Georgia Highlands College

Procedures for Adjudication of Student Code of Conduct

General Information

Any student, faculty, or staff member of Georgia Highlands College may file a complaint against a student for violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The complaint must state the alleged misconduct, including, but not limited to, the time and date, any witnesses present, and the facts of the case. Speculation and opinions should not be included. The complaint should be written in third person and submitted to the campus student life coordinator. The complaint should be filed within (10) ten working days of knowledge of the described incident. The campus student life coordinator may ask the complainant for clarification in writing. Any clarification may be added to the complaint.

The campus student life coordinator organizes the student disciplinary process for the College. The disciplinary process has administrative and hearing elements. Students charged with violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be advised in detail of their rights and procedures for adjudication. Students may request the use of an approved advisor (trained faculty or staff member of Georgia Highlands College) to assist them in the process of adjudication. The advisor's role is not to serve in defense, but to educate the complainant or defendant on the process. Students desiring more details about the disciplinary process should contact the campus student life coordinator.


All hearing panel meetings are open to the public in accordance with state and federal laws. The campus student life coordinator will determine what, if any, policy has allegedly been violated and if the College has jurisdiction. The campus student life coordinator will notify the student(s) named in the complaint and have a conference with the student(s). The student(s) may at this time request to have an administrative hearing or may choose to go before a hearing panel for alleged violation(s).


All hearings should take place within ten (10) working days of the conference between the campus student life coordinator and student(s) being charged. For alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, the campus student life coordinator will proceed or refer the matter to a designee for administrative hearings or coordinate a panel for a hearing. In cases involving more than one student, all students will be treated individually with respect to their alleged involvement in the incident. All students involved may also have a common hearing, if they elect to do so.


The student may admit responsibility and offer any extenuating circumstances, deny any accusation or part of accusations or state neither agreement with nor denial of the complaint. Conduct which may violate local, state, or federal statutes or ordinances in addition to a Georgia Highlands College policy may be addressed by the College and/or civil authorities.

Procedural Rights

The student shall be made aware, in writing, of any complaint filed against him/her at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to a hearing . Notice shall include time, date, and location of hearing, nature of the allegations, and names of witnesses scheduled to appear. Both parties shall have the following rights in the hearing process:

The right to question the complainant;

The right to question the defendant;

The right to present evidence;

The right to call witnesses;

The right to ask questions of witnesses;

The right to remain silent and have no inference of responsibility drawn from such silence;

The right to appeal as described in the College's procedures;

The right to be informed of the decision reached at the hearing.

The right to attend classes and College functions until a decision is rendered (Exceptions: physical or emotional well being of the defendant or complainant is endangered; the general safety and well-being of members of the College community are at risk; the educational process of others would be significantly disrupted; and personal or College property is in jeopardy. The President or designee shall make such exceptions;

The right to be informed of the decision reached at the hearing.

Hearing Panel Composition

A pool of trained students, faculty, and staff will be created to provide members for hearing panels. The hearing panel pool shall consist of one (1) student panel member for every two hundred and fifty (250) students enrolled at Georgia Highlands College and equal number of faculty, administrators, and /or staff. All members will be trained in due process, the educational nature of the process, and disciplinary sanctions.

Student members of the hearing panel pool shall be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the
campus student life coordinator and must not be on disciplinary probation at the time of application/nomination. Once selected, the student panel members must maintain the 2.50 GPA and not be on disciplinary probation. Students will serve a one-year appointed term. Students in good standing may be reappointed for successive one-year terms not to exceed two.

Faculty and staff members of the hearing panel pool shall be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Vice-Presidents to serve staggered two-year terms.

Hearing Panel Duties and Procedures

In cases involving the Student Code of Conduct, each hearing panel will have three members. The panel may be all students, all faculty/staff members, or a combination of both. The student may request which type of panel he/she wishes to have.

The hearing panel will consist of three (3) members of the pool and will hear testimony from all parties and witnesses involved in the incident. A chairperson for each panel will be designated to oversee the hearing. Panel members may ask questions of the witnesses or those giving testimony. No member of a hearing panel who has had personal involvement or a special interest in the case may serve on a particular hearing panel.

The defendant(s) in a hearing will have the right to request, for cause, that no more than two (2) from the hearing panel pool not hear the case. Those so identified will not hear the case. The referred student may appeal a hearing panel recommendation on procedural grounds if the student's choice of panel composition is not honored. The hearing panel must also guard the rights of all students involved in the process and ensure that due process is followed.

