Student Behavioral Misconduct Policy and Procedures
Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner such that others are not distracted from the pursuit of learning and not prohibited from engaging in programs and/or activities. Students are expected to conduct themselves with civility and respect at all times.
This policy applies to all Columbia College students. For the purposes of this policy, "student" means any individual taking a course(s) at the College. Other individuals subject to this policy includes individuals who withdraw after the alleged misconduct takes place, individuals who are not actively enrolled in a course(s) during a school term but who have a continuing relationship with the College, individuals who are seeking admission to the College, or individuals who have been notified of their acceptance for admission.
While it is not possible for a single policy to capture every conceivable scenario, this policy is designed to address some common types of misconduct. At all times, individuals who are subject to this policy are expected to adhere to all College rules, policies, and expectations and failing to do so could result in disciplinary action. Based on the nature of the individual circumstances, the College reserves the right to impose disciplinary action that may not necessarily follow the steps set forth herein. The College also reserves the right to impose discipline for student misconduct, up to and including dismissal from school. Additionally, certain types of misconduct may be covered by another specific College policy, such as the College's Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy for instances of harassment, discrimination or retaliation based on sex.
Discourteous or unseemly conduct may result in a student being asked to leave the classroom. Persistent misconduct on the part of a student may subject a student to further disciplinary action as outlined in College policy and/or in course syllabi.
Overview of the Discipline Process
The student disciplinary process for instances of conduct that violate this policy are typically as follows:
- A complaint is filed or report of wrongdoing is received and forward to the Student Conduct Officer.
- An accused student ("respondent") and the alleged victim ("complainant"), when applicable, receives written notice of alleged violation(s) from the Student Conduct Officer.
- An investigation is conducted into the alleged violation(s). This includes an opportunity for the parties to present all information they would like considered in the investigation and determination process.
- If a respondent is found responsible for a violation of policy, corresponding sanctions are assessed.
- The respondent receives written notice of the outcome of the investigation and any corresponding disciplinary action from the Student Conduct Officer.
- The respondent may appeal the Student Conduct Officer's determination and/or corresponding disciplinary action.
Behavioral Conduct Disciplinary Process and Procedures
Generally, allegations regarding a student's conduct will be adjudicated through processes governed by the Division of Student Affairs.
- Once a complaint is received of an alleged student conduct violation, the Student Conduct Officer will send written notice to the student accused of wrongdoing (“respondent”) and the complainant, when applicable, that includes, but is not limited to, information about the alleged conduct, general information about the investigation process and determination of responsibility, and the opportunity of involved parties to present witnesses and evidence they would like considered by the Student Conduct Officer by the date specified in the written notice. The Student Conduct Officer shall then begin an investigation. During the investigation, the Student Conduct Officer will meet with the respondent, and with the complainant when applicable, to allow the party to review evidence and to present any additional information they would like considered during the investigation. If a party fails to respond, fails to meet with the Student Conduct Officer, or chooses not to provide witnesses or evidence by the date specified in the written notice, then the Student Conduct Officer will proceed with the investigation and make a determination based upon the information available at that time.
Upon completion of the investigation, the Student Conduct Officer shall make a determination of responsibility. If it is determined that no violation occurred, the matter will be dismissed. If the respondent admits responsibility or if the Student Conduct Officer determines a violation has occurred, then corresponding disciplinary action may be imposed. Depending on the alleged conduct, a respondent’s entire record of both academic misconduct and behavioral misconduct may be considered when determining appropriate sanctions. The respondent, will be notified in writing of the determination of responsibility and any corresponding disciplinary action.
- The respondent the right to accept the Student Conduct Officer’s determination and any disciplinary action imposed, at which time the matter is closed; or, respondent may appeal the determination and/or disciplinary action to the Dean for Student Affairs.
- To initiate an appeal, the respondent must file an appeal request with the Dean for Student Affairs in writing within three (3) business days of the written outcome of the investigation issued by the Student Conduct Officer. The appeal must include the specific grounds and reasons for the appeal. The Dean for Student Affairs and/or designee will then review the student's written appeal request and determine if there are sufficient grounds to support an appeal and if the information submitted supports reconsideration of the decision of the Student Conduct Officer. All parties will be notified in writing of whether or not the appeal request will proceed.
