Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook

Portland Community College (PCC) is committed to the educational success of its students and is dedicated to the advancement of learning, student retention, and the development of responsible personal and social conduct.

The Student Development Committee (a Standing Committee of the Educational Advisory Council) is responsible for the collection of policy documents housed in the College’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook on this website.

Policy on Student Rights

Students at PCC have the right to various freedoms and protections, such as the right to: freedom from harassment and discrimination, freedom of expression, protection from improper evaluation or disclosure, formation of student organizations, participation in creating student policies and fund-raising activities, access their student records, and access college facilities.

Right to protection from improper academic evaluation

Student academic performance will be evaluated on an academic basis (which may include attendance), and the ability to apply skills, and not on a student's opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. The course syllabus will contain and articulate the evaluation standards and grading criteria by which student performance is measured for that particular course.

Each student is responsible for meeting standards of academic performance established for each course in which the student is enrolled.

A student may dispute their academic evaluation under the Grade Appeal Procedure if the student believes that the evaluation standards and grading criteria contained in the course syllabus were not followed by the instructor or were imposed in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Any student who believes that they have been unfairly graded should refer to the PCC Grade Appeal Procedure.

Students have the right to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, while still being responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled.

Right to freedom from harassment and discrimination

PCC does not tolerate unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, use of native language, national origin, sex, marital status, height/weight ratio, disability, veteran status, age, or sexual orientation in any area, activity, or operation of PCC. PCC complies with applicable federal, state, and local civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination. Equal opportunity for employment, admission, and participation in PCC's benefits and services shall be extended to all persons, and PCC shall promote equal opportunity and treatment through application of this policy and other efforts of PCC designed for that purpose.

Any person who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed by a PCC employee, representative, or student is encouraged to file a complaint through the Office of Affirmative Action and Equity (Downtown Center, Room 300, 971-722-5840 or 971-722-5841) or online.

View further information on PCC harassment and discrimination policies.

Any person who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), including believing that they have not been provided with a reasonable accommodation or modification to which they are entitled, may discuss these concerns with a disability services counselor, coordinator, or specialist, or submit a complaint under the Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment Policy.

View further information on resolving complaints by students with disabilities regarding appropriate accommodations or discriminatory treatment.

Right of access to, and protection from, improper disclosure of student records

PCC complies with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations that apply to student records. All information contained in PCC's records that is personally identifiable to any student will be kept confidential and not released except upon prior written consent of the subject student or under any other exception for the release of student records without consent. Student information may be shared among PCC faculty and staff when PCC has determined that the college has a legitimate educational interest in the information.

View further information on PCC's Privacy Policies.

Concerns or complaints are to be directed to Student Records (971-722-7100; records@pcc.edu).

Counseling Records

PCC counselors are prohibited by the standards of their profession from disclosing any information shared by a student during a counseling session, unless the student releases the information or other specific circumstances apply. These specific circumstances include harm to self or others, abuse of a minor, elder, or other vulnerable adult, health/medical emergency, or other circumstances required by Oregon law. Counselors will comply with all ethical and legal rules concerning confidentiality of counseling sessions.

View further information on confidentiality in counseling services.

Rights concerning participation in co-curricular activities

Students may be asked to participate in formulating and reviewing policies and rules, and to express their views, both publicly and privately, on these policies and rules, as well as matters of general interest to the student body.

Student Clubs and Organizing

Students have the right to form student clubs and organizations under the provisions of the Associated Students of Portland Community College ("ASPCC") constitution and campus bylaws, and the right to carry out fund-raising activities for these clubs. All fund-raising activities for ASPCC and student clubs must be approved by the Campus Student Leadership Coordinator or designee.

Students and recognized student clubs and organizations have the right to have access to PCC facilities, subject to ordinary schedules, policies and regulations governing the use of each facility. Recognized student clubs and organizations have access to facilities at no cost unless additional services (custodial, Public Safety, table and chair set-up, etc.) are required. PCC procedures for reserving spaces in PCC’s buildings for meetings, speakers, or demonstrations must be followed.

