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Student Life & Activities

Student Government

The student body at Methodist Theological Seminary in America is a Christian community of future church leaders, and their government is autonomously organized and operated by the students. They government works closely with faculty members and advisors to arrange all student activities. The school encourages the student leaders to establish meaningful fellowship among the students that expands their spiritual experiences and enhances their present and future ministries in the Kingdom of God. The rules and regulations for the proper operation of the student governments are included in its by-laws. The Dean of Student Affairs supervises the student government.

The Student Council

Student life and activities at Methodist Theological Seminary in America is entrusted to a large degree to the students themselves. The students elect their own officers [a student council], and a faculty advisor, and this group of people discusses campus problems and ideas suggested by the student body, and serves as the instrument for the solution of these campus problems. The membership of the student council is composed of a President, a vice-president, a treasure, and a representative from each class. These officers are elected before starting the following academic year.

Activities

Prayer and Devotions

Each class will begin with a song and a prayer, and end with prayer. We will always fix our eyes upon God, and tune our hearts to His heart in prayer as a normal part of our daily worship at the Seminary.

We believe that prayer, both private and collective, is a vital spiritual discipline for all our students, faculty, and staff. We have scheduled a regular chapel hour on every Tuesday at 6:00pm and a prayer retreat once a semester for our spiritual formation.

Local Church Activities

Our students are expected to live simple and holy lives that reflect the glory of God to all who know them, and that engender the respect of other for the Christ whom we serve. Our students are also encouraged to exercise modesty, simplicity, and neatness of dress.

Disciplinary Policy

The primary goal of the MTSA’s Disciplinary Policy is always to pursue the full restoration of the involved student. With this goal in mind, the suspension of a student from MTSA is not a desired result, but suspension may occur if a student shows an unwillingness to comply with or meet the objectives of a restorative action plan. Intermediate consequences are employed whenever possible to avoid suspension or expulsion. Each incident is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with consideration of (1) the severity of the violation, (2) the context of the incident, (3) a history of prior misconduct, (4) the responsiveness of the accused to confrontation, and (5) the degree to which the individual displays genuine repentance.

Community members are expected to provide firsthand testimony that will bring greater clarity and understanding to the review. While painstaking efforts are taken to maintain consistency from case to case and individual to individual, confidentiality often prevents the disclosure of details that contribute to a decision, occasionally resulting in unanswered questions regarding a disciplinary outcome. Uninformed community members are asked to extend the benefit of doubt to officials, knowing that prayerful consideration has been employed in the proceedings and the subsequent outcome.

The Dean of Student Affairs serves as the chief student conduct officer for the MTSA and works with other administrators to resolve student disciplinary matters. The Student Handbook provides guidelines that are used to establish continuity for administering consequences for violating community standards.

Student Rights under FERPA

From time to time parents and others request information from the MTSA about a particular student. With few exceptions, Federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA) prevents the school from disclosing academic records, student disciplinary matters, student finances, and other personally identifiable educational records without the student’s express written permission. Students also have the following rights under FERPA.

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the MTSA receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar, Dean of Students, or Academic Dean written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The MTSA official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the MTSA official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the MTSA official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he or she wants changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the MTSA decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the MTSA will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided at that time.

3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the MTSA in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit and health staff); a person or company with whom the MTSA has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Directors; or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Upon request, the MTSA discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the MTSA to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-4605

In accordance with Section 99.37 of the FERPA regulations, the MTSA reserves the right to publish directory information about students, including the student’s name, local address and phone number, academic program (including major, minor, and concentration), and home church.

STUDENT SERVICES

Health Insurance

MTSA does not provide medical insurance. We therefore ask all students to acquire medical insurance. If you need help contacting an insurance agent, please ask the main office for assistance.

Medical Provisions

If you have a minor accident, a first aid kit is kept in the main office to help you. If you have a more serious medical need that demands immediate attention, the main office will arrange for your transportation to a doctor or hospital. If you have a medical need that does not require immediate attention, please discuss the issue with the Dean of Student Affairs or the main office. If you need to find a nearby urgent care facility (i.e. a facility that should be quicker and cheaper than a hospital, but not be suitable for major emergencies), you may go to;

The Urgent care at Vermont
1234 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Tel (323) 660-0831

Family & Urgent Care Medical Center
1200 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Tel (323) 666-2220

Faculty Assistance

The MTSA faculty is committed to helping you academically and spiritually. Professors post office hours each semester; take advantage of these times by visiting your professors, either by phone or in person.

Most faculty members are also accessible by e-mail. The MTSA helps students feel free to contact the professor by e-mail. Some faculty members will provide their home phone, cell phone, or pager in their syllabus. Please use discretion when contacting your professor outside office hours. In general, most faculty members who provide these additional contact numbers are available from 1pm to 9pm weekdays. Most faculty members prefer to reserve Sundays as their personal time.

The school assigns you a faculty member to serve as an advisor. You are required to meet with your advisor each semester to review your academic plan and to register for courses for the upcoming semester. We encourage you to meet with your advisor at other times to discuss your academic, spiritual, and ministry progress.

Study Groups

Often students receive some of the best help from other students. We encourage you to seek out other students in each class and form study groups that meet regularly to review class notes, prepare for tests, and (to the extent permitted by the syllabus) collaborate on projects. Please contact your professor if you would like help in joining a study group.

Peer Tutoring

Sometimes students who struggle academically can be helped best by other students. If you are not in a study group, you should consider joining. If you need more help than your study group can provide, contact your professor. Often he or she can help you locate a volunteer peer tutor who may be able to help you with difficult material.

Student Grievance Policy

Should a student have a reasonable grievance or complaint against a staff member, faculty member, or another student, the student is advised to seek assistance in a reasonable period of time from either his or her academic advisor, department chair, or the Dean of Students. Such complaints, if valid, will be directed to the Dean of Students, if they involve another student. If they involve a staff or faculty member, they will be directed toward the Academic Dean. These members of the administration will actively investigate the situation in an attempt to determine the truth of the matter, and to take any necessary action to remedy the situation, and to ensure that it does not continue or repeat. Students’ rights to privacy will be handled with the utmost care. All complaints will be treated with the care and professionalism they deserve. The procedure followed will be according to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 73770.

Student Complaints

A student or any member of the public including prospective students may file a complaint about the school with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 (toll-free telephone number) or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the bureau’s Internet Web site www.bppe.ca.gov If a student has grievances which he or she cannot work out with the school, he or she may call or write to:

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
P.O. Box 980818, West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818

Physical Address:
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento California, 95833
Phone: (916) 431-6959, Toll Free: (888) 370-7589
Main Fax: (916) 263-1897, Licensing Fax: (916) 263-1894
Enforcement/STRF/Closed Schools Fax: (916) 263-1896
Web site: www.bppe.ca.gov
E-mail: bppe@dca.ca.gov

Emergency and Campus Crime

Any student in an emergency should call 911. If a student needs assistance, ask the Dean of Student Affairs. On campus, crime is very scarce. However, students are encouraged to walk in groups and watch one another.