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North Central Policies & Resources

Student Handbook (A) - Rights & Responsibilities


Academic Freedom

Freedom of Assembly

Grade Appeal Process

Student Code of Conduct

Forms of Misconduct

Procedure for Student Code of Conduct Violations  

Disciplinary Actions

Interim Suspension

Penalties for Copyright Infringement

Student Grievence 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

North Central Michigan College is a public institution of higher education whose authority is derived from the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and whose property and resources are primarily dedicated to academic, administrative and related functions.  As an institution that highly regards the freedom of  `speech, freedom of expression and right to peaceably assemble, North Central Michigan College affords groups and individuals an invitation to exercise such freedoms on its grounds.  The purpose of this policy is to facilitate expressive activities while ensuring that such activities do not interfere with College operations and the learning environment.

For anyone lawfully present on the College’s campus, the outdoor common and indoor common areas are designated as venues for free expression, including spon­taneous expression, speeches, demonstrations and the distribution of information.  Anyone who wishes to engage in commercial solicitation is required to reserve time and space for such activities following the terms of the College’s Solicitation Policy.

For purposes of this policy, the term 'expressive activity" includes peaceful activities such as:

• Meetings and other group activities;

• Speeches, performances, demonstrations, parades, marches, rallies, vigils and other events;

• Distributions of informational materials, such as circulars, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets;

• Any other expression, including spontaneous expression, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

While North Central Michigan College maintains its authority to regulate the time, place and manner of expressive activities, it shall not consider or regulate the content of speech or viewpoint of speakers in the application of this policy.  When expressive activities occur, North Central Michigan College will work to ensure that such activities transpire without interference by the College, provided the learning environment is not disrupted and campus safety is not compromised by the activities.  If persons react negatively to expressive activities occurring on the campus of North Central Michigan College, the College will take necessary steps to ensure campus safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue, unless the College’s operations are materially and substantially disrupted.

For purposes of this policy, the terms “outdoor common” and “indoor common” refer to such areas as:

• Lawns, sidewalks, benches and other outdoor areas that are not otherwise reserved for use;

• Student lounges and other indoor areas designated for social interactions that are not otherwise reserved for use.

Expressive activities, as defined by this policy, are allowed on North Central Michigan College’s campus during the periods that College facilities are open to the general public.

No expressive activity at North Central Michigan College shall be permitted to:

• Violate or infringe upon the rights of others;

• Falsely defame an individual;

• Constitute a genuine threat or harassment;

• Invade privacy or confidentiality interests;

• Block access to campus buildings;

• Impede ingress or egress to the College or any College property, pedestrian pathway, parking lot, building, facility or event;

• Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic;

• Include the use of audio amplification devices, unless specifically authorized by the College;

• Include the use of fire or pyrotechnics, unless specifically authorized by the College;

• Affix materials to College buildings, equipment, fences, trees or property, unless specifically authorized by the College.

North Central Michigan College does not assume any obligation or responsibility for the content of expressive activities or materials distributed.  People engaging in expres­sive activities assume responsibility for damages to College property, for the cleanup of materials immediately following the conclusion of expressive activities, and for remaining in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws.


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 Dean/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 Dean/Associate Dean within ten (10) working days after the instructor’s decision. The Dean/Associate Dean will have ten (10) working days to consider and respond to the appeal. If the Dean/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 that 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.

