Community Standards: Accountability, Discipline, Appeals

The Biola Community


Biola University is a community committed to following Christ. We seek to create integrated, biblically-centered learning experiences that promote whole-person development of all students. Our hope is that as you engage with this community, you, alongside every other student, will be empowered, transformed, and thriving here at Biola and after you graduate.

We consider Jesus’ command to "Love your neighbor as yourself" as the foundation stone of community. We believe that community is born of other-centered practices, strengthened when members:

  • live with integrity,
  • accept responsibility for their actions and words,
  • attempt to live in reconciled relationships,
  • submit to biblical instruction, and
  • walk by the Holy Spirit.

As women and men of Biola, we do not ask each other to be perfect people, but rather to be people who pursue growth in our personal, relational and spiritual lives. Our desire is to support your growth and development by coming alongside you and offering care, resources, and, when necessary, accountability, in order to help you grow.

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The Biola Community Standards


As you read through this handbook, you’ll notice that parts of our Community Standards and university policies are connected to specific biblical instruction, while other parts of our community standards and policies ask that you give up individual freedoms for the good of the greater community. In becoming a Biola student, you have chosen, freely and willingly, to abide by these standards and policies in order to promote the flourishing of all in our community.

Please note that as a student, you are responsible to know and abide by all University policies, rules, or regulations and will be held responsible if a violation occurs. Published University policies, rules, or regulations include:

  1. Biola University Student Handbook
  2. Biola University Catalog
  3. Housing and Food Services Contract and the Housing Handbook
  4. Campus Safety Handbook
  5. Biola Network Usage Policy
  6. All other official Biola University publications, including information posted on Biola’s website

When The Standards Apply

The Biola Community Standards apply to all students:

  1. While enrolled in classes for the Fall Semester (including Thanksgiving), Spring Semester (including Spring Break), and Summer Semester;
  2. Who are representing the Biola Community in any off-campus events, such as mission trips, internships, study abroad, and athletic or academic activities;
  3. Who are not enrolled in classes but are living on campus, and not checked out of their room.

The fact that these standards only apply to students while they are enrolled or in residence in no way indicates that the University believes that contrary behavior is acceptable during non-enrolled periods. The University recognizes that it is inherently the responsibility of the individual to make such behavior decisions. The essential role of individual judgment, discernment, and recognition of personal accountability to God throughout the Biola community cannot be overemphasized. Behaviors while not enrolled may affect a student’s ability to re-enroll or continue at Biola University (see also below, “Violation Of Law And University Discipline”).

The University reserves the right to refuse or revoke admittance and/or dismiss any person who does not conform either to the stated guidelines and regulations governing student conduct, or to the expressed principles, policies, and expectations of the University. The University also reserves the right to take action against an individual for violating the Standards regardless of how much time has passed since the violation. Finally, the University reserves the right to take disciplinary actions for violations of University standards by graduates awaiting degrees and students who withdraw from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.

Do the Standards Apply Off-Campus?

Off-campus rights and freedoms of students involve the responsibility to display conduct and behavior that reflect favorably on them, the University, and the community. Accordingly, the University reserves the right to take disciplinary action in response to behavior off campus that violates University standards and policies or adversely affects the University community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. The University also reserves the right to take disciplinary actions for violations of University standards by graduates awaiting degrees and students who withdraw from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.

Violation Of Law And University Discipline

The University reserves the right to review actions taken by civil authorities regarding any student or student organization. University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law and may, at the sole discretion of the University, be carried out prior to, concurrently, or following civil or criminal proceedings. Violations occurring during non-enrolled periods may be considered by the University in determining whether a student will be eligible to continue his/her enrollment in the University and if so, under what conditions.

