Student Handbook


Student Handbook is available in three formats:

  1. You can click here to download the PDF file of the student handbook.
  2. The hard copy of the student handbook can be found at Respect Library. Please contact Cory Dieterly to obtain a copy.
  3. The full content of the handbook can be browsed through the topics below.

 

The Mission of RGS is to be an institution where students and faculty engage in research, teaching, learning and service with an emphasis on Islamic Studies for the public good. In addition to offering
students and faculty academically excellent and stimulating opportunities, RGS will promote engagement with, and service to, the local and wider communities, and will provide essential and mutually beneficial connections with academic institutions and social agencies. RGS is committed to providing equal educational opportunities. It is an inclusive institution where people

RGS is committed to providing equal educational opportunities. It is an inclusive institution where people treat each other with dignity and respect. Therefore, it does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The Vision of RGS is to serve society by educating men and women for scholarship, especially in Islamic Studies, and for leadership in Muslim communities and for society in general, developing knowledge and putting it into practice with excellence in the nation and the world.

To accomplish its vision and mission, RGS offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Islamic Studies (MAIS).
Mandates that RGS seeks to fulfill are as follows:

a) RGS encourages and expects the use of inclusive language in all academic and organizational communication, whether written or spoken. Inclusive language involves areas such as gender,
race, class, age, physical differences, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, and disability.
b) RGS students, faculty, administrators and staff are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Academic freedom involves
respecting the views of others and submitting one’s own positions to scholarly critique. Students, faculty, and staff are free to express their positions in public media with the provision that they
speak as individuals whose positions do not necessarily express the stance of RGS. They are always free to support causes by orderly means, i.e., those that do not disrupt the regular and
essential operations of RGS. The President, the Board chairperson, and the Director of Communications may speak publicly on behalf of RGS.
c) The RGS community is to be free from all forms of conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence within the community, is
unlawful, as is harassment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, or membership in any other protected group.

Student Degree Types

Degree Candidates are persons who plan to enroll in the MAIS program as degree students.

They are to complete and submit a Degree Student Application Form with the following items:

•  Non-refundable $30 application fee

•  Two letters of recommendation: one preferably from a current or former instructor. Letters of recommendation must be submitted by the recommenders. The application form asks for the email addresses of recommenders. This generates an email to recommenders containing a link to a recommendation form.

•  A personal statement outlining the following points:

–  Educational background of the applicant

–  Goals for applying to MAIS program

·   Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate studies.

·   Applicants who are not native speakers of English or who have not received a higher education degree in an English-speaking country are required to submit a valid IBT TOEFL score of no less than 80, or pass the RGS English Proficiency Exam. Applicants who do not meet the English proficiency requirement may be granted provisional admission at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

Upon completion of the application, the applicant will receive an email stating the status of their application and the expected timeframe for a final decision.

Non-Degree Students are persons who plan to register for courses offered by RGS without seeking the MAIS degree. Please note that non-degree students are responsible for completing the requirements of the courses they take and they receive credit for courses when they finish them. They are required to complete and submit a Non-Degree Student Application Form with the following items:

•  Non-refundable $30 application fee

•  A personal statement outlining the following points:

–  Educational background of the applicant

–  Purpose for taking courses at RGS

·   Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate studies.

Once the application has been submitted, the applicant will be notified regarding their application with further instructions if necessary.

If a Non-Degree Candidates decide to become degree candidates, they are required to complete the balance of their applications (letters of recommendation), update their personal statements and present their applications to the Admissions Committee. If admitted to degree status, the course credits already earned will be applied to their programs.

Auditors normally are to provide the Registrar with a transcript or other appropriate evidence (e.g., a diploma) indicating they have a bachelor degree or its equivalent. Auditors are not required to fulfill the course requirements and they receive neither grades nor credit for the courses. A transcript filed with the Registrar will indicate the designation AU. The designation is given for auditors who have attended at least one third of the class sessions. They are expected to do any readings and may participate in class discussions. The following costs, including access to the RGS Library, are:

Each Course: $300

Alumni: $200

Seniors (60+) $200

Auditors may simply contact our registrar at aunal@respectgs.us or 610 4191751 ext.102 to enroll in courses. The number of auditors enrolled in each class is limited and is also subject to instructor approval. Note: Accrediting agencies such as the Middle States Council on Higher Education (MSCHE) limit the percentage of persons who do not have bachelor degrees who may take or audit a course. RGS Administration will consider this limitation on a case-by-case basis as applications are evaluated.

Course Load

In order to fulfill the requirements for the MAIS degree, a student is to satisfactorily complete thirty-six

(36)   course credits. To be considered a full-time student, the individual must take nine (9) credits each semester or a total of eighteen credits in an academic year. Typically, each course will provide three (3) credits. It is possible that some courses, such as independent studies or internships, may be scheduled for fewer hours.

A student may take a maximum of three (3) courses as independent studies with full-time or adjunct RGS faculty members. The syllabi for such courses are to be presented to the full-time faculty and recommended by the faculty for approval by the Dean of Academics. Students seeking an independent study must show that that they have no outstanding incomplete grades and have at least a 3.00 GPA, and they must state how the proposed course will meet their professional or academic programs.

It is anticipated that the student is to complete the degree within five (5) academic years after beginning study at RGS. In the event that circumstances make it necessary for the person to extend student status, the individual is to petition the Dean of Academics for an extension for a specified period. The Dean, in consultation with the President, may grant the extension, with due provision for the student to meet any financial obligations that may accrue.

Transfer Procedure

A maximum of nine (9) credit hours may be transferred from another graduate institution and may be accepted by RGS as fulfilling RGS course requirements under the following provisions:

a.  Under normal conditions, the student is to provide the Registrar with a syllabus and a transcript or other official statement of the grade for each course that the student is seeking to transfer to RGS;

b.  The course grade is to be at least a B (3.0) or its equivalent for each course;

c.  The course description(s) are to meet fully or substantially a course(s) offered at RGS;

d.  The course(s), if accepted at RGS as the equivalent of an RGS offering, will be transferred to the student’s RGS program at the grade level awarded by the originating institution;

e.  A course(s) considered to be partially equivalent to that of an RGS offered course(s) may be given partial credit with the balance to be completed by an RGS offering;

f.  The Dean for Academics and the RGS faculty member(s) conversant with the field(s) involved in the proposed transfer course(s) will consult concerning the acceptance of the course(s) and the Dean will make the decision as to whether or not the course(s) will be transferred.

RGS students who intend to take a course(s) at other graduate institutions and to have those course(s) and credits transferred to their RGS programs are advised to first consult with their advisors and the Dean for Academics. In order to affect such a transfer, the procedure above is to be followed.

Demonstrating Competency in the Arabic language,

Competence in the Arabic Language may be satisfied in one of the following manners:

1.   In keeping with the RGS’ transfer policy, students may transfer a course in Arabic taken at another institution. That course will be considered one of the three acceptable for transfer credit. The student will then be exempt for taking the Arabic I course offered at the RGS.

OR

2.  The RGS Faculty will prepare and administer an Arabic Language Competence examination one week prior to the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. Students who pass the examination are exempt from taking the course in Arabic I. Exemption does not provide credits toward satisfying the 36 hours of course work to earn the MAIS degree. Students who pass the Arabic I examination are to take an elective course in their program. Students who do not satisfy the examination may retake examinations until they meet the requirement.

OR

 

3.       Students who neither transfer an Arabic language course from another institution nor pass the RGS examination are to take and pass the Elementary Arabic I course offered by the RGS.

Demonstrating Competence in the recitation and memorization of the Qur’ān

Competence in the Recitation and Memorization of the Qur’ān may be satisfied in one of the following manners:

1.    In keeping with the transfer policy described above, students may transfer a course in the recitation and memorization of the Qur’ān taken at another institution. That course will be considered one of the three acceptable for transfer credit. The student will then be exempt for taking the recitation and memorization of the Qur’ān offered at the RGS.

OR

2.   The RGS Faculty will prepare and administer a competence examination on the recitation and memorization of the Qur’ān one week prior to the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. Students who pass the examination are exempt from taking the course in the recitation and memorization of the Qur’ān. Exemption does not provide credits toward satisfying the 36 hours of course work to earn the MAIS degree. Students who pass the examination are to take an elective course in their program.

Registration for courses

Students are responsible for consulting with their advisors about the sequencing of their courses of study and for obtaining the approval of their advisor prior to registering for courses. The Registrar will provide the appropriate forms for registration. The Deans and Registrar will determine the opening and closing dates for registering for courses. Students who register after the closing date may be charged a late fee.

Dropping Courses

A student may withdraw from a course at any time up to the official withdrawal deadline specified in the RGS calendar, which is normally set at the day before the final four weeks of the term. Before this date, the student will receive a W grade, which will not affect the quality-point average. A grade of WF will be assigned for any course dropped after this deadline, and this grade will be computed as an F in calculating the quality-point average. Appeals for exceptions due to extenuating circumstances may be directed to the Dean of Academics. Detailed instructions for adding or dropping courses are issued by the Registrar’s office. Course changes require the approval and signature of the advisor.

Full-time students who drop to part-time status (less than three courses a semester), and part-time students who withdraw from courses without replacing them with an equal number of units or credits in the same session, will receive an adjustment of tuition and fees on those courses, as follows:

a)  On or before the first day of classes, 100 percent of tuition and fees will be cancelled;

b)  After the first day of class, but within the first 60 percent of the semester, tuition and fees will be adjusted based on the number of calendar days remaining in the semester, divided by the number of calendar days in the semester, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more days.

c)  After 60 percent of the semester has passed, no adjustment will made in tuition, or other fees.

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid Office to verify the effect that any change in course load will have on financial aid eligibility.

Reading Preparation Days

RGS generally provides one or two reading days prior to or during final exams each semester. The purpose of these days is for students to prepare for final exams and presentations without distraction. Nonetheless, the institution does allow student-organized activities during the reading days, with the permission of the Dean of Students in consultation with the Dean of Academics. Requests to schedule such activities must be made in writing to both deans, with a clear description of the intended audience, the schedule of events, and the need for facilities. No mandatory events are permitted during reading days.

Grades

Academic achievement is designated by letter grades, modified by pluses and minuses, to which numerical grade points are assigned. For graduation, as an example, the cumulative grade-point average (GPA) must be no less than 3.00. The quality points and requirements assigned for each grade are as follows:

A = 4.00 points; A- = 3.67 points. These grades are given for achievement of the highest caliber. They reflect independent work, original thinking, and the ability to acquire and effectively use knowledge.

