General Conduct Standards

General Conduct Standards

The College of Osteopathic Medicine General Conduct Standards1 do not replace the University Student Honor Code (The Liberty Way), but rather supplements it for osteopathic medical students. Students are required to know and adhere to both the COMs General Conduct Standards and The Liberty Way. The Dean of LUCOM has established the following Academic Code of Conduct, which shall apply to all students enrolled in the COM.

Students enrolled at LUCOM are expected to adhere to behavior consistent with the high standards of the osteopathic medical profession, including the standards established by the osteopathic oath and code of ethics. Compliance with institutional regulations as well as city, state, and federal laws is expected.

Acts that may undermine the safety, mission, or reputation of the students of Liberty University or the College of Osteopathic Medicine or either institution are violations of the Personal Code of Conduct. Examples of such acts include, but are not limited to:

  • Commission of a crime; or
  • Violations of institutional policies, procedures and/or conduct standards, including standards of dress; or
  • Causing public embarrassment to the College, the University, or its representatives, students, or employees; or
  • Any attempt to provide or support residential students with the opportunity to break The Liberty Way

Osteopathic medical students shall act honorably and ethically. Dishonesty, unethical, unprofessional, or other designated inappropriate conduct shall not be tolerated. It is not possible to enumerate all forms of inappropriate behavior, some of which could raise serious questions concerning a student's ability to continue in the academic program or to practice after graduation and interpretation is the purview of the Student Progress Committee and the Dean. Below, however, are the general rules and policies that shall apply to all students.

Students will not interfere with the rights, safety, or health of members of the University or College community nor interfere with other student’s rights and privileges in pursuit of their education. Students are expected to abide by all University, College, and program rules and regulations and all local, state, and federal laws and regulations affecting their education and profession. Violations include but are not limited to:

  • Theft, robbery, and related crimes
  • Vandalism or destruction of property
  • Disorderly or disruptive conduct, public intoxication, lewd, indecent, or obscene behavior on the campus or at any College-sponsored or -supervised function or event
  • Physical or verbal altercation, assault, battery, domestic violence, or other related crimes
  • Possession, transfer, sale or use of illicit and or illegal drugs, misuse of legal drugs or other legal medications, or use, possess, distribute, or sell alcohol or tobacco products.
  • Possession of or use of an unregistered firearm, fireworks, explosives, or other dangerous substances or items on campus, at University affiliated sites, or at any University sponsored event on or off campus. The possession of or use of firearms is regulated by LU policy or University affiliated sites’ policy
  • Appearance in the class or on the campus, at University affiliated sites or at any University sponsored events on or off campus that the student is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, illegal or illicit drugs, or chemicals
  • Any act or conspiracy to commit an act that is harassing or abusive; an act that invades an individual's right to privacy; sexual harassment; discrimination and abuse against members of any racial, ethnic, religious group or on the basis of sex, gender, marital status or cultural group and/or any other protected group or as a result of an individual membership in any protected group
  • Verbal or written disrespect to a faculty or staff member (this includes e-mails)
  • Offensive or crude language directed at individuals
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Stalking
  • Involvement with pornographic, obscene, indecent, or other similarly offensive materials, expressions, or conduct. Use of the University's computing network to obtain or distribute such materials
  • Unacceptable use of computing resources as defined by the University
  • Impeding or obstructing a LUCOM investigatory, administrative or judicial proceeding
  • Threats of or actual damage to property or physical harm to others
  • Any activity that may be construed as hazing or engaging in, supporting, promoting, or sponsoring hazing of another student, faculty, or staff member
  • Failure to pay tuition and fees in a timely manner
  • Embezzlement or misuse of COM and/or student organizational funds, resources, or monies
  • Failure to comply with the directives of a LUCOM official
  • Violation of the terms or conditions of a disciplinary sanction imposed by the administration
  • Violation of state or federal law, rule, regulation, or ordinance
  • Fraud, misrepresentation, forgery, alteration or falsification of any records, information, data or identity
  • Plagiarism
  • Unauthorized access to or utilization of restricted University documents, data, programs, and other types of information and informational systems.

