FF. Student Conduct and Discipline
Conduct which reflects adversely upon the student or the college will result in disciplinary action. Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
It is the aim of the faculty of South Plains College to foster a spirit of complete honesty and a high standard of integrity. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own any work which he or she has not honestly performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a most serious offense and renders the offender liable to serious consequences, possibly suspension.
Cheating: Dishonesty of any kind on examinations or on written assignments, illegal possession of examinations, the use of unauthorized notes during an examination, obtaining information during an examination from the textbook or from the examination paper of another student, assisting others to cheat, alteration of grade records, illegal entry or unauthorized presence in an office are examples of cheating. Complete honesty is required of the student in the presentation of any and all phases of course work. This applies to quizzes of whatever length, as well as to final examinations, to daily reports and to term papers.
Plagiarism: Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism.
Violations include the possession or use of alcoholic beverages on the college campus or while representing the college on an off-campus trip or activity. Violation may also occur when a student's conduct is adversely affected by the consumption of alcohol.
Animals on Campus
Animals are not allowed in any college building except when needed for instruction or where needed by an employee or student with a disability. Animals on campus must be on a leash or be otherwise under the direct and positive control of the owner.
Any expression of hatred or prejudice is inconsistent with the purposes of higher education in a free society. If bigotry exists in any form in the larger society, it will be an issue on the college campus. Therefore, South Plains College is committed to creating conditions where bigotry is forthrightly confronted.
Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment) is strictly prohibited.
Children in the Classroom
Students are not allowed to bring children to class and will be asked to leave in the interest of providing an environment conducive to learning for all students enrolled in the class.
Failure to comply with lawful direction of a classroom teacher relative to maintaining good order is considered misconduct on the part of the student. Repeated violations of disrupting a class may result in the student being dropped from that course.
The college does not permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. Further information regarding discrimination or harassment and procedures for students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibility section of this Guide.
The use of force or violence or tactics or behavior which cause obstruction, or disruption of teaching, administration, disciplinary procedures or other college authorized activities on college premises or the use of language or behavior that provokes, disrupts, or annoys others, is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.
Distribution of Literature, Advertising, Selling or Solicitation
Selling and soliciting are only permitted on the campus with official authorization. Solicitation of students, faculty, or staff members by personal contact or through the distribution of advertising leaflets or handbills to promote sales is not permitted on any South Plains College campus or in any college buildings without prior approval of Director of Student Activities on the Levelland Campus, the Dean of Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Falsification of Records
Knowingly furnishing false information to the College or forging, altering, or making unauthorized use of a College document, record or identification, is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.
Students are expected and required to promptly address all financial responsibilities owed on and off the campus. Unpaid debts, returned checks and other cases of financial irresponsibility can result in action that may not be limited to holds placed on records and/or criminal or civil actions.
Firearms, Fireworks, and Explosives
The unauthorized possession or use of firearms, fireworks, or explosives of any description on college grounds or property, including residence halls, is prohibited.
Food and Drinks
Food and drinks are not permitted in the computer labs, classrooms, laboratories, shops, the theatre, library, and other designated areas on campus.
Gambling in any form is prohibited by state law on college grounds or property, including college residence halls.
Illegal Selling of Books
The selling of books belonging to another person, organization, firm or institution constitutes theft.
The use, possession or transfer of any illegal substance on campus or at any college related function on or off campus is strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy with respect to illegal substances and violations of this policy will result in a one year suspension from the College.
Lewd, Indecent or Obscene Conduct
Lewd, vulgar, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on college property or functions off campus identified with South Plains College is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.
Misuse of Student Identification Card
The use of a student identification card by anyone other than the person to whom it is issued or failure to present or relinquish student identification card to a member of the faculty, staff or administration is strictly prohibited.
Students are required to comply with the lawful directives of all college officials acting in the performance of their duties. Failure to comply can result in disciplinary action.
Safety and Health Requirements
Students who violate safety and health requirements may be disciplined through academic and Student Code of Conduct sanctions. A student’s grade may be downgraded as a result of the student’s failure to properly observe safety procedures within the laboratory or shop.
Repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the college community; or the safety of any of the immediate family members of the college community will not be tolerated.
Reasonable standards of decency apply to the college community. The student should dress in a manner which does not distract from the academic atmosphere. Revealing attire or clothing carrying obscene or offensive slogans is not permitted. In all academic buildings, classrooms, offices, the Student Center, and dining facilities, students are required to wear shirts and shoes.
The conduct or participation in activities such as threatening or obscene letters or electronic mail, disturbing telephone calls, bomb threats and false alarms by unknown persons are strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on terroristic threats. Violations of this policy will result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.
The removal of property belonging to the College or another person or the possession or transfer of such property constitutes an act of theft. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on theft. Violations of this policy will result in a one year suspension from the college.
The use of all tobacco products is strictly prohibited in all buildings on campus.
The unauthorized entry to or use of College buildings, offices, or facilities is strictly prohibited.
Unauthorized Possession of Keys
The possession by students of keys to College buildings or facilities that have not been issued by an authorized College official is strictly prohibited.
The willful malicious destruction, damage or defacing of property whether it belongs to the College or another student constitutes an act of vandalism.
The use of physical violence against another person or the threat to do so is strictly prohibited. Acts of violence or threats of violence will result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.
Violation of Local, State or Federal Law
Any action, event or group of events which provides grounds for a charge or violation of local, state, or federal laws or College regulations is strictly prohibited.
