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 reason 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 as a consequence, 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 (c.f. Romans. 5:8; John. 15:13; 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)
While a fellowship in which all actions are motivated by love is the ideal toward which we strive, the university recognizes that in a fallen world such attitudes will not always characterize all those within our community. For this reason we have identified certain minimal behavioral standards that must be adhered to when we interact with others at the university. Violations of these baseline expectations result in a response by the university to protect the learning community. When internal motivation is right, these behaviors will invariably be present. However, we expect those who choose to be part of the university community to exemplify these traits at all times irrespective of internal issues. In this way, the community can function with minimal friction.
Members of the community 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 the 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.
Members of the community take seriously the need for confidentiality of personal information gleaned while participating in the university. Individuals never share items learned in confidence unless given permission. Gossip is wholly inappropriate as it tends to tear others down. Disparaging others in the community either within or outside the university is unacceptable.
If a member of the community feels they or the larger community have been wronged by another, the first action taken is to go privately to the one they perceive to be at fault and seek to make things right.
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 such things as cheating and plagiarism, acting as if the intellectual output of another was actually your own work. It may also involve the inappropriate acquisition and use of copyrighted material without proper permission.
The university’s virtual property accessed through its network is also 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.
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 community as a whole and with each individual member. To enter into the university community is to enter into a commitment to support that community and seek its goals.
On-Campus Program Life and Conduct
Southern Wesleyan University provides an intentional education that is more than intellectual. Students are offered a Christian perspective of life in a community of believers where emphasis on common life together in classrooms, residence halls, dining hall, and chapel is deliberate. This community life grows out of scripture, Wesleyan tradition, and the best of Western classical education.
The philosophy of our life together is that all actions and behavior should be compatible with the spiritual enrichment of the individual and the community. While it is impossible to create community regulations acceptable to everyone, the purpose of the established and expected responsibilities of community members is encouraging a life of consideration for others and respect for oneself as a creation of God.
Each person who joins the academic community is expected to accept the responsibilities of following the established policies and procedures of the university and to respect properly constituted university authority. This expectation, the university believes, fosters both individual and community development.
All student organizations and extracurricular activities are considered integral parts of the total educational program for which Southern Wesleyan strives. These activities encourage faculty involvement with students and are under the supervision and direction of the Office of Student Life. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the opportunities of extracurricular activities and to take advantage of these activities.
Southern Wesleyan is a Christian liberal arts college and happily exists as an educational arm of The Wesleyan Church. All students, both resident and commuter, are expected to honor this rich heritage.
Students are required to be present at regularly scheduled chapel exercises. Students are also expected to attend faithfully the Sunday and other regularly scheduled services at the church of their choice.
Attendance at Spiritual Emphasis services is expected of all students. All students are encouraged to attend the annual missions festival and other chapel events.
Southern Wesleyan University takes pride in its safety record. The Office of Campus Safety is responsible for overall campus security. Emergency contact information, instructions on how to report emergencies and campus crime and fire-safety statistics are available through the Office of Campus Safety.
All single students enrolled for twelve credit hours or more and who are under the age of twenty-three on the first day of registration for any semester are required to live in university student housing and shall participate in the university-board plan for the duration of that semester. Students who are married or living at home with their parent(s) may live off campus. Students under the age of twenty-three who have completed eight full-time post-high school college semesters of attendance, not including May and summer terms, are eligible to live off campus.
All students must submit a correct address and phone number for their residence during the semester. Changes that occur are to be submitted immediately on MySWU by updating the Personal Information/Biographical tab.
Students in violation of University-residence policy are subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal. All students who live off campus are expected to follow the standards and regulations expressed in the Student Handbook.
Maximum institutional-financial aid will be applied only to the actual costs for direct University tuition, room, and board charges and will not be applied to off-campus expenses. Exceptions to university-housing policy will be considered only for extreme circumstances and must be requested in writing to the Housing Office in advance.
Students living in campus housing are expected to keep their rooms and other public areas neat and clean. They should take pride in their room and the facilities and consider the residential experience a vital part of their education.
No student will be authorized to move into a room without having paid a $200.00 room security deposit.
Residence-hall rooms are furnished with bed, mattress, dresser, desk, and chairs. Other items such as pillows, bedding, curtains, rugs, toilet articles, pictures, iron, and ironing board (if desired) are to be furnished by the student. No changes or repairs to lighting or plumbing are permitted.
Residence hall occupants will be responsible for disorder in or damage to rooms and public areas.
All resident students are required to board at the university cafeteria. Meal plans are not transferable. Meal tickets are available to commuting students from the food service at a rate less than a la carte. Commuting students are encouraged to take meals in the cafeteria as their schedule permits.
No food or cafeteria items are to be taken from the cafeteria without permission of the cafeteria supervisor.
During scheduled vacations or recess periods, no food service is available on campus.
All persons having motor vehicles on campus must register these vehicles with the Student Life Office at the beginning of the year or immediately upon obtaining a new or different vehicle. Each vehicle so registered will be given a parking permit for the campus. Regular or consistent abuses of campus-parking regulations may result in revocation of parking privileges.
