The Sonoma County Junior College District supports a safe, productive learning environment to foster intellectual curiosity, integrity and accomplishment as defined in the District Mission and Goals.
The District holds that students shall conduct themselves in a manner which reflects their awareness of common standards of decency and the rights of others. Interference with the District’s mission, objectives, or community life shall be cause for disciplinary action.
A student is defined as a person who is currently enrolled as a student in a credit or noncredit class or in community service offerings of the District; engaged in District activities in preparation for enrollment; or enrolled as a student or preparing for enrollment at the time of an alleged violation of the Standards of Conduct.
In some circumstances, these standards of conduct may apply to conduct that occurs off-campus when the Conduct Dean determines there is reasonable association with the District. In cases involving sexual misconduct, the jurisdiction will be determined by the Vice President of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator.
Students shall be subject to District discipline only for good cause which shall include, but not be limited to, the following categories of misconduct that occurs at any time, in any format with a member of the District community, or at a District-approved activity or sponsored event.
ACTS OF MISCONDUCT
A. Dishonesty, such as cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the District.
B. Forgery, alterations, or misuse of District documents, records, or identification.
C. Use of any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom without the prior consent of the instructor, except as necessary to provide reasonable auxiliary aids and academic accommodations to a student with a disability.
D. Making a video recording, audio recording, taking photographs, or streaming audio/video of any person in a location where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s knowledge and express consent.
E. Sale, preparation, or distribution for any commercial purpose course lecture notes or video or audio recordings of any course, unless authorized by the authoring faculty or District representative in advance. The unauthorized sale or commercial distribution of course notes or recordings by a student is a violation of this policy whether or not it was the student or someone else who prepared the notes or recordings.
F. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, District activities, or other activities authorized by the District including its public service functions, or of other authorized activities.
G. Solicitation or acceptance of money or other item of value as an inducement, encouragement, or reward for intercollegiate participation or false declarations regarding eligibility for participation in intercollegiate athletics.
H. Sexual misconduct including but not limited to lewd or indecent behavior, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, or threat of sexual misconduct as defined by law or policy of the District.
I. Participation in hazing or any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a campus organization or other activity engaged in by the organization or members of the organization at any time that causes, or is likely to cause, physical injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in psychological harm to any student or other person.
J. Harassment, bullying, or discriminatory behavior defined as conduct that is objectively severe, pervasive, and offensive, and that so substantially impairs a person’s access to District programs or activities that the person is effectively denied equal access to the District’s resources and opportunities.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is motivated on the basis of a person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, ancestry, service in the uniformed services, physical or mental disability, medical condition, or perceived membership in any of the classifications.
K. Stalking behavior in which a student repeatedly engages in a course of conduct directed at another person and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her family; where the threat is reasonably determined by the District to seriously alarm, torment, or terrorize the person; and where the threat is additionally determined by the District to serve no legitimate purpose.
L. Physical, verbal, written, or image based abuse of any person, or conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any such person.
M. Assault, battery, or any threat of force or violence upon a person.
N. Possession or use of any deadly weapon, replica weapon, explosive, or other destructive device on District Property including, but not limited to firearm, dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife, or any other object used as a weapon.
O. Willful misconduct resulting in injury or death to a person or which results in cutting, defacing, or other damage to any District or personal property.
P. Committing, attempting, or being an accomplice to robbery or extortion on District property or at a District activity.
Q. Theft of or damage to property of the District or of a member of the District community or campus visitor. This includes abuse of District computers and other District electronic resources such as computer and electronic communications facilities, systems, and services. Abuses include, but are not limited to, unauthorized entry, use, transfer, or tampering with the communications of others; interference with the work of others and with the operation of computer and electronic commutations facilities, systems, and services.
R. Willful or persistent smoking or use of electronic or vapor smoking device in any area on District property where smoking has been prohibited by law or by regulation of the Board of Trustees of Sonoma County Junior College District.
S. Unauthorized entry to, possession of, receipt of, or use of any District services, equipment, resources, or properties, including the District or College name or logo. Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys or entry devices to any District facilities.
T. Violation of District regulations maintained by the Office of Student Affairs concerning student organizations, or the time, place and manner of public expression, including participation in a disturbance of the peace or unlawful assembly.
U. Engaging in expression which is libelous or slanderous or which so incites others as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on District premises or at District-sponsored or supervised functions, or the violation of lawful District administrative procedures, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the District.
V. Unlawful possession, use, sale, offering to sell, or furnishing, or being under the influence of, any controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant or poison or unlawful possession of, or offering, arranging or negotiating the sale of any drug paraphernalia.
