Student Rights and Responsibilities
San Jacinto College students, upon enrollment, neither lose the right nor escape the duties of citizenship. The student-citizen must exercise liberty with responsibility. The enumeration of the following rights and responsibilities shall in no way be interpreted as being all-inclusive or denying the existence of other rights and responsibilities that a student holds as a student or citizen.
Right to Review One’s Educational Records and to Seek Amendment to One's Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides students with certain rights with respect to disclosure of their personal educational records. These general rights include the right of access to one’s educational records, the right to request corrections to one’s records in accordance with College procedure, and the right to prevent disclosure of one’s records to unauthorized third parties. FERPA also recognizes exceptions that permit disclosure of a student’s educations without the student’s consent. The College’s specific policies and procedures regarding FERPA can be found on the College website and in the Student Handbook.
Academic Evaluation Rights
Students have the right to be apprised of the methodology by which they will be evaluated in their course work. Students also have certain appeal rights to challenge final grades. Please refer to Complaint Procedure 100: Grade Appeal Process found in the Student Handbook or catalog.
Intellectual Property Rights
Students shall retain their intellectual property rights in their original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, and computer software, that were produced as a result of their individual initiative and that involved only incidental use of College facilities and resources. If the student is working on a project initiated and funded by San Jacinto College, ownership resides with the College.
Right to Appeal Financial Aid Suspension
Students may submit Financial Aid appeals due to extenuating circumstances that have affected the student’s academic performance. Extenuating circumstances are situations such as serious injury or illness, a death in the immediate family, or undue hardship. Detailed information about the financial aid appeal process, requirements, and guidelines can be found on the College website or obtained from the Financial Aid Office.
Right to Freedom of Association and Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
Students bring to the College a variety of interests and beliefs. Students have the freedom to organize and join associations to promote their common interests in accordance with the policies and procedures of the College.
Students and student organizations are free to discuss matters of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately by orderly means that do not disrupt the regular and normal operation of the institution and that comply with the College’s policies and procedures on expressive activities and the Code of Student Conduct. In their public expressions or demonstrations, whether on or off campus, students or student organizations speak for themselves and not for San Jacinto College. Students may visit the Student Engagement and Activities Office on each campus for more information. A copy of the College’s procedure on expressive activities can be found on the College website.
Right to Freedom from Unlawful Discrimination
It is the policy of the San Jacinto Community College District not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, termination of pregnancy, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, parenting or marital status, or veteran status in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. The following ofﬁcials have been designated to respond to inquiries regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies or concerns about alleged incidents of discrimination:
Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Services
Joanna Zimmermann - Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
8060 Spencer Highway
Pasadena, Texas 77505
Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, Organizational and Talent Effectiveness
Sandra Ramirez - Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Compliance Officer
4624 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, Texas 77504
Right to Due Process
The College has an enduring commitment to provide students with a balanced and fair student discipline system. The College will provide students accused of misconduct with the due process protections to which they are entitled under the US and Texas Constitutions. A student is entitled to notice of the specific charges and a meaningful opportunity to be heard in one’s defense before a neutral decision-maker. The amount of due process required will depend upon the nature of the alleged violation and the proposed sanction.
For detailed information about the College’s investigation procedures, hearing and disciplinary procedures, and appeal procedures, students may refer to the Code of Student Conduct found in the Student Handbook.
Right to Freedom from Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking
It is the policy of San Jacinto College to provide a campus environment and educational programs and activities that are free from sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. San Jacinto College provides on-going awareness and prevention training to students and employees. Additionally, the College provides an equitable complaint process that provides for prompt investigation of complaints and the imposition of sanctions against students and employees who engage in sexual misconduct. The College’s Sexual Misconduct policy and procedures are Policy III.3006.D and Procedure III.3006.D.a. For more information about policies, procedures, and training, students may contact the the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or any Title IX Coordinator (listed above under Freedom from Unlawful Discrimination).
Right to Equity in Athletics
All coeducational institutions of higher education that participate in any federal student financial aid program and have intercollegiate athletics programs must prepare and make available an annual report on athletic participation, staffing, revenues, and expenses for men’s and women’s teams. A copy of the current or past reports may be obtained from the Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives (281-459-7140 and email@example.com) or from the Marketing Department (SJC.TPIARequest@sjcd.edu). Equity in athletics data also is available at http://ope.ed.gov/athletics.
Right to Involvement in Decision Making
San Jacinto College provides an opportunity for student involvement in the decision-making process through student government on the three main campuses. As constituents of the educational community, students may express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body.
