Part 1. Code of Student Conduct
Each student at Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) has the right to an education, and it is the responsibility of the college to provide an environment that promotes learning. Any action by a student that interferes with the education of any other student or interferes with the operations of the college in carrying out its responsibility to provide an education will be considered a violation of this code. Disciplinary action will be handled in an expeditious manner while providing due process.
Part 2. Jurisdiction
College jurisdiction is asserted for violations of the Code of Student Conduct that occur on College premises. In addition, college jurisdiction shall extend to violations of the Code which are committed off campus when:
- Hazing is involved;
- The violation is committed while participating in a College sanctioned or sponsored activity;
- The victim of the violation is a member the College community;
- The violation constitutes a felony under state or federal law; or
- The violation adversely affects the educational, research, or service functions of the College.
The College has the right to take necessary and appropriate action to support and protect the safety and well-being of the College community. RCTC students are expected to abide by local, state and federal laws and College rules. Should the violation of civil or criminal law involve college interests, the College has the right to proceed with disciplinary action without regard to civil or criminal proceedings.
Allegations of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence shall be resolved pursuant to Minnesota State colleges and universities Policy 1B.1, Nondiscrimination in Employment and Education Opportunity, Procedure 1B.1.1, Report/Complaint of Discrimination/Harassment Investigation and Resolution, Policy 1B.3, Sexual Violence Policy, Procedure 1B.3.1, Sexual Violence Procedure.
Part 3. Standards
All RCTC students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with, as well as to conform to, College rules and regulations governing personal conduct on all campuses. Violations of such rules and regulations, for which students are subject to disciplinary action, include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Dishonesty, including, but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or collusion (See Academic Integrity, RCTC Policy #3.6.2), or deliberately furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member or office. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any college document, record or instrument of identification including copyright violations. Tampering with the election of any college-recognized student organization.
- Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, other College activities, including its public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized non-College activities when the conduct occurs on College premises. Based on RCTC Statement of Philosophy “Students deserve a respectful, safe, and caring environment that supports personal growth and embraces diversity.” As such, all students, instructors, and staff are entitled to a safe and positive non-disruptive learning environment which does not interfere with the educational process. Behavior standards apply to all college owned property and/or college sponsored activities. Disruptive behavior is generally defined as activity that: (a) interferes with instruction; (b) interferes with other student’s rights to pursue learning; (c) violates college policies; (d) violates local, state, or federal laws, or (e) generally interferes with the smooth operation of the college. Faculty reserve the right to define specifically their interpretation of disruptive behavior in their class syllabi based on the preceding guidelines.
- Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
- Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property of the College or property of a member of the College community or other personal or public property.
- Hazing, for the purpose of initiation, admission, affiliation or membership in a group or organization, which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which destroys or removes public or private property.
- Failure to comply with directions of College officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons upon request.
- Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
- Violation of any College or Minnesota State policy, rule, or regulation published in hard copy or available electronically on the College or Minnesota State website.
- Violation of any federal, state or local law.
- Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of marijuana, heroin, narcotics, or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law.
- Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by College or Minnesota State regulations), public intoxication, or violation of Minnesota State Policy and Procedure 5.18 and 5.18.1 on Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances on Campus. Alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstance, be used by, possessed by or distributed to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age.
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on College premises or use of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens or causes fear to others.
- Participating in an on-campus or off-campus demonstration, riot or activity that disrupts the normal operations of the College and/or infringes on the rights of other members of the College community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area.
- Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on College premises or at College sponsored or supervised functions.
- Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on College premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in by, the College or members of the academic community. Disorderly Conduct includes but is not limited to: Any unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to make an audio or video record of any person while on College premises without his/her prior knowledge, or without his/her effective consent when such a recording is likely to cause injury or distress. This includes, but is not limited to, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a gym, locker room, or restroom.
- Any violation of the College Computer Use Policy or Minnesota State Policy and Procedure 5.22 and 5.22.1 on Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources.
- Abuse of the Student Conduct System, including but not limited to:
- Failure to obey the notice from a Student Conduct Panel or College official to appear for a meeting or hearing as part of the Student Conduct System.
