[lg policy] Updated Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook clarifies language and new policies

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Sep 5 11:34:18 EDT 2018

 Updated Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook clarifies language
and new policies By Jocelyn Gould
<http://www.thejustice.org/staff/jocelyn-gould> | published 09/04/18 6:00am

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The 2018-19 edition of the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook has
been updated to reflect changes made during the Department of Student
Rights and Community Standards’ annual Rights and Responsibilities revision
process. Most of the revisions focused on clarifying the book’s language,
especially regarding the University’s handling of sexual harassment and

The handbook “provides the definitions, structure, and policies for
community life on campus,” according to an email sent by Alex Rossett, the
interim director of Student Rights and Community Standards. The Rights and
Responsibilities Committee and the DSRCS considers revisions to the
handbook, according to the DSRCS website
Students were notified of the changes on Aug. 23.

The new edition clarifies the jurisdiction of the R&R handbook, stating
that the University staff may respond using the student conduct process
that handbook details for “behavior that takes place on University
property, at University events, and … occurring off-campus.”

The handbook clarifies that the Rape Crisis Center and the Office of
Prevention Services have been replaced by the Prevention, Advocacy, &
Resource Center. PARC provides “education, empowerment, and support by
professional staff and/or peers, with focus on helping those impacted by
sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking to decide what they
want to do next,” per the handbook. All staff are confidential resources.

The handbook was updated to include the new acting Title IX Coordinator,
Robin Nelson-Bailey, who is also the vice president of Human Resources.

The University Actions and Sanctions Section now includes the policy that
“any student who is found responsible of sexual misconduct may not be
allowed to participate in study abroad for academic credit.”

The new edition of the handbook contains terms and definitions that did not
exist in the 2017-18 edition, including sexual contact, sexual intercourse,
force, forcible sexual misconduct, domestic violence and dating violence.

Numerous other definitions of terms regarding the topic of sexual assault
were clarified. For example, in the definitions of sexual coercion and
sexual exploitation, the word “student” was replaced with “person.”

“Academic Freedom” is defined for the first time in the 2018-19 edition,
recognized as “the principles of academic freedom permit topics of all
types to be part of courses, lectures, and other academic pursuits.” The
definition notes, however, that  “these freedoms must be in balance with
the rights of others, including the right of individuals not to be
subjected to discrimination or harassment.” The definition of academic
freedom comes from a previous University policy statement on discrimination
and harassment.

The language about the University Appeals Board and the Special Examiner’s
Process was altered for clarity. Policies regarding residential life and
safety were also clarified, including those regarding candles, appliances,
light bulbs and fire alarms.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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