Student affairs Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin
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General Information | 2006-2007 page 7 of 9 in Chapter 5
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Student Government

Established in 1902 (as the Students' Association), Student Government serves as a recognized forum for student opinion. The membership includes every student enrolled at the University; official actions of the organization are carried out by the executive branch, the Student Assembly, and the judicial branch.

Student Government was instrumental in establishing many student services, including University Health Services, the summer orientation program, the shuttle bus system, a walking escort service, a multicultural information center, childcare services, student cable television, and student radio. Student Government also provides input and initiatives to the University administration, the city council, and the state legislature on such matters as minority recruitment and retention, curriculum reform, tuition increases, teacher evaluations, class availability, and the quality of undergraduate education. Student Government appoints students to the Faculty Council, the Texas Union Board of Directors, and the Student Services Budget Committee, and nominates students to the standing committees of the General Faculty.

Student Government projects cover a wide range of issues; any student may join a committee and work on a project. Elections for president, vice president, and members of the Student Assembly are held each spring. More information about Student Government is available online and in the Student Government office, Student Services Building 4.206, (512) 471-3166.

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Senate of College Councils

The Senate of College Councils is the coordinating body for the college councils, which are composed of student leaders enrolled in each of the University's undergraduate colleges and schools. Since 1973, the senate has worked directly with the councils to promote academic programs, to encourage teaching excellence, and to provide student opinion on academic issues to the administration. The group's major responsibilities include selecting the recipients of the Texas Excellence Teaching Awards and honoring students selected for Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. The senate reviews the budgetary policies and approves the annual budgets of each of the college councils funded by the Student Services Budget Committee. Two members of the senate serve on the Faculty Council, the legislative body for the University. The senate also works with Student Government to accomplish goals that benefit all University students. The senate office is located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building; interested students should call (512) 471-3166 for additional information or visit the Senate of College Councils Web site.

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Graduate Student Assembly

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) has been the official representative body for graduate students since 1994. Other groups, including the Council of Graduate Students, represented graduate students between 1968 and 1994. GSA addresses issues that are important to its constituents, not only as students but also as teaching assistants, research assistants, and assistant instructors. GSA reports administratively to the vice provost and dean of graduate studies. Administrative expenses are funded through an allocation from the student services fee.

The objectives of GSA are to represent the views of graduate students to the University community and the community at large; to facilitate graduate student communication and interaction; to gather and disseminate information pertinent to graduate students; to conduct activities that promote the general welfare of graduate students; and to provide a means of assisting in the selection of graduate student members of departmental, college, and University bodies.

More information about GSA, including contact information for officers, current representatives, meeting agendas and minutes, and current and past activities, is available at the Graduate Student Assembly Web site.

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Student Publications

Student media at the University are governed by the eleven-member Board of Operating Trustees for Texas Student Publications. TSP is the largest student media enterprise in the country, with an annual budget of $3.3 million. It publishes the Cactus yearbook, the campus's oldest student publication, as well as the Daily Texan, the most award-winning college daily newspaper in the United States. TSP also is responsible for the award-winning student television and radio stations TSTV and KVRX, and for the popular campus humor magazine the Texas Travesty. TSP publishes the campus phone directory and a University visitor guide and operates an online housing guide in partnership with Student Government.

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Legal Services for Students

Legal Services for Students offers students advice, representation, access to mediation, and referral for legal problems. These services are available on a walk-in basis during regular business hours; they are available by appointment in the early evening when necessary. No charge is assessed for advice, referral, or general assistance, but payment of court costs and other trial related expenses may be required if the office agrees to handle a student's case. The office reserves the right to accept or decline any individual case and to determine the type of legal representation that it will provide.

Representation may be provided in civil legal matters and misdemeanor criminal matters, unless the victim of the alleged crime is a student. No representation will be provided at trial for criminal misdemeanor cases if the detention or arrest involved University Police. Cases normally accepted for representation include, but are not limited to, landlord-tenant disputes, consumer protection matters, minor claims resulting from automobile accidents, employment disputes, credit card complaints, and auto repair matters. The office does not represent students in felony criminal proceedings, personal business matters, family law, and most civil actions against other students, or in actions directly or indirectly against any part of The University of Texas System or its agents.

