Jun 21, 2024  
2019-20 Graduate Bulletin 
2019-20 Graduate Bulletin ARCHIVED

University Policies

Acceptable Use of Information Resources

Stephen F. Austin State University encourages the responsible use of its information resources for academic activities, research and public service. Access to the university’s information resources in a privilege. All users of information resources should act responsibility to maintain the integrity of these resources.

Furthermore, all users must abide by all existing university codes of conduct, as well as by local, state and federal statutes. The university reserves the right to limit, restrict or extend privileges and access to its resources. The university’s information resources include, but are not limited to, computers, servers, networks, computer-attached devices, network-attached devices, voice systems, cable systems and computer applications.

Use should always be legal and ethical, reflect academic honesty, uphold community standards and use restraint in the consumption of shared resources.

Appropriate use demonstrates respect for intellectual property, ownership of data, system security mechanisms, and every individual’s right to privacy and freedom from intimidation, harassment and unwarranted annoyance.

For additional information, consult Policy 2.11, Discrimination Complaints.

Discrimination Complaints and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Stephen F. Austin State University strives to provide an educational and work environment that affirms the rights and dignity of each individual. It is the policy of the university, in accordance with federal and state laws, to prohibit unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, citizenship and veteran status. Additionally, SFA prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Unlawful discrimination based on sex includes discrimination defined as sexual harassment.

Retaliation for filing an unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment complaint is prohibited by the policy.

For additional information, consult Policy 2.11, Discrimination Complaints and Policy 2.13, Sexual Misconduct.

Student Conduct Code

A student enrolling in the university assumes an obligation to conduct herself/himself in a manner compatible with the university’s function as an educational institution as described in Policy 10.4, Student Code of Conduct. Misconduct for which students and student organizations are subject to discipline falls into several categories that are described in detail in the online policy manual. All students enrolling for the first time are expected to complete training regarding the risk and prevention of sexual violence and harrassment as it relates to the Policy 2.13, Sexual Misconduct. Two additional acts that are strictly prohibited and result in specific disciplinary action are described in the sections Hazing and Illegal Drugs below. For additional information, consult Policy 10.4, Student Conduct Code, and Policy 2.13, Sexual Misconduct.


Stephen F. Austin State University is unequivocally opposed to any activities, on or off campus, by individuals or organizations that endanger the mental or physical health or safety of a currently enrolled or prospective student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with or maintaining membership in any organization.

Hazing acts include but are not limited to:

  • any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing a harmful substance on the body or similar activity
  • any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics or other activity, that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student
  • any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug or substance that subjects the student to unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental health of the student
  • any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism; that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame or humiliation; that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from entering or remaining registered at the institution; or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to the acts described in this policy
  • and any activity that induces, causes or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code.

Any organization and/or any individual involved in any hazing activity will be subject to both university disciplinary sanctions and criminal prosecution. An offense is committed by:

  • engaging in hazing
  • soliciting, encouraging, aiding or directing another engaging in hazing 
  • intentionally, recklessly or knowingly permitting hazing to occur 
  • or having first-hand knowledge that a specific hazing incident is being planned or has occurred and failing to report said knowledge in writing to the judicial officer.

It is not a defense to prosecution of any offense that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity. Penalties relative to criminal prosecution range from a fine of $2,000 and 180 days in jail for failure to report a hazing incident to a fine of $10,000 and two years in jail for an incident that causes the death of a student. Further, an organization may be penalized with a fine of up to $10,000 or double the expenses due to the injury, damage or loss.

University sanctions range from probation to suspension for any individual committing an offense.

Student organizations committing an offense may be placed on university probation and are subject to withdrawal of university recognition. Sanctioned student organizations: Theta Chi (October 2020), Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority Inc. (October 2020).

For additional information, consult Policy 10.4, Student Conduct Code, and Policy 10.3, Hazing.