Accountability and Reporting

The University desires that all members of the Biola community encourage one another to abide by the community standards and hold one another accountable for their actions. At times, it is most appropriate and helpful to share about concerning behaviors or violations with the Department of Student Care. Anyone may share about a suspected violation of the Biola Community Standards by contacting the Department of Student Care at ext. 5842. Alternatively, students living in the residence halls may notify their Resident Director, Resident Coordinator, or Resident Advisor. The person sharing the concern may be asked to submit a written narrative about the nature of what occurred and any pertinent information available. While we ask that information be submitted as soon as possible, the University reserves the right to take action against an individual for violating the Standards regardless of how much time has passed since the incident. For any campus emergency, call x5111. Students who knowingly make a false report of misconduct are in violation of University policy and will be handled accordingly.

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Student Care Process


Any report of suspected violation of the Community Standards or University policies will be forwarded to the Department of Student Care. This area oversees both the disciplinary process and emotional care process for all undergraduate students. In all circumstances, we seek to be supportive, developmental and redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved, and we will offer support, resources, and accountability to strengthen the student’s ability to flourish within the Biola community.

When the Department of Student Care becomes aware that a student is in violation of the Biola Community Standards or University policies, the University will move towards the student for accountability and development. Depending on the nature of the situation, this process may begin with a conversation with the student’s Resident Advisor, Resident Coordinator, Resident Director, or for commuter students, the Assistant Director of Commuter Life or the Director of Commuter Life. In certain instances, a suspected violation of the Biola Community Standards may be referred to a Student Care Team member for appropriate action. Students are expected to comply with meeting requests initiated by Student Development staff, and if they do not, further administrative measures may occur. In that initial meeting, students will be given the opportunity to hear about the alleged violation, respond and provide their perspective on what occurred, and share any other information they believe to be pertinent to the situation. Once all of the relevant information has been gathered, an administrative decision will be made. It is important to note that in respect to disciplinary proceedings, we do not follow a formal judicial process, formal rules of evidence are not followed, and past conduct may be considered in the discipline process. However, in all cases, Student Development staff members will strive to obtain accurate findings through a fair and equitable process.

If a student leaves the University before a disciplinary process is complete, a registration hold will be placed on the student’s academic record and that situation will need to be resolved before the student is allowed to return. Students engaged in a student care process for serious disciplinary reasons will have a hold placed on his or her academic record for the duration of the disciplinary review.

A separate policy is followed for academic dishonesty/plagiarism/cheating; please contact the Vice Provost for Academic Administration at ext. 4713.

Our desire is that students engage honestly, thoughtfully, and respectfully in their Student Care Process. During a student care process, the following violations are examples of what could lead to further disciplinary action:

    1. Falsely reporting misconduct knowingly and with intent to harm.
    2. Failure to respond to the summons of a University official.
    3. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a disciplinary body.
    4. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a disciplinary proceeding.
    5. Attempting to discourage another individual‘s proper participation in, or use of, the disciplinary process.
    6. Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a disciplinary body prior to, and/or during the course of, the disciplinary proceeding.
    7. Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a disciplinary body prior to, during, and/or after a disciplinary proceeding.
    8. Failure to comply with written or verbal directives of University officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties, and/or failure to provide identification to a University official upon request.
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Sanctions


When it has been determined that a student is responsible for violating the Community Standards or University policies, appropriate sanctions will be given. A sanction could be a change to a student’s status or could be an action that requires the student to meet certain expectations and/or complete specific requirements within a stated time frame. Sanctions are based upon the nature and severity of the issue, the effect of the behavior on the University community, and the individualized needs of the student involved. The University seeks be consistent in it’s sanctions while also being sensitive to the facts and circumstances of each individual case. University officials may impose a sanction but postpone its actual implementation. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by a may lead to further disciplinary action and may impact the student’s ability to continue at the University.

