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Part II. Student-Related Academic & Campus Polices & Regulations

The following policies are contained in Section 6 – Student Development Services – of the VHCC Faculty/ Staff Manual. Additional information may be obtained through the Office of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, ADM 109, (276)739-2428.

Grade Reports
Final grade reports are no longer mailed to the student’s residence. Students may view final semester grade reports by going to myVHCC > Student Information System > Self Service > Student Center > Grades. These final grades are a part of the student’s permanent record and will be recorded on his/her official transcript. Students should check electronic grade reports carefully. Challenges to grade reports should be made in writing directly to the appropriate instructor no later than ten (10) calendar days after the first day of class of the next semester. If the student is unable to contact the instructor directly, the appropriate division Dean should be notified in writing.

No formal mid-semester grade reports are announced. However, instructors and counselors will review student progress at mid-semester for purposes of assisting those students who are experiencing academic difficulties.

Course Withdrawal Policy

Student-Initiated Withdrawal Policy
To withdraw from a class, a student should login to myVHCC and follow the navigation from Student Information System > Self Service >Drop a Class. A student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty during the first 60% of a session (this date is published in the Class Schedule and Academic Calendars). For purposes of enrollment reporting, the following procedures apply:

  1. If a student withdraws from a class prior to the termination of the add/drop period (the first 15% of the session), the student is removed from the class roll and no grade is awarded. Students shall be eligible for a 100% refund for those credit hours dropped during the add/drop period. After the add/drop period has passed, there will be no refunds unless determined by federal financial aid regulations.
  2. After the add/drop period, but prior to completion of 60% of a session (this date is published in the Class Schedule), a student who withdraws or is withdrawn from a course will be assigned a grade of "W".
  3. Students who have not withdrawn from a course by the official withdrawal date will receive the earned grade for the course. Exceptions to this policy will be granted only with documented mitigating circumstances accepted by the faculty member teaching the course. A grade of withdrawal implies that the student was making satisfactory progress in the course at the time of withdrawal. In order for a late withdrawal to be approved, the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services must also agree in writing with the mitigating reasons. The student may appeal the decision by following the normal appeal process as found in the student handbook. The responsibility for providing documentation of mitigating circumstances rests with the students. No requests to withdraw from class will be accepted by telephone.

Administrative Withdrawal Policy
Students who do not attended class during the first ten (10) day period of the semester will be administratively withdrawn by the instructor. Students may appeal to the instructor for reinstatement within five days of the withdrawal notice. Only the instructor may approve an appeal for reinstatement. This reinstatement policy does not apply to two- or four-day classes. All students absent the first day of a two- or four-day class will be administratively withdrawn on the next business day. Students will receive a “W”, and will not receive a refund. All financial aid students should check with the Financial Aid Office to determine the effect on their award.

Students who stop attending class during the first 60% of the semester may be administratively withdrawn by the instructor and receive a “W” grade. Students may appeal to the instructor for reinstatement within five (5) days of the withdrawal notice. Only the instructor may approve an appeal for reinstatement. Faculty also have the option to withdraw students who have not completed sixty percent (60%) of the course work on or before the 60% withdrawal date.

The 15% and 60% deadlines are published in the class schedule and college catalog. Students are notified by mail when an administrative withdrawal action has taken place. The Admissions Office sends the student a copy of the processed withdrawal document. Students have five days to appeal for reinstatement.

Students who are not withdrawn by the official withdrawal date will receive the earned grade for the course. No exceptions to this policy are granted without documented mitigating circumstances. Students may appeal the decision of the faculty to the appropriate Division Dean. If the Dean’s decision is contrary to student expectations, he/she may appeal to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services for final decision.

Academic Standing Policy
Students are considered to be “in good academic standing” if they maintain a semester minimum GPA of 2.00, are eligible to re-enroll at the College, and are not on academic suspension or dismissal status. Students on academic warning or academic probation who are eligible to re-enroll may be eligible to receive financial aid assistance or other benefits requiring a “good academic standing” status.

Academic Warning
Any student who fails to attain a minimum grade point average of 2.00 for any semester will receive an academic warning. 

Academic Probation
Any student who fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average of l.5 will be placed on academic probation until such time as his/her average is l.5 or better. Students who are enrolled in developmental courses will be placed on academic probation if they fail to earn an “S” after two semesters in the same course or withdraw from all courses after scheduled add/drop periods without documented mitigating circumstances. The statement “Placed on Academic Probation” will be placed on the permanent record. Generally, a person on probation is ineligible for appointive or elective office in student organizations and usually will be required to carry less than a normal course load the following semester.

A student on academic probation is required to consult with a counselor.

