Skip to main content

Student Policies

This section contains the community standards for students—the various polices currently in effect at Santa Clara University.

The Alcoholic Beverage Policy of Santa Clara University is based on the central and fundamental educational focus of the University of creating an environment that fosters learning. The University believes in personal responsibility, moral growth and development, awareness of communal consequences of personal choices, obligation of citizenship, and responsible decision making. The University strives to build a community that is welcoming, hospitable, fair, inclusive, rooted in mutual understanding and appreciation, and respectful of diverse perspectives, traditions, and practices. Therefore, it is critical that the members of the University community be committed to the physical and emotional health and well-being of those who work, study, or congregate at the University. The policy serves as a guide and applies to all members of the campus community including students, parents, staff, faculty, alumni, and guests of the University. The Alcoholic Beverage Policy is set in the context of the legal requirements governing the sale, consumption, and distribution of alcoholic beverages and in the context of community expectations for, not only upholding the laws, but also sharing responsibility for the safety and welfare of other members of the community. The University will not tolerate disregard for the law, or behaviors and practices that counter the education of the whole person, compromise rigorous and imaginative scholarship, inhibit moral and spiritual development, and constrain the University’s fundamental values. Consequently, the University does not condone underage drinking and considers intoxication, disorderliness, or offensive behavior deriving from the use of alcoholic beverages to be unacceptable, regardless of a person’s age, or on-campus or off-campus status. To cultivate a campus environment consistent with the stated goals and purposes of an educational institution, the University has adopted the following policies and procedures for the use of alcoholic beverages.

  1. The service and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the University campus and at University-sponsored events off campus shall be done in compliance with applicable municipal, state, and federal laws and regulations, and in accordance with University policies and procedures. All persons on the University campus or at any University-sponsored event off campus where alcoholic beverages are being served or consumed are expected to abide by and respect all such laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. (See the following section for a partial listing of laws.)
  2. Alcoholic beverages at events held on campus shall be supplied and sold only by the University food service provider or another designated, licensed agent of the University, except in situations covered by No. 5 of this policy. No other individual person or private party shall supply or sell alcoholic beverages at on-campus events or hold the license for the sale of alcoholic beverages on campus.
  3. Alcoholic beverages shall not be served or consumed in public areas of the University except at authorized University events. Public areas include all Santa Clara University 2 1 indoor and outdoor spaces on the campus except individual residences and private departmental work areas and offices.
  4. Alcoholic beverages shall not be served or consumed at any Universitysponsored club sport athletic event or recreational sports activity.
  5. The sponsorship of events by alcoholic beverage companies or distributors is limited to cash donations, donated products (other than those that directly promote or advertise alcoholic beverages) in support of fundraising or other special events as approved by the appropriate vice president, vice provost, or dean; and materials for University educational programs. The use of donated products for events that are held in Benson Memorial Center must also be approved by the University liaison to the food service contractor.
  6. Alcoholic beverages may be served at on-campus events sponsored by University-affiliated student organizations whose membership is predominantly 21 years of age or older and/or at on-campus events specifically for the senior class, provided that University operating funds are not used to purchase the alcohol for the event.
  7. The service of alcoholic beverages at all events on campus shall be in accordance with the Event Management Plan for Events with Alcohol, which should be submitted and approved by the Vice Provost for Student Life or designee.
  8. For student organization-sponsored events off campus that include the service of alcoholic beverages, and that require University approval of the contract or agreement with the off-campus facility, an Addendum to Agreement must be signed by the service provider and received by the Vice Provost for Student Life or designee. (Copies of this addendum are available in the Center for Student Involvement.)

Santa Clara University encourages students to offer help and assistance to other students in need, both on and off campus. Sometimes students are hesitant to offer assistance to other students because they fear that they may be charged with policy violations, or that the student needing medical attention may receive disciplinary sanctions. For example, an underage student who has been drinking might, for someone who may be suffering from alcohol intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning, hesitate to seek help from Campus Safety, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), or a Community Facilitator (CF). The Medical Amnesty statement allows the reduction of disciplinary consequences for students who receive medical attention due to alcohol intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning. This statement applies to violations that occur on and off campus, and will require documentation by Campus Safety, EMS, law enforcement, and/or emergency personnel. The Good Samaritan statement allows the elimination of disciplinary consequences for a student(s) who may be under the influence of alcohol and who make(s) a good-faith call for medical help on the behalf of a fellow student. This statement applies to violations that occur on and off campus and will require documentation by Campus Safety, EMS, law enforcement, and/or emergency personnel. The Good Samaritan statement is not limited to alcoholrelated incidents and also encourages witnesses of assault, vandalism, and other violations of the Student Conduct Code to report such events.

