Information in the student policy guide is kept as current as possible.The guide is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, a statement of the college’s contractual undertakings. The Berkshire Community College Board of Trustees and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Higher Education reserve the right to change its academic policies, procedures, and fees as set forth in this manual.
Berkshire Community College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on basis of race, creed, religion, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, maternity leave, military service, and national origin in its education programs or employment as required by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and other Federal and State anti-discrimination laws.
Berkshire Community College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Copies of the most recent accreditation report are available upon request from the Office of Academic Affairs. BCC’s Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy is available upon request from the Office of Student Affairs.
MISSION AND VALUES
BCC Mission Statement
Berkshire Community College (BCC) strives to place higher education within reach of all residents of Berkshire County and beyond. BCC is committed to access, academic excellence, student success, and leadership in the community.
- BCC helps students overcome financial, physical, and/or social barriers and welcomes them into a college environment of academic excellence.
- BCC provides quality programs that prepare students to enter or progress within the workforce and/or for transfer, while fostering a lifelong enthusiasm for learning.
- BCC provides the resources and services students need to be successful, to meet our academic standards, and to achieve their personal and professional goals.
- BCC provides leadership by furthering the engagement of our students in the community; by working collaboratively with civic leaders, organizations, and employers; and by serving as a center for diverse educational and cultural activities.
In recognition of its tradition of academic excellence and service, Berkshire Community College affirms the following values:
- Integrity and Engagement. We expect all members of the college community to participate in fulfillment of the college mission through actions that are forthright and consistent with the mission.
- Innovation. We promote a campus climate that encourages innovative thought and creative expression.
- Diversity and Inclusion. We foster an environment that validates and respects cultural identities and provides curriculum, pedagogy, programs and services within multicultural philosophies and frameworks.
- Service. We maintain a community that demonstrates respect for growth, responsibility, and leadership through service to others.
- Sustainability. We follow practices that promote environmental and financial sustainability at the college.
BCC is a dynamic learning community, transforming lives and preparing students to succeed in an increasingly complex, diverse, and changing world. Revised 9/9/2014
STUDENT RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES
Goal To provide an atmosphere of sound intellectual and academic development.
To be knowledgeable of and comply with the directives, regulations, and laws of duly constituted civil authorities. In addition, the following list of student responsibilities was approved by the Berkshire Community College academic council in May 1997:
- To observe the dates set forth in the college academic calendar.
- To be familiar with the requirements of his/her academic program and to consult with his/her advisor about graduation requirements, registration, and other academic concerns.
- To prepare for class by reading assigned material, completing assignments, and utilizing laboratories, where appropriate.
- To attend classes and labs regularly and on time and to notify his or her instructors in case an emergency prevents attending.
- To utilize peer tutoring, the writing lab, and study skills workshops, as appropriate, to maximize class performance.
- To take advantage of library resources and services to develop research skills and information literacy.
- To respect faculty and staff and the academic rights of other students.
- To act civilly and to conduct oneself in such a way as to not impair other students' opportunity to learn.
- To have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
- To have the freedom to exercise the rights of citizenship, association, inquiry, and expression.
- To have the right of privacy and confidentiality.
- To have the right of voting representation on all recommendations to the president of the college on matters of concern, including but not limited to academic standards, student affairs, and curriculum changes.
- To have the right of quality education, including but not limited to:
- The right to assistance in overcoming educational, cultural, emotional, and economic disadvantages which hinder the educational process;
- The right to receive in writing from each faculty member during the first week of classes, of every quarter, or semester, a brief written course description outlining the material to be covered, course requirements including a specific list of information and techniques, which the student is expected to acquire, attendance policy, and the grading system to be utilized.
- To have the right to fair and equal treatment, including but not limited to instruction, evaluation, and services by faculty, staff, students, and administrators.
- To have the right to procedural due process in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
Right to Protest
The following policy was adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges on April 11, 1969
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged in a sustained and independent search for knowledge.
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the academic community, students, faculty, and staff.
Each college will respect and defend the right of its members to lawful exercises of free speech and assembly in behalf of causes, whether popular or unpopular. These rights are properly exercised only when due regard for the rights of others is assured, and actions denying the rights of others to move or speak freely, whether or not such interference is their motive, lie outside constitutional guarantees and the obligation of the college to defend them. Therefore, if in the judgment of the president or his/her designee, persons are attempting to interfere with the freedom of movement or speech of members or guests of the college community, or the orderly operation of the college, the president of the college or his/her designee is authorized to:
- Advise such persons of the impropriety of their activity and request immediate desistance from such activity. Call the appropriate authority to remove such interfering person(s) who fail to desist.
- Suspend temporarily such members of the college community as have participated in such interference and persist in such activity.
- Grant as soon as reasonably possible, a hearing before an appropriate committee to any person appealing such suspension. Following such a hearing, the committee will make a recommendation to the president.
- Taking into account the committee's recommendation, the president will determine his/her disposition of the case.
Any person who involves him/herself in the willful destruction of college or personal property will, in addition, be answerable to charges filed with the civil authority.
STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT
Accused Student - The student who is alleged to have violated the College's Student Code of Conduct.
Appeals Officer - The person designated by the College's President to hear student appeals of a judicial board finding.
Cheating - Includes, but is not limited to:
(1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations;
(2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments; or
(3) the acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the College faculty or staff.
Cheating shall also include the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement.
It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.
Taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit.
Copying or purchasing other's work or arranging for others to do work under a false name.
College- This term refers to Berkshire Community College.
College Official - Includes any person employed by the College, performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
College Premises - Includes all land, buildings, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College, including adjacent streets and sidewalks.
Complaint - The informal, often unwritten stage of an allegation of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Day - As used in this policy shall mean a calendar day.
Faculty or Staff Member - Any person hired by the College to conduct classroom, instructional, administrative or support activities.
Complaining Party - The individual bringing a complaint against an accused student.
Judicial Board - A panel of College Officials designated by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer to conduct a hearing after the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer has determined that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct has occurred and an Administrative Remedy cannot be reached. All Judicial Board members shall act in an impartial, unbiased manner.
Member of the College Community - Includes any person who is a student, faculty member, College official or any other person employed by the College. A person's status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer or the Registrar.
Plagiarism - Includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. This would also include material that is obtained from the computer.
Student - Includes all persons taking courses at the College, both full-time and part-time, credit and non-credit. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing academic relationship with the College are considered "students."
Student Organization - Any number of students who have compiled with the formal requirements for the College's organization recognition process.
Time- The number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may extend the time limits at their discretion with notice to both parties in writing.
Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or Designee - The College Official designated by the College's President to be responsible for the administration of the Student Code of Conduct.
- The College's jurisdiction under this policy shall extend to student conduct occurring on College property, property under the management and/or control of the College, and/or off College property when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a risk of harm or the threat of harm to the College Community and/or interferes with the College's pursuit of its objectives and mission.
- A student shall be subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this policy for acts including, but not limited to:
- Physical violence or the threat thereof and/or any conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
- Creating or false reporting of bombs.
- Extortion - The use, or the express or implicit threat of the use, of violence or other criminal means to cause harm to person, reputation, or property as a means to obtain property from someone else without his/her consent.
- Unauthorized use of fire alarm or fire equipment.
- Unauthorized or illegal gambling.
- Hate Crimes as defined under state or federal law.
- Hazing as defined under state of federal law.
- Illegal or unauthorized possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals on College premises.
- Conduct resulting in a violation of the College's Computer/Technology Acceptable Use and/or Email Policies.
- Failure to comply with directions of College officials or law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so.
- Failure to identify oneself when on College property or at a College-sponsored or supervised event, upon request of a College official acting in the performance of his/her duties.
- Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or public intoxication except as expressly permitted by law and/or College regulations.
- Use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs or other controlled substances.
- Breach of peace; including disorderly, lewd, or indecent conduct, or aiding, abetting, or procuring another person to breach the peace on College premises or at functions sponsored by, or participated in, by the College.
- Defacement or destruction of College materials or College property. Attempted or actual theft, or unauthorized use of and/or damage to property of the College or property of a member of the College community or other personal or public property.
- Acting in a manner or participating in an event which disrupts the normal operations of the College and the learning environment and infringes on the rights of other members of the College community; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area; intentional obstruction which interferes with freedom of movement, either pedestrian or vehicular, on campus.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and or intimidation of a member of the College Community.
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to the following:
- Cheating, including use of unauthorized books or notes, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, as defined by College policy.
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification. Alteration of college records, documents, or identification instruments or the use of the same with the intent to defraud.
- Furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member or office.
- Disrupting or tampering with the election of any College recognized student organization.
- Abuse of the Disciplinary process, including but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information before a Judicial Board.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a judicial proceeding.
- Attempting to discourage an individual's proper participation in, or use of, the judicial system.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, and/or during the course of, the judicial proceeding.
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a Judicial Board prior to, during, and/or after a judicial proceeding.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Student Code.
- Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the judicial system.
- Unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of keys to any College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of College premises.
- Unauthorized solicitation, including but not limited to sale of goods and services for personal profit.
- Unauthorized activity that constitutes forgery.
- Violation of State or Federal Laws not otherwise enumerated herein.
- Violation of published College policies, rules, or regulations not otherwise enumerated herein.
Discipline in the Classroom
Disrupting or disturbing the classroom is a violation of the College's Student Code of Conduct. A faculty member has the right to remove a disruptive student from class, pending a review of the situation by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee. Any faculty member may, at any time, refer a student to the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee, if the student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee may impose disciplinary sanctions against the offending student consistent with the rules and regulations of the Student Code of Conduct. At the discretion of the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee, a student may be allowed to attend class during the disciplinary review process. In making this determination the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee will consider the severity of the disruptive behavior and may consult with the Chief Academic Officer.
Complaints Alleging Sexual Harassment or Discrimination
Claims of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be pursued under the College's Affirmative Action Plan. For more information, please contact Deborah A. Cote, the College's Affirmative Action Officer, at 236-1022.
Off Campus Behavior
If a student is charged only with an off-campus violation of federal, state, or local laws, the College reserves the right to take disciplinary action and impose sanctions against the student. Proceedings under this Student Code may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus.
Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process
The Disciplinary Process is initiated once a formal complaint is filed against a student by a member of the College community or by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer. This policy is not intended to prevent members of the College Community from attempting to resolve matters mutually and informally. For example, if a student engages in disruptive conduct in the classroom, a faculty member may confront the student and resolve the matter without resorting to filing a complaint under the Code. Where, however, a matter cannot be resolved mutually and informally, the Code of Conduct Process shall be followed.
All complaints under the Code of Conduct shall be filed with or by the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee. When the VP/SSAO receives a complaint that a student has acted in a manner which may be in violation of the Code, the VP/SSAO or designee initiates the disciplinary process by meeting with the Accused Student, putting him/her on notice of the alleged violation and providing him/her an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Thereafter, the VP/SSAO or designee may conduct an investigation.
If the Vice President/Senior Student Affairs Officer or designee determines that a violation exists, two procedural options are available. One, the violation may be resolved through an administrative disposition conducted by the VP/SSAO or designee. In this case, the student may accept the administrative remedy proposed by the VP/SSAO or designee and in doing so waives in writing his/her right to a disciplinary hearing or appeal. Alternatively, if the Accused Student does not accept the proposed administrative remedy, then the student may receive a hearing before a Judicial Board, to which a right of appeal exists.
If the student chooses a hearing with the Judicial Board, the VP/SSAO or designee will schedule a hearing. The Judicial Board will hear the case and issue a written decision and/or sanction within ten (10) days of the hearing. The student may appeal the Judicial Board decision to the College's Appeals Officer. A right of appeal exists only if based on new evidence or information. Failure to cooperate with the College's investigation of an alleged Code of Conduct violation, which includes appearing before a Judicial Board or College official if summoned to do so, will result in the student forfeiting his/her rights to a hearing or appeal and/or may result in disciplinary action.
A student found in violation of the College's Code of Conduct shall be subject to one or more of the following sanctions:
- Verbal Warning
- Written Warning
- Restrictions/Loss of Privileges
- Community/Educational Service
The intent of the College is to impose sanctions in a progressive manner, beginning with the least punitive sanction. However, depending on the nature and severity of the student's violation the College reserves the right to impose any of the above-referenced sanctions at any time.
The College also reserves the right to issue an interim suspension where a student's conduct:
1) poses a threat to him/herself or others;
2) poses a threat to or results in damage to College property; or
3) poses a threat to or results in disruption or interference with the normal operations of the College. During an interim suspension, a student is prohibited from entering the College's premises or participating in any College activities until further notice from the VP/SSAO.
Charges and Hearing
When an Accused Student is to appear before a Judicial Board, all charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form. A notice of charges shall be presented to the student no less than five (5) days prior to the hearing. A hearing shall be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days following the accused student's request for a hearing.
Hearing rules are as follows:
- Hearings normally shall be conducted in private.
- Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the VP/SSAO or designee.
- In hearings involving more that one Accused Student, the VP/SSAO or designee may permit at his/her discretion individual hearings for each Accused Student.
- The Accused Party has the right to be assisted by any advisor he/she may choose, at their own expense. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor is not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing before a Judicial Board.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by a Judicial Board at the Board's discretion.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the VP/SSAO or designee.
- After the hearing, the Judicial Board shall determine by majority vote whether the student has violated each section of the Student Code which the student is charged with violating.
- The Judicial Board's determination shall be based on whether it is more likely than not that the Accused Student violated the Student Code.
- There shall be a record created of all hearings before a Judicial Board. The record shall be the property of the College subject to state and federal student record laws.
- A hearing before a Judicial Board is an administrative hearing. The rules of evidence do not apply. Direct cross-examination is not permitted. All questions must be directed through the Board, as indicated below.
Conduct of Hearing
A hearing shall proceed as follows:
- The VP/SSAO or designee presents the complaint with supporting investigatory materials and/or witnesses.
- Accused Student presents statement, materials and/or witnesses in opposition to the complaint.
- Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Judicial Board may question each party, their witnesses and review all documentary evidence presented.
- After the Board has questioned the parties and/or witnesses, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other. All questions must be directed through the Board. If the Board determines that the question is relevant to the matter, the other party will be asked to respond.
- Following the parties' questioning period, the Board will have another opportunity to question the parties.
- Following the hearing's conclusion, the Judicial Board shall deliberate and issue a written recommendation to the VP/SSAO or designee, within two days. The VP/SSAO shall accept, reject, or modify the Board's recommendation. The VP/SSAO shall issue his/her decision to the Accused Student within five (5) business days of receiving the Board's recommendation.
An Appeal of the VP/SSAO's decision is permitted only to consider new evidence, which was not brought out in the original hearing because such evidence was not reasonably known to the Accused Student at that time, and which is sufficiently relevant such that it could alter the VP/SSAO's decision.
An Appeal must be filed in writing with the Appeals Officer within five (5) days of the Accused Student's receipt of the VP/SSAO's decision. Upon considering an appeal, the Appeals Officer may:
- confirm the original decision and sanction; or
- modify the original decision and/or sanction.
The Appeals Officer's decision shall be final.
