Student Rights & Responsibilities
Mercer University strives to be a Community of Respect where everyone is held in mutual high regard. As members of that community, distance learners have responsibilities to help maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect as part of the Standards of Conduct. These include:
Respect for Academic Integrity
Respect for Other Persons
We value the worth of every individual in the community and we respect the dignity of each member in the community. We take responsibility for the consideration of the rights of others.
Respect for the University Community
We value showing respect for the rights and property of others. We take responsibility to act to maintain university property.
Respect for Community Authority
We acknowledge and value our privileges and rights as members of the University community. We take responsibility for acting to uphold community standards.
The Community of Respect ensures certain rights of its members. The university values the following student rights:
- Free inquiry, expression, and assembly as long as conducted in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others.
- Freedom from unreasonable invasion of the privacy of the individual's person, residence, papers, personal effects, and university records.
- Right to due process and equal protection.
- Freedom to pursue educational goals, the right to the free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints.
- Freedom of association for students who meet the university's standards for participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
Policies and Procedures
Mercer has explicit policies and procedures that relate to student rights and responsibilities, including:
- The Standards of Conduct are available in the Student Handbook (pages 6 & 7) and relevant supplements (Atlanta and RAC Campus Supplement, pages 5-13; Georgia Baptist College of Nursing Supplement, page 9).
- The Academic Integrity Policy is available on the Provost's website.
- The Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- The Policies and Procedures for Student Grievances, both academic and non-academic, are delineated in the Student Handbook and are available on the University Policy Website.
- The Grievance Procedure for disabled students is available through the ACCESS and Accommodation Office.
Note that distance learners have a separate process available to them for filing grievances that relate to unfair business practices and non-compliance with state authorization regulations. See the Complaint Process page of this website for more information.
Authenticating the Identity of Distance Learning Students and the Importance of Safeguarding your Credentials
Each student enrolled in a distance education course is assigned a secure login and password that must be used to register for and to access the distance education course. Specific course and student information is not available to any outside users. For security purposes, Mercer University implemented a complex password requirement.
Computer accounts, user ID’s, passwords, and other types of access authorization are assigned to individual users and must not be written down, posted, or shared with others. All Authorized Users are responsible for any use of their assigned individual account(s). Authorized Users may not run or otherwise configure software or hardware to intentionally allow access of an account by unauthorized individuals. Any attempt to use or hack another person’s computer account is a violation of University policy and may also be a violation of federal, state, or local laws. Violations of this policy may result in immediate termination of access to Mercer’s computer and network resources, referral to the appropriate University authority for review and adjudication, and criminal or civil prosecution.
Procedure for Protecting Student Privacy
All state and federal laws and regulations and Mercer University policies concerning the privacy of stduent records shall apply with equal for and effect to distance learning student records. Detailed information about Mercer University's policy on confidentiality of student records can be found by visiting the Mercer University Registrar's website.
Mercer University's protection of the privacy of students enrolled in distance education courses or programs includes the following methods:
First, access to distance leraning courses and live or recorded web meetings is granted only via secure user ID and password to enrolled students, instructors, and other support staff critical to the operation of the distance learning course. The access is granted via Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) Signle Sign-On's authentication against the University's Azure Active Directory instance.
Second, session duration in the learning management system is time-limited to protect student privacy. Access is controlled by the university's instance of ADFS. When a student accesses the learning management system using their unique ID and complex password as official credentials, the user is issues a token within the browser through ADFS. After 10 hours, access to the learning management system times out and the student's browser is directed back to the SIngle Sign-On login page, requiring the student to log back in. The university restricted learning management session time from the default vendor-specified time of 48 hours, and less than the standard session time used by many insitutions of 24 hours.
Third, students can only view their own personal information in the learning management system, including their student ID, email address, grades, and any course-related submissions. Students cannot see or search for information of other students.
Fourth, when taking online examinations, students can only see their instance of the examination and cannot view any exam-related information of other students. When taking exams through proctored services, students must present university identification as well as personal identification and take and complete the examination in isolation from other students.
Finally, access to University IT Helpdesk for any technical issues involving student account information is only granted after the student provides the last four digits of their SSID and their date of birth.
All University web-based applications and sites that collect personally identifiable information for distance learning students are secured, encrypted websites using standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates.