Code of Conduct
Casper College is dedicated to providing an academic environment that supports learning and the development of responsible personal and social conduct. Students are expected to treat others with civility, dignity, and respect and abide by all federal, state, and local laws, and college policies, rules and regulations both on and off campus. Casper College reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. The Student Code of Conduct is a means to communicate the goals of the college and maintain a healthy campus environment.
In addition to policies listed in the Casper College Policy Manual, Student Handbook, and all school, department, or program requirements, the Student Code of Conduct outlines student rights, responsibilities, and prohibited behaviors. This is not an exhaustive list but a general guideline. Students residing in campus housing are subject to the conduct standards described in the Residence Hall Handbook, Terms and Conditions for Occupancy, and other campus housing materials. Students participating in campus activities and college sports are subject to conduct standards set by the campus team/activity and regulations set by conference, regional and national organizations responsible for the sanctioning of the sport or activity. Students are responsible for becoming familiar with all conduct policies, rules, and regulations specified in official college publications.
The college may discipline students who violate standards. Students have a right to due process to ensure sanctions are appropriate for the code violations, educational, corrective, and serve as a deterrent. Only the president can expel a student for code violations. Removal from college housing for conduct that endangered or has the potential to endanger the life or safety of any person, including the student, or resulted or may result in property damage is a reasonable safety response and not a disciplinary sanction for the purposes of this code.
Students have certain rights as long as they abide by all college policies and federal, state, and local laws. As a Casper College student, you have a reasonable expectation to the following rights.
- Freedom to pursue your educational goals. The college will provide appropriate learning opportunities through its curricula.
- Due process, unless specifically stated in a policy.
- Freedom to express ideas and thoughts, inquire, and assemble provided your actions do not interfere with the rights of others or effective operation of the college. The college retains the right to be informed about the scheduling of events to ensure events are orderly and conducted appropriately for an academic community.
- Freedom from discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law.
- Privacy of personal information. Student educational records are only released when there is a legitimate need or permission is granted. Student educational records include, but are not limited to, a) academic transcripts and grade records, b) disciplinary proceedings transcripts, c) medical condition and treatment records, d) counseling and psychiatric treatment records, e) financial aid data, and f) attendance records.
- Academic professionalism and standards including:
- Accurate information on course requirements through a written syllabus.
- Protection against arbitrary or capricious evaluation.
- Experience free and open discussion, inquiry, and expression in the classroom and student/instructor conferences that are respectful, rational, and germane to the issue at hand.
- Experience competent instruction and academic advising.
- Freedom to disagree, in a scholarly manner, with the data or views presented and reserve judgment on matters of opinion.
- Protection against an instructor’s unprofessional disclosure of your views, beliefs, and political associations that may surface as a result of the instructor’s teaching or advising. However, instructors have the right to contact college or off-campus officials if a student discloses information that indicates the student or others are in danger or engaging in or intend to engage in illegal activity.
- Protection from sexual misconduct.
Students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct and are subject to disciplinary action up to expulsion for code violations. There are two types of conduct violations: academic and general.
Student Code of Conduct for Academic Code Violations
Academic code violations focus on academic dishonesty, which includes but is not limited to, cheating; plagiarism; buying, selling, or stealing exams; substituting for another person; collusion when collaboration is not approved; knowingly furnishing false information; and copyright violations. All of the following examples are considered plagiarism:
- Turning in someone else’s work as your own
- Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving them credit
- Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
- Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation or not accurately presenting quoted material
- Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
- Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
- Unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of papers or other academic materials or materials found on the internet
Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Code Violations
The vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) is responsible for addressing academic code violations. Academic code violations can be addressed through a direct resolution, conference, or administrative review.
Meetings will be via phone or digital media for grievances involving students who are taking distance education classes only and who do not live in the area.
Instructors who suspect academic dishonesty may address the violation directly. They work with the respective department chair or program director to gather evidence and provide documentation of the violation. The department chair or program director will verify with the associate vice president for student services if the student has had previous academic code violations. If there have been previous violations, the matter immediately moves to a conference.
The instructor provides the student with a written description of the code violation and notification of the date, time, and location of a meeting to discuss the violation. The instructor meets with the student, provides evidence, and may issue sanctions upon the student. If the student accepts the decision, the instructor provides a written statement about the meeting and any sanction issued against the student to the dean, who forwards it to the associate vice president for student services (AVPSS).
If the student is not responsive to corrective action or the instructor thinks the matter would be better addressed by a conference, the instructor may refer the violation to the appropriate dean. The instructor documents the incident in the Maxient tracking system.
If the student fails to attend the meeting, the instructor may review the documentation and decide on the violation. The instructor issues any sanctions upon the student and provides a written statement about the violation and any sanctions issued to the AVPSS, the appropriate dean, department chair, program director, and the student. Students may appeal a code violation decision by requesting a conference.
The student must submit a written request for a conference to the AVPSS within 5 business days of receipt of the decision.
The VPAA appoints a dean outside of the student’s program to manage the conference. The dean meets with the student to discuss the violation and any evidence. If the dean finds the student has likely violated code, the dean will issue a written sanction to the student after reviewing any sanctions issued by the instructor.
If the student fails to attend the meeting, the dean may make a decision based on available evidence. The dean issues any sanctions and provides a written statement about the code violation and sanctions issued to the Academic Affairs Office, AVPSS, and the student.
Students may appeal the dean’s decision by requesting an administrative review. Disagreement with the college’s policies, procedures, regulations, or sanctions issued is not grounds for an administrative review.
Students who wish to appeal a conference decision must submit a written request for an administrative review to the VPAA within 5 business days of the conference decision. The VPAA will review the case and issue a written decision to the student within 10 business days of receipt of the request for review. The VPAA’s decision is final, except for suspensions or expulsions, which may be appealed through the student grievance process.
