What are the rights and responsibilities of students?

Student Conduct Standards

When a student enters College of the Desert, it is taken for granted by the College authorities that an earnest purpose exists and that the student’s conduct will demonstrate that assumption. If, however, the student’s conduct is not appropriate, and the student should be guilty of one or more of the violations listed in the Student Conduct Standards and Procedures policy, then appropriate disciplinary action will be taken as listed in the policy.

The following conduct shall constitute good cause for discipline, including but not limited to the removal, suspension, or expulsion of a student.

  1. Causing, attempting to cause, or threatening to cause physical injury or physical or verbal abuse or any threat of force or violence, to a person, property or family of any member of the college community, whether on or off District property or at District sponsored or supervised functions.
  2. Possession, sale, or otherwise furnishing any firearm, illegal knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, including but not limited to any facsimile firearm, knife, or explosive, unless, in the case of possession of any object of this type, the student has obtained written permission to possess the item from a District employee, which is concurred by the Superintendent/President.
  3. Unlawful possession, use, sale offer to sell, or furnishing, or being under the influence of, any controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the California Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind; or unlawful possession of, or offering, arranging, or negotiating the sale of any drug paraphernalia, as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 11014.5 on District property or at District sponsored or supervised functions.
  4. Committing or attempting to commit robbery or extortion.
  5. Causing or attempting to cause damage to District property or to private property on campus, or at District sponsored or supervised functions.
  6. Stealing or attempting to steal District property or private property on campus, or knowingly receiving stolen District property or private property on campus.
  7. Willful or persistent smoking in any area where smoking has been prohibited by law or by District policy.
  8. Committing sexual harassment as defined by law or by District policies and procedures.
  9. Engaging in harassing or discriminatory behavior based on disability, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law.
  10. Engaging in intimidating conduct or bullying against another student through words or actions, including direct physical contact; verbal assaults, such as teasing or name-calling; social isolation or manipulation; or cyberbullying.  
  11. Willful misconduct that results in injury or death to a student or to District personnel; or which results in defacing or other damages to any real or personal property owned by the District or on campus, or at District sponsored or supervised functions.
  12. Disruptive behavior, violating the rights of other students, willful disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity, or the open and persistent defiance of authority of, or persistent abuse of District personnel.
  13. Cheating, plagiarism (including plagiarism in a student publication), or engaging in other academic dishonesty.
    1. Cheating is the use of any unauthorized materials, or information in academic work, records, or programs, the intentional failure to follow express directives in academic work, records, or programs, and/or assisting others to do the same including, but not limited to, the following:
      1. Knowingly procuring, providing, or accepting unauthorized examination materials or study aids.
      2. Completing, in part or in total, any examination or assignment for another person.
      3. Knowingly allowing any examination or assignment to be completed, in part or in total, for himself or herself by another (e.g., take-home exams or online assignments which have been completed by someone other than the student).
      4. Copying from another student’s test, paper, lab report, or other academic assignment.
      5. Copying another student’s test answers.
      6. Copying, or allowing another student to copy, a computer file that contains another student’s assignment, homework lab reports, or computer programs and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one’s own.
      7. Using unauthorized sources of information such as crib sheets, answers stored in a calculator, or unauthorized electronic devices.
      8. Storing answers in electronic devices and allowing other students to use the information without the consent of the instructor.
      9. Employing aids excluded by the instructor in undertaking course work.
      10. Looking at another student’s exam during a test.
      11. Using texts or other reference materials (including dictionaries) when not authorized to do so.
      12. Knowingly gaining access to unauthorized data.
      13. Altering graded class assignments or examinations and then resubmitting them for regrading or reconsideration without the knowledge and consent of the instructor.
    2. Plagiarism is any conduct in academic work or programs involving misrepresentation of someone else’s words, ideas or data as one’s original work, including, but not limited to, the following:
      1. Intentionally representing as one’s own work the work, words, ideas, or arrangement of ideas, research, formulae, diagrams, statistics, or evidence of another.
      2. Taking sole credit for ideas and/or written work that resulted from collaboration with others.
      3. Paraphrasing or quoting material without citing the source.
      4. Submitting as one’s own a copy of or the actual work of another person, either in part or in entirety, without appropriate citation (e.g., term-paper mill or internet derived products).
      5. Sharing computer files and programs or written papers and then submitting individual copies of the results as one’s own individual work.
      6. Submitting substantially the same material in more than one course without prior authorization from each instructor involved.
      7. Modifying another’s work and representing it as one’s own work
  14. Dishonesty; forgery; alteration or misuse of District documents, records or identification; or knowingly furnishing false information to the District.
  15. Unauthorized entry into or use of District facilities.
  16. Lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression on District-owned or controlled property, or at District sponsored or supervised functions.
  17. Engaging in expression which is obscene; libelous or slanderous; or which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on District premises, or the violation of lawful District regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the District.
  18. Persistent, serious misconduct where other means of correction have failed to bring about proper conduct or where the presence of the student causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of students or others.
  19. Unauthorized preparation, giving, selling, transfer, distribution, or publication, for any purpose, including commercial, of any contemporaneous recording of an academic presentation in a classroom or equivalent site of instruction, including but not limited to handwritten or typewritten class notes, except as permitted by any District policy or administrative procedure.
  20. Harassment of students and/or District employees that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
  21. A direct or implied expression of intent to inflict physical or mental/emotional harm and/or actions, such as stalking, which a reasonable person would perceive as a threat to personal safety or property. Threats may include verbal statement, written statements, telephone threats, or physical threats.  
  22. Theft or abuse of computer resources including but not limited to:
    1. Unauthorized entry into a file to use, read, or change the contents, or for any other purpose.
    2. Unauthorized transfer of a file.
    3. Unauthorized use of another individual’s identification and password.
    4. Use of computing facilities to interfere with the work of a student, faculty member or college official, or to alter District records.
    5. Use of unlicensed software.
    6. Unauthorized copying of software.
    7. Use of computing facilities to access, send, or engage in messages which are obscene, threatening, defamatory, present a clear and present danger, violate a lawful regulation and/or substantially disrupt the orderly operation of a college campus.
    8. Use of computing facilities to interfere with the regular operation of the District’s computing system.  
  23. Use of the District’s computer systems or electronic communications systems and services for any purpose prohibited by Administrative Procedure 3720.
  24. Failure to identify oneself when requested to do so by District officials acting in the performance of their duties.
  25. Misrepresentation of oneself or of any organization to be an agent of the District.
  26. Violation of District rules or regulations concerning the student organizations, the use of District facilities, or the time, place, and manner of public expression.  
  27. Persistent violation of classroom standards of conduct as established by the instructor.

