Ethical Conduct

General Information

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is a Christian institution whose primary purpose is to conduct a program of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate theological education designed to equip both men and women for effective Christian leadership in church-related ministries and other areas where theological training is necessary.

  1. It is required that students admitted into this institution for preparation in church ministry will conduct themselves in a manner deemed by the institution as conduct becoming of a Southern Baptist minister.
  2. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an educational institution committed to a high standard of academic integrity at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels regardless of delivery method: residential and online. As such, any student who submits work as part of the requirements for any course thereby asserts that the student personally has done that work and that it has not been submitted for credit in any other course without permission. Unless credit is explicitly given to sources, the student is asserting that the words and/or the thoughts are the student's own original work. Falling short of these standards is academic dishonesty.
  3. The institution may take disciplinary action should any ethical standard of an academic and/or personal nature be violated. In the case of academic dishonesty (see item 2 above) breaches of this standard will result in the failure of the assignment along with further possible disciplinary measures as outlined below. All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Vice President for Student Services and will be kept on file. The institution recognizes a professor’s authority to undertake disciplinary actions concerning any of his students in the context of his classroom. Generally, violations of the institution's ethical conduct policy include, but are not limited to:
    1. Academic dishonesty, including cheating, submitting without approval work originally prepared by the student for another course, and plagiarism, which is essentially submitting as one's own work material prepared in whole or in part by another person while failing to give proper credit on papers for sources used.
    2. Use or possession of beverage alcohol or illegal drugs, including, but not limited to, marijuana;
    3. The use of tobacco or nicotine products, including smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes;
    4. Engaging in a lifestyle contrary to Biblical standards including, but not limited to, heterosexual misconduct, homosexual or bisexual behavior, transgenderism or any other form of sexual misconduct.
    5. Giving false or incomplete statements to the institution orally or in writing including, but not limited to, one's application for admission or registration, or the altering of records;
    6. Financial irresponsibility;
    7. Fighting; abusive or vulgar language;
    8. Theft of institutional or personal property;
    9. Violation of the institution’s academic regulations and policies;
    10. Neglect, disregard, or breach of established institutional policies that govern the use of any property or facility.
    11. Behavior, verbal, physical, or emotional, which is demeaning, harassing, or abusive of another person; and behavior that is profane or vulgar.
    12. Disrespect or abuse directed toward any faculty member, school administrator, or staff person.
    13. Students and their families are expected to dress in modest attire. The institution’s position is that immodest clothing damages one’s Christian testimony, so clothes such as short skirts, shorts, and tank tops are not appropriate. Hats, caps, and shorts are not allowed in class or in chapel. Ear jewelry is prohibited for men and other body piercings are prohibited for both males and females.
    14. Members of the opposite sex who are not married may not be alone together in on or off campus housing. Members of the opposite sex may visit each other in a residential setting between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. Friday through Saturday, provided there are at least three people in the apartment at all times and no apartment mates object.
    15. Any student in the process of marital separation or divorce must notify the Vice President for Student Services and Communications and may be required to cease studies to give full attention to the protection and restoration of the family.
  4. Students involved in a criminal or civil infraction are accountable to civil authorities but may also be subject to discipline by the institution. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will not be bound to or limited by civil authority actions.
  5. It is the intent of student discipline, in keeping with Galatians 6:1-2, to exercise genuine Christian concern in dealings with students and create occasions for learning, personal growth, and professional development. The welfare of the student, of the seminary community, and of the churches is the primary concern.
  6. In the attempt to make this a truly responsible and redemptive community, it is expected that students, faculty, administration, and staff will jointly accept the responsibility of reporting such actions as may be unacceptable, unethical, or detrimental to a Christian academic community or to the ministries that they serve. All apparent violations of the ethical conduct policies are to be reported to the Vice President for Student Services for timely investigation and such action as may be necessary.


  1. Most disciplinary action will be handled by the Vice President for Student Services or a school official that he appoints.
  2. Upon the discretion of the Vice President for Student Services, an Ethical Conduct Committee may be assembled. The Ethical Conduct Committee will be comprised of the Vice President for Student Services as chairman; the academic dean or a faculty representative of the school in which the student is registered; the Registrar or administrative representative; and as ex officio the General Counsel. On a case by case basis any other seminary or college faculty or staff member may be appointed by the committee chairman to serve as well. This committee will hear the evidence and present a recommendation to the Vice President for Student Services.
  3. The Vice President for Student Services or an appointed school official will then decide whether or not the student has been in violation of regulations or standards of ethical conduct; or whether or not the student has conducted himself/herself in any way contrary to the standards and references set forth by the institution including, but not limited to, those set forth in the Catalog.
  4. The Vice President for Student Services or an appointed school official will notify the student of the decision.
  5. The Vice President for Student Services, the Provost, and the President of the institution have full authority to handle disciplinary matters, as they deem necessary.

