General Policies and Procedures



There should be little need to emphasize the importance of following the rational good for students who wish to study at Thomas Aquinas College. It would be inconsistent to seek high and serious things in class and live outside of class by unruled appetites. A student’s conduct, bearing, dress, and cleanliness signify his own character and express his esteem for the institution and its other members. His conduct on and off campus will reflect on the College.

Thomas Aquinas College is a Catholic college and, therefore, requires all students to abide by the Catholic Church’s moral teachings together with the rules of residence and the customs of the College. Since the College is part of the political community, students are also expected to obey the civil law on and off campus.

Students are asked to reflect carefully upon these standards and rules.

The College has the authority to determine how these general rules are to be applied in specific cases and to impose sanctions for violations of the rules. Disciplinary sanctions may include mandatory community service hours, suspension of privileges (e.g. parking privileges), fines, restriction to campus, disciplinary probation, and expulsion. The violation of a campus restriction, or of the terms of a disciplinary probation, may result in expulsion. Actions which gravely disrupt the campus order, such as entry into the residence halls of the opposite sex, the use of alcohol on campus, the illegal use of narcotics, or sexual misconduct will normally entail expulsion. (Note: The use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, is strictly forbidden for students both on and off campus and is subject to expulsion.) Theft, intrusion into offices or other private spaces, and stealing of confidential information, all erode the very basis of our community and cannot be tolerated; these, or similar, actions will also be subject to expulsion.

Since misconduct off campus can harm the reputation of the College, interfere with the climate of learning, and indicate that a student is not suited to the program, such behavior also is subject to disciplinary action.


Rules of Residence

Students who are not married are required to live on campus unless granted special permission by the Dean to live off-campus. Since the purpose of the College is to establish a community of learning, such permission is not usually given. Married students must live off-campus.

Students are expected to show due regard for the rights, privileges, and tastes of others. Residence halls, designed primarily for study and rest, require order and reasonable quiet. Rooms for social purposes are available in St. Joseph Commons and in St. Cecilia Hall. St. Bernardine Library, the dining area of St. Joseph Commons, and the classrooms are available for study.

The College has a number of rules of residence that are meant to enhance the intellectual life and to keep students safe and happy. The following are the principal rules of residence that govern student life at the College, and details about their enforcement. There are more particular rules not listed in the Handbook that are communicated to the students by Prefects at orientation.



The end of any community is best achieved when the members of that community are animated by friendship and mutual trust. This is especially so in the kind of community the College aims to establish. The importance of classroom discussion, the intensity of the academic program, and the end toward which the program aims—supernatural Truth—all require an unusual degree of friendship and mutual trust. This is the reason why the College relies on student Prefects, acting in conjunction with and by the authority of the Dean and the Assistant Dean, to maintain and enforce the rules and standards of the College. The College trusts students to follow the rules and to be forthright and cooperative with the Prefects.

The moral atmosphere essential to intellectual pursuits is everyone’s concern. This atmosphere is promoted most of all by exemplary personal conduct. If a student becomes aware of serious misconduct, he should notify a Prefect, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, or the Dean of the College.


Reporting Student Misconduct

A student may be subject to disciplinary sanctions for violating the rules of residence, failing to abide by the customs of the College, contravening the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, or disobeying the civil law. Misconduct may be reported by a student Prefect, resident assistant, security guard, faculty or staff member, neighbor, fellow student, or local police department. Anyone who wishes to report misconduct, or initiate a complaint, may do so by speaking to a Prefect, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, or the Dean of the College. Information on reporting sexual crimes (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking), and the disciplinary procedure used in such cases, is found elsewhere. (See section below entitled Reporting Sexual Assault.)


Investigation of Misconduct and Notification

Smaller infractions are handled by student Prefects. With smaller infractions, an investigation is usually unnecessary, but a Prefect may investigate if there is a dispute about whether an infraction occurred. Larger infractions are investigated by the Assistant Dean. In the case of serious misconduct, which may result in serious disciplinary action (e.g., disciplinary probation or expulsion), the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will conduct an investigation and make a report to the Dean. If there is sufficient evidence of serious misconduct, the Assistant Dean will make a report to the Instruction Committee (a committee composed of the Dean, the President, and six senior tutors elected by the faculty). Cases of serious misconduct that are academic in nature (e.g., academic dishonesty or plagiarism) are investigated by the Dean. A student accused of a larger infraction or serious misconduct will be contacted by the Assistant Dean or Dean to discuss the alleged violation or complaint.


