The Vanderbilt Community Creed
The Community Creed is a student-initiated statement of the values to which the Vanderbilt community aspires. Individuals who join this community embark on a lifelong journey toward greater intellectual enlightenment and personal growth. By fostering the Creed’s principles, we anchor ourselves to the University’s enduring tradition of excellence, united by a common set of values.
Academic - We strive to pursue intellectual knowledge with curiosity and humility. We engage in a partnership of learning and discovery, where the scholarly exploration of ideas is not only protected, but encouraged.
Neighborly - We strive to be ambassadors of goodwill within out campus and beyond. We serve, uplift, and empower the members of our global neighborhood.
Courageous - We strive to be courageous, acting with bold authenticity. We embrace taking risks, challenging assumptions, and persevering in the face of adversity.
Honest - We strive for honesty in our academic endeavors and relationships with others. We commit to integrity and accountability across all aspects of life - personally, professionally, and academically.
Open - We strive to openly engage with ideas, experiences, and with one another. We welcome every background and story through celebration of the diversity that enriches our common experience and active participation in constructive conversations about our differences.
Respectful - We strive to promote a culture of civility grounded in equity, inclusivity, and respect. We hold each other's passions and perspectives in high regard, endeavoring to live a life of personal growth and service.
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 (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook). 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.
Chapter 1: University Policies and Regulations
Address and Name Change / Aerial Devices, “Unmanned” (Drones) / Alcohol: See Chapter 6 / Assistance Animals / Athletics, Student / Communications, Official University / Complaint and Grievance Procedures / Computer Privileges and Responsibilities / Conduct: See Chapter 3 / Copyright Infringement / Dining / Discrimination: See Chapter 8 / Fee, Student Services / Financial Aid, Student / Financial Responsibility / Hoverboards & Urban Mobility Devices / Identification Card / Mail Services / Missing Student Notification Policy / Name and Logos / 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 / Sexual Misconduct: See Chapter 7 / Smoke-Free Campus / Solicitation: See Chapter 5 / Student Access Services / Student Records (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) / Student Spouse Privileges and International Student Same-Sex Domestic Partner Registration and Privileges / Student Wellbeing / Study Abroad / Technology and Literary and Artistic Works / Universal Waiver / University Calendar / Vanderbilt Visions
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.
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 Office of the University Registrar or the offices of academic services within their respective schools, 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 Personal Information 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 the University Registrar. More information on name changes may be found on the Office of the University Registrar's website.
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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 Office of the Dean of Students.
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Vanderbilt University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADA) in allowing use of Service Animals for students. Emotional Support Animals may also be used if approved as a reasonable accommodation. Vanderbilt University complies with the Fair Housing Act in allowing students the use of Emotional Support Animals that are approved as a reasonable accommodation. This policy applies only to a) Service Animals and b) approved Emotional Support Animals that are documented with Student Access Services and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. Emotional Support Animals are not permitted in University residences prior to approval from Student Access Services and completion of all other required steps, as outlined below.
Service Animal: A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition. Other species of animals, other than miniature horses, are not considered service animals for the purposes of this definition.
Emotional Support Animal: An emotional support animal is any animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that alleviates or mitigates symptoms of an individual’s disability. The animal need not be individually trained. Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs and can be other species of animal. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals.
Handler: A person with a service or emotional support animal.
Qualifying to Have a Service or Emotional Support Animal On Campus
Service Animals are permitted on campus and in University residences when:
- The Handler has a disability as defined by the ADA; and
- The accompanying Service Animal is trained to do a specific task for the Handler.
- If the Handler is living on campus, the Handler must provide to the Office of Housing and Residential Experience proof of the animal's current vaccination and registration in Davidson County, TN as required by state and local law.
Emotional Support Animals are permitted in University residences when:
- The Handler has a disability as defined by the ADA;
- The Handler provides Student Access Services with reliable documentation of their disability and their disability-related need for the animal (NOTE: Generally, documentation from mental health care professionals who have had only limited encounters with the student specifically intended to produce an Emotional Support Animal letter is not considered reliable as the professional-client relationship will often lack diagnostic rigor and the level of familiarity with the functional limitations arising from the diagnosis to support robust recommendations.);
- Once the animal has been approved by Student Access Services as an Emotional Support Animal, Student Access Services will notify the Handler and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience of the approval. A representative from the Office of Housing and Residential Experience will contact the Handler to provide necessary documentation, including, but not limited to, current vaccination and registration records.
For Service Animals on campus and in University residences, the Handler is responsible for:
- attending to and being in full control of the Service Animal at all times. A Service Animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether unless: a) the Handler is unable to use a harness, leash or tether; or b) using a harness, leash, or tether will interfere with the animal’s ability to safely and effectively perform its duties.
- the costs of care necessary for a Service Animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities for the care of a Service Animal are the sole responsibility of the Handler at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.
- independently removing or arranging for the removal of the Service Animal’s waste.
- complying with local and state licensing laws for animal rights and Handler responsibilities. Service Animals should be current with immunizations and wear a rabies vaccination tag.
- paying for any damage to University property caused by the animal.
- NOTE: The University may prohibit the use of Service Animals in certain locations due to health and safety restrictions or potential danger to the animal. Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to, food preparation areas, research laboratories, boiler rooms, and other areas prohibited by law.
For Emotional Support Animals in University residences, the Handler is responsible for:
- keeping the animal within their residence hall room. Emotional Support Animals are not permitted in University buildings, other than the Handler’s residence hall unless approved as a separate accommodation by Student Access Services. Emotional Support Animals are only permitted on campus where other animals are allowed. In shared living spaces, the Emotional Support Animal should be in an appropriate container if the Handler is not in the room with the animal.
- attending to and being in full control of the Emotional Support Animal when transporting the animal for elimination. The Emotional Support Animal must have a harness, leash, tether, or be transported in an appropriate enclosure whenever it is outside of the residence hall room where it is housed.
- the costs and care necessary for the Emotional Support Animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities for the care of an Emotional Support Animal are the sole responsibility of the Handler at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.
- independently removing or arranging for the removal of the Emotional Support Animal’s waste.
- complying with local and state licensing laws for animal rights and Handler responsibilities. Emotional Support Animals should be current with immunizations and wear a rabies vaccination tag if appropriate.
- not leaving the Emotional Support Animal unattended for an unreasonable length of time. Emotional Support Animals must leave campus with the Handler if the Handler leaves overnight and during all University breaks, if the Handler leaves campus.
- paying for any damage to University property or pest treatment caused by the animal.
- notifying Student Access Services and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience if the Emotional Support Animal is no longer needed.
Community Disruptions by Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
First Complaint: The Handler will receive a warning from the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, & Academic Integrity (Student Accountability). The Handler will rectify the situation and correct the behavior.
Second Complaint: Student Accountability, Student Access Services, and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience will conduct further assessment of the situation and the extent of impact to the community, and the Handler will be referred to Student Accountability. The Handler will rectify the situation and correct the behavior.
Third Complaint: The Handler will be referred to Student Accountability and will remove the animal from campus.
NOTE: Depending on the severity of the incident, the Handler may be referred to Student Accountability and the animal may be removed from campus immediately without proceeding through the steps outlined above.
Service Animals in Training
Tennessee state law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-7-112) provides that persons accompanied by a dog guide in training may not be refused entrance to a place of public accommodation for the reason that the dog guide trainer is being led or accompanied by a dog guide in training, provided:
- the dog guide in training, when led or accompanied by a dog guide trainer, is wearing a harness and is held on a leash by the dog guide trainer or, when led or accompanied by a dog guide trainer, is held on a leash by the dog guide trainer; and
- the dog guide trainer has first presented for inspection credentials issued by an accredited school for training dog guides.
Service animals in training cannot be in residence halls or be present in other areas of campus except those places where all students are welcome to bring pets unless accompanied by a dog guide trainer.
For more information on service animals and emotional support animals, please contact Student Access Services at 615-343-9727 or email@example.com.
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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 its various sports, having garnered dozens of conference championships and five national championships. Vanderbilt fields 16 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 American Athletic Conference), women’s soccer, women’s swimming, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.
During the 2019/2020 academic year, approximately 350 student-athletes competed in varsity athletics at Vanderbilt. Further information regarding Student Athletics can be found on their website or by calling 615-322-6085.
A wide range of intramural and sport club opportunities are offered through the Recreation and Wellness Center or 615-343-6627.
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Communications, Official University
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.
Colleges and schools have additional policies regarding confidential communications initiated with the YES (Your Enrollment System) communications tool. These policies may be found in their respective catalogs.
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.
See also the "Student Computing Policy" in the Enrollment Bulletin.
Complaint and Grievance Procedures
Scope of Policy
Certain decisions and student concerns are excluded from the Complaint and Grievance Procedures. Some student concerns may be addressed through other processes at the University. The following categories, for example, are excluded from the Complaint and Grievance Procedures:
- Decisions of the Appellate Review Board and the Appellate Officers for Sexual Misconduct;
- Treatment plans, decisions, and recommendations related to medical care, mental health and wellbeing, and care coordination by, for example, the University Counseling Center, the Office of Student Care Coordination, and the Center for Student Wellbeing;
- Student concerns regarding the results of the housing assignment process;
- Student concerns regarding the content of a University policy, which should be directed to the head of the appropriate administrative area;
- Eligibility determinations and other matters exclusively within the purview of the Department of Athletics;
- Financial Aid award decisions;
- Accommodations for students requested through Student Access Services;
- Allegations of discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation based on a protected status under the Student Discrimination Policy;
- Allegations of violation of the Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence Policy and related retaliation, as well as student concerns regarding interim measures under the policy;
- Issues related to a student’s employment at Vanderbilt University;
- Student concerns regarding matters addressed under the Policy on Technology and Literary and Artistic Works; and
- Decisions of external governing bodies.
A student or former student who has a complaint about the performance, action, or inaction of a member of the staff or faculty affecting the student during the period of their enrollment may utilize this process unless the complaint is addressed through another process at the University, such as the examples above. Students uncertain about whether the complaint process should be utilized and/or the steps in the process outlined below are encouraged to seek advice from the Office of the Dean of Students. A student who wishes to have a complaint addressed by the University should:
Direct a complaint as soon as possible, but not later than ninety (90) days after the event, to the person or persons whose actions or inactions have given rise to the complaint. If the complaint is in writing, it must be no more than ten (10) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font and may include attachment
- The person or persons notified of the complaint should make every effort to resolve the problem fairly and promptly (usually within thirty (30) days) at this level and must issue a written decision to the student.
- If this interaction would give rise to a possible concern related to safety or retaliation, the student may submit a written complaint directly to the chair or department head of the appropriate academic or administrative unit within the ninety-day period that meets the requirements outlined above.
- If the complaint involves allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or related retaliation based on a protected status, as defined in other sections of the Student Handbook, this step is not appropriate and the complaint should be directed to the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office.
Should the student and the person or persons notified of the complaint be unable to resolve the complaint satisfactorily, the student may appeal the decision in writing within thirty (30) days to the chair or department head, or other designated individual of the appropriate academic or administrative unit. The appeal must be no more than five (5) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font and may include attachments, including the original complaint and associated documentation. The person to whom the appeal is directed may grant exceptions to these length and formatting requirements or give the student additional time to conform the complaint to the requirements. The chair or department head will request any relevant documentation from the process below. The chair or department head should make every effort to resolve the appeal promptly and fairly (usually within thirty (30) days) at this level and must issue a written decision to the student.
Should the appeal not be resolved satisfactorily with the chair or department head, the student may further appeal the decision in writing within thirty (30) days to the next level within the academic or administrative unit all the way up to and including the Vice Chancellor (a graduate student should seek the assistance of both the dean of the relevant school and the dean of the Graduate School). The appeal at each level must be no more than five (5) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font and may include attachments, including the original complaint and documentation from each prior step in the process. The person to whom the appeal is directed may grant exceptions to these length and formatting requirements or give the student additional time to conform the complaint to the requirements.
- At each level, the relevant administrator will confirm that the student has exhausted the options below before reviewing the appeal, except where the initial complaint is submitted directly to a chair or department head due to a concern related to safety or retaliation. The administrator will also request any relevant documentation from the process below.
- At each level, the relevant administrator should make every effort to resolve the appeal promptly and fairly (usually within thirty (30) days) and must issue a written decision to the student.
The decision of the Vice Chancellor is final with the exception of complaints that are subject to the Grievance Procedure below. If the initial complaint is against a Vice Chancellor, the student may appeal to the Chancellor within the same timeframes and using formatting requirements outlined above. The Chancellor’s decision will be final.
A student or former student who believes that he/she/they has not received appropriate redress through the general Complaint Procedure or through a School or College’s specified complaint process may file a grievance on one or more of the following three grounds:
- Procedural irregularities sufficient to affect the outcome;
- New information that was not reasonably available at an earlier stage of review that could reasonably be expected to affect the outcome; or
- A clear error of judgment in the conclusion reached by a decision-maker at an earlier stage of review resulting in insufficient information to support the decision.
A student or former student must file a written grievance with the Office of the Chancellor within thirty (30) days from the completion of the Complaint Procedure. The grievance must be no more than five (5) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font and may include attachments. The Office of the Chancellor may grant exceptions to these length and formatting requirements or give the student additional time to conform the complaint to the requirements.
Upon ascertaining that all avenues under the Complaint Procedure and/or through any required alternative processes have been exhausted, the Office of the Chancellor will refer the grievance to the Faculty Senate Committee on Student Life (the committee), usually within thirty (30) days during the academic year.
The parties, members of the committee, advisers, and others having knowledge of the grievance will maintain the confidence of the matter.
For consideration of grievances (i.e., preliminary assessment, meetings, etc.), a quorum, as defined in the Constitution of the Faculty Senate, of the membership of the committee will be augmented by three student members appointed by the Chancellor or designee 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.
- If a student member is unable to serve due to a conflict of interest, absence from campus, or other reason, the Committee Chair will select an alternate from the list of nominated students.
Committee members may recuse themselves if they believe their objectivity is subject to question, and the parties may request any committee member recuse himself/herself/themselves if the parties believe that a committee member will not view the grievance with sufficient objectivity. All recusals will be guided by the Conflict of Interest policy. If vacancies that affect the committee’s ability to achieve and maintain a quorum occur,
- The chair of the Faculty Senate (or the vice chair in instances where the chair is unavailable or has a conflict) will appoint Senate members to fill faculty vacancies, and
- The Committee Chair will appoint students to fill student vacancies from the list of nominated students.
Upon receiving the referral from the Office of the Chancellor, the Committee on Student Life will inform, in writing, the parties to the grievance that a preliminary assessment will take place to determine whether the grievance was timely filed, made in good faith, and falls within the scope of the Grievance Procedure.
- Prior to beginning the preliminary assessment, the committee may consult with the Office of the General Counsel or other offices regarding review processes, as deemed appropriate by the chair of the committee. During the course of the preliminary assessment and any subsequent proceedings, the committee may also consult with these offices, as needed.
- The preliminary assessment will usually be completed within thirty (30) days during the academic year.
After the preliminary assessment, if the committee determines that the grievance should move forward, the committee will inform the parties and follow procedures necessary to ensure a fair review of the matter, including the opportunity for the parties
- To submit relevant evidence and identify potential witnesses,
- To review and respond to the committee’s preliminary report as described below, and
- To have the grievance reviewed by an impartial committee using the preponderance of the evidence standard.
The parties may be assisted during the review by a member of the University community (faculty, staff, or student) who is not related to them and not trained in the law (except in cases concerning students in the Law School in which Law School faculty, staff, and students may serve as an adviser), and are encouraged to seek such assistance.
- Although all parties to the complaint are free to consult with, and receive advice from, attorneys concerning the complaint, no party may be represented by an attorney at any meeting with the committee.
All communications with the parties will be directly between the Committee Chair and the parties.
The committee may interview or request information from any individuals who it believes may be helpful as witnesses. The committee, in its sole discretion, may conduct witness interviews with the entire committee or any subset of the committee. If a witness has concerns about sharing information with the committee based on University policy, legal requirements, or privacy, the witness and/or the committee may consult with the Office of the General Counsel. If the concerns remain unresolved following consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the witness and/or the committee may request a decision on whether the committee should have access to the requested information by the Chancellor’s designee.
The parties and witnesses are expected to respond to all inquiries and requests from the committee in accordance with any established timelines in this policy or otherwise within two (2) weeks.
After the committee’s review is complete, the committee will write a preliminary report, which
- Will include a list of witnesses and a summary of the facts and information submitted to the committee and upon which the committee plans to rely,
- Will usually be completed within ninety (90) days after the preliminary assessment during the academic year, and
- Will be shared with the parties who will have one (1) week to provide comments on and/or challenge the information included in the preliminary report (up to ten (10) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font not including attachments). The committee may grant exceptions to these length and formatting requirements or give the parties additional time to conform the comments to the requirements.
The committee will review the comments submitted by the parties and will engage in further fact-finding, if necessary, before completing a final report.
The student may withdraw the grievance at any time prior to the decision of the committee.
The final report will include a list of witnesses and a summary of the facts and information submitted to the committee and upon which the committee relied, a statement of the committee’s findings, the basis for those findings, and, if necessary, recommendations for any action that should be taken. The final report will be completed within three (3) weeks of the final committee meeting.
The final report, including the vote and any dissenting statements by committee members, will be sent to the Chancellor no later than one (1) week after its completion.
The Chancellor will communicate his/her/their decision to the committee.
- In any case in which the Chancellor does not follow the decision or the recommendation of the committee, the Chancellor will report to the committee his/her/their reasons for so doing.
The Office of the Chancellor will then notify the parties and other affected persons, including the dean of the relevant school and, in the case of a graduate student, the dean of the Graduate School, in writing, of the final decision, usually within thirty (30) days of receipt of the committee’s report during the academic year.
Where the Chancellor accepts a recommendation that disciplinary action may be appropriate, the Chancellor will refer the matter to the appropriate University authority for review and a determination of appropriate disciplinary action based on the applicable disciplinary policies and procedures.
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.
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 with 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 Unity. Contact information for the Consumer Affairs Division may be found on their website.
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 their website.
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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See also the "Student Computing Policy" in the Enrollment Bulletin.
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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.
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.
ASCAP Music Licensing
Vanderbilt maintains a music license with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) that grants Vanderbilt the right to publicly perform (live or mechanically) nondramatic musical compositions in ASCAP’s repertory. Maintenance of this license requires that Vanderbilt furnish quarterly to ASCAP copies of all programs prepared for distribution to an audience or for Vanderbilt or a Vanderbilt department’s internal use, of musical works performed at Vanderbilt, including all encores to the extent possible.
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First-year students living on campus participate in the First-Year Meal Plan of twenty-one meals per week. Second-year students living on campus participate in the nineteen-meal-per-week plan, third-year students living on campus participate in the nineteen-meal-per-week plan, and fourth-year students living on campus participate in the fourteen-meal-per-week plan. All plans include Meal Money. Fourth-year students may upgrade to the nineteen. Undergraduates living off campus may purchase Flex Meal bundles and graduate and professional students may purchase Flex Meals online. Detailed information on Vanderbilt Campus Dining, meal plans, and allergen or nutritional needs may be found at their website.
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All registered students are assessed the Student Services Fee, which is set by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and billed through the Office of Student Accounts. This fee is mandatory and cannot be removed or waived. The summer Student Services Fee is determined during the spring semester and posted accordingly to the Office of Student Accounts website where the fall and spring Student Services Fee is also listed.
Some students may receive scholarships or awards that pay all or a portion of their tuition and fees. The terms and conditions of these awards vary, and it is each student’s responsibility to understand the awards’ cost coverage. Any portion of tuition and/or fees not covered by an award remains the student’s financial responsibility.
The Student Services Fee provides financial support, based on the University’s needs, for student co-curricular interests, organizations, events, and programs, as well as student support services and resources, which may be carried out through, among others, the following entities:
- Arts and Campus Events
- Career Center
- Center for Student Wellbeing
- Dean of Students
- Graduate Student Council
- Greek Life
- Immersion Resources
- Project Safe
- Recreation and Wellness Center
- Student Care Coordination
- Student Care Network
- Student Center for Social Justice and Identity
- Student Centers
- Student Leadership Development
- Student Organizations
- Tutoring Services
- University Counseling Center
- Vanderbilt Student Communications
- Writing Studio
This list is merely intended to be representative of the type of co-curricular interests, organizations, events, and programs, and student support services and resources that may be funded through the Student Services Fee. Allocations are designated each academic year to best meet the needs of the University in serving and supporting students at that time.
For the funding of student organizations, the Student Services Fee Committee is a representative student group appointed by Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) through an application process. On an annual basis, the Committee makes recommendations to the Dean of Students for allocation of the designated funds collected as Student Services Fee to registered student organizations.
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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 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 each semester are due and payable in full at the beginning of each term. The payment deadline for fall 2020 is August 31; for spring 2021, the payment deadline is December 31. If a student adds courses after the initial billing period, it is the student’s responsibility to inquire of the Office of Student Accounts for due dates and amounts due related to tuition in order to avoid holds and/or late payment penalties. Unless a student's account is paid on time, a 1.5% late fee (minimum $5) will be charged to the student's account. In addition, YES (Your Enrollment System), Commodore Cash, and Meal Money may be suspended. Payment options can be found on the Office of Student Accounts website.
All Vanderbilt University students are required to acknowledge the terms and conditions of the online Student Account Agreement when logging into the YES portal. The acceptance of these terms and conditions is mandatory, and will be required on an annual basis. Failure to agree to these terms will prevent access to the YES landing page. Once the terms have been accepted, a copy of the most recently accepted form will be available for viewing and printing within the YES portal. These terms and conditions should be read carefully.
A Guarantor Authorization and Debt Repayment Agreement allows Vanderbilt University to release pertinent financial information to the guarantor(s) listed on the form (usually the student’s parents). Without proper signatures, no financial information can be disclosed to anyone other than the student. This form can be found by following the link, above, or at the Office of Student Accounts website.
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Hoverboards & Urban Mobility Devices
The use, possession, or storage of Hoverboards, Swagways, IO Hawks, Skywalkers, and similar devices, is prohibited inside all Vanderbilt buildings and facilities, including, but not limited to, residence halls, Greek houses, student centers, academic buildings, labs, and parking structures.
The possession, charging, or storage of personal or shared urban mobility devices, including dockless bicycles, electric bicycles, electric scooters, and similar devices, is prohibited inside all Vanderbilt buildings, including, but not limited to, residence halls, Greek houses, student centers, academic buildings, and labs.
Operators of such devices on University sidewalks must yield to pedestrians and must provide audible notice of their presence in close proximity of pedestrians.
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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 Vanderbilt Card Services. If misused, cards may be invalidated for specific activities such as varsity athletic events or Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center access.
Students must comply with Vanderbilt Card Services’ policy and requirements regarding photos provided for Commodore Card identification. Failure to comply with such regulations and requirements may result in the disabling of a card, and referral of non-compliant students to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity for corrective action.
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 Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness 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, ridesharing, 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 Vanderbilt Card Services during business hours or online. Lost cards may also be reported to the Vanderbilt University Police Department at 615-322-2745.
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 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 international student (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) may obtain a family identification card from the Vanderbilt Card Services 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 Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center (if a membership is purchased).
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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.
Postbaccalaureate students and nonresident undergraduates 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.
Receiving illegal items or substances through VU Mail Services is prohibited. Students who use VU Mail Services improperly, or who fail to return equipment they have borrowed to transport packages, or who fail to return items delivered to them in error, will be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
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 may also receive packages in the automated package lockers, in which case the student will receive an email with information about the automated package locker bank and a six-digit retrieval code. Students may also use their Commodore Cards instead of the six-digit code to open the automated package lockers. Students have 24-hour access to the automated package lockers, and packages for the automated package lockers are selected on a first come, first served basis according to size. Mail service does not take requests to place packages into the automated package lockers.
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 615-322-2934. 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 $25 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 $25 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.
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. The confidential contact will be registered confidentially and only authorized campus officials will have access to this information. This information will be disclosed to no one outside law enforcement. 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) 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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Name and Logos
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 Brand Engagement and Governance. This includes all merchandise (e.g., T-shirts, mugs, uniforms) that are used for internal use, sale, or promotional giveaway. Students may contact the Office of Brand Engagement and Governance at email@example.com. Policy governing the use of trademarks in URLs and acquisition of domain names can be found on the VUIT website. Policy governing the use of Vanderbilt's official marks can be found on the Office of Brand Engagement and Governance website.
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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 Experience 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 Code Annotated #55-8-101. Vehicles providing for accessibility (such as motorized wheel chairs), are exempt from the prohibition if approved in advance through Student Access Services. 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 bicycle 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,
when avoiding obstacles or hazards, or
when there is a designated bicycle lane.
- 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.
- Cyclists must walk their bicycles in congested areas and when traversing pedestrian bridges.
- 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 Student Access 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 (VUPD) provides comprehensive and service-oriented law enforcement and security services to all components of Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and a variety of University-owned facilities throughout Davidson County. Both non-commissioned and commissioned officers staff the department.
VUPD maintains national, international, and state level accreditations through three governing bodies: CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies), IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators), and TLEA (Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation).
Commissioned officers are empowered to make arrests as “Special Police,” 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 Vanderbilt. Non-sworn Community Service Officers (CSO) are vital to the security operations of the department and are empowered as unarmed security guards through the Tennessee Private Protective Services Agency.
Additionally, VUPD operates a 24/7 communications center maintaining all emergency and non-emergency calls, including 9-1-1; monitoring of the Video Patrol program, intrusion and panic alarms, and blue light emergency phones. The communications center has direct radio communications with the Nashville police, fire department, and ambulance services.
When a Vanderbilt student is involved in an off-campus incident, Vanderbilt police officers may respond and 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 of services to the community described in detail on its website. Services include the following:
- Emergency notification through the AlertVU system
- Timely security notices
- Educational programming
- Emergency phones (located across the campus)
- Lost & found
- Operation ID [Register Your Possessions under the Students pull-down menu]
- Self defense (RAD) for women
- VandyRide shuttle bus system
- Victim Services support for crime victims
VandySafe is a campus safety app that allows faculty, staff, and students to communicate with VUPD for non-emergency or emergency assistance while on campus or at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. VandySafe is available for download from the Apple and Google Play stores.
Users of VandySafe can:
- Contact VUPD via phone call or real-time chat
- Submit an iReport with a photo or video directly to VUPD Communications Officers
- Trigger a mobile BlueLight that shares their location instantly with VUPD
- Use Virtual Walkhome to have VUPD monitor their walk across campus
- Share their location with a friend
- Access support resources
- Receive AlertVU push notifications
- View campus emergency guides and more
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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, political parties, or organizations. Although every member of the academic community has a right to participate (or not to participate, 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 of--or opposition to--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 Division of Government and Community Relations 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 Division of Government and Community Relations 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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Protection of Minors
Vanderbilt believes strongly in educating individuals on best practices for keeping minors (defined as persons under the age 18) safe and the duty to report child maltreatment. For many Vanderbilt students, interaction with children and adolescents through service or academics is a vital part the Vanderbilt experience. And, students involved in research may also interact with minors as observers of--or participants in--the research.
Vanderbilt hosts thousands of minors in programs and activities. The Protection of Minors Policy was created to raise awareness of issues associated with minors, to standardize University practices and to establish expected codes of conduct when interacting with minors in Vanderbilt programs. The policy also includes individual compliance regulations and steps for program registration in a central repository managed by the Office of Risk and Insurance Management .
All students are required to complete Protection of Minors online training, and all students, who are participating in student organizations, courses, or other Vanderbilt activities with minors are required to be in compliance with the University’s Protection of Minors policy. Tennessee is a mandatory reporting state, which means all suspicions of child abuse must be reported. The Protection of Minors policy clarifies the reporting process for both internal and external reporting requirements at Vanderbilt.
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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 catalogs, 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 Title IX and Student Discrimination Office.
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 1959, states that “All unmarried undergraduate students are required to 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 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 the online map.
Locations of additional designated smoking areas for campus residents may be found on the Housing and Residential Experience website. Greek organizations may elect to designate outdoor smoking areas on their house grounds.
Designated smoking areas are marked by cigarette disposal urns.
Vanderbilt University is committed to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment and offers several resources for smoking cessation. Nicotine cessation information is available at the Center for Student Wellbeing, and links to other resources can be found on its website.
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Student Access Services
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, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, 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.
Vanderbilt University aims to provide an accessible educational experience for all students. Student Access Services provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities who encounter barriers to access their educational experience. Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual, case-by-case basis. To request reasonable accommodations, students should submit their disclosure forms and documentation to Student Access Services via the Commodore Access Portal. Once Student Access Services receives the disclosure form and documentation, an Access Specialist will review the request and request a follow-up meeting with the student. If the student is uncertain about navigating this process or has other concerns, he/she/they should contact Student Access Services. Please note it is the student's responsibility to request accommodations and to provide sufficient and appropriate documentation. Students are strongly encouraged to contact Student Access Services upon enrollment at Vanderbilt University or as early as possible to initiate the accommodation request process.
For additional information on academic accommodations, transitioning to college, documentation guidelines, and other accommodations, such as those for housing, dining, or mobility, please visit the Student Access Services website.
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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 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 Office of the University Registrar written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Office of 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/her/their 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/her/their tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her/their 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.
- Disclosure to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- Disclosure to various authorized representatives of government entities (compliance with SEVIS, Solomon Amendment, etc.).
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, address, 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 Office of 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.
Students who believe the University has failed to comply with FERPA may file a complaint using the 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 Office of the University Registrar or to the Office of the General Counsel.
Individual listings in the online People Finder Directory consist of the student’s full name, e-mail address, and campus mailing address, if available. Students may elect to add additional contact information to their listings, including school, academic classification, local phone number, local address, 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 Office of 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) and clicking on the “Address Change” link.
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Student Spouse Privileges and International Student Same-Sex Domestic Partner Registration and Privileges
Vanderbilt University extends certain privileges to students’ spouses who are not enrolled at Vanderbilt. These same privileges are extended to the same-sex domestic partners of international students (whose countries prohibit same-sex marriage), who are not enrolled at Vanderbilt and who, on an annual basis, register with the Office of the Dean of Students. 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 Vanderbilt 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 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.
For Married Couples:
The student and the his/her/their spouse present their marriage certificate to the Card Services office to obtain a Vanderbilt ID for the spouse.
If at some point the marriage is dissolved, the student must notify the Office of the Dean of Students within 60 calendar days, and the non-student spouse must return the Commodore Card issued to him/her/them to the Office of the Dean of Students.
