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    February 2019

    Student Discipline: Good Neighbor Policy

    A good neighbor policy governing student behavior in the greater community can help students become responsible citizens and improve your institution’s relationship with its business and residential neighbors. While institutions do not wish to intrude on student privacy, it may be necessary to become involved when a student’s behavior interferes with community enjoyment of reasonable peace and quiet. A policy that lays out expectations and consequences for infractions can simplify the process. Consider the following:

    Drafting the Policy

    Your policy should make it clear that students, on and off campus, are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and uphold all state and local laws. Examples of inappropriate conduct can reinforce the message. Specifically, provide information on the following:

    • Parties
      A person hosting a party can be held accountable for actions of his or her guests. As hosts, students are expected to exercise some control over their guests’ behavior, such as ensuring there are no violations of laws pertaining to underage drinking, open containers, or drug use.
    • Property of Others
      Student tenants and their guests should respect the property of their landlord and that of neighbors. Lease agreements often require tenants to abide by certain rules that pertain to parking, noise, pets, and litter.


    An institution may address student misconduct affecting neighbors on a case-by-case basis. Violations of the policy could result in a range of sanctions from a warning to a suspension or expulsion from school. Institutions may tie specific types of violations to minimum sanctions. Noise disturbances, for example, might result in a written warning and a fine. The creative use of sanctions can help students understand the consequences of their behavior. For minor infractions, it may be appropriate for the student to agree to:

    • Make restitution or perform community service to benefit the persons or neighborhoods affected by the student’s behavior.
    • Write an essay about what he or she could have done differently on the day in question to demonstrate an understanding of the impact of the behavior.

    Community Collaboration

    Open lines of communication with neighborhood groups, law enforcement, and local government are essential for the successful implementation of the good neighbor policy. Appoint one or more people from the Dean of Students office or other campus offices to serve as liaisons or points of contact for police or neighborhood concerns involving students. Hold regular meetings or receptions with neighbors and government to encourage information sharing and cooperation.

    Sample Institutional Policies

    Johnson & Wales University Good Neighbor Policy

    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

    Suffolk University Off-Campus Student Behavior Policy/Good Neighbor Policy

    University of California, Riverside Good Neighbor Guidelines

    Vanderbilt University Good Neighbor Guidelines

    The Ohio State University Off-Campus Living Guide


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