Skip to Main Content
North Central Policies & Resources

Student Handbook (A) - Rights & Responsibilities

For information on how to print this document, click here.



Academic Freedom

Grade Appeal Process

Freedom of Assembly

Student Code of Conduct

Forms of Misconduct

Procedure for Student Code of Conduct Violations  

Disciplinary Actions

Student Right to Due Process

Interim Suspension

Penalties for Copyright Infringement

Student Complaint Process



Academic Freedom

The student in the classroom and in conference should enjoy free discussion, inquiry and expression. Student performance shall be evaluated on an academic basis, as defined in the syllabus for each course.

  1. Protection of Freedom of Expression:

Students shall be free, and encouraged, to offer opinions and insights in any course of study and be allowed to reserve judgment about matters of opinion expressed by the faculty member or other students. Also, students are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.

  1. Protection against Improper Academic Evaluation:

Students shall have protection through due process against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled. Students may use the procedures outlined under "Grade Appeal Process" when a dispute over final grades occurs.


Freedom of Assembly

No person or persons shall assemble in a manner which obstructs the free movement of persons about the College or the free normal use of College buildings and facilities, or prevent or obstruct normal operations of the College.


Grade Appeal Process – initiated by student

If a student believes that a final course grade received is incorrect or unfair, the student may follow this appeal process:

  1. The student must notify the instructor in writing no later than ten (10) working days from the release of semester grades. Email submissions are also acceptable. The student and instructor should discuss all the factors that were instrumental in determining the grade. If the instructor is not available, the student may meet with the appropriate Associate Dean. A written response to the appeal will be made within ten (10) working days.
  2. If a student wishes to appeal the decision of the instructor, he/she may do so by submitting an appeal, in writing, to the appropriate Associate Dean within ten (10) working days after the instructor’s decision. The Associate Dean will have ten (10) working days to consider and respond to the appeal. If the Associate Dean assigned the grade, the student’s appeal will move from step 1 to step 3.
  3. If a student wishes to take further action, he/she may appeal the previous decision, in writing, to the Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Success. The appeal must be delivered to the Vice President within ten (10) working days of the previous decision. The Vice President will consider the appeal and may request additional information from the student and/or the instructor. The Vice President will have ten (10) working days to consider and respond to the appeal.
  4. If the student wishes to take further action, a written appeal may be made to the President of the College within ten (10) working days of receiving the previous decision. The President will have ten (10) working days to consider and respond in writing to the appeal. The President’s decision will be the final determination and the conclusion of the appeal process.


Student Code of Conduct

Students are responsible for obeying municipal, state and federal laws which govern the community, as well as the rules and regulations of the College. If a student participates individually or as a member of a group in any violation of Conduct Standards (listed below), he or she can be subject to disciplinary action. Further, sanctions may be imposed upon student groups or organizations, including the sanction of deactivation which entails the loss of all the privileges and/or College recognition for a specified period of time. The Student Conduct Standards also apply to off-campus activities, such as field trips, off-campus classes and College-sponsored events. On a case-by-case basis, the Vice President of Student Affairs or other appropriate Vice Presidents will determine if a hearing is necessary.

Enrollment carries with it obligations relative to conduct both within and outside the classroom. If a student is accused of less than acceptable behavior, College procedures provide for due process to insure that the student receives fair and equitable treatment.

Student Right to Due Process

Due process rights extend to the procedures for “Student Code of Conduct Violations” and “Academic Dishonesty.” Due process at North Central means that a student has the following rights:

  1. To be informed in writing of the specific charges and the grounds for such charges.
  2. To have a chosen advisor or counselor or lawyer (at the student's own expense) present for advice before, during and/or after any judicial hearing. The role of this individual is limited to an advisory capacity with no right of cross-examination.
  3. To be present at such hearing, if desired.
  4. To exercise a privilege against self-incrimination.
  5. To hear or examine evidence presented to the committee reviewing the case and to present evidence by witnesses or affidavit of any defense the student desires. Further, the student shall be given the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
  6. To be informed in writing of the Vice President’s or the Committee's final decision.
  7. To waive the right of a formal hearing before the Committee and to have the case heard by the appropriate Vice President.
  8. To appeal the decision of the Vice President or Judicial Committee to the President for review of disciplinary due process.


