The institution publishes a clear and appropriate statement of student rights and responsibilities and disseminates the statement to the campus community. (Student rights)

Compliance Judgment

X      In compliance     Partially compliant     Non-compliant


Students who enroll at Francis Marion University retain their personal freedom and rights, while adhering to the community standards as described in the Catalog 2016-2017 and Student Handbook 2016-2017. Both documents provide a written description of the mutual expectations between students and the University and makes the information available to students at all locations, staff, faculty, and prospective students.

In the Student Handbook 2016-2017, the University provides information on its comprehensive policy regarding student rights and responsibilities. In the section titled “Student Conduct,” there is a subsection titled “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities,” which describes the student conduct process, the student’s role in the process, and how to appeal decisions [1]. Similar information is also published in the Catalog 2016-2017 [2].

Students are also provided a process through which they may issue concerns and complaints to the University. The process, what instances and whom to contact regarding concerns, complaints and suggestions [3] is detailed in the Catalog 2016-2017 (for more details on the student complaint process see Federal Requirement 4.5). Both the catalog and student handbook are updated annually by the respective departments and divisions of the University and University Director of Publications.

Although no single statement contains all rights bestowed upon students by the University, sections of the Student Handbook 2016-2017 outline a variety of student rights [4]. Additionally, the Honor Code is included in the handbook [5].

The student handbook is readily available to members of the campus community. The handbook is available at the President’s Office, where students on campus may pick it up, and it is also published online where all students may access it. The handbook is discussed with first year students in University Life 101, a course which is generally taken in the first semester of enrollment.

All members of the campus community, including students, faculty, and staff members, can access the handbook on the university’s website [6].

Similarly, the disciplinary process, including procedures for appeals and grievances, for students is covered in the Student Handbook 2016-2017: “based upon the elements of constitutional due process and local, state, and federal law which have been developed over the last several decades…. [However] the level of due process in the university disciplinary system differs [from] the legal system” [7].

The Student Handbook 2016-2017 also describes the process by which campus police officers, the housing staff, other campus community members, and the faculty have the right to “confront students who they believe are violating University or residence hall standards of conduct. In such cases, these officials will make contact with the student whenever possible and inform him/her that they may be charged with a violation of University or student housing standards and/or with a violation of the law” [8].

Finally, Francis Marion ensures that these statements are appropriate by following established policies. For example, the University ensures that students’ privacy is properly protected and that private information is disclosed fairly and with permission by following the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). These privacy rights are clearly stated for students in the Student Handbook 2016-2017 [9]. Additionally, the University publishes policies that are similar to those of other universities in South Carolina. For example, both South Carolina State and Winthrop University, like Francis Marion, publish sexual misconduct policies in their student handbooks and discuss what rights students have if they have been assaulted [10, 11, 12-scroll to bottom of p. 41].


  1. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Student Rights and Responsibilities, p. 65-68
  2. Catalog 2016-2017, Student Conduct, p. 46-50
  3. Catalog 2016-2017, Guidelines for Student Concerns or Complaints, p. 50
  4. Student Handbook 2016-2017, University Policies, p. 69-81
  5. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Francis Marion University Honor Code, p. 59-60
  6. FMU Website, Student Handbook
  7. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Implementation of the Student Conduct Process, p. 63
  8. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Reporting Alleged Student Conduct Violations, p. 63
  9. Student Handbook 2016-2017, FERPA, p. 14
  10. Student Handbook 2016-2017, Sexual Misconduct, p. 81-85
  11. South Carolina State Student Handbook 2014-2016, Sexual Misconduct, p. 93-96
  12. Winthrop University Student Handbook 2016-2017, Sexual Misconduct, p. 41-46