Jun 24, 2024  
2015-2016 Student Handbook 
2015-2016 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The institution guarantees to all students at the college certain rights and responsibilities subject to college policies and regulations. The college president is authorized to make, promulgate, issue, rescind, and amend reasonable rules, regulations, and procedures to carry out this policy.

  1. Each student shall have the right of free inquiry, expression, assembly, and advocacy.
  2. Students, while in the classroom, shall exercise their rights of free inquiry, expression, assembly, and advocacy in a manner that is relevant to the subject matter of the instructional program and to the right of the instructor to maintain order and have authority over the conduct of the class.
  3. Each student shall be free to form and join organizations for legal purposes.
  4. Students may, individually and through representative organizations, express views on matters of instructional policy and issues of interest to the student body.
  5. The rights of students to a student press free of censorship are guaranteed.
  6. Students shall meet the obligations of responsible journalism in the student press.
  7. Students shall have the right to participate on committees responsible for recommendations impacting allocation of funds derived from student fees.
  8. Competent instruction, relevant to the subject matter at the times and places assigned for each course, shall be provided to all students.
  9. Each student shall have the right to fair and unbiased academic evaluations based upon defined course-appropriate criteria. That criterion shall be set forth in writing and distributed by the instructor at the beginning of each course.
  10. Students shall be able to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of instruction and reserve judgment about matters of opinion.
  11. The institution guarantees the rights of students to participate in the evaluation of faculty performances.
  12. Students shall be responsible for meeting the established requirements of the course(s) in which they are enrolled.
  13. The institution guarantees protection against improper disclosure of information pertinent to students’ views, beliefs, political associations, academic evaluations, and educational records without the express written consent or permission of the student concerned.
  14. Students have the right to due process in disciplinary proceedings as prescribed in the Code of Conduct.
  15. Students shall be responsible for complying with policies, rules, procedures, and regulations governing student conduct as well as the college operations.

Student Right to Know Act

In compliance with the Student Right to Know Act of 1990, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College provides information regarding the graduation/persistence rates of designated student population groups in degree and/or certificate programs.

Student Appellate Process

A student’s alleged violation of his/her rights and alleged violation of a student’s responsibilities, as above specified, are subject to redress or disciplinary action in accordance with the student appellate process. In all cases where the dispute involves a purely academic matter, the student appellate process will not be applicable. Academic matters will be handled through the academic appeals process.

Violation of Student Rights

Step 1- A student who believes his/her rights, as specified above, have been violated by a college employee will first make an informal appeal to that employee’s immediate supervisor.

Step 2 - If an acceptable resolution is not reached, the student may continue informal appeals through organizational channels ending with a written decision from the Vice President of Enrollment Management.

Step 3 - If an acceptable solution is not reached at Step 2, the student may, within 10 days after the date of the written decision, submit a written appeal to the chairperson of the Student Appellate Hearing Committee. The written appeal will state the circumstances pertaining to the case, the justification for appeal and the remedy sought. The committee may render a decision on the written petition, request further information and documentation, or conduct a hearing.

The committee will render its decision as soon as possible after completion of the hearing. Any affected party dissatisfied with the decision of the committee may make a written appeal to the campus president within 10 calendar days after the date of the committee’s written decision. The campus president, or his designee, may, in whole or in part, affirm, reverse or modify the committee’s decision. The president’s decision will be rendered within 30 calendar days and will be final.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. The college is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAAA) and will provide opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities in all activities, programs, or services operated or sponsored by the college, including, but not limited to, employment, academic services and programs, and student services. The college recognizes that compliance with the acts requires the awareness of all employees and the commitment of institutional resources. Therefore, the administration will continuously evaluate compliance with the ADA and the ADAAA and take appropriate steps to rectify institutional deficiencies.

Service Animal Policy

Service animal means 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. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability.

Examples of work or tasks 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.
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

The following are requirements of service animals and their partners:

  1. Blue Ridge Community and Technical College considers service animals to be an accommodation, and therefore requires any individual who intends to have a service animal on campus on a regular basis have a valid accommodation letter. Disabled students desiring to use a service animal on campus must contact Disability Services to register as a student with a disability. At this point Disability Services will evaluate the disability and recommend any additional accommodations appropriate to the functional limitations of the disability. A service animal is permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to most areas on campus where students are normally allowed to go. Some areas on campus may not be safe for service animals; therefore, these areas may exclude service animals. Certain labs and/or areas that require protective clothing may exclude service animals. An instructor in a classroom or teaching area with moving equipment or machinery, may request a denial of admission to an area on a case-by-case basis.  This denial or granting of admission to an area will be made based on the nature of the machinery and/or on the nature of the research.  The request will be made to the Office of Disabilities with full explanation of the potential harm along with a learning alternative to ensure that the request is valid and not due to any discrimination. 
  2. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other students.
  3. A service animal may be excluded from a facility, including a classroom, it that animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
  4. A service animal may be excluded from a facility, including a classroom, if that animal’s behavior, such as barking, is disruptive to the other participants within the facility.
  5. The service animal must be clean, in good health, with current rabies vaccination.
  6. All service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times.
  7. All students and college employees must abide by current city ordinances/laws pertaining to licensing and vaccination requirements for service animals.  It is the responsibility of the owner and/or user of the animal to know about these ordinances and/or laws. 
  8. All owners and/or users of service animals are responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal’s feces while on campus.

Infractions of any of these behaviors or policies may result in the exclusion of the service animal from campus property.

Grievance Process for Students with Disabilities

The college is committed to the elimination of arbitrary or unreasonable practices which result in discrimination. All groups operating under the policies of the college, including all employees, student governments and programs sponsored by the college are governed by this policy of non-discrimination. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and policies, the college does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

Non-Discrimination Contact Information

For information or concerns relating to discrimination matters at a particular location, you may contact the appropriate person listed below or you may contact the Section 504/ Title II Coordinator for matters relating to disabilities or Title IX Coordinator for matters relating to sex discrimination.

Firearms on College Property

Except for licensed police officers, no person shall possess or carry any firearm, visible or concealed, on college property (including college buildings and grounds, leased or owned by the college, college athletic fields and parking lots) or in any college van or vehicle or at college sponsored events.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College believes that the illegal use of drugs and alcohol presents a serious health and safety hazard to the college community and interferes with educational and occupational success. The college fully complies with the Drug Free School and Communities Act of 1989 to prohibit the illegal possession, consumption and distribution of drugs and alcohol on college property, during classes and at activities officially sponsored by the college. Students, faculty and staff may not consume alcoholic beverages on College property, during classes, or in connection with activities officially sponsored by the college except by permission of the college President.

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College recognizes its employees and students as being adults and expects them to obey the law and to take personal responsibility for their conduct. This policy applies to the college community as a whole which includes faculty, staff, students, and visitors.


The purpose of this policy is to assure compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 and the Drug- Free Work Place Act of 1988. This policy applies to the entire college community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors to any of the campuses or classroom buildings.

Standards of Conduct: The unlawful manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of illicit drugs and unauthorized use of alcohol on Blue Ridge Community and Technical College property or as a part of any College activity are prohibited. It is prohibited to come to work, class or any College-sponsored function under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. Legally prescribed medications taken properly are excluded from prohibition and permitted only to the extent that such medications do not adversely affect a person’s work ability, job performance, or the safety of others.

Disciplinary Sanctions: Any person who violates the policy shall be subject to disciplinary action. The College may impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees consistent with institutional policies, and local, state, or federal laws for violation of the standards of conduct outlined above and prohibited in the Drug-Free Schools and Communities laws.

All persons should be aware that violations could result in expulsion from school, termination of employment, or referral for prosecution. Students who violate this policy are subject to a judicial hearing and possible referral to law enforcement agencies. Visitors who violate this policy may be referred to law enforcement agencies and will immediately be escorted off college campus. The VP of Human Recourses will impose appropriate sanctions for employees who violate this policy. College sanctions will be imposed consistent with procedures used in disciplinary actions listed in the Student Handbook and/or Faculty Handbook.

Counseling and Referral Assistance

All students who violate this policy are required to attend 5 hours of drug and alcohol counseling before being able to participate in the classroom again.  

Help and referral are available to students and employees. Services are confidential. A listing of some available community resources can be found in the Enrollment Management Office. There are many resources to help you or anyone you care about find treatment.

Sexual Discrimination/Harassment

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College is committed to providing its faculty, staff and students with a work and educational environment free from all forms of sexual discrimination and harassment. Therefore, sexual discrimination or harassment, in any manner or form, is a violation of College policy and expressly prohibited.

Definition—Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, (2) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or education, or (3) such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or education environment. Sexual discrimination is defined as any derogatory action, words or sensory input based upon gender or gender orientation.

Reporting—Sexual discrimination or harassment complaints should be reported as soon as possible, to enable investigation and resolution, to the supervisor, advisor, counselor, or Human Resources Department. Any employee who knows, or should know, about a sexual harassment or discrimination problem has the responsibility to bring it to the attention of her/his supervisor or other College official. 

Resolution Procedures—All complaints will be taken seriously and addressed in a confidential manner in the least disruptive, most informal manner possible, suited to individual circumstances. Every effort will be made to allow alleged offenders and complainants an opportunity to resolve their difficulties informally in a manner which preserves the reputation and integrity of the involved individuals. If the complainant does not feel it is possible to talk with the alleged offender or to write to the alleged offender, then, with written permission of the complainant, the College employee to whom the report was made, may make contact with the offender or an appropriate College official in an attempt to resolve the situation.

If informal procedures are unsuccessful or formal action is determined to be appropriate, the complainant must initiate formal action by submitting a written complaint with sufficient specificity. Formal procedures have the purpose of allowing both parties an opportunity to pursue a resolution. The person filing the complaint founded in good faith has the opportunity to pursue the allegation without fear of retribution and to seek relief from proven sexual harassment or discrimination. The alleged offender will be promptly notified and provided the opportunity to defend him/her self and to clear him/her self of the complaint. A finding of sexual harassment or discrimination will result in appropriate counseling, and/or disciplinary action or dismissal from the College consistent with the degree of seriousness of the offense. Acts of sexual harassment that constitute sexual battery or other violations of criminal law will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords you, the student, rights with respect to your education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the education records within 45 days of the day PGCC receives your request for access. You must submit to the Associate Dean of Students a written request that identifies the record(s) you wish to inspect. The Associate Dean will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Office of the registrar, the Associate Dean will advise you of the college official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of education records that you believe are inaccurate or misleading.  You must write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record you want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.  If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the College will notify you of the decision and advise you of your right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to you at that time.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of non-directory, personally identifiable information contained in your education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Governors.   A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Directory information is information which may be released to a third party without your written consent. Directory information includes, but is not limited to, name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, degrees earned, and previous colleges attended. While the College does not routinely release such information to anyone who inquires, it may legally do so if the third party demonstrates a legitimate need to know such information. You may refuse to permit such disclosure without your written consent by notifying the Associate Dean of Students in writing of your wish to be excluded from such a release of information.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education400 Maryland Avenue, SW.