Policies and Procedures Manual

Chapter 3: Student Affairs

03:05:04   Academic, Non-Academic and Classroom Misconduct

Related Policies and Guidelines

SACSCOC Complaints Against SACSCOC or its Accredited Institutions 

TBR Policy 1.02.11.00 Appeals to the Chancellor and the Board

TBR Policy 1.06.00.05 Uniform Procedures for Cases Subject to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act

TBR Policy 3.02.00.01 General Policy on Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions 

TBR Policy 3.02.01.00 Student Due Process Procedure

TBR Rule 0240-02-03 Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions

NeSCC Policy 03:05:00 Expectations of Students and Student Code of Conduct 

NeSCC Policy 03:05:03 Disciplinary Offenses 

NeSCC Policy 03:05:05 Disciplinary Sanctions 

NeSCC Policy 03:05:06 Disciplinary Procedures 

NeSCC Policy 06:43:00 Student Discipline Committee 

NeSCC Policy 06:51:00 Academic Discipline Committee 

Purpose 

General. Northeast State Community College, in the implementation of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) regulations pertaining to discipline and conduct of students, insures the constitutional rights of students by affording a system of constitutionally and legally sound procedures, which provide the protection of due process of law. In furtherance of this mandate, Northeast State has enacted policies, which are in compliance with TBR Rule 0240-02-03 and TBR Policies 3.02.00.01 and 3.02.01.00 , as well as all state and federal law. All disciplinary procedures are affirmatively communicated to the faculty, staff, and students of the institution as well as published in appropriate websites, handbooks, or manuals. 

  1. Classroom Misconduct. The instructor has the primary responsibility for maintenance of academic integrity and controlling classroom behavior, and can order the temporary removal or exclusion from the classroom of any student engaged in disruptive conduct or conduct that violates the general policies of the institution for each class session during which the conduct occurs. Extended or permanent exclusion from the classroom, beyond the session in which the conduct occurred, or further disciplinary action can be effected only through appropriate procedures of the institution. Classroom misconduct includes other conduct prohibited in handbooks for specific programs of study. An instructor shall notify the appropriate academic dean of any action regarding misconduct immediately following all incidents of classroom misconduct.  Should the classroom misconduct rise to the level of academic or non-academic misconduct, the applicable grievance procedure, below, shall be followed. 
  2. Disruptive Behavior. An instructor has the right to temporarily remove a disruptive student from a classroom. Disruptive behavior in the classroom may be defined as, but not limited to, behavior that obstructs or disrupts the learning environment (e.g., offensive language, harassment of students and professors, repeated outbursts from a student which disrupt the flow of instruction or prevent concentration on the subject taught, failure to cooperate in maintaining classroom decorum, etc.), text messaging, and the continued use of any electronic or other noise or light emitting device which disturbs others (e.g., disturbing noises from electronic or mobile devices.). Disruptive behavior in the classroom includes other behaviors prohibited in handbooks for specific programs of study. An instructor shall promptly notify campus police regarding any incident that may rise to safety concerns.  Should the disruptive behavior rise to the level of non-academic misconduct, the applicable grievance procedure, below, shall be followed. 
  3. Academic Misconduct. Plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly, through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. An instructor shall notify the appropriate academic dean prior to any action.
  4. Non-Academic Misconduct. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success or designee serves as the Conduct Officer. This person is responsible for the management of non-academic misconduct by students. This conduct may include, but is not limited to, hazing, bullying and/or non-criminal acts of violence. 

Northeast State utilizes two grievance procedures: Academic and Non-Academic. 

Minimum Requirements of Due Process for Institutional Hearings. Students subject to any disciplinary sanction are entitled to a due process hearing unless that right is waived by the student after receiving written notice of the available adjudication options. If, in accordance with the institution regulations governing discipline in cases of academic and non-academic misconduct, a hearing is requested, the following minimal procedures will be observed: 

  1. The student shall be advised, in writing, of the breach of regulation(s) of which they are charged.
  2. The student shall be advised of the time, date, and place of the hearing allowing reasonable time for preparation.
  3. The student shall be advised of the following rights applicable at the hearing:
    1. The right to present their case. However, the student’s absence, absent with good cause, will not hinder a hearing committee from meeting and rendering a decision.
    2. The right to be accompanied by an advisor. The hearing committee may restrict the advisor’s right to speak at the hearing. The advisor can be an attorney if Northeast State is equally represented after due notice of the advisor’s status.
    3. The right to call witnesses in their behalf.
    4. The right to confront witnesses against them.
    5. The student shall be advised of the method and time limitations for appeal, if any is applicable.
  4. Students subject to any disciplinary sanction are entitled to a due process hearing unless that right is waived by the student after receiving written notice of the available procedures. 

