Civility In The Classroom
At times, the need may arise to seek assistance in matters of verbal or personality conflict on campus. If this happens, there are guidelines to follow in which the ultimate attempt is at conflict resolution. The suggestions are listed in priority order (chain-of-command) in an effort to facilitate the best outcome.
- Try to discuss problem, rationally, with other student. If there is a threat of danger, seek assistance from Campus Police. (Dial 3911.)
- Alert professor to problem.
- If the problem persists, bring the issue to the Dean of Student Affairs attention. This might include filing a complaint against the harassing student.
- Try to discuss problem, rationally, with the professor.
- If consensus with the professor cannot be reached, consult with the department Chairperson.
- If the response is unsatisfactory, consult with the Dean of the department/School. (This person is different from the Dean of Student Affairs.)
- If resolution is not reached, contact the Dean of Student Affairs.
Behavior which disrupts the establishment or maintenance of the learning environment may result in the student being removed from the classroom by the instructor. The student may be subject to further punitive action by Student Services.
The disruptive student has a right:
- to be clearly informed in writing of the problem or behavior in question;
- to have a clear understanding of the consequences of not modifying the condition or behavior; and
- to have an opportunity to modify the behavior.
Faculty should attempt to discuss any disciplinary problems with the student before seeking assistance from the Student Services office, except in the case of students demonstration of threatening behavior. In this case, faculty should contact Campus Security immediately.
If a student continues to be non-compliant but not threatening, the faculty member should a.) complete the disruptive behavior notification form with suggestions for improvement; b.) request for disciplinary withdrawal form - send the withdrawal form to the Registrars Office, notify the student that he/she has been withdrawn from class, and send a copy of the withdrawal to the Student Services office within two days of the meeting with the student. If students commit any of these infractions they should be referred to Student Services on the second floor of Building 27.
Student Code of Conduct
When students begin their academic career at Springfield Technical Community College, they become members of the College community - a community of people whose common goal is the pursuit of learning and training. All members of the Springfield Technical Community College community - students, faculty, staff and administrators – have rights. These rights, however, are not to infringe on the rights of others.
Accused Student - The student who is alleged to have violated the College’s Student Code of Conduct.
Administrative Disposition - A resolution of a complaint, which is mutually agreed upon by the CCO and the Accused Student. An administrative disposition shall result in an Accused Student waiving his/her right to a Judicial Board hearing or Appeal.
Appeals Officer - The College’s Vice President of Student Services or designee
Code of Conduct Officer (CCO) - The College Official charged with the responsibility of administering the College’s Student Code of Conduct. A member of the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC) shall not be selected to serve as the CCO.
College Property - 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.
Complaint - An allegation of a violation of the Code of Conduct, which is filed with or by the CCO.
Day - As used in this policy, shall mean a calendar day. The number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the CCO may extend the time limits at his/her discretion with notice to both parties in writing.
Judicial Board - Members of the College community selected by the Code of Conduct Officer to conduct a hearing when it has been determined by the CCO that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred. Members of the Judicial Board shall act in a fair and impartial manner.
Student - Includes all persons taking courses at the College, both full-time and part-time, credit and non-credit. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing academic relationship with the College are considered students.
Statement On Student Rights And Responsibilities
This statement of rights and responsibilities is designed to clarify those rights, which the student may expect to enjoy as a member of the College student body, and the obligations which admission to the College places upon the student.
To provide an atmosphere where solid intellectual and academic development is provided.
A. Student Responsibilities
- To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws established by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Springfield Technical Community College Board of Trustees, the College administration and the Student Community Council.
- To respect the rights of individuals and groups to independent action as long as those rights do not interfere with the parallel rights of other - minorities and majorities alike - including the avoidance of action interfering with those educational processes under the auspices of the College.
- To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws of duly constituted civil authorities.
B. Student Rights
1. To have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
2. To have the freedom to exercise the rights of citizenship, association, inquiry, and expression.
3. To have the right to privacy and confidentiality.
4. To have the right of voting representation on all recommendations to the President of the College on matters of concern, including but not limited to, academic standards, student services and curriculum changes.
