Conduct within the University Community
For policies on conduct within the University community please see Student Rights and Responsibilities .
Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy
George Mason University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from any discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy or marital status. Mason shall adhere to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations.
The university is dedicated to ensuring access, fairness, and equity for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans (as covered by law) in its educational programs, related activities, and employment. Mason shall thus maintain a continuing equal opportunity program to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices in every phase of university operations.
Retaliation against an individual who has raised claims of illegal discrimination or cooperated with an investigation of such claims is prohibited.
Students and employees should bring questions or concerns to the attention of the Office of Equity and Diversity Services, Mason Hall, Suite D105, 703-993-8730. The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure lists the various ways to file a complaint. Grievance procedures can be found at https://diversity.gmu.edu/grievance-procedure-equity.php
Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of the university to provide an academic and work environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is contrary to the standards and mission of the university. Sexual harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. Each member of the university community has a responsibility to maintain an academic and work environment free from sexual harassment. The university will take whatever action is necessary to prevent, stop, correct, or discipline harassing behavior. Same-sex sexual harassment violates this policy and is subject to discipline under the same procedures. Sexual harassment does not include verbal expression or written material that is relevant to course subject matter or curriculum, and this policy shall not abridge academic freedom or the university’s educational mission.
Sexual harassment is defined by law as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or other form of expressive communication of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions, or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, is considered severe and pervasive or creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive work or academic environment. Examples of behavior that may be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexual assault
- Explicitly or implicitly requiring submission to sexual advances as a condition or term of education or employment, i.e., grades, employment, promotion, letters of recommendation, or other privileges
- Repetitive sexual comments, questions, jokes, gestures, or other forms of sexually explicit expression
Any student, faculty member, or staff employee who believes he or she is the victim of sexual harassment should report the incident promptly in the manner most comfortable to him or her. The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure lists the various ways to file a complaint. Grievance procedures can be found at diversity.gmu.edu/grievance-procedure-equity.php.
Retaliation against an individual who has raised claims of illegal discrimination or cooperated with an investigation of such claims is prohibited.
Any employee who becomes aware of sexual harassment or other potentially discriminatory behavior must contact the Office of Equity and Diversity Services.
The Office for Equity and Diversity Services is responsible for administering and monitoring Mason’s equal opportunity/affirmative action policies and procedures. Inquiries about or complaints alleging violation of the university’s equal opportunity/affirmative action policies should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity Services, Mason Hall, Suite D105, 4400 University Drive, MS 2C2, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Phone: 703-993-8730; TTY: 703-993-8787.
Nondiscrimination and Reasonable Accommodations on the Basis of Disability
The university is committed to providing equal access to employment and educational opportunities for people with disabilities. Mason recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from the university educational programs, services, and activities, and have equal employment opportunities. The university will adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as necessary to afford equal employment opportunity and equal access to programs for qualified people with disabilities. Applicants for admission and students requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability should call the Office of Disability Services at 703-993-2474. Employees and applicants for employment should call the Office of Equity and Diversity Services at 703-993-8730. Questions regarding reasonable accommodations and discrimination on the basis of disability should be directed to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator in the Office of Equity and Diversity Services.
Drug and Alcohol Policy
The abuse of drugs and alcohol by members of the campus community is not compatible with the goals of the university. Mason attempts to prepare individuals to act responsibly by defining standards of behavior and providing educational programs to create an awareness of drug- and alcohol-related problems. Those in need of assistance addressing drug and alcohol related problems are encouraged to seek the confidential help of the university’s Office of Alcohol, Drug, and Health Education, adhe.gmu.edu.
Notice to All State Employees
The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act requires the university to inform all employees of the state that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the workplace. The workplace consists of any state-owned, controlled, or leased property, or the site where state work is performed. Any employee who violates this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge and, at the discretion of management, will be required to satisfactorily participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program. Employees must abide by the terms of this prohibition as a condition of employment and must notify their supervisor no later than five days after conviction of any criminal drug statute conviction occurring in the workplace.
