Security and Campus Use Policies

  • Admissions Policy for Applicants with Criminal or Violent Backgrounds


    1.  Any Individuals must respond to the following question(s) on the College Admission Application:  

    • Have you ever been charged or convicted of any felony or misdemeanor in any state or country (including sealed cases unless expunged)?
    • Are you currently on parole? 
    • Have you ever been expelled or currently facing disciplinary charges at any educational institution (high school or college)? 

    An administrator will make a determination as to if additional information is required. 

    Applicants answering affirmatively to any of these three questions may be requested to provide additional information to the college before their application is reviewed. Those answering affirmatively to question one or two, regarding felony or misdemeanor charges, may be required to submit a non-refundable $40 check or money order in order to conduct a criminal background check on each applicant. This fee cannot be waived.

    No fee is charged to applicants who have been suspended or expelled or facing disciplinary charges associated with a high school or college.

    2. The Admissions Office will provide the individual with a SMC Ex-Offender Notification Form or SMC Admissions Notification Form and will recommend that the form be completed and returned to the college in order for the individual’s application to be considered.  All questions should be answered honestly and completely, including but not limited to dates and nature/description of offense(s); age at the time of the offense(s); and information regarding rehabilitation, personal development and conduct. If the individual has been incarcerated, complete details of offenses, disposition, etc. may be requested.  Local parole/probation officers may be contacted. 

    3. A college administrator may schedule an interview with the individual. Appropriate arrangements and/or referrals may be made at this time to assist this individual.

    4. When all information is returned, it will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the College Concerns Team and a recommendation will be made to the Chief of Staff.  This may include immediate admittance, non-admittance, or a deferred admittance.  This may also include the recommendation of any limitations.  The applicant will be notified in writing of the committee’s determination.  The entire process may take approximately 4-6 weeks depending on the submission of the requested information and when the subcommittee is scheduled to meet. 

    5. All information will be kept on file and will be handled in a confidential manner.  It should be noted that the right is reserved to notify, if needed, the administration, faculty and/or staff of the College, on a need-to-know basis, of the student’s name, criminal and rehabilitative history.  If at any point after admission the individual is considered to be an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety/welfare of specific individuals or to the general public, the CCT will recommend the appropriate action consistent with the college’s Student Code of Conduct.

    6. If false or omitted information is discovered after enrollment, student may be immediately expelled from the college.

  • Alcohol and Drug Policy
  • Animals on Campus Policy

    Policy Statement

    Southwestern Michigan College recognizes that owners of domestic animals/pets may bring their animals to the campus, but only in restricted areas unless necessary for disability-related reasons. However, Southwestern Michigan College considers the safety and health of SMC faculty, staff, and students to be of utmost priority.
    This policy applies to all animals or pets on campus that are not related to instructional activity.


    Domestic Animals

    Dogs, cats, and other animals may not enter campus buildings, including all residence and non-residence buildings. This paragraph does not apply to Service or Assistance Animals.

    1. Other than service dogs, dogs, cats, and other animals must be under control while on campus grounds, and restrained by a leash or chain that does not exceed 6 feet in length and that is in the hands of a responsible person. Service dogs and assistance animals must abide by other restrictions set forth in another policy.
    2. Any dog brought to campus must be licensed and fully inoculated, as required by the State of Michigan, and local licensing laws. Any cat or other animal brought to campus must have a clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. This can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health. In both cases, the burden of proof is on the Owner.
    3. Fecal matter deposited by any dog, cat, or other animal brought to campus must be removed immediately by the owner.
    4. Domestic animals and pets found unattended or abandoned will be humanely impounded.
    5. Domestic animals and pets may be permitted to be confined in vehicles parked on campus for a reasonable period of time, as long as the animal is not endangered and does not endanger others or create a public nuisance, e.g., excessive barking. In the event of endangerment to the animal or others, or public nuisance, the animal's owner will be contacted by local police, SMC Campus Security or the SMC Student Conduct Board.

    Special Events

    In special circumstances, approval may be obtained from Senior Administration for animals to be brought on campus for a singular event involving the display or demonstration of specialized skills or natural behaviors.

    SMC Running Trails

    Domestic animals are permitted on the running trails and owners must adhere to the aforementioned guidelines.


    Students with disabilities who live on campus and will be accompanied by a service animal will need to make application to enable the campus to identify appropriate housing options. Students requesting the accommodation of an Assistance Animal in housing will need to register with Special Populations/Disabilities Services Office. Separate specific policies and procedures for Service and Assistance Animals are available and should be consulted.

    All members of the campus community are required to comply with all aspects of this policy. Employees and students who fail to comply or who interfere with the implementation of this policy will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action.

  • Loitering Policy

    Policy Statement

    This policy is intended to safeguard the College’s public spaces from abuse.


