Student Rights, Freedoms & Responsibilities
SUNY Jefferson
Schedule an Admissions Appointment

Student Rights, Freedoms & Responsibilities


A student enrolled at Jefferson Community College enters into a relationship with the College as a member of this academic community. This relationship places obligations on both the student and the College. It is in this relationship with others that students find opportunity to develop emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially and spiritually. In attempting to provide an atmosphere favorable to learning including personal development, Jefferson Community College maintains standards for student life within the College community. The College disciplinary proceedings are not a substitute for the criminal justice system. The College will not handle felony-level charges.

The College is expected to provide educational opportunities and to foster the development of the student as a fully functional member of society. The student is obligated to act responsibly within the academic community in both educational and social settings. It is the responsibility of all students to be familiar with the College catalog, the Code of Student Conduct, class syllabi and departmental procedures, guidelines and practices. Students are held accountable for information contained within these documents.

As members of this College community, students retain national citizenship but also acquire additional obligation as defined in the Student Handbook and the College Catalog including but not limited to fiscal responsibility.

Jefferson Community College’s jurisdiction and discipline will be limited to conduct which occurs on JCC premises, at College-sponsored activities on and off premises, and in the pursuit of its objectives. The Clery Act has expanded the immediate jurisdiction of the campus to include adjacent properties to the College.

The College has the right and duty to develop principles that provide the basis for regulations, policies, and procedures to ensure a safe and open educational environment.

Students who violate civil law may be subject to penalties prescribed by civil authorities as well as by the College. The special authority of Jefferson will be asserted only when the College is endangered or in the event that the law is broken while attending a College-sanctioned activity (i.e., required attendance for class).

When a student is charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the College will not request or agree to special consideration for that individual because of his or her status as a student.

If the alleged offense is also the subject of a proceeding before a judicial body under the Code of Conduct, however, the College may advise off-campus authorities of the existence of the Student Code and of how such matters will be handled internally within the College community.

The College will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus or in College-sponsored learning or program environments and in the conditions imposed by criminal courts for the rehabilitation of student violators.

The objectives of this community can only be achieved through rational dialogue, intellectual integrity, mutual respect for varied opinions, and a careful preservation of an atmosphere free of repression and disruptive behaviors.

I. Freedom of Access to Higher Education

The admission policies of colleges and universities are a matter of institutional choice, provided that each college and university makes clear the characteristics and expectations of students which it considers relevant to success in the institution’s program. Under no circumstances will a student be barred from JCC on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or any other basis prohibited by law. Thus, within the limits of its facilities, JCC is open to all students who are qualified according to its admission standards. The facilities and services of JCC are open to all of its enrolled students, and the College will use its influence to secure equal access for all students to public facilities in the local community.

II. In the Classroom

At Jefferson Community College, the instructor encourages free discussion, inquiry, and expression both in the classroom and in conference. Student performance is evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

  1. Protection of Freedom of Expression

    Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion. They are, however, responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled.

  2. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

    Students at Jefferson Community College are protected against prejudiced and capricious academic evaluation. Any student who feels unjustly evaluated or unfairly penalized by an instructor with regard to the College’s Academic Honesty Policy may follow the steps outlined below within four months after the incident in question.

    Step I. The student will present any grievance to the instructor involved and ask for a complete review of the evaluation procedures under question. The instructor will explain to the student the procedures used for evaluation of the student’s performance.

    Step II. If the student is not satisfied with the explanation given by the instructor, a review and determination of the grievance by the appropriate Dean may be requested. The Dean will hold a hearing after receiving the request. The student may elect to have a student advocate appear and present oral statements. The Dean will make a decision after hearing all of the evidence and communicate it to the student and the instructor involved.

    Step III. The student may appeal the decision of the Dean and request a review and determination of the grievance by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will take such steps as deemed appropriate to gather all of the evidence pertaining to the grievance and render a decision. This decision will be communicated to the student, the instructor involved, and the Dean. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will be final and binding.

    All teaching faculty are required to submit the objectives of the course and an outline of the material to be covered to the Vice President for Academic Affair’s Office. This document will also be distributed to each student enrolled in the course.

  3. Protection Against Improper Disclosure

    The student-faculty relationship is a confidential one. Information about student views, beliefs, and political associations acquired in the course of an instructor’s work as teacher, advisor or counselor will be considered confidential. Judgments of a student’s ability and character may be provided when required by law or authorized by the student.