Students who engage in any of the above are subject to the procedures outlined in the Student Disciplinary Sanctions. Students are guaranteed the rights of due process when charged with a violation of conduct standards. Student Conduct Due Process Procedures are available online under Student Life.

This list is not all-inclusive, and the list itself is not meant to limit the definition of cheating to just those items mentioned. The Instructor will, in writing, refer incidents of cheating or plagiarism to department chair and dean to make a recommendation for final disciplinary action.

Student Disciplinary Sanctions

Consequences of violating the Student Code of Conduct may include one or more of the following actions.  

  1. Verbal Reprimand/Warning – An oral admonition or warning to cease and desist from conduct that has been determined to violate the standards of student conduct. A record of the fact that a verbal reprimand has been issued may be retained as part of a student’s record for a period up to one year and is considered in the event of future violations of the standards of student conduct during the period of retention.  
  2. Written Reprimand/Warning – Written admonition or warning to cease and desist from conduct that has been determined to violate the standards of student conduct. This formal reprimand may become part of a student’s permanent record and is considered in the event of future violations of the standards of student conduct.   
  3. Mental Health Clearance – Under circumstances where an administrator has reasonable belief based on objective evidence that a student’s presence on campus is a threat to the student or others, mental health clearance may be required before a student is readmitted to a particular class or allowed to be on District property. This determination will be made following consultation with legal counsel. The campus chief administrative officer, or designee, must receive a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that in his or her professional judgment, the student’s presence on campus is not a threat to himself or herself or others. The mental health professional must be licensed by the State of California. The student shall bear the cost and expenses of obtaining mental health clearance.  
  4. Restitution – Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property. This may take the form of requiring appropriate service or other compensation.
  5. Disciplinary Probation – Disciplinary action is monitored for a period less than a semester with student assigned duties supervised by a faculty or administrative mentor to correct conduct violation. Successful completion of the assigned duties within the defined time limits warrants removal of discipline status. Assigned duties that are incomplete/unsatisfactory within the defined time warrants advanced disciplinary sanctions.
  6. Removal from Class – The exclusion of a student by the instructor from class for the day of the removal and the next class meeting for a maximum period of two consecutive class sessions (Education Code, section 76032).
  7. Short-term Suspension – Exclusion of the student by College Superintendent/President or designee for good cause from one or more classes for a period up to ten consecutive days of instruction.
  8. Long-term Suspension – Exclusion of the student by College Superintendent/President or designee for good cause from one or more classes for the remainder of the college term, or from all classes and activities of the college for one or more terms.
  9. Immediate Interim Suspension – The College Superintendent/President or designee may order immediate suspension of a student where the president concludes that immediate suspension is required to protect lives or property and to ensure the maintenance of order. In cases where an interim suspension has been ordered, the right to an opportunity for a hearing will be afforded to the student within ten (10) days. (Education Code, section 66017)
  10. Removal from Facility – The involuntary removal of a student by an administrator from a District or College facility, or facility under the control of the District or College, for a maximum period of two consecutive days/class session(s).
  11. Withdrawal of Consent to Remain on Campus – Withdrawal of consent by the Superintendent/President or designee for a student or other person to remain on a College campus where they have reasonable cause to believe that the student has willfully disrupted the orderly operation of the campus. Violation of this withdrawal during the designated time is a misdemeanor subject to arrest (California Penal Code, section 626.4).
  12. Expulsion – Termination of a student’s right and privileges, noted in student’s file. The involuntary removal of a student from the District and all District programs for one or more terms, or permanently, by action of the Board of Trustees (Education Code, section 72122).

Student Grievance Policy & Procedures


The purpose of this procedure is to provide a prompt and equitable means of resolving student grievances. These procedures shall be available to any student who reasonably believes a college decision or action has adversely affected their status, rights, or privileges as a student as outlined in the College catalog.

There are two parts to this process. The informal process attempts to seek positive resolution for all parties involved. Only those directly involved plus any appropriate administrator will be present. The formal process may include appropriate representation for all parties involved.

Each student who has a grievance shall make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter on an informal basis prior to requesting a grievance hearing, and shall attempt to solve the problem with the person with whom the student has the grievance, that person’s immediate supervisor, and/or the Vice President or designee.

Please note: If your complaint is related to a grade that has been issued, please refer to the Grade Grievance Procedure.

Time Limits

The Superintendent/President or designee may shorten or lengthen the times specified in these procedures. The intent, however, is to ensure that each and every step will take place as expeditiously as possible. Any change to the time requirements will be made in writing.

Informal Grievance Resolution Procedure

Each student who has a grievance shall make a reasonable effort to resolve the matter on an informal basis prior to requesting a grievance hearing, and shall attempt to solve the problem with the person with whom the student has the grievance, that person’s immediate supervisor, or the College administration.  

  1. The student shall first discuss the matter with the party in question. If, however, the student cannot discuss the matter with the other party or if the student is not satisfied with the discussion, he or she may proceed with the informal grievance process.
  2. A student must begin the informal grievance procedure within five (5) days from the date of the alleged grievance. The informal procedure must precede the formal procedure. The student may choose to terminate the grievance at any time during the informal procedure. A grievance filed within thirty (30) days of the end of the semester will be deferred until the following semester.
  3. The informal procedure shall be completed within ten (10) days of reporting of the original complaint to the other party. It is the student’s responsibility to describe to the parties involved the nature of the grievance so that involved parties understand that the grievance procedure has been initiated.
  4. An informal meeting will be held by the student and appropriate college staff. The purpose of the meeting is to identify the perceived violation of the student’s rights and to develop a resolution that is of mutual satisfaction to all parties involved. The student shall discuss and attempt to resolve the matter with the faculty, the person’s immediate supervisor, or the administrator at the informal meeting. If the student is satisfied with the outcome of the informal meeting, the process could end.

