Student Rights & Responsibilities
Code of Conduct
- Definitions of Terms
- Authority for Student Discipline
- Procedural Protections
- Disciplinary Action While Criminal Charges are Pending
- Interpretations of Regulations
- Prohibited Conduct
- Academic Issues
- Judicial Records
- Results of Suspension/Expulsion
- Behavioral Complaint Procedure
- College Judicial Council
- Student Groups/Orgs
- Record Holds
- Revocation of Degrees
Upon admission to Penn College, students make the unqualified commitment to responsible conduct, both on and off campus, which conforms to the generally accepted standards of adult behavior within an academic community. Students are expected to show courtesy and respect for faculty, staff, and fellow students, in all personal contacts. Students must understand and accept the necessity for various College regulations and comply with directions of those individuals authorized to enforce the regulations. Violations of these regulations and/or conduct that are contrary to the best interest of the College community or its individual members will subject the student to action and penalties as the circumstances justify, including suspension or expulsion from the College.
The following identifies the rights, responsibilities, and protocol relating to expected student behavior.
Definition of Terms
- Administrative Hearing: an informal meeting with a College staff member
who hears matters involving alleged infractions and makes determinations as
to whether a student, a student organization, or a student group is responsible
for a violation of College policy and then assigns appropriate sanctions.
- College Judicial Council: a body of individuals appointed to hear matters
involving alleged infractions and to make determinations as to whether a
student, a student organization, or a student group is responsible for a
violation of College policy.
- College premises: buildings or grounds owned, leased, operated, controlled,
or supervised by the College.
- College-sponsored activity: any activity on or off College premises that is
directly initiated, approved, or supervised by the College.
- Complainant: any member of the campus community (faculty, staff, student,
or other affiliated party) who initiates a charge against a student for a violation
of the regulations within this Code.
- Group: a number of persons who are associated with each other, but who do
not have status as an officially recognized student organization.
- Organization: a number of persons who are members of an officially recognized student organization at the College.
- Respondent: a currently enrolled student of the College who has been accused of violating the regulations within this Code.3
- Student: any person who is taking or auditing classes (including non-credit) at the College or is enrolled in any College program.
Students accused of disciplinary violations are entitled the following procedural protections:
- To be informed of the charge and alleged misconduct upon which the charge is based
- To be allowed reasonable time to prepare
- To be informed of the evidence upon which any charge is based
- To be assured of confidentiality, in accordance with the terms of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (the nature of the case may require some disclosure as permissible under law)
- To be considered not responsible for the violation until shown to be responsible by the preponderance of evidence (more likely than not)
- To have a person of the student's choice as an adviser at a College Judicial Council hearing
Disciplinary Action While Criminal Charges are Pending
The College may, if it chooses, pursue discipline charges against a student arising out of a violation of any local, state or federal law – on or off campus – whether or not any legal action is pursued, dismissed, reduced, or the individual is found not guilty.
Interpretations of Regulations
The purpose of publishing “prohibited conduct” is to provide general notice of unacceptable behavior by students, groups and organizations.
- Violation of written College Policy, Procedures, regulations, guidelines, announcements or contractual obligations of Pennsylvania College of Technology.
- Failure to abide by College policy related to vehicle usage or obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on College premises or at College-sponsored functions.
- Interference with the academic process, College-sponsored activities, or College operations including, but not limited to, studying; teaching (to include disruptions or behavioral infractions in the classroom); research; College administration; and fire, police or emergency services
- Vandalism or damage to College property or the property of others.
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of College documents, instrument of identification, or records.
- Theft of property or services, or knowing possession of stolen property.
- Submission of false information to the College or to any member of the College community with intent to deceive or defraud, including initiating any false report, warning or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency.
- Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of College officials, including College police and residence hall staff, acting in the performance of their duties including but not limited to failure to identify oneself when requested to do so or failure to comply with a no contact order or entering a specific area of the College after otherwise instructed.
- Abuse of the College judicial system, including but not limited to, failing to obey a judicial summons, misrepresenting information or falsifying information, knowingly instituting a judicial proceeding without cause, attempting to discourage an individual initiating or participating in a judicial process, attempting to influence the impartiality of judicial council members, or harassing and/or intimidating judicial council members.
- Violation of the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed in accordance with this Code.
- Unauthorized use, possession, or duplication of keys or access cards to any College premises; or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
- Public intoxication; use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as permitted by Pennsylvania law and College regulations.
- Sale, use, distribution, manufacture, dispensing, or possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. See statement on the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
- Misuse of, or tampering with, the fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers or other security measures.
- Disorderly, lewd or indecent conduct; breach of peace; or the aiding, abetting or soliciting of another person to breach the peace on College premises, at College-sponsored activities, or at any off-campus function involving College participants.
- The possession, carrying, storage, or use of any weapon, ammunition, or explosive on College property (including residence halls and vehicles), except as outlined in the Weapons & Fireworks On-Campus Policy (P 7.20, available on the myPCT Portal) and Procedure (PR 7.20, available on the myPCT Portal).
