Connected Campus

3.9.1 Student Rights


The institution publishes a clear and appropriate statement of student rights and responsibilities and disseminates the statement to the campus community. 


_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance




Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) recognizes student rights, which conform to sound educational principles and ensures that all constituencies are aware of these written policies. Examples of how alleged violations and grievances are handled are provided for clarification.




MABTS has several policies which concern student rights and responsibilities: the Policy Regarding Use of Students as Subjects for Research, the Protection of Human Rights, the Policy on Intellectual Property, Solicitation Guidelines, Educational Rights and Privacy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Veteran’s Education Benefits and Records, On-Campus Crime Statistics, the Institutional Guidelines on AIDS policy, the Internet Access Policy, and the Student Discipline and Judicial Process. Each of these are disseminated to the campus community via the 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook which is given to every new student (undergraduate and graduate) at New Student Orientation and covered by the Campus Life Director [1], and is accessible via the MABTS website [2], as well as in the 2014-15 MABTS Catalog.


Use of Students as Subjects for Research. Occasionally, the seminary receives requests to use students in research projects. The following policy has been constructed for such requests:

1.     Before any request involving the use of MABTS students as research subjects may be approved, the person/group must:

a.     Submit a copy of the full proposal of the study, including both the objectives and the design; and

b.     Indicate compliance with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s (DHEW) “Policy on Protection of Human Subjects” (q.v.).

2.     Research projects will not be demeaning to seminary students.

3.     Research projects and/or methods will not be contrary to the doctrinal, ethical, or moral position of the seminary.

4.     Only requests from schools holding regional or professional accreditation will be considered.

5.     Care will be taken to see that the seminary as an institution and/or the student will not be overburdened by such requests. Priority will be given to requests from MABTS students [3].


Protection of Human Rights. The following “Policy on Protection of Human Subjects” calls for:


1.     A statement describing the risks to the subject;

2.     A statement of the expected benefits from the research to the subjects and to the advancement of knowledge, as well as supportive arguments that the benefits justify the risks;

3.     Verification that the rights and welfare of subjects, especially their anonymity, will be adequately protected; and

4.     A complete statement illustrating the method to be used for obtaining written consent of each subject, which will include:

a.    A fair explanation of the procedures followed and their purposes, including identification of any procedures that are experimental;

b.    A description of any attendant discomforts and risks reasonably to be expected;

c.    A description of any benefits reasonably to be expected;

d.    An offer to answer any inquiries concerning the procedures; and

e.    An instruction that the person is free to withdraw his or her consent and to discontinue his or her participation in the project or activity at any time without prejudice to the subject [4].


Intellectual Property. The seminary encourages the development, writing, invention, and production of intellectual property designed to improve the productivity of the seminary and/or to enhance the teaching/learning environment.


A seminary employee or student owns all rights to copyrightable or patentable independent works created by that employee or student without seminary support. Unless otherwise provided in a rights agreement, the seminary owns all rights to a copyrightable or patentable work created by an employee with seminary support. Students may not use seminary equipment or resources for works for hire. Both students and the seminary retain portfolio rights to the works that may result from student assignments.


Intellectual and creative works that can be copyrighted or patented, such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, computer software, multimedia presentations, inventions, etc., are intellectual property. The ownership of a copyright or patent resulting from the development of intellectual property and any rewards or recognition attributed to the copyright or patent will be determined according to the following conditions:


1.     Ownership resides with the employee or student if the following criteria are met:

a.     The work is not the product of a specific contract or assignment made as a result of employment with the seminary.

b.     The work is not prepared within the scope of the individual’s seminary job duties.

c.     The work involves insignificant use of seminary facilities, time, and/or other resources and is not derivative of any other seminary owned copyright.

