Title
Ashford University Catalog

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Institutional Authority and Local, State, and Federal Penalties

When students violate University regulations, they are subject to disciplinary action by the University, whether or not their conduct violates local, state, or federal laws. By committing an act of misconduct, a student or organization may be subject to disciplinary action by the University. Students who act in concert to violate University regulations, or students who advise or incite others to violate University regulations, are also responsible for such violations.

When students violate local, state, or federal law(s), they may incur penalties as determined by local, state, or federal authorities. Institutional actions shall not be used to duplicate functions of general laws, but when the alleged violation of the law also adversely affects the orderly operation of the University, the University may enforce its own regulations regardless of any federal, state, or local legal proceedings or dispositions.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The U.S. Department of Education's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. FERPA rights begin upon the student’s enrollment, which occurs when the student has been admitted to the University and attends any portion of a course. FERPA protected rights include the following:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.

  • Students should submit written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect to the University Registrar. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office, the Registrar’s Office will facilitate the student’s access to the requested records.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

  • Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. They should write to the Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and specifying why it should be changed.
  • If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University Registrar will notify the student in writing of the decision and advise the student of his or her 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.
  • If, as a result of the hearing, Ashford University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, the student will be afforded the opportunity to place with the education record a statement commenting on the contested information in the record and/or a statement setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing. The statement placed in the education record by the student will be maintained with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained. When the related record is disclosed to an authorized party, the record will include the statement filed by the student.

3. The right to provide written consent prior to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

  • An exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. 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 University. A school official may include any of the following:
    • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff);
    • A person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent);
    • A person or organization acting as an official agent of the institution and performing a business function or service on behalf of the institution;
    • A person serving on the Board of Trustees; or
    • A student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her professional responsibilities.
  • Upon request, the University discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions for the aid.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to parents in the following circumstances:
    • When a student is a dependent student as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
    • When the student has violated any federal, state, or local law, or any rule or policy of Ashford University, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if Ashford University determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to that use or possession, and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent; or
    • The disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent when the information is deemed necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals in an emergency.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • Directory information can be published and/or disclosed to outside organizations without a student’s prior written consent. “Directory information” means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. If the student does not want Ashford University to disclose directory information from his or her education records without prior written consent, the student must notify the University Registrar in writing. A request for nondisclosure of directory information is valid unless or until the student requests a change in writing. Ashford University has designated the following information as directory information:
    • Student’s name
    • Participation in officially recognized activities
    • Address
    • Telephone listing
    • Electronic mail address
    • Photograph
    • Degrees, honors, and awards received
    • Date and place of birth
    • Major field of study
    • Dates of attendance
    • Grade level
    • The most recent educational agency or institution attended
    • Enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time)
    • Class rosters within the classroom
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities, such as a state postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the University’s state-supported education programs.
    • Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal- or state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
  • The University may disclose education records without consent to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
  • The outcome of a conduct hearing is part of the education record of any student personally identified, and is protected from release under FERPA. However, Ashford University observes the following legal exceptions:
    • Complainants and accused in sexual misconduct and sexual harassment incidents have a right to be informed of the outcome and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation, and to be kept apprised of the status of investigations;
    • The University may release the final results of a disciplinary proceeding in which a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence* or non-forcible sex offense, is found in violation of the University’s Student Community Standards. The University may not disclose the name of any other student, including the victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student. The University will also release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome;
    • In the event that the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the notification will be made to next of kin (upon written request).

*A crime of violence includes arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide (manslaughter by negligence, murder, and non-negligent manslaughter), forcible sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction.

The University may also disclose education records without consent under other exceptions authorized by FERPA.

4. The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Ashford University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

            Family Policy Compliance Office
            US Department of Education
            400 Maryland Avenue, SW
            Washington, DC 20202-5920

Personally Identifiable Information

The U.S. Department of Education’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations expanded the circumstances under which a student’s education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records (including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information) may be accessed without prior consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (Federal and State Authorities) may allow access to student records and personally identifiable information without prior consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any education program, which is defined as any program “ that is principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, career and technical education, adult education, and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. See 34 CFR § 99.3. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to a student’s education records and personally identifiable information without prior consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, even when the University objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive any personally identifiable information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without prior consent personally identifiable information from a student’s education records, and they may track a student’s participation in education and other programs by linking such personally identifiable information to other personal information about a student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

The University maintains student records in compliance with FERPA and applicable state regulations. Students who would like more information on these policies may contact the Registrar’s Office.

Assessing Student Success

Ashford University has developed and maintains systems and instruments to assess student learning outcomes. Data gathered via these instruments are used to track and monitor the progression of students. By tracking and monitoring student progression, evaluation of standards, practices, and resource decisions can be made. This data also provides the University with meaningful input that is used to review and improve institutional processes.

Electronic Communication

Email is considered an official form of University-related communication. It is recommended that students check their email daily in order to stay current with University-related communications. Students have the responsibility to recognize that certain communications may be time-critical. Students interested in opting out of email communication should review the following section, Student Consent to the Electronic Delivery of Official University Communications and Records. Failure to check for messages and failure to receive messages due to full mailboxes, spam filtering, or auto-forwarded email are not acceptable excuses for missing official University communications. Students must maintain and provide the University with an email address other than their Ashford University-issued email address. In addition, students may choose to use their Ashford University-issued email address as their primary mechanism for University communications.

Student Consent to the Electronic Delivery of Official University Communications and Records

The ESIGN Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 7001 et seq., requires Ashford University to provide students with certain information about how electronic records are provided, and to obtain student consent to provide certain records in electronic form. In order to enroll, apply for, or receive information about financial aid, obtain or authorize release of information from student records, and conduct other business with Ashford University, online students must indicate consent to sign agreements electronically, and receive records from the University in electronic form. A student’s consent to the electronic delivery of official University communications and records is collected in the online application.

Students may withdraw consent to electronic delivery, retention, and execution of records by sending a fax to (866) 512-7601 or a letter to the Office of the Registrar located at 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, Suite 100, San Diego, CA, 92123, including the statement “I withdraw my consent to electronic delivery, retention, and execution of records.” Any withdrawal of consent shall have prospective effect only, and shall not affect the legal effectiveness, validity or enforceability of consents, agreements, notices, disclosures, or other records provided or made available prior to the withdrawal of consent. If such consent is withdrawn, students may be administratively withdrawn from the University.

Monitoring of Email Communications: The University does not intend to monitor individual electronic mail as a routine matter, but may do so at any time as the University deems necessary for purposes of maintaining the integrity and effective operation of the student email system. No facility exists on this system for the sending or receiving of private communications.

The University reserves the right to inspect and disclose the contents of email as follows: in the course of an investigation triggered by indications of misconduct or misuse; as needed to protect the health and safety of students and staff; as needed to prevent interference with the academic mission; or as needed for technical troubleshooting or spam/content filtering.

Contact Information

All students should regularly review and update their contact information to ensure the University has a valid mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Ashford University maintains this information as part of the student record and requires students to update their contact information regardless of whether they have requested nondisclosure of directory information.

Personal Email for Ashford University Students

The University issues an email account to all students and they are responsible for any and all activity and communication that takes place using the account.

Technology Policies

Misconduct Online

Students are cautioned that behavior conducted online, such as harassment delivered by email, can subject them to University conduct action, if there is a University impact from the cyber-conduct. Students must also be aware that blogs, web pages, social media websites, and similar online communications are in the public sphere, and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations, if evidence of policy violations is posted online. The University does not regularly go hunting for this information, but will take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials. All references to “student” in the Technology Policies section of this Catalog refer to current students, students no longer in attendance, and alumni.

Electronic Mail: The following uses of University electronic mail are prohibited.

  • Personal use that creates a direct cost for the University;
  • Use for personal monetary gain or for commercial purposes that are not directly related to University business;
  • Sending copies of documents in violation of copyright laws;
  • Inclusion of the work of others into electronic mail communications in violation of copyright laws;
  • Use of electronic mail to substantially disrupt the ability of others to conduct University business;
  • Use of electronic mail systems for any purpose restricted or prohibited by laws or regulations;
  • “Spoofing,” (i.e., constructing an electronic mail communication so it appears to be from someone else);
  • “Snooping,” (i.e., obtaining access to the files or electronic mail of others for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity, with no substantial University business purpose); or,
  • Attempting unauthorized access to electronic mail or attempting to violate any security measures on any electronic mail system, or attempting to intercept any electronic mail transmissions without proper authorization.

Online Communication: Written communication in an online community is an extremely important factor in online educational programs. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial to the success of all online learning programs. Professional language relevant to the course content should be used in the online discussion postings. Students are expected to follow the rules of Netiquette, as posted in their online courses. The following are examples of behaviors that could substantially disrupt the online learning environment and will not be tolerated:

Discrimination: Derogatory statements that are based upon an individual’s actual or perceived sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, age, physical disability, mental disability, genetic information, medical condition (including certain cancer-related conditions and genetic characteristics), gender identity, veteran status, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, or any other consideration protected by law that is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program.

Solicitation: It is against policy and inappropriate for students to use the communication channels within the online learning platform to solicit other users for personal or professional reasons. Students may not send emails to classmates or post messages that attempt to sell products, promote business, or solicit employees.

Misuse of Technology Resources: University technology resources are to be used to advance the University’s mission of education, scholarship, and service. Students may use these resources for purposes related to their studies or research or other University-sanctioned activities. These resources include, but are not limited to, hardware (including telephones, computers, and traditional media equipment) either owned or leased by the University, software, and consulting time (and expertise) of the Information Technology Services or other University technology support staff. The use of technology resources provided by the University for commercial or other purposes not directly related to study, research, or University-sanctioned activities should be considered as secondary activities (i.e., personal or otherwise). Should such secondary activity in any way interfere with primary activities, the secondary activity must be terminated immediately.

Many of the University’s technology resources are shared among the entire University community. The use of these resources will not violate law or the rights of others. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities that violate copyright or other intellectual property rights of others, including but not limited to, the infringing use of peer-to-peer file sharing services;
  • Sending copies of documents in violation of copyright laws via electronic mail or any other electronic transmission;
  • Inclusion of the work of others into electronic mail communications or any other electronic transmission in violation of copyright laws;
  • Activities that obstruct usage or deny access to technology resources;
  • Activities that could be considered as discriminatory harassment, libel or obscenity;
  • Activities that substantially disrupt University activities;
  • Activities that violate University policies;
  • Activities that violate local, state, or federal laws;
  • Unauthorized use of computer accounts;
  • Impersonating other individuals;
  • Attempts to exploit or explore security provisions, either at the University or elsewhere;
  • Activities that invade the right to privacy of others;
  • Destruction or alteration of data belonging to others;
  • Creating, using or distributing computer viruses;
  • Allowing other individuals to use your account or password, including for the purpose of meeting attendance requirements in an online class;
  • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications or of computer accounts; and
  • Inappropriate/widespread email distribution.

Consequences for Misuse of Technology Policies

If it is determined that a student is found responsible for misuse of the Technology Policies, and a singular violation is egregious, or there are multiple instances of misuse, the student issue will be referred to the Student Affairs department to review for the possibility of sanctioning up to and including removal from the University.

Online Netiquette Rules

Written communication in an online community is an extremely important factor in all online educational programs. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is crucial to the success of all online learning programs. Ashford University has taken special steps to maintain this type of online etiquette (Netiquette).

Community Members should be:

Considerate: Students should treat each other with respect and should take time to read and respond to each other in such a way that a learning environment can continue to develop. Students should format postings so that everyone can learn from an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities.

Encouraging: Not everyone has had previous online experience. Some students may spend more time observing (reading other students’ postings, remaining invisible for some time) than others. Notice the habits of other students and classmates and provide encouragement for creative and critical conversation.

Helpful: Even a well-presented course can create some confusion. It is very easy to lose a place or miss reading information on certain links or pages. When other students are lost, offer a helping hand by pointing them in the right online direction so they can regain their confidence in online learning.

Aware: Be aware that the written word is the only form of communication in an asynchronous learning environment. Use words carefully – if a comment could possibly be interpreted as insulting, disrespectful, discriminating, mocking, or rude, students should choose other wording.

The following behaviors should be avoided:

Shouting: Using all capital letters when communicating in an online environment is known as shouting. This usage is considered a rude method of communicating. Avoid using all capital letters in online communications.

Impatience: Once a student has posted a question or concern to their instructor, students should wait patiently for a reply.

Name Changes

Official Name Change

If Ashford University becomes aware that a student’s name recorded in the University system does not match their official name as reflected by the United States Social Security Administration, the Registrar’s Office will change the name in all systems to reflect the student’s legal name.

To update the University record as a result of a legal name change, the student must complete the Ashford University Name Change form and provide copies of a Social Security card reflecting the new name, along with supplemental documentation, as outlined on the Name Change form.

Preferred Name Change

Ashford University recognizes that there are scenarios where a student may wish to utilize a non-legal name. The University will attempt to respect the student’s request to use a preferred name with the understanding that issues may arise with respect to financial aid processing, identity management authentication, and receipt and application of transcripts from other institutions. Students wishing to make a request to utilize a preferred name in University records should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Nondiscrimination

Ashford University does not discriminate in its education programs and activities on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, medical condition, genetic information, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. Specifically, Title IX/SaVE requires the University not to discriminate on the basis of gender/sex in its education programs and activities. Gender/sex harassment, including gender/sex violence, is a form of prohibited gender/sex discrimination. Examples of covered acts are found in the University’s policies on Sexual Misconduct.

Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the Ashford University Title IX Coordinator, Poppy Fitch, at [email protected], or 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego, CA 92123, 866.974.5700 Ext. 20702 or to the Office for Civil Rights at Office for Civil Rights (OCR), United States Department of Education, Washington DC 20201, and/or a criminal complaint with local law enforcement.

Gender/Sexual Discrimination, Misconduct, Harassment or Violence - Title IX/SaVE Purpose

Ashford University is committed to maintaining an academic climate in which individuals of the university community have access to an opportunity to benefit fully from the University’s programs and activities. When students experience acts of sexual misconduct, their sense of safety and trust is violated. This can significantly interfere with their lives, including their educational goals. This policy has been developed to proactively create an environment in which incidents of sexual misconduct can be promptly and effectively responded to without further victimization, retaliation, and with possible remediation of its effects.

Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy

The University considered the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), and for the purposes of this Policy, the various sexual misconduct definitions listed below are by applicable jurisdictions. Definitions may vary by state.

    Dissemination of the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy , Educational Programs, and Employee Training

    This policy shall be disseminated through the Ashford University Academic Catalog, provided to the University community online through the University website, Student Portal, and other appropriate channels of communication.

    New and current students will be provided with educational materials to promote familiarity with this policy. Newly hired employees and current employees responsible for reporting sexual misconduct will be provided with training. Furthermore, annual training will be provided to investigators and those responsible for implementation of Title IX.

    The educational programs and employee training provide ongoing awareness and prevention campaigns that also identifies safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such bystander. Additionally, information is provided on risk reduction so that students, faculty/staff may recognize warning signs.

    Sexual Harassment

    Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX/SaVE.

    Three Types of Sexual Harassment

    1.   Hostile Environment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent or patently offensive so that it alters the conditions of education or employment, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include:

    ·      The frequency of the conduct;

    ·      The nature and severity of the conduct;

    ·      Whether the conduct was physically threatening;

    ·      Whether the conduct was humiliating;

    ·      The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;

    ·      Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;

    ·      Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;

    ·      Whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an individual, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness; and

    ·      Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections under other principles such as academic freedom.

    Hostile Environment sexual harassment may occur in student to student, faculty/staff to student or student to faculty/staff relationships or third party to student/faculty/staff.

    2.   Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are:

    ·      Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and

    ·      Submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.

    Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment may occur in student to student, faculty/staff to student or student to faculty/staff relationships.

    3.      Retaliation:

    ·      The University will sanction a faculty, student, or staff member who takes adverse action against a person because of the person’s participation in or support of an investigation of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. Adverse action includes, but is not limited to, threats, harassment, intimidation (implied threats) or actual violence against the person or his or her property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, taunting, bullying, or ostracism.

    Retaliation sexual harassment may occur in student to student, faculty/staff to student or student to faculty/staff relationships, or third party to student/faculty/staff.

    Title IX/SaVE also prohibits gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

    Definitions and Examples of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment

    Definitions and Examples of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment

    Sexual Misconduct Offenses include, but are not limited to:

    ·      Sexual Violence

    ·      Sexual Assault

    ·      Domestic and/or Dating Violence

    ·      Stalking

    ·      Sexual Exploitation

    The University reserves the right to determine the applicable definition based upon factors including but not limited to location of alleged offense, applicable laws or location of the University. Under University policy or Title IX or other federal law, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct/harassment even though that conduct does not meet a specific state or other definition of an offense.

    Sexual Violence

    Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking. Sexual violence can be carried out by University employees, other students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

    Consent

    Consent means cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act. A current or previous relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute consent. Submission under the influence of fear shall not constitute consent.

    Incapacitation

    Incapacitation is the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, but are not limited to, unconsciousness, sleep, and blackouts. Where alcohol or drugs are involved, incapacitation is defined with respect to how the alcohol or other drugs consumed affects a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments. Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol does not diminish one’s responsibilities to obtain consent. The factors to be considered when determining whether consent was given include whether the accused knew, or whether a reasonable person should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated.

    Sexual Assault

    Any person who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if:

    ·      The person causes submission of the victim by means of sufficient consequence reasonably calculated to cause submission against the victim's will; or

    ·      The person knows that the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the victim’s conduct; or

    ·      The person knows that the victim submits erroneously, believing the person to be the victim’s spouse; or

    ·      At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the person is at least four years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or

    ·      At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the person is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or

    ·      The victim is in custody of law or detained in a hospital or other institution and the person has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim and uses this position of authority to coerce the victim to submit, unless the act is incident to a lawful search; or

    ·      The person, while purporting to offer a medical service, engages in treatment or examination of a victim for other than a bona fide medical purpose or in a manner substantially inconsistent with reasonable medical practices; or

    ·      The victim is physically helpless and the person knows the victim is physically helpless and the victim has not consented.

    Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence means an act or threatened act of violence upon a victim with whom the person is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. “Intimate relationship” means a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time. Domestic violence also includes any other crime against a victim, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a victim with whom the person is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.

    Dating Violence

    The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

    ·      The length of the relationship.

    ·      The type of relationship.

    ·      The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

    Stalking

    A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly through another person, the person knowingly:

    ·      Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or

    ·      Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; or

    ·      Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress. For purposes of this paragraph, a victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.

    Sexual Exploitation

    Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other Sexual Misconduct/Harassment offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

    ·      Prostituting another student;

    ·      Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;

    ·      Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);

    ·      Engaging in voyeurism; and

    ·      Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student.

    Confidentiality

    Students or parents of minor students, reporting incidents of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment may ask that the students’ names not be disclosed to the accused or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address the alleged Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. The University strongly supports a student’s interest in confidentiality in cases involving Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. There are situations in which the University must override a student’s request for confidentiality in order to meet its Title IX obligations; however, these instances will be limited and the information will only be shared with individuals who are responsible for handling the University’s response to incidents of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. Given the sensitive nature of reports of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment, the University will ensure that the information is maintained in a secure manner. The University is aware that disregarding requests for confidentiality can have a chilling effect and discourage other students from reporting Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. In the case of minors, state mandatory reporting laws may require disclosure, but will generally be followed without disclosing information to University personnel who are not responsible for handling the University’s response to incidents of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment.

    Even if a student does not specifically ask for confidentiality, to the extent possible, the University will only disclose information regarding alleged incidents of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment to individuals who are responsible for handling the University’s response. To improve trust in the process for investigating Sexual Misconduct/Harassment complaints, the University will notify students of the information that will be disclosed, to whom it will be disclosed, and why. Regardless of whether student complainant requests confidentiality, the University will take steps to protect the complainant as necessary, including taken interim measures before the final outcome of an investigation.

    For Title IX purposes, if a student requests that his/her name not be revealed to the accused or asks that the University not investigate or seek action against the accused, the University will inform the student that honoring the request may limit its ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the accused. The University will also explain that Title IX includes protection against retaliation, and that University officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong, responsive action if it occurs. This includes retaliatory action taken by the University and University officials. When the University knows or reasonably should know of possible retaliation by other students or third parties, including threats, intimidation, coercion, or discrimination (including harassment), it will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. The University will protect the complainant and insure his/her safety as necessary.
    If the student still requests that his/her name not be disclosed to the accused, or that the University not investigate or seek action against the accused, the University will determine whether or not it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the student who reported the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate confidentiality requests.

    If the University determines that it can respect the student’s request not to disclose his/her identity to the accused it will take all reasonable steps to respond to the complaint consistent with the request. Although a student’s request to have his/her name withheld may limit the University’s ability to respond fully to an individual allegation of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment, the University will investigate other means available to address the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment, without initiating formal action against the accused or revealing the identity of the student complainant. The University will also take immediate action as necessary to protect the student while keeping the identity of the student confidential.

    Resources

    Students should contact the Office of Student Access and Wellness Student Advocate HELPline at (866) 974-5700 ext. 24357 in order to access support services.

    For additional resources, please refer to the Counseling, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Programs section in the Student Support, Health, and Safety section of this Catalog.

    Retaliation

    This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who reports Sexual Misconduct/Harassment, assists someone with a report of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a Sexual Misconduct/Harassment report. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to employment or education.

    Recordkeeping

    The TitleIX/SaVE Coordinator, along with Legal & Compliance is responsible for maintaining records relating to sexual harassment and sexual violence reports, investigations, and resolutions. Records shall be maintained in accordance with University Record Retention Policies. All records pertaining to pending litigation or a request for records shall be maintained in accordance with instructions from Legal & Compliance.

    Reporting/Filing a Complaint for Title IX – Sexual Misconduct/Harassment

    Sexual Misconduct/Harassment is a threat to the entire University community. Members from the University community are strongly encouraged to report all incidents that threaten a student’s continued well-being, safety, or security. Complaints from any member of the University community relating to discrimination, misconduct, harassment, domestic violence, dating or other related violence, stalking, or retaliation based on gender or sex concerning a faculty, staff, a student or students should be reported to:

    Title IX/SaVE Coordinator for Ashford University:

    Poppy Fitch, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Title IX/ADA Compliance Coordinator

    Poppy Fitch can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext. 20702
    Email: [email protected]   
    Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd,
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Christina Jaquez, Student Conduct Specialist, Deputy Title IX Coordinator

    Christina Jaquez can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext. 20793
    Email:[email protected]
    Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd,
    San Diego, CA 92123

    The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator is responsible for the oversight, coordination and implementation of all Title IX compliance activities for the University. Title IX/SaVE Coordinator responsibilities include, but are not limited to, monitoring of the ongoing publication of the University’s policy of Nondiscrimination including the Title IX/SaVE Coordinators contact information, continuous monitoring and oversight of overall University activities for compliance with Title IX requirements including athletic equity, grievance procedures, investigations, sanctions and evaluating requests for confidentiality.

    Upon receiving notice of a possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment policy, the University will take immediate and appropriate steps to:

    ·      End the behavior;

    ·      Conduct a prompt, fair and impartial investigation;

    ·      Remedy the effects, and

    ·      Prevent it from reoccurring.

    University personnel will inform students in writing of procedures that victims should follow, including:

    ·      The importance of preservation of any evidence;

    ·      Options regarding the assistance of local law enforcement, University officials;

    ·      The option to decline assistance, or decline notifying local law enforcement;

    ·      Any interim protective measures that will be taken and their options for protective orders; and

    ·      Resources including counseling, health, and mental health services.

    Individuals with complaints of any nature described above always has the right to simultaneously file a formal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), United States Department of Education, Washington DC 20201, and/or a criminal complaint with local law enforcement.

    In addition, the complainant or the accused has the right to a representative of his/her choosing at any point during the process.

    Reporting/Filing a Complaint for Discrimination (Not Sexual Misconduct/Harassment)

    All other complaints, including non-harassment, other forms of sex/gender based discrimination, misconduct, harassment, violence or retaliation based on race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, gender identity, medical condition, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, age, disability, veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws, should follow the relevant procedure outlined in the Dispute Resolution Procedure for Student Complaints (see below) and/or contact:

    Shandell Ruiz at (866) 475-0317, ext. 11322, Pedro Hernandez, ext. 11382,
    or any member of the Student Dispute Resolution Center at [email protected] or (866) 974-5700 ext. 20091.

    Students may also contact the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator for Ashford University:

    Poppy Fitch, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Title IX/ADA Compliance Coordinator

    Poppy Fitch can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext. 20702
    Email: [email protected]   
    Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd,
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Christina Jaquez, Student Conduct Specialist, Deputy Title IX Coordinator

    Christina Jaquez can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext. 20793
    Email:[email protected]
    Mailing Address: 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

    The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator is responsible for the oversight, coordination and implementation of all Title IX compliance activities for the University. Title IX/SaVE Coordinator responsibilities include, but are not limited to, monitoring of the ongoing publication of the University’s policy of Nondiscrimination including the Title IX/SaVE Coordinators contact information, continuous monitoring and oversight of overall University activities for compliance with Title IX requirements including athletic equity, grievance procedures, investigations, sanctions and evaluating requests for confidentiality.

    The above complaint processes (Gender/Sex and Other Complaints) involve a thorough, impartial investigation designed to provide a fair, prompt, and reliable determination about whether the University nondiscrimination policies have been violated. As necessary, the University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim.

    The University has an obligation to report any crimes of which it has knowledge under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). 

    Referral to Office of Student Grievance Resolution

    Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will refer the complaint to the Office of Student Grievance Resolution (OSGR), and if necessary, to Employee Relations, for investigation.

    ·      The investigation will be completed and findings and sanctions issued within sixty (60) calendar days from the receipt of the complaint, barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    ·      In all complaints, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and, if necessary, Human Resources, will determine the need for initial, short term remedial actions.

    ·      In order to protect the complainant, at any time during the investigation, the University may recommend short term, or interim, protections or remedies. These remedial actions may include, but are not limited to, making the complainant aware of their rights, resources and support services, issuance of No Contact orders to separate or limit contact between the parties, modification of extracurricular, transportation, dining, working or living arrangements or course schedules, assignments or tests, increased monitoring, supervising, or security at applicable locations or activities, and/or interim suspension(s) pending investigation. These remedies or protections may apply in ground or online contexts.

    ·      Efforts will be made to minimize the burden on the complainant. Failure to comply with these interim protections may be considered a separate violation of this policy.

    Office of Student Grievance Resolution Initial Investigation into Complaint

    The Initial Investigation will be completed within ten (10) calendar days from the receipt of the complaint, barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    ·      Upon receipt of a complaint from the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator, the Office of Student Grievance Resolution (OSGR), and if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually investigate the complaint.

    ·      OSGR and, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually determine the identity and contact information of the complainant, whether that will be the initiator, the alleged victim, or a University proxy or representative.

    ·      OSGR and, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually collaborate with the complainant to identify the correct policies allegedly violated.

    ·      OSGR and, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually conduct an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to charge the accused individual, and what policy violations should be alleged as part of the complaint. If a reasonable cause exists, OSGR and, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually prepare the initial investigation report and if applicable, a proposed Notice of Charges on the basis of the initial investigation and submit it to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator for further action.

    ·      Once the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator receives a copy of the report of initial findings, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will review the findings and make a determination within three (3) calendar days of receipt of the initial investigation report and if applicable, the proposed Notice of Charges as to whether reasonable cause exists to bring charges against the accused individual. If reasonable cause exists, the matter shall proceed to a formal investigation.

    ·      If the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator determines there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator or designee or, if necessary, Human Resources, will simultaneously and in writing inform the complainant and the accused that the investigation is discontinued. The interim, short term actions taken will be reversed.

    Notice of Charges and Continued Investigation of Complaint

    ·      The decision whether to continue the Investigation will be made and communicated to the parties within fifteen (15) calendar days of the receipt of the complaint, barring documented unforeseen circumstances. The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator or his/her designee, will simultaneously communicate in writing to the parties the continuation of the investigation and intent to present the accused with a Notice of Charges.

    ·      If the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator determines there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable cause and approve the charges, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will mutually determine the need for additional, short term remedial actions for any parties involved in the complaint.

    ·      In order to protect the complainant, at any time during the investigation, the University may recommend short term, or interim, protections or remedies. These remedial actions may include, but are not limited to, making the complainant aware of their rights, resources and support services, issuance of No Contact orders to separate or limit contact between the parties, modification of extracurricular, transportation, dining, working or living arrangements or course schedules, assignments or tests, increased monitoring, supervising, or security at applicable locations or activities, and/or interim suspension(s) pending investigation. These remedies or protections may apply in ground or online contexts.

    ·      Efforts will be made to minimize the burden on the complainant. Failure to comply with these interim protections may be considered a separate violation of this Policy.

    ·      The investigator(s) will conduct the investigation in a manner appropriate in light of the circumstances of the case, which will typically include interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses. As part of the investigation, the University will provide an opportunity for the parties to present statements, witnesses, and other evidence. The interviews will be supplemented by the gathering of any physical, documentary, or other evidence, as appropriate and available including but not limited to law enforcement investigation documents and student or employee personnel files. The investigation is deemed to be adequate, reliable, impartial, prompt, balanced and fair, and all individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect throughout the investigation.

    ·      Any requests for updates on the status of the investigation prior to its completion should be directed to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator.

    ·      The investigator will make a finding and present the findings to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator within forty-five (45) calendar days of the receipt of the complaint, barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will communicate the results, if applicable, to Human Resources staff.

    ·      At any time during this process, the individual maintains the right to simultaneously file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), United States Department of Education, Washington DC 20201, and/or a criminal complaint with local law enforcement.

    Presentation of Investigation Findings to the Parties

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator or designee, or, if necessary, Human Resources staff, will simultaneously and in writing communicate the findings to the accused and the complainant within fifty (50) calendar days of the receipt of the complaint, barring documented unforeseen circumstances. This communication will inform the parties whether the preponderance of the evidence supports a finding against the accused for the alleged violation(s).

    ·      The communicated findings will inform the parties as to 1) whether there is a finding of sexual harassment; 2) whether the interim measures will continue; 3) what actions will be taken, including any disciplinary procedures that will be initiated; and 4) whether any assistance will be provided to the victim.

    ·      Where the accused is found not responsible for a violation, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and Human Resources staff where applicable, will consider the reversal of any remedial actions taken.

    ·      The accused or the complainant may appeal the findings in part or in whole; the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator or his/her designee will advise the parties of the criteria for appeal of the findings when communicating the findings.

    Investigation Findings: Acceptance

    ·      If the complainant and/or accused individual(s) accept the findings in whole, each shall notify the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator within three (3) business days of communication of findings. If the complainant and/or accused individual do not indicate his/her acceptance or Appeal of the findings within three (3) business days of communication, non-communication will be considered acceptance and the University will proceed accordingly with the process four (4) business days following communication of the investigation findings.

    ·      The Title IX SaVE/Coordinator will review all case information and determine appropriate sanctions within eight (8) business days following notification of all findings to the complainant and accused individual, barring documented unforeseen circumstances. If the accused is an employee, the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator in coordination with the Human Resources staff will determine appropriate sanctions.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator, or Human Resources staff (if applicable) shall, within two (2) business days, barring documented unforeseen circumstances, simultaneously and in writing inform the complainant and the accused of the sanction decision.

    ·      Sanctions against student(s) determined by this process are subject to the Sanction Appeal Process by either the accused or complainant.

    Investigation Findings: Appeal

    ·      If the complainant and/or the accused individual (s) disagree with the findings, in part or in totality, either the complainant or the accused may appeal the finding in part or in totality on the following bases:

    ·      The accused and/or complainant wants consideration of new evidence, which was unavailable during the original investigation that could be outcome determinative. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;

    ·      The accused and/or complainant alleges that a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the process in a way that could be outcome determinative;

    ·      The accused and/or complainant challenges the assertion that the evidence presented during the investigation process was sufficient to find them responsible by a preponderance of the evidence; or,

    ·      The accused and/or complainant alleges bias by the investigator, or the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator which deprived the process of impartiality in a way that was outcome determinative.

    The accused and/or complainant have five (5) business days, barring documented unforeseen circumstances from the date of communication of findings, to present the formal appeal, in writing, to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and CAO of Ashford University, Dr. Laura Palmer Noone.

    The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and CAO may be contacted as follows:
    Email: [email protected]

    Mailing Address:
    Dr. Laura Palmer Noone
    Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and CAO,  Ashford University
    8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

    Investigation Finding: Appeal Process

    ·      Upon receipt of either party’s appeal of the findings, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will acknowledge receipt of the notice within three (3) business days.

    ·      The written appeal must state the basis for appeal and provide sufficient information that supports the grounds for appeal.

    ·      The Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee will review all cases presented for appeal within five (5) business days of the appeal, barring documented unforeseen circumstances, to determine if the presented grounds for appeal and supporting information will be accepted or rejected.

    ·      If the appeal does not meet the stated grounds for appeal, the appeal will be rejected. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, shall, within two (2) business days of the determination, barring documented unforeseen circumstances, simultaneously and in writing, inform the complainant and the accused the appeal decision.

    ·      If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines there is sufficient evidence to support an appeal, the matter will return to the Office of Student Grievance Resolution for further investigation unless the appeal alleges bias of the investigator which deprived the process of impartiality in a way that was outcome determinative or an assertion that the evidence was insufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard. In those cases, the appeal will remain with the Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee for review and final decision.