B+ = 3.33 points; B = 3.00 points; B- = 2.67 points. These grades are given for higher-than-average achievement. Evidence of independent work and original thinking is expected.

C+ = 2.33 points; C = 2.00 points; C- = 1.67 points. These grades are given when the student has demonstrated familiarity with the content of the course, familiarity with the methods of study of the course, and active participation in the work of the class.

D+ = 1.33 points. D = 1.00 point; D- = 0.67 point. These grades are given for work below the standards expected by the RGS. They indicate work that in one or more important aspects falls below the average expected of students for graduation. The work is, however, sufficient to be credited for graduation.

F = 0 points. This indicates failure.

W, WF = 0 points. These designations indicate withdrawal from a course before completion. W is assigned for all withdrawals prior to the official withdrawal deadline, normally before the last four weeks of a term; WF is assigned if the withdrawal takes place after the official withdrawal deadline, except in cases of illness or other extenuating circumstances, as authorized by the Dean of Academics.

P = Pass. Indicates Pass in courses taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Does not affect the GPA.

NC = No points. Indicates failure in courses taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Does not affect the GPA.

AUD = No points. The designation Audit is used for students granted permission to attend classes for the benefit they can derive from lectures and discussions but who are not taking the course for credit. An audit designation indicates attendance at a minimum of two-thirds of the class meetings of the course.

INC = 0 points. The designation indicates an Incomplete for the course. It is a temporary grade granted by the Dean of Academics only with the recommendation by the faculty member and on the student’s presentation of compelling reasons, such as immediate health issues, bereavement, or similar major reasons for not completing the course’s requirements. The student’s petition to be granted an Incomplete grade is to be accompanied by the course’s instructor positive recommendation. The petition is to include a date for the completion of the required work. The Dean for Academics will inform the Registrar that a temporary designation of I has been granted to the student for a course. The student is to complete the requirements within one calendar year after the Dean of Academic’s approval of the petition. Failure to complete the requirements will result in the awarding the grade of F for the course. A student who has an outstanding Incomplete may not register for an Independent study until the Incomplete is satisfied and a regular grade is registered. Normally, a student may have only one Incomplete grade in a semester.

Exceptions may be made due to extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis by the Dean of Academics in consultation with the Dean of Students and the President.

Note: A grade earned in a final examination will not be weighted more than one-third in computing the final grade for a course.

Attendance

Students are expected to attend classes regularly. If absences occur, it is the student’s responsibility to make up the work missed. It is the responsibility of the instructor to state in the course syllabus at the beginning of a semester his or her policies regarding attendance. Unexcused absences may lower the student’s final grade. Permission to make up quizzes, tests, and exams may be granted at the discretion of the instructor. As a matter of courtesy, when students find it necessary to be absent from class, they should inform the instructor in advance if possible. In the event of an extended absence, students should notify the Dean of Students and the Dean of Academics as well.

Academic Standing

To be eligible to continue as a degree candidate in good standing for a subsequent academic year, students must complete at least six (6) course units each academic year and have a GPA of at least 2.67 (B -).

When grades at the end of a fall or spring term indicate that a student is not meeting the minimum requirements to be in good standing, the student will be placed on academic probation. The Dean of Academics, Dean of Students and the student’s advisor will consult with the student to ascertain causes for the situation and will propose a program of remediation and a schedule that is to be met if the student is to remain enrolled at RGS. The student may elect to take a leave of absence for up to a year and then resume probationary status and follow a remediation program. When the student improves to the required level, she or he may be removed from academic probation.

Academic Honesty

a)       Plagiarism: RGS defines plagiarism as the use, deliberate or not, of any outside source without proper acknowledgment. A student’s academic work is to be properly credited to the original author(s) and sources. An “outside source” is any work (published or unpublished) composed, written or created by any person other than the student who submitted the work. This definition is adapted from Napolitano v. Princeton, which established the accepted legal standard.

All work that students submit or present as part of course assignments or requirements must be their own original work, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the instructor. This includes any work presented in written, oral or electronic form, or in any other technical or artistic medium. When students use the specific thoughts, ideas, writings or expressions of others, they must accompany each instance of use with some form of attribution of the source. Direct quotes from any source (including the Internet) must be placed in quotation marks (or otherwise marked appropriately) and accompanied by proper citation, following the preferred bibliographic conventions of the department or instructor. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make clear to all students in the class the preferred or required citation style for student work. Ignorance of bibliographic conventions and citation procedures on the student’s part is not a valid excuse for having committed plagiarism.

Students are not to present oral or written reports written by others as their own work. This includes incorporating formal lecture notes written or dictated by someone other than the student.

Students are not to use writing or research obtained from a term-paper service or purchased from any person or entity, unless they fully disclose such activity to the instructor and are given express permission to do so. Students may not submit or present work prepared in whole or in part to fulfill course requirements for more than one course, unless expressly permitted to do so by all of the instructors involved. Students are advised to keep all notes, drafts, and materials used in preparing assignments until a final course grade is given. For work in electronic form, they may be asked to keep all intermediate drafts and notes electronically or in hard copy until final grades are given. All such materials must be available for inspection by the instructor at any time.

b)      Cheating: Students may not submit any coursework prepared by, copied from or dictated by others. If the student is employing the services of a tutor (whether from the campus community or elsewhere), the tutor may not prepare the student’s work for class.

Students may not provide or receive unauthorized help in taking examinations, tests or quizzes, or in preparing any other required materials for a course. Such restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

•  Using unauthorized material in an examination, test or quiz

•  Using e-mail or text-messaging during any exam without the permission of the instructor

•  Stealing, using or transmitting in writing, electronically or verbally, actual examinations, tests, quizzes or portions thereof prior to, during or following an exam

•  Reading or observing another’s work without the person’s consent, whether it be on paper, in electronic form or in any other medium

c)       Helping or hindering others: Students may not tamper with, damage or otherwise hinder the work of others to complete their own assignments. Students may not collaborate during an in- class examination, test or quiz, or work with others on out-of-class assignments, exams or projects unless expressly allowed or directed to do so by the instructor. If students have any reservation about their participation in any out-of-class assignments, they should consult with the instructor.

d)      Falsification: Students may not offer a falsified excuse for an absence from an examination, test, quiz or other course requirement, directly or through another source. Students may not falsify research data or results. They may not invent bibliographical entries for research papers or handouts. They may not falsify information about the date of submission for any coursework.

e)       Other inappropriate behaviors: In the preparation of a course, program, or degree work, students are directed to comply with the copyright law of the United States (Title XVII, U.S. Code). Violations of copyright law and of regulations regarding the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes are violations of this policy. Damage to, or abuse of, library, media, computing or other academic resources is prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Students may not copy print or non-print media or download copyrighted files from the Internet beyond accepted norms. RGS Library staff should be consulted concerning U.S. copyright policies on “fair use” for educational purposes.

Consequences of Violating the Academic Honesty Policy

A faculty member who suspects a student of violating the academic honesty policy with regard to an assignment, requirement, examination, test or quiz shall:

1.       Inform the student of the perceived violation, explaining the reasons for the allegation and its consequences

2.       Listen to the student’s explanation

If the faculty member considers that the student has violated the academic honesty policy, the faculty member may take one or more of the following steps:

·         Grade the work submitted as a zero, inform the student that any further infractions will be reported to the Dean of Academics for disciplinary action, and consider the incident to be a learning experience for the student

·         Grade the work as a zero, require the student to resubmit the work or its equivalent, and inform the student that any further infractions will be reported to the Dean of Academics for disciplinary action

·         Grade the work as a zero and report the alleged violation to the Dean of Academics and the student’s advisor, together with a written memorandum explaining the violation and with any evidence that a violation has occurred. The faculty member shall inform the student verbally and in writing of the faculty member’s decision to transmit the material to the Dean of Academics

In the event that the student accepts and does not appeal the faculty member’s decision, and it is the first time that the student has violated the RGS Academic Honesty Policy, the Dean of Academics shall:

1.       Consult with the faculty member about the student’s situation

2.       Speak personally with the student about the nature of personal integrity as well as academic and professional honesty, and explain the consequences for any further violations of RGS policy

3.       Include in the student’s file a notation concerning the violation. In the event that the student does not incur any further violations of the academic honesty policy while at RGS, the notation will be removed and destroyed

In the event that the student appeals the faculty member’s decision, the Dean of Academics shall consult with the student and her or his academic advisor, advising her or him of the procedures involved and the person’s right to be advised by others from within and outside of RGS, and to have such persons present at any hearings. If the student decides to pursue the appeal, then the dean and process will proceed as indicated:

1.       Obtain from the student and the faculty member waivers to provide any necessary documents or resources that may be relevant to the appeal

2.       Obtain from the student and the faculty member written statements explaining the alleged violation

3.       Convene a hearing committee within twenty-one business days following the student’s decision  to proceed with the appeal

The hearing committee will proceed as follows:

a)   Membership on the hearing committee will include one RGS faculty member who is not the student’s advisor or the involved faculty member; one faculty member from another college, university or theological school; and a member of RGS Student Council.

b)   The Dean of Academics will attend the hearing, participating only to clarify procedures. A member of the hearing committee will take the minutes of the meetings of the Committee.

c)   The hearing committee shall deliberate and come to a majority recommendation that shall be transmitted to the Dean within two business days of the hearing. The recommendation shall be the committee’s judgment as to whether or not a violation took place.

d)   In the event that the decision sustains the faculty member’s position, the Dean of Academics will determine the consequences for the student. These consequences may range from a notification in the student’s file, as indicated above, to a failure for the course.

  1. In the event that the recommendation is that a violation did not take place, the Dean will arrange a meeting between the faculty member, the student and the student’s advisor to clarify the original situation and to establish respectful relations between the persons

In the event that a student who has incurred a sustained first violation of the Academic Honesty Policy is alleged to have violated the policy again, the same procedure described above is to be followed. If the second allegation is sustained, the Dean of Academics may recommend to the President penalties that range from a failure in the course to suspension for at least one semester to expulsion from the RGS. The President shall then review the materials and the minutes of the hearing committee and accept or modify (but not increase) the recommended penalty. The student may appeal the President’s decision to the Board of Trustees. The student and the President and their advisors shall present his or her position to the Board. The decision of the Board will be final. The Secretary of the Board will inform the student and the President of the decision within two business days of the presentation to the Board.

Recording Class Sessions, Programs and Lectures

Only with the prior express and written authorization of the faculty member or lecturer may students record a class, program or lecture by any means. Such recordings are to be only for the personal use of the student in order to more fully understand the material covered, or for a student(s) not present in the class session and for the same purpose agreed to by the faculty member or lecturer. Under no circumstances shall the recordings in any form be posted on social media, uploaded onto Internet sites, duplicated, or distributed for any purpose without the express and written permission of the instructor and members of the class or lecturer. In the latter instance, if the lecturer grants permission, questions and discussions by members of the audience and the presenter are to be excised from the recording. Violations of this policy will be considered a violation of RGS Academic Honesty.

The mission of the RGS Library (hereafter RL) is to support the teaching, research, and service missions of RGS. To this end, the RL organizes and preserves its existing holdings and acquires new and out-of- print materials in order to provide the most comprehensive collection of works on Islam possible. Moreover, to make researching more convenient and efficient, the RL provides access to its collections electronically through the use of an online public access catalog (OPAC)/circulation system. Online reference services are available through e-mail, and regular walk-in Research and Writing Workshops are organized by the Library Director to promote information literacy and to ensure that students are able to effectively demonstrate their learning.

During each semester, the library is open on regularly scheduled class days, while during summer and winter breaks it is open on a reduced schedule.

Online Access for Faculty and Students

The RL provides quick and convenient access to research resources for RGS faculty and students through its web page (http://www.respectgs.us/rgs-library-2/). Here, students can search the library’s holding through Populi, a web-based higher education management software. Populi forms the base of operations for the library, providing online access to the catalog, and enabling each student to track their loans, holds, fines, and renewals through their unique user ID.

Research and Writing Assistance

Each semester the library hosts a free walk-in Research and Writing Workshop. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, using Microsoft Word, formatting papers according to the Chicago Manual of Style, searching for and evaluating scholarly resources through online databases, citing sources, and creating a works cited list. These events are free and all students are highly encouraged to attend.

For those students who are unable to attend these workshops, the RL also offers online writing and reference services via e-mail, or on a walk-in basis (Monday-Friday). Whether you need someone to proofread a paper, locate research materials, or just to brainstorm ideas, the Librarian of the Respect Library is available to help.

Tutor Assistance

The RL offers experienced tutoring assistance for every class to all of its students. To schedule a one-on- one session, please contact the school’s librarian (see contact info. above).

Respect Library’s Print Holdings

The RL has been established to address the needs of students as well as faculty members, for both teaching and research purposes. The depth of our print holdings is continuously reviewed and updated by the Library Director to ensure that it remains relevant and supports the highest level of academic scholarship.

Respect Library’s Electronic Holdings

In addition to its holdings, the RL also provides students access to the best academic databases for research in the field of Islamic Studies, including:

a)       ProQuest Religion and Philosophy eBooks – The Religion & Philosophy eBook Subscription offers a carefully curated collection of more than 15,000 eBooks spanning all Religion & Philosophy topics with exceptional strength in Philosophy, Theology, and World Religions. This subscription includes renowned publishers such as Brill Academic Publishers, Walter de Gruyter, Oxford University Press (OUP), Catholic University of America Press, University of Notre Dame Press, Syracuse University Press, Marquette Press, and Society of Biblical Literature.

b)      ProQuest Religion Database – The ProQuest Religion Database provides access to millions of scholarly full-text from more than 200 international journals for religious and spiritual studies, covering formal theological studies of major religions, as well as the most recent trends and scholarly thought. This resource reflects a wide spectrum of religious belief systems and supports the global study of religion.

c)       JSTOR: Religion & Theology – The JSTOR Religion & Theology Collection covers the history and philosophy of religious thought spanning traditions, periods, and critical approaches. The collection contains more than 80 titles, drawn exclusively from existing JSTOR Arts and Sciences collections. It supports religious studies research as well as scholarship in archaeology, literature, philosophy, and more.

Document Delivery Fund (Copy Service)

For journal articles that the Respect Library does not own, and which may not be obtained through the library’s subscription databases, the library provides a document delivery fund that assists students and faculty with the acquisition of articles and books needed for research.

Library Sharing Arrangements

RGS’s supplementation of the physical and electronic holdings of the RL:

  1. Through a subscription to OCLC WorldShare Inter library Loan (ILL) Services, the RL connects to 10,000 libraries in forty-six countries for resource sharing. By being a part of this global community, the RL achieves better visibility for its collections and enables its users to find the information they need.
  2. Through a cooperative agreement with Reeves Library of Moravian College, RGS students will be able to borrow the physical holdings of Reeves Library the same as any Moravian College student. Reeves Library has a substantial collection of books on a wide variety of subjects and the physical proximity of Moravian College to RGS provides students and faculty with convenient access. To obtain a guest membership for Reeves, the student should present their RGS student ID at Reeves Library. Students are expected to observe and adhere to the borrowing policies set forth by Reeves and maintain good

Respect Graduate School takes its name seriously. Respect extends beyond the classroom to all relationships among the faculty, administration, staff, and, of course, to those with and among RGS students. This section provides guidelines, expectations and rules regarding the relationships of students with one another and with the institution and the wider community. Our basic assumption is that the members of RGS are responsible, law-abiding adults who are engaged in professional and graduate-level studies. The policies set forth below are to be interpreted broadly, so as to meet the spirit and intent of the document, and should not necessarily be viewed as all-inclusive in nature. It is every student’s responsibility to acquaint him or herself with this student handbook and RGS policies. Furthermore, organizations and groups recognized by RGS are subject to its standards of organizational behavior.

Respect for Individuals

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that acknowledges and demonstrates respect for other individuals. Actions that harass, demean, or subject others to any form of physical threat, psychological stress, or humiliation are unacceptable. Basic honesty is expected at all times, both within academic pursuits and in all other interactions that take place in the campus residences, elsewhere on campus, and in the Bethlehem community. While exercising respect for all individuals, students are responsible for asserting their own rights and for communicating feelings and concerns to others by appropriate means.

Respect for Academic Honesty

Academic integrity is an essential and foundational RGS principle. RGS expects students to carry on their academic work honestly and fairly. In addition, students should neither hinder nor unfairly assist other students in completing their work. The boundaries of what is or is not acceptable work may not always be clear; thus, if at any point in their academic work at the institution, students are uncertain about their responsibilities as scholars or about the propriety of a particular action, the instructor should be consulted. Note the Handbook sections above on academic honesty.

Respect for Safety

It is expected that all members of the community will recognize their obligation to ensure the health and safety of all other members of the community. No individual is to endanger the health or safety of another. This extends from jokes and pranks to extreme situations involving firearms, other weapons, dangerous chemicals, explosives, fireworks, and fire. Failure to respect safety considerations includes, but is not limited to, tampering with or abusing fire safety equipment, such as alarms, alarm protectors, sprinklers, or fire extinguishers.

Respect for Property

Every member of RGS community is expected to show respect for property, both personal and institutional, on campus and within the surrounding Bethlehem community. Failure to respect property includes, but is not limited to:

  • The destruction of or damage to personal or institutional property
  • The misuse or unauthorized use of the institution’s electronic information and telecommunications systems, including violations of the Computing Resources Policy
  • Unauthorized downloading of copyrighted materials
  • The use of telephone or cable service in an unauthorized manner
  • The misuse or unauthorized use of institutional or personal property or equipment
  • The duplication of materials in an unauthorized manner
  • Possession, use or duplication of keys without authorization
  • Possession or use of a student identification other than one’s own
  • The theft or misappropriation of property owned by the institution or by members of the community or their guests
  • Embezzlement or misuse of institutional or student organization funds

Respect for Alcohol and Drug Laws and Policies

Unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol by students, staff, employees, as     well as by contractors and workers within the RGS buildings or on RGS premises, is prohibited and is a violation of local, state, and federal laws. RGS will observe all local, state, and federal laws relating to drug and alcohol abuse, including referral to  local  authorities  for  arrest  or  prosecution.  The  courts will determine penalties for violations of these laws. In addition, violators may be subject to institutional action.

Respect for the Judicial System and Legal Authority

All members of the RGS community are expected to follow all institutional regulations and policies, as well as all local, state, and federal laws. They also are expected to cooperate fully with all agents of the institution in the performance of their duties, to uphold the expectations of the community through their behavior, and to refuse to shield others from the consequences of their illicit actions.

Respect for the Broader Community

RGS students are expected to be respectful members of the Lehigh Valley and Bethlehem communities and to conduct themselves in a way that represents the institution in a positive fashion at all times.

Nondiscrimination Policy

RGS is a welcoming community. We embrace and value the diversity of all members of the campus community. RGS does not discriminate against any person based on actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, marital status, age, mental or physical disability, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids, or on any other basis protected by applicable local, state and federal laws.

Academic Advising:

The advising process provides students with specific and accurate information and enables them to develop a working relationship with their advisors and move forward to complete their academic  programs and progress into their chosen fields. The academic advising of students is an integral part of RGS faculty’s teaching obligations. Therefore, faculty will be available to enrollees and prospective enrollees for consultation through their office phones and institutional email address at all times. Moreover, they are required to designate and publicize a minimum of two hours of “office hours” on a weekly basis, to provide advising and consultation. Furthermore, they are expected to respond positively to requests for appointments from enrollees and prospective enrollees, as a form of academic courtesy

RGS advising takes several forms and extends through and beyond the time students spend at RGS.

Advising Before Enrollment: RGS provides accurate, up-to-date information to prospective students about academic programs, the research interests of the faculty and degree requirements. Additionally, information on the following will be made available: the average time for the completion of a degree, the average amount of financial aid available, and employment opportunities after graduation (including the placement record of the program).

Advising of New Students: New students will be advised on the courses they should take during their first year; clear maps of the requirements they must meet, including course work, languages, research tools, examinations, internships and thesis work; and a delineation of the amount of time expected to complete each step. For each graduate student, the Dean of Academics will assign a faculty member as an academic advisor who, in consultation with the student, will plan a program of study and conduct research in accordance with RGS guidelines. The advisor’s primary duty will be to help students assess  their academic strengths and weaknesses and assist them in choosing the appropriate program track that will lead students to their future career goals.

The Dean of Students will arrange for and implement an orientation program, which will be held at the beginning of every academic semester for new and transfer students. Faculty, administrators, the Registrar and the Librarian are expected to attend and participate.

Advising of Students Concerning Writing and Research Skills: The Vice President or his or her designee will provide counseling and assistance to students concerning researching and writing academic papers, the use of computers, and study skills.

Advising of Continuing Students: Advisors should evaluate student progress and performance on a regular basis (i.e., no less than once per semester) and in an informative way. In these evaluations, advisors should inform students about their performance in relation to the expectations of normal progress and to the norms associated with successful degree completion and placement after graduation.

