Policy Title

Student Conduct Code


To emphasize the University's commitment to a campus community which exercises the responsible engagement of student freedoms and to balance student's pursuit of excellence and exploration with consideration to the impact of behavior on others.  


Registered Winthrop University students (on-campus and on-line degree seekers, student group(s) and student organizations.

Policy Number:3.1.1
Effective Date:09/19/2018
Date Reviewed: 09/19/2018
Last Review Date: Jan 1 2016 12:00AM
Responsible Official: Vice President for Student Affairs
Responsible Office:
Contact Information:

Student Conduct

246 DiGiorgio Center

Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA


803/323-4514 (Fax)


1.0 Specific meanings of bold terms seen throughout this policy can be found within the University's policy definition glossary by following the link below.

1.1 http://www.winthrop.edu/policy-definitions-glossary

I. Rights and Responsibilities of Students

Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Winthrop University recognizes that its students retain all of the rights provided by the constitutions of the United States and State of South Carolina, Federal and state statutes, and applicable University policies, while attending the University Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. Freedom of the individual may be defined as the right to act or speak, so long as it does not adversely affect the rights of others. Believing in this concept, Winthrop University will protect freedom of action and freedom of speech for both students and employees, so long as it is not of an inflammatory or demeaning nature and does not interfere with the students’ living and study conditions and the administration of its affairs. It shall constitute a disruptive act for any member of the campus community to engage in any conduct which would substantially obstruct, interfere with or impair instruction, research, administration, authorized use of University facilities, the rights and privileges of other members of the Winthrop community, or disciplinary proceedings. Moreover, Winthrop University is committed to improving the quality of student life by promoting an, inclusive educational experience. Therefore, bias-driven misconduct will not be tolerated. Rights and freedoms imply duties and responsibilities. Note should be taken that a student who exercises his or her rights as a private citizen—whether individually or as a member of a group—must assume full responsibility for his or her actions. All Winthrop students must abide by local, state, and federal laws and with all published University policies and regulations. Violations of laws and Winthrop University regulations will subject the involved student (s) to disciplinary action by the University and/or the appropriate civil or criminal court. 

II. Authority and Responsibility 

Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals. Student organizations have similar responsibility for maintaining good conduct among their members and guests, as well as at the activities they sponsor. Organizations wishing to become chartered that violate Winthrop policy or do not fulfill requirements to be a chartered organization can still be subject to this Student Conduct Code and possible restrictions outside the code. Restrictions will be overseen by the Assistant Director for Student Activities and monitored by the Dean of Students office if no formal charges are brought. All members of the campus community are expected to use reasonable judgment in their daily campus life and to show due concern for the welfare and rights of others. This code is promulgated in accordance with the policies of the Board of Trustees of Winthrop University. The Vice President for Student Affairs as the President’s designee in these matters shall normally obtain the advice of the Judicial Council before recommending changes in rules governing student rights, responsibilities and conduct. Under normal circumstances, the Vice President for Student Affairs will designate the responsibility for the operation of the Student Conduct Code to the Department of Student Life, particularly the Dean of Students. This responsibility includes formulating and implementing operating procedures for the judicial consideration of conduct violations and the imposition of sanctions in an efficient, consistent, fair, legal and educational manner. The Dean may further delegate responsibility to various judicial bodies and administrative staff, including but not limited to Assistant Dean’s, Director’s and Assistant Director’s within the division, and Residential Learning Coordinators. The President of Winthrop University is authorized to assign disciplinary cases to special hearing committees or officers as the President deems appropriate. 

III. Application of Laws and Off-Campus Activities

Winthrop University is not a sanctuary beyond the reach of the criminal laws of the United States, the State of South Carolina, and the City of Rock Hill. While the rules and regulations of Winthrop University are not meant to duplicate general laws, there are some aspects in which the lawful interests of the institutions as an academic community coincide with the broader public interest treated in general laws. Students, or student organizations, who commit offenses against the laws of municipalities, states, or the United States, are subject to prosecution by those authorities and may be subject to disciplinary action under University rules when their conduct violates institutional standards. Winthrop students, enrolled in on-campus courses or online/distance education courses, as well as student organizations are subject to the provisions of this Student Conduct Code while on University premises or University-related premises, and when involved with off-campus Winthrop activities. Individual students, as well as student organizations, can be held accountable to this code for their off-campus activities when it can be ascertained that the off-campus act has a direct detrimental impact on the University’s educational functions, or could present safety concerns. Students and student organizations may also be held accountable to this code for their off-campus conduct if their conduct includes acts of violence, or results in serious criminal charges. Any disciplinary action imposed by Winthrop may precede and be in addition to any penalty imposed by an off-campus authority. 

