Student Disciplinary Procedure

Reference

Board Policy (BP) 4-30; System President’s Procedure (SP) 4-31a

Application

The procedure applies to students within the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).

Basis

Students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct and policies and procedures of the College. If a student is charged with violating her/his College’s Code, these are the procedures to be used in resolving the charge.

Definitions

Chief Student Services Officer (CSSO): The individual designated by the College President to administer student affairs and be responsible for administering the College’s Student Code of Conduct and this procedure. The CSSO may delegate student discipline to another individual (designee).

Code of Conduct: A document developed and published by each College which defines prescribed conduct of students.

Complainant(s): A person(s) who is subject to the alleged misconduct or related retaliation. For purposes of this procedure, a complainant can be a CCCS employee(s), student(s), authorized volunteer(s), guest(s), or visitor(s).

Day: Refers to working day unless otherwise noted below.

Jurisdiction: Applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at System or College sponsored events; and may also apply off-campus and to online activity when the Chief Student Services Officer (CSSO), or designee, determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial System or College interest. A substantial College interest is defined to include the following:

  • Any action that constitutes criminal offense as defined by federal or Colorado law. This includes, but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state or federal law committed in the municipality where the System or the College is located;
  • Any situation where it appears that the accused individual may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
  • Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  • Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the System or the College.

Any online postings or other electronic communication by students, including cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment, etc. occurring completely outside of the System or the College’s control (e.g., not on System or College networks, websites or between System or College email accounts) will only be subject to this procedure when those online behaviors can be shown to cause a substantial on-campus disruption. Otherwise, such communications are considered speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Notice: Notices which are required to be given by this procedure shall be considered served upon the student when given by personal delivery, mailing by certified mail, or emailing the student to their official College email address requesting a delivery receipt notification. If notice is mailed, student shall be given three (3) additional days to respond.

Respondent: A student whose alleged conduct is the subject of a complaint or incident.

Retaliatory Acts: Include but not limited to intimidation, verbal or physical threats, harassment, coercion, or other adverse action(s) against a person who reports an incident of misconduct.

Sanctions: One or more of the following may be imposed when there is a finding that a student has violated the College’s Code of Conduct.

  1. Warning: A Notice served upon the student advising him/her that he/she is violating or has violated College regulations.
  2. Probation: After a finding of violation of the Code of Conduct, restriction of student’s privileges for a designated period of time including the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violating any College regulations during the probationary period.
  3. Other Disciplinary Sanction: Fines, restitution, denial of privileges (including extra-curricular activities or holding office in student organizations), assignment to perform services for the benefit of the College or community; educational sanctions such as mediation, letter of reflection, attendance at a workshop, seminar, or training writing a letter of apology seeking academic advising; re-assignment or eviction from campus housing, substance abuse screening, re-assignment to another class section, including a potential online section, or other sanction that doesn’t result in the student being denied the right of attending classes, or any combination of these.
  4. College Suspension or Expulsion: An involuntary separation of the student from the College for misconduct not based on academic performance for a specified period of time.
    1. Suspension is a separation that shall not exceed three academic terms (including summer term) per suspension for any singular offense or situation. While a student is suspended, he or she is not eligible for admission or re-admission at any of the community Colleges within the System.

      Additionally, if a student is suspended at any of the other Auraria Campus Institutions (i.e., Metropolitan State University of Denver [MSUD] or the University of Colorado Denver [UCD]), he or she will not be eligible for admission or re-admission at the Community College of Denver (CCD).

      Consequently, if a student is suspended at MSUD or UCD and attempts to enroll at one of the other twelve community Colleges within the System, he or she may be denied pursuant to the process under Board Policy 4-10, Admission, Continued Enrollment and Re-enrollment of Students.

      Once the suspension is lifted at any of the community Colleges within the System, MSUD or UCD, the student may be eligible for admission or re-admission.

      Examples of suspension include, but are not limited to the following: the College, a department or program, a class, use of a College facility or an activity.

      Students may be suspended from one class period by the responsible faculty member or adjunct instructor. Longer suspensions can only be implemented by the CSSO or designee in accordance with this procedure.

    2. Expulsion is an indefinite separation from the College. The expelled student is not eligible for admission or re-admission at any of the community Colleges within the System.

      Additionally, if a student is expelled at MSUD or UCD, he or she will not be eligible for admission or re-admission at CCD.

      Consequently, if a student is expelled at MSUD or UCD and attempts to enroll at one of the other twelve community Colleges within the System, he or she may be denied pursuant to the process under Board Policy 4-10, Admission, Continued Enrollment and Re-enrollment of Students.

      In exceptional cases where a student wants to be considered for admission or re-admission after an expulsion has been implemented, the student bears the burden to prove the behavior resulting in the expulsion has been resolved. It is the College’s discretion to admit or deny the student.

  5. Interim Action: An immediate action taken by the CSSO or designee, to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the System or College community; preservation of System or College property; or if the student poses a definite threat of disruption or interference to others or the normal operations of the System or College. In the event of an interim action, the hearing before the CSSO or designee shall occur as soon as possible following the interim action. If the College issues a permanent sanction, the student shall be afforded appeal rights as discussed below. If the College does not implement a permanent sanction, the interim action will be removed from the student’s record.
  6. The College may issue a "Cease Communications", "No Contact", and/or "No Trespass" directive, also referred to as a persona non grata.

Student: All persons currently taking courses at or sponsored by the College(s), pursuing either credit and non-credit courses (or both), including those concurrently attending secondary or post-secondary institutions and College. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a specific term, but who have a continuing relationship with the College are considered students.

