Student Code of Conduct

All members of California College of the Arts (CCA) community have a strong responsibility to protect and maintain an academic climate in which the fundamental freedom to learn can be enjoyed by all.

The Student Code of Conduct outlines students’ responsibilities to the CCA community by regulating behavior that takes place on college property, occurs during the course of college-related activities, or has the potential for harm to the college or its community, whether that behavior occurs in person or via electronic forms and devices.

This policy applies to anyone taking courses at the college, whether full time or part time; for credit or not for credit; and at the undergraduate, graduate, or nondegree-seeking level.

“Student” may also include persons with a pending relationship with the college who may not be officially enrolled (e.g., someone admitted to the college, on disciplinary suspension, on a current leave of absence, or on academic dismissal).

“College community” or “CCA community” includes students, faculty, staff, administrators, contractors, volunteers, and others involved in any employment, educational, or other relationship with the college. “College community” can also include guests of or visitors to the college, its constituents, or its property as well as those participating in college-sponsored activities elsewhere.

“College Property” includes spaces that are owned, managed, leased, or authorized by the college and other spaces in which college-sponsored activities take place, including sites in other campuses, cities, or countries.

(Note: the scope of this policy is not limited to those behaviors that occur on college property.)

The vice president for Student Affairs serves as the final authority regarding interpretation of the college’s conduct policies and processes; the associate vice president / Title IX designee for students is the final authority for policies and processes related to sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

The Dean of Students Office oversees administrative procedures, community outreach, and educational programming related to the Student Code of Conduct and conduct processes.

For further information or to file a complaint, please contact the dean of students:

Jeannine Szamreta
jszamreta@cca.edu, 415.703.9509

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Student Code of Conduct

CCA expects its students to uphold the college’s values of artistic and academic excellence, compassion, integrity, and global citizenship. The following list, while not exhaustive, illustrates those behaviors that violate the values of the college; impinge upon the rights, safety, and well being of its constituents; and therefore represent misconduct subject to disciplinary action:

  • Conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any member of the college community including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, verbal or nonverbal intimidation, bullying, stalking, or coercion.
  • Possession or use of a weapon or a replica thereof, such as a firearm, knife, explosives, or any other instrument used or potentially used to intimidate, threaten, and/or injure any member of the college community.
  • Hazing or conspiring to engage in similar acts that actually or potentially injure, endanger, or humiliate any fellow student or member of the college community, whether the hazing is consensual or not.
  • Attempted or actual theft of or damage to college property or property of college community members.
  • Possession, distribution, or use of any controlled substances on college property or at college-sponsored activities.
  • Possession, distribution, or use of alcohol on college property or at college-sponsored activities, except under the conditions specified in the Alcohol Policy.
  • Unauthorized entry or use of college property, which includes unauthorized residence.
  • Unauthorized possession, distribution, use, or duplication of keys or access cards for college property.
  • Interference with, obstruction of, or disruption of the teaching or learning process, administration, or any other college-sponsored activity.
  • Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of college officials, law enforcement units, and emergency personnel acting in performance of their duties. This also includes failure to identify oneself to such persons when requested.
  • Knowingly furnishing false information to the college.
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of college documents, records, or identification.
  • Unauthorized use of electronic or other devices to record any person while on college property, disseminate personal information, or otherwise violate privacy without prior knowledge or consent.
  • Soliciting, assisting, or inciting another college community member to perform an act that violates the Student Code of Conduct or attempting to do same.
  • Failure of a student to act in a responsible manner to assure that the student’s guest is preserving the rights of the college community as outlined within the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Conduct that could result in the violation of any federal, state or local law.
  • Retaliation -- adverse action taken against a person because of the person’s good faith opposing, reporting, or threatening to report a violation of the Code of Conduct or for participating in good faith in investigations, proceedings, hearings, or remediation related to college policies, including the Code of Conduct.

Overview of the Conduct Process

The conduct process provides a fair and impartial assessment of a student’s responsibility for violating the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation. It is an administrative and educational process rather than a legal one. The standard conduct process is completed within sixty (60) days; respondents and complainants are notified of time frame adjustments and advised of options for ensuring a prompt and equitable process.

When student behaviors fall at the intersection of multiple policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; Academic Integrity Code; Residential Code of Conduct; or policies regarding employment, exchange, study abroad, or mobility; the dean of students or designee will consult with other college officials to determine which policies and procedures to apply. Where applicable, policies for Pre-College, Summer Atelier, Young Artists Studio Program, and other youth programs sponsored by the Office of Special Programs will supersede this Student Code of Conduct. The college reserves the right to use an accelerated conduct process -- without the option for a hearing -- for nondegree students.

