3.1 Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
- COL acknowledges its ethical and statutory responsibility to afford equal treatment and equal opportunity to all persons and thus affirms its policy of compliance with all applicable laws and directives that promulgate nondiscrimination and equality of opportunity through affirmative action.
- COL prohibits discrimination and harassment against its employees, students, and applicants based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, creed, age, national origin or ancestry, disability, genetic information, medical condition, marital or parental status, arrest record, military veteran status, or any other impermissible reason. COL prohibits behaviors that include but are not limited to any unwelcome, deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal, physical, visual, or sexual contact, or solicitations of favors that are offensive, abusive, intimidating, hostile, denigrating, or demeaning.
- Harassment can take many different forms. Examples of verbal harassment include derogatory comments, slurs, accusations, or stereotyping. Physical harassment examples include assault, impeding movement, or any physical interference with normal work, or movement directed at an individual, as well as visual forms including cartoons, drawings, graphic materials, or derogatory posters.
- Title IX/SaVE regulations require COL not to discriminate on the basis of gender/sex in its education programs and activities. Gender/sex harassment, including gender/sex violence, is a form of prohibited gender/sex discrimination. Examples of covered acts are found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- Reporting Complaints
- Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and/or Retaliation on the Basis of Sex, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity
- A student who believes he/she has been subject to unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, should report complaints in accordance with COL’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, which covers sexual harassment and sexual violence. Acts of Sexual Misconduct are forms of sex discrimination.
For the full Policy on Sexual Misconduct, further information, and additional resources, visit COL’s website, collegesoflaw.edu, then scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on “Sexual Misconduct Policy.”
- Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and/or Retaliation on Other Bases
- A student who believes he/she has been subject to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation (other than those related to sex/gender as described immediately above), whether by faculty members, employees, legal training supervisors, visitors, or other students, should bring the issue to the immediate attention of the Dean, Assistant Dean, and/or Assistant Registrar. Although preparation of a written complaint is encouraged, it is not required. Complaints should include details of the incident or incidents, names of the individuals involved, names of any witnesses, and any documents supporting the complaint.
- When the Dean, Assistant Dean/Registrar, or Assistant Registrar receives a complaint of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation, COL will take prompt and appropriate action. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally (where appropriate), COL will undertake an effective, thorough, and objective investigation of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation allegations. Complaints and investigations will be handled on a confidential basis, to the extent possible, with due regard for the rights of the Complainant and the Respondent. Information about the complaint and investigation will only be released on a need-to-know basis, or as otherwise required or permitted by law.
- If COL determines that unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation has occurred, effective remedial action will be taken in accordance with the circumstances of the incident. Appropriate action will also be taken to deter any future unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Individuals who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal from the institution.
- COL also bars retaliation against an employee, student, or applicant who files a good faith complaint of discrimination/harassment or otherwise participates in an investigation relating to the same.
3.2 Policy on Sexual Misconduct
*The text below is adapted from COL’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct. For the full Policy on Sexual Misconduct as well as additional resources, please visit our website at collegesoflaw.edu, then scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on “Sexual Misconduct Policy.”
- COL is committed to creating and maintaining a safe learning and working environment that is free of unlawful discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. As such, COL prohibits sexual misconduct in all forms, including but not limited to sexual harassment and sexual violence. COL will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual misconduct, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior in violation of its Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
- The Policy on Sexual Misconduct applies to all COL employees, students, and other COL Community Members, regardless of gender/gender identity and sexual orientation, for sexual misconduct occurring on COL’s campuses or in connection with its educational programs, activities, and services, or that puts COL Community Members at risk of serious harm or otherwise creates a hostile learning and/or working environment.
- COL also bars retaliation against any employee, student, or applicant who files a good faith report of sexual misconduct or otherwise participates in an investigation relating to the same.
- Reporting Sexual Misconduct
- Making a Report to Law Enforcement
- COL encourages Community Members who have experienced sexual misconduct to immediately report the incident to the local police department or another area law enforcement agency.
- Reporting of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to the police does not commit the Reporting Party to further legal action. However, the earlier an incident is reported, the easier it will be for the police to investigate if the Complainant decides to proceed with criminal charges. Early reporting makes it more likely that the police will be able gather needed evidence before it is lost or destroyed, and that the Complainant will receive timely notice of potentially helpful victim/witness services.
- Making a Report to COL
- A complaint from any member of the COL community relating to discrimination, misconduct, harassment, domestic violence, dating or other related violence, stalking, or retaliation based on gender or sex concerning a faculty, staff, or student(s) should be reported in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- Complainants are also encouraged to report incident(s) of sexual misconduct to COL’s Title IX Coordinator, who is:
Barbara Doyle, Assistant Dean/Registrar
The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law
4475 Market Street, Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 765-9302; firstname.lastname@example.org
- A Complainant is not required to report to area law enforcement to receive assistance from or pursue any options within COL. The Title IX Coordinator will provide a Complainant with information about available support services and resources, and also assist the Complainant in notifying law enforcement, including the local police, if the Complainant elects to do so.
- If a Complainant discloses an incident to a Responsible Employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, COL must weigh that request against COL’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the Complainant.
- Procedures When Sexual Misconduct is Reported to COL
- Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, COL will respond by providing the Complainant with supportive resources and interim interventions (where appropriate) and conducting a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation by a trained official. The response and investigation procedures are designed to provide a supportive process for those who report sexual misconduct as well as fairness and due process for the individual being accused.
