Academic Affairs shines light on student rights

March 31, 2008

By: Lloyd Franklin

Parker Short Bill of Rights

Sen. Parker Short and the Student Senate Academic Affairs Committee have been hard at work this semester on a variety of projects, most notably being the development of a Student Bill of Rights.

The bill of rights, which is a compilation of various rules and regulations incorporated into the faculty handbook and the student body constitution, is the most recent success for the committee.

"We combed through the faculty handbook and consulted with several administrators to find many relevant policies that students would find useful," said Short. "It'll be posted on the Student Government Web site so that current students can know about them."

Many students are unaware of the academic policies that pertain to their educational experience. Such policies include the rule applying to three final exams on the same day, and the right to complete coursework missed for university-sponsored events.

Sen. Nicole Yeakley was glad she could be a part of the development process. "It's important for students to know what rights they have when it comes to classes and professors. I hope this will educate students on what recourse they have if they feel something is unfair."

The committee hopes to distribute the new brochure at welcome week and orientation.

Another initiative originating from the academic affairs committee includes the use of PawPrints for campus copiers. Senators Kathleen Simpson and Rachel Frankeny recently authored a resolution to allow PawPrints to be utilized for campus copy and fax machines.

The academic affairs committee has also worked to increase the number of hours the Baylor Sciences Building is open. Short thinks the hour increase could increase safety.

"The administration doesn't realize that students are using this building for 24 hours-a-day regardless," said Short. "It's important to make the building safe for the students there."

When researching the proposed hour increase, members of the committee visited several campus science organizations last semester. Members then used input from the organizations and researched what it would take to make the BSB open 24 hours-a-day during the school week. This information was incorporated into a major strategic proposal, which was recently presented to the University strategic planning committee.

Currently the committee is looking into Baylor's attendance policy. The committee is advocating the creation of excused absences. Currently, there is no such thing as an excused absence. For more information on the committee and their initiatives, contact Parker_Short@baylor.edu.