The President of Northeast State Community College is authorized to intervene in order to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to any disciplinary proceeding, or, subsequently, to convert any finding or sanction imposed to a lesser finding or sanction, or to rescind any previous finding or sanction, in appropriate cases. 

Academic Discipline Grievance Procedures 

Notice of Academic Misconduct. An instructor who has good cause to believe that a student engaged in academic misconduct in connection with a course taught by the faculty member or an examination proctored by the faculty member, or designee, may choose to exercise Summary Academic Discipline as outlined below:

  1. An instructor shall notify the appropriate academic dean of the academic misconduct prior to any action.
  2. If a student’s grade in the course or on the assignment or examination affected by the alleged academic misconduct is lowered to any extent, including a grade of “F”, the instructor must initiate a Student Notification of Summary Academic Discipline.
  3. When a faculty member initiates a Student Notification of Summary Academic Discipline, the faculty member will, within ten (10) business days of learning of the alleged academic misconduct, notify the student and the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success via email of the action in writing with the Student Notification of Summary Academic Discipline form. This action advises the student of their right to appeal the Summary Academic Discipline.
  4. To initiate an appeal of the Summary Academic Discipline, the student must contact the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success within five (5) business days of receipt of the notification of the action. The student appeal will be heard by the Academic Discipline Committee (NeSCC Policy 06:51:00) within twenty (20) business days of the appeal. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success convenes and chairs the Academic Discipline Committee hearing.
  5. The chair of the Academic Discipline Committee shall notify the student of the hearing date in writing within five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The student or proxy may attend the hearing. The chair of the Academic Discipline Committee shall notify the student of the committee’s decision within five (5) business days after the hearing.
  6. A student who is found responsible for academic misconduct by the Academic Discipline Committee will not be permitted to withdraw from the course to avoid the determined discipline.
  7. A student found responsible for academic misconduct by the Academic Discipline Committee may be awarded a grade of “F” for the course, assignment, or examination at issue, and is also subject to additional sanctions as outlined in the College’s Disciplinary Sanctions policy (NeSCC Policy 03:05:05).
  8. The Academic Discipline Committee may recommend sanctions against the student to the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success. A student who is found responsible for academic misconduct may be subject to additional sanctions imposed through the office of the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success as outlined in the College’s Disciplinary Sanctions policy (NeSCC Policy 03:05:05).
  9. A student may appeal a decision by the Academic Discipline Committee within five (5) business days of notification to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Any sanctions assessed shall be suspended pending outcome of the appeal. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall have ten (10) business days to issue a decision in writing to the student.
  10. A student may appeal a decision by the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five (5) business days of notification to the college President. The President will review the student’s appeal and the Vice President for Academic Affairs’ recommendation, render a decision, and issue a report in writing to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the student’s appeal. The President’s decision will be final. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the academic dean and the instructor, as appropriate, of the President’s decision.

Non-Academic Discipline Grievance Procedures

Notice of Non-Academic Misconduct. All complaints of alleged misconduct of a student or student organization shall be made in writing to the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success. The complaint should contain a statement of facts outlining each alleged act of misconduct and shall state the policy the student or organization is alleged to have violated.

  1. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success shall investigate the complaint. If it is determined that the complaint is without merit, the investigation shall promptly cease.
  2. If it is determined that there is probable cause to believe that a violation did occur, the student (or student organization advisor and president) shall be notified in writing (Notice of Non-Academic Misconduct letter) within five (5) business days by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success of the complaint and the specific allegations made against them, and the process shall proceed as outlined below.
  3. For students or student organizations facing disciplinary action, four potential processes exist for adjudication of the case. The student (or student organization advisor and president) shall be informed in writing of each option, including which options may be utilized based on the case, and the due process rights associated with each option. Options include election of:
    1. A hearing before the Northeast State Student Discipline Committee;
    2. Informal adjudication of the case by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success;
    3. To not contest the case; or
    4. A Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) hearing in the circumstances described below per TBR Policy 1.06.00.05.
  4. Written charges, hearing determinations, and waiver forms will be served by mailing via certified mail a copy to the student (or student organization advisor and president) at their residence or last known residence. The student (or student organization advisor and president) will have five (5) business days to select a hearing option. Student or organization failure to respond in writing within five (5) days of receipt will constitute a waiver of all hearing options.