Forms of Misconduct:

The following forms of misconduct will not be tolerated by the College:

  1. Academic Dishonesty is conduct, cheating or plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty including acquisition without permission of tests or other academic materials. Included are those students who aid and abet, as well as those who attempt such behavior. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use whether by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear attribution. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. Incidents of academic dishonesty shall be dealt with according to the procedures outlined in Academic Dishonesty Process.
  2. Any form of harassment toward an individual or group of individuals. NOTE: The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature” when such “conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive... educational...environment."
  3. Conduct or expressions of a disorderly, obscene or sexually offensive nature contrary to generally recognized community standards of propriety or good taste.
  4. Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of the relationship; type of the relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  1. Dishonesty, including knowingly furnishing false information to the College or a College officer whether verbally, in writing or by completing required forms. If a student is seeking a degree at North Central and fails to disclose that he/she has attended other academic institutions prior to his/her enrollment at North Central, he/she is violating the Student Code of Conduct standards and is jeopardizing his/her continued enrollment at North Central.
  2. Disobiedence of College officials or designated agents acting in the performance of their duty.
  3. Disruption or unauthorized interruption of college activities.
  4.  Domestic Violence: A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies (under VAWA), or any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  5. Forgery, alteration or misuse of College documents, records or identification, or forging a College staff person's name or initials.
  6. Gambling. Gambling of any kind is not permitted on the campus or at College sponsored events.
  7. Soliciting. Soliciting in campus buildings or on campus grounds is prohibited. Exceptions are made for ticket sales for campus functions only when approved by the Vice President of Student Affairs. Students are not allowed to use their residence hall rooms for any commercial purpose.
  8. Stalking or Cyberstalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear of his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  9. Tampering with Fire Fighting Equipment and Fire Drills. Pulling false fire alarms, tampering with or misusing fire alarm systems, interfering with firemen and tampering with or removing fire-fighting equipment are prohibited. All persons are expected to follow posted building evacuation procedures in the event of fires or fire drills.
  10. The distribution, use, possession or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs or controlled substances on campus. Federal/State laws related to underage drinking/drug laws will be enforced with the assistance of appropriate authorities.
  11. The possession or use of explosives, weapons, firearms, knives or fireworks.
  12. Theft of, or damage to property of the College or a member of the College community or campus visitor.
  13. Unauthorized entry to and/or use of College facilities and equipment. Also, possession of keys or duplication of College keys without proper authorization.
  14. Use and/or misuse of the College computer system, facilities, hardware, software and all computerized information is prohibited in the following circumstance, including but not to be limited to:
  • Unauthorized entry into a file, whether to use, read, change or for any other purpose.
  • Unauthorized transfer of a file, including peer-to-peer file sharing.
  • Unauthorized use of another individual's identification and password.
  • Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member or College official.
  • Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.
  • Use of computing facilities to interfere with normal operation of the College's computing system.
  • Use of computing facilities in a manner which violates state or federal copyright laws, e.g., unauthorized duplication of copyrighted or licensed software.
  1. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with another and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
  2. Violation of Tobacco-Free Policy

Procedure for Student Code of Conduct Violations

Any member of the College community may file charges against a student for an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Standards. These charges must be filed with an employee who will complete an electronic Incident Report Form. Once charges have been formally filed, the following procedure will be observed:

  1. The Vice President of Student Affairs will investigate the allegation and determine if a hearing is necessary. Notification to the accused parties of the alleged violation will be made within 10 (ten) working days.The student may exercise one of two options.
  • The student may proceed directly to a Judicial Committee, which will be responsible for making a decision and forwarding the decision to the Vice President of Student Affairs for implementation. The Vice President of Student Affairs will appoint a Judicial Committee composed of three full-time college employees and two students. The Vice President will appoint one of the employees to chair the hearing. The members of this committee must have no vested interest in the matter. The Vice President of Student Affairs shall not serve on this committee.
  • If the student chooses not to contest the charge, he/she may waive the right of a Committee hearing and request the matter of penalty be determined by the Vice President of Student Affairs. 
  1. The Judicial Committee has the responsibility of hearing the charges against the student and reviewing the evidence. The hearing will take place within ten working days following the student's receipt of the written charges. A verbatim record, such as an audio recording will be made of all hearings. This record remains the property of the College. Within one working week following the hearing, the Committee will submit its final decision (in writing) to the Vice President of Student Affairs.
  2. The Vice President of Student Affairs will implement the Committee's decision which may include sanctions imposed on the student. The Vice President will then inform the student of the decision within three working days of the receipt of the Judicial Committee's decision.
  3. Appeal Procedure: The accused student shall receive written notification of the outcome of the hearing (or meeting with the Vice President of Student Affairs) as well as any sanctions or referrals if required. The accused student has the right to appeal. Written appeal must be received by the Vice President of Student Affairs within 10 (ten) working days of the date of the written notification of Judicial Committee hearing, or to the President of the College if the hearing was conducted by the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Disciplinary Actions

