Western Nevada CollegeWestern Nevada College Policies

Policy 3-4-4: Student Conduct

WNC Policy 3-4-4
Procedure: Student Conduct
Policy No.: 3-4-4
Department: Academic & Student Affairs
Contact: Dean of Student Services

Rationale

Human beings grow and mature in communities. Living in a community requires depending upon the knowledge, integrity, and decency of others. In turn, the best communities help individuals form habits and values that enable them to achieve the highest personal satisfaction, including the satisfaction associated with helping to make a better world. Western Nevada College, a community comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators, recognizes the need to establish policies and procedures to guide student actions and defines the penalties that are imposed when these rules and regulations are violated. The rules enforced by the college are designed to protect individual liberties, and other values stated in the college's Mission and Goals, especially the commitment to "personal growth and development, achieving their educational goals, advancing in their careers, and coping with the technical and social changes in our global society."

It is the policy of Western Nevada College to ensure that the rights of an individual guaranteed by state laws and the U.S. Constitution are protected for all members of the community regardless of their gender, race, color, ethnicity, sexual preference, or religion. When such rights are infringed upon by violence, threats, or other harassment, the college will use every necessary resource to rapidly and decisively identify perpetrators for criminal and/or administrative prosecution in accordance with the WNC polices and the Board of Regents' policies.

