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.
Statement of Student Responsibility
Atlantic University is committed to keeping each student informed of changes that may impact educational pursuits, supporting each student’s intellectual development and responding to individual needs. Advising and student support services are provided to assist each student in meeting personal and academic goals. Each student deserves dependable, accurate, respectful, honest, friendly and professional service. This can only be achieved through cooperative efforts and responsibilities shared by the student. Atlantic University is not responsible for the misuse and/or unauthorized use of any University-provided supplies and/or materials.
A student’s success depends above all, on one’s own response to the opportunities and responsibilities within the University environment. When students enter the University, it is understood that their purpose is earnest and that their efforts and actions will bear out this presumption. Final responsibility for fulfilling the requirements of a course syllabus in each class, for meeting all program/degree requirements and for complying with University regulations and procedures rests with the student as described in all University official publications and website. These resources include, but are not limited to, the Academic Catalog, the Atlantic University website, Course Syllabi and Moodle.
Atlantic University students are responsible for, but not limited to, the following:
- Ensuring official transcripts are received and on file as required by the University
- Checking their Atlantic University email account regularly and using it appropriately as specified by the University student email account
- Reading and adhering to all published policies and procedures governing the student experience at Atlantic University
- Maintaining communication with University representatives
- Ensuring name, mailing address and methods for authorized payments are correct and contacting their Advisor to update any changes
- Completing all academic prerequisites and grading standards
- Completing courses within the 12-week academic semester and requesting exceptions to policy in advance to their Advisor and faculty mentor
- Submitting all coursework on time.
- Having “technology,” human error or internet problems is not a valid excuse for turning an assignment in late.
- Proactive planning for use of library or other computers is recommended
- Submitting and following up on disputes of grades in writing to faculty
- Following up on all appeals/service requests submitted
- Knowing that when enrolling for a course, charges are incurred
- Paying charges incurred upon enrollment
- Paying all charges incurred by the published payment due date
- Conducting all financial affairs in a legal and ethical manner
A student’s education is important and represents a big investment of time, money, and energy. Each student should become familiar with all the information that is provided. The University is here to help; if students have any questions regarding their account, they should contact the University at 800-428-1512 during office hours. If students have concerns after-hours, they should first consult the Student Resources and Advising classrooms within Moodle. Students can also leave Student Services or Advising a voicemail with a detailed description of their concern, including their name, student ID number, phone number, and any alternative contact information. A University representative will contact the student during normal business hours.
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 by authorities of agencies with legitimate educational interests 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 must verify the student’s identity. The student must accurately confirm their address, telephone number, and email address on record.
Identity Verification Policy
Atlantic University has a significant responsibility to ensure that the academic integrity of the institution is intact. We must take the steps necessary to ensure that students are academically engaged and that the student who earns academic credit is, in fact, the person doing the work. To ensure the above, we will do the following:
VERIFYING STUDENT IDENTITY
- All students must submit a copy of a valid government-issued photo identification during the admissions process to the university.
IDENTITY VERIFICATION METHODS
Students enrolled in courses, or programs are subject to one or more of the following student identity verification methods:
- Secure, Individual Login and Passcode for LMS: Students are provided a Username and Password for Moodle LMS. These assigned identifiers are used to access the Moodle LMS in order to view course grades and related information and to complete coursework. Upon acceptance to the University, new students will gain set-up access to Moodle via Student Services using the email associated with the student during the admissions process.
- Secure, Individual Login and Passcode for University Email: Students are provided a Username and Password via the IT administrator for their Student Email. These assigned identifiers are used to access the student email in order to view secure email correspondence. See the university student email policy for more information.
- Proctored Examinations: The use of the Atlantic University-approved third-party service is required for examinations that are noted as graduation requirements. See the Proctored Exam policy for further details.
- Administrative or Academic Practices: Students are subject to identity verification through the use of personally identifiable information provided by the student upon application to the University. Students must provide their assigned Student ID Number, along with other requested sources of personally identifiable information, when contacting the University via email or phone. In addition, faculty and staff may commence verification of student identity following a review of student work. Noticeable changes in academic performance and/or writing style will be monitored, and an identity verification process could be initiated if unexplained changes in student performance are detected.
MONITOR ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT
Proctored Exams: Throughout a student’s program of study, assessments from select graduate courses will be proctored. Proctored exams serve as an additional identity verification process used by Atlantic University to ensure academic integrity and meet accreditation requirements. Students must complete proctored exams throughout their program as a requirement for graduation. Proctored exam information and rules are provided in each course syllabus where a proctored exam is required. Taking proctored exams is mandatory, without exception, and is not subject for appeal. Failure to complete the proctored exam could result in, but not limited to: a failing grade (F) for the course or future enrollments for that student could be canceled until that course has been taken and the proctored exam completed.
MONITOR SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
Students sharing common traits with other Atlantic University students will be reviewed for suspicious activity. Common traits that will be reviewed include, but are not limited to:
- Physical address
- IP addresses
- Telephone numbers
- Personal references
- Email addresses
Students that are determined to be in violation of this policy will be immediately withdrawn from the University and / or possibly reported to the appropriate authorities.
