2019-2020 Catalog

Student Policy Guide

The information in this student policy guide is current. Changes that occur are updated in this online Catalog as they are approved. The guide is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, a statement of the college’s contractual undertakings.

The Berkshire Community College Board of Trustees and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Higher Education reserve the right to change its academic policies, procedures, and fees as set forth in this manual. Berkshire Community College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on basis of race, creed, religion, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, maternity leave, military service, and national origin in its education programs or employment as required by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and other Federal and State anti-discrimination laws. The policies and procedures included in this publication have been extracted from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Community College's Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity Plan, which is on file in the Office of Human Resources.

Berkshire Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE). Copies of the most recent accreditation report are available upon request from the Office of Academic Affairs. BCC’s Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy is available upon request from the Office of Student Affairs. 

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) program at Berkshire Community College to provide reasonable academic accommodations to students who are: blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, physically disabled, learning disabled, as well as to students who have: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), psychiatric disabilities, illness-related or temporary disabilities. Services are provided as long as accommodations are warranted, reasonable and appropriate given the purpose of the course. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations must initiate a request for services through DRC.

Documentation

In order to be eligible for protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and to support requests for reasonable accommodations a student must submit documentation that indicates his/her disability:

  • substantially limits one or more major life activity and;
  • validates the need for accommodations based on his/her current level of functioning in an educational setting.

Students with learning disabilities must submit diagnostic information, which includes:

  • current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language,
  • overall cognitive ability, and
  • specific areas of information processing.

A copy of their most recent Individual Education Plan (IEP), if applicable, and high school transcript is also helpful. The diagnostic report must contain clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability and will not be acceptable. For specific guidelines on the assessment of adolescents and adults with learning disabilities, please contact the DRC Coordinator.

Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his/her academic performance, it is in the student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. All documentation must be on official letterhead from a licensed or certified professional appropriate for evaluating the student's disability. The names, titles, and credentials of the licensed or certified professional, as well as the date(s) of evaluation, must be included.

If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, DRC reserves the right to require additional documentation. Any cost of obtaining additional documentation is borne by the student. Students reporting learning or attention difficulties without documentation are interviewed and screened by the DRC free of charge, and when appropriate, are given referrals for comprehensive and diagnostic testing in the community. The student is responsible for assessment costs after the initial screening.

Students referred for diagnostic testing will receive temporary accommodations for one semester, if appropriate.

If a student should require the assistance of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to achieve full educational access and opportunity, the student must contact the DRC prior to the onset of classes. PCA employment arrangements and costs are the responsibility of the student.

Confidentiality and Release of Information

The DRC is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of the student. This information may include test data, grades, biographical history, disability information, and case notes.

The following guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by the DRC and are rigorously followed and shared with students. They incorporate relevant state and federal regulations and guidelines established by relevant professional associations.

  • No one has immediate access to student files in the DRC program except staff from the DRC. Any disability-related documentation will be considered confidential and will be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. Disability-related information will be treated like medical information. Examples include the following:
    • College faculty and staff do not have a legal right to disability-related documentation. They only need to know the documentation has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution (i.e., DRC).
    • Administrators may have a need to collect data such as how many students are being served, the nature of their disabilities, and recommended accommodations. However, under typical circumstances, this data is for purposes of statistical or survey reporting and administrators do not need to know who those students are.
  • Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws, which require release in the following circumstances:
    • If the student states he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person(s);
    • If the student reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults;
    • If the college is issued a court order or subpoena.
  • A student may give written authorization for the release of information when he/she wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law.
  • A student has the right to review his/her own file.

Policy for Academic Accommodations

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, qualified students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations unless they fundamentally alter the nature of a course. It is the responsibility of the student to make a request for academic accommodation through the Disability Resource Center. Upon review of the request and disability documentation, when appropriate, an academic accommodation form will be completed and signed by the staff of the DRC. At that point, the student will be required to submit the accommodation form to his instructor. If the accommodations are accepted, the instructor will sign the form and return it to the student who will then return it to the DRC. If the accommodations are rejected, the student must inform the DRC staff immediately. A DRC staff member will meet with the instructor to negotiate a reasonable alternative. If a reasonable solution cannot be reached, the DRC Coordinator will inform the college's Affirmative Action/504 Coordinator. During the time the adjudication is in process, the faculty member will allow the accommodation as recommended until a solution is determined. Within two weeks, the Affirmative Action/504 Coordinator will meet with the Disability Review Board to determine appropriate action.


Alcohol and Drugs

On December 12, 1989, Congress amended Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The amendment, known as the “Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989,” requires every educational institution that receives federal funding to certify its adoption and implementation of programs designed to prevent the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol by students and employees.

BCC, in accordance with legal mandates and its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive climate in which to conduct the business and mission of the College, enforces the following policies:

  • The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of alcohol, or a controlled substance, is prohibited on the campus of BCC or as part of any college- related activity. Students or employees who violate these restrictions shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including, suspension, expulsion or discharge and shall also be subject to referral for criminal prosecution. Where students or employees are convicted of violating a criminal drug or alcohol statute related to a college activity, the College shall ordinarily expel or discharge the offender absent mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, considerations or handicap under federal and state law.
  • BCC shall cooperate in the enforcement of federal and state laws concerning illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts statutes pertaining to illegal drugs and alcohol include: 
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 59 (Public Drinking)
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24 (Operating Under the Influence, Open Containers)
    • Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C (Controlled Substances Act)
  • Prescribed penalties under Chapter 94 range from mandatory probation for a first conviction for possession of a class E substance, e.g. marijuana, to a period of imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of two thousand dollars for each subsequent conviction related to sale or distribution. Prescribed penalties under Chapter 90, Section 24 range from a fine of $100 to imprisonment for not more than two years and a fine of $1000. Federal judicial guidelines also exist which suggest penalties for violation of federal criminal statutes related to drugs and alcohol.
  • Under-age drinking is prohibited at BCC functions and on any part of the campus.
  • Alcohol may not be served, consumed, or furnished at any BCC student event either on or off any of its facilities. The exception is the Hospitality Administration and Culinary Arts program dinners. Club or activity advisors, or other appropriate college officials, should take all reasonable steps to insure that alcohol is not available during, or en-route to, a college-sponsored event.
  • Employees working under federally funded grants are additionally subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
    • Employees convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify the Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer of Berkshire Community College no later than five (5) days after such conviction. Such notification must be in writing.
    • The College shall notify the appropriate federal agency within ten (10) days after receiving notice from the employee regarding such conviction. Such notification will be in writing.
    • The College, within thirty (30) days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee who is convicted, will:
      • Take appropriate disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination of employment; or
      • Require such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a federal, state, or local health, law enforcement or other appropriate agency. For more information go to www.berkshirecc.edu\personalcounseling
  • The College will present campus-wide drug and alcohol education literature on an annual basis. This is in addition to other educational opportunities available in current or future offerings.
  • The following medical risks are associated with drug and alcohol use:
    • Overdose -- An overdose can happen due to uncertain purity, strength or even type of drugs one gets illegally. It can also happen due to increased tolerance, because one needs increased dosages to achieve the same effect. An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma or death. While the risks of drug overdose are more common and frequently more severe, extreme quantities of alcohol can similarly result in psychosis, convulsions, coma or death.
    • Dependence -- Continued use of drugs and alcohol can lead to a psychological and/or physical need for them.
    • Ill Health -- Long term drug or alcohol use can destroy a healthy body and mind. Generally, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to organic damage, mental illness, malnutrition, failure to get treatment for existing diseases or injuries, and even to death. Chronic drinking also has been associated with increased rates for heart disease, liver damage, ulcers and gastritis, and adrenal and pituitary gland damage. Injection of drugs presents special risks of getting AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. Drug and alcohol use can also affect the health of a child in the womb and result in birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug dependency or death. Because the quantity of alcohol likely to injure a developing fetus is unknown, the United States Surgeon General has specifically counseled women not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy.
    • Accidents -- When drugs and alcohol affect an individual's perception and/or reaction time, accidents become more likely.
  • The College shall conduct a biennial review of these policies and programs and implement changes as necessary.
  • For any member of the Berkshire Community College community who is experiencing substance use issues, BCC stands ready to offer supportive services and referral for treatment, as appropriate and available. Information concerning substance use and treatment/recovery programs is available at the Student Support Center or Human Resources, located in the Susan B. Anthony College Center. 

Bathroom and Locker Room Policy

The Bathroom and Locker Room Use policy has been revised consistent with the Commonwealth's new Public Accommodation Law, which requires places of public accommodation to permit the use of public facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms, based on a person's sincerely held gender identity. This policy was revised in consultation with a sub-committee of the Chief Student Affairs Officers and was forwarded for review to the Attorney General's Office.

Bulletin Board or Posting Materials on Campus

This policy provides guidelines in terms of time, place and manner of postings on campus. Berkshire Community College (BCC) reserves their right to address concerns or make suggestions related to content of postings in an effort to reinforce the educational mission of the College. The intent of this policy is to contribute to an orderly presentation of information for College members. The College seeks to enhance the academic and social environments of the campus, to promote events consistent with the mission of the College and to continue the support of the academic and social elements of student life.

General Information:

Posting on campus is limited to designated areas by members of the College, departments/programs, registered clubs, and student organizations who wish to advertise on campus on a space available basis. Commercial postings, including solicitations, are allowable in specific areas only.

  • Postings are to be on paper or similar medium as appropriate for adhering to bulletin boards. The maximum size for postings is 11’ x 17’. The Student Engagement Center must approve exceptions to the standard.
  • Postings for not-for-profit organizations pertaining to cultural, educational and social events sponsored by BCC must be stamped for approval by the Student Engagement Center prior to posting.
  • Outside organizations, groups or individuals will not be granted permission to post notices on BCC-only posting areas. All such notices will be removed immediately.
  • No postings are permitted on cars, lockers, personal property, painted, wooden or glass surfaces (i.e. windows & doors) or in stairwells.
  • Postings can be posted for up to three weeks. The Student Engagement Center must approve exceptions to the standard.
  • Only one posting per event per posting board/area is allowed. Postings can be posted up to three weeks in advance of the event and must be removed the day following the event.
  • Tape, paint, or other substances used to convey a message may not be applied to physical surfaces of buildings or grounds on College property.
  • All BCC postings must be approved by Marketing & Communications (marketing@berkshirecc.edu). Any materials posted that are not brand compliant will be removed.

All Postings must include the following information:

  • Name of sponsoring organization, which must be prominently displayed in a central location on the poster.
  • Date, time and location of the event, if appropriate.

 

Changing Biographical Data

The Changing Biographical Data policy has been revised and now permits a student to use a preferred first name on some internal college records and communications, including class rosters, diplomas, and student ID cards. For records or communications outside of the College or where the law requires, a student’s legal first name will be used. This policy was revised in consultation with a sub-committee of the Chief Student Affairs Officers and was forwarded for review to the Attorney General's Office.

Children on Campus

A college campus is designed for adult populations and may not be suitable for young children. While there may be occasions for children to visit the campus, they must be with a parent or responsible adult at all times. Responsibility for the supervision and safety of minors shall rest with the person who brings the minor to campus. If it is deemed that the child represents a distraction to the learning environment the parent and child will be asked to leave. Permission must be obtained from each faculty member if a child is to attend a class with the parent.

Campus Crime Statistics

Per the Campus Security/Clery Act of 1990 as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 20 USC 1092 (f), an annual security report is published and made avail- able each year detailing campus crime statistics for the previous 3 years. [Statistics described shall be compiled in accordance with the definitions used in the uniform crime reporting system of the Department of Justice FBI and modifications in such definitions as pursuant to the Hate Crime Statistics Act. For the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, such statistics shall be compiled in accordance with the definitions used in section 400002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (42) USC 13925 (a). Such statistics shall not identify victims of crimes or persons accused of crimes.] This report is prepared in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies surrounding our Main Campus, satellites and alternate sites, campus security, and the Division of Student Affairs. Each semester, an e-mail notification is made to all enrolled students providing the website to access this report. Faculty and staff receive similar notification. The report is available at www.berkshirecc.edu/clery. A printed copy of the report is available at the offices of Public Safety and Student Affairs. Students may have a copy of the report mailed to them by contacting Public Safety at 413-236-1010.

Equity in Athletics

Notice is hereby given that all Student Right-to-Know information (Public Law 101-542) and all Equity in Athletics information (Public Law 103-382) are available to current or prospective students from BCC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness and will be provided upon request.

Notice is hereby given that, in accordance with the “Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990” (Title II of Public Law 101-542), the Campus Crime Report from Berkshire Community College is included in the Student Policy Guide and is available from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and will be provided upon request or may be viewed online on the BCC website.

Gambling

The College follows state guidelines which prohibit illegal gambling. This includes games that result in an exchange of money.

Golfing and Hunting on Campus

Golfing (including driving balls, chipping, and putting) on campus is allowed only in physical education classes. At no time is hunting permitted on college grounds.

Gender and Sexual Orientation

BCC is committed to providing a working, living, and learning environment that utilizes the resources of all members of the college community and develops the talents of all of its students without regard to gender or sexual orientation. Any condition that interferes with the development of talents by causing discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation constitutes a destructive force within the college community.

