Code of Conduct

CODE OF CONDUCT

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNITY LIFE

The Bible interpreted in context provides the foundation for the University of Valley Forge (UVF) community. We believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Based on careful interpretation of the Scriptures, we endeavor to allow the following biblical principles to serve as a guide for our life together.

More on Biblical Principles for Community Life

Every Aspect of Life is Worship – Jesus confirmed this principle when asked about the “greatest commandment.” He quoted Deut. 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” Thus, we seek to honor Jesus Christ with every thought (2 Cor. 10:5), word (Eph. 4:29) and deed (James 1:22).

Love for One Another – Jesus summarized the second greatest commandment by quoting Lev. 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He also said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Christ in the Midst – We take the words of Jesus literally, “Where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them” (Matt. 18:20). We seek to meet together often under Christ’s authority to encounter and respond to Christ in our midst.

Unity and Diversity – The Scripture teaches that every individual is created in the image of God and for His glory (Ps. 139). Convinced that God has called people from every nation to be part of his body (Rev. 7:9), and that Jesus came to establish a ministry of reconciliation and forgiveness (2 Cor. 5:18), we commit ourselves to reach out to share Christ with all types of people and to allow God to heal hurts through us, particularly in the area of cultural diversity. We believe this will enrich our campus community, and help us serve all our constituencies. University of Valley Forge subscribes to and encourages the equal right of all to pursue excellence in their lives without racial and ethnic inhibitions and adheres conscientiously to nondiscriminatory practices in hiring and promotions.

Mutual Accountability – Experience has shown us that personal maturity and growth is encouraged most when the entire community shares in holding one another accountable. Matthew 18:12-17 outlines the principles of this approach. Using this Scriptural model, we expect all persons in the community to conduct themselves properly by implementing the highest form of discipline, that of self-discipline. Every person in the community should assume the responsibility to confront anyone falling short of community expectations. Responsible confrontation is done in love and humility, with kindness and respect (Gal. 6:1-10).

Empowerment of the Holy Spirit – In order to fulfill the great commission, we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). We attempt to provide many opportunities for members of our community to receive from God all He has for their lives.

Christ is the Head – We endeavor in all things to follow the leadership of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:9-10), acknowledging our complete dependence on Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). For this reason, prayer and Christian community are essential parts of our life together.

Mutual Edification – We attempt to facilitate only activities and practices that build up other Christians for a life of service and leadership (Eph. 2:19-22).

Equipping for Service – We endeavor to help each student discover his or her calling and gifts so they can fulfill all that God has for them.

BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS

As a Christian academic community, we hold that certain behaviors are counterproductive to university life, to the maturing believer and to the development of Christian leaders. Behavioral standards apply both on and off campus and are to be followed the entire time an individual is enrolled or living at UVF, including weekends, breaks, and summer.

More on Behavioral Standards

Grievances – While harmony is a hallmark of the Christian community, conflicts do occur. UVF desires to assist all members of the University community in the resolution of personal disputes. When facing a dispute, community members are encouraged to remain calm and seek the Lord regarding the issue. Persons are strongly encouraged to seek to resolve the dispute first with the other person(s) involved. Should you be unable to resolve the matter with them it would be appropriate to ask an objective person to hear the dispute and provide some guidance. In disputes involving two students, an objective person could be a Resident Assistant, Residence Director, Campus Director, a staff member, or a faculty member. If the dispute involves a student and a University department it is always appropriate to ask a supervisor to consider your dispute if you were unable to resolve it with the person involved. The matter may eventually be referred to one of the University administrators who are available to help resolve disputes in their areas of responsibility. If you are unclear regarding the steps you should take to resolve disputes, the Vice President of Student Life is available to listen and provide some avenues for how to proceed.

Knowing Presence – A “knowing presence contribution” is defined as: behaviors, active or passive, which fail to confront or correct the misconduct of fellow community members. Students who choose to remain in the vicinity when one or more violations are occurring are choosing to accept the consequences of that decision. Anyone who creates an opportunity or encourages another person to violate regulations may be deemed as responsible as the actual perpetrator and may be subject to the same sanctions.

Interruptions and Disturbances – Senseless acts that damage or destroy resources are not tolerated. Willful acts of disruption in class, chapel services, or the day-to-day business of the University are prohibited. Such acts include but are not limited to: failure to comply with the directives of University officials; false reports of fire or other dangerous conditions; creation of a fire hazard or other dangerous condition; and activities or actions that interfere with campus safety, civility, or environmental health.

Hazing and Pranks – Hazing, defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization is strictly prohibited. Disciplinary action will be pursued if students are involved in hazing.

Similarly, pranks that cause harm to persons or property are also illegal and strictly prohibited. Because the appropriateness of a particular act may be difficult to gauge, students are discouraged from participating in pranks. Should a prank be considered, students should discuss the activity with their Residence Director who will determine the appropriateness of the intended action. Students who participate in a prank or in a hazing activity will be held responsible for their behavior, regardless of motive or intent. Consequences may include a verbal or written warning, $25 fine, or other disciplinary sanction as appropriate.