Students may be accountable to criminal and/or civil authorities as well as to the college for acts that violate laws in addition to CCA policies. College conduct processes will not await civil or criminal proceedings unless the government requires a deferral.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation

Students who suspect or have experienced harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or sexual misconduct (e.g., sexual assault, relationship violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation) are encouraged to seek support from harassment intake officer Kayoko Wakamatsu (kwakamatsu@cca.edu, 510.594.3673) or designee to make informed decisions about reporting such incidents. The Intake Officer can discuss formal and informal complaint processes, possible remedies that accompany either type of complaint (e.g., altering living, work, and classroom situations), confidentiality/privacy concerns, support available within and outside of the college, no-contact and restraining orders, and options for reporting to law enforcement, if desired.

Please see the separate Student Handbook section on Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation as it contains additional protections and options for complainants and respondents in such cases.

The Conduct Process

Filing of Formal Complaint
In all circumstances, the filing of the formal complaint marks the beginning of the conduct process. Any member of the college community may file a complaint in writing, identifying the basis of the complaint, the relevant events, the dates, and the individuals that have knowledge of the events. Those who file a complaint or whose rights may have been violated are identified as “Complainants.” Students who are alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct or other applicable policies are identified as “Respondents.” Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible, preferably before the close of the semester in which the incident has occurred unless permitted otherwise by the dean of students or designee.

See reporting options without time limit for cases of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and unlawful harassment »

Investigation
A conduct officer reviews the formal complaint and determines if a full investigation is warranted or if the complaint should be dismissed and a different course of action recommended to the complainant.

An investigation typically consists of interviews with those with knowledge of the events and a review of relevant documents and evidence. If an investigation leads to formal charges, the conduct officer notifies the complainant and promptly convenes an informational meeting with the respondent.

Informational Meeting
During the informational meeting the conduct officer and the respondent have an opportunity to discuss the conduct process and the charges to help the respondent to decide whether to accept responsibility. If the respondent accepts responsibility, the next step is an administrative meeting. If not, a hearing is the appropriate next step. Respondents who fail to appear for the informational meeting will have their charges reviewed in their absence based on information available at that time.

Administrative Meeting
The conduct officer issues appropriate sanctions during the administrative meeting. Respondents who fail to appear for the administrative meeting will have their charges reviewed in their absence based on information available at that time.

Hearing
The hearing board is comprised of three to seven specially trained staff and faculty. The goal of the hearing is for the board to assess the accuracy and credibility of the accounts that have been presented and determine whether the respondent is responsible for the charges. To that end, all parties are urged to answer all questions and otherwise fully participate in the hearing. Respondents who fail to appear will have their charges reviewed in their absence based on information available at the hearing. The dean of students or designee has the discretion to determine whether multiple respondents in a single case are considered jointly or separately.

Hearings are normally closed to the public; exceptions are made at the discretion of the chair of the hearing board. Only those parties questioned by the hearing board are eligible to speak. Procedural advisors and others who have been permitted to attend may not address the hearing board or otherwise disrupt the proceedings. Hearings are audio-recorded and/or transcribed by the chair of the hearing board or designee only. When necessary, the conduct officer approves special hearing arrangements: for example, either party may request to be in a different room than the other during a sexual misconduct case hearing, or a student who is studying abroad may need to participate remotely.

Deliberation
The hearing board makes decisions regarding responsibility for charges by majority vote in a closed session that is not recorded or transcribed. It then determines appropriate sanctions for any charges for which the respondent is found responsible.

Notification
The chair of the hearing board composes the outcome letter; the dean of students or designee shares one copy with the respondent and places another in the respondent’s disciplinary record. The complainant is also notified of the outcome. The outcome is considered final in the event that a timely appeal is not filed.

Appeal
When notified of the outcome, the respondent and complainant are advised that either may file a written appeal with the vice president for student affairs or designee within five (5) working days. The appeal must specify:

  • a significant procedural impropriety or
  • new relevant information that could not have been discovered/revealed at the time of the administrative meeting or hearing or
  • an inappropriate sanction.

Variations from the conduct process outlined above are not considered a “significant procedural impropriety” unless they lead to significant prejudice to a respondent, complainant, or the college.

The outcome of the appeal process is shared with the respondent and complainant within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the written appeal. The imposition of sanctions generally does not await the conclusion of the appeal process. The vice president for student affairs or designee reserves the right to reduce, uphold, or increase sanctions on a case-by-case basis; his/her decision is final and binding to all parties.