Sanctions are penalties issued to students for student code of conduct violations. The sanctions issued depend on the nature and severity of the violation; and the student’s disciplinary history, developmental needs, accountability, responsibility, and cooperation taken by the student; the interests of the college community and those affected by the violation; and other aggravating or mitigating factors. Students will receive more severe sanctions for repeat violations or if they are on probation. Students may not withdraw from a course to avoid repercussions of a sanction. A grade will be recorded for the course. The VPAA may recommend expulsions to the president, who is the only person who can expel students from the college. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Grade reduction for the assignment or exam
- Failing grade for the assignment or exam
- No credit for the assignment or exam
- Grade reduction for the course
- Failing grade for the course. Must be approved by the dean.
- Suspension from the program, course, fieldwork, clinicals, or academic endeavors. Must be approved by the dean.
- Termination from the program. Must be approved by the dean.
- Suspension from the college. Prohibited from enrolling in courses, attending or participating in college events, and/or being on campus for a defined period. Must be approved by the VPAA and notification provided to the vice president for student services (VPSS). Students may petition for readmission. Conditions for readmission may apply.
- Expulsion. Permanent termination of student status with no opportunity to petition for readmission or the right to enroll. Only the president can expel a student.
The person who issued the sanctions may modify or lift them if the student has complied with the conditions of the sanctions for a period, and if the issuer, after hearing from the instructor determines it would be beneficial to lift the sanctions. The instructor may advocate for the continuation of any sanctions. Students who fail to comply may have their student accounts placed on hold, preventing them from enrolling in courses.
Student Code of Conduct General Violations
This Student Code of Conduct is adapted, in part, from the NCHERM Group Model Developmental Code of Student Conduct and is used with permission. (See www.tngconsulting.org.)
Mission, Vision, and Philosophy
The college community is committed to fostering an environment conducive to academic inquiry, a productive college life, and thoughtful study and discourse. Student conduct falls under the responsibility of the Student Services Office, which is committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the college community.
A community exists based on shared values. Casper College students are expected to uphold and abide by the Student Code of Conduct. These standards are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, social justice, respect, community, and responsibility. College community members bear responsibility for their conduct and assume reasonable responsibility for the conduct of others. The college uses campus conduct proceedings to assert and uphold the Student Code of Conduct when college community members fail to exemplify the five core values by engaging in violation of the codes.
The student conduct process exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose conduct is not in accordance with our policies; it is not intended to punish students. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their conduct in accordance with community expectations. When a student is unable to conform his or her conduct to community expectations, it may be determined through the student conduct process that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in the community.
The student conduct process is different from criminal and civil court proceedings. The student conduct process is conducted with fairness to all but does not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and adherence to an objective process. No student will be found in violation of college policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct history.
The college annually provides students with a link to the Student Code of Conduct on the college website. Students are responsible for reading and abiding by the Student Code of Conduct.
The Student Code of Conduct and the student conduct process apply to individual students and college-affiliated student organizations. For student conduct, the term “student” refers to any person who has accepted an offer of admission or is registered in a Casper College program.
The college retains conduct jurisdiction over students who take a leave of absence, withdraw, or graduate if misconduct occurred before the leave, withdrawal, or graduation. If sanctioned, the college may place a hold on a student’s ability to re-enroll, obtain official transcripts, or graduate. The student must satisfy all sanctions before re-enrollment eligibility. The college may notate suspension or expulsion on transcripts for serious misconduct committed while enrolled but reported after the responding student has graduated.
The Student Code of Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on the campus and at college-sponsored events and may apply off-campus when the AVPSS determines that the off-campus conduct affects the college community. Determining factors may include the following.
• It appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others
• The situation significantly impinges on the rights, property, or achievements of self or others
• The situation significantly breaches the peace or causes social disorder
• The situation is detrimental to the educational mission or interests of the college
The Student Code of Conduct may be applied to conduct online, via email, or other electronic media. Online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats, and social networking sites are public. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if students or someone else obtains evidence of policy violations. The college does not regularly search online sites for code violations but they may if someone brings concerns to the attention of college administrators. Most online speech not conducted on the college’s networks or using college technology will be protected as free expression and not subject to this code, with two exceptions:
• A true threat is a threat a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily harm upon specific individuals
• Speech posted online about the college or its community members that causes a significant campus disruption
The college may hold students accountable for conduct violations of their guests. The college may apply the code to people who reside in student housing who are not registered students. Visitors and guests of the college may seek a resolution of code violations committed against them by college community members.
There is no time limit on reporting code violations; however, it becomes more difficult over time for the college to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations on alleged violations. Anyone aware of misconduct is encouraged to report it as soon as possible to the AVPSS, Campus Security, or the Casper College Care Team at www.caspercollege.edu/care-team
The college permits anonymous complaints; however, reporting anonymously may limit the college’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint.
College email is the college’s primary communication method with students. Students are responsible for communications delivered to their college email address.
Violations of the Law
The college may investigate and address alleged violations of federal, state, and local laws under the Student Code of Conduct. When an offense occurs over which the college has jurisdiction, the college’s conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
The college reserves the right to exercise its interim suspension authority once it is notified that a student is facing criminal investigation or complaint. (See the Student Conduct Authority section for additional grounds for interim suspension.) Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held, typically within two weeks. An interim suspended student may request an immediate conference with the AVPSS to show cause as to why the AVPSS should lift the interim suspension. This conference may be held to resolve the allegation or to determine if the interim suspension should continue. The interim suspension may be upheld if there is a danger to the community or when the ongoing criminal process delays or prevents the college from conducting its investigation and resolving the allegation. In such cases, the college will delay its hearing until it can conduct an internal investigation or obtain sufficient information, independently or from law enforcement, upon which to proceed. This delay will be no longer than two weeks from notice of the incident unless the reporting party submits a written request for a longer delay to allow the criminal investigation to proceed before the college process.
Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from the college until the criminal charges are resolved. The following conditions still apply.
• The responding student must comply with college investigative efforts that will not prejudice their defense in the criminal trial.
• The responding student must comply with interim actions and restrictions imposed during the leave of absence.
