Feb 24, 2020  
2018-2019 Student Handbook 
    
2018-2019 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies & Procedures


7.1 ADMINISTRATIVE WITHDRAWAL

Please refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin or Graduate Bulletin.

7.2 NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

Mississippi University for Women is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment based upon race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status or any other status protected by state or federal law. The University will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any of its programs and activities and is committed to preventing or stopping it whenever it may occur at the University or in its programs.

This policy will be interpreted so as to avoid infringement upon First Amendment rights of free speech. The University encourages academic freedom that includes the free exchange of ideas inherent in an academic community. A determination as to whether discrimination or harassment has occurred will be based upon the context in which the alleged conduct occurs.

This policy applies to all employees, students, visitors, volunteers, applicants and program participants. Any person who has experienced or observed any discrimination and/or harassment must report it as soon as possible to the appropriate individuals. No student or employee should assume that an official of the University knows about a particular situation unless it has been reported. For information on reporting harassment or discrimination, please see the related policies on Anti-Discrimination Grievances and Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault contained in the student, faculty and/or employee handbooks.

Reports may also be made on The W’s Ethics Line (1-877-310-0424 FREE) or online at http://www.muw.ethicpoints.com Reporters may remain anonymous if desired. Remaining anonymous may, however, impact the ability of the University to investigate.

The University prohibits deliberate false accusations of discrimination or harassment. It is also a violation of this policy for a supervisor or administrator to disregard or delay reporting an allegation of discrimination or harassment. In addition, retaliation against a person who has made a report or filed a complaint of discrimination or harassment, is a witness to discrimination or harassment, or has participated in an investigation of a complaint of discrimination or harassment is prohibited.

7.3 ANTI-DISCRIMINATION GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE          

The purpose of this procedure is to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of an applicant’s or student’s grievance. A grievance is a school-related condition (1) that a student alleges to be unfair, inequitable, or a hindrance to the student’s effective performance or (2) that an applicant or student alleges to be discriminatory on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability (when reasonable accommodations can be made), veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. Retaliation against an applicant or student who files a grievance will not be permitted.

Issues of discrimination involving students may be made to the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs located on the 4th Floor of Cochran Hall or by contacting (662)329-7129. If the discrimination relates to gender or sex, contact the Title IX Coordinator located on the 4th Floor of Cochran Hall or by contacting (662)241-6083.

Issues related to program or services involving reasonable accommodations for disabilities need to be directed to the Student Success Center. Applicants or students should contact Mississippi University for Women’s Student Success Center concerning program or service-related complaints related to disability issues. The Director of the Student Success Center, who also serves as the University’s Disability Services Coordinator, may be contacted at 1100 College Street MUW-1633, Columbus, MS 39701, (662) 329-7138.

  1. Applicants or students should first attempt to resolve the problem informally by meeting with the faculty/staff member involved.
  2. If a solution cannot be reached, the applicant or student may request a meeting with the Director of the Student Success Center who is available to help facilitate a resolution. If the complaint is related to a specific course or service, the Department Chair or College Dean may be asked to assist.
  3. The applicant or student may request a meeting with the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs only after the attempts for resolution at the program level have been unsuccessful, or if the grievance concerns the Student Success Center. If a resolution is not reached, the student may present the grievance in writing to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, explaining the grievance and the attempts to resolve the problem.
  4. The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will convene the Student Grievance Committee.
  5. Upon receipt of a grievance, the Student Grievance Committee must meet within three regularly scheduled school days to determine what data and materials to request from the student and faculty/staff member. Such requests for materials will be made in writing from the Committee to the persons involved. Materials or information requested from the Student Success Center concerning the student’s disability will be provided unless the student denies permission to release information. The Committee may conduct a hearing regarding the grievance.
  6. Evidence and background material concerning a case should be submitted to the Committee at least three regularly scheduled school days before the hearing, if one is held.
  7. At the time of the hearing, students appearing before the Grievance Committee have the right to have a representative of their choice with them at the meeting. The student’s representative may advise the student but will not be permitted to speak on behalf of the student during the hearing.
  8. The decision of the Committee must be based on sufficient and credible evidence. The decision will be made by the Committee in closed session. All persons involved in the grievance will be notified in writing of the decision of the   Committee within one week of the hearing.
  9. Decisions made by the Committee must be immediately enforced by both faculty/staff members and students; however, both students and faculty/staff members have the right of appeal to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  10. The decision of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs may be appealed by students or faculty/staff members to the President for a final decision.

