Dec 06, 2022  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Rights, Responsibilities and Policies



The following overview of students’ rights and responsibilities, including behavior code, drug compliance regulations, due process procedures, and policies on dealing with sexual harassment is provided to assist students in adapting to campus life.

Student Behavior

Meridian Community College expects appropriate conduct and behavior of its students and staff at all times.

MCC strives to preserve a learning environment on the campus which is free from disturbances and disruptions. We believe that people are worthwhile individuals accountable for their own behavior and capable of achieving their full potential. To that end, the College has adopted rules and regulations considered to be reasonable and necessary for the orderly operation of MCC. MCC expects all students to conform to the ordinary rules of a polite society, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others and to have regard for preservation of state and college property as well as the private property of others.

Student Behavior Code

Students are expected to exhibit self-reliant, acceptable and desirable behavior. The guiding principles to meet these expectations include respecting the rights of others, being truthful, not participating in unacceptable behavior, or violating federal, state and local laws and ordinances. The student behavior code is applicable to behavior on any MCC property as well as off-campus MCC related activities or events.

Major offenses, for which suspension or expulsion is appropriate, are those offenses that interfere with the mission of the College or interfere with others in the free exercise of their rights and duties or which involve a danger or threat of danger to individuals or property. Therefore, those individuals determined to be in violation of the following regulations will be dismissed from MCC for one calendar year from the date of the suspension:

  1. Possession, use, distribution and/or sale of illegal drugs.
  2. Possession or use of any item(s) appearing to be or which could be used as a weapon(s), including, but not limited to, handguns, firearms, ammunition, fireworks, pellet guns, paintball guns, BB guns, knives, or explosive or noxious materials or other dangerous chemicals on college property.
  3. Assault. Any intentional behavior that causes or may cause physical harm to another individual. This includes sexual, simple and aggravated assault, or fighting, except in lawful defense of one’s self or another.
  4. Setting or aiding to set unauthorized fires on college property.
  5. Theft or forgery.
  6. Possession of stolen property and/or attempt to sell this property.

Unacceptable acts of misconduct will subject a student to being placed on, at a minimum, “disciplinary probation” with additional penalties as determined by the Dean of Student Affairs or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. This course of disciplinary action applies to those individuals determined to be in violation of the following regulations:

  1. Possession, use, distribution and/or sale of alcohol. See alcohol policy.
  2. Cheating on any test, examination or academic assignment of any kind. See the first-day handout for additional policies applicable for each course.
  3. Any documented copying of words, ideas, or designs from books, articles, Internet sources, speeches or another person’s unpublished works and presenting it as one’s own work (plagiarism). See the first-day handout for additional policies applicable for each course.
  4. Shoving, pushing, hitting or aggressively touching a member of the college community in a threatening manner so that the individual who is the recipient of this action perceives that he/she is in imminent danger of bodily harm.
  5. Engaging in a riot or other activity which results in the disruption of the educational mission of the College or hinders the free exercise by others of their lawful rights or discharge of their duties on and about the campus or in connection with an off-campus college-related activity.
  6. Violating municipal, state or federal law.
  7. Refusing to appear and testify as a witness before a disciplinary committee.
  8. Behaving in such a manner that interferes with the educational mission of the college, or interfering with the rights or duties of others, damaging or endangering public or private property and in which the student persists after being requested to desist by a college official or member of the faculty.
  9. Entering locked or unoccupied MCC buildings, offices, classrooms, or laboratories without proper authority.
  10. Threatening violence toward a member(s) of the campus community. This offense may result in the temporary removal of the accused person(s) from the college campus pending investigation of all charges and the scheduling of a hearing.
  11. Participating in any act of harassment, physical or mental, perpetrated for the purpose of subjecting a student, faculty member, or other person to pain, discomfort, indignity or humiliation at any time or any place.
  12. Destroying, damaging or defacing college, state, federal, public or private property.
  13. Exhibiting gross indecency on campus or at college related activities.
  14. Using cellular phones in the classroom. All cellular phones and beepers should be silenced or turned off while in the classroom. See the first-day handout for additional policies applicable foreach course.
  15. Providing false statements or representations about official matters.

A student on “disciplinary probation” who is found in violation of any further act of misconduct during the probationary period will be suspended/dismissed from MCC for one calendar year from the date of the suspension.

Other unacceptable acts of misconduct which are prohibited and may result in disciplinary action as determined by the Dean of Student Affairs or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs are listed below:

  1. Participating in or promoting any activity designed to disrupt the regular and essential operation of MCC, including the learning process within the classroom, library, laboratory or anywhere else on the campus.
  2. Using without authorization any college property, i.e., vehicles, machines, telephones, computers, and FAX machines.
  3. Failing, refusing or being unable to present current MCC ID card upon the request of any official of the College.
  4. Smoking or using e-cigarettes. Smoking and using e-cigarettes are strictly forbidden anywhere on campus.
  5. Playing loud music anywhere on campus.
  6. Using smokeless tobacco. The use of smokeless tobacco is strictly forbidden anywhere on campus.
  7. Gambling in any form.
  8. Using an automobile unsafely or recklessly driving any motorized vehicle on campus.
  9. Violating parking or speed-limit regulations and failing to register vehicle or violating other campus traffic regulations.
  10. Loitering, loafing or congregating on the grounds or in college buildings.
  11. Using loud and/or obscene language.
  12. Throwing paper, articles of food or drink, tobacco products or any article on the grounds or in any MCC building.

