Student & Academic Policies

Melisa Wijaya / Foundations

Read our Student Code of Conduct, which provides guidelines for appropriate student behavior essential to the Academy of Art community and our educational mission.

Student Code of Conduct Guidelines

The Student Code of Conduct is applicable to all students, undergraduate and graduate, taking coursework at Academy of Art University. The purpose of the Student Code of Conduct is to provide guidelines for appropriate student behavior essential to Academy of Art University community and its educational mission. Academy of Art University expects students to display honesty, integrity, and professionalism in every aspect of their behavior and work at the University. The University expects students to be mindful of their audience as they innovate through their art. Students are expected to respect themselves, other members of the University community, and the Institution itself. Students are expected to comply with all laws and rules set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. Students are expected to refrain from conduct that injures persons or property, impedes in any way the orderly operations of the University, including classroom instruction, or otherwise prevents the work of its faculty, staff or students. Conduct that is unbecoming of an Academy of Art University student and is in violation of the Code of Conduct will result in disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal from the University.

Prohibited Conduct

Conduct that threatens the safety or security of the campus community, or substantially disrupts the functions or operation of the University is within the jurisdiction of this Student Code of Conduct regardless of whether the conduct occurs on or off campus.

Unacceptable conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at the University, see Academy Honesty Policy. (Plagiarism may be defined as “literary theft;” i.e., the presentation and passing off as one’s own the ideas, words, or writings of another.)
  2. Withholding any co-created work from co-collaborators.
  3. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, records, or identification or knowingly furnishing false information to the University or any University employee.
  4. Forgery or identity theft including but not limited to alteration or illegal usage of University documents, school records, and/or entrance applications.
  5. Misrepresenting or falsely using student identification including misuse of Photo ID cards or posing as another individual.
  6. Posing as an agent of the University.
  7. Auditing classes or attending without full payment.
  8. Conduct reflecting discredit on the professional ethical standards of the University.
  9. Harassment of any kind including, but not limited to, threats and sexual harassment.
  10. Physical abuse on or off campus property of the person or property of any member of the campus community.
  11. Possession or usage of fireworks, explosives, dangerous chemicals or deadly weapons on University property or at a University function.
  12. Abusive behavior including the use of profanity directed toward University staff, faculty, students, guests or visitors.
  13. Throwing objects toward or at University employees, students or visitors.
  14. Obscene, lewd, or indecent behavior on campus or at a University sponsored function.
  15. Hazing or false imprisonment.
  16. Possessing, distributing, manufacturing, or using illegal drugs or misusing legal pharmaceutical drugs on University property or at University sponsored student events.
  17. Possessing, distributing, manufacturing, or using alcohol on University property or at University sponsored student events (except as expressly permitted by law and officially approved in advance by the University Executive Office).
  18. Defacement, vandalism, tagging or using graffiti on University buildings or property.
  19. Engaging in arson, blocking emergency exits, or falsely activating the fire alarm system.
  20. Breaking into or unauthorized use of any campus facility or building.
  21. Theft of University property, or assisting in storing or knowingly using stolen University property, as well as the non-return of borrowed (checked-out) Academy of Art University equipment.
  22. Misuse of the University’s computer system including hacking into University computer records, or knowingly sending computer bugs or viruses electronically.
  23. Falsely using parking spaces designated for persons who are disabled.
  24. Destruction of University property, including library vandalism.
  25. Obstruction of University buildings, building entrances, school vehicles.
  26. Disruption of the campus educational process, administrative process, or other campus sponsored event.
  27. Refusal to follow instructions given by University personnel that results or may result in bodily harm to oneself, other students, faculty or staff; including but not limited to emergency evacuation and requests to disassemble and vacate premises.
  28. Violation of any published Academy of Art University rules and regulations now or later in effect.
  29. Sexual violence and misconduct. Academy of art university prohibits any form of sexual violence on its campus, among Academy of Art University students or at Academy of Art University functions/events. Sexual violence includes domestic violence, dating violence, stalking incidents, or any forms of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. All incidents must be reported to the Campus Security office at 415-618-3911 and/or to the Title Nine Coordinator Nattiel Arias at 415-618-6498 or A fair, confidential and prompt investigation and hearing will occur that protects victims and promotes accountability. Possible sanctions for sexual abuse or violence may include but not be limited to dismissal from Academy of Art University. Please see the University’s Title IX Policy, which prohibits sexual misconduct, for more information.  You can view the entire policy here.

Definitions and Description of Key Terms

University” and “Campus” mean Academy of Art University.

