Jul 17, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog/Student Handbook 
2021-2022 Catalog/Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Conduct

Code for Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct Bill of Rights

1. The following enumeration of rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by students in their capacity as members of the student body or as citizens of the community at large:

A. Free inquiry, expression and assembly are guaranteed to all students.

B. Students are free to pursue their educational goals, and the institution shall provide appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on the campus.

C. No disciplinary sanctions may be imposed upon any student without notice to the accused of the nature and cause of the charges.


2. When used in this Code—

A. The term “institution” means Southside Virginia Community College and, collectively, those responsible for its control and operation.

B. The term “student” includes all persons taking courses at this institution both full-time and part-time, credit or non-credit.

C. The term “instructor” means any person hired by the institution to conduct classroom activities.

D. The term “legal” compulsion means a judicial or legislative order which requires some action by the person to whom it is directed.

E. The term “organization” means a number of persons who have complied with the formal requirements of institution recognition as provided in section 10, below.

F. The term “group” means a number of persons who have not yet complied with the formal requirements for becoming an organization.

G. The term “shall” is used in the imperative sense.

H. The term “may” is used in the permissive sense.

 I. All other terms have their natural meaning unless the context indicates otherwise.

J. Intellectual honesty—In order to maintain an atmosphere in which students can grow and learn, the College places a high priority on intellectual honesty. Therefore, the College does not tolerate either cheating or plagiarism.

Access to Higher Education

3. Within the limits of its facilities, the institution shall be open to all applicants who are qualified according to its admission requirements.

A. The institution shall make clear the characteristics and expectations of students which it considers relevant to its programs.

B. Under no circumstances may an applicant be denied admission because of race, sex, religion, age, national origin or handicap.

Classroom Expression

4. Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter are permitted in the classroom subject only to the responsibility of the instructor to maintain order.

A. Students are responsible for learning the content of any course for which they are enrolled.

B. Requirements of participation in classroom discussion and submission of written exercises are not inconsistent with this section.

5. Academic evaluation of student performances shall be neither prejudicial nor capricious.

6. Information about student views, beliefs and political associations acquired by professors in the course of their work as instructors, advisors and counselors is confidential and is not to be disclosed to others except under legal compulsion. Questions relating to intellectual or skills capacity are not subject to this section except that disclosure must be accompanied by notice to the student.

7. Discussion and expression of all views are permitted within the institution subject only to reasonable restrictions to ensure that the mission of the institution is not disrupted and to maintain order.

8. Students, groups and campus organizations may invite and hear any persons of their own choosing subject only to the requirements for use of institutional facilities (see Section 13).

Campus Organizations

9. Organizations and groups may be established within the institution for any legal purpose.
Affiliation with an extramural organization shall not, in itself, disqualify the institution branch or chapter from institution privileges.    

A. A group shall become an organization when formally recognized by the institution. All groups that meet the following requirements shall be recognized:

1. Submission of a list of officers and copies of the constitution and by-laws to the Student Activities Coordinator and Campus Council. All changes and amendments shall be submitted within one week after they become effective.

2. Where there is affiliation with an extramural organization, the organization’s constitution and by-laws shall be filed with the Student Activities Coordinator. All amendments shall be submitted within a reasonable time after they become effective.

3. All sources of outside funds shall be disclosed.

B. Upon recognition of an organization, the institution shall make clear that said recognition implies neither approval nor disapproval of the aims, objectives and policies of the organization.

C. Groups of a continuing nature must institute proceedings for formal recognition if they are to receive the benefits of 13, 15, 16.

D. Any organization which engages in illegal activities, on or off campus, may have sanctions imposed against it, including withdrawal of institution recognition for a period not exceeding one year.

11. Recognized religious or political student organizations may limit activities that relate to the core functions of the organization to only those students who support the organization’s mission. Core functions may include, but are not limited to:

  • ordering the organization’s internal affairs;
  • selecting the organization’s leaders;
  • defining the organization’s doctrines; and,
  • resolving the organization’s disputes that are in furtherance of the organization’s religious or political mission.

10. Membership lists of the organization are submitted for reference when applying for funds through the Student Activities.

11. Institutional facilities may, through the Student Activities Office, be assigned to organizations, groups and individuals within the institutional community for regular business meetings, for social programs and for programs open to the public.    

A. The authority to request institutional funds for use by organizations shall be delegated to the organization’s advisor working in conjunction with the Student Activities Coordinator:

1. Any organization seeking access to institutional funds shall choose an employee of the college as advisor.

2. Approval of requests for funds is conditioned upon submission of budgets to and approval by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee.

3. Financial accountability is required for all allocated funds, including a quarterly statement of income and expenses, which is presented to the SVCC Local Board.

B. Organizations may be allowed to raise money on-or off-campus to help support their activities.

1. Food and beverage sales on campus are limited to a total of six per semester during day classes. Each organization must request in advance approval by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee.

2. Other fund raising activities are not limited but advance approval by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee is required.

3. All fundraisers must be appropriate, legal and reasonable as deemed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee.

10. No individual, group or organization may use the institution’s name without the express authorization of the institution except to identify the institutional affiliation. Institutional approval or disapproval of any policy may not be stated or implied by any individual, group or organization.


16. A student, group or organization may not distribute written materials on campus without prior approval of the institution. This editorial freedom entails a corollary obligation under the canons of responsible journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.

17. All student communications shall explicitly state on the editorial page or in a broadcast that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the institution or its student body.

Institutional Government

18.  All constituents of the institutional community are free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of interest to the student body.

19. On questions of educational policy, students are entitled to a participatory function.

A. Faculty-student committees shall be created to consider questions of policy affecting student life.

B. Students shall be designated as members of standing and special committees concerned with institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs, including those concerned with curriculum, discipline, admissions and allocation of student funds.


20. The right of peaceful demonstration for protest is granted within the institutional community. The institution retains the right to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process.

21. Orderly picketing and other forms of peaceful protest are permitted on institution premises.

A. Interference with ingress to and egress from institution facilities, interruption of classes or damage to property exceeds permissible limits.

B. Even though remedies are available through local enforcement bodies, the institution may choose to impose its own disciplinary sanctions.

22. Orderly picketing and orderly demonstrations are permitted in public areas outside institution buildings subject to the requirements of Section 20, 21 and 23.

23. Every student has the right to be interviewed on campus by legal organizations desiring to recruit at the institution.

A. Any student, group, or organization may protest against any such organization provided that protest does not interfere with any other student’s right to have such an interview.

B. Forms for college registration of demonstrations are available in the Student Services Office.

Violation of Law and Institution Discipline

24. If a student is charged with, or convicted of, an off-campus violation of law, the matter is of disciplinary concern to the institution.

A. The institution may impose sanctions for grave misconduct demonstrating flagrant disregard for the rights of others.

B. Once a student is adjudged guilty in a court of law, the institution may impose sanctions if it considers the misconduct to be so grave as to demonstrate flagrant disregard for the rights of others.

25. Under 24A, the institution shall reinstate the student if he/she is acquitted or the charges are withdrawn.

26. The institution may institute its own proceedings against a student who violates a law on campus which is also a violation of a published institution regulation.

Student Records

27. Upon graduation or withdrawal from the institution, official college records and files of former students shall continue to be subject to the provisions of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students shall have the right of inspection and review of their official college records in accordance with the Family Rights and Privacy Act of l974 as amended.

Student Conduct

28. Southside Virginia Community College holds certain expectations of students to share the responsibility of maintaining a safe, secure, and honest academic environment. By applying for admission to the College, each student agrees to abide by the policies and procedures governing student conduct. The statement below outlines the rights each student has as a member of the college community as well as the responsibilities each student has to continue within that community.

Each student has the privilege of exercising his or her rights without fear of prejudice provided he/she respects the laws of the Commonwealth, the policies of Southside Virginia Community College and the rights of others on campus. Such rights include the following:

  • Students are free to pursue their educational goals. Appropriate opportunities for learning in the classroom and on campus are provided through the curricula offered by the college.
  • No disciplinary sanctions may be imposed without due process, except as provided in the Student Conduct Policy below.
  • Students have the right to freedom of expression, inquiry, and assembly provided actions do not interfere with the rights of others or the effective operation of the college.
  • Academic evaluation of student performance shall be fair, not arbitrary or inconsistent.
  • Members of the college community, including students, have the right to expect safety, protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process.Each student, as a responsible adult, shall maintain standards of conduct appropriate to membership in the college community. Such responsibilities include the following:
    • Each student has the responsibility to demonstrate respect for him/herself as well as faculty, staff and other students.
    • Each student has the responsibility to know, understand, and abide by the regulations and policies of the college.
    • Each student has the responsibility to pay all fines and debts to the college.
    • Each student has the responsibility to maintain academic integrity and abide by the academic honesty policy of the college.

Student Conduct Policy & Procedures

The College publishes a Student Code of Conduct (Code) to educate individuals about their rights and responsibilities as members of the student body. The goals of the Student Conduct Code shall be to:

  • Cultivate the College community’s commitment to the rights, conduct, responsibilities, and behavioral expectations of students and staff.

  • Protect the rights of students, faculty and staff in the College community.

  • Discipline and sanction students in a manner that is fair and fosters learning,
    ethical behavior, social development, integrity, and responsibility.

When a student’s conduct departs from the expectations delineated by the Code (with the exception of Academic Honesty), and adversely affects the College’s teaching and learning environment, this Procedure sets forth appropriate student sanctions and disciplinary actions that may be used to resolve the behavior and guide students to learn from their mistakes. 

When practical, minor infractions of the Code should be handled informally. An instructor or staff member, upon observing unsatisfactory behavior, should provide verbal or written guidance to the student in a manner that facilitates learning and promotes improved student conduct. Formal disciplinary steps may be reserved for addressing repeated or more serious Code violations. 

College disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student charged with violation of a law if the violation occurred at the College or College-sanctioned activities – or was of such nature as to impact the College. Additional proceedings under this procedure may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following, civil or criminal proceedings that take place off-campus. 

If an incident is judged to be of such a nature that a student poses a potential threat to the safety of the College, law enforcement, in consultation with the College’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Vice President of Academic and Workforce Programs, or President, may issue a College “no-trespass order.” This order bars the student from campus grounds and activities. The duration of the order may be indefinite, for a specific length of time, or until specified conditions are met. For purposes of this procedure, a “no-trespass order” has the effect of bypassing steps one through seven listed below and immediately implementing the step eight sanction of a disciplinary suspension from the College, for the duration of the order. 

Nothing in the procedure shall be construed in derogation of the College’s Title IX policies and guidance which shall take precedence over any and all other College Policies or Procedures in the cases of sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating or domestic violence, stalking, or abuse in which any College student is the alleged victim. All such incidents should be reported to the College’s Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, or the Clery Compliance Officer. 

Prohibited Conduct. 

The following prohibited conduct includes violations that are subject to disciplinary action. The list is not all-inclusive. 

  1. Threat to Health or Safety: When a student’s continued presence at the college is deemed to constitute a threat to the health, safety or welfare of members of the campus community.

  2. Bomb Threat, Fire Alarm, Hoax: When a student activates a fire or lockdown alarm without cause, or makes a threat to bomb or damage college property, students, faculty, staff, or visitors; or undertakes a hoax involving use of a supposedly destructive device or substance; or encourages, incites, or solicits any person to commit such a threat or such an act.

  3. Weapons: When the student possesses, on his or her person, or uses weapons, to include guns, knives, or other dangerous objects. No weapons are permitted on campus.

  4. Theft: When the student engages in theft, larceny, embezzlement, or the temporary taking of the property of another without consent.

  5. Riot: When the student incites or engages in a riot or a disorderly assembly.

  6. Drugs: When the student engages in the possession, use, sale or manufacture of illegal or controlled substances.

  7. Forgery: When the student forges, alters, misuses, or falsifies college documents or records, including emails.

  8. Computer Security: When the student makes unauthorized use of computer resources, or makes unauthorized efforts to penetrate or modify any computing hardware or software.

  9. Disruption: Disruption of a classroom, laboratory, library, office, hallway, public student space, such as the student center, meeting or hearing.

  10. Failure to Comply: Failure to comply with a college official who is appropriately acting in the performance of his or her duties.

  11. Verbal Abuse: When the student utters obscene words or engages in verbal abuse that constitutes harassment of others.

