Code of Student Conduct

I. Preamble

When Benjamin Franklin founded the Pennsylvania Academy, he defined its mission as “education for citizenship.” In pursuit of this mission, the University of Pennsylvania is committed to achieving academic excellence, to creating an environment for inquiry and learning, and to cultivating responsible citizenship in the larger society.

The University of Pennsylvania is a community in which intellectual growth, learning from others, mutual tolerance, and respect for freedom of thought and expression are principles of paramount importance. In an environment that promotes the free interchange of ideas, cultural and intellectual diversity, and a wealth of social opportunities, Penn students take advantage of the academic and non-academic opportunities available to them, deepening their intellectual insights through formal instruction, and expanding their educational experience beyond their academic programs. Members of the Penn community participate actively in the greater Philadelphia, state, national, and international communities in which they reside. “Citizens” of the University community include students, faculty, staff and those otherwise affiliated with the University.

Accepting membership into the University of Pennsylvania community as a student entails an obligation to promote its welfare by assuming the rights and responsibilities listed below. Each individual member of this community is responsible for his or her own actions and is expected to respect the rights of others.

II. Rights of Student Citizenship

Membership in the University of Pennsylvania community affords every student certain rights that are essential to the University’s educational mission and its character as a community:

  1. The right to have access to and participate in the academic and non-academic opportunities afforded by the University, subject to applicable standards or requirements.
  2. The right to freedom of thought and expression.
  3. The right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran.
  4. The right to fair University judicial process in the determination of accountability for conduct.

III. Responsibilities of Student Citizenship

Students are expected to exhibit responsible behavior regardless of time or place. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action by the University. Responsible behavior is a standard of conduct which reflects higher expectations than may be prevalent outside the University community. Responsible behavior includes but is not limited to the following obligations:

  1. To comply with all provisions of the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and academic integrity codes adopted by the faculties of individual schools.
  2. To respect the health and safety of others. This precludes acts or threats of physical violence against another person (including sexual violence) and disorderly conduct. This also precludes the possession of dangerous articles (such as firearms, explosive materials, etc.) on University property or at University events without University authorization.
  3. To respect the right of fellow students to participate in University organizations and in relationships with other students without fear, threat, or act of hazing.
  4. To refrain from conduct towards other students that infringes upon the Rights of Student Citizenship. The University condemns hate speech, epithets, and racial, ethnic, sexual and religious slurs. However, the content of student speech or expression is not by itself a basis for disciplinary action. Student speech may be subject to discipline when it violates applicable laws or University regulations or policies.
  5. To refrain from stealing, damaging, defacing, or misusing the property or facilities of the University or of others. This also precludes the disruption of University computing services or interference with the rights of others to use computer resources.
  6. To be honest and truthful in dealings with the University, about one’s own identity (e.g., name or Social Security number), and in the use of University and other identification.
  7. To cooperate fully and honestly in the Student Judicial System of the University, including the obligation to comply with all judicial sanctions.
  8. To comply with all contracts made with the University, such as Residential Living Occupancy Agreements and Dining Services contracts.
  9. To comply with policies and regulations of the University and its departments (e.g., the University’s Guidelines on Open Expression, Anti-Hazing Regulations, Drug and Alcohol Policies, Sexual Harassment Policy, etc.).
  10. To comply with federal, state and local laws.

(Source: Almanac, September 27, 1994, Volume 41, No. 5)