Student Complaint Policy

Student Complaint Policy

Student Complaint Policy and Process for Resolution

Gwinnett Technical College desires to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner.

Students with a concern or complaint should begin the process at the institution (college) level.

If a resolution is not reached at the institution level, or if you believe that the nature of the complaint or its impact on the system as a whole warrants an immediate review by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) administration, contact the Student Affairs Coordinator at studentaffairs@tcsg.edu or call (404) 679-1692.

If the issue is not resolved at the institution or state level, students may take their concern or complaint to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.*

* Gwinnett Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia  30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Gwinnett Technical College. 

It is the policy of Gwinnett Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, to maintain a grievance process available to all staff and students that provides an open and meaningful forum for grievances, the resolution of grievances, and is subject to clear guidelines. This procedure does not address grievances related to the unlawful harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation for reporting harassment/discrimination against students. Those complaints are handled by the Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students procedure.

The Student Complaint Policy is established to resolve difficulties or problems encountered in college-related activities. Complaints are taken seriously and therefore must be of a compelling, substantive, and verifiable nature. Complaints about a decision made by a member of the faculty or staff may only be filed by students who have been directly, adversely, and substantially affected by the decision. Repeated filings of the same complaint, filings of a frivolous nature, or capricious complaints made against school personnel and policies will be considered an abuse of the student complaint process and will be dismissed.

The Student Complaint Policy applies to matters that may include: classroom learning environment, course content, access to classes, student advisement, and quality of services to students. The policy also applies tomatters concerning services provided by Administrative Offices, including Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Assessment and Advisement, Business Office, and Facilities. The Student Complaint Form is here. Student Complaint forms should be sent to studentcomplaints@gwinnetttech.edu.

The following forms of complaints will be referred to the appropriate administrator:
• Academic Grade Appeals – Academic Affairs Office
• FERPA – Vice President of Student Affairs
• Financial Aid – Vice President of Student Affairs
• Harassment – Equity Coordinator (Coordinator of Special Populations)
• Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence – Equity Coordinator (Coordinator of Special Populations)
• Discrimination – Equity Coordinator (Coordinator of Special Populations)
• Student Code of Conduct Violations –Vice President Student Affairs

Definitions

Grievable issues: Issues arising from the application of a policy/procedure to the student’s specific case are always grievable. Specifically grievable are issues related to student advisement, improper disclosure of grades, unfair testing procedures and poor treatment of students; this is a representative list and is not meant to be exhaustive.
Non-grievable issues: Issues which have a separate process for resolution (i.e. disciplinary sanctions, FERPA, financial aid, academic grades, discrimination, harassment etc.) are not grievable and a student must take advantage of the process in place.
Business days: weekdays that the college administrative offices are open
Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA): the staff member in charge of the student
services division at the college.
Retaliation: unfavorable action taken, condition created, or other action taken by a student/employee for the purpose of intimidation directed toward a student because the student initiated a grievance or participated in an investigation of a grievance.
Grievant: the student who is making the complaint
The following section details the step-by-step process for resolving student complaints. Complaints that do not follow the process described below will not be considered by the college. Documents relating to formal grievances including investigations, dispositions and the grievance itself shall be held for 5 years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance.

A. For all timelines established herein, if a student will need additional time, an extension may be granted at the Vice President of Student Affairs’ discretion.

B. Informal Grievance Procedure: Students with grievable issues should resolve those issues, if possible, on an informal basis without the filing of a formal grievance.
1. A student has 10 business days from the date of the incident being grieved to resolve the matter informally by approaching their instructor, department chair or any other staff or faculty member directly involved in the grieved incident.

2. Where this process does not result in a resolution of the grievable issue, the student may proceed to the formal grievance procedure below.

C. Formal Grievance Procedure: Where a student cannot resolve their grievance informally, he or she may use this formal grievance procedure.
1. Within 15 business days of the incident being grieved, the student must file a formal grievance within the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) by completing the Student Complaint Form and sending it via email to studentcomplaints@gwinnetttech.edu. a). Name, b). Date, c). Brief description of incident being grieved, d). Remedy requested e). Signature, and f). Informal remedy attempted by student and outcome.