A student pursuing a degree, diploma or certificate program is cautioned that, although an average between 1.5 to 1.99 may not result in formal academic probation, a minimum of 2.0 in the curriculum is a prerequisite to the receipt of an associate degree, diploma or certificate.

Students shall be placed on probation only after they have attempted twelve semester credit hours, or fifteen developmental course hours.

Academic Suspension
The student on academic probation who fails to attain a grade point average of l.5 for the next semester of attendance will be subject to academic suspension. Students who are enrolled in developmental courses and have been placed on academic probation will be required to earn an “S” grade in subsequent developmental courses. Failure to earn the “S” grade in subsequent developmental courses will result in academic suspension. Academic suspension normally will be for one semester unless the student reapplies and is accepted for readmission to another curriculum of the College. The statement “Placed on Academic Suspension” will be placed on the students’ permanent records.

A student who has been placed on academic suspension may submit an appeal in writing to the Chair of the Admission and Financial Committee for reconsideration of the case.

A suspended student may be readmitted after termination of the suspension period and upon formal petition to the Chair of the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee.

Academic Dismissal
Students who do not maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average for the semester of reinstatement to the College when on academic suspension will be academically dismissed. Students who have been placed on academic suspension and achieve a 2.0 grade point average for the semester following their reinstatement must maintain at least l.5 in each subsequent semester of attendance. The student remains on probation until his/her overall grade point average is raised to a minimum of l.5. Failure to attain l.5 average in each subsequent semester will result in academic dismissal. Students enrolled in developmental courses who re-enroll following academic suspension will be academically dismissed if they fail to earn an “S” grade in all subsequent developmental courses.

Academic dismissal normally is permanent unless, with good cause, the student reapplies and is accepted under special consideration for readmission by the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee of the College. Students readmitted following academic dismissal will be retained on academic probation and are required to maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average for each semester of enrollment until they achieve a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. They are required to consult with their respective counselors. Failure to achieve a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in each subsequent semester will result in academic dismissal without appeals or special consideration. The statement “Placed on Academic Dismissal” will be placed on the student’s permanent record.

Students will be dismissed only after they have attempted thirty-six semester hours, or forty-five developmental course hours.

Class Attendance Policy
Regular class attendance is required. When absence from a class becomes necessary, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor prior to or immediately after the absence. Faculty may be contacted by email or telephone. Frequent unexplained absences may result in dismissal from a course. Students are responsible for making up all work missed during an absence. Any instruction missed and not made up will affect the grade, regardless of the reason for the absence. This policy allows the faculty to judge the propriety of an absence. While the faculty may “excuse” a particular necessary absence, students should understand that VHCC does not adhere to a “free cut” policy.

In a curriculum requiring a number of shop hours, actual time spent in the shop is important. If you miss more than three class periods and if the absences are unexcused, it will be left to the judgment of the instructor whether to allow you to make up work missed. The instructor shall determine whether or not an absence is excused.

Campus Policies
The following policies are contained in Sections 6.0 of the VHCC Faculty/Staff Manual. Additional information may be obtained through the Office of the Vice President for Instruction and Student Services, ADM 109, (276) 739-2428.

Disclaimer

Student Rights and Responsibilities
Application for admission to VHCC is a voluntary decision on the part of a prospective student to participate in the programs offered by the College. Upon admission, students are subject to policies, rules, and regulations of VHCC and the State Board for Community Colleges.

Students are guaranteed the privilege of exercising their rights without fear of prejudice. Such rights include the following:

  1. Students are free to pursue their educational goals. VHCC provides appropriate opportunities for learning curricula offered by the College.
  2. No disciplinary action is taken against any student without due process.
  3. Free inquiry, expressions, and assembly are guaranteed to all students provided their actions do not interfere with rights of others or the effective operation of VHCC.
  4. Academic evaluation of student performance is neither arbitrary nor capricious.
  5. VHCC provides for personal safety, protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process.

As provided by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), colleges may disclose the following directory information without the student’s prior consent: student’s name; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; address; telephone listing; weight and height of members of athletic teams; electronic mail address; degrees, honors, and awards received; date and place of birth; major field of study; dates of attendance; grade level; the most recent educational agency or institution attended; and number of credit hours enrolled. Students must provide official notification to the office of the college’s registrar to prevent the disclosure of directory information.

Student Conduct
Each individual is considered a responsible adult, and it is assumed that students will maintain standards of conduct appropriate to membership in the college community, including all college related functions, both on and off campus. Emphasis is placed on standards of student conduct rather than on limits or restrictions. Guidelines and regulations governing student conduct are developed by representatives of the students, faculty, staff, and administration.