Ethical Conduct Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary actions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Reprimand and disciplinary probation;
  2. Reprimand, disciplinary probation, and loss of credit in course or courses where dishonest work was done;
  3. Temporary suspension with time and terms of re-admission indicated;
  4. Indefinite suspension with time and terms of re-admission not indicated;
  5. Permanent dismissal; and
  6. Any of the above may be noted on the student's transcript and may be removed at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Services, the Provost, or the President of the institution.

Mental/Emotional Health

The Vice President for Student Services or an appointed school official that he appoints will also deal with students who exhibit abnormal mental or emotional health. Actions may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Counseling from an approved counselor;
  2. Temporary suspension with time and terms of re-admission indicated;
  3. Permanent dismissal or suspension.

Appeals Process

If a student wishes to appeal a decision of the Vice President for Student Services or an appointed school official he/she may do so by asking the Provost to review the matter first. In such a case, the Provost has the prerogative to deny a hearing of the appeal, or hear the appeal and uphold the decisions of the Vice President for Student Services, amend the Vice President for Student Services’ decision, and/or reverse the action entirely. Should the Provost not take up the appeal, or if the student desires to challenge the decision of the Provost, the student may appeal to the President of the Seminary. In such a case the President also has the prerogative to deny a hearing of the appeal, or hear the appeal and uphold the decisions of Vice President for Student Services and/or the Provost, amend Vice President for Student Services and/or Provost decisions, or reverse the decisions entirely. In the event that the President chooses not to hear the appeal, the decision of either the Vice President for Student Services, or that of the Provost will stand. If the President chooses to hear the appeal, he will proceed to render a final decision from which there shall be no further review or appeal. The President may render immediate disciplinary decisions upon matters which are brought before him as he deems necessary.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Southwestern Seminary exists to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian ministry and seeks to be a community of faith and learning that develops spiritual leaders with a passion for Christ and the Bible, a love for people and the skills to minister effectively in a rapidly changing world.  It is our desire, therefore to provide a place for spiritual growth, work and study, free of all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation. Students, faculty and staff should understand that the Seminary will not tolerate such activity and those individuals who engage in such behavior will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Sexual harassment may be defined as, but not limited to, unwelcome or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual impropriety, unwanted or uninvited verbal suggestions or comments of a sexual nature, or objectionable physical contact. Suggestions that academic or employment admonishments or rewards will follow the refusal or acceptance of sexual advances, or actions that unreasonably impede with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, constitute a violation of the Seminary’s ethical standards and will not be tolerated.  Whenever such harassment is demonstrated and reported, the Seminary will take the necessary corrective actions, as well as measures to protect the reporting employee or student, and prevent further harassment.

Sexual harassment should be reported directly to the Vice President of Business Administration who will investigate and work for resolution. In order for a complaint to be processed, the complaint must be filed within 120 days of the alleged unlawful discriminatory action or sexual harassment, or within 120 days of the complainant learning of the discriminatory action or sexual harassment. Accusations that are proven to be false and made with malicious intent will also be treated with the same level of severity.

Weapons Policy

The possession or use of firearms or other weapons on seminary premises by any employee, student, vendor, or other visitor is strictly prohibited. Any exception to this policy must be authorized in advance by the President.

Child Endangerment and Abandonment

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary supports state law regarding Child Protective Services guidelines. These guidelines state that a parent/guardian is legally responsible for the welfare and protection of a child up to the age of 18. Children under seven years of age are considered especially vulnerable.

Children should not be left unattended or placed in any situation which might cause harm or injury to a child. Children should be under adult supervision at all times in seminary housing, buildings, and facilities.

Drug Policy

Drug Abuse Policy and Penalties

Students enrolled in Southwestern are subject to disciplinary action for the possession, manufacture, use, sale, or distribution (by either sale or gift) of any quantity of any prescription drug or controlled substance or for being under the influence of any prescription drug or controlled substance, except for the use of medication in accordance with the instructions of a licensed physician. Possession of paraphernalia associated with the use, possession, or manufacture of a prescription drug or controlled substance is also prohibited.

The seminary prohibits the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of illicit drugs by employees. The penalty for violation of the seminary’s policy on drug and alcohol abuse may range from a reprimand to suspension without pay for an appropriate period or termination of employment. In addition to sanctions imposed by Southwestern for violation of the Drug Policy, a student may be subject to regulations of civil authorities. Various local, state and federal regulations prohibit the illegal use, possession, and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. The Seminary reserves the right to refer students to court authorities for any behavior that is in violation of the law.

Drug Abuse Counseling

Southwestern is not equipped to offer drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs. Students or employees should contact the Walsh Counseling Center, located at 4540 Frazier Ave., 817-921-8790, for information and referral to a program available in the area.