In addition to membership in student associations and organizations, students shall be given the opportunity to serve on campus and College committees as deemed appropriate by the College. For more information, students may visit the Student Engagement & Activities office on each campus.
Immunity from Sanctions for Certain Drug or Alcohol Violations
As a matter of campus safety, students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in accordance with the College’s Sexual Misconduct Procedure. To encourage reporting of sexual misconduct, the College will grant immunity (also known as amnesty) from disciplinary action to students who in good faith report sexual misconduct, file a formal complaint, or participate as a witness in a sexual misconduct grievance or discipline process, even if they were under the drinking age or were under the influence of drugs or alcohols at the time of the incident. The immunity rule does not apply to an individual who has been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct. The immunity rule is addressed in the College’s Sexual Misconduct Procedure III.3006.D.a. For more information, students may contact the the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
In voluntarily enrolling at the College, students have the responsibility to comply with all state and federal laws and College regulations and policies governing student conduct and academic integrity. Students assume responsibility for their behavior and acknowledge and recognize the following:
- The Board of Trustees is the policy-making authority for the operation of the San Jacinto Community College District. The Board delegates to the College administration the authority to implement Board policy through procedures, regulations, guidelines, and handbooks.
- While education is a shared activity, the ultimate responsibility for learning rests with the student.
- Students are responsible, collectively and individually, for allowing other students to continue their pursuit of education. Students must refrain from interfering with the rights of other students in their educational pursuits or with employees in the exercise of their duties.
- The right to disagree is well established. In an educational environment and in society at large, the right to disagree is most productive when one shares a viewpoint based on factual information and reasonable inquiry and when one demonstrates respect for those with whom they are disagreeing, including faculty, staff, administration, other students, and campus visitors. Additionally, when approaching the administration about any matter, students must follow established channels of communication and complaint processes.
- Students have a responsibility to comply with copyright law and to educate themselves regarding copyright infringement, peer-to-peer file sharing, and penalties for violations. For information and resources, please visit Policy VI-K.
- Students must comply with the policies, rules, regulations, and generally accepted practices of the College currently in effect or as they may be amended. All policies, rules, regulations, and practices are subject to amendment at any time during the student’s enrollment.
- Students have the responsibility to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations governing their participation in higher education. Such regulations and laws as may exist or that may be subsequently enacted and adopted shall have precedence over the provisions of this document of student rights.
Code of Academic Integrity and Honesty
Integrity is one of the core values at San Jacinto College. As such, students are expected to exhibit honesty, integrity, high standards, and freedom from lies and fraud in their academic work. Personal integrity is important in all aspects of life, and students must conduct themselves in an ethical manner both in and out of the classroom. Incidents of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated, and students guilty of such conduct are subject to disciplinary consequences.
Retention of Student Work
The College may indefinitely retain all work submitted to an instructor in a course including, but not limited to, tests, term papers, reports, and projects.
Children on Campus
San Jacinto College occasionally offers supervised classes and activities for children. However, at all other times, children may not remain unattended on campus, nor may children attend classes with their parents or family members.
Student Absences for Religious Holy Days
In accordance with Senate Bill 738, a student who is absent from classes to observe a religious holy day will be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence, if
- not later than the 15th day after the first day of the term, the student notifies the professor of each class that the student will be absent for a religious holy day, and
- the student personally delivers the notification in writing to the professor of each class (with receipt of the notification acknowledged and dated by the professor) or sends a notice by certified mail (with return receipt requested) to the professor of each class.
A student who is excused under Senate Bill 738 will not be penalized for the absence, but the professor will respond appropriately if the student fails to complete the assignment or examination in a satisfactory manner.
The College publishes a statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities in the Student Handbook. The College makes available statistics regarding completion and graduation rates of full-time certificate and degree-seeking students. The reports are available at each campus Provost’s office. The campus Police Department reports campus crime statistics.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
This policy is based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which governs the privacy of student educational records. FERPA provides eligible students with the right (i) to inspect and review education records, (ii) to request amendment of a record, and (iii) to limit disclosure of information from the records to third parties.
Records of present or former students of the College are confidential and are not public information.
The Deputy Chancellor and College President is custodian of all records for currently enrolled students and for all official academic records; however, they may appoint one or more designees, as necessary, to perform record management duties.
Educational records are all records that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by the College or by a party acting on its behalf. As used in this policy, “records” includes paper files, electronic and digital files, audio files, and video and photographic files.
