2.1 Student Honor Code
Mississippi University for Women is known for high academic standards, ideals and traditions. Each student who enrolls as a student at MUW is expected to uphold this code.
I pledge myself to uphold the highest standards of honesty in all phases of university life both alone and with many and accept my responsibility for helping others to live up to such standards. All this I will do that my University may become greater, better and more beautiful than when I entered it.
2.2 Student Rights and Responsibilities
All students shall be free to exercise all constitutional rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi. Nothing contained herein shall supplant, supersede, override, or infringe upon the authority of the aforementioned documents.
- Students at MUW are members of a community designed to encourage academic excellence. The privilege of belonging to this community requires that students assume responsibility for themselves and others. Every student must respect the rights and privileges of others and federal, state, and local statutes.
- Upon enrollment at MUW, students must assume the responsibility for being fully acquainted with published rules and regulations and for complying with them in the interest of an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of knowledge.
- It is the responsibility of students to serve on University committees as appointed by University officials.
2.3 Student Complaint Procedures:
A goal of Mississippi University for Women is that all students have a positive educational experience, are treated fairly and courteously by University personnel, and are provided an outlet to address conditions and circumstances when they might feel otherwise.
MUW wants to solve problems and make improvements in a timely manner, and informal means are often the most efficient ways to reach a solution. As a result, students are encouraged to explore informal options before filing a formal written complaint; however, MUW recognizes that there are instances when a formal written complaint may be the most appropriate first step.
MUW has specific policies for certain types of complaints, including Academic Grievances, Anti-Discrimination Grievances, and Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault. See those policies for a more detailed description of the procedure for those types of complaints. Colleges or academic programs may also have complaint procedures, which should be followed before a complaint is brought before the university. For all other types of complaints, follow the procedures below.
Whenever possible, a student should first contact the person with whom the student has a complaint, explain the issue, and attempt to work out an appropriate solution. If the student is unable to resolve the issue with the person involved, the student should take the complaint to that person’s immediate supervisor.
- For an academic complaint, the student should go first to the student’s instructor, then to the department chair, then to the Dean, and ultimately to the Provost.
- For a complaint involving Student Affairs staff or services or involves another student in a non-academic context, the student may first contact a Resident Advisor or Residence Director if the problem is in the residence halls, or the student may take their complaint directly to Student Affairs staff, and ultimately to the Vice President for Student Affairs.
- For a complaint involving other administrative staff or financial dealings with the university, the student should take the complaint to the director of the department and ultimately to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Any MUW faculty, staff, or administrator who receives an informal complaint that does not fall within his or her area should refer the student or forward the student’s complaint to the appropriate office. The student should also be reminded of the right to file a formal written complaint. In cases of Sexual Harassment or Assault, a report must also be made to the appropriate Affirmative Action Grievance Officer.
Students who are unable to resolve a complaint through the informal means listed above, or who conclude a formal complaint is warranted, may make a formal written complaint
- For Academic Complaints, existing formal departmental or college academic grievance procedures should be followed first. If resolution is not reached, contact the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- For complaints about students or student services, contact the Vice President for Student Affairs.
- For complaints involving other MUW administrative offices or financial dealings with the university, students should contact the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
A formal written complaint that has been received by an inappropriate office should be forwarded to the appropriate office. Therefore, if a student is unsure who to contact, the student may write to any of the three offices named above. If an MUW policy or procedure is already in place to handle that type of complaint (such as for those types listed above), then the complaint should be directed to the appropriate committee or office as outlined in the corresponding policy:
- Academic Grievances should be directed to the Provost’s office after any existing departmental and/or college academic grievance procedures have been followed, and will be heard by the Academic Grievances Committee.
- After a student has attempted to resolve a problem by meeting with the University’s Disability Services Coordinator, Anti-Discrimination Grievances may be made in writing to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs who will refer the case to the Academic Grievances Committee.
- Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault may be made to the appropriate Affirmative Action Grievance Officer.
- See these policies for detailed procedures.
In order to be considered a formal written complaint, the complaint must be a letter that has been signed by hand, dated, and submitted to one of the three offices. It may be hand delivered or sent by mail, fax, or as an email attachment. Anonymous complaints are not considered formal written complaints unless this is specifically allowed by MUW policy, such as in cases of sexual harassment or assault.