For International Student Same-Sex Domestic Partners
- The international student and his/her/their same-sex domestic partner visit the Office of the Dean of Students, each in possession of state- or federally-issued identification.1
- The international student and his/her/their same-sex domestic partner will complete an affidavit affirming that they meet the following criteria:
- that they are 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 copy to the student and spouse/partner and the Vanderbilt Card Services.
- The student and partner then visit Vanderbilt Card Services together in order to obtain a Commodore Card for the registered partner.
- If at some point the marriage, civil union, or/or domestic partnership is dissolved, the student must notify the Office of the Dean of Students within 60 calendar days, and the non-student spouse/partner must return the Commodore Card issued to him/her/them to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Consistent with the practice of Vanderbilt Card Services, all spouses (partners) are required to re-register annually to renew the card and to continue these benefits.
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.” Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-3-101 (2017)
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 Dean of Students or Dean's designee for a review of the proposed registration.
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Student Care Network
The Student Care Network is a holistic network of services and resources pertaining to health and wellness available to all Vanderbilt University students. Primary offices include the Office of Student Care Coordination, the University Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, and the Center for Student Wellbeing. Students also have access to a wide range of additional on-campus, virtual, and community resources through the Student Care Network - from the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center to the Project Safe Center to a variety of community providers. To facilitate finding resources, students may refer to the Student Care Network website, or contact the Office of Student Care Coordination.
- Medical Notification Policy
Vanderbilt University expects students to be honest with their instructors about their ability to attend class and/or complete course work, and asks instructors to work with students on these issues. Therefore, the primary offices of the Student Care Network (office of Student Care Coordination, University Counseling Center, Student Health Center, and Center for Student Wellbeing) do not provide notes for minor illnesses or routine appointments that may lead to missed classes and/or a delay in completion of assignments. Instead, the primary offices provide students with cards documenting visits to their office, which the student may use in discussion with their instructors regarding absences and/or missed work to demonstrate that they sought care for medical issues. The reason for the visit and any details of minor illnesses or routine appointments are not provided on the card. A student’s right to privacy, particularly as it relates to medical information, 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 primary offices cannot always predict which students will miss assignments and/or classes in response to such ailments. Honest communication between students and their instructors can better address these situations.
In cases of more serious illness, injury, or crisis, especially those that may require prolonged bed rest or hospitalization, the primary offices or the Office of Housing and Residential Experience will notify a student's academic dean so instructors may be formally informed through a dean's notification that the student may need short-term consideration related to absences and/or course work as a result of such illness, injury, or crisis. It is the student's responsibility to follow-up with their instructors to establish a plan for any make-up work.
It is the instructor's prerogative to determine what, if any, alterations to course work are appropriate in either of the situations outlined above.
Office of Student Care Coordination
The Office of Student Care Coordination is committed to supporting undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in successfully navigating life events related to academic stress and/or medical, mental health, and/or other personal concerns that may interfere with a student’s ability to achieve their academic and personal goals. This team of Student Care Coordinators is the central and first point of contact for students to help identify needs and determine the most appropriate resources in Vanderbilt’s Student Care Network and in the Nashville community to address concerns. Student Care Coordinators collaborate with students to develop a student success plan, share education about and facilitate connections to appropriate on and off-campus resources, and provide accountability through supportive follow up meetings. Student Care Coordinators work closely with campus partners, including the Center for Student Wellbeing, the University Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience, and faculty and staff to help maintain the safety and health of Vanderbilt students. In addition, the Office of Student Care Coordination supports the Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team and Welfare Panel and coordinates support for students returning from medical leaves of absence. The Office of Student Care Coordination’s goal is for students to have the right support, in the right place, at the right time.
Information about scheduling an appointment with the office of Student Care Coordination is available here.
Though staff typically have a background in mental health services, it is important to understand that work with a Student Care Coordinator is not counseling or therapy. The services of the Office of Student Care Coordination fall under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This means the content of the meetings with a Student Care Coordinator will be kept private to the extent possible; however, information may be shared on a need-to-know basis with appropriate personnel within Vanderbilt University in order to coordinate and provide you with the best care. If it is necessary to share information with off-campus providers or others, you will be asked to sign a written release.
Student Health Center
The Student Health Center provides primary care and some specialty services for 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 some office-based tests and can also 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 615-322-2427 to schedule appointments. Online appointments are available for most types of appointments. Telemedicine appointments are also available for some types of visits. 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 615-322-2427, 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.
- Immunization Requirements
The State of Tennessee requires certain immunizations and tuberculosis screening for all students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional). Students not in compliance with these mandated immunizations and tuberculosis screening will NOT be allowed to register for classes. Waivers for required vaccines may be granted for religious or medical reasons. Waiver requests are reviewed by the Student Health Center and the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office or Student Access Services. Instructions for providing waiver request documentation can be found on the immunizations requirements website.
Immunization requirements include:
- Meningococcal meningitis vaccine (one injection after age 16) 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.
- Tuberculosis screening, which includes an online risk assessment followed by blood testing or skin testing, when indicated.
All incoming students must upload a Student Health Center Immunization and Tuberculosis Screening Requirements form. Instructions and further information are located on the immunizations requirements website. The completed Immunization and Tuberculosis Screening Requirements form must be uploaded to the Student Health Center immunization portal by May 15, 2020. 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 students will incur small charges for medications or supplies dispensed. 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 a price below typical pharmacy co-pays or charges. Credit cards 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 University 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/their insurance company.
Care provided at the Student Health Center is confidential 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 Housing and Residential Experience 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.
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. Based on the aforementioned mandates and/or recommendations, the University may issue directives to students regarding isolation and/or quarantine. As a result, among other needed interventions, students in campus housing, or students traveling as part of Vanderbilt programs or activities, may be required to relocate so that appropriate isolation and/or quarantine can be accomplished. Failure to comply with University directives may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process.
University Counseling Center
The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides mental health assessment, support, and treatment for students. The team of clinical professionals includes psychologists, licensed counselors including substance use specialists, psychology interns, practicum students, and psychiatric medical providers.
Services include short-term individual therapy, a variety of group therapy options, and psychiatric screening and assessment. Students may work with a trained biofeedback counselor as another means of addressing anxiety or stress and pain among other symptoms. The UCC provides psychological assessment to screen for ADHD and learning disabilities.
Students with urgent issues may visit the UCC without appointment to meet with the Urgent Care Counseling clinician. If there are multiple students seeking Urgent Care Counseling 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 UCC staff is available to consult with students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about a student’s mental health. Consultations are available through the UCC’s Urgent Care Counseling, or by phone.
The UCC is open according to the schedule posted on the center’s website. Students seeking to schedule an appointment should visit the Office of Student Care Coordination’s website or call 615-343-WELL (9355)
Students may seek brief support for distressing situations and may take advantage of the UCC's drop-in services on campus at various locations as detailed on the website. This program enables students to have rapid access to a counselor for support.
The UCC collaborates with the Center for Student Wellbeing to provide outreach, prevention, and education, with one specific focus being suicide prevention through MAPS (Mental health Awareness & Prevention of Suicide) training for students, faculty, and staff. These resources are provided to facilitate stress management in order to minimize or prevent mental health concerns. In addition, the UCC offers workshops about academic support and ADHD in collaboration with the Center for Student Wellbeing.
More details about services may be found at the UCC website.
The UCC does not charge for routine services, but does charge for psychological testing, both for a screening and for a full test, and for specific disability assessments when indicated. The student is expected to pay for the testing prior to its being scheduled. The UCC 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.
The UCC is a confidential setting under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). To the extent permitted by law, the UCC does not share information about students or anything discussed in session, with the exception of safety concerns, which may override the confidentiality policy. For example, limits of confidentiality include situations that involve imminent risk to a client or another individual, and situations involving elder or child abuse. The UCC encourages students to sign a written release of information form if they would like for the UCC to share information with members of the student's family or others. The UCC may share attendance and additional minimally necessary information with the other primary Student Care Network offices, including the Office of Student Care Coordination, Student Health Center, and Center for Student Wellbeing for the purposes of care coordination.
Center for Student Wellbeing
The Center for Student Wellbeing cultivates engagement in lifelong wellbeing practices and endeavors to create a culture that supports students’ personal development and academic success through a holistic and integrative framework. The Center’s areas of focus include, for example, alcohol and other drug education and recovery support, self-care and personal growth, strengthening physical and emotional health, and support for students in distress. The Center provides prevention programming, individual coaching, skill building workshops, substance use screenings, meditation and yoga, and referrals to campus resources.
New appointments for Center for Student Wellbeing services may be scheduled through the Office of Student Care Coordination. Information is available at their website.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
All degree-seeking students (with the exception of those in the Division of Unclassified Studies) registered for four or more credits or who are actively enrolled in research courses (including, but not limited to dissertation or thesis courses) at Vanderbilt are automatically enrolled in—and will be billed for—a University-endorsed health insurance plan underwritten by UnitedHealthcare through Vanderbilt’s broker, Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk, unless they complete the online waiver process. Information about the plan is available on Gallagher's website. In addition, an insurance representative has an office at the Student Health Center and can be reached at 615-343-4688.
The annual premium, which is approved each year by the Board of Trust, is billed to students through their student account. The premium is a separate charge from tuition.
- Coverage Period
Coverage begins August 12 and extends through August 11 the following calendar year, if the student remains in school for 31 days beginning August 12. 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. If a student disenrolls from coursework within the first 31 days of classes so that they no longer meet the above eligibility standards, their insurance coverage will be terminated.
- Coverage Benefits
SHIP provides hospital, surgical, and major medical benefits. A brochure explaining the limits, exclusions, and benefits of the plan is available on Gallagher's website, at registration, in the Office of Student Accounts, at the Student Health Center, or on the Student Care Network website. 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.
- Waiver of Insurance Plan
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 on Gallagher's website. 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. Newly enrolled eligible summer session students planning to take full-time coursework in the fall must complete both a summer and a fall waiver form by August 1. Additional information about the waiver process may be found on the Student Care Network website.
- Family Coverage
An additional premium is charged for family insurance coverage. An eligible student who wishes to provide coverage for his/her/their spouse and/or children, may do so on Gallagher’s website. It is the student’s responsibility to enroll their eligible dependents each year. Dependents are not automatically enrolled.
- 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. Coverage through the Gallagher plan is mandatory; however, new waiver requirements have been instituted to support international students studying remotely for the 2020-2021 academic year. These policies are outlined at on the Student Care Network website.
- Qualifying Events for Students and Dependents
Students who initially waive coverage can submit a Petition to Add if they lose coverage under the plan they used to waive (for example, due to no longer being covered as a dependent). This is called a “qualifying event.” The premium will be pro-rated based on the date coverage begins. The applicable premium will be charged to the student account.
Eligible dependents may also be added if the student experiences one of the following qualifying events: (a) marriage, (b) birth of a child, (c) divorce, (d) the dependent entering the country for the first time, or (e) the dependent losing coverage under another insurance plan.
Links to the Petition to Add and the Dependent Petition to Add forms can be found on Gallagher’s website. The Petition to Add or Dependent Petition to Add form and supporting documentation (i.e., proof of a qualifying event) must be received by Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk within 31 days of the qualifying event. Forms received more than 31 days after the qualifying event will not be processed.
Conduct Endangering Health & Safety
Students who engage in a pattern of conduct that endangers the health and safety of themselves or others may be expected to participate and make satisfactory progress in a program of medical evaluation and/or treatment, or a program of psychological evaluation and/or treatment. The Office of Student Care Coordination, the University Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, and the Center for Student Wellbeing make 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 via a medical leave of absence of a student whose continuation in school—in the University's judgment—is detrimental to the health or safety of others. The University may also recommend an immediate withdrawal via a medical leave of absence for students whose continuation in school may be detrimental to their own health and safety. 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 regularly 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, the CARE Team serves as a support system for students. More information about assisting students of concern and submitting a student of concern report can be found here.
- Welfare Panel
Convened by the Dean of Students or 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 or its members. 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 themselves or others in the University community. The panel develops an assessment of a student, reviewing past, present, and potential future risk factors posing direct threats to the health and safety of the student or others. The panel assembles pertinent information from relevant members of the University community, and is empowered to withdraw a student who poses sufficient risk to the welfare of the University community, make recommendations to a student related to withdrawal via a medical leave of absence or a particular course of treatment, and/or set expectations related to a student’s engagement in a particular course of treatment while remaining enrolled at the University.
The panel comprises the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, the Student Care Manager, appropriate Center for Student Wellbeing staff, the Director of the Student Health Center, the Director of the University Counseling Center, an academic dean from the school in which the student of concern is enrolled, and other specifically-designated, relevant personnel as may be needed. The Welfare Panel also consults with the Office of the General Counsel.
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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 probation, or those with a financial hold, may be prohibited from participating in study-abroad programs. Students who have been placed on a disciplinary probation that ends after the start date of their study-abroad program will, without exception, be ineligible to study abroad. 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 other drugs 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 University-approved study-abroad programs will not be charged the Student Services 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 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. Following a curriculum of discussions and activities, small groups facilitated by faculty members and undergraduate peer mentors lead small groups of first-year students through weekly discussions of the Commons Reading as well as other topics related to addressing the academic, cognitive, social, and cultural transitions students may 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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Chapter 2: The Honor System
Introduction / Statement of the Honor Code / Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge / General Information / Honor Code Violations / The Honor Code Applied to Preparation of Papers / Tests, Examinations, and Other Exercises / The Honor Code Applied to Group Work / Tips for Success / Responsibility of the Individual Student / Undergraduate Honor Council / Student Advisers / Faculty Advisers / Procedures of the Undergraduate Honor Council / Hearings / Penalties / After the Hearing / Withdrawal from the University Before Hearing
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.
The Vanderbilt Honor System was instituted in 1875 with the first final examinations administered by the University. Dean Madison Sarratt summarized the system as follows, “Let every individual who contemplates entering Vanderbilt University ask himself[/herself/themselves] first this important question: ‘Am I strong enough to give my word of honor and then live up to it in spite of every temptation that may arise?’”
The purpose of the Honor Code is to preserve and promote academic integrity. Ideally, a student’s personal integrity is presumed to be sufficient assurance that in academic matters one does one’s own work without unauthorized help from any other source. The Undergraduate Honor Council and the graduate and professional school Honor Councils are organizations that seek to preserve the integrity of the Honor Code at Vanderbilt University. Each council aims to secure justice for any student under suspicion of dishonesty, to vindicate his/her/their name if innocent and, if guilty, to protect the honor and standing of the remaining students.
The Honor System is only one of the elements provided to Vanderbilt students to aid in the development of creative thinking, intellectual maturity, personal accountability, and respect for honesty, integrity, and truth. The goal of the Honor System is to have all students leave Vanderbilt not only as graduates, but also as citizens of integrity.
Vanderbilt University students pursue all academic endeavors with integrity. They conduct themselves honorably, professionally, and respectfully in all realms of their studies in order to promote and secure an atmosphere of dignity and trust. The keystone of the honor system is self-regulation, which requires cooperation and support from each member of the University community.
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Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge
I pledge to pursue all academic endeavors with honor and integrity. I understand the principles of the Honor System, and I promise to uphold these standards by adhering to the Honor Code in order to preserve the integrity of Vanderbilt University and its individual members.
A short-form version of the Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge, to be signed on all tests, quizzes, and similar work is: “I pledge on my honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this examination.”
For information regarding additional Honor Code Statements and Pledges that may apply to graduate and professional students, please consult the individual school or college and its Honor Council.
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All students are required to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Honor System through the information in this Handbook. Undergraduate students may obtain further information from the dean of each school, from the Undergraduate Honor Council at Vanderbilt University, PMB 351598, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37235-1598, telephone 615-322-7868, from the Honor Council website, from the Honor Council adviser or from the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity. Graduate and professional students may obtain information from the office of the dean of their respective schools.
Undergraduate students are subject to the jurisdiction of the Undergraduate Honor Council. The policies and procedures of the undergraduate Honor System stated in this Student Handbook apply to all students enrolled in undergraduate courses—including those that involve, in whole or in part, online learning—of all the schools and the Division of Unclassified Studies, whether full-time or part-time, or whether regularly enrolled, transient, cross-registered from a neighboring institution, or studying abroad.
Graduate and professional students are subject to the jurisdiction of the student body that implements the Honor System in the graduate and professional schools: Divinity School Honor Council, Graduate School Honor Council, Law School Honor Council, Owen Graduate School of Management Honor Council, Peabody Honor Council (for students in professional programs at Peabody College), School of Medicine Honor Council, and School of Nursing Honor Council. Graduate and professional students must check with their individual schools or advisers for further regulations beyond procedures cited in this Handbook, which may affect their studies and observances of the Honor Code.
Students are responsible for obtaining from their professors an explanation of the freedom they may exercise in collaboration with other students or in use of outside sources, including:
- the student’s own work prepared and submitted for another course;
- assignments that permit students to discuss the assignment or to collaborate, including during group study sessions;
- all limitations placed on take-home examinations, including use of class or outside materials or discussion with classmates;
- use of examinations or other materials from previous sections of the class; and
- use of Internet or other electronic resources, including proper attribution.
In the event that a student does not obtain a clear explanation of the application of the Honor Code from an instructor in any class, the student must assume that the Honor Council will follow the strictest interpretation of the Honor Code with respect to that class. Ignorance of the Honor Code is not a valid excuse for violating it.
Cheating, plagiarizing, or otherwise falsifying results of study is prohibited. The System applies not only to examinations, but also to all work handed in (including drafts and submissions that are not graded), such as papers, reports, solutions to problems, tapes, films, and computer programs, unless excepted by the instructor. The System also applies to any act that is fraudulent or intended to mislead the instructor, including falsifying records of attendance for class, for events for which attendance is required or for which class credit is given, or for internships or other work service. Work in all courses—including those that involve, in whole or in part, online learning—is subject to the provisions of the System.
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Violations of the Honor Code are cause for disciplinary actions imposed by the appropriate Honor Council.
Possible violations include but are not limited to the following:
- Giving and/or receiving unauthorized aid or attempting to give and/or receive unauthorized aid on an assignment, report, paper, exercise, problem, test or examination, tape, film, or computer program submitted by a student to meet course requirements. Such aid includes, but is not limited to,
- the use or production of unauthorized aids, which may include crib sheets, answer keys, or computer programs;
- copying from another student’s work;
- unauthorized collaboration;
- unauthorized posting, sharing, taking, or distribution of past or present examinations or other course materials;
- unauthorized advance access to examinations or other assignments;
- compromising a testing environment or violating specified testing conditions;
- unauthorized use of books, notes, websites, phones, watches, calculators, or other outside materials or devices during an examination;
- soliciting, giving, and/or receiving unauthorized aid orally or in writing; or
- any other similar action that is contrary to the principles of academic honesty.
- Plagiarism on an assigned paper, theme, report, or other material submitted to meet course requirements. Plagiarism is defined as incorporating into one’s own work the work or ideas of another without properly indicating that source. A full discussion of plagiarism and proper citation is provided in the section below.
- Failure to report a known or suspected violation of the Code in the manner prescribed.
- Any action designed to deceive a member of the faculty, a staff member, or a fellow student regarding principles contained in the Honor Code, such as securing an answer to a problem for one course from a faculty member in another course when such assistance has not been authorized or providing false information in order to receive an extension on an assignment or to excuse an absence.
- Any falsification of class records or other materials submitted to demonstrate compliance with course requirements or to obtain class credit, including falsifying records of class attendance, attendance at required events or events for which credit is given, or attendance or hours spent at internships or other work service.
- Submission of work prepared for another course without specific prior authorization of the instructors in both courses.
- Use of texts, papers, computer programs, or other class work prepared by commercial or noncommercial agents and submitted as a student’s own work.
- Falsification of results of study and research.
- Altering a previously graded examination or test for a regrade.
Note: Schools, departments, programs, and individual faculty members, speakers, and artists may have policies governing the creation, use, and/or distribution of recordings—video or audio—of lectures, virtual course sessions, speeches, performances, and other activities. Individuals must obtain authorization prior to recording such activities, and to abide by the various policies governing their being recorded, including, but not limited to, policies related to use and distribution of recordings. Failure to abide by recording policies may be an Honor Code violation or may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process depending on the circumstances. In addition, examinations and the questions therein, as well as lectures, teaching notes, scholarly writings, course handouts, assignments, and other course materials are the property of the individual faculty member. Copying or distributing any such materials without the permission of the copyright owner may constitute an infringement violation, and may result in a referral to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity for corrective action.
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- Papers are to express the original thoughts of the student. If a topic for a paper has been discussed fully among students prior to an assignment, then the students should consult the instructor about writing on that particular topic.
- Failure to indicate any outside source of ideas, expressions, phrases, or sentences constitutes plagiarism.
- A student may not submit papers substantially the same in content for credit in more than one course, without specific and prior permission of all instructors concerned.
Students should understand that sources of common knowledge can be plagiarized. Generally, an idea is often considered common knowledge if it is encountered at least five times in separate sources during one's research into a particular subject. (Reprints of one source do not constitute separate sources.) Copying or close paraphrasing of the wording or presentation of a source of common knowledge constitutes plagiarism. What constitutes common knowledge may also vary by discipline so students should consult their instructors to determine whether a citation is needed.
Students should realize that an act of plagiarism may include some degree of premeditation or may be the result of carelessness or ignorance of acceptable forms for citation. Regardless of intent or premeditation, the act is plagiarism and is a violation of the Honor Code. Students, therefore, must be conscious of their responsibilities as scholars under the Honor System, to learn to discern what is included in plagiarism as well as in other breaches of the Honor Code, and must know and practice the specifications for citations in scholarly work. The following examples illustrate the kinds of problems that can arise.
A student turned in a paper with the following paragraph:
“The characters in Othello are both allegorical and realistic at once. Characters like Iago and Desdemona are recognizable both as persons and at the same time devils, demigods and forces in nature. It is Shakespeare’s achievement as an artist that he is capable of creating visions of life as people live it at the same time that he is able to understand life in terms of social and cosmic symbols. In this paper I will discuss the allegorical elements in the play, the skeleton of ideas and actions with which the characters give meaning to the play.”
The instructor gave the paper to the Honor Council, citing this paragraph as evidence of plagiarism. The instructor presented the following paragraph from Introduction to “The Tragedy of Othello” by William Shakespeare, edited by Alvin Kernan. Copyright © 1963 by Alvin Kernan.
“Here is the essence of Shakespeare’s art, an ability to create immediate, full and total life as men actually live and experience it; and yet at the same time to arrange this reality so that it gives substance to and derives shape from a formal vision of all life that comprehends and reaches back from man and nature through society and history to cosmic powers that operate through all time and space. His plays are both allegorical and realistic at once; his characters both recognizable men and at the same time devils, demigods and forces in nature. I have discussed only the more allegorical elements in Othello, the skeleton of ideas and formal patterns within which the characters must necessarily be understood. But it is equally true that the exact qualities of the abstract moral value and ideas, their full reality, exist only in the characters.”
The instructor delineated four examples of plagiarism:
(1) A change in wording:
STUDENT: The characters in Othello are both allegorical and realistic at once. Characters like Iago and Desdemona are recognizable both as persons and at the same time, demigods, devils and forces in nature.
KERNAN: His plays are both allegorical and realistic at once; his characters both recognizable as men and at the same time devils, demigods and forces in nature.
The instructor explained that this is plagiarism because the ideas presented in both cases are the same, with the student adding only a few of his own words to alter Kernan’s original phrasing.
(2) Use of a catchy word or phrase:
STUDENT: In this paper I will discuss the allegorical elements in the play, the skeleton of ideas and actions with which the characters give meaning to the play.
KERNAN: I have discussed only the more allegorical elements in the play, the skeleton of ideas and formal patterns within which the characters must necessarily be understood.
The instructor stated that this sentence constitutes plagiarism because the student used the catchy phrase “the skeleton of ideas.” Again, the student retains Kernan’s phrase and his ideas, changing only some of the wording.
(3) Undocumented paraphrasing:
STUDENT: It is Shakespeare’s achievement as an artist that he is capable of creating visions of life as people live it at the same time that he is able to understand life in terms of social and cosmic symbols.
KERNAN: Here is the essence of Shakespeare’s art, an ability to create immediate, full and total life as men actually live and experience it; and yet at the same time to arrange this reality so that it gives substance to and derives shape from a formal vision of all life that comprehends and reaches back from man and nature through society and history to cosmic powers that operate through all time and space.
This, the instructor said, was paraphrasing, and unless acknowledged, it is also an act of plagiarism. Students must clearly indicate each use of paraphrasing with a citation suitable to the instructor.
(4) Word-for-word copying:
STUDENT: . . . are both allegorical and realistic at once . . . recognizable . . . devils, demigods and forces in nature . . . the allegorical elements in the play, the skeleton of ideas . . .
KERNAN: . . . are both allegorical and realistic at once . . . recognizable . . . devils, demigods and forces in nature . . . the allegorical elements . . . the skeleton of ideas . . .
The instructor noted that had the student put Kernan’s words in quotation marks and properly cited them, there would have been no offense.
Plagiarism extends to preparation materials as well. For example, should the student forget to note on research cards the source of material and then fail to cite the source when the paper or report is prepared, the student is still committing a plagiaristic act. Not knowing how or when to cite is not considered a sufficient excuse.
Students are expected to follow the general rules of citation for each discipline. One citation is not sufficient if additional material from the same source is included in a student’s work. Citations should express the extent of ideas or expressions of others that are used. All direct quotes must be in quotation marks or in block quote format. Simply providing a citation without using quotation marks or block quote format is a violation.
Material found on websites or other Internet sources can–and should be–cited. Students should consult a citation manual or the course instructor for the appropriate format.
For further information about citation styles, refer to the Jean and Alexander Heard Library’s online guide to Plagiarism, Citation, Copyright, and Fair Use.
Any student who is uncertain about the application of the plagiarism and citation rules should consult the instructor. A student who plagiarizes out of ignorance is still guilty of an Honor Code violation.
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Students are on their honor not to ask for or give information pertaining to any portion of an examination before or after they have taken it, in such a way as to gain or give an advantage over other students.
The written pledge (see also “Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge”) signifies that the work submitted is the student’s own and that it has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the course as specified by the instructor. In addition, each student and faculty member is expected to establish a clear understanding of the requirements in each course.
Any student uncertain about the application of the pledge to a particular course requirement should always consult the instructor. The Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge, or an abbreviation thereof, should be included in all written work completed by the student and submitted for a grade. Any work handed in for credit, however, will be considered “pledged” unless otherwise stated by the instructor.
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The Honor Code Application to Group Work
- Students are responsible for any work submitted in their names for the fulfillment of a course, program, or assignment.
- Students should ask their instructors before collaborating on any assignment with a classmate.
- Students should ask their instructors if a tutor or other individual may help you with any assignment.
- All group members are responsible for the data and the content of labs, reports, assignments, and projects.
- The guidelines for appropriate collaboration and task division pertaining to group work vary among classes and instructors. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to obtain a clear understanding of appropriate collaboration from the instructor.
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- Students should read the course syllabus, and follow all policies, guidelines, or instructions outlined therein.
- Students should make sure that they are aware of any guidelines or restrictions on specific class assignments or examinations. Students should get any instructions from the instructor if they miss a class.
- Students should ask their instructors before collaborating on any assignment with a classmate.
- Students should ask their instructors if a tutor or other individual may help with any assignment.
- When unsure whether or not to cite a phrase or fact, students should cite.
- Students should ask their instructors or consult a citation manual to learn how to cite online sources.
- If an instructor tells students not to use outside sources, students should not (nor should they take the instruction as an excuse not to cite sources if they are used).
- Students should ask their instructors before sharing lab reports, results, or other data with classmates or a lab partner.
- Students should ask their instructors before reviewing tests administered for the same course in a previous semester.
- Students should not turn in an assignment from a previous course without the permission of both instructors involved.
- Students should not assume that whatever they are doing is okay. If they cannot say with complete certainty that any particular conduct is permissible, they need to consult the course instructor.
- If permitted by the instructor, students should check over group members’ work before it is submitted; this includes labs, data, and other reports.
- Students should keep copies of original data used for group projects and assignments.
- When in doubt, ask the instructor.
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Without the support and cooperation of the entire student body, the Honor System will not work. Students must insist on the absolute integrity of themselves and their fellow students. It is the obligation of every student who suspects an honor violation to take action in one of the following ways, determining the choice of action by the flagrancy and/or certainty of the violation.
If students have reason to suspect that a breach of the Honor Code has been committed, they must:
- Issue a personal warning to the suspected student, or
- Report the incident online to the Honor Council, or
- Inform the instructor in the course of the suspicions and identify, if possible, the person(s) suspected.
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Undergraduate Honor Council
The Undergraduate Honor Council is an organization of students that seeks to preserve the integrity of the Honor Code at Vanderbilt University. It aims to secure justice for any student under suspicion of dishonesty, to vindicate his/her/their name if innocent, and, if guilty, to protect the honor and standing of the remaining students by his/her/their punishment as set forth in the bylaws.
The members of the Honor Council are selected from all classes and all undergraduate schools. Members are chosen through a system that includes a written application, interview, and election. Applicants must be full-time students and must not be on academic or disciplinary probation. All Honor Council members must have and maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing.
The Honor Council elects its own officers during a general body meeting in the fall semester. The officers include a president, who must be either a junior or senior and who must have previously served a minimum of one year as a member of the Honor Council; three vice-presidents; and up to three recording secretaries.
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Every accused student will be assigned a student adviser from the body of the Undergraduate Honor Council. A list of all possible student advisers will be made available on the Honor Council website, and the accused student may select an adviser from it for the investigation and the hearing. In the alternative, the accused may select an adviser from the University community: faculty, staff, or student. However, persons related to the accused or who have formal legal training are not eligible to serve as advisers.
An adviser accompanies the accused student to investigative meetings and the hearing and explains the procedures of the Honor Council regarding investigations, hearings, and the penalties that may be assigned. In addition, an adviser may confer with the accused during the investigation and hearing, but may not speak directly with the investigator during an interview or with Honor Council members on the panel during the hearing.
An accused may separately obtain professional legal representation, advice, and counsel. However, an attorney may not participate in or be present during an Honor Council interview or hearing. The Honor Council is a student tribunal untrained in the law. An attorney representing an accused may work directly with the Office of the General Counsel.
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The Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee appoints faculty advisers to the Honor Council. The president of the Honor Council, or the Honor Council adviser, assigns one faculty adviser to attend every hearing. Faculty advisers may ask questions and participate in the discussion. In a full panel hearing, the faculty adviser does not have a vote in the outcome, but the faculty adviser does have a vote in the outcome of a small panel hearing.
