Student Rights and Responsibilities

STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

PREAMBLE

Attending an institution of higher learning is a privilege that many people cannot enjoy.

Students are expected to respect this privilege while attending Alabama State University on and off campus. Students will conduct themselves with propriety, conforming to the high standards of the University, and respect the rights and opinions of others. They are expected to comply with the University’s policies, regulations, and rules, such as visitation policies of the residence halls, academic regulations, drug possession and use policy, pledging and hazing policy, alcohol policy, missing property policy, search and seizure policy, disruptive behavior policy, weapons policy, illegal possession or unauthorized use of keys policy.

Students are expected to conform to recognized University standards of conduct, behave with decency, and dress appropriately while on and off campus and in academic settings, social events, extracurricular activities, and other public functions. Male students are expected to remove hats when the Alma Mater is being sung or played, and prior to entering any building on campus including the dining hall, library, classroom buildings, residence halls, and other buildings. All students are expected to stand when the Alma Mater is being sung or played.

Integrity must be practiced in all endeavors and relationships on and off campus. Students found to be dishonest and indulging in acts of serious misconduct including cheating on tests and examinations, plagiarism, alteration or misuse of college documents, records or identification cards, forgery, misrepresentation, unauthorized use of another’s property, lying, fighting, theft, or receiving stolen goods will be subject to dismissal from Alabama State University. Students must refrain from using four-letter words and other obscenities that are not accepted standards of decency at Alabama State University to parents, students, visitors, professional staff, and others. Violations may be subject to judicial action under the category of verbal abuse.

 

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

Attending an institution of higher learning is a privilege that many cannot enjoy. Students are expected to respect this privilege while attending Alabama State University.

 

  •  Students are responsible for using their time effectively in pursuit of educational goals and maintaining high standards of academic
  • achievement.
  • Students will conduct themselves with propriety conforming to the high standards of the University.
  • Students will respect the rights and opinions of others.
  • Students are expected to preserve healthful, wholesome physical and hygienic conditions.
  • Students should actively participate in life at the University.
  • Students have the responsibility to comply with the University’s policies, regulations, and rules that apply to students and student conduct.
  • Students have the responsibility to uphold the reputation and high standards of the University.
  • Students have the responsibility to attend classes punctually and regularly and to devote themselves earnestly to their studies in order to learn.
  • Students have the responsibility to assist and take pride in the maintenance and preservation of University property.
  • Students have the responsibility to adopt positive patterns of behavior and values in order to develop a wider understanding of themselves and society.
  1. Students are expected to use their varied abilities to make their years at Alabama State University a meaningful experience.

 

CODE OF CONDUCT ARTICLE I INTRODUCTION

Regulations affecting students as members of the University communityapply throughout all aspects of campus life, whether in the classroom, on University property or at an organization-related activity off-campus.

The University regards all acts of unethical, immoral, dishonest, disruptive or destructive behavior as serious offenses and has established regulations that govern certain conduct. Any charges under these categories must cite a specific alleged offense or offenses.

The University hearing procedures are not set up to enforce criminal or civil laws or to operate in place of civil authority. Their use is limited in instances of student misconduct which distinctly and adversely affect the University’s educational purposes and processes. It should be noted that when student conduct warrants involvement of civil authorities, the University shall notify said authorities. When feasible, the University will advise students before notifying civil authorities. A student shall be held accountable for disciplinary offenses committed while enrolled, even though he or she may have completed his or her course work.

ARTICLE II ZERO TOLERANCE

ZERO TOLERANCE means the University prohibits all illegal and

unauthorized possession and/or use of weapons or drugs and/or fighting/assault and battery that directly contributes to the emotional or physical detriment of University personnel or enrolled students. The Zero Tolerance Policy is effective as it relates to on-campus activities and University sponsored off-campus activities. Any student found responsible for violating a Zero Tolerance Policy may receive the maximum sanction of suspension or expulsion from the University. Students who violate the Zero Tolerance Policy maybe summarily (temporarily) suspended pending a hearing.