Advising of Graduating Students: Students may obtain assistance in finding future employment, meeting the requirements for licensure, and/or pursuing further graduate study through the Associate for Student Services. This assistance includes: helping students prepare successful applications, including résumé- writing, building a dossier, and interviewing; providing access to information about employment and/or study opportunities; helping students obtain letters of recommendation from faculty; and encouraging student participation in, or awareness of, networking possibilities.

Advising of Thesis Students: The thesis advisor should take reasonable measures to ensure that each graduate student initiates thesis research; schedule regular meetings with his or her advisee to discuss their research and return comments on written work in a timely manner; clarify co-authorship publication practices; and should assume primary responsibility for ensuring that the student receives academic advising.

 

Degree Candidates in the Academic Track are required to write a Masters level thesis in an area of Islamic studies. The indicated basic points and procedures are to be followed in the preparation and presentation of the thesis.

Basic Points About the Thesis

1.  The thesis is a substantial research paper up to 50 pages in length that may be a new research project for the student or a major reworking of an earlier paper by the student.

2.  The thesis is to demonstrate the student’s ability to locate information, conduct research, analyze sources and synthesize arguments effectively and clearly in proper English.

3.  The final version of an accepted thesis is to be deposited in a written format and in an electronic format with the Librarian of the RGS.

4.  The written final version is to be put in a black binder. The thesis’ pages are to have one-inch margins. As agreed upon by the student, the thesis advisor and Dean for Academics, the thesis may use either endnotes or footnotes. Bibliographical references are to follow the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

 

Procedures for the Preparation and Presentation of the Thesis

1.  Students normally take “MAIS 644 Islamic Studies Methodology” course to be offered in the Fall prior to writing their theses. The course is to assist students in developing methodological skills in research and academic writing. The course culminates in the student’s developing a proposal for the thesis. Students who have demonstrated their abilities to undertake graduate level research in other institutions or in their courses at the RGS, may opt not to take MAIS 644 with the approval of their academic advisors and the Dean for Academics.

2.  Prior to the start of the Spring semester students intending to write their theses are to:

a.  Consult with their academic advisors concerning the topic of the proposed theses and possible theses advisors and two members of the theses committees.

b.  Gain the consent of a faculty member and Dean for Academics to serve as the thesis advisor and committee members. One member of the committee may be from outside of the RGS.

c.  Develop a thesis proposal that is approved by the thesis advisor and the Dean for Academics. The proposal is to:

i.  Include a statement of the issue or argument that will be addressed in the thesis;

ii.  The importance of the thesis in the field of Islamic Studies;

iii.  The methodology that the student intends to employ;

iv.  A survey of relevant literature on the topic;

v.  A draft outline of the thesis’ structure; and

vi.  A preliminary bibliography

4.  Students who are writing theses are to enroll in the course “MAIS 697 – Master’s Thesis” and are expected to complete and have their theses approved by the end of the semester. In the event that an individual’s theses is not completed and/or approved, the student will receive a grade of Incomplete and is expected to complete the thesis and gain approval according to the conditions stipulated for Incompletes.

5.  Students are to consult frequently with their theses advisor and, as appropriate, members of their committees during their research and writing. When the student, thesis advisor, and one other member of the thesis committee consider that the thesis is ready for presentation and defense, the thesis advisor is to notify the Dean for Academics. The Dean will schedule a date, time and place for the defense.

6.  While the defense is open to all persons affiliated with the RGS, the student may invite others to be present. The defense itself is to center on the thesis and is to be an opportunity for the student to gain as well as to share insights on their topic specifically, and Islamic studies generally.

7.  If the thesis is approved conditionally so that changes and corrections are to be made, the thesis advisor is responsible for ensuring that such changes are made before certifying that the theses is officially approved.

8.  A thesis that is accepted without conditions may be deposited directly with the RGS Librarian.

9.  The thesis advisor may consult with members of the committee, yet they are responsible for awarding a grade for MAIS 697. The grade is to include consideration of the student’s work up to and including the thesis and its

Career Advising and Counseling

RGS places a special value on career counseling for its students because it believes that its institutional reputation will be created through the success of its students. Therefore, RGS aims to develop and continually improve an efficient and target-oriented career service plan. The Dean of Students and the Vice President will lead in career counseling efforts that will involve developing community contacts and institutions, as well as providing the resources listed below:

  1. Doctoral Workshops: These are designed mainly for students on the academic tracks. These workshops will be facilitated through seminars given by invited speakers and visits to doctorate- granting institutions. The goal of these workshops will be to provide guidance for PhD acceptance and to create awareness about the nature of academic life. RGS hopes that these doctoral workshops will also create internships and voluntary work opportunities for
  2. On-Campus Experience: RGS realizes that finding a job is not always solely achieved through having a high GPA. Sometimes, actual work experience plays a crucial role in a career search as well. Therefore, RGS will works with students to identify work opportunities on the RGS campus that will help them cultivate real world experiences relevant to their career
  3. Alumni Experience: One of the best resources RGS has for placing its graduates in academic and professional positions is the RGS alumni body. Recognizing this, the RGS will create a close and active network between alumni and current enrollees through all current means of communication and through annual gatherings to prepare current enrollees for their future
  4. Personal Networks: In today’s complex society, personal networks play a vital role in career planning and placement. Aware of this fact, RGS will utilize all possible means to involve the Board of Trustees, faculty members, staff members, administrative personnel, parents, and the employers of alumni in the career searches of RGS students. In this respect, the diversity of the RGS Board members will serve the interests of RGS graduates

Psychological and Psychiatric Counseling Services

Students can arrange for initial consultations and follow-up sessions with an on-call professional counselor, as needed. The RGS counselor is Dr. Hatice Yilmaz. She is board certified for child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. She offers a variety of psychiatric services including comprehensive clinical assessment, diagnosis, psychotherapy, and medication management. Her office can be reached at (865) 861-6370.

Physical Health Counseling and Services

The Dean of Students will also help students with health insurance needs to obtain suitable health coverage. One provider for student health insurance is IMG Global Insurance, with the URL address:

<http://www.imglobal.com/img-insurance/international-student-insurance/student-health- advantage.aspx>.

For emergency care, injuries and illnesses, RGS students will be immediately directed to the Airport Road Emergi Center (AREC) to receive urgent medical attention. AREC is nearby, 1.7 miles from the RGS campus, and is open year-round, seven days a week. The Center serves both as an urgent care center and a treatment  facility  for  all  types  of  non-life-threatening  illnesses  and  injuries.  Its  Internet  address  is

<http://www.cedarcrestemergicenter.com>. Lehigh Valley Hospital and St. Luke Hospital have campuses within one and three miles, respectively, of the RGS campus. RGS retains a prominent medical doctor, Dr. Gazi Abdulhay, as a medical counselor in regard to its health policies and services. His office can be reached at (610) 876 9640.

The RGS building is completely accessible to students with special needs, and RGS is committed to keeping the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The RGS campus has ramps, large restrooms and automatic main doors with sensors, and classrooms that can accommodate wheel chairs. The Dean of Students is the ADA Coordinator of RGS and is responsible for providing all necessary accommodations for students with special needs, in accordance with ADA guidelines.

RGS adheres to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 in ensuring the accessibility of its programs and services. The Dean of Students is responsible for assisting in providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities enrolled in RGS courses, and serves as a resource for other RGS departments serving individuals with disabilities, as needed.

A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, even with the use of mitigating measures such as glasses, medication, prostheses, or hearing aids. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, functions such as breathing, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, exercising cognitive abilities, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, and working. RGS will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, to students whose conditions meet the legal definition of a disability under the ADA and who are considered otherwise qualified and can provide appropriate documentation of their disability. Students with disabilities should contact the Dean of Students for further assistance and information.

Accessible classroom setups, alternate testing, physical plant (campus) alterations, and other accommodations for students with documented disabilities are available on a case-by-case basis. It is the responsibility of students with disabilities to self-identify and request accommodation through the Dean  of Students.

Students with sensory, medical or physical disabilities must provide a letter from a diagnosing and/or treating physician to verify the existence of a disability. The letter is to include the credentials of the evaluator, and it must be dated and legibly signed. The letter is to include information on:

·         The diagnosis and the methodology used to diagnose the condition

·         How long the individual has had the condition

·         How long the condition is expected to last

·         Treatments used to manage the condition

·         The condition un-medicated versus medicated (if applicable)

·         Accommodations and/or interventions that would facilitate access to the RGS experience with a rationale for each request

It is the responsibility of the student to request accommodation well in advance of the need, in order to give RGS a reasonable amount of time to evaluate the documentation and implement the request. Classroom accommodations requiring notification to faculty must be requested for each semester for which they are needed.

Service/Assistance Animals

Some individuals with disabilities utilize the services of trained animals to directly assist them in daily life. Service animals, often referred to as assistance animals, are permitted to accompany a person with a disability on campus.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), a service animal is defined as “any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items.” The following rules apply to service animals and their owners:

  • Dogs must be licensed in accordance with city regulations and wear a valid vaccination tag
  • Any other types of animals that are trained for service to a person with a disability must have vaccinations appropriate for that type of animal
  • Animals must be in good health
  • Animals must be on a leash at all times
  • The owner of the service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times
  • The owner is responsible for appropriate waste cleanup and the overall cleanliness of the animal

The service animal’s owner is responsible for the appropriate management of his or her animal in all RGS facilities.

Logging in to or otherwise connecting to the campus network implies acceptance of RGS’s Acceptable Use Policy, which is part of RGS’s Computing Resources Policy.

RGS’s computing equipment and network resources are dedicated to enhancing and supporting RGS’s educational mission. These resources include all computers, workstations and multi-user computer systems, local area networks and connections to other computer networks via the Internet. All students, faculty and staff are responsible for using RGS’s computing resources in a safe, effective, ethical, and lawful manner.

RGS’s computer equipment and peripherals are available for occasional use for important personal tasks, provided such use does not interfere with the job responsibilities of the individual or others. Students’ personally-owned computers, storage devices, and other peripherals are not included in the above statement. However, it does include any data transmitted over institutional assets or connections made through institutional assets. RGS has the right to inspect information stored on its system at any time, for any reason, and users cannot and should not have any expectation of privacy with regard to any data, documents, electronic mail messages, or other computer files created or stored on computers within, or connected to, RGS’s network. All Internet data composed, transmitted, or received through RGS’s computer system is considered part of RGS’s records, and as such, are subject at any time to disclosure to institutional officials, law enforcement, or third parties.