Conduct on Campus

MCC strives to preserve a learning environment on the campus which is free from disturbances and disruptions. Students are expected to exhibit self-reliant, acceptable and desirable behavior. The guiding principles to meet these expectations include respecting the rights of others, being truthful, and not participating in unacceptable behavior or violating federal, state and local laws and ordinances. The following code is applicable to a facility owned or operated by MCC.

Fine Imposed Unacceptable Behavior

The purpose of this section is to outline different situations and types of unacceptable behavior for which a fine will be imposed. The following will be subject to a fine of $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense, $100 for the third offense and disciplinary action including, but not limited to, probation or suspension.

  1. Publicly using profanity, cursing or vulgarity.
  2. Smoking cigarettes (including electronic) and/or using tobacco products is prohibited on campus, including any facility owned or operated by MCC.
  3. Failing, refusing or not being able to present a current MCC ID card upon request (must wear on visible location of one’s person at all times when on college property).
  4. Entering or using College facilities without authorization.
  5. Being unusually loud, creating a public disturbance including, but not limited to, shouting, using portable radios, using automobile radios, using laptops or musical instruments.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Meridian Community College is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which students and employees can learn and work together in an atmosphere free of the threat of sexual assault. Every member of the College community should be aware that the College considers personal physical safety of students and employees to be a minimal prerequisite for the establishment of a quality learning environment.

MCC views any form of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking) as a serious offense, and such behavior is prohibited by state law and by college policy. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities. The College will investigate reports of violations of sexual misconduct in an impartial, prompt, and equitable manner. Reporting an incident is a separate step from choosing to prosecute. We are concerned with the victim’s welfare and want to ensure that the appropriate treatment and support is provided. When a person files a report with the Campus Police, he or she is not obligated to continue with legal proceedings or college disciplinary action. Prosecution of individuals for crimes they commit, whether by state or federal prosecutors, is independent of and in addition to the charges or disciplinary proceedings instituted by the College. The Title IX coordinator (or designee) oversees the College’s investigation and response to incidents of Title IX violations. Meridian Community College has designated the following employee as the Title IX Coordinator.

Mr. Derek Mosley
Social Science Instructor
Ivy-Scaggs Hall, Room 216
910 Highway 19 North
Meridian, MS 39307
Phone: 601-553-3453
Fax: 601-484-8635
Email: dmosley@meridiancc.edu.

A student also has the right to file a formal complaint by contacting the United States Department of Education:

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202.1100
Customer Service Hotline: 800-421-3481 TDD: 877-521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov Website: www.ed.gov/ocr

Types of Sexual Misconduct

  1. Sexual Assault: An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s UCR program.
  2. Sex Offenses: Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
    1. Rape- The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
    2. Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
    3. Incest - Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
    4. Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Consent is defined as agreeing to do or allow something. It may be given by words or actions, so long as those words or actions create clear, mutually understood permission to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent, and past consent of sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. A person who is unable to consent includes, but is not limited to, any person under the legal age of consent, anyone who is physically helpless, or anyone who is mentally incapacitated. A physically helpless person is considered to be one who is unconscious or for any other reason unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in any act. A mentally incapacitated person may be one who is under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or who is mentally incapable of understanding the implications and consequences of any act.

  1. Domestic Violence: A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed
    1. By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
    2. By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
    3. By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
    4. By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred;
    5. By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
  2. Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of aromantic or intimate nature with the victim.
    1. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
    2. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
    3. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
    4. Any incident meeting this definition is considered a crime for the purposes of Clery Act reporting.
  3. Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
    1. Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
    2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this policy:

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Any incident meeting any of these definitions is considered a crime for the purposes of Clery Act reporting.

Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of MCC, in keeping with efforts to establish an environment in which the dignity and worth of all members of the institutional community are respected, that sexual harassment of students and employees at MCC is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, when that behavior falls within the following definition:

Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, when that behavior falls within the following definition:

Sexual harassment of employees and students at MCC is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature, when

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment,
  2. submission to or reflection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting that individual, and/or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational experience, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment.

Students who feel that they have been sexually harassed under the above definition and wish for further information or assistance in filing a complaint should contact the Dean of Student Services with a written report of the complaint setting forth the facts involved.

Reporting Sexual Assault and Receiving Assistance

The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) is available to help anyone who reports a violation of the sexual misconduct policy. The Coordinator can provide assistance and information regarding crisis intervention, assessment, and referral for the victim and the accused. The Coordinator, along with other members of student services, are responsible for coordinating prevention education efforts on campus.

Individuals may report violations of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator by phone, email, or written notice. Employees of the college should report violations to the Human Resources Coordinator located in the Business Office of Hardin Hall.

