Student Conduct

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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 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

  1. 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:
      1. Copying from another student’s document/work and/or submitting a purchased document/work.
      2. Use of prepared materials during the examination
      3. Collaboration with another student during the examination
      4. Buying, selling, stealing, soliciting, or transmitting the contents of an examination
      5. Substituting for another person during an examination or allowing such a substitution for one’s self.
      6. Bribery of any person to obtain examination information.
  2. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities.
  3. Physical and/or psychological abuse, or the threat of such abuse, of any person on College premises or at College activities.
  4. Participating in or inciting a riot or an unauthorized disorderly assembly.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Possessing, using, selling, or distributing any type of illegal drugs on campus or at any college function.
  8. Gambling or holding an unauthorized raffle or lottery on campus or at any College function.
  9. Violating any College policy, including, but not limited to the Violence Prevention Policy and the Weapons Regulation.
  10. 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.
  11. Littering, defacing, destroying, or damaging property of the College or property under its jurisdiction or removing or using such property without proper authorization.
  12. Violating any local, state, or federal laws.
  13. Violating any rule or regulation not contained within the official College publications but announced as administrative policy by the President or his/her designee.
  14. Willfully encouraging others to commit any of the acts which have been herein prohibited.

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 or a designee 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 or a designee 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; the student may 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 or a designee.
  2. Following investigation, sanctions will be communicated to the student in writing within seven (7) calendar days. In all cases, the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, or a designee, shall schedule a hearing of the Student Affairs Committee at the written request of the student. A written request for a hearing must be received within 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, or designee, 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 (7) or more than fifteen (15) 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. The 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 (10) 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 (10) 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.