Resources Student Life Polices, Procedures, & Resources
This page outlines policies and procedures, educational programs, the student conduct process, and important information regarding various campus services. That said, it does not constitute a contract between the student and the college. By appropriate action of the college, the policies and procedures communicated contained here are subject to change, update, amendment and/or other modification at any time without prior notice. Students of Westmont College are responsible for reviewing and adhering to all published college policies. We hope that you find this handbook to be a tool that is both informative and helpful.
Important Institutional Documents
Student Life is intentional about creating a community that is founded on biblical principles. The Community Life Statement and Diversity Matters at Westmont intentionally appear at the top of this page because each is foundational and together describe the high responsibility and privilege you bear, having chosen to be a member of this community.
We encourage you to read these statements every year you are a student here and to imagine how you will actively contribute to making Westmont a place that truly reflects our commitment to living and loving as Christ would. It might require taking risks, guarding your heart, controlling your tongue, entertaining a new perspective, submitting to authority or patiently listening to a friend in need. Full-hearted engagement with this community is no small task but is so rewarding when done well.
Policies and Procedures
Abuse of the Student Conduct Process
Any form of abuse of the student conduct process in and of itself is considered a serious concern for the community. Some abuses of the student conduct process include, but are not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information;
- Filing a complaint knowingly without cause;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in the process;
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a participant;
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a participant;
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
Accountability and Integrity
Westmont is deeply concerned about students who are involved in or are victims of situations that can interfere with their attitude and character development. The issues outlined in our Behavioral Expectations are all concerns we must address as a community.
However, being interested not only in the letter of the law but in the spirit as well, our concerns are much broader than the specific behavioral expectations in this handbook. The spirit of the law emphasizes our life in Christ. Are we seeking to be more like him? To gain his insights? To conform to his priorities? To seek him in all of our lives? These expectations govern the spirit of the expectations of each member of this community.
While the great majority of students are conscientious about living responsibly, past experience indicates that imposing consequences for irresponsible behavior is necessary to hold the irresponsible few accountable and to minimize their negative influence on our desire to be a community that follows Jesus Christ. Westmont believes that if the residence halls are to be places that facilitate growth and development, unhealthy and counter-productive lifestyles and patterns of behavior must be confronted. It is as much your responsibility to confront other students as it is the responsibility of the deans, faculty and residence hall staff. Integrity is a key value in our community. It is evidenced by a congruence between word and deed, a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions, and a commitment to represent the actions of others accurately. You will be held accountable for the agreement you signed in your application to Westmont.
In the context of eternity, breaking a rule once (such as committing a room violation) is relatively insignificant. However, when you give your word in writing that you will not engage in certain behavior and then willfully break that agreement; your action is of great concern.
All students are expected to be aware of and uphold the policies set forth in this Student Handbook, the college catalog and any other official college documents. While the following section is not exhaustive, it does summarize specific issues of concern to the Westmont community for which sanctions may be applied.
Last Updated 8/5/19
Adding or Deleting a Varsity Sport
Each fall, Westmont will notify students of the opportunity to request the addition or deletion of a varsity sport. Students may obtain a copy of this procedure and of a Varsity Sport Request form from the Athletic Director’s office. In order for Westmont to consider adding or deleting a varsity sport as early as the following academic year, you should complete the Varsity Sport Request form and submit it to the athletic director by Oct. 31.
All requests will be reviewed by the college’s Title IX officer in light of federal requirements. They will be evaluated by the athletic director and the faculty athletic committee, which will make a recommendation to the provost. Any request approved by the provost will be forwarded to the budget committee for funding consideration and a recommendation to the president. The president will make a final recommendation to the board of trustees. The timing of the implementation of a decision to add a varsity sport will take into account funding, hiring of qualified personnel, compliance with Title IX, and college-wide programmatic needs.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Westmont expects all students to uphold both California state laws and these college policies regarding alcoholic beverages. For the policies below, Ocean View apartments is considered campus housing.
In the state of California, persons under the age of 21 shall not purchase, consume or possess alcoholic beverages. In addition, it is against California law to sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age.
Possession and Consumption
Westmont prohibits the presence or consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus and at off-campus Westmont student-sponsored or related activities. Any student in the presence of alcohol on campus (regardless of who actually owns it or who brought it to campus) will be considered in violation of this policy.
Westmont prohibits the presence of full or empty alcoholic beverage containers anywhere on campus, including vehicles. Students are responsible to ensure that no guest brings full or empty alcohol containers on campus.
Drinking in Moderation
Westmont expects students of legal drinking age who choose to drink alcoholic beverages to be moderate in their consumption. Any consumption of alcoholic beverages by any student that results in impairment or intoxication is a serious violation of community standards.
Off-Campus Hosting Responsibilities
It is a serious violation of both California law and college policy to directly or indirectly provide alcoholic beverages that are consumed by underage visitors. It is also a violation to collect money for admission to events where alcoholic beverages are either directly or indirectly provided. Any off-campus student who lives where a hosting violation of the alcohol policy occurs and is present at such time may also be in violation of this policy. Students who host events off-campus (either at their residence or other venues) and choose to provide alcohol or allow alcohol to be present at the event are responsible to ensure that no underage or excessive consumption of alcohol occurs at the event and must take reasonable steps to ensure this does not occur. At a minimum, hosts must:
- Accurately identify guests under the age of 21 (e.g. checking IDs) and clearly designate them in some way (e.g. marking hands, wristbands, etc.).
- Clearly communicate to guests under the age of 21 that they are not to consume alcohol at the event even though alcohol may be present (e.g. stated in invitations, visible signage at the event, verbal communication at the event).
- Place alcoholic beverages (including any beverages brought by guests) in one location and monitor that location in a way that would ensure guests under the age of 21 do not obtain alcohol or guests who are 21 are not served alcohol in excess. (Competitions involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages are discouraged as they can make it difficult to accurately monitor alcohol consumption).
- Provide an adequate supply of appealing non-alcoholic beverages and substantive snacks/food. These should be available to all guests and located in a prominent location.
One of the common reasons hosts lose control of an event is because unknown students arrive. Limiting the attendance to students who are known by the hosts can be accomplished by having a guest list.
Hosts should also ensure that students who have consumed alcohol have a ride with someone who has not consumed alcohol.
For more information regarding responsible hosting, students are encouraged to consult with a staff member in the Student Life Office.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
Compliance with College Officials
Students are required to comply with the direction of college officials or Public Safety officers acting in the performance of their duties. Students must also identify themselves to these persons when requested to do so.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
Computer and Network Use and Copyright Infringement
It is expected that Westmont’s information technology resources will be used in an effective and efficient manner authorized by the college in support of its mission and consistent with the law. All other use is inconsistent with college policy and may be illegal. The college does not authorize the use of its Internet access for the illegal downloading, exchanging or distribution of any copyrighted media. Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials including peer-to-peer file sharing may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion as well as to civil and/or criminal liabilities. For more information on acceptable use of college technology please refer to the Information Technology Resource Policy.
Monitoring Internet Activity
Please be aware that the college monitors its network for unauthorized activity. In addition, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association engage third-party services to monitor the Web for the instances of infringement of their copyrighted material using technology that can trace IP addresses to both the original and subsequent infringers.
College Discipline, Civil and Criminal Penalties
In the event the college’s Information Technology Department detects an infringement occurring at your Internet protocol address, (IP address), your access may be turned off, and you will receive a notice to report to the Student Life Office for possible disciplinary action. The college will not activate your access again until you do so.
Be advised that individuals found legally responsible for copyright infringement may be liable for statutory damages up to $80,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $250,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney’s fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights. Furthermore, violations of criminal statutes subject you to penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment depending on the nature of the offense.
Last updated on 7/23/19
The best starting point for accessing Dining information on-line will always be westmontdining.com.
Board program at the Dining Commons
Students on a meal plan are welcome to eat, socialize and study in the dining commons (DC) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Anyone who purchases the standard meal plan has access to the dining commons during these hours. A limited 15-entries-per-week or 10-entries- per-week plan are also available to all students except first-year students during the fall semester. Students and others not on a board meal plan can pay per entry. Hours are limited on holidays and can be found online.
A “We Proudly Brew” Starbucks outlet called Ritchie’s Place is also available on campus. Information about Ritchie’s Place can be found online. Meal Plans at the Dining Commons include “Flex Dollars” that can be used there for guests or for any purchases at Ritchie’s Place. Fall Flex Dollars carry over to Spring if you are still on campus, but the combined Fall/Spring Flex Dollars expire at the end of Spring semester. The system uses Flex Dollars before Munch Money.
Munch Money Option
Contact the dining services staff at any register to add a prepaid balance to your account accessed by your ID card (minimum purchase required). Munch Money can be used in the dining commons or at Ritchie’s Place, and for your guests at either location any time. Purchases paid with Munch Money receive a 10 percent discount. Munch Money purchases never expire, and can be refunded whenever you leave Westmont.
Sack Lunches and Group Packouts
Contact the dining commons weekday cashier to arrange sack lunches if you have a schedule conflict preventing you from accessing the dining commons regularly between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. You will complete a form there and must include a copy of your class schedule. Please allow a few days for processing your request. Official groups can also arrange packout lunches or dinners with sufficient notice by contacting a Sodexo manager.
Entering the Dining Commons without Paying or “Scanning in”
There is a $50 fine for entering the DC without paying or scanning in. The same fine also applies for allowing someone else to use your access, unless you are using Munch Money (or other funds) to purchase guest entry for them. The same fine also applies to opening an alarmed side door for someone to enter.
Removing Food or Dishes from the DC
The college has a continuous dining program which allows for access most of the day to those who have purchased meal plans or individual meals. It is important to the well-being of the entire community that this privilege is not abused. Diners who have eaten in the DC may leave with a piece of fruit or a dessert in their hand. Diners who have eaten in the DC may also leave with a beverage in their own mug. Food being removed should be visible to the cashier, and at no time should any food be put in backpacks, etc. while still inside the DC. Other types of food, entrees, etc., must be consumed in the DC and not removed unless the diner has purchased a to-go container when entering, and food may only be removed in that container. Dishes, cups, silverware, etc., may never be removed from the DC for any reason. Diners who violate these policies will be assessed a $50 fine per occurrence.
Throwing food, wadded paper or other objects is prohibited because it is unsafe, messy and disrespectful to those who work in dining services. The consequences for such actions are a minimum fine of $50 along with work hours and the possible loss of board-plan privileges.
Feedback Welcome!! Food Service Committee
We want your feedback. Please use the feedback cards in the dining commons, contact (or be on!) the Student Food Team, or comment directly to Sodexo online. An annual satisfaction survey is also conducted each Fall, with participants eligible for a prize raffle.
Last updated 7/23/19
Integrity is a key value in our community and dishonesty in any form is a breach of community standards. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- Academic dishonesty
- Chapel attendance dishonesty
- Furnishing false information to any college official, faculty member or office;
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of any college document, record or instrument of identification; and
- Tampering with the election of any college-recognized student office or organization.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
Disruption of College Activities
Students may not participate in any activity that: disrupts or interferes with the rights of other students, faculty or staff to participate in the educational program and/or perform duties imposed by the college; disrupts the normal operations of the college or infringes on the rights of other members of the college community; leads or incites others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; or intentionally obstructs or interferes with other student, faculty, or staff freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Student Life Office.
The dean of students (or designee) reserves the right to impose interim sanctions (which could include college suspension) on any student whose behavior either intentionally or unintentionally disrupts or interferes with the rights of other students, faculty, or staff to participate in the educational program and/or perform duties imposed by the college, or poses a safety risk to students, faculty, or staff. Interim sanctions will be in place until either the appropriate process to address such behavior has concluded, or the dean of students no longer deems the interim sanctions necessary. For further explanation of related college policies, please see: Peaceful Assembly Policy, Student Conduct Process, and Safety Withdrawal Policy.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
Out of safety concerns for students, employees, guests, neighbors and college property, Westmont College prohibits the operation of unmanned aerial systems, or aerial drones, on campus by the general public, including recreational users and hobbyists, without prior written authorization from Westmont.
This prohibition includes drones for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above Westmont property, including any drone launched off site and subsequently flown above college property.
Any authorized operation of aerial drones will be governed by Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations as well as policies established by Westmont, which may include certification, training, insurance coverage and indemnification requirements. Any violation of this policy will be referred to Westmont Public Safety and the Student Life Office for possible legal action and/or suspension.
Please contact Nancy Phinney at (805) 565-6055 or email@example.com if you have any questions or if you seek prior approval to operate any aerial drones.
Last updated on 7/23/19
It is Westmont’s policy that the campus be free of alcoholic beverages; free of drugs made illegal as a matter of federal, state, or local law, including marijuana; and free of their use. The on-campus manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance is unlawful, violates our Community Life Statement, Employee Handbook, Faculty Handbook and Student Handbook, and is prohibited.
The college also prohibits the presence of any drug paraphernalia (including, but not limited to bongs, pipes, hookah pipes) on campus or at any campus event. These policies are part of the college’s effort to create a drug-free work and educational environment for faculty, staff and students.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Firearms, Explosives, and Weapons
Possession of firearms, explosives (including firecrackers and dry ice), weapons (including but not limited to swords and knives, with the exception of small pocket knives; airsoft guns; BB guns; and toys that replicate or could be mistaken for real guns) or dangerous chemicals on college premises is expressly prohibited. Such items may be confiscated, and a $100 fine per violation may apply.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly
“Learning depends on truth-centered attitudes and thrives in an atmosphere of discriminating openness to ideas characterized by a measurement of modesty towards one’s own views, the desire to affirm the true, and the courage to examine the unfamiliar (from Westmont’s Living in Community statement).” At times the pursuit of truth may produce conflicts of ideas, opinions, and proposals for action. Individuals may seek to voice ideas, opinions and proposals for action in a public way. As convictions are expressed, one enters the “great conversation” of collegiate life.