• The responding student agrees that to be reinstated to active student status, he or she must subject to and fully cooperate with the college conduct process and comply with all imposed sanctions.
Core Values and Behavioral Expectations
The college considers the behaviors listed under the core values as inappropriate for the college community and in opposition to the core values outlined in the Student Handbook. These expectations and codes apply to all students. The college encourages community members to report incidents that involve the following actions to college officials. Students found to have committed or attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the sanctions outlined in Conduct Procedures.
Core Value: Integrity
College students exemplify honesty, honor, and respect for the truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to the following.
1. Falsification. Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified, or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification, or financial instruments.
2. Academic Dishonesty. Acts of academic dishonesty as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct for Academic Code Violations (see Academic Dishonesty).
3. Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized access to college buildings or unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of means of access (i.e. keys, cards, etc.) to college buildings, or failing to timely report the loss of a college identification card or key.
4. Collusion. Action or inaction with others to violate the Student Code of Conduct.
5. Deceit. Concealing or misrepresenting the truth within the college community.
6. Election Tampering. Tampering with the election of a college-recognized student organization.
7. Taking of Property. Intentional and unauthorized taking of college property or the personal property of another, including goods, services, and other valuables.
8. Stolen Property. Knowingly taking or maintaining possession of stolen property.
Core Value: Community
College students build and enhance their community. Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to the following.
9. Disruptive Behavior. Substantial disruption of college operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other college activities, or other authorized non-college activities that occur on campus.
10. Rioting. Causing, inciting, or participating in any disturbance that presents a clear and present danger to self or others or causes physical harm to others or damage or destruction of property.
11. Unauthorized Entry. Misuse of access privileges to college premises or unauthorized entry to or use of buildings, including trespassing or propping or unauthorized use of alarmed doors for entry into or exit from a college building.
12. Trademark Violation. Unauthorized use (including misuse) of college or organizational names and images.
13. Damage and Destruction. Intentional, reckless, or unauthorized damage to or destruction of college property or the personal property of another.
14. IT and Acceptable Use. Violating the Acceptable Use Guidelines for Casper College Computing Resources.
15. Gambling. Violating Wyoming gambling laws. Gambling may include raffles, lotteries, sports pools, and online betting activities without prior approval.
16. Weapons. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives (including fireworks and ammunition), guns (including air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons, 3-dimensional and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, throwing stars, or knives with a blade longer than 3 inches, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on college property.
17. Tobacco or Vaping. Violating the college’s Smoking Policy. Smoking/vaping or tobacco use is only allowed in designated areas. See the Smoking policy.
18. Fire Safety. Violation of local, state, federal, or college fire policies including the following.
a. Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire, which damages college or personal property or causes injury.
b. Failure to evacuate a college-controlled building during a fire alarm, regardless of whether the alarm is a planned drill.
c. Improper use of college fire safety equipment.
d. Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on college property. Such action may result in a local fine in addition to college sanctions.
19. Animals. Violating the college’s Animals on Campus Policy. See the Animals on Campus Policy for information on when and under what conditions animals are allowed on campus.
20. Wheeled Devices. Skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, bicycles, and similar wheeled devices are not permitted inside college buildings, residence halls, or on tennis courts. Additionally, skateboards and other wheeled items may not be ridden on railings, curbs, benches, or any such fixtures that may be damaged by these activities and individuals may be liable for damage to college property caused by these activities.
Core Value: Social Justice
Students recognize that respecting the dignity of every person is essential to create and sustain a flourishing college community. They understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others and are just and equitable in their treatment of all community members. They act to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to or diminish the worth of others. Conduct that violates this value includes but is not limited to the following.
1. Discrimination. Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status (race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law) that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or activities. (see Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination)
2. Harassment. Any unwelcome conduct based on actual or perceived status including race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. Report any unwelcome conduct to a college administrator, who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of the victim and community.
3. Retaliation. Intentional, adverse action taken by a responding individual or allied third party, absent legitimate nondiscriminatory purposes, against a participant or supporter of a participant in a civil rights grievance proceeding or other protected activity.
4. Bystanding. Complicity with or failure of any student to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Student Code of Conduct or law or complicity with or failure of any organized group to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Student Code of Conduct or law by its members.
5. Abuse of Conduct Process. Abuse or interference with or failure to comply in college conduct processes including the following examples.
a. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information.
b. Failure to provide, destroying, or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged violation.
c. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in or use of the college conduct system.
d. Harassment (verbal or physical) or intimidation of a hearing or appeals panel member before, during, or following a college conducts proceeding.
e. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the college conduct system.
f. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the college conduct system.
Core Value: Respect
Students show positive regard for each other and the community. Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to the following.
1. Offenses Against Others. Any action which deprives another individual’s rights or ability to access their education.
2. Harm to People. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or endangering the health or safety of any person.
3. Physical Altercations. Initiating or inciting, or attempting to initiate or incite, or participating in a physical altercation with other individuals.
4. Threatening Behaviors
a. Threat. Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to property.
b. Intimidation. Intimidation is the implied threat or act that causes a reasonable fear of harm in another.
5. Bullying and Cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally. This behavior is not protected by freedom of expression.
6. Hazing. An act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or that destroys or removes public or private property for initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene to prevent, discourage, or report those acts may also be a code violation.
Core Value: Responsibility
College students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to themself, others, and the community. Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to the following.
1. Alcohol. Violation of the college’s Alcohol and Drug Free College policy. Alcohol is prohibited in campus housing and under most circumstances on campus. See the Alcohol and Drug Free College policy.
2. Drugs. Use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs and other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.
3. Prescription Medications. Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
4. Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the reasonable directives of college officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties or failure to identify oneself to these people when requested to do so.
5. Financial Responsibilities. Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to the college including knowingly passing a worthless check or money order in payment to the college or a college official acting in an official capacity.
6. Arrest. Failure of a student to accurately report an off-campus arrest by law enforcement for any crime (including non-custodial or field arrests) to the AVPSS within 72 hours of release.
