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Chapter 5: University Policies and Regulations

Vanderbilt Campus Disability Access / Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation / Religious Practices / Technology and Literary and Artistic Works / Use of University Logos and Word Marks by Student Organizations / Political Activity / Harassment / Student Complaint and Grievance Procedures / Student Records (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) / Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges / Bicycles on Campus / Conduct Endangering Personal Health / Address and Name Change / Email Address / Conduct Regulations / Financial Responsibility / Identification Card / Smoking on Campus / Student Activities Fee / Student Recreation Fee / Same-Sex Domestic Partner Policy / Universal Waiver / University Calendar


Topics marked by an * link to sites whose materials are part of the Student Handbook. Where information on the linked site contradicts information on Handbook pages, or is different from information on Handbook pages, the information on the linked site takes precedence. To return to the Handbook, use the browser's back button.

Vanderbilt Campus Disability Access

Vanderbilt University is committed to offering equal access to 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.

Appointed by the Chancellor, the Equal Access Committee involves all sectors of the University community and assists the Opportunity Development Center in monitoring the University's compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA. Committee membership is composed of students, administrators, staff, and faculty. The committee assists the administration in surveying campus programs; making recommendations regarding modification in programs, activities, and facilities; and informing the University community of Vanderbilt's policy of nondiscrimination.

For further information about services for students with disabilities, write or call the Opportunity Development Center, Sara Ezell, Assistant Director for Disability Programs, Baker Building, 110 Twenty-first Avenue South, VU Station B 351809, Nashville, Tennessee 37235-1809; telephone 322-4705 (V/TDD). (See Opportunity Development Center*)

Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation

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 hours accumulated. A student in the first year of full-time study is classified as a freshman for purposes of meal plans, parking privileges, running for campus office, etc., even if the student achieved sophomore 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 dean of their school or college. Classification for residence hall assignment will be determined by Interhall and the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Religious Practices

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

Vanderbilt University has committed itself to helping students acquire knowledge and standards of value, develop a sense of civic responsibility, explore religious concerns and issues, and develop an individual sense of purpose. The University, therefore, provides both directly and indirectly for the religious and moral development of both students and others in the University community.

This element of personal development has been given expression in the establishment of the Office of University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/religiouslife),* in the recognition of qualified para-church staff, 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:

1. understand their own faith and the faith of others;

2. examine and affirm a personal life or life philosophy;

3. express that faith through association with others, through opportunities for worship, study, and service, and through campus forums for the presentation and debate of ideas;

4. 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 shall 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 in the University, to respect the non-sectarian natures 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, The Student Organizations Manual, and the Faculty Manual (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/facman).* In particular, the University expects all religious groups to abide strictly by the policy on Soliciting for Religious Activities in Community Life, 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 groups not to discriminate on the basis of unlawful or irrelevant criteria in policies, practices, programs, and activities. 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 Student Conduct System of the University, the Office of University Chaplain, and/or The Community Affairs Board.

Policy Regarding Religious Holidays

It is the policy of Vanderbilt to make every reasonable effort to allow members of the University community to observe their religious holidays 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.

Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Baha'i, and Hindu Holy Days, 2002/2003 Academic Year

See the calendar on The Office of the University Chaplain* web site.

Technology and Literary and Artistic Works

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 Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/facman).*

Use of University Logos and Word Marks by Student Organizations

All logos, seals, names, symbols, and slogans associated with, and used by, Vanderbilt University are trademarks and are the exclusive property of the University. Any reproduction and use of these marks by student organizations must be approved first by the Coordinator for Marketing and Licensing. This includes all products (e.g., T-shirts, mugs) that are used for sale or giveaways to other students. Approval may be requested from the Coordinator of Marketing and Licensing (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/publicaffairs/licensing*) in the Division of Public Affairs.

Political Activity

Vanderbilt is subject to restrictions concerning activities of a political nature. In particular, the Internal Revenue Code imposes on tax-exempt organizations, such as Vanderbilt, limitations relating to attempts to influence legislation and participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office.

