Community Standards

Responsibilities of Membership for Students

Ambrose University is a distinctly Christian academic community grounded in the evangelical tradition with a clear mission:

Ambrose University is a Christian learning community committed to the education and formation of men and women for service.

To accomplish the mission, Ambrose is deeply committed to academic excellence (ediscere), community life (vivere) and spiritual formation (credere). We aspire our graduates to be Godly, goal orientated, responsible citizens, critical thinkers, compassionate, and deeply committed to making a positive difference in the world and in the church.

Students that apply, and accept the invitation to join the distinctly Christian academic community at Ambrose will grow and develop, and greatly benefit from engaging in a learning environment that is flooded with educationally meaningful opportunities.

Membership in any community requires individual responsibility - and Ambrose is no exception. Ambrose is committed to nurturing an environment that is conducive to holistic development and spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12: 1-3) in the context of rigorous academic programs grounded in a Christian worldview. Students have a responsibility to contribute in a meaningful and significant way to the very community they will derive benefit from. This means at times limiting personal liberty and making sacrifices for the benefit of the community (Philippians 2:4).

The idea of self-sacrifice and service to the greater good may be counter-cultural and at odds with individualism; however, it is at the heart of the Christian world and life view. It is foundational for the Responsibility of Membership and represents an essential aspect of the spiritual maturation process.

Core Values and Principles of Membership

The Responsibility of Membership reflects Ambrose's core values and helps preserve the distinct academic community grounded in the school's evangelical tradition:

  1. The Word of God (Bible) - The scriptures are God's revelation and members submit to its teaching and instruction. The Christian account of reality is acknowledged as having public relevance to every aspect of life.
  2. Self-Transcendence/Community - Members commit themselves to using their gifts and abilities in service to the community.
  3. Pursuit of Personal Holiness - Members strive to live distinctly Christian lives and recognize the principle of modeling as an influential factor in the learning process.
  4. Ambrose Mission - Members are deeply committed to the pursuit of creating a Christian learning community and to the education and formation of our students.
  5. God's Creation - Members approach God's natural world with a sense of awe, respect and stewardship.

Application of the Responsibilities of Membership -- Community Standards

Although not exhaustive, the following standards represent Biblical instructions in living. Many of the standards are well entrenched in our culture and society. They are not meant to represent a legalistic list of do's and don'ts; however, they do represent concrete examples of a commitment to the ideal Christian lifestyle that encompasses attitude, thought, and behaviour and heart condition. As students living in community, they are expected to commit themselves to being responsible members of the community as they grow and mature.

Out of the core values and principles flow community standards that represent a Christian approach to living, a life that is shown to be fully devoted to Christ and is characterized by love for one another, a spirit of gentleness and peace, demonstrated acts of kindness, and exercising self control in all areas of life. The Christian life should be shaped by the work of and the fruit of the Holy Spirit:

Galatians 5

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbour as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Students that choose to accept the invitation to join our community and sign the Responsibilities of Membership (through the application process), are committed to following the standards as a demonstration of integrity, and is essential for continued membership in the community. Ambrose realizes that students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and may have personal convictions that are not wholly in accord with the following application of the Responsibilities of Membership. However, all students are responsible to:

Ambrose University and Seminary (Ambrose) is a full member of Campus Alberta. It is also a distinctly Christian institution of higher education grounded in the Protestant evangelical theological tradition. As such, Ambrose has adopted a Christian sexual ethic based on church tradition and scripture. According to this ethic, sexual activity is designed for full expression in a committed, loving marriage relationship between a man and a woman. 

During the admissions process, prospective students are given the opportunity to review the Responsibilities of Membership: Community Standards, which articulates core values and expectations for students, including the Christian sexual ethic. Prospective students provide informed consent regarding the Responsibilities of Membership: Community Standards when they apply for admission.

Ambrose recognises that some students may self-identify as having same-sex attraction or a non-heterosexual identity, and this alone is not in contradiction with the Responsibilities of Membership: Community Standards. Ambrose welcomes these students into the learning community, along with other minority groups, and will not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination. Ambrose believes that a diverse learning community is a healthy learning community. However, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, all unmarried students are expected to pursue a lifestyle of chastity. Students will not engage in any type or form of sexual immorality and will not use or transmit pornography.