- Willful or negligent actions that endanger the health and safety of oneself or others.
- Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, deliberate intimidation, harassment, or coercion.
- Hazing, which includes any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any group or organization, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
- Sexual Misconduct (see Sexual Harassment Policy for definitions and examples), which includes:
- Sexual harassment, which is unwelcomed, sex- or gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program and/or activities, and may be based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
- Sexual discrimination, which is any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual’s sex or gender identity or expression that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, which is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, that is without consent and/or by force.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, which is any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object that is without consent and/or by force.
- Sexual Exploitation, which occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an infraction of the Student Code of Conduct.
- Behavior that would constitute a violation of local, state or federal law, whether on College property or off campus, when such behavior has a substantial adverse effect upon the College or upon individual members of the College community.
- Matters involving academic dishonesty or academic fairness are the purview of the chief academic officer (or designee) and are subject to the provisions and sanctions set forth in the appropriate academic policies and procedures.
- Violations of the Code of Conduct that affect the classroom or learning environment may be subject to academic sanctions as well as other sanctions as noted in this procedure.
- In cases in which a faculty member requests that a student be involuntarily withdrawn from a course or from the College, the chief academic affairs officer (or designee) assumes jurisdiction.
The following student sanctions are listed in order of severity. More than one sanction may be imposed for any single violation.
- Warning - A notice, oral or written, that the student has violated a College regulation.
- Probation - A written reprimand for a violation of a specified regulation. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions if the student is found to be violating any College regulation during the probationary period. Probation may include a loss of privileges.
- Loss of Privileges - Denial of specific privileges or the ability to participate in specified College activities for a designated period of time.
- Restitution - Repayment to the College or other party for damage caused by one’s actions. This may take the form of service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Discretionary Sanction - Service and/or research projects or other discretionary assignments.
- Fines/Administrative Fees - A monetary charge which may be assessed as a punitive sanction or to assist with costs associated with an educational workshop or program.
- Residence Hall Suspension - Separation of the student from the residence halls for a defined period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission may be specified. While a student is suspended, he or she is prohibited from being in or around any residential complex and is excluded from all residence hall privileges and activities.
- Residence Hall Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls. When a student is expelled, he or she is prohibited from being in or around any residential complex and is excluded from all residence hall privileges and activities.
- Academic Sanctions – In matters of classroom behavioral issues, various academic sanctions can be imposed including, but not limited to, temporary or permanent removal from classes/labs, or removal from an academic program and/or academic school. (See Academic Issues, above)
- Interim Suspension - In certain circumstances, the chief student affairs officer or a designee may impose a College or residence hall suspension prior to the hearing before a judicial body. Interim suspension may be imposed:
- to insure the safety and well-being of the College community or preservation of College property;
- to insure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or
- if the student poses a definite threat of disruption of or interference with normal College operations.
- College Suspension - The termination of student status and the separation of the student or student group or organization from the College for a defined period of time, after which the student, group or organization is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified. While a student is suspended, he or she is prohibited from being on College premises and excluded from all student courses, privileges, and activities.
- College Expulsion - Permanent separation of the student or student group or organization from the College. When a student is expelled, he or she is prohibited from being on College premises and excluded from all student courses, privileges, and activities.
Judicial records are maintained in two primary locations. Records that are part of the student’s permanent academic record are maintained by the Registrar’s Office. Records that are part of the student’s judicial record are maintained by the Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Offices.
- Permanent Academic Record
- College Expulsion and Suspension shall become a part of the student’s permanent academic record.
- No other sanction shall become part of the student’s permanent academic record.
- Judicial Record
- College Expulsion shall become a part of the student’s judicial record indefinitely.
- All other completed sanctions will be a part of the student's judicial record until five years from the date of the incident.
Results of College Suspension and Expulsion
- Students who are expelled or suspended from the institution are assigned “T” grades for all courses in which they are currently enrolled.
- Students expelled or suspended from College-owned housing or the College for appropriate cause are not entitled to refunds of housing or tuition charges.
- In some cases, student conflicts may be resolved through a mediation session with a counselor, faculty member, or staff member. In such cases, both parties, as well as the chief student affairs officer (or designee), must agree that the situation is appropriate for mediation. Incidents involving sexual misconduct, physical abuse, hazing or other forms of violence are not typically eligible for mediation.
- Resolutions reached through mediation, once approved by the mediator and the chief student affairs officer (or designee), are binding.
- If a resolution is not reached, the parties may, at the discretion of the chief student affairs officer (or designee), be directed to resolve the matter through an administrative hearing or a College Judicial Council hearing.
Behavioral Complaint Procedure
- Any member of the campus community (faculty, staff, student, or other affiliated party) may initiate a charge against a student for a violation of the regulations within this Code.
- In all matters, a preliminary review of the incident may be conducted by the director of residence life & judicial affairs (or designee) to determine if violations may have occurred.