The American Council on Education has taken the initiative in preparing a statement of guidelines for use by universities in their efforts to comply with the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. These guidelines apply to students and student organizations:

Educational institutions traditionally have recognized and provided facilities on an impartial basis to various activities on the college campuses, even those activities that have a partisan political bent, such as, for example, the Republican, Democratic and other political clubs. This presents no problem. However, to the extent that such organizations extend their activities beyond the campus, and intervene or participate in campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office, or permit nonmembers of the University community to avail themselves of University facilities or services, an institution should in good faith make certain that proper and appropriate charges are made and collected for all facilities and services provided.

Extraordinary or prolonged use of facilities, particularly by nonmembers of the University community, even with reimbursement, might raise questions. Such organizations should be prohibited from soliciting in the name of the University funds to be used in such off-campus intervention or participation.

Every member of the academic community has a right to participate or not, as the member sees fit, in the election process. On the other hand, no member of that community should speak or act in the name of the institution in a political campaign.

All members of the Vanderbilt University community should observe these principles in planning and engaging in political activities that might either directly or indirectly involve the University. Questions concerning the application of these points should be addressed to the Vice Chancellor for Student Life or his designee.


Harassment of any individual based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability is unacceptable and grounds for disciplinary action, and may constitute a violation of federal law. Equally unacceptable within the University is the harassment of any individual on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education defines sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as consisting of "verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX." Any person who has a complaint regarding sexual or other harassment should call the Opportunity Development Center as soon as possible.

The Opportunity Development Center is available for informal consultation. Upon receipt of a written complaint, an investigation will be conducted. After evaluating the specifics of the complaint, the Opportunity Development Center will issue a finding to the appropriate University official and seek to resolve the matter, usually within ninety (90) work days of receipt of the written complaint.

In cases in which a student chooses not to file a formal complaint, the University may still take appropriate action being mindful of the complainant's desire for confidentiality. The University is committed to protecting those filing complaints from retaliation.

Other campus offices such as the Office of Housing and Residential Education, the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center, the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, the Office of the University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries, and the Psychological and Counseling Center are available to provide counseling and support to students who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment.

Student 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 following Complaint Procedure and then use the Grievance Procedure if the Complaint Procedure proves unsatisfactory. Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the Office of the Provost, their faculty advisers, another member of the faculty or staff, or, in regard to complaints of unlawful discrimination, the Opportunity Development Center. Decisions of the Appellate Review Board are not subject to the Complaint and Grievance Procedure.

Allegations of Unlawful Discrimination

If a student believes that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or military service, that student should report the matter to the Opportunity Development Center, which will seek to assist the student with the resolution of the complaint as described below in the Complaint Procedure.

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 and not later than six months after the event. For example, if the complaint concerns a grade, the student should first confer with the course instructor. Every effort should be made to resolve the problem fairly and promptly usually within thirty (30) days, at this level. If the complaint involves allegations of sexual harassment, this step may not be appropriate. (See Harassment.) In addition, in a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, the Opportunity Development Center (ODC) should be consulted as soon as possible. The Opportunity Development Center will conduct an investigation of the allegations, usually within ninety (90) work days, will issue a finding to the appropriate University official, and will seek to resolve the matter. If the ODC is unable to complete the investigation within this time period, then the ODC 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, through the level of the Provost or appropriate vice chancellor. Students uncertain about the proper channels or process are encouraged to seek advice from the Office of the Provost, offices in the Division of Student Life, the office of the dean of their school, and/or their faculty advisers. If the student is not satisfied with the resolution proposed by ODC, then the student may pursue the Grievance Procedure.

Grievance Procedure

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 unlawful discrimination investigated by the ODC, 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 in 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 Student Government Association 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, it 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 feel their objectivity is subject to question, and the grievant may request any committee member recuse himself or herself if the grievant feels 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. While 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 unlawful discrimination, a representative from the Opportunity Development Center shall be present in an advisory capacity. The committee may call upon any individuals that 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 it 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 reasons for so doing. The Office of the Chancellor shall then promptly 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.

