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 any College sponsored activity, 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.
- Appeals Officer: An authorized College official, typically the Vice President of Learning and Student Success, with the authority to review the appeal of a Student Conduct Hearing outcome.
- 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 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 the opportunity to respond to reported allegations at 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.
- Informal Resolution: When allegations of misconduct have been received and reviewed by a Student Conduct Administrator, the complaint alleges a violation of the Student Conduct Code, and the parties involved wish to resolve the complaint without further student conduct proceedings.
- 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 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: 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 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. These regulations shall be construed so as not to abridge any students rights under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa.
Misconduct related to others
- Disorderly Conduct: Conduct that is disruptive, lewd, or indecent.
- Collusion: Knowingly, recklessly, or willfully enticing or assisting others to commit or attempt to commit acts prohibited by this code or that violate the law.
- Complacency: Condoning or supporting others to commit or attempt to commit acts prohibited by this code or that violate the law.
- Harm to person: Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or endangering the health and safety of any person, including oneself.
- Harassment: Repeated unwanted contact or communication by any means, behavior, or verbal abuse threatening to injure or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of oneself or another person is unacceptable. Harassment is a knowing and willful course of conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment or which intends to cause a person to suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Harassment via Technology: Use of electronic or other technology, without a valid purpose, to intentionally intimidate, embarrass, ridicule, or humiliate another person. This includes the creation or distribution of video, audio, or photographic files without the consent of all parties recorded or photographed which could foreseeably intimidate, embarrass, ridicule, or humiliate and cause another person to be intimidated, embarrassed, ridiculed, or humiliated.
- Hazing: An act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of intimidation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene, to prevent, to discourage, and/or failing to report those acts may also constitute hazing.
- Obscenities: Use of vulgar, offensive, threatening or obscene language or behavior as determined by rational standards of civil behavior in a public environment.
- Public Exposure: Deliberately and/or publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination/defecation, and/or public sex acts.
- Sexual misconduct: Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, non consensual sexual contact, non consensual sexual intercourse and/ or sexual exploitation. (See Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy)
- Threatening behavior: Verbal threats, abuse, humiliation, bullying, intimidation, hazing, 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).
Misconduct related to property
- College Identity : Unauthorized use, including misuse of college or organizational names and images.
- Damage and destruction: Intentional, reckless, and/or unauthorized defacing or destroying property owned by another person, entity, or the College. Students are not permitted to write, draw, or otherwise deface College or another student’s property.
- Fraud. Attempting to defraud by means of deception.
- Identity theft: Using or possessing the identity of another person or entity with the intent of misrepresenting oneself as another for any reason.
- Obstructing access: Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on College premises or at College sponsored activities. Interference with any lawful right of any person on the campus including the right of access to College property.
- Student Identification: Misrepresentation or misuse of student identification.
- Theft: Intentional and unauthorized taking or removal of property that belongs to another person or entity. Knowingly maintaining possession of property belonging to another person or entity without permission. Selling or attempting to sell any item which is known to be, or can reasonably be assumed to have been stolen, or otherwise illegally obtained.
- Unauthorized access or entry: Unauthorized access to any building or unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of means of access to any building. Entry into any building, room, location, or space where a person does not have a reasonable expectation of access or right of entry or where the conditions of authorized entry, such as payment or presentation of proper identification, have not been met. Misuse of access privileges to premises or unauthorized entry to or use of buildings, including trespassing, propping or unauthorized use of alarmed doors for entry into or exit from a building. Restricted college areas include, but are not limited to, building roofs, fire escapes, elevator shafts, equipment and mechanical storage rooms and construction sites.
Misconduct related to drugs and alcohol
- Alcohol: Unlawful use, abuse, possession, manufacturing, selling, distributing or purchasing of alcohol or alcoholic beverages.
- Drugs: Unlawful use, abuse, possession, selling, distributing or purchasing of controlled substances without a prescription. This includes marijuana.
- Medication: Abuse, misuse, selling, or illegal distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- Public intoxication: Being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances where one’s behavior endagers, or may endanger the safety of others, property, or themselves or causes a disturbance.
- Smoking: The possession, or use of any tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products or cigarettes by persons under the age of 21. Use of tobacco products on campus both indoors and out-of-doors, including inside any vehicle on campus, in a vehicle being used for college business and at any College-sponsored activities. In addition to traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping are also prohibited.
Misconduct related to weapons
- Explosives: Possessing, carrying, or using any substance or device which is intended or designed to explode or any device which a reasonable person would believe, either through appearance, markings or otherwise, to be a device intended or designed to explode.
- Firearms: Possessing, carrying, or using any type of firearm on university premises, except as permitted by law or policy, or the use of a firearm in any manner alleged to be inconsistent with applicable laws, regardless of location. Objects perceived as firearms such as airsoft guns, BB guns, paintball guns, and pellet guns, are also a violation of this policy.
- Knives: Possessing, carrying, or using any knife with a blade longer than three inches anywhere on college premises without a valid educational purpose or the use of a knife in any manner alleged to be inconsistent with applicable laws, regardless of location. Butterfly knives, switchblades, and double-edged knives are not permitted on campus, regardless of length.
- Other dangerous or deadly weapons: Possessing, carrying, or using other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nunchucks, tasers, throwing stars, brass knuckles, or other dangerous or deadly weapon(s) in any manner alleged to be inconsistent with applicable laws, regardless of location. A weapon may also include an object designed for
- Storage of weapons: Possession, including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon, including storage in a vehicle parked on, at or in any location owned, leased or used by the College or at any College sponsored activity or event.
