VI.D. Student and Welfare Rights
VI.D.1. Student Organizations
The College provides equal opportunities to all students participating in courses, activities, and programs regardless of race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status. The College cannot deny a student group registration because of the group’s views.
(a) Necessary Student Travel Paperwork includes all required forms specified in the College procedures for student organization travel.
(b) Risk Management Program means a program that discusses the following topics: (1) possessing and using alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, including penalties that may be imposed for possessing either substance; (2) hazing; (3) sexual harassment; (4) fire and other safety issues, including possessing and using a firearm, other weapon, or explosive device; (5) traveling outside the College’s location area; (6) behavior at parties and other events held by a student organization; and (7) adoption by a student organization of a risk management policy.
(c) Student Organization means a student group that has properly registered with and is recognized by the College.
(d) Student Organization Advisor means a person who (1) serves in an advisory capacity to a student organization and its members, (2) has aged at least 21 years, (3) is not a student at the College, and (4) is the College’s full-time employee.
(e) Student Organization Representatives means the following four officer positions, or similar officer positions: the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
(f) Student Travel means students traveling to reach an activity or event located 25 miles or farther away from the campus or departure center. Student Travel must also include any of the following four conditions and the 25-mile requirement. First, any activity or event the College funds. Second, any travel in a vehicle the College owns, leases, or rents. Third, a registered student organization requires the travel. Fourth, the College’s campus, department, class or course, office, study-abroad program, scheduled sports event or competition, or a recognized student organization or its representatives direct the travel.
(g) Student Travel Funded by the College means a College-maintained budget item or fund created and funding expenses associated with the activity or event. The College funds travel even if an outside tour company arranges the College-sponsored trip and travelers pay their own travel-related expenses.
(h) Student Travel Required by a Registered Student Organization means the travel related to the organization’s official activities, including attending and participating at conventions, workshops, athletic events, and non-athletic competitions. This definition does not include social or optional events organized by a registered student organization or an optional course activity recommended by a faculty member.
VI.D.1.03 Student Travel Policies
Students will complete and submit Necessary Student Travel Paperwork at least five working days before the necessary travel. Commercial airlines, College-owned, -rented, or -leased vehicles, and commercial vehicles are approved transportation modes for Student Travel under this policy.
(a) College-provided Transportation.
A driver transporting students in College-owned, -leased, or -rented vehicles must meet the following conditions: (a) be a College employee approved by the Chief Student Services Officer, (b) have a valid driver’s license appropriate for the vehicle being driven, and (c) have a satisfactory driving record.
The driver must also ensure that passenger numbers do not exceed the vehicle’s designated passenger capacity—each passenger must be secured by a seat belt. A driver may not drive for more than three consecutive hours without taking a 15-minute break from driving. A driver may not read emails or text messages while driving students.
(b) Student-provided Transportation.
The following applies when student-owned vehicles are used for Student Travel: (a) the College’s students are not covered by the College’s vehicle insurance policies and cannot be College-approved drivers; (b) adult students drive their own private vehicles at their own discretion and at their own peril; (c) adult students riding with another adult student do so on their own and at their own peril; (d) the College’s employees cannot arrange for students to drive other students; (e) all student drivers must sign a liability waiver for driving their own vehicle and submit this in accordance with the Necessary Student Travel Paperwork; (f) all student-owned vehicle accidents or collisions must be covered by the student’s vehicle insurance policy; (g) the Student Travel conditions must be detailed in the appropriate form submitted with the Necessary Student Travel Paperwork; and (h) the College must provide any student driver with directions to the intended destination.
VI.D.1.04 Student Group Registration Eligibility
A student group may register on the College’s campuses if (a) the student group does not deny membership because of race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status.; (b) the student group has a Student Organization Advisor; (c) its registration is not prohibited after disciplinary action; and (d) the College’s currently enrolled students and employees compose its membership. Alumni, faculty, and staff can serve as advisors by invitation.
VI.D.1.05 Required Risk Management Training for Student Groups
The College will provide a Risk Management Program for registered student organizations at least once each academic year. The College requires the Student Organization Representatives and its Student Organization Advisor(s) to attend. The College must record the program’s attendance and keep those records for at least three years after the program is held. Other student organization members may attend the program. Student Organization Advisors or Student Organization Representatives will brief the entire student organization on the program’s contents at the next full membership meeting.
Compliance with the College’s Policies
Registered student organizations must comply with the College’s policies and procedures. The student organization’s activities and programs require Student Organization Advisor approval. Student organizations do not legally represent or bind the College. A registered student organization may use the College’s tax exemption number for its purchases relating to the College’s tax-exempt educational purpose. Items for personal use are not exempt from sales tax.
VI.D.1.07 Violation of the College’s Policies
The College can charge a registered student organization with violating this policy and or the Student Code of Conduct. The organization and its Student Organization Representatives may be held responsible for violations during organization-sponsored events. The College holds student organizations and their Student Organization Representatives responsible for violations committed by a member representing the organization or associated with the organization.
Sanctions for student organization misconduct may include the College revoking the registered student organization’s status. Sanctions can also include those listed in Section VI.G.1. A student organization may appeal or proceed as an individual student might under Section VI.G.1.
VI.D.1.08 Sale of Taxable Items
A registered student organization may hold one or two sales each year exempt from taxes imposed by Chapter 151 of the Texas Tax Code so long as the sales price of each taxable item remains $5,000 or less. If, at the sale, the student organization sells an otherwise taxable item that it manufactured or which was donated to the student organization, the item is exempt from taxes imposed by Chapter 151 of the Tax Code regardless of sales price unless a donated item is sold to the donor. Each sale may last no longer than 24 hours.
The College allows registered student organizations to hold raffle-ticket sales at the College—subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions and always following Texas law.
VI.D.2. Religious Holy Days
The College respects students’ religious observances even though they may conflict with the College’s class meetings, assignments, and examinations.
(a) Religious Holiday means a holy day observed by a religion whose worship places are exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20 of the Texas Tax Code.
(b) Excused Absence means a student is treated consistently with the instructor’s policies and procedures regarding other excused absences—except that no instructor may unilaterally deny the student the opportunity for make-up work under this policy.
VI.D.2.03 Requesting Absences for Religious Holy Days
Student class attendance affects the educational experience, and students should attend all classes in which they are enrolled. Each faculty member shall communicate the attendance policy to his or her classes. The College shall publish its attendance policies and procedures for religious holy days. A student excused under this section may not be penalized for the absence; however, the instructor may appropriately respond if the student does not complete any postponed or rescheduled assignment or exam.
VI.D.3. Crime and Security Reports
The College shall collect information regarding campus crime statistics and campus security policies as required by law. The College will prepare, publish and distribute an annual security report through appropriate publications, electronic media, or mailings to all current students and employees as required by law. The College will also provide the resulting report to any applicant for enrollment or employment upon request. This report shall include the following:
(a) A statement of current policies concerning security and access to campus facilities, and security considerations in maintaining campus facilities.
(b) A statement of current policies concerning campus law enforcement that includes: (1) the enforcement authority of security personnel, including their working relationship with state and local police agencies, and whether those security personnel have the authority to arrest individuals; and (2) the policies that encourage accurate and prompt reporting of all crimes to the campus police and the appropriate police agencies.
(c) A description of the type and frequency of programs designed to inform students and employees about campus security procedures and practices and to encourage students and employees to be responsible for their own security and the security of others.
(d) A description of programs designed to inform students and employees about crime prevention.
(e) Campus and community crime statistics.
VI.D.4. Student Support Services
The Executive Vice Chancellor shall ensure that the Colleges make available to all students effective student support services, including academic advising services, academic-support services, skills assessment and placement services, career services, financial aid services, student enrollment services, and support services for students with disabilities.
VI.D.5. Student Health Notices and Immunizations
The College’s policy on HIV infection and AIDS shall be published and available for viewing on the College’s website.
VI.D.6. Drug and Alcohol Testing
Students and faculty members in the health occupation, emergency services, child care programs or any other applicable program may require drug testing.
VI.D.7. Criminal Background Checks
Before registering in the College’s health professions, emergency services, or child development programs, a student must pass a criminal background check performed by an external consumer agency the College selects. The student shall sign a release and directly pay the agency the background-check cost. Background check results, confidentially kept, are sent directly to the program director and the student.
VI.D.8. Legal Notice Regarding Steroids
The following notice regarding legal restrictions on steroids shall be posted in the College’s gyms: “Anabolic steroids and growth hormones are for medical use only. State law prohibits the possession, dispensing, delivery or administering of an anabolic steroid or growth hormone in any manner not allowed by state law. State law provides that bodybuilding, muscle enhancement, or increasing muscle bulk or strength through anabolic steroid use by a person in good health is not a valid medical purpose. Only a medical doctor may prescribe an anabolic steroid or human growth hormone for a person. A violation of state law concerning anabolic steroids or human growth hormones is a criminal offense punishable by confinement in jail or imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.”