State Postsecondary Review Entity (SPRE) Grievance Procedure

Students should be aware that, should they have complaints about their program or their financial aid, this institution 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 should call the State Postsecondary Review Program office at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission at (615) 532-8276.

Student Records (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

Vanderbilt University is subject to the provisions of federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also referred to as the Buckley Amendment or FERPA). This act affords matriculated students certain rights with respect to their educational records. These rights include:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. The right to consent or to decline to consent to the University's disclosure to third parties of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except in situations that FERPA allows disclosure without the student's consent. One such situation is 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); a person or company with whom the University has contracted; a member of the Board of Trust; or another student serving on an official University committee, such as the Honor Council, Student Conduct Council, 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.

The Buckley Amendment 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, date and place of birth, 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 similar information. Any new entering or currently enrolled student who does not wish disclosure of directory information should notify the University Registrar in writing. Such notification must be received by August 1st to assure that the student's address and phone number do not appear in any printed Vanderbilt directory. No element of directory information as defined above is released for students who request nondisclosure except in situations allowed by law. The request to withhold directory information will remain in effect as long as the student continues to be enrolled, or until the student files a written request with the University Registrar to discontinue the withholding. To continue nondisclosure of directory information after a student ceases to be enrolled, a written request for continuance must be filed with the University Registrar during the student's last term of attendance.

If a student believes the University has failed to comply with the Buckley Amendment, 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 and Regulations Office, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC 20202.

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.

Vanderbilt Directory

Individual listings in the student section of the printed Vanderbilt Directory are compiled from information contained in the Student Records System as of the fourth week of classes. For this reason, please make sure that the information you provide to the University is accurate and up to date.

Each student's listing in the printed Vanderbilt Directory consists of the student's full name, school, academic classification, local phone number, campus box number, and permanent address. Limited directory information (the student's full name, school, academic classification, local phone number, and campus e-mail address) may also be available on the Internet via the Vanderbilt Home Page PeopleFinder (https://webapp1.mis.vanderbilt.edu/cdb/Controller*). The information above has been designated by Vanderbilt University as directory information, pursuant to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment). A student who does not wish listings (as defined above) to appear in the Vanderbilt Directory and on the Vanderbilt Home Page PeopleFinder on the Internet may request that a directory hold be placed on his or her record. To place a directory hold, a student must notify the University Registrar (Peabody #505) in writing. (Please include student number.) For exclusion from the printed directory only, written notification must be supplied by August 1.

To report changes in directory information or to add or remove a directory hold, please complete the appropriate change form at the University Registrar's office during regular business hours. Student addresses and phone numbers may also be updated via the Web. From the Vanderbilt homepage (http://www.vanderbilt.edu*) click on "Students" then click on "Address Change".

Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges

University policy for the refund of tuition and residence hall charges provides a percentage refund based on the dates of withdrawal and residence hall check-out. 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 shown below.

Refund Schedule for Withdrawal and Residence Hall Check-out

Fall 2002 Refund Schedule
Fall 2002 Official Withdrawal Date % of Charges Refunded
Week 1: Aug. 26-Aug 31 100%
Week 2: Sept. 1-Sept. 7 95%
Week 3: Sept. 8-Sept. 14 85%
Week 4: Sept. 15-Sept. 21 80%
Week 5: Sept. 22-Sept. 28 75%
Week 6: Sept. 29-Oct. 5 65%
Week 7: Oct. 6-Oct. 12 60%
Week 8: Oct. 13-Oct. 19 55%
Week 9: Oct. 20-Oct. 26 45%
Week 10: Oct. 27-Nov. 2 40%
No refund after November 2, 2002

Spring 2003 Refund Schedule
Spring 2003 Official Withdrawal Date % of Charges Refunded
Week 1: Jan. 6-Jan. 11 100%
Week 2: Jan. 12-Jan. 18 95%
Week 3: Jan. 19-Jan. 25 85%
Week 4: Jan. 26-Feb. 1 80%
Week 5: Feb. 2-Feb. 8 75%
Week 6: Feb. 9-Feb. 15 65%
Week 7: Feb. 16-Feb. 22 60%
Week 8: Feb. 23-March 15 55%
Spring Break: March 2-8
Week 9: March 9-March 15 45%
Week 10: March 16-22 40%
No refund after March 22, 2003

Bicycles on Campus

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.
  • The bicycle speed limit on campus roads is ten miles per hour.