Alcohol and Tobacco – The purchase, possession, transportation, consumption, or distribution of intoxicating beverages, tobacco, or paraphernalia (pipes, hookahs, electronic cigarettes or recreational vaporizers) in any form is prohibited. For those under 21 years of age, consumption of alcohol is also a crime according to the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. In light of the University’s concern regarding alcohol consumption, students are not permitted to be employed as bartenders. This standard applies both on and off campus and is to be followed the entire time an individual is enrolled or living at UVF, including weekends, breaks, and summer. Students who have been convicted under State or Federal law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance, are ineligible for federal student aid for specific periods ranging from one year to an indefinite period depending on the nature of the offense and whether the student is a repeat offender.

Substance Abuse – UVF complies with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. The abuse or unauthorized use of prescription, non-prescription drugs, or controlled substances is prohibited. Students may not possess, distribute, purchase, illegally manufacture, or use any controlled substance or drug paraphernalia. The normal minimum sanction for a first offense violation of this policy is dismissal from the University. The University will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in responding to illegal drug possession.

Notification of a History of Addictions  Students who have a history of addiction to alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, pornography, or other potentially life-controlling issues are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with their Residence Director. The purpose of the conversation is to promote accountability and to determine if resources are available to assist the student.

Discrimination – Discrimination of any type (e.g. racism, sexism, ageism) will not be tolerated.

Public Intimacy – Respect for others limits the setting in which physical intimacy can occur. Discretion in the display of affection is expected in public places, including all lounges. Displays of affection that could place another person in a compromising situation or cause offense or embarrassment are prohibited. Lap sitting, resting one’s head on the lap of another person, and extended periods of hugging or kissing are not appropriate in public. In addition, students should refrain from posting pictures or videos online that portray images described in this section.

Sexual Immorality – Members of the University community are required to refrain from all forms of sexual immorality including but not limited to, any form of pornography, promiscuity, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, adultery, rape, sexual violence and abuse, public nudity, contact of intimate parts above or below clothing, sharing sexual images of oneself or others, and other forms of sexual misconduct. Furthermore, the use of University telephone or computer equipment or personal computer to access pornographic sites, services, databases, or talk radio stations is prohibited. Actions which infer sexual immorality, such as ‘hooking up,’ or ‘sleeping together,’ or ‘living together’ are also prohibited.

Pregnancy is one possible result of sexual behavior. Students should know that the University of Valley Forge sincerely supports any student who finds herself pregnant and chooses to seek help in carrying out the pregnancy. The University strongly believes in the sanctity of human life and that all persons are made in the image of God and is opposed to elective abortion as a means to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Any student faced with such a decision is greatly encouraged to see their Residence Director for help and support.

Unwelcome Sexual Advances, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Assault – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are considered sexual harassment and are illegal when; 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the student’s status in a program, course, or activity; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a criterion for evaluation or as a basis for academic or other decisions concerning that student; 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment. Any member of the University community may bring forward complaints of personal or sexual harassment, sexual assault, or violence. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are unacceptable behaviors for any member of the University community including faculty, staff, and students.

Domestic or Dating Violence – Domestic or dating violence, in any form (verbal or physical), will not be tolerated. Fits of rage, loud arguments, breaking, throwing, or damaging public or private property are prohibited. Local law enforcement authorities will be notified immediately if such violence occurs. If you become a victim of domestic or dating violence, please contact your Residence Director or call the Hotline for Domestic Violence at 888.711.6270.

Criminal Activity – Members of the UVF community are required to conform to all local, State, and Federal laws. Students who are arrested for any reason (misdemeanor or felony at the City, State, or Federal level) are required to notify the Student Life Office immediately. The University will cooperate with local authorities when it becomes aware that a law may have been broken. The University may pursue disciplinary action when students are suspected of unlawful behavior regardless of the status of criminal or civil proceedings.

Response to University Personnel – A prompt, respectful, and cooperative response to requests for information or to meet with University personnel, including Campus Security guards, is required and greatly appreciated. Students are required to respond within 48 hours to all email or phone requests for information. Students who fail to cooperate or respond inappropriately to a request are subject to disciplinary action, which may include a fine.

Personal Expression – The right to free expression is limited not only by general community concerns, but also by individual needs and biblical standards. Sensitivity to the rights, needs, and concerns of others should be evident in all public areas, including the library, classrooms, residence halls, athletic areas, lounges, dining commons, and campus grounds. Vulgar or coarse language, coarse joking, obscenity, lying, gossip, passing rumors, verbal abuse, racial slurs, intimidation and the like are prohibited on campus, off campus, and in online venues such as social media, email, etc.

