Student Code of Conduct
Community is at the heart of Seneca’s values. It expresses the connections we have with each other, the support we give each other, and the respect we show each other.
The Student Code of Conduct is designed to promote behaviour that reflects our values — behaviour that also reflects the honesty, trust and fairness we expect in the actions of all members of our community.
The Student Code of Conduct establishes Seneca’s standards of student behaviour and outlines the procedures to be followed if the standards are violated.
In addition to the Student Code of Conduct, you also have rights and responsibilities under:
- The laws of Canada, Ontario and local governments
- The Academic Policy
- The Discrimination/Harassment Policy
- The Personal Safety/Security Threats Policy
- The Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
- The Copyright Policy | Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work
- The Smoking Policy
- The Residence Community Living Standards
- Other Seneca College policies
- Policies, guidelines or regulations that may be administered by an academic school or area within Seneca College
Rights and Responsibilities
The Code balances your rights with your responsibilities. You are accountable for complying with the Code and all other College policies outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. You are also required to familiarize yourself with the Code and all other College policies referred to in the Code.
Your responsibilities include conducting yourself in a manner that respects the civil and criminal law, the safety and well-being of the College community and the College’s students, employees, property and reputation. As a member of our community, you are expected to make responsible decisions about your behaviour, including how you resolve differences you have with members of our community.
As well, you must comply with the directions of College and residence staff, and staff contracted by the College such as our security officers, and Seneca Student Federation staff acting in the performance of their duties.
In turn, you have the right to express yourself freely (unless this interferes with the rights of others) and to study and work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.
Part of our responsibility as a College is to provide an environment free from discrimination and harassment, to foster the best possible teaching and learning community, to support a great student experience and to enhance Seneca’s reputation. We are obliged to act to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all students, employees, guests and visitors.
The Student Code of Conduct applies to:
- Registered full-time and part-time students.
- Applicants to Seneca programs.
- Conduct that takes place on college property or during any field placement, co-op or other work placement, whether in Canada or outside Canada, that is part of a college program or course.
- Conduct that takes place when you are representing Seneca in activities off campus, such as conferences or meetings.
- Activities related to Seneca student committees, clubs, boards, councils and associations.
You have violated the Code if you either violate any provision of the Code or help someone else violate it.
2. Prohibited Conduct
While the Code is based on common sense and mutual respect, there are specific prohibited behaviours that are outlined below and in other College policies including: the Discrimination/Harassment Policy, Personal Safety/Security Threats Policy, Information and Acceptable Use Policy, Copyright Information Policy, Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work, Academic Policy and Smoking Policy.
As well, any conduct that violates the laws and regulations of Canada, Ontario or the municipalities where Seneca has campuses will be considered a violation of this Code. These include acts such as theft, violence, weapon offences, drug offences, trespassing and fraud. It also includes contraventions of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Any unacceptable behaviour that is contrary to the spirit of this Code may also be considered a violation.
Specific additional behaviours covered by this Code in addition to those referred to above include the following:
2.1 Disruptive Behaviour
You shall not obstruct or disrupt, or attempt to obstruct or disrupt, any College activities. Examples of this behavior are non-compliance with instructions from a College Official; breaking the Information Acceptable Use Policy; failing to produce student identification when requested.
2.2 Disorderly Conduct
You shall not engage in disorderly, lewd or indecent conduct, nor engage in disturbing the peace, as defined by the law, on College-owned or controlled property or at College-sponsored or supervised functions. Examples of this behaviour are public intoxication; theft; fighting.
2.3 Abusive Communication
You shall not in any way abuse other students, college employees or guests of the college. Abusive communication means 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. Examples of this behaviour are bullying; hazing; harassment; threats.
2.4 False or Misleading Information
You shall not provide false or misleading information to College officials or on official College records. This includes making malicious or bad faith complaints under this Code. You cannot forge, alter or misuse the College name, the name of any College employee, documents, records or identification. Examples of this behaviour are false complaints; creating/using/distributing false documents; misrepresenting yourself to a College Official.
2.5 Weapons and Dangerous Substances
While on any campus or College property, you shall not carry or have in your possession anything which is designed to be used as a weapon or anything that you intend to use as a weapon.
