Student Responsibility for Catalog Changes
Each student is responsible for being familiar with the information and policies appearing in the College catalog. The College catalog is available at www.nicc.edu/catalog. Northeast Iowa Community College reserves the right to change policies or procedures or revise the information contained in the catalog at any time. Students should refer to the online catalog for the most current College policies and processes. Failure to read the policies and procedures will not be considered an excuse for non-compliance. Should the institution feel obligated for reasons including, but not limited to, low enrollment or financial constraints, the College reserves the right to terminate any courses or programs from its offerings. The College reserves the right to change policies or revise curricula as necessary due to unanticipated circumstances.
Student Conduct Code and Procedures
As an academic institution, Northeast Iowa Community College exists for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students and the general well-being of society. Membership in this academic community places a special obligation on all members to preserve an atmosphere conducive to the freedom to teach and to learn. Freedom to teach and to learn depends on opportunities and conditions in and outside the classroom that foster respect, integrity, honor and civil conduct.
Northeast Iowa Community College defines civility as the art of treating others, as well as ourselves, with respect, dignity and care. Civility is demonstrated when we are sensitive to the impact that our communications, practices and behaviors have on others, and when we acknowledge each person’s self-worth and unique contributions to the community as a whole. All members of the College community, students, faculty, staff and visitors have the right to work and learn in a safe environment which is civil in all aspects of human relations.
All students are expected to comply with College policies, rules and regulations and not violate municipal, county, state or Federal law. Through voluntary entrance to the College, students indicate a willingness to adhere to the policies, rules and regulations of the College and acknowledge the right of the College to initiate appropriate disciplinary actions. Instructors are responsible for maintaining a classroom environment conducive to teaching and learning, and therefore, may remove any student from class for disruptive behavior or other disciplinary reasons.
NICC students are responsible for knowing the information, policies and procedures outlined in this document. The College reserves the right to make changes to this code as necessary and once those changes are posted online, are in effect. Students are encouraged to check online at www.nicc.edu/catalog for the current versions of all policies and procedures. Hard copies of the Student Conduct Code are available to students upon request from a conduct administrator.
Although emphasis is placed on education and guidance in cases of misconduct, the College may take disciplinary action and/or civil and criminal actions against a person disrupting College business or processes in order to ensure the collective good of the community and to protect the rights of its members. The scope of authority of the College includes dismissing a student or visitor whose conduct is unsuited to the purpose of the College.
NICC retains the authority to immediately remove a student from an on-the-job training site, a clinical area, an observation, a class offered through any format, a student organization or the College property when a student’s grades, performance, conduct or health may have a detrimental effect on the student, the College, other students, faculty or staff, customers, clients or patients of the cooperating agency. Students are responsible for all communication, including conduct related notices, delivered to their College email address.
Definition of Terms
- Academic Integrity Report: A document used by the College that identifies an alleged academic violation of the Student Conduct Code and details the facts that constitute the violation.
- Administrative Decision or Sanction(s): The disciplinary action taken by the conduct administrator (or designee) and/ or the Student Conduct Hearing Board.
- College Administrator: Any individual or group employed by the College and given authority to make administrative decisions on behalf of the College.
- Conduct Administrator: A person employed by the College (or designee) in an administrative role with responsibility for and management of policies, protocol and processes upholding the Student Conduct Code.
- Board of Trustees: The Northeast Iowa Community College Board of Trustees.
- Business Day: Any day on which the College is open for business. This excludes holidays, All College Day and any weather or emergency related closings.
- The College: Northeast Iowa Community College.
- College Expulsion: Permanent separation from the College. The student is banned from College property and the student’s presence at any College-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be reinforced with a trespass action as necessary.
- College Property: The College property, College facilities, or the College, which includes all the land, buildings, facilities, and other property, real or personal, in the possession of or owned, leased, used, controlled or managed by the College.
- Complainant: A member of the College community who has brought alleged violations under the Student Conduct Code against any student, group of students or student organization.
- Comprehensive Investigation: A comprehensive investigation takes place once it is determined through a preliminary investigation that there is reasonable cause to pursue a misconduct charge.
- Student Conduct File: The documents, recordings, evidence, etc. that pertains to the student conduct process.
- Due Process: Due process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice of an alleged conduct violation and a conference or hearing before an objective decision-maker(s).
- Faculty Member: A person hired by the College to conduct academic instruction.
- Incident of Concern Report: A document used by the College that identifies a personal concern or alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code and details the facts that constitute the violation.
- Jurisdiction: The College authority governing student conduct.
- Policy: Written regulations of the College supplemented by consistent written regulations of the College found in the catalog, website or other official College publications.
- Preliminary Investigation: The initial review of available evidence leading to a decision of whether to pursue the investigation further based on reasonable cause.
- President: The chief executive officer of the College.
- Reasonable Cause: A fact or circumstance that justifies a reasonable suspicion.
- Responding Student: A student, group of students or a student organization that have been issued charges of a student conduct code violation.
