STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES AND SANCTIONS
All disciplinary sanctions fall under the direction of the Dean of Students. When a student is confronted with a possible violation of rules requiring disciplinary action, the student will be given a notice, either oral or in print, directing him/her to appear before the discipline officer at a specified date and time. Failure to appear is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may result in further sanctions. The discipline officer will determine the circumstances of an alleged violation by investigating the report of the violation and interviewing the implicated student(s) and other potentially involved parties.
If a student does not respond to the request for the initial or subsequent hearing(s), a decision determining responsibility may be based on the information that is currently available. If it is determined that no violation has occurred, or if there is an insufficient amount of evidence to meet the preponderance of evidence standard, the allegations will be dismissed. If it is determined that the preponderance of evidence standard is met, the student will be sanctioned.
All sanctions must be approved by the Dean of Students. Sanctioned students have the right to appeal the decision of the discipline officer. The student must submit their appeal to the Dean of Students no later than 5:00 p.m. within two business days.
The Vice President of Student Services, the Dean of Students, the Director of Residence Life,or the campus judicial officer may impose misconduct sanctions. The following penalties may be imposed singularly or in combination upon individuals, groups or organizations and may be applied temporarily as interim safety measures:
- Administer a verbal or written warning to the student.
- Require the student attend counseling sessions.
- Cancel residence hall contract and/or meal ticket.
- Impose disciplinary probation for a definite period of time with the condition that future violations may result in disciplinary suspension.
- Prohibit a student from representing the college, on or off campus, in any recognized college-sponsored event.
- Withhold an official transcript or degree.
- Prohibit readmission.
- Require restitution, whether monetary or through specific duties, such as; reimbursement for damage(s) to or misappropriation of college, student or employee property.
- Designate a student ineligible for student grant, loan, or scholarship.
- Expel or suspend a student from Navarro College. No student who has been removed for disciplinary reasons shall be permitted on the College campus during the period of expulsion or suspension without prior written approval from the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Services.
- Withdraw a student from all currently enrolled coursework without refund of tuition and fees. No student who has been withdrawn for disciplinary reasons shall be permitted on the College campus during the period in which the student is ineligible to return without prior written approval from the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Services.
- Educational discipline sanctions may include work assignments, essay writing, community service, behavioral contract, administrative referral, letter of apology, restitution, or other educational assignment.
- Impose other sanctions as outlined in the departmental handbook for specific programs including but not limited to: fire/EMS, nursing and police academy departments.
- Limit access to and/or prohibit students from certain areas of the campus.
- Administer other sanctions as per the discretion of the Vice President for Student Services or Dean of Students.
Failure to meet the requirements of any notice by a college official may result in action being taken by the discipline officer apart from action for the alleged violation.
Failure to appear is a violation of the Code of Conduct and may result in further sanctions and a hold will remain on the student’s enrollment pending student cooperation. Once informed of the allegations against the student, they may choose not to dispute and will be sanctioned appropriately. If the student chooses to dispute the allegations, the discipline officer will determine the circumstances of an alleged violation by investigating the facts and interviewing the implicated student and other potentially involved parties. If it is determined that no violation has occurred, or if there is an insufficient amount of evidence to meet the preponderance of evidence standard, the allegations will be dismissed. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the student will be sanctioned appropriately. All sanctions are approved by the Dean of Students. Sanctioned students have the right to appeal the decision of the discipline officer per the Disciplinary Appeal Procedures.
NOTE: In cases where a student receives a sanction of probation, suspension, or expulsion, a copy of the confirmation letter received by the student may be forwarded to the parent or guardian of the student in conjunction with the Buckley Amendment and in compliance with FERPA guidelines.
Additionally, state law mandates that the student’s transcript a) may be withheld pending investigation and b) include a notation regarding ineligibility to return due to disciplinary processes (e.g., withdrawal, suspension, expulsion) – TX HB 449 and 1735 (2019).
DUE PROCESS AND TIMEFRAME
Any student accused of violating the Code of Student Conduct should have the right to expect consistent and fair procedures for resolving their situation. Navarro College’s Office of the Vice President of Student Services provides oversight for all student discipline procedures as well as any judiciary appeal process. A reasonably prompt timeframe is maintained for all procedures and varies between one week and thirty days with extensions dependent on such factors as the number of witnesses or participants, the involvement of court or criminal proceedings, subsequent findings or additional incidents, and the nature and extent of such incident(s).
With a primary concern for student safety and from the start of the adjudication process and consistent with Title IX standards, both the complainant and the accused are provided protection against retaliatory harassment, may receive tentative immunity for concurrent lesser offenses, may file a criminal complaint against the other student, and may receive counseling as needed. Prior to an initial hearing, the completion of the adjudication process, or an appeals hearing, if it is decided that the accused student has behaved in a manner that significantly endangers the health and safety to the community college and/or the educational process, the student may be removed from housing and/or the campus until such times as a scheduled hearing is conducted.
Furthermore, all student-based decisions made by administrators, residence life, counseling, authorities and/or campus security may be appealed to the Vice President of Student Services who is the final authority in these procedures. As referenced in the Student Grievances Procedures, the role of the District President in these procedures is not to decide the case or appeal thereof, but merely to determine whether the administrative chain of command has adhered to Navarro College procedures.
