Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students are the primary focus in campus life. Their welfare and the conditions under which they study, work, and relax must be safeguarded to preserve their rights under the United States Constitution, federal laws, and California statutes. Campus policies and procedures seek to guarantee these civil liberties. Student understanding and cooperation are essential to the successful implementation of this legal structure.

Rights

Students with Disabilities Policy
The University is committed to complying with all the mandates set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Disabled students may make any request for reasonable accommodations to an Associate Dean and are required to provide medical certification of their disability. In certain circumstances, early registration may be available for students with disabilities. Students who wish to file any complaint should follow the Student Grievance Procedures.
Student Records Policy
  • Disclosure of Information from Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. In compliance with FERPA, PSU designates the following categories of personally identifiable information as “Directory Information:” name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, enrollment status, program of study, honors, awards and degrees received. PSU may release or publish directory information without prior consent of the student, unless specifically instructed by students to withhold their information. To restrict the release or publication of any student information, a student must provide the appropriate written instructions to the Registrar’s Office.

Pursuant to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the California Information Act and Educational Code,  students at SFCC have the right (1) to inspect and review records that pertain to themselves as students, known as education records, unless waived or qualified under Federal and State law or College policies; (2) to seek to amend the content of education records that may be considered inaccurate or misleading; (3)  to have withheld from disclosure personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except as provided in Federal and State laws or College policies; and (4) to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education – Family Policy Compliance Office regarding alleged violations of their FERPA rights.  The address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Phone: 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)

Students are encouraged to use the internal University grievance procedures to resolve complaints prior to contacting outside agencies.

Students and alumni who desire the University to release their records and information to perspective employers or graduate schools, etc., can expedite their applications by providing PSU with written permission to release their records, specifying which records and to whom the release should be made. 

  • Process for Reviewing or Amending Student Education Records

A student will be given the opportunity to inspect and review his/her education records within 15 days of the day the school receives the request for access.  Student should submit to the Registrar, or other appropriate school official, written requests (or emails) that identify the record(s) s/he wishes to inspect.  The school official will make arrangements for access and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.  If the records are not maintained by the school official for whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the appropriate official to whom the request should be addressed. (Photocopies of selected materials from a student’s file may be available, at an additional cost).

Student may ask the school to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  In such cases, the student should write the school official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they are requesting be changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.  If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the school will notify the student of the decision and will advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is a person employed by the college as an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff person (including law enforcement unit, personnel and health staff); a person or company contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, funding agency, or collection agent); a person serving 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 his or her tasks.  A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. 

Parental access to a student’s records will be allowed without prior consent if the student is under age eighteen or is a dependent as defined in Section 252 of the federal Internal Revenue Code. If any PSU student wants to ensure or block access for their parents to grades, disciplinary action or other information, then it is best to file written permission with the Registrar to clarify their desire.

Please note that the terms “student” and “student records” does not include applicants who have not previously attended Pacific States University.

Right to Appeal
The University has initiated and implemented procedures for appeals by students with the intent of assuring fairness and objectivity. The procedures are not designed to incorporate all of the due process safeguards that the courts of law require. The purpose is to provide a system that will represent “fairness and the absence of arbitrariness.” The University makes every effort to see that appeal procedures are clear to students and that their avenue of appeal is not burdensome.
Student Grievances Policy and Procedures (Appeals)

The procedure for the resolution of a student complaint is a three-step process.  The University anticipates that most disputes will be resolved either through step #1 informal discussions, or step #2 the intervention of an ombudsman.  Only a few cases should require step #3, the judgment of an informal hearing panel. 

  • First, a student who feels that the faculty, staff, administration, or other students have treated him unfairly is advised to seek informal counsel with the offending party or an Associate Dean in the interest of a speedy resolution of the problem.
  • Second, if this step does not lead to satisfaction of the student, he/she should petition for a grievance review, a formal procedure at the University. PSU has a “Declaration of Complaint” form that can be utilized for this purpose. The declaration must outline the specifics of the complaint, all pertinent information, and steps taken to remedy the situation through the informal process.

