STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT

Southwest Tech promotes a learning-centered environment dedicated to the advancement of personal growth and knowledge. The Southwest Tech District believes every student has the right to pursue an education free from disruption, harassment, illegal activities, threats or danger. The District further believes that academic honesty, integrity and civility are fundamental to the educational mission of the College. Every student is expected to be familiar with all the rules and regulations of Southwest Tech.

The student conduct process at Southwest Tech is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to address behavior not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our community expectations. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all. Due Process, defined within these procedures, assures an objective decision-maker and the option of an appeal. Sanctions are proportionate to the severity of the violation and the cumulative conduct history of the student.

By the authority of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College District Board, the President of Southwest Tech retains the ultimate authority for administration of the Student Code of Conduct. The Dean of Student Services expressly acts with authority over the Behavioral misconduct administration and enforcement. Students violating the behavioral standards of conduct may be subject to disciplinary action. The Chief Academic Officer expressly acts with authority over Academic misconduct, and may be assisted by the Dean of Student Services in the execution of sanctions.

Jurisdiction

The code of conduct applies to behaviors on campus, in college housing, at college-sponsored events and locations, and may also apply to off-campus locations when the Dean of Students determines the off-campus conduct affects a substantial Southwest Tech interest. This may include:

  • Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others; and/or
  • Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  • Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of Southwest Tech.

The Code of Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic media. Students should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats, and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations are posted online. Southwest Tech does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of college officials.

The code of conduct applies to all students enrolled in credit and non-credit courses. The code of conduct applies to guests of college community members whose hosts may be accountable for the misconduct of their guests.

Behavioral Misconduct

The following actions and behaviors shall constitute violations of the Student Code of Conduct and will subject any student or student organization committing such a violation to disciplinary action. Violations include, but are not limited to:

  1. General misconduct - Violations of established and published or posted College policies, rules, and/or regulations.
  2. Failure or refusal to comply with a college matter - This includes but is not limited to, knowingly furnishing false information to the College or a college official, or refusal to comply with a reasonable request on a college matter or individual acting in performance of their duties.
  3. Forgery - Alteration or misuse of any College document, record, form or instrument of identification.
  4. Trespassing - Unauthorized entry into or use of College-owned or -controlled locations. Possessing, duplicating or using keys/swipe cards/lock codes to any College, Foundation or Real Estate Foundation property without authorization.
  5. Trademark - Unauthorized use (including misuse) of Southwest Tech names and images;
  6. Misuse of Technology - Unethical, inappropriate, or illegal use of technology resources of the College. Students who connect their personal computers to the campus network will also be held responsible for any violation.
  7. Use of Prohibited Items - The use of hover boards and drones is not permitted.
  8. Invasions of Privacy
    1. Using electronic or other means to make a video or photographic record of any person in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes, but is not limited to, taking video or photographic images in shower/locker rooms, and restrooms. The storing, sharing, and/or distributing of such unauthorized records by any means is also prohibited.
    2. Using electronic or other means to make a video or photographic record of any person in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy without the subject’s prior knowledge and consent. This includes, but is not limited to, taking video or photographic images in student housing. The storing, sharing, and/or distributing of such unauthorized records by any means is also prohibited.
  9. Disruptive Behavior - Intentionally or recklessly taking action that disrupts Southwest Tech operations including the physical harm or endangerment of any person in the College Community, as well as obstruction of teaching, administration, college activities, and/or other authorized non-college activities which occur on campus; acts that impair, interfere with, or obstruct the orderly conduct, processes and functions of the College.
    Classroom disruptions include behavior a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with faculty’s ability to teach or student’s right to learn.
  10. Disorderly conduct/fighting - Defined as acts which are inappropriately loud, or are lewd, indecent or obscene; acts not in compliance with posted signage requiring specific behavior in designated areas (e.g. Knox Learning Center, Testing Center, Charley’s, housing, laboratory areas).
  11. Abusive acts - Committing acts of verbal abuse or physical abuse, or engaging in actions which intimidate, harass, threaten, coerce, or otherwise endanger the health or safety of any person or create a hostile learning environment.
  12. Hazing - Doing, requiring or encouraging any forced activity, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation, admission into or continued membership or participation in any group that causes or creates a reasonable risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation. Such acts may include any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, forced confinement or any other forced activity which endangers the physical health or safety of the student.
  13. Bullying and cyberbullying - Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally.
  14. Committing acts of harassment - Harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to verbal, written or physical conduct that is sufficiently serious (i.e. severe, persistent or pervasive) as to limit or deny an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s programs.
  15. Sexual assault - Committing an act of sexual assault which, for administrative purposes, is defined as unwelcome or unwanted and forced or coerced sexual intercourse or sexual contact. (Victims include persons who are incapacitated – sleeping, unconscious, mentally ill, or deemed unable to give consent.)
  16. Committing acts of sexual harassment - Making unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, and/or unwelcome verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature.
  17. Sexual exploitation - Sexual exploitation includes the sexual abuse of individuals through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money.
  18. Possessing weapons - Possessing, or engaging or participating in the use of explosives, fireworks, and/or firearms or other dangerous weapons while on college property, Foundation property, or Real Estate property, loaned or leased, or at Southwest Tech sponsored events. Also prohibited are knuckles; a nunchaku or any similar weapon; knives of any kind; a knife blade; baton of any type; explosive devices of any type; and "look-alike" instrument or weapon, (i.e. "b.b. gun," pellet gun, or any instrument designed to look like a weapon); pepper spray or any other device or instrumentality used in a threatening and/or unlawful manner.
    Exemptions are as follows:
    1. Authorized law enforcement officers in uniform or plain clothes officers with a badge on display.
    2. Individuals participating in authorized law enforcement training activities.
    3. Individuals transporting firearms for authorized training classes.
    4. The possession of handguns is permitted in parking and outdoor areas when in the possession of properly licensed persons to the extent required by law.
    5. The possession of knives as eating utensils or for the purpose of food preparation or as tools when authorized by an instructor is permitted, such as a lab setting.
  19. Brandishing objects - Displaying, showing, waving, or exhibiting any object in a manner which a reasonable person might find threatening
  20. Substance abuse - Use, being under the influence of, possession, sale or distribution of narcotic or illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, etc. on Southwest Tech, Foundation, Real Estate Foundation, owned or leased property, or at Southwest Tech sponsored activities.
  21. Retaliatory acts - Committing an act of retaliation toward an individual or group who initiated or who expresses the intent to initiate a complaint or who was called as or intended to be called as a witness in any complaint proceeding. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, harming or threatening to harm any person or group and may include harassment, intimidation, bullying or similar conduct for the purpose of discouraging the filing of a complaint or acting as a witness in a complaint proceeding or for the purpose of reprisal against any person or group who initiated a complaint or any person who acted as witness in such a proceeding.
  22. Theft - Intentional and unauthorized taking of College property or property of any visitor or member of the Southwest Tech College Community; or the personal property of another, including goods, services and other valuables.
  23. Damage to Property - Intentionally damaging the property of the College or any visitor to or member of the College Community.
  24. False reports - Making false reports of a fire, bomb threat, or other dangerous condition.
  25. Endangering Safety - Failing to report a fire, interfering with the response of the College or public officials to emergency calls or engaging in similar conduct which demonstrates a disregard for safety or property. Endangering safety may occur due to action (e.g., making a bomb threat or threat of pulling a fire alarm) or inaction (e.g., failing to report or make reasonable efforts to stop a fight, an assault, etc.).
  26. Violation of public laws - Southwest Tech reserves the right to hold students responsible for violations of federal, state, or local laws, regulations or policies that adversely affect the College and/or the pursuit of its educational mission.

Behavioral Misconduct Procedure & Sanctions

Wherever possible, upon receipt of a complaint or upon being notified of circumstances which might constitute a violation, the college will complete the misconduct review process within 60 days. If that is not possible, the college will give notice of a rationale for extending the process and resolve as expediently as possible.

The following procedure has been developed to address a student who allegedly has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct:

Step 1:

Notification of Incident
  • Dean of Students determines if disciplinary action may be appropriate. Where possible, actions are concluded within 60 days.

An alleged violation will be reported to the Dean of Student Services or designee, who will determine what, if any, investigation, or minor sanctions are appropriate.

Step 2:

Notification & Investigation
  • Temporary separation/restriction may be imposed.
  • Students will be notified of an accusation of misconduct.

If the Dean of Students or designee determines that a full investigation is necessary, he/she will notify the student verbally or in writing and begin an impartial investigation.

The student will be provided with a description of alleged incidences constituting prohibited conduct and given an opportunity to respond, including the ability to provide any documents or witnesses to determine whether a violation of conduct occurred.

Any person the Dean of Student Services or designee believes may have information relevant to an investigation may also be contacted to provide information regarding the investigation.

Note: Southwest Tech reserves the right to exercise its authority to limit and/or restrict access to the college upon notification a student is facing a criminal investigation and/or as a result of a behavioral misconduct allegation whereby the student’s continued presence might endanger the student or others.

Southwest Tech may take action to stop harassment, prevent recurrence of harassment and provide immediate and ongoing remediation for reporting parties – as well as any others harmed by harassment (as appropriate).

The Dean of Students, the President, Director of Facilities, Director of Human Resources, Deans, and Housing Officials may temporarily remove or restrict students from college-controlled locations (including student housing) or activities.

Step 3:

Findings & Sanctions
  • Investigation determines if accusation is founded or unfounded.
  • Students are updated within five (5) business days of the decision either by mail (including email) or in person.

The Dean of Students or designee, based on a preponderance of evidence, will make a finding whether a violation is more likely than not. The student will be notified in writing of the finding and what –if any- sanctions will occur (See below for the list of possible sanctions). Notification will be sent by mail or delivered in person.

The Dean of Student Services is given broad authority to use objective evaluation of the disciplinary action necessary and what action will be in the best interest of the student, College and others. One or more of the disciplinary sanctions listed below may be imposed. Sanctions may warrant notation on an Academic Transcript, imposed at the discretion of the Dean of Student Services.

Behavioral misconduct sanctions

The range of outcomes, consequences, and sanctions include, but are not limited to:

  • Oral reprimand - Notice to the student that his/her actions are inappropriate and the individual must act more responsibly in the future.
  • Written reprimand - Written notice to the student that his/her actions are inappropriate and the individual must act more responsibly in the future.
  • Behavior requirement - This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.
  • Educational program - Attending a workshop, in person or online, addressing the related issues. Referral to an off-campus education program may be recommended.
  • Loss of privileges/access - Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time such as a restriction from hosting visitors and/or guests in housing; prohibitions on entering a specified housing facility; restriction from college-sponsored extracurricular activities or work positions on campus; other restrictions, as approved by the Dean of Students or designee.
  • Restitution/Compensation for loss, damage or injury.
  • No contact directive
  • Mandated Housing Reassignment - A notice that the behavior merits immediate relocation of the student to another housing residence.
  • Probation - Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violating any policies during the probationary period.
  • Housing Probation - Housing probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe housing disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any policies during the probationary period.
  • Disciplinary Suspension - Suspension results in separation from the College for a specific minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. During the suspension period, the student is banned from college property and student housing. The sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. Students suspended for disciplinary reasons are not entitled to any refund of tuition or housing fees.
  • Housing Suspension - Separation from the student housing area for a specific period of time, after which the student may be eligible to return. During the suspension period, the student is banned from college housing. The sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. Students suspended for disciplinary reasons are not entitled to any refund of housing fees
  • Expulsion - A permanent separation from the College. The student is banned from college property and student housing and this sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. Students that are expelled for disciplinary reasons are not entitled to any refund of tuition or housing fees.
  • Housing Expulsion - Permanent removal of the student from student housing. The sanction will most likely result in a permanent ban from all housing properties. Students dismissed from housing for disciplinary reasons are not entitled to any refund of housing fees.
  • Academic Removal - Removal of student from course ("W" grade shown on transcript).

Step 4:

Due process
  • Students have five (5) business days to request an appeal due to procedural errors, to consider new evidence, or to weigh if the sanctions are outside the guidelines set by Southwest Tech.

The sanctioned student may request an appeal within five (5) business days of notification. If appropriate under the law, the reporting student(s) may also request an appeal within the same time period. Appeal requests are limited to the following grounds:

  • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
  • A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the decision. The specific error(s) alleged to have occurred must be identified in the appeal request.
  • The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the guidelines set by Southwest Tech for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

The Dean of Students will share appeal requests with a reporting or responding party (parties) when appropriate under law. The Dean of Students or designee reviews cases with new evidence.

Requests for appeals as a result of procedural errors and sanctions outside the guidelines are reviewed by the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). If the appeal has standing, the CAO gathers an Appeals Panel with instructions for reconsideration only in light of the granted appeal grounds.

Step 5:

Optional Appeal
  • If approved, a review commences five to fifteen (5-15) business days after student requests appeal. *See Appeals Panel guiding principles for further details.

If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the student(s), in writing, whether the appeal request will be granted or denied and the basis for that decision.

If the appeal request is granted, the Dean of Students and/or Appeals Panel decides solely based on the physical documentation provided by the College, the responding student and –if appropriate- the reporting student(s).

Procedural or substantive errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.

Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original decision-maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so. The Appeals Panel or Dean of Students may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the prior decision according to permissible grounds.

Said appeal shall be held no less than five (5) business days nor more than fifteen (15) business days from the date the student requests the appeal.

See Appeals Panel Guiding Principles for further details.

Step 6:

Notification of Appeal outcomes
  • The decision of the Appeals panel or Dean of Students is final.

The Dean of Students or Appeals Panel chair will prepare a written report detailing the finding, the information cited in support of its finding, and why. The report should not exceed two pages in length, and, if submitted by the Panel Chair, must be submitted to the Dean of Students within two (2) business days after the end of deliberations. The decision is final.

The Dean of Students implements the final determination. This determination will be sent, in writing, to the reporting and (if appropriate) responding student within two (2) business days after the appeal panel meets.

Note: The outcome of a campus appeal is part of the education record and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. When a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or non-forcible sex offense, Southwest Tech will inform the reporting party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of the Appeal Panel of whether Southwest Tech concludes the responding party was responsible or not responsible.

If the responding party is found responsible, the college can share the information with anyone at the discretion of the college. Such release of information may include the alleged student’s/responding student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned. In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, only, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition the findings and sanctions.

Crimes of Violence include:

  1. Arson
  2. Assault offenses (including stalking)
  3. Burglary
  4. Criminal Homicide
  5. Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
  6. Kidnapping/abduction
  7. Robbery
  8. Forcible Sex Offenses
  9. Non-forcible sex offenses

Academic Behaviors of Concern and Misconduct

Classroom Disruptions

Both instructors and students have a right to an educational environment which is conducive to learning. It is the responsibility of instructors to create and maintain this environment in individual classes. If individual students engage in behavior that is disruptive of this educational environment, any student or group of students may be denied access to the classroom upon the instructor’s determination that the behavior impedes student learning and/or the health and safety or peers, self, or the staff. The instructor will notify the student(s) of their denied access.

The related Academic program Dean will be notified by the end of the business day. Students who are removed from class have a right to due process procedures to ensure fair treatment in such circumstances.

Nothing in these guidelines is intended to infringe upon the academic freedom of instructor or student. Two fundamental principles which should be observed include:

  1. Students have the right to express opinions germane to the subject matter of a course;
  2. Instructors have the right to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the classroom time made available to students for the expression of their opinions.

The responsibility for striking a balance between these principles rests with instructors.

Defining Disruptive Behavior: Acts that impair, interfere with, or obstruct the orderly conduct, processes and functions of the College or the rights of other members of the College community. This includes acts that occur both inside and outside the classroom setting. Classroom disruption is behavior a reasonable person would view as substantially or repeatedly interfering with faculty’s ability to teach or student’s right to learn.

Students are responsible to interact in ways that will not interfere with the educational process and/or any Southwest Tech College sponsored activity. Class disruptions are considered an interference with the educational process.

Common Disruptive Behaviors Some examples of disruptive behavior are identified below. This is not a complete or exhaustive list and other behaviors may be included:

  • Persistent late arrival or departure that disrupts the class
  • Repeated cell phone use
  • Intentionally disrupting class with use of language or physical behaviors
  • Loud and/or frequent interruption of class flow with inappropriate questions or remarks
  • Persistent contact outside of class that hampers the instructor’s ability to do normal work or assist other students
  • Belligerent behavior
  • Verbal and/or physical threats
  • Threatening or harassing emails, letters, or voicemails
  • Inappropriate contact at the instructor’s home
  • Any behavior indicating a romantic or obsessive interest
  • Distressing, disturbing or other dangerous behaviors

If a student is disruptive in class, the instructor will talk with the student informally outside of class to articulate the problem and expectations clearly, yet diplomatically. Under most circumstances, the instructor will address the behavioral disruptions outside of class. However, in some instances, it may be necessary to dismiss the student from class immediately for that class period only and discuss the matter after class. The instructor is strongly encouraged to document the meeting and all other activity for all steps of the process. The submission of a Behavioral Intervention Team report is also encouraged.

Disruptive behavior, particularly when such behavior is repeated, threatening, harassing or dangerous, may also violate the Student Code of Conduct and shall be handled accordingly.

If the faculty member feels that there is an immediate threat, 9-911 should be called, then Southwest Tech College Facilities Director. A Behavioral Intervention Team report MUST be submitted to document any/all behavioral-based dismissals from class.

Grade dispute

Assignment, Project and Test Grades

Students who wish to dispute a grade received on a test, essay, homework, performance, computer program project, etc., may do so informally by discussing the matter with the instructor who issued the grade. However, the instructor’s decision is final and may not be further appealed.

Final Grade Dispute

When a student believes that the final grade he/she has received in a course is inaccurate or unjustified, the student must be able to provide justification for challenging the final grade. The student must use the following procedures to dispute the grade:

  1. Within 30 business days from posting of the final grade, the student shall contact the faculty member who issued the final grade and discuss the grade in question. If the student is unable to contact the faculty member, he or she may seek assistance through the Academic Division Dean. The faculty member shall provide a written response to the student within five (5) business days of discussing the grade with the student.
  2. If the student and instructor are not able to resolve the dispute and the student wishes to pursue the matter, he or she shall contact the Academic Division Dean in writing within 10 business days of the date of the faculty member’s decision. The dean, or designee, will work to attempt a resolution. The Dean or designee shall provide a written response to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of the request to resolve the dispute.
  3. If the dispute is not resolved at the division office level, the student may make a written request to the Chief Academic Officer, or designee, within five (5) business days of the written response. If the request is not filed within the prescribed time, the student forfeits the right to any further appeal. The letter must include the student’s reasons for disputing the final grade.
  4. The Chief Academic Officer will respond to the student within ten (10) business days. This decision is final.

Academic misconduct

Students are expected to operate with the Academic Integrity – the following issues are identified as Academic Misconduct and warrant formal sanctions:

  1. Seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation.
  2. Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise.
  3. Forges or falsifies academic documents or records or otherwise purposely furnishes false information to the College.
  4. Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others.
  5. Engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance.
  6. Cheats on an examination, including the unauthorized use of materials or aids, or use of unauthorized additional time (special needs accommodations require approval of instructor and disability support services staff).
  7. Submits, without the explicit approval of the course instructor, work previously presented in another course.
  8. Violates course rules as contained in the course syllabus or other information provided to the student.
  9. Violates program policies, professional standards and/or regulations as established by a division or department and made available to students.
  10. Assists other students in any of these acts.

Academic Consequences and Sanctions

The following procedures have been developed to address a student who has allegedly engaged in Academic Misconduct.

Step 1:

Notification of Incident and instructor investigation
  • Instructor investigates suspicion and communicates sanction to student. The instructor communicates their suspicion to the student and affords the student an opportunity to respond
  • If escalating the incident, the instructor gives notice to Academic Division Dean within five business days.

A possible violation will be reported to the Academic Division Dean when an instructor suspects that a student has engaged in academic misconduct. The instructor will investigate the matter within five (5) business days. The instructor will communicate the basis of his or her suspicion to the student, if at all possible, to afford that individual the opportunity to respond.

Step 2:

Instructor Findings and Sanction
  • Investigation determines if accusation is founded or unfounded.
  • Instructor may impose range of sanctions.
  • The decision will be communicated to the student in writing within 5 business days.

If, as a result of this investigation, the instructor determines that no academic misconduct occurred, the matter will be considered concluded.

If, as a result of investigation, the instructor determines that academic misconduct occurred, the following academic sanctions may be imposed at the discretion of the instructor:

  • Documented Oral reprimand
  • Written reprimand
  • Removal of student from course (Optional: "W" grade shown on transcript)
  • An assignment to repeat the work to be graded on its merits
  • A lower grade on the particular assignment or test
  • A failing grade on the particular assignment or test
  • A lower grade in the course
  • A failing grade in the course

Step 3:

Elevated Sanctions
  • If the instructor determines that authorized classroom sanctions are inadequate, the Academic Division Dean may impose the authorized sanctions.

If, as a result of investigation, the instructor determines that academic misconduct occurred and that based on a reasonable assessment of the information available, the above academic sanctions alone are inadequate or inappropriate to address the misconduct, the instructor shall report the misconduct to the Academic Division Dean. The Academic Division Dean may impose the following sanctions:

  • Removal of the student from the course in progress (optional: ("W" grade shown on transcript)
  • Removal of the individual from student worker positions, athletic team or other student-related activities
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Disciplinary Suspension
  • Expulsion

Sanctions may warrant notation on an Academic Transcript, imposed at the discretion of the Dean of Student Services.

Within Five (5) business days, the instructor or Dean will communicate the determination in writing to the student and will forward a copy of the report to the Dean of Student Services for inclusion in the college record.

Two Academic Code violations may result in suspension from Southwest Tech for a period of two (2) years. Prior to re-enrollment, the student will be required to meet with the dean of his/her academic division. Any further violations will result in permanent expulsion from the college.

Step 4:

Due Process
  • Students have three business days to request an appeal due to procedural errors, to consider new evidence, or to weigh if the sanctions are outside the guidelines set by Southwest Tech.

If a student disagrees with the actions taken, the student may request an appeal. In order to have a decision reviewed for an appeal, the student will provide – in writing- justification as to why at least one of the following criteria are met:

  • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
  • A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the decision.
  • The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the guidelines set by Southwest Tech for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.

To request the appeal, the student must notify the Academic Division Dean or designee in writing within three (3) business days of receiving the Academic Sanction. If the sanction was imposed by the instructor, a copy of the appeal request shall be provided to the instructor.

The Academic Division Dean will give appeal requests to the CAO within two (2) business days of receipt. The CAO will determine if the appeal will be considered. If the appeal has standing, the CAO determines whether to decide the appeal him/herself or to refer the request to an Appeals panel.

Step 5:

Appeal consideration
  • If the appeal request is granted, the CAO or Appeals Panel will convene between 5-15 business days after the request.

If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final. The CAO or designee will notify the student(s), in writing, whether the appeal request will be granted or denied and the basis for that decision.

The appeal review is limited to the documentation presented in the written appeal. On review, the Appeals Panel or Chief Academic Officer may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions of the prior decision according to permissible grounds. Procedural or substantive errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.

Said Appeal panel shall convene no less than five (5) business days nor more than fifteen (15) business days from the date the student requests the Appeal. The student, instructor or academic division dean may request that the time be extended for justifiable reasons (for example, summer schedules and faculty availability) or extenuating circumstances. The student, instructor and the academic division dean will be notified in writing in such circumstances.

See Appeals Panel Guiding principles for further details.

Step 6:

Notification of appeal outcome
  • The decision of the Appeals Panel or Chief Academic Officer is final.

The Appeal Panel chair or CAO will prepare a written report detailing the finding, information cited in support of its finding, and why. The report should not exceed two pages in length, and, if decided by the Appeals Panel, must be submitted to the CAO within two (2) business days after the end of deliberations. The decision of the CAO or Appeals Panel is final.

The CAO will implement the final determination. This determination will be sent, in writing, to the reporting and (if appropriate) responding student within two (2) business days after the appeal panel meets.

Appeals Panel composition

A three-member appeals panel is selected from a pool with the following requirements to serve:

  • They have been properly trained in appeals procedures.
  • They were not involved in the investigation.
  • They were not involved in the initial decision.

Students may serve on the appeals panel if they are in good academic standing and have completed at least 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of 2.0. They must be in good standing with respect to the conduct process.

The President has final authority to approve those serving on the panel.

Appeals Panel Processes and Guiding Principles

The Appeals Panel conducts administrative reviews -not hearings or other legal proceedings. The purpose of the appeal is to review only the information that warranted the appeal. At least three days before the Appeals Panel convenes, the Reporting and Responding students (if appropriate) will deliver any new physical evidence and documentation to the Dean of Students or CAO. Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration at the discretion of the Appeals Panel chair.

The College attorney may be present to act as a non-voting advisor to an Appeals Panel. Prior to deliberations, the Dean of Students may be present to act as a non-voting advisor to any panel, with responsibility for training the panel and ensuring a fair process for the involved students.

  • The Appeal Panel will determine, by a majority vote, whether to uphold or alter the original finding and/or reduce the sanction.
  • A single verbatim record, such as a tape recording, of the Appeals Panel review will be maintained. Deliberations shall not be recorded. The record shall be the property of the College.
  • Notification for behavioral misconduct decisions will be sent by the Dean of Students within two (2) business days after the appeal panel meets. Notification for academic misconduct decisions will be sent by the Chief Academic Officer within two (2) business days after appeal decision is concluded.

Parental Notification

Southwest Tech reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent* students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. Southwest Tech may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations. Parental notification may also be used discretionarily by administrators when permitted by FERPA or consent of the student. (*A dependent is defined by FERPA as to whether the student is a dependent for tax purposes.)

Approval and Implementation

This code of conduct was approved by Southwest Tech’s Executive Team - Implemented on 1/31/2017.