Legal and Ethical Issues

Graduates should possess a broad understanding of the legal foundations and constraints which affect College Student Affairs practice. Specifically, students should possess:

  • an understanding of the federal and state regulatory environments in which institutions of higher education operate;
  • an understanding of the major constitutional issues involved in college student affairs administration;
  • an understanding of the basic liability and contractual issues involved in college student affairs practice.

Ethical Issue Investigation
In the course, Legal and Ethical Issues in College Student Affairs, I chose to investigate the rules and policies of one conservative, Christian institution to determine if the school crossed any ethical or even legal boundaries. The institution appears to be abiding by the “common-good” approach and implement such rules for the good of the community, as to not tempt anyone to sin (Rawls, 1996). Despite the audaciously strict policies such as limiting what staff and faculty members’ children can wear and at what times student may date, technically no laws have been broken. The school is a private institution that mandates all enrolled students, staff and faculty sign a contract prior to enrolling or working at the institution – this includes abiding by the austere policies (Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education, 1961). However, the one area of practice that I believe verges on good ethics is how the university informs (or does not inform) its students of its unaccredited status. A typical high school student does not know to inquire if a campus is accredited or not, nor do they know the repercussions of an unaccredited school, but once they find out, it can be devastating. Please read the full paper for details.

Ethical Issues in an Unacreddited Institution

Risk Management
Risk management takes on multiple forms at an institution because of the numerous roles a campus plays. For example, during a photo shoot for university publications at the University of La Verne, we made sure each student signed a release form. In addition, when we have prospective students spend the night on campus, we have them sign a release of liability form. In an upcoming overnight program, we anticipate there may be a few students (current and/or prospective) that may get carried away in the residence halls. It is both Residence Life and the Office of Admission’s responsiblity to have an assumption of duty for these student guests and their duty to care. Therefore, all admission counselors will have their cell phones on all night along with two counselors spending the night at a local hotel in case for whatever reason, a prospective student may have to be sent home as it will then be out of the hands of the on-call residence advisors.

Release of Reliabilty Form – Minors
Release of Reliability Form – Adults

Sexual Harassment Training
In the course, Legal and Ethical Issues in College Student Affairs, our group created a workshop to educated male student leaders on campus in the area of sexual harassment due to the alarming statistics of those who are sexually harassed in college – both male and female victims. Our presentation entailed formal statistics and research findings regarding sexual harassment amongst college students, but we also asked students their thoughts on camera. In addition we made it clear that men can also be sexually assaulted and illustrated men’s reactions to being sexually harassed. Laws such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 were highlighted and their implication on student affairs.

Sexual Harassment Training Presentation
Sexual Harassment Resources


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