Standards of Student Conduct

Academic Honesty, Academic Grievances, and Standards of Behavior


I. Academic Honesty 


Academic Honesty means, at the minimum, that work submitted by a student or the taking of examinations by the student is the original work of that student. Ottawa University does not condone any form of dishonesty.  Academic dishonesty includes cheating on examinations or assignments (including any attempt to give or obtain assistance in a formal academic exercise without prior authorization and due acknowledgment), using student’s original work for more than one course without prior approval from the instructor; representing the work of another as one’s own; plagiarism; the falsification of data, information, or citations in any formal academic exercise; providing false information to an instructor concerning a formal academic exercise, and/or  supplying  false information pertaining to the student’s academic program.   Penalties for cheating on examinations and plagiarism can be failure in the course in which the dishonesty has occurred and/ or dismissal from the University.

 If academic dishonesty is suspected, the instructor of the course will make recommendation to the appropriate Academic Dean for action. The Dean will work with the instructor to seek resolution of the incident, including conference with the student to review evidence and related materials.  The Dean will make the decision concerning penalties for the student accused of academic dishonesty, which may include failure in the course, withdrawal of semester credits, and/or dismissal from the University.


II. Academic Grievance Policy & Procedure:


Purpose and Philosophy

Ottawa University’s academic grievance policy is established to create an atmosphere wherein concerns about whether or not students have been treated fairly in the academic environment can be resolved. The University endeavors to address both the letter and spirit of academic policies and procedures.

 Ottawa University’s philosophy concerning the academic grievance process advocates multiple and frequent interactions between students and the University. No student should hesitate to contact a faculty member or administrator to discuss any issue or concern. If a student believes that an instructor has been unfair in grading, assessing student performance, or any area affecting academic performance, the matter should be resolved either informally or formally. Initially, when and wherever possible, parties should demonstrate a full and honest effort to resolve concerns informally, with minimal intervention by the University. Historically, at Ottawa University, most problems have and can be resolved through the two sequential steps described below through “informal resolution.”


Informal Resolution


Students who believe their academic success has been compromised by a faculty member or other University instructor are encouraged to take the initiative to meet with the instructor to resolve the issue in question. The student should inform his/her Academic Advisor/Adawe Advisor/Mentor of this step. More than one meeting may be required to enable either the student or instructor to gather appropriate related data or materials. Every effort should be made to resolve any concerns at this level, as instructors have ultimate responsibility for grades in the courses they teach. If the student does not accept the outcome of the meeting(s) with the instructor or should the student elect not to contact the instructor, the student should then contact his/her advisor for assistance. The student shall take this step promptly, preferably within one week of identifying the grievance. Assistance by the advisor may take a number of forms, including additional clarification to remedy miscommunication or misunderstandings. The advisor may also act as an advocate or neutral intermediary with the instructor. If matters are still unresolved to the student’s satisfaction, the formal resolution policy described below is in order.


Formal Resolution

Only after significant effort has been pursued to resolve the issue through the informal process, will a formal resolution be initiated.  Although each campus is a part of the overall Ottawa University system, this policy also recognizes that each campus has its own unique organization, size, needs, identity, and culture. In order to offer a consistent process as well as one that is truly responsive to all individuals, each campus will follow this grievance policy, as appropriately determined by the University and circumstances allow.  Small campuses may need to modify the review process in order to serve the student effectively and in a timely fashion.  The organization of the formal grievance procedure will proceed according to the general principles below:


