Southern Wesleyan University is committed to community. We believe learning best takes place in the context of community. Our mission involves members of our community-students, faculty, administrators and staff-working “together toward wholeness through the integration of faith, learning, and living.” We believe people become “whole” only as they interrelate to others. For this, we seek to foster community at multiple levels.
The gold standard for community as set forth in the New Testament is “love.” You cannot get around it. It is everywhere as you turn the pages of scripture. We believe God stamped His own image in people. They are deeply loved by God, and consequently, are of inestimable value. This value does not originate with the individual or relate to race, gender, age, personality, talent, beauty or wealth. Rather, worth arises solely from God and is extended equally to all. We are called to a fellowship of love because God loves and esteems each member. Jesus said it well in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you…”
The kind of love that truly drives community willingly abandons self-interest for the sake of another. True community is not built by sticking to rules, but by heart attitudes characterized by love. Of course, the ultimate example of this love was Jesus as seen in His death on our behalf (cf. Romans 5:8; John 15:13; and 1 John 4:9-10). Paul describes the centrality of love in community life in 1 Corinthians 13. There he lays out the ideal toward which all members of the university community should aspire. Each member would do well to reflect continuously on his descriptive statements in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a in seeking to be a positive part of the university.
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous;
Love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Does not act unbecomingly;
It does not seek its own, is not provoked,
Does not take into account a wrong suffered,
Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
Bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. (NASB)
The property of others will be respected within the university fellowship. Destruction, defacement or theft of the physical property of the university or personal property of individuals will not be tolerated.
Protection of property extends to intellectual property as well. Individuals will refrain from “stealing” the words, ideas, or creative work of another. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, passing another’s intellectual output as one’s own work, and inappropriate acquisition and use of copyrighted material without proper permission.
The university’s virtual property accessed through its network, including social media outlets, are also to be respected. University computers, servers and their contents are university property and are not used to retrieve or distribute obscene material; send harassing or abusive messages; engage in illegal computing activities; engage in non-university business or activity; nor to download or copy music, movies, or software in an illegal or unethical manner.
Members of the community should act respectfully toward one another. They do not take actions with the intent to harm another nor treat another rudely. Nor do they use abusive, foul or profane language or gestures. They listen quietly when another is speaking and avoid personal attacks when debating ideas. Honesty in words and actions is also expected as a means of showing respect.
They do not threaten, harass or demean any member of the community. This includes harassment on the basis of sex, race, disability, nationality, age, or political persuasion. Activity or entertainment that promotes violence, exploitation, discrimination or sexually immoral and degrading practices is to be avoided by community members. Everyone is to feel safe physically and psychologically at the university. Also, for this reason weapons and explosives of any kind, simulated or real, are not permitted at university functions without prior authorization.
The use of language that diminishes or profanes the name of God or otherwise maligns Him is not permitted. The gratuitous denigration of other religious viewpoints is also inappropriate.
While there is room for disagreement in community, such disagreements are handled in a mature fashion without attempts to tear down or embarrass the other party. At all times the dignity of the institution, its policies, and its representatives are to be upheld. Disruptive conduct that interferes with the normal activity of the university is not allowed.
Respect for one’s own person and God’s intended use of the body is also important. Individuals should dress inoffensively and professionally with sensitivity to standards of modesty.
The Wesleyan Church’s stance on gender and human sexuality is biblical, historical, theological, practical and deeply convictional. The University believes that all sexual activity is only expressed privately between a man and a woman in the context of a covenant marriage. Because sexual expression is not merely physical, but deeply involves the mind, spirit and emotions, there is a need for sensitivity and caution at every level of intimacy. Intimate personal relationships between employees may be disruptive to the work environment and may be considered inappropriate behavior. Intimate relationships or sexual expression between employees and students is strongly discouraged and is considered inappropriate. In addition, we believe gender assignment is a beautiful genetic divine prerogative, not indicated by individual choice, and our living, learning and athletic offerings reflect that belief; therefore, students will receive such services in accordance with their birth gender.
In recognition of the holiness of the body and the injunction that it should only be under the control of the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18), members shall abstain at all time and places from the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco products.
If a member of the community feels he or she or the larger community have been wronged by another, the first action taken is to go privately to the one perceived to be at fault and seek to make things right. If this response does not bring resolution, it is appropriate to bring an administrator into the conversation.
The Student Handbook contains additional information and policies relevant to Student Life.
Student Conduct Process (Non-academic)
Students should report Community Expectations violations to their Academic Online Support Specialist (AOSS) who will forward the report to the appropriate Administrator, Dean, or Division Chair.
The Administrator, Dean, or Division Chair will conduct a preliminary investigation of the alleged violation to determine if a formal discipline process is warranted.
During the preliminary investigation, the Administrator, Dean, or Division Chair may, in his/her sole discretion, interview witnesses and obtain statements concerning the complaint. Actions taken to investigate the complaint during the preliminary investigation are intended to be conducted confidentially to the extent it is practical, appropriate, and permitted by applicable law. However, any of the information provided or obtained during the preliminary investigation may be disclosed if the matter is referred to the Formal Hearing Procedures. The University reserves the right to withhold statements as deemed necessary. If the Administrator, Dean, or Division Chair determines that the complaint does not have merit, the matter is considered closed unless further information becomes available.
If the Administrator, Dean, or Division Chair perceives the matter as a serious violation of Community Expectations and/or infers the possibility of a threat, the violator may be requested not to participate within the community until the matter has been resolved. In this case, the accused will be notified in writing, and the letter should include the following:
- Charges or allegations being addressed;
- Stipulations for restoration to the community;
- Instructions on how to appeal to the next highest authority and appropriate reasons for doing so;
- A time limitation for the one in violation to take action and the final consequences if the stipulations for restoration are not met.
Following discipline at any level, students are guaranteed the right to one appeal to the next highest level of authority. The appeal must be made in writing within 48 hours (2 business days) after receiving written notification of the disciplinary action, and the burden of proof is the student’s responsibility. The letter of appeal must be based on at least one of the following:
- Significant or relevant new evidence;
- Procedural error;
- There is bias in the decision.
The appeals process includes an opportunity for the student who initiated the discipline to state and to defend his or her position to the next highest level of authority hearing the appeal, and the decision is final. Disciplinary appeals shall be made as follows:
- Disciplinary action by a Division Chair is appealed to the Dean, who responds within five business days after receiving the written letter of appeal.
- Disciplinary action by a Dean is appealed to the Provost, who responds within five business days after receiving the written letter of appeal
- Disciplinary action by the Provost is authoritative and there is no further appeal.
There could be a variety of decisions regarding discipline for Community Expectations violations by students:
- Admonition/Warning - Generally, this is a response given to students as a result of a minor first-time offense. Students are sent a letter regarding the details of the violation, and a copy is placed in the student’s record.
- Restitution - This sanction requires a submission of payment of fees made payable to the University as reimbursement for the costs of violations such as vandalism or intentional damage, and / or destruction of University property. The amount of restitution varies according to the property damaged or vandalized.
- Interim Suspension - Suspension is placed in effect until after stipulations for restoration to the community have been met, or until a disciplinary hearing is held for the student who has alleged charges against him or her. This type of suspension is usually released pending a satisfactory resolution or when the outcome of the disciplinary hearing has been determined. Suspension of this type is usually temporary unless the student is found in violation, which requires continued or immediate suspension.
- Indefinite Suspension - Dismissal or suspension from the University to be served for an indefinite period of time while legal action is pending. This type of suspension is usually released pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing or any pending legal proceedings. Suspension of this type is usually temporary unless the student is found in violation or charges are upheld legally. This sanction can also be placed upon a student if he/she fails to comply with guidelines rendered from the University and be released if the student complies.
