Student Conduct System

Statement of Purpose

The Student Code of Conduct forms the foundation for behavioral expectations in the Niagara University community. Working within the educational mission and Vincentian values of the university, the Student Code of Conduct strives to instill moral and ethical values, integrity and respect for the human dignity of community members. The enforcement of the Student Code of Conduct protects the rights, health and safety of all members so that they may pursue their educational goals without unwarranted interference. Students, along with members of the faculty, administration and staff, share the responsibility for the building and maintaining of an environment conducive to learning and development.  

By their voluntary attendance at Niagara University, students agree to comply with the regulations and procedures set forth by the Student Code of Conduct. It is an expectation that all students read and understand the code. Students should expect to be held accountable for their actions and behavior both on and off campus and will be afforded the opportunity to contribute to the review of their actions.

Guiding Principles

Studying at Niagara University is a privilege best safeguarded by each student’s contributed use of good judgment and consideration for the rights and property of others. The Student Code of Conduct and procedures is aimed to support the educational mission and Vincentian values of the university and to encourage the mutual respect for all community members and their surroundings.  

Integrity

Consistent, continuing truthfulness to oneself and to others. Community members are expected to act in a positively honest and ethical manner in all aspects of the college environment, both in and outside the classroom.  

Respect for Others

Community members are expected to respect the God-given dignity of every person regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, political view, physical abilities, age or intelligence.  

Respect for Surroundings

It is a shared responsibility to respect both university property and the private property of all community members.    

Citizenship & Service

Encouraging civility, care and respect for individuals and responsibility to the broader community.  

Educational

The Student Conduct process is educational in that sanctions will be assigned in an effort to encourage behaviors that contribute to the well being of campus. Sanctions will be used to promote the expectations put forth by the Student Code of Conduct.  

Students are not immune from local, provincial or federal laws because of their affiliation with Niagara University. The university reserves the right to take disciplinary action, independent of local authorities, for violations that take place off campus that may reflect negatively on the university. When appropriate, the university will advise appropriate officials when violations of civil or criminal law have been committed on campus. In instances where conduct violations could be actionable in court, the university’s student conduct procedures will proceed normally and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges regarding the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.  

Student Code of Conduct

Behavior that violates university standards of conduct listed here and elsewhere will be subject to educative action through the appropriate student conduct process. If it is determined that a group is responsible for a violation, either by direct involvement or by condoning, encouraging or covering up the violation, appropriate action will be taken with respect to the group as well as to the individuals involved.  

Students will be expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct, university rules and procedures, and all federal, state and local laws. With that in mind, students are advised: 

  • these expectations apply to behavior both on campus and off campus;
  • these expectations are based on the university’s commitment to educating students that they are responsible for, promoting the common good, through their own personal integrity, and respect for the dignity of all;
  • while the goal of these expectations is to educate students about those responsibilities, ignorance of the rules, procedures and laws shall not diminish responsibility when that behavior falls short of the goal;
  • the remedial action taken to foster this expectation may apply to various aspects of the student’s life on- and off-campus, including housing privileges, campus activities and, upon the input of Academic Affairs, academic arrangement.

The following conduct by a student or student organization is prohibited on and off campus:

  1. Abusive, threatening or dangerous behavior, including, but not limited to, fighting, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threatening statements or behavior, coercion and/or conduct which threatens or endangers the mental or physical health, safety or well-being of any person, or any aspect of the university community. This includes, but is not limited to, fighting or deliberate behavior that could instigate violence or abuse, intimidation and harassment.
  2. Sexual Misconduct. Violations of Niagara University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy include sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.**      
  3. Theft or misappropriation of property or services and/or possession of stolen property.
  4. Destruction, damage or defacing of personal and/or university, public or private property, including, but not limited to, physical damage, improper disposal of trash and littering on university grounds. 
  5. Disorderly conduct, including, but not limited to, acts that are lewd, indecent or obscene, disruptive, those which breach the peace, and/or an obstruction to teaching, research, administration, other university activities or activities authorized which take place on university property. 
  6. Violation of Niagara University’s Alcohol Policy
  7. Violation of Niagara University’s Drug/Illegal Substances Policy
  8. Failure to abide by fire safety procedures including, but not limited to, tampering with fire safety equipment and/or activating a false or avoidable fire alarm, failure to exit during a fire alarm or maintaining an open flame. As required by law, the university’ fire records are available at Campus Safety. 
  9. Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, weapon replicas, explosives, illegal fireworks or other items used to threaten, intimidate or harm another and/or violation of Niagara University'sWeapons Policy. 
  10. Hazing, as both defined in Niagara University’s Hazing Policy and New York Penal Law.   
  11. Abuse of the Student Conduct Process, including, but not limited to, attempts to influence, harass and/or intimidate a member of a student conduct body/officer or any participant prior to, during and/or after a conduct proceeding; perjury or obstruction of an investigation; falsification, misrepresentation or distortion of information before a student conduct body/officer; failure to comply with the condition(s) imposed through the student conduct process.
  12. Tampering, falsification, misuse of any university document, password, key, swipe card, or any other instruments of access or identification.     
  13. Failure to comply with the directions of or interfering with university, local, state or federal officials acting in performance of their duties. This shall include, but is not limited to, failure to produce proper identification and/or providing false identification when directed to do so. 
  14. Computer abuse as defined in the Niagara University’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources, including, but not limited to, sending, receiving, downloading, printing, or displaying pornographic, obscene, lewd, or sexually harassing, or otherwise offensive images or text.Sending email, instant messaging, and texting, making phone calls or sending or facilitating the sending of any communication which is of a harassing, threatening, defamatory, intimidating, or obscene in manner. 
  15. Violation of rules or policies governing the university or any aspect of its facilities resources or services listed on this website and elsewhere.
  16. Violation of the Residence Hall Agreement, the Apartment Agreement or other Residence Life policies including, but not limited to, violations of residence halls community standards. 
  17. Violation of any federal, state, local or foreign law and/or behavior off-campus that has a negative impact on the university or members of the university community