    The Associate Dean will act promptly in assigning an ombudsman and informing the President of the grievance.  The Associate Dean will outline some possible steps to the ombudsman in solving the problem. These may include interviewing the grievant, contacting the offending party, and/or convening all parties to the grievance.  The ombudsman will notify in writing the Associate Dean of the outcome of the intervention with recommendations.  These will be sent to the President who will confer with the Associate Dean to guarantee that the cause of the grievance is removed.
  • Third, if the grievant is unable to receive a satisfactory resolution of the complaint he/she should notify in writing the President who will convene an impartial hearing panel for a judgment.
Right to File a Complaint Policy

Students are encouraged to use the internal University grievance procedures to resolve complaints prior to contacting outside agencies.

For further redress the student may contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE): Physical Address, 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833. Toll Free: (888) 370-7589. Fax: (916) 263-1897. Web site: www.bppe.ca.gov.  Or the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), 750 First Street, NE, Suite 980, Washington, DC 20002-4241.  Tel: (202) 336-6780.  Fax: (202) 842-2593.

Any student alleging failure of the University to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201. 

Student Evaluation of Instruction
To sustain a high quality of instruction at the University, students are expected to evaluate each class in which they are enrolled. Evaluation forms are distributed toward the end of each quarter. The evaluation forms, prepared anonymously, are collected and returned to the Administration by a designated student. Student evaluations are tabulated by the University, and the results are analyzed by the Academic Affairs Dept. and distributed to the individual instructors.
Sexual Assaults on Campus Grounds Policy

PSU is committed to creating and maintaining an academic environment dedi­cated to learning and research in which individuals are free from sexual assault or sexual harass­ment from any party.  Sexual assault is defined in California Education Code Section 94385 to include without limitation, rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation, rape by a foreign object, sexual battery, or threat of sexual assault.  Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions, requests for sexual favors, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, subtle pressure or request for sexual activities, unnecessary touching of an individual, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, a display in the school of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, sexually explicit or offensive jokes, physical assault, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

No student, applicant, faculty member or other employee of the University shall:  (a) sexually assault any student or applicant; or (b) threaten or insinuate, either explicitly or implicitly that a student's or applicant's refusal to submit to sexual advances will adversely affect that person's application, enrollment, grades, studies, or educational experience at PSU.  Similarly, no faculty member or other employee of the University shall promise, imply or grant any preferential treatment in connection with any student or applicant with the intent of rewarding for or engaging in sexual conduct.

Any student, applicant, faculty member or other employee of the University who feels that he or she is a victim of sexual assault or harassment (including, but not limited to, any of the conduct listed above) by any student, applicant, faculty member, or other PSU employee, or visitor or invitee of the school, in connection with the educational experience offered by the University, should bring the matter to the immediate attention of an Associate Dean at the telephone number specified in the General Catalog.  A student, applicant, faculty member or other employee of the University who is uncomfortable for any reason in bringing such a matter to the attention of a Dean, or who is not satisfied after bringing the matter to the attention of a Dean, should report the matter to the President of the University.  Any questions about this policy or potential sexual assault or harassment should also be brought to the attention of the same persons.

PSU encourages students, applicants, faculty members or its employees to promptly and accurately report all sexual assaults occurring at any of the school's facilities to the Associate Dean and the appropriate police agencies.  Upon the request of a sexual assault complainant, the University personnel will: (a) transport the complainant to the hospital or contact emergency personnel on behalf of the complainant; (b) refer the complainant to a counseling center or an agency that can make such referral; and (c) notify the police on behalf of the complainant if this has not been reported previously.

The Associate Dean will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual assault and harassment in as confidential a manner as it deems reasonably possible and take appropriate corrective action if warranted.  PSU will inform the complainant of the results of the school's investigation.  Sexual assault complainants may, in their sole discretion, pursue their own remedies against the alleged perpetrator, whether civilly and/or criminally.  The University will assist any student with academic difficulties arising as a direct result of a sexual assault on the student by any PSU student, applicant, faculty member or employee occurring on Campus.

