Student Handbook

Student Conduct Policy & Procedure

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Virginia Western Community College holds certain expectations of students to share the responsibility of maintaining a safe, secure, and honest academic environment. By applying for admission to the College, each student agrees to abide by the policies and procedures governing student conduct. The statement below outlines the rights each student has as a member of the college community as well as the responsibilities each student has to continue within that community.

Each student has the privilege of exercising his or her rights without fear of prejudice provided he/she respects the laws of the Commonwealth, the policies of Virginia Western and the rights of others on campus. Such rights include the following:

  • Students are free to pursue their educational goals. Appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on campus are provided through the curricula offered by the college.
  • No disciplinary sanctions may be imposed without due process, except as provided in the Student Conduct Policy below.
  • Students have the right to freedom of expression, inquiry, and assembly provided actions do not interfere with the rights of others or the effective operation of the college.
  • Academic evaluation of student performance shall be fair, not arbitrary or inconsistent.
  • Support mission of the college to create an environment where all students have the same opportunity to succeed academically and personally and to promote health and safety.

Each student, as a responsible adult, shall maintain standards of conduct appropriate to membership in the college community. Such responsibilities include the following:

  • Each student has the responsibility to demonstrate respect for his or herself as well as faculty, staff and other students.
  • Each student has the responsibility to know, understand, and abide by the regulations and policies of the college.
  • Each student has the responsibility to pay all fines and debts to the college.
  • Each student has the responsibility to maintain academic integrity and abide by the academic honesty policy of the college

Student Conduct

Disorderly conduct threatens a productive academic environment and will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action by the College shall be limited to conduct that adversely affects the college community's pursuit of its educational objectives.

Misconduct

Violations of the following list of conduct violations, which is not all-inclusive, are subject to disciplinary action.

  • Threat to Health or Safety: When the student's continued presence at the college is deemed to constitute a threat to the health, safety or welfare of members of the campus community.
  • Bomb Threat, Fire Alarm, Hoax: When the student activates a fire or lockdown alarm without cause, or makes a threat to bomb or damage college property, students, faculty, staff , or visitors; or undertakes a hoax involving use of a supposedly destructive device or substance; encourages, incites, or solicits any person to commit such a threat or such an act; or makes a false statement, claim or similar action against the college, its employees, students, contractors and/or guests causing emergency response measures to be implemented.
  • Weapons: When the student possesses, on his or her person, or uses weapons, to include guns, knives, or other dangerous objects. No weapons are permitted on campus, except where possession is a result of participation in an organized and scheduled instructional exercise for a course, or where the student is a law enforcement professional. For further definition of "weapons", see the Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy.
  • Theft: When the student engages in theft, larceny, embezzlement, or the temporary taking of the property of another without consent.
  • Riot: When the student incites or engages in a riot or a disorderly assembly.
  • Drugs: When the student engages in the possession, use, sale or manufacture of illegal or controlled substances.
  • Forgery: When the student forges, alters, or misuses college documents or records, to include student identification cards, or tampers with student registration data.
  • Computer Security: When the student makes unauthorized use of computer resources, or makes unauthorized efforts to penetrate or modify any computing hardware or software.
  • Disruption: Disruption of a classroom, laboratory, library, office, hallway, or public space, such as the student center, campus commons, auditorium, meetings or hearings.
  • Failure to Comply: Failure to comply with a college official appropriately acting in the performance of his or her duties.
  • Verbal Abuse: When the student utters obscene words or engages in verbal abuse that constitutes harassment of others.
  • Assault, Battery, Fighting: When the student engages in assault, battery, or fighting.
  • Harassment: When the student engages in psychological abuse, racial, sexual or other harassment.
  • Property Destruction: When the student destroys, damages, defaces, or misuses public or private property.
  • Illegal Entry: When the student illegally enters or occupies state property.
  • Gambling: When the student engages in unlawful gambling or gaming.
  • Alcoholic Beverages: When the student possesses or consumes alcoholic beverages or is legally intoxicated.
  • Criminal Charges: When the student is formally charged with the commission of a crime, felony or misdemeanor, that is deemed to have an adverse impact on the college community's pursuit of its educational objectives.
  • Misuse of Federal Funds: When the student uses federal funds for someone other than him/herself or uses funds in a way that does not support his/her own educational endeavors.
  • Electronic Bullying: When a student uses Facebook, or any other type of social media, to intimidate or bully a student, faculty or staff member.
  • Impersonation or Assuming a False Identity: When a student impersonates a college employee or falsely identifies him/herself.