- Private Withdrawal - In light of basic principles of the University, any student whose conduct is considered detrimental to the best interests of the University, whose overall influence is negative to campus morale, whose attitude is persistently antagonistic toward others, whose academic performance is regularly delinquent or whose stay in the University seems to be of small personal benefit or hostile to others, may be confronted by University personnel and given an opportunity to address such concerns. If not addressed to the satisfaction of the University, such a student may be given the option to withdraw privately or may be dismissed without formal charges.
- Suspension/Dismissal - Dismissed for a period of time, no less than 6 months. The student in violation may not return to campus except to conduct official business with an administrative officer or faculty member, and then only with permission from the Provost. Readmission is at the sole discretion of University officials.
- Expulsion - A student is permanently excluded from the University. A written record is placed in the student’s file. The student will receive academic credit only for courses already completed at the time of dismissal.
- Other - The University reserves the right to implement other disciplinary responses as appropriate. Examples may include a character, spiritual or educational assignment, community service, mandatory counseling and/or rehabilitation as deemed necessary.
Gender Discrimination under Title IX
Southern Wesleyan University endeavors to create an environment in which all members of the community are treated with the dignity and respect inherent in their position as creatures made in the image of God. Not only is gender discrimination a violation of federal law; it is contrary to principles of Christian conduct. Consequently, it is the policy of Southern Wesleyan University that discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated.
Gender discrimination is defined as unequal treatment of a student based on gender that limits a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s programs and/or activities.
Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX Coordinator for Southern Wesleyan University is the Director of Human Resources. The Title IX Coordinator receives the complaint from the student and assists the student in understanding the process for filing a Title IX complaint. Refer to the Student Handbook for additional information about Title IX process and procedure.
Complaints of gender discrimination will be dealt with promptly, according to the following procedures. All complaints will need to be registered in writing, signed, and agreed to by the complainant. A student having a complaint should inform the Title IX Coordinator who will submit the complaint to the Vice President for Student Life. After securing from the student a written request for investigation, the Vice President for Student Life will investigate the complaint and recommend appropriate action (if any is needed). The investigation will be concluded and any redress recommended within ten working days of receipt of the written request. If the process is delayed beyond ten working days or if the student disagrees with the response, the student may appeal to the Student Life Council. The appeal must be in writing and must be made within ten working days of the student being notified of the initial determination. The Student Life Council will investigate the complaint and response and make a determination within ten working days of receipt of the written appeal. Upon notification of the decision of the Student Life Council, the student may ask for consideration by the President of the university. Again, the request must be in writing and must be made within ten days of receiving the Council’s decision. The decision of the President is final.
From time-to-time students enrolled at Southern Wesleyan University may desire to forward a complaint with respect to the administration of university policy, procedures, promised benefits, or requirements by an agent or agents of the university. When such complaints have occurred and a student raises the issue and asks for some form of redress in writing (either electronic or hard copy) from an employee of the university, the university will investigate, and if warranted, resolve the complaint within established policies and procedures. Formal complaints should be submitted through the “We Are Listening/We Have Heard” portal on mySWU.
When a student complaint is submitted, the appropriate vice president or administrator who is responsible for the matter of concern is notified about the complaint. The complaint is subsequently investigated.
Normally, within ten (10) working days, a written response will be sent to the student by the investigator addressing one of two things:
- Indicating to the student that, upon investigation, no policy violation, injustice, threat, or inappropriate action on the part of the university was identified and clarifying any perceived misunderstanding; or,
- Indicating to the student the nature of the problem uncovered by the investigation and the steps the institution will take to remedy that problem.
If the complaint directly relates to the actions of a member of the president’s cabinet, the president will direct the investigation and render a decision. If the complaint refers to the university president, the student shall address the written concern to the chairman of the Board of Trustees for investigation.
||An expressed concern that meets the following criteria:
- Is from a student as defined below.
- Is submitted through the “We Are Listening/We Have Heard” portal on mySWU.