DUE PROCESS GUIDELINES
These guidelines are to accompany the BCC Student Code of Conduct Policy. It is the procedure for initiation of disciplinary procedures, the conduct of hearings and the appeals process. Additional copies of this can also be found in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Initiation of Disciplinary Proceedings
Any current employee or student of the College may file charges against any student of the College for misconduct. The charges shall be filed in writing with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management or his/her designee, hereinafter referred to as Vice President, within fifteen (15) college business days, from the time the person knew of, or should have known of, the alleged misconduct. In extraordinary circumstances, the Vice President may suspend the student, pending consideration of the case.
The Vice President shall cause a preliminary investigation to be made for the purpose of ascertaining whether the charges may be disposed of informally without initiation of disciplinary proceedings. The student against whom the charges have been brought may, at his/her request, have the assistance of a faculty/staff advisor at the time of such investigation.
If the Vice President determines that the alleged misconduct requires the initiation of disciplinary proceedings under these rules, he/she shall appoint a Disciplinary Board, (referred to as the Board.) If the Vice President decides that a letter of reprimand is sufficient, it may be sent without convening a meeting. The Board shall consist of two (2) professional staff /faculty members (unit and non-unit) and one (1) member of the student body. This Board shall elect its own chairperson.
The Vice President shall deliver to the student charged, or send by certified or registered mail, written copies of the charges, together with notice of the initiation of proceedings. A copy of the charges shall also be delivered to the Chairperson of the Board. Each of these notifications shall be made within ten (10) college business days of the charge being made.
Within five (5) college business days after receipt of the charges and notice to the student against whom the charges are made, the student shall respond in writing to the Vice President with a copy to the chairperson of the Board if he/she wishes to contest the charge. The chairperson of the Board may extend the time for such response.
The chairperson of the Board shall set a time for the hearing, which shall normally be within five (5) college business days.
Conduct at Hearing
- A date for the hearing in a disciplinary proceeding shall be fixed by the Chairperson of the Board after consultation with the parties to the proceedings.
- The hearing shall not be restricted by the rules of procedure or evidence.
- Upon permission of all involved parties, hearings may be tape-recorded.
- The hearing shall be private unless otherwise requested by the student charged, but the person(s) initiating the complaint may not be excluded from the hearing. In hearings involving more than one student, in which one or more students, but not all, requests a public hearing, severance shall be allowed upon request.
- On behalf of the College, the charges and evidence shall be presented by a person designated by the Vice President. The person so designated may have the aid of an advisor from the college community.
- A student charged with misconduct also has the right to be accompanied by an advisor from the college community and shall have access upon request to pertinent information that will be used by the person acting for the College.
- The Board may address questions to any party to the proceedings or to any witness called by the parties, or by the Board. Any party may request the privilege of presenting witnesses, subject to the right of cross-examination by the other parties and to questions from the Board. The Board may decide to limit the number of witnesses to be heard. The Board may also require documentation by records or by other exhibits. Witnesses may be present only during the time they are presenting information or are being cross-examined.
- No recommendation for the imposition of disciplinary penalties shall be based solely upon the failure of the student to attend the hearing. In any such case, the decision whether to reschedule the hearing or to proceed in the student's absence shall be left to the discretion of the Board.
- The chairperson of the Board shall make a report to the Vice President and to the parties to the hearing, consisting of the statement of charges, a summation of the evidence presented, and the recommendations of the committee, including reasons therefore. This report shall be made within five (5) college business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
- The Vice President shall, after reviewing the report and recommendations of the Board, make the decision and communicate the decision to the parties concerned within five (5) college business days after receiving the report.
An appeal of the decision of the Vice President may be made within seven (7) college business days to the President of the College. The decision of the President shall be disseminated in writing to the parties involved and shall be final and binding.
STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
POLICY GOAL: CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Before invoking the Student Grievance Procedure, a reasonable effort shall be made by those involved in a dispute to resolve it amicably. A dispute is most effectively handled and resolved by those closest to the problem, having the best understanding of the issues, and having the ability to formulate a mutually acceptable resolution. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the student, the potential subject of a Grievance, and the College to resolve disputes through open and cooperative dialogue. Only when such efforts are unsuccessful should the Student Grievance Procedure be invoked. Throughout all phases of the Student Grievance Procedure, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain confidentiality in accordance with applicable law.
1) COMPLAINT: the informal, unwritten stage of an allegation of mistreatment.
2) DAY: as used in this policy, shall mean a calendar day.
3) GRIEVANCE: a written grievance filed by a student with the person designated by the President as the Student Grievance Officer specifically alleging an abridgment of his or her rights as a student.
4) GRIEVANT: the student filing the Grievance. The Grievant must have been a registered student of the College at the time of the alleged mistreatment.
5) INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD: the academic semester, summer session or intersession when a grievable act or omission occurs. The Instructional Period shall end on the last day of final exams.
6) RESPONDING PARTY: the person against whom a complaint or Grievance is directed.
7) SENIOR OFFICER: senior level employee who reports to the President for the Responding Party's work area.
8) STUDENT GRIEVANCE OFFICER: a College employee assigned responsibility for administering the Student Grievance Procedure, including the maintenance of specified records. The Student Grievance Officer shall ordinarily be the Senior Student Affairs Officer. If this individual is the person against whom the Grievance is filed, the President shall designate another College official to act as the Student Grievance Officer.
9) SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE OF ERROR OR INJUSTICE : for purpose of Grade Appeals, substantial evidence of error or injustice is defined as:
- The assignment of a course grade to a student on some basis other than performance in the course; or
- The assignment of a course grade to a student by resorting to unreasonable standards different from those which were applied by the same instructor to other students in that course; or
- The assignment of a course grade by a substantial, unreasonable and unannounced departure from the instructor’s previously articulated standards.
10) TIME: the number of days indicated at each level shall be considered as a maximum. All reasonable efforts shall be made to expedite the process, but the President or his/her designee may extend the time limits in extenuating circumstances with notice to both parties in writing, or by mutual written agreement between the Grievant and the Responding Party.
UTILIZING THE STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
The Student Grievance Procedure may be used by a student to address alleged abridgment of the student's rights, as stated in the College's Student Handbook and/or Policy Guide. The student Grievant or the Responding Party may consult with the Student Grievance Officer at any time. The College's Student Grievance Officer is Vice President of Student Affairs, Michael Bullock.
The Student Grievance Procedure may not be used to address allegations of discrimination, including sexual harassment. When a student believes that he/she has been discriminated against due to his/her race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or national origin, the College's Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is a mechanism for resolution. The College's Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure is contained in the College's Affirmative Action Plan. The College's Affirmative Action Officer is Director of Human Resources, Deborah Cote.
If a Grievance involves a grade dispute, a student shall process the Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure. However, if a grade dispute raises issues of discrimination or sexual harassment, the Grievance should be processed in accordance with the College’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure and the Affirmative Action Officer shall conduct the process in collaboration with the Senior Academic Officer or designee.
Claims of physical or sexual assault shall not proceed under the Student Grievance Procedure. A claim of physical assault alleged against a student shall be reported to the Code of Conduct Officer. A claim of physical assault alleged against an employee shall be reported to the Human Resources Office. In both cases, law enforcement authorities shall also be notified. A claim of sexual assault shall be reported to the College’s Affirmative Action Officer and/or Title IX Coordinator and law enforcement authorities and shall proceed under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan. In matters involving physical or sexual assault, alleged victims are strongly encouraged to independently report the incident to the law enforcement authorities. The College’s Campus Police/Security Department can assist with the reporting process.
At any Level of the Student Grievance Procedure, either party may request mediation by contacting the Student Grievance Officer. Mediation shall be mutually agreed upon, and not unreasonably refused by either party. The Student Grievance Officer shall select an impartial mediator who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by either party, make the arrangements, determine the timetable for the mediation process, and inform the parties of the timetable in writing. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after requested and agreed to by the parties. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties. If a mediated resolution cannot be achieved, the Grievant may proceed with the Grievance Process. The Grievant has the right to be accompanied by any advisor of his/her own choosing and at his/her own expense throughout the grievance process. The advisor may be an attorney. An advisor’s role is limited to personally advising the Grievant only. An advisor is not permitted to participate directly in any aspect of the grievance process.
Except for under extenuating circumstances, as determined by the President or his/her designee, failure by a party to comply with the Student Grievance Procedure during the course of a Grievance may result in the waiving of the noncompliant party's rights under the Procedure.
Complaints or Grievances filed in connection with assigned grades represent a special case within the Grievance procedure. Grading reflects careful and deliberate assessment of a student's performance by the instructing professional(s). As such decisions are necessarily judgmental the substance of those decisions may not be delegated to the Grievance process. Nevertheless, the College recognizes that in rare cases the process of grading may be subject to error or injustice.
Except as otherwise provided by a separate appeal procedure for a clinical program as approved by the President of the College, a student who alleges an error or injustice in the grading process may file a Grievance under the Student Grievance Procedure. A grade appeal Grievance shall proceed no further than Level Two, Step Two. For purposes of a grade appeal, the Senior Academic Officer of the College, or his/her designee, shall serve as the Student Grievance Officer throughout the grade appeal process.
If the faculty member who assigned the challenged grade is no longer employed by the College or is not available within the timelines specified (see "Time" definition), the student may initiate his/her Level One complaint with the chief administrator of the appropriate instructional division (who shall be identified by the Senior Academic Officer).
If at any level substantial evidence of error or injustice is produced, the grading process may be remanded to the instructor of record for reassessment. If after reassessment, the dispute remains unresolved, the matter shall be referred to the Senior Academic Officer, or his/her designee, for final review. If the instructor of record is no longer available, the Senior Academic Officer or his/her designee shall instead reassess the grading process
This is the informal stage where most complaints are resolved. The Grievant and the Responding Party should consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this time.
A Grievant initiates the informal phase of the Grievance process. The Grievant shall first present his/her complaint orally and informally to the Responding Party. This shall be done in a reasonable period of time, not exceeding thirty (30) calendar days following the instructional period when a grievable act or omission occurs.
The Responding Party must respond to the Grievant's complaint within ten (10) days. Though this phase of the process is informal, the parties may present their positions in writing. If the matter is not resolved informally within ten (10) calendar days from the date a response to the complaint was due, the Grievant may proceed to Level Two.
LEVEL TWO - FORMAL PROCEDURE
Prior to filing a written Grievance at Level Two, a Grievant must consult with the Student Grievance Officer. The Responding Party should also consult with the Student Grievance Officer at this phase of the process.
L2 - STEP ONE
The Student Grievance Officer shall notify the parties in writing when a complaint is not resolved informally at Level One.
The Grievant may, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Student Grievance Officer's written notice, file with the Student Grievance Officer a Grievance. The Grievance shall contain the following information: the name and title of the person(s) against whom the Grievance is directed, a statement of all known facts, documents and materials supporting the grievance, a list of individuals who have information pertinent to the grievance, and the relief sought by the Grievant. All supporting documents, if any, shall be attached to the grievance as part of the Grievance. The Grievance shall also state the date it is filed and that it is being filed at "Level Two, Step One."
The Grievance may be filed with the Student Grievance Officer by email, regular mail, certified mail, or in hand. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the Grievance, and all supporting documents, if any, to the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days. If the Responding Party is unavailable at the time the Grievance is filed, the Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable means to deliver the Grievance within a reasonable period of time.
The Responding Party shall forward a written Level Two - Step One response to the
Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days of his/her receipt of the
Grievance. The Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the written response to the
Grievant within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
L2 - STEP TWO (Supervisor Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within ten (10) calendar days after his/her receipt of the Step One response, or if no written response is submitted, the Grievant may within ten (10) calendar days after the written response was received or due, request the Student Grievance Officer to forward the Grievance and response, if any, to the supervisor of the Responding Party, with a copy to the Senior Officer of the work area of the Responding Party.
The supervisor shall investigate the Grievance and confer with the Senior Officer. The supervisor shall forward his/her written decision to the Student Grievance Officer, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of the Step Two Grievance. Thereafter, the Student Grievance Officer shall deliver the decision to the Grievant and the Responding Party within five (5) calendar days.
At any time before the issuance of the Supervisor's Step Two decision, the Senior Officer may requestthat the parties meet to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve it.
Grade appeals do not go beyond this Step (Level Two - Step Two) per the section on Grade Appeals.
No new issues or allegations may be raised by either party after Step Two.
L2 - STEP THREE (Student Grievance Committee Level)
If the Grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the Grievant within the period allowed at Level Two - Step Two, the Grievant may request a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. Such a request must be in writing and presented to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days from the issuance of the Supervisor's Level Two - Step Two decision.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the Student Grievance Officer's receipt of the Grievant's request for a hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall arrange a hearing before a Student Grievance Committee. The Student Grievance Officer shall use reasonable efforts to schedule the hearing at a time mutually convenient to the parties. At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing, the Student Grievance Officer shall provide each member of the Committee and all parties to the Grievance with copies of the Grievance, responses to the Grievance, decisions issued, and all relevant supporting documentation and materials. The Committee's make-up and hearing rules are discussed later in this policy.
The Committee shall deliver its findings and recommendations to the Student Grievance Officer within ten (10) calendar days following the hearing. A copy of the Committee's findings and recommendations shall be delivered to the President or his/her designee, within five (5) calendar days of receipt.
Within ten (10) calendar days of the President's receipt of the Committee's findings and recommendations, the President or his/her designee, shall issue a written statement accepting, modifying or rejecting the Committee's recommendations. The decision of the President, or his/her designee, shall be final and binding on all parties.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE STUDENT GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE
The composition of the College's Student Grievance Committee shall consist of five members: one student, one unit professional, one faculty member, one non-unit professional and one unit classified employee. The President or his/her designee shall appoint each member from among the recommendations submitted by theStudent Grievance Officer.
Service on the Committee shall be voluntary, provided that a member who has a personal interest in a particular Grievance shall be ineligible to serve on the Grievance Committee. All College employees serving on the Student Grievance Committee, and acting within the scope of their official duties on the Committee, shall be protected from liability to the full extent provided under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 258, and eligible for indemnification as provided for pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 258, Section 9.
All Student Grievance Committee members, as well as all others in attendance at a student Grievance proceeding, shall maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The Student Grievance Officer shall attend all Committee hearings but shall not vote.
Student Grievance Committee Hearing & DECISION GUIDELINES
The following guidelines provide the framework for conducting a Student Grievance Committee Hearing:
1) Prior to the hearing, the newly impaneled Committee shall meet to elect a Committee Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be selected by a simple majority vote.
2) The Chairperson on the Committee shall be responsible for conducting the hearing and drafting the decision of the Committee, but shall vote only in the event of a tie.
3) All hearings shall be closed and deliberations of the Committee shall be confidential and conducted in private.
4) The Grievant and the Responding Party shall be in attendance at the hearing. Each party may be accompanied by an advisor at the hearing. The advisor, however, may not participate in the hearing or question witnesses. Either party may at anytime during a hearing consult in private with his/her advisor.
5) Witnesses may be asked by the Committee to remain outside of the hearing room until they are called to testify.
6) The Grievant will address the Committee first. The Grievant will state the nature of his/her Grievance and may present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in support of the Grievance.
7) The Responding Party may respond to the Grievant's allegations and present relevant evidence and/or witnesses in opposition to the Grievance.
8) Once the parties have presented their respective positions, the Committee may question the parties and/or witnesses.
