Campus Policies and Procedures
Access to Facilities & Maintenance Considerations
College facilities are open to the public during the day and evening hours when classes are in session. When the campus is officially closed, all buildings are locked and only faculty and staff are admitted. Students may gain access after-hours with written permission from an authorized faculty or staff member and advance notice to the Campus Police Department.
The Facilities Management Department, ext. 2533, maintains all campus lighting and the emergency telephones in the parking lots and on the inner campus. The maintenance staff, in addition to the Campus Police, regularly inspects all campuses and its buildings to discover and correct health, safety, and security problems.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Bristol Community College abides by the regulations of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, promulgated under the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The College has adopted and implemented a program to prevent unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees. The sale and/or consumption of alcohol on campus and at off-campus College events are prohibited. Exceptions to this policy may be granted only by the College President. Underage drinking will not be permitted, as it is a violation of the law. Drunken and disorderly behavior on the campus is also not permitted. Possession or use of illegal drugs is a criminal offense, as well as a violation of College policy. All alcohol and other drug violations will be reported to Campus Police and the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management for sanction and possible referral to city or state authorities. On-campus drug violations or off-campus drug convictions may also negatively affect financial aid awards.
Failure of any member of the college community to abide by these policies is grounds for disciplinary action, which may include probation, suspension, or expulsion from the College. Parental notification will occur for students under 21 years of age for each violation of the campus alcohol policy, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act/Buckley Amendment. Third offense underage possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage following progressive discipline for the first two offenses will result in suspension. In addition, violators may be subject to applicable legal sanctions under local, state, and federal laws. College employees are bound by the Drug Free Work Place Act of 1988. The College’s Drug Free Work Place Policy Statement is available at the Human Resources Office.
Americans with Disabilities Act) Section 504 Grievance Process for Students
Bristol Community College has adopted this grievance process for prompt and equitable resolution of student grievances alleging any action prohibited by federal regulations in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended. Issues that are grievable include, but are not limited to,
- a denial of a requested accommodation,
- the inadequacy of an accommodation,
- the inaccessibility of a program or activity,
- or discrimination or harassment based on a disability.
A reasonable effort should be made resolve disputes before entering into the grievance process. The BCC Student Grievance Procedure, outlined in the student handbook, provides direction for resolving disputes.
The procedure and guidelines for filing a grievance are as follows:
How to File a Grievance
Grievances must be submitted in writing (unless an alternate provision has been made) and should contain the name and address of the individual (and/or representative) filing the grievance and briefly describe the nature of the grievance and the alleged violation of the regulations. The letter must be signed by the grievant or his/her authorized representative.
Grievances should be addressed to the Director of Counseling/ADA Compliance Officer Suite G 211, ext. 2379
Confirmation of the receipt of a grievance will be made in writing via email or letter within five (typically) business days of receipt of the grievance. Follow up should be made by the student if no confirmation is received.
How a Grievance is Processed
An investigation will follow the filing of a grievance. The investigation shall be conducted by the College’s ADA Compliance Officer (or designee), to give the grievant, the subject of the grievance, other interested persons (and their representatives), an opportunity to submit documents and information relevant to the consideration of and resolution of the complaint.
The ADA Compliance officer may confer with an ad-hoc ADA Grievance Committee, the Disability Concerns Committee, legal counsel, and with the Senior Officers who are directly responsible for the service, program, or activity that is at issue.
A written determination as to the validity of the grievance, the reasons supporting the decision, and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the College’s ADA Compliance Officer (or Senior Officer, acting at the Compliance Officer’s request, who is deemed to be the College’s designated decision maker), and a copy will be forwarded to the grievant no later than twenty (20) working days after receipt of the complaint. If a resolution cannot be reached within the twenty (20) day period, the grievant will be given a status update and an opportunity to meet with relevant parties to discuss temporary measures or short-term resolutions.
At any point in the process, the student or Compliance Officer may request (via email or letter) an in-person meeting to clarify any aspect of the written grievance.
The ADA Compliance Officer will maintain the files and records relating to the grievances filed for a period of three years.
The grievant or the affected department/division can request reconsideration of the resolution if dissatisfied with the resolution. Requests for reconsideration should be made within seven (7) days of the receipt of the decision to the Senior Officer who has supervisory authority over the designated decision maker. The Senior Officer has thirty (30) days to respond to the request for reconsideration. Decisions of the Senior Officer are final.
Retaliation against any grievant under this grievance procedure or against any person who assists a grievant in his/her pursuit of a grievance under this grievance procedure is prohibited.
The ADA Compliance Officer maintains confidentiality with regard to complaints, grievances, consultations, and mediations; exceptions may be made to comply with the requirements of litigation, court proceedings, or campus officials having an official need to know. If the disclosure of information to another person is necessary to proceed with an investigation, the grievant will be advised first and consulted on whether and/or how to proceed.
Any person who wants to have this information explained or would like to receive it in an alternate format may make a request to the ADA Compliance Officer.
BCC is Tobacco-Free
Bristol Community College is a tobacco-free campus. The use of tobacco is prohibited within college buildings, walkways, in college or state fleet vehicles, and on college-owned property, not otherwise leased to another organization. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, and visitors at all college locations. In support, Bristol Community College provides comprehensive tobacco cessation and prevention services.
This policy prohibits the use of any oral tobacco product.
Smoking will only be permitted in private vehicles parked on campus.
