The purpose of this section is to define the procedures, regulations and policies by which the social conduct of SPC students will be evaluated. When a student enrolls at South Plains College, it is assumed that the student accepts the rules and regulations prescribed by the College. It is the student’s obligation to be familiar with the standards of conduct. Rules and regulations are also contained in, but not limited to, the following SPC publications: General Catalog; Student Guide; College Housing Rules and Regulations; SPC Parking and Traffic Regulations.
It is imperative that students continue to learn to recognize, understand and celebrate human differences. Colleges can, and must, help their students become open to the differences that surround them. These matters are learned best in collegiate settings that are rich with diversity, and they must be learned if the ideals of human worth and dignity are to be advanced. Conduct which reflects adversely upon the student or the College will result in disciplinary action.
Areas of Misconduct
Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
It is the aim of the faculty of South Plains College to foster a spirit of complete honesty and a high standard of integrity. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own any work which he or she has not honestly performed is regarded by the faculty and administration as a most serious offense and renders the offender liable to serious consequences, possibly suspension.
Dishonesty of any kind on examinations or on written assignments, illegal possession of examinations, the use of unauthorized notes during an examination, obtaining information during an examination from the textbook or from the examination paper of another student, assisting others to cheat, alteration of grade records, illegal entry or unauthorized presence in an office are examples of cheating. Complete honesty is required of the student in the presentation of any and all phases of course work. This applies to quizzes of whatever length, as well as to final examinations, to daily reports and to term papers.
Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identifiable expression of material taken from books, Internet resources, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism.
No students may possess or use alcoholic beverages on the College campus or while representing the College on an off-campus trip or activity. Violation may also occur when a student’s conduct is adversely affected by the consumption of alcohol.
Animals on Campus
Animals are not allowed in any college building except when needed for instruction or where needed by an employee or student with a disability. Service Animals are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service Animals are permitted in every area on campus unless posted due to safety concerns. Students with Service Animals are not required to register with the Disability Services office, but notification is recommended. Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are used in the treatment of a diagnosed condition. ESA’s are not allowed in any campus buildings with the exception of student housing. ESA’s must be registered and approved through the Disability Services Office before being brought onto campus.
Approved animals on campus must be under the direct control of the handler at all times. This can occur using a harness, leash, or other tether. The handler is responsible for the care and supervision of the animal. If an animal behaves in an unacceptable manner and the handler does not control the animal, South Plains College may ask for the removal of the animal. The Service Animal or ESA itself is an extension of the student and therefore under the same code of conduct as the student. South Plains College has the right to deny access to Service and/or ESAs that are disruptive. The Service Animal and/or ESA’s handler is responsible for repairing or replacing any property that may accidentally be damaged by the Service or ESA. All Service Animals and ESA’s must be vaccinated and licensed according to local or county ordinances.
For more detailed information on service animals and emotional support animals https://myspc.southplainscollege.edu/ICS/Students/FYI/.
Any expression of hatred or prejudice is inconsistent with the purposes of higher education in a free society. If bigotry exists in any form in the larger society, it will be an issue on the College campus. Therefore, South Plains College is committed to creating conditions where bigotry is forthrightly confronted.
Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America).
Children in the Classroom
Students are not allowed to bring children to class and will be asked to leave in the interest of providing an environment conducive to learning for all students enrolled in the class.
Failure to comply with lawful direction of a classroom teacher relative to maintaining good order is considered misconduct on the part of the student. Repeated violations of disrupting a class may result in the student being dropped from that course.
The College does not permit discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. Further information regarding discrimination or harassment and procedures for students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or found in the Student Rights and Responsibility section of this Guide.
The use of force or violence or tactics or behavior which cause obstruction, or disruption of teaching, administration, disciplinary procedures or other college authorized activities on college premises or the use of language or behavior that provokes, disrupts, or annoys others.
Distribution of Literature, Advertising, Selling or Solicitation
Selling and soliciting are only permitted on the campus with official authorization. Solicitation of students, faculty, or staff members by personal contact or through the distribution of advertising leaflets or handbills to promote sales is not permitted on any South Plains College campus or in any college buildings without prior approval of Director of Student Life on the Levelland Campus, the Dean of Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with reasonable directives and/or requests of a College official acting in the performance of his or her duties or failure to present student identification on request or identify oneself to any College official acting in the performance of his other duties.
Falsification of Records
Knowingly furnishing false in-formation to the College or forging, altering, or making un-authorized use of a college document, record or identification.
Students are expected and required to promptly address all financial responsibilities owed on and off the campus. Unpaid debts, returned checks and other cases of financial irresponsibility can result in action that may not be limited to holds placed on records and/ or criminal or civil actions.
Firearms, Weapons, Fireworks and Explosives
The unauthorized possession or use of firearms, weapons, fireworks, or explosives of any description on college grounds or property, including residence halls, is prohibited. Any item used with the intention of threatening, causing harm or damage to another individual or property will be considered a weapon. Replica fire arms or simulated fire arms are prohibited from campus, unless approved by the Dean of Students.
Gambling in any form is prohibited by state law on college grounds or property, including college residence halls.
Hoverboards, Bicycles, and Skateboards
The use of bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, motorized skateboards, scooters and other mechanical means of transportation are not allowed for use or possession within South Plains College buildings. The following exceptions apply: 1) when required for a work or class assignment or 2) as necessary for a disability or medical condition.
Illegal Selling of Books
The selling of books belonging to another person, organization, firm or institution constitutes theft.
The use, possession or transfer of any illegal substance on campus or at any college related function on or off campus is strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy with respect to illegal substances and violations of this policy will result in a one-year suspension from the College.
Lewd, Indecent, or Obscene Conduct
Lewd, vulgar, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on college property or functions off campus identified with South Plains College is strictly prohibited and will result in strict disciplinary measures.
Safety and Health Requirements
Students who violate safety and health requirements may be disciplined through academic and Student Code of Conduct sanctions. A student’s grade may be downgraded as a result of the student’s failure to properly observe safety procedures within the laboratory or shop.
Stalking is a pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in a victim and/or threaten her or his safety, mental health or physical health; or the safety of any of the immediate family members of the College community.
Reasonable standards of decency apply to the College community. The student should not dress in a manner that distracts from the academic atmosphere such as revealing attire or clothing carrying obscene or offensive slogans. In all academic buildings, classrooms, offices, the Student Center, and dining facilities, students are required to wear shirts and shoes.
The conduct or participation in activities such as threatening or obscene letters or electronic mail, disturbing telephone calls, bomb threats and false alarms by unknown persons are strictly prohibited. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on terroristic threats. Violations of this policy will result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.
The removal of property belonging to the College or another person or the possession or transfer of such property constitutes an act of theft. SPC maintains a zero tolerance policy on theft. Violations of this policy will result in a one year suspension from the College.
The use of any tobacco product, electronic cigarette, or vapor device throughout all indoor areas and within a 25 foot perimeter around all facility entrances, exits and HVAC air intake vents under the control of SPC, including sporting facilities and in SPC vehicles, is prohibited.
The unauthorized entry to or use of college buildings, offices, or facilities is strictly prohibited.
Unauthorized Possession of Keys
The possession by students of keys or access cards to college buildings or facilities that have not been issued to the student by an authorized college official is strictly prohibited.
Making or causing to be made unauthorized video or photographic images of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the prior effective consent of the individual is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, taking video or photographic images in shower/locker rooms, residence hall rooms and restrooms, and storing, sharing, and/or distributing of such unauthorized images by any means.
Unauthorized Use or Possession
Attempted or actual unauthorized use or possession of a credit card, debit card, student identification card, cell phone, personal identification number, test number, MySPC account information and/or personal check, or other unauthorized use or possession of personal property or information of another is strictly prohibited.
The willful malicious destruction, damage or defacing of property whether it belongs to the College or another student constitutes an act of vandalism.
The use of physical violence against another person or the threat to do so is strictly prohibited. Acts of violence or threats of violence will result in strict disciplinary measures to include suspension and possible criminal charges.
Violation of Local, State or Federal Law
Any action, event or group of events which pro- vides grounds for a charge or violation of local, state, or federal laws or college regulations is strictly prohibited.
Special Process Provisions
In most circumstances, the College will treat attempts to commit any violations of Student Conduct as if those attempts had been completed.
College as Complainant
As necessary, the College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.
The College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intention- ally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
Immunity for Victims and Witnesses
The College community encourages the reporting of conduct code violations and crimes by victims and witnesses, especially in the case of sexual misconduct. Sometimes, victims or witnesses are hesitant to report to college officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to college officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, South Plains College pursues a policy of offering victims of crimes and witnesses limited immunity from policy violations related to the sexual misconduct incident. While violations cannot be completely overlooked, the College may provide educational rather than punitive responses, in such cases.
The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off-campus may need assistance. South Plains College encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others, for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, as student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to the Campus Police). The College pursues a policy of limited immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the College may provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
The College reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, related to alcohol and other drug violations. The College may also notify parents/guardians of dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is not a dependent, the College will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The College also reserves the right to designate which college officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the accused student, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. However, college observes the legal exceptions as follows:
Complainants in non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome, essential findings, and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.
The College may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction / damage / vandalism of property and kidnapping / abduction. The College will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.
Penalties for Misconduct
Penalties for misconduct include, but are not limited to the following, as determined appropriate by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Warning or Reprimand
All offenses that may be punishable by reprimand or warning shall be regarded as minor offenses. Reprimand may include, but is not limited to, counseling with or writing a letter to the student. These actions are cumulative and are considered official college actions and are recorded in the Office of the Dean of Students.
Referral to Health & Wellness
Under certain situations, a student may be referred to Health and Wellness for counseling services. A set number of visits is established within a given amount of time. Failure to complete prescribed sessions will result in a hold being placed on the student’s account for failure to comply. The hold may be lifted once the requirements for all sanctions have been fulfilled.
It may be determined that a student should be restricted from specified campus facilities, organizations or activities as a part of disciplinary action.
A student may be assigned to do additional class work or other community service jobs on campus, as determined by the Dean of Students, the Dean of the Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center.
Any offense leading to disciplinary probation is regarded as a major offense. Disciplinary probation is applied for a stated period with or without specified restrictive conditions. Restrictive conditions may include but are not limited to: removing the right of the student to receive any college award, scholarships, or financial aid; removing the right to occupy any position of leadership in any college or student organization or activity; removing the right to operate a motor vehicle on campus. The student is required to show appropriate changes in attitude and behavior during the probationary period.
Any offense leading to disciplinary suspension is regarded as a major offense. Suspension is normally for a stated period, but never less than the remainder of the semester in which the offense is committed.
During suspension, the student shall not attend classes, participate in any college related activity, or be on campus for any reason except application for readmission. Readmission on probation may be granted at the end of the suspension period.
Expulsion is the permanent removal from South Plains College with no opportunity for readmission. Expulsion shall be used only in cases of extreme misconduct.
Removal from College Housing
In certain instances, the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students may remove a student from college housing and allow him/her to continue attending classes.
Procedures for Disciplinary Action
All offenses of misconduct, both minor and major (including Title IX), shall be dealt with by the Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, or the Director of the Plainview Center. All offenses that may lead to suspension or expulsion shall be regarded as major offenses and be dealt with by the following procedures.
Rules of Evidence and Burden of Proof
Disciplinary decisions will be based on the preponderance of evidence, in other words, it is more likely than not an alleged incident occurred. A totality of all available and relevant evidence will be used to establish this preponderance. The burden and responsibility for gathering and evaluating evidence rests with the College. Accused students may elect to not self-incriminate and should be active in presenting relevant evidence to support their position. The intent of the disciplinary process is to provide an educational remedy that is in the best interest of all students and the preservation of the academic process. In extreme cases this may involve utilizing punitive actions such as suspension or expulsion.
The Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, Director of the Plainview Center, or a Title IX Investigator is responsible for investigating reported student misconduct and evaluating evidence as to its accuracy, credibility, and sufficiency. Upon concluding that a major offense has been committed and that there is sufficient evidence to prove this offense, a written statement is prepared that includes: the alleged violation and charges against the student; a statement of penalties to be imposed; and the explanation of student rights and due process.
Where the accused individual is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation should be closed. Where the accused individual accepts the finding that s/he violated college policy, the Dean or Director will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation. In all Title IX cases, the Dean of Students will take into consideration all information and will impose the appropriate sanctions.
In the event that the accused individual rejects the findings in part or entirely, the Dean or Director will convene a hearing body, made up of a minimum of two of the following: Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, Dean of the Reese Center, Director of the Plainview Center, Instructional Dean of student’s major, Department Chairperson of student’s major, faculty member of student’s choice and President of Student Government. Only in situations involving criminal legal proceedings may the student request the representation of an attorney. However, the attorney may not speak on behalf of the student and the attorney does not have an active, participatory role in the process. If the student is allowed an attorney, an attorney representing South Plains College may also be in attendance. The hearing body will determine whether the accused individual is in violation of the contested aspects of the complaint. At the hearing, the findings of the investigation will be admitted, but are not binding on the decider(s) of fact. The hearing body will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil and legal rights of all participants.
Where an accused individual is found in violation the Dean or Director will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation, as recommended by the hearing body. The Dean or Director has final decision making authority with regard to formal complaints, subject to appeal.