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Student Privileges and Responsibilities

I. From the Governance of Vassar College

Principles Underlying Relations of Trustees, Faculty, and Students

Article II. Authority of the Students

Section 1. General

The students shall have control over the undergraduate student government pursuant to a charter or constitution authorized by the president and faculty. The president shall reserve a power of veto over legislation which involves substantial change in the character of the residential or academic community or in the financial commitments of the college. Proposals substantially affecting student government shall be the subject of conferences between the parties involved.

Section 2. Amendment

The provisions of this Article II may be amended or repealed by vote of the trustees after conference with the students and faculty as provided above, by a two-thirds majority vote of the faculty after conference with the students and subject to approval by the trustees, or by a majority vote of the undergraduate students in residence subject to a majority vote of the faculty and approval by the trustees. The faculty shall not act on amendments at the meeting in which they are first discussed.

Article III. Relations of Trustees and Students

Section 1. Student Rights and Privileges

The undergraduate student body is recognized as an integral part of the academic community. As members of such student body, students are entitled to freedom of discussion, inquiry and expression in and outside of classes, of association and of publication, to privacy of their personal lives, properties and records (subject to the provisions of law and to the duties of faculty members and academic and administrative officers of the college as defined by college policies) and to participation in the establishment of college policies directly affecting their interests through the means of student self-government and representation on appropriate college committees.

Section 2. Student Responsibilities

  1. Students in attending the college for the purpose of qualifying for academic credit shall pursue that purpose with sincerity, honesty, and commitment. They shall bear in mind that, as undergraduates, their actions have a broad effect on the interests of the college, including its interests in attracting future students and members of the faculty, and accordingly that they have responsibility as members of an academic community.

  2. Freedom of publication places on students a special responsibility under the canons of responsible journalism and applicable governmental regulations. Utterances and discussions in classrooms or in faculty or trustee committees may be published when authorized by the teacher concerned or by the committee chair, respectively.

  3. Students are responsible for any actions in which they may be involved which are injurious to the welfare or property of the college or of other members of the college community. When a student is charged with violation of any law in a situation in which the college is not involved, the college has no obligation to assist, but may afford to the student such assistance as appropriate and practicable.

  4. Students may not use the name of the college in such a way as to state or imply college approval for any policy or position, unless authorized by the president, or any person designated by her/him, in writing.

  5. The responsibilities set forth herein, and the conditions pertinent thereto, are relevant to the rights and privileges of individual students in an academic community. The president, following a fair hearing, may authorize sanctions to be applied to individual students who disregard these responsibilities or conditions or who, in her/his determination, have provided justifiable cause, whether on or off the campus, therefore.

II. From the By-Laws of the Board of Trustees

Article V. Officers of the College

Section 1. The President

D. (1) The president shall be the official medium of communication between the board and the faculty, and between the board or the faculty, as the case may be, and any person or group of persons [including students] in any relationship to the college.

III. Notification of Rights under FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students and former students (referred to collectively as “students” below) certain rights with respect to their education records. Education records are defined as those records directly related to a student and maintained by the institution or by a party acting for the institution. The act does exclude certain records and a listing of those exclusions may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Registrar.

A. Rights afforded by FERPA

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the college receives a request for access.

    A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The college official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the college official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

    A student who wishes to ask the college to amend a record should write the college official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.

    If the college decides not to amend the record as requested, the college will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  3. The right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information (excluding directory information, see below) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    The college discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the college has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using college employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing her or his tasks.

    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill her or his professional responsibilities for the college.

  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college 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
    400 Maryland Avenu, SW
    Washington, DC
    20202-5901

B. Directory information

At its discretion the college may provide directory information without the written consent of the student in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated directory information at Vassar College includes the following: student name, student ID number, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of student including correlate sequence, dates of attendance, class level, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities or sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degree received and honors awarded, and the most recent educational institution attended. Students may block the public disclosure of directory information by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing. Requests for non-disclosure will be honored by the college until removed in writing by the student. Students may also control the types of directory information displayed in the online Student Directory by going to the Student Directory page of the Vassar website and logging into “set student display preferences.”

IV. Student Right-to-Know Act

Under this act, educational institutions are required to disclose to current and prospective students their completion or graduation rate. This rate is defined as the percentage of students who complete their degree program within 150% of the normal completion time for that degree. For Vassar College, this means the percentage of entering students who complete their degree within six years. The most recent Vassar class graduation rate is 92 percent. Additional graduation and retention rate information is available from the Office of the Registrar.