University Judicial System
This Judicial System is intended to provide an orderly system for adjudication of disputes arising under the Bill of Rights and for the just resolution of grievances based on actions of University employees or groups recognized by the University. A grievance is defined as any dispute or difference concerning the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of University regulation, policies procedures or state or federal law.
I. Boards of Original Jurisdiction
A. The University committees enumerated below shall serve as quasi-judicial boards of original jurisdiction.
- The Student Organizations Committee shall hear cases involving student organizations officially recognized or approved by the Committee. It shall have the authority to delegate responsibility for judicial hearings to other student groups (such as the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, etc.) but no dispute (case) handled by one of these groups can be appealed to the University Court until a ruling has been made by the Student Organizations Committee itself. Cases may be brought by University staff members, officers of student organizations under the jurisdiction of the Committee, or by individual students who charge that their rights have been violated by such organizations.
- The Student Publications Committee shall hear cases involving University sponsored student publications, e.g., The Daily Skiff and Image. Cases may be brought by University staff members, student editors or editors or writers and individual students who think their rights have been violated by the press. The Committee shall also hear cases involving controversy over such questions as compliance with the Canons of Responsible Journalism and FCC Regulations and the standards of taste in the University community.
- The Public Presentations Committee shall hear cases regarding controversies in the areas of speakers, films, theatre, dance and art exhibitions to be presented by student organizations. Judgments concerning the appropriateness of a presentation (as defined in the Student Bill of Rights) will be made by this committee. Cases may be brought by University staff members, by student organizations that sponsor public presentations, or by individual students who charge their rights are violated by such presentations.
- The Academic Appeals Committee shall hear cases brought to it by students who are appealing a specific grade, or who have been accused of cheating on examinations, plagiarism, or other academic dishonesty. Controversies in this area may only be brought to the Committee after regular channels of the department and college have been used.
- The Traffic Appeals Committee shall hear cases involving disputes over the enforcement of University traffic regulations. Cases may be brought by students, faculty or administrators.
- The Student Conduct and Grievance Committee hears appeals from individual students who have been disciplined by the Dean of Students Office. It also may have discipline cases referred directly to it by Dean of Students Office.
- The Student Conduct and Grievance Committee shall hear cases brought to it by students when such cases do not fall within the jurisdiction of the other quasi-judicial committees listed above. Individuals are expected to resolve grievances informally whenever possible, before appealing to this committee.
B. All quasi-judicial committees must have both student and faculty members.
II. University Court
A. The Court shall have the authority to hear appeals from the quasi-judicial committees listed herein, only under conditions when:
- the dispute involves an alleged violation of the Bill of Student Rights; and
- the board of original jurisdiction made procedural errors. If new evidence has become available since the original hearing, the case shall be referred back to the board of original jurisdiction. The Court itself will, by majority vote, determine which cases it will hear.
B. Under conditions when a case will be heard by the University Court, the Court shall have injunctive power to stay, for a maximum of 10 school days or until a University Court hearing can be held, whichever comes sooner, implementation of policies and decisions of University committees, administrative officers, faculty members and student organizations which may violate the Student Bill of Rights.
C. In cases of dispute over jurisdiction, the Court will determine which quasi-judicial committee will have authority over a particular case.
D. The Court shall be composed of four faculty members appointed by the faculty senate, four students appointed by the president of the House of Student Representatives with the approval of the House and three administrators appointed by the Chancellor.
E. Members shall be appointed in April for terms beginning in June and ending in May. Temporary appointments may be made by the respective bodies for summer if regular appointees are not able to serve.
F. The Court shall be free to select its own chairperson.
G. The University Court shall annually review and report to the ratifying bodies upon the quasi-judicial procedures and functions of the University Committees.
H. Records of University Court proceedings shall be kept on file for at least five years as a guide for precedent; however, the confidentiality of participants must be protected by the administrator to whom the records are entrusted.
III. The Chancellor
A. Because the ultimate institutional responsibility has been delegated to the Chancellor by the Board of Trustees, he/ she retains the right to reverse any decision of the University Judicial System. The Chancellor may delegate this authority to an appropriate vice-chancellor.
IV. Judicial Procedures
A. Each quasi-judicial committee and the University Court shall determine its own hearing procedures, provided these procedures meet accepted “fair play” standards.
B. Each quasi-judicial committee and the University Court must observe rules of procedure which include the following “fair play” rights:
- The right to be informed in writing of the charges and the possible punishment.
- The right to have at least three school days in which to prepare a defense to refute the charges.
- The right to a hearing which should elicit information from both sides. If possible, the accused shall be able to face his accuser(s) and have the right to be advised by legal or other counsel.
- The right to be furnished a list of names of accusers and witnesses and a statement of facts they testified to, if the accused does not face his accusers. However, because of the close proximity in which students live and interact on campus, it is sometimes necessary to protect the anonymity of a witness or accuser. In such cases the Dean of Campus Life may verify the identity of a witness and accept a written statement from him/her without revealing the name of the witness or accuser to the accused.
- The right to present oral or written testimony.