Commonwealth Policies on Alcohol, Drug Use
Those who purchase, possess, and consume alcoholic beverages on campus must do so responsibly and must have reached the legal age of 21. All members of the university community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and their guests) are expected to comply with university-related regulations, as well as federal and state laws regarding the use of alcohol. Compliance also extends to university-sponsored activities held off campus. Students and employees are expected to take personal responsibility for their own conduct when making decisions regarding alcohol use.
Virginia law prohibits the purchase, possession, or consumption of beer, 3.2 beverages, wine, or distilled spirits by those under the age of 21. The law also prohibits purchasing for or serving such beverages to a person under age 21. Underage people who use or attempt to use a driver’s license that has been altered, forged, borrowed, or is in any way deceptive in an attempt to obtain prohibited beverages shall have their driver’s license revoked for a minimum of 30 days but for not more than one year. Consuming alcohol in unlicensed, public places or offering a drink to another in a unlicensed, public place is also a violation of Virginia law. The sale of alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person is prohibited. In addition, it is unlawful for an intoxicated person to purchase or possess alcoholic beverages. While purchase or possession by an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor, violators are subject to having their driver’s license revoked for one year.
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle, including mopeds, when a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Individuals under age 21 who drive with a BAC of more than 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent risk having their driver’s license suspended for six months and being fined up to $500. If a person is arrested for driving with a license revoked or suspended under a prior driving-under-the-influence (DUI) conviction, the offender’s car is immediately impounded for 30 days. Following conviction, the court can impound the vehicle for an additional 90 days. If the car does not belong to the offender, the owner of the car may petition the court for release of the vehicle.
Sobriety spot checks to detect drunken drivers are legal. Refusing a breath test or having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher may result in an individual’s driver license being revoked for seven days. The option to request a blood test instead of a breath test for an alcohol-related offense is no longer available.
It is illegal to serve alcohol from an unregistered keg, which is defined as a common container holding four gallons or more. Only University Dining Services or other authorized entity may serve alcohol from kegs.
Possession, use, sale, or distribution of controlled substances, including marijuana, is a violation of federal and state laws, as well as university regulations. The 1988 federal Drug-Free Workplace Act also prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance in the workplace.
Students, faculty, staff, and sponsoring organizations found in violation of state or university regulations may be subject to disciplinary action, civil action, or loss of the privilege to reserve or use university facilities. Disciplinary action for students or student organizations will be conducted in accordance with University Judicial System for Student Conduct, and civil proceedings may occur in certain situations. Resulting sanctions are intended not to punish individuals but to provide education and rehabilitation services.
Sanctions depend on the severity of the violation and can range from written warning to expulsion from the university. Most sanctions for violations of alcohol and drug policies will require the student to undergo an evaluation by a licensed clinician, who will assess the severity of substance use and/or abuse and offer referrals to appropriately assist the student. Employees found in violation of the university’s drug and alcohol policy may be subject to action by the appropriate administrative office.
Alcohol is a depressant that slows brain activity. Alcohol use can impair decision-making abilities and lead to negative consequences, including risky sexual behavior. Drinking alcohol should be avoided by pregnant women and anyone taking prescription medications or operating a motor vehicle. Long-term or heavy use of alcohol is linked to cancer, heart and liver damage, and other serious illnesses, and can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. Excessive alcohol intake can cause death from alcohol poisoning. All students and employees are expected to respect those who choose not to drink.
Illicit drugs have more than legal consequences; they have specific health and ethical risks that can cause dangerous consequences and unhealthy, dependent behavior. Use of alcohol (or any other drug) in a manner that leads to impairment or intoxication is unhealthy and risky, and should be avoided and discouraged. The potential for health problems can also develop from the use of nicotine or caffeine products.
Those who need assistance in dealing with alcohol and other drug problems are encouraged to seek the confidential services of the resources listed in the Campus and Community Resources section listed below.
