Student Policies

Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities
University Judicial System
Student Grievance Procedure
Alcohol Use Policy
Drug Abuse Policy
Academic Conduct Policy

Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities

(Officially approved Spring 1977)

The purpose of this document is to enumerate the essential provisions of the student's rights and freedoms, together with the corresponding responsibilities which the student assumes while enrolled at Texas Christian University. It is understood by all persons concerned that the rights and responsibilities enumerated herein are to be exercised within the framework of the philosophies and objectives of TCU. If need for clarification arises, the University Judicial System shall be used to interpret the philosophies and objectives of the University.

Section I. Freedom of Access to Higher Education

A. The University shall be open to all applicants regardless of race, religion, sex, age or national origin who are qualified according to its admission requirements.

B. The appropriate facilities and services of the University shall be available to its enrolled students.

C. Each student has the responsibility to meet all of his/her financial obligations to the University.

D. Each student has the responsibility to observe the regulations of the University.

Section II. Classroom Expression

A. Any student who is in good standing with the University has the right to register for and attend any class (course) for which he has met the prerequisites as stated in the official University catalog and which is open to further enrollment.

B. Freedom of discussion and expression of views relevant to a course shall be protected.

C. Students are responsible for meeting the stated requirements of any class for which they are enrolled.

D. Students have the right to academic evaluations which are neither prejudiced nor capricious and which are based on stated class requirements.

Section III. Student Records

A. The confidential status of student records including information about student views, beliefs and political association shall be protected. The term "confidential" means the ethical, moral, and legal responsibility not to divulge information of a personal nature that has been obtained in the course of a professional relationship except:

1. When necessary to prevent anindividual's serious injury to himself and/or to another person;

2. For use by members of the faculty and administration when necessary to carry on the internal operations of the University;

3. When a parent or guardian has legal access to such records;

4. When ordered by a court of competent

jurisdiction to release such information.

B. No entry may be made on a student's official transcript without notification to the student.

C. Access to the University record is guaranteed to each student, subject only to applicable state and federal laws and reasonable University regulations as to time, place, and supervision.

D. Entries relating to student's race and religion may be solicited but shall not become part of the student's official transcript.

E. Within a maximum of five years from the date of an individual's termination from the University, a routine destruction of his/her disciplinary records shall be accomplished.

F. The student has the responsibility to give full, accurate and complete information for all official records required by the University.

University Judicial System


This Judicial system is intended to provide an orderly system for adjudication of disputes arising under the Bill of Rights and for the just resolution of grievances based on actions of University employees or groups recognized by the University. A grievance is defined as any dispute or difference concerning the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of University regulations, policy procedures or state or federal law.

I. Boards of Original Jurisdiction

A. The University committees enumerated below shall serve as quasi-judicial boards of original jurisdiction.

1. The Student Organizations Committee shall hear cases involving student organizations officially recognized or approved by the Committee. It shall have the authority to delegate responsibility for judicial hearings to other student groups (such as the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, etc.) but no dispute (case) handled by one of these groups can be appealed to the University Court until a ruling has been made by the Student Organizations Committee itself. Cases may be brought by University staff members, officers of student organizations under the jurisdiction of the Committee or by individual students who charge that their rights have been violated by such organizations.

2. The Student Publications Committee shall hear cases involving University sponsored student publications, e.g., The Daily Skiff and Image. Cases may be brought by University staff members, student editors or editors or writers and individual students who think their rights have been violated by the press. The Committee shall also hear cases involving controversy over such questions as compliance with the Canons of Responsible Journalism and FCC Regulations and the standards of taste in the University community.

3. The Public Presentations Committee shall hear cases regarding controversies in the areas of speakers, films, theatre, dance and art exhibitions to be presented by student organizations. Judgments concerning the appropriateness of a presentation (as defined in the Student Bill of Rights) will be made by this committee. Cases may be brought by University staff members, by student organizations that sponsor public presentations, or by individual students who charge their rights are violated by such presentations.