When a student or employee reports to the institution that the student or employee has been a victim of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, whether the offense occurred on or off- campus, the College will provide the student or employee with a copy of the MCC Sexual Assault policy which contains written explanations of the student’s or employee’s rights and options.

A student may choose to use the College disciplinary process in cases involving another student, whether the incident occurred on- or off-campus. An individual has the right not to report if they choose. If the reporting student requests confidentiality or requests that the complaint not be pursued, the Coordinator will take all reasonable steps to investigate the complaint and respond consistently with the student’s request as long as doing so does not prevent the College from responding effectively. The College will take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of the victim and other necessary parties. Publicly available record keeping, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures, will not contain personally identifying information about the victim. The College will also maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures provided to the victim, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the accommodations or protective measures. The Coordinator will inform the student that confidentiality cannot be assured.

If the reporting student insists that he/she remains anonymous in the investigation, the Coordinator will inform the student that such a request will limit the College’s ability to respond to the complaint. The Coordinator will evaluate the request in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. When reasonably available, the College can provide assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, working arrangements, and other protective measures, if requested with the Coordinator, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus or local police and regardless of whether the incident occurred on or off campus.

Any college employee receiving a report of sexual assault involving a student should refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator will discuss options and resources with the person reporting the sexual assault and with the student.

Where applicable, MCC will enforce orders of protection, “no contact” orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by criminal, civil, or tribal courts or by the institution.

MCC maintains relationships with various institutions which offer confidential services to assist victims of sexual violence. A few of those institutions are the Care Lodge, Weems Mental Health, Psychology Associates, and Wesley House. These institutions provide services such as counseling, health, mental health and victim advocacy. See the contact information below for off campus resources.

Care Lodge

24 Hour Hotline 601-693-4673
Community Service 601-482-8719
Domestic Violence Shelter 601-483-8436

Wesley House

1520 8th Avenue
Meridian, MS 39307
601-485-4736

Weems Community Mental Health Center

1415 College Drive
Meridian, MS 39307
601-483-4821

Psychology Associates

5004 Highway 39 North
Meridian, MS 39307
601-693-8307

Anderson Regional Health System

2124 14th Street
Meridian, MS 39301
(ER) 601-553-6111

Rush Foundation Hospital

1314 19th Avenue
Meridian, MS 39301
(ER) 601-703-9260

Procedures for Reporting a Sexual Misconduct Violation

  • A person should go to a safe place as soon as possible.
  • The person should also try to preserve all physical evidence. If a person is reporting a sexual assault that has occurred within the previous 72 hours, it may be possible to collect trace evidence of the offense. This evidence is important particularly if a person wishes to prosecute the offender. The person should not shower or bathe, wash hands, use the toilet, change clothing, or wash clothing or bedding. If the victim changes clothes, please place all of the clothing that was worn at the time of the incident in a paper (not plastic) bag.
  • The person should seek medical attention. A medical examination will provide any necessary treatment and collect important evidence. MCC police are available to transport sexual assault victims to any local hospital of the victim’s choice, where a rape examination may be conducted. See the local hospitals listed previously in this section.
  • The person may report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Police.
  • The person should call MCC Campus Police. (It is the victim’s decision whether to involve the police in an incident. Deciding not to involve the police does not prevent the victim from seeking assistance from the Title IX Coordinator.) To report an incident that has just occurred, or to report an incident at a later date, call MCC Campus Police at 601-484-8620 or 601-934-0072.

Reporting an incident to the MCC Campus Police helps

  1. Identify and apprehend the alleged assailant;
  2. Maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, College disciplinary action, and/or civil action against the perpetrator; and
  3. May protect the victim and others from future assaults by the same assailant.

When an incident is reported, an MCC police officer will complete an incident report. An investigator will be summoned to begin an investigation into the offense. This process is important if the victim wishes to bring criminal charges at this or a later time. The victim will be asked questions about the incident and asked to identify any witnesses and what happened before and after the incident. Generally, the MCC Campus Police work to safeguard the identity of the victim.

  • The person should call off-campus police. A person can call 911, the Meridian Police Department (601-485-1893), or the Lauderdale County Sherriff’s Department (601-482-9898).
  • The person should seek counseling or other support. A victim who wishes to speak to someone confidentially is encouraged to contact one of the resources listed previously in this section.

Disciplinary process

In responding to reports of sexual assault, the College will support and protect the persons involved and protect the College community. Interim measures such as campus escorts, academic changes, employment or housing modifications, or interim suspension may be provided to any person involved in an incident.

A charge of sexual assault against an individual will be handled by the Office of the Dean of Student Services under the normal College disciplinary processes. The Dean of Student Services has the discretion to suspend a student accused of sexual assault, pending the completion of the investigation. Upon completion of any necessary investigation, the Dean of Student Services will formally notify the accused student of the charge(s).

Both the person filing a complaint and the person accused of a violation of the policy on sexual assault has certain rights in the College disciplinary process. The standard of evidence in sexual misconduct violations is a preponderance of the evidence.

