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.
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 the 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.
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 online (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, Student Affairs; Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity; Housing and Residential Experience; Equal Opportunity and Access; Title IX; Student Access; Risk and Insurance Management; General Counsel, and Communications and Marketing, taking into account ideas and suggestions from students, student organizations, faculty, staff, and University committees.
The University may establish and operate under guidelines and protocols to manage public health and other emergencies, including COVID-19. 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 protect the University community. In some circumstances, these guidelines and protocols may supersede provisions in the Student Handbook.
Chapter 1: University Policies and Regulations
Address and Name Change / Aerial Devices, “Unmanned” (Drones) / Alcohol: See Chapter 6 / Assistance Animals / Assumption of Risk and Release of Claims / Athletics, Student / Communications, Official University / Complaint and Grievance Procedures / Computer Privileges and Responsibilities / Conduct: See Chapter 3 / Copyright Infringement / Dining / Discrimination: See Chapter 8 / Fees, Student Services & Student Health / Financial Aid, Student / Financial Responsibility / Hoverboards & Urban Mobility Devices / Identification Card / Mail Services / Missing Student Notification Policy / Name and Logos / Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation / Police Department, Vanderbilt University / Political Activity / Protection of Minors / Recreation and Wellness Center, David Williams II / 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 / 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 / Transportation and Parking / University Calendar / Vanderbilt Visions
When communities come together for a purpose, they generally establish guidelines and procedures for furthering that purpose. The policies and regulations, articulated below, have been developed over time to serve the Vanderbilt community as it pursues its academic endeavors of teaching and learning. Some of the policies, such as the residential requirement, have been established to strengthen and complement the educational experience. Others, such as fees and dining plans, have been established to provide financial viability to programs and services that students desire or require. Still others, such as those dealing with addresses, enable effective communication. A number delineate procedures for students to follow when addressing issues.
Taken in their entirety, they may seem a bit overwhelming. However, they have served well both the institution and individual students. Trying to function without them would prove very challenging, if not chaotic.
Address and Name Change
Students are required to inform either the 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 information 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 seek approval from the Dean of Students or Dean's designee.
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Alcohol: See Chapter 6
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Vanderbilt University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADA) in allowing use of Service Animals for students. Vanderbilt University also 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 and Housing and Residential Experience. Emotional Support Animals are not permitted in University residences prior to approval from Student Access 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 Housing and Residential Experience proof of the animal's current vaccination, a current photo, 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 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 as an Emotional Support Animal, Student Access will notify the Handler and Housing and Residential Experience of the approval. A representative from Housing and Residential Experience will contact the Handler to obtain necessary documentation, including, but not limited to, current vaccination records, a current photo, 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 must be current with immunizations and wear a rabies vaccination tag.
- any costs resulting from the actions of the Service Animal, including but not limited to, bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury includes physical damage or injury to a person’s body and illness, even if minor or temporary. Property damage includes damage to University property (e.g., furniture, carpeting, windows, wall coverings) and damage to the personal property of others. The Handler must pay for all costs relating to property damage at the time of repair or replacement and/or move-out, as determined by Housing and Residential Experience.
- the cost of any cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning, as determined by Housing and Residential Experience. The Handler is responsible for covering all costs of any necessary fumigation or treatment method used by the University pest control service to remove fleas, ticks, or other unwanted pests present as a result of the Service 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. Emotional Support Animals are only permitted on campus where other animals are allowed. 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 must 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.
- any costs resulting from the actions of the Emotional Support Animal, including but not limited to, bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury includes physical damage or injury to a person’s body and illness, even if minor or temporary. Property damage includes damage to University property (e.g., furniture, carpeting, windows, wall coverings) and damage to the personal property of others. The Handler must pay for all costs relating to property damage at the time of repair or replacement and/or move-out, as determined by Housing and Residential Experience.
- the cost of any cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning, as determined by Housing and Residential Experience. The Handler is responsible for covering all costs of any necessary fumigation or treatment method used by the University pest control service to remove fleas, ticks, or other unwanted pests present as a result of the Emotional Support Animal.
- notifying Student Access and 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 Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity (Student Accountability). The Handler will rectify the situation and correct the behavior.
Second Complaint: Student Accountability, Student Access, and 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.
Consistent with Tennessee law, service animals in training are welcome in public areas of campus if accompanied by a dog guide trainer. Service animals in training cannot be in residence halls or other private areas of campus, unless they are being trained by their Handler to serve as the Handler’s own service animal.
Under Tennessee law, it is a criminal offense to engage in misrepresentation of a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal, such as providing documentation that falsely states an animal is a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-304).
For more information on service animals and emotional support animals, please contact Student Access at 615-343-9727 or email@example.com.
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Assumption of Risk and Release of Claims
Vanderbilt University offers students opportunities to participate in both academic and co-curricular programs and activities. In exchange, and by enrolling in Vanderbilt University, students agree to assume the risk of participating in elective programs and activities. Students also agree to release Vanderbilt University and its officers, trustees, faculty, administrators, employees, representatives, and volunteers from any liability or claims of liability for negligence resulting in personal injury or property damage in connection with that participation. This assumption of risk and release of claims also applies to any travel to and from those programs and activities and to participation in registered student organizations.
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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 2021/2022 academic year, approximately 350 student-athletes competed in varsity athletics at Vanderbilt. Further information regarding Vanderbilt Athletics can be found on their website or by calling 615-322-6085.
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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;
- Treatment plans, decisions, and recommendations related to medical care, mental health and wellbeing, and care coordination by, for example, the University Counseling Center, 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;
- Allegations of discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation based on a protected status under the Student Discrimination Policy;
- Allegations of violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and related retaliation, as well as student concerns regarding supportive 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 Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration. 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 an 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 the Vanderbilt University Distance Education Complaint and Grievance Procedures webpage.
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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Computer Privileges and Responsibilities
See also the "Student Computing Policy" in the Enrollment Bulletin.
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Conduct: See Chapter 3
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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 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 students who are granted access to the University’s IT systems, including computer centers or campus-wide internet services, are expected to ensure appropriate use of those systems. 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.
Vanderbilt maintains a music license with several major performing rights organizations granting Vanderbilt the right to publicly perform (live or mechanically) nondramatic musical compositions in the organizations' repertories. Maintenance of these licenses requires, on a quarterly basis, that Vanderbilt furnish 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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Dining is an integral component of campus life, and sits at the heart of Vanderbilt’s undergraduate residential experience; as such, all students residing in University housing are required to participate in a meal plan based on cohort year. 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 any of the meal plans offered to on-campus students and Flex Meal bundles. 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 and the Student Health Fee, which are set by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and billed through the Office of Student Accounts. These fees are mandatory and cannot be removed or waived. The summer Student Services Fee and Student Health Fee are determined during the spring semester and posted accordingly to the Office of Student Accounts website where the fall and spring Student Services Fee and Student Health Fee are 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
- Experience Vanderbilt
- Graduate Student Council
- Greek Life
- Office of Immersion Resources
- Student Affairs
- David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center
- Student Centers
- Student Center for Social Justice and Identity
- Student Organizations, Leadership, and Service
- Tutoring Services
- Vanderbilt Student Communications
- Office of Undergraduate Education
- 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.
The Student Health Fee provides financial support for the Student Care Network, the holistic network of services and resources pertaining to health and wellness available to Vanderbilt University students, and the Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. The primary offices of the Student Care Network include:
- Student Care Coordination
- Student Health Center
- University Counseling Center
- Center for Student Wellbeing
Students also have access to a wide range of additional on-campus and community resources, including telehealth services, through the Student Care Network.
The Student Health Fee may be allocated to support:
- Staffing expansions across offices
- Satellite services and targeted outreach for schools and identity centers
- Educational and programmatic initiatives
- Specialized care options
- Elimination of routine fees at offices
- Faculty and staff partnership programs
- Peer support programs
- Technology and student portal upgrades
- Physical space upgrades
- Financial and transportation assistance
- Telehealth services
- Virtual offerings
This list is merely intended to be representative of the type of staffing, services, and programs that may be funded through the Student Health Fee. Allocations are designated each academic year to best meet the needs of the University in serving and supporting students at that time.
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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 2022 is August 31; for spring 2023, 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) and Commodore Cash 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 or mobile credential 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 or falsifying credentials is prohibited. Damaged cards should be replaced (for a fee) at Vanderbilt Card Services. Students may choose to provision their Commodore Card in a mobile wallet on Apple and Android devices. Undergraduate students may have one active contactless credential at any time (Apple iPhone plus Apple Watch are considered one). Abuse of the mobile credential may result in the student being withdrawn from the program and issued with a plastic contactless card.
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 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 residence halls, academic buildings, libraries, athletic events and the David Williams II 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, 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, online, or in the GET app. 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 credential. Cardholders may not lend their cards or mobile devices to anyone or ask anyone to purchase items for them with their credentials. Violation of this policy may result in the disabling of credentials 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 Student Accounts.
The University has deployed for voluntary use by University community members biometric identification systems to increase security and control access to certain campus facilities and to facilitate meal plan/debit transactions linked to the Commodore Card. If a student chooses to make use of this technology, the student will need to affirmatively consent to such use and provide “Biometric Identifiers” potentially including a fingerprint, or hand or face geometry scan at a collection reader. The technology will use this “Biometric Information” to create a key based on a series of data points across the student’s face or fingerprint and securely store this key on Vanderbilt servers only for use with the biometric identification system. The University recognizes the sensitivity of Biometric Information and takes seriously its obligations to maintain the confidentiality and protect the security of Biometric Information.
The University will permanently destroy an individual’s Biometric Information retained by Vanderbilt within six (6) months of when the initial purpose for collecting or obtaining such Biometric Information has been satisfied, such as: a. The student graduates or otherwise leaves the University; b. The student affirmatively revokes consent to use the Biometric Identifiers; or c. The University no longer uses the Biometric Information. In certain circumstances, the University may need to keep a single back-up copy of the data for audit and compliance purposes beyond the six (6) month retention schedule.
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, or libraries.
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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 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 48 hours, and if unclaimed returned to the sender or discarded 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.
If it is believed a student has been missing for at least 24 hours, the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) or staff in Housing and Residential Experience should be contacted immediately. All potential missing student reports will be referred to VUPD or local law enforcement for investigation.
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 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, including those in graduate and professional schools.
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 as part of the missing person investigation. 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. More information about the appropriate use of Vanderbilt University trademarks by students and student organizations can be found in the Communication and Promotion section of Chapter 5, Student Engagement.
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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 Housing and Residential Experience in consultation with Vanderbilt Student Government.