2. If the grievance is against the VPSA, the student shall file the grievance with the technical college president.

3. The VPSA, or designee, will investigate the matter and supply a written response to the student within 15 business days.

4. If the grieved incident involves possible unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation for reporting unlawful harassment/discrimination, the investigation will be handled pursuant to the Procedure: Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students.

5. If the grieved incident is closely related to an incident being processed through the harassment/discrimination or disciplinary procedures, the proceedings under the Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Student’s procedure will take precedence, then the disciplinary procedure and then the student’s grievance will be addressed. The grievance will not be processed until after the other procedures have run their course.

6. The VPSA, shall be granted an additional 15 business days to investigate the grievance upon notice to the grieving student.

D. Appeal: The student may appeal the decision from the VPSA (or designee) to the technical college president. Only the student has the right to appeal.
1. A student shall file a written appeal to the technical college president within 5 business days of receiving the response referenced above.

2. The appeal will be decided based entirely on documents provided by the student and the administration; therefore the student must ensure that he or she has provided all relevant documents with his or her appeal.

3. At the sole discretion of the technical college president, grievance appeals at their institution may be held in one of the following two ways:
a) The technical college president may review the information provided by the student and administration and make the final decision; or
b) The technical college president may appoint a cross-functional committee to make the final decision.
c) The decision of the technical college president (or the appeals committee) shall be made within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal.

4. The decision of the grievance appeal is final.


E. Retaliation against a student for filing a grievance is strictly prohibited.

It is the policy of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to provide technical and adult education programs for the people of Georgia. TCSG’s technical colleges must provide opportunities for intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth. Technical college students assume an obligation to act in a manner compatible with the fulfillment of the mission. The technical college community recognizes its responsibility to provide an atmosphere conducive to growth. With these principles in mind, the Technical College System of Georgia establishes this Student Code of Conduct.

Students are also subject to all laws, the enforcement of which is the responsibility of duly constituted authorities. When students violate laws, they may incur penalties prescribed by legal authorities. In such instances, college discipline will be initiated if the presence of the student on campus is considered a possible threat to persons or property, or if that person’s presence may disrupt the educational process of the college. However, when a student’s violation of the law also adversely affects the college’s recognized educational objectives, or violates the college’s Student Code of Conduct, the college will enforce its own regulations. When students violate college regulations, they are subject to disciplinary action by the college whether or not their conduct violates the law.

Generally, technical college jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct which occurs on technical college premises, off-campus classes, activities or functions sponsored by the technical college, an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade, or which otherwise adversely affects members of the technical college community and/or the pursuit of the technical college’s objectives.

Definitions

Faculty Member: any person hired by a TCSG technical college to conduct teaching, service, or research activities
Hearing Body: as defined in the Student Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
Member of the technical college community: any person who is a student, faculty member, contractors, technical college official or any other person/s involved with the technical college, involved in the community or employed by the technical college
Policy: the written regulations of the technical college as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, Student Handbook(s), Residence Hall Handbook(s), technical college Catalog(s), the technical college Policy Manual, and the Policy Manual approved by the State Board for the Technical College System of Georgia.
Student: all persons taking courses at the technical college, including full-time, part-time, dual enrollment, joint enrollment, non-credit, and credit; persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the technical college are also considered “students”.
System: the Technical College System of Georgia or TCSG.
Technical College official: any person employed by the technical college performing
assigned responsibilities on a part-time, full-time or adjunct basis.
Premises: all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned,
used, or controlled by the technical college (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).

Acts in Violation of the Student Code of Conduct
Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions as outlined in the disciplinary sanctions section. Questions on the interpretation of academic misconduct and policies shall be referred to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, while questions on the interpretation of student conduct other than academic misconduct shall be referred to the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Academic Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Aiding and Abetting Academic Misconduct
knowingly helping, procuring, encouraging or otherwise assisting another person to engage in academic misconduct

2. Cheating
a. use and/or possession of unauthorized material or technology during an examination, or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade, such as tape cassettes, notes, tests, calculators, computer programs, cell phones and/or smart phones, or other electronic devices.
b. obtaining assistance with or answers to an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade from another person with or without that person’s knowledge.
c. furnishing assistance with or answers to an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade to another person.
d. possessing, using, distributing or selling unauthorized copies of an examination, computer program, or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade.
e. representing as one’s own an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade created by another person.
f. taking an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade in place of another person.
g. obtaining unauthorized access to the computer files of another person or agency and/or altering or destroying those files.
h. obtaining teacher edition text books, test banks, or other instructional materials that are only intended to be accessed by technical college officials, college administrator or faculty member.