Additional Information

Procedural Advisor

  • The college provides complainants and respondents with procedural advisors: neutral faculty or staff volunteers whose familiarity with the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; and Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation enables them to inform students about the conduct process, help protect their rights, provide support and referrals, and otherwise be of assistance.
  • Advisors are permitted to attend hearings and conduct meetings. However, advisors’ scheduling conflicts cannot interfere with the prompt resolution of a case.
  • Advisors may not speak on behalf of complainants or respondents; the conduct officer and the hearing board reserve the right to remove advisors who disrupt the conduct process.
  • See Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation for more information about advisors and related options in such cases.

Intermediary Steps
Intermediary steps may be taken at any point in the conduct process if the college identifies a possible threat to the campus community’s safety, security, or civil rights. Intermediary steps are considered administrative rather than disciplinary actions and may include the following:

  • The vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs, or designee may suspend students from the college for an interim period pending disciplinary or criminal proceedings. An interim suspension becomes effective immediately, without prior notice, if there is information that the students’ continued presence poses a substantial and immediate threat to the community or to the performance of college functions.
  • The interim suspension will not delay or void the conduct process, which will proceed on a normal schedule up to and through consideration of the case by a Hearing Board, if required.
    *During interim suspension, students may be denied access to all college property and all college activities or privileges for which they might otherwise be eligible.
  • Alternative intermediary steps may include adjusting the class schedule, residence, employment, or other activities of the complainant or the respondent. Steps may also include a no-contact order for complainant, respondent, or other participants in the conduct process. Where possible, the impact of such adjustments on the complainant will be minimized.
  • In cases of suspected possession of weapons, the college reserves the right to search personal belongings, including but not limited to articles of clothing, purses, briefcases, bags, and vehicles. All such searches must be approved by the vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs, or designee. The college may request the involvement of law enforcement officials in cases of suspected possession of weapons.
  • In the case of possible violations of federal, state, or local law, the college reserves the right to refer matters to the appropriate authorities. When students are charged by federal, state, or local authorities with a violation of law, the college will not request or agree to special consideration for them because of their status as students. When students are taken through criminal proceedings as well as conduct processes, the college may advise off-campus authorities of CCA’s procedures.

Rights of Respondents
Students who are alleged to have violated the Student Code of Conduct or other applicable policies are entitled to the following procedural protections:

  • To a prompt and equitable conduct process.
  • To be considered “not responsible” for charges until found “responsible.”
  • To be informed of the specific charges against them.
  • To be informed of the identity of the complainant, except when identification may pose a danger to the complainant or when the impacted community member decides not to be identified and the college has a substantial interest pursuing the case. In such instances, the college is the complainant.
  • To be informed of the options to resolve the charges.
  • To be accompanied by a procedural advisor during an administrative meeting or hearing board.
  • To hear and respond to information upon which a charge is based.
  • To present information and identify witnesses who can provide additional relevant information.
  • To be assured that all participants will be requested to keep information as private as possible.
  • To be informed of the outcome of the investigation/hearing, options for appeal, and outcome of any appeal.
  • To be informed of these rights prior to any administrative meeting with a conduct officer or hearing board.

The best course of action for respondents who wish to preserve their rights and make use of all available options is to participate fully in the conduct process. Respondents may be eligible for additional options and protections in cases of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and unlawful harassment.

See Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation »

Rights of Complainants
CCA community members who file a complaint or whose rights have allegedly been violated are entitled to the following procedural protections:

  • To a prompt and equitable conduct process.
  • To have their identity shielded when identification may pose a danger to them.
  • To be informed of alternatives to resolve the charges, including optional pursuit of criminal charges.
  • To be advised of how the campus can support court-ordered no-contact, restraining, and protective orders, such as by notifying CCA’s Public Safety department or placing additional safeguards with the Registrar on publicly available information about the complainant.
  • To be accompanied by a procedural advisor during an administrative meeting or hearing board.
  • To hear and respond to information upon which a charge is based.
  • To present information and identify witnesses who can provide additional relevant information.
  • To be assured that all participants will be requested to keep information as private as possible.
  • To be informed of the outcome of the investigation/hearing, options for appeal, and outcome of any appeal.
  • To be informed of these rights before the respondent is notified of charges.

The best course of action for complainants who wish to preserve their rights and make use of all available options is to participate fully in the conduct process. Complainants may be eligible for additional options and protections in cases of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and unlawful harassment.

See Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation »

Respondents’ and Complainants’ Responsibilities

  • Meet with their procedural advisor to review the student conduct process (very strongly recommended).
  • Present a written personal account, witness contact information, and other pertinent records to the conduct officer.
  • Review the investigation report upon receipt (preferably with the procedural advisor) and submit additional information to the conduct officer as needed.
  • Prepare an impact statement for submission during the hearing (optional). The impact statement explains how the student has been impacted academically, financially, etc., by the case and is only be reviewed if the board determines the respondent to be responsible.