American Cancer Society
Healthy City Fall River
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights
American College Health Association
The BACCHUS Network
College Tobacco Prevention Resource
Campaigning for Public Office
Candidates for political office may have one table located in the lobby of the Commonwealth College Center or designated area. Requests for space and the table must be made at least one week in advance. These requests must be approved by the Director of Student Life or Campus Dean. Once approved, a Facilities Request form must be submitted to the Events Scheduling Office located in F-112, ext. 2599.
All campaigning is limited to the table in the lobby of the Commonwealth College Center. Any disruptive behavior will result in loss of the privilege to campaign on campus.
Campus Disturbance or Demonstrations
Most campus demonstrations such as marches, meetings, picket lines and rallies are peaceful and non-obstructive. A demonstration should not be disrupted unless one or more of the following conditions exist as a result of the demonstration:
- INTERFERENCE with the normal operation of the College.
- PREVENTION of access to offices, buildings, or College facilities.
- THREAT of physical harm to persons, or damage to College facilities/property.
If any or all of these conditions exist, Campus Police should be notified and will be responsible for contacting the Chief of Campus Police, the Vice President of Students, and Enrollment Management, and others as necessary. Depending on the nature of the demonstration, the procedures listed below should be adhered to:
- PEACEFUL, NON-OBSTRUCTIVE DEMONSTRATIONS:
Generally these demonstrations should NOT be interrupted. Demonstrators should NOT be obstructed or provoked, and efforts should be made to conduct College business as normally as possible.
- If demonstrators are asked to leave but refuse by regular facility closing times, the following will occur:
- Arrangements will be made by the Director of Public Safety to monitor the situation during non-business hours; or
- The determination will be made to treat the violation of regular closing hours as a disruptive demonstration (see Section 2 below).
- If demonstrators are asked to leave but refuse by regular facility closing times, the following will occur:
- NONVIOLENT, DISRUPTIVE DEMONSTRATIONS
In the event that a demonstration blocks access to College facilities or interferes with College operations:
- Demonstrators will be asked to terminate the disruptive activity by the President (or designee).
- The President (or designee) will consider having a photographer or videographer available and coordinate efforts with the Vice President of College Communications.
- Key College personnel and student leaders will be asked by the President (or designee) to go to the area and persuade the demonstrators to desist.
- The Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management, or his designee, will go to the area and request that the demonstrators leave or discontinue the disruptive activities.
- If the demonstrators persist in disruptive activity, they will be informed that failure to discontinue the specified action, within a determined time frame, may result in disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion and/or possible intervention by law enforcement personnel (see Directive to Immediately Terminate Demonstration below). Except in extreme cases, the President will be consulted before such disciplinary actions are taken. College policies and procedures for disciplinary action will be adhered to if the activity involves employees.
- Efforts should be taken to secure positive identification of violating demonstrators to facilitate later testimony, including photographs if deemed advisable.
- After consultation with the President and Chief of Campus Police by the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management, the need for intervention of civil authorities will be determined.
- If the decision is made to seek the intervention of law enforcement authorities, the demonstrators should be informed. (See Directive to Immediately Terminate Demonstration with the Assistance of Law Enforcement below.) Upon arrival of police forces, the remaining demonstrators will be warned of the intention to arrest.
- VIOLENT, DISRUPTIVE DEMONSTRATIONS
In the event of a violent demonstration in which injury to persons or property occurs or appears imminent, the President, the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management, and the Vice President of Administration and Finance will be notified.
- During business hours:
- In coordination with the President (or designee), Campus Police will contact the local or state police and arrange for any necessary assistance.
- If advisable, the President (or designee) will alert the Vice President of College Communications, who will contact a photographer or videographer to report to an advantageous location for photographing or videotaping the demonstration.
- The President, in consultation with the Chief of Campus Police, will determine what course of action should be undertaken.
- Campus Police will maintain communications with the local and state police.
- After business hours:
- Campus Police should be immediately notified of the disturbance.
- Campus Police will investigate the disruption and report findings to the Chief of Campus Police and the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management.
- The Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management will report the circumstances to the President, who will arrange to have key administrators informed including the Vice President of College Communications, who will acquire, or arrange for, a photographer or videographer.
- If necessary, the President (or designee) will arrange for Campus Police to obtain assistance from the local or state police departments.
- During business hours:
NOTE: The Director of Public Safety reserves the right to call for law enforcement assistance without counsel from others if it is deemed to be of paramount importance to the safety of persons involved.
Children on Campus
The administration at Bristol Community College understands that, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to bring children on campus. The College does not generally prohibit you from bringing your children on campus as long as they are under your supervision at all times; if it is not possible for them to be under your direct supervision, then an adult friend or adult guardian should be designated to ensure their supervision.
Be aware, however, that College staff and faculty members responsible for specific College areas reserve the right to exclude infants and children from that area when, in their best judgment, it is in the interest of health, safety, College operations, or the educational process. For example, children are normally not permitted in an academic class.
Bristol Community College cannot be responsible for the care and supervision of unattended children. Campus police will be asked to locate the parent and return to his or her custody any unattended children.
Criminal Offender Record Information and Sex Offender Registry Information Checks
In order for a student to be eligible to participate in an academic, community or clinical program that involves potential unsupervised contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly, the student may be required to undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and/or a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check. Students found to have certain criminal convictions or pending criminal actions will be presumed ineligible to participate in such activities. The College is authorized by the Commonwealth’s Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 167-178B, to access CORI records. Sex Offender checks shall be performed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 178C-178P.
For more information regarding the College’s CORI/SORI check process, please contact the Vice President of Human Resources. He can be found in D208 or at ext 2194.