2.     Ownership resides with the seminary if the above criteria are not met and if the following criteria apply:

a.     The work is prepared within the scope of an employee’s job duties.

b.     The work is the product of a specific contract or assignment made in the course of the employee’s employment with the seminary.

c.     The development of the work involved significant facilities, time, and/or other resources of the seminary including, but not limited to, seminary personnel, salary supplement, leave with pay, equipment, or other materials or financial assistance, or is derivative of any other seminary-owned copyright.

d.     Notwithstanding these provisions, a student retains portfolio rights to works created by the student as a class assignment.

e.     The seminary and the employee or the seminary and the student may enter into an agreement for an equitable arrangement for joint ownership, sharing of royalties, or reimbursement to the seminary for its costs and support. When it can be foreseen that commercially valuable property will be created, the seminary and the employee or the seminary and the student should negotiate an agreement for ownership and the sharing of benefits prior to creation of the property. In all such cases, the agreement shall provide that the seminary will have a perpetual license to use the work without compensation to the employee or student for such use.

f.      If an employee is granted full or partial leave with pay (e.g., release time or educational leave), to write, develop, produce, or invent intellectual property, the employee and the seminary will share in any financial gain, and the school’s share will be negotiated prior to the time the leave is taken [5].


Solicitation. It is the policy of MABTS that no sales representative of any kind be allowed to solicit business among the student body on campus or student housing. Furthermore, it is the policy of MABTS that no list of student names or addresses is made available to such individuals for off-campus solicitation. If such a person or sales representative feels that his or her product or service is so worthy that exception should be made to the above stated policy, he or she may apply in writing for permission to present said product on the campus. Such an application should be very specific in stating why it is felt an exception should be made and should be submitted to the office of the Director of Campus Life. It should be recognized that any exception to the established policy is just that (an exception) and does not constitute any endorsement of the product or service on the part of the committee or the seminary administration [6].


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). MABTS seeks to abide by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 [7], which is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of certain aspects of a student’s educational record that are not considered ‘directory’ information. Confidential educational records include financial aid information, student account records, and academic records. The seminary does not release such information without written consent from the student, except to the extent that the student authorizes disclosure by consent. The Campus Life office at MABTS obtains permission from student(s) in order to release financial and academic information not excluded by FERPA laws through the FERPA release form, “Consent for Student Release of Information” [8] which is available in the Campus Life office, Admissions office, and Registrar’s office; the form is also distributed to new students at New Student Orientation each fall and spring. Individuals whom the student wishes to permit to have access to confidential information must be named on the form and the relationship to the student must be identified. The student may also revoke authorization at any time by completing the same form and turning it in to the Campus Life office.


Veteran’s Education Benefits and Records. MABTS maintains educational benefit records of veteran students in confidentiality and does not release records to unauthorized personnel without the written consent of the student. Personnel authorized to view records are: (1) a Veterans Administration (VA) education representative who annually views the file of at least one student who receives VA educational benefits, and (2) a Tennessee or New York Higher Education Commission representative who reviews all files of students receiving VA educational benefits.


United States military service members, veterans, and dependents of veterans who are eligible for veterans education benefits may apply to the Academic Vice President’s Office to defer payment of tuition for the current term. Application must be received on or before the final registration day of the current term. If approved, tuition must then be paid to the business office no later than the last day of the current academic term. This is in conjunction with the following information from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.


Service members, veterans, and dependents of veterans who are eligible beneficiaries of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits or other governmentally funded educational assistance, subject to the conditions and guidelines set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated 49-7-104 as amended, may elect, upon formal application, to defer payment of required tuition and fees until the final day of the semester for which the deferment has been requested. Application for the deferment must be made no later than 14 days after the beginning of the semester, and the amount of the deferment shall not exceed the total monetary benefits to be received for the semester. Students who have been granted deferments are expected to make timely payments on their outstanding tuition and fees balance once education benefits are being delivered, and eligibility for such deferment shall terminate if the student fails to abide by any applicable rule or regulation, or to act in good faith in making timely payments. This notice is published pursuant to Public Chapter 279, Acts of 2003, effective July 1, 2003 [9].