Westmont’s Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly Policy seeks to find appropriate balance between two important sets of potentially competing values. The first is the right to exercise free speech and/or organize a peaceful assembly to express one’s convictions on particular issues. The second is the obligation of the college to ensure that the educational program and the pursuits of non-participating faculty, staff, and students are not unreasonably disrupted. It is expected that individuals who exercise their rights of free speech and/or contemplate organizing a peaceful assembly will do so with the understanding that they will comply with all college policies and procedures. Among these are the following time, place, and manner conditions:
- The time is limited to 2 hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday-Friday (to allow other uses of the space and to ensure that adequate staffing is available if needed to help ensure safety and civility of all present).
- Permissible locations, if not already in use, are the Dining Commons Lawn, the lawn in front of Murchison Gymnasium (except for the hour before, during and after chapel), Magnolia Lawn and the lawn across from the pathway from Magnolia Lawn.
- Amplified sound (in compliance with the County of Santa Barbara) and signboards larger than 3’x4’ are prohibited (for safety and aesthetic reasons).
A Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly form must be submitted 24 hours prior to the assembly to acknowledge awareness of this policy prior to the event. Staff members in the Campus Life or Vice President/Dean of Students offices are available to provide feedback on Peaceful Assembly planning to help insure that the event complies with the college policy.
Violations of the Free Speech Assembly Policy are subject to the conduct process and the full range of sanctions. Exercising free speech and/or organizing a peaceful assembly violates college policy when the event:
- Includes participants that are not current faculty, staff or students;
- Threatens property or public safety;
- Infringes upon the rights of others by: occurring during or interrupting chapel; interrupting a classroom or any college sponsored events or activities (e.g. halting a lecture, debate, or any public forum by indirectly preventing the speaker from speaking – even for a brief period of time – or seizing control of a public forum for one’s own purposes);
- Violates the time, place, and manner restrictions listed above;
- Violates the Photographing and Filming On Campus Policy; or
- Occurs without acknowledging awareness of this policy (i.e. failure to submit the Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly form).
Westmont values freedom of expression and, therefore, supports students’ desires to exercise this freedom in a public way as expressed in this policy. The use of the college forum for expression of ideas or viewpoints in compliance with this policy does not imply college acceptance or endorsement of the views expressed.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
You will receive instruction and guidance from your staff director/coordinator to ensure the institution approves your fundraising. Guidelines are online. As well as raising funds from friends, family and home churches, you may need to coordinate with the Office of College Advancement (OCA). Contact Dr. Reed Sheard, vice president of college advancement, at (805) 565-6050 or firstname.lastname@example.org. New or not-approved student groups with fundraising goals will find an application to fundraise and directions for pursuing approval online at the link above.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Many college employees use golf carts in the course of completing their work for the college. Also, a limited number of golf carts are available on a temporary basis through the Health Center to students who have a temporary medical condition that would make it extremely difficult to walk through the campus. Because unauthorized use of these golf carts is highly disrespectful and inconvenient to the people who need and use them, the college takes it very seriously.
Additionally, according to federal regulations, joy riding in a golf cart is considered as an incident of motor vehicle theft, even if the cart is returned. Anyone involved (either as a driver or passenger) in taking a golf cart will be fined a minimum of $100 and will also be responsible for cleaning and damage charges.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Hazing and Abuse
Hazing is not permitted at Westmont. No individual, recognized student organization, club, team, or any other Westmont-affiliated student group is permitted to plan, engage in, or condone hazing, on or off campus. Westmont’s hazing policy is not intended to prohibit student recruitment or new or continuing member activities that are positive and educational in nature, designed to instill a group ethos or unity. Its intent is to deter those behaviors that cause or are likely to cause danger, harm or humiliation to another student.
Definition of Hazing at Westmont
Hazing includes any activity done in connection with a student organization, regardless of whether the organization is officially recognized at Westmont, that causes or is reasonably likely to cause another student to suffer bodily danger, physical harm, or significant personal degradation or humiliation, even if no bodily danger, physical harm, or significant degradation or humiliation in fact results. Hazing might occur during initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization, but is not limited to these time frames. Any individual who plans or intentionally assists in hazing activity has engaged in hazing, regardless of whether that individual is present when the hazing activity occurs.
Consequences of a Violation
Westmont expects its students to conduct themselves in socially responsible and respectful ways. Thus, participation in hazing, either as an individual or as part of any student group, may result in serious individual and organizational consequences including, but not limited to: disciplinary action up to and including expulsion; permanent loss of organizational recognition; and loss of eligibility to remain a member of any club, team, or other Westmont-affiliated student group. Consent, implied or expressed, is not a defense to any complaint or charge alleging a hazing violation.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Internships and Fellowships Policy for Recent Graduates
Recently graduated Westmont students are eligible for Westmont internships and fellowships, which must be selected through a process defined by the Provost and which must be completed within one year. Each award must be approved by the appropriate faculty department chair and by the Provost.
Last updated 7/23/19
Lewd, Indecent, or Obscene Conduct
Students should refrain from conduct that is lewd, indecent, or obscene. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, profane or obscene expressions, public nudity, or other behaviors that violate accepted standards of decency and Christian conduct. Discretion should also be exercised regarding watching videos, hanging posters, and viewing periodicals, websites or social media sites that are degrading and/or promote an unhealthy view of sex, sexuality, and gender.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Lost and Found
The College maintains a general lost-and-found service, with official collection points at the Switchboard and at the Physical Plant. Any item turned in to the Switchboard will be entered into a database of lost items. If we can identify the owner of an item, we will attempt to contact the owner three times.
If you lose something, you may dial (805) 565-6000 or come by the Switchboard and/or the Physical Plant (805-565-6015) during normal business hours to check the lost and found. After two weeks, lost-and-found items are taken to the Physical Plant Main Office, which clears unclaimed items every 30 days. The Athletics office, the Dining Commons, and the Library also maintain lost-and-found services for their areas.
Last updated 7/23/19
Missing Student Notification Policy and Investigation Procedures
In accordance with federal law and to assist in guarding student safety, Westmont College establishes the following missing-student notification policy and investigation procedures.
A. Residential student: For purposes of this policy, a residential student is enrolled in the academic program and resides in on-campus housing.
B. Missing: For purposes of this policy, a residential student is presumed missing if he or she is more than 24 hours late in reaching the expected destination. A residential student may also be considered missing if 1) he or she is overdue in reaching home, campus or another specific location past the expected arrival; 2) additional factors lead college staff to believe he or she is missing, and 3) a check of their residence hall room supports that determination.
C. Confidential contact: For purposes of this policy a confidential contact is the individual named by the residential student to be contacted not later than 24 hours after the college determines the student is missing.
Notification to Residential Students
A. Residential students are informed that they have the option to identify an individual to be contacted by the institution not later than 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing.
B. Residential students who are under 18 years of age and not emancipated individuals are informed that the college is required to notify a custodial parent or guardian if it is determined that the student is missing. Residential students who are 18 years of age or older are notified that the college will contact their parents if they do not identify an alternative confidential contact. (Identifying a confidential contact does not preclude the college from contacting students’ parents if in the opinion of college personnel and/or if in the event of an emergency concerning students’ safety, contacting students’ parents is considered necessary.) In both cases, the college will contact students’ parent/guardian or other identified contact not later than 24 hours after the time a student is determined missing.
C. Residential students are informed that the college will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours after the time that the student is determined missing.
Last Updated on 8/9/19
Nonconsensual Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures
Individuals Covered Under This Policy
This policy and the procedures that follow apply to incidents of alleged occurrences of nonconsensual sexual misconduct (including but not limited to sexual assault and sexual harassment) between students or when the responding party is a student. For alleged occurrences of harassment on bases other than sex or when the responding party is a faculty or staff member, or for alleged occurrences of discrimination of any form, please refer to the college’s Unlawful Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Sexual Assault policy.
Westmont is committed to an environment free from nonconsensual sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, stalking, dating and domestic violence.
Westmont is committed to effectively investigating all reports made under this policy and taking remedial and/or disciplinary action where appropriate in as expeditious a manner as possible. Westmont is deeply concerned about any such incidents and strongly encourages the prompt reporting of all allegations covered under this policy to the college and to law enforcement officials. The college will not tolerate retaliation against any individual for making a report under this policy and will take strong, corrective action where retaliation is found to have occurred. For purposes of this policy, retaliation means any threat, act intended to cause fear, or exertion of pressure against any person for making a complaint under this policy or for involvement in the procedures under this policy.
Deciding to Make a Report
The college encourages the prompt reporting of incidents covered under this policy for resolution in accordance with the procedures as described here. The college also strongly encourages individuals to make reports to law enforcement officials as soon as possible. Reports to the college can be made to any individual listed in the section below titled, “The College’s Duty to Investigate.” Prompt action under this policy allows for individuals to receive immediate medical care that may be necessary. Prompt action also allows the college and/or law enforcement to provide individuals with reasonable and necessary protection from any further harm. Preservation of evidence is also critical in the investigation. Individuals making reports under this policy should take measures to preserve forensic information related to their complaint (e.g., documented communication, photographs of injuries; medical examination results, correspondence such as letters, emails, telephone or text messages, gifts, etc.).
Deciding to make a report under this policy to the college and/or filing a complaint with law enforcement officials can be difficult. There are options available for those who do not want to make this decision on their own. Counselors at Westmont College Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available to those who would like assistance to think through their options. Additionally,Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) -- a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Santa Barbara -- provides confidential counseling and support services to survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. . The information shared with these providers will not be disclosed to others without consent. Contact information for these resources is below.
The College’s Duty to Investigate
While the college does have a responsibility to effectively address all reports made under this policy, requests of the reporting party to withhold her/his identity or to not initiate a conduct process will be considered in light of the college’s responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students.
Sharing information about nonconsensual sexual misconduct covered under this policy with any of the following college officials is considered reporting it to the college:
Student Life Deans
Faculty department chairs
College employee supervisors
Directors of off campus programs
Title IX Coordinator
For those not ready to make an official report, contact Westmont Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 805-565-6003 or the Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) 24-Hour Hotline at 805-564-3696.
Counseling and Support
Whether or not a reporting party decides to submit a report to the college for investigation under this policy, the college is committed to providing a safe place to work through the range of emotions and questions that can arise in the event of an incident covered under this policy. The college encourages individuals to take advantage of personal avenues of emotional support as well as one or more of the following resources:
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) , 805-565-6003, Information and resource referral, Lower Campus
- Campus Pastor’s Office, 805-565-6170, Pastoral support and counseling, Clark B
- *Health Center, 805-565-6164, Medical and information resource, Lower Campus
- *Vice President for Student Life, 805-565-6028, Information about the student conduct process and list of advisers, Kerrwood Hall, Second Floor
- *Dean of Students, 805-565-6028, Information about the student conduct process and list of advisers, Kerrwood Hall, Second Floor
- *Resident Director on Call, 805-565-6273, Emergency Response, information and referral resource
- *Public Safety Department, 805-565-6222, Emergency response
*Note: a campus resource with an asterisk appearing next to it indicates that the individual in the position has a duty to report the incident for investigation by the college under this policy and/or, in certain circumstances, to law enforcement officials.
- Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA) Hotline, 805-564-3696, 24-Hour Hotline
- Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA), 805- 963-6832, 433 E. Canon Perdido Street, sbstesa.org
- Cottage Hospital Trauma Center, 805-569-7451, Pueblo at Bath Street, Medical assistance and evidence collection
Confidentiality and Privacy
Confidentiality for both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party shall be encouraged and maintained as appropriate and to the extent allowed under the circumstances by law. Information received in connection with a sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence complaint is private and will be shared with those who need to know the information in order to investigate allegations, impose appropriate sanctions and/or take necessary corrective actions to protect individuals and the community from further harm.
Under the Clery Act, the college must disclose statistics of incidents covered under this policy in its Annual Security Reports (ASRs). When the college receives information about an allegation presenting a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of the community, a timely warning may be issued. The college will never disclose the identity of the reporting party without her/his consent nor otherwise violate privacy rights afforded to students under the Clery or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts (FERPA).
Definitions of Prohibited Behaviors
Nonconsensual Sexual Misconduct covers a range of sexual acts committed by one person against another by use of coercion or intimidation or when the individual does not otherwise provide consent or is incapable of providing consent for reasons of age, unconsciousness, mental impairment, or ingestion of drugs, alcohol or other substance. Nonconsensual sexual misconduct covered under this policy includes the following prohibited behavior:
- Sexual Assault is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with any person without that person’s consent. Sexual intercourse is the penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anus with any object or body part or of the mouth with a sexual body part or sexual object.
- Nonconsensual Sexual Contact is defined as the intentional act of making sexual contact with the intimate body part of another person without that person’s consent. Intimate body parts include the sexual organs, the anus, the groin or buttocks of any person, or the breasts of a female. Some nonconsensual sexual contact may constitute sexual harassment. Generally, this is the case if the contact is brief and does not involve force or incapacitation.
