Policies and Procedures Manual

Chapter 3: Student Affairs

03:05:04   Academic, Non-Academic and Classroom Misconduct

Purpose

General. Northeast State Community College, in the implementation of TBR regulations pertaining to discipline and conduct of students, insures the constitutional rights of students by affording a system of constitutionally and legally sound procedures, which provide the protection of due process of law. In furtherance of this mandate, Northeast State has enacted policies, which are in compliance with TBR Policy 3:02:01:00, as well as all state and federal law. All disciplinary procedures are affirmatively communicated to the faculty, staff, and students of the institution as well as published in appropriate websites, handbooks, or manuals.

  1. Classroom Misconduct. The instructor has the primary responsibility for maintenance of academic integrity and controlling classroom behavior, and can order the temporary removal or exclusion from the classroom of any student engaged in disruptive conduct or conduct that violates the general policies of the institution for each class session during which the conduct occurs. Extended or permanent exclusion from the classroom, beyond the session in which the conduct occurred, or further disciplinary action can be effected only through appropriate procedures of the institution. An instructor shall notify his/her dean of any action regarding misconduct immediately following all incidents of classroom misconduct.
  2. Disruptive Behavior. An instructor has the right to temporarily remove a disruptive student from a classroom. Disruptive behavior in the classroom may be defined as, but not limited to, behavior that obstructs or disrupts the learning environment (e.g., offensive language, harassment of students and professors, repeated outbursts from a student which disrupt the flow of instruction or prevent concentration on the subject taught, failure to cooperate in maintaining classroom decorum, etc.), text messaging, and the continued use of any electronic or other noise or light emitting device which disturbs others (e.g., disturbing noises from electronic or mobile devices.). Classroom misconduct includes other conduct prohibited in handbooks for specific programs of study. An instructor shall promptly notify campus police regarding any incident that may rise to safety concerns.
  3. Academic Misconduct. Plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly, through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. An instructor shall notify his/her dean prior to any action.
  4. Non-Academic Misconduct. The Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee serves as the Conduct Officer. This person is responsible for the management of non-academic misconduct by students. This conduct may include, but is not limited to, hazing, bullying and/or non-criminal acts of violence

Northeast State utilizes two grievance procedures: Academic and Non-Academic.

Academic Discipline Grievance Procedures

Notice of Academic Misconduct. An instructor who has good cause to believe that a student engaged in academic misconduct in connection with a course taught by the faculty member or an examination proctored by the faculty member, or his or her designee, may choose to exercise Summary Academic Discipline as outlined below:

  1. A student’s grade in the course or the assignment or examination affected by the alleged academic misconduct may be lowered to any extent, including a grade of “F”.
  2. When a faculty member initiates a Notice of Summary Academic Discipline, the faculty member will, within five (5) business days of learning of the alleged academic misconduct, notify the student and the Vice President for Student Affairs of the action in writing through the Notice of Summary Academic Discipline to advise the student of his or her right to appeal the Notice of Summary Academic Discipline. To initiate an appeal of the Notice of Summary Academic Discipline, the student must contact the Vice President for Student Affairs within five (5) business days of receipt of the notification of the action. The student appeal will be heard by the Academic Discipline Committee within 20 business days of the appeal. The Vice President for Student Affairs convenes Academic Discipline Committee meetings.'
  3. A student who is found responsible for academic misconduct by the Academic Discipline Committee will not be permitted to withdraw from the course to avoid the determined discipline.
  4. A student found responsible for academic misconduct by the Academic Discipline Committee may be awarded a grade of “F” for the course, assignment, or examination at issue, and is also subject to additional sanctions as outlined in the College’s Disciplinary Sanctions policy.
  5. The Academic Discipline Committee may recommend sanctions against the student to the Vice President of Student Affairs. A student who is found responsible for academic misconduct may be subject to additional sanctions imposed through the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs as outlined in the College’s Disciplinary Sanctions policy.
  6. The Academic Discipline Committee may determine and impose those sanctions independently of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
  7. The Academic Discipline Committee is a standing committee of the College charged to hear evidence, to make findings of fact, and to make decisions based on those facts.

