The University of Nebraska and its campuses have promulgated various policies, regulations, statements of purpose and operation, while adhering to the principles deemed necessary for functioning as institutions of higher education. The University of Nebraska at Omaha, with the counsel and advice of students, faculty, and staff, has identified and compiled what are thought to be some of the most basic and important statements of policy especially as they relate to students.
To create greater awareness among and for convenience to students, a number of basic policies have been compiled into a Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. While most, but not necessarily all, policies pertaining to students' rights and responsibilities are contained herein, students are urged to become familiar with all documents pertinent to the University of Nebraska in general and to UNO in particular.
I. Student Rights and Responsibilities in Board of Regents Bylaws
Students, like all members of the academic community, have the responsibility to create and support an educational environment. Each member of the community should be treated with respect and dignity. Each has the right to learn. This right imposes a duty not to infringe upon the rights of others. The academic community should assure its members those opportunities, protections, and privileges that provide the best climate for learning. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.0.) UNO shall publicize and keep current all rules, regulations, and policies concerning students, and insure that they are readily available to all students and other interested persons. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.1.)
A. Admissions Criteria
UNO shall publish the criteria for admission, academic progress, certificates, and degrees for all colleges and schools of the University. Admission to the University and the privileges of University students shall not be denied to any person because of age, gender, race, color, national origin, or religious or political beliefs. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.2.)
B. Academic Evaluation
Students shall be informed of the requirements, standards, objectives, and evaluation procedures at the beginning of each individual course. Each student shall be given a performance evaluation during the progress of the course if requested.
Each college or school shall provide for a faculty-student appeals committee for students who believe that evaluation of their academic progress has been prejudiced or capricious. Such procedure shall provide for changing a student's evaluation upon the committee's finding that an academic evaluation by a member of the faculty has been improper.
Procedures for appealing evaluation of academic progress are provided by each college or school unit. Generally, but not necessarily conclusively, the procedures are similar to the following: Students wanting to appeal a grade (evaluation that has been prejudiced or capricious), shall attempt to discuss the matter directly with the instructor. If the student and the instructor do not reach a satisfactory agreement, the student may submit an appeal in writing to the chairperson of the department in which the course is offered. If the student and chairperson do not reach a satisfactory agreement, the student may submit an appeal in writing to the Dean of the College in which the course was offered. The decision made at this level, which would include a hearing by a faculty-student appeals committee, will be final.
Each college or school shall provide a mechanism by which students have an opportunity to report their perceptions of courses and the methods by which they are being taught, provided, however, that such mechanism shall protect members of the faculty from capricious and uninformed judgments. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.3)
C. Public Information Regarding Students
In compliance with the federally-enacted Privacy Act and as defined by the Board of Regents, public information regarding students attending UNO shall be the student's name, current address, permanent address, year at the University, and academic major field of study. The names of students mentioned in some kinds of campus security reports concerning accidents and incidents may also be released to the public. UNO administrators shall define the kind of reports and information that may be released to the public. Information contained in personal files of the student is considered confidential and requires written authorization by the student for release to the public. Records with names and personal identification deleted may be made available for governmental or University-approved research and analysis. Public information will be released by the Registrar to anyone upon inquiry, unless the student has requested that specific items not be released. The student's request to have public information withheld should be filed at the Office of the Registrar. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.6.)
An explanation of this Act and its application at UNO is available to all students. Copies may be obtained at the Office of Student Organizations and Leadership Programs, the University Information Center, the Registrar's Office, the Orientation Office, and the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.
D. Disciplinary Records
Information concerning students obtained as a result of counseling or disciplinary actions will not be made available to unauthorized persons within the University or to any person outside the University without the expressed written consent of the student involved except under legal compulsion or where the safety of others is involved. UNO may disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted against the alleged perpetrator of such crime with respect to such crime. The University shall provide for the periodic destruction of noncurrent disciplinary records, upon a student's graduation or after two years from the last date of attendance, unless under suspension or expulsion from the University. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Sections 5.6.1 and 5.7.)
E. Student Communications Media
Student publications and broadcasting stations shall be supervised in a manner such that editorial freedom will be maintained and that the corollary responsibilities will be governed by the canons of ethical journalism. Student publications financed in whole or in part by fees collected from all students at UNO shall be supervised by a Publications Committee. This Committee shall have full responsibility of a publisher and the power of decision on the proper application of the canons of ethical journalism. Students shall comprise a majority of the membership, but the committee shall also include members of the faculty and professional journalists from outside the University. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.9.)