Public Notice to Students
Annually, Bristol Community College informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, (FERPA) as amended. This act was designed to protect the privacy of education records, establish students’ rights to inspect and review their educational records, and provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. FERPA follows.
Students also have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office about alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act. Local policy explains in detail the procedures to be used by the institution for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be found in the Enrollment Center. This office also maintains a records directory which lists all education records maintained on students by the institution. Contact the Registrar’s Office with questions concerning the Act.
Bristol Community College considers the categories of student information listed below as public or “Directory Information.” Such information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose at its discretion.
Category I: Name, address, phone number, dates of attendance, class
Category II: Previous institutions attended, major field of study, awards, honors, degree(s) conferred (including dates)
Category III: Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities; physical factors (height, weight of athletes); date and place of birth.
Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of any category of information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.
To withhold disclosure, written notification must be received in the Registrar’s Office prior to the tenth day in a given semester. Forms requesting the withholding of directory information are available in the Registrar’s Office.
Bristol Community College assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of any category of directory information indicates individual approval of disclosure. Students who have withheld directory information will not be listed in Commencement announcements, including the program, unless a release is given to the College.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies, and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
For additional information or technical assistance, you may call 202.260.3887 (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1.800.877.8339.
Or you may contact us at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Students’ Rights Under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access.
Students should submit to the Registrar, Dean, Head of the academic department, or other appropriate official written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
Upon request, the College discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [NOTE: FERPA requires an institution to make a reasonable attempt to notify the student of the records request unless the institution states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records upon request.]
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as Bristol Community College, prohibits the act of hazing. Any student or group found to be in violation of this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action and criminal prosecution. Hazing is any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. For further information about the applicable sections of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269, Sections 17, 18, and 19, which relate to hazing, contact the Office of Student Engagement.
Bristol Community College follows Commonwealth guidelines which prohibit illegal gambling, including games that result in the exchange of money. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action.
Solicitation and Sales
No individual may solicit donations or sell on campus for personal gain. Use of campus property for donations or sales is restricted to recognized organizations, the College, or one of its departments.
Prior approval must be received from the Vice President of Students and Enrollment Management or designated representative.
Student Rights, Responsibilities, Conduct, Disciplinary Due Process, and Related Policies and Procedures
Policy on posting flyers, posters, etc.
All materials posted on the campus must be reviewed, approved and stamped by the Office of Student Engagement before they may be posted. Postings include any information tacked or stapled to any surface on campus. The normal size of posting is 8 ½” x 11” or smaller; limited larger posting are permitted. Materials may only be posted on designated bulletin boards and may not be posted on bulletin boards designated for college use or departmental use only. Bulletin board space is available on a first come, first served basis. All users of college bulletin boards are expected to respect the materials posted by other individuals and organizations and may NOT cover any existing posted material. Posters must clearly indicate the name of the responsible organization and contact person, the expirations date as well as required disability contact information. The maximum length of time any posting may be displayed is two weeks. The sponsoring group should remove all flyers within two (2) days after the event deadline. Approval of subsequent requests by an individual or organization to post materials may be negatively impacted by any failure to comply with this or any other college policy.
Materials may not be distributed or posted in the following locations:
- On parked vehicles;
- In elevators or around the elevator doors or buttons;
- On glass doors and windows
- On stairs or on stairwells;
- Over fire doors, exit sign or any electric light fixtures or switches;
- Bus stops or emergency call boxes;
- On any outside area; however chalking is permitted, on sidewalks only.
Questions or concerns about the posting policy should be directed to the Office of Student Engagement, G101 in the Commonwealth College Center on the Fall River campus. At the New Bedford Campus, please go to the Library/Learning Center (LLC) Rm. 164. At the Attleboro Campus, please visit the Enrollment Center.
Refund Policy for Students Not Completely Withdrawing From All Credit Courses
If a student withdraws from a course(s) prior to the beginning of classes or during the first two weeks of classes, the student will receive a 100 percent refund for the credits from which she/he withdraws. If a student withdraws from a course(s) during the third week of classes, the student will receive a 50 percent refund for the credits from which she/he withdraws. If the student withdraws from a course(s) after the first three weeks of classes, there will be no refund.
Refund Policy for Students Withdrawing From All Credit Courses
Students must follow College withdrawal procedures to receive a refund. See “Withdrawal Policy” section of the College Catalog.
Tuition refunds for all credit courses are made as follows:
- If a student withdraws from the College prior to the beginning of classes or during the first two weeks of classes, the student will receive a 100 percent refund less a $37 processing fee.
- If a student withdraws from the College during the third week of classes, the student will receive a 50 percent refund of all charges less a $37 processing fee.
- If a student withdraws after the third week of classes, there will be no tuition or College fee refunds.
- $37 student support fee
- $25 FACTS enrollment fee
- $25 intercept collections
All refunds will be processed within 4-6 weeks after semester begins.
Reservation of College Facilities Requests for use of any part of the Campus buildings or grounds for non-class purposes must be made at the Events Scheduling Office in F112. Reservation requests are approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon receipt of the request, the Events Scheduling Office will contact the requesting person or organization to discuss program needs and other details. For more information, contact the Events Scheduling Office, ext. 2945.
Students withdrawing from any course must complete a course withdrawal form and forward it to the Enrollment Center. Students may also obtain forms in Advisement and Counseling services. Students who plan to withdraw from all courses should arrange for an exit interview with a counselor.
