Any student violating this policy shall be subject to discipline up to suspension/expulsion, in accordance with College policy. Under supervision of the Vice President of Student Services & Enrollment Management, the Executive Director of Student Life serves as the chief conduct officer and investigator for non-academic and general code of conduct violations. In certain instances, the College may refer cases to law enforcement authorities for prosecution under criminal code.
In cases of academic dishonesty, the instructor has the authority to impose appropriate scholastic penalties. Complaints or appeals of disciplinary sanctions may be filed in accordance with the college due process procedure.
Reporting a Violation
Incidents of unacceptable student behavior where disciplinary action may be appropriate are to be reported to the Executive Director of Student Life or the Director of Student Housing. In the case where such student behavior is a violation of public law or is causing a threat to the safety of the student, any other person, or to property, campus and/or local police officials should be notified immediately.
Student Conduct Investigation & Summoning a Student
A preliminary review of the facts of the case will be conducted to determine if sufficientevidence exists to require a meeting with the student(s) involved. If it is determined that further explanation is warranted, the student(s) involved will be summoned by email to a meeting where the alleged violations will be reviewed with the Director of Student Housing, the Executive Director of Student Life, or another appropriate conduct official.
It is the student’s responsibility to open, read, and act on all emails and correspondence related to a conduct investigation. Failure to comply with a summons and other attempts to contact the student may result in the student forfeiting his/her right to the disciplinary process. In most cases, failure to comply will result in the student being found in violation of the original violation. The student may also be found in violation of ‘Failure to comply with directions of college officials acting in the performance of their duties,’ which may result in further disciplinary action.
During the meeting with the Director or representative(s), the student will be given an opportunity to provide their account of the events in questions. The Director or representative(s) will meet with the student (and a translator if necessary). The student is allowed to bring one advisor of the student’s choosing to discipline meetings or hearings, however, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the student. Following all necessary investigation and meetings, a decision will be made.
In deliberating a response, the Director of Student Housing, the Executive Director of Student Life or representative will make a decision based on what he/she considers reasonable evidence, including, but not limited to, testimony from witnesses, written statements and other relevant information. When evaluating conflicting accounts or statements, the Director of Student Housing, the Executive Director of Student Life or representative will determine in good faith which version is more credible. A student may be found responsible or not responsible for a violation. Responsibility is determined by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not determination).
Sanctioning a Student
Authority for determining disciplinary responses, requirements or conditions rests with the Executive Director of Student Life and/or the Vice President for Student Services & Enrollment Management, although other college officials may make decisions in particular cases. Disciplinary sanctions will be made at the lowest level possible.
Repeated or aggravated violations may result in further disciplinary sanctions, especially in cases where violations occur while a student is on probation. A student’s entire disciplinary record will be considered when decisions related to sanctions are made.
The sanctions listed below may not be all-encompassing but represent typical outcomes. The Director of Student Housing, the Executive Director of Student Life and/or representatives are given the discretion to assign sanctions not listed, as deemed necessary and appropriate. Click here for the Sanction Guide .
Formal Warning: A student served with a formal warning is given an official written notice, which carries the message that continued or repeated violations may result in more severe sanctions.
Fine: A financial penalty assessed and recorded in an official written notice. A charge will be made to the student’s account in the amount of a fine determined at the discretion of the Executive Director of Student Life or other college official.
Administrative Probation: A student placed on administrative probation is given an official written notice that defines the terms of the probation period. Terms of probation may include other sanctions, including, but not limited to loss of privilege to participate in college programs, organizations, or activities for a specified period of time. Probation carries the message that continued or repeated violations, during or after the probation period, may result in additional discipline up to suspension/expulsion.
Loss of Privilege: A student may be restricted from participating in college-sponsored activities, including, but not limited to social clubs and organizations, participation in or attendance at athletic competitions, and use of campus facilities.
Suspension: A student placed on suspension is given an official written notice of termination of his/her status as a student. Suspensions are for a specified period of time (usually for one long semester and/or up to a full academic year). A student living on campus who has been suspended will be informed by written notice of the time within which the student is expected to leave campus residence halls. Notification of suspension will also be sent via certified mail to the permanent address on file.
Summary Suspension: A suspension may be immediately enforced if it is determined that the student creates a continuing disturbance to the learning process or creates a safety hazard to himself, herself or others. In these circumstances, the student must leave campus immediately and remain off campus during the investigation phase and/or while an appeal is pending. The student may be permitted to return to campus only to participate in the appeal process, reporting directly to the meeting location at the specified time.
Expulsion: Expulsion from the College is a permanent termination of student status. Expelled students will be granted an automatic appeal with the disciplinary appeals committee. Notification of expulsion will also be sent via certified mail to the permanent address on file.
Additional Conditions: The College reserves the right to impose additional requirements and conditions on students in the disciplinary process as determined by the Executive Director of Student Life or, upon appeal by the Vice President or Appeals Committee.
Medical or psychological counseling treatment and/or assessment by off-campus professionals, including but not limited to drug and alcohol testing, will be at the student’s expense.
Procedures for Violations by Student Organizations
Registered student organizations and groups may be found in violation of the college policies, and the group may be held responsible, either individually or collectively, for violations. Alleged violations will be referred to and investigated by the Executive Director of Student Life or representative. Disciplinary responses and sanctioning for a student group may include revocation of the group’s recognition as a campus group or loss of privileges afforded to student groups. Organizations will be afforded the same hearing and appeal procedures provided for individual students.
