Behavioral Violations

Behavioral violations of University policy have been identified for the purposes of maintaining a safe and healthy educational environment. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

Gaining and/or giving another individual unauthorized access to the roof, fire escape, ledge, and/or window of any building is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, sitting or standing on a window ledge, fire escape, and/or building ledge or in any way allowing any body part or item to hang, and/or be placed outside, including by means of throwing and/or dropping.

Additionally, gaining and/or giving another individual entry to and/or egress from any unauthorized space or through a restricted access door is prohibited. Prohibited spaces/doors include, but are not limited to:  

  • roofs, fire escapes, windows and/or building ledges; 
  • another person’s residence without authorization;
  • some walkways, bridges, tunnels, emergency exits; and 
  • classrooms, buildings, laboratories, and/or libraries after hours. 

The possession and/or use of alcohol when not in accordance with established policy (Columbia University Policy on Alcohol and Drugs)and the Guide to Living is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • possessing and consuming alcohol when under the age of 21; 
  • using false identification to obtain alcohol;
  • providing alcohol to a minor;  
  • possessing and consuming alcohol in a prohibited area;
  • possessing a keg, bulk container, or device used for rapid consumption of alcohol;
  • forced consumption of liquor for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with an organization; and/or
  • taking part in games of chance, drinking games, contests, and other activities that induce, encourage, consumption.  

Additionally, drunkenness accompanied by behavior that is disorderly is prohibited. 

Inciting or assisting another person with violating University policy(ies), including but not limited to acting as an accomplice through action or negligence to the commission of any misconduct, is prohibited. 

As stated on the back of the Columbia University Identification (“CUID”) card, “The ID is your official University ID card and is issued for official purposes only. This card is non-transferrable and is the property of the University.” Students are expected to produce their own CUID card when requested by a University official and may not use their CUID card in an unauthorized manner nor allow another person access to their CUID card.

No student should engage in behavior that is inconsistent with the Columbia University Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy

Specifically, Discriminatory Harassment, in violation of the Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy, is defined as "subjecting an individual to unwelcome conduct, whether verbal or physical, that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive working, learning or campus living environment; that alters the conditions of employment or education; or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance on the basis of the individual’s membership in a protected class is harassment.  

Harassment may include but is not limited to: verbal abuse; epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; and the display or circulation of written or graphic material (including in hard copy, by e-mail or text) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group members of a protected class. Calls, texts, e-mails, and social media usage by students can contribute to a hostile work, learning, or living environment, even if they occur away from the University premises. 

The University will determine whether the conduct was humiliating, abusive, or threatening based on both subjective and objective factors, based on the totality of the circumstances surrounding an alleged incident or course of conduct, including, the frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct. The University will determine whether that conduct created a hostile environment by examining whether a reasonable person would find the environment hostile or abusive. 

Unauthorized use (including misuse) of University or affiliated organization name(s) and image(s) is prohibited. Students should consult the Web & Identity Guidelines for more information. 

Unauthorized copying or distribution of any University record by any means is prohibited. Copying includes, but is not limited to, audio recording, video recording, streaming,  screen capturing, photographing, scanning, or any other form of reproduction that conflicts with the spirit of this directive.  

No student should engage in behavior that interferes with the academic mission of the University or compromises the well-being of the University community. This includes but is not limited to behavior which is disruptive to the classroom, laboratory, or University community. Students should not expose others to conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent.

This policy does not generally limit the discussion or expression of ideas solely because they might be thought of as offensive, immoral, or disrespectful.

Knowingly and/or recklessly endangering the health or safety of others or oneself is prohibited. The implied or express consent of the person against whom such violence or force is used will not be considered a justification for engaging in prohibited behavior. Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to: 

  • acts that endanger human life, or threaten physical injury;
  • unwanted physical contact with any person that reasonably places that person in fear of physical injury or danger is prohibited (e.g., physical restriction, fighting, pushing, punching, hitting, slapping, spitting on, and/or kicking any person). 

Knowingly and/or recklessly endangering the health or safety of animals is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to actions that, for no justifiable purpose, cause the animal physical pain or actions that are done in a neglectful, depraved, or sadistic manner. 

This policy does not prohibit someone from lawfully hunting, trapping, or fishing nor does it prohibit anyone from engaging in properly conducted tests, experiments, or investigations involving the use of live animals as approved by the respective affiliated institution. 

Failure to respond to the legitimate request or directive of a University official or law enforcement officer acting in the performance of their official duties is prohibited.

Intentionally providing misleading or false information, when dealing with a University official or local law enforcement, is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to, the presentation of false and/or altered identification, documentation, or correspondences.

