Social Policies and Processes

The Office of Student Conduct administers a process and system that holds students accountable for engaging in behavior prohibited by the social policies of the Code of Conduct. Sanctions are assigned to students found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct. Sanctions are disciplinary and educational actions designed to encourage the learning and development of students and to support the practice of responsible behavior in the university community. This educational approach encourages students to reflect on their choices and impact of their actions, commit to self-accountability, and respect the rights and privileges of others.

The basic philosophy and principles that guide the conduct process at Elon University are:

  • The student conduct process supports a learning experience that is most effective when it holds students accountable for behaviors prohibited by the Code of Conduct, contributes to the personal growth and holistic success of a student, and/or provides protections for the community of which they are a member.
  • The student conduct process responds to behaviors potentially prohibited by the Code of Conduct.
  • The student conduct process is transformative because students are given an opportunity to engage fully in the process relating to their behavior(s).
  • The student conduct process is fair, equitable, and consistent as it considers available and credible information relevant to the case and provides an opportunity for all parties to share their experiences.
  • A spectrum of resolution models may be used to encourage actions and behaviors that support the values of the university as articulated in the Code of Conduct.

University action through the conduct process does not preclude the possibility of civil or criminal charges being placed against an individual nor does the filing of civil or criminal charges preclude action by the university. Additionally, action through the conduct process does not limit other actions or sanctions assigned by student organizations or other units of the institution (e.g., student employment, athletic eligibility, leadership positions, organization participation).

Amnesty for Students Reporting Threats or Acts of Violence and/or Hazing

(See the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy for amnesty eligibility in cases related to sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, sexual misconduct, and sex and/or gender-based discrimination.)

Students reporting incidents of threats or acts of violence and/or hazing will not face Code of Conduct charges related to alcohol or drug use or possession during the reported incident.  Educational and supportive options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result. (Records regarding the provision of amnesty may be maintained.)

Alcohol and Other Drug Policies

Elon University Position Statement on Alcohol Use (revised Spring 2016): Elon University recognizes alcohol misuse negatively impacts the community, personal well-being, and academic achievement. Therefore, our position on alcohol is one of education and accountability. We expect students to uphold the Honor Code and make wise and healthy decisions about alcohol use, including the choice not to drink. Students whose behaviors diminish the success or safety of themselves or others will be held accountable.

The vitality of the academic community relies on each member taking personal responsibility for his or her actions regarding alcohol use and safeguarding the well-being of others.

  • The university welcomes and supports the decision of students not to drink.
  • Elon emphasizes education about risks, choices and personal responsibility regarding the use of alcohol. Students are expected to make conscious choices that do not diminish the academic or social success, or personal safety, of themselves or others.
  • The university observes laws regarding alcohol use, particularly those that address underage drinking, and holds students accountable for their choices.
  • Students whose drinking creates a risk of danger to the health and safety of themselves or others are subject to suspension and/or loss of other university privileges.

Alcoholic beverages may be possessed and/or consumed only by individuals 21 years of age or older in their residence or an approved location. Students participating in study abroad experiences responsible for knowing and abiding by all local laws regarding alcohol use. Any alcohol use that creates a risk of danger or harm to self or others, or disrupts the living/learning experience of others will be referred for response through the Code of Conduct.

Elon University is committed to the intellectual and personal development of students. Substance misuse inhibits students’ development and is negatively correlated with academic success and personal safety. 

Elon University observes and strictly enforces all local, state and federal laws related to possession, use, sale, manufacturing or distribution of controlled or illegal substances. Sale, manufacturing, or distribution of illegal or controlled substances or for uses other than as intended creates a significant danger for the Elon University community. Individuals who are involved in any drug-related violation are subject to criminal action, as the university may report these individuals to the legal authorities. Students convicted of any offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance may also be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid.

