Student Rights and Responsibilities
The online Student Handbook is produced as a resource for the
students, faculty, staff, and administration of Dickinson College. Content
is subject to change. Please contact the appropriate person or office to obtain
the most current information.
Dickinson College exists for the
pursuit of truth, the transmission of knowledge, the development of students
and the well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression by all members
of the academic community are indispensable to the attainment of these
interrelated goals. Students, in particular, should be encouraged to develop
the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent
search for truth. Academic freedom must, therefore, include both the freedom to
teach and the freedom to learn. Both faculty and students should exercise these
freedoms with responsibility. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate
opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger
community. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions
conducive to this freedom is shared by all members of the academic community.
The purpose of this statement is to enumerate the essential provisions for
student freedom to learn.
Nothing herein contained shall be
read to be in conﬂict with the Charter and Bylaws of Dickinson College, which
constitute the basis for the government of the college.
responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are
enrolled, but they shall be free to take reasoned exception to the data or
views offered in any course and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.
The evaluation of a
student’s performance shall not reﬂect other factors than those directly
concerned with the project or semester’s work in question. Students shall have
protection against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation through the
publication of clear course objectives and evaluation policies and methods;
through written explanation and evaluation policies and methods; through
written explanation of grades upon student request; and through orderly
procedures of appeal against clear failure to observe stated criteria, in the
assignment of ﬁnal grades. No later than the second class meeting, a written
syllabus shall be distributed to the students containing the following:
- A reasonable indication of the intent and scope of the
course, and, where relevant, the role of the teaching assistant.
- A reasonable indication of the works expected of the
student - readings, papers, exams, quizzes, presentations, etc. and how they
ﬁgure in the ﬁnal grade.
- Ideally, the due dates of the works expected of the
student. If this is not possible or appropriate, the students should be given
reasonable advance notiﬁcation of the due dates.
- The faculty member’s own deﬁnition of plagiarism, if he or
she does not accept the deﬁnition
established by the Faculty.
student views, beliefs and political associations which professors acquire in
the course of their work as instructors, advisers, and counselors should be
considered as conﬁdential. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious
professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided
under appropriate circumstances, normally with the knowledge or consent of the
Students shall have
protection against arbitrary interference by others in their participation in
Improper Discharge of College Responsibilities -
A student wishing to bring a
complaint against a faculty member regarding improper discharge of college
responsibilities must do so in writing to the provost and dean of the college.
Improper Discharge of College Responsibilities - College, Staff or Administrator Violations
A student wishing to bring a
complaint against the college or a member of the staff or administration
regarding discrimination based upon legally protected characteristics such as
race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, disability, or military status, must
do so in writing to the dean of students. This procedure does not apply to
grievances involving faculty or grievances in connection with sexual harassment
or the resolution of charges of misconduct against students, for which the
college currently has independent procedures outlined in the Academic Handbook,
Student Handbook, College Bulletin, and other documents.
Students shall have the right to organize and
join associations to promote their common interests.
The membership, policies, and actions of ofﬁcial
student organizations shall be determined by vote of only those persons who
hold bona ﬁde membership in the college community.
Afﬁliation with an external organization shall
not of itself disqualify a student organization from institutional recognition.
Student organizations desiring recognition shall
be required to submit a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of
procedure and a current list of ofﬁcers or organizational representatives to
the Dean of Students either directly or through the Student Senate.
Recognized campus organizations shall be open to
all students without discrimination.
Although college facilities and services are
available to faculty, students, administrators and staff members, college
departments and recognized student organizations have priority when reserving
space or services.
Recognized student organizations are required to
have a faculty, administrator or staff adviser.
All contracts and student wages paid from monies
collected by the college must be approved by the Office of Campus Life.
Because of the distinguishing features of
general or social fraternities and sororities, they are required to participate
in a written agreement with the college which sets forth clearly the
expectations of these organizations and their relationship with the college.
No student organization may indicate or imply
that it is acting on behalf of the college unless it is authorized to do so.
Since volunteer participation is the essential characteristic
of student organizations, recognized groups shall not use punitive measures
such as ﬁnes without the option of disassociation.
A. Students and student organizations shall be
free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and express
opinions publicly and privately. They shall be free to support causes by
orderly means which do not disrupt the regular operation of the college. They
are obliged to make clear to the academic and the larger community that in
their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations
speak only for themselves.
B. Students shall be free to invite and hear any
person of their choosing. Only to assure orderly scheduling of facilities and
to assure proper arrangements may the college supervise the invitations
extended to a guest speaker. Sponsorship of guest speakers does not imply
approval or endorsement of the views expressed, either by the sponsoring group
or the college.
in College Governance
A. Students are to be free individually and
collectively to express their views on issues of college policy and on matters
of general interest to the student body.
B. They shall have clearly deﬁned means to
participate in the formulation and application of college policy affecting
academic and student affairs. The responsibility and authority of student
government shall be made explicit, and the actions of student government within
the areas of its jurisdiction shall be reviewed only through orderly and
A. Student publications shall be free of
censorship and advance approval of copy. Their editors and managers shall be free
to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage within the canons of
literary or journalistic responsibility appropriate to the publication.
B. Only for proper and stated causes shall
editors and managers be subject to removal and then only by the agency
C. Student publications shall explicitly state on
the editorial page that opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the
college or of the student body.
College students are both members of the academic community
and citizens. As citizens, students should enjoy the same freedom of speech,
peaceable assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy. The
college shall not inhibit such intellectual and personal development of
students as may be prompted by their exercise of these rights both on- and
Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed
by civil authorities. College authority shall never be used merely to duplicate
the function of civil laws; only where the college community’s pursuit of its
educational objectives is distinct, and clearly involved, shall its special
authority be asserted. The student who, in the course of his or her off-campus
activities, incidentally violates college regulations (such as those relating
to course assignments) shall be subject to no greater penalty than would
normally be imposed on-campus. College action shall be independent of community
The college shall clarify those general standards of
behavior which it considers essential to its educational objective and its
community life. These general behavioral expectations and the resultant speciﬁc
regulations shall represent a reasonable regulation of student conduct in areas
which have persuasive relevance to the educational aim of the college. Students
detected or arrested in the course of violations of college regulations or
infractions of ordinary law shall be informed of their rights. No form of
harassment shall be used to coerce admissions of guilt or information about the
conduct of other suspected persons. Unless convicted on charges brought against
him or her, a student shall not have his or her status altered nor shall his or
her right to be present on the campus and to attend classes be suspended,
except for reasons of individual or community safety.
Student Records Policy
This policy is based on provisions of the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, popularly known as the Buckley Amendment. The
act in its entirety is available for inspection in the Registrar’s Ofﬁce or via
the Registrar's Web
This Act of Congress gives students access to student
records which concern them as individual students. It governs access of others
at the college to those records and restricts the release of records to a third
party. It also gives students the right to challenge material in those records
believed to be inaccurate. The broad purpose of this Act, therefore, is to
guarantee that personally identiﬁable student records are accurate and will not
be improperly disclosed.
Only information which is directly relevant to the
educational processes of the college or which is voluntarily offered by the
student should be included in student records. All such records and a log of
the requests for such records are maintained by college academic and
administrative personnel in the course of performance of assigned duties. Only
those college ofﬁcials who have legitimate educational interest shall have
right of access to the following student records maintained by the college
- Admissions application: high school
transcript maintained in the Registrar’s Ofﬁce
- Dickinson academic record: supporting
documents maintained in the Registrar’s Ofﬁce
- Student ﬁle maintained by academic advisers
- Student ﬁle maintained by academic deans
B. Nonacademic Records
- Financial Aid (to include grant, loan, and
scholarship information but to exclude parents’ conﬁdential ﬁnancial
- Student Development or Dean of Students’
- Student conduct ﬁles
- Career Center and Office of Academic
- Cashier’s Ofﬁce ﬁles
- Library ﬁles
conﬁdential ﬁnancial statements from parents in the Financial Aid Ofﬁce, student
medical records kept in The Health Center, psychiatric and psychological
records of students in the counseling center, conﬁdential letters of
recommendation written before January 1, 1975, and those to which students have
waived access, are records deﬁned as strictly conﬁdential, privileged, and not
accessible to students or to others except as provided by relevant policy and applicable law.
Student’s Educational Records
Students: Each student shall have the right to inspect his or her own
education records, subject only to reasonable restrictions as to time, place
B. To College Ofﬁcials: Records can
be disclosed only to those persons employed by the college in administrative,
supervisory, academic, research or support staff positions, members of the
Board of Trustees, or persons employed by or under contract to the college to
perform a special task, such as the attorney or auditor with a legitimate
educational interest such as performing a task that is speciﬁed in his/her position description
or by a contract agreement, task related to a student’s education, performing a
task related to the discipline of a student, fundraising, providing a
service or beneﬁt relating to the
student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement or
C. To Others without Student Consent:
Information in ofﬁcial student’s education records shall be disclosed to others
outside the college without student consent only as follows:
1. The Admissions Ofﬁce may approve the
disclosure of academic information on a student to high school counselors who
inquire about performance of their graduates.