  • Section 1: Authority for Student Discipline
    • A. Ultimate authority for student discipline is vested in the NSHE Board of Regents that charges the president of WNC with responsibility of establishing and enforcing rules and regulations outlined in the NSHE Policies. At WNC, disciplinary authority is delegated to the dean of student services as set forth in these policies and procedures, and in other appropriate policies, rules, or regulations adopted by the Board. The president appoints the dean of student services to serve as an administrative officer, and delegates other duties by the president as set forth herein.
    • B. The college reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well being of the campus community. Such action may include pursuing disciplinary action for any act prohibited by local, state or federal law that occurs on system premises or at a system sponsored on or off such premises. In addition, misconduct, as defined and established in the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.2.2), is as follows:
      • 1. Commission of any act interfering with academic freedom
      • 2. Use of, or threat to use, force or violence against any member or guest of the system community, except when lawfully permitted
      • 3. Interference by force, threat or duress with the lawful freedom of movement of persons or vehicles on the premises of the system
      • 4. Intentional disruption or unauthorized interruption of the functions of the system, including but not limited to classes, convocations, lectures, meetings, recruiting interviews and social events, on or off premises of the system
      • 5. Willful damage, destruction, defacement, theft, or misappropriation of equipment or property belonging to, in the possession of or on premises occupied by the system
      • 6. Knowing possession on any premises of the system of any firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons as defined by the laws of the State of Nevada, without the written authorization of the president of any system institution or the president's authorized agent, unless such possession reasonably relates to duly recognized system functions by appropriate members of the faculty, other employees or students
      • 7. Continued occupation of buildings, structures, grounds or premises belonging to, or occupied by, the system after having been ordered to leave by the president of a System institution or the president's designee
      • 8. Forgery, alteration, falsification or destruction of system documents or furnishing false information in documents submitted to the system
      • 9. Making an accusation, which is intentionally false or is made with reckless disregard for the truth against any member of the system community by filing a complaint or charges under this code or under any applicable established grievance procedures in the system
      • 10. Repeated use of obscene or abusive language in a classroom or public meeting of the system where such usage is beyond the bounds of generally accepted good taste and which, if occurring in a class, is not significantly related to the teaching of the subject matter
      • 11. Willful incitement of persons to commit any of the acts herein prohibited
      • 12. Disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct occurring on system premises or at a system sponsored function on or off such premises
      • 13. Any act prohibited by local, state, or federal law that occurs on system premises or at a system sponsored function on or off such premises
      • 14. Use of threats of violence against a faculty member or the faculty member's family in order to secure preferential treatment for grades, loans, employment or other service or privilege accorded by the system
      • 15. Any act of unlawful discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. (referred to affirmative action officer)
      • 16. Any act of sexual harassment when submission to a request or demand of a sexual nature is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or of academic grading, or where verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature has the effect of creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile work or classroom environment. (referred to the affirmative action officer)
      • 17. Acts of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, falsifying research data or results, or assisting others to do the same
      • 18. Willfully destroying, damaging, tampering with, altering stealing, misappropriating or using without permission any system program or file of the Nevada System of Higher Education.
      • 19. Acts of hazing, which are defined as any method of initiation into or affiliation with the university or community college community, a student organization, a sports team, an academic association, or other group engaged in by an individual that intentionally or recklessly endangers another individual
      • 20. Any conduct, which violates applicable stated prohibitions, policies, procedures, rules, regulations, or bylaws of the Board of Regents or a system institution
    • C. Students will be informed of the Student Conduct Policies and Procedures through a variety of communication vehicles including the College's website, student handbook, and/or electronic and written media as appropriate.
  • Section 2: Standards Governing the Conduct of Students
    • A. The college expects its students to act with integrity. Dishonesty, fraud, and failure to respect the rights of others will not be tolerated in a community that is dedicated to the development of responsible individuals.
    • B. The Student Conduct Policies and Procedures prescribe standards for the conduct of students on and off the campus. Many of these regulations are similar to federal and state statutes; therefore, a violation of these student conduct policies may concurrently represent a violation of a civil statute. The college and civil/criminal jurisdictions are considered independent, each based on its separate, distinct needs. Thus, both civil/criminal and college proceedings could result from the same violation. Civil or criminal action before or after college action shall in no way alter the college proceedings or findings, nor provide any right to immunity from college jurisdiction. College authorities shall expedite disciplinary proceedings, recognizing the advantage of a prompt hearing in the event of alleged infractions, while guaranteeing due process.
    • C. The above policy recognizes that college disciplinary jurisdictions may not extend to off-campus activities unless the college sponsors such activities (e.g., athletic event, concerts, etc.) or the off-campus incident or activity has a direct or indirect adverse affect on the college. Alleged infractions taking place off the college campus are left to the courts or other authorities, although college action shall be initiated in cases where individuals are representing the college or where the alleged actions give cause for concern that the presence of certain individuals on campus may endanger the college community. Behavior causing serious personal endangerment, may subject a student to immediately being placed on administrative leave prior to a disciplinary hearing in accordance with Board of Regent's Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.5.1), and as outlined in the Section III of this Code "Extraordinary Action Pending Judicial Process." A student of another NSHE institution against whom the institution has imposed the disciplinary sanction of suspension or expulsion may not apply for admission to the college and may not enroll in college courses until such time as the student is eligible to take courses at the institution imposing the sanction.
  • Section 3: Extraordinary Action Pending Disciplinary Process/Administrative Leave
    • A. Pending a formal hearing, the President may place a student on administrative leave temporarily from the college if there is a determination that the administrative leave is required to:
      • 1. Protect life, limb or property;
      • 2. Ensure the maintenance of order; or
      • 3. Remove a person from the of Nevada System of Higher Education community when an act of sexual harassment has been alleged against such person and the accuser or the accused person cannot be assigned other duties or classes or placed else in the system institution apart fro each other pending the completion of an investigation and/or disciplinary hearing into the allegation.
    • B. The dean of student services, if acting as an administrative officer, will inform the student in writing, by personal delivery or, if this is not possible, by registered mail to the student's identified place of residence.
    • C. The notice of administrative leave will include charges specifying the violation(s). The matter will be referred in writing to a general hearing officer. The student charged will be provided a copy of the written referral. A student placed on administrative leave shall be given the opportunity to appear personally before the dean of student services, or a designee, in order to discuss the following issues only:
      • 1. the reliability of the information concerning the student's conduct, including the matter of his or her identity;
      • 2. whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student on College premises poses a substantial and immediate threat to himself or herself or to others or the stability and continuance of normal college functions.
    • D. There is no appeal to the President's decision of an interim suspension pending a hearing. Unless the person placed on leave agrees to delay the hearing to a later time, the hearing committee will convene within ten (10) days considering the circumstances of each case including but not limited to:
      • 1. time of academic year;
      • 2. availability of witnesses (especially any injured party);
      • 3. whether criminal charges are pending.
  • Section 4: Due Process Procedural Protections
    • A. As provided for by the NSHE Code, students accused of disciplinary violations are entitled to the following procedural protections, which are general described as the following:
      • 1. To be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based;
      • 2. To request that the dean of student services, as administrative officer, to resolve the case in an informal disciplinary conference;
      • 3. To be allowed reasonable time to prepare a defense.
      • 4. To be informed of the evidence upon which a charge is based and accorded an opportunity to offer a relevant response;
      • 5. To call and confront relevant witnesses;
      • 6. To be assured of confidentiality, in accordance with the terms of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
      • 7. To request that any person conducting a disciplinary conference or serving as a hearing board member or hearing officer be disqualified on the ground of personal bias.
      • 8. To be considered innocent of the charges until proven responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.
      • 9. To be advised by a person of their choice.
  • Section 5: Interpretation of Regulations
    • A. The purpose of publishing disciplinary regulations is to give students general notice of prohibited behavior. These policies and procedures are a summary of the grounds, process and forms of discipline that are governed by the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6. Reference is made to this document for specific and detailed information on the NSHE and Western Nevada College disciplinary process.
  • Section 6: Disciplinary Action while Criminal Charges Are Pending
    • A. Students may be accountable both to civil/criminal authorities and to the college for acts that constitute violations of law and of these policies. Disciplinary action at the college will normally proceed during the pendency of criminal or other proceedings, and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal or other charges involving the same incident are dismissed or reduced.
  • Section 7: Standards of Classroom Behavior
    • A. The primary responsibility for managing the classroom environment rests with the academic faculty. Students who engage in any prohibited or unlawful acts that result in disruption of a class may be directed by the faculty member to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. Longer suspensions from a class, or dismissal on disciplinary grounds, must be preceded by disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the WNC policies and the Board of Regents Code.
  • Section 8: Prohibited Conduct
    • A. Unacceptable misconduct includes, but is not limited to any of the activities or behaviors outlined in Section I of this document and the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.2.2).
  • Section 9: Sanctions
    • A. Consistent with the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.3), possible sanctions associated with violations of these WNC policies may include:
      • 1. Warning: notice, orally or in writing, that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.
      • 2. Reprimand: a written warning that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action. Notice of this action may appear on the student's academic transcript for up to one year.
      • 3. Disciplinary Probation: exclusion from participation in privileged or extra-curricular institutional activities for a specified period of time not to exceed one year. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation, or any other violation during the period of probation, will normally result in suspension or expulsion from the college. Notice of this action may appear on the student's academic transcript for up to two years.
      • 4. Restitution: repayment to the college or to an affected party for damages resulting from a violation of these Policies.
      • 5. Suspension: exclusion from college premises, and other privileges or activities for a defined time period as set forth in the suspension notice. Notice of this action may appear on the student's academic transcript as Disciplinary suspension effective (date) to (date). Parents or legal guardians of minor students shall be notified of this action.

