Graduate student rights and responsibilities


The University of Nevada, Reno is a community of scholars whose members include its faculty, staff, students, and administrators. The graduate student, as a member of the academic community has both rights and responsibilities. Within that community, the graduate student's most essential right is the right to learn. The University has a duty to provide for the graduate student those privileges, opportunities, and protections which best promote the learning process in all its aspects.

Graduate students are accountable to policies and regulations established by the Board of Regents, the University, the Graduate School, and their individual departments, and it is the student's responsibility to familiarize themselves with these policies. An overview of the relevant Board of Regents and University Policies is presented in the University Catalogue, under the heading of "Student Conduct Information."

Document purpose and guidelines

This document serves to define and protect the rights and responsibilities of graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno in those areas not specifically addressed by existing policies.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) as outlined in the GSA Constitution shall review this document periodically, and recommend necessary changes. Once changes have been approved, they shall be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, the Graduate Council, and then the Board of Regents for final approval.

Academic rights and responsibilities

The establishment and maintenance of the proper relationship between instructor and student are fundamental to the graduate education, and require both instructor and student to recognize the rights and responsibilities that derive from it. The graduate student has a right to scholarly relationships with faculty based on mutual trust and civility. The graduate student has a right to receive recognition for scholarly assistance to faculty.

Each graduate student has a right to the best advice the academic units can provide concerning program planning, research, professional expectations, selection of courses and professors, and general degree requirements. The graduate student has a right to accurate, timely, and clearly stated information concerning general academic requirements for establishing and maintaining an acceptable academic standing, the graduate student's academic relationship with the University and the details of any special conditions which may apply. Requirements for the student's academic program above those stated in the University catalog shall be made known by the academic unit at the time of the student's first enrollment. Graduate students are responsible for informing themselves of University, college, department, and school requirements as stated in unit publications and in the University catalog. In planning to meet such requirements, students are responsible for consulting with their academic advisors and guidance committees.

It shall be the responsibility of all graduate students admitted into either a master's or doctoral program to form a guidance committee in accordance with Graduate School guidelines, and to pursue answers from the Graduate Director of their programs as necessary. Graduate students have the right to ask graduate faculty members to serve on their guidance committees. Graduate students should pursue information from the Graduate Director of their program as necessary to avoid problems with committee members who might be unfamiliar with department rules.

Graduate assistant employment

Graduate students are intelligent adults who play an invaluable function in the university's instructional and research life. In their roles as graduate assistants, graduate students should be treated with respect as junior colleagues, and receive guidance in the performance of their duties as necessary. The conditions of employment and the expected workload should be discussed and clarified with the graduate assistant prior to the signing of contracts. It then becomes the responsibility of the graduate assistant fulfill those terms. Graduate assistants have the right to fair and equitable treatment as employees, and to protection of their rights by the Graduate School.

Whereas it is recognized that professional employees do not work according to the clock but rather according to performance of a specified job, graduate assistants should not consistently be required to work longer hours than agreed in initial contract discussions. Graduate assistants have the right not to be exploited by their advisor/work supervisor. Frequent demands for longer hours or work at times that have not been previously agreed are unacceptable. It is also unacceptable for the advisor/work supervisor to require a graduate assistant as part of their employment to perform domestic tasks, such as house-sitting, babysitting, etc.

Graduate Assistants have the right to discuss with the Associate Dean of the Graduate School conditions of their employment which they consider unfair.

Graduate student organizations

The Graduate Student Association exists to represent the graduate student members of the University of Nevada, Reno community. All graduate students, whether enrolled in graduate degree programs or graduate specials, are members of the Graduate Student Association, and are eligible to participate in or benefit from Graduate Student Association programs.

Graduate students have the right to form clubs and organizations within their programs, departments, colleges, ethnicities, shared interests, or any other constituencies, for the purposes of academic, professional, or social networking, sharing, and advocacy.