Appendix A: 14-18.1 Academic Forgiveness Policy
The Academic Forgiveness Policy allows Gaston College students who have experienced academic difficulty at Gaston College to have one opportunity to have grades below a ‘C’ excluded from the cumulative grade point average (GPA). Academic difficulty is defined as less than a 2.00 cumulative grade point average at Gaston College. This policy provides for raising the cumulative grade point average by excluding all grades of ‘D’ and/or ‘F’ earned prior to the date of eligibility for Academic Forgiveness. A student may be granted Academic Forgiveness only once.
Criteria for Applying for Academic Forgiveness
- A student must have been out of school for at least three sequential semesters OR have changed his/her major.
- Grades must reflect at least a 2.00 grade point average in at least 12 semester hours in the new major before a student is eligible to apply for Academic Forgiveness.
Procedures for Academic Forgiveness
- Students who are interested in applying for Academic Forgiveness must obtain the Academic Forgiveness Petition and information from the Office of Records and Registration.
- Once completed by the student, the Office of Records and Registration will review the petition to determine basic eligibility. Eligible petitions will be forwarded to the student’s divisional dean for review and a final decision.
- The student’s divisional dean will act upon the petition and return it to the Office of Records and Registration.
- If forgiveness is approved, the Office of Records and Registration will notify the student of the decision and include an updated student transcript, which will reflect the excluded grades.
- The new GPA calculation on the updated student transcript will exclude all ‘D’ and/or ‘F’ grades. All other grades that are ‘A’, ‘B’, and/or ‘C’ will be included in the GPA calculation and will count toward graduation requirements unless other policies supersede this policy.
- The student’s GPA will be calculated based upon the date of eligibility and all criteria being met. The excluded courses will remain on the student’s transcript but will not count toward program/graduation requirements or be calculated in the student’s grade point average. No courses are removed from the transcript. If Academic Forgiveness is approved, the excluded course grades will be preceded by an ‘E’ on the student’s transcript.
- If forgiveness is denied, the Office of Records and Registration will notify the student with a letter of explanation.
- Review and processing of Academic Forgiveness generally takes two to four weeks.
Exclusions and Limitations of Academic Forgiveness
- Any credits for courses earned with a grade of ‘D’ are not retained.
- Students who plan to transfer to another college or university should know that the receiving institution is not required to disregard the excluded course grades. Once approved, Academic Forgiveness cannot be reversed.
- The minimum grade point average needed for admission for specific programs may or may not utilize the new grade point average.
- Financial Aid policies regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress are still applicable. Students who receive any type of financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for Forgiveness.
Appendix B: Student Petition for Academic Forgiveness
Click here to view the Academic Forgiveness Policy form.
Appendix C: Academic Dishonesty
In this section defining student violations of academic integrity: (a) “Intent” refers only to the intent to commit the dishonest action; (b) “Authorization” is legitimate only if given by the faculty member responsible for the evaluation of the student’s work.
CHEATING - Intentional use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids, devices or other assistance in any academic exercise. This definition includes unauthorized communication of information during an academic exercise.
Typical Examples: Copying from another student’s paper or receiving unauthorized assistance during a quiz, test or examination using books, notes or other devices (e. g., communication devices) when these are not authorized; procuring without authorization tests or examinations before the scheduled exercise (including discussion of the substance of examinations and tests when it is expected they will not be discussed); copying reports, laboratory work, computer programs or files and the like from other students; collaborating on laboratory work, computer work or online work without authorization and without indication of the nature and extent of the collaboration; having a substitute take an examination, do an assignment or do online work; receiving assistance in locating or using sources of information in an assignment where such assistance has been forbidden by the instructor.
FABRICATION AND FALSIFICATION - Intentional alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Falsification refers to the alteration of information; fabrication refers to the invention or counterfeiting of information.
Typical Examples: (Fabrication) inventing or counterfeiting data, research results, information or procedures, inventing data or faking research procedures to make it appear that the results of one process are actually the results of several processes; counterfeiting a record of internship or practicum experiences; (Falsification) altering the record of data or experimental procedures or results; false citation of the source of information (e.g., reproducing a quotation from a book review while indicating that the quotation was obtained from the book itself); altering the record of or reporting false information about practicum or clinical experiences; altering grade reports or other academic records; submitting a false excuse for absence or tardiness in a scheduled academic exercise; altering a returned examination paper and seeking regrading.
Intentionally misleading a College official investigating a case of alleged academic dishonesty is also a form of fabrication and falsification.
MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS - The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once without authorization.
Typical Examples: Submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without instructor permission; making minor revisions in a credited paper or report (including oral presentations) and submitting it again as if it were new work. (Different aspects of the same work may receive separate credit; for example, a report in history may receive credit for its content in a history course and for the quality of presentation in a speech course.)
PLAGIARISM - Intentional presentation of the work of another as one’s own without proper acknowledgment of the source. The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas or information are common knowledge.
Typical Examples: Submitting as one’s own the work of a “ghost writer” or commercial writing service; directly quoting from a source without citation; paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work without acknowledging the source using facts, figures, graphs, charts or information without acknowledgment of the source. Plagiarism may occur orally and in writing. It may involve computer programs and files, research designs, distinctive figures of speech, ideas and images, or generally any information, which belongs to another.
COMPLICITY IN ACADEMIC DISHONESTY -Intentionally helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
Typical Examples: Intentionally allowing another to copy from one’s paper during an examination or test; intentionally distributing test questions or substantive information about the material to be tested before the scheduled exercise; collaborating on academic work knowing that the collaboration will not be reported; taking an examination or test for another student, or signing a false name on an academic exercise. This applies to traditional or online instruction. (Note: Collaboration and sharing information are characteristics of academic communities. These become violations when they involve dishonesty. Instructors should make expectations about collaborations clear to students. Students should seek clarification when in doubt.)
Appendix D: Drug and Alcohol Policy
Drug and alcohol use and abuse are growing concerns in our society. The associated problems are typically very complex and are difficult to resolve. Drug or alcohol use may impair a person’s well being and jeopardize his or her personal safety and the safety of others. To help prevent the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, College policy prohibits distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in the workplace, on College premises, or as part of any College-sponsored activities. Exceptions to this policy may only be made by the College’s Board of Trustees and/or the President. Students who are impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance while on College premises or during a College-sponsored activity are also subject to this policy.
Any student violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination from employment and/or expulsion and referral for prosecution. The specifics of the policy are as follows:
- The term alcoholic beverage includes beer, wine, whiskey, and any other beverage listed in Chapter 18B of the General Statutes of North Carolina. The term “controlled substance” means any drug listed in 21 CFR Part 1308 and other federal regulations, as well as those listed in Article V, Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Generally, these drugs have a high potential for abuse. Such drugs include, but are not limited to heroin, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, and “crack.” They also include “legal drugs” which are not prescribed by a licensed physician.
- Students employed under the College Work Study-Program are considered to be employees of the College if the work is performed for the College in which the student is enrolled. For work performed for a federal, state, local public agency, a private nonprofit or a private for profit agency, students are considered to be employees of the College unless the agreement between the College and the organization specifies that the organization is considered to be the employer.
- Gaston College does not differentiate between drug users, drug pushers, or sellers. Any student who possesses, uses, sells, gives, or in any way transfers a controlled substance to another person, or manufactures a controlled substance while in the workplace, on College premises, or as part of any College-sponsored activity, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion and referral for prosecution.
- The College may require a person to successfully undergo a drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation program sponsored by an approved private or governmental institution as a precondition for continued employment and/or enrollment at the College.
- Each student is required to inform the College, in writing, within five (5) days after he or she is convicted for violation of any federal, state, or local criminal drug statute where such violation occurred while on College premises, or as part of any College-sponsored activity. A conviction means a finding of guilt (including a plea of nolo contendere) or the imposition of a sentence by a judge or jury in any federal or state court.
Appendix E: Communicable Disease Policy
The College is committed to assure, insofar as possible, that each student enjoys safe and healthful work and/or study conditions. To this end, the College offers the following information for students.
Persons infected or reasonably believed to be infected with communicable diseases shall not be excluded from enrollment or be restricted of access to the institution’s services or facilities unless medically based judgments in individual cases establish that exclusion or restriction is necessary to the welfare of the individual or other members of the institution.
Persons who know or have a reasonable basis for believing that they have an infectious/communicable disease which may pose a threat to others have an obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with such knowledge so as to protect themselves and others. Students should report such information to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. All information will be kept confidential except to those persons as determined who have a need to know. These persons will be informed after the individual is advised that such action will be taken.
Students or Applicants Currently Infected:
A. Any applicant or currently enrolled student in a health or related program who has tuberculosis, HIV, Hepatitis B infection, or other communicable diseases will be individually evaluated and all enrollment decisions concerning the individual shall be based upon a consideration of the following factors:
1. The potential harm that the individual poses to other people
2. The ability of the individual to accomplish the objectives of the course or curriculum
3. Whether or not a reasonable accommodation can be made that will enable the individual to safely and efficiently accomplish the objectives and/or tasks of the course or curriculum in question without significantly exposing the individual or other persons to the risk of infection
B. All students who have a communicable disease will be assessed as needed by a College approved physician(s) in keeping with the current standards, requirements, and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and in keeping with the provisions of this policy.
C. The evaluation of an applicant or currently enrolled student with a known communicable disease will include a physician’s statement of the individual’s health status as it relates to the individual’s ability to adequately and safely accomplish the essential objectives of his/her course or curriculum.
D. All students who are involved with nursing are required to adhere to universal precautions including the appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments.
The College will give the following instructions to nursing and allied health students as well as any student who is identified as positive for communicable diseases. These instructions are consistent with CDC Universal Guidelines used by affiliating agencies.
The student must be made aware by the College of the potential risks associated with patient care and the student will, at all times, follow recommendations regarding positive HIV/HBV or other infectious diseases for health care workers from the affiliating clinical agencies.
In each instance, a determination will be made as to an appropriate and limited release of the student’s infectious disease status to the student’s clinical instructor or Department Chair in order that performance may be adequately reviewed and supervised on an ongoing basis. When a student is known to be positive for HIV/ HBV or other infectious diseases, the student’s College approved physician and the Dean of the Health and Human Services Division will carefully evaluate whether or not someone in the clinical agency needs to be informed of the student’s positive infectious disease status. The student will be advised of this release of information.
In the event a patient is exposed to a student’s blood or body fluids, the student will immediately report the incident to the clinical instructor who will report the incident to the infection control nurse/site physician. The clinical instructor will complete an accident/incident report and send it to the Dean of the Health and Human Services Division and the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. This procedure of reporting applies to ALL students regardless of their HIV/HBV status.
The foregoing policy and procedures are based upon the latest information available to Gaston College and do not purport to be, or to include, all the latest or most definitive information available. Gaston College makes no such claim and offers no assurance that this is the case. Information in this area changes frequently, and students, employees, and any others affected by this policy or procedures are responsible for keeping themselves informed and taking any necessary precautions for their own safety and the safety of others relating to any communicable disease.
Appendix F: Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment or Misconduct Policy
A. In accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Clery Act and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), it is the policy of Gaston College to provide a working and learning environment free from sexual and other unlawful harassment or misconduct. Sexual and other unlawful harassment and misconduct are illegal, strictly prohibited, and will not be tolerated. Individuals who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or dismissal, and in some cases, criminal charges.
B. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status; submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or when such conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education, employment, or participation in a College program or activity, thereby creating an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, intimidating, or abusive. While a single isolated incident of conduct, unless extreme, may not be sufficient to create a hostile or harassing environment, such conduct itself may be sufficient to constitute another type of harassment violation as provided for by this policy.
Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:
- Physical assault, including any coerced sexual relations or act.
- Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment or academic status such as promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation.
- Direct propositions of a sexual nature and/or subtle pressure for sexual activity that is unwanted and unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or learning environment.
- A pattern of conduct that unreasonably interferes with the work or learning environment including sexually explicit or suggestive statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes about a person’s physical attributes, clothing, or behavior, regardless of the means of communication (e.g., oral, written, electronic); unwanted touching, patting, hugging, brushing against a person’s body, or staring; inquiries and commentaries about sexual activity, experience, or orientation; the display of inappropriate sexually oriented materials in a location where others can view them; and/or sexually stereotyped or sexually charged insults, humor, verbal abuse, or graffiti.
C. Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects individuals from discrimination based on sex. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. For matters pursuant to Title IX, the complainant and accused are afforded certain rights and protections as part of any proceedings and outcomes. Additionally, the College appoints Title IX Coordinators to oversee complaints. The College recognizes that individuals may be reluctant to report instances of sexual misconduct when their own actions are violations of College policy related to the use of drugs and alcohol. While the College does not condone violations of its policy, it will generally extend immunity for alcohol or substance abuse violations as part of reporting instances of sexual misconduct.
Additional information on Title IX, including resources and services to assist students and employees in addressing issues involving sex discrimination and sexual violence, can be found on the Title IX page of the College’s website at http://www.gaston.edu/student-resources/title-ix/ or by contacting Student Affairs or the Office of Human Resources.
D. The Clery Act and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act requires the College to maintain and report data related to sexual violence, including incidents of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as part of its Annual Security Report (ASR). The ASR also contains information such as definitions of sexual violence and consent; resources and prevention programs aimed to stop sexually violent crimes before they occur, including encouraging safe bystander intervention; guidance for reporting crimes of sexual violence; procedures for investigation; and rights of survivors and those accused of sexual violence, including the right to have an advisor present during proceedings and simultaneous notice of outcomes.
The College’s Annual Security Report is available on its website at www.gaston.edu, or by contacting Gaston College’s Campus Police and Security Department.
E. Hostile Working or Learning Environment
Other unlawful harassment or misconduct may consist of unwelcome, inappropriate verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual and that is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive from both a subjective perspective (i.e., the recipient’s view) and from an objective perspective (i.e., a reasonable person’s view) that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment; interferes unreasonably with an individual’s work or academic performance; or otherwise unreasonable adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.
F. Other Unlawful Harassment or Misconduct
Other unlawful harassment or misconduct may include:
- Threatening or intimidating conduct directed at another because of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or any other legally protected status.
- Jokes, name-calling, rumors, ethnic slurs, negative stereotypes, and hostile acts based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or any other legally protected status.
G. Reporting and Investigations
- Employees and students are encouraged to report matters related to sexual and other unlawful harassment or misconduct to a supervisor, instructor, or other College official or administrator, so that a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the alleged incident may be conducted. Individuals are encouraged, or may be requested, to place complaints in writing. If a complainant is reluctant to proceed with a complaint, the College may still be compelled to continue with an investigation and act accordingly. In this case, the complainant will be notified of the College’s intentions in advance. All proceedings during an investigation will be conducted by trained College officials.
- Retaliation is prohibited under this policy. Retaliation is defined as acts taken in response to good-faith reporting of sexual and other unlawful harassment or misconduct and participation in an investigation. The protection against retaliation applies to all parties and to all witnesses.
- Reports of sexual and other unlawful harassment or misconduct are to be made in good faith. Any person who knowingly makes false accusations of sexual and other unlawful harassment or misconduct may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion.
- The College will make every reasonable effort to conduct all proceedings in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties. However, in certain situations, it may be necessary to disclose information to others on a “need-to-know” basis, or when required to do so by law.
- At the conclusion of an investigation, all information will be evaluated to determine if a policy or standard was violated. For matters covered by Title IX, a “preponderance of the evidence” standard will be used.
- If it is determined that a policy or standard was violated, the appropriate action will be taken, which may include, but is not limited to, no-contact orders, removal from College property, restrictions on location, denial of access to College services or programs, class changes, and/or disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal or expulsion.
- As appropriate or required, the outcome of an investigation will be shared with persons involved in the complaint.
Additional Information on Sexual Harassment or Misconduct
Persons who report incidents related to a sexual crime or related offenses have certain rights as follows:
- Confidential on- and off-campus counseling. See the following section for a listing of College and Community Resources.
- Notify or not notify appropriate campus and/or local law enforcement authorities. If requested, the College will assist with notifying appropriate agencies and authorities.
- When reasonably possible, a change in class assignment, a no-contact order, or a change in working environment to prevent unwanted contact or close proximity with the accused.
- Have a person present for support during various College proceedings.
- Notified of the outcome of an investigation and the procedures for appeal.
- Not be retaliated against for filing a complaint of a sexual crime or related offense, including sexual harassment.
College and Community Resources
The following on- and off-campus counseling services are available to you. Gaston College does not endorse a particular community agency over another.
Gaston College Counseling and Career Development Center
704.922.6220 or 704.748.5209
Carolina Center for Counseling
Family Services, Inc.
Partners Behavior Health Management Referral Services
Phoenix Counseling Center
Piedmont Psychological Associates
Rape Crisis Centers:
24-hour Crisis Hotline
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Appendix G: Electronic Resources Acceptable Use Policy
- It is the policy of Gaston College to provide users Electronic Resources to support administrative and academic activities and to outline the acceptable use of those resources.
Scope & Responsibilities
College Electronic Resources, whether owned or leased by the College, include, but are not limited to, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, printers, hard drives and other storage media, telephones, fax machines, copiers, cell phones, smart phones, cameras, video devices, smart boards, distance learning equipment, or any other electronic tools, communication apparatus, or other type of virtual electronic device that has the capability to connect either by cable or wirelessly, to a data, communication, or other similar network. College Electronic Resources also include access to, and use of, College networks, Internet, Intranet, voicemail, email, or software, either while on campus or from an off-campus location via the Internet, Virtual Private Network (VPN), or by any other means. This policy also covers personal electronic devices and resources that use College Electronic Resources.
- The College reserves the right to update or revise this policy or implement additional policies as needed or required. The College shall provide the College community notice of any updates or revisions, which shall be effective regardless if a user reads such notice. Users are responsible for staying informed of College policies regarding the use of Electronic Resources.
- Users are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding Electronic Resources and acceptable use of those resources in accordance with College policies, standards, and applicable laws as needed or required as technology changes. Inappropriate use exposes the College and the user to risks including virus attacks, data theft, compromise of network systems and services, and possible action by law enforcement or civil litigation.
- Acceptable Use
Access to and privileges of College Electronic Resources are managed by the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or designee. By accepting access to and privileges of College Electronic Resources, users agree to comply with the Electronic Resources “Rules for Acceptable Use.
D. Backing Up Data and Data Retrieval
Users are encouraged to back up data such as emails, calendar information, and other files deemed important. In the event that important data is lost, a user may request that Technology Services attempt to retrieve the lost information.
In order for a user to request that important information be retrieved, he or she must be authorized to have access to that information.
E. Electronic Mail (Email) and Other Communication Activities
- Only Gaston College employees, students, and other persons who have been authorized by the College are permitted to use College Electronic Resources, including email systems.
- The use of any College Electronic Resources for email must be related to College business and academic activities. Incidental and occasional use of College Electronic Resources for personal reasons may occur when such use does not generate a direct cost to the College. For employees of the College, incidental and occasional use of College Electronic Resources for personal reasons also must not detract from the time necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their position with the College. All uses of College email and College Electronic Resources are subject to the provisions of this policy.
- The College will make a reasonable effort to maintain the integrity and effective operation of its Electronic Resources and email systems; however, users are advised that College Electronic Resources, including email systems, should not, in any way, be regarded as a secure method for communicating sensitive or confidential information. Further, the College cannot, and does not, ensure the privacy or confidentiality of a user’s emails that are created, transmitted, received, or stored.
- Although the College does not routinely monitor email activity, it may do so to the extent permitted by law, especially when it is deemed necessary.
- To the extent permitted by law, the College reserves the right to access and disclose the contents of a user’s email, or other use of College Electronic Resources, without the consent of the user. Access and review of employee email must be authorized by the President or the Vice President responsible for Technology Services.Access and review of student email, or other use of College Electronic Resources, must be authorized by the President, Vice President for Student Affairs, or the Vice President responsible for Technology Services. Access and review of email may be done when there is a legitimate reason to do so including, but not limited to:
a. As part of a College investigation.
b. When there are indications of misconduct or misuse of College Electronic Resources, including the email system.
c. When there are indications that College Electronic Resources have been used in a way that violates College policies and/or work rules.
d. When it is determined that the health and safety of others may be at risk.
e. When information is needed for College business, but is not more readily available by other means.
f. When there is a need to ensure the integrity of the College’s mission.
g. As part of responding to a legal matter or to fulfill any obligations to third parties.
F. Reservation of Rights, Privacy, and Limits of Liability
- The College reserves the right to audit and monitor College Electronic Resources on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy, including the right to monitor and inspect computerized files, resources, and/or computer support services, or to terminate privileges or service at any time, for any reason, with or without notice or user permission.
- The College makes no guarantees or representations, either explicit or implied, that user files and/or accounts are private or secure. All information, including email messages and files, that are created, sent, or retrieved using College Electronic Resources and technical resources, is the property of the College and should not be considered private or confidential. Users of College Electronic Resources have no expectations of the right of privacy, including any information or file transmitted or stored through the College’s computer, voicemail, email, telephone, or related systems.
- The College and its representatives are not liable for any damages and/or losses associated with the use of any of its Electronic Resources.
- The College reserves the right to limit the allocation of College Electronic Resources to users, including, but not limited to, bandwidth and disk space.
G. Public Inspection and Archiving of Email
- Student email may constitute “education records” and may be subject to the provisions of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974). The College may access, inspect, and disclose such records as permitted by FERPA.
- North Carolina law provides that emails sent by College employees may constitute “correspondence” and may be considered public records subject to public inspection under NC General Statutes 121 and 132.
- Electronic files, including email, that are considered to be public records are to be retained, archived, and/or disposed of in accordance with current guidelines established by the NC Department of Cultural Resources.
Violations of this policy may result in the revocation of a user’s access to College Electronic Resources and privileges, and in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion, and/or criminal charges.
Electronic Resources Rules for Acceptable Use
In accordance with Policy 7-7, Electronic Resources Acceptable Use, the Rules for Acceptable Use are applicable to all “users” of College Electronic Resources and/or Other Electronic Resources, and “users” agree to comply with these rules per the policy and as stated in this document.
A. College Electronic Resources, whether owned or leased by the College, include, but are not limited to, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, printers, hard drives and other storage media, telephones, fax machines, copiers, cell phones, smart phones, cameras, video devices, smart boards, distance learning equipment, or any other electronic tools, communication apparatus, or other type of virtual electronic device that has the capability to connect either by cable or wirelessly, to a data, communication, or other similar network. College Electronic Resources also include access to, and use of, College networks, Internet, Intranet, voicemail, email, or software, either while on campus or from an off-campus location via the Internet, Virtual Private Network (VPN), or by any other means. This policy also covers personal electronic devices and resources that use College Electronic Resources.
B. In accordance with Policy 7-7 Electronic Resources Acceptable Use, the following rules are applicable to all “users” of College Electronic Resources and/or Other Electronic Resources:
- IDs and passwords are to be kept secure at all times and not transferred to another user or individual.Revealing account passwords to others or allowing use of an assigned account by others is prohibited, including family and other household members when work is being done at home.
- Access to College Electronic Resources accounts are to be used only for the purpose for which they are assigned and are not to be used for commercial purposes, non-College related activities, or other personal business.
- Unless specifically designated, no campus computer should be used to conduct credit card (e-commerce) transactions.
- Most Electronic Resources, and specifically software, are protected by federal copyright law and are proprietary in nature. A user is responsible for complying with the licensing restrictions for any software used by Gaston College. Software piracy and unauthorized copying of software is not permitted.
- Proprietary information stored on, or transmitted by, College Computer Resources remains the property of Gaston College. Users are responsible for promptly reporting the theft, loss, or unauthorized disclosure of proprietary information.
- Users are advised that access to outside networks may result in encountering material that may be considered offensive in nature or content.The College is not responsible for the content of any outside network.
- Users are not to use systems and/or networks in an attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote systems for any reason.
- Users are not to make any deliberate attempt to damage and/or sabotage College Electronic Resources.
- Users are advised that access to outside networks may result in the introduction of malicious programs into the network or server such as viruses. The college is not responsible for loss or damage of data on personal devices brought on any of the college campuses. Users must indemnify the College for any damage that may occur to personally owned Electronic Resources.
- Users are not to damage College Electronic Resources by knowingly creating and spreading computer viruses, hacking, jailbreaking, and/or deleting, examining, copying, or modifying data files belonging to the College or other users. Users who access College Electronic Resources with a personally owned device are responsible for ensuring the security of their device such that they do not knowingly or unknowingly cause damage to College Electronic Resources.
- Users are not to engage in deceptive activity while using College Electronic Resources such as communications that impersonate another person or user, stealing another user’s login credentials, or using College Electronic Resources to gain unauthorized information of any kind.
- Intentional access to or dissemination of pornography by any user is prohibited unless such use is specific to work- or academic-related research or activity that is specifically approved by the appropriate supervisor. Special care must be taken when engaging in approved activities of this nature to ensure that these types of materials are not displayed for public view.This provision applies to any electronic communication distributed or sent within the College network or to other networks while using the College network.
- Users may not distribute or send unlawful communications of any kind, including but not limited to cyberstalking, threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography, or other illegal communications (as defined by law). This provision applies to any electronic communication distributed or sent within the College network or to other networks while using the College network.
- Only systems, devices, or files containing sensitive College data are required and permitted to utilize encryption to protect the data in the event of unauthorized physical access to the system, devices, or files. Passwords to these entities must be provided to Technology Services in a sealed envelope to be stored in a secure location. The CTO will specify the method for encryption and report to the Vice President for Finance, Operations, and Facilities on the implementation and security of the electronic certificates and key management system.
- Users are not to extend or share with the public or other users, the College Network beyond what has been configured and made available to the public by Technology Services.Users are not permitted to connect any network devices or systems (e.g., switches, routers, wireless access points, VPNs, cell phones, laptops, and firewalls) to the College Network without written approval from Technology Services.
- Users are expected to maintain confidentiality of information stored on College Electronic Resources as prescribed by College policy and/or applicable law
- Users must take special care not to open e-mail attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain computer viruses, malware, computer worms, or other destructive software. Users must examine all e-mail, texts, social media posts, and other forms of communications for suspicious links, attachments, and other indicators that the source may be suspicious. Users must contact Technology Services and report any suspicious communication.
- Under no circumstances is a user authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal, or international law while utilizing College Electronic Resources.
- Users are not to violate the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by the College. Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books, software or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which the College does not have an active license is strictly prohibited. Distribution of software licensed to the College outside of the College is strictly prohibited.
- Accessing data, a server, or an account for any purpose other than conducting College-related business, even if a user has authorized access, is prohibited.
- Preventing security breaches or disruptions of network communication is the responsibility of every user. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access. For purposes of this section, “disruption” includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, network scanning, ping floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
- Software that is not licensed and managed by the College is not allowed to run on Computer Resources without explicit permission by Technology Services.
- Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network, or account is not permitted.
- Using any program, script, command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, another user’s use of College Electronic Resources, via any means, locally or via the Internet or Intranet, is prohibited.
- Users are not to send unsolicited email messages, including the sending of “junk mail” or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (email spam).
Appendix H: Academic Complaint By Student Procedure
Most academic matters generally will be left to the discretion of the faculty member. Instructors have the academic freedom to cover the material on the departmentally approved syllabus in a variety of ways. Some instructors may have primarily lecture formats while others may have class discussion/participation-driven formats. Some classes, by nature of the course, cover controversial topics. This does not mean the instructor personally espouses a particular point of view (lifestyle, religious affiliation, ethnic view, etc.).
Students must follow the procedure below concerning academic complaints. Academic complaints are defined as complaints regarding course design and content, teaching performance, and instructor conduct. No retaliation or adverse action will be taken against the student for filing the complaint.
- The student must notify the instructor of the complaint within five (5) working days of the incident that generates the complaint.
- The instructor will discuss the matter with the student within five (5) working days of this notice. Most complaints will be resolved at this informal level.
- If the complaint is not resolved between the student and instructor, or if there is good reason for the student not to speak directly with the faculty member, the student must complete the form titled “Academic Complaint by Student.” This form must be submitted to the appropriate Department Chair within five (5) working days of the last relevant step in this policy. (If the academic complaint involves a Department Chair, the form must be submitted to the appropriate academic dean.) The form may be found in any academic division office or in the online version of the Student Handbook at www.gaston.edu.
- The supervisor must respond to the complaint within five (5) working days of the receipt of the complaint.
- If the matter is still not resolved, the student will have five (5) working days to present the written complaint to the next level supervisor (the dean or Vice President for Academic Affairs).
- If the matter is still not resolved, the student will have five (5) working days to present the written complaint to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In all cases, the decision of the vice president will be final.
Appendix I: Academic Complaint By Student Form
Click here to view the Academic Complaint form.
Appendix J: Student Complaint Procedure
A complaint is a College-related problem or condition, which a student believes is unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to his or her participation in the College learning experience. Complaints are often due to misunderstandings about College practices and expected standards. Communications between the individuals involved usually clears misunderstandings. Students are required to follow these guidelines to resolve problems. It is the responsibility of the faculty member, staff member, and administrator to fulfill his or her role in accordance with these procedures.
A. Complaint Regarding a Condition or Another Person
1. If the complaint is regarding a condition, the student should make an appointment with the appropriate person. If the complaint is regarding another person, the student should make an appointment to discuss the situation with that person. The simplest, quickest, and most satisfactory solution may be accomplished at this level.
2. If the situation is not resolved at this level, the student should make an appointment to discuss the situation with the first level supervisor, if applicable.
3. Students seeking further recourse should make an appointment with the next level supervisor. If the student has difficulty in determining the sequence of supervisors, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management should be contacted for assistance.
4. If all the preceding contacts have been made and the complaint is still not resolved, and the student chooses to appeal, the process is as follows:
- A written appeal is made to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management stating the sequence of events leading to the appeal and any personal interpretations related to the complaint. This written appeal must be made no later than one month after the alleged complaint occurred.
- If the complaint is about a person, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management notifies the person against whom the complaint has been made. If the complaint is regarding a condition, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management notifies the appropriate person in the organization. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management activates a committee to hear the student’s appeal. Membership of the committee is as follows:
i. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, or designee, who serves as the Chair of the Appeals Committee.
ii. If a complaint involves a Gaston College employee, the Human Resources Manager, or designee.
iii. If the complaint involves a Gaston College faculty member, the appropriate divisional vice president.
iv. A faculty or staff member selected by the student making the appeal. If the complaint is against a faculty member, a faculty member will be selected. If the complaint is against a staff member or administrator, a staff member or administrator will be selected.
v. If the complaint involves a faculty member, that faculty member will select another faculty member. If the complaint involves a staff member or administrator, the staff member or administrator will select another staff member or administrator.
vi. A faculty, staff member, or administrator as appropriate (faculty if complaint is against faculty, staff if complaint is against staff, administrator if complaint is against administrator) is selected by the president of the Student Government Association.
vii. One additional person may be selected by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, if needed, to insure a balanced representation.
viii. If attorneys are present, they may advise their clients. They may not present the complaint or defend the complaint before the committee. They may address the committee only at the choice of the Chair.
5. A meeting of the Appeals Committee is scheduled by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
- The committee examines the evidence and discusses the complaint with both parties.
- The committee arrives at a decision which is sent as a recommendation to the person against whom the complaint was filed. The student, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and appropriate supervisor will be informed of the recommendation.
- If appropriate, the recommendation will be sent to Human Resources to be made a part of the records of the individual against whom the complaint was brought.
- If the recommendation of the committee is not followed by the person against whom the complaint was made, the President’s Executive Council will determine an appropriate course of action.
