Student Rights, Freedoms & Responsibilities


students in classAcademic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. Institutional procedures for achieving these purposes may vary from campus to campus, but the minimal standards of academic freedom of students outlined below are essential to any community of scholars.

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. In order to protect the freedom of students to learn, as well as enhance their participation in the life of the academic community, students should be free from exploitation or harassment. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility.

The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the academic community. Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) institutions have developed policies and procedures which provide and safeguard this freedom. The purpose of this statement is to enumerate the essential provisions for students' freedom to learn.

Freedom Of Access To Higher Education

The admissions policies of Volunteer State Community College make clear the characteristics and expectations of students which is relevant to success in VSCC's program. Under no circumstances should a student be barred from admission to Volunteer State Community College (VSCC) on the basis of race. Thus, within the limits of its facilities, VSCC should be open to all students who are qualified according to its admissions standards. The facilities and services of Volunteer State Community College should be open to all of its enrolled students.

In The Classroom

The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

  1. Protection of Freedom of Expression
    Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled.
  2. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation
    Students should have protection through orderly procedures against prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. At the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
  3. Protection Against Improper Disclosure
    Certain information about students is protected from public disclosure by Federal and state laws. Protection against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation. Judgments of ability and character may be provided under appropriate circumstances.

Adapted from AAUP Statement of RIGHTS AND FREEEDOMS OF STUDENTS and wording taken from TBR Policy 3:02:04:00.