Student Discipline

For smaller infractions (e.g., curfew violation, dress code violation, texting in class) a Prefect will notify a student of community service hours with an “hour sheet.” Hour sheets must be signed by the kitchen or maintenance supervisor and returned to the Prefect who assigned the work.

Larger infractions are adjudicated by the Assistant Dean. Larger infractions usually result in restriction to campus, but may also include the suspension of other privileges (e.g. parking privileges). The following are examples of larger infractions: repeated violation of the rules of residence, intoxicated behavior, providing alcohol to underage students, lying to an officer of the College. Any of these larger infractions could, depending on the circumstances and the gravity of the particular act, amount to serious misconduct. The Assistant Dean will notify the student in writing of any disciplinary sanctions.

Serious misconduct, which can lead to disciplinary probation or dismissal from the College, is adjudicated by the Instruction Committee. The following are examples of serious misconduct: the possession, or use, of marijuana or of any illegal drugs; the use of alcohol on campus outside of College-sponsored social functions; a serious or repeated incident of intoxicated behavior; behavior creating a serious safety hazard to other persons; starting fires in prohibited areas; entry into residence halls of the opposite sex; sexual misconduct; theft; intrusion into offices or private spaces; purloining confidential information; hacking into, or compromising, the College computer network; plagiarizing a paper; cheating on a final exam. In adjudicating alleged serious misconduct, the Instruction Committee will either discuss the matter itself, or appoint a subcommittee to determine the facts and make a recommendation. In any case, the Instruction Committee makes the final determination about serious disciplinary action. Serious misconduct usually results in disciplinary probation or expulsion. The Dean will notify the student placed on disciplinary probation or expelled. A student who is expelled may be required to leave the campus immediately. If the student is a minor, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will contact the parents or guardians and assist in making suitable arrangements for travel, storage, and accommodations for the student.


Appeals of Student Discipline

Appeals or complaints about smaller infractions are made directly to the Assistant Dean, and he has the final say about whether the decision will be overruled. Appeals or complaints about larger infractions are made directly to the Dean, and he has the final say about whether the decision will be overruled. Complaints or appeals regarding serious misconduct are only heard if they present new information that would likely have affected the outcome of the original decision. Complaints or appeals should be made in writing to the Dean of the College. If the Dean determines that the appeal should be heard, the Dean makes a report to the Instruction Committee, whose judgment is final.


Campus Policies and Procedures

Campus Property

The map below shows the extent of the College’s property, which includes the Ferndale Ranch property. There are certain restrictions on the use of the ranch property, in distinction from the main campus. Because the actual boundary lines are not clearly marked, the fences that run along the campus drive and the perimeter fence enclosing the lower campus (also known as “down below”) are considered to be the boundaries of the main campus.


Ranch Property

Please note that the front gate and the gate in the northeast sector of the ranch property on the way to the National Forest access do not mark the boundaries of College property; the land outside of both these gates is still College property.  As such, all rules and restrictions in force on College property (e.g. prohibition of alcohol) are applicable to these areas.

The ranch property adjacent to the main campus is available to students, faculty, and staff for recreational purposes, with certain restrictions:

  • Driving motorized vehicles on ranch roads or on the access road to the National Forest is prohibited.
  • Please keep your distance from the oil pumps and equipment. The College does not own the oil rights to the property and the two active oil pumping sites on the ranch are off-limits.
  • Please stay out of the avocado orchard and adjacent reservoir. The College is leasing this part of the property to someone, so students, faculty, and staff are not legally allowed on it.  
  • Please stay out of the water tank enclosure.
  • Please steer clear of the cows grazing on the ranch. If these animals are disturbed they can be dangerous, and they do not belong to the College, but to a rancher who has obtained grazing rights from the College.