7. Other Policies. Violating other published college policies or codes, including residence hall policies.
8. Violation of Law. Violating local, state, or federal laws, even if such conduct is not expressly prohibited in the Student Code of Conduct.
9. Health and Safety. Creation of health or safety hazards such as dangerous pranks, hanging out of or climbing from, on, or in windows, balconies, or roofs.
Following is a general overview of how the college’s conduct process works; however, not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Therefore, these procedures are flexible and not the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority.
The college’s conduct process and applicable timelines start with notice to a college administrator of an alleged violation of college policies or codes and may include an educational conference, formal hearing, and review and finalize sanctions. In cases of sexual misconduct and discrimination, alleged policy violations will use the process outlined in the Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination Policy, not the conduct process described below. In such cases, associated violations not falling under sexual misconduct and discrimination will follow the process described below.
The college conducts a preliminary inquiry into the nature of the notice, available evidence, and parties involved after which the AVPSS holds an educational conference with the responding student to discuss the alleged violations. The preliminary inquiry may lead to the following actions.
1. There is insufficient evidence or reasonable cause to believe the responding student committed a violation. If the finding is that the responding student is not responsible for a code violation, the case is closed.
2. The responding student does not accept responsibility for the complaint and information provided by the parties warrants a comprehensive investigation to determine if a violation is more likely than not to have occurred. The AVPSS initiates the investigation process. If the responding student rejects the findings of the investigation, in whole or in part, the college considers this a contested allegation and the process moves to a formal hearing.
3. Informal Resolution. There is sufficient evidence or reasonable cause to believe the responding student committed a violation. If the responding student accepts this finding within three days of notice, the college considers the result an uncontested allegation. The AVPSS determines the sanctions for the code violation. The responding student may accept or reject the sanctions. If uncontested the process ends.
If the responding student accepts the findings but rejects the sanction, the student must submit a request for a hearing within three business days of the notice. The college will conduct a sanctions-only hearing, which recommends sanctions to the AVPSS, who will determine the final sanctions. The process ends unless the responding student requests an appeal hearing because of new evidence or because the process was not followed.
4. Conflict Resolution. The AVPSS has the discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of conflict resolution. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no appeal. At no time will complaints of physical sexual misconduct or violence be mediated as the sole institutional response.
The college will not tolerate retaliation in the form of adverse action taken because a person participated in an investigation or resolution of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately to the associate vice-president for student services.
The college may conduct additional investigations in a contested allegation. When there is reasonable cause to believe a student violated policy or code, the AVPSS will issue a formal notice of the complaint and hold a hearing before a formal hearing panel. The panel will make a determination, which is final except in cases that involve Title IX or other discrimination allegations. These cases are referred to the Title IX coordinator. The process ends if the panel finds that the responding student did not violate the Student Code of Conduct. Appeal options are found under Appeal Review Procedures.
Review and Finalize Sanction(s)
If the panel finds the student in violation, it will recommend sanctions to the AVPSS, who will review and finalize the sanctions, subject to the college appeals process by any party to the complaint.
Student Conduct Authority
The AVPSS is vested with the authority over student conduct by the president. The AVPSS oversees and manages the student conduct process or assigns cases to a designee. A designee may act in place of the AVPSS. The AVPSS may appoint a formal hearing panel and appeals panel as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process. The AVPSS will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit.
The AVPSS will not forward a complaint for a hearing unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy or code has been violated. Reasonable cause is credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or victim’s statement. The AVPSS will not forward a complaint wholly unsupported by credible information for a hearing.
College as Convener
The college is the convener of every action under this code. Within that action, there are several roles. The responding student is the person alleged to have violated the code. The reporting party may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest and may be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student participates. Witnesses may offer information about the allegation. The investigators’ role is to present the allegations and share evidence the college has obtained about the allegations.
A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when code violations committed by the organization or its members (1) take place at an organization sponsored or co-sponsored event, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit, (2) the violators received the consent or encouragement of the membership or officers, or (3) the violations were known or should have been known by the membership or its officers.
Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same student conduct process. Individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.
Amnesty for Victims
The college provides amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report a code violation because they fear being accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. In such cases, the college may impose an educational program but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
Interpretation and Revision
The AVPSS will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Student Code of Conduct. Material deviation from these rules will be made as necessary and include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online or in written communication. The AVPSS may vary procedures with notice if the AVPSS determines that changes to law or regulations require policy or procedural changes to the Student Handbook. The AVPSS may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Questions of interpretation of the Student Code of Conduct will be referred to the AVPSS, whose interpretation is final. The college will update the Student Code of Conduct annually under the direction of the AVPSS.
The college reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students of any conduct situation, particularly those involving alcohol and drug violations. The college may notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol or drug violations. Administrators may use parental notification discretionarily when permitted by FERPA or student consent.
Investigations and Findings
Investigations may occur as part of an educational conference or a formal hearing. The following are the procedures for an investigation. The AVPSS will appoint an investigator(s) for allegations of code violations. The investigator(s) will take the following steps, if not already completed by the AVPSS. For allegations of code violations that meet Title IX standards, the college will follow the Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination Policy process.
1. Initiate necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim.
2. Determine the identity and contact information of the reporting party, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a college representative. Complete an intake form.
3. Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of policies or codes that may have been violated, review the history of the parties, nature of the complaint, and context of the incidents, and look for behavioral patterns.
4. If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the college should pursue the complaint and if sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the victim’s participation. Notify the victim if the college intends to pursue the complaint regardless of the victim’s involvement. Inform the victim of his or her rights in the process and the option to become involved if they choose.
5. If indicated by the educational conference and authorized by the AVPSS, conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the responding student violated college policy and determine what violations should serve as the basis for the complaint. A comprehensive investigation usually takes between one day and two weeks. If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action.
6. Meet with the reporting party to finalize the party’s statement, which the investigator will facilitate.
7. Conduct a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, to include a witness and evidence lists, intended timeframe, and order of interviews of all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview before or at the time of the interview.