Harassment and Assault2

Liberty University is committed to providing students with a safe, professional environment free of assault or harassment in any form. Any act of harassment that threatens a person or persons is considered a serious and reportable offense.

Harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA),and all applicable laws including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Any act of assault, coercion, or activity initiated when an individual is physically or psychologically unable to provide consent is considered a serious offense.

Any LUCOM student who believes that they have been the subject of harassment in any form should immediately report the incident to their advisor, the Office of Student Services or to the Office of the Dean of LUCOM. The student will be given the opportunity to document their concerns and will then be informed of the recourse available to him/her under college policy and local and state statutes.

The College is committed to providing a safe environment and prompt, compassionate and discreet support to victims of harassment or assault should it occur. Students who desire assistance in contacting local authorities and/or assault support agencies can obtain such assistance from administration and staff through the Office of Student Services or the Office of the Dean.

All incidences of harassment or assault reported to LUCOM will be reported to LUPD if occurring on LU campus or appropriate law enforcement agency if occurrence is off LU or LUCOM premises for investigation and action.

Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy2

Liberty University, including LUCOM, complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex in any of its education or employment programs and activities. Liberty University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sex in any of its education or employment programs and activities, nor does Liberty University tolerate sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Liberty University prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, and retaliation, which are harmful to the well-being of the University community and its members, the learning and working environment, and collegial relationships amongst students, faculty, and employees. Liberty University will respond to reports of sex discrimination and sexual harassment with measures designed to eliminate such misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy any adverse effects of the misconduct on individuals, members of the campus community, and university-related programs and activities. All members of the university community are encouraged to review Liberty University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, which is incorporated into the LUCOM Student Handbook, and other applicable university conduct codes, by reference.

For more information about Liberty University’s Office of Equity & Compliance and Title IX-related policies, contact:

Nathan Friesema

Title IX Coordinator
Liberty University Office of Equity & Compliance
(434) 592-4999

Reporting and Process

Any student who believes that he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment, discrimination or assault in any form should immediately report the incident to the Office of Equity & Compliance and/or the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD). Students who would like assistance in contacting local authorities may request help from campus authorities.

Liberty University strongly encourages the reporting of all forms of sexual harassment, discrimination or assault. If you are not sure if an incident qualifies as a violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct or Nondiscrimination, please contact the Office of Equity & Inclusion:

Nathan Friesema
Title IX Coordinator
Liberty University Office of Equity & Compliance
(434) 592-4999

Steve Ferro (for reports involving employees)
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Human Resources
(434) 592-3340

Denny McHaney (for reports involving allegations of disability discrimination)
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Office of Disability Accommodations Support
(434) 582-2159

For confidential reporting options, please contact:

All responsible employees are required to report incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination or assault to the Title IX Office unless designated as a confidential reporting option.

Liberty University will provide prompt, compassionate and discreet support services to victims. When a student contacts the University’s Title IX Office, he/she will be given the opportunity to make a formal complaint with the Office. Immediate steps will be taken to inquire or investigate a complaint, stop the occurrence of the harassment/violence, protect and prevent re-occurrence, provide support and resources to those affected or involved and ensure the safety of the campus/community. Both interim measures and reasonable accommodations are available to affected parties. Reporting parties will review a Notification Checklist to ensure that the reporting parties are aware of resources and appropriate accommodations.

Any reporting party may request confidentiality but will be granted such on the basis at the discretion of the University’s Office of Equity & Inclusion. Inquiries will be made into all reports regardless of the location of the incident absent a request for confidentiality.  The grant of a request for confidentiality is a case by case decision in consideration of student/community safety.  Pursuant to Va. Code § 23-9.2:15, in a situation involving sexual violence, a student’s request for confidentiality will be granted at the discretion of the Threat Assessment Team.

Additionally, students, faculty or staff may contact the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) or local police for emergencies, questions or concerns regarding an incident of sexual harassment, discrimination or assault.

