Student Handbook 2015/2016
Home » University Policies and Regulations
University Policies and Regulations
- Address and Name Change
- Aerial Devices, “Unmanned” (Drones)
- Alcohol: See Chapter 6
- Athletics, Student
- Complaint and Grievance Procedures
- Computer Privileges and Responsibilities
- Conduct: See Chapter 3, “Student Accountability”
- Copyright Infringement
- Email Address
- Equal Opportunity
- Fees, Co-Curricular
- Financial Aid, Student
- Financial Responsibility
- Identification Card
- (Vanderbilt University) Logos and Word Marks, Use of by Registered Student Organizations
- Mail Services
- Missing Student Notification Policy
- Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation
- Parking and Transportation
- Police Department, Vanderbilt University
- Political Activity
- Protection of Minors
- Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges
- Religious Holy Days & Practices
- Residential Requirement
- Student Marital Spouse and Same-Sex Domestic-Partner Registration
- Sexual Misconduct: See Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Power-Based Personal Violence”
- Smoke-Free Campus
- Solicitation: See Chapter 5 “Student Engagement.”
- Student Health and Wellness
- Student Records (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
- Study Abroad
- Technology and Literary and Artistic Works
- Universal Waiver
- University Calendar
- Vanderbilt Visions
When communities come together for a purpose, they generally establish guidelines and procedures for furthering that purpose. The policies and regulations, articulated below, have been developed over time to serve the Vanderbilt community as it pursues its academic endeavors of teaching and learning. Some of the policies, such as the residential requirement, have been established to strengthen and complement the educational experience. Others, such as fees and dining plans, have been established to provide financial viability to programs and services that students desire or require. Still others, such as those dealing with addresses, enable effective communication. A number delineate procedures for students to follow when addressing issues.
Taken in their entirety, they may seem a bit overwhelming. However, they have served well both the institution and individual students. Trying to function without them would prove very challenging, if not chaotic.
Address and Name Change
Students are required to inform either the registrars of their schools, the offices of academic services within their respective schools, or the University Registrar of any changes in their University or home addresses. Official notifications from the University will be sent to the address listed with the Office of the University Registrar. Student addresses and phone numbers may be updated by logging in to YES (Your Enrollment Services) and selecting the Address Change link.
Students who wish to change any part of their names as they appear in the Student Records System must provide official documentation supporting the requested change to the Office of University Registrar. More information on name changes may be found at http://registrar.vanderbilt.edu/academic-records/name-update/ .
Aerial Devices, “Unmanned” (Drones)
The University prohibits students from operating or using unmanned aerial devices (commonly called drones), on campus. Students seeking exceptions for the use of such devices in teaching or research may apply to the Provost’s office. Students seeking exceptions for use of such devices for co-curricular purposes may apply to the Dean of Students office.
Vanderbilt University competes in varsity athletics at the highest level sanctioned by the NCAA (Division I) within the highly regarded Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores have experienced unprecedented success across the various sports, having garnered fifteen conference championships and three national championship in recent memory. Vanderbilt fields sixteen intercollegiate sports programs: football, baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s bowling (in the Southland Conference), men’s cross country, women’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse (in the Big East Conference), women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.
During the 2014/2015 academic year, approximately 350 student-athletes competed in varsity athletics at Vanderbilt. Further information regarding Student Athletics can be found at http://www.vucommodores.com or by calling 615 32(2-6085).
A wide range of intramural and sport club opportunities are offered through the Office of Campus Recreation or 615-34(3-6627).
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Complaint and Grievance Procedures
Situations may arise in which a student believes that he or she has not received fair treatment by a representative of the University or has a complaint about the performance, action, or inaction of a member of the staff or faculty, affecting the student. A student who wishes to have a complaint addressed by the University should first use the Complaint Procedure, below, and then use the Grievance Procedure if the Complaint Procedure proves unsatisfactory. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the office of the appropriate academic dean in cases involving classes, grades, or faculty members; the University Registrar’s office in cases of unauthorized release of student educational records; and the Office of the Dean of Students for release of accountability records or other matters; or, in regard to complaints of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disabilities Services Department. Decisions of the Appellate Review Board, and decisions of appellate officers for cases of sexual misconduct, are not subject to the Complaint and Grievance Procedure.
Allegations of Discrimination, Harassment and Related Retaliation
The University generally prohibits discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment) based on race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. (For a full discussion of what constitutes unlawful or prohibited discrimination, see the section on “Equal Opportunity.”) In addition, the University does not retaliate against individuals for filing or encouraging another to file a complaint of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, participating in an investigation of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, or opposing unlawful or prohibited discrimination. “Retaliation” includes any adverse action or act of revenge against an individual for filing or encouraging another to file a complaint of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, participating in an investigation of unlawful or prohibited discrimination, or opposing unlawful or prohibited discrimination. If a student believes that he or she has been discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against, the student should report the matter to the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disabilities Services Department (EAD). The EAD will seek to assist the student with the resolution of the complaint as described below in the Complaint Procedure.
A complaint should be directed as soon as possible to the person or persons whose actions or inactions have given rise to the complaint, but not later than six months after the event. Every effort should be made to resolve the problem fairly and promptly (usually within thirty ) days, at this level.
If the complaint involves allegations of sexual harassment, this step is not appropriate. (See Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Power-Based Personal Violence.”) In addition, in a complaint alleging prohibited discrimination, as noted above, the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disabilities Services Department (EAD) should be consulted as soon as possible. The EAD will conduct an investigation of the allegations (usually within ninety  business days), will issue a finding to the appropriate University official, and will seek to resolve the matter. If the EAD is unable to complete the investigation within this time period, then the EAD will contact the complainant and provide an estimated time frame for completing the investigation.
If the student is not able to resolve the complaint satisfactorily at this level, he or she may appeal the decision within thirty (30) days through the appropriate administrative channels of the academic or administrative unit, or through the Provost or appropriate vice chancellor. Students uncertain about the proper channels or process are encouraged to seek advice from the Office of the Dean of Students. If the student is not satisfied with a resolution proposed by the EAD, then the student may pursue the Grievance Procedure, below.
A student who believes that he or she has not received fair treatment, or who has a complaint about the performance, action, or inaction of a member of the faculty or staff, and believes that he or she has not received appropriate redress through the Complaint Procedure in the preceding section within a reasonable period of time, including for complaints of prohibited discrimination investigated by the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disabilities Services Department (EAD), may file a written grievance with the Office of the Chancellor within thirty (30) days. Upon ascertaining that the complaint procedure has been exhausted, the Chancellor’s office shall refer the grievance to the Faculty Senate Committee on Student Affairs, usually within thirty (30) days during the academic year. For this purpose, the membership of the committee shall be augmented by three student members appointed by the Chancellor at the beginning of each academic year. The undergraduate Vanderbilt Student Government will nominate students for the one undergraduate position, and student governing bodies of the professional/graduate schools will nominate students for the other two student positions on a rotating basis.
Upon receiving the grievance referral from the Office of the Chancellor, the Student Affairs Committee shall inform, in writing, both parties to the grievance that a preliminary investigation will take place. The preliminary investigation will usually be completed within thirty (30) days. After the preliminary investigation, if the committee decides that the grievance is not frivolous, the committee shall follow procedures necessary to ensure a fair hearing of the matter, including the opportunity for the student to present relevant evidence, to challenge adverse evidence, and to have the complaint heard by an impartial committee. Committee members may recuse themselves if they believe their objectivity is subject to question, and the grievant may request any committee member recuse himself or herself if the grievant believes that a committee member will not view the grievance with sufficient objectivity. If vacancies occur, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall appoint Senate members to fill faculty vacancies and the Chancellor shall appoint students to fill student vacancies.
The student filing the grievance may be assisted during the hearing by a member of the University community (faculty, staff, or student) not trained in the law, and is encouraged to seek such assistance. Although all parties to the grievance are free to consult with, and receive advice from, attorneys concerning the grievance, no party shall be represented by an attorney at the hearing. For hearings or complaints of prohibited discrimination, a representative from the EAD shall be present in an advisory capacity. The committee may call upon any individuals who it believes may be helpful in resolving the grievance.