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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
Additional information about VUPD services and programs is available on the VUPD website and in the VU Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
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 legal 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 the use of Vanderbilt facilities and resources, on behalf of or in opposition to a political candidate. If, however, 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 states or implies that Vanderbilt is endorsing or opposing particular candidates, political parties, or organizations. Although every member of the academic community has a right to participate in the election process (or not to participate, as the member sees fit), no student may speak or act in Vanderbilt’s name in connection with any person’s political campaign for office.
Registered student organizations permitted to make use of the University’s name or trademarks must not state or imply University endorsement of–or opposition to–candidates. Using the University's name, trademarks, facilities, or resources to support or oppose candidates for public office is strictly 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 are prohibited from using the University’s communications systems, computer facilities, or mail system to support or advance any political their campaign.
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 to the event must be provided to all candidates without discrimination as to viewpoint or party affiliation. Students or student groups wishing the University to invite speakers who are candidates must 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 must ensure either that they do not state or imply 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. In Tennessee, every adult is a mandatory reporter for suspicion of child abuse. 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 and other University resources for youth protection 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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Recreation and Wellness Center, David Williams II
Vanderbilt’s David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center is a fully functioning facility for Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff. The facility features a 289,000-square-foot layout that houses three multi-use courts for basketball, volleyball, badminton, and student programming and University events; three racquetball and two squash courts; one mat court and one table tennis court; five group fitness classrooms; more than 14,000 square feet of weight and fitness room space; a bouldering wall; seven multipurpose rooms. The exterior surroundings include more than three acres of field space, including one natural grass fields and one turf field.
The David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center offers a variety of programs to students, including club sport teams, intramural sports, group fitness, outdoor adventure trips, and wellness classes, such as food education workshops.
For additional information, please visit vu.edu/vandyrec.
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Refunds of Tuition and Residence Hall Charges
University policy for the refund of tuition 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 Center for Spiritual 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 Center for Spiritual 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 Center for Spiritual 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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Sexual Misconduct: See Chapter 7
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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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Solicitation: See Chapter 5
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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 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 via the Commodore Access Portal. Once Student Access 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. 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 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 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.
Directory information should be kept current. Students may report address changes, emergency contact information, and “missing person” contact information 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 Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration. 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.
- 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, copiers and printers, vending machines, and other locations that allow payment with a Commodore Card.
For Married Couples:
The student and 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 Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration within 60 calendar days, and the non-student spouse must return the Commodore Card issued to him/her/them to the Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration (Sarratt 310).
For International Student Same-Sex Domestic Partners
- The international student and his/her/their same-sex domestic partner visit the Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration office (Sarratt 310), 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 University 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 Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration within 60 calendar days, and the non-student spouse/partner must return the Commodore Card issued to him/her/them to the Dean of Students/Student Affairs Administration (Sarratt 310).
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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Absences & Coursework Adjustments – Dean’s Notification
A Dean’s Notification is provided to faculty when a student (1) has a serious illness, injury, or medical treatment or (2) is involved in a personal matter necessitating supportive measures to restore or preserve access to the University’s educational programs and activities and (3) either situation is not reasonably likely to resolve immediately. An appropriate University official working directly with the student—including, but not limited to, staff from Student Care Coordination (SCC), the University Counseling Center (UCC), the Student Health Center (SHC), Residential Experience, Project Safe, and the Title IX Office—must make the determination that the situation qualifies for a Dean’s Notification. Upon making that determination, the official will notify SCC or the Title IX Office, as appropriate, to coordinate with the student’s academic dean to formally request that instructors adjust coursework or absence policies. Alternatively, academic deans will apply the same analysis when a student directly approaches them with a request and may consult with SCC. It is the instructor’s prerogative to determine what, if any, adjustments are appropriate.
Dean’s Notifications are not reasonable accommodations as issued by Student Access, nor should they be used in lieu of a leave of absence. Dean’s Notifications generally expire no later than two weeks after notice is sent by the academic dean to instructors. Adjustments needing more than two weeks should be evaluated by the appropriate University official to determine if accommodations or a leave of absence is more appropriate. Supportive measures issued by the Title IX Office may be extended beyond the initial two-week period on a case-by-case basis.
Absences & Coursework Adjustments – Minor Illnesses & Routine Appointments
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 (SCC, UCC, SHC, and Center for Student Wellbeing (CSW)) 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 student may use in discussion with their instructors regarding absences and/or missed work to demonstrate that they sought care for a 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.
For more serious illnesses or medical emergencies resulting in absences or missed coursework, refer to the Dean’s Notification section.
Hospitalizations & Medical Emergencies – Notice to University
The University requires students to promptly meet with SCC when a student is (1) discharged after being transported to a hospital for emergency evaluation, (2) discharged after being admitted (voluntarily or involuntarily) to a hospital for inpatient care, or (3) otherwise experiences a medical emergency in which there is reason to believe that the student's medical or behavioral needs require a level of support that cannot be reasonably provided while living in campus residence or participating in an academic program without follow-up treatment or discharge instructions. Failure to meet with the SCC after notice of the required meeting will result in referral to either a Welfare Panel or Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity.
Hospitalizations & Medical Emergencies – Emergency Contact Notification
Vanderbilt may notify a student’s emergency contact of an emergency situation when it determines in its discretion that such a notification serves the interests of protecting the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
Emergency contact notification may be appropriate when, for example, a student is (a) admitted to the hospital, (b) leaves the hospital against medical advice, or (c) leaves the hospital without being evaluated after being referred by the University for threat to self, threat to others, or other comparable medical emergency.
Emergency contact information may be provided and updated in YES.
Student Wellbeing Interventions
Students who engage in conduct that endangers the health and safety of themselves or others or who otherwise are unable to function as a student may, among other things, be expected to participate and make satisfactory progress in a program of medical/psychological evaluation and/or treatment as a condition of continued enrollment.
The Student Care Network endeavors to assist students who are at risk for self-harm or harming others. However, the University, in its discretion, may require the immediate withdrawal of a student when, following an individualized assessment, the University determines the student poses a direct threat to themselves or others. Students who withdraw—voluntarily or involuntarily—under these circumstances, will be to reenroll following a finding by the University that the condition(s) for reenrollment have been met.
The University maintains two primary means of institutional review for assessment and implementation of this intervention process: the CARE Team and the Welfare Panel.
Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team
The Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team is a multidisciplinary team of campus professionals (faculty and staff) dedicated to a proactive and collaborative approach for the prevention, identification, assessment, and management of challenges impacting students’ academic and personal success. The purpose of the CARE Team is to facilitate purposeful information sharing regarding students of concern and where a thorough or extensive collaborative support strategy may be needed. Students are discussed in CARE Team meetings with the intent of creating appropriate and individualized support plans for each student. The CARE Team meets regularly during the academic year. More information about assisting students of concern and submitting a student of concern report can be found on the SCC webpage.
Welfare Panel and Intervention Plans
A Welfare Panel will be convened by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students or Designee (Dean), when the Dean, through an individualized assessment, determines (1) a student is unable to function as a student and/or (2) a student's continued presence on campus poses a serious threat to the safety of any person or property.
A Welfare Panel is comprised of individuals who would allow for an individualized assessment of the situation and the student. The composition of the Welfare Panel in any individual case is set by the Dean and typically consists of the Dean, the Assistant Dean for Community Standards and Student Support, the Director of the Student Care Network and Student Care Coordination, the Director of the Center for Student Wellbeing, 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/or other specifically-designated, relevant personnel as may be needed. The Welfare Panel may consult with the Office of the General Counsel.
II. Welfare Panel Determination
After a Welfare Panel has been convened, the Welfare Panel may make additional requests for information, which can include, but are not limited to, requesting the student be assessed by the UCC or another health provider. Using well-reasoned judgment and taking into account the individual circumstances, the Welfare Panel will enact an individualized assessment and plan (Intervention Plan) that addresses whether a student (1) may remain enrolled without conditions, (2) may remain enrolled with conditions that are to be described in writing, or (3) should or must take a leave.
In making a decision about the contents of an Intervention Plan, the Welfare Panel will consider applicable information. When appropriate, the student may be asked to sign a health records release to authorize direct communication between and among the Welfare Panel and the student’s health provider(s). If a student declines to provide requested information and/or authorizations, the Welfare Panel will make their determination after considering the available information.
III. Notice of and Response to Intervention Plan
When the Welfare Panel has determined the expectations for the Intervention Plan, the Dean will provide prompt notice to the student in writing and attempt to meet with the student to outline the Welfare Panel’s expectations.
If the student agrees to the Intervention Plan, the process is concluded and SCC will monitor compliance.
If the student disagrees with the Intervention Plan, the student will have three (3) calendar days to propose an alternative plan, which must be supported and endorsed by a licensed medical professional unaffiliated with Vanderbilt University (Note: Vanderbilt University Medical Center providers will be considered unaffiliated for purposes of this policy). The student may request an extension in writing within the three-day window with proof of an appointment with a medical professional, which the Dean will review to determine if the extension is appropriate.
If the student timely submits an alternative plan supported and endorsed by a licensed medical professional unaffiliated with Vanderbilt University, the Welfare Panel will weigh the additional information before finalizing its Intervention Plan. If no alternative plan is submitted, the original Intervention Plan will be considered agreeable, the process is concluded, and SCC will monitor compliance. The Welfare Panel has final discretion on the Intervention Plan and may, in its discretion, reject any and all portions of an alternative plan supported and endorsed by a licensed medical professional unaffiliated with Vanderbilt University.
IV. Medical Leaves of Absence as Part of Intervention Plan
If a medical leave of absence (leave) is indicated by the Intervention Plan, the student will typically be given the opportunity to take the leave voluntarily. If the student declines to take a voluntary leave, the Welfare Panel, in its discretion, has the authority to place the student on an immediate involuntary leave. When a student takes a voluntary or involuntary leave under this policy, the Welfare Panel will determine any conditions for resumption of studies on an individualized basis and communicate this information to the student in writing.
If a student disagrees with an Intervention Plan that recommends a leave, the student may be placed on an emergency interim leave, in the University’s discretion, while a final determination is made by the Welfare Panel, as described above. The emergency interim leave will remain in effect until the Welfare Panel has made a final decision on the Intervention Plan or determined the reasons for imposing the emergency interim leave no longer exist.
If a student begins a voluntary or involuntary leave after an academic semester has begun, the student’s registration will be canceled. The student’s tuition will be refunded as provided in the Tuition Refund Schedule. A student on a voluntary or involuntary leave may not register for classes until the student’s return from leave is approved by the Welfare Panel through Student Care Coordination. A student’s transcript does not denote a leave of any type (voluntary or involuntary).
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 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 David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center to the Project Safe Center - and a variety of community providers. To facilitate finding resources, students may refer to the Student Care Network website, or contact Student Care Coordination.