  • The procedure will be “user friendly.”
  • The procedure will preserve and protect the confidentiality, integrity and human dignity of all parties.
  • The procedure will endeavor to ensure due process for all involved parties.
  • The procedure will seek to prevent any conflicts of interest.
  • The procedure will be designed to support fairness and impartiality.
  • Formal grievances should be submitted in writing.
  •  The student should describe the circumstances surrounding the issue or incident and provide any evidence in support of the concern that the student has available.
  • At the discretion of the Academic Dean a committee or panel of at least three University personnel will hear the case.  The committee will not be authorized to make or develop University policy. The panel will typically include (1) the Dean or designee, (2) a member of the faculty and (3) a non-related student advisor.  The Dean will identify a committee Chair out of the three committee members.
  • At the discretion of the Dean, faculty members may be full-time faculty and/or adjunct faculty. As part of the process, the committee chair must ensure that members of the grievance review committee will review all aspects of the grievance in an impartial manner to allow fairness for all parties.
  • The Grievance panel will function only as a body and its members will have no individual authority on the matter before the panel.
  • A lack of timeliness on the part of a party will not interfere with the proper investigation of a concern or with appropriately resolving the matter in question. 
  • Any employee or contractor of the University who attempts, regardless of how subtly, to coerce, single out, threaten, or retaliate against a complaining party, or to discourage use of this or any other University policy or procedure may be subject to disciplinary action or termination.


Procedure for Formal Resolution


A student who wishes to pursue a formal grievance should submit a written formal grievance with the Academic Dean within ten (10) days of exhausting the informal resolution process. 

Upon receiving the formal grievance, the Dean will appoint a grievance review committee as described above.  The committee will contact (in writing) the involved parties explaining the process to be used in examining the grievance. In a timely fashion, after gathering the necessary information, the committee will begin its review of the issue.  The student and faculty member will be provided an opportunity to present their individual perspectives of the circumstance either in person or in writing, and the committee will endeavor to make a decision in a timely fashion.  The committee Chair will communicate the decision (in writing), to the involved parties. The chair will be responsible to maintain a log of all activities of the grievance review committee. This log will include minutes of meetings and all actions taken.


Appeal:  Either party may submit a written petition to the Academic Dean appealing the committee decision. This should be done as soon as possible, typically within no more than ten (10) business days after the committee decision is made and communicated to the involved parties. The Dean will review the committee decision and gather any additional information found to be necessary for the appeal review.

Within 10 working days after completing the appeal review process, the Dean will make a final decision concerning the appeal and communicate it, in writing, to the involved parties.

The decision on appeal is final.  In the event that the Dean is involved in the dispute, the process described above will be followed with the Campus Provost or Vice President of APGS appointing a university official to serve as the chair of the initial grievance review committee.


NOTE:  Within 10 days of the final resolution of the grievance, the Academic Dean must report the details of the grievance to the University Registrar and University Complaints Officer. The University Registrar will maintain an official record of all grievances filed with the University.

If the student complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting the University's grievance procedure, the student may file a complaint with their respective state agency.

III.  Student Standards of Behavior

Code-of-Conduct Policy

Education for individual development is the central focus of the University experience. The aims and objectives of the University permeate this general theme and provide the context for university regulations. The University maintains a “Code-of-Conduct Policy” to protect and support any member of the Ottawa community who believes he/she may have been compromised as described below:


Code of Conduct:  All members of the Ottawa University Community are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of the University, and of the broader communities in which it functions. The University values honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility and strives to integrate these values into its teaching, research and business practices. It is the intent of the Code of Conduct and Ethics to protect academic freedom, a collegial atmosphere, teaching and scholarship; to advance the mission of the University; and to help preserve the highest standard of business dealings.


Student Behavior

Appropriate and orderly behavior is expected of all students.  First, the University is a Christian liberal arts and professional studies institution. This definition particularizes the aims and expectations of the members of the University community and underlies the standards and policies of the institution. Second, the University regulations are designed to provide maximum opportunity for out-of-class learning and student development. Third, although the adult campuses are not residential in design, the University’s aim is to sustain the kind of community life in which a student’s total educational experience is deepened and enriched. The rights and responsibilities of the individual are considered within the context of the basic standards necessary to maintain a sense of community. In this context, the University has developed clear statements of institutional standards of behavior and expectations for each student. These standards and expectations are consistent with, but distinct from, specific regulations, which are the minimum regulations necessary. These standards are:


  1. To maintain order and not tolerate behavior that impinges upon the freedom, humanity, and privacy of other persons.
  2. To maintain a way of student life that is physically and psychologically healthy.
  3. To protect the University from behavior that threatens its ability to exercise its responsibility and to achieve its educational mission.
  4. To preserve satisfactory relations with the larger University constituency so that The University can marshal the necessary resources to devote its attention to its primary mission and tasks.


With this in mind, The University assumes that students are responsible members of the University community. Students at the University must act in such a manner as to reflect their consideration and respect for the rights and welfare of other individuals and of the community as a whole.  Students whose behavior is inconsistent with the Christian or academic traditions and standards of the institution are subject to disciplinary action. Students whose behavior is disruptive, threatening, or compromises the safety, integrity, or humanity of others will not be tolerated.   The University reserves the right to impose sanctions up to, and including, expulsion from the institution in these instances. Unless otherwise specified, the following actions are prohibited at any time during which the person is a student at the University regardless of whether or not classes are in session, whether on University  property or at other places:


  1. All forms of dishonesty including cheating, plagiarism and supplying false information, as well as forgery or use of documents or instruments of identification with intent to mislead or defraud.
  2. Theft of or damage to the property of another person or of the University , as well as receiving, retaining or disposing of the lost or mislaid property of another person or of the University .
  3. Unauthorized entry, use or occupation of University facilities, as well as the unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any University facility.
  4. Physical, verbal or written harassment or abuse of another person, including sexual harassment, as well as threatening or attempting to inflict personal injury, or creating a substantial risk of such injury, to another person, or any  violation of the University’s policy regarding prohibited discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.
  5. Misusing or tampering with fire alarms, fire-fighting equipment or safety equipment.
  6. The unauthorized or illegal selling, purchasing, producing, or possession of any lethal weapons, explosives, fireworks, or incendiary devices.
  7. Engaging in illegal activity.
  8. Possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and/or drug paraphernalia. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior, property damage or personal harassment as a consequence of illicit drug use. Any other violation of the University’s policy regarding prohibited drug and/or alcohol use.
  9. Possession, consumption and being under the influence of or the providing of beverages containing alcohol on property owned or supervised by the University or at University functions. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior, property damage or personal harassment as a consequence of alcohol consumption. Funds collected by members of the University cannot be used to purchase such beverages.
  10. Engaging in such conduct as public nudity, indecent exposure or other unlawful deviant behavior.
  11. Engaging in or inciting others to engage in conduct that disturbs the peace of the University, involves a significant disruption of University activity, or impedes reasonable freedom of expression or movement of other members of the University community or its guests.
  12. Failing to comply with the directions of authorized University personnel in the performance of their assigned duties.
  13. Violating other regulations of the University including, but not limited to, those pertaining University facilities, motor vehicles and off campus University events. 
  14. Hazing that constitutes an invasion of rights, causing bodily harm, physical exhaustion, suffering or personal offense, or that interferes with the regular activities of the University.
  15. Using access codes or other telephone software elements to create harassing, threatening, racial, or lewd message received by others and/or enable the calling party to have a call inappropriately billed to another party.
  16. Tobacco use in any building on campus except where authorized. 
  17. Solicitation except for student-, faculty- or staff- produced articles (such as paintings, pottery, cakes, jewelry, t-shirts, etc.) or with the consent of the appropriate campus Provost or Executive.

University Action and Student Due Process

If a student is believed to be in violation of any of these behavior policies, the student will be notified by the Residential Dean of Students or APGS Campus Manager or his/her designee of the alleged violations, the date and time for the conference meeting, and the appointment details to review the circumstances of the incident. A Student Conduct Administrator will be appointed to determine if a violation has occurred. At the meeting or through documents presented in advance, the student is allowed to present information or evidence on his/her behalf. If the accused student should so desire, one additional person is allowed to attend the meeting for personal support; however, that additional person may not formally speak during the meeting. After the meeting, the Conduct Administrator will determine whether, by a preponderance of the information, a sanction is warranted, which may include remedies, resolutions, or penalties. The University reserves the right to suspend or dismiss a student for a specific period of time, or permanently separate the student from the University as a result of student behavior violation. Following the meeting, the student will be notified of the University’s decision in a timely fashion, usually within 10 business days. The student is limited to one appeal. All student behavior-related disciplinary decisions or sanctions may be appealed one time. To do so, the student must submit the appeal in writing within three (3) business days of the decision to the Dean of Student (residential) or Associate Provost (APGS) or designee of either.