Type of Student Records Maintained
- Academic progress
- Permanent academic data
- Attendance records
- Standardized test results
- Medical records, including meningitis test results and drug test results
- Student discipline records
- Book and library records
- Financial Aid and other financial records
- Mental health records and counseling information
- Other records related to a student's day-to-day status
- Any other information in a digital file assigned to a student
Certain medical and mental health “treatment” records are not considered educational records under FERPA. Additionally, notes and observations recorded by an individual teacher or other employee and kept for personal use are not student records except under the following conditions:
- The information is shared with someone other than a substitute for the employee.
- The information is used in preparation of student records.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are interpreted as indicated:
- Eligible Student - a student who attends San Jacinto College or previously attended San Jacinto College
- Custodian - the Deputy Chancellor and College President of the College
- Custodian's Agents – Provosts, Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Deans, and those persons specifically appointed by these individuals to fulfill responsibilities under FERPA.
- De-identified Records - Educational records in which all personally identifiable information has been removed (blacked out or redacted); the College must make a reasonable determination that the student’s identity is not personally identifiable, whether through single or multiple releases, and taking into account other reasonably available information.
- Directory Information – information in a student education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, such as the student’s name, address, dates of attendance, and field of study. “Directory information” may be released without the student’s prior consent unless the student has specifically elected privacy as stated later in this policy.
- Legitimate Educational Interest - an interest of school officials who require access to student records in order to perform their legitimate educational and institutional duties, when such records are needed in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or College.
- School Official - A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College. For purposes of this policy, a "school official" is:
- a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or research capacity or support staff position working under the direction of those persons (including Campus Police law enforcement unit personnel and health staff)
- a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service or function for which the College ordinarily would use employees (such as an attorney, auditor, health care professional or diagnostician, IT computer services professional, or insurer)
- members of the Board of Trustees in the performance of their official responsibilities
- a student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee
- a student assisting another school official in performing their tasks (e.g., work-study student)
- representatives of hospitals and clinical sites with whom the College has a contractual relationship that permits students to receive clinical training as part of their educational programs
- companies or organizations with whom the College has contracted to provide plagiarism-detection services. Such companies may receive a student's work product for purpose of comparing the student's work with a reference database
- Student Records - an educational record that contains personally identifiable information concerning a student maintained for use by the College. This includes the student’s name, address, birthdate, and personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers. The term “personally identifiable” includes (i) information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or (ii) information requested by a person whom College officials reasonably believe knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.
- Age (but not birthdate)
- Degrees earned and dates
- Major program of study
- Classification (freshman, etc.)
- Terms of attendance
- Previous educational institutions attended
- Eligibility for and honors and awards received with dates that the honor or award was received
- Eligibility for and participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams and sports statistics
- Enrollment status (full-time or part-time)
Electing Privacy: Students may request that the College restrict access to directory information by accessing their student online account (SOS), locating the Students tab and indicating that directory information should remain confidential. Students may make this request at any time; however, the student’s election may take several working days to be effective. If the election is made while a request for directory information is being processed, the student’s directory information is subject to being released. Students who desire to protect their directory information are encouraged to make their election at the beginning of the semester.
Review of Records by the Student
- An eligible student may request to examine their education records by submitting the request to the San Jacinto College Center for Advising, Career, and Transfer. The Center will require proof of identity. The request shall identify the specific record(s) to be examined. Requests shall be honored as soon as practical, but the request must be honored within 45 days. Refer to the College website for additional information regarding these requests.
- When a student requests to examine their education records, the records shall be presented to the student as the records existed on the day of the request.
- When records contain information pertaining to more than one student, the requesting student may review or be informed of only information about the requesting student.
- School officials shall not destroy records while the student’s request is pending.
- The College will respond to reasonable requests for explanation or interpretation of records. Requests must be in writing.
- If circumstances effectively prevent a student from exercising the right to examine their education records, the College will provide the student with a copy of the requested records or make other arrangements for the student to examine the requested records. The College may charge a fee for a copy of requested education records unless the imposition of a fee effectively prevents the student from exercising the right to examine their records.
- The College shall maintain a record of each request for access to and each disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records of each student. However, under FERPA regulations, a log is not needed for disclosures to (a) the eligible student, (b) a school official with a legitimate educational interest, (c) a party who has written consent from the eligible student, (d) a party seeking directory information, or (e) a party seeking or receiving information under a subpoena where the issuing authority has ordered nondisclosure of the existence of the subpoena.
- The right to inspect does not include the right to inspect (i) financial records of the student’s parent(s) and (ii) confidential letters of recommendation when the student has waived their right to inspect and the records relate to admission to an educational institution, an application for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition.
