- Student Harassment or Discrimination Grievance Procedure
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has zero tolerance for illegal discrimination of any kind. Any student who thinks he/she may have been discriminated against or subjected to harassment by students or employees because of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, beliefs, political affiliation, veteran status, age, or disability (including denial of a request for an accommodation), has the right to pursue an informal and/or formal discrimination grievance. The informal student discrimination grievance procedure is described below.
Complaints relating to sexual misconduct should be made to the College Title IX Coordinator or other college administrator. Such complaints shall be handled in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Procedure.
The Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) or his/her designee shall be responsible for investigating student discrimination grievances. If appropriate, this shall be conducted in collaboration with the college human resources director.
- If a student thinks that he/she has been discriminated against, the student shall inform the CSAO or his/her designee within thirty (30) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged incident. The CSAO or his/her designee shall conduct a preliminary investigation of the discrimination grievance.
- The student, CSAO or his/her designee, and other involved parties shall work informally to negotiate a solution within fourteen (14) calendar days. The informal student discrimination grievance procedure shall be completed within forty-four (44) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged incident.
- If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student through the informal grievance procedure, the student may file a formal appeal pursuant to Section D below.
Students have the ability to file appeals when they believe a violation of their academic rights has occurred. Students have the academic right to:
- timely receive information about course content
- timely receive information about course grading criteria
- hold and express a contrary opinion
- fair and impartial academic evaluation
- confidentiality of academic records
- informed evaluation of student character and ability
More information about student academic rights may be found in the Student Bill of Rights, particularly #6, 7, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19 and 20.
i. Grievances Involving Academic Rights of Students
If a student encounters a problem in a class and wishes to file a grievance, he/she should first speak with the instructor and try to resolve the issue. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the student should proceed to Step 2 below.
When a student believes his/her academic rights have been violated, the student shall submit a formal written appeal specifying the alleged violations to the appropriate division chair as soon as possible following the occurrence of the violation. In order to be considered, a student appeal must be filed no later than five (5) business days after the first class day of the following semester. Appeals received after that will be declared untimely and will not be considered. Upon receipt of the student appeal, the division chair will attempt to resolve the issue. If no resolution is agreed upon by all parties within 15 business days, the division chair will refer the case to the KCTCS College President or designee.
The KCTCS College President or designee will attempt resolution. If no resolution can be agreed upon within 15 business days, the College President or designee must notify the student in writing. The student may choose to move to Step 4 by filing a written request for a hearing on the issue before College Appeals Board.
If the student does not accept the decision of the KCTCS College President or designee, the student has ten (10) business days to submit a written request for a hearing before the College Appeals Board (see Section D). No new matter may be appealed which was not included in the student’s original appeal to the division chair.
ii. Discipline Process for Academic Violations Committed by Students
Incidents of academic dishonesty and misconduct which occur within the context of a specific course are resolved by the academic department in accordance with the College academic honesty policy. In such a case, the instructor or academic department determines if academic dishonesty or misconduct occurred, and what the academic penalty should be.
Sanctions for a finding of academic dishonesty or misconduct include but are not limited to:
- Requiring the student to resubmit the assignment
- A lower grade on the assignment or in the course;
- A zero for the assignment or exam;
- A failing grade in the course.
- Removal from the course
- Referral for disciplinary actions beyond the above sanctions.
A student who receives an academic penalty as a result of academic dishonesty or misconduct may not withdraw from the course in order to avoid the academic penalty.
Within ten (10) business days of the occurrence or discovery of the occurrence of an alleged student academic offense, the instructor shall submit to the division chair or chief academic officer a written description of the activity that resulted in the accusation of academic dishonesty and the sanction implemented as a result.
The instructor shall notify the student in writing of the academic offense, explain the sanction, and inform the student of his or her right to appeal the fact of guilt and/or severity of the sanction when a failing grade is assigned.
The student may protest the fact of guilt and/or severity of the sanction to the instructor. The instructor may then confer with the appropriate division chair or chief academic officer to determine appropriate sanctions for the student. All academic misconduct actions must be reported to the chief academic officer for record keeping purposes.
iii. Appeals of Student Academic Offenses
If a student has protested a finding of having committed an academic offense to a faculty member and the sanction has been upheld, the student has further appeal rights described below. (Reference the Appeals in Cases of Alleged Academic Violation of Student Academic Rights flowchart in Appendix.)
Students who are not satisfied with the outcome of their protest to the faculty member may submit an appeal to the division chair of the department. The division chair shall attempt to resolve all cases referred by student appeal to the satisfaction of the instructor and the student. If the division chair upholds the decision of the instructor, the student may appeal, in writing, within ten (10) business days of notification of the division chair’s decision, to the College President or designee.
