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The Daily Wildcat

 

Full Document: Graduate Student Bill of Rights

Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Icecats Practice/GSPC
Timothy Galaz
Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat Icecats Practice/GSPC

An unofficial rough draft of a graduate student bill of rights and responsibilities obtained by the Daily Wildcat outlines a broad range of administrative procedures, First Amendment-style freedoms, academic responsibilities and teaching policies. The bill is a largely unchanged version of an older bill passed by the Graduate and Professional Student Council that was killed by university administrators due to legal complications.

GPSC members met over the weekend to organize the draft in preparation for an upcoming meeting with President Robert Shelton. GPSC President David Talenfeld called the bill “”absolutely central to my legacy.””

 

 

  1. Preamble

    1. The University of Arizona’s mission to discover, educate, serve and inspire relies heavily on the contribution and dedication of its graduate and professional students. “”Students”” hereafter refers to any graduate, professional, or post-baccalaureate student of the University of Arizona. To this end, students must be free to learn, research, and teach as appropriate to the scholarly standards of their respective fields. These graduate and professional student rights and responsibilities arise from their unique roles as students, researchers, and teachers.

  2. Rights Relative to the University as a Whole

    1. Right to Equal Representation and Shared Governance

      1. Students have a right to participation in the shared governance procedures on all university levels.
      2. Students have a right to representation that is equal and independent in all respects to the rights of representation that are granted to undergraduates.

    2. Right to Appropriate and Equal Treatment

      1. Students have a right to student and work in an environment free of exploitation, intimidation, harassment and discrimination based on characteristics such as gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, country, state or national origin, religious or political beliefs and affiliations.
      2. Students are entitled to equal rights and protections in all matters regardless of their classification.
      3. Students have the right to be considered members of a scholarly community, and as such, they have a right to collegial and respectful treatment by faculty members.
      4. Students have the right to expect that their vulnerability in having a lesser status and authority in the academic unit or lesser experience will not be exploited to the personal advantage of a faculty or staff members or department.
      5. Students have the right to protection from any reprisal for exposing professional, ethical, or legal violations. This is consistent with the Arizona Board of Regents Policy 6-914, “”Protection of Employees from Reprisal for Whistleblowing.””

    3. Right to Internal Due Process and Appeal in Academic and Non-Academic Matters

      1. Students have a right to clearly defined official grievance procedures and informal complaint procedures for academic and non-academic matters at the department and campus-wide levels.

        1. Consistent with this right, Students have a right to procedures appropriate to the nature of the case and the severity of the potential sanction. in any University proceedings, graduate students shall be granted all procedural and due process rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the constitution of the State of Arizona, and the body of case law and judicial decisions that interpret those two documents.

    4. Right to Freedom of Speech, Expression and Conscience

      1. Students have a fundamental right to speak freely and to express their viewpoints even when those opinions are unpopular with faculty, administrators, government and the general public. Protection of free speech is understood to encompass all reasonable forms of expression within the bounds of legislation, and professional expectations.
      2. Students have the right to hold their own moral and ethical beliefs regarding controversial issues without administration coercion or forced conformity to officially-approved ideologies.

  3. Rights Relating to Graduate Departments and Programs

    1. Right to Appropriate Consideration of Dual Status as Students and Employess

      1. To the extent that Students are acting in their capacities as students, they have the same rights and protections as any other students at the University.
      2. To the extent that Students are acting in their capacities as employees of the University of Arizona and / or the State of Arizona, those individuals have the same rights and protections as any other State and / or University employees.

    2. Right to Disclosure and Stability of Academic Requirements

      1. Students have the right to clear and specific written requirements for achieving an advanced degree.

        1. These requirements should be provided to students upon their admission into a graduate program and / or emphasis. No changes in degree requirements should affect students previously accepted into the graduate program and / or emphasis except at their option.

    3. Right to Disclosure of Efficacy

      1. Prospective and currently enrolled students have a right to know and should be informed of the normal and average “”time to degree”” and completion rate within a specific graduate program and / or emphasis.