    Loitering on College-owned or controlled property, including buildings and parking lots, is prohibited. Loitering on College premises is defined as lingering idly or aimlessly in any area of the campus without official authority. Examples of loitering include:

    • Spending undue amounts of time in community areas without evident purpose
    • Collecting in groups large enough to prohibit the free movement of others through an area
    • Creating or causing unusually loud and disturbing noises or otherwise disturbing others in classrooms, offices or other spaces that are intended to be quiet.

    Classrooms and nearby community areas are generally reserved for currently enrolled students and guests of the College who are participating in scheduled College activities. Persons congregating in these areas who are not participating in an educational or College sponsored event may be escorted from campus or subject to arrest as warranted.

  • Minors on Campus Policy
  • Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy
  • Student Code of Conduct

    The Student Code of Conduct may also be found in the Student Handbook.

  • Student Handbook
  • Title IX and Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Trespass Policy
  • Freedom of Expression Policy

    Southwestern Michigan College is a public institution of higher education whose property and resources are primarily dedicated to academic, administrative and related functions. As an institution that highly regards the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and right to peaceably assemble, Southwestern Michigan College affords groups and individuals the ability to exercise such freedoms on its grounds. The purpose of this policy is to facilitate expressive activities while ensuring that such activities do not interfere with College operations and the learning environment.

    For anyone lawfully present on the College’s campuses, the outdoor and indoor common areas (as defined below) are designated as venues for free expression, including spontaneous expression, speeches, demonstrations and the distribution of information. Anyone who wishes to engage in commercial solicitation is required to reserve time and space for such activities following the terms of the College’s Facilities Use and Commercial Solicitation policies.

    For purposes of this policy, the term “expressive activity” includes such activities as:

    • Meetings and other group activities;
    • Speeches, performances, demonstrations, parades, marches, rallies, vigils and other events;
    • Distributions of informational materials, such as circulars, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets;
    • Any other expression, including spontaneous expression, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    While Southwestern Michigan College maintains its authority to regulate the time, place and manner of expressive activities, it shall not consider or regulate the content or viewpoint of expressive activities when enforcing this policy, including by restricting students’ expression based on concerns about other persons’ negative reaction to that expression. When expressive activities occur, Southwestern Michigan College will work to ensure that such activities transpire without interference by the College, provided the learning environment is not substantially and materially disrupted and campus safety is not compromised by said expressive activities. If persons react negatively to expressive activities occurring on the campus of Southwestern Michigan College, the College will take necessary steps to ensure campus safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue, unless the College’s operations are materially and substantially disrupted.

    For purposes of this policy, the terms “outdoor common” and “indoor common” refer to such areas as:

    • Lawns, sidewalks, benches and other outdoor areas that are not otherwise reserved for use;
    • Student gathering areas not immediately adjacent to classrooms and other indoor areas designated for social interactions that are not otherwise reserved for use. Buildings with restricted access, such as residence halls or the Student Activity Center, will remain available only to those with pre-approved access.

    For purposes of this policy, the peaceful one-to-one distribution of informational materials in the indoor and outdoor common areas does not represent a substantial or material disruption to the learning environment at the College.

    Expressive activities, as defined by this policy, are allowed on Southwestern Michigan College campuses during the periods that College facilities are open to the general public.

    No expressive activity at Southwestern Michigan College shall be permitted to:

    • Violate or infringe upon the rights of others;
    • Defame any individual;
    • Constitute a genuine threat or harassment;
    • Invade privacy or confidentiality interests;
    • Block access to campus buildings;
    • Impede ingress or egress to the College or any College property, pedestrian pathway, parking lot, building, facility or event, including hallways, stairwells or offices;
    • Disrupt classes in session;
    • Obstruct the vision or other physical senses of other individuals in any manner including signs, props, noise or similar methods;
    • Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
    • Include the use of audio amplification devices, unless specifically authorized in advance by the College;
    • Include the use of fire or pyrotechnics, unless specifically authorized in advance by the College;
    • Affix materials to College buildings, equipment, fences, trees or property, unless specifically authorized in advance by the College.

    Southwestern Michigan College does not assume any obligation or responsibility for the content of expressive activities or materials distributed. People engaging in expressive activities assume financial responsibility for damages to College property, for the cleanup of materials immediately following the conclusion of expressive activities and for remaining in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws.

    Organizers anticipating large groups (over 25 people) or requiring advance approval of amplification, pyrotechnics or affixment of materials on College property as set forth above shall make a request in writing to the Vice President, Campus Life, or designee, via the Freedom of Expression Request Form during regular business hours at least 48 business hours prior to commencement of any expressive activity. Each request shall contain the following information:

    • Name, address and telephone number(s) of contact person(s)
    • Name, address and telephone number(s) of back-up contact person(s)
    • Date and hours requested for and duration of the expressive activity
    • Area requested for use
    • Number of anticipated participants
    • Structures to be used in the expressive activity

    In order to assure the reasonable conduct of public business, the educational process, unobstructed access to the College for its students, faculty, employees, occupants and the public, and to maintain public safety and College grounds, the Vice President, Campus Life, or designee, has been delegated the authority to approve, modify or deny an application for expressive activity. The Vice President, Campus Life, or designee, will not take the content of the speech into consideration when approving, modifying or denying an application. All decisions by the Vice President, Campus Life required under these procedures shall be made promptly, no later than 24 business hours after receiving the written request.