Illegal Drugs

It is the policy of Stephen F. Austin State University that any unlawful manufacture, possession, use or delivery of any controlled substance or illegal drug is strictly prohibited. Moreover, it is the policy of the state of Texas and of this university that this institution will be as free of illegal drugs as it can possibly be. Therefore, in accordance with state law and university policy, any student who is determined, through the regular disciplinary procedures of the university, to have violated this policy will be suspended from the university no more than two years and no less than the remainder of the current semester. At the discretion of the vice president for university affairs, a student suspended under this policy may, under certain conditions, remain enrolled at the university on disciplinary probation for the remainder of the current or subsequent semester, pending suspension at a later date. For additional information, consult Policy 10.4, Student Conduct Code, and Policy 13.11, Illicit Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504

Stephen F. Austin State University does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to or operations of its programs, services or activities, including hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided under provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADAAA. Questions, concerns or requests for additional information regarding the ADA or the complaint/grievance procedure may be forwarded to Tiffany Rivers, ADA coordinator; Disability Services; P.O. Box 6130, SFA Station; Nacogdoches, TX 75962. A copy of the grievance procedure may be obtained from Disability Services in Room 325 of the Human Services Building.

The provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the impact of the student’s disabilities on her or his academic performance at a given time in the student’s life. Therefore, it is in the student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation relevant to the student’s learning environment. A school plan, such as an individualized education program or a 504 plan, is insufficient documentation, but it can be included as part of a more comprehensive assessment battery. A comprehensive assessment battery and resulting diagnostic report should include a diagnostic interview, assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, information processing and a diagnosis. Complete documentation guidelines should be obtained from Disability Services.

People with disabilities who need special accommodations, including auxiliary aids for effective communication, to participate in SFA programs, services or activities are invited to make their needs and preferences known to the director of the program, service or activity in which the individual seeks to participate or to the ADA coordinator.

This bulletin is available on disk from the ADA coordinator.

Student Right-to-Know Act

In compliance with the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Right-to-Know Act, Stephen F. Austin State University will make available to enrolled or prospective students information regarding graduation rates, as well as institutional security policies and crime statistics. Graduation rates are available online at sfasu.edu/research. Institutional security policies and crime statistics are available from the Office of Admissions and the Department of Public Safety. They also are available online at sfasu.edu/dps/clery-act-compliance.asp.

Use and Release of Student Information

Student Records

The purpose of Policy 2.10, Student Records, is to comply with federal law that grants to students the right to access their education records, protects students from illegal use of their education records, and restricts the disclosure of the Social Security account number of students. A description of the types of records, the custodian of those records, as well as student and institutional rights, can be found in the policy.

Specific information may be obtained by consulting with administrative officials listed in Policy 2.10. Each student has the right to be provided with a list of the types of education records maintained by the university; to inspect and review the contents of her/his records, excluding the exceptions included in Policy 2.10; to obtain copies of her/his records at personal expense; to explanations and interpretations of her/his records; and to a hearing to challenge the contents of her/his records.

For more information, consult Policy 2.10, Student Records.

Directory Information

The university designates the following items as directory information: name; all addresses, university issued email; all telephone numbers; major field of study; academic classification; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; dates of attendance and enrollment status; degrees and awards received; previous schools attended; photograph; and class roster. The university may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless the student notifies the registrar in writing to the contrary by Sept. 1 of each year.

For more information, consult Policy 2.10, Student Records.

Student Travel

This policy governs student travel undertaken by one or more SFA students enrolled at the university to reach an activity or event that has been organized and sponsored by the university and is located more than 25 miles from the university.

This policy shall apply if the travel is funded by the university; the travel is undertaken using a vehicle owned or leased by the university; or if the travel is required by a registered SFA student organization to an event that has been organized and sponsored by the university.

