Alamo Colleges Policy F.6.1 Student Success
The philosophy and goals of the Alamo Colleges are to protect the equal opportunity of all persons qualified to attend and to offer services that encourage and enable students to pursue new career goals, upgrade present skills, and enrich their personal lives.Our mission, values, strategic plan, policies, and budget decisions reflect convictions about the importance of success and equity for all students. The Alamo Colleges Student Success policy provides a shared commitment to long-term, institution-wide procedures that support and promote student engagement and learning while requiring strategies that are proven to increase student success.
Inherent to student success is that enrollment in the Alamo Colleges is a voluntary entrance into the academic community wherein the student assumes obligations of performance and behavior that are reasonably imposed by the institution relevant to its mission.
Such obligations may be higher than those imposed on all citizens by civil and criminal law. A student does not surrender rights as a citizen upon enrollment in the Alamo Colleges. Rights and freedoms, however, like those of any other citizen, are not unlimited. The Alamo Colleges have an obligation not to submit to intimidation, violence, or disruptive behavior and expect students to recognize and accept their responsibilities as citizens and members of a scholarly community, among which are respect for the rights of others; academic and personal integrity; and adherence to federal, state, and local laws.
Alamo Colleges Policy F.6.2 Student Responsibility for Success
As members of the Alamo Colleges learning community, students, faculty, staff, and administrators all share the responsibility to create an atmosphere where knowledge, integrity, truth, and academic honesty are valued and expected. A clear acknowledgement of the mutual obligations of all members of the academic community emphasizes this implicit partnership in fostering the conditions necessary for student success.
In this relationship, the Alamo Colleges provide institutional policies, procedures, and opportunities to facilitate student learning that encourage interaction, involvement, and responsible participation. Inherent in the academic climate is the expectation that students will assume responsibility for contributing to their own development and learning. Academic success is directly tied to the effort students put into their studies, the degree to which they interact with faculty and peers, and the extent to which students integrate into the campus life. The Alamo Colleges Student Responsibility for Success policies outline the expectations in communication, academic success, self-responsibility, and engagement associated with being an Alamo Colleges student.
Should disagreements arise between students and their instructors, the Academic Grievance Policy provides equitable and expeditious resolutions. Students may ask their instructor to review a grievance and may appeal the instructor’s finding to the department chair. If necessary, a final appeal may be made to the Academic Integrity Panel.
Academic Grievance Policy
Faculty are responsible for classroom management, teaching strategies, testing, and evaluation of student performance. At academic institutions conflicts may develop within the educational process that require academic intervention using the Academic Grievance process. If the grievance process is to function smoothly, a serious effort must be made to resolve such conflicts expeditiously. When student complaints cannot be resolved through infomal interaction with a faculty member or chair/coordinator, students are directed to use the Academic Grievance procedure by filing a Student Academic Grievance form, available from any division chair. Students are encouraged to use the Academic Grievance process only when there is clear and convincing evidence that a faculty member has treated the student unfairly, arbitrarily, or capriciously. The Academic Grievance procedure allows for unresolved complaints to continue moving from student, to instructor, to division chair, to dean until consensus is reached or final decision affirming or denying the grievance is made by the appropriate dean.
Non-Academic Grievance Policy
The Non-Academic Grievance Policy provides a remedy for students who believe they have been the object of unjust treatment by an Alamo Colleges’ employee. This policy does not apply to decisions regarding financial aid eligibility, student disciplinary actions, or academic matters. Non-Academic Grievance Policies and Procedures are outlined in the Alamo Colleges Board Policy F.4.7 (Policy) Non-Academic Grievances and F.4.7.1 (Procedure) Non-Academic Grievances. Students are encouraged to refer to the respective colleges’ Student Handbooks for additional information.
AIDS/HIV educational literature is available free to students, employees, and affiliates at the Alamo Colleges’ Student Health Centers. Information that students have or have not been tested, or have or do not have AIDS or HIV infection, may be released only to a college’s president or designee and to physicians, nurses, or other health care personnel who have a legitimate need to know in order to provide for their protection and to provide for students’ health and welfare. Release of this information to others must be based on written authorization by students (if they are over 18 years of age) or by students’ parents (if they are minors), and must specify the persons or positions to whom the information may be released. The persons or positions specified shall be provided with appropriate information concerning any precautions that may be necessary and shall be made aware of confidentiality requirements.
Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act
Under the federal Clery Act provisions, the Alamo Colleges must publish statistics about criminal acts occurring on campus property. This information is available for all of the Alamo Colleges online.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, codified at 20 USC 1092 (f) as a part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime statistics, security policies, graduation rates, and job placement statistics. All public and private institutions of post-secondary education participating in federal student aid programs are subject to it. Violators can be fined up to $27,500 by the U.S. Department of Education, the agency charged with enforcement of the Act and where complaints of alleged violations should be made, or face other enforcement action. In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, codified as 20 U.S.C. 1092 (f) as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Alamo Colleges’ Department of Public Safety collects and discloses certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.
Pursuant to federal law, alleged victims of violent crime are entitled to know the results of campus disciplinary proceedings concerning alleged perpetrators. The Alamo Colleges publish an annual Crime Awareness and Campus Security Report that pertains to the prior three (3) years of offenses occurring at any of the Alamo Colleges. The report contains certain security policy statements, including sexual assault policies that assure basic victims’ rights, the law enforcement authority of the Alamo Colleges’ Police Department, and where students should go to report crimes. The report is available to all current and prospective students and employees through the Alamo Colleges’ Police Department online. A copy of these statistics is also provided to the U.S. Department of Education.
Alamo Colleges’ Annual Security Report in compliance with the Clery Act students’ right to know crime statistics is available online.
Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act
In compliance with the Campus Sex Crimes Present Act (section 1601 of Public Law 106-386 and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act), persons required to register as part of the State of Texas Sex Offender Registration Program must contact Alamo Colleges’ Police Department at (210) 485-0099.
Information on legislation regarding safety on campus is available online.
Cancellation of Classes Due to Inclement Weather
In the case of cancelled classes due to inclement weather or other emergencies, attempts will be made to ensure that classroom hours are rescheduled. Up-to-date information on the Alamo Colleges’ closures is available at (210) 485-0189 or online at alamo.edu. San Antonio College’s radio station KSYM 90.1 FM, as well as local radio and television stations, will also have the latest information on the Alamo Colleges’ closures.
Children on Campus Policy
In order to prevent children from potential safety risks, from damaging expensive equipment, from being allowed in areas which might pose safety risks, and from interfering with the learning opportunities for all students, the following Alamo Colleges’ policy is currently in effect:
Students are urged not to bring children to classes, labs, or other facilities such as libraries. Minors under the age of 12 must not be left unattended on-campus at any time. Individual instructors may enforce additional restrictions or waivers for their particular classrooms or labs, which will be included in the course syllabus.
Appropriate Computer Usage
Appropriate computer use guidelines are intended to help protect employees and students from the inappropriate use of technology. They supplement the laws, regulations, agreements, and contracts, which currently apply to technology services, and, therefore, they impose certain responsibilities and obligations on users and contracted agents.
Access to networks and computer systems owned or operated by the Alamo Colleges is a privilege granted to the users within the Alamo Colleges. Users are responsible for:
- Reviewing, understanding, and complying with all guidelines, procedures, and laws related to access, acceptable use, and security of the Alamo Colleges’ information technology (IT) resources.
- Adhering to all hardware and software license agreements that are in force on any system, network, or server that the user operates.
- Asking systems administrators or data owners for clarification of access and acceptable use issues not specifically addressed in the Alamo Colleges’ guidelines, rules, and procedures.
- Reporting possible guideline violations to the appropriate entities.
The Alamo Colleges’ computer resources, IT, and networks may be used for legitimate Alamo Colleges’ purposes only. Incidental personal use should be minimized. Therefore, one should not excessively use the Alamo Colleges’ sources of e-mail, Internet access, and/or other IT services for purposes not related to the Alamo Colleges’ business. Appropriate use of the Alamo Colleges’ computer resources, IT, and networks includes:
- Use by students related to completion of the Alamo Colleges’ class assignments or their education at the Alamo Colleges.
- Use by faculty, administrators, and staff directly related to instruction, research, scholarly, professional, and administrative endeavors on behalf of the Alamo Colleges or within the scope of the Alamo Colleges’ employment. While working in their Alamo Colleges’ employment capacities, students will be governed by the guidelines for employees.
