Standards of Conduct for Student Organizations
Classification: University – Student Organizations
Approval Authority: Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Responsible Entity: Associate Provost for Educational Affairs and Student Life
Policy Owner: Darlene Shaw, PhD
Original Effective Date: April 12, 2019
I. Policy Statement
Recognized student organizations are expected to demonstrate the values of compassion, collaboration, respect, integrity, and innovation set forth by the MUSC enterprise. This policy identifies standards of behaviors that demonstrate professionalism, but it is not intended to be all-inclusive. The colleges and programs may have additional policies and requirements related to professionalism, and organizations are responsible for being knowledgeable about and complying with the professionalism standards set forth by their colleges and programs. This policy sets forth the requirement that each college and the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity will establish a procedure, which includes the elements described below, for addressing allegations of failure to comply with this policy. The Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity will adjudicate allegations related to university-wide recognized student organizations. Each college will adjudicate allegations related to college-specific organizations, which they have approved. These processes may vary.
This policy applies to recognized student organizations, i.e., those organizations that are officially approved by either the Executive Director of the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity or the Dean's Office of one of the six colleges.
III. Approval Authority
The Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the approval authority for this policy.
IV. Purpose of This Policy
All MUSC-approved student organizations are expected to adhere to the ethical standards of their professions and uphold the values of MUSC. This policy aligns with the standards of professional behavior for individuals as outlined in the Policy on Professionalism and Standards of Conduct for Students. This policy is meant to be consistent with enterprise-wide policies related to organizations and regulatory and compliance standards.
V. Who Should be Knowledgeable of This Policy
All students, college deans and associate deans, advisors, faculty, and staff who interact with student organizations should be knowledgeable about this policy.
VI. The Policy
A. MUSC-approved organizations are expected to demonstrate the values of compassion, collaboration, respect, integrity, and innovation set forth by the MUSC enterprise. Recognized student organizations, whether approved by the Executive Director of the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity or one of the six colleges, are expected to promote these values and adhere to this policy.
B. All recognized student organizations are required to adhere to the requirements, guidelines, policies, and procedures described in the MUSC Handbook for Student Organizations.
C. All incidents related to violations of this policy by recognized student organizations (universitywide and college-specific) are to be reported to the Executive Director for Student Programs and Student Diversity or the College Dean. The College Dean will inform the Executive Director for Student Programs and Student Diversity of any such reports. The college will address any reports of college-specific organization violations unless a conflict arises wherein the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity may be asked to address the report. The Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity and each college will establish a written and published process whereby reports of policy violations by recognized organizations will be handled in a manner consistent with the minimum requirements set forth in this policy.
D. Organization behaviors that demonstrate professionalism include, but are not limited to, the following actions as related to the five enterprise-wide values:
• Advocate for the well-being and concerns of those MUSC serves
• Demonstrate an attitude of service by putting the needs of those MUSC serves above their own
• Be attentive, respectful, empathetic, and responsive in caring for the needs of those MUSC serves
• Promote inter-professional and interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding
• Communicate in a direct and respectful manner
• Hold each other accountable for appropriate behavior
• Respect the individuality, privacy, and dignity of each other and those MUSC serves
• Demonstrate regard for persons in authority
• Demonstrate regard for differing values and abilities among peers, other healthcare professionals, and those MUSC serves
• Demonstrate respect by responding to requests (written, verbal, e-mail, telephone) in a timely fashion and complying with established verbal and written deadlines
• Provide a welcoming environment for all
• Show respect for all colleagues
• Support equality and inclusion
• Maintain an ongoing dedication to honesty and responsibility
• Be trustworthy by acting in a reliable and dependable manner
• Recognize the limitations of their expertise
• Demonstrate stewardship by exercising custodial responsibility for MUSC resources
• Demonstrate accountability for decisions and actions
• Support and create a culture of discovery and innovation by asking and accepting questions
• Encourage ideas from others
• Contribute new ideas and encourage discovery for the purpose of continuous improvement, problem solving, and learning
E. Hazing is not consistent with MUSC's five core values and is prohibited by state law. All students and student organizations are prohibited from hazing. An organization commits an offense of hazing if the organization condones or encourages hazing or if an officer or any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing.
F. Any member of the University community, including a victim, participant, or witness, who suspects any violation of this policy will report the incident to the Executive Director of the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity who will notify the appropriate administrative leaders (e.g., College Dean, Title IX Coordinator, MUSC Legal Counsel, and Public Safety). In situations of alleged hazing, MUSC Legal Counsel, Title IX Coordinator, and/or Public Safety must be notified. For college-specific recognized organizations, individuals should also report incidents to the college dean's office.
G. Each college and the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity will have in place a written and published Organization Review process to address reported violations of this policy to include anonymous reporting. The Recognized Student Organization will be presumed to be non-culpable until the investigation is complete. However, the College and the Office of Student Affairs and Student Diversity retain the right to implement a temporary suspension of the organization to allow for an investigation, if deemed appropriate.
The Organization Review process will include the following elements. (Refer to the Handbook for Student Organizations for additional information about the Organization Review process.)
• A statement as to whether the organization or a student may have an advisor present at any meetings, to include whether the advisor is permitted to speak on behalf of the organization/student and whether they are limited to an advisory capacity. The statement will specify whether an attorney is permitted to serve as an advisor.
