Student Rights and Policies

Student Rights, Discipline, and Appeals

Overview of Student Rights

The following is an overview of basic student rights.  For more specific information concerning these and other rights, students are directed to review the specific policy or procedure dealing with the issue of concern.  The provisions and language contained in specific policies and procedures control over this policy.

A. Students are free to pursue their educational goals.  The College shall provide appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on the campus.  Student performance will be evaluated solely on an academic basis and not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

B. Students have the right to freedom of expression, inquiry and assembly without restraint or censorship, subject to reasonable and non-discriminatory rules and regulations regarding time, place and manner.

C. Students have the right to inquire about and to propose improvements in policies, regulations and procedures affecting the welfare of students through established student government procedures, campus committees and College offices.

D. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”) provides safeguards regarding the confidentiality of and access to student records and the College shall adhere to the FERPA laws and regulations.  Students and former students have the right to review their official records and to request a grievance if they challenge the contents of these records.  No records shall be made available to unauthorized personnel or groups outside the College without the written consent of the student involved or if a legal exception applies.

E. No disciplinary sanctions, other than temporary removal from class or activity (only for duration of said activity) may be imposed upon any student without due process.

F. Students have the right to voluntarily withdrawn from courses under certain criteria.

G. Students have the right to be free from discrimination, harassment and sexual violence while attending the College and accessing the College’s programs and opportunities.

 Student Code of Conduct

The College makes every effort to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment for students and staff.  Therefore, when, in the judgment of College officials, a student’s conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the College community, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to restore and protect the sanctity of the community.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with generally accepted standards of scholarship and morality.  The purpose of these standards is not to restrict student rights but to protect the rights of individuals in their academic pursuits.

The following regulation sets forth offenses for which disciplinary proceedings may be initiated.  Violation of one or more of the following code provisions may result in one of the sanctions described in  Discipline and Appeals Procedures for Academic-Related Violations and/or Discipline and Appeals Procedures for Non-Academic Related Violations.

I. Academic-Related Violations

A. Plagiarism – The intentional theft or unacknowledged use of another’s work or ideas.  Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to: a) paraphrasing or summarizing another’s words or works without proper acknowledgment; b) using direct quotes of material without proper acknowledgment; or c) purchasing or using a paper or presentation written or produced by another person.  If a student is uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism, he/she should discuss with the class instructor.

B. Cheating – Using notes or other material on an exam or class work without permission from the class instructor; receiving information from another student during an exam; obtaining a copy of an exam or questions from an exam prior to taking the exam; submitting someone else’s work as one’s own; or having someone take one’s exam and submitting it as his/her own.

C. Aiding Acts of Academic Dishonesty – Providing information to another student and knowing, or reasonably should have known, that the student intends to use the information for cheating or other deceptive purposes.

II. Non-Academic Related Violations 

A. Theft and Property Damage – Students shall not steal or damage College property or another individual’s property.  Students who are caught stealing or damaging said property will be required to make restitution and may be eligible for civil or criminal prosecution as well as College discipline.

B. Trespass to Property – Students are trespassing if in an unauthorized area of the College campus; present on the College campus after closing hours (without permission); or remaining on the College campus after having been directed to leave by a College official.

C. Drugs and Alcohol – Unlawfully possessing, using, being under the influence of, manufacturing, dispensing, selling or distributing alcohol, illegal or unauthorized controlled substances or impairing substances at any College location.  For more specific information, see Alcohol and Drugs on Campus policy.

D. Lewd and Indecent Behavior – Students shall not engage in lewd or indecent behavior, including 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.

E. Mental/Physical Abuse – Students shall not mentally or physically abuse any person on the College premises or at a College-supervised function, including verbal or physical actions which threaten or endanger the health or safety of any such persons.

F. Assault – Students shall not assault or threaten to assault another person for any reason whatsoever.  Assault includes a demonstration of force, unlawful physical touching or striking.

G. Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Students shall not engage in sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.  For more specific information and definitions of prohibited activities, consult Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence policy.

H. Unlawful Discrimination –  Students shall not engage in unlawful discrimination.  For more specific information and definitions of prohibited activities, consult Unlawful Discrimination policy.

I. Communicating Threats – Students shall not verbally, in writing, through a third party or by any other means threaten to physically injure another person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse or dependent, or willfully threaten to damage the property of another.

J. Bullying – Students shall not intimidate or threaten with harm any other individual.  Bullying 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 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’s employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job.

K. Disorderly Conduct and Disruption – Students shall not obstruct or disrupt any teaching, research, administration or disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities, including public service functions, and other duly authorized activities on or off College premises.  Students shall not occupy or seize, in any manner, College property, a College facility or any portion thereof for a use inconsistent with prescribed, customary, or authorized use.  Students shall not participate in or conduct an assembly, demonstration or gathering in a manner which threatens or causes injury to person or property; which interferes with free access to, ingress or egress of College facilities; which is harmful, obstructive or disruptive to the educational process or institutional functions of the College; hold rallies, demonstrations, or any other forms of public gathering without prior approval of the College based on reasonable time, place and manner restrictions; remain at the scene of such an assembly after being asked to leave by a representative of the College staff.

L. Possession of Weapons – Students may not have a weapon of any kind, including but not limited to, a knife, stun gun or any firearm in their possession on campus or at any College-affiliated activities or events except handguns as allowed by N.C.G.S. § 14-269.4.  Handguns are permitted under these circumstances: a) the person has a concealed handgun permit that is lawfully issued; b) the handgun is in a closed compartment or container within the person’s locked vehicle; c) a person may unlock the vehicle to enter or exit the vehicle provided the handgun remains in the closed compartment at all times; and d) the vehicle is locked at all times.

M. Tampering with Fire Alarms – 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.

N. Gambling – Students may not gamble on campus or at any College-affiliated activities or events.

O. Traffic Violations Violation of College regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles.

P. Providing False Information – Students shall not present to the College or its employees false information as part of an investigation, inquiry, hearing or in other matters related to College activities; neither may a student knowingly withhold information which may have an effect on their enrollment or their status with the College.

Q. Disobedience / Insubordination - Failure to comply with instructions of College officials acting in performance of their duties and failure to adhere to the terms of any discipline action.

R. Financial Impropriety – Financial impropriety such as failure to pay College-levied fines, failure to repay College-funded loans, misuse or failure to properly account for club or student organization funds, or the passing of worthless checks, drafts or orders to College officials.

S. Public Laws – Violations of any federal, state or local laws occurring while on campus may lead to legal actions as well as College discipline.  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.

T. Failure to Report Criminal Activity – Failure to inform the College, in writing, within five (5) days after he or she is convicted for violation of any federal, state, or local criminal drug statue or alcoholic beverage control statute where such violation occurred while on a College location.  For more information, see Alcohol and Drugs on Campus policy.

U. Unauthorized Access to College Records – Students may not access, view, copy or change official College records without expressed authority to do so.

V. Animals on Campus – Students may not have an animal of any kind on campus.  This includes animals left within a vehicle.  Service animals are permitted and any student with a service animal should report the use of a service animal to the College’s Disability Services Coordinator.  For more information regarding service animals, see Service Animals and Other Animals on Campus  policy.

W. Improper Use of the College Network/Technology – Students are prohibited from engaging in any activities prohibited under Internet and Network Acceptable Use policy.

X. Violation of Policies and Procedures – Students are expected to be familiar with the College’s policies and procedures.  Students may be disciplined for failure to follow the College’s policies and procedures.

Y. Violations of Normal Classroom Behavior – Not complying with reasonable rules issued by an instructor, causing disruption in the classroom or being disrespectful to classmates or the instructor.  The conduct must be objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is disruptive or disrespectful not based on content or viewpoint discrimination.

Z. Student Assessment Team – Not complying with a recommendation or directive by the Behavior Intervention Team pursuant to Policy Student Threat Assessment policy.

Discipline and Appeal for Academic Violations

I. Overview
The Vice President for Instruction (“Vice President”) is responsible for implementing student discipline procedures for academic dishonesty.  The College is committed to providing an excellent educational experience for all students.  Academic integrity is an essential component to this level of education.  The academic penalty for academic-related violations should be clearly stated by the instructor in each course syllabus and review at the beginning of the first-class meeting.

II. Sanctions for Violations
The following sanctions may be imposed for academic violations:

A. Re-complete the assignment;

B. Additional course work;

C. Loss of credit for the assignment; or

D. Loss of credit for the class.

 III. Instructor’s Investigation and Determination

A. Instructor’s Investigation: 

An instructor suspecting an incident of an academic-related violation shall follow these steps to address the concern:

1. The instructor suspecting the alleged violation shall first present concerns to the student and provide an opportunity for the student to explain or refute the concerns.