8. Interview relevant witnesses, summarize the information they shared, and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy.
9. Obtain available documentary evidence and information.
10. Obtain available physical evidence.
11. Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline.
12. Make a finding based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a violation is more likely than not).
13. Present the investigation report and findings to the responding student, who may accept the findings, accept the findings in part and reject them in part, or may reject all findings.
14. Share the findings and update the reporting and responding party on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
Sanctions may be issued for attempting to intimidate, bribe, influence witnesses, or otherwise retaliate against college personnel, or people relevant to the proceedings, disrupting a proceeding, filing a complaint in bad faith, giving false evidence or testimony, or attempting to use the judicial system maliciously.
The following describes how to proceed depending on if the responding student is found responsible and if the responding student accepts or rejects the findings or the sanctions in whole or in part.
1. The Responding Student is Found Not Responsible
The investigation will be closed when the responding student is found not responsible for the alleged violations, which means that upon review of available evidence it is more likely than not that the alleged violation did not occur or that evidence did not reach the preponderance threshold. The party bringing the complaint, if any, may request the AVPSS review the investigation file to possibly reopen the investigation or convene a hearing. The AVPSS has sole discretion to reopen an investigation or convene a hearing, which the AVPSS may grant for only extraordinary cause.
2. The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of Responsible
If the responding student accepts the finding that they violated college policy, the investigator will consult with the AVPSS and then recommend sanctions for the violation. In cases involving discrimination, recommended sanctions will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the college community. If the responding student accepts the sanctions, the AVPSS will implement the sanctions and close the process.
The responding student has three days from the date of acceptance to reject the sanctions. If the responding student does not reject the sanctions after three days, the resolution becomes final. If the responding student rejects the sanctions within that period, the college will convene a hearing on the sanctions only. The findings of the hearing are not subject to appeal.
3. The Responding Student Does Not Accept a Finding of Responsible
If the responding student does not accept the finding that they violated college policy, the matter will be referred to a formal hearing.
The AVPSS selects one to three formal hearing panel members from a pool of at least eight faculty, staff, and administrative employees who have been appointed by the AVPSS and have received annual training. The panel is usually comprised of one faculty, one staff, and one administrator. Availability may determine a different panel composition. The AVPSS will appoint two investigators trained in Civil Rights and Title IX when the complaint involves sexual misconduct, discrimination, or other sensitive issues that do not meet Title IX standards. Complaints that meet Title IX standards will follow the process in the Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy.
Formal hearing decisions are final and further appeals will be allowed only when new, substantial evidence is discovered or procedures were not followed.
Special Hearing Provisions for Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, and Other Complaints of a Sensitive Nature That Do Not Meet Title IX Standards
The AVPAA selects three panel members from a pool of employees trained in Civil Rights and Title IX to conduct hearings about sexual misconduct, discrimination, and other complaints of a sensitive nature. In such cases, whether the alleged victim is serving as the party bringing the complaint or as a witness, the college may provide for alternative testimony options, such as providing a privacy screen in the hearing room or allowing the reporting party to testify from another room via audio or audio/video technology.
The past sexual history or sexual character of a party is not admissible by the other parties in the hearing unless the panel chair determines such information to be highly relevant. Such information will be presumed irrelevant until a party or the college shows relevance to the chair, which must occur before the hearing. Demonstration of a pattern of repeated or predatory behavior by the responding student in the form of previous findings in any legal or college proceeding or the form of previous good faith allegations will be relevant to the finding, not just the sanction. The parties will be notified in advance if any such information is deemed relevant and will be introduced in the hearing.
Parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of a hearing, sanctions assigned, and the rationale for the decision.
Notice of Hearing
Once the AVPSS determines that reasonable cause exists to refer a complaint for a hearing, the AVPSS gives notice to the responding student. The notice will be in writing and delivered in person by the AVPSS, mailed to the student’s local address as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the student’s college-issued email account. Following any of these methods, the notice will be presumptively delivered. The notice will include the alleged violation and where to locate the Student Code of Conduct and the college’s resolution of complaint procedures. It will direct the responding student to contact the AVPSS within three business days. The student will be notified that they may bring an advisor of their choice.
The responding student may schedule a meeting with the AVPSS, where the AVPSS will explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding student may indicate verbally or in writing to the AVPSS, whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.
The AVPSS may impose restrictions or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a hearing when the student represents a threat of serious harm to others or is facing allegations of serious criminal activity. The AVPSS takes this action to preserve the integrity of an investigation, preserve college property, or prevent disruption of or interference with the normal operations of the college.
Interim actions may include separation from the college or restrictions on participation in the community pending the scheduling of a hearing on the alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. A student who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the AVPSS to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the college may proceed with scheduling a hearing.
The college may deny a student access to college housing or the college, facilities, and events during an interim suspension. At the discretion of the AVPSS, this may include classes or other college activities or privileges the student might otherwise be eligible to access. The AVPSS in collaboration with the appropriate deans may pursue alternative coursework options to ensure as minimal impact as possible on the responding student. The AVPSS will notify the responding student of the conditions in which they may return to campus for a meeting or hearing.
Hearings and Preparation
The college has a formal conduct hearing process. Except in a complaint involving failure to comply with a summons from the AVPSS, no student may be found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct solely because the student failed to appear for a hearing. In such instances, the conduct hearing will proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the complaint will be presented to and considered by the AVPSS or panel presiding over the hearing.
Where the responding student admits to the violation, the AVPSS may use an educational conference to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a formal hearing. The AVPSS will hear the complaint and make a determination.
A formal hearing will be conducted when the responding student denies a violation. The AVPSS may consider an educational conference at the request of one or more of the parties to the complaint. The responding student will be given a minimum of three days to prepare unless all parties wish to proceed more quickly. The following guidelines summarize preparation for a formal hearing.
1. Notice of the time, date, and location of the hearing will be in writing and may be delivered to all parties in person by the AVPSS, mailed to the student’s local address as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the student’s college-issued email account. Following any of these methods, the notice will be presumptively delivered.