In compliance with federal regulations, all formal written complaints will be logged in a confidential log that does not include names, but does include the date, the nature of the complaint, the actions taken, the decision, and any external actions taken.
Some forms of communication are not considered formal written complaints. These include but are not limited to: verbal complaints, comments made on course evaluations, suggestions submitted to a suggestion box, informal email messages that are not signed by hand, or maintenance requests. Additionally, student appeals are not considered formal written complaints, since most appeals are a way for students to plead their case in a matter initiated by the University. Appeals are part of established university procedures, and records are kept of student appeals.
Students who have gone through MUW’s complaint process and are not satisfied that their complaint has been addressed also have the right to file a complaint with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning office or with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges. Additionally, distance education students who reside in another state may contact the appropriate agency in their home state to file a complaint. For more information on who to contact in each state, see:
2.4 Student Record Privacy Statement: Annual Notification Under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records. “Education records” include records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by the University. Certain types of information are not considered “education records” under FERPA. These include:
- Records made by University personnel, including professors, which are in the sole possession of the person who made the records and are not accessible or revealed to any other person.
- Records maintained by the Campus Safety for law enforcement purposes.
- Medical and Counseling records that are used solely for treatment.
FERPA affords student certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The rights to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access.
- The rights to seek to amend education records they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. The University must reply to this request within a reasonable period of time. A student may ask the Office of the Registrar to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the university official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record that they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the record is amended, the amendment will be made and the student so notified. If no amendment is made, the student may place an explanatory statement in the record, to be kept there so long as the record is maintained. The record cannot be shown, in whole or in any contested part, unless this statement is also shown.
- The rights to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent:
Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); contractors, consultants, volunteers and other outside parties to whom the University has outsourced institutional services or functions (such as an attorney, auditory, or collection agent); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
To parents or legal guardians of dependent students as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. In general, the University does not make education records available to the parents of a student. However, where the University believes that it is in a dependent student’s best interest, information from the student’s education records may, at the University’s discretion, be released to the parents or legal guardians of such a dependent student who provides a copy of his/her most recent federal income tax return verifying that the student is claimed as a dependent. Some form of identification must be displayed before access to educational records will be allowed.
When a student has violated a law or the school’s rules or policies governing alcohol or substance abuse, if the student is under 21 years old.
When the information is needed to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals in an emergency
Prior written consent of the student is required before the University will release personally identifiable information, except as previously noted. The written consent must be signed and dated and shall include a designation of the specific education record to be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
Personally identifiable information shall only be transferred to a third party by MUW on the condition that such party will not permit any other party to have access to such information without the consent of the student.
Under FERPA, at its discretion Mississippi University for Women will disclose directory information as it deems appropriate without prior written consent unless a student notifies the Registrar in writing at the time of registration, or thereafter, they do not want such information disclosed. These requests for non-disclosure of directory information are binding for all information to all parties other than for educational purposes. The block will permanently remain on your record until you request (in writing) that it be removed. The following information is considered directory information:
- Telephone number
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities
- Dates of attendance, to include but not limited to dates of withdrawal, dates of re-admittance, and dates of graduation
- Enrollment status (e.g. undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)
- Degrees, honors and awards received
- Most recent educational agency attended by the student
- E-mail addresses
Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Mississippi University for Women to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Records of Deceased Students: It is Mississippi University for Women’s policy to treat the records of deceased students as the institution would treat the records of living students. The owner of the record since the student is deceased would be the executor of the student’s estate or the immediate family of the deceased student if an executor does not exist. Proof of death is also required. This is treating the records of deceased students in the same manner in which the institution treats the records of living students.
As mentioned above, non-directory information is automatically confidential. But, if you would like ALL (directory and non-directory) information to be completely confidential, please complete the Non-Disclosure of Directory Information Form and submit to the Office of the Registrar. See the form for complete explanation.
2.5 Non-Discrimination Policy
Mississippi University for Women does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status in admission, in treatment, in employment, or in access to its programs and activities.
The University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Public Law 101-336 (American Disabilities Act). The University provides academic adjustments and auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities (as defined under the law) who are otherwise qualified to meet the University’s academic and employment requirements. Those needing assistance may contact the Center for Academic Excel, 102 Reneau Hall, 1100 College Street MUW-1633, Columbus, MS 39701-5800.
