CIFS maintains the inherent belief that all students should exhibit the behavior consistent with that of individuals entering the professional field of funeral service. This expectation is not just in the classroom setting but also in interactions with CIFS staff and fellow students; as well as through all avenues of communication. The ethical standards by which you will be held include paramount beliefs in honesty and integrity – that which you would exhibit with the grieving families and trusting public you will serve. Additionally, you will be held to strict adherence of confidentiality. Your guiding principle should always be, “Is this acceptable behavior for how I would treat families in the funeral home?”
Commonwealth Institute recognizes that students are both citizens and members of the academic community. Upon enrolling in the Institute, each student assumes an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the Institute’s function, mission, and goals.
Students are expected to obey the penal and civil statutes of local, state, and federal government along with the Institute’s policies, regulations, and administrative rules. For additional information on CIFS Student Behavior Policies, please see the Student Handbook.
Detailed information with regard to student conduct is supplied in the Student Handbook and during orientation. In general, students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is socially acceptable and brings credit to themselves, the Institute, and their chosen profession. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action or suspension in accordance with Institute policies.
CIFS recognizes that students are both citizens and members of the academic community. Upon enrolling at the Institute, each student assumes an obligation to conduct himself/herself in a manner compatible with Commonwealth’s function, missions, and goals. Students are expected to obey the penal and civil statues of local, state, and federal government along with Commonwealth Institute’s policies, regulations, and administrative rules.
STUDENT CONDUCT AND PROHIBITED BEHAVIOR
All students shall obey the law, including all federal/state/local statutes and all CIFS rules/policies, show respect for properly constituted authority, and observe correct standards of conduct. In addition to activities prohibited by law, conduct which adversely affects the student’s suitability as a member of the academic community includes but is not limited to the following:
A student charged with any of the aforementioned violations, and depending on the severity of the transgression, may by suspended by the President or Dean of Academics, pending a hearing on the charges as soon as is practical, when deemed in the best interest of Commonwealth Institute. Serious offenses may result in termination of enrollment.
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS POLICY
Students are expected to comply with federal, state, and local laws with regard to controlled substances and the possession and use of all prescription medication. All prescription medication must be stored in the original container with the original label affixed by the pharmacist showing all details including patient’s name, name of medication, and directions for use. Any other storage of prescription drugs found may be considered abuse or intent to distribute.
The Higher Education Amendment of 1998 (H.R.6, Sec. 952) permits higher education institutions to notify parents or legal guardians when a student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance and the student is under the age of 21. When the consequences for violations of the alcohol and drug policy indicate that a student’s parents will be notified, a copy of the student’s disciplinary letter citing the infraction and consequences for the infraction will be sent to the student’s permanent, legal home address.
COMPUTER AND INTERNET USAGE
Computers for student use in the Institute computer lab are for educational purposes only. The Institute monitors computer (including internet) use to determine if violation of any computer usage guidelines, posted in the computer lab, exist. Students may print a maximum of 5 school related pages per day unless otherwise approved by CIFS staff. Students may jeopardize their academic standing if violations are committed. Computers may be allowed in the classroom only for the purposes of taking notes and reviewing course materials. Such usage is also at the sole discretion of the individual course instructor. Additionally, the CIFS Computer lab offers stations for student device usage and charging.
TESTING CENTER POLICY
Only authorized test takers are permitted in CIFS testing center. Students may ask the front desk for a temporary locker in which to place personal belongings. Cell phones, watches, blue tooth devices, hats, hoodies, scarfs, jackets, blankets or personal belongings are strictly prohibited in the testing center. All activities within the testing center are monitored by video surveillance.
SECURITY OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
The Institute cannot be responsible for personal property or assume responsibility for the protection of vehicles and their contents. The Institute recommends that students conceal valuables in an area out of sight, or keep them in their possession at all times. Such items should not be left unattended.
Commencement must be a dignified ceremony. Participation in the commencement exercises are optional. If students choose to participate, then they must follow school guidelines, and they will be held accountable for any violation. Candidates are expected to conduct themselves in a decent, respectful, and civilized manner during Commencement activities.
COMMENCEMENT DRESS CODE
Graduating students are expected to reflect professionalism in their attire. Students wearing jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or flip-flops will not be allowed to participate. At a minimum, business casual attire is suggested.
All candidates participating in the Commencement ceremony will be required to wear the academic regalia significant to CIFS. Students do not wear regalia, honor cords, or academic cords from previously attended colleges or universities.
Stalking is defined as repeated conduct directed at a specific person whether that person is a total stranger, acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, for the safety of a third person, or to feel emotional distress. Such behavior is prohibited. Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to repeatedly pursuing, following, waiting, or showing up uninvited to or near a residence, workplace, classroom, or other places frequented by the person, surveillance or other types of observation including staring or “peeping,” and repeated unwanted communication, including face-to-face communication, telephone calls, voice messages, emails, text messages, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are unwelcome by the receiver.
Students are encouraged to carry proof of insurance to facilitate hospitalization in the event of an emergency. Health services are not provided by the Institute. If desired, then local students are encouraged to seek immunization assistance from the Texas Department of Health Services (www.dshs.state.tx.us), Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (www.dshs.state.tx.us), or any local immunization clinic. For students in the greater Houston area, Harris County Clinics are as follows:
Harris County Public Health Cypress Station (WIC) Clinic
221 FM 1960 West, Suite A, Houston, Texas 77090
Harris County Public Health Humble Clinic
1730 Humble Place Drive, Humble, Texas 77338
Harris County Public Health Antoine Clinic
5815 Antoine, Houston, Texas 77091
CIFS recognizes the importance of meeting the guidelines set forth by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with regard to Universal Precautions and endeavors to comply with all regulations. These regulations are intended to keep individuals as safe as possible from infections resulting from the handling of human remains.
All students are encouraged to consult their personal physician concerning preventative vaccination and susceptibility testing. It is recommended to have the preventative HBV vaccination to protect you against infection by the Hepatitis B virus, the Meningococcemia vaccine to protect you from bacterial meningitis, and the Tdap vaccine to protect you from Tetanus and Diphtheria. The Hepatitis B vaccine is available for individuals who might come into direct contact with blood or body fluids. This vaccine, administered prior to exposure to the virus, consists of a series of two or three injections given over a six-month period. Please refer to the earlier Suggested Enrollment Timetable or sign a waiver for the HBV vaccination at the time of enrollment.
If required to evacuate a classroom/building, then students will proceed to a clear and safe area away from the evacuated building. As each student evacuates, they are reminded to leave their personal belongings and follow the evacuation directions that are posted in each designated teaching area. There will be no use of any communication device while attending any emergency procedure unless directed to do so.
If required to shelter in place, the students will follow the directions of the faculty member in the classroom and move quickly away from any door or window, sit on the floor and remain silent until such time that first responders deem it safe to evacuate the building/facility or an “ALL CLEAR” notification is given.
CIFS will participate in campus-wide fire drills. These drills will be scheduled periodically to remind students and staff of the proper notification and evacuation procedures.
Students are informed about the campus safety procedures in the event of an emergency during orientation as well as in the Student Handbook.
Members of the CIFS community should immediately report missing persons to the Administrative office. Within CIFS, responsibility for investigation of missing person reports rests with the Dean of Students. There is no waiting period for reporting a missing person. Administration and responding officers will carefully record and investigate the factual circumstances surrounding the disappearance.
If, after investigation, it is determined that an on-campus student has been missing outside of normal tardiness or truancy, then CIFS will notify both the student’s designated contact person and local law enforcement that the student is missing.
The lead law enforcement agency in missing person cases originating from CIFS is the Precinct 3 Constables Office. CIFS will notify the Precinct 3 Constables Office within 24 hours of determining that an on-campus student has been missing for 24 hours. Reports of non-campus students missing will be referred to the police department having jurisdiction over the student’s local residence, if known, or the student’s permanent residence if a local residence cannot be determined.
Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service security officers who are authorized to possess weapons may do so within the scope of their authority. No other persons are permitted to possess weapons on Institute property.
The threat of an active shooter situation is taken seriously by Commonwealth Institute. In the event of an active shooter situation on or near campus, the following protocols should be followed in order to minimize possible injury and/or loss of life. Above all, remain calm and follow any orders from faculty, school administration, and/or law enforcement officials. Students should refrain from using cellular phones – even to notify the authorities. These can be fluid and evolving situations that require constant alertness which is hindered by the use of cellular phones and other communication devices. Designated staff members will alert the authorities on behalf of the school.
Inside the Building
At the notification by administration or if gunshots are heard, faculty in the classroom are to do the following: immediately lock the classroom door(s), turn out the lights if the classroom has windows, barricade the door(s) if possible, and quietly instruct students. Students should remain as calm and quiet as possible, get close to the floor, and be ready to evacuate.
When and if it is deemed safe to evacuate the building, students and faculty in the classroom will be notified by school staff or law enforcement. Once instructed to evacuate, personal belongings should be left behind because they can slow an evacuation, and they create a visual threat of weapons concealment for responding law enforcement. If evacuation is ordered, then students, faculty, and staff should follow the designated evacuation routes posted throughout the facility and in all classrooms. Deviations to these routes should ONLY occur when a planned evacuation route is blocked by the presence of an active shooter or when told differently by responding law enforcement. Once outside, everyone should move quickly and keep their hands visible if law enforcement is on the scene. Anyone exiting the building into the student parking areas should make their way across the south side of the property to the west side parking area between the museum and Ella Blvd. Anyone exiting through the front door of the school should follow Barren Springs Dr. also to the west side parking area between the museum and Ella Blvd. During an evacuation, do not stop to move wounded people.
Outside the Building/In the Area
In the event of an active shooter in the area outside the school but not physically inside the building, the entire facility will be placed on lockdown. This announcement will be made by administration and communicated to students and faculty. During lockdown, no one will be allowed to enter or exit the facility. As with an active shooter inside the building, students and faculty in the classroom should lock the door(s), turn out the lights in classrooms with windows, remain quiet, and stay close to the floor. An “ALL CLEAR” announcement will be made to inform everyone when it is safe to exit the classrooms and building.
In the Immediate Vicinity
In the event of an active shooter being present in a person’s immediate vicinity (in the same room, in the same hallway, etc.), they should follow three sequential options depending on the situation: run, hide, and fight back. If possible, it is always advisable to run in the opposite direction from the active shooter and evacuate the facility. Do not stop until reaching the gathering point in the west side parking area, and do not stop to move wounded people. If evacuation is not possible, hide from the active shooter; especially in an area that is difficult for the shooter to access. If running and/or hiding are not viable options, attempts should be made to take action against the shooter. This can involve fighting and using improvised weapons and should be done with aggressiveness, commitment to action, and an intent to incapacitate the shooter.
NOTE: Fighting back against an active shooter should only be done as a last resort when your life is in imminent danger!
Our Student Handbook
View the complete Student Handbook and its policies here.
415 Barren Springs Drive
Houston, Texas 77090
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The dates and times of laboratory sessions are scheduled at the beginning of each quarter.2022-2023 CATALOG