2. The student will be allowed to comment on the evidence or to present evidence to clarify the issue in question.

3. Based on the evidence presented and the student’s comments, the instructor shall determine whether or not an academic-violation has occurred.  This determination will result in one of the following findings:

An academic-related violation did not take place and the issue is resolved.

An act of academic dishonesty did occur in the instructor’s opinion.

B. Instructor’s Determination

The instructor will communicate his/her findings via email to the student’s official College email address within five (5) business days of the initial meeting with the student.  If an email address is not available, the instructor shall send his/her written findings to the student’s mailing address on record with the College.  The findings must contain, with specificity, the evidence supporting the instructor’s determination.  The instructor shall also inform the student of the imposed academic sanctions.  The sanction will remain in place unless modified or overturned on appeal.

IV. Appeal Procedures

A. Appeal to the Vice President

1. A student who disagrees with the instructor’s decision may appeal to the Vice President.  This appeal must be submitted in writing within three (3) business days of receipt of the instructor’s decision and describe, with specificity, why the student believes the instructor’s findings to be in error.

2. The Vice President will conduct an “on the record review” examining the instructor’s written findings and student’s written appeal.  The Vice President may require the student, the instructor and any other necessary party to provide additional documents as needed, including written statements, or provide written clarification to submitted documents.

3. After considering the evidence presented, the Vice President will affirm, modify or overturn the instructor’s decision.

4. The Vice President will inform the student via the student’s official College email address of the decision within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the student’s appeal.  If an email address is not available, the instructor shall send his/her written findings to the student’s mailing address on record with the College.

5. The Vice President’s decision is final.

Discipline and Appeal for Non-Academic Violations

I. Overview

The Vice President for Instruction (“Vice President”) is responsible for implementing these Procedures.

These Procedures apply to non-academic violations defined in Student Code of Conduct policy.  For academic-related violations, see Discipline and Appeal for Academic Violations procedure.  For issues regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence, see Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence procedure and for issues related to other forms of unlawful discrimination, see Unlawful Discrimination procedure.

II. Sanctions for Violations

The following sanctions may be imposed for non-academic violations:

A. Reprimand.  A reprimand is written communication which gives official notice to the student that any further disciplinary offense will carry heavier penalties because of this prior infraction.

B. Disciplinary Probation.  Disciplinary probation results in loss of good standing and becomes a matter of record.  While on disciplinary probation, the student will not be eligible for initiation into any local or national organization and shall not receive any College award or other honorary recognition.  The student may not occupy a position of leadership or responsibility with any College or student organization, publication or activity.  This sanction prohibits the student from officially representing the College or participating in any extracurricular activities including intramural competitions.  Disciplinary probation will be in effect for not less than two (2) semesters including the current semester.  Any further disciplinary offenses while under disciplinary probation will result in the student’s immediate suspension.

C. Restitution.  Restitution is paying for damaging, misusing, destroying or losing property belonging to the College, College employees or students.  Restitution may take the form of financial payment or appropriate service to repair or otherwise compensate for such damages.

D. Withholding Academic Records and/or the Right to Register.  Withholding transcripts, diplomas or the right to register or participate in graduation ceremonies is imposed when a student’s financial obligations are not met or the student has a disciplinary case pending final disposition.

E. Temporary Suspension.  Temporary suspension is the exclusion from all College property and all College activities pending the resolution of a disciplinary proceeding.

F. Disciplinary Suspension.  Discipline suspension is the exclusion from all College property and all College activities for a specified period of time.  This sanction is reserved for those offenses warranting discipline more severe than disciplinary probation.  A student under disciplinary suspension must receive specific written permission from the Vice President before returning to campus.  Disciplinary suspension appears on the student’s academic transcript.

G. Expulsion.  Expulsion is dismissing from the College.  The student may be readmitted to the College only with the approval of the President.  Expulsion appears on the student’s academic transcript.

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

I. Group Restriction.  Group restriction is removing College recognition during the semester which the offense occurred, or for a longer period (usually not more than one other semester).  While under restriction, the group may not seek to add members, hold or sponsor events in the College community or engage in other activities as specified.

J. Group Charter Revocation.  Revocation is the removal of College recognition for a group, club, society or other organization for a minimum of two (2) years.  Re-charter after that time must be approved by the President.

In addition to the above stated sanctions, the College may require counseling.  The student may be required to attend one or more counseling sessions with a licensed professional counselor.  The student may be required to complete counseling before returning to the College after a period of suspension or expulsion.  The student must provide written documentation from the licensed professional that the requirement has been met.  Additionally, if required by the Vice President, the student must also provide a statement from the licensed professional that the student is able to return to class based on his/her professional judgment.  The student may be referred to the College’s licensed professional counselor at no charge or elect to use his/her own licensed professional counselor and bear the cost.

III. Immediate Removal from Campus

If an act of misconduct threatens the health, safety or well-being of any member of the academic community and/or seriously disrupts the function and good order of the College, an instructor will immediately notify any College Vice President or Dean who will immediately meet with the student and direct the student to cease and desist such conduct and advise the student that failing to cease and desist will result in an immediate removal from campus.  If the student(s) fails to cease and desist, or if the behavior is such that the student(s) needs to immediately be removed from campus, the College Vice President or Dean may then immediately have the student(s) removed from campus.

The College Vice President or Dean invoking the removal shall notify the Vice President in writing of the student involved and the nature of the infraction as soon as possible but no more than one (1) working day following the incident.  Upon receipt of the College Vice President or Dean’s written notice, the Vice President shall meet with the student as soon as possible to allow the student to present his/her side.  If, in the Vice President’s opinion, the student behavior threatens the health, safety and well-being of the College community, the Vice President shall place the student on temporary suspension pending the outcome of the disciplinary matter.  Temporary suspension may be imposed only: (a) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the College; (b) to ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or (c) if the student poses a direct threat of disruption or interference with the normal operations of the College.

IV. Disciplinary Procedures 

In order to provide an orderly system for handling student disciplinary cases in accordance with due process and justice, the following procedures will be followed:

A. Incident Report 

Any College employee or student may file written charges with the Vice President against any student or student organization for violations of the Student Code of Conduct.  The individual(s) making the charge must complete and submit an Incident Report within five (5) business days of the incident given rise to the alleged violation.

B. Investigation and Determination 

The Vice President shall conduct an investigation into the charges and allegations.  Within ten (10) business days after receipt of the incident report, the Vice President shall complete his/her investigation of the charges and shall meet with the student (or student representative(s) on behalf of a student organization), present the results of the investigation and provide the student (or student representative(s)) with an opportunity to present his/her side.  After discussing the alleged infraction with the student, the Vice President may act as follows:

    • Drop the charges;
    • Impose a sanction; or
    • Refer the student(s) to a College office or community agency for services.

All disciplinary actions should be progressive in nature and should take into account the totality of the situation; however, depending on the severity of the infraction, even first-time offenses could result in suspension or expulsion.

C. Notification 

The Vice President shall provide the student with his/her written decision and instructions governing the appeal process.  Such notice shall be given in person or sent to the student’s College email address or mailing address of record.

VI. Disciplinary Appeal Procedure

A. Appeal to the Disciplinary Review Committee 

A student who disagrees with the Vice President’s decision may request an appeal before the Disciplinary Review Committee (“Committee”).  This request must be submitted in writing to the Vice President within three (3) working days after receipt of the Vice President’s decision.  The Vice President shall refer the matter to the Committee together with a report of the nature of the alleged misconduct, the name of the complainant, the name of the student(s) against whom the charge has been filed, and the relevant facts revealed by the Vice President’s investigation.  The Vice President’s decision shall not be tolled pending an appeal.

1. Committee Composition

Membership of the Disciplinary Review Committee shall be composed of the following:

    • Three faculty/staff members appointed by the President;
    • Three student members appointed by the Student Government Association and approved by the President;
    • One administrator appointed by the President to serve as Committee Chairperson who will vote only in case of a tie;
    • At least two faculty/staff members and two students plus the Chairperson must be present in order for the Committee to conduct business;

Committee members will serve one (1) year from the beginning of fall semester through summer semester with replacements appointed by the President or SGA if necessary.

2. Committee Hearing Procedures 

Pre-Hearing Procedural Responsibilities of the Vice President – The Committee must meet within ten (10) working days of receipt of the student’s request for a hearing.  At least five (5) working days prior to the date set for the hearing, the Vice President shall send notification to the student(s) with the following information: i. A restatement of the charge or charges; ii. The time and place of the hearing; iii. A statement of the students’ basic procedural rights; iv. A list of witnesses that the Vice President or designee plans to present; v.)The names of the Committee members.