VHCC refrains from imposing a rigid code of discipline but reserves the right to take disciplinary action compatible with its own best interests when it is clearly necessary.

VHCC guarantees students the privilege of exercising his/her rights of citizenship under the Constitution of the United States without fear of prejudice. Special care is taken to assure due process and to spell out defined routes of appeal when students feel their rights have been violated.

VHCC is part of the Virginia Community College System and adheres to the standards set forth for the System. Student rights and responsibilities are designed to clarify what rights students may expect as a member of the student body and the responsibilities and obligations placed upon them.

VHCC provides an environment conducive to learning. VHCC establishes standards of conduct expected of all students. Any student who has allegedly violated the code of conduct is afforded due process. Should the student’s conduct be judged to represent a danger to others, the College will immediately take appropriate action.

The President is responsible for the entire administration of the College, subject to the control of the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and the State Board for Community Colleges. It is his/her duty to administer the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia which may be applicable on the campus, as well as the policies, rules, and regulations of the State Board for Community Colleges. Any authority or responsibility or duty granted to or imposed upon the President may be delegated to others on the College faculty or staff. The President or his/her designee may take whatever legal or institutional action is necessary under this authority.

Forms of Student Misconduct Subject to Disciplinary Action

  • All forms of dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the College, and the forgery, alteration, or use of College documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud.
    1. Plagiarism is the appropriation of passages, either word for word or in substance, from the writings of another and the incorporation of those passages as one’s own in written work offered for credit. VHCC assumes that the written work offered for credit is the student’s own unless proper credit is given the original author by the use of quotation marks and footnotes or other explanatory inserts.

    2. Collaboration with another person in the preparation or editing of notes, themes, reports, or other written work offered for credit is prohibited unless such collaboration has been specifically approved in advance by the instructor. Examples of collaboration include extensive use of another’s ideas for preparing a creative assignment and receiving undue assistance in the preparation or editing of written materials.

    3. Giving or receiving, offering or soliciting information on any quiz, test, or examination is prohibited; this includes the following:
    • Copying from another student’s document/work and/or submitting a purchased document/work.
    • Use of prepared materials during the examination
    • Collaboration with another student during the examination
    • Buying, selling, stealing, soliciting, or transmitting the contents of an examination
    • Substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such a substitution for one’s self.
    • Bribery of any person to obtain examination information.
  • Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities.
  • Physical and/or psychological abuse, or the threat of such abuse, of any person on College premises or at College activities.
  • Participating in or inciting a riot or an unauthorized disorderly assembly.
  • Seizing, holding, commandeering, or damaging any property or facilities of the College, or threatening to do so, or refusing to depart from any property or facilities of the College upon direction by College officials or other person authorized by the President.
  • Use of alcoholic beverages on campus, or at any college function, including the purchase, consumption, possession, or sale of such items except where specifically authorized within the regulations of the College.
  • Possessing, using, selling, or distributing any type of illegal drugs on campus or at any college function.
  • Gambling or holding an unauthorized raffle or lottery on campus or at any College function.
  • Violating any aspect of the Violence Prevention Policy:
    Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC) prohibits threats and acts of violence on college property, within VHCC facilities, at any VHCC-sponsored event; while engaged in College office business, educational, or athletic activities; and while traveling in state vehicles. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:
    • Injuring another person physically;
    • Engaging in behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury to self or another person;
      Engaging in behavior that would subject a reasonable person to, and does subject another individual to, extreme emotional distress;
    • Possessing, brandishing, or using a weapon while on state premises by students, except where possession is a result of participation in an organized and scheduled instructional exercise for a course, or where the student is a law enforcement professional;
    • Possessing, brandishing, or using a firearm, weapon, or other device by faculty or staff that is not required by the individual’s position while on college/system office property or engaged in college/system office business; or in violation of law or other college/system office policy, except where the employee is a law enforcement professional;
    • Brandishing or using a weapon, or possessing a weapon without a permit to carry a concealed weapon while on campus in academic or administrative buildings, or while attending a sporting, entertainment, or educational event by third parties, unless those third parties with a permit to carry a concealed weapon specifically agree not to possess a weapon as a condition of attending a particular sporting, entertainment, or educational event. This provision does not apply to law enforcement personnel.
    • Intentionally damaging property;
    • Threatening to injure an individual (including oneself) or to damage property;
      Committing injurious acts motivated by, or related to, domestic violence or sexual harassment; and
    • Retaliating against any employee or student who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy.
  • Physically detaining or restraining any other person or removing a person, against their will, from any place where he/she is authorized to remain, or in any way obstructing the free movement of persons or vehicles on College premises or at College activities.
  • Littering, defacing, destroying, or damaging property of the College or property under its jurisdiction or removing or using such property without proper authorization.
  • Violating any local, state, or federal laws.
  • Violating any rule or regulation not contained within the official College publications but announced as administrative policy by the President or his/her designee.
  • Willfully encouraging others to commit any of the acts which have been herein prohibited.

