CMU is a diverse community of people reflecting a wide variety of backgrounds, faith journeys, and convictions. These differences enrich our experience in many ways. They also call for some common understandings and commitments so that we can live together in harmony. The following information outlines some of the basic guidelines, which all students at CMU are expected to uphold. These guidelines are informed by our identity as a Christian community and by the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition that has shaped our understanding of the Christian life. We welcome students from other identities and traditions, but all who choose to study at CMU are expected to respect the convictions and values of this community.
A primary expectation of all members of the CMU community is that we take seriously the interests and well-being of others. It is hoped that a Christian spirit of love, care and concern will permeate all of our interactions. We want to be supportive of each other, but also want to hold each other accountable for the choices we make.
Behaviour that is not in keeping with the values of the CMU community, regardless of whether it occurs on- or off-campus, is cause for community concern. Students at CMU are asked to participate in any resulting accountability processes by demonstrating a readiness for dialogue and a willingness to give and to receive counsel.
Our approach to accountability and discipline at CMU is based on Matthew 18:15-17, commonly known as “The Rule of Christ,” which says,
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.” (NRSV)
This passage outlines a healthy way of approaching confrontation and beginning dialogue on issues that affect the CMU community. It is this foundation that informs our Philosophy of Discipline and stands as an example of how to approach each other with an attitude of love and concern.
Philosophy of Discipline
For many students, coming to CMU represents an important step in the process of becoming mature adults. Students often find themselves exposed to a wide range of new ideas, opportunities and temptations and one of CMUS’s tasks is to help students learn and choose a responsible lifestyle.
Newcomers to CMU sometimes expect an institutional law-and-order approach in this regard. On certain points we do have clear-cut rules that we expect students to observe (e.g., no alcohol or drugs on campus, see below). In other areas, we expect that students’ conduct in specific situations will be guided by more general criteria such as consideration of others, welfare of the community, or good taste. Our approach is not to enforce compliance through policing; rather, we seek to function in a “church” mode. That is, we make a serious attempt to regulate life through commitment, exhortation and mutual accountability. We are convinced that this approach to discipline - though time-consuming – is more conducive to fostering a sense of community and more effective in shaping Christian character and holistic life practices.
At CMU, therefore, any disciplinary process will begin with dialogue. That dialogue may be initiated by either students or staff. Depending on the nature of the situation, other students or staff may be drawn in to this conversation. Some situations will require the wisdom of the Community Council. All disciplinary situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and will be viewed as valuable learning opportunities, not only for the individual(s) involved, but also for the community. In all cases it is hoped that students will choose for themselves values and lifestyles that are consistent with Christian faith and practice.
Some situations may call for further action if the accountability process does not result in a satisfactory resolution or if the health/safety of the larger community is threatened. The result in these situations may be the temporary or long-term suspension of the student(s) from the academic program and/or residential community.
Alcohol is not permitted anywhere on the CMU campus. CMU recognizes that students come with a variety of perspectives on the use of alcohol. These varying perspectives can become a source of division and pain within the community when individuals claim for themselves the freedom to adopt drinking patterns that cause others concern. Alcohol has caused immense damage to many individuals and cultures. We also recognize that the consumption of alcohol in excess can be harmful and can undermine our Christian witness. Drunkenness, whether on- or off- campus, is unhealthy and inappropriate. Students who choose to consume alcohol are encouraged to be healthy and responsible in their conduct. Those who are known to use alcohol irresponsibly will be held accountable.
Illegal drugs are not allowed anywhere on campus. These substances can create dependencies, invite unhealthy escapism and damage relationships/community. Students who are known to use illegal drugs, whether on- or off-campus, will be held accountable.
Smoking of any kind is not permitted within CMU buildings or on the campus grounds, except in designated areas. In addition, CMU students are asked not to smoke on the public sidewalks or roadways adjacent to campus. There are two designated smoking areas on campus, one beside the bike shed on the South Campus and one by the maintenance garages on the North Campus.
