Responsibilities of Students
As members of the academic community at Utah State University, students share responsibility for USU’s growth and continued well-being, as well as for maintaining an environment which encourages free inquiry and expression. Students are expected to engage in reasonable and substantial preparation for their coursework, to follow course and class guidelines as set forth in syllabi and as enunciated by their instructors, and to complete all academic exercises with integrity. All interactions with faculty members, staff members, and other students shall be conducted with courtesy, civility, decency, and a concern for personal dignity. These responsibilities are the foundation of the University’s Standards of Conduct. The University seeks to vest students with primary oversight of these responsibilities through their participation in hearings boards.
Rights of Students
Students can reasonably expect the following:
1. The right to a learning environment free of harassment and unlawful discrimination.
2. The right to due process in all disciplinary proceedings, which means fundamental and procedural fairness in accordance with the provisions of The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students.
3. The right to inquire, including specifically the right to engage in reasonable academic discussion and dissent within the framework of course material, with due regard to factors such as class size and the limits on the instructor’s time for conferences.
4. The right, subject to time, place, and manner restrictions, to express personal opinions on campus, to support or oppose causes, to arrange public assemblies, and to hold rallies, demonstrations, and pickets which do not materially and substantially interfere with normal University activities or the rights of others. Institutional control of facilities shall not be used as a censorship device. Any institutional regulation regarding time, place, and manner of expression must be content-neutral, must be narrowly tailored to serve a significant University interest, and must leave open ample alternative channels of communication.
5. The right to organize and the freedom of association.
6. The right to publish and the freedom from censorship.
7. The right to meaningful representation in the formulation of University policies which affect students.
8. The right to a proper academic evaluation through orderly procedures and announced criteria designed to prevent prejudice and capricious judgment.
9. The right to confidentiality of records and due limitation of disclosure of personally identifiable information.
Students who feel they have been unfairly treated may file a grievance through the channels described below.
An instructor has full autonomy to evaluate a student’s academic performance in a course. Accordingly, a decision by a Grievance Board is limited. A Grievance Board has neither the expertise nor the authority to substitute its judgment for that of the instructor’s concerning the evaluation of a student’s academic performance. The University administration would override an instructor’s evaluation only in an extremely limited circumstance—where the occurrence or incident relating to an academic grievance would result in the instructor being disciplined and sanctioned under Section 400 of the Utah State University Policy Manual.
For all academic grievances, the channel is: (1) the instructor, or graduate supervisory committee if the grievance pertains to committee action; (2) the academic department head; (3) the dean of the college—for graduate students: the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will consult and coordinate with the academic dean; (4) Grievance Board; (5) the Hearing Officer; (6) the Provost; and (7) the President of the University.
Students utilizing the grievance procedure (the “grievant”) shall begin the procedure no later than 120 days following the date of the act which is the basis for the grievance. Failure of the person against whom the grievance is made to respond within the specified time, if any, at any level in the procedure will allow the grievant to proceed to the next step.
At any time during the hearing/appeal process, the parties may resolve the matter by mutual agreement, thereby rendering further formal proceedings unnecessary. A written statement shall be prepared and filed with the appropriate dean/Vice President for Student Services.
The matter shall be handled as follows:
1. The aggrieved student must first confer with the instructor, graduate supervisory committee, the staff member, or other person involved in the grievance in an attempt to resolve the problem.
2. Unresolved grievances shall be filed in writing (a grievance complaint) with the department head or unit director who shall, within 30 days from the date the grievance is filed, conduct an inquiry and attempt to resolve the matter impartially and as quickly as possible.
3. If the grievance is not resolved at step 2, the grievant may forward a copy of the grievance complaint, together with all correspondence or related documents, to the dean, or other administrator. The dean or administrator shall conduct an informal inquiry within 30 days from the date the grievance complaint is received and shall attempt to resolve the grievance informally. If the dispute is not resolved informally, a hearing shall be conducted.
4. The dean or administrator shall refer the matter to the Vice President for Student Services for a hearing before a Grievance Board. The Vice President for Student Services shall immediately notify the hearing board pool chair.
For further information concerning the composition of the Grievance Board and the procedures for grievance hearings and appeals, see Article VII, Section VII, of The Code of Policies and Procedures for Students.