Area Responsible for Administration: Student Conduct Office
Approval Authorities: Senior Executive Committee
Seneca Student Federation
Approval Date: September 26, 2012
Revision History: None
Review Timeline: Every 3 Years

Purpose

To establish Seneca’s standards of student behaviour that reflect its values and to provide a framework to resolve issues if the standards are not met.

Scope

This code applies to the conduct of all registered full- and part-time students and applicants to Seneca programs that occurs on Seneca property or that is related to Seneca activities in any geographic location.

Seneca-related activities include field placements; work integrated learning placements; off-campus conferences and meetings; Seneca student committees, clubs, boards, councils and associations.

Key Definitions

Abusive communication
Any unwelcome words or images received or distributed in person or by telephone, letter, electronic mail or any communication medium, including social media, that intimidate, disparage or cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment to a person.
Appellant
An accused student who is initiating an appeal of Seneca’s initial decision about a case involving student conduct.
Behavioural contract
An agreement between a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour and Seneca that outlines conditions the student must follow to continue their studies. The contract may be for a specified period or for the full duration of the student’s program.
Community service
Service or hours of work carried out by a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour.
Complainant
An individual who initiates a complaint.
Employee
Full-time, part-time and contract faculty, support staff and administrators of Seneca.
Loss of privileges
The revoking of privileges for a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour to access or use Seneca facilities and services for a designated period of time.
Mandatory withdrawal
Permanent withdrawal from Seneca of a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour from Seneca. The student may not be allowed to register in the future.
Probation
A written reprimand in effect for a period of time with clear written conditions for a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour to maintain their status at Seneca.
Respondent
A student alleged to have violated Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Policy.
Restitution
Compensation paid by a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour to make up for a loss, damage or injury. This may include service, payment of money or replacement of property.
Suspension
A written notification that a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour is excluded from classes and/or other activities for a specific period of time. It may also exclude the student from a campus or Seneca-owned or controlled property.
Warning
A written notification that continuing or repeating certain conduct will result in further disciplinary action up to and including mandatory withdrawal from Seneca.
Withholding of credential
The refusal to award a student who has engaged in prohibited behaviour their credential, e.g. course credit, certificate, diploma, degree, etc., until the disciplinary process is completed.

Policy

  1. Policy Statement

    Community is at the heart of Seneca’s values. It expresses the connections we have with each other, support we give each other and the respect we show each other. Seneca is committed to principles of respect, inclusion and equality of all persons with disabilities.

    Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Policy (code) is designed to promote behaviour that reflects Seneca’s values – behaviour that also reflects the honesty, trust and fairness expected in the actions of all members of the Seneca community.

    In addition to Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Policy, students also have rights and responsibilities under the laws of local, provincial and federal governments, other Seneca policies and guidelines or regulations that may be administered by an academic school or area within Seneca.
  2. Rights and Responsibilities
    1. Students shall:
      • Familiarize themselves and comply with this code and all other Seneca policies referred to in this code
      • Conduct themselves in a manner that respects civil and criminal law, the safety and well-being of the Seneca community and Seneca’s students, employees, property and reputation
      • Make responsible decisions about their behaviour, including how they resolve differences with other members of the Seneca community.
      • Comply with the directions of Seneca and Residence employees, employees contracted by Seneca, such as its security officers, and Seneca Student Federation employees acting in the performance of their duties.
    2. Students have the right to express themselves as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others, and the right to study and work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.
    3. Seneca shall:
      • Ensure a safe and respectful environment for all students, employees, guests and visitors
      • Provide an environment free from discrimination and harassment
      • Foster the best possible teaching and learning community
      • Support a great student experience
      • Enhance its institutional reputation.
  3. Prohibited Conduct
    1. This code is based on common sense and mutual respect. However, there are specific, prohibited behaviours that are outlined in sections 3.3 to 3.7 of this code and in other Seneca policies, including:
      • Sexual Assault and Violence Policy
      • Discrimination and Harassment Policy
      • Personal Safety/Security Threats Policy
      • Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
      • Copyright Information Policy
      • Fair Dealing for Copyright-Protected Work Policy
      • Academic Policy
      • Smoking Policy.
      Any conduct that violates the laws and regulations of Ontario, Canada or the municipalities where Seneca has campuses will also be considered a violation of this code. This includes acts such as theft, violence, weapon offences, drug offences, trespassing and fraud. It also includes contraventions of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
    2. Any unacceptable behaviour that is contrary to the spirit of this code may also be considered a violation.
    3. Disruptive Behaviour

