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Code of Student Conduct



All members of the Brown University Community are entitled to the following rights:  the rights of peaceful assembly, free exchange of ideas and orderly protest, and the right to attend, make use of or enjoy the facilities and functions of the University subject to prescribed rules.  All members of the Brown University community are also entitled to live in an environment free from harassment on the basis of such characteristics as race, religion, gender, disability, age, economic status, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  (See also “Principles of the Brown University Community”)

Comment : These rights may from time to time come into conflict, and it might be difficult to draw a clear and precise line between the reasonable exercise of and the abuse of such rights.  The circumstances in each case will vary, but the objective must always be to assure a fair and reasonable balance whenever there is a conflict among the rights mentioned above.


a.     Occasionally, the rules of the University and the law will overlap, but the University does not attempt to duplicate the law.  The University reserves the right to pursue matters through its student conduct procedures that may also be addressed in the legal system.

b.     Serious or persistent minor violations of University rules or regulations may result in suspension    or expulsion.

c.     In their off-campus lives students are also expected to conform to the standards of community behavior as expressed in the Principles of the Brown University Community and in this Code of Student Conduct.


I.            Behavior that disrupts or materially interferes with the basic rights of others and the educational functions of the University.

Comment: Protests or demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to peaceful assembly, orderly protest, the free exchange of ideas, or that interfere with the rights of others to make use of or enjoy the facilities or attend the functions of the University cannot be tolerated.  [See “University Guidelines on Protests and Demonstrations”] 

II.             Actions that:

a.    result in or can be reasonably expected to result in physical harm to a person or persons.

b.     are unreasonably disruptive of the University community and/or its neighborhoods.

c.      result in or can be reasonably expected to result in damage to property.

Comment: Offense II encompasses a wide range of behavior, including, but not limited to assault, vandalism, and throwing, hurling or firing projectiles without regard for persons or property.

III.         Sexual Misconduct


a.       Sexual Misconduct that involves non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature.

b.      Sexual Misconduct that includes one or more of the following: penetration, violent physical          force, or injury. 

Comment: Offense III encompasses a broad range of behaviors, including acts using force, threat, intimidation, or advantage gained by the offended student’s mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the offending student was aware or should have been aware.  Harassment, without physical contact, will not be deemed sexual misconduct under these provisions.  Violations of Offense IIIb will result in more severe sanctions from the University, separation being the standard.

Note: Some forms of sexual misconduct may also constitute sexual assault under Rhode Island criminal laws and are subject to prosecution by State law enforcement authorities – which can take place independent of charges under the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

IV.          Subjecting another person or group to abusive, threatening, intimidating, or harassing actions, including, but not limited to, those based on race, religion, sex/gender, disability, age, economic status, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  (See "Civil Rights & Non-Discrimination")

V.            Drugs and/or Alcohol:

a.    Illegal possession or use of drugs and/or alcohol and/or drug paraphernalia.

b.   The illegal provision, sale, or possession with intent to sell/provide drugs and/or  alcohol and/or drug paraphernalia.

Comment: The use of any drug, including alcohol, related to any offense will be considered an aggravating circumstance independently of whether the drug was used legally or illegally by the offending party.  This factor in a case may result in a more severe sanction and/or the imposition of terms requiring evaluation or treatment, as determined by appropriate professionals.  (See Brown Policy on Drugs.)  All students who are party to a student conduct matter involving alcohol and who, in the determination of a dean, misused alcohol or exercised poor judgment due to alcohol or about alcohol, will be required to undergo appropriate alcohol education, evaluation, and/or treatment as determined by appropriate officials.

Drug paraphernalia includes, but is not limited to, all items used for the purpose of preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise using illegal drugs, or in the illicit use of legal drugs.

Providence municipal ordinances prohibit the possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages on public ways.  Providence Police and, in the case of violations on the streets immediately adjacent to the campus, the Brown University Department of Public Safety, enforce these ordinances.  Violations of the open container policy on University property are enforced by the Department of Public Safety and through the University student conduct procedures.

VI.           Theft or attempted theft of property and/or possession of stolen property.

VII.          Failing to comply with the proper directive(s) of a University official, including refusing to   identify oneself or refusing to present University identification to a University staff member, including members of the Department of Public Safety.

Comment: A University community depends upon the cooperation of all of its members to assure reasonable safety and security.  There are many occasions, including emergencies, and cases of suspected unlawful conduct, when it is especially important that authorized personnel be able to identify members of the Brown University community.

VIII.        Possession, use, or distribution of firearms, ammunition, explosives, or other weapons.

Comment: The University defines firearms as any projectile-firing device, including conventional firearms (devices using gunpowder); all types of air rifles, guns using BBs, pellets, or darts; or any slingshot device. All fireworks are prohibited. Knives are prohibited, except those that are designed and used for food preparation. Possession, use or distribution of firearms or knives will result in more severe sanctions from the University, separation being the standard.

IX.           Violation of operational rules governing various offices, departments and facilities of the  University (e.g., Residential Life, Student Activities Office, Dining Services, Computing and Information Services, the Libraries, etc.).

X.             Misrepresentation:

a.    Lying or materially misrepresenting information to an official University body or officer, including a member of the Department of Public Safety.

b.   Lying in the course of a student conduct hearing constitutes an offense that is immediately actionable.

Comment: Offense X.a. includes the fraudulent use of University identification cards. Lying or misrepresentation that inhibits or interferes with an official University investigation or hearing will be considered a serious offense.

 University procedures allow a student involved in a student conduct matter to remain silent.

XI.            Violation of the terms of any student conduct hearing sanction.

XII.          Failing to appear as a witness during a student conduct hearing.

Comment: The Principles of the Brown University Community state that all members of the University community are responsible for supporting and maintaining a scholarly community in which all share together in the common enterprise of learning.  This responsibility includes participating in established University processes.

The comments contained herein are offered as a guide to understanding the University’s policies, and are not to be confused with the policies themselves.  As such these comments are not binding upon the University or its designated representatives.