Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 WNCC College Catalog 
    
2024-2025 WNCC College Catalog

Student Rights & Responsibilities



Absence from Class Policy

Attendance and participation are necessary and required components to successfully completing a course. Successful students attend class regularly, come to each class prepared, and engage in class activities. A student’s success in a course is measured by the acquisition and mastery of information that can only be obtained through classroom lectures, labs, discussions, and other activities. Students who are repeatedly tardy or absent from class will be missing vital components necessary for their success.

When an absence is inevitable, it is the expectation of the College that the student will communicate directly with their instructor(s) and work with them to make up the absence, if possible. Each class offered at WNCC has an established expectation of attendance that is found is the course syllabus each semester.

A more complete description of the college’s absence policy can be found under “Attendance” in the “Academic Policies ” section of this catalog.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity forms a fundamental bond of trust between colleagues, peers, teachers, and students, and it underlies all genuine learning. At WNCC, there is no tolerance for plagiarism or academic dishonesty in any form, including unacknowledged “borrowing” of proprietary material, copying answers or papers, using crib sheets, unauthorized help during exams, altering tests, or passing off someone else’s work as one’s own. A student can be accused of an academic integrity policy violation by an instructor, staff member, or another student(s).

A breach of ethics or act of dishonesty can result in:

  • failure of graded material (including but not limited to an assignment, paper, project, quiz, or an exam within a course) (instructor level),
  • failure of an entire course (institutional level), or
  • suspension or expulsion from the College (institutional level).

Any form of academic dishonesty represents a grave breach of personal integrity and of the rules governing WNCC’s community of learners. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cheating in any form
  • Plagiarizing in any form
  • Aiding someone else in cheating or plagiarizing

Consumer Information

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, requires all accredited colleges and universities to disclose such information to current and prospective students, employees, and members of the public. This includes specific information about student financial aid, campus security, student outcomes, and student rights and responsibilities. This information can be found at wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information.

Copyright Information

WNCC is committed to the education of its students and endeavors to make students aware of the policies that govern the use of printed and online materials. In general, copyright infringement occurs when a person makes a copy of any copyrighted work, such as music, video, software, cartoons, photographs, stories, or novels, without permission (i.e., a license) from the copyright owner and without falling within the specific exceptions provided for under the copyright laws. Employees and students are prohibited from using WNCC’s network to access, download, upload, or otherwise share copyrighted materials without permission, making a fair use, or falling under another exception under copyright law.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

WNCC policy prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students and employees on College-owned or operated property or as a part of any College activities. Any student or employee of the College who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action. State and federal laws and any applicable city ordinances pertaining to the possession and use of alcoholic beverages and illicit drugs shall also be enforced.

In addition, WNCC publishes information pursuant to the Drug-Free School and Community Act (DFSCA) outlining the College’s efforts under the act. The DFSCA material addresses standards of conduct; legal prohibitions and sanctions; health risks of drug and alcohol use; disciplinary actions; and drug and alcohol services.

These materials are accessible on the WNCC website at wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

It is the policy of WNCC to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (34 CFR Part 99). FERPA affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.)

The law provides three fundamental rights to students who attend post-secondary institutions:

  • Right to inspect and review education records.
  • Right to request amendment of education records.
  • Right to limit disclosure of “personally identifiable information” contained in education records.

Additionally, students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education:

Family Policy and Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education

4000 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

In compliance with FERPA, the following items are considered directory information and are available upon request:

  1. Student’s name
  2. Address
  3. Telephone listing
  4. Email address
  5. Date and place of birth
  6. Major field of study
  7. Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)
  8. Grade level
  9. Dates of attendance
  10. Degrees, honors, and awards
  11. Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
  12. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  13. Weight and height of members of athletic teams

In the event a student does not want the directory information released, he/she must submit, in writing, the specific information to be withheld to the Office of the Registrar. This must be done each semester that the exclusion is to apply.

The FERPA revisions of 1998 permit schools to notify parents of students who are under the age of 21 if such student is found responsible for violating institutional policies regarding alcohol and other drugs.

Authorization for Release of Information

Students who wish to provide confidential information (such as grades, academic progress reports, financial aid information, etc.) to specified individuals may make this authorization online through their Self-Service app in WNCC ClassLink. Alternatively, students may complete a form in the Registrar’s Office or through the main office in Alliance or Sidney to make this authorization.

Questions related to FERPA may contact the Office of the Registrar at 308.635.6012.

Equal Access Policy

WNCC seeks to make all programs, services, including electronic, accessible to people with disabilities. In this spirit, and in accordance with the provisions of Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), WNCC provides students, faculty, staff, and visitors with reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to the programs and activities of the College. For assistance or further information, students with disabilities should contact the Counseling Director at 308.635.6090. Additional information is available in the Transition Guide for Students with Disabilities on the WNCC web site at wncc.edu/student-life/student-services/disability-services.

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy

Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) is committed to providing a college environment free from harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Specifically, college students and/or employees, volunteers or visitors shall not participate in any harassment, discrimination or retaliation based on any protected class status of individuals as covered by College policies.

Western Nebraska Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex or gender, age, disability, marital status, military veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, or political affiliation, in its policies, practices, and activities related to employment, admissions, educational services/programming, student services/activities, or financial aid; as expressly prescribed by institutional policy, state and federal laws, regulations, and executive orders.