2. The reporting party may serve as the party bringing the complaint when there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question or may elect to have the college administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward. The college administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward when there is no alleged victim.
3. If a responding student fails to respond to the notice from the AVPSS, the AVPSS may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a college official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two days by answering the original notice, an educational conference may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a disciplinary hold placed on the student’s college account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses or college housing until the student responds to the initial complaint.
4. At least three days before any scheduled formal hearing, the following will occur.
• The responding student delivers a written response to the complaint to the AVPSS.
• The responding student delivers a written list of witnesses for the hearing to the AVPSS.
• The responding student delivers to the AVPSS physical evidence the student intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so the AVPSS can arrange for its presence.
• The party bringing the complaint delivers a written list of witnesses for the hearing to the AVPSS.
• The party bringing the complaint delivers physical evidence to the AVPSS that the party needs at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so the AVPSS can arrange for its presence.
• The party bringing the complaint and the responding student provides to the AVPSS the name of one advisor who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
• If the responding student or the party bringing the complaint fails to supply any of the items listed above within the specified timelines, the hearing will continue as scheduled unless otherwise determined by the AVPSS.
5. The AVPSS ensures that the hearing information and any other available written documentation are shared with the parties at least two days before a scheduled hearing. The parties will be given a list of the names of the panel in advance. If any party objects to any panel member, that party must raise objections in writing to the AVPSS. Panel members will only be unseated if the AVPSS concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Panel members who believe they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
Formal Hearing Procedures for Violations That Do Not Meet Title IX Standards
The AVPSS will appoint one panel member as the chair. The parties have the right to be present at the hearing; however, they do not have the right to be present during panel deliberations. If a student cannot attend the hearing, it is that student’s responsibility to notify the AVPSS no less than three days before the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time, and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, the hearing will proceed as scheduled if the responding student fails to give the requisite minimum three-day notice or if the responding student fails to appear. If the party bringing the complaint fails to appear, the complaint may be dropped or the AVPSS may choose to pursue the allegation on behalf of the college.
The AVPSS, chair, and panel will conduct a formal hearing according to the following guidelines.
1. Hearings are closed to the public.
2. The panel chair and the AVPSS have the discretion to admit people other than the parties involved to the hearing.
3. In hearings involving more than one responding student, the standard procedure will be to hear the complaints jointly; however, the AVPSS may permit separate hearing pertinent to each responding student. In joint hearings, the panel will make separate determinations of responsibility for each responding student.
4. The parties have the right to an advisor of their choosing, including an attorney, who may attend the hearing. Typically, advisors are college community members. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. They may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the panel chair, and suggest questions to their advisee.
5. The panel chair may allow the complainants, responding students, panel members, or the AVPSS to question the witnesses and parties who are present. The panel chair may ask the questions or allow other parties to ask them. The panel chair or the AVPSS may limit unduly repetitive witnesses.
6. The panel and AVPSS may accept pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements for consideration. Formal rules of evidence are not observed. The panel may consider all forms of evidence, including hearsay. The panel chair or AVPSS may limit the number of character witnesses or may accept written affidavits of character instead of testimony.
7. The panel chair or AVPSS has the final decision on procedural questions.
8. After a formal hearing, the panel will deliberate and determine by majority vote whether it is more likely than not that the responding student has violated the Student Code of Conduct. The AVPSS will be present as a resource during deliberations. The panel will determine the appropriate sanctions if the finding is that a violation occurred. The AVPSS will inform the panel of applicable precedent and previous conduct violations or other relevant pattern information about the responding student. The panel chair will prepare a written deliberation report no more than two pages detailing the recommended finding, how each member voted, the information cited in support of its recommendation, and information excluded from its consideration and why, and any recommended sanctions. The panel chair must submit the report to the AVPSS within two days after the end of the deliberations.
9. The AVPSS will consider the panel’s recommendations, may make appropriate modifications to the panel’s report, render a decision, and inform the responding student and reporting party (if applicable by law or college policy) of the final determination within three business days after the hearing. The notice will be in writing and may be delivered in person by the AVPSS, mailed to the student’s local address as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the student’s college-issued email account. Following any of these methods, the notice will be presumptively delivered. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, the AVPSS will simultaneously notify all parties of the outcome, meaning without substantial delay between notifying each party.
10. There will be a single verbatim record, such as an audio recording, for formal hearings. Deliberations are not recorded. The record is the property of the college and is maintained according to the college’s record retention policy.
One or more of the following sanctions may be imposed upon for Student Code of Conduct violations.
1. Warning. A written notice that the student has violated college policies or codes and that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while enrolled at the college.
2. Restitution. Compensation for damage caused to the college or any person’s property. This could include failing to return a reserved space to the proper condition resulting in a charge for labor costs and expenses. This is not a fine but repayment for labor costs and the value of property destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.
3. Fines. Reasonable monetary fines imposed for a violation.
4. Community/College Service Requirements. To complete a specific supervised college service.
5. Loss of Privileges. The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period.
6. Confiscation of Prohibited Property. Items whose presence violates college policy will be confiscated and become the property of the college. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the AVPSS or Campus Security.
7. Behavioral Requirement. The requirement to attend or perform activities such as academic counseling or substance abuse assessment, writing a letter of apology, etc.
8. Educational Program. The requirement to attend, present, and participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a topic or issue related to the violation.
9. Restriction of Visitation Privileges. A no trespass sanction may be imposed on resident or non-resident students. The parameters of the restriction will be specified and may be specific to buildings or the campus in general
10. College Housing Probation. A written notice to a student that the college may immediately remove the student from college housing should further violations of residence life or college policies occur during a specified period. Regular probationary meetings may be required.
11. College Housing Reassignment. Reassignment of the student to another college housing facility. Residential life personnel will decide on the reassignment location and restrictions.
