Student Bill of Rights (and Responsibilities)

  1. You are not required to agree with the instructor. (You are required to learn at least some of what the instructor has to teach.) Hence: You are free to express ideas other than mine, but in your writing it is discourteous to ignore me. If I've given you my understanding of a text (or whatever) and you have another idea, summarize what I've said, supply a transition, and then give your ideas. ("Erlich says thus and so; he's wrong. The correct reading is:"; "Erlich correctly says thus and so, but a better interpretation is:"; "Erlich is correct, but we can improve his reading:"-etc.)
  2. You have the right to feel what you feel when you feel it. (You are responsible for what you do with those feelings.)
  3. You have the right to desire positive comments on your work and to expect them when your work is good. You have the right to feel hurt by negative criticism of your work. You have the right to get angry at the instructor. You have the right to tell the instructor if you feel hurt and/or angry, or, indeed, any important feelings. (You have the responsibility to talk to the instructor civilly, and with regard for the instructor's feelings. You have the responsibility to respect the instructor's right to respond to your expression of feelings with no more than "I have heard you.")
  4. You have the right to believe whatever you believe. (You have the responsibility to check if your beliefs correspond to the world, and whether they correspond with the worlds of other people, including people who may not agree with you. If such "reality checks" consistently contradict your beliefs, you have the responsibility to rethink your beliefs.)
  5. You have the right to express your beliefs. (You have the responsibility to allow others to express their beliefs and to listen. You have the responsibility to express your beliefs with integrity and consideration for others' feelings, with honesty and compassion.)
  6. You have an absolute right to be treated fairly and with the respect due a human being. (You have the responsibility to be fair and respectful in your treatment of others.)
  7. You have the right to attempt to maximize your grades and minimize your work. (You have the responsibility to be gracious-if not compliant-if asked to do more work.)
  8. You have the right to take from a course what you want from it. You have the right to get a lower grade in a course than you might if you worked harder. (You have the responsibility to recognize that instructors often have their own values and goals and may attempt to get you to get from the course what they think you should get from it.)
  9. You have the right to argue with the instructor and with your classmates; you have the right to argue flippantly or passionately, as an exercise or game or with commitment. (You have the responsibility to argue with respect, courtesy, and integrity.)
  10. You have the right to receive constructive praise and constructive criticism and the right to resent any criticism-especially if it is correct. (You have the responsibility to recognize that people who only praise your work might not be taking it seriously.)