3. Fabrication
The falsification of any information or citation in an examination or any other written or oral work submitted for evaluation and/or a grade.

4. Plagiarism
a. submitting another’s published or unpublished work in whole, in part or in paraphrase, as one’s own without fully and properly crediting the author with footnotes, quotation marks, citations, or bibliographical reference
b. submitting as one’s own original work, material obtained from an individual or agency without reference to the person or agency as the source of the material
c. submitting as one’s own original work material that has been produced through unacknowledged collaboration with others without release in writing from collaborators

Non-Academic Misconduct includes but is not limited to:
1. Behavior
a. Indecent Conduct: disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, including public physical or verbal action; language commonly considered offensive (not limited to, but including profanity); or distribution of obscene or libelous written or electronic material
b. Violence: mental or physical abuse of any person (including sex offenses) on technical college premises or at technical college-sponsored or technical college-supervised functions, including verbal or physical actions which threaten or endanger the health or safety of any such persons; this includes fighting and/or other disruptive behavior, which includes any action or threat of action which endangers the peace, safety, or orderly function of the technical college, its facilities, or persons engaged in the business of the technical college
c. Harassment: any act, comment, behavior, or clothing which is of a sexually suggestive, harassing, offensive, or intimidating nature; the technical college also prohibits stalking, or behavior which in any way interferes with another student’s rights or an employee’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; (This also includes the display of or navigation to pornography and other inappropriate websites and materials and inappropriate behavior on social media and/or networking applications.); if, in the opinion of technical college officials, clothing and/or behavior (including the presence of gang colors, signs, and/or symbols) are threatening, intimidating, or offensive in nature, sanctions may be imposed immediately.
d. Disruption: prohibits intentional obstruction or interruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other technical college activities, including public service functions, and other duly authorized activities on technical college premises or at technical college-sponsored activity sites
e. Failure to Comply: failure to comply with directions of technical college officials and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so

2. Professionalism
Infractions of the dress code include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Failure to wear attire appropriate for a mature learning environment: inappropriate attire includes, but is not limited to, the following: excessive skin exposure and display of undergarments.
b. Failure to have on footwear
c. When instructed, failure to wear attire designated for classrooms, laboratories, shop areas, internships, and clinical courses, according to the requirements of the work for which the student is being trained.
d. Failure to maintain personal hygiene: cleanliness of body and clothing, etc. e. Failure to refrain from wearing emblems, insignia, badges, symbols or attire that contain inappropriate, lewd, vulgar messages, displays illegal substances or that connote gang affiliation, where the effect thereof may be construed as offensive to a reasonable person or might otherwise cause disruption of interference with the orderly operations of the College

3. Use of Technical College Property 
a. Theft and Damage: prohibits theft of, misuse of, or harm to technical college property, or theft of or damage to property of a member of the technical college community or a campus visitor on technical college premises or at a technical college function
b. Occupation or Seizure: occupation or seizure in any manner of technical college property, a technical college premises, or any portion thereof for a use inconsistent with prescribed, customary, or authorized use
c. Presence on technical college premises: prohibits unauthorized entry upon technical college premises; unauthorized entry into technical college premises or a portion thereof which has been restricted in use; unauthorized presence in technical college premises after closing hours; or furnishing false information to gain entry upon technical college premises
d. Assembly: prohibits participation in or conducting an unauthorized gathering that threatens or causes injury to person or property or that interferes with free access to technical college facilities or that is harmful, obstructive, or disruptive to the educational process or functions of the technical college
e. Fire Alarms: prohibits setting off a fire alarm or using or tampering with any fire safety equipment on technical college premises or at technical college-sponsored activity sites, except with reasonable belief in the need for such alarm or equipment; in the event of a fire alarm sounding, students must evacuate the building unless otherwise directed by a technical college official
f. Obstruction: prohibits obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on technical college premises or at technical college sponsored or supervised functions; refer to Gwinnett Technical College Parking Policy and Regulations

