FF. Student Conduct & Discipline

STUDENT CONDUCT

Conduct which reflects adversely upon the student or the college will result in disciplinary action. Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Academic Integrity

It is the aim of the faculty of South Plains College to foster a spirit of complete honesty and a high standard of integrity. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own any work which he or she has not honestly performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a most serious offense and renders the offender liable to serious consequences, possibly suspension.

Cheating: Dishonesty of any kind on examinations or on written assignments, illegal possession of examinations, the use of unauthorized notes during an examination, obtaining information during an examination from the textbook or from the examination paper of another student, assisting others to cheat, alteration of grade records, illegal entry or unauthorized presence in an office are examples of cheating. Complete honesty is required of the student in the presentation of any and all phases of course work. This applies to quizzes of whatever length, as well as to final examinations, to daily reports and to term papers.

Plagiarism: Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism.

Alcoholic Beverages

Violations include the possession or use of alcoholic beverages on the college campus or while representing the college on an off-campus trip or activity. Violation may also occur when a student's conduct is adversely affected by the consumption of alcohol.

Animals on Campus

Animals are not allowed in any college building except when needed for instruction or where needed by an employee or student with a disability.  Service Animals are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Service Animals are permitted in every area on campus unless posted due to safety concerns.  Students with Service Animals are not required to register with the Disability Services office, but notification is recommended.  Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are used in the treatment of a diagnosed condition. ESA’s are not allowed in any campus buildings with the exception of student housing. ESA’s must be registered and approved through the Disability Services Office before being brought onto campus.

Service Animals in Training are dogs undergoing training by an approved trainer, who is an agent of an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons who are disabled.  SPC recognizes an approved trainer as “an individual who has been certified by an organization whose primary mission is to train animals for people with disabilities.”  Students who are training a service animal will be required to provide the Disability Services Office with contact information for the organization who certified them, as well as a copy of their individual certification.

Approved animals on campus must be under the direct control of the handler at all times. This can occur using a harness, leash, or other tether.  The handler is responsible for the care and supervision of the animal.  If an animal behaves in an unacceptable manner and the handler does not control the animal, South Plains College may ask for the removal of the animal.  The Service Animal or ESA itself is an extension of the student and therefore under the same code of conduct as the student. South Plains College has the right to deny access to Service and/or ESAs that are disruptive.  The Service Animal and/or ESA’s handler is responsible for repairing or replacing any property that may accidentally be damaged by the Service or ESA.  All Service Animals and ESA’s must be vaccinated and licensed according to local or county ordinances.

For more detailed information on service animals and emotional support animals https://myspc.southplainscollege.edu/ICS/Students/FYI/.

Bigotry

Any expression of hatred or prejudice is inconsistent with the purposes of higher education in a free society. If bigotry exists in any form in the larger society, it will be an issue on the college campus. Therefore, South Plains College is committed to creating conditions where bigotry is forthrightly confronted.

Bullying

Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1stAmendment) is strictly prohibited.

Children in the Classroom

Students are not allowed to bring children to class and will be asked to leave in the interest of providing an environment conducive to learning for all students enrolled in the class.

Classroom Conduct

Failure to comply with lawful direction of a classroom teacher relative to maintaining good order is considered misconduct on the part of the student. Repeated violations of disrupting a class may result in the student being dropped from that course.

Discrimination/Harassment

The college does not permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. Further information regarding discrimination or harassment and procedures for students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy can be found in the Student Rights and Responsibility section of this Guide.

Any online postings or other electronic communication by students, including cyber-bullying, cyber -stalking, cyber-harassment, etc. occurring completely outside of the College’s control (i.e. not on College networks, websites or between College email accounts) will only be subject to this policy when those online behaviors can be shown to cause a substantial on-campus disruption.  Otherwise, such communications are considered speech protected by the United States Constitution’s First Amendment.  Remedies for such conduct will be provided, but protected speech cannot be legally subjected to discipline.  

Disruptions

The use of force or violence or tactics or behavior which cause obstruction, or disruption of teaching, administration, disciplinary procedures or other college authorized activities on college premises or the use of language or behavior that provokes, disrupts, or annoys others, is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.

Distribution of Literature, Advertising, Selling or Solicitation

Selling and soliciting are only permitted on the campus with official authorization. Solicitation of students, faculty, or staff members by personal contact or through the distribution of advertising leaflets or handbills to promote sales is not permitted on any South Plains College campus or in any college buildings without prior approval of Director of Student Activities on the Levelland Campus or the appropriate dean or director on other campuses (Dean of Reese Center, the Director of the Plainview Center, or Executive Director of the Lubbock Center).

Failure to Comply

Failure to comply with reasonable directives and/or requests of a College official acting in the performance of his or her duties or failure to present student identification on request or identify oneself to any College official acting in the performance of his other duties.