The person filing a complaint has the right to

  • Be present whenever the accused student is present in the disciplinary process;
  • Be accompanied by a representative of his or her choice;
  • Be present when (or if) disciplinary action is announced to the accused;
  • Make a formal statement, orally or in writing, prior to consideration of any penalty to be imposed on the offender;
  • Be notified, at the same time as the offender, of any penalty being imposed;
  • Be notified of any appeals filed by the offender, and to respond to any new evidence presented as the basis for any appeal; and
  • Be notified, at the same time as the accused, of the result of any appeals.

Retaliation

Retaliation against a person who has in good faith filed, supported or participated in an investigation of a complaint of any type of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint, or adversely altering that person’s educational, living, or work environment. Students accused of retaliation will be subjected to the procedures of the MCC Disciplinary Process.

Sanctions

The sanctions for students found guilty of sexual assault under this policy range from a minimum of suspension for one year to a maximum of permanent expulsion. Any student suspended under this policy must, as a condition of reentering the College, submit to the Dean of Student Services proof of successful completion of counseling by a licensed mental health professional and the results of a psychological evaluation.

Education Programs

MCC has contracted with a company to provide online, interactive sexual misconduct education for students and employees. Each module provides information related to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, sexual harassment, bystander intervention and links to federal and state laws. Other topics related to healthy relationships, the importance of consent and being a good communicator, and the many ways a student can help create the safe, positive campus to be a part of are also discussed.

During the academic year, local agencies such as the Care Lodge and Wesley House provide programs and services to our students and employees relating to domestic violence. The Care Lodge also hosts a conference on Domestic Violence which is attended by various employees.

Disciplinary Process for Students

The Board of Trustees of MCC charges the President of MCC with the responsibility for maintaining appropriate standards of acceptable behavior and further authorizes him to terminate, suspend and/or place limitations on continued attendance for violations of the Student Behavior Code. The aim of disciplinary action is the redirection of a student’s behavior toward self-directed, responsible behavior and the achievement of academic goals.

The President has delegated this responsibility to the Dean or Associate Dean of Student Affairs. When a student is believed to have violated the Student Behavior Code, the Dean or Associate Dean will gather information and hold a meeting with the student(s) involved. If deemed necessary, disciplinary actions shall be taken after the meeting is held.

A student may appeal the decision of the Dean or Associate Dean to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council. The request must be submitted in writing within two working days to the Dean or Associate Dean of Student Affairs. The Administrator will then notify the Chairperson of the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council of the student’s desire to appeal. The Council’s decision will be the final level of institutional appeal. See Student Appeals Procedure.

Students adjudicated guilty of violation(s) of the conduct code will be subject to one or more of the following:

  • Counseling - Confidential psychological service to help students deal more effectively with conduct.
  • Reprimand - Formal written notice and official recognition taken of the violation.
  • Community Service - Performance of a specified service for a prescribed number of hours to the College community.
  • Grade Reduction - Reductions of grade(s) for test(s), assignment(s), or course(s).
  • Restrictions - The withdrawal of specified privilege(s) for a definite period of time. Restrictions may include requirements such as vacating campus housing or not operating motor vehicles on campus.
  • Restitution - A payment for financial injury in cases involving theft, destruction of property, or deception.
  • Probation - An official written warning that the student conduct constitutes an offense but is not sufficiently serious to warrant probation with restrictions, suspension, or expulsion. Students are restricted from holding office in any student organization and cannot represent the College in any official capacity during the term of probation. Continued enrollment depends on maintenance of satisfactory conduct during the period of probation.
  • Suspension - The termination of the student’s attendance at the College for an indefinite or specified period of time. A grade of “W” will be recorded on the student’s permanent record for each course on the student’s schedule at the time of the suspension. “Disciplinary Suspension” and the effective date will also be recorded on the student’s permanent record. If the Dean of Student Services approves the request, the words “Disciplinary Suspension” will be replaced by the word “Withdrew.”
  • Expulsion - The involuntary and permanent separation of the student from the College. A grade of “W: will be recorded on the student’s permanent record of each course on the student’s schedule at the time of the expulsion. “Permanent Expulsion” and the effective date will be placed on the permanent record. This will remain on the permanent record indefinitely or until an appeal is held by the Dean of Student Services and the expulsion is approved for removal. In a case of appeal and approval by the Dean of Student Services to remove the expulsion, the words “Permanent Expulsion” will be replaced by the word “Withdrew.”

Student Appeals Procedure

Students who are subject to institutional discipline as related to academic or campus conduct issues have the right to appeal decisions rendered by the appropriate Dean, Associate Dean, Vice President or Associate Vice President of the respective department to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council. The Council Chairperson and members will be appointed annually by the President.

Once a decision on any case has been rendered by the appropriate administrator supervising the institutional component related to the case, the student has two working days to notify that administrator in writing of his/her desire to appeal the decision. The student is encouraged to base appeals on facts which he or she thinks may not have been considered in the original decision. The appropriate Administrator will then notify the Chairperson of the Student Appeals Council of the subject’s desire to appeal.

