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5. Administrative Policies and Procedures

Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents

A student at UTSA neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship. Compliance is expected with both the penal and civil statutes of the state and federal governments, the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, and the policies and procedures of the University.

All students of UTSA are subject to the rules and regulations governing student conduct and discipline as set out in Series 50000, Rule 50101, Sec. 2 of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, and the Handbook of Operating Procedures.

The Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents, the Handbook of Operating Procedures, and the UTSA Information Bulletin have full force and effect as they concern all UTSA students. The Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents and the Handbook of Operating Procedures may be consulted on the Internet.

To the extent provided by applicable law, no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored or conducted by The University of Texas System or any of its institutions on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, and veteran status. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is also prohibited pursuant to University policy (Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents, Series 10000, Rule 10701, Sec. 1; UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 9, § 9.1; UTSA Information Bulletin, Appendix B, Student Code of Conduct). Students can notify the University of any violations of this policy by contacting the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or the Office of Equal Opportunity Services. If any student feels he or she has been subjected to prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment, he or she may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity Services. Students must file a complaint within thirty (30) days from the date the alleged incident or problem occurred.

Prohibition of Hazing

State law (§ 37.151 through 37.157 and 51.936, Texas Education Code) defines hazing as “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.”

Hazing includes but is not limited to:

  • any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity
  • any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student
  • any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk or harm or which adversely affects the mental or physical health of the student
  • any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from entering or remaining registered in an educational institution, or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to acts described in this section
  • any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code.

Under state law (§ 37.151 through 37.157 and 51.936, Texas Education Code), individuals or organizations engaging in hazing could be subject to fines and charged with a criminal offense.

According to the statute, a person commits a hazing offense:

  • by engaging in hazing
  • by soliciting, directing, encouraging, aiding, or attempting to aid another in hazing
  • by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly allowing hazing to occur
  • by failing to report in writing to the Office of Student Life firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident is planned or has occurred.

The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense under the hazing law.

The penalty for failure to report hazing activities is a fine not to exceed $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both. Penalties for other hazing offenses vary according to the severity of the injury that results; they range from individual fines of $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail to individual fines of up to $10,000 and/or a state jail term of not less than 180 days or more than two years. Organizational penalties include fines of not less than $5,000 or more than $10,000. If the organizational hazing activity resulted in personal injury, property damage, or other loss, the penalty is a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than double the amount lost or expenses incurred because of the injury, damage, or loss.

In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the law grants immunity from civil or criminal liability to any person who reports a specific hazing event to the Office of Student Life and immunizes that person from participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from that report.

State law does not affect or in any way restrict the right of UTSA to enforce its own rules against hazing, and the University may take disciplinary action for conduct that constitutes hazing regardless of whether public authorities prosecute students under state law. (For additional information, see Appendix C of this bulletin.)

Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material

Unauthorized copying or distribution (including peer-to-peer file sharing) of copyrighted works, including without limitation, books, periodicals, software, multimedia and musical works, may be unlawful and may infringe the owner’s copyright. Any use of UTSA computer or duplicating facilities by students, faculty or staff for the unauthorized duplication or distribution of copyrighted works is subject to:

The University of Texas System's policy statement on “Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials” can help you determine whether your use of a copyrighted work is a fair use or requires permission.

Information on UTSA’s Unauthorized File Sharing Standard limiting the use of peer-to-peer applications may be found at http://one.utsa.edu/sites/oit/OITConnect/security/Pages/sec_file_std.aspx.

Disciplinary Actions

A student who has engaged in conduct that violates a rule, regulation, or administrative order of UTSA may have any one or more of the actions listed below imposed (Series 50000, Rule 50101, Sec. 6, Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents). The disciplinary actions assessed in a particular case will be dependent upon the nature of the conduct involved, the circumstances and conditions that existed at the time the student engaged in such conduct, and the results that followed as a natural sequence of such conduct. See Appendix B of this bulletin for further explanation of each of the following actions:

  • disciplinary warning
  • disciplinary probation
  • withholding grades, official transcript, or degree
  • bar against readmission or drop from current enrollment and bar against readmission
  • restitution
  • suspension of rights and privileges
  • failing grade
  • suspension
  • expulsion
  • educational programs
  • revocation of degree, denial of degree, and/or withdrawal of diploma
  • deferral of penalty
  • other penalty as deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

Student Grievances

UTSA students may need to pursue questions or concerns involving academic or nonacademic aspects of student life. General grievance procedures are set forth below. Students may consult with the Student Ombudsperson in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs if additional information is needed concerning the pursuit of any grievance or the Academic Affairs Ombudsperson in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for employee related issues within academic affairs.