Sanctions
The following sanctions may be imposed:

  1. Admonition: An oral or written statement to a student that he/she is violating or have violated College rules and may be subject to more severe disciplinary action.
  2. Disciplinary Probation: Exclusion from participation in extracurricular activities of the College, including the holding of any student office, for a period of time not exceeding one academic year.
  3. Restitution: Required reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property. This may take the form of appropriate services or other compensation.
  4. Suspension: Exclusion from attending the College as a student for a definite period of time not to exceed one academic year.
  5. Dismissal: Termination of student status for an indefinite period. The conditions of readmission, if any, will be stated in the letter of dismissal.
  6. Interim Suspension: If, in the opinion of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services the continued presence of any student on the campus may reasonably pose a threat to, or interfere with, the College’s mission and/or the rights of others, a student may be suspended from the College pending the right to a hearing. The Vice President shall first make a reasonable effort to advise the student orally of the reasons for the suspension, and give the student opportunity for explanation or rebuttal.

    The informal opportunity does not give the student the right to present witnesses, to cross examine adverse witnesses, or to require the presence of counsel. As soon as possible after the suspension, the student will have the right to call for a hearing. At such hearing, the affected student shall have all the rights described under section 6.11.5 of the VHCC Faculty/Staff Manual.

Disciplinary Procedures

The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services is responsible for the execution of disciplinary procedures within the College.

Any academic or administrative official, faculty member, or student may file a complaint with the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services against any student for alleged violations of any college rule or regulation.

The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services may make a preliminary investigation to determine if the charges can be disposed of informally by mutual consent without the initiation of disciplinary proceedings. Traffic and parking complaints are made to the Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services.

In order to provide an orderly procedure for the handling of disciplinary cases in accordance with due process, VHCC has established procedural rules and regulations governing disciplinary action, including the following:

  1. All charges not disposed of informally shall be presented to the accused student in written form, and the student shall respond in writing within seven (7) calendar days. The time for such response may be extended by mutual agreement of the student and the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.
  2. An admonition is an action which may be administered by the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services without any further approval. All cases, in which probation, restitution, suspension, or dismissal from the college is sought, shall be referred by the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services to the Student Affairs Committee for a hearing at the written request of the student. A written request for a hearing must be received with seven (7) calendar days after the student is contacted.
  3. A calendar of the hearings in a disciplinary proceeding shall be fixed by the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services after consultation with the parties involved. The College shall have discretion to alter the calendar for good cause. A time shall be set for a hearing which will not be less than seven or more than fifteen calendar days after the student’s written response.
  4. The student will have the right to have present at the hearing legal counsel at his/her own expense, other advisors, parents, and relatives, any of whom may advise the student.
  5. he student shall have the right at the hearing to present and cross-examine witnesses and the right to present and examine documentary evidence.
  6. A transcript of the hearing shall be prepared by the College; the student shall have a right to a copy of the transcript of the proceedings furnished at his/her own expense.
  7. Written decisions will be given by the Student Affairs Committee no later than ten (l0) calendar days following such hearings. Any such decision which is adverse to the interests of the student will contain notification of the appeal procedures.
  8. The student or the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services may appeal any decision by submitting a written appeal to the President within ten (l0) calendar days of receipt of the decision; any such written appeal will include the grounds for the appeal.
  9. The President will review the case on the basis of the record of the hearing and any evidence submitted by the student that was not previously available at the time of the hearing. The decision of the President is final.

Student Grievance Procedures

The purpose of the student grievance procedure is to provide an equitable and orderly process to resolve grievances at Virginia Highlands Community College. This grievance procedure includes, but is not limited to, concerns and disputes involving application of a policy or procedure; grades/academic record; and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability or sexual harassment. The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services is ultimately responsible for overseeing the execution of student grievance procedures.

Recognizing that grievances should be raised and settled promptly, a grievance shall be raised within twenty (20) calendar days following either the event giving rise to the grievance or within twenty (20) calendar days of the time when the student reasonably should have gained knowledge of its occurrence.

Step 1: A student who is experiencing dissatisfaction with any academic or administrative official, faculty member, or student concerning application of the provisions of the rules, policies, procedures, and regulations of the College must first discuss the complaint with the person with whom the problem exists. If the issue cannot be resolved, the student will meet with the immediate supervisor of the person causing the grievance. The immediate supervisor may make a preliminary investigation to determine if the concerns can be resolved informally by mutual consent. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the immediate supervisor will render a written decision within five (5) calendar days. (One exception is that appeals of academic suspension and dismissal are made in writing to the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee with direct final appeal to the president).