IV. Prohibited Conduct

The following constitutes the official record of general violations of conduct rules and regulations at Winthrop University. Students and student organizations are expected to abide by these regulations. These regulations are not designed to define prohibited conduct in exhaustive terms. Additional rules and regulations may be adopted and will be promulgated through campus communication channels. A student or student organization that is responsible for misconduct or is responsible for being an accessory to misconduct shall be subject to the sanctions authorized by this code. Students who anticipate or observe a violation of university policy are expected to remove themselves from participation and are encouraged to report violations. Areas of misconduct include: 

A. Actual or threatened disruption of classes, seminars, research projects, or functions or activities of the University. Behavior that disturbs the public order and peace and/or the living and learning environment of the residence halls, recreational facilities, student organizations or other learning environments is prohibited. Excessive and unreasonable requests and/ or demands for university services and resources, to the extent that they limit or interfere with the ability of faculty/staff to meet other university needs and functions, are disruptive to the operations of the university. 

B. Actual or threatened physical assault or injury to persons. 

C. Actual, threatened, or attempted sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. This includes but is not limited to offensive touching; non-consensual sexual assault; forced sexual assault; stalking; cyber-stalking; self-exposure; or sexual exploitation and other sexual misconduct violations. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal, electronic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive, and objectionably offensive, such that it undermines the victim’s educational experience and denies equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities. Additionally sexual misconduct includes conduct that is directed towards a person or group because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. See the expanded definitions and descriptions of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment as well as campus disciplinary procedures in the Sexual Misconduct Policy section of the Student Handbook.

D. Bullying – Intimidating or threatening an individual with harm is prohibited. Bullying is defined as any pattern of gestures or written, electronic, or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication which (1) places a person in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property; or (2) creates or is likely to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational opportunities or benefits; or (3) involves coercion or required behaviors or activities defined as hazing in the hazing policy; or (4) includes personally abusive epithets when directly addressed to any ordinary person, in the context used and as a matter of common knowledge, are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction, whether or not they actually do so. Such words include, but are not limited to, those terms widely recognized to be derogatory references to race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other personal characteristics.

E. Disorderly conduct – Individual or group behavior which unnecessarily disturbs individuals or groups is prohibited. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome physical contact, hazing, and boisterous or threatening conduct which is unreasonable for the area, time, or manner in which it occurs.

F. Drugs – The manufacture, distribution, sale, use, offer for sale, or possession of drugs or narcotics, or drug paraphernalia in accordance with State statutes.

G. Behavior or activities which endanger the safety of oneself or others – This includes, but is not limited to, destructive behavior by individuals and/or groups and any dangerous behavior that is disruptive.

H. Possession and/or use of firearms, weapons or dangerous items – Winthrop University is unwilling to allow even the mere presence of dangerous weapons/ items. This includes but is not limited to firearms, fireworks or any item with gun powder, dangerous weapons such bladed weapons and projectile devices, and hazardous chemicals. While some objects are clearly dangerous, what is used dangerously may also be considered a weapon.

I. Damage to property – Damage, destruction, or defacement of University property or property of any person as a result of a deliberate action or as a result of reckless or imprudent behavior.

J. Theft of property – Theft of University property or possession of stolen University property or property of any person.

K. Misuse of University documents – Forging, transferring, altering, or otherwise misusing any Winthrop document, including identification cards, course registration material, or other document or record.

L. Unauthorized use of the name or insignia of the University by individuals or groups.

M. Unauthorized presence in or forceful entry into a University facility or University-related premises.

N. Misuse of telephone – No student shall make or assist in making unauthorized or annoying telephone calls or otherwise misuse or abuse telephone equipment.