The Chairperson will convene the Council within five working days of notification of the appeal and notify the student of the time and place of the hearing. A minimum of three days’ notice is required for the Committee members to review the files before the Committee meets, with most meetings to be scheduled on Fridays. A quorum of five faculty and/or staff members is required for an official hearing before the Committee. Two alternate faculty or staff members in addition to the 8 regular committee members should be appointed to accommodate unforeseen circumstances where Committee members are excused or recused with a quorum being otherwise unobtainable.

The student’s failure to appear at the hearing within 10 minutes of the designated time will constitute his/her acceptance of the administration’s original decision on the case.

At the hearing, the Council will consider the administration’s findings on the case as well as the student’s rebuttal. Each side has the right to call witnesses in support of his/her case, and each side has the responsibility to notify those witnesses of the time and place of the Council meeting. Witnesses will participate in the hearing only during the time that they are called to testify. Hearings will be recorded. In the event the student determines to be represented by legal counsel, the college administration reserves the right to do likewise.

Having heard all testimony, the Council will retire to decide the case. The Council has the authority to (1) uphold the Administration’s initial decision on the case; (2) reverse the decision; or (3) modify the Administration’s decision. The Chairperson will have the responsibility to notify the appropriate administrator* and the MCC President of the Council’s findings. The President will charge an appropriate member of the college administration with the responsibility to notify the student of the outcome of the hearing within ten business days. The Council’s decision will be the final level of institutional appeal.

The intent of this policy is to adjudicate such matters in a timely manner so that the student will be fully aware of his/her standing with the college.

*The appropriate administrator will likely mean the Vice President for Engagement or the VP’s designee; the Dean for University Transfer in the case of general education classes; the Vice President for Career Technical/Workforce Education or his/her designee in the case of career and technical/workforce education programs; and the Dean of Student Affairs in the case of campus conduct issues unrelated to classroom activities.

Student Complaint Procedure

Meridian Community College provides procedures for students to resolve complaints or grievances with the College. For purposes of this policy, a complaint or a grievance are synonymous terms and are herein referred to as a “complaint.” A student should communicate his/her complaint as soon as possible to ensure the timely resolution of the complaint.

Non-Academic Matters:

  1. Student complaints usually start, informally, at the department level where the student is encouraged to talk directly with the faculty or staff member in an effort to resolve the issue. If the student prefers to talk to someone other than the faculty or staff member involved, the student must present the complaint to the immediate supervisor of the person involved. The supervisor, faculty or staff member will provide the student with a decision within three business days.
  2. Should further arbitration prove necessary, the student must submit a written statement to the appropriate Dean, Associate Dean, Vice President or Associate Vice President of the respective department which includes:
    1. a written statement with contact information, including email address, that is signed and dated and clearly states the nature and basis of the alleged offense, the name(s) of the person(s) committing the alleged offense, the specifics of the incident(s) in question and the names of any known witnesses; and
    2. the remedy sought by the student.
  3. Within five business days of receipt of the complaint, the appropriate administrator will acknowledge through personal communication or via email, receipt of the complaint.
  4. Within ten business days of receipt of the complaint, the administrator will meet with the student and initiate an investigation regarding the complaint.
  5. Within 30 business days of receipt of the complaint, the administrator will provide a written response to the student outlining the decision or resolution regarding the complaint.
  6. If the student is not satisfied with the decision and a mutually acceptable solution cannot be reached, the student will have 48 hours to submit a written appeal request to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council via the office of the appropriate administrator, typically the Dean of Student Services, the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Workforce Education, or the Vice President for Finance (see “Student Appeals Procedure” in the MCC Catalog).
  7. The Council’s decision will be the final level of institutional appeal.

Academic Matters:

  1. A student who has a complaint about a grade received in a course should see the “Grade Review Policy” in section three of the MCC Catalog for the grade review procedure.
  2. For “non-grade matters,” student complaints usually start, informally, at the department level where the student is encouraged to talk directly with the faculty member in an effort to resolve the issue. If the student prefers to talk to someone other than the faculty member involved, the student is encouraged to present the complaint to the immediate supervisor of the person involved. The supervisor or faculty member will provide the student with a decision within three business days.
  3. Should further arbitration prove necessary, the student must submit a written statement to the appropriate instructional unit of the College which includes:
    1. a written statement with contact information, including email address, that is signed and dated and clearly states the nature and basis of the alleged offense, the name(s) of the person(s) committing the alleged offense, the specifics of the incident(s) in question and the names of any known witnesses; and
    2. the remedy sought by the student.
  4. Within five business days of receipt of the complaint, the appropriate administrator will acknowledge through personal communication or via email, receipt of the complaint.
  5. Within ten business days of receipt of the complaint, the administrator will meet with the student and initiate an investigation regarding the complaint.
  6. Within 30 business days of receipt of the complaint, the administrator will provide a written response to the student outlining the decision or resolution regarding the complaint.
  7. If the student is not satisfied with the decision and a mutually acceptable solution cannot be reached, the student will have 48 hours to submit a written appeal request to the Meridian Community College Student Appeals Council via the office of the appropriate administrator, typically the Dean of Student Services, the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President of Workforce Education, or the Vice President for Operations (see “Student Appeals Procedure” in the MCC Catalog).
  8. The Council’s decision will be the final level of institutional appeal.