Registering Bicycles

Registration of bicycles at the University Police Department helps to deter theft and helps to identify the owners of bicycles that have been recovered. Bicycles may be registered on Mondays, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Bicycle owners should notify the University Police Department if their bicycles are stolen or if they sell their bicycles or change addresses.

Bicycle Parking

To prevent theft, chains or U-bolts should be used to secure bicycles to racks. Bicycles should not be chained to the decorative grillwork of campus buildings, to hand rails, or to any structures not designated for bicycle use. Bicycles may not be parked in the public areas of campus buildings.

Bicycle Accidents

Persons involved in bicycle accidents that result in personal injury should report the accidents to the University Police Department.

Conduct Endangering Personal Health

Students who engage in a pattern of conduct that endangers their personal health or safety, such as abuse of alcohol or other drugs, denial of sustenance, etc., 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. That determination is made by a panel, consisting of the
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health, Wellness, and Recreation, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residential Education, the Director of the Student Health Center, the Director of the University Psychological and Counseling Center or University psychiatrist, and an academic dean of the school in which the student is enrolled.

Withdrawal from the University

The University reserves the right to require the withdrawal of a student whose continuation in school, in the University's judgment, is detrimental to the health or safety of the student or others. Students who withdraw for these reasons may be considered for readmission following a determination by the University, often through the Student Health Center, that the condition requiring withdrawal has been corrected. That determination is made by a panel, consisting of the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Housing and Residential Education, the Director of the Student Health Center or University psychiatrist, and an academic dean of the school in which the student is enrolled.

Address and Name Change

Students are required to inform the registrars of their 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 via the Web. From the Vanderbilt homepage click on "Students" then click on "Address Change".

Students who wish to change any part of their names as they appear in the Student Records System must petition the University Registrar's Office and provide official documentation supporting the requested change. Name changes will be considered only if a student is currently enrolled.

Email Address

Certain federal statutes require that information be delivered to each student. The University 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: user.name@vanderbilt.edu. 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 e-mail (often called "spamming"), and maintains separate lists from which students may unsubscribe for announcements of general interest.

Conduct Regulations

Violation of University Policy

Students and student organizations are expected to comply with all University rules of conduct. Standards of conduct are derived from tradition and evolve with contemporary practice. Grounds for discipline cannot always be the subject of precise statement; however, when commonly held standards of conduct are broken, discipline must be taken if the University community is to be sustained.

Students are subject to disciplinary action when, individually or as members of a group, they violate University policy, rules, or regulations, including but not limited to the following:

  • Obstruction or disruption of teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises
  • Physical abuse of any person
  • Conduct that may endanger the health or safety of members of the University community
  • Unauthorized entry or use of University facilities or unauthorized possession or use of University property or property of others
  • Disorderly conduct or obscene conduct or expression
  • Threats of violence against another person or stalking or intimidation that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another person
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, records, or identification, furnishing false information to the University, or possession of any false identification or identification belonging to another person
  • The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs, unlawful drug paraphernalia, and alcohol
  • The operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Intoxication (See also Alcohol and Controlled Substances for a more detailed statement of alcohol policies.)
  • Failure to comply with authorized directions of, or furnishing false information to, University officials or representatives of student judicial bodies acting in performance of their duties.

Students are expected to observe the standards of the University for activities that occur off campus. In cases of misconduct that occur off campus in which the University has an interest, a group may be disciplined and/or lose its registration or an individual may be disciplined.

The officers of organizations or individual hosts are responsible for the conduct of their members and guests. This responsibility includes compliance with federal, state, and local law and University policies. Those who fail in this responsibility will be subject to disciplinary action and/or referral for prosecution by government authorities.

The Vice Chancellor for Student Life or his designee may reprimand, institute restrictions on, or withdraw registration from organizations that violate University policy and regulations. The Office of Student Activities may impose restrictions or require conditions be met by organizations that are found to be in violation of policy.

An appropriate hearing officer or judicial body will decide whether the University has sufficient interest in an off-campus matter to exercise its jurisdiction, and the decision may be reviewed by the Appellate Review Board. Factors in the decision may be whether Vanderbilt University property or property of members of the University community is involved; whether the parties in a dispute are members of the University community; whether the misconduct occurred at an event sponsored by a Vanderbilt group or by a University department; and whether such misconduct may affect the welfare of the University community.

Students or groups charged with violations of conduct have full right to the guarantees of fairness as described in The Student Conduct System.

Violations of regulations of the residence halls, libraries, and other areas of University life may result in disciplinary action. The following regulations are general conduct guidelines.

Sexual Misconduct

Vanderbilt University desires to establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment for all members of the University community. The University, by providing resources for prevention, education, support, and a fair disciplinary process, seeks to eliminate all forms of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct of any kind represents socially irresponsible behavior and will not be tolerated by the University community.

It is a serious violation of University policy to engage in sexual conduct or activity without the consent of the other person. Consent may be withdrawn at any time, without regard to the activity that preceded the withdrawal of consent. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted rape and sexual battery. A student who violates this policy can be prosecuted in the courts of this state and, in addition, may be suspended or expelled from the University for the first offense.

Rape is defined as sexual penetration, no matter how slight, of the genital, anal, and/or oral openings of the person by any part of the student's body or by the use of an object, without the person's consent or against the person's will where the person

    • a. is forced or has reasonable fear that the accuser or another will be injured if the accuser does not submit to the act;
    • b. is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity, which includes, but is not limited to, the influence of drugs including alcohol; or
    • c. suffers from a mental or physical disability.

Sexual battery is defined as intentionally touching the person's intimate parts (primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock, or breast) without or against the person's consent. This touching is either directly on the body part or on the clothing covering that body part. It is also sexual battery if the person is forced to touch the intimate areas of another individual.

Threat, Stalking, or Intimidation: Directives to Desist

Vanderbilt University expects students to refrain from conduct that threatens or through intimidation unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the University community. Such conduct is a violation of University policy and may result in disciplinary action. A student who feels that she or he is the subject of such conduct may request from the Chair of the Conduct Councils an order to the offending student to desist from the conduct in question. When a request is filed, a hearing will be held to determine whether the conduct warrants the issuance of an order prohibiting the continuation of the conduct. The student whose conduct is the subject of the request will be notified of the request and any other disciplinary charges and permitted to choose either the Chair or the Conduct Council to conduct the hearing. If the Chair or the Council after a hearing determines that the conduct complained of constitutes intimidation or threat or through intimidation unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the University community, the Chair or the Council shall issue an order prohibiting the offending student from engaging in that conduct. The Chair or Council may also impose other appropriate sanctions. Any student against whom such an order is issued may appeal the issuance of the order in the same manner that any other action by the Chair or the Council may be appealed.

Violation of an order by the student who is subject to the order will result in the filing of a disciplinary charge against that student. This charge will be adjudicated according to the usual disciplinary procedures. The hearing will be conducted by the hearing authority that issued the order. If the disciplinary procedures result in a finding that the charged student is guilty of violating the order, a disciplinary penalty will be imposed. This may include suspension or expulsion.

A hearing to determine whether an order should be issued and any order that may be issued shall not be considered a disciplinary proceeding or discipline for purposes of the student's record unless separate charges were brought and adjudicated in the same proceeding. A subsequent proceeding to adjudicate a charge that the student has violated the terms of an order shall constitute a disciplinary proceeding in the ordinary sense of that term and shall become a part of the student's record to the same extent that any other disciplinary action would become part of the record.

