How We Live Together - Code of Conduct

The University’s policies are derived from its general philosophy of student life. The University of the South students are regarded as people who are morally and legally responsible for their own conduct within the context of the norms and values of an educational community and as responsible residents of the local community in which the University is located, with respect for the laws of the state and country. In addition to being handled through the University, conduct violations that are also violations of federal and/or Tennessee law may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities. The University’s conduct process is not a legal process and thus rules of law, evidence, and procedure used in legal proceedings do not apply and will not be used. Although a student may consult with an attorney, attorneys are not allowed to participate in any stage of the process. In this section, students will find the major expectations of their conduct outlined as university policies.

The University regards intoxication as irresponsible behavior both because of its effects on an individual’s ability to exercise sound judgment and because of its potential threats to health and safety. Not only do students incur serious risks for themselves and others when they drink to excess, but also they make themselves legally liable to prosecution, as well as morally responsible, when they contribute to irresponsible consumption by others and dire consequences ensue.

Where appropriate, alcoholic beverages may be consumed in a non-abusive manner by individuals of legal age, and social hosts may sponsor events at which alcoholic beverages are permitted with the understanding that hosts bear the responsibility for abiding by state laws, for establishing reasonable guidelines for the behavior of their guests, and for taking measures to discourage alcohol abuse at their social functions.

The University prohibits the unlawful use, possession, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Under Tennessee law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to buy, possess, transport, or consume alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. It is also unlawful for a person over 21 to buy or furnish alcoholic beverages for anyone under 21. Any student who violates state law or the University’s alcohol policies is subject both to the jurisdiction of local law enforcement officials and the discipline system of the University. Additional policies related to alcohol include:

  • The public display of alcoholic beverages by students over 21 years of age, outside of a closed residence hall room or beyond an approved University event is prohibited. Public places on campus include all property and buildings on the Domain, including all University buildings, streets and sidewalks. Occasionally areas normally considered public, may be designated for specified events, and persons 21 and over may be permitted to possess alcoholic beverages in these areas in accordance with these policies. Fraternity and sorority houses or residence halls are not exempt from University policies governing alcohol use and/or display.

  • Public intoxication, and drunk and disorderly conduct in public or private locations (including residence halls and fraternity houses) is prohibited regardless of age.

  • The possession of paraphernalia such as beer funnels, beer pong games, and drinking games with the expressed purpose of the rapid consumption of alcohol are not permitted.

  • Additionally, empty alcohol containers, neon bar signs and other paraphernalia related to alcohol is prohibited in the residence halls where one party of the hall or room is under legal drinking age.

  • Common sources of alcoholic beverages (which include, but are not limited to, kegs, bulk quantities of canned or bottled beer or wine beyond 6 standard drinks for one person, and any quantities of alcoholic punch in a common serving location) are not permitted by individuals or groups without the expressed approval of the Dean of Students for use within the social host policy guidelines.

  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages at any public athletic contest, including all varsity, club, intramural and other organized games is prohibited.

  • In addition to being a violation of Tennessee law, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is prohibited. Any student found driving under the influence is subject to serious University penalties.

  • Students may be responsible for providing the environment for underage consumption/possession of alcohol by others in their residence hall rooms and/or fraternity or sorority houses whether or not the students purchased and/or actually provided the alcohol.

  • No alcohol may be sold on the Domain, except by vendors with a valid license to do so.

  • No alcohol may be provided to students on the Domain without the express permission of the Dean of Students.

  • No glass bottles or glass containers of alcohol will be permitted on the Domain without express permission of the Dean of Students.

  • Students who drug others will face serious consequences, very likely separation from the University. “Drugging others” includes, but is not limited to, adding drugs to a common source of alcohol or slipping drugs into food or an individual’s drink.  Those complicit in the distribution of drugged beverages or food will also face serious sanctions.

Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse
The Dean of Students, or designee, will respond to those students who are experiencing problems because of alcohol abuse and/or drug abuse. If the abuse should manifest itself in the person’s academic performance or social behavior, a dean will meet with the individual to discuss the problems associated with his or her substance use. The dean and student will generate to address the situation, including counseling options and consequences if further problems occur. Additionally, the student may be required to complete a confidential substance use evaluation with the staff at the University Wellness Center. If the dean determines that the student must withdraw from the University for medical or chemical dependency reasons, he or she must leave the Domain within 24 hours.

The Dean of Students’ office staff most often become aware of an individual’s drug or alcohol abuse because of a conduct violation. Any person who is guilty of this kind of disciplinary offense may be required to submit to a substance abuse educational program and/or may ultimately be separated from the University.

