Statement of Student Rights

Student Rights

The following rights shall not deny nor disparage other rights retained by Students or their capacity as members of the Student body or as citizens of the community at large:

  1. Free inquiry and lawful expression and lawful assembly are recognized for all Students.
  2. Students are free to pursue their educational goals; opportunities for learning in the classroom and on campus shall be provided by the Institution.
  3. The rights of Students to be secure in their persons, living quarters, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures is recognized.
  4. A Student accused of violating institutional regulations is entitled, upon request, to a Hearing before an Appropriate Student Conduct Authority. (See Student Conduct Procedures.)

Access to Higher Education

Within the limits of its facilities, the Institution shall be open to all applicants who are qualified according to its admission requirements.

  1. The Institution shall make clear to all applicants the characteristics and expectations of Students that it considers relevant to its program.
  2. Under no circumstances may an applicant be denied admission or financial aid because of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, status with regard to public assistance or other categories protected by federal, state or local antidiscrimination laws.
  3. Financial aid administered by the College shall be disbursed on the basis of financial need and academic promise and/or academic ability.

Classroom Expression

  1. Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter is permitted in the classroom subject to the responsibility of the Instructor to maintain order and to cover course materials that have been professionally determined.
    1. Students have the right to be accurately informed at the initiation of classroom instruction as to the materials needed, requirements of the course and the direction thereof, and the explanation of these factors.
    2. Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about debatable issues, but Students are responsible for understanding and learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
    3. Requirements of participation in classroom discussion and submission of written exercises are not inconsistent with this section.
  2. Academic evaluation of Student performance shall be neither prejudicial nor capricious. Students who believe that they have been subjected to arbitrary or discriminatory academic evaluation or who have been dropped from a course by an Instructor are guaranteed the rights of appeal. Students who feel they have been subjected to an unfair grading process should first appeal to the instructor. This action should resolve the issue in most cases. However, the student may appeal to the department chair (or a senior faculty member if the chair is the person giving the grade). If that does not resolve the matter, any of the persons involved may appeal to the office of the Provost.
  3. Information about Student views, beliefs, and political associations acquired by professors in the course of their work as Instructors, Advisers, and counselors is confidential and is not to be disclosed to others unless under legal compulsion or by request of the Student. Questions relating to intellectual or skills capacity are not subject to this section.

Campus Expression

  1. Discussion and expression of all views is guaranteed within the Institution subject only to requirements for the maintenance of order. Support of any cause by orderly means that do not disrupt the operation of the Institution or violate civil law is permitted.
  2. Students, Groups, and Organizations may invite and hear any persons of their own choosing subject only to the requirements for use of institutional facilities and funds as provided in Section VII, CE.

Protest

  1. The right of peaceful protest is recognized within the Institutional community, but the Institution has the responsibility to assure the safety of individuals, the protection of property, and the continuity of the educational process.
  2. Orderly picketing and other forms of peaceful protest are not to be prohibited on the Institutional premises.
  3. Orderly picketing and orderly demonstration are not to be prohibited in public areas within Institutional buildings, but they are subject to the requirements for safety and noninterference as specified in Section V, AF.
  4. Interference with ingress or egress at Institutional facilities, interruption of classes or Institutional operations, or damage to property exceeds permissible limits of behavior.
  5. Even though remedies are available through local enforcement bodies, the Institution may choose instead to impose its own disciplinary sanctions in cases of disorderly picketing and protest that are not peaceful.
  6. Students have the right to be interviewed on campus by any organization that is authorized to recruit at the Institution. A statement concerning recruiting policies and practices is available from the Career Development program within the Center for Servant Leadership. Any Student, Group, or Organization may protest against any such organization provided that protest does not interfere with any other Student’s right to have such an interview.