 

ALCOHOL POLICY

Although the legal drinking age in Alabama is 21, University regulations prohibit any student from possessing or consuming alcohol in the residence halls, dining hall, at student functions and at off-campus University-sponsored or supervised functions, regardless of age. Any student found responsible for violating this policy will be subject to University disciplinary and/or criminal action.

 

ALCOHOL SANCTIONS

Under age 21 possession and/or consumption

  • Open container of alcohol in public
  • Hosting a party involving illegal use of alcohol
  • Dispensing alcohol to minors
  • Intoxication
  • Constitution of a public nuisance by being offensive to public order or decency

 

FIRST OFFENSE

  • Disciplinary probation for one year
  • Alcohol education
  • $50 fine
  • Parent notification

 

SECOND OFFENSE

  • Deferred suspension from Residence Halls for one year
  • Substance abuse referral
  • $100 fine
  • Parent notification

THIRD OFFENSE

  • Suspension from Residence Halls for one year. The student will be held responsible for the full cost of the residence hall for the remainder of the academic year
  • Suspension from University for one year
  • Parent notification

 

Over age 21 possession and/or consumption

  • Open container of alcohol in public
  • Hosting a party involving illegal use of alcohol
  • Dispensing alcohol to minors
  • Intoxication
  • Constitution of a public nuisance by being offensive to public order or decency

 

FIRST OFFENSE

  • Disciplinary probation for one year
  • Alcohol education
  • $50 fine

 

SECOND OFFENSE

  • Deferred suspension from Residence Halls for one year
  • Substance abuse referral
  • $100 fine

 

THIRD OFFENSE

  • Suspension from Residence Halls for one year.

ARTICLE III PROHIBITED CONDUCT

Any student found to have committed the following, including but not limited to, misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions articulated under Article VI, Sanctions.

 

PROHIBITED OFFENSES AGAINST THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

  1. Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to, the following:
  • Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly using sources of another in an academic exercise without proper identification of the source(s).
  • Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise; helping or attempting to help a student commit an act of dishonesty, including buying, selling or transmitting a copy of any examination or test before it shall have been administered; allowing another to copy information during an examination or other academic exercise.
  • Fabrication: Intentional falsification or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise.
  • Forgery, alteration or misuse of any University document, record or instrument of identification.
  • Tampering with the election process of any University-recognized student organization.
  • The willful furnishing of false or misleading information to University officials or on University records pertaining to names and addresses, information related to drug use or possession, weapons, assault, and other prohibited acts including affidavits for financial aid; or the altering or tampering with such records, including official identification cards.
  • Falsification of a signature.

 

  1. Disruption of academic activities (including classroom teaching) and/ or disruption or the attempt to disrupt the peace of the University.
  2. Misuse of identification card, failure to present identification card for inspection or failure to surrender identification card upon lawful request of a University police officer.
  3. Failure to comply with regulations relating to the use of campus buildings and other University-owned or operated facilities and services.
  4. Failure to obey a lawful order of University officials, including student officials, acting in line of official duty.
  5. The obstruction of or interference with or aiding and abetting others in the obstruction of and/or interference with the ongoing activities of the University.

 

  1. PROHIBITED OFFENSES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS

 

    1. The use of coercion, threat of violence, physical and/or verbal abuse, riot or other interference with the legitimate rights of any member or guest of the university community.
    2. Hazing as defined by “Alabama Law Prohibiting Hazing.”
    3. Endangering or the threat of endangering the safety, health or life of any person or persons on University property or at University-sponsored activities.

 

  1. PROHIBITED OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY

 

    1. Theft of or damage to (including the defacing of) property of the University or property of a member of the University community or the property of a visitor of the University.
    2. Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys to any University premises or unauthorized entry to and/or use of University property, including residence halls.

