Policies

Samford University maintains a public safety department as a proprietary function of the university with jurisdiction to enforce the rules and regulations of the university and the State of Alabama on university property. The public safety department is staffed 24 hours a day to provide immediate availability for emergency response, performance of security patrols, monitoring of people on campus and providing other services relevant to the campus community. Members of the department maintain a close working relationship with other local, state and federal law enforcement authorities and emergency service agencies on matters related to the safety and security of the campus.

Any incidents involving suspected criminal activity or violations of university rules and regulations related to the safety and security of people or property should be reported to the public safety department, which maintains records on incidents that have occurred on campus. Such statistical data is available for examination.

Alcoholic Beverages, Drugs and Weapons Policy+

In order to comply with the requirements of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1981, 20 U.S.C., Section 1145q, and the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, 41 U.S.C. Section 701 et seq., Samford University hereby adopts the following Drug and Alcohol Policy.

Policy

Samford University seeks to foster the development of Christian character, scholastic attainment and sense of personal responsibility. To fulfill this purpose and to protect and promote the health, wealth and welfare of the faculty, staff and students, Samford is committed to maintaining a drug- and alcohol-free campus. To this end, Samford is committed to providing drug and alcohol education information and assistance to its faculty, staff and students. It is school policy that the use of illicit drugs or alcohol by faculty, staff or students on campus or in connection with or affecting any school-related activity is strictly prohibited. Violation of this policy will result in the imposition of disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination of faculty and staff, and expulsion of students.

Standards of Conduct

A. The use, consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages and the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of illicit drugs by any faculty, staff, student or any other individual on campus or off campus in connection with or affecting any school-related activity is strictly prohibited.

B. The term staff includes any non-faculty personnel employed by Samford University, including student employees under college work-study programs and other institutional programs of student employment.

C. The term illicit drugs includes any controlled substance listed in 21 U.S.C. Section 812, and other federal regulations, and controlled substances listed in Schedules I-V in Alabama Code Section 20-2-22 through Section 20-32, and any legal drugs that are not prescribed by a licensed physician.

D. The term school-related activity includes, but is not limited to, any academic, extracurricular, social, administrative, work-related or other activity that takes place on the campus of Samford University, or which takes place off the campus and is sponsored by any Samford University organization.

E. Any faculty, staff or student violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination or expulsion, and may be required to participate in a drug/alcohol abuse, assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by federal, state or local health, law enforcement or other appropriate agency.

Penalties

Under Alabama law, the possession, purchase or consumption of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 years of age is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and by up to three months in jail. Penalties for drug-related offenses in the state of Alabama may be found in title 13A, Criminal Code of Alabama as amended by The Drug Crimes Amendment Act of 1987. The penalty for the first offense, unlawful possession of a controlled substance (that is, illegal drugs), may be punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and a $5,000 fine; and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance may be punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine. Subsequent offenses may carry more stringent sentences. Unlawful sales on or near a school campus, including private universities, may carry an additional penalty of five years incarceration with no provisions for probation. Penalties under federal law for trafficking in illegal drugs vary, depending on the type and quantity of drug.

Weapons Policy

Samford University generally prohibits possession or use of firearms, ammunition, bowie knives, knives with blades three inches or longer, instruments of like kind, bows and arrow, fighting weapons (e.g. nanchaku, daggers, etc.), brass knuckles and other potentially dangerous weapons, including firecrackers or other explosive devices, in all university buildings, facilities and properties and off premises when the employee is engaging in university activities. Bringing firearms of any type into a Samford facility, Samford automobile or offsite location while conducting university business is strictly prohibited. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors of the university. Violations of this policy may result in discipline up to and including ejection from campus and immediate discharge.

Exceptions

There are two exceptions to the general prohibition of potentially dangerous weapons.

The first exception is for compliance with Alabama Act 2013-283. A Samford employee may transport or store a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in the employee’s own privately owned vehicle while properly parked in a Samford parking area if the employee satisfied all of the following:

  1. The employee either:
    • Has a valid concealed weapon permit
    • If the weapon is any firearm legal for use for hunting in Alabama other than a pistol
      • The employee possesses a valid Alabama hunting license
      • It is during a season in which hunting is permitted by Alabama law or regulation
      • The employee has never been convicted of any crime of violence as defined in Ala. Code § 13A-11-70, nor of any crime set forth in Ala. Code Chap. Title 13A Chapter 6, nor is subject to a Domestic Violence Order, as defined in Ala. Code. § 13A-6-141.
      • The employee has no documented prior workplace incidents involving the threat of physical injury or which resulted in physical injury.
  2. The motor vehicle is operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.
  3. The firearm is either:
    • kept inside the employee’s vehicle and out of sight while the employee is attending the vehicle
    • kept out of sight, locked in a compartment, container, or in the interior of the employee’s privately owned vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the employee’s vehicle, when the vehicle is unattended.

