Georgia Highlands College

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Disciplinary Philosophy

This Student Rights and Responsibilities document was developed to promote an atmosphere conducive to learning and personal growth. As a basic framework, Georgia Highlands College students are guaranteed the rights, privileges, freedoms and responsibilities granted to United States citizens. Students are expected to abide by all local, state, and federal laws as well as College policies.† Alleged violations of laws may be referred to the appropriate authorities. Violation of law may also result in action by the College. †

Beyond the general rights and responsibilities of citizenship, Georgia Highlands College has developed an Academic Integrity Code and a Student Code of Conduct to guide students as citizens of the academic community.† The discipline process supports the educational mission of the College.† Its sanctions are designed to educate the student and maintain an atmosphere for learning.† For example, sanctions may include required community service designed both to promote learning and to make restitution for damages that might have occurred. The purposes of the disciplinary process include the following:

  • Protecting relevant legal rights of students; †
  • Facilitating and encouraging respect for campus governance and†regulations; and†
  • Developing, disseminating, interpreting, and enforcing campus regulations. †

In cases that involve actions or misconduct that would cause a student or students to be subjected to disciplinary sanctions, the student(s) will have the right to due process as accorded in the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of Georgia, and all applicable laws. †

Academic Integrity Code †

General Information

Georgia Highlands College seeks to promote and ensure academic integrity on its campuses.† Adherence to the principles of academic integrity ensures students are provided opportunities that foster their academic growth. Students are expected to complete all work without cheating, lying, plagiarizing, stealing, or receiving or giving unauthorized assistance.† Students with questions about any of these policies or definitions should seek clarification from an instructor, academic dean, student life coordinator, or the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.† Members of the College community are expected to be familiar with the Academic Integrity Code and to cooperate upon enforcement.† Faculty will take all appropriate steps to inform students of academic integrity principles, including all permissible as well as prohibited acts. †

The Academic Integrity Code applies to all academic work, including, but not limited to, exams, tests, quizzes, papers, reports, presentations, lab work, artwork, experiments, or any other effort that would be used in assessing the student's grade.† Work may be in written, oral, digital, or electronic form. †

Students who are charged with violating the Academic Integrity Code are entitled to a fair hearing in which the accused will be allowed to speak in his/her defense and to call witnesses on his/her behalf.† The procedures outlined in the code are not bound to the standards of a court of law.† Instead, in adjudication of such cases, the Hearing Officer or Panel will decide the case based on a standard of preponderance of evidence, requiring a conclusion that the breach of the code more likely occurred than not. This means that the evidence to suggest a violation occurred must outweigh the evidence to suggest the violation did not occur.† Evidence can include, but is not limited to, witness statements, admissions, physical evidence, or observation. †

Examples of Prohibited Acts †

No student shall knowingly perform, attempt to perform, or assist another student in performing an act of academic dishonesty, including the following: †

Plagiarism ††

Submitting the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of another, except those that are common knowledge, without proper credit to that person. Unfair credit includes, but is not limited to, a direct quotation of all or part of anotherís words without the proper identifying marks and/or merely stating the general source in a bibliography without noting the specific source in a body of work. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following when performed without fair credit: †

  • Direct quoting of all or part of another personís written or spoken words without quotation marks or similar appropriate punctuation; †
  • Paraphrasing all or parts of another person's written or spoken words without proper documentation within the submitted work; †
  • Stating an idea, theory, or formula originated by another person, as one's own; †
  • Repeating information, such as statistics, which is not common knowledge and was originally compiled by another person; †
  • Purchasing or receiving any academic works from another person or another source and submitting the work as one's own for evaluation or grade. .

