Your rights and responsibilities.
As a student at Arizona Western College you have the opportunity to benefit from a quality educational experience. In exchange for that, you are expected to learn and uphold the College's standards for behavior - inside and outside of the classroom. You can learn about what is expected from you by reading Student Code of Conduct and other policies located in the College Catalog and Student Handbook, reviewing your instructor's syllabi, and reading departmental and office procedures.
If you have been a victim of misconduct, discrimination, or other unfair treatment, the College offers you pathways for addressing such issues. You are encouraged to attempt to resolve conflicts at the lowest effective level.
If you have any questions or need assistance navigating the process, please contact the Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Conduct Office.
The College investigates reports about concerns related to student behavior. If it appears that there is merit to the information reported, you will be contacted about the report. Depending on the situation and the information available at the time, you will receive a letter sent via email to your Toro Email account with further instructions. The letter may contain one or more of the following:
- Notice to you of the nature of the complaint or incident
- Notice to you of what aspect(s) of the Student Code of Conduct may have been violated
- Information about your rights (such as the right to have an advisor present)
- Notice to you that there appears to be enough information that you are being charged with violating the Student Code of Conduct
- How to reschedule your meeting so you can respond to the case information
An informal meeting is held with the Student Conduct Officer gets more information in order to understand, review all information and provide your perspective before a decision is made as to whether or not you violated any College policies. This is your right.
In cases where there appears to be a concern for health and safety, significant disruption, or other limited factors, you may face interim action while the student conduct process occurs. Examples of interim action can include restricting your access to campus, issuing no-contact orders, or reassigning your class section.
If you have any questions about what is going to happen, just ask!
The best ways to avoid academic dishonesty in the first place include:
- Don't try to take short cuts. Students who attempt to cheat because they don't have time to do well on a test or a paper often end up with an F instead of the C or B that they would have earned.
- Cite your sources - even in rough drafts.
- Cite your sources - even when paraphrasing
- If you aren't sure how to cite sources accurately, talk with your instructor or visit a campus tutoring center or attend a workshop at the library.
- Proofread your papers - if the words don't read like how you usually talk or write, try typing the words into an internet search engine. Your instructors have the same access to the internet as you do, and they can often spot writing that is above or below your usual writing level.
- Talk to your instructor, especially if you experience unexpected circumstances or stresses. DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE - have the conversation sooner rather than later!
- In addition, the College has a medical withdrawal process in place for extreme circumstances. Talk to your advisor or professor to learn more about that process if you feel your circumstances may warrant it
Your faculty/instructors are the ones who determine if you have engaged in academic dishonesty in a specific course. Forms of academic dishonesty include:
- Cheating - accessing or using unauthorized materials
- Plagiarism - reproducing someone else's words or ideas without accurate acknowledgement
- Falsifying information - providing untrue information relating to your education
- Facilitating dishonesty - participating in an act that creates unearned advantage for another
- Unauthorized collaboration - getting assistance from another without permission
If your instructor thinks you have engaged in academic dishonesty, he/she should inform you of that and also inform you of the academic penalty. Then an academic dishonesty report is sent by the instructor to the Student Conduct Officer. The Student Conduct Officer will give you a warning with instructions to complete the RAISE module, a HOLD will be placed on your student account until the module is completed. You will not be allowed to register for future classes, until the RAISE module is completed.
A student conduct record is created and maintained for seven years, in accordance with the campus conduct recordkeeping practices.
If you are involved in more than one incident of academic dishonesty at Arizona Western College, you may face charges under the Student Code of Conduct, including potential dismissal from the College.
Student conduct records exist separate from your academic record (i.e. transcript), and are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This means that you are permitted to review your own student conduct record and you have to provide a signed release if you want someone to be able to view the information. There are some times where the College may share information contained in your student record, such as:
- When another College official or office has a legitimate educational interest in the information
- When you enroll or seek to enroll at another institution and they have a legitimate educational interest in the information
- When there is a threat to health or safety (as defined by law and College policy)
- When you have provided written permission for the content of your records to be shared with another party, such as for a background or check
- Other situations described by applicable law or College policy, such as subpoenas
Sanctions are not recorded on your academic transcript except:
- If you have been disciplinarily suspended from Arizona Western College, the period of suspension is reflected on your transcript.
- If you have been dismissed or expelled from Arizona Western College through the student conduct process, that is designated as a permanent sanction.
If you have been disciplinarily suspended, dismissed, or expelled, your student conduct record will be maintained permanently. Otherwise, student conduct records are maintained for a period of seven years following the closure of the case (including the completion of sanctions). This is to comply with federal laws that require the College to retain records to support its crime and disciplinary statistics.
Examples of the kinds of things that are maintained in a student conduct record include:
- A copy of a formal report
- Letters written to you about the case
- A summary of a campus conduct investigation
- The outcome of a case
- Correspondence related to the case
An informal resolution may be conducted with a student accused of misconduct. This informal meeting may be nothing more than a face-to-face meeting between the Conduct Officer and the student, following a written or verbal notice of the meeting. The purpose of this informal meeting is to provide an opportunity for the student to respond to allegations of misconduct before any conduct action is taken. The student waives any rights to an informal meeting by his/her failure to attend.
In cases where the Conduct Officer determines that the student may be subject to other than an Informal Resolution agreement a Formal Conduct Hearing will be scheduled and will proceed as outlined below.
Notice of Formal Conduct Hearing:
In accordance with the principles of due process, the Conduct Officer will give written notice of the time, date and location of the Formal Conduct Hearing. The notice will describe the alleged misconduct, the Code provisions allegedly violated, and the potential sanctions. The hearing notice, plus a copy of this Code, shall be delivered to the student accused of misconduct no less than four (4) workdays prior to the hearing. In cases where students are resident hall students and housing is affected, the student may waive his/her right and accept an earlier scheduled formal conduct hearing. The notice will also inform the student that he or she has the option to waive the Formal Conduct Hearing and accept sanctions imposed from the Conduct Hearing Officer based on the file documentation.
Access to the Case File:
The student, by appropriate request, shall have reasonable access to the case file and relevant evidence that may be used at the Formal Conduct Hearing. Note that access will not be inclusive of the privilege of reviewing the personal conduct files or other records of any other individual student.
Who May Attend the Formal Conduct Hearing:
The Dean of Campus Life serving as the Conduct Hearing Officer, an assigned recorder, the accused student, an Advisor to the student, the Conduct Officer serving as the “College Representative” whose task it is to present the case on the behalf of the administration, witnesses called by the student or the College Representative (each of whom may be present only during his/her testimony), and College legal counsel (if called) are the only individuals permitted to attend the Formal Conduct Hearing. Exceptions to this rule are permitted at the sole discretion of the Conduct Hearing Officer and may include the following: the parent(s) of a minor student; a language interpreter; an AWC athletic coach and/or Athletic Director, an Advisor, and/or an assigned campus police officer. These individuals permitted by the Conduct Hearing Officer to be in attendance cannot participate in the actual hearing process. Prior to the hearing, the student and the College Representative shall each furnish to the Conduct Hearing Officer a written list of the names of witnesses each intends to call. All witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing room except when testifying.
Option for Student to have Advisor Assist Student at Formal Conduct Hearing:
A student who is subject to a Formal Conduct Hearing has the right to bring to that hearing a person who may assist the student in his or her defense. The Advisor to the student may not actively participate in the Formal Conduct Hearing by actions such as making statements, questioning witnesses, etc. The Advisor may provide advice to the student during the hearing in a manner deemed non-disruptive by the Conduct Hearing Officer. If the Advisor to the student is an attorney, the student must inform the Hearing Officer not less than two (2) working days before the hearing that an attorney will be present at the hearing.
Procedures for the Formal Conduct Hearing:
The Conduct Hearing Officer is not required to adhere to the formal rules of evidence used in criminal proceedings.
In cases involving threats to safety, sensitive topics like sexual or gender-based misconduct, or when circumstances warrant, participants may share information via phone, behind a screen, etc.
If you qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please notify the Student Conduct Officer in advance of the hearing so appropriate accommodations can be provided.
Review the Student Code of Conduct to learn more about the hearing process.
The College offers a variety of avenues for formal complaint procedures, depending on the nature of your concern or complaint.
If you have an immediate concern for safety, contact the Arizona Western College Police Department at 928-314-9500.
If you are concerned that any person might engage in violence, you can report a concern online and it will be routed to the appropriate college staff for review. This is where you can also report concerns about other students, including disruptive behavior or violations of College rules. Examples of the kinds of things you should report to the College including:
- Others' behavior that hinders you from going to class or studying
- Theft or vandalism
- Harassment, stalking, fighting
- Alcohol or drug use
- Weapons or threats
Even if you are not sure whether or not you should report something, you are encouraged to err on the side of caution. The College has trained professional staff who can evaluate these reports and take appropriate action.
If you have been a victim of sexual or gender-based misconduct by any person, please review the College's Title IX/Sexual Misconduct information, where you can also file a report about sexual harassment/misconduct. Our first concern is for your safety and well-being, but we also encourage you to file a formal complaint with the campus and/or police depending on what outcomes you are seeking.
If the complaint pertains to a faculty or staff member's decision, you can follow the Academic Complaint Process (if it pertains to an academic issue) or the Non-Academic Complaint Process (if it is not academic in nature). These processes are outlined at the end of the Student Code of Conduct. Be advised that both of these processes require that you first have a conversation with the faculty or staff member with whom you have a concern, within 10 school days of the concern arising.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can provide your written complaint and the resolution that you seek to the Chair, Coordinator, or Director of the department. You may also request a meeting with that individual. You should receive a written response from him/her within 10 school days of providing your complaint.
If you are not satisfied with that response, you can continue the complaint process in writing to the Dean and then ultimately the Vice President of Learning Services whose decision is final.
If the complaint pertains to discrimination by a College employee towards you, you may file a complaint with the Student Conduct Officer or the Human Resources Department with any questions about this process, or to initiate a complaint.
Review the Reporting Options and Tips for Documenting Incidents for more information. It is most helpful for reports to be made in first-person and in a timely fashion.
As a student, you are entitled to the procedural protections as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, the College Handbook, and other applicable College policies. Some of those protections include:
- The option to file complaints about misconduct towards you
- The opportunity to have your perspective be heard
- The option to have a support person/advisor with you during hearings/meetings
- The opportunity to review and respond to a complaint against you
- The privacy and access that applies your student conduct record under FERPA
- Opportunities to appeal case outcomes through designated means
At the same time, the College may also take action to protect the campus community, such as if it appears you may constitute a possible threat to others or a significant disruption to the operations of the College. In some cases, this means you may not be able to attend classes or may be restricted from accessing the campus until your hearing occurs.
Review the Student Code of Conduct to learn more about your protections in the student conduct process.