Student Bill of Rights
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Speech is fundamental to the mission of Shepherd University. Shepherd supports and encourages freedom of speech for all students, faculty, and staff both in and outside the classroom without restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic or social endeavors. The Shepherd community shares responsibility for maintaining an environment in which free speech is encouraged and in which the rights of each member of the community is respected.
- Free speech is guaranteed to students, faculty, and staff and shall also be provided to invited speakers at Shepherd University during approved events. Invited speakers’ appearances shall be in accordance with Shepherd University policies and regulations.
- The right of free discussion of ideas shall be protected and upheld, consistent with federal, state, and University laws and policies, including reasonable management as to time, place and manner. The right to present the opposing point of view in an appropriate manner, forum, and time shall be assured. The appearance and presentation of any individual on Shepherd’s campus does not mean, and should not be presumed, that the University endorses that individual’s message.
- Students, faculty, or staff who substantially disrupt the functioning of the University, or any unit or entity of the University, or who substantially interferes with the protected free expression of others, will be considered to have violated the Code of Conduct and will be subject to appropriate outcomes in accordance with applicable procedures consistent with Shepherd University policy. Visitors who engage in such misconduct may be restricted from campus and may face criminal charges under state law.
Individual students may join whatever associations they deem desirable and are entitled to affiliate with any group or organization with which they qualify for membership. Organizational constitutions, charters, and bylaws must be nondiscriminatory with reference to the beliefs, ethnicity, race, gender, gender expression, life experiences, nation-of-origin, disability, or sexual orientation of prospective members. Fraternities, sororities, and religious organizations shall not be considered discriminatory in terms of sex or religious affiliation, respectively.
Shepherd University recognizes the right of students to operate a free and independent press. The student press shall be free of undue censorship and its editors and managers shall be protected from arbitrary suspension arising from student, faculty, administration, alumni, or community disapproval of editorial policy or content as long as its policy or content adheres to the canons of ethical journalism. The campus administration shall provide similar rights to the university radio station and television courses including but not limited to podcasts, blogs, websites, short films, cartoons, and graphics.
Although the university itself is charged with ultimate responsibility for the nature and content of its official publications, the editor-in-chief of each campus publication shall bear primary responsibility and accountability for the particular publication’s operation. Editors and managers will strive for accuracy in their publication by checking sources, and emphasizing the importance of doing so to their contributors, thus emphasizing an accurate and ethical work environment.
Right to Privacy
Shepherd students are entitled to the same safeguards of rights and freedoms of citizenship as are afforded their peers outside the academic community. The university recognizes its responsibilities to protect the interests of its students in preservation of privacy. Privacy rights exist under institutional policy, as well as under federal law, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Shepherd University Community Expectations
Our community must possess the highest standards of ethical, educational, and social integrity, combined with recognition and mutual respect for those diversities, which will enrich and inform our intellectual and social lives. Our community standards of behavior are intended to enhance and protect the university’s general educational process, including research and public service activities, as well as promote personal academic advancement and maturation.
Responsibilities of Citizenship
As is the case in the community at large, students on the Shepherd University campus are held accountable for their conduct. For this reason, it is the students’ responsibility to be cognizant of the rules and regulations contained in the Shepherd University Catalog and handbooks.
To establish its behavioral standards and rules, the university will endeavor to maintain a code that represents reasonable regulation of student conduct. The university will strive to impose only those limitations on student behavior that have relevance to the educational mission of the university, to the rights of others, to the protection of property, and to the maintenance of orderly group living.
Those students who fail to or refuse to comply with the behavioral standards and regulations of the university, including the directions and orders of faculty and staff members charged with administration of institutional affairs, are subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion.
Shepherd students are also expected to respect local ordinances and state and federal statutes both on- and off-campus. Violations of ordinances or statutes are matters of adjudication between the students and the civil authorities. However, campus authorities will take action in cases of off-campus incidents where the institution’s interests as an academic community are involved.
All policies and practices concerning student records shall respect the privacy of the individual students. Records will be kept only on matters relevant to the educational process. Even these minimum records will not be disclosed except with the student’s written consent or as otherwise stated in the following policies.
- Maintenance of student records:
- Separate files will be maintained for academic records and supporting documents, such as, disciplinary, medical, financial aid, counseling and credential records, and other official personnel records.
- The official student academic record, supporting documents, and other student files are confidential. They are to be maintained only by members of the university staff. All persons who handle confidential records shall be instructed concerning the confidential nature of such information and their responsibilities regarding it
- Student academic records shall be limited to information about academic violations. No disciplinary information will be recorded on these records.
- The university reserves the right to withhold academic records of students who are financially indebted to the institution
- All students will be permitted to examine their own academic records and supporting documents, records of disciplinary proceedings, and other official personnel records. If students obtain a copy of any of these records, the university may charge a nominal fee for this service.
- Medical, financial aid, counseling, and credential records contain information that will be available to students, as explained below:
- Records created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or other paraprofessional are normally available only to persons providing such help or treatment. Students are permitted, however, to designate a qualified third party to review such records on their behalf for accuracy. A qualified third party would be a competent professional in the area of concern. Nothing in this request will alter confidentiality of information otherwise protected by law.
