Office of Community Standards

The Office of Community Standards is committed to developing, interpreting, and ensuring the fair adjudication of the College’s Student Code of Conduct in order to provide a safe community for students to learn and grow. The essence of this community depends on how its members treat each other, and the expectations of student behavior is outlined in the College’s Shared Commitment.

The Office of Community Standards institutes the conduct proceedings for violations of College policies. The student conduct process is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making, thus assisting them in bringing their behavior into accordance with our community expectations.

Quick Contact

Samyntha (Sami) Francis
Coordinator for Community Standards
Brown Hall

Alcohol and Other Drug Policy

It is the policy of Eckerd College to promote personal responsibility regarding the use of alcohol, ensure a non-coercive environment for those who choose not to drink alcohol, and prohibit the illegal use of alcohol and other drugs.

Alcohol Policy

Under Florida State Law, the possession and/or consumption of alcohol is limited to those twenty-one (21) years of age and older. Distribution or sale of alcohol to any individual under the age of twenty-one is prohibited and unlawful.

Beginning August 1st and continuing until the residence halls open for the fall semester, the campus is “dry.” Even those over the age of 21 are not permitted to possess or consume alcohol during this time on campus.

Misrepresenting one’s age to obtain alcohol, using another’s ID, or altering any form of ID to misrepresent one’s age is prohibited and unlawful.

Students must be prepared to furnish, at any time, a valid Eckerd College identification card and a second acceptable form of ID. Failure to do so will result in conduct action against the individual for failure to comply and/or failure to have identification within possession.

Alcohol may be consumed and possessed by those twenty-one (21) years of age and older in the following locations:

  • Residential houses*
  • Complex lounges
  • Complex courtyards**
  • Triton’s Pub and its adjacent patio
  • Lewis House (during events where alcohol is served)
  • At sanctioned campus events as explicitly permitted by the Dean of Students or his/her designee

* Includes only those residential houses which are not declared Health & Wellness, even if the individual(s) who reside there are 21 years of age or older.

**No beverage of any type in a glass drinking container may be allowed outside of residence halls and lounges. Use of glass drinking containers outdoors, regardless of legal drinking age, will result in conduct action.

Excessive and/or disruptive intoxication by persons of any age is prohibited. The College maintains the right to dispose of alcohol found on any person, no matter age, who appears to be excessively intoxicated, is displaying disorderly and/or disruptive behavior, or is a danger to self and/or the community. If a student is intoxicated and it is determined that he/she requires medical attention, the staff will call to have the student transported to the hospital. The student will bear financial responsibility and may face conduct action as a result of this level of intoxication. See Medical Amnesty/Good Samaritan Policies for Eckerd College’s limited immunity for individuals who require medical assistance due to alcohol and/or drugs.

Other Drugs (Including Prescription Drugs)

Under Florida State law (as well as local and federal laws), it is unlawful to possess, sell, distribute, intend to sell/distribute, manufacture/cultivate, or use illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Any item that may be used in the manufacture, distribution, sale, preparation, or use of drugs may be construed to be paraphernalia.

Any chemical “substantially similar” to a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II (of the US Controlled Substances Act) will be treated as if it were also listed in those schedules. Intentionally or recklessly inhaling or ingesting substances that will alter a student’s mental state is prohibited.

CO2 canisters are not permitted on the residential side of campus.

The possession or use of prescription medication for other than its prescribed use by the individual for whom it was prescribed is a violation of Florida State Law. The distribution or intent to sell one’s prescription medication is also a violation of College policy and Florida State Law. Possession and/or use of prescription drugs without a prescription is prohibited.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the student conduct process similar to criminal or civil court proceedings?

Students should be aware that the student conduct process is, by its nature, fundamentally different than criminal or civil court proceedings. It is based on an educational approach and should not be viewed as wholly punitive. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts.

Fair process, as defined within student conduct procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision-maker.

