The purpose of the student conduct process at Wilkes Community College is to protect the interests of the community and to address those whose behavior is not in accordance with college policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with community expectations. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision maker. 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 any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
A. DEFINITION OF TERMS
- The term College means Wilkes Community College (WCC).
- The term College Premises refers to all properties and facilities owned or leased by WCC and all off campus sites at which the college conducts classes, programs, services, or events.
- The term Community Member includes any person who is a student, faculty member, staff member, or any other person employed by the college.
- The term Reporting Party refers to the individual reporting a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
- The term Conduct Administrator refers to college officials who are authorized to determine whether a student has violated the Code of Conduct and to impose sanctions during a hearing.
- The term Conduct Hearing refers to a meeting between an accused student and a conduct administrator. The purpose of the hearing is to review the complaint and the results of an investigation. The student will be asked to respond to the allegations of misconduct and provided an opportunity to share additional information. Based on a preponderance of the evidence, the conduct administrator will determine if the student violated the Code of Conduct. If the student is found in violation, appropriate sanctions will be imposed.
- The term Preponderance of the Evidence is a standard of evidence which means that it is more likely than not or there is a greater than 50 percent chance that a conduct violation has occurred. This standard requires a much lower level of proof than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard used for criminal matters.
- The term Responding Party refers to the individual who is alleged to have committed a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
- The term Student includes anyone who has submitted an admission application and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the college. The term applies to all students, including basic skills, workforce development and community education, and curriculum.
WCC students are provided, via college email, a copy of the Code of Student Conduct each semester in the form of a link on the college website. Hard copies are available upon request from the Student Services Office or a conduct administrator. Students are responsible for reading and abiding by the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. College email is the college’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their college email address.
The Code of Student Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of all students, including curriculum, workforce development and community education, and basic skills, as well as all college affiliated student organizations. For the purposes of student conduct, the college considers an individual to be a student when an admission application has been submitted and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the college.
The college retains conduct jurisdiction over students for any misconduct that occurred prior to a leave of absence, withdrawal, or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll (and/or obtain official transcripts and/or graduate) and all sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled but reported after the accused student has graduated, the college may invoke these procedures and should the former student be found responsible, the college may revoke that student’s degree.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on college premises and at college-sponsored events. Additionally, the Code of Student Conduct applies to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the college community and/or mission/interests of the college.
The Code of Student Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic medium. Students also should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The college does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of college officials. However, most online speech by students not involving college networks or technology will be protected as free expression and not subject to this Code, with two notable exceptions:
- Speech posted online that a reasonable person would view as intimidating, degrading, humiliating, undermining, or threatening;
- Speech posted online about the college or its community members that causes a significant on-campus disruption.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to guests of WCC community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Code of Student Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for college officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations.
Though anonymous complaints are permitted, doing so may limit the college’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to a conduct administrator or campus police.
Campus police have the authority to temporarily remove any person from WCC property for engaging in criminal activities or violating WCC policies, including the Code of Student Conduct.
C. VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW
College conduct proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with behavior that potentially violates both criminal law and the Code of Student Conduct. Proceedings under the Code of Student Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of a conduct administrator.
Determinations made under the Code of Student Conduct are independent from any civil or criminal court outcomes related to the same incident.
D. RULES OF CONDUCT
The following section describes activities and/or behaviors that are prohibited by the college. Conduct administrators have the authority to take immediate action and begin disciplinary proceedings in response to violations of this Code of Conduct. Violation of one or more of the rules of conduct may result in one of the sanctions described in Section II of the Code of Student Conduct Procedure.
- Academic Dishonesty
- Cheating: Cheating is intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, or other devices in any academic exercise. This definition includes unauthorized communication of information prior to and/or during an academic exercise and having other persons complete work or take tests.
- Fabrication and Falsification: Fabrication and falsification is the intentional and unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification is a matter of altering information, while fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise. Forgery and academic record tampering are included in this category.
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own written work offered for credit.
- Abuse of Academic Materials: Abuse of academic materials is intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resource material, including equipment.