    ·      Whether the investigation goes to the Office of Student Grievance Resolution or remains with the Vice President for Academic Affairs or his/her designee, the appeal investigation will be completed within fourteen (14) calendar days of submission to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, barring documented unforeseen circumstances that may extend the appeal review.

    ·      The Vice President for Academic Affairs, and if applicable in coordination with Human Resources, will communicate the appeal findings simultaneously and in writing to the complainant and the accused.

    ·      Additionally, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will consult with the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and Human Resources (when necessary) to consider the reversal of any remedial actions taken.

    Additional Information for Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Investigations

    Amnesty Policy. Ashford University encourages the reporting of crimes by victims and/or witnesses. Sometimes, victims and/or witnesses are hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that by reporting an incident he/she may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims and/or witnesses as possible choose to report to University officials. To encourage reporting, Ashford University pursues a policy of offering victims and/or witnesses of crimes immunity from policy violations related to the incident, as long as those policy violations are not directly related to the crime itself. For example, if a student reported a rape in which he or she was involved as an accused individual, he or she would not be immune from policy violations.

    Attempted Violations. In most circumstances, Ashford University will treat attempts to commit Sexual Misconduct/Harassment as if those attempts had been completed.

    False Reporting. Ashford University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents.

    Group Actions. When members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of any policy, they may be held accountable as a group or individually, and may proceed against the group of jointly accused students, or individually, at the discretion of the University.

    Right to Present Own Complaint or Use Proxy. The alleged victim has the right to present his or her own complaint if he or she wants to, or to ask the University to stand as complainant in his or her place.

    Sexual History. Questioning or presenting of evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual conduct with anyone other than the accused will be prohibited. Evidence of a prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties by itself does not imply consent or preclude a finding of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment.

    University as complainant. As necessary, Ashford University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of Sexual Misconduct/Harassment.

    Possible Sanctions and Protective Measures

    Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Sexual Misconduct/Harassment may receive a sanction ranging from a verbal warning, probation, and suspension to expulsion/termination, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous documented conduct issues. If the accused individual is an employee, sanctions will be determined by Title IX/SaVE Coordinator in consultation with Human Resources if applicable.

    In order to protect the complainant, at any time during the investigation, the University may recommend short term, or interim, protections or remedies. These remedial actions may include, but are not limited to, making the complainant aware of their rights, resources and support services, issuance of No Contact orders to separate or limit contact between the parties, modification of extracurricular, transportation, dining, working or living arrangements or course schedules, assignments or tests, increased monitoring, supervising, or security at applicable locations or activities, and/or interim suspension(s) pending investigation. These remedies or protections may apply in ground or online contexts.

    Efforts will be made to minimize the burden on the complainant. Failure to comply with these interim protections may be considered a separate violation of this policy.

    Sanction Process

    The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will review all case information and determine appropriate sanctions within five (5) business days of notification of acceptance or determination on appeal barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    Sanction Appeal Process

    Where either party, the accused or the complainant, disagrees with the sanction(s), either has five (5) business days from the date sanctions are communicated, barring documented unforeseen circumstances to present an appeal of the sanctions, in writing, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The written request for appeal of the sanctions must state one or more of the five (5) basis for appeal (see the following), along with facts and information that support the grounds for appeal; and be accompanied by any relevant, new information or evidence that was not available during the investigation phase of the process. The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will forward all case information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee who will make a determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to support an appeal of sanctions on the basis of:

    ·      The availability of new information, unavailable during the original investigation, that could be outcome determinative regarding sanctions;

    ·      A potential material deviation from written procedures which impacted the fairness of the process in a way that was outcome determinative regarding the sanctions;

    ·      The potential of bias by the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator which may have deprived the process of impartiality in a way that was outcome determinative.

    ·      A belief that a sanction(s) is substantially disproportionate to the severity of the offense.

    ·      The sanction(s) appeal will be reviewed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs within five (5) business days of the sanction appeal notice, barring documented unforeseen circumstances, to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for appeal.

    ·      If the appeal of the sanctions does not state a ground for appeal or sufficiently meet the grounds for appeal, the appeal will be rejected by the Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee and the decision to reject the appeal communicated to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and if applicable Human Resources.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and if applicable Human Resources, will simultaneously and in writing inform the complainant and the accused of the rejection of the appeal within seven (7) calendar days of the determination, barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will impose all sanctions on the accused student for the violation. Human Resources in consultation with the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator will impose all sanctions on the accused employee. Once the sanctions are carried out, the case will be closed.

    ·      If the Vice President for Academic Affairs determines there are grounds for the sanction appeal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will review all information presented with the sanction appeal and make a final sanction determination within fourteen (14) calendar days of acceptance of the appeal of sanctions, barring documented circumstances that may extend the determination. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will forward the determination to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator and if applicable, Human Resources, will simultaneously and in writing inform the complainant and the accused of the appeal decision within seven (7) calendar days of the decision, barring documented unforeseen circumstances.

    ·      The Title IX/SaVE Coordinator or designee, and if applicable, Human Resources, will impose all sanctions for the violation. Once the sanctions are carried out, the case will be closed.

    ·      Nondisclosure Agreements. The University will not require a party to abide by a nondisclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise, that would prevent the redisclosure of information related to the outcome of the proceeding.

    Disability Support Services

    The University is committed to providing an equal opportunity to access a full educational experience. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, Ashford University prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability. Reasonable accommodations will be granted to students who present appropriate documentation of disability and are otherwise qualified to participate in their specific program of study. Ashford University’s Office of Student Access and Wellness is dedicated to fostering equal opportunities to student success through accessible educational programs, disability related advocacy, faculty and staff education, and an enhanced awareness of individual abilities and contributions.

    Complaints regarding allegations of disability discrimination shall be filed in accordance with the Dispute Resolution Procedures for Student Complaints section referenced in this Catalog.

    Effective Communication for Persons with Disabilities

    Ashford University will provide information to interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence of support services and accommodations to ensure accessible programs, services, and activities of the University. The University will ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services. The University will furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.

    Disability Documentation

    Ashford University will provide reasonable accommodation to students with documented disabilities in order to ensure the accessibility of programs, services, and activities of the University. The University requirements for documentation are based upon the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Best Practices: Disability Documentation in Higher Education.

    The process for determining accommodations is a collaborative one that may or may not require third-party documentation. The University reserves the right to request a reasonable level of documentation. One or more of the following documentation categories will be considered in the evaluation of student accommodation requests:

    1. Primary Documentation: Student’s Self-Report. 
      Ashford University believes the student is a vital source of information regarding how he or she may be “limited by impairment.*” A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool which, when structured by interview or questionnaire and interpreted by professional staff, may be sufficient for establishing disability and a need for accommodation.
    2. Secondary Documentation: Observation and Interaction.
      The impressions and conclusions formed by Ashford University disability professionals during interviews and conversations with students or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented or provisional accommodations are important forms of documentation. The University employs qualified and experienced disability professionals who will observe students’ language, performance, and strategies as an appropriate tool in validating student narrative and self-report.
    3. Tertiary Documentation: Information from External or Third Parties.
      Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary Of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations.** External documentation will vary in its relevance and value depending on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative.

    A Note about Documentation:
    These guidelines apply to students taking Ashford University classes. Students should be aware that other universities and testing agencies (which administer standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam and Law School Admission Test) may require more extensive documentation, and should review their requirements well in advance.

    Use of Mobility Devices

    Ashford University will maintain facilities accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. Individuals with disabilities who utilize power driven mobility devices, (e.g., any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines––whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities––that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices [EPAMDs], such as the Segway® PT) may do so within University facilities only when operation of such mobility devices does not pose a substantial risk of harm to students, faculty, staff, or visitors to the campus. Use of power driven mobility devices for the purpose of ambulation between University facilities is permitted. Storage of power driven mobility devices within University facilities should not impede path of travel for pedestrian traffic areas. Responsibility for the securing of power driven mobility devices resides with the user. The University does not accept responsibility for damage, loss, or theft of property stored on its premises.

    Use of Service Animals

    Service animals, performing a specific task for an individual with a documented disability, are welcome in all University facilities and in all activities of the University. If it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal, or the service animal does not have visually identifiable apparel, apparatus, or other evidence that the animal is a service animal, faculty and staff may ask to confirm that the animal is a service animal.

    A service animal, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal (generally a dog) individually trained to do work or perform tasks in support of a person with a disability. An animal whose sole function is emotional support does not qualify under this definition.

    Students and visitors to the University are responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal while on University premises or while engaged in University activities. Care includes, but is not limited to, feeding, toileting and hygiene.

    *Disability is defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment with respect to an individual that (a) substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) being regarded as having such an impairment...” 42 U.S.C §12102

    **Revisions to Title III regulations provide, “When considering requests for modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services, the entity gives considerable weight to documentation of past modifications, accommodations, or auxiliary aids or services received in similar testing situations, as well as such modifications, accommodations, or related aids and services provided in response to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) provided under [IDEA] or a plan describing services provided pursuant to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.” (28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(v))

    Guidance and Section-by-Section Analysis provides these examples of types of information to consider: “recommendations of qualified professionals familiar with the individual, results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations, an applicant’s history of diagnosis, participation in a special education program, observations by educators, or the applicant’s past use of testing accommodations.” 28 C.F.R part 36 (2010)

    AHEAD. (2012). Supporting Accommodation Requests: Guidance on Documentation Practices. Retrieved from http://www.ahead.org/resources/documentation_guidance.

    Contact Information

    Students who believe they are in need of accommodations should contact:

    The Office of Student Access and Wellness at [email protected] or may review general information regarding disability services and accommodations at www.ashford.edu/accessandwellness.

    Students who have a concern about their disability accommodations may contact:
    Student Access and Wellness Manager at [email protected]

    Formal complaints will be handled in accordance with the grievance procedures outlined in this section of this Catalog.

    ADA Coordinator of Ashford University,
    Poppy Fitch, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, ADA Compliance Officer

    Poppy Fitch can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext. 20702
    Email: [email protected]
    Mailing Address:
    8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

    Deputy ADA Coordinator of Ashford University,
    Carmel Hernandez, Operations and Quality Assurance Manager, ADA Coordinator

    Carmel Hernandez can be contacted at:
    Phone: (866) 974-5700, ext.20789
    Email:[email protected]
    Mailing Address:
    8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123

    Dispute Resolution Procedure for Student Complaints

    The Ashford University community benefits from informal processes and formal procedures that encourage prompt and equitable resolution of complaints and concerns that students may have about the implementation of policies and procedures that govern the institution.

    Who May File A Complaint: The Student Dispute Resolution Center (SDRC) addresses complaints filed by an individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant, or applicant. The terms “student” and “complainant” are used interchangeably.

    Complaints initiated by attorneys on behalf of students will begin at Step II below. 

    No Reprisal: Students will not be subjected to reprisal or retaliation for using or participating in the dispute resolution procedure.