The College hereby prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. This prohibition bars all acts that have the effect of denying to any person equality of right, entitlement, benefit or opportunity by reason of such person’s gender or sexual orientation. Harassment by personal vilification is prohibited whenever such harassment is based on a person’s gender or sexual orientation.

Students or employees who believe that their rights under this policy have been violated shall have the recourse under their respective grievance procedures (i.e., the student grievance procedure and the affirmative action grievance procedure) found in the Student Policy Guide.

Hazing

The practice of hazing is prohibited by law in the state of Massachusetts. Hazing is defined as any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.

A copy of the law pertaining to the practice of hazing is printed below and is also available in the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management office. This policy will be distributed to every club or organization at Berkshire Community College. For further information contact the Director of Student Life.

269:17. Hazing: organizing or participating: hazing defined.

Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term "hazing," as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, of any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.

269:18. Failure to report hazing

Section 18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

269:19. Issuance to students and student groups, teams and organizations; report.

Section 19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post-secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided however, that an institution's compliance with this section's requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institutions' recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.

Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team, or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually to the institution, an attested acknowledgment stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post-secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post-secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organization and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution's policies to its students. The board of regents and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.


ID Cards

Each new student is issued a student identification card that must be presented to attend various school events, gain access to Paterson Field House and Library Services, and receive grant and work study checks from the Business Office. Pictures for the cards are taken at the main desk in the library during hours of operation. The library validates the ID cards of returning students each semester (with a sticker). Students must have a valid photo ID. A fee of $5 will be charged for a replacement ID.

Internet - Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use

The purpose of Internet is to facilitate communications in support of research and education by providing access to unique resources and an opportunity for collaborative work. To remain eligible as a user, the use of your account must be in support of and consistent with the educational objectives of BCC. Use of the Internet is for academic purposes only.

Transmission of any material in violation of any United States or state regulation is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, copyrighting material, threatening or obscene material, or material protected by trade secret. Use for commercial activities is prohibited. Use for product advertisement or political lobbying is also prohibited.

Privilege

The use of Internet is a privilege, not a right; it is to be used for academic purposes only. Inappropriate use, including any violation of these conditions and rules, may result in cancellation of the privilege, as well as possible civil and/or criminal sanctions. The account holder or user is solely responsible for any and all materials viewed, stored, or transmitted from BCC-based computers. BCC expects, however, that all account holders or users will comply with all College rules and regulations related to Internet use, as well as applicable state and federal law. If BCC, however, receives notice of a violation of its rules, and/or state or federal law, BCC reserves the right to deny, revoke, suspend, or close any user account. Further, no account holder or user should have an expectation of privacy over e-mail transmissions and the College reserves the right to block any "mass" e-mail transmissions.

Security

Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. A user must never allow others to use his/her password. Users should also protect their passwords to ensure system security and their privileges and ability to continue use of the system. Attempts to log on to the Internet with other than your own account will result in cancellation of user privileges.

  • If you feel you can identify a security problem on the Internet, you must notify a system administrator.

Vandalism and Harassment

  • Vandalism and harassment will result in cancellation of user privileges.
  • Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm, modify, and destroy data of another user, Internet, or other networks that are connected to the Internet backbone. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creating of computer viruses or intentionally disrupting network traffic or crashing the network and connected systems.
  • Harassment is defined as the persistent annoyance of another user or the interference of another user's work. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the sending of unwanted mail, Trojan horses, logic bombs, trapdoors, backdoors, viruses and worms.

Monitoring

BCC reserves the right to review any material on user accounts and to monitor fileserver space. The system administrator has the right to restrict or terminate network and Internet access at any time for cause. The system administrator further has the right to monitor network activity in any form that it sees fit to maintain the integrity of the network.

No Warranties

BCC makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. BCC will not be responsible for any damages a user suffers. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, no-deliveries, mis- deliveries, or service interruptions cause by BCC negligence or by the user's errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at the user's own risk. BCC specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its services. All users need to consider the source of any information they obtain and consider how valid that information may be.

Procedures for Use

  • Student users must sign-in legibly on the appropriate log each time they use the network.
  • Users shall not play games or use the computer resources for other non-academic activities.

Encounter of Controversial Material

On the Internet it is impossible to control the content of data and a user may discover controversial materials. If you feel you are being harassed or the system is being used in an inappropriate manner, it is your responsibility to notify the systems administrator. BCC shall not be held liable for any decision to restrict or regulate access to Internet materials nor for the student's encounters, access, or use of any inappropriate or controversial material.

Network Etiquette

All users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. These include but are not limited to, the following:

  • Do not reveal your personal address or phone numbers or of students and colleagues.
  • Note that electronic mail (e-mail) is not private. People who operate the system do have access to all mail. Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities will be reported to the authorities and will result in the loss of user privileges.
  • Do not use the Internet in such a way that you would disrupt the use of the network by other users.
  • All communications and information accessible via the Internet should be assumed to be the private property of those who put it on the network.

Penalties for Improper Use

When improper use is detected, the user may, depending on the severity of the abuse:

  • Receive an oral warning
  • Receive a written warning
  • Receive a written warning and/or interim suspension of privileges and notice of a hearing within two working days
  • Have privileges formally withdrawn after a hearing
  • Face criminal prosecution if possible breach of law is involved

Further, intentional or unintentional misuse of this service by an account holder or user may result in a violation of civil and/or criminal statutes, including, but not limited to, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Massachusetts' Wire Tap and/or Privacy laws, defamation, copyright and/or trademark infringement laws, and/or sexual harassment or discrimination laws.(May 1997)


Marijuana Use

This policy was developed in response to the passage of 2016 Ballot Question #4, which now permits the personal possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts, effective December 15, 2016, in Massachusetts.  This policy revises and replaces the system-wide Medical Marijuana policy that was implemented in January 2013.

Although Massachusetts law permits the use of medical marijuana and the possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts, federal law, including the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, continues to prohibit the possession, use, distribution and/or cultivation of marijuana at educational institutions. Further, as marijuana remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law, institutions of higher education that receive federal funding are required to maintain policies prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana on their campuses. Accordingly, under this policy, as well as the system-wide Student Code of Conduct, the possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana, even in limited amounts, remains prohibited on Community College property or at Community College events. Violations of this policy will subject students and employees to disciplinary action, up to an including expulsion or termination in accordance with applicable College policies or collective bargaining agreements.

Parking on Campus

Where is Parking on Campus?