General Rules for Serving Alcoholic Beverages
University regulations prohibit the possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage on university grounds unless the university has sanctioned the location and conditions for possession or consumption. For more information, please review the comprehensive guidelines for alcohol service available in the The Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education (OADHE) .
Campus and Community Resources
Fairfax Campus—Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education: SUB I, Room 223, 703-993-3687
University Police: 703-993-2810 or for emergencies dial 9-1-1
State Employee Assistance Service: 804-786-6741
Alcoholics Anonymous: 703-993-3686 for campus meetings; for other locations, 703-876-6166
Narcotics Anonymous: 703-532-1255
The drug and alcohol policy outlines university regulations on substance use and abuse. This policy is distributed annually to all employees and students to inform the campus community of alcohol and drug laws, health risks, and campus and community resources. University regulations regarding the drug and alcohol policy have been developed by a committee of faculty, staff, and students. This policy statement is available in the Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education, SUB I, Room 223 and is accessible online through the Office of Judicial Affairs website (judicialaffairs.gmu.edu). This policy is also distributed through the student and faculty and staff handbooks and the university student newspaper, Broadside.
Responsible Use of Computing Policy
The Responsible Use of Computing (RUC) Policy applies to all academic and operational departments and offices at all university locations owned or leased. The policies and procedures provided herein apply to all Mason faculty, staff, students, visitors, and contractors.
The university provides and maintains general computing services, including web and Internet resources, and telecommunication technology to support the education, research, and work of its faculty, staff, and students. At the same time, Mason wishes to protect all users’ rights to an open exchange of ideas and information. This policy sets forth the responsibilities of each member of the Mason community in preserving the security, confidentiality, availability, and integrity of Mason computing resources. To accomplish these ends, this policy supports investigations of complaints involving Mason computing abuse, including sexual harassment, honor code, federal, state, applicable industry, and local law violations.
University faculty and staff members, as state employees, are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, §2.2-3700, et seq., of the Code of Virginia, and all applicable state and federal rules and regulations. While this policy endeavors to maintain user confidentiality, it cannot create, nor should faculty or staff members presume, any expectation of privacy.
Violations of this policy may result in revocation of access, suspension of accounts, disciplinary action, or prosecution. Evidence of illegal activity will be turned over to the appropriate authorities. It is the responsibility of all users of Mason computing resources to read and follow this policy and all applicable laws and procedures (user sign-on agreement).
To report violations of this policy, or any related university policy, e-mail the Security Review Panel (SRP) at StopIt@gmu.edu or email@example.com.
Mason computing resources. All computers, systems, workstations, networks, networking equipment, peripheral devices, servers, and any other university property attached to Mason’s web site or Internet network. These resources include all software, files, documents, and databases stored in Mason computing systems. The Mason web site includes all web pages that reside on servers owned by Mason. The Mason web site does not include servers or other resources owned by Internet service providers or personal resources owned by members of the Mason community who may use the resources to access Mason computing resources.
System administrator (SA). Anyone who has the responsibility to maintain, configure, operate, or repair Mason’s computing resources. System administrators have special privileges and special responsibilities under this policy.
Information Technology Unit (ITU). The organizational entity that is responsible for information technology (IT) equipment and services within the Mason campus system. The ITU is headed by the vice president for Information Technology (VPIT), who is administratively responsible for this policy.
Technology Council. A group of Mason faculty and staff members that provides advice and recommendations to the VPIT regarding the selection and architecture of technologies used to provide IT services.
Responsibilities of the Various Groups
System administrator. The SAs have extraordinary powers to override or alter access controls, configurations, and passwords. This power should be exercised with great care and integrity. SAs’ actions are constrained by this policy and by the policies of local administrative units.
Data stewards of Mason units who employ SAs are responsible for ensuring that the SAs comply with and enforce the requirements of this policy in the systems for which they are responsible. SAs who violate this policy or who misuse their powers are subject to disciplinary action.
