Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Section 1.


Academic institutions exist for the creation and transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Civil discourse, free inquiry, and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. The University of Louisville pursues those purposes within the University’s shared values and principles as articulated in the Cardinal Principles below.

The Cardinal Principles

–C– Let us be a University that is a Community of Care. Care for self, care for one another as the Cardinal Family and care for the community beyond. We are a community—not just a collection of individuals. We are a community—not just buildings connected by an HVAC system.

–A– Accountability. We keep our promises. We own mistakes. We are accountable to the team.

–R– Respect, irrespective of position. We respect each other’s humanity and dignity, no matter what our positions in the organization are. We also respect our right to differing and conflicting positions on issues. We will be a place that prepares students for ideas, not protects students from ideas.

–D– Diversity and Inclusion. We celebrate diversity of thought, perspectives and life experiences. As our state motto declares: United We Stand, Divided We Fall. We want everyone, in the richness of all of their many unique and intersecting identities to feel included in the Cardinal fold.

–I– Integrity and Transparency. We will be true to our mission of an urban research university to create, disseminate and apply knowledge. Integrity is our collective commitment to make decisions with the best interests of our university in mind and to share the decision-making rationale and the outcomes.

–N– Noble Purpose. Each of us will identify for ourselves the way in which we make a difference. We know we must solve the problems of access and affordability to give everyone the opportunity to find and pursue their own noble purpose.

–A– Agility. We will recognize that things change and when they do, we must change things. We know that when adaptation in an organization does not keep pace with adaptation in the environment, the organization will not survive.

–L– Leadership. We recognize that management is a position, but leadership is an activity. We will all behave as owners of the University of Louisville because we are. “We are UofL” is not just a hashtag or a slogan. It is our declaration of leadership and ownership.

The Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities aligns with and supports the Cardinal Principles. Examples include facilitating a community of care by articulating a shared set of expectations, sensitively supporting the well-being of students with rules and processes responsive to current issues, and fostering accountability by expecting all students to adhere to these expectations.

The Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities further aligns with these principles by conveying rules that support free speech, that respect our right to differing and conflicting positions on issues and that allow us to be a university that prepares students to think and to process ideas which they encounter throughout life.

Additionally, the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities embraces these principles by articulating rules that support diversity and inclusion by protecting diversity of thought and affirming civility in our daily interactions. And lastly, agility is exhibited by reviewing this code on a regular basis and adapting to the inevitably changing and evolving needs and concerns of our campus and the wider community.

University of Louisville student community members are expected to uphold and abide by the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities. Consistent with the University's mission and culture, the purposes of the Code are to:

  • Provide for the advancement of knowledge and the development of ethical, sensitive, and responsible persons
  • Promote a campus environment that supports the health and safety of the University of Louisville community
  • Establish standards of personal conduct that facilitate development for all students
  • Provide formal and informal pathways for members of the Cardinal community to hold each other accountable
  • Recognize that students’ relationship within the University of Louisville academic community should reflect adult behavior
  • Sustain a culture in which students and student organizations accept their obligations to the community and are expected to act in ways that benefit the common good.

A student who chooses to enroll at the University of Louisville becomes a member of this academic community and assumes the obligation for conduct that is compatible with the University’s mission as a public educational institution. Consistent with the role of the University to educate its students and to stimulate student autonomy and independence, University regulation and supervision of student life on and off campus are limited. The University does not assume responsibility or liability for the conduct of its students; responsibility and liability for student conduct rests with the student as inherent attributes of the student’s adult status, along with the student’s freedom of choice regarding presence at the University and the student’s individual conduct and associations.

The Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities is set forth in writing to provide students with general notice of their rights and responsibilities at the University of Louisville. Further rights and responsibilities are set forth in other University rules and policies, including the Code of Student Conduct, Student Handbook, Residence Hall contracts, graduate and undergraduate and professional school catalogs, and academic unit websites. Students should consult with the Dean of Students Office and with their academic units if they have any questions about the purposes or intent of these policies.

Section 2.


When Used in this Code:

A. The term “academic dishonesty” means obtaining or seeking to obtain an unfair academic advantage for oneself or for any other student; it includes lying, cheating, stealing, or engaging in otherwise dishonest conduct in the course of or related to any academic exercise.

B. The term “academic exercise” means any test, quiz, examination, speech, presentation, paper, field or laboratory work, or any other academic activity on which a student is evaluated in a course.

C. The term “group” means a number of persons who are associated with each other and who have not complied with the University requirements for recognition as an organization.