- If a decision is made to accept the appeal request and reconsider the matter, the Dean for Student Affairs or designee will adjudicate the matter. At this time, the Dean and/or designee may review and consider information and evidence from the initial investigation conducted by the Student Conduct Officer and any additional information or evidence provided by a party. The Dean and/or designee will evaluate the information, make a final determination, and notify the parties of the outcome in writing. Decisions made by the Dean and/or designee are final and not subject to appeal.
General Guidelines for Student Appeals
- Students have the right to a fair and impartial adjudication of allegations of wrongdoing. This includes written notice of the alleged violation and disciplinary action. Students also have the right to speak to the adjudicators in their own defense and to present information they would like considered.
- Students may only appeal on the grounds that the determination reached is contrary to and unsupported by the facts and/or that the disciplinary action is disproportionate to the violation.
- Students are encouraged to consult with a member of the counseling staff, a member of the Student Affairs staff, or a faculty member of the College in deciding whether or not to pursue an appeal.
- Students are responsible for participating in a timely manner in proceedings in which they are involved.
Potential Consequences for Violations of this Policy
The following is a non-exhaustive list of potential consequences for behavioral misconduct and violations to the Student Code of Conduct. Depending upon the misconduct, more than one sanction may be required.
- Disciplinary Warning - written and/or verbal notice to a student for violation of a campus rule or regulation.
- Restitution - reimbursement for actual damage or loss caused by violations to the Student Code of Conduct.
- Educational Sanctions - educational sanctions could be an activity, meeting, writing assignment, community service project, letter of apology, or other experiential activity that student may be assigned to complete as part of the adjudication of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Conditions may be specific for the completion of the assignment and will be assigned by the Student Conduct Officer.
- Disciplinary Limitation - in some cases a violation of the Student Code of Conduct could result in a student being restricted from participating in certain campus events, student organizations, or entering certain campus facilities.
- Disciplinary Probation - a student is placed on disciplinary probation for a specified amount of time. Students holding campus leadership positions who are placed on disciplinary probation may also be removed from that position if recommended by the Student Conduct Officer. Disciplinary probation may carry over into subsequent semesters and academic years. As a part of the probationary status, conditions to a student's probation (i.e., restitution, community service, required assessments, etc.) may be established. A student who violates additional campus policies while on disciplinary probation will likely appear before a Student Conduct Officer and will face a full range of disciplinary actions including suspension or dismissal.
- Disciplinary Suspension - a disciplinary suspension results in the separation of a student from the College for a specified time period, usually no more than two (2) years. Other conditions may also be stipulated for a student's readmission. Suspension applies to all programs, unless otherwise noted. After the suspension period has been served the student should contact the Dean for Student Affairs for directions regarding the possibility of re-enrollment. A student returning from a disciplinary suspension will be placed on disciplinary probation for one (1) year.
- Disciplinary Dismissal - a disciplinary dismissal results in the permanent separation of a student from the College. Dismissal applies to all programs and locations.
- Interim Suspension - the Dean for Student Affairs, or designee may, suspend, without prior notice, any student whose behavior presents a perceived or actual imminent risk to the life, health, welfare, safety or property of any member of the College community. Notices of an interim suspension will be promptly provided in writing to the suspended student. A removal via suspension of a student on an interim basis is not necessarily a final determination that the student violated a College policy, but may be necessary as an interim remedial measure pending final outcome of the matter. A student suspended on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to appeal this decision by speaking with the Dean for Student Affairs, or designee, and presenting any information they would like considered within two (2) working days from the effective date of the interim suspension. The appeal will consider the individual circumstances of each situation, including, but not limited to the following:
- Whether the conduct and/or condition and surrounding circumstances giving rise to the interim suspension reasonably indicates that the continued presence of the student in the College community poses a perceived or actual imminent risk to any member(s) of the College community.
- Potential alternatives to an interim suspension, including, but not limited to monitoring the situation, establishing a behavioral contract, pursuing a voluntary withdraw, administrative withdrawal, withdraw excused due to extenuating circumstances, involuntary withdraw, or other action.
An interim suspension period may last until final resolution of the matter. The Dean for Student Affairs, or designee, in collaboration with the Student of Concern Action Team (SOCAT), may become involved to assist with determining an appropriate course of action pending final resolution.
- Withholding Degree - the College may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this policy, including the completion of all sanctions imposed.
- Revocation of Admission - admission to the College may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of standards or policies, or for other serious violations committed by an individual following admission to the College but prior to matriculation at the College.
- Revocation of Degree - degree(s) awarded from the College may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of standards of conduct for students in obtaining the degree, of for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.