Conduct at Athletic Events

The University prohibits the throwing of objects from the stands and abusive language or gestures. Students may paint their faces including the common names for our team (e.g., Dores, Vandy, VU. Students and/ or recognized student organizations may submit banners to be displayed at the game to the appropriate Athletic Department official, prior to the game. Banners with obscene or derogatory messages will not be displayed. Efforts will be made to display all banners submitted. Students are permitted to bring hand-held signs to athletic events provided that the signs meet the following guidelines:

1. The signs must be no larger than one piece of standard size poster board (22" x 28");

2. Signs may not display abusive or obscene words or drawings; and

3. Names of commercial products other than the official broadcast networks of the contest may not be mentioned on the sign.

Event staff has the discretionary authority to determine if a sign does not meet the guidelines. Signs that do not meet these guidelines may be confiscated at any time during the event. Students in possession of a sign that does not meet the guidelines may be ejected from the contest if they refuse to comply with the above stated policy. Student spectators who throw objects at athletic events will be ejected from the contest and may be subject to further disciplinary action. Other spectators will be similarly treated by local authorities. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted at athletic events.

Conduct in the Libraries

Eating, drinking, and use of tobacco all endanger library materials. For that reason, these activities are either allowed only in certain designated areas of the University library system or prohibited entirely. In some locations, covered beverages are permitted. For clarification of the policy in the individual libraries, patrons may inquire at the respective service desks. Failure to observe these restrictions may result in disciplinary action.

Many libraries offer group study space, but a significant portion of each library is intended for quiet study. Users are expected to be considerate of others, particularly when using cellular phones or having conversations.

Mutilating or defacing library materials is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action. Defacing includes highlighting, underlining, and writing in or on library materials. Mutilation includes removing pages; removing library ownership marks, including labels, bookplates, and property stamps; or otherwise damaging library materials.

Damage to Property

Damage, littering, or theft of University property or property of a University community member or campus visitor by a student or student groups may result in disciplinary action as well as the offender's being held financially responsible for the cost of repair or replacement. For example, a student may leave a window open during cold weather causing burst pipes and the flooding of student rooms and common areas. Or, a student may cause a fire triggering the building's sprinkler system causing both water and smoke damage to student rooms and common areas. In these cases, the perpetrators may be held responsible not only for disciplinary purposes, but also for the financial losses suffered by other students and the University resulting from these incidents. Students may be held financially responsible for damages or losses resulting from accidents or negligence. Students who suffer losses under such circumstances must take their claims to their own homeowners or renters insurance carriers. These companies may subrogate the claims to the carrier of the responsible student's insurance.

Use of University Computers and Data Networks

Students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply with The Computer Privileges and Responsibilities policy (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/HomePage/aup.html*).

Use of the University Telephone System

Students should identify themselves to the persons called on the telephone and may not use the telephone system to intentionally harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated calls in which they fail to identify themselves. Examples of improper use of the telephone are: calling repeatedly and breathing or not speaking into the telephone receiver; describing sexual activity without identifying oneself; and anonymously subjecting the listener to obscene names. Harassment by telephone is a violation of state law and will subject the caller to criminal prosecution as well as discipline by the University. Students who experience such calls should report the matter to an assistant director of Housing and Residential Education, and/or, to the University Police Department.

Unauthorized use of the University telephone system with the intent to avoid payment of long distance charges is unlawful and may result in disciplinary action. Misuse includes: the unauthorized acceptance of long distance collect calls, third party calls charged against the University, and use of a long distance authorization (V-Net) number not issued to the student.

Resident students must provide their own, FCC approved, telephone instruments. Because they interfere with wireless access to data networks, 2.4 GHz cordless phones are prohibited.