You shall not have explosives, fireworks, or unauthorized dangerous substances on College-owned or controlled property.
3. Procedures for Resolving Disputes and Investigation
3.1 Any suspected violation of this Code may be referred to the police or other outside authorities as considered necessary by College officials.
3.2 If you believe that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred you should report it to the Student Conduct Office. Violations can be reported for up to one year. In situations where the health or safety of any person is believed to be in jeopardy, contact security or police immediately.
3.3 If you are involved in any incident that includes a risk to the personal safety or security of a student or anyone else, or if the College believes that your behaviour may impair the operations of the College, it may take immediate action including suspending you on an interim basis. In the event of an interim suspension, you will be informed in writing (Seneca email and/or registered mail which you are responsible for keeping current) of the reasons within three working days. You will have the right to respond. The College will then reassess the decision to suspend, and may revoke or continue it. The alleged violation that led to the interim suspension will be dealt with under the procedures set out in this Code.
3.4 The Student Conduct Office may investigate and resolve conduct issues under the Code regardless of any civil or criminal proceedings.
3.5 Minor behaviour problems in the classroom or elsewhere may be addressed directly by a faculty or staff member. Ongoing or more serious incidents that cannot be settled informally will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for resolution.
3.6 Informal resolution processes (resolving an issue without going through the formal complaint process) will be followed where possible. Subject to rules of confidentiality, other college departments and/or the relevant academic area may be consulted during the informal resolution process.
3.7 If a resolution cannot be reached through informal processes, the formal complaint process will be followed. The person making the complaint (the complainant) will be required to complete a written complaint form that provides details of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Director of the Student Conduct Office or designate may determine if complaints are unclear, unfounded, vexatious, frivolous or made in bad faith, in which case they may not be pursued.
3.8 The Student Conduct Office will, within five working days of receipt of the formal complaint, provide electronically or in printed form a copy of all complaints to the student or students involved along with a copy of this Code and a statement advising of the steps in the complaint process and possible outcomes.
3.9 The Student Conduct Office will initiate an investigation within seven working days of receiving the written complaint. Any Student Conduct Officer conducting an investigation must not have had any previous involvement with informal efforts to resolve the complaint.
3.10 An investigation will include interviews of the parties concerned and any witnesses who may have information related to the incident as well as efforts to gather other information that will assist in the investigation. The student(s) alleged to have violated the Code (the "respondent") will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations of misconduct.
3.11 All complaints will be treated as confidential to the extent possible and without fear of reprisal, although 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.
3.12 All parties to the complaint may have a support person of their choosing in an advisory capacity present throughout the proceedings or may choose from a roster of trained student leaders which, is maintained in Student Services. If you are the respondent and are asked to participate in the complaint process you must do so. If you do not, the Student Conduct Office may reach conclusions without your participation.
3.13 The Student Conduct Office will keep all parties to the complaint informed about the progress of the investigation and communicate with them at least once every seven working days during the investigative process.
3.14 Throughout the formal procedure, the Student Conduct Office and the appropriate academic area will use their best efforts to ensure that the academic progress of any student who is a party to the complaint is not unreasonably jeopardized.
3.15 The Student Conduct Officer will complete the investigation within 15 working days of the receipt of the written complaint, unless circumstances cause a delay. If the Student Conduct Officer concludes that there has been no misconduct, all parties will be informed in writing and there will be no further proceedings.
3.16 If the Student Conduct Officer concludes that there was misconduct, a report of the conclusions of the investigation will be forwarded to the Director of the Student Conduct Office.
3.17 The Director, Student Conduct Office will review all investigative reports. In the case of a formal investigation, the Respondent will also have an opportunity to review the report, and respond in writing or orally, in a meeting with the Director. The Director will then determine whether the Student Code of Conduct has been violated and decide upon the appropriate disciplinary sanction to be imposed in consultation with other college departments and/or the relevant academic area.
Disciplinary sanctions are based on the relative harm or impact on the rights of others. 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, but are not limited to:
A written notification that continuing or repeating certain conduct will result in further disciplinary action up to and including mandatory withdrawal from the College. You may request that the Director of the Student Conduct Office remove the warning letter from your file when you graduate.
