Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students have the responsibility to be aware of, and abide by, the University's policies, rules, regulations, and standards of conduct. This Student Handbook is made available to students so that they may become knowledgeable concerning the standards of conduct UMass Dartmouth requires of its students and more generally, the policies by which all members of the University community must abide.

Legal Rights
Any student who is involved in any criminal proceeding is entitled to the rights the United States Constitution confers to be free from unreasonable search and arbitrary arrest at the hands of the Government and to have any court proceeding conform with due process of the law. Any student who finds him or herself involved in any criminal action may obtain general information on arrest, entrapment, criminal court proceedings, pleas, Miranda rights, legal sources, and posting bail from the Office of Student Affairs.  For “Arrest Rights,” see the Public Safety section of this handbook.

Student Life Rights
All current students are afforded the following rights:

1. Freedom of Association
Students are free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests.

2. Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
Subject to the University’s right to regulate time, place, and manner, students and student organizations will be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinions publicly and privately. In addition, subject to the same limitations, students will be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing.

3. Student Participation in Institutional Governance
UMD recognizes that as constituents of the academic community, students should be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body. Adopted from The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) pamphlet, “Student Rights and Freedoms.”

4. Student Publication Rights
The editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and the techniques of harassment and innuendo.

As safeguards for the editorial freedom of student publications the following provisions are endorsed by UMD:
1.    The student press will be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers will be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage.
2.    All University-published and financed student publications should explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions there expressed are not necessarily those of the University or student body.

5. Freedom of Assembly
The University of Massachusetts recognizes the rights of members of the University community to freedom of assembly and speech, and strongly believes in fostering discourse and the free exchange of ideas at the University. However, as a matter of law and University policy, these rights and interests are restricted, and must be exercised on University property in a manner consistent with the mission and operation of the University and the rights of other members of the University community. Accordingly, the University long ago adopted policies and procedures at each of its campuses which take into account these countervailing interests.

Nonetheless, some members of the University community on occasion have exceeded the bounds of appropriate expression during the course of the demonstration, by interfering in the educational activities and business of the University and with the rights of others. It is therefore desirable to reaffirm the importance of appropriate time, place and manner restrictions on demonstrations. Accordingly, and in order to provide further consistency in the application of University policies to on-campus protests, the Office of the President is issuing the following guidelines for responding to demonstrations on University property:

•    All students, undergraduate and graduate, have a right to demonstrate on University premises provided, however, that no such demonstration shall be permissible which for any reason of time, place, or type of behavior materially disrupts class work or other University business, or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
•    Any demonstration within a campus building may take place only during normal operating hours of the building.
•    Students are prohibited from blocking free entry to or free exit from buildings, interfering with free movement, or presenting obstacles to regular University activities. “Interfering with free movement” is defined as any physical denial or restriction of a person’s ability to freely reach or leave a given geographical area, or harassment as defined in the Code of Student Conduct. “Obstacles” are defined as physical devices, bodies, or signs which cause interference with free movement, or sounds which prevent normal aural communication.
•    A demonstration in a building or area is limited to such a number of persons which the area can reasonably accommodate on grounds of public safety, as determined by a University official.
•    There shall be no interference with demonstrations on the grounds of content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration which incites immediate violent action or breach of peace and represents a clear and present danger to the campus community.
•    No student shall intentionally and substantially interfere with the freedom of expression of another person on University premises or at University sponsored activities.
•    Failure to cease any activity in violation of the policy immediately following either written or oral notice by a University official shall also be a violation of this policy.
•    Any violation of this policy may subject a student to expulsion from the University or such lesser sanction(s) as may be deemed appropriate by the University.

6.  Confidentiality of Records
UMass Dartmouth follows the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1975 (FERPA). These policies protect the privacy of your educational records, establish your right to inspect and review your educational records, and provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data in your educational records.
UMass Dartmouth’s complete FERPA policy is given elsewhere in this handbook.

a.) Confidentiality of Personal Information
The university can give out “directory information” about individual students. Directory information is the student’s name, local and permanent addresses, most-recently attended previous school or college, major field of study, dates of attendance, home town where applicable, membership in university curricular and extra-curricular organizations, weight/height if members of athletic teams, and degrees and awards received.

Students may restrict the University from disclosing this information by filing a nondisclosure request at the University Enrollment Center. For complete information, see the FERPA policy described in this Handbook.

b.) Student ID Number
Students are given a Student ID so they do not need to utilize their Social Security Number on most University documents. Your official social security numbers must be used for certain functions, including employment and financial aid.

c.) Change of Student Information
You should notify the University Enrollment Center or Registrar’s Office of any change, such as name or address. To retain valid visa status, international students must tell us their current address information.

Also, please be sure that your current academic program intentions are officially recorded at the Registrar’s Office, not only your degree program (major) but entities like minors, options, and certificates that you are pursuing.

d.) Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth complies with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), sometimes referred to as the “Buckley Amendment.” This document presents our specific institutional FERPA policies.

For the purposes of this policy, UMass Dartmouth uses the following definitions of terms:

Student — any person who attends or has attended UMass Dartmouth. (This term does not encompass applicants to the university who do not attend or are not yet attending.)

Education records — any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by UMass Dartmouth or an agent of the university which is directly related to a student, except the following:
•    A personal record kept by a staff/faculty member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record.
•    Employment records of a student, provided the records are used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
•    Records maintained by the Counseling Center and Health Center concerning students as clients of the Center(s).
•    Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.
•    Records maintained by UMass Dartmouth if the record is maintained solely for law enforcement purposes and is revealed only to law enforcement agencies of the same jurisdiction.

UMass Dartmouth makes available a listing of the types and locations of the student education records that it maintains.

Annual Notification
Students will be notified of their FERPA rights annually by publication in semester class schedule booklets.

Procedure to Inspect Education Records
Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the Office of the University Registrar. The student should submit a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect. The Office of the University Registrar will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible.  Access must be given in 45 days or less from the receipt of the request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the portion of the records which relate to him/her.

Right of University to Refuse Access
UMass Dartmouth will not permit a student to inspect the following records:
•    Financial statements of the student’s parents.
•    Letters and statements of recommendations for which the student has waived his or her right of access, or which were placed in the file before January 1, 1975.
•    Records connected with the application to attend UMass Dartmouth if that application was denied or the student did not matriculate.

UMass Dartmouth reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect those records which are excluded from the FERPA definition of educational records.

Copies of Educational Records
Access to view records does not necessarily convey a right to receive copies. UMass Dartmouth reserves the right to deny copies of records in any of the following situations:
•    The student lives within commuting distance of UMass Dartmouth.
•    The student has an unpaid financial obligation to UMass Dartmouth.
•    There is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student.
•    Copies are legitimately restricted—for example, an examination the professor does not want released.

The fee for copies, if allowed, will be 10¢ per page. The University may also charge for copying time and postage.

Retention of Records
UMass Dartmouth retains records that continue to have a legitimate function but may discard records that have no continuing utility. To cite one example, after an appropriate retention period records used in providing a student with academic advising in a certain major may be discarded after a student changes to a new major, or graduates. The university will not discard any records after receiving notification, as above, of a student’s request to view those records.

Disclosure of Educational Records to Others
FERPA restricts significantly the right of others to view a student’s educational records. The following are categories of individuals who by federal law and the procedures established for the university may view or receive a student’s educational records:
1.    The student him or herself (except materials to which the student has waived the right of access, such as confidential letters of recommendation).
2.    Persons whom the student authorizes by name in a written, signed statement that names the records to be released. In addition to special circumstances, this rule covers requests to send transcript copies to others, such as employers or other educational institutions. Such disclosure may also be incorporated within signed agreements to participate in any activity or program—for example, receiving a scholarship.
3.    Individuals who are “officials” of the campus and university and who have a “legitimate educational interest” in the record or a “need to know” information in the record. At UMass Dartmouth, “officials” includes —

•    Persons employed or contracted by UMass Dartmouth in an administrative, supervisory, teaching, research, or support staff position (in some cases including students hired as support staff);
•    Officers of the UMass central administration; or
•    Students or others serving on committees where legitimate “need to know” exists (examples are persons serving on a committee that recommends award of scholarships or serving on the board of an honor society).

Such officials have a “legitimate educational interest” or “need to know” if
performing a task that includes each of the following —
•    It falls within the context of their assigned institutional duties or responsibilities;
•    It relates to the functioning of the office, position, or committee involved;
•    It relates to the education or the disciplining of the student; and
•    It is consistent with the purposes for which the information is kept.

4.    Parents who have established that the student is a dependent on their most recent federal income tax return, and then only in individual cases by special request. Otherwise parents have no right of access to their daughter’s or son’s educational records.
5.    Persons or organizations providing financial aid to students or determining those aid awards, as necessary to determine eligibility, amounts, or conditions of an award or to enforce its terms and conditions.
6.    Persons in compliance with a judicial order or lawful subpoena. The university will make a reasonable attempt to notify the student in advance of such release of information. In the case of a Federal Grand Jury subpoena, notification is not given.
7.    Appropriate parties in an emergency if the knowledge or information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or others.
8.    Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request and with appropriate documentation.
9.    Certain officials of the U. S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs.
10.  State and local officials or authorities to whom such information is specifically required to be reported;
11.  Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the university.
12.  Accrediting organizations to carry out their functions.
13.  An alleged victim of any crime of violence, of the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime.
14.  Post-secondary institutions may disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding for a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense to anyone if the institution determines that the student committed a violation of its rules with respect to the crime;
15.  Post-secondary institutions may disclose to a parent or legal guardian, information regarding a student’s violation of any law or institutional rule or policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the student is under the age of 21 and the institution has determined that the student has committed a disciplinary violation.
Persons authorized to view or retain a student’s educational records, as above, may in no case transmit, share, or disclose the information to any third party. All third-party requests for information should be addressed to the Office of University Records.

Record of Requests for Disclosure
UMass Dartmouth will maintain a record of all requests for and/or disclosure of information from a student’s educational records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. However, no record is kept of instances in which officials access a student’s records.

Information That Can Be Disclosed Publicly (“Directory Information”)
The university has designated the following categories of student information as “directory information,” which is information that can be disclosed publicly without permission: student’s name, local and permanent addresses and phone numbers, electronic mail address, most recently attended previous school or college, major field of study, dates of attendance, home town where applicable, membership in university curricular and extra-curricular organizations, weight/height of members of athletic teams, and degrees and awards received.

Currently enrolled students may require UMass Dartmouth to withhold disclosure of the above categories of directory information, by submitting a written request to the Student Enrollment Services Center or the Office of the University Registrar. The university assumes that absence of a student’s request to withhold public information indicates individual approval of disclosure.

Once a nondisclosure request has been filed, it will remain in effect until further notification from the student. This applies both before and after graduation. We wish to alert students to possible negative consequences of withholding disclosure of directory information; an example might be a company asking for a current address to contact you to offer you a job.
UMass Dartmouth makes its current Directory available not only to students but to members of the general public, including political groups, public or private agencies, and advertisers. The full directory is offered as a whole in printed form (computer print-out), for a fee that recovers our expenses. It is not offered electronically or sorted by special categories. However, telephone numbers are not included.

Correction of Educational Records
Students have the right to ask to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:
1.    A student must ask the UMass Dartmouth Office of University Records to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record he/she wants changed and specify why he/she believes it is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of his or her privacy or other rights.
2.    UMass Dartmouth may comply with the request or may decide not to comply. If it decides not to comply, UMass Dartmouth will notify the student of the decision and advise him/her of his/her right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s rights.
3.    Upon request, UMass Dartmouth will then arrange for a hearing and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
4.    The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student’s education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
5.    UMass Dartmouth will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.

Types and Locations of Student Educational Records
UMass Dartmouth makes available a listing of the types and locations of the student educational records it maintains. This list is available in the Office of the University Registrar.