Falsification of Records

Knowingly furnishing false information to the College or forging, altering, or making unauthorized use of a College document, record or identification, is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.

Financial Responsibilities

Students are expected and required to promptly address all financial responsibilities owed on and off the campus. Unpaid debts, returned checks and other cases of financial irresponsibility can result in action that may not be limited to holds placed on records and/or criminal or civil actions.

Firearms, Weapons, Fireworks, and Explosives

The unauthorized possession or use of firearms, weapons, fireworks, or explosives of any description on college grounds or property, including residence halls, is prohibited. Any item used with the intention of threatening, causing harm or damage to another individual or property will be considered a weapon. Replica firearms or simulated fire arms are prohibited from campus, unless approved by the Dean of Students.

Gambling

Gambling in any form is prohibited by state law on college grounds or property, including college residence halls.

Hazing

Acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the college community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity is prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.

Hoverboards, Bicycles, and Skateboards

The use of bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, motorized skateboards, scooters and other mechanical means of transportation are not allowed for use or possession within South Plains College buildings. The following exceptions apply: 1) when required for a work or class assignment or 2) as necessary for a disability or medical condition.

Illegal Selling of Books

The selling of books belonging to another person, organization, firm or institution constitutes theft.

Illegal Substances

The use, possession or transfer of any illegal substance on campus or at any college related function on or off campus is strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy with respect to illegal substances and violations of this policy may result in a one year suspension from the College.

Intimate Partner Violence or Dating Violence

Abuse or violence, or a threat of abuse or violence, against a person with whom the respondent has or has had a social relationship of romantic or intimate nature is prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.

Lewd, Indecent or Obscene Conduct

Lewd, vulgar, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on college property or functions off campus identified with South Plains College is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.

Safety and Health Requirements

Students who violate safety and health requirements may be disciplined through academic and Student Code of Conduct sanctions. A student’s grade may be downgraded as a result of the student’s failure to properly observe safety procedures within the laboratory or shop.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex/gender discrimination and, therefore, an unlawful discriminatory practice.  SPC has developed the following definition of sexual harassment, in order to address the special environment of an academic community.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome, sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based, verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.  Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any SPC program is encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator or a deputy. 

Stalking

Stalking is a pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in a victim and/or threaten her or his safety, mental health or physical health; or the safety of any of the immediate family members of the College community.  Violations of this policy may result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.

Student Dress

Reasonable standards of decency apply to the college community. The student should not dress in a manner that distracts from the academic atmosphere such as: revealing attire or clothing carrying obscene or offensive slogans is not permitted. In all academic buildings, classrooms, offices, the Student Center, and dining facilities, students are required to wear shirts and shoes.

Terroristic Threats

The conduct or participation in activities such as threatening or obscene letters or electronic mail, disturbing telephone calls, bomb threats and false alarms by unknown persons are strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on terroristic threats. Violations of this policy will result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.

Theft

The removal of property belonging to the College or another person or the possession or transfer of such property constitutes an act of theft. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on theft. Violations of this policy may result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.

Tobacco

The use of any tobacco product, electronic cigarette, or vapor device throughout all indoor areas and within a 25 foot perimeter around all facility entrances, exits and HVAC air intake vents under the control of SPC, including sporting facilities and in SPC vehicles, is prohibited.

Unauthorized Entry

The unauthorized entry to or use of College buildings, offices, or facilities is strictly prohibited.

Unauthorized Possession of Keys

The possession by students of keys to College buildings or facilities that have not been issued by an authorized College official is strictly prohibited.

Unauthorized Surveillance

Making or causing to be made unauthorized video or photographic images of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the prior effective consent of the individual is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, taking video or photographic images in shower/locker rooms, residence hall rooms and restrooms, and storing, sharing, and/or distributing of such unauthorized images by any means.

Unauthorized Use or Possession

Attempted or actual unauthorized use or possession of a credit card, debit card, student identification card, cell phone, personal identification number, test number, MySPC account information and/or personal check, or other unauthorized use or possession of personal property or information of another is strictly prohibited.

Vandalism

The willful malicious destruction, damage or defacing of property whether it belongs to the College or another student constitutes an act of vandalism.

Violent Behavior

The willful malicious destruction, damage or defacing of property whether it belongs to the College or another student constitutes an act of vandalism.

Acts of violence or threats of violence will result in strict disciplinary measures to and may include suspension and possible criminal charges.

Violation of Local, State or Federal Law

Any action, event or group of events which provides grounds for a charge or violation of local, state, or federal laws or College regulations is strictly prohibited. 

SPECIAL PROCESS PROVISIONS

Attempted Violations

In most circumstances, the College will treat attempts to commit any violations of Student Conduct as if those attempts had been completed.