4. Drugs, Alcohol and Other Substances
Substances referred to under this policy include all illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, and misused legal drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter).
a. Alcohol: Students must comply with all state and federal laws regulating alcohol as well as TCSG Policy II.C.6, Alcohol on Campus. Alcoholic beverages may not be served or sold at any student sponsored function. Students being in a state of intoxication on technical college premises or at technical college-sponsored or supervised functions (including off-campus functions), internships, externships, practicum, clinical sites, co-operative or academic sponsored programs or activities or in a technical college-owned vehicle is prohibited.
b. Controlled substances, illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia: The technical college prohibits possession, use, sale, or distribution of any controlled substance, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law. Any influence which may be attributed to the use of drugs or of alcoholic beverages shall not in any way limit the responsibility of the individual for the conduct or consequences of his/her actions.
c. Food: The technical college prohibits eating and/or drinking in classrooms, shops, and labs or other unauthorized areas on technical college premises, unless otherwise permitted by technical college officials.
d. Smoking/Tobacco: The technical college prohibits smoking via any type of tobacco products or electronic smoking devices in classrooms, shops, and labs or other unauthorized areas on technical college premises. Refer to the Gwinnett Technical College Tobacco Policy.

5. Use of Technology
a. Damage and Destruction: Destruction of or harm to equipment, software, or data belonging to the technical college or to others is considered unacceptable usage. This may include altering, downloading, or installing software on technical college computers, tampering with computer hardware or software configuration, improper access to the technical college’s network, and disconnection of technical college computers or devices.
b. Electronic Devices: Unless otherwise permitted by technical college officials, the technical college prohibits use of electronic devices in classrooms, labs, and other instructional, event, or affiliated facilities on technical college Premises. Such devices include, but are not limited to cell phones, beepers, walkie talkies, cameras, gaming devices, and other electronic devices, which may cause unnecessary disruption to the teaching/learning process on campus. The technical college also prohibits attaching personal electronic devices to college computers under any circumstances.
c. Harassment: The technical college prohibits the use of computer technology to harass another student or technical college official with obscene, harassing or intimidating messages, communications, jokes, or material.
d. Unacceptable Use: The technical college prohibits the use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member or technical college official. This includes the unauthorized use of another individual’s identification and password. Gwinnett Technical College prohibits any additional violation to the college’s Acceptable Computer and Internet Use Policy.

6. Weapons
The Technical College System of Georgia is committed to providing all employees, students, volunteers, visitors, vendors and contractors a safe and secure workplace and/or academic setting. The possession, carrying, or transportation of a firearm, weapon, or explosive compound/material in or on college buildings or property (including all satellite campuses/off-site work units), shall be governed by Georgia state law. All individuals are expected to comply with the related laws. Failure to follow laws pertaining to weapons is considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Relevant Georgia laws to be aware of and compliant with include but may not be limited to O.C.G.A.§ 16-8-12(a)(6)(A)(iii), O.C.G.A.§ 167-80, O.C.G.A.§ 16-7-81, O.C.G.A.§ 16-7-85, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-121, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-125.1, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-126, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-127, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-127.1, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-129, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-130, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-133, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-135, O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-137, O.C.G.A.§ 43-38-10.

7. Gambling
The Technical College System of Georgia prohibits the violation of federal, state or local gambling laws on technical college premises or at technical college sponsored or supervised activities.

8. Parking
The technical college prohibits violation of regulations regarding the operation and parking of motor vehicles on or around college premises.

9. Financial Irresponsibility
The technical college prohibits the theft or misappropriation of any technical college, student organization or other assets.

10. Violation of Technical College Policy
Violation of system or technical college policies, rules or regulations including, but not limited to, rules imposed upon students who enroll in a particular class or program, internships, externships, practicum, clinical sites, co-operative, or any academic sponsored programs or activities, student organizations or students who reside in on-campus housing.

11. Aiding and Abetting
Aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to do an activity which otherwise violates this Code of Conduct is prohibited.