Firearms and Explosives

The use or possession of fireworks, firearms, or other weapons on University premises is prohibited. (Student use or possession of these materials is prohibited off campus, as well, when such use or possession is illegal or may endanger the health or safety of members of the University community.)

Sports weapons must be kept in the custody of the Department of Police and Security, which is open twenty-four hours a day. It is a felony in the state of Tennessee to carry a weapon on a campus for the purpose of going armed.


State law requires each college and university in Tennessee to adopt a policy prohibiting hazing. Hazing is defined in the law as "any intentional or reckless act in Tennessee on or off the property of any [college or university] by one (1) student acting alone or with others which is directed against any other student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger his or her mental or physical health or safety. `Hazing' does not include customary athletic events or similar contests or competitions, and is limited to those actions taken and situations created in connection with initiation into or affiliation with any organization."

In addition to the statutory definition of hazing, hazing is also defined at the University as intimidation by physical punishment; harassment by conditioning participation on the requirement that one withstand exacting, unnecessary, disagreeable, difficult, or exceedingly time-consuming work; harassment by means of embarrassment by banter, ridicule, or criticism; or requiring conduct that violates state law or University policy. Hazing, as defined by state law, as supplemented by the immediately preceding sentence, is prohibited as a violation of University policy and will subject the offending students and/or student organizations to disciplinary action. Sororities and fraternities should review the section on hazing in the Guide to the Greek System.

Financial Responsibility

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 2002 is August 20; for spring 2003, the payment deadline is January 2. 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, unless the student has secured authorization from the Office of Student Accounts to delay payment. In addition, OASIS (On-line Access Student Information System), Vanderbilt Card (debit card), and V-Net (long distance telephone) access will not be available for the student's use.

All new and transfer students must complete a Student Account Agreement form prior to August 1, 2002. Forms are available in the Office of Student Accounts.

Students and their parents (or legal guardian) 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.

Identification Card

All students, whether full- or part-time, are required to have valid identification cards for the semester in which they are registered. Valid identification cards are required for specific activities. These cards are the property of the University and, if a student withdraws, must be relinquished to the office of the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled. Identification cards are not transferable, and damaged or altered cards are invalid.

Replacement cards are available, for a fee, at the Vanderbilt University Card Office (http://thecard.vanderbilt.edu/vucocard.htm*).

If misused, cards may be invalidated for the remainder of the semester or the season in the case of specific University-sponsored activities.

Family Identification Card. The spouse or University-certified domestic partner of a full-time student (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) may obtain a family identification card from the University 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. When properly validated and upon payment of the appropriate fee, a family card will admit the family member to home football and basketball games (on a seat-available basis), programs of Sarratt Student Center, and the Student Recreation Center.

Smoking on Campus

Smoking is prohibited in all buildings on campus, including residence halls and Greek houses.

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, Sarratt Student Center, and the Athletic Department, as well as a variety of student organizations.

For 2002/2003, undergraduates are assessed $355, with half of this charge billed in the fall semester and the remainder billed in the spring semester. Graduate students pay an activities fee of $103. Students in professional programs pay $103.

A fee of $11 supports summer programs and is assessed from all students enrolled for a summer term.

Activities fee for undergraduates covers:

  • A picture in and a copy of the Commodore yearbook, subject to availability
  • Issues of Versus, The Vanderbilt Review, and other VSC, Inc., publications (excluding the Vanderbilt Hustler, which receives no activities fees)
  • Admission to Sarratt Student Center programs, at special student rates, and use of Sarratt facilities
  • Admission on a seat-available basis to home football and basketball games and to other varsity athletic events
  • Admission, subject to space availability, to programs or events sponsored by student organizations that are funded by student activities fees, a complete list of which is maintained by the Office of Student Activities.

Activities fee for graduate and professional students covers:

  • Admission to all programs sponsored by Sarratt Student Center, at special student rates, and use of Sarratt facilities
  • A copy of all issues of Versus and The Vanderbilt Review
  • Admission, subject to space availability, to programs sponsored by student organizations that are funded by student activities fees, a complete list of which is maintained by the Office of Student Activities.