 

  1. OTHER PROHIBITED OFFENSES

 

    1. Possession or use of alcohol on campus except as expressly permitted by law or specifically approved for academic research programs. Consumption of alcohol off campus that places one under the influence of such substances when he or she returns to campus is prohibited.
    2. Possession for sale or distribution of alcohol.
    3. Possession or use of drugs or controlled substances on campus except as expressly permitted by law or specifically approved for academic research programs. Consumption of drugs or controlled substances off campus that places one under the influence of such substances when he or she returns to campus is prohibited.
    4. Possession with the intent to distribute drugs or other controlled substances.
    5. Possession, use or storage of firearms, explosives or instruments classified as weapons. Such items are treated as contraband and will be confiscated.
    6. Gambling, disorderly or offensive behavior not specifically described herein but impermissible by civil law.
    1. Violation of University regulations concerning the operation of motor vehicles.
    2. Misuse of University property to commit or induce another to commit a violation of local, state or federal laws or of University regulations.

The intentional false reporting of a fire, bomb or other explosives having been placed in any building or elsewhere on University property; unauthorized setting of fires on University premises; or the tampering with fire extinguishers, fire alarms, door-locking mechanisms, elevators and safety equipment.

Any conduct which is a misdemeanor or felony under public law or is a violation of established University regulations as published in this handbook and in other University bulletins, handbooks and executive memoranda.

Abuse of the judicial system or disciplinary procedures, including but not limited to:

  1. Failure to appear as a witness or for other reasons when summoned by the Office of Student Affairs.
    1. Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a disciplinary proceeding.
    2. Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information before a judicial body.
    1. Filing a false complaint.
    2. Harassment (verbal or physical) before, during and/or after a judicial proceeding.
    3. Failure to comply with sanction(s) imposed under Article VI, Sanctions.
    4. Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the judicial system.
    1. Any other act which is intended to have or has the effect of delaying or interfering with the orderly operation of the judicial process.

 

ARTICLE IV JUDICIAL AUTHORITY

The vice president for Student Affairs is responsible to the president for the supervision, administration, and operation of University policy related to student discipline. The assistant vice president will receive complaints on student conduct, direct such investigations as may seem appropriate and determine the disposition of cases within the University’s jurisdiction. As discussed below, cases with merit may be resolved either administratively or through a formal hearing.

 

UNIVERSITY HEARING OFFICER

The University Hearing Officer, appointed by the vice president of Student Affairs, has authority (a) for the conduct of hearings on charges of alleged offenses as related to student conduct; (b) for the investigation of grievances involving employee-student relations; and (c) for the adjudication of contested violations of University motor vehicle regulations. The hearing officer will record all hearings and maintain the taped records for any possible future proceedings.

For the purpose of investigation, he or she has entry to all University offices and access to pertinent records as permissible by law. He or she also has authority to summon witnesses. Upon investigation of grievances, the hearing officer may pursue various roles to assist in resolving problems but may do no more than recommend action or redress. He or she may also recommend a change in procedures and policies where change is considered necessary.

The hearing officer has original and exclusive jurisdiction for hearing all cases where suspension of a student is considered the sanction for violation of a University regulation. He or she also has authority to summon any member of the University community as a witness. He or she may also impose any sanction deemed appropriate in a given case subject to the policy of the University and the board of trustees.

In matters of motor vehicle regulations, the hearing officer may render judgments, impose sanctions, waive and adjust citations. He or she has the power to condition, restrict or deny further use of parking facilities and/or operation of motor vehicles on the campus based upon the gravity or frequency of offenses. His or her decisions in matters of motor vehicle regulations and operations are final with the University.

 

ARTICLE V

 

PROCEDURES AND STUDENT RIGHTS RELATING TO THE ADJUDICATION OF STUDENT MISCONDUCT

The University reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community. In the matter of developing responsible student conduct, primary reliance is placed on student development, guidance, counseling and admonition. In circumstances where these preferred means fail, the University will use the disciplinary authority inherent in its responsibility to protect its educational purpose. In the exercise of this authority, safeguards shall be observed to protect the students from unfair imposition of penalties.