6. After the Appeals Committee has heard the student’s complaint, the process is complete.
Appendix K: Disability Grievance Procedure
Background and the Law
(Draft Revised May 2015)
The law requires institutions, such as Gaston College, to have a set of grievance procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging actions prohibited by Section 504, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 provide that qualified persons with disabilities cannot be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination by any service, program or activity of a postsecondary institution. In order to meet the needs of students with disabilities and fulfill its legal obligations under Section 504 and the ADA, the Special Needs Counselor at Gaston College assists students with disabilities in accessing reasonable accommodations through the College’s accommodations process.
Procedures for Filing a Complaint
If any student believes that he/she has been discriminated against because of a disability by any Gaston College employee, he/she has the right to seek review of such concerns. Students have the option of pursuing either an informal complaint or a formal grievance. If a student opts to pursue an informal complaint, he/she may later pursue a formal grievance if not satisfied with the resolution of the informal process. Additionally, at any point in the complaint process, students may file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights listed below. Although this is not required by law, the Office of Civil Rights encourages students to first follow the institution’s grievance procedures.
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475
FAX: 202.453.6021; TTY: 800.877.8339
Informal Procedures for Resolving a Complaint
Prior to initiating a formal grievance as outlined in this procedure, it is stronly recommended and expected that the student first dicuss his/her concerns with the person against whom the complaint is being made. Students should discuss the complaint with the Special Needs Counselor or the Director of Counseling; they are available to provide assistance and guidance. If the circumstances of the complaint prevent the student from having this discussion, or if the complaint is not resolved within five business days, the student should discuss the complaint with immediate and other supervisors involved.
Formal Grievance Procedures
The formal grievance is advised when the informal procedure has not brought about a satisfactory conclusion to a concern or complaint about a College policy or procedure or a state or federal law.
All formal grievances from students should be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Gaston College and should be filed within 30 days of the incident. Due to the urgency of many issues, every effort will be made to come to a resolution as soon as possible.Formal complaint forms are available in the Counseling and Career Development Center and online at www.gaston.edu. The location and phone number are: Gaston College, Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034, 704.922.6217.
All formal grievances should include the following:
- The exact nature of the complaint and how the student feels his/her rights have been denied and the person(s) they believe are responsible;
- The date, time and place of the incident (s);
- The names of witnesses or persons who have knowledge of the incident;
- Copies of any available written documentation or evidence;
- Actions that could be taken to correct the violation.
The Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management in consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or their designees) will investigate the complaint within seven (7) business days to determine whether or not College policy has been followed. If College policy has not been followed, the vice presidents will take steps to correct policy violations and to address the consequences that may have resulted.
If the Vice Presidents determine a hearing is warranted as a part of the investigation, they shall conduct such hearing providing full due process to the grieving party. The grieving party has the right to have legal counsel, faculty, staff or another student present to act as his/her representative or advocate. The student must provide the name of the representative or advocate three (3) days prior to the hearing. The person believed to be responsible for the complaint will be provided a copy of the formal complaint.
The Vice Presidents shall reach a decision within five (five) business days of the review. The student and other appropriate parties will be sent a written copy of the findings and the decision upon completion of the investigation. The decision shall include a summary of the complaint, the decision, a statement of the student’s right to appeal, and instructions regarding the appeal process.
A student who believes that a formal grievance has not been resolved to his or her satisfaction after a written finding is completed may appeal the outcome to the President of the College within 10 business days of receiving the written finding from the Vice Presidents. All appeals shall be made in writing and signed by the student. The President shall make a determination on the appeal and promptly inform the student in writing of that determination. The decision of the President is final.
A student who makes use of the grievance procedures shall not be retaliated against.
Appendix L: Tobacco-Free Campus
Gaston College is committed to providing a healthy, safe, comfortable, and productive environment for its students, employees, and visitors. Smoking and the use of any tobacco products are prohibited on College property and at College events. College property includes any College buildings, facilities, vehicles, and outside grounds owned and/or leased by the College. College events include any lectures, conferences, meetings, and social/cultural events held by the College.
Smoking is defined as the use or possession of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other lighted tobacco product, or the use of an electronic inhaler that employs a mechanical heating element, battery, electronic circuit of similar device to heat a liquid nicotine solution or other product (e.g., vapor cartridge), such as an electronic cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Other tobacco products are defined as any type of tobacco that is chewed or used in any form. Examples include chewing tobacco, loose leaf, pellets, plugs, twist, pastes, dipping, pouches, dissovable, and nasal/dry snuff.
The success of this tobacco-free policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of tobacco users and non-tobacco users. All students, employees, and visitors are responsible for adhering to this policy.