Accountability and Integrity
Westmont is deeply concerned about students who are involved in or are victims of situations that can interfere with their attitude and character development. The issues outlined in our Behavioral Expectations are all concerns we must address as a community.
However, being interested not only in the letter of the law but in the spirit as well, our concerns are much broader than the specific behavioral expectations in this handbook. The spirit of the law emphasizes our life in Christ. Are we seeking to be more like him? To gain his insights? To conform to his priorities? To seek him in all of our lives? These expectations govern the spirit of the expectations of each member of this community.
While the great majority of students are conscientious about living responsibly, past experience indicates that imposing consequences for irresponsible behavior is necessary to hold the irresponsible few accountable and to minimize their negative influence on our desire to be a community that follows Jesus Christ. Westmont believes that if the residence halls are to be places that facilitate growth and development, unhealthy and counter-productive lifestyles and patterns of behavior must be confronted. It is as much your responsibility to confront other students as it is the responsibility of the deans, faculty and residence hall staff. Integrity is a key value in our community. It is evidenced by a congruence between word and deed, a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions, and a commitment to represent the actions of others accurately. You will be held accountable for the agreement you signed in your application to Westmont.
In the context of eternity, breaking a rule once (such as committing a room violation) is relatively insignificant. However, when you give your word in writing that you will not engage in certain behavior, and then wilfully break that agreement, your action is of great concern.
All students are expected to be aware of and uphold the policies set forth in this student handbook, the college catalogue, and any other official college documents. While the following section is not exhaustive, it does summarize specific issues of concern to the Westmont community for which sanctions may be applied.
Abuse of the Student Conduct Process
Any form of abuse of the student conduct process in and of itself is considered a serious concern for the community. Some abuses of the student conduct process include, but are not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information;
- Filing a complaint knowingly without cause;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in the process;
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a participant;
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a participant;
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed.
Westmont expects all students to uphold both California state laws and these college policies regarding alcoholic beverages.
In the state of California, persons under the age of 21 shall not purchase, consume or possess alcoholic beverages. In addition, it is against California law to sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age.
Possession and Consumption
Westmont prohibits the presence or consumption of alcoholic beverages on campus and at off-campus Westmont student-sponsored or related activities. Any student in the presence of alcohol on campus (regardless of who actually owns it or who brought it to campus) will be considered in violation of this policy.
Westmont prohibits the presence of full or empty alcoholic beverage containers anywhere on campus, including vehicles. Students are responsible to ensure that no guest brings full or empty alcohol containers on campus.
Drinking in Moderation
Westmont expects students of legal drinking age who choose to drink alcoholic beverages to be moderate in their consumption. Any consumption of alcoholic beverages by any student that results in impairment or intoxication is a serious violation of community standards.
Off-Campus Hosting Responsibilities
It is a serious violation of both California law and college policy to directly or indirectly provide alcoholic beverages that are consumed by underage visitors. It is also a violation to collect money for admission to events where alcoholic beverages are either directly or indirectly provided. Any off-campus student who lives where a hosting violation of the alcohol policy occurs and is present at such time may also be in violation of this policy. Students who host events off-campus (either at their residence or other venues) and choose to provide alcohol or allow alcohol to be present at the event are responsible to ensure that no underage or excessive consumption of alcohol occurs at the event and must take reasonable steps to ensure this does not occur.
At a minimum, hosts must:
- Accurately identify guests under the age of 21 (e.g. checking IDs) and clearly designate them in some way (e.g. marking hands, wristbands, etc).
- Clearly communicate to guests under the age of 21 that they are not to consume alcohol at the event even though alcohol may be present (e.g. stated in invitations, visible signage at the event, verbal communication at the event).
- Place alcoholic beverages (including any beverages brought by guests) in one location and monitor that location in a way that would ensure guests under the age of 21 do not obtain alcohol or guests who are 21 are not served alcohol in excess. (Competitions involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages are discouraged as they can make it difficult to accurately monitor alcohol consumption).
- Provide an adequate supply of appealing non-alcoholic beverages and substantive snacks/food. These should be available to all guests and located in a prominent location.
One of the common reasons hosts lose control of an event is because unknown students arrive. Limiting the attendance to students who are known by the hosts can be accomplished by having a guest list.
Hosts should also ensure that students who have consumed alcohol have a ride with someone who has not consumed alcohol.
For more information regarding responsible hosting, students are encouraged to consult with a staff member in the Student Life Office.
Compliance with College Officials
Students are required to comply with the direction of college officials or Public Safety officers acting in the performance of their duties. Students must also identify themselves to these persons when requested to do so.
Computer and Network Use Violations
Computers are playing a larger role at Westmont and in society at large. With the increased power of this technology comes increased responsibility. The information technology department publishes and enforces the Computer and Network Use policy, which governs the use of the campus computing facilities and network. This policy may be found here. You are implicitly agreeing to abide by the policy when you obtain access to these resources. Westmont expects you to access only those materials on the network for which you have permission.
You may not access materials of an illegal or pornographic nature. Pornography degrades God’s gift of human sexuality and has addictive qualities. Because of these concerns, Westmont monitors World Wide Web access. If you are found to be in violation of college policy, your computer will be blocked until the situation is resolved in consultation with the dean’s office. The Counseling Center provides confidential assistance to students struggling in this area.
Integrity is a key value in our community and dishonesty in any form is a breach of community standards. Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
- Academic dishonesty
- Furnishing false information to any college official, faculty member or office;
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of any college document, record or instrument of identification; and
- Tampering with the election of any college-recognized student office or organization.
Disruption of College Activities
Students may not participate in any activity or protest that disrupts or interferes with the right of other students, faculty or staff to participate in the educational program and/or perform duties imposed by the college; disrupts the normal operations of the college and infringes on the rights of other members of the college community; lead or incite others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; or be a part of any intentional obstruction that interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus. Questions on his policy should be directed to the Student Life office.
Firearms, Explosives, and Weapons
Possession of firearms, explosives (including firecrackers and dry ice), weapons, (including but not limited to: swords, knives, air soft guns, BB guns and toys that replicate or could be mistaken for real guns) or dangerous chemicals on college premises is expressly prohibited. A $100 fine per violation may apply.
“Learning depends on truth-centered attitudes and thrives in an atmosphere of discriminating openness to ideas characterized by a measurement of modesty towards ones own views, the desire to affirm the true, and the courage to examine the unfamiliar.” (from Westmont’s Living in Community statement) At times the pursuit of truth may produce conflicts of ideas, opinions, and proposals for action. Individuals may seek to voice ideas, opinions and proposals for action in a public way, and those who express convictions enter the great conversation of collegiate life.
Westmont’s Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly Policy seeks to find an appropriate balance between two important sets of potentially competing values. The first is the right to exercise free speech and/or organize a peaceful assembly to express one’s convictions on particular issues. The second is the obligation of the college to insure that the educational program and the pursuits of non-participating faculty, staff, and students are not unreasonably disrupted.
It is expected that individuals who exercise their rights of free speech and/or contemplate organizing a peaceful assembly will do so with the understanding that they will comply with all college policies and procedures. Among these are the following time, place, and manner conditions:
- The time is limited to 2 hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday-Friday (to allow other uses of the space and to ensure that adequate staffing is available if needed to help ensure safety and civility of all present).
- Permissible locations, if not already in use, are the Dining Commons Lawn, the lawn in front of Murchison Gymnasium, Magnolia Lawn, and the lawn across the pathway from Magnolia Lawn.
- Amplified sound (in compliance with the County of Santa Barbara) and signboards larger than 3’ x 4’ are prohibited (for safety and aesthetic reasons).
A Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly form must be submitted 24 hours prior to the assembly to acknowledge awareness of this policy prior to the event. Staff members in the Campus Life or Vice President/Dean of Students offices are available to provide feedback on Peaceful Assembly planning to help insure that the event complies with college policy.
Violations of the Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly Policy are subject to the conduct process and the full range of sanctions. Exercising free speech and/or organizing a peaceful assembly violates college policy when the event:
- Includes participants that are not current faculty, staff, or students;
- Threatens property or public safety;
- Infringes upon the rights of others by interrupting chapel, a classroom, or any college sponsored events or activities (e.g. halting a lecture, debate, or any public forum by indirectly preventing a speaker from speaking - even for a brief period of time - or seizing control of a public forum for one's own purposes);
- Violates the time, place, and manner restrictions listed above;
- Violates the Photographing and Filming On Campus policy; or
- Occurs without acknowledging awareness of this policy (i.e. failure to submit Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly form)
Westmont values freedom of speech and, therefore, supports students’ desires to exercise this freedom in a public way as expressed in this policy. The use of college property for expression of ideas or viewpoints in compliance with this policy does not imply college acceptance or endorsement of the views expressed.