5. To have the right of quality education, including, but not limited to:
- The right to competent instruction in courses and programs offered by the College.
- The right to assistance in overcoming educational, cultural, emotional, and economic disadvantages which hinder the educational process.
- The right to receive in writing from each faculty member during the first week of classes of every semester, a brief, written course description and outline of the material to be covered, course requirements including a specific list of information and techniques which the student is expected to acquire, attendance policy, and the grading system to be utilized.
6. To have the right to fair and equal treatment, including but not limited to: instruction, evaluations, and services by faculty, staff, students, and administrators.
7. To have the right to procedural due process in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
The College’s jurisdiction under this policy shall extend to student conduct occurring on College property, property under the management and/or control of the College, and/or off College property when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a risk of harm or the threat of harm to the College Community and/or interferes with the College’s pursuit of its objectives and mission.
A student shall be subject to disciplinary action under this policy for engaging in acts including, but not limited to:
- Physical violence or the threat thereof and/or any conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
- Creating or false reporting of bombs.
- Extortion - The use, or the express or implicit threat of the use, of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to person, reputation, or property as a means to obtain property from someone else without his/her consent.
- Unauthorized use of fire alarm or fire equipment.
- Unauthorized or illegal gambling.
- Hate Crimes as defined under state or federal law.
- Hazing as defined under state or federal law.
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on College premises.
- Conduct resulting in a violation of the College’s Computer/Technology Acceptable Use and/or Email Policies.
- Failure to comply with directions of College officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties, including failure to identify oneself when requested to do so.
- Violation of College’s drug and/or alcohol policies.
- Breach of peace; including disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, 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.
- Defacement or destruction of College property.
- Acting in a manner that interferes with or disrupts the normal and/or safe operation of the College, including but not limited to disrupting or interfering in the educational process.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and or intimidation of a member of the College Community.
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification;
- Furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member or office; or
- Disrupting or tampering with the election of any College recognized student organization.
- Acts of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
- Use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations;
- Dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or
- The acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff.
- Plagiarism, which is defined as the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. Taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Copying or purchasing other’s work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.
- Abuse of the Disciplinary process, including but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Judicial Board.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding.
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the judicial system.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the judicial proceeding.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, during, and/or after a judicial 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 judicial system.
- Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
- Unauthorized solicitation, including but not limited to sale of goods and services for personal profit.
- Unauthorized activity that constitutes forgery.
- Violation of State or Federal Laws not otherwise enumerated herein.
- Violation of published College policies, rules, or regulations not otherwise enumerated herein.
Discipline in the Classroom or on College Property
Disrupting or interfering in the educational process is prohibited under this policy. If a student engages in disruptive conduct in the classroom or anywhere on campus, a faculty member or other college employee may address and informally resolve the matter without filing a complaint under the Code. A faculty member or other college employee may exercise his/her right to immediately remove a disruptive student from a class meeting or other college area. On the first occasion when a student is removed from a classroom or other college area, the faculty member or other college employee is strongly encouraged to notify the CCO. In all subsequent cases of removing a student from a classroom or other college area, the faculty member or other college employee shall notify the CCO. A faculty member or other college employee may seek the assistance of college security if necessary to remove the student from the class meeting or other college area. If the removal of a student from the classroom is intended to be permanent, a complaint under this policy shall be filed with the CCO by the faculty member. The CCO can exercise his/her discretion to allow the accused student to attend class during the disciplinary process upon consultation with the faculty member and the Chief Academic Officer or his/her designee.
Off Campus Behavior
The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action against a student for off-campus conduct when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a threat of harm to the College Community; interferes with the College’s pursuit of its objectives and mission, and/or if a student is charged with a violation of state or federal law. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus.
The College reserves the right to issue an interim suspension when it reasonably concludes that a student poses a threat to: (a) him/herself or others; (b) College property or equipment; or (c) disrupts or interferes with the normal operations of the College. During an interim suspension, a student is prohibited from entering upon College’s property or participating in any College activities.