Inappropriate Computer Usage
Users shall not access the Alamo Colleges’ computer resources, information technologies (IT), and networks for:
- Sending unsolicited electronic mail (e.g., “spam”) to interfere with the Alamo Colleges’ mail server or another’s server. Interference to the electronic mail system include: misusing listservs; propagating chain letters; virus hoaxes; fraudulent, harassing, or obscene messages (hateful or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable); or “bombing” (flooding an individual, group, or system with numerous or large e-mail messages).
- Communicating non-Alamo Colleges-related information on listservs and newsgroups.
- Stalking or threatening a person. Using e-mail, chat rooms, and newsgroups to threaten and stalk a person is prohibited.
- Using computing resources for financial gain. Supporting, establishing, and conducting private business operations or commercial activities are prohibited.
- Accessing obscene material. Intentionally disseminating, accessing, and providing hyperlinks or access to obscenity as termed by law, unless such activities are directly related to the employee’s or student’s research or completion of an academic requirement, are prohibited.
- Endorsing any political candidate or ballot initiative. One may not use the Alamo Colleges’ IT resources to represent the interest of outside organizations unless authorized by an appropriate Alamo Colleges’ department.
- Violating city, state, or federal laws.
- Defeating system security; for example, “cracking” or guessing and applying the identification or password of another user. Since any account can serve as an entry point for theft, damage, or unauthorized use, users must protect the confidentiality of their personal identification codes and passwords. (This provision does not prohibit system administrators from using security scan programs within the scope of system authority.) Furthermore, users must not attempt to make any deliberate, unauthorized changes to data or attempt to intercept or access data communications intended for another.
- Misusing IP addresses or other network codes that have been assigned to users as individuals or for use as an Alamo Colleges’ employee. Clients must not have or seek to obtain unauthorized access to accounts, software, files, or any other Alamo Colleges’ IT resources.
- Attempting to compromise security. The Alamo Colleges’ resources may not be used in an attempt to compromise the security of any other personal, private, or public information system.
- Using excessive network bandwidth. Large-scale distribution of MP3 music or video files can cause excessive network overload. The Alamo Colleges’ IT Department reserves the right to manage and restrict any application or practice that involves significant network bandwidth or server load.
- Establishing any unauthorized network connections to any of the Alamo Colleges’ systems or components. In particular, users are prohibited from using unauthorized wireless devices or wired network devices.
- Concealing identity, except when the option of anonymous access is explicitly authorized. Users are prohibited from masquerading or impersonating others or otherwise using a false identity.
- Distributing computer viruses. Users must not knowingly distribute or launch computer viruses, Trojan horse, worms, or other rogue programs.
- Removing or modifying data or equipment. Without proper authorization, users may not remove or modify any Alamo Colleges-owned or -administered equipment or data.
- Modifying system facilities, operating systems, or disk partitions attempting to crash or hoard the Alamo Colleges’ computers. This includes damaging or vandalizing the Alamo Colleges’ IT resources, equipment, software, or computer files.
- Performing illegal functions. Use of technology systems in violation of civil or criminal laws at the federal, state, or local levels is prohibited. Examples of such uses are: promoting a pyramid scheme; distributing obscenity; receiving, transmitting, or possessing child pornography; infringing copyrights; or making bomb threats.
- Violating copyright laws. Users should be aware that copyright law governs (among other activities) the copying, display, and use of software and other works in digital form (text, sound, images, and other multimedia). The law permits use of copyrighted material without authorization from the copyright holder for select educational purposes. However, an educational purpose does not automatically mean that use is permitted without authorization. Therefore, written authorization is required.
- Violating any software license agreement, including copying or redistributing copyrighted computer software, data, or reports without proper, recorded authorization.
All students and employees are expected and required to obey the law and to comply with the institutional rules and directives issued by administrative officials. Students are expected also to observe standards of conduct appropriate for an academic institution.
All of the general and criminal laws of Texas are declared by the Alamo Colleges’ Board of Trustees to be in full force at all Alamo Colleges. Any recognized misconduct, violation of regulations, or socially unacceptable behavior of students or non-students on- or off-campus, whether civil or criminal penalties are imposed for such conduct at the Alamo Colleges is subject to administrative disciplinary action by the appropriate dean, vice president, and/or president of the college; action by a student-faculty disciplinary review committee; or possible arrest and charge by authorized campus or other peace officers of the city or state.
Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989
The Alamo Colleges recognize the importance of awareness about alcohol and other drug abuse. In accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, Alamo Colleges have adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students on its property and as part of any of its activities. Therefore, for the benefit of each student and employee, the following are the standards of conduct and legal and disciplinary sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol abuse.
Students or employees found violating any local, state, or federal law regarding the use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or other drugs (as defined by the Texas Health and Safety Code, Subtitle C. Substance Abuse Regulations and Crimes) will receive the full legal penalty in addition to any appropriate Alamo Colleges’ disciplinary action.
Alamo Colleges Board Policies:
The most common legal violations and their consequences are:
|Minor in Possession (Sec. 106.05)
Class C Misdemeanor
Class B Misdemeanor
Up to $200 fine Class B Misdemeanor
Up to $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail
|Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (Sec. 106.06)
Class C Misdemeanor
Class B Misdemeanor
Up to $200 fine Class B Misdemeanor
Up to $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail
|Public Intoxication (Sec. 42.08)
||Class C Misdemeanor
||Up to $200 fine
|Other Drugs Drug Possession
||Varies according to placement of drug on schedules and amount in possession
||Up to $50,000 fine and 5-99 years in jail
Penalties for drug possession are governed by Texas Health and Safety Code, Subtitle C. Specific penalties may vary depending on the type of drug and amount.
All students and employees are expected and required to obey the law and to comply with institutional rules and directives issued by administrative officials. Students are expected also to observe standards of conduct appropriate for an academic institution.
Any student who engages in conduct prohibited by the Alamo Colleges’ rules or by federal, state, or local laws is subject to discipline whether such conduct takes place on- or off-campus or whether civil or criminal penalties also are imposed for such conduct.
After due process, any student or employee guilty of illegal use, possession, and/ or sale of a drug or narcotic on-campus or a component institution is subject to discipline, up to and including termination for employees. If, after due process, a student or employee is guilty of illegal use, possession, and/or sale of a drug or narcotic on-campus, the minimum penalty shall be suspension from the institution for a specific period and/or suspension of rights and privileges.
A student is subject to discipline for prohibited conduct that occurs while participating in off-campus activities sponsored by a component institution, including field trips, internships, rotations, or clinical assignments.
A student who receives suspension as a disciplinary measure is subject to further disciplinary action for prohibited conduct that takes place on-campus during the period of suspension.
A student may be requested or required to withdraw with or without public statement of charges by the Alamo Colleges’ administration. Specific disciplinary responsibilities of institutional officials, classification of offenses and sanctions appropriate to each disciplinary offense, and disciplinary procedures are set forth in the official Alamo Colleges’ policy under Student Code of Conduct (F.4.2 policy and F.4.2.1 Procedure).
Drug and alcohol use, misuse, and abuse are complex behaviors with many detriments at both the cultural and individual levels. Awareness of the deleterious effects of any drug/alcohol is imperative for an individual’s well being and survival. Negative consequences may be exhibited through physical dependence and/or psychological dependence.
Physical Dependence: The body’s learned requirement for a drug for functioning.
Abuse of alcohol or any other drug, whether licit or illicit, may result in marginal to marked and temporary to permanent physical and/or psychological damage, even death. Since many illicit drugs are manufactured and sold illegally, their contact varies and may contain especially harmful ingredients or amounts.
Psychological Dependence: The experiencing of persistent craving for the drug and/or a feeling that alcohol or another drug is a requirement for functioning.
Despite the type of drug or alcohol used, a perceived need for the continued use is likely to follow, resulting in dependence.
Dependence on alcohol and/or other drugs alters the user’s psychological functioning. The acquisition of these substances becomes the privacy focus of the drug-dependent individual and often results in reduced job performance and jeopardizes family and other interpersonal relationships. Criminal behavior is frequently the means for financing a drug habit. Behavior patterns often include violence and assault as the individual becomes increasingly drug/alcohol dependent. Social and psychological alienation and medical problems increase as the abuser becomes entrapped in drug/alcohol dependence.
Drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referral are available to employees, students, and their families. Additional information on the effects of specific drugs and alcohol as well as drug counseling resources in San Antonio, and surrounding areas, is available from the Alamo Colleges’ counselors/ advisors.
A biennial review of this program will be conducted by the Alamo Colleges and Student/Employee Assistance Program (SEAP) committee members to determine its effectiveness, to implement changes to the program if they are needed, and to ensure that its disciplinary sanctions are consistently enforced.