At least two (2) days prior to the hearing, the student(s) will provide the Vice President with a witness list and whether or not the student will be represented by legal counsel.  Failure to notify the Vice President regarding legal counsel could result in the hearing being continued until such time that the College can have its legal counsel present.  Should the College’s legal counsel attend, he/she shall serve as the procedural officer for the hearing.

The following due process rights shall apply to the Committee hearing: i.)The right to counsel.  The role of the person acting as counsel is solely to advise the student(s).  The counsel shall not address the Committee.; ii. The right to produce witnesses on one’s behalf.; iii.)The right to request, in writing, the President to disqualify any member of the Committee for prejudice or bias.  (The request must contain reasons).  A request for disqualification, if made, must be submitted at least three (3) working days prior to the hearing.  If such disqualification occurs, the appropriate nominating body shall appoint a replacement to be approved the President; iv. The right to present evidence; v. The right to know the identity of the person(s) bringing the charge(s); vi. The right to hear witnesses on behalf of the person(s) bringing the charge(s); vii. The right to testify or to refuse to testify without such refusal being detrimental to the student.

The following hearing procedures shall apply: i. Hearings before the Committee shall be confidential and shall be closed to all persons except the following: The student(s), Counsel(s), Committee Members, Vice President, or designee; ii. Witnesses shall only be present in the hearing room when giving their testimony; iii. The Vice President, or designee, shall present evidence and witnesses to support his/her decision.  Committee members may ask questions to the witnesses; iv. The student(s) will then have an opportunity to present evidence and witnesses.  Committee members may ask questions to the witnesses; v. Each side will have an opportunity to make a short, closing argument.  The hearing will be audio recorded.  Recordings will become the College’s property and access to the recordings will be determined by the Committee Chairperson.  All recordings will be filed in the office of the Vice President.  The Chairperson shall establish the record at the close of evidence; vi. Upon completion of a hearing, the Committee shall meet in closed session to affirm, reverse or modify the Vice President’s decision; vii. Committee decisions shall be made by majority vote; viii. Within two (2) working days after the hearing, the Chair shall notify the student(s) and Vice President, in writing, with the Committee’s decision.

B. Appeal to the President 

If the Vice President or student disagrees with the Committee’s decision, either may request an appeal to the President.  This request must be submitted in writing to the President within three (3) working days after receipt of the Committee’s decision.

The President will conduct an “on the record review” of the record presented to the Committee.  The President shall provide a written decision to the student and Vice President within ten (10) business days from receipt of the student’s appeal.

V. Student Voluntary Withdrawal

If a student is accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct and voluntarily withdrawals prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary matter without the consent of the Vice President, the student will not be allowed to re-enroll to the College unless reasonable re-entry restrictions, as determined by the President, are satisfied.  For students who withdrew prior to a determination regarding alleged misconduct that threatened the health, safety or well-being of any member of the academic community and/or seriously disrupted the function and good order of the College, in addition to other reasonable re-entry restrictions, the student must provide proof from a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist, at the student’s expense, that the student no longer poses a direct threat.

Discrimination and Harassment

The College is fully committed to providing a learning and work environment that is free from prohibited discrimination.  The College does not practice or condone discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, age, political affiliation or veterans’ status in the administration or in any of its academic programs and employment practices.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

The College strives to make its campuses inclusive, safe and a welcoming learning environment for all members of the College community.  Pursuant to multiple federal and state laws and administrative regulations and pursuant to College policy, the College prohibits discrimination in its activities, services and programs based on sex, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in any federally funded education program or activity.  Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex or gender also includes sexual harassment, stalking, dating and domestic violence, or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and/or sexual coercion.  The College’s Title IX Coordinator has oversight responsibility for handling Sexual Misconduct complaints and for identifying and addressing any patterns and/or systemic problems involving Sexual Misconduct.  All allegations involving Sexual Misconduct should be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or, in the case of actions solely between employees, the College’s Director of Human Resources.  If the alleged incident involves both an employee and a student, the Title IX Coordinator shall take the lead but shall work cooperatively with the Director of Human Resources.

I. Definitions 

The following definitions shall apply to this Procedure and shall be collectively referred to herein as “Sexual Misconduct”.  The definitions are not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.  Indeed, just because a student’s speech or expression is deemed offensive by others does not mean it constitutes discrimination or harassment.

In applying these definitions, College administrators shall view the speech or expression in its context and totality and shall apply the following standard: the alleged victim subjectively views the conduct as discrimination or harassment and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is discriminatory or harassing.

A. Confidential Employee – is not a Responsible Employee and is not required to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator if confidentiality is requested by the student.  Campus counselors are considered Confidential Employees.  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.

B. Consent – explicit approval to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions or words.  This decision must be made freely and actively by all participants.  Non-verbal communication, silence, passivity or lack of active resistance does not imply consent.  In addition, previous participation in sexual activity does not indicate current consent to participate and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent has not been obtained in situations where the individual: i) is forced, pressured, manipulated or has reasonable fear that they will be injured if they do not submit to the act; ii) is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity (including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol); or iii) has a mental or physical disability which inhibits his/her ability to give consent to sexual activity.

C. Dating Violence – crimes of violence against a person with whom the person has or had a social relationship or a romantic or intimate relationship.

D. Domestic Violence – crimes of violence against a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the student shares a child in common, a person with whom the student cohabitates or has cohabitated as a spouse, a person similarly situated to the student as a spouse, a person who is related to the student as a parent, child or person who is related to the student as a grandparent or grandchild.

E. Rape – as stipulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) updated definition in the UCR Summary Reporting System, means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

This definition includes any sex of victim or Perpetrator.  Sexual penetration means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person.  This definition also includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol) or because of age.  Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.

F.  Responsible Employee – a College employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/misconduct; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual harassment/misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate designee; or who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.  The College’s Responsible Employees include all College administrators (Deans, Directors, Coordinators and Vice Presidents).  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.

G. Sexual Assault – subjecting any person to contact or behavior of a sexual nature for the purposes of sexual gratification without the person’s expressed and explicit consent.

H. Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, physical, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment; involve verbal, physical, or electronic conduct based on a person’s sex, gender, or sex-stereotyping that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; including harassment for displaying what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression of the person(s) involved.

I.  Stalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed to a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury or continued harassment.

J. Standard of Evidence – the College uses the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In the student due process hearing and employee grievance process, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable.  Student and employee due process hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available from all relevant sources.  The College will find the alleged Perpetrator either “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating these Procedures.

II.  Reporting

A. Reporting to Local Law Enforcement. 

Individuals may report Sexual Misconduct directly to local law enforcement agencies by dialing 911.  Individuals who make a criminal allegation may also choose to pursue College disciplinary action simultaneously.  A criminal investigation into the matter does not release the College from its obligation to conduct its own investigation (nor is a criminal investigation determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct has occurred).  However, the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while the criminal investigators are gathering evidence.  In the event of such a delay, the College must take interim measures when necessary to protect the alleged Complainant and/or the College community.

Individuals may choose not to report alleged Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement authorities.  The College respects and supports individuals’ decisions regarding reporting; nevertheless, the College may notify appropriate law enforcement authorities if required or warranted by the nature of the allegations.

B. Reporting to College Officials. 

1. Students Complaints.  

The College’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with these Procedures and Title IX regulations.  Questions about these Procedures should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.  Anyone wishing to make a report relating to Sexual Misconduct may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Title IX Coordinator.

The College’s Acting Title IX Coordinator is:

Connie Ivey
Director of Human Resources
Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building
21 Campus Circle
Murphy NC  28906
828-835-4325

For Sexual Misconduct incidents between students and employees, the Title IX Coordinator will work in partnership with the Director of Human Resources to investigate and resolve the allegations.

2. Employee Complaints. 

All reports of Sexual Misconduct incidents solely between employees should be reported to the Director of Human Resources.

The College’s Director of Human Resources is:

Connie Ivey
Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building
21 Campus Circle
Murphy NC  28906
828-835-4325

III. Initial Investigation 

As these Procedures apply to both students and employees as either the Complainant or the Respondent, the administrator receiving the incident report will determine if the case should be handled by: 1) the Title IX Coordinator (student/student); 2) the Director of Human Resources (employee/employee); or 3) both (student/employee).  For incidents involving students and employees, the College will utilize the process for both the student investigation and the employee investigation sections as applicable.

A. Student Investigation.  

1. Students filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Title IX Coordinator shall fully investigate any complaints and will, as needed, and if the complaint also involves an employee, collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources.  During the course of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Title IX Coordinator of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Title IX Coordinator may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The temporary actions include, but are not limited to: reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to complete coursework); or the directives that include no contact between the involved parties.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Title IX Coordinator.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Title IX Coordinator shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Title IX Coordinator may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation.  The Title IX Coordinator shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Upon making the complaint, Complainants will be immediately notified that they have the right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Complainants will also be notified of available counseling services and their options of changing academic situations and other interim protective measures.

