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Student Disciplinary Procedures

Application of Law; Double Punishment

The laws of the United States; the laws of Virginia; the ordinances of the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach; and Virginia Community College System regulations are fully applicable on the campuses concerned. These laws and regulations were not written by the college and cannot be altered or suspended by college officials.

A single act may simultaneously violate a federal law, a state law, a county ordinance, a city ordinance, and a college regulation. Judgment and punishment by one governmental agency for a violation of its laws and a second judgment and punishment by a different governmental agency for a violation of its laws, even though based on the same act, do not constitute double jeopardy.

Application of College Regulations

Tidewater Community College, in common with other educational institutions, has for its orderly and effective conduct, special regulations in addition to the laws of the land. Developed by the college and approved by the Tidewater Community College Board and Student Government Association, these regulations supplement, but do not supersede, higher laws and regulations. Regulations in addition to those published in this Handbook may originate with the Student Government Association, the faculty, and/or the administration.

Concurrent Criminal Prosecution and College Discipline

The policy of the college in cases of violation of federal, state, county, or city laws is to state the facts to the appropriate, duly constituted authorities and to press neither for, nor interfere with, investigation, trial and punishment. Separate action by the college for violation of college rules will be conducted without reference to the action of other authorities.

Interim Removal from Class, Laboratory, or Instructional Facility

A faculty member or appropriate staff/administrative personnel may temporarily bar a student from attending class or using an instructional facility, where conduct may violate college conduct rules. Immediate referral of the student to the campus dean shall occur.

Interim Suspension: Clear and Present Danger

When a student’s conduct poses a clear, present, and immediate threat of harm to him or herself, others, or to college property, the college reserves the right to effect an interim suspension of the student. The college will hold a plenary (full) discipline hearing on the matter within a reasonable period of time.

Plenary Disciplinary Procedure

1. Preparation, Filing of Written Complaint
Disciplinary action may be initiated by a complaint in writing filed by any member of the college community, including members of the faculty and student body.

2. Administrator Receiving Complaint
The complaint shall be filed with the campus dean or designee.

3. Investigation
The campus dean or designee shall initiate an immediate investigation, gathering signed statements and interviewing appropriate persons.

4. Authority to Require Students to Appear
The campus dean or designee may require any student to appear for an interview, or to give a written statement. Failure to assist the dean in this manner may subject the student to disciplinary action for obstruction of justice (failure to comply with the official and proper order of a duly designated college authority or agency). Further, a disciplinary hold may be placed on the class attendance, re-enrollment, or record of any student failing to comply with the campus dean’s request for an interview or request for a written statement.

5. Action upon Completion of Investigation; Written Charges
After completing the investigation the campus dean or designee may:

  • Dismiss the complaint, or
  • Determine that the complaint is supported by reliable evidence.

If the campus dean or designee determines that the complaint is supported by reliable evidence, the campus dean or designee may — in the dean’s sole discretion —

  • Hear the matter;
  • Refer the matter to a disciplinary committee.

6. Charges; Elements of Due Process
The campus dean or designee shall provide a letter to the student, advising the student of the nature of the charges. To ensure that a student’s rights to due process are preserved, the following essential legal elements will be made available to the student:

  • Published rules, regulations, and procedures in evidence;
  • Due written notice of the charge(s) of violating such rules and regulations;
  • A hearing or oral proceeding before an administrative  representative or adjudicating body;
  • Information regarding witnesses who may give evidence to support the charge(s) and the opportunity to call witnesses in his/her own behalf;
  • Right to counsel of his/her own choosing;
  • Public hearing (but if disrupted, the hearing can be closed);
  • A written record of the hearing;
  • A prompt written decision;
  • Information regarding the available appeal procedures.

7. Dean’s Adjudication; Sanctions
If the campus dean or designee hears the matter, he or she may immediately adjudicate the matter based on witness statements, witness appearances, and the statements and appearances of the charging party and the student charged. Based on the evidence, the dean may dismiss the charges, or may, based on reliable evidence, invoke the following penalties:

  • Dismissal from the college;
  • Disciplinary suspension for a specified period of time;
  • Disciplinary probation which may or may not be recorded on the student’s personal record;
  • Administrative reprimand or admonition;
  • Restitution for damages;
  • Withhold the transcript or degree;
  • Bar against readmission;
  • Suspension of eligibility for college activities;
  • Suspension from a specific class or campus activity, or the use of specific offices or services;
  • Such other penalty or penalties as may be mutually determined.

8. Appeals Procedure (Dean’s Adjudication)
A decision of the campus dean or designee may be appealed to the provost. The appeal must be in writing and must be received by the provost’s office within five days after the decision of the campus dean or designee. The provost will review the written record and reach a determination. The decision of the provost is final.

9. Disciplinary Committee
If the dean refers adjudication of the matter to a disciplinary committee, the dean will advise the campus provost in writing. The campus provost will, within three days of receipt of the dean’s notice, appoint a disciplinary committee. The committee shall consist of one faculty member, one administrator, and one student. The dean shall serve as an ex-officio member of the committee and shall serve as the hearing examiner.

The disciplinary committee will conduct a careful and thorough review of all the facts concerning the alleged offense. On the basis of the review, the student may be absolved of the charge or found to have violated a specific college rule or regulation. Recommended disciplinary action, decided by a two-thirds vote of the committee membership, may involve all or any combination of the penalties set forth above. 

The committee shall complete its work within five working days of appointment. Within two working days of completion of the hearing, the committee shall provide a summary of witness statements, the facts, and the proposed penalty, if any, to the campus provost. 

Upon receipt of the witness statements, fact summary, and proposed penalty (if any), the campus provost shall review such, and reach a determination. Final disciplinary action will be established by the campus provost, who shall promptly communicate this information to both the student and the campus dean or designee

10. Appeals Procedure (Disciplinary Committee)
A decision of the provost pursuant to a Disciplinary Committee adjudication may be appealed to the college Vice President for Student Affairs (or Vice President for Student Learning and Chief Academic Officer for academic-related matters). The appeal must be in writing and must be received by the college Vice President’s office within five days after the provost’s decision. The college Vice President will review the written record and reach a determination. The decision of the Vice President is final.

11. Notice to Parents of Minors
In the best professional judgment of the campus dean, the parent, guardian, or spouse of a minor may be advised of disciplinary action, consistent with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and/or the parent, guardian, spouse, or other party may be advised that the student has refused to authorize the release of information relative to institutional discipline.