Student Rights & Responsibilities
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.
Disciplinary Procedures and Sanctions
The Board of Regents Bylaws, Chapter 5, contains a series of policies entitled "Responsibilities and Rights of Students." A number of those policies are contained in this section, with the remainder being incorporated into other applicable sections.
1. Statement of Responsibility. 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, Section 5.0)
2. Publicity of Rules Affecting Students. Each major administrative unit 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, Section 5.1)
3. Admissions Criteria. The University 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, sex, race, color, national origin, or religious or political beliefs. (Bylaws, Section 5.2)
4. Academic Evaluation.
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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, Section 5.3)
5. 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 UNOmaha 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 canon 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, Section 5.9)
6. Eligibility for and Participation in Extracurricular Activities. Each major administrative unit of the University 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, 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 registered (officially and continuously enrolled in at least one credit course, excluding audit hours).
To participate as a member in any recognized extracurricular activity, a graduate student must be in good academic standing as defined by the Graduate College. This requirement supersedes the membership rules, constitutions, and bylaws of all organizations. It is assumed that 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, sex, disability, age, national origin, or other factors which, lawfully, cannot be taken into consideration.
7. 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.
UNO's 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, Section 5.11)
1. 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. Each major administrative unit shall define the kinds 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 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, Section 5.6)
An explanation of this Act and its application at UNO is available to all students. Copies may be obtained at the Registrar's Office, Office of Student Organizations and Leadership Development, the University Information Center, The Orientation Office, or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
- 2. Counseling/Medical Records. Information exchanged with and/or maintained by a professional counselor/psychologist or medical personnel about a student client will remain confidential.
- 3. 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 proceedings 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 day of attendance, unless under suspension or expulsion from the University. (Bylaws, Section 5.6.1 and 5.7)
- 4. Title IX. How Title IX Affects Your Educational Experience
- a. 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 sex nor may numerical limitations be applied on the number or preparation of students of either sex who may be admitted.
- b. 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 to members of each sex 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.
- c. Career and Counseling Services. Women and men may not be discriminated against on the basis of sex in the counseling and guidance of students. Sex-biased assessment or test materials may not be employed. The Career Center must be assured that employment is made available without sex discrimination and may not list and publicize employment opportunities which discriminate on the basis of sex.
- d. Course offerings. Classes must be offered to both women and men on an equal basis and must be open to both sexes. This includes health, physical education, industrial, business, vocational, technical, home economics, music, and continuing education courses. Students may be separated by sex within physical education classes during participation in contact sports.
- e. 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. Sex-restricted scholarships may be offered only as long as the total amount of money offered to both sexes is equal. Reasonable opportunities must be provided for athletic scholarships for members of each sex in proportion to the number of each sex participating in athletics.
- f. Health Services. Women and men must have equal access to health services.
- g. Housing. The University may not offer different rules or regulations or other different services or benefits related to housing on the basis of sex.
- h. Student Activities. Women and men may not be subject to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or treatment in academic, extracurricular, and research activities on the basis of sex. 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 sex.
- i. 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 sex.
- j. Complaint Procedure. Any student having a complaint regarding discrimination is urged to bring the complaint to the attention of the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Development Services, Eppley 113, 402.554.2409.
- k. For Further Information. The following campus offices and services have further information about Title IX: The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and the Reference Department, University Library. You are welcome to come in to read or obtain copies of available materials.
5. Policy Regarding Distribution of Printed and Other Materials at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 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-affiliated 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 or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs if more specific information is desired.
- 6. UNO 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 defined by the Chancellor. The computer facilities are University property and their operation is part of University operations. The Student Code of Conduct addresses offenses related to the properties and operation of the University, and, therefore, applies to computer use and facilities as it applies to all other University resources.
Academic Degree Completion. The University reserves the right to withdraw and substitute courses, to reassign instructors, and to change the nature of instruction, as authorities deem necessary. In some cases, prerequisites for courses offered at the University are effective even if they are not listed in a given catalog.
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 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.
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 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 petitions 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.
1. 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 student rights and freedoms, that cannot be approached within the framework of free discussion.
The University also acknowledges the rights of members to express their views by peaceful demonstration. The response of the University to any disruptive behavior which may occur must ultimately depend on the judgment of the officials who are in charge.
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 Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
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 explorations 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 demonstrations 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. Consequently, in the specific cases of campus demonstrations, 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 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. Response to Disruptive Action
The response of the University to 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 condition 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 conduction 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 any 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 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.