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Student Compact

Gulf coast state college student compact

 Gulf Coast State College is proud to have you as a member of our family. As a member of our family, we all have a common set of responsibilities that we agree to adhere to in order to coexist in this extraordinary educational journey. The Student Compact is a publication of the Office of Student Affairs and provides a basis for students to use for reference in conjunction with other college publications to negotiate the collegiate experience. The personnel in the offices that make up Student Affairs at Gulf Coast are here to help all students work through issues that have an impact on their academic career. Basically, we may not know the answer, but we will work with you to find an answer!

Thank you to choosing Gulf Coast State College, and we hope to live up to your expectations. We welcome your comments and encourage you to let us know what we can do to improve and make your experience better.

 I wish you the best and again, welcome to the Gulf Coast Family!

 M. Melissa Lavender, Ed.D.
Vice President, Student Affairs

Gulf Coast State College
Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Gulf Coast State College holds students and community of central importance. The College provides many opportunities for learning and offers a range of programs and services to help students become well-educated, productive citizens. The College is equally dedicated to collaborating with the community to help create or improve economic well-being and to offer the space of the college for social dialog, events of art and culture, and other moments that enhance our quality of life.

 In accordance with the College’s mission, the institution articulates rights and responsibilities that shall form the foundation of the social contract between the student and the institution. Basic to these rights and responsibilities are the students’ rights:

  •  To be treated with respect and dignity
  • To be afforded due process in resolution of all conflicts with the College
  • To be provided counsel of a student advocate (Student Ombudsman) to assist in the resolution of such conflicts
  • To be afforded the protection of all rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America

 As a member of the Gulf Coast State College community, students also are obligated to the following basic responsibilities:

  •   To behave in a mature, responsible manner
  • To respect the rights, opinions and beliefs of other community members
  • To adhere to all established College policies and procedures

CODE OF CONDUCT

Gulf Coast State College has established regulations governing student conduct that are considered necessary to preserve and maintain an environment conducive to learning, to ensure the safety and welfare of members of the College community, to encourage students in the development and practice of good citizenship and self-discipline, and to protect property and equipment of the College. The Student Code of Conduct is published in the Student Handbook. Each student, by registration, assumes the responsibility to become familiar with and to abide by College regulations and acceptable standards of conduct. Students who fail to observe college regulations or to maintain acceptable standards of personal conduct on the campus or at College sponsored functions or facilities are subject to disciplinary action.

STUDENT CODE AUTHORITY

  1. Gulf Coast State College has developed procedures for the administration of the student conduct system and procedural rules for the conduct of Student Disciplinary Hearings. The Vice President of Student Affairs shall have original jurisdiction over all cases involving an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct established by the District Board of Trustees.
  2. Decisions made by the Vice President of Student Affairs shall be final, pending the appeal process as outlined in the Disciplinary Hearing Process.
 PROSCRIBED CONDUCT
JURISDICTION OF THE COLLEGE STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT

The College Student Code of Conduct is in effect on College premises, on properties owned by Gulf Coast State College and at functions sponsored by or participated in by the College regardless of the locations.

If a student is formally charged with a felony, or with a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, for an incident which allegedly occurred on property other than College premises, or a function sponsored by or participated in by the College regardless of location, and if that incident is determined to have an adverse impact on the educational program, discipline, or safety and welfare of the College, then the College has the right to suspend the student pending final adjudication. If the student is adjudicated guilty, then the student may be recommended for expulsion through the normal expulsion procedure. With this exception, the College will not ordinarily impose sanctions on a student who is subject to criminal prosecution for off campus activity.

The Student Code of Conduct is published in the Student Handbook.

Each student shall be responsible for his/her conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end for the term, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. The Student Code of Conduct shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.

INFRACTIONS / MISCONDUCT

Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions.

Academic Misconduct: Including all forms of cheating and plagiarism, academic misconduct may include destroying, damaging or stealing another person's work or work materials including, but not limited to, lab experiments, computer programs/files, term papers, projects or copy of an examination. Theft, damage or misuse of library resources; removing uncharged material from the library; defacing or damaging library materials; intentionally displacing or hoarding library materials within the library for one’s unauthorized private use or any other abuse of reserved materials is also considered academic misconduct. Lastly, any theft, damage or misuse of computer resources including, but not limited to computer account codes, passwords or facilities; damaging computer equipment or interfering with the operation of any computer system in the College. Academic Misconduct also includes repeated violations of a faculty member's classroom conduct policy.