- Sexual Harassment is generally described as any offensive, unwelcome, sex-based behavior that is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile environment. Unwelcome sexual touching may constitute sexual harassment. As with all cases, these instances are fact specific and no single factor will be determinative.
- Sexual Exploitation means taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited in a manner not covered under other prohibited behaviors as defined in this policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to surreptitiously observing another individual's nudity or intimate activity or allowing another to observe consensual intimate activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of intimate activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; exposing one's genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking when based on sex constitutes prohibited conduct for purposes of this policy and is defined as follows--
- Domestic Violence means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed against one’s current or former cohabitant, spouse, former spouse, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship or any other person protected under domestic violence law.
- Dating Violence means violence by a person who has been in romantic or intimate relationship with the Reporting Party. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
- Stalking means a pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, demonstrating a continuity of conduct, directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking includes but is not limited to unwanted letters, emails, text and telephone messages; telephone calls; unwanted gifts; following an individual or frequently appearing at locations where the individual is located.
Consent is defined as unambiguous and willing participation or cooperation in an act or as an attitude that is commonly understood to be consistent with the exercise of free will. Consent requires participants who are fully conscious, are equally free to act, have clearly communicated their willingness, cooperation, or permission to participate in a specific sexual activity, are positive and clear in their desires, and are able to cease ongoing consensual activity at any time. Refusal to consent does not have to be verbal; it can be expressed with gestures, body language or attitude. A prior sexual history between the Reporting Party and Responding Party does not constitute consent. Consent is not freely given if one of the following applies:
1. A reasonable person in the position of the alleged perpetrator at the time the alleged conduct occurred should have known* that the other person was unable to give consent for any of the following reasons:
a. The individual is unable to make an informed decision as a result of alcohol or other drugs (including but not limited to predatory drugs or prescribed medications); or
b. The individual is unconscious, asleep, or suffering from shock; or
c. The individual is under the age of 18 and therefore legally unable to give consent; or
d. The individual has a known mental disorder or developmental or physical disability and therefore legally unable to give consent.
* It is important to note that in the Westmont conduct process, use of alcohol does not diminish personal responsibility or act as a mitigating factor in conduct sanctions should a violation be found to have occurred.
2. The individual has acted or spoken in a manner which expresses he or she refuses to give consent.
3. It is obtained through the use of force or through the fear of or the threat of force.
Student Conduct Process
The following student conduct process applies to allegations of prohibited conduct described in this policy. For all other alleged violations of the Community Life Statement or other college policy, refer to the college's general student conduct process below (see the information under the "Student Conduct Process" heading). The college will attempt to resolve complaints made under this policy no more than sixty (60) calendar days after a report is received. However, in some cases, the process may take longer.
Upon receipt of a report, whether oral or written, of an alleged violation of this policy, the Dean of Students (which, for all purposes described in this policy, includes his or her designee) will conduct a pre-investigation review of the information received. During the pre-investigation review, the Dean of Students will conduct separate meetings with the parties. During the meetings, the Dean of Students will explain the process and answer any questions about the process. The college is required to notify both parties if it opens an investigation. Such notification includes: identity of the parties, the specific section of this policy allegedly violated, the precise conduct allegedly constituting the potential violation, and the date and location of the alleged incident. If this information is not contained in the report made to the college, the Dean of Students may ask the Reporting Party some questions about the alleged incident, but only for the purpose of obtaining the minimal information required to determine if an investigation is warranted. Neither the Reporting nor Responding Party will be required to provide substantive information about the alleged misconduct during their meetings.
During the pre-investigation meeting, the Dean of Students will consider whether to issue interim measures. The purpose of interim measures is, to the extent possible, to ensure the safety of all persons involved, reduce concerns for personal physical and emotional safety and overall prevent creation of a hostile environment for the individuals and the community. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to: no contact advisories; residence hall relocations; restrictions to campus housing or other campus locations and activities; alternative class assignments or classrooms; and/or interim suspension.
Notice of Investigation
If the Dean of Students initiates an investigation, the parties will receive written notice. The notice of investigation will include the identity of the parties, the specific section of this policy allegedly violated, the precise conduct allegedly constituting the potential violation, and the date and location of the alleged incident.
After issuing the notice of investigation, the Dean of Students will assign an investigator to schedule separate investigative meetings for the parties. In anticipation of the interviews, the investigator will ask the parties to submit written statements to be reviewed by the investigator prior to the interview. In the alternative, the parties may elect to have the information they provide during their substantive investigative interviews to serve as their written statement on the allegation. The parties may also identify a list of any witnesses with information pertinent to the alleged conduct. After conducting interviews with both parties, the investigator will determine whether there is enough information to forward to the student conduct panel for resolution or, where appropriate, offer the parties the option of voluntary, informal resolution of the report.
If after conducting interviews with the parties, the investigator determines that the complaint is appropriate for informal resolution, the parties may voluntarily agree to forego a full investigation and any subsequent student conduct panel proceedings and instead participate in an informal process to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.
Formal Resolution (Student Conduct Panel Proceedings)
When the informal resolution procedures are not possible or appropriate, or fail to satisfactorily resolve the concern, the investigator will complete a full investigation and determine whether there is sufficient information to forward the matter to the Student Conduct Panel for resolution. As part of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a written summary of the interview conducted of each party and request that the relevant party interviewed review it for accuracy and completeness and alert the investigator if she/he believes any modification in the summary is needed.
Student Conduct Panel
The Student Conduct Panel is comprised of a minimum of three student life staff who have been trained to investigate and resolve allegations made under this policy. The Dean of Students serves as the chair of the Student Conduct Panel. The chair’s role is to facilitate the Student Conduct Panel meeting and ensure compliance with the process and procedures outlined below. A note taker who does not serve on the panel may also be present to take notes during the Student Conduct Panel’s meetings with any parties or witnesses.
Conflicts of Interest
Student Conduct Panel members should avoid conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from proceedings when their membership on the panel jeopardizes the impartiality of the process. Both the Responding Party and Reporting Party may raise issues of concern about the impartiality of a member of the Student Conduct Panel convened for a particular case. If a potential conflict of interest is identified, the Student Conduct Panel Chair has the sole discretion to decide whether a Student Conduct Panel member should serve on the panel and will replace anyone whom he/she determines is unable to serve on the panel. If the potential conflict involves the chair, then the Vice President for Student Life will make the determination.
One of the core values of the Westmont community is integrity and truth telling. As such, all individuals participating in the student conduct process are expected to tell the full and complete truth throughout the process. Neither the reporting nor responding party; nor any individual who participates as a witness under this policy will be subject to conduct sanctions for violations of other college policies at or near the time of the incident, unless the college determines that the violation was egregious, or amounts to an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk or involves academic dishonesty.
The college will not consider polygraph examinations in any student conduct proceedings.
Every reasonable and appropriate effort will be taken by the Student Conduct Panel and Student Life office to protect the privacy of all individuals involved in a student conduct meeting. The college will, to the extent possible, maintain confidentiality regarding the details and content of the student conduct process including, but not limited to, the investigation, Student Conduct Panel meeting and appeal process. The college will disclose information about this process only when it is necessary for the investigation and resolution of a report made under this policy, to meet an otherwise legitimate educational interest, or to fulfill a legal obligation.
Last updated on 7/29/19
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Westmont College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, genetic information, medical condition, religion, marital status, military status, or veteran status in its admissions policies or in the administration of its educational programs, including scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other college-administered programs and activities, and employment. Inquiries regarding the obligations of Westmont College under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other applicable nondiscrimination laws may be directed to: Chris Call, Vice President for Administration and Planning/Title IX Coordinator; telephone: (805) 565-6023; email: email@example.com or to the Director, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20201.
Last Updated on 8/5/19
The college is permitted but is not required to contact your parents under the following circumstances:
- If either parent claims you as a dependent on their federal income tax returns,
- If you are under 21 and found responsible for violating college policy or federal or state law related to alcohol or a controlled substance,
- If you have a health or safety emergency.
Last Updated 7/29/19
The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President Bush in October 2001, has given the federal government new authority to access education records that previously were protected by FERPA, campus privacy policies, and other laws. In order to minimize any legal liability for Westmont College, we must be prepared to respond to any request for access to student or employee records.
The Patriot act does contain liability-minimizing language (e.g., a college or university shall not be liable to any person for good faith disclosure of education records in response to a federal law enforcement request.)
Since the probability of Westmont College receiving a request for information under the Patriot Act is likely very small, Westmont College requires a response approach for which the cost is commensurate with the risk.
Therefore, Westmont College adopts the following policy regarding its responsibility under the Patriot Act.
- Any Patriot Act request (originating internally or externally) must be submitted to the Office of the President.
- The request will be submitted for counsel to the institution’s legal counsel.
- The institution, under the direction of the president’s designee, will respond to the request after review of the legal counsel.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Photographing and Filming On Campus
As a private campus, Westmont College reserves the right to approve any photography and filming that takes place on campus for commercial use or other public distribution, including posting on the Internet. Any student seeking to photograph or film on campus for commercial use must request permission from the Westmont Conference and Event Services Office. Students seeking to publicly distribute filming or photographing of campus events for any other reason must obtain permission from the Westmont College Communications Office.
The following guidelines must be observed for personal photographing and filming on campus:
- Respect the privacy of campus residences.
- Avoid disrupting classes or other college functions.
- Do not film or photograph students, faculty, staff and visitors without their knowledge or consent.
Last Updated on 7/23/19
Scripture urges believers to seek wise and godly counsel when faced with significant or difficult life choices. Therefore, should a Westmont College student become pregnant while unmarried, she is encouraged to communicate with a dean, resident director, and other student life staff members. Student Life staff are ready to help and offer support to both the father and mother to effectively work through the complexity of needs that a pregnancy presents. The life and health of the mother and child and the spiritual well-being of the parents and the Westmont College community are of significant our primary concerns. The College is committed to responding in a redemptive manner and Christian love, seeking to balance compassion with accountability.
Staff members are excellent resources to connect the student to academic and other support services. Every reasonable and appropriate effort will be taken to protect the privacy of the mother and father of the unborn child. The College will disclose information only in the case of legitimate educational need. In no case will the College violate privacy rights afforded to students under federal and state law. While some students in these circumstances may choose to leave the college temporarily, it is our hope that any student who chooses to continue in classes during the pregnancy will find Westmont to be a supportive and redemptive community. Students who access support that is available through the Westmont Counseling Services and the Health Center can be assured that information is confidential as provided by applicable laws.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
THE FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
PURPOSE AND APPLICABILITY
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, (“The Act”) is a federal law enacted to establish procedures for disclosing information contained in student records and to protect the privacy of these records.
The Act applies to currently enrolled students, beginning on the first day of attendance, and former students.
The Act does not apply to individuals who have applied for admission but never attended Westmont College or applicants for admission who are denied enrollment.
Information obtained on a former student subsequent to graduation or termination and not related to his or her time as a student is not an education record (e.g., data accumulated on alumni).
All rights under The Act cease when a person dies; Westmont will decide on a case by case basis what records of deceased students can be released and to whom they will be released.
Eligible Student: A student who has reached 18 years of age or is attending an institution of postsecondary education at any age.
• A person employed by Westmont College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position including security and safety personnel and health services staff.
• A person or company with whom Westmont College has contracted, such as auditors, attorneys, or the National Student Clearinghouse.
• A person serving on the Board of Trustees.
• A student serving on an official committee or assisting another College official in performing his or her tasks.
Legitimate Educational Interest: An educationally related purpose, which has a directly identifiable educational relationship to the student involved and underlies a request for the disclosure of education records.
Education Records: Records that directly relate to a student and are maintained by an educational institution.
Education records may include:
• class lists;
• grade rosters;
• student schedules;
• correspondence about or with a student;
• care and incident reports;
• Public Safety reports involving the student;
• data in an electronic database;
• employment records of a currently enrolled student who is employed as a result of his or her status as a student;
• Financial Aid records;
• Student Accounts records.
OFFICES THAT MAINTAIN EDUCATION RECORDS
For information about records and the length of time records are maintained, contact the Office of Student Life, or the applicable office below. Types of records held by Westmont College are as follows:
• Records Office—Personal information data, photograph, OID Card Information, course registration, records of all courses taken including grades, documents related to degree completion requirements, and other related information.
• Office of Financial Aid—Financial aid applications, records of financial aid awarded, and related documents.
• Business Office—Records related to charges, payments, and loans, (including Perkins Loans and Westmont Interest-Free Loans) for educational services rendered by Westmont.
• Office of Career Development and Calling—Placement data completed by the student, resumes, information on courses taken toward degree, letters of recommendation from faculty and/or employers
• Academic Departments—Student applications to program, copies of grades, notes from student interviews, faculty recommendations, department recommendations, records of field experiences, clinicals, practica, internships, and other related documents.
• Office of Student Life— emergency contact information, housing applications, correspondence and other documentation related to student care and conduct.
• Campus Pastor’s Office—student information and data that is not exempt under a Clergy exception.
• Office of Disability Services—student information and data related to disabilities and accommodations.
• Faculty Advisors—Notes from advising sessions; copies of various communications to and from advisee, faculty, and other offices; and related advising material.
OFFICES THAT MAINTAIN RECORDS THAT ARE NOT EDUCATION RECORDS
• Counseling and Psychological Services—Student intake forms, therapist notes and records of psychological services rendered to the student through the College.
• Health Services—Student medical forms, copies of athletic physicals, and records of medical services rendered to the student through the College.
• Office of College Advancement —Personal data on alumni and parents of the College and records of financial giving.
Education records do NOT include:
• records about students made by faculty and staff for their own use and not shown to others (sole possession records);
• non-documented personal interactions and/or observations;
• Public Safety records maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and kept separate from the education records described above;
• employment records, except where a currently enrolled student is employed as a result of his or her status as a student;
• records of a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional made or used only for treatment purposes and available only to persons providing treatment.
• records that contain only information relating to a person’s activities after that person is no longer a student at the College;
• financial information submitted by parents(s)/guardian(s);
• directory information not restricted by the student; and
• confidential letters and recommendations placed in the student’s record if the student has waived in writing his or her right to inspect those letters and recommendations. Students may revoke such a waiver at a later time, but the revocation must be in writing and is only effective with respect to actions occurring after the revocation.
Personally Identifiable Information: All information that is directly related to a student. This information includes both “directory information” and “non-directory information.”
Directory Information: Information contained in a record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. At Westmont College, directory information includes:
• student’s name;
• home and local address;
• home and local telephone listing;
• personal and campus email address;
• photograph or digital image;
• date and place of birth;
• major field of study;
• grade level (freshman, sophomore, etc.);
• enrollment status (e.g.; undergraduate; full time or part time);
• dates of attendance;
• participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
• weight and height of members of athletic teams;
• degrees, honors, and awards received;
• most recent educational agency or institution attended; and
• Westmont account username, which is used by the student for purposes of accessing or communicating in electronic systems, since this identifier cannot be used to gain access to education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate the user’s identity, such as a personal identification number (PIN), password, or other factor known or possessed only by the authorized user
Non-Directory Information: Any personally identifiable student information that is not directory information. At Westmont College, non-directory information includes, but is not limited to, a student’s Social Security number or student identification (ID) number.
Currently enrolled and former students have the right to:
• inspect and review information contained in education records within 45 days after Westmont receives a written request for access;
• request the amendment of the student’s education records that a student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights;
• consent to disclosure, subject to certain exceptions specified in The Act, of personally identifiable information from education records; and
• file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by Westmont to comply with The Act.
Procedure for Inspecting Records
Students must request permission in writing to inspect their records and must present that request to the Student Life Office, which will coordinate the inspection of records.
• The records will be made available to the student for inspection not more than 45 days following the receipt of the request.
• A Westmont employee must be present while the student inspects his or her records in person.
• Students may request copies of available records when failure to provide a copy of the record would effectively prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record. Students may be required to pay a per copy fee. A request for a copy may be refused, but only if, in doing so, the institution does not limit the student’s right to inspect and review that record.
A student may inspect records of disclosure, which will be kept by the office in which the record is maintained unless such inspection is prohibited under the terms of a court order or lawfully issued subpoena.
Procedure for Requesting the Amendment of Records
With the exception of grades or disciplinary actions, if a student believes that information in his or her record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of his or her privacy rights, he or she may request that a change in the record be made.
• Such a request must be in writing, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and be submitted to the appropriate College official in whose office the record in question is located.
• If Westmont decides not to amend the record as requested, Westmont will notify the student in writing that he or she may make a written request to that official for a review to contest the record.
• A review will be conducted within 30 days of the written request (or as soon thereafter as is practical) with the student having an opportunity to present all relevant evidence. The review panel will consist of the College official in charge of the record in question and two other college officials he or she selects.
• The student will be notified within two weeks of the review (or as soon thereafter as is practical) as to the decision of the official or review panel. The decision of the review panel is final.
• If the student disagrees with the action taken by the review panel, he or she may place a statement in his or her educational record giving the reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
NOTE: An appeal of grades or student conduct action should follow the processes outlined in the applicable policies.
Procedure to Request Withholding of Directory Information
• In the fall semester, students will be notified about the opportunity to request that Directory Information be withheld.
• The request to withhold Directory Information may be completed at any time; however, if printed materials have been published for the academic year, the student’s Directory Information cannot be removed from already the printed materials (e.g.; athletics program).
• Students may request to withhold disclosure of Directory Information by completing a form in the Records Office or online.
• Westmont will continue to honor a student’s last request with regard to the disclosure or non-disclosure of Directory Information made while the student was in attendance at Westmont. Westmont cannot assume the responsibility to contact the student for subsequent permission to release Directory Information. Regardless of the effect upon the student, Westmont assumes no liability for honoring an instruction to restrict/withhold Directory Information.
• A student who is no longer enrolled cannot request that Directory Information be withheld. A student who is no longer enrolled can rescind their request to withhold Directory Information.
The Act generally does not guarantee the right of parents or guardians of students who are attending post-secondary institutions to review educational records.
At Westmont’s discretion, The Act allows Westmont to inform parents of information in their student’s educational records provided the parents claim the student as a dependent on their federal income tax return. If a student is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes by either parent (regardless of the parents’ current marital status), then, at Westmont’s discretion, Westmont may disclose information in the student’s education records without the student’s consent.
The Act permits colleges and universities to inform the parents of a student under 21 years of age when their student has been found in violation of College alcohol or drug policies and/or in the case of a health or safety emergency, whether or not the student is a dependent.
DISCLOSURE OF EDUCATION RECORDS
Conditions Under Which Directory Information May Be Released
Directory Information may be released at the discretion of College officials without the written permission of the student, unless the student has requested that directory information be withheld. If the student has requested that directory information be withheld, the information will not be released without their written consent.
Conditions Under Which Directory and Non-Directory Information May Be Released
Directory and Non-Directory Information may be released without the written consent of the student to:
• Westmont College personnel or other school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the records. This category includes a person or organization retained to be an agent for, or under contract with, Westmont College, such as financial auditors, attorneys, or National Student Clearinghouse. Disclosure to a school official having a legitimate educational interest does not constitute institutional authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all information received to a third party.
• Parents of dependent students (that is, students who are claimed as dependents on their parents’/guardians’ most recent federal tax return). However, as a matter of general practice, Westmont does not release student education records to parents of dependent students without the student’s written authorization. Instead, Westmont provides all students with the ability to give parents and other third parties online proxy access to their education records.
• A financially dependent student’s co-signer on Westmont’s master payment agreement. This individual will have access to the student’s account.
• Appropriate persons in a health or safety emergency. If Westmont determines that there is an articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals, it may disclose information from educational records to any person whose knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others, provided that Westmont will only exercise this authority for the duration of the emergency.
• The final result of a conduct proceeding to the victim of an act of violence or nonforcible sex offense allegedly perpetrated by the subject of the records, regardless of the outcome of the proceeding. Schools may not disclose the names of other students connected with the proceedings, including the victim or any witnesses, without the written consent of those students.
• State or local educational authorities, for audit and evaluation of federal- and state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that related to those programs.
• Officials of another school in which the student seeks to enroll.
• Persons or organizations involving financial aid in order to determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid; to determine the amount of financial aid; to determine conditions to be imposed regarding financial aid; and to enforce conditions of financial aid.
• State and local officials as allowed by state statutes concerning the juvenile justice system.
• Organizations that are conducting studies to develop, validate, and administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; and improve instruction. Those organizations cannot redisclose personally identifiable information of students.
• Accrediting agencies carrying out their accrediting functions.
• To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. The College will notify the student when such a request occurs without the student’s knowledge unless prohibited by law.
• Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States.
• The Attorney General of the United States.
• The Secretary of Education.
The College can release information related to a student contained in law enforcement records so long as such records are created by a law enforcement unit, created for a law enforcement purpose, and maintained by a law enforcement unit in a manner that segregates them from records maintained by other components of the College.
Conditions Under Which Education Records Will Not Be Released
Unless otherwise required by law, Westmont College official transcripts will not be issued to students who are delinquent in paying College charges for educational services or who are behind in financial loan repayments.
Copies will not be provided of education records (e.g., transcripts) that were issued by other educational institutions unless authorized by the Registrar.
Release of FERPA directory and non-directory information may be subject to other laws and regulations that govern privacy of student data. Privacy of student records will be managed in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations.
UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION FROM THE EDUCATION RECORD OF ANY STUDENT IS PROHIBITED.
Criteria Used to Determine the Legitimate Educational Interest of School Officials
Generally, a school official has a legitimate educational interest if the school official needs to review a student's educational record in order to fulfill a task within the scope of his/her or official responsibility to the College.
OTHER FACULTY AND STAFF RESPONSIBILITIES
Westmont College will notify students annually of their rights under The Act by publishing such information in the Student Handbook. A complete policy is available in the Student Life Office.
Westmont College will maintain a record of requests for access to and disclosure of a student’s Non- Directory Information to anyone other than:
• the student;
• College officials with a legitimate educational interest;
• a party with the student’s written consent; and
• a party seeking or receiving the records as directed by a court order or lawfully issued subpoena that directs the College to refrain from disclosing the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena.
Enforcement of this Act is the responsibility of the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-5920.
Further information concerning The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is available at www.ed.gov.
Policy approved by President’s Executive Team, April 24, 2019
Publicizing and Promoting Non-Westmont Affiliated Opportunities
Publicizing and promoting on campus is limited to events, issues, and internship/employment/ministry opportunities that are sponsored by college departments and official student organizations/clubs. However, there are a few options left for outside groups.
Requests can be made to publicize in the student newspaper, The HORIZON, at the standard advertising rates. Advertising may not advocate or encourage conduct that is contrary to the Community Life Statement.
Ministries, summer employment and employment recruiters may contact Career Development and Calling (805.565.6031 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange to use the two recruiter tables outside of the Dining Commons.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Reserving Campus Facilities
Any campus activity or event sponsored by faculty, staff, or students that requires a facility must request space in advance with the Conference and Event Services Department. Students: your first step is to get approval from your organization advisor. To begin the process of reserving a facility, use the campus scheduling website. This user-friendly site is the fastest, most efficient way to make a facility reservation request.
Prior to using the campus scheduling website, please read the instructions posted online. Contact the Conference and Event Services Department at email@example.com or (805) 565-7070 with questions.
Please allow a minimum of three or more business days for your request to be processed. Last minute requests should be avoided. In the event that you must submit a same-day request, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as this is monitored by multiple staff members. If you cancel your event, please submit an online cancellation request. This will enable us to allocate the space to someone else who may need it.
Some facilities require departmental authorization. This process can delay confirmation, so please request as far ahead as possible. Request for event services (tables, chairs, podiums, etc) may be made via the campus scheduling website. Additional requirements such as catering, sound and media, custodial, and security should be arranged with the respective departments, as EMS does not handle these services.
All space for catered events require a minimum of two hours additional time prior and following the event for preparation and clean up. More extensive catering may require additional time. Be sure to add in that time in your EMS facility request.
Generally, reservation request confirmations are sent via email.
Conference and Event Services office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am - 5pm during the academic year, and 8am - 7:30pm everyday during the summer.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act
Consistent with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Westmont has adopted and implemented policies that are intended to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or manufacture of illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs by students and employees. Substance abuse exposes the user to a variety of significant health risks*, affects the family and the community and under certain circumstances subjects the user to a range of college sanctions, state, federal and local penalties**. College policy prohibits the unlawful use and presence of all controlled substances and any related paraphernalia. Students and employees are also prohibited from exceeding the dosage of physician-prescribed medications or consuming another individual’s prescription medication.
Violation of college policy with respect to drug use or possession is a serious breach of our behavioral expectations, and students who violate this policy are subject to the full range of disciplinary consequences, including expulsion from the college. When there is reasonable suspicion of drug use by a student, the college may request that the student submit to a drug test as part of the student conduct process. The student may refuse the test; however, the college may draw negative inferences from that refusal. Random drug testing is a typical sanction for a student who is found responsible for a drug related violation.
If you need help or know someone with a drug-related problem, please know that Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provide confidential consultations and also make referrals to outside counseling and treatment services. Faculty and staff may contact Human Resources to access help that is available through Westmont’s Employee Assistance Program.
*Health Risks Associated with Alcohol and Drug Abuse
The risk of many harmful health conditions associated with the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs are significant and include but are not limited to:
- Neurological impairment
- Kidney Failure
- Cirrhosis of the Liver
- Bronchitis, Respiratory and Cardiac Failure
For more information on the health risks associated with the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
**State, Local and Federal Penalties for Alcohol and Drug Violations
All laws related to the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, sale or furnishing of alcohol and other drugs do not appear here. Members of the Westmont community are responsible for knowing and abiding by all current and applicable laws.
In the state of California, persons under the age of 21 shall not purchase, consume or possess alcoholic beverages. In addition, it is against California law to sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age. Any person who sells, provides, gives or causes to be sold an alcoholic beverage to any person under the age of 21 is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 and/or no more than 32 hours of community service for the first offense with increased penalties for additional violations
Any person under the age of 21 who purchases alcoholic beverages or consumes alcoholic beverages is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 and/or no more than 32 hours of community service for the first offense with increased penalties for additional violations.
Westmont prohibits the presence or consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus and at off-campus Westmont student-sponsored related activities. Any student in the presence of alcohol on campus (regardless of who actually owns it or who brought it to campus) will be considered in violation of this policy.
Westmont prohibits the presence of full or empty alcoholic beverage containers anywhere on campus, including vehicles. Students are responsible to ensure that no guest brings full or empty alcohol containers on campus.
