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College Policies

Last Updated: 

Jun 1 2014

Code of Conduct

Preamble

The members of this academic community share a belief in the freedom to learn. The College, therefore, has a duty to develop policies and procedures, which provide and safeguard this freedom. Many members of the College community helped to establish the policies and procedures outlined below within a framework of general standards. The purposes of the policies, regulations, and procedures listed on the following pages are to provide an academic environment that will promote quality educational outcomes.

Under these policies, regulations, and procedures, students are free to pursue their educational goals. The College has the right to establish standards of behavior for students that promote a safe learning environment. When evaluation of student behavior is necessary, the College commits to following due process, as outlined in the policies and procedures below, before imposing disciplinary sanctions. Admonition, warning, reprimand, and temporary suspension are sanctions that may be imposed without due process.

Definitions and Terms

Student: A student is defined as any person applying to the College or currently enrolled in any course at any campus location and/or online, including high school students applying to DCCC programs or currently enrolled in DCCC coursework at any campus location and/or online. The College reserves the right to dismiss any student prior to his or her enrollment by rescinding that student’s admission upon finding a cause to do so. Such a finding will be an administrative decision issued by the Vice President, Student Affairs or his/her designee. The College may proceed with unresolved charges under the Student Code of Conduct regardless of an individual’s enrollment status.

Conduct Officer: Designated by the Vice President, Student Affairs, the conduct officer is a staff member in Student Affairs authorized to review alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, to impose sanctions upon students who have violated the Code, and to perform other duties as assigned related to Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Vice President may authorize several Conduct Officers and also serve as Conduct Officer.

Danger to Self: The individual has attempted or threatened suicide or expressed or acted in manner to reflect suicidal intent, and there is a reasonable probability of suicide unless adequate treatment is given; the individual has or attempted to mutilate him/herself or there is a reasonable probability of mutilation unless adequate treatment is given. A threat assessment may be issued in such instances.

Danger to Others: Within the relevant past, the individual has inflicted or attempted to inflict or threatened to inflict serious bodily harm on another, or has acted in such a manner as to create a substantial risk of serious bodily harm on another, or has engaged in extreme destruction of property; and there is a reasonable probability this conduct may be repeated. Previous instances of dangerousness to others, when applicable, may be considered when determining reasonable probability of future dangerous conduct. Cogent and convincing evidence that an individual has committed a homicide in the relevant past is evidence of dangerousness to others (from NCGS 122C-3(11)b). The individual has expressed or acted in a manner to reflect intent to harm others. The individual is involved in a serious drug offense as defined by the College or state and federal law.

Threat: A threat is defined as any conduct that presents a clear and present danger to self, others, or the campus community in general. In immediate and serious threatening situations, the President reserves the right to waive due process and act in the best interest of campus safety.

Threat Assessment: A threat assessment is a tool the College may use when facing an extraordinary discipline and safety issue. A threat assessment is a way to assess a student’s particular physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing and help that student receive the assistance needed in order to continue being a productive member of the campus community. The primary goal of the threat assessment process at DCCC is to provide early assistance to students in distress in order to ensure wellbeing and safety and help prevent situations of concern, either before or after a conduct violation has occurred, from becoming more serious.

General Policies

1. The College believes that when students understand and take responsibility for their conduct and educational achievement they will more likely have a successful collegiate experience and achieve their personal goals. The College, in order to protect its educational purpose, has the right to discipline students who do not meet its standards of conduct. Disciplinary procedures, however, are not as important in developing responsible student conduct as counseling, guidance, example, and admonition. When such means fail to resolve problems of student conduct, certain procedures will be followed so that students will not have serious penalties imposed upon them unfairly.

2. Procedural fairness is basic to the proper enforcement of all College rules. A student may not have an adverse notation written on any permanent record or a disciplinary sanction imposed except admonition, reprimand, warning, or temporary suspension unless the following procedures have been followed.

a. The student has been informed of the charges against him or her.

b. The student has an opportunity to appear before a designated College hearing officer.

c. The student has the opportunity to know the nature of the evidence and to present evidence on his or her behalf.

d. The student has the opportunity to file a petition of an appeal of the action.

3. The procedures for handling violations of College regulations are designed to assure due process, fairness, and prompt and objective review by third parties, with appropriate appeals procedures. There is a general intent to maintain confidentiality, to avoid unnecessary formality, and to resolve issues at the lowest possible level. Time limits listed in these procedures are guidelines to help ensure timely response. The College will make every attempt to meet those time limits. Some time limits may be exceeded in the attempt to ensure fairness and thoroughness.

4. Students shall have an opportunity to participate in the formulation of policies or rules relating to student conduct and in the enforcement of all such rules through the Student Government Association and through membership on College committees.

