Student Code of Conduct

I. POLICY STATEMENT Students enrolling at SCCC assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the college’s academic standards, policies, procedures, rules and regulations of the college and its entities. The SCCC Student Code of Conduct (The Code) defines the expectations, rights and responsibilities of all members of the student body. Students are members of the College community and are expected to act responsibly and to not interfere with the rights, comfort, or safety of other members of the College community. All students are held accountable for their actions. Behavior, which adversely affects the student’s responsible membership in the academic community, shall result in appropriate disciplinary action.

II. PURPOSE OF THE CODE The Student Code of Conduct and the accompanying student disciplinary processes are intended to assist students in their personal development by providing a fair conduct review procedure that issues consistent penalties for behaviors that are incongruent with the College’s expectations. In furthering the educational aims of the college and maintaining compliance with the provisions of Article129-A of the Education Law of the State of New York, the Code outlines the practices to be utilized in administering the student disciplinary system at SCCC.

III. PHILOSOPHY The Code embraces several core philosophies: preservation of the freedom of speech and the rights of peaceable assembly; respect for academic freedom and constructive criticism; a conviction that honesty and integrity are key values to the College community; and the belief that all members of the institution should be part of a campus environment that respects and appreciates differences. Procedures used to enforce standards contribute to teaching appropriate individual and group behaviors as well as protecting the rights of individuals and the campus community from disruption and/or harm. The disciplinary experience is intended to make clear to students the limits of acceptable behavior and to provide students who violate the Code an opportunity to more fully understand the rules and incorporate the experience into his/her personal growth and development. The disciplinary experience is designed to be both educational and corrective.

IV. JURISDICTION The College will have jurisdiction over misconduct that occurs on College premises and/or at College sponsored activities but may also address off campus behavior if the College determines that the behavior, or the continued presence of the student, impairs, obstructs, interferes with or adversely affects the mission, processes or functions of the College.

V. VIOLATIONS The subsequent behaviors are subject to disciplinary action under the Schenectady County Community College Student Code of Conduct but are not limited to the following infractions.

  1. REFERRALS Complaints, incidents or referrals regarding student behavior as hereinafter described in paragraph "B" should be reported to the Division of Student Affairs (Room 222, Elston Hall). The Vice President of Student Affairs or the his/her designee, will investigate each report and determine the action to be taken.
  2. BEHAVIOR SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINE All of the following behaviors are a violation of the SCCC Student Code of Conduct and may subject a student to disciplinary action as set forth below.
  1. ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT. Commission of an act which violates the academic integrity of Schenectady County Community College, including, but not limited to, academic cheating; plagiarism; the sale, purchase or exchange of papers, or research; or theft of another’s work from any source is a violation of the Code. The developments of intelligence and strengthening of moral responsibility are two of the most important aims of education. Essential to the accomplishment of these purposes is the duty of the student to perform all of his or her required work without illegal or unethical help.
  2. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE. Except for appropriate classroom activities or approved student activities, the possession and/or consumption of any alcoholic beverage is a violation of this Code. Possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages by students participating in a college club or college sponsored trip or an off-campus activity is also prohibited.
  3. DRUGS AND/OR DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. Possession or use of any illegal controlled substance, drug, or drug paraphernalia is prohibited and will be reported to local and state authorities and will also be subject to disciplinary action by the College. The College will cooperate with local and state authorities on any cases of suspected illegal use, possession or distribution of state- controlled drugs.
  4. COMPUTER MISUSE. Engaging in any unauthorized use of the College’s hardware, software or network systems is prohibited, including:
    1. unauthorized access, entry, or use of the computer, computer system, network, software, password, account or data,
    2. unauthorized alteration or tampering with computer equipment, software, network, or data
    3. unauthorized copying or distribution of computer software or data
    4. use of computer facilities of equipment to send obscene, harassing, threatening or abusive messages
    5. use of computers to falsify records, tamper with records or commit any act of academic dishonesty.
    6. Any other act in violation of the law and/or the College policies and guidelines regulating computer-related use.