Substance Abuse Prevention
The Alamo Colleges are committed to substance free environments. Distributing, possessing, manufacturing, dispensing, or using alcoholic beverages, drugs, or controlled substances at any of the Alamo Colleges will not be tolerated. Information, consultation, and referrals are available from student services counseling/advising centers.
Electronic Devices in the Classroom
Students are required to silence and store out of sight all electronic communication devices such as pagers, cellular phones, PDAs, etc. when in classrooms, laboratories, libraries, or other areas where such devices would interfere with instruction and learning. Faculty members have the latitude to modify this policy in their syllabi.
Emergency Student Contact Policy
It is not possible for Alamo Colleges’ staff to contact students on campuses except in cases of emergency. If it is necessary for person to reach a student, that person should contact the Campus Police at (210) 485-0099.
Emergency Notification System
The Alamo Colleges Emergency Notification System alerts students to severe weather and other emergencies using phone calls, emails and/or text messages. It is critical for contact information to be current in order to receive the most accurate and up-to-the-minute news in an emergency. Contact information can be updated through ACES; click on Update Addresses and Phones under the Personal Information tab.
The Emergency Notification System enables the Alamo Colleges to schedule, send and track personalized voice messages to up to six phone numbers per person and immediately send messages four different ways:
- Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones and email addresses
- Text messages to cell phones, PDA’s and other text-based devices
- Text messages to email accounts
- Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired
Text messaging will be sent to the text enabled cell phone number provided in personal information in ACES. By entering a cell phone number, students opt in to receive text messaging from the emergency notification system. To opt-out at any time, text “STOP ALAMOCC” or “QUIT ALAMOCC” to 23177 or 63079. An opt-out confirmation reply will be sent.
Contact information will only be used for Alamo Colleges’ notifications and will not be made available to any other service.
The Alamo Colleges are equal opportunity colleges and do not discriminate in access, admission, campus activities, education, employment, public accommodation, or public service on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, handicap, height, marital status, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored or conducted by the Alamo Colleges. Further, these principles shall apply to admission of students and to all aspects of the employment of personnel, staff, and faculty.
No act of retaliation shall occur to any person making a charge, filing a complaint, testifying, or participating in any discrimination investigation or proceeding. Inquiries or complaints concerning these matters should be brought to the attention of:
Associate Vice Chancellor of Employee Services, Title IX Coordinator
Employee Services Department
201 W. Sheridan, Bldg. A
San Antonio, Texas 78204
Persons with disabilities who plan to attend the Alamo Colleges, who may need reasonable accommodations as per the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, should contact the designated Disability Support Services office at the college at least four (4) working days prior to the program or activity so appropriate arrangements can be made. See Alamo Colleges’ Equal Educational Opportunities policy F.1.1.
- “Disabled person” means one who has a record of, or who is regarded as having, or who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Students who would otherwise be “disabled persons” are not excluded from the definition solely because they are contagious.
- “Physical or mental impairment” means (a) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hermic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; (b) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation; organic brain syndrome; emotional or mental illness; and specific learning disabilities.
- “Major life activities” means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, breathing, learning, and working.
- “Has a record of” an impairment means the person has a history of, or has been classified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more major life activities.
- “Is regarded as having” an impairment means (a) has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but that is treated by the Alamo Colleges as constituting such a limitation; (b) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; (c) has no physical or mental impairment but is treated by the Alamo Colleges as having such an impairment.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Student Information Release Policy / Confidentiality of Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires any school that receives federal funds to release or withhold a student’s education records in accordance with its rules.
Public Notice Designating Directory Information
The Alamo Colleges designate student Directory Information as:
- Enrollment status
- Dates of attendance
- Previous education agencies/institutions attended
- Degrees received
- Awards received
- Social Security numbers are not Directory Information AND MAY NEVER BE DISCLOSED.
- The Alamo Colleges must release students’ addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters.
Request for Nondisclosure
FERPA permits release of Directory Information without a student’s consent unless a student makes a written request to withhold the information. A Request for Nondisclosure Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s office by the twelfth (12) class day of a Fall or Spring semester, or the fourth (4) class day of a Summer term or a student’s Directory Information is public. The Request for Nondisclosure is effective for the academic year in which it is submitted. It is the student’s responsibility to renew the request each academic year.
Students who elect nondisclosure must request their information in person using a valid photo student ID or driver’s license.
Privacy of Student Education Records
- All students attending college, including minors, are protected under FERPA.
- School officials are permitted to share student information freely with parents if the parents claim the student as a dependent on their taxes.
Notification of Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect the privacy of students’ education records. These protections include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records.
A student should submit a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect to the appropriate college official. The official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
A student who wants the college to amend a record should write to the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If the college decides not to amend the record as requested, the college will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The college discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the Alamo Colleges.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college or university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Health or Safety Emergency
College officials must balance the interests of safety and privacy for individual students. While the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally requires colleges to ask for written consent before disclosing a student’s personally identifiable information, it also allows colleges and universities to maintain campus safety.
In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose education records without student consent, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel. (See 34 CFR § 99.31(a) (10) and § 99.36). This exception to FERPA’s general consent rule is limited to the period of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information from a student’s education records. More information is available online.
Disclosure to Parents
The Department of Education interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information in education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter. When a student turns eighteen (18) years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to parents under FERPA transfer to the student. However, FERPA also provides ways in which schools may share information with parents without the student’s consent. For example:
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
- A school official may generally share information with a parent that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation of the student.
FERPA and Student Health Information
Post-secondary institutions that provide health or medical services to students may share student medical treatment records with parents under the circumstances described above. While these records may otherwise be governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes student medical treatment records and other records protected by FERPA. More information is available online.
Communicable diseases include, but are not limited to, measles, influenza, viral hepatitis-A (infectious hepatitis), viral hepatitis-B (serum hepatitis), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV infection), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), leprosy, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and tuberculosis.
Students with communicable diseases, whether acute or chronic, are subject to the following provisions:
- The information that a student has a communicable disease shall be confirmed when the student brings the information to the Alamo Colleges’ attention; the student confirms the information when asked. If the college president or designee has reasonable cause to believe that a student has a communicable disease, the student may be asked to submit to a college-funded medical examination (a) to determine whether the student’s physical condition interferes with participation in an educational program or activity, or poses a threat to self or others; or ( b) a test or medical examination is necessary to manage accidental exposure to blood or other bodily fluids or airborne pathogens (but only when the test or examination is conducted in accordance with the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act (Article 4419(b)-1, Section 902(d) of Vernon’s Annotated Civil Statutes of the State of Texas).
- The results of such examination shall be kept confidential in accordance with the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act, (Article 4419(b)-1, Vernon’s Annotated Civil Statutes of the State of Texas), except that the college president or designee shall be informed of restrictions and necessary accommodations. Health care and safety personnel may also be informed to the extent appropriate if the condition is one that might require emergency treatment.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
A student diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) shall inform an Alamo Colleges’ administrator before he or she returns to the campus after receiving the diagnosis. The administrator shall immediately inform the college president. The college president, through the Alamo Colleges’ safety coordinator, shall take all measures to reduce or eliminate the spread of MRSA. These measures include, but are not limited to: (a) posting signs (e.g., encouraging hand washing) in common areas and communicating means to prevent contamination; (b) providing germicidal hand washing soaps in common areas, and; (c) ensuring that custodial employees receive education and personal protective equipment.
Any faculty member, administrator, or student who becomes aware of a student’s actual or suspected MRSA infection shall notify the Alamo Colleges’ safety coordinator immediately.
Knowledge that a student has a communicable disease (other than AIDS/HIV) shall be confined to those persons with a direct need to know, e.g., the Chancellor, a person responsible for the Alamo Colleges’ health program, and the like.
Information that a student has or has not been tested, or has or does not have AIDS or HIV infection, may be released only to physicians, nurses, or other health care personnel who have a legitimate need to know in order to provide for their protection and to provide for the student’s health and welfare, and to the college president or designee, or upon written authorization specifying the persons or positions to whom the information may be released. The persons specified shall be provided with appropriate information concerning any precautions that may be necessary and shall be made aware of confidentiality requirements.
When it has been determined that a student has a communicable disease, the college president or designee shall follow standards of the state and local health departments to determine : (a) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk, i.e., how the disease is transmitted, how long the student will be infectious, and the potential harm to self and others; (b) the probabilities that the disease will be transmitted and will cause varying degrees of harm; (c) whether the student’s condition interferes with the student’s academic program or activities. This determination shall include a report by a physician who has performed a medical examination of the student.
