GENERAL POLICIES
Americans with Disabilities Act
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Harassment /Sexual Harassment Policy
Student Conduct Policy
Suspension
Expulsion
Campus Security Act
Grievance Policy
Student Prohibitions/Firearms Policy
Drug-Free School Policy
Search and Seizure
Emergency Procedures
Evacuation Plan
Inclement Weather Policy
Personal Property
Safety
Tobacco Use/Smoking
Solicitations
Telephones
Traffic and Parking
Academic Policies
Tuition Adjustment &
Refund Policy
 
Visitors
About Sowela
Programs of Study
Academic Calendar
Registration Information
Catalog
Class Schedule
Student Affairs
Tuition and Fees
Enrollment Services
Financial Aid
Electronic Learning
Faculty/Staff
Human Resources

 


Americans with Disabilities Act

SOWELA actively recruits prospective qualified students, including those with disabilities. Title I and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act are strictly adhered to and the campus will make reasonable accommodations in facilities, services, policies, and practices so that qualified individuals with disabilities may have access to training. Students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills or other disabilities have the responsibility to provide documentation to their department head or instructor in a timely fashion regarding reasonable accommodation needs. The ADA Coordinator may be contacted through Student Affairs at least 30 days prior to enrollment.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

SOWELA intends to fully comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This act gives students the right to inspect and review their educational records, to request correction of inaccurate or misleading information, to authorize disclosure of educational records, and to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failure to comply with the act.

Student information will be released only upon the student’s written request or authorization. Students sign a release of information statement at orientation which allows Student Affairs to provide information to employers, financial aid agencies, and other educational institutions on a “need to know” basis.
To gain access to their education records, students must submit a written request, available in the Student Affairs office, which specifies the records that they wish to inspect. Access to records will ordinarily be provided within 24 hours of the student’s request.

If students believe that any information in their records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights, they may complete a Request to Amend Records form available in the Student Affairs office.
At the post-secondary level parents have no inherent right to inspect a student’s educational record. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student.
Records or information may be given to parents only if the following conditions have been met:

1. Student signs a written consent.
2. Request is in connection with a health or safety issue.
3. Parent submits evidence that he/she claimed the student as a dependent on his/her most recent Federal Income Tax Form.

Students may not inspect or review the following: financial information submitted by their parents, nor employment, job placement, or education records containing information about more than one student (in which case the institution will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student).

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Harassment /Sexual Harassment Policy

Harassment, including sexual harassment, is prohibited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Civil Rights and state regulations (R.S. 23:301, 312, 332); therefore, it is the policy of LCTCS that unlawful harassment of employees and students is prohibited.

Harassment is physical, verbal, and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment, which interferes with work performance. This includes harassment because of race, sex, sexual orientation, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability or medical condition, age, or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulation.

Sexual harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature…when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual’s employment, (2) submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose and effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
LCTCS applies this definition to the areas of academic advancement, academic standing or academic performance.
Workplace harassment infringes on an employee’s right to a comfortable work environment, and it is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. No employee or student should be subjected to unsolicited and unwelcomed overtures or conduct, either verbally, visually, physically or electronically transmitted. Although this list is not all-inclusive, examples of conduct that are prohibited include the following:

• Taking any personnel action on the basis of an employee’s submission to or refusal of sexual overtures
• Unwelcome or unwanted conversations
• Unwelcome or unwanted touching
• Continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature
• Explicit or degrading verbal comments, suggestions, or slurs about another individual or his/her appearance
• Offensive comments regarding sexual or private matters
• Display of sexually suggestive pictures, objects, etc.
• Offensive jokes
• Verbal abuse, comments, names or slurs that in any way relate to an individual’s race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin or disability
• Any other offensive or abusive physical, visual or verbal conduct

This policy applies to all members of the LCTCS Board of Supervisors, unclassified employees, students, supervisors, managers, faculty, vendors, and all other individuals doing business with LCTCS. It is the policy of LCTCS that no member of the LCTCS community may harass another. This includes harassment of an employee by another employee, of a student by an employee, of an employee by a student and/or of a student by another student. Additionally, under appropriate circumstances, LCTCS may take action to protect its employees and students from harassment, on LCTCS property or at LCTCS-sponsored events, by individuals who are not students or employees of LCTCS.