      Students must not obstruct or disrupt, or attempt to obstruct or disrupt, any Seneca activities. Examples of disruptive behaviour include non-compliance with instructions from a Seneca official, breaking Seneca’s Information Acceptable Use Policy or failing to produce student identification when requested.
    4. Disorderly Conduct

      Students must not engage in disorderly, lewd or indecent conduct, nor engage in disturbing the peace, as defined by the law, on Seneca-owned or controlled property, or at Seneca-sponsored or supervised functions. Examples of disorderly conduct include public intoxication, theft or fighting.
    5. Abusive Communication

      Students must not in any way abuse other students, employees or guests of Seneca. Examples of this behaviour include bullying, hazing, harassment or threats.
    6. False or Misleading Information
      1. Students must not provide false or misleading information to Seneca officials or on official Seneca records, including making malicious or bad faith complaints under this code.
      2. Students must not forge, alter or misuse Seneca’s name, the name of a Seneca employee, documents, records or identification.
      3. Examples of this behaviour include false complaints, creating, using and/or distributing false documents or misrepresenting oneself to a Seneca Official.
    7. Weapons and Dangerous Substances
      1. Students must not carry, or have in their possession, anything which is designed to be used as a weapon or anything that they intend to use as a weapon while on any campus or Seneca-owned or -controlled property.
      2. Students must not have explosives, fireworks or unauthorized dangerous substances on Seneca-owned or -controlled property.
  4. Resolving Disputes and Investigation
    1. Any suspected violation of this code may be referred to the police or other outside authorities as considered necessary by a Seneca official.
    2. Any member of the Seneca community may report a suspected violation of Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Policy to the Student Conduct Office, within one (1) year of its occurrence. In situations where the health or safety of any person is believed to be in jeopardy, security or the police should be contacted immediately.
    3. If a student is involved in any incident that includes a risk to the personal safety or security of another student or individual, or if Seneca believes that the student’s behaviour may impair its operations, it may take immediate action, including suspending the student on an interim basis.

      In the event of an interim suspension, Seneca shall inform the student in writing, by Seneca email and/or registered mail, which is expected to be kept current by the student, of the reasons for the decision. The student has the right to respond, to which Seneca shall reassess the decision to suspend, and may revoke or continue the suspension in question.

