Code of Conduct at Messiah University

Code of Conduct


Messiah University is a community of believer-scholars who share a common mission to educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.  A specific code of conduct has been developed to help assure that the University fulfills its mission through nurturing personal growth and maintaining a University wide atmosphere conducive to learning and academic excellence.  Undergraduate students are held accountable to this code of conduct during times when the University is open, including Fall Break, Thanksgiving and Spring Break.  Although held to a different level of accountability during the times when the University is closed during Christmas and summer breaks, students are encouraged to continue to uphold biblical principles which inform our community standards.    As responsible citizens of our community, students voluntarily agree to abide by University guidelines and standards in exchange for the benefits of being a part of the Messiah University community. 

Student Benefits

The benefits of belonging to the Messiah University community of believer-scholars include:

  1. Students will benefit by engaging the mission of the University and achieving University wide educational objectives without impediment and within a safe environment.
  2. Students will benefit from the expectation that ‘every person within each race, gender, nationality, status, and position will be respected and valued because each person is created in the image of God’.  (Foundational Values).
  3. Students may benefit by freely participating in the goals of living in a Christian community which include, but are not limited to, practicing the spiritual disciplines individually and corporately, engaging in theological reflection and discourse, and ultimately, ‘helping one another live more faithfully as disciples of Christ’ (Foundational Values) both inside and outside the classroom. 
  4. Students will benefit from being a part of a drug and alcohol free environment.
  5. Students may benefit from engaging in responsible expression and association through established campus procedures.
  6. Students may benefit by having access to resources on campus to assist with their academic, spiritual, and personal growth, as well as physical health and safety.  These resources include, but are not limited to, the Learning Center, the Engle Center for Counseling and Health, University Ministries, Residence Life,  University recreational facilities and programs, the Office of Multicultural Programs, the Office of Disability Services.
  7. Students will benefit from having access to excellent faculty, academic technology, classrooms, libraries, presentations and other resources necessary for the academic success. 
  8. Students may benefit from availing themselves to a wide variety of leadership,  service, and study abroad opportunities provided through a variety of offices on campus (Agape Center for Service and Learning, Department of Student Involvement and Leadership Programs, etc.)
  9. Students may benefit from active participation in Student Government Association, Student Clubs and Organization initiatives.
  10. Students will benefit from a caring and responsive Messiah University Administration which will administer policies that are supportive of the University mission and educational objectives.

Code of Conduct

Violations of the code of conduct impede the ability of the University to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and is supportive of achieving its mission.  Therefore, when the code is violated, appropriate intervention takes place to address those behaviors.  In some cases, the process may involve a disciplinary hearing.  Disciplinary procedures are designed to educate students, ensure community responsibility, promote restoration and treat students justly.  This Code of Conduct and these behavioral expectations apply to all students.  Generally, prohibited conduct for which a student is subject to discipline is defined as follows:

  1. Behavior that violates Messiah University standards on personal integrity.  This includes acts of dishonesty (such as cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty) misrepresentation (such as lying or materially misrepresenting information to a University official, including Residence Life or Department of Safety staff.) fraud (such as the fraudulent use of Messiah University Identification Card) or forgery (such as fabricating a University parking pass).  See Community Covenant.
  2. Behavior that disrupts or materially interferes with the basic rights of others and the educational functions of Messiah University .  See Messiah policy on respect for the rights of others.
  3. Assault.  Any physical attack on another person that prevents that person from conducting his or her customary affairs, puts that person in fear for his or her safety, and/or causes injury.  See Messiah policy on respect for the rights of others.
  4. Harassment.  Subjecting another person or group to abusive, threatening, intimidating, or harassing actions, including, but not limited to, those based on race, religion, gender, disability, age, economic status, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation.  This includes any communication that attacks or interferes with a person conducting his or her customary affairs, puts that person in fear for his or her safety, or causes actual physical injury.  See Messiah policy on racial harassment and respect for the rights of others.
  5. Sexually inappropriate behavior. This includes overly intimate sexual behavior, sexual intercourse outside of marriage, same sex sexual expression and the use or distribution of pornography. Students who experience same sex attraction or identify as gay or lesbian are expected to refrain from same sex sexual expression. Please see Messiah sexual behavior expectations.
  6. Sexual misconduct. This refers to sexual acts using force, threat or intimidation or advantage gained by the offended student's mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the offending student was aware or should have been aware. It also includes sexual assault and harassment.  See Messiah policy on sexuality and relationships, sexual assault, sexual harassment.
  7. Use, possession, manufacture, and/or distribution of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco.  See Messiah policy on alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco.
  8. Theft or attempted theft of property and/or possession of stolen property.  See Messiah policy on theft.
  9. Vandalism of any kind.  See Messiah policy on property damage.
  10. Possession, use, or distribution of firearms, ammunition, explosives or other weapons.  Weapons include, but are not limited to, BB guns, paintball guns, CO2 guns, air soft guns, pellet guns, water balloon launchers, bows and arrows, crossbows, knives (except those used for food preparation), clubs, whips, spears, swords, martial arts weapons, machetes, etc.  See Messiah policy on firearms and weapons.
  11. Failing to comply with the directives of a University official, including refusing to identify oneself and/or refusing to present Messiah University identification to Messiah University staff including Department of Safety and Residence Life staff.  See Messiah policy on respect for the rights of others.
  12. Violation of operational rules governing various offices, departments and facilities of Messiah University.  This includes, but is not limited to, Residence Life, Department of Safety, Dining Services, Department of Student Involvement and Leadership Programs, Information Technology Services, the Murray Library, etc.  See individual department policies.

The Vice Provost for Student Success and Engagement or designee may impose an interim suspension and ban from campus prior to a hearing before a disciplinary officer or body in the following circumstances: a) to ensure the safety, health and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; b) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety, health or well-being; or c) if the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University. All interim suspensions will be reviewed promptly, typically within one week, by the appropriate University authority.