Student Rights and Responsibilities


Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the promotion of the general well being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of this academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.

I. Access

Montclair State is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap, or Vietnam-era veteran status in providing access to the University's benefits, services, and employment opportunities in compliance with relevant federal and state legislation.
The University is open to all students who are qualified according to its admission standards, within the limits of its funding and facilities.

II. Classroom

The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance will be evaluated solely on an appropriate basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Students shall be made aware of the standards by which they are to be evaluated and that procedures exist by which the standards are reviewed and evaluated. Faculty bear responsibility to inform students of their grading standards and procedures.

A. Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students are free to take exception, in a reasonable manner, to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion. They are, nonetheless, responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. The instructor will judge the extent to which the student has met this requirement.

Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter are recognized as necessary to the educational process, but students have no right to restrict the freedom of professors to teach or of the right of other students to learn. If a student persists in disruptive behavior in class after the professor has explained the unacceptability of such conduct, the professor may dismiss the student from the class and may refer the matter to appropriate personnel for disciplinary proceedings.

B. Protection Against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs, life styles, and political associations, which professors acquire in the course of their work as teachers, advisors, and counselors, is considered confidential. Protection of students against improper disclosure is a serious professional obligation and is mandated by the Federal Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

III. Student Records

A. Permanent Educational Records

Montclair State has a carefully considered policy as to the information which should be a part of a student's permanent educational records and the conditions of access to each are set forth in an explicit policy statement.
Transcripts of academic records contain only information about academic status. Information from disciplinary or counseling files is not available to unauthorized persons on campus, or to any persons off campus without the express consent of the student involved except by court order or in cases where the safety of persons or property is involved. Provisions are also made for periodic routine destruction of non-current disciplinary records and counseling files. Administrative staff and faculty member should respect confidential information about students, which they acquire in the course of their work. A policy statement pertaining to this matter may be obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life.

Transcript Notation
Academic related:

  1. Students suspended from the University, as a result of academic standings, will have a notation placed on their transcript. If the student re-enrolls, remains in good academic standing and completes the requirements for graduation, the student may request removal of the notation at the time he/she files for graduation. Requests must be submitted to the Office of the Provost. The Provost, in consultation with other University officials, will make the final decision regarding removal of the notation.
  2. Students dismissed from the University, as a result of academic standings, will have a notation placed on their transcript. The notation is permanent.
  3. Notation will read as "Academic Suspension" and "Academic Dismissal" respectively.

Conduct related:

  1. Students suspended from the University, as a result of disciplinary action, will have a notation placed on their transcript. If the student reenrolls, remains in good disciplinary standing and completes the requirements for graduation, the student may request removal of the notation at the time he/she files for graduation. Requests must be submitted to the Office of the Provost. The Provost, in consultation with other University officials, will make the final decision regarding removal of the notation.
  2. Students expelled from the University, as a result of disciplinary action, will have a notation placed on their transcript. The notation is permanent.
  3. Notation will read as "Disciplinary Suspension" and "Disciplinary Expulsion" respectively.

B. Directory Information

Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Montclair State may provide information of a directory nature to those who request it without the consent of the student. However, students are entitled to know what is classified as directory information and have the right to request that it not be disclosed by contacting the Office of the Dean of Students within the first two weeks of each semester.

IV. Student Development & Campus Life

In Student Development and Campus Life, certain standards are maintained to preserve the freedom of students.

A. Freedom of Association

Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the college community. They should be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests.

  1. Membership, policies, and actions of student organizations will be determined by vote of only those persons who hold bona fide student membership in the college.
  2. Affiliation with an extramural organization will not itself disqualify a student organization from institutional recognition.
  3. Campus advisors are required, but each organization is free to choose its own advisor. Campus advisors advise organizations according to each individual constitution. They do not have the authority to control the policies of such organizations.
  4. Student organizations are required by the Student Government Association (SGA) to submit a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, and a current list of officers to the President of the Student Government Association.
  5. Campus organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall have no policies or procedures, which violate university policy or applicable rules.

