Draft Date: 03/10/14 Resolution to Adopt a CUNY Student Bill of Rights WHEREAS, the proposed Student Bill of Rights is intended to outline principles promoting the exchange of ideas and protect student autonomy â€“ both vital to the meaningful development of the student as an active member of society; WHEREAS, the University Student Senate recognizes the protection of student rights as the foundation of its mission and fundamental to democratic self-governance; WHEREAS, a codified policy must be established to protect student rights from arbitrary or punitive revocation; WHEREAS, without explicit and defined protection and security to engage in free inquiry and discussion the student will continue to abstain from the fruitful exploration of ideas; WHEREAS, the Student Bill of Rights reinforces the universal idea that the student maintains constitutional rights on both sides of the schoolhouse gate; WHEREAS, the University Student Senate is entrusted with the responsibility to formulate university-wide student policies relating to the academic status, role, rights and freedoms of the student; NOW THEREFORE, ON BEHALF OF THE STUDENT BODY OF THE CITY UNIVERISTY OF NEW YORK, BE IT RESOLVED, that the University Student Senate proclaims and adopts this Student Bill of Rights as an affirmation and pledge to safeguarding and promoting the rights of all students enrolled at the City University of New York; Student Bill of Rights Preamble: Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Student participation, responsibility, academic freedom, and due process are essential to the operation of the academic enterprise. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. Freedom to learn and to explore major social, political, and economic issues are necessary adjuncts to student academic freedom, as is freedom from discrimination based on racial, ethnic, religious, sex, political, and economic differentiations. We, the duly elected representatives of the student body of the City of New York, do hereby declare that students of this institution shall retain the following rights, to the exclusion of policies that would infringe upon them.
Article I. Rights in the Academic Setting Section 1. Students shall be graded objectively and consistently on the sole basis of the student’s academic performance and appropriate knowledge of the subjects the student studies and shall not be discriminated against on the basis of the student’s political belief or other categories proscribed in the City University of New York Non-discrimination policy. Section 2. Students shall be free to discuss and express any view relevant to the subject matter presented by the instructor or other class members so long the student does not interfere with the academic process of the class; Section 3. Students shall be informed in advance of the course objectives, requirements, and grading policies set by individual instructors for their courses. The student is responsible for thoroughly reading course syllabi and understanding their content. Section 4. Information about a student’s views, beliefs, and political associations which a professor acquires in the course of their work as an instructor, adviser, or counselor is regarded as confidential. Section 5. Students with three final examinations scheduled on the same day shall be afforded the opportunity to appeal to the instructor or the appropriate departmental authority who may reschedule one of the three exams during the final examination period. Section 6. Students have the right to access college services at convenient times that accommodate diverse class schedules. Evening and weekend students shall have the right to access to administrative offices during evenings and weekends. Article II. Freedoms of the Student and Student Organizations Section 1. Students are free to organize and join associations to promote their common interest which includes political, social, economic, educational, religious and cultural ends. Absent of substantial evidence, affiliation of a student organization with an extramural organization does not itself disqualify a student organization from recognition by the elected student government or college. Section 2. Student activity fees shall be allocated to student organizations without discriminatory bias. The University, its individual constituent colleges, elected student government organization(s) or any other student activity fee allocating body shall allocate and distribute student activity fee funds on a viewpoint-neutral basis and maintain a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political or religious opinions, disagreements or differences expressed by a recognized student organization. Section 3. Student Government Representation Students have inherent rights to the establishment and practice of representative self-governance. Section 4. Student Media As safeguards for the editorial freedom of student media organizations, the following provisions are necessary:
A. Any Student media organizations shall be free of censorship and advance review or approval of copy or broadcasts, and its members should be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage, subject to their individual college’s policies and guidelines. B. It must be explicitly stated in the editorial section or in the broadcast of any college or student activity financed student communication that the views expressed in said publication or broadcast are not necessarily those of the student body, College or University. C. For the purposes of this article, student communication shall include, but is not limited to, written publications, electronic material, films, oral statements, on-line media, internet web sites, discussion groups, e-mail, list-servers and social media networks. D. Editors and managers of student media organizations shall be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal from office because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. E. The editorial freedom accorded to the members of student media organizations entails a corollary obligation to be governed by the following reasonable professional journalism standards: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable. Article III. Right to Privacy and Security Section 1. Student shall have a full right to privacy. Section 2. A student’s permanent records will not contain information concerning religion, political or social beliefs, and membership in any organization other than honorary and professional organizations directly related to the academic processes, except upon expressed written consent of the student. Section 3. No disciplinary action or health record will appear on a student’s permanent academic record. Section 4. A student’s permanent record including academic records and disciplinary records shall, in accordance to established college procedures, be made available for examination by the student upon request. Section 5. The student has the right against illegal searches and seizures. These rights of privacy extend to premises occupied by students and the personal possessions of students such as, but not limited to: residence hall rooms, lockers, and vehicles. No contractual arrangement with the University or a constituent college shall be interpreted as waiving this right. Public safety officers, residence hall officials or other law enforcement officials seeking to search a student, the premises occupied by students or the personal possessions of students must establish “probable cause” exists that the student is participating in an illegal activity or one which will endanger the student, the rest of the student body, or College property. When required by law, said officials must present a search warrant.