Students are accountable for upholding Elon University’s drug policies even when in states or countries in which certain drugs have been decriminalized or consumption is legal. Though some impairing substances may be legal to purchase in North Carolina or other states, Elon University prohibits possession and/or use of these substances by Elon students. Students are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following the university’s drug policies state, and federal laws. Find more information and read Elon’s Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Report at:

Possession:  Students are responsible for items located on their person, within their property (e.g. a backpack, car, etc.), and in their residence (bedroom and any shared areas such as living rooms and bathrooms). Students will be held accountable for any alcohol, drugs, paraphernalia, or other prohibited items found to be in their possession.

Innocent Bystander Policy

In order to hold responsible students accountable, while supporting those who are not violating policies, the Innocent Bystander policy may be enacted at the time alcohol policy violations are identified and/or no other code of conduct violations are present. In order to enact the Innocent Bystander policy, information must be included in the incident report that the student was not consuming and was not in possession of alcohol Information that a student was not consuming may include a statement by the reporting authority that the student stated they were not drinking and had no physical indication of consumption, or via a breathalyzer/alco-sensor administered by a police officer. 

Medical Safety Policy

Elon embraces students helping each other and holds student safety as a primary value.  

The Medical Safety Policy may be enacted for the following situations:

  1. For a student receiving medical attention related to consumption of alcohol and other drugs, when either 1) the student has called for medical attention for self or 2) another person actively assisting the student calls for medical attention. This policy is intended to encourage early identification and intervention for potential medical emergencies.

    A student receiving emergency medical attention/treatment related to alcohol or other drug use will not be referred to the student conduct process.  Students are not exempt from charges for Fighting or Acts of Physical Aggression, Title IX and Sexual Misconduct, and certain other egregious violations as determined in the university’s discretion. 

    Subsequent incidents involving medical treatment/hospitalization related to substance use will likely result in additional university actions, including referral to the student conduct process under the Student Code of Conduct.

    When an individual receives emergency medical attention related to their consumption of alcohol or drugs, the student will be required to meet with the Assistant Dean of Students (or designee). The student will be required to immediately complete a substance abuse assessment within a reasonable amount of time as determined by the Office of the Dean of Students (typically 24-72 hours) and participate in any recommended treatment and participate in additional educational requirements.

  2. For students who seek medical assistance for another person whose health or safety appears to be in jeopardy due to the consumption of alcohol or other drugs. The assisting student(s) will not be referred to the student conduct process for related university alcohol or drug use policies. Students seeking medical assistance for others are not exempt from charges for Fighting or Acts of Physical Aggression, Title IX and Sexual Misconduct, Hazing, and certain other egregious violations as determined in the university’s discretion. 

    Students should call 911 or Campus Safety & Police (336-278-5555) for help. Students should NOT drive anyone in need of medical attention. Students with or observing a student “in danger” are expected to seek medical attention. If a student is with another student who may be in danger due to use of alcohol or other drugs and does not call for assistance, they may be referred to the student conduct process for allegations of “Behavior that Endangers the Health or Safety of Self and/or Others.”

    If the consumption of alcohol or other drugs occurs at an event hosted by, sponsored by, or otherwise involving a student organization and a representative or member of the organization seeks medical attention for a student whose health or safety appears to be in jeopardy, neither the reporting student nor the student organization will be referred to the student conduct process for related university alcohol or drug policies.  The student organization may be referred for other potential Code of Conduct violations. The organization members may be required to engage in educational activities to reduce future health/safety risks.

  3. For students who voluntarily disclose prohibited personal use of alcohol or other drugs as they seek appropriate assistance or guidance related to assessment and treatment for substance misuse will not be referred to the student conduct process. The university will respond to such disclosures as a health condition and not a disciplinary matter.  In some cases, students may be required to complete a substance abuse assessment and treatment or education recommendation in order to address health and safety risks. However, such disclosure will also not exonerate a student from responsibility associated with a reported incident.

This policy does not apply for situations where medical attention is sought following the arrival of a police officer, university security authority (including student staff serving in an authority role), or any university faculty or staff.

Failure to complete the elements of the Medical Safety Policy will limit the student’s continued eligibility. If there is a subsequent hospitalization, the university will review the incident on a case-by-case basis and reserves the right to handle each situation as deemed necessary

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