Continuing Relationship: A student registered for an upcoming term or has indicated intent via a transaction such as a financial aid application to register for an upcoming term. A continuing relationship also includes students who are first time enrollees who engage in misconduct prior to the time of enrollment. For students in a continuing relationship status, jurisdiction and the reasonable person standard must be considered in pursuing disciplinary charges. The Student Conduct Code shall apply to a student's conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.

Title IX Coordinator(s) and Title VI and VII Coordinator(s) (EO Coordinator): Designated by the College President to oversee all civil rights complaints.

Training: All College officials involved with the investigation and discipline process will be trained annually on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Procedures

The CSSO or designee shall receive all allegations of student misconduct, investigate the complaints, which includes meeting with the student to give him/her the opportunity to respond to the allegations of misconduct. If the allegations of misconduct are discrimination and/or harassment based on federal or state civil rights laws, the College will investigate those incidents through the Civil Rights Grievance and Investigation Process, System President’s Procedures (SP) 3-50b and (SP) 4-31a via the following link: https://www.cccs.edu/about-cccs/state-board/policies-procedures/.

Once the investigation is complete, either through this process or the Civil Rights Grievance and Investigation Process, the CSSO or designee shall render a sanction decision.

The CSSO or designee may decide that the charges can be disposed of administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis acceptable to them. If an administrative resolution is not achieved, the CSSO or designee shall issue a decision which determines whether the alleged conduct occurred; whether the conduct violated the Code of Conduct or College procedures; and impose a sanction(s) if appropriate.

In cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, the complainant and the respondent will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding, as well as any changes to those results or disciplinary actions prior to the time that such results become final and shall be given the rationale for the discipline decision.

The student shall receive written notice of the decision and be advised of her/his right to appeal the decision, subject to the grounds below, by filing a written appeal with the CSSO or designee within seven (7) days of service of the decision.

Appeal

In the event of an appeal, the CSSO or designee shall give written notice to the other party (e.g., if the accused student appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant who may also wish to file a response), and then the CSSO or designee will draft a response memorandum (also shared with all parties). All appeals and responses are then forwarded to the Appeals Officer or committee for initial review to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely. The original finding(s) and sanction(s) will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final.

If the appeal has standing, the documentation is reviewed. Because the original finding(s) and sanction(s) are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, the party appealing the decision must specifically cite the error(s) in the original determination on which the appeal is based. The only grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. A material procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures); which must be explained in the written appeal; or
  2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the investigation or hearing that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the written appeal, as well as the reasons the new evidence was not available during the original proceeding. Failure to participate in the initial process does not constitute as new information for the appeal process.

If the Appeals Officer or committee determines that a material procedural or substantive error occurred, it may return the complaint to the CSSO or designee with instructions to reconvene, in order to cure the error. In rare cases of bias, where the procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the CSSO or designee, the Appeals Officer or committee may order that a new hearing be held by a different individual acting in the place of the designated CSSO or designee. The results of a reconvened hearing cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed once on (either or both of) the two applicable grounds for appeals.

If the Appeals Officer or committee determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the CSSO or designee to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only. If the subject matter pertains to civil rights violations pursuant to SP 4-31a, the Appeals Officer or committee will return the complaint to the Title IX/EO Coordinator to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only. The reconsideration of the CSSO, designee, or Title IX/EO Coordinator is not appealable.

The procedures governing the hearing of appeals include the following:

  • All parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision.
  • If the Appeals Officer or committee determines there is new evidence or error in the original proceeding, every opportunity to return the appeal to the CSSO or designee for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued.
  • Appeals are not intended to be a full rehearing of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.
  • An appeal is not an opportunity for an Appeals Officer or committee to substitute their judgment for that of the CSSO or designee, merely because they disagree with her/his finding and/or sanctions.
  • Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the findings only where there is clear error and a compelling justification to do so.
  • Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the CSSO or designee stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
  • The Appeals Officer or committee will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within seven (7) days of receiving the appeal request. The committee’s decision to deny appeal requests is final.

Additional Process Provisions

  • The student may have the opportunity to be advised by a personal advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process and to be accompanied by that advisor at any meeting or hearing. An advisor may only consult and advise her/his advisee, but not speak for the advisee at any meeting or hearing. These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings. The CSSO may remove or dismiss an advisor who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation.
  • The student is responsible for presenting his/her own case and, therefore, advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing, except when the student is under the age of eighteen (18) or incapacitated.
  • Student shall have the right to identify documents, witnesses and other material he/she would like the CSSO or designee to review before making a final decision.
  • Any hearing held shall be conducted in private unless all parties agree otherwise.
  • A record of the hearing should be maintained by the CSSO or designee.
  • Audio and/or Video Recording - the College, at its discretion, may audio or video record any meeting throughout the process. Should a recording exist, the student may request a copy at the end of the process. No other audio or video recording will be allowed.
  • If student has a disability and would like to request an accommodation to assist him/her through the discipline process they may do so by informing the CSSO or designee. The CSSO or designee will then work with disability support services to accommodate the request.
  • Proceedings under this procedure may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus.
  • Standard of proof - the College will use the preponderance of evidence standard in the disciplinary proceedings, meaning, the College will determine whether it is more likely than not a conduct code was violated.
  • All sanctions imposed by the original decision maker will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the CSSO or designee for special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the College is that the sanctions will stand. Graduation, study abroad, internships/externships, clinical placements, extra-curricular activities, etc. do not (in and of themselves) constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the College or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.
  • The procedural rights afforded to students above may be waived by the student.
  • All timelines may be extended as agreed upon by both parties.

Retaliatory Acts

is a violation of this procedure to engage in retaliatory acts against any employee or student who reports an incident(s) of Code of Conduct violations or any employee or student who testifies, assists or participates in the discipline proceeding, investigation or hearing relating to such allegation(s) of Code of Conduct violations.

Revising this Procedure

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.