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
  • 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.

Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code

General Information

Georgia Highlands College has developed a code of conduct to guide students and student organizations in participating in the academic community. This Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code outlines the behaviors and actions that are prohibited and outlines the procedures for adjudicating them.

Georgia Highlands College seeks to promote and ensure academic integrity on its campuses. Adherence to the principles of academic integrity insures students are provided opportunities that foster their academic growth. Students are expected to complete all work without cheating, lying, plagiarizing, stealing, receiving or giving unauthorized assistance. Students with questions about any of these policies or definitions should seek clarification from an instructor, student life coordinator, dean, vice president for student affairs or vice president for academic 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 or organizations that are charged with violating the Code of Conduct and/or 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.

To determine whether a registered student organization is responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity Code, all circumstances will be considered, including, but not limited to: 1) whether the misconduct was committed by one or more members of the organization; 2) whether any officers of the organization had prior knowledge of the misconduct; 3) whether organization funds were used; 4) whether the misconduct occurred as a result of an organization-sponsored function; and 5) whether members of the organization misrepresented the details of the incident to institutional or legal authorities.

The following actions or behaviors are prohibited:

A.      Academic Regulations

1.      Plagiarism

Plagiarism is submitting 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 another’s 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 person’s 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.
  • Reusing assignments from another person.
  • Copying, using “cut and paste”, or otherwise using materials found on the Internet without proper website citation.

2.      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 that 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, exam, assignment or other exercise
  • Transmit or receive information during a test that is within the scope of the material to be covered by that test 
  • Use any handheld electronic device (cell phone, PDA, iPhone, digital camera, etc.) to search for, receive, record, send or text information regarding an in-class assignment, test or quiz.
  • 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, including but not limited to, cell phones, personal data organizers, pagers or laptop computers      
  • Allow another person to log in to a Web-based course (such as on VISTA) to submit work not created by the enrolled student. 

3.      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
  • Log-in or attempt to access another students’ Web-based course account (such as on VISTA or eCore)

4.      Disruptive Classroom Behavior

Students are expected to abide by the rules of common courtesy and respect the authority of all college employees. No student shall:

  • Display classroom behavior that interferes with the learning environment
  • Challenge the authority of a course instructor that creates a threatening or uncomfortable classroom environment for other students or the instructor

B.      Animals

  • Bringing into any college building any animal, except those needed to assist a person with a disability or those required for class or laboratory projects
  • Leaving any animal in an unattended motor vehicle for any period of time

C.      Assault

  • Unwanted touching of another student, faculty or staff member or invited guest of the college
  • Assaulting another sexually as defined by Georgia law

D.      College Documents

  • Forging or misusing college documents including, but not limited to, identification cards, transcripts and parking permits
  • Altering or transferring a Georgia Highlands College student identification card to another person
  • Knowingly providing false information to the college

E.      College Facilities/Property

  • Occupying or accessing any college building, facilities or premises without authorization.
  • Remaining in a facility after operating hours without authorization
  • Using any college service without authorization
  • Using, possessing or duplicating college keys, without authorization

F.      College Name or Mascot

  • Using the college name, logo, seal, mascot or symbols implying representation of the college without authorization

G.      Computers

  • Accessing or using college computers or computer networks on campus without authorization
  • Copying copyrighted software owned by the college without authorization
  • Copying of copyrighted materials not belonging to the college using college computers without authorization
  • Adding computer viruses or other software or programming to a college computer that interferes with the use of the college’s computer network without authorization
  • Misusing college computers

H.      Damage to Property

  • Maliciously damaging destroying, vandalizing, or misusing property belonging to the college, a member of the college community, or visitor to the college
  • Littering