Alcohol/Drugs: The student shall not knowingly possess, use, transmit, or be under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, any other controlled or counterfeit substance defined in FS 893.03, or substitute for such, alcoholic beverage, inhalant or intoxicant, on the campus either before, during or after school hours or off the College grounds at a College activity, function or event. Also, a student shall not possess, have under his/her control, sell or deliver any device, or contrivance, instrument or paraphernalia containing the substance or substances described in this paragraph or any residue of such substance or devices intended for use or used in injecting, inhaling/inhalant/huffing, smoking, administering, or using any of the foregoing prescribed drugs, narcotics, or stimulants. Use of a drug authorized by a medical prescription from a registered physician for a specific student shall not be considered a violation of this rule.

Arson: Intentionally setting or attempting to set a fire.

Bomb Threat: Any communication which has the effect of threatening an explosion to do malicious, destructive or bodily harm to College property, at a College function or extra-curricular/co-curricular activity or to the person(s) in or on that property or attending that event.

Bullying: An aggressive behavior that is intended to cause distress or harm, exists in a relationship in which there is an imbalance of power or strength, and is repeated over time. Examples include but are not limited to: hitting, teasing, obscene gestures, rumors, getting someone else to bully, cyber-bullying.

Burglary: Entering or remaining in a structure or on a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the person is licensed or invited to enter.

Computer Fraud: Intentional use of GCSC computing resources to acquire, distribute, and or use any system or computer code, program, or file designed to accidentally or maliciously alter, damage, interrupt, access or infiltrate GCSC computing resources or those owned by individuals which are permitted to access those resources in accordance with school policy.

Cyber Attack: Introducing unwarranted programs or tools into network server.

Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct: Creation of disorder at any College property, College sponsored or related event, or on any College sponsored transportation.

Extortion: The willful or malicious threat of harm, injury or violence to a person, property or reputation of another with the intent to obtain money, information, services or items of material worth.

False Fire Alarm: The willful and/or malicious activation of a fire alarm system or the willful and/or malicious reporting of a false fire.

False and Misleading Information: Providing false, misleading or invalid statements, making false accusations, and/or withholding valid information.

Felony Transfer: Suspension proceedings against any enrolled student who is formally charged with a felony or with a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, for an incident which allegedly occurred on property other than College property if that incident is shown to have an adverse impact on the education program, discipline or welfare of the College or College Community.

Fighting: Physical contact between two or more individuals where the participation is not mutual or equal, or a weapon is used, or in which injury that requires immediate first aid or subsequent medical attention occurs.

Force or Violence against College Employee: Use of force or violence upon or against any employee of the College.

Gross Insubordination or Open Defiance: Willful refusal to submit to or comply with authority; exhibiting contempt or open resistance to a direct order.

Harassment: Any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student.

Hazing: Any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes including, but not limited to, initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization.

Inciting, Leading or Participating in a Major Student Disorder: The willful act of inciting, leading or participating in a disruption or disturbance which interferes with the educational process or which can result in damage or destruction to public or private property, or cause personal injury to participants and others.

Intentional Damage of College Property/Personal Property: Destruction or defacing of College/personal property.

Misrepresentation of College-Sanctioned Practices: Any use of the College's name or likeness without written permission is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, use of the Gulf Coast State College name to create websites, social media pages, and secret organizations.

Other More Serious Miscellaneous Conduct: Conduct which is not listed as a specific infraction but which results in more serious injury, damage to property, or other serious harm.

Sexual Battery: Any sexual act directed against a person, forcibly or against the person’s will, or not forcibly against the person’s will where the victim is not capable of giving consent because of his or her youth or because of temporary or permanent incapacity.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other inappropriate oral, written or physical contact of sexual nature when such conduct substantially interferes with a student’s academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive College environment, Sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to the following: verbal harassment or abuse, pressure for sexual activity, repeated remarks to a person with sexual or demeaning implications, unwelcome or inappropriate touching, suggestive or demanding sexual involvement accompanied by implied or explicit threats.

Sexual Offenses: Exposing or exhibiting one’s private areas in public in a vulgar or indecent manner. Intentionally touching in a lewd or lascivious manner in clothed private areas of another.

 Stalking: A repeated pattern of conduct meant to engage a specific person, causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose. Stalking includes cyberstalking through use of electronic communication of any kind.

Theft: The taking of property of another without permission of the owner.