W. Continued disruptive behavior, failure to comply with directions of District officials acting in the performance of their duties, continued willful disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity, open and persistent defiance of authority or persistent abuse of District personnel requiring inordinate drains on staff time, resources and supervision.
X. Failure to identify oneself to, or comply with the directions of a District official acting in the performance of their duties or resisting or obstructing such District official in the performance of or the attempt to perform their duties.
Y. Failure to observe precautions the District deems necessary to ensure the safety of the student or others.
For the purpose of this policy and procedures, and unless otherwise specified, “written notice” means notice that is served by U. S. mail and email at the student’s most recent addresses on file in the District’s Admissions and Records Office and shall be deemed received by the student two (2) working days after deposit in the mail or received immediately by the student upon email delivery.
Discipline Due Process
The intention of the Student Discipline and Due Process Procedure is to resolve alleged violations of the standards of conduct in a fair, honest manner that honors the needs and protects the safety of the District community.
These procedures provide a prompt and equitable means to address violations of the Santa Rosa Junior College Student Standards of Conduct in accordance with the due process rights guaranteed to students. These procedures do not substitute for criminal or civil proceedings that may be separately initiated.
These procedures are not intended to infringe in any way on the rights of students to engage in protected free expression.
The Superintendent/President delegates general authority for the implementation of this Administrative Procedure to the Dean, Student Conduct or designee. The Director of Student Engagement & Support Services, Petaluma Campus shall be the Conduct Dean for student conduct matters at the Petaluma Campus.
I. REPORTING MISCONDUCT
A. Any member of the college community may make a complaint against a student with allegations of misconduct. Acts of academic dishonesty such as cheating or plagiarism shall be reported to the Director of Student Engagement & Support Services, for incidents at the Petaluma campus, and the Dean, Student Affairs and Engagement Programs for all other locations.
Acts of sexual harassment shall be reported to the District Vice President of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator. All other misconduct shall be reported to the Conduct Dean.
B. Misconduct in the instructional setting may be addressed and resolved by the instructor. The instructor shall privately inform the student of the misconduct, either face to face or by email, with a warning and statement of expected behavior in an effort to redirect the student. The student, at this point, has the right to respond to the instructor’s allegations. If the misconduct is severe, or continues after warning, a report shall be sent to the Department Chair and the Conduct Dean.
C. Any member of the college community including District Police officers, administrators, students, faculty and staff may report misconduct in a non-instructional setting to the Conduct Dean.
D. Any misconduct that is deemed dangerous or criminal shall be reported to District Police immediately and then the Conduct Dean.
II. INVESTIGATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING PROCESS
A. Upon receiving the conduct referral, the Conduct Dean will investigate the allegations. If the Dean finds there are grounds for charges, a written Statement of Charges shall be provided to the student that will include a statement of the misconduct, the identified conduct violation charges, and the time, date, and place of the Administrative Hearing. The student shall be asked to provide a written response to the Statement of Charges to the Conduct Dean no later than two (2) working days after the student’s receipt of the Statement of Charges. The Statement of Charges may be amended at any time upon providing notice to the student of such amendment.
B. Representation and Advisors
1. The student shall represent him or herself at the hearing, and may, but need not, bring a non-attorney advisor he or she chooses. The non-attorney advisor may advise the student, but may not participate. Failure by the non-attorney to comply with this requirement will result in removal from the hearing.
2. The Conduct Dean may request that the District provide an attorney at the hearing to sit in an advisory capacity and to provide legal counsel. If the District intends to have an attorney assist the Conduct Dean during the hearing, it will notify the student not less than five (5) working days prior to the date of the hearing so that the student may decide whether to obtain his or her own attorney.
3. A student may have an attorney advisor only if (1) the District will have an attorney to assist the Conduct Dean during the hearing, or (2) if criminal charges related to the alleged student misconduct are pending against the student at the time of the hearing. The student is solely responsible for securing and compensating an attorney. The student must notify the District not less than five (5) working days prior to the date of the hearing that they will be accompanied by an attorney under this paragraph.
4. Attorneys who assist the Conduct Dean or a student may be present and provide advice to their client, but beyond stating their names for identification purposes, may not participate by examining witnesses, submitting or objecting to documents, making statements, or asking questions.
5. Any person licensed to practice law is considered an attorney for purposes of the hearing.
C. The hearing shall be closed and confidential.
D. At the Administrative Hearing, the Conduct Dean shall give the student the opportunity to respond to the Statement of Charges.
