2021-2022 HCC Catalog & Student Handbook 
    
    Oct 16, 2021  
2021-2022 HCC Catalog & Student Handbook

Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Regulations



Scope of This Catalog and Student Handbook 

This Catalog, along with the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct, is meant to give guidance and background to all students enrolled at HCC, as well as prospective students and alumni. The HCC Community, including students, is also subject to HCC’s Board Policies, which can be found online at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies. Policy references in this catalog are meant to be helpful background information; for the most up-to-date Board Policies, students should consult the Board Policy website. In the event of any conflicts between this catalog and handbook and the Board Policies, the Board Policy shall control.  A copy of the current student Handbook and any updates, if and when they are required, are available online at www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/student-handbook. Additional information about HCC’s resources and processes for students can be found on HCC’s website at hccs.edu.

The Student Code of Conduct, which has been a part of the Student Handbook in past school years, can be found at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies–procedures/.

Some students in specialized programs or courses of study may also be subject to handbooks or rules pertaining to their particular program or course of study, in addition to a particular course syllabus. That information is provided to the student by their program, course of study, or faculty member.

All students are subject to the guidelines provided in the Student Handbook and in the Student Code of Conduct.

A copy of the current Student Catalog is available online at http://hccs.catalog.edu.  

Archived digital catalogs from 2007-08 through 2020-21 can be found at:
www.hccs.edu/programs/catalog/catalog-archive.

The Archived Student Handbook is available at:
www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/student-handbook.

The Archived Student Code of Conduct is available at:
www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies–procedures/.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

Educational 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. Students and student organizations will be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They will be free to support causes in a manner which complies with laws, policies, and regulations that relate to student activities and conduct. At the same time, it should be made clear to the educational and the larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves. Recognized student organizations will be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their choosing when the purpose of such an invitation is consistent with the College’s policies, regulations, and the law. By law, the College does not advocate on behalf of particular political agendas or candidates. HCC deserves the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of speech in a manner of speech in a manner consistent with the law and HCC Board policy.  Hate messaging will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action. 

Student Concerns

Houston Community College is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. In order to ensure that commitment, the College has developed procedures for students to address their concerns within the College community. A student who has an unresolved disagreement with a faculty or staff member, another student, or a student group, or is dissatisfied with the service he/she received, may initiate an attempt to address a concern without prejudicing his/her status with the College. It is the goal of HCC to assist all students in efficiently resolving their concerns.  Each process involves multiple levels of review and opportunities for students’ concern to be addressed.

Students should refer to the HCC policy or process for specific types of concerns:

  • Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (see Board Policies FFDA and FFDB):

www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f

  • Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals:

www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid

  • Course Grade Appeals: 

Information on grade appeals is located in Academic Information  .

  • Student Conduct (Board Policy FLB(LOCAL)):

www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f

Formal complaints not related to the issues noted above should follow the Non-Academic Student Complaint Policy (see Board Policy FLD(LOCAL)) at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f. For information about procedures related to non-academic complaints, students may contact their campus Dean of Student Success.

Students who have not been able to resolve their concern informally, may file a formal written complaint. Refer to one of the processes listed above based on the type of concern a student has and then submit a formal complaint at:
https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?HoustonCC&layout_id=5

For assistance in determining the correct procedure to follow, or to identify the appropriate Dean or supervisor for informal resolution, students can contact the Dean of Student Success at their campus for assistance at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/procedures/student-rights-policies–procedures/student-complaints/speak-with-the-dean-of-students.

Per the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) rules codified under Title 19 of the Texas Administrative Code, Sections 1.110 - 1.120, after exhausting the institution’s grievance/complaint process, current, former, and prospective students may initiate a complaint with THECB. Refer to THECB website for details on this process at https://www.highered.texas.gov/links/student-complaints/.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) publishes a Policy Statement on Complaint Procedures Against SASCOC or Its Accredited Institutions. Students, employees, or others may initiate a complaint on alleged violations of SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation, the Core Requirements, and policies or procedures, as well as address possible violations of an institution’s own policies and procedures, if related to the Principles. Refer to the Policy Statement for details on this process at www.sacscoc.org/app/uploads/2020/01/ComplaintPolicy-1.pdf.

Student Code of Conduct

HCC, as expressed by its Board of Trustees in policy FLB (Local), views college-level students as adults who subscribe to a basic standard of conduct, which requires that they not violate any municipal, state, or federal laws. Furthermore, no student may disrupt or otherwise interfere with any educational activity or fellow students’ right to pursue academic goals to the fullest in an atmosphere appropriate to a community of scholars. Student conduct is managed through the processes described below, with the advice and support of the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. 