2.6 Withdrawal Procedures
Students who wish to withdraw from the University must do so through the College or School of their major or through the Center for Academic Excellence if they are undeclared. The last day to withdraw from the University is listed on the Academic Calendar. Once the withdrawal request form is processed, this is an irreversible action.
Withdrawal from Mississippi University for Women does not necessarily indicate a clearance of financial or other obligations. All obligations to the University must be met regardless of withdrawal status. Refunds, if any, are made according to the MUW refund schedule listed in the University Accounting Office’s Tuition and Fees webpage, based on the date of withdrawal.Leaving the University without filing a formal withdrawal notice will result in failing grades in all courses for which the student is registered. Withdrawing from a residence hall is not the same as withdrawing from university course work.
Withdrawal Effect on Tuition–Adjustments to Charges/Refunds
Adjustments to tuition and housing expenses are made for students who officially withdraw from the University during the first ten days of classes in the full-term fall, spring, and during the first 6 days of the full summer term, or during the first three days of the five-week summer sessions, or during the first five days of the accelerated fall and spring sessions. Students will be assessed $100.00 or 5% of full tuition (whichever is lower) and reimbursed for the remainder. No refund in tuition will be given after the above listed periods. Tuition charges are not adjusted if classes are dropped after the last day to add/drop classes via Banner Web. The last day to add/drop via Banner Web is the last day to add a class. See the Academic Calendar for specific dates.
Withdrawal Effect on Housing—Refund of Housing and Meal Plan
Housing expenses will be pro-rated, based on actual residency. Students withdrawing from student housing before the contract period ends will be assessed an additional $250.00 termination fee. Students who withdraw from student housing during the first five weeks of the fall or spring semester will receive a pro rata refund of their original meal plan disbursement.
Non-Attendance of classes does not constitute an official withdrawal from the University. Per contract agreement, students who remain enrolled but who withdraw from the residence hall will receive no refund of fees, and if they signed a two-semester contract they will be billed again for housing in the spring semester so long as they are still enrolled at MUW. Students who withdraw from the University during the first two weeks of classes will have their living expenses pro-rated, based on actual residency. Students who are charged for a private room will have rates adjusted if the private room status is changed. No adjustments will be made in housing fees in the last thirty calendar days of the semester. Students who move out of the residence halls because they are engaged in directed teaching or other field experiences will have their living expenses pro-rated, based upon actual residency.
Students who withdraw from the University are responsible for any balance remaining on their account.
Withdrawal Effect on Financial Aid
Students who choose to withdraw from the University prior to the end of the term must follow the “Withdrawal Process” established by the University. (Students who wish to completely withdraw from the University must do so through the College or School of their major or through the Center for Academic Excellence if they are undeclared.) Failure to complete the semester may have an effect on the financial aid funds disbursed to a student’s account and paid to cover tuition, fees, bookstore charges, campus housing costs, or paid to the student as a refund.
Students who withdraw before the 60% point in the semester will have a “pro rata reduction” in the amount of financial aid disbursed. The federal regulations expect students to “earn” the use of funds for attending the “entire” semester. The percentage of the semester that was not attended becomes the percent of funds that may need to be returned. This reduction will leave an unpaid balance owed to the University on the student’s account BUT student loans will be reduced with their lender and other aid funds will be returned to the program accounts for possible use in the summer semester.
Failure to complete the semester and failure to “officially” withdraw is considered an “unofficial withdrawal”. Failure to complete the courses in the semester will result in a grade of F. Faculty are requested to report the last day of class attendance (LDA) or participation in a class project or activity to allow the Financial Aid Office to calculate the percentage of the course the student completed. When no LDA is provided, the 50% point or mid-term date is used to determine the amount of aid to be returned to the federal or state programs. The longer students attend, the lower the amount of funds to be returned and the amount owed MUW will also be less.
Withdrawal Effect on Course Grade
Withdrawing by the last day to withdraw without receiving a grade results in a grade of W on the student record, which does not calculate in the GPA. Withdrawing after that date, but by the last day to completely withdraw from the university, results in a grade of WP or WF. WP grades do not affect GPA, but WF grades do calculate into the GPA, the same as a grade of F. The withdrawal dates and deadlines are published in the Academic Calendar.