Sanctions

Student Misconduct charges may result in the following sanctions:

  • Warning: Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may cause more severe disciplinary action;
  • Disciplinary Probation: Suspension of eligibility for college extracurricular activities;
  • Suspension: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice for a definite period of time not to exceed two years;
  • Expulsion: Termination of student status for an indefinite period. The conditions of readmission, if any, shall be stated in the order of expulsion.

Disciplinary Policy and Sanctions for Misconduct

Filing a Written Complaint

Any academic, staff , or administrative official, faculty member, or student may file a written complaint against any student for misconduct by using the Report of Student Misconduct. When the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs or his/her designee believes that the continued presence of a person charged with misconduct presents a serious and immediate danger to the college community, the student may be suspended pending consideration of the case. Such suspension shall not exceed a reasonable time, as determined by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.

Administrator Receiving Complaint

The Report of Student Misconduct shall be filed with the Dean of Student Services or designee.

Investigation

The Dean of Student Services will initiate an investigation into the charges. The accused student will be contacted via student email, mail or telephone to schedule a meeting time to discuss the alleged violation which would include the nature and sources of the charges and the student's rights and responsibilities. As part of the review, the Dean of Student Services will determine if the nature of the allegations justifies a sanction that affects the student's right to an education. If so, the alleged violations will be referred to the Student Conduct Committee. If the nature of the allegations does not justify sanctions that would affect the student's right to an education, the Dean has the options of imposing a disciplinary sanction, referring the matter to the Student Conduct Committee or dismissing the charges as unfounded. The student will be notified of the decision in writing, via student email or mail, within ten business days of the initial meeting between the Dean and the student. A record of this decision will be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Administrative actions available to the Dean of Student Services are as follows:

  • Reprimand or admonition
  • Restitution for damages
  • Suspension from college extracurricular activities

Appeals Procedure (Dean's Adjudication)

A decision of the Dean of Student Services may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. The appeal must be in writing and must be received by the Vice President's office within five business days after the decision of the dean. The Vice President will review the written record and reach a determination. The decision of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs is final.

Student Conduct Committee Procedure

Charges that have not been dismissed or have not received a sanction from the Dean of Student Services will be referred to the Student Conduct Committee. The Student Conduct Committee procedure, outlined at the end of this section, will then be followed. If there are pending criminal charges associated with the misconduct charge, the Student Conduct Committee procedure will begin after the criminal charges are resolved.

Disciplinary Sanctions Available to Student Conduct Committee

Disciplinary sanctions available to the Student Conduct Committee are listed below.

  • Warning: Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may cause more severe disciplinary action;
  • Disciplinary Probation: Suspension of eligibility for college extracurricular activities.
  • Suspension: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice for a definite period of time not to exceed two years;
  • Expulsion: Termination of student status for an indefinite period. The conditions of re-admission, if any, shall be stated in the order of expulsion. No sanctions may be imposed for violation of rules and regulations for which there is not actual or constructive notice; or
  • Return the student to former status.

All decisions of the Student Conduct Committee will be reviewed by the Dean of Student Services prior to submission of the final report of the Committee. If there is a need to revisit the sanctions imposed, the Committee Chair will ask for a voice vote by email notification within 5 business days of the review of the Dean.

Appeals Procedure (Conduct Committee)

A decision of the Student Conduct Committee on student misconduct may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. The appeal must be in writing and must be received by the Vice President’s office within five business days after the final submission of committee's decision. The Vice President will review the written record and reach a determination. The decision of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs is final.

Appeals Process for Care/Threat Assessment Team Dismissal

If a student wishes to appeal a charge of dismissal from the Care/Threat Assessment Team, he/she must state his/her intentions in writing within ten business days of notification of dismissal to the Dean of Student Services. The Student Conduct Committee will be held using the procedures below. Sanctions include:

  • Support dismissal of Care/Threat Assessment Team
  • Return student to former status

The decision of the Student Conduct Committee is final; there are no further appeals in a Care/Threat Assessment Team dismissal.

Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Dishonesty and Student Misconduct

Definition

Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following actions:

  • Cheating on an examination or quiz — either giving or receiving information
  • Copying information from another person for graded assignments
  • Using unauthorized materials during tests
  • Collaboration during examinations
  • Buying, selling, providing or stealing papers, examinations, or other work to be submitted for a class
  • Substituting for another person, or arranging such a substitution for yourself
  • Plagiarism—the intentional or accidental presentation of another's words or ideas as your own. Students should familiarize themselves with the description of plagiarism found in their English handbooks, their English class syllabi, or in writing manuals available in the library. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not a defense for such a serious infraction.
  • Submission of work other than your own for written assignments
  • Collusion with another person or persons in submitting work for credit in class or lab, unless such collaboration is approved in advance by the instructor
  • Falsifying documentation
  • Multiple Submissions—It is a violation of academic honesty to submit substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without the explicit consent of the instructor to whom the material is being submitted

Policy, Procedure and Sanctions

Faculty members who have evidence of academic misconduct will (1) investigate the matter, (2) review the facts of the matter and the proposed penalty with the appropriate academic dean, and (3) complete a Report of Academic Dishonesty. A copy of this report will be filed with the office of the Dean of Student Services. (4) Faculty will notify the student in writing that a report has been filed, including charges and sanctions, and inform the student of the appeal process outlined in the Student Handbook. A report should be filed with the appropriate academic dean within seven business days of becoming aware of the academic misconduct. (5) Faculty may then take one or more of the following actions:

  • Require the work to be accomplished again
  • Award a grade of zero (0) for the test, paper or exercise
  • Assign a grade of F for the course

First Incident of Academic Misconduct

If this is the first incident of academic misconduct, the instructor's sanction will be the only penalty. The Report of Academic Dishonesty will remain on file in the office of the Dean of Student Services for ten years. The report will be destroyed at the end of the five-year period.

Exceptions include:

(1) In the case of a restricted enrollment program, if a signed agreement for entry into the program has specific clauses about the penalties for academic misconduct or the penalties are defined in the program’s student handbook, those will be followed in addition to or instead of the instructor’s sanction.

(2) In cases of falsified documentation, the case will be referred directly to the Dean of Student Services for a conduct committee hearing.

Second Incident of Academic Misconduct

In the case of a second incident of academic misconduct, defined by two reports being filed in the office of the Dean of Student Services, the case will be referred to the Dean of Student Services to be heard by the Student Conduct Committee. The committee may take one of the following actions. Any action except the last action listed below will result in the report becoming part of the student's educational record.

  • Support the penalty imposed by the faculty member
  • Award a grade of zero (0) for the test, paper or exercise
  • Assign a grade of F for the course
  • Require the work to be accomplished again
  • Suspension from the college
  • Expulsion
  • Return the student to former status

All decisions of the Student Conduct Committee will be reviewed by the Dean of Student Services prior to submission of the final report of the Committee. If there is a need to revisit the sanctions imposed, the Committee Chair will ask for a voice vote by e-mail notification within five business days of the review of the Dean.