To view the entire documentation click HCC Student Code of Conduct .

 

Equal Educational Opportunities Statement

As stated in Board Policy FA (LOCAL), Houston Community College is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. HCC does not discriminate and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or Veteran status in employment or the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school, administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs. A lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission to and participation in HCC programs. To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, HCC has developed policies and procedures that prohibit discrimination in all of its forms.

HCC is committed to cultivating an environment free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature including sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Sex discrimination includes all forms of sexual and gender-based misconduct and violates an individual’s fundamental rights and personal dignity.

All inquiries regarding compliance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or other civil rights and non-discrimination laws should be directed to the following individual:

David Cross, Director EEO/Compliance, Title IX Coordinator/Section 504 Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity
3100 Main, Suite 702
Houston, TX 77002
713-718-8271 or institutional.equity@hccs.edu

More information on these policies and programs follows in this Handbook and is available on HCC’s website as described below.

Office of Institutional Equity

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) was established to ensure that all individuals have an opportunity to have full participation in the life of Houston Community College. Services provided by OIE include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring compliance with HCC’s policies and laws prohibiting discrimination and illegal harassment based on protected characteristics;
  • Investigating complaints of discrimination initiated by students, faculty, staff, and the community, promptly and impartially;
  • Providing training and education materials regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and other diversity compliance issues; and
  • Developing new programs and metrics to advance diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism at HCC.

For more information about OIE and its services, please visit www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity.

Sexual Misconduct Information and Reporting

Any student who believes that he or she has experienced or that another student has experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, or other prohibited sexual conduct should immediately report the alleged acts to the institution’s Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).

All employees (full-time and part-time) are required by Texas law and HCC Board Policy to report behaviors that potentially constitute sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. Therefore, any employee who becomes aware of such behaviors, whether informed directly or by a third-party, are obligated to make a report to the Title IX Coordinator with or without the consent of the person making the report to the employee.

Employees designated as “Confidential Employees” are exempt from making a full report to the Title IX Coordinator, though they must make a summary report. Confidential employees are professional counselors in the Counseling Services Department located throughout all HCC colleges. Counselors are available to provide a full range of confidential professional services to students, including personal and mental health counseling, consultation, crisis intervention, and links to local community resources. More information on counseling is provided elsewhere in this Handbook and on the HCC website.

For additional information or to make a report, please visit the following:

Office of Institutional Equity:
www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity/

Title IX Know Your Rights:
www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity/title-ix-know-your-rights

Speak with a Title IX Contact:
www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity/title-ix-know-your-rights/speak-with-a-title-ix-contact

Speak with a Confidential Employee:
www.hccs.edu/support-services/counseling/counselors-hcc/

Sexual Assault Policy for Students:
www.hccs.edu/departments/institutional-equity/title-ix-know-your-rights/sexual-assault-policy-for-students/

Title IX Complaint Form:
https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?HoustonCC&layout_id=2

If you believe you or anyone else is in immediate risk to health or safety, call 911 or the HCC Police Department at 713-718-8888

Health Services

HCC does not operate a Student Health Center; however, HCC is concerned about the health and welfare of its students and provides important health information to students. For information about student health insurance programs, visit www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/student-health-insurance. Other health information can be found at the following:

  • Counseling, Mental Health, and Suicide Prevention 

      www.hccs.edu/support-services/counseling

  • Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination
    www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/meningitis
  • HCC required al bacterial meningitis vaccine for all students attending in person classes.  Provide proof of bacterial meningitis vaccination to the Admissions & Records Office.  Additionally, HCC follows state and federal law in requiring all students enrolled in health-related higher education courses which will involve direct patient contact with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids in educational, medical, or dental care facilities to receive additional vaccines.
  • HCC also follows state law in requiring all students enrolled in health-related higher education courses which will involve direct patient contact with potential exposure to blood or bodily fluids in educational, medical, or dental care facilities to receive additional vaccines. Students in qualifying health-related courses must have vaccines against tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine (Tdap), measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella, subject to certain limited exceptions. Some programs require hepatitis C and influenza vaccinations and tuberculosis testing. Students with questions about their program of study and its requirements should contact their program director. Contact information for the program directors can be found on each academic program’s page, located at https://www.hccs.edu/programs/.  For more information on requirements, exemptions, and required documentation, visit www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/meningitis.

Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention

www.hccs.edu/support-services/drug–alcohol-abuse-prevention

Alcohol and Controlled Substances Policy and Procedures

Alcohol shall be defined as use, consumption, possession, furnishing, manufacturing, or distributing of alcoholic or intoxicating beverages (except as expressly permitted by College regulations. A student shall be prohibited from using or being under the influence of intoxicating beverages at HCC. Both open containers and/or public intoxication are prohibited. Additionally, alcoholic beverages may not, in any circumstance, be used by, possessed by, or distributed to any person under age 21.

Controlled substances are those defined in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, as codified at Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.001 et seq., including, but not limited to, such substances as marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, LSD, PCP, methamphetamine, anabolic steroids, human-growth hormones, and fentanyl.

  1. Purpose:

    Houston Community College is committed to providing its students and employees a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and learning environment to promote the reputation of HCC and its employees as responsible citizens of public trust, and to provide a consistent model of substance-free behavior for students. All employees and students are informed of the program and policy regarding the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances by means of the website, Student Handbook, and email.
     
  2. Policy:

    Houston Community College standards of conduct for all employees and students clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on the campus, at College sponsored events, on any HCC premises, or as part of any of the school’s activities. Students and employees who violate this policy will be subject to arrest and disciplinary action by the College imposed through established due process procedures as set forth in applicable law, applicable HCC Board Policy (referenced at the end of this section), and the Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

    Students

    As a condition of enrollment, all students are required to follow HCC policy and regulations concerning alcohol and other drugs. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale, offer to sell, purchase, or use of a controlled substance or alcohol on campuses, at teaching sites, in vehicles, and on other property owned, leased, or under control of HCC, and at all on-campus and off-campus College-sponsored activities is prohibited. Students who violate the applicable HCC Board Policies and/or the Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures regarding drugs and alcohol on campus will be subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to: referral to drug and alcohol counseling or rehabilitation programs, student assistance programs, suspension, expulsion, and/or referral to appropriate law enforcement officials for prosecution.

    College Employees

    While at work, each College employee has a responsibility to deliver service in a safe, efficient, and conscientious manner. Therefore, the use, sale, distribution, manufacturing, or possession of alcohol, or any drugs, including prescription medication used in an unauthorized manner, is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action up to, and including, termination.

    Each employee has access to HCC employee rules and regulations governing employee conduct in the HCC General New Employee Orientation Booklet (GNEO). These rules and regulations are in effect when on campus in any capacity and participating in any HCC (or College) sponsored activity, either on campus or at an off-campus event.

    College employees are subject to disciplinary actions as outlined in the HCC/TE policies and regulations, found in Board Policies at DH(LOCAL), DH(LEGAL) and DI(EXHIBIT) at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-d.
     
  3. State and Federal Statues:

    Houston Community College provides notice of the federal and state laws and regulations, including legal sanctions, which govern alcoholic beverages and controlled substances. The laws are listed and can be found at the following location: www.hccs.edu/support-services/drug–alcohol-abuse-prevention/standards-of-conduct-drugs-and-alcohol-abuse
     
  4. Health Risks:

    Houston Community College recognizes that drug and alcohol use is a health problem with serious consequences that affect students and their ability to reach their goals.

    Health risks associated with drug and alcohol use can be found on the College Drinking, Change the Culture website and DEA-United States Drug Enforcement Administration websites: www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov and www.dea.gov/factsheets
     
  5. Prevention Program:

    HCC has established a Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program to inform its faculty, staff, and students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, penalties that may be imposed for drug and alcohol abuse violations, and available resources to combat drug and alcohol-related issues.

    The following approaches and program activities and services constitute HCC’s effort to prevent drug and alcohol abuse on the part of students. The Student Services division provides oversight for the content and timelines of the programs for students.
    1. Individual counseling services using Motivational/Feedback techniques
    2. Use of the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) administered by trained counselors
    3. To provide students individualized feedback HCC uses the following web-based surveys:
      Alcohol eCheckUp To Go www.echeckuptogo.com/programs/alcohol and
      Marijuana eCheckUp To Go www.echeckuptogo.com/programs/marijuana
    4. Educational Awareness Programs - At least one workshop, seminar, or presentation at event per college during the academic year open to students, faculty, and staff.
    5. Informational Services - Counseling offices provides readily available brochures and information sheets on alcohol and drug use to students.
    6. Referral Services - A list of referral services specialized in providing services and assisting individuals with substance use related issues.
       
  6. Biennial Review:

    On a biennial basis, a committee chaired by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Success and comprised of representatives from the police department, human resources, counseling, financial aid, and student life will conduct a review of the program to assess the following:
    1. Determine the effectiveness of the program and implement necessary changes.
    2. Determine the number of drug and alcohol-related violations and fatalities that occur on HCC campuses.
    3. Determine the number and type of sanctions that are imposed.
    4. Ensure that sanctions are consistently enforced.