Students, faculty and staff are welcome to run or hike the loop that goes by the “Painter’s Shack” and the avocado orchard (see map below). The hiking loop can be accessed from the cattle guards near the St. Serra parking lot or just east of the upper part of the campus heading toward the water tower. Since mountain lions, bears, and other hazards are not uncommon on ranch property, hiking alone is strongly discouraged.

Hiking on the path is permitted only during daylight hours; that is, no one may use the path, or be on ranch property, after dusk or before dawn. There may be exceptions made for stargazing parties or organized campouts on the property, with approval of the Assistant Dean.

Consuming alcoholic beverages and lighting fires on the College’s ranch property are strictly prohibited. Violations will be treated very seriously and may result in expulsion.

Map of ranch property (click to enlarge)
Map of ranch property (click image to enlarge)



Alcohol and Drugs

At some social functions, the College will serve alcohol to students who are of legal age; this service is overseen by the Assistant Dean. The possession or use of alcohol outside of these functions is strictly forbidden on campus and normally entails expulsion from the program. The possession or use of marijuana, even for medical purposes, or of any illegal drugs is strictly forbidden for students both on and off campus and may entail expulsion.

The College also reserves the right to dismiss a student from the program for any serious incident or any repeated incident of an intoxicated or drugged state of behavior on or off campus, for behavior creating a safety hazard to other persons, or for behavior that seriously impedes the legitimate activities of the College community.

Any alcohol purchased as a gift, received as a gift, or intended for the off-campus use of those of legal age must be stored by a Prefect.

The College strongly disapproves of off-campus use of alcohol by those under legal age because it violates the civil law and harms the College’s reputation. Infractions of this alcohol and drug policy may be brought to the attention of a student’s parent(s) or guardian.



The College prohibits “hazing,” that is, any form of conduct which is designed to initiate students into the College, a dormitory, or any other student organization, and which causes, or is likely to cause, mental distress or physical harm to a student, or any other person. The College considers any serious incident of hazing (one that willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of a student) to be an action that gravely disrupts the campus order, and an offense of this kind will normally entail expulsion.



Proper dress is proportionate to the dignity of one’s activities; coveralls, for instance, are suited to manual labor but not to divine worship. Those who dress improperly display an indifference towards nobler pursuits. Accordingly, more formal dress is to be worn throughout each class day, until 3:30 p.m., in the chapel, office building, classrooms, laboratories, library, and dining hall. Women are to wear skirts or dresses of modest length with modest sleeve lines and necklines and dress shoes or sandals. Men are to wear slacks, shirts with collars, and dress shoes (or sandals) with socks.

A period of more casual dress begins after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. However, school dress is still required at dinner Monday through Thursday, at evening seminars, and at Sunday brunch, and even more formal dress (including ties for men) is required at lectures, formal dinners, and formal dances.

School dress is always required in the chapel during Mass. At other times, less formal dress is allowed; however, sweatpants, tank tops, and shorts are never allowed in the chapel.

Footwear is always required in all the buildings listed above.

During the week, those on work study are permitted to wear casual attire to breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner after 6:00 p.m., if their job does not allow them to change prior to the meal; these students are to eat their meals in the Dumb Ox Café (the old coffee shop). Students not properly attired will be asked to change.

For swimming, women are to wear modest one-piece bathing suits or tankinis which fully cover the midriff. Students are allowed to sunbathe only on the patio of each of the residence halls. Men are to wear shirts on campus, even when they are working on the grounds crew. They are allowed to go without a shirt only on the basketball court and athletic field during men’s sports.

In keeping with the College’s intention to establish a dignified community of learning, extreme hairstyles and other such distracting bodily accoutrements are not permitted on campus.


Parking and Traffic

Vehicles are to be operated safely and at reasonable speeds on campus, but never faster than 15 mph. There is to be no student vehicular traffic on the lower campus unless required by a work study supervisor. Driving or parking on lawns or paths is prohibited. Student parking is restricted to the student parking lots located at the north end of the campus and by St. Serra Hall. Students are not to park in the designated faculty parking areas adjacent to the residence halls or behind the Commons building. Parking behind the Commons is permitted only for loading and unloading vehicles.

The State of California requires all drivers to have liability insurance and to carry written evidence of insurance in their vehicle at all times. The College, therefore, requires all students who have vehicles on campus to maintain liability insurance. Evidence of insurance must be presented when registering the vehicle with the Business Office.

All student vehicles must be registered with the Business Office. Students will be issued parking permit stickers during registration or at other times by the Business Office. Students should be sure that the vehicular information is included on their Registration Form. If a student should change vehicles, he must update his file in the Business Office with the license number, make, and model of the new vehicle.

The privilege of keeping a vehicle on campus may be revoked when the rules are not observed. A student who registers a vehicle with the College is responsible for its proper use. Vehicles not registered with the College may be towed away.



The exterior doors of all buildings close automatically. Students are requested to cooperate with the College’s efforts to control heating and air conditioning, as well as to comply with fire code, by not propping open outside doors.


Chumash Indian Find

There is a Chumash Indian Find on the campus. Archeological artifacts are not to be disturbed.



Ordinary telephone contact with students should be made through the telephones in the residence halls. Outside callers must first dial 805-525-4419, and then dial the extension number of the residence hall they are calling, or they may call 805-299- and the extension number.

Sts. Peter and Paul Hall
  1st floor North: ext. 2924 1st floor South: ext. 2925
  2nd floor North: ext. 2926 2nd floor South: ext. 2927
St. Katharine Hall
  South: ext. 2916 West: ext. 2915
St. Bernard Hall 
  East: ext. 2918 South: ext. 2917
Blessed Serra Hall 
  East: ext. 2928 West: ext. 2929
St. Thérèse Hall
  North: ext. 2919  South: ext. 2920
St. Monica Hall
  1st floor: ext. 2923  
  2nd floor South: ext. 2922   2nd floor North: ext. 2921
Head Male Prefect ext. 2903
Head Female Prefect ext. 2904


Students may not use telephones in the Commons, library, or office buildings. All long distance calls must be either collect, charged to the student’s home telephone, or paid for in advance. Students should be prudent about giving out residence hall telephone numbers to those off campus.

The general College number, 805-525‑4417, should be used for contacting students only in emergency situations.

Students are required to provide the Dean’s Office with the current addresses and telephone numbers of persons to be contacted in case of emergency in their registration paperwork.


Residence Halls

Residence Hall Visitation

Men’s and women’s residence hall areas, including patios and courtyards, are always off limits to the opposite sex; this restriction applies to holidays and summer vacations as well as the academic year. Porches of St. Katharine and St. Bernard Halls may be used by both men and women as long as they do not disturb those who have rooms near the front door. With permission of a Prefect, exceptions to the residence hall visitation rules are made at the beginning or end of the academic year for purposes of moving boxes or luggage in and out of residence halls. Exceptions are also made for maintenance jobs, particularly over the summer, but these exceptions are always to be made during normal business hours. 



The residence halls are locked at 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Students are to be in their residence halls by these times. In special cases students can be admitted later by prior arrangements with the residence hall Prefect. These arrangements must be made at least 24 hours before the scheduled event. Since this requires that the Prefect stay up to admit a latecomer, permission is given only for very good reasons.

Sign Out

Students are to sign out when they will be away from their residence hall overnight. Use of the sign-out sheet enables the College to ascertain quickly who is or is not in the residence hall in the event of fire or other emergency.


Quiet Hours

At all times the residence halls and their immediate vicinity should be sufficiently quiet to permit study and rest. Conversations, radios, and stereos should not disturb those in adjoining rooms. As evening approaches, sounds which might not be noticed during the day more readily disturb study and rest. Accordingly from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) a more complete quiet is preserved. During quiet hours, music should not be played in the common areas of the dorms without earphones or earbuds.



Students should be aware that cases of serious theft at the College are rare, but do happen on occasion, and are grounds for dismissal. Room keys are available from the maintenance department. A $40 deposit is required and will be refunded when the key is returned. Room keys must be returned at the end of the school year.

Theft of food, clothes, books, and other personal items violates the trust among the members of the community and should be reported to a Prefect or the Assistant Dean.


Care of Students’ Rooms

Students are expected to keep their rooms clean at all times. In St. Katherine and St. Bernard Halls, this includes the bathrooms. In residence halls having common bathrooms, the bathrooms and sinks will be cleaned on a regular basis by the maintenance department.