Misconduct related to health, welfare, and safety
- Health and safety: Conduct which threatens, endangers and/or creates a health or safety hazard for 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, dangerous pranks, unsafe behavior, sexual misconduct, sexual assault and in general harm or threats of harm to others.
- Evacuation: Failing to evacuate any building after an alarm has been activated or notice has otherwise been given of a fire, fire drill, fire alarm or other order to evacuate.
- False report: Knowingly furnishing a false report or false warning that College property, employees, students, or guests may be subject to dangers including, but not limited to, a bombing, fire, crime, emergency or other catastrophe.
- Fire: Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire, improper use of college fire safety equipment, tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment, possession or using pyrotechnics, including fireworks.
- Wheeled devices: Skateboards, roller blades, roller skates, and other wheeled items may not be ridden inside any college building, on railings, curbs, benches, or any such fixture that may be damaged by these activities, and individuals may be liable for damage to university property caused by these activities. Exceptions are made for medical purposes.
Misconduct related to the operation of the College
- Disruptive Behavior: Substantial obstruction/disruption of learning, teaching, administrative processes, disciplinary procedures or any College authorized function/activity.
- Failure to comply: 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.
- Off-campus conduct: Off-campus conduct which directly and/or adversely disrupts or interferes with the educational or other functions of the College.
Misconduct related to other college policies
- Academic dishonesty: Academic misconduct wherein a student knowing falsifies work, cheats, misrepresents the work as their own, plagiarizes, aids others in academic misconduct, or other prohibited means as defined by the course syllabus or guide.
- All College policies: Violation of College policies or regulations supplemental to the Student Conduct Code, which are published in any other official College publication.
- Animals: Emotional support, therapy, comfort and companion animals are not permitted on any College property, including, but not limited to classrooms, dining facilities, recreational buildings, employment areas, libraries and laboratories. Service animals are welcome.
- Retaliation: Acts of retaliation against an individual who reports suspected or observed policy violations, or cooperates in an investigation of a policy violation.
- Technology: Violations of the College’s Computer Systems Acceptable Use policy. Inappropriate use of social media and/or college technology including, but not limited to, cyber bullying, unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio or video record of any person while on College premises or during college sponsored activities without knowledge, or without effective consent when such a recording is likely to cause injury or distress.
Other acts of misconduct
- Abuse of the conduct process: Abuse of, or interference with, the Student 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, influencing and/or intimidation of any member(s) of the conduct proceeding prior to, during or following a conduct case.
- Dishonesty: Dishonesty in any form at any time prior to or during College processes, including forgery, alteration, misuse, or falsification of records, misrepresentation and lying or furnishing false information to a college official, faculty member, or office.
- Gambling: Gambling at a College-sponsored activity without specific authorization by the administration.
- Violation of law: Evidence of violation of any local, state or federal law when substantiated through the College’s conduct process.
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 disruptive to the learning environment and/or College processes, unauthorized occupation of College property, or deemed a threat 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
The student conduct process provides for informal resolution, conflict resolution or formal resolution options. 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). Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal or civil court proceedings. 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 and students should be aware that online activity is in the public sphere and are not private. This activity may 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 an explanation of the Student Conduct Code policies and processes from a College administrator. 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.
When allegations of misconduct have been received and reviewed by a Student Conduct Administrator, the complaint alleges a violation of the Student Conduct Code, and the parties involved wish to resolve the complaint without further student conduct proceedings.
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. 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.
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:
- 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.
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, possession, or threat 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 substances on College property or entering College property impaired.
- 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.
Interim disciplinary actions may include:
- Holds on student records, registration, financial aid awards or transcripts.
- Removal from class, offices, College activities, clinical sites or any NICC related property or facility.
- No contact or no trespassing directives.
- Interim suspension from the College.
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 name of an advocate who may accompany the student at the Conduct Hearing. If the student wishes to have legal counsel present at the Conduct Hearing, a minimum three (3) days notice must be provided. In such instances, the College reserves the right to also have legal counsel present.
- 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.
- An 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 affidavit 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 college-sponsored programs and/or activities 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 making arrangements with the conduct administrator to return 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 participate in 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.
- 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 deactivation 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. FERPA permits school officials to disclose, without consent, education records or personally identifiable information from education records, to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of that information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
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 criteria 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 at least one of the appeal criteria.
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 records 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 complaint will be routed to the appropriate College personnel for review and resolution.
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
The purpose of the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Acceptable Use Policy is to establish acceptable practices regarding the use of NICC Information Resources in order to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information created, collected and maintained. This policy has been designed for the protection of both individual and institutional interests and published in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation among all users and stakeholders of NICC computing resources.
The NICC Acceptable Use Policy applies to any individual, entity, or process that interacts with any NICC Information Resource. Personnel includes authorized users who access information technology resources under the control of NICC including but not limited to: students; employees; authorized stakeholders; and other authorized users as determined by NICC institutions.
Guiding Principles For The Use Of All College Resources
Purpose of College Computing Resources: Northeast Iowa Community College 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 will 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 it is the policy of Northeast Iowa Community College not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age (employment), sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, and actual or potential parental, family or marital status in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by federal and state civil rights regulations. View the full policy at https://www.nicc.edu/aboutnicc/nondiscriminationpolicy/
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 must 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 communication 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.
If you have questions, concerns or to read the full policy visit https://sites.google.com/nicc.edu/niccsystemsinfo/acceptable-use-policy
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.