Student Official Policy Statements
AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis B Infection: UTB and TSC recognize Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) as serious public health threats and are committed to encouraging an informed and educated response to issues and questions concerning AIDS, HIV and HBV. In furtherance to its commitment, UTB and TSC have adopted a policy and procedural steps to protect both the rights and well-being of those students, employees and patients who may be infected with HIV or HBV as well as to prevent the spread of infection. No individual with HIV or HBV infection will be discriminated against in employment, admission to academic programs, health benefits, or access to facilities. Students with HIV or HBV infection may attend all classes without restriction, as long as they are physically and mentally able to participate and perform assigned work and pose no health risks to others. All information regarding the medical status of UTB and TSC faculty, staff, and students is confidential. A complete copy of the “AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis B Infection” policy can be found in the institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures available in the Dean’s office of each school, college and division, the library and most UTB/TSC departments. The policy is also available at the website: http://www.utb.edu/ba/hoop/policy/3-2.pdf. This policy is applicable to all students of UTB and TSC as they pursue their academic and clinical endeavors. Educational pamphlets are available to all students on request by calling Student Health Services at 882-8951.
Bacterial Meningitis: Bacterial Meningitis is a serious, potentially deadly disease that can progress extremely fast—so take utmost caution. It is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that cause meningitis can also infect the blood. This disease strikes about 3,000 Americans each year, including 100-125 on college campuses, leading to 5-15 deaths among college students each year. There is a treatment, but those who survive may develop severe health problems or disabilities. Symptoms include high fever, rash or purple patches on skin, light sensitivity, confusion and sleepiness, lethargy, severe headache, vomiting, stiff neck, nausea and seizures. There may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. The more symptoms, the higher the risk, so when these symptoms appear seek immediate medical attention.
How can I find more information?
Contact your own health care provider.
Contact your Student Health Center at (956) 882-8951 or (956) 882-3896
Contact Cameron County Health Department at 1-956-247-3685
Contact web sites: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo; www.acha.org;
Excused absences: UTB/TSC will allow a student who is absent from classes for the observance of a religious holy day or a non-religious “excused absence” day to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence, if, not later than the 15th day of the semester, the student notifies the instructor of each class that the student will be absent that day for a religious holy day or non-religious “excused absence.” The student’s notification must be in writing and must be delivered by the student personally to the instructor of each class, with receipt of the notification acknowledged and dated by the instructor or by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the instructor of the class. A religious holy day means a holy day observed by a religion whose place of worship are exempt from property taxation under Section 11.20, Tax Code. A non-religious “excused absence” means absence for a day and for a reason that is mutually agreed to in advance by the instructor and student. (Each instructor has her/his right to determine what is an “excused absence” and is not bound by the decision/s of other instructors.) Under certain circumstances, a student who is required to participate in active military service is excused from scheduled classes or other required activities and will be allowed to complete an assignment or exam within a reasonable time after the absence. The excused absence is permitted only if the student will not miss more than 25% of the total number of class meetings or the contact hour equivalent (not included the final examination period) for the specific course or courses in which the student is enrolled at the beginning of the period of military service.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. §1232g, and the Texas Public Information Act, Texas Government Code §552.001 et. seq., are respectively a federal and state law that provide for the review and disclosure of student educational records. In accordance with these laws the University has adopted the following policy. Individuals are informed of their rights under these laws through this policy which is included in the University Handbook of Operating Procedures and Catalog. The catalog will be made available for inspection through the Vice President of Student Affairs office and the HOOPis available in the Library and most administrative offices. The HOOP is also available on the web at http://www.utb.edu/ba/hoop/Pages/default.aspx
UTB/TSC will not permit access to or the release of personally identifiable information contained in student education records without the written consent of the student to any party, except as follows:
1. To appropriate UTB/TSC officials who require access to educational records in order to perform their legitimate educational duties;
2. To officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon request of these officials;
3. To federal, state, or local officials or agencies authorized by law;
4. In connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
5. To the parents of a dependent student as defined in §152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, provided a reasonable effort is made to notify the student in advance;
6. In compliance with a judicial order or subpoena;
7. In an emergency situation if the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the students of other persons;
8. To an alleged victim of any crime of violence, the results of the alleged perpetrator’s disciplinary proceeding may be released;
9. The final results of any disciplinary proceeding against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense if the student is found responsible on or after October 7, 1998, for violating the university’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense; or
10. To a parent or legal guardian of a student, information regarding any violation of any law or university policy, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, if the student is under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure to the parent, and the university determines that the student is responsible for a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
The University will release information in student education records to appropriate University officials as indicated in (1) above when such records are needed by administrators, faculty or staff in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University.
