Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy (Student Conduct Code)
WAC 132U-125-001 AUTHORITY.
The Board of Trustees, acting pursuant to RCW 28B.50.140(14), delegates to the president of the College the authority to administer disciplinary action. Administration of the disciplinary procedures is the responsibility of the vice president of student affairs or designee. The student conduct officer shall serve as the principal investigator and administrator for alleged violations of this code.
WAC 132U-125-003 – PURPOSE.
Whatcom Community College, as a state supported institution of higher education, has a primary mission to contribute to the vitality of its communities by providing quality education and preparing students for active citizenship in a global society. Students and College personnel share the responsibility of contributing to a learning environment that promotes academic integrity, social justice, civility, and nonviolence within a safe and supportive College community. Enrollment in Whatcom Community College carries with it the obligation to be a responsible citizen of the College community and to treat others with respect and dignity. Each student is expected to abide by College policies and regulations along with local, state, and federal laws. The student conduct code and disciplinary procedures are implemented to support the College mission and to assist in the protection of the rights and freedoms of all members of the College community.
WAC 132U - 125-005 - STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION.
The student conduct code shall apply to student conduct that occurs on College premises, to conduct that occurs at or in connection with College-sponsored activities, or to off-campus conduct that in the judgment of the College adversely affects the College community or the pursuit of its objectives. Jurisdiction extends to, but is not limited to, locations in which students are engaged in official College activities including, but not limited to, foreign or domestic travel, activities funded by the associated students, athletic events, training internships, cooperative and distance education, online education, practicums, supervised work experiences, study abroad, or any other College-sanctioned social or club activities. Students are responsible for their conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual receipt of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. These standards shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from College while a disciplinary matter is pending. The College has sole discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether the student conduct code will be applied to conduct that occurs off-campus.
WAC 132U -125-015 STATEMENT OF STUDENT RIGHTS.
As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in an independent search for truth. Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the College community.
The following enumerated rights are guaranteed to each student within the limitations of statutory law and College policy which are deemed necessary to achieve the educational goals of the College:
- Academic freedom.
- Students are guaranteed the rights of free inquiry, expression, and assembly upon and within College facilities that are generally open and available to the public.
- Students are free to pursue appropriate educational objectives from among the College’s curricula, programs, and services, subject to the limitations of RCW 28B.50.090
- Students shall be protected from academic evaluation which is arbitrary, prejudiced, or capricious, but are responsible for meeting the standards of academic performance established by each of their instructors.
- Students have the right to a learning environment which is free from unlawful discrimination, inappropriate and disrespectful conduct, and any and all harassment, including sexual harassment.
- Due process.
- The rights of students to be secure in their persons, quarters, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures is guaranteed.
- No disciplinary sanction may be imposed on any student without notice to the accused of the nature of the charges.
- A student accused of violating this code of student conduct is entitled, upon request, to procedural due process as set forth in this chapter.
- Student participation in College governance.
- Whatcom Community College recognizes the special role that students have in the development and maintenance of student programs.
- The College provides opportunities for students to participate in College governance, including the formulation of College policies and procedures relevant to students, through representation by the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC).
- Students are also appointed, according to the ASWCC constitution and bylaws, to serve on a variety of College committees.
WAC 132U-125-020 STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROHIBITED CONDUCT.
As members of the Whatcom Community College community, students have an obligation to demonstrate academic and personal honesty and integrity. Students are expected to respect individual rights, recognize their impact on others, and take responsibility for their actions.
Students may be subject to disciplinary action for any activity that unreasonably disrupts the operations of the college or infringes on the rights of another member of the college community. Students are prohibited from engaging in any unlawful conduct and may be subject to criminal or civil prosecution. The College may apply disciplinary proceedings for student conduct on or off the College premises that, in the judgment of the College, adversely affects the College community or the pursuit of its objectives. The College may carry out these disciplinary proceedings prior to, simultaneous to, or following civil or criminal proceedings in court.
The College may impose disciplinary sanctions against a student who commits, or aids, abets, incites, encourages or assists another person to commit, an act(s) of misconduct, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Academic Dishonesty. Any act of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication:
- Cheating includes any attempt to give or obtain unauthorized assistance relating to the completion of an academic assignment.
- Plagiarism includes taking and using as one’s own, without proper attribution, the ideas, writings, or work of another person in completing an academic assignment. Prohibited conduct may also include the unauthorized submission for credit of academic work that has been submitted for credit in another course.
- Fabrication includes falsifying data, information, or citations in completing an academic assignment and also includes providing false or deceptive information to an instructor concerning the completion of an assignment.
- Other Dishonesty. Such acts include, but are not limited to:
- Forgery, alteration, submission of falsified documents or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification;
- Tampering with an election conducted by or for College students; or
- Furnishing false information, or failing to furnish correct information, in response to the request or requirement of a College officer or employee.