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Student Conduct Panel.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a Student Conduct Panel proceeding.
- Institution of a student conduct code proceeding in bad faith.
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participating in, or use of, the student conduct system.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Student Conduct Panel prior to, and/or during the course of, the Student Conduct Panel proceeding.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Student Conduct Panel prior to, during, and/or after a student conduct code proceeding.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the student conduct code system.
Part 4. Initiation of Conduct Investigation.
Any member of the College community may file a written complaint alleging that a student has violated the Code of Student Conduct. Any complaint should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place to the Director of Student Conduct. Once a complaint is filed, the Director of Student Conduct reserves the right to investigate the complaint even if a complainant chooses not to pursue the matter. Persons filing a complaint are required to provide pertinent information and, if necessary, appear at a hearing. Persons filing complaints shall be informed of their rights under the Minnesota Data Practices Act. Following the filing of a complaint against a student, the Director of Student Conduct shall conduct an investigation of the allegations.
Additionally, alleged conduct violations are reported through Campus Safety Incident Reports or other means. The Director of Student Conduct has the responsibility to ensure compliance with the Student Code of Conduct and therefore retains the authority to investigate all reports of alleged student misconduct regardless of how the report is received by the Director of Student Conduct.
Part 5. Investigation of Alleged Misconduct
If the complaint seems unwarranted, the Director of Student Conduct may discontinue proceedings. If there is sufficient evidence to support the complaint, the Director of Student Conduct shall offer the accused student an opportunity to resolve the alleged violation at an informal meeting.
Part 6. Informal Meeting
Prior to this meeting, the student shall be given written notice of the specific complaint against him/her and the nature of the evidence available to support the complaint and provided with a copy of the Code of Student Conduct. The student may have an advisor present but the advisor cannot speak on the student’s behalf. During the meeting the Director of Student Conduct shall review the complaint and the evidence with the student and allow the student to present a defense against the complaint.
Within a reasonable time period following the meeting, the Director of Student Conduct shall inform the accused student in writing of his/her decision whether a violation of the code was established by a preponderance of evidence and any applicable sanction as well as options available for an appeal and/or a formal hearing.
A student who is subject to a sanction of expulsion or suspension, except summary suspension, for more than nine days may agree to accept the sanction, or may request a formal hearing. The formal hearing should be held within a reasonable time. Other sanctions shall be accepted or may be appealed in accordance with the institution’s appeal procedures.
If the accused student fails to appear for the informal hearing, the Director of Student Conduct may proceed to review and act upon the complaint in his/her absence and shall notify the student in writing of an action taken.
A sanction shall not become effective during the time in which a student seeks an appeal or formal hearing, unless, at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct, it is necessary to implement an immediate sanction for the safety and welfare of the College community.
Part 7. Formal Hearing
A student who is subject to a sanction of expulsion or suspension, except summary suspension, for more than nine days may request a formal hearing before the Student Conduct Board. The College President or designee determines the composition of the Student Conduct Board made up of members of the College community, e.g., administrator, faculty member, staff member, student. The Director of Student Conduct is responsible for convening a Student Conduct Board and for providing appropriate training to members of the Student Conduct Board.
In hearings involving more than one accused student or organization, the Director of Student Conduct, at his or her discretion, may permit the hearing concerning each student to be conducted either separately or jointly.
After receiving a request for a formal hearing within the proscribed time period, the College will give adequate advance notice to the student in writing of the time, place and date of the hearing. Such notice to the student shall also include:
- A summary of the witness and documentary evidence that may be presented in support of a charge.
- A statement that the student’s failure to appear will not prevent the hearing from proceeding as scheduled and may lead to imposition of sanctions in the student’s absence.
- Notice that the student must provide a summary of their witnesses, documentary evidence that may be presented at the formal hearing, and the name of his or her advocate, if an advocate will be present by a proscribed date.
- The hearing shall be held in closed session unless there is a compelling reason and neither the accused student nor the complainant presents an objection.
