2012: Court ruled that Student Handbook is not a contract

In 2012, Judge Terence Kern of the Northern District Court of Oklahoma ruled that TU’s Student Handbook “does not form any part of the contractual relationship” between students and the university.

In the case Ye Li v. University of Tulsa, a Collins College of Business student who had been dismissed from the university for academic misconduct alleged that TU had broken its contract with her by not following the conduct proceedings outlined in the Student Handbook.

Although the court found that the Student Handbook does not apply in cases of academic misconduct, it also concluded that TU is not contractually bound to adhere to the Handbook’s policies.

“The Student Handbook contains at least 14 statements that expressly disclaim any intent that (it) form the basis of any contract between the University and student,” the court ruled.

No “Student Handbook” is currently available on TU’s website. Instead, the Collegian located a document called “University Student Conduct Policies and Procedures” contains many of TU’s disciplinary policies including the Student Code of Conduct and the Policy on Harassment.

This document is available on TU’s website under “Campus Life,” “Office of Student Affairs,” “Student Policies.”

“University Student Conduct Policies and Procedures” contains a disclaimer similar to that described in Judge Kern’s ruling.

The disclaimer reads: “This handbook is not a contract. It provides information and reproduces certain significant policies of the University. Academic policies, including policies relating to academic misconduct, are established, published and enforced by the colleges and Office of the Provost. Policies and interpretation by the administration are subject to change as circumstances warrant. Please check with the appropriate office for updates and current application of any policy.”

The disclaimer is only included in the comprehensive document “University Student Conduct Policies and Procedures.” It does not appear in the text of individual policies, available at the same webpage.

Post Author: tucollegian

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