    A student who feels that the confidential teacher-student relationship has been violated may present a grievance to the Judicial Board of Review as outlined in Section VI, Paragraph D, of this Statement.

III. Out of the Classroom

Jefferson Community College provides a process to deal with student concerns regarding non-academic complaints. This process allows for both informal and formal resolution in addressing actions and decisions made from an administrative policy perspective. Students are encouraged to resolve complaints informally and to use the formal procedure only when an informal resolution is not possible.

Informal Complaint

  • The goal of the informal complaint process is to come to an understanding between the student and the College regarding the reason(s) why a particular action was taken.

  • The student is encouraged to first discuss their complaint with the particular staff or faculty member directly involved before taking the matter to the next administrative level.

  • If resolution cannot be reached, the student may raise the issue with an immediate supervisor or department head, who will listen to the concern and confer with the appropriate parties involved. If a satisfactory resolution does not result, the student may file a formal written complaint with the appropriate Vice President.

Formal Complaint

  • The goal of the formal complaint process is to reach a decision regarding a student’s complaint that is based on the facts of the case and the application of College policies and practices.

  • The formal written complaint must contain the following information:
    1. Name of the student filing the formal complaint.
    2. Date(s) of the incident(s).
    3. Nature of the complaint and statement of the facts in support of the complaint.
    4. Resolution being sought by the student(s).
    5. Student’s signature.
    6. Date complaint is submitted

  • The student will submit the written complaint to the appropriate Dean for review and consideration.

  • The Vice President will investigate the student’s complaint, confer with other parties involved, and reach a decision regarding an appropriate course of action.

  • The Vice President will notify the student in writing of the decision relative to the student’s complaint.


A student may submit a written appeal to the President for the following reasons:

  • Procedural error or irregularity regarding interpretation of College policy.

  • New information not previously considered.

  • Bias that may have affected the decision.

IV. Student Records

At Jefferson Community College, transcripts of education records contain only information about academic status. They also include any disciplinary action which affects the student’s eligibility to re-register. JCC will make every endeavor to keep the student’s record confidential and out of the hands of those who would use it for other than legitimate purposes. All members of the faculty, administration, and clerical staff will respect confidential information about students which they acquire in the course of their work. The College adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended by Public Law No. 107-56, section 507 of the USA Patriot Act (H.R. 3162), which provides for disclosure of educational records to the Attorney General in a terrorism investigation or prosecution.

  1. General Provisions
    1. Students are notified that the following categories of data about them have been designated by the College as public directory information.

      Directory Information

      1. student’s name, parents’ names, home and local addresses, and telephone numbers

      2. dates of enrollment and degree(s) earned, if any, and honors received

      3. major field of study

      4. date and place of birth

      5. educational agency or institution most recently attended

      6. participation in officially recognized activities and sports

      7. weight and height of members of athletic teams

      8. election district

      9. student schedule

    2. A student may direct that any or all of the directory information listed above be released only with his/her prior consent, by completing the appropriate form at the time of registration for each semester.

    3. Official permanent student records containing all pertinent information related to student achievement and progress are maintained by the College Registrar. These are available to the College’s teachers, administrators, and support staff who have legitimate educational interests in them. These records are reviewed and periodically expunged as provided by the State University of New York policies. Records of financial transactions between students and the College are maintained by the Bursar’s Office, and records in support of financial aid applications are maintained in the Financial Aid Office.

    4. A student will be provided an opportunity for a hearing with the College, through the Registrar’s Office, to challenge the content of his/her records,in order to insure that these records are accurate, and are not in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights. Correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data contained there in is possible at this time. A written explanation by the student (parents) respecting the content of such records is added to the file.

  2. Disclosure to Students
    1. Students are entitled to a transcript of their academic record, labeled “Student Copy.” With limited exceptions, students are also entitled to inspect, review, and copy the education records which are maintained about them by the College. Copies of these records will be provided at a fee of 25 cents per page.

    2. Requests by students for access to their education records will be granted within forty-five days after a written request has been submitted to the College Registrar.

    3. Original documents submitted in support of an application for admission or for transfer credit will not be returned to the student, nor will they be sent else where, even at the student’s request. For example, a transcript from another post-secondary institution or a high school record will not be sent to a third institution. The student must request another transcript from the original institution. In exceptional cases where another transcript is unobtainable or can be secured only with the greatest difficulty, copies may be prepared and released to prevent hardship to the student. The student should present a signed request, and the copy will be marked as a certified copy of what is in the student’s file.