Those who want to withdraw from Clinical Laboratory Science, General Studies Prep/QUEST, Complementary Health Care, Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene, General Studies Prep/QUEST, Histology, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Pre-Radiology Technology or Therapeutic Massage should talk with the program’s director. Failure to follow the withdrawal policy may result in students receiving failing grades, being placed on academic probation, or academic dismissal.
Students who must withdraw for personal, medical, or financial, reasons should meet with a counselor to complete the withdrawal process.
Students’ Rights and Procedures
Students’ Right to Assembly
Students who wish to present issues to the College community relative to on- or off- campus questions, whether as a means of collecting or registering opinions of support or protest or of simply collecting comments on topics of interest and concern to the student body, shall be afforded the opportunity to do so.
Bristol Community College will respect and defend the right of its members to lawful exercise of free speech and assembly on behalf of causes, whether popular or unpopular. These rights are properly exercised only when due regard for the rights of others to move or speak freely are respected. Interference with others’ rights whether or not such interference is intentional lays outside Constitutional guarantees and the obligation of the College to defend it. Therefore:
- The students who are primarily involved in organizing the assembly must present a signed, written notice of their intent to the Director of Student Engagement.
- The Director of Student Engagement will provide a location for the tables, demonstrations, etc. in an appropriate location in College buildings or on the College grounds.
- Students may not interfere with the normal operation of the College or its agencies. Students must set up in such a manner as not to interfere with the right of members of the College community to use facilities of the College without deviating from their normal traffic flow.
- Students must comply with the directives, regulations, and laws established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Student Senate and civil authorities.
- Students may not violate published College regulations and other regulations which may be enacted.
- Students may not create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or disorderly educational environment.
- Students’ actions must not be disorderly, lewd, indecent, or obscene in nature.
- Persons who are not members of the College community (students, faculty, and staff) are not entitled to participate in these activities on College property.
- All the normal rules and regulations governing the posting and distributing of printed or other graphic material, and prohibiting solicitation on campus, will apply. Those persons who are engaged in an activity which is in violation of the regulations above, or which results in physical damage to the property of the College or its agencies, shall be held personally responsible and may be referred to the proper College authorities for disciplinary action.
Student Grievance Procedure
Massachusetts Community Colleges
Policy Goal: Conflict Resolution
Before invoking the Student Grievance Procedure, a reasonable effort shall be made by those involved in a dispute to resolve it amicably. A dispute is most effectively handled and resolved by those closest to the problem, having the best understanding of the issues, and having the ability to formulate a mutually acceptable resolution. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the student, the potential subject of a Grievance, and the College to resolve disputes through open and cooperative dialogue. Only when such efforts are unsuccessful should the Student Grievance Procedure be invoked. Throughout all phases of the Student Grievance Procedure, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain confidentiality in accordance with applicable law.
- the informal, unwritten stage of an allegation of mistreatment
- as used in this policy, shall mean a calendar day.
- a written grievance filed by a student with the person designated by the President as the Student Grievance Officer specifically alleging an abridgment of his or her rights as a student.
- the student filing the Grievance. The Grievant must have been a registered student of the College at the time of the alleged mistreatment.
- INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD
- the academic semester, summer session or intersession when a grievable act or omission occurs. The Instructional Period shall end on the last day of final exams.
- RESPONDING PARTY
- the person against whom a complaint or Grievance is directed.
- SENIOR OFFICER
- senior level employee who reports to the President for the Responding Party’s work area.
- STUDENT GRIEVANCE OFFICER
- a College employee assigned responsibility for administering the Student Grievance Procedure, including the maintenance of specified records. The Student Grievance Officer shall ordinarily be the Senior Student Affairs Officer. If this individual is the person against whom the Grievance is filed, the President shall designate another College official to act as the Student Grievance Officer
- substantial evidence of error or injustice
- for purpose of Grade Appeals, substantial evidence of error or injustice is defined as: The assignment of a course grade to a student on some basis other than performance in the course; or
The assignment of a course grade to a student by resorting to unreasonable standards different from those which were applied by the same instructor to other students in that course; or
The assignment of a course grade by a substantial, unreasonable and unannounced departure from the instructor’s previously articulated standards.
- the number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the President or his/her designee may extend the time limits in extenuating circumstances with notice to both parties in writing, or by mutual written agreement between the Grievant and the Responding Party.
Utilizing the Student Grievance Procedure
The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by a student to address alleged abridgment of the student’s rights, as stated in the College’s Student Handbook and/or Policy Guide. The student Grievant or the Responding Party may consult with the Student Grievance Officer at any time. The College’s Student Grievance Officer is the Vice President of Students. You can find him in G225 or at ext 2150.
The Student Grievance Procedure may not be used to address allegations of discrimination, including sexual harassment. When a student believes that he/she has been discriminated against due to his/her race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or national origin, the College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is a mechanism for resolution. The College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is contained in the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. The College’s Affirmative Action Officer is the Vice President of Human Resources. You can find him in D208 or at ext 2194.
If a Grievance involves a grade dispute, a student shall process the Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure. However, if a grade dispute raises issues of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Grievance should be processed in accordance with the College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure and the Affirmative Action Officer shall conduct the process in collaboration with the Senior Academic Officer or designee.
Claims of physical or sexual assault shall not proceed under the Student Grievance Procedure. A claim of physical assault alleged against a student shall be reported to the Code of Conduct Officer. A claim of physical assault alleged against an employee shall be reported to the Human Resources Office. In both cases, law enforcement authorities shall also be notified. A claim of sexual assault shall be reported to the College’s Affirmative Action Officer and/or Title IX Coordinator and law enforcement authorities and shall proceed under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. In matters involving physical or sexual assault, alleged victims are strongly encouraged to independently report the incident to the law enforcement authorities. The College’s Campus Police/Security Department can assist with the reporting process.