  12. Assault, Battery, Fighting: When the student engages in non-sexual assault, battery, or fighting.

  13. Harassment: When the student engages in psychological abuse, racial, or other non-sexual harassment.

  14. Property Destruction: When the student destroys, damages, defaces, or misuses public or private property.

  15. Illegal Entry: When the student illegally enters or occupies state property.

  16. Gambling: When the student engages in unlawful gambling or gaming.

  17. Alcoholic Beverages: When the student possesses or consumes alcoholic beverages or is legally intoxicated.

  18. Criminal Charges: When the student is formally charged with the commission of a crime.

  19. Misuse of Federal Funds: When the student uses federal funds for someone other than him/herself or uses funds in a way that does not support his/her own educational endeavors.

  20. Electronic Bullying: When a student uses Facebook, or any other type of social media, to intimidate or bully a student, faculty or staff member.

  21. Impersonation or Assuming a False Identity: When a student impersonates a college employee or falsely identifies him/herself.

  22. Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct includes rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and sexual violence.

Temporary Suspension 

If the Vice-President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Vice President of Finance and Administration, or Vice President of Academic and Workforce Programs decides at any point that the safety of a student or of the College is at stake, a temporary suspension may be imposed against a student who is suspected of violating the conduct policy and any other college policies or otherwise poses a risk to the safety of the campus, until the student conduct resolution, disciplinary action, or a hearing can be completed. This action assumes no determination of guilt.

Disciplinary Procedural Steps. 

1. Filing of Written Complaint. 

    Disciplinary action may be initiated by a complaint in writing filed by any member of the
    College community, including members of the faculty, staff and the student body. 

2. Administrator Receipt of Complaint. 

    The complaint shall be filed with the office of the Vice President of Enrollment Management
    and Student Success.

3. Preliminary Investigation. 

    The Student Judicial Officer shall initiate an investigation, gathering signed statements and
    interviewing appropriate persons.

  • The Student Judicial Officer shall approve any interim changes in a student’s academic status necessary to facilitate the investigation or to protect the involved parties. 

  • The Student Judicial Officer may require students to appear for an interview or to give a written statement. 

  • Failure to cooperate or impeding the investigation (not complying with the official and proper order of a duly designated College authority or agency) may subject a student to disciplinary action. Disciplinary holds may be placed on class attendance, re-enrollment, or upon the academic record of any student who fails to cooperate with the investigation. 

4. Initial Determination. 

    After completing the preliminary investigation, the Student Judicial Officer may: 

  • Dismiss the complaint as having been unsubstantiated, or 

  • Determine that the complaint is supported by reliable evidence.

5. Formal Notification to Student of Complaint. 

     The Student Judicial Officer shall provide written notification to the student, advising the
    student of the complaint and the student’s rights under this Disciplinary Procedure. To
    ensure that a student’s rights to due process are preserved, the following essential legal
    elements will be made available to the student: 

  • Written notice of the allegation(s), with a summary of the information obtained by the preliminary investigation.

  • Proposed sanction(s), should the student accept the findings of the preliminary investigation and initial determination by the Student Judicial Officer. The student has three working days to exercise this option, and must agree to waive formal disciplinary proceedings and the right to appeal (Note: This option does not apply to cases that may result in the sanction of disciplinary suspension or dismissal).

  • Applicable references to the College’s Policies and Procedures, including the Student Code of Conduct.

  • The opportunity to correspond or personally appear before a Student Conduct Committee to present evidence on his or her behalf. 

  • The right to a prompt written decision regarding the allegation(s).

  • Information regarding the available appeal procedures. 

Upon notification, the student may elect, after meeting with the Student Judicial Officer, to accept the findings of the preliminary investigation and initial determination. In this event, the Student Judicial Officer will render a decision regarding any appropriate sanction(s). 

  • The student must waive, in writing, the right to a hearing with a conduct committee as well as the right to appeal the imposed sanction(s).

  • The Student Judicial Officer may impose a sanction(s) that is no greater than the sanction(s) proposed in the formal notification step (step 5). Imposed sanctions under these conditions may not include disciplinary suspension or dismissal.

6. Student Conduct Committee.  

    The Student Judicial Officer, within ten working days of the notification to the student, will
    appoint a student conduct committee. The committee will consist of three members from
    among the faculty and staff. The committee shall complete its investigation and make a final
    determination within 10 business days of appointment. 

  • The conduct committee will conduct a careful and thorough review of all the facts concerning the alleged offense. 

  • The student shall have the right to submit written evidence and/or appear in person to present evidence. 

  • The student has the right to be advised by counsel or an advisor who may come from within or from outside the institution. Counsel may be present during the hearing, but will not be permitted to address the Committee. 

  • A two-thirds vote of the committee shall be required to assess a guilty determination for all or part of the allegation(s); otherwise, the student will be absolved and the case closed. 

  • Upon reaching a guilty determination, the committee shall recommend, also by two-thirds vote, any sanction(s) to be given to the student.

7. Committee Report.
    The committee shall prepare a final written report of its investigation, which will include a 
    description of the allegation, a summary of evidence considered, a summary of witness
    statements, the committee’s disposition of the case, and as applicable, any recommended
    sanction(s). The Student Judicial Officer will review the report. 

    The Student Judicial Officer may: 

  • Concur with the committee findings, and approve the recommended sanction(s). 

  • Concur with the committee findings, and modify the recommended sanction(s). The Student Judicial Officer, based on his/her judgment of the case circumstances, may reduce or remove some or all the sanctions recommended by the committee. The Student Judicial Officer may not impose a sanction that is more severe than those proposed by the committee. 

  • Non-concur with part or all of the committee findings or recommended sanction(s). The Student Judicial Officer will return the case to the committee for further consideration.

8. Sanctions.
    Upon concurring with the committee report, the Student Judicial Officer will communicate
  (in writing) the case disposition to the student and impose the approved sanction. Multiple
    sanctions may be imposed. The following sanctions may be imposed upon students:

  • Warning: Notice, orally or in writing, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.

  • Censure: A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations, including the possibility of more severe disciplinary sanctions, in the event of the finding of a violation of any institutional regulation within a stated period of time.

  • Disciplinary Probation: Exclusion from participation in privileges or extracurricular institutional activities as set forth in the notice for a period of time not exceeding one school year.

  • Restitution: Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property. This may take the form of appropriate service or other compensation. Terms and conditions of the restitution will be communicated to the student in writing, and the amount shall be limited to the actual monetary cost of the damage or loss to the College. The written notification will include that the student’s failure to make restitution in a timely manner will result in consequences including, but not limited to, an academic hold on student registration and transcripts or imposition of any of the foregoing sanctions.

  • Suspension: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities as set forth in the notice for a definite period of time not to exceed two years.

  • Dismissal: The student is terminated from all statuses at the College indefinitely. The dismissal may include a “no-trespass order,” as circumstances warrant. The dismissal may include a timeframe and conditions by which the student may apply for readmission in the future.

  • Educational Project in Lieu of Sanction: An educational project may be assigned for completion by the student in the place of the proposed sanction(s). The project must be of educational value, must offer a positive learning experience, and must be scoped appropriately so as to not negatively impact the student’s educational progress. The project should offer the student the opportunity to learn from past errors and to channel energies to more appropriate endeavors. The student must agree to the project terms, completion timeline, and any success rubrics. Should the student fail to complete the project as agreed, original sanctions shall be imposed. Successful completion of the project closes the disciplinary case.

9. Student Appeals. 

        Upon notification of the committee findings and the proposed sanction(s), the student may
        appeal the decision to the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student
        Success or an assigned designee. The appeal must be made in writing, to the Vice
        President within five working days of the date of the student’s notification. Any proposed
        sanction(s) will not take effect pending the Vice President’s decision. The Vice President
        for Enrollment Management and Student Success (or assigned designee) will review the 

        written case record, the conclusions reached, the proposed sanction(s), and may choose
        to interview any persons deemed relevant to the review. Upon completing the review, the
        Vice President (or designee) will notify the student, in writing, of the appeal decision: 

  • Affirming the committee conclusions. The Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success’ decision is final, and any sanction(s) are immediately imposed. 

  • Reducing any or all of the proposed sanctions. The Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success’ decision is final, and the reduced sanction(s) are immediately imposed. 

  • Returning the case to the committee for further consideration. 

*Notice to Parents or Guardians of Minor Students. Notifications to the parents or guardians of minor students will be made consistent with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The College will notify the applicable high school principal of students enrolled in dual enrollment programs when an imposed sanction will limit or prevent the student from completing the high school course of instruction.

Student Grade Appeal Procedure

If a student wishes to appeal a course grade, the following in-house administrative procedure will be used. Grade Appeals may not be filed until the semester has ended and a final course grade has been assigned. The student must begin the appeal process within five (5) business days of the beginning of classes in the semester immediately following receipt of the grade in question. Appeals submitted outside of this timeframe will not be considered.

1.The student must discuss the grade with the instructor who assigned it.

2.If the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved and the student wishes to continue the appeal, the student must file a written appeal to the instructor’s division dean and discuss the grade with the instructor’s division dean within five (5) business days (If the instructor who assigned the grade is also the division dean, then the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs will perform the role of division dean in hearing the student’s appeal at this point.) The division dean will attempt to mediate the disputed grade with the faculty member and the student and make a recommendation for solution. If both parties agree to the division dean’s recommendation, the appeal is concluded.

3.If the student disagrees with the recommendation, the student may continue the appeal to the next step by filing a written appeal with the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (VP) within five (5) business days of the conclusion of step two. The student must also send a copy of the written appeal to the faculty member and the division dean.

4.Upon review of the appeal file, the VP may elect to meet with the student and faculty member to review the case, dismiss the appeal (uphold the student’s assigned grade), or appoint a Grade Appeal Panel (the panel) to consider the case. The decision of the VP to appoint or not appoint a panel is final and cannot be appealed by either party. If the VP decides to appoint a panel, within five (5) business days of receipt of the appeal, the VP shall select by random drawing a panel of one student and two full-time faculty members to consider the appeal. Neither the instructor who assigned the grade, the instructor’s division dean, nor the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs may serve on this panel. The student on the committee should be selected at random from a pool of Student Ambassadors.

5.The panel shall meet and consider any written information from previous steps and give both the student and the faculty member an opportunity to present any additional information. Notifications of the date, time, and location of the panel meeting will be communicated to the student and the faculty member by the VP. Within fifteen (15) business days after it is established, the panel shall reach its decision and communicate its recommendation in writing to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, division dean, faculty member, and the student.

The decision of the Grade Appeal Panel is final and cannot be appealed.

Student Grievance Process of Administrative Decisions

Southside Virginia Community College is dedicated to a policy which provides that all grievances relating to current and prospective students will be handled fairly and equally without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or other non-merit factors.

The grievance process applies to non-academic student grievances, including student complaints of unlawful discrimination or unfair treatment. The grievance process applies to complaints arising under any of the following:

·Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

·Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

·Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992

·Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

·Age Discrimination Act of 1975

·Southside Virginia Community College Catalog

·Southside Virginia Community College Student Handbook

·Virginia Community College System Policy Manual

·GI Bill 


The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email saa@dvs.virginia.gov.

Section I. Procedures for Resolving Complaints Level One

Recognizing that grievances should be raised and settled promptly, a grievance should be raised within thirty (30) business days following the event giving rise to the grievance. As the first step, the student is encouraged to meet and discuss the concern with the person with whom the student has the difference or dispute. At the meeting, the student must clearly present the facts regarding the grieved issue and the resolution that he or she seeks. The respondent may consult with his/her supervisor, dean or program head at this step in the process. Every reasonable effort should be made to resolve the matter informally at this level.

If the difference or dispute is not resolved, the student with a grievance shall complete a grievance form and submit to the Dean of Student Success. Determination of grievability will be made by the Dean of Student Success.

In cases where the grievance is involving the Dean of Student Success, then the student with a grievance shall complete a grievance form and submit to the Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs. Determination of grievability will be made by the Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs.

A student who alleges harassment or sexual misconduct will not be required to make direct contact with the person alleged to have engaged in such conduct. In that situation, the student should contact the Dean of Student Success, who will discuss with the student her/his right to proceed to Level Two of this procedure. If a student is alleging sexual misconduct, the student should be referred to Southside Virginia Community College’s policy on sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (Title IX).

Level Two

If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the grievance at Level One or has been permitted to bypass Level One, the student may submit a written grievance to the appropriate college official within twenty (20) business days. The appropriate college officials are outlined as follows:

1. Academic matters — Academic Deans for credit courses, Vice-President of Workforce Development and Continuing Education for non-credit courses.

