One mission of Athens Technical College is to provide technical and adult education programs for the people of Georgia. To fulfill this mission, Athens Technical College must provide students with opportunities for intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth. Technical college students assume an obligation to act in a manner compatible with the mission of the college. The college reserves the right to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment for students and staff; therefore, when, in the judgment of college officials, a student's conduct disrupts or threatens to disrupt the college community, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken to restore and protect the atmosphere of collegiality and mutual respect on campus. This procedure is intended to provide an orderly protocol for handling student disciplinary cases in accordance with the principles of due process and justice.
With these principles in mind, Athens Technical College established this Student Code of Conduct.
- The terms "technical college" and "college" mean Athens Technical College.
- The term "Technical College System of Georgia" is synonymous with the term "Department of Technical and Adult Education."
- The term "students" includes all persons taking on a part-time or full-time basis any adult literacy, associate degree, diploma, technical certificate of credit, general education, developmental studies, business and industry, continuing education, or special populations course at Athens Technical College. People not enrolled officially for a particular term but who have continuing relationships with the technical college remain classified as "students."
- The term "faculty member" means any person hired by the college to conduct teaching, service, or research activities.
- The terms "technical college official" and "college official" include any person employed by the college to perform assigned administrative responsibilities.
- The terms "member of the technical college community" and "member of the college community" include any person who is a student, faculty member, technical college official, or any other person employed by Athens Technical College.
- The terms "technical college premises" and "college premises" include all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the technical college. These terms encompass all adjacent streets and sidewalks.
- The terms "student organization" and "organization" means any number of persons who complied with the formal requirements for recognition by the college.
- The term "judicial body" means any person or persons authorized by the president of the college to determine whether students are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct or other regulations and to recommend the imposition of sanctions.
- The term "judicial advisor" means a technical college official authorized on a case-by-case basis by the president of the college to impose sanctions upon students found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The president may authorize a judicial advisor to serve simultaneously as a judicial advisor and the sole member or one of the members of a judicial body. Nothing shall prevent the president from authorizing the same judicial advisor to impose sanctions in all cases. Unless otherwise noted, the judicial advisor of Athens Technical College is the vice president for student affairs.
- The term "appellate board" means any person or persons designated by the president to consider appeals of a judicial body's determination that students violated the Student Code of Conduct or other regulations or of the sanctions imposed by the judicial advisor. The president may serve as the appellate board.
- This Code of Conduct uses the term "shall" in the imperative sense.
- This Code of Conduct uses the term "may" in the permissive sense.
- The term "policy" means the written regulations of Athens Technical College as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, catalog and student handbook, program addendums to the catalog and student handbook, the college policy manual, and the policy manual approved by the Board of Directors of Athens Technical College.
- The term "System" means the Technical College System of Georgia.
- The term "business days" means, for disciplinary purposes, weekdays that the college administrative offices are open.
- The term "continuing relationship" means any person who has been enrolled as a student and may enroll in the future as a student of Athens Technical College.
- The term "academic misconduct" means any incident involving any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student's academic performance or achievement (i.e., cheating, plagiarism).
Filing a Complaint
Any member of the technical college community may file a complaint with the judicial advisor against any student for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, the vice president for student affairs serves as the judicial advisor responsible for the administration of the college judicial system. The individual(s) initiating the action must submit the acquisition in writing to the vice president for student affairs as soon as possible after the event takes place, preferably within 10 business days. Academic misconduct shall be handled using the procedures outlined in the Academic Honesty Policy (see Academic Honesty Policy).
Investigation and Decision
Within five business days after a complaint that does not involve academic misconduct is filed, the vice president for student affairs or designee shall complete a preliminary investigation of the incident and schedule a meeting with the student against whom the complaint was filed in order to discuss the incident and the charges. In the event that additional time is necessary, the vice president for student affairs will notify the student in writing. Written notification of the need to extend the time will be sent by certified mail and by email to the student's @student.athenstech.edu account, unless the student has already met with the vice president. After discussing the complaint with the student, the vice president for student affairs or designee shall determine whether the student is guilty of the alleged misconduct and whether the alleged misconduct constitutes a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. If the student fails to respond to the vice president for student affairs within five days, fails to appear at the meeting, or reschedules the meeting more than once, the vice president for student affairs will consider all of the available evidence without the student's input and make a determination.
In the event that a complaint alleges violations of the Student Code of Conduct by more than one student, each student's disciplinary proceeding, as well as any appeals relating to that proceeding, shall be conducted individually. Based on the severity of the incident, the vice president for student affairs may take one of two actions.
1. If it is determined that the student is guilty of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the vice president for student affairs or designee may impose without referral to the Hearing Body, one or more of the following sanctions.
- Restitution — A student who has committed an offense against property may be required to reimburse the college or other owner for damage to or misappropriation of such property. Any such payment in restitution shall be limited to the actual cost of repair or replacement.
- Reprimand — A written reprimand may be given to any student in order to notify him/her that he/she violated college regulations. Such a reprimand does not restrict a student in any way, but it signifies to the student that any further violation of the Student Code of Conduct may result in more serious sanctions.
- Restriction — A restriction upon a student's privileges for a period of time may be imposed. This restriction may include, but is not limited to, denial of the right to represent the college in any way, denial of the use of facilities, alteration or revocation of parking privileges, or restrictions from participating in extracurricular activities. A restriction signifies to the student that any further violation of the Student Code of Conduct during the period of time the restriction is in effect may result in more serious sanctions.
- Disciplinary Probation — Students placed on disciplinary probation may remain enrolled in classes provided they adhere to specific terms. Any student placed on probation will be notified of the terms and length of probation in writing. Any conduct determined after due process to be in violation of these terms while on disciplinary probation may result in the imposition of more serious disciplinary sanctions as specified by the terms of the probation.
- Failing or Lowered Grades — Students who are found to have committed academic misconduct may receive failing or lowered grades as specified in the college's Academic Honesty Policy (see Academic Honesty Policy).
2. If it is determined that the student is guilty of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the vice president for student affairs or designee may recommend one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions. The vice president for student affairs recommendation will be forwarded to the Hearing Body, which may impose one or more of the following sanctions.
- Disciplinary Suspension — If a student is suspended, he/she is separated from the college for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. The judicial body or vice president for student affairs may specify conditions for readmission. Conditions of reinstatement, if any, must be provided in writing to the student.
- Disciplinary Expulsion — Students may be removed and excluded from the college, college-controlled facilities, programs, events, and activities. A record of the reason for the student's dismissal is maintained by the vice president for student affairs or designee. Students who are dismissed from the college for any reason may apply in writing for reinstatement twelve months following the expulsion if the expulsion did not constitute academic misconduct. If approval for reinstatement is granted, the student will be placed on disciplinary probation for a specific term. The probationary status may be removed at the end of the specified term at the discretion of the vice president for student affairs or designee. Sanctions imposed on students who are removed or excluded from the college for academic misconduct reasons are outlined in the Academic Honesty Policy (see Academic Honesty).
- Interim Disciplinary Suspension — As a general rule, the status of a student accused of violations of the Student Code of Conduct should not be altered until a final determination is made regarding the charges brought forth against the student. However, an interim suspension may be imposed if the vice president for student affairs or designee determines that the continued presence of the accused student on campus constitutes a potential or immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the accused student or any other member of the college community or that the continued presence of the student on campus creates a risk of substantial disruption of classroom or other college-related activities. During the interim suspension, students shall be denied access to the campus (including classes) and/or all other technical college activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible as the president or the vice president for student affairs may determine to be appropriate.
In addition to the penalties outlined above, groups or organizations may also face:
- Loss of all privileges, including technical college recognition, for a specified period of time.
A student who has been suspended or expelled from the college shall be denied all privileges afforded a student and shall be required to vacate college premises at a time determined by the vice president for student affair or designee. After vacating the college premises, the suspended or expelled student may not enter upon college premises at any time, for any purpose, in the absence of written permission from the vice president for student affairs or designee. A suspended or expelled student must contact the vice president for student affairs or designee to obtain permission to enter college premises. Permissions, if granted, will be for a limited, specified purpose.
Suspended or expelled students wanting to submit a written appeal of the disciplinary sanction may submit the appeal by mail or fax if the vice president for student affairs or designee refuses the student's request to enter the college premises for that specified purpose. A scheduled appeal hearing before the judicial body shall be understood as expressed permission from the vice president for student affairs or designee for the student to enter the college premises for the duration of that hearing.
The vice president for student affairs shall notify the student(s) in writing of his/her final decision. In cases involving sanctions that include probation, suspension, or expulsion, the vice president for student affairs shall provide written notification to the president, executive vice president, director of registration and records, and instructors.
A student who wishes to appeal a disciplinary decision of the vice president for student affairs or designee must file a written notice of appeal through the office of the vice president for student affairs. Appeals will be reviewed by the judicial body. Students must submit their written appeals within five business days of receiving notification from the vice president for student affairs or designee of the sanctions imposed for violating the Student Code of Conduct.
The vice president for student affairs will schedule a hearing before the judicial body within ten business days of receiving the appeal. In the event that additional time is necessary, the vice president for student affairs will notify the student in writing. Written notification of the need to extend the time will be sent by certified mail and by email to the student's @student.athenstech.edu account. The student has the right to present evidence and/or testimony during the hearing before the judicial body. The vice president for student affairs or judicial body shall conduct hearings according to the following guidelines:
- Privacy and Attendance Issues
- The judicial body normally shall conduct hearings in private.
- Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the chair of the judicial body.
- The complainant and the accused have the right to receive assistance at their own expense from any advisor they choose. The advisor may be an attorney. The complainant and/or the accused students are responsible for presenting their own cases and, therefore, advisors may not speak or participate directly in any hearing before a judicial body.
- The complainant, the accused, and the judicial body shall have the privilege of presenting witnesses, subject to the right of cross-examination by the judicial body.
- Procedural Issues
- At the discretion of the chair, a judicial body may accept pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements as evidence for consideration.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the chair of a judicial body.
- After the hearing, the judicial body shall determine (by majority vote if the judicial body consists of more than one person) whether to uphold the original sanctions.The standard of proof in all hearings shall be a preponderance of the evidence.
- There shall be a single, verbatim record, such as a tape recording, of all hearings before a judicial body. The record shall be the property of the technical college.
- The chair of the judicial body shall notify the vice president of student affairs in writing of the judicial body's decision. The vice president for student affairs or designee will notify the student in writing of the judicial body's decision and of the opportunity to appeal directly to the president.
In the event that the student chooses to contest the decision of the judicial body, he/she has the right to appeal the decision to the president of the college within five business days of receiving the notification of the judicial body's decision. The appeal to the president shall be in writing. The president shall only consider evidence currently in the record; new facts not brought up in earlier stages of the appeal shall not be considered. The president shall deliver his/her decision in writing to the student and vice president for student affairs within ten business days. The decision of the president shall be final and binding.
Violations of Federal, State, or Local Law
If a student is convicted or pleads nolo contendere to an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local law but not with any other violation of the Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary action may be taken and sanctions imposed for misconduct that is detrimental to the college's vital interests and stated mission and purpose.
Disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law that is also a violation of the Student Code of Conduct if both violations result from the same factual situation. These proceedings may be instituted without regard to criminal arrest and/or prosecution. Proceedings under this Student Code of Conduct may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal proceedings.
When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the college will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his/her status as a student. The college will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators. Individual students, acting in their personal capacities, remain free to interact with government representatives as they deem appropriate.
Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this Student Code of Conduct:
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to, the following:
- Cheating, plagiarism, collusion, or other forms of academic dishonesty as outlined in the Academic Honesty Policy (see Academic Honesty Policy).
- Furnishing false information to any technical college official, faculty member, or office.
- Forging, altering, or misusing any technical college document, record, or instrument of identification.
- Tampering with the election of any student organization officially sanctioned and recognized by the college.
- Disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, other technical college activities, its on- or off-campus public-service functions, or other authorized non-college activities when the act occurs on the technical college premises.
- Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
- Attempted or actual theft of and/or damage to property of the technical college, property of a member of the college community, or other personal or public property.
- Hazing, which is an act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization.
- Failure to comply with directions of technical college officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
- Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any technical college premises or unauthorized entry to or use of technical college premises.
- Violation of published policies, rules, or regulations of the Technical College System of Georgia and/or Athens Technical College including, but not limited to, rules imposed upon students who enroll in a particular class or program.
- Violation of federal, state, or local law on college premises or at activities sponsored or supervised by the technical college.
- Use, possession, or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law.
- Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as expressly permitted by the law and college regulations.
- Public intoxication.
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on technical college premises or at activities sponsored or supervised by the technical college.
- Participation in a campus demonstration that disrupts the normal operations of the college and infringes on the rights of other members of the technical college community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; intentional obstruction that unreasonably interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus.
- Obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on college premises or at functions sponsored or supervised by the college.
- Conduct that is unbecoming to a student, including but not limited to, conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent; a breach of peace; or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on college premises or at other locations where classes, activities, or functions sponsored or authorized by the college may be held.
- Theft or other abuse of computer time, including but not limited to, the following offenses:
- Unauthorized entry into a file to use, read, or change the contents or for any other purpose.
- Unauthorized transfer of a file.
- Unauthorized use of another individual's identification and password.
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member, or technical college official.
- Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.
- Use of computing facilities to interfere with the normal operations of the technical college computing system.
- Violation of the Acceptable Computer and Internet Use policy established by the Technical College System of Georgia and Athens Technical College.
- Abuse of the judicial system, including but not limited to, the following:
- Failure to obey the summons of a judicial body or technical college official.
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a judicial body.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding.
- Initiating a judicial proceeding knowingly without cause.
- Attempting to discourage an individual's proper participation in or use of the judicial system.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a judicial body prior to and/or during the course of the judicial proceeding.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a judicial body prior to, during, and/or after a judicial proceeding.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code of Conduct.
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the judicial system.
- Use of tobacco products on campus (see Use of Tobacco Products)
- Failure to dress appropriately at all times — Dress requirements vary in classrooms, laboratories, and shop areas. Students enrolled in internships and clinical courses must dress appropriately according to the requirements of the work in which they are participating. Students shall not dress, groom, wear, or use emblems, insignia, badges, or other symbols or lewd or vulgar words where the effect thereof is offensive to a reasonable person or otherwise causes the disruption or interference with the orderly operations of the college. The supervising administrator shall determine if the particular mode of dress results in disruptions or interference. Students shall observe at all times the rules governing body cleanliness, and they shall not wear short or tight shorts, swimsuits, or tank tops nor shall they have bare midriffs or bare feet.
The judicial advisor or designee shall retain a copy of all documents concerning complaints, investigations, administrative actions, and communications in relation to any incident that resulted in a disciplinary investigation of any kind against a student. The judicial advisor or designee will also retain records of any disciplinary appeals filed by the affected student, as well as the resulting record of appeal and decision submitted by the judicial body. A record of the final decision must be retained in the event that the decision is appealed to the president. All records specified in this section shall be retained for a period of five years.