BCC has three parking lots surrounding the campus with space for 1,053 vehicles. Parking is free and on a first-come, first- served basis and each parking area provides space for handicapped persons, students, and faculty/staff. Visitor parking is provided in a designated lot on East Rd. Vehicles parked in unauthorized areas will be ticketed. Payments are accepted at the Student Billing Office, F108, in the form of cash, money order, check, or credit card. Students are encouraged to arrive on campus at least ten minutes before their classes start. In order to provide safe and easy access to buildings for emergencies, parking regulations are strictly enforced by college personnel.

On-campus parking areas are assigned in the following way:

  • Disabled Parking sections are in the Paterson Field lot, the North lot, the area on the east side of the Susan B. Anthony College Center and along the Fire Road. Anyone who parks in these areas must display a state issued handicap placard or plate.
  • Student Parking is between painted lines in north, central, and south lots in areas not designated for faculty/staff or handicapped persons.
  • Faculty/Staff Parking is along East Road and designated areas in north, central, and south lots, and on the Fire Road. Cars must display faculty/staff stickers.
  • Visitor Parking IS NOT for faculty, staff, or students at any time.

Following is a complete list of parking violations:

  • Upon any part of any highway in such manner as to impede removal or plowing of snow and ice.
  • Upon any sidewalk.
  • Upon any highway with twenty (20) feet of any intersecting way, except alleys.
  • Within ten (10) feet of a fire hydrant.
  • By other than a handicapped person in any HANDICAPPED PARKING space.
  • In front of any driveway.
  • So as to obstruct traffic.
  • In front of any barricade erected-temporarily or permanently-to close a way to vehicular traffic.
  • Taking up two parking spaces will be considered a violation.
  • On land, except a designated parking lot, not designated for vehicular traffic such as walks, lawns, and open fields.
  • In front of a gateway or entrance to an athletic field or other field or open area.
  • Upon any way that is an entrance to a parking area.
  • In any Service Zone except while actually engaged in loading and unloading.
  • Adjacent to any building in such a manner as to obstruct an exit or entrance thereto.
  • In any Bus Stop.
  • In any area designated as Reserved for Fire, Police, Ambulance, or other emergency vehicle.
  • By other than a bona fide visitor in any parking lot, area, stall, or space designated as VISITOR PARKING.
  • Except for official vehicles, in any parking lot, area, stall, or space designated as AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY, or for RESERVED PARKING.
  • In any area designated NO PARKING.
  • In the wrong direction.
  • Overtime in restricted area.

Parking in any of the above manners shall constitute illegal parking and the vehicle will be assessed a $15 fine (except when in a handicapped space illegally- which will have a $100 fine assessed) Fines and appeals are handled through the office of Student Billing, extension 3043.

If an issued ticket is unpaid after 21 days, an additional $10 fine is imposed, and only one late payment notice is sent. If the ticket is still unpaid after 90 days, the matter is turned over to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry will impose an additional $30 fine as prescribed by law. The RMV will not renew the driver's license and/or car registration until the fines are paid.

BCC reserves the right to hold grades, transcripts, registration, and graduation of all violators with unpaid fines.

Upon the sixth (6th) and each subsequent violation by an individual, in addition to the ticket, the vehicle will be immobilized with a "Denver Boot" until all fines have been paid. An additional fee of $25 will be charged to have the boot removed from the immobilized car.

Any dispute over parking tickets must be handled through an appeal process. Security does not have the authority to "fix" a ticket. Appeal forms are available through, and must be filed at, the student billing office within 14 days of issuance date on ticket. The original ticket must be submitted with the filed appeal. All appeals are reviewed by the College Parking Appeals Committee once a month. The decision of the committee is final.


Policy Against Discriminatory Harassment and Retaliation

BCC condemns all acts of verbal harassment or abuse, which deny or have the effect of denying to an individual his/her legal rights to equality, dignity, and security while at BCC. The policy reaffirms the doctrine of civility, appreciation for pluralism, and pre-eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community that recognizes and utilizes the resources of all persons while reaffirming the tenets of academic freedom.

The College recognizes its obligation to protect the rights of free inquiry and expression, and nothing herein shall be construed or applied so as to abridge the exercise of rights under the Constitution of the United States and other federal and state laws.

Students or employees who believe that their rights under this policy have been violated shall have recourse under a respective grievance procedure.

Introduction

The mission of the Community Colleges is to educate, train and prepare our students to live and work in our increasingly global and diverse workforce. It is our commitment to take all possible steps to provide an inclusive and diverse learning, living, and work environment that values diversity and cultural tolerance and looks with disfavor on intolerance and bigotry. Any condition or force that impedes the fullest utilization of the human and intellectual resources available represents a force of destructive consequences for the development of our Commonwealth and ultimately, our nation.

Definitions

Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, Protected Class(s)/Classification(s) and Retaliation are defined under the “Definitions” section of this Policy.

Prohibited Conduct

The Policy prohibits all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation, which deny or have the effect of denying to any person their rights to equity and security on the basis of their membership in or association with a member(s) of any protected class. This policy reaffirms the values of civility, appreciation for racial/ethnic/cultural/religious pluralism and pre-eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community, which recognizes and utilizes the resources of all people.

In order to promote an atmosphere in which diversity is valued and the worth of individuals is recognized, the Colleges will distribute policy statements and conduct educational programs to combat discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation.

The prohibited conduct contained in this Policy shall apply to and be enforced against all members of the College community, including, but not limited to, faculty, librarians, administrators, staff, students, vendors, contractors and all others having dealings with the institution.

Conduct that is Not Prohibited

The Community Colleges are committed to protecting, maintaining and encouraging both freedom of expression and full academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, service, and research. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to penalize a member
of the College community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea in the process of responsible teaching and learning. Accordingly, any form of speech or conduct that is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is not subject to this policy.

Complaint Procedures

The Community Colleges have established a specific internal Complaint Procedure to help resolve claims and complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation on their campuses (see Section L). Any applicant for employment or admission, any student or employee, and any other member of the College community who believes that he or she has been a victim of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation may initiate complaint as outlined in the Policy’s Complaint Procedures. Further advice or information may be obtained by contacting the Affirmative Action Officer.

Duty to Cooperate

Every faculty member, librarian, administrator, staff member and College employee has a duty to cooperate fully and unconditionally in an investigation conducted pursuant to this Policy’s Complaint Procedure, subject to the provisions of any relevant collective bargaining agreements.
This duty includes, among other things, speaking with the Affirmative Action Officer, Title IX Coordinator or other authorized personnel or investigator and voluntarily providing all information and documentation which relates to the claim being investigated. The failure and/or refusal of any employee to cooperate in an investigation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Duty to Report

No member of the College community who receives a complaint of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation can ignore it; he or she should give to the person making the complaint as much assistance in bringing it to the attention of the Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator as is reasonably appropriate given his or her position at the College and relationship with the person making the complaint. Any trustee, administrator, department chair, program coordinator, manager or supervisor who receives a complaint of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation from a student or other member of the College community is obligated to report the complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer as soon as he or she becomes aware of it. In the case of claims of sexual harassment or sexual violence, reports shall be made to the Title IX Coordinator. Any investigation of such allegations shall be conducted by the College’s Affirmative Action Officer and/or the Title IX Coordinator.