Students who pay the Student Health Fee and are active students are eligible for services from the Student Care Network. These services are available throughout the year. During peak periods (start of fall and spring semester and exam times) as well as for specialized services (ADHD assessment, alcohol and other drug assessment, etc.), students may experience a wait. During summer months, times between appointments may be extended.
Students located physically in the state of Tennessee may use UCC for therapy and psychiatry and SHC for primary care. Students outside of Tennessee may be referred to local or telehealth resources. Students, regardless of location, may utilize the services of SCC and CSW.
Active students are considered students enrolled in the preceding semester who have not indicated anything to suggest they will not enroll in the upcoming semester. The Student Care Network reserves the right to determine time, place, and location of services.
Student Care Coordination
Student Care Coordination (SCC) 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.
Information about scheduling an appointment with the SCC is available on the SCC webpage.
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 SCC 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 (SHC) 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. SHC also has a lab, can perform some office-based tests, and can send samples to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center laboratory as needed.
SHC 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 on the SHC's 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 SHC and Equal Opportunity and Access or the Student Access. Instructions for providing waiver request documentation can be found on the immunizations requirements website.
The University encourages all students to have COVID vaccinations and boosters. However, it is not required for the general student body. Students in healthcare fields (School of Medicine, for example) may be required to meet Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) vaccination requirement in order to participate in VUMC activities.
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 SHC immunization portal. The form also collects important health history information that enables SHC staff to better serve individual student needs.
There are no office-visit co-pays for routine visits, but students may incur small charges for some medications that are dispensed. There are also small co-pays associated with some office procedures or specialty visits (such as colposcopy). Most supplies, medications or in-house lab tests are free of charge. If charges are incurred, credit cards and the Commodore Card may be used for payment at SHC. Cash is not accepted as a form of payment.
Any lab tests not performed at SHC are sent to VUMC 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 SHC, charges incurred are billed by that clinic to the student’s health insurance company. Sports Medicine specialists from VUMC come to SHC for the convenience of the students, but these visits are not free of charge; the Sports Medicine specialists will bill the insurance on file for the student. The applicable co-pays will be billed by VUMC after the visit.
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, VUMC will bill the student and his/her/their insurance company.
Care provided at SHC is confidential in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. It is only with written consent from the student that the Student Health Center may communicate with deans, parents, professors, or other health care professionals.
HIPAA allows notification to families in the event that the student is in an emergency or life-threatening situation.
VUMC personnel will ask treated students in the Emergency Department about notification of staff in Housing and Residential Experience and SHC. 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.
- Isolation and Quarantine
Vanderbilt University must enforce public health mandates as required by public health authorities, and may also follow VUMC and SHC 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 who all have specific expertise and training in working with Vanderbilt’s diverse community. More details about services may be found at the UCC website.
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 SCC, SHC, and CSW for the purposes of care coordination.
Center for Student Wellbeing
The Center for Student Wellbeing (CSW) 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.
New appointments for CSW services may be scheduled by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 615-322-0480 or through SCC. Information is available at https://www.vanderbilt.edu/healthydores/.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
Degree and non-seeking students (excluding Division of Unclassified (DUS) and Consortium students) enrolled in 4+ credit hours, a 0-credit research/dissertation course, or any other course that is considered to equate to full-time enrollment are automatically enrolled in and will be billed for SHIP underwritten by Aetna and administered by Academic Health Plans (AHP), unless they complete the online waiver process. Information about the plan is available online at https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/. In addition, students may email SHIP@vanderbilt.edu with questions.
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 for students begins August 12 and extends through August 11 the following calendar year. If a student withdraws from school within the first 31 days of a coverage period, they will not be covered under the Policy and the full premium will be refunded, less any claims paid. After 31 days, the student will be covered for the remainder of the Plan year providing plan premiums are paid, and no refund will be allowed. Graduating within 31 days of the start of the coverage period shall not be considered a withdrawal from school. Additional information regarding enrollment, waivers, graduation, and refunds is available on the Student Care Network website. Questions regarding student health insurance can be sent to SHIP@vanderbilt.edu.
- Coverage Benefits
SHIP provides hospital, surgical, and major medical benefits. A brochure explaining the limits, exclusions, and benefits of the plan is available online at https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/ and on the Student Care Network website. SHIP requires that SHC be the student’s primary care provider in Nashville, but will provide coverage for referrals to specialists when a referral is made by an SHC provider. SHIP does not require referrals for behavioral health.
- Waiver of Insurance Plan
A student who does not wish to subscribe to SHIP must notify the University of comparable coverage under another policy. Comparable criteria coverage for domestic and international students is found at https://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentcarenetwork/waive/. Waiver of the student insurance plan does not affect eligibility for services at the SHC. The online waiver process may be found online at https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/waiver. The insurance charge will not be waived if the online process is not completed by the applicable deadline outlined in the SHIP waiver policies. The waiver process must be completed each academic year. 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 at https://vanderbilt.myahpcare.com/. It is the student’s responsibility to enroll their eligible dependents each year. Dependents are not automatically enrolled.
- Qualifying Events for Students and Dependents
Students who initially waive coverage can request to add coverage if they experience a qualifying event. Examples of a qualifying event include a) reaching the age limit of another health insurance plan, b) loss of health insurance through marriage or divorce, c) involuntary loss of coverage from another health insurance plan, and d) entering the United States of America. A qualifying event does not include a student who is seeking enrollment to gain access to a benefit that was exhausted under their private insurance plan. Coverage will be effective beginning the first day following the loss of coverage, and the charges will be added to the student’s 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. Requests to add coverage based on a qualifying event must be received within 31 days of the qualifying event. Forms received more than 31 days after the qualifying event will not be processed.
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In general, the policies and regulations in the Student Handbook apply to students registered for Vanderbilt study-abroad and remote overseas 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 or participate in a remote overseas program. 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 ore remoet overseas programs (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 programs administered by third-party providers (CET, CIEE, DIS, IFSA-Butler, IES, SIT, etc.), or direct-enroll/exchange programs with 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 or the Student Health Fee. Students participating in remote overseas program, however, remain responsible for these fees.
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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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Vanderbilt offers a variety of transportation options for travel in and around campus, and faculty, staff, and students should consider their needs in how the University adopted a more sustainable future outlined in MoveVU and FutureVU. To reduce the University’s carbon footprint, please consider a sustainable transportation option such as walking, biking, riding the bus or train, vanpooling or carpooling before making a drive-alone, car trip.
Walking is a great way to get around campus and the surrounding neighborhood. There are many health and wellness benefits to walking. There are numerous parks, restaurants, and shopping within walking distance of campus.
Bicycles are a great way to commute to and from and travel across campus. There are personal health and wellbeing benefits to biking, and it is environmentally friendly. There are covered and uncovered bicycle parking options, bicycle repair stations, and showers around campus for convenience.
Personal bicycles can be registered with the Vanderbilt University Police Department.
Bicyclists must follow the sections of the Metropolitan Nashville Traffic and Parking Code dealing with bicycles apply both on and off campus for safe travel. 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 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.
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 handrails, or to any structures 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.
Transit: WeGo Public Transit
Taking the WeGo bus is free, convenient, sustainable, and available to all. Just plan, swipe and ride! Learn more at vu.edu/bus.
WeGo Public Transit is Nashville’s provider of local and regional bus and commuter rail service. Vanderbilt’s program provides all full-time and part-time Vanderbilt University undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, faculty, staff and postdocs with free access to WeGo regional and local fixed route buses, WeGo Access door-to-door paratransit service within Davidson County (an option for persons with eligible short-term, long-term, and permanent disabilities), and WeGo Star commuter rail train with their Commodore Card. This service is available for any place and time, not only when commuting to and from campus.
WeGo Link is a first/last mile connector option in zoned areas, currently available in Antioch. Use your Commodore Card for the free bus ride; ridehail is self-pay.
WeGo offers an Emergency Ride Home program for registered commuters.
Vanderbilt operates an on campus, nighttime shuttle service called VandyRide that operates while classes are in session. To access VandyRide routes in real time, download the VandySafe app and go the “Maps & VandyRide” section or visit the website.
Pre-Approved Mobility Rides
Electric golf carts are available to provide rides for those with medical or accessibility needs. Students with those needs must register for this service with and be approved through Student Access. If you would like to access the pre-approved mobility rides, contact Student Access through the online portal or at 615-343-9727.
Ridehail services like Uber and Lyft can be used on campus. There are nine designated ridehail pick-up and drop-off locations around campus. These locations are marked with signage and are available to select in the Uber and Lyft mobile apps. The nine locations are well-lit areas that can be easily monitored by cameras and public safety patrols.
Vehicles: Cars and Parking Permits
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.
Vehicles: Motorcycles, Motorized Bicycles, Mopeds, and Motor Scooters and Parking Permits
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 of accessibility (such as motorized wheel chairs), are exempt from the prohibition if approved in advance through Student Access. Complete regulations regarding motorcycles etc., can be found on the Parking Services website.
Vehicles: Golf Carts Prohibited
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, 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.
Persons involved in crashes or collisions on campus that result in personal injury or property damage should report the incident to VUPD.
For safety issues or concerns, please contact VUPS. For non-emergencies, call 615-322-2745. For emergencies, call 911, or from on campus with a cell phone call 615-421-1911.
Individuals can also utilize safety features In the VandySafe app including contacting VUPD via phone call or real-time chat, triggering a mobile Bluelight that shares your location instantly with police, or initiating a "Virtual Walkhome" where police can monitor your walk to your vehicle or home, view Information on VandyRide, and more.
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The official University calendar is the Academic Calendar, which can be found online. Campus events may be found in the University Events Calendar.
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Vanderbilt Visions is a first-semester, University core program of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. Following a prescribed syllabus, faculty members and undergraduate peer mentors lead small groups of first-year students through weekly discussions of the Campus 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 / Completion of or Withdrawal from the Course Before Hearing / Withdrawal from the University Before Hearing
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 Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity (Student Accountability). 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. The Undergraduate Honor Council Constitution and Undergraduate Honor Council Bylaws, in addition to the Student Handbook, provide both policy and procedural information pertinent to undergraduate students and the Honor Code.
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. Student Accountability may investigate or consult on graduate and professional school Honor Council cases at the request of a school.
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 or remote examinations, including use of class or outside materials or consulting with classmates or outside sources;
- 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, presentation, film, or computer program submitted by a student to meet course requirements. Such aid includes, but is not limited to,
- use or production of unauthorized aids, which may include cheat sheets, answer keys, or computer programs;
- use of texts, papers, computer programs, or other class work prepared by commericial or noncommercial agends and submitted as a student's own work;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 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, and there is no in-text citation referring to Kernan’s work. The instructor noted that to avoid plagiarism in this instance, a student should have synthesized information, made novel points in addition to Kernan’s arguments, and significantly altered the structure of the sentence and word choice, in addition to using an in-text citation.