If an SA observes someone engaging in activities that would seriously compromise the confidentiality, availability, or integrity of a Mason system, network, or electronic Mason data, the SA may take immediate action to stop the threat or minimize the damage or contact the ITU Support Center to activate the Computer Security Incident Response Team. SAs who observe suspected violations of law should immediately alert the University Police.
Security Review Panel (SRP). This policy establishes an SRP that is responsible for reviewing SAs’ decisions, responding to complaints, providing security advice, and periodically reviewing this policy. The SRP consists of the director of IT security, three faculty members, two members of Mason’s Technology Council, one representative from the Faculty Senate, one graduate student, one undergraduate student, one ITU staff member, and one non-ITU system administrator. The VPIT appoints the SRP members. The SRP chair will be one of the faculty members and will be appointed by the VPIT.
The SRP is responsible for periodically reviewing the RUC Policy and recommending improvements and clarifications as needed. All modifications to the policy will be made after full public disclosure and a reasonable period for public comment.
The SRP will establish a dispatching procedure for routing StopIt complaints to the appropriate official or staff member for action.
Rules of Use
Access to Mason’s computing resources is a privilege granted on a presumption that every member of the Mason community will exercise that privilege responsibly. Because it is impossible to anticipate all the ways in which individuals can damage, interrupt, or misuse Mason’s computing resources, this policy focuses on a few simple rules. These rules describe actions that users should avoid and the principles behind them. Each rule is followed by a nonexhaustive list of examples of actions that would violate the rule.
Rule 1. Use Mason computing resources consistently with the following intended purposes:
- Educational, research, and administrative purposes of Mason
- Uses indirectly related to Mason purposes that have an educational or research benefit, such as news reading, web browsing, chat sessions, and personal communications
- Employees and contractors of the Commonwealth of Virginia may not use Mason’s computing resources for recreation or entertainment.
Rule 2. Do not use computer accounts for illegitimate purposes.
Account usernames identify individuals to the entire international Internet user community. Users may be held responsible for actions in the account. If that person violates any policies, his or her actions will be traced back to the username and the account holder may be held responsible.
- Selling access to Mason’s computing resources
- Engaging in commercial activity not sanctioned by Mason
- Intentionally denying or interfering with any network resources
- Using or accessing any Mason computing resource, or reading or modifying files without proper authorization
- Using the technology to in any way misrepresent or impersonate someone else
- Sending chain letters
- Violating copyright laws and licenses
- Violating federal or state law, or university policy
Rule 3. Honor the privacy of other users.
Mason respects the desire for privacy and voluntarily chooses to refrain from inspecting users’ files, except as described below in Section V. SAs who carry out standard administrative practices, such as backing up files, cleaning up trash or temporary files, or searching for rogue programs, do not violate privacy. Some examples of privacy violations are
- Accessing the contents of files of another user without explicit authorization from that user
- Intercepting or monitoring any network communications meant for another person
- Transmitting or distributing personal or private information about individuals without explicit authorization from the individuals affected
- Creating or using programs (e.g., key-loggers) that secretly collect information about users. Note that most systems keep audit trails and usage logs; these are not secret and are considered normal parts of system administration.
Rule 4. Do not use any account except the one you have been authorized to use.
If a user has a legitimate reason to give someone else access, it should be strictly temporary. The account holder should change the password after another user finishes using the account.
Rule 5. Do not use Mason’s computing resources to violate other policies or laws.
The list below is not comprehensive. In case of doubt, ask the SRP or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Using Mason’s computing resources to violate harassment laws or policies. Various types of harassment, including sexual or racial, are proscribed by Mason policies.
- Using Mason’s computing resources to violate the Honor Code
- Extending the Mason network without explicit permission from ITU Network Engineering. The unauthorized use of routers, switches, modems, and other devices can affect the security and stability of the network.
- Running vulnerability scans on systems. This action is considered hostile. If required for academic reasons, written permission from the system owner is required.