The hearing panel will hear evidence in incidents involving alleged code violations. After considering all the evidence presented, the hearing panel will recess to deliberate. Each panel member has one (1) vote; the panel will vote responsible or not responsible. A majority is needed for a decision. If the defendant(s) is found not responsible, the matter will be considered closed. If the defendant(s) is found responsible of a code violation, the panel will decide on the appropriate sanction from the list of sanctions in the Procedures for Adjudication of Student Code of Conduct.

A tape recording will be made of all proceedings. The tape will be kept for at least ten (10) calendar days after the case has been heard unless an appeal is filed. A tape recorder malfunction will not be grounds for appeal of the sanction. As a backup, one member of the panel, or another designated person, will serve as secretary. Once the institutional appeals have been exhausted, the tape will be erased. Typed transcripts of the tape (if any are made) or a copy of the tape may be provided to the accused student(s) at the expense of the person making the request.

If a student is placed on probation or sanctioned in any other manner, the record will be maintained for five (5) years after the student has completed the sanction and returned to good standing. If a student is suspended or expelled, the record is kept indefinitely. If a finding of no violation is found, the records will be kept for five (5) years for informational purposes. All such records will be kept by the campus student life coordinator.

The hearing panel shall provide the campus student life coordinator with a written summary of each case. The campus student life coordinator shall provide the summary and disposition to the student(s) involved within three (3) workdays. An administrator or panel hearing a case may not take into account previous violations of the Student Code of Conduct when rendering a decision. Previous violations can be considered in the sanction phase of a hearing.

Administrative Hearing Duties and Procedures

†No administrator who has had personal involvement or a special interest in the case may serve as the administrator hearing a case. For Student Code of Conduct cases defendants will have the right to request, for cause, that an appointed administrator not hear the case. Each defendant is permitted to do this once. If after requesting a removal for cause the defendant is not satisfied with the selected administrator, the case will automatically go to a hearing panel.

An administrator must guard the rights of all students involved and ensure that due process is followed. The administrator will hear the evidence in incidents involving alleged code violations. After considering all the evidence presented, the administrator will recess to decide on the matter. If the accused is found in violation of the incident(s) the administrator will decide on an appropriate sanction.

A tape recording will be made of all proceedings. The tape will be kept for at least ten (10) calendar days after the case has been heard unless an appeal has been filed. A tape recorder malfunction will not be grounds for appeal of the sanction. As a backup, one member of the panel, or another designated person, will serve as Secretary. Once the institutional appeals have been exhausted, the tape will be erased. Typed manuscripts transcripts (if any are made) of the tape or a copy of the tape may be provided at the expense of the person making the request.

If the student is placed on probation or sanctioned in any other manner, the record will be maintained for five (5) years after the student has completed the sanction and returned to good standing. If a student is suspended or expelled, the record is kept indefinitely. If a finding of no violation is found the records will be kept for five (5) years for informational purposes. All such records will be kept by the campus student life coordinator.

The administrator shall provide the campus student life coordinator with a written summary of each case. The campus student life coordinator shall provide the summary and disposition to the student(s), within three (3) workdays.

Previous Student Conduct Cases

The hearing panel or judicial officer may not take into account any previous discipline cases when determining whether the student has violated the Code. Such previous discipline cases may be prejudicial against the defendant. If the student is found in violation of the offense, the hearing body may use discipline records from previous hearings as a basis for determining sanctions. If the student volunteers the information regarding any previous disciplinary action such information cannot be considered prejudicial and cannot be used as grounds for an appeal.

Appeals Process

The student(s) will have the right to appeal the decision of the hearing officer or panel to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affaris in Student Code of Conduct cases. Upon the receipt of a decision, a student will have a period of five (5) working days to file an appeal. Such appeals shall be in writing and cite all reasons for dissatisfaction with the hearing process. If the student continues his/her course of study during the appeals process, he/she understands that any and all work may be null and void if the appellate body upholds the sanction.

The Vice President shall be given a written transcript or summary of the proceedings. The Vice President shall, within five (5) working days, appoint a committee of three (3) faculty/staff members or use an existing committee. The committee shall review the facts and circumstances of the case. The Committee shall within five (5) working days submit a recommendation to the Vice President. The appeals committee may recommend overturning the decision of the hearing officer or panel or may modify the sanction. The appeals committee may recommend reducing the sanction but cannot increase the sanction. If the appellate process maintains the sanction without modification, the sanction may be imposed as originally ordered. Once the appeals process is completed, the Vice President shall render a decision, within five (5) working days.

