Student Organization's Legal Resources
Student Legal Service (SLS) provides legal advice, counsel and limited representation for currently enrolled students at TTU/TTUHSC. Services include document preparation, notary, advising, and research. The attorneys can represent students in landlord/tenant disputes, name changes, essential needs licenses, expunctions, some misdemeanors, and small claims consumer disputes. Representation must be in Lubbock County.
SLS is staffed by three full-time licensed attorneys, two clerical staff and several law clerks and interns.
SLS cannot advise students against another TTU/TTUHSC student, faculty or staff member, department or TTU/TTUHSC as a whole. SLS does not advise or represent in the areas of tax, immigration, intellectual property or bankruptcy.
General Legal Information
The fifth and fourteenth amendments to the US Constitution protect individuals due process rights. Students in school as well as out of school are protected under the constitution. University administration do not possess absolute authority over students. Students possess fundamental rights the school must respect. Similarly, organization leaders do not possess absolute authority over their members. Student organizations must treat their members with due process and respect their individual rights protected under the US Constitution. An organization considering disciplinary action against an individual should make sure the following is considered:
Organization rules are clearly stated and given to members in writing,
Proper notice of specific charge(s) is given,
Opportunity for a hearing is offered,
Names of witnesses are given to the charged individual,
The opportunity to provide a defense against the charges is given,
Witnesses are available to the charged individual,
The charged individual is given the option of a formal hearing or an informal meeting,
No disciplinary action is taken on grounds which are not supported by substantial evidence,
Disciplinary action follows procedures outlined in the organizationâ€™s constitution,
Procedures for appeals are made available.
Hazing is a fundamental violation of human dignity. Hazing is a broad term encompassing any action or activity which does not contribute to the positive development of a person. Any action or situation which intentionally or unintentionally endangers a student seeking admission into or affiliation with any student organization is considered hazing. Hazing and the failure to report hazing by an individual or your organization are misdemeanors in the state of Texas.
Any expression of hatred or prejudice is inconsistent with the purpose of higher education in a free society. As long as bigotry exists in any form in the larger society, it will be an issue on the college campus. There must be a commitment by the institution to create conditions where bigotry is forthrightly confronted.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the age discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the bases of race, national origin, creed, age, sex, marital status and disability in student organizations on campuses throughout the nation. The only exceptions to Title IX compliance are national sororities and fraternities with regard to single sex membership requirements.
Texas Tech University is committed to equitable, civilized and concerned treatment for all individuals without regard for race, national origin, creed, age, sex, marital status and disability.
Individuals Worth and Dignity
It is imperative that students learn to recognize, understand and celebrate human differences. Universities can and must help their students become open to differences that surround them. These matters are learned best in collegiate settings that are rich with diversity, if the ideals of human worth and dignity are to be advanced.
The fair-use doctrine allows for copying, without permission, for such purposes as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Four main factors determine fair use:
- the purpose of the use (commercial or nonprofit purposes),
- the nature of the original (whether it was published or unpublished),
- the amount and importance of the portion used in relation to the original work as a whole
- the impact of the use on the original works commercial value.
Freedom of Association
Students are free to organize and join associations at the university. The university may take reasonable precautions to make sure that if an organization receives university funding, it does not misuse the funds collected from the general student body. Student groups may utilize campus facilities and services as long as the organization does not infringe on the rights, misuse the facility or serve to break the law or discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, creed, age, sex, marital status or disability. The university has the right to ask each organization to register and give a contact name to be responsible for communication with the institution.
Freedom of Speech
Students have the right to speak and to publish without prior administrative approval. However, students should fall within the laws against libel and slander and not interrupt the normal operation of the university. Texas Tech has designated a Free Speech area between the library and the Student Union. Students wishing to distribute printed material on campus must follow the solicitation guidelines set by the university.
Students are given the right to live and work as they please so long as the health and safety of other campus citizens is not endangered. Academic and disciplinary files are generally not available to unauthorized persons without the written consent of the individual. Therefore, organizations with grade point average restrictions or other standards which are part of membership criteria will need to get a written release from each member before records can be checked.
Students learn responsibility when they bear the consequences of their actions and inactions in an environment marked by caring and support.
Trademarks and unfair competition laws allow protection of words, names, short phrases, symbols and other devices that identify and distinguish goods and services.
For complete guidelines, refer to the Student Affairs Handbook, or contact Student Legal Services, 742-3289.