  5. CRIMINAL ACTS. Any alleged criminal act committed by a student off campus, which is of such serious nature that it threatens the health or safety of the College community, is a violation of this Code.
  6. DEMONSTRATIONS. A demonstration which endangers life, public or private property or violates local, state or federal law is a violation of the Code.
  7. DISHONESTY. The falsification of information which includes any form of providing false or misleading information in writing, orally, or electronically in a manner which has the intent or effect of deceiving college personnel, or altering or falsifying official College records or documents; and/or the misrepresentation of oneself as an agent of the College is a violation of the Code.
  8. DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT. Any disruptive conduct which substantially threatens, harms, or interferes with the peace and good order of the College community, students, visitors, personnel and/or other College processes and functions, including but not limited to, lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression; unreasonable and disruptive noise; public intoxication; or prohibited athletic activity on College owned or controlled property or at a College sponsored or supervised function is a violation of the Code.
  9. FAILURE TO COMPLY. The willful obstruction and/or the failure to comply with the directions of an authorized College official acting in performance of his/her prescribed duty; failure to provide valid student identification upon request of a College official; failure to comply with all regulations regarding student conduct on campus, and/or any violation of a College policy or procedure is a violation of the Code.
  10. FIRE SAFETY. Violation of campus safety regulations, including but not limited to, setting unauthorized fires, tampering with fire safety and/or firefighting equipment or rendering such equipment inoperable, turning in a false fire alarm, tampering or improper use of campus emergency phones, or failure to evacuate facilities upon the sounding of a fire alarm or drill is a violation of the Code.
  11. GAMBLING. Gambling is prohibited on College owned or controlled property and at any College sponsored or supervised function and is a violation of the Code.
  12. IDENTIFICATION CARDS. Photo student identification cards are validated each semester. Properly validated cards should be carried at all times and must be produced, upon request, to any authorized College authority-administrator, faculty member or security personnel. The use of a another student’s identification card by anyone else other than the rightful owner is a violation of the Code.
  13. REMOVAL OF BOOKS AND MATERIALS. Removal of books and other materials from a College library in violation of the normal checkout procedures is a violation of the Code. Students with such materials and books in their possession will be considered as knowingly participating in the use of stolen materials.
  14. SANCTION VIOLATION. Violations of a College judicial sanction including, but not limited to, failing to meet the terms of the sanction, failure to complete a specified condition or assignment of a sanction, or violating the Student Code of Conduct when on disciplinaryprobation is a violation of the Code.
  15. STALKING. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer emotional distress. Such behavior may include any initiation of communication or contact with a victim by means of following, telephoning, or by social and electronic media after the actor was previously clearly informed to cease such conduct.
  16. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. When a person engages in sexual intercourse to include oral or anal sexual contact with another person without such person's consent is a violation of the Code.
  17. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. The term "domestic violence" includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim not to include crimes of a sexual nature, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction is a violation of the Code.
  18. DATING VIOLENCE. The term "dating violence" means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  19. SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to effectively alter or deny the individual reasonable access to College resources which includes conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or sexually offensive environment for learning or working on campus is a violation of the Code.
  20. RETALIATION. Retaliation is prohibited against any individual who files a sex discrimination complaint under Title IX or who participates in a complaint investigation in any way having to do with stalking, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or sexual harassment. No member of the College community shall retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce or otherwise discriminate against a person who files a Title IX complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in a Title IX proceeding in any manner.
  21. SOLICITING. The advertisement, solicitation or sale of any item or service on College property is a violation of the Code unless the prior approval of the Vice President of Student Affairs, Vice President of Administration or College President has been secured.
  22. THEFT. Theft or attempted theft of the property or services of the College, any organization, or any individual by means of taking, selling, deceiving, misappropriating, or misusing, as well as receiving and or possessing such stolen property is a violation of the Code.
  23. THREAT OF HARM. Conveyance of threats or the commission of any act which results in, or which may result in, harm to any person or the damage to College property or the property of others by willful and deliberate means is a violation of the Code. This offense includes any form of harassment, physical assault, verbal abuse, threatening or attempting physical assault upon any person not to include dating violence, domestic violence or sexual misconduct, or threats to destroy College property or the property of others. Any action or behavior that endangers the health, safety or welfare of any member of the College community or visitors is a violation of this Code.
  24. TRESPASSING. Unauthorized entry, use or occupancy of any building, structure, facility or college grounds is a violation of the Code.
  25. VANDALISM. The intentional and/or reckless, but not accidental, destruction of property; damaging, destroying, defacing, tampering, misuse, or abuse of student, staff or College property, including rentals or leased facilities, is a violation of the Code.
  26. WEAPONS. The possession, storage, use or threat of use of any weapon on campus is strictly prohibited and will be reported to local and/or state authorities. For purposes of this provision, a weapon is defined as:
    1. anything within the definition of a weapon set forth in Penal Law 265.00;
    2. any instrument, device, or object designed or specifically adapted for the purpose of inflicting physical harm or death;
    3. any instrument, device or object possessed, carried, or used for the purpose of inflicting or threatening physical harm or death.
  27. EXPLOSIVES. The possession, storage, or use of firecrackers or other explosive device of any description for any purpose is a violation of this Code.
  28. VIOLATION OF LAW. A violation of any municipal, state or federal criminal law or engaging in behavior that is a civil offense, or a violation of any policy, procedure, rule, regulation or directive of the College or any of its affiliated entities is a violation of this Code, even if the specific conduct is not listed as a prohibited act in the Code. The College regards criminal conduct/civil offense as a violation of the Code regardless of whether the criminal violation/civil offense are pursued in a court of law. The College may, to the extent permitted by law (including without limitation to FERPA), inform law enforcement agencies of perceived criminal violations and may elect to defer internal disciplinary action until prosecution of the criminal violation has been completed. Proceedings under the Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of the College.

VI. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

  1. NOTIFICATION
    1. All charges of misconduct shall be reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee, will seek documentation, testimony and information that is relevant to the alleged violation to determine the relevance of information presented. Should the investigation support an alleged code violation and no individual(s) have accepted full responsibility for the violation, then the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee will submit in writing, via the Student Affairs Office, to the Chairperson of the College’s Student Affairs Committee setting forth the circumstances of such misconduct, including time and place of the incident.

      1. The Chairperson shall refer a case to a Student Affairs Subcommittee on Discipline within five (5) business days (“business day” is defined as any day between Monday through Friday with the exception of legal holidays) after receipt of said charges.


      2. At the beginning of each academic year, the Chairperson of the College's Student Affairs Committee shall designate a Subcommittee on Discipline containing three members from the Student Affairs Committee one of whom will be a student. One member of the Subcommittee on Discipline will serve as the hearing officer in all disciplinary proceedings.


    2. The respondent(s) against whom charge(s) is being made shall be notified in writing by the Chairperson of the Subcommittee of the charge(s), the time, date and place of the hearing, the procedures to be followed, and the respondent’s right to be represented at the hearing by an advisor of the his/her choice. Written notification of the charges and hearing notice will be served on the respondent by personal delivery or by certified mail to the address last provided to the Registrar of the College by the respondent.


    3. If an incident results in a charge against more than one respondent, then the Vice President of Student Affairs may, at his/her sole and sound discretion, combine the hearings. A respondent may request a separate hearing, which the Vice President of Student Affairs may grant if good cause is shown.


  2. PARTIES' RIGHTS to ADVISORS
    1. The respondent and complainant may be assisted during disciplinary hearings and related meetings, by an advisor of their choice. The respondent and complainant may present witnesses and may produce other evidence for consideration by the student conduct body. The respondent and complainant are responsible for presenting evidence on their own behalf. Advisors may speak privately to their advisee, respondent or complainant, during the proceeding. Either party may request a brief recess to consult with their advisor which will be granted at the discretion of the Hearing Officer. Advisors for the respondent and complainant may not present evidence or question witnesses.


    2. If either or both parties (whether the complaining party or the respondent) elects to have one (1) advisor and/or witness(s) present at the hearing with them, the Chairperson of the Subcommittee must be notified in writing by the complaining party and/or the respondent two (2) business days prior to the scheduled hearing. The written notification must include the identity of the advisor and any witnesses present at the hearing. Advisors do not participate in the hearing. The advisor serves merely as an observer and/or a source of advice to the respondent without directly addressing the meeting.