Smoking is harmful to an individual’s health and creates an unpleasant and unhealthy environment for others, especially those with asthma, allergies and severe environmental/chemical sensitivities. It is hoped that students who do smoke will find at CMU the strength and support to stop.
CMU believes that pornography is demeaning to individuals and undermines God’s ideal for human sexuality. CMU recognizes the power of pornography’s appeal and its potential for harmful addiction. Viewing pornographic material, whether printed or graphic (including video and computer pornography), whether on- or off-campus, is not acceptable.
Sexual harassment is a form of exploitation and a violation of the respect that all persons deserve. CMU will not knowingly tolerate sexual harassment by any member of the CMU community, nor will it condone sexual harassment in the context of any activity under the responsibility of CMU. Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
• Any degrading or unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, whistling or catcalls regarding a person’s body, attire, gender or sexual orientation;
• Any unwelcome flirtations, advances or requests for sexual favours;
• Any unwelcome physical contact;
• Any demands for sexual favours accompanied by a promise of reward or a threat of reprisal.
What to do if you are harassed:
1. Say “No”. Let the harasser know that his/her behaviour is offensive and unwelcome. Sometimes we offend each other unknowingly because our perceptions of what is offensive vary. Be specific about the behaviour that you find unacceptable. Ask the person to stop. If direct confrontation feels uncomfortable, put your concerns into writing. Keep a copy for yourself.
2. Document the occurrence(s). Write down dates, times, places and specific descriptions of each occurrence, including names of other people who might have observed the incident or your reaction.
3. Report the incident(s). In any situation where harassment continues, talk to a faculty member, Student Life staff or the Director of Human Resources. Your concerns will be taken seriously, and you will learn about the options available to you for addressing the issue further. Students may request to see the full text of the Respectful Campus policy.
CMU acknowledges human sexuality as a gift and blessing from God and encourages healthy relationships in both dating and marriage. Students in dating relationships are expected to act with Christian maturity, treating each other with honour and respect and using discretion in public expressions of affection.
Sexual intimacy is recognized as a part of the blessing of human sexuality. In accordance with the Confessions of Faith of both the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches, CMU affirms marriage as the proper context for sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy in any non-marital relationship is considered unacceptable within the CMU community.
No open fires of any kind (including in barrels and in fire pits) are permitted on the CMU campus. Due to the location of the CMU campus adjacent to the Assiniboine Forest, there is risk that an open fire could spread to the woods. In addition, CMU is accountable to the Winnipeg Fire Department’s restrictions on the presence of open fires within city limits. Students who wish to have a fire may use the designated fire pits located in Assiniboine Park. These pits are available for use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Students must supply their own fire wood and ensure that the fire is fully extinguished before leaving.
CMU is located adjacent to the Assiniboine Forest and thus assumes some responsibility for its health and care. In addition to our call to responsible stewardship, the city of Winnipeg has laws that have been established to protect both the public and the forest. These laws include, but are not limited to:
1) No open alcohol on public property
2) No fires within the forest - the consequences to each individual involved may include
a. 1st offense – $1000 fine and the possibility of 6 months in jail, and an institutional fine of $5000 to CMU (which may be passed on to the individual).
b. 2nd offense – $10,000 fine and the possibility of 1 year in jail, and an institutional fine of $25,000 to CMU (which may be passed on to the individual).
Individuals who chose to participate in such activities may be reported to the authorities and thus be held accountable to the laws of the city, province, and country. Members of the CMU community are expected to abide by these laws.
Other Forms of Misconduct
CMU will seek to address any actions that are harmful to other persons, which undermine the health of the CMU community or which seriously disrupt the educational activities of the University. These actions include, but are not limited to: disturbing the peace; physically assaulting another person; fighting; vandalism; theft; fires in public places; emotional, physical or sexual abuse; hate literature; any other form of harassment. Conduct in these forms will not be tolerated.