        A student who is not currently enrolled in the system and who was not registered during the previous semester, or who graduated at the end of the previous semester may request that the notation of the disciplinary suspension be removed from the official transcript when two years have elapsed since the expiration of the student's suspension. Such a request must be submitted in writing to the president. If the request is not granted, the student at yearly intervals thereafter may submit a request for removal of the notation.

        No student suspended shall be refunded or credited any fees paid by and/or for the student.
      • 6. Expulsion: termination of student status for an indefinite period of time, and exclusion from college premises, privileges and activities. Permission of the president shall be required for readmission. This action will be recorded on the student's academic transcript as Disciplinary Expulsion Effective (date). The parents or legal guardians of minor students shall be notified of this action. No expelled student shall be refunded or credited any fees paid by and/or for the student.
      • 7. Other Sanctions: other sanctions, if agreed to in writing by the student, may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified in sections (1) through (6) of this part. Service activities, fines or research projects may also be assigned.
    • B. Violations may result in expulsion or suspension from the college unless specific and significant mitigating factors. Factors to be considered in mitigation shall be the present demeanor and past disciplinary record of the offender, as well as the nature of the offense and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it.
    • C. Repeated or aggravated violations of any section of these Policies may also result in expulsion or suspension or in the imposition of such lesser penalties as may be appropriate. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by these Policies may be punished to the same extent as completed violations.
  • Section 10: Case Referrals
    • A. Any person may refer a student or a student group or organization suspected of violating these policies to the dean of student services. This referral must be done in writing using a standard form available from the college's public safety, dean of student services, coordinator of student activities, or academic director's offices.
    • B. Those referring cases are normally expected to serve as the complainant, and to present relevant evidence in hearings or conferences. The complainant may request the assistance of an advocate.[1]
  • Section 11: Conference and Hearing Committee Referrals
    • A. The dean of student services or a designee will conduct a preliminary review to determine whether the alleged misconduct might result in expulsion or suspension from the college. Students not subject to suspension or expulsion will be entitled to a disciplinary conference to attempt an informal resolution of the matter, in accordance with Sec. 6.8.2(c) of the Regents' Code, with the dean of student services, or a designee, as set forth in section XIII of this Code of Student Conduct. Students who are subject to suspension or expulsion will be entitled a hearing before the Campus Hearing Committee as set forth in section XIV.
    • B. Students referred for a hearing by the dean of student services, or a designee, may elect to have their cases resolved in accordance with section XIII of these policies. Such an election must be in writing, affirming that the student is aware a hearing is being waived.
    • C. The dean of student services, or a designee, may defer proceedings for alleged minor violations of these Policies for a period not to exceed ninety days.
  • Section 12: Disciplinary Conferences
    • A. As permitted by NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.8.2), students accused of non-academic offenses that may result in penalties less than expulsion or suspension may be subject to an informal resolution or recommendation for a disciplinary conference with the dean of student services or designee. The following procedural protections are provided to accused students in disciplinary conferences:
      • 1. Written notice of the information specified in subsection 6.8.1 of the NSHE Code at least three business days prior to the scheduled conference.
      • 2. Reasonable access to the case file prior to and during the conference. The case file consists of materials which would be considered "educational records,'' pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974; personal notes of college staff members or complainants are not included.
      • 3. An opportunity to respond to the evidence and to call relevant and necessary witnesses.
      • 4. A right to be accompanied by an advisor as provided in item XV of these policies.
  • Section 13: Campus Hearing Committee
    • A. There shall be a Campus Hearing Committee appointed in accordance with procedures established by the college and approved by the President, and in accordance with Sec. 6.11.2 of the Regents' Code. Each hearing committee shall consist of at least five participants and not more than three from both the student or faculty/staff constituencies, and a faculty or staff member appointed as chair. The dean of student services shall be responsible for training and providing administrative support to the Campus Hearing Committee.
    • B. Both the findings and the sanctions determined by the Campus Hearing Committee shall be regarded as recommendations to the college president.
    • C. Members of the Campus Hearing Committee charged with a violation of these policies or with a criminal offense may be suspended from their positions by the dean of student services during the pendency of the charges against them. Appointments of members found responsible of any such violation or offense will be terminated immediately upon determination of a case.
    • D. Hearing Committee procedures include the following procedural guidelines and will be implemented in accordance with the procedural requirements of the Board of Regents' Code, Title 2, Ch. 6:
      • 1. The college president will appoint a committee chair from the faculty or staff members of the committee. The chair shall conduct the hearing, participate in board deliberations and discussions, but shall vote only in cases of a tie vote by the committee.
      • 2. The dean of student services, or a designee, shall provide an accused student notice of the hearing date and the specific charges against him/her at least five business days in advance. Notice shall be by personal delivery or by certified mail to the last address provided by the student to the college. An accused student shall be accorded reasonable access to the case file which will be retained in the office of the dean of student services.
      • 3. The committee chair may call relevant witnesses in consultation with the dean of student services. Notice of the hearing will be personally delivered or sent by certified mail. College students and employees are expected to comply with such requests issued pursuant to this procedure, unless compliance would result in significant and unavoidable personal hardship, or substantial interference with normal college activities, as determined by the president of the college.
      • 4. Accused students who fail to appear after proper notice will be deemed to have pled "innocent'' to the charges pending against them. A hearing will be conducted in their absence.
      • 5. Unless requested otherwise by the individual charged, hearings will be closed to the public except for accused, an advisor for the accused, and if appropriate, the victim and relevant witnesses.
      • 6. The chair shall exercise control over the proceedings to avoid needless consumption of time and to achieve orderly completion of the hearing. Any person, including the accused student, who disrupts a hearing, may be excluded by the chair.
      • 7. Hearings shall be tape recorded or transcribed. These records are maintained for a seven-year time-period.