- Staff Member: A person hired by the College to provide service and support to students and the academic mission of the College.
- Student: A person taking courses from the institution, full-time and part-time, credit and non-credit, studying in any method of delivery and includes any person who has applied for admission to the College.
- Student Advocate: A person who may attend a Student Educational Conference or Student Conduct Hearing in support of the responding student.
- Student Conduct Hearing: When formal charges are filed and the charges are not settled informally or in an Educational Conference, or if the formal charges lead to an Immediate, Interim Suspension from the College due to a perceived significant threat to the College community, the case will be heard by the Student Conduct Hearing Board.
- Student Conduct Educational Conference: When determined that there is sufficient evidence to pursue a comprehensive investigation and formal charges are filed, the Conduct Administrator may hold an Educational Conference with the responding student. The charges may be settled informally, may lead to conduct sanction(s) or may lead to a Conduct Hearing.
- Student Conduct Hearing Board: The Hearing Board consists of a chairperson and four members trained in conduct policy and procedure.
- Violation: An act, or omission to act, which violates a regulation, policy or administrative rule of the College or of the Board of Trustees.
Student Conduct Code Violations
The NICC Student Conduct Code applies to all students and is enforceable at the time of application to the College or at the time of enrollment for non-credit classes. NICC students are expected to conduct themselves as good citizens of the College community by respecting the rights and property of others. Any person who commits, attempts to commit or incites/aids others in committing acts of misconduct may be subject to disciplinary procedures by the College. The following student conduct violations may be grounds for disciplinary action except when explicitly authorized by the College. However, this is not an exhaustive list of all behaviors that may be subject to disciplinary actions.
- Substantial obstruction/disruption of learning, teaching, administrative processes, disciplinary procedures or any College authorized function/activity.
- Unauthorized occupation/use of (or unauthorized entry into) any College property.
- Conduct which threatens or endangers the health/safety of any person on the campus or at any College authorized function/activity including, but not limited to, actual, perceived or threats of physical harm, violence, sexual misconduct, sexual assault and in general harm or threats of harm to others.
- Knowingly furnishing a false report or false warning that College property may be subject to a bombing, fire, crime, emergency or other catastrophe.
- Theft, defacement or damage to College property or to any agency/person on College property.
- Interference with any lawful right of any person on the campus including the right of access to College property.
- Animals are not permitted on campus with the exception of registered service animals and/or as permitted with advanced approval by College administration.
- Unlawful use, abuse, possession, selling, distributing or purchasing of alcohol or alcoholic beverages, prescription or non-prescription drugs, other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.
- Use, possession or threats of or with firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, substances, materials, bombs, explosives, or explosive, incendiary devices prohibited by law is prohibited at or in any location owned, leased or used by the College or at any College sponsored activity or event. This prohibition includes possession in any vehicle at or in any location owned, leased or used by the College or at any College-sponsored activities or events. Weapons include, but are not limited to: knives, guns (including BB, paintball, pellet) firearms, tasers or simulations of any such items (devices that appear to be real). A weapon may also include an object designed for use or used in a manner to inflict harm to a human being or animal or to damage property.
- Off-campus conduct which directly and/or adversely disrupts or interferes with the educational or other functions of the College.
- Threatening behaviors such as verbal threats/abuse, humiliation, bullying, intimidation, stalking or harassment of any person of the College community sufficiently severe, persistent or objectively offensive that it interferes with the victim’s ability to benefit from the College’s educational programming or activities. (See Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy).
- Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, nonconsensual sexual contact, nonconsensual sexual intercourse and/ or sexual exploitation. (See Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy)
- Dishonesty in any form at any time prior to or during the college process. This includes forgery, falsification of records, misrepresentation and lying.
- Academic dishonesty in any form such as cheating and plagiarism.
- Unauthorized use or possession of property belonging to the College or any agency/person on campus.
- Inappropriate use of social media and/or college technology including cyber bullying. (See Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy).
- Iowa law and the Board of Trustees Policy prohibit smoking or use of tobacco products within college buildings, on college grounds and in vehicles. In addition to traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping are also prohibited. (See Tobacco-Free Policy).
- Evidence of violation of any local, state or federal law when substantiated through the College’s conduct process.
- Gambling at a College-sponsored activity without specific authorization by the administration.
- Failure to comply with the directives of College personnel acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to College officials when requested to do so.
- The use of vulgar, offensive, threatening or obscene language or behavior as determined by rational standards of civil behavior in a public environment.
- Operating a motor vehicle recklessly, so as to pose a threat to the safety of others, on campus or at College-sponsored activities off campus.
- Violation of College policies or regulations supplemental to the Student Conduct Code, which are published in any other official College publication.
- Retaliatory action taken by a responding individual or allied third party directed at an individual, group or any College representative.
- Abuse of or interference with the conduct process including, but not limited to: falsification, misrepresentation, concealing or destroying of any information related to a conduct case, attempting to discourage or influence another persons’ participation or use of the conduct process, failure to comply with the sanctions imposed as a result of the conduct process or harassment (verbal, physical, electronic) and/or intimidation of any member(s) of the conduct proceeding prior to, during or following a conduct case.
Campus visitors are expected to adhere to the same conduct expectations of the College community including civil, respectful and safe behaviors. NICC reserves the right to contact law enforcement officers to immediately remove anyone from College property who is deemed a threat to campus safety and security or who is disruptive to the learning and teaching environment. Such individuals will not be permitted to re-enter College property and will be notified in writing about the duration of their exclusion from the College property.
Violations of the Law
Alleged violations of federal, state and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Student Conduct Code. When an offense occurs under the Student Conduct Code jurisdiction, the College conduct process may go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident. The College Conduct process may occur before, during or after any other civil or criminal proceedings.
The College reserves the right to exercise its authority of an immediate, interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint. Complete grounds and procedure for the conduct sanction(s) of immediate, interim suspension are outlined later in this document.
Overview of the Conduct Process
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal or civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in the student conduct process 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 the student a written notice of a Conduct Code violation(s) and a conference or hearing before an objective decision-maker(s). No student will be found in violation of College policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanction(s) will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student. Although consistency and fairness to all parties is a priority, procedures and timelines may vary based on the severity and complexity of the case.
Student Conduct Authority
The student conduct process 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 College policies. When a student is unable to conform behavior to College expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share the privilege of participating in the College community. Student conduct/behavioral complaints, or other situations causing concern, may be reported through an Incident of Concern report which is located at www.nicc.edu/incidentofconcern. The College administration may act on a potential violation whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.
The NICC Student Conduct Code applies to behaviors that take place on any College property, at College-sponsored events and may apply off-campus when the College administration determines the off-campus conduct affects a substantial College interest such as:
- behavior that presents a danger or threat to the health or safety of the student or others; and/or,
- a situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or,
- a situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the College.
The Student Conduct Code also applies to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic mediums. Students should be aware that postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence is posted online. The College does not regularly search for this information, but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of College administration.
Code Interpretation and Revision
The conduct administrator is responsible for developing procedural rules for the administration of conduct conferences and hearings that are consistent with provisions in the Student Conduct Code. Minor modifications to procedure and timelines may be made that do not jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any questions of interpretation of the Student Conduct Code will be referred to the conduct administrator whose interpretation is final. The Student Conduct Code will be reviewed and revised annually and as needed, with a comprehensive revision process being conducted every three to five years. The most current version of the Student Conduct Code can be viewed in the College catalog at www.nicc.edu/catalog.
Formal Student Conduct Procedures
A person and/or the College may file an Incident of Concern report on a student under these procedures any time after discovery of the student’s alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code. Every effort should be made to submit the Incident of Concern Report or notify the conduct administrator of the alleged conduct violation immediately after discovery in order to expedite the process. The conduct administrator will preliminarily investigate and review the Incident of Concern report to determine whether an informal resolution is possible or whether a comprehensive investigation should be instituted. A college administrator has the responsibility and authority to take immediate, interim action at any time by suspending a student from classes, from the campus or otherwise alter the status of a student when a student’s behavior, actions or continued presence may constitute a significant danger to the student, the College community or College property. The responding student may request explanation of the Student Conduct Code policies and processes from the conduct administrator or campus counselor. Any deadlines listed in this document are general guidelines used to advance the process. The number of business days listed may vary based on the complexity of the case and the accessibility of information and individuals.
A preliminary investigation consists of a review of the possible violations, history of the parties involved, context of the incident, potential behavioral patterns and the nature of the complaint. Generally within five business days of the filed complaint, the conduct administrator will determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated the Student Conduct Code. If there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the conduct administrator will conduct a comprehensive investigation. If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further conduct action, although additional services or support may be recommended or required.
When conducting a comprehensive investigation, the conduct administrator will initiate a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, order of interviews of witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview. The conduct administrator will prepare the Notice of Conduct Violation letter containing the alleged policy violation(s) on the basis of the reasonable cause determination. This letter may be delivered to the responding student prior to, during or after the responding student’s interview, at the discretion of the conduct administrator. This process is normally completed within ten business days of initiating the investigation.
The following steps may take place during the comprehensive investigation:
- Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to share and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy.
- Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available.
- Obtain all physical evidence that is available.
- Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeframe.
- Make a finding based on the preponderance of the evidence or, whether a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred.
- Present the investigation report and finding to the responding student.
- Share the findings and update the complainant upon the status of the investigation and the outcome.