A record of requests for disclosure and such disclosure of personally identifiable information from student education records shall be maintained by the Enrollment Office for each student and will also be made available for inspection pursuant to this policy. If the institution discovers that a third party who has received student records from the institution has released or failed to destroy such records in violation of this policy, it will prohibit access to educational records for five years. Respective records no longer subject to audit nor presently under request for access may be purged according to regular schedules. Certain requests will not be recorded, such as releases to the student himself or herself; pursuant to the written consent of the student; to university officials with legitimate education interests; pursuant to a law enforcement subpoena and the issuing court or other issuing agency has ordered that the existence or the contents of the subpoena or the information furnished in response to the subpoena not be disclosed or the order is concerning an authorized investigation or prosecution of domestic or international terrorism; or of directory information.
Directory Information: At its discretion, UTB/TSC may release directory information which shall include:
1. name, address, telephone number
2. date and place of birth
3. major field of study
4. participation in officially recognized activities and sports
5. dates of attendance
6. most recent previous educational institutions attended
8. degrees and awards received
9. date of graduation
10. physical factors (height and weight) of athletes
11. e-mail addresses
Students may withhold directory information by notifying the Office of Enrollment in writing each semester during the first 12 days of class of a fall or spring semester, the first four class days of a summer semester, or the first three days of any quarter. Request for nondisclosure will be honored by the institution for only the current enrollment period; therefore, a request to withhold directory information must be filed each semester or term in the Office of Enrollment.
Access to Files: Upon written request, UTB/TSC shall provide a student with access to his/her educational records. The Vice President for Business Affairs at Tandy Hall has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include admissions files, academic files, and financial files. Students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Vice President for Business Affairs listing the item or items of interest. Education records covered by the Act will be made available within 45 days of the request.
A list of education records and those officials responsible for the records shall be maintained at the Enrollment Office. They include:
- Enrollment Office (Admissions/Registrar): Director of Enrollment
- Department and Faculty Offices
Student Service Records
- Counseling Office: Director of Student Health Center
- Student Activities Office: Director of Student Life
- Student Affairs: Vice President for Student Affairs
- Testing: Director of Testing
- Business Office: Vice President of Business Affairs
- Office of Student Financial Assistance: Director of Financial Aid
A student may authorize the release of educational records to a third-party with a written consent that is signed and dated, and specifies the records to be disclosed, the party to whom the records are to be disclosed, and the purpose of the disclosure. Educational records do not include:
1. financial records of the student’s parent or guardian;
2. confidential letters of recommendation which were placed in the educational records of a student prior to January 1, 1975;
3. records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel which are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a temporary substitute for maker;
4. records of law enforcement units, including the university campus police;
5. employment records related exclusively to an individual’s employment capacity;
6. medical and psychological records;
7. thesis or research papers; or
8. records that only contain information about an individual after the individual is no longer a student at the institution.
Challenge to Record: Students may challenge the accuracy of their educational records. Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problems informally with the V.P. for Student Affairs. If agreement is reached with respect to the student’s request, the appropriate record will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the V.P. for Student Affairs of their right to a formal hearing.
Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place and the time of the hearing. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the student’s expense. The hearing officer that will adjudicate such challenges will be appointed by the V.P. for Student Affairs in nonacademic matters and by the V.P. for Academic Affairs in academic matters. The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student’s work, expressed in grades and/or evaluations, is not within the purview of this right to seek amendment of educational records. Decisions of the hearing officer will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, will consist of the written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned.
The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decision of the hearing officer, if the decision is in favor of the student. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the education records statements commenting to the information in the records or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing officer, or both.
The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the student’s records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.
Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the act may request, in writing, assistance from the President of the institution.
Change of Address and Change of Name: Students are responsible for providing accurate and current mailing address information and legal name changes to the Graduate Office and the Enrollment Office.
Complaints: Complaints regarding alleged failures to comply with the provisions of the FERPA may be submitted in writing to the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.
Copies: Students may have copies of their educational records and this policy. These copies will be made at the student’s expense at rates authorized in the Texas Open Records Act except that official transcripts will be $1.00. Official copies of academic records or transcripts will not be released for students who have a delinquent financial obligation or financial “hold” at UTB/TSC.
Hazing Policy: Hazing in state educational institutions is prohibited by both state law (§51.936 and 37.151 et seq., Texas Education Code) and by the Regent’s Rules and Regulations (Rule 50101). Individuals or organizations engaging in hazing could be subject to fines and charged with criminal offenses. Additionally, the law does not affect or in any way restrict the right of the University to enforce its own rules against hazing.
Individuals: A person commits an offense if the person:
1. engages in hazing;
2. solicits, encourages, directs, aids or attempts to aid another engaging in hazing;
3. recklessly permits hazing to occur; or
4. has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report that knowledge in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs or other appropriate official of the institution.
Organizations: An organization commits an offense if the organization condones or encourages hazing or if an officer of any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing.
Definition: The term “hazing” is broadly defined by statute to mean any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health of safety or a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization. Hazing includes, but is not limited to:
a. Any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;
b. any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
c. any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or which adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
d. any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, or that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from entering or remaining registered in an educational institution, or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to acts described in this subdivision; and
e. Any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code. The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution.
Immunity: In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the law grants immunity from civil or criminal liability to any person who reports a specific hazing event in good faith and without malice to the Vice President for Student Affairs or other appropriate official of the institution and immunizes that person for participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from that report. Additionally, a doctor or other medical practitioner who treats a student who may have been subjected to hazing may make a good faith report of the suspected hazing activities to police or other law enforcement officials and is immune from civil or other liability that might otherwise be imposed or incurred as a result of the report. The penalty for failure to report is a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both. Penalties for other hazing offenses vary according to the severity of the injury which results and include fines from $500 to $10,000 and/or confinement for up to two years.
Immunization Requirements: The following immunizations are required for all students enrolled in health related courses which will involve direct patient contact or who come in contact with human biological fluids or tissue. Students for whom these immunizations are not required by the institution are strongly urged to obtain these immunizations for their own protection.
- Measles: proof of two doses of measles vaccine administered on or after the first birthday and at least 30 days apart or proof of immunity.
- Mumps: proof of one dose of mumps vaccine administered on or after the first birthday or proof of immunity.
- Rubella: proof of one dose administered on or after the first birthday or proof of immunity.
- Tetanus/diphtheria: proof of one “booster” dose of tetanus/diphtheria (within 10 years).
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV): proof of serologic immunity to HBV or certification of immunization with a complete series of Hepatitis B vaccine. Only applies to students enrolled in a course of study that involves potential exposure to human or animal blood or bodily fluids.
First-time students, including transfer students, who reside in (or have been approved to reside in) on-campus housing must provide a certificate signed by a health practitioner evidencing that they have been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis at least 10 days before taking up residence in on-campus housing, or provide the office with a State of Texas exemption affidavit for reasons of conscience. This is required by Texas Education Code, § 51.9191 and 19 Texas Administrative Code 21.610. The application for exemption can be downloaded from the Texas Department of State Health Services website: https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/affidavit.shtm .
Certain exemptions are allowed from immunization requirements Students should contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for additional information. Inquiries concerning supplemental immunization requirements should be directed to Student Health Services.