Person in need of medical attention (Medical Amnesty):

A student requiring medical attention due to alcohol intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning will receive reduced educational sanctions, instead of the minimum standard of disciplinary action.
• If the student does not complete the educational sanction, which could include a one-on-one alcohol education program (e.g., BASICS), the student will be in violation of the Student Conduct Code.
• Medical Amnesty only applies to a student’s first alcohol policy violation that requires medical attention, regardless of how the response was initiated.
• Medical Amnesty does not apply to other violations of the Student Conduct Code.

Calling on behalf of someone else (Good Samaritan):

Good Samaritan may apply to up to two people who are calling for assistance and/or providing support or assistance to a student requiring medical attention. The Good Samaritan(s) will need to be present when help arrives and will be required to provide his/her/their contact information to the responding agency (i.e., Campus Safety, EMS, law enforcement, and/or emergency personnel) to be included with their incident report. The Good Samaritan(s) will not face disciplinary consequences as long as no other violations of the Student Conduct Code have occurred. This Medical Amnesty statement only applies to the University response to a student who receives medical attention due to alcohol intoxication and/or alcohol poisoning. Any student who abuses Medical Amnesty or Good Samaritan will be subject to disciplinary action for interfering with the orderly functioning of the University. Criminal investigations and other police action may still occur at the discretion of the responding law enforcement agency. In some cases, Campus Safety may be bound to rep

The University defines a bias incident as any speech, act, or harassing action that targets, threatens, or attacks an individual or group because of its actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious creed, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, citizenship status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military or veteran status, or other status protected by law. University Response to Bias Incidents Involving Students A report of a bias incident filed with the University is evaluated through the Student Conduct System. The University reserves the right to review all student conduct that occurs on and off-campus when such behavior is inconsistent with the Student Conduct Code. Possible disciplinary actions for students found responsible for committing a bias incident or hate crime include educational actions, disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion. When applicable, student employees are also subject to termination of employment at the discretion of their supervisor. Please note that bias incidents occurring in the context of employment at the University will be addressed by the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX. Contact Belinda Guthrie at or 408-554-4113.

Reporting Process

IF A HATE CRIME IS IN PROGRESS OR JUST OCCURRED, CALL CAMPUS SAFETY AT (408) 554-4444. If applicable, the University process is independent of a criminal investigation and court proceedings involving incidents that may be hate crimes in violation of the law. A bias incident can be reported in one of the following ways:
• Office of Student Life, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 408-554-4583 or Benson Memorial Center #205.
• Campus Safety at 408-554-4444. Any Campus Safety officer can take a report and will forward the information to the Office of Student Life.
• The Bias Incident Reporting Form ( reportingform.php?SantaClaraUniv&layout_id=5) is an online reporting tool that is submitted to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. When appropriate, the Office of Student Life and other campus partners may be asked to assist with addressing concerns. 
• The Ethicspoint online incident reporting tool (https://secure.ethicspoint. com/domain/media/en/gui/15780/index.html) is an anonymous way to file incident reports of bias, discrimination, and harassment. After a report is filed, the University will conduct an in-depth inquiry that may include interviewing individuals involved or potential witnesses, or complaints. Acts of retaliation against any person filing a report are prohibited and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by the University. The University will provide assistance and support of the reporting party(ies) and complainant(s) including receiving:
• Information about the University’s response in a timely manner
• Information about access to counseling from the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services
• Information and assistance about safety planning including access to campus escorts from Campus Safety Services for as long as the reporting party(ies)(s) feel(s) the service is needed
• Information about community resources such as social services, counseling services, or legal support

• Reporting Party: An individual who provides information about any bias incident/hate crime to a University official. The reporting party can be any person who witnessed the incident, the complainant, a friend, or advocate of the complainant.
• Complainant: An individual who is the object of an unwanted act, crime, or incident and who has filed a formal complaint with the University.
• Respondent: An individual who is allegedly responsible for committing and/or participating in the bias incident.
• Witness: An individual who was present while the bias incident was taking place and who can provide a first-hand account of what occurred.
• Hate crimes are motivated by bias and include a definable crime such as threats of violence, property damage, personal injury, and other illegal conduct.

