D.4 Student Rights & Responsibilities

D.4. Student Activities

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

D.4 Student Activities

D.4.1 Student Communications

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board promotes the free exchange of ideas and information throughout the colleges and provides equal treatment and educational opportunities to all persons without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, veteran's status, sexual orientation, and disability. Any student who engages in any act of unlawful discrimination will be subject to discipline by HCC, up to and including expulsion.

D.4.2 Registered Student Organizations

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board encourages students to organize and join associations to promote their common interests. To that end, the College supports equal opportunities for all students to participate in courses, activities, and programs without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or disability. Recognition of student groups' shall not be denied based on the views expressed by the group.

D.4.3 Student Travel

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board supports and promotes student travel for educationally related activities. This policy does not apply to purely social or optional events organized by a registered student organization or an optional course activity recommended by a faculty member.

D.4.4 Student Rights & Responsibilities

PROCEDURE: Student Rights and Responsibilities

Effective Date: May 9, 2011

Approval Body: Chancellor’s Operational Team

Applicable Board Policy: D.4.4 Students Rights and Responsibilities


The purpose of this procedure is to inform students of their rights and responsibilities as students of Houston Community College.


This procedure applies to all students, those seeking academic, workforce, or continuing education credit.


Student Government Association - an assembly of club and organization student representatives selected according to the rules and by-laws of the groups they represent.


Student Rights and Responsibilities 

Educational institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the educational community, students engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic liberty. The freedom to learn depends upon the appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. Students must exercise their liberty with responsibility. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the educational community. HCC has a duty to develop policies and procedures that provide and safeguard this liberty. The purpose of this statement is to enumerate the essential provisions for student freedom to learn and the responsibilities that go with these liberties as established by the Board.

Student Rights:

Academic Affairs

Freedom of Expression: Students will be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled. Freedom of expression must not interfere with the rights of others.  

Fair Academic Evaluation: Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled. A student’s right to a fair academic evaluation of coursework is protected and ensured through the grade appeals process.

Right to Privacy: Information about students’ views, beliefs and political associations, which instructors acquire in the course of their work, will be considered confidential to the extent permitted by law. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Students are advised to submit written requests to HCC faculty and staff for letters of recommendation. Outside requests for student records may be provided with the consent of the student and a formal request through the Dean of Student Services at the college the student attends.

Student Intellectual Property: Student intellectual property is treated in the same manner as intellectual property of faculty and staff. Ownership of student projects that are the result of individual initiative with incidental use of college facilities and resources resides with the student. If the student is working on a project initiated and funded by HCC, ownership resides with the College. Student grievances alleging that a student’s intellectual rights have been abridged are addressed by the student grievance process.

Student Affairs 

In student affairs, certain standards must be maintained if the freedom of students is to be preserved.

Freedom of Association: Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. Students of the college district have freedom to organize and join associations to promote their common interests in accordance with the policies established by the Board.

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression: Students and student organizations will be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They will be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt the regular and normal operation of the institution and which comply with the regulations that relate to student activities and conduct. At the same time, it should be made clear to the educational and the larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves. Recognized student organizations will be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their choosing when the purpose of such an invitation is consistent with the aims of the college district.

Student Participation in Institutional Government: 

As constituents of the educational community, students will be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body. The student body will have clearly defined means to participate and to express its views concerning any formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs. The role of the student government and both its general and specific responsibilities will be made explicit, and the actions of the student government within the areas of its jurisdiction will be reviewed only through orderly and prescribed procedures as provided in the Student Government Constitution and Regulations at the college.

Off-Campus Freedom of Students to Exercise Rights of Citizenship 

College students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens, students will enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and the right of petition that other citizens enjoy. As members of the academic community, students are subject to the obligations granted to them by virtue of this membership. Faculty members and administrative officials will ensure that institutional powers are not employed to inhibit such intellectual and personal development of students as is often promoted by their exercise of the rights of citizenship both on and off campus.

Institutional Authority and Civil Penalties: Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by civil authorities, but institutional authority will not be used merely to duplicate the function of general laws. Only where the institution’s interests as an academic community are distinctly and clearly involved should the special authority of the institution be asserted. Students who incidentally violate institutional regulations (such as those relating to class attendance) in the course of their off-campus activities will be subject to no greater penalty than would normally be imposed. Institutional action will be independent of civil action.