B. Employee Investigations. 

1. Employees filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Director of Human Resources shall fully investigate any complaints.  During the course of the investigation, the Director of Human Resources may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, the Director of Human Resources shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Director of Human Resources of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Director of Human Resources may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The Director of Human Resources may suspend an employee with pay pending an investigation if such action is in the College’s best interest.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Director of Human Resources.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Director of Human Resources shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Director of Human Resources may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation and shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Upon making the complaint, Complainants will be immediately notified that they have the right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Complainants will also be notified of available counseling services and other interim protective measures.

 

IV.  Recommendation and Appeal 

A. Students. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions, if warranted.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanction(s) will become effective.  The Title IX Coordinator will submit to each party a final outcome letter that will include, but not limited to, the following:

Determination if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating these procedures;

Sanction(s), if appropriate;

Whether monitoring of academic schedules is needed between the parties to ensure that the individuals involved are not in classes together (the Title IX Coordinator will assist in this process);

Short-term College counseling services available to each party.

2. If the Title IX Coordinator’s recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Title IX Coordinator recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., expulsion), the matter shall automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined here:

Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing;

Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties;

At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone;

The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

B. Employees. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Director of Human Resources will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions, if warranted.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanctions will become effective.  A final outcome letter will be submitted to the Complainant and Respondent that may include, but not limited to, the following:

Determination if the Respondent is responsible, not responsible, or if the decision is deemed inconclusive, or shared responsibility;

Sanctions, if appropriate;

Monitoring of academic schedules or workplace schedule if needed;

Short-term counseling services will be offered to each party.

2. If the Director of Human Resources’ recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Director of Human Resources recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., termination) the matter will automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined below:

Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing;

Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties;

At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone;

The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

C. Sanctioning.

The following sanctions may be imposed for those who have violated these Procedures:

1. Students – 

Verbal or Written Warning;

Probation;

Administrative withdrawal from a course without refund;

Required Counseling;

No Contact Directive;

Suspension;

Expulsion (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate

2. Employees – 

Verbal or Written Warning;

Performance Improvement Plan;

Required Counseling;

Required Training or Education;

Demotion (President must impose);

Suspension with or without Pay (President must impose);

Termination (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate to the specific violation

 V.  Protection Against Retaliation

The College will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of Sexual Misconduct in good faith or who assists in an investigation.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to: any form of intimidation, disciplinary action, reprisal or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take appropriate action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another in violation of these procedures.

VI. Providing False Information

Any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, who knowingly provides false information to College officials or who intentionally misleads College officials involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to expulsion or employment termination.  The College recognizes that an allegation made in good faith will not be considered false when the evidence does not confirm the allegation(s) of Sexual Misconduct.

VII. Limited Immunity

The College community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses.  Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of various policy violations.  It is in the best interest of this College that as many Complainants as possible choose to report to College officials and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.  To encourage reporting, the College offers Sexual Misconduct Complainants and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations.

VIII. Employee and Student Relationships 

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students are prohibited if the employee and the student have an academic relationship.  Academic relationships include any activities in which the employee is a direct or indirect supervisor or instructor for the student, as in a classroom or lab, or is a sponsor for any College activity involving the student, including work study or organizational/club/sport activities.  This prohibition shall continue until the student or the employee is no longer affiliated with the College.  Employees engaging in inappropriate relationships will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  Students engaging in inappropriate relationships may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students not in an academic relationship that impairs the College employee’s effectiveness, disrupts the workplace/learning environment, and/or impairs the public confidence in the College will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the College.

IX.  Suspending Procedures

In cases of emergency or serious misconduct, the College reserves the right to suspend this process and may enact appropriate action for the welfare and safety of the College community.

X.  Student and Employee Education and Annual Training

All new students and all employees shall be required to participate in a primary prevention and awareness program that promotes awareness of Sexual Misconduct.  This program will be held annually at the beginning of each fall semester.

At this annual training, students and employees must receive training in the following areas:

A.  Information about safe and positive options for bystander intervention skills;

B.  What “consent” means with reference to sexual activities;

C. Risk reduction programs so students recognize and can avoid abusive behaviors or potential attacks;

D.  How and to whom to report an incident regarding discrimination, harassment and sexual based violence;

E.  The importance of preserving physical evidence in a sexual-based violent crime; and

F.  Options about the involvement of law enforcement and campus authorities, including the alleged victim’s option to: i) notify law enforcement; ii) being assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement; iii) declining to notify law enforcement; and iv) obtaining “no-contact” or restraining orders.

Each year, all students and employees will receive an electronic copy of these Procedures sent to their College email address of record.  These Procedures will be maintained online in the College’s website and a hard copy will be kept on file (in English and Spanish) in the Title IX Coordinator’s office and the Director of Human Resources’ office.  Other translations will be made available upon request.

 

Unlawful Discrimination

The College strives to make its campuses inclusive, safe and a welcome learning environment for all members of the College community.  Pursuant to multiple federal and state laws and administrative regulations and pursuant to College policy, the College prohibits discrimination in its activities, services and programs based on race, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, age, political affiliation or veterans’ status.

I. Definitions

The following definitions shall apply to this Procedure and shall be collectively referred to herein as “Unlawful Discrimination”. The definitions are not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.  Indeed, just because a student’s speech or expression is deemed offensive by others does not mean it constitutes discrimination or harassment.

In applying these definitions, College administrators shall view the speech or expression in its context and totality and shall apply the following standard: the alleged victim subjectively views the conduct as discrimination or harassment and that the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is discriminatory or harassing.

A. Discrimination – any act or failure to act that unreasonably differentiates treatment of others based solely on their Protected Status and is sufficiently serious, based on the perspective of a reasonable person, to unreasonably interfere with or limit the ability of that individual to participate in, access or benefit from the College’s programs and activities.  Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional.

B. Harassment –  a type of Discrimination that happens when verbal, physical, electronic or other behavior based on a person’s Protected Status interferes with a person’s participation in the College’s programs and activities and it either creates an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, intimidating, abusive or where submitting to or rejecting the conduct is used as the basis for decisions that affect the person’s participation in the College’s programs and activities. Harassment may include but is not limited to:  threatening or intimidating conduct directed at another because of the individual’s Protected Status; ethnic slurs, negative stereotypes and hostile acts based on an individual’s Protected Status.

C. Protected Status – race, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, age, political affiliation or veterans’ status.

D. Standard of Evidence – the College uses the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In the student due process hearing and employee grievance process, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable.  Student and employee due process hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available from all relevant sources.  The College will find the alleged Perpetrator either “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating these Procedures.

II. Statements of Prohibition

A. Prohibition of Retaliation.

The College strictly prohibits punishing students or employees for asserting their rights to be free from Unlawful Discrimination.  Retaliation against any person participating in connection with a complaint of Unlawful Discrimination is strictly prohibited.  Reports of retaliation will be addressed through this procedure and/or other applicable College procedures.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, punitive actions from authority figures or peers, reprisals (acts of vengeance) or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take appropriate disciplinary action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another.

B. Prohibition of Providing False Information.

Any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, who knowingly provides false information to College officials, or who intentionally misleads College officials involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to expulsion or employment termination.  The College recognizes that an allegation made in good faith will not be considered false when the evidence does not confirm the allegation(s) of Unlawful Discrimination.

III. Requesting Accommodations

A. Students. 

Students with disabilities wishing to make a request for reasonable accommodations, auxiliary communication aids or services, or materials in alternative accessible formats should contact the College’s Office of Student Services at the Student Success Center located in the Harper Building.  Information provided by students is voluntary and strict confidentiality is maintained.  All requests for accommodations will be considered following the appropriate federal and state laws.

The College will also provide reasonable accommodation of a student’s religious beliefs/practices provided such expression/practice does not create a hostile environment for other students and employees and/or the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship for the College.

B. Employees. 

Employees with disabilities wishing to make a request for reasonable accommodations, auxiliary communication aids or services, or materials in alternative accessible formats should contact the College’s Human Resources department  located in the Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building.  Information provided by employees is voluntary and strictly confidential.

The College will also provide reasonable accommodation of an employee’s religious beliefs/practices provided such expression/practice does not create a hostile environment for other employees and students and/or the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship for the College.

IV. Reporting Options 

A. Student Complaints.  

Any student wishing to make a report relating to Unlawful Discrimination may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Office of Student Services at the Student Success Center located in the Harper Building.

