Skip to main content
Moravian College
Student Handbook

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The role of students in the educational community of the institution involves a balance of rights and responsibilities. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities and conditions in the classroom, on campus, and in the Bethlehem community. Students are required to exercise their freedoms with appropriate responsibility. The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the community.

Exercise of Rights of Citizenship

Students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens, students (as well as all other members of the academic community) enjoy the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, and petition for redress; but these rights are accompanied by defined responsibilities. Faculty members and administrative officials will not use institutional powers to inhibit the intellectual and personal development of students as it is promoted by the exercise of their rights of citizenship either on or off campus.

Members of the institution are reminded that Moravian College and Theological Seminary support the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States without exception and will not shield students from the consequences of violation of those laws. As in any community, certain regulations are required that further the best interests of the institution by fostering its educational, personal, and social ideals as outlined in its role and mission statements. The concept of enforcement of institutional policies, regulations, and procedures is based on the expectation of self-discipline by individuals and organizations. If an individual or an organization fails to exercise the proper degree of responsible self-discipline, the community must institute adequate controls and restraints.

Confidentiality Obligations of Student Workers

Student employees may at times have access to confidential information regarding students, employees, and/or the business of the institution. Accordingly, they will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they understand the privacy of all such information and agree to uphold this obligation. Violation of confidentiality by student employees may result in termination of employment and/or subsequent disciplinary action.

Student Participation in Institutional Government

As constituents of the College community, students are free, individually and collectively, to express views on issues of College policy and on matters of general interest to the student body through the governance organizations established to participate in the formulation and application of College policy, regulations and procedures, including, but not limited to, for undergraduates: United Student Government and Panhellenic Council; for Seminary students: Student Elders Council. Students are welcome to carry their views on College policies to their representatives on faculty committees and the Board of Trustees.

Student Publications

Student publications and the student press are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. They are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and the College authorities and of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world.

The Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for all activities undertaken with the financial support of the College.

The following general concepts shall guide the relationship between the College and student publications:

  • The student press shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers shall be free to develop editorial policies subject to the responsibility to abide by established principles of journalistic ethics and practice and to avoid violation of rights or liberties of persons by defamatory expression, undocumented allegations, harassment, invasion of privacy, or violation of the community and College standards of decency. The College shall not use the provision of withholding of financial resources as a means of censorship of student publications.
  • Editors and managers of student publications shall be protected from suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or publication content, so long as the standards set forth in the previous paragraph are met. Editors and managers shall be subject to removal only in accordance with established policies, regulations, and procedures of the College.
  • All College-published or -financed student publications shall state on their editorial page(s) that the opinions therein expressed are not necessarily those of the College or the College community.

Admission policies at Moravian College are established to provide for a diverse and qualified student body consistent with the role and mission of the College. Admission to the College is competitive and is offered to those determined by the College to be best able to benefit from a Moravian College education. An admission decision is based upon many factors, including, but not limited to, the applicant's high school record, overall academic ability, motivation for higher learning, evidence of leadership potential and good character, and an ability to contribute to College life.

The College reserves the right to deny admission, continued enrollment, or re-enrollment to those whose personal history indicates that their presence at the College would endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property of any members of the academic community or interfere with the orderly and effective performance of the College's functions. No student, however, will be barred from admission based upon unlawful considerations including, but not limited to, race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran's status.

By the act of matriculation, the Moravian College student signifies agreement to abide by the College's established policies, regulations, and procedures. Students also agree to abide by and to support the orderly processes established by the College for the resolution of disputes and the violation of policies, regulations, and procedures, and to submit to the sanctions imposed by the College for such violations.

The institution and its faculty encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression in the classroom in accordance with the orderly processes established for classroom instruction. Student academic performance will be evaluated solely on the basis of legitimate academic and professional concerns and not on unrelated opinions or beliefs held or expressed or conduct unrelated to legitimate institutional concerns.

Protection of Freedom of Expression

Students are free to take exception, by appropriate and orderly means, to data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion or belief, but are responsible for learning the content of any course of study and successfully responding to tests, examinations, or other course requirements for courses in which they are enrolled.

Protection against Improper Academic Evaluation

Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance and integrity and complying with appropriate behavioral requirements, and they are provided with processes designed to protect them from improperly prejudiced or capricious academic evaluation. Such processes include consultation with the instructor, the department chair, or the appropriate administrator for the division.

Protection against Improper Disclosure

Information about student views, beliefs, and associations that College staff have acquired in the course of their work with students is protected against improper disclosure by the policies, regulations, and procedures of the institution as well as the professional standards of conduct of the staff.

Students, faculty, and staff are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They are always free to support causes by orderly means, i.e., those that do not disrupt the regular and essential operation of the institution. At the same time, it is required that, when making public statements or engaging in public demonstrations or expressions, they disassociate their statements and activities from the institution unless otherwise authorized by the institution.

If consideration is being given to a protest, organizers must discuss their plans in advance with the chief of campus police or designee. For purposes of this policy, a protest is defined as a gathering of students, faculty, and/or staff of Moravian College and/or Moravian Theological Seminary on institutional property in order to make a public statement about and therefore draw attention to a college, local, state, or federal issue.

The institution supports the rights of its students, faculty, and staff to assemble and express their views. However, any protest or demonstration must respect established legal parameters. Accordingly, a protest may not block streets, right of way, or sidewalks; jeopardize the safety of individuals or the integrity of institutional or other property; intimidate, harass, or threaten passers-by; include individuals who are not members of the institutional community; involve entry of buildings where their presence would disrupt the administrative, educational, or residential functions taking place therein; involve alcohol; or involve sound amplification. The location for campus protests will be determined on a case-by-case basis by Campus Police after consultation with protest organizers. In establishing a site, decision-makers will balance concern for the safety of all involved with an acknowledgement that the proximity, and therefore visibility, of a protest to any protest-related activities may influence the effectiveness of the event.

Students and their recognized organizations are permitted to invite and hear speakers or presentations of their choosing, provided they comply with policies, regulations, and procedures established by the institution concerning the use of institutional facilities and equipment and the time, place, and manner of the activity. The institution shall not regulate the content of the speech or presentation so long as it does not violate any laws or the rights of any person and complies with the institution's Community Standards.