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Purpose

It is the practice of Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to encourage fair and efficient solutions for problems arising out of the student/college relationship. As responsible members of the college community, students and organizations/clubs are expected to maintain the highest level of academic and social conduct and are responsible for knowing TSTC’s policies and standards. The Code is reviewed every academic year, but it is a living document which can be modified to comply with federal, state or local law.

Definitions

Board of Regents – governing body of the TSTC System, appointed by the Governor of Texas

Code of Student Conduct (the Code) – standards of conduct and procedures established to provide a full and fair opportunity for review of alleged misconduct

College – Texas State Technical College (TSTC)

College Premises – all buildings, facilities, land and other property that is owned, used, leased or controlled by the college

Complaint – a statement of the essential facts constituting a violation of the Code or policy of the college

Discipline Officer – college official authorized to investigate alleged violations of the Code and to administer the procedures and sanctions of the Code

Disciplinary Conference (Conference) – an informal conversation with the student to review the alleged violation(s) and give them an opportunity to respond directly and present relevant information including witnesses, documents, etc.

Drug Paraphernalia – any equipment, product, or material that is used for making, using, or concealing drugs, regardless of that item’s intended use at the time of its production

Established Student Relationship – from the time of application for admissions to the college through an award of degree which will include breaks of enrollment if the student continues to have an association with the college

Notice of Complaint – the initial document that identifies alleged misconduct in violation of the Code

Review – a request made by a student who disagrees with the Discipline Officer’s decision or sanction and requests that the Student Conduct Review Board evaluate the decision

Review Administrator – Chair/individual assigned to collect, schedule, and be a liaison for the review process

Preponderance of Evidence – the majority of the evidence would cause a reasonable person to support a conclusion (it is more likely than not it happened, 51 percent rule)

Residential Facilities – any facility operated by the college or under agreement by an outside agency, with sole purpose of providing housing for students

Student – an individual who has established a relationship with the college for the purpose of taking a course or courses

Student Conduct Review Board – a group convened at the request of a student or student group to evaluate the Dean’s decision or sanction placed on an individual

Working Day – Monday through Friday, except for official college holidays or college closings

Application

  • The Code provides an educational and non-adversarial process designed to resolve matters concerning student conduct; it is not designed to be a legal or judicial process
  • The Code is designed to be reliable, fair and effective
  • Individuals who have established a student relationship with the college are subject to the Code
  • The Code applies to all aspects of campus life: in the classroom, on college property, in residential facilities, at an off-campus sponsored activity, or conduct that may occur off campus
  • The Code operates preponderance evidence
  • Disciplinary records are maintained by the local campus Discipline Officer in accordance with college records and retention policy
  • Students at TSTC neither lose the rights nor escape the responsibilities of citizenship. They are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with local, state, federal, and international law and the Code as authorized by the TSTC Board of Regents
  • The college disciplinary process will proceed during the pendency of any related criminal or civil proceedings and will not be subject to reconsideration, even if related charges are dismissed or otherwise resolved
  • Student Clubs/Organizations are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the college’s function as an educational institution. Student Clubs/Organizations must observe all international, federal, state or local laws and college policies, including the Code, both on campus and off campus

Prohibited Conduct

The Discipline Officer may initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student for violations of the Code. Specific examples of prohibited conduct subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to, the following:

  •  Acts Violating Statewide Operating Standards (SOS), and College Policies.
  • Acts of Dishonesty
    • Intentionally furnishing false or misleading information to the college or a college official.
    • Forging, altering, falsifying or misusing any college document or instrument of identification.
    • Intentionally interfering with any election process.
  • Acts Affecting the College Community
    • Engaging in disruptive behavior or activity, including but not limited to such acts defined in the Texas Education Code.
    • Failure to comply with the reasonable directive(s) of a college employee which includes Resident/Community Assistants.
    • Failure to heed an official summons within the designated time or failure to identify oneself to an institutional representative in response to a request.
    • Violation of a rule or regulation relating to residence life policies, a breach of a housing contract/lease or motor vehicle regulations.
    • Gambling in any form.
    • Failure to fulfill financial or contractual obligation(s) to the college.
  • Acts Affecting Property or Service
    • Theft or attempted theft of property or services.
    • Possession of stolen or lost property.
    • Destruction or damage to college property or the property of others.
    • Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of access devices to college property or the property of others.
    • Unauthorized entry onto or use of college or individual’s premises, equipment or resources.
  • Acts Affecting Computing Resources or Technology
    • Unauthorized access, use or misuse of college computing resources, systems or data.
    • Disrupting college computer operations or the availability of computing resources.
    • Using another individual’s identification, password or other credential.
    • Unauthorized use or sharing of copyrighted materials through electronic means.
    • Initiating or contributing to attacks against external networks or college systems.
    • Use of college computers to access lewd, offensive or pornographic material.
    • Transporting copies of college programs, records or data to another person or computer without written authorization.
    • Using the college’s computer resources for personal gain.
  • Acts Affecting Health, Safety or Welfare
    • Engaging in physical or verbal abuse, domestic violence, threats, intimidation, harassment, bullying, coercion, physical/electronic stalking or any other conduct that threatens or endangers the health, safety or welfare of another person.
    • Possession, use, sale or distribution of any quantity, whether usable or not, of an illicit drug (including synthetic), narcotic, controlled substance, illegal drug paraphernalia or equipment. This includes medication not prescribed to oneself.
    • Public intoxication, use, possession or distribution of an alcoholic beverage(s).
    • Being under the influence of alcohol, an illicit drug, narcotic, synthetic, or controlled substance.
    • Providing minors or any other individual intoxicating beverages in violation of any state, federal or local law.
    • Hazing, as defined by the Texas Education Code, including engaging in, soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or voluntarily submitting in behavior that could cause physical, mental or emotional harm to another or is considered humiliating or degrading.
    • Engaging in acts of gender discrimination, sexual misconduct, abuse, assault or harassment.
    • Engaging in speech, either orally or in writing that is directed to incite, produce lawless action, or intimidate another.
    • Possession or use of a dangerous weapon, defined as any instrument, device or object capable of inflicting physical harm. Examples of a dangerous weapon include firearms,   explosive. devices, dangerous chemicals, knives, fireworks, compressed air guns, pellet guns, stun or zip guns, tasers, BB guns, paint ball guns, batons, nun chucks, etc.
    • Misuse or tampering of fire or other life safety equipment or interfering with any college or public safety function.
    • Reporting a false emergency or threat.
    • Smoking inside campus buildings or designated nonsmoking areas.
  • Acts Violating Law
    • Engaging in conduct that constitutes a criminal offense under international, federal, state or local law whether  convicted or not, and regardless of whether the incident happened on campus or off campus.
    • Breaching the peace; or abetting or inciting another to breach the peace.
    • Disorderly conduct as defined by state law or any activity that includes, but may not be limited to: physical or verbal abuse, injury to another person, indecent displays or use of indecent language, non-consensual acts of  sexual contact/assault or disrespect for the rights and privileges of others.
  • Facilitating Acts of Misconduct
    • Planning or facilitating an act of misconduct.
    • Being present during the commission of an act of misconduct, supporting/encouraging the act or not reporting the act to the appropriate officials.
  • Acts interfering with the Disciplinary Process
    • Failure to comply with a request to schedule and attend a conference with the Discipline Officer within a designated time.
    • Failure to comply with sanction(s) imposed under the Code or by the College.
    • Falsifying or misrepresenting information at any stage of the disciplinary process.
    • Knowingly initiating a false complaint to a college official.
    • Attempting to discourage a person’s participation in or use of the disciplinary process.
    • Harassment, intimidation, coercion, bribery, or retaliation against a college official or person involved in the disciplinary process.
  • Acts of Academic Dishonesty
  • Includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, any act designed to give unfair advantage to the student or any attempt to commit such an act.
    • “Cheating” on academic work includes, but is not limited to:
      • Copying from another student’s test paper or other academic work.
      • Possession, during a test, of material, such as class notes, that is not authorized by the person giving the test. The presence of textbooks is a violation if they have been prohibited by the person giving the test.
      • Collaborating, without authority, or seeking aid from another student during an examination or assignment, or in preparing academic work.
      • Using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of an un-administered test, test key, homework solution or computer program.
      • Substituting for another student or permitting another student to substitute for oneself to take a test or  prepare other academic work.
      • Paying, offering money or other valuables to, or coercing another person to obtain an un-administered test, test key, homework solution or computer program, or Information about an un-administered test, test key, homework solution or computer program.
      • Falsifying laboratory reports and/or other academic work offered for credit.
      • Taking, keeping, misplacing or damaging property of the college, or of another, if the student knows or reasonably should know that an unfair academic advantage would be gained by such conduct.
      • Failing to comply with instructions given by a person administering a test.
      • Discussing the contents of an examination with another student who will take the examination.
      • Divulging the contents of an examination for the purpose of preserving questions for use by another when the instructor has designated that the examination is not to be removed from the examination room or not to be returned to the student.
      • Misrepresenting facts, including providing false grades or resumes for the purpose of obtaining academic or financial benefit or injuring another student academically or financially.
    • “Plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift or obtaining by any means another’s work and the submission of it as one’s own academic work offered for credit.
    • “Collusion” means the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing academic or lab assignments  offered for credit, or collaboration with another person to commit a violation of any scholastic-dishonesty rule.
    • “Falsifying academic records” includes, but is not limited to, the alteration of grades or other falsification of an academic record such as grade report, test paper, registration material or reporting form used by the college.

Procedures for discipline due to academic dishonesty will be the same as disciplinary actions specified herein except that in an academic dishonesty action, the case first will be considered and reviewed by the faculty member. The faculty member is also responsible for the initial conference with the student where the student tells his/her side of the story. The faculty member must fill out an Academic Dishonesty Reporting Form and submit it to the Discipline Officer. Further disciplinary sanctions may occur if circumstances warrant. If the student does not accept the decision of the faculty member, he/she may request a Review with the Student Conduct Review Board. Procedures for the review are identical to any other Code violation.