In our community, students have a responsibility to take action to preserve our community standards and values. Sewanee students routinely pride themselves for “looking out for each other.” Opposed to that spirit of shared responsibility is “complicity”—the conscious failure to take reasonable action in the face of a clear wrong. It is “approval by inaction.” Students who are demonstrably complicit in the conduct violations of others may face disciplinary consequences. Consider the student who observes another selling drugs yet does nothing, or the student who observes another committing an act of sexual misconduct (be it harassment, groping, or non-consensual sexual intercourse) yet does nothing: in each case the student has engaged in complicity and would reasonably face sanctions proportionate to the incident.

Conduct Unbecoming
Students are expected to develop trusting relationships as members of the University community, as well as to respect the dignity of all individuals.  These tenets extend to the interactions students have with one another, University staff and faculty and any other individuals.  When a behavior is offensive, aggressive in tone and/or words, or otherwise causes disruption to the learning environment or campus community the conduct is no longer becoming of a Sewanee student.

Damage to Property or Premises
The damage, destruction or abuse of personal or University property and/or premises is prohibited. Students may be charged for any damage to University facilities and public areas that result from misconduct or misuse. Students are individually and collectively responsible for any damage unrelated to reasonable “wear and tear.” University property including, but not limited to, furniture, plants, mattresses, doors, screens and other furnishing in lounges or reception areas, may not be removed or exchanged, stacked or otherwise relocated.

Deceptive Behavior
Students should engage in honest interactions and refrain from deceptive behavior. Deceptive behavior is prohibited regardless of whether another person is actually deceived. Behaviors that violate this policy include, but are not limited to, altering documents, records, forms or identifications; forging or using forged documents, records, forms or identifications; using another student’s identification; using another student’s ID number; or providing false or misleading information to a University official. Violations of this policy may be adjudicated under the Honor Code.

Disorderly Conduct
Public intoxication, drunk and disorderly conduct in public or private locations (including residence halls and fraternity houses) is a violation of University policy. Conduct which causes disruption to the University operations and/or events is prohibited.

The University of the South intends to send a “zero tolerance” message regarding illegal possession or misuse of drugs, or knowingly being in the presence of those who possess or misuse drugs. An example of “knowingly being in the presence of” someone either possessing or misusing drugs is standing in a discernible group of people where one or more persons is using drugs when observed by a University official, giving rise to the inference that all those in the group were participating in a drug activity. This is only one example, but there could be many such situations, so students must be sure to dissociate themselves from those possessing or misusing drugs.

The following rules reflect the serious attitude that the University has taken in confronting this area of our society’s drug-abuse problem.  The University’s Drug Free Campus Statement can be found on the Provost’s Page at:

  • Unauthorized possession, use, manufacture, and/or distribution of narcotics, hallucinogens, and/or dangerous drugs, including (but not limited to) marijuana, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), roofies (GHB), ecstasy, and prescription drugs, are illegal under both federal and state law. By state law, synthetic drugs meant to mimic illegal drugs (e.g. K2, K3, bath salts, “Spice,” “Molly’s Plant Food,” “Vampire Blood,” “Ivory Wave,” “Cloud 9,” or upper/downer brownies) are also illegal. Students may be subject to prosecution by authorities for violation of these federal and state drug laws. Penalties may be severe, and potential damage to the professional career is great.

  • Anyone who sells, distributes, or provides illegal drugs, including prescription drugs and synthetic drugs, to another person is suspended from the University. Students who make available any drugs to another person will be responsible for complicity and may be responsible for endangerment.

  • The use or possession of marijuana or the illegal use or misuse of prescription drugs on or off campus is strictly prohibited. If a student is not suspended for a first offense, any subsequent offense results in suspension. Students found guilty of marijuana possession or use while participating in a University-sponsored or University-coordinated program abroad are generally suspended immediately.

  • Students who drug others will face serious consequences, very likely separation from the University. “Drugging others” includes, but is not limited to, adding drugs to a common source of alcohol or slipping drugs into food or an individual’s drink.  Those complicit in the distribution of drugged beverages or food will also face serious sanctions.

  • In addition to being a violation of Tennessee law, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is prohibited by University policy. Any student found driving under the influence is subject to serious University penalties.

Students are expected to protect the safety of themselves and others by making responsible choices to reduce the risk of danger. Physical abuse or force against one’s self, another individual, or group, or conduct that endangers the health, safety, or well-being of one’s self or another person or group will not be tolerated.

Failure to Comply
Students are expected to be cooperative and respectful to University officials who are acting in the performance of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to, University administrators, faculty and staff and Sewanee Police officers. Further, students are expected to comply with instructions, requests or orders of a University official, a University official’s designee or University document. Note, failure to comply during the adjudication process may result in adjudication in the student’s absence. A failure to comply violation can result when a student knows or should have known of the instruction, request or order.