      • 8. Any party may challenge a hearing board member or the hearing officer on the grounds of personal bias. Board members may be disqualified by the chair, or upon majority vote of the voting members, conducted by secret ballot. The chair may be disqualified by the dean of student services and a pro tem chair appointed by the college president for a specific hearing.
      • 9. Witnesses shall be asked to affirm that their testimony is truthful, and may be subject to charges of violating these policies by intentionally providing false information to the college.
      • 10. Witnesses, other than the complainant and the respondent, may be excluded from the hearing during the testimony of other witnesses. All parties, the witnesses, and the public shall be excluded during board deliberations, which shall not be recorded or transcribed.
      • 11. The charges against the respondent must be established by a preponderance of the evidence.
      • 12. Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable in disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to these policies. The chair shall give effect to the rules of confidentiality and privilege, but shall otherwise admit all matters into evidence that reasonable persons would accept as having probative value, materiality and relevancy. Unduly repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded.
      • 13. Complainants and accused students (not their advisors), will be accorded an opportunity to ask relevant questions of those witnesses who testify at the hearing.
      • 14. Board members may ask questions of the parties and all witnesses. They may also take judicial notice of matters which would be within the general experience of college students and faculty members. The past disciplinary record of the accused student, if any, will be supplied to the board during the proceeding.
      • 15. A determination of responsibility and recommendations on the appropriate sanction(s) to be imposed shall be made to the president.
      • 16. Any determination of responsibility and recommendations will be supported by written findings completed by the chair. This document will be provided to the president.
  • Section 14: Advisors
    • A. Complainants and accused students may be assisted by an advisor, who may be an attorney. The role of an advisor will be limited to providing confidential advice to the complainant or accused student. Even if accompanied by an advisor, an accused student must respond to inquiries from the chair and the hearing board. In consideration of the limited role of an advisor, and acknowledging the compelling interest of the college to conclude the matter expeditiously, the work of the hearing board will not, as an expeditiously general practice, be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor. If an attorney accompanies a student, the name, address, and telephone number of the attorney must provided to the dean of student services at least five working days prior to a hearing.
  • Section 15: Student Groups and Organizations
    • A. Student groups and organizations may be charged with violations of these policies.
    • B. A student group or organization and its officers may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of these policies by those associated with the group or organization have received the consent or encouragement of the group or organization or of the group's or organization's leaders or officers.
    • C. The officers, leaders, or any identifiable spokesperson for a student group or organization may be directed by the dean of student services to take appropriate action designed to prevent or end violations of these policies by the group or organization. Failure to make reasonable efforts to comply with the dean's order shall be considered a violation of these policies, both by the officers, leaders or spokesperson for the group or organization and by the group or organization itself.
    • D. Sanctions for group or organization misconduct may include revocation or denial of registration or recognition, as well as other appropriate sanctions.
  • Section 16: Decisions on Appeal
    • A. Consistent with the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.14.2), an accused student will be provided with a copy of the president's decision by personal delivery or by certified mail to the last address provided by the student to the college.
    • B. For a suspension or lesser sanction, the student has ten business days to submit a written request for reconsideration of the decision to the president. In the event of a decision for expulsion, the accused will have ten business days to provide a written appeal to the Board of Regents for action.
    • C. As outlined in the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.14.1), the basis for such an appeal must establish that:
      • 1. The procedures under which the person was charged are invalid or were not followed;
      • 2. The person charged did not have adequate opportunity to prepare and present a defense to the charges;
      • 3. The evidence presented at the hearing was not substantial enough to justify the decision; or
      • 4. The sanction imposed was not in keeping with the gravity of the violation.
  • Section 17: Transcript Encumbrances
    • A. In pending cases that could result in suspension or expulsion, a temporary encumbrance will normally be placed on a student's records by the dean of student services.
  • Section 18: Disciplinary Files and Records
    • A. Case referrals will result in the development of a disciplinary file in the name of the accused student. Disciplinary files will be retained as a disciplinary record for seven years from the date of the letter providing notice of final disciplinary action.
  • Section 19: Revocation of Degrees
    • A. The college reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud in receipt of the degree. The process outlined in the NSHE Code, title 2, chapter 6 (6.2.8) is utilized to determine this as a recommendation to the president.
  • Section 20: Definitions
    • A. When used in this document, the term(s):
      • 1. aggravated violation means a violation which resulted or foreseeably could have resulted in significant damage to persons or property or which otherwise posed a substantial threat to the stability and continuance of normal college or college-sponsored activities;
      • 2. group means a number of persons who are associated with each other, but who have not complied with college requirements for registration as an organization;
      • 3. institution and college mean the college and all of its undergraduate divisions and programs;
      • 4. organization means a number of persons who have complied with college requirements for registration;
      • 5. reckless means conduct which one should reasonably be expected to know would create a substantial risk of harm to persons or property or which would otherwise be likely to result in interference with normal college or college-sponsored activities;
      • 6. student means any person who is taking or auditing classes at the college, or is matriculated in any college program;
      • 7. College premises means buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled or supervised by the college;
      • 8. weapon is defined in accordance with state law, and includes any object or substance designed to inflict a wound or cause injury;
      • 9. College-sponsored activity means any activity on or off college premises that is directly initiated or supervised by the college;
      • 10. will or shall are used in the imperative sense.

[1] An individual, usually an employee of WNC, who could assist the victim during the hearing and advocate for the individual in relation to issues related to the case.

Date Adopted and Dates Revised
Date Adopted March 29, 2005 Dates Revised June 19, 2013; October 13, 2011; September 2, 2008
NSHE and NRS Codes
NSHE Code Reference NSHE Board of Regents Handbook

WNC Bylaws

Please direct comments about this page to the Assistant to the President
URL: http://www.wnc.edu/policymanual/3-4-4.php
Date Printed: September 18, 2014
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