Step 2: If the decision of the immediate supervisor is not satisfactory, the student or the other party may file a written appeal within ten (10) calendar days with the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. The Vice President will render a written decision within ten (10) calendar days.

Step 3: If the decision of the Vice President is not satisfactory, either of the dissenting parties may file a written appeal to the Student Affairs Committee within ten (10) calendar days.

Step 4: The Vice President of Instruction and Student Services will set a time for a hearing which shall not be less than seven (7) calendar days nor more than fifteen (l5) calendar days after the Student Affairs Committee receives the appeal.

Both parties shall have the right to have present, at their own expense, legal counsel or others who may advise.

A transcript of the hearing shall be prepared by the College; both parties shall have a right to a copy of the transcript of the proceedings at their own expense.

Written decisions will be given by the Student Affairs Committee no later than ten (10) calendar days following such hearings. Either party may appeal in writing the decision of the Student Affairs Committee to the President within ten (10) calendar days of the decision.

The President of the College will review the case and make the final decision. This procedure will apply to student grievances.

Policies for Campus Organizations

Organizations may be established within the college, as hereinafter provided, for any lawful purpose. Affiliation with an extramural organization, such as a national society, shall not, in itself, disqualify the college branch for chapter from recognition.

A. A group shall become an organization only after administrative review and formal recognition by the President. Prior to being formally recognized the following requirements shall be met:

Submission of a statement of purpose, a current list of officers, signed statement of a current college employee willing to serve as campus advisor, and a copy of the constitution and bylaws with the Student Success Center. These documents are submitted to one of the division counselors. Subsequently, the Student Advisory Committee shall make a recommendation to the President of the College regarding the establishment of the organization.

Organizations must agree to abide by all policies and regulations of VHCC and the State Board.
When an organization is affiliated with an external body, such as a national society, a copy of that organization’s constitution and bylaws shall be filed at the same time with the Student Success Center.

B. Formal recognition of an organization is granted or denied by the President within three weeks of receipt of the completed and signed application to the division counselor. Formal recognition of an organization implies neither approval nor disapproval of the stated aims, objectives, and policies of the organization.

C. All changes and amendments to an organization’s constitution or bylaws including changes and amendments adopted by an affiliated external body must be submitted to the President. All changes and amendments to the constitution or bylaws of an organization’s extramural affiliate shall be submitted to the president of the college within a reasonable time before their effective date. The president will approve or disapprove these changes within three weeks of their receipt.

D. Membership in VHCC organizations is open to any of the College community willing to subscribe to the constitution and bylaws of the organization. No one shall be denied membership because of race, color, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sex, age, disability, or marital status. The organization’s advisor maintains a current membership list.

E. If an organization is unable to secure an advisor from current VHCC employees, the President may, in writing, authorize the organization to secure an advisor from outside the College.

F. A group or organization may use the College name as a whole, or as a part of, or in conjunction with its name ONLY with the express written permission of the President.

G. College organizations may distribute or communicate information related to their purpose and aims through print and/or electronic media.

H. All organizational funds will be deposited with and expended through the College Business Office, subject to VCCS policies, procedures, and regulations pertaining to such funds.

I. An organization engaging in illegal activities, either on or off campus, may have sanctions imposed, including admonition, probation, restitution, or withdrawal of College recognition.

J. College organizations may use college facilities for regular business meetings, social programs, and programs open to the public unless, in the opinion of the President, the planned program poses a serious threat to the continued well being and safety of the College. College facilities are scheduled by the Office of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

K. Activity hour is designed primarily for the purpose of: (1) providing time for the faculty, staff, administration, and students to implement the College’s plan of governance; (2) enabling the College to develop and implement an effective program of extracurricular activities; and (3) establishing a time for various forms of communication (counseling, advising, etc.) that need to take place between and among faculty, staff, and students. As a general rule, courses should be taught and course related business conducted during those times officially scheduled for classes to meet. Classes should not be scheduled during the activity hours. College organizations are encouraged to schedule meetings during this time.

Intramural Programs and Sports Clubs
VHCC supports the development of intramural programs or sports clubs on campus and/or off campus in community facilities. These programs will be designed to promote the physical well being of the individual student and the development of recreational skills. Competition of intramural teams, including “all star” teams, in civic leagues and competition between intramural or sports club teams of other institutions is authorized with the approval of the VHCC College Board providing that all direct expenses, including transportation, are paid from non-state funds.