When it is determined through a comprehensive investigation that the Student Conduct Code violation(s) is more likely than not to have occurred, a combination of any three of the following disciplinary procedures will be initiated depending on the nature of the offense and/or the reaction of the responding student;
- Immediate interim suspension and/or,
- Student conduct educational conference and/or
- Student conduct hearing
Immediate, Interim Suspension
Any college administrator may take immediate, interim disciplinary action at any time by suspending a student from classes, from the campus or otherwise alter the status of a student when a student’s behavior, actions or continued presence may constitute a significant danger to the student, the College community or College property or if the student is facing allegations of serious criminal activity. An Immediate, Interim Suspension remains in effect until the conclusion of the disciplinary process or the student is notified otherwise in writing. Prior to suspension of a student, the college administrator will give the student verbal notice of the alleged violation and an opportunity to provide an immediate response to the allegation. The college administrator will immediately file an Incident of Concern Report of the alleged student conduct violation with the conduct administrator. Interim disciplinary actions may include:
- Holds on student records, registration, new financial aid awards or transcripts.
- Removal from class, offices, College activities, clinical sites or any NICC related property or facility.
- Interim suspension from the College.
Causes for interim suspension include, but are not limited to, the following:
- An attempt of bodily harm to anyone on College property.
- Illegal possession, use, sale or purchase of drugs on any College property.
- Use or possession of firearms, ammunition, dangerous weapons, substances or materials (except as expressly authorized by the College); or bombs, explosives or explosive, incendiary devices prohibited by law.
- Destruction or theft of College property or another person’s personal property.
- Possession of intoxicating beverages on College property or entering College property intoxicated.
- Any activities causing a major disruption or disturbance to the College community.
- Extreme verbal harassment or abuse of anyone on College property.
- A violation of the Student Conduct Code which the administrator considers a serious violation.
A student who receives an Immediate, Interim Suspension may request a meeting with the conduct administrator (or designee) to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. This meeting may be held off College property or by phone and regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the College may proceed with the scheduling of a conduct hearing.
Student Conduct Educational Conference
In most student conduct cases, an emphasis will be placed on seeking an informal resolution or violation/sanction agreement between the responding student and the conduct administrator through an educational conference. The following options describe procedures based on whether the responding student accepts or rejects the Notice of Conduct Violation either in whole or in part. The responding student may choose to:
- Accept responsibility for conduct violation/sanctions entirely or in part or,
- Reject responsibility for conduct violation/sanctions entirely or in part.
When the responding student accepts responsibility for the conduct violation and agrees to the recommended sanction(s), the sanctions are implemented by the conduct administrator at an educational conference and the process ends. The educational conference may take place when presenting the Notice of Conduct Violation letter at the responding student’s interview, if applicable.
When the responding student accepts responsibility for the conduct violation, but does not accept the recommended sanctions, the conduct administrator will hold an educational conference on the sanction only, to discuss reasoning for the recommended sanction and hear the student’s rationale for rejecting the sanction. After thorough review and re-consideration, the resulting sanction decision of the conduct administrator is final.
When the responding student rejects responsibility for the conduct violation entirely, a Student Conduct Hearing Board will be convened, typically within ten business days. Complete Conduct Hearing procedures are outlined later in this document.
When the responding student rejects responsibility for the conduct violation in part, a Student Conduct Hearing Board will be convened, typically within ten business days, to hear only the disputed charges. Subsequent sanctions will be based on only the violations the Conduct Hearing Board deem valid.
If a student is found responsible for the same conduct code violation a second time, the conduct administrator may decide whether the case should be heard in an educational conference or by the Conduct Hearing Board, based on the severity of the conduct and the student’s cumulative conduct history.
Student Conduct Hearing Preparation
Students who are scheduled for an appearance before the Student Conduct Hearing Board (Hearing Board) will be given seven business days to prepare unless all parties agree to proceed more quickly.
Preparation for a Student Conduct Hearing includes the following steps;
- Selection of the Hearing Board which consists of five members trained on conduct policy and procedures. Membership may vary from case to case. The Hearing Board will hear and review all evidence in the case including witness testimony and supporting documentation. The Hearing Board will make the decision whether the student is responsible or not responsible for the alleged violations and, if found responsible, will recommend the appropriate sanction(s) to the conduct administrator who has responsibility for the final sanction decision.
- Notice of time, date and location of the Student Conduct Hearing (Conduct Hearing) will be delivered to the responding student by College email and registered mail to the most recent address of the student indicated on official College records. Once mailed, the communication will be deemed delivered.
- At least three business days prior to a Student Conduct Hearing, the responding student must submit to the conduct administrator the following:
- A response to the Notice of Conduct Violation letter.
- A list of witnesses the responding student would like the College to call at the Hearing, if any. A list of all items of physical evidence the student intends to use or requests to have present at the Conduct Hearing,
- The names of any advocates who may accompany the student at the Hearing. If the responding student fails to respond to Conduct Hearing notice, the administrator may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with a directive of a College official and give notice to the student of this additional conduct violation. Unless the student responds to this second notice within two business days, or does not respond to the original notice, an educational conference may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from enrolled classes and/or a conduct hold may be placed on their College account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses until the student responds to the Conduct Hearing notice.
- The conduct administrator will ensure that a summary of all hearing information, including the names of the Hearing Board members, is shared with the responding student and the complainant at least one day prior to the Conduct Hearing.
Student Conduct Hearing Procedures
If the responding student cannot attend the scheduled Conduct Hearing, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the conduct administrator a minimum of three business days prior to the Conduct Hearing to arrange for another date, time or location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the required three day notice or if the student fails to appear, the Conduct Hearing will proceed as scheduled. No student may be found responsible for a Student Conduct Code violation solely as a result of the student’s failure to appear for a Hearing. In this case, the Conduct Hearing will proceed as scheduled and the information gathered through the comprehensive investigation will be presented to the Conduct Hearing Board for consideration.
The conduct hearing board chair will direct the Conduct Hearing according to the following guidelines:
- The Hearing will be closed to the public.
- Privileged communications between a student and a member of the professional staff where such communications were made in the course of performances of official duties and when the matters discussed were understood by the staff member and the student to be confidential, as well as those communications which are privileged by law will not be introduced as evidence before the Student Conduct Hearing Board without the written permission of the student.
- Admission to the hearing of persons other than those involved or those on the submitted witness list, will be at the discretion of the hearing board chair and the conduct administrator.
- Conduct Hearing proceedings will be audio recorded for the protection of all parties.
- The responding student has the right to an advocate whom may be chosen only from within the current College community unless an exception is granted by the conduct administrator. In the rare instance where civil or criminal court proceeding currently involve a responding student or at the discretion of the conduct administrator, legal counsel may be permitted to serve as an advocate. If the student wishes to have legal counsel present at the Conduct Hearing, a minimum of 3 days notice must be provided. In such instances, the College reserves the right to also have legal counsel present. The advocate may not ordinarily make a presentation or represent the responding student during the hearing. The advocate may confer quietly, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the hearing board chair and suggest questions to the responding student.
- The conduct administrator will present the information/evidence of the case on behalf of the College. The responding student will then present information/evidence to the Conduct Hearing Board. The responding student, the conduct administrator and the Hearing Board members will all have the privilege of questioning witnesses and all present parties. Unduly repetitive witnesses or questions may be limited at the discretion of the hearing board chair.
- Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the hearing board chair. Formal rules of evidence are not observed. The hearing board chair may limit the number of character witnesses presented or may accept written affidavits of character instead.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the hearing board chair and the conduct administrator.
- After the Conduct Hearing, the Hearing Board will deliberate and determine by majority vote whether it is more likely than not that the responding student has violated the Student Conduct Code. The responding student will not be present during deliberations. The Conduct Administrator is responsible for informing the Hearing Board of applicable precedent and of any previous conduct violations or other relevant behavioral pattern evidence about the responding student. The conduct administrator may also inform the Hearing Board of all possible sanctions available for their consideration. Once a finding is determined, if the finding is that of responsible for the violation, the Hearing Board will recommend an appropriate sanction(s) to the conduct administrator who has responsibility for the final sanction decision.
- The hearing board chair will submit a written statement detailing a) the findings, b) the rationale of the Hearing Board in support of the decision and c) the recommended sanction(s).
- The conduct administrator will notify the responding student of the Conduct Hearing Board’s finding, resulting sanction(s) and information regarding the student’s right to appeal, generally within five business days of the decision. Notification will be sent to the student’s College email and by registered mail to the current address listed on the student’s College account. If the Conduct Hearing Board rules that no violations were found to have occurred, the student will be permitted to make up class work required for satisfactory completion of a course or courses begun prior to the beginning of the conduct process.
- A student who is suspended or expelled from the College will be administratively withdrawn from a college-sponsored program or activity on the effective date of the suspension/expulsion. Settlement of the student’s account will be completed under the NICC Tuition Refund Policy. A student who is suspended/expelled is responsible for returning any College property within three business days of the suspension and will be held financially responsible for any property not returned in good condition.
- A student has the right to appeal the outcome of a Conduct Hearing by following the established appeal process which is outlined later in this document.
Student Rights at a Conduct Hearing
- Right to a Hearing;
- Right to notice of charge and summary of facts in the case;
- Right to have an advocate present during the Hearing;
- Right to attend the Hearing and present on their behalf;
- Right to refuse to participate in the Hearing;
- Right to present summary of the case from their viewpoint;
- Right to present documentary, testimonial or physical evidence;
- Right to call witnesses who have a direct bearing on the case;
- Right to submit questions for witnesses;
- Right to be notified in writing of the Conduct Hearing outcome based on the evidence presented at Hearing and evaluated by the standard of preponderance of the evidence or, it is more likely than not that the violation occurred as documented;
- Right to an appeal of the final Conduct Hearing decision.
Sanction(S) for Student Conduct Code Violations
Any student who is found in violation of the Student Conduct Code will be subject to one or more, or a combination of, the following sanctions. Any conduct action taken by the College is effective on the date the notification is written. A record of any student conduct action is kept in the student’s conduct file and maintained by the conduct administrator.