Compensation you will need to make for loss, damage or injury you caused. This may include service, payment of money or replacement of property.
- Community Service/Fines
Service or hours of work carried out by you. A fine paid by you to the Student Conduct Office, which will direct the funds to a student bursary. You may also choose to exchange your fines for community service or community service for fines.
- Behavioural Contract
An agreement between you and the College which outlines conditions you must follow to continue your studies. If you do not follow those conditions further disciplinary action will be taken. The contract may be for a specific period or for the full duration of your program. You may request that the Director of the Student Conduct Office remove the behavioural contract from your file when you graduate.
- Loss of Privileges
The loss of specified privileges to access or use College facilities and services for a designated period of time.
A written reprimand in effect for a period of time with clear written conditions for you to maintain your status at the College.
A written notification that you are excluded from classes and/or other activities for a specific period of time. Suspension may also exclude you from a campus and property belonging to the College.
- Mandatory withdrawal
Permanent withdrawal from the College and you may not be allowed to register in the future.
- Withholding of credential
The refusal to award you your credential (e.g. course credit, certificate, diploma, etc.) until the disciplinary process is completed. Suspension, mandatory withdrawal or termination of student status requires the approval of the Dean of Students and the Dean of the academic area with which the student is affiliated.
3.18 The Director will notify the complainant, respondent and other appropriate parties of the outcome of the investigation, the reasoning and the resulting sanctions, if any. This notice will be in writing and will be provided within 21 days of the commencement of the formal complaint, unless circumstances cause a delay.
3.19 Records of disciplinary action will be maintained in the student's college file, and as appropriate, copies will be forwarded to the Chair of the academic area with which the student is affiliated.
You can ask to have a disciplinary decision under this Code overturned or changed.
4.1 The respondent may appeal the decision within 10 working days to the Vice-President, Academic. Appeals must be in writing (or alternative modes for persons with disabilities) on a Request for Student Conduct Appeal Form.
Appeals may only be launched on the following basis:
- A substantial procedural error has been committed by the Student Conduct Office which has denied you a fair outcome;
- New evidence is available that, through no fault of yours, was not available at the time the investigation;
- The sanctions imposed by the Student Conduct Office are patently unreasonable or substantially disproportionate to the circumstances or offence.
Copies of the Appeal Forms are available through the Student Conduct Office or the Student Services Office and can also be obtained electronically at www.senecacollege.ca/studentconduct
4.2 The Dean of Students shall maintain a roster of 12 individuals to serve on a Discipline Appeal Committee. When vacancies occur, the Dean of Students will recruit new panelists, maintaining a balance of students and employees from across the College.
4.3 The Dean of Students or designate will convene a Discipline Appeal Committee consisting of three panelists including at least one student and will chair the Discipline Appeal as a non-voting member of the Committee.
4.4 The complainant and respondent will be notified of the appeal in writing. The notice shall explain the basis of the appeal, the procedure that will apply and any other details necessary for an expeditious and fair hearing.
4.5 An oral hearing will take place in front of three panelists and be chaired by the Dean of Students. The appeal will be held in private and all proceedings will be confidential. The Discipline Appeal Committee will review the documentation related to the Student Conduct decision, and may seek information from any other source, as it deems relevant.
4.6 The appellant may have a support person of his/her choosing in an advisory capacity present throughout the proceedings or they may choose from a roster of trained student leaders which is maintained in Student Services.
4.7 The decision of the panel will be recorded in writing and promptly communicated to the appellant within 15 working days of the appeal.
4.8 The decision of the panel will be final and binding on all parties with no further right of appeal within the College. Students may ask the Ombudsperson to review the process followed from the perspective of fairness, but the Ombudsperson does not have the authority to review the substance of any complaint proceeding.
4.9 Records of Student Code of Conduct complaints and appeals will be maintained in the Student Conduct Office.
Every attempt will be made to meet the timelines set out in this Student Code of Conduct unless circumstances cause a delay.
The Student Code of Conduct Policy was approved by the Board of Governors on September 26, 2012.
The College is committed to principles of respect, inclusion and equality of all persons with disabilities.
The Student Code of Conduct Policy replaces the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.