• Procedure for reporting unprofessional conduct including, but not limited to, conduct that may place an individual, the college, the University, or the enterprise in jeopardy
• Process for documenting, tracking, accessing and addressing reports
• A process for investigating a report/complaint when an investigation is conducted
• Application of "a preponderance of evidence" as the standard of proof if an investigation is conducted
• A process to determine findings and sanctions, if appropriate
• An appeal process
VII. Special Situations
The Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity will establish a standing committee to adjudicate matters related to violations allegedly committed by a recognized university-wide student organization. This committee will also be responsible for adjudicating all allegations of hazing. The committee will include representation from the dean's office of two colleges, legal counsel, and the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity. When hazing is alleged, the committee will determine whether the allegation represents a violation of MUSC Policy and/or South Carolina State Code, both of which prohibit hazing. The committee does not determine whether an alleged incident represents a violation of the by-laws of a national/state/local organization. That determination is made by the external organization. Any sanctions issued by the national/state/local organization are separate from sanctions imposed by MUSC.
The Dean's Office will be responsible for adjudicating matters related to violations allegedly committed by a college-specific recognized student organization.
The Title IX Officer is responsible for adjudicating all matters related, but not limited to, Title IX, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination.
If, based upon the Organization Review, an individual student is perceived to have potentially violated the Policy on Professionalism and Standards of Conduct for Students, the student will be referred to the dean of their college and subject to the college's process for addressing alleged violations of the Policy on Professionalism and Standards of Conduct for Students.
VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance
If the governing authority finds a Recognized Student Organization responsible for violating this policy, the governing authority will determine if sanctions are appropriate. Sanctions include, but are not limited to, a written reprimand, organization suspension, or loss of the organization's charter. The governing authority has the option of taking no action against the Recognized Student Organization.
IX. Related Information
A. References, citations
Policy for Alcohol Service at Student Events
The Handbook for Student Organizations
Bank Account and Agency Funds Policy
Recognized Student Organizations Policy
College-Specific Professionalism and Standards of Conduct
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 59-101-200 (hazing sanctions)
X. Communication Plan
The policy will be published in The Bulletin and distributed to the Dean’s offices and the leadership in Education and Student Life.
A. Recognized student organization
An MUSC student organization that successfully meets the criteria established for recognition and that is officially recognized by either the Executive Director of the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity (university-wide) or the Dean's Office of one of the six colleges (college-specific); program-level (e.g., physical therapy, bachelor of science in nursing, etc.) organizations must be recognized by the dean's office of the appropriate college
B. University-wide recognized student organization
University-wide recognized student organizations are independent of any
particular college and are typically interprofessional in nature; the
organization's executive board and advisor(s) are responsible for organizational oversight
C. College-specific recognized student organization
College-specific student organizations serve one or more of the many academic or professional interests of the college and its students. Examples of collegespecific organizations include, but are not limited, to academic or professional interest groups, discipline-specific honor societies, national organization student chapters (e.g., MUSC Chapter of the Student National Dental Association), professional fraternities, and class groups (e.g., College of Pharmacy Class of 2021 student group); college-specific organizations can also be classified as an Interest Group, Service Group, Professional Development Group, Educational Group, and/or Community Outreach Group; college-specific groups cannot assume the identifier as an Affinity Group
D. Governing authority
The MUSC authority that conferred official recognition status to a student
organization; either the Executive Director of the Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity or the Dean of the College for college-specific organizations.
E. Organization Review
The process established by the governing authority to determine if a recognized student organization is non-compliant with the organization's charter, local, state, and federal laws, or any policy, guideline, or procedure identified in the MUSC Handbook for Student Organizations.
MUSC's definition of hazing includes but is not limited to the activities that are specified in South Carolina Code of Laws.
Hazing is any situation created or action taken for the purpose of initiation,
admission into, affiliation with or as a condition for continued membership in an organization, which meets one or more of the criteria below. Hazing can be intentional or unintentional and can occur with or without consent.
Hazing is also any act that meets the definition of hazing contained in South
Carolina Code of Laws section 59-101-200.
"Hazing" means the wrongful striking, laying open hand upon, threatening with violence, or offering to do bodily harm by a superior student to a subordinate student with intent to punish or injure the subordinate student, or other unauthorized treatment by the superior student of a subordinate student of a tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting, or humiliating nature.
An organization commits an offense of hazing if the organization condones or encourages hazing or if an officer or any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing. Situations/actions that constitute hazing are those as defined above that are
• Negligent or reckless in nature
• Potentially harmful
• Physical safety/health
• Psychological well-being
• Opportunities for Academic Success
• Not reflective of the University's mission, purpose or values
Such activities and situations may include, but are not limited to
• Paddling or striking
• Physical or psychological abuse and/or shocks;
• Forced (whether explicit or implicit) consumption of food, water, alcohol or drugs
• Kidnapping or abandonment
• Line-ups and berating
• Morally degrading behavior
• Any form of personal servitude
• Forced (whether explicit or implicit) wearing, publicly or privately, of inappropriate costumes
• Interference with academic pursuits
• Forced (whether explicit or implicit) participation in activities that are illegal or violate University policy.
XII. Review Cycle
This policy will be reviewed every 3 years.
XIII. Approval History
Original approval date and subsequent review dates:
April 12, 2019 - Board of Trustees
XIV. Approval Signature
Lisa K Saladin, PT, PhD, FAPTA
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost