Policy on Academic Behavior

It is essential that each Colgate student demonstrates respect for others who are seeking to learn as well as for the faculty member who is leading the instruction. At the same time, the general goals of academic freedom and freedom of expression must always be maintained. Faculty members have the authority, responsibility, and autonomy to effectively manage their academic environments consistent with principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The academic setting includes but is not limited to the classroom, laboratory, discussion sections, examinations, office hours, and electronic communications. Behavioral expectations apply to any setting where student grades or other student academic records are affected, including all off-campus study programs. 


Students are required to adhere to the behavioral standards articulated in the University Code of Student Conduct as well as to the rules and expectations set forth by the faculty member, and to refrain from disruptive behavior. Disruptive behavior is defined as conduct that interferes with or obstructs the teaching or learning processes within an academic setting, as reasonably determined by the faculty member. This includes, among other things, conduct that distracts or intimidates others in a manner that interferes with instructional activities; fails to adhere to an instructor’s policies regarding course expectations; compromises the ability of others to learn; and/or interferes with the normal operations of the University. 

Specific examples of disruptive behavior in a classroom setting include, but are not limited to:

  • Persistent failure to adhere to the instructor’s policies or instructions (e.g. use of electronic devices, eating/drinking in class, engaging in activities not related to the class, etc.)
  • Monopolizing class discussion and refusing to defer to the instructor, persistent speaking without permission 
  • Intentionally disrupting a faculty member’s facilitation of the discussion or class activity
  • Chronically entering late/leaving early, disruptively moving about the classroom
  • Filming, photographing, or recording the class without the instructor’s explicit prior permission
  • Physically or verbally abusive conduct
  • Vulgar or obscene language not directly germane to the subject matter, slurs or other forms of intimidating behavior
  • Attending class under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Express or implied acts of intentional intimidation directed toward an instructor or faculty member
  • Cornering or blocking a faculty member’s egress from their office/classroom
  • Stalking, either physical or online, including doxxing
  • Destruction of property


Students admitted to Colgate University are assumed to have the maturity to function appropriately in a variety of instructional situations. When a student’s behavior in a classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting is such that the rights of other enrolled students to an effective learning climate are being violated, the student may lose the privilege of attending or receiving credit in the class. Student behavior that disrupts the learning process will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from class, including the loss of course credit. While the resolution of some behavioral concerns may be managed through an educational conversation with a faculty member and/or University administrator, in other cases, an administrative or University Student Conduct Board hearing will be necessary. Decisions regarding the appropriate response to these matters will be determined by the University Disciplinary Officer in consultation with the relevant faculty. Where necessary to preserve the learning environment pending resolution, a student may be removed from an academic setting by the Disciplinary Officer on an interim basis. Formal disciplinary action will follow the processes outlined in the System of University Standards and Student Conduct

University Policy on Public Order

The University is committed to the conduct of its affairs in an orderly manner and to maintaining a sense of community. It is also committed to the discharge of legal and moral responsibilities, especially as they relate to the rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly in the University community; however, in that context, lawlessness in any form, or for any reason, will not be tolerated.

Individuals or groups who engage in acts that, in the judgment of the President of the University or designated representatives, violate public order on University property, or property supervised by the University, or who ignore or refuse to comply with specific University directives designed to maintain public order, or who pose a threat to the lives or safety of themselves or others, will be advised of the following consequences of such acts:

  1. Visitors or licensees will be directed to leave the University property, or be subject to immediate arrest and removal.
  2. Students — as well as faculty, staff, or other employees — will be suspended from whatever status the individual has with the University and/or will be subject to such other penalties deemed to be more effective. Disciplinary actions will be subject to review by the appropriate body: by procedures adopted by the faculty for faculty members, by the University Student Conduct Board for students, and by the President of Colgate University or designates for all others.
  3. Failure to comply with University directives will result in civil or criminal prosecution of the individuals or groups concerned including, if necessary, ejection from the University property or property supervised by the University. Other disciplinary action, including expulsion or dismissal, will be taken by the University as deemed appropriate.
  4. Any organization that authorizes or permits proscribed conduct referred to above shall be subject to revocation of permission for that organization to operate on campus property.