RGS reserves the right to monitor user activities on all institutional computer systems and to monitor communications utilizing the RGS network, in order to ensure compliance with institutional policy and with local, state, and federal law. Monitoring shall be performed only by individuals specifically authorized by the RGS Business Manager and will involve only the minimum data necessary to meet institutional requirements. Data collected through monitoring shall be made accessible only to individuals authorized by the Vice President of RGS. These individuals are responsible for maintaining confidentiality.

The intent of this Acceptable Use Policy is to give an overview of acceptable and unacceptable uses of RGS’s computing resources without exhaustively enumerating all such uses and misuses. This statement is intended as an addition to existing policies concerning academic honesty and the use of facilities.

The predominant goal of this policy is to safeguard RGS’s computing resources and to promote honesty, respect for individuals, and respect for both physical and intellectual property. All expectations regarding academic honesty and professional ethics extend to assignments completed in electronic form. It is never permissible to use another person’s computer authorization for any purpose or to provide one’s own authorization to another person. It is never permissible to access someone else’s work without explicit permission. It is not permissible to engage in any activity that would harass others or impede their  work.

All members of the campus community are required to adhere to all copyright laws. As part of the Internet community, students connecting their computers to RGS’s network are required to take reasonable precautions against viruses, spyware, and adware.

While RGS makes every effort to maintain the security of its systems, it should be noted that there is no guarantee of the privacy of electronically stored information or electronic mail. Standards of ethics and behavior while computing should follow the standards of ethics and behavior outlined in other institutional handbooks and policy documents. Disciplinary procedures for violations may result in the curtailment of network privileges and otherwise will follow standard institutional procedures. The items below constitute examples of acceptable and unacceptable use.

Acceptable Use

·         Use consistent with the mission of RGS

·         Use for purposes of, or in support of, education and research

·         Use related to administrative and other support activities considered consistent with the mission of RGS

·         Personal communications, as long as these do not interfere with the mission of RGS or overload system or network resources

Unacceptable Use

·         Use of institutional computers or networks that violates local, state, or federal laws or statutes

·         Providing, assisting with, or gaining unauthorized or inappropriate access to RGS’s computing resources

·         Use of institutional computers or networks for unauthorized or inappropriate access to systems, software or data at other sites

·         Installing on the network unauthorized network devices and network services, such as wireless access points, Internet address resolution servers, hubs, routers, and switches

·         Use of institutional systems or networks to copy, store, display, or distribute copyrighted material in any medium, or to prepare derivative works of such material, without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under copyright law

·         Installation of software on institution-owned computers that is not in the public domain, or for which legal licensing has not been acquired by the individual user, or by RGS

·         Activities that interfere with the ability of others to use institutional computing resources or other network-connected services effectively

·         Activities that result in the loss of another person’s work or unauthorized access to another person’s work

·         Connecting one’s personal computer to the RGS network without active and current anti-virus, anti- spyware and adware protection

·         Distribution of obscene, abusive, or threatening messages via electronic media such as e-mail or instant messaging

·         Distribution of chain letters or broadcasting to lists of individuals in a manner that might cause congestion of the network

·         Use of institutional computers or networks for commercial use or a profit-making enterprise, except  as specifically agreed to by RGS

Institutional Internet Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Policy

In recent years, Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing programs have made it easy to download and share music, movies and software files. RGS will, by policy and procedure:

  • Ensure for all users adequate and equitable access to the Internet for academic purposes and personal communications
  • Respect the community’s rights to privacy and confidentiality, freedom of speech and academic freedom while using the network
  • Educate the network-user community on the technical, legal and ethical aspects of copyright and intellectual property
  • Uphold copyright law as spelled out in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and elsewhere

RGS’s Policy for Acceptable Use of Computing Resources prohibits the “use of institutional systems or networks to copy, store, display, or distribute copyrighted material in any medium, or to prepare derivative works of such material, without the express permission of the copyright owner, except as otherwise allowed under copyright law.”

RGS’s acceptable use policy also prohibits “activities that interfere with the ability of others to use institutional computing resources or other network-connected services effectively.” This applies to peer- to-peer file-sharing programs, irrespective of copyright violations, as these programs consume huge amounts of network resources.

The role of students in the RGS community involves rights and responsibilities.

The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the community.

The admission policies of RGS are designed to provide for a diverse and qualified student body consistent with the role and mission of RGS. Admission is offered to those determined by RGS to be those most likely to benefit from a RGS education. No student will be denied admission based upon unlawful considerations, including race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

By enrolling in RGS the student signifies agreement to abide by RGS’s established policies, regulations, and procedures. Students also agree to abide by and to support the orderly processes established by RGS for the resolution of disputes and the violation of policies, regulations and procedures.

Freedom in the Classroom

The institution and its faculty encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression in the classroom in accordance with the orderly processes established for classroom instruction. Student academic performance will be evaluated solely on the basis of legitimate academic and professional concerns and not on unrelated opinions or beliefs held or expressed, or conduct unrelated to legitimate institutional concerns.

Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students are free to take exception, by appropriate and orderly means, to data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion or belief, but are responsible for learning the content of any course of study and successfully responding to tests, examinations or other course requirements for courses in which they are enrolled.

Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance and integrity and complying with appropriate behavioral requirements, and they are provided with processes designed to protect them from improperly prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. Such processes include consultation with the instructor, the Dean of Academics or the appropriate administrator. *If an appeal involves an evaluation(s) by the Dean of Academics, the Vice President shall step into the roles noted below for the Dean of Academics. In the event that a student believes that an instructor has improperly evaluated a test, paper and/or course grade, the following steps constitute the process to be undertaken:

1.  The student is to confer with the faculty member who gave the evaluation. That discussion is to be a face-to-face opportunity unless circumstances warrant a mutually agreed upon exception;

(a)  If the discussion results in the student’s accepting the faculty member’s evaluation(s), the evaluation(s) will be sustained;

(b)  In the event that the faculty member agrees that the evaluation was not proper and merits a change, then s/he makes the appropriate changes. If the issue involves a change of an already submitted course grade and the faculty member agrees to an adjustment in the course grade, the faculty member is to inform the Dean of Academics and to state the reasons for requesting such a change. The Dean of Academics will inform the Registrar of such a change;

(c)  If the faculty member decides that the original evaluation(s) is to stand, and the student contests that decision, the student is to submit a written appeal to the Dean of Academics;

2.  The student’s appeal is to include the course syllabus, a clear statement of the assignment(s), reasons for appealing the instructor’s decisions, and presentation of any paper(s), and tests that are relevant to the appeal. In order for reviewers of the appeal to come to appropriate conclusions, the paper(s) are to be both unannotated copies by the instructor’s comments and annotated by the instructor;

3.  Following the submission of the materials indicated above, the Dean of Academics will appoint a Review Committee that will consist of two RGS faculty members (full time or adjunct), and a non- RGS faculty/staff member who is conversant with the appropriate academic field and research techniques. The members of the Review Committee will review the submitted materials;

4.  Upon completion of its examination of the materials, the Review Committee will interview both the student and the faculty member to discuss the evaluation(s) and the materials as these relate to the evaluation(s);

5.  Within 14 days after the interview(s) the Review Committee will inform the student, the faculty member and the Dean of Academics in writing of its decision to either sustain the evaluation(s) or grant the appeal; and

6.  If the student contests the Review Committee’s decision, s/he may petition the President for a decision. The student is to furnish the President with the same materials given to the Review Committee and reasons for rejecting the decision of the Review Committee. The President’s decision will be final.

Protection against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs and associations that RGS staff have acquired in the course of their work with students is protected against improper disclosure by the policies, regulations and procedures of the institution, as well as the professional standards of conduct of the staff.

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

Students, faculty and staff are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They are always free to support causes by orderly means, i.e., those that do not disrupt the regular and essential operations of the institution. At the same time, it is required that, when making public statements or engaging in public demonstrations or expression, they dissociate their statements and activities from the institution, unless otherwise authorized by the institution.

This section covers general regulations related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and its amendments. Information on other policies and regulations of the institution can be found in other sections of this handbook. The Respect Graduate School has a retention schedule, which is based on the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers’ (AACRAO) Retention of Records: Guide for Retention and Disposal of Student Records (2000 Edition). Respect Graduate School retains written documents submitted to its archives.

Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 and its amendments are federal laws that afford students certain rights with respect to their educational records. RGS will maintain the confidentiality of student educational records in accordance with provisions of the Act and will accord all rights under the Act to current and former students of RGS who are declared independent.

Educational records are those directly related to students and maintained by RGS. They do not include the following:

·         Records of instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel and ancillary educational personnel that are in the sole possession of the creator and are not accessible or revealed to any other individual except a substitute who may temporarily perform the duties of the creator

·         Records relating to those employed by RGS that are made and maintained in the normal course of business, relate exclusively to personnel in their capacity as employees, and are not used for another purpose. Note: Records of persons employed solely as a consequence of RGS attendance, e.g., tutors and work-study students, are educational records

·         Records, including student health records, created and maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized medical or counseling professional or paraprofessional, to be used solely in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and not to be disclosed to anyone other than for treatment purposes, allowing that such records may be disclosed to physicians or professionals of the student’s choice (Note: Treatment in this context does not include remedial ducation activities or other activities that are part of the program of instruction at RGS)

·         Records of the institution that contain only information relating to persons after they are no longer students at the institution, e.g., the accomplishments of alumni

·         Records of the institution relating to violations of state, federal or institutional regulations pertaining to alcohol or drugs

Rights of Inspection

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their educational records; to challenge the content of those records that students consider to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of their privacy or other rights; to attend a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory; and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if they deem the decisions of the hearing panel unacceptable. The registrar has been assigned to coordinate  the  inspection  and  review  procedures  for  student  educational  records, which include admissions, personal, academic and financial files, and academic, cooperative education and placement records.

Request for Review

Students wishing to review their educational records must make a written request to the RGS Registrar, listing the item(s) to be reviewed. Only those records covered by the Act will be available for review. The items requested shall be made available no later than thirty calendar days following receipt of the written request. A copy of the academic record may be refused if a hold has been placed for non-payment of financial obligations. Copies may be made at the student’s expense. Students have the right to receive a copy of the educational record when failure to provide a copy would prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record, e.g., when distance prevents the student from having ready access to campus.

Limitations on Student Rights

There are some limitations to the rights of students to inspect records, in the following instances:

·         Confidential letters and recommendations that are placed in the records to which the student has waived the right of inspection and review and that are related to the student’s admission, application for employment or job placement, or receipt of honors

·         Educational records containing information about more than one student; however, in such cases, the institution will permit access to any part of the record that pertains only to the requesting student.

