Nov 29, 2022  
2021-2022 Student Handbook 
    
2021-2022 Student Handbook

Campus Safety and Security


Howard College strives to maintain a safe and secure environment in which to work and study. Howard College is concerned about the protection of persons and property. The institution cannot, however, guarantee the absolute safety of any one individual. Personal safety must begin with the individual. Howard College provides a number of safety services, programs, and policies. Employees, students, and visitors can create a safe environment for the entire campus by working together.

Howard College strongly encourages employees, students, and others to report criminal actions and emergencies that occur on campus. Reports should be made to security personnel and to the appropriate judicial officer. Persons who are victims of crimes, as well as persons who are witnesses to crimes, will greatly enhance the success of the institution’s actions by reporting incidents promptly.

Howard College campuses are monitored by security personnel who may or may not be commissioned as peace officers.  The security department has working relationships with local law enforcement agencies whereby all disturbances, criminal activities, and suspicious activities are reported to local law enforcement authorities.

Annual Security Report / Clery Act

Howard College complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). The primary requirements of this federal mandate are (1) disclosure of specific crime statistics, (2) maintenance of a daily crime log, (3) issuance of emergency notifications and timely warnings and (4) distribution of an Annual Security Report. Howard College’s Annual Security Report contains safety and security related policy statements and procedures, as well as three years’ worth of crime statistics. This report is available on the college website.

Crime Reporting

All crimes occurring on or adjacent to college property should be reported to the judicial officer or other college official. Things to report include: assaults, intimidation, vandalism, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sex offenses, missing persons, missing equipment or property, suspicious persons or circumstances, accidents, injuries, damaged property, etc. If you are in doubt, contact a college official.

Emergency Alert System

The Howard College emergency alert system, RAVE, allows the college to distribute critical information to students and employees quickly, wherever they are located. Emergency alerts are sent to student email accounts and to student cell phones (text message). Students are automatically enrolled in the system with the contact information on file in the Registrar’s Office. Students should report any changes in contact information to the Registrar’s Office. The emergency alert system is used to communicate campus emergencies, crime alerts and weather closures. It is periodically activated for the purpose of testing the system. Students will not receive unsolicited messages through the system. Names and phone numbers will not be shared with anyone else through this system.

Threats

Howard College recognizes the high cost of violent incidents and the disruptive effect they have on employees and productivity.  Personal harassment (including stalking), abusive behavior, and violence are not tolerated in this workplace/educational setting.

  1. Threats (including those made by mail, over the telephone, texting, by fax, cyber social networks, or by email), intimidation, and acts of violence, with or without the presence of a weapon, will not be tolerated at Howard College.  Reported violations of this policy will be investigated, documented, and may result in disciplinary actions up to and including immediate suspension and/or dismissal, and the filing of appropriate criminal charges.
  2. All employees and/or students, regardless of position and/or enrollment status, are responsible for the immediate reporting of any threats received, witnessed, or communicated to them.  Employees and/or students should also report unusual or threatening behavior, even though it may not be in the form of a direct threat, when such behavior makes the employee(s) and/or student(s) fearful for their continued safety or the safety of others.  Reportable threats include those made by co-workers, students, or outsiders entering the workplace/campus - such as spouse, job applicants, etc.  Employees/students must make such reports regardless of the relationship of the employee to the person who initiated the threat or behavior.  Reports should be made immediately, without fear of retaliation, to a supervisor, personnel management, or to any member of Howard College management.  Howard College management must immediately report all incidents of threatening behavior to the Dean of Students or designee.
  3. Nothing in this policy relieves a supervisor or manager from taking immediate action when the safety or security of employees and/or students is threatened and time is crucial.  Such action may include a call to the Police, suspension, or the temporary separation of employees in the workplace.  This policy does not replace routine management actions such as counseling, reprimands, or changes in work assignments, as applicable.  This policy is intended for those cases of immediate and/or continuing inappropriate action(s) or threat(s) including those where normal management and personnel actions have been ineffective and the possibility of violence is such that the local Police and others need to be involved.
  4. Following a serious threat or an act of violence in the workplace, employees, witnesses, and families often suffer from stress-related ailments such as depression, anger, headaches, and continued fear.  Howard College, through a group of administrators identified as the College Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), will provide debriefing teams, counseling, and support as needed to those affected.  These actions, provided within a 24 to 72 hour period following the traumatic event, will help to minimize the impact of an incident and prevent further violence.

Missing Students

It is the policy of Howard College to thoroughly investigate all reports of missing persons. This policy covers students residing in on-campus housing facilities. In addition, the college considers a missing child, and an adult that is mentally impaired, to be considered “at risk” until significant information to the contrary is confirmed.