On-Campus Crime Statistics. MABTS is subject to Tennessee State legislation known as the College and University Security Information Act, whereby all institutions of higher education are required to report and maintain crime statistic records for on-campus crime. These records are maintained in the Security Office and are reported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) through the TBI Crime Statistics Unit (CSU) [10]. These statistics are required to be made available to MABTS employees, current students, and prospective students [11].


Institutional Guidelines on AIDS. The seminary recognizes the serious threat to our society posed by the AIDS epidemic. These guidelines are adopted to guide our community in a Christian response by:


1.     Encouraging a redemptive response to a major health crisis; 

2.     Developing a better understanding of AIDS; 

3.     Developing necessary and appropriate actions and 
procedures to prevent the spread of AIDS; and 

4.     Assisting those whose lives might be affected by 

a.     Christian Response—The seminary will be guided by a firm commitment to biblical teachings and all information and guidelines will be presented in a manner that affirms the importance of Christian ethics.

b.     Medical Knowledge—The seminary will be guided by the latest and best medical knowledge concerning AIDS as a contagious disease and its prevention and treatment. The recommendations of federal and state health agencies and the American College Health Association will be sources of information.

c.     Education—The seminary will make available to students, employees, and their families current information concerning AIDS and will also include such information in the orientation processes for students and employees. Individuals will also be informed of their responsibility, if they know themselves to be antibody positive for the AIDS virus, to report this fact to the Campus Life office or to their private physician, in order to obtain treatment and consultation for the protection of themselves and others. Individuals will also be strongly encouraged to seek counseling in order to assist them in dealing with the consequences of the disease. 

d.     Confidentiality—The seminary will, to the extent legally and medically permissible, maintain the confidentiality of information concerning the identity of individuals with AIDS or the AIDS virus. 

e.     Student or Employment Status—The seminary will not base enrollment or employment decisions on the existence of AIDS or the AIDS antibody, so long as the individuals are able to function fully in their academic programs or employee roles. 

f.      Infection—The seminary will encourage any individual with an infectious disease to seek medical evaluation. Individuals evidencing special susceptibility to the consequences of infections or special risk of spreading an infectious disease, including AIDS, will be required to seek medical evaluation of their condition, and their permitted activities at the seminary will be determined based on the medical evaluation and recommendations applicable to their individual case. The determination of whether special conditions exist will be made on a case-by-case basis utilizing the latest and best medical advice.

g.     Safety Guidelines—The seminary will adopt safety guidelines as proposed by the United States Public Health Service for the handling of blood and body fluids for all persons, not just those known to have infectious diseases.

i.     Current knowledge indicates that students or employees with any form of HIV infection do not pose a health risk to other students or employees in an academic setting. (“General Statement on Institutional Response to AIDS,” American College Health Association, Revised January 1988.)

ii.     The Public Health Service states that there is no risk created by living in the same place as an infected person; caring for an AIDS patient; eating food handled by an infected person; being coughed or sneezed upon by an infected person; casual kissing; or swimming in a pool with an infected person. (Surgeon General’s Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, US Department of Health and Human Services, October 22, 1986). 

iii.     The American College Health Association statement indicates that persons with AIDS and other diseases that compromise the immune system are especially susceptible to infections. 

iv.     The Surgeon General’s report states that a special risk might exist if an individual loses control of body secretions or knowingly and willingly exposes others in ways that are known to spread the infection [12].


Internet Access Policy. As part of the seminary’s commitment to meet the educational, informational, and research needs of the seminary community, we are pleased to offer on-campus access to the Internet for faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Internet allows users to connect to resources outside those available at MABTS and its library. MABTS does not have control over information available on the Internet. The information accessed there may be reliable and current, or it may be inaccurate and obsolete. It is up to the user to determine the accuracy of information obtained from the Internet. When using the Internet for research students should verify the information with other sources when possible. Some sites or information accessible through the Internet may be inappropriate, controversial, or offensive. For this and other reasons, we have developed the following guidelines for the acceptable usage of Internet access.