The grievant and the person or persons against whom the grievance was filed shall be present during the hearing until such time as the committee is ready to begin deliberations. The student may withdraw the grievance, with the consent of the other party, at any time prior to the decision of the committee.
After each case the committee shall write its report. The report should be completed within three weeks and shall include a statement of the committee’s findings, the basis for those findings, and, if necessary, recommendations for any corrective action that should be taken. If any disciplinary action is anticipated, the appropriate University disciplinary procedures shall be followed. The report, including the vote and any dissenting statements, shall be sent to the Chancellor within one week after completion. Except as disclosures are reasonably necessary in the investigation, hearing, and final disposition of a grievance, the grievant, members of the hearing bodies, and others having knowledge of a grievance are expected to preserve the confidentiality of the grievance.
The Chancellor shall communicate his decision to the committee. In any case in which the Chancellor does not follow the decision or the recommendation of the committee, the Chancellor shall report to the committee his or her reasons for so doing. The Office of the Chancellor shall then notify the student and the other affected persons, in writing, of the final decision, usually within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Committee’s report, during the academic year.
Grievance Procedures in the State of Tennessee
Students should be aware that, should they have complaints about their academic program or their financial aid, Vanderbilt has a complaint procedure. To the extent possible, students should seek a resolution of such matters through the institution’s complaint procedure before involving others. Should the institution not be able to resolve the problem, the student may get in touch with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
The student has the right to call on the state of Tennessee and its appropriate agency to determine the course of action. Complaints may be filed with the following agencies in Tennessee:
- Complaints related to the application of state laws or rules related to the approval to operate or licensure of a particular professional program within a postsecondary institution may be referred to the appropriate agency (e.g., State Board of Education, Department of Health, and so on) within the Tennessee State Government and may be reviewed and handled by that licensing agency. Contact information may be found by searching for the appropriate division at http://www.tn.gov.
- Complaints related to state consumer protection laws (i.e., laws related to fraud or false advertising) may be referred to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs and may be reviewed and handled by that Unit. Contact information for the Consumer Affairs Division may be found at http://www.tn.gov/consumer/.
Distance Education Complaint and Grievance Procedures
Students enrolled in distance education programs offered by Vanderbilt University in states other than Tennessee should seek resolution for complaints through Vanderbilt’s complaint procedure. Distance education students may also contact the appropriate authority in their state of residence. For further information please visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/provost/vanderbilt-university-distance-education-complaint-and-grievance-procedures-2/
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Allegations regarding noncompliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures may be made to SACSCOC, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097. (The Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and the Complaint Form may be found online .)
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Conduct: See Chapter 3, “Student Accountability”
Vanderbilt responds to allegations of copyright infringement in digital and online media in accordance with procedures required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Vanderbilt policy prohibits violations of copyright law by use of University networks, equipment, and facilities. Suspected student offenders are referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, which investigates, and where appropriate, initiates the University’s accountability process consistent with University policies and regulations. Vanderbilt’s information technology privileges and responsibilities are articulated in the University’s acceptable use policy at www.vanderbilt.edu/info/computing-aup.
The unauthorized copying, performance, or distribution of materials protected by copyright law may subject individuals to civil and criminal penalties. The distribution of material through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks may constitute copyright infringement if undertaken without authorization of the copyright owner.
Civil penalties for copyright infringement include fines of up to $30,000 per work infringed, or, in the case of willful infringement, $150,000 per work infringed. Criminal penalties for copyright infringement can be more severe and range, in the case of fines, from $5,000 to $250,000 per work infringed, and can include imprisonment of up to five years per offense depending on the facts of the case. Infringers may also be liable for attorney’s fees and court costs.
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First-year students living on campus are required to participate in the First-Year Meal Plan. Second-year students living on campus are required to participate in the fourteen-meal-per-week plan. Third-year students living on campus are required to participate in the eight-meal-per-week plan. All plans include Flex Meals and Meal Money, both of which may be replenished once depleted. Other undergraduates may purchase the 19-, 14- or 8-meal-per week plans at the MEALS website. Graduate and professional students may purchase Flex Meals on line at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/commodorecard/students.html . Detailed information on Vanderbilt Campus Dining and meal plans may be found at campusdining.vanderbilt.edu/.
Billing and Refunds
All billing on a student account is handled through the Office of Student Accounts. Prorated tuition refunds may be made in some cases of prolonged illness or withdrawal from the University, upon the recommendation of the student’s dean.
See also “Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges.”
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Certain federal statutes require that information be delivered to each student. Vanderbilt delivers much of this information via email. Official electronic notifications, including those required by statutes, those required by University policy, and instructions from University officials, will be sent to students’ Vanderbilt email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org. Students are required to be familiar with the contents of official University notifications, and to respond to instructions and other official correspondence requiring a response.
The University makes every effort to avoid inundating students with nonessential email (often called “spam”), and maintains separate lists from which students may unsubscribe for announcements of general interest.
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In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Executive Order 11246, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008i, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation ii , gender identity iii , religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression iv consistent with the University’s nondiscrimination policy.
i The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits discrimination in health coverage and in employment based on genetic information.
ii Sexual orientation refers to a person’s self-identification as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or uncertain.
iii Gender identity is generally defined as a person’s own sense of identification as male, female, both, or neither as distinguished from actual biological sex, i.e. it is one’s psychological sense of self.
iv Gender expression is everything we do that communicates our sense of identification to others.
Vanderbilt Campus Disability Access
Vanderbilt University is committed to equal access for people with disabilities. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Vanderbilt does not exclude otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, solely by reason of the disability, from participating in University programs and activities, nor are persons with disabilities denied the benefits of these programs or subjected to discrimination.
The Disability Services Program, which is part of Vanderbilt’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department, provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, which allow for equal access to education. Accommodations are available for Vanderbilt University students who have temporary or permanent disabilities and are based on the documented needs of each individual. To request reasonable accommodations, students are to contact the Disability Services Program to schedule an intake meeting with the appropriate staff person. Intake meetings are provided on an individual basis to help students orient themselves with the EAD’s processes and services. It is the individual student’s responsibility to request accommodations and provide sufficient and appropriate documentation. Students are encouraged to contact the EAD’s Disability Services Program prior to or upon enrollment at Vanderbilt University.
For further information about services for students with disabilities, write or call the EAD Disability Services Program, PMB 401809, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240-1809; telephone 615-32(2-4705) V/TDD. (See EAD, below.)
The Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD)
The EAD serves as a resource in the following capacities:
- to assist in keeping the administration informed of the University’s obligations under state and federal equal opportunity laws;
- to coordinate and monitor the University’s Affirmative Action Program in compliance with equal opportunity laws;
- to serve as a source of information for faculty, staff, and students who may have questions or complaints pertaining to equal opportunity in employment practices, University-sponsored programs and activities, and educational opportunities;
- to provide training to the Vanderbilt community on issues of equal opportunity and affirmative action; and
- to coordinate services for persons with disabilities.
Several federal and state laws impose special obligations on the University. Some include:
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
- The Campus Violence Elimination Act (SaVE)
- The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)
- Executive Order 11246, as amended
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974
- The Age Discrimination Act of 1975
- Tennessee Fair Human Rights Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- ADA Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA)
Of these laws, Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA and the ADAAA protect students from discrimination in educational and recreational programs and activities sponsored by the University. Discrimination is prohibited by Title VI on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin and by Title IX on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment. Students with disabilities are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA and the ADAAA. The EAD is the office responsible for coordinating services for students with disabilities. (See also “Vanderbilt Campus Disability Access.)
The EAD investigates allegations of prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation involving members of the Vanderbilt community, including allegations of sexual misconduct and other forms of power-based personal violence.
Vanderbilt’s Title IX Coordinator is Anita Jenious, EAD Director.
A student who believes that a member of the Vanderbilt community has engaged in prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, may get in touch with the EAD. If the offense is criminal in nature, the student may file a report with Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD).