Third Incident of Academic Misconduct

In the case of a third incident of academic misconduct, defined by three reports being filed in the office of the Dean of Student Services, the case will be referred to the Dean of Student Services to be heard by the Student Conduct Committee. If either of these actions are taken, this will become part of the student's educational record. The committee may take one of the following actions:

  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Return the student to former status

Unless the committee returns the student to former status, the report will become a part of the student's educational record at Virginia Western Community College. All decisions of the Student Conduct Committee will be reviewed by the Dean of Student Services prior to submission of the final report of the Committee. If there is a need to revisit the sanctions imposed, the Committee Chair will ask for a voice vote by e-mail notification within five business days of the review of the Dean.

Appeals Process for Disputed Charges

If the student wishes to appeal a charge of academic misconduct made by a faculty member, he/she must state his/her intentions in writing on the Student Grievance Process Form within five business days of being notified in writing of the charge. If no resolution is achieved, the Academic Dean will refer the case to the Dean of Student Services, and a student conduct committee hearing will be held using the procedure below.

Possible sanctions include:

  • Support the penalty imposed by the faculty member
  • Award a grade of zero (0) for the test, paper or exercise
  • Assign a grade of F for the course
  • Require the work to be accomplished again
  • Return the student to former status.

In the case of a second or third offense, all appeals for previous offenses must be completed before hearings are held on those charges.

Student Conduct Committee Procedure

The Student Conduct Committee will be convened for misconduct and academic misconduct allegations on the recommendation of the Dean of Student Services. The following procedure will be followed:

  1. Within five business days of the recommending of a hearing by the Dean of Student Services, the student will be sent written notification of the charges and student rights according to the Student Handbook by student email or certified mail to the last known address on file for the student.
  2. The student will have ten calendar days from the date the notification is mailed to respond to the charges.
  3. A date for the hearing will be scheduled and reported in writing to the student within five business days of receipt of the student's response or the end of the period given for the student to respond. The hearing date will be no less than ten calendar days from the date the hearing notification is mailed and no more than thirty calendar days. This period may be extended under reasonable circumstances at the discretion of the Dean of Student Services.
  4. The hearing will be held whether the student responds and is present or not.
  5. If the student is unable to make the hearing date for good cause, he/she should contact the Dean of Student Services within five business days of receipt of the hearing notification to reschedule the hearing.
  6. The Student Conduct Committee will consist of a quorum of no less than five members including the chairperson, elected or appointed at the beginning of the academic year. Substitutions for members that are unavailable may be made by the Dean of Student Services.
  7. The accused student has the right to be advised by counsel or an advisor who may come from within or outside the institution. Counsel may be present at the hearing and may advise the student during the hearing, but will not be allowed to address the committee.
  8. The hearing will begin no later than five minutes after the appointed time, with or without the student and his or her counsel present, as long as a quorum of institutional representatives is present.
  9. A transcript will be kept of the proceedings. These will be retained in the office of the Dean of Student Services for 5 years.
  10. The following format will be followed: (a) The committee chair will state the purpose (b) All persons present will introduce themselves (c) The committee chair will present the charges (d) The committee chair will present possible sanctions (e) The committee chair will ask involved members of the college to speak (f ) Student may ask questions of speakers after all have presented their case (g) Committee may ask questions of the speakers (h) Student will be asked to speak (i) Committee may ask questions of the student or college representatives (j) All parties except the discipline committee will be excused, so the discipline committee can discuss the case in private (k) A vote will be taken of discipline committee members. The chair is a voting member. A decision will be made by a simple majority vote. (l) Written recommendation will be made by the student conduct committee to the Dean of Student Services. (m) Within fi ve business days of receipt of the committee's recommendation, the Dean of Student Services shall act on the recommendations and provide written notification to the student and the Student Conduct Committee of the decision.
  11. Appeals of the Student Conduct Committee findings on student misconduct or academic issues may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. The appeal must be in writing and must be received by the Vice President's office within five business days after the student is notified of the committee's decision. The Vice President will review the written record and reach a determination.
  12. The decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs is final. There is no further appeal in an academic misconduct case.
  13. The student will be allowed to continue with the class until the decision is finalized. However, if no decision is made by the end of the academic semester, an interim grade of "I" will be issued.