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WSUSA supreme court discusses student rights

The Student Code is a list of student rights and responsibilities that accompany being a student at Weber State University. Ranging from issues involving plagiarism to rights when dealing with administrative grievances, the Student Code’s stated purpose is to “contribute to the development of appropriate individual and group behavior and to encourage responsible citizenship within the university community.”

Located in the University Policies and Procedures Manual, and also available online at, the student code outlines exact guidelines for students, including rights and obligations that are prefaced with the warning that students are responsible for becoming familiar with the student code.

Most students, however, seem unaware that these precautions and protections exist at all. Jeff Hurst, the dean of students, said he wants the student body to be more aware of exactly what the code itself entails for the individual.

“The Student Code is not just a list of how you can get into trouble . . . It’s important that students are aware that they have rights and that there are policies and practices in place to address violations of those rights,” Hurst said. “In addition to the expectations that the university has for its students, here is also a list of what students can expect of the university and its staff and faculty.”

Hurst is currently being scheduled to give a presentation on student rights themselves, which will be announced at a later date.

“The WSUSA supreme court is here to help students if they have problems,” said Christina Bills, chief justice of the WSU Student Association supreme court. “If they feel like their rights are being violated in some way, they can have someone to come talk to. We deal with student grievances, specifically against faculty and other students on campus.”

Bills also discussed the importance of students knowing about the WSUSA supreme court.

“(We want) the whole student body (to know) who we are and what we do, and (student rights are) a very big part of it. People need to be aware of what their rights are and how we can help them maintain those rights.”

Bills spoke of the need for more student involvement within the WSUSA supreme court itself, and said WSUSA is currently “. . . setting up an ombudsman committee right now, and what they are is student advocates. They help other students — they are literally advocates to make sure that if (students) have a grievance that is brought to us that they follow through with it and make sure that they’re helped all the way through the process until it’s resolved one way or the other so it’s not dropped.”

Allowing for students to have the knowledge of their rights is one of the most important things the WSUSA supreme court wants to help the student body understand.

“. . . A lot of students are unaware that they have rights under different federal acts and under the Student Code,” said Sarah Kortkamp, associate justice for the WSUSA supreme court. “For example, if a student . . . had a grievance with a faculty member or a staff member, they have certain rights regarding how that grievance would be resolved. Students can’t defend their rights if they don’t know what they are.”

Kortkamp is currently in the process of setting up a “Know Your Rights” series, designed to help individuals better understand what their rights are as students at WSU. More than anything, she implores students to “know your rights. You do have rights. And we’re here to help you defend them.”

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