5. When a student has been apprehended for the violation of a law of the community, state, or nation, the College will not request or agree to special consideration for the student because of his status as a student. The College will cooperate, however, with the law enforcement agencies and other agencies in any reasonable program for the rehabilitation of the student. Though an offense may be the subject of legal action by civil authorities, the College is nonetheless free to initiate disciplinary action that may result in additional penalties.

6. The College may apply sanctions (penalties) or take other appropriate action when student conduct directly and significantly interferes with the College’s (1) primary educational responsibility of ensuring the opportunity of all members of the College community to attain their educational objectives, (2) commitment to providing a safe learning environment, or (3) responsibility of protecting property, keeping necessary records, providing necessary services, and sponsoring non-classroom activities such as lectures, concerts, athletic events, and social functions.

7. A student who is involved in a Code of Conduct violation has the right to (1) review all information related to the case and ask questions, (2) respond to information and offer additional information related to the situation, and (3) present witnesses.

8. A student in the presence of a Code of Conduct violation and who is not actively involved has three choices: (1) leave the situation; (2) ask the student(s) to stop the behavior and/or leave the area; or (3) ask a College staff or faculty member for help. A student who does not choose any of these three options may be held responsible for the conduct violation.

9. In the event a conduct violation or student behavior concern poses a threat to the safety of individuals, college property or the continuity of college operations, a timely warning of the threat will be issued to the campus community through the College’s mass notification systems.

Code of Conduct

All students and staff, regardless of the location or delivery method of their services and classes, have the right to a safe, peaceful, and honest educational environment. Therefore, when in the judgment of College personnel a student’s conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the College community, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to restore and protect the safety, peace, and integrity of the community. This policy applies to conduct on College property or part of College sponsored activities. It applies as well to off-campus conduct when in the judgment of College personnel a student’s conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the College community. Students are expected to conduct themselves according to generally accepted standards of scholarship and conduct. The purpose of the Student Code of Conduct is not to restrict student freedoms but to protect the rights of individuals in their academic pursuits. Therefore, students are prohibited from engaging in any conduct that materially and adversely affects the educational process including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Academic dishonesty.

2. Theft of, misuse of, or damage to College property, or theft of or damage to property of a member of the College community or a campus visitor on College premises or at College functions, on or off campus.

3. Trespass, including unauthorized entry or presence on the property of the College, including College computers, or in a College facility or any portion of it to which entry or presence is restricted.

4. Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any College premises.

5. Violation of the Drug-Free Campus Policy.

6. Disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct or materials on College premises, College computer systems, or at a College-sponsored or College-supervised function. Disorderly conduct includes but is not limited to: Any unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio or video record of any person while on College premises without his/her knowledge, or without his/her effective consent when such recording is likely to cause injury or distress. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a gym, locker room, or restroom. Indecent materials are defined as publications or material that includes inappropriate language as defined by the College’s Solicitation and On-Campus Employment Recruiting policy.

7. Mental or physical abuse of any person or any other such form of behavior on College premises or at College-sponsored or College-supervised functions, including communication in any form, (e.g. standard mail, electronic and digital media, or telephone), physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, sexual assault, stalking, coercion and/or conduct which threatens or endangers an individual’s health, wellbeing, or safety.

8. Violation of the No-Harassment and Consensual Relationship Policy.

9. Excessive use of profanity; obscene and offensive language and conduct.

10. Sexual misconduct or inappropriate sexual behavior, both consensual and non-consensual, including but not limited to inappropriate displays of affection, sending graphic or sexually explicit materials through electronic and digital media, explicit behavior, sexual harassment, sexual assault, public sexual indecency, or indecent exposure on College property.

11.  Intentional obstruction or disruption of teaching, administration, or disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities, including public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized non-College activities when the conduct occurs on the College premises.

12. Occupation or seizure in any manner of College property, a College facility or any portion thereof for a use inconsistent with prescribed, customary, or authorized use.

13. Participating in or conducting an assembly, demonstration or gathering in a way that threatens or causes injury to person or property; which interferes with free access to, entering, or leaving College facilities; which is harmful, obstructive, or disruptive to the functions of the College; or remaining at the scene of such an assembly after being asked to leave by a representative of the College.

14. Possession or use of a weapon, as defined by State law, on College premises or at College-sponsored or College-supervised functions, as prohibited under N.C. Statute 14-269.2. This includes carrying a concealed weapon on campus or to a College-sponsored activity even though in possession of a valid permit. Exceptions may apply to on-duty law enforcement officers attending College classes or activities.

15. Issuing a bomb threat, setting off a fire alarm, or using or tampering with any fire safety equipment on College premises or at College-sponsored or College-supervised functions, except with reasonable belief of the need for such alarm or equipment.

