Student Rights & Responsibilities
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
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. The director of student life shall serve as the chief judicial officer of the institution, and he/she may be assisted by student life coordinators or other institutional employees where designated in the coordination and application of the judicial policies and procedures.
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, director of student life, campus or academic dean, or the vice presidents for academic or 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 or organizations who 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.
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 written complaint should include as much information as possible regarding the facts of the case, including, but not limited to, (1) the type of alleged misconduct; (2) the name and contact information of the respondent; (3) the time, date, and location of the alleged misconduct; (4) the names and contact information of any witnesses present or individuals with knowledge of the incident; (5) whether any tangible evidence has been preserved; and (6) whether a criminal complaint has been made regarding this specific incident. Speculation and opinions should not be included.
The complaint should be written in third person and submitted to the director of student life or 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 director of student life or student life coordinator may ask the complainant for additional clarification in writing. Any clarification may be added to the original complaint. Information from complaints may be shared as necessary to investigate and to resolve the alleged misconduct. Complaints shall be investigated and resolved as outlined below. The need to issue a broader warning to the community in compliance with the Clery Act shall be assessed in compliance with federal law.
CODE OF CONDUCT VIOLATION REPORT FORM
Where appropriate, complaints may file a law enforcement report along with an institutional report. The institution shall take all necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of its community. As such, to the best of the institution’s ability, all complainants and respondents involved in alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct shall be provided the following allowances:
- Confidentiality: Where a complainant or alleged victim requests that his or her identity be withheld or the allegation(s) not be investigated, the institution shall consider whether such request(s) can be honored while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the institution. The institution shall inform the requesting party that the institution generally cannot guarantee confidentiality. Further, honoring the request may limit the institution’s ability to respond fully to the incident and may limit the institution’s ability to discipline the respondent.
- Retaliation: Anyone who, in good faith, reports what he or she believes to be student misconduct, participates or cooperates in, or is otherwise associated with any investigation, shall not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes he or she has been the target of retaliation for reporting, participating or cooperating in, or otherwise being associated with an investigation should immediately contact a student life coordinator. Any person found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of the student code of conduct shall be subject to disciplinary action, pursuant to the institution’s policy.
- False Complaints: Individuals who intentionally give false statements to a college official, or who submit false complaints or accusations, including during a hearing, in violation of policy shall be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to the institution’s policy.
- Amnesty: Individuals should be encouraged to come forward and to report student misconduct notwithstanding their choice to consume alcohol or use drugs. Information reported in good faith by an individual during an investigation concerning the use of drugs or alcohol will not be used against that individual in a disciplinary proceeding and will not be voluntarily reported to law enforcement; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.
Not all matters covered under this policy will necessarily involve alleged victims; however, where they are involved, it should be noted that the complainant will not always be the alleged victim but instead may be a third-party witness. The institution may also respond to issues raised by third-party complaints (such as referrals by police) or discovered by faculty or staff or through its own investigations.
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 should be filed within five (5) working days of knowledge of the described incident. The written complaint should include as much information as possible regarding the facts of the case, including, but not limited to, (1) the type of alleged academic misconduct; (2) the name and contact information of the respondent; (3) the time, date, and location of the alleged academic misconduct; (4) the names and contact information of any witnesses present or individuals with knowledge of the incident; (5) whether any tangible evidence has been preserved. Instructors may also include samples of evidence, which may be in written, electronic, or photographic form. 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, with reference to course syllabus if the content of said syllabus covers recommended sanction(s).
The following actions or behaviors are prohibited:
A. Academic Regulations
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.
- 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 electronic device (such as, but not limited to, cell phone, tablet, 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, test, 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, tablets, or laptop computers.
- Allow another person to log in to a Web-based course (such as on D2L or eCore) to submit work not created by the enrolled student.
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, grades, 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 D2L or eCore) or web-based identity (such as BANNER or SCORE).
- 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.
- 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.