As part of the educational process, recognized student clubs and organizations may invite to the campus any person who, in their opinion, might contribute to the intellectual or cultural life of PCC. Individual students wishing to invite a speaker to campus should seek the sponsorship of a recognized club or organization. Speakers may speak freely on the topic of their choosing, as long as they do not threaten to endanger the safety of any member(s) of the PCC community, pose a threat to PCC's physical facilities, or substantially obstruct or disrupt PCC's regular and essential operations.

To request room reservations, contact:

Orderly Demonstrations

Students have the right to conduct orderly demonstrations (including picketing, distribution of leaflets, and protests in peaceable assembly) unless the participants of those demonstrations threaten to endanger the safety of any member(s) of the PCC community, pose a threat to PCC's physical facilities, or substantially obstruct or disrupt PCC's regular and essential operations, in which case PCC reserves the right to close its facilities, clear its grounds, and cancel a demonstration. PCC recommends that those intending to conduct demonstrations outside of PCC buildings consult with the Dean of Student Development or designee to identify space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both PCC and those engaged in acts of speech or protest (e.g., large open spaces, with safe paths of ingress and egress, and with less likelihood of disrupting the educational environment).

Individuals and groups who wish to hold a demonstration within one of the College's buildings must comply with campus policies and procedures for requesting space. Advance notice and approval is required for indoor demonstrations to allow the College to make appropriate and reasonable logistical arrangements for the demonstration.

To request room or space reservations within PCC buildings, contact:

Distribution of Material

Students have the right to distribute free publications not in violation of federal or state laws, and/or PCC policies and procedures, such as books, magazines, newspapers, handbills, leaflets, and similar materials. Distribution of these materials in classrooms, hallways, libraries, offices, or other PCC facilities used primarily for educational and instructional purposes must not interfere with the work or study of persons in those PCC facilities.

Any persons desiring to post or distribute publications must comply with campus policies and procedures. All handbills, leaflets, newspapers, posters, and similar materials must bear the name and address of the organization and/or individual distributing the materials.

Information on submitting items for posting may be found through Associated Students of PCC.

Concerns or complaints regarding Rights Concerning Participation in Co-Curricular Activities are to be directed to the Dean of Student Development for the campus or program. Complaints regarding the rights set forth in this section should be filed as soon as practically possible to enable PCC to investigate and attempt to resolve the issue. You can contact a campus to file a complaint.

Student Code of Conduct Policy and Procedures

Each member of the PCC community must adhere to a code of responsible behavior. This document communicates the expectations that PCC has of students, and is intended to educate and guide students to understand their responsibilities. This Code is aligned with the College’s Non-Discrimination Statement and shall not be administered in a discriminatory manner. Every effort will be made to balance the needs and rights of the individual with the welfare of the community as a whole. This Code applies to all students, recognized student organizations, and groups of students. In addition, students who are enrolled in specific educational programs are expected to follow those related academic and professional standards.

Consensual Relationship Statement

Note: The Consensual Relationship Statement is currently under review. For the most up-to-date policy, visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

The college seeks to maintain professional, fair, and unbiased relationships between faculty/staff and students. This mission is potentially jeopardized when faculty/staff enter into consensual romantic relationships with their students. Questions of fairness, favoritism and coercion may arise. Therefore, faculty/staff should not engage in consensual romantic relationships with their current students. Download the Consensual Relationship Statement.

View the complete statement

In addition, those who supervise or evaluate the work of students must be perceived to be making their decisions fairly and without favoritism. This mission is potentially jeopardized when faculty/staff enter into consensual romantic relationships with their students.

Faculty and staff are cautioned that consensual romantic relationships with their students can prove to be unwise and problematic, and should be avoided. When consensual romantic relationships occur, questions of fairness, favoritism, and coercion arise:

  • Such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision provided, and the particular trust inherent in the student-faculty relationship.
  • Relationships in which one party is in a position to review the work, or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint when that relationship appears to give undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or creates a hostile and unacceptable environment for others.
  • Such relationships may, moreover, be less consensual than the individual whose position confers power believes. The relationship is likely to be perceived in different ways by each of the parties to it, especially in retrospect. While some relationships may begin and remain harmonious, they are susceptible to being characterized as unprofessional and disrespectful to others.

Therefore, faculty/staff should not engage in consensual romantic relationships with their current students.