Atlantic University uses a third-party service for proctoring Proctored Exams. Students in the master’s degree and graduate certificate are required to complete three Proctored Exams. Noncredit students are not required to take proctored exams. In the Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology program, proctored exams are required for TP5000, TP5010, and TP5012.
In the Master of Mindfulness Studies program, proctored exams are required for MS5000, MS5001, and MS5020. Students in the Mindful Leadership Graduate Certificate program must take the proctored exam for MS5020.
Methods of Proctoring
Videos recorded during the exam session contain full-length webcam views, audios, and desktop recordings. Videos are stored and available to University administrators for review. The course syllabus will indicate any unique exam rules that may apply. Videos will be reviewed with these rules in mind and violations will be reported to University administrators. Students must have an operational webcam/video, computer, high-speed internet connection and allow the third party proctor service to access their webcam and microphone during the proctored examination.
Students are required to identify themselves with a valid government-issued photo ID. Students may only have one internet browser window open while taking their proctored exams unless otherwise specified. The use of internet-accessible devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are strictly prohibited during the exam. Students may not bring removable media of any type during the proctored exam (e.g., flash drives, etc.). Students are not allowed to converse with anyone other than their proctor during the proctored assessment. Proctors are prohibited from assisting with the exam with the exception of procedural or administrative issues. No one, at any time, is permitted to assist the student logging in or setting up the proctoring system. This will be flagged as a test violation. Therefore, if one is unable to operate the system, the student should contact Student Services.
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.
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 an inactive status and be subsequently reinstated in their program of study upon returning from military duty, not to exceed one year.
Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Policy
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 another assignment in accordance with the appropriate style manual or required format. Specific approaches to appropriate citations are found in the current (7th Edition) 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
- 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 student and forward the outcome documentation. 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.
- The student is placed on Academic Probation.
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:
- 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
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 administrative 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 administrative staff
If a mentor or administrative staff member suspects any issues in student conduct, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will be notified immediately. The mentor or administrative staff member 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 administrative staff member, 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
GENERAL ONLINE POSTING INFORMATION
Online discussion forums and live video chats are all different methods that allow for students to exchange ideas with their fellow students and the mentor. There are obvious differences between an online and a face-to-face discussion and how students will interact with fellow students and the mentor. For example, the online discussion does not take place at the same time and students/mentors are in different locations (asynchronous); however, the mentor may have online office hours. Students will post their online discussion threads and writing assignments throughout the assigned period of time. The replies may extend throughout a week or the remainder of the class, depending on the assignment. This provides students with flexibility to be a part of the discussion, yet also provides timely feedback for the initial response. Netiquette is the general considerations that must be followed as a part of an online community.
Any student who acts outside of the Netiquette Policy may be in violation of Student Conduct policy and therefore, subject to academic and non-academic repercussions.
GUIDELINES FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
Moodle forums are similar to a face-to-face discussion session; except that you are chatting through an online forum where students and the mentor may be in any time zone, in any location, and on any electronic device. Therefore, it is important to observe the courtesies one would employ in a typical conversation. At Atlantic University, students are part of an electronic communication network. Students must:
- Be aware of cultural differences.
- Respect others may view issues from another perspective.
- Students should do their best to be open-minded and ask for clarification if they are uncertain of a posting; do not assume bad intentions.
- Be polite, do not flame (i.e. being offensive and critical of another person’s perspective) or troll (i.e. inflammatory or false posts meant to illicit an emotional response).
- Flaming and trolling is considered internet harassment and violates the student conduct policy.
- Refrain from using inappropriate language.
- Be careful when using humor.
- Students’ tone and body language are not translated in an online environment, so they should be mindful of how they convey a message.
- Students should make a regular commitment to login to Moodle and check the discussion forum so they can remain in touch with the group. (Note: Some discussion forums and writing assignments are graded, while others are not.).
- When contributing in an online community, do their best to create posts that will foster further discussion; a two-word response is not substantive enough to create discussion.
- Be sure to read an entire thread before responding to a post. A thread can become redundant if the messages are repetitive.
- Note that Atlantic University maintains all rules of copyright and plagiarism within the discussion boards, writing assignments, emails and other online communication.
- Be aware that using all capital letters constitutes shouting in electronic communication.
- Check over their information before submitting it, making sure to send the right information; once information has been submitted, it is seen by the intended recipients.
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.
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 the 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/Complaint 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:
- Technical issues
- Faculty performance
- Program content
- Grade challenge (see Grade Challenge Procedure on page 17)
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 Grievance Officer will send an acknowledgment within two business days stating that an investigation will begin. The Grievance Officer will contact the staff/faculty members directly involved and attempt to reach a resolution. The Grievance Officer will keep a log of all formal complaints. Within 15 days after the acknowledgment letter is sent, the Grievance Officer 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://schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/resources/student-complaints. 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 “Student Center” and select "Complaint Process"). All complaints should be submitted using this form.
The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA) is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill ® beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email email@example.com.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Webs site at http://www.benefis.va.gov/gibill.
Students who reside in Maryland can contact the Office of the Attorney General or the Maryland Higher Education Commission with complaints.
Complaints should be directed to:
Maryland Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21202