Policies Related to Student Rights and Responsibilities

As in the broader community, many of the values and standards of behavior desired in an academic community are best transmitted by example, persuasion, and mutual respect. Beyond the unwritten code which governs us, however, is the need for formal, written policies and procedures which will ensure due process to any and all who become involved in a dispute or conflict within the academic community.

These policies and procedures—which are furnished to every member of the student body so that all might become familiar with them—are essential to the spirit of cooperation, compromise, and civil behavior which underlies productive human relationships. In short, the policies and procedures contained herein are the real-life mechanisms by which the University remains a place where essential rights and freedoms are preserved. These freedoms and rights include, but are not necessarily limited to, the freedom to teach, the freedom to learn and pursue truth no matter where that pursuit may lead, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of assembly. All communities must adopt whatever regulations their members require to ensure that conflict or misconduct does not diminish the rights of free people. Acceptance of and adherence to these fundamentals of freedom are necessary for continued membership in the community. When members of the University community consider what matters may require regulation by written code, these guidelines apply. 

  1. All the University’s resources must be fully employed in the intellectual and personal development of its students.
  2. Institutional regulations should be adopted only when necessary to the achievement of the University’s academic goals, the safety and freedom of individuals, or the orderly operation of the University.
  3. Students should be encouraged to participate, through orderly procedures, in the establishment and revision of regulations governing their conduct.
  4. Regulations should be clearly stated and made conveniently available to every student.
  5. Disciplinary action for violation of regulations should be corrective, rather than punitive. Depending upon the circumstances of a case, corrective action may entail separation from the University or expulsion.
  6. Disciplinary procedures should be consistent with the principles of due process, channels of appeal should be clearly defined, and information relating to appeals should be readily accessible to all students.

Institutional regulations cannot provide specifically for every question of conduct under every set of circumstances which might arise; they are intended to define the practices ordinarily necessary to maintain working order in a complex system and to protect the essential freedoms of everyone in the community.

Advice on and review of University policies and regulations rest with general University committees. Committees dealing with the activities of students include students. Representatives of the appropriate administrative offices serve as consultants to committee members.

Student, staff, and faculty members may introduce topics for the agenda, debate proposals, and vote on all recommendations. Student members can contribute most effectively to the work of the committees by maintaining regular lines of two-way communication with the student government and with other groups and individuals interested in their committees’ particular areas of concern. As members of the larger community of which the University is a part, students are entitled to all the rights and protections enjoyed by other members of that community. By the same token, students are also subject to all civil laws, whose enforcement is the responsibility of duly constituted civil authorities, with whom the University has a policy of full cooperation. It should be emphasized that when a student’s violation of civil law also adversely affects the orderly operation of the University, the University must enforce its own regulations regardless of any civil proceedings or dispositions.

Final authority in all cases rests with the University president and the State Board of Regents. Included here are the primary statements of University policies on rights and responsibilities of students. It is to your advantage to give them a careful reading and to keep your copy at hand for reference.

Interim changes in regulations are published by mass e-mail. A complete set of current general University regulations is always available in the Office of the Dean of Students. For information on curricular matters, consult the appropriate college office.