Student Responsibilities:

In all aspects of student rights, the student body collectively and individually has the responsibility of participating as citizens of the academic community to assist the college district in accomplishing its stated purposes. By virtue of enrolling in HCC, students have indicated that they will assume responsibility for their behavior and acknowledge and share the following responsibilities:

  • Students must recognize that the Board is the only legal authority for the operation of HCC. The Board delegates this authority to the administration.
  • The primary purpose for student involvement in the administration of appropriate functions of the college is to gain the education the college affords the student and to assist the administration in making better decisions.
  • Students are responsible collectively and individually for allowing other students to continue in their pursuit of education. All students must be allowed to pursue education, employment or other particular interests without having undue disruptions placed upon them by the activities of other students.
  • By enrolling in HCC, students assume the responsibility for complying with the rules and regulations of the college district. Further, students assume the responsibility to assist HCC in the refinement of such regulations to provide the greatest educational opportunity to all.
  • The right to disagree has been previously established. However, students must make sure that disagreement is factual and is presented with respect for those with whom they are disagreeing, including faculty, staff, administration, and students.
  • When approaching the administration about any matter, students must go through the established channels of communication. Students must assume the responsibility for active participation in student government in order that this organization might continue to be an effective means of communication.
  • Students have the responsibility to comply with all state and Board regulations governing student conduct. Such regulations and laws that may exist or that may be subsequently enacted and adopted will have precedence over the provisions of this document of student rights.

Retained Rights and Responsibilities

The enumeration of the above rights and responsibilities shall in no way be interpreted as denying the existence of other rights and responsibilities which a student holds as a student or citizen.

Enforcement and Amendment 

The Students Rights and Responsibilities procedure will be amended only at the direction of the United Student Council, administration, or Board. Any amendments will be subject to Board approval.


D.4.5 Sexual Harassment, Assault and Violence

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board promotes and the College provides an educational, employment, and business environment free of sexual harassment.

D.4.5.1. Convicted Sex Offender Policy

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 62.153 requires each person who is required to register as a sex offender, and who intends to attend classes at HCC to register with HCC's Police Department at least seven (7) days prior to reporting to any System location.

Current HCC Board policy requires that a sex offender seeking to enroll at HCC must submit information pertinent to his or her offenses to HCC's Review Committee for a determination of eligibility for enrollment. A person seeking to be enrolled as a student must first be approved before completing the registration process.

D.4.6 Discipline and Penalties

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

D.4.6.1. Student Code of Conduct

The Board views college-level students as adults who subscribe to a basic standard of conduct, which requires that they not violate any municipal, state or federal laws. Furthermore, no student may disrupt or otherwise interfere with any educational activity or fellow students’ right to pursue academic goals to the fullest in an atmosphere appropriate to a community of scholars.

Any student failing to abide by appropriate standards of conduct during scheduled College activities may be subject to disciplinary action. Students suspected of violating the Student Code of Conduct will be subject to the disciplinary process. Students have the right to due process. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct include, but are not limited to, infractions related to bullying, smoking, drug-free school, scholastic dishonesty, misuse of electronic devices, disruptive behavior, threatening behavior, organizational discipline, and general student conduct. For detailed information regarding violations of the Student Code of Conduct and the disciplinary and appeal process, visit www.hccs.edu.

D.4.7 Electronic Use Policy

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board supports and encourages the use of the Internet as a means of enriching and enhancing learning. Electronic activities are intended to assist adult learners in achieving specific learning outcomes and to provide an opportunity for collaboration and interaction among adult learners and content specialists. Adult learners participating in HCC electronic activities must agree to do so within the framework of this Electronic Use Policy as described below.

D.4.8 Social Networking Policy

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

The Board promotes responsible engagement and dialogue between HCC employees and students, prospective students and/or constituents. Whether or not HCC faculty and staff choose to create or participate in a blog, wiki, online social network or discussion is his or her decision. However, emerging online collaboration platforms are fundamentally changing the way faculty and staff work and how they engage with each other, students and the public. To promote learning and collaboration, HCC believes in the importance of open exchange between HCC and our students or prospective students. The rapidly-growing phenomenon of user-generated web content such as blogging, social web-applications and social networking are emerging important arenas for learning and collaboration.

D.4.9 Statement Regarding Students with Disabilities

Responsible Department: Student Life

Date Approved/Amended: December 2, 2010

HCC shall provide personal, academic or vocational counseling guidance, or placement services to its students without discrimination on the basis of disability . HCC shall ensure that qualified disabled students are not counseled towards more restrictive career objectives than are non-disabled students with similar interests and ability.