A complaint of harassment should be presented as promptly as possible after the alleged harassment occurs. Any employee/student who believes he/she is the subject of harassment or who has knowledge of harassing behavior must report such conduct to his/her direct supervisor, and the institution’s Department of Human Resources. All institutions are required to develop a system of recording all formal written complaints to be submitted and kept on file in the institution Chancellor’s office and in the office of the system president for the LCTCS system office staff. Any student who believes he/she is the subject of harassment or who has knowledge of harassing behavior should report such conduct to Student Affairs personnel. He/she also may submit a complaint to the institution’s Chancellor. No student or employee is required to report or make a complaint of harassment to the person who is allegedly engaging in the problematic conduct. In the event that an individual feels uncomfortable making a complaint at the institution level, such complaint may be made at the system level with the LCTCS Director of Human Resources (225-219-8700), Louisiana Community and Technical College System, 265 S. Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806. Each campus is required to provide employees and students a copy of this policy and post a sign with contact lists identifying individual names, titles, physical locations and telephone numbers where complaints may be filed.

Complaints of harassment will be investigated promptly and in as impartial and confidential a manner as possible. A member of Human Resources will conduct an investigation in order to assure impartial and confidential results. LCTCS will not tolerate any type of discipline or retaliation, direct or indirect, against any employee or other person who, in good faith, files a complaint of or responds to questions in regard to having witnessed prohibited harassment. False charges are treated as serious offenses and may result in disciplinary and/or civil action.
Any employee, student, or member of management who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have engaged in harassing conduct is subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment/enrollment
per the institution’s policies.

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Student Conduct Policy

Students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects respect for the rights of others and an appreciation of a diverse population. Behavior that interferes with the learning process, that is discriminatory, or that is derogatory in nature will not be tolerated.
The Chancellor or his designated representative may suspend or expel a student for violation of school rules or for conduct that is disruptive of the educational process. The disciplinary action shall be taken in accordance with the procedure provided in this section.

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Suspension

A student at SOWELA may be suspended for up to ten days by the Chancellor or his representative without the necessity of a formal due process hearing. Prior to the suspension, however, the student shall be advised by the Chancellor or his representative of the particular conduct of which he/she is accused, as well as the basis for the accusation. The student is given the opportunity to explain his/her version of the events to the Chancellor or his representative. After giving the student this chance to respond to the charges against him/her, the Chancellor or his representative may investigate further. Or, if satisfied that sufficient information has been obtained, the Chancellor or his representative may take appropriate disciplinary action not to exceed a ten day suspension.
The Chancellor or his representative should document the circumstances involved in the action taken, along with the explanation given by the student, and prepare a written memorandum for the school’s files.

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Expulsion

No student shall be expelled for disciplinary reasons or suspended for more than ten days without being offered the opportunity for a due process hearing on the charges made against him/her. If the Chancellor learns of charges against a student which, if proved true, might necessitate expulsion, the Chancellor shall offer the student an opportunity to participate in a hearing on the charges. The student may be suspended from appearing on the school premises until time of the due process hearing; however, every effort should be made to provide for a prompt scheduling of the due process hearing.
At the due process hearing, the student may bring such witnesses as he/she desires to testify on his/her behalf on any matter pertinent to the allegations against him/her. He/she may introduce pertinent evidence, may cross-examine any witness against him/her, and may have representation by legal counsel or such other person as he/she desires to act on his/her behalf.
Upon completion of the due process hearing, the Chancellor or his representative shall make a determination as to the disciplinary action to be taken as soon as possible and shall so inform the student of the action to be taken and the reasons why disciplinary action is being taken.
No hearing shall be required for terminating a student’s enrollment for failure to meet the school’s attendance requirements.

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Campus Security Act

The campus of SOWELA is comprised of 50 acres, including buildings, parking lots, and vacant land. Campus police are available between 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. The following policies have been adopted to comply with the requirements of the Campus Security Act (PL 101-542):
1. In the event that students, faculty, or staff members witness or discover a criminal/illegal activity, they should first notify campus police. A report will be written and kept on file, with action taken as needed.
2. Records shall also be maintained of any illegal acts which occur during any off-campus school-sponsored activities.
3. Campus crime statistics are made available by Student Affairs.

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Student Grievance Policy

Every attempt should be made to reconcile the problem with the appropriate person or persons.  However, if this is not possible, the student should be reminded of the formal grievance procedure.

The purpose of this grievance procedure is to provide an orderly and efficient method by which student s may air and resolve their complaints about the conditions and policies at SOWELA.

Grievance Process

STEP 1: Student

The student must address the instructor, staff member, or student with whom the problem originated. If a satisfactory resolution to the problem is not achieved, the student may contact the department head or the staff member’s supervisor, or the Office of Student Affairs if the complaint is against a student.  An attempt will be made to resolve the matter equitably and informally at this level.  This contact must take place within five (5) working days of the incident which generated the complaint.

