affairs of the University including, without limitation, teaching, research, public presentations, administration, disciplinary procedures, athletic or dramatic events, or placement or recruitment services.
4. Unauthorized entry to a University facility and failure to leave a University facility when requested to do so by a representative of the University.
5. Continued obstruction of the entrance or exit to a University facility or a campus roadway after being asked to cease the obstruction by a representative of the University.
6. Possession of a firearm, dangerous weapon, or explosive device while taking part in a demonstration of any kind.
In seeking to ensure that a public demonstration does not become a prohibited disruption, the Dean of Students Office will undertake some or all of the following measures:
1. Verbal, written, or electronic notification of individuals and groups when, in the Dean of Student's opinion, their conduct has been unacceptable.
2. Use of persuasion to deflect demonstrators from using tactics that would be a violation of the policy.
3. Anyone participating in a demonstration must be willing to produce his or her BC ID card upon request by a representative of the University. Videotaping and/or photographic equipment may be used by the Boston College Police to assure compliance with these demonstration policies.
4. Use of University disciplinary procedures, including summary suspension where appropriate.
Participants in disruptive demonstrations must be aware that the University will take all measures, including civil and criminal litigation, it believes necessary in order to prevent disruption of its affairs, restore order, and protect the rights of the members of its community.
Students must abide by all University policies governing the use of technological resources, including the Use of Technological and Information Resources policy. The following activities are prohibited under the policy:
- "Snooping" or attempting to access systems, files, or network data without permission.
- "Hacking" or testing security or other access controls on systems, files, or the network.
- Infringing copyright, including downloading, uploading, distributing or sharing music or movies without permission from the copyright holder, and misusing software licenses. These infringing activities may expose students to civil and criminal penalties, and Boston College is legally required to respond to subpoenas requesting information regarding these activities on the University network.
- Using the network to engage in abusive, offensive or harassing behavior, including creating or sending obscene, intolerant, or "nuisance" email messages or posting such material on the Internet.
- Using technological resources to engage in any illegal activity.
- Impersonating others or providing any false or misleading information when accessing or using University resources.
- Violating the privacy rights of others.
- Sharing BC credentials or allowing unauthorized access to University technological resources—students are not to provide their passwords or PINs to anyone.
This list of prohibited activities is not exclusive; students should consult the full policy (See the Boston College Policies and Procedures Manual at www.bc.edu/techpolicy (1-100-025)). Violations of the policy may result in the suspension or loss of University network privileges, other disciplinary action (up to and including summary suspension and dismissal), and criminal prosecution.
If a student needs to engage in any of these activities for an academic purpose, he or she must receive advance written permission from the Director of Computer Policy and Security, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students.
For the complete technological and information resources policy, see the Boston College Policies and Procedures Manual at www.bc.edu/policy: www.bc.edu/techpolicy (Use of University Technological and Information Resources, 1-100-025) and also the Data Security Policy.
Theft is defined as the unauthorized taking, misappropriation, use or possession of property that belongs to another person. Theft includes stealing the resources of the University and or any agency directly or indirectly affiliated with the University.
A violation of any local, state, or federal civil or criminal law is a violation of this Code, even if the specific conduct prohibited by the law is not listed within the Code or the offense is not prosecuted in a court of law. At the discretion of the Dean, on-campus proceedings may be delayed pending the outcome of associated criminal cases. A finding of guilty or an admission of sufficient facts in criminal court may be used as evidence against a student at an on-campus conduct hearing.
Boston College students must disclose any arrests, indictments, or convictions of a criminal offense, excluding minor traffic violations, regardless of where they occur and regardless of whether the University is in session at the time. Such a report is to be made to the Office of the Dean of Students in Maloney Hall suite 212, (617) 552-3470, or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in University disciplinary action.
Possessing or carrying a firearm, loaded or unloaded, in any building or on the grounds of Boston College without the authorization of the Chief of the Boston College Police is prohibited.
All implements characterized by Massachusetts state law as "Dangerous Weapons" (e.g., switchblade knives) are also prohibited. The possession of Mace, pepper spray, or their derivatives on the Boston College campus is permissible only if the student has a Firearms Identification Card (FID) and receives written permission from the Boston College Police. Improper use of laser beam instruments is also prohibited. Possession without appropriate authorization and/or misuse of the weapons will result in serious disciplinary action by the University.
The use of prop weapons for theatrical performances or activities on campus can present a potential danger for students, faculty, and staff. There are well-documented cases where law enforcement officers have mistaken a "toy" or realistic replica for a real weapon, and serious injury or death has resulted.
It is unreasonable to expect the Boston College Police or University administrators to be able to distinguish a "stage prop" from a dangerous weapon. Therefore, a consistent policy governing the use and possession of such props has been developed.
No student should ever have in his or her unsupervised possession a device that could be reasonably described as or mistaken for a weapon. Unsupervised possession is the use or possession of the weapon without the knowledge or consent of the appropriate authority. Appropriate authority must always include the Boston College Police, with the knowledge and consent of the Office of the Dean of students. Exceptions to the Dean of Students Office might be a faculty advisor or other faculty or staff member who has agreed to supervise the use of weapons as part of his or her normal responsibilities; specifically, acting teachers who teach stage combat, fencing coaches, production directors who are also employees of the University, or other employees of the University who have need of such devices as part of their classes or as part of a directed activity.
Any person, class, club, or other organization that plans to use weapons of any description on the Boston College campus as part of their regular activities must register all the details of the activity with the Boston College Police and the Office of the Dean of Students. If an individual or organization wishes to store weapons on campus, that information must also be submitted to the Boston College Police along with detailed descriptions of the weapons and how they will be secured. If an individual or organization is bringing weapons onto the campus for legitimate use in a planned activity, the information concerning the use and storage must be submitted to the Boston College Police for approval prior to bringing the weapons on campus. The Police may tag the items for later identification or issue a permission permit dated to expire at the conclusion of the activity.
To the extent possible, the use of weapons should be restricted to controlled environments. It is unnecessarily dangerous for any person to be seen running across campus with a weapon in pursuit of another person. The activity should be contained in a room, floor, or building that is restricted in its use (such as Robsham Theater) and is properly supervised.