Reason for Policy
The general purpose of our student code of conduct policy is to maintain a safe and respectful learning environment. This policy establishes a clear conduct standard, an explanation of the reporting processes, and an explanation of the conduct investigation, actions, sanction, and appeals processes. There are specific policies and procedures related to conduct that apply to faculty and staff. The following policy and related processes are specific to students.
Safe and Respectful Learning Environment
“Membership in society implies minimal norms for civil behavior towards one another. It is our expectation that all members of our college community treat faculty, staff, and fellow students with respect.”.
Last Modified on 9/22/2020
Members of the Granite State College community are expected to treat each other with respect. Some conduct may seem respectful to one party and not to the other. Our conduct standard recognizes and accommodates these differences in perspective by providing a confidential, fair and expeditious process for resolving these differences before they escalate. Members of our community are expected to know and comply with the policies, rules, and procedures of the College, including this conduct policy. Behavior that threatens or endangers the welfare of members of the College community or substantially disrupts or threatens to substantially disrupt the operation of the College is prohibited and shall be grounds for disciplinary action, including possible dismissal from the College. Such prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to disruptive conduct, harassment, bullying, discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, and threatening behaviors.
College jurisdiction and discipline applies to conduct which occurs on College premises or off-campus behavior that adversely affects a member of the College community and/or the pursuit of the College’s objectives. This Code shall apply to students participating in College managed or approved courses (face-to-face and online) field-based experiential learning, and events or trips.
Issues concerning academic integrity are subject to the Academic Policies and Procedures explained in the Granite State College Catalog. The College may refer any observed or reported incidents of conduct to the appropriate civil or criminal authority, as it may deem appropriate. Proceedings under this code are administrative and educational in nature and purpose. They do not constitute a criminal law process, nor are they intended to resemble one.
- “Appellate Officer.” The Vice President of Finance and Administration or the Vice President’s designee shall decide any appeal or review available under this Code or the Granite State College Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- “Character evidence” Evidence that is offered to show that a respondent or any other person is more likely or less likely to have done something or not done something because the person has a good character or a bad character, has a reputation for having a good or bad character, or previously acted in ways that tend to demonstrate good or bad character.
- “College.” Granite State College (GSC), including all its physical locations and online programs.
- “College official.” Any person employed by the College, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
- “College premises.” All land, buildings, facilities, online courses, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by GSC, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
- “Director.” The Director of Student Affairs or the Director’s designee.
- “Faculty member.” Any person employed by the College to conduct classroom activities.
- “Harassment.” Conduct that unjustly, substantially, unreasonably and/ or consistently interferes with an individual’s work, academic or residential environment (this is not limited to in person conduct and, for example, can include things like posts on social media, texts, etc.), except where a different legal standard applies under 34 C.F.R. part 106 (Title IX regulation).
- “Hazing.” Any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to act or participate in or submit to any act, when:
a. Such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and
b. Such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in or association with any College organization, team or activity.
- “Member of the College community.” Any person who is a student, faculty member, College official or any other person employed by the College.
- “Policy.” A written regulation of the College that binds a student and the College. College policies are found in the University System of New Hampshire Online Policy Manual or other written statements or sets of statements by College trustees, faculty and officials that establish rights, requirements, and responsibilities. For more information see: USNH policies.
- “Respondent.” Any student accused of violating this Code (a student respondent may also be referred to as a “Responding Student” or “Responding Party”)
- “Retaliation” is the intentional action taken by an accused individual or allied third party, absent legitimate non-discriminatory purposes, that harms an individual as reprisal for filing or participating in a civil rights grievance proceeding, police report, school investigation or grievance process. For these purposes, “retaliation” includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action threatened or taken. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Director of Student Affairs/Title IX Coordinator and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to reports of sexual misconduct.
- “Sexual Harassment.” A kind of discriminatory harassment. Discriminatory harassment is more fully defined by College policy (GSC Student Handbook, p. 18L), but in brief sexual harassment may take the form of unwelcome sexual advances, graffiti, jokes, pranks, slurs, insults, threats, remarks made in the person’s presence, interference with the person’s work or academic life, vandalism, assignment of unpleasant duties, or even physical assault directed against any member of a protected class. For purposes of this Code, behavior is considered to be sexual harassment when such conduct is severe, pervasive, and/or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal educational access, except where a different legal standard applies under 34 C.F.R. part 106.
- “Student.” Any person reported by the Registrar as taking one or more undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate or summer courses or who is participating in professional development or Osher Lifelong Learning courses at GSC.
- “Threaten.” To express one’s intention to (a) physically harm or kill another person, or (b) to take hostile action against another person or their property in retribution for something done or not done.
- “Witness.” A person who has knowledge of an incident related to an alleged violation of this Code.
- Early intervention in conduct issues is the best way to avoid escalation and to maintain a safe and respectful learning environment. The College tries to ensure every member of the community knows how to report conduct issues and is able to participate in the process. The majority of conduct cases are resolved informally, expeditiously, and with respect for the privacy of the parties involved.
- Conduct concerns should be reported to any member of the Conduct Team, listed below. If in doubt about whether to report an incident, please contact a member of the Team to describe your concern. The Team member will help you understand and consider your options. Furthermore, even if you are uncertain whether the nature or severity of your concerns would warrant reporting, your experience or observation might be part of a pattern that would justify further review and, if substantiated, corrective action.
- Retaliation for reporting a conduct issue is strictly prohibited and will subject the person who retaliates to sanction, including dismissal. Any suspected incident of retaliation should be reported promptly to the Conduct Team.
- Title IX Coordinator and Director of Student Affairs
a. Phone: 603-513-1328
b. TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
- Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
c. Phone: 603-513-1319
d. TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
- Director of Facilities, Safety, and Sustainability
e. Phone: 603-513-1382
f. TTY Users: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
- When a conduct issue has been reported, one member of the Conduct Team will be designated to review and investigate the matter. As an initial step, the Conduct Team will determine whether the conduct report needs to be referred to the Title IX investigation process under the GSC Sexual Misconduct Policy.
a. The investigator will work with relevant Granite State College managers and staff to determine whether the matter can be resolved informally. If not, the matter will be resolved using the process outlined below. The investigator will not participate in a determination of responsibility or sanction on the matter in question—that will be done by another member(s) of the Conduct Team.
- Any student accused of violation of the conduct code will be provided written notice of allegations and an opportunity to be heard.
- The Conduct Team Investigator will assess the conduct issue; identify and interview people relevant to the conduct issue; and determine the need for further response. If further response is not warranted, this finding will be shared with the reporting party and the respondent. Typically, the finding of no further response simply means that the issue can be resolved informally by the parties involved. Often the Conduct Team will assist by advising toward successful informal resolution.
- If further response is needed, the Conduct Team will:
a. Determine any necessary interim measures, which may include reporting the incident to the police, issuing a timely warning regarding criminal conduct to the College community, issuing “no-contact” orders, or other temporary measures to mitigate an active conduct issue;
b. Work with local law enforcement during the investigation process, if applicable; and
c. Inform parties of findings and, if deemed appropriate through this process, impose sanctions.
- In certain circumstances, the Conduct Team, or a designee, may suspend a student from an academic course or other College activity pending resolution of the regular code of conduct process, as outlined below.
a. Interim suspension may be imposed:
i. To ensure the safety and well-being of members of the College community or preservation of College property;
ii. To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; or
iii. If the student poses a substantial risk of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the College.
b. During the interim suspension, a student may be denied access to the campus (including classes) and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Conduct Team may determine to be appropriate.
c. The interim suspension does not replace the regular conduct process.
- In cases proceeding under the Granite State College Sexual Misconduct Policy, alleging sexual violence, sexual harassment and related conduct, interim restrictions involving emergency removal may only be imposed to protect the physical safety and well-being of members of the University community (including either complainants or respondents).
- The following conduct may result in sanction up to and including suspension or expulsion from the College:
a. Any violations of the Granite State College Sexual Misconduct Policy;
b. Discriminatory harassment;
c. Infliction of physical harm or threatening/endangering physical harm to others;
d. The commission or conspiracy to commit a hate crime or hate crime-related activities;
e. Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, other College activities, including its public service functions on or off campus, or of other authorized non-College activities when the conduct occurs on College premises;
f. Violation of any federal, state or local law; or
g. Other actions of a similar severity.
- One or more of the following actions or sanctions may be applied through the conduct investigation or resolution process:
a. Written Warning: A notice in writing that the student is violating or has violated institutional regulations. Continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may result in additional disciplinary action.
b. Exclusion/Removal from College Activity/Event/Class: A student given this sanction may be barred from attending a College sponsored activity, event, or class, for a specified period of time, not to exceed 180 days. These restrictions may be extended to participation in online events sponsored by the College.
c. No Contact Order: A “no contact” order can be applied to bar a student from further contact with a specified person, group, or location. For the latter, if necessary, a no trespass order may be filed with the police.
d. Restitution: The College may require restitution for damage, destruction, or theft of College or other property. These charges may not be in excess of the damage or loss incurred and may be imposed together with other sanctions.
e. Probation: A written reprimand for a violation of a specific nature that includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to violate any institutional regulations during the probationary period. Probation is for a designated period of time.
f. Suspension: A student may be suspended from the College for a specified period of time, not to exceed one year. The student while suspended shall not participate in any College sponsored activity and will be barred from College premises. Revocation of suspension requires a meeting with the Director of Student Affairs to agree on the terms of reinstatement. Students suspended from the College are not entitled to refunds for tuition or fees associated with their interrupted enrollment.
g. Dismissal and Expulsion from the College: Permanent separation of the student from the College. Students expelled from the College are not entitled to refunds for tuition or fees associated with their interrupted enrollment.
- Students subject to discipline may appeal the decision imposing the disciplinary action. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Director of Finance within 10 business days after the student receives written notification of the disciplinary decision. The appeal must specify the grounds on which it is being made. Allowable grounds for appeals are limited to the following:
a. Procedural irregularity;
b. Insufficiency of evidence to support the charged violations of the Code of Conduct;
c. Inappropriately imposed sanction(s); or
d. Newly available evidence that is sufficient to alter the decision and that was not available at the time of the original hearing.
- The student will receive a copy of the appeal decision within 10 business days of the Director of Finance's receipt of the appeal. Among other possible outcomes, the appeal decision may require that the previously imposed sanctions be:
a. Affirmed and implemented;
b. Suspended, set-aside or reversed; or
c. Modified or amended.
- Upon notification, administrative offices throughout the College will take all requisite actions to record and implement the final decision of the College. Appeal decisions made by the Director of Finance are final.
- Procedures for Responding to Violations of Sexual Misconduct Policy
a. Scope: The definitions, policies and procedures listed in the Sexual Misconduct Policy shall apply to reports of violations of this Policy by a student, where the reported violations states a colorable claim of sexual misconduct, unwanted sexual contact, stalking, domestic violence, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual penetration, relationship abuse, sexual exploitation, sexual violence or dating violence, as defined in the Granite State College Sexual Misconduct Policy or 34 C.F.R. part 106.
b. Protocols: The Director will establish public protocols to guide implementation of the procedures listed in the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The protocols may include rules of decorum and rules of evidence for hearings.
- Rights in the Conduct Process
a. Students who are charged with alleged violations of any College rules on a report of violation have the following rights:
i. Fair notice of charges, including time and place of the alleged violation so that the respondent understands the charges.
ii. The opportunity to appeal a decision as described in this Policy.
iii. Notice of the results of hearings and reviews.
iv. Resolution of conduct charges in accordance with this Policy and principles of due process.
v. The right to legal counsel if criminal charges are pending or likely, subject to the rules in this Policy prescribing the scope of attorneys’ involvement
- Medical Amnesty
In cases of a drug or alcohol emergency, the primary concern is the health and safety of the individuals involved. Students are strongly encouraged to call for medical assistance for themselves or for another student who they observe to be, or feel is dangerously intoxicated/under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a student calls on behalf of another student, that student is required to remain with the student experiencing the emergency until medical assistance arrives.
a. All reported conduct issues that require an institutional response will become conduct cases and a case file will be maintained containing documentation relevant to the issue. All conduct case documentation will be treated as part of the student’s educational record with the appropriate protections required by law.
b. Records regarding students shall be retained according to the following procedures:
i. Cases involving the imposition of sanction other than College suspension or College dismissal shall be expunged from the responding student’s student disciplinary record 10 years after final disposition of the case.
ii. Cases of College suspension or dismissal will be maintained permanently. Students who are dismissed by the College will be ineligible to register or to attend classes at any other USNH institution for a period of two years (BOT.VII.A—see below).
- Interpretation and Revisions
a. Any questions of interpretation regarding the Student Conduct Policy shall be referred to the Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Compliance, and Planning or his or her designee for final determination.
b. The Student Conduct Policy shall be reviewed annually by the Vice President of Finance and Administration and the Director of Student Affairs in consultation with faculty, College officials, and student representatives.
Related Policies (Department, GSC, USY, USNH) or Regulations
a. Granite State College Sexual Misconduct Policy
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