The primary purpose of the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities (the Statement) is to assist the University of Michigan-Flint (the University) in providing an environment which supports the educational process and the well-being and safety of the campus community. Free inquiry and free expression are essential attributes of the University community. As members of the community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a substantial independent search for truth. The freedom to learn depends upon the opportunities and conditions in the classroom, the campus, and in the larger community. The responsibility to secure and respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn should be shared by all members of the academic community. When students choose to accept admission to the University, they accept the rights and responsibilities of membership in the University’s academic and social community.

As members of the University community, students are expected to uphold its values by maintaining a high standard of conduct. Such values include, but are not limited to, civility, dignity, diversity, education, equality, freedom, honesty, and safety. The Statement is intended to define conduct expectations, to identify sanctions which may be imposed when misconduct occurs, and to ensure that students are treated with fundamental fairness and personal dignity. The Statement is an articulation of the University’s commitment to recognize and support the rights of its students and to provide a guide for defining behaviors the University considers inappropriate. It is not, however, meant to be an exhaustive list of all rights supported by the University of al all actions which may be considered misconduct.

Within the University, entities (such as schools and colleges, campus, professional, and student organizations) have developed policies that outline standards of conduct governing their constituents and that sometimes provide procedures for sanctioning violations of those standards. This Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities does not replace those standards; nor does it constrain the procedures or sanctions provided by those policies. This Statement describes possible behaviors which are inconsistent with the values of the University community; it outlines procedures to respond to such behaviors; and it suggests possible sanctions which are intended to educate and to safeguard members of the University community.

Members of the University community are accountable to both civil authorities and to the University for acts which violate the law and this Statement. Disciplinary action at the University will, normally, proceed during the pendency of external civil or criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that external civil or criminal charges involving the same incident are pending or have been invoked, dismissed, or reduced.

Nothing in this document should be construed so as to limit the Chancellor’s authority to maintain health, diligence, and order among students under Regents’ Bylaw 2.03.

Student Rights

Students at the University have the same rights and protections under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan as other citizens. These rights include freedom of expression, press, religion, and assembly. The academy has a long tradition of student activism and values freedom of expression, which includes voicing unpopular views and dissent. As members of the University community, students have the right to express their own views, but must also take responsibility for granting the same right to others.

Students have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Students have the right to be protected from capricious decision-making by the University and to have access to University policies which affect them. The University has an enduring commitment to provide students with a balanced and fair system of dispute resolution. Accordingly, this Statement will not deprive students of the appropriate due process protections to which they are entitled. This Statement is one of the University’s administrative procedures and should not be equated with procedures used in civil or criminal courts.

Students and student organizations are free to discuss questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately without penalty. In conveying the ideas and opinions of students, the student press is free from censorship and the need of advance approval.

Editors, managers, and writers must subscribe to the standards of responsible journalism. At the same time, they are protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content.

Students have the right to privacy of personal possessions. Searches and seizures may be conducted by appropriate University officials, but only for specific reasons of probable cause and not freely at will. The student(s) being searched must be notified of the object of the search, unless there is immediate danger to person or property.

Academic Rights

Protection of Freedom of Expression
Students are responsible for learning thoroughly the content of any course of study, but are free to take exception to the data or views presented and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.

Protection Against Improper Disclosure
Protection against improper disclosure of information regarding student views, beliefs, and political associations which instructors acquire in the course of their work as instructors, advisors, and counselors is considered a professional obligation.

Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation
Students can expect protection, through orderly procedures, against prejudice or capricious evaluation. Students are also expected to respect the academic freedom of faculty and their rights and responsibilities to determine curriculum and evaluate academic performance.

If any student has a grievance regarding academic practices and policies, there are established procedures within each college and school of the University of Michigan-Flint for resolving such problems. See the appropriate school or college section of the Catalog for a statement of the academic grievance procedure to be followed. Graduate students should consult the Office of Graduate Programs at the University of Michigan-Flint.

 

Violations of The Statement

Along with rights come certain responsibilities. Students at the University are expected to act consistently with the values of the University community and to obey local, state, and federal laws.

VIOLATIONS
Students are expected to comply with published University policies. The following behaviors, for example, contradict the values of the University community and are subject to disciplinary action under this Statement:

  • Physically harming another person including acts such as killing, assaulting, or battering
  • Sexually assaulting another person
  • Sexually harassing another person.  Sexual harassment consists of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal, visual, or physical conduct that stigmatizes or victimizes an individual on the basis of sex or sexual orientation where such behavior:
    • Involves an express or implied threat to an individual’s academic efforts, employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or personal safety; or
    • Has the purpose or reasonable foreseeable effect of interfering with an individual’s academic efforts, employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or personal safety; or
    • Creates an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for educational pursuits, employment, or participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities.
  • Hazing
  • Stalking or harassing another person
  • Possessing, using, or storing firearms, explosives, or weapons on University-controlled property or at University events or programs (unless approved by the Department of Public Safety; such approval will be given only in extraordinary circumstances)
  • Tampering with fire or other safety equipment or setting unauthorized fires
  • Illegally possessing or using alcohol
  • Illegally distributing, manufacturing, or selling alcohol
  • Illegally possessing or using drugs
  • Illegally distributing, manufacturing, or selling drugs
  • Intentionally and falsely reporting bombs, fires, or other emergencies to a University official
  • Stealing, vandalizing, damaging, destroying, or defacing University property or the property of others
  • Obstructing or disrupting classes, research projects, or other activities or programs of the University; or obstructing access to University facilities, property, or programs (except for behavior that is protected by the University’s policy on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression)
  • Making, possessing, or using falsified University document or record; altering any University document or record, including identification cards
  • Assuming another person’s identity or role through deception or without proper authorization. Communicating or acting under the guise, name, identification, email address, signature, or indicia of another person without proper authorization, or communicating under the rubric of an organization, entity, or unit that you do not have the authority to represent
  • Failing to leave University-controlled premises when told to do so by a police or security officer with reasonable cause
  • Conviction, a plea of no contest, acceptance of responsibility or acceptance of sanctions for a crime or civil infraction (other than a minor traffic offense) in state or federal court if the underlying behavior impacts the University community
  • Misusing, failing to comply with, or jeopardizing Statement procedures, sanctions, or mediated agreements, or interfering with participants involved in the resolution process
  • Violating University computer policies

Scope of Violations

Behavior which occurs in the city of Flint, on University-controlled property, or at University sponsored events/programs may violate the Statement. Behavior which occurs outside the city of Flint or outside University-controlled property may violate the Statement only if the behavior poses an obvious and serious threat to harm to any member(s) of the University community.

The Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities is intended to incorporate other specific University policies by reference. These policies include: Information Technology Services (ITS) Technology Policies, and A Resident’s Guide to Community Living from the Office of Housing and Residential Life. The Statement will be used to address violations of these policies only if the violation warrants a process or a sanction beyond what is available in these   policies. In such cases, policy adjudicators may take intermediate action regarding a complaint as defined by their individual policy; however, final resolution may occur under the procedures outlined in this Statement.

Formal Adjudication Process

The University will use the following procedures to respond to behavior which goes against the values of the University community as defined in this Statement. The University considers the procedures for resolving disputes a part of its educational mission and is committed to a process that provides for peer review. Persons who have questions about the Statement should contact the Assistance Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs who provides support to all participants. Resolution and appeal processes are administrative functions and are not subject to the same rules of civil or criminal proceedings. Because some violations of these standards are also violations of law, students may be accountable to both the legal system and the University.

Any person who knowingly and intentionally files a false complaint under these procedures is subject to disciplinary action.

Records of non-academic misconduct will be maintained by the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and destroyed seven (7) years after the charged student’s separation from the University.

For good cause, any times limit in these procedures may be extended by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The Hearing Panel is not bound by the legal rules of evidence.

The Hearing Panel shall exercise control over the hearing to avoid needless consumption of time and to prevent the harassment or intimidation of witnesses. The Hearing Board may limit testimony based on redundancy or lack of relevancy.

Initiating the Resolution Process: any student, faculty member, or staff member may also submit a complaint based upon information reported to that person. All complaints must be submitted to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (AVC DSA), in writing, within six months after the incident(s) alleged in the complaint. The AVC DSA may waive the six-month limitation when a late submission is reasonable. If the AVC DSA determines, based on an investigation, that the alleged behavior may be a violation of the Statement, the AVC DSA will notify the accused student and schedule a meeting as described below.

  • State Resolution Process: The AVC DSA will meet with the accused student to explain the complaint and the resolution process. The student may be accompanied by an advisor. The student will have the opportunity to ask questions and make a statement. The AVC DSA will inform the accused student (1) that statements the student makes to the AVC DSA may be considered at any hearing, (2) that the student does not have to make a statement at the initial meeting, (3) that all disciplinary records are confidential to the extent permitted by law, and (4) that the student has a right to know the potential sanctions before admitting responsibility (but may not appeal if he/she accepts responsibility without asking about sanctions).

The accused student has a choice of the following methods of dispute resolution:

  • Acceptance of Responsibility: The accused student has the option of accepting responsibility for the chargers and accepting the sanction chosen by the AVC DSA. Upon request, the accused student has the right to know the potential sanctions before accepting responsibility, however the accused student may not appeal if he/she accepts responsibility without asking about sanctions. The accused student also has the option of accepting responsibility for the charges and requesting a hearing on the sanctions under the procedures outlined in B.
  • Hearing: The accused student may choose to have a Resolution Officer or a Student Resolution Panel arbitrate the dispute. In cases which involve more than one accused student, the students will have the option of choosing whether they have the same or separate hearings. If students cannot agree, the hearings will be separate.