    If a person or organization is aggrieved by a decision of the Vice President, or designee, an appeal may be taken to the President, or designee, within three College business days of that decision. The appeal shall be in writing stating the basis for the appeal and the relief sought. The President or designee shall promptly announce their decision, which will be final.

    This policy was designed to meet the needs of students, SMC employees and the community. Progressive disciplinary action will be enforced for those in violation of this policy, up to and including possible criminal prosecution.

  • Posting Flyers on Campus Policy

    The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for SMC staff members to follow when students, other employees or community members ask to post flyers on campus bulletin boards and tack strips.

    General Guidelines

    All printed announcements should be of benefit to all students of the College and must comply with applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act. 

    Officially recognized College student organizations (official clubs) promoting on-campus events may use the tack strips and bulletin boards in common areas within all academic buildings after securing the approvals described below. One-to-one offers such as books or other items for sale, apartments for rent or ride sharing opportunities are not permitted.

    Non-College organizations may post information on campus after securing the approvals described below and only when sponsored by a recognized SMC student club/organization, academic group, office/work area/employee group, or the College as a whole. Publicity about local off-campus events of possible interest to the College community must be approved as described below.

    Please note: Commercial solicitation by outside organizations, students and employees, and job recruitment of students by non-College employers, including military recruiters, are subject to separate College policies.


    1. All printed fliers or announcements, whether created by SMC employees, students or other organizations must be approved and stamped by the designated College official, who has the authority to determine propriety of content, prior to posting:
      • Dowagiac Campus: VP of Marketing or Marketing Department designee
      • Niles Campus: Director of Niles Campus or designee
    2. The appropriate College official will review the materials for content and language. Materials with typographical or grammatical errors will not be approved until corrected.
    3. Once approved, a logical “Remove by” date will be assigned, typically the day following an event.
    4. The sponsoring club or organization will be responsible for duplicating, posting and then removing materials by the assigned date.
    5. Materials are to be posted on cork strips only and appropriate bulletin boards in the common areas of buildings. Posting within classrooms or on glass ingress/egress doors is prohibited; materials distributed loosely on tabletops or counters without permission may be removed and discarded without notice or compensation to the sponsor. 
  • Sales to Students

    The College Bookstore will handle usual student supply sales. No member of the teaching staff shall have direct dealings with students in the sale of books, instruments, lectures, notes, supplies, clothing, or similar materials.

  • Solicitation by Outside Organizations

    Commercial Solicitation by Outside Organizations

    Except as specifically permitted by this policy, soliciting for personal or business financial gain is not allowed at Southwestern Michigan College. This includes selling goods or services, distributing commercial information, or otherwise seeking financial support on College property. Limited solicitation may be allowed in connection with certain College-sponsored events. However, any solicitation done as a part of a College-sponsored event must have the approval of the President or Chief of Staff.

    This solicitation policy has been developed to maintain the integrity of the educational environment and the protection and privacy of community members. Questions concerning solicitation should be directed to the Chief of Staff. 

    Please note: Posting flyers on campus by all parties, solicitation by employees and recruitment of students by non-College employers are subject to separate College administrative policies.


    Only registered official student or College organizations, College departments and non-College organizations with approval as set forth below may solicit on campus. Other sales persons or agents for any product or financial proposition whatsoever are prohibited from commercial solicitation of members of the faculty, staff, or the student body in any building or on any part of the campus(es) of Southwestern Michigan College. 

    The College allows very limited access to campus by non-College organizations for the purpose of commercial sales. Normally, these commercial sales will be directly related to the living/learning experience of students and allowed only in conjunction with large campus events, such as Campus Bash or Steve's Run. The College retains the exclusive right to determine the appropriateness of the commercial sales activity or product. 

    Charitable Organizations

    Many agencies would like to solicit contributions from the faculty, staff, and students. The ability to allow charitable organizations to solicit on campus is extremely limited as a result of the demands on College facilities for educational purposes. The College acknowledges the appropriateness of certain long-standing and reputable events benefiting the community, such as Steve's Run or campus blood drives. However, the College retains the exclusive right to determine the appropriateness of allowing a charitable solicitation on a case-by-case basis. Inquiries for charitable solicitations can be made through the Chief of Staff. All College-sponsored charitable events must have approval of the President. 

    Policy Violations

    This policy was designed to meet the needs of students, SMC employees and the community. Organizations in repeated violation of this policy will lose access to campus and potentially face liability for trespassing and/or criminal prosecution. 

  • Use of College Facilities by the Community