Waiver of Student Rights

Students may waive any or all of their rights under FERPA. RGS does not require waivers, and no institutional service shall be denied students who fail to supply waivers. All waivers must be in writing and signed by the student. Students may waive their right to inspect and review either individual documents (e.g., a letter of recommendation) or classes of documents (e.g., an admissions file). The items or documents to which students have waived the right of access shall be used only for the purpose(s) for which they were collected. If used for other purposes, the waivers shall be void and the student may inspect the documents. The student may revoke the waiver in writing, but revocation does not establish the right to inspect and review documents collected while the waiver was in force.

Consent Provisions

No person outside of RGS shall have access to, nor shall RGS disclose, any personally identifiable information from any student’s educational records without the written consent of the student. Consent must specify the records to be released, the purpose of the disclosure, and the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made. Consent must be signed and dated by the student.

Exceptions to the Consent Policy

RGS reserves the right, as allowed under FERPA, to disclose educational records or components thereof, without written consent, to:

·         Personnel within RGS who demonstrate a need to know and who act in the student’s educational interest, including faculty, administration, clerical and professional employees, and other persons who manage student records

·         Officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, on the condition that RGS makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure. In most instances, if the student initiated the request to transfer, a permission to transfer educational records is implicit in the request

·         Officials of other schools in which the student is currently enrolled

·         Persons or organizations providing student financial aid, in order to determine the amount, eligibility or conditions of an award and to enforce the terms of an award

·         Accrediting organizations carrying out their functions

·         Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and state educational authorities, for information necessary for audit and evaluation of federal- or state-sponsored programs

·         State and federal officials to whom disclosure is required by state statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974

·         Organizations conducting studies to develop, validate and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction, so long as there is no further external disclosure of personally identifiable information and provided the information is destroyed when it is no longer needed for the project

·         Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, if reasonable effort is made to notify the student

·         Appropriate personnel in a health or safety emergency, so long as there is a serious threat to the student or others, the knowledge of the information is necessary to meet the emergency, time is of the essence, and the persons to whom the information is disclosed are in a position to deal with the emergency

Institutional Records of Disclosure

RGS will keep a written record of all such exceptional disclosures, and the student has the right to inspect such records, which will include the names of the parties or agencies to whom disclosure was made, the legitimate reason for the disclosure, and the date of the disclosure. No record of disclosure shall be required for requests made by students for their own use, for disclosures made with a student’s written consent, for those made to RGS officials, or for those specified as directory information.

Disclosure of Educational Record Information

RGS will obtain written consent from students before disclosing any personally identifiable information from their educational record (with exceptions as noted under Exceptions to Consent Policy). Such written consent for disclosure must specify the records to be released, state the purpose of the disclosure, identify the party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made, and be signed and dated by the student. All such consents shall be maintained in the student’s educational record.

Challenges to the Content of Educational Records

Students who believe their educational records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or that otherwise violates their privacy or other rights, may discuss their concerns informally with the Dean of Students. If the dean agrees with the student’s request, the appropriate records shall be amended and the student shall be notified in writing of the amendment(s). If the dean disagrees, the dean must notify the student within fifteen calendar days that the records will not be amended and that the student has the right to a hearing on the matter.

A request for a formal hearing must be made in writing within thirty calendar days from the mailing of  the notice from the dean. Within thirty days of receipt of the written request, the dean shall inform the student of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue(s) raised. The student may be assisted or represented at the hearing by one or more persons, including an attorney (at the student’s expense). The hearing may be conducted by any party, including an official of RGS, so long as the person does not have a direct interest in its outcome. The panel that adjudicates such challenges is made up of the Dean of Academics, the Vice President, and a faculty member not involved in the challenge. The hearing panel shall base its decision solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. Its decision shall be final and in writing, summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decision. The written report shall be mailed to the student and any other concerned party within fifteen calendar days of the hearing.

If the panel determines that the information at issue is inaccurate or misleading, or violates privacy or other rights, the student’s record shall be amended in accordance with the decision and the student so informed in writing. If the decision is unsatisfactory to the student, a statement or statements commenting on the information in the record or setting forth any reason for disagreeing with the decision may be placed by the student in the educational record. The statement(s) shall be maintained as part of the record and released whenever the record in question is disclosed to an authorized party.

Note: Rights of challenge cannot be used to question substantive educational judgments that are correctly recorded (e.g., course grades with which the student disagrees).

Students who believe that the adjudication of their challenge was unfair, or not in keeping with the provisions of FERPA, may request, in writing, assistance from the President of RGS to aid them in filing a complaint with the Family Policy and Regulations Office, U.S. Department of Education, Room 1087, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202.

Complaints of Institutional Non-Compliance

Students may file complaints in writing concerning an alleged failure of the institution to comply with FERPA with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

Destruction of Records

Once a student has requested access to educational records, these records shall not be destroyed until inspection and review have been conducted. The following items shall not be destroyed or removed from the record: (1) explanatory statements placed in the record by the student (see the section on Challenges to the Content of Educational Records, above); and (2) records of disclosure and requests for disclosure. RGS reserves the right to destroy information contained in student records and files when the information on file is no longer valid or useful (e.g., letters of recommendation, once they have been used for their original purpose).

Grievance Process

The grievance process for any student complaint involving a matter (e.g., inappropriate language, preferential treatment, misuse of funds) not covered by existing institutional policy is as follows:

1)      The complainant communicates his or her grievance to the Dean of Students (or to the Vice President, if the complaint is about the Dean of Students).

2)      The dean begins the process of mediation or, at his or her discretion, defers the process of mediation. In the latter case, the grievance may be referred directly to the Grievance Panel.

The process of mediation may take any of the following courses:

·         The individuals involved meet and determine a resolution.

·         The individuals meet, together with a mediator assigned by the dean. With the assistance of the mediator, they may determine a resolution. If a resolution is not achieved, the grievance may be resubmitted to the dean, with a mediation report from the mediator and a written response from the target of the grievance. From this point on, the grievance is referred to the Grievance Panel.

·         The individuals refuse mediation and submit a written mediation refusal to the dean. The dean reviews the mediation refusal and either refers the grievance directly to the Grievance Panel, or refers the grievance back to a mediator assigned by the dean.

·         When the grievance is referred to the Grievance Panel (composed of one administrator, one faculty member, and one student selected by the student government president), the panel conducts a hearing. It may conduct an investigation and interview the persons concerned. The Grievance Panel then renders a judgment, which may take the form of dismissal of the complaint or the imposition of disciplinary measures. In the case of disciplinary action, the person on whom it is imposed may appeal to the appropriate dean.

Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct

RGS is committed to providing a campus community in which all members are treated with respect and dignity and which is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive. Sexual harassment within the community is unlawful, as is harassment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or membership in any other protected group. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a member of the campus community for filing a complaint or for cooperating in an investigation of harassment.

This policy applies to all members of the community, which for the purposes of this policy includes, but is not limited to, employees students, independent contractors, consultants, leased employees, visitors and others working on institutional premises or with institutional employees or students. The scope of this policy includes, but is not limited to, all settings in which members of the campus community may find themselves in connection with their employment, education or other institutionally related activities, such as off-site meetings, conferences, social events, etc., including time spent traveling and socializing on the way to and from, and while at, such events. It also extends to other interactions between or among members of the campus community, to the extent that a community member’s right to a campus community free from harassment or other inappropriate conduct is involved.

The institution will not tolerate harassment of, or retaliation against, its employees, students, or any other member of the campus community by anyone, including other members of the community. Furthermore, the institution will also attempt to protect its community members from harassment by others who may be encountered within the community, such as vendors, customers, and service employees.

The Vice President is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy in the case of administrators and support staff. In the case of faculty, the Dean of Academics will provide oversight.

Definition of Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct

Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, including stalking or cyber-stalking, based on a person’s protected status, such as race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, or on any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law; and which has the effect of interfering unreasonably with another’s work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to, slurs; negative stereotyping; ethnic jokes; offensive written or graphic material; display of offensive objects; or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that denigrate or show hostility or aversion toward an individual because of membership in a protected group, or toward a group with protected status.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited. This includes unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature when: submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a community member’s employment, education or other participation in the community; submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting employment, education or other participation in the community; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interference with work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.

It is not possible to list all of the circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment. However, the following are examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment, depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its frequency or pervasiveness:

·         Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions (whether or not they involve unwelcome physical touching)

·         The explicit or implicit conditioning of any terms of employment or education (e.g., continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties, on-call assignments, grades) on provision of sexual favors

·         Inquiries into another’s sexual experience, discussions of one’s sexual activities, comments on an individual’s body or about the individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies or prowess

·         Stalking, cyber-stalking or general intimidation of a sexual nature

·         Sexual innuendo, sexually suggestive comments, or the use of sexually explicit or vulgar language

·         Sexually oriented teasing or practical jokes; “humor” about gender-specific traits

·         Suggestive body language or gestures

·         Displays or transmission of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, posters, cartoons or other printed or visual material,

·         Leering, whistling or physical contact, such as unwelcome touching, patting, pinching or brushing against another’s body

·         Continued requests to socialize, on or off duty, on or off campus, when a community member has indicated rejection or lack of interest

·         Continued writing of sexually suggestive notes or letters when it is known or should be known that the addressee does not welcome them

·         Derogatory or provocative remarks relating to an employee’s sex or sexual orientation

Retaliation

No community member shall be subject to retaliation for making a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct, cooperating in the investigation of such a complaint, or otherwise opposing unlawful harassment or other inappropriate conduct.

Complaints of Harassment or Retaliation

Because RGS takes allegations of harassment or retaliation seriously, it will respond promptly to complaints of such behavior. RGS strongly encourages any members of the community who believe they have been the target of harassment or inappropriate conduct to report the incident promptly, in writing. In addition, every member of the community is strongly encouraged to report, in writing, any such conduct observed, no matter whom the target is. A timely written report will enable the institution to respond rapidly in investigating the allegations and, where it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, take the necessary steps to eliminate the objectionable conduct or conditions and impose corrective action, where appropriate.

Should any community members believe that they are being harassed or subjected to inappropriate behavior, they may notify the offender directly and immediately that the behavior is unwelcome and offensive and must stop. However, if for any reason a community member does not wish to discuss the matter directly with the offender, or if the discussion does not successfully end the behavior, it is the community member’s duty to report the conduct immediately. RGS is committed, and may be required by law, to take action if it learns of potential harassment or inappropriate conduct, even if the aggrieved party does not wish to file a formal complaint.