 

  1. CHARGES AND HEARINGS

 

    1. The assistant vice president for Student Affairs shall be responsible to the vice president for Student Affairs for the administration of University policy with respect to student discipline. He or she will receive complaints on student conduct, direct such investigations as may seem appropriate, and determine the disposition of cases within the University’s jurisdiction. It is the assistant vice president’s responsibility to determine whether to take no action, resolve the case administratively, or schedule the case for a formal hearing with the University Hearing Officer. The sanctions issued administratively or through a formal hearing are not limited to the sanctions listed under Article V of this student handbook. In the performance of these duties, the assistant vice president may request the assistance of appropriate officers of the Student Government Association.
  1. Any member of the University community may file charges against a student for violating any provision of the Code of Conduct. Charges shall be in writing and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs and/or to the University Police and Campus Security. Upon request, students being charged with alleged violations are allowed to review the written charges filed against them.
  2. In presenting his or her defense at a pre-hearing meeting or hearing, the student may be advised by any member of the University community. While the accused student may choose his or her adviser, no person shall be obligated to serve in such capacity. When the accused student elects to be advised by professional legal counsel, he or she must inform the assistant vice president for Student Affairs in writing at least 48 hours before the hearing date. In such an instance, the University may exercise the option to contact and arrange for the attendance of the University legal counsel at any or all judicial proceedings. Attorney(s) will not be allowed to address the Hearing Officer or any other tribunal. He or she may not cross-examine witnesses, raise questions or objections, or make opening or closing statements. Attorney(s) may serve in an advisory capacity only. The alleged offender is solely responsible for any and all fees incurred as a result of employing his or her attorney.
  3. The assistant vice president for Student Affairs shall conduct an investigation into the alleged misconduct to determine if the charges have merit. Depending on the nature of the allegation, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs will determine if the misconduct should be dismissed or disposed of administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved. The assistant vice president for student affairs may administratively impose sanctions up to but not including permanent suspension or expulsion from the University.
  1. If there is no mutual consent to resolve the charges administratively, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs will review the written charges with the alleged offender. Upon request, the alleged offender may receive a copy of the written charges. The written charges will be thoroughly explained by the assistant vice president for Student Affairs. The notice of charges will (a) be in writing and sufficiently precise to enable the student to understand the grounds upon which the University seeks to justify the imposition of sanction and to enable him or her to adequately prepare any defense which may be available to him or her; (b) state the alleged misconduct; and (c) state the date and time for a pre-hearing meeting and/or hearing.
  2. During the pre-hearing meeting, the alleged offender may ask any questions he or she desires about the student discipline process. The student shall be given the right to review all statements and evidence submitted against him or her and the names of those presenting the evidence. He or she will have an opportunity to present his or her interpretation of the alleged incident. He or she may also call witnesses to verify his or her interpretation of the alleged incident. The assistant vice president for Student Affairs, having heard the interpretation of the alleged offender and/or witnesses, will decide whether to proceed with the case or drop the charges against the alleged offender or adjourn the pre-hearing meeting pending further consultation with the complainant.  Should the assistant vice president for Student Affairs decide to drop the charges, the pre-hearing meeting will end, and the student will receive such notification.
  3. If the assistant vice president for Student Affairs decides to bring the case to a hearing, the student will be informed of the pleas available through the student discipline system. The alleged offender may then decide to plead or may request a maximum of one academic day in which to plead. The pleas which are available to students and the subsequent outcomes are described below:

 