Solicitation of Funds and Fund Raising
No one may solicit funds for the benefit of recognized charitable or civic organizations on campus without the prior written approval of the president of the college for each specific fund drive. Anyone seeking approval for such an activity may receive further information on procedure through the Student Success Center. Other types of solicitation of funds are specifically prohibited.

Selling on Campus
The privilege of selling merchandise of any variety on campus is limited to the bookstore, recognized college organizations, and those having valid contracts as concessionaires. The president or his/her designee shall have the authority to specify or limit the place and times of such sales. Student organizations desiring to sell merchandise on campus should make their request to the Student Success Center.

In order not to compete excessively with the Snack Bar, request for bake sales and food sales should be held to a minimum. Student organizations desiring to conduct a bake sale or food sale must fill out the proper form and give at least one week’s advance notice to the Student Success Center.

Intellectual Property Materials
Intellectual property includes but is not limited to any material defined within one or more of the following categories: a potentially patentable machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, process, or improvement of any of these; an issued patent; a legal right that inheres in a patent; or anything that is copyrightable. The VCCS claims an ownership interest in any intellectual property produced by a VCCS student who is a college employee. If students are paid as student assistants, they are employees. Materials produced by a student as part of course requirements making only incidental use of college resources belong to the student, absent any agreement to the contrary. Further information is available in the VHCC Faculty and Staff Manual, Section 4.7.

Student Communications
A student, group, or organization of the college shall not distribute material on campus without prior approval of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services. The Vice President will make a determination within one week of receipt of all such material. If approval is denied on the basis of the content of the material, direct appeal may be made to the president of the college. The President will render a decision within one week of receipt of the material. Editorial freedom of student communication entails a corollary obligation under the canons of responsible journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. All student communications shall explicitly state an editorial policy to the effect that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the college or its student body. 

Student Newspapers
Currently, VHCC does not regularly publish a student newspaper. If the College should publish a student newspaper, the VCCS recommends that an advisory committee should be selected. This committee to be comprised partly from the communications media, i.e., newspapers, television and radio stations. This committee is to serve in an advisory capacity to the faculty advisor and students to ensure that journalism in the College newspaper is maintained at a high level. The function of the advisory committee is not to censor the newspaper, but rather ensure that the papers are printed in good taste and within the canons of acceptable public newspapers.

Campus Demonstrations - Authorization and Regulations
Each campus organization participating in a demonstration must file three copies of the College Registration of Demonstrations form in the office of the President for all demonstrations four (4) days in advance of the demonstration. Copies of the registration form are available in the Office of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

The following regulations apply to authorized campus demonstrations:

  1. Only organizations recognized by the College may sponsor demonstrations on College property.
    Picketing is not permitted inside buildings.
  2. Outside picketing must not be carried on in a manner that interferes with entrance traffic or the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  3. The form for registering campus demonstrations is Table 6-1 of the VHCC Faculty & Staff Manual. Copies can be found in the Student Success Center.

Unauthorized Demonstrations (Disorderly Assembly)
All assemblies or demonstrations on the campus must have prior registration with the Office of the President. VHCC Students or employees who participate in or incite a riot or a disturbance or disorderly assembly are subject to suspension or dismissal.

When an unauthorized assembly of students and/or College employees has been requested to disband by the President or other designated officer, those refusing to comply will be subject to immediate suspension and/or dismissal and the trespass laws of Virginia.

In the event that an assembly appears to be a demonstration related to grievances, those present will be advised that orderly procedures for the hearing of College grievances are available and must be followed. College officials will not negotiate with any organization under conditions of duress i.e., unauthorized occupation of the College property by such group.

Detailed rules and appeals procedures are on file in the Business Office. The VHCC President follows the protocol outlined by the Chancellor.

Smoking Policy
Virginia Highlands Community College is subject to and enforces provisions of the “Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act.”

Effective Summer Term 1996: Smoking is not allowed in any VHCC building.

Effective Fall Term 2006: All VHCC buildings have made the transition from simply “smoke free” to “tobacco free,” which precludes the use of any tobacco products.

Illegal Substance Policy 
VHCC students of VHCC shall not possess, sell, use, manufacture, give away or otherwise distribute illegal substances while on campus, attending a college sponsored off-campus event, or while serving as a representative of the college at off-campus meetings. Students who violate this policy shall have College charges processed against them in the normal manner of due process provided by VHCC rules. Further, students who violate this policy shall have committed a criminal offense, and VHCC shall notify the appropriate agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, county or city government for investigation and, if warranted, prosecution.

Alcoholic Beverages at Social Functions
The State Board for Community Colleges has delegated to the VHCC College Board the responsibility for taking action on requests to serve alcohol at College social functions in view of local mores and in accordance with State regulations (Code of Virginia Sections 4.1-100 and 4.1-200, and Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control – Special Event Licensure).