12. Falsification of Documentation
Disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student who falsifies any documentation related to the technical college either to the technical college or to others in the community, including, but not limited to falsification of: technical college transcripts; transcripts or other documentation from other institutions to obtain credit from or admission to the technical college; technical college report cards or other grade reports; documentation related to a student’s citizenship status; tests, homework, attendance records; signature of any technical college employee in his or her official capacity; signatures of any employee of a clinical or internship site where the student is participating in an educational program associated with the technical college or records related to any clinical, internship or other academic activity associated with the technical college.

13. Violation of Law
a. If a student is convicted or pleads Nolo Contendere to an on-campus or off-campus violation of federal, state, or local law, but not has not been charged with any other violation of the Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary action may nevertheless be taken and sanctions imposed if the violation of federal, state or local law is detrimental to the technical college’s vital interests and stated mission and purpose.
b. Disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law that is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct if both violations result from the same factual situation, without regard to criminal arrest and/or prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal proceedings.
c. When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the technical college will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his/her status as a student. The technical college will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators. Individual students, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with governmental representatives as they deem appropriate.

14. Abuse of the Student Judicial Process, including but not limited to
a. failure to obey the notification of the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee, Hearing Body, Appellate Board or Technical College Official
b. falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information in a judicial proceeding
c. disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a disciplinary proceeding
d. initiating a disciplinary proceeding knowingly without cause e. attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the disciplinary process
f. attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Hearing Body, or Appellate Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the disciplinary proceeding
g. harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Hearing Body, or Appellate Board prior to, during, and/or after a disciplinary proceeding
h. failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code

The administration reserves the right to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment for students and staff. Therefore, when, in the judgment of technical college officials, a student’s conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the technical college community, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to restore and protect the atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect on campus. This procedure is intended to provide an orderly protocol for handling student disciplinary cases in accordance with the principles of due process and justice. Documents shall be held for no less than three (3) years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance.

Definitions
Academic Misconduct: includes, but is not limited to, the definition found in the Student Code of Conduct
Business Days: weekdays that the technical college administrative offices are open
Hearing Body: any person or persons authorized by the president of a technical college
to provide a hearing as provided in this procedure
Member of the Technical College Community: any person who is a student, faculty member, technical college official or any other person/s involved with the technical college community or employed by the technical college
Policy: the written regulations of the technical college as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, Students Handbook(s), Residence Hall Handbook(s), Technical College Catalog(s), the Technical College Policy Manual, and the Policy Manual approved by the State Board for the Technical College System of Georgia
Student: all persons taking courses at the technical college full-time, part-time, dual enrollment, joint enrollment, non-credit and credit; persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the technical college.
Student Organization: any number of persons who have complied with the formal requirements for technical college recognition
Technical College: any college within the Technical College System of Georgia
Technical College Official: any person employed by the technical college, performing
assigned administrative responsibilities on a part-time, full-time, or adjunct basis
Premises: all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the technical college (including adjacent streets and sidewalks).

The Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee shall retain a copy of all documents concerning complaints, investigations, administrative actions, and communications in relation to any incident that resulted in a disciplinary investigation of any kind against a student. The Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee will also retain records of any disciplinary appeals filed by the affected student, as well as the resulting record of appeal and decision submitted by the Hearing Body and the technical college president or his/her designee. A record of the final decision must also be retained. All records specified in this section shall be retained for a period of five years.

A. Filing a Complaint
1. Any person may file a complaint with the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee against any student for an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The individual(s) initiating the action should complete a Student Code of Conduct Complaint Form, and provide it to the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee.

2. Academic Misconduct may be handled using a separate Academic Misconduct Procedure via the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the discretion of the technical college president.