Uphold Biblical principles in your personal conduct; obey the law and conduct oneself as a responsible citizen; and behave in a manner that will not jeopardize the reputation of Ambrose University or the well-being of Ambrose students, faculty and staff.

Agree to respect and abide by the Biblical teaching that sexual intimacy is to be practiced within the context of marriage between a man and a woman. Do not engage in any type or form of sexual immorality and do not use or transmit pornography.

Treat others with respect, care and dignity, acknowledging the God-given value of every human being. Harassment of any type is not acceptable. (See Ambrose Harassment Policy.) Seek to address issues of disagreement or conflict with others in love and peace. Live a life of honesty. Respect others personal property and private space.

Utilize careful judgment in the exercise of personal freedom. In relationships in and outside of the Ambrose community exercise self-control; and do not compromise those relationships for your own gain. Refrain from drunkenness and from the consumption of alcohol on Ambrose property or at Ambrose sponsored events. For residence and commuter students under twenty one years of age we require abstinence from alcohol both on and off the Ambrose campus. Do not attend events or locations that could compromise your reputation or that of Ambrose. Refrain from the use of profane language, the use or distribution of illegal drugs, the practice of abortion or involvement in occult practices.

Be a good steward of that entrusted to you. Exercise prudent use of your resources. Refrain from addictive behaviours and practices that jeopardize personal well-being. Respect the natural and built environment.

Individuals who are invited to become members of this community but cannot with integrity commit to the Responsibilities of Membership and above standards are encouraged to discuss the matter with the VP Student Services or someone on the Student Development team, or consider pursuing a learning-living community more suitable to them.

Student Accountability Process

Ambrose University is a unique and dynamic learning-living community. Every member of the community - faculty, staff and fellow students - engage each other in Ambrose's mission to prepare men and women for service to the church and society. Once invited to become members, students become "co-owners" of the mission and are accountable to every other member of the community to contribute to a positive and rewarding learning environment. This accountability is facilitated through a Responsibilities of Membership commitment all students sign through the application process.

If a student fails to maintain his or her commitment to the Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines as outlined in the Student Handbook and Academic Calendar, an accountability process exists that is structured around the goal of bringing the student back into relationship with the community while contributing to the student's personal and spiritual growth. Initial and/or minor violations may be dealt with through a discussion process facilitated by Student Development staff. Subsequent and/or more serious breaches of the responsibilities may be dealt with in a formal process overseen by the VP Student Services. Such cases may be referred to a Community Council or the University's Accountability Committee, consisting of faculty, staff and students, for resolution.

In every instance, Ambrose seeks to prayerfully and objectively assess what has occurred, demonstrate care and acceptance for the individual involved, help build understanding and commitment to community responsibilities, and encourage the individual to accept accountability for his or her behaviour as a member of the Ambrose community. If a student, in the opinion of the University, is unable, refuses or fails to live up to their commitment, Ambrose reserves the right to dismiss from or refuse re-admission of the student to the Ambrose.

Student Accountability Policy

Ambrose has established standards of conduct, which are intended to contribute to a learning environment conducive to the accomplishment of its mission. Admission to Ambrose is limited to those who agree to comply with these behavioural expectations which apply to every student whether a resident or commuter both on and off campus. In situations involving suspected violations of Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University, students can expect from Ambrose a fair and reasonable Christian response. The Student Accountability Policy in its entirety appears below:

The Goal of the Accountability Process

The goal of the accountability process is to contribute to both the student's personal and spiritual growth. The objectives of the process are:

  • To prayerfully and objectively assess what has occurred and indicate to the student what violation(s) has (have) been committed;
  • To demonstrate care and acceptance for the individual even if behaviour may be unacceptable;
  • To educate the student, explaining the reasons for the Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University;
  • To have students decide that their future behaviour will be in keeping with their original commitment to the community through Ambrose's Responsibilities of Membership statement and/or policies and guidelines of the University;
  • To have the student accept accountability for his or her behaviour;
  • To balance the needs of an individual along with the needs of the greater community.

