Southern Connecticut State University exists to communicate knowledge, to encourage scholarship, to develop responsible students, to contribute to the worth and dignity of humankind, to add to the general well-being of society and, ultimately, to advance the pursuit of truth. To accomplish these goals, Southern has created an atmosphere in which education extends beyond the formal classroom situation—an atmosphere that encourages individual development within a strong but flexible structure. With this structure as their common base, the student and the university work together to educate and develop the student to their fullest capacity.
As citizens, students enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut and have the same duties and responsibilities as other citizens.
Academic Evaluation and Instruction
Each student has the right to be evaluated entirely on the basis of their academic performance and to have this right guaranteed by orderly, clearly defined procedures. Students have the right of access to the evaluation of their performance so they can know their strengths and weaknesses. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain academic standards, to understand the procedures for evaluation and to function accordingly. Each student has the right to expect a professor to present course content that is relevant to their academic discipline. Moreover, each student has the right to expect a professor to be adequately prepared for class and to be accessible for individual conference. It is the responsibility of the student to seek individual help when needed and to keep up with their studies in order to understand fully the nature of the material presented. There shall be a means established for student evaluation of course and instruction.
Amendments to this Bill of Rights must be ratified by the Student Government, the Faculty Senate and the Administration.
Students bring to the campus a variety of interests and, as members of the academic community, they shall be free to develop new interests. They shall be free to organize and to join associations in accordance with university policies to promote their common interests.
- The membership, policies and actions of a student organization shall be determined by vote of only those members who are currently registered at the university.
- Student organizations that have acquired institutional recognition shall be free to affiliate with any university and non-university organization with which the student organization shares common interests and goals, providing that such organizations do not contradict the Student Bill of Rights and abide by the rules and regulations of the university.
- Each student organization shall be free to recommend a faculty adviser. Faculty advisers shall be members of the university and shall advise organizations in the exercise of their responsibilities as they function in line with their purposes, but they shall not have the authority to control the policy of such organizations.
- Student organizations organized in accordance with university policies shall be required to submit for approval a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, a current list of officers and members to the Office of Student Life, ASC 212.
Each student is free to take reasoned and reasonable exception, without interference to data and views presented in any course and to reserve judgment in matters of opinion. The learning process involves more than mastering course content; it should also involve development of motivation to learn and guidance in independent study while encouraging students to develop to their fullest potential. The student’s concurrent responsibility is to exercise their freedom of expression in an orderly manner that reflects thought, scholarly analysis, courtesy and knowledge of the course material.
Curriculum Revision and Evaluation
All members of the university (faculty, students and administrators) shall be free to present proposals for curricular revisions and evaluation. Each of the above three must recognize that curricular revision and evaluation entails perceiving the scope of the entire university. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee—composed of students, faculty and administrators—shall channel proposals to the appropriate office or department.
All students shall be assured that university rules, regulations and policies (including classes, athletics, facilities, student housing and student organizations) will be in full compliance with state and federal legislation granting equal protection of the law regardless of religious creed, race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.
Students may serve on various official university boards and committees. Through this participation, students perform the invaluable function of improving communications between the student body and the university faculty and administration. These student representatives bring the opinions and concerns of the entire student community into focus on particular areas of committee responsibilities, so as to define and achieve the goals of the university as a whole and enrich the individual lives of all its members.
Each student has the right to privacy, and this right shall not be violated by other occupants, employees or administrative personnel. Although it is recognized that administrative personnel may supervise and inspect for cleanliness, health, safety and maintenance, they shall not engage in any search of personal possessions of students. If such a search is deemed necessary by the Dean of Student Affairs, it shall first be authorized by the university President. Prior to any such search, every effort shall be made to notify the student concerned. If it is not possible to inform the student of the search and/or if they are not available to be present, the student should be immediately informed of its outcome.
Southern students and student organizations shall have the right to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, to express opinion publicly and privately and to support causes by orderly means. They may organize public demonstrations and protest gatherings and utilize the right to petition. Students do not have the right to deprive others of the opportunity to speak or be heard, to damage the property of others, to invade the privacy of others, to disrupt the regular and essential operation of the university or to interfere with the rights of others.