The hearing may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being and/or fears of confrontation of the complainant, accused student, and/or other witness during the hearing by providing for the presence of law enforcement and/or security, separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audiotape, written statement, or other means, where and as determined in the sole judgment of the Director of Student Conduct or designee to be appropriate.
The student shall be given the opportunity to speak in his/her own defense, to present witnesses and to question any witnesses. The student may have an advocate present. The advocate may provide advice to the student, but may not participate in any questioning. When there is a likelihood that a student involved in conduct proceedings will face criminal prosecution for a serious offense, it may be advisable that the student have an attorney as an advocate.
The failure of a student, student advocate, or student organization to appear at the hearing shall not prevent the hearing from proceeding as scheduled.
The hearing will be conducted in the following manner:
- An opening statement from the Director of Student Conduct or designee that includes a statement of the charges and supporting evidence.
- The Director of Student Conduct or designee will present the case on behalf of the College including evidence and testimony of any witnesses.
- At the conclusion of each witness statement, the accused, board members, or Director of Student Conduct or designee may ask questions. Witnesses may be recalled as needed.
- The accused student presents a statement of testimony to refute the charges including evidence to support their defense and testimony of any witnesses.
- At the conclusion of each witness statement, the accused, board members, or Director of Student Conduct or designee may ask questions. Witnesses may be recalled as needed.
- Only those materials and matters presented at the hearing shall be considered as evidence.
- The Director of Student Conduct or designee presents a closing statement.
- The accused student presents a closing statement.
In a closed session the Student Conduct Board shall review the evidence presented and witness testimony to determine by a majority vote whether a violation of the code was established by a preponderance of evidence. The Student Conduct Board would also determine any applicable sanction(s) if a student was found to be in violation.
A written notice of findings and conclusions shall be provided to the student within a reasonable time after the hearing. The notice shall inform the student of any sanction to be imposed. The notice shall also contain information regarding the applicable appeal process.
Part 8. Sanctions
Disciplinary sanctions are implemented by written notification after an informal meeting or formal hearing with administrative staff arranged by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for any single violation. The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the Student Code:
- Warning – a notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations.
- Probation – a written reprimand for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and include the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period. The College may impose specific written conditions for the probation.
- Restitution – compensation required to the college or other persons, groups, or organizations for damages incurred. This may take the form of service and/or monetary.
- Discretionary Sanction – work assignments, essays, service to the College, or other related discretionary assignments.
- Loss of a College Privilege – denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Summary Suspension – a suspension imposed without an investigation, informal meeting or formal hearing to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the College community.
- Suspension – denial of the privilege of enrollment at the College for a specified period of time after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-enrollment may be specified.
- Expulsion – Termination of student status and permanent denial of the privilege of enrollment at the college.
The College reserves the right to impose other sanctions as circumstances warrant.
Part 9. Appeals
A decision reached by the Student Conduct Board in a formal meeting, or a sanction imposed by the Director of Student Conduct during an informal meeting may be appealed by the accused student(s) or the complainant(s) to the Student Affairs Administrator identified in the notice of the sanction, and received within ten (10) business days of the notification of the decision. Failure to request an appeal meeting in writing within the ten (10) business day time period presumes acceptance of the sanction
Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review for one or more of the following purposes:
- To determine whether the informal or formal hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present information that the Code of Student Conduct was violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
- To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on a preponderance of evidence.
- To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were fair and proportionate to the violation of the Code of Student Code for which the student was charged.
- To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original informal or formal hearing.
If an appeal is upheld by the Student Affairs Administrator or designee, the Student Affairs Administrator or designee may take any appropriate action. If an appeal is not upheld, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved except that in cases involving sanctions of suspension for 10 days or longer, students shall be informed of their right to a contested case hearing under Minnesota State Statute 14. (Refer to Part 11.)
