Standard of Character and Conduct
Western Seminary believes in the freedom for each student to develop morally, ethically, relationally, and spiritually, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Students are often viewed as Christian role-models, even during training for future positions of leadership. Many maintain positions in ministry or service internships during their education. It is essential that the student exemplify a God-controlled life both on and off the campus and conform to the highest standards of conduct. Western Seminary will seek to support the student in living a life of integrity and continued personal growth. When moral, ethical, or spiritual violations or relational difficulties become known, steps shall be taken to appropriately address areas of concern in character or personal development. Violations of the standard may jeopardize a student’s continued enrollment.
Our Concern for you is Personal
Western Seminary values helping students move forward toward the calling they received to ministry. The Seminary may thus recommend a student to reconsider their program goals if there is a concern that their calling does not match their current program, or if there is a question of fitness for ministry.
Our Standard is Based in Scripture
A believer’s standard of behavior is based on the Bible. While questions about particular practices may be referred to the Office of Student Development, in general, believers should avoid that which is prohibited by Scripture (Mark 7:20-23; Gal. 5:19-21). Behavior should also be limited by that which is unwise or not expedient in deference to those within our Western Seminary community and/or the Body of Christ (Rom. 14; 1 Cor. 8), including that which violates civil law, that which violates professional ethics, or that which puts the safety of a person(s) at risk.
Our Goal is Restoration
The goal of all student discipline is restoration and reconciliation. When a student is distressed and seeks assistance from a staff or faculty member or when the institution has concerns about a student’s development or well-being, a referral may be made to the Office of Student Development. Attempts will be made to engage the student in a collaborative effort of accountability, growth, correction, restoration, and/or reconciliation. In most cases, institutional action is reserved for situations wherein students are unwilling to engage positively in a process of correction, growth, and healing. Should circumstances warrant, the student may be given a warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, or dismissal. Action which would interrupt a student’s progress in a program (i.e., suspension or dismissal) will be taken by the Student Development Committee after input from the faculty. In such cases, the student shall receive a written statement of the concerns raised by the appropriate committee. The student shall be given an opportunity to speak before the administrator or committee hearing the matter, may be accompanied by a personal representative, or may bring witnesses.
Our Policy for Unresolved Difficulties
In the case of unresolved difficulties in moral, ethical, relational, or spiritual development, the student may appeal to the Office of Student Development, the Student Development Committee and, ultimately, the President. Appeal of action at any level must be in writing and be submitted to the Dean of Student Development within 30 calendar days of notification of the action; a personal interview will be granted to deal with any appeal which goes to the President. Any expenses incurred by students (such as counseling, communication costs, etc.) related to restoration, discipline, or appeal shall be solely the financial responsibility of the student. Procedures relating to students enrolled in “in-service” programs (such as D.Min., D.Miss., or In-ministry Track) may differ, although such procedures will always include the opportunity to appear in person (at the student’s own expense) and the right of appeal. These procedures are separate from the Professional Assessment of Candidates detailed in the counseling program handbook.