A student with a grade grievance should refer to the “Academic and Grade Grievance Procedure” section in Chapter 4, General Academic Regulations, in this bulletin.

A student grievance may involve a UTSA employee (faculty, staff or student-employee) or other students. A student with a grievance involving a University employee should first seek to resolve the issue with the employee. If the matter cannot be resolved with the employee, the grievance can be forwarded to the employee’s supervisor. A student who believes another student has violated the Student Code of Conduct may file a complaint with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

In conflict situations that do not require a criminal or student conduct response, or have not been resolved through regular grievance channels, it is recommended that students pursue resolution of their conflict with the Student Ombudsperson or with the Academic Affairs Ombudsperson for academic affairs employee related matters.

Official Communication

The official means of student communication from The University of Texas at San Antonio regarding administrative issues is the UTSA myUTSAmail e-mail address. Important information, such as financial aid award notification, registration information, payment deadlines, and how to access bills and grades, is sent to the myUTSAmail e-mail address. The e-mail address, e-mail user name, and initial password are on the ASAP (Automated Student Access Program) Welcome page after the student has accessed ASAP. Students are given the option of selecting their preferred e-mail address which will become their designated e-mail address for all official communication with UTSA. When logging in to ASAP, students may designate their myUTSAmail e-mail account or another personal e-mail account as their official method of communication.

Student Identification Number

UTSA assigns a student identification number to all students. While a student’s Social Security number is requested at the time of admission, under the provisions of the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, a student is not required to provide the Social Security number. Although providing the Social Security number is voluntary at the time of admission, some students who do not provide it initially may be required to do so later in order to meet federal and state financial aid and other fiscal requirements.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, is the federal law that provides for the review and disclosure of student educational records. The University has adopted the following policy and procedures. Individuals are informed of their rights under these laws through the policy stated in this section.

The University will not permit access to or the release of personally identifiable information contained in student educational records to any party without the written consent of the student, except as authorized by FERPA. FERPA’s authorizations for release without consent include:

  1. appropriate school officials who have legitimate educational interests
  2. officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request of these officials and upon the condition that the student or student’s parent is notified and receives a copy of the record if desired
  3. federal officials or state educational authorities
  4. in connection with a student’s application for or receipt of financial aid
  5. state and local officials or authorities to whom such information is allowed to be reported or disclosed pursuant to state statute
  6. organizations conducting educational studies, provided that these organizations do not release personally identifiable data and destroy such data when it is no longer needed for the purpose it was obtained
  7. accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions
  8. the parents of a dependent student as defined in § 152 of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance
  9. in an emergency situation if the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons
  10. when the student has violated a law or the school’s rules or policies governing alcohol or substance abuse, if the student is under age 21
  11. in compliance with a judicial order or subpoena, or federal grand jury subpoena provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance, unless such subpoena specifically directs the institution not to disclose the existence of a subpoena
  12. an alleged victim of a crime of violence or a nonforcible sex offense; the final results of the alleged perpetrator’s disciplinary proceeding with respect to such crimes may be released.

In item 1 above, “school official” means a person either: (1) employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position, (2) serving on a University governing body, (3) under contract to the University to perform a special task or service, or (4) who is a student serving in an official capacity for the University. “Legitimate educational interest” means any authorized interest or activity undertaken in the name of the University for which access to a student educational record is necessary or appropriate to the proper performance of the undertaking within the course and scope of the person’s employment and authority in order to further the educational or business purposes of the student or the University.

For records maintained by the Office of the Registrar, a record of requests for disclosure and such disclosure of personally identifiable information from student educational records is maintained by the Office of the Registrar for each student and is made available for inspection pursuant to this policy. If the University discovers that a third party who received student records from UTSA released or failed to destroy such records or information from such records in violation of FERPA, UTSA may not allow that third party access to personally identifiable information from educational records for at least five years. Records subject to disclosure are purged according to regular schedules when no longer subject to audit or presently under request for access.

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not extend to research papers and theses authored by students; these documents are available to interested members of the public.