B. Demonstration Regulation

General Policy

Montclair State University’s policy and procedures concerning demonstrations and assemblies is based on a balance between two principles.  The first principle is the right of members of the University community to freedom of assembly and speech and the benefits to be derived in a free society and in a free and open University from fostering discourse and permitting the exchange of ideas.  No member of the University community shall be subject to any limitation or penalty for demonstrating or assembling with others for the expression of his/her viewpoint.  The second principle is the right of all members of the University community to be able to engage without disruption in all University organized activities, including, but not limited to, educational, scholarly, research, business, cultural, informational, recreational, or public outreach activities.

Therefore, it is permitted

  1. to demonstrate and assemble to provide information or to express views;
  2. to demonstrate and assemble to protest;
  3. to display posters and to distribute literature;
  4. to organize activities that present differing viewpoints;
  5. to express views at all organized events and activities where the opportunity for such expression is offered by the organizers.

And, therefore, it is not permitted:

  1. to prevent or disrupt any organized University activity, including, but not limited to, educational, scholarly, research, business, cultural, informational, recreational, or public outreach activities;
  2. to prevent or interfere with the ability of members of the University community, guests or visitors to have access to activities or facilities which have been provided for their use;
  3. to intimidate or harass members of the University community, thereby preventing their ability to exercise their rights, duties, and responsibilities within the University.

In order to assure a balanced and equitable protection of the rights of free expression and the rights of all members of the community to pursue their responsibilities and enjoyment of their benefits as members of the University community, the procedures set forth below shall apply.

Policy and Procedures for Planned Demonstrations or Assemblies

  1. Any individual, group or organization that wishes to demonstrate or assemble on the University’s campus shall, at least 48 hours in advance of the planned demonstration or assembly, obtain from, and file with, the Office of the Dean of Students a “Request for Demonstration, Assembly, Presentation or Forum,” which sets forth a) the identity of the individual, group or organization making the request  b) the date(s) and time(s) of the event; c) the desired location for the event; d) the planned objective of the event; e) the materials that will be used to conduct the event, including information concerning any music or sound amplification; f) for groups or organizations, the number of people expected to participate in the event; and g) the estimated number of people the event organizers expect to attract to the event.
  2. The Office of the Dean of Students may request a meeting to review the application and policy prior to approval.
  3. The Office of the Dean of Students will attempt to notify the requesting party within 48 hours in writing whether the application is approved and any conditions that may apply to such an approval.  A copy of the approval should be maintained at the location of the demonstration and be made available for review upon request from any University official.
  4. Place and Time.
    1. Demonstrations and assemblies are permitted outside of University buildings in public places that are paved and used as sidewalks, outdoor seating areas, internal roadways that are not used for general vehicular traffic, and other similar outdoor areas designated for a pedestrian or seated use. Preferred locations for outdoor demonstrations are the plaza in front of the Student Center and the Amphitheater.
    2. Indoor demonstrations and assemblies are permitted in the Student Center ballrooms and Memorial Auditorium.  With those two exceptions, demonstrations and assemblies are never permitted in buildings that house faculty or administrative offices, classrooms or other instructional or research facilities, athletic facilities, performance facilities, or residence halls.
    3. The approval of any specific location will always be subject to accommodation of planned or on-going University activities and any relevant physical conditions and safety issues.
    4. Demonstrations and assemblies may occur any day of the week from Sunday through Saturday but shall occur no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and shall terminate no later than 10:00 p.m.
  5. Manner.
    1. Demonstrations and assemblies may not:  1) prevent or disrupt other University activities or business; 2) prevent or interfere with the ability of other members of the University community, visitors or guests to pursue their activities or have access to University facilities; 3) engage in, or threaten, physical violence or destruction of University property; 4) jeopardize the safety and/or security of the University community.
    2. Signs affixed to poles or sticks are not permitted. Signs that are not affixed to sticks or poles are permitted.
    3. Tents, tarps, and all other forms of camping equipment are prohibited.
    4. Alcoholic beverages and the use of controlled substances are prohibited.
    5. The individual, group or organization that requested approval for the demonstration or assembly is responsible for removing all trash at the conclusion of the demonstration or assembly and for restoring the area to the condition it was in at the beginning of the demonstration or assembly.
    6. Public restrooms are available for demonstrations and assemblies.  Bathing within public restrooms is prohibited.
    7. Participants in demonstrations and assemblies must carry official and current student or employee I.D. cards or State-issued identification at all times and present it to University officials upon request. 
    8. University Police may monitor the demonstration and, at their discretion, install barricades for the protection and safety of the demonstrators, those assembled, and/or the general University community.