Violations of local, state, federal, and/or University fire safety policies are prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • possession and/or use of flammable materials, certain cooking items, or items that operate with an open flame (e.g., grills, lanterns, candles, or incense);
  • starting a fire (including by means of careless cooking); 
  • tampering with and/or the improper activation of fire safety equipment; or
  • failing to evacuate during a fire alarm.   

Harassing any individual for any reason is prohibited at Columbia University. Harassment is defined generally as repeated unwelcome verbal or physical conduct/threat of physical conduct that, because of its severity, or persistence, interferes significantly with or adversely affects an individual’s work, education, or living conditions. Conduct can be considered harassment if it persists after such conduct has been requested to stop. Harassment of an individual may occur in person, via electronic means, or through a third party. A single, isolated incident may qualify as harassment if, based on the facts and circumstances, the severity adversely affected an individual’s work, education, or living conditions.

This policy does not generally limit the discussion or expression of ideas solely because they might be thought of as offensive, immoral, disrespectful, or cause feelings of discomfort. 

Any reckless or intentional act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition of continued membership in, a group or organization, is prohibited. This may include the destruction or removal of public or private property, or any act that a reasonable person would find demeaning, uncomfortable, embarrassing, humiliating, or ridiculing. The express or implied consent of participants will not be an excuse. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they will also be considered violations of this policy. 

The possession or use of illegal drugs, unauthorized controlled substances, inhalants, and/or drug paraphernalia when not in accordance with the law or established policy (i.e. Columbia University Policy on Alcohol and Drugs and the Guide to Living) is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • the sale, distribution, intent to distribute, or manufacturing of illegal drugs or controlled substances; or
  • unauthorized use, possession, or distribution of prescription medication(s).

Any violation of the University Acceptable Use and Computing Policies, including, but not limited to, copyright infringement and the misuse of University issued network credentials (UNI) are prohibited. 

Violations of federal, state, or local laws are prohibited. This may include violation of the law of another country, state, or municipality as applicable. 

Any adverse action or threatened action, taken or made, personally or through a Third-Party, against someone who has filed any complaint or has been the subject of a complaint or any other individual (a Hearing Officer, Witness, Third-Party Reporter, or Advisor) who engages with an established disciplinary process is prohibited.

Canvassing or soliciting for funds, sales, or subscriptions is prohibited on campus or in University buildings unless written permission has been granted by the appropriate designated authority. Additionally, outside and for-profit groups are not allowed to sell items or solicit members of the University community on campus without prior approval from the appropriate designated authority. 

Posters, flyers and other event advertisements pertaining to sales and solicitation for funds, sales or subscriptions must be approved by the appropriate designated authority prior to posting or distribution.  

The sale of merchandise, or publications or service on University property, other than by contracted vendors, authorized stores, restaurants, departments or divisions of the University, is likewise prohibited except upon permission of the appropriate designated authority. 

Smoking, as well as the use of electronic cigarettes and/or vaping devices, is prohibited in any indoor areas, in all University vehicles, and outdoor seating or viewing areas of sports arenas and recreational areas, such as those at Baker Field. Smoking is also prohibited outdoors within 20 feet of all University buildings (including undergraduate housing). Additionally, the possession of smoking-related devices is prohibited in University residence halls and brownstones.

The installation, use, and/or threatening the use of any device for listening to, observing, photographing, recording, amplifying, transmitting, or broadcasting sounds or events in any place where the individual(s) involved has a reasonable expectation of being free from unwanted surveillance, eavesdropping, recording, or observation, without the consent of all persons involved, is prohibited.

A recording provided as evidence in support of a complaint is not necessarily prohibited by this policy.  

Taking or possessing the property of the University or that of another University-affiliated person or entity without permission is prohibited. This may include, but is not limited to, the unauthorized taking, misappropriation, possession, retention or disposing of any property owned or maintained by the University or any person.

Any violation of published University policies is prohibited and may be adjudicated through Dean’s Discipline. Policies include, but are not limited, to the Essential Policies, the Undergraduate International Travel Policy, the Community Health Compact / Enhanced Health and Safety Policy, and the Guide to Living

Knowingly or recklessly damaging, vandalizing, destroying, defacing, or tampering with University, public, or private property of another person, is prohibited.

The unauthorized possession, use, distribution, or manufacturing of weapons or facsimile weapons on University property or during the course of any University sanctioned travel, is prohibited. Weapons or facsimile include, but are not limited to:  

  • explosives (e.g., fireworks and ammunition);  
  • guns (e.g., air, BB, paintball, and pellet guns); and/or
  • other weapons or dangerous objects (e.g., arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, throwing stars, brass knuckles, or knives with a blade longer than 3 inches).

Additionally, the storage of these items in a vehicle parked on University property is prohibited.