D. The term “organization” means a number of persons who are associated with each other and who have complied with the University requirements for recognition.

E. The term “student” means any person taking courses at the University, either full time or part time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate or extension studies on a regular quarter, semester, or summer term basis.

F. The term “student broadcast” means oral material published on a student operated radio or television station.

G. The term “student press” means either a student publication or a student broadcast.

H. The term “student publication” means written material published by a student organization.

I. The term “instructor” means any person hired by the University to conduct classroom activities. In certain situations, a person may be both “student” and “instructor.” A person’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the circumstances under consideration.

J. The term “University” means the University of Louisville and, collectively, those responsible for its control and operation.

Section 3.

Admission and Financial Aid

All applicants for admission and financial aid to the University shall be considered without regard for race, sex, age, color, national origin, political beliefs, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, pregnancy, or veteran status–except where sex, age, or ability represent bona fide educational qualifications.

Section 4.

Classroom Rights and Responsibilities

A. A student shall be evaluated on demonstrated knowledge and academic performance, and not on the basis of personal or political beliefs or on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or handicap not affecting academic performance.

B. A student has freedom of inquiry, of legitimate classroom discussion, and of free expression of the student’s opinion, subject to the instructor’s responsibilities to maintain order and to complete the course requirements.

C. A student is responsible for fulfilling the stated requirements of all courses in which he or she is enrolled.

D. A student has the right:

1. to be provided, at the first or second class meeting, with a syllabus explaining the course requirements, assignments, standards and methods used in evaluating the student’s academic performance and classroom rules and expectations; be informed in writing of any necessary changes in assignments, requirements, or methods of grading during the semester with the reasons for such changes. be provided a substantive academic evaluation before the course withdrawal deadline (Section 4.D3 only applies to undergraduate students).

E. A student has the right to confidentiality in the student/instructor relationship regarding the student’s political beliefs. However, if there is a potential violation of law, University policy, or a safety concern for self or others, then an instructor can disclose such information. Barring such circumstances, disclosures of a student’s political beliefs, expressed in writing or in private conversation, shall not be made public without explicit permission of the student.

F. A student has the right to know how course fees are allocated and provide feedback on its classroom impact. Charges of violations of these classroom rights and responsibilities shall be handled through the appropriate academic unit level procedures.

Section 5.

Academic Dishonesty

The University of Louisville pursues excellence in its work to educate and serve its community with integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited at the University of Louisville because it diminishes the quality of scholarship, prohibits independent thought that is essential to intellectual growth and development, makes accurate evaluation of student progress impossible, and defrauds those in society who must ultimately depend upon the knowledge and integrity of the institution and its students and faculty.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following:

A. Cheating:

1 . Using or attempting to use books, notes, study aids, calculators, or any other documents, devices, or information in any academic exercise without prior authorization by the instructor.

2. Copying or attempting to copy from another person’s paper, report, laboratory work, computer program, or other work material in any academic exercise.

3. Procuring or using tests or examinations, or any other information regarding the content of a test or examination, before the scheduled exercise without prior authorization by the instructor.

4. Unauthorized communication during any academic exercise. Except when otherwise explicitly stated by the instructor, examination questions shall become public after they have been given.

5. Discussing the contents of tests or examinations with students who have not yet taken the tests or examinations if the instructor has forbidden such discussion.

6. Sending a substitute to take one’s examination, test, or quiz, or to perform one’s field or laboratory work; acting as a substitute for another student at any examination, test, or quiz, or at a field or laboratory work assignment.

7. Conducting research or preparing work for another student, or allowing others to conduct one’s research or prepare one’s work, without prior authorization by the instructor.

B. Fabrication: Inventing or making up data, research results, information, or procedures, including a record or any portion thereof regarding internship, clinical, or practicum experience.

C. Falsification: Altering or falsifying information, such as:

1 .Changing grade reports or other academic records.

2. Altering the record of experimental procedures, data, or results.

3. Altering the record of or reporting false information about internship, clinical, or practicum experiences.

4. Forging someone’s signature or identification on an academic record.

5. Altering a returned examination paper in order to claim that the examination was graded erroneously.

6. Falsely citing a source of information.

D. Multiple Submission: The submission of substantial portions of the same academic work, including oral reports, for credit more than once without prior authorization by the instructors involved.

E. Plagiarism: Representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in any academic exercise, such as:

1. Submitting as one’s own a paper written by another person or by a commercial “ghost writing” service,

2. Exactly reproducing someone else’s words without identifying the words with quotation marks or by appropriate indentation, or without properly citing the quotation in a footnote or reference.