- Obstruction or Disruption. Obstruction or disruption of:
- any instruction, services, research, administration, disciplinary proceeding, or other College activity, including the obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular movement on College property or at a College activity; or
- any activity that is authorized to occur on College property or under College jurisdiction, whether or not actually conducted or sponsored by the College.
- Assault or Intimidation. Assault, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threat(s), intimidation, harassment, bullying, stalking or other conduct which harms, threatens, or is reasonably perceived as threatening the health or safety of another person or another person’s property. For purposes of this paragraph:
- Bullying is physical or verbal abuse, repeated over time, and involves a power imbalance between the aggressor and victim.
- Stalking is intentional and repeated following of another person, which places that person in reasonable fear that the perpetrator intends to injure, intimidate or harass that the person. Stalking also includes instances where the perpetrator knows or reasonably should know that the person is frightened, intimidated or harassed, even if the stalker lacks such an intent.
- Cyber-Misconduct. Cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying or online harassment. Use of electronic communications, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, instant messaging, electronic bulletin boards, and social media sites, to harass, abuse, bully or engage in other conduct which harms, threatens, or is reasonably perceived as threatening the health or safety of another person. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to, unauthorized monitoring of another’s email communications directly or through spyware, sending threatening emails, disrupting electronic communications with spam or by sending a computer virus, sending false messages to third parties using another’s email identity, non-consensual recording of sexual activity, and non-consensual distribution of a recording of sexual activity.
- Property Violation. Attempted or actual damage to, or theft or misuse of, real or personal property or money of
- the College or state,
- any student or College officer, employee, or organization, or
- any other person or organization, or possession of such property or money after it has been stolen.
- Failure to Comply with Directive. Failure to comply with the direction of a College officer or employee who is acting in the legitimate performance of his or her duties, including failure to properly identify oneself to such a person when requested to do so.
- Weapons: Carrying, exhibiting, displaying or drawing any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, explosive device or any other weapon capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons. No person or group may use or enter onto Whatcom Community College grounds or facilities, owned or leased, while having in their possession firearms or other dangerous weapons, even if licensed to do so. An exception shall be made for commissioned police officers and other law enforcement officers as permitted by law.
- Hazing. Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any initiation into a student organization or any pastime or amusement engaged in with respect to such an organization that causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger or physical harm, or serious mental or emotional harm, to any student.
- Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Violations.
- Alcohol. The appearance of being observably under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, or otherwise using, possessing, selling or delivering any alcoholic beverage on college premises; with the exception of sanctioned events, approved by the president or designee, and in compliance with state law.
- Marijuana: The appearance of being observably under the influence of marijuana or the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana, or otherwise using, possessing, selling or delivering any product containing marijuana or the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana and intended for human consumption, regardless of form, on college premises. While state law permits the recreational use of marijuana, federal law prohibits such use on college premises or in connection with college activities.
- Drugs. The use, possession, delivery, sale, or the appearance of being under the influence of any legend drug, including anabolic steroids, androgens, or human grown hormones as defined in RCW 69.41, or any other controlled substance under RCW 69.50, except as prescribed for a student’s use by a licensed practitioner.
- Tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and related products. The use of tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and related products in any building owned, leased or operated by the college or in any location where such use is prohibited, including twenty-five feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes of any building owned, leased or operated by the college. “Related products” include, but are not limited to cigarettes, pipes, bidi, clove cigarettes, water pipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, and snuff.
- Lewd Conduct. Conduct which is disorderly, lewd, or obscene.
- Discriminatory Conduct. Discriminatory conduct which harms or adversely affects any member of the college community because of race; color; national origin sensory, mental, or physical disability; use of a service animal; age (40+); religion; gender, including pregnancy; marital status; genetic information; sexual orientation; gender identity; veteran’s status; or any other legally protected classification.
- Sexual Misconduct. The term “sexual misconduct” includes sexual harassment, sexual intimidation, and sexual violence.
- Sexual Harassment. The term “sexual harassment” means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, electronic communication, social media, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently serious as to deny or limit, and does deny or limit, the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members.
- Sexual Intimidation. The term “sexual intimidation” incorporates the definition of “sexual harassment” and means threatening or emotionally distressing conduct based on sex, including, but not limited to, nonconsensual recording of sexual activity or the distribution of such recording.
- Sexual Violence. The term “sexual violence” incorporates the definition of “sexual harassment” and means a physical sexual act perpetrated without clear, knowing, and voluntary consent, such as committing a sexual act against a person’s will, exceeding the scope of consent, or where the person is incapable of giving consent, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, gender- or sex-based stalking. The term further includes acts of dating or domestic violence. A person may be incapable of giving consent by reason of age, threat or intimidation, lack of opportunity to object, disability, drug or alcohol consumption, or other cause.