    The committee is selected on an annual basis as follows:
    • Vice President for Student Affairs, Chair (non-voting)
    • Academic Dean (1): Appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Students (3): Designated by the Vice President for Student Affairs
    • Faculty (8):
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Advanced Technologies Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Business Technologies Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Health-Related Professions Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Humanities Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Mathematics Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Nursing Division
      • Faculty (1): Elected by Faculty in the Science Division
      • Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee (non-voting)
      • Vice President of Academic Affairs may appoint a designee for any faculty member or dean who is unavailable for a meeting.
  8. The chair of the Academic Discipline Committee shall notify the student in writing five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The student or proxy may attend the hearing.
  9. The chair of the Academic Discipline Committee shall notify the student of the committee decision within five (5) days after the hearing.
  10. A student may appeal a decision within five (5) business days to the college President. The President shall have ten (10) days to issue a final decision in writing.
  11. During the fall and spring semesters, the committee shall meet regularly, as follows:
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December
  12. The committee may need to meet, as appropriate, during the summer months

Academic Discipline Committee: This policy is promulgated pursuant to, and in compliance with, TBR Rule 0240-02-03-.03 Academic and Classroom Misconduct. To the extent that a conflict exists between this policy and TBR rule, policy and/or applicable law(s), the TBR rule, policy and/or law will control. History – Adopted by TBR: 2/8/11. Effective: 1/29/12.

Non-Academic Grievance Procedures

Students who seek an appeal of non-academic discipline, may seek a Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA) hearing.

TUAPA. All cases which may result in: a) suspension or expulsion of a student, or student organization, from the institution, for disciplinary reasons or b) revocation of registration of a student organization, are subject to the contested case provisions of the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (TUAPA), T.C.A. § 4-5-101 et seq., and shall be processed in accord with the Uniform Contested Case procedures adopted by the Board of Regents unless the student or organization, after receiving written notice, waives those procedures and elects to have the case disposed of in accord with institutional procedures or waives all right to contest the case under any procedure.

  1. All complaints of alleged misconduct of a student or student organization shall be made in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The complaint should contain a statement of facts outlining each alleged act of misconduct and shall state the policy the student is alleged to have violated.
  2. The Vice President for Student Affairs shall investigate the complaint. If it is determined that the complaint is without merit, the investigation shall promptly cease. If it is determined that there is probable cause to believe that a violation did occur, the student (or student organization advisor and president) shall be notified in writing (Notice of Non-Academic Misconduct) within five (5) business days by the Vice President for Student Affairs of the complaint and the specific allegations made against them, and the process shall proceed as outlined below.
  3. For students facing disciplinary action, four potential processes exist for adjudication of the case. The student shall be informed in writing of each option, including which options may be utilized based on the case, and the due process rights associated with each option. Options include election of:
    1. A hearing before the Northeast State Student Discipline Committee;
    2. Informal adjudication of the case by the Vice President for Student Affairs;
    3. To not contest the case; or
    4. A TUAPA hearing in the circumstances described in Section 03:05:06 subparagraph (2) above.

Election of use of TUAPA or the Northeast State Student Discipline Committee hearing options entitles the student to due process. Student election of the use of informal adjudication or to not contest the case requires that the student waive, in writing, his/her right to due process. Selection of one option constitutes waiver of all other options. The student shall have five (5) business days following written notification to select an option. In cases in which the student elects to have the Vice President for Student Affairs informally adjudicate the case, the case shall be adjudicated according to the Informal Adjudication Procedure and the decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs will be final. If a student, absent good cause, fails to return the Election of Waiver of Hearing Procedures form within five (5) business days, the student will be deemed to have waived a right to the processes described above and Northeast State may proceed as it deems, in its sole discretion, appropriate in the circumstances.

