BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 186              
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          |Author:    |Jackson                                              |
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          |Version:   |March 17, 2015                          Hearing      |
          |           |Date:    March 25, 2015                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |No               |
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          |Consultant:|Kathleen Chavira                                     |
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          Subject:  Community college districts:  removal, suspension, or  
          expulsion

           NOTE :     This bill has been referred to the Committees on  
          Education and Rules.  A "do  
                          pass" motion should include referral to the  
          Committee on Rules.

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill expands the definition of "good cause" for purposes of  
          removal, suspension or expulsion from a community college to  
          include sexual assault or sexual battery and, for this conduct  
          exclusively, makes an exception to the prohibition against  
          removal, suspension, or expulsion unless the conduct is related  
          to college activity or attendance. 

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing law provides for the suspension or expulsion of  
          community college students with "good cause."  (Education Code   
          76030-76038)

          Existing law defines "good cause" as including but not being  
          limited to, the following offenses:

             1.   Continued disruptive behavior, continued willful  
               disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity, or the open  
               and persistent defiance of the authority of, or persistent  
               abuse of, college personnel.







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             2.   Assault, battery, or any threat of force or violence  
               upon a student or college personnel.

             3.   Willful misconduct which results in injury or death to a  
               student or college personnel or which results in cutting,  
               defacing, or other injury to any real or personal property  
               owned by the district.

             4.   The use, sale, or possession on campus of, or presence  
               on campus under the influence of, any controlled substance,  
               or any poison classified as such by Schedule D in Section  
               4160 of the Business and Professions Code.

             5.   Willful or persistent smoking in any area where smoking  
               has been prohibited by law or by regulation of the  
               governing board.

             6.   Persistent, serious misconduct where other means of  
               correction have failed to bring about proper conduct. (EC   
               76033)

          Existing law prohibits the removal suspension or expulsion of a  
          community college student unless the conduct resulting in the  
          disciplinary action is related to college activity or college  
          attendance. (EC  76034) 

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill:

          1.   Expands the definition of "good cause" for purposes of  
               suspension or expulsion from a community college.   
               Specifically it:

               A.        Adds the offenses of sexual assault or sexual  
               battery.

                   B.   Specifies the offense to be "good cause"  
                   regardless of the victim's affiliation with the  
                   community college.

          2.   Makes an exception to the prohibition against removal,  
               suspension or expulsion of a student unless the conduct  








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               resulting in the disciplinary action is related to college  
               activity or college attendance if the conduct is sexual  
               assault or sexual battery.
                
          3.   Clarifies the continuing applicability of federal law. 

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1.   Need for the bill.  According to the author, at a  
               roundtable discussion at UC Santa Barbara in November 2014,  
               local community college representatives raised concerns  
               about their inability to discipline students for sexual  
               assault violations occurring off campus.  Current law  
               prohibits community colleges from taking disciplinary  
               action against a student unless the conduct occurs on  
               campus or at campus related events.  This is particularly  
               challenging at the community colleges since, for the most  
               part, these campuses are non-residential.  The  
               representatives expressed the need to have clear legal  
               authority in place to ensure their students' and  
               communities' safety and well-being.  This bill is intended  
               to remove the prohibition against community college  
               districts as regards to off-campus jurisdiction for student  
               code of conduct violations involving sexual assault or  
               sexual battery. 

          2.   Related legal opinion.  Legal Opinion L 07-07, issued by  
               the California Community Chancellor's Office in 2007,  
               provides guidance to districts on the "Availability and Use  
               of Information on Students' Past Conduct."  In response to  
               questions regarding the actions a college can take if  
               officials become knowledgeable about prior violent or  
               criminal behavior enacted at another college campus that  
               creates safety concerns, the opinion notes that colleges  
               may establish health or safety prerequisites, seek  
               restraining orders, share information necessary to protect  
               health and safety of individuals, and educate the college  
               community about risks and responses.  The legal opinion  
               further notes that "relying on vague statutory language to  
               exclude students from publicly 


               funded education carries considerable risk because vague  
               language does not provide clear guidance concerning what  








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               behavior supports exclusion."

          3.   UC/CSU Policies?  According to the author, this bill is  
               intended to align the community college authority with that  
               of the University of California (UC) and California State  
               University (CSU) by allowing community colleges to hold  
               students accountable for sexual assaults or sexual battery  
               whether on or off campus and regardless of the victim's  
               affiliation with the college. 

               There is no statutory restriction on the UC's extension of  
               its jurisdiction over issues of student conduct beyond the  
               campus.  The UC reports that its campuses have exercised  
               this discretion in the interpretation and application of  
               student conduct code expectations and discipline when it  
               determines that the conduct endangers the campus community.  


               According to the CSU, Title V regulations authorize  
               sanctions for specified conduct to be imposed on  
               applicants, enrolled students, students between academic  
               terms, graduates awaiting degrees, and students who  
               withdraw from school while a disciplinary matter is  
               pending.  The regulations specifically state that conduct  
               that threatens the safety or security of the campus  
               community, or substantially disrupts the functions or  
               operation of the University is within this jurisdiction  
               whether it occurs on or off campus.  In addition, Executive  
               Order 1095, adopted in June 2014 to outline implementation  
               of Title IX, the Clery Act, and state law and regulations,  
               specifically allows third parties (individuals other than  
               students or employees) to make complaints which would then  
               be investigated and acted on as appropriate.
           
          4.   Federal law.  This bill clarifies the continuing  
               applicability of (and the authority of community colleges  
               to act under) federal law.  These federal laws include Tile  
               IX and the Clery Act. 

               Title IX applies to educational institutions receiving  
               federal financial assistance and prohibits discrimination  
               on the basis of sex in an educational institution's  
               programs or activities, including employment, academic,  
               educational, extracurricular and athletic activities (both  








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               on and off campus).  It also protects all people regardless  
               of their gender or gender identity from sex discrimination,  
               including sexual harassment and sexual violence.  Title IX  
               requires institutions to take necessary steps to prevent  
               sexual assault on their campuses, and to respond promptly  
               and effectively when an assault is reported. 

               The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report  
               annual statistics on crime, including sexual assault and  
               rape, on or near their campuses, and to develop and  
               disseminate prevention policies.  The Act requires that  
               institutional policies address and prevent sexual violence  
               through training, education, and certain discipline  
               procedures.

          5.   Related and prior legislation.  AB 969 (Williams) makes an  
               exception to the prohibition against removal, suspension or  
               expulsion of a student unless the conduct resulting in the  
               disciplinary action is related to college activity or 
               
               attendance if the conduct threatens the safety of students  
               or the public and includes an individual who has been  
               suspended for a sexual assault or sexual battery offense  
               from another community college district.  The bill also  
               authorizes a community college district to require a  
               student seeking admission to inform the community college  
               district if he or she has been previously suspended from a  
               community college in the state for rape, sexual assault, or  
               sexual battery.         AB 969 is awaiting action in the  
               Assembly Higher Education Committee. 

            SUPPORT
          
          California Communities United Institute

            OPPOSITION
           
           None received.

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