  3. THE HEARING
    1. The complaining party, respondent and their advisors, if any, shall be allowed to attend the entire portion of the hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the meeting shall be at the discretion of the hearing officer. The hearing officer may remove and prohibit the participation of anyone disrupting the hearing.
    2. All questions regarding whether potential information will be admissible in the hearing and all procedural questions with respect to the hearing, shall be resolved in the discretion of the hearing officer. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in the hearing.
    3. The hearing officer will be responsible for maintaining a disciplinary procedure that makes reasonable efforts to accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being and/or fears of confrontation of the complaining party, the respondent, and/or witnesses during the hearing by providing security present at the hearing, permitting participation by telephone or other web-based access, permitting witnesses to submit written statements, or other means as determined in the sole judgment of the hearing officer to be appropriate.
    4. Hearings will convene as scheduled unless the hearing officer has been notified of and approves a request to reschedule. The hearing will proceed even if the respondent, advisor, and/or witness are not in attendance.
    5. Both the complaining party and the respondent charged with misconduct may be present at the hearing. Each party may present and cross-examine witnesses. The Subcommittee may, in its discretion, limit the testimony to information relevant to the disposition of the charge(s) and prohibit repetitious or redundant testimony.
    6. The Subcommittee on Discipline uses "preponderance of the evidence" as it's standard of proof and will recommend any sanction(s) to the Vice President of Student Affairs if the respondent is found in violation of any charges. If the respondent has a prior student conduct record, that information is not available to the board unless a respondent is found in violation of a charge.
    7. The Subcommittee on Discipline may consider mitigating and aggravating circumstances when choosing whether or not to impose a sanction and the severity of the sanction, including without limitation any or all of the following:
      1. Nature of the offense;
      2. Severity of the damage, injury, or harm resulting from the offense;
      3. Whether the respondent promptly took responsibility for his/her actions;
      4. Present demeanor of the respondent;
      5. Past disciplinary history of the respondent, which includes, without limitation, completion of or pending disciplinary sanctions from past cases;
      6. The respondent’s honesty, or lack thereof, and the cooperation demonstrated during the investigation of the complaint and subsequent disciplinary proceeding;
      7. Whether the charge involved an action directed at another based upon his/her race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation;
      8. The recommendation of associated victims or parties to the incident; and
      9. Any other factor deemed relevant by the Subcommittee.

    8. A record of the hearing will be made. The record of the hearing will be confidential, except as otherwise provided herein.
    9. Hearings will not be public. Publicity and public statements about the case by anyone involved will be avoided.
    10. Within five (5) business days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Subcommittee will submit its written hearing summary to the Vice President of Student Affairs. This hearing summary will state the results of their deliberation. If the respondent is found to be responsible for committing the violation, the summary includes a recommendation for any applicable sanctions to be imposed consistent with the penalties provided for in this Code.
    11. The record, including the documents entered into evidence, will be transmitted to the Student Affairs Office along with the Subcommittee's report and recommendation.

  4. PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS
    1. The Vice President of Student Affairs may, following a review of the record, accept or reject the Subcommittee's results of fact and the sanction recommendation. The Vice President of Student Affairs reserves the right to review and amend any decision of the Subcommittee. If the report and recommendation of the Subcommittee is accepted, the Vice President of Students Affairs may impose one or more of the penalties listed hereinafter.
      1. No action;
      2. Reprimand: written reprimand with warning that continuation or repetition of misconduct may result in further disciplinary action;
      3. Restitution: compensation for loss or injury, reimbursement for damages to or the misappropriation of property; or other payment for expenses incurred as a result of the student’s actions;
      4. Mediation and/or counseling referral;
      5. Disciplinary Probation: suspension of a student from any or all College programs or activities that do not relate directly to the student's academic performance;
      6. Suspension: discontinuance from classes and other designated privileges or activities for a definite period of time;
      7. Expulsion: termination as a student of the College for an indefinite period;
      8. Degree Revocation: The College reserves the right to revoke a degree when upon conclusion of an investigatory process it is determined that the degree was obtained byfraud;
      9. Other Secondary Sanctions: such sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified above:
      10. Community Service: may include performance of no more than fifty (50) hours of unpaid work assignments per semester either on or off campus as specified. Assignments are assigned and supervised by an administrative officer of the College and may not be combined or in conjunction with any other volunteer or court ordered requirement.
      11. Educational Activities: such sanctions may include a formal apology in writing and/or in person; a behavioral contract specifying the behavioral requirements to be followed, a reflective writing assignment or attendance at an event directly related to the violation committed.
      12. Restrictions: temporary or permanent loss of privileges or the use of a College facility or service.
      13. Counseling Assessments: professional assessments may be imposed at the expense of the student.