Complaints Alleging Sexual Harassment or Discrimination
Claims of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be pursued under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. For more information, please contact the College’s Affirmative Action Officer, at (413) 755-4468.
Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process
The Disciplinary Process is initiated once a complaint is filed against a student by a member of the College community or by the CCO. This policy is not intended to prevent members of the College Community from attempting to resolve matters informally. Failure to cooperate with the College’s investigation of an alleged Code of Conduct violation will result in the student forfeiting his/her rights to a hearing or appeal and/or may result in disciplinary action.
1. Disciplinary Process
- All complaints under the Code of Conduct shall be filed with or by the CCO.
- When the CCO files or receives a complaint alleging that a student has acted in a manner which may be in violation of the Code, the CCO initiates the disciplinary process by meeting with the Accused Student, putting him/her on notice of the alleged violation and providing him/her an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The CCO may conduct a further investigation if necessary.
- If the CCO determines that a violation exists, three procedural options are available.
- Verbal or Written Warnings - For low-level offenses, the CCO may issue a verbal or written warning to the Accused Student. Warnings shall not be subject to a hearing before a Judicial Board or an appeal.
- Administrative Disposition - Under an Administrative Disposition, the Accused Student and the CCO mutually agree upon a disciplinary remedy. By accepting the Administrative Disposition, the Accused Student waives his/her right to a hearing before the Judicial Board or an appeal.
- Judicial Board Hearing - When an Administrative Disposition cannot be reached, the CCO shall refer the alleged violation to the Judicial Board for a hearing. Please see Section 2 below for Judicial Board rules.
Failure to cooperate with the College’s investigation of an alleged Code of Conduct violation, which includes appearing before a Judicial Board or College official if summoned to do so, will result in the student forfeiting his/her rights to a hearing or appeal and/or may result in disciplinary action.
2. Judicial Board Hearing
- A hearing with the Judicial Board shall be scheduled by the CCO not later than thirty (30) days following an Accused Student’s request for a hearing.
- A written Statement of Charges shall be presented to the Accused Student not less than five (5) days prior to the hearing.
- A Judicial Board hearing is an administrative hearing. The rules of evidence do not apply.
- In a matter involving more that one Accused Student, the Judicial Board may permit at its discretion individual hearings for each Accused Student.
- The Accused Party has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of his/her own choosing and at his/her own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor’s role is limited to advising the Accused Student directly. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in the hearing.
3. Conduct of Hearing
- A hearing is normally conducted in private
- There shall be a record created of all hearings. The record shall be the property of the College.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Judicial Board.
- Admission of any person(s) to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Judicial Board.
- A hearing shall proceed as follows:
- The CCO presents the Statement of Charges on behalf of the College. The CCO may present documents, materials and/or witnesses in support of the Statement of Charges.
- Accused Student responds to the Statement of Charges. The student may present documents, materials and/or witnesses in response to the Statement of Charges.
- Following the parties’ presentations, the Judicial Board may question each party, their witnesses and/or review all information presented. The Judicial Board has the discretion to request additional documents, materials or information from either party.
- While direct cross-examination by the parties is not permitted, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other by presenting questions through the Judicial Board. If the Board determines a question is relevant, the other party will be asked to respond.
- The Board shall have a final opportunity to question the parties.
- After the hearing, the Judicial Board shall determine by majority vote whether the Statement of Charges has been proven.
- In reaching its decision, the Judicial Board shall determine whether it is more likely than not that the Accused Student violated the Code of Conduct based on the information presented.
- Within fifteen (15) days of the conclusion of a hearing, the Judicial Board shall issue a written decision outlining its findings and disciplinary action, if any, to the parties.
A student found in violation of the College’s Code of Conduct shall be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:
- Verbal or Written Warning
- Restrictions/Loss of Privileges
- Community/Educational Service
The intent of the College is to impose sanctions in a progressive manner, beginning with the least punitive sanction. However, depending on the nature and severity of a student’s violation the College reserves the right to impose any of the above-referenced sanctions at any time.
- Within five (5) days of receiving the Judicial Board’s decision, either the CCO or the Accused Student may appeal the Judicial Board’s decision to the College’s Appeals Officer.
- An appeal must be in writing and be based on a credible claim that: the hearing was not conducted in conformity with the Code of Conduct; the decision was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence presented; the sanction imposed was not appropriate in light of the Judicial Board’s decision; or new evidence exists, which was not presented at hearing because it was not reasonably known to the Accused Student at that time, and which is sufficiently relevant such that it could alter the Judicial Board’s decision.
- The Appeals Officer shall issue a written decision within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal. The Appeals Officer may accept, reject or modify the Judicial Board’s decision or sanction.
- The Appeals Officer’s decision shall be final.
Student Grievance Procedure (Massachusetts Community Colleges-revised 2013)
Policy Goal: Conflict Resolution
Before invoking the Student Grievance Procedure, a reasonable effort shall be made by those involved in a dispute to resolve it amicably. A dispute is most effectively handled and resolved by those closest to the problem, having the best understanding of the issues, and having the ability to formulate a mutually acceptable resolution. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the student, the potential subject of a Grievance, and the College to resolve disputes through open and cooperative dialogue. Only when such efforts are unsuccessful should the Student Grievance Procedure be invoked. Throughout all phases of the Student Grievance Procedure, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain confidentiality in accordance with applicable law.
- COMPLAINT: the informal, unwritten stage of an allegation of mistreatment.
- DAY: as used in this policy, shall mean a calendar day.
- GRIEVANCE: a written grievance filed by a student with the person designated by the President as the Student Grievance Officer specifically alleging an abridgment of his or her rights as a student.
- GRIEVANT: the student filing the Grievance. The Grievant must have been a registered student of the College at the time of the alleged mistreatment.
- INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD: the academic semester, summer session or intersession when a grievable act or omission occurs. The Instructional Period shall end on the last day of final exams.
- RESPONDING PARTY: the person against whom a complaint or Grievance is directed.
- SENIOR OFFICER: senior level employee who reports to the President for the Responding Party’s work area.
- STUDENT GRIEVANCE OFFICER: a College employee assigned responsibility for administering the Student Grievance Procedure, including the maintenance of specified records. The Student Grievance Officer shall ordinarily be the Senior Student Affairs Officer. If this individual is the person against whom the Grievance is filed, the President shall designate another College official to act as the Student Grievance Officer.
- SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE OF ERROR OR INJUSTICE: for purpose of Grade Appeals, substantial evidence of error or injustice is defined as:
- The assignment of a course grade to a student on some basis other than performance in the course; or
- The assignment of a course grade to a student by resorting to unreasonable standards different from those which were applied by the same instructor to other students in that course; or
- The assignment of a course grade by a substantial, unreasonable and unannounced departure from the instructors previously articulated standards.
- TIME: the number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the President or his/her designee may extend the time limits in extenuating circumstances with notice to both parties in writing, or by mutual written agreement between the Grievant and the Responding Party.
Utilizing The Student Grievance Procedure
The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by a student to address alleged abridgment of the student’s rights, as stated in the College’s Student Handbook and/or Policy Guide. The student Grievant or the Responding Party may consult with the Student Grievance Officer at any time. The College’s Student Grievance Officer is Raymond W. Blair.
The Student Grievance Procedure may not be used to address allegations of discrimination, including sexual harassment. When a student believes that he/she has been discriminated against due to his/her race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or national origin, the College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is a mechanism for resolution. The College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is contained in the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. Please contact the College’s Affirmative Action Officer at (413) 755-4468.
If a Grievance involves a grade dispute, a student shall process the Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure. However, if a grade dispute raises issues of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Grievance should be processed in accordance with the Colleges Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure and the Affirmative Action Officer shall conduct the process in collaboration with the Senior Academic Officer or designee.
Claims of physical or sexual assault shall not proceed under the Student Grievance Procedure. A claim of physical assault alleged against a student shall be reported to the Code of Conduct Officer. A claim of physical assault alleged against an employee shall be reported to the Human Resources Office. In both cases, law enforcement authorities shall also be notified. A claim of sexual assault shall be reported to the Colleges Affirmative Action Officer and/or Title IX Coordinator and law enforcement authorities and shall proceed under the Colleges Affirmative Action Plan. In matters involving physical or sexual assault, alleged victims are strongly encouraged to independently report the incident to the law enforcement authorities. The Colleges Campus Police/Security Department can assist with the reporting process.
At any Level of the Student Grievance Procedure, either party may request mediation by contacting the Student Grievance Officer. Mediation shall be mutually agreed upon, and not unreasonably refused by either party. The Student Grievance Officer shall select an impartial mediator who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by either party, make the arrangements, determine the timetable for the mediation process, and inform the parties of the timetable in writing. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after requested and agreed to by the parties. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties. If a mediated resolution cannot be achieved, the Grievant may proceed with the Grievance Process. The Grievant has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of his/her own choosing and at his/her own expense throughout the grievance process. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisors role is limited to personally advising the Grievant only. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in any aspect of the grievance process.
Except for under extenuating circumstances, as determined by the President or his/her designee, failure by a party to comply with the Student Grievance Procedure during the course of a Grievance may result in the waiving of the noncompliant party’s rights under the Procedure.
Complaints or Grievances filed in connection with assigned grades represent a special case within the Grievance procedure. Grading reflects careful and deliberate assessment of a student’s performance by the instructing professional(s). As such decisions are necessarily judgmental the substance of those decisions may not be delegated to the Grievance process. Nevertheless, the College recognizes that in rare cases the process of grading may be subject to error or injustice.
Except as otherwise provided by a separate appeal procedure for a clinical program as approved by the President of the College, a student who alleges an error or injustice in the grading process may file a Grievance under the Student Grievance Procedure. A grade appeal Grievance shall proceed no further than Level Two, Step Two. For purposes of a grade appeal, the Senior Academic Officer of the College, or his/her designee, shall serve as the Student Grievance Officer throughout the grade appeal process.
If the faculty member who assigned the challenged grade is no longer employed by the College or is not available within the timelines specified (see “Time” definition), the student may initiate his/her Level One complaint with the chief administrator of the appropriate instructional division (who shall be identified by the Senior Academic Officer).
If at any level substantial evidence of error or injustice is produced, the grading process may be remanded to the instructor of record for reassessment. If after reassessment, the dispute remains unresolved, the matter shall be referred to the Senior Academic Officer, or his/her designee, for final review. If the instructor of record is no longer available, the Senior Academic Officer or his/her designee shall instead reassess the grading process.
Level One - Informal Procedure
This is the informal stage where most complaints are resolved. The Grievant and the Responding Party should consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this time.
A Grievant initiates the informal phase of the Grievance process. The Grievant shall first present his/her complaint orally and informally to the Responding Party. This shall be done in a reasonable period of time, not exceeding thirty (30) calendar days following the instructional period when a grievable act or omission occurs.
The Responding Party must respond to the Grievant’s complaint within ten (10) days. Though this phase of the process is informal, the parties may present their positions in writing. If the matter is not resolved informally within ten (10) calendar days from the date a response to the complaint was due, the Grievant may proceed to Level Two.
Level Two - Formal Procedure
Prior to filing a written Grievance at Level Two, a Grievant must consult with the Student Grievance Officer. The Responding Party should also consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this phase of the process.
L2 - Step One
The Student Grievance Officer shall notify the parties in writing when a complaint is not resolved informally at Level One.
The Grievant may, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Student Grievance Officer’s written notice, file with the Student Grievance Officer a Grievance. The Grievance shall contain the following information: the name and title of the person(s) against whom the Grievance is directed, a statement of all known facts, documents and materials supporting the grievance, a list of individuals who have information pertinent to the grievance, and the relief sought by the Grievant. All supporting documents, if any, shall be attached to the grievance as part of the Grievance. The Grievance shall also state the date it is filed and that it is being filed at “Level Two, Step One.”
The Grievance may be filed with the Student Grievance Officer by email, regular mail, certified mail, or in hand. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the Grievance, and all supporting documents, if any, to the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days. If the Responding Party is unavailable at the time the Grievance is filed, the Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable means to deliver the Grievance within a reasonable period of time.
The Responding Party shall forward a written Level Two - Step One response to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days of his/her receipt of the Grievance. The Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the written response to the Grievant within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
L2 - Step Two (Supervisor Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within ten (10) calendar days after his/her receipt of the Step One response, or if no written response is submitted, the Grievant may within ten (10) calendar days after the written response was received or due, request the Student Grievance Officer to forward the Grievance and response, if any, to the supervisor of the Responding Party, with a copy to the Senior Officer of the work area of the Responding Party.
The supervisor shall investigate the Grievance and confer with the Senior Officer. The supervisor shall forward his/her written decision to the Student Grievance Officer, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Step Two Grievance. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the decision to the Grievant and the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days.
At any time before the issuance of the Supervisor’s Step Two decision, the Senior Officer may request that the parties meet to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it.
Grade appeals do not go beyond this Step (Level Two - Step Two) per the section on Grade Appeals.
No new issues or allegations may be raised by either party after Step Two.
L2 - Step Three (Student Grievance Committee Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within the period allowed at Level Two - Step Two, the Grievant may request a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. Such a request must be in writing and presented to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days from the issuance of the Supervisor’s Level Two - Step Two decision.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the Student Grievance Officer’s receipt of the Grievant’s request for a hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall arrange a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. The Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable efforts to schedule the hearing at a time mutually convenient to the parties. At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall provide each member of the Committee and all parties to the Grievance with copies of the Grievance, responses to the Grievance, decisions issued, and all relevant supporting documentation and materials. The Committee’s make-up and hearing rules are discussed later in this policy.
The Committee shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days following the hearing. A copy of the Committee’s findings and recommendations shall be delivered to the President or his/her designee, within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the President’s receipt of the Committee’s findings and recommendations, the President or his/her designee, shall issue a written statement accepting, modifying or rejecting the Committee’s recommendations.
The decision of the President, or his/her designee, shall be final and binding on all parties.
Membership Of The Student Grievance Committee
The composition of the College’s Student Grievance Committee shall consist of five members: one student, one unit professional, one faculty member, one non-unit professional and one unit classified employee. The President or his/her designee shall appoint each member from among the recommendations submitted by the Student Grievance Officer.
Service on the Committee shall be voluntary, provided that a member who has a personal interest in a particular Grievance shall be ineligible to serve on the Grievance Committee. All College employees serving on the Student Grievance Committee, and acting within the scope of their official duties on the Committee, shall be protected from liability to the full extent provided under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 258, and eligible for indemnification as provided for pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 258, Section 9.
All Student Grievance Committee members, as well as all others in attendance at a student Grievance proceeding, shall maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Student Grievance Officer shall attend all Committee hearings but shall not vote.
Student Grievance Committee Hearing & Decision Guidelines
The following guidelines provide the framework for conducting a Student Grievance Committee Hearing:
- Prior to the hearing, the newly impaneled Committee shall meet to elect a Committee Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be selected by a simple majority vote.
- The Chairperson on the Committee shall be responsible for conducting the hearing and drafting the decision of the Committee, but shall vote only in the event of a tie.
- All hearings shall be closed and deliberations of the Committee shall be confidential and conducted in private.
- The Grievant and the Responding Party shall be in attendance at the hearing. Each party may be accompanied by an advisor at the hearing. The advisor, however, may not participate in the hearing or question witnesses. Either party may at anytime during a hearing consult in private with his/her advisor.
- Witnesses may be asked by the Committee to remain outside of the hearing room until they are called to testify.
- The Grievant will address the Committee first. The Grievant will state the nature of his/her Grievance and may present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in support of the Grievance.
- The Responding Party may respond to the Grievant’s allegations and present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in opposition to the Grievance.
- Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Committee may question the parties and/or witnesses.
- After the Committee has questioned the parties, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other party and their respective witnesses. All questions must be directed through the Committee. If the Committee determines that a question is relevant to the Grievance, the party or witness to whom it is addressed will be asked to respond.
- Following the parties’ questioning of each other, the Committee will have another opportunity to question the parties and witnesses.
- Hearings before the Committee shall not be subject to the formal rules of evidence. In all cases, the hearing shall be conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
- If a party to a Grievance fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the Committee has the discretion to proceed with the hearing and issue its findings and recommendations in the party’s absence.
- The decision of the Committee shall be based on the relevant evidence presented at the hearing. The decision shall be in writing and include: a list of all documentary evidence and witnesses presented; a summary of the testimony offered by both parties and their respective witnesses; the findings of the Committee and its recommendations. Copies of the decision and recommendations of the Student Grievance Committee shall be forwarded by the Student Grievance Officer to the President or his/her designee for review and final disposition. The President or his/her designee shall accept, reject or modify the Committees decision and/or recommendations and issue a final written decision.
- All findings and decisions reached under this Procedure shall be based on a preponderance of evidence standard (i.e.; more likely than not). Any action taken hereunder shall be reasonable under the circumstances, in accordance with applicable College rules and procedures and be grounded in fundamental fairness.
A student may withdraw his/her complaint or Grievance at any time. Withdrawal must be accomplished in writing or by oral agreement confirmed in writing.
No member of the College community shall retaliate or threaten to retaliate against, interfere with, restrain, or coerce any student in the exercise of his/her rights under the Student Grievance Procedure or his/her participation in any Grievance proceedings.
Collateral Rights Of Person Grieved By Student
If the recommendations made at any level of the Grievance procedure result in sanctions against a college employee, the sanctions shall be regarded as administrative actions subject to all conditions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and College or Board of Higher Education personnel policies.
Filing a Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure in no way abrogates a student’s right to file a complaint with an appropriate state or federal agency or in another forum.
Academic Honesty Policy
Communication of knowledge and a free exchange of ideas, two essential aspects of a college community, require a fundamental standard of honesty. Students and faculty must be able to expect that thoughts and work presented for credit are the property of the person presenting them. To safeguard these principles, it is important to clarify the rules and procedures regarding academic honesty.
1. Academic dishonesty - Students must refrain from all forms of academic dishonesty including but not limited to:
a. Cheating on quizzes and examinations. Cheating is to act dishonestly or fraudulently in performing assignments, tests, or quizzes; or to violate established and accepted rules of behavior in performing assignments, tests, or quizzes.
b. Abetting others in cheating
c. Appropriating other students’ work
d. Plagiarizing written assignments. Plagiarism occurs when the creative work of another individual is imitated or used without authorization, or when the creative work of someone else is represented as ones own work. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:
- Making a direct copy of another’s work without appropriate citation. This includes books, articles, the work of other students, and information from the World Wide Web.
- Paraphrasing the work of another so that the essential meaning and/or progression of ideas are maintained in spite of minor changes
- Resubmitting ones own work as new, following previous submission for credit in another class or other context
- Presenting work as ones own that was produced in conjunction with others, such as another student or a tutor, without including appropriate citation.
- Closely imitating, without citation, the creative work of another in a creative work of artistic merit.
e. It should be made clear that the continuously expanding capabilities of electronic media represent increased opportunities for plagiarism. Students should be aware that fraudulently presented material from electronic sources, such as the World Wide Web, will be treated as seriously as that from any other source.
2. Consequences of academic dishonesty
a. Faculty who find students in violation of honesty standards shall determine the appropriate response. Punishment may include a failing grade and/or dismissal from the course.
b. Faculty will report incidents of academic dishonesty and the action taken in response to them in writing to the Dean of Student Affairs.
c. The Dean of Student Affairs may elect to pursue further action up to and including dismissal from the college.
d. Students who believe themselves to be unjustly accused or punished for academic honesty violations may pursue the matter through the student grievance procedure.