9) After the Committee has questioned the parties, each party will be given the opportunity to question the other party and their respective witnesses. All questions must be directed through the Committee. If the Committee determines that a question is relevant to the Grievance, the party or witness to whom it is addressed will be asked to respond.
10) Following the parties' questioning of each other, the Committee will have another opportunity to question the parties and witnesses.
11) Hearings before the Committee shall not be subject to the formal rules of evidence. In all cases, the hearing shall be conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
12) If a party to a Grievance fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the Committee has the discretion to proceed with the hearing and issue its findings and recommendations in the party's absence.
13) The decision of the Committee shall be based on the relevant evidence presented at the hearing. The decision shall be in writing and include: a list of all documentary evidence and witnesses presented; a summary of the testimony offered by both parties and their respective witnesses; the findings of the Committee and its recommendations. Copies of the decision and recommendations of the Student Grievance Committee shall be forwarded by the Student Grievance Officer to the President or his/her designee for review and final disposition. The President or his/her designee shall accept, reject or modify the Committee’s decision and/or recommendations and issue a final written decision.
14) All findings and decisions reached under this Procedure shall be based on a “preponderance of evidence” standard (i.e.; more likely than not). Any action taken hereunder shall be reasonable under the circumstances, in accordance with applicable College rules and procedures and be grounded in fundamental fairness.
A student may withdraw his/her complaint or Grievance at any time. Withdrawal must be accomplished in writing or by oral agreement confirmed in writing.
No member of the College community shall retaliate or threaten to retaliate against, interfere with, restrain, or coerce any student in the exercise of his/her rights under the Student Grievance Procedure or his/her participation in any Grievance proceedings.
COLLATERAL RIGHTS OF PERSON GRIEVED BY STUDENT
If the recommendations made at any level of the Grievance procedure result in sanctions against a college employee, the sanctions shall be regarded as administrative actions subject to all conditions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and College or Board of Higher Education personnel policies.
Filing a Grievance in accordance with the Student Grievance Procedure in no way abrogates a student's right to file acomplaint with anappropriate state or federal agency or in another forum.
Revised: June 4, 2013
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
It is the policy of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) program at Berkshire Community College to provide reasonable academic accommodations to students who are: blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, physically disabled, learning disabled, as well as to students who have: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), psychiatric disabilities, illness-related or temporary disabilities. Services are provided as long as accommodations are warranted, reasonable and appropriate given the purpose of the course. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations must initiate a request for services through DRC.
In order to be eligible for protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and to support requests for reasonable accommodations a student must submit documentation that indicates his/her disability:
- substantially limits one or more major life activity and;
- validates the need for accommodations based on his/her current level of functioning in an educational setting.
Students with learning disabilities must submit diagnostic information, which includes:
- current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics and written language,
- overall cognitive ability, and
- specific areas of information processing.
A copy of their most recent Individual Education Plan (IEP), if applicable, and high school transcript is also helpful. The diagnostic report must contain clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability and will not be acceptable. For specific guidelines on the assessment of adolescents and adults with learning disabilities, please contact the DRC Coordinator.
Because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student's disabilities on his/her academic performance, it is in the student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. All documentation must be on official letterhead from a licensed or certified professional appropriate for evaluating the student's disability. The names, titles, and credentials of the licensed or certified professional, as well as the date(s) of evaluation, must be included.
If the initial documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, DRC reserves the right to require additional documentation. Any cost of obtaining additional documentation is borne by the student. Students reporting learning or attention difficulties without documentation are interviewed and screened by DRC free of charge, and when appropriate, are given referrals for comprehensive and diagnostic testing in the community. The student is responsible for assessment costs after the initial screening.
Students referred for diagnostic testing will receive temporary accommodations for one semester, if appropriate.
If a student should require the assistance of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to achieve full educational access and opportunity, the student must contact the DRC prior to the onset of classes. PCA employment arrangements and costs are the responsibility of the student.
Confidentiality and Release of Information
The DRC is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of the student. This information may include test data, grades, biographical history, disability information, and case notes.
The following guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by the DRC and are rigorously followed and shared with students. They incorporate relevant state and federal regulations and guidelines established by relevant professional associations.
- No one has immediate access to student files in the DRC program except staff from
the DRC. Any disability-related documentation will be considered confidential and
will be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. Disability-related
information will be treated like medical information. Examples include the following:
- College faculty and staff do not have a legal right to disability-related documentation. They only need to know the documentation has been appropriately verified by the individual (or office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution (i.e., DRC).
- Administrators may have a need to collect data such as how many students are being served, the nature of their disabilities, and recommended accommodations. However, under typical circumstances, this data is for purposes of statistical or survey reporting and administrators do not need to know who those students are.
- Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state
laws, which require release in the following circumstances:
- If the student states he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person(s);
- If the student reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults;
- If the college is issued a court order or subpoena.
- A student may give written authorization for the release of information when he/she wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law.
- A student has the right to review his/her own file.
Policy for Academic Accommodations
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, qualified students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations unless they fundamentally alter the nature of a course. It is the responsibility of the student to make a request for academic accommodation through the Disability Resource Center. Upon review of the request and disability documentation, when appropriate, an academic accommodation form will be completed and signed by the staff of the DRC. At that point, the student will be required to submit the accommodation form to his instructor. If the accommodations are accepted, the instructor will sign the form and return it to the student who will then return it to the DRC. If the accommodations are rejected, the student must inform the DRC staff immediately. A DRC staff member will meet with the instructor to negotiate a reasonable alternative. If a reasonable solution cannot be reached, the DRC Coordinator will inform the college's Affirmative Action/504 Coordinator. During the time the adjudication is in process, the faculty member will allow the accommodation as recommended until a solution is determined. Within two weeks, the Affirmative Action/504 Coordinator will meet with the Disability Review Board to determine appropriate action.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation against any person with a physical or mental impairment which substantially impairs one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. Discrimination against a person who has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), or who is perceived to have, or be at a risk of having AIDS, is a violation of both state and federal discrimination laws (please see Non-Discrimination and Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities). For purposes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Community Colleges' Affirmative Action Plan,the following practices are illegal:
- to refuse to hire or advance in employment, or otherwise discriminate against, a qualified person who has AIDS, is perceived to have AIDS, or is perceived to be at risk of having AIDS; or
- to make a pre-employment inquiry as to whether an applicant has AIDS or is at risk of having AIDS.
Any employee or student who believes he/she has been a victim of AIDS discrimination may file a complaint pursuant with the Grievance Procedure contained herein.Additionally,the MCAD will receive, investigate and resolve, by conciliationoradjudication, complaints of AIDS-related discrimination that are filed with the agency in accordance with its rules and procedures. Please refer to the Sexual Harassment Policy for MCAD contact information.
Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity
The Board of Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is responsible under Chapter 15A of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the overall governance of the public higher education system, which includes the fifteen Community Colleges. The Board of Higher Education and the Boards of Trustees of the Community Colleges maintain and promote a policy of non‑discrimination on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, maternity leave, military service and national origin (“protected class(s)/classification(s).” Further,this policy prohibits retaliation and incorporates by reference, and where applicable, the requirements of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1968; Titles I and II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its regulations found at 34 C.F.R. part 106; Equal Pay Act of 1963; Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988; Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Section 402 of the Vietnam-era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA); Age Discrimination Act of 1975; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended; Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; Federal Executive Order 11246 of 1965, as amended by Executive Order 11375 of 1967; Federal Executive Order 12900 of 1994; Federal Executive Order 13145 of 2000; Federal Executive Order 13160 of 2000; Federal Executive Order 13166 of 2000; Massachusetts Civil Rights Act; Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 151B, 151C, and Chapter 149; directives of the BHE, the Boards of Trustees of the Community Colleges and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and other applicable local, state and federal constitutions, statutes, regulations and executive orders.
Non‑discrimination requires the elimination of all existing unlawful discriminatory conditions, whether purposeful or inadvertent. The Community Colleges are continuing to systematically examine all policies and procedures to be sure that they do not, if implemented as stated, operate to the detriment of any person on the basis of a protected classification. The Colleges shall require that the practices of those responsible in matters of employment and education, including all supervisors and faculty, are non‑discriminatory. Should the College discover discrimination in treatment or effect in any employment, educational or service decision, action, inaction or practice within the College, all appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary actions shall be taken under the direction of the President of the College subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreement or other policy or procedure of the College.
The Community Colleges are committed to a policy of Affirmative Action, equal opportunity, equal education, non‑discrimination, and diversity. They are committed to providing a learning, working and living environment for their students, employees and other members of the College Community, which values the diverse backgrounds of all people. The Colleges are committed to assuring that the “College Experience” is one that challenges, empowers, supports, and prepares its students to live in, work in, and value our increasingly global and diverse world. The Colleges believe that the diversity of socio‑economic, racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability backgrounds of members of the College Community enriches the institutions and their various constituencies. The Colleges will not tolerate behavior based on bigotry, which has the effect of discriminating unlawfully against any member of their communities.
The Community Colleges provide equal access to educational, co-curricular and employment opportunities at the Colleges for all applicants, students and employees in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies. All benefits, privileges and opportunities offered by the Colleges are available to all students, employees and other persons having dealings with the institutions on a non‑discriminatory basis. The Colleges are committed to taking a pro‑active Affirmative Action posture with respect to their recruitment, selection and promotion of students and employees.
The purpose of the Affirmative Action component of this Policy is to establish a set of programmatic objectives, which shall provide for the recruitment, access and advancement of qualifiedpersons from within the protected classes/classifications recognized under this Policy with respect to employment and enrollment opportunities. The intent of this Policy is to responsibly recognize, and to whatever extent possible, resolve the effects of past societal discrimination and the impact which that discrimination has had, not only on victims of such discrimination, but on the total academic, educational and social system as well. It is not intended and should not be used to discriminate against any applicant, employee, or student because of a protected classification.
In response to that recognition, the Colleges, through their Boards of Trustees and Presidents, fully endorse the plan of action set forth in this Policy and shall oversee and monitor its implementation through the Affirmative Action Officer and other assigned personnel.
The following specific policies are established:
- Equal opportunity and affirmative action shall apply to all segments of the College; full and part‑time employment; day and continuing education; the curriculum and offerings of the College.
- Equal opportunity and affirmative action shall be applied to the recruitment process for employment and/or access to education.
- Students will have access to the College, programs of study, activities, and other resources intended to serve them, according to the policies of the individual Colleges.
- Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action will be realized in all personnel employment, including recruitment, application for employment,hiring, benefits, compensation, training, promotion, and termination.
- All policies, procedures, privileges, and conditions of the College will follow and incorporate applicable equal opportunity and affirmative action rules and regulations.
The above‑stated policies are intended to be applied broadly with the goal of promoting equal opportunity and diversity in Community Colleges. The Community Colleges pledge to apply all policies consistently, fairly, and vigorously. Attempts to subvert or abuse these policies will not be tolerated. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in the case of an infraction. Such disciplinary action shall be consistent with the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, if applicable.
All policies are made in compliance with laws and regulations and executive orders promulgated by the federal and state governments and other appropriate agencies and authorities, where applicable. (Amended September 2014)
a. Application of Policy
The complaint procedure is intended to provide a mechanism to investigate and where possible resolve complaints of alleged violations of this Policy against employees and students. The procedures outlined below are intended to ensure that the College will conduct an impartial, fair, effective, and efficient investigation of all allegations of discrimination without fear of retaliation. The complaint procedure is available to any employee or student who believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of a protected classification or retaliation. A complaint filed in another forum does not preclude a student or employee from filing a complaint under this Policy. Further, a complaint filed in another forum, including a criminal or civil complaint, shall not delay an investigation of a complaint filed under this Policy.
b. Confidentiality of Process
The complaint procedure will be conducted as confidentially as reasonably possible to protect the privacy rights of all individuals involved. The College may share information concerning the complaint with parties, witnesses and/or others during any phase of the procedure on a need-to-know basis and shall share information with union representatives as provided for in G.L.c.150E. All individuals with whom information is shared shall be advised of the confidential nature of the information and directed not to discuss the matter with anyone other than a personal advisor, if applicable.
c. Complainant Requests Confidentiality
Where a Complainant requests that no action be taken by the College or requests that her/his identity not be revealed, the College shall take rea reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint, but shall inform the Complainant that such a request may hamper its ability to fully investigate an alleged violation of this Policy and/or to take appropriate remedial steps, including disciplinary action. Where an allegation includes the potential of an ongoing threat to the health, safety or security of the College or a potential adverse employment action, the Affirmative Action Officer shall inform the Complainant that it cannot ensure confidentiality and disclosure of their name may likely be required.
d. Anonymous Complaints
To the extent possible, the College is obliged to investigate and respond to anonymous complaints.
e. Off Campus Behavior
The College reserves the right to investigate alleged prohibited conduct under this Policy occurring off-campus when such conduct adversely affects the College Community, poses a threat of harm to the College Community; interferes with the College’s pursuit of its educational objectives and mission, and/or if a student or employee is charged with a serious violation of state or federal law.
f. Interim Action
The College reserves the right to suspend a student on an interim basis or place an employee on paid administrative leave prior to completing an investigation under this Policy when it reasonably concludes that a student or employee: (a) poses a threat to health or safety; (b) poses a threat to College property or equipment; (c) is disruptive or interferes with the normal operations of the College; or (d) is charged with a serious violation of state or federal law. In such cases, the College shall provide the employee or student of the specific reason(s) for the interim action. During a student’s interim suspension or an employee’s leave, the College reserves the right to prohibit the individual from entering upon the College’s property or participating in any College activities absent written authorization from an appropriate official of the College.
g. Joint Investigation
In some circumstances a Responding Party’s conduct may constitute a potential violation of this Policy and/or other conduct policies applicable to employees or students. In such cases, in order to avoid duplicative investigatory efforts, a joint investigation under this Policy may be conducted by the AAO and the administrator charged with enforcing conduct policies. For example, if the Responding Party is a student, the Affirmative Action Officer and Student Code of Conduct Officer may jointly investigate the complaint. Based on the findings of their joint investigation, the student may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the Affirmative Action Policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct. Where the Responding Party is an employee, a joint investigation may be conducted by the Affirmative Action Officer and the employee’s supervisor. Based on the findings of their joint investigation, the employee may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the Affirmative Action Policy and/or for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.
h. Collateral Rights of Employees
Any disciplinary action taken against an employee shall be regarded as an administrative action subject to all terms and conditions of applicable collective bargaining agreements or personnel policies.
i. Complaints of Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment or Sexual Violence
The Title IX Coordinator shall have the responsibility for administering this Policy relative to complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The complaint process is comprised of two procedures - the informal procedure and the formal procedure.
a. Informal Procedure
Where appropriate, the parties to a dispute and/or the Affirmative Action Officer, may attempt to reach an informal and prompt resolution of the potential complaint. Informal resolution is encouraged and any of the parties involved may request the intervention of the Affirmative Action Officer to assist in resolving the matter informally. An informal resolution is achieved through open dialogue between the parties that allows for the airing of any misunderstandings or disputed issues. The informal procedure shall not be used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Further, at no time shall a Responding Party question or confront a Complainant, or engage a third party to do so, as such conduct may constitute intimidation and/or retaliation, which are strictly prohibited under this Policy.
b. Formal Procedure
The following rules apply throughout all phases of the formal complaint process: (1) all parties to a complaint may have a personal advisor (for union employees this may be a union representative); (2) the role of a personal advisor is limited to providing discrete advice and counsel to the party; (3) the filing of a complaint under this Policy shall not preclude a Complainant from pursuing a complaint in a separate legal forum; (4) a complaint involving a grade dispute shall proceed under this Policy when a student alleges that a grade was improper because of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence or retaliation; and (5) all findings reached under this procedure must be based on a “preponderance of evidence” (i.e.; more likely than not) standard.