4. The Academic Appeals Committee shall hear cases brought to it by students who are appealing a specific grade or who have been accused of cheating on examinations, plagiarism, or other academic dishonesty. Controversies in this area may only be brought to the Committee after regular channels of department and college have been used.

5. The Traffic Appeals Committee shall hear cases involving disputes over the enforcement of University traffic regulations. Cases may be brought by students, faculty or administrators.

6. The Student Conduct Committee hears appeals from individual students who have been disciplined by the Office of the Dean of Campus Life. It also may have discipline cases referred directly to it by the Office of the Dean of Campus Life.

7. The Student Grievance Committee shall hear cases brought to it by students when such cases do not fall within the jurisdiction of the other quasi-judicial committees listed above. Individuals are expected to resolve grievances informally whenever possible, before appealing to this committee.

B. All quasi-judicial committees must have both student and faculty members.

II. University Court

A. The Court shall have the authority to hear appeals from the quasi-judicial committees listed herein, only under conditions when: (1) the dispute involves an alleged violation of the Bill of Student Rights; and (2) the board of original jurisdiction made procedural errors. If new evidence has become available since the original hearing, the case shall be referred back to the board of original jurisdiction. The Court itself will, by majority vote, determine which cases it will hear.

B. Under conditions when a case will be heard by the University Court, the Court shall have injunctive power to stay, for a maximum of 10 school days or until a University Court hearing can be held, whichever comes sooner, implementation of policies and decisions of University committees, administrative officers, faculty members and student organizations which may violate the Student Bill of Rights.

C. In cases of dispute over jurisdiction, the Court will determine which quasi-judicial committee will have authority over a particular case.

D. The Court shall be composed of four faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate, four students appointed by the president of the House of Student Representatives with the approval of the House and three administrators appointed by the Chancellor.

E. Members shall be appointed in April for terms beginning in June and ending in May. Temporary appointments may be made by the respective bodies for summer if regular appointees are not able to serve.

F. The Court shall be free to select its own chairperson.

G. The University Court shall annually review and report to the ratifying bodies upon the quasi-judicial procedures and functions of the University Committees.

H. Records of University Court proceedings shall be kept on file for at least five years as a guide for precedent; however, the confidentiality of participants must be protected by the administrator to whom the records are entrusted.

III. The Chancellor

A. Because the ultimate institutional responsibility has been delegated to the Chancellor by the Board of Trustees, he/she retains the right to reverse any decision of the University Judicial System. The Chancellor may delegate this authority to an appropriate vice chancellor.

IV. Judicial Procedures

A. Each quasi-judicial committee and the University Court shall determine its own hearing procedures, provided these procedures meet accepted "fair play" standards.

B. Each quasi-judicial committee and the University Court must observe rules of procedure which include the following "fair play" rights:

1. The right to be informed in writing of the charges and the possible punishment.

2. The right to have at least three school days in which to prepare a defense to refute the charges.

3. The right to a hearing which should elicit information from both sides. If possible, the accused shall be able to face his accuser(s) and have the right to be advised by legal or other counsel.

4. The right to be furnished a list of names of accusers and witnesses and a statement of facts they testified to, if the accused does not face his accusers. However, because of the close proximity in which students live and interact on campus, it is sometimes necessary to protect the anonymity of a witness or accuser. In such cases the Dean of Campus Life may verify the identity of a witness and accept a written statement from him/her without revealing the name of the witness or accuser to the accused.

5. The right to present oral or written testimony.

6. The right to remain silent about any incident in which he/she is a suspect. No form of harassment shall be used by an institutional representative to coerce admissions of guilt.

7. The right to be advised in writing of the results of the hearing.

8. The right to receive a transcript or tape recording of the proceedings, at the individual's own expense, provided this is requested 24 hours before the hearing.

V. Student Affairs

A. Campus Expression

1. Students shall be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately.

2. Students have the right to assemble freely and peaceably.

3. Students shall be free to support or protest causes by orderly means.

4. Students have the right to be interviewed on campus for any position for which they meet the qualifications specified by any prospective employer permitted to recruit on campus by the University.

