Policies and Procedures | GCTC

Student Policies and Procedures

The colleges of KCTCS are more than just educational institutions -- they are vibrant and diverse communities. It is your responsibility as a student to be aware of KCTCS and Gateway Community & Technical Colleges policies and procedures. These policies and procedures help to maintain an atmosphere of academic freedom and personal respect that creates an environment in which all can be successful.

The KCTCS community recognizes and declares that students have certain fundamental rights, which shall not be arbitrarily abridged or denied or removed without appropriate due process.

Among them are the right to:

  1. Learn, study, grow, and develop without fear of threats, harassment, bullying, or discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, nationality, age, religion, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, sexual orientation, or military service.
  2. Treat others and be treated with civility and recognized as individuals, rather than a class.
  3. Free written and oral speech, restrained only by those proper constraints that limit and protect the First Amendment Rights of others
  4. Hold and express divergent viewpoints with respect and civility toward others.
  5. Participate in a community devoted to scholarship, inquiry, debate, thought, and expression within a community of scholars, including the right to express agreement and dissent. 
  6. Form and participate in student presses and organizations, and to assemble and participate in the social, religious, and political activities available in a free and open society. 
  7. Participate meaningfully in the governance of their colleges, including, when appropriate, representation on college or System committees and the KCTCS Board of Regents in accordance with proper rules and regulations. 
  8. Have privacy in their educational, academic, and financial records. 
  9. Have clear and comprehensible course objectives and requirements, degree and graduation requirements, transfer policies, and grading policies, and to know with accuracy and clarity information that assists them in successfully meeting the established academic standards in their classes. 
  10. Receive grades based only on fair and just evaluations of performance as measured by standards presented in the first or second class section or in the introductory materials for a distance learning course.
  11. Have access to reasonable accommodations as required under U.S. and state laws related to the establishment of an equal opportunity to succeed. 
  12. Full disclosure and publication of the substantive rules and possible sanctions as described in a current KCTCS Code of Student Conduct
  13. Have knowledge of allegations against the student, the right to express a proper defense, the right to know the findings of any proceeding against the student, and a right to an appeal in accordance with reasonable and proper policies and procedures. 
  14. Be free of penalty for violating regulations, rules, or policies imposed after-the-fact.
  15. All rights considered basic human rights and memorialized in the United States Constitution, the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the Kentucky Constitution, the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and KCTCS policies and procedures.
  16. KCTCS students have the right to privacy in their educational, academic, and financial records.  This right to privacy shall be consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).  FERPA is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information contained in student education records.  KCTCS shall adhere to policies and procedures for identification of directory information and for any release of information that is not identified as directory information and therefore protected by FERPA.  KCTCS students shall also enjoy, when relevant, the protections of KRS 164.283.
  17. Know with accuracy and clarity information that assists them in successfully meeting the established academic standards in their classes.
  18. Clear and comprehensible course objectives and requirements. This right extends to have access to a consistent grading policy used to evaluate student performance by their class instructors.
  19. Receive a grade based only upon fair and just evaluation of performance in the course as measured by the standards presented in the first or second class session or in the introductory material for a distance learning course.
  20. Know and understand the graduation requirements for their course of study and their type of degree. This right shall include to the students’ knowledge and understanding of course transfer requirements.
  21. The rights expressed in the Bill of Rights shall not be abridged or removed without providing students with appropriate due process. The level of due process owed for academic and disciplinary offenses may vary but shall always include these essential parts- knowledge of allegations against the student, a right to express a defense, right to know the findings, and a right to appeal.
  22. We will not sanction students academically or behaviorally when the regulation, rule, or policy is imposed ex post facto. In other words, regulations, rules, or policies effective after an alleged offense shall not be enforced against students when addressing that offense. New regulations, policies, or rules will only be applied from the effective date forward.

In order to foster a positive campus community and maintain an optimal learning environment, KCTCS establishes the following behavioral expectations of students: 

Standard 1:  Students shall adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity, and support a campus environment that is conducive to learning and scholarship.

Violations or attempted violations may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism or facilitating academic dishonesty.
  2. Conduct that disrupts or interferes with the learning experience, such as sleeping, horseplay, cell phone use, entering or leaving class while it is in session, unnecessary interruptions, failure to exhibit respect and consideration to faculty, staff, and fellow students.