Pictures and wall decorations may be hung with pushpins provided by the maintenance department. Students may not paint walls or woodwork. Wall decorations should be in keeping with the dignity of the intellectual and spiritual life of the College.

Furniture is not to be removed from or dismantled in the residence hall rooms. If a student wants to re-configure his modular furniture, he first must receive permission from the Assistant Facilities Manager (Carter Farrier). Students will be held liable for any damage to their rooms. Damage to the common areas of the dormitory will be charged to all of the students assigned to the dormitory unless a specific person assumes responsibility.

Except in residence hall kitchenettes, use of large refrigerators, hotplates, water kettles, electric skillets, popcorn poppers, coffee makers, and other electrical appliances is specifically prohibited due to fire hazard. Students may have small refrigerators only after obtaining permission from the Assistant Dean. Students may keep non-perishable food in residence hall rooms, provided it is contained in metal, glass, or plastic containers.

The smoking of cigarettes (including vaping devices) is prohibited by state law in any campus building. The use of candles or incense inside the dorm is also forbidden due to the fire hazard.


Care of the Lounges, Common Rooms, and Dorm Patios

Care of the men’s and women’s residence hall lounges and the rooms in St. Joseph Commons is the responsibility of the students using them. Students should leave areas clean and orderly, turning off lights when not needed.

Furniture in the lounges, in other buildings, or on dorm patios is not to be appropriated for use elsewhere. The temporary removal of furniture from one area to another requires the approval of the maintenance department, and furniture moved should be returned immediately to its proper place. Furniture in the student lounge is not to be rearranged.

Classrooms are not to be locked from the inside except in cases of emergency.


Overnight Guests

Overnight accommodations (when available) are principally for the use of guests invited by the College as prospective students. Accommodations may also be provided for parents or other immediate family members who desire to visit the College. Other personal guests (e.g. alumni) may be accommodated briefly, if space is available.

All overnight guests must receive permission from the College at least one week in advance.  Prospective students, and their parents or siblings, and the parents of current students should receive permission from the Admissions office; recent alumni (last three years) and friends of current students should receive permission from the Assistant Dean.  Visits longer than four days are discouraged. The availability of accommodations should be verified and the length of the visit approved before plans for a visit are far advanced.

No visitor or day student is to sleep in a residence hall without permission from the College. Under unusual circumstances and with permission, a day student may remain on campus overnight, sharing the room of a resident student. Lounges and other areas are never to be used for sleeping.



Pets, except for fish and very small reptiles, are forbidden. Students are not to bring any animal to the campus, or encourage strays to stay; they become housekeeping problems and health hazards.



Students who are unable to go home for Christmas and summer vacations must receive permission from the Assistant Dean to stay on campus. They should be prepared to pay room and board and/or work.

For those staying on campus, all rules and regulations will remain in full effect. This includes the prohibition of alcohol and residence hall visitation.


Baggage and Storage

Personal items (trunks, suitcases, etc.) students wish to store at the College during the year should be carefully labeled and placed in the appropriate residence hall storage areas, space permitting.  The College is not responsible for loss or damage to students’ belongings.



Thomas Aquinas College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with physical, medical, or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities who desire an accommodation should make a request to the Assistant Dean. Incoming freshmen with disabilities should communicate their requests to the Director of Admissions, who will then contact the Assistant Dean to arrange for any accommodations that should be made prior to matriculation. Requests seeking permission to live off campus should go to the Dean.



Electronic Texts

Kindles and other electronic text readers are not to be used in the classroom. While these devices have been extremely useful for research, they are not the best medium for reading and thinking about a text in preparation for a class discussion. The use of real texts works very well for our purposes, and there is a discipline that goes into preparing to discuss a paper text. The student must make an effort to read carefully and digest the reading, so as to be able to locate pertinent texts. He must attempt to grasp and retain the reading as a whole. Electronic search functions provide an easy opportunity for the student to become lazy in reading.