5. Student organizations officially recognized by the University shall be allowed to invite and hear speakers of their choosing. Speaker presentations shall be conducted in a manner consistent with an academic community and consistent with the philosophy and objectives of Texas Christian University. Student organizations have the right to present "entertainment" productions. (As used in this document, entertainment refers to films, theatre, dance, music and art exhibitions.) All productions shall be conducted in a manner consistent with an academic community and consistent with the philosophy and objectives of Texas Christian University.

B. Campus Organizations

1. Organizations consistent with the philosophies and objectives of TCU shall be recognized by the University Committee on Student Organizations for any lawful purpose upon submission of a constitution and a list of current officers.

2. Membership lists are confidential and solely for the use of the organization except that they may be solicited for internal use by the University Committee on Student Organizations.

3. Campus organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to qualified students without respect to race, creed or national origin. Religious qualifications may be required by organizations whose aims are primarily sectarian.

4. Campus organizations shall have use of appropriate University facilities for their group activities, subject to such regulations as are required for scheduling meeting times, places and payment of any required fees.

5. No individual, group or organization may use the University name without the expressed authorization of the University except to identify University affiliation. University approval or disapproval of any organization's policy may not be stated or implied by that organization.

C. Student Communication Media

1. The student communication media shall be free of censorship. The editor and managers shall be free to develop their own editorial policies and methods of news coverage within the framework of the philosophies and objectives of the University. (The term "censorship" in reference to student communications media means any attempt to threaten or coerce any editor, manager, or staff member of a student-run publication or broadcast station in order to prevent the dissemination of any factual account or the expression of any opinion, or generally, to hinder the free flow of ideas.)

2. The editorial freedom entails a responsibility to observe the Canons of Responsible Journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, to avoid the publication of libelous and other unlawful statements and to show regard for the standards of taste of the University.

D. Student Governance

1. The role and responsibilities of recognized governing bodies composed primarily of students shall be delineated in the constitutions and by-laws of the respective organizations. Actions of student government within the areas of its jurisdiction shall be reviewed only through orderly and prescribed procedures.

2. In the formulation of University policy, students are entitled to a participatory function.

E. Student Rooms and Property

1. Students have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by University personnel and during the process of search and/or seizure the safety of personal effects will be protected.

2. A student's room shall not be occupied during the term of a housing contract by anyone other than the student without written consent from the student.

3. The student, by moving into a University residence hall, acknowledges his responsibility to abide by the terms of the housing contract.

VI. Disciplinary Sanctions

A. University disciplinary sanctions shall be imposed upon a student only in accordance with the provisions of a written officially adopted and published Code of Student Conduct.

B. When charged with a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, students shall have procedural "Fair Play" rights.

C. Students formally charged with violating University regulations shall be informed of their "fair play" rights in writing.

D. Students shall have the right to appeal any disciplinary sanction within the provisions of the University judicial system.

E. Students are responsible for answering honestly any questions posed to them in disciplinary hearings unless the individual claims the right to remain silent on the basis of possible self-incrimination.

VII. Equal Opportunity

Texas Christian University does not discriminate on the basis of personal status, individual characteristics of group affiliation, including but not limited to classes protected under federal and state law.

VIII. Unremunerated Rights and Responsibilities

The preceding enumeration of rights and responsibilities shall not be construed to be all-inclusive for students in their capacity as members of the student body or as citizens of the community at large.

IX. Judicial System

Any controversies which may arise in connection with rights and responsibilities of students outlined in this document shall be adjudicated according to the University Judicial System.

X. Amendments

Amendment to the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities may be proposed only by the House of Student Representatives, the Faculty Senate or the TCU Chancellor. When proposed, amendments shall be referred to a special committee by a majority vote of the House of Student Representatives or the Faculty Senate, or at the request of the Chancellor. The Committee shall consist of three members appointed by the President of the House of Student Representatives, three members appointed by the Chairman of the Faculty Senate and three members appointed by the Chancellor. When the Committee recommends an amendment to the Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities, it will require an affirmative vote of a majority of the Texas Christian University students voting in a campus-wide election and a majority of the faculty voting in a faculty election, upon recommendations by a majority of the House of Student Representatives and the Faculty Senate, and by approval of the Chancellor.