Each party may be accompanied at the hearing by a personal advisor, who may be an attorney; however, the advisor may not participate directly in the proceedings, but may only advise the party. For example, the advisor may not question witnesses or make presentations.

At a hearing, the AVC DSA will be in charge of preparing and submitting information gathered during the investigation. Both parties may have access to all written or other information that will be considered prior to the hearing. Both parties have the right to the names of witnesses providing information prior to the hearing.

During the hearing, the Resolution Officer, AVC DSA, accused student, complaining witness and student panelists (if applicable) have the right to question (See Appendix A) the complaining witness and the AVC DSA. Each of the above-enumerated persons may also ask questions of (1) the accused student, if he/she chooses to testify and (2) of any witnesses who have presented information. Silence by the accused will not be used as evidence of responsibility for a charge. Witnesses may be present in the hearing room only when they are presenting information. At any time during the hearing, the accused student may request a recess to consult with his/her advisor.

The accused student, complaining witness, and AVC may also present written reports to the panel or Resolution Officer. The accused student and complaining witness may make statements to the panel or Resolution Officer at the beginning and end of the proceeding.

To ensure the privacy of the parties and to maximize the educational potential of the process, both parties must agree to the admission of any other people (except witnesses or advisors) to the hearing. To ensure fairness and consistency, and to maximize the educational potential of the process, panelists must have access to details, rationales, and results of past cases. The student is presumed no responsible unless clear and convincing evidence is presented that a violation of the Statement has occurred.

A tape recording will be made of Statement hearings, and will be made available (in the Assistant Vice Chancellor’s office) to the accused student or complaining witness upon request during the period in which an appeal may be filed or is pending. In all cases, the Resolution Officer will issue a written decision containing findings of fact, conclusions as to responsibility, and rationales for all sanctions imposed.

The hearing body will deliberate in closes session and its decision will be communicated to the student charged, in writing, by the Assistant vice Chancellor for Student Affairs within five (5) days.

Sanctions

Sanctions are designed to promote the University’s educational mission. Sanctions may also serve to promote safety or to deter students from behavior which harms, harasses, or threatens people or property or is motivated by bias because of membership in a group listed in Paragraph 2 under Student Rights. Although it is inappropriate for the University to try to change a student’s convictions, it is appropriate for the University to ask a student to change inappropriate behavior. Some behavior is so harmful to the University community or so deleterious to the educational proves that it may require more serious sanctions: removal from housing, removal from specific courses or activities, suspension from the University, or expulsion. One or more of the following sanctions may be recommended:

  • Formal Reprimand: A formal notice that the Statement has been violated and that future violations will be deal with more severely.
  • Disciplinary Probation: A designated period of time during which the student is not in good standing with the University. The terms of probation may involve restrictions of student privileges and/or set specific behavioral expectations. The appropriate University units shall be notified of the student’s probationary status.
  • Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury to the appropriate party in the form of service, money, or material replacement.
  • Restriction from Employment at the University: Prohibition or limitation on University employment.
  • Class/Workshop Attendance: Enrollment and completion of a class or workshop that could help the student understand why her or his behavior was inappropriate.
  • Educational Project: Completion of a project specifically designed to help the student understand why her or his behavior was inappropriate.
  • Service: Performance of one or more tasks designed to benefit the community and help the student understand why her or his behavior was inappropriate.
  • Removal from Specific Courses or Activities: Suspension or transfer from courses or activities at the University for a specified period of time.
  • No Contact: Restriction from entering specific University areas and/or all forms of contact with certain person(s).
  • Suspension in Abeyance: During Suspension in Abeyance, the student remains enrolled. However, any violation of the conduct regulations during the period of Suspension in Abeyance will, after a determination of guilt, result in automatic suspension.
  • Suspension: Separation from the University for a specified period of time or until certain conditions are met. When a student is suspended during a term, he or she is not exempted from the payment of tuition for that term.
  • Expulsion: Permanent separation from the University. When a student is expelled during a term, he or she is not exempted from the payment of tuition for that term.
  • University Housing Transfer or Removal:  Placement in another room or removal from University housing.

Appeal Process

An appeals process is an essential safeguard for an imperfect human process that attempts very hard to be fair. The appeal process is available to each party. Appeals may be filed for the following reasons:

  • Proper procedures were not followed
  • The evidence clearly does not support the findings(s)
  • Sanctions are insufficient or excessive relative to the violation
  • There is new evidence not reasonably available at the time of the hearing.

All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs within ten (10) academic calendar days following the Assistant Vice Chancellor’s (AVC DSA) decision to accept or modify the recommendations resulting from the hearing. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VC DSA) may waive the 120 day limitation when a late submission is reasonable. Appeals will be reviewed by the Faculty Student Concerns Committee. The Faculty Student Concerns Committee may take one of the following actions:

  • Confirm the decision made through the hearing process
  • Alter the sanctions(s)
  • Recommend a re-hearing.