  3. Disclosure to Faculty & Administrative Officers
    1. Faculty and administrative officers of the institution, who have a legitimate interest in the material and demonstrate a need to know, are permitted to review the academic records of any student.

    2. The contents of the official folder of a student will not be allowed outside the Registrar’s Office or the Admissions Office except in circumstances specifically authorized by the Registrar or Director of Admissions.

  4. Disclosure to Parents, Educational Institutions & Other Agencies
    1. Personally identifiable information in student education records other than directory information will be released only as provided in Part 99 to Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations or in other applicable laws and/or regulations.

    2. Transcripts or grade reports may be released to parents or guardians of dependent students (as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954) without the student’s prior approval.

    3. Written consent of the student is required to release a transcript or other academic information to another institution of learning or philanthropic organization.

    4. Requests from research organizations making statistical studies may be honored without prior approval of the student, provided no information revealing the student’s name or identity is released to persons other than representatives of such organizations. Such information will be destroyed when no longer needed for such research.

  5. Disclosure to Government Agencies
    1. Properly identified representatives from federal, state, or local agencies may be given any of the directory information listed above.

    2. Government investigative agencies as such have no inherent legal right to access student files and records. When additional information is requested, it will be released only on written authorization from the student. If such authorization is not given, the information will be released only on court order or subpoena. If an order or subpoena is served, the student will be notified of subpoenas in advance of compliance by the College.

    3. Student deferment certificates will be supplied to the Selective Service System only with the written permission of the student.

  6. Disclosure to Other Individuals and Organizations
    1. Information furnished to other individuals and organizations is limited to the items listed below under “Telephone Inquiries.” Additional information, such as transcripts, require written permission of the student

  7. Disclosure in Response to Telephone Inquiries
    1. Only the following directory items may be released in response to telephone inquiries:
      1. verification of the student’s current enrollment

      2. the curriculum in which the student is or was enrolled

      3. the student’s class year

      4. date(s) of any degree(s) earned and honors received

    2. Requests for other student directory information such as address, telephone number, or immediate whereabouts, will be referred to the Registrar for appropriate response.

  8. Student Directories
    1. Students may choose to have their addresses and telephone numbers omitted from student directories.

  9. Disclosure by Other Offices of the Institution
    1. The foregoing guidelines apply to any request for academic information about students or former students received by any member of the faculty, administration, or clerical staff. The guidelines are intended to protect the individual’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of student academic records throughout the institution.

    2. All institutional personnel are directed to refer requests for transcripts, certifications or other information to the Registrar’s Office or Admissions Office. Faculty members and other institutional offices may only acknowledge, when appropriate, the receipt of requests for student information, or release as much information as is appropriate in their role as faculty advisor, club advisor, instructor, etc.

  10. Withholding Information
    1. The College may withhold grade reports, transcripts, certifications, or other information about a student for disciplinary reasons, unpaid financial obligations or any other reason described in this Statement.

V. Student Affairs—Rights and Obligations of Civil and Academic Citizenship

Disputes arising from interpretations of Student Affairs, Freedom of Inquiry and Expression will be referred to the Vice President for Students. If a violation of the Code of Student Conduct is alleged the Vice President will follow Procedural Standards found in section one of the Code.

As members of this College community students retain national citizenship, but also acquire additional obligation as defined in the Student Handbook and the College Catalog including but not limited to fiscal responsibility.

Definitions of freedoms within the academic community are described below:

5.1 Assembly/Protest

Students have the right to assemble in an orderly manner and engage in peaceful protest, demonstration and picketing, providing that it does not disrupt the function of the College, threaten the health or safety of any person, or violate the Code of Student Conduct. In order to have a protest or assembly on campus, other than at the grassy area surrounding the clock tower, a student must complete a project registration form with the Dean of Students Office.

5.2 Freedom of Association

Individual students are encouraged to join existing groups or to organize themselves into new associations, following established procedures. By permission of the Board of Trustees, the Student Government approves organized groups.

Persons outside the JCC community will have no voice in membership policies and actions of organized groups.

The College will recognize bona fide organized groups. Organizations with external educational affiliation such as the Institute of Management Accountants and Phi Theta Kappa will qualify for campus recognition, provided they also meet the requirements as stated in this document.