Similarly, all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and others having dealings with the institution are encouraged to report to the Affirmative Action Officer or the Title IX Coordinator any conduct of which they have direct knowledge and which they in good faith believe constitutes discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation in violation of this Policy.

General Responsibility to Report Prohibited Conduct

 

No member of the College community who receives a complaint of Prohibited Conduct can ignore it; he or she should give to the person making the complaint as much assistance in bringing it to the attention of the Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator as is reasonably appropriate given his or her position at the College and relationship with the person making the complaint. Therefore, all students, faculty, staff, and administrators are strongly encouraged to report to the Affirmative Action Officer or the Title IX Coordinator any conduct of which they have direct knowledge and which they in good faith believe constitutes a violation of this Policy.

Reporting of Title IX Offenses by Responsible Employees

 

Allegations involving Title IX Offenses shall be reported by all “Responsible Employees” to the Title IX coordinator or official designee as soon as the employee becomes aware of it. A Responsible Employee includes any College employee: who has the authority to take action to redress Title IX Offenses; who has been given the duty of reporting Title IX Offenses to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate school designee; or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Responsible Employees shall include, but are not be limited to, College trustees, administrators, department chairs, program coordinators, campus police, club/activity advisors, coaches, managers or supervisors. 22

Mandatory Reporting of Abuse Under State Law

 

Children (a person under the age of 18) may be students at the College, or may be engaged in activities sponsored by the College or by third-parties utilizing College facilities. In such instances, where an employee has reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering physical or emotional injury, resulting from among other causes, sexual abuse, the employee and the College may be obligated to comply with the mandatory reporting requirements established at M.G.L. Chapter 119, Section 51A-E. In such cases, the employee is directed to immediately report the matter to the College’s Affirmative Action and/or Title IX Coordinator, who, in consultation with other officials, shall contact the Commonwealth’s Department of Children and Families and/or law enforcement. An employee may also contact local law enforcement authorities or the Department of Children and Families directly in cases of suspected abuse or neglect. State law also maintains mandatory reporting requirements for certain occupations where elderly and disabled abuse or neglect is suspected. For more information on these reporting requirements please contact the College’s Affirmative Action Officer.

Any member of the College community who has a question about his or her responsibilities under this Policy should contact the Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator.

False Charges

Filing a false charge of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation is a serious offense. If an investigation reveals that a complainant knowingly filed false charges, the College shall take appropriate actions and issue sanctions pursuant to other applicable College policies, including any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The imposition of such sanctions does not constitute retaliation under this Plan.

Policy Against Sexual Harassment

Introduction

It is the goal of the Community Colleges to promote an educational environment and workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of students or employees occurring in the classroom or the workplace is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community College. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated and we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with, if encountered by students or employees.
Because the Community Colleges take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective measures, including disciplinary action where appropriate and consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements.

b. Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment: Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment or academic decisions; or
  • such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive learning or working environment.
  • Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor or instructor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job or academic benefits constitute sexual harassment. The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and in addition to the above examples, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work or educational environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to another may also constitute sexual harassment.
  • While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and/or its pervasiveness:
  • Unwelcome sexual advances - whether they involve physical touching or not.
  • Repeated, unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual intercourse.
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life; comment on an individual's body, comment about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess.
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons.
  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments.
  • Verbal harassment or abuse on the basis of sex.
  • Inquiries into another person’s sexual activities, practices or experiences.
  • Discussion of one's own sexual activities, practices or experiences.

The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and applies to any individual of either gender who participates in the college community, including a student, faculty member, administrator or any other person having dealings with the college. In addition, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating workplace or academic environment to male or female workers or students may also constitute sexual harassment.
All employees and students should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment, or retaliation against individuals who have cooperated with an investigation of sexual harassment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community Colleges.

c. Complaints of Sexual Harassment

If any member of the College Community believes that he/she has been subjected to sexual harassment, he/she has a right to file a complaint under this policy, either in writing or orally.
All complaints of sexual harassment shall proceed under this Policy’s Complaint Procedure. To file a complaint a person may do so by contacting the College’s Title IX Coordinator, or designee. A report of an allegation of sexual harassment may also be presented to other “Responsible Employees” at the College. These persons are also available to discuss any concerns a person may have and to provide information about the Policy on Sexual Harassment and the complaint process.

d. Sexual Harassment Investigation

A complaint of sexual harassment will be promptly investigated in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. Our investigation will be conducted in accordance with this Policy’s Complaint Procedure and will include a private interview with the person filing the complaint and with witnesses. The person alleged to have committed sexual harassment will also be interviewed. Once the investigation is completed, the College will, to the extent appropriate, inform the parties of the results of that investigation.
If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where it is appropriate also impose disciplinary action.

e. Disciplinary Action

Discipline for violating this Policy may include, but is not limited to, mandatory counseling or training, verbal or written warnings, suspension, termination from employment, or expulsion from the College.

f. Consensual Relationships

Faculty/Administrator/Staff Member Relationships with Students

A romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, between a faculty member, administrator or staff member and a student is looked upon with disfavor and is strongly discouraged. No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is being taught or advised by the faculty member or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member. No administrator or staff member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who the administrator or staff member supervises, evaluates, advises, or provides other professional advice or services as part of a College program or activity.

Relationships Between Supervisors, Subordinates or Co-Workers

A consenting romantic and/or sexual relationship between a supervisor and subordinate or co-workers may interfere with or impair the performance of professional duties and responsibilities and/or create an appearance of bias or favoritism. Further, such relationships could implicate state ethics laws and/or result in claims of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Therefore, such workplace relationships are strongly discouraged.

g. State and Federal Remedies

In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with the governmental agencies set forth below. Filing a complaint under this Policy does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short time period for filing a claim (EEOC - 300 days; MCAD - 300 days).

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")
One Congress Street
10th Floor Boston, MA 02114 (617) 565-3200

The Office For Civil Rights (“OCR”)
U.S. Department of Education John W. McCormack Post
Office and Courthouse, Room 222 Boston, MA 02109
(617) 223-9662

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD")
Boston Office: Worcester Office:
One Ashburton Place Worcester City Hall Rm. 601 484 Main St., Rm. 320
Boston, MA 02108 Worcester, MA 01608
(617) 994-6000 (508) 799-8010

Springfield Office:
436 Dwight St., Rm. 220
Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 739-2145

New Bedford Office:
800 Purchase St., Rm. 501
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 990-2390

Publications Regarding Procedures and Policies

Berkshire Community College has two publications outlining its procedures and policies. They are The Student Policy Guide and The Crime Awareness & Campus Security Report. Both can be found online at www.berkshirecc.edu. A paper copy can be obtained upon request from the Office of Student Affairs at 413-236-1602.