Sanctions may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Disciplinary Warning: A restatement of the Biola Community Standards is made to the student, together with an official warning concerning future behavior. May include loss of or restriction from certain activities or privileges.
  • Disciplinary Probation: The student is expected to show a development in responsible actions toward Biola and members of the community for a specified period of time. May include limitations in or restriction from certain activities or privileges. Any additional violations of the University policies will result in further disciplinary action, which may include additional sanctions and/or dismissal from the University. While students are on Disciplinary Probation, they are ineligible to apply to live in the Biola apartments.
  • Zero Tolerance:  The student is expected to show a development in responsible actions toward Biola and members of the community for a specified period of time. May include limitations in or restriction from certain activities or privileges. The additional violations of the University policies or Community Standards will result in immediate dismissal from the University. While students are on Zero Tolerance, they are ineligible to apply to live in the Biola apartments.
  • Parent Notification
  • Personal Development: Recommended engagement in University resources for personal and/or interpersonal development (I.e. Counseling, Spiritual Direction, Pastoral Care, Learning Center, Career Development, Center for Marriage and Relationships)
  • Biola Community Engagement: Recommended engagement in the Biola Community (Clubs, Intramurals, SEID, Global Programs and Development, Residence Life and Commuter Life events, etc.)
  • Local Community Engagement: Recommended engagement in the local community (Ministries, Church, etc.)
  • Housing Probation or Housing Removal
  • Loss of Open Hour privileges
  • Apartment Ineligibility: As a result of your breach of community standards, you are unable to apply for or live in the following communities: Thompson and any Biola owned apartments (Block and Bluff) until the date listed.
  • Online Education Course
  • Research or Reflection Projects
  • Fines: Payment of charges for violation of regulations or damages to University property. These charges will be added to a student’s account. These vary according to the violation.
  • Interim Suspension (see below)
  • Suspension (see below)
  • Dismissal/Expulsion (see below)

Interim Suspension, Suspension, Dismissal/Expulsion

Interim Suspension: In certain circumstances, the Student Care Team may immediately impose an interim University or housing suspension while a final determination is being made. Suspension may be imposed:

  1. to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property;
  2. to ensure the student's own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or
  3. if the student poses a credible threat of disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the University.

During the interim suspension, the student will be denied access to university housing and/or to the campus (including classes) and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. The interim suspension shall extend only until such time as a determination can be completed and other sanctions (if any) imposed.

Suspension: The student is involuntarily separated from the University without the privilege of returning until a time specified by the Student Care Team. (*Updated language as of Fall 2018)

Dismissal: The student is permanently separated from the University with a notation of the reasons for the dismissal in his/her file. (*Updated language as of Fall 2018)

When students are suspended or dismissed for disciplinary reasons, absences from classes and chapels are not excused and academic work that is missed may not be made up. The student will be subjected to any academic consequences of his/her actions. There will be no refund of tuition for the semester and financial aid may be canceled. Upon separation from University housing, students are subject to the student housing and meal plan cancellation policy. It is the student’s responsibility to contact Housing and Dining Services to inquire about the cancellation policy.

End of Semester Sanctions

When a student violates the Community Standards/Policies towards the end of a semester, the student will still go through a Student Care process even if the semester has ended. A student will not be able to withdraw from the University during that process, unless given permission from the Student Care Team. Any sanction(s) that a student has not completed by the expected deadline may result in a hold on the student’s academic record and will need to be completed before the student is allowed to return. If the University becomes aware of previous violations of a currently unenrolled student that occurred while said student was enrolled, the student care process will be required before the student is allowed to return to the University.

Sanctions for Graduating Seniors

Students violating Community Standards or University Policies towards the end of their graduating semester may face different sanctions given the timing of their violation. Depending on the severity of the violation and the discretion of the Student Care Team, students may be permitted to finish their studies and graduate from Biola University yet be prohibited from participating in graduation weekend activities, which may include the Commencement Ceremony. Any incomplete sanctions may result in a hold on the student’s academic account.

Sanctions for Student Organizations, Clubs and Ministry Teams

A student club, club officers, and/or club members may be held collectively and/or individually responsible when in violation of the Community Standards, policies outlined in the Club Officers Manual, or any other University policies occur either during an event sponsored by the organization or by an individual representing or acting on behalf of that club. The following sanctions may be imposed upon clubs: warning, fines, loss of privileges, educational sanctions, restitution, or deactivation. Deactivation includes a loss of all privileges, including University recognition and access to funds in the club university account, either permanently or for a specified period of time. If a student has been found responsible for violating the Community Standards or other University policies outside of their role as a leader or member of a club, their standing as a club or ministry leader or member may be impacted. The appeals process outlined below also applies to clubs and organizations.