Within the framework established by the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, VHCC, under special conditions, may be permitted to obtain a one day banquet license to serve alcohol at college sponsored functions provided that no person under 21 years of age is possessing, dispensing or drinking alcoholic beverages.

The VHCC administration and the College Board must approve this type of activity before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is contacted.

Students who are 21 years of age or older may be permitted to consume alcoholic beverages at college-sponsored events that have previously been approved to serve alcohol.

Substance Abuse Program
VHCC has developed the following substance abuse program including drug and alcohol education and substance abuse counseling and referral services for students and employees.

A. Drug and Alcohol Education

1. Student Orientation At each college orientation, VHCC representatives or other selected groups inform students of the issues related to substance abuse. Students are provided with prevention and treatment information.

2. Substance Abuse Materials Print and/or electronic materials are available to inform students and employees of substance abuse issues.

3. Substance Abuse Programs VHCC offers seminars and workshops dealing with substance abuse. These activities are open to the general public.

B. Substance Abuse Counseling and Referral

VHCC’s Student Success Center maintains referral information on substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation services available in the community. Substance abuse inquiries and referrals are handled in a confidential manner.

Sexual Misconduct Policy
VHCC will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form. Sexual misconduct is a flagrant violation of the values and behavioral expectations of a college community. All reported violations within the jurisdiction of the college, including sexual assault and harassment, will be investigated and, as warranted, will be resolved through appropriate college disciplinary processes and/or criminal proceedings in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

An educational institution is a community of trust whose very existence depends on the recognition of each individual’s importance and value. This trust creates the freedom for each individual to live, think, act, and speak without fear of physical harm. Sexual misconduct shatters the bond of trust within a college community.

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is defined as sexual intercourse without consent, including rape (whether by acquaintance or stranger), sodomy, or other forms of sexual penetration. To constitute lack of consent, the acts must be committed either by force, threat of force, intimidation, or through use of victim’s mental helplessness of which the accused was aware or should have been aware. Mental helplessness includes incapacitation by alcohol or other drugs. Sexual assault also includes intentionally touching, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s genitals, breasts, thighs, or buttocks without the victim’s consent, as well as touching or fondling of the accused by the victim when the victim is forced to do so against his or her will.

Verbal misconduct, without accompanying physical contact as described above, is not defined a sexual assault. Verbal misconduct may constitute sexual harassment, which is also prohibited under VHCC regulations and is specifically addressed in the following section.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct or written communication of a sexual nature which is intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Sexual harassment shall be considered to have occurred when:

Accepting or tolerating such conduct is made a term or condition of a student’s status or an individual’s employment either explicitly or implicitly;

Accepting or rejecting such conduct is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the student or employee; or

Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, or substantially interferes with an employee’s work performance or a student’s academic performance.

Sexual harassment is contrary to the values of VHCC. It will not be tolerated in any form, as outlined in Part 1604.11, Discrimination Because of Sexual Harassment of Title VII, Section 703, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. All reported instances of sexual harassment will be investigated.

Sexual assault and harassment are subject to College disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, personnel policies, and applicable state and federal laws. Complaints are handled through established grievance procedures or by the Office of Campus Police.

Anyone convicted of sexual misconduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions which may include dismissal or expulsion. Further, these policies shall include provisions to safeguard the identity of the complainant outside the confidential proceedings of the College’s disciplinary process, unless consent is secured from the complainant to reveal her or his identify. No part of a complainant’s sexual history shall be included as a part of any campus proceedings.

Reporting Procedures

Where there is probable cause to believe that campus regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct have been violated by a student or employee of the college, these reported violations will be aggressively investigated. Violations of this policy should be reported to the Vice-President of Instruction and Student Services.

A student or employee charged with sexual misconduct can be prosecuted under Virginia criminal statues and disciplined under the VHCC code of conduct. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action. This disciplinary action could result in dismissal from the college.

VHCC has an obligation to uphold the laws of the community of which it is a part. While the activities covered by the laws of the community and those covered by VHCC’s rules may overlap, the community’s laws and VHCC’s rules operate independently and do not substitute for each other. VHCC may pursue enforcement of its own rules whether or not legal proceedings are underway or in prospect, and may use information from third party sources, such as law enforcement agencies and the courts, to determine whether college rules have been broken. VHCC will make no attempt to shield members in the college community from the law, nor does it intervene in legal proceedings against a member of the community. Membership in the VHCC community does not exempt anyone from local, state or federal laws, but rather imposes the additional obligation to abide by all of VHCC’s regulations.