- Warning - a written or verbal notice to the student that a violation of the Student Conduct Code has occurred. This written and/or verbal warning serves to remind the student that any further violations of the Code may result in more serious sanction(s).
- Conduct Probation - a period of time during which the student must demonstrate an ability to comply with the Student Conduct Code, all College policies and other requirements stipulated for the probation period. Conduct probation may be imposed up to the completion of the student’s program of study at the College. A student has the opportunity to have their probation status lifted after the stipulated time period through an application to the conduct administrator.
- Restitution - reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property. Reimbursement may take the form of payment for a repair or replacement of the damaged property.
- Loss of Rights and Privileges - a sanction(s) which may impose limitations or restrictions to fit the particular case.
- Eligibility Restriction - prohibits a student from joining a registered student organization, taking part in a registered student organization’s activities or attending its meetings or functions and/or from participating in or representing the College in any athletic or co-curricular activity.
- Educational/Behavioral Requirement - requirement to participate in a project, counseling or other College/community sponsored activity that is relevant to the nature of the offense and at the student’s expense.
- Community Service - a student may be required to perform service to the College or the community in lieu of another sanction(s).
- Suspension from the College - separation from the College for a defined period of time dependent on the severity of the Student Conduct Code infraction, typically from one to three years. Suspension prohibits the student from entering any College property except in response to a request of the College, and from registering either for credit or non-credit work at the College. This sanction(s) may be reinforced with a no trespass action as necessary. Students have the opportunity to apply for readmission to the College after any suspension by notifying the Conduct Administrator and following the re-admission process.
Eligibility for re-admission may be contingent on satisfactorily meeting specific conditions noted at the time of suspension or upon application for reentry to the College.
- Grade Reduction - in cases of academic misconduct, students found responsible for academic misconduct such as plagiarism or cheating, may receive a failing grade for the particular assignment, paper, test etc. or a failing grade for the course.
- Expulsion from the College- permanent separation from the College. The student is banned from any College property and the student’s presence at any College-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be reinforced with a no trespass action as necessary.
Conduct Violations in Program of Study
Students who are found to have violated specified conduct rules within their chosen program of study may receive sanction(s) under the Student Conduct Code in addition to any program actions. Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to all program rules and regulations established by the program administration.
College-Sponsored Organization, Club or Group Sanction(s)
College organizations, clubs or groups may receive any of the above listed conduct sanction(s) including de-activation or de-recognition of the group for a specified period of time. Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the specific policies and procedures governing membership in their organization, club or group.
The College reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The College may also notify parents/guardians of nondependent students who are under 21 of alcohol or other drug violations. Parental notification may also be utilized discretionarily by College administration when permitted by FERPA or with consent from the student.
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a Student Educational Conference or Student Conduct Hearing is part of the educational record of the responding student and is protected from release under 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 non-forcible sex offense, the College will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether the College concludes that the violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s/responding student’s name, the violation committed and the sanction(s) assigned, if applicable. In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties in addition to the findings and sanction(s). In cases where the College determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a “crime of violence” or non-forcible sex offense, the College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. FERPA defines “crimes of violence” to include:
- Assault offenses (including stalking)
- Criminal homicide - manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal homicide - murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
The student has the right to appeal the decision resulting from a Student Educational Conference or Student Conduct Hearing. Any sanction(s) imposed as a result of the Student Educational Conference or Student Conduct Hearing will remain in effect during the appeal process.
The request for an appeal must be made in writing to the vice president of learning and student success who serves as the College’s appeals officer, within five business days of receiving the written notification from the conduct administrator of conduct violations and resulting sanctions. The student’s request for appeal must include the student’s name, date of the decision for disciplinary action, and clear rationale for appeal. Appeals must be based on one or more of the following reasons and will only be considered if:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the conference/hearing.
- There is new evidence that was unavailable at the time of the hearing that could substantially impact the original outcome or sanction(s). A summary of the new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the appeal.
- The sanction(s) imposed is substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the College for this type of offense or the cumulative record of the responding student. The burden lies on the appealing student to demonstrate any clear error.
The Appeals Officer (or designee) will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if the appeal is timely and meets the limited grounds outlined above.
The appeals officer may consult with the conduct administrator on any procedural or substantive questions that arise. If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original decision and sanction(s) determined by the conduct administrator and/or the Conduct Hearing Board will stand and the decision will be deemed final. If the appeal has basis, the Appeals Officer will, in most cases, remand the appeal back to the original Conduct Hearing Board, typically within five business days, with clear instructions for reconsideration only in light of the granted appeal grounds. If the Appeals Officer deems the original decision-making body to be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error, a three member Appeals Board will be called to consider the case. The Appeals Board is chaired by the Appeals Officer and two additional members who did not serve on the original Hearing Board.