Depending on the identities of the complainant and the alleged perpetrator of prohibited conduct, the report should be made to the appropriate individual or office. If for any reason complainants are not comfortable reporting the conduct to the designated individuals, they may contact the Vice President or the President.

Investigation

A complaint of harassment will be investigated promptly and fairly. To the extent practicable, care will be taken to protect the identity of all parties to the complaint, consistent with a thorough and appropriate investigation.

An institutional investigation will include private interviews with the person reporting the incident, any witnesses, and the person alleged to have engaged in the harassment or inappropriate conduct. It is vital for all parties involved in the investigation to refrain from discussing any and all aspects of it, on or off campus. If the investigation determines that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, the institution will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct and impose corrective action, where appropriate. After the decision, the person who filed the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the offense will be informed of the results of the investigation and any corrective action to be taken. However, the complainant may not be informed of the specifics of any disciplinary action imposed upon the perpetrator, to the extent that revealing this information might constitute an invasion of privacy.

False statements made by any party in connection with a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct or during an investigation will constitute an occasion for appropriate corrective action, up to and including termination of the person’s relationship with the institution.

Reporting Incidents of Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior

Students should report incidents of harassment and inappropriate behavior. Reports will be handled according to the procedures laid out in the table on the next page.

This is a general statement of policy and no more. While this policy sets forth institutional goals of promoting a community free of harassment and other inappropriate conduct, it is not intended to limit the institution’s authority to discipline or take remedial action for conduct it deems unacceptable. It does not constitute a term or provision of any contract of employment or implied contract of employment between RGS and its employees, nor does it create contractual obligations on behalf of the institution to any person. Likewise, it does not constitute a guarantee of continued student status to any person or otherwise create any obligation on the part of the institution.

Corrective Action

Employees: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a verbal warning and counseling to termination of employment, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate.

Students: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a written warning to expulsion, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate. Generally, but not always, the “go-to person” is the Dean of Students or the Vice President.

Disciplinary Proceedings: General Information

Students are expected to abide by the tenets of the Community Standards Violations of the Community standards are not limited to those that have been outlined in the Community Standards section of this handbook. Students should interpret the scope of community standards in the broadest sense.

Jurisdiction of the Institution

Disciplinary action may be taken if off-campus behavior adversely affects the institution in the pursuit of its objectives or violates existing local, state, or federal laws or ordinances.

If the activities of students result in violations of law, students are responsible for their actions and for any consequences imposed by authorities outside the institution. When student behavior is in violation of law and of the Community Standards, the institution reserves the right to take disciplinary action independent of, and in addition to, any action by civil or governmental agencies. The institution may elect to delay on- campus disciplinary action pending resolution of criminal charges.

Judicial Authority

Responsibility for administration of the disciplinary process rests with Dean of Students. Upon a complaint or allegation of student misconduct, a judicial body may be appointed by the Dean of Students or an authorized designee to investigate the charge and recommend sanctions if a violation has occurred.

The term “judicial body” shall be used to identify any person or persons authorized by the Dean of Students to determine whether a student has violated the Community Standards and to determine sanctions. In most cases, the judicial body used to hear a case shall be a Discipline Review Committee appointed by the Dean of Students consisting of a faculty member, an administrator and a student appointed by the president of the Student Government Association.

In cases where a violation is admitted, a clear precedent exists, and there are no complicating factors, a decision shall be issued by the Dean of Students or an authorized designee. Cases involving denial of responsibility or conflicting evidence will be heard by a Discipline Review Committee. In some cases, the individual accused may elect to have a hearing before a Discipline Review Committee, or an administrative hearing.

In all cases, the purpose of the judicial body is to determine whether a violation has occurred, and, if so,  to assign responsibility and determine the nature of the sanction.

At the time a complaint is received, or at any time thereafter, during, or at the termination of the proceedings, RGS may drop disciplinary proceedings and leave the complainant to pursue remedies through criminal or civil authorities.

Judicial Proceedings Rights of the Accused

If the need for a hearing arises, accused students have the right:

·         To have the hearing within a reasonable period of time after a charge is filed

·         To receive notice of the time and place of the hearing and of specific charges

·         To appear in person and present information on their own behalf, to call witnesses, and to ask questions of anyone present at the hearing. In determining responsibility for the alleged violation, RGS will permit witnesses of fact, but not of character

·         To elect not to attend a hearing; in such cases, the hearing shall be conducted solely on the basis of  the evidence available

·         To refuse to answer or make a statement; however, decisions will be based on the evidence available

·         To have at the hearing a member of the faculty, administration or Student Government Association who may provide support but not participate in the hearing; individuals other than those listed above, such as family members and attorneys, will not be admitted

·         To receive written documentation of the outcome of a hearing and any sanctions imposed

·         To request an appeal of the outcome of a hearing

Rights of the Accuser

In a case involving one student bringing charges against another, the complainant also is afforded certain rights; these consist of the right

·         To be treated with dignity and seriousness

·         To be reasonably free of intimidation that may occur because of a case

·         In a case of sexual assault, to be informed of the status and outcome of the case

·         To have at the hearing a member of the faculty, administration or student body, who may provide support but not participate in the hearing; individuals other than those listed above, such as family members and attorneys, will not be admitted

·         To receive or be referred to appropriate support services

Charges and Hearings

Any member of the RGS community may file charges against any student for misconduct. Charges shall be prepared in writing and forwarded to the Vice President, the Dean of Students or their designee. Any charge should be submitted as soon as possible after the event occurs.

The Dean of Students or designee shall determine the appropriate judicial body for hearing the case. The hearing process shall include:

·         Written or other appropriate notice of the hearing for the accused student

·         Notice of the charges

·         The opportunity for the person charged to defend against the charges and to present witnesses having direct testimony concerning the charges

·         The opportunity for the person charged to be accompanied by a faculty, administrative or student member of the RGS community, who may support the accused student or accuser but not participate in the hearing

·         A recorded version of the proceedings, if deemed appropriate

Deliberations and Decisions

A finding of responsibility for a violation must be supported by the majority of the members of a disciplinary panel or by the sole member of an administrative hearing. The criterion of “preponderance of the evidence” shall be used to determine responsibility when the evidence suggests that the alleged violation was more likely to have occurred than not.

Upon reaching a verdict of responsibility, a judicial body shall determine the sanction.

Students will receive written notification of any decision and the sanction to be imposed. Copies of disciplinary letters will be placed in the student’s file.

RGS is required (as a result of the Higher Education Act of 2008), upon written request, to disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, or to the alleged victim’s next of kin (if the victim dies as a result of the crime or offense), the final results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding dealing with that crime or offense.

Sanctions

The following pages suggest the range of official actions that may be imposed for violation of RGS regulations or expectations. One or more sanctions may be imposed in any given case. A statement concerning suggested minimum sanctions for specific violations has been prepared by RGS and is updated periodically.

It should be noted that the RGS refund policy directs that when a student has been suspended or expelled from RGS for disciplinary reasons, refunds are not available. The definitions of terms are as follows:

·         Warning: a notice in writing that a regulation has been violated.

·         Restitution: compensation for loss, damage or injury, in the form of appropriate service, monetary or material replacement, or both.

·         Developmental Sanctions: work assignments, service to RGS, reflection papers, counseling sessions, etc.

·         Suspension: separation of the student from RGS for a specified period of time during which the student will not be allowed to participate in RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS- owned property. Notification of suspension will not be maintained on the student’s transcript during the period of suspension.

·         Interim Suspension: separation of the student from RGS during which the student will not be allowed to participate in RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS-owned property until a review hearing is conducted or a judicial board hearing is conducted for a case.

·         Expulsion: permanent separation of the student from RGS. Notice of expulsion shall not appear on the student’s transcript. The student will not be allowed to participate in any RGS-sponsored activity and will be barred from all RGS-owned property.

Appeals

The student and RGS have the right to request an appeal for a hearing decision. Students wishing to appeal must make their request in writing. Appeals must be received by the Dean of Students within five class days of receipt of the original hearing verdict. The Dean of Students shall evaluate the written appeal to determine whether grounds exist (as stated below).

Appeals of cases for which grounds have been recognized by the Dean of Students are generally heard by an Appeal Board appointed by the Dean of Students The Appeal Board can modify a sanction or call for a re-hearing of the case. The decision of the Board in these instances is final, except in cases involving suspension or expulsion from RGS, in which case a final appeal may be made to the President of RGS.

Appeals shall be limited to a review of the record of the hearing and its supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:

·         To determine whether the original hearing was fair in its proceedings,

·         To determine if a decision was made contrary to the evidence presented

·         To evaluate the appropriateness of the sanction

·         To consider new evidence that may alter the outcome of the case; in this instance, only the new evidence may be heard by the Appeal Board

Procedure for Student Appeals Concerning Grades

In the event a student believes that an instructor has improperly evaluated a test, paper and/or course grade, the following steps constitute the process to be undertaken:

1.  The student is to confer with the faculty member who gave the evaluation. That discussion is to be a face-to-face opportunity unless circumstances warrant a mutually agreed upon exception;

(a)  If the discussion results in the student’s accepting the faculty member’s evaluation(s), the evaluation(s) will be sustained;

(b)  In the event the faculty member agrees that the evaluation was not proper and merits a change, then s/he makes the appropriate changes. If the issue involves a change of an already submitted course grade and the faculty member agrees to an adjustment in the course grade, the faculty member is to inform the Dean of Academics and to state the reasons for requesting such a change. The Dean of Academics will inform the Registrar of such a change;

(c)  If the faculty member decides that the original evaluation(s) is to stand, and the student contests that decision, the student is to submit a written appeal to the Dean of Academics;

2.  The student’s appeal is to include the course syllabus, a clear statement of the assignment(s), reasons for appealing the instructor’s decisions, and presentation of any paper(s), and tests that are relevant to the appeal. In order for reviewers of the appeal to come to appropriate conclusions, the paper(s) are to be both un-annotated copies by the instructor’s comments and annotated by the instructor;

3.  Following the submission of the materials indicated above, the Dean of Academics will appoint a Review Committee that will consist of two RGS faculty members (full time or adjunct), and a non- RGS faculty/staff member who is conversant with the appropriate academic field and research techniques. The members of the Review Committee will review the submitted materials;

4.  Upon completion of its examination of the materials, the Review Committee will interview both the student and the faculty member to discuss the evaluation(s) and the materials as these relate to the evaluation(s);

5.  Within 14 days after the interview(s) the Review Committee will inform the student, the faculty member and the Dean of Academics in writing of its decision to either sustain the evaluation(s) or grant the appeal; and

6.  If the student contests the Review Committee’s decision, s/he may petition the President for a decision. The student is to furnish the President with the same materials given to the Review Committee and reasons for rejecting the decision of the Review Committee. The President’s decision will be final.

