Student Conduct Process and Procedures

Any person may report potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct by a GRCC Student to the Student Conduct Administrator or designee.

The Student Conduct Administrator (or designee) handles matters that require disciplinary action at Grand Rapids Community College. When a student has been charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be notified of the charges in writing. If the charges involve Sexual Misconduct, the student will also be provided the Sexual Misconduct Policy. If there are any procedural discrepancies found between this document and that policy, the process will follow that which is listed in the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Following notification, the Student Conduct Administrator or designee will meet with the student charged. Meetings shall not be open to the public, but the student may have an advisor present during this meeting. If there is more than one accused student in the case, it is within the discretion of the Student Conduct Administrator or designee to conduct the meeting(s) either separately or jointly.

Preponderance of the evidence is defined as whether it is more likely than not that the Accused Student violated the Student Code and is the standard used to determine code violations. 

If a student and/or group or organization is found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Conduct Administrator shall determine the sanction(s) to be imposed.  The student and/or group or organization will receive the determination and sanction(s) imposed, if any, in writing.  Complainants of violent crimes and/or sexual misconduct will receive a determination of findings and sanctions related to the complainant.

Pending action on the charges, the status of a student will not be altered, nor will their right to be present on the campus and to attend classes be suspended, except for reasons relating to the safety and/or well-being of the GRCC community. The Student Conduct Administrator will make the decision to suspend with regard to safety or property (as defined herein).

 

Retaliation

The College seeks to foster an environment in which all employees and students feel free to report incidents of misconduct without fear of retaliation or reprisal. Therefore, the College strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual for filing a complaint or for participating in an investigation. Retaliatory conduct is illegal and constitutes a violation of this code.

Any student or employee who believes that they have been harassed or retaliated against in violation of this policy should immediately report such incidents to a Student Conduct Administrator.

All allegations of retaliation will be swiftly and thoroughly investigated.  If it is determined that retaliation has occurred, the College will take all reasonable steps within its power to stop such conduct. Individuals who engage in retaliatory conduct are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion. 

 

Sanctions

The following sanctions may be imposed by the Student Conduct Administrator or designee for violations of the Student Code of Conduct: 

a. Verbal warning

b. Written warning

c. Probation – A period of observation and review of conduct during which the student or recognized Student Organization must demonstrate compliance with College standards. Terms of this probationary period will be determined at the time probation is imposed.

d. Permanent removal from a course or academic program.

e. Restitution – Compensation for loss, damage, or injury.  This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement. 

f. Suspension – The student or recognized Student Organization has temporary loss of student status for a specified length of time.

g. Expulsion – Termination of a student’s enrollment at GRCC. This means the student may no longer participate in any GRCC activity or be on campus for any purpose.

h. Other Sanctions – Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, specific sanctions listed in this section. These may include, but are not limited to: recommendations for counseling, establishment of mandatory behavior conditions/contract-signing stating agreed-upon behavior expectations for continued enrollment or reenrollment; loss of access to college computers and/or network; a specific project designed to assist the student in better understanding the overall impact of their behavioral infraction; a contract of terms for restitution of damages/stolen property before enrollment is continued and/or records are released. Suspension without pay from their on campus job; prohibit participation in extracurricular activities or interscholastic or leadership positions, or community service.

i. Revocation of Admission and/or Degree – Admission to or a degree awarded from Grand Rapids Community College may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of GRCC standards in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation. 

j. Withholding Degree – GRCC may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Student Code of Conduct, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any. 

More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation. Sanctions of suspension, expulsion or revocation or withholding of a degree will become a permanent part of a student’s record.  Cases that result in all other sanctions will be maintained for seven years. Sanctions of written warning or more severe will be included in responses to background checks received by the Office of Student Life and Conduct.
 

The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations:

a. Those sanctions listed above (a-j).

b. Loss of selected rights and privileges for a specified period of time.

c. Loss of Recognition– GRCC student organizations may lose recognition and will be deprived of the use of College resources, the use of the College’s name, and the right to participate in College or campus-sponsored activities. This loss of recognition may be for a specific period of time or for an indefinite period of time until stated all conditions are met.


Interim Suspension

In certain circumstances, the Student Conduct Administrator (or designee) may impose a suspension prior to the conduct process. 

a. Interim suspension may be imposed only to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the GRCC community or preservation of GRCC property or if the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the college. 

b. During the interim suspension, a student shall be denied access to the campus (including classes) as determined by the Student Conduct Administrator or designee.

c. Students can appeal this decision by submitting a written statement within two business days of receiving written notification of the interim suspension. The written statement should outline why the temporary suspension is inappropriate to the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs who will provide a response within five business days.

 

Amnesty for Reports of Sexual Misconduct or Student Code Violations:

a. For Victims:

The College provides amnesty to those who may be hesitant to report to College officials because they fear that they themselves, others may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking or drug use, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

b. For Those Who Offer Assistance:

To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, College pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Director of Student Life and Conduct and the Title IX Coordinator for reports of sexual misconduct, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

c. For Those Who Report Serious Violations:

Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the College are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result.


Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the Director of Student Life and Conduct not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
 

d. Safe Harbor:

The College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. The College believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of College officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated.


Section 4

Requesting a Hearing   

If a student disagrees with the decision reached by the Student Conduct Administrator (or designee) or with the sanction imposed, the Accused Student(s) or Complainant(s) may request a Hearing before a hearing committee.  If appealing a decision that resulted in a warning only, the case is only eligible for a review of written documentation by the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs (or designee) as described in the Final Appeal process.  The Hearing Committee process will not be initiated. 

Process for Requesting a Hearing:  The request for the hearing must be made in writing within five (5) business days following the Student Conduct Administrator (or designee’s) written notification of conduct decision to the student and must include the reason for the hearing request.
 

Hearing Committee Make-up

The Hearing Committee will consist of three (3) GRCC employees (a combination of faculty and staff members) selected from a pool of trained hearing members appointed by the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs.


Notice of Hearing 

The Accused Student(s) and the Complainant(s) shall be given written notice of the time, date and place of the hearing, the reason for the assigned sanction, a list of potential witnesses, unless to do so would compromise their safety, and notice of the nature of the evidence.


Timing
The hearing must begin within ten (10) business days of the student’s request and proceed as promptly as possible. (Upon mutual agreement between the student and the College, the timeline may extend past the ten days.) The Accused Student(s) and the Complainant(s) may attend the hearing, present evidence and witnesses, and hear witnesses.  Questions to witnesses may be directed through the hearing committee Chair.


Rules and Regulations 

a. For the Hearing, students are entitled to be accompanied by one advisor. The advisor may be an individual of the student’s choice, so long as they did not witness the alleged incident. The student may choose to have an attorney as their advisor but it shall be at their expense.

b. The student’s attorney or advisor shall have no role at the Hearing other than to advise the student. The advisor shall not be permitted to ask or answer questions or to make oral arguments or otherwise disrupt or delay the hearing.

c. Questions from the student(s) to witnesses or to other students will be directed through the Hearing Committee Chairperson. The Hearing Committee will make decisions based on the information presented at the hearing and from the case file.

d. There shall be a single recording of the hearing, which shall be property of GRCC, and will be retained with the case file. No other recording devices will be allowe Deliberations shall not be recorded. 

e. A campus police officer may attend the hearing.

f. If the accused student, complainant or witnesses fail to attend the hearing, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

g. Unless the law requires, the hearings are not open to the public.
 

Special Hearing Provisions for Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Other Complaints of a Sensitive Nature

For sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature, whether the alleged victim is serving as the party bringing the complaint or as a witness, alternative testimony options may be provided upon request, such as placing a privacy screen in the hearing room or allowing the alleged victim to testify from another room via audio or audio/video technology. While these options are intended to help make the alleged victim more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the responding student.

The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other parties in hearings unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the panel Chair. All such information sought to be admitted by a party or the College will be presumed irrelevant until a showing of relevance is made, in advance of the hearing, to the Chair. Demonstration of pattern, repeated, and/or predatory behavior by the responding student, in the form of previous findings in any legal or campus proceeding, [or in the form of previous good faith allegations], may always be relevant to the finding, not just the sanction. The parties will be notified in advance if any such information is deemed relevant and will be introduced in the hearing.

The party bringing any complaint alleging sexual misconduct, other behavior falling within the coverage of Title IX and/or a crime of violence will be notified in writing of the outcome of a hearing, any sanctions assigned and the rationale for the decision.


Hearing Decision

The decision of the Hearing Committee will be based solely upon matters introduced into evidence during the Hearing. If the Accused Student(s) is found to be responsible for a code violation, the Committee will determine if the sanctions were appropriate for the violation.  The committee may recommend it remain the same or lessen the sanction impact, but cannot assign a more significant sanction.  A vote of two Committee members will be considered a majority decision and will be presented in writing to the student no later than ten (10) business days after the conclusion of the hearing.


Final Appeal

The student may appeal the Hearing Committee’s decision in writing to the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs within five (5) business days. This final level of appeal is a review of written documentation only.  If it is not filed within this time, the student will forfeit their final appeal opportunity.

a. Appeal Procedures: All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. The written appeal must clearly explain, in detail, the basis for the appeal. Basis for the appeal must address one or more of the following, in detail,

     i. Whether appropriate procedures were followed.
    ii. Whether the sanctions imposed are appropriate, reasonable or just.
   iii. Whether the decision was supported by evidence.
   iv. Whether all relevant information was available at the time of the original hearing.

b. If the student fails to follow through with the above outlined process, the appeal opportunity will be forfeited.

c. Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Decision: After reviewing the Hearing Committee’s written decision, along with the written appeal from the student, the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs shall have five (5) business days to render a written decision to the student. The Dean of Student Affairs decision shall be final, binding and emailed to student’s GRCC email address.

 

Section 5

Interpretation and Revision

a. Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Code shall be referred to the Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs or their designee for final determination.

b. The Student Code of Conduct shall be reviewed every three years under the direction of the Student Conduct Administrator. 

    i. Revised 7/15/2010
   ii. Revised 9/16/2014
  iii. Revised 7/5/2018