Section 6. Students have the right to a safe and healthy learning environment; sufficient lighting maintained in all campus area, including parking areas during the evening hours. Section 7. Any new security measures or policy should be carefully designed and employed to enhance public safety without infringing on the student’s civil rights and liberties. Article IV. Right to Due Process in Disciplinary Proceedings Section 1. When misconduct may result in serious penalties, any sufficient depravation of a student’s liberty warrants due process protection which consists of a formal hearing before the established college disciplinary system. A. The college and university shall, in all cases, inform the student of all charges brought against him/her, give the student a fair opportunity to refute them, and the college shall not be arbitrary in its actions, and there shall be provisions for the appeal of a decision. B. The student is entitled to a hearing within ten (10) days following a suspension. C. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the status of a student shall not be altered, nor shall the student’s right to be present on campus, attend classes and to participate in college activities be suspended until disposition of charges are made, except when the student’s continued presence on campus poses imminent danger to the safety of that student or to the safety of other members of the college community or to college property. Section 2. The student shall have the right to protection from ex post facto regulations. No student shall be punished for an action committed before the College instituted regulations which prohibited said action. Article V. Right of Student Participation in the Formulation of Institutional Policy Section 1. Students shall have the freedom to express views on issues of institutional policy and have the right to participate in the formulation of institutional or college policy affecting the role and rights of the student, and academic or student affairs. Section 2. The students and elected student government representatives shall have clearly defined means and appropriate representation to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs. Section 3. Changes to Article VII, Policy 7.15 and Policy 7.156, of the Manual of General Policy or Article XV of the CUNY Bylaws shall be subject to review by the University Student Senate prior to adoption by the Board of Trustees. Article VI. Right to the Use and Designation of Facilities Section 1. Students and student organizations shall have the right to assemble, hold public meetings in which students participate, post notices, and engage in peaceful, orderly demonstrations that do not unduly disrupt the operation of the college, jeopardize the safety of individuals, or destroy property. Reasonable and impartially applied rules, designed to reflect the
academic purposes of the institution and to protect the safety of the campus, may only be established with the consultation of the elected student government representatives. Section 2. The University and its constituent colleges and units may not use their discretionary power to control the use of its facilities as a device of censorship of First Amendment activities. Section 3. The University and its constituent colleges and units may not assert or speculate that a speech would disrupt campus activities as a sufficient basis to deny a request for space or a demonstration. Section 4. The modification or designation of an existing student space, fora or room for a different purpose may only be modified with prior consultation of the duly elected student government representatives. Section 5. Recognized student organizations shall have the right to use college facilities for academic and extra-curricular activities without paying rental or usage fees. No recognized student organization shall be charged a separate security fee during the college’s normal operational hours unless the event requires additional security officers. Article VII. Protection from Unexpected Circumstances Section 1. Death of an Immediate Family or Household Member In the event of the death of a member of the student’s immediate family or household, the student, given proper documentation, shall have the right to: A. be excused from class for funeral leave or bereavement, B. be notified about the number of allowable excused absences as determined by the instructor, C. be provided the opportunity to earn equivalent credit for assignments missed. Section 2. Maternity In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, pregnant students shall: A. not be penalized for medically necessary absences; B. shall be entitled to reschedule exams; C. and shall be entitled to earn equivalent credit for assignments missed. Article VIII. Student Responsibility and Conduct Section 1. Students are expected to adhere to the University’s “Policy on Academic Integrity” and any similar policy adopted at the college attended by the student. Section 2. Students must follow the University’s “Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources” in classrooms, laboratories, testing centers, and library and at any other locations throughout the university. Section 3. Students have the right to access College and University-wide policies and regulations, which shall be published and readily available. Students have the obligation to
familiarize themselves with these regulations and are expected to be in accordance to said policies. Article IX. Right to a Grievance Procedure Section 1. The Board of Trustees shall establish guidelines and policies to protect the academic freedom and the rights of student and shall adopt a grievance procedure by which a student may seek redress of grievance for an alleged violation of a right specified in any section of this Student Bill of Rights. Section 2. The Board of Trustees (Board) shall publicize the grievance procedure developed to the students on every campus that is under the control and direction of the Board. Article X. Disclaimer Section 1. No right specified by this bill is meant to be construed in any manner that conflicts or might potentially conflict with any local, state, or federal laws, nor may it be interpreted in any manner enabling students to infringe upon the individual rights of another member of the academic community, nor shall be construed to nullify or limit any other constitutional or legal rights or freedoms possessed by students under the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of New York. Section 2. Severability If any provision of this Student Bill of Rights has been challenged and declared to be in conflict with a local, state or federal law, the said provision shall be removed immediately and the rest of the Student Bill of Rights shall remain effective. Article XI. Process for Ratification and Amendments Section 1. Amendments to this document shall be recommended to the University Student Senate and shall become effective upon majority approval, by both, the University Student Senate and the City University of New York Board of Trustees. Section 2. This document shall be adopted upon majority approval, by both, the University Student Senate and the City University of New York Board of Trustees.