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 the Vanderbilt Athletic Department 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. Validation for these activities must be made during times announced in the Vanderbilt Register. Other activities included in the undergraduate activities fee are available to graduate and professional students on a single admission or subscription basis only.

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 Student Recreation Center and the University's recreational playing fields.

Recreation Fee for Undergraduates

Each undergraduate student is assessed $166 each semester of the academic year and $40 during the summer. The fee covers:

  • unlimited use of all facilities of the Student Recreation Center and recreational 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 $82.50 each semester of the academic year and $40 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 all facilities of Student Recreation Center
  • unlimited use of the recreational fields
  • participation in intramural, sport club, and wellness programs, as well as in outdoor recreational activities
  • enrollment and participation in classes and workshops.

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.

Recreational Activities for Spouses and Partners

Spouses and University-certified domestic partners of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may use the Student Recreation 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, Room 018 of the Medical Arts Building. 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. The fees appear as a combined charge on the regular University statements to students or their parents. An automatic waiver of the student fees will be granted to a student who registers on time and is:

1. a part-time student registered for four or fewer credit hours (including audit credit) or

2. a full- or part-time student residing outside a circle of approximately sixty miles from the Vanderbilt campus determined by ZIP codes. It is the student's responsibility to notify the University Registrar's office of an address change in a timely manner.

Special requests for waivers may be addressed to the Student Activities and Recreation Fees Waiver Committee, Vanderbilt University, Box 6206 Station B, Nashville, Tennessee 37235.

A late charge of $10 is assessed against students who are eligible for waivers but register after the deadline of September 13 for the fall and after January 25 for the spring. Special requests must also be received by these deadlines to avoid the late charge penalty. No waivers are granted after the end of the semester in which the fee occurs, and there is no waiver of the summer activities and recreation fees.

Same-Sex Domestic Partner Policy

Vanderbilt University extends to the University-certified, same-sex domestic partners of students the privileges and services extended to student spouses, within the guidelines set forth below. Once signed by the appropriate Assistant Vice Chancellor or director in the Office of Housing and Residential Education, the ID authorization document and photo identification serve to enable the named domestic partner to obtain University identification and to obtain privileges and services extended by the University to student spouses. (Note: The Card Office requires that the student partner be present when a card is issued, just as it requires that the student spouse be present when a Student Family card is issued to a spouse.)

University privileges, programs, and services extended to spouses, for which domestic partners are also eligible, may require that additional criteria be met. (For instance, a domestic partner may live in University housing only if the student partner obtains an appropriate contract for an apartment.) Restrictions or fees that apply to spouses also apply to domestic partners. The list below is not meant to be exhaustive.

  • Student Activities Fee events
  • Health insurance
  • Housing
  • Identification
  • Library
  • Psychological and Counseling Center
  • Recreation Center


1. Domestic partners must certify (and the University may require documentation of the fact) that they are

  • of the same sex
  • not related by blood
  • mentally competent to consent to contract
  • neither legally married to anyone, nor engaged in a domestic partnership with a different partner
  • currently in a committed relationship of six months or more, residing in the same household, intending to reside together indefinitely.

2. In addition, domestic partners must show evidence that they are

  • 21 years of age (Supporting documents might include a driver's license or a birth certificate.)
  • financially interdependent, sharing joint responsibility for the household. (Supporting documents might include bank statements, utility bills, etc., with both the student's and the partner's names on them.)

3. Domestic partners must agree to marry within 180 days after their state of legal residence recognizes the marriage of same-sex couples.

4. Should the certified domestic partner relationship dissolve, the partners must file a Termination Statement within 30 days. A twelve-month waiting period must elapse before a student may certify a new domestic partner.

Universal Waiver

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.

University Calendar

For calendar information, visit the Academic Calendar Web site (http://registrar.vanderbilt.edu/calendars*) or the Campus Events Calendar Web site (http://calendar.vanderbilt.edu/columns.html*).

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