O. Violations of any of the restrictions, conditions or terms of any sanctions resulting from a previously held disciplinary hearing or failure to complete conditions or terms within the designated time.

P. Misappropriation or misuse of student club/organization funds or property – This includes, but is not limited to, over-extension of the budget of a student club/organization; spending receipts prior to proper deposit; and unauthorized personal use of equipment.

Q. Computer abuse – This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism of programs; misuse of computer accounts; unauthorized destruction of files; creating illegal accounts; possession of unauthorized passwords; and disruptive or annoying behavior on the University’s computer systems.

R. Providing false information – In the application for admission, petitions, requests, disciplinary hearing or other matters of record and transaction with officials of Winthrop University.

S. False reporting of an emergency – The false reports of a bomb, fire or other emergency in any building, structure or facility by means of activating an alarm or in any other manner is prohibited. This includes the tampering, damaging, or misuse of fire equipment.

T. Violation of Privacy – Photographing, audio or video recording, producing, or creating or distributing a digital electronic file or filming another person without that person’s knowledge and consent, while the person is in a place where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy is prohibited. Examples include residence hall rooms, bathrooms, locker rooms, study areas and instructional space. This item excludes students who are provided accommodations through the office of Accessibility. See also Winthrop University’s Policy on the Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources.

U. Failure to identify oneself when requested by persons in authority who are in the process of discharging their responsibilities.

V. Intimidation or harassment of any person involved in a campus disciplinary investigation or hearing or of faculty, staff, or student staff who are in the process of discharging their official responsibilities is prohibited.

W. Unauthorized use or possession of keys – No one may use or possess any University key without proper authorization. No student is allowed under any condition to have a University key duplicated.

X. Sale of textbooks – The sale of a textbook by any student who does not own the book is prohibited without prior authorization from the owner of the book.

Y. Violation of the University’s alcoholic beverage policy.

Z. Violation of the University’s fundraising, solicitation, canvassing, assembly, and posting policies.

AA. Violation of the University’s hazing policy.

BB. Violations of the Residence Hall contract. This includes, any matters and behaviors not specifically listed under Judicial Board or Residence Life Office jurisdiction.

CC. Violations of University policies and procedures – Failure to abide by any published University policy or procedure is prohibited, including the General Conduct Policy.

DD. Unauthorized or misuse of University property or equipment.

EE. An arrest or issuance of a citation for commission of any act which is a violation of a criminal law of the United States.

FF. Violations of the Academic Misconduct Policy.

GG. Failure to comply with a reasonable request of authorized University personnel. This includes but is not limited to, Assistant Directors of Residence Life, Residential Learning Coordinators, Resident Directors, Resident Assistants (RA) or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties.

V. Student Academic Misconduct

A fundamental tenet of all institutions of higher learning is academic honesty. Academic work must depend upon respect for and acknowledgement of the research and ideas of others. Misrepresentation of someone else’s work as one’s own is a most serious offense in any academic setting. Academic misconduct in any form cannot be condoned. Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to providing or receiving assistance in a manner not authorized by the professor in the creation of work to be submitted for academic evaluation including papers, projects, and examinations; presenting, as one’s own, the ideas or words of another for academic evaluation without proper acknowledgement; doing unauthorized academic work for which another person will receive credit or be evaluated; and presenting the same or substantially the same papers or projects in two or more courses without the explicit permission of the professors involved.

In addition, academic misconduct involves attempting to influence one’s academic evaluation by means other than academic achievement or merit. More explicit definitions of academic misconduct specific to certain academic disciplines may be promulgated by academic departments and colleges.

One who knowingly cooperates with another in an act of academic misconduct is an accessory to that academic misconduct. Thus a student who writes a paper or does an assignment for another student is an accomplice and will be held accountable just as severely as the other. Any student who knowingly permits another to copy from his or her own paper, examination or project shall be held as accountable as the student who submits the copied material.

The following procedural guidelines are to be followed in matters of alleged academic misconduct:

V. Student Academic Misconduct

The following procedural guidelines are to be followed in matters of alleged academic misconduct:

A. During the course of an examination or other exercise, an instructor or proctor who observes suspicious behavior such as copying or collusion may warn the individuals involved of the appearance of their actions and request them to cease immediately. Continuation of such behavior can be considered evidence of academic misconduct. The professor is not obligated to warn students beforehand and the cessation of the suspicious behavior does not relieve the student of a later judgment of academic dishonesty.