Service Animals

Berkshire Community College generally permits service animals assisting individuals with disabilities in all facilities maintained by the College. Therefore, an individual with a disability shall be permitted to be accompanied by his/her service animal in all areas of the College’s facilities where members of the public are permitted. The College reserves the right to impose restrictions on the use of service animals on its property in order to maintain safety or to avoid disruption of College operations.

This policy applies only to facilities owned by the College or under its control. Please be advised that there may be restrictions imposed on the use of service animals in non-college facilities, such as hospitals, science laboratories or other clinical or internship experience locations. Such restrictions are established by the individual facilities according to their own policies and procedures and the College has no control over such restrictions.

“Service Animal” Defined

 The Americans with Disabilities Act’s regulations define “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. However, in certain instances, the use of other animals as a service animal may be permitted under other laws so please consult with the College’s Disability Services Officer.

Type of Work or Tasks a Service Animal May Provide

Work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to its handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks performed by service animals include, but are not limited to:

  • assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks;
  • alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds;
  • providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
  • pulling a wheelchair;
  • assisting an individual during a seizure;
  • alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
  • retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
  • providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities; and
  • helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Services that do not qualify as work or tasks performed by a service animal include:

  • crime deterrent effects; or
  • the provision of emotional support, comfort, or companionship, often referred to as “therapy” or “companion” animals.

Service Animal Documentation

Consistent with state law, all dogs on campus shall:

  • possess an animal license in compliance with Massachusetts law;
  • be properly immunized and vaccinated; and,
  • wear a current license and rabies vaccination tag.

It is recommended that a service animal wear some type of recognizable symbol identifying it as a service animal. However, there is no requirement for documentation to prove that the animal has had particular training or is a “certified” service animal.

Registration of a Service Animal on Campus

When practicable, a student or employee seeking to use a service animal is requested to notify the Office of Disability Services prior to bringing the animal on to College property. A service animal’s handler will be asked to complete a voluntary Service Animal Registration Form . This document shall be maintained confidentially by the College. If the animal qualifies as a service animal, the handler will voluntarily agree to comply with this policy at all times while the animal is on College property. Members of the general public intending to visit the college with a service animal should notify the College’s Office of Disability Services in advance when practicable. Specific questions related to the use of service animals on College property can be directed to Pamela Farron via email at pfarron@berkshirecc.edu or by phone at 413-236-1608.

Permissible Inquiries about a Service Animal

 It is permissible for the College to make the following inquiries in order to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

  • is the animal required because of a disability? and
  • what work or task is the animal trained to perform?

The College shall not inquire about the nature or extent of a person’s disability. Further, the College shall not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

Control of a Service Animal

The College is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. A service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times. A service animal shall have a leash or other tether, unless the handler is unable because of a disability to use a leash or other tether, or the use of such would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of its work or tasks. Under those circumstances where a service animal is not tethered, the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

Health, Hygiene and Cleanliness

Service animals must be clean. Daily grooming and occasional baths should be utilized to keep the animal’s odor to a minimum. Adequate flea prevention and control must be maintained. If a service animal’s odor is offensive to other individuals, the handler will be requested to bathe the service animal prior to returning to the College. A service animal’s handler must clean up after the animal. If due to a disability the handler is unable to do so, the handler shall make alternative arrangements to do so.

Exclusion of a Service Animal from College Property

The College may direct an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal:

  • is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it (including the animal poses a direct threat to others on campus and/or exhibits behavior that interferes with the educational process);
  • is not housebroken, is ill, or presents a reoccurring offensive odor; and/or
  • is not properly licensed and/or vaccinated.

If the College excludes a service animal from its premises, it shall still afford the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in its programs or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Public Etiquette Rules

Members of the public should avoid:

  • petting a service animal as it may distract the animal from its work;
  • feeding a service animal;
  • deliberately startling a service animal;
  • calling or attempting to attract the attention of a service animal; and
  • attempting to separate a service animal from its handler.

Grievances

Any person who believes that his/her rights to use a service animal on College property have been violated may file a complaint under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan by contacting the College’s Affirmative Action Officer.

SERVICE ANIMAL FINAL POLICY January 2013


Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment of a student, an employee, or any other person at BCC is unlawful, unacceptable, impermissible and intolerable. In addition to sexual harassment being unlawful, it is also unlawful to retaliate against a student, employee, or any other person in the college for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment.

BCC’s policies and procedures on sexual harassment are made available to all college community members. In addition to formal procedures, the college shall ensure that appropriate opportunities are available to students and employees to obtain counseling concerning their rights under the law and effective means of informally resolving grievances. A complete copy of the College’s sexual harassment policy is included in the Student Policy Guide.

Student Code of Conduct

Judicial Process Flow Chart

Definitions

Accused Student - The student who is alleged to have violated the College's Student Code of Conduct

Appeals Officer - The person designated by the College's President to hear student appeals of a judicial board finding.

Cheating - Includes, but is not limited to:

  1. use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations;
  2. dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or
  3. the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff.

Cheating shall also include the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement.

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.

Taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Copying or purchasing other's work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.

College - This term refers to Berkshire Community College.

 

College Official - Includes any person employed by the College, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.

College Premises - Includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.

Complaint - The informal, often unwritten stage of an allegation of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Day - As used in this policy shall mean a calendar day.

Faculty or Staff Member - Any person hired by the College to conduct classroom, instructional, administrative or support activities.

Complaining Party - The individual bringing a complaint against an accused student.

Judicial Board - A panel of College Officials designated by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer to conduct a hearing after the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer has determined that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred and an Administrative Remedy cannot be reached. All Judicial Board members shall act in an impartial, unbiased manner.

Member of the College Community - Includes any person who is a student, faculty member, College official or any other person employed by the College. A person's status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer or the Registrar.

Plagiarism - Includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. 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. This would also include material that is obtained from the computer.

Student - Includes all persons taking courses at the College, both full-time and part-time, credit and non-credit. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing academic relationship with the College are considered "students."

Student Organization - Any number of students who have compiled with the formal requirements for the College's organization recognition process.

Time - The number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may extend the time limits at their discretion with notice to both parties in writing.

Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or Designee - The College Official designated by the College's President to be responsible for the administration of the Student Code of Conduct.

