Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Judicial Affairs

The intent of the Judicial Affairs program is to uphold student rights and develop students’ ability to make responsible decisions in order to maintain mutual respect, integrity, and an environment where all students can effectively pursue their educational goals.  Programs and services are student-centered, promote accountability, and are aimed to enhance students' overall academic and social experience at Rensselaer.

Rensselaer's approach to the judicial process is one that is intended to be educational rather than punitive. The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities sets forth the Student Bill of Rights along with the national, state and city laws and Rensselaer policies that guide Institute and judicial actions in support of Rensselaer student success.

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Student Rights and Responsibilities

All Rensselaer students are expected to comply with the rules and regulations set forth in the Handbook, as well as with the requirements in other Institute policies and rules. Compliance with the requirements of this Handbook includes conditions of occupancy for all residents in campus housing and contractual terms in room and board contracts. It is each student’s responsibility to be familiar with the contents of this Handbook, and other policies of the Institute. Previous Handbooks, Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Rev. Nov 2017Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: 2014-2016.

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Student Judicial Process

The Student Judicial System is an unbiased process used to review and resolve reported student violations of the Grounds for Disciplinary Action (GDA) and/or other Institute policies and regulations. The judicial system provides opportunities for all involved parties to be heard and actively be involved in the resolution of the concern. More information about the Student Judicial System can be found in the “Components of the Judicial System” section of the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Please note that the Student Judicial System does not review reported violations of the Institute’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. More information about Sexual Misconduct Policy complaint process can be found below.

Sexual Misconduct Complaints

All complaints of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking, are investigated and adjudicated pursuant to the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy of Rensselaer, NOT the Student Judicial System. For more information about reporting sexual misconduct, visit the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

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Adviser and Legal Resources

Students involved in the Rensselaer judicial system have the right to a Student Judicial Advisor and in some cases to Legal Counsel.

Student Judicial Advisors

Student Judicial Advisors exist under the provisions of the judicial system which allow students to be advised with respect to Rensselaer judicial proceedings. Student Judicial Advisors advise students of the policies and procedures, as well as their rights and responsibilities within the judicial system. Advisors do not, however, investigate, prepare or present/argue judicial cases. A student may request a Judicial Advisor at the time of the inquiry, or three days before the “final” inquiry. See Amendment VI: Judicial Advisors of the Rensselaer Union Constitution.

Legal Counsel

The presence of an attorney at a judicial inquiry or hearing is at the sole discretion of the hearing officer, and/or the Senior Judicial Administrator and Board Chairperson. Requests for an attorney to be present to advise an accused student will be considered only in instances where the student has been arrested or has had a criminal complaint filed against him or her. If it is determined that a student will be permitted to have an attorney present, the student must notify the Senior Judicial Administrator, in writing, a minimum of 72 hours in advance of the hearing, indicating the name, business address and phone number of the attorney who will be in attendance. The role of an attorney is limited in the judicial process. He or she is present only to advise the accused student and can confer with the student during the judicial proceeding. However, the attorney is not entitled to address the hearing officer or board and may not communicate specific questions, responses, or statements for the student. Moreover, all correspondence, regarding the judicial matter, including the filing of an appeal, must come directly from the student(s) involved. Institute officials involved in the judicial system may elect to discuss procedural matters with attorneys. However, as a general practice, communication and inquiries from attorneys will be referred directly to Institute Legal Counsel.

Rensselaer students who are in need of legal counsel for certain civil and criminal actions off campus and have paid the Student Activity Fee may choose to use the STUDENT LEGAL SERVICE. The purpose of the Student Legal Service is to assist students in identifying and resolving their legal problems so they can make the most of their educational opportunities. Legal representation up to and including all stages of trial will, at the discretion of the program attorney, be provided in certain types of cases. Program attorneys will be available to provide general legal advice and referrals on legal issues specifically excluded from representation.

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For details on campus crime statistics, visit the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report »