B. A remarkable similarity between works supposedly completed independently that are submitted for evaluation may be considered evidence indicating academic misconduct.

C. When a professor believes there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a clear case of academic misconduct, the professor shall notify the student in writing (email or snail mail). Notification should occur within 30 days of discovery of the academic misconduct. The notice shall indicate that unless the student requests a hearing, the professor shall impose the appropriate academic consequences warranted by the circumstances and that a disciplinary hearing may be initiated. The appropriate academic consequence for serious offenses is generally considered to be failure in the course (students may not withdraw from a course to avoid an F grade as the academic consequence for a violation). For less serious offenses regarding small portions of the course work, failure for that portion is suggested with the requirement that the student repeat the work for no credit. The faculty member is responsible for saving the evidence of academic misconduct in its original form and need not return any of the papers or other materials to the student. Copies of the student’s work and information about other evidence will be provided to the student upon request.

D. The student is given five business days (excluding weekends and holidays) from the first written notice to respond. If the student acknowledges responsibility or if the student does not respond to the written notice, the academic consequences shall be imposed by the professor who will also submit a report to the Dean of the college and the Dean of Students.

E. If the professor requests or if the student has a prior disciplinary record or unusual circumstances exist, the Dean of Students can initiate a hearing utilizing the regular discipline process as stipulated in the Student Conduct Code which may alter the student’s status with the University. Hearings can be conducted via video-conference for student’s enrolled in on-line degree programs.

F. If a student chooses to contest the charge of academic misconduct the student may request in writing to the professor with a copy to the Dean of Students, a disciplinary hearing to determine the facts of the alleged misconduct. The Dean of Students shall initiate the regular disciplinary process. The purpose of the hearing is to determine the student’s responsibility for the alleged academic misconduct. If the student is deemed by the hearing authority as stipulated in the Student Conduct Code to be responsible for a violation, the professor shall determine the appropriate academic consequences within the course and the hearing authority will decide what regular disciplinary sanction, including suspension or expulsion, will be imposed. If the hearing authority determines the student was not responsible for a violation, no academic consequences within the course can be imposed by the professor.

G. The Dean of Students is responsible for assisting students, professors and hearing authorities in matters of process and procedure associated with Winthrop’s academic misconduct policy. The Dean of Students will inform the Dean of the College in which the student is enrolled that the case has been reported and of any final action taken by the professor and/or the hearing authority.

H. Supplementary Procedures for Academic Misconduct for Graduate Students – Winthrop holds its graduate students to the highest standard of academic and professional responsibilities. Because of these high standards, and due to specific academic accreditation requirements for many of our graduate programs, students found responsible for academic misconduct may be dismissed from the graduate program in which they are enrolled, even if the original regular hearing authority did not determine expulsion or suspension from the university.

Students dismissed from a graduate program because of academic misconduct may apply for admission to a different graduate program after a period of two years if not expelled from the university by the original regular hearing authority. All documentation related to any prior academic misconduct will become part of the subsequent application. 

Procedures for Cases of Graduate Academic Misconduct:

The following outlines the disciplinary process for cases of academic misconduct at the graduate level:

1) In terms of assigning appropriate academic consequences for academic misconduct within a specific course, a faculty member will follow the same procedures for graduate students as undergraduate students as outlined in item V. C. of the Student Conduct Code. He or she will notify the student and copy the Academic Dean, the Dean of Students, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

2) Consistent with institutional policy in the Student Conduct Code, the graduate student has Five business days (excluding weekends and holidays) to contest the charge of academic misconduct and request in writing to the professor with a copy to the Dean of Students a disciplinary hearing to determine the facts of the alleged misconduct. If the graduate student disputes the findings of fact, the case is referred by the Dean of Students directly to the Judicial Council or administrative hearing authority, and a hearing is conducted according to the procedures spelled out in the Student Conduct Code. If the Judicial Council or hearing authority determines the student was not responsible for a violation, no academic consequences within the course can be imposed by the faculty member.