3. Paraphrasing or summarizing someone else’s work without acknowledging the source with a footnote or reference.

4. Using facts, data, graphs, charts, or other information without acknowledging the source with a footnote or reference. Borrowed facts or information obtained in one’s research or reading must be acknowledged unless they are “common knowledge.” Clear examples of “common knowledge” include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, and the meaning of fundamental concepts and principles in a discipline. The specific audience for which a paper is written may determine what can be viewed as “common knowledge:” for example, the facts commonly known by a group of chemists will differ radically from those known by a more general audience. Students should check with their instructors regarding what can be viewed as “common knowledge” within a specific field or assignment, but often the student will have to make the final judgment. When in doubt, footnotes or references should be used.

F. Complicity in Academic Dishonesty: Helping or attempting to commit an academically dishonest act. The academic units may have additional guidelines regarding academic dishonesty. It is the student’s responsibility to check with their instructors and academic units to obtain those guidelines.

Section 6.

Discipline Procedures for Academic Dishonesty

Charges of academic dishonesty shall be handled through the appropriate academic unit level procedures. An academic unit that determines that a student is responsible for academic dishonesty may impose any academic punishment on the student that it sees fit, including suspension or expulsion from the academic unit. A student has no right to appeal the final decision of an academic unit. However, a student who believes that he or she has been treated unfairly, has been discriminated against, or has had his or her rights abridged by the academic unit may file a grievance with the Unit Academic Grievance Committee, pursuant to the provisions of the Student Academic Grievance Procedure; the Unit Academic Grievance Committee may not substitute its judgment on the merits for the judgment of the academic unit.

An academic unit that suspends or expels a student from the academic unit because the student has been found responsible for academic dishonesty may recommend to the University Provost or designee in writing that the student also be suspended or expelled from all other programs and academic units of the University. Within four weeks of receiving such a recommendation, the Provost shall issue a written decision. Neither the student nor the academic unit shall have the right to appeal the Provost’s decision.

Section 7.

Freedom of Expression

This section of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities illuminates First Amendment rights of students and student organizations. These rights align with values that are woven into the fabric of our University: freedom of inquiry, diversity of thought, and inclusiveness. Without the free ability of its members to hear, express, and debate different ideas and points of view, the University would lack the culture of free inquiry that lies at the foundation of the academic enterprise. Without the tenacious pursuit and maintenance of a diverse academic community inclusive of many intersecting identities, the educational enterprise is diminished, the aspirations of our values are unmet, and the educational experience for students is lacking. These values are articulated in the UofL Redbook and the Cardinal Principles:

UofL Redbook:

  • “Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees of the University an obligation to adhere to standards of academic honesty, to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression both on and off the campus.” (UofL Redbook Sec. 2.5.1)

Cardinal Principles:

  • Respect: … “We also respect our right to differing and conflicting positions on issues. We will be a place that prepares students for ideas, not protects students from ideas.”
  • Diversity and Inclusion: “We celebrate diversity of thought, perspectives and life experiences. As our state motto declares: United We Stand, Divided We Fall. We want everyone, in the richness of all of their many unique and intersecting identities to feel included in the Cardinal fold.” (Cardinal Principles: Respect; Diversity and Inclusion).

With the aforementioned in mind, the following applies:

A. Students or student organizations have the right of freedom of expression to the extent allowed by law.

B. Students or student organizations may picket or demonstrate for a cause. These demonstrations are subject to and accountable to the following conditions which are reflective of the Cardinal Principles of Accountability and Respect:

  1. The students or student organizations must act in an orderly and peaceful manner.
  2. The students or student organizations must not in any way interfere with the proper functioning of the University.
  3. When students or student organizations demonstrate in an area not traditionally used as an open public forum, the University reserves the right to make reasonable restrictions as to time, place, and manner of the student demonstrations.
  4. Students or student organizations found to have intentionally or recklessly disrupted or interfered with public speaking, approved demonstrations, or other forms of freedom of expression, in violation of the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities, will be subject to disciplinary action.

C. Students or student organizations may distribute written material on campus without prior approval, except as noted in below in (D), providing such distribution does not disrupt the operations of the University or violate University rules.

D. In light of the designation of classrooms, laboratories, and other instructional spaces on campus as limited public spaces dedicated to speech for teaching, learning, and research, distribution of literature and posting of announcements in those spaces is restricted to material posted on behalf of a University of Louisville office, department, or Registered Student Organization. Postings and distributions must not interfere with the orderly conduct of classes, research, and other academic activity in the space. Literature and postings must clearly display the name of the UofL entity, and that entity is responsible for removing postings within two days after an announced event.