Directory Information

Directory information means information contained in an educational record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. FERPA regulations specifically prohibit the disclosure of a student’s Social Security Number as directory information.

At its discretion, the University may release directory information that includes the following:

  • name, address, and telephone number
  • e-mail address
  • date and place of birth
  • major field of study
  • enrollment status
  • dates of attendance (in person or by correspondence, video conference, Internet, or other electronic information and telecommunications technologies)
  • most recent previous educational institution attended
  • classification
  • degrees, certificates, and awards (including scholarships) received
  • date of graduation
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • physical factors (height and weight) of athletes
  • photographs

Students may have all directory information withheld by submitting the Restrict Student Directory Information Request form to Enrollment Services. The request for confidentiality will remain in effect until the student makes written authorization releasing the information. The request for confidentiality applies to insurance companies, potential employers, and other interested parties. All UTSA e-mail addresses, including Blackboard Learn course e-mail addresses, are subject to restriction. Students are advised to consider carefully the impact of having directory information withheld.

Access to File

Upon written request, the University will provide a student with access to his or her educational records. Educational records covered by FERPA are made available within 45 days of the request. Students wishing to review their educational records must submit written requests including the item(s) of interest to the appropriate office listed below:

Academic Records

Associate Vice President and University Registrar, Office of the Registrar
College, department/division, advising, and faculty offices

Student Services Records

Director, Counseling Services
Director, Office of Student Activities
Associate Vice President for Student Life, Office of Student Life

Financial Records

Vice President for Business Affairs, Office of Business Affairs
Associate Vice President for Financial Aid, Office of Student Financial Aid

Educational records do not include the following:

  • records of instructional, administrative, supervisory, and educational personnel ancillary to those persons kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record;
  • records of a law enforcement unit of the educational institution;
  • employee records, unless the individual’s employment position is dependent upon the individual’s student status;
  • records of a student who is 18 years of age or older or is attending an institution of postsecondary education, which are made by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional;
  • records that only contain information about an individual after the individual is no longer a student at the institution; or
  • records of applicants for admission who are denied acceptance or choose not to attend.

Limitations on Right to Inspect:

  1. If any material or document in the educational record of a student includes information on more than one student, the parent or eligible student shall have the right to inspect and review only such part of such material or document as it relates to such student.
  2. The University does not have to permit a student to inspect and review educational records:
    1. that are financial records of the parents of the student;
    2. that are confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the educational records prior to January 1, 1975; or
    3. if the student has signed a waiver of the student’s right of access.

Challenge to Record

Parents or students may challenge the accuracy of the educational records. Students who believe their educational records contain inaccurate or misleading information or information that is otherwise in violation of their privacy rights may discuss their problems informally with the office responsible for maintaining the records. If agreement is reached with respect to the student’s request, the appropriate records will be amended; if not, the student is notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended and is informed by the Associate Vice President for Student Life of his or her right to a formal hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to challenge the content of the student’s educational records on the grounds that the information contained in the educational records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy rights of the student.

Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Associate Vice President for Student Life, who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place, and time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the student’s expense. The hearing officer who adjudicates such challenges is appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs in nonacademic matters and by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in academic matters. Decisions of the hearing officer are final, are based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and include a written summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision. The decision should be delivered to all parties concerned.

If the decision is in favor of the student, educational records are corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing officer. If the student finds the decision unsatisfactory, he or she may include with the educational records statements commenting on the information in the educational records, statements specifying reasons for disagreement with the decision of the hearing officer, or both. The statements are placed in the educational records, maintained as part of the student’s records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges are unfair or are not in keeping with the provisions of FERPA may request assistance in writing from the President of the University.

Copies

Students may have copies of their educational records and this policy. Copies will be made within 45 days at the student’s expense at rates authorized in the Texas Public Information Act. Official transcripts are not released for students who have a delinquent financial obligation or financial “hold” at the University.

Complaints

Complaints regarding alleged failures to comply with the provisions of FERPA may be submitted in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5920.

