Section Two: Prohibited Behavior

Return to Section One: Introduction


In the section below, new sections will be highlighted in BLUE and substantially changed sections will be highlighted in GREEN.


Wake Forest considers the behavior described in the following sections as inappropriate for the University community and in opposition to the institution’s core values.

Any student or student organization found to have engaged in or attempted to engage in the following conduct is subject to the sanctions outlined in the Sanction Framework. When considering sanctions, the constellation of circumstances that gave rise to the misconduct will be considered.

1. Honor Code (non-academic violation)
(a.) Stealing

    1. The unauthorized taking, misappropriation, or possession of any property belonging to, owned by, or maintained by the University, an organization, or another individual, or
    2. The possession, retention, or disposal of stolen property.

(b.) Deception.

    1. Making a false statement to a University official, or
    2. Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments

2. Complicity. Helping or encouraging another person to engage in violations of University policy.

3. Alcohol. The Undergraduate Alcohol and Other Drug Policy describes the University’s position on student responsibility regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs. Students should pay special attention to the University’s Medical Amnesty policy for additional information about seeking help for students in need of medical attention.

Violations of the Undergraduate Alcohol and Other Drug Policy will be addressed in accordance with the procedures set forth in this handbook.

4. Illegal Drugs or Other Drugs

The Undergraduate Alcohol and Other Drug Policy describes the University’s position on student responsibility regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs.
Violations of the Undergraduate Alcohol and Other Drug Policy will be addressed in accordance with the procedures set forth in this handbook.

5. Bullying/Cyberbullying. Repeated and/or severe aggressive actions that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally. Examples of bullying and cyberbulling include:

    1. Sending mean or inappropriate text messages and emails.
    2. Posting embarrassing pictures of someone else online for others to see.
    3. Starting or perpetuating degrading rumors about another person.

6. Threatening Behavior. Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property.

7. Computing. Violating the Wake Forest Computing Policies, found at http://help.wfu.edu/public/is/information-technology-policies.

8. Contempt of the Conduct Process.

(a.) Failure of a student responding to allegations to appear for a conduct hearing.

(b.) Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a formal or informal proceeding.

(c.) Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.

9. Abuse of the Conduct Process. Deliberately abusing, misusing, or misleading the procedural aspects of the conduct process. Examples of this behavior include:

(a.) Destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation;

(b.) Initiation of a student conduct code proceeding in bad faith.

(c.) Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participating in, or use of, the student conduct system.

(d.) Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of any hearing board outside of the hearing process.

10. Copyright Violations. Federal law restricts the use of copyrighted video, audio, or computer material. Any organization or student using such material should be certain that its use conforms to law.

11. Destruction or Defacement of Property or Grounds. Attempted or actual damage to or destruction of University property or the personal property of another.

12. Disorderly Conduct. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace.

13. Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities. Substantial disruption or obstruction of any University activity and/or other authorized non-University activities which occur on or off campus. Disruptive or obstructive actions include but are not limited to: preventing an instructor or speaker from giving a lecture, by means of shouts, interruptions, chants or other verbal or audible means; interfering with the audience’s view of an instructor or speaker; preventing members of the university community from participating in class, hearing a lecture or taking an examination; disrupting business operations of the university; disrupting use of or access to libraries or residential housing; obstructing passage within, into, or out of buildings; interfering with prospective student or employer recruitment or university activities for alumni, parents or other invited guests; refusing to leave a closed meeting when unauthorized to attend; and preventing free pedestrian or vehicular movement onto or about campus.

14. Failure to Comply with the Directions of University Officials. Failure to comply with the directives of University officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so. Such conduct may include the failure to provide proper ID and disrespectful, uncooperative, abusive or threatening behavior.

15. Fire Safety. Violation of applicable local, state, federal or campus fire laws, codes and policies including, but not limited to:

(a.) Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages University or personal property or which causes injury.

(b.) Failure to evacuate University premises during a fire alarm;

(c.) Use of University fire safety equipment for an improper purpose; or

(d.) Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on University property.

16. Other University Policies. Violating other published University policies or rules, including all Residence Life and Housing policies published in the Guide to Community Living.

17. Hazing. At Wake Forest University, students should be able to pursue avenues of involvement in campus life and group membership without exposure to harm or the loss of their dignity or worth. As such, hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene, to prevent, to discourage, and/or to report those acts may also violate this policy. Examples of hazing include, but are not limited to:

    1. Any brutality of a physical nature, such as paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics;
    2. Forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance; or
    3. Sleep deprivation.

18. Public Urination or Defecation.

19. Off-Campus Disturbance. Conduct or activity by students living in, or hosting functions at, off-campus locations which unreasonably interferes with the rights of neighbors. Students who are residents of off-campus rooms/apartments/houses must control the nature and size of activities carried out in or on their premises consistent with the standards of the University.

20. Harm to Others. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm to or endangering the health or safety of any person.

21. Hazardous Activity. Creation of health and/or safety hazards, including, but not limited to, dangerous pranks, hanging out of or climbing from/on/in windows/balconies/roofs, and reckless driving.

22. Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized access to University premises (such as a building or a room or unauthorized possession, duplication or use of means of access (i.e. keys, cards, etc.) to any University premises or failing to report a lost Deacon OneCard or key.

23. Unregistered Party. Social functions that fail to comply with the University’s requirements for registration.

24. Harassment. Any unwelcome conduct directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person’s actual or perceived status including: race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, or other protected status not covered by the student sexual misconduct policy. Harassment is a form of discrimination that includes verbal, written, or physical behavior that meets either of the following criteria:

    1. Submission or consent to the behavior is reasonably believed to carry consequences, positive or negative, for the individual’s educational, employment, University living environment, or participation in a University activity or program. An example of this type of harassment would be pressuring a roommate to stop praying in their residence hall room or the behavior will be reported to the Resident Adviser.
    2. The behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for employment, University living, or participation in a University activity or program. Examples of this type of harassment include:
    a. Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s ethnicity or country of origin;
    b. Verbal abuse of a racial nature; and
    c. Unwelcome jokes about an individual’s physical or mental disability.

Behaviors or communications may be verbal or nonverbal, written, or electronic. Such conduct does not need to be directed at or to a specific individual in order to constitute harassment, but may consist of generalized unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors or communications based on race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, or other protected status not covered by the student sexual misconduct policy.

25. Discrimination. Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived status of race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, or other protected status that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program or activities.

26. Violation of a University Policy or Law by a Guest. Any violation of a University policy that is committed by an acknowledged non-student guests is the responsibility of the Wake Forest student host(s).

27. Weapons. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives (including fireworks and ammunition), guns (including air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, throwing stars, or knives, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on University property, except for authorized use in the Department of Military Science or authorized use by campus recreation.

28. Violations of Law. Violating any federal, state, or local law or ordinances, as determined by the adjudication of the appropriate jurisdictional authority.

29. Lack of Organizational Oversight. Student organizations are required to ensure that the students involved in their organization are following the required practices and procedures, not only of the organization itself, but of the University as a whole.


Go to Section Three: Violations and Sanction Framework


We appreciate your willingness to participate in updating the Student Handbook. Please be aware that this is a moderated process and abusive posts will be deleted. When leaving a comment, please copy/paste the text you wish to comment upon and keep in mind the following questions:

1. What objective is this policy/procedure trying to meet? How does it fail?
2. Can you suggest an alternative to the language proposed?
3. How would the alternative language meet the same objective or be more effective?

If you have any questions about the public comment process, please contact Matt Clifford at cliffomw@nullwfu.edu.




15 Comments

David Finn says:

I am concerned that section 13 is overly broad and might be used to restrict, in particular, works of art that might be considered offensive or political. I teach a course in public art (Art 215) that regularly asks students to work in our commons with images or physical objects that might in the proposed additions, be considered ‘disruptive’ of university activities, and thus censored. Over the years we have brought together a public art committee through the provost’s office to approve of public art, but I fear that this language is so broad, that it could be used to restrict students expression not only in my class, in student initiated works . Such broad language might have an effect on any art that attempts to move out of ‘safe’ or recognized arts places into the common spaces of the university.


Jenny Vu Mai & Char Van Schenck says:

Jenny Vu Mai & Char Van Schenck created a document that detailed their questions and proposed critiques of the proposed language in Section 2, specifically the charges: “#12: Disorderly Conduct” & “#13: Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities.” It also includes their suggestions of what better language would be. To view their comments, please follow this link: Comment on Proposed Revisions


Alec Jessar says:

I would like to respond to the earlier comments criticizing clause #24. First, harassment does not have to be repetitive. If someone comes up to me and verbally abuses me based on my race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, or religion, that is harassment. And it goes against one of the primary goals of this code of conduct: SAFETY. To protect attacks on individuals OR “generalized unwelcome or inappropriate behaviors and communications” violates safety. That’s why the code of conduct has clause #24, and why it is necessary.


Barry Trachtenberg, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History says:

The revisions to section 13 are overly repressive and must have no place within an institution of higher learning. Given Wake Forest’s historic ties to eugenics and its prior institutionalized racial, gender, and religious discrimination, it is clear that the university itself has not always been a moral actor. Vigorous dissent from students is not only healthy, but necessary so that Wake Forest operates according to its stated values. It is in the university’s interest to allow all forms of non-violent speech to occur, even when they are civilly disobedient.

I wonder what is motivating this revision? Such policies are not stemming, as far as I am aware, from any actual or threatened student behavior at Wake Forest, but seem designed to curb potential student dissent in case some of the political activism that has manifested at other campuses across the country should appear here. Rather than confront that issue when and if it arises, these regulations will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on political speech.

For several years now, policies such as these have been enacted to stop campus discussions of uncomfortable topics or to prevent unwelcome attention in the media. In my field, for example, they have lead to the policing of student speech that is critical Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. In several instances, students who have behaved in ways that are protected by the 1st Amendment have found themselves sanctioned for attempting to draw attention to what they believe are the illegal actions of a state. These repressive actions have only led to a further polarization of the issue and a widespread sense that *any* political speech critical of Israel is impermissible. Such notions of Israeli—and by extension Jewish—exceptionalism only exacerbate antisemitism rather than lessen it.

These new regulations must not go into effect, and certainly not through this process. Rather than draft rules and then solicit community feedback, why not operate according to more democratic principles? Begin by identifying whether a problem exists and then hold community discussions on how best to address it.


Jennifer Greiman says:

Section #13 targets political speech with laser-like precision and would be an embarrassment to any serious university committed to the protection of free speech. Clearly, other sections in the code of conduct address behavior that is threatening to others or destructive of university property. To single out precisely the modes of protest that student activists have used in recent years would be to signal that Wake Forest welcomes no serious political thinking or action and wishes its students, faculty, and staff to be quiet and compliant.


Miles Cloninger says:

I am in agreement with Lawton Manning. This is clearly a “Hate Speech” restriction in disguise. As such, it is a violation of free speech. It doesn’t matter if the behavior or words are hateful or inappropriate, the individual can still have that opinion. The world is not a rosy, safe university space. No one has the authority to regulate speech, certainly not a few university officials. Also, this policy would be completely unenforceable and a waste of resources/time. It is up to each individual to stand strong and be whomever they wish to be and we don’t need social engineering getting in the way of this pursuit.


Dean Franco says:

Section 13 gathers a variety of very different sorts of university business under the heading “university activities.” These should be sorted out and considered separately. For instance, it makes no sense to have one policy covering the disruption of course instruction *and* disruption of a university event or speaker. Protesting a guest speaker (for example) is not the same thing as shouting and putting an end to class instruction. Nor are either the same as making a visible and audible protest at a university event–a football game, for instance (which could be considered university business). And how can either be linked to a policy about university recruitment? Surely you can’t restrict a university community member from speaking to parents on campus tours. This seems rather totalitarian insofar as simple, reasonable speech that is contrary to the prevailing PR of the university could be construed as obstruction of recruitment. If, for example, a parent were to ask me about the many opportunities for well-being at the university, and I were to advise the parent that rates of alcohol poisoning, unwanted sexual contact, and racial discrimination at Wake Forest exceed the national average, would I be obstructing recruitment? Following that line of thought, couldn’t some of our academic classes–which are themselves enshrined here as worthy of protection–be construed as obstruction of recruitment (I should hope so). The point is two-fold: 1. sort out the academic mission of the university from other sorts of university business which are largely about making money. 2. freedom of speech and academic freedom are neither the same thing nor in conflict. But they are tricky to define and their intersections can be surprising, and section 13 has them conflicting in several ways.


Eugenia Huang says:

Regarding #13 “Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities”
The language used in this section cause me great pause. The qualifications for disruption could easily apply to non-invasive actions such as chalking, peaceful sit-ins, or rallies. Furthermore, the ability for students to protest – which in essence includes forms of disruption – is a key part of mobilizing efforts or calling attention to injustice. I suggest this clause be modified to be more specific to situations that actually cause harm or be removed completely, so as to not impede on student activism on campus.


Thomas Poston says:

Commenting on Section 29: Lack of Organizational Oversight. Student organizations are required to ensure that the students involved in their organization are following the required practices and procedures, not only of the organization itself, but of the University as a whole.

The general language used in this section, in addition to the final clause (“but of the University as a whole”) seems to place an unduly broad burden on student organizations to monitor the behavior and activities of students of any level of involvement in their organization and to enforce among those students compliance with every aspect of the Code of Conduct. While I can imagine that this section is written with certain organizations in mind, as it stands it seems to diffuse responsibility from individuals without specifying who precisely in the “student organization” will now be held responsible for failure to control the behavior of other students involved therein (Officers/Executive Boards? All members?). I might propose revision to better define “Student organizations” as agents and to limit their responsibility to violations of rules/procedures (organizational and University-wide) that occur only in relation/connection to the activities of the organization itself.


Stephanie says:

I’m concerned with the wording for section 13. Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities. Including a reference to something as minimally disruptive as “interfering with the audience’s view of an instructor or speaker” does not allow for minimally invasive, non-violent protest. While I am hopeful WFU would not allow someone bringing hate speech or divisive rhetoric to campus, please make room for nonviolent protest and free speech (that is not hate speech) on our campus in Winston-Salem, home to 1960 Woolworth’s sit-ins.