Student Media

  1. Gustavus Adolphus College defines Student Media Organizations as students who have complied with the formal requirements of institutional recognition and whose primary purpose is to publish or broadcast any publication or program on campus. Current Student Media Organizations include: Firethorne (literary journal), the Gustavian (yearbook), KGSM (radio station), GAC-TV (television) and the Gustavian Weekly (newspaper).
  2. The College supports the stated purposes of recognized Student Media Organizations:
    1. To provide a means for the distribution of news and opinion concerning campus events and other matters of public interest to students primarily, and to other members of the Gustavus community;
    2. To provide a means for the responsible expression of student journalistic, literary, and broadcasting interest and talent.
  3. Because the College holds the copyright to the names and products of student media publications and broadcasts, it reserves the right to restrict advertising content. Nevertheless, the College affirms that recognized Student Media Organizations will be free of editorial control by the College and insists that student editors and managers be allowed to meet their responsibilities to the student body.
    1. Student editors and managers shall be free to develop their own policies concerning news and opinion consistent with ethical practices of journalism, in conformity with laws pertaining to libel, slander, obscenity, copyright and privacy, and on the basis of sound and responsible financial practices. Among the aforementioned ethical practices are: the avoidance of undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, harassment and innuendo; attributed editorial material and features; a clear distinction between news and opinions; a sense of responsibility to obvious readership and listenership; sensitivity to accepted community standards of decency and good taste; and an attempt to encourage and balance various points of view.
    2. Recognizing that the above guides them, any Student Media Organization may distribute or broadcast material on campus without prior approval. Such material or broadcast shall be dated and designate the author(s).
    3. Each student publication and any "opinion" program broadcast by electronic media should contain or make a disclaimer stating explicitly that "The opinions here expressed are not necessarily those of the College, its faculty or staff, or student body."
    4. Students have the right to report and editorialize on events, ideas and issues of the College, community, nation, world, even though they may be unpopular or controversial.
    5. The student editors-in-chief or station managers make all final decisions concerning the substantive content of publications or broadcast programs.
    6. Editors-in-chief and managers of recognized Student Media Organizations shall be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or commitment.
    7. The standards to be employed in the evaluation of a student medium and its staff shall be developed by the individual media organization with the advice of the organization’s adviser. Recognized Student Media Organizations are independent, self-perpetuating, democratically selected bodies with membership open to any qualified member of the student body without improper discrimination, prejudice, or unreasonable restriction.
  4. The Faculty Committee on Student Life or its designee(s) appoints the chief editor(s) or manager(s) of each institutionally financed Student Media Organization and shall also be the agency responsible for their removal. Editors and managers may be subject to removal only for proper and stated causes.
  5. It should be clearly understood from the foregoing that Student Media Organizations are not operated or controlled by the College, that student editors/managers are not employees or agents of the College, and that the actions of student editors/managers are not acts of the College.
  6. Each College Student Media Organization (print or broadcast) should have a qualified adviser. Advisers guide and advise students, but do not assume content decisions or financial deficits or losses incurred by student media.