The EAD also facilitates interim accommodation for students impacted by sexual misconduct and power-based personal violence. Some examples of interim accommodation include stay-away orders, adjusted course schedules, and housing changes.
Specific concerns pertaining to prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, including allegations of sexual misconduct and other forms of power-based personal violence, should be directed to the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD), PMB 401809, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, Tennessee 37240-1809; phone (615) 322-4705 (V/TDD); fax (615) 343-0671; vanderbilt.edu/ead.
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All registered students are assessed mandatory activity and recreation fees, which are set by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and billed through the Office of Student Accounts. Activity and Recreation fees appear as a combined charge on University statements: Act/Rec Fees.
Student Act/Rec Fees for 2015/2016 are as follows:
|Fall 2015||Spring 2016||AY 15/16 Total||Summer 16|
Fees and policies are carefully set each year by committees comprising students, faculty and staff to provide the best possible services to the widest possible range of students.
Student Activities Fee
The Activities Fee supports student co-curricular interests and events and assists the Graduate Student Council. Portions of the fee are allocated to Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., and its divisions; programs of the Office of the Dean of Students; Student Athletics; and a variety of registered student organizations.
For the academic year 2015/2016, each undergraduate is assessed $283 each semester for activities fees. Graduate students and students in professional programs pay an activities fee of $80 each semester of the academic year.
Students enrolled for a summer term are assessed a fee of $12 to support summer programs.
Activities fee for undergraduates covers:
- Publications of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., excluding The Commodore yearbook.
- Admission to Office of the Dean of Students programs, at special student rates, and use of student center facilities
- Admission on a seat-available basis to home football, baseball, and basketball games and to other varsity athletic events
Activities fee for graduate and professional students covers:
- Admission to all programs sponsored by Office of the Dean of Students, at special student rates, and use of student center facilities
- Publications of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc., excluding The Commodore yearbook.
- Support of the Graduate School Council
In addition, graduate students support the Graduate Student Council through the Activities Fee.
Graduate and professional students may have their identification cards validated for admission to home football and basketball games, on a seat-available basis, upon payment of an extra fee to Vanderbilt Student Athletics, equal to the amount paid for this privilege by undergraduates. Spouses and University certified domestic partners of full-time graduate and professional students may have their cards validated in this manner as well. Other activities included in the undergraduate activities fee are available to graduate and professional students on a single-admission or subscription basis only.
Activities Fee Committee.
The Student Activities Fee Committee is a representative student group, appointed by Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG), through an application process. On an annual basis, the AcFee Committee makes recommendations to the Dean of Students for allocation of a portion of the funds collected as student activities fees, to registered student organizations.
Student Recreation Fee
The Student Recreation Fee supports Vanderbilt’s recreational programs administered through the Office of Campus Recreation (OCR). Funds are also allocated for the operation of the Vanderbilt Recreation & Wellness Center and the University’s recreational playing fields.
For all students, use of facilities and participation in recreational programs or classes is on a space-available basis and subject to requirements, including operating hours, set by the OCR. Special student charges are assessed for some classes and activities, as well as for use of certain equipment.
Recreation Fee for Undergraduates
Each undergraduate student is assessed $263 each semester of the academic year and $63 during the summer. The fee covers:
- use of Vanderbilt Recreation & Wellness Center facilities and the recreation fields
- participation in intramural, sport club, and wellness programs
- enrollment and participation in outdoor recreational activities
- participation in recreational classes and workshops.
Recreation Fee for Graduate and Professional Students
Each graduate and professional student is assessed $135 each semester of the academic year and $63 during the summer. Payment of the summer fee entitles graduate and professional students to the same privileges provided undergraduates.
The academic year fee covers:
- half use of Vanderbilt Recreation & Wellness Center facilities (i.e., graduate and professional students may enter the rec center half the number of days available to undergraduates in a given semester, without incurring additional charges. Full access may be arranged for an additional fee.)
- use of the recreation fields
- participation in intramural, sport club, and wellness programs
- enrollment and participation in outdoor recreational activities
- participation in recreational classes and workshops.
Recreational Activities for Spouses and Partners
Spouses and University-certified domestic partners of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may use the Vanderbilt Recreation & Wellness Center for a fee and participate in recreational classes, workshops, and outdoor programs. In order to use the facility, a spouse or University-certified domestic partner must obtain a Student Family identification card from the Vanderbilt Card Office in Sarratt Student Center. Students should accompany their spouses and eligible partners to the Card Office. Spouses and University-certified domestic partners of medical students should obtain their cards from the Medical Center Card Office, D-2107 Medical Center North. Spouses and partners may inquire at the main desk of the Student Recreation Center concerning registration and payment of fees after a University I.D. card has been obtained.
Waiver of Student Fees
The Student Activities and Recreation fees are mandatory fees set by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. Waivers of these fees for fall or spring semesters may be granted for students meeting at least one of two criteria:
- a part-time student registered for four or fewer credit hours (including audit credit) or
- a full- or part-time student residing outside a circle of approximately sixty miles from the Vanderbilt campus, as determined by ZIP codes. (Note that it is the student’s responsibility to notify the University Registrar’s office of an address change in a timely manner.)
Graduate students carrying thesis or dissertation hours are considered full-time students and are not eligible for a waiver based on part-time status. Students living outside the ”sixty-mile radius” from Vanderbilt who desire to obtain a waiver for distance, must petition the Student Fees Waiver Committee in writing to receive consideration for a waiver of these fees. An online waiver from is available at www.vanderbilt.edu/recadmin. The Student Fees Waiver Committee will review each request, and petitioners must apply each semester. It is the University’s policy that there are no waivers of the summer activity and recreation fees.
All students eligible for a waiver of student fees must petition for a waiver by August 12th for the fall semester and by January 1st for the spring semester. No waivers will be granted unless requests are received by these deadlines. Waivers for prior semesters will not be granted. For questions or clarifications of these fees, please call the Office of Recreation Administration at 615 32(2-3963) or email email@example.com. Access to the waiver request form can be found online, or by writing to Student Fees Waiver Committee, PMB 406206, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, Tennessee 37240-6206. Waiver request forms must be completed each semester.
In some rare cases, waivers may be granted if exceptional circumstances apply. Exceptional circumstances do not include a student’s lack of time or inclination to make use of facilities, services, or programs, or a student’s financial circumstances. The Student Fees Waiver Committee reviews each request, and petitioners must apply each semester and meet the deadlines provided, above.
Students requesting an exceptional circumstance waiver based on a medical condition must have their physicians submit documentation to the Medical Director of Student Health, Vanderbilt University, Zerfoss Building MCN, Nashville, TN, 37232-8710 by mail, fax 615-34(3-0047) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Medical director evaluates submitted documentation and makes recommendations to the Student Fees Waiver Committee.
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The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships provides students and parents with information and assistance in their search, and application, and processing actions regarding need-based financial assistance (federal, state, and institutional) available at Vanderbilt. To be considered for need-based financial assistance from Vanderbilt, a student must complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE. To be considered for federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Upon the student’s completing the required financial aid application materials, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will provide information regarding a student’s financial aid eligibility and any additional steps required to finalize assistance for the student. Grants, scholarships, and Federal Work Study employment opportunities are available for eligible students. Students and/or parents may also be eligible for loans, if necessary. More information about both need-based and merit-based assistance is available on the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships website.
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Tuition, fees, and all charges associated with the beginning of the semester are due and payable in full by the beginning of classes. The payment deadline for fall 2015 is August 19; for spring 2016, the payment deadline is January 4. A student who misses the payment deadline for either semester will be charged a 1.5% late payment fee and may have his or her registration cancelled. In addition, YES (Your Enrollment System), Commodore Cash, and Meal Money may be suspended. Payment options may be found Office of Student Accounts website.
All first-year and new transfer students must complete a Student Account Agreement form prior to August 1, 2013. Forms are available in the Office of Student Accounts or online.
Students and their parents (or legal guardians) will be responsible for payment of all costs, including reasonable attorney fees and collection agency fees, incurred by the University in collecting moneys owed to the University. Students are bound by laws of Tennessee governing bad checks.
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The Commodore Card is the official identification card for the University. All students, whether full- or part-time, are required to have a valid identification card for any semester in which they are registered. The card is the property of the University, and if a student withdraws, it must be relinquished to the office of the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled. The Commodore Card is not transferable, and altering cards is prohibited. Damaged cards should be replaced (for a fee) at the Commodore Card Office. If misused, cards may be invalidated for specific activities such as varsity athletic events or Recreation Center access.
In addition to using the Commodore Card for identification, students may use their cards to access Commodore Cash debit spending funds, to make use of their VU Meal Plan, to gain admission to campus buildings such as residences, academic buildings, libraries, athletic events and the Student Recreation Center, and to gain admission or record attendance at events across the campus.
Many on-campus and off-campus locations accept the Commodore Card as a method of payment, including dining locations, the Vanderbilt bookstore, Varsity Markets, vending, laundry, taxi service, certain VUprint stations and copy machines, Sarratt Ticket Office, the campus post office, Athletics concessions, Outdoor Recreation Center and restaurants participating in the Taste of Nashville program. For information on funding your Commodore Cash debit spending account, visit the Commodore Card website.
To ensure that Commodore Cash debit spending funds and access privileges can be protected, students must report lost cards as soon as possible either to the Commodore Card Office during business hours or online. Lost cards may also be reported to the Vanderbilt University Police Department at 615-32(2-2745).
The University reserves the option of suspending Commodore Card debit privileges, in whole or in part, of any individual for any reason. In the event that debit privileges are entirely suspended, any funds remaining in a the Commodore Cash debit spending account will be returned to the individual’s student account, or otherwise returned if the individual has no student account.
The Commodore Card is nontransferable and restricted to use by the person whose name and picture are on the card. Cardholders may not lend their cards to anyone or ask anyone to purchase items for them with their cards. Violation of this policy may result in confiscation of the card and in corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Commodore Card account information will be released only to the cardholder or to the guarantor of the student account, who has been identified as such by the student on documents filed with the Office of Student Accounts.
Family Identification Card
Upon payment of a $10 fee, the spouse or University-certified domestic partner of a full-time student (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) may obtain a family identification card from the Commodore Card Office by presenting proof of marriage (or University certification of domestic partner status). The student spouse or partner must accompany the individual applying for the card and each must show current photo identification. When properly validated upon payment of the appropriate fees, a family card will admit the family member to home football, basketball, and baseball games (on a seat-available basis), competitions in other sports, libraries, or the Student Recreation Center (if a membership is purchased).
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All logos, seals, names, symbols, and slogans associated with, and used by, Vanderbilt University are trademarks and are the exclusive property of the University. Reproduction and use of these marks must be approved by the Office of Trademark Licensing. Such reproduction includes all products (e.g., T-shirts, mugs, uniforms) that are used for internal use, sale, or promotional giveaways. Students may call the Trademark Licensing Office at 615-32(2-4461) or visit the website for more information. Note that use of such marks for letterhead, business cards, etc., is overseen by Creative Services.
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Undergraduate students living on campus are eligible for mail and package deliveries, free of charge, to their VU Mail Services assigned campus PMB delivery address.
Nonresident undergraduates and postbaccalaureate students may obtain a PMB delivery address at the Station B Post Office in Sarratt | Rand, and will be charged a fee. (See “Fees,” below.)
Undergraduates typically retain their VU Mail Services PMB addresses for the duration of their undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt undergraduates who subsequently enroll in graduate or professional schools at Vanderbilt may keep the originally assigned address, but will be charged a fee while in the graduate or professional program. (See “Fees,” below.)
Students who leave the University for any reason (other than short, temporary period) may not receive VU Mail Services, and should submit a change of address card to the Station B, or complete the online form on the VU Mail Services website.
Mailing Instructions and Shipping:
University policy prohibits residential staff from accepting package deliveries at residence halls due to the lack of storage space and concerns regarding liability. For package delivery, see the paragraph on packages, below.
First-class mail is available, daily, by 10am. Students receiving mail will be sent an email with the subject “You’ve Got Mail,” and may proceed to the “Mail Pick-Up, Only” window at Station B.
Packages, parcels, boxes and mail requiring signatures are inventoried when they arrive at Station B and Peabody mail centers. Email package notification is then sent to the recipient student’s Vanderbilt email address with the subject “Package Arrival Notification” and with an indication of the location where the package may be picked up.
Students must present valid student ID (Commodore Card) in order to pick up their packages. Students may use any shipping carrier, and should insure all packages up to the value of the contents. Students should number the packages when sending more than one. Example: 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc. First-year students should consult the Mail Services website for specific move-in instructions.
Packages will be held for five days, at which time a second-notice will be emailed. Packages will be held three additional days, and if unclaimed, returned to the sender without further notice. Refrigerated items must be clearly marked as such, will be held no longer than five days, and if unclaimed returned to the sender without further notice.
For more information call the Station B Post Office at 615 32(2-2934). Students who need assistance on how to ship items to or from Vanderbilt may visit either the Station B Post office or the Peabody Mail Center, or visit the Mail Services website. Students with disabilities who need assistance with packages may inquire at either location.
Undergraduates who choose to study abroad or who have authorization to reside off campus, will be charged $20 for a PMB delivery address on a per-semester basis (spring and fall). Students who do not want to incur these charges must complete the following procedure:
- Visit the Station B Post Office and request that the PMB address be discontinued.
- Complete a mail-forwarding card with a valid U.S address of where mail should be forwarded.
- The request must be completed by no later than the tenth day of classes of any new semester. Charges will not be removed after this deadline.
Failure to follow this procedure will result in the charge being assessed.
Graduate and professional students who wish to be assigned a PMB address on campus may make arrangements in person at the Station B Post Office in Sarratt | Rand. The fee of $20 is on a per-semester basis, and may be paid by cash or check, only.
Internal Mail / Campus Mail
Students, registered student organizations, and departments may use the internal campus mail service without paying postage.
Candidates for student offices will not be granted authorization to distribute un-addressed mail.
A complete list of policies regarding campus mail may be found on the VU Mail Services website.
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In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Vanderbilt University provides each student residing on campus the opportunity to designate a confidential contact to be notified by the University in the event that the University, through its established procedures, determines that a student is missing. Although not required, Vanderbilt makes the missing student notification procedure available to all students.
This confidential contact is in addition to any other emergency contact that the student may identify, although both the “confidential” contact and the “emergency” contacts may be the same person or persons. In the case of non-emancipated students under the age of eighteen, the HEOA requires that a custodial parent or guardian be notified; however, an additional, confidential contact may also be specified. Students may designate both emergency contacts and confidential contacts by logging into YES (Your Enrollment Services) at https://yes.vanderbilt.edu, and selecting the appropriate process.
Once the Vanderbilt University Police Department has determined that a student is missing, the Dean of Students or one of the Dean’s designees will notify the confidential contact within 24 hours. Vanderbilt University will also notify an appropriate external law enforcement agency and others at the University, as appropriate, about the missing student, within the same 24-hour period.
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Determination of a student’s class for nonacademic purposes is usually based on the number of years the student has been in residence, regardless of the number of credit hours accumulated. A student in the first year of full-time study is classified as a first-year student for purposes of meal plans, parking privileges, running for campus office, etc., even if the student has achieved sophomore academic standing because of summer enrollment or advanced placement. Transfer students enrolled in an accelerated three-year graduation program are classified in consultation with the appropriate student affairs deans of their respective schools or colleges. Classification for room assignments in campus residences, is determined by the Office of Housing and Residential Education in consultation with Vanderbilt Student Government.
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Motor vehicles operated on campus by Vanderbilt University faculty, staff, and students must be registered annually with Parking Services. Resident student parking on campus is a privilege and is primarily reserved for juniors and seniors. First-year students may not register or park vehicles on campus; however, a limited number of long-term vehicle-storage spaces are available to sophomores on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete parking regulations may be found on the Parking Services website.