The above resolution was moved, duly seconded, and formally voted at the meeting of the Colgate University Board of Trustees on November 12, 1980, a quorum as required by the Bylaws being present for the conduct of business.

Hazing Policy

Hazing, in any form, compromises a student’s safety and wellbeing and is counter to Colgate’s mission and values. Hazing is prohibited by both Colgate University and New York State.

Colgate University defines hazing as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers mental, emotional, or physical health or safety of a student in connection with the student’s admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for initial or continued membership in a group, organization, or team. Any situation that creates substantial embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, or involves the forced, coerced, or implicitly required consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substances in that context, also falls under the definition of hazing.

New York State Definitions

According to NY State Penal Law, Chapter 716, Section 1: (120.16 and 120.17)

Hazing in the first degree

A person is guilty of hazing in the first degree when, in the course of another person's initiation into or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct, including, but not limited to, making physical contact with or requiring physical activity of such other person, which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury.

Hazing in the second degree

A person is guilty of hazing in the second degree when, in the course of another person's initiation or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct, including, but not limited to, making physical contact with or requiring physical activity of such other person, which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person.

Hazing behavior may also constitute other criminal offenses (e.g., assault, harassment, intimidation, or homicide) depending on the nature of the specific activities.

Civil Liability

Members and their parents, group/organization/team leaders/advisors, as well as their organization and national affiliates (as applicable) may be held liable for mental or physical harm that results from hazing. 

Examples of Hazing

The following are examples of subtle, harassment, and violent types of hazing that constitute violations of this policy. While this is not an exhaustive list, it provides some common examples of hazing traditions.

Subtle Hazing

Subtle hazing is behavior that emphasizes a power imbalance between new members and other members of the group, organization, or team. It is termed “subtle hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken for granted or are accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group, organization, or team. (Some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing.)


  • Deception
  • Assigning demerits
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation
  • Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
  • Requiring new members to perform duties not assigned to other members
  • Socially isolating new members
  • Line-ups and drills/tests on meaningless information
  • Name calling
  • Requiring new members to refer to other members with titles (e.g. “Mr.,” “Ms.”) while they are identified with demeaning terms
  • Expecting certain items (e.g. cigarettes, condoms) to always be in one's possession

Harassment Hazing

Harassment hazing is behavior that confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members. (Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing).


  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats or implied threats
  • Requiring new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
  • Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
  • Expecting new members to perform personal service to other members such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Expecting new members to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness
  • An explicit or implied expectation to harass others

Violent Hazing

Violent hazing is behavior that has the potential to cause significant physical, emotional, and/or psychological pain and/or harm.


  • Forced, coerced, or implicitly required alcohol or other drug consumption
  • Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
  • Branding
  • Forced, coerced, or implicitly required ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
  • Burning
  • Water intoxication
  • Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
  • Public nudity
  • Expecting illegal activity
  • Bondage
  • Abduction/kidnapping
  • Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection


Source: www.stophazing.org

Instructions on Reporting Hazing

Reports of hazing should be directed to Campus Safety or reported through an Online Reporting Form. If students are experiencing hazing themselves or witnessing the hazing of another person, they should refuse to participate, intervene to stop the behavior, work to protect themselves and their community, and utilize support systems, including confidential resources: Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of the Chaplains, and Student Health Services. 

Self-Reporting: Individuals and student groups, organizations or teams are strongly encouraged to self-report hazing violations. An organization or group can notify Campus Safety, their Administrative Dean, the Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct, or a faculty or staff member that they trust. Student athletes can report to any coach or athletic administrator. They should include the names of those individuals responsible for the hazing behaviors and the details of the hazing incident(s). 

After Submitting a Report

After a report is received, the University will work diligently to review the completed report and determine the appropriate course of action. In appropriate circumstances, the University may initiate an investigation.  