E. Students or student organizations may invite to campus speakers of their choice on subjects of their choice; approval will not be withheld by any University official for the purpose of censorship. The student or student organization must be present with the guest speaker during the event. The University reserves the right to make reasonable time, place and manner restrictions to activities that pose a risk to personal safety, university property, or facility security.

Section 8.

Student Press

A. The student press is a vehicle to express and discuss news that occurs on campus and globally, student concerns, and student opinions. The student press is free to deal openly, fearlessly, and responsibly with issues of interest and importance to the academic community. There shall be no prior approval of student press content by the University.

B. The student press is responsible for adhering to the canons of responsible journalism and for complying with the law. Student publications and broadcasts shall not publish libelous or slanderous matter, or any other content that violates the law.

C. All student publications and broadcasts shall explicitly state that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University or its student body.

D. Students may not be disciplined by the University for their participation with the student press except for violations of University rules that are not inconsistent with the guarantees contained herein.

Section 9.

University Facilities

Appropriate University facilities shall be available to organizations within the University community for regular business meetings, for social programs, and for programs open to the public.

A. Reasonable conditions may be imposed to regulate the timeliness of requests, to determine the appropriateness of the space assigned, to regulate time and use, and to insure proper maintenance. The University reserves the right to make reasonable restrictions to activities that pose a risk to personal safety, university property, or facility security.

B. Events must be registered with the Office of Student Involvement. The registration form is located on the Office of Student Involvement website at

C. Preference may be given to programs designed for audiences consisting primarily of members of the University community.

D. Allocation of space shall be made based on priority of requests and the demonstrated needs of the organization.

E. Charges may be imposed for any unusual costs for use of facilities.

F. Physical abuse of assigned facilities may result in reasonable limitations on future allocation of space to offending parties and will require restitution of damages.

G. The organization requesting space must inform the University of the general purpose of any meeting open to persons other than members and the names of outside speakers.

Section 10.

Use of University Name and Insignia

No individual, group, or organization may use the University of Louisville name or insignia without the express authorization of the University except to identify its affiliation with the University. University approval or disapproval of any policy or issue may not be stated or implied by any individual, group, or organization.

Section 11.

Campus Residence Facilities

Students have the right of privacy in campus residence facilities.

A. Nothing in the University relationship or residence hall contract may expressly or implicitly give the institution or residence hall officials authority to consent to search of a student’s room or residence by police or other law enforcement officials unless they have obtained a search warrant.

B. The University reserves the right to enter a student’s room in a residence hall or a student’s apartment in a campus residence: in emergencies where imminent danger to life, safety, health, or property is reasonably feared; to make necessary repairs, improvements, or alterations in the facility; to provide necessary pest control services; or to inspect the facility as deemed necessary by the University.

Section 12.

FERPA/Privacy Guidelines

The confidentiality of all student records shall be preserved in accordance with privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Section 13.

Recognized Student Organizations

Organizations and groups may be established within the University for any legal purpose. Affiliation with an extramural organization shall not, in itself, disqualify the University branch or chapter from University privileges. A student group shall become a formally recognized student organization through procedures established by the Student Government Association, upon approval of the Dean of Students.

A. Groups of a continuing nature must institute proceedings for formal recognition if they are to receive benefits from the University.

B. Recognition of an organization by the University confers neither approval nor disapproval of the aims, objectives, and policies of the organization, nor liability for the actions of the organization.

C. Membership in all University-related organizations shall be open to any member of the University community who is willing to subscribe to the stated aims and meet the stated obligations of the organization, provided such aims and obligations are lawful.

D. Names and addresses of current organization members shall be reported to the University as a condition of continuing University recognition.

E. Whether on or off campus, any organization that engages in activities either that are illegal or contrary to any University policy may have sanctions imposed against it, including withdrawal of University recognition.

Section 14.

Promulgation of University Rules Affecting Students

Rules and policies affecting students shall be published in the Student Handbook, in the appropriate University website, or in any other appropriate publication prior to their enforcement. Included in the Student Handbook are the following: Academic Grievance Procedure, Code of Student Conduct, Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Policy on Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages for Recognized Student Organizations, Hazing and Initiation Activities Policy, Non-academic Grievance Policy and the Sexual Harassment Policy. The Student Handbook is available online at:

Approved July 16, 2020