Responsibilities

Conduct

The following regulations apply to any person who is enrolled as a Pacific States University (PSU) student. These rules are not to be interpreted as all–inclusive of situations in which discipline will be invoked.  These rules are illustrative, and the University reserves the right to take disciplinary action in appropriate circumstances not set out in this catalog.  The University reserves the right to exclude at any time students whose conduct is deemed undesirable or prejudicial to the University community's best interest.

The disciplinary procedure described herein affords procedural fairness to the accused student and flexibility to the administration to sanctions based on the individual circumstances of each case.  Students accused of improper conduct shall be given adequate notice of the charges and an opportunity to respond to the charges made against them.  Where a student is disciplined for improper conduct, the student may submit a grievance with regard to the decision in accordance with the University’s Grievance Policy, which can be obtained from an Associate Dean.  While disciplinary action against a student is pending, the student poses a significant threat to the University community.  The disciplinary action taken may be reflected in the student’s permanent record, as part of the disciplinary punishment.  Behavior resulting in disciplinary action may involve, but is not limited to, one or a combination of those listed below: 

  • Dishonesty in any form, including plagiarism, illegal copying of software, and knowingly furnishing false information to the University
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, records, or identification.
  • Failure to comply with written or verbal directives of duly authorized University officials who are acting in the performance of assigned duties.
  • Interference with the academic or administrative processes of the University or any of its approved activities.
  • Theft or damage to property.
  • Violation of civil or criminal codes of local, state, or federal governments.
  • Unauthorized use of or entry into University facilities.
  • Violation of any state policies or regulations governing student relationship to the University.

The disciplinary procedure described herein affords procedural fairness to the accused student and flexibility to the administration to sanctions based on the individual circumstances of each case.  Students accused of improper conduct shall be given adequate notice of the charges and an opportunity to present their case to an impartial appeals committee. Written notice of the specific charge(s) made against a student shall be given at least ten days before the student is to appear before the committee.  While disciplinary action against a student is pending, the student’s status does not change unless it is found that the student poses a significant threat to the University community.  Hearings are private.  The accused student is afforded the opportunity to rebut all charges.  The University establishes the charges by a preponderance of the evidence.  The student has the right to appeal the disciplinary action to an Associate Dean, but only on the grounds that fair procedure was not followed by the committee or that the evidence in the record does not justify the decision or the sanction.  A record will be kept of the disciplinary action taken, and the basis for this decision.  The disciplinary action taken may be reflected in the student’s permanent record, as part of the disciplinary punishment.  Disciplinary action invoked by the committee may involve, but is not limited to, one or a combination of the alternatives listed below:

Dismissal: Separation of the student from the University on a permanent basis.

Suspension: Separation of the student from the University for a specified length of time. (Does not apply to international I-20 students).

Probation: Status of the student indicating that the relationship with the University is tenuous and that the student’s record will be reviewed periodically to determine suitability to remain enrolled. Specific limitations and restrictions on the student’s privileges may accompany probation.

University policy stipulates that a student dismissed from either the University or a course will not receive a refund of tuition or other fees. Students dismissed from the University for disciplinary reasons must exclude themselves from University classes, activities, facilities, and buildings. Any exception must be approved by the President.

Students found culpable of any of the foregoing violations will be subject to disciplinary action. A student who is dismissed may reapply for admission after two quarter's leave.

A student who has not fulfilled his or her financial obligation to the University are in violation of the University contract. Said student may be denied the right to graduate, take examinations, receive degrees, and obtain or request transcripts of their grades.

Student Obligations

For students to remain in good standing at the University, they must:

  1. Maintain academic standards, attend classes, and meet all financial obligations.
  2. Be courteous and respectful in dealing with faculty, administrators, and fellow students.
  3. Adhere to the federal, state, and municipal laws of the U.S., as well as to the rules and policies of the University.

