Student Code of Conduct
NOVA is a learning community with specific expectations concerning the conduct of its students. The College’s approach to student learning and student conduct is to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that promotes teaching, learning and student success. When a student’s conduct adversely affects the College’s pursuit of its educational objectives, actions will be taken to remedy the situation. NOVA’s approach will be to resolve the problem and to help students learn to make better decisions. It is the College’s goal that when students experience the conduct process, they will leave that process as better educated students, better all-around members of the College community, and better global citizens. In accord with this general philosophy, efforts will be made to resolve discipline issues informally where possible.
By enrolling at NOVA, a student accepts its policies and procedures and acknowledges the right of NOVA to take action, up to and including suspension or expulsion in response to misconduct. It is a student’s responsibility to become familiar with the student code of conduct. Lack of awareness is no excuse for noncompliance with NOVA’s policies and procedures.
- Student Rights
- Student Responsibilities
- NOVA's Core Values
- Reporting Violations
- Administrative Responsibilities
- Interim Actions
- Violations and Sanctions
The terms “College,” “institution” and “NOVA” mean Northern Virginia Community College.
The term “preponderance of the evidence” means “more likely than not” that a violation occurred as alleged.
The term “accused student” means any student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct.
The term “complainant” means any individual that submits a complaint alleging that a student violated the Student Code of Conduct. The complainant does not need to be the person who was the target or victim of the alleged violation.
The term “advisor” means any individual that has been designated by the accused student to assist them through the hearing process. This individual may include, but is not limited to, a member of the campus community, parent, guardian, relative, friend, or attorney.
The term “college premises” includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other locations owned, used or controlled by the College including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
The term “college sponsored activity” means any activity on or off campus which is initiated, authorized, aided, or supervised by the College.
The term “VCCS” means Virginia Community College System.
The term “member of the College community” includes any student, faculty member, administrator, other employee, contractor, or guest at Northern Virginia Community College.
The term “Dean of Students” should be understood to include the ELI Director of Student Services and the Associate Vice President of Workforce Development, who have responsibility for overseeing the student conduct process in their respective areas. The Dean may designate a campus conduct officer or other official to act for the Dean in the conduct process.
The term “sanction” means a penalty that may be imposed after a student has been found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct. Any sanction imposed at the campus level applies to the entire College.
The term “policy” means the written regulations of NOVA as found in, but not limited to, the Student Code of Conduct, the online Student Handbook, the College catalog, administrative directives, and the NOVA website.
The term “due process” means a guarantee that all proceedings related to the student code of conduct will be fair and that students will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the College acts to take away their rights and privileges.
The term “Student Conduct Panel” means any person or persons appointed to determine whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct and to recommend sanctions that may be imposed when a student has been found responsible for a violation.
The term “witness” means an individual or individuals who have had direct involvement in an incident and/or who were provided with information regarding the incident directly from the accused student, alleged victim, or both. This also includes individuals who in their professional capacity have contributed information which led to College charges.
The term “grievance” means an actual or supposed circumstance regarded as just cause for complaint. See the [Student Grievance Policy].
The term “student” means an individual who has applied for admission to the College and has registered for classes. An individual is considered an active student for a period of three years following the last enrollment.
The term “appeal” means the process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. In most circumstances an appeal connotes a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing.
The term “evidence” means the use of testimony (e.g., oral or written statements), exhibits (e.g., physical objects), documentary material, or demonstrative evidence related to the incident leading to the charge(s).
Northern Virginia Community College seeks to maintain an environment where students have the following rights:
- Students have access to quality faculty, academic technology, classrooms, libraries, presentations and other resources necessary for the learning process.
- Freedom of Expression
- Students can freely examine and exchange diverse ideas in an orderly manner inside and outside the classroom.
- Freedom of Association
- Students can associate freely with other individuals, groups of individuals and organizations for purposes which do not infringe on the rights of others.
- Freedom From Discrimination
- Students can expect to participate fully in the College community without discrimination as defined by federal and state law and College regulations.
- Safe Environment
- Students can function in their daily activities without unreasonable concerns for personal safety.
- Students are free of unreasonable intrusions into personal records and/or matters relevant to their identity and well-being.
- Educational Resources
- Students can access high quality resources which support intellectual and social development.
- Grievance Process
- Students can access established procedures for respectfully presenting and addressing their concerns or complaints to the College.