- Students will not have opportunity to examine the financial resources of their parents without parental consent in writing.
- Former students will not have the right to see confidential letters and statements of recommendations placed in their educational records before January 1, Students will be permitted to waive their rights of access to confidential recommendations in these three areas: admissions, credential files, and receipt of awards. In these cases, students will be made aware of the names of persons making confidential recommendations on their behalf. Letters or statements of recommendations will be used only for their intended purposes.
- Other than the exceptions listed above, students may have access to information in their admissions, financial aid, and job placement records.
- The Office of the Registrar is charged with the exclusive responsibility for releasing official grade reports, transcripts, and grade point averages. Students who want documentation of this information for themselves or for transmission to third parties must obtain the documentation from the Office of the Registrar.
- Former students will have the same rights of access to their records as currently enrolled students. Applicants to the university who are not admitted will not have these rights.
- Medical, financial aid, counseling, and credential records contain information that will be available to students, as explained below:
- Students have a right to prior written consent for the release of personally identifiable information from the student’s records to individuals other than the student referred to in the records, but prior consent is not required in the instances outlined below:
- Employees or agents of Shepherd University, including but not limited to faculty and staff, who need access to the record in order to fulfill a university- related responsibility;
- Parents/guardians of dependent students, as defined for income tax purposes, in which case the university may but is not required to make non-consensual disclosures;
- Parents/guardians, in instances of alcohol and drug infractions by the student;
- When records are subpoenaed under a lawful court order;
- The following directory information about individual students may be released or made public unless a student makes a written request to withhold such information: name, address, email address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletics teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous educational agency or institution All students who do not wish the release of the directory information should file a written statement to that effect in the Office of the Registrar, Ikenberry Hall; and
- All other instances in which FERPA does not mandate prior written consent
- Students have the right to challenge or contest any part of their education record, which they believe contains inaccurate or misleading information. This right does not permit the student to contest a grade on the grounds that a higher grade is deserved, but only to show that the grade has been inaccurately recorded. For information regarding grade appeals, see [Section V., Student Grade Appeals].
- Students should try to resolve the inaccuracy or the need to eliminate misleading information with the faculty or staff member responsible for the entry of the information on their records
- If resolution cannot be achieved in the above manner, a challenge to the accuracy of academic records should be submitted in writing to the Admissions and Credits Committee, stating the nature of the complaint and the evidence which seeks to prove that the entry is in This committee has the power to uphold or change any entry on students’ records which is challenged.
- Students have a right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning failures by Shepherd University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaints may be sent to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C., 20202
- The matter of confidential communication frequently presents a problem between student and professor or staff. When the problem under discussion could lead to administrative action, the student should seek an understanding regarding confidentiality before the counseling session.
- Students who want to report a violation or file a complaint should contact the Coordinator for Student Conduct, any administrator in the Student Affairs or Residence Life Office, or campus ombudsperson.
Residence Life Living
Shepherd University seeks to give every student the right of privacy against arbitrary and unnecessary intrusion into their private life.
- Although the university will make reasonable effort to respect the privacy of a student’s room, Shepherd University maintains the right of access into a student’s room for reasons of emergency, repair, maintenance, health/safety inspections, wellness, to silence disruptive noise in the absence of room occupants, or to uphold University policies. Illegal items in plain view may be confiscated by appropriate persons such as law enforcement. The University reserves the right to move and/or remove personal property which violates University policy or creates a concern for safety or well-being. For a description of Residence Life policies and regulations, see the Residence Life website, the Shepherd University Resident Agreement, and the Residence Life section of the Student Handbook.
- Solicitation and sales of any service or product door-to-door in a residence hall or by way of the university communication system is not permitted. Properly registered fund-raisers by registered campus organizations are permitted and should be coordinated with the Director of Residence Life or designee to be implemented in the halls. Advertisements, sale, or solicitation of alcoholic beverages is not permitted in residence halls.
Official Communications with Students
Every student has a responsibility to maintain a record of their current mailing address with the Office of the Registrar. Every student shall be issued a Shepherd University email account, unless suspended from email account status due to misconduct, and must regularly monitor their university email account for official communications. Every student shall be deemed to have constructive notice of communications from the university transmitted by email or their mailing address of record.
If a Shepherd University student is transported to the hospital for medical reasons or transported to a correction facility for violation of university, county or state code, policy or law, every attempt will be made to contact the person or persons listed as the emergency contact for that student. If no emergency contact is listed, every effort will be made to identify immediate family members.
Use of Official University Symbols
The name of the University, the official seal, the motto, the Ram mascot, replicas and facsimiles of campus buildings or any logo or graphic representation of these symbols are all registered trademarks of Shepherd University. These symbols are for the exclusive use and official representation of the University.
Requests to use the registered trademarks shall be communicated to the Executive Director for University Communications. In the case of student organizations, the request must first be authorized by the Vice President for Campus Services. Specifically prohibited is the use of the University’s name or other insignia in fundraising campaigns, which have not been authorized by the Executive Vice President of the Shepherd University Foundation. In general, no solicitations in the name of the University are permitted except those coordinated through the Executive Vice President of the Shepherd University Foundation.