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Solicitation and Distribution of Materials

No individual, group, association, or corporation may use the grounds, buildings, or facilities owned or controlled by any institution or by The University of Texas System except as permitted by the provisions of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents and approved institutional rules and regulations. The term “solicitation” means the sale, lease, rental, or offer for sale, lease, or rental of any property, product, merchandise, publication, or service, whether for immediate or future delivery; an oral statement or the distribution or display of printed material, merchandise, or product that is designed to encourage the purchase, use, or rental of any property, product, merchandise, publication, or service; the receipt of or request for any gift or contribution; or the request to support or oppose or to vote for or against a candidate, issue, or proposition appearing on the ballot at any election held pursuant to state or federal law or local ordinances. Contact the Student Activities Office for UTSA regulations regarding solicitation and distribution of material on UTSA campuses.

Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act

In compliance with the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act,” codified as 20 U.S.C. 1092 (f) as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, UTSA collects and discloses certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies. (See Appendix D of this bulletin.)

Pursuant to federal law, alleged victims of violent crime are entitled to know the results of campus disciplinary proceedings concerning alleged perpetrators.

UTSA publishes an annual Crime Awareness and Campus Security Report that pertains to the prior three years of offenses occurring at UTSA. The report contains certain security policy statements, including sexual assault policies which assure basic victims’ rights, the law enforcement authority of UTSA police, and where students should go to report crimes. The report is available to all current and prospective students and employees through the UTSA Police Department Web site and in various UTSA publications. A copy of these statistics is also provided to the U.S. Department of Education.

The annual report discloses crime statistics for the campus, unobstructed public areas immediately adjacent to or running through the campus, and certain noncampus facilities that are broken down geographically into “on-campus property,” “residential facilities," “noncampus property,” and “public property,” such as streets and sidewalks.

The annual report contains UTSA’s policy regarding sex-related offenses, including sexual assault prevention programs, educational programs to promote awareness of sex offenders, administrative disciplinary procedures and sanctions for offenders as well as counseling and other student services for victims. Included in the report is a statement advising the campus community where to locate law enforcement agency information concerning registered sex offender information as provided by a state under 42 U.S.C. section 14071(j).

Campus Fire Prevention Policies, Fire Log, and Annual Fire Report

The UTSA Department of Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management (EHSRM; http://utsa.edu/safety) serves as the campus authority having jurisdiction and fire marshal for all fire prevention activities. The UTSA Fire and Life Safety Plan details current fire prevention policies and procedures.

EHSRM publishes an annual Campus Fire Report that includes the prior three calendar years of fires in on-campus student housing at UTSA. The report is available to all current and prospective students and employees through the UTSA EHSRM Campus Fire Report Web site (http://utsa.edu/safety/?section=fire&page=log#/safetymanuals). A copy of these statistics is also provided to the U.S. Department of Education. UTSA EHSRM maintains a fire log at the same Web site.

The annual report discloses fire statistics for on-campus student housing, and includes descriptions of fire protection systems and fire prevention activities in on-campus student housing.  The UTSA Police Department includes the Campus Fire Report in its Campus Security Report, presented in Appendix D of this bulletin.

Gang-Free Zones

Premises owned, rented or leased by The University of Texas at San Antonio, and areas within 1,000 feet of the premises are “gang-free” zones. Certain criminal offenses, including those involving gang-related crimes, will be enhanced to the next highest category of offense if committed in a gang-free zone by an individual 17 years or older. See Texas Penal Code, Section 71.028.

Student Travel

The Student Travel Policy promotes safe travel by students to and from activities or events that advance the University’s mission of research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The policy serves as a guide for student travel and supports compliance with relevant state and University of Texas System regulations. Registration with International S.O.S. is required for faculty, staff, students and student-employees who travel internationally. Detailed information regarding this policy can be accessed in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, the Student Travel Web page, or by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Countries with U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings and Alerts are identified as regions that require special attention and actions to mitigate risk and - when necessary - the avoidance of international travel to the region altogether. For information on how to ask for University approval to travel to countries identified as UTSA restricted regions, follow the Policy on Travel to Restricted Regions or contact the Senior International Officer. For information about Education Abroad Services such as study abroad and exchange programs, review the Education Abroad Services web page or contact the Office of International Programs.

Making A False Alarm Or Report

A person commits an offense under Section 42.06, Texas Penal Code, if he or she knowingly initiates, communicates or circulates a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, offense, or other emergency that he or she knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily: (1) cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies; (2) place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or (3) prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile, or other mode of conveyance. The offense under Section 42.06, Texas Penal Code, of making such a false alarm or report involving a public or private institution of higher education is a state jail felony. An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days and, in addition to confinement, an individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

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