Public Higher Education

Students in public higher education have substantially greater rights than students in primary and secondary education. First, the vast majority of students in public higher education are legal adults; thus, the state does not stand in loco parentis in relation to them, as they are their own guardians, possessing the same rights that all citizens have. In addition, public universities and colleges are institutions dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, the concept of academic freedom, and the concept of shared governance. This translates to the fact that free speech and participation in governance of the institution by students is common. Though it is common student rights are scattered through federal and state acts and court precedents. Students rights' in the context of higher education often includes: the right to form groups of their choosing to express their views, and receive institutional funding for them; the right to speak freely, assemble, and demonstrate; the right to fair and effective teaching and grading at the advertised grade level; the right to information required to make safe and informed decisions on campus; the right to due process and an impartial hearing in any disciplinary matter; the right to participate in institutional governance; the right to clear and effective teaching; the right to actualization of advertised promises in institutional content; the right to do as they wish, so long as they harm no other; the right to information privacy; the right to protection from discrimination; the right to protection form search and seizure without due cause; the right to protection from biased or unjustified regulations; Especially at large public research universities with large residential populations (flagship/land-grant universities) students organize around these issues using their student government to negotiate with the university administration. [edit]Laws and court precedent regarding institutional regulations Unlike some European countries, like Romania, the US has no official national student bill of rights. US courts, however, have found that students in institutions of higher education have the right to protection from arbitrary and capricious decision making, to have institutions follow their own rules, to follow published institutional documents, to the fulfillment of verbal and written promises, and the right to a continuous contract. Verbal and written documents are a form of advertising under consumer protection law and are also considered implied in fact contract and so protect students under contract law.[4][5][6] Right to protection from arbitrary or capricious decision making Decision making should not be arbitrary or capricious / random and, thus, interfere with fairness [7][8][9][10][11] of Health Sciences /Chicago Med. School, 1988). While this case concerned a private school, Healy v. Larsson (1974), found that what applied to private intuitions applied also to public.[12] Right to have institutions follow their own rules Institutions are required, contractually, to follow their own rules.[7][13][14][15][16] Institutional documents may also be considered binding implied-n-fact contracts. Goodman v. President and Trustees of Bowdoin College (2001)[17] has ruled that institutional documents are still contractual regardless if they have a disclaimer. Right to adherence to bulletins and circulars Students are protected from deviation from information advertised in bulletins or circulars.[18][19] Right to adherence to regulations Students are protected from deviation from information advertized in regulations.[18][19] Right to adherence to course catalogues Students are protected from deviation from information advertized in course catalogues.[18][19][20] Right to adherence to student codes Students are protected from deviation from information advertized in student code .[21][22] Right to adherence to handbooks Students are protected from deviation from information advertized in handbooks.[21][23] Right to fulfillment of promises made by advisors Healy v. Larsson (1974)[24] found that a student who completed degree requirements prescribed by an academic advisor was entitled to a degree on the basis that this was an implied contract. Right to a continuous contract Mississippi Medical Center v. Hughes (2000)[25] determined that students have an implied right to a continuous contract during a period of continuous enrollment suggesting that students have the right to graduate so long as they fulfill the requirements as they were originally communicated.[21] Degree requirement changes are unacceptable.[21][26] Bruner v. Petersen (1997)[27] found also that contractual protections do not apply in the event that a student, who has failed to meet requirements, is readmitted into a program.[21] The student may be required to meet additional requirements which support their success. This may also help avoid issues of discrimination. Right to notice of degree requirement changes Brody v. Finch University of Health Sciences Chicago Med. School (1998)[28] determined that students have the right to notice of degree requirement changes.[21] Right to fulfillment of verbal promises Verbal contracts are also binding.[29][30] The North Carolina Court of Appeals in Long v. University of North Carolina at Wilmington (1995),[31] found, however, that verbal agreements must be made in an official capacity in order to be binding (Bowden, 2007). Dezick v. Umpqua Community College (1979)[32] found a student was compensated because classes offered orally by the dean were not provided. [edit]Laws and court precedent on student rights in academic advising Right to fulfillment of promises and verbal promises by advisors Verbal contracts are binding.[29][30] The North Carolina Court of Appeals in Long v. University of North Carolina at Wilmington (1995).[33] They must be made in an official capacity, however, to be binding.[12] Dezick v. Umpqua Community College (1979)[32] found a student was compensated because classes offered orally by the dean were not provided. Healy v. Larsson (1974) found that a student who completed degree requirements prescribed by an academic advisor was entitled to a degree on the basis that this was an implied contract. An advisor should, thus, be considered an official source of information. Right to a continuous contract during a period of continuous enrollment Mississippi Medical Center v. Hughes (2000)[34] determined that students have an implied right to a continuous contract during a period of continuous enrollment suggesting that students have the right to graduate so long as they fulfill the requirements as they were originally communicated.[35] Degree requirement changes are unacceptable.[36][26] Bruner v. Petersen (1997)[27] found also that contractual protections do not apply in the event that a student, who has failed to meet requirements, is readmitted into a program.[35] The student may be required to meet additional requirements which support their success. This may also help avoid issues of discrimination. Right to notice of degree requirement changes Brody v. Finch University of Health Sciences Chicago Med. School (1998) determined that students have the right to notice of degree requirement changes (Kaplan & Lee, 2011[35]). If a student, for instance, is absent for a semester and is no continuously enrolled they need to know if degree requirements have changed. Right to protection from arbitrary or capricious decision making Decision making should not be arbitrary or capricious / random and, thus, interfere with fairness.[7][8][10][36][37] While this case concerned a private school, Healy v. Larsson (1974), found that what applied to private intuitions applied also to public.

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