(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 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. The instructor concluded that to avoid plagiarism in this instance, the student should have used quotation marks around the catchy phrase and added an in-text citation.
(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 for the discipline in which they are writing 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. Additionally, students are required to comply with specified testing conditions or the outlined requirements related to the testing environment.
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.
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 should be accountable for any group work submitted in their names for the fulfillment of a course, program, or assignment and may be responsible for Honor Code violations within the work.
- Students should ask their instructors before collaborating on any assignment.
- Students should ask their instructors if a tutor or other individual may help you with any assignment.
- 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 relevant citation manual to learn how to cite all 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 who have substantial interest in the case, or in a related case as a student facing potential corrective action, or persons related to the accused or who have formal legal training are not eligible to serve as advisers. Advisers may not be paid for their services nor should any person hold themselves out as an expert adviser. If at any time the University determines an adviser does not meet the qualifications and expectations outlined above, the adviser will be barred from further participation in the process.
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.
The procedures of the Undergraduate Honor Council aim to resolve reported matters within ninety (90) business days absent extenuating circumstances. Investigations and hearings (Resolution Process) may be paused over University breaks, holidays, and any recess taken by the Honor Council. Involved parties may waive procedural waiting or review periods to expedite the Resolution Process with notice in writing to Student Accountability. With notice in writing to the involved parties, Student Accountability may waive procedural waiting or review periods to expedite the Resolution Process for incidents that potentially impact Commencement.
- When an alleged violation of the Honor Code is reported, a staff member from Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic integrity will be assigned to investigate the incident.
- After each meeting, the investigator will provide a written summary to the party for review and allow two (2) business days after the written summary is provided for the submission of suggested revisions.
- The assigned investigator will interview the accuser and collect any available information or documentation related to the alleged violation. Upon notice of the investigation proceeding, the accuser has up to seven (7) business days to meet with an investigator. After completing the initial meeting with an investigator, the accuser has seven (7) business days to provide relevant information as well as any additional witnesses. Requests for extensions must be made to the investigator in writing. If the accuser does not meet with the investigator and no extension is granted, Student Accountability will determine if the matter should be closed due to a lack of information. If the matter is closed, the accuser will be notified that the faculty of record may still issue a warning consistent with the Faculty Manual.
- The accused student(s) will be notified in writing that a report has been filed, and that they are required to meet with an investigator no later than seven (7) business days from the date of the notice. Requests for extensions must be made to the investigator in writing. If the accused does not meet with the investigator and no extension is granted, the investigation will proceed in the accused’s absence. Additionally, 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," including 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”).
- During the initial meeting, the investigator will meet with the accused to present in-person a written Statement of 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 initial 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 initial meeting, and may instead request a three-day wait period before making a statement. .
- 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 will also be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges at the conclusion of the first investigative meeting. The accused may also provide relevant documentation or information to support his/her/their account of events at the time of the meeting. Alternatively, the accused has seven (7) business days after completing the meeting to provide any supporting evidence, material witnesses, or other relevant materials for review.
- Any investigative meeting held with a student may be recorded. Recordings are personal notes solely for the use of the investigator to prepare the investigative report. Recordings will not be kept as part of the formal record and will not be shared with any other individuals involved in the resolution of the incident or any accused student(s).
- If the accused provides material witnesses, the investigator may contact the witness(es) if it is determined they have relevant information. Material witnesses have seven (7) business days to meet with an investigator after receiving notice. Failure to meet with an investigator within that period will be treated as declining to participate, and the accused will be notified.
- 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. 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.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will assemble the relevant evidence and testimony in an investigative report that contains the notice of charges, summaries of material information from investigative meetings, and relevant course or assignment materials. 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 three (3) business days before the hearing, the accuser and the accused student(s) will be presented with a copy of the investigative 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 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 and will inform the accused of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The hearing should not be held earlier than three (3) business days after the investigator has initially met with the accused in order for the accused to review the investigative report.
Attendance at the Hearing by the Accused Student
All students, including the accused student, are required to cooperate with investigations and 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. 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. Students pleading guilty may request a small panel hearing be held without their participation. The request will be reviewed by the Honor Council president to determine it meets the requirements for a small panel hearing before proceeding.
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 recording secretary receives verbal confirmation from each panelist that evidence presented in the investigative report has been reviewed.
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. Any material witnesses called by the Council will appear separately and await their appearances alone.
a. Accuser. If the accuser testifies in person, the presiding officer will invite the accuser to provide clarifying or supplemental information about the investigative report. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accuser. Upon conclusion of questions by the Council, the presiding officer will ask the investigator if they have any questions for the accuser. The accused may also direct questions to the accuser via the presiding officer, who will determine relevance, 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.The presiding officer may call material witnesses to participate in the hearing when it is determined the Council may have additional questions not covered by the investigative report. Only material witnesses who met with an investigator will be allowed to testify at the hearing. First, the presiding officer invites a general account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the witness. Upon conclusion of questions by the Council, the presiding officer will ask the investigator if they have any questions for the material witnesses. The accuser and the accused may also direct questions to the material witnesses via the presiding officer, who will determine relevance, once the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning.
c. 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 invites the accused to provide clarifying or supplemental information about the investigative report. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accused. Upon conclusion of questions by the Council, the presiding officer will ask the investigator if they have any questions for the accused. The accuser may also direct questions to the accused via the presiding officer, who will determine relevance, 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 or that a request for a small panel will be granted. 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, or any individual’s request cannot be granted for any reason, a full hearing must be conducted for all the students involved. In addition, if a student has been previously found guilty by the Honor Council, a full panel hearing is required. Following the review of the Honor Council president, 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.
- 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. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Decision. The accused will meet with the investigator or another Student Accountability staff member to receive their outcome letter the next business day. The investigator will share both the Honor Council’s decision as well as the grounds for appeal.
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1. At the conclusion of the hearing, the presiding officer and investigator 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 Student Accountability.
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 or their designee, (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 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 (10) days of the date the student is formally notified of the panel’s decision. Detailed information may be found in the Appeals and the Appellate Review Board section of the Student Accountability Chapter of the Student Handbook.
5. Records of Honor Council proceedings and investigations are maintained in 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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Completion of or Withdrawal from the Course Before Hearing
If a student who has been reported for a suspected violation of the Honor Code completes or withdraws from the course in question prior to the Honor Council’s receipt of the report or before a hearing has been held, 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.
During the time prior to the hearing, a notation will be placed on the accused’s academic record stating that an Honor Council case is pending and an Incomplete will be reflected on the record for the course in question. A letter will also be sent to the Office of the University Registrar, the dean of the school in which the accused is enrolled or their designee, and other relevant University personnel, indicating that an Honor Council case is pending.
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Withdrawal from the University Before Hearing
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 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 accused's academic record stating that an Honor Council case is pending and an Incomplete will be reflected on the record for the course in question. 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 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
General Misconduct / Copyrights and Recordings / Threat of Violence of Physical Harm, Harassment / Fireworks, Firearms, Other Weapons, and Explosives / Damage to Property / Hazing / Conduct at Athletic Events / Conduct in the Libraries / Conduct in Study-Abroad Programs / University Trademarks / Use of University Computers and Data Networks / Use of University Communications Systems / Good Neighbor Policy / The Accountability System / Jurisdiction / Accountability Procedures / Alternative Resolutions for Registered Student Organizations / Appeals and the Appellate Review Board / Sanctions / No Contact Directives / Pending Disciplinary Matters at Graduation / Disciplinary Records
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.
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, except as outlined in the Freedom of Expression policy;
- Physical abuse of any person, including assault and other unwanted physical contact;
- Sexual misconduct, including stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence (See Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct,” for policies and procedures governing incidents of sexual misconduct, 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;
- Misuse or misappropriation of University funds;
- Use of University documents or information by unintended recipient;
- Possession or use of any false identification or identification, including University-issued credentials, 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, government officials or agencies, or representatives of University 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 communications 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.
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. For more information, refer to Chapter 5: Student Engagement.
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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Copyrights and Recordings
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.
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Threat of Violence or Physical Harm, Harassment
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 Equal Opportunity and Access Office handles complaints of harassment on these grounds. (See Chapter 8, "Student Discrimination.")
The policies and procedures governing cases involving sexual misconduct, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence, may be found in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.”
Other campus offices such as Housing and Residential Experience, the Project Safe Center, Student Care Coordination, the Center for Student Wellbeing, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex 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 support to students who believe they have been subjected to harassment.
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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 enhanced handgun carry permit or concealed 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 by an individual or an organization 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 an individual or group of individuals regardless of their affiliation for the purposes of, but not limited to, recruiting, joining, pledging, initiating, admitting, affiliating, or retaining membership in an organization. Such acts include—but are not limited to—the following:
- violation of federal, state, provincial, local law, or organizational policy;
- consumption of any food, liquid, alcohol liquid, drug, or other substance in any con-customary manner;
- physical contact, including but not limited to, beating, paddling, branding, dangerous physical activity, or exposure to elements, or threats of such conduct;
- exercise inconsistent with the mission of the organization;
- adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual through acts such as sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in embarrassment, or threats of such conduct;
- disruption of academic performance or class attendance, including early morning or late night work sessions,
- designated driving programs;
- personal or financial servitude;
- publicly wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste;
- engaging in public stunts;
- morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; or
- scavenger hunts.
The university makes no distinction as to whether the acts occurred on or off campus. Willful or voluntary participation in hazing activities by a victim does not absolve the person or organization engaging in hazing from responsibility.
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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. Where in conflict with this policy, the University’s Freedom of Expression policy will be applied to actions of students participating in a protest, demonstration, or dissent.
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Vanderbilt’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries offer a welcoming, comfortable, and safe environment for its users. The libraries are a place for learning and reflection, and library staff supports these efforts by providing helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable services. Mutual courtesy and respect among users and staff are essential to the University’s educational mission, and the role the libraries serve in fulfilling it. One of the highest goals of the libraries is to create a setting where its users feel free to pursue research and study without compromising their privacy or safety. Each campus library provides a variety of spaces for quiet study. 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. Collaborative study spaces enable conversation and interaction among students. All conduct should be consistent with and contribute to the research and scholarship of the Vanderbilt community.
Equally important is protecting the physical integrity of library books, journals, and other resources. These materials form the intellectual core of the libraries. In order to preserve and share materials, users are expected to adhere to the libraries’ circulation policies and any special guidelines that exist for handling delicate or one-of-a-kind materials in certain locations. Food and drinks in covered containers are allowed except in designated areas. Users at computer workstations in library locations are expected to show consideration for others. Library users are encouraged to report concerns to any library Service Desk.
More information about Library policies may be found on the Library website.