The College recognizes and accepts Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) oversight in resolving complaints from students taking distance education under the auspices of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). In addition, The Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation has a published student complaint policy found at http://www.mississippi.edu/mcca/sara.asp.

To file a complaint, a student should complete the complaint form available on the website. MCCA is located at 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211 and can be reached by telephone 601.432.6647.

Drug-Free Policy

Meridian Community College prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol on College property or as any part of its activities. Therefore, the College informs all students and employees regarding illicit drugs and alcohol abuse and use. Any Workforce/Career Technical student who exhibits behavior, in the opinion of the instructor, consistent with the use of drugs and/or alcohol, will be required to submit to a urine or blood analysis test.

If a student is found to be engaged in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance, the College will initiate legal action or begin dismissal proceedings, or both, against the violator(s). MCC shall continue to inform and educate all students of the dangers of drug abuse. Should a student need counseling, referral or other assistance, the College will provide this assistance. This statement is prepared to comply with the “Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1989,” 34 CFR Part 85, Subpart F, and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (PL 101-226). To comply with this act, any student convicted of a drug statute violation is required to notify MCC within five days of such conviction. Students found guilty of substance abuse may be suspended from campus housing and/or suspended from MCC for one or more semesters as determined by the Dean of Student Services or the Associate Dean of Student Services. For additional information related to the MCC substance abuse policy, contact the Dean of Student Services Office in Ivy Hall.

Alcohol Policy

Under MCC’s drug-free compliance policy, alcohol possession and/or use on any MCC property as well as off-campus MCC related activities or events are strictly prohibited. Those individuals determined to be in violation of the alcohol policy will be placed on disciplinary probation. In addition, the following actions will apply:

  • For the first offense, possession of alcohol on MCC property or an MCC related activity or event carries a $100 fine; viewing of an alcohol violations video; and mandatory, confidential, alcohol counseling provided through a contracted mental health service provider.
  • For the second offense, possession of alcohol on MCC property or an MCC related activity or event carries a $200 fine and disciplinary suspension/dismissal from MCC.
  • If any fine is not paid by the end of the semester, a hold will be placed on the student’s record.

Smoking and Tobacco Use Policy

Meridian Community College prohibits smoking and/or using tobacco products on or in any facility owned or operated by MCC. Smoking includes the use of any product that is smoked and produces smoke or vapor including but not limited to cigarettes, hookahs, and electronic cigarettes. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Violators will face a fine and could face further disciplinary action.

Campus Security

Vehicle Registration

All motor vehicles driven on campus must be registered and have a parking decal. The first decal is free of charge; additional decals are $10 each. A vehicle is defined as a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other type of moveable transportation. Safety and security decals are available in the Security office in Ivy Hall. Parking decals must be displayed in the lower left corner of the rear window. Decals are issued for one motor vehicle and must not be transferred or affixed to another vehicle. A new decal will be issued each academic year.

Students who live in campus housing will be issued a special decal that must be displayed in order to park in the residential parking lot.

A student who changes his/her place of residence or whose decal becomes illegible is responsible for immediate re-registration of his/her car in order to secure the proper decal. Also, when the owner trades his/her car, he/she is responsible for removing the old decal. Any violations noted against the old number will be charged to the person to whom it was issued.

Driving Regulations

Meridian Community College students are expected to comply with the following automobile regulations:

  • Each student who operates a motor vehicle on campus must register for and display a parking decal. The decal authorizes the student to park on campus in designated parking areas.
  • No motor vehicle shall display more than one MCC decal at any one time.
  • Vehicle operators must obey campus regulations and operate vehicles in a safe and courteous manner.
  • MCC is not responsible for contents in vehicles parked on campus.
  • Speed limit on the MCC campus is 15 mph unless posted differently. All state traffic laws apply on campus.
  • Registered operators must observe and obey all traffic and parking signs on campus.
  • Registered students are responsible for their vehicles on campus.
  • Vehicle operators must not repair vehicles on campus grounds or parking lots.
  • Vehicles are not to be left on campus for more than 48 hours without notifying Campus Police.
  • Vehicles are not to be parked on grass, sidewalks, entrances, or exits.
  • All accidents should be reported immediately to the Campus Police.
  • Vehicle operators must be aware of the colored curb markings and their meaning:
  • Blue curb* - Handicapped Parking
  • Yellow curb* - No Parking

*Signage overrides curb markings.

  • All vehicles are to be driven into parking spaces front-end first.
  • Any vehicle operated by a person whose driving privileges have been suspended may be towed away at the owner’s expense.
  • Any vehicle parked in a reserved area may be towed away if deemed necessary by the Campus Police.

