3.3.a Procedure for Dismissal of Student for Habitually Unbecoming Behavior
Westminster Theological Seminary seeks to shape students in academics and in character, as stated in Westminster’s character learning goal in which upon graduation students would exhibit a deep love for the triune God, his word, his truth and his church and an increasingly Christ-like humility in relation to others. The Honor Code policy addresses academic violations. Westminster’s Procedure for Dismissal of Student for Habitually Unbecoming Behavior policy outlines the procedure for addressing obvious character and spiritual violations – issues that are habitually unbecoming of one preparing to be a leader of Christ’s flock. The goal of this disciplinary process is the restoration and well-being of the student, the preservation of Christ’s name, and upholding the integrity and reputation of the seminary. The Seminary refers to the Westminster Standards (particularly chapter XXX), as based on Scripture, as a standard for behavior.
- Student conduct is under the supervision of the Dean of Student Development. The institution reserves the right to dismiss from the institution a student whose conduct is found to be unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory behavior includes the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on school property or as part of any activity of Westminster. Smoking is not permitted in any Seminary building, and the use of alcoholic beverages and firearms are prohibited on campus. In addition, students may be dismissed by the seminary for serious breaches of moral behavior or ethical standards.
- Analogous to Matthew 18, the Dean of Student Development, Associate Dean and/or the International Student Advisor will speak to the student about their present circumstances as the first step of intervention. This initial investigation will determine a course of action to assist in correcting the problem including, but not limited to, offering counsel, soliciting advice from additional seminary faculty/staff, and communication with the student’s supporting church(es).
- If the student would benefit from additional, more intensive counseling, the Dean of Student Development may utilize some of the student counseling funds as designated by the Student Association.
- If the student persists in unbiblical conduct, the Dean of Student Development will actively seek to work with the local congregation where the student is a member/attending and the elder(s)/pastor(s) who have spiritual oversight over the student.
- If the student persists in unbiblical conduct and ignores the recommendations of his local church and the recommendations of the seminary the Dean of Student Development will present a report to the Academic Dean and the President, and the student may be withdrawn from the institution.
- If events warrant administrative withdrawal the Dean of Student Development will present a report to the Academic Dean and the President. The student will be administratively withdrawn and any scholarships would immediately be revoked. In the case of international students they and their families must return to their home country within 15 days, as stipulated by the Federal Government (see NAFSA 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f) (5) (iv).
3.3.b Grievance Policy
The Student Development Office should be regarded as the umbrella for addressing all complaints. For information regarding the process of filing a grievance or to file a grievance, please contact the Student Development Office.
The Student Association is also available to hear student concerns. Representatives of the Student Association can be contacted to formally present such concerns to the Dean of Student Development.
For a full description of the grievance policy, please refer to the Seminary’s campus policies online.