The Student Charter is a really important document that all students and staff should know about. It’s a University policy prepared by AUSA that outlines the rights and responsibilities of staff and students. Think of it like the “UN Declaration of Human Rights” for Auckland University students.
We are in the process of reviewing and revamping the Student Charter. It hasn’t been reviewed in about 20 years, isn’t well known or used by students and staff, and is very long and repetitive! Look out for our consultation on the Student Charter, which will be coming out soon!
In the meantime, we’ve condensed the Charter into the key points in this article to help make everyone familiar with the contents of the Charter. It’s important as if you think a lecturer has breached your rights as a student, if your teacher is not fulfilling their responsibilities, or if your research has been conducted and supervised in an unsatisfactory way then you can use the Student Charter to enforce your rights.
If you think any of your rights under the Charter have been breached, talk to the Student Advice Hub.
What it says: The University’s Responsibilities
Some of the responsibilities outlined in the Charter include that the University will use its best endeavours to:
- supply students with access to the information they require, and select students for entry fairly.
- provide an academic environment in which students can be stimulated to reach a high level of intellectual attainment.
- provide opportunities for students to participate in, and provide feedback on, the teaching and research activities of the University.
- provide an environment free from harassment and discrimination, consistent with the Human Rights Act 1993 and University’s Harassment policy, and facilitate the expeditious investigation and just resolution of alleged harassment or discrimination
- provide equal educational opportunities.
- help provide student support services including: health and counselling services; financial advice; learning assistance; early childhood education facilities; career planning; recreational facilities; and accommodation information.
- ensure that compulsory subjects are appropriately timetabled and sufficient optional subjects are available to enable course completion within the specified minimum time.
What it says: Teaching
Students can expect that academic staff will:
- be well-organised and prepared for class
- speak in a way that is appropriate and understandable
- treat topics that students are likely to find threatening or discomforting in an honest and sensitive manner
- select appropriate content for their courses
- provide a range of activities in the overall course, such as lectures, practical work, reading and assignments.
- ensure that courses comply with University and Faculty guidelines on workloads in relation to credit value, level of difficulty, class contact and recommended individual study time, and assessment
- mark student work fairly, consistently, and with processes that are known to students
- return work promptly, in a reasonable time, and well before the next related piece of assessment is due. In courses with final examinations, all internally assessed work will be returned well before the exam and in any event no later than one month after the assessment was due.
What it says: Remedies
Heads of Departments, Directors of Schools and Deans will ensure, through the Calendar, or faculty and departmental handbooks, that:
- Students are informed of the procedures whereby they can request special provisions on account of illness, accident or disability.
- Students are informed of procedures within departments whereby they can report or complain about alleged breaches of conduct by members of the academic staff.
- Students are informed of appeal procedures and do not suffer any disadvantage by using such procedures.
Where provision is made in any Statute or Regulation of the University or is otherwise prescribed for resolving particular complaints or disputes, that procedure must be followed. In all other cases the Resolution of Student Academic Complaints and Disputes Statute must be followed.
What it says: Student Responsibilities
The charter also acknowledges that students have responsibilities around their own learning, to their institution and to the academic community. Some of the expectations include that students:
- act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive.
- make themselves aware of University rules and regulations, including disciplinary regulations, pertaining to their rights and responsibilities as a student and with health and safety procedures particularly in respect of laboratories and field trips.
- respect University property.
- not cheat, plagiarise, fabricate or falsify data. Students are also expected to be aware of their individual rights and responsibilities regarding the proper use of copyright material, the ethical responsibilities of researchers with regards to animal and human subjects, and intellectual property rights.