E. The Dean may conduct further investigation of the allegations and may require additional meetings with the student as part of the Administrative Hearing.
F. The Dean and the student may discuss voluntary resolution/consent to discipline as part of the Administrative Hearing if deemed appropriate by the Dean.
G. Waiver of Administrative Hearing
1. A student who fails to attend an Administrative Hearing without excusable reason shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to an Administrative Hearing. Excusable reason means inability to meet due to student’s hospitalization, incarceration, or other reason beyond the student’s control as determined by the Conduct Dean.
2. Following the Waiver of Administrative Hearing, the Conduct Dean will proceed to determine and provide notice to the student of the Administrative Decision.
III. DETERMINATION AND NOTICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION/RECOMMENDATION
The Conduct Dean shall issue a written notice of his or her Administrative Decision to the student including recommended sanction, within ten (10) working days of completion of the Administrative Hearing process or within ten (10) working days of the student’s waiver of hearing rights. The Conduct Dean may extend the time for issuing written notice if he or she determines an extension is appropriate to support a meaningful disciplinary process. The Administrative Decision shall be based on reasonable and relevant evidence. The Conduct Dean may consider the student’s disciplinary history at the District in reaching a decision or recommendation. The Administrative Decision shall include the Statement of Charges, indication of timely written response from the student, factual findings and conclusions as to which Standards of Student Conduct were violated and any discipline sanctions to be imposed.
A. Withdrawal of Consent to Remain on District Property
1. The Superintendent/President, College Chief of Police/designee, Vice President of Student Services/Assistant Superintendent, and Conduct Dean are authorized to notify any person for whom there is a reasonable belief that the person has willfully disrupted the orderly operation of the District that consent to remain on District property has been withdrawn. If the person is on District property at the time, they must promptly leave or be escorted off-site.
2. Withdrawal of consent to remain on District property issued to a student shall not exceed fourteen (14) calendar days from the date upon which consent was initially withdrawn.
3. Any student whose consent to remain on District property has been withdrawn who knowingly re-enters the campus during the period in which consent has been withdrawn, except to attend a hearing with the Conduct Dean, is subject to arrest.
4. Withdrawal of consent does not preclude any other disciplinary actions under these procedures for student violation of the District’s Student Conduct Standards.
B. Exclusion from Class or Activity
1. An instructor may decide to exclude a student from up to two class meetings and shall notify the Conduct Dean and Department Chair. Classwork missed during an instructor removal may not be made up, and the days of removal are considered unexcused absences.
2. Any faculty or administrative staff who are assigned to supervise a library, tutorial center, instructional laboratory, study facility, or other site of extra-curricular activities such as clubs and athletics may exclude a student for no more than two (2) days of required attendance, or if attendance is not required, for two (2) consecutive days and shall notify the Conduct Dean and supervising administrator.
C. Immediate Interim Suspension
If the Conduct Dean determines it is necessary to protect lives or property and to ensure the maintenance of order, a student may be immediately suspended from some or all classes and class-related activities, pending an opportunity for a hearing within ten (10) calendar days.
D. Probation or Short-term Suspension
If the Conduct Dean determines that good cause exists to impose a period of probation or short-term suspension, the Administrative Decision shall specify the length of time of the probation or suspension and the parameters of activities covered by the sanction. Probation allows for conditional continued enrollment under stated restrictions. Short-term suspension excludes a student from one or more classes and/or extra-curricular activities for a specified period of less than ten (10) days of instruction. The Conduct Dean’s determination of probation or short-term suspension or lesser disciplinary action shall be final and cannot be appealed. Violations of either probation or short-term suspension may be cause for more serious disciplinary action.
E. Long-term Suspension
If the Conduct Dean determines that good cause exists to suspend the student from the District on a long-term basis, the Administrative Decision shall specify the length of the long-term suspension, which may range from exclusion from one or more classes for more than ten (10) days of instruction up to one or more terms. A long-term suspension includes exclusion from class-related activities and extra-curricular activities for a concurrent period unless otherwise indicated.
F. Restitution and/or Restorative Remedies
If the Conduct Dean determines that good causes exists to impose restitution for damages caused to District or personal property, the Conduct Dean shall determine monetary penalty as compensation for damage resulting from student misconduct.
Restitution may take the form of appropriate services identified by the District. If the Conduct Dean determines that participation in restorative remedies is appropriate a restorative plan will be written in the Notice of Administrative Decision.
If the Conduct Dean recommends expulsion, he or she shall forward the matter to the Vice President of Student Services. Expulsion means permanent exclusion of the student by the Board of Trustees from all District courses, activities, and presence on District property. The Vice President of Student Services shall determine whether to accept, modify, or reject the Conduct Dean’s Administrative Decision. If the Conduct Dean’s expulsion recommendation is accepted, the Vice President shall forward the recommendation to the Superintendent/President. If the Conduct Dean’s Administrative Decision is rejected or modified, the student shall receive written notice of the new Administrative Decision.
V. APPEAL PROCEDURES
A. Right to Appeal
If either long-term suspension or expulsion is recommended, the student may submit a timely request for an appeal hearing unless the student waived the right to appeal by failing to participate in the Administrative Hearing process.
B. Request for Appeal Hearing
If a student who participated in the Administrative Hearing wishes to appeal an Administrative Decision imposing a long-term suspension or recommendation for expulsion, the student shall serve a written Request for Appeal Hearing with the Conduct Dean no later than 5:00 p.m. on or before the fifth working day after the student’s receipt of the written Administrative Decision.
If no timely Request for an Appeal Hearing is received by the Conduct Dean, the right to an Appeal Hearing is waived by the student. If the Administrative Decision imposes a long-term suspension, the long-term suspension shall commence immediately upon the expiration of the time to request an Appeal Hearing. If the Administrative Decision recommends expulsion, the matter shall be sent to the Superintendent/President.
C. Schedule and Notice of Appeal Hearing
1. Upon receipt of a student’s timely request for an Appeal Hearing, the Conduct Dean will schedule an Appeal Hearing and send written notice to the student of a Notice of Appeal Hearing and Statement of Charges.
2. The Appeal Hearing shall be held within twenty (20) working days after a written request for Appeal Hearing is received from the student. The Conduct Dean or Hearing Officer may determine an extension of the Appeal Hearing date is appropriate to support a meaningful disciplinary process. The Notice of Appeal Hearing and Statement of Charges shall advise the student of the date, time, and place of the Appeal Hearing. The written Notice of Appeal Hearing and Statement of Charges shall be sent to the student at least five (5) working days prior to the Appeal Hearing date.
3. The Statement of Charges shall include the following:
a. The alleged misconduct.
b. The specific section (s) of the Standards of conduct that the student is accused of violating.
c. A brief statement of the facts supporting the Charges.
d. The discipline sanction(s) being considered.
4. The Administrative Decision may serve as the Statement of Charges.
5. The student may submit a written response to the Statement of Charges to the Hearing Officer by no later than 5:00 p.m. three (3) working days in advance of the date of the Appeal Hearing.
D. Impartial Appeal Hearing
1. The President/Superintendent shall assign the Appeal Hearing to an impartial District administrative Hearing Officer, such as another dean or vice president. Prior to assigning the matter, the Superintendent/President shall determine to his/her satisfaction that the assigned Hearing Officer does not have personal knowledge of or involvement in the matter and that the Hearing Officer is able to provide a timely and unbiased review and determination of the matter.
2. Prior to the commencement of the Appeal Hearing, the Hearing Officer shall be provided with a copy of the Statement of Charges and any timely written response provided by the student.
3. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but relevant evidence may be admitted and considered if it is the kind of evidence upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs.
4. Unless the Hearing Officer determines to proceed otherwise, the Conduct Dean and the student may make opening statements. The facts supporting the accusation shall be presented by the Conduct Dean. The student may then present his or her evidence. The Conduct Dean may present rebuttal evidence after the student completes his or her defense. If the student’s disciplinary history is introduced, the student may address his or her discipline history, but shall not be permitted to call witnesses or introduce documents to refute the conduct upon which the previous disciplinary action(s) were based or the appropriateness of the previous disciplinary action(s). The Conduct Dean and the student may call and question their own witnesses and introduce oral and written testimony relevant to the matter. Written testimony must be signed and dated, and the accuracy of the contents must be verified by the author under penalty of perjury. Notification of names of witnesses and relevance to the case shall be submitted in writing to the Conduct Dean by no later than 5:00 p.m. three (3) working days in advance of the date of the Appeal Hearing. All witnesses shall be excluded from the Appeal Hearing when not testifying. The Hearing Officer does not have the power to subpoena witnesses. The Conduct Dean and the student may make closing statements.
5. A student who fails to appear for the Appeal Hearing at the designated time and place shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to an Appeal Hearing and the discipline sanctions included in the Statement of Charges shall be imposed.
6. The student shall represent him or herself at the Appeal Hearing with the same stipulations regarding attorney and non-attorney advisors as outlined under the Administrative Hearing Process.
