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V.F. Student Discipline for Academic Misconduct

V.F.1. General Provisions

V.F.1.1. Student Discipline Policy for Academic Misconduct

The College upholds the academic core values of learning: honesty, respect, fairness, and accountability especially when its students fall short of those expectations.  Academic misconduct and violations of the Academic Code of Conduct subject students to academic discipline under this Section—including suspension and expulsion.  When possible, members of the College community should try to resolve minor allegations of academic misconduct informally.

V.F.1.2. Definitions

(a)     Academic Integrity Review Committee means a panel appointed from each college to review suspensions and expulsions imposed by other colleges.

(b)     Appeal means to request in writing that the Chancellor review a decision of suspension or expulsion, stating why it should be modified or reversed.

(c)      Chief Academic Officer means, for this section, a college Vice-President to whom the college President gives primary responsibility for student discipline for academic misconduct.

(d)     Due process means a student’s procedural and substantive constitutional protections.

(e)      Effective notice means written notice served in person, emailed to a person’s College email address, or mailed to a person’s address.

(f)       Expulsion means permanent exclusion from any or all College classes and activities.

(g)     Academic Misconduct means violating acts prohibited by Section V.1.E.3.

(h)     Period of disruption means any period in which it reasonably appears that there is a threat of destruction to institutional property, injury to human life on the college or facility, or a threat of willful disruption of the orderly operation of the college or facility.

(i)       Sanction means a penalty against a student, including oral or written warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, or other proper penalty.

(j)       Suspension means temporary exclusion from any or all College classes and activities.

V.F.1.3. Reporting Academic Misconduct

Professors retain primary responsibility for matters relating to academic integrity within their courses. Professors should clearly state in a written report how the student’s actions violated the College’s academic integrity policy (those found in this Manual), how a grade was affected (assuming it was), and any academic actions taken. Changing grades (individual grades or overall course grades) requires written notice to the college’s Chief Academic Officer. 

Anyone may report academic misconduct in writing to a Chief Academic Officer. Reports shall include all known relevant facts, including dates, times, and places. The reporter shall supply available evidence and shall commit to participate in the investigation or hearing. Knowingly submitting false reports is considered non-academic misconduct for students and grounds for adverse employment actions against employees.

V.F.1.4. Investigation

After receiving a written report alleging academic misconduct, the Chief Academic Officer or a designee may investigate the allegations by meeting with the student’s instructor and the student. If the Chief Academic Officer believes that the instructor’s remedies are sufficient under the College’s policies, the Chief Academic Officer may close the file and leave the matter undisturbed beyond the instructor’s actions.  If, however, the Chief Academic Officer believes that a suspension or expulsion is warranted under the circumstances, the Chief Academic Officer will request an Academic Integrity Review Committee Hearing.

V.F.1.5. Hearing

The college shall give the student effective notice of the date, time, and place of his or her Academic Integrity Review Committee hearing. Notices shall set forth specific allegations, list all evidence of academic misconduct including all witnesses who may testify against the student, and provide copies of all documents to be used against the student. The college must prove academic misconduct to the Academic Integrity Review Committee by preponderance of the evidence. Accused students shall have the right to confront and question their accusers during the hearing unless a legally recognized exception to this right applies. After the hearing, the Academic Integrity Review Committee will issue a written majority decision either dismissing the matter or finding the student responsible for academic misconduct. A decision finding a student responsible for academic misconduct shall explain the specific academic misconduct and determine whether an expulsion or suspension is warranted. Either party may appeal the Academic Integrity Review Committee’s decision. The Academic Integrity Review Committee cannot change a grade—it can only recommend adopting or rejecting the expulsion or suspension recommendation made by the Chief Academic Officer for the student involved. The recommendation is forwarded directly to the Chancellor.  The Chancellor makes the final decision—that decision is not appealable.

V.F.1.6. Effect of Sanctions

Any suspension or expulsion under Section V has College-wide effect. A student suspended or expelled from one college may not enroll at another college without the Chancellor’s written permission unless the sanction has expired by its own terms. The College may agree at any time to impose certain sanctions if a student admits to academic misconduct, and the student and Chief Academic Officer shall sign any such agreement. In addition to sanctions, the College may pursue any and all remedies at law or equity.

V.F.1.7. Due Process Requirements

Students have a protected interest in receiving an education. Except during periods of disruption, students must receive due process before they may be suspended or expelled. Due process requires notifying students of charges against them, explaining evidence against them, and giving students a fair opportunity to present their side of the story. Due process is not required for sanctions that do not affect students’ interest in receiving an education, such as warnings or exclusion from extracurricular activities. Except during a period of disruption, no suspension or expulsion will take effect for academic misconduct before the investigation, hearing, and appeal process ends.

V.F.1.8. Autonomy

Academic misconduct may also violate federal, state, or local laws, and students subject to discipline may also face civil or criminal legal penalties. Civil or criminal proceedings—or the lack thereof—related to alleged academic misconduct will not determine discipline.

V.F.1.9. Periods of Disruption

During periods of disruption, the powers and procedures in Texas Education Code Chapter 51, Subchapter E-1 shall apply and shall prevail over this section if they conflict. Students must receive due process as soon as practicable during periods of disruption.

V.F.1.10. Discipline in Health Occupations Programs

Health Occupations Program Deans shall/may act as Chief Academic Officers for their programs with written authorization from their respective Chief Academic Officer.

 

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on February 2, 2017