Student Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Honesty

Blue Ridge Community College operates under the premise of academic honesty. The policy is that plagiarism and cheating are prohibited. Whereas it is the instructor’s responsibility to create an environment in which academic honesty is expected, it is the student’s obligation to uphold this policy.

A student is responsible for authenticating any assignment submitted to an instructor. If asked, the student must be able to substantiate to the instructor’s satisfaction that the assignment submitted is actually his/her own work. The instructor may employ various means of ascertaining authenticity - such as requiring photocopies of source documents, requiring copies of all drafts of the work, engaging in Internet searches, creating quizzes based on student work, requiring the student to explain the work and/or process orally, etc.

Attendance

The regularity of class attendance is necessary in order to receive maximum benefits from the program offered and for maintenance of a satisfactory academic record. Whenever students’ attendance or punctuality endangers their own success or that of other students, they may be withdrawn from the course. A student may be withdrawn for absences if any of the following occur:

Accumulating a combination of excused or unexcused absences exceeding ten (10) percent of the scheduled class contact hours for the semester. Three tardies constitute one class absence. In online and hybrid classes, missing weekly assignments that are academically related, excluding simple logins and/or email, are considered “absences”.

Logging into an online course but NOT completing graded activities for 14 consecutive days AND failing to communicate with the instructor during that time period. Submission of any graded activity, including those with failing grades, will constitute attendance in the class.

Instructors will make good faith efforts to stay in contact with students who stop attending their course(s). If after repeated communication attempts it becomes necessary to withdraw a student for non-attendance, the withdrawal must be completed between 14 and 25 days of non-attendance, and no later than 30 days of non-attendance. It is very important that the withdrawal grade and last date of attendance are provided on the withdrawal. In exceptional circumstances, such as in the case of illness, an instructor may allow a student to remain in class if in the instructor’s opinion the student has a reasonable chance of completing the course objectives. The instructor should maintain documentation of any communication with the student and/or his/her family.

A student is expected to confer with each instructor before anticipated or after unavoidable absences. The responsibility for making up classwork rests entirely with the student. In exceptional circumstances, such as in the case of illness, an instructor may allow a student to remain in class if the student has a reasonable chance of successfully completing the course learning outcomes.

When a student is to be withdrawn from a course for excessive absences, the instructor initiates the withdrawal process of the student from course enrollment following documented procedures. The instructor will provide a withdrawal grade, reason for withdrawal, and the last date of attendance. No refund of tuition is authorized for students withdrawn for excessive absences by instructors.

In accordance with the State Board of Community Colleges Code, a student may be extended up to two (2) excused absences during each academic year for religious observances required by that student’s faith. In each case, the student must provide written notice of the request for such an excused absence to his/her instructor(s). For all regularly scheduled observances, such request must be made to each affected instructor within the first week of each class on a form provided by the College. Otherwise, the request must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the requested absence on the form provided. If the day(s) of observance falls on the first day of class, such a request shall be made to the Vice President for Instruction and immediately thereafter to the instructor. Where multiple classes may be missed, the student shall provide notification to each affected instructor. Instructors shall provide a record of excused absences using this provision to the Office for Instruction within a time frame deemed reasonable by the instructor. Excused absences for religious observation shall be recorded as a student absence toward the ten percent maximum as provided for in “Subsection A” above. For the purposes herein, a day of religious observation means an observance that is part of a sincerely-held religious belief that the student would otherwise be able to attend but for having to attend class.

A student’s absence while participating in a College-sponsored or approved activity (excluding SGA sponsored events) will be considered an excused absence for participating students. Such excused absences will not be considered in the students’ class attendance for withdrawal purposes, nor will excused absences be included in the determination of a grade for “participation” of which class attendance is a part. The responsibility for making up classwork rests entirely with the student. All assignments, tests, labs, class time, and final exams to be missed due to College-sponsored or approved activity will be rescheduled prior to the excused absences or otherwise rescheduled at the discretion of the instructor.

Closings or delayed openings of Blue Ridge Community College may not correspond with the closings or delayed openings of the public school system in Henderson and/or Transylvania Counties. High school students who are dependent on transportation provided by the public school system may be unable to attend class on days that the public schools are closed or delayed if Blue Ridge Community College is on a normal schedule. Absences caused by this situation will not be considered in the students’ class attendance for withdrawal purposes, nor will the absences be included in the determination of a grade for the participation of which class attendance is a part. The responsibility for making up classwork rests entirely with the student, and it is the student’s responsibility to communicate to the instructor that they are dependent on public school transportation.

Campus Parking and Traffic Regulations

Blue Ridge Police and Public Safety personnel are employed to enforce the parking rules, traffic offenses and to work motor vehicle accidents on Blue Ridge Community College campuses. Other State and local law enforcement agencies will also prosecute for violations of applicable laws on campus and assist with reports and enforcement when necessary. In case of an accident, contact Blue Ridge Police and Public Safety, which will assist with what steps to take.

Students and employees parking on campus must display a valid parking decal. Temporary handicapped decals, valid only on campus with Blue Ridge Police and Public Safety, may be obtained from the Police and Public Safety Department. Park only in designated parking places, obey posted parking and traffic signs, and observe flow-of-traffic arrows and “stop” markings painted on paved roads and lots. Vehicles found to be in violation of the following rules and regulations may be towed at the owner’s expense: unauthorized parking in a handicap space, unauthorized parking in a reserved space, parking in an area not designated for parking, parking in a manner that creates a hazard, and abandoned vehicles.  

The College is authorized to collect a fine of up to $25 for any violations of the College policies regarding parking and traffic regulations.

Parking and Traffic Offenses

  • Parking in Unauthorized Areas (e.g. fire lanes, driveways, lawns, and spaces designated by marked signs, such as walkways, fire hydrants, loading zones, etc.)

  • Careless and Reckless Driving

  • Speeding

  • Failure to Yield to Pedestrian

  • Parking in Handicapped Space

  • Parking in Fire Lanes

Questions about College parking regulations should be directed to the Chief of Police.