Repeated Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University violations are often indicators of larger issues in the life of a student. It is hoped, therefore, that the accountability process may ultimately challenge the pursuit of change, godliness, and character development within individuals.

Conduct Expectations

Each student who accepts an invitation of admission to Ambrose has agreed to accept the Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University for living in accordance with the community standards of this private Christian academic community. These are specified in the Responsibilities of Membership contract that each student signs. It is the responsibility of each student to clarify any misunderstanding that may arise in their mind before committing their signature to this contract. The University does not view a student's agreement to comply with these standards and guidelines as a mere formality. Therefore, students who find themselves unable to maintain the integrity of their commitment should seek a living-learning situation more acceptable to them.

Accountability Procedures

In Christian love, respect and responsibility, students are encouraged to seek resolution when tension, misunderstanding, conflict, failure or disagreements have fractured relationship. It is expected that as adult learners, members of our community will seek mutual solution to problems that arise within the context of daily living together. Persisting through personal shortfalls is essential and foundational to successful community living.

At a grass roots level, it is expected and encouraged that students, staff and faculty will hold each another accountable to the commitments each has made to the Ambrose community. Disregard for community responsibility and accountability is considered inappropriate behaviour, viewed as jeopardizing the effectiveness of the learning environment and mission of Ambrose. Students are encouraged to reflect upon their own goals and values to ensure that they are not in conflict with the educational environment in which they have chosen to learn.

The student accountability process may be initiated as a result of a complaint against a student brought to Student Services by another member of the community or as a result of concerns from the community regarding the student's conduct.

Informal Accountability Process (minor incidents)

In minor incidents, VP Student Services may designate a Student Development staff member to follow up on the allegation or incident. This involves discussing the allegation or incident with the student(s) and determining an appropriate response (verbal or official warning, community service, suitable apologies, fine or appropriate restitution).

Decisions of a Student Development staff member may be appealed, by the student and in writing, to the VP Student Services within 48 hours of being informed of the decision. A $100 administration fee is required prior to consideration and will be refunded if the appeal is granted. Until an appeal is granted the original decision remains in effect.

Students are encouraged to informally challenge one another and hold each other accountable to the Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of Ambrose out of genuine concern for others within the University community. Community members, directly working with students in leadership or representative roles, may be notified of violations, incidents or inappropriateness of a student working within their immediate care.

Formal Accountability Process (more serious incidents)

In more serious cases, the formal accountability process will be enacted. The formal accountability process often begins when a community member becomes aware of an alleged violation of Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of Ambrose either through first hand knowledge or on report of an incident. It may also begin when the seriousness of an allegation warrants immediately moving to the formal accountability process or if a problem persists and cannot be solved through the informal accountability process.

Stage One

A Student Development team member or the VP Student Services may make the decision that a case moves from informal accountability to the formal accountability process. When this decision is made, the student(s) who has/have been named in the allegation of misconduct will be informed that the allegation is being investigated. Pertinent information is collected to determine if there is sufficient cause for accountability action. It is the responsibility of the Student Development team member to receive complaints and investigate possible violations of Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of Ambrose.

In the event that a Student Development team member, in his/her sole discretion believes that additional action is required, he/she will schedule an interview with the student. The Student Development team member is responsible to arrange for and conduct an interview with the student, which may include other parties affected by or involved in the incident. Written confirmation of the date and time of the interview will be placed in the student's mailbox and to their university email address prior to the scheduled appointment. At the same time the student will be informed of the availability of a counsellor, who may be seen in confidence and at a minimal cost for personal support through the student accountability process. Students are responsible for all communication that is placed in their campus mailbox and sent to their university email address.

Once investigated or interviewed, the matter will be referred to the VP Student Services who, at his/her sole discretion, will either render a decision or refer the matter to the Community Council. If referred to the Community Council, the VP Student Services will schedule a meeting and notify the student in writing of its date and time, and of the student's rights and responsibilities.

Decisions of the VP Student Services or Community Council may be appealed, by the student and in writing, to the President of Ambrose within 72 hours of being informed of the decision. A $100 administration fee is required prior to consideration and will be refunded if the appeal is granted. Until an appeal is granted the original decision remains in effect.

Stage Two

The VP Student Services, at his/her sole discretion, may refer the matter to the President of Ambrose (e.g. in the case of repeated or multiple offences; the student has made deceptive or dishonest statements at the interview; or due to the grievous nature of the violation to the Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University). The President of Ambrose, at his/her sole discretion, will either render a decision or refer the matter to the University's Accountability Committee. If referred to the University's Accountability Committee, the President will schedule a meeting and notify the student in writing of its date and time, and of the student's rights and responsibilities.

Community Council and the University's Accountability Committee

If selected to appear before the Community Council or the University's Accountability Committee, the student will have the right to appear at the meeting, the right to invite one person, a friend or relative, and the right to knowledge of the evidence upon which the allegations are based. The chair of the Community Council or the University's Accountability Committee will provide information to the student regarding the procedures to be followed in the meeting. The meeting will be closed to the public, except for one friend or relative for personal support. Formal rules of evidence will not apply nor will harmless procedural errors invalidate a decision. Failure to appear will result in a default decision. Final decisions of the Community Council or the University's Accountability Committee will be by majority vote of the members present and voting. The VP Student Services, on behalf of the Community Council, will notify the student in writing of relevant decisions and the council's rationale for each. The President, on behalf of the University's Accountability Committee, will notify the student in writing of relevant decisions and the committee's rationale for each.

The Community Council includes four members. Appointments to the council are made as follows: one faculty member appointed by the Dean of Theology and Dean of Arts & Science; one staff member and one Residence Assistant appointed by the VP Student Services; and one student appointed by the Student Council upon approval from the VP Student Services. Three members shall constitute a quorum. The VP Student Services serves as chair and deciding vote in the event of a tie. Minutes of the committee's meetings are kept confidential.

The Accountability Committee includes six members. Appointments to the committee are made as follows: two faculty members appointed by the Dean of Theology and Dean of Arts & Science; two staff members appointed by the VP Student Services; and two students appointed by the Student Council upon approval from the VP Student Services. Four members shall constitute a quorum. The VP Student Services serves as chair and deciding vote in the event of tie. Minutes of the committee's meetings are kept confidential.

Possible Accountability Actions

Miscellaneous consequences - this may include a variety of actions such as an apology, community service, fine and payment for recovery of damaged property.

Official warning - an explanation of the relevant Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University is accompanied by a written warning that future violations would likely result in conduct accountability. A temporary record is kept.

Conduct accountability - a student must meet as specifically required in an accountability relationship with a designated staff/faculty member. Failure to meet the conditions of a conduct accountability agreement would likely result in probation. Conduct accountability may extend for one or two semesters. A temporary record is kept with the student's transcript.

Probation - the student remains enroled with the understanding that further violations of Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University would likely result in suspension. Probation impacts financial aid, participation on athletic and drama teams, in music groups and in student leadership positions. Probation may extend for one or two semesters. A temporary record is kept with the student's transcript.

Suspension - an involuntary separation of the student from the University for a specified length of time. A temporary record is kept with the student's transcript.

Expulsion - a permanent separation of the student from the University with a permanent notation on the student's transcript. Parents of students under 18 are notified.

Accountability Action Precedent

Although each situation is considered on an individual basis, repeated violations of Responsibilities of Membership and/or policies and guidelines of the University are taken into consideration when consequences for chosen behaviours are determined. As well, because Ambrose values community, the welfare of the community will be balanced against the rights of the individual as accountability decisions are made.

Accountability Appeals

Prior to appealing decisions of the Student Accountability Process, please consider one or all of the following:

  • New information must be included that is substantially different from that which was provided in making the initial decision;
  • Clear, compelling and extenuating circumstances were not previously considered;
  • If substantive violation in the process calls into question the initial decision