At any point during the formal complaint procedure, either party may request mediation by contacting the Affirmative Action Officer. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of both parties. Mediation shall be mutually agreed upon by the parties. The Affirmative Action Officer, or designee, shall select an impartial mediator, who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by either party, and inform the parties in writing of the mediation process and schedule. The mediator must have training or experience in mediating matters subject to this complaint process. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after agreed to by the parties. The timelines presented under the Complaint Procedure shall be tolled pending the outcome of mediation. If mediation is successful in resolving the complaint, the Affirmative Action Officer shall reduce to writing the terms of the mediated resolution, which shall be signed by the parties. The mediation process shall not be used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence. If mediation does not result in a resolution, all mediation discussions shall remain confidential and may not be used or introduced in this process or any other forum.
Step 1 – Affirmative Action Officer Investigation
When a Complainant believes that he/she has been discriminated against because of his/her race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, maternity leave and/or subjected to sexual harassment, sexual violence, or retaliation , the Complainant may file a formal written complaint in writing with the Affirmative Action Officer. For student Complainants, a formal complaint may be filed within thirty (30) days following the end of the instructional period when the Complainant knew or should have known of the grievable act. For employee Complainants, a formal complaint may be filed within thirty (30) days from when the Complainant knew or should have known of the grievable act. The complaint shall contain a statement of all known facts pertaining to the alleged violation and shall be filed preferably on the Affirmative Action Discrimination Complaint Form (see Appendix A), which shall be available from the Affirmative Action Officer. If a student is involved, the Affirmative Action Officer shall notify the Vice President or Dean of Student Services.
During Step 1, the Affirmative Action Officer has the authority to seek to resolve the complaint through an administrative remedy. If the parties accept the administrative remedy proposed, its terms shall be reduced to writing, signed by both parties and the Affirmative Action Officer shall retain the document, with copies to the parties. Thereafter, the matter shall be considered resolved between the parties.
Upon receiving a written complaint, the Affirmative Action Officer will notify the Responding Party in writing, of the complaint (see Appendix B), and provide the Responding Party with a copy thereof. The timeliness of such notification shall be in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, if applicable. The Responding Party shall have ten (10) days from receipt of notice to submit to the Affirmative Action Officer a written response to the complaint.
Where practicable, within thirty (30) days from the date the Respondent’s written response is received, or the date it was due if none was submitted, the Affirmative Action Officer shall conduct an investigation and prepare and issue a Report of Preliminary Findings to the parties. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, an analysis of the allegations and defenses presented, consideration of all relevant documents, including materials presented by the parties, interviews of the parties and other individuals and/or witnesses, and/or reviewing certain documents or materials in the possession of either party that the Affirmative Action Officer has deemed relevant to the complaint. The Affirmative Action Officer’s report shall specify the investigation undertaken and summarize his/her preliminary findings. The report shall be delivered to the parties in hand or by certified mail. If the investigation is not completed within thirty (30) days, status updates shall be provided to the parties every thirty (30) days until its completion.
Thereafter, the parties will have ten (10) days from the date of their receipt of the Report of Preliminary Findings to submit Rebuttal Statements to the Affirmative Action Officer. The parties may present no new allegations at that time. Where practicable, within seven (7) days of receiving the parties’ Rebuttal Statements, the Affirmative Action Officer shall review the rebuttal Statements and prepare and submit a Report of Final Findings and Recommendations to the President’s Designee for consideration.
Step 2 – Review and Decision by the President’s Designee
Where practicable, within ten (10) days of receipt of the Affirmative Action Officer’s Report of Final Findings and Recommendations, the President’s Designee shall issue a written decision to the parties. The written decision shall accept, reject or modify the Affirmative Action Officer’s Final Findings and Recommendations. The Designee’s written decision shall be delivered in hand or by certified mail and shall include the Report of Final Findings and Recommendations. If the President is the Responding Party in an Affirmative Action Complaint, then the Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees shall designate a Board member(s) as Designee to administer Step 2 of the Complaint Process.
Step 3 – Appeal to President
A party who is not satisfied with the Designee’s written decision may file an appeal with the President within five (5) days of receiving the Designee’s decision. Where practicable, within five (5) days of receiving the appeal, the President shall issue a written decision accepting, rejecting or modifying the Designee’s decision. The President’s decision is final provided that any corrective action and/or discipline imposed is subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements.
If the President is the Responding Party in an Affirmative Action Complaint, then the Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees shall consider the appeal and issue the written decision.
Issued: Oct. 11, 2013
Amended and Re-issued: September 2014
Animals on Campus
With the exception of auxiliary helpers, no dogs or other pets are allowed on campus grounds or in any campus building.
Bulletin Board Use
Berkshire Community College has numerous bulletin boards in each of its buildings. All boards have a marquee on them identifying the purpose and the materials that can appropriately posted.
All information posted on campus needs to be affixed to the appropriate bulletin board.
- The name of a person or the organization sponsoring the posting must be clearly visible.
- All material must be dated.
- There is a two week posting time period.
- The caretakers of the various boards reserve the right to apply their stamp or other indicator to the materials posted on the boards.
- Any material inappropriately posted will be removed.
- Posting material on glass or other finished surfaces is strictly prohibited. *BCC's BCC's college-wide weekly events calendar, The Stall, has been granted special permission to be posted in restrooms.
Individuals or organizations not directly affiliated with the college need special permission from the Office of Student Life to post items and the items must carry the office's stamp. Posting is available on two free standing easels in the SBA Lounge. They may be used for the purpose of posting off-campus events or activities.
Student Academic Work Boards
The boards are titled "Student Academic Work". Work must be posted in conjunction with the class and approved by a faculty member. Process will be managed by the Office of Academic Affairs. The boards are marked in each building.Departmental Boards:
Governed by each department.
Governed by each union.
Job Posting Board (Public):
Advertised through the Student Development Ctr.
College Job Postings for Staff:
Advertised through the Human Resources Office.
For specific locations of posting areas located around campus please see the Office of Student Life.
Children on Campus
A college campus is designed for adult populations and may not be suitable for young children. While there may be occasions for children to visit the campus, they must be with a parent or responsible adult at all times. Responsibility for the supervision and safety of minors shall rest with the person who brings the minor to campus. If it is deemed that the child represents a distraction to the learning environment the parent and child will be asked to leave. Permission must be obtained from each faculty member if a child is to attend a class with the parent.
Confidentiality of Student Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (also known as the Buckley Amendment) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of
the day that Berkshire Community College (herein after referred to as the College)
receives a request for access.
- Students should submit to the Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar, the Registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student
believes are inaccurate or misleading.
- Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained
in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure
- One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interest. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- Further, upon request, the College discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education concerning alleged
failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Such complaints
may be filed with:
- Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
- Family Policy Compliance Office
The College identifies the following as "Directory Information":
- student's name,
- town of residence,
- major field of study,
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports,
- status as a student employee,
- dates of attendance,
- awards and honors received,
- and most recent educational institution attended.
Directory information may be released by the College to a third-party requesting such student information without first obtaining the parent's or eligible student's consent. A parent or eligible student has the right to refuse to permit the college from identifying some or all of those types of information about the student as directory information. A parent or eligible student must notify the College's Registrar within two weeks of the beginning of each academic semester if the parent or eligible student does not want any or all of those types of information about a student designated as directory information.
Notwithstanding the College's definition of directory information, the Department of Defense, pursuant to the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 (Solomon Amendment), identifies the following student information as student recruiting information: student names, addresses, and telephone listings; and if known, students' ages, levels of education, majors. If a parent or eligible student chooses not to exercise his/her aforementioned right to refuse to permit the College to designate some or all of those types of information about the student as directory information, the college will release to the Department of Defense, or an agency thereof, that student information which the Department of Defense has designated as student recruiting information. This may result in the non-consensual disclosure of personally identifiable information. When student information is released pursuant to a Department of Defense request, notice of the request and the release of student information in accordance therewith, will be posted in a conspicuous location in the college's Registrar's Office for the period of one academic year.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
It is the policy of Berkshire Community College to acknowledge and abide by all applicable
intellectual property laws, including but not limited to federal copyright law, Title
the U.S. Code as amended at http://www.copyright.gov/title17. All individuals employed, enrolled, and/or using the facilities or resources of the College are expected to do the same.
Copyright is defined as the exclusive right of an author to reproduce and create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display, sell, lend or rent original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium (print, audiovisual, online, and other media) which are not in the Public Domain and are thus protected under United States Copyright Law Title 17 of the U.S. Code.
It is the responsibility of all faculty, staff, students and anyone using facilities or resources of the College to read, understand, and follow the BCC Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. Please go to http://www.berkshirecc.edu/Copyright to read the complete policy, related information, and summary of infringement penalties.
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Checks
Students interested in participating in an academic, community or clinical program that involves working with a vulnerable population (children, the disabled, or the elderly) will be required to undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check. Students found to have certain criminal convictions or pending criminal actions will be presumed ineligible to participate in such activities unless cleared by BCC’s CORI Review Committee following procedures set forth by the Commonwealth's Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). The College is authorized by the DCJIS, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 167A, 172, Chapter 30A, and regulation 803CMR2:00 to review and assess criminal history records. Sex Offender checks shall be performed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Section 178J. For more information regarding the College's CORI/SORI check process, please contact Mary Martin, CORI Administrator, extension 1602. Revised: 7/12
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Policy
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks are conducted on students/staff/volunteers in programs involving placement sites where the potential for unsupervised contact with a vulnerable population exists. The following are practices and procedures followed by the College.
CORI checks will be conducted as authorized by the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) and MGL c. 6, §.172, and only after a CORI Acknowledgement Form has been completed.(see: www.mass.gov.) If a new CORI check is to be made on a subject within a year of his/her signing of the CORI Acknowledgement Form, the subject shall be given seventy two (72) hours notice that a new CORI check will be conducted. Candidates will be notified through their program that a CORI check will be conducted.
All CORI obtained from the DCJIS is confidential, and access to the information must be limited to those individuals who have a “need to know.” This may include, but not be limited to, hiring managers, staff submitting the CORI requests, and staff charged with processing job applications. Berkshire Community College must maintain and keep a current list of each individual authorized to have access to, or view, CORI. This list must be updated every six (6) months and is subject to inspection upon request by the DCJIs at any time.
CORI used for employment purposes shall only be accessed for applicants who are otherwise qualified for the position for which they have applied.
An informed review of a criminal record requires training. Accordingly, all personnel authorized to review or access CORI at Berkshire Community College will review, and will be thoroughly familiar with, the educational and relevant training materials regarding CORI laws and regulations made available by the DCJIS. Berkshire Community College can only make informed, discretionary assessments according to the category of access that is received through the DCJIS.
If a criminal record is received from DCJIS, BCC’s CORI Administrator will compare the record with information provided by the candidate, to ensure the record relates to the candidate. The Administrator may contact DCJIS and request a more detailed search. Note: Unless otherwise provided by law, a criminal record will not automatically disqualify someone from participation in a program. Rather, determinations of suitability based on CORI checks will be made consistent with this policy and any applicable law or regulations.
Candidates who have a criminal offense will be notified, by certified mail, of the need to meet with BCC’s CORI Review Committee to discuss the offense/s and its relevance to their particular program of study.
All CORI obtained from the DCJIS is confidential and can only be disseminated as authorized by law and regulation. A central secondary dissemination log shall be used to record any dissemination of CORI outside this organization, including dissemination at the request of the subject.
Candidates shall be provided a copy of DCJIS’s publications: “Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record” and “Information Concerning the Process on How to Establish Yourself as a Victim of Identity Theft,” should they wish to challenge the accuracy of their report. Candidates will also receive a copy of their CORI report.
If the CORI Review Committee reasonably believes the record 1)is the candidate’s and 2)is accurate, then the determination of suitability for the program’s placement will be made. Note: Applicants with a criminal record are ineligible for placement unless they receive clearance by the review committee through the procedure explained in this policy.
Unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability may include, but not be limited to, the following criteria:
Relevance of the crime, Seriousness of the offense, Nature of the Work, Time since the conviction, Age of the candidate at the time of the offense, Number of offenses, Whether charges are pending, Any evidence of rehabilitation and Any other relevant information given to, or received by the committee.
The candidate will
Be notified of any decision in a timely manner;
Be advised that a criminal record may potentially have impact on future licensure/employment;
Be advised of ineligibility and why (if applicable);
Be notified of the right to appeal the committee’s decision;
- The Appeal Officer, VP of Student Affairs & Enrollment, is CORI certified but does not participate in the CORI review process.
- Written notice of an appeal must be submitted within ten (10) working days of the committee’s decision.
- The Appeal Officer will consider all records submitted along with the Committee’s decision.
- The Appeal Officer’s decision must be issued within ten (10) working days of receiving the appeal.
- This decision is final.
All inquiries concerning BCC’s administrative procedures concerning CORI records should be directed to Mary Martin, BCC CORI Administrator, at 413-236-1602.
Drug & Alcohol Policy
On December 12, 1989, Congress amended Title XII of the Higher Education Act of 1965. This amendment, known as the "Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989," requires that every educational institution receiving federal funding certify its adoption and implementation of programs designed to prevent use of illegal drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees. Prior federal law applicable to the College regulated only criminal drug activity of federally grant-funded employees and recipients of federal aid. BCC, in accordance with legal mandates and its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive climate in which to conduct the business and mission of the College, will enforce the following policies:
- The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of alcohol or of a controlled substance is prohibited on the campus of Berkshire Community College or as part of any college-related activity. Students or employees who violate these restrictions shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including, suspension, expulsion or discharge and shall also be subject to referral for criminal prosecution. Where students or employees are convicted of violating a criminal drug or alcohol statute related to a college activity, the College shall ordinarily expel or discharge the offender absent mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to, considerations or handicap under federal and state law.
- Berkshire Community College shall cooperate in the enforcement of federal and state
laws concerning illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts statutes pertaining
to illegal drugs and alcohol include:
- Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 59 (Public Drinking)
- Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24 (Operating Under the Influence, Open Containers)
- Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C (Controlled Substances Act)
- Prescribed penalties under Chapter 94 range from mandatory probation for a first conviction for possession of a class E substance, e.g. marijuana, to a period of imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of two thousand dollars for each subsequent conviction related to sale or distribution. Prescribed penalties under Chapter 90, Section 24 range from a fine of $100 to imprisonment for not more than two years and a fine of $1000. Federal judicial guidelines also exist which suggest penalties for violation of federal criminal statutes related to drugs and alcohol.
- Under-age drinking is prohibited at Berkshire Community College functions and on any part of the campus.
- Alcohol may not be served, consumed, or furnished at any Berkshire Community College student event either on or off any of its campuses. * The club or activity advisor or other appropriate college official should take all reasonable steps to insure that alcohol is not available during or en route to a college-sponsored event. An exception is the Hospitality Sciences Management Program Dinners.
- Employees working under federally funded grants are additionally subject to the Drug-Free
Workplace Act of 1988. The Act creates the following obligations:
- Employees convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace must notify the Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer of Berkshire Community College no later than five (5) days after such conviction. Such notification must be in writing.
- The College shall notify the appropriate federal agency within ten (10) days after receiving notice from the employee regarding such conviction. Such notification will be in writing.
- The College, within thirty (30) days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee
who is convicted, will:
- Take appropriate disciplinary action against the employee, up to and including termination of employment; or
- Require such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a federal, state, or local health, law enforcement or other appropriate agency.
- The College will make available to staff and students, drug and alcohol literature. This is in addition to other educational opportunities available in current or future academic offerings.
- The following medical risks are associated with drug and alcohol use:
- Overdose -- An overdose can happen due to uncertain purity, strength or even type of drugs one gets illegally. It can also happen due to increased tolerance, because one needs increased dosages to achieve the same effect. An overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma or death. While the risks of drug overdose are more common and frequently more severe, extreme quantities of alcohol can similarly result in psychosis, convulsions, coma or death.
- Dependence -- Continued use of drugs and alcohol can lead to a psychological and/or physical need for them.
- Ill Health -- Long term drug or alcohol use can destroy a healthy body and mind. Generally, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to organic damage, mental illness, malnutrition, failure to get treatment for existing diseases or injuries, and even to death. Chronic drinking also has been associated with increased rates for heart disease, liver damage, ulcers and gastritis, and adrenal and pituitary gland damage. Injection of drugs presents special risks of getting AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases. Drug and alcohol use can also affect the health of a child in the womb and result in birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug dependency or death. Because the quantity of alcohol likely to injure a developing fetus is unknown, the United States Surgeon General has specifically counseled women not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy.
- Accidents -- When drugs and alcohol affect an individual's perception and/or reaction time, accidents become more likely.
- For any member of the Berkshire Community College community who is experiencing substance abuse problems, BCC stands ready to offer supportive services and referral for treatment, as appropriate and available. Information concerning substance abuse and rehabilitation counseling programs is available at the Student Development Center or Human Resources, located in the Susan B. Anthony College Center. Additional counseling is available in the community through:
Brien Center, 333 East St., Pittsfield, MA 413-499-0412
Family Ctr of the Berkshires, 725 North St., Pittsfield, MA 413-447-2145
McGee Treatment Unit, 725 North St., Pittsfield, MA 413-445-9228
Treatment Covered by Required Student Medical Insurance -- Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15A, S7B (St. 1988, Chapter 23, S22) and 117 Code of Massachusetts Regulations Section 3.04 require that students certify their participation in a qualifying student health insurance program, or in a health benefits' program with comparable coverage. Students who do not possess adequate medical insurance must purchase the Massachusetts Regional Community Colleges' Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan. For up to date benefits related to drug and alcohol abuse please go to: http://www.berkshirecc.edu/tuition_fees and scroll down to Health Insurance.
The College shall conduct a biennial review of these policies and programs and implement changes as necessary. Revised 5/00
Equity in Athletics
Regulations published November 29, 1995, implemented the provision of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 titled the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA). The EADA is designed to make prospective students aware of the commitments of a school in providing equitable athletic opportunities for its men and women students. An annual EADA report is prepared by the Director of Recreational and Athletic Programming and contains participation rates, financial support, and other information on men's and women's intercollegiate athletic programs at Berkshire Community College. Copies of this report are available in the Paterson Fieldhouse Facility. Presently, there are no intercollegiate athletic programs.
Financial Aid Borrower Bill of Rights
The Student borrower Bill of Rights* includes the following rights:
- To unbiased advice about loans and lenders from the BCC Financial Aid Office.
- To choose the lender, even if the lender is not included on BCC's published lender list.
- To know what criteria BCC uses to select lenders whose names it lists for student use.
- To know whether the published lenders are paying BCC or the financial staff.
- To know what benefits or rate discounts lenders offer, and whether those benefits or discounts will be made immediately available, or only after a certain number of consecutive timely payments
- To know if a lender has agreed to sell its loans to another lender.
- To know whether borrower benefits and discounts will continue if the loan is sold.
- To know the interest rate for the loan before borrowings.
- To exhaust federal borrowing options before turning to higher cost private loans.
(*Student Lending Accountability, Transparency and Enforcement Act adopted by the New York State Legislature in May 2007, and publicized by the Associated Press on May 24, 2007)
Financial Aid Code of Conduct - Student Loan Programs
BCC has adopted the Code of Conduct ** set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to ensure the integrity of education lending practices of Massachusetts public colleges and to formalize long-standing codes of conduct practiced by public institutions of higher education in their efforts to provide affordable access to higher education.
The primary goal of BCC and its financial aid staff is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. To this end, BCC, specifically its financial aid professionals, commit to a set of principles that serves as a common foundation for an acceptable standard of conduct.
The foregoing Student Borrower Bill of Rights is a variation on the Code of Conduct that is intended to enhance student understanding of their rights under the Code. **
(**The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education established a Code of Conduct-Student Loan Programs in June 2007, and called on each public institution of higher education in Massachusetts to adopt the Code. Accordingly, on August 28, 2007, BCC adopted the Code as specified and is complying fully with the Code.)
Financial Aid Recipients Withdrawal/Refund
The college is required to calculate a refund for students who receive federal or state financial aid and who drop out or withdraw from college.
- What Happens to Financial Aid if a Student Drops Out or Withdraws from College
If students drop out or completely withdraw from college, the amount of financial aid that can be applied to their tuition/fee bill and bookstore charges may be reduced. Federal regulations require students to attend at least 60% of the semester to "earn" 100% of their eligible financial aid.
If students drop out or withdraw from BCC before the 60% point in the semester (approximately the 9th week of fall/spring semester classes,) the amount of their financial aid will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of the semester attended. Example: Students who attend the first 30 days of a typical 110-day semester will qualify for only 27% of their eligible financial aid (30/110 = 27%).
- Possible Consequences of Dropping Out or Withdrawing from College
Students could find themselves owing a balance to the College; or, if a financial aid disbursement has already been made to them, they may be required to pay back the "unearned" portion of their financial aid. Failure to repay "unearned" financial aid can prevent students from receiving future financial aid at any college.
Another possible consequence of dropping out or withdrawing from college is failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress standards. Classes students start and do not successfully complete will count against them. For additional information, please refer to BCC's "Financial Aid Recipients Academic Progress/Suspension Policy," listed separately in this guide.
- Save Money, Avoid Future Problems: Complete an "Official" Withdrawal
BCC recognizes that circumstances beyond students' control can happen and withdrawal from college may be a necessity. Students in this situation are urged to complete BCC's official withdrawal process by contacting the Student Success Advisor (F-118) or Academic Advising Center (F-117) during the day; or the Registrar's Office (F-111) after 4 p.m.
To avoid future problems, students who receive aid (including student loans) should contact the Financial Aid office for guidance when considering leaving BCC. Students should not just stop attending classes. Having instructors withdraw students from their classes is not the same as an ‘official' withdrawal from college. Financial aid recipients who withdraw officially may be eligible for a one-time waiver of the balance owed BCC after their aid is reduced and returned to federal and state accounts. For more information about federal and state refund policies for financial aid recipients, contact the Financial Aid office (F-122, ext. 1642.)
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
In order to be eligible for financial aid consideration, a student must be making satisfactory academic progress according to the standard requirements shown in the box below. These requirements, set by the U.S. Department of Education in Section 668.16 of the Student Assistance General Provisions, apply to all sources and all types of aid administered by the Financial Aid office, including student loans. These requirements apply to all periods of enrollment including those for which the student did not receive financial aid. These requirements differ from BCC’s academic standards for eligibility to enroll in classes.
If you Have Minimum Percentage of Minimum Cumulative
Attempted Credits Credits You Must Complete Grade Point Average
1 to 29 50.0 % 1.500
30 to 44 58.5 % 1.750
45 & up 67.0 % 2.000
NOTE: Grades such as F, IN, RE, and W count towards attempted credits. A repeated class counts as another attempt, but only one of the attempts will be considered earned. Transfer credits from another college count towards both completed and attempted credits. A student can calculate his/her completion rate by dividing the cumulative number of credits completed by the cumulative number of credits attempted.
Maximum allowable credits
A student can receive financial aid for up to 150% of the published credits required for graduation from his/her program (excluding a maximum of 30 credits of any developmental coursework required). This limit applies to all credits attempted, including any program changes. Consideration will be given to dual majors and students seeking a second degree or certificate.
EXAMPLE: If a program requires 60 credits to graduate, a student can receive financial aid for up to 90 credits in that program.
- Timing/Scope of Review: BCC will evaluate a student’s academic progress each year for which the student files a FAFSA financial aid application to attend BCC and each semester for which the student receives financial aid. BCC reviews the student’s entire academic history, not just terms for which s/he received aid and not just the most recent term.
- Suspension: A student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress will be suspended from financial aid and can expect to receive a Financial Aid Suspension Letter and Appeal Form. A suspended student is not required to pay back grants or waivers already received, nor is s/he prevented from applying for financial aid at another college. However, the student is no longer eligible to receive future financial aid at BCC.
- Grounds for Appealing: A student who meets with the Student Standing Committee and is allowed to re-enroll at BCC must still separately appeal a financial aid suspension or be prepared to pay college charges out-of-pocket. The student may appeal a financial aid suspension based on admissible conditions listed on the Financial Aid Suspension Appeal form. Note: BCC will not consider appeals on the basis of pre-existing conditions or circumstances already cited on a previous appeal. Students may submit no more than 2 financial aid suspension appeals at BCC. However, if a student’s appeal is denied, s/he may re-appeal if and when circumstances change.
- Appeal Review: A suspended student should complete and submit the Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form with supporting documents to the Financial Aid Office by the deadlines on the form. The Director of Financial Aid and the Financial Aid Appeals Review Committee will review the appeal and inform the student of their decision by mail.
- Reinstatement/Probation: A student whose appeal is approved receives a Reinstatement of Financial Aid letter and is placed on Probation. The student will be required to limit his/her credit load to half-time status (6 to 8 credits per term) to ensure successful completion of all attempted credits and to bring the academic record into compliance with required standards as soon as possible. At BCC, a student can remain on Probation and remain eligible for financial aid for as many terms as needed to rehabilitate their academic record, providing the student makes satisfactory progress in all terms following the reinstatement of financial aid.
A student who is suspended can regain eligibility for financial aid consideration by successfully completing additional credits at his/her own expense or with the help of another agency, providing the student is still within maximum allowable credits. The student should notify the Financial Aid Office once s/he has rehabilitated their academic record to comply with satisfactory academic progress standards for financial aid.
For more information about the satisfactory academic progress/suspension policy for financial aid recipients, contact the Financial Aid office (F-122, ext. 1641).
Financial Aid Book Vouchers
A Book Voucher allows a student to use the presumed credit balance of financial aid, after tuition and fees, to purchase books at the Campus Bookstore. These funds are not additional financial aid. Please note – not all financial aid is available for Book Vouchers and not all students receiving financial aid are eligible. Eligible students will be allowed to charge the purchase of their books and other educational supplies to their student accounts.
If a student’s enrollment level changes and aid eligibility is otherwise affected after receipt of a book voucher, the resulting change may cause the student to owe a balance to the College. These balances are the sole responsibility of the student.
Book vouchers are available one week prior to the start of classes, provided that verification is complete and all conflicting information has been resolved. Book vouchers expire three weeks after the start of classes.
Financial Aid Funds Available for Book Vouchers
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- MASSGrant and Mass Cash Grant
- Direct Subsidized Loan (if student has had a previous disbursement of the loan, unless Pell eligible)
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan (if student has had a previous disbursement of the loan, unless Pell eligible)
Students will be held responsible for the full payment of any bookstore charges if they become ineligible for financial aid or their aid is not sufficient to cover the account balance. Failure to pay all charges will prevent students from registering for future courses as a hold will be placed on their academic records.
Students may “opt-out” by not charging their books to their student accounts. Choosing to “opt-out” will not affect student refundsor result in a faster refund.
Notice of book voucher balances will be available at MyBCC two weeks prior to classes starting. Balances are subject to change as students add or drop classes. Updated balances are available 24 hours after changes have been made. http://www.berkshirecc.edu/MyBCC
Financial Aid - Pell Grant Lifetime Limits
In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Federal Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Since this is a lifetime limit there are no grandfather clauses; it includes every semester a student has ever received a Pell Grant Award.
Students who have exceeded their lifetime limits have been alerted via email by the U.S. Department of Education during the processing of their FAFSA financial aid application. The percentages are based on the annual award at full-time enrollment status. For students with an annual award for the 2013-2014 academic year, attending 12 or more credits in each semester (Fall and Spring for example), the percentage used for the 2013-2014 academic year is 100%. If a student only attended 9 credits for each of the two semesters, the percentage used for the academic year would be 75%.
Effect on Students
Students should be conscious about the lifetime limit of their Pell Grant eligibility when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.
For the 2013-2014 financial aid awarding cycle, students who exceeded the lifetime limits or whose limits are greater than 450% have been identified in Datatel and will be notified by the College regarding their percentage of Pell eligibility.
For this population only, financial aid awards will be delayed until the Department of Education and NSLDS have completed the updates to the system (estimated July 2013). Once the updates have been received, students affected by the lifetime limits will be packaged and reviewed for packaging rationale integrity.
Students are encouraged to view the percentage of Pell Grant used by logging into NSLDS.ed.gov. The ‘Lifetime Eligibility Used’ percentage will be displayed in the ‘Grants’ section.
Financial Aid Policy on Repeat Coursework
Effective July 1, 2011, federal regulations (34 CFR Section 668.2(b)) limit student eligibility for repeated coursework. Only one repetition is allowed for a course that has been previously taken and passed. This change does not limit students from retaking previously passed coursework multiple times; it simply limits federal Title IV payment for previously passed courses.
Important points in this regulation:
- There is no limit on the number of times that financial aid can pay for repetition of a course that has not been passed.
- However, financial aid will pay for only one repetition of a course that was previously passed. (Passing includes grades of A, B, C or D.)
- This regulation applies to both full-time and part-time students.
- Full-time, for the purpose of determining repeat course eligibility, is defined as 12 credit hours.
- A student who is enrolled in 15 credits, for example, including a repeat course, will not be impacted because the student is enrolled in 12 credit hours which are not repeats.
Federal Title IV aid will be based on the student's adjusted enrollment status. This recalculation will be applied regardless of whether a student received aid for previous course enrollments. Students will be notified by mail if they are receiving Title IV aid and enrolled in non-repeatable coursework for a term.
A student takes a course and receives a grade of ‘D’. The student needs a ‘C’ in the course to count toward requirements for the degree. The student retakes the course (and receives aid) and earns another ‘D’. Although the student still needs to retake the course, s/he is no longer eligible to receive federal aid for that course.
A student repeats a previously passed course. The student receives an ‘F’ on the second attempt. The student attempts the course for the third time. The third course attempt will not be counted in the total enrollment hours and the student will not receive aid for that class.
A student repeats a previously passed course. The student withdraws from the course on the second attempt. The student attempts the course for the third time. The third course attempt will not be counted in total enrollment hours and the student will not receive aid for that class.