Computer Usage

Students must adhere to the following policy concerning computer usage at Blue Ridge Community College.

The following are a few examples but not a comprehensive list of unauthorized uses of the Blue Ridge network or other computer resources:

  1. Use of any assigned technology account by someone other than the student for whom the account is specifically designated.

  2. Interfering with the ability of other users to make effective use of Blue Ridge network, computer, telecommunications or other technology resources or services.

  3. Gaining illegal access to files, damaging systems or information, or using any College technology for illegal activities

  4. Interfering with the effective operation of the College bandwidth capacity or network monitoring systems.

  5. Creating computer worms or viruses or deliberately infecting College property.

  6. Using College technology resources, facilities, or equipment for commercial use or for personal use or profit.

  7. Sending, receiving, or viewing threatening, abusive, obscene, or pornographic messages, language, material, or files to others, including posting such on a website or otherwise displaying such.

  8. Using unauthorized file-sharing programs for accessing music, videos, movies, games, network files, applications, or other unauthorized activities.

  9. Using College resources to violate copyright protection, transmit or store any copyrighted work without proper authorization from the copyright holder

All student webpages hosted on systems or College servers or those linked to College resources must comply with Blue Ridge acceptable use policies.

Student email is an official means of communication between students and instructors. It is the property of the College and should be used only for institutional purposes. When a student submits an application to the college for a curriculum program of study, he/she will be issued a free student email account.

Public Wireless Network - Terms and Conditions of Use

By using Blue Ridge Community College wireless network brcc-public-wireless, you agree to be bound by and comply with the terms of use specified below. If you do not agree to these terms of use, you are not authorized to use Blue Ridge Community College’s network resources. The wireless Internet access provided to visitors of the Blue Ridge campuses is for use free of charge and is limited to web and email access to off-campus hosts and web access only to on-campus hosts.

Wireless network access is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. Blue Ridge Community College does not warrant that this service will be uninterrupted, error-free, or free of viruses or other harmful components. All users should be aware that there are security, privacy, and confidentiality risks inherent in the use of wireless communications and technology. Blue Ridge does not make any assurances or warranties relating to such risks. Blue Ridge will not be responsible for any personal information that is compromised nor will Blue Ridge be responsible for any damages to hardware or software resulting from the use of the Blue Ridge network.

By using Blue Ridge Community College’s network, you fully agree that Blue Ridge is not liable, and hereby fully release, hold harmless and indemnify, Blue Ridge for any costs or damages arising from use of this service. You also fully understand that Blue Ridge does not control any materials, information, products or services on the Internet and your wireless network traffic may be monitored by Blue Ridge officials as a part of the normal network management processes. Furthermore, you agree to abide by any applicable federal, state and local laws including US and International copyright laws.

Students are expected to comply with all College published policies and procedures.

All computer software on College computers is protected by federal copyright laws and by legal licensing agreements. Copying, providing, receiving, or using copyrighted material may be in violation of licensing agreements.

Violations of computer use policies by students must be reported to the Vice President for General Administration and/or CIO and/or the Vice President for Student Services. Individuals violating these guidelines will immediately lose their access rights; other disciplinary actions may also be taken by the College.

The College reserves the right to inspect all information on the network in order to ensure compliance with these policies, applicable laws, and regulations.

Users should not assume that any use not listed is otherwise excluded. Questions regarding whether a specific use is permitted should be referred to the Director of Information Technologies. Blue Ridge departments may have additional rules relative to computer or equipment use in their respective areas. Users are expected to abide by such rules.

Unlawful Discrimination And Harassment

The College strives to make its campuses inclusive and a safe and welcoming learning environment for all members of the College community.  Pursuant to multiple federal and state laws and administrative regulations and pursuant to College policy, the College prohibits discrimination in its activities, services, and programs based on race, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, age, political affiliation or veterans’ status. 

DEFINITIONS

The following definitions shall apply to this Procedure and shall be collectively referred to herein as “Unlawful Discrimination”.  

The definitions are not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.  Indeed, just because a student’s speech or expression is deemed offensive by others does not mean it constitutes discrimination or harassment. 

In applying these definitions, College administrators shall view the speech or expression in its context and totality and shall apply the following standard: the alleged victim subjectively views the conduct as discrimination or harassment and that the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is discriminatory or harassing.

  • Discrimination:  any act or failure to act that unreasonably differentiates treatment of others based solely on their Protected Status and is sufficiently serious, based on the perspective of a reasonable person, to unreasonably interfere with or limit the ability of that individual to participate in, access or benefit from the College’s programs and activities.  Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. 

  • Harassment:  a type of Discrimination that happens when verbal, physical, electronic or other behavior based on a person’s Protected Status interferes with a person’s participation in the College’s programs and activities and it either creates an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, intimidated or abusive or where submitting to or rejecting the conduct is used as the basis for decisions that affect the person’s participation in the College’s programs and activities.

  • Harassment may include but is not limited to:  threatening or intimidating conduct directed at another because of the individual’s Protected Status; ethnic slurs, negative stereotypes and hostile acts based on an individual’s Protected Status.  

  • Protected Status:  race, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, age, political affiliation, or veterans’ status.

  • Standard of Evidence - the College uses clear and convincing as the standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In the student due process hearing and employee grievance process, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable.  Student and employee due process hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available from all relevant sources.  The College will find the alleged Perpetrator either “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating these Procedures.

STATEMENTS OF PROHIBITION

Prohibition of Retaliation: The College strictly prohibits punishing students or employees for asserting their rights to be free from Unlawful Discrimination.  Retaliation against any person participating in connection with a complaint of Unlawful Discrimination is strictly prohibited.  Reports of retaliation will be addressed through this procedure and/or other applicable College procedures.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, punitive actions from authority figures or peers, reprisal (acts of vengeance), or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take appropriate disciplinary action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another.

Prohibition of Providing False Information: Any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, who knowingly provides false information to College officials, or who intentionally misleads College officials involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, expulsion or employment termination.  The College recognizes that an allegation made in good faith will not be considered false when the evidence does not confirm the allegation(s) of Unlawful Discrimination.

REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

Students: Students with disabilities wishing to make a request for reasonable accommodations, auxiliary communication aids or services, or materials in alternative accessible formats should contact the College’s Division for Student Services.  Information provided by students is voluntary and strict confidentiality is maintained.  All requests for accommodations will be considered following the appropriate federal and state laws.    

The College will also provide reasonable accommodation of a student’s religious beliefs/practices provided such expression/practice does not create a hostile environment for other students and employees and/or the accommodation does not cause undue hardship for the College.

REPORTING OPTIONS 

Student Complaints: Any student wishing to make a report relating to Unlawful Discrimination may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Division for Student Services. 

For Unlawful Discrimination incidents between students and employees, the Vice President for Student Services will work in partnership with the Director of Human Resources to investigate and resolve the allegations. 

INITIAL INVESTIGATION

As these Procedures apply to both students and employees as either the Complainant or the Respondent, the administrator receiving the incident report will determine if the case should be handled by 1) the Vice President for Student Services, or designee (student/student); 2) the Director of Human Resources, or designee (employee/employee); or 3) both (student/employee).  For incidents involving students and employees, the College will utilize the process for both the student investigation and the employee investigation sections as applicable.

Student Investigation

  1. Students filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Vice President shall fully investigate any complaints and will, as needed and if the complaint also involves an employee, collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources.  During the course of the investigation, the Vice President may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

  2. During the investigation, and if applicable to the complaint, the Vice President shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Vice President of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

  3. During the investigation process, the Vice President may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The temporary actions include, but are not limited to: reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to complete coursework); or the directives that include no contact between the involved parties.

  4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Vice President.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

  5. The Vice President shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Vice President may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation.  The Vice President shall notify the parties of this extension.

  6. Complainants will be notified of available counseling services and their options of changing academic situations and other interim protective measures.

RECOMMENDATION AND APPEAL 

Students: After the investigation is complete, the Vice President will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanction(s) to both the Complainant and Respondent.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanction(s) will become effective.  The Vice President will submit to each party a final outcome letter that will include, but not limited to, the following: 

  1. Determination if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating these Procedures; 

  2. Sanction; 

  3. Whether monitoring of academic schedules is needed between the parties to ensure that the individuals involved are not in classes together (the Vice President will assist in this process). 

  4. Short-term College counseling services available to each party.   

If the Vice President’s recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Vice President recommends sanctions that s/he cannot impose (i.e., expulsion), the matter shall automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined below:

  1. Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing.   

  2. Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties.

  3. At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by the use of a speakerphone.

  4. The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present. 

  5. Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

Sanctioning

The following sanctions may be imposed for those who have violated these Procedures.

a.  Verbal or Written Warning

b.  Probation

c.  Administrative withdrawal from a course without refund

d.  Required Counseling

e.  No Contact Directive

f.  Suspension

g.  Expulsion (President must impose)

h.  Other consequences deemed appropriate

Sexual Harassment and Violence

Blue Ridge Community College strives to make its campuses inclusive and a safe and welcoming learning environment for all members of the College community.  Pursuant to multiple federal and state laws and administrative regulations and pursuant to College policy, the College prohibits discrimination in its activities, services and programs based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in any federally funded education program or activity.  Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex or gender also includes sexual harassment, stalking, dating, and domestic violence, or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion.  The College’s Title IX Coordinator has oversight responsibility for handling Sexual Misconduct complaints and for identifying and addressing any patterns and/or systemic problems involving Sexual Misconduct.  All allegations involving Sexual Misconduct should be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or, in the case of actions solely between employees, the College’s Director of Human Resources.  If the alleged incident involves both an employee and a student, the Title IX Coordinator shall take the lead but shall work cooperatively with the Director of Human Resources.

DEFINITIONS

The following definitions shall apply to this Procedure and shall be collectively referred to herein as “Sexual Misconduct”.  

The definitions are not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.  Indeed, just because a student’s speech or expression is deemed offensive by others does not mean it constitutes discrimination or harassment. 

In applying these definitions, College administrators shall view the speech or expression in its context and totality and shall apply the following standard: the alleged victim subjectively views the conduct as discrimination or harassment and that the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the conduct is discriminatory or harassing. 

Confidential Employee: A confidential employee is not a Responsible Employee and is not required to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator if confidentiality is requested by the student.  Campus counselors are considered Confidential Employees.  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before s/he speaks to him/her.

Consent: explicit approval to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions or words.  This decision must be made freely and actively by all participants.  Non-verbal communication, silence, passivity or lack of active resistance does not imply consent.  In addition, previous participation in sexual activity does not indicate current consent to participate and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent has not been obtained in situations where the individual: i) is forced, pressured, manipulated or has reasonable fear that they will be injured if they do not submit to the act; ii) is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity (including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol); or iii) has a mental or physical disability which inhibits his/her ability to give consent to sexual activity.

Dating Violence: Crimes of violence against a person with whom the person has or had a social relationship or a romantic or intimate relationship.

Domestic Violence: Crimes of violence against a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the student shares a child in common, a person with whom the student cohabitates or has cohabitated as a spouse, a person similarly situated to the student as a spouse, a person who is related to the student as a parent, child or person who is related to the student as a grandparent or grandchild.

Rape: as stipulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) updated definition in the UCR Summary Reporting System means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

This definition includes any sex of victim or Perpetrator.  Sexual penetration means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person.  This definition also includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol) or because of age.  Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.

Responsible Employee: a College employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/misconduct; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual harassment/misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate designees; or who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.  The College’s Responsible Employees include all College administrators (Coordinators, Chairs, Deans, Directors, and Vice Presidents).  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before she/he speaks to him/her.

Sexual Assault: subjecting any person to contact or behavior of a sexual nature or for the purposes of sexual gratification without the person’s expressed and explicit consent.

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, physical, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment; involve verbal, physical, or electronic conduct based on a person’s sex, gender, or sex-stereotyping that, from the perspective of a reasonable person, creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; or include harassment for displaying what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression of the person(s) involved. 

Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed to a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment.

Standard of Evidence: the College uses clear and convincing as the standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In the student due process hearing and employee grievance process, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable.  Student and employee due process hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available from all relevant sources.  The College will find the alleged Perpetrator either “responsible” or “not responsible” for violating these Procedures.

REPORTING

Reporting to Local Law Enforcement: Individuals may report sexual misconduct directly to local law enforcement agencies by dialing 911. Individuals who make a criminal allegation may also choose to pursue College disciplinary action simultaneously.  A criminal investigation into the matter does not release the College from its obligation to conduct its own investigation (nor is a criminal investigation determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct has occurred).  However, the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while the criminal investigators are gathering evidence.  In the event of such a delay, the College must take interim measures when necessary to protect the alleged Complainant and/or the College community.

Individuals may choose not to report alleged Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement authorities.  The College respects and supports individuals’ decisions regarding reporting; nevertheless, the College may notify appropriate law enforcement authorities if required or warranted by the nature of the allegations.

Reporting to College Officials: The College’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with these Procedures and Title IX regulations.  Questions about these Procedures should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.  Anyone wishing to make a report relating to Sexual Misconduct may do so by reporting the concern to the College’s Title IX Coordinator.

The College’s Title IX Coordinator is: 

Kirsten Bunch, Vice President for Student Services
828.694.1804
kirstenb@blueridge.edu

For Sexual Misconduct incidents between students and employees, the Title IX Coordinator will work in partnership with the Director of Human Resources to investigate and resolve the allegations. 

INITIAL INVESTIGATION

As these Procedures apply to both students and employees as either the Complainant or the Respondent, the administrator receiving the incident report will determine if the case should be handled by: 1) the Title IX Coordinator (student/student); 2) the Director of Human Resources (employee/employee); or 3) both (student/employee).  For incidents involving students and employees, the College will utilize the process for both the student investigation and the employee investigation sections as applicable.

Student Investigation 

Students filing complaints (“Complainants”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, Complainants should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints.  The Title IX Coordinator shall fully investigate any complaints and will, as needed and if the complaint also involves an employee, collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources.  During the course of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney.

During the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall meet with the Complainant and the alleged Perpetrator (“Respondent”) separately and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Title IX Coordinator of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be given access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

During the investigation process, the Title IX Coordinator may implement temporary measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The temporary actions include, but are not limited to: reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to complete coursework); or the directives that include no contact between the involved parties.

A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Title IX Coordinator.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceedings under these Procedures.

The Title IX Coordinator shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If the nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Title IX Coordinator may have an additional ten (10) calendar days to complete the investigation.  The Title IX Coordinator shall notify the parties of this extension.

Upon making the complaint, Complainants will be immediately notified that they have the right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Complainants will also be notified of available counseling services and their options of changing academic situations and other interim protective measures.

RECOMMENDATION AND APPEAL 

After the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will put forward a recommendation of finding, based on the Standard of Evidence, and sanctions, if warranted.  If the recommendation is accepted by both parties involved, the recommendation and sanction(s) will become effective.  The Title IX Coordinator will submit to each party a final outcome letter that will include, but not limited to, the following: 

A.  Determination if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating these Procedures.

B.  Sanctions, if appropriate.

C.  Whether monitoring of academic schedules is needed between the parties to ensure that the individuals involved are not in classes together (the Title IX Coordinator will assist in this process). 

D.  Short-term College counseling services available to each party.   

If the Title IX Coordinator’s recommendations are not accepted by either the Complainant or the Respondent, both may appeal and request a formal hearing.  If the Title IX Coordinator recommends sanctions that s/he cannot impose (i.e., expulsion), the matter shall automatically be set for a hearing.  The President will preside over the hearing as the Presiding Officer.  The process for the hearing is outlined below:

Prior to the hearing, the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to review all evidence, including written statements by the Respondent, the Complainant, or witnesses.  Strict rules of evidence do not apply.  The Standard of Evidence shall apply for the hearing.   

Written notice including the date, time, and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties.

At the hearing, all pertinent parties have a right to speak and be questioned by the Presiding Officer.  Cross-examination between parties is not permitted.  The College will provide options for questioning without confrontation.  Each phase of the hearing will be heard by both parties in separate rooms by use of a speakerphone.

The Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be accompanied by an advocate.  The advocate may not present on behalf of either party unless otherwise instructed to do so by the Presiding Officer.  If the Complainant or the Respondent chooses to have an advocate who is an attorney, notification must be provided to the Presiding Officer at least three (3) College business days prior to the hearing date.  In this case, the College Attorney will also be present. 

Both parties have a right to a written notice of the hearing outcome.

Sanctioning

The following sanctions may be imposed for those who have violated these Procedures.

Students

  1. Verbal or Written Warning

  2. Probation

  3. Administrative withdrawal from a course without refund

  4. Required Counseling

  5. No Contact Directive

  6. Suspension

  7. Expulsion (President must impose)

  8. Other consequences deemed appropriate

PROTECTION AGAINST RETALIATION

The College will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of Sexual Misconduct in good faith or who assists in an investigation.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to: any form of intimidation, disciplinary action, reprisal or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take appropriate action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another in violation of these procedures.

PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION  

Any individual who knowingly files a false report or complaint, who knowingly provides false information to College officials or who intentionally misleads College officials involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to expulsion or employment termination.  The College recognizes that an allegation made in good faith will not be considered false when the evidence does not confirm the allegation(s) of Sexual Misconduct.

LIMITED IMMUNITY

The College community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses.  Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of various policy violations.  It is in the best interest of this College that as many Complainants as possible choose to report to College officials and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.  To encourage reporting, the College offers Sexual Misconduct Complainants and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations.

EMPLOYEE AND STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students are prohibited if the employee and the student have an academic relationship.  Academic relationships include any activities in which the employee is a direct or indirect supervisor or instructor for the student, as in a classroom or lab, or is a sponsor for any College activity involving the student, including work-study or organizational/club/sport activities.  This prohibition shall continue until the student or the employee is no longer affiliated with the College.  Employees engaging in inappropriate relationships will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  Students engaging in inappropriate relationships may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Romantic or sexual relationships between College employees and students not in an academic relationship that impairs the College employee’s effectiveness, disrupts the workplace/learning environment, and/or impairs the public confidence in the College will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the College.

SUSPENDING PROCEDURES

In cases of emergency or serious misconduct, the College reserves the right to suspend this process and may enact appropriate action for the welfare and safety of the College community.

STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE EDUCATION AND ANNUAL TRAINING

All new students and all employees shall be required to participate in a primary prevention and awareness program that promotes awareness of Sexual Misconduct.  This program will be held annually at the beginning of each fall semester.

At this annual training, students and employees must receive training in the following areas:

A.  Information about safe and positive options for bystander intervention skills;

B.  What “consent” means with reference to sexual activities.

C.  Risk reduction programs so students recognize and can avoid abusive behaviors or potential attacks;

D.   How and to whom to report an incident regarding discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence;

E.  The importance of preserving physical evidence in a sexual-based violent crime; and

F.   Options about the involvement of law enforcement and campus authorities, including the alleged victim’s option to: i) notify law enforcement; ii) being assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement; iii) declining to notify law enforcement; and iv) obtaining “no-contact” or restraining orders.

Each year, all students and employees will receive an electronic copy of these Procedures sent to their College email address of record.  These Procedures will be maintained online in the College’s website and a hard copy will be kept on file (in English and Spanish) in the Title IX Coordinator’s office and the Director of Human Resources’ office.  Other translations will be made available upon request.

Drug Prevention Program

Blue Ridge Community College conducts an ongoing informational program for students and employees describing the dangers of abuse of narcotics, alcoholic beverages, and stimulant drugs. The Student Services Division will provide informational materials designed to alert the entire college community to the above described hazards. The College will cooperate with all other appropriate community agencies in this endeavor. Specific college policies strictly prohibit the possession and use of such substances on the campus and during any college-sponsored function. Severe sanctions against violators are provided for in these policies.

Institutional Responsibilities to Third-Party Recipients of Certain Services

As a part of their normal training, students in human service programs are engaged in activities where the health and well-being of persons outside the school are involved. Under these conditions, the institution incurs a moral and legal obligation concerning the student and the recipient of his/her services.

To ensure the safety of the third party recipients the institution may suspend, expel, or refuse to enroll any such student who:

Presents problems in physical or emotional health which do not respond to appropriate treatment and/or counseling within a reasonable period of time; and/or

Demonstrates behavior that conflicts with safety essential to nursing and/or child care.

Student Conduct

Blue Ridge Community College (“College”) students assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the College’s function as an educational institution. The College has adopted basic standards of student conduct. These standards apply to the College campus, College activities including public service functions and other duly authorized or College-sponsored activities, either on or off the College premises. When these standards are violated, penalties may be incurred. Consequences for violations include, but are not limited to: warnings, fines, restitution, loss of privileges or access to campus resources, probation, suspension or expulsion. The College reserves the right to withhold academic records or to deny registration for subsequent semesters.

If a student’s behavior simultaneously violates both College regulation and federal, state and/or local laws, the College may take disciplinary action independent of that taken by legal authorities.

The following regulation sets forth offenses for which disciplinary proceedings may be initiated. Violation of one or more of the following code provisions may result in one of the sanctions described in Procedure 4.15.1.1 – Discipline and Appeal Procedures for Academic Violations and/or Procedure 4.15.1.2 – Discipline and Appeal Procedures for Non-Academic Violations.

Academic Honesty Violations

A student who violates the academic honesty policy, either directly or indirectly, is immediately responsible to the instructor of the course. The following terms are defined:

Cheating: To practice or attempt to practice dishonesty or deception in the taking of tests or in the preparation or submission of academic work purporting to be one’s own; or to do any of the following without instructor permission; to copy or attempt to copy from another person’s test, paper, online file, or other graded work in a course; to allow someone to copy one’s test, paper, online file, or other graded work; to use during a testing period, or bring into a testing area with the intent to use, any notes or other materials which a student is not permitted to consult. Cheating also includes creating, falsifying or misrepresenting any data in connection with a seated (traditional) class, lab or online class or the act of giving any unauthorized assistance or collaboration in a learning environment.

Plagiarism: The act of copying a sentence, several sentences, or a significant part of a sentence that has been written by someone other than the person submitting the paper, and then neglecting to indicate through the use of quotation marks or blocking that the material has been copied; also, copying from another writer in such a way as to change one or two words in the sentence, or to rearrange the order of the wording, or to paraphrase, or summarize information and then neglect to furnish documentation. Failure to cite sources, when appropriate, is a form of dishonesty.

Online identity: Any student registered in an online/hybrid course(s) will be the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit for the online/hybrid course. Further, any student who allows his/her unique username and password to be used by another individual to complete an assignment or participation within the course will be in violation of this policy.

The acts of cheating and/or plagiarism shall encompass, but shall not be limited to the examples or context cited above.

Non-Academic Violations

Types of student conduct for which disciplinary proceedings may be initiated include but are not limited to the following:

Disruption of College: A student shall not by the use of violence, force, noise, coercion, threat, intimidation, fear, passive resistance, or any other conduct intentionally cause the substantial and material disruption or obstruction of any lawful mission, process, or function of the College. Neither shall a student engage in such conduct for the purpose of causing substantial and material disruption if an obstruction is reasonably certain to result.

The following illustrates the kinds of offenses encompassed here:

  1. occupying any College building, grounds, or part thereof, with intent to deprive others of its use;

  2. blocking the entrance or exit of any College building or corridor or room therein with intent to deprive others of lawful access to or from, or use of, the building or corridor or room;

  3. setting fire to or damaging any College building or property;

  4. firing, displaying, or threatening the use of firearms, explosives, or other weapons on the College premises for any unlawful purpose;

  5. prevention of or attempting to prevent by the physical act the convening or continued functioning of any College class, or activity, or of any lawful meeting or assembly on the campus;

  6. preventing students from attending a class or College activity;

  7. except under the direct instruction of an administrator, blocking normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic on campus;

  8. making noise or acting in any manner so as to interfere seriously with the instructor’s ability to conduct the class; and unruly conduct at a College activity, function, or event.

Damage or Destruction of College Property: A student shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause damage to College property or steal College property.

Damage or Destruction of Private Property: A student shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause damage to private property or steal or attempt to steal private property on the College grounds. Repeated damage, theft, or fraud involving private property shall be a basis for long-term suspension or expulsion.

Physical Abuse of a College Employee, Student, or other Person not Employed by the College: A student shall not intentionally do bodily injury to any person. Neither self-defense nor action undertaken on the reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect some other person is to be considered an intentional act under this rule.

Weapons and Dangerous Instruments: A student shall not knowingly possess, handle, or transmit any object that can reasonably be considered a weapon. Weapons and dangerous instruments are defined in Procedure 9.5.1.

Narcotics, Alcoholic Beverages and Stimulant Drugs: A student shall not knowingly possess, use, transmit or be under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant of any kind (including, but not limited to, bath salts, inhalants, or synthetic herbs). Use of a legal drug authorized by a medical prescription from a registered health care provider shall not be considered a violation of this rule; however, possession, use, or transmittal of legal drugs that have been obtained illegally or without a prescription by a registered healthcare provider is prohibited.

Tobacco Use: A student shall not violate the College Tobacco-Free Campus regulations. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products are prohibited on all College properties including inside any building or facility and on College grounds. Exceptions are limited only to smoking or the use of tobacco products inside the confines of a motor vehicle on College grounds. See Procedure 2.15.1.

Campus Parking and Traffic Regulations: A student shall not violate campus parking and traffic regulations. See Procedure 9.13.1.

Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual-Based Offenses: For all issues related to this topic, see Procedure 4.15.2.

Computer Use: For all issues related to violations of the College Computer Use policy, see Procedure 8.1.3.

Disruptive Communications: A student shall not intentionally send electronic communications that disrupt the learning environment. In addition to the items listed specifically in the College Computer Use procedures, this may include but is not limited to the use of profanity, insulting or harassing remarks in email, discussions, chat, electronic text, or telephone communications. Violations may be grounds for the student to receive a failing grade, suspension, or expulsion.

Classroom Conduct: In addition to the other provisions contained herein, students will not engage in physical or verbal behavior that a reasonable person would view as interfering with the instructor’s teaching and/or learning in a classroom, whether online, hybrid or seated, or in the ability of other students to access information. Students may not defy reasonable directives by instructors pertaining to classroom behavior and rules. Students shall abide by instructor’s classroom rules. Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with generally accepted standards of scholarship and professionalism and behavior for a reasonably prudent community college student. While students are free to agree or disagree with their instructor and classmates, students will demonstrate their agreement or disagreement through reasonable and respectful behavior. This provision is not intended to operate as speech codes, promote content and viewpoint discrimination or suppress minority viewpoints in the academic setting.

Field trips, Work-Based Learning (WBL), Job Shadowing, Events or any Academic-Related Off Campus Activity: Students shall abide by both the College’s Student Code of Conduct and any host facility rules. For example, a host facility might dictate dress code, proof of US citizenship, drug screen, behavior and safety expectations, wearing of protective clothing or equipment, and/or prohibit the use of cell phones. This is not an exhaustive list. The instructor arranging the academic-related off-campus activity is responsible for obtaining and sharing as much of this information as possible prior to the actual event.

Public Laws/College Policy: Violations of any federal, state, or local laws occurring while on campus may lead to legal actions as well as campus discipline. Violations of federal, state, or local laws occurring off campus may result in disciplinary action if the student’s continued presence on campus constitutes a threat to the safety and order of the campus. Violations of College policies and procedures may result in disciplinary action.

Assault: Students shall not assault or threaten to assault another person for any reason whatsoever. Assault includes a demonstration of force, unlawful physical touching or striking. For sexual assault, see Procedure 4.15.2.

Communicating Threats: Students shall not verbally, in writing, through a third party or by any other means threaten to physically injure another person or that person’s child, sibling, spouse or dependent or willfully threatens to damage the property of another.

Bullying: Students shall not intimidate or threaten to harm any other individual. Bullying is defined as any pattern of gestures or written, electronic or verbal communications or any physical act or any threatening communication that takes place on the College premises or at any College-sponsored function that: (a) places a person in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her property; or (b) creates or is certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with or impairing a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits or a College employees ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job. Hostile environment means that the victim subjectively views the conduct as bullying and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that it is bullying. A hostile environment may be created through pervasive or persistent misbehavior or a single incident if sufficiently severe.

Threats – Students shall not engage in any behavior that constitutes a clear and present danger to the physical and/or emotional well-being of the student and/or other students, faculty, and staff.

Discipline and Appeal Procedures for Academic Violations

(For issues related to discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence, see Procedure 3.15.1 and 3.19.1)

The following disciplinary and appeal procedures shall apply to all academic disciplinary matters. (See Procedure 4.15.1.1)

Discipline for Violations of Academic Honesty

In situations involving violations of academic honesty, the student’s instructor will take disciplinary actions that may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. A written warning describing the offense and detailing further consequences should the infraction be repeated,

  2. The instructor may assign a failing grade (“F” or zero”) for the course, any portion of the course, or a single assignment. If the course serves as a prerequisite for sequential courses within the curriculum, the student will not be able to progress in the program of study until completing the course with a passing grade.

  3. Referral to the Vice President for Instruction for further disciplinary action.

  4. The President or the President’s designee may suspend or expel a student if there are repeated violations of the Academic Honesty Policy. If a student violates this policy twice, the Vice President for Instruction may request that the President expel the student.

  5. A student charged with a violation of  Academic Honesty, outlined in Code of Conduct 4.15.1, has the right to appeal that decision using the process outlined below.

Academic Disciplinary Appeal Process

If a student is not satisfied with the Vice President’s or President’s recommendation for Disciplinary Action, within five business days’ receipt of the recommendation, the student may request, in writing to the President, a Judicial Board hearing. Upon receipt of the student’s request, the President shall convene a Judicial Board to hear the matter. The Judicial Board shall consist of three members: a Vice President (but not the Vice President for Instruction) who shall serve as the Chair; one faculty member appointed by the President who is not an interested party in the issue to be heard; and the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) or his/her designee who is also a member of the SGA.

  1. The hearing shall be scheduled within ten business days of receipt of the student’s written request for a hearing or later if mutually agreed upon by the parties.

  2. Within five business days from the hearing, the student must inform the President whether s/he will have legal counsel present. If the student does not provide timely notice, the Chair may continue the hearing until the College’s attorney can be present. The student is allowed to have legal counsel present but only in an advisory capacity. Legal counsel will not be allowed to address the Judicial Board. The College’s attorney will serve as procedural officer.

  3. The Judicial Board hearing procedure shall be as follows: 

  • The Chair shall introduce all present.

  • The student shall have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses in support of his or her case. The Judicial Board shall have the opportunity to question the student and, if applicable, his or her witnesses.

  • The College administrator and/or other College representatives will present their evidence and witnesses in support of their case. The Judicial Board shall have the opportunity to question the administrator and/or other College representatives and, if applicable, their witnesses.

  • Both sides will have the opportunity to make a closing statement.

  • The Judicial Board shall deliberate in closed session. The College attorney may sit with the Judicial Board and provide legal advice should such advice be necessary. The North Carolina Rules of Evidence do not apply and all relevant evidence shall be included in the official record; however, in reaching its decision, the Judicial Board shall weigh and consider the credibility of the presented evidence.

  • The Judicial Board hearing shall be audio recorded and that recording shall serve as the official hearing minutes.

  • Within five business days of the hearing, the Chair shall, in writing, summarize the Judicial Board decision and send a copy to the parties and to the President.

  1. If any of the parties are not satisfied with the Judicial Board’s decision, they may, within ten business days of the date of the decision, appeal, in writing, to the President. The Vice President for  Instruction shall accept the appeal on behalf of the President. The President shall review the official record and the hearing minutes. If, after his or her initial review, the President needs additional information, he or she may ask the parties to supplement the official record by responding to his or her additional questions. Within ten business days of receipt of the party’s appeal, or an additional five business days after the official record has been supplemented, the President shall issue his or her final decision to affirm, reject, or modify the Judicial Board’s decision. A written copy of the President’s decision shall be sent to both parties. The President’s decision shall be final, subject only to the student’s right of appeal to the Board of Trustees. Any appeal of the President’s decision must be submitted, in writing, to the Board of Trustees, within ten business days of the date of that decision.

  2. For an appeal to the Board of Trustees, a panel of the Board, as designated by the Chair, shall conduct an “on the record review” of the evidence presented at the Judicial Hearing. Within ten (10) business after receipt of the student’s appeal, unless the parties agree to a continuance, the Board panel shall meet and the President shall be granted an opportunity to address the Board panel in closed session. The student will also be given the same opportunity to address the Board panel. No new evidence shall be presented to the Board panel. The Board Attorney shall serve as the procedural officer. The Board panel will make a determination and inform the student in writing within five (5) business days.

Discipline and Appeal Procedures for Non-Academic Violations

Overview

The Vice President for Student Services is responsible for implementing these procedures.  

These procedures apply to non-academic violations listed in 4.15.1 – Code of Student Conduct.  

Progressive Discipline Model 

Verbal/Written Warnings - If the student’s misconduct occurs in the classroom setting, where appropriate, instructors should provide verbal and/or written warnings to students regarding their misconduct and assess appropriate disciplinary action within the classroom setting.

Suspension and Expulsion - If warranted by the facts and situation, even for first-time offenses, a student may be suspended, expelled or forfeit certain opportunities on campus. 

Behavioral Assessment Form - If warranted, instructors may complete a Behavioral Assessment Form outlining the nature of the student’s misconduct and share the form with the Vice President for Student Services. Upon receiving the Behavioral Assessment Form, the Vice President may request a meeting with the student, reviewing the misconduct reported. As a result of the meeting, the student may be placed on probation, suspension, or expelled from campus.

Removal from Class/Campus - If an act of student misconduct threatens the health, safety or well-being of any member of the academic community and/or seriously disrupts the function and good order of the College, an instructor may require that the student immediately leave the classroom setting and the instructor will thereafter immediately notify the Vice President for Student Services who will direct the student involved to cease and desist such conduct and advise them that failing to cease and desist will result in immediate dismissal from the class or campus. 

If the student fails to cease and desist, or if the behavior is such that the student needs to immediately be removed from campus or temporarily removed from a specific instructor’s class, the Vice President for Student Services may then immediately have the student temporarily removed from campus and/or from the specific instructor’s class. The Vice President for Student Services will also determine whether the student should be referred to the Behavioral Assessment Team.

Notification - Upon concluding an investigation into the matter, the Vice President for Student Services shall present the student with written notice of charges that provide a description of the alleged violations and short factual summary. The notice shall also include recommended disciplinary action. If the student accepts the recommended disciplinary action, the matter will be closed. If the student is not satisfied with the Vice President’s recommendation, with five business days’ receipt of the recommendation, the student may request, in writing to the President, a Judicial Board hearing (see Disciplinary Appeal Procedure below).

The Vice President shall notify the President in writing of the student involved and the nature of the infraction as soon as possible but no more than one (1) working day following the incident.  

Non-Academic Disciplinary Appeal Procedure

  1. If a student is not satisfied with the Vice President’s recommendation for Disciplinary Action, within five business days’ receipt of the recommendation, the student may request, in writing to the President, a Judicial Board hearing. Upon receipt of the student’s request, the President shall convene a Judicial Board to hear the matter. The Judicial Board shall consist of three members: a Vice President (but not the Vice President for Student Services) who shall serve as the Chair; one faculty member appointed by the President who is not an interested party in the issue to be heard; and the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) or his/her designee who is also a member of the SGA.