Release of Records to Third Parties
- Student records may not be released to a third party unless the student consents in writing or unless a legally recognized exception applies (see the federal regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 99.31).
Disclosure of Records without Consent
Student records may be disclosed without the student’s consent to the following:
- Other school officials, including faculty members, within San Jacinto College whom the College has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions including College attorneys, provided that the conditions listed in § 99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(3) are met. (§ 99.31(a)(1)).
- Officials of another school or college where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of § 99.34. (§ 99.31(a)(2)). The student may request that the College forward a copy of the record to other institutions.
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- In connection with a request for “directory information” as designated by San Jacinto College under § 99.37. (§ 99.31(a)(11)).
- State or local officials to whom educational data must be reported.
- Legitimate organizations that are conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions (e.g., ACT, CEEB, ETS) to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction. Such data are not to be released in any identifiable form and will be destroyed by the organization after the research has been completed.
- Accrediting agencies.
- Parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes (§ 99.31(a)(8)).
- Appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.
- In compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena upon written advance notice to the affected student unless prior notice is prohibited by law.
- Representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, Department of Education, administrative heads of educational agencies, or state education authorities.
- Legitimate agencies providing financial assistance to students, to organizations conducting studies for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering tests, or for the purpose of improving instruction, provided that the information is not to be revealed to a third party.
- A victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to the requirements of § 99.39. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding instituted by San Jacinto College with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
- The general public as to the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to the requirements of § 99.39, if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the College’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against them.
- Parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.
- Additional exceptions are noted in the FERPA regulations, 34 C.F.R. part 99, available at: www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/reg/ferpa/index.html.
Accuracy of Information
If an eligible student believes that information in their educational records is inaccurate or misleading or otherwise violates the student's privacy, a request for amendment may be given in writing to the custodian of the record or other school official who is responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record for amendment and specifying why it should be amended. The College will decide whether to amend the record as requested within a reasonable time (generally within 20 school days). If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, it will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
A hearing pertaining to student records may be scheduled to challenge the accuracy of recording but not the assignment or merits of a grade.
If the student disagrees with the College’s decision not to amend the record as requested, the student may request a hearing. The Dean of Student Development shall serve as the hearing officer; however, if the Dean of Student Development is the custodian of the record in question or it would be a conflict of interest for the Dean to serve as the hearing officer, then the Deputy Chancellor or designee shall appoint a neutral administrator to serve as the hearing officer.
A hearing must be held within a reasonable time (generally within 20 school days, barring unforeseeable circumstances) after the request for a hearing has been made. The hearing officer shall provide the eligible student and the custodian of the record reasonable notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. In advance of the hearing, the custodian of the record shall prepare a packet containing copies of the contested records and any other relevant records or documents, including any applicable policies and procedures. The custodian of the record shall prepare a report summarizing the reasons why he or she believes that the challenged record is not inaccurate or misleading or otherwise a violation of the student's privacy. The custodian shall provide the packet and report to the student and hearing officer at least one school day prior to the hearing. The student shall have a full and fair opportunity to present their own evidence related to the accuracy of the record. The student, at their own expense, may be represented by legal counsel or an advisor. The student’s legal counsel or advisor may attend the hearing and confer with the student but may not participate in the hearing.
The hearing officer shall prepare a written ruling within a reasonable time after the hearing (generally within 15 school days). The ruling must be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The ruling must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the ruling.
If the hearing officer concludes that no amendment to the record is warranted, the eligible student is to be notified and informed of the right to place in the records a statement either commenting on or setting forth a reason for disagreeing with the school's decision.
Policy Availability and Notice
- A copy of this policy will be made available upon request to eligible students.
- At least once annually, an effort shall be made to inform all eligible students of their rights under the provisions of this policy. Such effort shall be made through the College website, College catalog, and Student Handbook.
Students may file a complaint regarding non-compliance with this policy with the Department of Education:
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Texas criminal law prohibits hazing or hazing-type activities. Hazing is defined as any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution by one person alone or acting with others directed against a student that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution.
A person can commit a hazing offense not only by engaging in a hazing activity but also by soliciting, directing, encouraging, aiding, or attempting to aid another in hazing; by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly allowing hazing to occur; or by failing to report, in writing to the the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or another appropriate official of the College, first-hand knowledge that a hazing incident is planned or has occurred. The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution for hazing under this law. Under Texas law, hazing can subject a person to criminal penalties. For more information, students may contact the the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities by calling 281-478-2756 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.