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Legal Rights And Responsibilities Of College Students: A Comprehensive Guide

| October 28, 2023

Every student who joins any given university through admission enters into a kind of relationship with the school. It’s a relationship in which both students and the school have a role to play in terms of their rights and their responsibilities to one another.

Getting to know your legal rights and responsibilities will help you have a smooth ride through campus, and avoid getting on the wrong side of the law or having your rights denied. Institutions should aim at transforming and increasing the quality of life of their students and faculty, and the privilege to learn and instruct should not be taken lightly.

Below are some of the legal rights and responsibilities that exist for students in college. 

Student’s Rights 

1. Academic Freedom 

While different institutions set their own admissions policies and regulations, once a student is admitted, they have several rights. Admission policies should be clear and not discriminatory, and no student should be denied admission if they’re qualified for the program, based on things like color, religion, or country of origin.

If these things are not prohibited by the law of the land, the school shouldn’t prohibit them. Thus, any school should be open to allow its students, who’ve qualified through admission, to pursue their academics freely. The student has a right to access any necessary public facilities provided by the school to enable them to pursue their education smoothly.

They have the freedom to explore different views and perspectives. Students are however responsible for abiding by the school’s academic policies and regulations and upholding academic integrity. Most institutions will penalize things like plagiarism, cheating in exams, and other forms of academic dishonesty, which can rightfully lead to expulsion in some institutions.

However, a student should feel free to use all the academic help they can get like seeking mentorship, getting custom written papers, and other avenues available for them. Understanding your right to academic freedom will help you not only excel but have a great time in college. 

2. Student’s education records 

Institutions collect personal data from students during admission to enable their process and verify whether the student seeking admission is who they say they are. Every institution is obligated to abide by the set state and federal regulations when it comes to keeping the data they collect from students private, and not allow access to them unless it is in line with the law. For example, information on disciplinary proceedings or personal therapy and counseling files should not be in the public domain, and only authorized people should be allowed to access such documents.

If anyone else is to access them, the student should be sought for consent. The exception to this is during a legal case, where through a warrant or any other legal compulsion, these documents can be accessed or a student’s housing can be searched and confidential information obtained. Student records should be kept in a way that complies with state laws and school policies that give guidelines regarding privacy and confidentiality. This is crucial so that the records are not seen by people who may use them for malicious purposes, and also to protect the integrity of the student. 

3. Freedom of Speech and Expression

Students have a right to organize themselves into groups or individually to examine and explore topics they’re interested in and to express their views, findings, and opinions freely. They can also support different causes if they so wish, as long as the university’s day-to-day activities are not interfered with. Most universities have a Student handbook or a code of conduct that they abide by, and these documents should allow for freedom of speech and expression regarding any matters.

The nature of a college is that students interact with different ideas and differing views as they learn, so expression is a crucial right for students to have. However, this right comes with a responsibility to avoid things like disrupting classes, destroying college property or vandalism, and any other activity that is interruptive or poses a danger to others on the campus. 

4. Freedom to associate 

This is the freedom to form organized groups that are recognized by the university. Students can do this to pursue their common interests or support common causes, but they should not do it in a way that disrupts or goes against college rules. For example, association groups can’t have discrimination clauses if the school has a nondiscrimination policy. The school also retains the right to either recognize or deny recognition or registration of such groups if it has legal grounds for doing so. 

Student’s Responsibilities 

A. Upholding College laws

AN institution’s rules and regulations are set for the sake of giving every student a safe and conducive environment to pursue their studies while making everyone feel welcome and nobody discriminated against. A student should abide by these rules and not see them as a burden. College rules deal with things like academic dishonesty, noise levels in the dorms, the use of alcohol and drugs, etc. The student has a responsibility to familiarize themselves with these rules and follow them, and cannot claim ignorance as a defense.

Non-compliance with these rules often leads to the college taking disciplinary actions against the student, which may include but are not limited to warnings, fines, or expulsion. When this happens, the student has a right to due process. This means that one is informed of the charges against them and given the chance to make their case in a fair and impartial hearing. Due process ensures that your rights as a student are upheld so that no injustice is done even in a disciplinary case. 

B. Financial responsibility 

Being in college needs financial investment, and a student must make sure they cover things like tuition fees and living expenses. This means knowing when the tuition is due, applying for financial aid where needed, and making sure that finances dont hinder you from continuing with college. 

In conclusion, legal rights and responsibilities exist to foster a great environment for learning, and you should make sure you know your rights and use them responsibly to maximize the enjoyment of your time on campus. 

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Arnab Das is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.


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