Part 10. Summary Suspension
In certain circumstances, the Director of Student Conduct may impose a summary suspension prior to the informal or formal proceedings described previously. A summary suspension may be imposed only when, in the judgment of the Director of Student Conduct or an administrator, the accused student’s presence on the College campus would constitute a threat to the safety and well-being of members of the campus community. To the greatest extent possible before implementing the summary suspension, the accused student shall be given oral or written notice of the intent to impose summary suspension and shall be given an opportunity to present oral or written arguments against the imposition of the suspension. However, the refusal of a student to accept or acknowledge this notice shall not prevent the implementation of a summary suspension. Notice of the summary suspension shall be provided in writing to the student. After the student has been summarily suspended, the student shall be provided an opportunity for an informal meeting or formal hearing within the shortest reasonable time period, not to exceed nine (9) school or business days. During the summary suspension, the student may not enter the campus without obtaining prior permission from the Director of Student Conduct.
Part 11. Contested Case Hearings
Students whose appeal was not upheld with a sanction involving a suspension or expulsion shall be informed of the right to a contested case hearing under Chapter 14 of Minnesota Statutes, which provides that an appeal may be made to an administrative law judge at the Minnesota State Hearing Examiners Office, St. Paul, Minnesota. The student may request a hearing in writing within five (5) days of receipt of written suspension notice. If the student does not file an appeal within the five (5) days, any further right to appeal shall be waived. The attorney assigned to the System by the Attorney General shall represent the College at this hearing. The administrative law judge shall make a report, which contains a recommendation, to the College President. Within a period of not less than twelve (12) no more than twenty (20) days following receipt of recommendation, a decision will be made by the College President. The decision of the College President is final. During this appeal process the student shall have the right to attend classes and to receive services related to the college program until a final decision has been made, unless the process is the result of actions deemed harmful or potentially harmful to other persons or property.
Part 12. Interpretation
Any questions of interpretation regarding the Code of Student Conduct shall be referred to the Chief Student Affairs Office. The Code of Student Conduct shall be reviewed every three (3) years under the direction of the Director of Student Conduct.
Part 13. Definitions
- “College” means Rochester Community and Technical College.
- “Student” includes all persons who:
- Are enrolled in one or more courses, either credit or non-credit, through the College.
- Withdraw, transfer or graduate, after an alleged violation of the student conduct code.
- Are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the College.
- Have been notified of their acceptance for admission or have initiated the process of application for admission or financial aid.
- “Faculty member” means any person hired by the College to conduct classroom activities.
- “Administrator” includes any person employed by the College, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
- “College community” includes any person who is a student, faculty member, or administrator, or any other person employed by the college community.
- “College premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used or controlled by the College including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
- “College conduct committee” means persons authorized by the Vice President of Student Affairs to determine whether a student has violated the Code of Student Conduct and to recommend the imposition of sanctions.
- “Director of Student Conduct” means an administrator authorized by the college President to administer the Code of Student Conduct and to impose sanctions upon students found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct.
- “Shall” is used in the imperative sense.
- “May” is used in the permissive sense.
- “Policy” is defined as the written regulations of the College as found in, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, the Student Handbook, College Catalog, College Rules and Regulations and other official college publications.
- “Preponderance of evidence” means a standard of responsibility that is more likely than not that the code has been violated.
- “Cheating, Plagiarism, and Collusion” (See Academic Integrity, RCTC Policy # 3.6.2),
- “Days” means scheduled class days (excluding Saturdays and Sundays).
Part 14: Maintenance of Records
Student conduct records are retained for seven years unless the College is aware of, or anticipates any legal action, audit, investigation, or review regarding a specific record. Code of conduct violations and related documentation are part of the student’s educational record and therefore, protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA).
In accordance with Minnesota State Procedure 3.29.1, suspensions or expulsions for disciplinary reasons shall be noted on the transcript with a two-line message. For a suspension, the first line shall read “Disciplinary Suspension” and the second line “Eligible for Reinstatement ‘Term, Year.'” An expulsion shall be noted by a first line reading “Disciplinary Expulsion” and the second line reading “Not Eligible for Reinstatement.” The disciplinary suspension notation shall be removed from the transcript following the date when the student becomes eligible for reinstatement, while the disciplinary expulsion notation is permanent.
Date of Implementation: Immediate
Date of Adoption: 2/28/17