XI. Ratification

Ratification of this statement shall be by affirmative vote of a majority of the Texas Christian University students voting in a campus-wide election and a majority of the faculty voting in a faculty election, upon recommendation by a majority of the Student House of Representatives and the Faculty Senate, and by approval of the Chancellor.

Student Grievance Procedure

The University has established both informal and formal procedures which a student may follow when presenting grievances. A grievance is defined as any dispute or difference concerning the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of University regulations, policies or procedures or state or federal laws applicable on the campus. Administrators, faculty and students are encouraged in all instances to resolve grievances informally, and as promptly as possible. However, formal procedures may be followed when needed.

Detailed information about the University Judicial System is given in the Student Handbook, available at the beginning of each fall semester. Individuals who have additional questions about how to gain access to the system may contact the office of the Dean of Campus Life.

Alcohol Use Policy

TCU has the responsibility of maintaining an educational environment conducive to academic achievement and at the same time helping young people grow into mature and responsible adults. Though each individual ultimately must decide whether or not to use alcoholic beverages, the University through its Board of Trustees has determined what practices will permitted on campus.

Students should be aware that the legal drinking age in the State of Texas is 21 years. Texas Christian University will conform to the state law and also has further specific regulations to govern the use, sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the property of the University.

Students who choose to drink, either on or off the campus, are expected to handle alcohol responsibly and conform to the laws of this state. Violation of state law, city ordinance or University regulations will be considered grounds for disciplinary action.

Except for certain specified areas in University residence halls approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and for specific events authorized by the Chancellor or Provost in the Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center or other buildings, the consumption, sale or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the campus. The consumption of alcohol is permissible for persons of legal drinking age in parking lots immediately adjacent to Amon Carter Stadium from two hours before until two hours after TCU home football games. Alcohol is not permitted in the Stadium at any time.

Residents of legal age (21 years) and over may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms or in the rooms of other students 21 years of age or older. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in hallways, stairways, elevators, lobbies, lounges, recreation areas, restrooms, and all other areas of the residence hall. Students' rooms may not be used as an "open bar" but may be used for private gatherings with no more than six guests.

The purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited everywhere on the campus. Furthermore, no person may provide any alcoholic beverages to any person less than 21 years of age. The University also prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in all instructional settings including those remote to the campus.

Information about specific penalties imposed for violation of alcohol use policies may be obtained from the Dean of Campus Life or the Office of Residential Services.

Drug Abuse Policy

Students enrolled in TCU are subject to disciplinary action for the possession, manufacture, use, sale or distribution (by either sale or gift) of any quantity of any prescription drug or controlled substance or for being under the influence of any prescription drug or controlled substance, except for the use of an over-the-counter medication or for the prescribed use of medication in accordance with the instructions of a licensed physician. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, cocaine derivatives, heroin, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, PCP, and substances typically known as "designer drugs" such as "ecstasy" or "eve." Possession of paraphernalia associated with the use, possession or manufacture of a prescription drug or controlled substance is also prohibited.

The minimum penalty for a first-time violation of the Drug Abuse Policy for use or possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance will be disciplinary probation for a full year, and a requirement for participation in a drug abuse education and/or treatment program. Any student who violates the Drug Abuse Policy for use or possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance for a second time will be suspended from the University for at least one year. Possession of drug paraphernalia will subject a student to the same penalties as those imposed for use and possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance.

The penalty for a violation of the Drug Abuse Policy for sale, distribution, or manufacture of a prescription drug or controlled substance will be permanent expulsion from the University. A student who voluntarily seeks help for drug or alcohol abuse is not subject to disciplinary action; in fact, University officials will do everything they can to assist the student in obtaining appropriate treatment. If the student continues to use drugs, then he/she does become subject to disciplinary action.