Opiates, Stimulants & Anabolic Steroids
Under federal and state law, the unlawful sale, transport, manufacture, furnishing or possession of certain opiate and stimulant drugs, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, Oxycodone and Steroids, is a felony subject to penalty of state imprisonment, fine and/or forfeiture of property. Further, the law provides for sentencing enhancement that will increase the severity of penalties for certain offenses.
Marijuana (Possessing, Cultivating, Selling)
Westmont students may not possess or consume marijuana on or off campus. Marijuana remains a schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substance Act. Possession, cultivation, sale, distribution and/or consumption of marijuana remains illegal under federal law and is a violation of college policy and subject to the full range of disciplinary sanctions.
Penalties for Sale and Possession
You can find information regarding the state penalties for the sale and/or possession of illicit drugs here.
While the state of California permits the licensed use of marijuana under its Compassionate Use Act, the sale, use, and possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law. Therefore, the college prohibits its use, sale or possession both on and off campus.
Suspension of Eligibility for Federal Student Aid for Drug Related Offenses
Drug convictions also impact financial aid eligibility. A student who has been criminally convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance is ineligible to receive any federal financial aid (including any grant, loan, or work assistance). Financial aid eligibility will be suspended beginning on the date of any conviction and ending at the time specified below:
Possession of a Controlled Substance
|1st Offense||1 year|
|2nd Offense||2 years|
|3rd Offense & Thereafter||Indefinite|
Sale of a Controlled Substance
|1st Offense||2 years|
|2nd Offense & Thereafter||Indefinit|
You can find more information on eligibility here.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Safety Withdrawal Policy
Upon observation or report of circumstances covered under this policy, the Dean of Students or his or her designee will intervene, assess, and where necessary, remove or reasonably accommodate any student who poses an unreasonable threat to the health and/or safety of any member of the community; or who becomes unreasonably disruptive to an orderly environment or to the lawful activities of others.
Voluntary Safety Withdrawal
A student may consider withdrawal from the college in the event they are unable, with or without reasonable accommodation, to continue at Westmont without posing unreasonable risks to safety and/or the lawful and orderly activities of the community. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Health Services, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or external providers to determine whether a withdrawal or leave of absence would be beneficial to the student. Students often find that taking a break from college life and their studies allows them to return to the college with an enhanced opportunity to achieve their educational goals. Should a student choose to voluntarily withdraw or request a leave of absence from the educational program, the Dean of Students or designee may gather additional information to determine the conditions, if any, that must be met in order to demonstrate an ability to return to the educational program or to full access to the residential environment with or without reasonable accommodation.
Involuntary Safety Withdrawal
Withdrawals under the involuntary safety withdrawal policy are meant to be utilized only under extraordinary circumstances, when a student is unable or unwilling to voluntarily withdraw from the college. In unusual cases where a student engages in one or more of the behaviors listed below or exhibits a pattern of such behaviors, the college will initiate an individualized assessment process to determine whether or not an involuntary safety withdrawal is required. These behaviors include:
- Engaging in or threatening to engage in physical harm to one or more members of the community;
- Demonstrating an inability to satisfy personal needs, including nourishment, shelter, personal safety and well-being such that a reasonable possibility of serious physical harm or death may occur in a short period of time; or
- Unreasonably interfering with activities of others (including those resulting in a significant and unreasonable impact on the personnel resources necessary to manage the behaviors described).
When the Dean of Students or designee is alerted to a student’s behavior or health concerns that involve any behaviors listed above, and the Dean of Students or designee deems it appropriate, these procedures will be initiated:
- The Dean of Students or designee will notify the student that an involuntary withdrawal is under consideration and the reason(s) why it is under consideration.
- The Dean of Students or designee will discuss with the student the implications of, and procedures relating to, an involuntary withdrawal. Whenever possible and appropriate, the Dean of Students will encourage the student to voluntarily withdraw, thereby eliminating the need to complete the process for an involuntary withdrawal.
- The student will be provided an opportunity to respond to the above information either in person, over the phone, or in writing.
- The Dean of Students or designee may require a medical evaluation if the Dean of Students or designee believes it will facilitate a more informed decision. Such an evaluation may be an assessment off campus, at the student’s expense, by an appropriate healthcare provider. In such cases, the Dean of Students or designee may notify parents, guardians and other appropriate persons.
- The Dean of Students or designee will arrange for an appropriate review process to include receiving, gathering and examining appropriate records and documentation. This may involve securing a release of information to allow healthcare professionals to share information with the college. The Dean of Students or designee will make all withdrawal determinations in part based on the reasonable medical judgment of healthcare professionals, relying on the most current medical knowledge or the best objective and professional evidence available. The college will make decisions on withdrawals even where the student is unwilling or unable to undergo mandated assessment or provide a release of information allowing medical and mental health professionals to share information with the college. Students are strongly encouraged to cooperate fully with college officials under this policy so that decisions can most fully reflect their interests and concerns.
- In consultation with the Student Care Team (SCT) and/or other appropriate college personnel, the Dean of Students or designee will conduct an individualized assessment to determine if an involuntary withdrawal is warranted (for a listing of the SCT members see the SCT webpage on the college website). The Dean of Students or designee will pay particular attention to the criteria for invoking an involuntary withdrawal, specifically whether the student’s behavior is disruptive to the college’s learning environment, whether the student’s health concerns have compromised the student’s health, safety, or academic success, and whether the behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of one or more members of the college community. In this context, “direct threat” means that the student poses a significant risk to the health and safety of one or more members of the college community. The significant risk must represent a high probability of substantial harm and not simply a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk. The Dean of Students or designee will make an individualized assessment on all the above factors, based on a reasonable judgment that relies on an individualized medical assessment and/or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration and severity of the risk to the individual student and the greater campus community and the probability that potential injury will actually occur. The Dean of Students or designee will also determine whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk of harm to others or the potential for further disruptive behavior.
The assessment may result in, but is not limited to:
- Student is allowed to remain in the educational program, but is restricted in his/her access to the residential environment;
- Other specified conditions for remaining in the educational program and/or residential environment;
- Student is withdrawn from the educational program.
The Dean of Students or designee will communicate the decision to the student in writing. The decision will include all information the student must submit in order to demonstrate an ability to return to the educational program or to full access to the residential environment with or without reasonable accommodation.
Appeals Under This Policy
Appeals under this policy may be made to the Vice President for Student Life (which for all purposes described in this section includes his or her designee). Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Student Life office during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) within three business days of the decision. Submit appeals via email to email@example.com.
1. An appeal must be in writing and include a statement outlining and supporting the specific grounds on which the student is appealing.
2. An appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:
- A process or procedural error was made that was significantly prejudicial to the outcome of the review process as it affects the student appealing;
- New information has arisen that was not available or known to the student appealing at the time of the individualized assessment which, when considered, may materially alter the outcome;
- The college denied a reasonable accommodation, which, if the college had granted, would obviate the need to remove the student from the educational program or restrict his or her access to the educational program and/or residential environment.
The appeal must address how the basis for the appeal was sufficient to alter the decision in the original individualized assessment. Any decisions made from the individualized assessment (including but not limited to removal or restricted access) will remain in effect during the appeal process unless otherwise determined by the Vice President for Student Life.
The Vice President for Student Life will consider all material previously presented and may meet with the student, the SCT and/or select members of the same. The Vice President for Student Life will communicate his/her decision on the appeal in writing no later than seven days following receipt of the appeal. Where the appeal does not merit a new decision the Vice President for Student Life will uphold the original decision. Where the appeal demonstrates clear and convincing facts or information that warrant an outcome different than the original decision, the Vice President for Student Life may modify the original decision. The decision of the Vice President for Student Life is final.
Returning to Educational Program and/or Full Access to the Residential Environment
Terms of Return
The student who demonstrates an ability to return to the educational program or the residential environment following withdrawal or restricted access and meets readmission criteria and application deadlines that may apply is assured the opportunity to return to the educational program or full access to the residential environment under the terms and conditions listed below. Students whose withdrawal period is for the remaining portion of a semester or more must reapply for admission to the college (unless they were granted a leave of absence). Applications for readmission can be obtained in the college’s Office of Admission. For questions related to reapplications contact the office at 805-565-6200.
1. A student withdrawn or restricted from the residential environment who wishes to return must contact the Dean of Students or designee and provide appropriate documentation from a health care professional demonstrating an ability to return and meet all behavioral expectations with or without reasonable accommodation.
2. Upon receipt of information from the student, the Dean of Students or designee will:
- Consult with appropriate campus healthcare professionals;
- Consult with members of the student care team, as appropriate;
- Contact the student’s parents, if appropriate; and
- Contact the student to discuss the student’s readiness to return.
3. Upon a decision to allow the student to return, the Dean of Students or designee may provide the student with written conditions for continued attendance.
4. Upon a decision to deny the student’s request for readmission or be permitted full access to the educational environment, the Dean of Students or designee will specify what conditions need to be met in order to apply for return for a later semester.
Effect on Academic Status
In the event of a withdrawal pursuant to this policy, a notation will appear on the student’s transcript in accordance with college policy. Any tuition refund due in accordance with college policy will be paid.
Effect on Housing Status
If the student has been restricted from the residential environment the college will cancel the student’s campus housing contract and refund any fees due in accordance with college policy.
Last Updated on 8/1/19
Selling Products on Campus
- Only students who are fundraising for an official student organization may go door to door for the purpose of selling a product or service.
- Students promoting products or services for profit may purchase advertising space in the student newspaper, The HORIZON. Students seeking to sell products or services within their rooms must get permission from the Student Life Office prior to publicizing.
- Off campus individuals or groups are not permitted to promote or sell products or services directly to students, faculty, or staff. No campus space will be provided to sell a product or service for profit, but off campus individuals or groups may purchase advertising space in the student newspaper, The HORIZON.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Sexual Activity Outside of Marriage
At Westmont, we are committed to helping our students develop Christ-like maturity in all areas of their lives, which includes helping students make wise and biblical decisions regarding sexual activity. The Community Life Statement reflects the college’s understanding of Scripture, which is the church’s historic, classical interpretation of marriage and sexual fidelity. In regard to sexual activity, the college will not condone practices that Scripture forbids, including sexual relations outside of marriage between persons of opposite sex or persons of the same sex. Additionally, conduct promoting such intimacy between unmarried persons (i.e., nudity, lying in bed together) is unacceptable behavior and private situations that foster such behavior should be avoided. Members of the Westmont community who choose to marry are expected to abide by the commitment to lifelong heterosexual marriage, and whether single or married, to strive to maintain healthy family relationships.
Westmont College believes the best place to navigate these issues of sexuality, including sexual identity, is in Christian community and that students are best supported if they are able to share their questions, struggles, or their self-understanding with trusted others, including those in Student Life and Residence Life. Concerns about sexuality may be difficult to disclose, but struggling in silence is a far greater challenge. In all such personal issues, Student Life and Residence Life staff members are committed to discretion, sensitivity, compassion, and redemptive actions. Additionally, confidential assistance is available through Westmont’s Counseling and Psychological Services. When a student approaches us and communicates that he or she is struggling with sexual purity or same-sex attraction or behavior, we aim to offer safety that promotes openness, to communicate personal acceptance, and to provide accountability and assistance to support students to live consistently with biblical teaching.
All members of the Westmont Community are expected to treat one another with respect, dignity and Christ-like compassion. Insults, slurs and other forms of derogatory, disrespectful or flippant speech have no place in a Christian community. The college is committed to protecting individuals from harassment and retaliation based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Refer to Westmont’s Policy and Procedures on Unlawful Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Sexual Assault for more information.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Westmont is deeply concerned about any incidents of sexual assault. The Student Life Office will work to provide a safe place for the survivors of the sexual assault. Below are some frequently asked questions pertaining to the issues of sexual assault. For more detailed information, refer to the Policy and Procedures on Nonconsensual Sexual Misconduct.
What should I do in the event of a sexual assault?
Go to a safe place. Do whatever you need to do to be safe! You do not need to go through this alone. You have multiple options of resources that can provide you with assistance and/or guidance:
- R.D. on Call 805-565-6273
- Public Safety 805-565-6222
- Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center Hotline 805-564-3696 (24-hour and non-Westmont)
What if I just want to consult with someone but do not want to report the incident?
You can contact the Westmont Counseling and Psychological Services at 805-565-6003 or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. If you are not ready to make an official report, you can talk about your situation without disclosing any identifying information. Sharing information about a sexual assault with any of the following college officials is considered reporting it to the college:
- Resident Directors
- Resident Assistants
- Student Life deans
- Faculty department chairs
- College employee supervisors
- Directors of off campus programs
- Vice Presidents
- The College Title IX officer
While the college does have a responsibility to effectively address all reports of sexual assault, requests of the victim to withhold their identity or not initiate a conduct process will be considered in light of the college’s responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students.
I would like to talk with someone who is not connected to Westmont, whom can I call?
Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center is not directly associated with Westmont. The center has certified therapists who can help you through the process.
What if I am physically hurt?
Seek medical assistance immediately. If you need help in seeking medical assistance, the R.D. on Call (805-565-6273) or Public Safety (805-565-6222) can help you. You can also directly contact Cottage Hospital Trauma Center (805-569-7451).
Do I have to seek medical assistance even if I don’t think I am physically hurt?
Internal injuries are difficult to assess without medical training. It is a good idea to get checked by medical personnel. If you decide to seek medical assistance, do not wash, eat, chew gum, brush your teeth, drink, douche or change clothes. If you must change into new clothing, do not wash the old clothes. Doing these things can jeopardize possible evidence.
What if I don’t feel comfortable talking with any medical personnel or the police?
You need to do what feels right and safe to you. You may decide not to seek medical or law enforcement assistance right away. However, keep all possible evidence (i.e., clothing) in case you decide to report the incident later.
Is the college required to report sexual assault allegations to law enforcement?
Set forth below are the instances in which the college must inform external authorities of its receipt of sexual assault reports. For cases in which the complainant consents to be identified or where the college is required to disclose identity, both the complainant and the respondent remain in control of any additional information they wish to provide. While the decision to cooperate in any investigation of a sexual assault is yours, we strongly encourage and will provide support through the campus counseling center for students who seek to do so or who are seeking guidance in making a decision.
In accordance with state law, when operating within the scope of his or her duties, the college physician must inform law enforcement of contact with any person suffering wounds or injuries reported to be the result of a sexual assault. In these instances the physician must report the name and location of the injured person if known; the character and extent of the injuries; and the identity of the person the injured individual alleges to be responsible for the injury or wound.
In accordance with The Jean Clery Act, the college annually discloses campus crime statistics, including statistics on sexual assaults, to the United States Department of Education. No identifiable information regarding the complainant or respondent is made available in this report.
Local Law Enforcement Reporting
In accordance with state law, the college must inform law enforcement of its receipt of reports of sexual assault made to campus security authorities (campus security authorities include Public Safety Officers, Resident Directors, and any Student Life Dean). The college will not disclose the identity of the individual's involved unless the complainant consents to the disclosure.
I think my friend has been sexually assaulted, how can I help?
Encourage him/her to seek help. You can also consult confidentially with Westmont’s Counseling and Psychological Services or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center without disclosing any identifying information.
I feel guilty and confused. Is that normal?
It is common for a sexual assault survivor to experience a wide range of emotions (anger, guilt, sadness, shame, confusion, powerlessness, or feeling out of control). These can be symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome, which closely parallels Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. If you are experiencing these signs, you may talk confidentially with a counselor through Westmont’s Counseling and Psychological Services or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Student Concerns and Complaints Policy
Westmont’s desire is to provide the best experience possible for students as they pursue their education. Acknowledging that students may on occasion have concerns or complaints about their experience, this policy is established to guide the quick and efficient resolution of concerns or complaints presented to staff members in the Student Life Division.
The Student Life division will seek to resolve complaints about student experiences through the offices that handle issues related to the concern. When receiving a complaint from a student, the student life staff person receiving the complaint will make every effort to determine what office is best able to resolve the student’s concern and connect the student directly to an individual in that office who is able to assist. Examples of student complaints may include but are not limited to:
- Academic concerns—Records Office and Registrar
- Concerns about student accounts—Business Office
- Concerns about financial aid—Office of Financial Aid
- Residence hall, roommate concerns, housing issues—Residence Life
- Security or safety—Office of Public Safety
- Parking permits--Housing and Parking Office
- Meal plans or food service—Sodexo or Office of Procurement and Auxiliary Services
- Harassment (e.g., racial, sexual)— Student Life Office
- General concerns—Student Life Office
When a student presents a concern or complaint to the Student Life Office that is relevant to the work of student life, the following procedure will be followed: Office personnel (or the staff member receiving the complaint) will determine who in the office (or division) is best able to respond to the student’s concern. When possible, the student’s concern should be addressed and resolved by that individual. As a matter of practice, this should be considered the “normal” resolution process. When concerns can be resolved quickly, no formal record needs to be made.
On occasions when a student’s concern or complaint cannot be resolved through this procedure, or when the student is not satisfied with the resolution offered, students may make a formal complaint. Formal complaints should be presented, in writing, to the Student Life Office. When a complaint is received, the student life personnel receiving the written complaint will forward it to the Dean of Students or the Director of Residence Life (whoever is available and/or appropriate in light of the complaint). This person will review the complaint and determine the student life staff member most able to resolve the situation (a dean, a director, a resident director, etc.). The student will be notified by letter or email within two business days that his or her complaint has been received and to whom it has been assigned for resolution. Student life staff members will make every effort to respond to and resolve the student’s complaint within 10 business days (more quickly when possible). The final resolution will be provided to the student in writing and in person when appropriate. If a student is dissatisfied with the resolution offered, he or she may appeal to the Vice President for Student Life. Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Student Life office during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) within three calendar days of the decision regarding the resolution offered. If the third day falls on a non-business day, submit appeals via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Following a prompt and effective review, the vice president for student life will communicate a decision on the student’s appeal no later than ten business days. The decision of the Vice President for Student Life is final.
For complaints involving offices outside of Student Life, the Vice President for Student Life will work with the appropriate Vice President to determine resolution and response to appeals.
Note: When concerns or complaints are first presented by a student’s parent(s), parents will be asked to encourage their daughter or son to present the concern or complaint or write the appeal. As a general rule, written correspondence concerning the complaint will always be directed to the student and meetings concerning the complaint should always happen in the presence of the student.
Records of student complaints and resolutions will be kept by the Vice President for Student Life. Every year the Vice President for Student Life will review the complaints received that year and in the previous years to determine if there are trends or ongoing concerns that need to be addressed. If so, the Vice President will take responsibility for implementing appropriate plans to respond to these trends.
In addition to or in lieu of these college processes, students may file a complaint against the institution with Westmont’s accrediting agency or with the State of California:
WASC Senior College and University Commission
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833
Last Updated on 7/23/19
Attempted or actual theft and/or damage to college property or the property of a member of the college community (including their families) or other personal or public property is expressly forbidden. Theft also includes: unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any college premises or unauthorized entry to or use of college premises and theft or other abuse of computer time (see Computer and Network Use Violations).
Last Updated on 8/6/19
In the state of California, persons under the age of 21 shall not purchase, use, or possess tobacco or tobacco products. Under no circumstances shall any member of the community use or possess tobacco products (including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, hookah pipes, and E-cigarettes) on campus or when attending college-related student activities. Additionally, Westmont is located in a high fire region and neighbors have a legitimate concern when they notice students smoking in the area. For these reasons students 21 or older may not smoke in the vicinity of the college (including the hills behind campus) and are subject to a $100 fine per incident.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING REGULATIONS
Speed Limit Enforced on Cold Spring Road to Ensure Safety of Children, Pedestrians, and Motorists
The speed limit on Cold Spring Road is 35 miles per hour (and 25 mph when children are present). Westmont expects students to make sure that whoever is driving their vehicle observes this speed limit. Radar is used to determine speed. If your vehicle is identified as one that has exceeded this limit, you will receive a $50 fine (regardless of who may have been driving the vehicle). A second excessive speed citation will result in the suspension of parking permit privileges in addition to another $50 fine.
Parking Permits are Limited to Reduce Traffic on Area Roads
To limit traffic on Montecito roads, Santa Barbara County restricts the number of student and employee vehicles traveling on Cold Spring Road. Seniors and Juniors may purchase full-time parking privileges. Sophomores will only be allowed to request full-time parking privileges on a space-available basis, and such space is very limited. Sophomores are required to request by appeal in the online form. It is a violation of both college policy and County regulations to bring or operate non-permitted vehicles on the campus, or park on a neighboring street. This will result in a $50 fine per incident and may jeopardize future permit privileges. First-year students (as determined by Admissions upon entry, and regardless of unit credit status) are not eligible to apply for a permit and should not bring a car to the college.
The college identifies vehicles and applies sanctions to students’ vehicles parked on campus without permits, and in the vicinity of the college and in the larger Montecito area with or without permits. The Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that governs our use of this prime Montecito property specifically prohibits student parking on neighboring streets or in other public areas which are not at their off-campus residence. Residents and merchants in the Montecito area (including the Upper Village and on Coast Village Road) are understandably frustrated when students use residential streets or business parking spaces for a vehicle not permitted to be on campus.
In addition to regular Public Safety enforcement procedures and neighborhood sorties, Westmont identifies non-permitted vehicles in several ways: through a data base; through observations by faculty/staff members; and, if necessary, with the assistance of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Sanctions for permit violations are as follows:
1st notification: $50/citation;
2nd notification: $50/citation, minimum one-month suspension of parking privileges, conference with student life staff member;
3rd notification: $50/citation, minimum one-semester suspension of parking privileges, conference with dean of students (or designee).
Appeals of Parking Citations
The Parking Appeals Committee is the investigative body that determines if a student has received a citation in error. Submit such appeals to Tom Bauer, Chief of Public Safety (email@example.com) within 12 days for consideration. It is not acceptable to appeal a citation by saying, “I had a good reason” to bring an unpermitted vehicle to campus. The committee acknowledges that many circumstances exist when a vehicle seems critical to accommodate a tight schedule, return to campus late at night, assist an academic department or student activity, etc. In these situations, it is likely less expensive to rent a taxi or use a ride-sharing service or the campus Zipcar/s than pay a $50 fine and jeopardize future permit privileges. Please note that citations at Ocean View are not appealable.
Students Who Own Vehicles Must Have California License Plates
The California Vehicle Code requires most vehicles used by students in California to be registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and to display California license plates. The only exceptions are: 1) if the vehicle is not registered to the student AND it is operated in California less than it is operated in any other state AND the student is not registered to vote in California; OR 2) if the vehicle is not registered to the student AND it is used by a student under 23 years of age who is a dependent of a non-California resident AND the student is not employed in California in any capacity, whether full time or part time AND the student is not registered to vote in California.
College Reserves the Right to Tow Vehicles
In order to comply with the Santa Barbara County Conditional Use Permit, to maintain orderly parking and to ensure ready access for emergency and refuse vehicles, Westmont has the right to fine, tow (at the expense of the owner/operator), revoke parking privileges, and/or issue other disciplinary sanctions.
Visitors traveling in motor homes may park at the local RV campgrounds. The closest one to campus is the Carpinteria State Beach Park, located 12 miles south, just off Highway 101. There are no locations or facilities on campus to accommodate motor homes or campers.
Transportation for Westmont-sponsored Special ROTC Programs
Since the ROTC Army program through UCSB and ROTC Air Force program through USC, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount University are Westmont-sponsored special programs, the college will ensure that first-year and sophomore students have transportation to their respective program locations. This provision is made because of restrictions in the issuance of parking permits to first-year and sophomore students. Westmont accomplishes this by the following means:
1. If a junior/senior is attending the program at the same time and has a vehicle, the college will connect the first-year and sophomore students with those with transportation.
2. If no juniors or seniors in the ROTC programs have their own transportation, Westmont will loan a college vehicle for the student to drive to the program site. The vehicle internal chargeback costs will be covered by the college, but the student operator is required to buy/replace fuel for the vehicle.
3. ROTC program participants need to be identified by the Records Office in order to qualify for the loan of a vehicle. Participants in Westmont-sponsored programs may contact the Housing & Parking Office for information on how to borrow a college vehicle.
Please contact the Housing Office for more information.
Westmont College Vehicle Regulations are available from Public Safety.
Last updated on 8/7/19
Use of Institutional Letterhead, Trademarks, Tradenames
The president approves the logo, letterhead and other Westmont insignia and identifying symbols, which should be used only for official business on behalf of the college. The vice president for student life must approve the use of college symbols and stationery by students or student organizations as it might imply institutional endorsement of their activities. Private use of Westmont logo, insignia and symbols is not allowed.
Last updated on 7/23/19
Vandalism, Violence, & Bullying
Subjecting others to physical violence, threatening others with physical violence, and engaging in acts of vandalism or bullying against another person are unacceptable ways to deal with conflict.
Bullying may take place in a variety of hostile acts that are carried out repeatedly over time. The acts often involve a real or perceived imbalance of power, with the more powerful individual or group attacking those who are less powerful. Bullying may be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing), verbal (taunting, malicious teasing, name calling, threatening), or psychological (spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, or promoting social exclusion, extortion, or intimidation).
It is important to recognize that a single act (e.g. name calling, mocking or harsh words) that causes discomfort to another may not constitute bullying that is subject to the college student conduct process. Nor does being “uncomfortable” automatically translate to being “unsafe” or being “threatened.” Each allegation must be examined with respect to its severity, repetitiveness, and tangible impact on the individual in reaching a determination as to whether the act was in violation of college policy.
Westmont does not tolerate bullying, vandalism, violence or the threat of violence against anyone. Should the behavior be related to a characteristic of a targeted person that is a legally protected status, the person engaging in the behavior also may be violating the college’s Nonconsensual Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures.
Last Updated on 8/6/19
Student Conduct Process
Student Conduct at Westmont College
Westmont desires to be a redemptive community. In order for this to occur, the college believes that students need the opportunity to learn and grow through accepting responsibility for their actions. While correction within a community is sometimes a difficult, awkward and painful process, it can and should be an opportunity for significant growth in students’ lives.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Initiating Student Conduct Proceedings
Student conduct proceedings are initiated when the dean of students (which, for all purposes described in this section, includes his or her designee) receives an incident report regarding alleged student misconduct. After this information is received, a preliminary review will take place to determine whether enough information exists to warrant a student conduct meeting. In most cases, the review is as simple as reading an incident report submitted by student life staff on the alleged misconduct. However, a review could also include interviewing witnesses or obtaining other documentation of the incident. The student facing allegations of misconduct will be notified of the alleged misconduct and given the opportunity to respond. Notification will be communicated no more than five business days following the dean of students’ receipt of information concerning the student’s alleged misconduct.