Appeals: will be considered for students with extenuating circumstances and proper documentation of new program or transferring degree requirements and who are making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid (see reverse).
With respect to Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and these new regulations: a repeated course (along with the original attempt) must be counted towards maximum time frame and completion rate. In other words, if a student does NOT receive additional credit, the repetition may count toward total credits attempted in a semester, but NOT toward the total number completed. A student may fall into trouble with SAP if s/he repeats a significant number of classes for which credit has already been received.
The college follows state guidelines which prohibit illegal gambling. This includes games that result in an exchange of money.
Golfing & Hunting on Campus
Golfing (including driving balls, chipping, and putting) on campus is allowed only in physical education classes. At no time is hunting permitted on college grounds.
The practice of hazing is prohibited by law in the state of Massachusetts. Hazing is defined as any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.
A copy of the law pertaining to the practice of hazing is printed below and is also available in the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management office. This policy will be distributed to every club or organization at Berkshire Community College. For further information contact the Director of Student Life.
269:17. Hazing: organizing or participating: hazing defined.
Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term "hazing," as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, of any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
269:18. Failure to report hazing
Section 18 Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
269:19. Issuance to students and student groups, teams and organizations; report.
Section 19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided however, that an institution's compliance with this section's requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institutions' recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.
Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team, or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually to the institution, an attested acknowledgment stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organization and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution's policies to its students. The board of regents and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.
Immunization and Medical Records
To comply with State legislation (Chapter 76, Section 15C, General Laws of Massachusetts) BCC has adopted the following procedures on student immunizations:
All health records will be confidentially maintained in the Immunization and Medical Records Office, located in the Susan B. Anthony Building, room #100.
Health records may include, but are not limited to, immunizations, physical exams, and physician correspondence/referrals.
Any request by a student for his/her health record requires a signed authorization from the student.
Release of any medical records to a college or contractual agency is only with the expressed approval of the student. Note, however,that immunization information (not medical history) for all Nursing and Allied Health students may be shared with the Dean of Nursing, Health and Social Sciences, Department Chair and contracted agencies to allow for clinical experiences.
State Mandated Immunizations
Depending upon a student's status, there are certain immunizations that are required in order to attend college in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These include proof of immunization against tetanus-diphtheria (Td or Tdap), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox) and tuberculosis (TB). A student who obtains immunizations or antibody laboratory blood tests (titers) must include a laboratory report proof of immunity. The student is responsible for submitting documentation of his/her immunization record to the Immunization Records Office within 30 days of starting classes. Students who are not in compliance with these mandated immunizations will be unable to pre-register for classes. Nursing and Allied Health students must complete all medical requirements and a history/physical report prior to beginning classes or clinical rotations.
All foreign-born students are required to have complete immunization upon entering BCC. This would include Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap), two measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), a series of three Hepatitis B vaccines, two varicella (chicken pox) vaccines and a current negative tuberculosis test result or a negative chest x-ray.
Requirements for Nursing and Allied Health Students
In addition to the requirements listed above, students enrolled in any Nursing and Allied Health program are required to have a history and physical report which is to be completed only on the BCC approved health and physical form. Immunization information (not medical history) for all Nursing and Allied Health students may be shared with the Dean of Nursing, Health and Social Sciences, Department Chair and contracted agencies to allow for clinical experiences. Please be advised that students enrolled in certain Health and Behavioral Sciences programs which require clinical or fieldwork study may be required by the placement affiliate agency to undergo and pass a drug screening analysis in order to be eligible. Students who either fail to pass, or refuse to submit to a drug screening analysis will be deemed ineligible for clinical placement, which may affect their status in the program. Please direct any questions pertaining to this policy to the office of the Dean of Nursing, Health & Social Sciences.
The regulations for each vaccine preventable disease are described below:
Hepatitis B: a series of three injections of vaccine given over a six-month period. *If there is an interruption in the schedule, the series should not be started again. Continue with the series until all three doses have been administered. If there is a question of immunity, have a titer blood test drawn one month after the final vaccine has been administered. A reminder will be sent to the student from the Immunization and Medical Records Office if the series is not complete. Nursing and Allied Health students must begin the Hepatitis B series at least six months before the start of clinical rotations since these programs are under obligation of a contracted agency to provide proof of the student inoculation.
Tetanus diphtheria (Td): the vaccine must be administered within the last 5 years, or for tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) the vaccine must be administered within the last 10 years.
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): two doses of vaccine given at least one month apart, at or after 12 months of age.
Tuberculosis (TB): A yearly test for all Nursing and Allied Health program students as well as for any incoming foreign-born student. *TB tests require a reading done 48 to 72 hours after the test has been administered. If the test is not read 72 hours later, the student must redo the test. Please note that if an MMR inoculation has been administered within the last 6 weeks, a student must wait to have TB testing done as the test could result in a false positive. A TB test can be performed first without a waiting period. If a tuberculosis test result is positive, a negative chest x-ray is required. Negative chest x-rays are acceptable within the last 5 year period. If the chest x-ray is positive, a treatment schedule must accompany the result.
Varicella (chicken pox): two doses of vaccine, medical proof of disease or a positive laboratory blood test (titer).
Note: BCC is required to maintain immunization records for Tdap/Td, MMR , hepatitis B and vericella on all full-time (12 credits or more) students, all Nursing/Allied Health students (regardless of the number of credits,) and all foreign-born students (regardless of number of credits).
These vaccines may only be declined for medical or religious reasons. In the event a student declines due to religious reasons, the student must complete and file the necessary forms, which may be obtained at the Immunization and Medical Records Office. If a student is unable to receive an immunization due to medical reasons, documentation from the student's physician must be filed in the Immunization and Medical Records Office. It is also highly recommended that these students have blood testing done to show possible immunity.
If an outbreak of measles, mumps or rubella occurs, students who are not immunized will be notified by the Immunization and Medical Records Office via telephone and/or certified mail. It is then the responsibility of the student to determine whether or not to attend classes. It is advised that students update telephone numbers and addresses to assure proper notification.
I.D. Card Information
I.D. Cards can be obtained and/or updated, at no charge, in the Student Life Office Monday-Friday, 9:00-3:00. There is a fee of $5, however, for replacement cards. I.D. Cards are necessary for many college services, (e.g. The College Store requires a photo ID for financial aid recipient charges) the use of designated facilities (e.g. Paterson Field House and the Jonathan Edwards Library) and student activities. In addition, I.D. Cards must be shown to professional and security staff members upon request.
International Student Regulations
Students from other countries, who hold a student visa (F1) enabling them to attend BCC, should be aware of regulations specific to their situation. An international student must normally maintain full-time status, that is, 12 credits or more, throughout each semester.
International students must contact the Admissions Office before withdrawing from full-time enrollment, leaving the country, or transferring to another institution.
Tuition for international students remains at the non-resident rate for the duration of the student's time at BCC.
All foreign-born students must provide complete immunization. This includes current tuberculosis testing (TB or chest x-ray), tetanus-diphtheria (Td or Tdap), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), hepatitis B, and varicella (chicken pox). Antibody laboratory blood tests (titers) must include laboratory report proof of immunity. Medical forms from doctors’ offices should include vaccinations in English.
Internet: Acceptable Use and Conditions and Rules for Use
Acceptable Use - The purpose of Internet is to facilitate communications in support of research and education by providing access to unique resources and an opportunity for collaborative work. To remain eligible as a user, the use of your account must be in support of and consistent with the educational objectives of BCC. Use of the Internet is for academic purposes only.
Transmission of any material in violation of any United States or state regulation is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, copyrighting material, threatening or obscene material, or material protected by trade secret. Use for commercial activities is prohibited. Use for product advertisement or political lobbying is also prohibited.
Privilege - The use of Internet is a privilege, not a right; it is to be used for academic purposes only. Inappropriate use, including any violation of these conditions and rules, may result in cancellation of the privilege, as well as possible civil and/or criminal sanctions. The account holder or user is solely responsible for any and all materials viewed, stored, or transmitted from BCC-based computers. BCC expects, however, that all account holders or users will comply with all College rules and regulations related to Internet use, as well as applicable state and federal law. If BCC, however, receives notice of a violation of its rules, and/or state or federal law, BCC reserves the right to deny, revoke, suspend, or close any user account. Further, no account holder or user should have an expectation of privacy over e-mail transmissions and the College reserves the right to block any "mass" e-mail transmissions.
- Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. A user must never allow others to use his/her password. Users should also protect their passwords to ensure system security and their privileges and ability to continue use of the system. Attempts to log on to the Internet with other than your own account will result in cancellation of user privileges.
- If you feel you can identify a security problem on the Internet, you must notify a system administrator.
Vandalism and Harassment
- Vandalism and harassment will result in cancellation of user privileges.
- Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm, modify, and destroy data of another user, Internet, or other networks that are connected to the Internet backbone. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creating of computer viruses or intentionally disrupting network traffic or crashing the network and connected systems.
- Harassment is defined as the persistent annoyance of another user or the interference of another user's work. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the sending of unwanted mail, Trojan horses, logic bombs, trapdoors, backdoors, viruses and worms.
Monitoring - BCC reserves the right to review any material on user accounts and to monitor fileserver space. The system administrator has the right to restrict or terminate network and Internet access at any time for cause. The system administrator further has the right to monitor network activity in any form that it sees fit to maintain the integrity of the network.
No Warranties - BCC makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. BCC will not be responsible for any damages a user suffers. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, no-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or service interruptions cause by BCC negligence or by the user's errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at the user's own risk. BCC specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its services. All users need to consider the source of any information they obtain and consider how valid that information may be.
Procedures for Use
- Student users must sign-in legibly on the appropriate log each time they use the network.
- Users shall not play games or use the computer resources for other non-academic activities.
Encounter of Controversial Material - On the Internet it is impossible to control the content of data and a user may discover controversial materials. If you feel you are being harassed or the system is being used in an inappropriate manner, it is your responsibility to notify the systems administrator. BCC shall not be held liable for any decision to restrict or regulate access to Internet materials nor for the student's encounters, access, or use of any inappropriate or controversial material.
Network Etiquette- All users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. These include but are not limited to, the following:
- Do not reveal your personal address or phone numbers or of students and colleagues.
- Note that electronic mail (e-mail) is not private. People who operate the system do have access to all mail. Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities will be reported to the authorities and will result in the loss of user privileges.
- Do not use the Internet in such a way that you would disrupt the use of the network by other users.
- All communications and information accessible via the Internet should be assumed to be the private property of those who put it on the network.
Penalties for Improper Use - When improper use is detected, the user may, depending on the severity of the abuse:
- Receive an oral warning
- Receive a written warning
- Receive a written warning and/or interim suspension of privileges and notice of a hearing within two working days
- Have privileges formally withdrawn after a hearing
- Face criminal prosecution if possible breach of law is involved
Further, intentional or unintentional misuse of this service by an account holder or user may result in a violation of civil and/or criminal statutes, including, but not limited to, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Massachusetts' Wire Tap and/or Privacy laws, defamation, copyright and/or trademark infringement laws, and/or sexual harassment or discrimination laws.(May 1997)
Non-Discrimination and Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities
It is illegal to discriminate against an otherwise qualified individual with a disability. The Community Colleges recognize the multitude of barriers that confront persons with disabilities in access to both employment and education. Consistent with state and federal statutes that affirm and protect the equal opportunity rights of persons with disabilities, the Community Colleges adopt a policy of non‑discrimination and equal opportunity for otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Any employee or student who believes he/she has been a victim of discrimination due to a disability may file a complaint pursuant to the Complaint Procedures found at Section L of this Policy.
a. In Employment
The Community Colleges will take constructive measures to ensure equal opportunity in all areas of employment including recruitment, selection, upgrading, opportunities for training and development, rate of compensation, benefits and all other terms and conditions of employment. Further, the Colleges will periodically examine all existing employment policies, practices and facilities to ensure that they do not pose a disparate impact for otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. Where such disparity is found, it will be corrected as quickly and completely as is reasonable under existing circumstances. Accordingly, all College facilities may not be available and accessible at a particular time.
b. In Education
The Colleges will periodically examine all existing admissions, student support and other student life policies, practices and facilities to assure that they do not pose a disparate impact for otherwise qualified disabled students. Where such disparity is found, it will be corrected as quickly and completely as is reasonable under existing circumstances. Accordingly, all College facilities may not be available and accessible at a particular time. The Colleges will adopt a policy of non‑discrimination with respect to admissions, access to programs and facilities and services for all otherwise qualified disabled persons.
c. Reasonable Accommodations
A “reasonable accommodation” under state and federal law is defined as “modifications or adjustments to an application process, job, work environment, the way in which work is customarily performed, or a course of study that permit a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a position or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment or education equally with persons without disabilities.”
Reasonable accommodations in employment may include, but are not limited to:
- making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;
- job restructuring;
- modification of work schedules;
- providing additional unpaid leave;
- acquiring or modifying equipment or devices; and
- providing qualified readers or interpreters.
The Community Colleges are not required to lower performance standards to make an accommodation and are not obligated to provide personal use items, such as eyeglasses or hearing aids.
Reasonable accommodations in education may include, but are not limited to:
- in-class aids, such as note takers;
- extended time for examination;
- quiet rooms or alternate locations for testing;
- alternatively formatted testing; alternatively formatted textbooks and other course materials; and/or
- access to assistive technology.
Possible course reductions or substitutions on the basis of a disability will be carefully evaluated.
Students with disabilities must meet the essential requirements of all academic degree programs.
d. Interactive Process
State and federal laws define the “interactive process” as an ongoing communication between, among other parties, employer and employee, college and student, with a known disability in an effort to provide reasonable accommodation. Both parties must engage in the interactive process and communicate directly with each other in order to formulate and effective accommodation plan. Neither party can delay nor interfere with the process.e.
e. Undue Hardship and Fundamental Alteration
The Community Colleges are required to make reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of a College’s business or result in a fundamental alteration of a job or academic course or program. Undue hardship means an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as a College’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation. Fundamental alteration is a change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature a job or an academic course or program.
f. Process for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation
An employee or job applicant seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability may contact the College’s Office for Human Resources. A student or student applicant seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability may contact the Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center. All requests for an accommodation are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Individuals seeking accommodations should be prepared to submit current medical documentation for review in the accommodation process.
Where is Parking on Campus?
BCC has three parking lots surrounding the campus with space for 1,053 vehicles. Parking is free and on a first-come, first-served basis and each parking area provides space for handicapped persons, students, and faculty/staff. Visitor parking is provided in a designated lot on East Rd. Vehicles parked in unauthorized areas will be ticketed. Payments are accepted at the Student Billing Office, F108, in the form of cash, money order, check, or credit card. Students are encouraged to arrive on campus at least ten minutes before their classes start. In order to provide safe and easy access to buildings for emergencies, parking regulations are strictly enforced by college personnel.
On-campus parking areas are assigned in the following way:
- Disabled Parking sections are in the Paterson Field lot, the North lot, the area on the east side of the Susan B. Anthony College Center and along the Fire Road. Anyone who parks in these areas must display a state issued handicap placard or plate.
- Student Parking is between painted lines in north, central, and south lots in areas not designated for faculty/staff or handicapped persons.
- Faculty/Staff Parking is along East Road and designated areas in north, central, and south lots, and on the Fire Road. Cars must display faculty/staff stickers.
- Visitor Parking IS NOT for faculty, staff, or students at any time.
- Daycare drop-off and pickup is for the use of Norman Rockwell Early Child Care patrons and for the purpose of child pickup and drop-off only.
Following is a complete list of parking violations
- Upon any part of any highway in such manner as to impede removal or plowing of snow and ice.
- Upon any sidewalk.
- Upon any highway with twenty (20) feet of any intersecting way, except alleys.
- Within ten (10) feet of a fire hydrant.
- By other than a handicapped person in any HANDICAPPED PARKING space.
- In front of any driveway.
- So as to obstruct traffic.
- In front of any barricade erected-temporarily or permanently-to close a way to vehicular traffic.
- Taking up two parking spaces will be considered a violation.
- On land, except a designated parking lot, not designated for vehicular traffic such as walks, lawns, and open fields.
- In front of a gateway or entrance to an athletic field or other field or open area.
- Upon any way that is an entrance to a parking area.
- In any Service Zone except while actually engaged in loading and unloading.
- Adjacent to any building in such a manner as to obstruct an exit or entrance thereto.
- In any Bus Stop.
- In any area designated as Reserved for Fire, Police, Ambulance, or other emergency vehicle.
- By other than a bona fide visitor in any parking lot, area, stall, or space designated as VISITOR PARKING.
- Except for official vehicles, in any parking lot, area, stall, or space designated as AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY, or for RESERVED PARKING.
- In any area designated NO PARKING.
- In the wrong direction.
- Overtime in restricted area.
Parking in any of the above manners shall constitute illegal parking and the vehicle will be assessed a $15 fine (except #5- in a handicapped space- which will have a $25 fine assessed) Fines and appeals are handled through the office of Student Billing, extension 3043.
If an issued ticket is unpaid after 21 days, an additional $10 fine is imposed, and only one late payment notice is sent. If the ticket is still unpaid after 90 days, the matter is turned over to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry will impose an additional $30 fine as prescribed by law. The RMV will not renew the driver's license and/or car registration until the fines are paid.
BCC reserves the right to hold grades, transcripts, registration, and graduation of all violators with unpaid fines.
Upon the sixth (6th) and each subsequent violation by an individual, in addition to the ticket, the vehicle will be immobilized with a "Denver Boot" until all fines have been paid. An additional fee of $25 will be charged to have the boot removed from the immobilized car.
Any dispute over parking tickets must be handled through an appeal process. Security does not have the authority to "fix" a ticket. Appeal forms are available through, and must be filed at, the student billing office within 14 days of issuance date on ticket. The original ticket must be submitted with the filed appeal. All appeals are reviewed by the College Parking Appeals Committee once a month. The decision of the committee is final.
Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty
Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty in writing. When a student uses another writer's words and/or ideas and presents it as his/her own, he/she is plagiarizing. The faculty and staff at Berkshire Community College consider plagiarism a serious offense and encourage students to produce their best work, using their own ideas and language. When a student does use another writer's ideas and wording to support his/her own writing, he/she must give that writer credit.
If a situation arises in which an instructor suspects a student of plagiarizing and the problem cannot be resolved between the instructor and the student, then the instructor may refer the case to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who would then follow Due Process Guidelines to resolve the problem. If the student feels unjustly charged with plagiarism, he/she could use the grievance process in this policy guide as a means of resolving the problem.
Policy Against Discriminatory Harassment and Retaliation
The mission of the Community Colleges is to educate, train and prepare our students to live and work in our increasingly global and diverse workforce. It is our commitment to take all possible steps to provide an inclusive and diverse learning, living, and work environment that values diversity and cultural tolerance and looks with disfavor on intolerance and bigotry. Any condition or force that impedes the fullest utilization of the human and intellectual resources available represents a force of destructive consequences for the development of our Commonwealth and ultimately, our nation.
Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, Protected Class(s)/Classification(s) and Retaliation are defined under the “Definitions” section of this Policy.
The Policy prohibits all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation, which deny or have the effect of denying to any person their rights to equity and security on the basis of their membership in or association with a member(s) of any protected class. This policy reaffirms the values of civility, appreciation for racial/ethnic/cultural/religious pluralism and pre-eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community, which recognizes and utilizes the resources of all people.
In order to promote an atmosphere in which diversity is valued and the worth of individuals is recognized, the Colleges will distribute policy statements and conduct educational programs to combat discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation.
The prohibited conduct contained in this Policy shall apply to and be enforced against all members of the College community, including, but not limited to, faculty, librarians, administrators, staff, students, vendors, contractors and all others having dealings with the institution.
Conduct That is Not Prohibited
The Community Colleges are committed to protecting, maintaining and encouraging both freedom of expression and full academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, service, and research. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to penalize a member of the College community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea in the process of responsible teaching and learning. Accordingly, any form of speech or conduct that is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is not subject to this policy.
The Community Colleges have established a specific internal Complaint Procedure to help resolve claims and complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation on their campuses (see Section L). Any applicant for employment or admission, any student or employee, and any other member of the College community who believes that he or she has been a victim of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation may initiate complaint as outlined in the Policy’s Complaint Procedures. Further advice or information may be obtained by contacting the Affirmative Action Officer.
Duty to Cooperate
Every faculty member, librarian, administrator, staff member and College employee has a duty to cooperate fully and unconditionally in an investigation conducted pursuant to this Policy’s Complaint Procedure, subject to the provisions of any relevant collective bargaining agreements.
This duty includes, among other things, speaking with the Affirmative Action Officer, Title IX Coordinator or other authorized personnel or investigator and voluntarily providing all information and documentation which relates to the claim being investigated. The failure and/or refusal of any employee to cooperate in an investigation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Duty to Report
No member of the College community who receives a complaint of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation can ignore it; he or she should give to the person making the complaint as much assistance in bringing it to the attention of the Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator as is reasonably appropriate given his or her position at the College and relationship with the person making the complaint. Any trustee, administrator, department chair, program coordinator, manager or supervisor who receives a complaint of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation from a student or other member of the College community is obligated to report the complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer as soon as he or she becomes aware of it. In the case of claims of sexual harassment or sexual violence, reports shall be made to the Title IX Coordinator. Any investigation of such allegations shall be conducted by the College’s Affirmative Action Officer and/or the Title IX Coordinator.
Similarly, all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and others having dealings with the institution are encouraged to report to the Affirmative Action Officer or the Title IX Coordinator any conduct of which they have direct knowledge and which they in good faith believe constitutes discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation in violation of this Policy.
Any member of the College community who has a question about his or her responsibilities under this policy should contact the Affirmative Action Officer.
Filing a false charge of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation is a serious offense. If an investigation reveals that a complainant knowingly filed false charges, the College shall take appropriate actions and issue sanctions pursuant to other applicable College policies, including any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The imposition of such sanctions does not constitute retaliation under this Plan.
Policy Against Sexual Harassment
It is the goal of the Community Colleges to promote an educational environment and workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of students or employees occurring in the classroom or the workplace is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community College. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated and we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with, if encountered by students or employees.
Because the Community Colleges take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective measures, including disciplinary action where appropriate and consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
a. submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment or academic decisions; or
b. such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive learning or working environment.
Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor or instructor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job or academic benefits constitute sexual harassment. The following are some examples of conduct, that either alone or in combination, which may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:
- Unwelcome sexual advances - whether they involve physical touching or not.
- Repeated, unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual intercourse.
- Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life; comment on an individual's body, comment about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess.
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons.
- Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments.
- Verbal harassment or abuse on the basis of sex.
- Inquiries into another person’s sexual activities, practices or experiences.
- Discussion of one's own sexual activities, practices or experience.
The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and applies to any individual of either gender who participates in the college community, including a student, faculty member, administrator or any other person having dealings with the college. In addition, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating workplace or academic environment to male or female workers or students may also constitute sexual harassment.
It is important to note that when assessing whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, a “reasonable person standard” shall be applied. The term “reasonable person” is used to describe an objective standard to determine if harassment has occurred. Under the standard, in order for conduct and behavior to be considered sexual harassment, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.
All employees and students should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment, or retaliation against individuals who have cooperated with an investigation of sexual harassment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community Colleges.
(1) Faculty/Administrator/Staff Member Relationships with Students
A romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, between a faculty member, administrator or staff member and a student is looked upon with disfavor and is strongly discouraged. No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is being taught or advised by the faculty member or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member. No administrator or staff member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who the administrator or staff member supervises, evaluates, advises, or provides other professional advice or services as part of a College program or activity.
(2) Relationships Between Supervisors, Subordinates or Co-Workers
A consenting romantic and/or sexual relationship between a supervisor and subordinate or co-workers may interfere with or impair the performance of professional duties and responsibilities and/or create an appearance of bias or favoritism. Further, such relationships could implicate state ethics laws and/or result in claims of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Therefore, such workplace relationships are strongly discouraged.
Complaints of Sexual Harassment
If any student or employee believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, the student or employee has the right to file an Affirmative Action Discrimination Complaint Form (see Appendix A) with the College. For more information or assistance with filing a complaint, please contact the College’s Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator. If the Affirmative Action Officer or the Title IX Coordinator is the subject of a complaint, the President shall designate another College official to administer the Complaint Procedures.
All complaints will be investigated in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. If it is determined that a violation of this Policy has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the harassing conduct, and take disciplinary action where warranted. All disciplinary action taken shall be consistent with any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The Duty to Cooperate, Duty to Report, and the obligation to avoid making False Charges, as discussed previously in this Policy, shall be fully applicable under this section.
Institutional Measures to Confront Sexual Harassment
The Community Colleges are committed to promoting, to the greatest degree possible, an environment free from sexual harassment. To this end, the Colleges will take the following steps:
- Distribute this Policy against sexual harassment to all segments of the College community on an annual basis;
2. Post this Policy against sexual harassment; and
3. Conduct educational programs for the College community regarding the causes, character and consequences of sexual harassment as well as the steps available to stop such practices on the campus.
State and Federal Remedies
In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with the governmental agencies set forth below. Filing a complaint under this Policy does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies.
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")One Congress Street
10th Floor Boston, MA 02114
The Office For Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (“OCR”)Department of Education
John W. McCormack Post
Office and Courthouse
Boston, MA 02109
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD")
Boston Office: Worcester Office:One Ashburton Place Worcester City Hall
Rm. 601 455 Main Street, Room 101
Boston, MA 02108 Worcester, MA 01608
(617) 727-3990 (508) 799-8010
Springfield Office: New Bedford Office:424 Dwight Street 800 Purchase St., Rm 501
Rm. 220 New Bedford, MA 02740
Springfield, MA 01103 (508) 990-2390
The Massachusetts State Police is responsible for investigating all actions or incidences on campus that may have potential criminal implications. BCC Campus Security and BCC administrators will assist the State Police with the investigation. An incident report detailing the investigation will be prepared by BCC Campus Security and forwarded to the Vice President of Administration and Finance.
For any incident that involves a student, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, Michael Bullock ext. 1601, (or his/her designee) is responsible for making contact with the student and, in conjunction with Campus Security, arranging for a confidential area for the student to be questioned by the State Police. The Vice President (or his/her designee) may be present, if so requested by the student, during any questioning by the State Police to make sure that the student's rights are upheld. In all cases involving a student, any related incident reports will be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services.
Recruitment and Hiring
Berkshire Community College is firmly committed to ensuring equal opportunity and quality at all levels of the college. Procedures for recruitment and hiring shall reflect this commitment in keeping with the Mission and other policies of the college. Every effort shall be made to recruit and hire the best-qualified individuals for all positions including faculty, professional, and support personnel. These efforts will be characterized by:
- Aggressive recruitment through regional and national advertising
- All searches for permanent faculty and professional positions will be national in scope whenever possible
- Maintenance of specific recruitment lists of universities and organizations that train in a specific job or have specific contact with minority groups shall remain current and be used
- Strict adherence to the Affirmative Action Policy of the College
- Uniform interviewing procedures for all candidates
- Consistent monitoring of curriculum needs of the institution
- Clear understanding of the fiscal needs of the institution
The Office of Human Resources shall administer the recruitment and hiring process in compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. The President shall be the college's appointing authority and, in the case of faculty or professional staff, the President's recommendation to hire is submitted via monthly personnel actions to the Board of Trustees for approval before a person may be officially appointed to the position.
Berkshire Community College generally permits service animals assisting individuals with disabilities in all facilities maintained by the College. Therefore, an individual with a disability shall be permitted to be accompanied by his/her service animal in all areas of the College’s facilities where members of the public are permitted. The College reserves the right to impose restrictions on the use of service animals on its property in order to maintain safety or to avoid disruption of College operations.
This policy applies only to facilities owned by the College or under its control. Please be advised that there may be restrictions imposed on the use of service animals in non-college facilities, such as hospitals, science laboratories or other clinical or internship experience locations. Such restrictions are established by the individual facilities according to their own policies and procedures and the College has no control over such restrictions.
“Service Animal” Defined
The Americans with Disabilities Act’s regulations define “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. However, in certain instances, the use of other animals as a service animal may be permitted under other laws so please consult with the College’s Disability Services Officer.
Type of Work or Tasks a Service Animal May Provide
Work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to its handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks performed by service animals include, but are not limited to:
- assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks;
- alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds;
- providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
- pulling a wheelchair;
- assisting an individual during a seizure;
- alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
- retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
- providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities; and
- helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
Services that do not qualify as work or tasks performed by a service animal include:
- crime deterrent effects; or
- the provision of emotional support, comfort, or companionship, often referred to as “therapy” or “companion” animals.
Service Animal Documentation
Consistent with state law, all dogs on campus shall:
- possess an animal license in compliance with Massachusetts law;
- be properly immunized and vaccinated; and,
- wear a current license and rabies vaccination tag.
It is recommended that a service animal wear some type of recognizable symbol identifying it as a service animal. However, there is no requirement for documentation to prove that the animal has had particular training or is a “certified” service animal.
Registration of a Service Animal on Campus
When practicable, a student or employee seeking to use a service animal is requested to notify the Office of Disability Services prior to bringing the animal on to College property. A service animal’s handler will be askedto complete a voluntaryService Animal Registration Form . This document shall be maintained confidentially by the College. If the animal qualifies as a service animal, the handler will voluntarily agree tocomply with this policy at all times while the animal is on College property. Members of the general public intending to visit the college with a service animal should notify the College’s Office of Disability Services in advance when practicable. Specific questions related to the use of service animals on College property can be directed to Pamela Farron via email at email@example.com or by phone at 413-236-1608.
Permissible Inquiries about a Service Animal
It is permissible for the College to make the following inquiries in order to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:
- is the animal required because of a disability? and
- what work or task is the animal trained to perform?
The College shall not inquire about the nature or extent of a person’s disability. Further, the College shall not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
Control of a Service Animal
The College is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. A service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times. A service animal shall have a leash or other tether, unless the handler is unable because of a disability to use a leash or other tether, or the use of such would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of its work or tasks. Under those circumstances where a service animal is not tethered, the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
Health, Hygiene and Cleanliness
Service animals must be clean. Daily grooming and occasional baths should be utilized to keep the animal’s odor to a minimum. Adequate flea prevention and control must be maintained. If a service animal’s odor is offensive to other individuals, the handler will be requested to bathe the service animal prior to returning to the College. A service animal’s handler must clean up after the animal. If due to a disability the handler is unable to do so, the handler shall make alternative arrangements to do so.