If an appeal is warranted, new evidence should be heard and considered, procedural changes should be made or sanctions should be altered to be proportionate to the conduct violation and the student’s cumulative record. The Appeals Officer may determine whether new evidence will be evaluated via written documentation or in an informal Hearing. Rationale for the appeal decision and resulting sanction(s) will be sent to the student’s College email and by registered mail to the student’s official College address, typically within five business days. Any decision made by the Appeals Board is considered final.
Student Conduct Record Retention
Conduct actions are a part of the student’s educational record and, therefore, are not available for public disclosure or discussion. The College will not disclose student disciplinary records outside the College, except as allowed by law, without prior written permission from the student. Disclosure of student’s conduct records without consent is permitted by law when other College officials are deemed by the College to have legitimate educational interests. This includes any College staff, a person or company with whom the College has contracted or a person serving on the Board of Trustees.
The College will communicate with accepted and enrolled students in a variety of methods. It is the College’s policy that electronic mail (email) be an official communication mechanism with students. Students have a right to accurate and timely information regarding matters affecting their education. Students should expect to receive information regarding academic records, financial aid, billing, advising registration and other college information via the College sponsored email system. All students are assigned an official Northeast Iowa Community College email address (email@example.com) and all electronic mail from the College is sent to this address. Students may forward their NICC email account to a personal mobile device if desired. Directions are provided through the NICC Helpdesk. Along with other forms of communication, students are responsible for receiving, reading, complying with and responding to official email communications from the College. A student’s failure to receive or read in a timely manner official communications sent to the student’s official email address does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the official communication. In recognition that certain communications may be time-critical, students are expected to review their official email address on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with college communications.
The College encourages all individuals to attempt to resolve concerns quickly and informally with an instructor, advisor or administrator as soon as possible following the event that led to the concern. When a resolution cannot be reached or is not practical, the formal complaint process should be followed. Individuals should use the electronic form located at www.nicc.edu/complaint to file a formal complaint. The Associate Vice President for Operations office will route the complaint to the appropriate College representative for review and appropriate action. If needed, a meeting will be arranged with both parties to seek a satisfactory resolution to the complaint.
As an academic institution, Northeast Iowa Community College exists for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students and the general well-being of society. Membership in this academic community places a special obligation on all members to preserve an atmosphere conducive to the freedom to teach and to learn. Freedom to teach and to learn depends on opportunities and conditions in and outside the classroom that fosters respect, integrity, honor and civil conduct. Northeast Iowa Community College defines civility as the art of treating others, as well as ourselves, with respect, dignity and care. Civility is demonstrated when we are sensitive to the impact that our communications, practices and behaviors have on others and when we acknowledge each person’s self-worth and unique contributions to the community as a whole. All members of the College community, students, faculty, staff and visitors have the right to work and learn in a safe environment which is civil in all aspects of human relations.
Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy
This policy is designed to guide students, faculty and staff in the acceptable use of computer and information systems and networks provided by NICC. The policy is the application of the following NICC principles that are at the core of the NICC identity:
- respect and regard for every person
- wise use of public resources
- academic freedom
Ethical and legal standards that apply to information technology resources derive directly from standards of common sense and common courtesy that apply to the use of any shared resource. The campus computing community depends first upon the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation that has been fostered at NICC to resolve differences and ameliorate problems that arise from time to time.
These guidelines are published in that spirit. Their purpose is to specify user responsibilities in accordance with the Proper Use policy and to promote the ethical, legal and secure use of computing resources for the protection of all members of the NICC computing community. The College extends membership in this community to its students and employees with the stipulation that they be good citizens and they contribute to creating and maintaining an open community of responsible users.
Guiding Principles for the Use of All College Resources
Purpose of College Computing Resources: Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) computing facilities exist to provide computing services to the College community in support of instructional, research and College business. The guidelines are intended to improve the computing services offered and provide these services in a cost-effective manner.
Academic Freedom: Consistent with other College policies, this policy is intended to respect the rights and obligations of academic freedom. As with all College resources, the NICC community is encouraged to make innovative and creative use of information technologies in support of education and college services. Access to information representing a multitude of views on all issues should be allowed for the interest, information and enlightenment of the NICC community.
Copyright and Non-discrimination: The College policy recognizes that the purpose of copyright is to protect the rights of the creators of intellectual property and to prevent the unauthorized use or sale of works available in the private sector. Also consistent with other College policies, an individual’s right of access to computer materials should not be denied or abridged because of race, creed, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Cautionary statement: The College cannot protect individuals against the existence or receipt of material that may be offensive to them. Those who make use of electronic communications are warned that they may come across or be recipients of material they find offensive. Those who use email and/or make information about themselves available on the Internet should be forewarned that the College cannot protect them from invasions of privacy and other possible dangers that could result from the individual’s distribution of personal information.
Consideration for others: The computing and network facilities of the College are limited and should be used wisely and carefully with consideration for the needs of others and the public nature of the College. Computers and network systems offer powerful tools for communications among members of the community and of communities outside the College. When used appropriately, these tools can enhance dialog and communications. When used inappropriately, however, these tools can infringe on the beliefs or rights of others, or the public purpose for which they were created.