        1. If available, programs and / or emphasis should disclose the predominant reasons for lack of program completion, except in instances where confidentiality is breached.

    4. Right to Disclosure and Stability of Financial Support and Resources

      1. Students have a right to an accurate description of availability and the likelihood of ongoing financial and resource support within their program and / or emphasis.

        1. All graduate programs and / or emphases should have clearly written policies regarding the distribution of financial support and academic employment.
        2. Prospective and currently enrolled students should be provided a thorough description of the requirements and qualifications necessary for academic employment, training and financial support within their departments and / or emphases at the university.
        3. All policies support of students should be implemented in a consistent and understandable way.

      2. Students have the right to accurate description of availability of resources needed to complete the degree.

    5. Right to Fair and Effective Evaluation and Guidance

      1. Students have the right to have their progress toward achieving an advanced degree evaluated in an objective manner and based on criteria that are understood by the graduate advisor, the graduate committee and Students.

        1. Evaluations should be factual, specific, and should be shared with the Student within a reasonable period of time. Annual progress reports should be in writing.
        2. A thorough written and / or evaluation of performance on qualifying and comprehensive examinations should be provided to Students.
        3. Students should be given a fair opportunity to correct or remedy deficiencies in their academic performance with agreed upon timetables for remedy.
        4. Any intent to dismiss a Student from a graduate program and / or emphasis for academic reasons must be preceded by a written warning, which includes specific performance information, well in advance of actual dismissal.

      2. Students have a right to be judged by the faculty of their department in accordance with fair procedures and based on the Students’ professional and academic qualifications.
      3. Students have the right to received regular feedback and guidance concerning their academic performance through a mutually agreeable schedule of conferences with their advisor / chair / mentor.

        1. Any intent to discontinue an advisor / chair / mentor relationship with a Student should be preceded by a warning within a reasonable period of time.

      4. Students have the right to access professional training for academic and non-academic careers.

        1. This should include, but not limited to, information about professional associations and conference, mock interviews, job opportunities and publishing articles in journals.

    6. Rights as Teachers and Researchers

      1. Students have the right to receive appropriate training and support as an educator if they are place din a teaching assistant or associate position.

        1. Programs and / or emphasis should implement a structured training program for their teaching assistants and associates.
        2. All graduate programs and / or emphases should outline the expectations of a graduate student teacher, and the ways in which those expectations can be achieved, for their teaching assistants and teaching associates.

      2. Students have a right to refuse to perform tasks that are not closely related to, or in conflict with, their academic programs or professional development or tasks in excess of their contractual obligations.
      3. Students have the right to fair and appropriate recognition for their discoveries, academic research, and creative contributions.

        1. This includes, but is not limited to, co-authorship in works involving significant contribution of ideas or search from the student. The student should receive “”first authorship”” for publications which are comprised primarily of the creative research and writing of the student when consistent with the conventions of the field.

      4. Any intent to dismiss a student from a graduate program and / or emphasis for academic reasons must be preceded by a written warning, which includes specific performance information, well in advance of actual dismissal.

  4. Graduate Student Responsibilities Relating to the University as a Whole

    1. Responsibility to uphold policies and regulations

      1. Students have the responsibility to respect and uphold all relevant university policies regarding professional conduct, including, but not limited to, University Code of Conduct, the Honor code, and the Sexual Harassment Policy.
      2. Students have the responsibility to perform their duties in accordance with all relevant University, state government, and federal government rules and regulations.

    2. Responsibility to fellow graduate students

      1. Students have the responsibility to respect and uphold all of the aforementioned rights of other fellow Students.

    3. Responsibility not to discriminate

      1. Students have the responsibility to not discriminate against students, faculty, staff, or administrators on the basis including but not limited to gender, race, age, family status, sexual orientation, disability, religion, political beliefs, country of citizenship, or country of origin.

    4. Responsibility to university as land-grant institution

      1. Students have the responsibility to contribute to the public services aspects of the mission of this land-grant university, at a level appropriate to their ability and program of study.

