Harper College

Faculty FAQs

The Student Code of Conduct outlines what is expected of students, as well as the process that the campus follows if it appears a student may have violated those standards of behavior. While faculty members develop specific guidelines for their classrooms, there are general behavioral guidelines that apply across disciplines and activities at Harper, and extend beyond the walls of the classroom.

By applying to Harper College, all students agree through the online admissions process to uphold these standards; however, it is helpful if you can include a discussion about the Student Code of Conduct in your first class period so that students are reminded of what is expected of them.

The campus conduct process may occur before, during, or after a criminal process for the same behavior. For example, a student may face campus conduct charges for assaulting another student on campus, and he/she may also face charges in court.

The campus conduct process has the goals of providing education to individual students while maintaining the campus standards for behavior, so the process and the outcomes are often very different than those of the criminal process, whose goal is justice. If you are a victim of a crime, you may choose to pursue both processes.

The police or other 911 responders can respond to immediate emergencies. This includes:

  • If you feel physically threatened due to a weapon, direct threat of physical violence, etc.
  • If any person is in physical danger - this can include if someone passes out
  • If a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point he/she cannot care for oneself
  • To report a crime

Harper Police can also provide escort service for you if you feel concerned for your safety when walking from/to your vehicle. They can also provide support if you are going to confront a student about his/her behavior and you have a reason to fear for your physical safety.

You can make a referral online any time of day. Reports are reviewed during regular College business hours. and it will be reviewed by the Student Conduct Officer. If it pertains to a immediate concern, please contact Harper College Police.

When you submit the information, please be detailed and objective. Describe the incident with as many relevant details as you can. Avoid making judgments or assumptions about the student. Remember that the student may be able to read your complaint form. (You should go ahead and include witness information and your on-campus contact information. Any personal contact information and possibly witness names will be redacted from the report as appropriate.)

For more information about writing quality referrals, review the Tips for Documenting Incidents. You may wish to consult with your supervisor prior to filing a complaint, but be cautious of the time-sensitive nature of many of the situations.

Threats of possible violence are routed to the Harper Early Alert Team (HEAT) for their review and action. If it appears that a student may have violated a College policy, the student conduct process and/or a campus investigation can be initiated.

If so, the student is notified of the receipt of the complaint and is asked to meet with the Student Conduct Officer to discuss the incident. Most cases are resolved informally through this meeting, if the Student Conduct Officer and the accused student can reach agreement about what happened, and if the student is willing to accept responsibility and any appropriate sanctions.

In cases where the student chooses not to participate, or where agreement is not reached, the case will proceed to a campus hearing. You will be able to present your information in the hearing and the panel will decide if there was a violation and if the student should receive any sanctions because of it. The student will be able to participate in this process, as he/she has a right to respond to the information in the conduct case.

Please be aware that the College does not tolerate retaliation of any form, and if you have any concerns for your physical safety you are encouraged to communicate those to the Student Conduct officer.

If it appears that a policy was violated and that a student conduct process is warranted, the student does have the right to know and respond to the information. He/she would be able to know your name as the referring party in most situations. The only exceptions would be in cases of significant personal violence (such as sexual or physical assault) where there is a legitimate fear of retaliation through physical violence.  A person may or may not necessarily know that information was reported to the Harper Early Alert Team, depending on the circumstances.

Certainly if you are scared or feel threatened, you should refer the individual and request that your identity be kept as private as possible. Some information may be subject to FOIA, so there is a chance that the person could learn that you referred him/her to the HEAT.

It is helpful if you can talk with the student to see if he/she would benefit from a campus or community resource. Good questions to ask include, "Is there anyone on campus that you trust?" or "Are you connected with an advisor/counselor?"

If not, there are a variety of campus resources available, including:

Ideally, you can help connect a student to one of these resources by informing him/her about them or even walking him/her over to the office.

If you are unsure of how to best approach this, feel free to review Having Difficult Conversations or call one of these offices or the Student Conduct Officer for assistance in how to approach having this conversation. Given that you are the one that likely has a relationship or rapport with the student, it helps the student feel their privacy is respected if you have the conversation with him/her but you can get support for how to approach it.

While there is no law or rule against being creepy or odd, you are also not expected to ignore your own feelings. It helps to pause and think about the behaviors that are evoking the reaction in you, not just the personality of the student. Depending on the situation, you can always report it to Student Conduct, HEAT, or the police.

Sometimes a person has already been referred and your information might help complete an understanding of the person's current state of mind. While there is not a hard rule about when to report "creepy" behaviors, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If it is a student in your class, it helps to have already built a relationship so that you can better understand the individual and assess if the behaviors are new/unusual, or if they are just part of someone's personality.

You are always welcome to call Student Conduct or contact HEAT and consult with someone if you are not sure what to do.

If a student exhibits behavior beyond your scope of influence (brings a weapon, is incapacitated due to alcohol, attempts physical violence, etc), call the police and they may remove a student from class. If a student causes a significant disruption (i.e. yelling, throwing things) and does not respond to your requests to behave in accordance with the communicated standards, the common practice is to tell the student to leave for that specific class period, without academic penalty. You should plan to address the behavior prior to the next class, and you should consult with your department chair or Dean. A student cannot be removed permanently from your course unless through the process outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

Sanctions vary from a warning to expulsion. More information is available in the Student Code of Conduct. The most common sanctions are typically warnings and educational conversations, where the student and the Student Conduct Officer discuss the incident and the student explores better ways to act in the future. Other sanctions include: visiting another campus office to learn about resources, probationary status, and suspension from the campus for a designated period of time. The goals of sanctions are to help the student learn and succeed, and also to uphold the standards of the Harper campus community.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student education records. It does allow for sharing of information within Harper if there is a "legitimate educational interest." This means that if you need the information in order to complete part of your job responsibilities, you can have access to it.

For example, if you refer an academic dishonesty case to Student Conduct, you would need to know if the student is found responsible or not since the grade in the course might depend on it. However, if a student in your class has a conduct referral for alcohol use and it has nothing to do with your course; you would not need to know that information. If there is a legitimate threat, you would be informed of that as well, but you might not be informed if a student is being investigated or assessed.

Faculty members have the responsibility for the academic experience in the classroom. This means that it is up to the faculty member to communicate the academic standards - including violations of those standards, such as cheating, plagiarism, and inappropriate collaboration. The faculty member is also the one who determines if violations of the academic standards occurred. It is important to remember that the standard of proof used in determining whether a student engaged in misconduct is a "preponderance of the evidence" or "more likely than not". This means that if you are more than 50% sure that a student engaged in academic dishonesty, that can be your finding.

As you review the information, you are encouraged to consult with your academic department Chair and/or Dean. You are also welcome to contact the Student Conduct Officer with questions about the process. Read more about identifying and addressing academic dishonesty as well as how to prevent it.

Last Updated: 12/14/23