Policy and Procedures for Spontaneous Demonstrations and Assemblies

The University recognizes there may be occasions that do not permit the submission of an application 48 hours in advance of a demonstration or assembly.  Such spontaneous demonstrations or assemblies in response to emergent situations where advance planning is not possible are permitted, but they are limited in location to: a) the plaza in front of the Student Center or b) the Amphitheater.  Any individual, group or organization calling for or organizing such a demonstration or assembly must report that information immediately to the Office of the Dean of Students, and comply with the time, place and manner provisions set forth above in this policy. 

Applicability and Violations

This policy will be applied consistently, recognizing that special circumstances may arise on occasion that require the granting of exceptions. 

This policy applies to all members of the University community, including students and employees, and to all guests and visitors to the University.  All persons involved in or attending a demonstration or assembly must adhere to this policy, as well as other applicable University policies, and Federal, New Jersey, and local laws.  Any person in violation of this policy or applicable laws will be asked to cease and desist and, upon failure to do so, University police will take appropriate action.  Any member of the University community who acts in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action under applicable University policies, collective bargaining agreements, and the Student Code of Conduct.  Any person in violation of Federal, New Jersey or local law will be subject to criminal prosecution.

Revised July 30, 2012

View: Demonstration/Outdoor Assembly Regulations, including the Request Form (pdf).

C. Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

  1. Students and student organizations are free to examine and to discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinions publicly and privately. They are also free to support causes by orderly means, which do not disrupt the regular and essential operations of Montclair State. It should be made clear to the academic and the larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves.
  2. Duly organized student groups are encouraged to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing. Routine procedures required by MSU before a guest speaker is invited to appear on campus are designed only to insure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities and adequate preparation for the event, that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community, and does not infringe on the rights of others. Institutional control of campus facilities is not used as a device of censorship. It should be made clear to the academic and larger community that sponsorship of guest speakers does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement of the views expressed, either by the sponsoring group or the university.

D. Student Participation in Institutional Government

As constituents of the university community, students should be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body. The student body should have clearly defined processes to participate with the Administration in the formation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs. The role of the Student Government and both its general and specific responsibilities should be made explicit, and the actions of the Student Government within the areas of its jurisdiction should be reviewed only through orderly and prescribed procedures as delineated by the Board of Trustees of Montclair State University through the constitution of the Student Government Association. The role of the Student Government Association is to serve as the official student voice for students on matters of all university policy and concern.

E. Student Publications

Student publications and the student press are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. They are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and institutional authorities, and of formulating student opinions on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.

Montclair State provides editorial freedom and financial autonomy for the student publications to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community.

Institutional authorities, in consultation with students and faculty, have a responsibility to provide written clarification of the role of the student publications, the standards to be used in their evaluation, and the limitations on external control of the operation. At the same time, the editorial freedom of student editors and student managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and the techniques of harassment and innuendo. The following provisions protect the editorial freedom of student publications.

  1. The student press should be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers should be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage.
  2. Editors and managers of student publications should be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Only for proper and stated causes should editors and managers be subject to removal and then by orderly and prescribed procedures. The agency responsible for the appointment of editors and managers should be the agency responsible for their removal.
  3. All student publications should explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions therein expressed are not necessarily those of the university or student body.

V. Off-Campus Freedom of Students

A. Exercise of Rights of Citizenship

Students are both citizens and members of the university community. As citizens students enjoy the same freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy and, as members of the university community, they are subject to the obligations, which accrue to them by virtue of this voluntary membership. Institutional powers shall not be employed to inhibit such intellectual and personal development of students as is often promoted by their exercise of the rights of citizenship off campus.