Emotional Health – It is not unusual for students to experience difficult circumstances during their college career. Whether it is a relationship breakup, stress, depression, past trauma, or even the death of a loved one, professional counseling or pastoral guidance is sometimes needed. Students in difficulty are encouraged to contact Nurse Lauren Born in the Health Center for a referral to qualified professional counselors through the Counseling Center. Limited funds are available to assist students with the cost of these services. Students who have been diagnosed with a serious mental health disorder or are consistently seeing a mental health professional are also requested to inform the Director of the Health and Wellness Center so that support can be provided as necessary.  Our goal is to make sure you are supported during times of difficulty and given the resources needed to help with your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

On rare occasions, a student may be required to leave UVF for a period of time in order to receive appropriate medical care. Students are subject to involuntary withdrawal from the University if it is determined that they are suffering from severe emotional distress, and as a result of that distress, engage in or threaten to engage in behavior that may cause harm to themselves or to others, or that proves disruptive to the University community. Any attempt, verbal or physical, toward ending one’s own life will result in notification of local law enforcement authorities and/or mental health authorities. Residence Life personnel will also intervene by providing support, and when appropriate, will require students to sign a contract against harm. The student who has withdrawn will be permitted to return to the University only after the issue that led to the withdrawal has been successfully dealt with and a support plan has been developed by the student’s counselor or physician and agreed to by the Vice President of Student Life.

Harassment and Stalking – Pennsylvania State law states that harassment and stalking are crimes and unacceptable behaviors. Harassment is defined as actions that intend to harass, annoy, or alarm another person. Striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise subjecting a person to unwanted physical contact, or attempts or threats to do the same are forms of harassment. Other forms of harassment include: following a person, engaging in a course of conduct that alarms or seriously annoys another person and that serve no legitimate purpose, destroying public or private property, physical or verbal attacks upon or interference that prevents another person from conducting customary affairs, puts them in fear for their safety, or causes physical injury, and conduct less than a physical attack which does the same. Stalking is conduct in which a person repeatedly acts toward another person with intent to place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress. Any practice that limits or prohibits persons from fulfilling God’s call on their lives is strongly discouraged.

Students who believe they have been the subject of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or stalking are strongly encouraged to report the alleged occurrence(s) as soon as possible to the Campus Security Office or Director On-Call. The longer the delay in reporting the behavior, the more difficult it becomes to effectively resolve the issue. Retaliation against someone who reports an incident or concern, or provides assistance to University staff in gathering information about an incident or concern, is strictly prohibited by University policy and law; therefore, the complainant will have the opportunity to pursue allegations without fear of retribution. Counseling services are available as needed.

General Expectations

It is expected that all UVF community members will avoid the following behaviors:

Lying – Withholding information or giving false information.

Misrepresentation – Misrepresentation of oneself, or an organization, to be an agent of the University.

Forgery – Forgery, alteration or misuse of campus documents, records, or identification, or knowingly furnishing false information to University officials.

Unauthorized Use – Unauthorized entry into, use of, or misuse of property in the possession of, or owned by the University or a member of the University community.

Vandalism – Unauthorized alteration of property from its original condition, placement and/or presentation, including graffiti, paint, alteration to landscaping, etc.

Theft – Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property of the University, property of a member of the University community, or other public or private property.

Failure to Evacuate – Failure to evacuate a campus building immediately upon the sound of an alarm, or failure to follow specific prescribed procedures, including the on-site directives of a campus representative.

Breaching Security Systems – Jeopardizing or interfering with the safety and security systems established within the University community, including the propping of locked doors, altering locking devices, tampering with cameras, permitting unauthorized access to another, etc.

These behavioral standards are for all students for the entire time they are enrolled here.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

The University seeks to create an institutional culture that calls each member to a high standard of excellence in both personal and community matters. As representatives of the University and the Lord, excellence in all areas should be a distinctive mark of students and employees. Excellence is usually achieved through disciplined, sustained effort. Such excellence often results in external success (acknowledgement, good grades) as well as internal rewards (the moral strength that comes from being well prepared, accomplishing important goals, serving Christ to our full capacity). Setting appropriate expectations for behavior is one way that the University helps students cultivate discipline and achieve success.

In order to achieve the very real and enduring benefits of participation in a Christian academic community, individuals are required to set aside some personal freedoms. Students are invited to embrace this perspective so that the University is not required to unnecessarily emphasize community expectations.

While the Bible does not provide specific teaching about all social practices, it does provide principles for establishing essential guidelines for life. The University understands that its behavioral standards may seem lenient for some and strict for others, but it is nonetheless our intention to uphold biblical principles of conduct. Where the Bible is not explicit about a specific social practice, we have established standards that are appropriate for the University community. We endeavor to promote personal lifestyle choices that deepen our love for God, build up the body of Christ, and advance the mission of University of Valley Forge.