VI.F. Disciplinary Action & Procedures
VI.F.1. Discipline Policy - General
VI.F.1.01 - Policy on Discipline
LSCS shall exercise its authority and prerogative to maintain order and discipline and shall vigorously pursue enforcement against students who fail to abide by its standards of conduct. Disciplinary action taken in any LSCS college shall be System-wide in effect.
LSCS administration and faculty may discipline students who cause disorder and/or disrupt the System's educational environment. Any student violating the Student Code of Conduct shall be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion, in accordance with Board policy and applicable law. In the event that such violation is also a violation of federal, state, or local law, LSCS may decide to proceed or delay its own disciplinary processes.
In all disciplinary matters, students shall be given a fair opportunity to defend themselves in a hearing before LSCS officials. Students are entitled to due process in disciplinary hearings, including having adequate notice of the hearing and definite charges in advance. Students may have a representative present to advise them in a disciplinary hearing. However, the representative shall not be permitted to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, or formally address LSCS officials at the hearing.
The Chief Student Services Officer of the particular LSCS College or the Chief Administrator of the particular College Center shall be responsible for the administration of the disciplinary procedures in consultation with the LSCS General Counsel, unless noted specifically herein. References herein to the Chief Student Services Officr shall be applicable to the Associate Vice President of the particular College Center. Final actions taken under this Section F shall also be communicated to the Lone Star College System Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Services and LSCS General Counsel.
Students whose conduct constitutes a violation of both the Student Code of Conduct and federal, state, local, and/or other applicable law may be accountable to both the System and the civil or criminal authorities. Disciplinary action at the System will normally proceed during the course of criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed, reduced, or are pending.
Any decision to delay disciplinary action proceedings shall be made by the Chief Student Services Officer if such is in the best interest of the College as determined in his/her sole discretion. Because LSCS’s policies and procedures are distinct and different from criminal statutes and procedures, an outcome in a civil or criminal proceeding is separate from the question of whether the Student Code of Conduct was violated.
Written reports of alleged student violations of the Student Code of Conduct may be submitted by any individual to the Chief Student Services Officer of the College where the accused student is enrolled. Such reports shall contain a concise summary giving the date(s), time(s), place(s), and event(s) of the facts or conduct on which the allegation is based. The reporting individual shall supply supporting documentation for the charge, if available. Individuals who file a report must be prepared to participate in any resultant proceedings without delay. It is the responsibility of the Chief Student Services Officer to investigate and interpret the alleged violation and to identify the appropriate specific charge(s) that will be brought against the student(s) involved.
VI.F.2.01 - Emergency Discipline Policy
The Chief Student Services Officer may take immediate action to protect the College community and the public prior to any administrative hearing where it appears that there is a potential immediate threat to the health or safety of members of the College community and the public or threat of disruption of normal College operations.
Before emergency disciplinary action is taken, the Chief Student Services Officer or his or her designee shall make an initial evaluation of the reliability of the information received and make such further investigation as circumstances permit.
Emergency disciplinary action shall have System-wide effect immediately and shall remain in effect until it has been lifted or overturned upon successful appeal, which is evidenced with a written decision by the College President overturning the emergency action.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, the emergency disciplinary action shall remain in effect until it expires by its own terms, has been replaced by disciplinary sanction(s) under the regular disciplinary procedures, or is lifted by successful appeal under the regular disciplinary procedures.
Successful appeal of emergency disciplinary action does not alter the effect of regular disciplinary action taken against the student. Even though the emergency disciplinary action may have been lifted or overturned by successful appeal, the student may still be subject to the regular disciplinary procedures under the subsection on “Disciplinary Sanctions.”
VI.F.2.03 - Forms of Emergency Disciplinary Action
Emergency disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to, those listed below:
- barring one or more students from LSCS or any part of the System;
- removing one or more students from a particular class or classes;
- prohibiting one or more students from participating in any System/College-sponsored activities, whether on or off campus; and
- temporarily suspending one or more students, pending further investigation.
Emergency disciplinary action taken on one college campus shall be System-wide in effect, and pertinent information, including name, date, nature of violation, and form of sanction shall be communicated immediately, by electronic means, to all Deans of Student Services, security directors, LEOs, and Chancellor.
Temporary Suspension shall entail suspension from participating in classes in which the student is enrolled, from participating in any System/College-sponsored activities, and from entry onto any LSCS College premises.
VI.F.2.05 - Right to Notice
A student subject to emergency disciplinary action shall be given written notice of such action by the Chief Student Services Officer or his or her designee. The written notice shall contain:
- a concise summary giving date(s), time(s), place(s), and event(s) of the facts or conduct on which the allegation is based;
- the particular section of the Student Code of Conduct allegedly violated;
- a statement to the effect that the emergency disciplinary action is System-wide; and
- information concerning the student's right to appeal to the College President.
