Access to BestSemester Records
On-Line Communication Policy
Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Policy
BestSemester's Commitment to Safety and Security
ACCESS TO BestSemester RECORDS (back to top)
The Council respects student rights guaranteed by law and appropriate to a private, Christian educational setting. The Council maintains student records under the guidelines of the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which gives enrolled students the right to inspect their "educational records" and to restrict the release of those records.
Educational records are defined generally as records, files, documents, and other materials maintained by the Council which contain information directly related to the student and from which a student can be individually identified. Examples include academic records, student account records, and many records maintained by Student Life. Educational records do not include personal records of instructors or administrators, medical records, financial records of parents, or Public Safety records created for the purpose of law enforcement.
Educational records will be released to parents/guardians only with the written consent of the student or upon written evidence that the student has been declared as a dependent on the parent/guardian's most recent income tax return.
FERPA permits the Council to release "directory information" without student consent to anyone requesting information unless a student instructs the Council not to release such information. Directory information at the Council includes a student's name, home campus, home address, program address, home telephone number, program telephone number, primary e-mail address, academic major, birth date, class year and photos.
ON-LINE COMMUNICATION POLICY (back to top)
The proliferation of online communication tools such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs continues to transform the ways in which we communicate and develop community. The CCCU acknowledges these media as appropriate ways to share information when used correctly. However, while there are many positives, there are also some concerns and cautions students should note. Our desire is to provide guidance for students to uphold CCCU/Student Programs community standards while engaging in these forms of communication.
Please understand that information you post may be subject to legal action, affect current or future employment, or be subject to identity theft. It can also open up opportunities for stalking and other inappropriate behaviors.
All content posted must adhere to the lifestyle agreement and standards set forth in the program's behavioral expectations and your home institution's Student Handbook. Since students have editing control over pages, our expectation is that you will review and remove questionable content.
The CCCU considers all students responsible for comments posted on their own blogs, site, wall, etc., as well as what you may post on pages of other BestSemester students. If there is inappropriate material posted on your sites by other people, the CCCU expects you to remove these items.
It is not the intent of the CCCU or programs staff to monitor what students place on these sites, and CCCU/Student Programs assumes no responsibility for any content students publish on such sites or for any consequences related thereto. However, we will respond to issues that are brought to our attention that may indicate violation of the CCCU/Student Programs lifestyle agreement and standards. If inappropriate information, content, or pictures are found on your myspace.com, facebook.com, blogs, or other such sites, you may be held accountable with appropriate consequences. As with all policies, the CCCU encourages students to hold one another accountable.
SEXUAL AND OTHER UNLAWFUL HARASSMENT POLICY (back to top)
It is the policy of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities ("CCCU") Student Programs to prohibit sexual harassment and all other forms of unlawful harassment of its employees and students in any form. In maintaining this policy the CCCU seeks to assert basic Christian precepts, to affirm ethical standards predominantly accepted in the work place and academy, and uphold existing laws. Any practice or behavior that constitutes sexual harassment is absolutely prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Definition of sexual harassment:
Sexual harassment includes 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 a term or condition of an individual's success on a program, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for program decisions affecting an individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Examples of behavior that may constitute sexual harassment include (but are not limited to) the following:
- subtle pressure for sexual activity
- unnecessary brushes, touches, poking another person's body, or other inappropriate touching
- offensive sexual graffiti
- disparaging remarks about one's gender
- physical aggression such as pinching, patting, assault, impeding, or blocking movement
- sexual innuendos
- verbal sexual abuse, including abuse disguised as humor
- obscene gestures
- sexist remarks about a person's clothing, body, or sexual activities
- leering, staring at another person's anatomy
- making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances
Sexual harassment is primarily a desire for a locus of control over the victim, intended to intimidate, coerce, embarrass, or degrade another person. Usually the aggressor has implied power over the victim such as a supervisor of an employee, faculty to student, or student to student. However, the roles could be reversed such that a student could attempt sexual harassment of faculty or staff. The result of this harassment is exploitation of power. In any form, such behavior undermines the atmosphere of trust and collegiality which CCCU Student Programs seeks to foster and is unacceptable. Students participating on culture-crossing programs should be informed that in some instances the local methods of communication differ from what they are accustomed to and may be uncomfortable for them. Some cultures touch as a manner of conversing or to get a point across; other cultures stare to make eye contact and be friendly. However, if after acknowledging cultural differences, students continue to feel uncomfortable they should discuss their situations with program staff.