What standard of proof is required?

The standard of proof in the College conduct process is based on a preponderance of evidence. This means that the College must decide if it is more likely than not that a student has violated policy.

Although students may be more familiar with “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” that standard is more commonly and appropriately used in criminal trials rather than student judicial proceedings whose purposes are administrative and not analogous to criminal prosecutions. (Wood & Wood, 1996, p. 9)

What is procedural fairness?

Both parties to the complaint are assured procedural fairness. Procedural fairness requires that:

  • Students be informed of the nature of the accusations against them,
  • Students are given a fair opportunity to respond,
  • The institution renders an objective decision,
  • A student will not be found in violation of College rules unless a preponderance of evidence shows it is more likely than not that a violation has occurred,
  • Sanctions are proportionate to the severity of the violation,
  • There are provisions for review of a decision

Note: The College does deserve the right to make changes to procedures as necessary, while still ensuring procedural fairness. (EC-Book, p. 54).

Who can bring forward a complaint?

The party bringing the complaint may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest. They may choose to be present and participate in the process. The burden of proof rests with the individual bringing forward the complaint. This means that the individual or institution has the responsibility of proving a violation occurred. The College is the convener of every action under this code. Within that action, there are several roles, with the complainant being one of them.

What role do witnesses play in the process?

Witnesses may offer information regarding an allegation. They may be present during the conduct proceedings or submit a statement about the allegation. The extent of their participation may be at the discretion of the chair of the meeting.

To whom does the EC-Book apply?

The EC-Book and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students and organizations within Student Life. For the purposes of student conduct, the College considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the College. This includes students on College Leave and those studying abroad.

The EC-Book applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at College-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus, if that off-campus conduct affects a substantial College interest. The EC-Book also applies to guests of community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The Code may also be applied to resident non-students and continuing education programs by contractual agreements.

Visitors to and guests of the College may seek resolution of violations of the EC-Book committed against them by members of the College community.

How might my conduct record affect my future?

Information such as grades, course schedules, financial data, and conduct action can only be released to individuals with a legitimate educational interest or pursuant to the exceptions to the law [FERPA] (EC-Book, p. 11).

While student disciplinary records are protected under FERPA, students should be aware that there are exceptions to this law under which the disciplinary record may be released to certain parties. For example, disciplinary records are requested by graduate, medical, law, and transfer universities which hold a legitimate educational interest in that student.

Sometimes, students who are applying for jobs within the College will need to be prepared to discuss their record with their potential employer. Some departments request these disciplinary records and may use them during their application and decision-making process.

Therefore, students should be aware that, while their disciplinary record is not necessarily public record in the state of Florida, all or a portion of its details may be released to professionals both inside and outside of the College.

How can I submit an appeal?

For students wishing to submit an appeal of the findings and/or sanctions from a meeting with the SCSB, the petition for Final Review must be submitted within three (3) business days of the date on the outcome letter.

The Director of SCSB and two other members of the Board will determine if the Final Review requests meets the following criteria:

  1. To consider new information, unavailable during the original hearing, that could be outcome determinative.
  2. To assess whether clerical or procedural error impacted the fairness of the hearing.

If the review is accepted, the Director and two other members of the SCSB will decide the outcome based on the request in conjunction with the verbatim record of the initial hearing, and the original documents. The student will not attend an additional hearing. Notice of the outcome will be sent to the student in writing, via email.

For all other hearing forums, any party may request an appeal of the decision(s) made.

Final Review Requests are limited to the following grounds:

  1. To consider new information, unavailable during the original hearing, that could be outcome determinative.
  2. To assess whether clerical or procedural error impacted the fairness of the hearing.
  3. The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the College for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

All parties to the complaint will be given notice of the status of each appeal submitted. All decisions rendered after this stage are final, except under extraordinary circumstances. These circumstances will be at the sole discretion of the Dean of Students and/or President of the College. At this stage, a Re-Evaluation of the Final Review may occur, after which there is no option for Final Review.

Hearing Forums

Conduct Conversation

This informal meeting between an officer and the student will take place when there is not enough evidence to suggest that a student has violated policy, but that it is necessary to discuss policy with the student to pre-empt any future policy violations.

Because there are no alleged policy violations, there is no outcome letter. The conversation will be summarized in the student’s file and the case will be closed. No further action is required on the student’s part.

The Student Community Standards Board (SCSB)

The Student Community Standards Board (SCSB) is a hearing board comprised of students charged with upholding community standards under the direction of ECOS and in collaboration with Student Affairs. The Office of Community Standards provides annual training and oversight for all members of SCSB.

Students assigned to receive their hearing and sanctioning from the SCSB will receive a Letter of Notice form via e-mail which states the alleged policy violation(s) as well as the date and time of their hearing. SCSB typically meets every Sunday morning, beginning at 10 a.m.

Students have the option to accept responsibility for the alleged violation(s) and, thus, are not required to appear at their scheduled SCSB meeting. Those students accepting responsibility for all charges must respond in an e-mail from their Eckerd e-mail address stating that they accept responsibility for all charges. Students denying responsibility for all or part of the alleged violation(s) must attend their scheduled hearing.

The SCSB will hear all pertinent facts and allow students to explain their role in the alleged violation(s). The SCSB will then decide by majority vote if a violation occurred and determine appropriate sanctions.

Conduct Conference (CC)

A mandatory conduct conference is an informal meeting with the conduct officer and the accused student. No witnesses are called and no formal rules apply. A notice letter is sent to the student, containing the date and time of the meeting. This notice letter will also contain the alleged policy violations. The conduct officer as the authority to determine appropriate sanctions or to forward the complaint to the SCSB, a CH, or a CRC.

Conduct Hearing (CH)

A mandatory conduct hearing will take place between a Dean, conduct officer, and the student. A notice letter will be sent at least 48 hours in advance of this meeting, which contains the time, location, and alleged charges.

The meeting will be recorded and sanctions will be made by the officer and Dean. The student may submit a statement prior to the start of this meeting. Removal from housing may be heard in this forum.

An Extended Conduct Hearing will have the same formalities, with the exception of an additional officer present. Removal from housing will be heard in this forum.

Conduct Review Committee (CRC)

The Conduct Review Committee is most formal of all conduct meetings and is reserved for the most severe alleged violations. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the date of the hearing. Please review the EC-Book, pages 62-64 for more details about the CRC.

The CRC consists of 1 Dean as the Chair, 1 staff member, 1 faculty member, and 1 SCSB member. In cases of a sensitive nature, including mental health related cases and sexual assault, the SCSB member may not join the CRC.

Students will be offered the opportunity to meet with the Coordinator for Community Standards at a scheduled meeting in order to understand the CRC process and to review the materials. Because the sanctions can be severe, it is important that the student reviews the materials prior to the start of the hearing. He or she is informed of the hearing officers as well as the potential sanctions.

At the discretion of the Dean chairing the CRC, students may have a support advocate or adviser present during the CRC, who may be an attorney, family member, friend, or member of the Eckerd community. The support advocate is an inactive participant, who may confer quietly with the student, but are not allowed to speak on the student’s behalf or intrude on the proceedings.

Honor Pledge & Shared Commitment

Upon entering Eckerd College, every student is asked to sign a promise to uphold the Honor Pledge and the Shared Commitment.

Honor Pledge

On my honor, as an Eckerd College student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, or steal, nor to tolerate these behaviors in others.

Shared Commitment

The choice to join the community of scholars of Eckerd College commits each student to the values embodied in the mission and objectives of this church-related college of liberal arts and sciences. Inherent in this commitment is the responsibility:

  1. To use one’s abilities and opportunities to pursue personal and academic growth and excellence.
  2. To exercise respect for human dignity in attitudes and relationships.
  3. To conduct oneself with integrity in academic work and as a citizen of the college community.
  4. To respect the rights and property of other students and their need for an environment conducive to scholarly work.
  5. To respect the rights and property of Eckerd College and to protect its reputation as a college of distinction with a student body of high quality.
  6. To respect and learn from human differences and the diversity of ideas and opinions.
  7. To seek out opportunity to prepare for a life of leadership and service.

Each student’s commitment to these ideals obligates that student to abide by college regulations and to work with others to prevent the following behaviors that threaten the freedom and respect that members of the Eckerd community enjoy:

  1. Academic dishonesty
  2. Chronic interference with the right to study
  3. Willful destruction of property
  4. Theft
  5. Personal violence
  6. Bigotry
  7. Disruptive intoxication

Thus all students share a commitment to excellence and to the creation of a college community in which they can take pride.

Potential Sanctions

The sanction is the penalty assigned consequent to violating College policy. The sanction should be appropriate to the violation, and “within reasonable and constitutional grounds.” The hearing officer or board may consider any previous incidents of misconduct in assigning an appropriate sanction.

Students found responsible for violating the standards or policies of Eckerd College can receive sanctions including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Verbal warning – A warning can be given by a Resident Advisor, Assistant Residence Coordinator, or other College staff member concerning a student’s violation of College policy.
  2. Citation or written warning – A citation or written warning concerning a student’s violation of College policy will be placed into that student’s conduct file and may be considered should any future infraction occur. Additionally, a copy of any citation or written warning may be given to the student’s mentor as a means of notification.
  3. Fines – A student found in violation of College policy can receive a monetary penalty, which will be charged to the student’s account. This charge may be levied within two semesters following the date of the infraction. At the discretion of the Office of Community Standards, monetary fines can be exchanged for sanctioned service hours at a rate of $5.00-per-hour.
  4. Restitution – In complaints involving property, repair or replacement costs may be assessed in addition to monetary fines.
  5. Community Service – In complaints involving disruptions to the community, a student might, among other sanctions, be assigned to offer compensation to his/her peers through the performance of a specified number of service hours.
  6. Disciplinary Probation – Students placed on conduct probation are deemed “not in good standing” with the College. The duration of the probationary period, and the conditions imposed, will be in proportion to the seriousness of the misconduct. During the period of conduct probation, reported violations of College policy or conditions of the probation will result in further action. Conduct Probation will normally disqualify a student from studying abroad with Eckerd College or its affiliated international education programs.
  7. Housing Probation – Students placed on Housing Probation are at risk for being removed from College housing. The duration of the probationary period, and the conditions imposed, will be in proportion to the seriousness of the misconduct. Students found responsible for violating College policies while on Housing Probation may be suspended or expelled from College housing and lose the privilege of living on-campus.
  8. Parental notification – At the discretion of the College and in accordance with federal law, a parent may be notified, without permission of the student, of any breach of College policy including but not limited to the illegal use of alcohol and/or other drugs, destructive and/or violent behavior, or behavior which violates any local, state, or federal law.
  9. Referral for educational programs – A student may be required to attend, and pay for, educational programs related to his/her violation of College policy. Conduct officers of Eckerd College may reasonably expect to be furnished with proof that the program was completed. Educational programs include, but are not limited to, the following examples: Alcohol Edu, Alcohol Innerview, Marijuana 101.
  10. Referral to meet with the Eckerd College Counseling Center, Outreach Services or a licensed mental health professional to discuss an incident – Conduct officers of Eckerd College may reasonably expect to be furnished with proof that the assessment was completed. The student may be required to sign a release allowing the mental health professional to communicate with appropriate College officials.
  11. Referral for psychological assessment – A student may choose a licensed mental health professional to execute the psychological assessment, as well as pay any associated costs. Conduct officers of Eckerd College may reasonably expect to be furnished with proof that the assessment was completed in good faith. The student is expected to sign a release allowing the mental health professional to communicate with appropriate College officials.
  12. Mandatory drug testing – A student whose sanctions include mandatory drug testing must complete  and pass a urine, hair analysis, or blood test through an approved site at their own expense and at the date/time ordered by the Office of Community Standards. Conduct officers of Eckerd College may reasonably expect to be furnished with the results of the testing.
  13. Residential relocation – The student loses the privilege of residing in his/her current housing assignment and will be reassigned to another room. The assignment will be made in conjunction with the Housing Office.
  14. Campus Location Restrictions – The student may be restricted from certain areas of campus if deemed necessary.
  15. Removal from residence halls – A student may be removed from the residence halls for a specified period of time. Readmission to the residence halls is possible in some cases, but only after a written request for consideration is submitted to the Office of Community Standards.
  16. Suspension from the College for a specified period of time – Conditions for readmission may also be required.  During the period of suspension, a student is not permitted on College property, and may not attend College-sponsored events.
  17. Expulsion from the College – Expulsion should be considered as an unconditional and permanent separation from the College. Notification of the expulsion will be entered in the student’s permanent record and trespass warnings may be issued.
  18. Referral to law enforcement – Students may be referred to the St. Petersburg Police Department or other appropriate agency for legal action.

