Student Code of Conduct
When a student ignores or fails to act in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations or Charter Oak State College policies, the Board of Regents and Charter Oak State College have the obligation and right to institute appropriate disciplinary action. Students whose conduct is determined to be unacceptable will be subject to sanctions, following due process, which are commensurate with the gravity of the offense and in the best interests of the College community. Sanctions may include suspension or expulsion.
Charter Oak State College shall ensure that no person is excluded from participating in, denied benefits of, or otherwise be discriminated against under any program because of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability or marital status.
Please review the BOR/CSCU STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT approved in April 2014. Students must abide by both the BOR/CSCU and Charter Oak codes of conduct.
Section 1: Policy Statement
The Board adopted this policy on student discipline for Charter Oak State College in recognition of the need to preserve the orderly process of the College, as well as to observe the student's procedural and substantive rights.
Affirmative action grievances are administered by the College's Affirmative Action Officer.
The Student Code of Conduct applies to matriculated and non-matriculated students, including those participating in portfolio assessment, credential evaluation, testing, or contract learning.
Jurisdiction of the College: Generally, College jurisdiction shall be limited to student conduct that occurs while students are taking Charter Oak State College courses or availing themselves of Charter Oak State College services. This also applies to misrepresentation of records from other institutions. However, if a matriculated Charter Oak State College student is found guilty of student misconduct at another institution, the student may be subject to disciplinary action at Charter Oak State College.
Section 2: Proscribed Conduct
Conduct Rules and Regulations: As members of the College community, students have an obligation to uphold The Student Code of Conduct as well as to obey federal, state, and local laws.
The following list of behaviors is intended to represent the types of acts that constitute violations of The Student Code of Conduct. This list should not be regarded as all-inclusive. Charter Oak State College may discipline a student in the following situations:
- For knowingly making a false statement, either orally or in writing, including e-mail transmission, to any employee or agent of the College with regard to a College-related matter, including using a faked identification or failing to provide identification upon request by security or College officials, or providing false information on the admissions application.
- For forging, altering, or otherwise misusing any College document or record.
- For academic dishonesty, which shall in general mean conduct, which has as its intent or effect the false representation of a student's academic performance including but not limited to: (a) cheating on an examination; (b) plagiarizing, including the submission of another's ideas or papers as one's own and using translation programs; (c) stealing or having unauthorized access to examinations; (d) falsifying records, transcripts, test scores or other data; or (e) being represented by another individual for all or part of a distance learning course or examination. (See Academic Appeals and Academic Honesty Policy)
- For the theft, misuse, abuse or unauthorized use of computers, computer programs or files; unauthorized alteration of computer programs or files; unauthorized duplication of computer programs or files; or other deliberate action which disrupts the operation of computer systems servicing the College community.
- For conduct that damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, College property or property of others on college or college-related premises.
- For unauthorized possession or attempted possession of College property or property of a member of the College community.
- For acts which violate regulations of College rules.
- For actual or threatened physical assault or intentional or reckless injury to Charter Oak State College, faculty, and students or college property or oneself.
- For offensive or disorderly conduct which causes interference, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creates a risk thereof on College or College-related premises, College web or social media sites, at a College-sponsored activity or in college courses; including cyber bullying. This offense does not apply to speech or other forms of constitutionally protected expression.
- For interfering with the freedom of any person, including invited speaker, to express his/her views.
- For knowingly allowing another person to impersonate you in correspondance/converstation with faculty and/or staff.
- For lewd, obscene conduct or expression. That which is obscene shall be defined under Connecticut General Statute Section 53a-193.
- For possession, sale, use, transfer, purchase or delivery of illegal or controlled substances on College or College-related premises except as expressly permitted by law.
- For possession or use of firearms, fireworks, dangerous weapons, or possession of dangerous chemicals on College or College-related premises when not authorized.
- For starting fires, and/or explosions, and/or false reporting of a fire, bomb, incendiary device, or other explosive or any false reporting of an emergency on College or College-related premises.
- Violation of any restrictions, conditions, or terms of a sanction resulting from prior disciplinary actions.
- Abuse of the College disciplinary system, including but not limited to:
- Interference with the conduct of a disciplinary proceeding
- Intentionally providing false or misleading information to a disciplinary body
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the disciplinary system
- Failure to comply with a sanction or with an administrative agreement.
- Written or Oral Harassment:
- Written or oral harassment includes the use of threatening or obscene language, or language which is otherwise abusive or discriminatory directed by a student towards another student, a professor, academic counselor, trustee or any employee of the College
Section 3: Rights and Responsibilities of Hearing Participants
Hearing participants may include the accused student(s), a complainant, witnesses, support person(s), and the members of the hearing body.
The complaining party, any alleged victim and the student who has been charged shall each have the right to:
- Be notified of all charges.
- Review any written complaint(s) submitted in support of the charge(s).
- Be informed of the hearing process.
- Request a delay of a hearing due to extenuating circumstances.
- Be accompanied by a support person during the hearing.
- Be present at all stages of the hearing process except during the private deliberations of the hearing body.
- Submit a written statement regarding the incident.
- Give a personal statement.
- Question all statements and other information presented at the hearing.
- Present information and witnesses when deemed appropriate and relevant by the hearing body.
- Be informed of the finding(s) as well as any sanctions imposed.
- Present a personal or community impact statement to the hearing body upon a finding of "Violation."
Students are responsible for meeting the deadlines outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. This includes responding to the correspondence regarding the scheduling of the hearing and submission of relevant documentation for the hearing or appeal. If the student doesn’t respond by the deadlines set in the correspondence and/or Student Code of Conduct or does not show up at a scheduled hearing, the student forfeits his/her right to the hearing or appeal and the sanction he/she was appealing will go into effect.
Students are responsible for checking their Charter Oak e-mails while in the Student Code of Conduct process. This is how the College will communicate with the student during the appeal process. For a hearing, the College will contact the student via e-mail. If there is no response, the College will also call and send a letter via the postal service. If there is no response from the student by the date stated in the correspondence, the sanction will be imposed.
In addition to the above-mentioned rights, a student who has been charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct shall have the right to:
- Be notified of the proposed information to be presented and to know the identity of witnesses who have been called to speak at the hearing when the Chair of the disciplinary hearing knows such information.
- Request an alternate hearing panel member when there is reasonable cause to believe that the hearing panel will be unable to conduct an impartial hearing.
- Be presumed not to be in "violation" of the code unless the facts presented at the hearing prove otherwise.
- Deny or admit violating the Code of Conduct.
- Decline to give a personal statement.
- Present Character Witnesses, if appropriate.
- Receive a written notice of the sanction(s) imposed.
Section 4: Disciplinary Procedures
The Administration and the Faculty of Charter Oak State College believe that all members of the academic community are entitled to expect compliance with Section 2: Proscribed Conduct. Accordingly, any student or employee of the College may initiate a disciplinary process in the manner specified by this section. Once the process has been initiated, all subsequent decisions concerning possible discipline of a student or students rest with the appropriate College officials. The President shall designate the Provost or another College official to have responsibility for the disciplinary procedures detailed in subsections (1) through (6), inclusive.
- A statement of possible violation must be filed in writing with the Provost within fifteen (15) business days of the date of the alleged violation or within fifteen (15) business days of the date the alleged violation was known. Said statement must specify the student conduct in question and the part or parts of Section 2: Proscribed Conduct, which it is alleged said conduct violates, if applicable.
- If the Provost determines that the alleged conduct may violate the provisions of the Section 2: Proscribed Conduct or otherwise threatens the safety or order of the College, the Provost shall, within ten (10) business days of receiving a written statement under section 4-1 above, provide written notice to the student of the statement of possible violation(s) and the fact that the allegations will be investigated. The investigation shall be conducted by the Provost and/or his or her designee(s), and may include but not be limited to interviews with witnesses, the complainant(s), and review of any pertinent materials and information, and shall include an interview with the student suspected in engaging in the proscribed conduct unless the student suspected declines to be interviewed. The investigation shall be completed within fourteen (14) business days of the Provost's receipt of the written statement of possible violation under Section 4-1. A record of the investigations will be maintained.
- Following completion of the informal investigation specified above, the Provost will (a) determine that there is insufficient basis in fact and dismiss the matter or (b) conclude that there is a sufficient factual basis for discipline.
