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Student Due Process

Student Due Process

Northcentral Technical College Code of Student Conduct and Due Process guideline is adapted from The NCHERM Group Model Developmental Code of Student Conduct and is used here with permission.

www.ncherm.org

Each member of the Northcentral Technical College community bears responsibility for their conduct and to assume reasonable responsibility for the behavior of others. When members of the community fail to exemplify these five values by engaging in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Student Code of Conduct.

The student conduct process at Northcentral Technical College is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students' moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.

Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections of due process afforded by the courts. Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision-maker. No student will be found in violation of Northcentral Technical College policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.

Students at Northcentral Technical College are provided a copy of the Student Code of Conduct annually in the form of a link on the Northcentral Technical College website, http://www.ntc.edu/student-code-conduct. Hard copies are available upon request from the Office of Student Development. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct.

How the Conduct Process Works

This overview gives a general idea of how Northcentral Technical College's campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of Northcentral Technical College rules.

Please note that many instances of disruptive behavior can be managed by an instructor or staff member, and no reporting is necessary. Many programs have specific protocols for dealing with student behavior. If you observe troubling behavior, please call NTC Student Security at Ext. 1111.

  • Northcentral Technical College as Convener

Northcentral Technical College is the convener of every action under this process. Within that action, there are several roles. The responding student is the person who is alleged to have violated the Code. The party bringing the complaint, who may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest, may choose to be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student. There are witnesses, who may offer information regarding the allegation. There is an investigator(s) whose role is to present the allegations and share the evidence that Northcentral Technical College has obtained regarding the allegations.

  • Group Violations

A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this code by the organization or its member(s):

1. Take place at organization-sponsored or co-sponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit;

2. Have received the consent or encouragement of the organi­zation or of the organization's leaders or officers; or

3. Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.

Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. In any such action, individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.

C. Amnesty:

A. For Victims

Northcentral Technical College provides amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report to Northcentral Technical College officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

B. For Those Who Offer Assistance

To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, Northcentral Technical College pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Director of Student Development, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

C. For Those Who Report Serious Violations

Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of Northcentral Technical College are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result. Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Director of Student Development not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.

D. Safe Harbor

Northcentral Technical College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. NTC believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any Northcentral Technical College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of Northcentral Technical College officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated.

D. Notice of Alleged Violation

Any member of the Northcentral Technical College community, visitor or guest may allege a policy violation(s) by any student for misconduct under the Student Code of Conduct by reporting a concern to the Director of Security or online here: https://publicdocs.maxient.com/incidentreport.php?NorthcentralTC.

Notice may also be given to the Director of Student Development (or designee) and/or to the Title IX Coordinator, when appropriate. Additionally, administrators may act on notice of a potential violation whether a formal allegation is made or not. All allegations can be submitted by a victim or a third party, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. Northcentral Technical College has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf and to serve as convener of the subsequent campus conduct process.

The Director of Security (or designee) will assume responsibility for the investigation of the alleged violation as described in the sub-section below.

E. Investigation

Investigations will be conducted with the procedures described below. The Director of Security will act as investigator(s) for allegations under the Student Code of Conduct. If determined to be a Title IX issue, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator. The investigator(s) will take the following steps:

1. Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim (if any);

2. Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a Northcentral Technical College proxy or representative;

3. Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies that may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;

a. If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the victim;

b. Notify the victim of whether Northcentral Technical College intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the victim of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose;

c. Preliminary investigation usually takes between 1-7 business days to complete;

4. If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the Coordinator or Director of Student Development, conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated Northcentral Technical College policy, and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint;

a. If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action;

b. A comprehensive investigation usually takes between one day and two weeks;

5. Meet with the party bringing the complaint to finalize the Party bringing the complaint's Statement, which will be drawn up by the investigator or designee as a result of this meeting;

6. Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview;

a. Prepare the notice of alleged policy violation(s) on the basis of the reasonable cause determination, which may be delivered prior to, during or after the responding student is interviewed, at the discretion of the investigator(s);

7. Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to share and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy;

8. Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;

9. Obtain all physical evidence that is available;

10. Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;

11. Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);

12. In cases of potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct, the investigation report will be submitted to the Director of Student Development for a potential Code of Conduct violation review and meeting.

a. A meeting is not deemed necessary: If a meeting is not deemed necessary due to a minor policy violation, a letter will be sent to the student's NTC email and the mailing address on file with NTC, explaining general information about the incident and the behavior process, including any policy clarification necessary. As a matter of due process, students have the right to discuss an incident at any time with the Director of Student Development, and are encouraged to do so, if they have questions or concerns.