A student may appeal the decision of the Vice President to the President of the College within five (5) working days of issuance in written form. Once all appeals have been exhausted at the college level a student may appeal in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Board of Regents. This appeal for review is not a right, but is within the discretion of the Board of Regents.

Sanctions

The following sanctions, or combination of sanctions, may be imposed on a student involved in an incident:

Clearance: An official statement that the student has not been found in violation of a College policy.

Technical: An official statement that the student has violated the letter of the policy but not its intent.

Censure: An official statement that the student has violated a College policy. It is a reprimand from the College. Part of a censure may include restitution, community service, or other educational sanctions deemed appropriate.

Change in Grade: A grade change recommended by the judicial panel to the instructor for courses in which academic irregularities may have occurred.

Disciplinary Probation: An encumbrance upon the student's good standing at the College. A subsequent violation during the probation period will be evaluated within the context of the studentís probationary status and may result in disciplinary suspension.

Disciplinary Suspension: A fixed period of time during which the student may not participate in academic or other College activities. At the end of the suspension period, the student must be re-admitted to the College. The student will not receive any credit for the semesters during which the suspension is in effect. Suspension will be for at least the duration of the semester.

Expulsion: Permanent severance with the College. Only under rare and extenuating circumstances will a student be re-admitted.

Regentsí Statement on Disruptive Behavior

The following is the policy of the Board of Regents regarding disruptive behavior in any institution of the University System.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia reaffirms its policies to support fully freedom of expression by each member of the academic community and to preserve and protect the rights and freedom of is faculty members and students to engage in debate, discussion, peaceful and non-disruptive protest and dissent. The following statement relates specifically to the problem described below. It does not change or in any way infringe upon the Board's existing policies and practices in support of freedom of expression and action. Rather, it is considered necessary to combat the ultimate effect of irresponsible, disruptive, and obstructive action by students and faculty that tend to destroy academic freedom and the institutional structures through which it operates.

In the past a serious problem appeared on many college and university campuses in the nation. Some students, faculty, and others have on occasion engaged in demonstrations, sit-ins, and other activities that have clearly and deliberately interfered with the regular and orderly operation of the institution concerned. Typically, these actions have been the physical occupation of a building or campus area for a protracted period of time or the use or display of verbal or written obscenities involving indecent or disorderly conduct.

These actions have gone beyond all heretofore recognized bounds of meetings for discussion, persuasion, or even protest, In that: (1) acquiescence to demands of the demonstrators is the condition for dispersal, and (2) the reasonable and written directions of institutional officials to disperse have been ignored. Such activities thus have become clearly recognizable as an action of force, operating outside all established channels on the campus including that of intellectual debate and persuasion that are at the very heart of education.

The Board of Regents is deeply concerned by this problem. Under the Constitution of the State of Georgia, under all applicable court filings, and in keeping with the tradition of higher education in the United States, the Board is ultimately responsible for the orderly operation of the several institutions of the University System and the preservation of academic freedom in these institutions. The Board cannot and will not divest itself of this responsibility.

Of equal or even greater importance, such action of force as has been described above destroys the very essence of higher education. This essence is found in the unhampered freedom to study, investigate, write, speak, and debate on any aspect or issue of life. This freedom, which reaches its full flowering on College and university campuses, is an essential part of American democracy, comparable to the jury system of the electoral process.

For these reasons and in order to respond directly and specifically to this new problem, the Board of Regents stipulates that any student, faculty member, administrator, or employee, acting individually or in concert with others, who clearly obstructs or disrupts, or attempts to obstruct or disrupt any teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service activity, or any other activity authorized to be discharged or held on any campus of the University System of Georgia is considered by the Board to have committed an act of gross irresponsibility and shall be subject to disciplinary procedures, possibly resulting in dismissal or termination of employment.

The Board reaffirms its belief that all segments of the academic community are under a strong obligation and have a mutual responsibility to protect the campus community from disorderly, disruptive, or obstructive actions which interfere with academic pursuits of teaching, learning, and other campus activities.

The Board of Regents understands that this policy is consistent with the resolutions adopted by the American Association of University Professors in April, 1968, by the Association of American Colleges in April, 1968, by the Association of American Colleges in January, 1968, and by the Executive Committee of the Association for Higher Education in March, 1968, condemning actions taken to disrupt the operations of institutions of higher education. (Minutes, 1968-69, pp. 166-168.)



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