            Acceptable Usage Guidelines. The Computer Lab at the Cordova campus is equipped with sixteen computers accessible to the Internet and a HP Laser Jet printer. The Computer Lab at the Northeast campus is equipped with six computers accessible to the Internet and one HP Laser Jet printer. The computer lab is for the use of all MABTS students, faculty, staff, and alumni.


1.     Computers and network resources at MABTS are property of the seminary and are provided for seminary-related business. Therefore, use of the Internet for unproductive web surfing, participation in online chat rooms or other non-seminary related activities is inappropriate and prohibited. 

2.     Because of the international and unregulated nature of the Internet, users must take great care in the type of information accessed and websites visited. Students should always be aware of their personal testimony of Christ, their obligation to follow His lordship, and the ethical and moral guidelines set forth in the Catalog, and the 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook. Students should not distribute or access any information that is offensive, obscene, harassing, sexist, racist, malicious, or slanderous.

3.     The seminary seeks to protect and preserve the privacy of personal communications. Users of seminary computer equipment should be aware, however, that electronic communications by nature cannot be made entirely private. 

4.     Do not perform any activity on the seminary’s computer systems or on the Internet that would degrade the performance or otherwise harm any seminary computer system.

5.     Internet access is available to valid library patrons using the public access catalog computers in the library. Information retrieved from the Internet using these computers should be saved to a flash drive or CD only, not the computers’ hard drives. The Internet may be accessed on these computers during regular library hours for a period of thirty minutes per day. A patron may continue to use the computer for another thirty minutes if there is no one waiting for a turn. 

6.     Use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right, and violation of the seminary’s Internet access policies will result in loss of Internet and/or computer use, and possible disciplinary action.


Priority of Lab Use. Seminary computing equipment is primarily for academic use and scheduled classes have priority of lab use.


Software and Configuration. Possession of any software or hardware used to corrupt files, introduce viruses, or otherwise harm the network is prohibited in the facilities of MABTS. Users may not attempt to install any software on MABTS computers. Users may not attempt to alter the configuration of any computer, network server, or network component anywhere on the MABTS network. 


Limitations of Usage. The viewing or distribution of pornographic or other inappropriate (offensive) material on the MABTS computer network will result in suspension of the individual’s computer lab rights and referral to the appropriate dean for possible suspension or dismissal from MABTS.


1.     Users may not play games on any computer in the lab.

2.     No one shall use MABTS resources to transmit abusive, threatening, or harassing material, chain letters, spam, or communications prohibited by state or federal laws.

3.     Computing equipment is not to be moved without the authorization of the director of Information Services. Do not stretch the cords or place the keyboard on your lap. Never put anything on top of the monitors. Do not vandalize or otherwise change any physical or software configuration. 

4.     Users may not solicit goods or services, electronically or otherwise, using MABTS computing facilities or equipment without the consent of the director of Information Services. Users may be required to reimburse MABTS for damage to seminary equipment at the discretion of the Executive Administration Committee. 

5.     (Cordova campus) Access into Room A-112 (the server room) is prohibited to all users unless authorized by the director of Information Services [13].


Student Grievance Policy and Procedure. Seminary policy grants to the administration and faculty of MABTS the authority to develop and administer the processes for study and other issues related to student life. Students are expected to conform to expectations and standards of performance and conduct. The same polity that establishes the governance of academic and administrative affairs, however, allows the student the opportunity to seek recourse from what they consider to be unfair or unjust evaluations or processes. In the case of doctoral students, grievance procedures and decisions are established and administered by each doctoral committee.


Before completing the following application for grievance for redress, the student should:


  1. Review documents that address the situation - syllabi, policies and procedures, etc.
  2. Prayerfully consider the validity of the grievance.
  3. In keeping with Matthew 18, discuss the issue with the professor or administrator involved.
  4. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, then the student should follow the Student Grievance Process as described below.


