Values and Behavorial Standards

Community Living

As a Christian university, Fresno Pacific acknowledges that consensus in regards to issues of student behavior are difficult even within a Christian faith community. In keeping true to a culture of learning together, we desire to enable open dialog addressing issues surrounding community standards, knowing that students are making moral, legal, theological, cultural, and health related decisions about many things every day.

In stating clear positions on these issues our desire is that students understand the expectations of Fresno Pacific University. Students, faculty and staff can dialog openly with clear understanding of the university’s values and standards. Fresno Pacific University’s values and behavioral expectations take the following into account:

  1. FPU acknowledges the diversity of thought within the Christian church on these areas.
  2. FPU expects its students to be law abiding.
  3. FPU is obligated and committed to promote the kind of culture that is most conducive to students’ academic, social, and spiritual growth and development and violating the values and standards hinders the achievement and/or realization of those desired outcomes.
  4. FPU is unwilling to risk the potential dangers or assume the legal liability that individuals on campus under the influence of alcohol or drugs present to themselves and the community.
  5. FPU believes its restorative discipline process is a positive approach to addressing student misconduct through education, agreements and clarifying the future.
  6. Some students will not agree with these policies. However, by attending FPU, students will be expected to respect and adhere to established community standards and behavioral expectations.
  7. In regards to policies, procedures, and expectations, the term on campus, refers to Fresno Pacific University’s main campus, all regional campuses, and any off-site venue used for university programs, events, and/or services.

Behavior that falls short of the declaration or intent of FPU’s values and behavioral expectations, interrupts FPU’s educational mission, or that brings negative attention to the university will generally be referred to the restorative discipline process. Should a student enter the restorative discipline process because of a university values or behavioral standard violation, they should expect that the process will be inclusive and that major stake holders at the university will be invited into the process. These stakeholders may include but are not limited to Student Life staff, Program Directors, supervisors, Deans, and/or academic advisors.

Educational Environment

Fresno Pacific University endeavors to provide a safe and orderly environment, in which all students are able to pursue their academic, social, and spiritual development. The university reserves the right to implement a disciplinary process, which may culminate in the mandatory leave or termination of any student who does not meet behavioral standards or comply with university policies. The university also expects that the actions of any student do not pose a threat to the health and/or safety of others and do not unreasonably disrupt the educational environment of the university.

Threat to the Health and/or Safety of Others

Threat to the health and/or safety of others means, for example, any act, planned act or threatened act that places another student, member of the faculty or staff or any campus visitor at an unreasonable risk of bodily harm, exposure to illness, loss of life or destruction of property. A threatened act includes overt threats, as well threats reasonably perceived by the actions, interactions, and/or conduct of a student. Further, a student may be considered to pose a direct threat to the health of others if current medical information indicates that the student's behavior and/or medical condition could reasonably expose others to illness, disease, or other bodily harm. This exposure risk must exceed that commonly found in community environments and would include a student's possession of a presently contagious illness or disease and/or failure to maintain appropriate hygiene.

Unreasonable Disruption to the Educational Environment

Unreasonable disruption to the educational environment means, for example, any disruptive act that unreasonably impedes another student's functioning within an academic or community life setting or unreasonably impedes the ability of faculty, administration, or staff to fulfill their duties and obligations. A violation may include a single disruptive act or ongoing acts and may involve complaints from students, faculty, or staff. In determining violations, an assessment will be made of the nature and extent of the disruption and the content and frequency of the complaint(s).

University Response

Violation of these or other policies may result in disciplinary action up to and including mandatory leave or termination, without refund of tuition and other amounts paid. The restorative disciplinary process of the university is set forth in this FPU student handbook. The university reserves the right to remove a student from particular settings or from all university activity pending the outcome of the disciplinary process, depending on the nature and extent of the disruption or threat as outline above. While the university expects all students to meet the behavioral standards, it recognizes that some students possess medical or psychological conditions that may affect functioning within the behavioral rules of the university. The university will comply with all requirements imposed by law to provide reasonable accommodation and/or appropriate academic adjustment for those with disabilities. If medical or psychological intervention is needed to assist the student in meeting the behavioral standards, the university may choose to offer the student the opportunity to comply with an intervention plan as a partial or complete substitute for disciplinary action. The student may also be placed on a contract that identifies the behaviors of concern, the accompanying behavioral expectations, and the length of contract. If the student does not meet the behavioral standards after assenting to an intervention plan or if the student violates the contract, the university may take disciplinary action up to, and including, mandatory leave or termination.