STEP 2: Student – Department Head

If the grievance cannot be resolved at the instructor, staff, or student level, the student may contact the department head, If the complaint is against a student, the grievant will contact the Director of Counseling and Advising in the Office of Student Affairs. The supervisory person  will review the grievance and promptly schedule a conference between the involved parties. This conference should take place within ten (10) working days of the incident which generated the complaint. An attempt will be made to resolve the matter equitably and informally at this level. 

STEP 3: Student – Student Grievance Committee

If the grievance is not resolved in Steps 1 or 2, a student who desires to continue the grievance process must file a written grievance using the Student Grievance Form.  The Student Grievance Form shall be made available in the Office of Student Affairs.  The completed Student Grievance Form must be presented to the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs within thirty (30) days of the incident.  The Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs will review the grievance and refer it to the chair of the Student Grievance Committee who shall promptly schedule a grievance hearing.   The Student Grievance Committee is a standing committee appointed by the Chancellor of the college. It is comprised of a faculty chair, two (2) faculty members, and two (2) students.

The Conduct of the Committee Hearings:

  • Hearings before the Committee shall be confidential and shall be closed to all persons except the following:
    • The grievant and party or parties against whom the grievance is addressed
    • Witnesses who shall give testimony singularly and in the absence of other witnesses and leave the committee meeting room immediately upon completion of their testimony.
  • Within five (5) working days of completion of a hearing, the Committee shall render a decision on the grievance.
  • Decisions of the Committee shall be based upon a preponderance of the evidence as determined by a majority of the Committee.
  • The decision of the Committee shall be in writing.
  • Within ten (10) working days of the hearing, the Grievance Chairperson shall send a copy of the decision to the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs, the grievant, the party or parties against whom the grievance is addressed and the Chancellor

STEP 4: Student – Appeal to the Chancellor

If the grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance is addressed desire to appeal a decision of a Student Grievance Committee, he or she must deliver a written request for such appeal to the Chancellor within three (3) working days of receipt of the Committee’s decision.  A request should describe in detail all reasons or bases upon which the grievant or the party contends the decision of the Student Grievance Committee is erroneous.  The Chancellor shall have the authority to affirm, remand, modify, or reverse the decision or the findings of the Committee.  Within approximately twenty (20) working days of  receiving the written request, the Chancellor shall send the grievant and the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed his decision by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The decision of the Chancellor is final as to all student appeals, except those in which the grievant is alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin, religion, or disability.  In the event the grievant is alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin, religion, or disability, the full Board of Supervisors will serve as the College’s final appellate authority.

STEP 5: Student - Appeal to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors

To initiate this final step of the grievance process, a grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed who is not satisfied with the determination made by the Chancellor may appeal the ruling to the full Board of Supervisors.  In order to be considered, the appeal must be made in writing within fifteen (15) working days after the date the Chancellor’s determination is mailed to the grievant or the party or parties against whom the grievance has been filed and be addressed to the Executive Assistant to the President, Board of Supervisors, 265 South Foster Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70806-4104 via certified mail.

The Board of Supervisors shall render a written disposition of the grievance appeal within twenty (20) school days from the date of the appeal hearing unless all parties agree to an extension..  The decision of the Board of Supervisors may be appealed to judiciary courts. or the grievant may request resolution by contacting the college’s accrediting agency at the following address:

Executive Director
Council on Occupational Education
41 Perimeter Center East, NE, Suite 640
Atlanta, GA  30346
770/396-3898

Effect of Failure to Comply with Time Requirements or Voluntary Withdrawal

  • If a student fails to comply with any of the time requirements set forth herein with respect to completing and delivering the documents required to pursue his or her appeal, to appear or be represented at any hearing, or otherwise to meet his or her other obligations under these procedures, then the last decision rendered on behalf of the college will stand as final, and all proceedings will be terminated.
  • The college shall make every reasonable effort to comply with the timeliness requirement specified.  The Chancellor shall investigate failures to comply with the timeliness requirements and take appropriate action.  The college’s failure to meet any deadline shall not exempt the student from any sanctions under this policy.
  • A student’s decision to withdraw from school during a disciplinary proceeding shall not affect the college’s right to continue the disciplinary process or impose sanction.

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Student Prohibitions/Firearms Policy

The following are not allowed on SOWELA’s campus: alcoholic beverages, narcotics, and other controlled substances, fireworks and gambling.
Carrying a firearm or any dangerous weapon on SOWELA Campus, or at any school function, is also prohibited as defined in R.S. 14:2.

