Statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities, Disciplinary, and Grievance Procedures

The Blue Ridge Community College Statement of Values is based upon respect for the dignity and worth of individuals within the campus community. Further, the college community welcomes diversity of ideas, intellectual debate, and the learning thereby engendered. Blue Ridge Community College strives for an environment which promotes these values and believes that, as members of the college community, each student contributes to uphold them. Therefore, the College clearly presents student rights and responsibilities and establishes the following disciplinary and grievance procedures to ensure that all members of the college community may benefit from the promotion of these values.

Student Rights

  1. Students are free to pursue their educational goals so long as they meet the academic and behavioral standards of the College. The College shall provide appropriate opportunities for learning within the scope of its mission and resources.
  2. Students have the right to fair treatment without discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, political affiliation, religion, or disability.
  3. Students have a right to limited procedural due process in disciplinary and grievance matters.
  4. The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, SEC. 438, PUB L. 90-247, as amended provides protection for the privacy of student educational records. Copies of FERPA are available for review in the College Admissions and Records Office.
  5. Students are guaranteed the right to free inquiry, expression and assembly, provided they do not interfere with the rights of others or with the effective operation of the College.

Student Responsibilities

To ensure an environment consistent with the mission, values and vision of Blue Ridge Community College, students are expected to respect the rights of each member of the college community and to behave in a manner supportive of the collegiate environment. Behaviors which are considered to be disruptive of the collegiate environment and subject to disciplinary action include but are NOT limited to the following:

  1. Providing false information or fraudulent documents to the College or any of its employees in the course of their duties; forgery, or alteration or misuse of college documents or instruments of identification.
  2. Academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism. Refer to the statement on Academic Honesty in the College catalog for more information. Please note that in addition to any penalty imposed on a student through this procedure as a result of a violation of academic dishonesty, faculty members may impose a grading penalty in accord with their syllabus and college policy in the course(s) in which the academic dishonesty occurred. Appeals of grading decisions must be conducted through the use of the grade appeal policy listed in the College catalog.
  3. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other activities authorized by the College.
  4. Physical abuse, psychological abuse or the threat of such abuse of any person on college premises or at college activities or directed against any person because of their actions as an employee of the college.
  5. Violation of established college policies including, but not limited to, the College Honor Code, the Computer Ethics Guidelines, Sexual Misconduct Policy, and the Substance Abuse Policy.
  6. The on-campus purchase, consumption, possession or sale of alcoholic beverages as specified in the college substance abuse policy, except when specifically authorized by the College Board.
  7. Possession, use, sale or purchase of any illegal drugs or hallucinogenic agents on college premises or at college activities, as specified by the college substance abuse policy.
  8. Carrying firearms or other weapons on college property or at any college activity except as explicitly authorized for instructional purposes or as exempted by Virginia Code 18.2-308 et seq.
  9. Unauthorized restriction of vehicular or pedestrian traffic on college premises or at college activities.
  10. Destruction, misuse, or damaging of property of the college or property under its jurisdiction, or removal of such property without authorization.
  11. Tampering with or misuse of fire-fighting or other safety equipment.
  12. Violation of any local, state or federal law on campus or at a college authorized activity.
  13. Failure to comply with directions of college officials acting in the performance of their duties.

Disciplinary Guidelines and Procedures

Guidelines

The College considers the guidelines set forth by the Student Rights and Responsibilities as conducive to a positive environment. If a student fails to behave in a manner consistent with these guidelines, the College reserves the right to impose disciplinary action. Disciplinary action may be initiated for violation of any rule or regulation of the College. The Blue Ridge Community College disciplinary procedure shall apply to conduct which occurs on property owned, occupied or used by Blue Ridge Community College, or to conduct which occurs while a student is attending or participating in any Blue Ridge Community College sponsored event or activity, or to conduct anywhere which is directed against any person employed by the College acting in their official capacity in performance of their duties.

Procedures

Procedure for Disciplinary Complaints

All disciplinary complaints against students should be brought to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. The President of the College may further designate any other College official to administer disciplinary policies and procedures as appropriate. The Vice President shall investigate the alleged violation to determine the severity and nature of the problem. The Vice President will send notice to the student at the student’s address of record (or hand the notice to the student in person) that a disciplinary investigation is taking place, along with a copy of this procedure. The student may request the assistance of a college Counselor, who will explain to the student the procedures of this policy. If, at the sole discretion of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services it is appropriate, the investigation will include an interview with the accused student, and attempts will be made to resolve the complaint informally. The student may also state a response to the investigation in writing to the Vice President. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, the Vice President will proceed administratively according to the guidelines established in section 3.

Procedure for Immediate Suspension Pending Final Disposition

When, in the opinion of the Vice President, the continued presence of any person on campus poses a serious threat to the well-being or safety of college personnel, college students, or to the property or operation of the College or any of its functions, such person may be immediately suspended and banned from the college campus and from all college-sponsored activities or events wherever they occur. This summary exclusion shall not prejudice the process or outcome of further proceedings initiated by any of the parties. When this decision is made, the Vice President will send notice to the student by mail at the student’s address of record. The correspondence will include the allegation against the student along with a general description of basis for the allegation and the basis by which the decision to immediately suspend the student was made. The correspondence will also make reference to the copy of this disciplinary procedure which the student received according to the procedure written above, thus informing the student of the procedures to be used to dispose of the case and for appeal of the disposition. At the discretion of the Vice President, the student may be allowed to return to the campus only for any and all activities related to this disciplinary procedure by requesting permission in writing. The Vice President will inform the student of the decision regarding this request by sending a certified letter to the student’s address of record.