- Due Process
- Students can expect due process for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Due process includes reasonable notice of potentially adverse actions and an opportunity to be heard.
- Learning Beyond Formal Instruction
- Students can access a variety of activities beyond the classroom which support intellectual and personal development.
- Personal Growth
- Students can study in a setting that fosters personal growth.
- Professional Responses From Administration
- Students can expect timely and courteous responses from the College’s academic and administrative departments.
- Academic and Administrative Policies
- Students can expect academic and administrative policies that support intellectual inquiry, learning and growth.
- Students have the right to participate or be represented by peers in influencing College policies that affect them.
Students enrolling in the College assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner that is civil and compatible with the College’s function as an educational institution. Submitting an application to NOVA represents a voluntary decision on the student’s part to participate in the programs offered by the institution pursuant to its policies, rules, and regulations. Violating any of NOVA’s core values may lead to disciplinary action.
NOVA's Core Values
- NOVA students exemplify honesty and a respect for truth in all their dealings.
- NOVA students honor and value their community.
- NOVA students show respect for each other, for property, and for all members of the community.
- NOVA students are given and accept a high level of responsibility as role models.
- Academic Integrity
- NOVA students exemplify honesty and integrity in all their academic work.
Any member of the NOVA community, guest, or visitor may submit a report about a student for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Reports may be submitted at [NOVACares]. All reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place. Charges may be brought against an individual student or a College organization.
- Disciplinary procedures for students in all credit courses are administered by the Dean of Students or ELI Director of Student Services in consultation with the campus Dean of Students.
- Disciplinary procedures for Workforce Development students are administered by the Associate Vice President for Workforce Development, who may consult with the Dean of Students as necessary.
- Disciplinary procedures for charges occurring on multiple campuses are coordinated by the Associate Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management.
- Disciplinary procedures for minor and moderate instances of academic misconduct are administered by the appropriate Academic Dean. Major violations are addressed by the Dean of Students, ELI Director of Student Services, AVP for Workforce Development, or AVP for Student Services and Enrollment Management as appropriate. See the Code of Academic Integrity at (INSERT LINK).
- Students will be charged with violations of the Code of Conduct when the apparent infractions are observed on College property or other locations where the College provides services or when the off-campus behavior negatively affects the teaching and learning environment.
Infractions of federal, state or local laws occurring off campus may be considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct when such actions:
- directly affect the health, safety or security of the College community
- affect an individual’s ability to fully participate in the College’s academic or co-curricular programs
- affect the College’s pursuit of its educational purposes, or
- occur as a direct result of a College connected disruption
Depending on the nature of the alleged misconduct, interim actions may be taken as deemed necessary for the safety of the College community. Examples include, but are not limited to, interim suspension, no-trespass orders, and administrative no-contact orders between individuals or groups. When possible, alternative arrangements will be made for the student to continue to meet academic requirements. The College may also withhold the award of a student’s degree or certificate until the completion of the conduct process.
An instructor or other College official may direct a student to leave a class or any other academic setting when the student has, in the instructor’s or official’s judgment, caused a disruption. An Academic Dean may bar a student from that class or setting for a longer period of time pending a meeting with the Dean of Students; in that instance, alternative arrangements will be made for the student to continue to meet academic requirements whenever possible.
Violations and Sanctions
When a student is found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct, sanctions will be imposed. Disciplinary sanctions generally attempt to accomplish the following:
- provide fair and just consequences for misconduct
- provide protection for the safety and property of the college community
- enhance the academic environment
- discourage future violations of the Code of Conduct
- contribute to the growth and development of the student. Any sanction imposed applies to the entire College
There are two types of sanctions -- administrative and educational. Administrative sanctions are more formal actions and frequently relate to the status of the student at the College. Administrative sanctions may be assigned independent of or in conjunction with educational sanctions. Educational sanctions are designed to include developmental activities related to specific acts of misconduct. The goals of educational sanctions are to reduce the probability of repeat behavior, to give students the opportunity to demonstrate personal growth, and to appropriately challenge students. Educational sanctions may be assigned independent of or in conjunction with administrative sanctions.
Sanctions may include but are not limited to:
Disciplinary Warning: A warning to a student that his/her conduct was questionable and/or inappropriate and that further misconduct will result in more severe disciplinary action. Disciplinary warning may include a behavior agreement or contract.
Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary probation is assigned for a specified period of time and is intended to foster reflection, responsibility, and improved decision making. During this period the student is not in good standing with the College. The terms of probation may include restrictions of student privileges and/or set specific behavioral expectations. Misconduct while on probation or failure to comply with any conditions or to complete any assignments related to the probation may lead to more severe disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion.
Suspension: Disciplinary suspension of the student from the College is assigned for a specified period of time that excludes the student from registration, class attendance, and use of College facilities. During the period of disciplinary suspension, the student will be prohibited from using or visiting College facilities unless special permission is obtained from the DOS or a designee.
Deferred Suspension: Deferred suspension is for a specified period of time. During the time of deferred suspension, involvement at the College is restricted to academic activities. A student under deferred suspension who is found responsible for further violations of the Student Code of Conduct will be immediately suspended or expelled.
Expulsion: Expulsion of a student from the College is permanent and requires administrative review and approval by the Associate Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management. A student who is expelled from the College is prohibited from using or visiting College facilities unless permission is obtained from the Associate Vice President.
Apology Letter: May be assigned to students whose behavior had a negative impact on a particular individual or business more so than the community at large (i.e. theft).
Community Service or Service Learning Experience: May be assigned to students whose behavior or pattern of behavior disrupted the community in some way.
Counseling: (substance abuse, anger management, etc). May be assigned to students whose behavior or pattern of behavior dictates a need for therapeutic rather than educational intervention.
Interview With Relevant Staff Member and Reflection Paper: May be assigned to students whose behavior indicated a need for education on a particular subject on which a College staff member is knowledgeable.
Reaction/Reflection/Research Paper: May be assigned to students who have engaged in a Code violation as a way of fostering reflection and explanation in a way that will benefit their future decision making.
Review Relevant Article, Book, Workshop, Program or Movie and Reflection Paper: May be assigned to students whose behavior violated the Code as a way of fostering exploration of a particular topic followed by reflection on the topic and how it relates to them.
Restitution: May be assigned to students whose behavior reflects damages to or misappropriation of property. Restitution may include, but is not limited to, reimbursements, compensation, and service.
1. Integrity – NOVA students exemplify honesty, integrity and a respect for truth in all their dealings.
Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to:
Behavioral Violations Charge Code Number Charge Code 1.01 Furnishing false information to any NOVA official, faculty member or office, including falsification of documents 1.02 Alteration or misuse of any NOVA document, record or instrument of identification 1.03 Violations of positions of trust or authority within the community 1.04 Misuse or unauthorized use of the NOVA name and/or graphic 1.05 Stealing or possessing stolen property 1.06 Selling or attempting to sell textbooks or other personal property without permission of the owner 1.07 Taking items belonging to NOVA or an auxiliary enterprise affiliated with NOVA 1.08 Violating NOVA’s online security policy Possible Administrative Sanctions Level of Violation Minimum Sanction Maximum Sanction Minor Disciplinary Warning Disciplinary Probation Moderate Disciplinary Probation/Deferred Suspension Suspension Major Suspension Expulsion
Possible Educational Sanctions:
Counseling, reflection paper, community service, ethics seminar, research paper, review relevant article, restitution, policy review paper, interview key staff, behavior contract/agreement
2. Community – NOVA students honor and value their community.
Behavioral Violations Charge Code Number Charge Code 2.01 Unruly, disrespectful, or disruptive behavior inside or outside the classroom 2.02 Obstructing the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on NOVA premises or at NOVA sponsored activities 2.03 Participating in or inciting a riot, disorderly assembly or demonstration 2.04 Unruly, disrespectful, or disruptive behavior outside of the classroom including at Student Life activities, College sponsored trips, etc 2.05 Damage to or littering NOVA grounds and/or properties owned or leased by the College 2.06 Violations against property such as graffiti or automobile defacement 2.07 Possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons (as defined by the weapons policy at www….) or dangerous chemicals while on campus unless properly authorized 2.08 Violations of College policy by smoking in any College facility or within 25 feet of any College building 2.09 Violation of College or classroom policy by unauthorized use of electronic devices in the academic setting 2.10 Unauthorized entry into or presence in or on any College building or facility Possible Administrative Sanctions Level of Violation Minimum Sanction Maximum Sanction Minor Disciplinary Warning Disciplinary Probation Moderate Disciplinary Probation/Deferred Suspension/Removal from class Suspension Major Suspension Expulsion
Possible Educational Sanctions:
Counseling, community service, reflection/research paper, review relevant article, restitution, alcohol/drug education program, letter of apology, policy review paper, interview key staff members, anti-hazing workshop, risk management education, ethical decision making program, student success programs.