- The right to remain silent about any incident in which he is a suspect. No form of harassment shall be used by an institutional representative to coerce admissions of guilt.
- The right to be advised in writing of the results of the hearing.
- The right to receive a transcript or tape recording of the proceedings, at the individual’s own expense, provided this is requested 24 hours before the hearing.
V. Student Affairs
A. Campus Expression
- Students shall be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately by orderly means
- Students have the right to be interviewed on campus for any position for which they meet the qualifications specified by any prospective employer permitted to recruit on campus by the University.
- Student organizations officially recognized by the University shall be allowed to invite and hear speakers of their choosing. Speaker presentations shall be conducted in a manner consistent with an academic community and consistent with the philosophy and objectives of Texas Christian University. Student organizations have the right to present “entertainment” productions. (As used in this document, entertainment refers to films, theatre, dance, music and art exhibitions.) All productions shall be conducted in a manner consistent with an academic community and consistent with the philosophy and objectives of Texas Christian University.
B. Campus Organizations
- Organizations consistent with the philosophies and objectives of TCU shall be recognized by the University Committee on Student Organizations for any lawful purpose upon submission of a constitution and a list of current officers. Membership lists are confidential and solely for the use of the organization except that they may be solicited for internal use by the University Committee on Student Organizations. Campus organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to qualified students without respect to race, creed or national origin. Religious qualifications may be required by organizations whose aims are primarily sectarian.
- Campus organizations shall have use of appropriate University facilities for their group activities, subject to such regulations as are required for scheduling meeting times, places and payment of any required fees.
- No individual, group or organization may use the University name without the expressed authorization of the University except to identify University affiliation. University approval or disapproval of any organization’s policy may not be stated or implied by that organization.
C. Student Communication Media
- The student communication media shall be free of censorship. The editor and managers shall be free to develop their own editorial policies and methods of news coverage within the framework of the philosophies and objectives of the University. (The term “censorship” in reference to student communications media means any attempt to threaten or coerce any editor, manager, or staff member of a student-run publication or broadcast station in order to prevent the dissemination of any factual account or the expression of any opinion, or generally, to hinder the free flow of ideas.)
- The editorial freedom entails a responsibility to observe the Canons of Responsible Journalism and applicable regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, to avoid the publication of libelous and other unlawful statements and to show regard for the standards of taste of the University.
D. Student Governance
- The role and responsibilities of recognized governing bodies composed primarily of students shall be delineated in the constitutions and bylaws of the respective organizations. Actions of student government within the areas of its jurisdiction shall be reviewed only through orderly and prescribed procedures.
- In the formulation of University policy, students are entitled to a participatory function.
E. Student Rooms and Property
- Students have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by University personnel and during the process of search and/or seizure the safety of personal effects will be protected.
- A student’s room shall not be occupied during the term of a housing contract by anyone other than the student without written consent from the student.
- The student, by moving into a University residence hall, acknowledges his responsibility to abide by the terms of the housing contract.
VI. Disciplinary Sanctions
A. University disciplinary sanctions shall be imposed upon a student only in accordance with the provisions of a written officially adopted and published Code of Student Conduct.
B. When charged with a violation of The Code of Student Conduct, students shall have procedural “fair play” rights.
C. Students formally charged with violating University regulations shall be informed of their “fair play” rights in writing.
D. Students shall have the right to appeal any disciplinary sanction within the provisions of the University judicial system.
E. Students are responsible for answering honestly any questions posed to them in disciplinary hearings unless the individual claims the right to remain silent on the basis of possible self-incrimination.
VII. Equal Opportunity
No student shall be denied equal opportunity on account of race, creed, religion, sex, age or national origin.
VIII. Unenumerated Rights and Responsibilities
The preceding enumeration of rights and responsibilities shall not be construed to be all-inclusive for students in their capacity as members of the student body or as citizens of the community at large.
IX. Judicial System
Any controversies which may arise in connection with rights and responsibilities of students outlined in this document shall be adjudicated according to the University Judicial System.
Amendments to the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities may be proposed only by the House of Student Representatives, the Faculty Senate or the TCU Chancellor. When proposed, amendments shall be referred to a special committee by a majority vote of the House of Student Representatives or the Faculty Senate, or at the request of the Chancellor. The Committee shall consist of three members appointed by the President of the House of Student Representatives, three members appointed by the Chairman of the Faculty Senate and three members appointed by the Chancellor. When the Committee recommends an amendment to the Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities, it will require an affirmative vote of a majority of the Texas Christian University students voting in a campus-wide election and a majority of the faculty voting in a faculty election, upon recommendations by a majority of the House of Student Representatives and the Faculty Senate, and by approval of the Chancellor.
Ratification of this statement shall be by affirmative vote of a majority of the Texas Christian University students voting in a campus-wide election and a majority of the faculty voting in a faculty election, upon recommendation by a majority of the Student House of Representatives and the Faculty Senate, and by approval of the Chancellor.
Officially approved Spring 1977; last amended Spring 2017.
Full policy available through this link: University Judicial System