I.       Disorderly Conduct

  • Interfering with the normal functions of the college, including, but not limited to, classes, studying, research, teaching, administrative tasks or public service
  • Obstructing the free movement of students, faculty, staff or guests of the college
  • Interfering with use of college facilities for approved college functions or events
  • Abusing, misusing or using sound amplification equipment without authorization
  • Interfering with the freedom of expression of others
  • Breaching the peace of the college or college-sponsored activities
  • Assaulting, harassing, or threatening to assault or harass any person on the college premises or at college-sponsored activities
  • Entering or attempting to enter to any college event without authorization
  • Interfering with faculty, staff or emergency personnel performing their tasks

J.      Drugs and Alcohol Policy

  • Possessing alcoholic beverages on campus and/or at college-sponsored activities without authorization
  • Being in an intoxicated state on the college premises or at college-sponsored activities
  • Driving on campus while under the influence of any drug, including alcohol
  • Using, manufacturing, possessing, possessing with the intent to distribute or distributing any controlled substance on the college premises or at a college activity
  • Using club or student activity money to purchase alcohol and/or any controlled substance

K.      Explosives

  • Possessing, using, selling or distributing any explosive or incendiary device
  • Possessing, using, selling or distributing any unauthorized fireworks on campus or at a college event

L.      Failure to Comply

  • Refusing to cooperate with a reasonable request from a college official in the performance of the official's duties
  • Failing to appear for a disciplinary hearing
  • Failing to complete disciplinary sanctions

M.     False Information

  • Providing false information or withholding information that would have altered the enrollment status of the student at the college

N.      Fire Safety

  • Tampering, misusing or damaging any fire safety equipment such as, but not limited to, fire extinguishers, alarms or sprinkler systems
  • Causing a false alarm
  • Setting a fire
  • Failing to evacuate a building during an alarm

O.     Freedom of Expression

  • Unauthorized assembling on the college premises
  • Impeding the rights of others to speak or assemble in an authorized manner

P.      Harassment/Hazing

  • Holding rites and/or ceremonies of induction, initiation, or orientation into college life or into any group on campus that tend to cause mental or physical suffering or place a person in danger of harm to self or others
  • Sexually harassing anyone in any form, including written, spoken or physical means
  • Interfering with a student's or employee’s ability to work or study or that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive atmosphere

Q.     Joint Responsibility and Student Responsibility for Guests

  • Encouraging, conspiring or cooperating with others to violate a college policy
  • Serving as host to guests who violate the Student Code of Conduct while on campus or attending a college event
  • Permitting guests to attend classroom activities without the consent of the instructor responsible for the course

R.      Local, State and Federal Statutes

  • Failing to abide by local, state, or federal laws

S.      Other Published Policies or Regulations

  • Many individual departments and divisions have additional or more detailed policies and regulations that govern each office/area. Students are also obligated to abide by these additional rules and regulations while on campus.

T.      Solicitation

  • Unauthorized selling or distributing on the college property
  • Unauthorized posting of signs, banners or other advertisements in any area outside the public bulletin boards

U.      Theft

  • Removing or selling property or services not belonging to the person taking the property on the college premises or at college activities, without authorization

V.      Tobacco Use

  • Using tobacco products is prohibited everywhere on all campus locations, with the exception of your personal vehicle. Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco.

W.     Weapons

  • Using or possessing a weapon on campus or at a college-sponsored activity, without authorization. A weapon may mean any object or substance designed to inflict an injury or incapacitate another person. A weapon may be a firearm, a knife or any object or device designed for offense or defense; or other item considered as a weapon by local, state or federal statutes.

X.      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 collegiate 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 Student Code of Conduct and/or Academic Integrity Code.

REPORTING VIOLATIONS

Student Code of Conduct

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 student life coordinator at the GHC location where the alleged offense occurred. The complaint should be filed within five (5) working days of knowledge of the described incident. The student life coordinator may ask the complainant for clarification in writing. Any clarification may be added to the original complaint.