Cell Phones

Cell phones can be useful tools for communicating, but they can also be a distraction from the intellectual life. Besides impeding focused study, and causing distractions in class, cell phones and other smart devices make it harder for faculty to initiate and sustain conversations with students and for students to initiate and sustain conversations with one another. To ensure that they do not detract from the dignity of the academic program, cell phones, smart watches, and any other devices with cellular data are generally not permitted in classroom buildings, the library, the Commons, and the academic quadrangle. However, when those areas of campus are not set aside for class, meals, or study, this requirement is relaxed. Thus, outside of class hours (8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) and scheduled meal times, cell phones are allowed in the Commons; outside of class hours they are allowed in the academic quadrangle; and on weekends (Friday at 3:30 p.m. until Sunday at 5:00 p.m.) they are allowed in classroom buildings. Students are urged to develop the habit of leaving these devices in their dorm room or mailbox during classes, studying, and meals.

In accordance with the College’s policy to limit Internet access to that provided in the library and the student mail room, the use of cell phones, or cell phone service, to access the Internet is prohibited except for a limited number of approved apps.


Movies, Television, and Video Games

To foster and preserve the dignity of the intellectual life, the College does not permit the use of televisions or video players in student rooms.  On weekends from 3:30 p.m. Friday until 5:00 p.m. Sunday, students may watch movies in the residence hall common rooms or study rooms, the Student Lounge, Room 106, the Dillon Seminar Room, or the classrooms in St. Gladys Hall, but only with prior permission from a prefect.

Students may play video games in a designated study room on weekends from 3:30 p.m. on Friday until 5:00 p.m. Sunday.


Computer Networks

The College provides e-mail access in the dormitories and Internet access in the library and student mailroom by means of the College’s computer network. Tapping into, or tampering with, the College’s network or telephone wiring is strictly prohibited. In keeping with the College’s aim of maintaining a community of learning in the dormitories, students are not permitted to set up their own computer networks either by means of wireless technology or by running network cables from room to room.


Internet and Computer Services

The College provides computer resources for three purposes: research, communication, and retail business transactions (such as purchasing airline tickets). To allow for the quietude and rest that contemplation requires, the College has no interest in promoting widespread use of the Internet for entertainment purposes. Several computers are available for student use in the library and the student mail room. Residence halls are equipped with computers that students may use to access their college email accounts. Internet access is limited to the library and student mailroom. The use of cell phones, cell phone service, or any other wireless service, to access the Internet is prohibited, except through a limited number of approved apps. Students are welcome to bring their own computers. If they bring laptops, they may request to have their computers configured to access the Internet in the library and in the student mailroom (their computer should be equipped with an Ethernet port).

It is essential that each user exercise responsible and ethical behavior when using the College’s computer resources. It is impossible to anticipate all of the methods that individuals may employ to intentionally damage or misuse the College’s computer resources, but the following is a list of some of the inappropriate uses of those resources.

  • Transmitting information that contains obscene, indecent, lewd, or lascivious material or other material that explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct or contains profane language.
  • Using the College’s computer resources to gain unauthorized access to resources of this or other institutions, individuals, or organizations. Using false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining access to unauthorized resources.
  • Accessing, altering, copying, moving, or removing information, proprietary software, or other files from the College’s computer resources without authorization.
  • Copying, downloading or distributing copyrighted materials, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, without the authorization of the copyright owner is illegal and may result in civil and criminal penalties, including fine and imprisonment. Copyrighted materials include, but are not limited to, copyrighted music, films, and software.
  • Using the College’s computer resources for online gambling.
  • Violating laws or participating in the commission or furtherance of any crime.

Thomas Aquinas College acknowledges its obligation to respect the privacy of a user's computer files and e-mail, but users should be sensitive to the inherent limitations of the College’s computer resources—no computer security system can completely prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing a user’s computer files or e-mail.

The College maintains the right to monitor and access a user’s computer files, e-mail, and use of computer resources when it is necessary to protect the integrity, security, and proper functioning of the College’s computer resources, when it is necessary to enforce this policy, or when it is required by law. The College will notify users of such monitoring provided that it will not compromise the College’s investigation or the investigation of an appropriate law enforcement agency.

Any violation of this policy, other related College regulations, or federal or state laws may result in immediate suspension of computer resource privileges. The College's authorities and/or the appropriate law enforcement agency will determine other possible disciplinary or legal action. Nothing in this policy supersedes existing College regulations and policies and/or state or federal law.



