Who We Are - Values and Commitments


The Code of Conduct is a portion of The EQB Guide, which outlines our community expectations, policies, disciplinary process, and notices for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students, faculty, and staff voluntarily enter into membership in the University community and, in so doing, assume obligations of performance and behavior reasonably expected by that community for the purpose of furthering its mission, vision, processes, and functions. Students accept the expectations and policies set forth in this code and other university rules, regulations, and policies when they are admitted to the University (see “Scope” under “Conduct Process”). Students are also subject to the laws of the state of Tennessee.

The language used in this Guide is not intended to create nor is it to be construed to constitute a contract between the University and any one or all of its students. It is the student’s responsibility to read the Code of Conduct. Please note that the Code of Conduct does not contain all policies of the University and its units, but rather highlights important policies for students. Students are responsible for any other pertinent policies, handbooks, or expectations of other University units the student may be involved in and will be subject to any unit within the University to which the student belongs.

In order to carry out its mission, the University promotes and enforces appropriate rules, regulations, and policies and takes action when violations of such rules, regulations, and policies occur. Please be aware that the Code of Conduct is only available via the Internet. Should you need a copy in print or if you have any further questions regarding the Code of Conduct, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 931.598.1229 or email dstudent@sewanee.edu.


Governing Ideas 

University Purpose

The University of the South is an institution of the Episcopal Church dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in close community and in full freedom of hearing, and enlightened by Christian faith in the Anglican tradition, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds, to the end that students be prepared to search for truth, seek justice, preserve liberty under law, and serve God and humanity.

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to the development of the whole person through a liberal arts education of the highest quality.  Outstanding students work closely with distinguished and diverse faculty in demanding course of humane and scientific study that prepares them for lives of achievement and service.  Providing rich opportunities for leadership and intellectual and spiritual growth, while grounding its community on a pledge of honor, Sewanee enables students to live with grace, integrity, and a reverent concern for the world.  

The School of Theology educates women and men to serve the broad whole of the Episcopal Church in ordained and lay vocations.  The School develops leaders who are learned, skilled, informed by the Word of God, and committed to the mission of Christ’s church, in the Anglican tradition of forming disciples through a common life of prayer, learning, and service.  Sewanee’s seminary education and world-wide programs equip people for ministry through the gift of theological reflection in community.

A Community of Honor

The University’s motto—EQB—summarizes the principle that as members of the Sewanee community, we have a responsibility to live with respect for one another and in healthy relationships. Students are expected to live with honor day and night, in the classroom and in the residence halls, on the athletic field and in social spaces, on campus and off—in short, “in every walk of life.”

When we commit to living in community with one another, we necessarily agree to accept limitations on our own actions for the benefit of all, with the parallel expectation that we will not be injured, maligned, or otherwise negatively affected by the actions of others. Those who insist upon living outside the expectations of the Sewanee community will understandably be held accountable for their choices by the Honor Council, the Student Conduct Board, or other disciplinary bodies, and may in certain circumstances be removed from the Sewanee community. Matriculation and/or continued enrollment at Sewanee is a privilege, not a right.  Additionally, students are expected to comply with federal, state, and local laws in their conduct whether on or off campus.


College of Arts and Sciences and The Honor Code

One shall not lie, cheat, or steal.

For more than a hundred years the Honor System has been one of Sewanee’s most cherished institutions. The Honor Code is an attempt to formulate that system, but no code can adequately define honor. Honor is an ideal and an obligation. It exists in the human spirit and it lives in the relations between human beings. One can know honor without defining it.

Resolutions which have been adopted by the student body from time to time to further an understanding of the Honor System include the following:

  • First, that any adequate conception of honor demands that an honorable person shall not lie or cheat or steal.

  • Second, that membership in the student body carries with it a peculiar responsibility for the punctilious observance of those standards of conduct which govern an honorable person in every walk of life.

  • Third, that since the integrity of the degrees granted by the University must depend in large degree upon the Honor Code, all students in every class must regard themselves as particularly bound by their honor not to cheat in any form, and as likewise bound in honor not to fail to report any cheating that comes to their knowledge.

  • Fourth, that plagiarism is a form of cheating because the plagiarist copies or imitates the language and thoughts of others and passes the result off as an original work. Plagiarism includes the failure to identify a direct quotation by the use of quotation marks or another accepted convention which delimits and identifies the quotation clearly, paraphrasing the work of another without an acknowledgement of the source, or using the ideas of another, even though expressed in different words, without giving proper credit.

  • Fifth, the same paper may not be submitted in more than one course without the prior permission of the instructors in those courses.

  • Sixth, because the preservation of equal access to scholarly materials is essential in any academic community, it is a violation of the Honor Code to fail to check out materials taken from the library, or to remove from the building without proper authorization non-circulating materials such as reference books, periodicals, or reserved books.

The Pledge

Upon entrance to the University every student agrees to abide by this Honor System and is asked to sign a form signifying acceptance of this Honor Code. Each examination, quiz, or other paper which is to be graded carries the written pledge: “I hereby certify that I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this paper. (Signature).” The abbreviation “Pledged” followed by the student’s signature has the same meaning and may be acceptable.