At any Level of the Student Grievance Procedure, either party may request mediation by contacting the Student Grievance Officer. Mediation shall be mutually agreed upon, and not unreasonably refused by either party. The Student Grievance Officer shall select an impartial mediator who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by either party, make the arrangements, determine the timetable for the mediation process, and inform the parties of the timetable in writing. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after requested and agreed to by the parties. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties. If a mediated resolution cannot be achieved, the Grievant may proceed with the Grievance Process. The Grievant has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of his/her own choosing and at his/her own expense throughout the grievance process. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor’s role is limited to personally advising the Grievant only. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in any aspect of the grievance process.
Except for under extenuating circumstances, as determined by the President or his/her designee, failure by a party to comply with the Student Grievance Procedure during the course of a Grievance may result in the waiving of the noncompliant party’s rights under the Procedure.
Complaints or Grievances filed in connection with assigned grades represent a special case within the Grievance procedure. Grading reflects careful and deliberate assessment of a student’s performance by the instructing professional(s). As such decisions are necessarily judgmental the substance of those decisions may not be delegated to the Grievance process. Nevertheless, the College recognizes that in rare cases the process of grading may be subject to error or injustice.
Except as otherwise provided by a separate appeal procedure for a clinical program as approved by the President of the College, a student who alleges an error or injustice in the grading process may file a grievance under the Student Grievance Procedure. A grade appeal Grievance shall proceed no further than Level Two, Step Two. For purposes of a grade appeal, the Senior Academic Officer of the College, or his/her designee, shall serve as the Student Grievance Officer throughout the grade appeal process.
If the faculty member who assigned the challenged grade is no longer employed by the College or is not available within the timelines specified (see “Time” definition), the student may initiate his/her Level One complaint with the chief administrator of the appropriate instructional division (who shall be identified by the Senior Academic Officer).
If at any level substantial evidence of error or injustice is produced, the grading process may be remanded to the instructor of record for reassessment. If after reassessment, the dispute remains unresolved, the matter shall be referred to the Senior Academic Officer, or his/her designee, for final review. If the instructor of record is no longer available, the Senior Academic Officer or his/her designee shall instead reassess the grading process.
Level One - Informal Procedure
This is the informal stage where most complaints are resolved. The Grievant and the Responding Party should consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this time.
A Grievant initiates the informal phase of the Grievance process. The Grievant shall first present his/her complaint orally and informally to the Responding Party. This shall be done in a reasonable period of time, not exceeding thirty (30) calendar days following the instructional period when a grievable act or omission occurs.
The Responding Party must respond to the Grievant’s complaint within ten (10) days. Though this phase of the process is informal, the parties may present their positions in writing. If the matter is not resolved informally within ten (10) calendar days from the date a response to the complaint was due, the Grievant may proceed to Level Two.
Level Two - Formal Procedure
Prior to filing a written Grievance at Level Two, a Grievant must consult with the Student Grievance Officer. The Responding Party should also consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this phase of the process.
Level Two - Step One
The Student Grievance Officer shall notify the parties in writing when a complaint is not resolved informally at Level One.
The Grievant may, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Student Grievance Officer’s written notice, file with the Student Grievance Officer a Grievance. The Grievance shall contain the following information: the name and title of the person(s) against whom the Grievance is directed, a statement of all known facts, documents and materials supporting the grievance, a list of individuals who have information pertinent to the grievance, and the relief sought by the Grievant. All supporting documents, if any, shall be attached to the grievance as part of the Grievance. The Grievance shall also state the date it is filed and that it is being filed at “Level Two, Step One.”
The Grievance may be filed with the Student Grievance Officer by email, regular mail, certified mail, or in hand. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the Grievance, and all supporting documents, if any, to the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days. If the Responding Party is unavailable at the time the Grievance is filed, the Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable means to deliver the Grievance within a reasonable period of time.
The Responding Party shall forward a written Level Two - Step One response to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days of his/her receipt of the Grievance. The Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the written response to the Grievant within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
Level Two - Step Two (Supervisor Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within ten (10) calendar days after his/her receipt of the Step One response, or if no written response is submitted, the Grievant may within ten (10) calendar days after the written response was received or due, request the Student Grievance Officer to forward the Grievance and response, if any, to the supervisor of the Responding Party, with a copy to the Senior Officer of the work area of the Responding Party.
The supervisor shall investigate the Grievance and confer with the Senior Officer. The supervisor shall forward his/her written decision to the Student Grievance Officer, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Step Two Grievance. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the decision to the Grievant and the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days.
At any time before the issuance of the Supervisor’s Step Two decision, the Senior Officer may request that the parties meet to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it.
Grade appeals do not go beyond this Step (Level Two - Step Two) per the section on Grade Appeals.
No new issues or allegations may be raised by either party after Step Two.
Level Two - Step Three (Student Grievance Committee Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within the period allowed at Level Two - Step Two, the Grievant may request a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. Such a request must be in writing and presented to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days from the issuance of the Supervisor’s Level Two - Step Two decision.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the Student Grievance Officer’s receipt of the Grievant’s request for a hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall arrange a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. The Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable efforts to schedule the hearing at a time mutually convenient to the parties. At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall provide each member of the Committee and all parties to the Grievance with copies of the Grievance, responses to the Grievance, decisions issued, and all relevant supporting documentation and materials. The Committee’s make-up and hearing rules are discussed later in this policy.