Exclusion of a Service Animal from College Property
The College may direct an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal:
- is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it (including the animal poses a direct threat to others on campus and/or exhibits behavior that interferes with the educational process);
- is not housebroken, is ill, or presents a reoccurring offensive odor; and/or
- is not properly licensed and/or vaccinated.
If the College excludes a service animal from its premises, it shall still afford the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in its programs or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
Public Etiquette Rules
Members of the public should avoid:
- petting a service animal as it may distract the animal from its work;
- feeding a service animal;
- deliberately startling a service animal;
- calling or attempting to attract the attention of a service animal; and
- attempting to separate a service animal from its handler.
Any person who believes that his/her rights to use a service animal on College property have been violated may file a complaint under the College’s Affirmative Action Plan by contacting the College’s Affirmative Action Officer. POLICY January 2013
Service Animal Registration Form
Service Animal Handler Information
Phone Number: Email:
College ID #:
Please check status: Student □ Employee □ Visitor □
Service Animal Information
Type of Animal and Breed:
Physical Description of Animal:
State of Licensure and License Number:
Veterinarian: Phone #:
Recent Vaccination and Immunization History:
Service Animal Eligibility Information
Is the animal required because of a disability? YES________ NO_________
What work or task is the animal trained to perform?
I verify that I have read and understand the College’s Service Animal Policy and will abide by its requirements.
Handler’s Name Date
Fed law/ADA/service animals/registration form 3-6-12-#t
Sex Offender Information
Community Notification and Distribution
When the College receives notification from the Sex Offender Registration Board that a student or employee has been classified as a Level 2 or 3 sex offender, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall meet with the offender to
- Inform the offender of the College’s knowledge of his/her final classification;
- Outline the College’s obligation to provide public access to Level 2 & 3 offender information through its Campus Security office;
- Inform the offender of the College’s policy of community notification; and
- Provide the offender with a copy of the public notification the College intends to release.
Level 3 offender notices shall be posted in the following locations: Jonathan Edwards Library, Campus Security office, Paterson Fitness Center, the Norman Rockwell Child Care Center and other public places as appropriate. Community notification will be made within 2 days of receiving notice from the Board of a final classification of a Level 3 offender.
Notification of Where to Access Sex Offender Information
In accordance with federal law, the College is required to advise the campus community where information concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. Information concerning Level 2 and Level 3 offenders is available to the general public by contacting your local police department or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Sex Offender Registry Board, located at P.O. Box 4547, Salem, MA 01970-4547, (978)-740-6400. Level 3 offender information is also available on-line at www.mass.gov/sorb. Level 2 and 3 sex offender information is maintained in a binder located in the College's Security Office. It is available for public inspection and copies of Level 2 and 3 notices may be provided upon appropriate written request using the Sex Offender Registry Board's form: "Request for Sex Offender Information from City/Town Police Departments." This form may be picked up in the Security Office.
Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) Checks
Students interested in participating in an academic, community or clinical program that involves working with a vulnerable population (children, the disabled, or the elderly) will be required to undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check. Students found to have certain criminal convictions or pending criminal actions will be presumed ineligible to participate in such activities unless cleared by BCC’s CORI Review Committee following procedures set forth by the Commonwealth's Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). The College is authorized by the DCJIS, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Sections 167A, 172, Chapter 30A, and regulation 803CMR2:00 to review and assess criminal history records. Sex Offender checks shall be performed pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Section 178J. For more information regarding the College's CORI/SORI check process, please contact Mary Martin, CORI Administrator, extension 1602.
Smoke-Free Campus Policy
I. Individuals Affected by this Policy:
All individuals on Berkshire Community College’s campus.
II. Policy Statement:
Smoking is prohibited on all property owned or operated by Berkshire Community College (BCC). This consists of all buildings, all grounds, including exterior open spaces, parking lots, on-campus sidewalks, roadways and driveways, recreational spaces and practice facilities; and in all College-owned or leased vehicles. Smoking will only be allowed in private vehicles, lawfully parked on campus lots (North, Central and/or South lots), in which the smoker is authorized to be.
III. Rationale for Policy:
Berkshire Community College recognizes the medical evidence that indicates that smoking is a serious health hazard, and that this health hazard extends to non-smokers subjected to second-hand smoke. BCC is committed to promoting a healthy and safe environment for everyone on campus. This policy is intended to reduce the health risks related to secondhand smoke for the campus community, providing a healthy learning and working environment.
Smoking - the burning of tobacco or any other material in any type of smoking equipment, including but not restricted to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or electronic vapor-cigarettes.
A. Effective implementation of the policy depends on the courtesy, respect and cooperation of all members of the campus community. All members of the College community may, but are not required to, assist in this endeavor to make BCC smoke free through supportive and non-confrontational efforts to inform the offending party of the existence of this policy and/or by requesting that he or she adhere to its conditions.
B. Complaints concerning employees of the College should be brought to the attention of the employee’s immediate supervisor, or in the alternative to the Vice President for Human Resources. Complaints concerning students should be brought to the attention of Campus Security or the Vice President for Student Affairs (the College’s Student Code of Conduct Officer). Any disciplinary measures will be reserved for repeat infractions or infractions that interfere with the College’s academic or workplace needs or responsibilities, consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreement procedures or the Student Code of Conduct.
C. Visitors who fail to comply with the policy may be prohibited from remaining on or returning to campus.
- BCC Day Classes: A decision will be made by 6:00 a.m. if the college will be delayed in opening, or if day classes are cancelled and the college will be closed.
- BCC Evening Classes: A decision will be made by 3:00 p.m. if evening classes are cancelled and at 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
- BCC Clinical or Practicum Students: Refer to complete policy in program handbook.
In the event of a delay, campus opening time will be the top of the hour (9:00, 10:00 etc.) Classes with other start times, such as on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the next full class session will meet (e.g. for a 9:00 opening, the 9:25 class will be the first to convene.) Any classes that were scheduled to start prior to the stated opening time will be considered cancelled.
You have the option of being notified of delays and cancellations through BCC’s Emergency Notification System (ENS). To receive this service (an automated phone call or text message) you must sign up through BCC’s WebAdvisor at www.berkshirecc.edu.
For information on cancellations/delays refer to the following:
School Closing Network
WBEC 1420 AM/LIVE 95.5 FM
Capitol News 9
WUPE 94.1 FM (South County) 100.1 FM (Central) 1110AM
WGY 810, WNYT TV, WRGB TV, WRVE-The River, WTEN TV, WYJB-B95.5, WXXA TV
WBRK 1340 AM/STAR 101.7 FM
WTIC/WRCH/WZMX-CBS RA-Hartford Storm Center
WSBS 860 AM
WWLP- Channel 22
WNAW 1230 AM
The Times Union
WMNB 100.1 FM
WKZE 1020 AM/ 98.1 FM
Recognized on-campus clubs and/or organizations who have received prior approval from the Director of Student Life are the only groups allowed to use the campus property for donations or sales. No individual or commercial ventures may solicit donations, or sell goods, on campus for personal or commercial gain. BCC clubs/organizations who wish to use campus property for such purpose must see the Director of Student Engagement for approval. Materials produced for the promotion of an event must bear the name of the sponsoring club and/or organization. Credit card and Bank solicitations are prohibited.
Support of and Commitment to Diversity
The Community Colleges have historically been a major contributing element to the emergence of our nation as one of the most technologically and economically advanced societies of the world. The important role that the Community Colleges can play is profoundly dependent upon the extent to which they may draw from the full collective of intellectual resources within each College's community of scholars, students, and administrators. Any condition or force that impedes the fullest utilization of the human and intellectual resources available represents a force of destructive consequence for the development of our Commonwealth, and ultimately, our nation.
Community College students, faculty, staff and visitors must be free from conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance and creating an intimidating, hostile or demeaning educational or employment environment. Therefore, the Community Colleges establish a policy of unequivocal condemnation of all forms of ethnic, religious, cultural, or racial intolerance within the fifteen College communities.
This policy condemns all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of verbal harassment or abuse, which deny or have the effect of denying to an individual his/her rights to equality, dignity and security in violation of his/her rights guaranteed under the law. The policy reaffirms the doctrine of civility, appreciation for pluralism and the pre‑eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community that recognizes and utilizes the resources of all persons while recognizing and reaffirming the tenets of academic freedom as stated in applicable collective bargaining agreements. The Community Colleges recognize their obligation to protect the rights of free inquiry and expression, and nothing herein shall be construed or applied so as to abridge the exercise of rights under the Constitution of the United States and other federal and state laws.
The Community Colleges will vigorously strive to achieve diversity sufficiently reflective of our society. However, diversity alone will not suffice. There must be a unity and cohesion in the diversity that we seek to achieve, thereby creating an environment of pluralism.
The Community Colleges bear a responsibility by edict and an obligation by social morality to promote understanding and acceptance of ethnic, cultural, religious and racial diversity as we strive to create an atmosphere of dignity for all individuals and groups within our system of public higher education. The President or his/her designee will take reasonable measures to prevent and discourage harassment and will act positively to investigate alleged harassment and to affect a remedy or resolution when an allegation is determined to be valid.
Suspension (Academic) & Probation
A student, who is placed on academic suspension, may not attend classes following the suspension notice. Suspension is recorded on the student's transcript. A student who has been placed on academic suspension and wishes to be reinstated must petition in writing and provide appropriate support documents for review by the Student Standing Committee. A student may be reinstated under conditions set by the Committee and monitored by the Student Success Center.
Probation is a strong warning that academic performance is below recommended standards. Students on probation are encouraged to make significant improvement in their grades during the following semester. Performance will be closely monitored by the Student Success Center. Probation is recorded on the student's transcript. A student who fails to meet the criteria as stated below may be suspended or placed on probation at the discretion of the Student Standing Committee.
Attempted Credit Hours*
Suspension Cumulative Average
Probation Cumulative Average
1 to 29
0.00 to 1.499
1.500 to 1.749
30 to 44
0.00 to 1.749
1.750 to 1.999
45 & up
0.00 to 1.999
*Attempted Credit Hours are all credits attempted in courses taken at BCC.
Any student whose semester average is 2.000 or higher will not be suspended for a low cumulative average unless he or she is judged by the Student Standing Committee to have abused the W (Withdrawal) privilege. Students placed on probation or suspension are invited to appear before the Student Standing Committee to present evidence which he or she feels should be considered before final action on his or her academic performance.
Applicants requesting transfer of previous college experience to BCC must provide BCC with official college transcripts from their previous schools. Official transcripts are also needed to meet the admission requirements for Nursing and Allied Health. Official high school transcripts are also required.
International transcripts must be reviewed by an external evaluation service. Contact the Acting Director of Admissions (ext. 1631) for more information.
BCC may grant credit from regionally accredited institutions where a grade of C (2.000) or better has been earned and where the course content parallels the requirements in a student’s program at BCC.
Transfer students planning to graduate from BCC may not account for more than one half of a program’s graduation credit requirements by transfer, credit by exam, prior learning experiences, or any combination of these.
The college adheres to the following refund policy:
- Non-attendance alone does not qualify a student for a refund. Students must initiate, in writing, a course drop or All College Withdrawal form.
- Credit course refunds are based on the student's official date of withdrawal as determined by the Registrar's office.
- Full refunds are granted for any course cancelled by the college.
- Refunds are processed after the end of the refund period according to the date of withdrawal. (See Per Credit Refund Table in the college catalog.)
Return of Funds
Federal law requires the college to calculate a refund for students who receive Title IV financial aid and who withdraw from the college. A copy of this policy is available in the Student Billing and Financial Aid Offices.
Use of Public Buildings for Political Activity
Using any part of a public building for political campaign purposes is prohibited, unless equal access is provided to any group wishing to use it, under the same terms and conditions as all other groups. Under no circumstances may any political fundraising go on in a public building or any part of any building occupied for a state, county, or municipal purpose.
Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws, Chapter 269, Section 10 (J), the possession of both firearms and other dangerous weapons is strictly prohibited on any BCC property or in any facility.
Withdrawal from a Course
The basic responsibility for withdrawing from a course rests with the student. Students who withdraw from a course during the drop/add period receive no notation on their record. Students withdrawing from a course after the drop/add period and up to and including the date indicated on the academic calendar as the last day for course withdrawals (W grades) will receive a grade of W.
Students withdrawing after this date but on or before the date indicated on the academic calendar as the last day for course withdrawals (WP/WF grades) will receive either a grade of WP (Withdrawn Passing) or WF (Withdrawn Failing). The grade will be determined by the course instructor. A grade of WF is computed in the academic average as an F.
All students seeking to withdraw from a course after the end of the drop/add period and before the course withdrawal deadline are required to complete and sign a drop form and provide evidence of having notified both the course instructor and their academic advisor of their intent to withdraw. Evidence of notification may be in the form of either a faculty/advisor signature on the drop form or a printed copy of an e-mail from the faculty/advisor attached to the drop form that demonstrates they have been notified. Completed drop forms are submitted to the Registrar’s Office or the South County Center.
Students should be aware that withdrawing from a course(s) may affect their eligibility for financial aid, Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, loans, etc. Since a student may be required to repay a portion of the aid money received earlier in the semester, check with the appropriate office/agency before withdrawing. While the “W” or “WP” grade in no way affects the grade point average, the Student Standing Committee will review the overall academic performance of those students who have more than one “W/WP” in a semester or more than two “W/WP”s in an academic year. The committee has elected to suspend or place restrictions on students who abuse the withdrawal privilege.
Withdrawal from the College
Students whose circumstances require them to drop all courses during a semester should initiate a college withdrawal through the Student Success Center (F-118, ext. 1625) or at the South County Center in Great Barrington. Evening students may fill out the withdrawal form from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Registrar’s office. Student-initiated college withdrawals are recorded in the same way as course withdrawals, with the same deadlines applying.
A full college withdrawal is not appropriate if students have already completed one modular course (or more). Students should contact the Registrar’s office concerning this situation.
Special circumstances may warrant exceptions to this withdrawal policy. Appeals for exceptions should be made in writing and submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will consult with appropriate faculty members and college officers, and then report a decision to the petitioner and to the Registrar.
CRIME AWARENESS & CAMPUS SECURITY REPORT Information
Berkshire Community College (hereinafter referred to as BCC), in compliance with the requirements of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 under Public Law 101-542, Title II, and with its philosophy of establishing and maintaining an environment of learning and a supportive climate in which to conduct the business and mission of the college, provides information regarding crime statistics and campus security policies and procedures.
The following information:
- Crime awareness and prevention programming
- Crime statistics for BCC property and surrounding areas
- Emergency procedures and policies
- Facilities access
- Mandated public disclosures
- Policy Against Sexual Violence
is published separately in the “Crime Awareness & Campus Security Report.” This report may be accessed online through our website: www.berkshirecc.edu/crime-awareness. A paper copy can be picked up on campus in the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs (F126), or you may request a paper copy to be mailed to you by calling the Student Affairs office at 413-236-1602.
Berkshire Community College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on basis of race, creed, religion, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, maternity leave, military service, and national origin in its education programs or employment.
Policy Guide updated September/October 2014