October 4, 2023
Policy Updates

Notice: Student Rights and Responsibilities updated

The Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy will launch effective April 17, 2013.  This policy encompasses several key policies including Academic Integrity and Student Complaint and Grievance Policy.  In addition, the Student Code of Conduct and Student Rights and Responsibilities have been added.

Policy for Student Rights and Responsibilities

Statement of Policy

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is devoted to providing students and the University community with an online environment that fosters academic success and achievement. The mission of CSU provides for the execution of exceptional service that fully supports student learning with integrity, flexibility, fairness, and respect.  Students at CSU are members of a University community committed to basic and broadly shared ethical principles and concepts of integrity, justice, autonomy, commitment to excellence, code of honor, respect and responsibility.

Students who choose to attend CSU accept the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy as members of the university community and agree to abide by policies set forth in the CSU Catalog and CSU Student Handbook. Each student holds the right and ability to make individual decisions about their personal conduct.  Each student also holds the responsibility to live with the consequences of their personal decision making.  These ethical principles represent the basis for student rights and responsibilities.

Code of Honor 

CSU entrusts each student in maintaining the ideals of academic honesty, personal integrity, and responsible citizenship. We believe these ideals are essential to the performance of all academic work and other student activities while members of the University community. The Code of Honor is embodied by these ideals with the support of students, faculty, and staff. Student enrollment into a program of study presupposes a commitment to the principles embodied in the Code of Honor. It is the responsibility of each student to hold oneself and fellow students accountable in their commitment to the Code of Honor.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Definition

Academic Integrity is the demonstration of intellectual honesty by avoiding incidents including but not limited to cheating and/or plagiarism.

Statement of Policy

A violation of the Academic Integrity Policy includes, but is not limited to:

  • Using unauthorized materials (electronic or print) or receiving unauthorized assistance during an examination or in connection with any work completed (or submitted) for academic credit.
  • Taking the work of another and offering it as one’s own without proper acknowledgement of the true source, whether that material is paraphrased or copied in verbatim or near-verbatim form.
  • Unauthorized collaboration on a project, homework, or other assignment unless otherwise allowed by a course instructor.
  • Sharing, selling, or buying information related to any graded learning activities.
  • Using another student’s graded work to complete assignment without professor consent.
  • Using professor feedback for another student as the basis for an essay response.
  • Resubmitting any portion of a previously written work by the student without professor consent. Falsifying information.
  • Accessing or using unauthorized materials (electronic or print) and/or websites.
  • Use of an alternate, stand-in, or proxy during an examination.
  • Use of sources deemed as inappropriate by the professor.
  • Actions by a proctor or student deemed as inappropriate per CSU Final Exam Policy and procedures.

APA Guidelines

Students are expected to follow the format of The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009, 6th edition). The APA Publication Manual presents explicit style requirements for students in the preparation of written works which may include research papers, projects, and other written assignments.

As required by APA, all sources used (directly or indirectly) must be referenced within the text and all appropriate sources shall be compiled together at the end of all applicable written works. Students and faculty should refer to all assignment instructions for specific guidelines. CSU has created an APA Guide and other resources to assist students in complying with APA standards. These resources are all located in the student portal linked to the Learning Resources tab.


Columbia Southern University regards violations to the Academic Integrity Policy as a very serious matter. Students who are found to be in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy are subject to penalties, which are based on the specific incident. The consequences can include point deductions, course failure, and/or a university dismissal and degree revocation.

Statute of Limitations

There shall be no “statute of limitations” that precludes the university from acting on the discovery of alleged violations, either during the time in which the course in question is being offered or after the course has ended (and after the student has graduated.)

Due Process

If a student is found in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy, the student is allowed due process and may contest the university’s findings. All student appeals should be sent to within seven calendar days of notification. The appeal will go through the university’s student appeals process.

Student Code of Conduct

Ethical conduct is the foundation upon which a successful academic career at Columbia Southern University rests. The students, faculty, and staff must commit themselves to the highest standards of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.  Therefore, any deviation from these standards is a breach of the ethics that are the basis of Columbia Southern University’s Student Code of Conduct and is subject to disciplinary actions.

It is each student’s responsibility to know and comply with the Student Code of Conduct and other Academic and Student Affairs policies of Columbia Southern University. Students are expected to demonstrate honesty and integrity when interacting with faculty, staff and other students of the university.

Students should reference the Academic Integrity Policy to understand expectations of academic honesty in submitting assignments with appropriate references for work that is not the student’s own.

Students are prohibited from engaging in conduct that includes but is not limited to:

  • Academic dishonesty to include plagiarism, collusion, and/or cheating
  • Disrespect for university faculty and staff
  • Inappropriate content posted to discussion boards and other university forums
  • Intentional breach of university policy or procedures
  • Reproduction of university materials to include course content, assessments, or other materials deemed to be the property of the university

Students will receive written notice in the event that the university deems the student’s conduct warrants disciplinary action and/or expulsion.  Students dismissed due to misconduct will be withdrawn from enrolled courses effective on the dismissal date.  A grade of W will be recorded in the student’s record. Tuition refunds will be calculated based upon the Tuition Refund Policy.  Conduct dismissals are not eligible for tuition refunds. Students have the right to appeal the university’s decision within 10 business days by submitting a formal appeal to the university through the Student Appeals process, .  Students should include justification of why the decision rendered should be overturned as well as corresponding documentation that will support their request.  The university will respond to the formal appeal within 10 business days.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

The following student rights and responsibilities are governed by the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy:

Student rights include, but are not limited to:

  • Right to freely express his/her own thoughts, concerns, or suggestions in a manner that does not violate the Student Code of Conduct Policy
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, marital status, religion, age, or disability
  • Right to freedom from harassment, including harassment that is based on an individual’s sex, race, age, or any characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws
  • Right to appeal any academic or non-academic decision in conjunction with the appeals process outlined in the Policy for Student Appeals
  • Right to file a complaint with the institution pursuant to the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy
  • Right to review his/her own educational record in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
  • Right to request a reasonable accommodation with the Office of Disability Services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • Right to receive prompt responses from university staff and faculty that promotes support and encouragement

Student responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Exhibit and maintain integrity when providing student contact, financial, or any other requested information or documentation to the university
  • Ensure all contact and email account information is current and on file with the university
  • Ensure all official transcripts are received and on file with the university
  • Read, understand, and adhere to the terms and conditions, including tuition and fee requirements, upon submitting an enrollment
  • Remain in good academic standing throughout his/her tenure at CSU, to include upholding standards of integrity while completing course assignments
  • Review emails sent from CSU on a regular basis, as email is considered the official form of communication between the student and university
  • Maintain communication with his/her assigned academic advisor concerning enrollments, course load, and degree program completion requirements
  • Communicate with his/her faculty member concerning course requirements, missing assignments, grades, feedback, etc.
  • Reference instructions listed in course syllabi, course schedules, and other pertinent tabs within courses in Blackboard
  • Stay abreast of important dates, such as course registration deadlines, assignment due dates, and course end dates
  • Review the myCSU Student Portal on a consistent basis, as it is the gateway to the university and is resourceful for students
  • Submit online requests within the timeframes outlined by the university; online requests are located within the myCSU Student Portal
  • Save course work as it is completed within each course; refer to the Course Access Policy
  • Adhere to course withdrawal, refund, and textbook return policies
  • Read, understand, and adhere to all Academic and Student Affairs policies and procedures outlined within the Student Handbook


Student Complaint and Grievance Policy

Scope of Policy

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is committed to providing a high quality of educational and related services for students, and encourages students to say where there is cause for concern in academic and non-academic matters. A complaint is defined as dissatisfaction occurring when a decision, act, or condition, based upon specific factual data, affects the student in a perceived negative or unjust manner, or an allegation of improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory treatment by university personnel. A complaint may constitute a grievance if mutual resolution cannot be achieved and the complaint is deemed a grievable matter. Such grievances may include, but are not limited to, academic matters such as final grade challenges, mistreatment by a university representative, records or registration errors, inaccurate assessment of fees, or discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical handicap, age, marital status, , gender or disability.  Non-grievable matters may include admissions decisions or similar academic decisions that would impair the exercise of academic freedom. CSU strives to maintain an environment where students, faculty, staff, and administration can achieve an atmosphere of acceptance, allowing complaints and grievances to be resolved in a manner that encourages informal conciliation and facilitates early resolution. This action promotes effective, just, and supportive feedback while maintaining privacy and confidentiality. No student may pursue the formal grievance procedure prior to exhausting the complaint procedure. The University reserves the right to amend use of the Student Complaint and Grievance Policy in any circumstance that appears to be unethical or inappropriate.

Complaint Procedure

  • Complaints: Students are encouraged to voice inquiries, concerns or complaints to their assigned Student Services Representative or Academic Advisor, as appropriate. These assigned representatives of the university are main points of contact that can offer support, facilitate resolution, or direct the student to the appropriate individual. Generally, all inquiries, concerns, or complaints can be resolved at this level, reaching mutual resolution.
  • Direct Discussion: If resolution is not achieved, to the student’s satisfaction, through the assigned representative, the student must contact (within 14 days of the alleged occurrence) the individual responsible for the matter (respondent) and informally attempt to resolve the complaint. Assignment grade challenges are directed to the course professor and are considered informal. Students not satisfied with the outcome may formally appeal the final course grade, at the conclusion of the course, through the Final Course Grade Appeal Form                         .
  • Informal Mediation: Students not satisfied with the outcome of Direct Discussion may engage in informal mediation by contacting the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may be summoned by the student or respondent to arrange a meeting of the parties and attempt to aid in resolution of the grievance. Informal mediation should be sought prior to filing a formal grievance.

Formal Grievance Procedure

  • Written Grievance: If the complaint is not resolved utilizing the Complaint Procedure, the student may file a formal, written grievance. Grievances that are academic in nature should be filed with the Program Director, and in the absence of the Program Director, the Academic Dean, and the respondent. Students appealing a final course grade should submit the Final Course Grade Appeal Form . Grievances that are non-academic in nature should be filed with the Dean of Students and the respondent. The letter or form must be sent within 10 business days of the complaint decision. The grievant must include the following criteria in the formal written complaint:
    • The specific Institutional Policy that has been allegedly violated
    • Factual information and/or evidence supporting the alleged violation
    • A description of the outcome the grievant seeks
  • Resolution of Grievance: The responding University official will give independent consideration, adjudication, and decision of the written complaint. The University official will assess, on the basis of available evidence, whether the University has wrongly discharged University duty towards the student or treated the grievant in a fair, reasonable, and just manner. The University official will provide a written decision, within 10 business days, to the grievant and the respondent.
  • Appeal of Grievance Decision: Either the grievant or respondent may appeal the grievance decision of the University official. The grievance appeal must be submitted in writing to the Grievance Appeals Committee no more than 10 business days after receiving the written grievance decision. The Grievance Appeals Committee will notify the grievant, respondent, and appropriate University officials, in writing of their action.


To view the CSU Student Handbook, visit:



    1. Brittany Gibson

      Thank you for reaching out. Academic integrity violations remain within the student record permanently. However, academic integrity violations are not recorded on the CSU transcript. Should you have specific questions concerning academic integrity, please feel free to reach out to the Office of Student Resolution and Conduct at