Motorcycles, Motorized Bicycles, Mopeds, and Motor Scooters
As above, motorized vehicles operated on campus by Vanderbilt University faculty, staff, and students, must be registered annually with Parking Services. The operation of motorcycles, motorized bicycles, motor scooters, and mopeds on sidewalks (walkways and similar paths) is prohibited, in keeping with Tennessee ordinance #55-8-101(37). Vehicles providing for of accessibility (such as motorized wheel chairs), are exempt from the prohibition if approved in advance through the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department (EAD), 615-32(2-4705). Complete regulations regarding motorcycles etc., can be found on the Parking Services website.
Sections of the Metropolitan Nashville Traffic and Parking Code dealing with bicycles apply both on and off campus. Vanderbilt policy concerning the use of bicycles on campus is as follows:
- Cyclists should exercise caution on campus roadways, which may require walking the cycle under certain circumstances.
- Cyclists on roadways must ride with traffic as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or roadway edge, except under one or more of the following circumstances:
when overtaking and passing a vehicle going in the same direction,
when preparing for a left turn, or
when avoiding obstacles or hazards.
- Cyclists on roadways may not ride more than two abreast, and cyclists on Vanderbilt sidewalks must ride in single file.
- Cyclists riding on sidewalks must yield to pedestrians, and must provide audible notice before passing pedestrians.
- The bicycle speed limit on campus roads is ten miles per hour.
Registration of bicycles through Operation ID at the Vanderbilt University Police Department helps to deter theft and helps to identify the owners of bicycles that have been recovered. Bicycles may be registered online. Bicycle owners should notify Vanderbilt Police if their bicycles are stolen or if they sell their registered bicycles.
To prevent theft, U-locks should be used to secure bicycles to racks. Bicycles may not be parked in the public areas of campus buildings. Securing bicycles to the decorative grillwork of campus buildings, to hand rails, or to any structures not designated for securing bicycles is prohibited. In certain areas, fences have been adapted for use as bike racks, where such use does not impede traffic. Bicycles may not be secured to fences adjacent to stairs or sidewalks, or within fifteen feet of a building entrance or exit.
Persons involved in bicycle accidents that result in personal injury should report the accidents to the Vanderbilt University Police Department.
Golf carts are prohibited on campus, except when used by those departments (Alumni Events, e.g.) that must use such carts in the undertaking of their responsibilities during special events. Rare exceptions may be made by the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee in consultation with the Director of the Student Health Center and Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services, for students whose mobility impairment cannot be accommodated by any other device. Golf carts may not be operated on Metro streets and must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks.
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Police Department, Vanderbilt University
As one of Tennessee’s larger law enforcement agencies, the Vanderbilt University Police Department provides comprehensive law enforcement and security services to all components of the University including the academic campus, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and a variety of University-owned facilities throughout Davidson County. Both non-commissioned and commissioned officers staff the department.
Commissioned officers are empowered to make arrests as “Special Police Officers,” through the authority of the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Vanderbilt officers with Special Police Commissions have the same authority as that of a municipal law enforcement officer while on property owned, operated or otherwise controlled by the University.
When a Vanderbilt student is involved in an off-campus incident, Vanderbilt police officers may assist with the investigation in cooperation with local, state, or federal law enforcement. Metro Nashville police routinely work and communicate with Vanderbilt officers on any serious incident occurring on campus or in the neighborhoods and business areas surrounding campus.
Metro Nashville police have primary jurisdiction in all areas off campus, but Vanderbilt police officers are often dispatched to respond to student-related incidents that occur in close proximity to campus. Vanderbilt officers have direct radio communications with the Nashville police, fire department, and ambulance services to facilitate rapid response in any emergency situation.
VUPD offers a wide variety services described in detail on its website. Services include the following:
- Emergency Notification
- Security Notices
- Educational Services
- Emergency Phones (located across the campus)
- Lost & Found
- Operation ID [Register Your Possessions under the Students pull-down menu]
- Self Defense (RAD) for women
- VandyVans operating on designated routes from dusk to five a.m.
- Victim Services support for crime victims
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Vanderbilt encourages students to engage with public issues and in the political process to the fullest extent of their interests. However, because of its tax-exempt status, the University is subject to restrictions concerning certain political activities. In particular, the Internal Revenue Code imposes limitations on tax-exempt organizations relating to attempts to influence legislation and an absolute prohibition on participating or intervening in political campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office.
These limitations affect students and student organizations in several ways. For one, the prohibition on supporting or opposing political candidates means that student organizations must not use the benefits they receive from Vanderbilt, such as funds, space, or use of facilities, on behalf of a political candidate. If Vanderbilt space or facilities are provided to a candidate, the University must approve such use in advance as well as determine, and collect from the candidate, the fair market rate for such use, to be charged equally to any candidates, in advance of the use.
Students and student organizations are prohibited from taking any action that would imply that Vanderbilt is endorsing or opposing particular candidates or political parties or organizations. Although every member of the academic community has a right to participate (or not, as the member sees fit), in the election process, no student may speak or act in Vanderbilt’s name in connection with any person’s campaign for office.
Registered student organizations permitted to make use of the University’s name or marks should take special care to avoid implying University endorsement or opposition of candidates. Using the University’s name, facilities, or resources to support or oppose candidates for public office is prohibited.
Students who choose to run for public office while enrolled at Vanderbilt must separate their campaign activities from their association with the University. This could mean finding a location other than their campus residences, if they have any, from which to conduct campaign activities. It also means that they must refrain from using the University’s communications systems, computer facilities, or mail system in the service of their campaigns.
In the interest of furthering its educational mission, Vanderbilt may allow candidates for office to speak or hold public events on campus, and if it does, then access is provided without discrimination as to viewpoint or party affiliation among candidates. Students or student groups wishing the University to invite speakers who are candidates should consult the Office of Public Affairs so as to comply with this section.
Students or student organizations who wish to lobby legislative bodies for the purpose of influencing legislation should ensure either that they do not make use of any affiliation with Vanderbilt when doing so, or that they first consult the Office of Public Affairs concerning any Vanderbilt-related lobbying so that the University’s legal obligations with respect to reporting lobbying expenses can be met.
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Both students and student organizations must comply with the University’s protection of minors policy. Both the policy and the process for compliance and implementation can be found on the Risk Management website. (A login is required).
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Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges
University policy for the refund of tuition and room charges provides a percentage refund based on the dates of withdrawal and check-out from the residence. Students who withdraw officially or who are dismissed from the University for any reason may be entitled to a partial refund in accordance with the established schedule available on the Office of Student Accounts website.
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Vanderbilt is a private and non-sectarian University that has committed itself to helping its students acquire knowledge and standards of value, develop a sense of responsibility, explore religious concerns and issues, and develop their own sense of purpose. The University itself is diverse in its makeup and perspectives and encourages diversity in its student body.
The University, therefore, provides both directly and indirectly for the religious and moral development of its students. Programs in this area are predicated on the right of students to form and freely express their own beliefs and values. A campus where persons from diverse traditions live and work is an open forum for all perspectives. Respect for all religious faiths is essential; observances and holy days are honored; and dialogue among groups is encouraged.
Code of Behavior for Religious Groups
The element of personal development, as mentioned above has been given expression in the establishment of the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, in the recognition of qualified affiliated religious professionals, and in the registration of student religious groups whose goals are in keeping with those of the University. The purposes of the University are harmonious with the purposes of addressing issues of religion, values, ethics, and morality of life; in helping members of the University community to articulate a personal philosophy of life, and in understanding the interactions of faith, intellectual inquiry, and social responsibility as bases for finding and affirming meaning and satisfaction in life.
Specific University goals for moral and religious development include the development of programs to help those in the University community to:
- understand their own faiths and the faiths of others;
- examine and affirm a personal faith or life philosophy;
- express these faiths and philosophies through association with others, through opportunities for worship, study, and service, and by engaging Vanderbilt’s religious pluralism through interfaith cooperation and dialogue;
- examine the relation of their faith or life philosophy to current moral, ethical, and social issues and to various academic disciplines and professional and vocational fields.