Travel Funded by the University and/or Using University-owned or Leased Vehicles

University Policy 16.23, Rental of University Vehicles, governs the use of university-owned vehicles and vehicles rented using university funds from a non-university fleet. All of the requirements of that policy, such as driver qualifications and passenger capacity, apply to student travel as addressed in this policy.

Other specific requirements of this policy include:

  1. All occupants must use seat belts, as provided in the vehicle, in the manner recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  2. Passengers are limited to the number that can be safely restrained using the available number of seat belts.
  3. Drivers should continually assess their state of alertness and not begin to drive, or not continue driving, if they are fatigued. There are many factors that impact driver fatigue, all affecting drivers differently, but conditions such as hours without sleep, time of the day, road conditions, etc., should be all considered and monitored.
  4. Only drivers meeting the qualifications set forth in Policy 16.23 may drive the vehicle. All drivers must be appropriately licensed to drive the vehicle.

Travel by Personal Vehicle or Privately Leased Vehicle

While the university may not be made aware of trips undertaken by students using their private vehicles, or vehicles privately leased by them, the university will publish the requirements of this policy in publications used by registered student organizations at SFA and will encourage their use in all travel undertaken by students for any trip governed by this policy. All drivers are encouraged to be appropriately licensed and the owner of the vehicle(s) is encouraged to maintain appropriate vehicle insurance as required by law.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a responsibility of all university faculty and students. Faculty members promote academic integrity in multiple ways, including providing instruction on the components of academic honesty and abiding by university policy on penalties for cheating and plagiarism.

Academic dishonesty includes both cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  1. using or attempting to use unauthorized materials to aid in achieving a better grade on a component of a class
  2. falsifying or inventing any information, including citations, on an assigned exercise
  3. and/or helping or attempting to help another in an act of cheating or plagiarism.

Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own. Examples of plagiarism are:

  1. submitting an assignment as if it were one’s own work when, in fact, it is at least partly the work of another
  2. submitting a work that has been purchased or otherwise obtained from an Internet source or another source
  3. and incorporating the words or ideas of an author into one’s paper without giving the author due credit.

A faculty member who has evidence and/or suspects that academic dishonesty has occurred shall gather all pertinent information, approach the student or students involved and initiate the procedure outlined in university Policy 4.1, Student Academic Dishonesty. After a determination of dishonesty, the faculty member shall notify the office of the dean of the student’s major by submitting a Report of Academic Dishonesty form, along with supporting documentation as noted on the form. This report shall be made part of the student’s record and shall remain on file with the dean’s office for at least four years. The dean shall refer second or subsequent offenses to the University Committee on Academic Integrity established under Policy 4.1. The faculty member also shall inform the student of the appeals process available to all SFA students as outlined in Policy 6.3, Final Course Grade Appeals by Students.

Students who are found to have cheated/plagiarized and have withdrawn prior to the award of a grade will continue to have the determination of the infraction within their student records. This finding will be considered by the University Committee on Academic Integrity should the student commit future offenses.

A student who wishes to appeal decisions related to academic integrity follows procedures outlined in Policy 6.3. A student must appeal within 30 days of the beginning of the long semester following the incident. The student’s grade may be withheld by the instructor pending resolution through the above procedures.

If the student wishes further appeal, she/he may apply to the provost/vice president for academic affairs for a hearing by the University Committee on Academic Integrity.

A student must accept the decision of the committee; however, the committee may not interfere in the faculty member’s selection of a penalty for a confirmed instance of academic dishonesty. If the committee rules that the student did not commit academic dishonesty, the faculty member may not impose a penalty of any kind. The faculty member retains the right to assign student course grades without interference from the committee. When a student is found guilty of two or more infractions, the case will be referred to the University Committee on Academic Integrity. In addition, faculty members may request that the dean refer particularly serious cases (buying or selling papers, stealing an exam, significantly plagiarizing at the graduate level, etc.) directly to the University Committee on Academic Integrity. The committee also may function when a student has exhausted the normal appeals process and wishes to have an additional hearing.