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Students who participate in Vanderbilt University study-abroad or remote overseas 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, including stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence during study-abroad programs must be addressed according to the policies and procedures outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.”
Students enrolled in study abroad or remote overseas 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 Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity who will investigate and respond to alleged violations of policies or regulations.
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All students and student organizations are expected to comply with the appropriate use of University trademarks. More information about the appropriate use of Vanderbilt University trademarks by students and student organizations can be cound in the Communication and Promotion section of Chapter 5, Student Engagement.
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Use of University Computers and Data Networks
Vanderbilt students who are granted access to the University’s IT systems, including computer centers or campus-wide internet services, are expected to ensure appropriate use of those systems, including by complying with the Student Computing Policy and The Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy. Among other things, these policies prohibit sharing Vanderbilt University passwords, 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 or to harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated unwanted emails. 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 contacted through University communications systems and may not use the systems to harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated contact in which they fail to identify themselves. Harassment over communications systems may be a violation of state law that subjects an individual to criminal prosecution as well as corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Students who experience such contact should report the matter to Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity and/or the Vanderbilt University Police Department. Some harassment over University communications systems may be sexual harassment, as defined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct,” and the policies and procedures outlined in that chapter should be followed.
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Good Neighbor Policy
Vanderbilt University is dedicated to participating in the Nashville community in meaningful ways. To that end, the Good Neighbor Guidelines exist to assist students living off campus to be responsible neighbors.
All residents living in an off-campus residence who engage in behavior or allow guests to engage in behavior that contradicts the Good Neighbor Guidelines may receive a warning that continued acts will be subject to disciplinary action. Actions that adversely affect the University’s relationship with neighboring communities may be referred to Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity regardless of prior warnings.
In addition to sanctions assigned by Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity, residents found responsible for violating the Good Neighbor Policy may be restricted from living off-campus in future years.
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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, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence are outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.” Policies and procedures governing cases involving student discrimination are outlined in Chapter 8, “Student Discrimination.”
The bodies that comprise the accountability system are 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 Council and Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated. The nature of specific areas of authority is described in Chapter 5: Student Engagement.
In consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Dean of Students may assume jurisdiction for cases before 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 under special circumstances 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 in its study away programs, or participating in programs and activities of the University as students, even if not registered primarily at Vanderbilt, and students on official leaves from the University (medical, personal, disciplinary, or otherwise) fall under the jurisdiction of the accountability system from the time of their arrival on campus or matriculation, whichever is sooner, until degree conferral. 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.
Similarly, student organizations fall under the jurisdiction of the accountability system.
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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 Student Accountability. 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 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 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. Advisers may not be paid for their services nor should any person hold themselves out as an expert adviser. If at any time the University determines an adviser does not meet the qualifications and expectations outlined above, the adviser will be barred from further participation in the accountability process. Persons not convened or summoned (e.g., the student, the student’s adviser, witnesses), by 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. 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. 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. A search differs from Room Entry by Housing and Residential Experience; for more information, see Chapter 4: Residential Life.
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 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 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, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence are outlined in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.” The policies and procedures governing cases involving student discrimination are outlined in Chapter 8, “Student Discrimination.”
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Alternative Resolutions for Registered Student Organizations
Student organizations engaged in mismanagement of events, activities, or operations that do not result in harm--financial, physical, or otherwise--may be subject to an alternative resolution plan to stop the behavior and prevent its reoccurrence. The decision to refer to an accountability proceeding or issue an alternative resolution plan is at the sole discretion of Student Accountability.
Additionally, Student Accountability may, at its sole discretion, endorse and enforce sanctions or accountability action plans issued by an organization's national governing body when it determines such action will effectively stop the behavior, prevent its reoccurrence, and reduce or resolve any negative impacts. Student Accountability may also rely on the findings of the national governing body to assign additional sanctions and accountability action plans consistent with precedent without referral to an additional University accountability proceeding.
Alternative resolutions are not eligible for appeal.
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Appeals and the Appellate Review Board
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, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence may be found in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.”
The Appellate Review Board may also, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Dean of Students, 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. (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.
- Student Accountability; or
- Equal Opportunity and Access (in matters related to discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation).
Appeals involving cases of sexual misconduct, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence are discussed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct."
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 email@example.com 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 may remand 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 and 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 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.
- Deferred suspension. In some instances, a suspension 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. Suspensions will only be deferred when (1)(A) a student’s probationary period is twelve (12) months or longer and a violation occurs after the one-year mark or (B) when a student has been placed on multiple probations previously but is not currently on probation, and (2) the most recent violation is not the same charge as the misconduct resulting in the prior or current probationary status(es).
- 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 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 restricted from using Vanderbilt electronic communications systems and are prohibited from being present on the Vanderbilt campus, or at any Vanderbilt sponsored or co-sponsored program, without express authorization from Student Accountability.
The following is a list of common sanctions for student organizations:
- Educational conference. Such conferences involve a structured discussion with 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. Such an interim suspension is not considered disciplinary action and will not be subject to appeal.
- 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; the loss of access to University electronic communications systems; the loss of access to University computers and data networks; 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. The policies and procedures governing cases involving student discrimination are outlined in Chapter 8, “Student Discrimination.”
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 (in cases involving a disciplinary outcome).
Upon completion of cases involving a sanction, the appropriate University official will take action to implement the decision 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 or takes leave 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.
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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 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 the 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 the student who is subject to the directive may result in a warning or in the filing of a charge against that student. If a student is investigated and found 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.
No contact directives issued in matters involving sexual misconduct, including stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence, are issued by the Title IX Office (Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct”). Violations of no contact directives issued by the Title IX Office are referred to Student Accountability, which has the authority to determine whether to issue a warning or move forward with an accountability proceeding and may consult with Title IX in making that determination.
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Pending Disciplinary Matters at Graduation
When a student, who has otherwise met all academic (without the course at issue in the proceeding) and other requirements for graduation, has:
- a pending investigation for an alleged violation of the Honor Code, the student will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises. However, a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally
- been found guilty of a violation of the Honor Code and the penalty assigned is failure in the course or less, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the student will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and the degree will generally be conferred and
- been found guilty of a violation of the Honor Code and the penalty assigned is suspension or expulsion, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the student will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
When the alleged violation of the Honor Code is in a course that affects the student’s ability to meet academic requirements for graduation and where the student has:
- a pending investigation, the student will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
- been found guilty of the violation and the penalty assigned is a reprimand and a recommendation that the student fail the assignment in question, the student will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and the degree will generally be conferred and posted only where the failure on the assignment does not result in a failure to meet academic requirements. If the failure on the assignment results in a failure to meet academic requirements, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the student will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally
- been found guilty of the violation and the penalty assigned is failure in the course, suspension, or expulsion, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the student will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally
Student Accountability and Student Discrimination
When a student, who has otherwise met all academic and other requirements for graduation, has:
- a pending investigation for an alleged violation of University policy, the student will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises. However, a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
- been found responsible for a violation of University policy and the sanction assigned is disciplinary probation or less, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the accused will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and the degree will generally be conferred and posted.
- been found responsible for a violation of University policy and the sanction assigned is suspension or expulsion, regardless of whether the student has submitted or may timely submit an appeal, the student will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
When a respondent, who has otherwise met all academic and other requirements for graduation, is the subject of a pending investigation for an alleged violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or Formal Grievance Protocol, the respondent will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises. However, a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
When a respondent, who has otherwise met all academic and other requirements for graduation, has been found not responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or Formal Grievance Protocol, and an appeal is pending or the appeal period is still open, the respondent will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises. However, a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
When a respondent, who has otherwise met all academic and other requirements for graduation, has been found responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or Formal Grievance Protocol, and
- where a sanction has not yet been imposed by the relevant authority, the respondent will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
- where the sanction that has been imposed is disciplinary probation, and an appeal has been or may be timely submitted by the complainant, the respondent will generally be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises. However, a degree will generally not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
- where the sanction that has been imposed is suspension or expulsion, regardless of whether an appeal has been submitted by either party or the appeal period is still open, the respondent will generally not be permitted to participate in graduation activities, including the commencement exercises, and a degree will not be conferred or posted, if at all, until the matter is finally resolved.
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Upon graduation or withdrawal from the University, student records in Housing and Residential Experience and Student Accountability are maintained for a period of seven years, after which time they are destroyed. Official 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
Student Housing / Residential Regulations / General Residence Life Policies
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.
Housing and Residential Experience employs a compassionate group of upper division, graduate, and professional students as resident advisers (RAs) head residents (HRs), and graduate area coordinators (GACs). 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 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.”
The residential experience is regarded as an integral part of a Vanderbilt undergraduate's education. Housing and Residential Experience provides the residential experience to as many undergraduate students as can be physically accommodated.
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 Housing and Residential Experience in Branscomb Quadrangle.
Student Housing Status
There are three possible housing statuses for undergraduate students taking classes on campus: (1) living on campus in a University residence hall, (2) living in a Greek chapter facility on campus, and (3) having authorization from the Director of Housing Assignments to live off-campus. Students studying abroad, participating in an internship away from Nashville, or on a leave of absence do not have a housing status during the term(s) when they are not taking classes on campus.
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 sophomore and 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 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 for off-campus accommodations until they receive written notice from the housing assignments director that they are authorized or required to reside off campus. The University will not be liable or responsible for any contractual arrangements or agreement into which a student without authorization to live off campus has entered, such as a lease agreement for off-campus housing. 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 complete the required forms with Housing and Residential Experience prior to taking occupancy. 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 Housing and Residential Experience and 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 commercial 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 Housing and Residential Experience. Prior to these breaks, students will receive 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 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 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, and they must take possession of an assigned key prior taking occupancy. 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 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 are 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 or to Housing and Residential Experience. 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 required to have insurance coverage for all valuables and belongings they bring to campus. More information can be found at https://www.vanderbilt.edu/ohare/student-renters-insurance-requirement/.
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, induction cookers, air conditioners, electric heaters, and instant water-heating elements, are prohibited. In addition, washers, dryers, and dishwashers are not allowed. Microwave ovens less 800-watt with an interior capacity of no more than one cubic foot are permitted. Refrigerators less than six years old with no more than 4.0 cubic feet 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, mesh routers, 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 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 the Guest Registration Form. The request should be made at least 24 hours prior to the arrival of the guest. Residential Experience 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 by their host at all times on campus. 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 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 Anchor Link 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 Housing and Residential Experience. Residents who violate these policies may be referred to 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 are required to take possession of their assigned room key prior to taking occupancy. 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. Lost or stolen keys must be reported to a Housing and Residential Experience staff member within 72 hours.
Linens and Laundry
The University does not supply towels, washcloths, linens, blankets, or pillows. Washers and dryers are provided for campus residents in all residential areas at no cost. Washer and dryer use is for on-campus residents only.
