Student Policies

Cishella Durling: Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series. My name is Cishella Durling, and I will be your host again today. And I'm very excited to introduce you all to Byron Lightsy, who is the director of Student Care and Conduct here at the University of Louisville from the Dean of Students Office, and the topic today is going to be student policies and why it is vital for students to be familiar with the student policies. So, we're going to jump right on in. And my first question for you, Byron is what are the key rights and responsibilities that students should know about within the University of Louisville policies?

Byron Lightsy: Well, Cishella, thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you today. As you said, my name is Byron Lightsy, Director for Student Care and Student Conduct in the Dean of Students Office. I've been the director almost two years now, and prior to that I served as student care and conduct coordinator here in the office for about 3 years, I guess.

So, in answering your question as to key responsibilities or key policies, I don't know that there's just one key policy as students are responsible for being aware of all policies that are published and approved by university entities and or officials, and they can vary from place to place. You know, there's certain policies within the library, something may be different in the Speed School. But students are ultimately responsible for knowing all those published rules and policies here in the Dean of Students office, like we have oversight for probably some of the larger ones that are more concerning to students, possibly which would be the Code of Student Conduct and the Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Code of Student Conduct is the policy regarding student nonacademic misconduct for students and student organizations held to the same standard. Academic dishonesty is not covered by the Code of Conduct, but rather the authority of each individual academic unit. And then the student Rights and Responsibilities provides the student with general notice of their rights and responsibilities here at the University of Louisville. It covers things such as the university values, classroom rights and responsibilities, freedom of expression, freedom of press, FERPA, and several other things.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. Yeah, I think it is important for students to realize that this responsibility is on them to know and that there are a lot of policies that students really should be familiar with. So, how does the University of Louisville help students understand and navigate their rights and responsibilities? Are there specific resources or programs available?

Byron Lightsy: Here in our office, as I mentioned, we have our Student Care and our Care and Conduct officers who can meet with students, even faculty or staff, to help them understand what specific policies regarding the code mean, what the prohibited conduct is, how to report a specific incident if they have questions about that, what the conduct process looks like and what are other options for the conduct process. Then we also have a student advocate who can help students understand and complete different university processes, as well as identifying options and strategies when they make find themselves having difficulty with a personal or academic challenge. Such things as anticipated absences or accidents, a car accident or something like that. Sometimes students just have questions where we can get them to the resource, that may be more academic, progression related and getting them connected with their advisor at the Student Success Center.

Cishella Durling: Well, it sounds like the Dean of Students office definitely has resources for students to utilize in the event that they have any questions or concerns regarding student policy. So, I do appreciate that opportunity that the university provides. So, are there any common misconceptions or misunderstandings that students might have about university policies, and again, how can those be clarified?

Byron Lightsy: I think a lot of times when people think of the Dean of Students Office, they may think that it's restrictive policies or punitive in what the goal or intent of the Dean of Students Office is and that's not true. What we're trying to do is educate everyone on how to be successful in growing our community, knowing different things, learning different things while you're here at the university, being challenged, being open to change and understanding this is where you come to grow, develop mutual respect, understand what civil discourse is, and really, the policies are there to kind of give the guidelines. Like the university will give you what it is we value, what we hope that students receive or people in the Community receive when they participate in our programs and activities here, when they're getting an education at the university. So, we want people to know what that is. But you also want to make sure that people understand, within the framework of doing this, there will be difficulties and challenges, but this is what's acceptable behavior within our community, and then it also outlines if someone falls outside of what that acceptable behavior is, there's a clear, identified understanding of what the consequences or sanctions could be, as a result of falling outside of that expected behavior.

Cishella Durling: And again, I think that's great that the Dean of students is adamant that students take responsibility and learn what their rights and responsibilities are. I think it helps create self-advocates when we, you know, as students know what's expected of us and also it sets that example of what it means to be a Cardinal here at the University of Louisville and those values that we really uphold.

Byron Lightsy: Yeah. And we have staff that understand that students are still growing. People are in different places, and some people need a little bit more support. Some need this—the direction and clarity. So, we have the staff members here that can provide all of those different things for individual students and are open to doing that.

Cishella Durling: Yeah, I do appreciate that. And the investment that the Dean of Students Office puts into the student conduct and ensuring that students feel empowered. So are there any recent changes or updates to the student policies at the University of Louisville that students should be aware of?

Byron Lightsy: We review our Student Code of Conduct annually, as well as just kind of looking back over the Student Rights and Responsibilities. And whenever we have changes, those are going to be posted to the Dean of Students website prior to the start of the next fall semester. So, we'll look at it again this spring, the summer if there are anything that's new that's coming from the from government or regulations that we have to update, we'll update those. At this time, I'm not anticipating anything to be changed, but we also try to make sure that we notify students by just kind of making students aware that they can find it on the Dean of Students website.

Cishella Durling: Yeah. And I think that this was a great opportunity to help guide students to where they can find this information and promote that again, that's self-advocacy that these are my rights, these are my responsibilities as a student here and these are the expectations and as a student here, I agree to that and I just really appreciate more than anything the support that the Dean of Students Office provides and offers for students, especially centered around student conduct and student care. So, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and to help highlight the importance of student policies here at the University of Louisville.

Byron Lightsy: Well, thank you very much for having me again. I really enjoyed it.

Cishella Durling: Yeah. Alright, everybody, we're gonna go ahead and wrap this up with, did you know that you can find the student handbook on the Dean of Students website, Be sure to check it out so that you are familiar with the important student policies that apply to you.


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