The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, of which Winston-Salem State University is a member institution, supports the right to academic freedom for every student in pursuit to his or her education. This includes the freedom to learn, freedom to teach, and the freedom to speak the truth, all which should be done in atmosphere of mutual respect.
Freedom of Speech
Winston-Salem State University, consistent with the University of the North Carolina Board of Governors fully supports the right of a student to assemble peacefully and to express himself or herself in a manner in which order is maintained. The North Carolina General Assembly, along with Winston-Salem State University, views freedom of expression as being of critical importance. Under the North Carolina General Assembly’s directives, each institution under The University of North Carolina must officially recognize freedom of speech as a fundamental right. We as institutions, also, do not have the right to shield individuals from speech protected that is protected the First Amendment, including but not limited to ideas and opinions that may be unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. It is also stated that each institution must outline the following stipulations as pertaining to the stipulation of Freedom of Speech. The new stipulations are the following:
- The constituent institution may not take action, as an institution, on the public policy controversies of the day in such a way as to require students, faculty, or administrators to publicly express a given view of social policy.
- Students and faculty have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself, as the First Amendment permits and within the limits of narrowly tailored viewpoint- and content-neutral restrictions on time, place, and manner of expression that are consistent with this Article and that are necessary to achieve a significant institutional interest, provided that these restrictions are clear, published, and provide ample alternative means of expression.
- Students and faculty shall be permitted to assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activity as long as such activity is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the constituent institution, subject to the requirements of this section.
- Access to campus for purposes of free speech and expression shall be consistent with First Amendment jurisprudence regarding traditional public forums, designated public forums, and nonpublic forums, subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.
- Consistent with First Amendment jurisprudence, including any reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions adopted by a constituent institution, campuses of the constituent institutions are open to any speaker whom students, student groups, or members of the faculty have invited.
- The constituent institution shall implement a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone under the jurisdiction of a constituent institution who substantially disrupts the functioning of the constituent institution or substantially interferes with the protected free expression rights of others, including protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in and listen to expressive activity when the expressive activity has been scheduled pursuant to this policy or is located in a nonpublic forum.
- In all student disciplinary cases involving expressive speech or conduct, students are entitled to a disciplinary hearing under published procedures, including, at a minimum-
- the right to receive advance written notice of the charges,
- the right to review the evidence in support of the charges,
- the right to confront witnesses against them,
- the right to present a defense,
- the right to call witnesses,
- a decision by an impartial arbiter or panel,
- the right of appeal, and
- the right to active assistance of counsel, consistent with G.S. 116-40.11.
Freedom to Learn
The Board of Governors had determined that "all students shall be responsible for conducting themselves in a manner that helps to enhance an environment of learning in which the rights, dignity, worth, and freedom of each member of the academic community is respected.
Right of Confidentiality
No information or documentation referring to a student's academic or personal life is released to any party outside the university without the written permission of the student. Any request from a current student, former student, or graduate to release information to a third party must be made in writing and include the student's signature. Students have the right to inspect and review their own official records, except letters of recommendation.
Participation in Institutional Governance
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors and Winston-Salem State University encourage students to involve themselves in activity associated with the governance of the university by serving on the various committees, councils, and taskforces, that are charged with making decisions regarding Winston-Salem State University.
Students who encounter disputes with faculty or staff members should first report any such grievance to the program head. This step should be followed by conferences with persons at progressively higher levels, including deans, and the appropriate vice chancellor.
Students who attend the university are expected to behave in a manner consistent with life at an academic institution. Rules of student conduct, intended to reinforce this policy, are published online in the Undergraduate Catalogues, Student Code of Conduct, and other areas.
Right to be Heard
Students who have been charged with violations of the WSSU Student Handbook are entitled to the right to be heard and the right to consult an Advisor about addressing charges against them. Students violating standards of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action either by their peers or a university hearing officer. The student may choose the method in which the hearing is conducted.
All students at Winston-Salem State University are considered to be responsible adults. Therefore, each student shall be held accountable for his or her own personal behavior. The university expects all students to learn and obey local, state, and federal laws. In addition, students are expected to observe and adhere to the university's standards of conduct.
Winston-Salem State University students are responsible for reading, knowing, and observing all policies and procedures related to their in-class behavior and their on and off campus conduct. Information regarding these policies and procedures can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog, Student Code of Conduct, and department specific handbooks and manuals [all online].
Although university staff and faculty assist students, following policies, meeting deadlines and academic requirements are the responsibilities of the student. A student's lack of awareness of any WSSU policy or procedure shall not constitute grounds to be absolved from violations of those policies.
*Taken From the Student Handbook