DISCIPLINARY APPEAL PROCEDURES
After an original decision is rendered, the student shall be given a letter stating the charge(s), sanction(s), and the procedure if the student chooses to appeal.* If the student wishes to appeal the decision, the appeal must be received in writing to the Dean of Students office no later than 5:00 p.m. within two business days.*
The Dean of Students will determine if the appeal letter has merit. The student will be notified within one business day whether or not their appeal has been granted. If the appeal is granted, the Dean of Students will appoint the appeals committee, facilitate the hearing; and prepare all supporting information for the appeals committee. Failure to comply with the applied sanctions pending the outcome of the disciplinary appeal may result in further sanctions.
The appeals procedure is a process, which takes place in a college setting, and serves as a community of individuals working together for the benefit of the student and the College environment. Within this framework, the institution embodies the laws of the nation and state, but maintains the authority to govern itself. As such, it produces its own format for adjudicating differences, using the laws of the land as guidelines. These appeal procedures serve to provide due process in principle and fact. In practice, the procedures are not viewed or intended to be courts; rather, they are procedures with hearings to air differences and seek solutions within the expectations of the academic community.
In light of these principles, individuals may have witnesses for the Appeals Board to interview, but please note, that they should only be individuals that were present during the incident (as opposed to character references). In addition, if Navarro College utilizes an attorney to present the case, the student shall have similar right to utilize an attorney. Representation by legal counsel is not required, but may be permitted according to Navarro College Student Grievance Procedures. If counsel is requested, the attorney’s purpose is to serve as an Advisor to the student. Should the student plan to have an attorney present, the institution must be informed no less than 24 hours prior to the appeal hearing.
Only the student, legal counsel (if approved for student advising only), a representative of the college, and an impartial recording secretary may be present during the appeal hearing. Any witness testifying will appear before the committee only while testifying. The committee will render a final recommendation to the Vice President of Student Services that:
- The original decision be upheld; or
- The original decision be reversed; or
- The severity of the decision or sanction may be modified (increased or decreased).
At the conclusion of the hearing, a letter will be given to the student within three business days and should state the decision of the Vice President of Student Services, and the stipulations, such as a timeframe for vacating the campus, and/or instructions for processing the proper withdrawal papers, length of time for any probation, any restrictions (e.g., residence life, education, activities, intramurals), and/or other relevant information.
As referenced in the Student Grievances Procedures, the role of the District President in these procedures is not to decide the case or appeal thereof, but merely to determine whether the administrative chain of command has adhered to Navarro College procedures.
Listed below are additional guidelines for the appeal process.
- An opportunity will be provided for the accused to present his/her own case and to present other evidence in support of the case.
- The right to hear evidence and to ask questions of witnesses, through Navarro College staff, must be allowed.
- Navarro College has the burden of proving its case by preponderance of evidence. The preponderance of evidence means proof that leads a reasonable person to find the facts at issue are more likely to have occurred than not.
- A determination of the facts will be based only on the evidence presented.
- A student may not be compelled to testify on his/her own behalf if the student chooses not to testify. If the student does testify, he/she may be fully, indirectly, cross-examined.
- After hearing all the evidence, the committee shall determine by a majority vote, or if a hearing officer is used in lieu of a committee (as with the sanction of probation), the hearing officer shall determine if the student violated the policy. The committee by majority vote shall recommend or assess the appropriate penalty.
- A written statement will be available for the student no later than 3 business days following the proceedings. In addition to the statements from the appeals board, the right to make a record of the hearing at an individual’s own expense should be preserved. Navarro College will provide a recording of the proceeding by electronic means, or by notes or minutes taken by an impartial recording secretary. The record will be retained by the institution for a period of three years. Notification to administrators, staff and instructors may be distributed to indicate that the student has been removed from classes if the student’s suspension is upheld by the appeal process.
The above constitutes the minimum constitutionally mandated due process. In addition to these guaranteed rights, the following will be Navarro College’s practice to ensure fairness in serious disciplinary offenses:
- The right to appeal to a higher authority within the institution.
- The right to cross-examine witnesses, not directly, but through the appeal committee chair.
- The right to have counsel at a hearing, not to participate, but to advise.
*Please note, for sexual misconduct cases, please see Navarro College Administrative Procedures: Section FFE.1 Sexual Misconduct Procedures for important distinctions in processes (e.g. written charges, reporting options, both parties present for appeals, letters provided to both parties, information shared with community).
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS
Any disciplinary action taken against a student enrolled in Navarro College may result in levying against that student any one of several disciplinary sanctions as listed in the Student Handbook under the Student Code of Conduct section. Whenever disciplinary sanctions are levied against a student, he/she is expected to fully comply. Any student who does not fully comply with his/her disciplinary sanctions is subject to one or more of the following consequences:
- Immediate dismissal from Navarro College
- Prohibited from re-enrolling in Navarro College
- Having all college records placed on hold.
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that students are accountable and responsible for their decisions and actions to promote civility and ethical behavior among Navarro College students and to sensitize students to the fact that every decision carries a consequence.
UPDATED: April 20, 2020