After receiving a report, the student life coordinator will investigate the circumstances of the incident and determine what regulations, if any, are alleged to have been violated. Reports that indicate the alleged behavior does not violate any conduct regulation(s), lack of sufficient information, or if the College discerns that the behavior is not suitable for investigation may result in no action being taken. All documented cases will be reported to the campus dean

Academic Integrity Code

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. Instructors may also include samples of evidence. 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 student life coordinator at each GHC location coordinates the student disciplinary process for each respective location. The academic disciplinary process has informal and formal resolution methods, as well as administrative and panel hearing elements. Students charged with violation(s) of the Academic Integrity Code will be advised in detail of their rights and procedures for adjudication.

Judicial Process – code of conduct

If the student life coordinator investigating the case feels there may have been a violation of a conduct regulation and there is sufficient reason to proceed with the judicial process, he/she will notify the student or organization of the charges in writing. That notification will specify when and where the alleged violation occurred, the alleged violation(s), and the date and time of a scheduled appointment to discuss the situation.

The purpose of the meeting is to insure that the student or organization is familiar with the judicial process and the Student Code of Conduct in order to accurately prepare and present a response to the charge(s). At any point throughout the judicial process a student or organization is allowed to have an advisor as a resource, however the advisor is not permitted to speak on the student’s behalf. Prior violations of the Student Code of Conduct can only be considered when discussing sanctions once it is determined there was a conduct violation.

                  At this initial meeting, the student or organization will:

  1. Be advised of the right to decline making any statements or answering questions and, that in doing so, no assumption to responsibility will be drawn.
  2. Be advised of the pending charges and the report submitted.
  3. Be informed on the Student Code of Conduct and its adjudication process, or referred to where a copy may be obtained.
  4. Be informed of judicial procedures through which charges are resolved.
  5. Be allowed to read any and all information regarding the original complaint.
  6. Have the opportunity to share any pertinent information regarding the original complaint.

While meeting with the student or organization, the staff member will determine which, if any, of the alleged charge(s) are to be resolved through the judicial process and inform the student or organization of the choice of processes that can be chosen: 1) informal resolution, or 2) formal resolution. The formal resolution process can come in the form of an administrative hearing or a panel hearing.

1.      Informal Resolution

For a case to be resolved via the informal resolution process, the student or organization must:

A.      Accept responsibility for the alleged violation(s)

B.      Agree with the sanctions recommended by the student life coordinator

C.      An informal resolution may take place during the initial meeting, if the student chooses to do so.

2.      Formal Resolution

If a student or organization does not accept responsibility for the alleged violation, does not agree with the recommended sanction, or would prefer the case be resolved through a formal resolution process, then the accused student or organization may select between 1) an administrative hearing (with a campus dean), or 2) a panel hearing. The student life coordinator handling the case always reserves the right to have a case heard by a disciplinary panel if he/she believes it to be necessary, including if the student or organization fails to show up for a scheduled meeting to discuss the situation.

Judicial Process – Academic Integrity Code

1.      Informal Resolution Procedure

All academic-related infractions or disorderly behavior in an academic class may be resolved by the instructor via the informal resolution procedure. Once the alleged violation has been reported or discovered, the faculty member shall inform the student of the allegation of academic misconduct and schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the allegation in private. The faculty member may choose a neutral party to facilitate this meeting. The initial meeting should be scheduled within three (3) working days of discovery or reporting of the incident.

The faculty member and the student shall complete the “Academic Dishonesty Discussion Checklist” and the “Academic Misconduct Incident Report” together at this initial meeting.  For a case to be resolved via the informal resolution process, the student or organization must:

A.      Accept responsibility for the alleged violation(s)

B.      Agree with the sanctions recommended by the faculty member

C.      An informal resolution may take place during the initial meeting, if the student chooses to do so.

 If no resolution is agreed upon or the student does not participate in the informal resolution procedure, the matter will proceed to the formal resolution process. The student involved may not plead “no contest” (a plea which does not admit responsibility but which accepts a particular penalty).

The faculty member shall provide the student with a completed copy of the Academic Misconduct Report. The report must be submitted to the student life coordinator at the GHC location where the offense occurred within three (3) working days of the meeting. The 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 student life coordinator may contact the student to begin the formal resolution procedure.