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Proceedings of the Honor Council—investigations, interviews with potential witnesses, hearings, etc.—may be recorded by the University. Recordings not authorized by the Honor Council adviser or the Honor Council officers hearing a case, or by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, are prohibited.
- When an alleged violation of the Honor Code is reported, a member of the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic integrity will be assigned to investigate the incident.
- The assigned investigator will interview the accuser and collect any available information or documentation related to the alleged violation.
- The accused will be notified via e-mail that a report has been filed, and will be asked to schedule a meeting. The accused is required to respond to the investigator's inquiries within a reasonable period of time. The Honor Council may send a notice to the Office of the University Registrar to enter an Incomplete and add a notation to the accused’s academic record stating "Honor Council Investigation Pending," if the accused is not compliant or if the investigation or hearing will continue beyond the end of the semester (i.e., becomes a “holdover case”).
- The investigator will meet with the accused to present in-person a written Statement of Charges that includes the specific charge(s), a brief description of the alleged violation, and an explanation of the possible consequences if the accused student is found guilty of a breach of the Vanderbilt Honor Code. During the first meeting, the accused will also be informed of the procedures that will be followed. The accused may choose not to make any statement at the time of the first meeting, and may instead defer making a statement to an agreed upon time prior to the hearing.
- During the meeting where the accused will make a statement, the investigator will ask the accused to explain his/her/their own account of the events surrounding the alleged violation. The accused may also provide relevant documentation or information to support his/her/their account of events. The accused will ultimately be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty prior to the hearing.
- The accused is required to notify the investigator of any material witness(es) before the hearing has been scheduled so that the investigator may contact the witness(es) and prepare a statement for inclusion in the investigative report. No material witness will be allowed to testify at the hearing unless he/she/they have previously given a statement to the investigator. The accused may also have one character witness answer specific questions concerning his/her/their background. The investigator will not interview the character witness and it is the responsibility of the accused student to ensure the character witness provides a written statement to the investigator in advance of the hearing or is aware of the time and place of the hearing. Given the nature of University judicial proceedings (including the proceedings of University Honor Councils), the testimony of, and information derived from, experts, such as the reports of handwriting experts, are not admissible and will not be considered, except in rare circumstances. In those rare cases, determinations as to the admissibility of testimony of or evidence derived from an expert will be made in the sole discretion of the Director of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity. The Honor Council president may appoint a faculty member as an expert witness. Under no circumstances, however, will the use of polygraph examinations be permitted.
- The investigator will assemble the evidence and testimony in a concise, logical report. The investigator will provide the investigative report to the president of the Honor Council, who will determine whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a hearing by the Council. If the president determines that a hearing is necessary, the president will also determine whether the charges will be heard by a full panel or a small panel.
- At least twenty-four hours before the hearing, the accused student will be presented with a copy of the investigator’s report so that he/she/they may comment at the hearing on any corrections or clarifications the accused student feels are necessary or appropriate.
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If after an investigation, the Honor Council president determines that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing, then a hearing will be scheduled. The investigator will arrange any details necessary for conducting the hearing, such as reserving rooms where the witness(es) and the accused may be placed during the hearing. The investigator will also inform the accused and the material witness(es) as to the place and time of the hearing; however, the accused student is responsible for submission of the character witness’s statement in advance of the hearing or arranging the attendance of the character witness at the hearing. The hearing should not be held earlier than seventy-two hours after the investigator has initially met with the accused unless an earlier time is agreed to by the accused.
Attendance of the Hearing by the Accused Student
All students, including the accused student, are required to cooperate with investigations and at hearings conducted by the Honor Council. In the event an accused student refuses to participate in, or cooperate with, an Honor Council investigation or hearing, the hearing may take place without the participation of the accused student. All reasonable efforts will be made to inform the accused student of the time and place of the hearing and the findings of the proceeding. In addition, the accused student may inform the Council that he/she/they will not attend the hearing and submit a written statement regarding the charges.
Full Panel Hearing
A six-member hearing panel (consisting of a presiding officer and five members) will hear the evidence in the case. A faculty adviser will also be present. (For training purposes, observers may be allowed to be present, but may not speak or take part in the proceedings.)
1. Presentation of the investigative report.
a. The investigator is sworn in by the recording secretary.
b. The investigative report is presented: the interviews with the accuser, the accused student, and the witnesses are reported briefly and impartially; the material evidence is presented and explained without opinion.
c. The Honor Council may question the investigator. At no time does the investigator express an opinion as to whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.
2. Testimony. The accused student and the accuser, if present, are allowed to be present during the presentation of all testimony. If witnesses are to testify in person (as opposed to through written testimony), they will appear separately and await their appearances alone. When called, each (with the exception of the character witness) is sworn in by the recording secretary.
a. Accuser. If the accuser testifies in person (as opposed to through written testimony), the presiding officer will invite a general account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accuser. The investigator may question the accuser, waiting until the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured. The accused may also direct questions to the accuser, once the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning. In the case of the accuser’s absence, the Honor Council will proceed to the testimony of the witness(es) and/or the accused student.
b. Material Witnesses. First, the presiding officer invites a general account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the witness. The investigator may question material witnesses, waiting until the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured. The accuser and the accused may also direct questions to the material witnesses, once the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning.
c. Character Witness. One character witness may answer questions concerning the background of the accused. The character witness may send a written statement to the investigator to be read at the hearing or attend the hearing to answer the questions in-person. A character witness is not allowed to testify or express an opinion concerning the alleged offense. A character witness will be asked only the following three questions:
- “How long and in what capacity have you known the accused student?”
- “Can you please tell the panel about a time in which you placed trust in the accused student?”
- “In general, and without reference to this case, can you please describe the accused student’s character?”
d. Accused Student. The presiding officer presents to the accused the charges and asks if he/she/they is familiar with the charges, the evidence, and the possible penalties if found guilty. The accused student enters his/her/their plea of guilty or not guilty. The presiding officer asks the accused to state his/her/their account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accused. The investigator may question the accused, once the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured. The accuser may also direct questions to the accused, once the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning.
Small Panel Hearing
During the course of an investigation, an accused student who wishes to plead guilty may request a small panel hearing of his/her/their case. A case may proceed to a small panel hearing only if no facts surrounding the violation are in dispute and if the president determines that the likely penalty involves no more than one semester suspension. A guilty plea does not guarantee that the case will proceed to a small panel. If there are two or more students involved in a single case, all must plead guilty and request a small panel hearing in order for one to be conducted. If one of the accused students requests a small panel hearing and others do not, a full hearing must be conducted for all the students involved. In addition, if the student has a previous Honor Council conviction, a full panel hearing is required.
If an accused student informs the investigator that he/she/they would prefer a small panel hearing, the investigator will inform the Honor Council president of the accused student’s request. The president will review the investigative report and determine whether a small panel hearing would be appropriate. If a small panel would be appropriate, a date, time, and location will be chosen for the hearing.
A small panel hearing shall consist of a faculty adviser, a presiding officer of the Honor Council, and one additional Honor Council member.
The procedures employed during a small panel hearing will be the same as those outlined above for full panel hearings.
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When the Honor Council is satisfied that all pertinent testimony has been received, the accused student, the student adviser, and the investigator exit so that the panel may deliberate. The panel will proceed to discuss and decide the question of guilt. The proof that a person is guilty of a charge must satisfy a “preponderance of the evidence” (or, more likely than not) standard. A majority of the six members of a full panel must vote "guilty" to find the accused guilty. All of the members of a small panel must vote “guilty” to find the accused guilty.
1. If the accused is found guilty, the Honor Council determines a fitting penalty based upon
(a) the flagrancy of the violation,
(b) premeditation involved in the offense, and
(c) the truthfulness of the accused throughout the investigation and the hearing
These three factors are ranked on a scale of low, medium low, medium, medium high, or high.
2. The presumptive penalty for a first offense is failure in the course. In certain circumstances, after reviewing the flagrancy of the violation, the degree of premeditation, and the truthfulness of the accused throughout the hearing and investigation, the Honor Council may, at its discretion, reduce the penalty on a first offense to include an Honor Council reprimand, with a recommendation for failure on the assignment, or increase the penalty to suspension for one or more semesters, or expulsion. The minimum penalty for a second offense is failure in the course and suspension for not less than a semester, and depending upon the severity of the violation, the penalty may be suspension for multiple semesters or expulsion. The penalty for a third offense is expulsion.
3. A small panel may assign a penalty no greater than failure in the course and suspension for one semester. Each penalty requires a unanimous vote of the small panel.
4. If, after review by, and at the discretion of, the Director of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, mitigating circumstances exist with regard to the commission of the violation in question, then the presiding officer will be provided relevant information and may introduce those circumstances to be considered in the discussion of penalty. Such circumstances may not relate to the possible ramifications of the panel's decision.
5. Expulsion must be approved by a vote of at least five of the six panel members. (Note that for a third offense, a vote of guilty by five of the six panelists imposes a penalty of expulsion automatically.) All other penalties require only a simple majority vote of the six members.
6. Decision. The accused, the accused's adviser, and investigator are brought back into the hearing room for presentation of the Honor Council’s decision. At this time it should also be explained to the accused that he/she/they has the right of appeal.
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1. At the conclusion of the hearing, the chair will gather all the material evidence, investigative reports, notes, and other records of the investigation and hearing and submit them to be filed in the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity
2. If the accused student is found guilty, written notice of the decision is sent to the following parties: (a) the accused student, (b) the accuser, if an instructor, or the relevant instructor(s) (in cases in which the accuser is not an instructor) (c) the dean of the school in which the student enrolled, (d) staff in the Office of the University Registrar, (e) other relevant University personnel and, in cases resulting in suspension or expulsion, (f) the parents of the accused student. A copy of the notice must also be kept in the permanent files of the Honor Council.
3. Following a full panel hearing, a member of the Honor Council Executive Board will then prepare a summary of the proceedings.
4. The accused student may file an appeal from a full or small panel decision with the Appellate Review Board, but must do so within ten days of the date the student is formally notified of the panel’s decision. Detailed information may be found in Appeals and the Appellate Review Board, below.
5. The Honor Council adviser maintains records of Honor Council proceedings and investigations in the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity in accordance with the office’s document retention policy. Records will not be released outside the University absent a written release from the student or unless otherwise required by law in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, students should be aware that they may be required to sign a waiver when applying to graduate or professional schools or in the course of any employment or governmental background check. An Honor Council reprimand is considered an educational sanction, and is not reported to agencies outside the University unless to confirm information provided by the student. Failure in the course, suspension for one or more semesters, and expulsion are entered upon the student’s permanent disciplinary record (which is maintained in accordance with the document retention policy), and are reported to agencies beyond the University, as needed.
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If a student who has been reported for a suspected violation of the Honor Code withdraws from the University before a hearing has been conducted, the fact will be recorded by the Honor Council. A letter will be sent to the accused stating that he/she/they is suspected of an Honor Code violation, that an investigation has been or will be conducted, and that a hearing may be held.
The accused may respond in one of three ways: participate in an investigation and hearing; waive the right to give testimony personally, thereby acknowledging that the hearing may proceed in his/her/their absence; or waive the right to appear and send a written, signed statement to be presented on his/her/their behalf at the hearing. Failure by the accused to respond will be considered a waiver of the right to appear.
During the time prior to the hearing, a notation will be placed on the academic record of the accused stating that an Honor Council case is pending. A letter will also be sent to the Office of the University Registrar the dean of the school in which the accused was enrolled, and other relevant University personnel, indicating that an Honor Council case is pending. If the accused attempts to re-enroll before the case is heard, the registrar will notify the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity. The case must be resolved before the accused may re-enroll.
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Chapter 3: Student Accountability
Violation of University Policy / Threat of Violence of Physical Harm, Harassment / No Contact Directives / Fireworks, Firearms, Other Weapons, and Explosives / Damage to Property / Hazing / Conduct at Athletic Events / Conduct in the Libraries / Conduct in Study-Abroad Programs / Use of University Computers and Data Networks / Use of the University Telephone System / Good Neighbor Guidelines / The Accountability System / Jurisdiction / Accountability Procedures / Appeals and the Appellate Review Board / Sanctions
Although the University values personal freedom, celebration, and recreation, the policies and regulations that apply to student conduct at Vanderbilt are also informed by principles that value the health, safety, and well-being of students and other members of the University community, as well as their academic and personal success. The University’s goal in establishing policies and holding students accountable for complying with them is to help students understand how their choices can affect not only their immediate neighbors, but also the University community as a whole.
When students fail to meet University standards, they ultimately risk separation from the University community. Vanderbilt’s system of graduated sanctions and structured accountability action plans is designed to effect students’ voluntary compliance with the policies and regulations established to protect themselves, other students, and the community. Vanderbilt hopes that educational conferences, deferred probations, and probationary periods with accountability action plans will be sufficient to help students make better choices so that separation from the community never becomes necessary.
Violation of University Policy
Students and student organizations are expected to comply with all University policies, which are derived from tradition and evolve with contemporary practice. Ignorance of a policy is not a valid excuse for violating it. Grounds for corrective action cannot always be the subject of precise statement; however, when commonly held standards of conduct are broken, students must be held accountable if the University community is to be sustained.
Students are subject to corrective 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, and University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises, including programs, events, meetings, or speakers hosted by student organizations, departments, offices, or other entities;
- Physical abuse of any person, including assault and other unwanted physical contact;
- Sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence including stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence (See Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence,” for policies and procedures governing incidents of sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence, as defined therein.);
- Conduct that may endanger the health or safety of members of the University community;
- Unauthorized entry or use of University facilities or facilities of others;
- Unauthorized access to or use of the roof, fire escape, ledge, and/or window of any University building and unauthorized access to or use of University amenities, including fireplaces, pools, gyms, and spaces;
- Unauthorized possession or use of University property or property of others;
- Damage to University property or property of others, including, but not limited to, vandalism;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Lewd or lascivious conduct or expression;
- Threats of violence or physical harm against another person, harassment, or other action that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another person;
- Cruelty to animals
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University or other documents, records, or identification, impersonating a University official or any other person;
- Furnishing false information to the University;
- Possession or use of any false identification or identification belonging to another person;
- The unlawful possession, use, distribution or facilitation of the distribution of alcohol, other drugs, or drug paraphernalia (including possession or use of prescription medication belonging to another person and distribution or sharing of prescription medication; see also “Alcohol and Other Drugs” in Chapter 6 for a more detailed statement of alcohol and other drug policies.);
- The operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs;
- Intoxication (See also “Alcohol and Other Drugs” in Chapter 6 for a more detailed statement of alcohol policies.);
- Failure to comply with authorized directives of, or, furnishing false information to, University officials or representatives of accountability bodies acting in performance of their duties;
- Participating in or organizing scavenger hunts;
- Violations of policies governing conduct at athletic events and in libraries and other University facilities;
- Violations of University computer or telephone system policies, and unauthorized access to private information;
- Possession of fireworks, firearms, other weapons, or explosives;
- Tampering with fire-safety, security, building access, or other University systems;
- Facilitating, aiding, or abetting a violation of University policy;
- Attempting to violate University policy;
- Retaliating against persons who have filed a complaint or submitted an incident report, or who have provided information as witnesses in any University investigation or proceeding.
Organizations or individual hosts are responsible for the conduct of their members and/or guests, and students are responsible for what occurs in their rooms or residences (on and off campus), both financially and in terms of misconduct by guests. These responsibilities include compliance with federal, state, and local law and University policies. Those who fail to meet these responsibilities will be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, and/or referral for prosecution by government authorities.
Violations of regulations of residences, libraries, resource centers, Traffic and Parking, Mail Services, and other areas of University life may also result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process. For further policies pertaining to campus residences, see Chapter 4, “Residential Life.”
Schools, departments, programs, and individual faculty members, speakers, and artists may have policies governing the creation, use, and/or distribution of recordings—video or audio—of lectures, virtual course sessions, speeches, performances, and other activities. Individuals must obtain authorization prior to recording such activities, and to abide by the various policies governing their being recorded, including, but not limited to, policies related to use and distribution of recordings. Failure to abide by recording policies may be an Honor Code violation or may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process depending on the circumstances. In addition, examinations and the questions therein, lectures, teaching notes, scholarly writings, course handouts, assignments, and other course materials are the property of the individual faculty member. Copying or distributing any such materials without the authorization of the copyright owner may constitute a copyright infringement violation.
The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may initiate corrective action, institute restrictions on, or withdraw registration from organizations that violate University policy and regulations, and may also impose restrictions or require conditions be met by organizations that are found to be in violation of policy.
Students and student organizations are expected to observe the standards and policies of the University both on and off campus. An organization may be subject to corrective action, including the loss of its registration, or individuals may also be subject to corrective action for incidents that occur off campus.
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Vanderbilt University expects students to refrain from conduct that threatens violence or physical harm against or is harassing toward another. Harassment is unwelcome verbal, physical, electronic, or other conduct toward another that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or participation in a University program or activity. A person's subjective belief that behavior is intimidating, hostile, or abusive does not necessarily make that behavior harassment. Students are also expected to refrain from conduct that otherwise unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the University community by any means, including through the use of electronic communications, social media, computers, or data networks, or by recording unauthorized video or photographic images in a location in which the other community member has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or by publishing such images. Such conduct is a violation of University policy and may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process.
Harassment of any individual based on sex, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information is unacceptable and may be grounds for corrective action, and may also constitute a violation of law. Equally unacceptable within the University is the harassment of any individual on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, or harassment because of one’s perception of another’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Title IX and Student Discrimination Office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Office handle complaints of harassment on these grounds. (See Chapter 8, "Student Discrimination.")
The policies and procedures governing cases involving sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence, may be found in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.”
Other campus offices such as Housing and Residential Experience, the Project Safe Center, Student Care Coordination, the Center for Student Wellbeing, the Black Cultural Center, LGBTQI Life, the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity, University Chaplain and Religious Life, and the University Counseling Center are available to provide counseling and/or support to students who believe they have been subjected to harassment.
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No Contact Directives
A student who feels that he/she/they is the target of threats, harassment, intimidation, or other similar behaviors, may request that the Director of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, or the Director’s designee, issue a no contact directive to the identified student to cease further communication and/or desist from the conduct in question. When a request is filed, the Director or the Director’s designee will determine whether the alleged conduct warrants the issuance of a no contact directive, and when it does, will issue mutual no contact directives to all involved students. The Director or the Director’s designee may also employ or continue such directives and impose other appropriate restrictions on his/her/their own initiative, as appropriate. Any charges brought at the time the no contact directive is requested will be resolved in the same manner as any other violation of policy. No contact directives often require that the involved students have no contact with each other during the course of the accountability proceedings and/or thereafter, even when there is no finding of a policy violation.
A report of a violation of a no contact directive by a student who is subject to the order may result in a warning or in the filing of a charge against that student. A charge will be addressed according to the usual accountability procedures. If the accountability proceedings result in a finding that the student is responsible for violating the directive, corrective action will be taken.
The determination of whether a no contact directive should be issued, and any no contact directive that may be issued, will not be considered an accountability proceeding or corrective action for purposes of the student's record and is not subject to appeal, unless separate charges are brought for violating the directive and addressed in an accountability meeting. A subsequent accountability meeting to address whether the student has violated the terms of a directive will constitute an accountability proceeding in the ordinary sense of that term and will become a part of the student's record to the same extent that any other accountability proceeding would become part of the record.
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The use or possession of fireworks, firearms, other weapons, explosives, or any type of ammunition on University premises is prohibited, with the exception that Vanderbilt University complies with Tennessee Code TCA 39-17-1313. In accordance with TCA 39-17-1313, the holder of a valid handgun carry permit recognized in Tennessee may transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder’s motor vehicle if:
- The permit holder’s vehicle is parked in a location where it is permitted to be; and
- The firearm or ammunition being transported or stored in the vehicle:
- Is kept from ordinary observation if the permit holder is in the vehicle; or
- Is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person’s motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to the vehicle if the permit holder is not in the vehicle.
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 and safety of the University community or the community at large.
Sports weapons must be kept in the custody of the Vanderbilt University Police Department, 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. Air rifles and “BB” guns are considered to be firearms, the use and possession of which are prohibited on campus. The use and possession of realistic-looking or imitation firearms, other weapons, explosives, or ammunition, which may include water guns, paintball guns, etc., is also prohibited.
The use or possession of stun guns, flying Tasers, cattle prods, liquid stun guns, or other devices designed to disrupt the human neurological system for the purpose of incapacitation is prohibited. Knives of all types (except for knives used as common eating utensils and knives with small folding blades four inches or less and designed for personal use) are prohibited. The use or possession of any other device, object, or substance (or imitations and facsimiles thereof), designed to cause injury, or the use of any object capable of being a weapon as a weapon is also prohibited.
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Damage, vandalism, 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 corrective action through the University’s accountability process as well as the responsible student(s) being held financially responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.
For example, a student may leave a window open during sub-freezing 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 students committing the acts may be held responsible not only for accountability purposes, but also for the financial losses suffered by other students and the University resulting from these events. 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.
(Note: Among the most common occurrences is water damage caused by the triggering of interior sprinklers as a result of horseplay, or hanging objects from sprinkler heads.)
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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 the student's 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.”
While including the statutory limitations of hazing above (i.e., student acts directed at students on or off campus), the University expands its definition of hazing to include any act that may produce, or is intended to produce, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, or any acts that are humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning, or that endanger the health and safety of another person. Such acts include—but are not limited to—paddling in any form, inducement of excessive fatigue, required exercise inconsistent with the mission of the organization, or physical or psychological shocks; personal servitude; implementing or participation in treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, or road trips that are not pre-approved by the appropriate University office; publicly wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; forced or coerced consumption, drinking games, or other organized activities, late work sessions, and other obligations which interfere with scholastic purposes of the organization; and any other activity inconsistent with the purposes of the organization’s constitution, by-laws, standing rules and policies, or University policy. Willful or voluntary participation in hazing activities by a victim does not absolve the person or organization engaging in hazing from responsibility. Students are subject to federal, state and local laws, and policies and regulations of the University.
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The University prohibits the throwing of objects from the stands and abusive language or gestures at athletic events. Student spectators who throw objects at athletic events will be ejected from the contest and may be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Spectators who are not affiliated with Vanderbilt will be treated similarly by local authorities. The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages in undesignated areas is prohibited at athletic events, as is the use of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and other nicotine delivery systems.
Fan Access Policy
The Southeastern Conference Fan Access Policy states: “In all sports, access to the competition area shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals, at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area.” Students who violate this policy—including by rushing a court, field, or other competition areas—are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, and may be required to pay a fine. In addition, individuals who improperly enter the competition area may be expelled from the facility, arrested for trespassing, or lose future ticket privileges.
Signs, Banners, and Artificial Noisemakers
Students may paint themselves, using the common names for Vanderbilt teams (e.g., Dores, Vandy, VU). Students and/or registered student organizations may submit banners to be displayed at the game to the appropriate athletic department official, prior to the game. Banners with obscene, offensive, or derogatory messages—as determined by athletic department personnel—will not be displayed. Efforts will be made to display all banners submitted and approved. Banners must be submitted to the designated member of the athletic department a minimum of 48 hours prior to a contest. Students are permitted to bring hand-held signs to athletic events provided that the signs meet the following guidelines:
- The signs must be no larger than one piece of standard-size poster board (22″ x 28″);
- Signs may not display abusive, offensive, or obscene words or drawings—as determined by athletic department personnel; and
- Names of commercial products other than the official broadcast networks of the contest may not be mentioned on the sign.
- Dry erase boards and the like are prohibited. Signs must be completed and approved by the designated member of the athletic department prior to the event, and may not be changed once approved.
Event staff has the discretionary authority to determine whether a sign meets 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 policy stated above.
Artificial noisemakers (cowbells, vuvuzelas, inflatable balloon-stick clappers, etc.), are prohibited at any athletic event, with the exception of musical and percussive instruments used by official team bands in accordance with Southeastern Conference regulations.
The complete Vanderbilt Athletics Fan Code of Conduct is available on the Athletics website.
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Vanderbilt's libraries provide a welcoming, comfortable, and safe environment for its users. The library is a place for learning and reflection, and the library staff supports these efforts by providing helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable service. Mutual courtesy and respect among users and staff are essential to the University’s educational mission, and the role the library serves in fulfilling it. Among the library’s most important goals is to create a setting where its users feel free to pursue research and study without compromising their privacy or safety. The various campus libraries comprising the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries provide a variety of spaces for quiet study. Collaborative study spaces enable conversation and interaction among students. Library users are asked to be courteous to others, and to be aware of the potential impact of their conversations and use of electronic devices in open areas. All conduct should contribute to the research and scholarship of the Vanderbilt community.
More information about Library policies may be found on the Library website.
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Students who participate in Vanderbilt University study-abroad programs, including students from other institutions or who are not primarily registered at Vanderbilt, are representatives of Vanderbilt, and their respective countries, for the duration of the specific programs in which they are enrolled, and for any period immediately before or after that, should they extend their respective visits abroad. Participants are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and respectfully, and to abide by the policies and regulations set forth by the University, the Global Education Office (GEO), their respective program directors, on-site program staff, study-abroad program providers, foreign host institutions (in the case of exchange and direct-enroll programs), and facilities in which they reside. Students are also expected to abide by the laws and customs of the countries in which they are studying or traveling. In addition, provisions of the Student International Travel policy apply to students studying abroad.
Given the nature and function of study-abroad programs, student-participant adherence to policies, procedures, and directives is crucial. Should there be an allegation of a violation of policy, the allegation will be addressed using the Accountability Procedures outlined below or other applicable procedures considering the nature of the incident. Cases involving sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence, including domestic violence, and dating violence during study-abroad programs must be addressed according to the policies and procedures outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.”
Students enrolled in study abroad programs not directly administered by Vanderbilt (i.e. direct enroll or exchange programs, or programs operated in conjunction with third-party providers) are subject to accountability proceedings as outlined by the relevant program or institution. Generally speaking, these institutions will inform and work with the Global Education Office and the GEO will in turn inform and work with the Vanderbilt Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity to investigate and respond to alleged violations of policies or regulations.
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Use of University Computers and Data Networks
Students, faculty, and staff are expected to comply with The Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy. Among other things, this policy prohibits violation of copyright laws, including illegal file sharing, the transportation of obscene materials across state lines, and unauthorized access to private information, whether obtained through direct “hacking” or by “social engineering” methods. University computers and data networks, including electronic mail systems, may not be used by students for commercial business purposes not authorized by the University. In addition to sanctions through University accountability proceedings, computing and data network privileges may be revoked in appropriate circumstances.
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Students should identify themselves to the persons called on the telephone and may not use the telephone system to harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated calls in which they fail to identify themselves. Examples of improper use of the telephone include the following: 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 corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Students who experience such calls should report the matter to a Residential Experience staff member and/or the Vanderbilt University Police Department. Some harassment by telephone may be sexual harassment, as defined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence,” and the policies and procedures outlined in that chapter should be followed.
Unauthorized use of the University telephone system with the intent to avoid payment of long distance charges is unlawful and may result in corrective action through University’s accountability process. 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 user.
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Good Neighbor Guidelines
Vanderbilt University is dedicated to participating in the Nashville community in meaningful ways. While residing off-campus, students are expected to abide by the tenets of the Good Neighbor Guidelines, to be responsible neighbors, and to abide by the local noise ordinances in which they reside or visit. If a student is living in an off-campus residence with one or more other students or non-students and the residence is found by the University to be violation of the Good Neighbor Guidelines or other policies and regulations or to be adversely affecting the University’s relationship with the neighboring community, all Vanderbilt students who are residents may be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, even if the conduct of an individual resident cannot be specifically identified.
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Note: General provisions of the University’s Honor System, may be found in Chapter 2, “The Honor System.” Policies and procedures governing cases involving sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence are outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.” Policies and procedures governing cases involving student discrimination are outlined in Chapter 8, “Student Discrimination.”
The bodies that comprise the accountability system are the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity (Student Accountability), the Appellate Review Board, the Undergraduate Honor Council, and the Honor Councils of the Graduate School and the professional schools. For matters specific to their areas, delegated to them by the Director of Student Accountability, authority may also be exercised by the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, and Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated. The nature of specific areas of authority is described in the constitutions or bylaws of each of these bodies.
In consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Dean of Students may assume jurisdiction for cases before the Office of Student Accountability or any of the several Honor Councils. The Dean of Students also appoints students to the Appellate Review Board (acting as the Chancellor’s designee), and—under special circumstances—to the Undergraduate Honor Council. Such circumstances include the Honor Council’s inability to convene a hearing panel of elected members (perhaps due to disqualification of members to sit on a given panel due to excluding criteria as delineated in the constitution and by-laws of the Honor Council). Students appointed by the Dean of Students to the Honor Council serve only for the duration of the circumstances that effected their appointments. The Chancellor, or the Chancellor’s designee, appoints faculty members to serve as advisers to the Honor Council and to serve as members of the Appellate Review Board.
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All persons enrolled in or taking courses—including those that involve, in whole or in part, online learning—at the University, or participating in programs and activities of the University as students, even if not registered primarily at Vanderbilt, students on official leave from the University (medical, personal, disciplinary, or otherwise), and student organizations fall under the jurisdiction of the accountability system. This includes those taking part-time courses of study; participants in summer programs; participants in programs of the English Language Center; transients during the summer or other sessions; and students cross-registered from a neighboring institution. Accountability proceedings for these students are the same as for full-time Vanderbilt students. A notification of the findings of an accountability meeting will be sent to the appropriate officer of the institution in which the students are primarily registered.
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The Office of Student Accountability has original jurisdiction in all cases of nonacademic misconduct, excluding sexual misconduct and discrimination cases, involving undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
Rights of students or student organizations suspected of misconduct are addressed through the following procedures, which are designed to provide a fair process and just findings. The basic elements of the process are as follows:
- Written and timely notice of charges against students, including possible consequences.
- Opportunity for students to present all relevant information at an accountability meeting, to challenge adverse testimony and information, to speak on their own behalf, to call witnesses, and to be accompanied by a Vanderbilt student, faculty, or staff adviser of their own choosing, to whom they are not related, and who has not had formal legal training (except in cases involving students in the Law School).
- Findings reached on the basis of the information presented, proof to accountability staff for a finding of responsibility using a “preponderance of the evidence,” or more likely than not, standard.
- An unbiased appellate body to which students may appeal.
A student facing potential corrective action, or an officer in the case of an organization (hereinafter “student”), will be notified that a report has been received and will be instructed to schedule a meeting with the Office of Student Accountability. The Office of Student Accountability will meet with the student to present a notice of charges, which will include the specific regulations or policies allegedly violated. The student will also be notified of the procedures that the Office of Student Accountability will follow. Following the presentation of the charges, the student may take a three-day waiting period before an accountability meeting is held or may request to proceed immediately. Failure by a student to respond to notifications from the Office of Student Accountability may be considered a waiver of the right to appear, and an accountability meeting may be held in the student’s absence.
The student facing potential corrective action may choose a Vanderbilt faculty, staff, or student adviser who is not related to the student, and who has not had formal legal training (except in cases concerning students in the Law School), to accompany him/her/them during the accountability meeting. The adviser may not address the staff member(s) conducting the accountability meeting, but may consult with the student during the meeting. No person who has a substantial interest in the case, or in a related case as a student facing potential corrective action, or as an adviser to such a student, may serve as an adviser. Persons not convened or summoned (e.g., the student, the student’s adviser, witnesses), by the Office of Student Accountability are prohibited from attending an accountability meeting, and from being present at interviews during the course of an investigation. Student organizations may send no more than two representatives to an accountability meeting and may have an adviser that meets the requirements previously outlined.
The student may testify personally and present witnesses on his/her/their behalf. The student may examine all information that may form the basis for corrective action. The student may have one character witness provide a statement as well. Given the nature of the University’s accountability process, the testimony of, and information derived from experts, such as reports of handwriting experts, will not be considered, except in rare circumstances. In those rare cases, determinations as to the appropriateness of testimony of or information derived from an expert will be made in the sole discretion of the Director of Student Accountability. Under no circumstances, however, will the use of polygraph examinations be permitted.
Persons conducting the accountability meeting, and considering statements against a student facing potential corrective action (for example, statements in the student's file), must advise the student of the content of the statements and give the student an opportunity to rebut inferences that might be drawn. The student may present testimony and make arguments not only with regard to the alleged violation of policy, but also with regard to potential justification(s) and possible mitigating circumstances. The student may also speak to the question of the appropriateness of any particular corrective action or sanction.
The findings will be based on information presented at the accountability meeting. Information acquired through unauthorized searches will not be considered. A search of a student, a student's possessions, or a student's on campus premises may be authorized by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of University policy is occurring or has occurred.
If the student is found responsible for a violation of University policy, the finding will specify the violations for which the student is responsible and the corrective action to be taken and the sanction to be imposed. The finding will be delivered to the student promptly and, at the time of its delivery, the student will be reminded of the opportunity to appeal and of the time limits and procedures involved in an appeal.
Accountability meetings may be recorded by the University. Recordings not authorized by the Office of Student Accountability, are prohibited. A written record of findings, corrective actions, and sanctions assessed will be filed in cases resulting in corrective action. These elements become a part of the record and may be examined by the student in the case.
Investigations and accountability meetings are not publicized or open to the public. Accountability staff members must hold in confidence the matters related to both the investigations and the meetings.
If a member of the Office of Student Accountability staff has a conflict of interest, that staff member is ineligible to consider a case. Individuals with a conflict of interest must declare themselves ineligible.
Students may be accountable to criminal and/or civil authorities as well as to the University for acts that constitute violations of law and of University policies and regulations. Students investigated for alleged violations of these policies and regulations are subject to University accountability proceedings delineated in this Handbook while criminal or civil proceedings regarding the same conduct are pending. Students in these circumstances may not challenge the University’s accountability process on the grounds that criminal charges or civil actions regarding the same incident are pending, may be initiated, or have been terminated, dismissed, reduced, or not yet adjudicated. When appropriate, the University may refer matters to federal, state, and local authorities for prosecution.
The policies and procedures governing cases involving sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence are outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.”
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The Appellate Review Board (the “Board”) is a University-wide body consisting of faculty and students to review appeals from findings of certain administrative offices and bodies that have the authority to render findings and/or impose sanctions upon students in academic and co-curricular matters. The Appellate Review Board comprises two divisions: the Appellate Review Board for Academic Matters (for cases heard by Honor Councils), and the Appellate Review Board for Co-Curricular Matters (for cases heard by offices and bodies that exercise accountability authority, as outlined below). Information on the policies and procedures governing appeals in cases involving sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence may be found in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.”
The Appellate Review Board may also, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Dean of Students, the Office of Student Accountability and other appropriate University officials, review and propose updates of the procedures used by the persons and bodies whose findings are subject to appeal to ensure that students are treated fairly.
Appellate Review Board for Academic Matters
The Appellate Review Board for academic matters reviews appeals from decisions of bodies having the authority to impose penalties in academic matters.
Any Vanderbilt student, having been found guilty of a violation of the applicable Honor Code (the “Petitioner”), with resultant imposition of sanction by any of the following hearing bodies, may petition the Board for a review of the determination:
- The Undergraduate Honor Council; or
- The Honor Council of any graduate or professional school.
Appellate Review Board for Co-Curricular Matters
The Appellate Review Board for co-curricular matters reviews appeals from decisions of certain administrative offices and bodies having the authority to render findings and/or impose sanctions in co-curricular accountability matters, except that appeals of decisions by the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils are heard by the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee. (Exceptions are noted, below.)
Any Vanderbilt student or organization, having been found responsible for a violation of University policy (the “Petitioner”), with resultant imposition of penalty by any of the administrative offices and hearing bodies, below, may petition the Board for a review of the determination.
- The Office of Student Accountability; or
- The Title IX and Student Discrimination Office (in matters related to discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation).
Appeals involving cases of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence are discussed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence."
Composition of the Board
The Board is composed of members appointed by the Chancellor (or the Chancellor’s designee), as follows: a Chair for each division—The Appellate Review Board for Academic Matters, and the Appellate Review Board for Co-Curricular Matters—who are members of the tenured faculty and who each may act in the other’s absence, disability, refusal, or inability to serve; and thirty-six general members appointed by the Chancellor (or the Chancellor’s designee), who serve on both academic and co-curricular cases and who are full-time faculty members, selected from among the schools as follows: four from the College of Arts and Science, two from the Blair School of Music, two from Peabody College of Education and Human Development, two from the School of Engineering, and one each from the remaining six schools of the University. Two full-time students from each of the ten schools of the University also serve. Both faculty and students are appointed for two-year terms, which should be staggered to the extent practical, to ensure continuity. The Chairs are appointed for three-year terms.
Petition for Appeal
A petition for appeal must be submitted by the petitioning student or appropriate officer of a petitioning organization using the online Petition for Appeal form by no later than 5pm on the tenth (10th) calendar day following the date that the student or organization is formally notified of the determination of the administrative officer or hearing body.
Requests for extensions must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the expiration of the ten-day period. The petition must include the following: a statement of the grounds for appeal, supporting explanation, and copies of, or reference to, all evidence the Petitioner asks the Board to consider. Except as explicitly provided below, no documents or other evidence may be included with an appeal unless previously submitted to the original authority.
The grounds for appeal are as follows:
- Procedural irregularities sufficient to affect the finding of the original authority.
- Insufficient information to support the finding of the original authority.
- New information that was not reasonably available for presentation to the original authority, the introduction of which could reasonably be expected to affect the finding of the original authority.
- Harshness of the penalty/sanction imposed by the original authority sufficient to show an abuse of discretion by that authority.
Standards of Review
The standards for review used by the Board in considering the grounds for appeal are provided, below:
“Procedural irregularities sufficient to affect the finding of the original authority.” Original authorities are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with their policies and procedures. Deviation from those policies and procedures which render their actions fundamentally unfair constitutes a sufficient basis for an appeal to the Appellate Review Board. Procedural irregularities that are considered by the Board to be harmless and that did not, in the judgment of the Board, adversely affect the process, are not a basis for upsetting the determination of the original authority.
“Insufficient information to support the finding of the original authority.” It is not the role of the Appellate Review Board to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the original authority if there is a reasonable basis for that authority’s finding. Deference must be given to the judgment of the original authority, which had the opportunity to hear the witnesses and to assess their credibility and demeanor. The Board may not alter the finding of the original authority unless the determination of the original authority is clearly erroneous and cannot be reasonably supported by the information considered.
“New information that was not reasonably available for presentation to the original authority, the introduction of which would reasonably be expected to affect the finding of the original authority.” All available information, including testimony of witnesses, is expected to be presented to the original authority. Only on that basis can the authority reach fair and reasonable findings. A student or student organization that seeks to introduce new information has the burden of demonstrating that the information was not reasonably available for presentation to the original authority, and that the introduction of such new information can be reasonably expected to affect the finding of the original authority. If the Appellate Review Board determines that the student or student organization has satisfied this burden, the Board remands the case to the original authority with instructions to reconsider the case in light of the new information.
“Harshness of the penalty/sanction imposed by the original authority sufficient to show an abuse of discretion by that authority.” Again, deference should be given by the Board to the penalties, sanctions, etc., imposed by that authority. At the same time, the Board should recognize that an original authority can make errors in judgment sufficient to show an abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion does not necessarily imply an intentional wrong or bad faith, but simply the failure to exercise reasonable judgment under the circumstances.
Consideration of Petition and Determination of Appeal
When the Chair of the appropriate Appellate Review Board (Academic or Co-Curricular) receives a petition, the Chair may instruct the original authority to notify all persons who were sent formal notification of the findings of the original authority that a petition for appeal has been filed and that penalties/sanctions of the original authority should not be implemented pending the result of the appeal, where applicable. A delay in implementation, however, does not preclude the University from taking interim actions to ensure the safety and security of the campus community.
Upon receipt of the petition, the Chair will be provided with the entire record of the case, including, for example, test papers or other documentary information, summaries of witness testimony, and audio or video recordings of the proceedings. The Chair will then proceed to review the petition (including all supporting information provided by the petitioner), and the record, with all deliberate speed to determine whether the petition, when considered in the light most favorable to the petitioner, sets forth a basis sufficient to provide the relief sought by the petitioner. If the Chair determines that the petition does not set forth a basis sufficient to provide the relief, the Chair dismisses the petition (or such parts of the petition that the Chair has determined do not set forth a basis sufficient to provide relief). The Chair’s decision is final.
If the Chair determines that the petition (or parts of it) does set forth a basis sufficient to provide the relief, the Chair forwards a copy of the petition to the original authority with instructions to respond to it (or such parts of the petition that the Chair has determined set forth a basis sufficient to provide relief). The original authority provides its response to the Chair within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the Chair’s notification that the Board will hear the petition. Upon receiving the response from the original authority, the Chair sends the response to the petitioner offering the petitioner an opportunity to reply. Replies must be submitted within five (5) calendar days. The Chair forwards a copy of this response to the Chair of the original authority for informational purposes.
From among the membership of the Board, the Chair selects three (3) faculty members and three (3) student members to serve on a panel (the “appeals panel”) to consider the petition. In the case of an appeal by an undergraduate student or undergraduate student organization, at least one student member of the panel will be an undergraduate student. In the case of an appeal by a graduate or professional student or a graduate or professional student organization, at least one student member of the panel will be a graduate or professional student.
The Chair makes available to members of the appeals panel a copy of the petition and all supporting documents submitted by the petitioner. The panel’s consideration of the appeal must be based only on the records created by or provided to the original authority, the petition, any new information the Board determines should be considered, and all responses to the petition, and will be conducted in accordance with the standards of review outlined above.
After reviewing the record, the appeals panel, by majority vote, decides whether to affirm, modify, or reverse the finding of the original authority or to remand the case to the original authority with instructions. In cases where there has been a procedural error on the part of the original authority or the panel deems that new information should be considered, the panel remands the case to the original authority with instructions. The panel's decision is final.
The Chair notifies in writing the petitioner and the original authority (which, in turn, notifies all persons who were sent formal notification of the original finding, where applicable) of the Board’s decision and the reasons for its decision.
While a case is pending, policy changes that might affect a case cannot be considered in the appeal.
At no time may the Chair or the Board substitute its own opinions or values for University policy.
No member of the Board may participate on an appeals panel if the member has a conflict of interest that might render the member’s objectivity questionable. Each member of the Board is responsible for determining whether a conflict of interest exists and may consult the Office of the General Counsel, if necessary. However, a member may be disqualified upon a motion by a member of the Board and by subsequent affirmative vote by a majority of the appeals panel. If a member of the appeals panel is disqualified, the Chair selects an alternate. If neither student from the petitioner’s school may serve on an appeals panel due to conflicts of interest, the Chair, of necessity, will appoint students from other schools.
Once a final determination has been made, all records of the original authority are returned to that authority.
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Vanderbilt’s system of graduated sanctions and structured accountability action plans, is designed to educate and effect reflection on the part of students and their organizations, as well as to effect students’ and student organizations’ voluntary compliance with the policies and regulations established to protect themselves, other students, and the community. Vanderbilt hopes that educational conferences and probationary periods will be sufficient to help students and their organizations make better choices so that separation from the community never becomes necessary.
Given the educational nature of University accountability proceedings, several factors are considered when determining sanctions and the components of an accountability action plan. In addition to a student’s or a student organization’s previous record, the circumstances surrounding the violation or infraction—such as the nature and severity of the event, the impact on others—may also be considered. Finally, a student’s or a student organization’s level of cooperation and honesty throughout the accountability process may inform the appropriate response to a policy violation.
The following is a list of common sanctions for individual students:
- Educational conference. Such conferences involve a structured discussion between the student and the Office of Student Accountability about the violation, individual accountability, the impact on the community, and improved decision-making. An educational conference is an educational sanction, and is not reported to agencies outside the University, unless to confirm information provided by the student.
- Deferred disciplinary probation. In some instances, a probationary status, as described below, may be deferred and will be implemented only if the student fails to complete all the components of an accountability action plan by the required deadlines or is found responsible for another violation during the period of deferral. If the components of the accountability action plan are completed in a timely manner and there is not another violation during the period of deferral, the deferred probation is considered an educational sanction and is not reported to agencies outside the University, unless to confirm information provided by the student.
- Disciplinary probation. Places a student in a probationary status that takes away the privilege of holding certain offices or leadership positions in student organizations, and may also include social or other restrictions on participation in organizations, programs, activities, and events. Probations are entered upon the student’s permanent disciplinary record (which is maintained in accordance with the document retention policy delineated below), and are reported to agencies beyond the University, as needed. Probation may, but does not always, restrict a student’s activities on campus. Violation of probation may lead to further restrictions or suspension.
- Suspension. Separation from the University for a specified or indefinite period of time. Suspensions are entered upon the student’s permanent disciplinary record (which is maintained in accordance with the document retention policy delineated, below), and are reported to agencies outside the University, as needed. A notation is placed on the student’s academic record for the period of the suspension, and academic work earned at other schools during this time may not be transferred as credit toward a student's Vanderbilt degree. During the period of suspension, a student is prohibited from being present on the Vanderbilt campus, or at any Vanderbilt sponsored or co-sponsored program, without express authorization from the Office of Student Accountability. Conditions may be placed upon a student’s return to campus. Suspension, pending an investigation and/or accountability meeting, may be imposed when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain University functions or to protect the safety of individuals from an immediate, active, or potentially ongoing threat. Such an interim suspension is not considered disciplinary action and will not be subject to appeal.
- Expulsion. Permanent separation from the University. Expulsions are entered upon the student’s permanent disciplinary record (which is maintained in accordance with the document retention policy delineated, below), and are reported to agencies outside the University, as needed. A permanent notation is placed on the student’s transcript. Students who have been expelled are prohibited from being present on the Vanderbilt campus, or at any Vanderbilt sponsored or co-sponsored program, without express authorization from the Office of Student Accountability.
The following is a list of common sanctions for student organizations:
- Educational conference. Such conferences involve a structured discussion with the Office of Student Accountability in which leaders of the organization discuss decision-making related to the incident and the impact on the organization and other members of the Vanderbilt community.
- Organizational probation. A status imposed on a student organization for a specific period of time to alert the group that their choices and behavior are significantly inconsistent with University policy and expectations. During this time, the organization is asked to take active steps toward improving the actions of their organization and to demonstrate that they can abide by University policy. Organizational probation will frequently be accompanied by a restriction from certain activities, including the restriction from hosting events with alcohol on or off campus, formal or informal. The probationary period may also restrict the organization from receiving a University award or honorary recognition, participation in recruitment/intake or receiving a new member class, or receiving or retaining institutional funding. Failure to complete all components of an accountability action plan or a finding of responsibility for another violation during the period of organizational probation will result in strong consideration of organizational suspension or expulsion.
- Organizational suspension. Separation from the University for a specified or indefinite period of time. During the period of suspension, restrictions on the organization may include, but are not limited to, hosting social or philanthropy events, receiving any University award or honorary recognition, participation in intramurals, representing the University in any capacity and any travel in connection with such representation, participation in recruitment/intake or receiving a new member class, maintaining membership or representation of the organization on the governing council, utilizing University facilities/grounds, or receiving or retaining institutional funding. Any activity that is contradictory to the purpose of this sanction could allow for the period of suspension to be extended. This would include any efforts to operate formally or informally as an unrecognized organization by recruiting new members, hosting events on or off campus, renting a facility off campus, or hosting social events as an organization. Conditions may be placed upon a student organization's return to campus. Suspension, pending an investigation and/or accountability meeting, may be imposed when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain University functions or to protect the safety of individuals.
- Organizational expulsion. Permanent separation from the University.
The following, although not exhaustive, is a list of common components of accountability action plans:
- Restriction. Loss of privileges that are consistent with the violation and the rehabilitation of the student or student organization. This may include directives to refrain from entry to certain areas of campus or contact with particular individuals, or the loss of campus parking and driving privileges. Restrictions, pending an investigation and/or accountability meeting, may be imposed when there is reason to believe the action is necessary to maintain University functions or to protect the safety of individuals from an immediate, active, or potentially ongoing threat. Such interim restrictions are not considered disciplinary action and will not be subject to appeal.
- Restitution. Repair or replacement of lost or damaged property or compensation for other costs arising from a violation.
- Fines/fees. Fees or fines to cover the expense of educational or work service programs may also be imposed.
- Letters of apology. Letters of apology may be used when a violation has a specific impact on another member of the University community or larger Nashville community.
- Online tutorials. Completion of online tutorials designed to educate the student(s) on a particular topic that is relevant to the violation and/or designed to improve the student’s decision-making may be required.
- Research or reflection essays. Completion of research or reflection essays designed to educate the student(s) on a particular topic that is relevant to the violation, or that requires the student(s) to reflect on the violation and its consequences, may be required.
- Counseling, evaluation, and treatment programs. In some cases of misconduct, such as those committed under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, participation in an assessment, evaluation, and/or treatment program by an approved counseling service may be required as part of a corrective action plan or sanction. Such treatment may also be a condition of readmission to the University or a condition for remaining in the University.
In all cases, accountability bodies have authority to establish various sanctions and accountability action plans appropriate to violations or infractions. Routine sanctions and accountability action plans may be established for certain infractions and may also be appealed to the appropriate body according to prescribed appeal procedures. Sanctions and accountability action plans may also be applied in combination. For example, a student may be suspended for one term and re-enroll subject to restrictions (as in probation) for the next term. A student’s previous record will be considered when a sanction or accountability action plan is imposed. When sanctions and/or accountability action plans are indicated for a student organization, the group’s prior record will be considered in determining the appropriate sanction or plan.
Aggravated Offenses - Bias-Related Offenses
Sanctions for violations of University policy may be increased when it is determined that the violation was motivated fully or in part by animus or bias toward the victim because of the victim’s–or the violator’s perception of the victim’s–race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or other identity or status covered under the University nondiscrimination policies.
If a student is found to be in violation of University policy, the findings of the case, including any sanction, may be made known to appropriate persons, including, but not limited to, the complainant (only where applicable and as required by law), the appropriate academic dean, the faculty adviser, appropriate staff members, and/or the responsible student's parents or guardian.
Upon completion of cases involving a sanction, the appropriate University official will take action to implement the decision of the Office of Student Accountability, and the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled will be notified if the finding will affect the student's academic status. However, action is normally not taken until the accountability process, including an appeal, if any, is completed.
Sanctions effective for an indefinite period are rarely imposed, but on occasions when they are, the accountability body imposing the sanction will consult appropriate University administrators to recommend the conditions that must be met to bring the sanction period to a close.
Withdrawal Before an Accountability Proceeding
If a student who has been reported for an alleged violation of University policy withdraws from the University before accountability proceedings have been concluded, a notice will be sent to the student stating that he/she/they is alleged to have violated University policy, that an investigation has been or will be conducted, and that an accountability proceeding may be held.
The student may respond in one of three ways: participate in the accountability proceedings, waive the right to give testimony personally, thereby acknowledging that proceedings may go forward in his/her/their absence, or waive the right to appear and send a written, signed statement to be presented on his/her/their behalf during the proceedings. Failure by the student to respond will be considered a waiver of the right to appear.
During the time prior to the proceedings, a notation will be placed on the student’s academic record, stating that accountability proceedings are pending. A letter will also be sent to the Office of the University Registrar indicating that such proceedings are pending. If the student attempts to re-enroll before the matter is resolved, the registrar will notify the Dean of Students (or the Dean’s designee). The matter must be resolved before the student may re-enroll.
Withdrawal and Readmission
Students may leave the University involuntarily for academic failure, failure to meet financial obligations to the University, or circumstances outside the University's jurisdiction. Withdrawal from the University under these circumstances does not constitute disciplinary sanction; therefore, re-enrollment after such withdrawal is handled through normal administrative processes. Students who voluntarily—or involuntarily—withdraw from the University for physical, mental, or emotional health reasons must be cleared by the appropriate University offices before being permitted to re-enroll.
Upon graduation or withdrawal from the University, student records in the Office of Housing and Residential Experience and the Office of Student Accountability are maintained for a period of seven years, after which time they are destroyed. Records of students who are suspended or expelled from the University will be maintained indefinitely.
Student records will not be released outside the University absent a written release from the student or unless otherwise required by law, in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, students should be aware that they may be required to sign a waiver when applying to graduate or professional schools or in the course of any employment or governmental background check.
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Chapter 4: Residential Life
The Office of Housing and Residential Experience provides a comprehensive development program for students living in University residential units. In partnership with faculty and staff from across the University, Residential Experience professionals work to build a living-learning community where values of scholarship and leadership are nurtured in a culture of collegiality. Residential Experience staff effect interactions among students and faculty and support students’ scholarly pursuits. Values of civility, accountability, discovery, and celebration are at work in Vanderbilt’s residential community.
The Office of Housing and Residential Experience employs a compassionate group of upper division, graduate, and professional students as resident advisers (RAs) head residents (HRs), graduate area coordinators (GACs), and graduate program coordinators (GPCs). Professional, in-residence staff supervise the student staff. The collective Residential Experience staff, in cooperation with Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) and other campus partners, organizes and coordinates social, educational, and recreational programs throughout the residences.
The residential experience is regarded as an integral part of a Vanderbilt undergraduate's education. The mission of the Office of Housing and Residential Experience is to provide the residential experience to as many undergraduate students as can be physically accommodated.
The Residential Requirement, established by the Board of Trust in 1959, states that “All unmarried undergraduate students are required to 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.”
In general, first-year students are housed separately from upper division students. When there is insufficient space in the designated first-year-student housing system or in special situations, first-year students may be housed with upper division students. All undergraduates make housing arrangements through the Office of Housing and Residential Experience in Branscomb Quadrangle.
First-Year Student Assignments
Procedures for first-year student housing assignments will usually be posted on the Housing and Residential Experience website by no later than February 1, of the year in which students will enter the University.
Admission to the University does not guarantee assignment to a particular type of room or building. Further, the University population is fluid, and demand for housing may change considerably in a relatively short period of time. In circumstances in which the number of first-year students enrolled exceeds the number of spaces for first-year students in regular rooms, it may be necessary to house students in triple rooms, in single rooms, in upper division areas, in apartments, or in alternative accommodations (such as study rooms on residential floors) for a few weeks, for a semester, or for the entire first year.
Sophomore and Upper Division Student Assignments
Returning unmarried upper division students receive their housing assignments through a random selection process in the spring. Eligibility for participation in the random selection is determined by the Director of Housing Assignments with advice from the Vanderbilt Student Government.
Students who participate in any Vanderbilt study abroad programs, or who graduate, withdraw, or take a leave of absence, may request cancellation of their housing contracts by writing to the Office of Housing and Residential Experience, sixty days prior to the beginning of the semester.
Requests to Live in Off-campus Housing
Vanderbilt is a residential University. As stated in the Residential Requirement, “all unmarried undergraduate students”—regardless of class standing or seniority—“are required to live in residence halls on-campus” unless the University grants a student authorization to live off-campus or in Greek housing. The Residential Requirement is binding for the student's entire undergraduate education.
Note that there is no guarantee of on-campus housing, and that the University may not always be able to provide on-campus assignments to every student who desires to live on campus. In such circumstances, the University will announce procedures for seeking on-campus assignments and enhance efforts to help students seeking available off-campus housing.
Only students who have been authorized or who are required to reside off campus by the Director of Housing Assignments or the Director’s designee may do so. Students should not make deposits or sign leases until they receive written notice from the housing assignments director that they are authorized or required to reside off campus. The Office of Housing and Residential Experience maintains an off-campus referral service.
When Vanderbilt receives notice of a landlord whose practices are violating local law and/or endangering the safety and well-being of student tenants or neighbors, then Vanderbilt reserves the option of denying students the privilege of living off-campus at properties owned by such landlords.
If a student is living in an off-campus residence alone or with one or more other students or non-students, and the residence is found by the University to be in violation of the "Good Neighbor Guidelines" or is adversely affecting the University's relationship with the neighboring community, all Vanderbilt students who are residents may be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, even though a specific individual responsible for the conduct cannot be identified.
Authorization to live off-campus may be revoked at any time for good cause, including as part of a sanction imposed following a student accountability proceeding. Reasons for the revocation of off-campus authorization include, but are not limited to, violations of University policies or regulations; failure to abide by the tenets of the "Good Neighbor Guidelines;" or behavior that adversely affects the University's relationship with the neighborhood community. A student whose authorization to live off-campus is revoked will be required to return to campus immediately and live in on-campus housing assigned at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments.
Students directed to return to on-campus housing will be charged, on a pro rata basis, the standard University housing fee, effective the day assignment to on-campus housing is made. If authorization is revoked and the student is required to return to, and live in, assigned on-campus housing, the University will not be liable or responsible for any contractual arrangements or agreement into which a student has entered, such as a lease agreement for off-campus housing.
Requests to Live in a Fraternity or Sorority House
Students who want to live in fraternity or sorority chapter houses must file the necessary forms each semester, May session, or summer session with the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. Requests for residency in the chapter houses for the spring semester must be filed thirty days before the beginning of spring semester. During the academic year, requests to move from a campus residence to Greek housing cannot be granted unless accompanied by a request from a Greek house resident to move to the University residential system. A maximum of six officers, preferably of junior or senior class standing, may live in each chapter house. Approval to live in a Greek chapter house must be obtained from both the Office of Housing and Residential Experience and the Office of Greek Life. Approval to live in a Greek chapter house is not equivalent to authorization to live off-campus.
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Rooms designated for students are rented (and students are liable for the room rent) for the entire academic year, exclusive of Thanksgiving break, semester break, spring break, and Commencement Week. Students who graduate or withdraw in the first semester are not liable for the spring semester rent if written notice is given sixty days before the opening of the spring semester. Students who graduate or withdraw from the University during the semester must vacate their rooms within twenty-four hours.
Students who withdraw for medical reasons may receive a pro rata refund. Students who withdraw or who are suspended or expelled during the semester may be entitled to partial refunds of rent. Rooms may not be sublet or used for any purpose other than as a residence for those to whom they are assigned. Residential rooms and services (data network, etc.) may not be used for business purposes. Student rooms may not be used for publicized events, including meetings of organizations, social events, etc.
Campus residences are generally open for occupancy on the day before registration begins for each semester, and close at 9am on the day following the last day of classes before holidays and at 9am on the day following the last day of examinations at the end of the semester. Campus residences generally reopen after holidays at 9am on the Sunday prior to the first day of classes. Following semester break, they open at noon on the Friday prior to the first day of spring semester classes.
Campus residences are officially closed during Thanksgiving break, semester break, and spring break. Students are not contractually entitled to occupy their rooms during these periods. However, at the discretion of the Senior Director for Housing Operations or the Senior Director’s designee, students may occupy their rooms during these periods if they register to do so with the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. Prior to these breaks, students will receive notice of which buildings and floors may be occupied and instructions for registering to stay. Failure to register may result in exclusion from the residences and/or corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Residential houses on the Ingram Commons are not open during the week prior to commencement and first-year students may not register to stay after the conclusion of final examinations.
End of Spring Semester/Commencement Week
By no later than 9am of the first Saturday following examinations, all residents must completely vacate and check out of their residences except for graduating residents and residents with official roles in sanctioned commencement events or other roles designated by the University.
Only graduating residents and residents with official roles in sanctioned commencement events or other roles designated by the University, whose commencement week residency has been approved in advance by the Office of Housing Assignments, may stay in residence halls during commencement week. These residents must completely vacate and check out no later than 1pm of the Saturday following commencement.
Other than graduating seniors, at the sole discretion of the Office of Housing Assignments, students with official roles in sanctioned commencement events or other roles designated by the University may be required to move from their spring room assignment to a commencement-week assignment by 9am the day after their last examination and vacate their commencement week housing no later that 1pm the Saturday following commencement.
Expiration and Termination
A room contract will be terminated upon a student’s graduation, completion of his/her/their program, or withdrawal or dismissal from the University. Under these circumstances, the student must vacate the apartment or room within twenty-four hours. Resident contracts may be terminated only when, at the discretion of Director of Housing Assignments, unanticipated and major changes occur in a student’s situation that would justify such termination. Contracts may not be broken to enable students to obtain lodgings elsewhere, or because a student has placed a deposit on, or signed a contract for off-campus accommodations.
Residents must check-in with residential staff when they arrive on campus. Residents will be issued a key and/or an access combination. The resident must complete and sign the online room condition report to document the initial condition of the room and its furnishings. A resident may be held responsible for any damage to his/her/their living space that is found when he/she/they moves out unless the damage was noted on his/her/their room condition report at check-in, is the result of normal wear and tear, or is the result of a properly-reported maintenance problem that arose during the year. (See Damage to Property under “General Residence Life Policies.”)
As residents vacate their rooms, they must return their keys and schedule a check-out meeting with the residential staff to review and sign their room condition reports. Residents will be held responsible for all room damage and corresponding charges incurred between the check-in and check-out dates recorded on the room condition report. If the room condition report is not reviewed and signed, then the resident may be held financially responsible for all damages above and beyond those noted on the original room condition report.