    Issues Eligible for Review: Issues eligible for review by the SDRC include, but are not limited to,  issues concerning billing and/or refund policy, transcripts, technology, financial aid and other finance options (excluding Employee Tuition Benefit), course drop or scheduling concerns,  personal hardship matters resulting in an account balance, student account complaints, military benefits, disability-related matters, and advising issues.  In addition, any discrimination complaints, based on race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, marital status, sex or gender identity, medical condition, service in the uniformed services, political activities and affiliations, age, disability, veteran status, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws excluding behavior that falls under the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy.

    Issues Not Eligible for Review: Issues not eligible for review by the SDRC include grade appeal requests and challenges to grade appeal outcome, challenge of course content, instructor issues, transfer credit and transfer credit appeal, appeal of satisfactory academic progress, appeal of dismissal, and appeal of Student Community Standards Committee findings. In addition, any discrimination that falls under the Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy.

    The Dispute Resolution Procedure may only be used for these issues if the challenge relates to allegations of discrimination or bias. Otherwise, appeals of those matters should follow the procedures outlined elsewhere in this Catalog.

    Dispute Resolution Procedure

    Step I: Departmental Resolution

    Students should address the complaint or concern at the departmental level with the individual involved in the complaint (e.g., Advisor, Collections Specialist, Faculty Support and Development Associate, Instructor, Manager, etc.). If satisfactory resolution is not reached after discussion with the individual or if it is impracticable to address the problem or complaint with the individual, the student should contact the individual’s direct supervisor to attempt to resolve the complaint. If the student’s concerns remain unresolved the student should proceed to filing a complaint with the SDRC.

    How to File a Complaint

    An individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant, or applicant (“student” or “complainant”) may file a complaint with the SDRC by completing the Student Dispute Resolution Center Submission form found at www.ashfordprograms.com/complaints

    Students are encouraged to begin the dispute resolution process within thirty (30) calendar days of the incident prompting the complaint or from the date of knowledge of the incident prompting the complaint.

    Upon receipt of the Student Dispute Resolution Center Submission form, the SDRC will review the complaint to determine if it is eligible to be addressed through the dispute resolution procedure and to ensure the required information is included so the complaint can be appropriately assigned. Complaints alleging discrimination or bias may at any time proceed directly to Step II: Grievance Resolution.

    If the complaint is eligible for review by the SDRC and all required information has been submitted, the complaint will be assigned to a case handler within three (3) business days of receipt of the complaint.  If the complaint is not eligible for review by the SDRC (see above for “Issues Eligible for Review”), the complainant will be notified by the SDRC within three (3) business days of receipt of the complaint. The SDRC will attempt to direct the complainant to the appropriate resource(s) for addressing his or her concern(s).

    If the required information has not been submitted with the complaint form, a representative from SDRC will inform the complainant in writing of the missing information. The complainant will be provided a reasonable amount of time, based on the circumstances and outstanding required information, to submit the missing information for the complaint. If the complainant does not submit the additional required information, the complaint will not be processed. Once the required information has been submitted, the complaint will be assigned to a case handler within three (3) business days of receipt of the required information.

    Step II: Grievance Resolution

    During Step II, the dispute resolution specialist will investigate the dispute, evaluate the findings and issue a written response. The dispute resolution specialist will adequately, reliably and impartially investigate the complaint.

    Investigation

    During the investigation phase, the dispute resolution specialist will contact the student and others, including all witnesses* identified by either complainant or respondent who are likely to have knowledge relevant to the allegation, to discuss the student’s concerns. The student’s participation in the process is essential, and the dispute resolution specialist may speak with the student several times during the investigation stage. Students should be prepared to speak with the dispute resolution specialist and to provide any additional relevant information the dispute resolution specialist might request. Failure to provide the requested information may delay or preclude a thorough investigation.

    *The dispute resolution specialist will document all efforts to contact relevant witness(es). If the dispute resolution specialist is unable to contact a relevant witness, the attempts to contact the witness and the reasons such attempts were unsuccessful must be documented by the dispute resolution specialist.

    Evaluation and Response

    Following the completion of the investigation, Step II grievances are evaluated through a collaborative process that may involve the following representatives, or their designee: an Executive Dean of the College in which the student is enrolled, University Vice President for Academic Affairs,  Vice President of Student Services, Director of Student Affairs and Vice President of Financial Aid and Services.  These representatives have decision-making authority in regards to formal grievances. The dispute resolution specialist will present the investigation findings and the student’s requested resolution to those designated with decision-making authority. 

    For complaints alleging discrimination or bias, the dispute resolution specialist will present the investigation findings, along with all evidence submitted or identified by the complainant or respondent to the University’s deliberating body. A deliberating body will be comprised of representatives from various University departments, or their designee(s) who have decision-making authority and are not the subject of the discrimination or bias charge.  Complaints alleging discrimination or bias must be concluded within fifteen (15) days following the completion of the investigation.

    The Step II process will be completed within thirty (30) business days following receipt of the complaint. If additional time is needed for the investigation, evaluation, or response, the student will be notified. The response will be issued to the student and/or his/her representative via email or U.S. Mail.

    Per Step III below, a student may appeal the outcome of the Step II Grievance. Unless a student articulates a permissible ground for appeal, the response at Step II is final.

    Step III: Presidential Appeal of Step II

    Timeline for Filing an Appeal

    The student should file the appeal within ten (10) business days of the date of the University’s response.

    Students may appeal the findings of the response at Step II only on the following grounds: 

    ·      To consider new evidence that was unavailable during the original investigation that could be outcome determinative;

    ·      To assess whether a material deviation from written procedures impacted the fairness of the process in a way that could be outcome determinative;

    ·      To challenge if the findings of the investigation do not accord with the preponderance of the evidence; or,

    ·      To assess whether bias of the investigator deprived the process of impartiality in a way that could be outcome determinative.

    How to File an Appeal

    The student should set forth in writing at least one of the above grounds for appeal with the information that supports the ground(s) for appeal. The written appeal shall be sent to [email protected].

    Students in the state of Georgia may appeal the final decision to:

    Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220 Tucker, GA 30084-5305 (770) 414-3300 www.gnpec.org

    Appeal Process

    Phase One: Review and Evaluation

    Within three (3) business days of receipt of the appeal, the University will review the appeal to ensure that:

    ·      It states one or more of the four (4) grounds for appeal; and

    ·      It is accompanied by any relevant newly available information or evidence that was not available during Step II.

    If the appeal does not state a ground for appeal and include new information or evidence to evaluate, the complainant will be notified via email that the appeal is ineligible for processing and that no action will be taken on the appeal. The complainant will have three (3) business days to amend and cure the appeal. The amended appeal should be sent to [email protected]

    If the amended appeal meets the threshold it will proceed to Phase Two.

    Phase Two: Evaluation and Determination

    The President, or designee, will render a written decision on the appeal within ten (10) business days from the date the appeal was accepted for processing. The President or designee will use the preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not) of review to make a determination on the appeal of the Step II outcome. The President’s determination shall be final.

    Additional Resources

    Ashford University values its students and has created additional avenues to bring forth concerns. In addition to the previously described complaint procedures, at any time, the student may select to notify the University of a concern using the confidential, third-party alert hotline, www.ashfordstudentcomplaints.alertline.com or (855) 274-5539.

    The terms “student” and “complainant” are used interchangeably and refer to an individual student, alumnus, former student, prospective applicant or applicant.

    Business day is defined to mean normal operating hours, Monday through Friday, excluding recognized University holidays.

    Complaints to States and Accrediting Bodies

    Students may file a complaint with the University’s institutional accrediting body by contacting WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001, www.wascsenior.org.

    Students may file a complaint with the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) via email ([email protected]) or by regular mail to International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), 11374 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, KS 66215, USA.

    Please refer to the Student Complaint State Contact Information section in the Introduction section of this Catalog and http://www.ashford.edu/statedisclosure.htm for state-specific grievance information.

    Academic Integrity

    Ashford University students will pursue learning with rigorous academic integrity. Ashford University defines academic dishonesty as deceitful and/or deceptive attempts to fulfill academic requirements. While plagiarism is the most common form of academic dishonesty, cheating or furnishing fabricated or false information to Ashford University officials and/or faculty (such as lying to effect a grade change) are also acts of academic dishonesty prohibited by Student Community Standards.

    Students suspected and being investigated for Academic Dishonesty and/or knowingly furnishing false, falsified or forged information to the University may be placed on a finance and transcript hold. If the student is unresponsive, he or she will be unscheduled from future courses. For those students utilizing financial aid, this finance hold will prevent a financial aid disbursement until the issue is resolved through either the appeal process or through a Student Community Standards formal hearing.

    This Academic Integrity policy applies to current students and alumni. The University may address allegations of academic misconduct after a student has graduated, and will process allegations concerning alumni in the same manner it addresses allegations concerning current students. All sanctions that could be applied to a current student could be applied to an alumnus, and the University reserves the right to rescind a previously conferred degree where the Student Community Standards Committee deems this an appropriate sanction. All references to "student" in the Academic Integrity policy section of this Catalog refer to current students and alumni.

    Academic Dishonesty

    Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at the University because it undermines the bonds of trust and personal responsibility between and among students and faculty, weakens the credibility of the academic enterprise, and defrauds those who believe in the value and integrity of the degree. Ashford University will consider the cumulative record of any student with respect to academic integrity violations, regardless of the student’s current academic program or status. For example, violations of the Academic Integrity policy while an undergraduate, but not discovered until the student is enrolled in an Ashford graduate program, will be addressed during the student’s graduate program. This may result in sanctions, a change in the student’s eligibility status for his or her graduate enrollment, and/or impact retroactively on the student’s fulfillment of all undergraduate program requirements. Academic dishonesty may take several forms:

    Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise (e.g., tests, essays, etc.).

    Fabrication: Intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

    Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another student to commit a violation of academic integrity.

    Plagiarism: Plagiarizing denies the student the powerful opportunity to develop as an ethical and conscientious human being. Representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise. This definition includes draft assignments that are submitted and graded as a part of the curriculum. Plagiarism occurs when a student deliberately uses the ideas, language, or other material (that is not common knowledge) without acknowledging the original source. The use of materials, including printed or online texts, as well as the work of others, can be considered plagiarism when presented as one’s own work.

    Acts of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

    ·      Copying text from printed materials, which include books, magazines, encyclopedias, newspapers, online sources, etc., without proper citation;

    ·      The modification of text with the intent of changing phrases, changing words, or interspacing the student’s work into the plagiarized work;

    ·      “Copy and paste” plagiarism, which involves copying and pasting materials from Internet sources and presenting them as one’s original work;

    ·      The use of another student’s work, even if the student has the permission of the other student. The use of another’s work constitutes an act of collusion, which constitutes an act of plagiarism;

    ·      The use of materials purchased from Internet or elsewhere; or

    ·      Paraphrasing or summarizing another’s work without giving appropriate credit.

    ·      Recycling a previously submitted assignment for a current course, but representing the assignment as original work.

    Recycling of Academic Work
    As part of the University’s policy on academic integrity, it is expected that students will not submit an assignment that is an exact copy of work previously submitted in another course at any institution. The University understands that work within a discipline is interconnected and expects students, when writing about similar topics, to enhance and refine the content of an assignment as they progress through their program of study. It is not acceptable to resubmit the exact same copy of work previously submitted without enhancing or refining the concepts contained in the assignment. Submitting an exact copy of work, or any portion of work, previously submitted in another course may adversely affect one’s grade and/or be considered a violation of the Student Community Standards.

    The following exceptions to variations on recycling are allowed by Ashford.

    ·      If a student wishes to repurpose work from a past course for a current course (for example, using work from PSY 202 in PSY 301), that student may do so only if all of the following criteria are satisfied:

    o  Instructor permission is granted. Not all instructors grant this permission.

    o  The student emails the current instructor a copy of the originally submitted work that they wish to repurpose prior to submitting an assignment that contains the recycled material. This submission includes the start date of the course where the material was originally used. The instructor may then provide written approval of the re-submission.

    o  The reused material is properly attributed in terms of "self-citing" in the submitted document.

    o  The student substantially enhances and refines what was submitted previously.

    ·      A student may resubmit, without penalty, classwork from a previously unsuccessful attempt at a course in a second or subsequent attempt at the same course if University credit has not previously been earned in the course. An unsuccessful attempt is defined as failing the course, earning a grade of W or N/A, failing to meet the grade necessary to satisfy a general education competency, or failing to meet the grade for the course required by your degree program. However:

    o  The student must inform the current course instructor of this reuse of content prior to submission of the reused material.

    Common Knowledge vs. Plagiarism: Some students have the mistaken notion that they must give credit to a source only when they use a direct quotation. Paraphrasing (putting ideas into your own words) or changing a word or two in a source does not relieve the student of responsibility to credit the source. If an idea is not the student’s own, he or she must cite the source in the text of the paper and at the end of the paper as a reference. The only exception to this rule is if the idea the student uses is common knowledge. Facts that are common knowledge will generally be known by many people and can easily be found or referenced. Common knowledge facts (e.g., that Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968) do not need to be documented. However, students must reference lesser-known ideas and interpretations of common knowledge (e.g., a press release defense attorney Lawrence Teeter issued regarding the possible innocence of Sirhan Sirhan, the accused assassin of Robert Kennedy).

    Originality: Originality of student work is expected in an academic setting. Original writing should include:

    ·      The writer’s individual perspective

    ·      Unique insights and ideas on topics

    ·      A personal academic voice

    ·      Clear synthesis of information

    ·      A specific alignment with the particular assignment

    Avoiding Plagiarism: Academic and professional writing is formal, ethical, honest, and clear. All academic and professional writers depend upon a proven writing process that contains revision and review. Ashford University provides several tools to help students in their revision and review. Students who use the tools may discover ways to improve their writing, ensure academic honesty, develop a formal voice, and adhere to the required style guide.

    Address questions regarding plagiarism to the course instructor. Ashford University instructors utilize the Turnitin tool to check submitted work for originality.

    Turnitin highlights unoriginal passages in a student’s paper. Files submitted to Turnitin are compared against a repository, including internet sites, online text, archived internet data, student papers, books, journals, and other publications. Students and faculty have access to Turnitin in each class through the Waypoint grading system.

    Similarities and matches between assignments and items in the Turnitin repository will be highlighted in an originality report. Although Turnitin is not the only tool for identifying unoriginal work, it is an excellent resource for both students and faculty who wish to check documents for originality and avoid plagiarism.

    Turnitin can be used to check work for unoriginal writing before submitting it in class. Often, issues can be attributed to one of these easy-to-correct mistakes:

    ·      Colloquial Language (use of clichés and other over-used casual phrases)

    ·      Over-reliance on Direct Quotes

    ·      Plagiarism (see definition in this section of the catalog):

    Plagiarism is a violation of Student Community Standards whether it is identified through Turnitin or found through other means. Turnitin is one tool available to students and instructors in the pursuit of honest, original writing.

    Consequences for Academic Dishonesty

    A student who commits an act of academic dishonesty may face disciplinary action, including but not limited to: Self-Coaching Opportunity Prompts (SCOP) reflective essays, Academic Integrity trainings, failure to receive credit on an academic exercise, course failure, and/or separation from the University. Ashford University may also extend its jurisdiction to misconduct that occurs prior to, but not reported until after the graduation of the offending student. There is no statute of limitations for violations of the Academic Integrity policy.

    Instructors or other University staff may report instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Department or designee; the student will receive a notice informing of the offense, as well as any resulting disciplinary action(s). Academic Integrity violations are addressed collaboratively by the faculty and Academic Integrity Administrators.

    If it is determined that a student is found responsible for violating the Academic Dishonesty policy and a singular violation is egregious, or there are multiple instances of academic dishonesty violations, the student will be referred to Student Affairs for review for the possibility of sanctioning up to and including removal from the University.

    The student may be asked to meet for either an informal hearing or a formal hearing (Student Community Standards Committee). Student Affairs will not reconsider the issue of student responsibility as determined by the Academic Integrity Department, rather will determine appropriate sanctioning

    Student Community Standards

    Ashford University is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment that is conducive to the pursuit of learning and living and to the development of students as scholars and citizens. University policies are necessary to safeguard the mission of Ashford University, thus protecting the students' ability to learn without undue interference by others. If misconduct occurs, the University community must respond in ways that protect all members of the community.

    All students are expected to make themselves familiar with the Student Community Standards (hereinafter referred to as Standards). Ignorance of these Standards, including behavioral expectations, specific prohibited conduct, or consequences for misconduct is not a defense to, nor grounds for, excusing violations of the Standards.

    The following Student Community Standards are applicable to individuals during all periods of enrollment following the submission of an admissions application and including institutional breaks or approved Academic Leaves from the University. Please note that prospective students are also required to uphold the Standards. A prospective student who is found to have violated these Standards could be precluded from enrolling.

    The University reserves the right to create, modify, or make changes to the Standards. The Standards may also be extended or amended to apply to new and unanticipated situations that may arise.

    Authority over Student Conduct

    Students are charged with the responsibility of having read, and agreeing to abide by, the provisions of the Student Community Standards (Standards) and the authority of the student conduct process. The Standards and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students and University-affiliated student organizations. Because the Standards are based on shared values, they set a range of expectations for Ashford University students no matter where or when their conduct may take place. Therefore, the Standards will apply to behaviors that take place at University-sponsored events, in online courses and may also apply off-campus, when the administration determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the University.

    Ashford University may also extend its authority over misconduct that occurs prior to, but is not reported until after, the graduation of the offending student. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to appropriate University officials [email protected]

    The Standards

    Ashford University is committed to fostering an environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, student development, student engagement, thoughtful study, and discourse. A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles that form our Student Community Standards (Standards). Members of the student community are expected to uphold these Standards.

    Integrity

    Ashford University students exemplify honesty, integrity and a respect for truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that demonstrates a lapse of integrity includes, but is not limited to:

    • Acts of academic dishonesty (as defined in this Catalog);
    • Selling or otherwise providing course work, including exams, papers, and projects to third parties, which may be used for submission in fulfillment of any course or academic program requirement.
    • Knowingly furnishing false, falsified, or forged information to any member of the University community, such as falsification or misuse of documents, accounts, records, identification, or financial instruments.

    Community

    Ashford University students honor and value their community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

    • Sharing or taking passwords from others, including University issued email accounts, student portal, online learning platform, etc.;
    • Misuse or unauthorized use of University or organizational names and images;
    • Violation of state or local fire policies, including:
    • Failure to evacuate a University-owned building during a fire alarm;
    • Improper use of University fire safety equipment; and
    • Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm in a University building.

    Fairness

    Ashford University students exemplify fair treatment of each other in their dealings and interactions. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

    • Disruption of University operations, including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other University activities, or other authorized non-University activities;
    • Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of a member of a University conduct body prior to, during, and/or after a University conduct proceeding;
    • Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the University conduct system.

    Respect

    Ashford University students show respect for each other, for property, and for the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

    • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or any other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
    • All forms of discrimination, intimidation, discriminatory harassment, or violence (as defined in this Catalog).

    Responsibility

    Ashford University students are given and accept a high level of responsibility as role models. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

    • Allegations of violations of federal, state, or local laws which affect the interests of the University community;
    • Assisting in the violation of University policies or public laws.

    Hazing

    All acts of hazing by any individual student and University registered student club or organization and any of its members or alumni are prohibited. Students are entitled to be treated with consideration and respect, and no individual may perform an act that is likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any other person within the University community. Accordingly, the following behavior is expressly forbidden as hazing when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity:

    ·      Physical abuse, including but not limited to paddling, slapping, kicking, choking, scratching and exposure to extreme (i.e., cold or hot) water temperatures, the consumption of disgusting and/or dangerous concoctions, alcohol, or drugs;

    ·      Causing excessive mental stress, including but not limited to placing prospective members of an organization or group in ambiguous situations which lead to confusion and emotional stress, sleep deprivation;

    ·      Extreme verbal abuse, including but not limited to shouting, screaming, or use of derogatory, profane, or obscene language; or

    ·      Subservience, including but not limited to any activity which promotes a class system within organizations or activities which facilitate inappropriate levels of authority over students.

    This list is not exhaustive and any student or organization found to be involved in any hazing activity will face conduct action and will likely be subjected to expulsion from the University. Violation of this policy exists irrespective of the voluntary or consensual participation in the hazing activity by the person being hazed.

    Student Community Standards Process Overview

    The conduct process exists to protect the interests of the community, and to intervene when student behavior is not in accordance with the Student Community Standards (Standards). Whenever a complaint is made for alleged misconduct or violation of the Standards, the Conduct Administrator or designee will conduct a timely  investigation of the allegations.

    Students should be aware that the student conduct process is different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct processes are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections afforded by the courts.

    Student Community Standards Committee Procedures

    Informal Hearing Procedures

    Students are brought to conduct proceedings when a report of an alleged violation is received by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. An informal hearing is designed to be a non-adversarial discussion of the misconduct with an impartial Conduct Officer. A Conduct Officer is a non-voting member who will organize the documentation and facilitate the hearing to ensure a fair process. All informal hearings are recorded and are conducted over the phone. Outcomes of informal hearings are designed to address certain behaviors from reoccurring and are developmental and/or educational in nature.

    Participants: Conduct Officer and Charged Student

    Student Responsibilities: To provide a written response in regards to the allegation(s); to provide a verbal response about the allegation(s) to a Conduct Officer; to choose to participate or not in an Informal Hearing.

    Student Rights: Receive written notice of the specific alleged Student Community Standards violation(s); notification of a specific hearing date and time at least two (2) days in advance; a minimum of two (2) days to prepare for the informal hearing; receipt of a written statement of the hearing’s outcome within two (2) business days; to petition to appeal the outcome of the informal hearing based on the criteria outlined in the catalog.

    Formal Hearing Procedures

    The Student Community Standards Committee, via formal teleconference, meets with students demonstrating behavior to be in violation of University’s Student Community Standards (Standards). These cases are severe enough that suspension or expulsion is a possible consequence. If the student’s actions and/or behavior is more likely than not to have violated the Standards, the Committee will make a determination (by majority vote) and decide on any appropriate sanctions which should be applied as a result of such behavior.

    Participants: Charge Student, Conduct Officer, Student Community Standards Committee

    Student Responsibilities: Respond to all requests made from the University throughout the Student Conduct and Community Standards process; submit the written statement/form to [email protected] in order for the hearing to be scheduled; confirm the date and contact information two (2) days prior to the hearing and provide additional documentation to the Conduct Officer at least 48 hours prior to the hearing date and time.