- For matters in which a student would not face a suspension or expulsion from the College, the incident will be resolved through an administrative hearing between the student and a designated Student Affairs representative. The process will proceed even if the student fails to attend the administrative hearing.
- The student or initiating party may appeal the administrative hearing outcome, but that appeal is possible only when new information has been discovered or to question the fairness/appropriateness/grounds of the decision.
- Appeals are made to the director of residence life & judicial affairs within five business days of receiving the written outcome. The appeal must be made in writing and include the individual’s reasons for the appeal.
- The director of residence life & judicial affairs will respond to the party, in writing, within 10 business days. During the student’s appeal, the sanctions of the administrative hearing will be placed on hold.
- The decision of the director of residence life & judicial affairs is final; there is no further appeal of administrative hearing outcomes.
- A student charged with violation of the Code will not be allowed to withdraw from the College until and unless the issue has been resolved.
College Judicial Council
- For very serious matters (especially alleged violations that may result in suspension or expulsion) falling under the jurisdiction of the chief student affairs officer, the student can choose to have the incident resolved through either a College Judicial Council or an administrative hearing.
- The party who initiates the charge may serve as the complainant or as a witness; the accused student then becomes the respondent.
- College Judicial Councils shall consist of no fewer than three, and no more than six, members of the campus community and will comprise a mix of students and/or staff/faculty/administrators. Students are included as full and participating members of College Judicial Councils.
- College Judicial Council members are selected through the College’s internal governance system by the Student Affairs Committee.
- The following procedural elements govern a College Judicial Council hearing:
- The chief student affairs officer will designate a hearing officer in all matters. The hearing officer will serve as the advisor to the College Judicial Council.
- The respondent will receive written notice of the alleged violations at least five business days prior to the hearing, unless waived by the respondent.
- The hearing will proceed even if the respondent fails to attend.
- Hearings are closed to the public.
- Hearings shall be recorded for appeal purposes. Recordings will be retained for 2 years from the final disposition of the case.
- The hearing officer shall have discretion over the proceedings and disruptive parties will be removed from the room.
- The complainant and respondent shall have ample opportunity to make statements concerning the incident and an opportunity to ask relevant questions of each other and any witnesses.
- The complainant and respondent may bring an adviser or support person of his or her choosing to the hearing. The advisers or support person cannot address any persons other than the advisee.
- At the discretion of the hearing officer, other parties may be admitted, such as a parent or guardian of the complainant or respondent.
- The Council and the hearing officer may ask questions of the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses.
- The Council will conduct deliberations in a closed session without the complainant, respondent, or any persons other than the hearing officer present. The Council will determine whether the respondent is responsible or is not responsible for the charges. If the respondent is found responsible for a violation of this Code, the Council will make a recommendation of sanctions to the hearing officer.
- The hearing officer will have final determination for any applicable sanctions.
- The complainant and/or respondent may appeal the judicial hearing outcome, but that appeal is possible only when new information has been discovered or to question the fairness/appropriateness/grounds of the decision.
- Appeals are to be made to the chief student affairs officer for all other matters within five business days of receiving the written outcome. The appeal must be made in writing and include the individual’s reasons for the appeal.
- The chief student affairs officer will respond to the appealing party in writing within 10 business days. Appeals are based on the record of the hearing, the written submissions, responses of the respondent and complainant, and any other information deemed appropriate in determining the outcome. During the appeal, the sanctions of the College Judicial Council will be suspended.
- The decision of the chief student affairs officer is final in all appeals.
- If the case has not been adjudicated by the end of the semester, the faculty member will submit an Incomplete (I) grade for the course. When the case is adjudicated, the faculty member will notify the Registrar to change the I grade to the appropriate grade via the grade change process.
Student Groups and Organizations
- Student groups and registered student organizations may be charged with violations of this Code either as a collective unit, as individual members, or as both. As such, the chief student affairs officer (or designee) will designate a member of the group/organization as the spokesperson for any discipline proceedings involving the group/organization.
- A student group or registered student organization may be held responsible for violations of this Code either as a collective unit, as individual members, or as both. Student groups and organizations are bound by any sanctions imposed through the discipline process outlined in this Code.
- Sanctions for a student group or organization may include a loss of privileges, a loss of funding opportunities, a loss of recognized student organization status, or other discretionary sanctions approved through the chief student affairs officer.
- For matters in which a student group or organization would not face suspension or expulsion from the College, the incident will be resolved through an administrative hearing between the group and a designated Student Affairs representative.
- As with individual students, for matters which may result in a student group or organization’s suspension or expulsion the incident can be resolved through a College Judicial Council (see part XII). The Council will meet with a spokesperson determined by the group or organization in question.
In pending cases, a temporary hold can be placed on a student’s records by the chief student affairs officer/chief academic affairs officer.
Revocation of Degrees
The College reserves the right to revoke an awarded degree for fraud in receipt of the degree or for serious disciplinary violations committed by a student.
Reference: College Policy and Procedure 4.43