For more information, see Board Policies FLB(LOCAL), FLBE (LEGAL) and FLBE (LOCAL) at www.hccs.edu/about-hcc/policies/hcc-board-policy-manual-section-f.

 

Tobacco and Smoke-Free HCC 

HCC is committed to creating a safe and healthy learning and work place for students, employees, and community members. To this end, smoking or the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or tobacco products are prohibited in all buildings, on grounds, and in vehicles owned by Houston Community College, regardless of location. Please refer to Board policies DH, FLBD, and GDA for more information regarding HCC’s tobacco- and smoke-free environment.

Police Services and Campus Safety

The HCC Police Department (HCCPD) is comprised of sworn police officers, licensed by the State of Texas, and civilian security officers, all who are here to assist students and staff and provide a safe learning environment. HCCPD accepts all reports of criminal incidents occurring on campus, is responsible for campus law enforcement requirements, emergency response, and the investigation of any campus crime. The department has a working relationship with the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department, and the Stafford Police Department to provide assistance with incidents that require special resources. HCCPD may investigate violations of the law or College rules and regulations. Administrative violations may be adjudicated in the HCC discipline process via the Student Code of Conduct. Violations which rise to violations of the law will/may be adjudicated by the appropriate court system.

In the event of an Emergency on campus please call HCCPD at 713-718-8888 or dial 911.

HCCPD provides the following services:

  • Parking Passes - Parking passes are available online annually after August 1 and are required to be displayed on all cars parked on campus. More information about parking passes can be found in a student’s MyEagle account.
  • Campus Escorts - HCCPD will provide a safety escort to all students, faculty, or staff upon request. Campus escorts may be scheduled by calling 713-718-8888.
  • Vehicle Assists - Vehicle assistance is provided through a contractor for jump-starts, car unlocks, and other disabled vehicle situations on most college campuses. Officers will assist students in calling a service provider. PLEASE NOTE: All vehicle assist services must be paid for by the requester at the time the service is provided.
  • Disabled Vehicles - Disabled vehicles may not remain on College property. To request assistance, call 713-718-8888.
  • Lost and Found - HCCPD maintains the Lost and Found service. If a student finds an item on campus, it should be brought to 3821 Caroline Street or turned in to a police officer. HCCPD will hold found items for ninety days (with some exceptions of items being disposed of sooner). To recover lost items, call HCCPD at 713-718-8888 and an officer will be assigned to your inquiry.
  • Crime Statistics - HCCPD also makes available information related to campus crime statistics. This information may be found by visiting www.hccs.edu/departments/police/crime-statistics–information.
  • Safety Tips and Crime Prevention Information - Resources are available at www.hccs.edu/departments/police/crime-prevention–safety to include active shooter training, domestic violence information, general safety tips, and much more.

To report that you have witnessed or been the victim of a crime, call HCCPD at 713-718-8888.

Campus Carry

On June 13, 2015, Governor Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 11 which added Section 411.2031 to the Texas Government Code and authorized License to Carry (LTC) holders to carry a concealed handgun on the campus of a public or private university in Texas, subject to rules and regulations adopted by the institution.

HCC has designated certain areas as weapons-free zones, in which concealed carrying of handguns by licensed individuals is prohibited. Signage is posted to mark these areas as weapons-free zones, and conform to applicable law. These designated areas may change daily based on the current use of a facility. When on campus, students, faculty, staff, and visitors should look for Section 30.06 signs which indicate the areas that are designated as weapons-free zones.

Open carry of handguns (or other firearms) on a college campus continues to be prohibited.

For more information, please reference Texas Penal Code Sections 30.06 and 46.035(b)(2).

For detailed information, visit www.hccs.edu/departments/police/campus-carry.

Weapons on Campus

HCC prohibits the use, possession, distribution, sale, or display of any firearms, location-restricted knives, clubs, or other prohibited weapons, as defined by the College’s regulations and/or applicable Texas law, on College property or at a College-sponsored or -related activity, unless written authorization is granted in advance by the Chancellor or his designee. Students are encouraged to review the “Prohibited Weapons” definition in the Student Code of Conduct and Board Policies CHF(LOCAL), CHF(LEGAL), GFA(LEGAL), GFA(REGULATION) and FLB(LOCAL), and any other relevant Board Policies for more information.

Visible display of handguns on any HCC campus is prohibited, with the exception of licensed peace officers. License to Carry holders would be considered in violation of College regulations and Texas law if their handgun is plainly visible and they refuse to conceal it, or they are carrying a handgun in a designated weapons-free zone (as marked by Section 30.06 signage).

Students are encouraged to call HCCPD at 713-718-8888 if they see any individual intentionally displaying a weapon or they feel threatened.