- Harassment. Unwelcome and offensive conduct, including verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, that is directed at a person because of such person’s protected status and that is sufficiently serious as to deny or limit, and that does deny or limit, the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members. Protected status includes a person’s race; color; national origin; sensory, mental, or physical disability; use of a service animal; age (40+); religion; genetic information; gender, including pregnancy, marital status; sexual orientation; gender identity; veteran’s status; or any other legally protected classification. See “Sexual Misconduct” for the definition of “sexual harassment.” Harassing conduct may include, but is not limited to, physical conduct, verbal, written, social media and electronic communications.
- Retaliation. Retaliation against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations or violations of federal, state, or local law, or College policies, including, but not limited to, student conduct code provisions prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
- Misuse of Electronic Resources. Theft or other misuse of computer time or other electronic information resources of the College. Such misuse includes but is not limited to:
- Unauthorized use of such resources or opening of a file, message, or other item;
- Unauthorized duplication, transfer, or distribution of a computer program, file, message, or other item;
- Unauthorized use, collection or distribution of someone else’s password or other identification;
- Use of such time or resources to interfere with someone else’s work;
- Use of such time or resources to send, display, or print an obscene or abusive message, text, or image;
- Use of such time or resources to interfere with normal operation of the College’s computing system or other electronic information resources;
- Use of such time or resources in violation of applicable copyright or other law;
- Adding to or otherwise altering the infrastructure of the College’s electronic information resources without authorization;
- Failure to comply with the college’s electronic use policy.
- Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized possession, duplication, or other use of a key, keycard, or other restricted means of access to College property, or unauthorized entry onto or into College property.
- Abuse or Misuse of College Policies or Procedures. Abuse or misuse of any of the procedures relating to student complaints or misconduct, including but not limited to:
- Failure to obey a verbal or written directive from a College official;
- Falsification or misrepresentation of information;
- Disruption, or interference with the orderly conduct, of a proceeding;
- Interfering with someone else’s proper participation in a proceeding;
- Destroying or altering potential evidence, or attempting to intimidate or otherwise improperly pressure a witness or potential witness;
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of, or harassing or intimidating, a student conduct committee member; or
- Failure to comply with any disciplinary sanction(s) imposed under this student conduct code.
- Safety Violation. Safety violation includes any non-accidental conduct that interferes with or otherwise compromises any college policy, equipment, or procedure relating to the safety and security of the campus community, including tampering with fire safety equipment and triggering false alarms or other emergency response systems. A safety violation may include the operation of any motor vehicle on college property in an unsafe manner or in a manner which is reasonably perceived as threatening the health or safety of another person.
- Violation Other Laws and Policies. Violation of any federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation or other College rules or policies, including College traffic and parking rules.
- Ethical Violation. The breach of any generally recognized and published code of ethics or standards of professional practice that governs the conduct of a particular profession for which the student is taking a course or is pursuing as an educational goal or major. In addition to initiating discipline proceedings for violation of the student conduct code, the College may refer any violations of federal, state or local laws to civil and criminal authorities for disposition. The College shall proceed with student disciplinary proceedings regardless of whether the underlying conduct is subject to civil or criminal prosecution.
WAC 132U- 125-025 Classroom conduct.
Faculty have the authority to take appropriate action to maintain order and proper conduct in the classroom and to maintain the effective cooperation of the class in fulfilling the objectives of the course. An instructor has the authority to exclude a student from any single class session during which the student is disruptive to the learning environment. The instructor shall report any such exclusion from the class to the vice president of student services, or designee, who may summarily suspend the student or initiate conduct proceedings as provided in this procedure. The vice president of student services, or designee, may impose a disciplinary probation that restricts the student from the classroom until the student has met with the student conduct officer and the student agrees to comply with the specific conditions outlined by the student conduct officer for behavior in the classroom. The student may appeal the disciplinary sanction according to the disciplinary appeal procedures.
WAC 132U-125-030 Trespass.
The vice president or designee(s) shall have the authority and power to prohibit the entry or withdraw the license or privilege of any person or group of persons to enter into or remain in any College property or facility. Such power and authority may be exercised to halt any event which is deemed to be unreasonably disruptive of order or impedes the movement of persons or vehicles or which disrupts or threatens to disrupt the movement of persons from facilities owned and/or operated by the college. Any person who disobeys a lawful order given by the vice president, or designee(s), shall be subject to disciplinary action and/or charges of criminal trespass.
A complete version of the student rights and responsibilities policy is available on the College website.
Student Complaints (WAC 132U-125-130)
Whatcom Community College is committed to providing quality service to students, including providing accessible services, accurate information, and equitable and fair application of policies and procedures, including evaluation of class performance, grading, and rules and regulations for student participation in College activities and student conduct. The College procedures pertaining to student complaints are published on the College website.