Election of use of UAPA or Northeast State Student Discipline Committee hearing options entitles the student or student organization to due process. Student or organization election of the use of informal adjudication or to not contest the case requires that the student or organization waive, in writing, their right to due process. Selection of one option constitutes waiver of all other options. The student or organization shall have five (5) business days following written notification to select an option.

In cases in which the student or student organization elects to have the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success informally adjudicate the case, the case shall be adjudicated according to Alternative Resolution Procedures as allowed by TBR Policy 3.02.00.01 and with the consent of all relevant parties. The decision of the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success will be final. If a student or organization, absent good cause, fails to return the Student Conduct Waiver/Election of Hearing Procedures form within five (5) business days, the student or organization will be deemed to have waived a right to the processes described above and Northeast State may proceed as it deems, in its sole discretion, appropriate in the circumstances.

UAPA. Students or student organizations who seek an appeal of non-academic discipline may select a Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) hearing as described in TBR Policy 1:06:00:05.

All cases which may result in: a) suspension or expulsion of a student, or student organization, from the institution, for disciplinary reasons or b) revocation of registration of a student organization, are subject to the contested case provisions of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA), TCA § 4-5-101 et seq., and shall be processed in accord with the Uniform Procedures for Cases adopted by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR Policy 1:06:00:05) unless the student or student organization, after receiving written notice, waives those procedures and elects to have the case disposed of in accord with institutional procedures or waives all right to contest the case under any procedure.

Student Discipline Committee Hearing.  Students or student organizations may select adjudication of a non-academic discipline case by hearing of the Student Discipline Committee (NeSCC Policy 06:43:00).

  1. The student or student organization shall be advised by the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success, in writing, of the breach of policy of which they are charged. Written charges of alleged violations will include: the alleged policy violation; a statement of the facts to be presented and an explanation of the evidence against them; and a statement that a hearing will be conducted before the Northeast State Student Discipline Committee on the charges together with notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The student or organization accused of misconduct will be given a copy of the institutional policies concerning due process procedures.
  2. The hearing date will be scheduled within twenty (20) business days of student or organization election of a Student Discipline Committee hearing. The hearing will be conducted at the date, time, and place specified, unless postponed for good cause. The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success convenes and chairs the Student Discipline Committee hearing.
  3. Any individual who has an interest in the case will not sit in judgment as a member of the hearing committee.
  4. The student or student organization will receive from the Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success a written copy of the decision of the Student Discipline Committee with any sanctions within ten (10) business days of the hearing.
  5. The student or student organization may appeal the decision in writing within five (5) business days to the President of the College. Any sanction assessed shall be suspended pending outcome of the appeal, contingent upon the safety and security of the campus at large.
  6. The President will make a determination within ten (10) business days and issue the decision in writing to the student or student organization. The President’s decision is final except in those cases in which TBR Policy 1.02.11.00 provides appeal to the Chancellor and the Tennessee Board of Regents.
  7. The Student Discipline Committee shall meet as appropriate during each term of the academic year.

Interim Withdrawal or Suspension Hearings. TBR Policy 3.02.00.01 provides that hearings conducted with regard to interim involuntary withdrawal or suspensions imposed prior to or pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding shall be conducted consistent with the minimum requirements of due process applicable to an institutional hearing, taking into account the need for a timely hearing. The evidence presented at the hearing shall be limited to that which is relevant to the basis asserted for imposition of the interim involuntary withdrawal or suspension. In determining whether a student should be involuntarily withdrawn or suspended for threatening or disruptive conduct, the institution shall consider the nature, duration, severity, and probability of the threat posed or the disruption caused by a student, relying on the best available objective evidence and, if applicable and obtainable, on the most current medical evidence.

The Vice President for Institutional Excellence and Student Success or designee, who serves as the institution’s Conduct Officer, may utilize an interim withdrawal or suspension, if deemed appropriate. In any case of interim withdrawal or suspension, the student or student organization shall be given an opportunity at the time of the decision, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to present evidence, and the opportunity to initiate full due process within thirty (30) days of the removal.



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Divisional Review Responsibilities Checklist: Institutional Excellence and Student Success

Revision History: April 2014; Revision: June 2015; July 2015; June 2016; Oct. 2017; Revised Nov. 2019; Edited Dec. 2019; Edited Jan. 2020