Students may not move from their assigned spaces to other spaces without the prior approval of the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. Room change requests are granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments. Students who make unauthorized room changes are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process.
Students who make unauthorized room changes will (1) not be permitted to reserve their current assignments for the following academic year; (2) lose a point for random selections for the following academic year; (3) lose a class in seniority for the off-campus authorization process for the following academic year; (4) be denied authorization to reside in a Greek House for the following academic year; or any combination of the above.
The University offers a variety of living accommodations for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions. Gender designations of buildings, floors, lodges, suites, or apartments are made on an annual basis. Single students who share bedrooms must be of the same gender, unless the University has designated the room for multi-gender occupancy.
The University recognizes and respects the desire for privacy. Designated staff members are authorized by the University to enter any University premises. Authorization for entry includes, but is not limited to, University custodial services, maintenance and repair services, and inspections. Staff conduct inspections for a variety of reasons that include—but are not limited to—fire and safety issues, health and welfare issues, maintenance or damage issues, and closing for breaks and end of an academic session. Although inspections are generally announced, circumstances may dictate that an inspection be unannounced.
A search of a student, a student’s possessions, or a student’s premises may be authorized by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, if there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of University policy is occurring or has occurred.
During searches and inspections of residential units (rooms, suites, apartments, etc.), University personnel may confiscate items prohibited by University policy.
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The following policies and regulations are specific to residential living, and the University expects students to abide by these policies. Further, students are expected to govern themselves according to all University policies and regulations, as well as state, federal and local laws. The University reserves the right to make other regulations as necessary, without notice, to ensure comfort and safety.
Care, Cleaning, and Repair of Rooms
Students are expected to keep their rooms clean. Students may be required to clean their living accommodations, including appliances, if the area coordinator or assistant director for the area determines that the room, apartment, or specific appliance presents a health or safety hazard. Inspections for damage and/or cleanliness will be conducted by University staff. Students are expected to clean rooms and appliances, sweep floors or vacuum, and remove all trash and personal items prior to vacating a room or apartment. The housekeeping staff will clean the bathrooms and general public areas of apartments and suites once each week.
Students are prohibited from painting their rooms and University furniture, including headboards. Adhesives (e.g., glow stars) are also prohibited. Pictures and bulletin boards may be hung only from the picture rail. (Hooks for picture rails may be purchased in the University bookstore.) Use of tape, staples, adhesive holders, screws, brackets, tacks, and nails is prohibited on the walls, woodwork, floors, ceilings or furnishings. Non-staining putty (e.g., UHU Tac and Scotch Removable Mounting Putty) may be used. The use of over-the-door hangers is prohibited due to the damage that these devices cause. Only tension rods may be used for curtains or other window treatments.
Concrete blocks, cinder blocks, and bricks are prohibited from University residences because of the potential damage to walls, floors, and carpets caused by their use. Plastic crates are acceptable substitutes as long as their use does no damage.
The height that one may elevate a standard bed is limited to 13″ from the bottom of the bedspring to the floor. Wooden “bed-risers” are permitted as long as they conform to the specifications established by the Director of Housing Facilities, and may be purchased at the University bookstore and from other authorized local vendors.
Weightlifting equipment is not permitted in campus residences.
Water beds, hot tubs, lofts, and bunk beds (other than those provided by the University), are prohibited.
The unauthorized construction of walls and partitions in University housing is prohibited.
Satellite dishes and antennae may not be affixed to, or mounted on, any interior or exterior area of a campus residence in any manner or fashion.
Residences are heated and cooled by central systems. To conserve resources, residents should keep their windows closed. Heating or cooling problems should be reported to the area maintenance supervisor (AMS).
Residents are expected to maintain and leave the residence at checkout in the same condition of repair as it was when they checked in, normal wear and tear excepted.
Students will be charged for any damage to rooms and public areas of campus residences, which results from misconduct or misuse. Charges for damages for which responsibility cannot be determined will be prorated among the residents of a residence hall or living unit. In order to control the quality of the craftsmanship in campus living areas, students may not make repairs to avoid damage charges. Residents should report needed repairs in the student housing portal, to the Office of Housing and Residential Experience, or to the building’s residential staff members. The University will make all needed repairs and do all redecorating, including painting, at its discretion. Authorized University personnel may enter at any reasonable time, or in emergencies, to inspect and repair property and equipment or to investigate allegations of policy violations.
The common areas of suites, apartments, and lodges are intended as joint living space for the residents. Furnishings in these rooms may not be moved to individual bedrooms.
Damage, Collective Damage, and Liability
The University is not responsible for personal property and is not liable for damages to student property caused by vandalism, mischief, or other students’ negligence. The University is not liable for damages caused by electrical or mechanical failures or difficulties, or broken water pipes, unless, after being notified, the University fails to take reasonable means to correct the failure or difficulty. Students are strongly encouraged to arrange for insurance coverage for all valuables and belongings they bring to campus. Students should check the provisions of parent/guardian homeowners/renters insurance and/or consider obtaining personal coverage. (See Loss of Property/Insurance Coverage.)
Damage to Property
Damage, vandalism, littering, or theft of University property or property of a member of the University community, or of a campus visitor, by a student or student groups, may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process as well as the responsible student(s’) being held financially responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.
For example, a student may leave a window open during sub-freezing 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 accountability purposes, but also for the financial losses suffered by other students and the University resulting from these events.
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. (Note: Among the most common occurrences is water damage caused by the triggering of interior sprinklers as a result of horseplay, or hanging objects from sprinkler heads.)
Damage and vandalism are costly and undermine the quality of life in the residential community. The University expects members of the residential community to aid in the prevention of vandalism. Residents are jointly and severally responsible for damage to their living units and furnishings, and are collectively responsible for damage to common areas.
Residents of a building, or part thereof, may be assessed charges for repair of damage to common areas.
Interruption of Services
Interruption or curtailment of services maintained in a residential building, if caused by strikes, mechanical difficulties, or other causes, does not entitle residents to any claim against the University or to any reduction in rent. Noise from service vehicles, construction activity, or other normal and necessary activities does not entitle residents to any claim against the University or to any reduction in rent.
Small items such as radios, sound systems, electric blankets, clocks, lamps, and coffee makers with enclosed heating elements are permitted in rooms, but no appliances with exposed heating elements, or grills (for either outdoor or indoor use, including “George Foreman” grills and like devices), are allowed. Appliances that draw a large amount of current from each circuit, such as hot plates, air conditioners, electric heaters, and instant water-heating elements, are prohibited. In addition, washers, dryers, and dishwashers are not allowed. Microwave ovens less than six years old, having a maximum power of no more than 800 watts and an interior capacity of no more than one cubic foot are permitted. Refrigerators less than six years old that have no more than a four-cubic-foot capacity may be used. The residential staff of a building may require that any appliance be placed in storage if the manner in which the appliance is used causes interruption of service or endangers the health, safety, or well-being of members of the residential community.
All appliances used in campus residences must be in good condition, with special attention given to seals, electrical cords, and plugs. Only power strips with circuit breakers may be used as extension cords. In consideration of fire safety, halogen lamps or light sources are prohibited in campus residences. The Senior Director for Housing Operations reserves the option of revoking authorization for the use of any appliance in individual buildings or throughout the residential campus.
Because the University provides ubiquitous wireless data network coverage in all its residences, consumer electronic devices that emit a wireless signal (routers, AirPorts, etc.), are prohibited, and settings for smartphone hotspots or wireless connectivity for printers, must be disabled. (See also “Wireless Data Network.”)
No University furniture, plants, or other furnishings, including those in lounges or reception areas, may be exchanged with anyone, stacked, or moved from one room to another. Headboards and footboards may not be removed from beds and University furnishings may not be removed from rooms. Anyone who moves furniture or mattresses without authorization will be responsible for the costs incurred in moving these items back to their proper positions (or the cost of repair or replacement, if an item is damaged or lost) and will be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Doors and window screens may not be removed.
Student-owned furniture brought into campus residences and Greek houses must meet the hospitality/contract-grade furniture fire-safety specifications of either the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 260, or the California Technical Bulletin 117, section E. (Furniture that complies with either standard will be appropriately tagged by the manufacturer.) Student-owned furniture must be removed before the student checks out of his/her/their room at the conclusion of the period of occupancy. Failure to comply may result in the assessment of charges for removal as well as corrective action through the University’s accountability process.
Visitation and Overnight Guests
Visitors are allowed in residences throughout the 24-hour day. However, residents must remain sensitive to the safety and security concerns of the residential community as well as the privacy needs of floormates/roommates/suitemates/lodgemates/apartmentmates. Prior to a visitor’s arrival, resident hosts should discuss with the persons with whom they share space, the fact that visitors are expected. Residents are responsible for the conduct of their visitors and violations of University policy may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity. Visitors (including Vanderbilt students who do not have access to a particular building), must be escorted at all times when in the residence halls. Lending ID cards or room keys to visitors and sharing access codes are prohibited.
A student who wishes to host an overnight guest must complete a guest registration form located on the AnchorLink page of the appropriate residence hall or house. The request should be made at least 24 hours prior to the arrival of the guest. The relevant Area Coordinator will review the request and send a message regarding the status of the registration. Host students should seek the permission of roommates and others with whom they share space (suitemates, e.g.,) before completing the registration form. Guests’ stays are limited to three consecutive nights. Guests must be escorted at all times in the residences. Lending student ID cards or room keys and sharing access codes are prohibited. Residents are responsible for the conduct of their guests and violations of University policy may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity.
Visiting Minors or Minor Guests Not Participating in a Vanderbilt or Third Party Program
Vanderbilt, as a research university, is generally not a proper environment for minors (under the age of 18) who are not directly accompanied by a parent or guardian unless they are participating in a program planned for minors and adequately supervised by adults who have the appropriate training and credentials.
Minor visitors may be allowed, subject to applicable University policies and the exceptions outlined herein, in student residential housing floors or rooms, but must be escorted at all times by their resident host or by their parent/legal guardian. For visits and/or overnight stays, the resident host is responsible for the minor guest and must accompany them at all times. Resident hosts must register overnight minor guests at least 24 hours in advance of the stay by completing the guest registration form on the AnchorLink page of the appropriate residence hall or house. The resident host must provide the age of the guest and documentation that the minor’s parent or guardian approves the visit. Residents are not permitted to host minor guests under the age of 16 for visits unless the guests are siblings of the resident. If the minor guest is unrelated to the resident host and is under age 16, the minor’s parent or guardian must also be present at all times. Residents are not permitted to host overnight guests under the age of 16; requests for exceptions for siblings of the resident may be reviewed and must be approved 24 hours in advance of the stay by the Senior Director of the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. Residents who violate these policies may be referred to the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
ID Card Access Readers
Most campus residences have ID card access readers at one or several entrances. Access schedules vary by building and by entrance. For reasons of safety and security, students may not enable building access to persons they do not know to be residents of that building. Students may not be present in residence halls to which they do not have access unless they are visiting another student and are accompanied by the host student. A resident enabling building access to a student whom they are not hosting is not considered an authorized entry to the building for the entering non-resident student.
Lost ID cards should be reported immediately to Vanderbilt Card Services, 184 Sarratt Center, 615-322-2273—C-CARD on campus phones, on the website, or to any facility that accepts the Vanderbilt Card, such as Campus Dining outlets or Varsity Markets. Lost cards may also be reported to the Vanderbilt University Police Department at 615-322-2745.
Keys and Access Codes
Keys and access codes to residential rooms and other necessary keys, if any, are issued to residents upon check-in to their rooms. Residents may not duplicate keys or share access codes. No deposit is required, but if a key is lost or not returned when a room is vacated, the lock will be changed and the resident charged for the replacement. If it is determined that access codes have been shared, the code will be changed and the resident(s) charged for the change.
Linens and Laundry
The University does not supply towels, washcloths, linens, blankets, or pillows. Coin- and Commodore Card-operated washers and dryers are provided for campus residents in each of the seven residential areas.
Loss of Property/Insurance Coverage
Every student is responsible for his/her/their own property and should consider obtaining personal coverage or having coverage under his/her/their parent’s homeowner’s policy for items brought to campus. Coverage should include both losses of University property and losses of property owned by others, that a student may cause.
Music Practice Rooms
Certain rooms in campus residences have been designated for use as music practice rooms. Due to their proximity to residential space, their use requires policies that preserve the quiet of the halls for the residents. Policies and specified times for the use of these spaces will be posted in each space. Except for University-supplied pianos, no amplified or percussion instruments are permitted. Use of these rooms for music practice may be terminated by the Office of Housing and Residential Experience.
Gatherings in residential spaces, regardless of whether alcohol is present, must be registered, when the number of people at the event will exceed the number of occupants of the apartment/suite plus ten (10). For example, a suite of six (6) can have up to sixteen (16) people, including the residents of the space, without needing to register the gathering. Gatherings are permitted only in Zeppos College suites, Warren College suites, Moore College suites, E. Bronson Ingram College suites, Carmichael Towers East suites, Mayfield Place, Chaffin Place, Morgan House, and Lewis House. All gatherings must abide by all other University and residential policies (noise, alcohol, visitation, etc.). The registration form is located on each residential community's individual AnchorLink page. Registrations should be submitted no later than 24 hours prior to the proposed event, or by 12pm on Friday (for weekend gatherings). The form, once submitted, is sent to the Area Coordinator for approval. Additional event management policies for events with alcohol are outlined in the "Events with Alcohol Hosted in Residential Spaces" section of Chapter 6.
Students are prohibited from having pets or keeping or providing for any animals on University property, including in University residences, except in the circumstances outlined in the "Assistance Animals" section of Chapter 1. Additionally, visiting animals must be kept outdoors and leashed. Students who violate this policy are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, and will bear any associated costs in rooms where animals are found in violation of this policy. Fish may be kept in aquariums, but flesh-eating and dangerous fish (e.g., piranha) are prohibited.
Students who are found to be in violation of University policy may be required to change room assignments or vacate University housing as directed by the Office of Housing and Residential Experience.
Quiet hours are in effect from 7pm until 7am, Sunday through Thursday, and midnight until 10am, Friday and Saturday. During these hours, residents must cease all activities that might disturb study or sleep. Radios, televisions, etc., should be turned to low volume and other noisy activity curtailed. During reading and examination periods, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day. In addition, the residents may vote to alter quiet hours, in accordance with the provisions for residential autonomy. Non-quiet hours are not “noisy” hours. “Courtesy” hours are in effect 24 hours a day.
The use of electric guitars, other amplified instruments, drums, and other instruments producing loud volume, is prohibited in campus residences.
Because of their propensity to be heard and felt through solid materials, subwoofers in stereo speakers or other audio equipment are also prohibited.
Safety and Fire Prevention
Residents must abide by the fire safety practices and regulations listed below:
- Combustible materials may not be stored on the premises.
- Cardboard boxes may not be used for storage of items in storage areas.
- The Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Fire Code prohibits the use and storage of grills within ten (10) feet of any combustible materials on any balcony or patio of a multifamily dwelling. Use or storage of grills is prohibited on any balcony or patio, or in any residential facility.
- Motorcycles, mopeds, and other internal combustion machines may not be kept in University housing.
- Bicycles may not be stored in hallways, stairwells, or other common areas because they may block emergency egress. Bicycles may be stored in student rooms.
- Candles, other devices that produce open flames, oil lamps, and incense, are prohibited in the residence halls, and subject to confiscation, whether or not they are lit at the time they are discovered. Exceptions for registered events sponsored by University departments may be made at the discretion of the Senior Director for Housing Operations, or the Director’s designee.
- Walkways, stairs, and corridors must be kept clear at all times for emergency egress. Student property may not be stored in these areas.
- Heat producing appliances (coffee makers, heating pads, slow-cookers, etc.) must be attended when turned on.
- Flammable materials (e.g., sheets, blankets, bandanas, scarves), may not be used to cover or obstruct light sources, heating/cooling sources, or fire-safety fixtures.
- Cut trees, wreaths, and greenery (generally employed as seasonal decorations), are prohibited.
- Installation of elaborate door decorations is limited to a specified period of time–set by appropriate administrators–and may not remain overnight.
- Decorations on the exterior of room doors may not exceed 150 square inches, total, of surface area.
- The University’s smoke-free campus policy limits smoking to designated outdoor areas. Extinguishing or disposing of smoking materials by any means other than the urns provided is prohibited.
- Access to windows and doors must be kept clear for emergency egress.
- Emergency exits may be used by residents or guests only for emergency exit or exit during drills. Other use is prohibited.
- Failure to evacuate a building when a fire alarm sounds is prohibited.
- Additionally, the following are prohibited and will likely result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process, which action may include possible suspension from the University or a prorated damage charge among the residents of a particular area if the responsible person(s) cannot be identified (see Collective Damage):
- Tampering with door alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, water flow or other control valves and other fire-safety equipment,
- Tampering with smoke detectors, emergency phones, building access systems, elevator systems, surveillance cameras or other safety and security equipment,
- Tube lights and string lights, except that string lights may be used under the following conditions: string lights must be UL approved and in good condition. They may be used only in individual rooms and not in common areas. The lights may not be suspended from ceilings, sprinkler heads, or overhead piping. No more than three strands of such lights may be strung together, and must be plugged directly into an outlet or into a surge protector that is plugged directly into an outlet,
- Items suspended from the ceilings, sprinkler heads, overhead piping, or on or near water pipes,
- Use or possession of fireworks,
- Disabling fire alarm systems,
- Arson or igniting fires of any kind--anywhere on campus--except for the purpose of cooking on a grill in accordance with University policies and regulations and applicable statutes,
- Tampering with or damaging fire-exit lights, signs, horns, strobes or other notification devices,
- Tampering with or obstructing emergency-exit doors.
Safety and Security
Residents must abide by the safety and security practices and regulations listed below:
- Nothing may be hung or thrown from windows. Objects may not be placed on window ledges or on roofs.
- Tampering with card access readers is prohibited.
- Removing window or door screens is prohibited.
- Propping open emergency exits or any door controlled by card access readers is prohibited.
It is essential that residents cooperate with the University in every way to safeguard the residential community and the belongings of residents. Students should keep their room doors locked, keep money and other valuables out of sight, and report thefts and suspicious persons immediately to their head residents, resident advisers, or the Vanderbilt University Police Department.
Periodically, officers from the Vanderbilt University Police Department may enter campus residences, Greek houses, and other campus facilities to assess their safety, security, and compliance with University policies.
At certain hours, students may be required to show Vanderbilt identification to gain entrance to campus residences. (See also “ID Card Access Readers.”)
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 additional designated smoking areas for campus residents may be found on this map.
Greek organizations may elect to designate outdoor smoking areas on their house grounds.
Designated smoking areas will be 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 Center for Student Wellbeing, and links to other resources can be found on its website.
Solicitation in Residential Units
In general, solicitation in campus residences is prohibited. Room-to-room solicitation for any reason is not allowed. Those students or student organizations who wish to organize clothing, food, blood, book, or other drives in the residence halls must request authorization from the Senior Director of Residential Experience.
Student-Election Campaigning in Residential Units
Residence hall campaigning is permitted for Vanderbilt Student Government, Honor Council, and Outstanding Senior elections, only (i.e., those with campus-wide or specific residential-unit interest). Room-to-room solicitation or campaigning is specifically prohibited. As a practical matter, campus-wide elections generate more posters than can be accommodated on residential bulletin boards. Students running for office may post two flyers per bulletin board in residences, but may not cover or remove flyers already in place. Posters larger than 11″ x 17″ in size are prohibited. The internal and external use of residential windows, doors, walls, and bathroom stalls is prohibited. Candidates are responsible for removing flyers within 48 hours of the conclusion of an election.
In the lobbies of certain residences, it is appropriate to hang banners of campus-wide interest. In these lobbies, candidates running for campus-wide offices may hang banners limited to three (3) feet in width and five (5) feet in length. Candidates wishing to hang banners in residential lobbies must contact the appropriate Area Coordinator for authorization and guidance. Candidates may reach appropriate Area Coordinator by calling the Office of Housing and Residential Experience at 615-322-2591.
During the school year, there are limited storage facilities in most residence halls for large luggage items. (Students are expected to keep weekend bags in their rooms.) Storage is available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Each stored item must be labeled with the student’s name, room number, home address, and date stored, using the storage stickers provided on site. Charges may be assessed for special handling. The University does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage for items students place in storage.
Items may be stored in trunks, metal trashcans or plastic storage containers with lids. Fire regulations require that no cardboard boxes be used for storage of items. Each student may store a maximum of two storage items, but furniture may not be stored in University storage areas.
Student summer storage facilities are designated for each of the upper division residential areas. Students may store two items—one of which may be a refrigerator—in the respective residential areas in which they will reside when they return the following fall. Property left in storage longer than one year will be considered abandoned and disposed of accordingly.
Personal property remaining in living spaces, in individual floor or corridor closets or storage rooms at the termination of the housing contract, or in the storage rooms past the removal deadlines, will be considered abandoned and may be disposed of without notice at the discretion of the Senior Director of Residential Experience. All stored items must be logged in. Students should retain receipts for their records. The University does not accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, stored items. Property left in storage longer than one year will be considered abandoned and will be disposed of accordingly.
Substance Free Residences
Residential areas for first-year students are designated as substance free by the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. The use of tobacco products and the possession or use of alcohol or other drugs in these substance-free areas (in either private rooms or common areas) by residents or their guests, is prohibited.
Statutes and University policies regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances apply to all residences.
Wireless Data Network
The University has implemented a wireless data network throughout campus residences. Wireless consumer electronic devices—sometimes called routers, access points (APs) or AirPorts—interfere with the University wireless data network, and, in worst-case circumstances, could even take down the data network. Manufacturers of such devices include Apple, Belkin, D-Link, Linksys, etc. These devices are prohibited. In addition, settings for smartphone hotspots or wireless connectivity for printers and other devices, must be disabled to prevent interference with University wireless APs.
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Chapter 5: Student Engagement
Coaches and Consultants for Registered Student Organizations / Communications, Student / Freedom of Expression / Funding (See also “Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising.”) / Governance, Student / Organization Mailboxes, Student / Publicity, Promotions, and Advertising / Reservations and Event Registration / Student Domestic, Co-Curricular Travel / Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising / Sound Amplification and Noise
Contributing to the University’s mission of teaching and learning, student engagement opportunities help build a community in which students may develop not only as scholars, but also as well-rounded individuals. Engagement in co-curricular endeavors provides a balance of challenge and support designed to enhance students’ intellectual and personal development. Participation aids students in becoming ethical, responsible, and self-disciplined leaders; challenged to develop an appreciation for civility and diversity; prepared for community leadership and citizenship; and supported in an environment that embraces discourse and the exchange of ideas.
Students receive advising in their student organization roles in areas such as organizational behavior, financial management, ethical decision-making, accountability, and recruitment/retention. Finally, through opportunities to become engaged in the community, students celebrate their own, and each other’s contributions to University life and the larger community.
Registered student organizations are required to have and will be assigned coaches who are employed by Vanderbilt University. Coaches provide holistic development for student organization members through experiential learning opportunities, advocate for the mission and vision of the organization, and counsel officers and members regarding their responsibilities. Coaches will help student leaders manage the programmatic, financial, and logistical operations of their student organization. To ensure they are able to properly support student organizations, coaches are required to attend training on, among other things, Vanderbilt’s financial system, policies and procedures (including Protection of Minors), travel, reimbursement, the re-registration process, goal setting, and facilitation of meetings with student leaders and student organization members. The coach is expected to be aware of the financial status of the organization to help ensure that the organization remains solvent. Coaches do not have the authority to prohibit the expression of editorial opinion by a campus publication. A more detailed listing of guidelines and requirements may be found on the Student Organizations website.
Student organizations may also have a consultant who is a Vanderbilt University faculty member. This role will be primarily a “content expert,” focusing on supporting students as they develop programming and meaningful experiences around the mission and purpose of the organization. Consultants are not required to attend additional trainings and there are no set expectations for their level of engagement with the organization.
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Any student organization, supported directly or indirectly by the University, financially or otherwise, wishing to print and distribute a newsletter, must be registered by the Office of Student Organizations. Newsletters should inform members of the organization or interested persons about news and activities relevant to that student group, but may not be a journal of opinion.
Vanderbilt Student Media
Student produced media for general distribution to the University community or to persons outside the membership of a student organization and publications funded directly by the Student Services Fee are under the exclusive authority of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated.
Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC), is a nonprofit corporation, affiliated with the University, which publishes and/or supervises The Vanderbilt Hustler, the online campus newspaper; the Commodore yearbook; The Vanderbilt Review, a literary/arts magazine; The Slant, a humor and satire publication; The Vanderbilt Political Review, a nonpartisan journal; WRVU, a student radio streaming station; Vandy Radio, a campus community radio streaming station; Synesis, a Christian perspectives journal; Vanderbilt Recording Studio, a student-run recording studio; mycommons.life, news and features about The Commons; myvanderbilt.life, student-produced media about life at VU; Student Media Marketing Group; Student Media Artists’ Collaborative; Vanderbilt Business Review, a student-produced business journal; Vanderbilt Video Productions, which provides students the opportunity to create and showcase visual media; and VandyFlix, a showcase of tv shows, videos, films, documentaries, and interesting visual content created by Vanderbilt students.
Distribution of publications not produced by Vanderbilt organizations must conform to University policies regulating the use of University facilities.
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As an institution of higher learning dedicated to research, teaching, and service, Vanderbilt is firmly committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression, and will maintain the conditions of freedom of inquiry, thought, and discussion on campus. The education of Vanderbilt students is guided by the University’s commitment to the principles of academic integrity, open communication and inquiry, nondiscrimination, and civility. Students are considered as partners in this endeavor and Vanderbilt expects all members of the community to be respectful of each other and to contribute in positive ways to an orderly and civil exchange of diverse ideas and opinions. Vanderbilt wants all students to feel welcome and safe in an environment dedicated to the critical discussion of complex and challenging ideas. The virtue of free speech extends to all members of the Vanderbilt community, even when that speech directly challenges the beliefs and ideas of another. To foster such an environment, the following guidelines have been set.
- Meetings open only to members. A campus organization may invite any person to address its members, but organizations must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with Events at Vanderbilt, and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
- Meetings open to the Vanderbilt community. A campus organization may invite any person, approved by the majority of its members, who represents a point of view pertinent to the occasion to speak to an assemblage of the Vanderbilt community, provided that the sponsorship of the event is consistent with the purposes of the organization. The organization must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with Events at Vanderbilt, and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
- Meetings open to the public. For open meetings sponsored by campus organizations, procedures for reserving space through Events at Vanderbilt must be followed.
- Procedures for all types of meetings described above include registering in advance with Events at Vanderbilt, so as to ensure the adequacy of arrangements, minimize schedule conflicts, reserve space, and demonstrate ability to pay for costs incurred.
- Limitations on meetings. The University may restrict the times and places of organization meetings on University premises. A campus organization denied permission to sponsor an assembly may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
- Sponsorship. A registered student organization that sponsors an activity will be responsible for registration, arrangements, publicity, costs incurred, and the conduct of the participants. The Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, must approve access to University facilities for requests from registered student organizations that wish to use the facilities for a speaker of their choosing. External groups may cooperate with a registered student organization in a campus event, but the campus organization remains fully responsible for the conduct of the external group, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must pre-approve the arrangement. Student organizations fronting for external groups is prohibited. External groups or individuals wishing to use University facilities independently must conform to University policies and must request access through Events at Vanderbilt.
- Physical distribution of printed statements or electronic media. Students who distribute printed materials or materials on electronic media are responsible for the contents. Students may distribute leaflets, informational sheets, compact discs, or similar materials on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance and so as to avoid restricting access. For outdoor events, distributors may position themselves twenty feet from the reserved lawn or area, again in a manner so as to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials and the name and contact information of the distributing individual or organization must be provided on each piece.
- Demonstrations and Dissent. Demonstrations and dissent are necessary and acceptable forms of expression. Generally, picketing, distributing literature, silent or symbolic protests (e.g., holding signs, wearing certain clothing, standing, etc.), or short and spontaneous verbal reactions to a speaker are acceptable forms of protest and dissent, as long as they do not block, obstruct, or impede, among other things, access to a meeting or activity, passage of persons or vehicles, the audience’s view or ability to pay attention, and/or the speaker’s communication or ability to speak. However, demonstrations or dissent that obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises, including programs, events, meetings, or speakers hosted by student organizations, departments, offices, or other entities, is prohibited. Students engaging in this type of disruptive action or disorderly conduct are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, and may also be subject to criminal prosecution for activities conducted in a manner that violate federal, state, or local law. For the safety of students and everyone involved, law enforcement may be present at a demonstration.
- Registered student organizations may also order films to show on campus. The motion picture titles shown on the Vanderbilt campus are cleared by the distributors for public performance exhibition. This means that Vanderbilt has the legal right to show titles before groups of students, faculty, and their friends on campus. The “home use” versions of these same titles, obtained from video stores, etc., are not cleared by the distributors for public performance use by the University, because proper licensing fees to the copyright owners have not been paid for such use. Films, videos, or DVDs may not be shown to dorm audiences, clubs, fraternities, sororities, or other organizations, without first obtaining a public performance license. Events at Vanderbilt, 615-322-2448, can provide additional information.
Information about the sale of printed statements, etc., and the display of posters can be found in the sections “Sale and Solicitation and Fundraising” and “Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising.” Campus organizations sponsoring events involving controversial persons or views are responsible for providing for the safety and well-being of their guests. Arrangements that fulfill this responsibility must be made through the office of Events at Vanderbilt.
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Funding (See also “Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising.”)
Students enrolled in Vanderbilt University pay a Student Services Fee. On an annual basis, the Student Services Fee Committee of Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) recommends to the Dean of Students allocations of this fee for registered student organizations that sponsor programs, projects, and services that benefit the students who have paid the fee. Applications for a regular allocation for funding in the subsequent academic year are available—and due—according to the schedule announced annually by the Student Services Fee Committee. In general, programs must demonstrate a wide campus appeal, be available to all students (including graduate and professional students), be free of charge or provided at a reduced rate for students, and must enhance the overall educational, social, or cultural climate available to all students. In order to maintain events at a reduced rate for students, student organizations that receive Student Services Fee funding may charge no more that $5 for event attendance, with the exception of Rites of Spring, Commodore Quake, and Lights on the Lawn. In addition, up to 10% and no more than $1,000 of a student organization's Student Services Fee allocation may be used for purposes internal to the organization, such as retreats, t-shirts, or other similar items. Exceptions to these restrictions may be made with approval from the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee.