Penalties for violations shall be as follows:

  No Parking Zone $25
  Parking on Grass $25
  Improperly Parked $25
  Parking in Wrong Zone $25
  Parking in Handicapped Zone $100
  No Decal $25
  Decal Improperly Displayed $25
  Speeding $25
  Failure to Stop at Sign or Signal $25
  Reckless Driving $25
  Other $25

Once a person has received five tickets from the Campus Police office, the sixth one and each one thereafter will cost $50 other than for a handicapped-parking violation.

Additional parking is available on the Mississippi State, Meridian Campus for all MCC Faculty, Staff and Students.

Bicycle Regulations

  1. Cyclists should use extreme caution and slow down or walk their bicycles when interacting with pedestrians. Cyclists should not use sidewalks and walkways when pedestrians are present.
  2. Automobiles are not required by law nor equipped with the reaction time to stop for bikes shooting across crosswalks. It is best for bicyclists wishing to use crosswalks to walk their bicycle through the crosswalk as a pedestrian.
  3. Bicycles using campus roadways operate with the same rules as automobiles.
  4. Bicyclists are strongly encouraged to wear safety equipment while on campus (including helmets) as well as properly maintain the mechanical aspects of their bike for the safest riding experience possible.
  5. Bike Rack use on campus is mandatory. We are asking all bike riders to assist the college by not locking bikes in such a way that they block sidewalks or handicap access to buildings. Furthermore, we ask bike riders to refrain from locking bikes to campus trees or foliage, light poles or other freestanding posts or any railings or any other freestanding structures (except bike racks). Keep in mind we have students with disabilities who require accessible pathways and specific access to buildings and we are required by law to protect this access.
  6. MCC is not responsible for loss or damage to bicycles.
  7. Bikes locked or left anywhere else besides a bike rack are subject to the lock being cut and the bike impounded by Campus Police.

Lost and Found

Any items that are found on or near campus should be turned in immediately to the Campus Police office in Ivy-Scaggs Hall. Inquiries concerning lost books, articles of clothing, identification cards, etc. should be directed to Campus Police personnel.

Student Identification Card

All students who enroll at Meridian Community College must have a valid MCC identification card. Students must display a current MCC ID card on his/her person at all times while on campus. ID cards are provided and validated by the Admissions office, located on the first floor of Ivy-Scaggs Hall. The student must provide a form of photo identification and a current class schedule to obtain an ID card. The ID card must be worn on the person above the waist, which means it cannot be on a purse, book bag, etc. Individuals without an ID card in plain view will be stopped to verify their status as a student, staff, or authorized visitor. Displaying of the ID is also required for use of the MCC library and most other services and activities. Individuals who fail to display the identification card may be subject to sanctions and penalties including charges of trespassing and/or suspension from school.

The first ID made for any student is free. There is a $10.00 replacement fee.

Search and/or Questioning of Students

Meridian Community College reserves the right to search any dormitory room or vehicle or question any person on campus subject to probable cause. Policies include the following:

  • Normal inspection of students’ rooms for health, safety, and standards of maintenance will be made by College officials and can be made if necessary in the absence of the student.
  • College officials will not delegate to other law enforcement officers their reasonable right to searches for purposes of maintaining order and discipline of the campus.
  • College officials will cooperate with law enforcement officers when a search warrant(s) is presented.
  • Whenever there is reasonable cause, the Dean or Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Director of Housing & Residence Life, or a Campus Police officer will search rooms and vehicles. The student will be present when possible; however, in all cases a witness will be present.

The rights of students regarding search and questioning will be in accordance with the United States Constitution. The Board of Trustees recognizes that the law must be upheld, and when circumstances require, school officials may search or question students, particularly in cases involving the welfare and safety of people, the protection of property, and the possible violation of law and College rules. The Dean or Associate Dean of Student Affairs, with the assistance of Campus Police, may search and a question student when in his/her judgment the welfare and safety of the college is in jeopardy.

Exposure Control Policy

In order to protect individuals against exposure and unforeseen risks from bloodborne pathogens, MCC has adopted a campus-wide Exposure Control Policy which is compatible with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “Latest Rule on Career and Technical Education Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens,” published in March 2000. The policy addresses environments and programs on campus where there is a possibility of exposure to blood and bodily fluids. The College has identified tasks and procedures that are hazardous or potentially hazardous for students, faculty and staff. Students in nursing and health programs are taught “Standard Precautions” when their studies begin and are reviewed annually thereafter. These standards include the minimizing or eliminating of risks of exposure through responsible work habits and controls and recognizing the seriousness of possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Students are informed through handouts and orientation sessions in other appropriate programs, laboratories and classes if hazards or potential hazards exist. Personal protective equipment currently in use in specified health programs includes disposable gloves, masks, protective glasses/goggles, disposable gowns and pipetting devices. The handling and disposal of sharps is taught in all health programs and science classes using needles and sharps.

A detailed exposure control protocol for faculty, staff and students is published in the Meridian Community College Faculty/Staff Handbook, Eaglenet, the First Day Handouts for laboratory classes, and the orientation materials for all MCC programs in which there is some risk of exposure to hazardous substances.

