The KCTCS Student BIll of Rights
- KCTCS students enjoy the rights considered basic human rights memorialized in the United States Constitution and in the federal laws passed to support and defend that Constitution.
- KCTCS students also enjoy the rights set forth in the Kentucky Constitution and in the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
- The Rights associated with the US and Kentucky Constitutions most prominently include the right to be enrolled in and to attend any KCTCS College without fear or threat of discrimination on the basis of any immutable characteristic or protected status, including but not limited to race, gender, ethnicity, color, nationality, age, and religion.
- All KCTCS students shall enjoy the protections of all state and federal laws as well as any KCTCS policies that respect the gender identity, the gender presentation or the sexual orientation of students.
- KCTCS students will not be discriminated against based on military service.
- Students shall have access, if needed and desired, to student services that provide reasonable accommodations as required under US laws and state laws relevant to the establishment of an equal opportunity to succeed in academic endeavors.
- KCTCS colleges respect the right of all students to learn, study, and grow in an environment that is free of any discrimination that reduces students to classes rather than recognize students as individuals.
- KCTCS students shall have the right of free speech but shall understand the responsibilities that govern that right. Those constraints and restraints that limit and protect First Amendment Rights also constrain and restrain the rights of students.
- As a “marketplace of ideas,” the academic setting at KCTCS shall respect divergent viewpoints and the right to express them with respect and civility toward fellow students.
- Students have the right to participate in a community devoted to scholarship and are encouraged to inquire, debate, think, and express as individual scholars within that community. This expression includes both agreement with the main and dissent with others. The exercise of this right shall not interfere with the rights of others to the academic experience and shall not target, harass, intimidate, or threaten another participant in the academic process in such a severe or offensive manner that the target of this conduct is effectively denied access to the academic community at KCTCS. This is so whether the conduct occurs during course time, after class, or using electronic or other means rather than face-to-face debate.
- KCTCS students’ right to free speech shall include the right to form and to participate in student presses at their colleges. Student press shall include academic and literary publications and journals. The right to participate in student organizations with the primary goal of written or oral speech shall not be arbitrarily abridged by the colleges but all students shall recognize the correlation between the rights of speech and responsibilities of speech. Students shall exercise responsible speech, including ethical journalistic guidelines as well as any editorial or regulatory guidelines that carry the weight of law or policy.
- As members of the KCTCS educational community, students have the right to expression but also responsibility to attribute the expression to its rightful owner. This responsibility includes written, oral, or any other type of creative expression. Said plainly students shall express themselves but shall not claim the expression of others as their own. The foundation of the academic community relies on free expression and freedom from theft of expression.
- KCTCS students have the right to assemble and to participate in the social, religious, and political activities available in a free and open society.
- The right to assemble shall include participation in KCTCS recognized organizations. Groups of students seeking to create or be part of an organization officially recognized shall have the right to petition for recognition and must follow all rules, regulations, policies, and procedures necessary for KCTCS recognition.
- KCTCS students have the right to participate meaningfully in the governance of KCTCS, including, when appropriate, representation on college or System committees as well as representation on the KCTCS Board of Regents. All colleges shall provide students the means to participate in local governance through a student government association.
- KCTCS students have the right to privacy in their educational, academic, and financial records. This right to privacy shall be consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). FERPA is a federal law that protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information contained in student education records. KCTCS shall adhere to policies and procedures for identification of directory information and for any release of information that is not identified as directory information and therefore protected by FERPA. KCTCS students shall also enjoy, when relevant, the protections of KRS 164.283.
- KCTCS students have the right to know with accuracy and clarity information that assists them in successfully meeting the established academic standards in their classes.
- KCTCS students have the right to clear and comprehensible course objectives and requirements. This right shall extend to have access to a consistent grading policy used to evaluate student performance established by their class instructors.
- A student has the right to receive a grade based only upon a fair and just evaluation of performance in the course as measured by the standards presented in the first or second class session or in the introductory materials for a distance learning course.
- KCTCS students have the right to know and understand the graduation requirements for their course of study and their type of degree. This right shall include to the students’ knowledge and understanding of course transfer requirements.
- The rights expressed in this KCTCS Bill of Rights shall not be abridged or removed without providing students with appropriate due process. The level of due process owed for academic and disciplinary offenses may vary but shall always include these essential parts – knowledge of the allegations against the student, a right to express a defense, the right to know the findings, and a right to an appeal.
- Colleges shall not sanction students academically or behaviorally when the regulation, rule, or policy is imposed ex post facto. In other words, regulations, rules, or policies effective after an alleged offense shall not be enforced against students when addressing that offense. New regulations, policies, or rules will only be applied from the effective date forward.
KCTCS recognizes that this Bill of Rights has no meaning without the full disclosure and publication of the substantive rules and possible sanctions students might face when found to have violated those rules. To ensure both substantive and procedural due process, KCTCS establishes and maintains as current the KCTCS Code of Student Conduct. All KCTCS students are presumed by the act of enrollment to know and to agree to abide by the KCTCS Code of Student Conduct. Students shall not have ignorance of the rules as a defense to academic or behavioral violations. With Rights come Responsibilities, and KCTCS expects our students to exercise both.