  5. NOTIFICATION
    1. Within five (5) business days of the receipt of the Subcommittee's written report and recommendation, the Vice President of Student Affairs will notify both parties of the results simultaneously in writing by mailing a copy of results by certified mail at the last address provided to the College by the respondent and complainant. If the respondent is found to be responsible for committing the violation, the written notification will include any applicable sanctions and instruction on the respondent's right to appeal.
    2. The decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee shall take effect immediately unless otherwise provided for in the student notification, and such decision shall be final except as provided for in the appeal process.

  6. APPEAL PROCESS
    1. Any student found guilty of a violation of the Code may appeal the written disciplinary hearing decision based on any of the following reasons only:
      1. A procedural error that unfairly affected the outcome of the disciplinary hearing;
      2. New, ‘after acquired’ information that was discovered only after the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing and is relevant to the alleged violation and would have had a significant bearing on the outcome of the disciplinary hearing if it had been previously known;
      3. A violation of due process occurred; or
      4. A sanction that is unreasonably severe in light of the offense(s) committed.

    2. Appeals shall be initiated in writing by the appellant and submitted to the Vice President of Student Affairs Office.
    3. The written appeal must be submitted to the Vice President of Students Affairs within five (5) business days of receipt of the written disciplinary hearing decision.
    4. The written appeal and the record of the hearing, along with the written decision rendered, will be transmitted to the President of the College within two (2) business days of receipt of the Appeal Form. The President of the College shall review the record of the appeal. Within ten (10) business days, the College President will render a decision. That written decision will be mailed to the student by certified mail at the last address provided to the College by the student. A copy of the decision will also be sent to the Vice President of Student Affairs to be shared with the Subcommittee. The decision of the College President is final and will become part of the record of the proceedings maintained in the file established pursuant to the hearing procedures of this Code.

  7. SUMMARY SUSPENSION A student who is summarily suspended will have a discontinuance from classes and other privileges set forth in the notice of suspension for a defined period of time. A student may be excluded and summarily suspended from campus and participation in any or all programs (including academic programs) and activities sponsored by the college, by the Vice President of Students Affairs his/her designee, in consultation with the President of the College, when the acts alleged represent a potential danger to the health, welfare, and safety of the College community. Such exclusion or summary suspension may begin at or prior to the formal filing of charge(s) as provided for in this Code.

VII. STUDENT DISCIPLINARY FILES AND RECORDS The Vice President of Student Affairs will establish a student disciplinary file whenever a case is referred for investigation of a possible conduct code violation. A student’s file will be destroyed if the investigation indicates that no violation occurred. The file of a student found to have violated the Code will be retained for four years from the date of the disciplinary hearing decision; however, records may be retained longer or permanently if the student was suspended or permanently dismissed or if there is reason to believe the case could result in future litigation. The case summary will be retained on the campus database indefinitely. The record shall be maintained separate and apart from the student's permanent record by the Student Affairs Office.

 

Approved by Board Resolution #92-127, October 19, 1992
Amended per Board Resolution #94-32, May 16, 1994
Amended per Board Resolution #02-73, June 17, 2002
Amended per Board Resolution #03-74, June 16, 2003
Amended per Board Resolution #11-101, July 25, 2011
Amended per Board Resolution #14-130, July 28, 2014

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