Administrative Disposition of a Violation

If, at the discretion of the Vice President, the complaint cannot be resolved informally, then the Vice President, or a designee of the Vice President, will prepare a written summary of the disposition of each violation of the behavior code. The summary will include a statement of the violation, a brief description of the evidence used to decide upon a sanction, and a statement of the sanction imposed. A list of possible sanctions is provided on the next page. The Vice President will use certified mail to send a copy of the summary to the student’s address of record, or to the parent or guardian of an unmarried and unemancipated student who is under 18 years of age, and to other appropriate administrative personnel. A copy of the written summary will also be placed in the student’s file in the Admissions and Records Office and in a file in the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services’ office.

Sanctions include but are not limited to:

Admonition

At the discretion of the Vice President, a verbal or written reprimand to a student indicating that the student is violating or has violated college rules and admonishing the student to refrain from further violations.

Warning Probation

A written reprimand indicating that further violations of regulations will result in more severe disciplinary action. Warning probation may be imposed for any length of time up to one calendar year, and the student shall automatically be removed from probation when the imposed period expires.

Disciplinary Probation

A written reprimand indicating that further violations may result in suspension.

Withholding of Transcript, Degree, Diploma, Certificate, or Suspension of the Right to Register for Classes

A penalty imposed upon a student who fails to pay a debt owed to the College or who has a disciplinary case pending final disposition. This penalty terminates upon payment of the debt or upon final disposition of the case.

Restitution

A requirement for the student to reimburse the College for damaged or misappropriated property. This may take the form of appropriate service to repair or otherwise compensate for damages.

Suspension from the College

Exclusion from attending the College as a student for a definite period of time not to exceed one year.

Dismissal

Termination of student status for not less than one year. The conditions of readmission, if any, will be stated in the order of dismissal.

Expulsion

Permanent severance from the College.

A student may appeal the administrative disposition of a violation by following the procedure outlined below.

Appeal Procedure

Appeals Committee

When a student appeals the administrative disposition of a violation, he or she is entitled to limited due process including a hearing before an Appeals Committee. A written request for a hearing must be made to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services on or before the fifteenth business day following the mailing of the certified letter which describes the administrative disposition.

The Appeals Committee will be selected by the President of the College. The Committee shall consist of two teaching faculty members, one administrative faculty member, one classified staff person, and one student. The President will select the chairperson from among the committee members. All members of the committee are eligible to vote in the hearing.

Notice

The chairperson of the Appeals Committee shall set the date, time and place for the hearing, and the Vice President will send notice of the hearing to the student by certified letter at the student’s address of record. This notice shall be mailed within five business days of the receipt of the student’s written request for a hearing and the hearing date will be set for at least one week after the date the certified letter is mailed. The Vice President, or the committee chairperson may, for good cause, postpone the hearing so long as all interested parties are notified of the new hearing date, time and place, and the new date is set at least one week after

the notice of postponement is sent to the student. Every effort should be made by all involved parties to conduct the hearing at the earliest date available.

Procedure

The Appeals Committee will determine whether or not to uphold the administrative disposition determined by the Vice President. The chairperson shall provide reasonable opportunities for witnesses to be heard. Legal rules of evidence do not apply to hearings before the Appeals Committee. Counsel for any and all parties may be present, but they cannot act on behalf of the party they represent. The committee chairperson may admit any pertinent information and may exclude irrelevant, immaterial and unduly repetitious evidence. The hearing shall proceed generally as follows:

  1. The chairperson presents the allegations against the student, along with the administrative disposition of each allegation which the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services imposed.
  2. The student presents the basis for appealing the administrative disposition.
  3. At the discretion of the committee chairperson, the student, the Vice President, and other witnesses may be interviewed by the committee. However, the student may not be compelled to testify against himself or herself.
  4. All evidence shall be offered to the committee during the hearing and made part of the hearing record.
  5. Committee members may freely question witnesses.
  6. The committee will vote the issue of whether or not to uphold the administrative disposition of each violation. The committee shall state in writing, for each alleged violation, whether they support the administrative disposition and the sanction imposed. The committee can uphold the administrative disposition or recommend a different sanction which may not exceed the sanction imposed by the Vice President.

The decision of a simple majority of the members of the committee shall be submitted as the final decision of the committee. The decision of the committee is final and binding.

Record

The hearing record shall include:

  1. a copy of the notices sent to the student as described above,
  2. all documentary and other evidence offered or admitted in evidence,
  3. written motions, pleas, and any other materials considered by the committee, and
  4. the committee’s finding.

The hearing record will be forwarded to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services where it will be securely maintained. If the committee upholds the administrative disposition, a record of the committee’s finding will also be placed in the student’s academic file in the Admissions and Records Office.