- Complicity in Academic Dishonesty: Being an accomplice is intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
*See procedure 126.96.36.199 – Discipline and Appeal for Academic Violations
- Academic Disruption: Academic disruption is disruption or obstruction of teaching, administration, or other college functions.Note: The primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the faculty. Students who engage in behaviors which result in disruption of a class may be directed by the faculty member or college police to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. If a disruptive student refuses to leave when the faculty member tells him or her to do so, the faculty member should dismiss the class, leave the classroom, and call college police to remove the student.
- Unauthorized Occupation or Seizure: Unauthorized occupation or seizure is occupation or seizure in any manner of college property, a college facility, or any portion thereof for a use inconsistent with prescribed, customary, or authorized use.
- Gatherings and Assemblies: Gatherings or assemblies are considered a violation of the code of conduct when conducted in a manner which:
- threatens or causes injury to persons or property;
- interferes with free access to, ingress, or egress of college facilities;
- is harmful, obstructive, or disruptive to the educational process or institutional functions of the college
Other violations include:
- holding rallies, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering without prior approval of the college;
- remaining at the scene of such an assembly after being asked to leave by a representative of the college staff.
*See policy/procedure 2.3.5 – Campus Free Speech, Distribution of Material and Assembly
- Verbal: Verbal Abuse is verbal abuse of any person on college premises or at college supervised functions, including actions which threaten or endanger the health or safety of any such persons.
- Physical: Physical Abuse is physical abuse of any person on college premises or at college-supervised functions, including physical actions which threaten or endanger the health or safety of any such persons.
- Sexual Harassment: Students are prohibited from engaging in sexual harassment as defined in the WCC Sex Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Allegations of sexual harassment are resolved according to the process described in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures.
*See policy/procedure 5.3.4/188.8.131.52 – Sex Discrimination and Harassment and Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance
- Harm or Destruction to College Facilities or Property: Harm or Destruction to College Facilities or Property is the damage or defacement of any college, student organization, community member, or campus visitor property on campus premises or at college functions.
- Theft: Theft is unauthorized possession of college, student organization, community member, or campus visitor property on campus premises or at college functions with the intent to deprive the owner of such property.
- Theft – Failure to Return Property: Theft – Failure to Return Property is failure to return college or student organization property.
- Concealment of Merchandise: Concealment of Merchandise is the concealment of any merchandise while inside any retail area on the college premises.
- Misuse – General: Misuse – General is the misuse of any college, student organization, community member or campus visitor property on campus premises or at college functions.
- Unauthorized Entry:
- Unauthorized Entry – College Property: Unauthorized Entry – College Property is unauthorized entry upon the property of the college which has been restricted in use and thereby placed off limits.
- Unauthorized Entry – Campus Buildings: Unauthorized Entry – Campus Buildings is unauthorized entry into a college building after closing hours.
- Computer and Network Usage Violation: Computer and Network Usage Violation is unlawful or malicious use of computer and network resources; use of computer and network resources for political, religious, and other personal or non-college purposes.
*See policy 7.2 – Internet and Network Acceptable Use
- Unauthorized Children on Campus: Unauthorized Children on Campus is leaving a child unattended on campus; bringing a child to class without advance permission of the instructor. The college does not allow children in computer, science, industrial, medical, and other labs, shops, or other environments that pose a safety hazard. A child may not accompany a student on a routine basis and may only attend a class if the instructor has granted permission prior to class.
- Drugs and Alcohol:
- Drugs – Manufacture: Drugs – Manufacture is the manufacture of any illegal drugs, except as expressly permitted by law.
- Drugs – Distribution: Drugs – Distribution is the distribution of any illegal drugs, except as expressly permitted by law.
- Drugs – Possession: Drugs – Possession is the possession of any illegal drugs, except as expressly permitted by law.
- Drugs – Use: Drugs – Use is the use of any illegal drugs, except as expressly permitted by law.
- Drugs – Under the Influence: Drugs – Under the Influence is being under the influence of illegal drugs on the college premises or at college-sponsored or supervised functions off campus or in college-owned vehicles.
- Alcohol – Consumption/Possession: Alcohol Consumption/Possession is consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages on college premises or as part of any college activities.
- Alcohol – Underage Distribution: Alcohol – Underage Distribution is providing alcohol to individuals under the age of 21.
- Alcohol – Under the Influence: Alcohol – Under the Influence is being in a state of intoxication on the college premises or at a college-sponsored or supervised function off campus or in college-owned vehicles.
*See policy 5.3.5 – Students – Alcohol and Drugs on Campus
- Firearm – Possession: Firearm – Possession is possession of a firearm, incendiary device or explosive, or instrument designed to inflict serious bodily injury to any person unless authorized in conjunction with a college-approved activity or in a manner consistent with state law.
- Firearm – Use: Firearm – Use is use of a firearm, incendiary device or explosive, or instrument designed to inflict serious bodily injury to any person unless authorized in conjunction with a college-approved activity.
- Fire Alarm – Misuse: Fire Alarm – Misuse is setting off a fire alarm or using or tampering with any fire safety equipment, except with reasonable belief in the need for such alarm or equipment.
- Tobacco – Use: Tobacco – Use is use of tobacco products in campus buildings, facilities, vehicles, or on grounds and property owned or leased by the college. The prohibition includes all smoking tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes), all smokeless tobacco products (chews, dips, snuff, snus, dissolvable products), and extends to: energy dips/flavored dips; nicotine water and nicotine gel; hookahs/hookah products; all vaping products (vaporizers, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, pens, and flavored cartridges); and any other items containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products.
- Tobacco – Advertising/Distribution/Sale: Tobacco – Advertising/Distribution/Sale is the advertising, distribution, and/or sale of tobacco products on college property or through college media outlets.
*See policy 2.2.1 – Tobacco-Free Campus
- Gambling: Gambling is any involvement in illegal gambling on campus premises or at college-sponsored events.
- Parking Violations: Parking violations is multiple violations of college regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles.
*See policy 2.3.4 – Traffic Regulations
- Official Documents – Misuse: Official Documents – Misuse is forgery, alteration, or misuse of college documents, records, or instruments of identification with intent to deceive.
- Failure to Comply: Failure to Comply is failure to comply with instructions of college officials acting in performance of their duties.
- Failure to Comply – Disciplinary Actions: Failure to Comply – Disciplinary Actions is violation of the terms of disciplinary actions.
- False Information: False Information is knowingly making false or misleading statements about college business or official records or about college employees or students.
- Retaliation: Retaliation is intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any student or college employee for reporting, providing information, or exercising one’s rights or responsibilities under college policy.
*See policy/procedure 5.3.4/184.108.40.206 – Sex Discrimination and Harassment and Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance
- Social Media – Misuse: Social Media – Misuse is the use of social media to breech privacy, discriminate, or harass. Students may not make, transmit, or attempt to transmit audio or video of any person(s) on college property where there is an explicit expectation of privacy. Any posts or tweets deemed inappropriate on a college social website or blog will be deleted immediately and may result in having access to the site blocked permanently.
*See policy 7.2 and 7.5 – Internet and Network Acceptable Use / Social Media
- Lewd and Indecent Behavior: Lewd and indecent behavior includes public physical or verbal action or distribution of obscene material based on reasonable community standards. The conduct must be objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct constitutes lewd and/or indecent behavior.
- Public Exposure: Public Exposure is deliberately and publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination, public defecation, and public sex acts.
- Bullying/Harassment: Bullying/Harassment is defined as any pattern of gestures or written, electronic, or verbal communications or any physical act or any threatening communication that takes place on the College premises or at any College sponsored function that: (a) places a person in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her self or property; or (b) creates or is certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with or impairing a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits or a College employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job. Hostile environment means that the victim subjectively views the conduct as bullying/harassing and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that it is bullying/harassing. A hostile environment may be created through pervasive or persistent misbehavior or a single incident if sufficiently severe.
- Communicating Threats: Communicating threats is threatening to physically injure another person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent, or willfully threatening to damage the property of another via verbal communication, writing, through a third person, or by any other means.
- Public Laws: Public laws is the violation of federal, state, or local laws that occur on campus or off campus. Violations of any federal, state, or local laws occurring while on campus may lead to legal actions as well as college disciplinary proceedings. Violations of federal, state, or local laws occurring off campus may result in disciplinary action if the student’s continued presence on campus constitutes a threat to the safety and order of the campus.