F. Eligibility for and Participation in Co-curricular Activities
UNO shall permit students to organize and join associations to promote their common interests and shall establish procedures for the official recognition of these organizations for use of campus facilities. Each such recognized student organization shall be required to comply with all applicable federal and state statutes and University regulations. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.10.)
Co-curricular activities are offered by the University to meet the needs and interests and to promote the development of special skills of its student population. To participate as a member in any recognized University organization, a student must be enrolled in at least one credit course, excluding audit hours. To participate as a member in any recognized co-curricular activity, a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.75 for the first 45 hours attempted and at least 2.00 for 46 or more hours attempted, including all college level courses taken at the University of Nebraska. To be eligible to run for or hold an elected or appointed position in the Student Government/UNO, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 and not be on disciplinary probation. These requirements supersede the membership rules, constitutions, and bylaws of all organizations. Sponsors and officers of all organizations shall establish and enforce membership requirements which may be more, but not less, stringent than the foregoing. Under all circumstances, however, University policy prohibits denial of University privileges to students on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, age, national origin, or other factors, which, lawfully, cannot be taken into consideration.
G. Campus Speakers
The purpose of a speakers program is to advance the general educational purposes of the University by putting before the University community a broad range of ideas in a variety of contexts. The organizations administering speaker programs should make every attempt to provide balance on all subjects presented. Institutional procedures will insure the orderly and adequate preparation for the event. However, the control of campus facilities will not be used as a device of censorship. (Bylaws of the Board of Regents, Section 5.11.)
II. University of Nebraska Policies
A. Academic Degree Completion
The requirements for graduation from a bachelor's degree program shall be those listed in the Catalog effective at the time of matriculation provided continuous enrollment (excluding summer sessions) was maintained. However, the University reserves the right to withdraw and substitute courses, to reassign instructors, and to change the nature of instruction, as deemed necessary. In some cases, prerequisites for courses offered at the University are effective even if they are not listed in a given catalog. (See the current schedule of classes or your adviser for details.) A student may meet requirements listed in a subsequent Catalog if written approval is granted by the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled.
Acceptance of registration by the University of Nebraska and admission to any educational program of the University does not constitute a contract or warranty that the University will continue indefinitely to offer the program in which a student is enrolled. The University expressly reserves the right to change, phase out, or discontinue any program.
The listing of courses contained in any University bulletin, catalog or schedule is by way of announcement only and shall not be regarded as an offer of contract. The University expressly reserves the right to 1) add or delete courses from its offerings, 2) change times or locations of courses or programs, 3) change academic calendars without notice, 4) cancel any course for insufficient registrations, or 5) revise or change rules, charges, fees, schedules, courses, requirements for degrees, and any other policy or regulation affecting students, including, but not limited to, evaluation standards, whenever the same is considered to be in the best interests of the University. (Policies of the Board of Regents, Section 5.1.3)
B. Right to Public Hearing
It shall be the right of any individual member or group of members of the University (i.e., students, faculty, or administrators) to be granted, upon petition to the appropriate policy making body or office, a public hearing at which the policy indicated by the group of petitioners in their petition shall be discussed. The policy-making body or office petitioned shall schedule the hearing for some time convenient to the interested parties if possible, no later than two weeks after the petition is submitted during periods when the University is in session, and shall announce publicly in advance the time and place of the hearing. At the hearing, that body responsible for the policy indicated in the petition shall clarify said policy, offer the reasons which justify the policy in view of the objections or questions raised about it in the petition, and respond to any additional questions or criticisms of the policy or related policies raised at the hearing by any member of the University. It is expected that before such a petition is submitted, all other normal channels for raising questions about the policy have been exhausted. If, in the view of the policy-making body or office to whom the petition is submitted, the petition is merely a form of harassment or adequate answers are available through other normal channels, the petition may be referred to the relevant committee to determine whether the hearing must be held. A decision by the Committee not to hold a public hearing shall be overruled by the submission to that committee of a petition requesting such hearing and signed by at least 100 members of the University community. (Policies of the Board of Regents, Section 2.1.3)
III. UNO Policies
A. Counseling/Medical Records
Information exchanged with and/or maintained by a professional counselor/psychologist or medical personnel about a student client will remain confidential, except under legal compulsion.
