Home > Student Resources > Student rights policy

Student Rights, Responsibilities and Procedures Policy

This policy is also located in the Student Handbook.

7.0 Student

Initially approved August 8, 2006
Updated October 9, 2007
Revised June 8, 2010
Revised August 11, 2011
Revised August 20, 2013 (Changed Student Success to Student Services)

7.17 Student Rights, Responsibilities and Procedures

I. Preamble

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the physical or virtual classroom, on the campus, and in the community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility. As members of the academic community, students are subject to the obligations which accrue to them by virtue of this membership. As members of the larger community of which SPCC is a part, students are entitled to all rights and protection accorded them by the laws of that community.

By virtue of their membership in the community, students are also subject to all laws, the enforcement of which is the responsibility of duly constituted authorities. When students violate laws, they may incur penalties prescribed by legal authorities. When students violate college regulations, they are subject to disciplinary action by SPCC whether or not their conduct violates the law. If a student's behavior simultaneously violates both college regulations and the law, SPCC may take disciplinary action independent of that taken by legal authorities.

II. Student Rights

  1. Students shall enjoy all the rights and privileges guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution of the United States and by the state of North Carolina.
  2. Within limitations, students are free to pursue their educational goals through appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on the campus. Student performance will be evaluated on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.
  3. Students have the right to freedom of expression, inquiry, and assembly without restraint or censorship subject to reasonable and non discriminatory rules and regulations regarding time, place, and manner.
  4. Students have the right to inquire about and to propose improvements in policies, regulations, and procedures affecting the welfare of students through established student government procedures, campus committees, and college offices.
  5. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 provides safeguards regarding the confidentiality of and access to student records. Students and former students have the right to review their official records and to request a hearing if they challenge the contents of these records. Other than directory information, no records shall be made available to unauthorized personnel or groups inside or outside SPCC without the written consent of the student involved, except under legal compulsion.
  6. No disciplinary sanctions other than removal from class or activity (only for duration of said activity) may be imposed upon any student without due process—including notice, a fair hearing, and appeal.

III. Student Code of Conduct

Students are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with the Student Code of Conduct.

All students and staff have the right to a safe, peaceful and honest educational environment. Therefore, when, in the judgment of college officials a student's conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the physical or virtual SPCC community, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to restore and protect the safety, peace, and integrity of the community.

You are expected to conduct yourself in accordance with generally accepted standards of scholarship and conduct. The purpose of the Student Code of Conduct (the Student Code) is not to restrict student freedoms but to protect the rights of individuals in their academic pursuits.