VI.D.9. Graduation Rates
The College publishes or mails to all current students its full-time student completion and graduation rates. It also provides the same to any requesting prospective student. The College updates the information at least every two years.
VI.D.10. Student First Amendment Rights and Other Rights
The College’s students retain their First Amendment rights, but voluntarily assume certain responsibilities by enrolling in the College. The College’s students enjoy First Amendment protections at all College-sponsored events subject to limited exceptions. Student expression remains protected by the First Amendment and may not be abridged unless, in the Chancellor’s or a designee’s view, the speech is disruptive, College-sponsored, promotes illegal drug use, or the regulation remains viewpoint- and content-neutral.
With the exceptions stated above, the College shall take no action respecting a religion’s establishment, nor will the College prohibit religion’s free exercise. The College will not abridge speech, the press, peaceful assembly, or grievance petitions. Students distributing literature, displaying signs, petitioning for change, and sharing information concerning issues of public concern are protected by the First Amendment. Students also maintain their rights against unreasonable searches and seizures as provided herein.
(a) College-sponsored means the College’s publications, theatrical productions, and other expressive activities that students, parents, and members of the public might reasonably perceive to bear the College’s approval and license. These activities may fairly be characterized as part of the College curriculum, whether or not they occur in a traditional classroom setting, so long as they are supervised by employee-advisors and imparting particular knowledge or skills to student participants and audiences.
(b) Disruptive means substantially disrupting or materially interfering with the College’s central mission of educating students. This definition does not include action that merely presents the possibility of discomfort or unpleasantness that always accompanies an unpopular viewpoint.
(c) Premises means any real property over which the College has possession, control, or legal ownership.
(d) Student means any person registered to attend College courses or classes. This definition includes individuals enrolled in non-credit classes, including but not limited to, continuing education, GED, or ESL classes.
(e) Viewpoint- and Content-Neutral means speech policies or procedures that regulate speech without consideration for the speech’s content, such as regulations regarding speech’s time, manner, and place.
VI.D.10.03 First Amendment Grievances
A student that believes his or her rights have been violated under this section may file a grievance under Section IV.D.12.
VI.D.10.04 Student Interviews and Emails
The College respects a student’s privacy rights. But the College can interview students on a matter to protect the College’s overall welfare.
(a) Email Confidentiality. The College cannot guarantee the privacy or confidentiality of electronic documents, and any messages that are confidential should probably not be communicated over email. The College reserves email-access rights during routine computer maintenance and housekeeping, carrying out internal investigations, preparing public records responses, or disclosing messages, data, or files to law enforcement authorities.
(b) Email Records. Messages sent as email should meet the same standards for distribution or display as tangible documents or instruments. As with all records the College maintains, as required by law, files saved on the College’s information system or servers, including email, may be released after a public information act request.
VI.D.10.05 Warrantless Search
The College’s officials have limited authority to search a student’s person or property without a warrant as follows: (a) any prohibited item within “plain view” can be seized; (b) personal property may be searched, if probable cause exists, and only if exigent circumstances justify not obtaining a search warrant; (c) areas such as lockers and desks, which the College owns and operates may be searched by the College officials when they have reasonable suspicion to believe that stolen items or items prohibited by law or by this policy are contained in the area to be searched; and (d) stolen items and items which are forbidden by this policy or law may be impounded and used as evidence in internal College disciplinary proceedings against the student.
VI.D.11. Students with Disability Rights
The College recognizes and supports the principles set forth in federal and state laws designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The College believes in equal access to educational opportunities for all individuals. The College is committed to making reasonable accommodations, including furnishing auxiliary aids and services, for qualified individuals with disabilities as required by law. For purposes of this policy section, accommodation requests also mean requests for auxiliary aids and services.
The College shall communicate and make available the procedures for the prompt and equitable implementation of reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals.
VI.D.11.02. Student Responsibility to Request Accommodation
Students with disabilities have the right to an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from College services, programs, facilities or activities. Students are responsible for identifying themselves as individuals requesting accommodation based on a qualifying disability each semester. Students shall direct accommodation requests to one of the College’s Disability Services Offices. While the College accepts accommodation requests throughout each semester, students are strongly urged to submit accommodation requests at least four weeks before each semester starts. The College has a two-step process to reasonably accommodate students with qualifying disabilities. Students must actively participate in this process. The two steps are (a) certifying the student’s qualifying disability and (b) determining the student’s reasonable accommodation.