The Honor Council

An important part of Sewanee’s Honor System is its maintenance and administration by the students. For this purpose students elect an Honor Council consisting of four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman. All members are elected by their respective classes. Following the election of new members in the spring, current and newly elected members of the Honor Council shall elect a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. The Council may invite a student from the School of Theology to participate, without vote, in its proceedings. The election and organization of this Council, its jurisdiction, its rules of procedure, and other relevant matters are subject to oversight by the Order of Gownsmen and the Student Government Association, which may recommend changes to the Council from time to time. The Council also reserves the right to initiate changes to this document. Before becoming effective, any changes are submitted to a referendum vote by the entire student body and must receive approval of two-thirds of those voting, and of the Vice-Chancellor. The jurisdiction of the Honor Code is not restricted to matters occurring on the Domain of the University. Cases may arise, however, because of distance or other circumstances, for which a fair hearing is impractical. The Council shall release case-related statistics, mindful of the students’ right of confidentiality, to be made available to the student body. Although it is each student’s responsibility to know the content of the Code, the chair of the Honor Council undertakes each year to familiarize new students with its meaning and significance and to remind the faculty and staff of their responsibility to support the Code.

More information about the Honor Code can be found at www.sewanee.edu/academics/about/the-honor-code/.

Community Commitments

The commitments below provide an outline of what Sewanee students can expect of their community experience with a focus on the implications of living honorably. Any sense of honor requires that each individual living within the community has the responsibility to take action to support the health and well-being of the greater community: we all must hold each other to our shared standards of honor. This responsibility can be made manifest in many ways: for example, students actively preserve their own integrity as well as the reputation of the University’s academic programs when they refuse to tolerate academic dishonesty in any form; they actively respect the dignity of all when they refuse to participate in behavior that demeans others and instead take steps to end such behavior in others; they actively promote an environment of shared trust and support when they alert authorities to threats to the safety of others. We encourage students to support the community values by reporting violations and other concerns.

  • Living with Personal Integrity
  • Respecting the Dignity of All
  • Valuing Freedom of Thought and Expression
  • Demonstrating Self-Control
  • Developing Trusting Relationships 

Living with Personal Integrity

The Sewanee community is committed to personal integrity—honor—as the foundation of university life and as the cornerstone of a premier educational experience. The community believes trust among its members is essential to scholarship and is basic to effective interactions and operations of the university. Further, as the Honor Code states, “all students in every class must regard themselves as particularly bound by their honor not to cheat in any form, and as likewise bound in honor not to fail to report any cheating that comes to their knowledge.”

Respecting the Dignity of All

The Sewanee community is committed to the dignity and worth of every individual, recognizing that each person is unique with certain rights and responsibilities. Such respect for the individual calls for toleration of differing opinions, attitudes, and cultures, as well as the insistence on fair and just treatment for all individuals.

Valuing Freedom of Thinking and Expression

The Sewanee community is committed to the pursuit of truth and the communication of knowledge. The community encourages individuals to develop the ongoing capacity for critical independent thinking and judgment. The community believes in the individual's right to teach and to learn, as well as in the individual's responsibility to prepare adequately.

Demonstrating Self-Control

The Sewanee community is committed to self-control and respect for self and others as necessary for enabling all individuals to develop intellectually, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically. The community believes in the ongoing developmental process of individuals' assuming responsibility for the effects their behaviors have on themselves and others.

Developing Trusting Relationships

The Sewanee community is committed to developing relationships built on trust and respect for the rights and properties of all individuals and of the community itself. The community also respects the laws of the society and the just administration of those laws. The community encourages responsible citizenship and involvement of each individual and seeks to serve and to be faithful stewards of all its resources.

Non-discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

University’s Commitment

The University of the South stands firmly for the principle that its employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs have a right to be free from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, pregnancy and childbirth, and genetic information, and free from sexual misconduct in its educational programs and activities and with regard to employment. The University is committed to sustaining a community in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Key to this value are efforts to nurture an environment of civility and mutual respect and to foster a culture of reporting concerns so that the University can respond promptly and equitably whenever an incident occurs. All employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs also have the right to be free from harassment and retaliation.

Related Commitments

The University is also committed to free expression. Speech not specifically directed against individuals in a harassing way may be protected by traditional safeguards of free speech, even though the comments may cause considerable discomfort or concern to others in the community.

The full policy can be found on the Provost’s Page at www.sewanee.edu/media/provost/Non-Discrimination-Policy.pdf.

Copyright and Downloading Policy

The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including through peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject you to criminal and civil penalties. Although using peer-to-peer file sharing technology in itself is not illegal, what you share and how you share it may violate the law (just as while driving a car is legal, driving a car on the sidewalk at 90 miles per hour is not).

The laws that govern copyright are not specific to any one technology or medium; you can violate the rights of a copyright holder using many different types of technology and, in some instances, by copying material from one medium to another. Both uploading and downloading of files can violate the copyright law, and the law applies to songs, videos, photos, memes, games, computer software, textbooks, and any other type of creative content.