Failure to Complete Conduct Sanctions

All students, as members of the College community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the timeframe specified by the Office of Community Standards, Conduct Official (s), or Conduct Review Committee.

Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in a $100 fine as well as additional sanctions, removal from campus housing and/or suspension from the College. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance with conduct sanctions is satisfactorily achieved. This determination will be made by the Office of Community Standards.

In some cases, students may be referred back to the original hearing committee which imposed the original sanctions. In this case, an additional conduct case will be created for the student for Failure to Comply with Conduct Sanctions and a new hearing will be scheduled to address this issue.

Procedures for Conduct Action

College faculty, staff, and student staff will normally report alleged violations of College policy through a Campus Safety or Residence Life Incident Report. In addition, any member of the College community, visitor, or guest may allege a policy violation(s) by any student for misconduct under this Code.

Notice may also be given to the Office of Community Standards and/or the Title IX Coordinator, when appropriate.

The Community Standards Incident Review Committee will review alleged violations of College policies and, in the case of violations of a less severe nature, decide whether further investigation is necessary or whether the documentation submitted is sufficient to accuse the student of a policy violation.

In cases where an investigation is necessary, interviews of individuals involved in the incident may be contacted by the Office of Campus Safety & Security.

Notice of Hearing

If it is determined that reasonable cause exists to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and will be emailed to the student’s College-issued email account. Once emailed, such notice will be presumptively delivered. It is the responsibility for every student to check his or her email; failure to do so may result in a student missing the opportunity for a hearing. If a student fails to appear for a hearing without giving advanced notice, a complaint may be initiated against the student for failure to attend a conduct hearing and will be given notice of this offense.

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Office of Community Standards to reschedule a hearing, request a review of evidence and incident reports, and/or to request an extension of the hearing date and time.

Notification of Outcome

The outcome(s) of a conduct hearing will be sent to students via email within seven (7) business days of the time of the hearing. The outcome letter will include the alleged policy violations, their description, and the finding of “Responsible” or “Not Responsible,” based on the facts of the hearing. The outcome letter will also include the sanctions imposed, if any.

Also included are the instructions for submitting a Final Review (appeal of the findings/sanctions). Students must adhere to the guidelines for submitting a Final Review, including the criteria under which they may appeal and the required deadline (within three (3) days of the date on the outcome letter) to submit it.

Students may request a rationale of the findings by emailing communitystandards@eckerd.edu. Victims of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX may request both the rationale and the findings for the responding student. All other victims of non-forcible crimes will receive only the findings of the responding student and corresponding sanctions.