2. Admissions matters (e.g., recruitment, registration, transfer of credits, academic suspension/dismissal, etc.) will be heard by the Dean of Enrollment Management.

3. Student employment (e.g., financial aid recipients) will be heard by the Director of Financial Aid.

4. Complaints in areas other than 1, 2, and 3 above will be heard by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.

5. Affirmative Action and ADA complaints will be heard by the Vice President of Finance and Administration

Within 10 business days of receiving the grievance, the dean, supervisor, or other college official will schedule a meeting with both parties in an effort to resolve the grievance. (The meeting may occur after 10 business days, but its date should be established within this time frame.) The role of the decision-maker is to chair the meeting, facilitate the discussion, conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation, determine whether or not college policies have been violated, and render a decision on the matter. Each party may present witnesses and other evidence. No attorneys or other advisers are allowed to be present to represent either party.

No recording will be permitted during the meeting. The decision-maker may conduct follow-up inquiries after the meeting if necessary. He/she will prepare a written report of the outcome of the grievance within 10 business days after the meeting, and will provide copies to the student and the respondent.

Level Three

If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the grievance at Level Two, the student may file a written appeal within 10 business days of the determination at Level Two to the Administrative designee or Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs with responsibility for the respondent’s division. The Dean of Student Success can assist the student in identifying the appropriate Administrative designee. The Administrative designee will collect relevant information from all parties and review the record of previous actions. If, in the judgment of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs or Administrative designee, the appeal and record of previous actions have resolved the grievance or do not warrant further action, he/she will notify the student and the respondent within 10 business days of receiving the written appeal.

The Administrative designee member’s determination that the grievance does not warrant further action is final. If, in the judgment of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs or Administrative designee, the grievance warrants further action, he/she will appoint a Grievance Panel within 10 business days of receiving the written appeal.

For Campuses:

1. One member of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs staff, who will serve as chair of the panel.

2. One faculty member, to be selected from a pool of faculty designated at the beginning of each academic year by the Campus Council. In the case of grievances regarding grades, the faculty member on the Grievance Panel must be a member of the teaching faculty.

3. One student to be selected from a pool of students designated at the beginning of each academic year by the Campus Council.

Within 10 business days after the Grievance Panel has been appointed, the chair of the Grievance Panel will set a time and place for a hearing and notify the student and the respondent in writing at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. The hearing will be held within 15 business days after the Grievance Panel has been appointed, and no later than 30 days after the written appeal has been submitted to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs or Administrative Council designee member.

The chair of the Grievance Panel is responsible for conducting the hearing in an orderly, efficient and equitable manner. The chair will arrange for the audio recording of the hearing. Either party may have access to the recording upon request. Both the student and the respondent may have an adviser present at the hearing, however each party must so inform the chair of the Grievance Panel 10 business days prior to the hearing. Either party may consult with their own adviser; however, the adviser may not speak for the party or address the members of the panel. The chair of the Grievance Panel may disallow a particular adviser in cases where the adviser might be a witness or where such adviser’s presence, in the chair’s sole determination, would be obstructive to the process or for other good cause.

At the Grievance Panel hearing, the student and the respondent will each have the opportunity to present any information relevant to the grievance. The Panel may also request information from other sources. Signed written statements may be submitted by individuals who are unable to attend the hearing. If either party chooses not to attend the hearing, the Panel will consider any written statements the person submits.

The Grievance Panel is responsible for reviewing the grievance in light of College policies and procedures. The Grievance Panel can neither change nor formulate College policies and procedures, nor can it commit state resources. The Grievance Panel will make its decision by simple majority vote. The chair of the Grievance Panel will prepare a written report of the outcome of the hearing and provide it to the student and the respondent within 10 business days after the conclusion of the hearing. The decision of the Grievance Panel is final.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against a grievant or witness for filing or participating in the investigation of a grievance is prohibited. Retaliation is any overt or covert act of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, intimidation, or harassment against one or more individuals for exercising their rights (or supporting others for exercising their rights) under this policy. The College will investigate any reports of retaliation and take appropriate disciplinary action.


All actions taken to resolve grievances through this process will be conducted with as much privacy, discretion and confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the process. All persons involved are to treat the process with respect.

Grievance Procedure records should be maintained for a five-year period.