Student's Bill of Rights

As a Catholic institution, founded by the Vincentians, Niagara University expects all its members to respect the rights, dignity and personhood of others. Niagara University strives to create a safe educational and working environment for all members of the community, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, and guests. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking (collectively, “Sexual Misconduct”) are antithetical to this environment.

Niagara University is committed to providing options, support and assistance to victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to ensure that they can continue to participate fully in the life of our university. All victims/survivors of these crimes and violations, regardless of race, colour, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad:

All students have the right to:

  • Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  • Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual violence assault treated seriously;
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the student conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressures from the institution;
  • Participate in a process that is timely, fair, and impartial, and provides a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  • Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual or victim/survivor is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  • Describe the incident to as few institutional representatives as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
    Be free from retaliation by the University, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of Niagara University;
  • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  • Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process;
  • Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative or conduct process of the University.

If you have witnessed or been the victim of a sexual assault on campus or in association with University program or activity, you may call the Title IX Coordinator for immediate assistance at 716.286.8425. 

If it is after business hours and you need immediate assistance, please call Campus Safety at 716.286.8111 and say “I need to report Sexual Misconduct (sexual assault/domestic violence/dating violence/stalking).” This will put you in touch with a trained responder.

Overview

The Dean of Students, as a designee of the Dean of Students, is responsible for determining the appropriate mechanism for resolving alleged violations of the Niagara University Student Code of Conduct. The Dean of Students, or designee, will provide oversight and coordination of the student conduct process. Any member of the Niagara University community shall bring complaints against a student or a group of students to the attention of any university official, which will be directed to the Dean of Students or designee.  

It is the policy of Niagara University that any time allegations of misconduct are brought against a student, the university will pursue to conclusion any necessary investigation and hearing process, aside from the decision by the accused student to withdraw, temporarily or permanently from the university.

Process

Any member of the university community may initiate the student conduct process by filing a complaint with any university official, which will be directed to the Dean of Students' office. Residence Life staff document incidents by submitting an incident report to the Dean of Students, or designee. Campus Safety officers file reports at the end of each shift, which are forwarded to the Dean of Students, or designee.  

The Dean, or designee, will conduct a preliminary review of the complaint. Based on the review, one of the following means of resolution will be pursued:

Further Investigation

The Dean, or designee, may designate an officer of the university to further investigate the complaint.  

Residence Hall Community Standards Accountability Meeting
In cases involving a resident(s) with a residence hall community who are believed to be violating the agreed upon community standards, the Dean, or designee, may refer the case to a Residence Hall Community Standards Accountability Meeting.

The Accountability Meeting is intended to serve as a form of mediation between the community and the resident(s) within the community who are believed to be violating the agreed upon community standards. The goal is to determine if the floor considers the behavior to be a violation of community standards and, if so, to have the resident(s) understand how their behavior is affecting floor residences and to have the resident(s) agree to modify the offending behavior.

The Accountability Meeting is not a punishment meeting, which means the community cannot impose student conduct sanctions. However, resident students are empowered to recommend actions of the accused student to remedy the behavior. Similarly, the Accountability Meeting should not be used to address violations of the Student Code of Conduct that extend beyond the community standards.  

Mediation

The Dean of Students, or designee, may propose mediation as a means to resolve some student conduct cases. Mediation is possible, with the approval of the Dean of Students, or designee, when all parties involved (accused and accuser) agree to engage in the mediation process and when students involved have not previously engaged in mediation through this process. If mediation fails, the case will be directed to an alternate means of resolution. Records shall be kept of all cases that have been mediated, with names and a summary. Mediation yields neither a student conduct record nor sanction.  

Administrative Conduct Hearing

The Dean of Students, or designee, may decide to resolve an issue through an Administrative Conduct Hearing with the Dean of Students (or his/her designee) or a Residence Director/Graduate Residence Director.  

Conduct Council Hearing

The Dean of Students, or designee, may also decide to resolve an issue through a Conduct Council Hearing. Conduct Council is comprised of two faculty and/or staff and two students, and hears various student conduct cases. The Conduct Council hearing is designed to review information and determine the student’s level of responsibility. Students will be required to appear before the Conduct Council to discuss their involvement and determine responsibility for the alleged violations.