If academic or activity restrictions are deemed appropriate, the college president or designee shall determine whether the student is a “disabled person.” If it is determined that the student is disabled, a further determination shall be made as to whether the student is “qualified.” A “qualified disabled person” is one who, with reasonable accommodation, meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the educational programs and activities of the Alamo Colleges.
If it is determined that the student is a “qualified disabled person,” the student must be reasonably accommodated. In determining whether the accommodation is reasonable, the Alamo Colleges shall balance its interest and the interest of the student, considering financial expense, effects on the learning environment for other students, and the severity of the changes to the normal academic and activity procedures. Accommodation is not reasonable if it poses undue financial or administrative burdens, or if it would require fundamental alterations in the conduct of academic programs and activities.
Based on medical information and the requirements of the educational program or activity in which the student is enrolled, the college president or designee shall determine any appropriate exclusion or modification. A student may be excluded from an educational program or activity if the college president or designee determines, in accordance with this policy, that the student poses a risk of contagion to others, or poses a threat to personal health by continued participation in educational programs or activities, or if the student’s physical condition would interfere with participation in educational programs or activities.
The student must present evidence or information relevant to the question of fitness to continue participation in educational programs or activities.
Freedom of Speech and Assembly
The Alamo Colleges support the first amendment rights of every individual, recognizing that inquiry and discussion are essential to intellectual development. The Alamo Colleges embrace the right of individuals to express their views in a manner that conforms to federal, state, and local laws. Students are only limited in expression if the expression materially and substantially interferes with school activities or interferes with the rights of other students or teachers. Therefore, freedom of speech and assembly rights must be exercised in a manner and at a location that does not intrude upon or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of the Alamo Colleges.
To reserve an area on-campus for such purposes, contact the appropriate college office. No equipment or materials will be provided by the Alamo Colleges. Any charges incurred due to the use of Campus Police will be the responsibility of the reserving party.
Gang Free Zone
The Alamo Colleges are designated “Gang Free Zones” and as such, any individual(s) involved in organized criminal activity as defined by the Texas Penal Code Chapter 71 is subject to increased punishment if the offense is committed within 1,000 feet of the premises owned, rented or leased by the Alamo Colleges. The offenses subject to this provision can be found in Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code.
Immunization is required for admission to the Alamo Colleges unless the student submits to the admitting official at least one (1) of the following:
- An affidavit or a certificate signed by the student’s physician (M.D. or D.O.) who is duly registered and licensed to practice medicine in the United States and who has examined the student.
- An affidavit signed by the student or, if a minor, the student’s parent or guardian stating that the student declines immunization for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.
- Proof that he or she is a member of the armed forces of the United States and is on active duty.
The Texas Board of Health immunization requirements apply to all students enrolled in health-related courses that will involve direct patient contact in medical or dental care facilities and to veterinary medical students whose course work involves direct contact with animals or animal remains as required by the Texas Board of Health Education Code 51.933; 25 TAC 97.64.
Incident Reporting and Response
Any criminal offense, suspected criminal activity, or other emergency on campus should be reported directly to the Alamo Colleges’ police by telephone, in person, or by dialing (210) 222-0911 from any campus phone or by using one of the emergency telephones located throughout the Alamo Colleges’ campuses. Some campus elevators are also equipped with emergency phones. Upon receipt of the call, the Police Communications Center personnel can supply information or dispatch officers as necessary.
For non-emergencies from a campus phone, dial (210) 485-0099. The email address for the Alamo Colleges’ Police Department is firstname.lastname@example.org; however, request for police service should not be sent via email. The Alamo Colleges’ police or security officers in vehicles, on foot, or on bicycles are eager to be of assistance and may be contacted directly.
The Alamo Colleges’ Police Department will respond as quickly and safely as possible to any request for assistance, whether it is an emergency or not. Response time is based on current activity and severity of the call. Crimes in progress, alarms, traffic accidents with injuries, and medical assists have a higher priority than other types of calls.
The importance of prompt and accurate crime reports, no matter when they occur, cannot be over-emphasized. If a student witnesses a crime or emergency, he/she should promptly report it to the Alamo Colleges’ Police Department and be prepared to answer questions as accurately as possible. The subsequent investigation can only be as thorough as the information received.
If a student is a victim of a crime or has seen or received information of criminal activity or other emergency, he/she should contact the Alamo Colleges’ Police Department immediately.
Intellectual property developed, created, or conceived by students within the scope of classroom activity or through the use of school property is to be shared with fellow students and faculty at the Alamo Colleges. The release of intellectual property to entities outside the Alamo Colleges is at the discretion of the authoring student. The authoring student shall retain rights to royalties derived from the sale of intellectual property outside the Alamo Colleges. If royalties are derived from the sale of intellectual property within the Alamo Colleges, such royalties shall be donated to a scholarship or department fund designated by the student or by the college president.
Plagiarism / Scholastic Dishonesty
For various reasons, the number of incidents of scholastic dishonesty in the classroom has increased throughout the nation in recent years. It is in the student’s best interest that scholastic dishonestly not be tolerated and that the Alamo Colleges’ policies and procedures be followed so as to provide consistent college-wide enforcement. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on exams, tests, and quizzes; plagiarism; and collusion. See the Student Code of Conduct for more detailed information.
Cheating on exams, tests and quizzes includes, but is not limited to:
- Copying from another student’s test paper;
- Using materials during a test that are not authorized by the person giving the test;
- Collaborating with another student during a test without authority;
- Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of a test without the consent of the instructor;
- Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for one’s self, to take a test;
- Bribing or otherwise influencing another person to obtain a test not authorized for distribution by the instructor; and
- Reporting fraudulent research results.
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work into one’s own coursework/assignment including the taking and using of ideas, passages, etc. Plagiarism is scholastic dishonesty and will result in disciplinary action.
Collusion is the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing any coursework/assignment.
Religious Holy Days
A “religious holy day” is a holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20, Tax Code. Students shall be excused from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. Students must notify the faculty member in writing within the first twelve (12) days of the semester which day(s) will be observed. Students whose absences are excused under this provision may not be penalized for those absences and shall be allowed to take examinations or complete assignments within a reasonable time as established by the faculty member. The faculty member may respond appropriately if students fail to satisfactorily complete the assignments or examinations by the deadline.
Sexual harassment is against the law and is prohibited against all persons seeking benefits from the Alamo Colleges, including all employees, students, applicants for enrollment or employment, or others who might receive the benefits of Alamo Colleges’ activities. Sexual harassment constitutes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or any conduct or other offensive unequal treatment of an individual that would not occur but for the sex of the individual. Allegations of harassment do not have to be repetitious in nature in order to constitute sexual harassment.
The disciplinary action taken against persons who engage in sexual harassment is subject to appropriate procedural and due process requirements. The accuser and accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding and to be informed of the institution’s final decision including sanctions of any institutional disciplinary proceeding.
Any person may report an alleged violation of this policy whether or not the person is affected by the conduct or action.
Because the law makes the Alamo Colleges responsible to investigate and if necessary take corrective action as soon as students or employees become aware of an allegation of sexual harassment they shall immediately report the alleged violation to any of the following:
- Associate Vice Chancellor of Employee Services or designee
- Employee’s supervisor or an Alamo Colleges’ administrator
- College official
- Ethics and Compliance Officer
- Toll-free telephone number (866) 294-3696
- Ethics Hotline online
- Strategies of Behavioral Intervention (SOBI) Behavioral Incident Reporting online
To file online please review complete information about the Ethics Hotline online. This page provides a link to Questions and Answers and a link to How to File a Report (English and Spanish options available). Please review this information before filing the complaint at the official online reporting site ethicspoint.com.
Specific Alamo Colleges’ policies and procedures on harassment of students and employees at the Alamo Colleges are specified online at:
- Employee Standards of Conduct: Harassment
- Student Standards of Conduct: Harassment
Smoking Policy / Tobacco-Free Campuses
All of the Alamo Colleges are designated smoke-free. Smoking and/or using tobacco products is prohibited in all classrooms, laboratories, offices, conference rooms, hallways, parking lots, and all other rooms in all buildings of the Alamo Colleges and on all property that is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise under the control of the Alamo Colleges, including parking lots and any other property owned by the Alamo Colleges. Department of Public Safety officers will issue to those in violation of the policy a penalty citation. Repeated violations will result in further disciplinary action.
The Alamo Colleges offer education, counseling, and training to students, faculty, and staff on the harmful effects of smoking and smoke inhalation and provide information about smoking cessation.