- COL recognizes that in certain circumstances, informal resolution of a report of sexual misconduct may be beneficial to the Complainant, the Respondent, other involved persons (the Reporting Party, Witnesses), and/or the COL Community at large. Whether a report of sexual misconduct is appropriate for informal resolution is within the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, except that reports of sexual assault are never appropriate for informal resolution.
- When the Title IX Coordinator determines that informal resolution is not appropriate or formal resolution is requested by either the Complainant or Respondent, COL will launch an investigation.
- Once the Title IX Coordinator determines that a formal investigation is appropriate, COL will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation by an individual who has been trained to investigate reports of sexual misconduct. (This may be the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or other designee approved by the CEO.)
- Typically, investigation into reports of sexual misconduct will include a period of fact-finding led by the Title IX Coordinator, during which time the Complainant, Respondent, and other relevant persons will be given the opportunity to participate in the investigation by sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator. Persons participating in an investigation will have the opportunity to submit a written statement, provide supporting materials, and identify witnesses.
- COL investigates reports of sexual misconduct independently of local law enforcement.
- In investigating and determining whether a violation of this policy has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will utilize the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof. This means that Title IX Coordinator will determine whether it is “more likely than not” that sexual misconduct occurred.
- Both parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct will be updated as to the status of the investigation and related proceedings as necessary, or upon request.
- Once the Title IX Coordinator has concluded the investigation, COL will simultaneously issue the written findings to both the Complainant and the Respondent.
- Sanctions for Violations of COL’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct
- Upon finding that sexual misconduct occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will convene a Sanctions Panel, composed of at least three members of a pool of administrators and faculty trained in sanctioning violations of this Policy for determination of appropriate sanctions.
- In addition to sanctions, the Title IX Coordinator may also recommend that COL or particular COL Community Members adopt additional measures to remediate and/or prevent further conduct in violation of this policy.
- COL’s sanctions process is intended to provide an equitable process to both the Complainant and Respondent, demonstrating promptness, fairness, and impartiality.
- Sanctions against students may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Formal written warning;
- Professional Improvement Plan (for the student);
- No contact order pertaining to certain COL Community Members or physical locations;
- Removal from specific courses or institutional activities;
- Suspension; and/or
In addition, further protections for the Complainant may be available.
For the full Policy on Sexual Misconduct, further information, and additional resources, click here.
3.3 Commitment to Diversity
Since being founded, the Colleges have been committed to diversity within both the School’s educational programs and the legal profession as a whole. Thus, the Colleges strive to foster an environment of mutual respect and inclusion in which all individuals will be valued for who they are and what they can contribute, as participatory members of professional communities that promote cultural awareness, freedom from bias, and appreciation of diversity. Further, the School is committed to preparing professionals for law practice and other careers in a multicultural and diverse society. In keeping with this commitment, course content considers, where appropriate, issues related to individual and cultural differences so that students develop the skills that enable them to provide professional services or otherwise engage in a professional environment with individuals of diverse backgrounds. The faculty conveys attitudes respectful of individual and cultural differences.
3.4 Academic Freedom
- Student Academic Freedom
Academic freedom includes the freedom to lawfully express opinions, raise questions, and advocate positions in matters of academic or scholarly significance. The Colleges of Law support academic freedom for students in academic settings, including classrooms, internship settings, and activities and events sponsored by the Colleges. Students will be evaluated based upon the merits of their responses or performance and their subject matter knowledge, not on extraneous considerations such as their ethnicity, political views, religious beliefs, or other personal beliefs or attributes.
- Faculty Academic Freedom
Academic freedom includes the freedom to lawfully express opinions, raise questions, and advocate positions in matters of academic or scholarly significance, as well as the general prerogative of an instructor to determine how to present the overall subject matter of an assigned course and the primary right to evaluate the performance of students enrolled in the course.
Academic freedom is essential to achievement of the School’s mission. It is the School’s policy, therefore, to encourage freedom of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research, and publication and to protect members of the faculty against influences that would restrict the exercise of these academic freedoms in areas of scholarly interest. The School subscribes to the principles of academic freedom formulated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) as generally summarized below1:
- Each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties; research for pecuniary return, however, should be based upon an understanding with the School Administration.
- Each faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing a subject, but should be careful not to introduce teaching of controversial matter that has no relation to the faculty member’s subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of specific aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
- Each faculty member is a citizen and a member of a learned profession. When an instructor speaks or writes as a citizen, the writing should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but the instructor’s special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an institutional community member, the instructor should remember that the public might judge the instructor’s profession and the institution by the instructor’s utterances. Hence, the instructor should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that the teacher is not an institutional spokesperson.
1 By adopting the AAUP statement regarding academic freedom, the School does not adopt or endorse AAUP interpretive statements or other policies.
3.5 Educational Objectives
The educational objectives of the School are set forth as Institution-wide Competencies, Program Learning Objectives, and Student Learning Outcomes. For each program, the Student Learning Outcomes are defined generally and in the context of each course. Program Learning Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes specific to each program are set forth in sections entitled JD-Academic Program and MLS-Academic Program . The Institution-wide Competencies are as follows:
||KNOWLEDGE OF LAW
||Students will acquire knowledge of fundamental legal doctrine and conceptual frameworks of American laws and regulations.
||Students will acquire the essential practical skills needed to handle law-related matters effectively, professionally, and within the legal rules governing the practice of law.
||ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL VALUES
||Students will demonstrate understanding of the legal profession’s standards relating to diversity, ethics, and professionalism.
3.6 Student-Focused Learning
- Commitment to Student-Focused Learning
The School is committed to providing an educational environment that promotes student success. To ensure an effective and high-quality legal education experience, the School systematically monitors student learning to inform future planning and to generate creative, responsive initiatives to improve its programs. Data are gathered, analyzed, and presented to the School community for review. Based on these results, the School revises its student learning assessment plan, curriculum, and approach to classroom learning. Student learning assessment offers the School a critical opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of its law programs and to develop innovative, student-focused learning environments. To optimize the learning environment, students are strongly encouraged to be active learners who reflect on the conditions and activities that engage their individual learning styles, and to work independently, with peers and faculty, to enhance their learning process.
- Plan for Assessing Student-Focused Learning
The School is committed to student learning in all its endeavors. To this end, all constituencies are actively involved in developing, implementing, and refining our approach to assessing student achievement, to identifying opportunities to improve student learning, and to assessing institutional effectiveness to further our goal of providing a high-quality legal education.
The Plan for Assessing Student Learning is a competency-based model that supports student development in the School’s institutional programmatic goals of Knowledge of Law, Practical Skills and Ethical and Professional Values. The plan identifies, for each program, the linkage between these goals, program competencies, and student learning outcomes. The plan describes the relationship between these outcomes and the courses for each program. The plan also identifies the assessment instruments, the methods for evaluating student learning within each program competency, and the process for evaluation of results. It will be updated annually. The Administration Office may be contacted for a copy of the Final Plan adopted by the faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees.
3.7 Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment (20 USC S. 1232g), affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. For purposes of compliance with FERPA, the School considers all students independent. Questions about FERPA and student records may be directed to the Office of the Registrar.
- Right to Inspect and Review
A student has the right to inspect and review the student’s education record within forty-five (45) business days after the School receives a written request for access. A written request identifying the record to be inspected should be submitted by the student to the Office of the Registrar. The Campus Registrar or designee will make arrangements for access and notify the student of next steps for inspecting the record. If the Office of the Registrar does not retain the record requested, the student will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- Right to Request Amendments
A student has the right to request an amendment of the education record if the student believes the record is inaccurate or misleading. To request an amendment, the student writes a formal letter to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record to be changed, and specifying why the record is inaccurate or misleading.
- Right to Request a Hearing
The institution has the right to decide whether to amend a student’s education record as requested by the student. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the School will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. To request a hearing, the student submits a request in writing to the Office of the Registrar. The Campus Registrar will refer the request to the Dean, who will act as the hearing officer regarding all challenges to the accuracy of educational record and the denial of requested changes. The formal hearing will be conducted according to the following procedures:
- The student will be permitted to present information and materials in support of the assertion that the record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise erroneous.
- A representative of COL will be permitted to present information and materials that support the School’s position.
- Each party will be present during the hearing and may challenge information and materials of the other party.
- If a student is unable to attend the hearing in person due to distance (such as students participating in online programs), the student may be offered the opportunity to participate via a phone conference.
- The hearing officer will render a decision on the matter generally within five (5) business days after the conclusion of the hearing. FERPA does not provide a process to be used to question substantive judgments which are correctly recorded. For example, the rights of challenge do not allow a student to contest a grade in a course because the student believes a higher grade should have been assigned.
- Right to Consent to Disclosures
A student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to School officials with legitimate educational interests. A School official is a person employed by the School in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the School has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, collection agent, or official of the U.S. Department of Education or other federal agency); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another School official in performing tasks. A School official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill professional responsibility.
The School may disclose education records in certain other circumstances:
- to comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena
- to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
- to officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
- in connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid, as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid
- to certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, to state and local educational authorities in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs
- to accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
- to organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of COL
- the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence may be released to the alleged victim of that crime with respect to that crime
- Additionally, COL must, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of any crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the School against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the information shall be provided, upon written request, to the next of kin of the alleged victim.
- Right to File a Complaint
A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by COL 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 Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20202-5920.
- Right to Restrict Directory Information
A student has the right to restrict the release of “directory information” except to School officials with legitimate educational interests and others as indicated above. To restrict the release of directory information, a student must complete and submit a written FERPA Restriction Form to the Registrar. Once filed, this request becomes a permanent part of the student’s record until the student instructs COL, in writing, to remove the request.
The School designates the following as public or “directory information”:
- Student name
- Mailing address(es)
- E-mail address(es)
- Telephone number(s)
- Major field of study
- Degree sought
- Expected date of completion of degree requirements and graduation
- Degrees and awards received
- Dates of attendance
- Full- or part-time enrollment status
- Previous educational agency or institution attended
- Participation in officially recognized activities
3.8 Student Code of Ethics and Conduct
- This Student Code of Ethics and Conduct (Code) is applicable to all students. Each student’s admission to and continued enrollment at the School is expressly conditioned upon such student’s good faith adherence to the provisions, intent, and purposes of this Code.
- Students are subject to this Code at all times while:
- On or using the School’s property, software, software subscriptions, or premises, whether owned or leased.
- Attending any class or function, academic or social, sponsored in whole or in part by the School or any student or alumni organization of the School (such as the Student Bar Association).
- Engaged in any activity or action that may in any way affect the operation of the School, any grade awarded by the School, or any student’s entitlement to be awarded a degree by the School.
- In accepting students for admission, the School relies implicitly upon their presumed maturity, seriousness of purpose, and preparedness to support the mission, integrity, reputation, and ethical standards of the institution from which they hope to obtain a professional degree. Students at the School are assumed to be mature adults, training for a profession whose members are held to high standards of ethical behavior. The School, as an institution of learning, requires an atmosphere at all times conducive to that purpose. Finally, students of the School are incurring sizeable financial costs and devoting a substantial amount of time and effort to acquire a professional education; they are entitled to pursue that objective without obstruction by other students. All students, at all times while subject to this Code, are expected to conduct themselves with maturity, with the highest ethical standards, and with respect for the rights of the School, its faculty and staff, and all other students.
- Administrative disciplinary action may be taken by the School against any student whose personal conduct raises serious questions, in the opinion of the Administration, as to such student’s fitness to remain at an institution of professional legal education. Disciplinary action may be imposed for any conduct that violates the high standards of ethics expected of potential future officers of the court, interferes with the rights of other students, disrupts the intended functioning of the School, or otherwise violates any of the announced policies of the School.
- Examples of conduct and situations subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Engaging in offensive, rude, or disruptive behavior or behavior that otherwise violates announced policy. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, attending class under the influence of alcohol or drugs, engaging in loud or boisterous conversation during class, and eating or drinking liquids other than water in the classrooms.
- Using profanity; making obscene, vulgar, or intimidating gestures; or making threats directed at or to another person in person or by electronic or any other method or means.
- Engaging in academic dishonesty, including but not limited to plagiarism (use of others’ words, ideas or work product without appropriate recognition or citation); unauthorized collaboration with students or others; or using, giving, or receiving unauthorized aid, equipment, or materials during an examination or for any required writing or activity for any course.
- Defacing, vandalizing, stealing, or removing without proper authorization any property belonging to or leased by the School, including books or other materials from a library or classroom of the School.
- Engaging in sexual or other unlawful harassment of any person.
- Willfully committing acts that violate city, state, or federal laws or ordinances.
- Knowingly making false or misleading statements or entries in any application for admission to the School or any other document affecting the School’s records, including signing the attendance roster for a class at which the student is not present for substantially the entire class or signing such a roster on behalf of another person.
- Using the School’s libraries, computers, wireless network or online legal research facilities or programs for any purpose other than completing School course assignments and academic support exercises, or improving computer-based legal research skills, including commercial or personal purposes. (De minimus personal use, such as checking personal e-mail, is not prohibited.)
- Disciplinary action for violating this Code may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Reprimand, written or verbal, which may be noted in the student’s file.
- Cancellation of an examination, assignment or course grade, and/or denial of course credit.
- In cases of offensive, rude, or disruptive behavior, or behavior that otherwise violates announced policies, while in class, on campus, or in attendance at any School-related activity, immediate dismissal from such class or ejection from the campus or such activity by the instructor or other person(s) in charge.
- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Catalog (including the provisions of 3.9, Review Rights-Student Code of Ethics and Conduct):
- Every instructor has the continuing authority to immediately dismiss from that instructor’s class, for the balance of the class, any student who, in that instructor’s opinion, is engaging in offensive, rude, or disruptive behavior during that class. Any student so dismissed will not receive credit for attending that class and will be treated as having been absent from that class for all purposes of this Catalog. See Sections entitled 9. JD - Class Attendance and 15. MLS - Participation Policy .
- Every person (or persons) in charge, in whole or in part, at any COL campus or at any College-related activity has the continuing authority to immediately eject from such campus or activity any student who, in that person’s opinion, is engaging in offensive, rude, or disruptive behavior.
- Nothing in this section is applicable to financial or academic matters (including, without limitation, class attendance, except so far as concerns charges that the student has improperly signed an attendance roster, signed an attendance roster on behalf of another person, or engaged in disruptive behavior by untimely arrival or departure).
- Conduct that involves potential violation(s) of COL’s policy on sexual misconduct will be addressed in accordance with the institution’s obligations under Title IX and Campus SaVE. For detailed information regarding the procedures administered in response to complaints of sexual misconduct, please refer to COL’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
3.9 Review Rights-Student Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Nothing in this section pertains to financial matters; complaints made under the Policy on Sexual Misconduct; the assignment of a grade for which the student is entitled to pursue an appeal; or to decisions by the Academic Standards and Admissions Committee (ASAC) upon a student’s petition to be allowed to continue on probation or to be readmitted, including any conditions imposed as part of such decisions. For those policies, see sections addressing Financial Information , Sexual Misconduct, 10.6 Petition for Change of Grade /16.3 MLS - Petition for Change of Grade , Academic Probation , or Readmission respectively. Further, nothing in this section is applicable to the continuing authority of an instructor or other person in charge to require a student to immediately leave a class, campus, or other College-related function because of offensive, rude, or disruptive behavior, as set forth in Section 3.8, Student Code of Ethics and Conduct.
- When the Administration proposes to cancel a student’s examination or course grade, deny course credit, or impose administrative probation, suspension, expulsion, or similar sanction (not including any verbal or written reprimand, whether or not it was noted in the student’s file) under Section 3.8 of this Catalog for disciplinary reasons based on violation of the student code of conduct (and not due to financial, academic, or other matters excluded from the scope of this section) the following will occur:
- The student shall be given written notification by the Dean of the specific charge or charges and the intended disciplinary action. The student is presumed to have received such notification, absent a showing by the student otherwise, as of the earlier of:
- The day on which such notification is hand delivered by the School to the student.
- The third day of regular postal delivery following the day on which the School mailed such notification by first class, registered or certified United States mail to the last furnished mailing address provided by the student to the School.
- If the student wishes to appeal the Dean’s decision, s/he must request a hearing by written notice to the Dean. The notice must be hand delivered or mailed by first class, registered, or certified United States mail to the correct address of the Administration Office of the student’s principal campus within 10 calendar days after the student’s actual or presumed receipt of the Dean’s written notification, whichever is earlier.
- If the student does not request a hearing within the time and in the manner specified in Paragraph 2, the School may proceed to impose the intended disciplinary action of which the student was notified or any lesser action or sanction. The student will have no right of further appeal within the School. In such case, the Dean will notify the student in writing of the disciplinary action taken.
- If the student requests a hearing in accordance with Paragraph 2 (above), the hearing will be held as soon as possible after the Administration receives the request. The hearing will be held before either an independent, qualified hearing officer or a panel of two or more disinterested members of the faculty and/or administration. The Dean will choose whether a hearing officer or members of the School faculty and/or staff will preside over the hearing and will choose the actual personnel. If the Dean chooses an independent hearing officer, the student will pay half the officer’s fees and the School will pay half the fees. If the student prevails, the School will reimburse the student’s share of the hearing officer’s fees. This right of reimbursement for the hearing officer’s fees does not apply to any other costs or expenses incurred by the student. A “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof shall apply. The hearing officer or panel shall determine whether the evidence shows that the student charged with misconduct more likely than not actually engaged in the misconduct.
- At the hearing, the student will be entitled to the assistance of counsel of the student’s own choosing. The student also will have the opportunity to call witnesses on his or her own behalf and to examine adverse witnesses.
- The hearing officer or panel will provide a final decision on the matter within 3 weeks of the hearing, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible. The decision must:
- Approve the intended disciplinary action as set forth in the written notification given to the student pursuant to Paragraph 1 above, or
- Impose a lesser sanction or disciplinary action appropriate under Section 3.8, or
- Determine that no disciplinary action is warranted in the circumstances.
- No other or additional decision, action, or remedy shall be made or imposed by the hearing officer or panel. The decision will be dated and in writing, and will contain a statement of the facts found; conclusions and decision reached; and sanctions if any. This decision will be final and binding on both the School and the student. The student will have no further right of appeal within the School.
- The effective date of disciplinary cancellation of an assignment, examination or course grade; denial of course credit; probation; or similar sanction that does not terminate or interrupt the student’s right to continued enrollment at the School is:
- The date of the Dean’s written notification to the student of the disciplinary action intended if the sanction is imposed by the School pursuant to Paragraph 1 above, or
- The date of the hearing officer’s or panel’s written decision if the sanction is imposed pursuant to Paragraph 4 above.
- However, if the sanction is imposed pursuant to Paragraph 1, the Dean may select a later date, and if the sanction is imposed under Paragraph 4, the hearing officer or panel may select a later date.
- The effective date of any expulsion, suspension, or similar sanction that does terminate or interrupt the student’s right to continued enrollment at the School, whether imposed pursuant to Paragraph 1 or Paragraph 4 above, will be retroactive to the date of the Dean’s written notification of charges and intended disciplinary action under Paragraph 1 above. The student will not receive credit for any examinations or courses completed on or after that date, even though she or he may have successfully completed one or more examinations or courses.
3.10 Student Complaint and Grievance Procedure
- Purpose and Applicability
- Nothing in this section pertains to non-academic discipline or the assignment of a grade for which the student is seeking an appeal. For those policies, see Section 3.9, Review Rights-Student Code of Ethics and Conduct and Sections on 10. JD - Grading and Grades /16. MLS - Grading and Grades for each program, respectively.
- The School is committed to mutual respect and the effective resolution of student problems and complaints through an efficient and fair procedure. We seek to set an environment that encourages students, faculty, staff, and administration to work together to understand and address concerns about fair treatment using informal resolutions. When that is not possible, we are committed to a fair and reasonable resolution of issues through a formal grievance process as outlined below.
- This procedure may be used whenever a student believes that his/her rights have been violated by a member of the School community, including an employee or agent of the School, by:
- Violation of a duly adopted School policy, excluding a disciplinary decision or assignment of a letter grade for which the student is seeking an appeal (Section 3.9, Review Rights-Student Code of Ethics and Conduct and Sections on 10. JD - Grading and Grades /16. MLS - Grading and Grades for each program, respectively);
- Unethical conduct according to professional standards.
- A complaint from any member of the COL community relating to discrimination, misconduct, harassment, domestic violence, dating or other related violence, stalking, or retaliation based on gender or sex concerning a faculty, staff, or student(s) must report it in accordance with the Policy of Sexual Misconduct.
A student who believes they have been subject to unlawful discrimination,harassment, or retaliation (other than related to sex/gender and/or sexual misconduct) whether by faculty members, employees, supervisors, visitors, or other students, should raise the matter per the guidance provided in the Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation section); or,
- An action or decision is subject to grievance only if it involves a misapplication or misinterpretation of School policy, regulation, or rule, or a violation of state or federal law. This procedure may not be used to challenge policies or procedures of general applicability, including the following:
- The substance of any duly adopted policy or procedure;
- The substance that forms the basis for student performance evaluation or grade for a course; or
- A decision regarding a student’s academic status made by a duly designated administrative officer, or by the Academic Standards and Admissions Committee (ASAC).
- This procedure may be used by students currently enrolled at the School, or who are participating in a School-sponsored educational event at the time of the incident being grieved. The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment. A grievance may not be filed on behalf of another person.
- An individual may contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for review of a complaint. The Bureau may be contacted at 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833, http://www.bppe.ca.gov, Phone (916) 431-6924, Fax (906) 263-1897.
- Time for Filing Grievance
- A written, hard copy (not e-mailed) grievance must be received by the Dean not later than forty-five (45) calendar days after the student first became aware of the facts which gave rise to the grievance.
- The formal resolution process must be initiated within 60 days of the decision, action, or events giving rise to the grievance. This time limit may be extended by the Dean if the student initiating the Student Grievance Procedure requests an extension within the 60-day period for good cause shown (e.g., an active effort at informal resolution, death in the family, etc.).
- Prior to invoking the formal resolution procedures described below, the student is strongly encouraged, but is not required, to make active efforts to resolve matters through professional and direct discussions with the person or persons directly involved. These efforts should take place as soon as the student first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. If unsure of how to proceed, students should enlist the assistance of another member of the School community (e.g., Assistant Dean, or Faculty Chair or designee) to help identify proper courses of action and/or to mediate problems if necessary.
- Since this procedure is an institutional process, not judicial, the presence of legal counsel for any party to the grievance is not allowed. This policy is not to be used in substitution for the grade appeal or other appeal processes.
- Step 1
To invoke the formal resolution process, the student must submit the grievance to the Dean. The grievance must:
- be submitted as a dated, signed, written, hard copy document (not e-mailed);
- state how the decision or action is unfair and harmful to the student and list the School policies or state or federal laws that have been violated, if known;
- name the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed;
- state how the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed are responsible for the action or decision; and
- state the requested remedy.
- Step 2
Upon receipt of the written grievance, the Dean will determine whether the matter is grievable in accordance with the criteria set forth above. If the grievance has no merit, it will be dismissed by the Dean and a letter will be submitted to the student initiating the grievance stating the same. If the grievance does have merit, the Dean will appoint an ad hoc committee of two faculty members and one student to investigate the situation by gathering additional information from appropriate members of the campus community. The Dean will designate one of the faculty members as chairperson of the ad hoc committee. The chairperson will have the right to vote. At any time during the investigation of the grievance, the Dean and ad hoc committee may make further attempts to resolve the grievance informally.
The ad hoc committee chair will send a copy of the grievance to the parties listed as having committed an alleged violation (“respondent”) within ten business days of being appointed, giving the respondent(s) ten business days to submit to the chair a written response to the allegations with any exhibits they wish to introduce as evidence. The chair will concurrently inform the student pursuing the grievance of his/her right to, within ten business days, submit to the chair copies of any exhibits he/she wishes to introduce as evidence. The chair may extend the deadlines for submitting a response and for exchanging proposed exhibits upon a showing of good cause.
If the student who has brought the grievance has good cause to believe that a given member of the ad hoc committee is unable to be impartial, the student may request that the Dean disqualify that member. Such a disqualification shall be granted only upon the demonstration of sufficient reason. The decision by the Dean to alter or preserve the composition of the ad hoc committee is final.
- Step 3
In performing its functions, the ad hoc committee will have the right to call any witnesses and to require the introduction of any relevant data or information. The ad hoc committee will be the final judge of what testimony or data is relevant. While the presence of an attorney is prohibited, a student may have a member of the School community present during the hearing to provide advice and support. All deliberations of the ad hoc committee are confidential.
- Step 4
Once all fact finding, questioning, and presentations are complete, the committee will deliberate to evaluate the merits of the grievance and make findings of fact. Such deliberations are restricted to members of the committee. The committee’s decision must be based solely on material presented in the grievance. A majority vote of the ad hoc committee is required to make an affirmative decision on the grievance.
Within 5 days of reaching a conclusion, the ad hoc committee will, via U.S. Postal Service, mail its findings in writing to the student bringing the grievance, the respondent(s), the Dean, and to the appropriate institutional individual(s) who shall implement the actions, if any, recommended by the ad hoc committee within 30 days after the committee’s decision was postmarked.
- Appeal Process
- Step 1
Within ten business days after the committee’s decision is mailed, a student who is not satisfied with the decision of the committee may seek further review by mailing or personally delivering (not e-mailing) the written notice of appeal, together with the committee’s written decision, to the Dean. Written notice of appeal must be signed and dated by the student and provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process and indicate what remedy is requested. Appeals delivered or mailed more than ten business days after the committee’s decision was mailed, or any appeal sent by e-mail, will not be considered.
The Dean’s action will be limited to a review of the basis for the committee’s decision; s/he will render a decision based on review of the grievance record and the written notice of appeal. There is no right to a hearing or oral presentation in appeals. The Dean may delegate another administrator to act on his/her behalf.
- Step 2
Within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request for review, the Dean will submit his or her decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The written disposition shall include the reasons for the decision, and it shall direct a remedy for the aggrieved student, if any. The Dean’s decision on the appeal is final and will not be subject to further review.
- Record keeping
The chair of the ad hoc committee will compile an official record of the proceeding that includes a copy of all correspondence with the parties, all evidence submitted to the committee, a summary of the committee’s decision, and anything else considered by the committee in reaching its determination. The chair of the committee will be responsible for ensuring that a written report is prepared that addresses and resolves all material factual issues in dispute, that states a conclusion as to whether the student was subjected to misapplication or misinterpretation of School policy or state or federal law, and if so recommends remedies as appropriate. The report and official record will be kept in the student’s record; a copy of the grievance, any decision of the committee, and any decision of the Dean will be retained in accordance with retention requirements for the student’s file.
All grievance procedures and records are confidential in nature and will be treated accordingly, except to the extent disclosure is required by law or the requirements of accrediting bodies, including the State Bar of California.
- External Complaint
A student is expected to follow the internal grievance procedures above, before complaining to an external agency. A student who utilized the internal procedure and who is not satisfied with the outcome may wish to raise the issue with the relevant state agency or accreditor.
An individual may contact the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for review of a complaint. The bureau may be contacted at 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833, http://www.bppe.ca.gov, Phone (916) 431-6924, Fax (916) 263-1897.
An unresolved grievance may also be directed to the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). WSCUC requires that a complainant attempt to resolve the underlying grievance with the institution prior to filing a complaint. The Commission’s complaint procedures are for the purpose of addressing significant non-compliance with the Standards of Accreditation and Commission policies. Thus, WSCUC will not interpose itself as an adjudicatory or grievance-resolving body in individual matters including admission, granting or transfer of academic credit, grades, fees, student financial aid, student discipline, or collective bargaining, faculty or staff appointments, promotion, tenure, contractual rights and obligations, and dismissals or similar matters.
The Commission’s staff will investigate a complaint in order to determine whether it appears that a Commission Standard or Policy was violated and, if such is the case, it will take appropriate action within the range of options that are available to it under Commission Standards and Policies. The complaint form and process can be found under “Directory” at www.wascsenior.org. Inquiries may be directed to: Western Association of Colleges and Schools, Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, Phone: (510) 748-9001.
3.11 Campus Security
The School is required to report any crimes of which it has knowledge under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) by publishing the Campus Crime Statistics and a Security Crime Survey by October 1st of each year. In addition, the School must provide a timely warning of campus crimes reported to campus security and local police agencies in a manner that is intended to prevent similar crimes from recurring and to protect the personal safety of students and employees. Crime statistics for the School will be available on the School website as of October of 2015. This report is available online. Students may also request a paper copy of the report be mailed to them by emailing their request to COLRegistrar@collegesoflaw.edu.
3.12 Emergency Response and Evacuation
The School is committed to the safety and security of all members of its community. In times of emergency, the School will provide an appropriate campus-wide response to assure everyone’s safety and to minimize losses. Information about COL emergency response and evacuation procedures can be found in the Emergency Operations Plan, which is available on the Student Gateway and provided to all entering students. The guide is intended to assist all faculty, staff, and students in responding to emergencies that may occur while they are at COL. Such emergencies can occur at any time and without warning, but their effects may be minimized if proper emergency procedures are followed. Students are encouraged to read and become familiar with the contents of the Plan before an emergency occurs.
3.13 Drug Free Environment
- Smoke-Free Environment
Smoking is prohibited, including within 25 feet of building entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes. This smoke-free policy includes cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, and it covers all areas owned or operated by the School. If a local law or ordinance provides greater protection for the rights of non-smokers, it shall apply.
- Drug-Free Environment
- In compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA) of 1986 as amended in 1989, COL explicitly prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs by students or employees on School premises or as part of any of its activities. In addition, the School prohibits the misuse of legal drugs including alcohol.
- Legal Sanctions Under Federal and State Law
Federal penalties and sanctions for illegal possession of a controlled substance are as set forth below. This list has been included for reference purposes only. The most current information can be found on the website of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
- First conviction: up to one year imprisonment or a fine of at least $1,000
- After one prior drug conviction: at least 15 days in prison, not to exceed two years, and a fine of at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or both
- After two or more prior drug convictions: at least 90 days in prison, not to exceed three years, and a fine of at least $5,000
- Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine: mandatory sentencing of at least five years in prison, not to exceed 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000, or both, if the first conviction and amount of crack possessed exceeds five grams, the second crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds three grams, third or subsequent crack conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds one gram
- Forfeiture of personal property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance, if that offense is punishable by more than a one-year imprisonment
- Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, and any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance
- Civil penalty of up to $10,000
- Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, for up to one year for first offense or up to five years for second and subsequent offenses
- Ineligibility to receive or purchase a firearm
- Revocation of certain federal licenses and benefits, (for example, pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc.) as vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies
- Any person convicted of drug trafficking occurring within 1,000 feet of an academic institution is subject to prison terms and fines twice as high as listed above with a mandatory prison sentence of one year for each offense.