The Committee shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days following the hearing. A copy of the Committee’s findings and recommendations shall be delivered to the President or his/her designee, within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the President’s receipt of the Committee’s findings and recommendations, the President or his/her designee, shall issue a written statement accepting, modifying or rejecting the Committee’s recommendations.
The decision of the President, or his/her designee, shall be final and binding on all parties.
Membership of the Student Grievance Committee
The composition of the College’s Student Grievance Committee shall consist of five members: one student, one unit professional, one faculty member, one non-unit professional and one unit classified employee. The President or his/her designee shall appoint each member from among the recommendations submitted by the Student Grievance Officer.
Service on the Committee shall be voluntary, provided that a member who has a personal interest in a particular Grievance shall be ineligible to serve on the Grievance Committee. All College employees serving on the Student Grievance Committee, and acting within the scope of their official duties on the Committee, shall be protected from liability to the full extent provided under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 258, and eligible for indemnification as provided for pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 258, Section 9.
All Student Grievance Committee members, as well as all others in attendance at a student Grievance proceeding, shall maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Student Grievance Officer shall attend all Committee hearings but shall not vote.
Student Grievance Committee Hearing & Decision Guidelines
The following guidelines provide the framework for conducting a Student Grievance Committee Hearing:
Prior to the hearing, the newly impaneled Committee shall meet to elect a Committee Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be selected by a simple majority vote.
The Chairperson on the Committee shall be responsible for conducting the hearing and drafting the decision of the Committee, but shall vote only in the event of a tie.
All hearings shall be closed and deliberations of the Committee shall be confidential and conducted in private.
The Grievant and the Responding Party shall be in attendance at the hearing. Each party may be accompanied by an advisor at the hearing. The advisor, however, may not participate in the hearing or question witnesses. Either party may at anytime during a hearing consult in private with his/her advisor.
Witnesses may be asked by the Committee to remain outside of the hearing room until they are called to testify.
The Grievant will address the Committee first. The Grievant will state the nature of his/her Grievance and may present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in support of the Grievance.
The Responding Party may respond to the Grievant’s allegations and present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in opposition to the Grievance.
Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Committee may question the parties and/or witnesses.
After the Committee has questioned the parties, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other party and their respective witnesses. All questions must be directed through the Committee. If the Committee determines that a question is relevant to the Grievance, the party or witness to whom it is addressed will be asked to respond.
Following the parties’ questioning of each other, the Committee will have another opportunity to question the parties and witnesses.
Hearings before the Committee shall not be subject to the formal rules of evidence. In all cases, the hearing shall be conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
If a party to a Grievance fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the Committee has the discretion to proceed with the hearing and issue its findings and recommendations in the party’s absence.
The decision of the Committee shall be based on the relevant evidence presented at the hearing. The decision shall be in writing and include: a list of all documentary evidence and witnesses presented; a summary of the testimony offered by both parties and their respective witnesses; the findings of the Committee and its recommendations. Copies of the decision and recommendations of the Student Grievance Committee shall be forwarded by the Student Grievance Officer to the President or his/her designee for review and final disposition. The President or his/her designee shall accept, reject or modify the Committee’s decision and/or recommendations and issue a final written decision.
All findings and decisions reached under this Procedure shall be based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard (i.e.; more likely than not). Any action taken hereunder shall be reasonable under the circumstances, in accordance with applicable College rules and procedures and be grounded in fundamental fairness.
A student may withdraw his/her complaint or Grievance at any time. Withdrawal must be accomplished in writing or by oral agreement confirmed in writing.
No member of the College community shall retaliate or threaten to retaliate against, interfere with, restrain, or coerce any student in the exercise of his/her rights under the Student Grievance Procedure or his/her participation in any Grievance proceedings.
Collateral Rights of Person Grieved by Student
If the recommendations made at any level of the Grievance procedure result in sanctions against a college employee, the sanctions shall be regarded as administrative actions subject to all conditions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and College or Board of Higher Education personnel policies.
Filing a Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure in no way abrogates a student’s right to file a complaint with an appropriate state or federal agency or in another forum.
- Accused Student
- The student who is alleged to have violated the College’s Student Code of Conduct.
- Appeals Officer
- The person designated by the College’s President will hear student appeals of a judicial board finding.
- Includes, but is not limited to (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or (3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff. Cheating shall also include the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. It also includes taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit and copying or purchasing other’s work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.
- This term refers to Bristol Community College.College Official
- Includes any person employed by the College, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
- College Premises
- Includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
- The informal, often unwritten stage of an allegation of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
- As used in this policy shall mean a calendar day.
- Faculty or Staff Member
- Any person hired by the College to conduct classroom, instructional, administrative, or support activities.
- Complaining Party
- The individual bringing a complaint against an accused student.
- Judicial Board
- A panel of College Officials designated by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee to conduct a hearing after the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee has determined that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred and an Administrative Remedy cannot be reached. All Judicial Board members shall act in an impartial, unbiased manner.
- Member of the College Community
- Includes any person who is a student, faculty member, College Official or any other person employed by the College. A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Vice President of Human Resources or the Registrar.
- Includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. This would also include material that is obtained from the computer.
- Includes all persons taking courses at the College, both full-time and part-time, credit and non-credit. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing academic relationship with the College are considered “students.”
