Student Rights

Every service-learning student should be made aware of their rights regarding their service participation. This can be done during class time, at the site orientation, or stated in the syllabus. Clearly stating students’ rights and who to contact if an issue or concern arises will help protect the students during their placement and may help mitigate future problems. Campuses are responsible for informing students of their rights and should determine how the information is shared with students (e.g., faculty, service-learning office, as part of the online placement process, in the course syllabus).

Students have the right to:

  • decline signing the Release of Liability without penalty to the course grade. They will not be allowed to participate in the service-learning experience if they decline to sign and an alternative assignment/task will be provided.
  • contact the faculty member about issues or modifications to service.
  • contact the faculty member, designated University official and/or learning sites’ human resources department to report discrimination, sexual harassment, or any other issues they experienced at the site. Reports of possible discrimination, harassment or retaliation by the site will result in the immediate removal of the student from the learning site, regardless of the status of the University’s investigation as stated in the University-Agency Agreement.
  • contact the faculty member or designated University official if they are asked by the site to perform tasks not within the scope of the agreed upon service-learning activities or objectives.
  • notify the learning site and campus-specific University representative immediately of any suspected violation of local, state, or federal laws.
  • remove themselves from any situation where they feel threatened or at risk.

It is important to remember that a positive experience starts with students knowing and understanding the expectations of all parties, and their options should an unforeseen circumstance arise.

When a Student Declines a Service-Learning Placement: If a student declines to have a service placement, an alternative non-placement option should be provided to give the student access to some of the same learning objectives. Determining and approving the alternatives is the responsibility of the faculty member. There are many alternative options (background research, additional paper, presentation of research findings), and the faculty member should work with the student to determine the best alternative. If the alternative assignment is a placement at a different site or doing different work at the same site, those changes should be outlined and agreed to by the student, faculty member, and the learning site.