7.4 STUDENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

A goal of Mississippi University for Women is that all students have a positive educational experience, are treated fairly and courteously by University personnel, and are provided an outlet to address conditions and circumstances when they might feel otherwise.

MUW wants to solve problems and make improvements in a timely manner, and informal means are often the most efficient ways to reach a solution. As a result, students are encouraged to explore informal options before filing a formal written complaint; however, MUW recognizes that there are instances when a formal written complaint may be the most appropriate first step.

MUW has specific policies for certain types of complaints, including Academic Grievances, Anti-Discrimination Grievances, and Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault. See those policies for a more detailed description of the procedure for those types of complaints.

  • For Academic Grievances, see Section 1.12 of the Student Handbook. 
  • For Anti-Discrimination Grievances, see Section 7.13 of the Student Handbook.
  • For Sexual Misconduct Policy, see See Section 8 of the Student Handbook

For Academic-related complaints, colleges or academic programs may also have complaint procedures, which should be followed before a complaint is brought before the university. If you have questions, contact your Dean’s office for more information. For all other types of complaints, follow the procedures below.

Informal Procedures:

Whenever possible, a student should first contact the person with whom the student has a complaint, explain the issue, and attempt to work out an appropriate solution. If the student is unable to resolve the issue with the person involved, the student should take the complaint to that person’s immediate supervisor.

  • For an academic-related complaint, the student should go first to the student’s instructor, then to the department chair, then to the Dean, and ultimately to the Provost.
  • For a complaint involving Student Affairs staff or services or involves another student in a non-academic context, the student may first contact a Resident Advisor or Residence Director if the problem is in the residence halls, or the student may take their complaint directly to Student Affairs staff, and ultimately to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
  • For a complaint involving other administrative staff or financial dealings with the university, the student should take the complaint to the director of the department and ultimately to the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.\

Any MUW faculty, staff, or administrator who receives an informal complaint that does not fall within his or her area should refer the student or forward the student’s complaint to the appropriate office. The student should also be reminded of the right to file a formal written complaint. In cases of sexual misconduct, a report must also be made to the Title IX Coordinator. See Section 8 of the Student Handbook.

Reports may also be made on MUW’s Ethics Line (1-877-310-0424 FREE) or online at http://www.muw.ethicpoints.comReporters may remain anonymous if desired. Remaining anonymous may, however, impact the ability of the University to investigate.

Formal Procedures:

Students who are unable to resolve a complaint through the informal means listed above, or who conclude a formal complaint is warranted, may make a formal written complaint  

  • For Academic Complaints (not covered under Section 1.12, Academic Grievances in the Student Handbook), existing formal departmental or college academic grievance procedures should be followed first. If resolution is not reached, contact the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • For complaints about students or student services, contact the Vice President for Student Affairs.
  • For complaints involving other MUW administrative offices or financial dealings with the university, students should contact the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

A formal written complaint that has been received by an inappropriate office should be forwarded to the appropriate office. Therefore, if a student is unsure whom to contact, the student may write to any of the three offices named above. If an MUW policy or procedure is already in place to handle that type of complaint (such as for those types listed above), then the complaint should be directed to the appropriate committee or office as outlined in the corresponding policy.

In order to be considered a formal written complaint, the complaint must be a letter that has been signed by hand, dated, and submitted to one of the three offices. It may be hand delivered or sent by mail, fax, or as an email attachment. Anonymous complaints are not considered formal written complaints unless this is specifically allowed by MUW policy, such as in cases of sexual harassment or assault.

In compliance with federal regulations, all formal written complaints will be logged in a confidential log that does not include personally identifiable information, but does include the date, the nature of the complaint, the actions taken, the decision, and any external actions taken.

Some forms of communication are not considered formal written complaints. These include but are not limited to: verbal complaints, comments made on course evaluations, suggestions submitted to a suggestion box, informal email messages that are not signed by hand, or maintenance requests. Additionally, student appeals are not considered formal written complaints, since most appeals are a way for students to plead their case in a matter initiated by the University. Appeals are part of established university procedures, and records are kept of student appeals.

Students who have gone through MUW’s complaint process and are not satisfied that their complaint has been addressed also have the right to file a complaint with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges. Additionally, distance education students who reside in another state may contact the appropriate agency in their home state to file a complaint. For more information on who to contact in each state, see: http://sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf

7.5 DISRUPTIVE CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR POLICY

Disruption of classroom activities is defined as intentionally disrupting or obstructing teaching, research or classroom activities.