16. Gambling on College premises or at College-sponsored or College-supervised functions.

17. Smoking and/or using other forms of tobacco products anywhere on College premises or in College vehicles.

18. Violation of College regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles.

19. Forgery, alteration, copyright violation, or misuse of College documents, records, computer software, computer equipment, or instruments of identification with intent to deceive or disrupt.

20. Failure to comply with instructions of College faculty and staff acting in performance of their duties, including willfully refusing or failure to leave the property of any building or other facility owned, operated, or controlled by the College when requested to do so by a College employee.

21. Failure to respond to a notice of conduct charges.

22. Acting as an accessory to a conduct violation or helping another individual commit a violation.

23. Violation of the terms of disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion or any College regulation during probation.

24. Fiscal irresponsibility such as failure to pay College-levied fines, failure to repay College-funded loans, or the passing of worthless checks to College personnel.

25. Violation of a local, state, or federal criminal law, which adversely affects the College community’s pursuit of its proper educational purposes.

26. Hazing, defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. The express implied consent of the victim would not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations of this rule.

27. Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on College premises or at College sponsored or supervised functions.

28. Any violation of North Carolina State Penal Law, including a charge of violation of the Penal Law, whether occurring on or off-campus, may be processed as a Code of Conduct violation. Code of Conduct proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.

NOTE: Certain programs such as Associate Degree Nursing and Basic Law Enforcement Training also have supplementary codes of conduct to which students within those programs must adhere.

Code of Conduct Disciplinary Procedure

The Code of Conduct Disciplinary Procedure is used when students violate the disciplinary Code of Conduct, which can include in-class or out-of-class behavior. This process is facilitated by Student Affairs and includes formalized due process guidelines:

•   Students are given notice of the charges against them,

•   Students have a hearing before the appropriate Student Conduct Administrator to share their perception of the events,

•   Witnesses are interviewed,

•   Sanctions as described in the General Catalog/Student Handbook can be applied, and

•   An appeal process is delineated.

Any instructor or staff member may use his/her discretion to give a sanction of admonition, warning, reprimand, or temporary suspension to any student in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and who is disrupting the educational process. Other sanctions can only be imposed in accordance with the process called for under the Disciplinary Procedures.

1.  Temporary Suspension Procedures: If an instructor or staff member determines that a student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and is disrupting the educational process, he/she may suspend the student from a course or the College until the Conduct Officer, or designee, can investigate the student’s conduct. Temporary suspension is a substantial act carrying implications of a significant conduct violation and is thus different from dismissing a student for a day for disruptive behavior. Temporary suspension means that a student may not return to class until given permission by the College’s Conduct Officer or designee and should be reserved for situations where the student’s continued presence would be a substantial disruption to the learning environment or present an immediate danger to him/herself or others. Prior to suspension, the student(s) will be given the opportunity to explain his/her conduct to the instructor or staff member who is taking the suspension action. The College will make every effort to convene a hearing as quickly as possible.

2. The instructor or staff member invoking such suspension will file a Student Code of Conduct charge with the Conduct Officer or designee, within two working days following the temporary suspension. The Conduct Officer will resolve the matter in a timely manner using the steps outlined under Disciplinary Procedures.

3. Responsibility for Implementation: The Conduct Officer or designee, is responsible for implementing student discipline procedures.

4. Disciplinary Procedures: To provide an orderly procedure for handling student disciplinary cases, the following procedures will be followed:

•   Charges: Any faculty or staff member, or student may file charges with the Conduct Officer or designee, against any student or student organization for violations of College regulations. The individual(s) making the charge should submit a written statement, which includes:

a.  Name of the student(s) involved;

b.  The specific violation of the Code of Conduct;

c. A description of the incident(s), including the time, place, and date of the incident(s);                    

d.  Names of person(s) directly involved or witnesses to the incident(s);

e.  Any action taken that related to the matter. The statement of the charge should be forwarded directly to the Conduct Officer or designee.

•   Preliminary Investigation and Decision: Within ten (10) working days after the charge is filed, the Conduct Officer, or designee will complete a preliminary investigation of the charge which will include a meeting with the student. During the meeting with the Conduct Officer the student will be confronted with the evidence against him/her and will be given the opportunity to respond.

•   In instances where the student cannot be reached to schedule an appointment with the Conduct Officer or where the student does not respond to the notice of charges or refuses to cooperate, the student forfeits the right to a hearing. The Conduct Officer will proceed with an investigation, whether or not the student is present, and if the student is found to be in violation of the Code of Conduct, appropriate sanctions will be determined. A certified letter sent to the student’s last known address will inform the student of the charges, the results of the Officer’s preliminary investigation, the Officer’s decision, and the appeals process.

•   Within ten working days after the meeting with the charged student, the Conduct Officer will notify the student of his/her decision in writing. The Officer’s decision will include a statement of the determination of whether the student violated the Student Code of Conduct.

5.  If the Conduct Officer determines that the student has violated the student code, the decision will include:

•   a statement of the specific provision(s) of the student code that the student violated;

•   a statement of sanctions imposed;

•   a statement of the student’s right to appeal the decision and instructions regarding the appeals procedure.

6. If the Conduct Officer determines that the student did not violate a provision of the Student Code of Conduct, then the decision shall state that the charge has been dismissed.

•   In instances where the student poses an immediate danger to self or others, the Care Team will be involved, and the process of the Team will serve as the student’s disciplinary due process.

•   In cases of sexual assault or harassment, the College reserves the right to contact law enforcement officials if necessary to ensure safety for the victim.  Further, the College commits to evaluating and implementing changes to the victim’s academic situation that may be necessary for ensuring safety.  Additionally, victims will be referred to Family Services of Davidson County for assistive services.

Sanctions

Student Code of Conduct sanctions or penalties are defined below. Any of these may be applied for any student applying to the College, enrolled full-time or part-time in any curricular, high school, continuing education, or College and Career Readiness programs of the College at any campus location or online, and to identifiable groups and organizations which are a part of the College community. Subsequent violations of the Code of Conduct will be grounds for the imposition of a more severe sanction.

Repeating an offense for which a sanction has been imposed will be grounds for the imposition of a more severe sanction.

Any student, staff, faculty member or other College employee may give any student or group an admonition, warning, or reprimand at any time without due process. Temporary suspension should be reserved for instances where the student presents an immediate danger to him/herself or others. 

Parents/guardians of students under the age of 18 will be notified regarding the disciplinary sanctions listed.

Disciplinary sanctions are designed to educate students, guide future decision-making and deter further inappropriate behavior. Students found in violation of the Code of Conduct will be challenged to evaluate their behavior and reflect on their actions and the effects on the campus community.

Individual Sanctions

Admonition: Friendly advice, counsel, criticism, or rebuke which may be given in oral or written form.

Warning: Oral or written notice that continuation of specified conduct may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.

Reprimand: Written criticism for violation of specified College policy or regulation.

Temporary Suspension: Exclusion from class and/or other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice, until a final decision has been made concerning the alleged violation.

Restitution: Paying for damaging, misusing, destroying or losing property belonging to the College, College personnel, or students.

Other Sanctions: Students may be required to complete other sanctions to develop skills needed for avoiding future conduct code violations. Examples of such sanctions include but are not limited to attending workshops, researching topics pertaining to the behavior that violated the Code of Conduct, engaging in community service, writing and sending a letter of apology, or attending counseling sessions with the Mental Health and Disability Services counselor.

General Probation: General Probation has two important implications: (1) the individual is given a chance to show his/her capability and willingness to observe the Student Code of Conduct without further penalty; and (2) if he/she violates the code again, additional sanctions will be imposed.

Restrictive Probation: Restrictive Probation results in loss of good standing and notation of this is made in the individual’s record. Restrictive conditions may limit activity in the College community. Generally, the individual will not be eligible for initiation into any local or national organization and may not receive any College award or other honorary recognition. The individual may not occupy a position of leadership or responsibility with any College or student organization, publication, or activity. Any violation of Restrictive Probation may result in immediate suspension.

Suspension from Campus Activities: Exclusion from participation in designated student clubs, organizations, or activities for a specified period of time and/or loss of officer standing within a student organization.

Suspension: Exclusion from class(es), and/or all other privileges or activities of the College for a specified time. This sanction is reserved for those offenses warranting discipline more severe than probation or for repeated misconduct. Students who receive this sanction must apply for readmission before returning to campus. Suspended students are liable for all tuition and fees.

Expulsion: Permanently dismissing a student from campus. Expulsion is the most severe disciplinary sanction and shall be imposed only with the approval of the Vice President, Student Affairs.  The student loses his/her student status and may not return to campus. The student may not be readmitted to the College. Expelled students are liable for all tuition and fees.

Group General Probation: This is given to a College club or other organized group for a specified period. If group violations are repeated during the term of the probation, the charter may be revoked or activities restricted.

Group Restrictive Probation: Removing College recognition during the semester in which the offense occurred or for a longer period. While under restriction the group may not seek or add members, hold or sponsor events in the College community, or engage in other activities as specified.

Group Charter Revocation: Removal of College recognition for a group, club, society, or other organization. Recharter after that time must be approved by the President or his/her designee.

Appealing Disciplinary Decisions

Students are entitled to a fair review of disciplinary decisions made by the Conduct Officer. Appeals should follow the College’s General Complaint Policy beginning with Step 2.