Trespassing: Entering upon or remaining on any property, a structure or conveyance without being authorized, licensed or invited to do so and being warned by the owner or owner’s agent or by notice pursuant to Florida Statute §810.09, or, in the case of entry upon or remaining on College grounds or buildings, not having legitimate business on the campus or authorization, license or invitation to be there or being under suspension, alternative placement or expulsion.

Unauthorized Use of Other Person’s Name or Signature: Using the name, identifying number or symbol or signature of another person of any purpose without that person’s authorization or permission with the intention of deceiving a College employee or under circumstances which could be reasonably calculated to deceive the employee.

Vandalism: Intentional damage to or destruction of College property causing substantial damage.

Victimization/Extortion or Threats/Intimidation of a More Serious Nature: A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows and/or harasses with intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.

Weapons: Except as allowed by law, possession of any weapon defined by Sections 790.001(4),(6),(13), Florida Statutes, is not permitted on any College campus or at any College function, or in any College sponsored transportation.

Disobedience to Officials: Failure to comply with directions of any college official (whether the request is by mail, email, telephone, or in person) when that official has identified himself or herself and is acting within the course and scope of their duties. Cooperation includes, but is not limited to, responding to requests for conferences on matters pertaining to the student at the college and/or presentation of college identification.

Fee Payment: Failure to pay fees, deferred fees, traffic penalties, library penalties, student loans, and other financial obligations to the college will be handled as an administrative procedure with the appropriate department initiating a hold on the student’s records through the office of enrollment services. Students who present bad checks (insufficient fund checks) will be referred for record holds and/or other disciplinary action.

Trespass: Unauthorized entry onto, or into, the property of others or the college. Property of others includes buildings, rooms, computers, computer accounts, and computer systems.

CHARGES OF STUDENT MISCONDUCT - DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Any member of the College community may report charges of student conduct violation to the Vice President of Student Affairs. The charge of misconduct by a member of the College community should be submitted in writing and should specify the misconduct and describe circumstances, evidence, witnesses, and any other information relevant to the acts of misconduct. The report should be submitted within ten (10) college working days after the alleged violation occurred. (For the purposes of this policy, “college working days” are defined as weekdays during which regular credit classes are scheduled, as per the college calendar. For reasonable cause, the Vice President of Student Affairs may extend this time requirement.)

At any point during the procedures, any of the principals may request the assistance of a GCSC employed counselor.

Within five (5) college working days of receipt of the alleged violation, the Vice President of Student Affairs will schedule an initial conference with the Accused Student(s) where the Accused Student(s) will be informed of the allegation of misconduct and the range of disciplinary action against the student(s) that may be imposed. The student(s) will be interviewed and given an opportunity to refute the allegations, make any statements, or provide any evidence or mitigating circumstances.

The Vice President of Student Affairs will investigate the allegations and within five (5) college working days of the initial conference, render a decision and impose any reasonable disciplinary action necessary against the student. Upon dispensation of disciplinary action, the disciplinary proceedings will terminate, subject to any terms of the agreement.

The Accused Student may appeal the Vice President of Student Affairs’ disciplinary decision and request a Disciplinary Hearing. This request for a Disciplinary Hearing must be made in writing and delivered to the Vice President of Student Affairs within five (5) college working days after the disciplinary decision is rendered. The student may continue to attend classes and College activities, at the discretion of the Vice President of Student Affairs, during the appeal process.

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE:

The Discipline Committee is a standing committee composed of thirteen members:
(7) Faculty members and administrators appointed by the GCSC President.
(4) Students appointed by SGA
Vice President of Student Affairs (Ex- officio)
Vice President of Academic Affairs (Chair)

If regular members cannot be present for a hearing, alternates may replace them. The Committee Chair will preside at the Disciplinary Hearing and establish organizational or operational procedures necessary to conduct the hearing. The Chair may rule on all questions before the Discipline Committee and may limit repetitious testimony and exclude immaterial or irrelevant evidence. Strict rules of evidence shall not be applied.

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Accused Student has a right to a fair and impartial hearing before the Discipline Committee on any charge of violating rules of student conduct. Failure of the Accused Student to cooperate with hearing procedures shall not prevent the Discipline Committee from making its findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations.  Failure by the Accused Student to cooperate may be taken into consideration by the Discipline Committee in recommending appropriate disciplinary action.  The Accused Student shall be entitled to hear and examine evidence against him/her and be informed of the identity of its source and shall be entitled to present evidence or witnesses in his/her own behalf. Only those matters presented at the hearing in the presence of the accused will be considered by the Discipline Committee in determining whether there is sufficient evidence to believe the Accused Student violated the Student Code of Conduct.

DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated College regulations:

Warning – A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated College regulations.

Probation – A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of further disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be in violation of further College regulations during the probationary period. Probation may include loss of privileges during the probationary period.

Restitution – Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.

Suspension – Separation of the student from the College for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

Expulsion – Permanent separation of the student from the College.

INTERPRETATION AND REVISION

Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Code of Conduct shall be referred to the Vice President of Student Affairs for a final determination. The Student Code of Conduct shall be reviewed every three (3) years under the direction of the Vice President of Student Affairs beginning in 2014.

DEFINITIONS

The term “Accused Student” means any student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct.

The term “Discipline Committee” refers to a standing committee representative of College employees and students selected by the President of the College to which a disciplinary action may be appealed.

The term “College” refers to Gulf Coast State College.

The term “College Premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College.

The term “College Official” includes any person employed by the College performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.

The term “Policy” refers to the written regulations of the College as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, the College’s Manual of Policy, the College’s Internal Management Memorandum, College web pages, the Student Handbook, a course syllabus, the Computer Usage Policy, and the College Catalog.

STUDENT PRIVACY RIGHTS

WHAT IS FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act passed by Congress in 1974. FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of students by limiting third party access to student education records. FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of educational records, establish rights of students to inspect their records and provide guidelines for correcting inaccurate data. FERPA applies to all students regardless of age, attending, or who previously attended. "Attending students include admitted students, continuing education students, students who audit courses, and distance education students.

Students may amend or correct their records if information is inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete. Students have the right to a hearing if the records are not corrected. If a student is dissatisfied with the results of a hearing, he or she may place a statement in the records to the effect. If a student feels that the institution has not fully honored his or her privacy rights under FERPA, a written complaint may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW. Washington, DC 20202-4605.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

PARENTAL AND THIRD PARTY ACCESS TO STUDENT’S EDUCATIONAL RECORD

When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student.

FERPA gives students the following rights regarding educational records:

  1. The right to request the amendment of the student's education record
  2. The right to inspect and review the student's education records
  3. The right to request that education records be disclosed only with student consent
  4. The right to file complaints for unauthorized disclosure of education records

Students have a right to know about the purpose, content, and location of information kept as a part of their education records. They also have a right to expect that information in their education records will be kept confidential unless they give permission to the College to disclose such information, or if a limited number of exceptions applies. Therefore, it is important to understand how education records are defined under FERPA.

WHAT IS DIRECTORY INFORMATION?

“Directory information [is] information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.” (FERPA Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Part 99.3). FERPA permits disclosure of directory information without consent unless the student has filed a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information. GCSC considers the following information to be Directory Information.

The data defined below is considered to be Directory Information for GCSC and the ONLY INFORMATION AN AUTHORIZED GCSC EMPLOYEE MAY DISCUSS WITH PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND OTHER REQUESTORS. IF THE INFORMATION BEING REQUESTED IS NOT IDENTIFIED BELOW, THEN IT IS COVERED BY FEDERAL LAW AND MAY NOT BE DISCUSSED OR GIVEN.

  • Student’s Name
  • Major field of study
  • Enrollment status
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees, awards, and previous schools attended
  • Weight and height and photograph of members of athletic team members

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POLICY SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO ENROLLMENT SERVICES.

 GCSC NON-DIRECTORY INFORMATION

This is any education record not considered to be GCSC Directory Information. Non-directory Information must NOT be released to anyone, including parents of the student, without the prior written consent of the student (form is located in the Enrollment Services office). Further, faculty and staff may access Non-directory Information only if they have a legitimate academic need to do so. Examples of non-directory information are:

  • Class rosters
  • Grade reports
  • Academic Degree Audit
  • Student schedule
  • Transcripts
  • Most disciplinary records
  • Class attendance
  • Student ID Number
  • Any other information that is not Directory Information
BLOCKING THE RELEASE OF DIRECTORY INFORMATION

Should a student wish to block the release of directory information, the student must submit a Request to Enrollment Services.

If a student blocks the release of academic records, the College may not confirm or deny attendance, degree completion, or any other Directory Information. Individuals with access to the official student database will see a Confidential warning displayed on the student’s record, and will immediately know that NO information may be released about that student.

RELEASING NON-DIRECTORY INFORMATION

Should a student wish to release Non-directory Information, the student must complete a signed and dated Authorization for Release of Student Records and submit it to Enrollment Services.

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