7. The Appeal Hearing shall be closed and confidential.
8. The Appeal Hearing shall be audio or stenography recorded by the District and shall be the only recording made unless the Hearing Officer authorizes additional recordings. No witness who refuses to be recorded shall be permitted to give testimony. Recordings shall remain in the custody of the District at all times, unless released to a professional transcribing service. The student may request a copy of the recording at his or her own cost.
E. Preparation of Decision
1. Within thirty (30) working days following the conclusion of the Appeal Hearing, the Hearing Officer shall prepare and send to the Superintendent/President a written Advisory Decision and a complete copy of the record of the Hearing. In matters under the jurisdiction of Title IX, the timeline shall be adjusted to meet the 60 working days guideline for completion of the appeal. The Advisory Decision shall be based upon the preponderance of evidence relevant to the charges adduced at the Hearing. The Advisory Decision shall include factual findings, conclusions as to whether any sections(s) of the standards of Student Conduct were violated, and a recommendation of the disciplinary action to be imposed, if any. The Advisory Decision shall be based only on the record of the hearing.
2. The “record of the hearing” shall include the Statement of Charges (as amended, if applicable), the student’s written response, if any, the oral and documentary evidence adduced at the Hearing, the recording made during the Hearing, and the District’s record of previous disciplinary issues related to the student, it any.
VI. SUPERINTENDENT/PRESIDENT’S REVIEW
A. President’s Review When Student Waived Procedures
If the Conduct Dean recommends expulsion and the student waives his or her right to proceed by failing to attend the Administrative Hearing or by failing to make a timely request for an appeal hearing, the Superintendent/President shall determine whether to accept, modify, or reject the Dean’s Administrative Decision.
B. President’s Review of Appeal Hearing
1. Within thirty (30) working days of receipt of the Hearing Officer’s Advisory Decision and record of the Appeal Hearing, or sooner if required to meet Title IX guidelines, the Superintendent/President shall review the Advisory Decision and the record of the Appeal Hearing and shall determine whether to accept, modify or reject the Advisory Decision. If the Superintendent/President determines to modify or reject the Hearing Officer’s Advisory Decision, he or she shall prepare a new written decision which contains specific factual findings and conclusions based on the record of the Appeal Hearing.
2. A decision of the Superintendent/President to uphold the Conduct Dean’s suspension of a student shall be final and written notice of the final Administrative Decision shall be sent to the student.
3. If the Superintendent/President determines that expulsion is appropriate, the recommendation for expulsion shall be made in writing to the Board of Trustees and written notice sent to the student.
VII. BOARD OF TRUSTEES REVIEW
A. Consideration of Expulsion Recommendation
The Board of Trustees shall consider any recommendation from the Superintendent/President for expulsion at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board occurring at least 10 working days after receipt of the recommendation or at a special meeting held within 20 working days after receipt of the recommendation. The Board’s review may be extended beyond these periods if the Superintendent/President determines that an extension is appropriate to support a meaningful disciplinary process. The Board’s consideration consists of a review of the record of Appeal Hearing and the Advisory Decision from the Appeal Hearing (if applicable), or the President’s written decision and/or recommendation. The Board review does not provide another evidentiary hearing for the student on the matter.
B. Board of Trustees Review
The student shall be given written notice of the date, time, and place of the Board’s meeting at least five (5) working days in advance of the meeting.
The Board shall consider an expulsion recommendation in closed session unless the student or his or her parent, guardian, or conservator, if the student is a minor or conserved, requests an open session.
C. Board Decision
The Board may accept or reject the expulsion recommendation of the Superintendent/President after a review of the Appeal Hearing record or after reviewing the Conduct Dean’s Administrative Decision when the student waived his or her right to an Appeal Hearing. If the Board rejects the expulsion recommendation, the Board shall prepare a new written decision which includes factual findings, Standards of Conduct that were violated, and disciplinary action, if any. The decision of the Board shall be based only on the record of the Appeal Hearing or the Dean’s Administrative Decision, and the District’s record of previous disciplinary issues related to the student, if any.
The Board’s decision regarding expulsion is final. The Board’s action shall be a public record of the District in accordance with laws related to student records.
Written notice of the Board’s final decision shall be sent to the student as soon as practicable after the Board meeting.
VIII. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
The District may notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of minor students, or conservators of students known to be under conservatorship for educational decisions of proposed disciplinary action against the minor or conserved student when the disclosure to the parent/guardian/conservator is permitted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Policy 8.2.8/Procedure 8.2.8P, Revised March, 2015