Upon reviewing the basis of the student appeal, the College President or designee shall attempt to resolve the matter. If no resolution is reached within ten (10) business days, the student may submit a written appeal to the College Appeals Board (CAB). (See section D)
iv. Student Rights During the Appeals Process (Academic Rights/Academic Offenses)
In cases of academic rights and academic offenses, the student shall have the right of class attendance and participation during the consideration of any appeal except that such attendance and participation may be limited when:
- outside agencies are used as a part of the student’s educational experience, in which case precedence will be given to the terms of any agreement(s), which have been negotiated between the college and the agency; or
- patient/client contact is involved in the student’s educational experience, in which case only patient/client contact may be limited or excluded at the discretion of program faculty.
If the appeal is decided in the student’s favor, the college must provide an opportunity for the student to complete any essential experiences missed due to the appeals process. An appeal of a grade after the class has been completed, a grade change by the CAB will only be for a P grade or a W grade.
i. Reporting Violations of the Code
Any student, faculty or staff member, or visitor to the college may make a report to the Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) of suspected violations of the Code of Student Conduct. A written complaint is not required but is preferred. Those making reports are generally expected to participate in proceedings related to the report and to provide information during the process.
If the complaint is received more than one term after the incident occurred, the Chief Student Affairs Officer will assess whether or not disciplinary action should still go forward. The assessment will be based on such information as: the nature of the violation, the likelihood of repetition, and the impact upon the campus community. (Reference the Appeal of Behavioral/Non-Academic Grievance flowchart in Appendix.)
ii. Administrative Review and Resolution
1. Preliminary Review
Upon receiving a report of an alleged violation of this Code, the CSAO may conduct a preliminary review to determine if there is credible information to proceed with an investigation and/or to formally charge a student with a violation of this Code. During the course of this preliminary review, the CSAO may meet with affected parties and/or witnesses. The CSAO will notify any interviewees of the preliminary nature of the review and that it may result in formal misconduct charges.
- Case Not Pursued--If the CSAO does not find sufficient evidence that a violation of this Code has occurred, the CSAO will not pursue a formal conduct process. The CSAO will maintain documentation of the receipt of an allegation that is separate from the formal student record. The CSAO will notify the student that the matter has been closed and no further action will be taken.
- Informal Response—If the CSAO finds concerning information that does not rise to the level of a violation of this Code, the College may still take reasonable action, such as requiring a student to meet with a staff member prior to registering for courses, or a verbal or written warning.
- Formal Response—If there is sufficient credible information that a student has violated this Code, then the CSAO will initiate the conduct process.
2. Interim Measures
Upon preliminary review, KCTCS reserves the right to enact any interim measures it deems necessary to protect the rights, well-being, and personal safety of KCTCS employees, students, guests or visitors. Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether formal disciplinary action is sought or pursued against the Respondent. Such measures may include, but are not limited to:
- referral to counseling services and other resources
- rescheduling of exams or assignments (in conjunction with appropriate faculty)
- no-contact order
- limited access to college facilities or organizations pending resolution of the report
- temporary work reassignment
- temporary class schedule reassignment
- administrative leave during the investigation and resolution
- report of the matter to local law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the college is located
- KCTCS further reserves the right to apply any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this policy
3. Immediate Temporary Suspension
- A student may be suspended immediately when:
- If, in the judgment of the College President (upon consultation with CSAO and/or the college Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)), there is reasonable cause to believe that the presence of the student poses a serious threat to persons and/or property, or that the student has been charged with a crime so serious as to threaten the welfare of the college community, the College President may impose temporary sanctions, including temporary suspension and ban from campus.
- Except in the case of emergency circumstances, the student will be provided an informal opportunity to discuss the matter and possible resolution.
- The student may be temporarily banned from campus if he/she refuses to cease disruptive behavior or conduct in violation of this policy after direct orders from the College President (upon consultation with the CSAO and/or BIT).
- When such suspension is involved, the student must leave campus immediately. Law enforcement will be called if the student refuses to comply.
- Notice and Right to Appeal
- The College President shall issue a written notice of the immediate temporary suspension and campus ban to the student. This written notice shall include the student’s right to appeal the decision to the College Appeals Board (CAB).
- The student may file a written appeal with the College Appeals Board within 30 days. If requested in the written appeal, the CAB shall schedule a hearing of the case within 48 hours, or as soon as practicable. The CAB shall consider the student’s academic needs to attend class, use the library, and fulfill other academic commitments.
- The CAB has three options: it may uphold the immediate temporary suspension, it may overturn the decision and return the student to regular status, or it may enact other remedies and/or sanctions. The alternative remedies/sanctions may be more extensive than the temporary suspension, such as expulsion or other sanctions that are appropriate. The CAB shall communicate its findings to the College President and the Student within three (3) business days of the decision. Should the CAB uphold the immediate temporary suspension, it shall remain in effect until such time as the student can prove that circumstances have changed and he/she can resume attendance without being a threat to the campus community. The CAB’s decision is final except in cases of long term suspension or expulsion that are subject to appeal to the KCTCS Board of Regents.
- If the student’s circumstances change, the student may make a written request to the College President for permission to readmission to the college.
- The College President will consult with the CSAO and/or BIT to determine if the student has demonstrated that his/her dangerous or threatening behavior has been remediated.
- The College President may require the student to enter into a behavioral contract that establishes specific terms and limitations for the student’s conduct and consequences for failure to abide by those terms as a condition of readmission.
4. Formal Conduct Process
When the CSAO finds sufficient credible information, a formal conduct process will be initiated. The CSAO will present the respondent with formal written notice of the alleged violations of this Code and provide an opportunity for the respondent to make a formal statement to the CSAO, and to provide any evidence and any witnesses pertinent to the alleged violation. The CSAO shall review the evidence and conduct witness interviews. When the CSAO is satisfied that a full review has been conducted, the CSAO shall notify the respondent in writing of the findings. If the CSAO’s investigation shows the respondent has violated this Code, the report of findings shall also notify the respondent of the sanctions imposed. The report of findings shall also provide the respondent with notice of his/her rights to appeal.
The CSAO will seek to resolve the formal conduct process within 60 days of the initial report. Extenuating circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames, including extension beyond 60 days. Extenuating circumstances may include the complexity and scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening school break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances. In the event that the investigation and resolution exceed this time frame, the CSAO will notify affected parties of the reason(s) for the delay and the expected adjustment in time frames. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.
5. Appeal of a Code Violation Finding
A student may appeal a code violation finding by submitting a written request for appeal to the College President. The appeal may ask for reconsideration of guilt or innocence and/or the severity of the sanction. Upon receipt of the appeal, the College President shall notify the College Appeals Board of the request for appeal. (Reference the College Appeal Board (CAB) Appeal Process flowchart in Appendix.) The College Appeals Board procedures are described in section E below.
Sanctions are designed to protect the College’s educational mission, to promote safety and security of the College community, and to deter students from behavior that harms, harasses, or threatens people or property. More than one sanction may be imposed in a case. The following factors are generally considered when determining sanctions for a particular case:
- The nature of the violation(s)
- Prior findings of responsibility and sanction(s)
- Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation
- The student’s motivation(s) for engaging in the behavior
- Impacts of the behavior
- Sanctions which have been imposed in similar cases in the past
- The developmental and educational impact on the student
Standard sanctions are listed below. This list is not exhaustive, and the College is not limited to only this list. Sanctions tailored to the particular violation may be enacted by the College.
- Reprimand: Official written notice to the student that the behavior is not acceptable at the College and that additional incidents may result in more severe sanctions. This notice exists in the student conduct file and is not reflected on an academic transcript.
- Disciplinary Probation: A period of time (which may be indefinite) during which a student is under warning that any other violation of College policy may result in suspension. Disciplinary probation may also prohibit a student from participating in certain College activities or programs, as it is considered notice that the student is not in good standing due to behavior. This notice exists in the student conduct file and is not reflected on an academic transcript.
- Eviction: Forced removal from a classroom or other College property. This notice exists in the student conduct file and is not reflected on an academic transcript.
- Suspension: A defined period of time during which a student is not permitted to engage in any of the privileges, courses, organizations, events, or activities associated with being a student at the KCTCS College. During the period of suspension, a Student Dean Hold service indicator will be placed on the student’s PeopleSoft account to prevent enrollment at any other KCTCS college. The Student Dean Hold may only be removed by the home college where the service indicator was applied. Once the period of suspension has been completed, the student may request that the Student Dean Hold service indicator be removed.
- Expulsion: Permanent, forced withdrawal from the College as determined by the hearing body.
Suspension or expulsion decisions may be appealed to the KCTCS Board of Regents pursuant to KRS 164.370. See Section E(ii) below.
In addition to the standard sanctions above, individualized sanctions may be imposed that are designed to maximize the learning of a specific student. These sanctions take into account the student’s learning style and stage of development, as well as the unique factors of a given situation. Multiple individualized sanctions may be imposed, including but not limited to one or more of the following:
- Reflective Activity: An activity designed to promote reflection by the student about his/her behavior and its impact. Examples can include: writing assignments, interviews, research projects, etc. Completion will be based on fulfilling the objective requirements of the assignment, not on whether the student adopts or expresses a particular perspective or point of view.
- College/Community Service: Service to the College or community with a minimum of 20 hours to be served within a specified time frame. The College has the discretion to determine if more or fewer hours are required.
- Educational Sanction: An educational sanction requiring attendance or participation in a pre-arranged class, program, or activity designed to prevent or deal with high-risk behavior.