Campus Organizations

  1. Organizations and Groups may be established within the Institution for any legal purpose. Affiliation with an extramural organization shall not, in itself, disqualify the institutional branch or chapter from institutional privileges or responsibilities.
  2. A Group shall become an Organization when formally recognized by the Institution. The College’s policy on Recognition of Student Clubs and Organizations.
    1. A Group shall be recognized when it meets the requirements for recognition.
    2. Institutional recognition of an Organization does not indicate approval of the aims, objectives, or policies of that Organization.
  3. Membership in all Institution-related Organizations, within other limits of their facilities and constitution, shall be open to any member of the institutional community who is willing to subscribe to the stated aims and meet the stated obligations of the Organization. In the case of activities that are not explicitly governed by intercollegiate regulations, participation by part-time and other nontraditional Students is permissible at the discretion of the Organization adviser or director. However, in any organization where membership is competitive, the following should be observed:
    1. Preference should be given to full-time Students.
    2. Four years is considered the normal period of eligibility for participation in an extracurricular activity.
  4. Institutional facilities may be assigned to Organizations, Groups, and individuals within the Institutional community for regular business meetings, social programs, and for programs open to the public.
    1. Reasonable conditions may be imposed to regulate the timeliness of requests, to determine the appropriateness of the space assigned, to regulate time and use, and to ensure proper maintenance.
    2. Preference may be given to programs designed for audiences consisting primarily of members of the Institutional community.
    3. Allocation of space shall be made based on priority of requests and the demonstrated needs of the Organization, Group, or individual.
    4. Charges may be imposed for any unusual costs for use of facilities. These costs shall be established at the time of scheduling.
    5. Physical abuse of assigned facilities shall result in reasonable limitations on future allocation of space to offending parties and restitution for damages.
    6. Requests for space shall be made through the Office of the Dean of Students except that the Student Organization offices in the Student Union and the Campus Center shall be under the jurisdiction of the Student Activities Office.
  5. The authority to allocate Institutional funds assigned to student activities and/or Organizations shall be the Student Senate.
    1. Approval of requests for funds is conditional upon submission of budgets to and approval by this body.
    2. Financial accountability is required for all allocated funds, including statements of income and expenses on a regular basis. Otherwise, Organizations shall have independent control over the expenditure of allocated funds.
  6. It is not advisable for recognized clubs and organizations to hold financial accounts off campus.
    1. Organizations with financial resources from sources other than College allocations are strongly encouraged to create an agency "9-line" account through the Finance Office.
    2. Any extenuating financial circumstances that warrant an off-campus account are strongly encouraged to be brought to the attention of the Director of Student Activities.
  7. As a condition of College recognition, Student Organizations are prohibited from directly providing alcohol to any persons at Organization events, activities, programs, and other functions. The Director of Student Activities may place Organizations that do not abide by this provision on unrecognized status.
  8. No individual, Group, or Organization may use the Institution’s name without expressed authorization of the Institution, except to identify Institutional affiliation.
    1. Institutional approval or disapproval of any policy may not be stated or implied by any individual, Group, or Organization without the expressed authorization of the Institution.
    2. Campus Organizations are responsible for the conduct of their members when the Organization is convened or when members are acting in the capacity of the Organization. Under the above circumstances, campus Organizations can be charged, as a body, when members violate the Statement of Student Responsibilities, and are subject to the sanctions therein.

Privacy

  1. Students have the same rights of privacy as other citizens and surrender none of those rights by becoming members of the College. These rights of privacy extend to residence hall living except as hereinafter provided. Nothing in the Institutional relationship or residence hall contract may expressly or implicitly give the Institution or residence hall officials authority to consent to a search of a Student’s room by police or other governmental officials. The College, however, is bound to submit to customary legal means of search by law enforcement officers such as search warrants.
  2. The Institution may access a Student room in a residence hall for improvement, repairs, or routine facilities inspection as specified in the "Terms of Assignment/Community Policies Letter E, Right of Privacy" (contained in the Housing Contract and Guide). The occupant shall be notified not less than twenty-four (24) hours in advance. Additionally, there may be entry without notice in an emergency where danger to life, safety, health, or property is reasonably feared or when College Officials are in "close pursuit" of a rule or policy violation.
    1. Maintenance problems in one particular room can be the result of mechanical difficulties in another room. Therefore, it will sometimes be necessary to enter several rooms in order to handle a particular situation.
    2. Student requests for repairs constitute authorization for room entry. The Housing Contract and Guide signed by every resident, provides for routine facilities inspections.
    3. College officials may enter a room without the occupants’ permission if in "close pursuit" of a rule or policy violation. Plain-sight inspection is allowable in such cases.
    4. College rule violations discovered during the course of routine repair work or routine facilities inspections as well as through plain-sight observation resulting from situations covered in #3 above, are subject to student conduct or administrative action according to the Residence Hall Contract and Handbook, the Statement of Student Responsibilities, and other pertinent College regulations.
  3. In limited circumstances the Institution may conduct a full search of a Student room in a residence hall with or without occupant permission to determine compliance with College rules and/or gather evidence where there is legitimate reason to believe that a violation has occurred or is taking place. The Institution’s representative shall attempt to gain occupant permission to enter first. A full search, which would permit the Institution’s representative to open closets, dresser drawers, etc., is subject to the following requirements:
    1. The person(s) making the allegations must convince the Dean of Students or the Director of Residential Life that legitimate reason for a search exists. "Legitimate reason" exists where the facts and circumstances, within the knowledge of the Institution and of which it has reasonably trustworthy information, are sufficient in themselves to warrant a reasonable person to think that an offense has been or is being committed. If legitimate reason is found to exist, the Dean of Students or the Director of Residential Life or the designee of either shall issue a written search permit. The search must be conducted by at least two individuals and include the occupant(s) if available.
    2. The Student occupant(s) shall be notified in writing of the search immediately and a report of the search must be submitted to the Dean of Students or the Director of Residential Life within three (3) business days. The report shall contain information concerning the date, location, name(s) of the Student(s) and institutional official(s) involved, the law or rules believed violated, the reason(s) for the search, and the result(s) of the search.
  4. College officials confiscating items in evidence of suspected violations must present the Student with a written, signed receipt for those items. All such properties shall be returned to the Student, where it is legal to do so, following speedy disposition of the case.
  5. Students who feel that their rights have been violated may take their grievances to the Dean of Students or Provost.