- If the Provost determines there is a sufficient factual basis for moving forward with disciplinary proceedings, he or she shall cause a written statement of charges to be provided to the student. Said statement shall contain (a) a concise statement of the facts on which the charge is based; (b) a citation of the rule or rules alleged to have been violated; (c) a statement of the maximum penalty sought; (d) a statement that the student may request a hearing by responding in writing to the Provost within fifteen (15) business days requesting such hearing; and (e) a statement that failure to request a hearing may result in imposition of the penalty sought.
- If the student requests a formal hearing under Section 4., the student is entitled to the following: (a) a hearing be conducted within thirty (30) business days after receipt by Provost of a written request for a hearing; (b) to be heard by an impartial panel chaired by the Dean of the Faculty or his/her designee and composed of no fewer than two members of the Charter Oak State College Faculty appointed by the Dean of the Faculty and one student appointed by the Student Association; (c) to appear in person or through a conference call or other mutually agreed upon electronic means, or to have a representative attend on his/her behalf; (d) be accompanied by a support person during the hearing; (e) to hear and have a reasonable opportunity to question adverse witnesses and to present evidence and testimony in his/her behalf; and (f) to receive a written decision within ten (10) business days following the hearing specifying the panel's findings and the penalty assessed, if any. The hearing shall be taped and a record shall be maintained of this hearing. See Section 7.
- If the disciplinary process is underway, the process will continue even if the student decides to engage another process outside of the institution to resolve the issue.
- Hearing: A hearing shall be conducted following the guidelines specified below:
- A hearing shall be conducted in private.
- Admission of any person into the hearing room shall be at the discretion of the chair of the hearing body. The chair, who is the Dean of the Faculty or his/her designee, shall have the authority to discharge or to remove any person whose presence is deemed unnecessary or obstructive to the proceeding.
- Except as directed by the chair, support persons shall limit their role in a hearing to that of a consultant to the accused, to the complainant or to the victim.
- The complainant and the accused are responsible for presenting their respective witnesses, any additional information, and any concluding statements regarding the charges and the information.
- If the accused elects not to show up for the hearing, the hearing will be conducted. Not being present for the hearing doesn’t mean the accused is guilty of the charge. The hearing panel will make a decision based on the evidence it has.
- In a manner deemed appropriate by the chair, the complainant and/or the accused may question the statements of any person who testifies.
- The hearing panel may question any witness presented by the accused and the complainant, including the complainant and the accused as well as any other witnesses the chair may choose to call.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the hearing body at the discretion of the chair.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chair or the Provost.
- After the hearing has concluded, the hearing panel, in private, will decide whether the student charged with misconduct is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Dean of the Faculty or his/her designee may participate in the discussion, but is a non-voting member. Only evidence introduced at the hearing shall be considered in the determination of the decision. Each decision shall be made on the basis of whether or not the information presented at the hearing substantiates the charges in a clear and convincing manner.
- If the panel finds that the student violated the Student Conduct Code, the panel, in private, shall review the student's academic transcript and disciplinary record, hear character witness, if appropriate, and impose the appropriate sanction (s). The decision of the panel will be provided in writing to the Provost. The decision and sanction will be sent to the student in writing by the Provost.
- A taped record of the hearing will be maintained. See Section 7. The record shall be the property of the College.
Via the Phone
- For the accused or complainant who cannot attend in person, Charter Oak State College will set up a conference call.
- Twenty-one (21) business days before the hearing, the Provost must receive all materials to be presented by the accused and by the complainant, including the names and relationships of the character witnesses and support persons. The Provost will send copies of the materials to the hearing panel, the accused, and the complainant at least seven (7) business days before the hearing. The Provost will arrange for the conference call.
- The procedures outlined in the "on- site" section will be followed, unless they specifically apply only to the on-site hearing.
Section 5: Appeal Process
- Academic Decisions: The decision of the hearing committee is final.
- Disciplinary Hearings: Within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the formal hearing, a student may appeal the decision, in writing, to the President. An appeal shall be limited to a consideration of the verbatim record of the hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following: a.) the process set forth in the guidelines was not followed and resulted in prejudice to the student; b.) the evidence presented was insufficient to justify the decision; and c.) sanction(s) imposed was/were disproportionate to the gravity of the offense. The President may accept the decision of the hearing panel, overturn their decision, return the matter to the original hearing panel, or appoint a new hearing panel. The hearing procedures outlined in Sections 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7 will be followed. The decision of the original hearing panel or the new hearing panel or the President will be sent to the student in writing by the President and will be final.
- During any appeal period, any sanctions will remain in place and the student will not be allowed to participate in a graduation ceremony nor graduate until the review process has been completed and a final decision rendered.
Section 6: Interim Administrative Action
The President or his/her designee may impose an interim "College Suspension" and/or other necessary restrictions on a student prior to a hearing on the student's alleged violation. Such action may be taken when, in the professional judgment of the President or his/her designee, a threat of imminent harm to persons or property exists.
Interim Administrative Action is not a sanction. It is rather action to protect the safety and well-being of an accused student, or other members of the College community or greater community or to protect property. Such action is in effect only until a hearing is completed.
Section 7: Disciplinary Penalties
Disciplinary penalty shall mean any action affecting the status of an individual as a student taken by the College in response to a student's proscribed conduct in violation of Section 2 above, which penalties shall include but not be limited to:
- Warning--A written notice that the student has violated College policy and a warning that another violation will likely result in a more severe sanction.
- Restitution--Compensation for loss of or damage to property.
- Academic Sanctions: Outlined in Section 4.
- Suspension. Suspension is a temporary disciplinary separation from the College involving denial of all student privileges, including entrance to College premises. A notation of "suspension" will be placed in the student database but will not be placed on the student transcript. Charter Oak State College will not accept credits earned at another institution or through any other means during a period of suspension. Suspensions shall range from one semester to two years. Students who are suspended will receive no refund of tuition or fees. A student who has been suspended must apply for re-matriculation if he/she plans to return.
- Dismissal. Dismissal is mandatory separation from the College involving denial of all student privileges, including entrance to college premises for a minimum of 5 years. After the length of the term for expulsion has expired, the student may request in writing directed to the Provost permission to re-matriculate. Charter Oak State College will not accept credits earned at another institution or through any other means during a period of Dismissal. A permanent notation of "Dismissed" shall be placed on the student's transcript.
- Expulsion: A student can be permanently expelled from the institution if the institution determines through the student code of conduct review process that the student is a danger to the institution.
Failure to comply with requirements of 1 and 5 of this Section will result in dismissal from the institution. The student must complete the requirements of the sanction before he/she would be allowed to apply for readmission and/or graduate.
Section 8: Maintenance and Review of Disciplinary Records
A student's disciplinary record will be maintained by the Provost separately from any other academic or official files. Disciplinary actions will not be a part of the student's academic transcript, unless the student is expelled. Generally information from the disciplinary record is not released without the written consent of the student. However, certain information may be provided to individuals within or outside the College who have a legitimate legal or educational interest in obtaining it (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended).
Disciplinary records will be destroyed 7 years after the student graduates or 7 years after the student ceases attending. The disciplinary record of an expelled student shall be retained indefinitely.
Section 9: Definitions
This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. If there are other terms in the Student Code of Conduct that require interpretation or clarification, the Provost shall make the final determination.
- "College" means Charter Oak State College.
- "Student" means any matriculated student or student using the services provided by the College.
- "Instructor" means any person providing education services for Charter Oak State College (teaching, tutoring, evaluating portfolios, program proposals, etc.)
- "Staff" means any non-faculty employed by the College.
- "College official" means any person employed by the College to perform administrative, instructional, or professional duties.
- "College premises" means all land, buildings, facilities and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College, either solely or in conjunction with another entity.
- "Designee" means a staff or faculty member who has been delegated responsibility for implementing the disciplinary process, in part or whole.
- "Hearing panel" means the committee that has been assigned to determine whether a student has violated The Student Code of Conduct.
- "Support person" means any person who accompanies an accused student, a complainant, or a victim to a hearing for the limited purpose of providing individual consultation. A support person may not directly address the hearing body, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the hearing process.
- "Business Day" means any day, Monday through Friday, that the College is open.
- "Shall" and "Will" are used in the imperative sense.
- "May" is used in the permissive sense.
- "Policy" is defined as the written regulations, standards, and the student conduct expectations adopted by the College and found in, but not limited to The Student Handbook and College website.
Adopted: September 13, 1990
Amended: November 16, 2000
Amended: May 20, 2004
Amended: July 26, 2007
Amended: May 26, 2011
Amended: July 1, 2012
Amended: July 1, 2019