During the housing application and contract renewal processes, students living on campus are obligated to provide at least one emergency contact. This information is kept confidential and may only be utilized by authorized officials with emergency response job responsibilities, in the case of emergencies involving students such as death, life threatening injuries or a missing person report. Residence hall students may update their emergency contact information at any time by contacting the residence hall staff.

On-campus students have the option to designate one or more contacts to be notified within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing. This information will be kept confidential, being accessible only to authorized campus officials and disclosed only to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation.

Students, employees, or other individuals receiving a missing student report should immediately contact the judicial officer with all information available regarding the missing student so that an investigation can be initiated. If the student designated a contact person, the institution will notify the contact person within 24 hours that the student is missing. Federal Law requires that the institution notify a custodial parent or guardian within 24 hours of the determination that the student is missing. The judicial officer will notify local law enforcement officials within 24 hours of the determination that a student living on-campus is missing, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student was missing. Informing local law enforcement within 24 hours applies regardless of whether the student has identified a contact person, is above the age of 18, or is an emancipated minor.

Sex Offender Registration

Sex offenders must register with the college as required by law or court order. Information is available on the https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DPS_WEB/Portal/index.aspx web site. This website is the official internet source for Sex Offender Registration information. The Sex Offender Registration open record information is extracted from the DPS Sex Offender Registration Database. The DPS maintains files based on registration information submitted by criminal justice agencies and represents a statewide source of information on sex offenders required by law to register. For additional information on sex offenders please contact the judicial officer.

Campus Carry

As a public community college, Howard College is required by law to implement the campus carry legislation beginning August 1, 2017. Howard College takes the issue of guns on campus very seriously. The safety and security of students, employees, and visitors is a top priority. Howard College has established guidelines for Campus Carry which can be found at http://www.howardcollege.edu/pdf/abouthc/campus_carry.pdf. This site also includes Frequently Asked Questions related to this issue.

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act

The administration of Howard College strongly believes that the abuse of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs and abuse of other drugs by faculty, staff, and students have serious effects on their ability to meet the educational goals of the college. In keeping with the requirements and meeting full compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Howard College presents the following information to all of its students.

Standards of Conduct
The unlawful possession, use, consumption, distribution, sale or manufacture of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited on any premises owned or controlled by Howard College. Under no circumstance will the college tolerate unlawful possession, use, distribution, sale, or manufacture of controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, or the unlawful use of alcohol on campus or at college-sponsored activities other than as specifically approved by the Howard College president.

Disciplinary Sanctions
Students who violate these Standards of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, in accordance with college policy (see Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Process).

Legal Sanctions
Use of illicit drugs by any person is illegal under both the state and federal statutes. Use of alcohol by persons under 21 years of age is illegal under state law. Penalties for conviction under state and federal law include incarceration and fines. Property used in connection with illegal drugs may be confiscated. Federal student loans and grants may be denied to those convicted for a violation of a criminal drug statute.

Health Risks
The use of drugs and alcohol can have a substantial and detrimental effect on health. These effects are often permanent and can lead to severe physical and psychological impairment, disability and premature death.

Programs for Students Requiring Assistance
Any Howard College student who has a drug or alcohol related problem may call upon the college for assistance. Students have access to counseling professionals for free initial screenings concerning substance use with possible referral to local agencies or community partners. While a screening tool is not a substitute for a complete evaluation, it can help identify individuals who may have a substance use disorder or symptomatic of other disorders and how to get help. Counselors can also help students find the appropriate counseling and treatment resources if needed. All counseling services at Howard College are confidential.

Health Regulations

Communicable Diseases
“Communicable disease means an illness that occurs through the transmission of infectious agent toxic products from a reservoir to a susceptible host,” according to the Texas Health and Safety Code, Sec. 81.003, et Seg. Communicable diseases include, but are not limited to, measles, influenza, viral hepatitis-A (infectious hepatitis), viral hepatitis-B (serum hepatitis), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), AIDS-related complex (ARC), HIV infection (human immunodeficiency virus infection), meningitis, meningococcal infections, and tuberculosis. The term “HIV infection” shall include AIDS, AIDS-related complex (ARC), and a positive test for the antibody to human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (a result of HIV infection). In the event of a communicable disease at Howard College, the college works with the notifying health agency and in compliance with Texas Department of Human and Health Services and county health department recommendations and regulations.

Medical Judgement. Any decision that Howard College makes concerning a person who has a communicable disease shall be based on current and well-informed medical judgment, which includes the nature of the disease, risk of transmission to others, symptoms, and special circumstances of the person. The decision that a person poses a threat will be based solely on knowledge of the duration of the risk; nature and severity of the potential harm; likelihood the potential harm will occur; and imminence of the potential harm.

Children on Campus

Students should not bring children to the campus and then leave them unattended while involved in class, studying, or for any other campus business. Children should not attend class with their parents.