It is the policy of the seminary to evaluate seriously student grievances and either resolve the problems brought by the student or make appropriate recommendations to the appropriate office for such resolution. Procedures are established below for addressing student grievances in three sections: academic issues, administrative issues, and ethical conduct issues.


The grievance process described below begins with the completion of a student-initiated application for review, the Student Grievance Form [14]. This form may be obtained from the Campus Life Office or from [15]. It is the responsibility of the administrative assistant/associate in the appropriate division of the seminary to coordinate the process for grievance including the scheduling of meetings.


Section I – Academic Grievances


For Grievances of Academic Issues Related to Grades, Course Information, Course Content, Faculty Conduct, Performance, or Attitude. 


The seminary specifically assigns to the individual faculty member responsibility for establishing grade criteria and the subsequent assignment of grades upon evaluation of student work. 

(Matters related to dropping and adding are dealt with by petition through the Registrar’s Office. Matters related to excessive excused or unexcused absences are dealt with by petition through the Masters and Undergraduate Committee.)


In the case that a discussion of the issue with the professor or administrator involved does not resolve the issue, the following procedure should be followed:


  1. The student completes and delivers the Student Grievance Form to the appropriate administrative personnel, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
  2. If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Academic Vice President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request that a student council representative or another faculty member attend the meeting as well.
  3. The Academic Vice President will make a final decision concerning the grievance.


Section II – Administrative Grievances


For Grievances of Administrative Issues Related to Support Services


  1. The student completes and delivers the Student Grievance Form to the appropriate administrative personnel, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
  2. If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Executive Vice President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request that a student council representative or another faculty member attend the meeting.
  3. The Executive Vice President will make a final decision concerning the grievance.


Section III – Sexual Harassment


For Grievances of Academic or Administrative Issues Related to Sexual Harassment


Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary respects the personhood of all individuals, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or religion. The seminary, therefore, will not tolerate the abuse of individuals in regard to these matters. It is our policy to maintain a workplace free from all forms of harassment, which includes sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical. 


Sexual harassment is prohibited by the seminary’s policy as well as by federal and state law. Sexual harassment includes all unwelcomed sexual overtures or advances including, but not limited to, offensive jokes, comments, innuendos, or other sexually oriented statements; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:


·      Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as terms or conditions of a student’s academic achievement, or


·      Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions regarding the student’s academic status, or


·      Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning environment.


If a student feels that he/she has been subjected to any type of harassment, the offense is to be reported to the President’s Office within 48 hours. A written complaint should include the name of the person(s) involved, the specific nature of the offense, and the date that it occurred. The President’s Office will conduct a thorough investigation of the complaint, and appropriate remedial action will be taken. Any information gathered will be treated as confidentially as practical. Where investigation confirms the offensive behavior, prompt corrective action will be taken with appropriate redress to the complaining party. Students reporting incidents of sexual harassment or cooperating with an investigation thereof will be protected from reprisals in any form. The confidentiality of the parties involved will be protected throughout the investigation, and only those parties whom the President deems necessary to have knowledge of the case will be informed.


Any employee found to be guilty of violating this policy will be disciplined, up to and including termination. Likewise, disciplinary measures will be applied in any instance determined fabricated for malicious reasons.


If the student feels that he/she has been subjected to any type of harassment, the offense may be reported to the President’s Office or the student may follow the steps below:


  1. The student completes and delivers the Student Grievance form to administrative personnel, who will forward the grievance to the President’s office within 48 hours to establish a resolution to the grievance with appropriate personnel.
  2. If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
  3. After a thorough investigation, the President will make a final decision concerning the grievance.


Section IV – Honor Code


Each Student Agrees:


·      I understand and will support and follow the Honor Code.


·      I will not personally use unauthorized materials, and I will not participate with others in cheating.


·      I will not facilitate cheating, and if I become aware of violations of academic or moral integrity, I understand that I have a responsibility to the seminary community and will at least say something to the student involved or discuss the situation with a professor or the appropriate Dean.