  1.  
  • Responsible: A student who pleads responsible waives his or her right to a hearing and accepts the sanction(s) offered by the University Hearing Officer. The responsible plea will be given in writing to the University Hearing Officer and in the presence of two witnesses. Should the offender perceive that the sanctions are too severe, he or she may appeal to the vice president for student affairs in writing within five class days of the date the sanction is received.
  • No Contest: The alleged offender may plead no contest and accept the sanctions by the University Hearing Officer. (This plea is for students who are involved in either civil or criminal proceedings arising out of the same incident.)
  • Not Responsible: A student who pleads not responsible will have his or her case heard by the University Hearing Officer. A date and time shall be set for a hearing. The student may elect to waive his rights to the two class day notification. This waiver must be given in writing to the assistant vice president for Student Affairs and/or the hearing officer in the presence of two witnesses. Conditions permitting, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs will make every effort to schedule the hearing within 10 class days after the student has made his or her “not responsible” declaration.
  1. During the hearing, the burden of proof is on the University or the individual presenting the charges.
  2. The role of the hearing officer is to receive evidence and to hear arguments and other testimony and to make rulings on procedural matters. A verbatim record in the form of a tape recording shall be made of each hearing which could possibly lead to suspension or expulsion as a sanction. At the conclusion of  the  hearing,  the  hearing  officer  will  compile  his  or  her findings of the facts and render a judgment consistent with the weight of the evidence and facts in the case. He or she shall transmit copies of his or her statement of fact and judgment to the accused student and to the assistant vice president for Student Affairs. If the sanction involves suspension from the University, he or she shall also send a copy to the vice president for Student Affairs.
  3. The statement of the hearing officer shall contain detailed findings of fact and conclusions, including the charges and the basic reasons for the decisions made on all relevant issues raised at the hearings. Unless notice of appeal to the vice president for Student Affairs is given, the judgment of the hearing officer is final and shall take effect immediately upon the date of issue. If notice of appeal is given to the hearing officer and/ or the vice president for Student Affairs, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs shall defer the effective date of the sanction pending action of the vice president for Student Affairs. The right of appeal to the vice president for Student Affairs shall be forfeited unless written notice is given within five class days of receipt of the sanction. The student must sign an acknowledgement receipt upon receiving the sanction. (For more information related to filing an appeal, see Article IX, Judicial Appeal Procedures).
  1. An accused student shall have the right to testify on his or her own behalf, to present evidence and witnesses to hear and question adverse witnesses and to rebut unfavorable statements. A student’s status in the University, including the right to reside on campus and to attend classes, shall remain unaltered while charges are pending, except for reasons relating to his or her physical or emotional safety and well-being, or for reasons relating to the safety of students, faculty, staff or University property. A summary suspension resulting from such reason shall be in effect until the University hearing officer has had a hearing and submitted his or her recommendation to the assistant vice president for Student Affairs. (See Article VIII, “Summary Suspension.”)
  2. Hearings are normally conducted privately with the accused party and counsel or adviser; however, admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the hearing officer with the consent of the accused student(s).
  3. There shall be records of all formal hearings. The record shall be the property of the University.
  4. The decision of the University hearing officer of whether a student is responsible or not responsible will be based on the evidence submitted at the hearing. Unless written notice of appeal is given to the vice president for Student Affairs, within five class days, the judgment of the hearing officer is final and shall take effect immediately upon the date of issue.

 

Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students are permitted to inspect and review their judicial file in the Office of Student Affairs between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. With the exception of the Office of Student Affairs and other University officials with an established need-to-know, the student’s disciplinary status and disciplinary records may not be released to any outside party without the written permission of the student.

 

ARTICLE VI SANCTIONS

1. In order to protect its educational purposes and processes, the University has the authority to impose sanctions on any student found guilty of an offense or breach of regulations. The sanctions listed below may be imposed upon any student found to have violated the code of conduct. This list is not exclusive.

  1. Reprimand: an official verbal or written statement to the student that he or she has violated a University regulation. It is a warning that further misconduct may result in a more severe sanction.
  2. Assessment/Fine: a forced monetary compensation appropriate to the violation, including a motor vehicle violation.
  3. Disciplinary Probation: the placing of a student on social and behavioral restrictions for aspecified lengthof timeoruntilastated condition is met. Further violations of regulations will result in consideration of his or her suspension from the University.
  4. Loss of Privileges: denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
  5. Restitution: forced compensation to the University or, in the case of private property, to the owner who has suffered the loss. This sanction is applied in cases involving damages to or theft of University or private property.
  6. Educational Sanctions: mandatory participation in a specific educational program, work assignment or the completion of a research assignment. The student is responsible for all related expenses.
  7. Residence Hall Suspension: separation of the student from the residence halls for a specified length of time, after which the student is eligible to return.
  8. Residence Hall Expulsion: permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
  9. Suspension (Held in Abeyance): student, although suspended, is allowed to remain at the University if he or she adheres to the conditions of sanctions imposed by the University hearing officer.  In case of non-compliance with the sanctions, the assistant vice president will notify the hearing officer and the student in writing. Student will be immediately suspended for failing to comply with the imposed sanctions.
  10. Suspension: forced withdrawal from the University for a stated period of time, after which readmission may be allowable. Suspension may extend for the remainder of the current semester or more semesters or until a specified condition is met.
  11. Summary Suspension: See Article VIII
  12. Expulsion: permanent separation of the student from the University.

