N5: Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures “The Code”

Responsibility for Maintenance: Student Engagement & Learning Support; Campus Safety & Security

Date of most recent changes: June 23, 2020

I. Policy Statement

Onondaga Community College has adopted Core Values that guide the choices of students and other members of the College community.  These Core Values similarly guide the implementation of the College’s policies and procedures related to student behavior.  These Core Values are:

  • Students First – Keep students at the center of all we do.
  • Learning – Embrace the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and free expression of ideas in a safe environment to advance the individual and the community.
  • Excellence – Strive for continual improvement and innovation to seek our highest potential.
  • Diversity – Enrich learning through an inclusive campus environment that respects human dignity and difference.
  • Community – Foster active and productive participation in building a mutually supportive environment for members of the campus and broader communities.
  • Responsibility – Build a culture of integrity and accountability to develop both self and others.

The Student Code of Conduct is a statement of expectations for students’ behaviors as members of the College community. Students are expected to comply with all federal, state and local laws and all policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and directives of Onondaga Community College and/or its affiliated organizations, including but not limited to those policies set forth in the Student Code of Conduct, the College’s Centralized Policy Manual, the Keys to Residence Hall Living, and the College Catalog.

II. Reason for Policy

College is fundamentally about learning—both inside and outside the classroom.  This learning includes developing the skills to live successfully in a diverse community.  When a student’s behavior is alleged to fall short of expectations, that student will receive a fundamentally fair opportunity to be heard through the College’s Conduct process and, if appropriate, receive a response, including appropriate sanctions, that educates and protects the involved individuals and the broader community consistent with the College’s Core Values.

III. Applicability of the Policy

All members of the College community should be familiar with this policy. The policy governs student behavior that occurs:  on campus; at any site owned, operated, or controlled by the College; at any location while the student is participating in a College-related activity; and, at any location where the student’s behavior impacts the mission and well-being of the College community.  Students are subject to the Student Code of Conduct and related policies from the time of initial enrollment through the actual awarding of a degree.

IV. Related Materials

  • Onondaga Community College Website
  • Onondaga Community College Centralized Policy Manual
  • Residence Life Keys to Residence Hall Living Handbook
  • Student Conduct Procedures
  • Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy 
  • Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual and Interpersonal Violence 
  • College Catalog
  • NYS Education Law, Articles 129-A and 129-B
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, and accompanying regulations of the U.S. Department of Education (collectively, “FERPA”)

V. Contacts

Subject

Office Name

Title or Position

Telephone Number

Email/URL

Questions Regarding Student Conduct

Student Conduct

Coordinator of Student Conduct 

(315) 498-7216

[email protected]

Residence Life

Director 

(315) 498-2762

[email protected]

Dean of Students Office

Dean of Students

(315) 498-2226

[email protected]

Criminal Offenses

Campus Safety and Security

Director 

(315) 498-2478

[email protected]

VI. Definitions Used for Student Understanding (Not Penal Law Definitions)

Term

Definition

Affirmative Consent

Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.  Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual cannot otherwise consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants maybe be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Bias

Bias is behavior which constitutes an expression of hostility, including but not limited to verbal or physical acts against the person or property of another that is based on the targeted person's actual or perceived age, creed, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, political or social affiliation, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Dating Violence

New York law does not specifically define “dating violence.” However, under New York law, intimate relationships are covered by the definition of domestic violence when the act constitutes a listed crime and is committed by a person in an “intimate relationship” with the victim. See “Family or Household Member” for definition of “intimate relationship.”

Disorderly Conduct

Prohibited and/or disruptive behavior on Onondaga Community College premises or at off campus sponsored activities which interfere with the activities of others, including the ordinary functions of Onondaga Community College as an institution. This includes, but is not limited to, obscene, indecent, or grossly inconsiderate behavior, exposure of others to highly offensive conditions, and disregard for the privacy of self or others.

Domestic Violence

Under New York law domestic violence is an act which would constitute a violation of the penal law, including, but not limited to: disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse, stalking, criminal mischief, menacing, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, assault, attempted murder, criminal obstruction or breaching of blood circulation, or strangulation; creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to a person or a person’s child; and, is committed by a family member. The victim can be anyone over the age of sixteen, any married person, or any parent accompanied by his or her minor child or children in situations in which such person or such person’s child is a victim of the act.