* If an appeal involves an evaluation(s)by the Dean of Academics, the Vice President shall step into the roles noted above for the Dean of Academics.

Procedures for Resolving Student Allegations of Discrimination

Student complaints that discrimination has occurred will be reviewed as follows:

Informal Procedures

·         Students who believe that academic discrimination has occurred should discuss the matter with their advisor

·         Students who believe that discrimination of a non-academic nature has occurred should discuss the matter with the Dean of Students.

It may be that discussion at this level, supplemented by the gathering of appropriate information, will result in a resolution of the matter to the students’ satisfaction

Formal Procedures

If the matter is not resolved within a reasonable period of time to the satisfaction of the student, formal procedures may be instituted.

·         Cases of an academic nature should be submitted with documentation to the Dean of Academics for resolution by the Academic Standards Committee

·         Cases of a non-academic nature should be submitted to the Dean of Students for resolution by one of RGS’s adjudication forums

Co-Curricular Life

Co-curricular activities greatly enhance the value of the RGS experience. The rewards of involvement are many: making new friends, exploring new interests, developing talents, learning by doing, establishing valuable contacts, contributing to RGS and the greater community, and combining social and academic interests in ways that are personally rewarding. Students are encouraged to develop interest groups and other associations that do not conflict with RGS’s mission, vision and mandates. The Dean of Students is to be informed about, and to approve, the formal establishment of any such group.

Student Government Association (SGA)

The major student organization will be the Student Government Association. The purpose of the organization is to foster leadership skills, develop positive relationships among RGS students, organize social and service activities for members, and encourage student-faculty cooperation. All students enrolled at RGS will be members of the SGA and will be eligible to vote on matters presented to the student body. Officers, elected annually by the members, will lead the organization to fulfill its  objectives.

Student Participation in Institutional Government

As constituents of the RGS community, students are free, individually and collectively, to express views on issues of RGS policy and on matters of general interest to the student body through the governance organizations established to participate in the formulation and application of RGS policies, regulations and procedures. Students are welcome to carry their views on RGS policies to their representatives on faculty committees and the Board of Trustees.

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 other RGS authorities, as well as of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world. The Board has ultimate responsibility for all activities undertaken with the financial support of RGS. The following general concepts shall guide the relationship between RGS and student publications:

·         Student publications shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers shall be free to develop editorial policies subject to the responsibility to abide by  established principles of journalistic ethics and practice and to avoid violating the rights or liberties of persons by defamatory expression, undocumented allegations, harassment, invasion of privacy, or violation of the community.

·         Editors and managers of student publications shall be protected from suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or publication content, so long as the standards set forth in the previous paragraph are met. Editors and managers shall be subject to removal only in accordance with the established policies, regulations and procedures of RGS.

·         All RGS-published or financed student publications shall state on their editorial page(s) that the opinions therein expressed are not necessarily those of RGS or the RGS community.

Student Recreational and Cultural Opportunities

RGS encourages students to participate and/or make use of recreational facilities in the Lehigh Valley. Allentown and Bethlehem have excellent free public park systems replete with walking trails, bicycle paths, basketball courts, and soccer fields. And the Lehigh Valley in general, is a significant cultural area. The Bethlehem and Allentown Public Libraries are free and open to student memberships. Excellent art museums and galleries can be found, both as free-standing institutions and institutions affiliated with the area’s colleges and universities.

Every year, the following scholarships will be made available to full-time degree students of the Master of Arts in Islamic Studies Program (MAIS). The scholarships are merit-based and the decision for the applications will be made prior to each Fall Semester. A student must register for at least 9.0 credits per semester in order to maintain full-time status at RGS.

Abu Hanifa Scholarship:

One full-time student at RGS will be awarded an Abu Hanifa Scholarship. This scholarship includes a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of $1,000 per month until graduation, for up to 21 months.

Hasan Basri Scholarship:

Two full-time students at RGS will be awarded a Hasan Basri Scholarship. This scholarship includes a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of $1,000 per month until graduation, for up to 16 months.

Students receiving this scholarship will be expected to work 20 hours per week during the academic year as an assistant at RGS.

Scholarships are a merit-based form of financial aid. Those granted one of these awards are to maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA score in order to continue to receive financial aid.

Applicants for scholarships should complete the Online Application Form for Scholarships and include a statement indicating how the scholarship may contribute to their anticipated achievements in the field of Islamic Studies.

The deadline for submission of the application is August 1st.

Upon completion of the application, the applicant will receive an email stating the status of their application and the expected timeframe for a final decision. The admission committee may require an interview with the applicant and/or a GRE score in order to make a decision. Applicants who already have a GRE score are encouraged to submit it along with their application.

TUITION DISCOUNT OR WAIVER

Besides the scholarship plans, RGS may award applicants with a tuition discount or tuition waiver based on available funds and student need.

Applicants for tuition discount or waiver should complete the Online Application Form for Tuition Waiver or Discount, and include a statement indicating the reason of need for a tuition discount or waiver.

The deadline for submission of the application is August 1st.

Upon completion of the application, the applicant will receive an email stating the status of their application and the expected timeframe for a final decision. The admission committee may require an interview with the applicant and/or a recommendation letter in order to make a decision.

Other than these services, the Dean of Students will provide information and guidelines for obtaining funding from governmental and non-governmental sources.

RGS expects all members of its community to act in respectful and responsible ways toward each other, so that all students at RGS can pursue their academic, social and work activities without fear or intimidation. Therefore, RGS is dedicated to providing optimum information and resources to educate students about sexual violence and its prevention.

The Dean of Students is responsible for connecting students with appropriate medical and mental health treatment, helping students report offenses to the police and informing them on how to pursue  disciplinary action, assisting students with accessing support services, and supporting students for their emotional needs.

The Dean of Students conducts a sexual assault awareness and prevention program annually for all incoming students during the first week of classes. In this sexual assault/misconduct education, students shall be informed about the following matters:

  • The Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Policy and RGS’s commitment to enforce it
  • Steps to minimize individual risk of sexual assault
  • Matters regarding responsibility for reporting sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses
  • The process for reporting sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses
  • Ways to obtain knowledge regarding sexual assault issues and the reporting process
  • Resources that are available to students who have been sexually assaulted
  • Ways to support peer presence
  • Ongoing wellness promotion programs that address topics such as sexual health and wellness, and drug and alcohol abuse

During each academic year, RGS’s Sexual Harassment Policy shall be published in the catalog, and the Sexual Harassment Policy shall be discussed with all students, faculty and staff members. As a result, faculty, students and staff shall be able to:

  • Identify behavior that might be considered sexual harassment
  • Explain the legal and other consequences of sexual harassment
  • State what actions to take against sexual harassment
  • Describe appropriate policies and procedures on sexual harassment

All new employees hired after February 1, 2015, are also expected to complete sexual harassment awareness training within thirty days of their hire date.

Compliance with the Uniform Crime Reporting Act Reporting Requirement

RGS, in compliance with the Uniform Crime Act, publishes an annual report for current and prospective students and employees. This report contains important safety information and crime statistics for each year. These statistics pertain to reported crimes that have occurred on the RGS campus, in certain non- campus buildings or properties that are owned or controlled by RGS, and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus.

RGS requires faculty, staff, students and guests to report any illegal or suspicious activity in a timely manner to any available RGS administrator. The administrator shall inform the Campus Facilities Manager, who will take appropriate action, which may include notification of the Bethlehem Police Department. The campus community is also required to notify officials of any situation or incident on campus that involves a significant emergency or dangerous situation that may pose an immediate or ongoing threat to the health and safety of anyone on campus or to campus property. Reports of any criminal activity will be reported annually.

Under the Act, RGS reports annually, no later than March 1, the following criminal offenses to the Facilities Manager or local police: (1) murder, (2) sex offenses, forcible or non-forcible, (3) robbery, (4) aggravated assault, (5) burglary, (6) motor vehicle theft, (7) manslaughter, (8) arson, and (9) arrests or persons referred for drug-related violations and/or possession of illegal weapons.

In addition, RGS will report any hate crimes. A reportable hate crime consists of larceny/theft; simple assault; intimidation; and destruction, damage, or vandalism of property; or a crime involving bodily injury to any person, as well as any crime in the nine categories listed above, in which the victim is intentionally selected because of his or her actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) requires institutions to report “specified on-campus crimes that were reported to local police agencies or to any official of the institution with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.” RGS self-designates those who fall into this category, including the following:

·         The President

·         All other administrators, including Deans

·         All faculty/administration advisors to student organizations

RGS Registrar

The Registrar manages scheduling for students and course registration. The office maintains academic records, posts grades on the campus network, and provides transcripts upon written request. The registrar also processes course additions and withdrawals, parent and student name and address changes, declarations of major, changes of major, graduation certification, diploma orders, veteran certifications, verifications of enrollment, loan deferments and approvals of summer study at other institutions. The office also provides forms and information for internships and independent study.

The Registrar will generate annually a “Program Follow-Up Report Concerning Career Placement.

As part of the data collection upon enrollment, students will be asked to provide their employment history and their current employment. This data will be placed in the student’s records and will be updated as needed during their education at RGS.

The Registrar will generate a “Program Follow-Up” report each academic year and send the report to the administrative staff. If additional follow-up is needed, the Registrar will attempt to contact any students, and even instructors if needed, to further complete the follow-up.

Follow-up survey results will then be collected, evaluated and entered in the student information system by the Registrar.

If a student leaves the graduate program without formally withdrawing, withdrawal information will be created by the Registrar using the best available information.

Follow-Up after Placement and Evaluation Procedures

Follow-up surveys will be conducted with graduates and employers of graduates to provide data for program effectiveness, various modes of delivery, and relevance to job requirements. This data will then be used to evaluate and improve the quality of program outcomes and to gauge the success of the institute’s achievement of its objectives.

Class Cancellation Policy

Cancellations of individual class meetings, whether due to inclement weather or not, will be posted on RGS’s web portal (Populi) in a timely manner. Students may also opt to receive text message  notifications regarding cancelations by adding their cellular number to their Populi account.

Confidentiality Obligations of Student Workers

Student employees may at times have access to confidential information regarding students, employees and/or the business of the institution. Accordingly, they will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they understand the privacy of all such information and agree to uphold this obligation. Violation of confidentiality by student employees may result in termination of employment and/or subsequent disciplinary action.