A student has a right to due process and to appeal decisions made by the Executive Director of Student Life or any campus official carrying out the disciplinary process. Under normal circumstances, enforcement of disciplinary responses will be deferred pending the outcome of an appeal.
Appeals will only be granted on the following grounds:
- The disciplinary sanction is unreasonably disproportionate to the violation (including consideration of the student’s prior offenses or willingness to cooperate in the disciplinary process.
- The disciplinary process as outlined in the Student Handbook was not followed, and thus affected the student’s right to receive a fair hearing.
- The disciplinary decision was not supported by reasonable evidence.
- New evidence that would have significantly altered the outcome of the case has become available since the initial decision.
Disciplinary Appeal Process
The procedure for an appeal to the Executive Director of Student Life or higher is as follows:
- Within ten class days from the date of decision, the student will file a written notice of appeal with the Executive Director of Student Life, Vice President, Appeals Committee, President, or Board of Trustees (in that order), detailing the basis of the appeal.
- Within ten class days from the date the notice is received, the appropriate officer or committee will meet with the student and appropriate witnesses.
- The Executive Director, Vice President, Committee, President, or Board will make a decision based on the facts of the case. The hearing authority will determine to uphold, reverse, or otherwise modify the previous decision. The student and the initial hearing officer will be notified of the decision. A decision by the Board of Trustees will be final, as the student will have exhausted all levels of due process.
Disciplinary Appeals Committee
The disciplinary appeals committee shall be convened:
- On request of a student appealing a penalty other than expulsion. The request must be filed in writing, on a form provided by the College District, within ten College District business days of the date of the administration’s written notice.
- Automatically, if the chief student services officer or designee determines that a student committed misconduct warranting expulsion.
The disciplinary appeals committee shall be comprised of at least three College District employees and a minimum of one current Odessa College student. The members of the disciplinary appeals committee and the committee chair shall be designated according to procedures developed by the College President. All members of the disciplinary appeals committee shall be eligible to vote during the hearing.
Notice of Hearing
The chief student services officer or designee shall notify the student by letter of the date, time, and place for the hearing. Unless the student and the chief student services officer or designee otherwise agree, the hearing shall take place within a reasonable time period, not to exceed ten College District business days after the date of the student’s request for the hearing or the chief student services officer or designee’s determination that the student should be expelled.
The notice shall:
- Direct the student to appear on the date and at the time and place specified.
- Advise the student of his or her rights:
- To have a private hearing.
- To be assisted by an advisor or legal counsel at the hearing.
- To call witnesses, request copies of evidence in the College District’s possession, and offer evidence and agreement on his or her own behalf.
- To make an audio recording of the proceedings, after first notifying the chief student services officer or designee in advance of the hearing, or, at the student’s own expense, to have a stenographer present at the hearing to make a stenographic transcript of the hearing.
- To ask questions of each witness who testifies against the student.
- Contain the names of witnesses who will testify against the student and a description of documentary and other evidence that will be offered against the student.
- Contain a description of the allegations of misconduct in sufficient detail to enable the student to prepare his or her defense against the charges.
- State the proposed punishment or range of punishments that may be imposed.
Failure to Appear
The disciplinary appeals committee may impose appropriate punishment upon a student who fails without good cause to appear for the hearing; for purposes of assessing punishment, the committee may proceed with the hearing in the student’s absence.
Procedure of Hearing
The hearing shall proceed as follows:
- The chair shall read the description of the misconduct.
- The chair shall inform the student of his or her rights.
- The designated official or representative shall present the College District’s case.
- The student or representative shall present the student’s defense.
- The designated College District official or representative shall present rebuttal evidence.
- The committee members may ask questions of witnesses testifying on behalf of the student or the College District.
- The designated official or representative shall summarize and argue the College District’s case.
- The student or representative shall summarize and argue his or her case.
- The designated official or representative shall have an opportunity for rebuttal argument.
- The committee members shall deliberate in closed session. The committee members shall vote on the issue of whether or not the student violated College District policies and procedures, including the rules for student conduct.
- If the committee finds the student did commit misconduct, the committee shall determine whether the penalty assessed, or proposed in the case of suspension, by the chief student services officer or designee is appropriate and, if necessary, shall assess a different or additional penalty.
- The committee chair shall communicate the decision and any findings of facts in support of the committee’s decision to the student in writing within ten College District business days of the hearing. The notice shall include procedures for appealing the committee’s decision to the College President.
Evidence shall be handled in accordance with the following:
- Legal rules of evidence do not apply; the committee chair may admit evidence or exclude evidence considered to be irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious.
- At the hearing, the College District shall be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the charges are true.
- A student may not be compelled to testify.
The committee shall determine if a violation has occurred and assess an appropriate penalty based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing.
All hearings shall be recorded by the College District. A stenographic digest of the recording shall be made if needed for an appeal, and, on request, the student shall be given a copy of the digest. The student or the student’s representative may listen to the tape recording and compare it with the digest.
The Executive Director of Student Life retains responsibility for the maintenance, storage, and release of student records related to disciplinary proceedings in keeping with FERPA. Students may request to review, edit, and challenge disciplinary records in accordance to FERPA guidelines as outlined in this handbook.