Therefore, you are prohibited from engaging in any conduct that materially and adversely affects the educational process including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. A violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. (Please see the 2011-2012 College Catalog located at www.spcc.edu for disciplinary process specific to Academic Integrity violations.)
  2. Theft of, misuse of, or damage to college property (including violation of computer use policies), or theft of or damage to property of a member of the SPCC community or a campus visitor on college premises or at college functions.
  3. Trespass, which includes unauthorized entry or presence on the property of SPCC or in a college facility or any portion thereof to which entry or presence has been restricted.
  4. Violation of the Drug and Alcohol Policy.
  5. Lewd or indecent conduct on physical or virtual college premises or at college sponsored or college supervised functions.
  6. Mental or physical abuse of any person on physical or virtual college premises or at college sponsored or college supervised functions, including verbal or physical actions which threaten or endanger an individual's health or safety.
  7. Violation of the Sexual Harassment Policy.
  8. Intentional obstruction or disruption of teaching, administration or disciplinary proceedings, or other college activities, including public service functions and other duly authorized activities on college premises.
  9. Occupation or seizure in any manner of college property, a college facility or any portion thereof for use inconsistent with prescribed, customary, or authorized use.
  10. Participating in or conducting an assembly, demonstration or gathering in a manner which threatens or causes injury to person or property; which interferes with free access to, ingress or egress of college facilities; which is harmful, obstructive or disruptive to the functions of SPCC; remaining at the scene of such an assembly after being asked to leave by a representative of SPCC staff.
  11. Possession or use of a weapon on college premises or at college sponsored or college supervised functions, except in connection with a college approved activity.
  12. Setting off a fire alarm or using or tampering with any fire safety equipment on college premises or at college sponsored or college supervised functions, except with reasonable belief in the need for such alarm or equipment.
  13. Gambling on college premises or at college sponsored or college supervised functions.
  14. Smoking and/or using other forms of tobacco products in classrooms, shops, and labs or other unauthorized areas on college premises.
  15. Violation of college regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles.
  16. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of college documents, records or instruments of identification with intent to deceive.
  17. Failure to comply with instructions of college officials acting in performance of their duties.
  18. Violation of the terms of disciplinary probation or any college regulation during the period of probation.
  19. Fiscal irresponsibility such as failure to pay college levied fines, failure to repay college funded loans or the passing of worthless checks to college officials.
  20. Violation of a local, state or federal criminal law on college premises adversely affecting SPCC community's pursuit of its proper educational purposes.
  21. Minors under the age of sixteen (16) must not be left unattended on campus at any time. Without college authorization, minors under age sixteen (16) are not allowed in classrooms, labs, shops, or other instructional areas.
  22. Students must not engage in conduct, activity, or behavior that is disruptive to physical or virtual classroom instruction, including but not limited to taking cell phone or pager calls. Devices such as these should be disengaged prior to entering the classroom.
  23. This Student Code of Conduct is not all inclusive. Other conduct that is disruptive or does not follow proper procedure may be subject to appropriate sanctions.

IV. Disciplinary Process

Emergency Suspension Activities
If an instructor or administrative officer determines that your conduct poses a continuing threat to the health or well being of any member of the physical or virtual academic community or disrupts the learning college environment and activities of SPCC, he or she may suspend you from a course or academic program(see individual program handbook for details, i.e., health technology, BLET, continuing education programs, etc.) until the Vice President of Student Services can investigate the student's conduct. Prior to suspension, you shall be given the opportunity to explain your conduct to the suspending instructor or administrative officer.

The instructor or administrative officer invoking such suspension shall file a charge with the Vice President of Student Services within one working day following the incident. The Vice President of Student Services shall resolve the matter in a timely fashion utilizing the steps outlined below.

Responsibility for Implementation
The Vice President of Student Services is responsible for implementing student disciplinary procedures for all violations of the Student Code of Conduct except academic integrity. The Vice President of the School of Arts and Sciences or the Vice President of the School of Applied Science and Technology will determine whether further disciplinary action – beyond action taken by the instructor — is appropriate if the violation is academic integrity.

V. Disciplinary Procedures

In order to provide an orderly procedure for handling student disciplinary cases, the following procedures shall be followed:

  1. Charges: Any administrative official, faculty member, or student may file charges with the Vice President of Student Services against any student or student organization for violations of college regulations. The individual(s) making the charge must submit a written statement that includes:
    1. Name of the student(s) involved;
    2. Specific conduct in question;
    3. Description of the incident(s), including the time, place, and date of the incident(s);
    4. Names of person(s) directly involved or witness(es) to the incident(s);
    5. Any action taken that relates to the matter; and
    6. Desired solution(s).

      The statement of the charge should be forwarded directly to the Vice President of Student Services.
       
  2. Preliminary Investigation and Decision: Within five (5) working days after the charge is filed, the Vice President of Student Services shall complete a preliminary investigation of the charge, which shall include a conference with the student. Conferences may be held in person or over the phone. During the conference with the Vice President, the student shall be confronted with the evidence against him/her and shall be given the opportunity to respond. In instances where the student cannot be reached to schedule an appointment with the Vice President of Student Services or where the student refuses to cooperate, the Vice President of Student Services shall send a certified letter to the student’s last known address which shall inform the student of the charges, the results of the preliminary investigation, the Vice President’s decision, and information pertaining to the appeals process.
     