Drug And Alcohol Policy
Springfield Technical Community College is required under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008) to notify all enrolled students of the following institutional Drug and Alcohol Policy:
Alcohol and illicit drug use has been proven to be associated with the following medical conditions: cardiovascular, high blood pressure, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, cancers such as breast, cirrhosis, gallstones, pancreatitis, osteoporosis, and birth defects.
Prior federal law applicable to the College regulated only criminal drug activity of federal grant-funded employees and recipients of federal aid. Springfield Technical Community College, in accordance with legal mandates and its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive environment in which to conduct the business and mission of the College, will enforce the following policies:
1. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, and possession or use of alcohol or of a controlled substance is prohibited on the campus of STCC or as part of any College-related activity. Students who violate these restrictions shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, expulsion, or discharge, and shall also be subject to referral for criminal prosecution. Where students are convicted of violating a criminal drug or alcohol statute related to a College activity, the College should ordinarily expel or discharge the offender absent mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, considerations of handicap under federal and state law.
2. STCC shall cooperate in the enforcement of federal and state laws concerning illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts’s statutes pertaining to illegal drugs and alcohol include:
- Mass. General Laws, Chapter 94C (Controlled Substances Act)
- Mass. General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 59 (Public Drinking)
- Mass. General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24 (Operating Under the Influence, Open Containers)
Third offense underage possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage following progressive discipline for the first two offenses will result in automatic suspension.
Prescribed penalties under Chapter 94 range from no more than 1 year in the House of Corrections and/or a $500 fine for simple possession of more than one ounce of marijuana or any Class E substance to no more than 2 years in the House of Corrections and/or not less than a $500 fine or more than a $5,000 fine for possession of any amount of marijuana with intent to manufacture or distribute. Subsequent offenses of distribution or manufacturing of marijuana may be punished by no less than 1 year and no more than 2.5 years in the House of Corrections and/or a fine of no less than $1000 and no more than $10,000. Penalties increase for possession, distribution, and manufacturing of other classes of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and certain prescription narcotics. Federal judicial guidelines also exist which suggest penalties for violations of federal criminal statutes related to drugs and alcohol.
3. Parents or legal guardians of students under twenty-one (21) years of age will be notified each time the student has been determined to be in violation of the campus alcohol policy.
4. No Student Activities funds shall be used to purchase alcoholic beverages. STCC’s policy additionally prohibits alcoholic beverages at any College event (on or off campus) that is intended for students or student participation. A “College event” is one that utilizes College facilities or College funds, or is represented as being a College function. All purchase orders for student events will positively exclude payments for alcoholic beverages. Faculty and professional staff who serve as advisors or chaperones to such events should understand that they will be expected to monitor the implementation of the Drug and Alcohol Policy.
5. The College will present campus-wide drug and alcohol education programs on an annual basis. This is in addition to other educational opportunities available in current or future academic offerings.
6. For any member of the STCC community who is experiencing substance abuse problems, STCC stands ready to offer supportive services and referrals for treatment as appropriate. Employees should contact the Human resources Office while students should contact Health Services or the Dean of Student Affairs Office for assistance.
7. The College shall conduct a review of these policies and programs, and implement changes as necessary.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269, Sections 17, 18, 19 (St. 1985, Chapter 536)
269:19. Notification by Schools of Hazing Law; Report by Schools Disciplinary Policy.
[Text as amended by 1987. 665 effective April 4, 1988. For text effective until April 4, 1988, see 1986 Edition.]
Section 19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen: provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.
Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizer and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of regents and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.
269:17 Hazing Prohibited; Definition; Penalties.
[Text as amended by 1987, 665 effective April 4, 1988. For text effective until April 4, 1988, see 1986 Edition]
Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term “hazing” as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest of extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
269:18 Failure to Report Hazing; Penalty.
[Text as amended by 1987, 665 effective April 4, 1988. For text effective until April 4, 1988, see 1986 Edition.
Section 18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.