Standard 2:  Students shall respect and preserve the health, safety, welfare, privacy and rights of all members of the campus community.

Violations or attempted violations may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Physical violence – hitting, pushing, use of a weapon, beating or other such activity resulting in or intended to cause harm.
  2. Making a threat(s) of violence (including verbal, written, or virtual communication) that does or could cause(s) a reasonable expectation of harm to the health or safety of a specific person or group of people.

  3. Substantial or repeated acts directed at a person or group of people that would cause a reasonable person to feel fearful, including but not limited to:

    • Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe behavior that is aggressive and likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or degrade another person physically or mentally
    • Stalking, defined as engaging in two or more acts directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the individual’s safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress
    • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social exclusion or humiliation.
  4. Failure to follow reasonable requirements, closures, limitations, or other measures put in place by the college or the System in response to crisis or emergency situations such as natural disasters, acts of terrorism, pandemics, public health crises, or any other plans necessary to address any and all safety, health, or other security situations.
  5. Any form of retaliation towards a complainant or a participant in an investigation or conduct process.  Retaliation will not be tolerated.

**Instances of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment are governed by the KCTCS Sexual Misconduct Procedure, which is administered separately from this Code.

Standard 3:  Students shall respect the property of others, and the property, facilities, resources, and reputation of the College.

Violations or attempted violations may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Illegal or unauthorized possession or use of weapons, including but not limited to: firearms, explosive devices, knives longer than three inches, or any other object used to threaten or cause harm.  The full policy is available at KCTCS Administrative Policies and Procedures, 3.3.23 Policy on Deadly Weapons.
  2. Making a threat of violence (including verbal, written, or virtual communications) that causes a reasonable expectation of harm to the health or safety of the campus.
  3. Behavior that can put physical safety at risk, including but not limited to

    • Reckless driving

    • Possessing flammable chemicals or fireworks or tampering with smoke detector

    • Climbing on roofs or buildings

    • Leaving minors unattended on campus.

    • Knowingly putting others at risk of a contagious disease or exposure to infectious materials

      Failing to follow KCTCS or College directives aimed at:

      1) reducing the spread of a contagious disease, or

      2) limiting campus access to ensure safety and security following a disaster impacting campus property, or

      3) other rules or protocols put in place to protect people and property. ​

  4. Misuse, theft, or unauthorized use of College services or property

  5. Trespassing or unauthorized access to physical or virtual/cyber property or services of the College.

  6. Attending classes without being registered for them, other than with permission of the instructor.

  7. Theft of or intentional damage to or destruction of college or individual property.

  8. Use of recreational or outdoor equipment indoors (such as skateboards and hover boards), or reckless use of equipment outdoors.

  9. Having an animal in a campus building other than in accordance with campus policy and ADA laws, such as permissible service animals trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability or illness or animals in the course of being trained as service animals.  The full policy is found at KCTCS Administrative Policies and Procedures, 3.3.24 KCTCS Policy on Live Animals on Campus.

  10. Unauthorized or irresponsible use of College computer, network, or other technology system resources as described in KCTCS Administrative Policies and Procedures, 4.2.5 Information and Information Technology Responsible Use Policy. KCTCS reserves the right to review and investigate activity of any sort on any machine or technology resource belonging to KCTCS, including reviewing email accounts, documents, hard drives, cloud-based accounts, or any other resource or method of use.

Standard 4:  Students shall observe the rules, regulations, policies and procedures of the College as well as local, state and federal laws.

Violations may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Interfering with classroom instruction or learning.
  2. Interfering with College sponsored events.

  3. Infringing the rights of other members of the College community, including violations of policies or procedures pertaining to expressive activity.

  4. Leading or inciting others to interrupt scheduled or normal activities within any campus building or area.

  5. Obstructing the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on College property or at a College sponsored or supervised event.

  6. Illegal or unauthorized possession, manufacturing, use, or distribution of alcohol, marijuana, heroin, narcotics, synthetic drugs as determined by KRS Chapter 218A, and any other illegal or controlled substance or look-alike drug except as expressly permitted by law and College policy. Students of legal age may possess or consume alcoholic beverages consistent with law and applicable policy. (KCTCS Administrative Policies and Procedures

  7. Illegal possession or use of prescription medications.

  8. Public intoxication, vomiting, or other effects of excessive substance consumption.

  9. Smoking or using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes or any other violation of the College’s Smoke-Free campus policy as found in the KCTCS Administrative Policies & Procedures, 3.3.14 KCTCS Tobacco Free Policy.