Values and Behavioral Expectations

Through God’s acts of creation and redeeming sacrifice, he has established the ultimate worth of every person. Fresno Pacific University (FPU) seeks to accept each person as unique, with God given purpose and value. Our hope is that everyone will be moved to search after God.

The FPU Idea affirms the university as a learning community that seeks to engage its members “…in a collaborative search for knowledge and experience which lead toward a perceptive and creative relationship with God, humanity, and the natural world…” As an extension of the educational mission of the Mennonite Brethren Church (which is rooted in the Anabaptist traditions of peace and justice), the university affirms the authority of the Bible over all matters of faith and life.” Fresno Pacific University invites all who are committed to upholding principles of respect, integrity and doing good in all situations, to be members of its community. The rules of any community grow out of a particular tradition. Being firmly rooted in the Mennonite Brethren Church tradition, Fresno Pacific University holds in high esteem the following characteristics:

  • peace and justice
  • modest dress
  • thoughtfulness in social relationships and entertainment
  • honesty
  • service
  • respect of the rights, opinions and property of others 
  • respect for the laws of the state
  • willingness to do good in every situation

The dominant emphasis of life together within the FPU community is the quality of human relationships, mutual care, and building up of one another. Individuality and community are equally encouraged and valued. However, selfish and isolating individualism must give way to what is best for a caring and just community. The common good of any community is accomplished through established standards and behavioral expectations. Fresno Pacific University bases its standards and expectations on these Community Life Values:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Stewardship

By accepting the invitation to attend Fresno Pacific University, you become a part of its community and agree to abide by and uphold the behavioral expectations encapsulated in its community life values and standards. Behavior that falls short of the declaration or intent of these values and/or their standards and behavioral expectations, will generally be referred to the restorative discipline process.

Seminary Community Standards

Special note: The following standards for the seminary are in addition to the Values & Behavioral Expectations listed above and are specific to seminary students only.  

In keeping with the seminary’s mandate to prepare kingdom-minded leaders for the global church, we believe that all are called to become more like Jesus. Our educational programs emphasize training the whole person and applying Scripture (which we believe to be the authority for what we teach and how we live) to daily living.

Because spiritual formation is so significant for a Christian leader, we expect all engaged here to apply the following standards thoughtfully to their specific social and cultural situations. This application necessitates a call to holiness that brings each person’s personal and corporate life into conformity with the mind of Christ, and prepares him or her to serve Jesus Christ as Lord. Our expectation is that graduate students preparing for ministry will consistently model a godly lifestyle on and off campus. We expect our community and its members to show respect, love and consideration for others. We believe that every human being is a valuable person created by God in His image and thus possesses inherent dignity, and we, as believers, are called to love and treat every person with respect. Students are expected to respect the law and conduct themselves as responsible citizens who contribute to the welfare of the greater community. This manner of living obeys Jesus’ commandment to show love for others echoed by the Apostle Paul.

Followers of Jesus make a habit of encouraging and building up others, showing compassion, demonstrating unselfishness, and displaying patience. Harassment of any person, whether that person is or is not a member of the community, is not acceptable. Differences of opinion on any issue are not only permissible but are expected and frequently encouraged as part of the educational process. However, dialogue about differences is always to be conducted with reason, consideration for the feelings of others, and recognition of the Biblical Seminary as a unique, faith-affirming community called to serve within the diverse society in which we live.

In applying this call to holiness, we ask that students, faculty and staff refrain from practices that are contrary to biblical teachings and utilize careful judgment in the exercise of personal freedom. Out of respect for our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, as good stewards of our relationships with one another, and in relation to our individual and communal fitness for ministry, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of alcohol or illicit drugs by any member of the seminary community on university property is prohibited. While the use of alcohol by adults is lawful, alcohol use is prohibited on the university campus. Smoking is also not allowed on the campus or in the private apartments on campus.

This exercise of personal freedom also entails the responsible use of time and material resources including regular attendance at classes and chapel services, and prudent care of financial resources. Furthermore, because many contemporary forms of amusement are of questionable value or diminish one’s moral sensitivities, members of the community are to use discernment in their choice of entertainment including television, movies, live productions, and social dancing, whether on or off campus.

We hold these standards in a positive atmosphere that encourages examination of their biblical foundations through free interaction with administration and faculty. While respect is an important part of the learning experience, as our learning outcomes state, we also strongly encourage every student to develop a personal biblical and Christ-pleasing lifestyle. All students should be committed to a church community in which they can exercise Christian love and be held accountable.