2. Any student found to have violated the code of conduct may receive more than one sanction.

 

ARTICLE VII ORGANIZATION MISCONDUCT

  1. In the investigation of alleged violations conducted by the Officeof Student Affairs, the organization shall be represented by its president or chief student officer and its chief faculty adviser of record in the Office of Student Affairs. In the event a student group or organization violates University regulation(s), sanctions which may be imposed on the organization include, but are not limited to:
    1. Withdrawal of University Recognition: permanent loss of all privileges as a student organization affiliated with the University.
    2. Educational Sanction: mandatory participation in a specific educational program, work assignment, or the completion of a research assignment. The student organization is responsible for all related expenses.

 

  1. The assistant vice president for Student Affairs may, for cause, impose sanctions and he or she may summarily suspend a student organization until such time as a hearing takes place.

 

ARTICLE VIII SUMMARY SUSPENSION

In cases to protect the physical or emotional well-being of the alleged offender or to protect the safety of students, faculty, staff or University property, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs may summarily suspend a student or student organization from the University and all of its facilities and grounds pending a disciplinary hearing or medical evaluation. The summary suspension shall be in effect until a hearing has taken place on the charge(s) and a decision has been reached. If the student elects to appeal the decision of the hearing officer, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs will decide if summary suspension will be lifted or remain in effect until completion of the appeal process.

 

ARTICLE IX

 

JUDICIAL APPEAL PROCEDURES

In each case involving imposition of a penalty or sanction, the accused shall have the right to appeal the decision.

 

  1. An appeal shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the vice president for Student Affairs within 5 class days following the decision by the hearing officer or the assistant vice president for Student Affairs. A student who fails to file an appeal within the 5 class day period forfeits the right to any appeal.

 

  1. An appeal to the vice president for Student Affairs may be made only on the following grounds:
    1. Lack of due process, i.e., when a student can show an error in the hearing; or arbitrariness in finding against the weight of the evidence.
    2. Lack of substantial evidence.
    3. Evidence that was not considered or available that would subsequently change the nature of the case.

 

  1. Upon receipt of an appeal, the vice president for Student Affairs may render a decision within 5 class days. The vice president for Student Affairs shall review the case and make one of the following determinations:
    1. find no error and affirm the decision of the tribunal which adjudicated the case;
    1. find irregularities, additional pertinent evidence or prejudicial errors sufficient to overturn the decision or remand the case to the appropriate body for further adjudication.

 

  1. The vice president for Student Affairs will communicate the decision to the adjudicatory body, the student, and the president of the University.

 

ARTICLE X

 

STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Students who have grievances resulting from conflict with officials of the University (administrators, staff, and/or faculty), may seek consultation with the assistant vice president for Student Affairs. The assistant vice president for Student Affairs will receive confidential statements during the initial interview and will assist students in clarifying the issue and compiling a summary report of the compliant. With consent of the student, a report of the circumstances will be submitted to the vice president for Student Affairs for review and appropriate action. The decision in a student’s grievance action may be appealed to the president of the University within three class days following the decision. Complaints concerning grades should follow the policy set forth in this handbook under “Academic Appeals Procedures.” These procedures are available in the Dean’s Office of each college or school.

 

When a student has a complaint about mistreatment by another student he or she should follow the procedure listed under the section entitled, “Prohibited Offenses Against Individuals.” Students can also report their complaints directly to the assistant vice president for Student Affairs.