Understanding your rights: What students should know

Understanding the rights you have as a student and the policies that establish what professors and faculty are able to do are pivotal to the success of your time while attending CSUN.

As students, we are supposed to adhere to a certain code of conduct that is highlighted dutifully on CSUN’s website as Student Conduct Code. Using these rules and policy standards that are clearly defined allows for us to be able to be good students and not adhere to practices that will lead to the grounds for student discipline.

“The university is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment for students, faculty and staff,” The policy states. “Each member of the campus community should choose behaviors that contribute toward this end.”

Using that as a background context to understand that the university’s commitment to safeguarding a healthy learning environment, what are we to do when we find this is not the case in our classrooms?

If you look into the employee handbook that is found on CSUN’s website, its Mission Statement says, “By fostering learning and professional development, The University Corporation empowers its staff to be proactive and resourceful in order to achieve the highest standard of customer service to the University community.”

As academic professionals, our professors are supposed to promote learning environments that enhance our lives, which allows for us to take those lessons to help empower us for our professional careers after graduation. Although, in some classrooms, that does not always seem to be the case.

There are always bad seeds to be had in any bunch, but as students, we have to recognize when a bad seed is in circulation and it prevents our growth by hindering our academic success.

As gatekeepers to our own education, it is vital that we stand up to protect ourselves and future students from having to endure these facilitators of unhealthy learning environments.

As students, we also need to understand that our professors are people too. They are as prone to making mistakes as we are, but as professionals practicing in their craft, their mistakes and faulty procedures are inexcusable when it becomes obtrusive to the learning environment.

It is up to us, as students, to protect ourselves from these bad seeds as we are the only ones who can police our education. We need to be willing to take the steps necessary to improve or remove these seeds from circulation.

We should not sit by idly when we are aware that these faulty professionals are hindering us from getting the best education that we are paying for. By design, our school’s corporate policies for faculty constantly insinuates that we are in fact “customers.”

By owning our education and promoting ourselves as gatekeepers, we not only establish our own empowerment, but we also become the true facilitators of our education.

We need to understand that as adults, we have the power to speak up against policies, standards and etiquette that detour us from having the best learning experience that we possibly can. Constantly evaluate your professors, read the employee handbook and find out what isn’t acceptable.

We should call them out on their lackluster abilities to perform their job if they are always late, if they don’t bring the adequate tools to perform their duties, if they are not promoting a healthy learning environment or if you are feeling targeted by their rhetoric.

“Encourages the free pursuit of students’ learning and promotes the free and open exchange of ideas as related to the subject matter,” as stated in CSUN’s General and Administrative Considerations sections 600-609. Talk to professors to voice your areas of concern and file grievances if you have to.

Sitting by and just letting it happen because we don’t want to get involved shouldn’t be an option. It is our right as students to get quality professors.

It is our professors’ responsibility to live up to the qualities that we demand, and we dictate those qualities, so always demand the best and never underestimate your power to influence change. The university serves us, so make sure it also deserves us.

Written by Madeline Martinez

Senior, Public Relations Emphasis in Journalism

If you need help figuring out your rights as a student contact Madeline at queenofbattle.org