3. Investigation and Decision
a. Within 15 business days after the Student Code of Conduct Complaint Form (the “Complaint”) is fi the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee shall complete a preliminary investigation of the incident, and schedule a meeting with the student against whom the complaint was fi in order to discuss the incident and the allegations. In the event that additional time is necessary, the Student will be notified. After discussing the complaint with the student, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee shall determine whether the student committed the alleged conduct, and whether the alleged conduct constitutes a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
b. The student shall have 5 business days from the date contacted by the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee to schedule the meeting. This initial meeting may only be rescheduled one time. If the student fails to respond to the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee within 5 business days to schedule the meeting, reschedules the meeting more than once, or fails to appear at the meeting, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee will consider the available evidence without student input and make a determination
c. In the event that a Complaint alleges violations of the Student Code of Conduct by more than one student, each student’s disciplinary proceeding, as well as any appeals relating to that proceeding, shall be conducted individually.
d. If the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee determines that the student has violated the Student Code of Conduct, he/she shall impose one or more disciplinary sanctions consistent with those described below. If the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee determines that the alleged conduct did not occur, or that the conduct was not a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, he/she shall not impose any disciplinary sanctions on the student and the investigation shall be closed.
 

B. Disciplinary Sanctions
Based on the severity of the incident, the Vice President of Student Affairs may take one of two actions:
1. After a determination that a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee may impose, without referral to the Hearing Body, one or more of the following sanctions. Notification shall be sent to the student and the person(s) who initially filed the complaint.
a. Restitution – A student who has committed an offense against property may be required to reimburse the technical college or other owner for damage to or misappropriation of such property. Any such payment in restitution shall be limited to the actual cost of repair or replacement.
b. Reprimand – A written reprimand may be given to any student. Such a reprimand does not restrict the student in any way, but it signifies to the student that he/she is in effect being given another chance to conduct himself/herself as a proper member of the technical college community, and that any further violation may result in more serious sanctions.
c. Restriction – A restriction upon a student’s privileges for a period of time may be imposed. This restriction may include but is not limited to denial of the right to represent the technical college in any way, denial of use of facilities, alteration or revocation of parking privileges, or restrictions from participating in extracurricular activities.
d. Disciplinary Probation – Continued enrollment of a student on probation may be conditioned upon adherence to specified terms. Any student placed on probation will be notified of the terms and length of probation in writing. Any conduct determined after due process to be in violation of these terms while on probation may result in the imposition of more serious disciplinary sanctions, as specified by the terms of probation.
e. Failing or lowered grade – In cases of Academic Misconduct, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee will make a recommendation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee who may authorize the instructor to award a failing or lowered grade in the course, or a loss of credit on the assignment or examination.

2. After a determination that a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee may recommend the imposition of one of the following sanctions if appropriate. The Vice President of Student Affairs’ recommendation will be forwarded to the Hearing Body, which may impose one or more of the following sanctions, as well as those described in section VI.C.1 above, following a hearing. A copy of the written recommendation shall be provided to the student and the person filing the complaint. A grade of “W” will be issued for any of the sanctions below.
a. Disciplinary Suspension – If a student is suspended, he/she is separated from the technical college for a stated period of time. Conditions of reinstatement, if any, must be stated in the notice of suspension.
b. Disciplinary Expulsion – Removal and exclusion from the technical college, Technical College controlled facilities, programs, events, and activities. A record of the reason for the student’s dismissal is maintained by Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee. Students who have been dismissed from the technical college for any reason may apply in writing to the Vice President of Student Affairs for reinstatement twelve (12) months following the expulsion. If approval for reinstatement is granted, the student will be placed on disciplinary probation for a specified term. The probationary status may be removed at the end of the specified term at the discretion of the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee.
c. System-Wide Expulsion – Where a student has been expelled or suspended three times from the same or different colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia in the past seven years, the student will not be permitted to register at any college in the Technical College System of Georgia for a period of ten years after the most recent expulsion/suspension.

3. Violation of Federal, State, or Local Law
a. If a student is convicted or pleads nolo contendere to an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local law, but not with any other violation of the Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary action may be taken and sanctions imposed for misconduct that is detrimental to the technical college’s vital interests and stated mission and purpose.
b. Disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law that is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct if both violations result from the same factual situation, without regard to criminal arrest and/or prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal proceedings.
c. When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the technical college will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his/her status as a student. The technical college will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators. Individual students, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with governmental representatives as they deem appropriate.