T. H. M. Gellar-Goad says:

Section 13 contains wording that appears pretty clearly intended to define protesting an unpopular speaker as a breach of the Honor Code [specifically this language: “preventing an instructor or speaker from giving a lecture, by means of shouts, interruptions, chants or other verbal or audible means”]. Such a stifling of civil dissent flies in the face of the core values of Wake Forest University and of the professed goals of the Honor System. The right to voice dissent is central to academia and to academic integrity, and the threat of Honor Court proceedings in retaliation for protest of, e.g., a white nationalist invited to deliver a lecture on campus will have a chilling effect on civic discourse, the campus climate, and the engaged liberal arts.


Alec Jessar says:

Commenting on Section #13:
13. Disruption or Obstruction of University Activities. Substantial disruption or obstruction of any University activity and/or other authorized non-University activities which occur on or off campus. Disruptive or obstructive actions include but are not limited to: preventing an instructor or speaker from giving a lecture, by means of shouts, interruptions, chants or other verbal or audible means; interfering with the audience’s view of an instructor or speaker; preventing members of the university community from participating in class, hearing a lecture or taking an examination; disrupting business operations of the university; disrupting use of or access to libraries or residential housing; obstructing passage within, into, or out of buildings; interfering with prospective student or employer recruitment or university activities for alumni, parents or other invited guests; refusing to leave a closed meeting when unauthorized to attend; and preventing free pedestrian or vehicular movement onto or about campus.

Students being able to “participate in class, hear a lecture, or take an examination” has nothing to do with safety. It may be uncomfortable to hear a student voicing opposition while one wishes for the “business operations of the university” to continue, but that is the point of voicing opposition. Disrupting a “University activity” through nonviolent means does not pose a threat to safety, the promotion of which is a goal of this code of conduct. This clause, as is, does not promote best practices. Rather, it prioritizes “business operations” over students who wish to call attention to problems on campus in a nonviolent way (a way which does not threaten safety). This is an especially worrying policy given the hateful times in which we live, when nonviolent opposition is desperately needed.

I recommend removing this clause, because the activities which are prohibited include speak-outs, rallies, and many more ways of voicing opposition to policies and behaviors which make students unsafe in daily life on campus. If the clause cannot be removed, then I recommend rewriting it so that it does not prohibit these essential means of student activism and, thus, threaten safety. Such a clause would promote student safety and further best practices by allowing for the voicing of different views.


Alec Jessar says:

Commenting on Section 12:

12. Disorderly Conduct. Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace.

This wording poses a significant danger to students who wish to call attention to campus institutions and interactions which threaten them and a group of which they may be part. This clause stifles the voice of students who encounter racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and many more forces of evil which do not impact all students and, thus, may remain invisible. If students opposing these forces is called “disorder,” then this is a dangerous policy. I do not know if the writers meant to include such opposition as “disorder” (I hope not), but to increase clarity, I recommend that you remove the entire clause and be much more specific. For example, you say later that public urination and defecation is prohibited. Please use that level of specificity for all actions which you wish to prohibit, instead of this broad Clause #12 which could be interpreted to stifle the voice of marginalized students.

Clause #12 does not promote safety or clarity, which are the goals of this code of conduct. Instead, it prohibits activity meant to call attention to situations in which students are actually made unsafe. That is, this clause is actually counterproductive to safety, because it silences people who are more unsafe on our campus.

Deleting this clause and being more specific would increase clarity and ensure that the voices of marginalized groups are respected.


Lawton Manning says:

Section 24 on Harrassment fails to include the necessary portion of the definition of harrassment in which a behavior has to be repetitive or continuous in nature. Also, the last portion of that section

“Such conduct does not need to be directed at or to a specific individual in order to constitute harassment, but may consist of generalized unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors or communications”

would expand the definition of harrassment well beyond its current scope in any context. This addendum is more akin to “hate speech”, which is and should be protected in any free society. Hate speech, when it does not pose imminent danger to a person or group, is unquestionably free speech, even though it represents offensive thoughts.

The wording of this section would ultimately lend too much power to alleged victims of “harrassment” and to the individuals on hearing panels over the accused person. By intentionally leaving this statement vague, any statement or action revolving around the protected identites outlined in this section could be interpreted to be harrassment and would only require the testimony of the victim in order for the hearing panel to determine responsibility on behalf of the accused.


Kyle Blackburn says:

I think that #6 would be a repetitive rule and would leave the system ripe for abuse and the subsequent censorship of speech for which is not agreed to by a majority of the members of the student body. All verbal threats that would qualify as causing harm can be included in clause #5 and #6 can instead lead to silencing of unpopular opinions, as emotional harm is much to broad and creates a system ripe for abuse.


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