  10. Failure to comply with

    • the Code of Student Conduct

    • directions of an authorized College representative who is performing his/her duties

    • any reasonable guidelines for the use of labs, offices, waiting areas, classrooms, common areas, etc.

    • any finding made and disciplinary action taken based on this Code of Student Conduct

    • any local, state or federal law

We have a zero tolerance for illegal discrimination of any kind. Any student who thinks he/she may have been discriminated against or subjected to harassment by students or employees because of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, beliefs, political affiliation, veteran status, age, or disability (including denial of a request for an accommodation), has the right to pursue an informal and/or formal discrimination grievance.

Complaints relating to sexual harassment and misconduct should be made to the College Appeal Board. Such complaints shall be handled in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Procedure.

The Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) or his/her designee shall be responsible for investigating student discrimination grievances.

Informal Process

  1. If a student thinks that he/she has been discriminated against, the student shall inform the CSAO or his/her designee within thirty (30) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged incident. The CSAO or his/her designee shall conduct a preliminary investigation of the discrimination grievance.
  2. The student, CSAO or his/her designee, and other involved parties shall work informally to negotiate a solution within fourteen (14) calendar days. The informal student discrimination grievance procedure shall be completed within forty-four (44) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged incident.
  3. If the grievance is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student through the informal grievance procedure, the student may file a formal appeal.

The complaint process is designed to assist students who have the perception of unfair and/or unlawful treatment   If possible, a complaint of unfair treatment charged by a student against a college employee, in regard to the application of College rules, policies, procedures, and regulations, should be resolved without initiating the formal process.  This procedure does not supersede the policies set forth for grievances of discrimination, harassment, or grade appeals which can be accessed in the student handbook. 

If a student believes he/she has a legitimate complaint, the following steps toward resolution should be followed: 

Informal Process

Attempt to resolve the complaint at the department level is as follows:

  1. Seek to resolve the issue with the party involved.
  2. If a resolution cannot be reached, the next step is to contact the party’s supervisor within ten (10) calendar days after speaking with the individual involved.
  3. If the student is not satisfied after speaking with the supervisor, they should contact the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee to initiate the formal student complaint process. 

Formal Process

Complaint filed with the Vice President for Student Affairs Office

  1. If after the above informal process and resolution has not been reached, the student should file a formal written complaint. To initiate the formal process, fill out this form within ten (10) calendar days after speaking with the department supervisor.

Students may file academic grievances when they believe a violation of their academic rights has occurred.  The scope of a grievance does not include matters a student simply does not like or disagrees with, unless the matter represents a violation of the student’s academic rights.

Students have the academic right to:

  • timely receive information about course content and grading criteria
  • hold and express a contrary opinion
  • fair and impartial academic evaluation
  • confidentiality of academic records
  • informed evaluation of student character and ability 

Informal Process: 

  1. The student should first speak with the instructor and try to resolve the issue. All interactions must reflect civility and mutual respect, even where the parties’ views or positions differ. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the student should proceed to the formal grievance.   

Formal Process: 

  1. To file a formal grievance, the student shall submit a formal written appeal specifying the alleged violations to the appropriate dean of the division as soon as possible following the occurrence of the violation. In order to be considered, a student appeal must be filed no later than five (5) business days after the first class day of the following semester. Appeals received after that will be declared untimely and will not be considered.

    The dean will attempt to resolve the issue.  If no resolution is agreed upon by all parties within fifteen (15) business days, the dean will refer the case to the College President or designee.
  2. The College President or designee will attempt to resolution. If no resolution can be agreed upon within fifteen (15) days, the student will be notified in writing.

Formal Appeal:

  1. If no resolution is reached within 15 business days, or if the student does not accept the decision of the dean, the student may within fifteen (15) business days appeal the dean’s decision to the College President or designee.
    • Such appeal must be in writing and shall clearly identify the relevant facts, the reason for the appeal, the specific relief requested, and why the appeal should be granted. No new matter may be appealed which was not included in the student’s original appeal to the dean.

The College President or designee will consider the appeal and issue a written decision within 15 business days. 