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Drug-Free School Policy

SOWELA is committed to providing a drug-free environment for students, visitors, and employees. SOWELA prohibits unlawful possession, use, or sale of any alcoholic beverage or controlled dangerous substance.
Any person who violates the school policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or enrollment. Violators are subject to referral to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. The revocation of federal licenses and benefits, such as public housing tenancy or pilot licenses, etc., rests with authorities of the individual federal agencies.
Students, visitors, and employees are expected to adhere to all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances concerning illicit drug violations. SOWELA will make every effort to keep a copy of the current laws and ordinances on file in the administration office.

As part of its drug-free awareness program, brochures and videos are available in SOWELA’s library.
Each new student is provided the following information during orientation:
•Policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace and campus
•Statement that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited on campus property or as part of any of its activities
•Description of health risks associated with the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol
•A clear statement that the institution will impose disciplinary sanctions on students (consistent with local, state, and federal law) and a description of those sanctions, up to and including expulsion and referral for prosecution when appropriate.
A signed statement verifying that the student is aware of SOWELA’s policies is kept in the student’s file in Student Affairs.

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Search and Seizure

Lockers and desks are the property of SOWELA. As the property of the school, they are subject to search for any contraband at any time, upon the reasonable belief of the Chancellor that the lockers and/or desks may contain material which is not allowed on the school campus. Bringing a tool box or book bag on campus and operating a motor vehicle are privileges granted to students. The granting of these privileges is conditional upon the consent of the student to permit school administration to search tool boxes, book bags and/or motor vehicles to determine if they contain material which is not allowed on the school campus.
This search and seizure policy applies to materials such as weapons, illegal substances or drugs, alcoholic beverages, and other similar material. Local law enforcement authorities may be included in this process if the Chancellor determines a need for such involvement.

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Emergency Procedures

Instructors and students will follow the procedure as outlined in the Emergency Policy and Procedure Bulletin located in each classroom and shop area. All personnel and students should leave the building in accordance with the evacuation plan. Department heads and instructors will review emergency procedures at the department orientation or the first day of class each semester.

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Evacuation Plan

An evacuation route is prominently displayed in each room and hallway. Fire drills will be conducted periodically.

Inclement Weather Policy

When severe weather threatens this area, the Chancellor may choose to close the school until conditions improve. School closing announcements will be broadcast on local radio and television stations.

Personal Property

The school will not be held responsible for personal property of students. Vehicles cannot be left on school property after hours without permission from administration. Lost or stolen property should be reported to the program instructor and campus police.

Safety

At SOWELA, the safety of students, personnel, and visitors is of great importance. The college assumes the primary role of providing a safe atmosphere in which to work and study. Campus police are available between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 9:30 P.M., Monday through Friday.
Students and employees should contribute to the safe atmosphere by assuming responsibility for their own safety. Every attempt shall be made to reduce the possibility of accidents; therefore, the teaching of safe practices shall be integrated into the curriculum of all programs.
Students should be alert to prevent injury to themselves and to others. Students should avoid damaging equipment, tools, and buildings. All safety practices should be followed at all times in the operation of equipment. Instructors will provide specific rules for each program area. Students should not operate machines or equipment on which they have not received instruction. Students may work in the shop areas only under instructor supervision.

In case of sickness or minor accidents, students should first inform the program instructor. Appropriate first-aid treatment will be provided. If necessary, the school will telephone an emergency contact. No emergency facility or sick room is maintained at the school. A first-aid kit is located in each department and in the Administration Office.
In case of a serious accident, an ambulance may be summoned. Personnel in charge at the time of the accident will make that determination. All medical expenses are the responsibility of the student.
The school safety coordinator shall be consulted in all safety/accident situations.

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Tobacco Use/Smoking

All campus buildings are tobacco free facilities. Tobacco use is permitted only in designated areas on the campus at least 50 ft. from the entrance to all buildings. Students must use proper receptacles for disposal of tobacco/cigarettes.

Solicitations

No one is permitted to solicit money from the student body for any cause unless permission is granted by the school administration.

Telephones

As a courtesy to students and instructors, pagers and cell phones must be turned off or set in vibrate mode when in classrooms, labs or shop areas. Student Affairs, at 337-491-2688, will deliver messages to students in emergency situations only.