12. College Housing Suspension. Removal from college housing for a specified period after which the student is eligible to return under specific conditions. The student must vacate college housing within 24 hours of being notified of the housing suspension. The student may request an extension to the deadline to vacate to the director of student life. The college may enforce this sanction with a trespass action if necessary. Students must gain permission from the director of student life before reapplication for college housing.
13. College Housing Expulsion. The indefinite revocation of a student’s privilege to live in or visit any college housing structure. The college may enforce this sanction with a trespass action if necessary.
14. College Probation. The student receives a notice that the student may face suspension or expulsion if further violations occur during a probationary period. Regular probationary meetings may be required.
15. Eligibility Restriction. The student is deemed as being not in good standing with the college for a specified period and may not be allowed to participate in certain activities until the student is back in good standing. The AVPSS may grant limitations or exceptions to the ability to participate. The terms of this sanction may include the following.
• Ineligibility to hold office in a student organization recognized by the college or hold an elected or appointed office at the college.
• Ineligibility to represent the college to anyone outside the college community in any way including participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing the college at an official function, event, or intercollegiate competition as a player, manager, student coach, etc.
16. College Suspension. Separation from the college for a specified period, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent on the satisfaction of conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within 24 hours of being notified of the action. The student may submit a request for a deadline extension to the AVPSS. During the suspension, the student is banned from college property, functions, events, and activities without prior written approval from the AVPSS. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if necessary. This sanction will be noted as a conduct suspension on the student’s official academic transcript.
17. College Expulsion. Permanent separation from the college. The student is banned from college property and college-sponsored activity or event. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if necessary. This sanction will be noted as a conduct expulsion on the student’s official academic transcript. Presidential approval is required for this action.
18. Other Sanctions. With the approval of the AVPSS, additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense. The following sanctions may be imposed on groups or organizations found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct.
• One or more of the conduct sanctions listed
• Loss of privileges (including status as a college registered group/organization) for a specified period
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a hearing is part of the responding student’s education record and protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions.
As allowed under FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a crime of violence or a forcible or non-forcible sex offense, the college will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the hearing results, regardless of whether the college concludes a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s name, responding student’s name, the violation committed, and sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, the college will release to all parties to the complaint only the rationale for the outcome, findings, and sanctions.
The college may release the above information publicly or to any third party in cases where the college determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a crime of violence or a forcible or non-forcible sex offense. FERPA defines crimes of violence to include the following.
- Assault offenses (includes stalking)
- Criminal homicide—manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal homicide—murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
Failure to Complete Conduct Sanctions
Students, as college community members, must comply with conduct sanctions within the time specified by the AVPSS. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions or suspension from the college. In such situations, resident students will be required to vacate college housing within 24 hours of being notified by the AVPSS. The student may submit a request for a deadline extension to the AVPSS or the director of student life. A suspension will be lifted when the AVPSS determines that compliance with conduct sanctions has been satisfactorily achieved.
Appeal Review Procedures
Grounds for Appeal Requests
Appeals requests are limited to the following.
1. A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
2. 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.
Appeals must be filed in writing with the VPSS within three business days of notice of the hearing outcome, barring exigent circumstances. The VPSS or, when appropriate, the Title IX coordinator may make an exception to the filing deadline.
The VPSS will designate an appeal review officer (ARO) from the Title IX pool or one of the college deans. The ARO will share the appeal with other parties named in the appeal when appropriate under procedure or law. Other parties may file a response or request to the appeal on the same or different grounds. The AVPSS will share request-related documents with all parties.
The ARO will conduct an initial review to determine if the appeal request meets the limited grounds and is timely. The ARO may consult with the AVPSS or Title IX coordinator on procedural or substantive questions that arise. If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original findings and sanctions will stand and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the ARO will determine, typically within 3 to 5 business days, whether to refer the appeal to an appeals panel or to remand it to the original decision-makers. Upon the ARO’s decision, the AVPSS will draft a response memorandum to the appeal requests based on the ARO’s determination and justification.
The ARO should use remand whenever possible and provide instructions for reconsideration only in light of the limited grounds on which the ARO found the appeal had standing. An appeals panel will be constituted to hear the matter when the original decision-makers may be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error. The decision of the appeals panel may be appealed once. Full re-hearings by an appeals panel are not permitted.
When new evidence is presented or sanctions are challenged, the ARO will determine if the matter should be returned to the original decision-makers for reconsideration or if the appeals panel should review it with instruction on the parameters about institutional consistency and applicable legal guidelines. The appeals panel must limit its review to the current appeal. In a review, the original finding and sanctions are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing parties to show a clear error.
On reconsideration, the appeals panel or original decision-maker may affirm or change the findings or sanctions of the original hearing body according to the permissible grounds. They should correct procedural or substantive errors, consider new evidence, and assign sanctions proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.
The appeals panel is to make its decisions within five days of submission of the appeal to the panel. The panel’s decisions are final, as are decisions made by the original hearing body, AVPSS, or Title IX administrator as the result of reconsideration consistent with instructions from the ARO.
The AVPSS selects three appeals panel members from the formal hearing panel pool. Any pool member who served on the hearing panel or was involved in the investigation in any way is not eligible for selection. If an appeals panel member resigns from a panel, the AVPSS will select an eligible replacement from the employee group from which the panel member came. The VPSS appoints a chair of the appeals panel.
The chair has the final authority to approve those serving on the appeals panel. The parties may challenge panelists based on potential bias. If any party objects to any panel member, that party must raise objections in writing to the chair. Panel members will only be unseated if the chair concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Panel members who feel they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
The AVPSS serves as the non-voting advisor to the panel and is responsible for training the panel, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the complainant and responding student.
The presumptive stance is that decisions made and sanctions imposed by the original decision-maker are to be implemented during the appellate process. At the discretion of the AVPSS, and in consultation with the Title IX administrator when necessary, implementation of sanctions may be deferred pending review only in extremely exigent circumstances. This does not include proximity to graduation, end of term, or exams. Instead, it refers to an overwhelming likelihood, as determined by the ARO and AVPSS, in consultation, that the appeal would result in a reversal of the finding or substantial modification of the sanctions.