LUPD Emergency: (434) 592-3911
LUPD Non-emergency: (434) 592-7641

Racial Harassment and Discrimination2

LUCOM insists that all members of the College are entitled to and shall be afforded an environment free of racism - whether overt or subtle. Behavior that constitutes racial discrimination or harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • racial or ethnic slurs
  • coarse jesting with racial or ethnic overtones
  • other forms of communication resulting in disparagement or intimidation

Any perceived incident should be reported to the Office of Student Affairs or the Office of the Dean. Staff will review the Racial Harassment & Discrimination policy with the complainant. A Grievance Form may be filed by the complainant with assistance from Staff and Administration of the COM.

An investigation will occur by the Student Progress Committee if the complaint concerns a student or the Faculty Council if the incident concerns a member of the faculty or staff. The investigating committee may call witnesses and hear testimony of the complaint. Witnesses and those requested to appear are not entitled to legal counsel during the hearing and investigation period or sessions.

The Student Progress Committee or Faculty Council will reach a conclusion concerning the grievance and make recommendations for actions, including disciplinary actions if indicated, to the Dean.

The Dean will adopt or modify the recommended actions and institute the actions.

The Dean will meet with complainant and accused to review outcome of investigation and actions recommended.

Any LUCOM student who is guilty of Racial Discrimination or Harassment is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the COM.

Any Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty or staff who is guilty of racial discrimination or harassment is subject to disciplinary action, including unpaid leaves of absence, mandated educational requirements, probation, suspension, up to dismissal as an employee at LUCOM.

LUCOM takes charges of racial discrimination and harassment seriously. If the investigation reveals a complaint was frivolous, groundless or fraudulent, the individual having made such a complaint is subject to disciplinary action.

Impaired Student Program3

All students, as a condition of enrollment at LUCOM must agree to abide by the College's policies on alcohol and drug usage and the impaired student policy. Under this policy, students who are identified abusing alcohol, legal or illegal substances are subject to dismissal from the College or may be referred to the Impaired Student Program (ISP) for further evaluation and treatment.

Entry into the ISP may be initiated at the student's own request or at the direction of the Dean. The Dean may, at their sole discretion, refer the matter to the ISP or initiate an investigation, which may include drug screens.

All students placed in the ISP must sign a release, including the release of medical records, allowing the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) access to any information necessary in order to monitor the student's compliance with the conditions of the program. Student confidentiality is maintained at all times and their records are stored within the appropriate treating department.  Any lack of compliance by the student in meeting the conditions of the ISP or external agent shall result in dismissal from the COM.

Any student assigned to the ISP may have their clinical rotations or other clinical assignments suspended or scheduled at sites that will allow the student to be more appropriately monitored during the course of their participation in the ISP. Agreement to such scheduling modifications will be considered to be a requirement of continuing in the ISP while a participant in the program, the student must be under the supervision of a qualified external agent assigned by the ISP director.

Any acts of inappropriate behavior or violations of policies attributed to students participating in the Impaired Student Program or otherwise, shall continue to be referred to the Student Progress Committee for independent evaluation as is applicable to all students enrolled in the LUCOM.

Any member of the faculty who observes a student with symptoms suggestive of impairment secondary to emotional disturbance, substance abuse, or addiction will report the matter to the Dean for implementation of this policy.

The procedures regarding participation and responsibilities in the ISP are available from the Office of the Dean or the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Life.

Failure to Report a Violation3

Every member of the COM has the duty to report all circumstances they have reason to believe constitute a violation of the code.  Failure to report a violation of the code is itself a violation. All members of the College community have an affirmative duty to give testimony or evidence relevant to any alleged violation of the conduct standards.


Any student of LUCOM who engages in the aforementioned Conduct violations, is subject to disciplinary action. Possible disciplinary actions can be found in the Academic & General Conduct Disciplinary Sanctions section of the LUCOM Student Handbook.

Since the University takes such charges seriously, where the results of an investigation reveal a conduct violation complaint of to be frivolous or groundless, the individual having made such a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action.


1.5b Non-Discrimination for Faith-Based Institutions, 5.1 Professionalism, 5.3 Safety, Health, and Wellness


1.5b Non-Discrimination for Faith-Based Institutions, 4.2 Security and Public Safety


4.2 Security and Public Safety

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