Traffic and Parking

The speed limit is 15 miles per hour on the campus, with two-way traffic lanes.  Students are to park in designated areas.  Students should not park in spaces for Faculty/Staff during day-time classes.  During night-time classes, after 5:00 pm, students may park in Faculty/Staff spaces. Parking rules for parking in Handicap and Fire Zones will still be enforced.  Students should not park in spaces for Visitors and should not park in driveways or exits. Campus police will handout parking tickets for parking violations.
Handicapped parking is provided with DMV Handicapped Tags.  If you should have a temporary disability, contact the Director of Facilities for parking.
All vehicles parked on the campus of SOWELA Technical Community College must have a parking tag.  Parking tags are valid for an academic school year (summer, fall, and spring semesters).
Parking tags are to be displayed on the rear view mirror of the front windshield of the vehicle.
If a student does not have a SOWELA parking tag, a vehicle registration check will be conducted through the State of Louisiana or officers will identify the student through other means.
In the event that a person locks his/her keys in a vehicle, only a licensed locksmith may unlock the vehicle.  No campus police officer can unlock a vehicle unless it is an emergency or there is no licensed locksmith within the city.
Parking violation fines must be paid at the Business Office.
The Campus Security Office is located in the Metals Building and can be reached at (337) 274-9790.
Students indebted to the College will not receive official transcripts and will not be able to register for school until all fines are paid.
Parking violation fines are as follows:
$15.00 - Faculty Parking
$20.00 - No Parking Tag
$20.00 - Expired Parking Tag
$50.00 - Handicapped Parking
$25.00 - Fire Lane
$10.00 - Lawn/Sidewalk
$25.00 - No Parking Zone
$10.00 - Blocking Driveway/Vehicle
$10.00 - Reserved Space
$20.00 - Failure to Obey Officer

Tuition Adjustment & Refund Policy

2013 TUITION ADJUSTMENT/REFUND POLICY
Effective January 1, 2013

SOWELA provides a full refund of all tuition and fees to students who resign from all classes or alter scheduled hours prior to the first day of the semester.  Students who resign from all classes or alter scheduled hours during the official Add/Drop Period receive an adjustment of tuition and allowable fees according to the Tuition Adjustment Period listed on the current academic calendar. Any credit balance resulting from the tuition adjustment will be refunded through Higher One, a financial services company.
Any Financial aid payment received after a reduction of fees will be applied to the adjusted account balance.  Students are liable for paying any fees not paid for by financial aid.
Students who have a reduction in hours scheduled will be refunded based on the drop date and reduction of hours.  Students must complete the drop process prior to the posted deadlines to qualify for a reduction in amounts owed.  Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal.
Students who have an increase in hours scheduled during the add/drop period will be required to pay the additional per credit hour tuition and fees at the time of the scheduled adjustment.

The Tuition Adjustment Policy for SOWELA Technical Community College is as follows:

  • A 100% Tuition Adjustment of Tuition, Operational Fee, Academic Excellence Fee, and Student Services Fee will be made to students who resign from all classes or drops a course(s) during the first five instructional days (Add/Drop Period) of the fall and spring semester and the first three instructional days for the summer semester and mini-semesters.
  • A 50% Tuition Adjustment of Tuition, Operational Fee, Academic Excellence Fee, and Student Services Fee will be made to students who resign from all classes or drop a course(s) after the 5th instructional day through the 10th instructional day of the semester for the fall and spring semester and after the 3rd instructional day through the 6th instructional day of the semester for the summer semester and mini-semesters.
  • Registration fees such as Technology Fee, Enterprise Resource Fee, SGA Fee, Parking Fee, Lab Fees, and other miscellaneous fees are not refundable during the Tuition Adjustment Period.
  • No Tuition Adjustments shall be made after the 10th instructional day for the fall and spring semester or after the 4th instructional day for the summer semester.
  • No refund shall be made for leisure learning classes unless the class is cancelled.
  • No refund shall be made for testing fees unless it is requested during business hours on the date payment is made.

Refund Schedule


SPRING 2013
Students who resign or drops a course(s)

SUMMER 2013
Students who resign or drops a course(s)

The percent of fees refunded will be

By January 13

By June 2

100% of ALL Tuition and Registration Fees

January 14 – January 18

June 3 – June 5

100% refund of Tuition, Operational Fee, Academic Excellence Fee, and Student Services Fee

January 19 – January 28

June 6 – June 10

50% refund of Tuition, Operational Fee, Academic Excellence Fee, and Student Services Fee

After January 28

After June 10

There is no refund of fees for resigning from all courses or dropping a course(s)

 

Visitors

Visitors are welcome and are invited to visit the college at any time. Each visitor to the college must check with the administrative office before touring the school or visiting classes. Visitors must adhere to campus safety policies.

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