      The alleged violation that led to the interim suspension will be dealt with under Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Procedure.
    4. The Student Conduct Office may investigate and resolve conduct issues under this code, regardless of any civil or criminal proceedings.
    5. Minor behaviour problems in the classroom or elsewhere may be addressed directly by an employee. Ongoing or more serious incidents that cannot be informally settled will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for resolution.
    6. Informal resolution processes will be followed where possible. Subject to the rules of confidentiality, other Seneca departments and/or relevant academic areas may be consulted during an informal resolution process. Where a resolution cannot be reached through the informal process, the formal resolution process will be followed. For more information on informal and formal resolution processes, refer to Seneca’s Student Code of Conduct Procedure.
    7. The Student Conduct Office shall initiate an investigation in response to receipt of a formal complaint. The investigation will include interviews of the parties concerned and any witnesses who may have information related to the alleged violation, as well as efforts to gather other information that will assist in the investigation.
    8. A respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations of misconduct.
    9. A Student Conduct Officer conducting an investigation must not have had any previous involvement with informal efforts to resolve the complaint.
    10. All complaints will be confidential to the extent possible and without fear of reprisal. However, proper investigation of a complaint may require the identity of the parties involved to be disclosed to each other and to third parties, including witnesses.
    11. All parties to a complaint may have a support person of their choosing in an advisory capacity present throughout the proceedings, or they may choose from a roster of trained student leaders maintained by Student Services. A respondent is required to participate in the complaint process if asked, otherwise, the Student Conduct Office may reach conclusions without their participation.
    12. The Student Conduct Office shall keep all parties to a complaint informed about the progress of the investigation.
    13. Throughout a formal procedure, the Student Conduct Office and the relevant academic areas shall use their best efforts to ensure that the academic progress of any student party to the complaint is not unreasonably jeopardized.
  5. Sanctions
    1. Sanctions that a student who is found to have engaged in prohibited behaviour may be subject to will be based on the relative harm or impact on the rights of others because of the violation. They will also be based on the severity and frequency of the behaviour; repeated misbehaviour will result in an increased level of sanction. Sanctions include:
      • Warning
        • A student may submit a request for the Associate Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education, to remove the warning from their file once they have graduated
      • Restitution
      • Community service/fines
        • Fines will be paid to the Student Conduct Office
        • The Student Conduct Office shall direct any funds received from a fine to a student bursary
        • A student may choose to exchange fines for community service or community service for fines
      • Behavioural contract
        • Further disciplinary action will be taken if a student does not follow the conditions outlined in the contract
        • A student may submit a request for the Associate Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education, to remove the behavioural contract from their file once they have graduated
      • Loss of privileges
      • Probation
      • Suspension
      • Mandatory withdrawal
      • Withholding of credential.
      Suspension, mandatory withdrawal or termination of student status requires prior approval from the Dean of Students and the dean of the academic area with which the student is affiliated.
    2. The Associate Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education, or designate, shall notify the complainant, respondent and other appropriate parties of the outcome of the investigation, the reasoning and any resulting sanctions.
    3. Seneca shall maintain records of disciplinary action in a student’s file and, where appropriate, copies will be forwarded to the Chair of the academic area with which the student is affiliated.
  6. Appeals
    1. A student who has been found to have engaged in prohibited conduct may request to have a disciplinary decision under this code overturned or changed by submitting a completed Request for Student Conduct Appeal form.
    2. Students may only launch appeals on the following bases:
      • A substantial procedural error was committed by the Student Conduct Office that has denied the student a fair outcome
      • New evidence is available that, through no fault of the student, was not available at the time of the investigation
      • The sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct Office are unreasonable or substantially disproportionate to the circumstances or offence.
    3. The Dean of Students shall maintain a roster to serve on the Discipline Appeal Committee. When vacancies occur, the Dean of Students shall recruit new panelists, maintaining a balance of students and employees from across Seneca.
    4. A private, in-person hearing will take place in front of a Discipline Appeal Committee, with all proceedings to remain confidential. The Dean of Students, or designate, shall convene the Discipline Appeal Committee consisting of three (3) panelists, including at least one student, and will chair the Discipline Appeal as a non-voting member of the Committee. All parties to the complaint will have an opportunity to present information to the Committee on the day of the hearing and may be asked follow-up questions by the Committee. The Committee shall review documentation related to the Student Conduct Office’s decision and may seek information from other sources as it deems relevant.
    5. A complainant will receive written notification of an appeal that explains the basis of the appeal, the procedure that will apply and any other details necessary for an expeditious and fair hearing.
    6. An appellant may have a support person of their choosing in an advisory capacity present throughout the proceedings, or they may choose from a roster of trained student leaders maintained by Student Services.
    7. The decision of the Discipline Appeal Committee will be final and binding on all parties with no further right of appeal within Seneca. Students may ask the Ombudsperson to review the process followed from the perspective of fairness. However, the Ombudsperson does not have the authority to review the substance of a complaint proceeding.
    8. The Student Conduct Office shall maintain records of complaints and appeals under this code for a period of 10 years. However, in cases where a person is found responsible for a violent act or an incident that put the community at high risk, the Student Conduct Office shall maintain the records for a period of up to 50 years.

Supporting Documentation

Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials