These procedures are designed to provide uniform standards to assure due process rights that are guaranteed by federal and state constitutions when a student is charged with a violation of the San Mateo County Community College Student Code of Conduct, as defined in Rules and Regulations 7.69 and 7.70 as defined by Board Policies and Administrative Procedures 7.69, 7.69.1,7.69.2, 7.69.3, 7.73 and 7.73.1. This procedure will be used in a fair and equitable manner and not for purposes of retaliation. It is not intended to substitute for criminal or civil procedures that may be initiated. All proceedings held in accordance with these procedures shall relate only to an alleged violation of established standards.
These procedures are specifically not intended to infringe in any way on the rights of students to engage in free expression as protected by the state and federal constitutions, and by Education Code Section 76120, and will not be used to punish expression that is protected.
Disciplinary Officer: Each president will designate an administrator to serve as the College’s Disciplinary Officer. The Disciplinary Officer shall be responsible for investigating and processing the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Step 1. Incident Occurs
Within twenty (20) days from the time that the Disciplinary Officer is informed of allegations which may constitute a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the Disciplinary Officer shall conduct a fact-finding investigation to determine whether to pursue an Administrative Conference or a Student Disciplinary Hearing.
For the purpose of evaluating whether the student’s conduct is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, no consideration shall be given to the student’s actual or perceived disability unless such disability is being asserted by the student as a defense to, in mitigation of a potential violation.
Immediate Interim Suspension: In cases where the alleged violation is deemed by the Disciplinary Officer to pose an imminent threat to the health and safety of the college community, the student may be suspended immediately pursuant to Education Code 66017, provided that a reasonable opportunity is afforded a suspended person for a hearing within ten (10) days.
Step 2. Administrative Conference or Student Disciplinary Hearing
Based on the review of the alleged code of conduct violations, the Disciplinary Officer shall determine if the matter goes to an Administrative Conference or to a Student Disciplinary Hearing.
The Disciplinary Officer shall schedule a meeting with the student involved to inform the student of the alleged offense. The student will be notified of charges/alleged violations and the basis for the charges. Based on the information at the Conference, the Disciplinary Officer may either dismiss the charges for lack of merit or notify the student of one or more disciplinary actions being taken (described in Step 3). The student may request the opportunity for a Student Disciplinary Hearing.
Student Disciplinary Hearing
Hearing Notice: A notice of the hearing will be sent to the student and shall specify the date, time, and place of the hearing, a statement of the charges against the student, and the date, time, and location that the tangible evidence will be made available for inspection and (when applicable). A copy of the disciplinary procedures shall also be enclosed.
Student Disciplinary Board
The Disciplinary Board shall include: one (1) student selected from the pool submitted by the Associated Student Organization governing body, one (1) faculty member selected from the pool submitted by the Academic Senate and one (1)staff member from a pool submitted by CSEA and the Management Group. A Judicial Officer will also be appointed to assure the process is followed.
No person shall serve as a member of the Disciplinary Board if that person has been personally involved or could otherwise not act in a neutral manner. The student may request the names of the Disciplinary Board members and may challenge for cause any member of the Disciplinary Board by addressing the challenge to the Disciplinary Board Chairperson, who shall determine whether the cause for disqualification has been shown.
The scope of the duties of the Disciplinary Board is to weigh the evidence presented in relation to the alleged violation and, based on the evidence, submit a recommendation to the Disciplinary Officer regarding the student’s responsibility for violations of the Code of Conduct.
Formal Hearing Process
Absence of the Student: The hearing shall proceed in the absence of the student.
Chairperson: Prior to the hearing, the Board shall select a Chairperson. The chairperson shall preside over the hearing.
Behavior: Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated and will result in exclusion of individuals.
Hearing Process: A document describing the process for conducting disciplinary hearings will be distributed to all members of the Disciplinary Board. The Judicial Officer will assure the process is followed.
Charges: The Chairperson shall distribute copies of the charges and incident reports to the members of the Board, read the charges aloud, and ask the student if the charges have been received.
Representation: The disciplinary hearing is an internal due process hearing conducted by the colleges of the San Mateo County Community College District. Parties are not allowed to be represented by legal counsel at any time during the hearing process.
Participants: A student may be accompanied by a person of his or her choice who is an observer only. Each person present will be asked to identify themselves by name.
Witnesses: Each side shall be entitled to call witnesses. All witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing process except when testifying.
Plea: The student shall admit or deny responsibility for each charge. If the student admits each charge and wishes to present no evidence of mitigating circumstances or other defense, the Board shall retire to make its decision. If the student denies any or all of the charges, or wishes to present evidence of mitigating circumstances, the hearing shall proceed.
Recording: The hearing may be recorded by the college and shall be the only recording made. If recorded, no witness who refuses to be recorded may be permitted to give testimony.
Information: Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. All relevant information is admissible, including but not limited to testimony of witnesses, physical objects, police or security officer reports, photographs, and copies of documents. Any and all information will be entered for the record.
Disciplinary Board Deliberation: The Disciplinary Board shall retire to deliberate in closed session with only the members of the Board and the Judicial Officer present. The Disciplinary Board shall reach its decision based only upon the evidence presented and shall not consider matters outside of the record. The Board shall recommend disciplinary sanctions to the Disciplinary Officer based upon its findings.
Step 3. Disciplinary Action(s) Recommended
If a student is found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, either through the Administrative Conference or Disciplinary Hearing process, one or more of the following types of disciplinary actions may be recommended. Refer to Types of Disciplinary Sanctions in the Student Handbook.
Any level of sanction may also include a behavioral contract; community service, and/or any other directives to make amends and/or reduce the likelihood of repeating prohibited behavior.
Step 4. Written Decision
Step 5. Appeal to the President
Step 6. Appeal to the Chancellor
Step 7. Appeal to the Board of Trustees
The student may appeal, in writing, to the Board of Trustees, or its designee, within five days after receipt of the decision of the Chancellor. The Board of Trustees shall provide the student with a hearing, if requested, and shall review the appeal. A written notice of the decision of the Board shall be mailed to the student and to appropriate staff members, within twenty calendar days following the review. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.
For additional information regarding the SMCCCD Board Policy and procedures for Disciplinary Sanctions.