The office also prepares wills and provides a free notary service. The attorneys are available by appointment to speak to University classes and organizations.

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Office of the Ombudsperson

The ombudsperson serves as a neutral third party providing assistance to students who have University-related complaints of a nonlegal nature. The ombudsperson and most of the office staff are students. The ombudsperson is authorized to investigate grievances involving both academic and nonacademic concerns and to recommend corrective measures. Examples of cases the ombudsperson handles are complaints about grades, parking, financial aid, registration, adds and drops, refunds, residency, housing, and scholastic probation and dismissal. Any case considered inappropriate may be declined by the ombudsperson. All assistance provided by the office is confidential and is available by phone or in person.

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Student Grievance Procedures

Academic related grievances. Academic grievances involving grade disputes should be discussed with the course instructor. Grade disputes that are not resolved and all other academic grievances of undergraduate students should be submitted in writing to the department chair or other designated administrator of the academic program to which the grievance relates. Appeals may be directed to the appropriate academic dean, who will render the final decision. Procedures for the resolution of grievances of graduate students are specified in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 1.C.2.

The dean of the college or school in which a student is enrolled has jurisdiction over the student's program of study, degree requirements, and all other academic matters, including grievances, except as described below. A student pursuing simultaneous majors in two colleges is considered to be enrolled in both colleges and is under the jurisdiction of both deans. Students taking a course in a college or school other than the one(s) in which they are enrolled are subject, so far as the course and academic grievances regarding the course are concerned, to the dean of the college or school in which the course is offered. Procedures for cases of alleged scholastic dishonesty are given in Appendix C.

Student program and student activity related grievances. Grievances related to nonacademic student programs and activities should be submitted in writing to the dean or director of the specific student affairs area. Appeals may be directed to the vice president for student affairs, and then to the president for final disposition.

Appendix C of this catalog describes the institutional rules on student services and activities and includes provisions for formal hearings. Additional information on these provisions is available from the Office of the Dean of Students.

Disability related grievances. No qualified disabled student shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any academic program or activity at the University of Texas at Austin. Complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability should be submitted according to the procedures outlined in the nondiscrimination policy, Appendix I. The policy is in accord with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Sex discrimination and sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault. Complaints alleging sex discrimination or sexual harassment should be addressed in accordance with the policies and procedures given in Appendix D. Complaints alleging sexual misconduct should be addressed in accordance with the policies and procedures given in Appendix E. Complaints alleging sexual assault should be addressed in accordance with the policies and procedures given in Appendix H.

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Under the direction of the president, the dean of students has primary responsibility for the administration of student discipline.

General statement. Students at the University neither lose the rights nor escape the responsibilities of citizenship. They are expected to obey and conduct themselves in accordance with the penal and civil statutes of the local, state, and federal government, the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents, and University regulations and administrative rules. They may be disciplined by the University for violating these standards of conduct on the campus or off the campus when the incident occurs in connection with an institution-oriented activity, or has a substantial connection to the interests of the University, or when the behavior is prohibited by University policy regardless of where it occurs, even if they are or may be penalized by civil authorities for the same act. Institutional disciplinary penalties must not, however, be used merely to duplicate the penalties imposed by civil authority.

Scholastic dishonesty. Since the value of a university degree depends on the absolute integrity of the work done by each student for that degree, a student should maintain a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work.

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, and misrepresenting facts. More information about scholastic dishonesty is given in Appendix C.

Group responsibility. Any student organization is subject to disciplinary action or revocation of registration as a student organization for violation of the penal and civil statutes of the local, state, or federal government, or a rule or regulation of The University of Texas System or the University of Texas at Austin. More information about discipline of student organizations is given in Appendix C.

Disciplinary procedures. The University of Texas at Austin administers student discipline according to the established procedures of due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 50101, and in Appendix C, chapter 11.

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Religious Organizations

State institutions are constitutionally restricted with regard to the establishment of religion; however, many sectarian activities are available to students through the sponsorship of various denominational organizations. Several places of worship are located in the University area. A number of student centers are maintained near campus, and many student religious organizations are registered with the University.

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General Information | 2006-2007 page 7 of 9 in Chapter 5
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Student affairs Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2006
Official Publications 15 Aug 2006