- Using Mason’s computing resources to transmit, store, display, download, print, or intentionally receive obscene material or distribute pornographic material. All users of Mason computing resources are subject to all federal and state obscenity laws. State employees should also be aware of state laws prohibiting the use of state equipment to access, store, print, or download sexually explicit material.
Electronic Information Environment
Personal e-mail, electronic files maintained on Mason equipment, and personal web sites are part of a unique electronic information environment. This environment creates unique privacy issues that involve federal and state laws as well as Mason policies.
Mason reserves the right to inspect user files and communications for all lawful purposes, including investigating allegations of illegal activity, violations of Mason policies, or protection of the integrity and security of network systems.
Web pages. Mason will investigate all complaints involving personal web sites and will remove or block material or links to material that violate federal or state law or university policy.
The StopIt Process. The process described here, called “StopIt,” uses a graduated approach to handle violations of this policy. This policy distinguishes between incidents that pose no immediate danger to persons or system integrity and incidents that do. The three-step StopIt process described below is for cases in which there are no immediate dangers.
Incidents posing immediate danger to persons or systems require immediate action. These include active system break-ins or intrusions, denials of service, and incidents or criminal activity conducted using Mason computing resources. In these cases, the responsible SA may take reasonable actions to deal with the threat, such as temporarily disconnecting the system from the network, temporarily suspending accounts, and calling law enforcement. The SA taking such actions will notify his or her supervisor, and the ITU Support Center as soon as practicable.
The StopIt process rests on two foundations:
- Wide distribution of policy information: Notices describing the essence of the RUC Policy will be displayed in academic computing labs on Mason premises; the same information will be provided to the community at least annually. By logging on to the Mason network, users are agreeing to the conditions of the RUC Policy (user sign-on agreement).
- Standard reporting mechanism: The StopIt e-mail address is monitored regularly by individual(s) appointed by the SRP. Harmful or disruptive behavior should be reported to the StopIt e-mail or the University Police. The individual who responds to a complaint will normally forward it to the SA of the system on which the infraction apparently occurred. That SA will investigate the complaint, determine its validity, and take appropriate actions (see below).
The steps of the process are as follows:
StopIt 1. First Warning
The SRP member handling a case (or SA, if the case is delegated) will send a warning letter or email to the alleged perpetrators of improper use of Mason computing resources, harassment, or other uncivil behavior. The letter will have this form:
“Someone using your account did [description of offense].” This is followed by an explanation of why this behavior violates which policy. “Account holders are responsible for the use of their accounts. If you were unaware that your account was being used in this way, it may have been compromised. Your system administrator can help you change your password and secure your account. If you are aware, then please make sure that this does not happen again.”
This warning ensures that the alleged perpetrators are aware that a policy violation may have occurred and that there was a complaint. It offers them an opportunity to desist without having to admit guilt and secure their account against unauthorized use.
StopIt 2. Second Warning
If there is a second offense from an account that received a first-warning letter, the SRP member will issue a second warning and may require that the account holder come to a mandatory interview. The SRP chair can authorize the temporary suspension of access to the user’s account if the individual fails to arrange for a mandatory interview. The user can request a hearing before the full SRP.
StopIt 3. Disciplinary Procedures
If the previous StopIt stages do not convince the perpetrators to desist, the matter will be turned over to the appropriate Mason authority designated for that type of offense. The SRP will make available all information and evidence it has on the case to that authority.
If it appears from the evidence that any federal or state laws may have been violated, the SRP may recommend suspension of the account pending the outcome of the Mason or law enforcement authorities’ investigation.
All amendments to the Responsible Use of Computing Policy Number 1301 are to be reviewed and approved by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Senior Vice President.
The policies herein are effective October 20, 1997, and were revised December 17, 2007. This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of Mason’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.
Fairfax Campus Sandy Creek Parking Office
Arlington Campus 219 Founders Hall
Prince William Campus 112 Occoquan Building Office
All faculty, staff, and students who park on property owned or operated by the university must display a valid permit or park in a parking deck and pay an hourly or daily rate. On the Fairfax Campus, the decks are located on Mason Pond Drive and Sandy Creek Way off Patriot Circle and on Rappahannock River Lane off Patriot Circle. Visitors and guests must park in the deck or at a meter unless special arrangements have been made through Parking Services.