Illicit drug Use and Alcohol Abuse Program and Policy: In compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989, Rule 50101 of the Regents’ Rules and Regulations provides for disciplinary action against any student who engages in conduct that is prohibited by state, federal, or local law. This includes those laws prohibiting the use, possession, or distribution of drugs and alcohol.
UTB and TSC will impose at least a minimum disciplinary penalty of suspension for a specified period of time or suspension or rights and privileges, or both, for conduct related to the use, possession, or distribution of drugs that are prohibited by state, federal, or local law. Other penalties that may be imposed for conduct related to the unlawful use, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol include disciplinary probation, payment for damage to or misappropriation of property, suspension of rights and privileges, suspension for a specified period of time, expulsion, or such other penalty as may be deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
Information is distributed to each student annually concerning standards of conduct prohibiting unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol, health risks associated with their use and abuse, institutional penalties, state and federal criminal penalties, and counseling and rehabilitation programs available in the area. Additional information is also available in the Student Health Services Office.
Sexual Harassment Policy: UTB/TSC is committed to provide a professional working and learning environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has been declared a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1972, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Section 21.001 etseq., Texas Labor Code, and it is illegal, and actionable under civil and criminal law. In addition to violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681, the act of committing sexual harassment by a public servant is considered to be a criminal offense under Texas Penal Code Sec. 39.02, and it may constitute assault, sexual assault, public lewdness, or indecent exposure under Chapters 21 and 22 of the Texas Penal Code.
Definition: The unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal and written comments, or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when such conduct:
‑ is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of instruction, employment, participation in a university activity; or
‑ is used to be a basis for academic or employment decisions or evaluations; or
‑ has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive university environment.
In addition to the above definition, behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Intentional touching;
- Explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity;
- Gratuitous comments of sexual nature such as explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes;
- Remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body;
- Remarks about sexual activities or speculation about sexual experiences;
- Exposure to gratuitous sexually suggestive visual displays such as photographs, graffiti, posters, calendars or other materials;
- Deliberate physical interference with or restriction of an individual’s movements;
- Persistent unwanted sexual/romantic attention;
- Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors; or
- Deliberate, repeated humiliation or intimidation based upon the sex of an individual
Sexual Misconduct: In addition to prohibiting sexual harassment as defined by law, the University also prohibits conduct of sexual nature that, although not so serious or pervasive that it rises to the level of sexual harassment, is unprofessional and/or inappropriate for worksites and teaching locations.
Behaviors that may constitute sexual misconduct include but are not limited to:
- Failure to observe the appropriate boundaries of the supervisor/subordinate or faculty/student relationship;
- Repeatedly engaging in sexually oriented conversations, comments or horseplay, including the use of language or the telling of jokes or anecdotes of a sexual nature in the workplace, office or classroom, even if such conduct is not objected by those present; and
- Gratuitous use of sexually oriented materials not directly related to the subject matter of a class, course or meeting, even if not objected to by those present.
Sexual harassment is not limited by gender of either party, nor by superior-subordinate relationships. This policy is applicable to all employees, faculty and students of UTB/TSC.
It is considered a violation of university and college sexual harassment policy if there is failure to investigate allegations of sexual harassment or failure to take timely corrective action. General procedures for reporting and complaint resolution are found in HOOP §3.3.
Solicitation Policy: Campus facilities are not open for general public use. Regents’ Rule 80101 and UTB/TSC HOOP, Section 10.2.6 (http://www.utb.edu/ba/hoop/Policy/10-2-6.pdf). Rule 80103 of the Regents’ Rules and Regulations states that no solicitation shall be conducted on the grounds, sidewalks, or streets of the UTB/TSC campus, except by the agents, servants, or employees of this institution acting in the course and scope of their employment, or by the Student Government Association, or by a registered student, faculty, or staff organization of UTB/TSC. Such solicitation must adhere to the following rules:
- Academic or institutional programs being carried on in the buildings shall not be disturbed or interfered with.
- The free and unimpeded flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on sidewalks and streets and at places of ingress and egress to and from campus buildings shall not be interrupted.
- The person(s) being solicited shall not be harassed, embarrassed or intimidated.
