Course Title: Legal Issues In Higher Education

        Instructor Professor J. Douglas Toma
       Institution University of Missouri-Kansas City
Office Number 816.235.2451
E-mail address

I. Introduction and Overview

We have two primary sets of objectives in the course. The first is to develop expertise among higher education administrators as consumers of legal services. Our primary task this semester is to raise your familiarity with the legal issues that commonly arise within higher education so that you have the background necessary to ask thoughtful questions to counsel. In other words, you should leave the course with the background necessary to recognize legal issues when they emerge on your campus and engage in sophisticated discussions about them.

The other of our course goals is to cause you to consider how you might help to facilitate preventive law strategies. We focus on the state of the law in several key areas, not merely as an intellectual exercise, but as it might shape particular decisions and policies on campus. My premise in organizing the course is that the successful higher education administrator is one who can develop approaches to managing an institution that take into account the rules and doctrine that courts and legislatures have defined. He or she should endeavor to avoid litigation, but not be paralyzed by a fear of being called into court.

II. General Information

A. Date, Time, and Place

We will meet each Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in room 336 School of Education. We will begin class promptly at 4:30 p.m. and will take a short break sometime around 6 p.m.

B. Addresses and Telephone Numbers

You may reach me outside of class by visiting my office, via telephone, or through electronic mail. My preference is that you contact me by e-mail, whenever possible. I check for both voice and e-mail messages at least daily. My office is located on the third floor of the School of Education in Suite 328 (Urban Leadership and Policy Studies).

My address is:

School of Education University of Missouri-Kansas City 5100 Rockhill Road Kansas City, Missouri 64110

My telephone numbers are:

816-235-2451, office 816-235-5270, fax 816-531-8980, home

My electronic mail address is:

Betty Green is the secretary in my office suite. She neither schedules appointments for me nor takes messages.

C. Office Hours

I will hold office hours by appointment. Please contact me directly to schedule an appointment.

III. Text and Coursepack

We will use one text is the course, as well as a coursepack. The text is available at the campus bookstore, located at the University Center, for approximately $80:

Kaplin, W. and Lee, B. (1995). The law of higher education: A comprehensive guide to legal implications of administrative decision making. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

The coursepack is also available at the campus bookstore.

IV. Written Assignments and Other Expectations

A. Papers

You will be responsible for producing three papers of 7-10 pages in length. The papers will be responses to hypothetical fact situations. We will not have a final examination in the course but will meet during finals week on May 8 and hold a regular class session. The purpose of the papers is to have you consider the ideas that we discuss in class, as well as the assigned readings, in more detail and within the context of our primary course objectives.

The papers will be due on the dates and at the times indicated. You do not need to include a bibliography with your papers, but you must cite your sources. Place the citation in text, including the page number for both direct quotes and other passages. Cite judicial decisions in the same way you would a book, chapter, or article, using the name of the plaintiff in place of the author.

Please staple your papers and do not put them in a binder or cover.

Although I recognize that several of you are working full-time outside of the classroom and have several demands on your time, I will allow extensions only in the case of extreme hardship.

B. Electronic Mail

Sometime before the third class meeting, everyone must obtain an electronic mail account from the university and send me a message at the address listed above. You can reach UMKC Computing Services at 816-235-1480 for information on establishing an e-mail account. I will occasionally post messages about changes in class meetings, assignments, etc. to you address so it is essential that you not only get on e-mail but check it at least weekly.

C. Attendance, Class Participation, and Behavior

I expect that you will contact me, preferably by electronic mail, if you will not be able to attend any class meeting. I will not tolerate repeated absences and will take appropriate action if they occur. Your attendance is obviously essential to your class participation, which is an important element of your final grade. I define participation broadly to include your careful attention to discussions, as well as your direct contributions to our discussions.

In addition, I expect your adherence to UM System and UMKC policies on plagiarism and student academic conduct.

V. Evaluation

I will use two primary criteria in determining your course grade. The first is the quality of your contributions in class and your regular class attendance. The second is the level of sophistication that you display in your written work. Both are a product of your attention to the assigned readings. I encourage you to read carefully and bring any questions that you might have to the attention of the class.

VI. Class Meetings and Reading Assignments

Please read the material listed under each topic for the class meeting indicated. Please note where class has been rescheduled from our regular Thursday evening meeting time.

A. Course Introduction, January 16

B. Courts, Lawyers, and Clients, January 23

C. Governance and Administration, January 30

D. Students

1. Admissions and Financial Aid, February 6

No Class, February 13 (rescheduled for February 28)

2. Discipline and Security, February 20


3. Protest, Expression, and Religion, February 27

4. Intercollegiate Athletics, FRIDAY, February 28, 430-715 p.m. FIRST PAPER DUE, Tuesday, March 4 at 1 p.m. at my office

E. Faculty

1. Employment, Bargaining, and Personnel Decisions, March 6

No Class, March 13 (Spring Break)

No Class, March 20 (rescheduled for May 8)

2. Academic Freedom, March 27


3. Discrimination and Affirmative Action, April 3

SECOND PAPER DUE, Monday, April 7 at 1 p.m. at my office.

F. University-Community Relations, April 10

G. Business Relationships, April 17 H. Regulation and Accreditation

1. Accreditation Associations, April 24

2. State Government Relations, April 24 THIRD PAPER DISTRIBUTED

3. Federal Government Relations

a. Regulation and Taxation, May 1

THIRD PAPER DUE, Monday, May 5 at 1 p.m. in my office.

b. Civil Rights Compliance, May 8

I. Review and Synthesis, May 8


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