Due to the nature of the Student Services Fee's purpose, only registered student organizations and their respective programs are eligible for Student Services Fee allocations. Further, funds allocated through the Student Services Fee Committee's recommendation process are subject to some restrictions on their use. More information on student organization eligibility and programming restrictions for Student Services Fee allocations may be found on the Student Organizations website.
See also “Fee, Student Services” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”
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Graduate & Professional Student
The Graduate School and all of the professional schools and/or programs have representative student organizations that serve as channels for student opinion.
Graduate Student Council of the Graduate School. Membership comprises one elected representative from each department, but any graduate student may participate.
Vanderbilt Bar Association. Membership comprises students of the Law School who are directed by a Board of Governors elected by the classes.
Divinity School Student Government Association. Membership comprises editors of the two student publications and representatives from the various levels of academic training.
Council of Class Officers (School of Medicine). Membership comprises elected officers from each class.
Graduate Nursing Council. Membership comprises representatives of each of the five clinical majors in the M.S.N. program.
Owen Student Government Association (OSGA). The Executive Council membership comprises five second-year representatives and four first-year representatives, but all registered candidates for Owen School degrees may participate in OSGA activities. OSGA provides leadership and coordination for professional and social activities.
The University recognizes a representative student organization that serves as a channel for student opinion for each school. Recognition has been extended by the University, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students, to the following governing bodies:
Arts and Science Council. Membership includes the presidents of all registered academic majors’ associations, one first-year student, and one sophomore representative. Students of the College of Arts and Science elect the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.
Blair Council. Membership is represented by elected members from the classes and by an elected Executive Committee.
Engineering Council. Membership includes elected representatives from each of the classes, the president, and one elected representative from each registered professional society.
Student Association of Peabody College. The association is directed by an Executive Committee, whose members are elected at large by students of Peabody College. Each class also has a representative on the Executive Committee.
Panhellenic, National Pan-Hellenic, Intercultural Greek, and Interfraternity Councils. The Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC), and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which govern the activities of the Greek social organizations, are composed of representatives from registered national sororities and fraternities on campus.
Vanderbilt Student Government. Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) represents student interests, concerns, and aspirations, to the faculty and administration. In addition, the organization sponsors and coordinates activities and programming promoting student involvement and interaction with faculty. Student interests are addressed through the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the organization. The Senate comprises elected students representing the four undergraduate schools and the residence halls.
In accordance with University policies, the purpose of the Vanderbilt Student Government is as follows:
- to provide a means whereby undergraduates may effectively express their views and interests to other components of the University and to the outside community in matters which affect their social, cultural, physical, and academic welfare;
- to stimulate effective student organizations and to coordinate their activities for the benefit of the Vanderbilt community; and, to provide for the development and coordination of activities and services beneficial to Vanderbilt students and the University community;
- to serve as a liaison between students and the University; and,
- to maintain effective student representation and participation in the decision-making process of the University.
To be eligible for membership in any registered student organization, or to act as a representative of Vanderbilt in any public exercise, an individual must be a full-time student of the University (as determined by the academic policies of the school in which the student is registered, and published in the University catalog). A student on disciplinary probation may not hold a leadership position, including (but not limited to) Admissions Tour Guide, VUceptor, Resident Adviser, head or business manager of a Vanderbilt Student Communications division, or head or business manager of a registered student organization. Registered student organizations and University departments may have additional eligibility requirements.
To be eligible to hold office in a student organization or to be a division head or business manager of a Vanderbilt Student Communications division, a student must be enrolled full time (as above), and may not be on academic or disciplinary probation. Also, an undergraduate student must maintain a cumulative 2.0 average. For clarification, see “Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”
Student organizations or their governing bodies may set eligibility standards that exceed these minimum standards, as long as such eligibility standards comply with the University’s nondiscrimination policy.
Requests for exception or waiver of eligibility requirements should be made through the Office of the Dean of Students with the recommendation of the appropriate governing body.
If a student’s participation in co-curricular endeavors threatens academic performance, the University may counsel the student about the scope of the activities. In addition, restrictions may be placed on a student’s participation in University co-curricular activities for the duration of an accountability sanction.
The University regulates the campus activities of organizations and groups whose activities relate to the University’s educational and service purposes.
The Office of Student Organizations registers undergraduate and graduate/professional student organizations within the Vanderbilt community. Club sports must have approval from the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center. Religious groups must have approval from the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life. Political groups must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Volunteer and/or service organizations must be approved by the Office of Active Citizenship and Service. Greek-letter social organizations requires membership in one of the four Greek-letter governing bodies.
Student organizations must reapply for registration annually based on the schedule published by the Office of Student Organizations. Registration expires after the third week of the semester for organizations that fail to re-register, or that are unsuccessful in completing the registration process. All organizations must have a current membership roster and constitution and/or bylaws on file with the Office of Student Organizations via Anchor Link.
The registration process requires the submission of a constitution or bylaws, which include a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, and names and contact information for officers and coaches. During the registration process, the organization must affirm that it does not discriminate unlawfully or in violation of University policy. This language can be found on the coach affirmation form within the registration form. (See Chapter 8, "Student Discrimination.") Registered student organizations must be open to all students as members and must permit all members in good standing to seek leadership posts. Single-sex organizations are permissible to the extent allowed under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office.
Detailed information regarding organization registration may be found on the Student Organizations website.
Organizations must affirm that they will conduct their activities in accordance with all University policies and federal, state, and local laws.
To be eligible for registration, an organization must:
- be organized and run by officers who are full-time Vanderbilt students,
- have at least one full-time, permanent, Vanderbilt faculty or staff member as its coach,
- maintain all funds on deposit in an account of good standing through Finance and follow appropriate accounting procedures (Special conditions apply to fraternities, sororities, and Vanderbilt Student Communications divisions.),
- be funded by its members or the University,
- limit its voting membership to Vanderbilt students, faculty, or staff members (A limited number of other persons may be elected to honorary or associate membership without voting privileges.),
- have purposes that do not overlap significantly with those of any other registered organization.
Through established policies and procedures, registered student organizations may seek:
- to use the name “Vanderbilt University,” or titles indicating institutional affiliation, such as “Black and Gold,” “VU,” or “Commodore,” in the name of the organization,
- financial support from the University (Student Services Fee allocation, and other sources when available).
- to use University facilities for conducting regular business (as in the case of campus publications),
- to use University meeting rooms and facilities at no charge or at a reduced rate,
- to use University electronic resources (e.g., AnchorLink, listservs, University-hosted website), and to subscribe to the student leader listservs maintained by the Office of Student Organizations,
- to use common space allocated for registered student organizations,
- to use storage space allocated for registered student organizations,
- to solicit funds from, or make sales to, members of the University community on campus,
- to use a campus address, an organizational mailbox, and campus mail services,
- to participate in the annual Student Organizations Fair,
- to advertise and promote the organization and its purposes on campus, and to advertise in Dean of Students-supported publications and other media,
- to publish events on AnchorLink and in the University Events Calendar,
- to use campus bulletin boards and kiosks to promote the organization's activities, and
- to use the University accounting system including certain business tools.
Registered student organizations may use the University’s name for purposes generally consistent with the organizations’ purposes and their usual activities or to identify themselves as campus groups (such as the Vanderbilt International Student Association). However, no organization is authorized to make either contractual commitments or binding statements on behalf of the University.
An organization may not use slogans or make statements that purport to speak for the University. For example, statements or slogans such as “Vanderbilt Backs Libertarians” may not be used by organizations unless they have been authorized to speak for the University. Published statements must carry the name of the responsible individual or organization. Unauthorized use or imitation of the official Vanderbilt stationery, logos, or marks, is prohibited.
If a student organization’s account has no activity for a period of two fiscal years, all Student Services Fee funds in that account will be transferred out so that the account balance is zero. Such funds are returned to the Student Services Fee pool to be redistributed.
Fraternities and Sororities
Fraternities and sororities must register annually with the Office of Student Organizations. The Greek Life coaches assist with both registration and coordination of their activities. The Greek Life coaches serve as liaisons between these student groups and the University and between the University and the fraternity and sorority national organizations. For information about policies relating to these groups, visit the Greek Life website. Fraternities and sororities must be members of the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, Intercultural Greek, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, which have governing responsibilities and accountability authority over their member groups. Corrective actions may be taken for fraternities and sororities by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council, the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for violations of fraternity, sorority, or University policies. Violations of University policies may also fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.
The IFC and Panhellenic Council administer the recruitment programs for their member groups. NPHC and IGC organizations each administer its own recruitment program.
The IFC, Panhellenic Council, IGC, and NPHC set a minimum academic requirement to join a Greek organization; however, most chapters have higher academic standards. To be eligible for fraternity or sorority membership, students must have carried and passed twelve semester hours. In addition, those seeking membership in Panhellenic or IFC organizations must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Those seeking membership in NPHC and IGC organizations must meet minimum GPA requirement established by their individual chapters ranging from 2.3-3.0. Advanced Placement credits are not applicable and summer school credits apply only for sophomores and upper division students.
Establishing Additional Fraternities and Sororities
Proposals for the establishment of additional fraternities and sororities may be made to, or initiated by, members of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, Intercultural Greek, or Panhellenic Councils. If approved by the appropriate council, the proposal will be forwarded to the Office of Greek Life for consideration. Upon the recommendations of the councils, the Office of Greek Life, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, the University may invite a national organization to colonize a new fraternity or sorority.
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Registered student organizations share a large space in Rand Hall suitable for conducting business and interacting with other registered student organizations. Although accessible to any student, the space is designed for use by registered student organizations. Student organizations are prohibited from establishing offices, social spaces, or living quarters, off-campus.
Registered student organizations desiring University mailboxes may apply to the director of Student Organizations.
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Distribution of Notices in Campus Mail Boxes (See “Mail Services,” In Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”), Display of Posters, Banners, and Printed Announcements
Notices that provide information regarding student activities or academic matters, or make announcements pertinent to the business of the University may be posted on campus. Commercial advertising matter and posters unrelated to the University are prohibited since advertising opportunity is provided in campus publications. Individuals who advertise services to students (e.g., typing or sale of books) may post small notices on bulletin boards.
Notices must carry the name of the responsible campus organization or department.
Notices, posters, flyers, banners, etc., may not use logos or trademarks of alcoholic beverages, or mention or refer to alcoholic beverages or their availability at an event. “B.Y.O.B.,” as shorthand for “Bring Your Own Beverage,” may be used on postings, etc., for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process.
Nails, tacks, tape, or staples may not be used to attach posters to trees or buildings, but posters and banners may be tied to tree trunks with string.
Use of sidewalk stickers is prohibited, except if such use is approved by the Facilities Review Committee, which must review and approve the proposed content, locations, and posting dates of any sidewalk stickers.
Stakes bearing signs may not be driven into the ground. From time to time, University departments may install directional signs similar in design to those signs placed in yards for political campaigns. Student organizations desiring to use such signs must obtain authorization from Events at Vanderbilt and the Director of Student Organizations, or the director’s designee. Note that the use of such signs is reserved for directions, only, that they may not be used for general advertising or promotion, and that they must be removed immediately at the conclusion of the event for which they are installed.
Posters and fliers may be posted by registered student organizations on the bulletin boards at The Commons Center, Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall, the Kissam Center, and the Student Life Center.
The kiosk at Stevenson Center may be used for poster display. Bulletin boards in classroom buildings, however, are reserved for announcements concerning academic programs. Notices may be attached to kiosks or bulletin boards with thumbtacks, but they may not be stapled or taped anywhere. Notices may not be posted on automobiles.
Registered student organizations may place posters that measure no more than 24” x 36” on the posting boards attached to the exterior walls of Rand Hall. Each organization is limited a single poster or flyer, regardless of size, on each board.
Permission to display banners in any residence must be obtained from the appropriate Area Coordinator for Housing and Residential Experience. Permission to hang posters in the dining spaces of Rand Hall must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining. Permission to display banners in The Commons Center, Sarratt Student Center| Rand Hall, the Kissam Center, and the Student Life Center must be obtained from building management at the reception desks of these facilities, and is issued only rarely, if at all.
Student organization use of the banner display devices on the east side of Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall requires no prior authorization. However banners must comply with the requirements for notices, above.
Greek chapters with houses may hang banners from their own facilities. Student organizations seeking to hang banners from Greek houses must secure the authorization of the chapter.
The University may remove posters, banners, or other advertising that remain three days after the date of an event, and may charge the person or organization responsible for them. Organizations will be held financially responsible for enforcing these policies with candidates for their respective offices. If an organization continually violates these policies, it may lose the privilege of posting notices or have its registration withdrawn.
Hand-Painted Signs and Banners
Hand-painted signs and banners should be made with acrylic latex house paint, which can be cleaned up with water. This paint will not dissolve in water or run, once dry. If a poster or banner stains the surface to which it is attached, the responsible student or organization will be charged for the stain removal. Space for making hand-painted signs and banners is available on the first floor of the Sarratt Student Center.
Banners may not be hung from trees, or between trees, or from or between other objects such as lampposts. With the endorsement and cooperation of student government, a series of poles with rigging especially designed for the hanging of banners has been installed on the east side of Rand Hall, to consolidate the display of banners.
Permission to paint designated windows in the dining or housing areas must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining or the Director of Housing Facilities, respectively.
Chalk, “Tagging,” etc.
The use of chalk on any surface other than a chalkboard is prohibited, and the use of chalkboards in classrooms is limited to instructional or meeting purposes.
Using markers, paint, or any other medium on any surface other than banners, posters, or flyers, is prohibited, as is using self-adhesive labels or stickers on surfaces other than banners, posters, or flyers. Individuals and organizations may be charged for repair or cleaning of damaged surfaces.
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Student organizations are required to register all co-curricular programs and special events (meetings, concerts, lectures, etc.) with Events at Vanderbilt, room 307 Rand Hall 615-322-2448.
Registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space on campus.
- University-wide events, such as Commencement, Homecoming/Reunion, CommonVU, and Family Weekend have priority over other events. Those reserving space must consult the University events calendar and the calendar in AnchorLink prior to making a space reservation request to avoid conflicts with University-wide events.
- Event planners should be cognizant of—and sensitive to—religious observances of a particularly solemn nature. A calendar of religious observances and holy days may be found on the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life website.
- Generally, meetings and events scheduled on weeknights (Sunday through Thursday), must end at 11pm so as not to interfere with students’ sleep or study.
- Serving as a front for off-campus organizations or groups is strictly prohibited.
- Authorization must be obtained through the Special Event Registration Process (see below), to hold a social event or other gathering to which persons other than Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and affiliates are invited.
- Vanderbilt University reserves the absolute right to refuse any request for the use of University space or facilities that—in the University’s sole discretion—is either inconsistent with the mission of the University, or which may present potential or actual adverse logistic or administrative conditions including, but not limited to, any safety or security concerns.
- The right of refusal for the use of University space or facilities includes the cancellation of a confirmed event due to any potential or actual safety or security concern for the University community.
Using space on campus without reservation, other than for informal study, is prohibited.
The Student Centers website provides a more detailed list of reservation policies, and a link to the online reservations tool. Reservations can be made online, via email at email@example.com, via phone at 615-322-2448, or by visiting the office in Rand Hall Suite 307.
Special Event Registration
The special event registration process is designed to support a variety of events that have special needs. The Special Event Registration Committee comprises representatives from Events at Vanderbilt, Traffic and Parking, Vanderbilt University Police Department, Plant Operations, the Center for Student Wellbeing, Risk Management, the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, and staff who oversee compliance with the Protection of Minors policy.
The special event registration process is managed online in AnchorLink. Occasionally, event organizers may be required to meet with the committee should clarification be needed on one or more arrangements for the event.
The following types of events must be registered through the Special Event Registration Process in AnchorLink:
- Outdoor events, including but not limited to:
- Events requesting amplified sound (with the exception of Greek events held within Greek facilities)
- Events that require Plant Operations assistance (tables, chairs, trash cans, tents, power, etc.)
- Events that require Traffic and Parking assistance (road closures, clearing lots, etc.)
- Art exhibits
- Events at which alcohol will be present (see additional event management policies in Chapter 6, "Alcohol and Other Drugs")
- Events that may require security
- Events that are considered high risk based upon the size of the event, the type of activity involved, the even date/time of day, etc.
- Events open to the general public
- Events that require contracts for talent (speakers, musical performances, etc.). Note that student organizations may not sign contracts for liability reasons. All contracts must be signed by the Dean of Students.
- Events that include showing a film on campus
- Note that public performance rights must be obtained prior to showing a film on campus.
- Events at Vanderbilt can assist both with ordering films and with securing public performance rights.
- Events that include minors
- Note that Vanderbilt students under the age of 18 are not considered minors for the purpose of event registration.
- Events that include minors must be registered and approved in AnchorLink at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the event to ensure that compliance obligations, if any, associated with the Protection of Minors Policy are met.
- Student organizations hosting events with minors that require a third party compliance agreement under the protection of minors policy must upload the agreement during the event registration process in AnchorLink. Student organizations hosting events with minors that require parent permission forms with emergency contact information under the Protection of Minors policy must bring the forms to the Special Events Registration Committee meeting.
- Events that include minors must track attendance of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and affiliates through the AnchorLink attendance tracking process.
- Note that events that fall under the Protection of Minors policy are subject to a compliance audit.
Registering a special event requires completion of the following steps:
- A new event must be created in AnchorLink in the appropriated organization’s AnchorLink site.
- Details about the event must be provided during the new event creation process.
- A meeting with the Special Events Registration will be arranged, if necessary.
- Changes in plans, if any, must be made in the AnchorLink event should they occur after the original registration process has been completed, and appropriate offices—including Events at Vanderbilt—notified.
Requests for Exceptions
The responsibility for compliance with the foregoing regulations for events lies with the sponsoring organization. Requests for exceptions should be made at the time of registration through the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee who will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an exception is appropriate.
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Student Domestic, Co-Curricular Travel
Vanderbilt registers and assumes responsibility only for those official overnight or out-of-town trips sponsored and directed by an administrative division of the University (e.g., the Spirit of Gold Marching Band). The University assumes no responsibility for travel for which the University has no oversight, such as sorority and fraternity destination formals, or affiliated ministry service trips. However, such organizations and ministries undertaking such travel must—in advance of the trip—inform their coaches, and are encouraged to provide emergency contact information and a roster of student travelers to the Vanderbilt University Police Department and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience.
Any student who wishes to travel on behalf of, or as a representative of, Vanderbilt University or any registered student organization must receive written authorization in advance from the appropriate dean. (See also the section entitled “Universal Waiver,” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”)
Provisions of the Student International Travel policy apply to students traveling abroad in University programs, including those of a co-curricular nature, or on University business.
Domestic student travel for academic programs is overseen by academic departments and schools. Travel for students participating in varsity athletic events is overseen by the athletics administration. Travel for students participating in Outdoor Recreation programs or Sports Clubs is overseen by the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center.
Students traveling domestically for other co-curricular engagements must comply with the policies and procedures set forth, below. Travel proposals and plans are subject to review by the Dean of Students and/or the Dean’s designee.
Generally, students traveling for co-curricular programs are required to complete Student Travel Forms [60-002-658 (9/11)], and the accompanying Release of Liability form, although there are some exceptions.
Students engaged in co-curricular travel in Davidson or one of the contiguous counties may be excused from completing the form in circumstances where the travel is incidental (e.g., picking up materials from local merchants, or running other errands), or may be required to complete the form only once for recurring activity.
Even in these cases, completion of the Student Travel Forms is required if one or more of the following conditions is relevant:
- Travel involving an overnight stay
- Travel between the hours of 11pm and 6am
- Travel to sites with hazardous materials
- Travel with “destination risk:”
- Disaster zones
- High crime areas
- Programs and experiences addressing populations under stress (the homeless, the incarcerated, or the medically at risk)
- Protest sites and demonstrations
- Remote areas (more than 60 miles from the nearest hospital)
Students using their own vehicles for sanctioned co-curricular travel must have a valid driver’s license, and must complete the University’s driver training. Students using their own vehicles must be insured, and must understand that they themselves are the “primary insurers,” in the event of accidents. A “primary insurer” responds first to any auto insurance claim. Secondary insurers respond only after the primary insurance is exhausted.
Students traveling for co-curricular programs are not excused from class or work associated with class.
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These regulations apply to the sale or distribution of goods and services and the solicitation for, promotion of, and advertising of any item, program, charity, or service.
The following guidelines generally apply:
- Sale and/or promotion are limited to activities permitted under municipal, state, and federal laws, and of those, activities permitted by University policy. Individuals and groups must conform to local licensing laws and University trademark and licensing policies. Authorized sales and/or promotions must not disrupt the normal operation of the University. Vendors, promoters, and advertisers may neither claim, indicate, or imply University support, and must avoid the appearance of University endorsement.
- Tax-exempt property of the University may not be used as the place of business of on- or off-campus groups, businesses, or individuals unaffiliated with the University unless a business activity is associated with a University program, organization, or department and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee or relevant department. Facilities of the campus, including but not limited to residence halls, Alumni Hall, Rand Terrace, Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall, the Student Life Center, the Commons Center, E. Bronson Ingram, and the Kissam Center, may not be used for the sale or promotion of activities that are not related to the University except by arrangement with the appropriate University office and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. If sales are to occur, the business must complete a “Premises License Agreement” in advance, outlining the responsibilities of the business, including the remittance of taxes associated with the contemplated sales. If a non-Vanderbilt business intends to sell food, the sale must also be approved by Campus Dining. The University may not receive any portion of proceeds from sales or collect fees, unless the sales have been approved in advance by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. If sales are approved and the University receives a fee or percentage of sales, the funds received must be deposited into University accounts and be reported to the Department of Finance through standard procedures.
- Sale of newspapers and newsletters must be authorized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration or the Vice Chancellor’s designee. Papers may be sold in vending machines on Rand Terrace and in specified, pre-approved residences.
- Concession arrangements for athletic events and all events at Memorial Gymnasium are made with the athletics department.
- Arrangements for sale of event tickets through the Sarratt Box Office may be made through the Events at Vanderbilt.
- Arrangements for solicitation in Sarratt Center | Rand Hall or on Rand Terrace, by registered organizations or by University departments, are made with the Events at Vanderbilt.
- Businesses may not use a University post office box as a business address, nor may anyone use University space, voice network, or data network for business purposes not authorized by the University.
- Businesses may distribute materials to campus mailboxes via postage-paid, U.S. mail, only.
- Campus student agents for businesses must register with the Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, and may solicit business through advertising in student publications under the purview of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc.
- Door-to-door solicitation or promotion in residences is strictly prohibited. Very rare exceptions to the policy require written authorization of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, for student door-to-door solicitation, promotion, or distribution of literature. Solicitation for insurance and the like may take place in residence halls only with the invitation of a resident student. Campus newspapers and other similar publications may be distributed in the lobbies of residence halls where containers to prevent littering are provided by the registered student organization.
- Sale or solicitation of sale of event tickets by a registered student organization, is permitted to the members of the group and/or to the campus community.
- No approval is required for the operation of dining rooms by fraternities and sororities in their respective chapter houses.
- The sale of tickets for admission to concerts, performances, and the like requires no authorization. However, these activities may not be promoted off campus except when the activity also serves the similar interests of other academic institutions and, therefore, is promoted on other campuses as in the case of films, concerts, and lectures. The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must authorize any advertising or publicity to the general public.
- Registered student organizations may engage in the distribution of items for a suggested donation when the funds raised are for the use of the organization in its regular activities (including philanthropic efforts) and are deposited into the organization’s University account. Organizations undertaking such distribution must comply with University policies regarding the ordering of merchandise and licensing. With the exception of event tickets, organizations are prohibited from offering items for sale in a physical location. Locations for distribution for donation or sale must be arranged through the Events at Vanderbilt office. (See also the section on Event Management in Chapter 6, Alcohol and Other Drugs.)
- The location of the sale(s) must be approved by Events at Vanderbilt.
- Registered student organizations may engage in the sale of items in the online marketplace with approval of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
- The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may regulate times and places of delivery of items to residences, including foodstuffs such as cakes and pizzas, or gifts such as flowers.
- The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must authorize the solicitation for donations by Vanderbilt student organizations, of off-campus agencies, groups, businesses, etc.
- Fundraising events—or “bar nights”—in “limited service restaurants” (bars)—as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102—or at any location where money is collected at the door, or through any other arrangement, with an establishment involving financial transactions that circumvent the University’s accounting system, are prohibited. In addition, co-sponsorships of any sort with—or from—a business or establishment with alcohol sales accounting for more than 50 percent of total business transactions (“bar” as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102) are prohibited.
- Service auctions must comply with the conditions delineated, below.
Student organizations should prepare their budgets to meet their annual needs, and participate in the annual Student Services Fee allocation process. However, there may be times when new organizations form after the process has been concluded, when a new initiative arises, or when an unanticipated opportunity presents itself. Registered student organizations seeking co-sponsorships for programs or events have several options.
The Student Services Fee Contingency Fund provides limited support for new organizations that were not eligible to participate in the annual activity fee allocation process, and for established organizations with new initiatives or unexpected circumstances. The application form is available in the Forms section on the VSG AnchorLink page.
Vanderbilt Student Government also administers co-sponsorship funding, the application for which may also be found in the Forms section of the VSG AnchorLink page. VSG allocates for both general co-sponsorship grants and a “co-sponsorship of the month.”
The Vanderbilt Programming Board administers co-sponsorship funding for program initiatives that align with the missions of the VPB component organizations. The application can be found in the Forms section of the VPB AnchorLink page.
The Office of the Dean of Students has no central funding for co-sponsorships, but a number of its component departments do maintain limited co-sponsorship budgets. Student organization leaders may apply for co-sponsorship funds by completing the application in the Forms section of the Dean of Students AnchorLink page.
Please note that student organizations may not approach offices outside the scope of the Dean of Students, more than one department within the Dean of Students operation, academic departments, or other programs, services, and centers across the University, for financial co-sponsorships. Students who believe that a particular department or office might be interested in its program initiative, or who wish to inquire whether a particular academic department routinely supports a particular organization, should consult either their own coaches within the Dean of Students offices, or (if their coaches work elsewhere), the Office of Student Organizations.
Dues, Ticket Sales, and On-campus Fundraisers
Registered student organizations are entitled to charge dues to their membership. Dues must be deposited in an organization’s University account upon receipt. Registered groups may also charge admission to events, provided that the primary purpose of sales is to raise money for the benefit of the organization, or for the benefit of a charitable group, and not for the benefit of individual members of the organization. In accordance with Tennessee state law, students may not sell tickets for a raffle or lottery. Drawings for door prizes awarded to ticket-holding participants at an event are permitted.
No approval is required for the sale of tickets for admission, or for the distribution of items for suggested donation for fund raising when raised funds are solely for the organization or its charity and are deposited into the organization’s University account. Students must make arrangements with Events at Vanderbilt to reserve a table or room to sell tickets or distribute items.
Students must secure the approval of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee in order to sell or deliver items door-to-door in campus residences.
Organizations wishing to sell event tickets using the Commodore Card must make arrangements with the Sarratt Box Office for TicketWeb setup, and must comply with the requirements for such sales. TicketWeb may be used for ticket sales, only. There is no option for sale of items or collecting donations on the card.
Some registered student organizations might choose to undertake auctions or silent auctions as an element of a fundraising event. In so doing, the sponsoring organization must ensure compliance with applicable statutes and University policy. Tobacco, alcohol, or promotional items for these products may not be used for auctions or any other fundraising activity. The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may prohibit other items at the Dean or designee’s discretion. Such items might include animals, gift cards, or other items from adult entertainment establishments, etc.
Distribution of items for a suggested donation and other promotional activities must be conducted by members of the registered student organization. No organization may sponsor the sale of goods or services to students on behalf of a non-Vanderbilt commercial enterprise, except where the sales activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as orientation, Homecoming, or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
For information regarding other on-campus sources of funding, consult the Student Organizations website.
The auction of services to other students, to faculty, staff, and other members of the Vanderbilt community is permitted within the following limitations:
Only specific services may be offered (e.g., a car wash, the preparation of a meal). The offering of unspecified labor—for either a specific period of time, or an open-ended period—is prohibited
Offering services that require a license (haircuts, manicures, massages, etc.), is prohibited, as is the offering of services that are in violation of the law or University policy, and services that potentially endanger the health, safety, or well-being of students or others.
The “auction” of individuals is prohibited, as is the auction of unspecified services of individuals.
Advertising and promotional materials for service sales and auctions must list the services on offer.
Advertising and promotional materials must provide the name of the organization(s) receiving the funds raised.
The Dean of Students reserves the option of denying approval of, or canceling, events whose arrangements fail to comply with the delineated limitations or which seek to circumvent their purpose.
If an organization has exhausted sources of funding on campus, it may be possible to solicit funds from sources off campus. Funds can be obtained in several ways: through solicitation of parents and alumni, solicitation of area merchants and large corporations, and invitations for co-sponsorship or gifts in kind from businesses.
Guidelines for Soliciting Parents and Alumni
The Office of Annual Giving holds access to limited historical records of registered student organization membership, and may be able to provide a registered student organization with mailing data of the organization's alumni. To obtain the mailing data (usually provided as a set of labels), a group may submit a request to the Office of Student Organizations to determine if there is a list of its organization's alumni. If such a list exists, the registered student organization must complete the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in AnchorLink for review by the Office of Student Organizations and the Office of Annual Giving. If approved, the mailing data will be provided. The Office of Annual Giving requires two week’s notice to process requests, so student organizations should submit requests to the Office of Student Organizations at least four weeks in advance.
Provided mail and email lists are made available by the Office of Annual Giving for one-time use, only. Once the fundraising project is complete, or a list has been held for more than thirty days, the list is out of date and must be discarded. If after thirty days the project has not been completed, a new list must be requested. By statute, the University is required to update alumni, parent, and friend communications preferences (such as mail or email subscription drops), continually. Using an out-of-date list subjects the University to the risk of potential violation of statutes such as the CAN-SPAM Act.
Registered student organizations may obtain authorization to solicit funds from the parents of its membership by submitting the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in AnchorLink. The proposal must include a statement of the purpose of the appeal, a sample of the solicitation mailing, and the proposed date of the appeal. The Office of Student Organizations will forward the proposal to the Office of Annual Giving for review.
Guidelines for Solicitation of Area Merchants and Corporate Sponsors
Area merchants and corporations can contribute to registered student organization endeavors in two ways: by a simple donation of money, items, or merchandise, or by a donation of money, items or merchandise in return for some recognition, an arrangement sometimes known as co-sponsorship.