3. Respect – NOVA students show respect for each other, for property and for all members of the College community.
Behavioral Violations Charge Code Number Charge Code 3.01 Speech or behavior which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person 3.02 Verbal abuse or bullying 3.03 Creating or contributing to an intimidating or hostile environment for any member of the NOVA community 3.04 Discriminatory harassment, including speech, actions or conduct which has the intent or effect of depriving a member of the community of educational access benefits or opportunities. 3.05 Physical Stalking, or cyberstalking, defined as repetitive, menacing pursuit, following harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the NOVA community 3.06 Hazing as defined as the practice of rituals and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group 3.07 Sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual harassment, non consensual sexual conduct, or sexual exploitation. 3.08 Lewd or obscene conduct including but not limited to public urination, sexual acts performed in public, surreptitiously taking pictures of another person in a locker room or restroom or other location where privacy is expected, possession or distribution of child pornography, possession or distribution of any obscene materials, excessive use of profanity 3.09 Dating or domestic violence Possible Administrative Sanctions Level of Violation Minimum Sanction Maximum Sanction Minor Disciplinary Warning Disciplinary Probation Moderate Disciplinary Probation/Deferred Suspension Suspension Major Suspension Expulsion
Possible Educational Sanctions:
Counseling, community service, coordinate/attend multicultural program, reflection/research paper, review relevant article, restitution, policy review, interview staff member, letter of apology, attend sexual assault program, anti-hazing workshop, alcohol/drug education program, present to peers on selected topics
Students who have been suspended, permanently dismissed, or have withdrawn from a college while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence under the college's sexual misconduct policy will have a notation stating either "Suspended/Dismissed for a violation of, or withdrew while under investigation for a violation of [the name of the College's] sexual misconduct policy" placed on their permanent records. Colleges may place a statement on the transcript, which shall state “Misconduct Dismissal.” Students under investigation for sexual violence will have an XIT Service Indicator placed on their SIS record.
4. Accountability – NOVA students are given and accept a high level of responsibility as role models.
Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to:
Behavioral Violations Charge Code Number Charge Code 4.01 Violations of campus and College emergency regulations, i.e. failure to comply with emergency evacuation procedures, tampering with fire protection apparatus, etc. 4.02 Failure to comply with the directions of NOVA officials, including campus police officers and others acting in the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so 4.03 Use of alcoholic beverages including the purchase, serving, consumption, possession, or sale of such items on College property or any College sponsored event or activity; being under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances on College property or any College sponsored event or activity (See complete alcohol and drug policy athttp://www.nvcc.edu/current-students/police/college-safety) 4.04 Gambling or holding a raffle or lottery on the campus or at any College function without proper approval 4.05 Possessing, using, selling or distributing controlled substances (as defined by the College at http://www.nvcc.edu/current-students/police/college-safety) 4.06 Violation of federal , state or local laws Possible Administrative Sanctions Level of Violation Minimum Sanction Maximum Sanction Minor Disciplinary Warning Disciplinary Probation Moderate Disciplinary Probation/Deferred Suspension Suspension Major Suspension Expulsion
Possible Educational Sanctions:
Counseling, community service, reflection/research paper, review relevant article, restitution, policy review, police ride along, alcohol/drug education program,
5. Academic Integrity – NOVA students exemplify honesty and integrity in all their academic work.
Minor or moderate violations of academic integrity are handled by Academic Deans; major violations are referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. See the Code of Academic Integrity for more complete information.
Behavior that violates this value includes but is not limited to:
Behavioral Violations Charge Code Number Charge Code 5.01 Plagiarism – taking another’s work and claiming it to be one’s own 5.02 Falsification and Fabrication – providing misinformation about a source with the intent to deceive; misrepresenting an author’s findings or conclusions. 5.03 Cheating – intentionally accepting and/or giving aid to oneself or another to gain a higher grade or other academic advantage Possible Administrative Sanctions Level of Violation Minimum Sanction Maximum Sanction Minor Warning Grade of U or F on the assignment Moderate Grade of U or F on the assignment Grade of U or F for the course Major Suspension Expulsion
Possible Educational Sanctions:
Reflection/research paper, online ethics seminar, online plagiarism tutorial
Student Code of Academic Integrity
When College officials award credit, degrees and certificates, they must assume the absolute integrity of students’ work. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to the following:
- 5.01 Plagiarism: Taking another’s work and claiming it to be one’s own.