Other Appeals Guidelines
1. The AVPSS will timely inform all parties of the status of requests for an appeal or the appeal consideration. The AVPSS will notify all parties of the appeal decision results within 3 business days of the decision.
2. Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original decision-maker for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued.
3. Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation about the grounds for appeal. Witnesses may be called if necessary.
4. Appeals are not an opportunity for appeals panelists to substitute their judgment for the original decision-makers’ because they disagree with the finding or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original decision-maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
The college maintains conduct records for seven years from the time of their creation except for cases that result in separation (suspension or expulsion, including from housing) and those that fall under Title IX, which are maintained indefinitely.
Casper College is an equal opportunity institution and as such does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law in admission or access to or treatment or employment in its educational programs or activities.
Students who believe they have been discriminated against or have been treated unfairly may seek resolution through the student grievance process except for sexual misconduct or discrimination violations, which should be referred to the Sexual Misconduct and Discrimination Policy. Disagreement with the college’s policies, procedures, or regulations, is not grounds for a grievance. Grievances may be addressed through an informal resolution, formal resolution, or grievance hearing.
Consumer protection or state authorization issues for distance education courses must be addressed under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Distance Education Student Procedure found at www.caspercollege.edu/dlc/about/state-authorization. Meetings will be via phone or digital media for grievances involving students who are taking distance education courses only and who do not live in the area.
Students are encouraged to first attempt to resolve a grievance before initiating a formal grievance. Issues, concerns, and conflicts can be addressed more quickly by directly working with the people involved. For academic matters, students should first contact their instructor. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, students may seek a resolution by following the chain of command and contact, in order, the academic chair or program director, then the dean. For all other matters, students should first contact the employee with whom they are having a concern or conflict. In situations of a sensitive nature, students can contact the employee’s supervisor. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, students may seek a resolution by following the chain of command up to the director level. Students who are uncertain as to whom to contact or how to begin a resolution may seek advice from their academic advisor, or the Vice President for Student Services Office. Students who are not satisfied with any proposed resolutions may pursue a formal resolution.
Students who wish to have a formal resolution must submit a completed Student Grievance Form, found at caspercollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cc-student-grievance-form.pdf to the VPAA for grievances involving non-academic matters or the VPSS for grievances involving academic matters. Submitting the form to the non-decision-making VP protects students against bias. Students must submit the form no later than 5 business days after becoming aware of the perceived events that led to the grievance.
After documenting receiving the form, the VPSS will forward complaints about academic matters to the VPAA and the VPAA will forward complaints about all other matters to the VPSS. The appropriate VP will review the Student Grievance Form and may dismiss the complaint or, if the matter has merit, meet with the involved parties to seek resolution. If the parties reach a resolution, the VP will issue a written agreement.
Students who are not satisfied with a proposed resolution may request permission to request a grievance hearing from the VP who initially received the form. That VP will provide the student written authorization to request a grievance hearing or notification that there is no basis for an appeal and the process ends. The VP’s decision is final.
Students who wish to have a grievance hearing must submit a hearing request to the VP they have been working with within 5 business days of receiving written permission to request a hearing. The VP will schedule a hearing within 15 business days of receipt of the hearing request and notify all parties of the hearing date, time, and location.
The AVP in consultation with the VP who granted permission for a hearing will convene a three-person panel consisting of a dean, a full-time instructor, and a full-time administrator. The panel is responsible for hearing testimony, questioning witnesses, reviewing evidence, and making a decision. The VP will designate a chairperson from the panel, who is responsible for conducting the hearing. The VP will provide the panel with copies of pertinent information before the hearing.
The grievance panel will conduct the hearing according to the following guidelines.
1. The chairperson will ensure a fair, orderly, and timely hearing.
2. The hearing is closed to anyone who is not part of the proceeding. The panel may hear testimony from witnesses; however, witnesses may not stay for any part of the hearing for which their presence is not required.
3. The hearing will be limited to issues presented in the original Student Grievance Form and issues reasonably necessitated by intervening developments.
4. The grievance panel may request additional evidence.
5. If a party fails to appear at the hearing, the grievance panel may base its decision on the documents provided and on the presentation of the parties present.
6. The AVP will record the proceedings, which will serve as the official record. The recording may be audio or another method selected by the AVP. Either party may request a copy of this recording at their own expense from the AVP.
7. Each party may present witnesses and evidence. Each party must provide the other party with a list of witnesses and evidence at least 5 business days before the hearing.
8. Each party may invite one support person, who can be an attorney, to attend the hearing. The support person may not testify or participate in the hearing.
9. The chairperson will administer the following oath to any witnesses.
I agree to tell the truth, to the best of my knowledge, in these proceedings.
10. Each party will present its case, starting with the student. Following presentations by both parties, the panel may ask questions or request additional evidence. Any witness who testifies will be open to questions from the panel and cross-examination from the other party.
11. When the grievance panel is satisfied it has sufficient information to render an informed decision, the chairperson will adjourn the hearing and the panel will meet in a closed conference. The panel will arrive at its decision by majority vote.
12. The chairperson has 5 business days from the close of the hearing to submit a written decision for review to the VPAA for complaints about academic matters or the VPSS for all other matters. The panel’s decision will include pertinent facts, an aggregate vote tally, and the reasons for the panel’s decision. All panel members will sign the decision. A dissenting opinion may be included.
13. The chairperson and VP will review the panel’s decision. If the VP has no concerns, the chairperson will immediately submit the decision to the AVP. If the VP has concerns about the decision or hearing, the VP will send the chairperson a written request that the panel continues their deliberations. Upon further deliberation, the chairperson will provide the VP and the AVP with the panel’s final decision within 5 business days of the request to continue deliberations. The panel’s final decision is binding.
14. The AVP will provide the written decision to the student within 3 business days of receiving the decision from the chairperson.
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