3) If the graduate student has accepted his or her responsibility for academic misconduct or been found responsible, the faculty member who originally discovered the misconduct, the graduate program director/coordinator, or department chair may recommend in writing to the student’s Academic College Dean that the student be dismissed from the student’s graduate program for not meeting the professional standards, competencies and expectations for the student’s graduate academic program.

4) This recommendation must be made in writing and copied to the student. This recommendation will be distinct from the original notice of disciplinary sanctions sent directly to the student and will be supported with all necessary information, including the findings of Judicial Council or hearing authority (if applicable).

5) When a recommendation for dismissal is brought forward to the Academic College Dean, he or she will review all of the available evidence and information, and consult with the faculty member, department chair, program coordinator, graduate director and other parties as appropriate. The Academic College Dean will decide to either 1) limit the academic consequences to those which were assigned in the class; or 2) affirm the academic consequences assigned in the class and recommend to the Dean of Students and Dean of the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from his or her graduate program. If the Academic College Dean chooses to recommend dismissal, he or she will make available all relevant information, including references to specific professional standards, that supports the recommendation for dismissal. The Academic College Dean will render his or her decision within five business days (excluding weekends and holidays) of receiving the formal recommendation. Regardless of the decision, the Academic College Dean notifies the student in writing of his or her recommendation and copies the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the International Center (if applicable).

6) If the Academic College Dean formally recommends dismissal, the graduate student has 7 days from the written notice to respond to the Academic College Dean in writing copied to the Dean of Students and the Dean of the Graduate School. In his or her appeal, the graduate student will include any new or mitigating information to be considered. If the graduate student does not respond to the notice of pending dismissal from the Academic College Dean, he or she is accepting his or her dismissal from the graduate program and the case goes no further and the dismissal is final. The Dean of the Graduate School, in this case, will notify the student in writing with copies to all appropriate parties.

7) If the graduate student formally appeals in writing the Academic College Dean’s recommendation for dismissal, he or she may continue to register and/or attend classes until the time at which the final decision is rendered by the Graduate School Judicial Review Committee, which is comprised of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of Students, and the Dean of the Graduate School. After receiving the formal appeal, the Dean of Students will convene the Graduate School Judicial Review Committee, which will review all of the information, including the findings of the original Judicial Council or hearing authority (if applicable), and consult with any and all parties as appropriate.

8) The Graduate School Judicial Review Committee will 1) accept the recommendation and dismiss the student from the graduate program; or 2) reject the recommendation and allow the student to continue in his or her graduate program of study. Regardless of the decision, the Vice President for Academic Affairs notifies the student in writing and copies all appropriate parties. All records are maintained in accord with appropriate university protocols. 

VI. Disciplinary Process

All students and student organizations are subject to the disciplinary procedures prescribed in this code. If a student, allegedly involved in a violation of the Student Conduct Code, separates or graduates from the University prior to resolution, the disciplinary process can continue at the discretion of the University. If a hearing is not pursued upon the separation of the student, the pending charges will be resolved, at the discretion of the University, prior to any future readmission. Lower-level violations that occur in the residence halls may be resolved administratively by Residence Life staff members, all of whom are deputized to operate within this Code. All functions of the disciplinary process will be modified as needed, to accommodate students enrolled in on-line degree programs

A. Initiation of the Disciplinary Process – The Department of Student Life bears the responsibility for the initiation of disciplinary procedures against a student for alleged misconduct which could result in expulsion or suspension from the University. The Department of Student Affairs will review instances of reported misconduct to determine if disciplinary proceedings should be initiated. Any member of the campus community may register a complaint in writing with the Department of Student Life against a student for alleged violation of University policy. In the absence of sufficient information as determined by the Dean of Students or designee, a complaint will be dismissed.

B. Notification– Once it is determined that disciplinary proceedings will be initiated, the student or student organization alleged of misconduct, will be provided written notification of the allegations. Notification will specify the alleged violation of this code. Notification will also inform the student to arrange immediately a pre-hearing interview with the Dean of Students or designee. If the student does not arrange for a pre-hearing interview, a copy of the Student Conduct Code, and a letter scheduling a hearing will be sent to the student.

C. Options for Resolution– It should be clearly understood that there is a fundamental difference between the nature of student conduct and that of criminal law. Regardles