  2. The hearing shall be scheduled within ten business days of receipt of the student’s written request for a hearing or later if mutually agreed upon by the parties.

  3. Within five business days from the hearing, the student must inform the President whether s/he will have legal counsel present. If the student does not provide timely notice, the Chair may continue the hearing until the College’s attorney can be present. The student is allowed to have legal counsel present but only in an advisory capacity. Legal counsel will not be allowed to address the Judicial Board. The College’s attorney will serve as a procedural officer.

  4. The Judicial Board hearing procedure shall be as follows: 

  5. The Chair shall introduce all present.

  6. The student shall have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses in support of his or her case. The Judicial Board shall have the opportunity to question the student and, if applicable, his or her witnesses.

  7. The College administrator and/or other College representatives will present their evidence and witnesses in support of their case. The Judicial Board shall have the opportunity to question the administrator and/or other College representatives and, if applicable, their witnesses.

  8. Both sides will have the opportunity to make a closing statement.

  9. The Judicial Board shall deliberate in closed session. The College attorney may sit with the Judicial Board and provide legal advice should such advice be necessary. The North Carolina Rules of Evidence do not apply and all relevant evidence shall be included in the official record; however, in reaching its decision, the Judicial Board shall weigh and consider the credibility of the presented evidence.

  10. The Judicial Board hearing shall be audio recorded and that recording shall serve as the official hearing minutes.

  11. Within five business days of the hearing, the Chair shall, in writing, summarize the Judicial Board decision and send a copy to the parties and to the President.

  12. If any of the parties are not satisfied with the Judicial Board’s decision, they may, within ten business days of the date of the decision, appeal, in writing, to the President. The Vice President for Student Services shall accept the appeal on behalf of the President. The President shall review the official record and the hearing minutes. If, after his or her initial review, the President needs additional information, he or she may ask the parties to supplement the official record by responding to his or her additional questions. Within ten business days of receipt of the party’s appeal, or an additional five business days after the official record has been supplemented, the President shall issue his or her final decision to affirm, reject, or modify the Judicial Board’s decision. A written copy of the President’s decision shall be sent to both parties. The President’s decision shall be final, subject only to the student’s right of appeal to the Board of Trustees. Any appeal of the President’s decision must be submitted, in writing, to the Board of Trustees, within ten business days of the date of that decision.

  13. For an appeal to the Board of Trustees, a panel of the Board, as designated by the Chair, shall conduct an “on the record review” of the evidence presented at the Judicial Hearing. Within ten (10) business after receipt of the student’s appeal, unless the parties agree to a continuance, the Board panel shall meet and the President shall be granted an opportunity to address the Board panel in closed session. The student will also be given the same opportunity to address the Board panel. No new evidence shall be presented to the Board panel. The Board Attorney shall serve as the procedural officer. The Board panel will make a determination and inform the student in writing within five (5) business days.

Student Grievance Procedure and Due Process

Any Blue Ridge Community College student has the right to be officially heard in matters where they have general grievances and for which there is no other approved grievance or review process.

To ensure that the grievance is given proper attention, the student should follow these steps:

Step One: Informal Grievance 

In the event the alleged grievance lies with an instructor/staff member, the student must first go to that instructor/staff member and attempt to informally resolve the matter. Both the student and instructor/staff member must have an informal conference to discuss the situation and document the attempts taken to resolve the grievance at this level. In the event that the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached at the informal conference, he/she may proceed to Step Two within ten (10) business days after the informal conference. Not proceeding to Step Two within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.

If the grievance concerns issues unrelated to a particular instructor/staff member (for example, an issue with College policy), the student can skip the informal process and proceed to Step Two.

Step Two: Formal Grievance

If the grievance is not resolved at Step One (or, given the nature of the grievance, Step Two begins the process) the student may file a written grievance with the Vice President for Student Services (“Vice President”). The written grievance must contain with specificity the facts supporting the grievance and the attempt, if applicable, to resolve the grievance at the information level.

The Vice President (or, depending on the nature of the grievance, another appropriate Vice President) shall review the written grievance and conduct whatever further investigation, if any, is necessary to determine any additional facts that are needed to resolve the grievance.

The Vice President shall provide his/her written decision within ten (10) business days after receipt of the grievance.

In the event that the student is unsatisfied with the resolution reached by the Vice President, he/she may proceed to Step Three within ten (10) business days after receipt of the Vice President’s written determination. Not proceeding to Step Three within the time period will result in the grievance not being heard and the matter being closed.

Step Three: Appeal 

If the student is not satisfied with the Vice President’s determination, the student may appeal to the President. The appeal must be in writing and must provide a written summary of the specific facts and must contain any other documentation pertinent to the matter. The President will conduct an “on the record” review and, if necessary, conduct any further investigation that is necessary to ascertain the facts needed to make a determination. The President may, at his/her discretion, establish a committee to further investigate the matter and make a recommendation to the President.

At the conclusion of the investigation and not later than fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the student’s appeal (unless a committee is needed then within thirty (30) business days), the President shall provide a written decision to the student.

The President’s decision is final.

To afford a student due process and the expedient resolution of issues where it is impractical or impossible, given the situation, for a student or his/her supporting witnesses to appear and participate in their grievance in person, special accommodation may be made including written statements, telephone conferences, electronic mail, videotape, live video, or similar means of communication. Once a student initiates this formal grievance, in writing, the complaint becomes part of the record of complaints that is maintained by the College.

Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products

Blue Ridge Community College is committed to providing students, employees, and visitors a safe and healthy environment. To address this commitment, smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products are prohibited on all College properties including inside any building or facility and on College grounds. Exceptions are only limited to smoking or the use of tobacco products inside the confines of a motor vehicle on College grounds. This shall also be known as the College’s “Tobacco-free Policy.” 

For the purposes of this policy, tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, blunts, bidis, pipes, chewing tobacco, snus, snuff, e-cigarettes, and any other items containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products, or any product simulating smoking instruments.