College Policies

Community college polices are frequently being updated. Keep current on the latest bans, free speech initiatives and safety protocols. Learn what schools are doing to increase funding in the midst of widespread budget cuts, determine the best practices to ensure safety on campus and get the latest on school controversies and student rights.
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Christian Parks, a Christian student attending Thomas Nelson Community College in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit against his school for prohibiting him from preaching on campus. According to the Christian Post, Parks’ argument is that the school violated his “fundamental rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, due process, and equal protection of the law.” The lawsuit further contends that the school prohibited the plaintiff from preaching on campus for fear that his religious views would offend others and prompt complaints.

 
The college, which is part of the larger Virginia Community College System, maintains a specific policy regarding student demonstrations. In order to stage a demonstration on campus, students are required to be a member of an on-campus student organization and must get permission to pose a demonstration at least four days in advance. The school maintains that the issue at hand is not regarding what Mr. Parks was saying on campus, but that he did not follow proper protocol by failing to get permission to speak ahead of time. Parks’ legal team, the conservative-leaning Alliance Defending Freedom disagrees. Joining the ADF in supporting Mr. Parks’ complaint is the Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which released a statement saying that students deserve a first-rate college education, “which is impossible without a free exchange of ideas on campus.”
 
An Anti-Free Speech Trend
 
In March 2014, a group of professors at the University of California at Santa Barbara confronted a student who was . . . read more

In light of increasing concerns over campus safety, some community colleges are banning firearms this fall. The move has renewed debate over whether guns should be allowed on campus, whether carried by students, faculty or both. While there are arguments to be made in favor of either position, the trend for this year appears to be focused on keeping guns off campus in hopes of keeping students just a little safer during the school year.
 
California Community Colleges Say No to Guns
 
The Los Angeles Times reports that all nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District in California will become gun-free zones when students head back to class this fall. The Board of Trustees for the schools recently voted unanimously to ban firearms in nearly all circumstances for this school year.
 
“It is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our students, allowing them to feel secure and able to totally focus on their academic goals,” Scott Svonkin, vice president of the board, told the L.A. Times. “They must never be fearful about setting foot on one of our campuses,” Svonkin added.
 
Previous Shootings Spur Decision
 
The reasoning behind the ban was a string of violent school shootings, with the most recent occurring at Santa Monica College in June, 2013. During that incident, another Los Angeles Times article reported that five victims died, along with the shooter. The 10-minute rampage began when the shooter killed his father and older brother and set their house on fire.
 
The . . . read more

A string of tragedies at schools across the country in recent years has many community colleges taking a serious look at their security policies. At the forefront is the question of whether guards and officers on community college campuses should be allowed to carry firearms. While some college administrators make good argument for the allowance of weapons, others have equally compelling arguments against the practice. These community colleges offer a small sample of the schools that are grappling with the issue of guns on their campuses.
 
Holyoke Community College Heeding Massachusetts Report
 
Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts is taking an in-depth look at the possibility of arming campus guards after a report on campus violence prevention was released for Massachusetts schools. The report, which was published by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, recommends that “sworn campus police officers should be armed and trained in the use of personal or specialized firearms.” The report was compiled in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007 and another incident at Northern Illinois University in 2008.
 
According to mLive, the Holyoke Community College Campus Safety Committee is now considering arming the school’s nine full-time police officers. Currently, the employees, who are all graduates of either the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Academy or the Massachusetts State Police Training Academy, are not allowed to carry guns on campus. However, after a lockdown situation on the college campus in February, the question of arming guards to handle active shooter situations . . . read more

The Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007 was a glaring indication that community colleges are not immune from the deadly violence that has impacted school campuses across the country. That single incident defined the risks students undertake when they head to classes every day. While schools of all kinds are taking another look at how to keep students safer, unique challenges face community colleges in this area. At the same time, a recent string of community college attacks has highlighted the need for a higher level of security, despite potential obstacles facing these schools.
 
Attacks at Wyoming School Precede String of Incidents
 
The first in a recent string of community college attacks took place at a Wyoming school last November. Reuters reports that the son of a professor at Casper College shot his father in the head with a crossbow and arrow in front of a classroom full of students. Students were able to safely exit the classroom as the father and son engaged in a struggle that left both of them dead. Later, authorities found a third victim, another college professor who had been living with the first victim, slain in her home.
 
“I can’t even imagine what the students in that room had gone through,” Chris Walsh, chief of police in Casper, told Reuters.
 
Texas Community College Sees Two Incidents in Three Months
 
Lone Star Community College in Texas has seen not one, but two incidents that left staff and students with injuries. The first was a shooting . . . read more

The California Community College system is the largest of its kind in the world, and as such, it tends to come under intense scrutiny any time changes are suggested or made. Governor Jerry Brown has recently been thrust into the community college focus, as the governor has dealt with a budget crisis facing the system. Now that California voters have agreed to pour more money into the state’s community colleges, Brown is making headlines once again, with his ideas for reforming the entire system.
 
More Money brings Reform Plan
 
Thanks to the passage of Proposition 30 last November, community colleges will be receiving more funding – nearly $200 million more, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The money is much needed for a system that has been forced to significantly cut class offerings and even students in an effort to balance dwindling budgets. With the money comes Governor Brown’s plan for college reform, designed to improve completion rates and accessibility throughout the system. While the plan is hailed by some as a bold approach to improving higher education in the state, others fear some of the elements of the plan could have a negative impact on the very students the plan was created to help.
 
The Los Angeles Times states that reforms issued by Governor Brown could significantly alter the way community colleges in the state operate in the future. As the governor drafted his community college reform plan, he kept certain priorities in mind. First, community . . . read more
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College Policies

College Funding

Community colleges are coping with major budget deficits, and this section covers how students are being impacted. From local fundraising efforts to federal grants, we’ll explore how community colleges are staying afloat despite funding cuts and cost increases.

Campus Safety

Community college campuses should be a safe place, and these policies, controversial or not, aim to achieve that goal. Schools have banned sex offenders from campus, allowed security to carry guns and installed surveillance cameras in an effort to keep students safe. Here we’ll cover the latest crime and safety policies in place on campuses across the country.

School Controversies

From controversial reform to cursing in the classroom, our articles provide the latest news on school controversies. Here you’ll find information on some of the hot button topics related to community colleges.

Student Rights

From free speech to free dress, what rights do students have or relinquish on campus? Smoking bans, faith based initiatives and rights violations are just a few of the topics covered here. Don’t miss out on the latest information on student rights on community college campuses.