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Student Rights and Responsibilities

Statement on Rights and Responsibilities

Atlantic University recognizes the tradition of academic freedom and free inquiry that is the hallmark of the university system and one of the guiding principles in the Edgar Cayce readings. Thus, we are committed to a process that allows students the freedom to follow a variety of avenues of inquiry in class work, thesis development, or interactions with the university. This freedom is limited only to such extent that it does not become disruptive to the operation of the university and is not prohibited expressly by university policy or rules of conduct.

Atlantic University admits students of any race, gender, color, age, nationality, ethnic origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, religion, or disability and extends all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities available to all students equally.

Within the limits of its facilities, the university is open to all applicants who meet admission requirements.

Students are responsible for conducting themselves in such a manner as to ensure other students of their basic rights as stated in this publication and for abiding by the guidelines expressed in the online classroom under the heading of “Netiquette.”

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance as established by their instructor(s) and for abiding by guidelines of academic integrity with regard to such issues as cheating and plagiarism.

Student Privacy Rights

Student records are confidential and may not be examined without the written consent of the student except by authorized Atlantic University personnel. Students may review their records upon request. Viewing financial records and letters of recommendation by an outside party requires the written consent of the student.

In accordance with the provisions of Public Law 93-380, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (the “Buckley Amendment”), Atlantic University students have the right to review, inspect, and challenge the accuracy of information kept in a cumulative file by the institution unless the student waives this right verbally or in writing. Records cannot be released, other than in emergency situations, without the written consent of the student except in the following situations:

  • When requested by other school officials, including Atlantic University faculty or authorities of local educational agencies with legitimate educational interests;
  • When requested by other schools in which the student intends to enroll, upon the condition that the student be notified of the records transfer, receive a copy of the records if desired, and have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the records;
  • When requested by authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education of the United States, the administrative head of an education agency, or state educational authorities;
  • When required in connection with a student’s application for and receipt of financial aid;
  • When the information requested is classified as “Directory Information.” The following categories of information have been designated by the university as directory information: name, address, telephone listing, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the educational institution from which the student obtained their BA or BS degree. Students who do not wish such information released without their consent should notify the university verbally or in writing.

Student Information Verification

Before university staff can discuss or release information about a student over the phone, we will need to verify the student’s identity. The student will need to accurately confirm their address, telephone number, and email address on record.

Maintaining Active Status

A student must enroll in at least two semesters per calendar year to maintain “Active” status. Active status also entails course completion within the past 100 days or current active enrollment while progressing on schedule towards course completion and submitting academic work within the past six months. Failure to maintain a minimum level of course activity will result in the student being placed in “Inactive” status. Inactive students must seek readmission by reapplying to the university and completing all procedures as outlined in the admissions requirements. Students must be readmitted formally prior to registering for additional classes. Readmitted students are admitted under the policies included in the catalog in effect at the time of readmission and are subject to the current tuition rate.

Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence may be granted to students when extenuating circumstances (e.g. severe illness, emergency, financial hardship, military assignment, etc.) will prevent maintaining “Active” status. The Leave of Absence cannot exceed 180 days and cannot be repeated. The request must be made in writing to the Director of Advising and Assessment prior to the start of the semester in which the leave period begins. Complete the Leave of Absence form. Applicable documentation may be required. The student must have no outstanding financial obligations to the university. It is the student’s responsibility to contact any appropriate parties providing tuition or other financial assistance.

A student who does not return to their program of study by the end of a Leave of Absence will be withdrawn from the university and changed to “Inactive” status.

Military Deployment

Students whose studies are interrupted due to military obligations will be allowed to take up to two weeks away from their studies per semester and to return to their studies without penalty. If the time away from an individual course is expected to be longer than two weeks, the military student will be withdrawn from the course without penalty and can re-enroll at a later time. Students may speak to their faculty mentor and advisor for more details.

Active and Reserve Duty Military students need to notify the university when military deployment prohibits satisfactory academic progress. With sufficient documentation of military duty that prohibits academic progress, the student may take an official Leave of Absence from the university. The student can be reinstated in their program of study upon returning from military duty. The Leave of Absence cannot exceed 180 days and cannot be repeated. Military students may be placed in inactive status and be subsequently reinstated in their program of study upon returning from military duty, not to exceed one year.

Academic Integrity

Atlantic University supports and promotes academic honesty and personal integrity. The most frequently observed form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the adoption or incorporation of another’s ideas without proper attribution of the source. It is more simply defined as taking the writings of another person or people and representing them to be one’s own. It is the student’s obligation to read, understand, and comply with this policy.

To avoid plagiarism, a student must credit the sources used when writing an essay, research paper, or other assignment in accordance with the appropriate style manual or required format. Specific approaches to appropriate citations are found in the current writing guide: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual.) Any form of academic dishonesty has no place in higher education. The university does not tolerate dishonest efforts by its students.

Academic integrity is not just limited to plagiarism but also

  • Cheating
  • Multiple submissions of the same assignment or material to more than one course
  • Research misconduct
  • Fabrication of information

The student should know that if a mentor suspects any violation of academic integrity, they will immediately address it with the student to determine whether or not there is a violation. If there is a violation, the mentor will determine the extent of the violation, obtain the student’s comments, and report the academic integrity incident, along with any student comments and any substantiating documentation, to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Once the Vice President of Academic Affairs has reviewed the incident report, the mentor’s recommendation, and any student comments, a formal determination will be made and documented. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will notify the mentor, and outcome documentation will be archived in the student's file. The determination will become a part of the student’s permanent record.

First time infraction consequences may include but are not limited to the following:

  • The student may be given the chance to rewrite the assignment with a reduced grade.
  • Work may not be redone, and the student receives a failing grade for the assignment.
  • The student is placed on Academic Probation and must maintain a 3.0 for the duration of the course.
  • The student may be suspended for one academic semester.

If a second violation occurs, the mentor will immediately engage the notification steps outlined above. Consequences may include but not be limited to the following:

  • Work may not be redone, and the student receives an “F” for the assignment.
  • The student automatically fails the course.
  • The student may be suspended for one academic semester.
  • The student may be permanently dismissed from the university.

Student Conduct

University jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct that occurs on university premises, at an official university function at another location, in the online classroom, or via communication channels (phone, email, etc.) with other students, faculty, and staff. Misconduct that is subject to disciplinary action includes but is not limited to

  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Sexual harassment, intimidation, coercion, hazing, or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health and safety of any other person
  • Inappropriate actions or words in the online classroom to include belittling, bullying, or harassing
  • Threatening another student, faculty, or staff

If a mentor or administrative staff suspects any issues in student conduct, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will be notified immediately. The mentor or staff will obtain the student’s written comments and any substantiating documentation and forward those to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who will review the incident and documentation.

Once the Vice President of Academic Affairs has reviewed the report from the faculty or staff, a formal determination will be made and documented. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will notify the student, and the outcome will be placed in the student’s permanent file.

First time infraction consequences include

  • Academic Probation for a minimum of one academic semester
  • Formal disciplinary letter placed in the student’s permanent record
  • A hold placed on future registrations if the incident is not resolved by the academic term or if the Vice President of Academic Affairs deems a suspension appropriate

A second violation may include

  • Formal disciplinary letter placed in the student’s permanent record
  • Permanent dismissal from the university

Right to Petition

A student has the right to petition the faculty and/or administration, in writing, on matters pertaining to academic work performed at Atlantic University.

Appeal

A student has the right to formally appeal all adverse determinations and actions by notifying the university administrative office directly to initiate an appeal process. The administrative office will immediately notify the Vice President of Academic Affairs, who will assess the information and the student’s reasons for appeal and will notify the student directly of the appeal determination. The appeal outcome documentation will be recorded in the student’s file, and the appeal determination will become a part of the student’s permanent record.

Student Grievance Procedure

A student is encouraged to discuss academic progress, suggestions, or concerns with their advisor. In the event of a concern or complaint that is not satisfactorily addressed through informal conversation, the student may submit a formal complaint relating to the following unresolved areas:

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Technical issues
  • Faculty performance
  • Program content
  • Grade challenge

A formal complaint must be in writing and delivered to the university within 30 days of the grievance.

When the university receives a formal grievance, the university’s Vice President of Academic Affairs will send an acknowledgment within two business days stating that an investigation will begin. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will contact the staff/faculty members directly involved and attempt to reach a resolution. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will keep a log of all formal complaints. Within 15 days after the acknowledgment letter is sent, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will provide to the student a written response of the university’s decision.

The student, if not satisfied with the decision, may appeal that decision, in writing, to the university President.

The President must respond to the student within 15 days after receipt of the appeal. The decision of the President is final and the university will end all investigation regarding the grievance.

If the complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting the university’s grievance procedure, the student may file a complaint with the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV). The student may file a written complaint with SCHEV, 101 N. 14th St, James Monroe Building, Richmond, VA 23219 by submitting an online form at the following link: http://www.schev.edu/students/studentcomplaint.asp. The university will not retaliate against the student for submitting a complaint with SCHEV.

Students may also file a grievance or complaint with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) through their Online Complaint System. The Online Complaint System enables individuals to file a complaint directly from the DEAC website. The complaint form may be found at www.deac.org (select “Contact Us” and select the link in the left hand column). All complaints should be submitted using this form.

Attendance Requirements and Student Participation

All assignments must be posted through the online classroom in Moodle. Students must submit all assignments listed both in the syllabus and in the classroom by their due date. Late assignments will be penalized with a grade reduction. Under extenuating circumstances, the student must contact the instructor to make alternate arrangements for submitting the assignment late. Instructors will grade and return all assignments through the online classroom within one week of original submission, unless otherwise indicated.

The online courses have mandatory weekly discussion posts. Participating in these discussions will count, in part, as attendance and participation for that week. Participation also includes completing and submitting all assignments on time. Failure to participate in the weekly discussion and to submit assignments will negatively affect the course grade.

Students who have not posted or submitted assignments will be contacted by their instructor. If the student fails to attend class or participate for more than two weeks, the student can be Administratively Withdrawn (AW) from the course.

All students are expected to complete courses within a 14-week time frame.

Atlantic University recognizes the tradition of academic freedom and free inquiry that is the hallmark of the university system and one of the guiding principles in the Edgar Cayce readings. Thus, we are committed to a process that allows students the freedom to follow a variety of avenues of inquiry in class work, thesis development, or interactions with the university. This freedom is limited only to such extent that it does not become disruptive to the operation of the university and is not prohibited expressly by university policy or rules of conduct.

Atlantic University admits students of any race, gender, color, age, nationality, ethnic origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, religion, or disability and extends all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities available to all students equally.

Within the limits of its facilities, the university is open to all applicants who meet admission requirements.

Students are responsible for conducting themselves in such a manner as to ensure other students of their basic rights as stated in this publication and for abiding by the guidelines expressed in the online classroom under the heading of “Netiquette.”

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance as established by their instructor(s) and for abiding by guidelines of academic integrity with regard to such issues as cheating and plagiarism.