- 5.02 Falsification and Fabrication: Providing misinformation about a source or misrepresenting an author’s findings or conclusions with the intent to deceive.
- 5.03 Cheating: Intentionally accepting and/or giving aid to oneself or another to gain a higher grade or other academic advantage.
Any student who withdraws from a course with a pending academic misconduct violation may be subject to a grade change.
Both administrative and educational sanctions may be imposed by the instructor or the Academic Dean.
Any allegation of academic misconduct in a testing center is referred to the instructor for the associated course. An allegation of cheating on the Virginia Placement Test, Accuplacer or any other test not associated with a particular course is referred to the Dean of Students.
- Due Process
Administrative Sanctions Minor Minimum Instructor talks with the student about infraction. Maximum Instructor gives a U or F for the assignment. Moderate Minimum Instructor gives U or F for the assignment. Maximum Instructor gives a U or F for the course. Major Student is referred to the Dean of Students for Code of Conduct process. No grade is assigned until the conduct process is complete. As an interim measure, the Academic Dean may remove the student from the class pending disciplinary action; in that instance, alternative arrangements will be made for the student to continue to meet academic requirements whenever possible.
Referral to the Code of Conduct process is appropriate when the allegation of academic misconduct is egregious and/or involves a violation of the Code of Conduct, such as stealing, misrepresenting one’s identity, falsifying an official academic document, etc. A referral to the Dean of Students for the Code of Conduct process should be made as soon as the alleged misconduct is identified. The Dean of Students will oversee the conduct process and impose appropriate administrative or educational sanctions. In addition to any disciplinary sanctions imposed, the Dean of Students may make a recommendation that a grade of U or F be assigned for the course as part of the sanction.
Educational Sanctions include, but are not limited to: counseling, reflection paper, community service, ethics seminar, research paper review of relevant article, restitution, policy review paper, interview key staff, behavior contract/agreement.
Due Process for Academic Misconduct
Instructors citing academic misconduct will submit an online academic misconduct incident report at www.nvcc.edu/novacares and impose the appropriate administrative sanctions, consulting with the Academic Dean as appropriate. The instructor will send the student an email, with a copy to the Academic Dean, describing the incident and the sanction. The email will direct the student to this document in the online Student Handbook for information on the appeal process.
Students may appeal the decision by taking the following steps:
- Within five business days following notification of the incident, the student initiates a meeting with the instructor to discuss the incident, giving the instructor any additional information that may alter the outcome. The instructor may consult with the appropriate Assistant or Associate Dean.
- A student who is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting may initiate a meeting with the appropriate Assistant or Associate Dean within five business days. When possible, the Assistant or Associate Dean will work with the student and the instructor to resolve the issue informally.
- A student who is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with the Assistant or Associate Dean, within five business days may submit a written appeal of the instructor’s decision to the Academic Dean. The Academic Dean will review all documents relating to the violation and render a decision within five business days of receipt of the written appeal. The student will be notified of the decision by College email.
- A student who is not satisfied with the decision of the Academic Dean may submit a written appeal to the Provost within five business days of receipt of the Academic Dean’s decision. The only grounds for appeal to the Provost are:
- To consider factual information not presented to the instructor or the assistant or associate dean that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new information and its potential impact must be included.
- The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.
Deadlines may be extended by mutual written agreement; however, the Provost has the authority to extend deadlines at any level of the process.
Once the student has exhausted the appeal process, the student has no right to file a grievance about a course grade resulting, even in part, from the academic misconduct process.
An academic grievance is an appeal of a final course grade or dismissal from an academic program. An academic grievance must be based on at least one of the following: arbitrary and/or capricious action on the part of the faculty member, including assignment of a grade or dismissal from a program on some basis other than performance in the course or program; application of standards different from those that were applied to other students in the same course or program; the assignment of a grade not in accord with the grading protocol on the course syllabus; or dismissal from a program not in accord with the program standards.
An academic grievance should not be confused with due process for academic misconduct. Any student who believes that a final course grade or dismissal from an academic program was based on the actions described above, should file an academic grievance rather than following the academic misconduct due process/appeal process. See the Student Grievance Process at http://www.nvcc.edu/policies/_docs/student-grievance-procedures.pdf.
Updated: Fall 2014