While harassers may think that their words/actions are meaningless, the victim may be emotionally distraught or even internalize the events into physical symptoms. Emotive responses may include anger, embarrassment, fear, feeling intimidated, powerless, and degradation. Physical responses may include physical illnesses, withdrawing from social situations, drug and alcohol use to ease/lessen emotions and tension, and also distrust of previously trusted individuals.
Other Unlawful Harassment
Harassment on other grounds is prohibited, including based on race, color, religious creed, sex, marital status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, Vietnam-Era or disabled veteran status, military service, or any other basis protected by federal or state law (all as defined and protected by applicable law). Harassment includes jokes, verbal abuse and epithets, degrading comments, the display of offensive objects and pictures, and other conduct that the individual might reasonably find to be offensive.
Prompt Reporting and Investigation
An extended period of time between an alleged occurrence and an inquiry into the circumstances of that incident may make fact-finding extremely difficult or impossible. Therefore, any person who believes that he/she has been the object of sexual harassment should report the incident to the Program Director as soon as possible. If the complaint involves the Director, students or staff should report to the CCCU Vice President for Student Programs.
Concerns and reports of harassment should be made without fear of reprisal or retaliation. Any individual who engages in retaliatory actions will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination from employment or the program.
All allegations of harassment will be quickly and discreetly investigated. If CCCU determines that the harassment complaint is credible and substantiated, it will take appropriate disciplinary action against the harasser(s), up to and including termination from employment or the program.
CCCU will strive to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of persons reporting or accused of harassment. All persons involved in the investigation are expected to protect the confidentiality of the process and not to disseminate information about the complaint or the investigation that would cause harm to others. Complainants and respondents, especially, have an obligation to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the other person and must not disseminate information about the complaint or the investigation with the intent of harming the other person.
WITHDRAWAL/REFUND POLICIES (back to top)
After students are confirmed to participate on a BestSemester semester program (fall, spring or year), they must notify the CCCU's Student Programs Office if they decide to withdraw from the program. Notifications must be in writing or by email. Depending on the date of notification, the following withdrawal/refund policies will be followed.
Students who are accepted into a semester program, confirm their participation with the nonrefundable deposit, and withdraw more than 30 days before the posted start date for the program (or optional flight scheduled departure, if applicable) are responsible for paying all unrecoverable expenses not covered by the deposit.
Students who are accepted into a semester program, confirm their participation with the nonrefundable deposit, and withdraw within 30 days of the posted start date (or optional flight scheduled departure, if applicable) are responsible for paying 25% of the total program fee (instructional fee and room and board).
Students who withdraw or are dismissed from a semester program after the program begins may be eligible for a partial refund of the instructional fee. Room and board fees will not be refunded after the program begins. Withdrawal/dismissals within the first three weeks of the program are eligible for a 50% refund of the instructional fee; from four to eight weeks, 25% of the instructional fee will be refunded; and after eight weeks, none of the instructional fee will be refunded. All refunds and withdrawal fees are calculated from the date a written statement of withdrawal or dismissal is received by the Vice President for Student Programs.
Summer Program (Oxford Summer Programme)
Students who are accepted into a summer term program, have confirmed their participation with the nonrefundable deposit and who withdraw prior to departure are responsible for paying 25% of the summer program instructional fees, full housing fees, plus any additional unrecoverable program expenses (if they exceed the deposit amount).
A partial refund of instructional fees will be made if students withdraw or are dismissed from a summer program after the program begins. Within the first week of the program, 50% of instructional fees will be refunded; during the second week, 25% of instructional fees will be refunded; and no instructional fees will be refunded after the second week of the program. Room and board (if applicable) fees will not be refunded after the program begins. Any additional unrecoverable expenses will also be the responsibility of the student. Refunds are calculated from the date a written statement of withdrawal is received by the program director or the date of dismissal.