Responsibilities of Users of College Computing Resources
The following examples, though not covering every situation, specify some of the responsibilities that accompany computer use at the College and/or on networks to which it is connected. Use of College computer facilities implies consent with these policies.
- Access to computing resources shall be authorized at a level to perform the educational or job function required by an individual.
- NICC computing and network resources are to be used for College-related communication, instruction, services, enrichment, dissemination of academic information and administrative activities.
- Users are expected to respect the rights of other users; for example, users shall not engage in private or public behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for other users. Users shall not intentionally develop or use programs that harass other users, infiltrate a computer or system and/or damage or alter the hardware or software components of a computer or system.
- Users may not encroach on others’ use of computer resources. Such activities would include, tying up computer resources for game playing or other trivial applications; sending frivolous or excessive messages, including chain letters, junk mail or unsolicited advertising or other types of broadcast messages, locally or over the Internet; and intentionally introducing any computer viruses or other rogue programs to the NICC system causing physical or functional damage to systems. To respect the shared nature of the computing resources, users shall not engage in deliberately wasteful practices such as printing large amounts of unnecessary documents.
- Users are responsible for using software and electronic materials in accordance with copyright and licensing restrictions and applicable College policies. NICC equipment and software may not be used to violate copyright or the terms of any license agreement.
- Users may not attempt to modify or crash the College system or network facilities. Users may not attempt to break into the accounts of other users at NICC or on the Internet.
- Students and guests of NICC may not install software on any College computer. Faculty and staff may not install software on the College network or it’s computers. Installations on the network and its computers are the responsibility of NICC Computer Information Systems.
- Users of the network may not connect non-NICC hardware to the network without prior written approval from Computer Information Systems personnel.
- User privileges on NICC computers are set to not allow hardware installation. Limited support for personal devices (such as USB mass storage devices) is built into the operating system and/or the system image.
- College computing facilities are a public resource and may not be used for personal profit.
- Users must remember that information distributed through the College’s networking facilities is a form of publishing. For example, anything generated at NICC that is available on the Internet represents the College and not just an individual. Even with disclaimers, the College is represented by its students, faculty and staff and appropriate language, behavior and style is warranted.
- NICC does not agree to unconditionally deliver all mail addressed to its users. All inbound email destined for staff and student NICC email accounts is subject to automated filtering. The goal of this filtering is to prevent dissemination of spam - both pornographic and non-pornographic mass mailing - which clogs email systems. Filtering is performed automatically by a computer acting on rules set up to detect spam. It is therefore possible that some mail bound for NICC users will be rejected even if it does not qualify as spam, if it comes from a mail server known to be used by spammers.
Administration and Implementation
Communication and projects carried on by NICC staff through College resources are assumed to be business and professional matters. The College respects users’ confidentiality and privacy. However, the College reserves the right to examine all computer files if it becomes necessary for significant reasons such as the following:
- to enforce its policies regarding harassment and the safety of individuals
- to prevent the posting of proprietary software or electronic copies of electronic texts or images in disregard of copyright restrictions or contractual obligations.
- to safeguard the integrity of computers, networks and data either at the College or elsewhere
- to protect the College against seriously damaging consequences
The College may restrict the use of its computers and network systems for electronic communications when faced with evidence of violation of College policies, or federal, state or local laws. The College reserves the right to limit access to its networks through College-owned or other computers, and to remove/ limit access to material posted on NICC owned computers.
All users are expected to conduct themselves consistent with these responsibilities and all other applicable College policies. Abuse of computing privileges will subject the user to disciplinary action, as established by the applicable operating policies and procedures of the College. When appropriate, temporary restrictive actions will be taken by system or network administrators pending further disciplinary action and the loss of computing privileges may result.
All user accounts who have not been logged in for a period of three years may have their network account removed at the discretion of the Computer Information Systems Department. This includes any and all data, files, folders, access permissions and network rights affiliated with their network account(s). If a user partakes in a period of long-term leave (i.e. Sabbatical, Military Deployment, long-term illness, etc.) the user, the user’s supervisor or Human Resources must inform the NICC Computer Information Systems Department to eliminate the possibility of an accidental account removal.
Members of the Computer Information Systems Department have the right to possess or repossess any piece of technology within their realm of support at any time. This ensures that proper maintenance of campus technology is done in an orderly manner. This also helps the NICC Computer Information Systems department to combat technological threats on the network and its data.
NICC and users recognize that all members of the College community are bound by federal, state and local laws relating to civil rights, harassment, copyright, security and other statutes relevant to electronic media. It should be understood that this policy does not preclude enforcement under the laws and regulations of the United States of America or the State of Iowa.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.
Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
For more information, please see the web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov, especially their Frequently Asked Questions section at www.copyright.gov/help/faq.