Instructors have the right to tell a student who is disrupting class to leave the class for that particular class period. In extreme cases, campus police can be called to remove the student. Instructors may not remove a student from the whole course without due process for the student. Students who have violated the Student Code of Conduct are subject to disciplinary action (as defined in the Student Handbook).

7.6 DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY

Purpose

To provide appropriate developmental/educational experiences for students who violate the university’s policy regarding drugs and alcohol and to support the sections of the Student Code of Conduct which relate to drugs and alcohol.

Mississippi University for Women does not currently provide drug/alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs for students. Referral to community treatment facilities may be made in appropriate cases. For a list of drug and alcohol programs in the community, contact The W’s Counseling Center at 662.329.7748.

Mississippi University for Women will impose sanctions against individuals who are determined to have violated rules prohibiting the use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs or alcohol. Sanctions for students using or possessing illegal drugs or alcohol may include disciplinary probation, and in appropriate cases, suspension from the University. The university reserves the right to contact parents of students who violate rules and regulations regarding the use, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol, when deemed appropriate. In addition, residence hall students may be removed from the housing system for the use or possession of illegal drugs. Referral for criminal prosecution may be made in appropriate cases.

Individuals involved in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs may be suspended from the University and referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal prosecution.

All employees, including student workers, agree as a condition of employment they must abide by this policy as defined in the Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace Act of 1988 which can be found at http://www.muw.edu/hr/employees/wellness/workplace

Policy

It is the policy of Mississippi University for Women to maintain a safe and healthful environment for its students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, the university has established policies for students concerning alcohol and drug use on campus. It is a violation of the Mississippi University for Women Student Code of Conduct for a student to use, possess, consume, sell or distribute alcohol or drugs on campus. It is incumbent on students to become knowledgeable of these policies, whether for individual decision-making or for the planning of programs and events for student organizations.

Alcoholic Beverages

  1. No student may consume or possess any alcoholic beverages, containers, decorations, or bottles in the residence halls, at student events in university buildings, or on any property or public location belonging to Mississippi University for Women for any student function.
  2. The possession, sale, distribution or furnishings of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the residence halls, at student events in university buildings, or on any property or public location belonging to Mississippi University for Women for any student function.
  3. Students who behave in an intoxicated manner as a result of the use of alcohol or require staff assistance shall be subject to disciplinary action.
  4. The playing of games (or competitions) involving the use or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited at student events in university buildings, or on any property or public location belonging to Mississippi University for Women for any student function.

Common source containers are prohibited in residence halls, at student events in university buildings, or on any property or public location belonging to Mississippi University for Women for any student function.

Possession of any alcohol paraphernalia is prohibited.

Empty alcoholic beverage containers (bottles, can, etc.) are prohibited in residence halls, at student events in university buildings, or on any property or public location belonging to Mississippi University for Women for any student function.

Alcohol Policy Infraction

A student who is found responsible of an alcohol policy infraction will receive sanctions. Sanctions may include but are not limited to the following:

First Offense - The student will attend a meeting with the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee(s). The student will receive an educational program, description of the consequences for future infractions, and will be placed on administrative probation.

Second Offense - The student will be required to complete an education program, community service, and administrative probation will be extended or reissued. If the student is living on campus, the student may be suspended from the residence halls.

Third Offense - The student will be suspended from the university for a specific period of time. A student suspended under this portion of the policy will be placed on indefinite administrative probation when the student re-enrolls.

Drug-Free Schools/Campuses

Mississippi University for Women acknowledges and adheres to the laws of the state of Mississippi. The University also complies with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. In compliance with federal and state laws, at Mississippi University for Women the following will apply:

Drugs

  • The possession of any drug controlled by federal or state laws on or off campus is prohibited.
  • In compliance with state and federal law, it is illegal to possess, consume, use, or distribute (or intend to distribute or use) any drug controlled by federal or state laws on the campus of Mississippi University for Women or at events sponsored or supervised by the University.
  • The manufacture, intent to manufacture, to furnish, or intent to furnish drugs controlled by federal or state law is prohibited.
  • The sale, intent to sell, purchase, intent to purchase, deliver, or intent to deliver drugs controlled by federal or state law is prohibited.
  • Possession or use of any drug related paraphernalia is prohibited. The University reserves the right to initiate judicial action if drug violations occur on or off-campus. Students found to be in violation of the drug policy will be subject to disciplinary action which may result in suspension or expulsion.
  • Over the counter or prescription medications should not be used in any way except the manufacturer’s intended purpose or as prescribed.