2. Directory Information: The following
directory information about a student may be released at the discretion of the
appropriate college ofﬁcial.
- Full name;
- Home address and telephone number;
- Date and place of birth;
- Campus address, local address, e-mail
address, and telephone number;
- Matriculated status (full-time, part-time, or
non-matriculated) plus college major
- Dates of college attendance;
- Most recent previous institution attended by
- Date of graduation, degree, and awards
- For athletic teams, height and weight of
- Participation in recognized student
organizations and activities;
- Enrollment in foreign languages (without
grades) may be made available to faculty teaching or supporting courses which
have a foreign language integration option;
- Photograph or likeness.
Note: Students who object to release of the above
“Directory Information” should express their objection in writing to the
Registrar within the ﬁrst week of any fall semester, within one week of arrival
as a new transfer student in any Spring semester, or within two days of the
start of any summer school session.
D. To Parents and Guardians: Release
of student grades and ofﬁcial college correspondence to parents and guardians
of dependent students is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The
test of dependency is determined by the Internal Revenue Code current at the
time of the request.
E. To Parents and Guardians: Release
of information regarding violations of alcohol or drug laws or rules.
F. To the Military without Student
Consent in compliance with “Solomon Amendment directory information”:
- Date and place of birth
- Level of education
- Academic major
- Degrees received
- The educational institution in which the
student was most recently enrolled
G. To others upon written request of the
- Local, state, and federal agency personnel
may review student’s record.
- Physician, psychiatrist, or other recognized
health provider or professional may review medical records. (Exception may be
made in cases of medical emergency when written request may not be possible.)
- Persons and organizations speciﬁed by student
may review Career Center ﬁles.
- Another college or university in which a
student seeks or intends to enroll will have transmitted academic transcripts
and other requested student records.
H. Without written consent of the
student, but with prompt attempt to notify student at last known address:
- Upon subpoena, court order, or notice under
court direction from one of the courts having jurisdiction, for production of
student records, the college will comply.
- Upon subpoena of student records by Internal
Revenue agents, the college will notify student at last known address within
required response period as required by law, and then will comply with the IRS
- To persons or organizations providing
students with ﬁnancial aid or who make ﬁnancial decisions concerning
eligibility, amount, conditions, and enforcement of terms of ﬁnancial aid, the
college will disclose certain student records.
- To Bureau of the Census, the college will
release students’ names and campus addresses for exclusive purpose of securing
Interviews of Reference
College personnel may write letters of reference or grant
interviews of reference upon speciﬁc request by the student or alumnus/a
concerned. For these purposes, application for employment and/or application to
transfer or enter another educational institution shall be considered as a
request to supply reference information. Copies of notes of such reference
information shall not be included in student records except if the
alumnae/alumnus or student requests their inclusion in Career Center ﬁles.
Copies of letters of reference may be maintained in the custody of faculty or
staff who write them.
Copies of Student’s
Students are entitled to receive copies of certain student
records where failure to have a copy would affect right to review (a
duplicating cost for such materials may be incurred by the student). Records
created by other institutions may be reviewed but will not be copied. Students
who desire copies of records from other schools must request the copy from the
school that originated the document on record.
Rosters of Student
Names and Addresses
Under no circumstances will these rosters be provided to any
individual or group not afﬁliated with the college.
Challenges to Content
of Student’s Education Records
If a student discovers errors that he or she believes should
be corrected in the student records, these should be pointed out to the faculty
or staff member involved. The dean of students has been appointed as the
hearing ofﬁcer to resolve any disagreements that cannot be settled directly. The
dean is available for informal meetings on such matters at any time. If the
matter is not resolved through such informal means, a formal hearing can be
arranged with the college Appeals Board. At such a hearing the student would
have full opportunity to present evidence to the Board.
Entry and Search of
Student Living Quarters
safety inspections of student living quarters should be announced at least one
day in advance of the date on which the inspection is to take place.
- Student Life staff may enter individual
student rooms when there is reason to believe that a college policy is being
- In situations apparently imperiling
individual or community safety, or bringing into question the well-being of
student or community, student rooms may be searched by authorized agents of the
college, whether or not student occupants are present. All local, county, state
and federal laws regarding searches are applicable to the Dickinson College
- Whenever practical, a member of the
Campus Life staff or a Division of Student Development administrator shall be
present when the rooms are searched.
- Evidence found in any type of
inspection or search conducted by an authorized agent of the college or law
enforcement ofﬁcial may be used in campus judicial hearings.