If a student feels that they are the victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, it is important to remember that there are supportive staff at the College who are available to discuss and help clarify what constitutes discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and the action steps that can be taken.

The College has established both formal and informal procedures to report complaints. To file a complaint or to obtain support, students should seek assistance through the chief human resources officer who is also WNCC’s Institutional Civil Rights Officer and Title IX Coordinator.

Human Resources Executive Director
1601 East 27th Street, Scottsbluff, NE 69361
308.635.6350

Students should not wait to report conduct of concern until harassment becomes sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) to create a hostile environment. Off-campus harassment, misconduct, or violence that creates a hostile environment on campus should be brought to the attention of the College.

Retaliation

The College’s commitment to eradication of any sort of illegal discriminatory or harassing conduct includes prohibiting actions taken in retaliation for complaining of violations of College policy. Retaliation includes taking any action which may have any adverse impact on the student’s academic success or the learning environment of the student if such action is taken because of the student’s filing of or participation in the review of a complaint, whether or not such complaint is determined to be valid. The complainant is assured that retaliation due to filing a complaint under this procedure is strictly prohibited by law and by college policy, and shall lead to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Any person believing that retaliation has taken or is taking place should immediately report the matter as provided herein.

Student Complaint Process

WNCC strives to provide the highest quality of service and the best student experience possible. Students are encouraged to report any complaints or observed violations of state, federal, and local laws with appropriate staff members. If a student is unsure of how to direct an issue, they should contact the Office of the Dean of Students:

Phone: 308.635.6050
Web: wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information/subpages-nonav-consumer-info/student-complaint-process

Filing a Complaint with the State of Nebraska

If a student wishes to file a complaint with the State of Nebraska regarding a potential institutional violation of state law, they are encouraged to contact the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education:

Phone: 402.471.2847
Web: ccpe.nebraska.gov/student-complaint-form

Filing a Complaint with the Higher Learning Commission

If a student wishes to file a complaint with the Higher Learning Commission, they are encouraged to contact the office:

Phone: 1.800.621.7440
Web: hlcommission.org/Student-Resources/complaints.html

Filing a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights

If a student wishes to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, they are encouraged to send the complaint to the Office for Civil Rights:

Web: https://ocrcas.ed.gov/ 

Smoking Policy

It is the primary goal of WNCC to promote a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on property owned and operated by the College. The intent of the smoking policy is to protect the rights of the nonsmoking community to breathe smoke-free air and to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco. Smoking is prohibited on all property owned or operated by WNCC, including but not limited to all College buildings and vehicles.

Smoking is defined as the use of tobacco products that produce smoke or vapor emissions, including electronic cigarettes and any lighted cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah pipes, or other lighted smoking equipment.

Products used for cessation of tobacco use approved by the U.S. Drug and Food Administration, including alternative nicotine products, such as nicotine patches or medication, shall be allowed on College-owned or operated property as long as the product does not produce smoke or vapor emissions. Compliance with this policy shall be the responsibility of all employees, students, and visitors.

Student Conduct

WNCC expects students to conduct themselves as responsible law-abiding citizens. After determination of misconduct, a student may be disciplined in accordance with the sanctions of the Student Code of Conduct available in the Student Services Office and online at wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information.

Student Right to Know & Campus Security Act

In compliance with federal regulations, WNCC annually compiles reports that indicate the College’s graduation rates and the institution’s current security program and crime statistics.

The Campus Security Act of 1994 (34 CFR Part 668) requires the College to report campus crime statistics for the following categories: murder/non-negligent manslaughter, forcible sex offenses, non-forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, and negligent manslaughter.

The campus crime statistics reports are available from Student Services or online at wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information or through the Office of Postsecondary Education at ope.ed.gov/campussafety.

The graduation completion rate report is also available at wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information.

Title IX Statement

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational institution that receives federal funding. WNCC strictly prohibits any form of sexual harassment, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. All reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated and those found responsible dealt with as necessary, whether criminally charged or handled through the College’s sexual harassment grievance and investigation procedure. College policy also prohibits retaliation against a person for reporting sexual harassment or participating in the investigation or resolution of such a complaint.

Help and support are available for any student who experiences any form of sexual harassment. Questions or concerns about a student’s rights or the resources available or to file a Title IX complaint, should contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator:

Human Resources Executive Director
1601 East 27th Street, Scottsbluff, NE 69361
308.635.6350

If a student wishes to speak to someone confidentially, they should contact the Counseling Director at the WNCC Counseling Center on the Scottsbluff campus or by calling 308.635.6090. Appointments are available at all WNCC locations.

For more information about reporting options and resources at WNCC and in the community, please visit wncc.edu/about-wncc/consumer-information.

Title IX Regulation changes are expected in May of 2023. Updates will occur at that time.

Voter Registration

Western Nebraska Community College encourages all students to exercise their right to vote. Visit sos.nebraska.gov/elections/voter-forms to download a voter registration form.

Weapons Policy

The illegal possession, use, or sale of firearms, ammunition, major or minor explosives, or any lethal weapon is forbidden and subject to college discipline as well as criminal sanctions. The College prohibits permit holders who are authorized to carry a concealed handgun from carrying a concealed handgun into or upon the property of Western Community College Area, which operates WNCC.