VI.F.2.06 - Emergency Disciplinary Action – Appeal Procedures
Within two (2) business days from the date the student is given written notice of the emergency disciplinary action, a student may appeal the Chief Student Services Officer's decision to the College President. The appeal will consist of a written position paper and review of the documents underlying the disciplinary action from both the employee and the System. The appeal shall be limited to:
- whether the conduct and circumstances reasonably indicate that the student's presence on campus or in a particular class or activity poses a threat to the health or safety of members of the college or System community or the public, or poses a threat of disruption of normal System operations;
- whether the information concerning the student's conduct is reliable; and
- whether the scope of the emergency disciplinary action is reasonable.
The decision of the President shall be made within two (2) business days, in writing, addressed to the student and shall be final. The emergency disciplinary action shall be effective immediately and remain in effect during the appeal process until completion of all disciplinary proceedings unless the President decides otherwise.
Emergency disciplinary action taken by any LSCS College shall be System-wide in effect.
If emergency action is taken, the Chief Student Services Officer will take steps to expedite the regular disciplinary procedures unless the student requests a delay and continuation of the emergency disciplinary action until a later date. The granting of any such delay and continuance shall be based on the best interest of the System as determined by the Chief Student Services Officer in his/her sole discretion.
Except for the emergency disciplinary action noted above, no disciplinary sanction will be imposed against a student prior to completion of the appeals process.
VI.F.3.01 - Informal Resolution Procedures
A faculty member, staff member, or administrator reporting an allegation of student misconduct shall first schedule a conference with the student for an opportunity to informally resolve the matter. If such a conference is not possible or unsuccessful, then the reporting personnel shall forward written notification of the allegation to the Chief Student Services Officer of the particular college.
Upon notification in writing by a faculty member, administrator, or staff member of an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the Chief Student Services Officer will initiate an investigation of the incident to determine possible courses of action.
Notwithstanding anything within this Policy to the contrary, in cases of student discipline occurring within a Health Occupations program, upon conclusion of the faculty member's unsuccessful informal conference with the student, the faculty member shall forward written notification of the allegation to the Program Director, or designee. The Program Director or designee shall schedule a conference with the student for an opportunity to discuss the failed resolution and provide an additional opportunity to informally resolve the matter with the student. If such a conference is not possible or unsuccessful, then the Program Director shall forward written notification of the allegation to the Division Dean of the applicable Health Occupations Program. The Division Dean, in consultation with the Chief Student Services Officer shall assume the Chief Student Services Officer's duties set forth in F.3.03.
Applicable reference to the Chief Student Services Officer henceforth shall mean the Division Dean in cases of student discipline occurring within a Health Occupations Program. Further discipline shall proceed as set forth within this policy.
VI.F.3.03 - Investigation
The Chief Student Services Officer will conduct the investigation, including but not limited to: interviewing the complainant, the student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct, and any other knowledgeable individuals; reviewing the alleged violations, specifying the charges, conducting further investigation and obtaining any necessary information. During any interviews the Chief Student Services Officer will explain the Student Code of Conduct procedures, confidentiality requirements, prohibition against retalition, and notify the accused of the charges against him or her.
The Chief Student Services Officer shall within ten (10) business days issue a decision in writing either:
- finding the student responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. The Chief Student Services Officer in the decision may offer a Disciplinary Sanction(s), (see "Disciplinary Sanctions" below) which the student can either accept and waive the right to a hearing in writing, or decline and choose to dispute the allegation(s) at a hearing.; or
- dismissing the charge(s) brought against the student.
The student may appeal the sanction imposed under paragraph a in accordance with Section F.6.01.
In disciplinary cases where the student chooses not to accept the Chief Student Services Officer discipline or findings, the student has the right upon written request filed with the Chief Student Services Officer within ten (10) working days after receiving the written decision, to a formal hearing before a Student Disciplinary Committee.
- a Student Discipline Committee shall be appointed at each college for the academic year by the LEO and shall consist of three (3) faculty and/or professional staff and two (2) currently enrolled students. At its first meeting and before conducting any hearings, the Committee shall select a chair from among the faculty or professional staff members on the Committee.
- Members of the Committee shall be replaced or added by the LEO if conflict of interes is apparent, a member is unable to attend a hearing, or specific expertise is required in regard to the circumstances of the appeal. The Chancellor shall have authority to create any necessary procedures to further implement this Section.
- When a student appeals a sanction and/or a disciplinary decision, the Chief Student Services Officer shall be responsible for convening and coordinating a hearing with the Student Discipline Appeal Committee.
- Nothing in this policy shall preclude members of a committee from a hearing panel for one college from serving on a committee for another college if such service is deemed appropriate by the LEO.