Permit enforcement runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Metered parking is designated for short-term use and is monitored from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. Broken meters are considered closed parking spaces; any vehicles parked in such spaces are subject to citation.
Restricted areas such as yellow curbs, crosswalks, sidewalks, landscaped or barricaded areas, loading zones, disabled spaces, and fire and emergency lanes are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To avoid receiving a substantial fine, students, faculty, and staff should purchase a permit as soon as they arrive on campus. Parking permits are available on annual or semester basis. Permits may be purchased online at parking.gmu.edu or at the Parking Services sales office, located in the Fairfax Campus Sandy Creek Parking Office. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Current parking permit fees and citation fine amounts, as well as information pertaining to the Arlington and Prince William Campuses, are listed on the Parking Services web site.
Disabled parking is available at a number of convenient locations at Mason facilities. A Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) disabled placard or license plate must be displayed along with a university permit; a DMV placard or license plate alone is not sufficient for parking in disabled spaces in university lots. A visitor with a DMV placard or license plate may park in a parking deck at prevailing rates. Parking in or blocking access to a disabled space carries a fine at the prevailing rate.
Some parking lots have designated spaces reserved for faculty and staff, resident students, special permit holders, or service and repair vehicles. Please read all signs posted at entrances to the parking lots. All vehicles must be parked in a marked space. Complete parking regulations can be found at the Parking Services web site. For more information, call the Parking Services Office at 703-993-2710 or e-mail email@example.com. Please check the Parking Services web site for special announcements and changes to the policy.
Motorist Assistance Program
The Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) is designed to assist drivers who have minor car problems. Trained MAP personnel are available to help with dead batteries and can contact lockout or towing services at the driver’s request and expense. MAP is available at the Fairfax Campus from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday. To access this service, call 703-993-2715.
Mason Shuttles/CUE Bus/Transportation
Mason Shuttles: 703-993-2828
Web: shuttle.gmu.edu, transportation.gmu.edu
The following shuttles are operated by the Mason Shuttle program free of charge to the user:
- Prince William shuttle, providing service between the Prince William and Fairfax Campuses, Monday through Friday
- Mason to Metro shuttle, providing service Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday evenings between the Fairfax Campus and the Vienna Metro Station
- The Campus Circulator shuttle, providing service around Patriot Circle Monday through Friday.
- The West Campus Express shuttle, providing service between the West Campus parking lot and President’s Park, with stops at the Field House, Sandy Creek and Rappahannock River Lane. The West Campus Express operates 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sundays and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday with no service on Saturdays.
- Gunston Go-Bus shuttle, providing service from the Fairfax campus to area shopping centers
For more information and current shuttle schedules, go to shuttle.gmu.edu, call 703-993-2828, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mason faculty, staff, and students may also ride the City of Fairfax CUE Bus for free by showing their Mason ID card. For schedule information, go to www.fairfaxva.gov/CUEBus/CUEBus.asp. For other transportation information, go to transportation.gmu.edu or e-mail email@example.com.
Sexual Assault Policy
The following policy applies equally to all members of the Mason community: students, faculty, administrators, staff, contract employees, and visitors.
The university is committed to providing an institutional environment where all people may pursue their studies, careers, duties, and activities in an atmosphere free of threat of unwelcome and unwanted sexual actions. It strongly condemns sexual offenses, will not tolerate sexual offenders, and supports those who have been victimized.
Sexual assault includes the attempt or act of rape (sexual intercourse without consent or with a child under the age of 13, by a stranger, an acquaintance, or an intimate), forced sodomy (forced oral or anal sex), or the forced penetration by a foreign object either animate, such as a finger, or inanimate. Nonpenetration sexual assault includes the act of touching an unwilling person’s intimate parts such as genitalia, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks, or the clothing covering these parts, or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.