Loss of Property/Insurance Coverage
Every student is responsible for his/her/their own property. Student are required to have a renter’s insurance policy. 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. Unless otherwise approved, music practice rooms should only be used for their specified purpose and non-music related use may result in loss of use. Use of these rooms for music practice may be terminated by Housing and Residential Experience as needed.
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. 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. The Party Registration Form is located in Anchor Link and must be submitted no later than 24 hours prior to the proposed event, or by 12pm on Friday (for weekend gatherings). The form is routed to the appropriate area coordinator for review and approval. Gatherings are permitted only in Zeppos College suites, Rothschild College suites, Warren College suites, Moore College suites, E. Bronson Ingram College suites, Village at Vanderbilt, Mayfield Place, Chaffin Place, Morgan House, and Lewis House. All gatherings must abide by all other University and residential policies (noise, alcohol, visitation, etc.). 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 Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity and 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. This includes battery cells in devices prone to overheating or implosion.
- 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.
- The use, possession, or storage of electronic personal transportation vehicles (EPTVs), including scooters, bicycles, hoverboards, 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.
- Bicycles may not be stored in hallways, stairwells, or other common areas because they may block emergency egress. Non-electronic 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.
- Covering or tampering with cameras 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 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.
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 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 or wireless access points (WAPs)—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, Google, Amazon, 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
Administration of Registered Student Organizations and Organizational Activity / Organizational Expression and Conduct / Advisers and Student Affairs Liaisons for Student Organizations / Communication and Promotion / Freedom of Expression / Funding / Governance, Student / Reservations and Event Registration / Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising / Sound Amplification and Noise / Travel, Student Co-Curricular
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.
Administration of Registered Student Organizations & Organizational Activity
Registered student organizations are recognized by the University to allow current students to gather together in shared missions and intents. These organizations contribute positively to campus vibrancy and are accorded special privileges. They are expected to provide a safe, inclusive environment for others.
Organizational Activity is considered any activity, on- or off-campus, planned, sponsored, hosted, promoted, or funded by an organization recognized by Vanderbilt or any activity a reasonable person would associate with the organization or its members acting in their membership capacity. Organizational Activity is not defined by the number of members engaging in the activity. Organizational Activity that violates University policy is subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability system. Student organizations are prohibited from establishing offices, social spaces, or living quarters off-campus.
- "Planned" includes, but is not limited to, primarily contributing to decisions regarding location, decoration, timing, or other execution of the activity.
- "Sponsored" includes, but is not limited to, partnering with another registered student organization, University department, business or promoter to execute an event, or providing funds to reduce or eliminate the cost of an event
- "Hosted" includes, but is not limited to, reserving space or using an off-campus space owned or controlled by members of the organization for an activity that involves guests.
- "Promoted" includes, but is not limited to, communicating via any form of social media, app (e.g. GroupMe), print materials, or deliberate campaigning to advertise or market an event or to invite or otherwise encourage people to participate.
- "Funded" includes, but is not limited to, making payments from organization dues, an organization bank account, a collection of funds from organization members, or payments made by an individual member or relative on behalf of the individual member.
The University has sole discretion for approving Organizational Activity as well as interpreting policies and procedures that effect organizations, including, but not limited to, determining appropriate accountability action for an organization and/or individual members.
Registration and Recognition
Student Organizations, Leadership and Service (SOLS) registers undergraduate and graduate/professional student organizations within the Vanderbilt community. Registered Student Organizations must register annually, and 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 in Anchor Link.
To be eligible for registration, an organization must:
- be organized and run by officers who are enrolled Vanderbilt students;
- have at least one full-time, permanent, Vanderbilt faculty or staff member as its adviser;
- 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;
- have purposes that do not overlap significantly with those of any other registered organization; and
- have approval from the appropriate University office, department, or governing body, if applicable. For example:
- Club sports must have approval from the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.
- Religious groups must have approval from the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.
- Greek-letter social organizations require membership in the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, Intercultural Greek, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, which have governing responsibilities and accountability authority over their member groups.
The following is required during the registration process and must be maintained throughout the year:
- Submission of a constitution or bylaws for the organization, which includes a mission/purpose statement, descriptions of officers/leaders and their duties, method for election of officers/leaders, and a process for removing leaders from positions and members from the organization.
- Submission of any organizational logos used for social media, Anchor Link, print or promotional material.
- Submission of a copy of the organization’s insurance contract to the University for record keeping (only applicable for those organizations carrying insurance coverage).
- Affirmation that the organization does not discriminate unlawfully or in violation of University policy. (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 Equal Opportunity and Access .
- Affirmation that the organization will conduct their activities in accordance with all University policies and federal, state, and local laws.
Detailed information regarding organization registration may be found on the SOLS website.
Privileges of a Registered Student Organization
Through established policies and procedures, registered student organizations are entitled to the following privileges:
- Use of the official registered student organization mark, which incorporates the Vanderbilt University logo, official University spirit marks, and the name "Vanderbilt University," or titles indicating institutional affiliation, such as "Black and Gold," "VU," or "Commodore," for purposes generally consistent with the organizations’ purposes and their usual activities or to identify themselves as campus groups (See Communication and Promotion section of this chapter for more information).
- Financial support from the University (Student Services Fee allocation, and other sources when available).
- Use of University facilities for conducting regular business.
- Use of University meeting rooms and facilities at no charge or at a reduced rate.
- Use of University electronic resources (e.g., Anchor Link, listservs, University-hosted website), and member subscription to the student leader listservs maintained by SOLS.
- Use of common space and storage space allocated for registered student organizations.
- Opportunity to solicit funds from, or make sales to, members of the University community on campus.
- Use of a campus address, an organizational mailbox, and campus mail services.
- Participation in the annual Student Involvement Fair and other programs promoting participation hosted by the University.
- Opportunity to advertise and promote the organization and its purposes on campus, and to advertise in Student Affairs-supported publications and other media.
- Ability to publish events on Anchor Link and in the University Events Calendar.
Student Engagement Eligibility
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 an enrolled student of the University. A student on academic or disciplinary probation or who fails to maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average may not hold a leadership position, including (but not limited to) Admissions Tour Guide, VUceptor, Resident Adviser, or president (or comparable position) of a registered student organization or Vanderbilt Student Communications division.
Registered student organizations, governing bodies, or University departments may set eligibility standards or requirements for membership or leadership that exceed these minimum standards, as long as such eligibility standards comply with the University’s nondiscrimination policy. Additionally, registered student organizations may take action to remove or restrict a member’s participation in the organization in accordance with the organization’s constitution or bylaws.
Requests for exception or waiver of eligibility requirements should be made to the Dean of Students with the recommendation of the appropriate governing body, if applicable.
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 Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council administer the recruitment programs for their member groups while the National Pan-Hellenic Councils (NPHC) and Intercultural Greek (IGC) organizations each administer their own recruitment programs. 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.
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 Greek Life for consideration. Upon the recommendations of the councils, Greek Life, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, the University may invite a national organization to start a new fraternity or sorority.
Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC)
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.
Suspended, Expelled, or Otherwise Unrecognized Organizations
Organizations no longer recognized or who never sought recognition by the University–whether suspended, expelled, disaffiliated, or otherwise– do not retain any of the privileges of a recognized organization. Loss of privileges includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Using the “Vanderbilt University” names, authorized logos, and spirit marks in communications, social media handles, swag, or any other expression;
- Using University space for organizational functions;
- Participation in any recruitment or involvement events; and
- Financial, advising, or any other University support.
Additionally, action may be taken by the University at its discretion to protect the safety and wellbeing of the campus; such acts may include, but are not limited to:
- Barring the organization from campus;
- Providing communications to parent, students, and others regarding the unrecognized status;
- Holding individual students within the unrecognized organization personally responsible for misconduct stemming from Organizational Activity via the student accountability process;
- Barring or removing students participating in the unrecognized organization from University leadership positions; and
- Replacing the organization with an equivalent option that is recognized by the University.
For organizations whose recognition is suspended, the terms of the suspension will outline the return process. For organizations that voluntarily withdraw from or never seek recognition by the University and have a national governing body, the national group will not be considered for recognition unless it demonstrates to the University’s satisfaction that it has ended any relationship (i.e., revoking charters, suspending/expelling members, etc.) with the unrecognized organization.
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Organizational Expression and Conduct
As Registered Student Organizations are student led; the opinions they express are not necessarily those of the University or the student body.
Application of University Policies to Organizations
All University policies, including those in Chapter 3: Student Accountability, apply to Organizational Activity.
Application of University Policies to Members by the Organization
Registered Student Organizations may not adjudicate violations of University policy, except as outlined below in the Delegation of Authority section. An organization should, instead, hold members accountable to its bylaws, constitution, and/or national policies in accordance with its internal procedures. Organizations should not copy--regardless of citation or paraphrase--any University policy language into its bylaws or constitution.
Delegation of Authority
For matters specific to their areas and delegated to them by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, authority may also be exercised by the Interfraternity Council and Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated. The nature of specific areas of authority is described in the constitutions or bylaws of each of these bodies.
The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee reserves the right to void the delegation of authority at its discretion and refer the matter to the student accountability process. Referrals to Student Accountability typically occur when the violation is determined to be severe, persistent, or pervasive.
Procedures will mirror those described in Chapter 3 of the Student Handbook with the president of the organization or its equivalent assuming the role of the accused student, though personal responsibility will not attach in the organizational proceeding.
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Advisers and Student Affairs Liaisons for Student Organizations
Registered student organizations are required to have an adviser who is employed by Vanderbilt University. Advisers 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. The Adviser is expected to be aware of the financial status of the organization to help ensure that the organization remains solvent. Advisers 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 SOLS website. SOLS may require a student organization with high needs of support to be directly advised by a University office. Students may request through SOLS to be advised by a University office they feel will provide them better support to accomplish their mission. Advisers will help student leaders plan and manage the programmatic, financial, and logistical operations of their student organization. Student Affairs Liaisons will provide additional support in assisting student organizations with guidance on how to complete operational duties. Student Affairs Liaisons are required to attend training on, among other things, Vanderbilt’s financial system, policies and procedures (including Protection of Minors), travel, reimbursement, and the re-registration process. Student Affairs Liaisons may be asked to temporarily fill the role of an Adviser to support a student organization in their absence.
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Distribution of Notices in Campus Mail Boxes (See “Mail Services,” in Chapter 1, “University Policies and Regulations.”), Display of Posters, Banners, and Printed Announcements
Notices, printed announcements, posters, flyers, banners, digital signage, emails, newsletters, etc. (“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 in authorized locations by registered student organizations, University departments, or individuals. Notices must carry the name of the responsible registered student organization, University department, or individual(s) as well as the date the notice is posted. If the group responsible for the notices is not a registered student organization, the individual student names responsible for the information must also be provided. Notices that do not comply with this policy will be removed. Notices 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 notices for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process.