For Unlawful Discrimination incidents between students and employees, the Vice President for Instruction (“Vice President”) will work in partnership with the Director of Human Resources to investigate and resolve the allegations.

B. Employee Complaints. 

Any employee wishing to make a report related to Unlawful Discrimination may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Director of Human Resources located in the Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building.

V. Initial Investigation

As these Procedures apply to both students and employees as either the Complainant or the Respondent, the administrator receiving the incident report will determine if the case should be handled by:

The Vice President, or designee (student/student);

The Director of Human Resources, or designee (employee/employee); or

Both (student/employee).

For incidents involving students and employees, the College will utilize the process for both the student investigation and the employee investigation sections as applicable.

A. Student Investigation.  

1. Students filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Vice President shall fully investigate any complaints and will, as needed, and if the complaint also involves an employee, collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources.  During the course of the investigation, the Vice President may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, and if applicable to the complaint, the Vice President shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Vice President of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Vice President may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The temporary actions include, but are not limited to: reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to complete coursework); or directives that include no contact between the involved parties.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Vice President.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Vice President shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Vice President may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation.  The Vice President shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Complainants will be notified of available counseling services and their options of changing academic situations and other interim protective measures.

B. Employee Investigations. 

1. Employees filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Director of Human Resources shall fully investigate any complaints.  During the course of the investigation, the Director of Human Resources may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, and if applicable to the complaint, the Director of Human Resources shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Director of Human Resources of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Director of Human Resources may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The Director of Human Resources may suspend an employee with pay pending an investigation if such action is in the College’s best interest.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Director of Human Resources.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Director of Human Resources shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Director of Human Resources may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation and shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Complainants will be notified of available counseling services and other interim protective measures.

VI.  Recommendation and Appeal 

A.  Students. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Vice President will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanction(s) to both the Complainant and Respondent.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanction(s) will become effective.  The Vice President will submit to each party a final outcome letter that will include, but is not limited to, the following: a. Determination if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating these Procedures; b. Sanction(s); c. Whether monitoring of academic schedules is needed between the parties to ensure that the individuals involved are not in classes together (the Vice President will assist in this process); d. Short-term College counseling services available to each party.

2. If the Vice President’s recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Vice President recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., expulsion), the matter shall automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined below: a. Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing; b. Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties; c. At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone; d. The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

B. Employees. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Director of Human Resources will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions to both the Complainant and Respondent.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanctions will become effective.  A final outcome letter will be submitted to the Complainant and Respondent that may include, but not limited to, the following:
a. Determination if the Respondent is responsible, not responsible, or if the decision is deemed inconclusive, or shared responsibility; b. Sanction(s), if appropriate; c. Monitoring of academic schedules or workplace schedule if needed; d. Short-term counseling services will be offered to each party.

2. If the Director of Human Resources’ recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Director of Human Resources recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., termination) the matter will automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined here: a. Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing; b. Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties; c. At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone. d. The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

C. Sanctioning.

The following sanctions may be imposed for those who have violated these Procedures.

1. Students –

Verbal or Written Warning;

Probation;

Administrative withdrawal from a course without refund;

Required Counseling;

No Contact Directive;

Suspension;

Expulsion (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate

2. Employees – 

Verbal or Written Warning;

Performance Improvement Plan;

Required Counseling;

Required Training or Education;

Demotion (President must impose);

Suspension with or without Pay (President must impose);

Termination (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate to the specific violation

Student Grievance

I. Grievance Process Overview

In order to maintain a harmonious and cooperative environment between and among the College and its students, the College provides for the settlement of problems and differences through an orderly grievance procedure.  Every student shall have the right to present his/her problems or grievances free from coercion, restraint, discrimination or reprisal.  This Policy provides for prompt and orderly consideration and determination of student problems and grievances by College administrators and ultimately the President.

A grievance is any matter of student concern or dissatisfaction with the College’s control except: (a) student discipline matters regarding academic and non-academic violations; (b) discrimination and unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence; (c) a grade appeal; or (d) any other matter that has a specific grievance process outlined in that policy or procedure.

 

II. Grievance Process

A. Informal Grievance – Step One

In the event the alleged grievance lies with an instructor/staff member, the student must first go to that instructor/staff member and attempt to informally resolve the matter.  Both the student and instructor/staff member must have an informal conference to discuss the situation and document the attempts taken to resolve the grievance at this level.  In the event that the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached at the informal conference, he/she may proceed to Step Two within five (5) business days after the informal conference.  Not proceeding to Step Two within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.

If the grievance concerns issues unrelated to a particular instructor/staff member (for example, an issue with College policy), the student can skip the informal process and proceed to Step Two.

B. Formal Grievance – Step Two 

If the grievance is not resolved at Step One (or, given the nature of the grievance, Step Two begins the process) the student may file a written grievance with the Vice President for Instruction Services (“Vice President”).  The written grievance must contain, with specificity, the facts supporting the grievance and the attempt, if applicable, to resolve the grievance at the information level.

The Vice President (or, depending on the nature of the grievance, another appropriate Vice President) shall review the written grievance and conduct whatever further investigation, if any, is necessary to determine any additional facts that are needed to resolve the grievance.  The Vice President shall provide his/her written decision within ten (10) business days after receipt of the grievance.

In the event that the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached by the Vice President, he/she may proceed to Step Three within five (5) business days after receipt of the Vice President’s written determination.  Not proceeding to Step Three within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.

C. Appeal – Step Three     

If the student is not satisfied with the Vice President’s determination, the student may appeal to the President.  The appeal must be in writing, must provide a written summary of the specific facts and must contain any other documentation pertinent to the matter.  The President will conduct an “on the record” review and conduct any further investigation that is necessary to ascertain the facts needed to make a determination.  The President may, at his/her discretion, establish a committee to further investigate the matter and make a recommendation to the President.

At the conclusion of the investigation and not later than fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the student’s appeal, the President shall provide a written decision to the student.

The President’s decision is final.

Academic Forgiveness Policy

FIVE-YEAR RULE POLICY: A freshman or sophomore with a grade point average below 2.0 who has not attended a community college or university for five or more calendar years and who is eligible for readmission is given the option of having the five year rule applied or not applied. If the five year rule is applied, all quality points from courses completed with grades of D or F before the interruption are removed from the GPA calculation. No hours of credit will be allowed for courses in which a C or less grades were earned, although, at the discretion of the student’s academic advisor, they may be used to waive appropriate course requirements. The student’s cumulative GPA will be based on courses attempted after readmission. The earned hours will include all credits: (1) transferred from other institutions, (2) completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher before the five year rule was applied, and (3) earned after the last five year rule was applied.

If the five year rule is not applied, the student will return with a cumulative GPA, credit hours and grades as if the interruption had not occurred. The quality point deficit of some students may be of such magnitude that the application for readmission from a student who has chosen not to apply the five rule may be rejected.

A student, having elected to have the five year rule applied or not applied, may not reverse the option later. Applications for the five year rule may be obtained from the Registrar’s office and submitted to that office prior to the initial term of re-enrollment.

Academic Freedom Policy

The search for knowledge and the dissemination of that knowledge is the foundation upon which education rests. Academic freedom for faculty and students is the freedom to ask questions, seek answers, examine all pertinent data, question assumptions and conclusions, and present those answers within the structure of a given course and its objectives or a given program and its outcomes. Academic freedom is ultimately the freedom to teach and to learn, protected from institutional censorship. Freedom always exists alongside responsibility, and academic freedom is no exception. This freedom carries with it the duties of intellectual honesty and sound judgment.

AIDS and Other Contagious Diseases

Students and employees of Tri-County Community College who may become infected with the AIDS virus or other contagious diseases will not be excluded from enrollment or employment, or restricted in their access to college services or facilities.

The College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and makes every effort to ensure that handicapped persons admitted to the College as students or employed by the College are afforded all the rights and privileges provided to them by this act.

Persons who know, or have reasonable basis for believing that they are infected, are expected to seek expert advice about their health circumstances and are obligated ethically and legally to conduct themselves responsibly in accordance with such knowledge for the protection of others.

Clinical and Co-op Background Checks and Drug Testing

Many clinical sites and co-op education agencies used by Tri-County Community College now require a criminal background check and/or drug test in order to be allowed to use their facilities. Some of the programs but not exclusive to these that might have such requirements are Emergency Medical Science, Nursing, Medical Assisting, Health Care Management, Early Childhood Education, and Criminal Justice. Students who have negative findings on the criminal background check and/or drug test may be prohibited from participating in their clinical or co-op experience, which could result in their inability to complete the requirements of the program. Faculty with negative findings may not be able to teach in these programs as well as other consequences as established by college policy.