Organized groups are encouraged to secure campus-affiliated advisors. Confirmed inability to acquire an advisor does not preclude campus recognition. The advisor may not vote, but serves as a mentor.

Groups requesting recognition by the College must present a proposed constitution to the Student Government containing a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, and procedural rules. Organized groups will not be required to submit a membership list as a condition of recognition.

The constitutions of all organized groups, including those affiliated with external groups, must contain a clause stating that the organization is open to all students without respect to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, handicap or any other basis prohibited by law.

The constitutions of all organized groups, including those affiliated with external groups, must contain a clause stating that the organization prohibits reckless or intentional endangerment to the mental or physical health of individuals by forced consumption of any substance for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization. Section 6450 of the Education Law of the State University of New York mandates this statement.

5.3 Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

Students and organized groups are free to examine and discuss topics of interest and to express opinions both publicly and privately provided that it does not violate the Code of Student Conduct.

Free expression must not interfere with the regular operations of the College, which include the normal commitments of the students and staff of the College. Prohibited acts are as follows:

  • 5.3.1 Disruption of classes,

  • 5.3.2 Blockage of entrances and exits,

  • 5.3.3 Destruction of College or personal property, and

  • 5.3.4 Impediment of communications.

Student organizations are allowed to invite any person they choose to perform or speak on campus. There are procedures in place designed to insure that there is adequate preparation for the event, that the occasion is conducted in an appropriate manner, and that sufficient financial backing is available. Student organizations are prohibited from signing any contracts with performers or speakers and must work with Student Activities Center for this function. An individual student can request use of the facilities just as any non-College affiliated individual or organization.

The College’s control of campus facilities will not be used as a device for censorship. It is understood that sponsorship of performers or speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed by the sponsoring group or by the College.

5.4 Governance/Participation

Students have the right to establish representative governmental bodies and to participate in College and State University of New York governance following the rules and regulations of the College. Students who accept representative roles in the governance of the College have the duty to participate responsibly.

Students are 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 participates in making and applying institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs by means of the student government. Student Government’s role is stated clearly in their constitution and when disputes arise regarding this role it will be handled as proscribed in the Code of Student Conduct.

5.5 Public Discussion and Demonstration

A public discussion and demonstration area has been established in the area surrounding the cannon, bordered by, but not including, the sidewalks. Jefferson students are free to support causes by orderly means, which do not disrupt the regular and essential operation of the College and do not violate the Code of Student Conduct. In their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves. Issues expressed in this area do not need prior registration.

5.6 Privacy/Search/Seizure

Students have the right to privacy and to be free from unreasonable searches or unlawful arrest on College property. Students have the responsibility to respect the privacy of other members of the College community in their person and property.

5.7 Quality Environment

Students have the right to expect a reasonably safe environment. Students have the responsibility to protect and maintain that environment and to reasonably protect themselves from all hazards.

5.8 Religion/Political Association

Students have the right to exercise their religious convictions and associate with religious, political or other organizations.

This association must:

  • 5.8.1 Respect the rights of other members of the community with differing religious convictions and associations

  • 5.8.2 Comply with the Code of Student Conduct and State University policies on use of facilities for religious and political purposes.

5.9 State of Campus Emergency

When all other means for settling serious campus disputes have been exhausted, or where the on-campus situation presents an immediate danger to College property or to members the President is empowered to declare a State of Campus Emergency. The President or a duly appointed representative will make this declaration in consult with the College’s President’s Cabinet.

Under a Declared State of Campus Emergency, the President will have full discretion and authority to take such steps as (s)he deems necessary to restore order and resume the College’s normal operation. This will include the use of all appropriate law enforcement and control agencies and legal injunctions, restraining orders, or all other legal means to end the Emergency.

Due process will be re-established following the restoration of law and order to the campus. When the State of Emergency ends and normal College functions resume Presidential actions will be reported in writing to and evaluated by the Board of Trustees.

5.10 Student Publications

Student publications are Student Fee-financed and record events, state policies, and contain information and are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining intellectual exploration and an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion. They are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and administration. They also formulate student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.

At JCC, student publications are free of censorship. Editors and managers are free to develop their own editorial policies.

Disputes arising from interpretations will be directed to the Vice President for Students and will follow prescribed proceedings. Editors and managers of student publications are protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content.

All student publications financed by student fees should explicitly state that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the College, State University of New York, or its student body.