The 2018-19 edition of the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook has been updated to reflect changes made during the Department of Student Rights and Community Standards’ annual Rights and Responsibilities revision process. Most of the revisions focused on clarifying the book’s language, especially regarding the University’s handling of sexual harassment and assault.

The handbook “provides the definitions, structure, and policies for community life on campus,” according to an email sent by Alex Rossett, the interim director of Student Rights and Community Standards. The Rights and Responsibilities Committee and the DSRCS considers revisions to the handbook, according to the DSRCS website. Students were notified of the changes on Aug. 23.

The new edition clarifies the jurisdiction of the R&R handbook, stating that the University staff may respond using the student conduct process that handbook details for “behavior that takes place on University property, at University events, and … occurring off-campus.”

The handbook clarifies that the Rape Crisis Center and the Office of Prevention Services have been replaced by the Prevention, Advocacy, & Resource Center. PARC provides “education, empowerment, and support by professional staff and/or peers, with focus on helping those impacted by sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking to decide what they want to do next,” per the handbook. All staff are confidential resources.

The handbook was updated to include the new acting Title IX Coordinator, Robin Nelson-Bailey, who is also the vice president of Human Resources.

The University Actions and Sanctions Section now includes the policy that “any student who is found responsible of sexual misconduct may not be allowed to participate in study abroad for academic credit.”

The new edition of the handbook contains terms and definitions that did not exist in the 2017-18 edition, including sexual contact, sexual intercourse, force, forcible sexual misconduct, domestic violence and dating violence. 

Numerous other definitions of terms regarding the topic of sexual assault were clarified. For example, in the definitions of sexual coercion and sexual exploitation, the word “student” was replaced with “person.”

“Academic Freedom” is defined for the first time in the 2018-19 edition, recognized as “the principles of academic freedom permit topics of all types to be part of courses, lectures, and other academic pursuits.” The definition notes, however, that  “these freedoms must be in balance with the rights of others, including the right of individuals not to be subjected to discrimination or harassment.” The definition of academic freedom comes from a previous University policy statement on discrimination and harassment.

The language about the University Appeals Board and the Special Examiner’s Process was altered for clarity. Policies regarding residential life and safety were also clarified, including those regarding candles, appliances, light bulbs and fire alarms.