Student Records

  1. The privacy and confidentiality of all Student records shall be preserved. Official Student academic records, supporting documents, and other Student files shall be maintained only by members of the Institution staff employed for that purpose. Separate files shall be maintained of the following:
    1. Academic records, supporting documents, and general educational records.
    2. Student conduct records.
    3. Counseling and psychiatric records.
    4. Medical records.
    5. Financial aid records.
    6. Placement records.
  2. Student conduct records are maintained in the Dean of Students Office until the Student graduates from the College at which time they are destroyed. Conduct records of students who leave the College without having graduated shall be maintained by the Dean of Students for six (6) years, after which time they shall be destroyed. In all cases in which a Student has been expelled from the College, however, the fact shall become part of the Student’s permanent academic record at the College.
  3. No entry may be made on a Student’s academic record and no document may be placed on his/her academic file without the knowledge of the Student. Publication of grades, announcement of honors, and the submission of admission documents constitute notice.
  4. Access to his/her academic transcript is guaranteed every Student subject only to reasonable regulation as to time, place, and supervision. A Student may challenge the accuracy of any entry or the presence of any item by submitting supporting evidence to the appropriate person or office. Please refer to the "Student Educational Records" section in the Gustavus Guide and the "Petitions" section in the Academic Bulletin.
  5. No record may be made in relation to any of the following matters except upon the expressed written consent of the Student:
    1. Race.
    2. Religion.
    3. Political or social views.
    4. Membership in any organization other than honorary and professional organizations directly related to the educational process.
  6. No information in any file may be released to anyone except with the prior written consent of the Student concerned or as stated below:
    1. Under legal compulsion, by subpoena or other legal process.
    2. Members of the faculty with administrative assignments may have access for internal educational purposes as well as for necessary administrative and statistical purposes.
    3. The following data may be given to any inquirer: periods of enrollment, degrees awarded, honors, major(s), date of graduation, home and college addresses, e-mail and telephone numbers, and date of birth. Students may prevent directory information about them from being disclosed by formally notifying the Office of the Registrar.
    4. Consistent with federal law, the College reserves the right to disclose the "final results" of a disciplinary proceeding in which the institution determines that a student perpetrator has committed a crime of violence or nonforcible sex offense.
    5. Consistent with federal law, the College reserves the right to disclose to parent or guardian information regarding a Student’s violation of any law or institutional policy governing the use or possession of drugs or alcohol.
  7. Upon graduation or withdrawal from the Institution, the records and files of the former Student shall continue to be subject to the provisions of this document.

Please see the section in Academic Policies titled Student Educational Records for more information on student records and privacy.