Course Repetition Policy

Students may repeat a course for credit or audit, or a combination of the two, no more than three times within a five-year period. They may not re-enroll for a course in which an Incomplete (I) has been awarded until the grade of (I) has been removed. They may not enroll for a course in which credit by exam has been awarded. If students withdraw before the 10% date, they will not be considered as repeating upon re-enrollment.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Tri-County Community College complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Amendment of 1989, Public Law 101-226) as well as the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. The abuse and use of drugs and alcohol are subjects of immediate concern in our society. From a safety perspective, the users of drugs or alcohol may impair the well-being of employees, students and the public at large; drug and alcohol use may also result in damage to college property.

Therefore, it is the policy of Tri-County Community College that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance or alcohol, is prohibited while in the workplace, on college premises, or a part of any college sponsored activities. Any employee or student violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion and referral for prosecution.

Final Grade Appeal

Final Grade Appeal

This Policy shall apply to grade appeals unrelated to issues pertaining to the Code of Student conduct.  The grade appeal process applies only to final course grades.  In the event a student appeals a grade that prevents progression in a program, the student will be allowed to enroll and attend the following semester pending the outcome of the appeal.  For sequential classes that have a clinical component, the student will be allowed to take the academic coursework, but will not be allowed to participate in the clinical component of the class until the appeal is over.  If the grade is upheld, the student’s registration will be backed out of the course, and a full refund will be issued.

A. If a student is dissatisfied with his or her grade, the student must first meet with the instructor who assigned the grade within five (5) business days after the posting of that final grade in Datatel/Web Advisor.  The instructor will make a written determination and provide it to the student.  In cases where the student is unable to meet in person with the instructor, the student may contact the instructor by letter or email.  If the instructor is no longer employed at the College, the student may proceed to step two.

B. If the student is still dissatisfied with the instructor’s determination, within five (5) business days thereafter, the student may meet with the Academic Dean responsible for the program of study under which the course is taught.  The student must present the instructor’s written determination.  In cases where the student is unable to meet in person with the Dean, the student may contact the Dean by letter or email.  The Dean will make a written determination and provide it to the student.  If the Dean is unavailable, then the student may appeal to the Vice President for Instruction as noted below.

C. If the student is dissatisfied with the Dean’s determination, within five (5) business days thereafter, the student may meet with the Vice President for Instruction (“Vice President”).  The student must present the Department Dean’s written determination.  In cases where the student is unable to meet in person with the Vice President, the student may contact the Vice President by letter or email.  The Vice President shall make a written determination and provide it to the student.  The decision of the Vice President is final.

Graduation Policies

1. Students must complete an Application for Graduation prior to registration for the semester in which the program will be completed. Students completing during the summer term must apply during the preceding spring term’s registration.

2. Semester hours for graduation will vary with each program of study.

3. To graduate from a program, students must have that program declared as his/her major or secondary major (to receive a degree, diploma, or certificate, students must have the appropriate level declared as one of their active majors. For example, to receive a certificate, your major must be the certificate program).

4. Degree requirements are defined by the catalog during which the student declared the program as their major or secondary major. If there is an interruption in attendance greater than three consecutive semesters, one calendar year, the student returns under the current catalog’s requirements set for their program. Due to changes in technology and other extenuating factors, prior program requirements and course work become obsolete and may not count toward current degree requirements if the content in the previously completed course is no longer equivalent to a current course’s content and/or program requirements.

5. Only 14 hours of credit from outside the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) may be used toward the completion of an A.A. or A.S. degree or diploma.

6. 25 percent of applicable coursework must be completed at TCCC.

7. Students must earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and receive a passing grade in all required courses to be eligible for graduation. Some programs require a final grade of “C” or better in specific courses or all courses to be counted toward the programs requirements. Please see the program information for these specific requirements.

8. The Registrar must have an official copy of either a final high school transcript or a GED for degree graduating students.

9. Students must be in good financial standing at TCCC (there must be no account holds or indebtedness to the college).

10. Students who have received loans must complete exit counseling prior to graduation.

Applications for graduation are required to be completed and turned into the Registrar prior to registering for the completing semester. Students completing two or more programs must complete an application for each program. Applications for graduation may be picked up at the Harper Help Desk in the Student Success Center located on the main campus, the Shope Building at the Graham County Center, or printed online from the TCCC website.

Graduation fees are subject to change (diploma cover, cap and gown, etc.). Contact Tri-County Community College Bookstore for current prices. Graduation expenses include black cap and gown for the ceremony. All other purchases are at the discretion of the graduate. Degrees, diplomas, and certificates are complimentary. Diploma covers may be purchased at the College Bookstore at any time. All students participating in graduation ceremonies must be scheduled to complete all graduation requirements by the end of spring semester.

Inclement Weather

In the event of adverse weather, students should tune in to local news outlets for the status of the college’s operation. Radio stations carrying the announcement will be WKRK (1320 AM), WCVP (600 AM-Murphy and 95.9 FM-Robbinsville) and WCNG (102.7 FM). Television stations WLOS-TV (Asheville), WTVC-TV (Channel 9 in Chattanooga), and WRCB-TV (Channel 3 in Chattanooga) will make the announcement. Students can also hear the status of the college’s operation on our answering machine by calling 828-837-6810 or checking the web site at www.tricountycc.edu.

The announcement will be one of the following:

  • TCCC is open and operating on a normal schedule.
  • TCCC is closed.
  • TCCC will operate on a delayed schedule.

In some cases, the operation status of the Graham County Center may differ from that of the main campus. Listen carefully for the announcement pertaining to the campus you attend.

If TCCC is operating on a delayed schedule, classes will begin at the time of opening at their scheduled time. The delayed hours are cancelled hours. For example, if the college is delayed two hours, classes will begin at 10:00 a.m.; at 10:00 a.m. you will attend your 10:00 a.m. class. Any other scheduled class time before 10:00 a.m. is cancelled. If you have a class that meets 9:00 a.m. – Noon, you will miss the first hour of that class, arriving at 10:00 a.m. Also, if you have an 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. class that only meets for an hour, it is cancelled. The instructors of the cancelled classes will inform you of how the time missed will be made up.

Intellectual Property Policy

Tri-County Community College, as an institution of higher learning, has a mission of helping students succeed. This mission lies in the creation and dissemination of knowledge and is not limited to any particular medium. As part of the everyday business of the College, many forms of intellectual property may be conceived, developed, and disseminated. While most of these intellectual properties are not commercial in nature, such a possibility does exist. Thus, the purpose of this policy is to establish the rights and responsibilities concerning intellectual property for faculty, administrators, staff, and students. Clear allocation of ownership and control of intellectual property rights is necessary, especially given the increasing role of technology in the classroom and evolving legal issues concerning copyrights.

Tri-County Community College owns all rights to its logo, seal, and other related materials. The college’s name and symbols may not be used in the production and marketing of items not copyrighted, patented, or other otherwise approved by the College.

Title to intellectual properties developed by faculty, administrators, and staff of the College as essential course materials shall reside with the developer, but every member of the College community shall enjoy a permanent non-exclusive, royalty-free license to make all traditional and reasonable academic uses of that property.

Title to intellectual properties developed by faculty, administrators, staff, and students of the College as supplemental course materials shall reside with the developer.

Title to intellectual properties developed by individual students shall reside with the student.

Title to intellectual properties developed by faculty, administrators, staff, and students of the College as published materials in official college publications shall reside with the College.

Title to intellectual properties developed by faculty, administrators, staff, and students of the College as published materials in unofficial college publications shall reside with the developer, but a one-time non-exclusive, royalty-free license shall be granted with the College.

Title to intellectual properties developed by faculty, administrators, staff, and students of the College in a work for hire situation shall reside with the College unless a specific contract states otherwise.

Intellectual properties developed or supported by grants shall be governed by the terms and conditions contained in those grants; in the event the grant does not specify, then the above policy is to be applied.

For a copy of the complete Intellectual Property Policy, contact Student Services.

NC Higher Education Complaint Policy and Procedure

Information about Student Complaints

The Licensure Division of the University of North Carolina System Office serves as the official state entity to receive complaints concerning post-secondary institutions that are authorized to operate in North Carolina. If students are unable to resolve a complaint through the institution’s grievance procedures, they can review the Student Complaint Policy (PDF), print out and complete the Student Complaint Form (PDF) and submit the complaint to:

North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints
c/o Student Complaints
University of North Carolina System Office
910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688

For more information, call (919) 962-4550 or send an email to: studentcomplaint@northcarolina.edu.

