Students: Know your rights

Students don’t sign over all their rights when living on campus

By Robert Higham and Brooke Erickson
ENGL 336

Helpful links:
* Flex Your Rights – a reminder that student’s rights don’t stop once they set foot on campus
* ACLU of Maryland
* FIRE – an organization dedicated to protecting students’ right to free speech and privacy
Community Standards and Code of Conduct

With so much information out there, it is hard to tell what your rights are as a student, especially as a first-year student.

There is a sad trend of students who don’t seem to look at the Community Standards and Policy Statements. For those who do, some choose to view it only after there has been some sort of trouble or legal action initiated against them. This will help to give a short synopsis as to what your rights are as a student from both the code of student conduct at Frostburg State University as well as a few extra sources.

Photo by Brooke Erickson Allied law enforcement agencies patrol the campus community on and around Frostburg State University to keep students, faculty, staff and members of the general public safe. Students, however, give up some of their rights by exercising a privilege to be a student.

Photo by Brooke Erickson
Allied law enforcement agencies patrol the campus community on and around Frostburg State University to keep students, faculty, staff and members of the general public safe. Students, however, give up some of their rights by exercising a privilege to be a student.

To begin with as a student your rights are relatively large and underlined in the Community Standards and Policy Statements which includes the Code of Student Conduct, Gender Based Harassment and Violence, Hazing, Substance Abuse Policies, Health and Safety Information and Campus Security information. Yet this can be very dense it can be easy to get lost. To make things easier for students this article will further explain some properties of this document and what rights a student has according to university standards.

A campus police officer has all the authority of a police officer when it comes to you and your dorm, so they still have to apply to due process and have to stick to reasonable suspicion. As underlined in page two of the Community Standards and Policy Statements says “Frostburg State University has the authority to conduct a reasonable search of University property, including but not limited to residence hall rooms.

A student’s residence hall room, personal possessions or other university property will be searched by university officials only (1) when there is reasonable cause to believe that illegal or other detrimental use is being made of the property in violation of university policy and (2) under authorization by an administrator designated by the president. The authorization shall specify the reasons for the search and the objects or information sought.”

While this is all fine to understand what rights you have to your room it also good to know that you have other rights not underlined in the document that are inherent to all Universities and it is the job of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to up hold these rights, “The ACLU continues to be a leader in courts and statehouses across the country in protecting both students’ free speech rights and privacy.” (ACLU Link)

The university provides students with the necessary documents to become well versed in their rights. Once a student, it is the responsibility of the student to educate themselves on the policies and procedures of the university and cannot use ignorance as an excuse to get out of any sanctions posed for the student’s actions. Below are links that can provide you with more information on the campus as well as information that may be useful in your life outside of college. Your rights do not stop at the moment you reply to your acceptance letter.

Group members Phil Wheeler and Kevin Spradlin contributed to this report. 

Filed in: Frostburg

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