Sanctions
Sanctions hold students accountable for violations of community standards and policies, enable students to learn to be effective community members in the future, and preserve community safety. If found responsible, students may receive one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Disciplinary warning: students are notified in writing that more serious penalties will be forthcoming if any further violation occurs.
  • Disciplinary probation: students are notified of a specified period of time during which privileges may be restricted (e.g., studying abroad, serving in a student leadership position), conditions imposed (e.g., no entry into college residence halls or college-sponsored events). Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other violation of college policies and regulations during the period of probation may result in additional sanctions, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the college. Students on disciplinary probation who earn lower than a 2.0 term or cumulative GPA are subject to academic dismissal.
  • Disciplinary suspension: students are excluded from college property, college-sponsored classes and activities, and other privileges for a specified period of time. A student’s eligibility for reinstatement is contingent upon completion of the conditions imposed in the outcome letter and compliance with normal standards for enrollment.
  • Disciplinary dismissal: students are permanently separated from the college and excluded from its property, college-sponsored classes and activities, and other privileges.
  • Restitution: students are required to repay the college or an affected party for damages.
  • Fines: students are fined a specified monetary amount.
  • Educational sanctions: students are required to complete educational projects, such as attending workshops or meetings, participating in community service, writing reflective or research papers, etc.
  • Records hold: students have holds placed on their records preventing class registration, awarding of diplomas, and/or issuing of transcripts or other records until the terms of the sanctions are completed.
  • Withholding the degree: students’ degrees are withheld until the completion of the conduct process, including the resolution of imposed sanctions, regardless of the students’ academic status. This sanction requires approval of the provost.
  • Revocation of community privileges: the college revokes privileges normally associated with community members’ status as admitted students, nondegree students, or alumni/ae.

The college considers significant mitigating or aggravating factors when imposing sanctions and does not follow progressive disciplinary actions (i.e., students do not have to be placed on warning or probation before they are considered for suspension or dismissal). Mitigating or aggravating factors may include the present demeanor and past conduct record of the respondent; the nature of the offense and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it; and the level of ongoing threat to the safety and security of the complainant or campus community. Unless specified otherwise in the notification of outcome, sanctions take effect immediately.

Disciplinary Records
The college retains student disciplinary records for seven (7) years from the date of the outcome letter and may be kept for longer periods of time at the discretion of the dean of students or designee. Students may review disciplinary records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s provision for viewing their educational records; they do so by scheduling an appointment with the dean of students or designee at least five working days in advance. Records may be redacted, which means that information relating to other students, administrative file notes, and other confidential information will be removed prior to student inspection.

Please note that the Clery Act requires that the campus report (without names or personally identifying information) statistics about misconduct that rise to the level of criminal activity, including sexual assault; domestic violence; burglary; and certain drug, alcohol, and weapon law violations.

Definition of Terms

  • Case -- A case is a compilation of relevant information pertaining to the charge(s).
  • Charge -- A charge is the specific, formal violation of the Student Code of Conduct; the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation for which the college is determining student responsibility.
  • Disciplinary Record -- A disciplinary record refers to the collection of files related to a student’s case. The files may include but are not limited to incident report(s), correspondence, investigation notes, witness statements, impact statements, student conduct history, and outcome letters.
  • Complaint -- A formal complaint is the document (electronic or hard copy) that describes the nature of the alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation as well as the parties involved, witnesses, and other relevant details.
  • Complainant -- A complainant is a person whose rights within the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation are reported to have been violated. “Complainant” can also refer to the person or entity reporting a violation.
  • Working Day -- The college defines working days as Monday through Friday, excluding administrative holidays when offices are closed.
  • Hearing Board -- A hearing board is a group of three to seven specially trained staff and faculty who adjudicate conduct cases. Those who hear sexual misconduct cases receive (at minimum) yearly briefings on topics such sexual assault, assessment of credibility and relevance, sanctioning, and hearing processes that promote accountability and protect the safety of complainants and other community members.
  • Procedural Advisor -- Advisors are neutral faculty or staff volunteers whose familiarity with conduct processes enables them to provide information and recommendations to either the complainant or respondent about conduct-related procedures and options.
  • Preponderance of Evidence -- Preponderance of evidence means “more likely than not” or “50 percent plus a feather.” It is the standard used by hearing boards and conduct officers when reviewing cases.
  • Respondent -- A respondent is a person who is named in a complaint and accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation.
  • Sanction -- Sanctions are disciplinary and educational obligations assigned to students found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct; Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct; or Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Unlawful Harassment, and Retaliation.
  • Conduct Officer -- The conduct officer is a trained staff or faculty member who is authorized by the dean of students or designee to administer conduct procedures for a specific case.

Revised August 12, 2014