Unauthorized Assistance †

No student shall: †

  • Give or receive assistance not authorized by the instructor in the preparation or completion of any essay, laboratory work, test, exam, or other assignment as part of an academic course of study; †
  • Sell, give, lend or otherwise procure or secure any unauthorized material which can be shown to contain questions or answers to any examination or test scheduled to be given at any subsequent date excluding questions and answers from any previous test that was given back to a student for keeping; †
  • Copy or allow another person to copy answers to a test; †
  • Transmit or receive information during a test that is within the scope of the material to be covered by that test; †
  • Complete for another, or allow another to complete, all or part of an assignment, such as lab work, homework, computer assignment, or exercise; †
  • Submit a group assignment or allow a group assignment to be submitted as the work of everyone in the group when fewer than all in the group assisted substantially in its preparation; †
  • Use without authorization a programmable calculator or other electronic device. †

Falsification †

Giving false information in connection with the performance of any work or the procedures outlined in this code.† No student shall: †

  • Give false reasons for failure to complete academic work; †
  • Falsify the results of any lab or experimental work or fabricate data or information; †
  • Alter academic work after it has been submitted without permission of the instructor.† Alter grade, lab, or attendance and participation records;
  • Damage computer, computer related equipment (printers, disks, etc.), or lab equipment in order to alter or prevent the evaluation of academic work (Note: Damage to College or another student's property may also be adjudicated under the Student Code of Conduct); †
  • Give false or misleading information in connection with a hearing or investigation involving possible academic dishonesty; †
  • Submit academic credit work that has been previously submitted for credit unless given permission by the instructor receiving the work; †
  • Alter, take, procure or attempt to alter, in an unauthorized manner any materials pertaining to the conduct of the class including, but not limited to, tests, examinations, equipment, or roll books;†
  • Steal or procure information related to any academic work in an unauthorized manner. †

Violation of other Codes or Regulations as Outlined In the Georgia Highlands College Catalog †

The Georgia Highlands College Catalog online at http://www.highlands.edu/site/college-catalog includes information pertaining to the following academic matters: course registration, course auditing, independent study policy, course changes, withdrawal procedure, records, expenses and fees, fee refund policies, financial responsibility, academic rights and responsibilities, academic advising, class attendance, grading system, grade reports, Dean's list, degree qualifications, financial aid, and veteran's assistance. Attempts to circumvent these policies through dishonesty are also considered breaches of the Academic Integrity Code. †


Procedures for Adjudication of Academic Integrity Cases †

I. General Information

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(s) of the Academic Integrity Code will be advised in detail of their rights and procedures for adjudication. Students may request a 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 . †

II. Reporting Violations

Any student, faculty, or staff member of Georgia Highlands College may notify an instructor of suspected academic misconduct.† In cases involving alleged violations of the Academic Integrity Code, the appropriate faculty member will file an Academic Misconduct Incident Report. The complaint must include 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 will be presented to the student(s) so accused. The faculty member must also state the recommended sanction for the offense on this same form. The faculty member is permitted to choose between (A) informal and (B) formal resolution (hearing) procedures. †

A.† Informal Resolution Procedure†

1.†† The faculty member shall inform the student of the allegation of academic misconduct and schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation. The faculty member may choose a neutral party to facilitate this meeting. The student shall be made aware of the allegations at most 72 hours (3 working days) prior to the scheduled meeting. †

2.†† The faculty member and the student shall complete the Academic Dishonesty Discussion Checklist and the Academic Misconduct Incident Report. The faculty member and the student may reach an agreement about the charges and, if dishonesty is involved, the appropriate sanctions. If no resolution is agreed upon or the student does not participate in the informal resolution procedure, the matter will be dealt with in a formal hearing. Agreement must be made on both the charges and the sanction for the agreement to be binding.† The student involved may not plead ďno contestĒ (a plea which does not admit responsibility but which accepts a particular penalty).