Santa Clara University values the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and faculty, and visitors. The University community can only remain safe and secure through the cooperation of community members. By working together, we all can continue to make SCU a safe and welcoming university. Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, Santa Clara University annually collects information about campus crimes and other reportable incidents as defined by the law. This information is made available to assist current and potential students and employees in making informed decisions regarding their attendance or employment at the University. It is the policy of Santa Clara University that the campus community will be informed on a timely basis of all reports of crime and other information affecting the security of our campus and the personal safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests. For more information about campus safety policies, procedures, and statistics concerning campus crime, please see the Annual Security & Fire Safety Report ( In addition, the Clery daily crime log is kept at the Campus Safety Office and may be viewed by any person, at any time.

It is the goal of Santa Clara University to maintain a drug-free workplace and campus. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and/or use of controlled substances or the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol is prohibited on the Santa Clara University campus, in the workplace, or as part of any of the University’s activities. This includes the unlawful use of controlled substances or alcohol in the workplace even if it does not result in impaired job performance or in unacceptable conduct. The unlawful presence of any controlled substance or alcohol in the workplace and campus itself is prohibited. The workplace and campus are presumed to include all Santa Clara premises where the activities of the University are conducted. Violations will result in disciplinary action up to, and including termination of employment for faculty and staff or expulsion of students. A disciplinary action may also include the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program. Violations may also be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. The program information is distributed on an annual basis to all faculty, staff, and students. New staff employees are given a copy at New Employee Orientation. New faculty employees are given a copy at New Faculty Orientation. The program is reviewed at least biennially by the Office of Student Life, Equal Opportunity & Title IX, and the Department of Human Resources. Contact the Office of Student Life for a complete copy of the program.

On November 8, 2016, voters in California passed Proposition 64, thereby allowing persons who are 21 and older to possess, transport, and buy up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and use it for recreational purposes. The Bureau of Marijuana Control is the state agency responsible for regulating and licensing marijuana sales. It continues to be illegal to smoke marijuana in public and at locations where tobacco use is outlawed, such as restaurants, and within 1000 feet of a school, daycare or youth center when children are present. It is also illegal for motorists to smoke marijuana while driving. Despite the change in state law regarding marijuana, Santa Clara University’s policy remains unchanged: use and possession of marijuana on campus or in association with any university-sponsored or affiliated activity or program is prohibited. The policy complies with the federal DrugFree Schools and Communities Act. Under this federal law, as a condition of receiving federal funds, an institution of higher education such as Santa Clara University must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on campus and as part of its activities and programs. At the federal level, this law includes any amount of marijuana. California Proposition 215, passed in 1996, allows for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Students who qualify under Proposition 215 to use marijuana for medical purposes are not permitted to possess, store, provide, or use the marijuana on university-owned or controlled property (including, but not limited to, residence halls, academic buildings, athletic facilities, and parking lots), or during a university sanctioned activity, regardless of the location. Propositions 215 and 64 create a conflict between state and federal laws. When state and federal laws are in conflict, federal law takes precedence. If Santa Clara University does not comply with federal law and regulations on marijuana possession and use on campus and in university programs and activities, it risks losing federal funds for student financial aid, faculty research and other important programs and services. Thus, the Santa Clara University must continue to abide by federal laws and regulations and university policy barring the use and possession of any amount of marijuana on campus or in association with any university-sponsored or affiliated activity or program. Students who fail to follow this policy are in violation of the Student Conduct Code and are subject to disciplinary action.