Illicitly downloading and/or sharing music, videos, and other creative work is also a breach of the honor code: it is theft, plain and simple, to take something that is not yours without paying for it.

Use technology wisely. You are responsible for the choices you make and should be cautious when obtaining any copyrighted material.  In many cases, materials found on the internet are protected by copyright and should not be reproduced or downloaded and shared without permission. As a rule of thumb, before you download anything for free, you should research whether that source provides material licensed by the copyright owner.

Individuals who violate the copyright law, even unintentionally, by illegally uploading or downloading may be subject to actual damages to the copyright holder and/or to civil penalties of between $750 and $150,000 per work infringed. For those who download or upload dozens or hundreds of songs, penalties could reach into the millions of dollars. These penalties are established by federal law.  Additionally, criminal penalties may be imposed that exceed the fines for civil penalties and may include imprisonment.

Content owners actively monitor file sharing networks and issue takedown notice to Internet Service Providers (including the University) requesting that the University remove these files or issue subpoenas requesting that the University turn over your contact information for the purpose of filing a lawsuit. Pursuant to state and federal law, the University must comply with all valid subpoenas.

In the past, pre-litigation settlements offered by copyright owners prior to filing lawsuits against students have ranged from $3,000 to $4,000 and up while juries have issued verdicts against illegal file sharers of hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. In addition, a court may, in its discretion, grant the copyright owner reasonable attorney’s fees. Although criminal prosecution of students for file sharing is extremely rare, federal law lays out criminal penalties for intentional copyright infringement which can include fines and jail time.

While it is generally accepted in copyright law that you may format-shift content, that is, you may rip a CD that you lawfully own onto your computer and then listen to it on your iPod, this right only applies for your own personal use. You may not then distribute that song file to others. To do so, is to violate the copyright law as is to download a file shared in this manner.

In addition to following the law, you must also follow Sewanee policy. Unauthorized distribution or receipt of copyrighted material is a violation of the University’s Acceptable Use Policy, found below.

Acceptable Use Policy

Many members of the Sewanee community have questions about their rights and responsibilities with respect to use of copyrighted material, particularly the sharing of music and movies in digital format over the Internet. This section provides an overview of Sewanee’s policies and procedures governing music and movie sharing and how we deal with alleged violations. Recent legal actions by the Recording Industry Artists Association (RIAA) against violators of music copyright have made it imperative that everyone understand the risks of their behavior when sharing music, movies or other protected works with others.

Copyright Law

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material regardless of the format of that material. Copyright law is complicated and its interpretation is sometimes controversial. However, recent actions by the recording industry are clarifying legal interpretations of copyright law.

Peer-to-Peer Programs (P2P)

Spurred on by the widespread use of the Internet, P2P programs have been developed to allow people to share information in digital formats. In particular, programs commonly used to share music and movies without regard to the restrictions placed on that material by the copyright owners are typically unlawful. Most music and movies are copyrighted and cannot be freely shared. This is the law. Sewanee does not examine the information content that is being transmitted (e.g. the music itself) but does monitor the type of information (e.g., that is an MP3 file) in order for us to give priority to academic uses of our network. Members of our community must follow the honor code. The code states that: Any adequate conception of Honor demands that an honorable person shall not lie or cheat or steal.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The DMCA specifies procedures that Sewanee must follow when notified that an individual using our network is violating copyright laws. If the copyright holder contacts Sewanee about a violation we will stop network access for the individual, notify him/her of the notice we have received, and require removal of the offending material from his/her computer. The individual has the right to claim that the material is not protected by copyright and then a legal process begins. To date, every notice we have received has resulted in the offending material being removed.  Additionally, the individual may be found to have violated the Honor Code and be subject to University discipline.

Recent Legal Actions

Recently, the RIAA has taken further action to subpoena the names of people who are sharing large amounts of music. If Sewanee receives a subpoena, we are required to provide the name of the violator who is using our network. These subpoenas can lead to lawsuits, substantial financial penalties and perhaps jail time. In the spring of 2003, for example, four students at other colleges settled copyright claims against them out-of-court for approximately $15,000 each. The consequences of illegally sharing copyrighted material over the Internet are serious. Some people have argued that the recording industry has been overcharging for music CDs and that music sharing is justified. Others feel that the recording industry has been too slow to adopt legal ways for music to be distributed over the Internet at lower cost. Regardless, most music and movie-sharing violates the law that we are bound to uphold. If you distribute copyrighted music and videos you are putting yourself at risk of losing computing privileges, being charged by the Sewanee Honor Council, and facing prosecution under civil and criminal laws.

Protecting Yourself

Students found to be in violation of the copyright/file sharing policy or that are reported to us via a takedown notice from the RIAA/MPAA will have their network access blocked.

Intellectual Property Rights

This policy can be found on the Provost’s Page at www.sewanee.edu/media/provost/Intellectual-Property-Policy.pdf.


Updated: August 5, 2018