The University acknowledges the rights of members to express their views by peaceful demonstration. UNO is an academic community founded upon a belief in rational dialogue and mutual respect among its members. The opportunities for communication within the University are many and varied, and the University welcomes suggestions for enlarging or improving them.
The nature of the academic community demands that all members strive to maintain the rational dialogue which is the cornerstone of the University. There is no conceivable issue, be it a question of academic and administrative policy or of students rights and freedoms, that cannot be approached within the framework of free discussion.
1. Demonstration Procedures
Members of the academic community, including the guests of the University, have the right of extensive latitude in making their opinions known. It is understood, however, that in exercising this right the rights of others must not be jeopardized. The public exploration and resolution of differing views can be successful only when groups and individuals discuss the issues in forums where the right to disagree and to speak freely and be heard is preserved. Within this context, the University community recognizes peaceful demonstration as a legitimate means of expressing one's opinion.
The preservation of freedom of speech and the recognition of the right to peaceful demonstration as part of that freedom, is possible only in an orderly environment in which individuals are not endangered by force or violence, and in which they are free from coercion and interference in the exercise of their rights or in carrying out their legitimate activities.
Campus demonstration forms are available in the Administrative Office of the Milo Bail Student Center and must be submitted and approved with all necessary signatures at least 48 hours (two business days) before the proposed demonstration.
2. Response to Disruptive Behavior
Board of Regents policy states that, in cases of disruption of normal University activities, the Chancellor or his/her designee will, in accordance with University policies and procedures, take necessary steps to restore the University to its normal function. The Chancellor or his/her designee may, in the event of refusal to disperse upon request, impose temporary action, including suspension of those persons disrupting the normal function of the University.
The determination as to whether disciplinary action will be initiated for violations of University rules and regulations by students will be made by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.
The University community may impose behavioral restrictions which are necessary to preserve the orderly functioning of the University and the right of all to be heard. Such restrictions fall into two categories:
a. Prevention of Violence or the Use of Force:
Demonstrations which coerce individuals or which constitute a hazard to the safety of any persons or which threaten destruction of property are not protected by freedom of speech provisions and will not be tolerated. Similarly, a hostile audience will not be allowed to interfere with a peaceful demonstration.
b. Protection from Interference with University Operations:
The University community may restrict conduct which interferes with the holding of classes, the carrying forward of University business, properly organized and scheduled University events, or the discharge of responsibility by any University officer, employee or student. Although the mere presence of demonstrators in public areas within buildings does not necessarily constitute interference, demonstrators cannot be allowed physically to obstruct access to University facilities. Noise and boisterous activity is objectionable when it prevents others from exercising their rights and duties. Persons engaging in disruptive action shall be subject to disciplinary measures, including separation from the University, and also to charges of violation of the law.
3. Institutional Response
The response of the University to any disruptive behavior must ultimately depend on the judgment of the officials who are in charge. However, the following guidelines should be observed:
a. Every effort will be made to end the disruption through reason and persuasion. These efforts shall include a clear indication of the willingness to discuss issues and to make clear the procedures for discussion and arbitration of the issues involved. Discussion of the issues will not be conducted under conditions of duress.
b. If the discussion method fails, the individuals involved will be notified that they are in violation of University regulations and they will be asked to cease the activity. In the event the alleged violators do not cease the activity within a reasonable length of time, temporary sanctions, which may include conduct probation and if necessary, suspension, may be imposed on the scene. However, unless both the student and the University officials agree to a postponement, the University must hold disciplinary hearings within five (5) school days or the temporary sanctions will be dissolved. Such disciplinary hearing shall be held, as far as possible, in accordance with the established disciplinary procedures of the University. No temporary sanction shall be made part of a student's permanent record. If a student is found innocent of the action for which temporary sanctions were imposed, no record of the temporary sanction or of the hearing shall become part of any of the student's files or records, and the student shall be given the opportunity to make up work which was not completed because of the disciplinary action.
c. If the use of institutional sanctions and discussion methods are not effective in ending the disruptions, or when alleged violators are not members of the University community, extra-institutional methods (including the invoking of police force) may be used. Nonmembers of the University community who are engaged in disruptive behavior may be referred to civil authorities for appropriate action.
d. Evidence regarding the activity of nonstudent members of the University community who are alleged to have engaged in disruptive behavior may be referred to their supervisors for appropriate action. The University community abhors the use of force as a method for settling disagreement and will always make exhaustive attempts to deal with issues by rational methods. When, however, such rational efforts prove ineffective or when imminent danger to life or property exists, more forceful methods shall be used to protect the rights and property of Members of the community.