Failure to have the parking permit displayed in the designated location will result in a fine. Violations of campus-motor-vehicle regulations relative to use and parking will be subject to fines. Habitual or serious violations may result in the loss of motor-vehicle permit and removal of the privilege of having a motor vehicle on campus. See the Student Handbook for further information.
Discipline procedures are printed each year in the Southern Wesleyan Student Handbook. Students placed on social probation are not allowed to represent the university.
Representation of the university is a responsibility and a privilege; therefore, such representation is generally carried out only by students in good standing. Students on social probation should not be involved in the following:
- membership in the homecoming court
- holding office in university organizations
- having a continuing role in leading chapel
- ministry teams
- inter-varsity athletics, including travel with the team in a support role, and cheerleading (Students on probation may practice on campus.)
- *senior practicum, including directed teaching
- *traveling ensembles
- *major dramatic productions
*Exceptions: Students for whom participation in one of these activities is a degree requirement may be allowed to participate.
In light of the 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 college seems to be of small personal benefit or inimical to others, may be informed privately that further stay at Southern Wesleyan is not desired. Such a student will be notified, given the opportunity to be heard, and allowed to withdraw privately or may be dismissed without formal charges.
Policy on Student Complaints
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 make efforts to investigate, and if warranted, to resolve the complaint within established procedures.
When a student complaint is received in writing by an employee of the university, he or she will contact the appropriate supervisor responsible for the matter of concern. That supervisor will either investigate the matter or assign the complaint to another, more appropriate party, for investigation.
Normally, within ten (10) working days, a written response will be sent to the student by the assigned 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 student is not satisfied with the response and other methods of appeal are not stipulated by policy, within ten working days he or she may appeal to the member of the president’s cabinet most responsible for the area of concern. The cabinet member’s decision is final.
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.
Three offices will be responsible for logging and archiving documentation related to student complaints.
Responsible for student complaints that relate to issues of academic policy or procedure, or any perceived injustice or misrepresentation related to instruction or evaluation. These complaints might relate to such things as grading issues, failure to follow the written syllabus, penalties related to academic dishonesty, faculty bias or behavior, transfer credit problems, advising issues, library matters, etc.
Student Life Office
Responsible for student complaints that relate to issues of athletics, counseling, health services, career services, residence life, commuter concerns, security, spiritual life, student life policy or perceptions of threat or prejudice outside the classroom or from other students.
Responsible for student complaints that relate to the university in general and are not closely associated with either the academic program or student life. This office would also archive complaints related to enrollment, Human Resources, Development, buildings & grounds, dining service, financial aid, and business office functions and policies.
||An expressed concern that meets the following criteria:
- Is from a student as defined below.
- Is in writing either in electronic form or hard copy and is sent to an employee of the university. (Complaints not received in writing may be logged at the discretion of the employee.)
- 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 SWU’s control.
||An individual who is or has been enrolled in a SWU course or is applying for admission to the institution.
Policy Against Gender Discrimination
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 Associate Vice President for Student Engagement. The campus phone number is 864-644-5144. The Coordinator receives the complaint from the student and assists the student in understanding the process.
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.
Note to Georgia Residents
If the complaint is not resolved at the institution level through its complaint procedure, students who reside in Georgia may file a complaint with the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC), 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220, Tucker, GA 30084-3300. The NPEC telephone number is 770-414-3300.
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/consumer-resources/gnpec-authorized-school-complainant-form
Note to Non-South Carolina Students
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 to identify 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 should the student find it appropriate to file a complaint with the agency in the state in which reside, complaints regarding grades or conduct violations should be excluded, as such complaints are governed directly by Southern Wesleyan University’s complaint procedures.
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.
||Student Success Coordinator
||Dean of the faculty’s department
||Student Success Coordinator
||Director or Vice President for the department, or Vice Provost for Online Learning
|Student Success Coordinator
||Vice Provost for Academic Services
||Vice Provost for Academic Services
||Student Success Coordinator
||Vice President of Student Life
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.
The Office of Retention exists to help students (both in the On-Campus and SWU Online programs) to become engaged and successful servant leaders who develop skills necessary for purposeful living. By enlisting the input and involvement of the Student Life staff, faculty, and other university departments, the Office of Retention drives relationships, programs, and services for spear-heading an innovative, integrated and comprehensive campus campaign that utilizes and promotes proven best practices for student retention. This is accomplished through providing students with experiences that assist in building community through interpersonal connections, acquiring knowledge about available campus resources, while also learning coping skills and strategies. Additionally, the Office of Retention fosters holistic development by focusing on and supporting care for personal, social, and academic development.
TRiO Student Support Services Center
Southern Wesleyan University’s Student Support Services (SSS) Program encourages students to build a sense of belonging and confidence as they pursue their chosen fields. We advocate, navigate, support, and serve as resources for SWU students. Creating a positive and engaging environment, SSS collaborates with students, faculty, staff and the community to strengthen student self-efficacy. More importantly, SSS is dedicated to student success, learning and empowerment through obedience to God’s will as revealed in scripture.
Eligibility for the Program
To be eligible for participation in the TRiO Student Support Services Program, a student’s status must meet at least ONE of the following requirements:
- First generation (neither parent or custodial guardian has earned a 4-year degree) OR
- Low income (as determined by the Department of Education) OR
- Documented disability
In addition, students must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency status.