- Counseling Assessment: Student may be referred to an external counseling evaluation. Counseling referrals and any suspension, expulsion, or readmission shall all be consistent with state and federal law and shall include the CSAO and/or the College President’s consultation with Disability Services if appropriate and at all times with the KCTCS Office of Student Services.
- Restitution: Payment to a harmed party, such as to repair or replace vandalized property.
- Meetings with College Resources: Meeting with a College employee or office to learn about resources offered to support students, both on and off campus.
i. College Appeals Board
The College Appeals Board (CAB) serves as a hearing body for appeals of violations of academic rights, of findings of academic misconduct, and for non-academic/behavioral violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
The Appeals Board shall consist of six members appointed by the College President:
- 2 full time students
- 2 full time faculty
- 2 full time staff
In addition, 2 student alternates, 1 faculty alternate, and 1 staff alternate shall be appointed. These alternates must meet the same requirements as the regular members.
2. Service on the CAB
- Student members and alternates: Each student member must have earned at least 24 semester credit hours at the college, must have had one full academic year of attendance at the college, and must be in good academic standing. The CSAO shall recommend students to the College President for appointment. Appointments shall be for a term of one year.
- Faculty and staff members and alternates: Faculty and staff members are elected to staggered three-year terms by the faculty and/or College staff. Faculty members cannot be division chairs or deans.
- Appeals Board Chair: The chair is elected annually by the Appeals Board members.
A quorum of five members, at least three of whom must be faculty and staff, is required for the conduct of business of the Appeals Board.
4. CAB Review Process
- Within five (5) business days of receipt of a request for hearing the CAB will meet to determine if the issue on appeal is properly before the hearing panel. If the CAB decides that the request for a hearing is not properly before the body, the Chair of the CAB will notify the student and the appropriate college officials in writing within three (3) business days, including the reasons for the CAB’s decision not to hear the matter.
- If the CAB determines that it is proper to consider the appeal, within five (5) business days the Chair will request statements related to the appeal from the appropriate college officials. Those statement are due for submission to the CAB within five (5) business days. The CAB then has five (5) business days to review the appeal and associated statements and decide by majority vote whether to grant a hearing or to make a decision based on the record provided by each party.
- The CAB’s decision as to the hearing will be communicated in writing within five (5) business days of the decision to the student and the appropriate college officials. If the CAB does not grant a hearing, the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion.
- If the CAB decides to hear the case, it will establish procedures (including a schedule) and notify the student and the appropriate college officials. All parties shall have the opportunity to appear at the hearing and to present oral and written evidence in support of their positions. The CAB may call for further evidence as it deems appropriate. The hearing shall be held, and a final decision made by the CAB within 15 business days after the decision to hear the case. The decision of the CAB is final and the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion of a student.
- If the CAB hears the case because of some question about the fact of the student’s guilt, it shall have the authority to impose a final decision as to guilt or innocence. If the CAB decides not to hear the case, the student has no further right of appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion.
- If the CAB hears the case because of an appeal of the severity of the sanction, it shall recommend an appropriate sanction to the appropriate college official(s). If the CAB does not support the sanction, the CAB shall submit its decision and a recommendation of appropriate sanction to the College President or designee who shall consult with the appropriate college official(s) involved to find an appropriate sanction. The final decision is the responsibility of the College President.
ii. Appeal of Suspension or Expulsion to the KCTCS Board of Regents
Pursuant to KRS 164.370, students may appeal a sanction of suspension or expulsion to the KCTCS Board of Regents. (Reference Appeal of Suspension or Expulsion to the KCTCS Board of Regents flowchart in Appendix.)
- Before an appeal can be submitted to the Board of Regents, the student must exhaust all available remedies by using all applicable appeal processes in this Code.
- The student has 30 calendar days from the completion of the final applicable appeal process to submit an appeal in writing to the KCTCS Board of Regents in care of the KCTCS President.
- Upon receipt of an appeal, the KCTCS President shall forward the appeal document to the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel shall conduct a review of the record related to the suspension or expulsion and may conduct additional fact finding if warranted. The Office of General Counsel shall prepare a Report of Findings.
- The appeal shall be heard by a three-person panel (appointed by the KCTCS President) consisting of the KCTCS Vice President responsible for Student Services, the Chair of the Education Committee of the KCTCS Board of Regents, and one of the student members of the KCTCS Board of Regents. The panel members shall review the Report of Findings then meet, with the option to use video conferencing, with a representative of the Office of General Counsel to finalize a recommendation, which will be acted upon by the full Board of Regents at the next scheduled meeting.
- The student shall be notified in writing of the recommendation of the panel and of the date the full Board will take action on the recommendation. Once the Board has taken action, the student will receive written notice of the final decision.