Disciplinary Procedures

The Discipline Officer will assess all suspected and reported violations of the Code. Complaints regarding alleged misconduct should be submitted to Student Rights and Responsibilities as soon as possible after the alleged violation.
After completing an initial inquiry the Discipline Officer may:

  • Dismiss the allegations as unfounded.
  • Summon the student for a conference.
  • Upon completion of the conference, dismiss the allegations or impose disciplinary sanctions.
  • Impose immediate interim action if the continued presence of the student poses a danger to persons, property, or disruption of the academic process of the college.

Notice of Complaint

  • Deliver a notice summarizing the alleged misconduct either by mail, hand delivery, or electronic means. All students are responsible for maintaining a current physical mailing address with the college and be aware if documents are sent electronically the student’s official TSTC e-mail address will be used.
  • Give notification of a date that the student has to complete the conference by and if not completed the student  automatically waives his/her right to a conference and the Discipline Officer will make a decision based solely on the information at hand.

Notice of Disciplinary Findings

  • If it is determined that the greater weight of evidence or preponderance of evidence indicates that a student engaged in a violation of the code, then the Discipline Officer will deliver a Notice of Disciplinary Findings.
  • Notice of Disciplinary Findings will also include information regarding the Review process.
  • This notice will inform the student of the findings, any sanctions and/or restrictions imposed, and the student’s right to a review if applicable.

Sanctions for Misconduct

  • Admonition – oral or written reprimand.
  • Discretionary Sanctions – work assignments, service to the college, etc.
  • Disciplinary Probation – indicates that the student has engaged in unacceptable behavior and that further violation may result in more severe action. Additional conditions may be imposed such as counseling, educational seminars/ courses, etc.
  • Withholding of grades, official transcript, certificate of completion, or degree.
  • Suspension of Rights and Privileges – including, but not limited to, participation in intramural/recreation center, extracurricular activities, election to office, restrictive building/ area access, housing or visitation privileges, etc.
  • Removal or bar from college housing facilities.
  • Administratively withdrawn from a course(s).
  • Bar Against Readmission – for a specific period of time, and/or drop from current enrollment or drop from enrollment in one or more courses.
  • Restitution – reimbursement for damages to or misappropriation of property either monetarily or by specific duties.
  • Failing grade or other academic penalty.
  • Denial of Degree – this will become part of the student’s permanent record.
  • Revocation of a degree, grade, or certification – this will become part of the student’s permanent record.
  • Suspension – removal from the college for a specified period of time. A suspended student will be administratively withdrawn from TSTC, prohibited from entering college premises, and blocked from future registration until reviewed by the Discipline Officer. This sanction will become a part of the student’s permanent record and may be removed at the completion of the sanction, at the student’s request.
  • Expulsion – permanent removal from the college. An expelled student will be administratively withdrawn from TSTC  and prohibited from entering college premises. This will become part of the student’s permanent record.
  • Other penalties as seen fit by the appropriate college administrator.

Review Process

  • Only sanctions that include restrictions, loss of privileges, withholding/revocation of grades or degrees, suspension, or expulsion may be reviewed by the Student Conduct Review Board (Board). All Title IX cases will follow the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Title IX Review Board process.
  • A student has three (3) working days to request a review to the Review Administrator.
  • The student will be notified within five (5) working days of the time, date, and location of the review by the Review Administrator. Any delays due to extenuating circumstances will be documented and all parties will be notified accordingly.
  • At least two (2) working days prior to the hearing, a list of witnesses and documentation must be turned into the Review Administrator.
  • The Discipline Officer will present the College’s case followed by the student’s presentation. Each Party will have the opportunity to present testimony and evidence in support of their position. The Board will be allowed to question both parties and request additional information or clarification.
  • Review procedures will be confidential and closed to the public.

Student Conduct Review Board

  • Consists of five (5) members of the campus community: chairperson (who also serves as the Review Administrator), three (3) faculty/staff and two (2) students. The chairperson and the faculty and staff members will be appointed by the local Campus President. Designated students selected to serve on the Board must be currently enrolled and must be in good disciplinary standing.
  • The Chairperson will direct proceedings of the review and participate fully in all reviews and participate fully to include voting.
  • The objective of the Board is to review the findings and sanctions originally imposed by the Discipline Officer. They may not impose more severe penalties.
  • The decision will be made by majority vote. All votes will be recorded by secret ballot, tabulated by the chair.
  • The findings and conclusions of the Board are final.
  • The Chairperson will have three (3) working days to provide written results of the Review to all involved.

General Rules

  • Reviews are informal proceedings and traditional rules of the courtroom evidence do not apply, but the Discipline Officer must  show substantial evidence and that the sanction imposed was reasonable based on the circumstances.
  • An advisor or support person may be present for the review, but may not make statements, represent the accused or question witnesses.
  • If a student intends to be accompanied by an attorney for the review, the attorney will not be permitted to present  evidence or argument before the Board. The college reserves the right to counsel in the event it is deemed necessary. The time frame for scheduling a Review may be extended if the college has to retain counsel.
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