Violations of the Student Code of Conduct Standards are subject to disciplinary action. After considering information presented at a hearing, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the Campus Judicial Committee will make a decision as to guilt or innocence. In the case of a "guilty" decision, the Vice President of Student Affairs or the Campus Judicial Committee will determine the appropriate sanction.

Appropriate action may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Warning: A "Warning" is an official reprimand which expresses College dissatisfaction with the student's conduct and which clarifies expected behavior in the future.

  2. Probation: "Probation" status indicates that any violation of Student Code of Conduct Standards within the probationary period shall result in more severe disciplinary action against the student that could include suspension from the institution. Probation in itself does not carry with it any restrictions; but, in addition to probation, it is possible for a student to be required to complete a work assignment, make restitution or be prohibited from holding an office or representing the College in any activity.

  3. Removal from a course: If "Removal From a Course" occurs, a student may continue to attend other classes, but may not resume attendance in the course from which he or she has been removed. In the event a student is removed from a course, he or she will be given either a withdrawal or a failure in accordance with the College's course withdrawal policy. 

  4. Suspension: "Suspension" is an action that separates the student from the institution for a definite period of time (days, weeks, semesters, etc.) Such action will specify the conditions required for readmission, as well as the date the student will be eligible to return.

  5. Expulsion: "Expulsion" is an action that permanently separates the student from the institution.

  6. Specific Orders: Is an action which may stand alone or be issued with another sanction. Specific orders may include, but are not limited to, performance or nonperformance of specific acts, loss of certain privileges, payment of fines and/or restitution.

Interim Suspension

In certain circumstances, the Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her designee, may impose a suspension prior to the hearing before a Judicial Committee.

  1. Interim suspension may be imposed only:
  • To ensure the safety and well being of members of the college community or preservation of college property.
  • To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well being.
  • If the student poses a definite threat of disruption or interference with the normal conduct of operations of the College.
  1. During the period of interim suspension the student shall be denied access to the campus (including being barred from classes) and/or all other college activities or privileges for which he/she might otherwise be eligible as the Vice President of Student Affairs may determine to be appropriate.
  2. The interim suspension shall continue until the student’s due process procedures are complete. The hearing for this matter should be held as soon as is practicable.


Penalties for Copyright Infringement:

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also asses costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at 



Student Complaint Process – initiated by student

Step One: Student communicates with faculty/ staff member(s) in an attempt to mutually resolve the matter. This communication must take place within ten (10) days of the alleged incident.

Step Two: If the matter is not resolved at Step One, the student may proceed to Step Two. Within fifteen (15) days of the alleged incident, file a Student Complaint Form from your portal.  The matter will be investigated by the appropriate party. If a hearing is determined to be necessary, the student has two options:

  1. The student may proceed to a Judicial Committee, which will be responsible for making a decision and forwarding it to the Vice President for implementation;

  2. The student may request that the appropriate Vice President or Associate Dean handle the case. The Vice President/Associate Dean shall decide the case within ten (10) days of the Student Complaint Form being filed.

The Judicial Committee will be composed of three full-time college employees and two students and will be appointed by the Vice President/Associate Dean. The Vice President/Associate Dean will appoint one of the employees to chair the hearing. The members of this committee must have no vested interest in the matter. The Vice President/Associate Dean shall not sit on this committee. The Judicial Committee shall meet within ten (10) days of the Vice President’s or Associate Dean’s appointment.

Students shall obey the laws enacted by Federal, State and local governments, as well as the policies and regulations of North Central. If a student is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the College will fully cooperate with civil authorities while recognizing the student's rights under the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act ("FERPA").

Under FERPA, an educational institution, including a community college, may not disclose personally identifiable information found in a student's education record to law enforcement officials, unless such disclosure is "to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena." In such a situation, the College must make a reasonable effort to notify the student of the order or subpoena in advance of compliance.