Legal Sanctions for Illegal Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs

In accordance with federal regulations the following information is provided for all students. In addition to sanctions imposed by the University for violation of the Alcohol Use Policy and the Drug Abuse Policy, a student may be subject to regulations of civil authorities. Various local, state and federal regulations prohibit the illegal use, possession and distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. Penalties for violation of such statutes vary depending on the type of drug, the amount of the drug involved, the type of violation, and in the case of alcohol, the age of the persons involved. Detailed descriptions of legal penalties are available in the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, the Dean of Campus Life Office, and in the office of Residential Services.

The University reserves the right to refer students to court authorities for any behavior that is in violation of the law regardless of any sanctions imposed by the University.

Health Risks Associated with Substance Abuse

Abuse of alcohol and drugs has been shown to cause serious health problems including:

Alcohol. Frequent or heavy use of alcoholic beverages can result in brain damage; cirrhosis of the liver; cancer of the liver; cancer of the mouth, throat and pancreas; stomach ulcers; heart damage; lowered sex hormone production; and lowered immunity to infections and disease.

Alcohol use by pregnant women can also cause birth defects, lowered birth weight and/or mental retardation in children.

The use of alcohol is involved in half of all traffic related deaths and permanent disabilities. Alcoholism can lead to family dysfunction and violence. Alcoholics are six or more times as likely to commit suicide as non-alcoholics.

Drugs. The use of illegal drugs, including but not limited to marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crack, amphetamines, psychedelics and so called "designer drugs" has been shown to result in physical and mental disorders.

Lung damage (including lung cancer), lowered immunity to disease, memory loss, depression, flashbacks, lowered production of sex hormones, birth defects, low birth weight infants and severe psychological disorders may result from the use of drugs. These drugs are highly addictive, both physically and psychologically. The body builds a tolerance to such drugs so that larger and more frequent doses are required to satisfy the need for the drug.

Academic Conduct Policy

An academic community requires the highest standards of honor and integrity in all of its participants if it is to fulfill its missions. In such a community faculty, students, and staff are expected to maintain high standards of academic conduct. The purpose of this policy is to make all aware of these expectations. Additionally, the policy outlines some, but not all, of the situations which can arise that violate these standards. Further, the policy sets forth a set of procedures, characterized by a "sense of fair play," which will be used when these standards are violated. In this spirit, definitions of academic misconduct are listed below. These are not meant to be exhaustive.

Academic misconduct.

Any act that violates the spirit of the academic conduct policy is considered academic misconduct. Specific examples include, but are not limited to:

A. Cheating. Includes, but is not limited to:

1. Copying from another student's test paper, laboratory report, other report, or computer files and listings.

2. Using in any academic exercise or academic setting, material and/or devices not authorized by the person in charge of the test.

3. Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during an academic exercise without the permission of the person in charge of the exercise.

4. Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting in its entirety or in part, the contents of a test or other assignment unauthorized for release.

5. Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for oneself, in a manner that leads to misrepresentation of either or both students work.

B. Plagiarism. The appropriation, theft, purchase, or obtaining by any means another's work, and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of that work as one's own offered for credit. Appropriation includes the quoting or paraphrasing of another's work without giving credit therefore.

C. Collusion. The unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing work offered for credit.

D. Abuse of resource materials. Mutilating, destroying, concealing, or stealing such materials.

E. Computer misuse. Unauthorized or illegal use of computer software or hardware through the TCU Computer Center or through any programs, terminals, or freestanding computers owned, leased, or operated by TCU or any of its academic units for the purpose of affecting the academic standing of a student.

F. Fabrication and falsification. Unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification involves altering information for use in any academic exercise. Fabrication involves inventing or counterfeiting information for use in any academic exercise.

G. Multiple submission. The submission by the same individual of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports) for credit more than once in the same or another class without authorization.

H. Complicity in academic misconduct. Helping another to commit an act of academic misconduct.

I. Bearing false witness. Knowingly and falsely accusing another student of academic misconduct.

Sanctions. Sanctions will be imposed for acts of academic misconduct. Students may obtain a complete copy of the Academic Conduct Policy in the offices of all the academic deans, the Dean of Campus Life, the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.