As members of the AWC community, students have a responsibility to maintain a quality campus and learning environment for themselves and others. All students are expected to read and abide by the Student Code of Conduct, which describes the behavioral expectations for students, as well as informs students of how to file a complaint against another student and how to dispute decisions made by faculty or staff. Additional campus policies can be found in the Catalog and Student Handbook.
Parents should strive to support their student as they pursue these processes - not try to resolve their problems for them or keep them out of the process. This also applies to attorneys. While students may have someone advise or support them while they participate in the conduct process, they are expected to speak on their own behalf. The Student Conduct Officer facilitates the student conduct process and is available to meet with and assist students who have questions about their rights, the conduct process, or how to file a complaint. Parents should be aware that students' conduct records are protected by FERPA, so questions about their individual student's behavior or conduct case may not be answered without the student's written permission.
The campus conduct process is NOT the same as a criminal process. It is designed to encourage learning and to allow your student to be heard, while also protecting the campus and its members when necessary. A student may go through both an on-campus conduct process AND an off-campus criminal or legal proceeding for the same behavior. Be advised that campus conduct files may be subpoenaed, so if your student is also facing criminal charges, he/she may want to consult with an attorney during the conduct process.
Students often see cheating as a short cut to manage the multiple classes in which they may be enrolled, along with everything else in their lives. Encourage your student not to cheat - but instead to talk to the instructor ahead of time if your student anticipates things may be difficult. Even if your student isn't sure how to cite or whether paraphrasing is appropriate - these are good questions for the instructor of the course. Some students plagiarize without intending to - but even these situations are considered violations of AWC’s academic honesty policy.
Faculty members have the oversight for the academic experience in the classroom. This means that it is up to the faculty member to communicate the academic standards - including violations of those standards, such as cheating, plagiarism, and inappropriate collaboration. The faculty member is also the one who determines if violations of the academic standards occurred. If a faculty member believes that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty, he/she should have a conversation with your student about it, and how to avoid it in the future. If the faculty member believes the student violated the academic standards, he/she can issue an appropriate academic grade penalty. These are often set within departments, and vary from allowing a rewrite of an assignment to failure of an assignment or course.
The faculty member should report the incident to Student Conduct. Student Conduct will inform your student of the receipt of the information, of the academic complaint process if he/she would like to appeal the decision, and also of the process and consequences of any future alleged violations. If your student is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty a second time, he/she may be subject to a campus conduct process which could include dismissal from AWC.
If a faculty member determines your student engaged in academic dishonesty, your student can appeal that decision through the academic complaint process. The first step is for the student to contact the instructor to discuss what happened. If the student is not pleased with that outcome, the next step is to email the division chair or coordinator. For more detailed information about deadlines related to this process. As this is also a learning process, please encourage your student to advocate for his/her own concerns, rather than trying to act on your student's behalf. You can contact the Student Conduct Officer with any questions, or encourage your student to do so.
Conduct records are maintained separately from a student's academic transcript. These records are maintained for several years (sometimes longer, depending on the seriousness of the incident). Typically student conduct records are shared only with those college employees who have a legitimate educational interest in the information, but information may be shared based on other exceptions are listed in the College's FERPA policy.
Suspension and expulsion are the only sanctions that are designated on a transcript. If your student is determined to be responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, he/she may have to disclose that through application processes for other colleges/universities, background checks, or for other such purposes.
If a student wants you to have access to his/her records, a written FERPA release will need to be provided by your student.
How can I learn about the campus conduct process and what is expected of students?
The Student Code of Conduct outlines what is expected of students, as well as the process that the campus follows if it appears a student may have violated those standards of behavior. It informs students about their procedural protections if they find themselves accused of violating the Code. There are also additional college policies found in the College Catalog and online in the Student Handbook.
Is the campus conduct process like court?
The campus conduct process has the goals of providing education to individual students while maintaining the campus standards for behavior, so the process and the outcomes are often very different than those of the criminal or legal process. Students are determined to be "responsible" or "not responsible" for violating campus rules based on the standard of "more likely than not." Most cases are resolved through an informal meeting with the Student Conduct Officer. An informal meeting is where your student can review and respond to the information the College has about the incident. Your student can have an advisor (this can be you, a friend, an attorney, etc) come with him/her to any student conduct related meetings.
How does the campus conduct process relate to the criminal process?
The campus conduct process may occur before, during, or after a criminal process for the same behavior. For example, a student may face campus conduct charges for assaulting another student on campus, and may also face charges in court. If your student has been a victim of a crime (such as theft, sexual assault, physical assault, etc), he/she is encouraged to file a police report.
There are many behaviors that may not rise to the level of a crime or violation of the law, but may still violate campus policies. Some examples include: being intoxicated on campus, disrupting a classroom, and plagiarism.
Be advised that campus conduct files may be subpoenaed, so if your student is involved in a criminal case, he/she may want to consult with an attorney during the conduct process.
What happens when my student gets referred to Student Conduct?
The Student Conduct Officer reviews the referral to see if it appears there may have been a violation of the Code. If so, the student is notified by email and given direction as to what the next steps are. Most cases involve scheduling a meeting with the Student Conduct Officer to discuss what happened. In that meeting, a decision is made as to whether your student violated any College policies and, if so, what the consequences should be as a result.
For more complex cases, an investigation may be done by the Student Conduct Officer.
In all of these cases, your student has the right to be heard and to appeal any outcomes based on the appeals procedures.
What are common sanctions?
Sanctions vary from a warning to expulsion. More information is available in the Student Code of Conduct. The most common sanctions are typically warnings or probationary status and educational conversations, where the student and the Conduct Officer discuss the incident and the student explores better ways to act in the future.
Other common sanctions include: visiting another campus office to learn about resources, restrictions on activities, and suspension from the campus for a designated period of time. The goals of sanctions are to help the student learn and succeed, and also to uphold the standards of the AWC campus community. In some cases, students may be prohibited from attending AWC due to their behavior.
Why don't I get to know everything about my student's conduct case?
Student education records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You can review the complete college policy online. Since a goal is to help your student learn from his/her behavior, the College strives to engage directly with your student to maximize the opportunities for learning and engagement.
If your student would like you to have information about a conduct case, he/she will have to provide written permission in order for the College to share specific information with you. It is preferable that you talk directly with your student and allow him/her to engage in the conduct process.