February 09, 2024

Board of Trustees Approves Revision to Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Board of Trustees approved revisions to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) and General Student Regulations (GSR) on Friday, Feb. 2. The revisions had also been approved by the Associated Students at Michigan State University (ASMSU), the Council of Graduate Students (COGS), University Committee on Student Life and Engagement (UCSLE), and the University Council.

With the Board of Trustees capping the slate of approvals, Allyn Shaw, PhD, Assistant Vice President for the Department of Student Development and Leadership says the SRR will officially be implemented this upcoming Fall 2024.

“We’re really happy to be revising the Students Right and Responsibilities. As an institution, we have to ensure our policies and accesses continue to recognize the modern needs of our student body. This is about adapting for the betterment of our students’ experience, certainly, but also the overall strengthening of the MSU community,” said Shaw.  

The SRR provides guidelines for student conduct. The SRR and GSR were both last revised in 2018 but it’s been over half a century that it’s undergone major revisions such as the ones presented. The newest version responds to evolving society norms and modern challenges in a number of ways. Launching the initiative to update both documents in the fall of 2022, the updates improve clarity and consistency but are also meant to provide a stronger lens on equity and inclusiveness.

Students, faculty, and staff all had input on the proposed revisions, which included benchmarks from across Michigan universities and the Big 10 Conference.

One of the biggest updates is the actual combining of SRR and GSR into a single document to make it “more comprehensive, universal, and accessible.” Edits give the document more plain language and better clarity while revisions also rid the document of redundancy and gender-based language. 

Another change is the model for which conduct is investigated. Whereas a complaint traditionally has been needed in order to investigate alleged policy violations, the change will allow the Office of Student Support and Accountability (OSSA) to now investigate without a formal complaint. Going from a Complainant Driven System to an Investigatory Model helps and aligns MSU with many of the Big 10 schools.  

“These revisions are important because this is an important document. We want to continue protecting the rights of our students and it really is a bit about changing the culture. We want to create an environment that truly is safer and more inclusive,” Shaw added.

Primary themes involved in the revisions included the following:

  • Clearly articulate and outline jurisdiction, authority, and scope while preserve student rights as the cornerstone of the document
  • Create a policy clearly outlining student protections for whistle-blowing or reporting incidents 
  • Review and update General policy updates through a DEI lens, also considering impacts of social media and evolving technology 
  • Assess hearing board structure to ensure embrace of nuance and equitable treatment
  • Change from Complainant Driven System to Investigatory System and ensure process for reporting is clear and easy to access
  • Increased Awareness & Student-Centered Language reducing redundancies and considerate of access 

Now that the resolution has been approved, Shaw says that more information will be forthcoming for its implementation in the fall. The resolution can be found in the Board of Trustees website.

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