Commercial advertising matter and notices unrelated to the University, including those physically placed on campus or sent electronically or other means by third party businesses or individual students, faculty and staff, are prohibited. Advertising for commercial or personal matters can be done in campus publications. Vanderbilt community members who advertise services to students (e.g., typing or sale of books) may post small notices on bulletin boards.
Use of the University Trademarks
The use of the official University logo is limited to University departments and schools and to the representative student organizations listed in the Student Governance section of this chapter and the Undergraduate Honor Council. Club sports registered with the University have authorization from the Office of Brand Engagement and Governance to use the Primary Athletic V logo.
The official Vanderbilt University registered student organization mark, which incorporates the official University logo, is designed for use by registered student organizations on notices and products. The use of these marks is limited to registered student organizations and cannot be used by individuals or unrecognized groups. Registered student organizations may also use specified official Vanderbilt spirit marks, including the Anchor, Mr. C, and the Hand VU symbol, and the name “Vanderbilt University,” or titles indicating institutional affiliation, such as “Vandy,” “Black and Gold,” “VU,” or “Commodore,” 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).
Use of the University’s registered student organization mark, spirit marks, name, or titles indicating institutional affiliation should be consistent with Communications and Marketing’s Internal Use Licensing Policies. No organization is authorized to make either contractual commitments or binding statements on behalf of the University. The registered student organization mark, spirit marks, and University name or titles indicating institutional affiliation should not be used in association with a private business or used in a manner that might associate or imply endorsements by the University of an outside business, product, or political candidate. 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.
The unauthorized use or imitation of any official Vanderbilt stationery, logos, or marks is prohibited. University logos and marks must not be altered in any fashion, and it is not permissible to create logos for a group or organization using Vanderbilt logos.
Individuals students and student groups utilizing University computer and data networks to distribute notices or information, including newsletters, are expected to abide by the Student Computing Policy, the Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy, and other applicable University policies. Students utilizing the email system to distribute information should identify themselves in the communication and may not use the email system to harass others by threats, obscenities, or repeated unwanted emails. Mass or bulks emails are prohibited without authorization from the Dean of Students or Dean’s designee, unless the email is being sent using an “opt-in” listserv.
Notices Posted Physically On-Campus
The following stipulations apply to notices posted physically on campus:
- Notices may be attached to kiosks or bulletin boards with thumbtacks, but they may not be nailed, stapled or taped anywhere.
- Posters and flyers may be tied to tree trunks with string but the use of nails, tacks, tape, or staples on trees is prohibited. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The use of self-adhesive labels or stickers on surfaces other than banners, posters, or flyers, is prohibited.
- 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. Registered student organizations desiring to use such signs must obtain authorization from the Director of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, or the director’s designee and the Facilities Review Committee. 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.
- 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 Sarratt Student Center.
- Notices must be removed by the registered student organization, University department, or individual that posted them immediately following the event or two weeks beyond the date the notice was posted if not promoting an event. The University may remove notices that do not comply with this policy. The University may remove notices that remain three days after the date of an event, and may charge the person or organization responsible for them.
- During academic breaks and in preparation for Commencement, the University will remove all notices that are left hanging or posted on campus.
- If an organization continually violates these policies, it may lose the privilege of posting notices or have its registration withdrawn. Individuals and organizations may also be charged for repair or cleaning of damaged surfaces.
Only student organizations and University departments may post within the Student Centers, which includes the Commons Center, Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall, Kissam Center, and Student Life Center. 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 the Student Centers 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. For more information about posting notices in Student Centers, including how to obtain authorization and size limitations, please refer to Advertising in Student Centers section of the Student Center Policies.
The following stipulations apply to posting notices in other campus locations:
- Academic Buildings- The kiosk at Stevenson Center may be used for poster display. Bulletin boards in classroom buildings, however, are reserved for announcements concerning academic programs.
- Residence Halls- Permission to display banners or paint designated windows in any residence hall must be obtained from the appropriate Area Coordinator for Housing and Residential Experience. Please see the Solicitation in Residential Units section of the General Residence Life Policies for more information.
- Dining Centers- Permission to hang posters or paint designated windows in the dining spaces of Rand Hall or any other dining facility must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining.
- Greek Facilities - Greek chapters with houses may hang banners from their own facilities.
- Automobiles- Notices may not be posted on automobiles.
For more information about distributing notices on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, please refer to the Freedom of Expression section of this chapter.
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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, while in a diverse community the views and ideas of its members will inevitably conflict at times, 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 seeks to foster a sense of belonging for all students where they can feel welcome and as safe as possible in an environment dedicated to the critical discussion of complex and challenging ideas. Freedom of expression extends to all members of the Vanderbilt community, even when that expression directly challenges the beliefs and ideas of another and even when that expression may be deemed disagreeable or possibly even offensive. When an individual or group deems the ideas of others to be contrary to their own, the response should be to engage in discussion, debate, and mutually respectful dialogue. A core part of the University’s mission is to provide opportunities for intellectual exchanges to take place.
To foster such an environment, the following guidelines have been set.
- Meetings open only to members. A registered student organization may invite any person to address its members, but the organization must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with Student Centers and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
- Meetings open to the Vanderbilt community. A registered student 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 Student Centers and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
- Meetings open to the public. For open meetings sponsored by a registered student organization, procedures for reserving space through Student Centers must be followed and the organization must demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
- Procedures for all types of meetings described above include registering in advance with Student Centers 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 registered student organization meetings on University premises. A registered student 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 Student Centers.
- Distribution of printed information or use of electronic media. Students or student groups who distribute information, whether physically or electronically, are responsible for the content. Students may distribute physical materials, including flyers, leaflets, informational sheets, or similar materials, on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another group or organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance 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 to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials. Students may also distribute information using electronic media in compliance with the University’s Student Computing Policy and the Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy. Students distributing information, whether physically or using electronic media, must also comply with the policies found in the “Communication and Promotion” section, by including the name and contact information of the distributing individual or group on each piece of printed or electronic material. If the group is not a registered student organization, the names of the individual students responsible for the information must also be provided.
- Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests
- Demonstrations. Demonstrations are independent from any other event or activity occurring on campus. A Demonstration is different from a Protest in that the time, date, and location are not connected to a campus speaker, event, or activity, nor does it need to be for it to accomplish its goal.
- Dissents. Dissents are short and spontaneous non-violent verbal or non-verbal reactions to a speaker.
- Protests. Protests are responses to or intentionally take place during other events or activities occurring on campus. A Protest is different from a Demonstration in that the time, date, and location are connected to a campus speaker, event, or activity, and does so in order to accomplish its goal.
- Organizer. An Organizer is one who is either primarily responsible for planning, funding, or executing a Demonstration or Protest or is so associated with the Demonstration or Protest that a reasonable person would infer that responsibility.
- Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests are a necessary and valued form of expression. Individuals and organizations seeking to organize a Demonstration or Protest should contact the Dean of Students to assist with planning. The Dean of Students or Dean's designee will advise Organizers on execution of the activity with the goal that it occur as envisioned with minimal complications. All University policies apply during Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests. Organizers as well as those participating—including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, students, and the public—are responsible for knowing and abiding by University policies as well as local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
- When possible, a request to hold a Demonstration or Protest should be submitted to the Dean of Students at least 48 hours prior to the planned activity to ensure its successful execution. The submission should include the time, date, and location. The University may require Organizers to move the time, date, and location if it is determined the Demonstration or Protest, as planned, would be disruptive to campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.
- For Demonstrations and Protests occurring on campus, only registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space. Students not affiliated with a registered student organization, administrative office, or academic departments may only use campus space on a first-come basis and at the discretion of the University. The Dean of Students or Dean's designee can reserve space for such students who have properly engaged in the planning process. The public, including parents and alumni, may not participate in or be invited to an on-campus Demonstration or Protest, except when permitted via the event registration process outlined in this section of the Student Handbook.
- For Demonstrations and Protests occurring off campus on city sidewalks and streets adjacent to the University, Organizers should make appropriate arrangements to acquire city permits and should adhere to city ordinances and applicable local, state and federal law. The public may participate in off-campus Demonstrations and Protests.
- Impromptu and Spontaneous Activism
- On occasion, Demonstrations and Protests cannot reasonably meet the advance planning requirement. In such cases, Organizers are strongly encouraged to seek an expedited review of plans by the Dean of Students or Dean's designee.
- If Demonstrations or Protests occur without an expedited review, the University may discuss with Organizers whether relocation to another space on campus is appropriate prior to denying a request or terminating the Activism.
- Dissent, by its nature, is impromptu or spontaneous. Dissent may occur without any prior University review, but the University retains the right to terminate such activity should it convert to Protest or Demonstration or otherwise be disruptive to campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.
- During Demonstrations, Organizers and participants may engage in audible and symbolic acts (e.g., giving speeches, chanting, marching, holding signs, or similarly raising awareness of a national, local, or campus issue).
- Amplified sound should only be used outside of campus buildings and must comply with all applicable noise policies and ordinances. In campus buildings, demonstrations should comply with maximum occupancy for fire safety.
- Protests & Dissents
- During Protests, Organizers and participants may engage in silent and symbolic acts (e.g., picketing, holding signs, turning backs, covering ears, or similarly raising awareness of a national, local, or campus issue) unless a space has been designated by the University for audible acts or the protest is so far from the targeted campus event or activity as to not reasonably disturb participants. Dissents are also an appropriate form of protest.
- Both Protests and Dissents should respect the rights of others wishing to engage in the University activity or event that is the focus of Activism. Others should be allowed free and safe access to the meeting or activity, unobstructed and undisrupted viewing, the ability to hear and view a speaker undisrupted, as well as the ability to otherwise reasonably participate.
- Distribution of Literature
- Refer to the Distribution of printed information or use of electronic media policy in this section of the Student Handbook.
- University Officials
- The University may, at its discretion, have individuals from Student Affairs, Vanderbilt University Public Safety, or other University departments present at Protests, Demonstrations, and other events to observe and advise. Organizers and participants are expected to comply with instructions of University officials.
- Relocation or Termination
- The University will work with Organizers and participants to relocate Demonstrations and Protests that may or terminate Demonstrations and Protests that do disrupt campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringes on the rights of other members of the University community.
