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I. Overview

In 1973, the university community-faculty, students, and administration-recommended to the Board of Visitors and the Board adopted the following Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Amendments were made to the document in 1977 and 1991 and are included.

The unique nature of the university community suggests that its members be united in a common purpose. Because the work of each member of the institution contributes to the fulfillment of the educational mission of the university, the various constituent groups-students, faculty, and administrators-are dependent upon one another for the ultimate achievement of the university’s goals. Accordingly, all should enjoy the same fundamental rights and privileges and be willing to accept the same responsibilities, except in those rare cases where either the rights and privileges or the responsibilities would be in conflict with existing law or with the goals and purposes of the university as an institution of higher education.

Students, faculty, and administrators (hereinafter the “members of the university community”) shall enjoy all rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to every citizen of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, the members of the university community shall enjoy all the fundamental rights recognized as essential to fulfillment of the special mission of an institution of higher education. The full enjoyment of these rights, however, cannot be achieved unless certain concurrent responsibilities are accepted. Members of the university community have an obligation, therefore, to fulfill the responsibilities incumbent on all citizens as well as the responsibilities inherent in their particular roles within the academic community.

The institution and those who administer its affairs have a special responsibility to ensure that, in pursuance of the institution’s functions, the rights of all members of the university community are preserved. The institution also has a right to expect, and a corresponding responsibility to ensure within the scope of its legitimate functions as an institution of higher education, that individual members of the university community fulfill their responsibilities to others as well as their responsibilities to the institution.

The Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is based upon the aforesaid principles and, when adopted, shall become the standard by which all rules, regulations, policies, and procedures of the university, except as otherwise prescribed by local, State, or Federal law, shall be measured. No rule, regulation, policy, or procedure which is incompatible with or which contradicts this document may be enacted; and any such rules, regulations, policies, or procedures which are in effect at the time of the enactment of this document shall be reviewed as soon as reasonably practicable to conform with this document, provided, however, that this Statement of Rights and Responsibilities shall not affect the powers of the Board of Visitors as provided by law.