  3. Within five (5) working days after the charge is filed, the Vice President of Student Services shall send the student a decision by certified mail, return receipt requested. The decision shall include a statement of the Vice President’s determination of whether the student violated the Student Code.

    1. If the determination is that the student has violated the Student Code, the decision Shall include:
      1. Statement of the specific provision(s) of the Student Code that the student violated;
      2. Statement of sanctions imposed;
      3. Statement of the student’s right to appeal the decision; and
      4. Instructions governing the appeals process.
    2. If the Vice President determines that the student did not violate a provision of the Student Code, then the decision shall state that the charge has been dismissed.
    3. The Vice President of Student Services shall send a copy of the statement of the charge and the decision to the President of SPCC.

VI. Sanctions

  1. Reprimand: A written communication which gives official notice to the student that he/she has violated the Student Code and any subsequent violation of the Student Code may carry heavier penalties because of this infraction.
  2. General Probation: An individual may be placed on General Probation when involved in a minor disciplinary offense. General Probation has two (2) important implications: the individual is given a chance to show his/her capability and willingness to observe the Student Code without further penalty; secondly, if he/she errs again, additional sanctions will be imposed for this violation. This probation will be in effect for no more than two (2) semesters.
  3. Restrictive Probation: Restrictive Probation results in loss of good standing, and notation of such is made in the individual’s record. Restrictive conditions may limit activity in the physical or virtual SPCC community. Generally the individual will not be eligible for initiation into any local or national organization and may not receive any college award or other honorary recognition. The individual may not occupy a position of leadership or responsibility with any college or student organization, publication or activity. This probation will be in effect for not less than two (2) semesters. Any violation of Restrictive Probation may result in immediate suspension.
  4. Program Dismissal: Dismissing a student from an academic program (i.e., health technology program, BLET, continuing education class, etc.) in which the student loses status in that program. A student may or may not be dismissed from the college. Students may apply to the program for a future semester, however, application does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
  5. Restitution: Paying for damaging, misusing, destroying or losing property belonging to SPCC, college personnel, or students.
  6. Emergency Suspension: Exclusion from class and/or other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice, until a final decision has been made concerning the alleged violation.
  7. Loss of Academic Credit or Grade: Imposed as a result of academic dishonesty. (Determined by Vice President of the School of Arts and Sciences or the Vice President of the School of Applied Science and Technology).
  8. Withholding diploma or right to register: Imposed when financial obligations have not been met.
  9. Suspension: Exclusion from class(es), and/or all other privileges or activities of SPCC for a specified period of time. This sanction is reserved for those offenses warranting discipline more severe than probation, or for repeated misconduct. Students who receive this sanction must get specific written permission from the Vice President of Student Services before returning to campus.
  10. Expulsion: Dismissing a student from campus for an indefinite period. The student loses his/her student status. The student may be readmitted to SPCC only with the approval of the President of the college.
  11. Group Probation: This is given to a college club or other organized group for a specified period of time. If group violations are repeated during the term of the probation, the charter may be revoked or activities restricted.
  12. Group Restriction: Removing college recognition during the term in which the offense occurred or for a longer period (usually not more than one additional semester). While under restriction the group may not seek or add members, hold or sponsor events in the physical or virtual college community, or engage in other activities as specified.
  13. Group Charter Revocation: Removal of college recognition for a group, club, society, or other organization for a minimum of two years. Re-charter after that time must be approved by the President of the college.

VII. Appeals Procedure

  1. Notice of Appeal
    A student who disagrees with the decision made by the vice president on matters of any Student Code of Conduct violation may request a hearing before a Disciplinary Review Committee. The student must submit a written request for a hearing to the President within five (5) working days of receipt of the Vice President’s decision. The request for a hearing must also include the names of those faculty and/or staff to whom the student objects and the reasons why the student objects to those persons reviewing the charges against him/her. Alternative arrangements for hearings for distance learning students will be made by the Vice President.
     
  2. Appointment of Disciplinary Review Committee
    1. Within five (5) working days after receiving the request for a hearing, the President shall appoint a Disciplinary Review Committee and send the chairman of the committee a copy of the Vice President’s decision.
    2. Composition of a Disciplinary Review Committee:
      1. Each Disciplinary Review Committee shall be composed of two staff members, one student member, and two faculty members. At least one staff member, one student member and one faculty member must be present when action is taken.
      2. The President shall appoint the members of a Disciplinary Review Committee. The President will appoint committee members as necessary.
      3. The President shall appoint one of the members of a Disciplinary Review Committee to chair the committee.
      4. The President shall not appoint to a Disciplinary Review Committee any faculty or staff person to whom the student has made a reasonable objection.
         
  3. Procedures for Hearings Before a Disciplinary Review Committee
    1. Within five (5) days of the appointment of the Disciplinary Review Committee, the Disciplinary Review Committee shall conduct a preliminary hearing to which the Vice President of Student Services and/or the Vice President of Student Learning and the student shall be invited. Alternative arrangements for hearings for distance learning students will be made by the Vice President. During the preliminary hearing:
      1. The Vice President shall provide the committee and the student with a written statement of charges against the student;
      2. The committee shall set a date and time for the hearing no later than five (5) working days from the date of the preliminary hearing;
      3. The committee shall provide the student with a statement of his/her basic procedural rights;
      4. The Vice President and the student shall exchange any documents they expect to present to the Disciplinary Review Committee.
      5. The Vice President and the student shall provide the names and contact information (email, phone number and mailing address) of their witness(es) to the committee.
      6. The student shall provide the Vice President and the committee with a current address and telephone number.
      7. Members of the committee shall inform the parties of any facts that could reasonably affect their ability to give the parties a fair hearing. If either party objects to the continued service of such member and any member of the committee concurs in that objection, then such member shall resign from the committee. Within one (1) working day, the President shall appoint a new member of the committee. The new committee member shall be subject to the same qualifications and obligations as the original committee members.
    2. A Disciplinary Review Committee shall guarantee the student the following basic procedural rights (due process):
      1. The right to specific written notice of the charges.
      2. The right to present relevant evidences and witnesses in his/her defense.
      3. The right to a hearing before an impartial Disciplinary Review Committee.
      4. The right to appeal.
    3. The Conduct of the Committee Hearings
      1. Hearings before the committee shall be confidential and shall be closed to all persons except the following:
        1. The student, the Vice President of Student Services and/or the Vice President of Student Learning, and witnesses, all of whom shall:
          1. Give testimony singularly and in the absence of other witnesses; and
          2. Leave the committee meeting room immediately upon completion of their testimony.
      2. The hearing will be tape-recorded. Tapes will become the property of SPCC, and the President will determine access to them. All tapes will be filed in the office of the Vice President of Student Services.
      3. The committee shall have the authority to adopt supplementary rules of procedure consistent with this policy.
      4. The committee shall have the authority to render written advisory opinions concerning the meaning and application of this policy.
      5. Within 24 hours of completion of a hearing, the committee shall meet in executive session to decide whether there has been a violation of the Student Code; and, if so, to recommend sanctions.
      6. Decisions of the committee shall be based upon a preponderance of the evidence as determined by a majority of the committee.
      7. The decision of the committee shall be in writing and contain at least:
        1. a statement of the specific provision of the Student Code that the student violated and a description of the facts supporting that conclusion; and
        2. a statement of recommended sanction which may or may not be greater than the sanction imposed by the Vice President of Student Services; or
        3. a statement that the charges were not proved by a preponderance of the evidence.
      8. Within three (3) working days of the decision of the committee, the chairperson of the committee shall deliver a copy of the decision to the President, the Vice President of Student Services and/ or the Vice President of Student Learning, and send a copy of the decision by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the student’s last known address.
         
  4. Appeal to the President of the College
    If a student desires to appeal a decision of a Disciplinary Review Committee, the student must submit a written request for such appeal to the President of the College within five (5) working days of receipt of the committee’s decision. The student’s request for an appeal must include a detailed explanation of why the student believes the President should review the Disciplinary Review Committee’s decision. The President of the college shall have the authority to affirm, remand, modify, or reverse the decision or the findings of the committee. Within ten (10) working days of receiving the appeal, the President of the college shall send the student a decision by certified mail, return receipt requested. The decision of the President shall be final.
     