        1. Students will teach to the best of their ability.
        2. Students will endeavor to provide valuable research and support to the faculty and fellow graduate students.
        3. Students will endeavor to contribute to the academic community of the department or program in which they are pursuing their advanced degree.
        4. When providing such service, student will do so with care, consideration, diligence and professionalism.

      2. Students are encouraged, but not required, to provide service to their program, their department, school or college, the university community and the local community to the extent that each is able.

        1. This may include, but is not limited to: the recruitment and retention of fellow students and faculty members; the hosting of, attending, and participating in colloquia and conferences; and other relevant decision-making committees.
        2. Students will endeavor to contribute to the administration and ongoing improvement of their graduate program, graduate student government, and the University.

  5. Student responsibilities to Departments and Programs

    1. Responsibility to proper conduct

      1. Students have the responsibility to conduct themselves, in all educational and professional activities, in an appropriate manner.

        1. students’ behavior should be a credit to themselves, the higher academic unit, and the University.

      2. Students have the responsibility to provide accurate and honest reporting of research results and to uphold ethical norms in research methodology and scholarship. Students have the responsibility to report any research misconduct they may witnessed or believe to have taken place.

    2. Responsibility to progress toward degree

      1. Students have the responsibility to devote to a sufficient amount of time and energy to making progress towards achieving their advanced degree, except when special circumstances apply.

        1. These special circumstances could include, but are not limited to, the particular nature of the research, financial hardship, physical or mental illness or disability, civil obligations, family obligations, and religious obligations.

    3. Responsibility to mentors and administrators

      1. Students have the responsibility to understand their role in the development of their relationships with mentors.

        1. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the time constraints and other demands imposed on faculty members and program staff.
        2. Students will communicate regularly with faculty mentors and advisors, especially in matters related to research, progress, concerns, and problems within the graduate program.

      2. Students have the responsibility to take the initiative in asking questions that promote their understanding of the academic requirements and financial particulars of their specific graduate program.
      3. Students have the responsibility to communicate with individual faculty, departments, and the University administration in a timely manner.

    4. Responsibility to fulfill teaching and research obligations

      1. Students employees have the responsibility to fulfill their teaching and research obligations to the best of their knowledge, training, and ability.

        1. Students will do their best to ensure stability for faculty, programs, and departments.
        2. Once accepted, students cannot change their teaching or research appointments or assignments without the permission of their faculty adviser or supervisor.
        3. If a student can no longer reasonably fulfill their obligations, they shall communicate this to their faculty advisor or supervisor in a timely and conscientious manner.

      2. Student employees have the responsibility to carry out their job responsibilities in a conscientious and timely manner.
      3. Student employees have the responsibility to accurately report their hours worked and level of effort whenever requested or required to do so.
      4. Students have the responsibility to work or be available to work on the days and at the times outlined in their appointment letter or contract, or at times explicitly discussed and agreed upon with their faculty advisor or supervisor.
      5. Students employees have the responsibility to recognize that failure to perform their job responsibilities in a satisfactory manner may constitute cause for disciplinary action or dismissal.

  6. Rights Not Enumerated

    1. The enumeration of these rights and responsibilities shall not be construed to deny Students those rights nor allow Students to shirt those responsibilities not listed.

  7. Enactment Clause

    1. Should one of these clauses be found to be directly in conflict with a preexisting University policy or legislation rendering it invalid, its invalidation in no way invalidates the rest of the document or any clause not in violation with a preexisting University policy or legislation.

  8. Governing Board

    1. The University shall convene a governing board comprised of 50% student and 50% faculty and administrator representation at least twice per semester.  The board shall have authority over all disputes arising between graduate and professional students and faculty, and shall issue binding interpretations of this document. The board may amend this document by a 2/3 majority vote of its membership.  The GPSC and Faculty Senate must be consulted prior to any modifications.  

  9. Acknowledgments

    1. The University of Arizona Graduate and Professional Student Council is deeply indebted to the University of Colorado Boulder United Government of Graduate Students for their helpful input and assistance with this document.

 

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