Academic work is evaluated on the assumption and the expectation that the work presented is the student’s own, unless designated otherwise. Anything less is unacceptable and is considered academically dishonest. Collaboration, plagiarism, and cheating—all defined below—are considered forms of academic dishonesty and students guilty of such are subject to disciplinary action.


1.     Collaboration: Submission of a paper that is paraphrased from, or identical to, another student’s paper. A “paper’ is defined as “any materials submitted by a student for credit in a course.”


2.     Plagiarism: Submission of a paper in which substantial portions are paraphrased without documentation or are identical to published or unpublished material.


3.     Cheating: The improper use of books, notes, another student’s tests, or other aids during an examination. It is the responsibility of the student to get approval for the use of such aids prior to the time of the examination, and without such approval they will be considered improper. An “examination” is defined as “any testing situation in which the score will be used for credit in a course.”


Failure on a student’s part to live up to this Honor Code becomes the concern of the appropriate Dean and faculty advisor. (It is assumed, however, that any matter of concern in this area between members of the seminary community will first be dealt with according to the principles of Matthew 18:15-22). All disciplinary matters are subject to review before a Student Disciplinary Committee. This Committee at the Cordova Campus is composed of the Dean of Women or the Dean of Men, as chairperson, the Faculty Advisor of the student in question, the President of the Student Council, and one other faculty member. At the Northeast Campus, this Committee will be appointed by the Director of the Northeast Branch and will include one student participant.  


“Due process” in dealing with disciplinary problems is primarily for the purpose of protecting the reputation of a student against false or unsupported accusations. The purpose of disciplinary action is always redemptive, with every effort made to help the student involved to gain insight into his or her own needs and motivations as a potential minister in Christian service. Where there is evidence of personality and character weaknesses that would make it unwise for a student to continue in preparation for the ministry, the student is given counsel to help him or her see that fact.


A Student Disciplinary Committee will handle all cases referred to it by the appropriate Dean and will be the appellate body for decisions made by the Dean that are appealed by the student. The Committee will handle any case involving the possible dismissal of a student, and dismissal may only take place by action of the faculty. The student will receive a written statement of charges against him/her. He/she may be accompanied by a personal representative, may bring witnesses on his/her own behalf, and may choose not to answer any of the questions directed to him/her. If either the Student Disciplinary Committee or the student deems the advice of a lawyer necessary, such a person may give any advice he/she believes pertinent; but he/she may not enter into the proceedings and/or deliberations of a Student Disciplinary Committee.


Should the situation warrant it, the student may be given a warning, a disciplinary probation, a required leave of absence, or dismissal. Appeal of any action of the Student Disciplinary Committee may be made to the faculty in writing. Further appeal may be made after the faculty’s decision to the President of the seminary. Such an appeal must be in writing, and a personal interview will be granted with the appeal.


If the student feels that he/she has witnessed a violation of the honor code or if they themselves have violated the honor code, they are take the following steps below:


  1. The student completes and delivers the Student Grievance Form to the appropriate administrative personnel, who will then contact the appropriate person(s) to attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance.
  2. If the situation remains unresolved, the matter will be addressed by the Academic Vice President, who will attempt to establish a resolution to the grievance. The student may request that a student council representative or another faculty member attend the meeting as well.
  3. The Academic Vice President will make a final decision concerning the grievance [16].



1. New Student Orientation Order of Events

2. MABTS Website – Student Supplement and Housing Handbook

3. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 28-29

4. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 29-30

5. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 30-31

6. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 22

7. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 22-23

8. Consent for Student Release of Information

9. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 23

10. MABTS Crime Statistics Submitted to TBI

11. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 24

12. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p.24-25

13. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 25-27

14. Student Grievance Form

15. MABTS Website - Student Grievance Policy and Procedure

16. 2014-15 Student Supplement and Housing Handbook, p. 10-14

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