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Student Rights and Responsibilities

Article 1

Academic Rights and Responsibilities

Appropriate conditions and opportunities for learning are important measures of the quality of an educational institution. The university assumes a number of essential responsibilities in order to achieve academic excellence and to preserve the ideals of academic freedom for students. As members of the academic community students similarly accept certain responsibilities.


1.1 Academic Integrity Policy

Statement of Philosophy

The primary purposes of a university are to produce new knowledge and to share knowledge acquired from others. These purposes can be achieved only when intellectual property rights are recognized by everyone within the university. Thus academic integrity is essential; university citizens must take responsibility for their own work and give credit when using the work of others.


Student Honor Code

One effective way for an individual to maintain academic integrity is to accept and follow a code of honorable conduct. The Honor Code authored by the Academic and Leadership Development Committee of the Student Association is one such code:

As a student at Saginaw Valley State University:

I am committed to upholding a high standard of academic integrity in all of my work, inside and outside of the classroom. Out of respect for my peers, professors, institution, and self, I will complete all tasks honestly and to the best of my ability.

I am guided by my conscience as I work toward my educational and professional goals, and I expect my fellow students to practice that same moral judgment.

I take pride in my academic accomplishments and therefore will not give or receive unauthorized assistance on any assignment, project, exam, or other university requirement. 

I seek to maintain the honor of a Saginaw Valley State University degree, and I will preserve its value throughout my professional career.



Academic integrity is undermined whenever one is dishonest in the pursuit of knowledge. Dishonesty takes many forms, including cheating, plagiarism, and other activities for undermining the educational process:

Cheating occurs whenever one attempts to gain an advantage through violation of rules regarding the relevant behavior. It should be assumed that collaboration is cheating unless explicitly authorized.

Plagiarism involves intentionally or unintentionally presenting another person’s expressions –ideas, opinions, illustrations, data, style–as one’s own expression.

Undermining the Educational Process occurs whenever one attempts to prevent another’s learning or subverts the recognized means by which learning occurs.


Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Academic Dishonesty

The first step to be taken by a faculty member should be a review of the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient reason to warrant a charge of academic dishonesty. This should be accomplished prior to imposing any academic sanction (e.g., failing a student for an assignment or a course) and/or referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs for adjudication.


To determine the course of action to be taken, faculty may elect to consult with a department chair, academic dean or the Office of Student Conduct

Programs. When the violation involves plagiarism faculty members are encouraged to employ all available resources (e.g.,, Google searches) in developing a set of evidence.


Disciplinary Process for Incidents of Academic Dishonesty

If the faculty member elects to impose an academic sanction (whether or not the faculty member also refers the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs), the faculty member is to advise the student of the sanction. If the student elects to appeal the academic sanction, the student is to initiate the Student Grade Grievance Procedure, which appears in the Policies and Procedures section of the Student Handbook. If the faculty member elects not to impose an academic sanction but refers the matter to the Office of Student Conduct Programs, the disciplinary process outlined in the Code of Student Conduct will be followed.



The Hearing Panel may impose sanctions upon any student determined to be accountable for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy. Sanctions are cumulative and may be increased based on a past disciplinary record, the severity of the violation, and the impact upon the academic community. There may be circumstances that are cause for exception as determined by the Hearing Panel.



Students have the right to appeal outcomes of hearings and/or sanctions imposed. Written appeals must be submitted within three class days following the written notification of the decisions reached by the Hearing Panel. Appeals will be reviewed jointly by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs.



All cases concerning academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. Additionally, student grade grievance proceedings that occur due to academic dishonesty must be recorded in the Office of Student Conduct Programs. This means that faculty, academic chairs or deans must notify the Office of Student Conduct Programs when a student’s grade is changed for reasons of academic dishonesty.



Article 2

General Rights and Responsibilities


2.1 Student Participation in Institutional Governance

2.1.1 Institutional Responsibility: As constituents of the academic community, students are free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy, and on matters of general interest to the student body. Through membership on various standing and ad hoc committees with members of the faculty and administration, students may participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs.

2.1.2 Student Responsibility: Student members of committees should fulfill all responsibilities of that membership, including regular attendance and follow-through on all assignments and commitments.


2.2 Student Publications

2.2.1 Institutional Responsibility: The University shall provide sufficient editorial freedom and financial autonomy for student publications to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in the academic community. As safeguards for editorial freedom, all forms of student publications shall be free of censorship and advance approval of material, and their editors shall be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage.


2.3 Student Records

2.3.1 Institutional Responsibility: The University shall be responsible for keeping accurate and up-to-date student records. Students are entitled to obtain access, with legal limitations, to official non-academic records and transcripts.

2.3.2 Student Responsibility: Students shall provide honest and complete information as requested for any university matter, and comply with all reasonable expectations concerning format and completion of that information. Students are encouraged to keep copies of documents pertaining to non-academic matters.


2.4 Rights of Citizenship

2.4.1 Institutional Responsibility: Students, as members of the academic community, enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy. Faculty members and administrative officials will ensure that institutional powers do not inhibit students' exercise of rights of citizenship both on and off campus.

2.4.2 Student Responsibility: Students are subject to the obligations that accrue to them by virtue of their membership in the academic community and as citizens.


2.5 Freedom of Association

2.5.1 Institutional Responsibility: In order to express current interests and to develop new ones, students have the right to organize, and to join associations that promote these interests.


2.6 Information Regarding Policies and Procedures

2.6.1 Institutional Responsibility: The university will make available to students, upon request, written information of policies and procedures which could affect the students' welfare, and full explanation of questions about these policies.

2.6.2 Student Responsibility: Students should acquaint themselves with the policies and procedures pertaining to their circumstances. They should adhere to these policies and procedures.


2.7 Fair and Equitable Treatment

2.7.1 Institutional Responsibility: In contacts with university personnel, students should receive fair, equitable and respectful treatment.

2.7.2 Student Responsibility: Students should afford to all university personnel due respect in the conduct of their business.


2.8 Affirmative Action

2.8.1 Institutional Responsibility: All faculty, administrative and staff personnel share the responsibility for adherence to the following policy: Non-discrimination: Saginaw Valley State University is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity, equal education opportunity and nondiscrimination in the provision of educational and other services to the public. These opportunities are to be provided regardless of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical impairment, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status. Sexual Harassment: Discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment, which means unwelcome advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when: Submission to such conduct of communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, to obtain employment, public accommodations or public services, education or housing. Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting such individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education or housing. Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education or housing, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, public accommodations, public services, education or housing environment.

2.8.2 Student Responsibility: Students who feel that they are subjected to discrimination and/or sexual harassment should report the incident(s) to the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs and/or Michigan Civil Rights Commission to receive assistance.

2.8.3 Rights of Due Process: The establishment and maintenance of the proper relationship among members of the university's community are fundamental to the university's function. This relationship requires that faculty, staff and students respect the rights and responsibilities, which derive from it. Whenever problems arise among members of the university community, attempts should be made to resolve them through informal and direct discussions. If such discussions fail to resolve a given problem satisfactorily, the appeals procedure shall apply.

2.8.4 Provisions for Amendment: Any amendments to this document must be approved by the Student Association Representatives, the Faculty Association Executive Board and the Faculty Association General Membership, it being recognized that final approval is also required by the Board of Control.


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