Threat” means intent to do harm either verbally or physically, actual or implied.

Defacing,” means to disfigure or mar.

Weapon” means firearms, including guns of any kind, firing or non-firing; knives, including switchblades, razors and daggers; brass knuckles; metal pipes or clubs of any kind. In addition, any item used in a threatening manner.

Obstruction” means to block, pile debris, close off or cause hazard.

School Vehicle” means any Academy of Art University bus, van, car, or courier.

Dangerous Chemicals” include acids, gasoline, and any other flammable materials not issued by or sanctioned by the University for Classroom Instruction and course assignments.

Drugs” include non-prescription medication, street narcotics, marijuana and inhalants.

Obscene or lewd behavior” includes public sex acts, prostitution or sexual solicitation, defecation, urination, personal bodily exposure, and nudity unless sanctioned by Academy of Art University in a classroom setting for model purposes.

University Property” or “Campus Facility” means any University owned or leased vehicles, building, and building contents including plumbing, office equipment, computers, software, electronics, furniture, instructional equipment as well as artwork of current students, faculty and alumni.

Harassment” includes, but is not limited to written, verbal, psychological or physical abuse, sexual suggestions or acts, or false accusations.

Hazing” is to initiate or discipline fellow students by forcing ridiculous, humiliating, or painful acts.

Profanity” refers to derogatory gestures or words specifically directed towards students, staff, faculty, guests or visitors.

“Dating Violence” Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; (1) the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.  (2) For the purpose of this definition dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.  Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

“Domestic Violence” refers to a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim. By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common. By a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. By a person similarly situated to a spouse or the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws or the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

“Stalking” refers to engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to  fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purpose of this definition means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

“Reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

It is your right:

  • To be a member of a safe community;
  • To learn from infractions;
  • To understand the process and how it impacts you;
  • To have the charges and allegations against you in writing;
  • To be advised during the Disciplinary Process of the specific incident/conduct being reviewed;
  • To be provided reasonable opportunity to present your own version and respond to the incident in question.

It is your responsibility:

  • To know and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct and all Academy rules and regulations.
  • To schedule and keep your administrative appointments and/or hearings; a reminder notice may be sent, but is not required. Hearings may be conducted in your absence.
  • To be truthful when providing information to any campus official.
  • To provide campus officials with verification of your identity if asked (student ID card).
  • To comply with all sanctions imposed in the timeframe provided.
  • To provide advance notice and a clear and compelling reason if you experience a scheduling conflict or are not able to complete your sanctions when due. You are responsible for following up with the appropriate University staff prior to deadlines.

Appeals Process

During the appeals process the Academy of Art University reserves the right to impose sanctions. A student has the right to appeal the decision of a Department Director to the Student Conduct Committee if:

  • The incident/activity in question was not a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or any other Academy rule or regulation.
  • The administrative process violated the student’s rights.
  • The findings were unsubstantiated.
  • The sanction or outcome was inconsistent with prescribed sanctions/outcomes for similar cases.
  • Additional relevant information has become available since the initial decision that is sufficient to alter said decision. A student has the right to appeal the decision of the Student Conduct Committee to the Grievance Committee only if additional relevant information has become available since the initial decision that is sufficient to alter said decision

Statement on Academic Freedom and Academic Responsibility

Academy of Art University values the pursuit of meaningful creative expression and truthful inquiry as essential elements of the artist and scholar’s contribution to culture and society. Academy of Art University recognizes its commitment to upholding these pursuits in the event they should be challenged. Academy of Art University expects all members of its community to promote free expression as appropriate to the curriculum, while maintaining an environment conducive to learning and responsible academic behavior. Academy of Art University’s expectations of responsible academic behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Engagement in learning in a tolerant, respectful, and informed manner;
  • Professional behavior in all aspects of work.

Academy of Art University encourages a spirit of open inquiry as students develop their creative processes and intellectual positions. Intellectual and imaginative openness in itself, however, cannot sustain the educational process. Academy of Art University expects faculty and directors to identify teachable moments and to cultivate habitual opportunities for learning. Faculty and administrators thus have the following responsibilities:

  • Encourage free expression as appropriate to the curriculum;
  • Avoid introducing material that has no relation to the course objectives;
  • Place imagery, words, and symbols in their context and ensure their appropriate presentation in open and closed forums including classrooms and exhibition spaces.

Academic freedom is both a right and a responsibility—it is not a license to violate the law or the rights of others. Academy of Art University reminds its members that they must abide by United States and California laws addressing:

  • Discrimination against any demographic category;
  • Harassment of any individual on any grounds;
  • Obscenity, incitement, and slander.