- Institutional Policy on Alcohol
Beverage alcohol may be served to and consumed by persons of legal drinking age on School premises or internships sites only in conjunction with a specifically authorized function of the School administration. Individuals consuming alcohol should do so in a responsible manner.
- General State Laws of Alcohol Possession and Consumption
Individuals younger than 21 years old may not purchase, accept as a gift, or possess alcoholic beverages on any street or highway or other public place. Consumption by minors is expressly prohibited. Licensees to sell alcoholic beverages are prohibited from selling, giving, or delivering alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age. It is unlawful for anyone of legal age to purchase or obtain alcoholic beverages and then sell, give, or deliver them to a minor.
- Sanctions to Be Imposed on Students Who Violate Regulations and Policies
As a condition of matriculation to COL, students agree to abide by the terms of these regulations and policies and agree to notify COL of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring on campus no later than five (5) business days after such conviction. COL will take appropriate action (consistent with local, state, and federal law) against a student who violates the standards of conduct contained herein, pursuant to the Student Code of Ethics and Conduct, up to and including dismissal from the institution and referral for prosecution.
3.14 Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
- It is the School’s policy to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, including but not limited to, learning disabilities and physical impairments. Students whose disabilities may require some type of accommodation, including exam-testing accommodation, are encouraged to discuss these with the Registrar as early as possible.
- It is acceptable for a School to require documentation of disabilities when the individual with the disability puts the disability at issue. Proper documentation must be submitted on the School’s form or in some cases for JD students, on forms provided by the State Bar. When medical/physical disabilities are at issue, a physician’s statement will usually be sufficient, so long as that statement describes both the disability and the limitations that the disability poses for the student. For students with learning disabilities, the following is ordinarily considered reasonable for required documentation:
- The documentation must be prepared by a professional, such as a licensed physician, learning disability specialist, or psychologist, who is qualified to diagnose a learning disability.
- The documentation must describe the testing procedures followed, the instruments used to assess the disability, the test results, and an interpretation of the test results. If the disability requires additional time for taking examinations, it must state the specific amount of time needed.
- The documentation must reflect the individual’s present achievement level, be as comprehensive as possible, and be dated no more than 3 years prior to the student’s request for accommodation, unless, in the opinion of the Dean, extenuating circumstances justify reliance on older documentation. For JD students, it must adequately measure cognitive abilities using the tests required by the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) of the State Bar of California under its current guidelines for applicants seeking accommodation on the California State Bar Examination. The achievement test should sample reading, math, and writing.
- The documentation must include test results for at least the following characteristics: intelligence, vocabulary, reading rate, reading comprehension, spelling, mathematical comprehension, memory, and processing skills. The diagnosis should conform to federal and state guidelines, including, for JD students, those issued by the CBE of the State Bar of California.
- At the Dean’s discretion, documentation different from or in addition to that described above may be required, including documentation more current than that described in item 3 above. Documentation from one or more additional physicians or other professionals may be required. All statements, opinions, and recommendations of physicians and other professionals, while accorded great weight by the School, will be considered advisory only; they are for use by the School in working with the student to develop appropriate accommodations and are not, per se, binding upon the School.
- A student seeking accommodations must file a petition with the School detailing the exact nature of the disability and the accommodation sought along with documentation from appropriate professional(s) confirming the existence of the disability, explaining the exact accommodation needed and supporting the need for the accommodation sought. After reviewing the student petition, the School will grant or deny the request for accommodation. In some circumstances, a student may be required to file updated documentation to show the need for continued accommodations.
- JD students receiving accommodations should contact the State Bar regarding accommodations on the FYLSX and General Bar Examination, as the State Bar will determine what accommodations the student is entitled to, independent of any decision by the School. Our understanding is that the State Bar generally postpones decisions about accommodations for learning disabilities until close to the examination, but JD students with disabilities should check with the State Bar on these issues and should be aware that the State Bar may offer more limited accommodations on exams than provided by the School.
3.15 Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials
- Resources provided to students by the School must be used in conformity with copyright law. The School does not condone photocopying instead of purchasing copyrighted works where such photocopying would constitute an infringement under the copyright law (17 U.S.C. §107). Any copying done using School resources without prior permission from the copyright owner must comply with the fair-use doctrine of the current copyright law (17 U.S.C. §107).
- Copyright law allows unrestricted photocopying of works in the public domain and photocopying of copyrighted works without securing permission from the copyright owner when the photocopying amounts to a fair use of the work. According to the law:
In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
- Fair use cannot always be expressed in numbers, either the number of pages copied or the number of copies distributed (although certain useful rules of thumb may be applied). For scholarly research use, the School applies the following rules of thumb:
Without securing permission from the copyright owner, a single copy of any of the following:
- One chapter from a book
- One article from a periodical or newspaper
- One short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work
- One chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper
3.16 Photography and Other Recording
The School may, in its discretion, use photography, videography, or other recording of students in the classroom, on campus or at School activities for educational or promotional purposes.
3.17 Use of Electronic Devices
During exams, students may not use cell phones or other electronic devices, except for ExamSoft-protected laptop computers. Students are reminded that the courteous classroom use of pagers and cell phones means they must be turned off or set to vibrating mode only and must not interfere with or interrupt classroom lecture and discussion. Use of laptop computers during class is limited to note taking and other activities directly related to class work.