Formal Procedure

Filing Statement of Student Grievance
  1. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal procedure, a Student Statement of Grievance may be filed within ten (10) days following the informal meeting to the Grievance Officer. Grievance Forms are available at the offices of the deans, counselors, and the Office of Student Life. The student may choose to terminate the grievance at any time during the formal procedure.
  2. A summary of the outcomes of the informal process will be prepared by the faculty or the immediate supervisor and forwarded to the Grievance Officer.
  3. The Grievance Officer shall investigate the nature of the grievance including meeting with the parties involved and possible witnesses for each, clarification of the perceived violation of rights and investigation of college policies that may or may not have been followed.
  4. The Grievance Officer, after conferring with the student may determine that the grievance can be resolved by an additional attempt to engage in the informal procedure within ten (10) days. If the student isn’t satisfied with the outcome of this informal procedure, the student may still request a formal hearing. The Grievance Officer shall give written notice to the student if it is determined that additional informal procedures should not be pursued.
Request for Student Grievance Hearing

A request for a Student Grievance Hearing shall be filed within twenty (20) days by the student if the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal procedure after filing a Student Statement of Grievance, or, if after conferring with the student, the Grievance Officer has determined an informal procedure would be unlikely to help resolve the matter. 

Within ten (10) days following receipt of the Request for Student Grievance Hearing, the Superintendent/President shall appoint a Student Grievance Hearing Committee as described below, and the Student Grievance Hearing Committee shall meet in private and without the parties present to select a chair and to determine on the basis of the Statement of Grievance whether it presents sufficient grounds for a hearing.

The determination of whether the Statement of Grievance presents sufficient grounds for a hearing shall be based on the following:

  • The statement contains facts which, if true, would constitute a grievance under these procedures;
  • The grievant is a student as defined in these procedures, which include applicants and former students;
  • The grievant is personally and directly affected by the alleged grievance;
  • The grievance was filed in a timely manner;
  • The grievance is not clearly frivolous, clearly without foundation, or clearly filed for purposed of harassment.

If the grievance does not meet each of the requirements, the Hearing Committee chair shall notify the student in writing of the rejection of the Request for a Student Grievance Hearing, together with the specific reasons for the rejection and the procedures for appeal. This notice will be provided within five (5) days of the date the decision is made by the Student Grievance Hearing Committee.

If the Request for Student Grievance Hearing satisfies each of the requirements, the Grievance Officer or designee shall schedule a grievance hearing. The hearing will begin within ten (10) days following the decision to grant a Student Grievance Hearing. All parties to the grievance shall be given not less than five (5) days’ notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

Grievance Hearing Procedures are available online under Student Life.

Students with Disabilities


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The protection is similar to that given to women, minorities, and others through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Protected are an estimated 43 million Americans with disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity such as working, walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or caring for oneself. People who have documentation of such an impairment, and those regarded as having an impairment, are also protected. This federal legislation prohibits excluding individuals from jobs, services, activities, or benefits based on their ability.

Student Rights

Students have the following rights under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, as revised (29 U.S.C. 794), The Americans with Disabilities Act (28 CFR35.102-35104), California Assembly Bill 803 (Government Code, section 11135 et seq.) and Title 5 (section 56008) of the California Education Code:

  • Right to voluntary participation in the Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS).
  • Right to confidentiality and protected disclosure of student records.
  • Right to access college classes, programs, activities, services, and facilities to facilitate learning. The college will make a reasonable effort to provide equal and timely access.
  • Right to request an appropriate accommodation to facilitate participation in class and campus activities.
  • Right to participate in campus activities, class demonstrations and laboratory experiments to the extent that the disability does not pose a risk to the student or to others.
  • Right to protection against discrimination and harassment. Students have the right to participate in classes and campus activities without being harassed or discriminated against.

If a student with a disability feels that he or she is the target of discriminatory treatment, the student can file a complaint.    
    Phone:     (760) 773-2529
    Location:  Office of Human Resources

Student Responsibilities

  • To provide DSPS documentation of disability;
  • To request accommodations in a timely manner and according to established procedures;
  • To utilize accommodations according to established policies and procedures;
  • To notify DSPS 24 hours in advance for planned absences from classes where services are being provided (i.e., interpreters, readers). Failure to notify DSPS may result in a suspension of services; and
  • To abide by the College Student Conduct Standards.

Determining Need

Students who need reasonable accommodations must meet with a DSPS counselor/specialist to complete an application form, determine educational limitations and services needed, and complete an academic accommodation plan.

Contact the DSPS Office

The faculty and staff of the DSPS Office are available for consultation on any questions students may have related to accommodations for a disability. The highest standard of confidentiality is maintained. For more information, please call (760) 773-2534, email DSPS, or visit the DSPS website