University Rights of Students

I. Introduction

The University of Kentucky (UK) is committed to promoting a safe, healthy, student-centered, and inclusive community.  UK strives to create an environment where students can engage in academic inquiry and campus life.  The student conduct process supports UK’s goals by:

  1. Promoting personal responsibility and peer accountability;
  2. Encouraging Students to consider the impact of their actions on themselves, their peers, and larger UK Community;
  3. Empowering Students to address any conflict that may arise in a safe, respectful, and socially conscious manner;
  4. Collaborating with Employees, Students, and the UK Community with regard to student conduct matters; and
  5. Educating the UK Community about student rights and responsibilities related to the Code.

The student conduct process helps Students learn, mature, and develop greater self-awareness while balancing the needs of the UK community.  When student behavior does not model UK’s values, the student conduct process is used to uphold the standards of UK.

The Code of Student Conduct (Code) promotes the core values of the UK, including integrity, respect, responsibility and accountability, and sense of community.  In doing so, the Code puts into practice the UK Creed.

  • I promise to strive for academic excellence and freedom by promoting an environment of creativity and discovery.
  • I promise to pursue all endeavors with integrity and compete with honesty.
  • I promise to embrace diversity and inclusion and to respect the dignity and humanity of others.
  • I promise to contribute to my University and community through leadership and service.
  • I promise to fulfill my commitments and remain accountable to others.

Through the Code, UK affirms the rights and responsibilities of Students as part of the UK Community.

 

 

III. Rights of UK Students

Consistent with the federal and state Constitutions and laws, Students have the following rights:

A.   Right of Free Expression

A Student has the right to engage in discussion, to exchange thought and opinion, to speak, write, or print freely on any subject, and to join associations in accordance with the guarantees of federal or state Constitutions.  Freedom of expression includes the right to picket or demonstrate for a cause, provided the Student:

  1. Acts in an orderly and peaceful manner;
  2. Does not interfere with normal UK operations;
  3. Complies with UK’s regulations governing the time, place, and manner of meetings, demonstrations, and other assemblies. (See Administrative Regulation 9:1 Regulations Governing Time, Place, and Manner of Meetings, Demonstrations, and Other Assemblies http://www.uky.edu/Regs/files/ar/ar9-1.pdf)

Students shall not be disciplined for speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  UK will endeavor, however, to balance students’ rights to free speech with other students’ rights to be free from threats and harassment. 

 

B.   Right to be Free from Discrimination/Harassment

  1. UK complies with the federal and state Constitutions, and all applicable federal and state laws, regarding nondiscrimination.  Students and applicants for admission to UK, or for financial aid or scholarship, will not be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, religion, creed, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, uniformed service, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, social or economic status, or whether the person is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with UK policy concerning smoking.(See Governing Regulation XIV.B.1 http://www.uky.edu/regs/files/gr/gr14.pdf)
  2. Consistent with Administrative Regulation 6.1, Policy on Discrimination and Harassment, Students have the right to be free from harassment, including sexual harassment, by UK Employees, and other Students.    For purposes of the Code, harassment means conduct so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it substantially interferes with the ability of a person to work, learn, live or participate in, or benefit from services, activities, or privileges provided by UK.  Sexual harassment - a form of sex discrimination - includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical actions of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the Student’s status in a course, program or activity; or is used as a basis for academic or other decisions affecting such Student; or when such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the Student's academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. This provision shall not be used to discipline students for speech protected by the First Amendment. (See Administrative Regulation 6:1 http://www.uky.edu/regs/files/ar/ar6-1.pdf)

 

C.  Right to Privacy in Student Records

  1. UK maintains Student records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and the guidelines for implementation.  Directory information about a Student is released at the discretion of numerous UK departments upon receipt of a specific request for such information.  Information which is Directory information under FERPA concerning a Student will not be released if the Student has filed a request, in writing, with the UK Registrar, stating the information is to be withheld.  UK’s definition of “Directory Information” can be found at: http://www.uky.edu/registrar/FERPA-privacy.
  2. UK keeps a Student’s disciplinary record separate and confidential unless the Student consents in writing to have it disclosed.  However, the Dean of Students may disclose the Student’s disciplinary record without the Student’s consent if required by law or the safety of people or property is involved, or if the information is required by authorized UK personnel for official use at UK.  In these circumstances, only the information pertinent to the inquiry may be revealed. 
  3. The Dean of Students may act without the Student’s consent to have a statement of disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion entered on the Student’s academic record for the duration of the disciplinary sanction, which would prohibit the Student from registering.  .
  4. A Student’s test data and record in the Counseling Center will be kept in the Counseling Center, separate and confidential, unless the Student consents in writing to have it revealed to a designated person or for a designated purpose.  Without consent, no information will be revealed except to an appropriate authority and then only when there is a clear and imminent danger to an individual or others, and such information will be limited to that which is directly pertinent to the reduction of that danger.

 

D.  Right to Privacy (Other)

  1. A Student has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of person and possessions while on UK property unless said search and seizure is conducted in accordance with state and federal laws.  In cases of imminent danger or when there are reasonable grounds upon which to believe it is necessary to conduct a search immediately in order to protect life or property, searches may be conducted in the presence of the Dean of Students or another University Official acting as the Dean of Students’ authorized representative.
  2. University Health Service medical, surgical, and mental health records and information are maintained in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Health records are strictly confidential and are not released to anyone without the Student's knowledge and signed authorization.  Student mental health records are maintained separately in a confidential file.  If it becomes apparent in the course of treatment that the Student is likely to cause injury to self or others, pertinent information regarding the specific situation to this extent may be revealed for protection of the Student or others, and such information will be limited to that which is directly pertinent to the reduction of that danger.

 

E.   Right to a Free Student Press

Student publications are free to deal openly and responsibly with issues of interest and importance to the academic community.  The editors have the right of editorial freedom without the prior approval of copy and will be protected against dismissal or suspension or other retribution, except for violations of law or UK regulations.

 

F. Rights of Students and Registered Student Organizations Involved in the Student Conduct Process

  1. To be treated fairly in the student conduct process.
  2. For Respondents, to be provided written notice of any allegation or formal charge of the misconduct, as well as a description of the alleged misconduct.
  3. For Respondents, to be presumed not responsible for a violation until determined otherwise. The burden of proving a violation of the Code is on UK.
  4. To review the information contained in the Student Conduct Report, with all personally identifying information of other Students removed (if appropriate), in advance of a meeting or hearing. 
  5. To have access to the recording of a hearing in which the Student is the Respondent or Complaining Witness.
  6. To present relevant information verbally or in writing on their behalf.
  7. To have up to two (2) Support Persons present at a meeting or hearing to provide emotional or other support.
  8. To know the identity of persons speaking or providing written information for a Hearing Board or UAB.
  9. To ask reasonable questions and challenge, either verbally or in writing, the allegation(s), formal charge(s), or information provided during a student conduct meeting.
  10. To not speak or answer any question during a student conduct meeting.  Refusal to do so is not considered admitting responsibility for an alleged violation.
  11. To request that a member of a Hearing Board be removed from the hearing based on a conflict of interest or bias. 
  12. To provide an impact statement(s) for consideration during the restorative action phase of a formal hearing or during a restorative conference.
  13. For Respondents, to appeal any decision of the Hearing Board to the UAB pursuant to certain sections of this Code.