The Right to File a Complaint
The student has a right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by UMass Dartmouth to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office,
U. S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605 March 2003

Statements of Equal Opportunity and Diversity

Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Statement

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth affirms its strong support and deep commitment to the continued development and maintenance of an academic community in which the individual dignity and potential of each of its members are given full respect, recognition, and encouragement. Our goal as an institution is to foster an environment in which all may study, live, and work securely and productively in an atmosphere characterized by civility and openness to the pursuit of academic excellence in the finest tradition of academia.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is opposed to and condemns racism. Acts of harassment, intimidation, or invasion of privacy which interfere with the rights of an individual or group to participate in the activities of the academic community shall be considered to be in violation of this policy and may be dealt with appropriately under applicable University codes as regulated by statue.

We recognize the affirmative obligation of the University to foster a diverse and integrated learning environment. To this end, the University has a responsibility to vigorously pursue efforts to attract minorities, women and members of other historically disadvantaged groups as students, faculty members, and staff in sufficient numbers to alleviate isolation and ensure real integration and diversity in academic life. We also recognize our obligation to nurture community wide appreciation of cultural diversity and will dedicate appropriate resources to meet this commitment on an on-going basis.

Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and Statement

The University of Massachusetts is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.

To fulfill that policy, the University of Massachusetts is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.

It is the policy of the University of Massachusetts to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Doc. T92-034
Passed by the BOT

Revised 2/23/11

Gender Discrimination Statement

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is committed to ensuring    equality and avoiding gender discrimination. Therefore, it is the University    policy to avoid, in all University publications and communications, the use    of language that perpetuates gender bias. University employees are encouraged    to use gender-neutral language. In selecting textbooks and readings of the very    highest quality, faculty are urged to select those that are free of gender bias.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of UMass Dartmouth not to discriminate against any applicant for admission or employment, or against any employee, or in any educational programs, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, veteran’s status, disability, sex, or sexual orientation.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination polices: Assistant Chancellor for Equal Opportunity, Diversity, & Outreach, Foster Administration Building, Room 323, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300. Telephone 508999-8008. Inquiries concerning the application of nondiscrimination policies may also be referred to the Regional Director, Office for Civil Rights, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Room 1875, Boston, MA 02203.

Policy Against Intolerance

The Board of Trustees denounces intolerance which interferes with those rights guaranteed by law or policy, and insists that such conduct has no place in a community of learning.  We also recognize the obligation of the University to protect the rights of free inquiry and expression, and nothing in the Resolution in Support of Pluralism or Policy Against Intolerance shall be construed or applied so as to abridge the exercise of rights under the Constitution of the United States and other Federal and State laws.

Doc. T92-036, as amended
Passed by the BOT

Revised 2/23/11

Resolution in Support of Pluralism

The Board of Trustees affirms its commitment to maintaining an academic environment in which all individuals benefit from each other's experiences through pluralism, mutual respect, appreciation of divergent views, and awareness of the importance of individual rights.  To this end, we reassert the importance of civililty and the valuable contribution that individuals of all backgrounds bring to the University community.

Doc. T92-035
Passed by the BOT

Revised 2/23/11

Council on Cultural Diversity and Pluralism

Established in 1996 and reformed in 2009, the Council on Cultural Diversity and Pluralism (CCDP) is a collective of students, staff, faculty and administrators committed to the promotion of cultural diversity and pluralism within the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth community. CCDP’s mission is stated as follows:

The Council on Cultural Diversity and Pluralism, through its activities and programs, promotes increasing institutional awareness and education, understanding and appreciation of our country’s cultural diversity; and the importance of a global, multicultural perspective in our lives. The Council encourages institutional efforts to offset the persistent adverse effects on individuals and groups, which have resulted from historic, social and economic inequities as well as discrimination. It supports faculty, staff, and students in facilitating discussions, celebrating cultural differences, and recognizing diverse teaching methodologies, learning abilities, and lifestyles. The Council seeks to foster an institutional environment that values differences in people, including those based on age, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and learning ability.

Through its activities, the Council hopes to develop more positive relationships between campus and regional communities. The Council embraces these goals not only because they are educationally and ethically sound, but also because in a more practical sense they are vital to our future prosperity and global well-being.