To submit a Free Speach and Peaceful Assembly form, please click here.
Many college employees use golf carts in the course of completing their work for the college. Also, a limited number of golf carts are available on a temporary basis through the Health Center to students who have a temporary medical condition that would make it extremely difficult to walk through the campus. Because unauthorized use of these golf carts is highly disrespectful and inconvenient to the people who need and use them, the college takes it very seriously. Additionally, according to federal regulations, joy riding in a golf cart is considered as an incident of motor vehicle theft, even if the cart is returned. Anyone involved (either as a driver or passenger) in taking a golf cart will be fined a minimum of $100 and will also be responsible for cleaning and damage charges.
Hazing and Abuse
Hazing is not permitted at Westmont. No individual, recognized student organization, club, team, or any other Westmont-affiliated student group is permitted to plan, engage in, or condone hazing, on or off campus. Westmont's hazing policy is not intended to prohibit student recruitment or new or continuing member activities that are positive and educational in nature, designed to instill a group ethos or unity. Its intent is to deter those behaviors that cause or are likely to cause danger, harm or humiliation to another student.
Definition of Hazing at Westmont
Hazing includes any activity done in connection with a student organization, regardless of whether the organization is officially recognized at Westmont, that causes or is reasonably likely to cause another student to suffer bodily danger, physical harm, or significant personal degradation or humiliation, even if no bodily danger, physical harm, or significant degradation or humiliation in fact results. Hazing might occur during initiation or preinitiation into a student organization, but is not limited to these time frames. Any individual who plans or intentionally assists in hazing activity has engaged in hazing, regardless of whether that individual is present when the hazing activity occurs.
Consequences of a Violation
Westmont expects its students to conduct themselves in socially responsible and respectful ways. Thus, participation in hazing, either as an individual or as part of any student group, may result in serious individual and organizational consequences including, but not limited to: disciplinary action up to and including expulsion; permanent loss of organizational recognition; and loss of eligibility to remain a member of any club, team, or other Westmont-affiliated student group. Consent, implied or expressed, is not a defense to any complaint or charge alleging a hazing violation.
Illegal Drugs and Abuse of Prescription Drugs
In association with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Westmont has adopted and implemented policies that are intended to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs by students and employees. College policy prohibits the use or presence of all controlled substances and any related paraphernalia. Students and employees are also prohibited from exceeding the dosage of physician-prescribed medications. Substance abuse affects the individual, the family and the community.
Violation of college policy with respect to drug use or possession is a serious breach of our behavioral standards, and students who violate this policy are subject to the full range of disciplinary consequences, including expulsion from the college. When there is reasonable suspicion of drug use by a student, the college will request that the student submit to a drug test as part of the student conduct process. The student may refuse the test; however, the college may draw negative inferences from that refusal.
If you need help or know someone with a drug-related problem, please know that the Counseling Center, the Health Center, our resident directors, deans, faculty, and all other college personnel will provide assistance to those who come forward seeking help. The Counseling Center provides confidential consultations with trained psychologists and marriage and family therapists and also makes referrals to outside counseling and treatment services.Suspension of Eligibility for Student Aid for Drug Related Offenses
A student who has been criminally convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance is ineligible to receive any federal financial aid (including any grant, loan, or work assistance). Financial aid eligibility will be suspended beginning on the date of any conviction and ending at the time specified below:
|Possession of a Controlled Substance|
|1st Offense||1 year|
|2nd Offense||2 years|
|3rd Offense||3 years|
|Sale of a Controlled Substance|
|1st Offense||2 years|
You can find more information about eligibility here.
Offensive or Obscene Conduct
Students should refrain from conduct that is offensive to others, lewd or indecent. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, streaking and profane or obscene expressions or speech that violate accepted standards of decency and Christian conduct. Discretion should also be exercised regarding videos, periodicals and posters.
As a private campus, Westmont College reserves the right to approve any photography and filming that takes place on campus for commercial use or other public distribution, including posting on the Internet. Anyone seeking to photograph or film on campus for commercial use (including event promotions and wedding, engagement and family photographs) or seeking to publicly distribute filming or photographing of campus events must obtain written permission from the Westmont Conference Services Office, complete the appropriate paperwork and pay any relevant fees. For more information about the cost of commercial filming on campus, see the Conference Services website, http://www.westmont.edu/conferences/. Once the Conference Services Office has approved a request for filming, they will place the event on the college’s master calendar.
The following guidelines must be observed for personal photography and filming on campus:
- Respect the privacy of campus residences.