At the conclusion of the preliminary review, the dean of students will determine whether enough evidence exists to hold a student conduct meeting. If enough evidence does not exist, then no further student conduct action will be taken. If it is deemed that enough evidence exists, the dean of students will initiate a student conduct proceeding using either the Administrative or Student Conduct Panel Resolution (see section below).
Student Conduct Proceedings with Student Reporting Party
The following section describes the process used when the alleged violation is not only a violation of college policy, but also involves a student complainant (i.e. harassment, physical assault, theft, etc.). For information related to allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence, including a complete policy with definitions and an explanation of the procedures that the college will follow in such cases, refer to the Nonconsensual Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.
Upon receipt of a report whether oral or written of an alleged violation, the dean of students will begin a preliminary investigation to determine if there is enough information to merit a conduct meeting regarding the allegation. As part of the preliminary investigation, the dean of students will meet with the reporting party and the responding party separately to explain the student conduct process and obtain from each a written statement and list of witnesses, if any, who have information pertinent to the incident.
The dean of students will also determine whether interim measures should be invoked. The purpose of interim measures is, to the extent possible, to ensure the safety of all persons involved, reduce concerns for personal, physical, and emotional safety and overall prevent creation of a hostile environment for the individual and the community. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, residence hall relocations; restrictions to campus housing or other campus locations and activities; alternative class assignments or classrooms; interim suspension.
After a prompt and effective preliminary investigation of the allegation, a determination will be made by the dean of students whether or not enough information exists to hold a conduct meeting. If a decision is made that not enough evidence exists, it is not necessarily or even usually based on the accuracy of the charges but rather on the strength of the information available. In other words, if a case does not result in disciplinary action against the respondent, it does not mean there is not a victim.
If the dean of students determines that enough information exists to hold a conduct meeting, he or she will forward all relevant information to the appropriate student conduct body depending upon the type of resolution chosen by the dean of students (Administrative or Student Conduct Panel). The complainant and respondent will generally be given at least twenty-four (24) hours advance notice for Administrative Meetings, and seventy-two (72) hours advance notice of the scheduled meeting time for Student Conduct Panel Meetings.
Students are expected to participate in the student conduct process when they are called as a reporting party, responding party or witness to a meeting. Should a student fail to appear for a meeting when proper notification has been given or should the student fail to provide a statement during the conduct process, the meeting will proceed without benefit of that student’s input. Conduct meetings will be scheduled taking into consideration the student’s regular academic schedule only.
Rights of the Individual Alleging the Violation (Reporting Party)
- The right to make a report which will initiate the student conduct process.
- The right to a timely student conduct meeting after filing a report (cases reported just prior to the end of a semester may be delayed by the semester break).
- The right to a support person of her or his choice in consultation with the dean of students (or designee), who will assist the individual through the student conduct process.
- The right to pursue his or her educational experience while the student conduct process is still pending free from harassment by the responding party or individuals connected to the responding party. Anyone who feels the responding party or individuals connected to the responding party has inappropriately contacted them should immediately contact the dean of students.
- The right to confront opposing information.*
- The right to provide witnesses and information pertaining to the case.
- The right to be informed as soon as possible of the outcome of the conduct process.
- The right to confidentiality of the student conduct process to the extent possible.
- The right to request academic schedule adjustments or other academic assistance for missed classes or exams or help with rearranging coursework.
- The right to request a change of on-campus residence if both you and the accused live in residential housing, or you may request that the accused be moved pending a student conduct meeting.
- The right to request a no-contact order for the respondent as an interim measure through the student conduct process.
- The right to on-campus emergency counseling sessions with a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff.
- The right to seek off-campus medical and counseling services.
- The right to seek assistance from a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff in a client relationship or the campus pastor in a confessor relationship.
- The right to file a police report and take legal action separate from and/or in addition to student conduct process.
- The right to have legal counsel present if the conduct matter involves actual or potential criminal charges. In no case may counsel speak or take an advocacy role during the proceedings. Legal counsel present serves as the support person (not in addition to the support person.
- The right to appeal the outcome of the student conduct meeting.
Rights of the Individual Accused (Responding Party)
- The right to receive written notice of the charges.
- The right to a timely student conduct meeting after being notified of the report (cases reported just prior to the end of a semester may be delayed by the semester break).
- The right to a support person of her or his choice in consultation with the dean of students (or the dean’s designee) who will assist the individual through the student conduct process.
- The right to pursue his or her educational experience while the student conduct process is still pending free from harassment by the reporting party or individuals connected to the reporting party. Anyone who feels the reporting party or individuals connected to the reporting party has inappropriately contacted them should immediately contact the dean of students.
- The right to not be required to give incriminating evidence (the college may make negative inferences from the accused student’s decision to not give testimony).
- The right to confront opposing information.*
- The right to provide witnesses and evidence pertaining to the case.
- The right to be informed as soon as possible of the outcome of the student conduct meeting.
- The right to confidentiality of the student conduct process to the extent possible.
- The right to on-campus emergency counseling sessions with a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff. The right to seek confidential assistance from a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services staff in a client relationship or the campus pastor in a confessor relationship.
- The right to seek outside counseling support.
- The right to have legal counsel present if the conduct matter involves actual or potential criminal charges. In no case may counsel speak or take an advocacy role during the proceedings. Legal counsel present serves as the support person (not in addition to the support person.
- The right to appeal the outcome of the student conduct meeting.
*The Right To Confront Opposing Information
The right to confront opposing information does not mean that students have the right to directly confront, question or speak to witnesses. The right to confront opposing information means that the respondent and the complainant (when applicable) have the right:
- To view one another’s written statements submitted to the investigator prior to the conduct meeting.
- To be verbally informed during the conduct meeting of relevant and material, opposing information communicated to or discovered by the investigator during the course of the investigation.
- To be verbally informed during the conduct meeting of relevant and material, opposing information communicated by any witness during the conduct meeting.
Relevant and material information is information directly related to the merits of the violation alleged that when considered would influence the decision maker(s) in reaching a decision.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Support and Legal Counsel in Student Conduct Proceedings
Parents, relatives and friends are not permitted during student conduct proceedings under this policy. However, students are strongly encouraged but not required to choose—upon approval of the dean of students—a faculty or staff member to support them during student conduct proceedings. The faculty or staff member chosen may be present at any time during the proceedings but is not an advocate for the student in the proceedings and may not address the student conduct body or speak on behalf of the student. The faculty or staff member chosen may speak with the student privately and in a manner that is not disruptive.
The responding party and the reporting party (when applicable) have the right to have legal counsel present only if the conduct matter involves actual or potential criminal charges. However, in no case may counsel speak or take an advocacy role during the proceedings.
Students may not have both a support person and legal counsel present during proceedings. Any support person or legal adviser participating in the proceedings under this policy is obligated to maintain the confidentiality of the nature of the allegation(s), the content of the student conduct process, and the privacy of the reporting party, responding party and any witnesses.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Types of Student Conduct Proceedings
There are two types of student conduct proceedings:
- Administrative Resolution, and
- Student Conduct Panel Resolution.
Regardless of which proceeding is used, the responding party will not have the right to question any witness or reporting party (if applicable), but will have the opportunity to confront opposing information (see previous section titled “Confronting Opposing Information”). If the responding party refuses to answer questions at the meeting on grounds of the Fifth Amendment privilege, or if they choose not to attend the meeting, the meeting can still take place, and the student conduct body may draw negative inferences that may result in sanctions.
The details of each procedure and an explanation for when each procedure will be used are described below.
The Administrative Resolution proceeding is used in most cases and occurs when the Dean of Students determines the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation does not warrant Student Conduct Panel resolution. The Administrative Meeting is conducted by one or two student life staff members, referred to as “student conduct officers.” If, for some reason, the student responding to the alleged violation does not feel comfortable with the student conduct officers assigned to the administrative resolution, the student may request to the Dean of Students that alternative student conduct officers be assigned to their conduct meeting.
At the time of the student conduct meeting, the student facing allegations of misconduct will meet with the student conduct officer to respond to allegations of misconduct. The student may request that the student conduct officer receive written statements from any potential witnesses. The student conduct officer will review all written statements but is not required to meet with any witnesses.
Following prompt, full and effective inquiry into the merits of the information obtained, the student conduct officer will make a decision as to whether it is more likely than not that the student has violated college policy and impose sanctions if appropriate. Any sanction(s) given will be set forth in writing and delivered to the student. In most cases, notification of sanctions will be communicated no more than five business days following the decision to impose the sanction(s). In some cases due to scheduling challenges, the time may be extended.
Student Conduct Panel Resolution
The Student Conduct Panel Resolution proceeding is used when the Dean of Students determines that the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation of college policy warrant resolution by a meeting conducted by the Student Conduct Panel.
Student Conduct Panel
The Student Conduct Panel is comprised of a minimum of three student life staff who have been trained to investigate and resolve student conduct cases. One of the panel members will be the staff member who conducted the initial investigation. The Dean of Students serves as the chair of the Student Conduct Panel. The chair’s role is to facilitate the Student Conduct Panel proceeding and ensure compliance with the process and procedures outlined below. A staff member from the student life office (who does not serve on the panel) may also be present to take notes during the Student Conduct Panel’s meetings with any witnesses.
It is expected that Student Conduct Panel members will exhibit the highest ethical standards and disqualify themselves if they believe they cannot be impartial or fulfill their obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the process and the dignity and privacy of the responding party, the reporting party (if applicable), and any witnesses before, during and after the conduct meeting. The responding party and reporting party (if applicable) may raise issues of concern about the impartiality of a member of the Student Conduct Panel convened for a particular case. The vice president for student life has the sole discretion to decide whether a Student Conduct Panel member can be impartial and will remove anyone whom he/she determines is unable to be impartial and/or respectful of the confidentiality of the process and privacy of the individuals involved.
Before the Student Conduct Panel Meeting
Submission of Documentary Information
Prior to any Student Conduct Panel meeting, the responding party and, if applicable, reporting party may offer documentary information in support or defense of the allegation. The Student Conduct Panel Chair will inform the parties of the deadline for the submission of such information. Information submitted after the deadline will generally not be accepted unless prior permission from the Chair is received. It is within the discretion of the Chair to determine whether extenuating circumstances warrant an exception to the deadline communicated. The Student Conduct Panel Chair will review all information submitted and return all documents that are not relevant or material to the allegation or that are submitted after the deadline when no exception to timely submission is warranted.
Inspection and Review of Documentary Information
The Student Conduct Panel Chair will assemble for the responding party, reporting party (when applicable) and Student Conduct Panel’s review, all documentary information related to the allegations. Documentary information will generally consist of, but is not limited to:
- A statement of the specific allegations to be resolved by the Student Conduct Panel.
- A written summary of the investigation conducted.
- All relevant and material statements and documents collected by the investigator.
- All relevant and material statements and documents submitted by the responding party and reporting party (if applicable).
Notification of Student Conduct Panel Meetings
Within seven days of the Student Conduct Panel’s review of documentary information, the Student Life office will notify the responding party and the reporting party (if applicable) of the time and date of its first witness meeting. Generally the parties will receive seventy-two (72) hours advance notice of the scheduled meeting time for their respective meetings with the Student Conduct Panel. While participation in the Student Conduct process is voluntary, students are expected to participate in the student conduct process upon request. Should a student fail to appear for a meeting when proper notification has been given or should the student fail to provide a statement during the conduct process, the meeting will proceed without benefit of that student’s input. Meetings with the Student Conduct Panel will be scheduled taking into consideration students’ regular academic schedules only.
A responding party or reporting party (if applicable) who believes a member of the Student Conduct Panel presents a conflict of interest or who in some way is incapable of making an impartial decision in the case before the Student Conduct Panel should report the information to the Dean of Students who will inform the vice president for student life of the potential conflict. The vice president for student life will make the decision as to whether recusal is appropriate.
Student Life is committed to prompt resolution of all student conduct proceedings. However, in some cases, such as insuring the thoroughness of the review or to permit time for students to secure legal counsel, the Dean of Students will permit a short delay of the proceedings.
Student Conduct Panel Meeting
Once convened by the Chair, the Student Conduct Panel may conduct several meetings as part of its proceedings under this policy. In addition to its meetings with the reporting party (if applicable) and responding party, the Student Conduct panel may meet with all, some or none of the witnesses identified in the documentary information it receives.
The responding party and the reporting party (if applicable) will not have the right to directly question one another or any other witnesses (if applicable), but will have the opportunity to confront opposing information (see previous section titled “Confronting Opposing Information”). If a student refuses to answer questions at the meeting on grounds of the Fifth Amendment privilege, or if they choose not to attend the meeting, the meeting can still take place, and the panel may draw negative inferences that may result in sanctions. Student Conduct Panel meetings are private. As a general rule, the Student Conduct Panel will meet with the following individuals over the course of one or more days:
- The Reporting Party
- The Responding Party
- Any witnesses requested by the Student Conduct Panel
Each of these will meet individually with the Student Conduct Panel when called by the panel. Each party’s designated adviser may join the party when she/he meets with the panel.
Prior to the Student Conduct Panel deliberations, the Chair will give members of the panel the opportunity to ask follow up questions of the responding party, the reporting party (if applicable) and any witnesses previously met. Therefore, all participants should remain available for recall prior the Student Conduct Panel’s deliberations.
