Faculty Handbook 2013-2014

V. University Policies Resulting from Federal, State, of Board of Regents Requirements

(The policies covered in this section are not subject to review or modification by either the administration or the faculty; however, if the summary statement in the handbook needs a review of its wording a proposal should be sent to the Faculty Affairs Committee. The committee will consider and propose a revision after consultation with the BOR legal office or other relevant body. A link to the original federal or state statute or BOR policy statement is included for each policy for reference.)

Non-discrimination against Students with Disabilities
Policy Statement on a Drug Free Campus
Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment
Required Information Provided on Course Syllabus
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Non-Discrimination Against Students With Disabilities

It is the policy of Georgia Southwestern State University that faculty members or other employees do not discriminate in any way against students with disabilities. Faculty are required to make reasonable accommodations for students with officially documented disabilities.

Students are responsible for identifying themselves as having a disability. They are to contact the staff of the Student Support Services Office for an interview and to determine their needs. This should take place prior to enrolling at GSW if at all possible. GSW strongly recommends that students discuss their needs with each of their professors during the first week of classes. If a faculty member is aware of a need to make an adjustment to accommodate a student with disabilities, he or she should notify the Office of Student Support Services for a determination of the appropriate accommodations.

Policy Statement on a Drug Free Campus

Georgia Southwestern State University is committed to support and comply with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226, Section 22, subpart B) as an Institution of Higher Education. The law under this act now covers both drugs and alcohol, and relates to faculty, staff, and students. Therefore, the entire campus community of Georgia Southwestern State University is under the mandate to comply. A committee appointed by the President of Georgia Southwestern has been charged with ensuring compliance with the aforementioned federal mandates. The Task Force shall focus on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug education, prevention and intervention for the GSW campus community. The Task Force shall:

  • Provide continual guidance and support to ensure that the 1989 amendments (Part 86) to the “Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act” regulations are being followed.
  • Develop a strategic plan for GSW on ATOD issues. This will include the assignment of sub-committees to accomplish strategic plan tasks.
  • Forward any recommendations or modifications in any current GSW drug/alcohol/tobacco policies to the President.
  • Establish and assess the Student Assistance Program to educate and provide interventions to students who violate current GSW alcohol, tobacco, and other drug policies as well as any federal, state or local laws.
  • Oversee the general education of the campus community in relation to policies, laws, and risks associated with ATOD use including programming, classes, seminars, and workshops
  • Collaborate with GSW’s chapter of the BACCHUS Peer Educators to provide quality educational programming in the areas of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs for the campus community
  • Provide training for task force members and peer educators on ATOD issues
  • Provide financial support for GSW education and prevention programs.
  • Assess the university environment surrounding perceptions and use of ATOD using a variety of instruments such as the CORE survey
  • Collaborate with members of the community to ensure a community approach to ATOD education

Any recommendations or modifications in any current GSW drug/alcohol policies may be forwarded to the President.

To achieve the maximum benefit under this program, Georgia Southwestern State University expects faculty, staff, and students to meet appropriate standards of performance, to observe basic rules of good conduct, to comply with Institutional personnel policies and procedures as contained in the Personnel Policy Manual, the Faculty Handbook (as amended), and the GSWeathervane: A Student Handbook (as amended).

As an institution of higher education, the primary focus is on the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students. It is well substantiated that the health risks in using illicit drugs and abusing alcohol are enormous to the individual, as well as devastating to family, friends, and the community.

Georgia Southwestern State University provides a confidential counseling and referral program and actively encourages faculty, staff, and students who feel they have a potential substance, alcohol or other drug-related problem to utilize these services. An important part of this program includes the Student Assistant Program (SAP) which is a coordinated effort by the Office of Student Life, Resource and Referral Center and the Task Force on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

In the discharge of its responsibilities as an employer and an institution of higher education, Georgia Southwestern State University aggressively promotes and requires a drug free campus among its faculty, staff, and student body. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of illegal drugs or alcohol by Georgia Southwestern State University employees and students is prohibited by Institutional policy. Violations of this policy, including felony and/or misdemeanor drug or alcohol convictions during the course of employment or as a student enrolled in any academic program at Georgia Southwestern State University, may result in appropriate disciplinary penalties being imposed by the University, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion and referral for prosecution.

This policy shall be communicated to new faculty by the Department of Human Resources, to classified staff by the Department of Human Resources, to all new entering students and all other students by the Office of Student Life. Each contractor engaged in the performance of federal contract or grant will be provided with a copy of this policy. The institutional Personnel Policy Manual, Faculty Handbook, and GSWeathervane are amended to incorporate this policy.

Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment

It has always been our policy to maintain the best possible working environment for all faculty, staff, and students. All employees and students have the right to be free from sexual and all other forms of unlawful harassment of any kind in the workplace, including harassment because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law. GSW will not tolerate such harassment.

What is Sexual Harassment?

            Sexual harassment is an unwelcome advance, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when . . .

  • Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly in a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual; or
  • Such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Sexual Harassment can take many forms including:

  • Remarks of a sexual nature concerning a person’s body or clothing
  • Sexually explicit slurs or words which are used to describe a person
  • Unnecessary and unwelcome touching, patting, pinching or fondling
  • Unwelcome propositions or requests for social dates or sexual activity
  • The circulation or displaying of sexually oriented cartoons, pictures, or other potentially offensive materials while on campus
  • Remarks exchanged by two consenting adults that may be offensive to other individuals

What should you do if you think you’re being subjected to Sexual Harassment at Georgia Southwestern State University?

If you feel you are a victim of sexual harassment, you should bring your concerns to University’s Affirmative Action Office. The earlier the incident is reported, the sooner University officials can investigate concerns. Any complaint under this policy will be handled confidentially and fairly. No reprisal or retaliation will occur because of the report of an incident of sexual harassment. A formal grievance can also be filed when reporting an incident of sexual harassment.

Required Information Provided on Course Syllabus

Faculty members are expected to provide each student in each of his/her classes within the first week of the term the following minimum information in writing:

  1. Major objectives of the class.
  2. Grading procedures to include the number of examinations, the number of term papers, the number of oral presentations, and any other requirement which will be considered in determining the student's final grade. Also included would be the percentage of the final grade which each requirement carries. The intention is that each student fully understands on what his/her grade will be based.
  3. The amount of material to be covered.
  4. The faculty member's policy on absences to include the effect of absences on the student's final grade.

Faculty members are expected to be available to students for consultation out¬side regularly scheduled class time. As faculty members establish office hours at the beginning of each term, they should post this schedule for the convenience of students.

Faculty members should provide the student any information in writing which would facilitate that student's understanding of the course.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  1. Georgia Southwestern State University is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, which is designed to protect students' rights in regard to education records maintained by the institution. Under the Act, students have the following rights:
    1. The right to inspect and review education records maintained by the institution that pertain to them;
    2. The right to challenge the content of records (except grades which can only be challenged through the Grade Appeal Process) on the ground that they are inaccurate, misleading or a violation of their privacy or other rights; and
    3. The right to control disclosures from their education records with certain exceptions.
  2. Any student who is or has been in attendance at Georgia Southwestern State University has the right to inspect and review his or her educational records within a reasonable period of time (not to exceed 45 days) after making a written request. However, the student shall not have access to:
    1. Financial records of parents.
    2. Confidential letters of recommendation placed in record prior to January 1,1975.
    3. Letters of recommendation concerning admission, application for employment or honors for which the student has voluntarily signed a waiver.
  3. Directory information will be treated as public information and be generally available on all students and former students, at the discretion of the university. Directory information includes the student's name; telephone number; major field of study; participation in officially recognized sports; height; weight; dates of attendance; degrees, honors and awards received; level, and full or part time status. Participation in officially recognized sports; height, weight, age, home-town and general interest items of members of athletic teams is also included in Directory Information.
  4. Requests for Education Records should be made in writing to the Registrar, Georgia Southwestern State University. "Education Records" means generally any record maintained by or for Georgia Southwestern State University and containing information directly related to the students' academic activities.
  5. Students who challenge the correctness of student educational records shall file a written request for amendment with the Registrar. The student shall also present to the Registrar copies of all available evidence relating to the data or material being challenged. The Registrar shall forward the information to the custodian of the record who will consider the request and shall notify the student in writing within 15 business days whether the request will be granted or denied. During that time, any challenge may be settled informally between the student, or the parents of a dependent student and the custodian of the records, in consultation with other appropriate University officials. If an agreement is reached it shall be in writing and signed by all parties involved. A copy of such agreement will be maintained in the student's record. If an agreement is not reached informally or, if the request for amendment is denied, the student shall have the right to challenge through the Grievance Procedure outlined in the Student Handbook.
  6. Release of protected information in the student's educational record without consent will be allowed to:
    1. Institutional personnel who have a legitimate educational interest.
    2. Officials of other schools where the student seeks to enroll. Efforts will be made to notify the student of the release of such information.
    3. Representatives of Federal agencies authorized by law to have access to education records, and state education authorities.
    4. Appropriate persons in connection with a student's application for or receipt of financial aid.
    5. State and local officials to whom information must be released pursuant to a state statue adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
    6. Organizations conducting studies for the institution.
    7. Accrediting organizations.
    8. Parents of a dependent student, as determined by the Internal Revenue Code of1954, as amended.
    9. Persons necessary in emergency situations to protect health and safety.
    10. Persons designated in subpoenas or court orders.
  7. If a request for Education Records is not covered by the Annual Disclosure Statement provided by the Registrar, the written request for release of information should be submitted to the Registrar and contain the following information:
    1. Specific records to be released.
    2. Reasons for such release.
    3. To whom records are to be released.
    4. Date.
    5. Signature of the student.
  8. Records will be released in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. However, reasonable efforts will be made to notify the student in advance of compliance.
  9. Students have the right to obtain copies of official transcripts provided all financial obligations to the University have been met. Students will be charged at the prevailing rate for each certified transcript obtained. Copies of other information in the student's education record will be provided at a cost of $0.25 per page of copy.
  10. Students who feel that their rights have been violated under the provisions of the Family Educational and Privacy Act should write to the following office: Department of Education, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.
  11. Georgia has an Open Records Act. All records kept by Georgia Southwestern State University, except those protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, are subject to public open records requests. Requests for public open records should be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources, Georgia Southwestern State University.