 

Disciplinary Offenses

  • The College's jurisdiction under this policy shall extend to student conduct occurring on College property, property under the management and/or control of the College, and/or off College property when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a risk of harm or the threat of harm to the College Community and/or interferes with the College's pursuit of its objectives and mission.
  • A student shall be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this policy for acts including, but not limited to:
  • Physical violence or the threat thereof and/or any conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
  • Creating or false reporting of bombs.
  • Extortion - The use, or the express or implicit threat of the use, of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to person, reputation, or property as a means to obtain property from someone else without his/her consent.
  • Unauthorized use of fire alarm or fire equipment.
  • Unauthorized or illegal gambling.
  • Hate Crimes as defined under state or federal law.
  • Hazing as defined under state of federal law.
  • Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on College premises.
  • Conduct resulting in a violation of the College's Computer/Technology Acceptable Use and/or Email Policies.
  • Failure to comply with directions of College officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
  • Failure to identify oneself when on College property or at a College-sponsored or supervised event, upon request of a College official acting in the performance of his/her duties.
  • Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication except as expressly permitted by law and/or College regulations.
  • Use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs or other controlled substances.
  • Breach of peace; including disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on College premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in, by the College.
  • Defacement or destruction of College materials or College property. Attempted or actual theft, or unauthorized use of and/or damage to property of the College or property of a member of the College community or other personal or public property.
  • Acting in a manner or participating in an event which disrupts the normal operations of the College and the learning environment and infringes on the rights of other members of the College community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; intentional obstruction which interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus.
  • Harassment (verbal or physical) and or intimidation of a member of the College Community.
  • Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
  • Cheating, including use of unauthorized books or notes, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, as defined by College policy.
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification. Alteration of college records, documents, or identification instruments or the use of the same with the intent to defraud.
  • Furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member or office.
  • Disrupting or tampering with the election of any College recognized student organization.
  • Abuse of the Disciplinary process, including but not limited to:
  • Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Judicial Board.
  • Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding.
  • Attempting to discourage an individual's proper participation in, or use of, the judicial system.
  • Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the judicial proceeding.
  • Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, during, and/or after a judicial proceeding.
  • Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.
  • Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the judicial system.
  • Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
  • Unauthorized solicitation, including but not limited to sale of goods and services for personal profit.
  • Unauthorized activity that constitutes forgery.
  • Violation of State or Federal Laws not otherwise enumerated herein.
  • Violation of published College policies, rules, or regulations not otherwise enumerated herein.

Discipline in the Classroom

Disrupting or disturbing the classroom is a violation of the College's Student Code of Conduct. A faculty member has the right to remove a disruptive student from class, pending a review of the situation by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee. Any faculty member may, at any time, refer a student to the Dean of Student Affairs or designee, if the student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Dean of Student Affairs or designee may impose disciplinary sanctions against the offending student consistent with the rules and regulations of the Student Code of Conduct. At the discretion of the Dean of Student Affairs or designee, a student may be allowed to attend class during the disciplinary review process. In making this determination the Dean of Student Affairs or designee will consider the severity of the disruptive behavior and may consult with the Chief Academic Officer.

Complaints Alleging Sexual Harassment or Discrimination

Claims of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be pursued under the College's Affirmative Action Plan. For more information, please contact Deborah A. Cote, the College's Affirmative Action Officer, at 236-1022.

Off Campus Behavior

If a student is charged only with an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local laws, the College reserves the right to take disciplinary action and impose sanctions against the student. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus.

Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process

The Disciplinary Process is initiated once a formal complaint is filed against a student by a member of the College community or by the Dean of Student Affairs. This policy is not intended to prevent members of the College Community from attempting to resolve matters mutually and informally. For example, if a student engages in disruptive conduct in the classroom, a faculty member may confront the student and resolve the matter without resorting to filing a complaint under the Code. Where, however, a matter cannot be resolved mutually and informally, the Code of Conduct Process shall be followed.

 

Disciplinary Process

All complaints under the Code of Conduct shall be filed with or by the Dean of Student Affairs or designee. When the Dean receives a complaint that a student has acted in a manner which may be in violation of the Code, the Dean or designee initiates the disciplinary process by meeting with the Accused Student, putting him/her on notice of the alleged violation and providing him/her an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Thereafter, the Dean or designee may conduct an investigation.

If the Dean or designee determines that a violation exists, two procedural options are available. One, the violation may be resolved through an administrative disposition conducted by the Dean or designee. In this case, the student may accept the administrative remedy proposed by the Dean or designee and in doing so waives in writing his/her right to a disciplinary hearing or appeal. Alternatively, if the Accused Student does not accept the proposed administrative remedy, then the student may receive a hearing before a Judicial Board, to which a right of appeal exists.

If the student chooses a hearing with the Judicial Board, the Dean or designee will schedule a hearing. The Judicial Board will hear the case and issue a written decision and/or sanction within ten (10) days of the hearing. The student may appeal the Judicial Board decision to the College's Appeals Officer. A right of appeal exists only if based on new evidence or information. Failure to cooperate with the College's investigation of an alleged Code of Conduct violation, which includes appearing before a Judicial Board or College official if summoned to do so, will result in the student forfeiting his/her rights to a hearing or appeal and/or may result in disciplinary action.

 

Sanctions

A student found in violation of the College's Code of Conduct shall be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Verbal Warning
  • Written Warning
  • Restrictions/Loss of Privileges
  • Probation
  • Community/Educational Service
  • Restitution
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

The intent of the College is to impose sanctions in a progressive manner, beginning with the least punitive sanction. However, depending on the nature and severity of the student's violation the College reserves the right to impose any of the above-referenced sanctions at any time.

The College also reserves the right to issue an interim suspension (order of no trespass) where a student's conduct:

  • poses a threat to him/herself or others;
  • poses a threat to or results in damage to College property; or
  • poses a threat to or results in disruption or interference with the normal operations of the College. During an interim suspension, a student is prohibited from entering the College's premises or participating in any College activities until further notice from the Dean.

Charges and Hearing

When an Accused Student is to appear before a Judicial Board, all charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form. A notice of charges shall be presented to the student no less than five (5) days prior to the hearing. A hearing shall be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days following the accused student's request for a hearing.

Hearing rules are as follows:

  • Hearings normally shall be conducted in private.

  • Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Dean or designee.

  • In hearings involving more that one Accused Student, the Dean or designee may permit at his/her discretion individual hearings for each Accused Student.

  • The Accused Party has the right to be assisted by any advisor he/she may choose, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor is not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a Judicial Board.

  • Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by a Judicial Board at the Board's discretion.

  • All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Dean or designee.

  • After the hearing, the Judicial Board shall determine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the Student Code which the student is charged with violating.