While members of the Academy of Art University community will not be disciplined for activities that are protected under the law as free speech, they can be disciplined for sexual harassment if their activities are viewed as creating a hostile environment for others. Academy of Art University will investigate expressions of violent intent that indicate the person may be endangering himself or others. Any disputes will be adjudicated through Academy of Art University’s grievance procedure. The Board of Directors and President are ultimately charged with protecting and overseeing standards of academic freedom and responsibility at Academy of Art University.

Academic Honesty

The Academy of Art University community, in order to fulfill its purposes, must maintain high standards of academic honesty and model clear standards of professional behavior for its students. All members of the Academy of Art University community are expected to exhibit honesty in their academic work. The principle of academic honesty is understood to include the writing of papers, reports, quizzes, and examinations, as well as the creation of art and design work. Students are expected to participate fully in their academic studies by contributing their own ideas and understanding to each assignment. All material submitted for credit must be original work created for a specific assignment. Students may not resubmit work created for previous or concurrent courses taken at Academy of Art University or any other institution unless permission is given by the instructor or department. Academy of Art University addresses violations of this academic honesty policy on an individual basis. Academic honesty violations may be grounds for suspension or dismissal.


All art and design work, and all written work, must be the original work of the student. Any quotations, paraphrases, or direct appropriation of imagery or ideas from source material must be properly cited according to university, departmental, and/or instructor policy. Any student who plagiarizes will receive a grade of “F” for that assignment, with no opportunity to do the assignment again. All plagiarism offenses will be reported to the Department Director and to the Educational Services Office and a notation will be indicated on the student’s transcript. Plagiarism is a violation of the Academy of Art University’s Academic Honesty Policy and may be grounds for suspension or dismissal from Academy of Art University. This policy constitutes an official warning to each student.


Cheating is defined as accepting or giving aid to another during a written exam or for a written report unless authorized by the instructor, or accepting or giving aid to another for an individual studio project unless authorized by the instructor. This includes representing another person’s work, as one’s own, or buying or selling written or visual work to be turned in for a class. Cheating also includes dependence on sources other than those specifically authorized by the instructor; possession of tests or other materials before such materials have been distributed by the instructor, unless prior permission is granted; failing to abide by the instructions of the instructor with respect to test-taking procedures; influencing or attempting to influence any University official, faculty member or employee responsible for processing grades, evaluating students or for maintaining academic records through the use of bribery, threats, or any other means of coercion in order to affect a student’s grade or evaluation; alteration or misuse of University documents pertaining to academic records.

Interpretations of Regulations

Disciplinary regulations at Academy of Art University are set forth in writing in order to give students general notice of prohibited conduct. The regulations should be read broadly and are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms.

Focus of the Proceedings

The focus of any inquiry relating to an alleged Code violation shall be to determine if an individual is responsible or not responsible for violating the disciplinary regulations. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable, nor shall deviations from prescribed procedures necessarily invalidate a decision or proceeding.

Violations of Law and Disciplinary Regulations Students may be accountable to both criminal and civil authorities and to Academy of Art University for acts that constitute violations of the law and of this Code. Disciplinary action at Academy of Art University will normally proceed despite any pending criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.


It is the policy of Academy of Art University to promote a learning and working environment free from harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment. Harassment is considered intolerable behavior and complaints will be investigated and acted upon promptly. Students who have any questions regarding this policy, or who wish to complain of harassment, or any Academy of Art University personnel who have been informed of harassment involving a student, should contact Lynda Espana, Title IX Coordinator, at 415-618-3813. Complaints alleging harassment will be maintained as confidential and private. Any member of the University found to have engaged in harassment may be dismissed from the University.

Information about Academy of Art University is published in the catalog, the catalog consists of three documents, titled, “Catalog, Student and Academic Policies Addendum and Catalog Supplement.” These documents contain a description of policies, procedures, and other information about the university. Academy of Art University reserves the right to change any provision of the catalog at any time. Notice of changes will be communicated in revised catalog publications (Catalog, Student and Academic Policies and Catalog Supplement), or other written format with an effective date. Students are expected to read and be familiar with the information contained in in any revisions, supplements and addenda to the catalog, and with all school policies. By enrolling in Academy of Art University, the Student agrees to abide by the terms stated in the catalog and all university policies.


Academy of Art University does not tolerate drug or alcohol usage on university property or as part of sanctioned university events.

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