C. Distribution of Printed and Other Materials
Students are free to express their beliefs and concerns in a variety of ways. Printed and other materials offered free of charge may be distributed at any location on the campus as long as such distribution does not interfere with normal traffic or functions of the University. Such materials may be distributed by any UNO-afffiliated person provided such is accomplished in an orderly manner within the framework of University policies and the law. If specific space for distribution of material is desired, a location may be reserved in a designated area of the Milo Bail Student Center, in accordance with existing policies and procedures governing space reservations. Special care is requested of any and all parties distributing literature to prevent littering of the campus and surrounding areas. Such activity shall be conducted so as not to interfere with the rights of others or the normal activities of the University. Any material offered for sale, solicitation of donations, or posting on University bulletin boards must comply with UNO policy concerning these matters. Contact the Director of the Milo Bail Student Center if more specific information is desired.
D. Information Technology Services
The facilities of UNO Information Technology Services are available to students, faculty, and staff of this institution for the purpose of instruction, research, and other activities as defined by the Chancellor. The computer facilities are University property and their operation is part of University operations. Executive Memorandum No. 16 of the President of the University of Nebraska states the University policy on responsible use of University computers and information systems. Executive Memorandum No. 16 may be accessed on the Internet here.
The Student Code of Conduct addresses offenses related to the properties and operation of the University, and, therefore, also applies to computer use and facilities as it applies to all other University resources.
E. Title IX. How Title IX Affects Your Educational Experience
1. Admissions Women and men must be given equal opportunities for admission to undergraduate public institutions, graduate, and professional programs. Applicants may not be ranked separately on the basis of gender nor may numerical limitations be applied on the number or preparation of students of either gender who may be admitted.
2. Athletics Women and men must be provided with equal opportunities in intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics, and access to athletic facilities. Separate teams may be offered for members of each gender where selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or activity involved is a contact sport. Women and men must have separate shower facilities and sports equipment.
3. Career and Counseling Services Women and men may not be discriminated against on the basis of gender in the counseling and guidance of students. Gender -biased assessment or test materials may not be employed. The Career Center must be assured that employment is made available without gender discrimination and may not list and publicize employment opportunities which discriminate on the basis of gender.
4. Course Offerings Classes must be offered to both women and men on an equal basis and must be open to both genders. This includes health, physical education, industrial, business, vocational, technical, home economics, music, and continuing education courses. Students may be separated by gender within physical education classes during participation in contact sports.
5. Financial Aid Women and men must be given equal opportunities to receive financial aid, which includes scholarships, grants, loans, and participation in work/study programs. Gender restricted scholarships may be offered only as long as the total amount of money offered to both genders is equal. Reasonable opportunities must be provided for athletic scholarship for members of each gender in proportion to the number of each gender participating in athletics.
6. Health Services Women and men must have equal access to health services.
7. Housing The University may not offer different rules or regulations or other different services or benefits related to housing on the basis of gender.
8. Student Activities Women and men may not be subject to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or treatment in academic, co-curricular and research activities on the basis of gender. Membership requirements for student activities and organizations must be the same for women and men with the exception of social fraternities and sororities. As members of organizations, students must be allowed to participate equally and may not be assigned or denied office or benefits on the basis of gender.
9. Student Employment Women and men must be allowed equal opportunities for and access to student employment and subsequent raises and promotions. Benefits for employment must be equally provided, regardless of gender.
10. Complaint Procedure Any student having a complaint regarding discrimination is urged to bring the complaint to the attention of the Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, 201 Eppley Administration Building, 554-2311.
11. For Further Information The following campus offices and services have further information about Title IX: the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs and the Reference Department, University Library. You are welcome to come in to read or obtain copies of available materials.
Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor
Academic and Student Affairs