College as Complainant

As necessary, the College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.

False Reports

The College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

Immunity for Victims and Witnesses

The SPC community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by reporting parties and witnesses.  Sometimes, reporting parties or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident.  It is in the best interests of this community that reporting parties choose to report to SPC officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.  To encourage reporting, SPC pursues a policy of offering reporting parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations related to the incident.

Bystander Engagement

Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to the Campus Police).  The College pursues a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need.  While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the college will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.

Parental Notification

The College reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, related to alcohol and other drug violations. The College may also notify parents/guardians of not-dependent students under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is not a dependent, the College will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The College also reserves the right to designate which college officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Notification of Outcomes

The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the accused student, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. However, SPC observes the legal exceptions as follows:

Complainants in non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome, essential findings, and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.

The College may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction / damage / vandalism of property and kidnapping / abduction. The College will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.

 PENALTIES FOR MISCONDUCT

Penalties for misconduct include, but are not limited to the following, as determined appropriate by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of Reese Center, Executive Director of the Lubbock Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.

Warning or Reprimand

All offenses that may be punishable by reprimand or warning shall be regarded as minor offenses. These actions are cumulative and are considered official college actions and are recorded in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Referral to Health & Wellness

Under certain situations, a student may be referred to Health and Wellness for counseling services. A set number of visits is established within a given amount of time.  Failure to complete prescribed sessions will result in a hold being placed on the student’s account for failure to comply.  The hold may be lifted once the requirements for all sanctions have been fulfilled.

Restriction

It may be determined that a student should be restricted from specified campus facilities, organizations or activities as a part of disciplinary action.

Community Service

A student may be assigned to do additional class work or other community service jobs on campus, as determined by the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Reese Center, the Executive Director of the Lubbock Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.

Disciplinary Probation

Any offense leading to disciplinary probation is regarded as a major offense. Disciplinary probation is applied for a stated period with or without specified restrictive conditions. Restrictive conditions may include but are not limited to: removing the right of the student to receive any college award, scholarships, or financial aid; removing the right to occupy any position of leadership in any college or student organization or activity; removing the right to operate a motor vehicle on campus. The student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior during the probationary period.

Removal from College Housing

In certain instances, the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students may remove a student from College housing and allow him/her to continue attending classes.

Course Grade Reduction

Academic integrity violations may result in a course or assignment grade reduction.

Administrative Course Withdrawal

A student may be administratively withdrawn from one or more courses as a result of behavior within the classroom for Academic Integrity violations.  Any offense leading to administrative course withdrawal is regarded as a major offense.

Disciplinary Suspension

Any offense leading to disciplinary suspension is regarded as a major offense. Suspension is normally for a stated period, but never less than the remainder of the semester in which the offense is committed. During suspension, the student shall not attend classes, participate in any college related activity, or be on campus for any reason except application for readmission. Readmission on probation may be granted at the end of the suspension period.

Expulsion

Expulsion is the permanent removal from South Plains College with no opportunity for readmission. Expulsion shall be used only in cases of extreme misconduct. 

PROCEDURES FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AND APPEALS

All offenses of misconduct, both minor and major (including Title IX), shall be dealt with by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, the Executive Director of the Lubbock Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center, except for those offenses that are regarded as academic issues. Academic issues shall be dealt with by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of the Technical Division, the Dean of Health Occupation, the Department Chair, or their designee. These individuals shall henceforth be referred to as Case Official. All offenses that may lead to reduction in course grade, administrative withdrawal from a course, suspension or expulsion, shall be regarded as major offenses and be dealt with by the following procedures.

Rules of Evidence and Burden of Proof

Disciplinary decisions will be based on the preponderance of evidence. In other words, it is more likely than not an alleged incident occurred. A totality of all available and relevant evidence will be used to establish this preponderance. The burden and responsibility for gathering and evaluating evidence rests with the College. Accused students may elect to not self-incriminate and should be active in presenting relevant evidence to support their position. The intent of the disciplinary process is to provide an educational remedy that is in the best interest of all students and the preservation of the academic process. In extreme cases this may involve utilizing punitive actions such as suspension or expulsion.

Disciplinary Procedures

Investigative Hearing

The Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, Executive Director of the Lubbock Center, Director of the Plainview Center, or a Title IX Investigator (as outlined in Policy FH) is responsible for investigating reported student misconduct and evaluating evidence as to its accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency. Upon concluding that a major offense has been committed and that there is sufficient evidence to prove this offense, a written statement is prepared that includes: the alleged violation and charges against the student; a statement of penalties to be imposed; and the explanation of student rights and due process.

Where the accused individual is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation should be closed. Where the accused individual accepts the finding that s/he violated college policy, the Dean or Director will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation. In all Title IX cases, the Dean of Students will take into consideration all information and will impose the appropriate sanctions.

Hearing Body

In the event that the accused individual rejects the findings in part or entirely, the dean or director will convene a hearing body, made up of a minimum of two of the following: Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, Executive Director of the Lubbock Center, Director of the Plainview Center, Instructional Dean of student’s major, Department Chairperson of student’s major, faculty member of student’s choice and President of Student Government. Only in situations involving criminal legal proceedings may the student request the representation of an attorney.  However, the attorney may not speak on behalf of the student and the attorney does not have an active, participatory role in the process.  If the student is allowed an attorney, an attorney representing South Plains College may also be in attendance. The hearing body will determine whether the accused individual is in violation of the contested aspects of the complaint. At the hearing, the findings of the investigation will be admitted, but are not binding on the decider(s) of fact. The hearing body will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil and legal rights of all participants.

Where an accused individual is found in violation the dean or director will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation, as recommended by the hearing body. The dean or director has final decision making authority with regard to formal complaints, subject to appeal.

 

Title IX or Conduct Violation Decision Appeals

In the event that an accused individual accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed. Post-hearing, any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.

Title IX cases will follow SPC Policy FH.

All sanctions for conduct violation appeals imposed by the original hearing body will be in effect during the appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.

The decision of the case official and hearing body may be appealed by petitioning the Vice President for Student Affairs. Accused students or complainants must petition in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed. The Vice President will determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely. The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show error, as the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g., substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
  2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
  3. The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions the College has designated for this offense and the cumulative record of the responding party.

If the Vice President for Student Affairs determines that new evidence should be considered, the complaint will be returned to the original hearing body to reconsider in light of the new evidence only. The hearing body will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from hearing of the appeal.

The hearing body’s decision is final.

 

Academic Procedures: Grade and Academic Discipline Appeals

South Plains College provides two procedures which allow students the opportunity to address grievances of an academic nature.

Appeal Restrictions

Only final grades or dismissal resulting from academic discipline will be considered. The instructor’s teaching ability or expertise will not be considered during the hearing.  No grade or disciplinary action can be formally appealed after a period of six (6) months from the date that the student is informed.

Informal Appeal

  1. The student should schedule an appointment with the instructor of the course to discuss the final grade or disciplinary action.
  2. If the student is still not satisfied, s/he should schedule an appointment with the appropriate departmental chairperson to discuss the situation. The chairperson may request that the instructor also be present.
  3. If the student is still not satisfied, s/he she should schedule an appointment with the Divisional Dean to discuss the situation. The dean may request that the chairperson also be present.
  4. If the student is still not satisfied, s/he she should be advised of the formal appeal process.

Formal Appeal

If the student is not satisfied with the results of the informal appeal, s/he should provide the following information, in writing, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs:

  1. A request for a formal appeals hearing.
  2.  A brief statement of what is being appealed.
  3.  The basis for the appeal.
  4. Pertinent facts relating to the appeal.

The agenda of the appeals hearing will include only those factors documented in the student’s appeal request letter.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs will determine the date, time and place of the hearing, and notify the student accordingly.

The Hearing

Composition of the appeals committee:

  • Vice President for Academic Affairs will preside over the hearing.
  • Faculty member of the student’s choice.
  • Faculty member and student selected by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • President of Student Government Association.
  • Dean of Students.

Other persons who should be available at the hearing:

  • The student who requested the hearing.
  • The faculty member involved.
  • Anyone the student or faculty member wishes to be present to substantiate the case.
  • Chairperson and Divisional Dean.

Hearing procedure: The committee will hear the student’s appeal during which the parties to the controversy and such representatives as desired will present all facts relating to the case. By majority vote, the committee will decide to sustain, amend or reverse the previous decision.

The decision of the committee is final and completes the academic appeals procedure.

Traffic and Parking Appeals

Students who wish to appeal a campus traffic citation may contact the Dean of Students on the Levelland Campus, the Dean of the Reese Center, the Executive Director of Lubbock Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center. Traffic and parking regulations are described in the Campus Parking and Traffic Regulations online or in the brochure available from the Campus Police Office and the Dean or Director’s office.

 

Academic Suspension or Admission Appeals

Students who are on academic suspension or who have been denied general admission may appeal the decision to the Admission’s Committee. Complete information about academic suspension or general admission appeal procedures can be obtained from the Admissions and Records Office or the SPC Catalog. Appeals regarding admission into specific programs should be directed to the respective departments responsible for those programs.

 

Amendment: 8/13/2018
Authorized: Vice President for Student Affairs
Nature of Revision: Content 
Date Issued: 2/18/2013

Approved by Executive Council – 9/17/2018