College Appeals Board (CAB) Hearing:

  1. If the student does not accept the decision, he or she has ten (10) business days to submit a written request for a hearing before the College Appeals Board (CAB). No new matters can be appealed which was not included in the student’s original appeal to the dean.

In cases of academic rights and academic offenses, the student shall have the right of class attendance and participation during the consideration of any appeal except that such attendance and participation may be limited when:

  • outside agencies are used as a part of the student’s educational experience, in which case precedence will be given to the terms of any agreement(s), which have been negotiated between the college and the agency; or
  • patient/client contact is involved in the student’s educational experience, in which case only patient/client contact may be limited or excluded at the discretion of program faculty. 

If the appeal is decided in the student’s favor, the college must provide an opportunity for the student to complete any essential experiences missed due to the appeals process.  An appeal of a grade after the class has been completed, a grade change by the CAB will only be for a P grade or a W grade.

The College Appeals Board (CAB) serves as a hearing body for appeals of violations of academic rights, findings of academic misconduct, and non-academic/behavioral determinations under the Code of Student Conduct. 

The CAB is made up of 6 members including faculty, staff and students. A quorum of 5 members is required to have a hearing.

CAB Review Process

  1. Within five (5) business days of receipt of a request for hearing the CAB will determine if the issue on appeal is properly before the hearing panel.  If the CAB decides that the request for a hearing is not properly before the body, the Chair of the CAB will notify the student and the appropriate college officials in writing within three (3) business days, including the reasons for the CAB’s decision not to hear the matter.
  2. If the CAB determines that it is proper to consider the appeal, within five (5) business days the Chair will request statements related to the appeal from the appropriate college officials.  Those statements are due for submission to the CAB within five (5) business days.  The CAB then has five (5) business days to review the appeal and associated statements and decide by majority vote whether to grant a hearing or to make a decision based on the record provided by each party.
  3. The CAB’s decision as to the hearing will be communicated in writing within five (5) business days of the decision to the student and the appropriate college officials.  If the CAB does not grant a hearing, the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion.
  4. If the CAB decides to hear the case, it will notify the student and the appropriate college officials. 
    • All parties shall have the reasonable opportunity to appear at the hearing and to present oral and written evidence in support of their positions. 
    • The CAB may call for further evidence as it deems appropriate. 
    • The hearing shall be held, and a final decision made by the CAB within 15 business days after the decision to hear the case. 
    • The decision of the CAB is final and the student has no further right to appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion of a student.
  5. If the CAB hears the case because of some question about the fact of the student’s guilt, it shall have the authority to impose a final decision as to guilt or innocence.  If the CAB decides not to hear the case, the student has no further right of appeal within the system except in cases of suspension or expulsion.
  6. If the CAB hears the case because of an appeal of the severity of the sanction, it shall recommend an appropriate sanction to the appropriate college official(s).  If the CAB does not support the sanction, the CAB shall submit its decision and a recommendation of appropriate sanction to the College President or designee who shall consult with the appropriate college official(s) involved to find an appropriate sanction.  The final decision is the responsibility of the College President.

Pursuant to KRS 164.370, students may appeal a sanction of suspension or expulsion to the KCTCS Board of Regents.  

  1. Before an appeal can be submitted to the Board of Regents, the student must exhaust all available remedies by using all applicable appeal processes in this Code.
  2. The student has 30 calendar days from the completion of the final applicable appeal process to submit an appeal in writing to the KCTCS Board of Regents in care of the KCTCS President. 
  3. Upon receipt of an appeal, the KCTCS President shall forward the appeal document to the Office of General Counsel.  The Office of General Counsel shall conduct a review of the record related to the suspension or expulsion, and may conduct additional fact finding if warranted. The Office of General Counsel shall prepare a Report of Findings.
  4. The appeal shall be heard by a three-person panel (appointed by the KCTCS President) consisting of the KCTCS Vice President responsible for Student Services, the Chair of the Education Committee of the KCTCS Board of Regents, and one of the student members of the KCTCS Board of Regents.  The panel members shall review the Report of Findings then meet, with the option to use video conferencing, with a representative of the Office of General Counsel to finalize a recommendation, which will be acted upon by the full Board of Regents at the next scheduled meeting. 
  5. The student shall be notified in writing of the recommendation of the panel and of the date the full Board will take action on the recommendation.  Once the Board has taken action, the student will receive written notice of the final decision.