At the conclusion of its meetings, the Student Conduct Panel will deliberate in private, and, weighing all of the available information, the Student Conduct Panel will determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of college policy occurred. This level of proof is commonly referred to as a “preponderance of the evidence.” This level is a lesser level than that used in the criminal justice system, which requires that a case be established “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Student Conduct Panel will determine one of the following appropriate findings by majority vote:
a. It is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred, and the responding party is responsible; the Student Conduct Panel will impose sanctions, as appropriate; or
b. It is more likely than not that the alleged violation did not occur and the responding party is not responsible; or
c. There is not sufficient information available to make a determination.
Note: In the event of a finding of (b) or (c) is reached by the panel, the finding is not necessarily based on the accuracy of the charges but rather on the strength of the information available.
The chair of the Student Conduct Panel will communicate the findings of the Student Conduct Panel to the responding party and the reporting party (if applicable) in writing generally within seven (7) business days. Unavoidable delay in providing notice of outcome shall not constitute an appealable procedural error.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Students often ask what happens when a college policy is violated. The short answer is that our hope is to provide as redemptive of a process as possible. We all make mistakes. In fact, learning from our mistakes is one of the ways we learn. Most of the mistakes students make won’t keep them from continuing as a student at the college, but it will often require some action as a means of accountability and to encourage different decisions in the future. Our goal is to provide clear expectations and a supportive environment to encourage students to live within the guidelines we have agreed upon.
With that in mind, the following section lists some examples of student conduct violations that differ in levels of seriousness and the more common resulting sanctions (consequences). This list is not exhaustive but it serves as a guide in the student conduct process. In reviewing each violation, the following variables will be considered to determine the range of appropriate sanctions and whether or not additional sanctions may be imposed beyond this general framework: attitude and/or truthfulness of student when confronted and throughout the student conduct process, prior student conduct violations, impact of the violation on the community, when the misconduct occurred, and whether or not the student came forward to assume responsibility.
Level I Violations
Generally result in losing some privileges (e.g. open hour visitation) and/or a fine. Students may also be assigned an active sanction* as appropriate, or may receive a warning (for very minor violations).
- Repeated noise violation
- Open hour violation
- Tobacco on campus
- Candle hazard
- Dining commons behavior
- Sports in the halls
- Pet policy violation
Level II Violations
Generally result in losing some privileges and being assigned active sanctions*. In addition, a student is typically placed on Student Life Probation or Deferred Suspension (depending upon the severity of the violation and/or previous student conduct violations).
- Three Level I violations during a 12 month time period
- Alcohol violations
- Possession or use of controlled substance
- Sexual misconduct
- Abuse of the student conduct process
- Disruption of college activities
- Failure to comply with college official
- Failure to complete assigned sanctions
- Property damage/vandalism
Level III Violations
Generally result in an immediate suspension from the college for one or more semesters. Can also result in expulsion from the college.
- Assault (physical or sexual)
- Providing or sale of a controlled substance
- Multiple Level II violations in the same incident (based on severity of the violations)
*Active Sanctions: In keeping with our goal of making the student conduct process a redemptive and learning experience, students are often required to complete an assignment that is designed to offer opportunities to develop new knowledge or skills, reflect on their experiences, and contribute to the community in some way. Some examples of these opportunities are written reflection papers, community service, mentoring, educational programs, and counseling.
Sanctions may also include, but are not limited to one or more of the following:
- Formal apology. A written and/or verbal apology to the offended party/parties.
- Restitution. Compensation for loss, damages or injury. This may take the form of completing appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Fines. Previously established and published fines may be imposed.
- Parental Notification. Parental notification may be required as a sanction through the student conduct process, and is generally required as a result of violations of the alcohol or drug policy. Parental notification will occur if a student is claimed as a dependent and is either found responsible for any Level III violation, placed on deferred suspension, suspended or expelled.
- Drug testing. Students who violate the drug policy are generally required to participate in random drug testing for a period of time.
- Loss of privileges. Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time. Loss of privileges includes, but is not limited to, open hours, vehicle permit, living in residence halls or off-campus, entering the dining commons, withholding transcripts, and attending or participating in college programs or activities (such as athletic events, intramurals, music performances, drama productions, intercollegiate athletics, graduation exercises, student leadership positions, club activities, off-campus study programs, summer travel programs, etc.).
- Warnings. Verbal or written notification that a student’s conduct should not continue, and similar violations of college policy with result in more serious sanctions.
- Notice of Reprimand. A written notification that a student’s conduct was inappropriate for a member of the college community. The notice of reprimand lets a student know that similar violations of college policy will likely result in further restrictions such as, but not limited to, Student Life probation or deferred suspension. A recent notice of reprimand may, but does not always, restrict a student’s ability to participate in certain leadership positions, and certain activities such as study abroad programs, or other activities in which the student is representing the college. A notice of reprimand is treated as educational counseling—rather than a disciplinary sanction— for the purposes of reporting to agencies outside the college.
- Student Life probation. A period of review during which the student must demonstrate the ability to comply with the Community Life Statement and other college policies or requirements. Probation status takes away the privilege of holding certain student leadership positions. Probation may, but does not always, restrict a student’s ability to participate in activities such as study abroad programs, or other activities in which the student is representing the college. Students are typically placed on Student Life probation for 15 or 30 weeks of the academic calendar. Violations that occur during the probation period may lead to further restrictions such as, but not limited to, extension of the probationary period, deferred suspension, or suspension from the college.
- Deferred suspension. Deferred suspension is a period of review during which the student must demonstrate an ability to comply with the Community Life Statement and other college policies or requirements. If, during the period of deferred suspension, the student is found responsible for a similar or more serious violation, the student will be suspended from the college (the suspension may be imposed immediately with the loss of the current semester). Deferred suspension status takes away the privilege of holding certain student leadership positions. Deferred suspension may, but does not always, restrict a student’s ability to participate in activities such as study abroad programs, or other programs in which the student is representing the college. Students are placed on deferred suspension for 15 or 30 weeks of the academic calendar. If, during the period of the deferred suspension, a student is found responsible for a Level I violation, the period of the deferred suspension for the student will be extended.
- College suspension. Separation of the student from the campus for a specified period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. While suspended, students may not be on campus or participate in any college related event. Length of suspensions may vary from one or more days to one or more semesters. The timing of the suspension will not occur at the convenience of the student. The Academic Policies and Procedures state, “Faculty are not permitted to provide make-up opportunities or alter established class schedules for suspended students. Where this creates a hardship for students, they are to be referred to the dean of students.” Conditions for the student’s return to campus may be specified. If a student is suspended for the remainder of a semester or the entire semester, they must re-apply for admission to the college.
- College expulsion. Permanent separation of the student from the college.
Under either Student Conduct proceeding, while the investigation is being conducted, and based upon the information received by the dean of students regarding the matter, the dean of students may take any one or more of the following actions: Impose immediate interim sanctions pending a final determination in the matter, including, but not limited to: no contact orders; removal from the residence halls; suspension from campus, classes, or Westmont-related off campus events.
The interim sanction will remain in effect until it is otherwise revoked by an appropriate representative of the college or expires by its own terms.
Failure to Complete Sanctions
As is noted in a student’s decision letter given at their sanction meeting, failure to complete all sanctions by the deadline given is a Level II violation and therefore results in further sanctions. Sanctions given as a result of missed deadlines may include, but are not limited to, the extension or addition of probationary status, additional sanctions being assigned, or registration cancellation (depending on timing during semester).
Sanctions and Student Records
Student conduct sanctions are maintained in the student’s confidential record in the student life office and may be disclosed to other college personnel with a legitimate educational interest in the information in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Student conduct sanctions are not part of the student’s academic transcript but shall become part of the student’s student conduct record. A student’s student conduct record is cumulative over the course of his or her academic career. Student conduct records other than reportable Clery Act or Title IX offenses, or the imposition of sanctions involving college suspension or expulsion shall be expunged from the student’s confidential record within one year of graduation (or expected graduation date if the student has withdrawn from the college). Student conduct records involving reportable Clery Act or Title IX offenses, and/or the sanction of college suspension are kept for a minimum of seven years from the date sanctions are imposed, and shall be expunged from the student’s confidential record prior to the start of the following academic year after having been kept for seven years. Student conduct records involving the sanction of college expulsion are kept indefinitely.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Students may request review of decisions rendered in student conduct meetings by making an appeal. In cases involving a student reporting party, the reporting party may also appeal the decision. Appeals must be submitted to the Vice President for Student Life in writing via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org within three business days of the decision. Appeals will be reviewed by the vice president for student life (or designee). Any requests for extension must be made in writing to the vice president for student life within the original three day appeal time period. Extensions for appeals are rarely granted, and will only be granted in extremely unusual circumstances. The decision to grant or deny an extension is within the sole discretion of the vice president for student life.
If an appeal is received from either the responding party or the reporting party (if applicable), the Dean of Students will notify, in writing, the non-appealing student within two business days of receipt of the appeal that an appeal has been filed.
Only one request for an appeal may be submitted by either the responding party and/or the reporting party (if applicable).
An appeal must be in writing and consist of:
- A completed Appeal Request form (available in the Student Life office), and
- A statement outlining and supporting the specific grounds on which the student is appealing.
The appeal is not a rehearing of the original case and the role of the appeal officer is not to substitute his or her own judgment for the judgment of the original decision. The role of the appeal officer is to determine whether a new decision should be considered due to a procedural error, the availability of new information or the imposition of excessive sanctions. Therefore, a student’s appeal must be based on one or more of the following grounds:
- A process or procedural error was made that was significantly prejudicial to the outcome of the student conduct meeting as it affects the student appealing.
- New information that was not available or known to the student appealing at the time of the student conduct meeting has arisen which, when considered, may materially alter the outcome. Note: Information that the appealing student chose not to present at the time of the hearing is not considered new information.
- The sanctions imposed are so severe — considering the nature of the violation, student attitude, previous history, impact of the student’s behavior on the community and other specific circumstances — that they demonstrate an abuse of discretion by the student conduct officer or Student Conduct Panel. (Note: a reporting party may use the same grounds to appeal that sanctions imposed are not severe enough.)
It is not enough to simply assert one of the grounds for appeal. The written statement accompanying the appeal form must provide information that supports grounds upon which the student bases the appeal. For example: If the student asserts that a procedural error occurred, he or she must name the procedure with specificity and explain how the error affected the decision made. If an appeal does not contain sufficient information to support the grounds upon which the student bases the appeal, review of the appeal will be denied.
During the appeal process, the vice president for student life may choose to set aside sanctions as appropriate.
Preliminary Review of Appeal
The vice president for student life will grant or deny review of decisions rendered in student conduct meetings based on the student’s written appeal. The decision to grant or deny review of the original decision will be made within three business days following receipt of appeal.
- Review Denied: vice president for student life will not review an original decision based on an appeal that fails to meet the criteria outlined above. In such cases, the vice president for student life will make no inquiry beyond the written material submitted and the original decision and any sanctions imposed will stand.
- Review Granted: If the student’s written appeal satisfies the appeal criteria, the vice president for student life will grant a review of the original decision.
If the vice president for student life grants a review of the appeal, the vice president for student life will communicate to the non-appealing student (if applicable) this decision and provide the non-appealing student an opportunity to view a copy of the appeal. Within three business days of such notification, the non-appealing student may submit a written statement to the vice president for student life that he/she wishes to be considered by the vice president for student life.
The vice president for student life has two options regarding who will make a decision on the appeal:
- The vice president for student life will make a decision on the appeal; or
- The vice president for student life will refer the appeal back to the original decision body (Student Conduct Panel or student conduct officers) for a decision on the appeal. If the vice president for student life refers the appeal to the original decision body for a decision, the vice president for student life will give instructions to the original decision body to review the original decision in light of the information contained in the appeal.
The choice between who will review the appeal is in the sole discretion of the vice president for student life. The vice president for student life will communicate to the appealing student whether the vice president for student life or the original decision body will be the reviewing the appeal.
As part of the appeal review process, the reviewing body will consider material and/or testimony previously presented or a written summary of the previous proceedings. The review body may, but is not required to, meet with the responding party, reporting party (if applicable), any witnesses and/or members of the original decision body (if reviewed by the vice president for student life) prior to making a decision regarding the appeal.
Following a prompt and effective review, the vice president for student life or the original review body (as appropriate) will communicate a decision on the student’s appeal no later than ten business days following the decision to grant a review of the original decision. The decision will be communicated in writing to the appealing student (and non-appealing student, if applicable).
The decision will be in one of the two following forms:
- Original Decision Upheld: Where review of the original decision does not demonstrate a different decision is warranted, the original decision will be upheld.
- Original Decision Modified: Where review of the original decision demonstrates support for the appeal and a different decision is warranted, the review body will modify the original decision. This decision may include sanctions being decreased, modified, or revoked. Only in instances when a reporting party appeals the decision may sanctions be increased.
The decision on the appeal is final, and no other office will accept or review appeals following the decision.
Last Updated on 8/7/19
Non-Disciplinary Policy of Westmont College
Students struggling with difficult issues in their personal lives are encouraged to seek out a student life staff member for help at any time. Except in situations where the college is required by law to take appropriate disciplinary action (e.g. harassment, sexual assault, etc.), students who come to a Student Life professional staff member for help related to lifestyle behaviors (e.g. alcohol, drug use, tobacco dependency, sexual issues, etc.) prior to staff becoming aware of a violation of college policy will be offered support and help outside of the regular student conduct process.
Last Updated on 8/7/19