1. An organization that plans to solicit an area merchant or corporation for a simple donation or gift must complete the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in AnchorLink for review by the Office of Student Organizations and the Office of Gift Processing. If authorization is granted, the organization is limited to soliciting those merchants whose names appear on a list provided by the Office of Annual Giving, and must instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Processing. Organizations will be limited to two requests per academic year.
2. Generally, student groups may acknowledge the assistance or contribution of co-sponsoring merchants or corporations in programs, banners, displays, or event memorabilia (party favors, T-shirts, caps, etc.), and the event website. Sponsorship is the passive listing of the name or logo of a sponsor tastefully displayed on a T-shirt, banner, or event website, or listed among sponsors in a program. (It is not intended to solicit business. It simply acknowledges the support for the team, the event, etc. The Office of the Dean of Students does not endorse advertisements for off-campus businesses, such advertisements being those that are designed to bring more business to the off-campus concern.) Student groups may not permit co-sponsoring merchants or corporations to conduct sales or sales promotion, or distribute free samples in conjunction with any student organization program or event, unless the sales promotion activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as orientation, Homecoming, or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. Co-sponsorships by alcoholic beverage or tobacco brands or distributors, or “limited service restaurants” (bars) as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102, are prohibited.
As is the case with student organization and departmental co-sponsors, groups are strongly advised to develop a written co-sponsorship agreement with external co-sponsors. Written agreements should list time and date of program, the agreed-upon responsibilities of all co-sponsoring parties, and the required signatures of all co-sponsoring parties. Sample agreements can be obtained from the Office of Student Organizations once co-sponsorship plans are approved. The sponsoring organization must instruct co-sponsoring agencies to send contributions to Gift Processing.
Grants and Foundations
Many private and corporate foundations and federal agencies have funds or grants available for organizations seeking funding for educational or service programs. Grant writing requires a great deal of research, but can yield positive results. The Office of Sponsored Research 615-322-2631 is a good resource for additional information.
Soliciting for Charity
Registered student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, may solicit the student body for charitable purposes. The following guidelines apply:
- Net funds remaining after expenses (if any) have been paid must be submitted to the charitable organization on whose behalf they were raised.
- Financial reports of expenses, income, donations, sales, and disbursements must be made available to Office of Student Organizations, and the appropriate student governing body.
- The collection of entry or admission fees for events such as fun runs and walks, fundraising performances or concerts, etc., is allowable, as are drawings for door prizes awarded to individuals present, but entry fees—and cash awards for—events that involve an element of chance such as a raffle, a card tournament, a “rubber duck drop,” or a casino night, are prohibited by both University policy and government statutes.
- Organizations may solicit using Vanderbilt in their names if they comply with these policies.
Students should be aware that although policy does not prohibit them from sending charitable solicitations to faculty and staff, persons on the University payroll may run afoul of University policy should they forward those solicitations to their colleagues.
Violations of these policies will subject the organization and the officers of the organization to corrective action by the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity and the student governing bodies with jurisdiction. The organization may also lose its registration
Requests for exceptions to these guidelines should be made in writing to the Office of the Dean of Students at least two weeks before the solicitation.
The Office of Student Organizations has responsibility for effecting compliance with these policies and prescribing the conduct of those who participate in charitable solicitation. It is the responsibility of the individual student or organization doing the solicitation to comply with these policies and the prescribed conduct. Student organizations soliciting for charitable purposes will be required to comply with state and local laws regulating charitable solicitations.
Vanderbilt University Charitable Giving Policy
As a not-for-profit educational institution, Vanderbilt University seeks and receives the support of the community through its delivery of health care, its athletic programs, its participation in the commercial real estate market, and its status as a corporate citizen, as well as in other ways.
Nashville has a strong tradition of charitable fundraising and a tradition of generous participation in charitable dinners by the corporate community. Although Vanderbilt University raises funds in the Nashville community for its own academic and research programs, it actively participates in this tradition both through in-kind contributions to community services, particularly in those areas that are related to Vanderbilt’s mission, such as education, and on occasion, through financial contributions to fundraising events.
Registered student organizations that wish to engage in charitable giving must complete a Charitable Contribution Form for review and approval. Charitable contributions may only be made to non-profit entities with missions consistent with those of Vanderbilt University. Student Services Fee allocations may not be used for charitable contributions and contributions to GoFundMe or similar personal fundraising accounts are prohibited.
Charitable donations in lieu of sending flowers in memory of the bereaved may be made by the University if the donation does not exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).
All contributions will be made in the name of Vanderbilt University.
Soliciting for Religious Activities
The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life coordinates religious activities. Student religious groups, after being registered by the Office of Student Organizations, will be assisted by the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life in fulfilling their aims insofar as these are consistent with other University policies.
Campus religious groups must be registered, and registered religious groups must have faculty or staff coaches. Representatives of off-campus organizations may be invited onto the campus for specific purposes, but these representatives may not interfere with the self-determination of campus groups. Representatives of religious organizations may visit rooms in campus residences only with the prior invitation of the resident students of those rooms.
Off-campus representatives of religious organizations may meet with groups on campus and assist them in fulfilling their aims (when these are consistent with procedures established in this section of the Student Handbook), only after securing the written authorization of the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life. This authorization may include a letter of introduction to the University provided by the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life and will specify procedures to be followed. The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life will assist in providing meeting places.
Solicitation for religious purposes by on- or off-campus groups or individuals is governed by the same regulations stated in the sections “Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising” and “Student Organization Fundraising.” Specifically, persons are strongly discouraged from approaching individuals whom they do not know in order to recruit them for religious reasons. Note that employees may not engage in religious solicitation in their job settings. Visits to residences by individuals from off campus are to be at the invitation of a particular student, for a particular time, in that student’s room, only, and with the permission of that student’s roommates, if any. For example, persons who are invited to visit in a resident’s room may not recruit on the hall among other students. This policy also prohibits the use of any common spaces in dormitories or campus buildings for recruitment, training, prayer groups, or any other activities unless the group is a registered student organization.
Vanderbilt does not infringe on any individual’s religious freedom. Indeed, the University encourages the free flow of religious ideas as well as lively debate among persons from various religious persuasions. However, Vanderbilt will endeavor to protect students and others in the University community from unauthorized solicitation.
For further information concerning religious solicitation, students may consult the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life.
Soliciting for Employment
Students may note that employment representatives (including current students who may be employed with an organization) who wish to recruit students for any type of job must register with the Vanderbilt Career Center, 220 Student Life Center, 615-322-2750. Arrangements must be cleared in advance and specific procedures must be followed.
Organizations recruiting anywhere on campus must obtain permission from the Center. Recruiting includes the posting of bulletin board notices for jobs, hosting employment-related meetings, or distributing materials on campus. All approved notices must clearly state the organization, product or service involved, and a job description. Notices may not be posted on automobiles, distributed in campus residences, or posted on any other unauthorized space on campus.
Employers who wish to post positions electronically for internships or full-time permanent employment should forward notices to the Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To post part-time jobs or student employment jobs electronically, employers should call Student Employment in the Financial Aid Office at 615-322-3591 or visit the website. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in the prohibition of future recruiting activities by the offending organization.
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Functions or special events which require electronic sound amplification (for musical instruments, stereos, vocal performances, or public address) must be registered with the Special Events Registration Committee and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. Electronic amplification may not be used in the vicinity of classroom buildings, the library, or the hospital. Use of outside amplification at any event or function held in close proximity to campus residences must involve consultation with the Office of Housing and Residential Experience.
Sound amplifiers may not be positioned without authorization in such a way as to provide outside amplification (e.g., inside buildings or on porches).
Due to the capacity of certain automotive speaker systems to disturb the quiet of the campus, use of these systems at sufficient volume to be heard outside of the vehicle is prohibited.
Authorization for late evening concerts or events to be held outside and where campus-wide attendance is expected may be granted for Friday and Saturday nights, with the hours set at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. Individual groups having parties primarily for the benefit of the group may be granted authorization for afternoon or twilight concerts or events, as appropriate. Outdoor amplification equipment may be used with activities such as late afternoon or early evening pep rallies, speak-out programs on Rand Terrace, twilight concerts, and carnivals, etc., so long as they do not interfere with scheduled academic or administrative activities.
Moderate sound amplification for informal listening on decks and patios of Greek chapter houses and campus residences is permitted from 4pm to 8pm on Fridays, and noon to 8pm on Saturdays. The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may issue additional guidelines for activities routinely permitted without specific authorization, such as weekend music playing on Greek row. These guidelines may be revised upon the recommendation of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, Intercultural Greek, or Panhellenic Councils, or other student representative groups, or upon the initiation of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
Sound amplification-whether specifically authorized or informal, inside or outside-may be monitored by University officials, student representative groups, or IFC or Panhellenic representatives. Monitoring may include on-site inspections and the use of a decibel meter.
Local laws prohibit the use of amplification outdoors between the hours of 11pm and 7am if a facility is within fifty feet of a residence except when exempted for a special event or gathering and if a permit is issued by the Metropolitan Nashville Government. At all times, consideration should be given to the neighboring communities as stated in the “Good Neighbor Guidelines.”
Amplification which violates University policy or local ordinances may be discontinued at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, or a representative of the Dean of Students (including officers with the University Police Department, or directors in Housing and Residential Experience).
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Chapter 6: Alcohol and Other Drugs
Alcohol and Other Drug Policies / Event Policies for Graduate and Professional Students and Organizations / Event Policies for Undergraduate Students and Organizations / Events with Alcohol Hosted in Residential Spaces / On Campus Events that Include the Sale of Alcohol / Immunity for Seeking Emergency Treatment / Harm Reduction – BASICS Sanctions / Resources / Health Risks / Warning Signs of Possible Substance Misuse /
Vanderbilt University is deeply concerned about the health and welfare of its students. University policies and regulations in general–and alcohol and other drugs policies in particular–reflect that concern. The purpose of University policies, and the purpose of articulating them in great detail, is to enable students to make informed–and, it is hoped, intelligent–choices, as well as to enable them to understand the consequences of making unhealthy choices. In compliance with the federal Drug-Free Schools and Campuses regulations, Vanderbilt has adopted a policy that includes the expectation that students will comply with federal, state, and local laws, including those relating to alcoholic beverages, narcotics, and other drugs.
The University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, distribution, or facilitation of the distribution of alcohol and other drugs by students, faculty, and staff on its property, or as part of any University-sponsored activity. The prohibition extends to off-campus activities that are officially sponsored by Vanderbilt, its schools, departments, or organizations. In addition, the prohibition extends to off-campus professional or organizational activities, including attendance at conferences, when participation is sponsored by the University, or when the participating student, faculty member, or staff member is representing the University. Finally, the prohibition extends to “private” events off campus where the University may have an interest (e.g., if a student were to provide alcohol to underage students at an off-campus location).
In addition, the improper use of prescription drugs is a serious problem on college campuses. For this reason, it is a violation of University policy for a student to be in possession of, or use, another person’s prescription medication or for a student to distribute medications to one person that have been prescribed for another. Note that in addition to being violations of University policy, these practices are also felonies under federal statutes.
To underscore the seriousness with which it takes the issue of health and welfare of its constituent populations, the University will impose sanctions on students, faculty, and staff–up to and including expulsion or termination of employment, and possible referral for prosecution–for violation of the alcohol and other drugs policy. Conditions of continued employment or enrollment may include the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program and/or active participation in a recovery program.
In addition to the standards of conduct prohibited by law and University policy, students, faculty, and staff are subject to the additional requirements, standards, and procedures promulgated by their respective schools, departments, and organizations. Additional standards of conduct, standards, and procedures may be found elsewhere in The Student Handbook, in the Faculty Manual, and in the Medical Center Alcohol and Drug Use Policy (Policy No. 30-im08), in the Human Resources policy, and any applicable union contract. Students, faculty, and staff may refer to these documents for details.
Alcohol and Other Drug Policies
The following regulations apply to the possession and/or use of alcoholic beverages or other drugs by individual students and their guests, by groups, by University departments, and by organization's members and invited guests, on or off campus:
- The legal drinking age in the state of Tennessee is 21 years old.
- Subject to statutory exceptions available under Tennessee law, alcoholic beverages may not be provided (served, distributed, furnished) to persons under the legal drinking age (21 years old) in the state of Tennessee.
- Possession, use, distribution, or facilitation of distribution of other drugs or drug paraphernalia is prohibited. The term distribution includes "sharing" of any drug and does not require the exchange of money.
- Possession or use of prescription medication prescribed to another person and distribution or facilitation of distribution of a medication prescribed for one person to any other person are also prohibited. The term distribution includes "sharing" of any prescription drug and does not require the exchange of money.
- The use of any false identification or identification belonging to another person to purchase or procure alcohol is prohibited.
- Possession of open containers of beer or other alcoholic beverages, regardless of the type of container, in the lobbies of residences or about the campus, is prohibited, except where expressly permitted by this chapter.
- Because of the danger that drivers under the influence pose to themselves and to others, the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is prohibited.
- Due to the danger that intoxicated persons pose to themselves and to others, as well as to the disruption that intoxication can bring to the living/learning community, intoxication, regardless of age, is prohibited.
- Alcohol may not be served to an individual that one knows or reasonably should know is intoxicated.
- Effecting excessive and/or harmful consumption of alcohol through games, peer pressure, subterfuge, or other activities is prohibited.
- The possession, storage, or use of common or bulk containers of alcoholic beverages such as kegs, pony kegs, coolers, or punch bowls by undergraduates or at any student organization-sponsored event, to which undergraduates have been invited, or at which they are present,is prohibited.
- The use of pure grain alcohol is prohibited.
- The use of devices, such as funnels, vaporizers, and beer bongs, designed for the rapid consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
- Drinking games and games of chance, contests, or other activities that induce, encourage, or result in the consumption of alcohol are prohibited.
- Alcohol may not be used as an award or trophy for any event or program of the University or by any University organization, group, or individual.
- Liquor and wine are prohibited in all areas of Greek facilities.
- The only places on campus where students (who must be of legal drinking age) may routinely possess and consume alcoholic beverages are as follows:
- the rooms and apartments of students in upper division residences (with the exception of substance-free floors and buildings and Recovery Housing rooms),
- designated Greek facilities (with the exception of liquor and wine), and
- The Overcup Oak (beverages sold on the premises, only).
- Use of undergraduate student organization funds to purchase alcohol is prohibited.
- The presence of alcohol at all undergraduate student organization recruitment events is prohibited.
- Student organizations, groups, individuals, students, faculty, and staff may not serve alcoholic beverages to undergraduate students, except by special authorization from the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee.
- Notices, posters, flyers, banners, social media posts, email invitations, etc., may not use logos or trademarks of alcoholic beverages, or mention or refer to alcoholic beverages or their availability at an event.
- The sale of alcoholic beverages on campus, including the sale of tickets that can be traded for alcoholic beverages or the sale of tickets for entry into an event where alcohol is distributed at no additional cost, is prohibited with the exception of occasions for which the Special Event Registration Committee has approved the engagement of a licensed vendor. (See "Events that Include the Sale of Alcohol.")
- Fundraising events - or "bar nights" in "limited service restaurants" (bars) - as defined by Tennessee statute TCE 57-4-102 - or at any location where money is collected at the door, or through any other arrangement, with an establishment involving financial transactions that circumvent the University's accounting system, are prohibited. In addition, co-sponsorships of any sort with - or from - a business or establishment with alcohol sales accounting for more than 50 percent of total business transactions ("bar" as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102) are prohibited.
- Events of religious organizations or affiliated ministries, which employ exceptions to state law regarding the age requirement for consumption of alcohol, must be registered with the Office of the Dean of Students. Such events must comply with all event management policies, except to the extent that compliance conflicts with an excepted religious practice.
- All events at which alcoholic beverages will be consumed must be appropriately registered according to the regulations set forth in this chapter. (See also “Reservations and Event Registration” in Chapter 5, “Student Engagement.”)
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Event Policies for Graduate and Professional Students and Organizations
Graduate and professional students and organizations must register events (on or off campus) at which alcohol will be present with the office of the relevant school’s dean and in AnchorLink at least three weeks in advance of the event and arrangements must be approved by the Special Events Registration Committee, where applicable. The stipulations of event management below may be superseded by additional requirements of the facilities when an event occurs at a location other than the relevant school.
If an undergraduate student organization cosponsors an event with a graduate or professional student organization, or if undergraduates are invited or present at an event, the policies governing undergraduate events must be followed for everyone in attendance. In addition, graduate or professional student organizations and their officers are subject to corrective action through the University’s student accountability process if there are violations of the underage drinking law or University policies and regulations at their events.
On Campus Events
Graduate and professional students or student organizations may register an event with alcohol on campus as one of the following depending on the policies of the facility:
- An event at which alcohol will be present on a "bring-your-own" or B.Y.O.B. basis. Event attendees who have reached the legal drinking age in the state of Tennessee (21 years old) may possess and consume alcoholic beverages at events registered and approved as B.Y.O.B. The beverages at B.Y.O.B. events hosted by graduate or professional student organizations are limited to beer and wine; students and guests are prohibited from bringing liquor. The recommended quantity of authorized beverage for each event attendee over the legal drinking age is not more that three (3) standard drink units (which is twelve  ounces for beer and five  ounces for wine), with a maximum limit of six (6) standard drink units. No other alcohol is permitted at the event. If the event does not involve a third-party licensed bartender, event attendees over the legal drinking age who bring their own alcohol must keep the alcohol on their person during the entire event and may not distribute alcohol to others. Glass bottles are prohibited except at those registered events where attendees are required to check their alcoholic beverages with a third-party licensed bartender responsible for distribution throughout the event. On such occasions, the beverage must be transferred to a non-breakable paper or plastic cup for consumption. "B.Y.O.B.," as shorthand for "Bring Your Own Beverage," may be used on postings, etc., for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process. Policies of the student centers prohibit B.Y.O.B. events, with the exception of events held at the Community Event Space.
- An event at which alcohol will be provided by the graduate or professional organization and served by student hosts. The beverages at these events hosted by graduate and professional student organizations are limited to beer and wine; liquor is prohibited. The recommended quantity of authorized beverage is not more that three (3) standard drink units (which is twelve  ounces for beer and five  ounces for wine), with a maximum limit of six (6) standard drink units. Hosts and servers must not have consumed alcohol or other drugs prior to or during the event or their shift as a server. The practice of "self-serve" is prohibited.
- An event at which liquor will be present. Liquor may only be present and served at an event hosted by graduate or professional student organizations when a third-party licensed bartender is engaged to distribute all alcohol. The expectation is that the quantity of provided beverage will be three (3) standard drink units, which is 1.5 ounces of eighty (80) proof liquor.
Off Campus Events
In keeping with the University's policy prohibiting student organizations from make contractual commitments (whether formal, understood, or implied), student organizations may not hold events at off-campus locations without the express approval of the appropriate coach and the completion of appropriate contractual documents (where applicable) approved by the relevant dean's office of the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee. For authorized off-campus events, third-party (and where applicable, licensed) vendors must be engaged for all serviced (i.e., security, identification checks, distribution of alcohol, etc.).
Event Management for Events with Alcohol
The following event management policies apply to all graduate and professional student and student organization events with alcohol at which no undergraduate students will be invited or present:
- There must be designated primary host and at least on secondary host for every event. Hosts are responsible for implementing and enforcing all event management policies. Additional secondary hosts should be designated depending on the the size and scope of the event.
- On an annual basis, hosts of events with alcohol or any student that will serve alcohol at an event much complete "Host Responsibility Training" through the Center for Student Wellbeing, at least three weeks prior to the first event of the year.
- Nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided during the entire period that alcoholic beverages are available. Students organizing the event are responsible for providing both nonalcoholic beverages and food.
- Security must be provided at all events at which alcohol will be consumed. Security arrangements for an event must be reviewed and approved by the Special Events Registration Committee, where applicable, in advance of the event. Student hosts may serve as security depending on the size and scope of the event.
- Identification must be checked at all events where alcohol is present, either through security, student hosts, or third-party licensed bartenders.
- Alcohol bust be kept in a regulate or secured space or area during all events where it is present, except at on campus events designated as B.Y.O.B. during which attendees must keep their alcohol with them at all times.
- The number of attendees admitted to an event must not exceed the capacity of the designated space.
- Individual student hosts or officers of an organization hosting an event are responsible for ensuring compliance with University policies and state and local law. If non-compliant, individual hosts, organizations and/or officers are subject to corrective action through the University's accountability process, and to prosecution by the state of Tennessee, and/or the Metropolitan Government of Nashville/Davidson County.
- All events where alcohol is present should have signage reminding attendees that identification will be checked and only attendees over 21 years of age are permitted to consume alcohol.
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Event Policies for Undergraduate Students and Organizations
If an undergraduate student or student organization hosts an event, if an undergraduate student cosponsors an event with a graduate or professional student organization, or if undergraduates are invited or present at an event, and alcohol will be present at the event, the following policies apply for everyone in attendance. Events (on campus or off) at which alcohol will be available must be registered in AnchorLink at least three weeks in advance of the event and arrangements must be approved by the Special Events Registration Committee, where applicable. Fraternity and sorority events occurring on campus must be registered in AnchorLink with the office of Greek Life, and must comply with the alcohol policies of the pertinent Greek governing body as well as the University. Student organizations and their officers are subject to corrective action through the University's student accountability process if there are violations of the underage drinking law or University policies and regulations at the events. Exceptions to the below event management policies may be made at the discretion of the Dean of Students, or the Dean's designee, for campus-wide events such as Rites of Spring, Commodore Quake, and tailgates.
On Campus Events
Sponsoring parties of events at which undergraduates will be in attendance or invited may register an event with alcohol on campus as one of the following depending on the policies of the facility:
- An event at which alcohol will be present on a "bring-your-own" or B.Y.O.B. basis. Undergraduate students who have reached the legal drinking age in the state of Tennessee (21 years old) may possess and consume alcoholic beverages at events registered and approved as B.Y.O.B. The beverage at B.Y.O.B. events (during which undergraduate students are present or invited) is limited to "beer," only, as defined by the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 57, Chapter 5 (i.e., beer, ale, or other malt beverages, including hard seltzers, having an alcohol content of not more than eight percent [8%] by weight), students and guests are prohibited from bringing liquor, wine, or any other alcoholic beverages to such events. The recommended quantity of authorized beverage for each event attendee over the legal drinking age is not more than three standard drink units (which is twelve  ounces for beer), with a maximum limit of six (6) standard drink units. No other alcohol is permitted at the event. Glass bottles are prohibited. All alcohol must be checked with a third-party licensed bartender responsible for the distribution of the beverages throughout the event . A tracking system must be established to ensure alcohol is only distributed to those guests that are of the legal drinking age and checked-in alcohol with the bartender. "B.Y.O.B.", as shorthand for "Bring Your Own Beverage," may be used on postings, etc., for events that have been registered as B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process. Policies of the student centers prohibit B.Y.O.B. events, with the exception of events held at the Community Event Space.
- With the authorization of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, they may arrange for licensed vendors to sell alcohol.
Off Campus Events
In keeping with the University's policy prohibiting student organizations from making contractual commitments (whether formal, understood, or implied), student organizations may not hold events at off-campus locations without the express approval of the appropriate coach and the completion of appropriate contractual documents approved by the Dean of Students of the Dean's designee. A number of registered student organizations with oversight from their national organizations have secured exceptions from the Dean of Students to this approval process. For authorized off-campus events, third-party (and, where applicable, licensed) vendors must be engaged for all services (i.e., security, identification checks, distribution of alcohol, etc,).
Event Management for Events with Alcohol
The following event management policies apply to all events with alcohol at which undergraduate students will be invited or present:
- On an annual basis, organizers of events at which alcohol will be available must complete Host Responsibility Training, through the Center for Student Wellbeing, at least three weeks prior to its first event of the year.
- Identification must be checked at all events where alcohol is present, through third-party security or third-party licensed bartenders.
- In order to be admitted to an on-campus event, attendees must present their Vanderbilt ID for verification and swipe their own cards with the AnchorLink scanners. Any guests that are not Vanderbilt students are required to show an official form of identification and their name will be recorded alongside the Vanderbilt student with whom they are a guest.
- The number of attendees in attendance at an event must not exceed the capacity limits of the designated space.
- All alcohol must be distributed from one location.
- Open containers of alcoholic beverages should not be permitted to leave the event.
- Security must be provided at all events at which alcohol will be consumed. Security arrangements for an event must be reviewed and approved by the Special Events Registration Committee in advance of the event, where applicable.
- There must only be one entrance to an event. All members and guests must go through the designated entrance to be signed into the party.
- Nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided during the entire period that alcoholic beverages are available. Students organizing the event are responsible for providing nonalcoholic beverages and food.
- All events where alcohol is present should have signage reminding attendees that identification will be checked and only attendees over 21 years of age are permitted to consume alcohol.
- Sober monitors must be stationed throughout the event to ensure event management procedures are followed. The number of monitors is to be determined based on the size of the event and the space in which the event is held.
- Individual student hosts or officers of an organization hosting an event are responsible for ensuring compliance with University policies and state and local law. If non-compliant, individual hosts, organizations and/or officers are subject to corrective action through the University's accountability process, ant to prosecution by the state of Tennessee, and/or the Metropolitan Government of Nashville/Davidson County.
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Events with Alcohol Hosted in Residential Spaces
Individuals hosting a gathering in their assigned residential space must register the gathering when the number of people at the event will exceed the number of occupants of the apartment/suite plus ten (10), regardless of whether alcohol is present. The registration form is located on each residential community's individual AnchorLink page and must be submitted no later than 24 hours prior to the proposed event, or by 12pm on Friday (for weekend gatherings). (See the "Party Registration" section of Chapter 4.) Additionally, the following event management policies apply to any gathering at which alcohol will be present:
- A majority of the students assigned to the residence hall space must be of legal age to drink alcoholic beverages in order for alcohol to be present at an event in a residential space.
- On an annual basis, hosts of events at which alcohol will be available must complete Host Responsibility Training through the Center for Student Wellbeing at least three weeks prior to its first event of the year.
- Alcohol must be present on a "bring-your-own" or B.Y.O.B. basis, and hosts are not permitted to serve alcohol to guests.
- Identification must be checked by student hosts for those who bring alcohol to the event.
- Alcohol must be kept inside the apartment/suite with doors shut.
- Gatherings must be by invite only. Hosts are required to turn away interested persons who are not invited.
- No events are permitted to take place in residential spaces during quiet hours. (See "Quiet Hours" in Chapter 4, "Residential Life.")
- Nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided during the entire period that alcoholic beverages are available. Students organizing the event are responsible for providing both nonalcoholic beverages and food.
- Residents of the host apartment/suite are responsible for ensuring compliance with University policies and state and local law. If non-compliant, all residents of the host apartment/suite are subject to corrective action through the University's accountability process, and to prosecution by the state of Tennessee, and/or the Metropolitan Government of Nashville/Davidson County.
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On Campus Events that Include Sale of Alcohol
The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on campus with the exception of occasions for which the Special Events Registration Committee has approved the engagement of a licensed vendor. This prohibition includes the sale of tickets that can be traded for alcoholic beverages, or the sale of tickets or t-shirts required for entry into an event where alcohol is distributed at no additional cost, or any scheme masking the distribution of alcohol. If an event has been approved by the Special Events Registration Committee to include the sale of alcoholic beverages, arrangements must be made for a third-party vendor to sell alcohol. Staff of the student centers will assist student organizers of events in obtaining third-party vendors. The arrangements with the vendor must be reviewed by the Special Events Registration Committee and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee. Only the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee may sign a contract with a vendor for the sale of alcohol. Student organizations or other events sponsors are prohibited from obtaining alcohol for resale by the vendor and are prohibited from receiving proceeds from the sale of alcohol.
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Immunity for Seeking Emergency Treatment
It is in the best interest of students’ welfare that persons who overdose or become intoxicated be brought to the attention of medical personnel. For that reason, it is University policy that a student seeking medical attention for intoxication or overdose may be eligible for immunity for the use or underage possession of alcohol or other drugs and the resulting overdose or intoxication, provided that the sole reason the student’s intoxication or overdose was discovered by University officials was through the seeking of medical care by the affected student or by another student (excluding a student who serves as a resident adviser or is serving in another official role on behalf of the University at the time of the incident).
Immunity for alcohol violations extends to individuals seeking help for the intoxicated student. Students granted immunity will be required to complete a course of evaluation, counseling and, where indicated, treatment. Failure to complete the prescribed course and/or treatment can result in the revocation of immunity.
Seeking emergency treatment for one who has overdosed or become intoxicated does not relieve a group or organization of responsibility for a violation of policy, such as providing alcohol to an underage person resulting in the intoxication for which emergency treatment is sought. However, the fact that an organization sought help for an intoxicated student will be considered favorably in determining any sanction for policy violations.
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Harm Reduction – BASICS
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) is a process administered by the Center for Student Wellbeing for providing helpful information to students about their use of alcohol and other drugs. Following a “harm-reduction” approach, the program seeks to motivate students to reduce the risk of adverse consequences from use of alcohol and other drugs.
If there is substantial risk of further substance-related or mental health concerns, a referral is made to the University Counseling Center.
The campus resource for students or campus professionals who want to learn more about talking to students about alcohol and other drugs is the Center for Student Wellbeing 615-322-0480.
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The purpose of any sanction and accompanying accountability action plan for a violation of University policy is to educate and prompt reflection on the part of the student or student organization, effect voluntary compliance with the policy, and ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community.
Vanderbilt University will impose sanctions on students or student organizations (see also “Sanctions” in Chapter 3, “Student Accountability”), and may also make referral for state or federal prosecution, for violation of its alcohol and other drugs policy. With the exception of expulsion, sanctions may be accompanied by an accountability action plan. As is the case with violations of other University policies, sanctions imposed will be appropriate to the severity and circumstances of the violation. The student or organization’s previous record, honesty and cooperation, and the seriousness of the offense will be taken into account in the determination of sanction.
University Sanctions for Students
The minimum sanction for simple purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol in violation of University policy is an educational conference for the first offense. The completion of an appropriate assessment will also be required.
The presumptive sanction for first-offense intoxication is disciplinary probation. Standard indicators of drinking to the level of intoxication may include lack of balance, loss of coordination, confusion, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, odor of intoxicant, etc.
The minimum sanction for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is disciplinary probation and may include loss of campus driving and parking privileges.
Unlawful provision, distribution, or sale of alcohol by a student in violation of University policy will result in serious disciplinary action, which may include suspension or expulsion for the first offense, and may also result in criminal prosecution. The presumptive sanction for a student who illegally distributes alcohol to an underage student will be disciplinary probation for the first offense. Persons who unlawfully furnish alcoholic beverages to students who are not of legal drinking age may also be held responsible for personal injuries or property damages resulting from misconduct committed by underage, intoxicated students.