These goals will be met by the University itself in a non-sectarian manner, and the University expects all religious groups on campus to give evidence of tolerance, fairness, and respect for the religious traditions represented at the University, to respect the non-sectarian nature of the University itself, and to uphold the University’s commitment to creating a diverse and pluralistic community on campus.
The University expects that all religious groups which are affiliated, recognized, or registered, respectively, will conduct their affairs so that their policies, programs, and personal actions are in accordance with University catalogues, handbooks, and manuals, such as the Student Handbook, and the Faculty Manual . In particular, the University expects all religious groups to abide strictly by the policy on “Soliciting for Religious Activities,” and, with the provision that student groups must be led by full-time Vanderbilt students. The University also expects that all such religious groups on campus will conduct their affairs in such a manner that no one will be intimidated or coerced and that participants in any group may freely express their beliefs and values. The University requires all registered student organizations to comply with its nondiscrimination policy for student organizations as outlined in Chapter 5 of the Student Handbook “Student Engagement .”
The University reserves the right to make other regulations as necessary, without notice, to secure maximum freedom, comfort, safety, and convenience for all. Violations of this code of behavior will be addressed through the University’s accountability process, the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, and/or the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department.
Policy Regarding Observance of Religious Holy Days
It is the policy of Vanderbilt to make every reasonable effort to allow members of the University community to observe their religious holy days without academic penalty. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. Students who expect to miss classes, examinations, or any other assignments as a consequence of their religious observance should be provided with a reasonable alternative opportunity to complete such academic responsibilities. It is the obligation of students to provide faculty with reasonable notice of the dates of religious holidays on which they will be absent, preferably at the beginning of the semester. Students who are absent on days of examinations or class assignments should be offered an opportunity to make up the work without penalty (if they have previously arranged to be absent), unless it can be demonstrated that a makeup opportunity would constitute an unreasonable burden on a member of the faculty. Should disagreement arise over what constitutes an unreasonable burden or any element of this policy, parties involved should consult the department chair, or, in schools without department chairs, the dean of the school.
A listing of religious holy days and policies may be found at The Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life website.
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The Residential Requirement, established by the Board of Trust in 1952, states that “All unmarried undergraduate students, except those who live at home with their families in Davidson County, must live in residence halls on campus during the academic year, May session, and summer sessions. Authorization to live elsewhere is granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments in special situations or when space is unavailable on campus.” A full discussion of residence life may be found in Chapter 4 “Residential Life.”
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Vanderbilt University extends certain benefits to students’ spouses or same-sex domestic partners who, on an annual basis, register with the Dean of Students office. Such benefits include the following:
- Eligibility for Commodore Card identification, and, upon payment of appropriate activation and other fees, access to a number of services.
- Eligibility for Recreation and Wellness Center memberships and participation in certain Outdoor Recreation Center programs.
- Eligibility for discounted movie tickets and certain free/discounted event tickets through Sarratt Box Office.
- Reading and borrowing privileges at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library system. (Privileges may vary from library to library.)
- Eligibility for validation of ID for admission to athletic events though the Athletics Ticket Office.
- Eligibility for certain general discounts offered to Vanderbilt affiliates by Vanderbilt Human Resources http://hr.vanderbilt.edu/benefits/perqs.php.
- Eligibility to establish access to a declining-balance account for use with the Commodore Card for purchases in dining facilities, laundry machines, Commodore Cabs, copiers and printers, vending machines, and other locations that allow payment with a Commodore Card.
- The student and his or her spouse or same-sex domestic partner visit the Dean of Students office, each in possession of state- or federally-issued identification.1
- The student and his or her spouse or same-sex domestic partner will complete an affidavit affirming that they meet the following criteria:
- that they not related by blood in a manner that would prohibit them from being married under Tennessee state law.2
- that they are at least 18 years of age.3
- that they are not legally married to anyone else.
- that they reside in a common household and share responsibility for the household.
- Upon completion of the affidavit, a Dean of Students representative will notarize it, photocopy the affidavit and identification, and provide a paper or digital copies to the student and spouse/partner and the Commodore Card Office.
- The student and their spouse/partner then visit the Commodore Card Office together in order to obtain a Commodore Card for the registered spouse/partner.
- If at any point the marriage, civil union, or/or domestic partnership is dissolved, the student must notify the Dean of Students office within 60 calendar days, and the non-student spouse/partner must return the Commodore Card issued to him or her to the Dean of Students office.
Consistent with the practice of the Commodore Card Office, all spouses/partners are required to re-register annually to continue these benefits.
Health insurance coverage for student spouses/partners is handled through an independent process: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_health/student-health-insurance.
1 A state driver’s license or non-driver ID; passport; a federal ID such as a military identification card, state, county or local government ID; or lawful permanent resident cards (often called “green cards”)
2 Tennessee code states, “Marriage cannot be contracted with a lineal ancestor or descendant, nor the lineal ancestor or descendant of either parent, nor the child of a grandparent, nor the lineal descendants of husband or wife, as the case may be, nor the husband or wife of a parent or lineal descendant.” http://www.state.tn.us/tccy/tnchild/36/36-3-101.htm
3 For spousal or domestic partnerships involving a student or partner under the age of 18, the student and partner and parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the person(s) under 18 must meet with the Associate Dean of Students for a review of the proposed registration.
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Sexual Misconduct: See Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Power-Based Personal Violence”
Vanderbilt University is a smoke-free campus. Smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, etc., are prohibited in all buildings on campus, including University residence halls and Greek chapter houses, and on the grounds of the campus with the exception of designated outdoor smoking areas.
Locations of designated smoking areas for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors may be found on an online map at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/info/smokingpolicy/.
Locations of additional designated smoking areas for campus residents may be found on the Housing and Residential Education website. Greek organizations may elect to designate outdoor smoking areas on their house grounds.
Designated smoking areas are marked with signs and include cigarette urns for disposal.
Vanderbilt University is committed to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment and offers several resources for smoking cessation. “Quit Kits” can be obtained free of charge from the Office of Wellness Programs & Alcohol Education, and links to other resources can be found on its website.
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Solicitation: See Chapter 5 “Student Engagement.”
The Student Health Center
The Student Health Center provides primary care and some specialty services for registered students. Services include routine medical care, chronic disease management office-based gynecology, travel medicine, nutrition services, and sports medicine. The Student Health Center also has a lab and can perform office-based tests and can send samples to the Vanderbilt Medical Center laboratory as needed.
The Student Health Center’s hours of operation are posted on the center’s website. Students seeking treatment should call ahead at 615-32(2-2427) to schedule appointments. Students with urgent issues will be seen on a “same-day” basis, and if no appointment time is available, will be worked in on a “first-come, first-served” basis, and triaged according to severity of illness.
Emergency on-call consultation services are available at 615-32(2-2427), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More detailed information about services and health related topics may be found at the Student Health Center website.
The State of Tennessee requires certain immunizations for all students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) on university campuses. Students not in compliance with these mandated immunizations will NOT be allowed to register for classes. Waivers for required vaccines may be granted for religious or medical reasons; such waivers are granted only by the Student Health Center. Instructions for providing waiver request documentation can be found on the immunizations requirements website.
The requirements include:
- Meningococcal meningitis vaccine (one injection) for all incoming students living in on-campus housing.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (2 injections) for all incoming students.
- Varicella vaccine (two injections) for all students who have not had documented chickenpox.
All incoming students must upload a Student Health Center Immunization Requirements form. Instructions and further information are located on the immunizations requirements website. The completed Immunization Requirements form must be uploaded to the Student Health Center immunization portal by May 15, 2015 . The form also collects important health history information that enables the Student Health Center staff to better serve individual student needs.