Minimum Requirements of Due Process for Institutional Hearings. Students subject to any disciplinary sanction are entitled to a due process hearing unless that right is waived by the student after receiving written notice of the available adjudication options:

  1. The right to present his or her case. However, the student’s absence, absent with good cause, will not hinder the Student Discipline Committee from meeting and rendering a decision.
  2. The right to be accompanied by an advisor. The hearing committee may restrict the advisor’s right to speak at the hearing. The advisor can be an attorney if Northeast State is equally represented.
  3. The right to call witnesses in his or her behalf.
  4. The right to confront witnesses against him or her.
  5. The method and time limitations for appeal, if any, are applicable. 
  • The student shall be advised by the Vice President for Student Affairs, in writing, of the breach of policy of which he/she is charged. Written charges of alleged violations will include: the alleged policy violation; a statement of the facts to be presented; and a statement that a hearing will be conducted before the Northeast State Student Discipline Committee on the charges together with notice of the date, time and place of hearing. The hearing date will be scheduled within twenty (20) business days of student election of a Student Discipline Committee hearing. The hearing will be conducted at the date, time, and place specified, unless postponed for good cause.
  • Written charges and hearing determinations will be served by handing a copy to the person or by mailing via certified mail a copy to the person at his residence or last known residence. The student will have five (5) business days to select a hearing option. Student failure to respond in writing within five (5) days of receipt will constitute a waiver of all hearing options.
  • Individuals accused of misconduct will be given an explanation of the evidence against them.
  • Students accused of misconduct will be given a copy of the institutional policies concerning due process procedures.
  • The student shall be advised of the following rights applicable at the hearing:
  • The Student Discipline Committee is a standing committee of the College charged to hear evidence, to make findings of fact, and to make decisions based on those facts. The committee is selected on an annual basis as follows:
    • Vice President for Student Affairs, Chair (non-voting)
    • Academic Dean (1): Appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Students (3): Designated by the Vice President for Student Affairs
    • Faculty (3): Appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Student Affairs representatives (2): Appointed by the Vice President of Student Affairs
    • Administrative Services representative (1): Appointed by the Vice President of Administrative Services
  • Any individual who has an interest in the case will not sit in judgment as a member of the hearing committee.
  • The student will receive from the Vice President for Student Affairs a written copy of the decision of the Student Discipline Committee with any sanctions within ten (10) business days of the hearing.\
  • The student or student organization may appeal the decision in writing within five (5) business days to the President of the College. Any action assessed shall be suspended pending outcome of the appeal, contingent upon the safety and security of the campus at large. The President will make a determination within ten (10) days. The President’s decision is final except in those cases in which appeal is provided, by policy, to the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Interim Suspension Hearing. Interim suspension hearings are conducted to determine if the continued presence of the accused on campus constitutes an immediate threat to the physical safety and well-being of the accused, any member of the College Community or its guests, the destruction of property, or substantial disruption of classroom or other campus activities. The conduct officer may utilize an interim suspension, if deemed appropriate. Hearings conducted with regard to interim suspensions imposed pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding shall be conducted consistent with the minimum requirements of due process applicable to an institutional hearing, taking into account the need for a timely hearing. The evidence presented at the hearing shall be limited to that which is relevant to the basis asserted for imposition of the interim suspension.

The President of Northeast State Community College is authorized at his or her discretion, to intervene in order to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to any disciplinary proceeding, or, subsequently, to convert any finding or sanction imposed to a lesser finding or sanction, or to rescind any previous finding or sanction, in appropriate cases.

This policy is promulgated pursuant to, and in compliance with, TBR Rule 0240-02-03-.06 Disciplinary Procedures and Due Process. To the extent that a conflict exists between this policy and TBR rule, policy and/or applicable law(s), the TBR rule, policy and/or law will control. History – Adopted by TBR: 12/8/11. Effective: 1/29/12.



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Divisional Review Responsibilities Checklist: Student Affairs

Revision History: April 2014, Revision: June 2015, July 10, 2015, June 28, 2016