3.9.1 Student Rights

The institution publishes a clear and appropriate statement of student rights and responsibilities and disseminates the statement to the campus community.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University publishes a clear and appropriate statement of student rights and responsibilities and makes these materials available in print publications such as the Student Handbook and University Catalogs, as well as on the University Website.

In creating its policies, Prairie View A&M follows Texas A&M System Regulations 08.01: Civil Rights Protections and Compliance, 08.01.01: Civil Rights Compliance, and 13.02: Student Rights and Obligations [1] [2] [3]. These documents are made available on the Website of the Office for Equal Opportunity.

Both the undergraduate and graduate catalogs contain identical statements about compliance with Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 [4]. Catalogs can be purchased in the campus bookstore or easily read and downloaded on the University Web site from the "Quick Links" pull-down menu. Also, during New Student Orientation, students and parents receive overviews of FERPA, and their understanding of the Act is gauged through a pre- and post-orientation test [5].

In addition to explaining rights under federal laws, catalogs detail student rights and responsibilities for the following appeals and grievances:

  • A 10-step grading/class related appeals process for instances in which students have complaints about a particular course [6]. Statements summarizing this process or directing students to the University Catalogs are part of the standard course syllabus [7] [8].
  • A 10-step procedure for cases of alleged academic dishonesty, 7 student rights and responsibilities in such cases, and possible sanctions [9]. Academic dishonesty is defined clearly in the new Course Syllabus Template [8].
  • Appeals to the Admission and Academic Standards Committee for students who are denied admission to the University [10].
  • Appeals for students who lose financial aid due to failure to make satisfactory academic progress [11]. The process allows students to explain circumstances that make have affected their class performance, and it also is available to students via the Office of Financial Aid Web site along with the form that must be completed [12].
  • Appeals to the Admission and Academic Standards Committee for students moving from probation to academic suspension in specific circumstances [13].
  • A 6-step process for cases in which students in the College of Education are denied admission to teacher education or to student teaching [14].
  • Grievances related to possible violations of Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [15]. PVAMU Administrative Procedure 70.17, available on the University Web site, discusses Title VI and Title IX protections [16]. Discrimination grievances share a common form, available from the Websites of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Office of Diagnostic Testing and Disability Services [17].

Further information about student rights and responsibilities is disseminated in the Student Handbook [18]. The Student Handbook contains a Commitment to Excellence, the Panther Code of Honor, and Ideals for the Prairie View Man and Woman, originally from the 1971-72 Student Handbook: fraternity, friendliness, honesty, scholarship, cleanliness, health, respect, responsibility, service and religious freedom. It also outlines the Student Conduct Code in detail, clearly setting out five categories each of student rights and responsibilities, 27 categories of prohibited behaviors, procedures followed when the Student Conduct Code is violated, and processes for appealing sanctions. Several of the policies are reinforced on various University Web pages, such as policies regarding sexual harassment on the Website for the Office of Equal Opportunity [19].

Furthermore, the Handbook outlines expectations of awareness: "Every student, including those who are participating in any program that is University sponsored, on or off campus, must abide by the rules and regulations governing student conduct. The rules and regulations are available on the internet, at the front desk of the main campus library and in each administrative office on all PVAMU campuses. Additional copies are available by contacting the Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs." Links to the Student Handbook are available directly from the "Current Students" portal, the Website for Student Affairs, and from the Forms, Policies and Reports link on the University homepage.

Section 85.01 of the Prairie View A&M University Administrative Procedures explains rights and responsibilities related to freedom of expression, including the designated "free speech area" and procedures for sponsoring and advertising an event on campus [20].

Evidence that these statements about rights and responsibilities are clear and available to the student body comes from survey instruments. The Texas A&M University System adds approximately 20 questions to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), including items about student handbooks and grievance procedures. In response to the statement "The student handbook provides the information that I need," the 2001 mean response for freshmen was 3.16 and 3.15 for seniors on a 4.0 scale, between "agree" and "strongly agree," and means increased slightly in 2003 [21] [22]. From 2001 to 2003, freshman means increased from 2.41 to 2.65 for knowledge of how to make a student services complaint and from 2.47 to 2.72 for academic complaints. For seniors, the means decreased slightly. All numbers were above the TAMUS averages.

In the 2007 NSSE, which reports percentages rather than means, 92% of freshmen and 91% of seniors agreed that the student handbook conveys useful information. 48% of freshmen and 61% of seniors agreed that they knew how to make a complaint about student services, indicating that students become more knowledgeable as they progress through their University career. 63% of freshmen and 65% of seniors said they knew the process for filing a complaint about academic issues. Although the numbers may seem low, they remain comparable to or better than the overall results from the Texas A&M University System [23].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.9.1

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University