Policy Resolution on Campus Freedom and Order by the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut State University
Be It Resolved That the Board of Trustees:
- Affirms and supports for the university the concepts of freedom of thought, inquiry, speech and lawful assembly;
- Affirms the right of individuals and groups in the university to assemble, to dissent, to picket and to demonstrate on the university campuses within the limits of administrative guidelines or regulations; and
- Affirms the right of all individuals and groups at all times to pursue their normal activities within the university and to be protected from physical injury or property damage.
Be It Further Resolved: That the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut State Universities hereby declares that the following are forms of conduct contrary to the purposes and well-being of the Connecticut State Universities and are prohibited. Such conduct provides grounds for disciplinary proceedings leading to probation, suspension or expulsion and to resort to enforcement agencies when necessary.
- Interfering with the freedom of any person to express their views, including invited speakers;
- Disrupting the orderly conduct of instruction, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings or other university activities;
- Interfering, in any manner whatsoever, with the access to or exit from any university campus or the buildings, classrooms, libraries, meeting rooms, offices or other premises that are duly open to members of the campus community or to other persons;
- Occupying or utilizing without authorization any building or facility or portion thereof;
- Damaging or destroying property or removing or using such property without authorization;
- Possessing of firearms or detaining any person or removing such person from any place where they are authorized personnel;
- Physically restraining or detaining any person or removing such person from any place where they are authorized or otherwise free to remain and;
- Failing to comply with direction of Southern officials acting in performance of their duties.
The News Media
Student publications and other news media are recognized as a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. It is a further recognized function of such publications and other news media to serve as a vehicle for exposition of opinions of the university community. Students have the right to express opinions in campus publications and via other news media without fear of reprisal.
- The amount of financial support given each publication and other news media shall be recommended by the Student Media Board and approved by the Dean of Student Affairs.
- Having cognizance of the requirement for truth and accuracy in whatever is published or reported, the student news media shall be free of censorship. The right to freedom of expression must be governed by the rules of responsible journalism and reporting and shall be recognized as a requirement for each publication or other news media. Included in this basic tenet of journalism are: (1) the obligation to present accurate and correct information; (2) the opportunity for expression by all members of the university; (3) the right of “equal time” for all sides of an issue.
Speakers and Topics
Student organizations shall be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing. The university’s control of campus facilities and the allocation of funds for guest speakers shall not be used as a device of censorship. Any routine procedures required before a guest speaker is invited to appear shall be designed only to ensure that there are no conflicts in the scheduling of speakers or facilities, that proper facilities are used, that there is adequate preparation for the event and that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community. It shall be made clear to the academic and larger community that sponsorship of guest speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed, either by the sponsoring group or by Southern Connecticut State University
Student Records and Disclosure
Southern Connecticut State University shall have a carefully considered policy as to the information that shall be a part of a student’s permanent educational record and as to the conditions of its disclosure. To minimize the risk of improper disclosure, academic and disciplinary records shall be separate and the conditions of access to each shall be set forth in an explicit policy statement. Data from disciplinary and counseling files shall not be available to unauthorized persons on campus or to any unauthorized persons off campus without the express consent of the student involved, except under lawful compulsion or in cases where the safety of persons or property is involved.
- Academic records are permanently on file at Southern Connecticut State University. No records shall be kept that reflect the political activities or political beliefs of students. Provision shall also be made for routine destruction of disciplinary records at a specific time after graduation. Administrative staff, student personnel officers and non-professional staff shall respect the confidential information about students that they acquire in the course of their work.
- Students shall be aware that persons given for personal reference or recommendations are legally free to give any relevant information required by the reference.
- Personal and disciplinary records of students who leave the university without graduating may be saved for reference in the event a student applies for re-admission to Southern Connecticut State University.
A student grievance shall be defined as a violation of a student’s rights as set forth in the Student Bill of Rights contained in this handbook. It is further defined as a difference, complaint or dispute resulting from alleged administrative or academic injustice or regarding the interpretation and application of university policy and/or procedures. Academic injustice is not to be construed to include the change of a student’s grade. There are numerous channels that a grievance may follow. For more information, contact the Dean of Student Affairs at (203) 392-5556 or stop by the office at Engleman Hall A 106.