Finally, we believe that as a community, we are called to hold one another accountable to these standards in love and grace and to confront one another in humility and in truth.

Restricted Items and Activities

The seminary restricts the use of some items on campus for the safety and well-being of the campus community. From time to time there may be restrictions in addition to the ones identified here; those restrictions will be communicated through the usual campus communications (Pipeline, posted notices, and announcements).

The seminary requires students and guests to participate in campus events in a way that does not threaten the safety or other members of the community, which does not disrupt campus life, that supports the purposes of the seminary, and that is consistent with the ethical and lifestyle standards of the Anabaptist and evangelical churches that the seminary serves. Students and guests who disregard these campus standards will be subject to sanctions, which may include being asked to leave campus, mandatory withdrawal (without financial refund) or being reported to legal authorities.

  1. Fresno Pacific University is a smoke free campus. Smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars is not permitted on campus.
  2. Firearms and other weapons requiring licensing are not permitted on campus. Other items intended primarily as weapons, such as knives and mace are not permitted.
  3. Drugs that are controlled substances are not permitted on campus.
  4. The use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted on campus.

Additional standards and resources are listed in the FPU Annual Security and Fire Safety report found on the university website.

Gender Equity

The seminary desires that all persons, female and male, live and work together in mutual respect and high regard for each other as bona fide members of the community. Therefore, the faculty have agreed:

  1. That men and women have equal access to the education and to the degrees which the seminary offers.
  2. To provide guidance, counsel and assistance in locating positions in church ministries for which men and women have gifts and qualifications.
  3. To encourage and assist seminary student spouses to take classes whenever possible, and to be participants in the life of the seminary community.
  4. That women and men shall have equal rights, freedom and equal regard in all matters of school life, position, privileges and responsibilities.
  5. To give guidance and encouragement in the discerning of gifts for ministry, and provide training and opportunity for the equipping and exercising of these gifts for men and women alike.

Inclusive Language

Students are required to use inclusive language in both class discussion and assignments. This is an expression of our commitment to gender equality. It is also in keeping with generally accepted writing and communication styles in North America today.

Recommended Resources

  • All May Be One: A Guide to Inclusive Church Language, by Task Force on Women, Presbyterian
  • “Suggestions for Using Non-Discriminatory Language,” Office for Women’s Concerns, Fuller Seminary
  • ncte.org/positions/statements/genderfairuseoflang

Seminary Disqualification for Lack of Ministry Readiness

The seminary faculty may disqualify a student for lack of readiness for ministry. Reasons may include problems in communication or patterns of behavior deemed by the faculty to preclude effectiveness in the ministry of the church.

Disqualification is linked to the annual student evaluation process: faculty evaluation for first-year students, second-year evaluation (supervised ministry or prepracticum), or ministry discernment for second- and third-year students.

The faculty reference group or the ministry discernment group may recommend termination of a student to the Seminary Academic Committee (SAC). If the SAC agrees with the recommendation, it is forwarded to a meeting of the seminary faculty as a whole.

It is also possible for the faculty to ask a reference group, a discernment group and/or the expanded SAC to review the status of a student on lack of readiness for ministry grounds. The faculty may disqualify a student by a consensus decision on the basis of a recommendation from the expanded SAC.

The appeal process for readiness-for-ministry disqualification gives the student the right to a hearing at every level of decision making and the right to the counsel of a friend, a pastor or a faculty member in the appeal process. A student may request reconsideration of a recommendation by requesting a special meeting with the reference group, the Seminary Academic Committee or the faculty as a whole. The appeal process shall be expeditious and not take more than two weeks from the day the student is notified of termination. Following review of an appeal, the decision of the faculty is binding.

Readmission Following Disqualification for Readiness for Ministry Reasons

A student disqualified for readiness for ministry reasons is permitted to apply for readmission to the seminary one year after disqualification on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. A letter requesting readmission and reporting how the concerns leading to the disqualification have been addressed.
  2. A letter from a therapist and/or pastor that recommends readmission because the concerns leading to disqualification have been resolved.
  3. The completion of any psychological tests the seminary may request for readmission.
  4. An interview with the former academic adviser and at least two faculty members appointed by the academic dean.

The acceptance of an accountability group established in consultation with the academic dean and the dean of students to monitor student progress and growth. The requirements of the catalog in effect at the time of readmission must be met for graduation.

http://catalog.fresno.edu/content.php?catoid=8&navoid=230#seminary-disq…