Appeals Process

When the sanctioned student disputes the outcome of a Student Care process, that student (hereafter called the Appellant) may request, through the Vice President for Student Development, that an Appeal Hearing Committee review the decision. The Vice President for Student Development will review the Appellant’s request and determine if the request for appeal meets the sufficient standards in order for a appeals process to move forward. If the appeals process is granted, sanctions may or may not be postponed or suspended pending the outcome of this appeal, at the discretion of the Vice President. A student may appeal their sanctions on the basis of:

  1. inaccurate findings (i.e. the available facts used in determining sanctions were inaccurate/incomplete), new evidence has become available that would impact the decision; and/or
  2. an unfair or inequitable process.
  3. The following are not within the scope of the appeal process:
  4. the student’s interpretation or judgment of University administrators regarding the meaning or implementation of the written regulations, standards, and/or policies of the University;
  5. the written regulations, standards, and/or policies of the University themselves;
  6. the determined sanctions from the disciplinary procedure.
  7. general dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision, or an appeal for mercy.

To initiate an appeal hearing, the Appellant is to submit the following to the Vice President for Student Development via email:

  1. A request to consider the appeal, submitted within five (5) working days from the time the Appellant was informed of the disciplinary decisions.
  2. A statement, which includes all of the relevant issues and evidence to be considered. Issues/evidence not included in this statement will not be considered in the appeal hearing.
  3. A list of material witnesses, if any, and the essence of their proposed contribution to the appeal hearing. Please note these are not character witnesses but individuals with first-hand knowledge of the situation in appeal. Their testimony will be limited to the specified matters.

If Vice President for Student Development determines the appeal meets the criteria for an appeals process, an Appeal Hearing a Committee will be formed. This committee will be made up of one member of the SCT (Student Care Team) who then serves as a non-voting facilitator, along with three faculty/staff members selected by the Vice President. If no members of the SCT are available, the Vice President for Student Development may select a replacement from Biola faculty/staff.

The Appeal Committee will, within 15 working days of the receipt of the appeal request, review and evaluate the original adjudication, as well as the information that the Appellant has presented. Based on the nature of the appeal, the Appeal Hearing Committee has the discretion whether or not to call the Appellant and/or his/her witnesses to appear before the Appeal Hearing Committee. If the Appellant and/or the witnesses will be called, they will be notified at least two (2) days in advance of the appeal hearing date. The Appeal Hearing Committee may record the appeal hearing.

The Appeal Hearing Committee will issue its decision in writing to the parties involved within a reasonable time (usually within 10 working days) of the conclusion of the appeal process. The decision of the Appeal Hearing Committee will be final and no further appeal is possible.

It is also important to note that in respect to appeal proceedings, formal rules of evidence are not followed, and past conduct may be considered in the appeal process. No particular model of procedural process is required; however, the Appeal Committee will attempt to structure the procedure so as to facilitate a reliable determination of the truth and be fair and reasonable.

During periods other than regular semesters (summer, Christmas, Interterm), the Vice President for Student Development reserves the right to alter the timing of the appeals process as necessary, due to faculty/staff/student availability.

A separate appeal process is followed in cases of academic dishonesty; please see policy on “Academic Integrity."

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Interpretation and Revision


Any questions regarding interpretation of these Biola Community Standards or University Policies should be referred to the Office of Student Development. In these Standards, the Office of Student Development gratefully acknowledges the use and adaptation of model codes of student conduct published by the National Association of College and University Attorneys in Student Disciplinary Issues: A Legal Compendium and Student Handbook Policies.

Updated policies and regulations may be found under the Student Handbook section of the Biola University Student Hub website. New or modified policies are effective upon publication (including online publication); notice of these changes will be posted to the Student Life webpage and students will be notified via email. It is the students’ responsibility to stay informed of current policies and standards.

Revised December 2018.

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