- Service animals must be approved by the Student Support Services office.
- Leaving any animal in an unattended motor vehicle on campus for any period of time.
- Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to or offensive contact with a person, or threat to do so.
- Unwanted touching of another student, faculty or staff member or invited guest of the college.
- Assaulting another sexually as defined by Georgia law, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
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, vehicle, 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.
- Violating the college’s technology acceptable use policy in any way.
- 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.
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.
- Operating devices or equipment, either motorized or non-motorized, inside campus facilities without authorization that are typically designed for outdoor use, including but not limited to, skateboards, bicycles, hoverboards, rollerblades, segways, or scooters.
- 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 or drug-induced 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.
- 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.
- Give false or misleading information in connection with a hearing, investigation, or inquiry involving possible student misconduct.
- File a false complaint or accusation of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other college policies.
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.
- 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 that violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
- Interfering with a student’s or employee’s ability to work or study, or that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive atmosphere.
- Bullying and/or cyberbullying through repeated, aggressive and/or passive aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally, and are not protected by freedom of expression.
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. Sexual Misconduct
- Fully defined and referred in the GHC Sexual Misconduct Policy or Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. See additional policies for further information.
- Engaging in, or attempting to engage in, non-consensual sexual contact as defined as unwanted touching, groping, or contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with these body parts, or making another touch the alleged victim or themselves with or on any of these body parts.
- Engaging in, or attempting to engage in, non-consensual sexual intercourse or similar acts of sexual assault.
- Intimate partner/relationship/domestic violence as defined as acts of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim.
- Stalking as defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person based upon sex that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her own safety, or the safety of immediate family members or close acquaintances, or suffer from emotional distress.
- Engaging in, or attempting to engage in, acts of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit. Examples include, but are not limited to, invasion of sexual privacy, prostitution, non-consensual video, photography and/or audio recording of sexual activity, non-consensual distribution of video, photography and/or audio recording of sexual activity even if the sexual activity on the recording was consensual, peeping or intentional observation of an individual who are partially undressed, undressing, naked, or engaged in sexual or intimate acts.
- Unauthorized selling or distributing on the college property.
- Unauthorized posting of signs, banners or other advertisements in any area outside the public bulletin boards.
- Refer to the college posting policy for guidelines on obtaining authorization for posting for student organizations.
- Obtaining, removing, or selling property or services not belonging to the person taking the property on the college premises or at college activities, without authorization.
- Obtaining or removing property or materials not belonging to the person taking the property without making an effort to locate the owner of the property or materials.
- Taking college property or using college funds to purchase items for personal use.
W. Tobacco Use
- Using tobacco products or smoking paraphernalia is prohibited everywhere on all campus locations including property owned, leased, rented, or in the possession or control of the University System of Georgia and its institutional members.
- Prohibited tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, e-cigs, vaporizers, hookahs, and other smoking-related or tobacco-related items.
- 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.
- C.G.A § 16-11.127.1 allows firearms license holders to store weapons in a motor vehicle parked on campus if the weapon is kept in a locked compartment, locked container, or locked firearms rack within the vehicle.
- HB 792 Exception: Any person who is 18 years of age or older or currently enrolled in classes on the campus in question and carrying, possessing, or having under such person’s control an electroshock weapon while in or on any building or real property owned by or leased to such public technical school, vocational school, college or university or other public institution of postsecondary education; provided, however, that, if such person makes use of such electroshock weapon, such use shall be in defense of self or others. The exemption under this paragraph shall apply only to such person in regard to such electroshock weapon. As used in this paragraph, the term ‘electroshock weapon’ means any commercially available device that is powered by electrical charging units and designed exclusively to be capable of incapacitating a person by electrical charge, including, but not limited to, a stun gun or Taser as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-106.
Y. Violation of other Codes or Regulations as Outlined in the Georgia Highlands College Catalog
- The Georgia Highlands College Catalog online at https://sites.highlands.edu/academic-affairs/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.