Employees not meeting any of the above requirements are prohibited from having a firearm in a vehicle on Samford property. Samford reserves the right to restrict or prohibit the presence of a hunting weapon, to the extent permitted by the Americans with Disabilities Act, if the chief of campus safety or director of human resources knows that the employee meets any of the factors listed in Ala. Code § 13A-11-75(a)(1)a.1.-8.

The law does not allow an employee to possess a firearm in an automobile owned by Samford or another person. Samford has the right to question an employee regarding verification of any of the above exceptions. Also, in any instance in which Samford believes an employee poses a risk of danger to themselves or others, Samford reserves the right to make further inquiry as to whether an employee has a weapon on Samford property. If the employee in question does have a weapon, Samford has the right to take the required steps to ensure the employee is compliant with Alabama Act 2013-283. If it is found that the employee is not in compliance, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

The second exception is for public safety officers who are authorized by the director of public safety to be armed and have a weapon on campus while performing job-related duties.

Missing Student Policy+

Policy

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires that institutions of higher education who maintain on-campus housing facilities have a policy and procedure in place for missing student notification. Such housing may be in a resident hall located on campus or in any other facility that is rented or leased by the university for the purpose of providing residential housing to its students. For the purpose of this policy, a “Residential Student” shall be deemed a student who is lawfully residing in such a facility. At the discretion of the university, this policy may be extended to include efforts to assist local law enforcement agencies in investigation of reports of missing students who live off campus.

Students will be informed each academic year that each student age 18 or above has the option to identify a person designated as a confidential contact to be contacted by Samford University not later than 24 hours after the time the student is determined to be missing. The confidential contact may be a person designated by the student in addition to the emergency contact listed with the university. Students who are under age 18 who are not emancipated will be informed each academic year that the institution is required to notify the custodial parent not later than 24 hours after the time the student is determined to be missing. Only university officials or law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation may have access to this information.

Notification

Initial notification regarding the suspected or actual status of a student suspected of being a missing person shall be made to the following person(s) or organizations:

  1. The Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management
  2. The Dean of Students
  3. The Vice President of Student Affairs
  4. The Director of Residence Life or their designee (RAs)

Determination of Missing Person Status

A student is determined to be missing when a report comes to the attention of the university and the university determines the report to be credible. Circumstances may include, but are not limited to establishing that:

  1. A student is out of contact after reasonable efforts to reach that person by phone calls, e-mails, and/or in-person attempts to establish contact
  2. Circumstances indicate an act of criminality involved, even lacking 24 hours in time;
  3. Circumstances indicate that physical safety is in danger, even lacking 24 hours in time;
  4. Circumstances become known that medicine dependence may threaten life or health, even lacking 24 hours in time; existence of a physical/mental disability indicates that the student’s physical safety is in danger, even lacking 24 hours in time.

Incident/Offense Report

Upon determination that a student may be missing, an incident/offense report shall be completed, and the following information should be established and documented in the report:

  1. Name and contact information of the person reporting the student missing
  2. Name and vital information of the student reported to be out of contact
  3. Nature of the circumstances supporting the determination that the student is out of contact (time/date/location last seen or in contact with)
  4. Avenues to establish that the student remains out of contact:
  • Failure to respond to phone, e-mail and in-person attempts to contact by university officials or others
  • Parental notice or notice from reporting person outside the university;
  • Establishment of lapse of time of class attendance, lapse of affiliation with roommates and friends, or use of Samford University facilities/services
  • Concern of an incident of criminality or safety, etc.
  • Times/dates/persons notified of status of student.

Investigative Procedures

Upon determination that a student may be classified as a “missing person,” university officials may use any or all of the following resources to assist in locating the student:

  1. Talk to the student’s RA or roommate to see if anyone can confirm the missing student’s whereabouts and/or confirm the date, time, and location the student was last seen.
  2. Call the student’s room.
  3. Check the student’s residence hall room.
  4. Call and text the student’s cell phone and call any other telephone numbers on record.
  5. Send the student an e-mail.
  6. Contact or call any other on-campus or off-campus friends or contacts that are made known. This could include checking a student’s social networking sites.
  7. Check all possible locations mentioned by the parties above, including but not limited to library, residence hall lounges, University Center, etc.
  8. Ascertain the student’s auto make, model and license plate number and have units check parking lots for the presence of the student’s vehicle.
  9. Secure a current student ID or other photo of the student.
  10. The university's information and technology section may be asked to provide electronic logs for the purpose of determining the last login, access and use of the University's IT network.
  11. If the missing student is under the age of 18 years and not an emancipated individual, within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, the dean of students must notify the student's custodial parent or guardian as identified in the university's records. If the missing student is over the age of 18 years or an emancipated individual, within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing, the dean of students must notify the individuals found in the emergency contact information that is recorded by the university. If the emergency contact information is absent or unusable, the appropriate law enforcement agency will be informed and asked to assist in notification.
  12. University officials may notify local law enforcement agencies for information and assistance.

Reporting Located Persons

If the missing student is located, a supplemental incident/offense report will be completed indicating the facts/circumstance surrounding the return of the individual. The university Department of Public Safety shall notify parties previously contacted and will advise them of the return of the student in a timely manner.