Network Policies and Procedures

The purpose of the MCC Information Network is to support the overall educational mission of the College, in accordance with School policies. Access to the network and its resources is a privilege. Network users must at all times respect the rights of others and the integrity of the network.

This policy governs the use of all computers, laptops, tablets, cellular devices, computer-based networks, wireless devices whether owned by the College or the individual, and related hardware and software at Meridian Community College. Under federal statutes and the sections of the Mississippi Code that regulates the use of these resources, the College is required to ensure that this equipment and software are used properly and for the purpose for which state funds were expended. The intent of this policy is to allow maximum freedom of use while still complying with state and federal law, College policy and a productive work environment.

Scope:

This policy applies to all College faculty, staff, administrators, students, and visitors who utilize the resources of the College network. It covers all computing hardware, network infrastructure, routers, switches, hubs, servers, wireless devices (including tablets and cellular devices, and laptops), and all types of software identified as “supported by the College.”

Also included are the following categories of data systems: the administrative and student information system and data which have been collected or generated by the College. Not covered is neither data which is generated, stored, and used by students or employees for their own purposes nor software or data which the College does not support, even though such may be stored on College hardware and/or used by individual departments.

User Responsibilities:

Network Security - Network access is controlled by passwords, and the level of access granted is determined by a user’s job-related requirements. Passwords must not be logically identifiable with the user, must be changed periodically as required by the system, and must not be shared with anyone else.

Ethical Use - The network, including the Internet and e-mail, is for official College use only and must not be used for personal business, profit-making ventures, political activities, or to harass or offend anyone. This includes the use of Email, messaging services and social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter). Users will not access, view, or alter any data unless authorized to do so that is outside their defined scope of responsibility unless specifically authorized to do so by a supervisor or instructor.

Security - The College makes every effort to protect the network from intrusion from within and without. All attempts to “hack” into the network constitute a serious offense and will be dealt with appropriately. All suspected attempts to violate network security must be reported to the Department of Information Technology. Meridian Community College will comply with all legal requests made by federal, state, and local authorities in pursuit of criminal violators. If necessary, MCC will monitor any correspondence, Internet activity, telephone records, or data stored on or created by the College’s resources. Users of this network cannot attempt to bypass security by using someone else’s login credentials. In addition, instructors will not allow students access to their workstations. Users with access to sensitive and secure information, such as financial data, social security numbers, and other personal information, must take all precautions necessary to protect this data. Terminals should never be left unattended or information displayed where others can observe. If such sensitive data is taken off-campus (on a laptop, other mobile device, or portable drive), it is the user’s responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of the information.

Copyrighted and Intellectual Property- Users may use only legally obtained and licensed software on the College’s computers. In addition, users are strictly prohibited from downloading, storing, or making available to others materials that are governed by copyright laws or would be considered the intellectual property of someone else - e.g. music, videos, and books.

Access to the Internet - The College provides Internet access through the College network to all employees having a network account, as well as, to students through computer labs and in certain situations, the public at large. Note that, online gaming is not allowed due to its disproportionate use of network resources. Excessive use of the telephone or the Internet, unless specifically job-related, hurts productivity and job-performance. Supervisors have the right to investigate any such activity they deem as excessive. The College does not allow access to sites which are considered objectionable (for example, pornographic or adult sites), and it is a violation of College policy to use the Internet for political purposes, for illegal activity, for profit-making ventures, or for the harassment of individuals or organizations. This includes the use of e-mail, messaging services and social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter). Users should be aware that all Internet activity is logged and that this information is monitored on a regular basis. Any effort to bypass the College’s web filter or conceal the user’s identity (through the use of spoofing, anonymizers, proxy servers, etc.) is a violation of College policy and subject to sanctions.

Email - An Email account is provided for each employee who has a network account and to students through Eaglenet. As with Internet access, e-mail is intended only for official College business and not for illegal activity, for personal profit-making ventures, for political purposes, or to harass any person or organization. This includes the use of Email, messaging services and social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter). Spamming or phishing is specifically forbidden. Email is, by definition, public and is subject to review by College officials without prior notification. Users are responsible for maintaining their e-mail accounts and removing old messages.

Unauthorized Software and Equipment - Users will not download or install any unauthorized software on a computer, nor will they connect any electronic device to the network without the approval of the Department of Information Technology.

Compliance - Every user of the network is required to read, agree to, and comply with the Network Policies and Procedures document.

Sanctions:

Employees - An employee found guilty of violating the terms of the MCC Network Policy and Procedures document is subject to sanctions. If misuse of the network by an employee threatens the stability of the network, the Department of Information Technology will suspend network privileges immediately. Additional sanctions could include reprimand by the appropriate supervisor, dismissal, criminal prosecution or any other sanction as outlined in the MCC Policy Manual.

Students - A student found guilty of misuse of the network is subject to loss of network privileges, criminal prosecution, or any other disciplinary action described in the MCC Catalog.

Public - A member of the public found guilty of misuse of the network is subject to loss of network privileges and/or criminal prosecution.