    1. A meeting is deemed necessary to discuss an incident: This process is outlined in Section G below (Notice of Behavior hearing)

13. In the situation of a Title IX violation, present the investigation report and findings to the responding student.

14. Share the findings and update the party bringing the complaint on the status of the investigation and the outcome.

F. Findings

The following options describe how to proceed depending on whether the responding student is found responsible and whether the Responding Student accepts or rejects the findings and/or the sanctions either in whole or in part.

  • The Responding Student is Found "Not Responsible"

Where the responding student is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation will be closed. The party bringing the complaint, if any, may request that the Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Student Development, as applicable, review the investigation file to possibly re-open the investigation or convene a hearing. The decision to re-open an investigation or convene a hearing rests solely in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or the Director of Student Development in these cases, and is granted only on the basis of extraordinary cause.

  • The Responding Student is Found "Responsible"…

o The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of "Responsible" and Accepts the Recommended Sanctions.

Should the responding student accept the finding that they violated Northcentral Technical College policy, the Investigator will recommend appropriate sanctions for the violation, having consulted with Director of Student Development and/or Title IX Coordinator, as appropriate. In cases involving discrimination, recommended sanctions will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the Northcentral Technical College community. If the responding student accepts these recommended sanctions, the sanctions are implemented by the Director of Student Development and the process ends. This outcome is not subject to appeal.

o The Responding Student Rejects a Finding of "Responsible" and/or Rejects the Sanctions Recommended.

Where the responding student rejects the finding that they violated Northcentral Technical College policy, they may appeal the decision in the following areas:

1) There was not evidence to support the conclusions reached.

2) A substantial error in due process was made where the student did not receive adequate notice of the behavior hearing or standard College procedures were not followed.

3) The sanctions imposed were too severe or not appropriate for the violation.

4) There is new evidence of a substantive nature that came to light after the original behavior hearing.

A student requests an appeal by submitting a Behavior Appeal Form ( http://www.ntc.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/policy/behavior-sanction-appeal-73014.pdf ) The formal appeals process is described in Section M below

G. Notice of Behavior hearing

Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the Director of Student Development to refer a complaint for a behavior hearing, notice will be given to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the Director of Student Development (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official Northcentral Technical College records; or emailed to the student's Northcentral Technical College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:

  1. Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Student Code of Conduct and Northcentral Technical College procedures for resolution of the complaint; and

  1. Direct the responding student to contact the Director of Student Development (or designee) within a specified period of time to respond to the complaint. This time period will generally be no less than two days[1] from the date of delivery of the summons letter.

A meeting with the Director of Student Development (or designee) may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the Director of Student Development (or designee), whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.

H. Interim Action

Under the Student Code of Conduct, the Director of Security or designee may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct when a student represents a threat of serious harm to others, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve Northcentral Technical College property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of Northcentral Technical College. Interim actions can include separation from the institution or restrictions on participation in the community for no more than fourteen (14) calendar days pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Student Code of Conduct. [A student who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the Director of Student Development or designee to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, Northcentral Technical College may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus hearing].

During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to Northcentral Technical College campus/facilities/events. As determined appropriate by the Director of Security, this restriction may include classes and/or all other Northcentral Technical College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Director of Security and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate Dean(s), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding student.

I. Conduct Sanctions

One or more of following sanctions may be imposed upon any student for any single violation of the Student Code of Conduct:

1) Warning: An official written notice that the student has violated Northcentral Technical College policies and/or rules and that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at Northcentral Technical College.

2) Restitution: Compensation for damage caused to Northcentral Technical College or any person's property. This could also include situations such as failure to return a reserved space to proper condition - labor costs and expenses. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for labor costs and/or the value of property destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.

3) Community/Northcentral Technical College Service Requirements: For a student or organization to complete a specific supervised Northcentral Technical College service.

4) Loss of Privileges: The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.

5) Confiscation of Prohibited Property: Items whose presence is in violation of Northcentral Technical College policy will be confiscated and will become the property of Northcentral Technical College. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the Director of Student Development and/or Campus Security.

6) Behavioral Requirement: This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.

7) Educational Program: Requirement to attend, present and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student or organization was found responsible. Audience may be restricted.

8) Northcentral Technical College Probation: The student is put on official notice that, should further violations of Northcentral Technical College policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face suspension or expulsion.