Upon receiving the students request for a hearing, the Chief Student Services Officer shall notify the Student Disciplinary Committee. The Chief Student Services Officer shall provide a minimum of three days notice to the student of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The Chief Student Services Officer may postpone the hearing for good cause. The notice shall notify the student of the following hearing procedures:
a. the hearing will be a private hearing;
b. the student may have a representative present to advise him/her in the hearing. However, the representative shall not be permitted to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, or formally address the Committee;
c. the student may present evidence, witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and argue on his/her own behalf;
d. prior to the hearing the student will receive a copy of the complaint, any documents that will be used against him/her in the hearing, and a list of witnesses who will testify against him/her;
The Chair shall preside over the hearing, verify the Chief Student Services Officer has followed the requirements listed in Section F.3.02 and will rule on the admissibility of evidence (legal rules of evidence will not apply) and objections to the procedure. Within ten (10) business days from the date of the hearing, the Committee will issue a written majority decision either dismissing or upholding the complaint. If the complaint is upheld the decision will list the following information:
a. the date(s), time(s), place(s), and event(s) of the facts or conduct on which the violation is based;
b. a citation to, and quotation from, the section of the Student Code of Conduct which was violated;
c. if disciplinary action is imposed, the student shall be informed of the duration of such action and/or the date by which restitution or other appropriate conditions must be met;
d. a statement that the disciplinary action imposed shall be System-wide in effect; and e. an explanation of the appeal rights and the procedures to request an appeal hearing.
A copy of the letter shall be provided to the student and the Chief Student Services Officer. If the charge is dismissed, the student shall be notified that the System may appeal that decision to the LEO.
Within five (5) business days of receipt of the decision, the student or System may appeal the decision or the discipline sanction to the LEO.
The decision of the Student Discipline Committee shall be implemented by the Chief Student Services Officer; however, decisions which involve dismissal shall be approved by the LEO prior to implementation.
Nothing contained in this policy shall limit the right of a LSCS college at any time to agree to a disciplinary sanction(s) if the student agrees not to contest the charges. Any such agreement shall be reduced to writing.
Nothing contained in this policy shall preclude a LSCS college from pursuing any and all remedies available at law or equity, and such rights and remedies are specifically reserved.
Any student against whom a disciplinary action has been filed and not resolved may not register without the approval of the Chief Student Services Officer.
Whenever this policy provides that the student shall be notified in writing, a copy shall be served in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested to the student(s) address that is on file at the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration.
For purposes of computing any time frames under this policy, where service is by mail, the date of service shall be considered to be the third day after the day of mailing. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration has the student’s current address on file.
VI.F.3.08 - Joint Hearing
Nothing in these procedures shall preclude a LSCS College from holding one hearing or a joint hearing when two or more students are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction or the same series of acts or transactions constituting an offense or offenses under the Student Code of Conduct.
To challenge a decision to consolidate a complaint(s), the student(s) charged must notify the chair of the Student Discipline Appeal Committee of the ground(s) for the challenge in writing at least four (4) days before the hearing is scheduled to take place.
VI.F.4.01 - Disciplinary Sanction Defined
For purposes of the Student Code of Conduct, "disciplinary sanction" is defined as any action affecting the status of an individual as a student, which is taken by LSCS in response to student misconduct. The Chief Student Services Officer or Student Discipline Committee may impose one or more of the following sanctions for violation of the Student Code of Conduct: an admonition; written warning; probation; suspension; expulsion; failing grade for an examination, assignment or course, or other academic penalty; or other penalty as deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
Unless otherwise specified in writing, a disciplinary action, emergency disciplinary action, or other sanction involving suspension or dismissal shall be System wide in effect. A student who is barred from, suspended, or dismissed from one College, may not enroll at another College unless the effect of disciplinary action or emergency disciplinary action has expired by its own terms, has been lifted by the President or unless the student has received special written permission from the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Services.
Any disciplinary action, emergency disciplinary action, or sanction, that involves barring or limiting a student's access to the college shall be considered to apply to all LSCS facilities and programs whether on or off campus.
VI.F.5. Miscellaneous Disciplinary Provisions
Where the director of library or learning resource center has reason to believe that a student has engaged in an offense involving the College's library material(s) or academic resources, the director of the library or learning resource center may impose the following two sanctions: (1) require restitution of any damaged or stolen material(s); and/or (2) designate a number of hours of community service which must be performed by the student in the library. In addition to the above sanctions, each director of the library or his/her designee has the prerogative of referring the matter to the Chief Student Services Officer for further disciplinary action.
VI.F.5.02 - Disciplinary Procedure – Academic Misconduct
If a faculty member, test proctor, or other academic administrator believes that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty or misconduct, sanctions may be imposed. See Section “Academic Achievement”, Chapter V - Instruction, LSCS Board Policy.
VI.F.6. Student Appeals
VI.F.6.01 - Right of Appeal
The student or the System may appeal the decision or sanction(s) imposed by the Student Discipline Committee. The student may also appeal the sanction(s) offered by the Chief Student Services Officer in the Disciplinary Conference if the Student Discipline Committee hearing is waived. The appeal shall be submitted in writing to the Chief Student Services Officer within five (5) business days of the date the student is informed of the decision and shall state the basis for challenging the decision or sanction. The college president shall review the appeal submission and the written record of the decision and, within fifteen (15) calendar days, shall determine whether to uphold, modify, or deny the decision or discipline. The college president shall notify the student and Chief Student Services Officer of the decision. The decision of the college president shall be implemented by the Chief Student Services Officer. The college president’s decision shall be final.
LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 1, 2011