Liberty University is a private, Christian university that aims to help its student achieve academic and spiritual excellence. Upon their acceptance and attendance, students at Liberty University are expected to abide by the university's misconduct policies or else face serious consequences ranging from restitution fees to expulsion.
Misconduct at Liberty University
Liberty University's honor code establishes its religious expectations for its students as well as its behavioral ones. With this in mind, students are expected not only to abide by the Golden Rule but also by the legislative documents designed to protect students of all races, genders, sexualities, and so on while they're on campus.
The university defines its various incidents of misconduct as including academic, behavioral, computing, and behaviors that can be classified as “unprofessional, unethical, and dangerous.” These sections break down as follows:
Plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and the falsification of academic documents all violate Liberty University’s academic honor code. The following behaviors may also result in accusations of misconduct:
- Collaboration between students on assignments, quizzes, exams, and projects when permission for collaboration has not previously been approved.
- Use of academic aids without professor or university approval.
- Lending a student notes during an exam or accepting help from another student during an exam.
- Coming into possession of another student's notes or academic materials through commercial means.
- Attending another student's class under a false name.
- Completing another student's work under a false name.
- Sabotaging another student's academic career.
Instances of academic misconduct will be judged by first the instructor in question and then the department in which that instructor works. Instructors and their affiliated departments can issue sanctions against the student in question only after the department chairperson assesses the situation. If the student in question seems to have engaged in inappropriate behavior, then both the instructor in question, their department, and the board chairman may reference a sanctions rubric to determine what consequences that student may face. These sanctions can include:
- Written or verbal warnings that are subsequently recorded on the student's permanent university record.
- Forced participation in educational programs discouraging the student's alleged behavior.
- Failing grades in the course where the supposed academic misconduct took place.
- Fees or damages in the face of damaged property or intellectual losses.
- Restricted access to university property.
- Removal from university housing.
- Forced participation in affiliated recovery programs.
- Dismissal from Liberty University.
Sexual misconduct in the eyes of Liberty University fall in line with those established on a federal level by both the Obama and Trump administrations. The university has specific policies in place detailing and condemning the behaviors it believes fall within the category of sexual harassment, including:
- Sexual exploitation
- Non-consensual sexual contact
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse
The university notes that any attempts to commit the aforementioned behaviors also fall under the university's sexual misconduct policies. When addressing accusations of this sort, the university notes that it intends to address the perspectives of all parties involved as well as the hypothetical response of a “reasonable” party put in the prosecution's position. Other factors that can play into the university's understanding of sexual misconduct include:
- Whether or not the prosecution's employment or position as a student has been compromised by the behavior in question.
- The scope of the incident that's been reported.
- The identity of the parties involved.
- The number of parties involved.
- The relationships between the parties involved.
Other Forms of Misconduct
Liberty University notes that it categorizes the following behaviors as misconduct when those parties involved can prove that there is or was overlap between the reported behaviors and questions of sex and gender:
Bullying – instances of repeated aggressive behavior enacted against another party, be that behavior physical, emotional, or sexual.
Domestic violence – violence committed against a party within the same domestic environment and related to the enacting party via blood or marriage, even if the marriage in question has been dissolved. Adults and children protected by state domestic laws also have the option to accuse another party of domestic violence.
Dating violence – violence committed by a party involved in a social, romantic, or intimate relationship with another party.
Stalking – causing a specific individual to fear for their well-being or the well-being of their loved ones.
Students attending Liberty University are expected to respect the private technology that the university makes available to them, including university computers, software, and web applications. Students are not permitted to make copies of university-owned software or to use university computers or devices to participate in behaviors that might violate copyright law. Violating the university's computing policies can see a student lose access to the university's public technology. Students accused of this kind of behavior may also face fines based on their behavior and the breadth of their damages.
Liberty University's Procedures and Appeals Process
As mentioned, instances of academic, sexual, and computing misconduct can see a student brought before individuals representing Liberty University's various departments for misconduct hearings. The nature of these hearings and their attending officials will vary based on the behavior which the student in question has been accused of.
Students, however, always have the option to appeal the sanctions that a department issues against them. Students have seven business days after receiving word of their accusation to issue a written appeal to the appropriate chairperson. The chairperson, in turn, can assess the evidence that the accused student puts forward and determine whether or not the student has engaged in academic misconduct or if the accusations leveled against them are unfounded.
Fighting Back With an Attorney-Advisor
Accusations of misconduct, academic or sexual, can ruin a student's life. No student has to face these types of accusations alone, though. Instead, students and their families dealing with misconduct accusations at Liberty University can reach out to the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help a student as their attorney-advisor and ensure that the case in question is addressed with the student's best interests in mind.
To schedule an initial case consultation with Lento Law Firm, students and their families can call 888-535-3686 or submit their case information through the firm's online form.