  5. Effect of Failure to Comply with Time Requirements or Voluntary Withdrawal
    1. If a student fails to comply with any of the time requirements set forth herein with respect to completing and delivering the documents required to pursue an appeal, to appear or be represented at any hearing, or otherwise to meet other obligations under these procedures, then the last decision rendered on behalf of SPCC will stand as final, and all proceedings will be terminated.
    2. SPCC shall make every reasonable effort to comply with the timeliness requirements specified in the Student Code. The President or his/her designee shall investigate failures to comply with the timeliness requirements and take appropriate action. SPCC’s failure to meet any deadline shall not exempt the student from any sanctions under the Student Code.
    3. A student’s decision to withdraw from school during a disciplinary proceeding shall not affect SPCC’s right to continue the disciplinary process or impose sanction.

VIII. Student Grievance Process

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of the student grievance procedure is to provide a system to resolve student complaints against faculty and staff concerning the following:
    1. 1. Alleged discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, disability or other conditions, excluding sexual harassment complaints. Any student alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race or disability may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and is not required to follow the procedures set forth herein.
    2. 2. Sexual harassment complaints should be directed to the Vice President of Student Services, unless the alleged harasser is the Vice President. In that case, the complaint shall be directed to the President of the college. A conference with the President of the college or his designee will replace the first step of the grievance procedure. The President of the college or his designee will counsel with the student to determine the appropriate action that is required. If the grievance is not resolved after this meeting, then the remainder of the grievance procedure will be followed.
    3. 3. Academic matters, excluding individual grades except where illegal discrimination is alleged.
    4. 4. Written student complaints.
       
  2. Procedures
    The student may elect to seek assistance from the Vice President of Student Services at the beginning or during any step in the grievance process. The Vice President serves as an impartial resource person to: (a) help provide advice and counsel on the proper procedures associated with filing and resolving grievances; (b) help individuals identify specific issues involved in grievance complaints; and (c) assist in developing approaches, including written grievances, for individuals to pursue their grievances within the spirit and intent of the Student Grievance Procedures.
    1. 1. First Step
      You must contact the instructor or staff member where the alleged problem originated. An attempt will be made to resolve the matter equitably and informally at this level. The conference must take place within five (5) working days of the incident that generated the complaint.

    2. 2. Second Step
      If the grievance is not resolved through the informal conference, you may file a written statement addressing the grievance. The Vice President will explain the grievance process to you. The written statement must be presented to the Vice President of Student Services within five (5) working days after satisfying the first step in the grievance process. The Vice President will then refer the grievance to the immediate supervisor involved. The supervisor shall respond in writing to the student within ten (10) working days of receipt of the grievance form from the department involved.

    3. 3. Third Step
      If the written statement of the supervisor does not satisfy the grievance, a request to be heard by the Student Grievance Committee may be made. The student must submit a written request to the Vice President of Student Services within five (5) working days after receiving the written response of the supervisor.

    4. Fourth Step
      The committee’s decision may be appealed by either party involved to the President of the college within ten (10) working days of the committee’s decision.

      The President of the college shall review the committee’s findings, conduct whatever additional inquiries are deemed necessary and render a decision within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the President shall be final.
       
  3. Rights of Parties Involved in a Grievance
    When a grievance committee meeting is scheduled, the parties involved are entitled to:
    1. A written notice of the complaint.
    2. A written notice of the time and place of the meeting. This notice shall be forwarded to all parties at least five (5) working days prior to the meeting unless they waive this requirement.
    3. Review all available evidence, documents or exhibits that each party may present at the meeting.
    4. Appear in person or by phone and present information on his or her behalf.
    5. The right to counsel. The role of the person acting as counsel is solely to advise the client. The counsel shall not address the committee