Student Rights and Academic Freedom

[Faculty Handbook Category #2]

St. Olaf College believes that the professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression.  It believes further that student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled.

Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.  But if they believe that they have been subject to prejudice or capricious academic evaluation, they have the right to appeal to the chair of the department or to the Associate Dean of the Faculty of which the professor is a member.  In cases where this is not satisfactory, students may appeal to the Dean of the College.

Protection Against Improper Disclosure

Faculty members, like other employees of the College, shall comply with the privacy requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act with respect to educational information about students.

In addition, faculty are reminded that their work and their relationships with students may at times cause them to be aware of other information about students that is particularly sensitive.  Students may consider information about their personal lives, views, beliefs, and political associations, for example, to be confidential.  Faculty are encouraged to exercise care and respect at all times in determining what information about students should be shared with others, even when no legal requirements as to confidentiality would apply.