Distribution or facilitation of distribution of illegal drugs (including unlawful distribution of prescription medication) may result in suspension or expulsion for a first offense; unlawful distribution includes incidents in which no money is exchanged. In addition, the possession of controlled substances or other drugs in such quantities as to create a presumption of possession with the intent to distribute on or off campus is a serious violation that may result in immediate suspension or expulsion. Evidence that a student has distributed drugs is grounds for interim suspension from the University and/or expulsion from University housing pending the findings of accountability proceedings. Students found to have distributed drugs to others may also be held responsible for personal injuries or property damages resulting from misconduct committed by the students under the influence of the distributed substances.
The presumptive sanction for a third violation of alcohol or other drugs policies is suspension.
Violations involving behavior that injures persons, that damages property, or that injures or damages the community at-large, will increase the presumptive strength of the sanction given.
In addition, sanctions will be imposed for misconduct that results from the use of alcoholic beverages or other drugs. Students will also be held responsible for any damages that result from their misconduct. These sanctions will be imposed consistent with standards and procedures found in Chapter 3, “Student Accountability.”
University Sanctions for Organizations
The minimum sanction for a violation of event registration or management policies by a student organization is an educational conference for the first offense.
The presumptive sanction for student organizations that provide alcohol to those not of legal drinking age, whether through direct purchase or other group activities, is probation, during which time the organization will not be permitted to host or participate in any events, on or off campus, where alcohol is present.
Student organizations that unlawfully furnish alcoholic beverages to students who are not of legal drinking age, may also be held responsible for personal injuries or property damages resulting from misconduct committed by underage, intoxicated students.
In addition, sanctions will be imposed for misconduct that results from the provision or use of alcoholic beverages or other drugs. Student organizations will also be held responsible for any damages that result from their misconduct. These sanctions will be imposed consistent with standards and procedures found in Chapter 3, “Student Accountability.”
Accountability Action Plans
With the exception of expulsion, sanctions may be accompanied by an accountability action plan to help students and organizations understand the potential consequences of policy violations and improve decision-making.
Accountability action plans for violations of alcohol and other drugs policies can range from assessment to individualized treatment plans, and may include one or more of the following components:
- Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT),
- Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test (CUDIT),
- evaluation through BASICS at the Center for Student Wellbeing, or extensive clinical assessment at the University Counseling Center,
- participation in an individualized treatment plan at the University Counseling Center to address substance use and/or co-occurring mental health disorders when indicated by the results of the evaluation,
- required attendance at alcohol or other drug education seminars,
- implementation of an alcohol or other drug educational program for peers,
- completion of educational programs or on-line tutorials,
- drug testing,
- research or reflection essays,
- restitution, or
- letters of apology.
State of Tennessee Sanctions
[This document contains a summary of state and federal sanctions for the unlawful use of controlled substances and alcohol. Portions of the summary were provided by the federal government, and while the summary is a good faith effort to provide information, Vanderbilt does not guarantee its accuracy.] Under state law, it is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one (21) to buy, possess, transport (unless in the course of their employment and over the age of 18), or consume alcoholic beverages, including wine or beer. It is also unlawful for any adult to buy alcoholic beverages for or furnish them for any purpose to anyone under twenty-one years of age. These offenses are classified as Class A Misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for not more than eleven months and twenty-nine days, or a fine of not more than $2,500, or both. (T.C.A. §§ 1-3-113, 39-15-404, 40-35-111, 57-5-301.) The offense of public intoxication is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by 11 hours of community service, possible revocation of driver’s license, imprisonment of not more than thirty days or a fine of not more than $50, or both. (T.C.A. § 39-17-310.) Under Tennessee law, the offense of possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance (such as marijuana) is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by eleven months twenty-nine days of imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,500). A third and subsequent offense of possession of 1/2 ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment and a $3,000 fine. If there is an exchange from a person over twenty-one years of age to a person under twenty-one, and the older person is at least two years older than the younger person, and the older person knows that the younger person is under twenty-one years of age, then the offense is classified as a felony. Possession of more than 1/2 ounce of marijuana under circumstances where intent to resell may be implicit is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for the first offense. (T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, 39-17-418; 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq.)
State penalties for possession of substantial quantities of a controlled substance or for manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance range from fifteen to sixty years of imprisonment and a $500,000 fine. (Title 39, T.C.A., Chapter 17.) For example, possession of more than twenty-six grams of cocaine is punishable by eight to thirty years of imprisonment and a $200,000 fine for the first offense.
The state may, under certain circumstances, impound a vehicle used to transport or conceal controlled substances.
United States Penalties and Sanctions for Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance
21 U.S.C. 844(a)
First conviction: Up to one year imprisonment and fine of at least $1,000.
After one prior drug conviction: At least fifteen days in prison, not to exceed two years, and fine of at least $2,500.
After two or more prior drug convictions: At least ninety days in prison, not to exceed three years, and fine of at least $5,000.
21 U.S.C. §§ 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7)
Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one year imprisonment.
21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(4)
Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft, or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance. [An automobile may be impounded in cases involving any controlled substance in any amount.]
21 U.S.C. § 844a
Any individual who knowingly possesses a controlled substance in a personal use amount shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each such violation.
21 U.S.C. § 862
Denial of federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts, and professional and commercial licenses, up to one year for first offense, up to five years for second and subsequent offenses.
18 U.S.C. 922(g)
Ineligibility to receive or purchase a firearm or ammunition.
Revocation of certain federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, are vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies. Violations of federal trafficking laws that involve either (1) distribution or possession of controlled substances at or near a school or University campus, or (2) distribution of controlled substances to persons under twenty-one (21) years of age, incur doubled penalties under federal law. (See chart: Federal Trafficking Penalties.)
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As an educational institution, Vanderbilt University is primarily concerned with helping the individual student achieve academic goals and develop as a person. When health problems do arise, the University may assist and guide a student whose mental or physical health is threatened. Because of the health hazards associated with binge drinking and other forms of alcohol misuse, students who choose to drink alcohol should imbibe only in moderation. Should students or their friends have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, there are several places on campus where they can receive assistance:
- The Resident Adviser (RA), Head Resident, or Residential Experience professional is available to listen to students with such problems and make an appropriate referral if necessary.
- The Office of Student Care Coordination can provide information and assist in connecting students with appropriate resources or treatment providers.
- The Center for Student Wellbeing can provide information, assessments, resources, and referrals. Additionally, Vanderbilt Recovery Support offers student-led, anonymous, and discreet weekly support meetings.
- The University Counseling Center has a team of alcohol and other drug specialists available for assessment, specialized counseling, and treatment.
- The Student Health Center has professionals who can assist in treating medical complications and in identifying appropriate resources.
- Students may wish to talk to someone in the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life.
- The Vanderbilt Institute for Treatment of Addiction (VITA) offers specialized treatment programs.
These campus and community resources are available and ready to assist. Calls will be handled with respect for privacy.
- Your Assistant Director and Area Coordinator
- Your Academic Dean
- Your own physician/psychiatrist/psychologist
- Office of Student Care Coordination 615-343-9355
- Center for Student Wellbeing 615-322-0480
- Vanderbilt Recovery Support 615-343-4740
- Student Health Center 615-322-2427
- University Counseling Center 615-322-2571
- Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life 615-322-2457
- Office of Housing and Residential Experience 615-322-2591
- International Student and Scholar Services 615-322-2753
- Emergency Room (VUH) 615-322-0160
- Vanderbilt Behavioral Health 615-320-7770
- AA (call Friendship House, 202 23rd Avenue North, telephone 615-327-3909, for meeting times)
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A general concern for all substances that alter self control or level of awareness is the risk of exposure to physical risks such as sexually transmitted infections, sexual assault, and dangerous decision making such as choosing to drive while under the influence. (See also definitions and clarifications in Chapter 7, "Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.") Perpetrators of sexual assault may use alcohol and other drugs to incapacitate their victims, intentionally.
Effects of High-Risk/Binge Drinking
Acute: High-risk or binge drinking can result in frequent colds, reduced resistance to infection, and increased risk of pneumonia; aggressive, irrational or violent behavior, depression, and anxiety. The Center for Disease Control lists unintentional injury as the number one cause of death for individuals ages 15-24; impaired sensation leading to falls and driving under the influence are two contributing factors. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. It is important to recognize that individuals absorb alcohol at different rates leading to variable ranges of alcohol content in the body. Low to moderate levels of alcohol may also increase the incidence of impulsive actions potentially contributing to negative social and academic consequences. Moderate to high levels of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to problem solve, to process information and to remember information. Very high levels cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system such as benzodiazepines, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
Chronic: Genetic predisposition, beginning use early in life, mental illness, trauma, and repeated long-term use of alcohol can lead to addiction. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can cause changes in mood and behavior, an inability to think clearly and move with coordination, temperature dysregulation, blackouts, sleep interference, loss of memory, and in extreme cases decreased brain volume. Additional potential long-term effects of high-risk drinking include cancer of the throat, mouth, and breast; liver damage, and stroke.
Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may have abnormalities such as deficits in impulse control, and impaired concentrating, affecting academic performance, and be at risk for irreversible physical abnormalities and mental retardation. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other youngsters of becoming alcoholics.
Effects of Other Drugs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse website features a page on the health effects of a number of drugs. To assist the public in keeping current on drug related issues, the NIDA website also features a page on emerging drugs.
Illegal (Non-prescribed) Drugs:
Marijuana: Marijuana can produce an altered sense of reality, poor coordination of movement, lowered reaction time, and study difficulties due to the reduced ability to learn and retain information. Individuals can also experience panic attacks, anxiety, hallucinations, and psychosis.
Synthetic Cannabinoids: Chemically related to THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, these drugs may cause the individuals who use them to experience high blood pressure, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, seizure, paranoia, and violent behavior.
Cocaine (stimulant): Cocaine, crack, and related forms are highly addictive stimulant drugs. Short-term effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, seizure, and coma. In combination with alcohol there is an increased risk of overdose and sudden death.
Amphetamines (stimulants): Amphetamines, and their new derivatives “crystal,” “ice,” and Ecstasy (among other “street” names), are used for stimulation. These compounds are very addictive and may produce psychotic and violent behaviors.
- MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly): These synthetic psychoactive drugs can cause long-lasting confusion, depression, and a sharp rise in body temperature leading to liver, kidney, or heart failure and death.
- Bath salts (Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, or Bliss): These synthetic powder products contain various amphetamine-like chemicals. Many side effects have been reported varying from agitation, high blood pressure, increased pulse, chest pain, to hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, to psychotic and violent behavior.
LSD and PCP (hallucinogens): These chemicals create a distortion of an individual’s ability to recognize reality. Use can cause delusions, paranoia, and at high levels, suicidal thoughts along with psychosis in some individuals. The long-term effects of PCP use include memory loss and depression. The negative effects of both PCP and LSD may continue after the drug is out of the system.
Heroin (narcotics): These are among some of the most addictive substances known. They produce a high or euphoria. Withdrawal can produce cramping, severe muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and runny nose, sweating and cold sweats, and severe insomnia. Overdose is common and can result in death. Use of a shared needle can increase the risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases.
Medications and prescribed drugs are safe when used as prescribed for clinical conditions. However, many prescribed drugs have the potential for misuse when used recreationally. Those listed below are some of the most frequently misused, and can lead to dependence. When misused, these drugs can be dangerous.
- Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, etc. are stimulants and controlled by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). These drugs are often prescribed for students who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The risk from misuse of these drugs ranges from lack of sleep, high body temperature and irregular heartbeat to anger and hallucinations (psychosis) with severely disorganized thinking. For individuals abusing these stimulants, abrupt withdrawal may lead to significant mood changes including depression with a risk of self-harm.
- Codeine, Hydrocodone (Lortab and Vicodin), and Oxycodone (Percocet and OxyContin) are medications that are prescribed for severe pain. Use can cause drowsiness, nausea, confusion, addiction, and in overdose, may cause slowed breathing and death.
- Xanax, Valium, and other benzodiazepine drugs are not recommended for ongoing management of anxiety. Use of all benzodiazepine compounds can lead to psychological and physiological dependence. Symptoms associated with withdrawal from these drugs can include seizures. In combination with alcohol, both heart rate and breathing may slow to a degree that can lead to death.
How can you help prevent prescription drug misuse?
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medication, especially if you are unsure about its effects.
- Keep your doctor informed about all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications.
- Read the information your pharmacist provides before starting to take medications.
- Take your medication(s) as prescribed, and do not combine with alcohol or other drugs.
- Keep all prescription medications secured at all times and properly dispose of any unused medications.
- Do not share your medications with others, or consume medications prescribed for others.
If you have concerns or questions regarding the use and/or abuse of these prescription medications or others, ask for professional advice.
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Warning Signs of Possible Substance Misuse
- Withdrawal from others
- Loss of pleasure in everyday activities
- Change in personal appearance (increasingly unkempt or sloppy)
- Change in friends
- Easily discouraged; defeatist attitude
- Low frustration tolerance (outbursts)
- Unpredictable behavior and/or destructive behavior
- Terse replies to questions or conversation
- Sad or forlorn expression
- Poor classroom attendance
- Decline in academic performance
- Apathy or loss of interest
- Change in sleep pattern ranging from excessive sleep to inability to sleep
- Frequent excuses for absences from planned activities
- Change in weight or eating behavior.
When such signs appear in friends,
- Express your concern and caring using "I" statements
- Be ready to listen
- Communicate your desire to help
- Make concrete suggestions as to where the student can find help or how the student might cope with a given problem
- Try to get the student to seek professional help
- Ask for assistance from campus resources
- Be persistent
- Understand that the definition of friendship includes making difficult decisions that may anger your friends
- Take the situation lightly or as a joke
- Be offended if the student tries to avoid you
- Take “I don’t have a problem” as an answer
- Try to handle the student alone-ask for assistance
- Lecture about right and wrong
- Promote feelings of guilt about grades or anything else
- Gossip: speak of it only to those who can help
- Excuse behavior because “everybody does it”
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Chapter 7: Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence
Vanderbilt University's updated Sexual Misconduct and related policies, which detail the new Title IX process, effective August 14, 2020, are available on the Title IX Office website and below.
A copy of the 2019-2020 Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence Policy is available in the Student Handbook archives and below.
Chapter 8: Student Discrimination
Vanderbilt University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments 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 Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, covered veterans status, 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.
Scope of Policy
This policy sets forth the specific types of conduct that are prohibited, as well as the resources and support services available to Vanderbilt community members who have been affected by conduct prohibited under this policy. Vanderbilt encourages everyone affected by discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation as defined in this policy, and everyone who suspects or witnesses such conduct, to report it and to seek help and support from available resources. Note that sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct are addressed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.” The University will take prompt and effective action to address allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation and to resolve reports in a timely and fair manner.
This policy outlines the procedures that apply to allegations of prohibited conduct involving discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation involving students, as defined in the Jurisdiction section of Chapter 3 of the Student Handbook. It is applicable to all students in the Vanderbilt community, including student organizations, with respect to conduct that occurs on campus and conduct that occurs off campus, including conduct in connection with University programs or activities or that otherwise interferes with or limits the ability of a member of the community to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities from the University’s programs or activities, regardless of whether the complainant is an affiliate of the University. This policy applies to all reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation made on or after the effective date of this policy. If the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation occurred before the effective date of this policy, applicable definitions of misconduct in University policies in existence at the time of the report will be used to the extent they conflict with definitions of terms in this policy.
The Equal Opportunity and Access Office (EOA) receives, directly or indirectly, all reports of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation involving students that are not made to a confidential resource (see below). With the exceptions set forth in this policy, reports of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation received by EOA will be addressed by EOA based on the information available. If a faculty or staff member or a postdoctoral fellow/trainee is a party to the investigation, EOA will investigate the matter in accordance with University policies and procedures. In circumstances of alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation by a University employee, EOA will respond in accordance with staff or faculty policies and procedures. Matters in which a staff or faculty member reports alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation by a student fall under this policy and procedure. EOA will coordinate with the Title IX Office regarding allegations of prohibited conduct that fall under both this policy and the Sexual Misconduct Policy and will work with the Title IX Coordinator to determine, on a case by case basis, how the offices will address the allegations.
Questions about the policy and its applicability to any alleged conduct may be directed to Vanderbilt’s Director of Equal Opportunity and Access.
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Offenses and Definitions
The following conduct is prohibited:
- Discrimination refers to the disparate treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s membership in one or more protected classes, as outlined in the University’s nondiscrimination policy, including race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, covered veterans status, or genetic information. This policy also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that any person is a member of any of the foregoing protected classes or is associated with a person who has, or is perceived as having, membership in one or more of those protected classes. In determining whether discrimination occurred, EOA examines whether there was an adverse impact on the individual’s work or education environment and whether individuals outside of the protected class received more favorable treatment. If there was an adverse impact on the individual’s work or education environment, EOA considers whether there is a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the action.
- Harassment is unwelcome conduct directed against a person based on membership in one or more protected classes, as outlined in the University’s nondiscrimination policy, which is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits an individual’s education, living conditions, or participation in University programs or activities. Sexual harassment is addressed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence.”
- Retaliation is any adverse action threatened or taken, whether directly or through a third party, against another person because they have complained about, reported, or participated in the investigation or disposition of alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. Retaliation in an effort to discourage a person from reporting or participating in a University process is also prohibited. The University will take appropriate action to address reports of retaliation by persons over which it has jurisdiction.
For purposes of this policy, the following terms and definitions will be used throughout:
- Report is any complaint or information provided to EOA alleging an incident of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.
- Complainant is generally the person who is reported to have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation; if the complainant is a student organization, a representative from the organization will be designated to represent the organization in the investigation process.
- Respondent is the person against whom allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation have been made; if the respondent is a student organization, a representative from the organization will be designated to represent the organization in the investigation process.
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Reporting an Incident
A student who believes that a member of the Vanderbilt community has engaged in prohibited discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation may file a report with EOA. The University encourages community members to report violations of this policy as soon as possible after an incident, but violations may be reported at any time. If EOA determines, based upon the nature of the allegations, that a report should be addressed by another department, EOA will direct the person submitting the report to the appropriate department and refer the matter to that department.
Requests for information, inquiries, or reports of possible violations of this policy should be directed to:
Everyone is encouraged to report discrimination, harassment, and retaliation even if some or all relevant information is unavailable. When making a report, it is helpful to provide as much of the following information as possible: what happened, where, and when; names of all parties involved, including witnesses who were present and/or have relevant knowledge; supporting documentation (such as videos, emails, photos, text messages, or messages through social media); any other information; and contact information.
If the offense is criminal in nature, persons may choose to file a report with Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) or Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD).
Vanderbilt University Police Department
111 28th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
Emergency – 911 or 615-42(1-1911)
Metro Nashville Police Department Headquarters
200 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37201
Emergency – 911
Vanderbilt encourages its students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows/trainees to report crimes to law enforcement. Civil or criminal proceedings are separate and distinct from the process described in this policy and may or may not run parallel with this process. The University may be required by law to provide information to civil or criminal authorities or in civil or criminal proceedings. The filing of a police report or the pendency of civil or criminal proceedings does not preclude EOA or any other department of Vanderbilt University from proceeding with its investigation and determination.The University’s investigation and determination may be delayed until law enforcement officials have finished gathering evidence but generally will not be held until the conclusion of any criminal proceeding.
EOA will provide non-identifying information to VUPD for crime statistics reporting in accordance with the requirements of the Clery Act. The information reported may result in the issuance of a timely warning or security notice to the community, but the warning will not include any information that identifies the person(s) reported to have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.
The University provides several resources for anonymous reporting for persons who do not wish to be identified. Submitting a report anonymously may limit EOA’s ability to investigate and/or take remedial actions, particularly for remedial actions involving a respondent. Anonymous reports may be submitted through the Online Reporting Form. Students may also report anonymously to the Community Standards hotline at 615-343-7867. In addition, Vanderbilt has established a hotline for anonymous reporting through the Vanderbilt University Compliance Reporting Hotline, an independently-operated compliance hotline that may be used to report incidents of possible wrongdoing on campus. The Compliance Reporting Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, at (844) 814-5935, or via the Make a Report tab on the EthicsPoint site.
Vanderbilt encourages third parties to report incidents of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation to EOA, VUPD, or MNPD. Third parties may also report incidents through the anonymous reporting resources identified above. The University may not be able to move forward based on a third-party report if the complainant does not wish to cooperate with an investigation. After providing a report, third parties are not entitled to information about the University’s investigation, including any outcome, due to privacy concerns and applicable federal and state laws.
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Determining if an Investigation Will Proceed
Upon receiving a report of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, EOA will reach out to the complainant and offer to schedule a meeting. EOA will determine whether the alleged conduct, as reported, could constitute a violation of the policy. The University will address all reports of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, to the extent practicable under the circumstances, including instances for which there is not an identified complainant. If EOA determines the alleged conduct, as reported, could constitute a violation of this policy, the office will notify the complainant(s) and the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity (Student Accountability) will notify any respondents, in writing, that EOA will proceed with an investigation. If a party chooses not to cooperate with an investigation, EOA may move forward based on the available information.
If EOA determines the alleged conduct, as reported, could not constitute a violation of the policy, it will notify the complainant(s) of its determination not to open an investigation. Regardless of whether an investigation is opened, the University may take action to mitigate the effects of conduct that is inconsistent with the University’s values related to matters of discrimination and harassment and to prevent its recurrence. Such actions may include, depending on all of the relevant facts and circumstances, increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the alleged conduct occurred; providing training and education for students and employees; and revising and publicizing the University’s policies on discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.
The Director of EOA or designee has the discretion to administratively close an investigation prior to a determination. In making the determination to administratively close an investigation, the Director or designee will consider relevant factors, including, but not limited to, whether the allegations lack sufficient detail, whether the complainant has declined to participate in an investigation, and the effect of closing the investigation on the safety of the University community and the University’s commitment to provide a non-discriminatory environment. The Director or designee may also determine to re-open an investigation based on a consideration of relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the time period that has elapsed since the investigation was closed and fairness to both parties.
Notice of Investigation
Following a determination by EOA to open an investigation with a student respondent, EOA will provide a summary of the allegations, either orally or in writing, to the Director of Student Accountability or a designee (collectively, Student Accountability). Student Accountability may request any additional relevant information obtained by EOA. Student Accountability will present to each respondent a written notice of investigation that outlines the potential violations of the policy and the range of possible sanctions. A notice of investigation may be modified at any point during the investigation based on information acquired during the investigation. Student Accountability will send a copy of the notice of investigation to EOA. EOA may contact the respondent for the purposes of obtaining or sharing information prior to the presentation of the notice of investigation. For faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellow/trainee respondents, EOA will issue the notice of investigation to the respondent(s).
EOA will promptly notify the complainant of the issuance of the notice of investigation to the respondent.
The Investigative Process
After EOA has conducted an informational meeting with a complainant or respondent, that person will have the opportunity to be interviewed by the assigned investigator, typically at a separate time. During the informational meeting, an EOA staff member will explain the role of EOA, the options for reporting an incident, investigation and appeals procedures under this policy, and the available resources for assistance, including supportive measures that may be appropriate. Both the complainant and, in the event of an investigation, any respondent will have the opportunity to have informational meetings with EOA and to be accompanied by an adviser. Advisers must be Vanderbilt students, faculty members, or staff of the person’s own choosing, to whom the person is not related, and who has not had formal legal training (except for Vanderbilt University Law School students).
The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to provide information regarding the allegations and offer names of witnesses or other people with relevant information. EOA will also seek to interview any other individuals who, in the investigators’ judgment, may have information pertinent to the investigation. Investigators will collect from the complainant, respondent, witnesses, and third parties information that may be relevant. Student witnesses are strongly encouraged to cooperate with EOA investigations. As the investigation progresses, investigators may conduct follow-up interviews with any person necessary. If the complainant or the respondent learns of, or remembers, any additional information during the course of the investigation, he/she/they should notify the EOA investigator promptly.
Individuals are encouraged to exercise discretion in sharing information to safeguard the integrity of the process and to avoid the appearance of retaliation. While discretion regarding the process is important, complainants and respondents are not restricted from discussing and sharing information with others who may support or assist them during the process.
EOA will provide complainants and respondents a summary of their own interview for their review and approval. The parties will have three (3) business days to review and offer corrections to the summary. If comments are not submitted within three (3) business days, the investigators will proceed with the summary as drafted.
Prior to making a final determination, EOA will provide the respondent the opportunity to review the evidence that may be used to determine whether the respondent’s conduct violated the policy. EOA may redact non-party names and sensitive information from the evidence. The respondent may view the redacted information by scheduling an appointment with EOA. The respondent may submit written comments on the evidence. Any such comments are limited to no more than ten (10) double-spaced pages with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font and must be submitted either by hand delivery to EOA, 2100 West End Avenue, Suite 750, or by email attachment to EOA investigators by no later than 5pm on the tenth (10th) calendar day following the date the respondent receives the evidence. Requests for extensions must be submitted to EOA prior to the expiration of the ten-day period.
EOA will consider any comments received from the respondent after reviewing the evidence and will conduct any further investigation it considers necessary or appropriate. After the conclusion of any additional investigation, EOA will issue any additional evidence to the respondent for review. The respondent will have an opportunity to submit a written response limited to the information added following the additional investigation.
EOA may investigate and make findings of fact regarding possible violations of other University policies (i.e., policies outlined in the Student Handbook, HR policies, and Faculty Manual) by the parties to the investigation when those violations are integral to the alleged violations of this policy. The relevant information and findings will then be shared with Student Accountability or the appropriate department or school for further action. If the conduct complained of involves a possible violation of another University policy that EOA determines is not integral to a violation of this policy, EOA will refer the report to the department or school responsible for investigating and/or resolving such reports. If EOA receives information about a possible violation of University policy by a non-party, EOA will refer the report to the department responsible for investigating and/or resolving such reports. If the report does not allege conduct that violates any University policy, the matter will be closed.
Interviews conducted as part of an investigation under this policy may be recorded by the University. Recordings not authorized by the University are prohibited.
Evidence Not Considered
The Director or designee will decide in each case whether to receive evidence from experts or other witnesses. Under no circumstances, however, will polygraph evidence be considered. Evidence concerning the character of a party will not be considered.
Standard of Proof
Vanderbilt uses the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof to determine responsibility for violations of this policy. Proof meets the preponderance standard if EOA determines it is “more likely than not” that a respondent violated the policy.
Following the conclusion of the investigation and the respondent’s opportunity to respond to the information gathered, EOA will review all information and responses and will issue a final report that sets forth (a) EOA’s determination, along with its rationale for reaching the determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether the respondent engaged in discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, as described in the notice of investigation, in violation of this policy, and (b) if appropriate, any relevant recommendations. The final report will contain a summary of the evidence on which the final determination and any remedial or other recommendations are based and will address, to the extent EOA considers appropriate, any comments received from the respondent concerning the evidence. The comments from the respondent will also be attached to the final report. EOA may redact non-party names and sensitive information from the final report. The respondent may view the redacted information by scheduling an appointment at EOA. Information about a determination and/or recommendation can be shared with appropriate offices (e.g., Director of Student Accountability, Dean of the appropriate School, appropriate supervisor/manager and Human Resources consultant, etc.) for sanctioning, referrals, and appropriate follow up. EOA will also forward a summary of any evidence it received concerning possible violations of other policies to the office or department responsible for enforcement of such policies, as appropriate. EOA will provide its final report to the respondent and a determination notice to the complainant.
Where the respondent is a student and EOA has determined that the respondent violated this policy, Student Accountability will review EOA’s final report and will render an appropriate sanction. If, upon reviewing the materials, Student Accountability requires clarification or additional information from EOA before rendering a sanction, Student Accountability may request such clarification or additional information from EOA. The sanctioning determination will be made based on the information contained in the EOA investigative report, with particular regard for the nature of the incident, the respondent’s reported cooperation and candor, and the respondent’s disciplinary history (if any).
Student Accountability will notify respondents, in writing, of the sanction imposed following the issuance of the final report. Detailed information regarding sanctioning may be found in Chapter 3 of the Student Handbook.
Preservation of Investigative Materials
Materials obtained by EOA during the investigation will be maintained by EOA for at least seven (7) years from the date of closure of the matter, except in cases of suspension of expulsion in which the materials may be kept indefinitely.
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Respondents may appeal the determination of EOA and/or the sanction rendered by Student Accountability within ten (10) calendar days of the date they are formally notified of the sanction. Detailed information may be found in the Appeals and the Appellate Review Board section of the Student Handbook.
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Resources and Support
Any member of the Vanderbilt community who has experienced or been affected by discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation may seek immediate and ongoing assistance from one or more of the resources outlined below.
Support for Vanderbilt Students
- Vanderbilt University Counseling Center: 615-322-2571 (CONFIDENTIAL)
- Vanderbilt Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life: 615-322-2457 (CONFIDENTIAL)
- Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: 615-343-2644
- Office of Inclusive Excellence: 615-343-3697
- Office of the Dean of Students: 615-322-6400
- Office of Housing and Residential Experience: 615-322-2591
- Office of Student Care Coordination: 615-343-9355
- Center for Student Wellbeing: 615-322-0480
- Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center: 615-322-4843
- Office of LGBTQI Life: 615-322-3330
- Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center: 615-322-2524
- Student Center for Social Justice and Identity: 615-322-5089
- Student Access Services: 615-343-9727
- Vanderbilt University Police Department: 615-322-2745
Emergency: 911 or 615-421-1911
- Metro Nashville Police Department: 615-862-8600
Medical Service Providers (CONFIDENTIAL)
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center Emergency Services: 615-322-0160
- Student Health Center: 615-322-2427
NOTE: Confidential resources do not report any information about an incident to EOA without the permission of the person consulting them.Under state or federal law, confidential resources may have other reporting obligations. For example, healthcare providers and certain other individuals are required to notify law enforcement when someone seeks treatment for injuries caused by a violent crime. Similarly, all persons are required to notify law enforcement or the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) when they receive a report of abuse of a minor. Anyone who reports information about an incident to a confidential resource may later decide to make a report to a non-confidential resource, such as EOA or law enforcement.
Vanderbilt may facilitate reasonable supportive and protective measures on its own initiative or in response to a request from a complainant or respondent. Supportive measures are not punitive and are intended to provide support and relief to the parties involved in or affected by discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. Implementation of supportive measures, however, may affect one or more involved individuals. Such measures will remain in effect as long as necessary, depending on the relevant facts and circumstances.
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