B. University's Interest

Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by statutes and civil authorities. Montclair State's interest as an academic community may be involved by violation of law and may provide a basis for disciplinary action.
Students who violate the law may incur penalties prescribed by civil authorities, but institutional authority will not be used to merely duplicate the function of general laws. Only where the institution's interest as an academic community is distinct and clearly involved shall the special authority of the university be asserted.

VI. Student Rights Within the Instructional Context

In the interest of enhancing the quality of student life and of maintaining and improving excellent relationships between students and faculty, the Student Affairs Council of the Faculty Senate has adopted the following list of student rights within the instructional context:

  1. During the first two weeks of classes students should receive a course outline describing all required assignments and evaluation procedures and clearly spelling out the attendance and make-up policies. If subsequent modification becomes necessary, changes should be made by the professor as soon as possible, but in no case after the final date for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty. (See also #7.)
  2. Students may expect to receive (on a regular basis throughout the semester) a full course of instruction. Class periods, labs and studios should be held for the prescribed length of time.
  3. Books and other materials ordered by faculty for purchase by students should be available. Faculty should consider cost factors along with pedagogical ones and take into account the amount of material that can reasonably be covered in a single semester.
  4. Students should receive instruction from an appropriate and qualified instructor on a regular basis. In all cases of faculty absence, students should be notified as early as possible. It is recommended that instructors devise a way of communicating with their students if the absence will be more than one day.
  5. Faculty members shall post and maintain three (3) scheduled office hours per week at different hours and on each day corresponding to the faculty member's teaching schedule. The number of days on which office hours are maintained need not exceed three (3). Faculty members shall inform students of these hours and of their availability by appointment at other reasonable times.
  6. Students may expect that the substance and scope of all courses conform generally to the course descriptions in the university catalog or other written documents concerning curriculum content. This is urgent when the course is part of a sequence or required as part of a major.
  7. Faculty are obligated to provide either a mid-term or alternative evaluative procedure graded and returned at least several days before the last date for official withdrawal without academic penalty. So that students may know the basis of grading, the course syllabus should contain information regarding the methods and dates of such evaluation.
  8. Students may expect assessments, written and oral, to be evaluated in writing within a reasonable period of time.
  9. Final exams will be administered at the time and place specified in the SCHEDULE OF COURSES BOOKLET for the semester. Even if there is no final exam, the class is required to meet for a final evaluation.
  10. Students have the right to expect just and unbiased evaluations of all assignments and exams and to be assigned a final grade by the administrative deadline as posted in the Academic Calendar.
  11. Students have the right to be treated in the classroom and on campus in a dignified and respectful manner that is wholly free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap, or Vietnam-era veteran status.
  12. Students may feel free to bring to the attention of the appropriate University personnel (e.g., the faculty member involved, Chairpersons, School Deans, Administrative Supervisors or University Ombudsperson) situations in which it is believed there are violations of any of these rights, following established college procedures.

VII. Student Right to Know

  1. Student Right-to-Know - December 1, 1995 - Part V pp. 61775-88 (34 CFR Part 668.46). These regulations implement remaining provisions of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Text of the Jeanne M. Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security is available on the web at
  2. Equity in Athletics - November 29, 1995 - Part V pp. 61423-42 (34 CFR Part 668). These regulations implement the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, which requires the disclosure information on men and women's intercollegiate athletic programs


Montclair State University recognizes its responsibility to foster an atmosphere of respect, understanding and good will among individuals and groups, with special sensitivity to those most likely to be subjected to disrespect, abuse and misunderstanding because of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. The goal is to create an unbiased community where all individuals feel free to express themselves in ways that are appropriate in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society and to pursue their work and study in an atmosphere which values individuality and diversity.

If you have any concern regarding this policy, please contact the Bias Response Task Force at (973) 655-5114, or the Office of the Dean of Students at (973) 655-4118.