Fire Hazards and Combustible Materials
The University is committed to the safety and welfare of our community, combustible materials including, but not limited to, gasoline, gunpowder, flammable chemicals, explosives, etc., are not permitted. Incendiary devices, including fireworks, of any kind are strictly prohibited in University facilities and on the premises of the Domain. Fire Hazards such as candles, appliances restricted by Residential Life for campus housing, extension cords restricted by Residential Life from the Residence Halls, etc. are not permitted. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, alarms and fire extinguishers are integral to student and facility safety and are not to be tampered with, disabled or misused in any way. Smoke detectors must remain plugged in (if not battery operated).

Hazing is any conduct that causes or would reasonably be expected to cause another person to experience humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation, harassment, or endangerment of mental or physical health or safety as a condition of association with a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate and regardless of whether the organization or group is officially recognized. Acts of hazing by groups, individuals and/or alumni are prohibited. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts but constitute complicity. Students and organizations may be charged separately through the University conduct process. Further information regarding hazing can be found in the student organization handbook online.

Other Policy Violation
All University policies and departmental guidelines are imposed to create a safe and productive learning environment.  Students are responsible for knowing and following all policies relevant to the activity or program they are involved in.  Most University Policies can be found on the Provost’s page by logging in with your Banner ID and password.

Pets and Other Animals
Sewanee strives to promote a safe and healthy learning and working environment. Consequently, pets and other animals are prohibited from University-owned buildings (excluding rental properties) unless the animal is in the service of a person with a disability, an approved emotional support animal (ESA) or the animal is used in classroom instruction.

Physical Conflict
Students respect the dignity of others, which extends to another’s right to be free from the harmful, offensive or otherwise undesired touching that may occur during a physical conflict. Physical conflicts include actual contact between individuals as well as threatening physical harm, regardless of whether physical contact occurs or not. A student’s intent to initiate physical contact is not necessary for a violation to occur; however, intent will escalate the University’s response. Students alleged to have engaged in physical conflicts resulting from domestic or dating violence may have their case adjudicated under the Sex Discrimination policy.

Any person who brings a good faith report under this Code, or has information about or is involved in a complaint resolution process is encouraged to do so without fear of adverse action. See the full policy at Any person who retaliates against a person who brings a report or participates in the complaint resolution process is subject to being charged with retaliation regardless of the outcome of the underlying complaint.

Sexual Misconduct
The University of the South has a detailed policy regarding sexual misconduct and a process for resolving such cases that is complementary to the processes in this Code. See the full policy at  Generally, cases involving allegations of violation of the Sex Discrimination Policy will be investigated and resolved using the procedures of that policy.

Smoking and the use of tobacco products is prohibited in all residence halls and on balconies, and in all academic buildings. Prohibited tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, hookahs, all smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes (“vaping”).  Smoking or any use of tobacco products is prohibited within 50 feet of all campus buildings, including fraternity and sorority houses, academic buildings, etc. Violators of this policy are subject to a minimum $25 fine and additional sanctions should issues persist.

Technology Misuse
The use of any technology issued as a part of the student experience (academic and social) at the University or while enrolled, in a way other than the expressed intention of the technology is prohibited.  Students who use technology to bully, retaliate, harass or otherwise disrespect another member of the University community will be subject to significant consequences including the limit or removal of privileges.

Students should respect the property of individuals, the University, and others. Students are expected to not have another’s property without express permission. A student who keeps property that excludes its rightful owner of its use or presence when the student knows or reasonably should have known the property belonged to another will be treated as if the student took it no matter how it came into the student’s possession. The University will escalate its response when a student who has another’s property intentionally took it or kept it without express permission. Violations of theft will be considered under the Honor Code.

Unauthorized Entry
In the interest of student safety as well as successful living and learning, students are expected to not physically enter non-public areas of the University without first receiving the appropriate permission(s) that grants access. Permission may be provided in many forms and therefore students are expected to refrain from assisting others without permission to enter such areas. Non-public areas include, but are not limited to:  residence halls, residence hall rooms, construction areas, athletic playing surfaces, staff or faculty offices, card-restricted rooms/areas, academic or administration buildings after hours unless there is a specific meeting or event scheduled, rooftops and balconies.

Unauthorized Use of University Documents
Lending, stealing or otherwise transferring a student identification card, parking decal and/or University document is prohibited.  Additionally, use of a student identification card by anyone other than the owner is prohibited. No student shall obtain under false pretenses any document, identification card, parking decal or other University issued item. Students who violate this policy may be referred to the Honor Council.

Students may not possess, use or intend to use weapons on the Domain without express permission of the Dean of Students.  No weapon or item that could reasonably be assumed to be a weapon is permitted in the Residence Halls.  Students are expected to follow procedures related to weapons and not make assumptions about what is permitted.  The University prioritizes safety in situations involving weapons. The University’s Weapons Policy can be found on the Provost’s page at:



For the full guide, please download the EQB The Guide to Living in Community 2019-2020 here.