Drug Policy Infraction

A student who is found responsible of a drug policy infraction will receive sanctions. Sanctions may include but are not limited to the following:

First Offense - The student will attend a meeting with the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee(s). The student will receive an educational program and will be placed on administrative probation. If the student is living on campus, the student may be suspended from the residence halls. Students found responsible of selling or distributing controlled substances may be suspended.

Second Offense - The student will be suspended for a specific period of time.

DRUG & ALCOHOL HEALTH RISKS

The use, misuse, and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, both legal and illegal, can have serious consequences to health and well-being. Alcohol and other drug use can lead to psychological and/or physiological dependence and addiction. Information on specific health risks associated with alcohol and other drugs is summarized below and is available in more detail at the following campus locations: The W Health Center and The W Counseling Center.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can impair coordination, inhibitions, self-control, memory, judgment, and reflexes. Large quantities may produce staggering, slurred speech, mood changes, unconsciousness and possibly death. Prolonged use can damage many organs of the body including the heart, liver, stomach, and pancreas.\

Marijuana can increase heart rate, interfere with sexual development, may cause a reduction in male fertility and disrupt the female menstrual cycle. It can increase the risk of disease/damage to the body’s respiratory system, impair eye-hand coordination and other essential functions needed to operate a motor vehicle safely. It can also impair the body’s immune system.

Cocaine can cause feelings of depression, inability, impatience and pessimism. It can also cause severe weight loss, anxiety, hallucinations, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Cocaine has caused death by convulsion, failure of the respiratory system, and by heart attack.

Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can also cause drug tolerance, dependence, and addiction. The potential for misuse and abuse is increased with these drugs as they are easily obtainable, safe as far as ingredients and manufacturing, and the user may tend not to follow specific instructions for dosage and frequency. Many legal drugs also have a long shelf life leading to their use after they are no longer needed or for self-medication without medical supervision.

Interaction between various drugs, legal and illegal, may have serious consequences to the user. Various combinations of drugs may work at cross purposes within the body, and the combined effects of two or more drugs may be more potent than the effect of a single drug.

Club drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, LSD, Rohypnol, Ketamine and Methamphetamine can cause serious health problems and possibly death. Many of these drugs are tasteless and odorless. The chemicals, drug sources and pharmacological agents used to manufacture these drugs often vary, making it difficult to determine all of the effects, symptoms and health risks associated with club drugs. Confusion, depression, impaired motor function, amnesia, psychotic behavior, cardiac failure and permanent neurological and organ damage are some known effects associated with the use of these drugs.

7.7 MISSING STUDENT POLICY

This policy, with its accompanying procedures, establishes a framework for cooperation among members of the University community aimed at locating and assisting students who are reported missing. If a member of the university community has reason to believe that a student is missing, whether or not the student resides on campus, all possible efforts will be made to locate the student to determine his or her state of health and well-being through collaboration of The W Police Department, Dean of Students Office, Housing and Residence Life, and local law enforcement.

The term “missing student” is defined as any MUW student on-campus or off-campus who is reported missing from the University for more than 24 hours without any known reason. All reports of missing students shall be directed to The W Police Department at (662) 241-7777.

Whenever an MUW student is believed to be missing, the University will immediately initiate steps to locate the student or to determine why the student has not been seen. These efforts will include, but are not limited to:

  • Attempt to contact the student via her/his telephone by using the number provided.
  • If the student cannot be reached by telephone, the University will attempt to visit the on-campus room of the student in question to verify the student’s whereabouts and/or wellness, and, in some cases, deliver a message to contact a parent or family member who is searching for the student.
  • If the student is not at the on-campus room, but the room is occupied, an attempt will be made to gain information on the student’s whereabouts and/or wellness from the occupants.
  •  If there is no response to a knock on the door of the residence hall room or there are occupants who do not know of the student’s whereabouts, a housing and residence life staff member will enter into the room in question, by key if necessary, to perform a health and safety inspection. The staff member will take note of the condition of the room and look for visible personal property (wallet, keys, cell phone, clothing, etc.) which might provide information as to whether the student has taken an extended trip or leave from the residence hall.

Students are under no obligation to notify the University of their plans to spend time away from the University; however, if circumstances indicate that an investigation is warranted, concerned parties should contact The W Police Department. Upon notification, The W Police Department will make inquiries within the University and beyond.

If the University determines that the circumstances of the missing student require a police investigation, The W Police Department will notify the local police and the sheriff’s department. If the police determine that the student should be classified as a missing person, they will initiate their own investigation. The University will support their investigation by providing appropriate technical support, including notices, photos, schedules and any other information relevant to the search for the missing student.