In addition, international students must:

  1. Enroll in a minimum of twelve (12) units per quarter in the undergraduate program, and a minimum of eight (8) units per quarter in the graduate program.
  2. Complete three consecutive quarters before being entitled to a one-quarter vacation. Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of thirty-six (36) units of study per year, and graduate students must complete twenty-four (24) units of study per year.
Cheating and Plagiarism Policies

Cheating: The act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for work by use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means.

Plagiarism: The act of taking ideas, words, or specific substances of another and offering them as one's own.

One or more of the following actions are available to any faculty member who suspects a student of cheating or plagiarizing. The choice of action taken is guided by the extent to which the faculty member considers the cheating or plagiarism reflective of the student's lack of scholarship or lack of academic performance in the course.

  • Review-no action.
  • Oral reprimand with emphasis on counseling aimed at preventing further occurrences.
  • Requirement that the work be repeated.
  • Assignment of an “F” grade for the specific work in question.
  • Assignment of an “F” grade for the course.
  • Referral to the Associate Dean of Academics and/or the appropriate committee.

A student accused of cheating or plagiarism is entitled to appeal and may petition for due process.

Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Policies

PSU strongly supports the goals of "Drug-Free Schools and Campuses" and a "Drug-Free Workplace."  It is PSU's policy that no person shall manufacture, distribute, possess, or use illegal drugs, a controlled substance, on its premises or as a part of any of its activities.  A controlled substance includes, but is not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, cocaine derivatives, heroin, "crack," amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, PCP, and substances typically known as "Designer Drugs" such as "ecstasy" or "eve."  Possession of paraphernalia associated with the illegal use, possession, or manufacture of a controlled substance is also prohibited.  The President has designated the Associate Dean of Student Affairs to act in all matters pertaining to the enforcement of this policy with regard to students and faculty to act in all matters pertaining to this policy in regard to staff.  Whenever possible or reasonable University personnel will counsel offenders and make available sources of rehabilitative services.  At the discretion of the administration, the University may impose the following sanctions:

  1. A warning to the student, staff member, or faculty member.
  2. Administrative suspension of the student or suspension of employment of the staff or faculty member.
  3. Administrative dismissal of the student or termination of employment of the staff or faculty member.

University policies concerning the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages do not contravene federal, state, or municipal law. “Drinking age” in the State of California is 21 and older. Gatherings on University premises or as part of University activities, at which alcoholic beverages are to be served, must receive prior approval from the President.

It is the policy of PSU that smoking is prohibited while in the University building. Any smoking is to be done well away from the office building. Violations of the smoking policy may result in suspension or termination of academic status or employment.

Discipline

Students not conforming to University standards are subject to probation, suspension, or dismissal from the University. Faculty or staff members may initiate proceedings through an Associate Dean, who will refer the matter to the University's Executive Council for a final decision.

Students who feel they have been treated unfairly may petition a grievance review through the Academic Affairs Committee.

Faculty members encountering unruly and unmannerly conduct in class will report such instances to the appropriate administrator for appropriate action.

Examples of unacceptable conduct requiring non-academic disciplinary action are as follows:

  • Lighting a fire on campus
  • Possessing or displaying a weapon
  • Defacing University property
  • Use of obscene language
  • Insolence or insubordination toward faculty, administrative personnel or any University employee
  • Unauthorized possession of University property
  • Cheating, or otherwise duplicating the work of another student
  • Excessive absence from class
  • Intoxication or being under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Hazing, humiliating, or intimidating other individuals
  • Offering bribes for special favors from faculty

Any student found culpable of any of the foregoing violations will be subject to disciplinary action. A student who is dismissed may reapply for admission after two quarter's leave.

Any student who has not fulfilled their financial obligation to the University are in violation of the University contract. Said student may be denied the right to graduate, take examinations, receive degrees, and obtain or request for transmission transcripts of their grades.