SPECIAL PROCESS PROVISIONS
In most circumstances, the College will treat attempts to commit any violations of Student Conduct as if those attempts had been completed.
College as Complainant
As necessary, the College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.
The College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
Immunity for Victims and Witnesses
The College pursues a policy of offering victims of crimes and witnesses limited immunity from policy violations related to the sexual misconduct incident. While violations cannot be completely overlooked, the College may provide educational rather than punitive responses, in such cases.
The College pursues a policy of limited immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the college may provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
The College reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, related to alcohol and other drug violations. The College may also notify parents/guardians of not-dependent students under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is not-dependent, the College will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The College also reserves the right to designate which college officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the accused student, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. However, the College observes the legal exceptions as follows:
- Complainants in non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome, essential findings, and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.
The College may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/ damage/ vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction. The College will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.
PENALTIES FOR MISCONDUCT
Penalties for misconduct include, but are not limited to the following, as determined appropriate by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Warning or Reprimand
All offenses that may be punishable by reprimand or warning shall be regarded as minor offenses. Reprimand may include, but is not limited to, counseling with or writing a letter to the student. These actions are cumulative and are considered official college actions and are recorded in the Office of the Dean of Students.
It may be determined that a student should be restricted from specified campus facilities as a part of disciplinary action.
A student may be assigned to do additional class work or other community service jobs on campus, as determined by the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Any offense leading to disciplinary probation is regarded as a major offense. Disciplinary probation is applied for a stated period with or without specified restrictive conditions. Restrictive conditions may include but are not limited to: removing the right of the student to receive any college award, scholarships, or financial aid; removing the right to occupy any position of leadership in any college or student organization or activity; removing the right to operate a motor vehicle on campus. The student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior during the probationary period.
Removal from College Housing
In certain instances, the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students may remove a student from College housing and allow him/her to continue attending classes.
Course Grade Reduction
Any offense leading to a reduction in course grade is regarded as a major offense.
Administrative Course Withdrawal
Any offense leading to administrative course withdrawal is regarded as a major offense.
Any offense leading to disciplinary suspension is regarded as a major offense. Suspension is normally for a stated period, but never less than the remainder of the semester in which the offense is committed. During suspension, the student shall not attend classes, participate in any college related activity, or be on campus for any reason except application for readmission. Readmission on probation may be granted at the end of the suspension period.
Expulsion is the permanent removal from South Plains College with no opportunity for readmission. Expulsion shall be used only in cases of extreme misconduct.
PROCEDURES FOR DICIPLINARY ACTION
All offenses of misconduct, both minor and major, shall be dealt with by the Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, the Director of the Plainview Center or their designee, except for those offenses that are regarded as academic issues. Academic issues shall be dealt with by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of the Technical Division, the Dean of Health Occupation, the Department Chair, or their designee. These individuals shall henceforth be referred to as Case Official. All offenses that may lead to reduction in course grade, administrative withdrawal from a course, suspension or expulsion, shall be regarded as major offenses and be dealt with by the following procedures.
Rules of Evidence and Burden of Proof
Disciplinary decisions will be based on the preponderance of evidence. In other words, it is more likely than not an alleged incident occurred. A totality of all available and relevant evidence will be used to establish this preponderance. The burden and responsibility for gathering and evaluating evidence rests with the College. Accused students may elect to not self-incriminate and should be active in presenting relevant evidence to support their position. The intent of the disciplinary process is to provide an educational remedy that is in the best interest of all students and the preservation of the academic process. In extreme cases this may involve utilizing punitive actions such as suspension or expulsion.
The Case Official is responsible for investigation reported student misconduct and evaluating evidence as to its accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency. Upon concluding that a major offense has been committed and that there is sufficient evidence to prove this offense, a written statement is prepared that includes: the alleged violation and charges against the student; a statement of penalties to be imposed; and the explanation of student rights and due process. The investigation should be completed and results communicated to the student within five (5) working days of knowledge of the issue.
Where the accused individual is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation should be closed. Where the accused individual accepts the finding that he/she violated college policy, the Case Official will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation.
In the event that the accused individual rejects the findings in part or entirely, the student has fifteen (15) College working days to request a hearing. The Case Official will convene and chair the hearing. The membership of the hearing body will be determined by the Case Official, but will include a faculty member of the student’s choice and the President of Student Government. Additional members may include deans, directors, chairpersons or faculty members, as determined by the Case Official. Others may be invited to substantiate the case, with prior approval of the Case Official. At the hearing, the findings of the investigation will be admitted, but are not binding on the decider(s) of fact. The hearing will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil and legal rights of all participants.
Where an accused individual is found in violation the Case Official will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation, as recommended by the hearing body. The Case Official has final decision making authority with regard to formal complaints, subject to appeal.
In the event that an accused individual accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed. Post-hearing, any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.
All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body will be in effect during the appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.
The decision of the Case Official and hearing body may be appealed by petitioning the Vice President over the area the original complaint was heard. Accused students or complainants must petition in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed. The Vice President will determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely. The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show error, as the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonable and appropriately. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation,
If the Vice President determines that new evidence should be considered, the complaint will be returned to the original hearing body to reconsider in light of the new evidence only. The hearing body will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from hearing of the appeal. The committee’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.
Authorized: Vice President for Student Affairs
Nature of Revision: Content
Date Issued: 2/18/2013