To file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, please visit the State Attorney General’s web page at: http://www.ncdoj.gov/complaint. North Carolina residents may call (877) 566-7226. Outside of North Carolina, please call (919) 716-6000. En Espanol (919) 716-0058.

If you choose to mail a complaint, please use the following address:

Consumer Protection Division
Attorney General’s Office
Mail Service Center 9001
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Out-of-State students should visit the Tri-County Distance Learning webpage for information about filing a complaint.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

The College strives to make its campuses inclusive, safe and a welcoming learning environment for all members of the College community.  Pursuant to multiple federal and state laws and administrative regulations and pursuant to College policy, the College prohibits discrimination in its activities, services and programs based on sex, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in any federally funded education program or activity.  Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex or gender also includes sexual harassment, stalking, dating and domestic violence, or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and/or sexual coercion.  The College’s Title IX Coordinator has oversight responsibility for handling Sexual Misconduct complaints and for identifying and addressing any patterns and/or systemic problems involving Sexual Misconduct.  All allegations involving Sexual Misconduct should be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or, in the case of actions solely between employees, the College’s Director of Human Resources.  If the alleged incident involves both an employee and a student, the Title IX Coordinator shall take the lead but shall work cooperatively with the Director of Human Resources.

I. Definitions 

The following definitions shall apply to this Procedure and shall be collectively referred to herein as “Sexual Misconduct”.  The definitions are not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.  Indeed, just because a student’s speech or expression is deemed offensive by others does not mean it constitutes discrimination or harassment.

In applying these definitions, College administrators shall view the speech or expression in its context and totality and shall apply the following standard: the alleged victim subjectively views the conduct as discrimination or harassment and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is discriminatory or harassing.

A. Confidential Employee – is not a Responsible Employee and is not required to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator if confidentiality is requested by the student.  Campus counselors are considered Confidential Employees.  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.

B. Consent – explicit approval to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions or words.  This decision must be made freely and actively by all participants.  Non-verbal communication, silence, passivity or lack of active resistance does not imply consent.  In addition, previous participation in sexual activity does not indicate current consent to participate and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent has not been obtained in situations where the individual: i) is forced, pressured, manipulated or has reasonable fear that they will be injured if they do not submit to the act; ii) is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity (including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol); or iii) has a mental or physical disability which inhibits his/her ability to give consent to sexual activity.

C. Dating Violence – crimes of violence against a person with whom the person has or had a social relationship or a romantic or intimate relationship.

D. Domestic Violence – crimes of violence against a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the student shares a child in common, a person with whom the student cohabitates or has cohabitated as a spouse, a person similarly situated to the student as a spouse, a person who is related to the student as a parent, child or person who is related to the student as a grandparent or grandchild.

E. Rape – as stipulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) updated definition in the UCR Summary Reporting System, means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

This definition includes any sex of victim or Perpetrator.  Sexual penetration means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person.  This definition also includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol) or because of age.  Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.

F.  Responsible Employee – a College employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/misconduct; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual harassment/misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate designee; or who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.  The College’s Responsible Employees include all College administrators (Deans, Directors, Coordinators and Vice Presidents).  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.

G. Sexual Assault – subjecting any person to contact or behavior of a sexual nature for the purposes of sexual gratification without the person’s expressed and explicit consent.

H. Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, physical, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment; involve verbal, physical, or electronic conduct based on a person’s sex, gender, or sex-stereotyping that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; including harassment for displaying what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression of the person(s) involved.

I.  Stalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed to a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury or continued harassment.

J. Standard of Evidence – the College uses the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In the student due process hearing and employee grievance process, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable.  Student and employee due process hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available from all relevant sources.  The College will find the alleged Perpetrator either “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating these Procedures.

II.  Reporting

A. Reporting to Local Law Enforcement. 

Individuals may report Sexual Misconduct directly to local law enforcement agencies by dialing 911.  Individuals who make a criminal allegation may also choose to pursue College disciplinary action simultaneously.  A criminal investigation into the matter does not release the College from its obligation to conduct its own investigation (nor is a criminal investigation determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct has occurred).  However, the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while the criminal investigators are gathering evidence.  In the event of such a delay, the College must take interim measures when necessary to protect the alleged Complainant and/or the College community.

Individuals may choose not to report alleged Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement authorities.  The College respects and supports individuals’ decisions regarding reporting; nevertheless, the College may notify appropriate law enforcement authorities if required or warranted by the nature of the allegations.

B. Reporting to College Officials. 

1. Students Complaints.  

The College’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with these Procedures and Title IX regulations.  Questions about these Procedures should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.  Anyone wishing to make a report relating to Sexual Misconduct may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Title IX Coordinator.

The College’s Acting Title IX Coordinator is:

Connie Ivey
Director of Human Resources
Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building
21 Campus Circle
Murphy NC  28906
828-835-4325

For Sexual Misconduct incidents between students and employees, the Title IX Coordinator will work in partnership with the Director of Human Resources to investigate and resolve the allegations.

2. Employee Complaints. 

All reports of Sexual Misconduct incidents solely between employees should be reported to the Director of Human Resources.

The College’s Director of Human Resources is:

Connie Ivey
Harper-Jarrett-Oglesby Building
21 Campus Circle
Murphy NC  28906
828-835-4325

III. Initial Investigation 

As these Procedures apply to both students and employees as either the Complainant or the Respondent, the administrator receiving the incident report will determine if the case should be handled by: 1) the Title IX Coordinator (student/student); 2) the Director of Human Resources (employee/employee); or 3) both (student/employee).  For incidents involving students and employees, the College will utilize the process for both the student investigation and the employee investigation sections as applicable.

A. Student Investigation.  

1. Students filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Title IX Coordinator shall fully investigate any complaints and will, as needed, and if the complaint also involves an employee, collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources.  During the course of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Title IX Coordinator of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Title IX Coordinator may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The temporary actions include, but are not limited to: reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to complete coursework); or the directives that include no contact between the involved parties.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Title IX Coordinator.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Title IX Coordinator shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Title IX Coordinator may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation.  The Title IX Coordinator shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Upon making the complaint, Complainants will be immediately notified that they have the right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Complainants will also be notified of available counseling services and their options of changing academic situations and other interim protective measures.

B. Employee Investigations. 

1. Employees filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Director of Human Resources shall fully investigate any complaints.  During the course of the investigation, the Director of Human Resources may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

2. During the investigation, the Director of Human Resources shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Director of Human Resources of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Director of Human Resources may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The Director of Human Resources may suspend an employee with pay pending an investigation if such action is in the College’s best interest.

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Director of Human Resources.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

5. The Director of Human Resources shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Director of Human Resources may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation and shall notify the parties of this extension.

6. Upon making the complaint, Complainants will be immediately notified that they have the right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Complainants will also be notified of available counseling services and other interim protective measures.

 

IV.  Recommendation and Appeal 

A. Students. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions, if warranted.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanction(s) will become effective.  The Title IX Coordinator will submit to each party a final outcome letter that will include, but not limited to, the following:

Determination if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating these procedures;

Sanction(s), if appropriate;

Whether monitoring of academic schedules is needed between the parties to ensure that the individuals involved are not in classes together (the Title IX Coordinator will assist in this process);

Short-term College counseling services available to each party.

2. If the Title IX Coordinator’s recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Title IX Coordinator recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., expulsion), the matter shall automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined here:

Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing;

Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties;

At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone;

The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

B. Employees. 

1. After the investigation is complete, the Director of Human Resources will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions, if warranted.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanctions will become effective.  A final outcome letter will be submitted to the Complainant and Respondent that may include, but not limited to, the following:

Determination if the Respondent is responsible, not responsible, or if the decision is deemed inconclusive, or shared responsibility;

Sanctions, if appropriate;

Monitoring of academic schedules or workplace schedule if needed;

Short-term counseling services will be offered to each party.

2. If the Director of Human Resources’ recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Director of Human Resources recommends sanctions that he/she cannot impose (i.e., termination) the matter will automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined below:

Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing;

Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties;

At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speaker phone;

The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present; e. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

C. Sanctioning.

The following sanctions may be imposed for those who have violated these Procedures:

1. Students – 

Verbal or Written Warning;

Probation;

Administrative withdrawal from a course without refund;

Required Counseling;

No Contact Directive;

Suspension;

Expulsion (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate

2. Employees – 

Verbal or Written Warning;

Performance Improvement Plan;

Required Counseling;

Required Training or Education;

Demotion (President must impose);

Suspension with or without Pay (President must impose);

Termination (President must impose);

Other consequences deemed appropriate to the specific violation

V.  Protection Against Retaliation

The College will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of Sexual Misconduct in good faith or who assists in an investigation.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to: any form of intimidation, disciplinary action, reprisal or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take appropriate action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another in violation of these procedures.