  • The Judicial Board's determination shall be based on whether it is more likely than not that the Accused Student violated the Student Code.

  • There shall be a record created of all hearings before a Judicial Board. The record shall be the property of the College subject to state and federal student record laws.

  • A hearing before a Judicial Board is an administrative hearing. The rules of evidence do not apply. Direct cross- examination is not permitted. All questions must be directed through the Board, as indicated below.

Conduct of Hearing

A hearing shall proceed as follows:

  • The Dean or designee presents the complaint with supporting investigatory materials and/or witnesses.

  • Accused Student presents statement, materials and/or witnesses in opposition to the complaint.

  • Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Judicial Board may question each party, their witnesses and review all documentary evidence presented.

  • After the Board has questioned the parties and/or witnesses, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other. All questions must be directed through the Board. If the Board determines that the question is relevant to the matter, the other party will be asked to respond.

  • Following the parties' questioning period, the Board will have another opportunity to question the parties.

  • Following the hearing's conclusion, the Judicial Board shall deliberate and issue a written recommendation to the Dean or designee, within two days. The Dean shall accept, reject, or modify the Board's recommendation. The Dean shall issue his/her decision to the Accused Student within five (5) business days of receiving the Board's recommendation.

Appeal

An Appeal of the Dean’s decision is permitted only to consider new evidence, which was not brought out in the original hearing because such evidence was not reasonably known to the Accused Student at that time, and which is sufficiently relevant such that it could alter the Dean’s decision.

An Appeal must be filed in writing with the Appeals Officer within five (5) days of the Accused Student's receipt of the Dean’s decision. Upon considering an appeal, the Appeals Officer may:

  • confirm the original decision and sanction; or

  • modify the original decision and/or sanction.

The Appeals Officer's decision shall be final.


 

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Goal: To provide an atmosphere of sound intellectual and academic development.

Objectives

Student Responsibilities:

To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws of duly constituted civil authorities. In addition, the following list of student responsibilities was approved by the Berkshire Community College academic council in May 1997:

  • To observe the dates set forth in the college academic calendar.
  • To be familiar with the requirements of his/her academic program and to consult with his/her advisor about graduation requirements, registration, and other academic concerns.
  • To prepare for class by reading assigned material, completing assignments, and utilizing laboratories, where appropriate.
  • To attend classes and labs regularly and on time and to notify his or her instructors in case an emergency prevents attending.
  • To utilize peer tutoring, the writing lab, and study skills workshops, as appropriate, to maximize class performance.
  • To take advantage of library resources and services to develop research skills and information literacy.
  • To respect faculty and staff and the academic rights of other students.
  • To act civilly and to conduct oneself in such a way as to not impair other students' opportunity to learn.

Student Rights:

  • To have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
  • To have the freedom to exercise the rights of citizenship, association, inquiry, and expression.
  • To have the right of privacy and confidentiality.
  • To have the right of voting representation on all recommendations to the president of the college on matters of concern, including but not limited to academic standards, student affairs, and curriculum changes.
  • To have the right of quality education, including but not limited to:
  • The right to assistance in overcoming educational, cultural, emotional, and economic disadvantages which hinder the educational process;
  • The right to receive in writing from each faculty member during the first week of classes, of every quarter, or semester, a brief written course description outlining the material to be covered, course requirements including a specific list of information and techniques, which the student is expected to acquire, attendance policy, and the grading system to be utilized.
  • To have the right to fair and equal treatment, including but not limited to instruction, evaluation, and services by faculty, staff, students, and administrators.
  • To have the right to procedural due process in grievance and disciplinary hearings.

Right to Protest

The following policy was adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges on April 11, 1969 Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged in a sustained and independent search for knowledge. Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the academic community, students, faculty, and staff. Each college will respect and defend the right of its members to lawful exercises of free speech and assembly in behalf of causes, whether popular or unpopular. These rights are properly exercised only when due regard for the rights of others is assured, and actions denying the rights of others to move or speak freely, whether or not such interference is their motive, lie outside constitutional guarantees and the obligation of the college to defend them. Therefore, if in the judgment of the president or his/her designee, persons are attempting to interfere with the freedom of movement or speech of members or guests of the college community, or the orderly operation of the college, the president of the college or his/her designee is authorized to:

  • Advise such persons of the impropriety of their activity and request immediate desistance from such activity. Call the appropriate authority to remove such interfering person(s) who fail to desist.
  • Suspend temporarily such members of the college community as have participated in such interference and persist in such activity.
  • Grant as soon as reasonably possible, a hearing before an appropriate committee to any person appealing such suspension. Following such a hearing, the committee will make a recommendation to the president.
  • Taking into account the committee's recommendation, the president will determine his/her disposition of the case.

Any person who involves him/herself in the willful destruction of college or personal property will, in addition, be answerable to charges filed with the civil authority

Smoke-Free Campus Policy

I. Individuals affected by this policy:

All individuals on Berkshire Community College’s campus.

II. Policy statement:

Smoking is prohibited on all property owned or operated by Berkshire Community College (BCC). This consists of all buildings, all grounds, including exterior open spaces, parking lots, on-campus sidewalks, roadways and driveways, recreational spaces and practice facilities; and in all College-owned or leased vehicles. Smoking will only be allowed in private vehicles, law- fully parked on campus lots (north, central and/or south lots) in which the smoker is authorized to be.

III. Rationale for policy:

Berkshire Community College recognizes the medical evidence that indicates that smoking is a serious health hazard, and that this health hazard extends to non-smokers subjected to second- hand smoke. BCC is committed to promoting a healthy and safe environment for everyone on campus. This policy is intended to reduce the health risks related to second-hand smoke for the campus community, providing a healthy learning and working environment.

IV. Definition:

Smoking — the burning of tobacco or any other material in any type of smoking equipment, including but not restricted to cigarettes, cigars, pipes or electronic vapor-cigarettes.

V. Procedures:

  1. Effective implementation of the policy depends on the courtesy, respect and cooperation of all members of the campus community. All members of the College community may, but are not required to, assist in this endeavor to make BCC smoke-free through supportive and non-confrontational efforts to inform the offending party of the existence of this policy and/or by requesting that he or she adhere to its conditions.
  2. Complaints concerning employees of the College should be brought to the attention of the employee’s immediate supervisor, or in the alternative to the Vice President for Human Resources. Complaints concerning students should be brought to the attention of campus security or the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services (the College’s Student Code of Conduct Officer). Any disciplinary measures will be reserved for repeat infractions or infractions that interfere with the College’s academic or workplace needs or responsibilities, consistent with applicable collective the competence of the individual graduate, but does provide reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities avail- able to students who attend the institution.