If a faculty or staff member has a pre-existing consensual romantic/sexual relationship with a student, the student should be discouraged from enrolling in courses taught by the instructor or entering into work situations in which she/he would be supervised by the staff member. If the student does enroll in the course or work for the staff member, the faculty/staff member should remove him/herself from academic or professional decisions concerning the student.

Should a romantic/sexual relationship between a faculty/staff member and their student lead to a sexual harassment charge, the College is obligated to investigate and resolve the charge in accordance with the complaint procedure in the Non-harassment Policy.

Children on PCC Properties

Children are welcome on Portland Community College campuses and properties in appropriate situations and while actively supervised by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult. This policy outlines the College's approach to ensuring that reasonable steps are taken to protect the study and work environment of the College, and the health, safety, and liability issues associated with children on PCC properties. Download the Children on PCC Properties policy.

Children on campus Scope

This policy applies to minor children (children) under the age of 16 who are not officially enrolled in classes or employed by the College. This policy does not apply to organized activities such as attending a registered child care facility, after school care activities, school field trips, and approved programs including, but not limited to, athletic events, theater productions, art programs, and other events targeted to children.

Students under the age of 16 who are officially enrolled, and for whom an authorized Underage Release form is on file with the Admissions Office, have the same rights, responsibilities and privileges of any other student in the classroom and on college properties.

Application

The College seeks to provide an environment which is conducive to study and work. Children must be actively supervised by their parent, guardian, or responsible adult at all times when they are on college properties.

College staff, faculty and administrators have the responsibility to direct the removal of a child in accordance with section 3.6 of this policy.

Unaccompanied children: Due to safety and liability issues, except as otherwise defined in this policy, under no circumstances may unsupervised children be on college properties, including playing, roaming, and occupying campus grounds or buildings.

Any College employee who finds an unaccompanied child on college properties should inform Public Safety of the location of the child.

Restricted areas

Children cannot be allowed in areas where their presence is disruptive or where health, safety, and liability risks are identified. Areas in which children are NOT permitted include:

  • Testing centers
  • Classrooms (when the Instructor determines that the presence of children would be unsuitable)
  • Laboratories and laboratory preparation areas
  • Scientific, technical and maintenance work spaces
  • Fine or performing arts work spaces or studios Areas that contain hazardous chemicals, machinery or equipment
  • Commercial kitchens and other food preparation areas
  • Fitness centers

Other areas may be identified as unsuitable for children as a result of a risk assessment and supervisors of the respective areas are required to inform staff and students of requirements or restrictions.

PCC transportation services

When children are passengers in any PCC vehicle, including shuttle buses, the operators of these vehicles are not responsible for ensuring that child passengers meet child safety requirements. It is the responsibility of the care provider to ensure that any child accompanying them meet the child safety requirements. Where safety restraints are not available, the care provider will ensure the child is properly seated to minimize possible accident or injury. Failure to conform to these guidelines will result in child and care provider being denied transport (as applicable to ORS 811.210).

Responsibility of the College

  • To provide an environment conducive to study and work for all students, staff and visitors.
  • To provide a healthy and safe study and work environment for all students, staff and visitors and to comply with legislative requirements.
  • To take reasonable steps to assist students, staff and visitors who may have special needs to enable access to facilities and services.

Responsibilities of people bringing children into the college

  • To take reasonable steps to safeguard the health and safety of the children in their care while on college properties.
  • To consider the potential risk to the health and safety of others that may come with bringing children into the College environment and to take reasonable steps to safeguard against those risks.
  • To be responsible for the behavior of the children in their care, so as not to disrupt, inconvenience or endanger staff, students or other visitors.

Responsibilities of PCC staff and instructors

To direct removal of a child in accordance with this policy if:

  • The child's health or safety is at risk;
  • The child is presenting a health, safety or liability risk to property or others;
  • The child's behavior is causing undue disruption to the work of students or staff; or
  • The presence of a child is unsuitable.

Instructors are responsible to direct the removal of children from their classroom. In the case of public areas, any member of staff on duty has the authority to direct that children be removed from the area.

Students who wish to appeal a specific situation, or who fail to comply, may follow the Code of Student Conduct hearing process as outlined in the PCC Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

Contact information

For issues, questions, and more information about the process, contact conductandcare@pcc.edu

For internal questions about these policies, contact the Student Development Committee Chair: Wendy Palmer