VI. Providing False Information

Any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, who knowingly provides false information to College officials or who intentionally misleads College officials involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to expulsion or employment termination.  The College recognizes that an allegation made in good faith will not be considered false when the evidence does not confirm the allegation(s) of Sexual Misconduct.

VII. Limited Immunity

The College community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses.  Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of various policy violations.  It is in the best interest of this College that as many Complainants as possible choose to report to College officials and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.  To encourage reporting, the College offers Sexual Misconduct Complainants and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations.

VIII. Employee and Student Relationships 

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students are prohibited if the employee and the student have an academic relationship.  Academic relationships include any activities in which the employee is a direct or indirect supervisor or instructor for the student, as in a classroom or lab, or is a sponsor for any College activity involving the student, including work study or organizational/club/sport activities.  This prohibition shall continue until the student or the employee is no longer affiliated with the College.  Employees engaging in inappropriate relationships will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  Students engaging in inappropriate relationships may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students not in an academic relationship that impairs the College employee’s effectiveness, disrupts the workplace/learning environment, and/or impairs the public confidence in the College will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the College.

IX.  Suspending Procedures

In cases of emergency or serious misconduct, the College reserves the right to suspend this process and may enact appropriate action for the welfare and safety of the College community.

X.  Student and Employee Education and Annual Training

All new students and all employees shall be required to participate in a primary prevention and awareness program that promotes awareness of Sexual Misconduct.  This program will be held annually at the beginning of each fall semester.

At this annual training, students and employees must receive training in the following areas:

A.  Information about safe and positive options for bystander intervention skills;

B.  What “consent” means with reference to sexual activities;

C. Risk reduction programs so students recognize and can avoid abusive behaviors or potential attacks;

D.  How and to whom to report an incident regarding discrimination, harassment and sexual based violence;

E.  The importance of preserving physical evidence in a sexual-based violent crime; and

F.  Options about the involvement of law enforcement and campus authorities, including the alleged victim’s option to: i) notify law enforcement; ii) being assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement; iii) declining to notify law enforcement; and iv) obtaining “no-contact” or restraining orders.

Each year, all students and employees will receive an electronic copy of these Procedures sent to their College email address of record.  These Procedures will be maintained online in the College’s website and a hard copy will be kept on file (in English and Spanish) in the Title IX Coordinator’s office and the Director of Human Resources’ office.  Other translations will be made available upon request.

Smoke Free Environment Policy

The aim of Tri-County Community College is to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning and health. Smoking is therefore prohibited in all buildings on the College campus. Smoking is allowed in designated smoking areas only.

Student Parking

All parking in designated areas will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Caution must be exercised by all students entering or leaving parking areas. All students, faculty, and staff are to park in the lined off parking areas. Visitor, handicapped, and pass through areas are to be observed. Vehicles found parked in other than designated areas will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Persons parking in handicapped areas must have their automobile identified with one the following: DAV tag, handicapped sticker, or handicapped card on dash.

Continuing Education students, faculty and staff who park on campus must purchase an annual parking permit. A fee will be charged per vehicle per semester for parking privileges. All curriculum students will be issued an annual parking permit upon registration and payment of their students activity fee. A parking permit is good for one year, or fraction thereof, beginning Fall Semester. Visitors will be issued a temporary permit when necessary.

Traffic and parking regulations remain in effect at all times on campus. Parking is allowed in designated areas only. Vehicles blocking drives and loading zones or parking on grass may be subject to tow-away at the owner’s expense. Only authorized vehicles and vehicles for shop repair are allowed to park in the vocational shop areas. A work order must be displayed on the window of the vehicle for repair.

Parking stickers are available for purchase by curriculum students in the Business Office located in the McSwain Building or by continuing education students in the Continuing Education office located in the Crisp Building. These numbers are recorded in the Business Office and in Student Services for registration purposes. All administrators are responsible for enforcing the parking rules and regulations. State and local law enforcement agencies will prosecute for violations of applicable laws on campus. Copies of citations are kept on file in the Business Office. Parking fines must be paid before a student will be allowed to register for a new class or semester, graduate, or receive any transcripts.

  • Violations
  • No registration or expired sticker
  • Speeding
  • Parking in unauthorized areas
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian
  • Double parking/blocking vehicle
  • Reckless driving
  • Parking in HANDICAPPED space
  • Failure to Display Permit
Student Records Policy

Access to and Release of Student Records

Tri-County Community College, in the execution of its responsibilities to students, maintains accurate and confidential student records. The TCCC staff recognizes the rights of students in accordance with college policy and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Types and Location of Current Student Records

A. Academic Record: Student Services Department, Harper Building – Registrar’s File Room.

B. Financial Aid Record: Student Services Dept., Harper Building – Financial Aid Office.

Types and Location of Previous Student Records

A. Academic Record (complete record maintained for five years after last semester of enrollment, TCCC grades/transcripts maintained interminably) Student Services Department, Harper Building – Registrar’s File Room.

B. Financial Aid Record (maintained for three years after last semester of enrollment) Student Services Department, Harper Building – Financial Aid Office.

Student’s Rights

A. To inspect and review the student’s education records. Upon inspection, the student is entitled to an explanation of any information contained in their record.

1. Copies (official or unofficial) may be obtained only with written request.

2. Originals received from outside institutions are property of Tri-County Community College and will not be released to the student or sent elsewhere at his/her request.

3. The procedure for exercising the right to inspect and review education records is to contact the Registrar for an appointment.

B. To seek amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights. The procedures for requesting amendment of records is as follows:

1. Contact the Registrar for an appointment.

2. Consult the “Appeals Procedure for Academic Matters”.

C. Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that the Act [FERPA] and Reg. 99.31 authorize disclosure without consent;

D. Complaints may be filed with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Tri-County Community College to comply with the requirements of the Act and this part.

E. Tri-County Community College permits students to request correction of the student’s education records under Sec. 99.20, to obtain a hearing under 99.21(a), and to add a statement to the record under Sec. 99.21 (b)(2).

Disclosure Policies

A. Tri-County’s policy of disclosing education records under Reg. 99.31 is to disclose a student’s educational records and personally identifiable information only to Tri-County Community College faculty and Student Services staff, and other TCCC officials who have a legitimate educational interest.

B. The official student file shall not be sent outside of the Student Services except in circumstances specifically authorized by the Vice President for Instruction and Institutional Effectiveness. The authorization for such special circumstances must be in writing.

C. A record of disclosures will be maintained as required by Sec. 99.32, and that a student may inspect and review that record.

D. Tri-County Community College has designated the following information as DIRECTORY INFORMATION, which may be made available to the public by the College:

Student name
Major field of study
Dates of Attendance (beginning and ending)
Degrees, diplomas, or awards received
Address (only with approval of Vice President for Instructional Services)
Academic honors list
Graduation list
Recognized student activities
Other student honors or awards
Special achievement

Any student who does not wish any information to be released to third parties must notify the Registrar in writing.

Information other than directory information is released ONLY with written permission of the student. Personally identifiable information (other than that which is listed as directory information) will NOT be released without prior written consent of the student, except to Tri-County Community College faculty and student services staff, and other TCCC school officials who have a legitimate educational interest, with the exception of end of semester grade reports. If there are no holds on student records (debt owed or privacy flag), grades are mailed from the Registrar’s Office immediately at the end of the semester to the address given to the College. Any student who does NOT wish for their grades to be mailed to their listed address must notify the Registrar in writing within (10) days after registration is complete.

Tri-County Community College is committed to protecting students’ privacy and does not display social security numbers on transcripts or registration forms. When applying for admission, students are asked for but not required to give their social security numbers. Photo ID cards with unique identification numbers are issued to streamline students’ interactions with the financial aid and business offices, the bookstore, and the library. The ID cards will also be useful for activities requiring student identification.

The Solomon Amendment

The Solomon Amendment requires institutions to provide directory-type information on students at least 17 years of age upon request of representatives of the Department of Defense for military recruiting purposes to avoid the withdrawal of federal funding. This information, referred to as “student recruiting information,” includes: student name, address, telephone listings, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees received, and the most recent previous education institution at which the student was enrolled.

To comply with this amendment, TCCC releases such information upon request of representatives of the Department of Defense, unless the student has formally requested not to have any information released under FERPA. (See above.)

Visitors on Campus
Tri-County Community College encourages the presence of visitors on our campus. However, due to certain occupational hazards involved in the use of various technical and vocational equipment, the College must insist that any visitor first register with the receptionist. Students and visitors are asked not to bring children to the College because of class disruption and possible injuries.