The above acts constitute sexual assault when they are committed against a person’s will as evidenced by refusal of consent; through the use of force, threat, manipulation, or intimidation, or against a person who by virtue of mental incapacity or physical helplessness is unable to give or withhold consent. This includes, but is not limited to, incapacity or helplessness caused by alcohol or other drugs. Intoxication of the assailant shall not diminish the assailant’s responsibility for the sexual assault.
The university will respond promptly, fairly, and decisively to all reports of sexual assault. Members of the university community accused of sexual assault will be subject to university disciplinary procedures when the alleged incident has occurred on campus or the incident has occurred off campus and materially affects the learning environment or operations of the university.
Sexual assaults are serious violations of the university’s student judicial code, faculty standards, and university employee policies. They are crimes under state law and punishable by fines or imprisonment. In addition, these actions are subject to civil suit for damages.
Mason is compliant with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act) as amended in 1998, which requires all postsecondary institutions to publish and distribute certain information regarding campus crimes, including reports of campus sexual assault, sexual assault policies, and security programming to all current students, employees, and any applicant who so requests.
Through the Office of Sexual Assault Services, 24-hour assistance is available to those who have been affected by sexual assault.
For more information, contact Sexual Assault Services at 703-993-4364 and/or University Police at 703-993-2810; for emergencies dial 9-1-1.
Stalking is a crime under Virginia state law (18.2-60.3). Incidents of stalking outside Virginia may be admissible in court if they are relevant to the case and may be punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony. Stalking behavior is prohibited and will not be tolerated by Mason.
The university defines stalking as a series of behaviors that in context intend to place or have knowledge that the behaviors might place another person in reasonable fear of his or her safety or mental or physical well-being. Such behaviors include nonconsensual (unwanted) communication or contact, including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic mail, instant messaging, written letters, and unwanted gifts; harassment, either by the individual or through a third party; use of threatening gestures; pursuing or following; surveillance or other types of observation; use of electronic devices or software to track or obtain private information; trespassing; vandalism; and nonconsensual (unwanted) touching.
Some behaviors may result in separate criminal charges. While certain acts can be classified as crimes, others that do not rise to criminal behavior may still be subject to the campus judicial process. The university can take action and has the right to impose sanctions on an offender. Incidents occurring on or off campus are subject to university discipline when such actions materially affect the learning environment or operations of the university.
Legal options available to victims of stalking include reporting to the campus or local police, seeking a remedy through civil proceedings, and using the campus judicial process. Additional support is available from Sexual Assault Services.
This policy applies equally to all members of the Mason community: students, faculty, administrators, staff, contract employees, and visitors.
The university is committed to protecting the right of all individuals to pursue their intellectual, vocational, and personal interests without harassment or interference. The university is also committed to providing an environment in which visitors to and members of the campus community are treated with dignity, respect, and regard for their welfare and learning needs.
For more information on stalking issues or this policy, call Sexual Assault Services at 703-993-4364 and/or University Police at 703-993-2810; for emergencies dial 9-1-1.
Statement of Information on Dating/Partner Violence
Effective March 2008
This statement of information applies to all George Mason University students, staff, and faculty.
George Mason University is committed to providing an institutional environment where all persons may pursue their studies, careers, duties, and activities in an atmosphere free of threat of interpersonal violence. The university will support those who have been victimized by dating/partner violence by providing information and counseling services and, depending on the individual case, will refer the matter to the appropriate office or department to be handled under applicable university policies, regulations or Virginia criminal statutes.
George Mason University Dating/Partner Violence Definition
Dating/partner violence, as defined by George Mason University, is often a pattern of controlling behaviors but can be a one-time incident used by an individual to gain and maintain power and control over another individual in the context of a dating/partner or familial relationship. The pattern of controlling behaviors is not caused by a lack of impulse control on the part of the abuser or as a matter of coincidence but rather is usually an ongoing effort to maintain domination over the victim to ensure submission to the abuser’s will. This definition applies to people in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
Controlling behaviors: May include, but are not limited to, physical and sexual violence, direct and implied threats of violence, emotional and psychological intimidation, coercion, verbal abuse, isolation, stalking, spiritual abuse, economic/financial control, ridiculing religious beliefs, invasion of privacy, actual or threatened use of weapons, threats of deportation, blackmail, destruction of property, and/or harm to the victim’s family, pets, and significant others.
