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Why Students Need to Be Aware of their Legal Rights on Campus

Human rights have long been an important part of cultural discussion. As we see the demand for diversity grow among millennials and Gen Zers, however, the topic is peaking in public conversation. Many in these generations are students, whether as undergrads or clear into their doctorate programs, and thus are addressing their human rights in educational environments. The subject can be tricky to address, but proponents insist that it’s necessary to talk about now.

Diversity, representation, and personal rights are all related to other hot-button issues being discussed in society at the moment. For instance, mental health is one of the leading struggles for students in America right now. Regarding diversity and human rights, students of color in particular have a unique relationship with mental health and face significant disparities regarding the issue.

Thus, legal rights are even more important because they determine whether or not people are treated fairly during these formative years. Discrimination and abuse of authority can be a difficult thing to grapple with. Thus, it's important that you simply know your rights.

Title IX

Even though colleges are often considered to be breeding grounds for progressive thought, they are far from free of discrimination and prejudice. Sexism is a common example of prejudice found in classrooms and extracurricular activities. To combat this, colleges have been bound to a federal law known as Title IX.

The legislature known as Title IX was put in place to combat sex discrimination within any federally funded education program or activity. While it's often talked about in terms of sports, it's much more all-encompassing. Its primary purpose is to stop sexual harassment in higher education.

Sexual harassment is still a huge problem on college campuses. In the era of #MeToo, colleges are trying to change the present environments that promote or encourage such behaviors, especially because they are bound to Title IX and want to avoid a lawsuit. In cases where universities have neglected this responsibility, there have been legal consequences which many times have additionally resulted in negative press.

Protection and Rights

When there are instances of hate-motivated discrimination or mistreatment, victims are often unaware of what they can do to combat their opposition. Gender and sex-based protections like Title IX aren't the only ones set in place for college students, though. There are other protections in place for differently marginalized students.

As it turns out, there is a depressing amount of disability discrimination on college campuses. Ever since the American with Disabilities Act was put into place, it has been an evolving topic of discussion. Fortunately, disabled students are often raised with skills that can help them thrive in school, despite their additional obstacles. But it's still good for them to know their rights and what they can do to combat discrimination.

When students with disabilities know their rights, they will be able to confidently wield them in the face of apathy or noncompliance. Specifically, Title II and Title III bar disability discrimination and can be used against organizations that are doing so. In college, these students may need to request help on their own, but they can still be accommodated for their disabilities. If not, they have a legal case against a higher education place. In a recent case between a blind student and Miami University, Aleeha Dudley settled with the school for not providing her with braille textbooks and other effective accommodations. This is Title II and III at work.

Privacy and Consumer Rights

There are legal rights to student privacy and financial information that can be violated on college campuses if their cybersecurity isn't in order. This is a serious concern due to the wide access of WiFi on college campuses. If student information is stolen, or if the administration is mingling too much in one's personal life via digital means, then there may be a case against said a college or university.

Because audio and video content is such a big part of classwork nowadays, and the wider implementation of the internet of things (commonly referred to as the IoT) is right around the corner, we're seeing student's college-related content stolen regularly. Additionally, personal videos, private photos, and leaked conversations have also been hacked and set free into the mainstream through insecure college networks.

This cybersecurity threat may be more pressing if a student is blogging or engaged with a campus publication. Bloggers are common victims of cybercrime, as it would turn out. Hacking a blog can lead to an entire network being corrupted or a writer's reputation being damaged. Before a lawsuit is even made regarding campus privacy, it's a good idea to use a password manager and two-factor verification for all relevant accounts.


Even though higher learning institutions are centers for progressive thought, there are still instances of discrimination on college campuses. Therefore, it's important that students are aware of their rights. Whether these apply to racial-bias, gender-based discrimination, disability mistreatment, or personal privacy, students are protected by the law should their schools not work for them. In a college setting, knowing these things will help them navigate negative situations and know when legal action is to be taken.

Posted by Magnolia at October 2, 2019 8:52 AM
Comment #450427

Perhaps this progressiveness is exactly why campuses have become so riddled with mental health problems and suicides. Diversity of everything except thought is allowed on campus. Teaching people how to underachieve and complain is hardly a reason to congratulate yourself. Campuses are unhealthy environments that do not foster competition, or pride in ability.

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