- Student Organization
- Any number of students who have compiled with the formal requirements for the College’s organization recognition process.
- The number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may extend the time limits at their discretion with notice to both parties in writing.
Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or Designee – The College Official designated by the College’s President to be responsible for the administration of the Student Code of Conduct.
The College’s jurisdiction under this policy shall extend to student conduct occurring on College property, property under the management and/ or control of the College, and/or off College property when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a risk of harm or the threat of harm to the College Community and/ or interferes with the College’s pursuit of its objectives and mission. A student shall be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this policy for acts including but not limited to:
- Physical violence or the threat thereof and/or any conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
- Creating or false reporting of bombs.
- Extortion - The use, or the express or implicit threat of the use, of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to person, reputation, or property as a means to obtain property from someone else without his/her consent.
- Unauthorized use of fire alarm or fire equipment.
- Unauthorized or illegal gambling.
- Hate Crimes as defined under state or federal law.
- Hazing as defined under state or federal law. For further information, please refer to hazing section.
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on College premises. For further information, please refer to Weapons/Firearms Policy.
- Conduct resulting in a violation of the College’s Computer/Technology Acceptable Use and/or Email Policies.
- Failure to comply with directions of College officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
- Failure to identify oneself when on College property or at a College-sponsored or supervised event, upon request of a College official acting in the performance of his/her duties.
- Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication except as expressly permitted by law and/or College regulations. For more information, please refer to Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.
- Use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs or other controlled substances. For more information, please refer to Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.
- Breach of peace; including disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on College premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in, by the College.
- Defacement or destruction of College materials or College property. Attempted or actual theft, or unauthorized use of and/or damage to property of the College or property of a member of the College community or other personal or public property.
- Acting in a manner or participating in an event which disrupts the normal operations of the College and the learning environment and infringes on the rights of other members of the College community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; intentional obstruction which interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus. For more information, please refer to Campus Disturbance or Demonstration Policy.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and or intimidation of a member of the College Community.
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
- Cheating, including use of unauthorized books or notes, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, as defined by College policy.
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification. Alteration of college records, documents, or identification instruments or the use of the same with the intent to defraud.
- Furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member, or office.
- Disrupting or tampering with the election of any College-recognized student organization.
- Abuse of the Disciplinary process, including but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Judicial Board.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding.
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the judicial system.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the judicial proceeding.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, during, and/or after a judicial proceeding.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the judicial system.
- Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry or use of College premises.
- Unauthorized solicitation, including but not limited to sale of goods and services for personal profit.
- Unauthorized activity that constitutes forgery.
- Violation of State or Federal Laws not otherwise enumerated herein.
- Violation of published College policies, rules, or regulations not otherwise enumerated herein.
Discipline in the Classroom Disrupting or disturbing the classroom is a violation of the College’s Student Code of Conduct. A faculty member has the right to remove a disruptive student from class, pending a review of the situation by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee. Any faculty member may, at any time, refer a student to the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee, if the student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may impose disciplinary sanctions against the offending student consistent with the rules and regulations of the Student Code of Conduct. At the discretion of the Vice President/ Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee, a student may be allowed to attend class during the disciplinary review process. In making this determination, the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee will consider the severity of the disruptive behavior and may consult with the Chief Academic Officer.
Complaints Alleging Sexual Harassment or Discrimination
Claims of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be pursued under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. For more information, please contact the Vice President of Human Resources/ Affirmative Action, at 508.678.2811, extension 2194. Please see full Sexual Harassment Policy for further information.
Off Campus Behavior
If a student is charged only with an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local laws, the College reserves the right to take disciplinary action and impose sanctions against the student. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus.
Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process
The Disciplinary Process is initiated once a formal complaint is filed against a student by a member of the College community or by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer. This policy is not intended to prevent members of the College Community from attempting to resolve matters mutually and informally.
For example, if a student engages in disruptive conduct in the classroom, a faculty member may confront the student and resolve the matter without resorting to filing a complaint under the Code. Where, however, a matter cannot be resolved mutually and informally, the Code of Conduct Process shall be followed.
- Disciplinary Process
- All complaints under the Code of Conduct shall be filed with or by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee.
- When the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee receives a complaint that a student has acted in a manner which may be in violation of the Code, the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee initiates the disciplinary process by meeting with the Accused Student, putting him/her on notice of the alleged violation and providing him/her an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Thereafter, the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may conduct an investigation.
- If the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee determines that a violation exists, two procedural options are available. One, the violation may be resolved through an administrative disposition conducted by Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee. In this case, the student may accept the administrative remedy proposed by Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee and in doing so waives in writing his/her right to a disciplinary hearing or appeal. Alternatively, if the Accused Student does not accept the proposed administrative remedy, then the student may receive a hearing before a Judicial Board, to which a right of appeal exists.
- If the student chooses a hearing with the Judicial Board, the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee will schedule a hearing.
- The Judicial Board will hear the case and issue a written decision and/or sanction within ten (10) days of the hearing.
- The student may appeal the Judicial Board decision to the College’s Appeals Officer. A right of appeal exists only if based on new evidence or information. Failure to cooperate with the College’s investigation of an alleged Code of Conduct violation, which includes appearing before a Judicial Board or College Official if summoned to do so, will result in the student forfeiting his/her rights to a hearing or appeal and/or may result in disciplinary action.