Students certified as having a qualifying disability are eligible for accommodation and will engage in a collaborative process with the Disability Services Office to determine their reasonable accommodation. An accommodation will not be considered reasonable if it fundamentally alters the nature of a service, program, facility, or activity of the College. The College is not required to lower or substantially modify program standards or codes of conduct. Students using their accommodation shall notify the applicable instructors of the accommodation once determined. Students receiving accommodation shall be evaluated based on their ability, not disability.
VI.D.11.03. Requests for Reconsideration or Revision of Accommodations and Discrimination Complaints
(a) Reconsideration or Revision of Accommodations. Students may appeal denied accommodations or College-proposed accommodations. Students may also request accommodation revision during the semester. Each Disability Services Office evaluates appeal and revision requests for its college campus. Students should appeal accommodation denials or College-proposed accommodations within two weeks. Students requiring accommodation revision anytime during the semester should submit a request as soon as possible. Students may appeal Disability Services Office decisions to the Executive Director of Disability Services. Students may also file a complaint at any time with the regional Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education or through the civil court system.
(b)Discrimination Complaints. Students who believe they are unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability are encouraged to report the incident to the Disability Services Office and or in the manner described in Section VI.D.12 (Student Civil Rights Complaints). Students may also file a complaint at any time with the regional Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education or through the civil court system.
(c) Prohibition of Retaliation or Coercion. No College community member shall discriminate against any individual because that individual has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by the applicable laws, or because that individual submitted a complaint or charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under any applicable law or this policy.
No College community member shall coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by any applicable law.
VI.D.11.04. Responsible Employee Designation
The College designates the Executive Director of Disability Services as the employee responsible for coordinating the College’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under applicable disability laws, including investigations of complaints communicated to the College alleging its noncompliance and/or any actions prohibited by applicable laws. The College shall further designate at least one employee at each campus to assist the Executive Director of Disability Services in carrying out the College’s responsibilities. The College shall make available to all interested individuals the names, office addresses, and telephone numbers of the employees designated.
VI.D.11.05. Confidentiality and Records
Students’ disability records are confidential. The confidentiality protects students from discrimination on the basis of disability as well as to ensure the non-release of their medical records except as needed to provide educational services. The College’s Disability Services Office on each campus is responsible for collecting and maintaining disability-related documentation, confidential records of each student’s visit, and any ongoing changes in the student’s condition. These records are kept in a separate, secure digital file accessible only by Disability Services Office personnel and housed in the College’s headquarters.
Disability-related information is shared only when necessary. Limited information may be disclosed to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
VI.D.12 Civil Rights Complaints
The College provides equal treatment and educational opportunities to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status. Any student experiencing discriminatory treatment or civil rights violations, aside from Sexual Violence or Title IX Harassment addressed in Section VI.F.1. (Sexual Harassment, Assault, Violence, and Discrimination), may submit a civil rights complaint under this section.
VI.D.12.02 Reporting and Processing Civil Rights Complaints
Students experiencing a civil rights violation should complain to the applicable Chief Student Services Officer or President as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the complaint and the respondent to the complaint, the receiving College official or a designee may (a) investigate the complaint and take any appropriate corrective or disciplinary action at the applicable college campus as approved by the President or (b) forward the complaint to the appropriate College official. The College shall publish procedures for Reporting and Processing Civil Rights Complaints.
VI.D.12.03 Potential Disciplinary Actions
If the investigation reveals an employee committed a civil rights violation, action will be taken under this policy’s Section IV.F.11 or IV.F.13. If the investigation reveals a student committed a civil rights violation, action will be taken under this policy’s Section VI.G.1.
VI.D.12.04 Prohibition on Retaliation
The College’s policy prohibits any College employee from retaliating against a student for submitting a student’s civil rights complaint. The College’s policy forbids retaliating against any person who submitted a civil rights complaint. The College's policy also forbids retaliating against anyone who helps investigate such a complaint. A complaint’s actual or perceived truth does not excuse retaliatory conduct. Any person who observes retaliation should promptly notify the applicable Chief Student Services Officer or President.
LSCS Policy Manual Section VI adopted by the Board of Trustees on March 3, 2016