Forms of Misconduct:
The following forms of misconduct will not be tolerated by the College:
  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. 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.
  3. Forgery, alteration or misuse of College documents, records or identification, or forging a College staff person's name or initials.
  4. Disruption or unauthorized interruption of college activities.
  5. Conduct or expressions of a disorderly, obscene or sexually offensive nature contrary to generally recognized community standards of propriety or good taste.
  6. Theft of, or damage to property of the College or a member of the College community or campus visitor.
  7. Unauthorized entry to and/or use of College facilities and equipment. Also, possession of keys or duplication of College keys without proper authorization.
  8. 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.
  9. Disobiedence of College officials or designated agents acting in the performance of their duty.
  10. Any form of sexual misconduct including, but not limited to, the following:
  1. Sexual Assault – any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation or coercion.
  2. Domestic violence – a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by – a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complaining student;  a person with whom the complaining student shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complaining student as a spouse or intimate partner; a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complaining student under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies (under VAWA), or any other person against an adult or youth complaining student who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  3. Dating violence – violence committed by a person who is or has been in social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complaining student; 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.
  4. Stalking or Cyberstalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  5. 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 education or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive  educational environment.”
  6. Consent – sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity.  Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant at every stage of a sexual encounter.  The absence of “no” should not be understood to mean that there is consent.  A person who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, is not capable of giving valid consent.  The use of alcohol or drugs may seriously interfere with the participants’ judgment about whether consent has been sought and given.  Consent must meet all of the following standards:
  • Active, not passive.  Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.  There is no requirement that an individual resist a sexual act or advance, but resistance is a clear demonstration of not consenting.
  • Given freely.  A person cannot give consent under force, threats, or unreasonable pressure (coercion).  Coercion includes continued pressure after an individual has made it clear that s/he does not want to engage in the behavior.
  • Provided knowingly.  Legally valid consent to sexual activity cannot be given by:
    • A person under the legal age to consent (16 years old in Michigan,), or
    • An individual who is known to be (or based on the circumstances should reasonably be known to be) mentally or physically incapacitated.  An incapacitated person is someone who cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because s/he lacks the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a sexual interaction.  This includes a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, unconsciousness, use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Specific.  Permission to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply permission for another activity. In addition, previous relationships or prior consent do not imply consent to future sexual acts.  It is the reasonability of the initiator of the act to receive permission for the specific act.  As a result, consent may be requested and given several times by multiple parties during a sexual encounter involving multiple acts.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Gambling. Gambling of any kind is not permitted on the campus or at College sponsored events.
  4. 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:
  1. Unauthorized entry into a file, whether to use, read, change or for any other purpose.
  2. Unauthorized transfer of a file, including peer-to-peer file sharing.
  3. Unauthorized use of another individual's identification and password.
  4. Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of another student, faculty member or College official.
  5. Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.
  6. Use of computing facilities to interfere with normal operation of the College's computing system.
  7. Use of computing facilities in a manner which violates state or federal copyright laws,
     e.g.,unauthorized duplication of copyrighted or licensed software.
  1. Violation of the Firearms, Explosives or Weapons Policy including prohibiting the possession of any firearm, stiletto, dagger, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, a switch knife or any knife having an automatic spring release which has a blade over one and one-half inches, a sling shot, black jack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance with a similar effect as metallic knuckles, pellet guns, BB guns, mace, and pepper spray. In addition to the weapons identified above, North Central Michigan College also prohibits all other weapons, including, but not limited to: open flames (unless otherwise approved by Environmental Health and Safety), ammunition, explosives, paintball guns, replica guns, electronic incapacitation or other stun weapons, and any other object (including an otherwise innocuous object) that the college determines could be used (or is being used) to harass or injure another individual or that the college reasonably determines has the effect of intimidating another individual..
  2. Violation of Tobacco-Free Policy

Procedure for Student Code of Conduct Violations Except Sexual Misconduct

Any member of the College community may file charges against a student for an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Standards. For all allegations of sexual misconduct, please refer to the procedures set forth in the Sexual Misconduct Policy. 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 that expresses College dissatisfaction with the student's conduct and 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 that 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 practical.


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 Grievance Process – initiated by student

While attending North Central Michigan College, students sometimes have misunderstandings or experience difficulty with a College employee.  When students feel they have been treated unfairly and believe that one or more of their student rights have been violated, they can pursue a remedy or solution to the problem through the Student Grievance Process. 

NOTE:  The Student Grievance Process is designed to address violations of student rights; when a student wishes to appeal a final grade, complain specifically of sexual harassment, or is the subject of an academic dishonesty or code of conduct violation, separate policies listed below should be used. The Student Grievance process is not designed for these other issues involving students:

  • Academic Dishonesty
  • Grade Appeal
  • Student Code of Conduct Violation
  • Sexual Harassment

As used in these procedures, “days” shall mean actual school days during which the College is in session and regular classes are held; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are not included.

Informal Grievance: Level 1

Student is required to meet with staff member(s) and/or immediate supervisor of the staff member(s) in an attempt to mutually resolve the matter.  This discussion must take place within ten (10) days of the alleged incident.

Formal Grievance: Level 2

If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily on the informal Grievance Level 1, either party may proceed to the Formal Grievance Level 2.  Within five (5) days of completion of the informal procedure, and not later than fifteen (15) days from the date of the alleged incident, the student may choose to file a Student Grievance Form, which is available in the student portal. The appropriate Vice President will investigate the allegation and determine if a hearing is necessary. The Vice President of Instruction and Student Success is responsible for issues involving faculty and that are academic in nature.  The Vice President of Finance and Facilities is responsible for employees in that division.  All other student-initiated concerns fall under the Vice President of Student Affairs.  If a hearing is necessary, the student may exercise one of 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 handle the case.  The Vice President shall decide the case within ten (10) days of the Student Grievance 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. 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 shall not sit on this committee. The Judicial Committee shall meet within ten (10) days of the Vice President’s appointment.

Formal Grievance: Level 3

The decision of the Judicial Committee may be appealed to the Vice President. This appeal must occur, in writing, within five (5) days of the Committee’s decision. The decision of the Vice President shall be final and shall be communicated within seven (7) days of receipt of the appeal.

If the student requests the Vice President to handle the case, he/she may appeal to the President, in writing, within five (5) days of the Vice President’s decision. The decision of the President shall be final and will be given in writing within seven (7) days of receipt of the appeal. This represents the conclusion of the appeal process. 

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.