- Relates to a perception of injustice, threat, or failure to act in accordance with a real or implied commitment on the part of the institution or its agents.
- Is NOT a part of a defined appeals process in matters related to grades, academic policy, or student discipline.
- Is related to an area or issue under Southern Wesleyan University’s control.
||An individual who is or has been enrolled in a Southern Wesleyan University course or is applying for admission to the institution.
Note to Georgia Residents
If the complaint is not resolved at the institution level through its complaint procedure, students may file a complaint with the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC), 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220, Tucker, GA 300843300. The NPEC telephone number is 7704143300. The NPEC has provided an online form to be used by students for filing complaints; this can be found at the following Web address: http://gnpec.org/consumerresources/gnpecauthorizedschoolcomplainantform.
Non-South Carolina State Residents
Southern Wesleyan University students residing outside the state of South Carolina who desire to resolve a grievance are encouraged to follow the institution’s complaint procedures. Students may also contact the appropriate state agency within the state they reside to file a complaint. If the student is unable to resolve the complaint through Southern Wesleyan University’s process, the complaint can be made to South Carolina’s Commission for Higher Education. Please note that complaints regarding grades or conduct violations are governed directly by Southern Wesleyan University procedures and should not be filed with the agency in the state in which the student resides.
Harassment of the Disabled
Southern Wesleyan University endeavors to create an environment in which all members of the community are treated with the dignity and respect inherent in their position as creatures made in the image of God. Not only is disabilities harassment a violation of federal law, it is contrary to principles of Christian conduct. Consequently, it is the policy of Southern Wesleyan University that harassment of individuals with disabilities is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated.
Any form of harassment is absolutely prohibited. Disability harassment is intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s programs. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name calling as well as nonverbal behavior such as graphic and written statements or conduct that is physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating.
All complaints need to be registered in writing, signed and agreed to by the complainant. Complaints of disabilities harassment will be addressed promptly.
A student with a complaint should inform the Student Success Coordinator. After securing from the student a written request for investigation, the Student Success Coordinator will forward the complaint to the investigator. The chart below explains the hierarchy of responsibility for investigating complaints.
||Academic Success Coach or Executive Director of Student Learning
||Dean of the faculty’s department
||Academic Success Coach or Executive Director of Student Learning
||Executive Director of Student Learning
|Executive Director of Student Learning
||Executive Director of Student Learning
||Executive Director of Student Learning
The investigation will be initiated within 10 working days of the receipt of the written request.
If the investigation process is not initiated within 10 working days or if the student disagrees with the outcome of the investigation, the student may appeal to the Committee for Students with Disabilities. The appeal must be in writing and must be made within 48 hours of the student being notified of the initial outcome of the investigation. The Committee for Students with Disabilities will review the investigation of the complaint and outcome and make a determination within 10 working days of the receipt of the written appeal.
Upon notification of the decision of the Committee for Students with Disabilities, the student may ask for consideration by the University Provost. The decision of the Provost is final.
A Final Word about Rights & Responsibilities
The goals of the community at Southern Wesleyan University are to:
- Foster learning, scholarship and research through the free exchange of ideas.
- Provide encouragement and support to members of the community as they seek to grow toward wholeness amidst difficult and stressful life circumstances.
- Hold members of the community to high standards of academic honesty, intellectual rigor, and realistic humility in the pursuit of truth.
By joining the community, members are agreeing to pursue these goals. They are also agreeing to work to maintain an environment within the community where certain rights are protected.
- The right to free expression within the bounds of decency and order.
- The right to be respected and treated with dignity.
- The right to independent thought and reasoned dissent.
- The right to feel safe and free from threat, force or violence.
- The right to personal, constructive change.
While the university’s officers of administration and instruction have authority to give structure to the community, to foster its ongoing health, and to intervene if there are serious problems, the weight of responsibility for the health of the community rests with the entire university community and with each individual member. To join the university community is to enter into a commitment to support that community and seek its goals.