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 Chapter 5
 Student Affairs

Student Government

Originally established in 1902 (as the Students' Association), Student Government was active until it was abolished by student referendum in 1978. A 1982 referendum reestablished the organization, which continues to serve as a recognized forum for student opinion. The membership of Student Government includes every student enrolled at the University, though 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 University Health Services, the summer orientation program, the shuttle bus system, a walking escort service, a minority 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 Fee Committee, and nominates students to the standing committees of the General Faculty.

Student Government projects cover a wide range of issues and 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 year in early March. More information about Student Government is available in Student Services Building 4.206 or at http://www.utexas.edu/students/sa.

Cabinet of College Councils

The Cabinet of College Councils is the coordinating body for the college councils, which are composed of student leaders enrolled in each of the University's colleges and schools. Established in 1973, the cabinet works 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 cabinet reviews the budgetary policies and approves the annual budgets of each of the college councils funded by the Student Services Fee. Two members of the cabinet serve on the Faculty Council, the legislative body for the University. The cabinet also works with Student Government to accomplish goals that benefit all University students. The cabinet office is located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building; interested students should call 232-2953 for additional information or visit http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~cabinet.

Student Publications

Student publications and media at the University of Texas at Austin are governed by the Board of Operating Trustees, Texas Student Publications (TSP). TSP publishes the Daily Texan student newspaper five days a week. The Texan has won more national awards than any other student newspaper and is among the nation's leading college newspapers. TSP also produces the Cactus yearbook for the University, the Peregrinus yearbook for the School of Law, the University Directory, and the annual Guide to Campus Living. The University Directory is distributed without charge at several locations on campus. TSP operates KVRX student radio and KVR, the only student-operated television station in the country. The Cactus, KVR, and KVRX have won top national student media honors in recent years.

Legal Services for Students

Advice, representation, mediation, or referral for legal problems is available to students on a walk-in basis through Legal Services for Students. No charge is assessed for advice, referral, or general assistance, but payment of court costs and other incidental 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 manner of legal representation that it will provide.

Representation may be provided in civil legal matters only. Cases normally accepted for representation are landlord-tenant disputes, consumer protection matters including deceptive trade practices, minor claims resulting from automobile accidents, employment disputes, credit card complaints, and auto repair matters. The office is prohibited from representing students in 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.

Office of the Ombudsman

The ombudsman serves as a neutral third party providing assistance to students who have University-related complaints of a nonlegal nature. The ombudsman and most of the office staff are students. The ombudsman is authorized to investigate grievances involving both academic and nonacademic concerns and recommend corrective measures. Examples of types of cases the ombudsman handles include 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 ombudsman. All assistance provided by the office is confidential and is available by phone or in person.

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 should be submitted in writing to the department chairman 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.

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. Students taking a course in a college or school other than the one in which they are primarily registered 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. For issues involving scholastic dishonesty, see Appendix C, chapter 11.

Student program and student activity related grievances. Grievances related to nonacademic student programs and activities should be submitted in writing to the 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 through the Office of the Dean of Students located on the second floor of the Flawn Academic Center.

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. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability that involve academic matters should be submitted according to the procedures for academic related grievances; those that involve student programs and student activities should be submitted according to the procedures for student program and student activity related grievances.

Sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, student harassment, and sexual assault. Complaints alleging sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, student harassment, or sexual assault should be addressed in accordance with the policies and procedures in Appendixes D, E, and H.

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General Information catalog

Contents  |  Chapter 1  |  Chapter 2  |  Chapter 3
Chapter 4  |  Chapter 5  |  Chapter 6  |  Chapter 7
Appendixes  |  Statistical Summaries

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Office of the Registrar
University of Texas at Austin

29 July 1999. Registrar's Web Team
Comments to rgcat@utxdp.dp.utexas.edu