There is a student copier located in the library, and students may pay for its use at the circulation desk. Students should not use the photocopy machines located in St. Thomas Hall.


Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office especially their FAQ’s at


Safety and Security

Campus Security

Although theft, vandalism, and other crimes by hikers, or off-campus intruders, are rare, they are real possibilities that should be taken seriously. Crimes or suspicious behavior should be reported immediately to an appropriate authority.

Campus security also requires that the fire doors be locked at all times. These doors are to be used only in the case of an emergency, or for moving in and out of the dorms at the beginning and end of the school year.

Students who are issued keys as part of their work study should never lend their keys to anyone, should not allow copies to be made, and should promptly return any keys in their possession when their responsibilities are at an end. Should a student come into possession of an unauthorized key, he should return it to the Business Office immediately.



Students are prohibited from bringing any kind of weapon to campus. The discharge of firearms on or about the campus is strictly forbidden.


Safety Alert System

The College has a safety alert system which is intended for use only in the rare occurrence of a danger to the community as a whole or some other event that requires immediate action. In such an event this system will be used to send out a mass text message to help spread the safety alert as quickly as possible among the on-campus community. Designated staff will promptly deliver the message in person to buildings in which cell phones are prohibited. If there should be an emergency need for the whole student body to assemble, the chapel bells will also ring for at least three minutes as a sign to assemble in St. Joseph Commons. Students will be automatically enrolled in the safety alert system using the cell phone number they provided during registration. Students should update the Dean’s Office if their cell phone number changes during the year.


Forest Fires

Forest fires are a very real danger in southern California and the campus has been threatened periodically by fires in the Los Padres National Forest (one of the largest forest fires in California history started one mile from the College and burned around all sides of the campus in 2017). It is imperative, therefore, that students observe the campfire restrictions posted by the Forest Service when camping or socializing in the Los Padres National Forest. These restrictions are strictly enforced, and ignoring them may result in fines or imprisonment. The failure to follow the fire restrictions also has the potential of starting a forest fire that could threaten the campus, cause millions of dollars in damages, and result in a legal liability.

Due to the potential fire hazard, any use of the fire pit or barbecue adjacent to the third pond must be approved by the Assistant Dean. For the same reason, the use of fireworks on campus, or in the national forest, is strictly forbidden.


Fire Procedure

All of the buildings on campus are equipped with emergency fire exits and fire alarm pull boxes. Students should familiarize themselves with the location of the fire doors and fire alarm pull boxes in their dormitory.

In case of fire, pull the nearest fire alarm, exit the building, and call 911.

Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by a Prefect or college official.


Earthquake Procedure

In case of an earthquake, drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture, and hold on until the shaking stops. Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. It is dangerous to try to exit a building during an earthquake. The important thing is to keep clear of falling objects and to stay away from windows, which can shatter in an earthquake.

Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. Because of the possibility of broken glass and other debris, it is advisable to wear shoes when exiting the building.

If you are outdoors during an earthquake, be alert for rocks and other debris that could be loosened from the surrounding hills. Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, outdoor lights, and power lines.

Expect aftershocks. The procedure is the same for aftershocks as it is for earthquakes.


Evacuation Procedure

The Dean and the Assistant Dean will order an evacuation if advised to do so by a civil authority.

If the Dean and the Assistant Dean order an evacuation, the chapel bells will also ring for at least three minutes as a sign to assemble in St. Joseph Commons. Students may also receive an emergency alert on their cell phones. Once everyone has assembled in the Commons, a school official will communicate the nature of the emergency, the evacuation center, and other necessary instructions.

  • Students that are off campus at the time of an evacuation should contact a Prefect from their dormitory to check in and receive further instructions. They should not return to campus unless explicitly instructed to do so.
  • After meeting in the Commons, students may be instructed to return to their residence halls to gather essential items (e.g., car keys, driver’s license, sleeping bag, and pillow), but priority should be given to evacuating persons rather than taking personal property.
  • No vehicle should depart until each seat is filled and it has been checked by a Prefect at the front gate.