- Avoid disruption of classes or other college functions.
- Do not film or photograph students, faculty, staff and visitors without their knowledge or consent.
Sexual Activity Outside Marriage and Pregnancy
National statistics indicate that many college students are sexually active. The statistics show that the difference between Christians’ and non-Christians’ sexual activity is alarmingly small. Westmont is deeply concerned when our students decide to be sexually involved outside of marriage.
While the college recognizes the need for privacy among students, it encourages students to avoid situations of absolute privacy because of the potential for abuse. It takes realistic account of the fact that some students confuse Christian liberty with sexual license or do not accept the standards of the college on sexual behavior. However, Westmont holds to the conviction that premarital intercourse conflicts with biblical teaching and that conduct promoting such intimacy (e.g., nudity, lying in bed together) is unacceptable behavior. Persons involved in such behavior are subject to the full range of disciplinary consequences, up to and including expulsion from the college.
If you or someone you know becomes pregnant, the college encourages you to talk to a dean, resident director or other student life staff member. The Student Life office is ready to help and offer support to those involved to effectively work through the complexity of needs that a pregnancy presents. Additional confidential support through the Westmont Counseling Center and the Health Center are available, along with academic and other support services. While some students in these circumstances may choose to leave the college temporarily, it is our hope that any student who chooses to continue in classes during the pregnancy will find this to be a supportive and redemptive community.
Westmont is deeply concerned about any incidents of sexual assault. The Student Life office will work to provide a safe place for the survivors of the sexual assault. Below are some frequently asked questions pertaining to the issues of sexual assault. For more detailed information, refer to the Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures.
What do I do in the event of a sexual assault?
Go to a safe place. Do whatever you need to do to be safe! You do not need to go through this alone. You have multiple options of resources that can provide you with assistance and/or guidance:
- RD On Call (565-7362)
- Public Safety (565-6222)
- Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center Hotline 805-564-3696 (24 hour and non-Westmont)
What if I just want to consult with someone but do not want to report the incident?
You can contact the Westmont Counseling Center at 565-6063 or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, 805-562-4696. If you are not ready to make an official report, you can talk about your situation without disclosing any identifying information. All other college officials are obligated to report any sexual assault incident.
I would like to talk with someone who is not connected to Westmont, whom can I call?
The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center is not directly associated with Westmont. The center has certified therapists who can help you through the process.
What if I am physically hurt?
Seek medical assistance immediately. If you need help in seeking medical assistance, the R.D. on Call (565-7362) or Public Safety (565-6222) can help you. You can also directly contact Cottage Hospital Trauma Center (569-7451).
Do I have to seek medical assistance even if I don’t think I am physically hurt?
Internal injuries are difficult to access without medical training. It is a good idea to get checked by medical personnel. If you decide to seek medical assistance, do not wash, eat, chew gum, brush your teeth, drink, douche or change clothes. If you must change into new clothing, do not wash the old clothes. Doing these things can tamper with possible evidence.
What if I don’t feel comfortable talking with any medical personnel or the police?
You need to do what feels right and safe to you. You may decide not to seek medical or law enforcement assistance right away. However, keep all possible evidence (i.e., clothing) in case you decide to report the incident later.
I think my friend has been sexually assaulted, how can I help?
Encourage him/her to seek help. You can also consult confidentially with the Westmont Counseling Center or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center without disclosing any identifying information.
I feel guilty and confused. Is that normal?
It is common for a sexual assault survivor to experience a wide range of emotions (anger, guilt, sadness, shame, confusion, powerlessness, or feeling out of control). These can be symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome, which closely parallels Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. If you are experiencing these signs, you should talk confidentially with a counselor through the Counseling Center or the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.
Attempted or actual theft and/or damage to college property or of a member of the college community (including their families) or other personal or public property is expressly forbidden. Theft also includes: unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any college premises or unauthorized entry to or use of college premises and theft or other abuse of computer time (see Computer and Network Use Violations above).
Under no circumstances shall any member of the community use or possess tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco) on campus or when attending college-related student activities. Additionally, Westmont is located in a high fire region. Neighbors have a legitimate concern when they notice students smoking in the area. For these reasons, students may not smoke in the vicinity of the college (including the hills behind campus).
Vandalism and Violence
Subjecting others to physical violence, threatening others with physical violence or engaging in acts of vandalism are unacceptable (and illegal) ways to deal with conflict. Westmont does not tolerate vandalism, violence or the threat of violence against anyone.