There are no office-visit co-pays for routine visits, but for medications or supplies dispensed, students will incur small charges. There are small co-pays associated with some office procedures or specialty visits (such as wart removal and colposcopy). Medication and supplies ordered by Student Health physicians and nurse practitioners can usually be provided to students “at cost,” and almost always at a price below typical pharmacy co-pays or charges. Credit cards, cash, and the Commodore Card, or a charge to the student account may be used to pay for any charges incurred at the Student Health Center. The Student Health Center has no relationship with any insurance company and cannot bill insurance for charges incurred at the Center.
Any lab tests not performed at the Student Health Center are sent to the Vanderbilt Medical Center and are billed to the student’s health insurance company by the Medical Center. In addition, when a student is referred to a specialist outside of the Student Health Center, charges incurred are billed by that clinic to the student’s health insurance company. Any amount remaining after health insurance has paid its share is the student’s responsibility. If a student has an Emergency Department visit after-hours because of a serious illness or injury, the Medical Center will bill the student and his/her insurance company.
Care provided at the Student Health Center is confidential and in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. It is only with explicit written consent from the student that the Student Health Center may communicate with Deans, parents, professors, or other health care professionals.
HIPAA does have a clause that allows notification of families in the event that the student is in an emergency or life-threatening situation.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center personnel will ask treated students in the Emergency Department about notification of staff in the Office of Housing and Residential Education and the Student Health Center. Except in cases of a life-threatening emergency, notification requires the student’s permission and is strongly encouraged. This practice enables the University to provide support and assistance to students and their families.
Medical Excuse Policy
The Student Health Center does not provide “excuses” for everyday illnesses (such as colds or minor other minor illnesses) that may lead to missed classes or delay in completion of assignments. Vanderbilt University expects students to be honest with their instructors regarding their ability to complete work, and expects instructors to work with students on these issues. Student Health can provide students with cards documenting a visit to the Student Health Center, but details of minor illnesses are not routinely provided. The student’s right to privacy is one of the important issues that guides this policy. In addition, since there is great variability in each student’s response to minor illnesses, the Student Health Center cannot always predict which students will miss assignments or classes in response to such ailments. Honest communication between an instructor and a student can better address these situations.
In cases of more serious illness or injury, especially those that would require prolonged bed rest or hospitalization, the Student Health Center will, with the student’s permission, notify the student’s academic dean of the student’s illness so that instructors may be formally informed of the circumstances.
Vanderbilt University must enforce public health mandates as required by public health authorities, and may also follow Medical Center and Student Health Center recommendations when the University determines them to be in the best interest of the Vanderbilt community and the public. As a result, among other needed interventions, students in campus housing may be required to relocate so that appropriate isolation and/or quarantine can be accomplished.
Student Injury and Sickness Insurance Plan
All degree-seeking students (with the exception of those in the Division of Unclassified students) registered for four or more hours at Vanderbilt are automatically enrolled in–and will be billed for–a University-endorsed health insurance plan offered by Gallagher Student Health and Risk, unless they complete the online waiver process. Information about the plan is available online at www.gallagherstudent.com/vanderbilt. In addition, an insurance representative has an office at the Student Health Center and can be reached at 615-34(3-4688).
The annual premium is in addition to tuition. Coverage for undergraduate students begins August 12 and extends through August 11 the following calendar year, if the student remains in school for 31 days beginning August 11. After 31 days, the coverage remains in effect whether the student is in school or is away from the University, and there is no pro rata refund for this coverage.
The plan provides hospital, surgical, and major medical benefits. A brochure explaining the limits, exclusions, and benefits of the plan is available online at www.gallagherstudent.com/vanderbilt, at registration, in the Office of Student Accounts, or at the Student Health Center. The plan requires that the Student Health Center be the student’s primary care provider in Nashville, but will provide coverage for referrals to specialists when a written referral is made by a Student Health Center provider.
A student who does not wish to subscribe to the insurance plan offered through the University must notify the University of comparable coverage under another policy. Waiver of the student insurance plan does not affect eligibility for services at the student Health Center. The online waiver process may be found online. The insurance charge will not be waived if the online process is not completed by August 1 for the fall semester, or by January 6 for students who are newly enrolled for the spring semester. The waiver process must be completed each academic year.
An additional premium is charged for family insurance coverage. An eligible student who wishes to provide coverage for his or her spouse or University-certified domestic partner, and/or children, may do so at www.gallagherstudent.com/vanderbilt.
International Student Coverage
International students are automatically enrolled in, and billed for, the Gallagher plan, in compliance with federal regulations relations to J-1 visa status, which requires international students and their dependents to maintain adequate insurance coverage. Students who have adequate coverage and wish to waive the Gallagher plan (and charge) may complete an on-line waiver. The deadline is September 7 for the fall semester and January 15 for new, incoming students for the spring semester. The waiver process must be completed each academic year.
For more information, visit the Student Health Center website.
The Psychological and Counseling Center
The Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) provides mental health assessment, support, and treatment for students enrolled at Vanderbilt. The team of clinical professionals includes psychologists, licensed counselors including substance use specialists, and psychiatric medical providers. Services include emergency assessments, individual counseling, group therapy, and psychiatric assessment and treatment. The PCC provides reading and study skills support, and assessments for ADHD and learning disabilities.
Students may work with a trained biofeedback counselor as another means of addressing anxiety or stress and pain among other symptoms. The PCC offers self-guided care at its Mind Body Lab, which is accessible at the PCC or by visiting the lab’s website. The staff is available to consult with students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about a student’s mental health. The PCC is open according to the schedule posted on the center’s website . Students seeking to schedule an appointment should call 615-32(2-2571). Students with urgent issues may walk in to the PCC to meet with the triage clinician. If there are multiple students seeking triage services the students will be seen on a “first-come, first served” basis. Flexibility is maintained to address student needs according to level of acuity.
The PCC also provides outreach, prevention, and education–with a focus on the enhancement of coping skills–through campus workshops dealing with stress management, and through work with a team of student ambassadors in LEAPS (Liaisons Educating & Advocating for Psychological Support). These resources are provided to facilitate stress management in order to minimize or prevent mental health problems. One specific area of education is suicide risk and prevention through MAPS (Mental health Awareness & Prevention of Suicide) trainings.
More details about services may be found at the PCC website.
The PCC does not charge for routine services, but does charge for psychological testing, both for a screening ($20), and for a full test ($475). The student is expected to pay for the testing prior to its being scheduled. Students may pay with cash, check, or may charge the fee to their student accounts. The PCC has no relationship with any insurance company and cannot bill third parties for these charges.
Students requiring laboratory testing are referred to the Student Health Center. Charges for these tests are made in accordance with Student Health Center policies.
Care provided at the Psychological and Counseling Center is confidential and in compliance with Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Only with explicit, written consent from the student may the PCC communicate with Deans, parents, or professors except in the case of an emergency in which safety is a concern.
HIPAA does have a clause that enables notification of families in the event that the student is in an emergency or life-threatening situation.
The PCC and the Student Health Center function as a team, and chart documentation is visible by approved health care providers at both sites.
Medical Excuse Policy
The PCC can provide students with cards documenting a visit to the PCC, upon request. Details of the visit are not provided.
In cases where mental health issues have a significant impact upon class attendance and/or performance, with the student’s permission the staff at the PCC will work to determine whether, and how, to communicate with the student’s academic dean so that instructors may be formally informed of absences. If the student is hospitalized for mental health reasons, the team of providers at the hospital will work with the PCC to identify resources to support the student in the University setting.
Office of Student Health and Wellness
Students who engage in a pattern of conduct that endangers the health and safety of others may be required to participate and make satisfactory progress in a program of medical evaluation and/or treatment, or a program of psychological evaluation and/or treatment, if they are to remain at the University. The Psychological and Counseling Center makes every effort to provide a mental health safety net to support students who are at risk for self harm or harming others. The University reserves the right to require the immediate withdrawal of a student whose continuation in school–in the University’s judgment–is detrimental to the health or safety of others. Students who withdraw–voluntarily or involuntarily–under these circumstances, may be considered for readmission following a finding by the University that the condition requiring withdrawal has been corrected sufficiently to remove the threat to others. The University maintains two primary means of institutional review for assessment and implementation of this oversight process.
- Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team
A multi-disciplinary group of campus professionals (faculty and staff) the CARE Team meets weekly during the academic year to identify high-risk students and other students of concern, to monitor students’ progress, and to develop plans and recommendations for their safety and well-being. A major component of Student Care and Community Support, the CARE Team serves as a support system for students.
- Welfare Panel
Convened by the Dean of Students of the Dean’s designee, on an as-needed basis, the Welfare Panel addresses urgent situations of risk or threat to the health or well-being of the University community. The panel assesses urgent and potentially critical student situations from a number of perspectives to determine whether students might pose a threat to the health or safety of others in the University community. The panel develops an assessment for a student, reviewing past, present, and potential futures risk factors posing direct threats to the health and safety of the student or to the safety of others. The panel assembles pertinent information from relevant members of the University community, and is empowered to withdraw students who pose sufficient risk to the welfare of the University community.
The panel comprises the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, appropriate Student Care & Community Support staff, the Director of the Student Health Center, the Director of the Psychological and Counseling Center, an academic dean from the school in which the student of concern is enrolled, a representative from the Office of General Counsel, and other specifically-designated, relevant personnel as may be needed.
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Vanderbilt University is subject to the provisions of federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also referred to as FERPA). This act affords matriculated students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the University Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the University Registrar does not maintain the records, the student will be directed to the University official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of any part of their education records that a student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students who wish to request an amendment to their educational record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student will be notified of the decision and advised of his or her right to a hearing.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records to third parties, except in situations that FERPA allows disclosure without the student’s consent. These exceptions include:
- Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A “school official” is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support-staff position (including University law enforcement personnel and health staff); contractors, consultants, and other outside service providers with whom the University has contracted; a member of the Board of Trust; or a student serving on an official University committee, such as the Honor Council, The Appellate Review Board, or a grievance committee, 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.
- Disclosure to parents if the student is a dependent for tax purposes.
- Disclosure to appropriate individuals (e.g., parents/guardians, spouses, housing staff, health care personnel, police) where disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency and knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
- Disclosure to a parent or legal guardian of a student, information regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the University has determined that the student has committed a policy violation with respect to the use or possession and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the disclosure to the parent/guardian.
FERPA provides the University the ability to designate certain student information as “directory information.” Directory information may be made available to any person without the student’s consent unless the student gives notice as provided for, below. Vanderbilt has designated the following as directory information: the student’s name, addresses, telephone number, e-mail address, student ID photos, major field of study, school, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weights and heights of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student, and other information that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Any student who does not wish disclosure of directory information should notify the University Registrar in writing. No element of directory information as defined above is released for students who request nondisclosure except as required by statute.
The request for nondisclosure does not apply to class rosters in online class management applications, or to residential rosters—or rosters of groups a student may join voluntarily–in online, co-curricular engagement applications, or rosters of other information on the websites of student organizations that a student may join. Neither class rosters in online class management applications, nor residential rosters in online co-curricular engagement applications, are available to the public. Students may configure their privacy settings in co-curricular engagement applications to further restrict availability of information in those applications.
As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which students’ education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records—including Social Security Numbers, grades, or other private information—may be accessed without consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to student records and PII without consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to education records and PII without consent, to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the University objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the third parties that they authorize to receive PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over the third parties.
In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without student consent, PII from education records, and may track student participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.
If a student believes the University has failed to comply with FERPA, he or she may file a complaint using the Student Complaint and Grievance Procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook. If dissatisfied with the outcome of this procedure, students may file a written complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.
Questions about the application of the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act should be directed to the University Registrar or to the Office of General Counsel.
Individual listings in the online People Finder Directory consist of the student’s full name and e-mail address. Students may elect to add additional contact information to their listings, including school, academic classification, local phone number, local address, box number, permanent address, or cell phone, pager, and fax numbers.
Student listings in the People Finder Directory are available to the Vanderbilt community via logon ID and e-password. Students may choose to make their online People Finder listings available to the general public (i.e., viewable by anyone with access to the Internet), or to block individual directory items.
Students who have placed a directory hold with the University Registrar will not be listed in the online directory.
Students may report address changes, emergency contact information, and “missing person” contact information via the Web by logging in to YES (Your Enrollment Services) https://yes.vanderbilt.edu and clicking on the “Address Change” link.
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In general, the policies and regulations in the Student Handbook apply to students registered for Vanderbilt study-abroad programs, and some additional regulations may apply. Students on academic or disciplinary probation, or those with a financial hold, may be prohibited from participating in study-abroad programs. Specific regulations for students enrolled in study-abroad programs are available from the program directors, from the Global Education Office, or from the offices of the deans of the undergraduate colleges and schools.
Provisions of the Student International Travel policy apply to students studying abroad.
The resident directors or faculty leaders of Vanderbilt study-abroad programs (Vanderbilt-In-[country] programs and short-term faculty-led programs) are responsible for academic matters. In consultation with the Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, they are also responsible for co-curricular and accountability matters, within the limits of the policies established by the University. (See “Conduct in Study-Abroad Programs,” in Chapter 3: “Student Accountability.”)
Students participating in University-approved, direct-credit programs administered by third-party providers (CET, CIEE, DIS, IFSA-Butler, IES, SIT, etc.), or direct-enroll/exchange programs at host institutions must abide by the conduct policies and regulations set forth by the institutions, in addition to the those in the Vanderbilt Student Handbook.
Students are required to abide by the laws of the respective countries in which they reside, study, or travel, with respect to the age at which alcoholic beverages may be consumed. Otherwise, the policies with respect to alcoholic beverages and controlled substances included in the Vanderbilt Student Handbook apply. Students are subject to accountability sanctions, including expulsion, and referral for prosecution for violation of these policies.
Undergraduate students enrolled in a study-abroad program will be charged for only a portion of the Student Activities Fee.
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The rights and responsibilities of students and of the University concerning inventions, discoveries, rights in technology, and literary and artistic works, including patents, are defined in the Faculty Manual. For more information, visit Part III, section 4 of the Faculty Manual.
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In consideration of Vanderbilt University’s providing opportunities to participate in both academic and co-curricular programs and activities, students acknowledge the receipt and sufficiency of this consideration, and, by enrolling in Vanderbilt University, agree to release, relieve, discharge, and hold harmless Vanderbilt University, its officers, trustees, faculty, administrators, employees, representatives, and elected and volunteer leaders designated by Vanderbilt University, from any and all liability or claim of liability, whether for personal injury, property damage, or otherwise, arising out of, or in connection with, their voluntary participation in activities and travel associated with programs sponsored by the University or any of its departments, student groups, and other entities.
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Vanderbilt Visions is a first-semester, University core program of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. Through a curriculum of discussions and activities, small groups facilitated by faculty members and undergraduate peer mentors address the social, academic, cognitive, and cultural transitions students experience during their first semester at Vanderbilt University. All first-year students must observe the attendance policy of Vanderbilt Visions. Failure to do so may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process.
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Grievance Procedures in the State of Tennessee
Students should be aware that, should they have complaints about their academic program or their financial aid, Vanderbilt has a complaint procedure. To the extent possible, students should seek a resolution of such matters through the institution’s complaint procedure before involving others. Should the institution not be able to resolve the problem, the student may get in touch with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission[FW1] .
The student has the right to call on the state of Tennessee and its appropriate agency to determine the course of action. Complaints may be filed with the following agencies in Tennessee:
· Complaints related to the application of state laws or rules related to the approval to operate or licensure of a particular professional program within a postsecondary institution may be referred to the appropriate agency (e.g., State Board of Education, Department of Health, and so on) within the Tennessee State Government and may be reviewed and handled by that licensing agency. Contact information may be found by searching for the appropriate division at http://www.tn.gov.
· Complaints related to state consumer protection laws (i.e., laws related to fraud or false advertising) may be referred to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs and may be reviewed and handled by that Unit. Contact information for the Consumer Affairs Division may be found at http://www.tn.gov/consumer/.