KC trustees codify speech, assembly amid policy updates


Among the items approved during Kilgore College’s December board meeting were eight policies.
The brief presentation from trustee Bob Heath, a member of the policy and personnel committee, preceded a unanimous 6-0 approval with trustees Brian Nutt, J. Karol Pruett and James Walker absent from the vote.
“The committee’s gone over each one of these policies in so much detail… Most of them are in response to our accreditation,” Heath said. “We need to make these changes to meet with our accreditation requirements. Committee presents as recommendation.”
The list of policies includes academic credit for noncredit coursework, examination and experiential learning; anti-harassment and complaint; faculty load, roles and responsibilities; free speech and public assembly; nondiscrimination and student grievance; non-renewal of term contract; student admissions; and termination of employment, dismissal.
Each of the policies includes an overview, explaining the purpose of the policy and how it affects students and employees.

Non-Renewal of Term Contract
The updated policy regarding the non-renewal of term contracts includes changes, including those allowing for an employee to appeal the non-renewal of his or her contract.
The 2017-2018 policy states appeals are “generally not allowed,” but are permitted when the employee alleges the decision violates his or her constitutional or statutory rights or if the employee has been employed continuously as a full-time faculty member at the college for at least 10 full academic years.
Any grievances may be submitted to the director of human resources and must be filed within five days of receiving the notice of non-renewal.
The 2016-2017 policy notes employees receiving non-renewal letters could submit a request to the president of the college within 10 days of receiving their letter to address the board and a meeting would be set.
The date to notify employees of non-renewals has also changed, moved back to July 1 for the 2017-2018 policy from March 1 in the 2016-2017 document.

Free Speech and Public Assembly
In the free speech and public assembly policy, it states “all members of the academic community, including students… may engage in constitutionally protected speech and expression at KC.”
The policy emphasizes the primary purpose of the college is to educate students and any assemblies or demonstrations should not interfere with that purpose.
While demonstrating, “the activity must not involve conduct that does, or is likely to, result in damage or destruction of property.” The threatening or endangering of the safety of anyone on the campus is prohibited during any demonstrations.
“In the event of any expressive activity that violates this policy or any non-peaceful or disruptive activities on the property of Kilgore College, the College may take action to stop or minimize same,” the policy states. “When responding to such activity, the College administration and/or law enforcement will not consider the viewpoint of the individuals or group involved.”

Student Admissions
The student admissions policy states the college is an “open door” admission institution, allowing anyone who can benefit from attendance to apply, but some programs require extra applications.
It outlines the requirements for enrollment with applicants accepted under the general categories of freshman/high school equivalency, transfer, transient (those who attend another school but enroll at KC for a regular semester or mini-term) or readmission of former KC students.
Special admissions options are available for international students, dual credit and early admissions high school students and on individual approval basis for those students who do not fall into another category.

Anti-Harassment and Complaint
The anti-harassment and complaint policy states no one in the KC community may harass another and outlines how the college will review, and in some cases resolve, complaints.
Harassment is defined in the policy as “written, electronic, verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an employee or group of employees because of sex, race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or local, state, or federal law.”
This includes, epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating or hostile acts, written or graphic material that shows hostility or aversion toward a person or group.
The policy states college officials or a designated person will investigate “all allegations of harassment and officials will take prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against employees found to engage in conduct constituting harassment.”
Sexual harassment is included in a separate section of the policy, defining it as “any sexual advances that are unwelcome or sexually motivated.”
All complaints, the policy states, should be filed within 20 days of the alleged assault to KC Director of Human Resources Tony Johnson.
Sexual harassment complaints are filed under the Nondiscrimination and Student Grievance Policy, which was also approved Dec. 11.

Nondiscrimination and Student Grievance
That policy states the college prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any student. The policy covers discrimination, discriminatory harassment, retaliatory harassment, sexual harassment and sexual harassment of a student by a faculty/staff member.
Grievances should be filed soon after the alleged act to KC Student Title IX Coordinator Bindy Tice and can also be filed as a formal grievance to the Office for Civil Rights.
“The institution is committed to promptly responding to and resolving concerns involving allegations of illegal discrimination, including illegal harassment, in violation of local, state and/or federal civil rights laws and/or regulations,” the committee’s explanation states.
The updated termination of employment: dismissal policy includes more specificity in how much time an employee and administrators have to file requests and set hearing dates.

Academic Credit for Noncredit Coursework, Examination, and Experiential Learning

The academic credit policy states how students may receive credit for noncredit coursework by examination or experiential learning. The policy outlines that all degrees and certificates given out by Kilgore College requires 25 percent of the credits to be awarded through Kilgore College instruction. In order to get credit, students must consult with the appropriate department chair.

Faculty Load, Roles, and Responsibilities

The policy dealing with faculty load, roles and responsibilities notes the instructional, grading and office hours Kilgore College faculty members are expected to keep during their assignments.
The full policies and procedures is available on the Kilgore College website: https://www.kilgore.edu/about/human-resources/policy-and-procedures.