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

2.      Formal Resolution Procedure

The formal resolution process is coordinated by the student life coordinator at each GHC location and includes both administrative and hearing elements. The faculty member shall complete the Incident Report as stated above and file it with the student life coordinator within ten (10) working days of the discovery or report of the alleged incident. The 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 to their alleged involvement in the incident. All students involved may elect to have a common hearing.

Formal Resolution Procedural Rights – Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code

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 an advisor. This person is simply to serve as a resource and/or support and cannot verbally participate or speak on behalf of the student or organization in any way during a formal hearing. The advisor may be another college employee or from outside the institution.

The right to request, for cause, that up to two members from the hearing panel pool not hears the case in panel hearings. Those so identified will not hear the case by removal from panel selection.

The right to request, for cause, that an appointed administrator not hear the case in administrative hearings. 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.

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

Hearing Composition

Code of Conduct

In administrative hearings, the campus dean at the GHC location where the offense occurred will serve as the presiding administrator. No administrator who has had personal involvement or a special interest in the case may serve as the presiding administrator hearing a case. For panel hearings, the hearing panel will have three (3) members randomly selected from the judicial pool. The panel may be all students, all faculty/staff members or any combination of both. The accused student or organization may request which type combination of panel he/she/it wishes to have.

A pool of trained students, faculty and staff will be created to provide members for hearing panels. 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 student life coordinators at each GHC location upon recommendation by the Student Engagement Council, 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 terms.

Faculty and staff members of the hearing panel pool shall be appointed by the president upon recommendation of the vice-president of academic affairs and the vice-president of student affairs to serve staggered two-year terms.

Academic Integrity Code

For an administrative hearing, an academic dean from a division different from that in which the alleged infraction occurred will serve as the presiding administrator. No administrator who has had personal involvement or a special interest in the case may serve as the administrator hearing a case.

Each hearing panel will have five (5) members consisting of: an academic dean and one faculty member from a division different from that in which the alleged infraction occurred, one faculty member from the division where the alleged violation occurred, and two students. 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. Student panel members will come from the judicial pool as described in the Code of Conduct above.

Administrative/Panel Hearing Duties and Procedures – Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code

                  All hearings will be resolved through the following procedure:

  1. In panel hearings, one panel member will be elected the chair prior to the hearing.
  2. The administrator or panel will be given a copy of all forms, letters, and reports pertaining to the alleged incident. The administrator or panel must guard the rights of all students involved and ensure that due process is followed.
  3. A recording will be made of all proceedings, with the exception of the panel deliberations. The recording will be kept for at least ten (10) calendar days after the case has been heard unless an appeal has been filed. A recorder malfunction will not be grounds for appeal of the sanction. As a backup, the administrator or panel chair may assign another designated person to serve as recording scribe.
  4. The complainant and the accused are brought into the room. The administrator or panel chair reviews the hearing procedure and any questions about it.
  5. The complainant is asked to present his/her statement. After the statement, questions may be asked by the administrator or panel and the accused student or organization.
  6. Other witnesses for the complainant may be called by the complainant to give testimony and answer questions. Following questioning by the complainant, the accused student or organization and the administrator or panel may ask questions. All witnesses may be called at any point thereafter to answer additional questions until the hearing is concluded.
  7. The accused student or organization is asked to present his/her statement. After this statement, questions may be asked by the complainant and the administrator and panel.
  8. Other witnesses for the accused may be called by the accused to give testimony and answer questions. Following questioning by the accused, the complainant and the administrator or panel may ask questions. All witnesses may be called at any point thereafter to answer additional questions until the hearing is concluded.
  9. The complainant is given the opportunity to make a closing statement.
  10. The accused is given the opportunity to make a closing statement.
  11. After considering all the evidence presented, the administrator or panel will recess to decide on the matter. In Code of Conduct panel hearings, each panel member has one vote; the panel will vote “responsible” or “not responsible”. In Academic Integrity Code panel hearings, each panel member has one vote; the panel will vote “guilty” or “not guilty”. A majority is needed for a decision. If the defendant(s) is found not responsible or not guilty, the matter will be considered closed. If the defendant(s) is found responsible of a code violation or guilty of an academic integrity violation, the panel will decide on the appropriate sanction.
  12. The administrator or panel chair may determine an appropriate time limit for his/her/their deliberation, and will inform the student or organization of the decision within three (3) business days. An administrative or panel hearing may not take into account previous violations of the Student Code of Conduct or Academic Integrity Code when rendering a decision. Previous violations can be considered in the sanction phase of a hearing.
  13. If the accused is found in violation of the incident(s) the administrator or panel will decide on an appropriate sanction, taking care to ensure the sanction is fair and educational for the student or organization.
  14. The panel chair or administrator shall provide the student life coordinator with a written summary of each case. The student life coordinator shall provide the summary and disposition to the student(s) involved within three (3) workdays of receipt of the summary. Included in the disposition will be information on how to appeal the decision.
  15. Once the institutional appeals have been exhausted, the recording of the hearing will be erased. Typed manuscripts transcripts (if any are made) of the recording or a copy of the recording may be provided at the expense of the person making the request.
  16. For all hearing decisions, regardless of outcome, the record will be maintained for five years after the student’s graduation or date of last attendance. In cases of organizations, the record will be maintained for five years following the completed sanction. If a student or organization is suspended or expelled, the record is kept indefinitely. All such records will be kept by the Office of Student Life.