Please note that although Colgate works to investigate all reports, including anonymous reports, the nature of anonymous reports makes investigation, determination, and remediation more difficult, and sometimes even impossible. As a result, reporting parties are encouraged to provide their name and contact information.  

Efforts will be made to protect the identity of the reporting individual or group of individuals to the extent consistent with the university’s need to identify and stop the hazing behavior.  All reports are received by professional University staff in the Office of the Dean of the College.   

Colgate University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for good faith reporting of suspected hazing violations, or for cooperating with, or participating in, any investigation, adjudication or resolution of alleged hazing violations.  


Violations of this policy will result in referral to the Office of Student Conduct, and/or law enforcement, as appropriate to the circumstances. Possible individual and organizational University disciplinary action may include, but not be limited to: suspension or expulsion from the University, suspension or revocation of University recognition and privileges, monetary fines, participation in educational programs or trainings, reflection activities, and/or participation in alcohol, drug, or other counseling services. Sanctions imposed by the University do not preclude criminal and/or civil penalties available under federal, state, and local laws.

Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs

As an institution dedicated to learning and the life of the mind, Colgate condemns the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Because abuse of alcohol and other drugs is detrimental to the physical and psychological well-being of students, the University seeks to educate students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and the importance of healthy and responsible choices. Repeated involvement with, or excessive use of, alcohol and/or other drugs will be viewed as a health concern as well as a disciplinary matter. The University may mandate treatment for abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

All Colgate University students are subject to New York State law, local statutes and ordinances, and Colgate’s alcohol and other drugs policy. Students who violate state or local laws or University policies will be subject to criminal and/or University disciplinary action. Ignorance of the law and Colgate’s policy is not an excuse for any violations.

Under New York State law, it is illegal:

  1. to provide alcohol to persons under the age of 21 years;
  2. for an underage person to possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume;
  3. for an underage person to misrepresent their age, or to use false identification for the purpose of buying or otherwise obtaining alcohol; 
  4. to sell alcohol without an Alcoholic Beverage Control license (this includes charging admission at the door of an event at which alcohol is distributed free of charge);
  5. to use, possess, sell, or distribute illegal drugs.

Under New York State civil law, the provider of alcohol may be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by an intoxicated person.

Observed or reported violations of the University’s policy or concerns about abusive behavior are to be directed to designated members of the Office of the Dean of the College’s staff for appropriate action. Neither the University nor the police are in a position to ensure that students will not be harmed through drug or alcohol abuse by themselves or others. This policy is designed to promote understanding throughout the Colgate community that those who use alcohol or other drugs are fully and individually responsible for their own actions, including the personal and legal consequences associated with illegal use, possession, or distribution of these substances.

The residential life staff and the campus safety staff are on campus primarily to assist students and to promote the well-being of the residential community. As members of the Office of the Dean of the College, residential life staff members and community leaders are resources from whom students may seek clarification of the University’s Policy on Alcohol and Drugs in a given situation. Programs around campus and in the residence halls provide opportunities for students to educate themselves about the impact of alcohol and other drug consumption on individuals and the community.

The residential life and campus safety staff reports student violations of the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs to members of the Office of the Dean of the College. These staff members may intervene when the pattern or frequency of a student’s alcohol or other drug use poses a threat to the student’s health and/or safety or to those around them.

A Note on Cannabis Products Use and Possession

The use, possession, or cultivation of cannabis products for recreational or medical purposes is not allowed on Colgate University property, nor is it allowed at any college-sponsored event or activity off campus. Federal laws (including the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act) prohibit cannabis products at educational institutions and on the premises of other recipients of federal funds. Therefore, students with medical cannabis prescriptions from New York State or any U.S. state are prohibited from possessing or using cannabis products on the Colgate University campus.


The following regulations apply to all members of the Colgate student community (throughout this document, the term “members of the Colgate student community” shall refer to all individual students as well as all recognized and sanctioned University organizations). The University also expects all visitors and guests on the Colgate campus to comply with the regulations listed below. (All Colgate employees must comply with the Colgate University Drug Free Schools and Workplace Policy, copies of which are available in the Office of Human Resources.)