Drugs/Controlled Substances

Illegal drugs, look-alike drugs, or prescription drugs prescribed to another person, Salvia or other hallucinogens. Look-alike drugs include, but are not limited to “imitation drugs” or synthetic materials that are either not intended for human consumption or used to produce effects similar to an illegal drug or a substance or drug being used for an unintended purpose (e.g., synthetic cannabis, herbal incense, and or herbal smoking blends, bath salts, whip-its, and other similar products).

Harassment

Behavior in any form, including via electronic media, which is beyond the bounds of protected free speech, directed at a specific individual(s), that is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s employment, academic performance or participation in Onondaga Community College programs or activities, and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. Harassment includes bullying and cyberbullying.

Hate Crime

A crime reported to local police agencies or to a campus security authority that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the accused’s bias against the victim.

Hazing

An intentional or reckless act which endangers the mental health, 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. The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they are violations of College Policy.

Preponderance of Evidence

Having enough information to support that the act “more likely than not” occurred and was committed by the responding individual.

Retaliation

An adverse action against another person for reporting a violation or for participating in any way in the investigation or conduct process.  Retaliation includes harassment and intimidation, including but not limited to violence, threats of violence, property destruction, adverse educational or employment consequences, and bullying.  Any individual who participates in any of the sexual harassment or sexual violence reporting procedures has the right to do so without fear of or actual retaliation.  Retaliatory behavior by someone, or anyone acting on their behalf, against anyone whom they may believe have cooperated in the investigation and/or conduct process is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

Sexual Assault

The term “sexual assault” is not used in the New York State penal code. Instead, NYS law uses the terms “rape,” “fondling,” “incest,” and “statutory rape,” which meet the federal definition of sexual assault as used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other unwelcomed verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that substantially interferes with a person’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Sexual Violence

Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol, or due to an intellectual or other disability. Acts of sexual violence include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

Stalking 

Occurs when one person engages in a course of conduct which is directed at a specific person and that course of conduct causes that person to be in fear of harm to himself or herself, property, a member of his/her immediate family, or an acquaintance. Cyber stalking is a form of stalking which can include, but is not limited to, phone, text, IM, Facebook, and other electronic means.

Student

Includes all persons enrolled in or auditing courses, either full-time or part-time, from the time of initial enrollment through the actual awarding of a degree, including the time before classes begin, during the academic year, after classes end, and during periods between terms of actual enrollment.

Weapon

Includes, but is not limited to, (a) firearms, such as handguns, shotguns, rifles, pellet guns, machine guns, stun guns, tasers, or electronic stun weapons; (b) explosives, such as bombs, grenades, blasting caps, or other containers containing explosive substances; (c) other equipment, material, and devices that, in the manner they are used could ordinarily cause harm, or are readily capable of causing serious bodily injury, and (d) items not normally viewed as a weapon used in such a way that could reasonably cause harm.

VII. Students’ Bill of Rights

All students have the right to:

  1. Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  2. Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
  3. Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure from the institution;
  4. Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  5. Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  6. Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  7. Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  8. Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accuser and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
  9. Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and
  11. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, judicial or conduct process of the institution.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the College’s ability to provide amnesty in additional circumstances.

VIII. General Provisions

Students are members of the College community and are expected to act responsibly and avoid interference with the rights, comfort or safety of other members of the College community. The following behaviors, and attempts thereof, are prohibited.  Violations may lead to disciplinary and/or educational sanctions.  Behaviors that may be addressed by this policy include, but are not limited to, acts committed in person, through third parties, and via electronic means. Incidents that may be addressed include, but are not limited to, those occurring on campus, off campus, at events sponsored by the college, and those occurring while studying abroad. Sanctions may be enhanced for violations of the Student Code of Conduct that are found to have been motivated by bias.  In addition, failure to complete an assigned sanction will result in further action, including potential loss of campus privileges, up to and including residential or student status.

  1. Prohibited Behavior
    1. Endangering, threatening, or causing physical harm to any person(s), causing reasonable apprehension of such harm, or endangering the emotional health or safety of any person, including behaviors that threaten, intimidate, coerce, haze, or bully.  This includes, but is not limited to, physically restraining or detaining another person or forcibly removing a person from a place where they have a right to remain
    2. Engaging in an ongoing pattern of communication likely to cause injury, distress, or emotional or physical discomfort that serves no legitimate purpose, including the distribution of nude or sexually explicit video or photographic images of a person
    3. Domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence, and/or any sexual act perpetrated against a person’s will or where the person is incapable of giving affirmative consent
      1. A bystander acting in good faith or reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the College’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. 
    4. All forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, or cyber-bullying
    5. Obscene behavior, which includes, but is not limited to, indecent exposure or the display of sexual or lewd behavior that reasonably would be offensive to others
    6. Making unauthorized video or photographic images of a person in a location in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy
    7. Possession of weapons, dangerous chemicals, explosives, or items that are replicas or have been altered to appear as a real weapon, such as a toy gun being painted black to appear as though it is an actual gun.  Utilizing objects not normally viewed as a weapon in such a way that could cause harm is also prohibited.
    8. Any behavior, actual or perceived, which targets others based on age, ancestry, color, religion, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, race, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation or any other protected class of an individual or group of individuals. 
    9. Drugs/Controlled Substances
      1. Use or possession of drugs/controlled substances
      2. Sale and/or distribution of drugs/controlled substances
      3. Attendance at a gathering where controlled substances, illegal drugs, look-alike drugs or prescription drugs prescribed to another person have been used
    10. Alcohol
      1. Use or possession of alcohol
      2. Sale and/or distribution of alcohol
      3. Disorderly, destructive, or violent behavior to self or others while under the influence of alcohol
      4. Attendance at a gathering where alcohol has been consumed
        • If, in on-campus housing, alcohol is found in a suite and no residents of that suite take responsibility for the alcohol found in a common/shared space, all residents of that living space will be held responsible for violating Code 10.4.
    11. Disorderly conduct
      1. Students are permitted to engage in peaceful activities consistent with Policy D10 Free Speech and Public Assembly.
    12. Hazing
    13. Deliberate damage to or destruction of the property or services of any party; vandalism
    14. Theft of property or services owned by any party; knowingly purchasing or possessing stolen property or services; possession, use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of any false, fraudulent, stolen, otherwise illegal, or ill-gotten currency, identification card, credit/debit (or similar) card, or document
    15. Residential Living Violations
      1. Specific Residential Life Policies can be found in the Residence Hall Living Handbook
    16. Fire Safety Violations
      1. Creating or contributing to a fire
      2. Failing to comply with fire drill, fire alarm and/or emergency evacuations or procedures
      3. Tampering with, damaging, or covering fire safety equipment, such as: fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems.
    17. Entering or remaining in a space belonging to the College or another person without permission
    18. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College or official document, record, or instrument of identification (e.g., driver’s licenses and passports); tampering with the election process of any College-recognized student organization; furnishing false information to any College office or employee, including, but not limited to, misrepresentation of identity and making a knowingly false report of any crime, policy violation, or other incident.
    19. Failure to comply with a lawful directive of any authorized College or affiliated organization official or employee, including student employees, acting in the performance of his or her duties, including failure to present College identification when requested.
    20. Unauthorized gambling
    21. Retaliation
    22. Computer and technology misuse, including but not limited to expectations set forth in Policy J1- Computer Systems and Communications Networks Usage
    23. Abuse of the Conduct System
      1. Failure to obey the summons of a Student Conduct Administrator or College official
      2. Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Student Conduct Administrator and/or student conduct hearing board
      3. Disruption or interference with the proceeding of a student conduct hearing
      4. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the student conduct system
      5. Attempting to influence the impartiality of a panel member prior to and/or during the course of the student conduct proceeding
      6. Harassment and/or intimidation of a panel member, witness, or complainant prior to, during, and/or after a student conduct proceeding
      7. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the student conduct system
    24. Violation of any federal, state, or local law or regulation, not otherwise reflected in the Prohibited Behaviors section of this Code of Conduct, whether or not formal charges have been filed.
      1. Proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior too, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus at the discretion of the College.  Determinations made or sanctions imposed under this policy shall not be subject to change because a different result was reached in another forum. For allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual activity that may otherwise violate this Code of Conduct, the proceedings shall run concurrently with any criminal justice investigation and proceeding, except for temporary delays as requested by external municipal entities while law enforcement gathers evidence. Temporary delays should not last more than ten (10) days except when law enforcement specifically requires and justifies a longer delay.
    25. Violation of any policy, procedure, rule, regulation or directive of the College or any of its affiliated organizations, including, but not limited to,  
      1. Policy J1 Computer Systems and Communications Networks Usage**
      2. Policy I7 Smoking and Tobacco Use**
      3. Any other College policy*
    26. Knowingly acting or planning to act in concert to violate Onondaga Community College policy and/or knowingly allowing another person to violate Onondaga Community College policy without reporting to a college official (Joint Responsibility)

These general prohibited behaviors do not limit or restrict specific department, program, or course guidelines or expectations.  It is the expectation that every student abides by all Onondaga Community College policies, including but not limited to behavioral expectations stated in individual course syllabi.

  1. Academic Dishonesty

See the College Catalog for definition and procedures relating to academic dishonesty.

IX. Statement on Self-Reporting and Bystander Intervention (Good Samaritan)

Onondaga Community College students are expected to be aware of their health and safety and encouraged to help fellow students when their health and safety is in danger. When a person’s health or safety is threatened due to consumption of alcohol, unlawful drugs, controlled substances and/or synthetic materials, or for other reasons, immediate action should be taken. This could include alerting medical personnel, Campus Safety and Security, or an appropriate college official.

In all cases, the incident will be documented. When determining the appropriate response in the conduct process, Student Conduct will consider actions taken by any student who seeks assistance on his or her own behalf or on behalf of another student experiencing a medical emergency related to consumption of alcohol, unlawful drugs, controlled substances and/or other synthetic materials. In some cases, College disciplinary sanctions may be reduced.  This practice does not preclude action by Campus Safety and Security or other legal authorities.  Refer to Policy D6, Alcohol and Other Drug Use Amnesty, for more information.

X. Alcohol and Other Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Cases

The health and safety of every student of the State University of New York and its New York state-operated colleges is of utmost importance. Onondaga Community College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs, may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. The college strongly encourages students to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault to college officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to college officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the college's code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault incident. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the college's ability to provide amnesty in additional circumstances.

XI. Safe Harbor

Onondaga Community College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. Onondaga Community College believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any Onondaga Community College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of Onondaga Community College officials outside the threat of conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated. 

XII. Transcript Notations

As required by New York State Education Law, Article 129-B, crimes of violence, including, but not limited to sexual violence, will be notated on the transcripts of students found responsible after the conclusion of the institutional conduct process AND the resulting sanction of the conduct process includes either suspension or expulsion.  The notation on the transcript will read “Suspended after a Finding of Responsibility for a Code of Conduct Violation” or “Dismissed after a Finding of Responsibility for a Code of Conduct Violation.”

For the respondent who withdraws from the institution while such conduct charges are pending, and declines to complete the disciplinary process, institutions shall make a notation on the transcript of such students that they “Withdrew with Code of Conduct Charges Pending.”

Should any student with such a notation on their transcript like to appeal the notation, they may do so in writing to the Dean of Students, or designee, and justify the removal using one of the two following conditions.

  • The student has returned from their suspension and has been a student at Onondaga Community College for at least one year without behavioral incident.
  • The conduct finding of responsibility has been vacated.

Upon an appeal being received, the Dean of Students will bring the request forward to the appropriate institutional personnel, including but not limited to the Chief of Campus Safety, for review and determination.

A notation for expulsion will not be removed unless the finding of responsibility has been vacated.

XIII. Questions

Any questions regarding interpretation or application of this policy should be referred to the Dean of Students, or his or her designee, for final determination. Onondaga Community College reserves the right to interpret or construe any uncertain or disputed term of the policy.


Approved by OCC Board of Trustees June 5, 2007

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 23, 2008

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 1, 2010

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees May 3, 2011

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 18, 2013

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 17, 2014

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 16, 2015

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 21, 2016

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 20, 2017

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 19, 2018

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 25, 2018

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 18, 2019 

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 23, 2020