3.† The faculty member shall provide the student with a completed copy of the Academic Misconduct Report.† The Report must be submitted to the campus student life coordinator within three (3) working days of the incident.† The campus student life coordinator will review the judicial records of the student involved in the incident.† If previous Academic Misconduct Student Reports are on file, the campus student life coordinator may contact the student to begin the Formal Resolution Procedure.†

4.†† The student has (5) five working days from the meeting to rescind the agreement mentioned above. A written statement of rescission must be submitted to the campus student life coordinator . If a statement of rescission is submitted, the case will be processed through the Formal Resolution Process. †

B.†† Formal Resolution Procedure

The formal resolution process is coordinated by the campus student life coordinator and includes both administrative and hearing elements. The faculty member shall complete the Incident Report as stated above and file it with the campus student life coordinator within (10) ten working days of the discovery of the alleged incident. The campus student life coordinator shall notify the student of the allegations and a pre-hearing conference shall be scheduled with the student. The student may at this time request to have an administrative hearing or to go before a hearing panel for the alleged violation(s). In cases involving more than one student, all students will be treated individually with respect totheir alleged involvement in the incident. All students involved may elect to have a common hearing. †

Procedural Rights †

The student shall be made aware, in writing, of any complaint filed against him/her at least three (3) working days 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 guilt drawn from such silence;
  • The right to appeal as described in the College's procedures; †
  • 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. Such exceptions shall be made by the President or designee.) ; †
  • The right to be informed of the decision reached at the hearing. †

Hearing Panel Duties and Procedures

Each hearing panel will have five (5) members consisting of an academic dean and two faculty members all from a division different from that in which the alleged infraction occurred, one faculty member from the division where the alleged violation occurred, and one student. The hearing panel will hear testimony from all parties and witnesses involved in the incident. An academic dean for the 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 hearing panel that involves that case. †

The defendant(s) in a hearing will have the right to request, for cause, that up to two (2) members 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 guilty or not guilty. A majority is needed for a decision. If the defendant(s) is found not guilty, the matter will be considered closed. If the defendant(s) is found guilty of a code violation, the panel will then review the recommended sanction from the faculty member and make their final decision. †

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 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 in the Office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. †

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

Administrative Hearing Duties and Procedures

For an administrative hearing, the matter will be referred to an academic dean from a division different from that in which the alleged infraction occurred. No administrator who has had personal involvement or a special interest in the case may serve as the administrator hearing a case. The student(s) charged 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 code, the administrator will decide on an appropriate sanction or will uphold or dismiss a suggested academic penalty, as outlined on the Incident Report Form.† An administrator hearing a case may not take into account previous violations of the Academic Integrity Code when rendering a decision.† Previous violations can be considered in the sanction phase of a hearing. †

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. Once the institutional appeals have been exhausted, the tape will be erased. Typed manuscripts transcripts (if any are made) 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 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 in the Office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. †

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

Previous Academic Integrity Cases †

Neither the hearing panel nor the administrator may 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 panel or administrator may use discipline records from previous hearings as a basis for determining sanctions. If the student volunteers the information regarding any previous disciplinary action during the hearing, such information cannot be considered prejudicial and cannot be used as grounds for an appeal. †

Appeals Process †

The student or faculty member will have the right to appeal the decision of the hearing body to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs within five (5) working days.† The appeal must be written, signed and must state the grounds and argument of the appeal.† 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. 1). If, in the Vice Presidentís discretion, the appeal and record of previous actions indicate further consideration of the matter is not warranted, the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs will so notify, in writing, the student, instructor, academic dean, and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, within five (5) workingdays of the receipt of the appeal.† In this case, the decision shall be upheld or 2). The Vice President shall, within five (5) working days, appoint a committee of two (2) faculty members and one student.† 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 for Academic and Student Affairs. The appeals committee may recommend overturning the decision of the hearing officer or panel and may modify the sanction or uphold the original decision. Once the appeals process is completed, the Vice President shall notify all parties of the decision, within five (5) working days. †

A student or faculty member may appeal the decision of the Vice President to the President of the College within five (5) working days of issuance in written form. †

Sanctions †

The sanctions listed below, or combination of sanctions, may be imposed on a student involved in an incident.† Although no one sanction correlates exclusively to a specific action, the selected sanction should be chosen in light of the seriousness of the behavior as well as the studentís past behavior. †

∑† 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 hearing body 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 student's 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.



© 2014 Georgia Highlands College