  1. The University reserves the right to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in certain facilities, and to limit the way alcohol is served and the amount that may be made available at a given event.
  2. Individuals or organizations that sponsor events at which alcohol is served in public spaces on campus must obtain prior authorization from the Vice President and Dean of the College or their designate.
  3. Individuals or organizations (and their leaders) that sponsor events at which alcohol is served shall be responsible for ensuring that University policies and New York State laws are strictly observed.
  4. Possession of open containers of alcohol is prohibited on and immediately adjacent to public roads, parking lots, and in the common areas in and around residence halls on the campus. 
  5. Kegs are not permitted on University property or in the possession of recognized University organizations except when used by licensed caterers operating with proper University authorization. Large quantities of alcohol are subject to confiscation. The determination of what constitutes a large quantity of alcohol is based on a quantity relative to what reasonably can be considered for personal consumption in a reasonable period of time; for example, personal carry limit of a six-pack of beer, six-pack of malt liquor, or one bottle of wine
  6. No one shall be coerced to drink alcohol or use other drugs. Events that encourage excessive drinking, including any drinking game or contest, are prohibited. 
  7. Being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will not be a defense in any campus disciplinary or administrative proceeding.
  8. Visitors and guests who violate the University’s Policy on Alcohol and Drugs or New York State or federal law may be expelled from University property and/or subject to criminal action. Students may be held responsible for the behavior of their guests, and for any incidents or disruptions that result from possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or other drugs by their guests.
  9. The consumption of alcohol should not be the primary purpose of any event, and advertisements for events displayed on campus shall not create such an impression. Nonalcoholic beverages and food (snacks, sandwiches, etc.) should be readily and continuously available at all functions where alcoholic beverages are being served.
  10. Neither funds raised by the collection of the Office of Student Involvement Fee nor programming funds provided to University residences by the University may be used to purchase alcohol.


No-Contact Orders

The University Disciplinary Officer or designee may issue a No Contact Order requiring a student to refrain from direct or indirect contact or other interaction with one or more other members of the campus community. This may occur, among other circumstances, when the Disciplinary Officer or designee determines that such restrictions are advisable to protect the physical safety or emotional well-being of specific members of the campus community and/or the orderly functioning of campus operations. Students are expected to comply with No Contact Orders in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct, which provides that “Colgate students must abide by University policies and procedures and comply with directions of University officials acting in performance of their duties.” The issuance of a No Contact Order is not a disciplinary sanction and is not considered part of a student‘s disciplinary record unless the student subsequently violates the No Contact Order. Different and additional conditions apply to the issuance of No Contact Orders pursuant to the University’s Student Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy (see section IX. Interim Remedies).

Policy on Retaliation

Colgate University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person or organization for seeking supportive measures (including No Contact Orders), good faith reporting of conduct violations, or for cooperating with, or participating in, any investigation, adjudication, or resolution of potential conduct violations (whether as a reporting party, respondent, or witness).

Policy Governing the Scheduling of Social Events with Alcohol

Social events at which alcohol will be served may not be scheduled when classes are not in session, including new student orientation and final exam periods. Additionally, social events and catered events with alcohol are not permitted until the conclusion of the Drop/Add period at the beginning of each semester. Catered events requiring a liquor license and/or outdoor events involving excessive noise require approval by the University at least three weeks in advance of the event, regardless of the time of night or day for which it is scheduled. Social events with alcohol are not permitted on weeknights during the final two weeks of each semester. Additional details about hosting social events with alcohol (including registration and approval processes) can be found on the Office of Student Involvement’s website.

The information contained in this publication applies to the academic years 2023–2024, but this handbook is not to be regarded as a contract between the student and the University. The University reserves the right to change requirements, policies, rules, and regulations without prior notice in accordance with established procedures.

Go to Student Handbook homepage