Non-University groups, individuals or associations are not permitted to solicit, distribute, or circulate any petition, handbill, or other literature in University buildings or on the grounds.
Newspaper vending is permitted only in the areas designated in advance by the President or his delegate. Any request for other newspapers or additional distribution areas should be directed in writing to the Vice President for Business Affairs.
Prior authorization to conduct solicitations or distribution of materials on campus by registered student organizations or by registered faculty or staff organizations must be obtained through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (student organizations) or through the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs (faculty or staff organizations). Persons desiring to conduct solicitations or to distribute materials strictly for personal reasons or for personal profit or gain will under no circumstances be granted permission to do so.
Any violation of the above policy should be reported to the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs.
Safety and Security:
Fire Safety: UTB/TSC follows federally-mandated fire safety policies and procedures and reporting requirements. Additional information can be found at http://www.securityoncampus.org/newregs/66849.pdf
Gang-Free Zones: Premises owned, rented or leased by The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, and areas within 1,000 feet of the premises, are gang-free zones. Certain criminal offenses, including those involving gang-related crimes, will be enhanced to the next highest category of offense if committed in a gang-free zone by an individual 17 or older. See Texas Penal Code, § 71.028.
Missing Student Notification: As required by § 485(j) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, UTB/TSC has established a missing student notification policy and official notification procedures for reports of missing students who reside on campus. According to the policy, students may complete a "Missing Person Contact Designation Form" upon check-in to student housing. On that form, students may identify a person who UTB/TSC can contact within 24 hours after it determines, according to its procedures, that the student is missing.
If students or employees of UTB/TSC learns or believes that a student residing on campus has been missing for more than 24 hours, they should immediately contact the UTB/TSC Campus Police. If Campus Police determines that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then within 24 hours of that conclusion, UTB/TSC will:
- Notify the student's designated missing person contact (if one was provided on the form)
- Notify the student's custodial parent or guardian (if the student is younger than 18 and not emancipated)
- Notify the appropriate law-enforcement agency
If a student has not indicated a missing person contact, then UTB/TSC will attempt to contact his or her known emergency contacts.
Student Right-to-Know Act and Campus Security Act: In compliance with the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092 (a), (e) and (f), as amended, the university collects specified information on campus crime statistics, campus security policies, institutional completion or graduation rates, and other similar information. Pursuant to federal law, alleged victims of violent crimes are entitled to know results of campus student disciplinary proceedings concerning the alleged perpetrators.
The university will make timely reports to the campus community on crimes considered to be an ongoing threat to students and employees. In addition, the university will immediately warn the campus community after confirming a significant emergency or dangerous situation (including noncriminal matters) that occurs on campus and involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or faculty and staff members, unless such a warning would compromise efforts to contain the emergency.
Every September, UTB/TSC will publish and distribute an annual report of campus security policies and crime statistics to all current students and employees; provide copies of the report to applicants for enrollment or employment upon request; and submit a copy of the report to the Secretary of Education upon request. This report will reference crimes which occur on property owned or controlled by the university and may be supplemented by listing crimes which occur off of campus in buildings or on property owned or controlled by student organizations that are registered by the institution when such statistics are available from local police departments.
The university will annually calculate and disclose institutional completion or graduation rates for undergraduate students to all prospective and current students.
UTB/TSC will also publish the annual security report which includes its policy regarding sex-related offenses, sexual assault prevention programs, education programs to promote awareness of sex offenses, administrative disciplinary procedures and sanctions for offenders, and counseling and student affairs for victims. Prior to the offer of athletically-related student aid to a potential student athlete, the university will provide certain information on graduation rates to the prospective student and to the student’s parents, guidance counselor, and coach.
Textbooks: A preliminary syllabus for each course offered in a given semester is available online at http://www.utb.edu/its/olt/Pages/PreliminarySyllabus.aspx. The syllabus provides course information, including required textbooks. Barnes & Noble is the Campus Bookstore; however, students are not under any obligation to purchase a textbook from a university affiliated bookstore. The same textbook may also be available from an independent retailer, including an online retailer.