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, this policy addresses the manner in which the University will proceed in the event that a resident student (i.e., a student who lives in University housing) is believed to be missing. Any concern that a resident student is missing should be immediately directed to Campus Safety Services at 408-554-4441. A resident student is considered to be missing if the person’s whereabouts have not been established for a period of 24 hours, or if there is information within the 24-hour period that suggests the person is missing. In such circumstances, staff, faculty, and students are required to immediately notify Campus Safety Services. Campus Safety Services will implement the Emergency On-Call Protocol for the Office of Student Life and Office of Residence Life and will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency upon receipt of information establishing that a resident student is missing. Such notification shall be made in a timely fashion and within 24 hours of the receipt of this information. In support of this policy, resident students are encouraged to provide the University with the name and contact information of someone to be notified in the event that the resident student is determined by Campus Safety Services or the local law enforcement agency to be missing. Resident students can confidentially provide this contact information via their eCampus account. If a resident student is determined to be missing and is under 18 years of age and not emancipated, the University is required by law to notify a custodial parent or guardian, and any other contact person designated by the student within 24 hours of when the resident student is determined to be missing

Santa Clara University has adopted a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy on the University campuses in Santa Clara and Berkeley. All University faculty, staff, students, and visitors are covered by this policy. The term “smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying of any lighted or heated tobacco product, as well as smoking substances other than tobacco, or operating electronic smoking devices and other smoking instruments. “Tobacco product” means all forms of tobacco, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, electronic smoking devices, and all forms of smokeless tobacco. “Tobacco-related” means the use of a tobacco brand or corporate name, trademark, logo, symbol, motto, or advertising message that is identifiable with the ones used for any tobacco product brand or company which manufactures tobacco products. We encourage all students to take responsibility and inform all visitors of this policy. Any community member may request a smoker to move off campus and those that do not comply can be reported to Campus Safety. Any questions regarding this policy (including exceptions) can be answered by Campus Safety Services or the Office of Student Life.

In order to protect students’ right to privacy, and to maintain and promote efficient operations, the University has established rules applicable to all students, faculty, and staff that govern solicitation, distribution of written material, and entry into premises and work areas. (Staff members are also directed to Staff Policy 308: Solicitation and Distribution.) Solicitation that is prohibited includes, but is not limited to, selling products or services, door-to-door collections or campaigning, flier delivery or posting of materials in facilities owned, operated, or controlled by SCU, including kiosks, light poles, and in parking lots. Solicitors or tradespeople, including those who may be Santa Clara University students, faculty, or staff, are prohibited from entering University housing facilities for the purpose of transacting business and should be reported immediately to the Event Planning Office, Campus Safety, and/or the building staff.

Lockouts are managed by the Housing Office, and Campus Safety Services. Should you be locked out of your room between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you may check out a temporary key card in the Housing Office in Benson Center, Room 212. This includes Neighborhood Units residents. After 5 p.m. on weekdays, you must contact Campus Safety Services. The Offices of Housing and Residence Life recognize that students will occasionally lock themselves out of their room. Residents who check out temporary key cards, or call Campus Safety Services for assistance more than three times in the academic year will be subject to fines. The first three (3) lockouts during the academic year will not result in a fine. However, after the third lockout, there will be an incremental fee structure beginning at $50 for the fourth lockout, $75 for the fifth, and $100 for any lockout thereafter. Students should take great care in securing their ACCESS key card or Mobile Credential when leaving campus for break periods. Due to the high volume of lockouts during the first 24 hours after a break period, the Housing Office reserves the right to increase the fine up to $100 for lockouts performed during this period.

Room entry and safety inspections will occur periodically. The University balances the right to privacy of the resident students with the responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all students and staff in the residence halls and apartments. The University will take all reasonable steps to ensure the residents of a room, Neighborhood Unit, or apartment receive adequate notice prior to entry by University personnel for the purposes of verifying occupancy, repair, inventory, construction, and/or inspection. The University also reserves the right to enter a residence room, Neighborhood Unit, or apartment without notice, for responding to real or reasonably perceived health and safety emergencies, and/or to ensure evacuation during fire alarms and/or during vacation periods. University personnel also have the right at any time to respond to situations where there is a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law or University policies is occurring or has occurred inside a particular room. Under such circumstances, it is not necessary that the room’s resident(s) be present; nor will a resident’s refusal, either verbal or physical, prevent an entry or inspection. By entering into the University Housing Contract, the student consents to room entry and inspection under those circumstances indicated.