All students residing in on-campus student housing facilities have the option of identifying a contact person or persons on their housing application, whom the University will notify if the student is determined to be missing by The W Police Department or local police department. The contact information will be confidential, accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement and may not be disclosed except in a missing person investigation.

When a student is determined to have been missing for 24 hours without any known reason, the University will:

  • Notify the contact person if the student has designated one, within 24 hours.
  • Notify the student’s custodial parent or guardian and/or other designated contact person within 24 hours if the student is under 18 years of age and is not emancipated; and
  • Inform the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in the area that the student is missing within 24 hours.

7.8 PARENTAL NOTIFICATION

The University will utilize Parental Notification when deemed necessary and permissible under state and federal law including FERPA. Parental Notification is listed as a sanction option within the Student Code of Conduct. (See Section 6, Student Code of Conduct & Judicial Procedures).

7.9 REQUIRED TESTING

Student assessments administered as part of a course may be retained by the University for use in program and/or University assessment of effectiveness.  Consult the Undergraduate Bulletin or Graduate Bulletin for additional information.

7.10 SCHOLARSHIP POLICY

Students receiving scholarships should check with the Financial Aid office to confirm requirements for maintaining eligibility. Most scholarships require completion of 12 hours each semester and a cumulative MUW GPA of 2.5 per academic year. academic year. Others require enrollment in specific courses or maintaining a minimum GPA. Generally, University and Foundation scholarships require a 2.5 MUW cumulative GPA for renewal. Maximum scholarship and award amounts may not exceed the cost of attendance as determined by the Financial Aid Center.

For more information, contact: Financial Aid Center (662) 329-7114.

7.11 SEARCH AND SEIZURE

In the event it is determined that search and seizure proceedings are indicated in the course of disciplinary action, the following standards will be followed:

A. If a student is under suspicion of concealing a restricted material, the University official shall acquire appropriate authorization before searching the premises and/or personal possessions of the student in question. Appropriate authorization may include:

  1. Consent of the student under suspicion to search with the understanding that the search is for illegal or restricted materials.
  2. A campus search authorization will be issued by the Vice President for Student Affairs or by a professional staff member only after reasonable grounds for said search have been established, based on a sworn statement from a person known to be reliable to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designated staff member. A copy of the authorization will be left at the site of the search or with the student under suspicion. A statement identifying any contraband confiscated will also be left at the site of the search, or with the student. Officials conducting a search under either of the conditions listed above must be accompanied by the student in question if available. In each case, the items being sought should be specifically identified. If any other illegal or restricted materials are found, the student will also be subject to prosecution for these violations.
  3. A search instituted on the authority of a search warrant issued by a judge. The warrant is authorized by the judge on the basis of the police officer’s sworn statement that there was probable cause to believe that the premises or person to be searched and the evidence proposed to be seized violates the law.

B. Another circumstance which would authorize a search by a University official consists of said official observing or otherwise determining through his/her physical senses (sound, smell, etc.) that a violation is taking place at any given time. For example, if a University official can see illegal contraband in a residence hall room, he or she does not need an authorization or consent of the student legally to enter and confiscate said contraband.

C. In the event of a meeting involving off-campus speakers which may be attended by strong emotional feelings, or where there is a reasonable possibility that a speaker, members of an organization, or others may violate federal, state, or local laws or campus regulations in the course of the meeting, the president of MUW or his/her representative may authorize the search of persons entering the meeting.

7.12 TOBACCO-FREE CAMPUS POLICY

Mississippi University for Women is committed to promoting and providing a safe and healthy environment for its students, faculty, staff, visitors, vendors, volunteers, and contractors.

As part of this commitment The W is adopting a Tobacco-Free Campus Policy. Use of tobacco and simulated tobacco in all forms (including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, pipes, blunts, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and all other electronic smoking devices) is prohibited in all owned, operated, leased, occupied, and controlled entities of Mississippi University for Women (including but not limited to all buildings, grounds, parking areas, walkways, intramural fields, tennis courts, and any other recreational or public areas) and vehicles owned or leased by The W, as well as any spaces where university-sponsored or university-related activities are held, including during non-instructional and non-service hours.

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, visitors, volunteers, vendors, and contractors.

7.13 TRIPS

Students on academic, administrative and/or disciplinary probation may not participate in university sponsored trips unless special permission is granted by the head of his/her Academic Division in the event of academic probation, or the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee if on administrative or disciplinary probation.

Non-recognized student organizations or groups are prohibited from using University facilities or vehicles.