A student found in violation of the College’s Code of Conduct shall be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:
- Verbal Warning
- Written Warning
- Restrictions/Loss of Privileges
- Community/Educational Service
The intent of the College is to impose sanctions in a progressive manner, beginning with the least punitive sanction. However, depending on the nature and severity of the student’s violation, the College reserves the right to impose any of the above-referenced sanctions at any time. The College also reserves the right to issue an interim suspension where a student’s conduct: (a) poses a threat to him/herself or others; (b) poses a threat to or results in damage to College property; or (c) poses a threat to or results in disruption or interference with the normal operations of the College. During an interim suspension, a student is prohibited from entering the College’s premises or participating in any College activities until further notice from the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee.
- Charges and Hearing
- When an Accused Student is to appear before a Judicial Board, all charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form. A notice of charges shall be presented to the student no less than five (5) days prior to the hearing. A hearing shall be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days following the accused student’s request for a hearing.
- Hearing rules are as follows:
- Hearings normally shall be conducted in private.
- Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee.
- In hearings involving more than one Accused Student, the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may permit at his/her discretion individual hearings for each Accused Student.
- The Accused Party has the right to be assisted by any advisor he/she may choose, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor is not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a Judicial Board.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by a Judicial Board at the Board’s discretion.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee.
- After the hearing, the Judicial Board shall determine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the Student Code which the student is charged with violating.
- The Judicial Board’s determination shall be based on whether it is more likely than not that the Accused Student violated the Student Code.
- There shall be a record created of all hearings before a Judicial Board. The record shall be the property of the College subject to state and federal student record laws.
- A hearing before a Judicial Board is an administrative hearing. The rules of evidence do not apply. Direct cross examination is not permitted. All questions must be directed through the Board, as indicated below.
- Conduct of Hearing
A hearing shall proceed as follows:
- The Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee presents the complaint with supporting investigatory materials and/or witnesses.
- Accused Student presents statement, materials, and/or witnesses in opposition to the complaint.
- Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Judicial Board may question each party, their witnesses, and review all documentary evidence presented.
- After the Board has questioned the parties and/or witnesses, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other. All questions must be directed through the Board. If the Board determines that the question is relevant to the matter, the other party will be asked to respond.
- Following the parties’ questioning period, the Board will have another opportunity to question the parties.
- Following the hearing’s conclusion, the Judicial Board shall deliberate and issue a written recommendation to Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee, within two days. The Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee shall accept, reject, or modify the Board’s recommendation. The Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee shall issue his/her decision to the Accused Student within five (5) business days of receiving the Board’s recommendation.
An Appeal of the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee’s decision is permitted only to consider new evidence, which was not brought out in the original hearing because such evidence was not reasonably known to the Accused Student at that time, and which is sufficiently relevant such that it could alter the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee’s decision. An Appeal must be filed in writing with the Appeals Officer within five (5) days of the Accused Student’s receipt of the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee’s decision. Upon considering an appeal, the Appeals Officer may:
- Confirm the original decision and sanction; or
- Modify the original decision and/or sanction.
The Appeals Officer’s decision shall be final.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Statement of the community colleges of Massachusetts on the rights and responsibilities of students:
Goal to provide an atmosphere in which sound intellectual development may flourish.
- Student responsibilities
- To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws as established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the College, and the student government.
- To respect the rights of individuals and groups to independent action as long as those rights do not interfere with the parallel rights of others-minorities, and majorities alike-including the avoidance of action interfering with those educational processes under the auspices of the College.
- To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws of the civil authorities.
- Student rights
- To have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
- To have the freedom to exercise the rights of citizenship, association, inquiry, and expression.
- To have the right of privacy and confidentiality.
- To have the right to voting representation on all recommendations to the President of the College on matters of concern, including but not limited to academic standards, student affairs, and curriculum changes.
- To have the right to quality education including but not limited to:
- The right to competent instruction in courses and programs offered by the College.
- The right to assistance in overcoming educational, cultural, emotional, and economic disadvantages which hinder the educational process.
- The right to receive in writing from each faculty member during the first week of classes of every quarter or semester a brief written course description outline of the material to be covered, course requirements including a specific list of information and techniques which the student is expected to acquire, attendance policy, and the grading system to be utilized.
- To have the right to fair and equal treatment, including but not limited to instruction, evaluation, and services by faculty, staff, and students.
- To have the right to procedural due process in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
Conduct Statement for Students at Massachusetts Community Colleges
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students and the general wellbeing of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals.
As members of the academic community, faculty members, staff, and students are encouraged in a sustained and independent search for knowledge. 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 classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the academic community – students, faculty, and staff members.
Each College will respect and will defend the right of its members to lawful exercise of free speech and assembly on behalf of causes, whether popular or unpopular. These rights are properly exercised only when due regard for the rights of others to move or speak freely are respected. Interference with others’ rights whether or not such interference is intentional lays outside Constitutional guarantees and the obligation of the College to defend it. Therefore, if in the judgment of the President or the President’s designee, persons attempt to interfere with the freedom of movement or speech of members or guests of the College Community, or the orderly operation of the College, the President of the College or an authorized designee may:
- Advise such persons of the impropriety of their activities and request immediate distance from such activity.
- Call the appropriate authority to remove those so interfering, if such persons fail to desist.
- Suspend temporarily such members of the College Community who have participated in such interference and who persist in such activity.
- Grant as soon as reasonably possible a hearing before an appropriate committee to any person appealing such a suspension.
Following such a hearing, the committee will make a recommendation to the President.
The President will determine disposition of the case, taking into account the committee’s recommendation. In addition, any person who becomes involved in the willful destruction of College or personal property will be answerable to charges filed with the civil authorities.