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NOTE: During the 2020-2021 academic year, the University will be establishing and operating under guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which may change over time in light of the evolving nature of the pandemic. These guidelines and protocols will be communicated to students through other mechanisms and not through the Student Handbook. Students are expected to abide by any and all University guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In some circumstances, these guidelines and protocols may supersede provisions in the Student Handbook.

Vanderbilt’s mission includes educating its students in all respects: intellectually, socially, ethically, spiritually, and emotionally.  This mission is evident in much that we do and in our strategic vision that builds on Vanderbilt’s unique strengths.  The University’s residential community of students, faculty, and staff is one that educates the whole person.  Its commitment to a diverse, civil, collegial, small-class environment demonstrates that at Vanderbilt, faculty, students, and staff work as intellectual partners, and that mentoring and support always accompany academic engagement.  We succeed only if our University is engaged in all elements of the development of the human potential in each of us.

What students may expect of Vanderbilt is articulated in the University’s mission statement, in the  catalogs of the colleges and schools , in the  Equal Opportunity statement , and in the  Statement of Principles  found in the  Faculty Manual .

What students may expect of each other, and the principles that form the basis of what the University expects of students, are articulated in the Community Creed. The Student Handbook is designed to acquaint students with the specifics of the standards expected of them as members of University community. The policies and regulations delineated in the handbook apply to all students enrolled at Vanderbilt.

“Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.” An extension of this commitment is creating a community that is welcoming and inclusive to individuals of all gender identities and expressions. One measure of this extension is using they to refer to a single individual.

To this end, the Student Handbook standard for third-person personal pronouns—when their use cannot be eliminated entirely—is to state he/she/they, his/her/their, or him/her/them (as required by the context) where formerly he or she, or, his or her, etc., were used. The University also recognizes that students may use other pronouns and is committed to using those pronouns in proceedings governed by the Student Handbook.


The University makes the handbook available to students via the World Wide Web ( It is the student’s responsibility to become aware of its contents. Ignorance of a policy or regulation will not be considered an excuse for failure to observe it.

Members of the University enjoy the rights and privileges associated with their status and are bound by the laws of the surrounding community. Student status does not protect a Vanderbilt student from arrest or prosecution for violation of local, state, or federal laws. A student who violates certain regulations can be held accountable by the public courts as well as by the University. A student’s standing before the courts in and of itself, however, does not necessarily affect his/her/their standing within the University at any time.

The information provided, and the regulations and policies articulated in The Student Handbook are not intended to be all-inclusive and do not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right at any time to add to, modify, or revoke any of its regulations and policies, including those in the handbook, without notice.

The Student Handbook is reviewed and revised on (at least) an annual basis in a collaborative process involving representatives from a number of campus offices and departments, including, but not limited to, Dean of Students; Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity; Housing and Residential Experience; Equal Employment Opportunity; Title IX and Student Discrimination; Student Access Services; Risk and Insurance Management; General Counsel, and Communications, taking into account ideas and suggestions from students, student organizations, faculty, staff, and University committees.