Dating/Partner: A short- or long-term relationship (current or former, including marriage) between persons intended to provide some emotional, romantic, or physical intimacy.
Familial Relationship (as defined in Virginia law, Section 16.1-228):
- The person’s spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person
- The person’s former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person
- The person’s parents, stepparents, children, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person
- The person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person
- Any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time
- Any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.
Family abuse: Any act involving violence, force, or threat including, but not limited to, any forceful detention that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury and is committed by a person against such person’s family or household member (as defined in Virginia law, Section 16.1-228).
George Mason University will make reasonable efforts to provide support and referrals to students involved with dating/partner violence. Because dating/partner violence often occurs in conjunction with sexual violence and stalking, Mason students experiencing dating/partner violence may seek confidential assistance from the university’s Sexual Assault Services and Counseling and Psychological Services and the University Police.
Reporting Incidents and Legal Options
Criminal: Certain acts of dating/partner violence are crimes under Virginia law. These acts may be classified as assault and battery against a family or household member under Section 18.2-57.2 of the Virginia Criminal Code. Persons wishing to make an official police report and seek prosecution should contact the appropriate police agency.
Civil:Victims of dating/partner violence may seek to obtain a protective order at a local magistrate’s office and file a civil lawsuit to obtain compensation for personal damages. Victims can seek more information about protective orders and civil proceedings by contacting Mason’s Sexual Assault Services.
University discipline: The university may take action and impose sanctions on those accused if the accused is an employee or a student, whether or not the incident rises to a criminal offense under Virginia law. Incidents occurring on or off campus between students and/or employees may be subject to university discipline when such actions materially affect the learning environment of the victim or the operations of the university. Sanctions on the accused may include education, counseling, restrictions, and penalties. See Behavioral Expectations 8 of the University Judicial Code.
For more information about the Office of Judicial Affairs and the University Judicial Code, please call 703-993-6209, go to judicialaffairs.gmu.edu, or visit the Office of Judicial Affairs in SUB I, Suite 4100. Employees may contact George Mason University Employee Relations at 703-993-2600. To reach University Police, please call 703-993-2810 (Emergency - 9-1-1).
Employee policies related to this issue:
George Mason University Administrative Policy 2208—Preventing Workplace Violence
Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.80—Workplace Violence
Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 2.30—Workplace Harassment
Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Standards of Conduct Policy 1.60
This statement of information was created by the George Mason University Sexual Assault Services Coordinating Council.
Annual Security Report
Mason’s 2010 Annual Security Report is available on the University Police web site. This report contains the previous three years’ crime statistics and includes policies concerning campus security, such as sexual assault, stalking, and other matters that pertain to safety on campus. To view a copy of the report, go to www.gmu.edu/police/annualsecurity.htm. Paper copies of this report are available at any police facility.
The unauthorized possession, storage, display, or use of any kind of ammunition, firearm, firework, explosive, air rifle, air pistol, or other lethal instrument is prohibited on university property. For more information, call University Police at 703-993-3840.
Smoking is not permitted in any building on campus.
Bicycles and Skateboards
Bike racks are provided at various on-campus locations for the convenience of students who bike to and from campus. For resident students, bike racks are located in the residential complexes. Bikes and skateboards are not permitted on designated areas, stairs, ramps, footpaths, or grassy areas of the campus. They also are not allowed inside university buildings.
No pets, except those assisting people with disabilities, are permitted in university buildings at any time. Pets on campus grounds must be on a leash and under supervision at all times.
Solicitors and Salespeople
Except on official business with the university, solicitors and salespeople are not permitted on the campus without prior approval of the University Services Office.