9) Eligibility Restriction: The student is deemed "not in good standing" with Northcentral Technical College for a specified period of time. Specific limitations or exceptions may be granted by the Director of Student Development and terms of this conduct sanction may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) Ineligibility to hold any office in any student organization recognized by Northcentral Technical College or hold an elected or appointed office at Northcentral Technical College; or

10) Ineligibility to represent Northcentral Technical College to anyone outside the Northcentral Technical College community in any way including: participating in any study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing Northcentral Technical College at an official function, event.

11) Northcentral Technical College Suspension : Separation from Northcentral Technical College for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the Director of Student Development. During the suspension period, the student is banned from university property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the Director of Student Development or The Director of Security. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.

12) Northcentral Technical College Expulsion: Permanent separation from Northcentral Technical College. The student is banned from university property and the student's presence at any Northcentral Technical College-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary.

13) Other Sanctions: Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the Director of Student Development or designee.

The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct:

  1. One or more of the sanctions listed above and/or
  1. Deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including status as a Northcentral Technical College registered club), for a specified period of time.

J. Parental Notification

Northcentral Technical College reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. Northcentral Technical College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations. Parental notification may also be utilized discretionarily by administrators when permitted by FERPA or consent of the student.

K. Notification of Outcomes

The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the education record of the responding student and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a "crime of violence" or forcible or nonforcible sex offense, Northcentral Technical College will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether Northcentral Technical College concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student's/responding student's name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, only, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition to the finding and sanction(s).

In cases where Northcentral Technical College determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a "crime of violence" or nonforcible sex offense, Northcentral Technical College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. FERPA defines "crimes of violence" to include:

1) Arson

2) Assault offenses (includes stalking)

3) Burglary

4) Criminal Homicide-manslaughter by negligence

5) Criminal Homicide-murder and nonnegligent manslaughter

6) Destruction/damage/vandalism of property

7) Kidnapping/abduction

8) Robbery

9) Forcible sex offences

10) Non-forcible sex offences

L. Failure to Complete Conduct Sanctions

All students, as members of Northcentral Technical College community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the timeframe specified by the Director of Student Development. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions and/or suspension from Northcentral Technical College. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance with conduct sanctions is satisfactorily achieved. This determination will be made by the Director of Student Development.

M. Appeal Review Procedures

Any party may request an appeal of the decision of the Behavior process by filing Behavior/Sanction Appeal form, subject to the procedures outlined below. All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body remain in effect, and all parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision.

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL REQUESTS

Appeals requests are limited to the following grounds:

1) A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);

2) To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;

3) The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by Northcentral Technical College for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

Appeals must be filed in writing on the Behavior/Sanction Appeal within Seven (7) business days of the notice of the outcome to the hearing, barring exigent circumstances. Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the Director of Student Development and, when appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator.

The Appeal Review Officer will conduct an initial review to determine if the appeal request meets the limited grounds and is timely. They may consult with the Director of Student Development and/or Title IX Coordinator on any procedural or substantive questions that arise.

If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the Appeal Review Officer will remand it to the original decision-maker(s), typically within 7 calendar days. Where the original decision-maker may be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error, a new decision-maker will be constituted to reconsider the matter, which can in turn be appealed, once. Full re-hearings by the Appeal Review Officer are not permitted. Where new evidence is presented or the sanction is challenged, the Appeals Review Officer will return the matter to the original decision-maker for reconsideration.

On reconsideration, original decision-maker may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the original hearing body according to the permissible grounds. Procedural or substantive errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student's cumulative conduct record.

All decisions of the to be made within seven (7) calendar days of submission and are final, as are any decisions made by the original hearing body, Director of Student Development or Title IX Coordinator as the result of reconsideration consistent with instructions from the Appeal Review Officer.

OTHER GUIDELINES FOR APPEALS

· All parties will be timely informed, within seven (7) calendar days of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;

· Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original decision-maker for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued;

· Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal; Witnesses may be called if necessary.

· Appeals are not an opportunity for appeals panelists to substitute their judgment for that of the original decision-maker merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original decision-maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so.

Q. Disciplinary Records

All conduct records are maintained by Northcentral Technical College for seven (7) years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension or expulsion, including from housing) and those that fall under Title IX, which are maintained indefinitely.

R. Approval and Implementation

This Student Code of Conduct and Due Process Guideline was approved on 6/26/15 by, and implemented on 7/1/15.



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