The priority is the safety of the students. The buildings are equipped with fire sprinklers and are insured. They can be replaced if necessary.


Academic Honesty

The students at Thomas Aquinas College seek the beginnings of wisdom. Such a pursuit requires commitment and presupposes honesty and charity. It would be inconsistent to dedicate oneself to the arduous task of learning and to undercut that effort by cheating. Such deception also undermines the important bond of trust that is at the heart of a community of friendship. For this reason cheating will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal.



Plagiarism is presenting the written work of another as if it were your own. It is plagiarism to copy a complete work, or its paragraphs, or sentences, or even parts of sentences, without using quotation marks and appropriate citation. Even if exact copying is not involved, taking ideas or the structure of an argument from someone else’s written work without acknowledging the source is also plagiarism.  Use of ChatGPT or other AI technology to draft any part of a paper is plagiarism; this technology may not be used even with citation.

Students have the duty to learn how to properly cite the work or thought of others so that the use of secondary sources does not devolve into plagiarism. Further, although the College expects, and even encourages, students to talk to each other about paper assignments, students should not normally draw their ideas or arguments from the written work of other students. 

Besides being a kind of theft, plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that violates the bond of trust between students and tutors and undercuts the aims of the College’s writing program. If a student is found to have plagiarized in any of the above ways, the paper will receive a failing grade, and there may be additional penalties up to and including dismissal from the College.


St. John Paul II Athletic Center

The College encourages recreational exercise. Athletics and other forms of exercise are not only healthy for the body but also are instrumental in pursuing the intellectual life, since physical recreation provides relief from the demands of studies and prepares the body and soul for a renewed return to studies.


Athletic Center

The St. John Paul II Athletic Center offers a host of activities to students.  It includes a gymnasium, fitness rooms and locker rooms for men and women, a climbing wall, and a pool. Hours are posted in the Athletic Center. No food is allowed anywhere in the Center. All equipment should be used for its intended purpose only, and posted rules and safety guidelines as well as requests from the Athletic Center staff are to be followed.

The gymnasium includes courts for basketball and volleyball. To preserve the floor, only shoes with clean, non-marking, rubber soles are allowed, and no drinks are allowed except water in closed containers.

The fitness rooms provide a wide variety of equipment. In using this equipment, proper gym etiquette is to be followed. Shirts are to be worn at all times, as well as appropriate footwear when using the weights or cardio machines. Drinks should be in closed containers, and personal amplified sound devices or speakers should not be used.

Men are not to enter the women’s fitness room or locker room, and women are not to enter the men’s fitness room or locker room. 

The climbing wall is only to be used by those who have signed the appropriate waiver. No headphones may be used. Hours for use are by arrangement with the Director of Student Services.

For the gymnasium, fitness rooms, locker rooms, and climbing wall, the casual dress code is to be followed.

The pool, like the other activities offered in the Athletic Center, is meant for recreational exercise in the service of our program of studies. For this reason, and for safety purposes, there is to be no running, horseplay, or lounging in the pool area. The buddy system is to be followed: everyone using the pool must do so with another person – no swimming alone. Pool dress code for women: Swimsuits should be full-coverage, one-piece or tankini (no spaghetti straps or string backs); swimsuit bottoms should be full-coverage brief cut. Pool dress code for men: shorts or jammers reaching at least to mid-thigh.


Outdoor Athletic Courts and Fields and Dormitory Workout Rooms

The College has tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, as well as a baseball diamond and playing field. There are also weight rooms in the Saint Serra and Saints Peter and Paul Residence Halls, and workout rooms in St. Katherine, St. Therese and St. Monica Residence Halls.

Hiking is a favorite pastime of Thomas Aquinas College students. Students should be warned, however, that there are rattlesnakes and mountain lions in the area. To ensure one’s safety, please avoid hiking alone or at night. Sightings of mountain lions or rattlesnakes should be reported to a prefect or school official.

Bicycles may only be used on the perimeter of campus, not on walkways. Bicycles may be stored in the external storage room of the residence halls, not inside the residence halls or building entrances.

Students are strongly discouraged from hiking, bicycling, or hitchhiking on roads and highways, even near the campus. Such activities are extremely dangerous, especially when done alone.