4. Interim Disciplinary Suspension – As a general rule, the status of a student accused of violations of the Student Code of Conduct should not be altered until a final determination is made regarding the allegations against him/her. However, interim suspension may be imposed upon a finding by the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee that the continued presence of the accused student on campus constitutes a potential or immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the accused student or any other member of the technical college community or its guests, or that the continued presence of the student on campus creates a risk of substantial disruption of classroom or other technical college-related activities. If an interim disciplinary suspension is imposed, the matter must be referred as soon as possible to the Hearing Body. The student need not request an appeal.

5. Conditions of Disciplinary Suspension and Expulsion
a. A student who has been suspended or expelled from the technical college shall be denied all privileges afforded a student and shall be required to vacate technical college Premises at a time determined by the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee.
b. In addition, after vacating the technical college premises, a suspended or expelled Student may not enter upon the technical college premises at any time, for any purpose, in the absence of written permission from the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee. A suspended or expelled student must contact the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee for permission to enter the technical college premises for a limited, specified purpose.
c. If the student seeks to submit a signed Disciplinary Sanction Appeal Form, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee must accept the form by mail or fax if he/she refuses the Student’s request to enter the Technical College premises for that specified purpose.
d. A scheduled appeal hearing before the Hearing Body shall be understood as expressed permission from the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee for a student to enter the technical college premises for the duration of that hearing.

C. Mediation
At the discretion of the technical college president the technical college may adopt a mediation procedure to be utilized prior to the appeals set forth herein. Mediation may never be used in cases of alleged sexual misconduct.

D. Hearing/Appeals Procedure
1. A student who wishes to appeal a disciplinary decision by the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee regarding an assigned sanction of restitution, reprimand, restriction, disciplinary probation, or failing or lowered grade must file a written notice of appeal through the technical college president’s office for review by the Hearing Body within five business days of notification of the decision. The person filing the initial complaint against the student must be notified of the hearing date.

2. If the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee recommended a sanction of disciplinary suspension, disciplinary expulsion, interim disciplinary suspension, or system-wide expulsion, the matter will be referred to the Hearing Body by the Vice President of Student Affairs. The student need not file a written notice of his or her desire to appear before the Hearing Body. The person filing the initial complaint shall also be given notification of the hearing.

3. The student will then have the right to appear in a hearing before a Hearing Body assigned by the technical college president or his/her designee within 10 business days to present evidence and/or testimony. If the student has been placed on an interim disciplinary suspension, the hearing must be held as soon as possible, preferably within five days. The student has the right to be assisted by any single advisor he/she chooses, at his/her own expense. 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 before a Hearing Body. The Hearing Body may consist of a single person or a group of people drawn from the technical college community. There shall be a single official record, such as a tape recording, of all hearings before the Hearing Body. The official record shall be the property of the technical college. The standard of proof in all hearings shall be a preponderance of the evidence. The chairperson of the Hearing Body shall notify the technical college president and the Vice President of Student Affairs in writing of the Hearing Body’s decision. The technical college president or his/her designee will notify the student in writing of the Hearing Body’s decision.

4. If the student appeared before the Hearing Body to appeal the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee’s sanction of restitution, reprimand, restriction, disciplinary probation, or failing or lowered grade, the Hearing Body’s decision regarding the appeal is final. A copy of the Hearing Body’s written decision will be provided to both the student and the person who filed the original complaint.

5. If the student appeared before the Hearing Body after the Vice President of Student Affairs or the technical college president’s designee recommended disciplinary suspension, disciplinary expulsion, interim disciplinary suspension, or system-wide expulsion, the student shall have the opportunity to appeal directly to the technical college president.

6. If entitled to an appeal to the technical college president, the student shall have 5 business days after receiving written notification of the Hearing Body’s decision to request in writing an appeal. The student shall ensure that all relevant information is included with this request. The person who filed the original complaint shall be notified of the student’s appeal.

7. The president of the technical college or his/her designee’s review shall be in writing and shall only consider evidence currently in the record, new facts not brought up in earlier stages of the appeal shall not be considered. The technical college president or his/her designee shall deliver the decision to the student and the person who fi the original complaint within 10 business days. The decision of the technical college president or his/her designee shall be final and binding.