Jul 13, 2020  
Graduate Catalog 2014-2015 
    
Graduate Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Conduct



Code of Conduct

The College has adopted a Student Conduct Code to protect the rights of students, faculty, staff and the College itself. This code ensures that the Columbia College learning community is one characterized by mutual respect, civility and good citizenship.

Directors for the Nationwide, Evening, and Online campuses will be responsible for disposition of less serious conduct-related offenses. For more serious offenses, disposition will be handled by the Division of Student Affairs.

Columbia College students, as members of the academic community, are expected to accept and adhere to these high standards of personal conduct. Students shall:

  1. Treat all members of the College community with courtesy, respect and dignity.
  2. Comply with directions of College officials acting in the performance of their duties.
  3. Treat the campus itself with respect, including buildings, grounds and furnishings.
  4. Respect the rights and property of all members of the community.
  5. Fulfill their obligations through honest and independent effort and integrity in academic and personal conduct.
  6. Accept responsibility for and the consequences of their actions and shall encourage responsible conduct in others.
  7. Respect the prohibition of possession, consumption, distribution and provision of alcohol on campus and the illegal possession, use, distribution and provision of controlled substances.
  8. Abide by all published policies including, but not limited to those that appear in the College Catalog, Student Handbook, Residential Life Handbook and Code for Computer Users.
  9. Refrain from any contact with firearms on campus and from tampering with fire safety equipment in College buildings.
  10. Have no firearms, weapons or any other item designed to inflict harm or damage on campus.
  11. Behave in a manner that does not intentionally interfere with normal college sponsored activities, including, but not limited to, studying, teaching, research, college administration; or fire, police or emergency situations.
  12. Refrain from behavior that intentionally or recklessly endangers, threatens or causes physical or emotional harm to any person including self, or that intentionally or recklessly causes reasonable apprehension of such harm.

The Student Conduct Code, as well as the preceding guidelines outlining the adjudication of conduct-related offenses, applies to all Columbia College students.

Student Rights and Responsibilities


  1. Students have the right to access accurate and clearly stated information relating to acceptable academic standing, graduation requirements and individual course requirements.
  2. In all academic evaluations, students have the right to fair and impartial treatment.
  3. The college will not interfere with students’ rights to join associations which promote their common interests. However, student organizations which are officially recognized by the college are subject to the policies and regulations established by the college.
  4. Students have the right to freely discuss, speak, write and exchange ideas and opinions on any subject in accordance with the guarantees and restrictions of federal and state constitutions.
  5. Student groups on campus have the right to freely select guest speakers or performers. There are no restrictions on the point of view expressed by the speakers other than those imposed by national or state law. The invitation to appear on campus does not imply approval or sponsorship by the college or the group which offers the invitation of the speaker’s expressed views.
  6. Students and/or recognized student groups have the right to use the facilities of the college as long as established rules and procedures are followed.
  7. Students are free to engage in peaceful and orderly protest demonstrations and picketing as long as they do not disrupt the functions of the college or violate the rights of others.
  8. Students have the right to appeal a grade or a disciplinary action by following the procedures established for each.
  9. Students have the right to discuss problems and concerns with appropriate college officials, free from duress or fear of retribution.
  10. Students are responsible for all information contained in the Columbia College catalog and other relevant publications of the college.
  11. Students are responsible for initiating action when necessary to secure their rights.
  12. Students are responsible for their actions. While students have the right to select from alternatives, they must also recognize the responsibility that freedom implies and accept the consequences that result from their selections.
  13. Students are responsible for checking their Columbia College assigned CougarMail email account often. All official electronic communications from Columbia College to students will be managed using their CougarMail email account. Students are responsible for all information received through this account from the College.

Academic Integrity


The College expects students to fulfill their academic obligations through honest and independent effort. In a community of scholars committed to truth, dishonesty violates the code of ethics by which we live and is considered a serious offense subject to strong disciplinary actions. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Knowingly furnishing false or misleading information.
  • Falsification, alteration or misuse of College forms or records.
  • Any joint effort in examinations, assignments or other academic activity unless authorized by the instructor.
  • Plagiarism in any form; using another’s phrase, sentence or paragraph without quotation marks; using another’s ideas or structure without properly identifying the source; or using the work of someone else and submitting it as one’s own.
  • Willfully aiding another in any act of academic dishonesty. Columbia College is equally concerned about the interpersonal social relationships that affect the learning environment. Respect for the conditions necessary to enhance learning is, therefore, required.

Plagiarism


Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. These violations are taken seriously in higher education and could result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of F for the course or dismissal from the College. If a student is unclear what constitutes plagiarism they should begin by asking their instructor for clarification. Additionally, the internet has extensive tools a student can use to help them avoid plagiarism. The easiest source is to access Google.com and search for the word “plagiarism.” Many helpful sources will be provided. For proper citation of the original authors, students should reference the appropriate publication manual for their degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.) The instructor will be able to supply this information or you may access the website at www.ccis.edu for writing guidelines.

Academic Misconduct Procedures


Generally, the faculty will handle offenses related to academic misconduct and assign appropriate penalties without involving others. In such cases, the following procedures will be followed:

  1. The faculty member who, upon investigation, suspects academic misconduct will, if possible, confer with the student suspected.
    1. If the faculty member determines the student is not responsible for engaging in academic misconduct, the matter will be dropped.
    2. If the faculty member determines the unacceptable behavior was unintentional, the violation will be explained and an alternative penalty will be imposed at the discretion of the investigating faculty member. The Dean for Academic Affairs (Main Campus Graduate) or Assistant Dean for Adult HIgher Education (AHE Graduate) and the Dean for Student Affairs must be notified in writing of the incident and the outcome.
    3. If the student admits responsibility for academic misconduct, or if the faculty member determines there was intentional unacceptable behavior, the faculty member may impose the penalty stated in the course syllabus. In the absence of a penalty stated in the course syllabus, the penalty will be a grade of F on that activity, which will be factored into the final grade. For Main Campus graduate students the Dean for Academic Affairs and Dean for Student Affairs must be notified in writing of the incident and the action taken. For AHE graduate students the Assistant Dean for Adult Higher Education will be notified in writing of the incident. Then the Office of Student Affairs will be informed of the incident and outcome.
  2. A student wishing to challenge or appeal the accusation of academic misconduct should seek the counsel of the Department Chair (Main) or Campus Director (AHE). The Dean for Academic Affairs (Main) or the Assistant Dean for Adult Higher Education (AHE) must be notified of the results of this informal disposition.
  3. If either the student or the faculty member is not satisfied with the informal disposition, he/she may request:
    1. A formal hearing (Main): The individual must initiate the hearing procedure by filing an Appeal Request Form with the Dean for Academic Affairs within one (1) school day after the informal disposition meeting. The written request will be forwarded to the Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean for Student Affairs.
    2. An appeal (AHE): The individual must file an appeal request with the Campus Director within three (3) business days after the informal disposition meeting. The written request will be forwarded to the Assistant Dean for Adult Higher Education.
  4. The Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean for Student Affairs (Main), or the Assistant Dean for Adult Higher Education (AHE), will review the request and determine if there are proper grounds for appeal and whether the evidence submitted warrants reconsideration of the decisions. All parties involved will be notified. Generally, most incidents of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism, cheating and grade appeals, will be resolved through processes governed by Academic Affairs. Most incidents of personal conduct related allegations, such as disorderly classroom conduct, will be resolved through processes governed by Student Affairs.

It is important to note that there are those cases where the allegations and potential consequences are so serious and complex that the matter will be submitted, at the outset, to Student Affairs for investigation, informal disposition, and if necessary, formal disposition through a campus hearing board. Decisions regarding case jurisdiction ultimately rest with the Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean for Student Affairs.

Levels of Academic Misconduct Violations and Recommended Sanctions

Any violation of academic integrity at Columbia College is a serious offense.

For each level of violation a corresponding set of sanctions is recommended. The recommended sanctions at each level are not binding but are intended as general guides for the academic community. Culpability, mitigating and aggravating circumstances and past behavior may be assessed and sanctions imposed differentially. Examples are cited below for each level of violation. These examples are meant to be suggestions and should not be considered all inclusive.

First Level (First level violations occur because of inexperience or lack of knowledge of academic integrity. Usually there is an absence of dishonesty or intent.)

Examples include:

  • Working with another student on a minor exercise or homework assignment when such collaboration is prohibited.
  • Failure to footnote or give proper citation in a limited section of an assignment.

Possible Sanctions include:

  • Instructor notice of academic misconduct (and corresponding academic action which is outlined in course syllabus and/or catalog)
  • Disciplinary warning or probation
  • Required tutorials or meetings to clarify understanding of academic integrity.

Second Level

Examples include:

  • Repeat first level violation.
  • Quoting directly or paraphrasing to a moderate extent without acknowledging the source.
  • Copying work or facilitating copying on an exam.
  • Using prohibited materials during an exam.
  • Exchanging information during an exam.
  • Submitting the same work or portions thereof to satisfy requirements of more than one course without permission from the instructor to whom work is submitted for the second or subsequent time.
  • Failure to acknowledge assistance from others.
  • Presenting the work of another as one’s own.
  • Plagiarizing major portions of a written assignment.

Possible sanctions include:

  • Instructor notice of academic misconduct (and corresponding academic action which is outlined in course syllabus and/or catalog)
  • Disciplinary probation or suspension
  • Required tutorials or meetings to clarify understanding of academic integrity

Third Level

Examples include:

  • Repeat first or second level violation.
  • Acquiring or distributing copies of an exam or assignment from an unauthorized source.
  • Submitting purchased materials such as a term paper.
  • Fabricating sources or data.
  • Sharing of passwords and other security measures that compromise the integrity of one’s work.
  • Intentionally ignoring the instructions of instructors and/or proctors.
  • Committing a violation of academic integrity after returning from suspension for a previous violation of academic integrity.
  • Committing a violation of academic integrity that breaks the law or resembles criminal activity, such as forging a grade, letter or official document; stealing an exam or class materials; buying a stolen exam or class materials; falsifying a transcript or official document; or altering a college record or official document.
  • Having a substitute take an exam or complete an assignment or taking an exam or doing an assignment for someone else.
  • Sabotaging another student’s work through actions designed to prevent the student from successfully completing an assignment.
  • Knowingly violating canons of the ethical code of the profession for which a student is preparing.

Possible sanctions include:

  • Instructor notice of academic misconduct (and corresponding academic action which is outlined in course syllabus and/or catalog)
  • Disciplinary suspension or dismissal
  • Required tutorials or meetings to clarify understanding of academic integrity

Mitigating/Aggravating Circumstances for Academic Misconduct

These factors could mitigate or aggravate a situation. These factors may be considered at the point that a sanction is being decided.

  1. Extent of misconduct. Misconduct that extends across multiple classes and involves multiple assignments or the entire assignment is generally more serious.
  2. Intent of misconduct. Misconduct may occur if a student violates the expectations of academic integrity through: negligence, knowledge, recklessness and willfulness.
  3. Importance of the assignment. Other things being equal, misconduct on final examinations, term papers, and the like merit higher penalties than the same misconduct on lesser assignments. Similarly, misconduct in a capstone or similar course is particularly serious.
  4. Student’s class standing. Inexperience or unfamiliarity with the rules of integrity is not ordinarily available as a mitigating factor for students after the freshman year. The gravity of the offense increases as the student rises in class standing.
  5. Integrity of the student’s response. Students who fully and promptly admit misconduct may receive consideration not available to students whose denial of responsibility is contradicted by the findings.
  6. Prior offenses. Repeat offenses are especially serious.

Class Conduct


Students are expected to conduct themselves on campus and in class so others are not distracted from the pursuit of learning. Discourteous or unseemly conduct may result in a student being asked to leave the classroom. Persistent misconduct on the part of a student is subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Handbook and in the course syllabus. Some examples of classroom misconduct that will not be tolerated include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Assault
  • Interference with the educational opportunity of other students
  • Attending class under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

Personal Conduct

Students may be disciplined for conduct, which constitutes a hazard to the health, safety, or well-being of members of the College community or which is deemed detrimental to the interests of the College. These sanctions apply whether or not such conduct occurs on campus, off campus, at College-sponsored or non-College-sponsored events. Disciplinary action may be taken regardless of the existence of any criminal proceedings that may be pending.

Class and Personal Conduct Disciplinary Procedures:

Generally, allegations regarding a student’s personal conduct will be adjudicated through processes governed by Student Affairs.

  1. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or another appropriate College official will investigate the situation and review it with the student. If it is determined that no violation occurred, then the matter is closed. If the student admits responsibility or the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs determines there was a violation, College disciplinary action will ensue. The student will be notified in writing of the finding of fact and the recommended disciplinary sanction recommended by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
  2. If facing disciplinary action, the student has the right to accept the Assistant Dean’s finding of fact and recommended sanction, at which time the matter is closed; or the student may appeal to the Dean for Student Affairs for a review of the finding of fact and/or the recommended sanction. If the proposed sanction involves a disciplinary suspension or dismissal for a period equal to or longer than 16 weeks (two eight week terms), the student can request that the Dean for Student Affairs refer the case to a Campus Hearing Board for adjudication.
  3. To initiate an appeal, the student must file an Appeal Request Form with the Dean for Student Affairs within one (1)school day (Main) or three (3) business days (AHE) of the informal disposition meeting with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The Dean for Student Affairs will review the request and determine if there are sufficient grounds for appeal and if evidence submitted warrants reconsideration of the decision. All parties will be notified.
  4. If a decision is made to reconsider, a campus hearing board will be empanelled to hear the matter. Decisions made by the Campus Hearing Board are final.

Disciplinary Sanctions


Interim Suspension

The Dean for Student Affairs or designee may suspend a student for an interim period pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings. An interim suspension will become immediately effective without prior notice whenever there is evidence that the continued presence of the student on the college campus poses a substantial threat to him or herself or to others or to the stability and continuance of normal college functioning.

A student suspended on an interim basis shall be given an opportunity to confer with the Dean for Student Affairs or designee within two working days from the effective date of the interim suspension in order to discuss the following issues:

  1. The reliability of the information concerning the student’s conduct and/or condition.
  2. Whether the conduct and surrounding circumstances reasonably indicate that the continued presence of the student poses a substantial threat to him or herself or to others or to the stability and continuance of normal college functions.

An interim suspension period can last, but does not have to, up to final adjudication of the matter through the normal college disciplinary procedures.

Disciplinary Warning

Written notice to a student for violation of a campus rule or regulation.

Disciplinary Probation

A student is placed on disciplinary probation for a specified time period. As a part of the probationary status, conditions to a student’s probation may be established (i.e. restitution, required assessments, etc.)

A student who violates additional college policies while on disciplinary probation will likely appear before a conduct officer and/or Campus Hearing Board and will face a full range of disciplinary actions including suspension or dismissal.

Disciplinary Suspension

A disciplinary suspension results in the separation of a student from the college for a specified time period, usually no more than two years. Other conditions can also be stipulated for a student’s readmission. Suspension applies to all programs, unless otherwise noted. After the suspension period has been served, the student should contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for directions regarding the possibility of re-enrollment.

Disciplinary Dismissal

A disciplinary dismissal results in the permanent separation of a student from the college. Dismissal applies to all programs. After a three year separation, a student may request in writing that the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs review the dismissal and consider allowing the student to apply for readmission. The student’s written request must include the following: how the student has used his/her time of separation from the college, what the student has learned and how the student’s return will be different. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Some violations of the college’s student conduct code are so serious that students will never be permitted to return. The Dean’s decision will be provided in writing to the student. A student returning from a disciplinary dismissal is placed on disciplinary probation for one year. Other conditions may also be included.

Campus Hearing Board

The board is composed of faculty members, staff members and students. Its purpose is to ensure due process for students involved in conduct-related offenses, grade appeals or academic dishonesty, and also to uphold the rules of the institution. Procedures for academic related hearing boards are maintained by Academic Affairs and for conduct related hearing boards by Student Affairs.

Sanction Appeal Guidelines

  1. Students have a right to a fair and impartial hearing of their case. Fundamental fairness includes written notice of the violation and disciplinary action. Students also have a right to speak in their own defense and present substantiating evidence and testimony.
  2. Students may appeal on the grounds of their innocence or the inappropriateness of the disciplinary action assigned. Appeals may not be made against the college’s accepted standards of conduct or established policies, rules and regulations.
  3. Students are encouraged to consult with a member of the counseling staff, a member of the Student Affairs staff or a faculty member of the college in deciding whether to appeal.
  4. Students must assume the responsibility for the development of their case. Students have the right to consultation before and during the hearing with a member of the college community willing to provide support and advice and approved by the chairperson of the committee.
  5. It is recognized that the hearing is not based upon the strict rules of law and evidence found in a court of law. The hearing will be conducted in a fair and impartial manner and decisions will be based on the evidence presented.