In order to fall within the jurisdiction of the college, the alleged assailant must be a VHCC student or employee, and the alleged assault must have been committed against a person on college-owned, or leased property or at a college-sponsored or supervised function.

Procedure for reporting and resolving sexual misconduct complaints are established and in place for all students and employees of VHCC.

Complaints may be

A. handled through established grievance procedures;
B. discussed or filed in writing with the college’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer;
C. discussed or filed in writing with the Vice-President of Instruction and Student Services.


Existing disciplinary and grievance procedures will serve as the framework for resolving allegations of sexual misconduct. Students found guilty of sexual misconduct will be subject to campus disciplinary penalties found in the Student Handbook. College employees found guilty of sexual misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action as specified by personnel policies. In addition, employees and students may face criminal prosecution in the event of violations of applicable laws. The College also reserves the right to refer a complaint to a law enforcement agency if it appears that a crime may have been committed.

The rights of both the accused and the complainant shall be protected, and the confidentiality of proceedings will be maintained to the fullest extent possible. The rights of the individual filing the grievance to pursue legal remedies through criminal or civil courts will not be infringed by use of College disciplinary or grievance procedures. Similarly, College disciplinary or grievance procedures will not be prejudiced by the initiation of such action.


AIDS Policy
Current knowledge indicates that students or employees with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), ARC (AIDS-Related Complex), or a positive HIV antibody test normally do not pose a health risk to other students or employees in an academic setting. Therefore, students or employees who have AIDS, ARC, or a positive HIV antibody test are allowed regular classroom attendance and use of all institutional facilities.

Mandatory screening or testing ordinarily is not appropriate for admissions of students or employment of faculty. Dental assisting and other laboratory programs providing clinical experiences are guided by Center for Disease Control and OSHA guidelines. Recommendations of the American College Health Association (ACHA) may also be consulted.

VHCC offers an AIDS-awareness program for students and employees using ACHA guidelines and educational materials.

Set-Off Debt Collection Act
In the instance that a student does not pay for any expense incurred at VHCC in a timely manner and in accordance with college policy, a letter is sent from the business office to each student stating that they will be given thirty (30) days after the postmark of the letter to appeal.

All delinquent debt owed to Virginia Highlands Community College will be logged into Virginia’s Department of Taxation Set-Off Debt Program. The debt then would be collected from tax refunds, motor vehicle refunds, and other payments made to the debtor by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Campus Police Office and Campus Safety
Students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner conducive to the safety of all. Behavior considerate of the welfare of others will result in the maximum degree of safety on campus. Anyone recognizing a possible hazard, should notify campus police, a member of our buildings and grounds staff, or, if appropriate, File a Safety or Hazard Report online. All visitors must register with the receptionist before going to any part of the campus. For the safety of children, students and visitors should not leave them unattended in the buildings or on the campus for any reason. More information can be found on the Campus Police website.

 

The Campus Police Department is located in ISC 100 B, (276) 739-2448. Someone is on duty 24 hours a day and remains available via cell phone at (276) 614-8282 during the daytime hours and (276) 614-8383 at night. 

Parking and Traffic Regulations

Emergency Procedures

Code Adam
For the safety of children, students and visitors should not leave them unattended in the buildings or on the campus for any reason. The 2003 session of the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation mandating the implementation of a Code Adam policy and procedure in every building owned or leased in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The purpose of Code Adam is to prevent and/or find a lost or missing child or young adult. VHCC participates in project Code Adam.

Student Right-To-Know
Institutions are required to provide to their current and any prospective student information on institutional policies regarding security procedures and campus law enforcement, as well as a description of programs designed to inform students about crime prevention. Statistical data concerning occurrence on campus of certain criminal offenses which have been reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies must also be disclosed. This information may be obtained from campus police or the Student Success Center. The Campus Police makes avalible information on Campus Security Statistics, Emergency Response Plan, Emergency Procedures, and the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.

VHCC Crime Awareness & Campus Security Policy
A. The college normally provides security, custodial services and administrative support when classes are in session. After hours, maintenance and watch personnel are generally available on a round-the-clock basis and available by campus radio or cell phone.

B. The campus police department is responsible for enforcing all college security regulations and cooperating with appropriate local, state, and federal authorities. Uniformed campus police officers are duly sworn police officers and have full authority to act within the scope of their law enforcement responsibilities.

C. The VHCC Crime Awareness and Campus Security policies will be distributed to all current students and employees annually in orientation and in-service programs. These programs will be structured to encourage students and employees to be responsible for their own security and the security of others and will offer information concerning crime prevention. The programs are offered on a regular basis throughout the year.

D. The campus police office will conduct fire or weather related drills every semester. This will keep you informed where to go and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Last updated: 9/11/2012 3:50:42 PM