A. Rights in the Pursuit of Education

The classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and studios are the essential learning environments of the university, and the freedom to learn in these environments should be promoted and encouraged by instructors. The following statements have been developed in support of a student’s rights in the classroom or other learning environment. Students shall have the right to:

  • Have access to faculty, academic technology, classrooms, libraries, presentations, and other resources necessary for the learning process.
  • Have access to academic advising and clear expectations for degree and graduation requirements.
  • Have decisions related to the pursuit of their education made in a clear manner.
  • Learn in an environment that supports the freedom of self-expression and association.
  • Participate in an exchange of ideas, pursuant with his or her constitutional rights and the Preamble of this Code, free of conduct that impedes either an instructor’s ability to teach or the student’s ability to learn. (See Guidelines for Dealing with Disruptive Students in Academic Settings, University Faculty Council, April 12, 2005.)
  • Receive either a paper or an electronic class syllabus in a timely manner.
  • Expect to interact with faculty who act professionally; provide clearly stated class goals; provide clear expectations for class performance and evaluation; meet classes as scheduled; are accessible for office hours, appointments, or consultation; and maintain a clear connection between course content and the most recently approved course description.
  • Expect a faculty member will be sensitive to the student’s religious beliefs and observances, including an expectation that instructors will make reasonable arrangements upon notice that the student must miss an exam or other academic exercise resulting from the observance of a religious holiday. (See Policy on Accommodations for Religious Observances, University Faculty Council, March 28, 2000.)
  • Have the freedom to raise relevant issues pertaining to classroom discussion (including personal and political beliefs), offer reasonable doubts about data presented, and express alternative opinions without concern for any academic penalty. Students have the right to expect that their work will be evaluated by academic standards alone.
  • Study, work, and interact in an environment of professionalism and of mutual trust and respect that is free of amorous or sexual advances by a faculty member. All amorous or sexual relationships between faculty members and students are unacceptable when the faculty member has any professional responsibility for the student, even when both parties have consented or appear to have consented to the relationship. Such professional responsibility encompasses both instructional and noninstructional contexts. A faculty member shall not have an amorous or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member or whose performance is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member. A faculty member should be careful to distance himself or herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize a student with whom he or she has or has had an amorous or sexual relationship, even outside the instructional context, especially when the faculty member and student are in the same academic unit or in units that are allied academically. (From the University Code of Academic Ethics, Part A.1, Relations with Students.) See definition of “faculty member” in Part IV of the Code.