Previous Student Conduct or Academic Integrity Cases

The hearing panel or judicial administrative 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.

Sanctions

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

  • Clearance: An official statement that the student or organization has not been found in violation of a college policy.
  • Technical: An official statement that the student or organization has violated the letter of the policy but not its intent.
  • Censure: An official statement that the student or organization has violated a college policy. It is a reprimand from the College. Part of a censure may include restitution, community service, mandatory counseling requirements, or other educational sanctions deemed appropriate.
  • Restriction: An official limitation placed on the student’s or organization’s actions, movements or access that often reflects the location or category of the violation.
  • 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 or organization’s good standing at the college. A subsequent violation during the probation period will be evaluated within the context of the student’s or organization’s probationary status and may result in disciplinary suspension.
  • Disciplinary Suspension: A fixed period of time during which the student or organization 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 current semester.
  • Removal of Registered Status: The organization’s status as a registered student organization or official entity with the office of student life is removed for a set time period. During this time, the organization is not allowed to operate on campus or be considered part of the campus community.
  • Expulsion: Permanent severance with the college. Only under rare and extenuating circumstances will a student be re-admitted.

Appeals Process – Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code

The student(s) or organization will have the right to appeal the decision of the hearing administrative officer or panel to the vice president of student affairs or the president of academic affairs or a designee in both Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Code 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. Appeals must be based on one of the following circumstances and should be addressed in the written appeal:

  1. Procedural errors – when the published procedures of the judicial process were not followed and the error(s) violated the student’s or organization’s rights.
  2. Substantive errors – when the evidence presented at the hearing was not sufficient to justify the decision reached or if the sanction(s) imposed is (are) unreasonably harsh based upon the circumstances of the case and the prior record of the student or organization.
  3. New evidence – when information, existing at the time of the hearing, was not available or known to exist at the time of the hearing.

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 for student affairs or the vice president for academic affairs or a designee shall be given a written transcript or summary of the proceedings. The vice president or designee shall, within five (5) working days, appoint a committee of three faculty/staff members for Code of Conduct cases; or two faculty members and one student for Academic Integrity Code cases; or use an existing committee if appropriate. 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 or a designee. 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 or designee shall render a decision, within five (5) working days.

A student may appeal the decision of the vice president or designee 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 or organization 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.

Regents’ 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.)



© 2014 Georgia Highlands College