    Student Rights: Receive written notice of the specific allegation(s) and Student Community Standards violation(s) in question at least seven (7) business days prior to the formal hearing; be notified of the outcome within seven (7) business days of the hearing; to petition to appeal the outcome of the hearing base on the criteria outline in the catalog.

    Sanctions

    Sanctions are intended to benefit the specific developmental needs of each individual student while protecting the integrity of the Institution. They can include, but are not limited to: Conduct probation; formal written warning; educational projects (e.g. written assignments, community service, coaching sessions); restricted or loss of privileges; suspension or expulsion.

    Administrative Holds

    If the student does not engage with the Student Conduct and Community Standards process, a hold will be placed on their account preventing registration for future courses, access to their transcripts, and/or receiving financial aid disbursements.

    Appeal

    Students have the right to petition to appeal the outcome of any hearing. To petition to appeal, students must complete the Petition to Appeal form and email the completed form to Student Community Standards at [email protected] within three (3) business days of receipt of their hearing outcome letter. In the petition to appeal, it is important that students substantiate one of the four basis for which an appeal should be granted.

    On appeal by any party to the complaint, Conduct Administrator or designee or the Student Community Standards Committee (by majority vote) may support or change a decision, increase, decrease, or modify a sanction. The reviewing body will be deferential to the original decision maker, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if a compelling justification to do so exists.

    Special Provisions

    Attempted Violations
    In most circumstances, Ashford University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in the Student Community Standards as if those attempts had been completed.

    University as Complainant
    As necessary, Ashford University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.

    False Reports
    Ashford University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Community Standards to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

    Group Violations
    When members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of any policy, they may be held accountable as a group, and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint accused students. In any such action, however, determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual.

    Immunity for Victims
    Ashford University encourages the reporting of conduct code violations and crimes by victims. Sometimes, victims are hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to University officials. To encourage reporting, Ashford University pursues a policy of offering victims of crimes amnesty from policy violations related to the incident.

    Good Samaritan
    The welfare of students in the University community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off-campus may need assistance. Ashford University encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others, for fear that they may get themselves in trouble. Ashford University pursues a policy of immunity for students who offer help to others in need for any minor violations the Good Samaritan was involved in at the time.

    Parental Notification
    Ashford University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The University may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, Ashford University will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a health and/or safety risk. Ashford University also reserves the right to designate which University officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

    Notification of Outcomes
    The outcome of a Student Community Standards hearing is part of the education record of any student personally identified, and is protected from release under FERPA, a federal law. However, Ashford University observes the following legal exceptions:

    • Complainants and accused in sexual misconduct and sexual harassment incidents have a right to be informed of the outcome and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation, and to be kept apprised of the status of investigations;
    • The University may release the final results of a disciplinary proceeding in which a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, is found in violation of the University’s Student Community Standards. A crime of violence includes arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide (manslaughter by negligence, murder, and non-negligent manslaughter), forcible sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction. The University may not disclose the name of any other student, including the victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student. The University will also release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome;
    • In the event that the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the notification will be made to next of kin (upon written request).

    Defenses
    It has become common for students accused of policy violations to try to defend their actions with excuses, such as prescription drug interactions, self-defense, alcohol, etc. Defending actions is admitting to a policy violation. While a student’s defense will not excuse his or her actions, Ashford University will take the legitimacy of his or her defense into consideration in addressing the proper sanction.

    Emergency Administrative Leave

    In situations requiring immediate action, and after consultation with concerned individuals (e.g., students, faculty, administrators, other staff members, internship, or student teaching supervisors, etc.), the Conduct Administrator or designee may place the student on an emergency administrative leave. Students placed on Emergency Administrative Leave are removed from all current and future courses.

    During Emergency Administrative Leave, the University administration will conduct a timely investigation. Students will remain on an administrative leave no more than 14 days from the student’s last date of attendance. Within that 14-day period, the University administration will follow University procedures for administration of the Student Community Standards and render a decision as to any change in status and/or and sanctions to be imposed by the University. Students on Emergency Administrative Leave are not permitted to return to participate in University classes or events.

    Involuntary Leave

    Ashford University considers the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff as a top priority. The Involuntary Leave policy is not intended to be a substitute for appropriate disciplinary action when discipline is warranted, but may be used in cases when regular disciplinary proceedings cannot or should not be used, and after attempts to encourage the student to initiate a Voluntary Leave have been exhausted. Involuntary Leave is available to protect the health and safety of the University Community and is not a penalty.

    Grounds for Involuntary Leave

    A student may be subjected to Involuntary Leave if there is evidence that the student’s continued attendance presents an unreasonable risk of harm to members of the University Community. The leave will endure for a pre-determined period, or until the student no longer poses an unreasonable risk of harm, at which time the leave will end and the student will be reinstated. Grounds for Involuntary Leave include representing a significant threat to the safety and/or health of members of the University Community

    Procedure

    When the Conduct Administrator or designee receives credible information regarding a student’s behavior, statements, or actions that may constitute grounds for Involuntary Leave, the Conduct Administrator or designee will speak with the student to review the reported behavior, actions, and/or statements. If the Conduct Administrator or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that that the student meets the criteria for Involuntary Leave, he or she may take any of the following actions:

    • Impose an immediate Emergency Administrative Leave if there is compelling evidence that the student poses high probability of substantial harm to others that cannot be mitigated by appropriate accommodations; and/or
    • Require the evaluation of the student by an appropriate professional chosen by the University. The cost of the evaluation shall be paid for by the University. The evaluation shall be completed within 10 business days after the initial meeting with the Conduct Administrator or designee, unless an extension is granted.

    Evaluation

    In situations where a mandatory evaluation by a professional is expected, the student will be expected to sign written authorization to allow for the exchange of relevant information between the University and the evaluating professional. Failure to cooperate with the evaluation or sign the written authorization may result in a referral to the student conduct process. The professional making the evaluation shall assess the student’s ability to safely participate in the University’s educational program. The assessment shall inform the Office of Student Affairs’ determination of:

    • The severity of risk posed by the student to the health and safety of members of the University community;
    • The probability that potential harm may occur; and,
    • Whether reasonable modification of policies, practices, and procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk.

    If the evaluation results in a determination that the student’s continued attendance poses no significant threat to the health and safety of others, the University will take no further action under the Involuntary Leave policy.

    If the evaluation results in a determination that the continued attendance of the student presents a significant threat to the health and safety of others, the University may refer the matter to the Student Affairs department and/or will conduct an Involuntary Leave hearing to make an individualized and objective assessment of the student’s ability to safely participate in the University’s educational program. The assessment will include a determination of the severity of risk posed by the student, the probability that potential harm may occur, and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, and procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk. The student may provide evidence showing he or she should not be placed on Involuntary Leave. If the hearing determines it is more likely than not that there is a direct threat of harm to others based on a high probability of substantial harm, the student will be placed on leave from the University until it can be demonstrated that the student no longer poses a direct threat and has met all appropriate conditions for return.

    Appeals of an Involuntary Leave will be handled in accordance with the Ashford University grievance procedures.

    During the period of either Emergency Administrative Leave or during a time period of Involuntary Leave after assessment, the student is not permitted to participate in University courses or events, or be present in any University facility, except by the express permission of the Conduct Administrator or designee.

    Appeal of Involuntary Leave after Evaluation or Emergency Administrative Leave

    In situations where a student is involuntarily withdrawn as a result of either an Emergency Administrative Leave or as an action determined appropriate from the results of the assessment, a student shall be informed of his or her right to appeal the University’s decision regarding the Involuntary Leave.

    The appeal shall be in writing and directed to the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee and shall be received within ten (10) business days of the determination of the Involuntary Leave. Upon receipt of the appeal, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee shall set a hearing date no later than 15 business days after receipt of the appeal. The hearing shall be an informal proceeding and is not considered adversarial.

    At the hearing, the student will be provided with the opportunity to review any evaluations utilized by the University in the determination to invoke the Involuntary Leave policy. The student will also be provided with the opportunity to present relevant information from his or her perspective. The student may be accompanied by a person acting as an advocate who may be a family member or friend or member of the University community. The Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee will review all the information presented in the hearing and make a determination of whether to uphold the involuntary leave of the student or consider readmission to the University.

    Readmission to the University

    A student who is involuntarily withdrawn under the Involuntary Leave policy will have the opportunity to be reinstated according to the time period specified in the decision letter from the Conduct Administrator or designee. The University may impose conditions upon the re-enrollment status as appropriate.

    Consequences to Course Grades and Tuition or Other Fee Charges

    If the Involuntary Leave policy is invoked, the student will normally receive “W” grades (withdraw grades) in all courses in which he or she is currently enrolled, and will be considered eligible for a tuition credit upon re-enrollment. Regular tuition charges and other applicable fees will be refunded per the tuition refund policies outlined in the Financial Information section of this Catalog, based on the student’s last date of attendance.

    Academic or Title IV Fraud

    Ashford University students are expected to exemplify honesty, integrity and a respect for truth in all dealings. Fraudulent behavior, or attempts to commit fraudulent behavior, will not be tolerated. Behavior that demonstrates fraudulent activity includes, but is not limited, to:

    ·      Knowingly furnishing false, falsified, or forged information to any member of the University Community, such as falsification or misuse of documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments;

    ·      The inability of a student to demonstrate academic purpose or resolve concerns regarding identity or eligibility;

    ·      Extreme cases of academic dishonesty at the discretion of the University, as defined in this Catalog; or

    ·      Action or inaction by someone in collusion with a wrongdoer which fails to discourage a known and obvious violation of University policy or law.

    When members of groups, individuals acting in collusion, or members of an organization act in concert in violation of this policy, they may be held accountable as a group. To prevent fraud, the Office of the Registrar may permanently deny an applicant’s admission to the University, or Student Affairs may, in lieu of Student Community Standards proceedings, impose individual and/or group sanctions up to and including immediate expulsion from the University, subject to appeal, upon a determination of student involvement in such behavior. Determinations will be made with respect to the involvement of each accused individual. In most circumstances, Ashford University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed previously as if those attempts had been completed. The University reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant whose behavior is deemed inappropriate.

    Students suspected of academic or Title IV fraud will be placed on a finance and transcript hold. If the student is unresponsive, they will be unscheduled from future courses. For those students utilizing financial aid, this finance hold will prevent a financial aid disbursement until the issue is resolved through either the appeal process or through a Student Community Standards formal hearing. Students may be referred to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Education for attempted fraud as deemed necessary by the University.

    Identity

    Identity theft can include any misrepresentation, theft, or misuse of a person’s identity for any purpose, including but not limited to, obtaining federal financial aid, other financial gain, or obtaining access to confidential information. Theft of another person’s identity, whether living or deceased, is not only a violation of Ashford University policy, but may also constitute a criminal offense under federal and state law.

    The University recognizes the importance of protecting student privacy and reserves the right to request documentation to establish or verify any student’s identity at any time, for administrative and/or compliance purposes. Students are expected to provide documentation and are responsible for any cost associated with acquiring and submitting the documentation. Students may be administratively withdrawn for failure to provide documentation requested by University officials for the purpose of authenticating a student’s identity. The University may also deny or rescind admission to any student for failure to authenticate his or her identity, or for engaging in identity theft.

    Violations of Law

    Violations of federal, state, and local laws are incorporated as offenses under the Student Community Standards. When an offense occurs over which the University has jurisdiction, the University conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal charges that may arise from the same incident. Should a student withdraw from the University when criminal charges are made, it is the typical practice of the University to pursue investigation and resolution of conduct matters, regardless of the fact that the student has withdrawn.

    When a student is accused, arrested, charged, or indicted for a violent or drug-related crime, the University may elect to take action against that student for violation of Student Community Standards, which incorporates alleged violations of local, state, and federal laws as Standards.

    When it has reasonable cause to separate a student from the community, the University may separate a student via the Emergency Administrative Leave policy for a reasonable time pending the scheduling of a hearing for violation of Student Community Standards. The University reserves the right to exercise its authority of Emergency Administrative Leave suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or charges. The University will permit a student who receives an Emergency Administrative Leave to request a meeting to show cause as to why an Emergency Administrative Leave is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, the University may still proceed with the scheduling of a hearing.

    When criminal charges are pending, the University may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation, and moving forward with a hearing. In such cases, the University will delay its hearing until such time as it can conduct an internal investigation, or obtain from law enforcement sufficient information upon which to proceed.

    Student Concerns with Instructors

    If a student has a concern with the instructor of his or her course, the student should first attempt to discuss his or her concerns with the instructor. If the student and instructor are not able to resolve the matter, the student may file an Instructor Issues form. An Instructor Issues form may be submitted based on the student’s perception that any of the following conditions exist:

    ·      Extended instructor absence from the classroom;

    ·      Failure to respond to repeated attempts at communication*; or

    ·      Detrimental behavior to a student’s performance.

    *If an instructor fails to respond to an email within 48 hours, then a student should submit a post in the “Ask Your Instructor” forum to verify that the email was received by the instructor, and allow the instructor an opportunity to respond (24 to 48 hours).

    If a student wishes to appeal a final grade, the student must first discuss his or her concerns with the instructor who issued the grade. If a resolution cannot be found, then the student can proceed with filing a Grade Appeal form. Refer to the Grade Appeal Procedure in this section of this Catalog.

    Instructor Issues Review Process

    The Instructor Issues Review Process is an informal complaint procedure within the University intended to investigate situations in the classroom that may impact student success. The student must complete an Instructor Issues form to initiate this process and attach documentation supporting the concern.

    The student’s concerns will be thoroughly reviewed and the student will receive a confirmation/summary email from the Academic Issues Administrator. Then, within seven (7) business days, the Academic Issues Administrator will complete an investigation and begin corrective actions, if applicable.

    Lastly, the student will receive follow-up communication from the Academic Issues Administrator concerning the submitted Instructor Issues form. The communication will include a summary of findings and support for moving forward in the student’s future courses at Ashford University.

    Note: The University does not disclose confidential information about possible corrective action that may or may not occur in relation to a particular faculty member.

    Grade Appeals

    Basis for a Grade Appeal

    Grades may be appealed based on the student’s perception that any of the following conditions exist:

    ·      An error was made in the calculation of the course grade.

    ·      The instructor was incorrect with respect to an objective fact within the discipline and this error affected the student’s final grade.

    ·      Students experiencing extreme temporary hardship during the last 25% of a course should request an incomplete grade through their instructor prior to the course end date. However, there may be circumstances that prohibit a student from making this request prior to the conclusion of a course. To appeal for an “I” grade after the end date of a course, the student must fax or email the written grade appeal with official documentation of the hardship experienced. An incomplete grade or a grade of “W” may be approved and applied for the following documented reasons that directly impacted the student’s ability to complete the course requirements or program during the last 25% of the course:

    ·      Documented military duty that resulted in an inability to continue in the course or program;

    ·      Documented personal or family* medical emergency;

    ·      Documented act of nature;

    ·      Documented death in the family*; or

    ·      Documented temporary severe economic hardship.

    Students who are administratively dropped from a course for not meeting attendance requirements are not eligible to receive an “I” grade. Students who are not able to complete at least 75% of the course prior to requesting an incomplete grade are also ineligible.

    Note: Please refer to the General Academic Information and Policies section in this Catalog for complete details on Ashford University’s Incomplete Grade policy.

    *Family is defined as including husband, wife, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, (step/adoptive) mother, (step/adoptive) father, (step/adoptive) brother, (step/adoptive) sister, and (step/adoptive) child.

    Grade Appeal Procedure

    1.      If the student believes there is an error with the final grade issued in the class, the student should first discuss his or her concerns with the instructor who issued the grade. The student must appeal to the instructor in writing for reconsideration of the grade within seven (7) days of submission of the final grade.

    2.      If the student and instructor are not able to find resolution to the matter, the student can file a Grade Appeal form with the University, within fourteen (14) days of submission of the final grade. Grade appeals will be reviewed by an Administrator in the Academic Integrity Department.

    ·      Students must submit the Grade Appeal form and documentation of communication with the instructor electronically to [email protected].

    ·      Students must be able to clearly identify and document either that:

    o  An error was made in the calculation of the final course grade, or

    o  The instructor was incorrect with respect to an objective fact within the discipline, and this error affected the student’s final grade.

    ·      If the student is unable to demonstrate an instructor error as described above, the final grade will stand and the appeal will be closed without any further review.

    3.      Once the Grade Appeal form and supporting documentation are collected and thoroughly reviewed, and if the student is able to demonstrate a possible error as described previously, an Academic Integrity Administrator will facilitate the communication between the student and instructor and attempt to find resolution.

    4.      If the student is able to demonstrate a possible error as described previously, and the communication between those involved has not resulted in a resolution, the following steps will occur:

    ·      The Academic Integrity Administrator will forward the Grade Appeal form and supporting documentation to the Executive Dean or designee. The Executive Dean or designee may either make a final determination, or elect to convene a faculty committee to make a final determination of the final grade.

    Tuition Credit Request

    following documented reasons that directly impacted a student’s ability to continue in their course or program during the timeframe in which the course occurred:

    • Documented military deployment that resulted in an inability to continue in the course or program*
    • Documented emergency personal or family medical reasons
    • Documented act of nature
    • Documented death in the immediate family**
    • Documented temporary severe economic hardship

    Additional documented extenuating circumstances may also be considered. This process is accomplished by requesting a Tuition Credit Request form from the  assigned Academic Advisor.

    *Students who experienced military deployment that resulted in an inability to continue in the course or program are also eligible for a tuition credit but should instead complete and submit a Military Course Drop or Incomplete Request. Please see Readmission of Students after Military Service under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 in the General Academic Information and Policies section of this Catalog for more information.

    **Immediate family is defined as husband, wife, grandchildren, (step/adoptive) mother, (step/adoptive) father, (step/adoptive) brother, (step/adoptive) sister, (step/adoptive) child, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, or grandparent.

    Attendance Appeals

    Basis for an Attendance Appeal in an Introductory Course

    Students may appeal an administrative drop from an undergraduate introductory course, such as EXP 105, due to unforeseen and extreme extenuating circumstances that directly impact the ability to meet attendance requirements. The appeal may be approved for the following reasons resulting in the inability to meet attendance requirements during the period of absence:

    ·      Military deployment;

    ·      Emergency personal or family reason;

    ·      Work requirement;

    ·      Act of nature; or

    ·      Death in the family.

    At the time of appeal, students must have also met the following requirements:

    ·      Students must have attended at least once in the first seven days of the course. Thus, students may only appeal for an excused absence for week two (2) or beyond.

    ·      Students must have a grade equivalency of a “C” or better in points earned for the course in which they are appealing attendance through the weeks prior to the missed attendance week as of the last date of attendance.

    Note: Please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs sections in this Catalog for more details on Ashford University’s Attendance policies. Please see Readmission of Students after Military Service under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 in the General Academic Information and Policies section of this Catalog for more information.

    Attendance Appeal Procedure

    ·      Students must submit their appeal to their Enrollment Services Advisor or Academic Advisor.

    ·      Appeals must include an explanation of the event that occurred which resulted in the inability to meet the attendance requirement and a rationale for the appeal that is documented.

    ·      If an appeal is approved, students will be reinstated in their course.

    Graduation/Completion Rates

    In accordance with the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, Ashford University is pleased to share with you the following information on the graduation rates of our 2010-11 full-year cohort of full-time, first-time, degree or certificate seeking undergraduates.

    As reported in the IPEDS graduation rates survey (GRS), 5,590 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students entered Ashford University between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011. This population of students includes both bachelor’s degree seeking students and associate degree seeking students. As of August 31, 2016, 15% of these students graduated from Ashford University within 150% of the normal time to complete their degree. Please contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions.

    While reviewing this information, please keep the following in mind:

    ·      All graduation rates are based upon 3 years of attendance for Associate’s programs and 6 years of attendance for Bachelor’s programs, which equates to 150% of the normal completion time.

    ·      We have elected not to report transfer-out rates because our University's mission does not include providing substantial preparation for students to enroll in another eligible institution without completing or graduating.

    ·      These charts do not identify the reasons why our students withdrew; therefore, students who withdrew for personal or medical reasons are included.

    ·      Graduation rates do not include students who left school to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, on official church missions, or with a foreign aid service of the federal government, or students who died or were totally and permanently disabled.

    ·      Please note that the graduation/completion rate does not include any student who attended a college or university after high school and then enrolled in Ashford University.

     

    Graduation/Completion Rate by Gender

    Male 11%
    Female  17% 

     

     

    Graduation/Completion Rate by Race or Ethnic Group

    American Indian or Alaska Native 17% 
    Asian (1)
    Black or African-American 10%
    Hispanic/Latino 21%
    Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (1)
    White, non-Hispanic     18% 
    Two or More Races     15%
    Nonresident alien (1)
    Race/ethnicity unknown 15%

     

     

    Graduation/Completion Rate by Financial Aid Category

    Pell Grant Recipients 16%

    Subsidized FFEL or Direct Loan Recipients (excludes Pell Grant Recipients)

    17%

    Neither Pell Grant nor Subsidized FFEL or Direct Loan Recipients

    9%

    Source: Institutional Research Services, 2017.
    (1) Denotes fewer than 10 students, which is suppressed to protect the privacy of students

    Graduation Rates

    The three-year graduation rate for online associate’s degree seeking students is 9% based on all students in the 2011-12 entering cohort. The six-year graduation rate for online bachelor’s degree seeking students is 31% based on the 2008-09 entering cohort. The three-year graduation rate for online master’s degree seeking students is 57% based on the 2011-12 entering cohort.

    For prior year enrollment and graduation rates, please refer to http://assessment.ashford.edu on the Ashford University website.

    Student Body Diversity

    Ashford University provides the following information regarding its student body. This information is based on data reporting in the 2015-2016 IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey.

    Gender Percentage
    Male 29%
    Female 71%
    Race Percentage
    American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
    Asian 1%
    Black or African American 38%
    Hispanic/Latino 11%
    Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander   1%
    White, non-Hispanic 43%
    Two or more races 4%
    Nonresident alien 0%
    Race and ethnicity unknown 2%
    Pell Grants Percentage
    Students who received Pell grants 67%

     

    (Source: Institutional Research Services, 2017)

    Retention Rate

    The retention rate for First-time/Full-time bachelor’s degree-seeking students at Ashford University beginning in Fall 2015 was 24%.

    (Source: IPEDS Fall Enrollment Survey 2016-2017)