- Demonstrations and Protests are not permitted to occur in the following locations:
- Private offices, research laboratories or associated facilities, and computer centers;
- Specific areas of offices, museums, libraries, and other facilities that contain valuable or sensitive materials, collections, equipment, and records protected by law, or by existing University policy, such as educational records, student-related or personnel-related records, or financial records;
- Classrooms, art and music practice rooms, seminar rooms, auditoriums, meeting rooms, or outdoor spaces in which University academic courses are being held or are scheduled to be held;
- Residential areas during quiet hours; and
- Student Health Center, University Counseling Center, Student Care Coordination, Center for Student Wellbeing, Project Safe, Title IX office, Vanderbilt University Police Department headquarters, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, other administrative offices in which student privacy is paramount, critical infrastructure (such as the Power House), as well as the surrounding green space or grounds (including, but not limited to, sidewalks, access roads, parking areas, etc.), and any other space that obstructs entry or access to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- Disorderly Conduct
- Riots or other destructive gatherings are never permitted. Use of masks (other than those required for health-related reasons) or costumes that obscure participants’ identity, brandishing of weapons or items that could reasonably be believed to be weapons, words and actions that may incite violence, physical altercations, and any other act a reasonable person would believe is designed to intimidate or threaten others is prohibited.
- Conduct that obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises is prohibited.
- Conduct that impedes University events and activities—including, but not limited to, excessive noise, continually interrupting a speaker, preventing an audience from seeing/engaging with a speaker or participating in an activity, disrupting the viewing of a presentation or speaker, blocking entrances or exits, or impeding free movement—is prohibited.
- Disorderly conduct, as outlined above, may subject an Organizer or participant to removal from the event, referral for disciplinary action through the University’s accountability process, or other legal action available to the University. While the campus is generally open to the public, the University may cite with trespassing individuals engaging in prohibited conduct during Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests.
- Organizers are encouraged to meet with the Dean of Students or Dean's designee after a Demonstration or Protest has occurred to review successes and challenges for future planning.
- Registered student organizations may also order films to show on campus. The motion picture titles shown on the Vanderbilt campus must be 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. Student Centers, 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 “Communication and Promotion.”
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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 than $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.
Only registered student organizations and their respective programs are eligible for Student Services Fee allocations. Student organizations are encouraged to fully spend their allocated amount consistent with how they indicated they would use their funds in their application. The awarded amount of Student Services Fee funds will be uploaded into the student organization’s financial account via Anchor Link during the Fall semester. Student Services Fees funds will not roll over to the following year, and any adjusted funding will be reallocated to other student priorities. Revenue above the Student Services Fee allocated amount will remain in the student organization’s account, including fundraising, donations, ticket sales and any other external revenue. Registered student organizations that are inactive, will be closed after three years of inactivity, and the monetary balance will be reallocated to support other student priorities. 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.
Peabody Professional and Graduate Student Association (PPGSA). Membership comprises diverse student representatives from all Peabody graduate and professional departments and programs.
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 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.
Peabody Council. 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.
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 programs 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.
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Student organizations are required to register all co-curricular programs and special events (meetings, concerts, lectures, etc.) that require a space reservation through EMS or at the Student Centers office, located in Rand Hall room 307, 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 Anchor Link 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, via phone at 615-322-2448, or by visiting the office in Rand Hall Suite 307.
The event registration process is designed to support a variety of events that may need services from Student Centers, Transportation and Parking, Vanderbilt University Police Department, Plant Operations, the Center for Student Wellbeing, Risk Management, and staff who oversee compliance with the Protection of Minors policy, as needed.
The event registration process is managed online in Anchor Link. Occasionally, event organizers may be required to meet with the designated staff should clarification be needed on one or more arrangements for the event.
The following types of events must be registered through the event registration process in Anchor Link:
- Outdoor events, including but not limited to:
- Events requesting amplified sound
- 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.
- Student Centers 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 Anchor Link 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 Anchor Link. Student organizations hosting events with minors that require parent permission forms with emergency contact information under the Protection of Minors policy must document the forms internally.
- Events that include minors must track attendance of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and affiliates through the Anchor Link attendance tracking process.
- Note that events that fall under the Protection of Minors policy are subject to a compliance audit.
Registering an event requires completion of the following steps:
- A new event must be created in Anchor Link in the appropriated organization’s Anchor Link site.
- Details about the event must be provided during the new event creation process.
- Changes in plans, if any, must be made in the Anchor Link event should they occur after the original registration process has been completed, and appropriate offices—including Student Centers—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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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 Student Centers.
- Arrangements for solicitation in Sarratt Center | Rand Hall or on Rand Terrace, by registered organizations or by University departments, are made with Student Centers.
- 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 is expressly open to non-VU community members and the event is approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
- 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 Student Centers 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 Student Centers.
- 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 of any kind.
- 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 Anchor Link page.
Vanderbilt Student Government also administers co-sponsorship funding, the application for which may also be found in the Forms section of the VSG Anchor Link page.
Student Affairs 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 Student Affairs Anchor Link page.
Please note that student organizations may not approach offices outside the scope of Student Affairs, more than one department within the Student Affairs 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 advisers and liaisons within Student Affairs or Student Organizations, Leadership and Service.
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 Student Centers 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. Some off-campus fundraising is subject for approval through the Office of Annual Giving.
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 Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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 Anchor Link for review by Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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 Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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 Anchor Link. 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. Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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.
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 Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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 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 Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, and the appropriate student governing body upon request.
- 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 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 Dean of Students at least two weeks before the solicitation.
Student Organizations, Leadership and Service 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 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 or funds provided to a student organization by the University may not be used for charitable contributions. Further, student organizations may not collect donations through platforms such as GoFundMe, Venmo, and similar type products as these must be connected to off-campus banking accounts and 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 Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, will be assisted by the Center for Spiritual 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 “Communication and Promotion” 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 email@example.com. 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 in Anchor Link 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 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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Travel, Student Co-Curricular
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 David Williams II 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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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 or student organization were to provide alcohol to underage students at an off-campus location).
In addition, the misuse of prescription drugs is a serious concern 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 treatment 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 possession or 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. Standard indicators of drinking to the level of intoxication may include, but are not limited to, lack of balance, loss of coordination, confusion, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, odor of intoxicant, etc.
- 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 Dean of Students or Dean's designee 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 approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee. 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 be approved in AnchorLink at least three weeks in advance of the event. 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 designated event spaces.
- 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 than 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 Vanderbilt Catering & Events or 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 adviser and the completion of appropriate contractual documents (where applicable) approved by the relevant dean's office or 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 a designated primary host and at least one 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 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 must be kept in a regulated 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 and approved in Anchor Link at least three weeks in advance of the event. Student organizations, their officers, and individual members may be 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, including for campus-wide events such as Rites of Spring, Commodore Quake, and community 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 and 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 in accordance with the event management guidelines below. "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 designated event spaces.
- With the authorization of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, a sponsoring party may arrange for licensed vendors to sell alcohol. The expectation is that the quantity of provided beverage will be no more than three (3) standard drink units (which is 1.5 ounces of eighty (80) proof liquor, twelve  ounces for beer, and five  ounces for wine).
- With the authorization of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, a University department may arrange for Vanderbilt Catering & Events or a third-party licensed vendor to distribute alcohol at events where undergraduate students over the age of 21 will be present. The expectation is that the quantity of provided beverage will be no more than three (3) standard drink units (which is 1.5 ounces of eighty (80) proof liquor, twelve  ounces for beer, and five  ounces for wine). Approval for this type of event will generally be granted for Commencement-related events and activities when only graduating students will be in attendance.
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 adviser and the completion of appropriate contractual documents approved by the Dean of Students or 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.
- On an annual basis, organizers of events taking place in the West End Neighborhood at which alcohol will be available must complete West End Neighborhood Training.
- 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.
- 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 Dean of Students or Dean's designee in advance of the event, where applicable.
- 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.
- Third-party security or third-party licensed bartenders must check official forms of identification and distribute wristbands to those attendees that are of legal drinking age.
- In order to be admitted to an on-campus event, attendees must present their Vanderbilt ID for verification and have their attendance tracked using the Anchor Link 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. Hosts of events must ensure attendance is accurately tracked in Anchor Link or uploaded into Anchor Link following the event.
- 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 using a third-party bartender. For B.Y.O.B. events, a wristband tracking system must be used in accordance with the following guidelines:
- Upon arrival at an event, all alcohol must be checked with a third-party bartender in exchange for a bar wristband. Sober monitors and third-party bartenders must maintain a numbered list (in accordance with each wristband) of all attendees who have checked in alcohol at the event. All alcohol must be tracked as it is received and distributed.
- In order to obtain alcohol, all attendees checking out alcohol must have the bar wristband, in addition to the 21+ wristband.
- The third-party bartenders will operate at all times in accordance with their contractual obligations, company policies, and applicable laws and regulations, which includes declining to serve those who are already intoxicated.
- If an individual has checked in alcohol at the bar with the third party bartender, if can only be checked back out for departure from the party 15 minutes prior to the conclusion of the event. Alcohol left at the bar at the conclusion of the party must be discarded.
- Open containers of alcoholic beverages should not be permitted to leave the event.
- 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.
- 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 Party Registration Form is in Anchor Link and must be submitted and approved 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 Dean of Students or Dean’s designee 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 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 and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. A contract with a vendor for the sale of alcohol may only be signed in accordance with the University’s Delegation of Authority Policy. Student organizations or other event 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 by Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity 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 an assessment 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 increase their positive coping skills and reduce the risks associated with the misuse 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. Student organizations may alternatively or additionally be required to complete alternative resolution plan to address the cause of the violation and action plan for reducing recidivism.
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, including a restriction period during which 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 harm reduction coaching session(s) at the Center for Student Wellbeing,
- 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,
- alcohol/other 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 completeness or 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 give or buy alcoholic beverages for or on behalf of anyone under twenty-one years of age, or to cause alcohol to be given or bought for or on behalf of anyone under twenty-one years of age for any purpose These offenses are classified as Class A Misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for up to eleven months and twenty-nine days, or a fine of up to $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 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 simple possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance (such as marijuana) is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to eleven months and twenty-nine days or a fine up to $2,500, or both). 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 as a Class E Felony 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, 39-17-419, 39-17-428; 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, Part 4.) For example, possession of more than twenty-six grams of cocaine is punishable as a Class B Felony 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 concerns 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/high-risk drinking and other forms of alcohol misuse, students who choose to drink alcohol should imbibe only in moderation. Should students or their friends misuse 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.
- 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, coaching, assessments, resources, and referrals. Additionally, Vanderbilt Recovery Support offers student-led, anonymous, and discreet weekly support meetings and monthly seminars.
- The University Counseling Center has a multidisciplinary team of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatric professionals who can provide an initial assessment around alcohol and other drug concerns and assist the student in connecting with appropriate resources whether it be on campus or in the community.
- 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 in Residential Experience
- Your Academic Dean
- Your own physician/psychiatrist/psychologist
- 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
- Center for Spiritual and Religious Life 615-322-2457
- 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.") 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 (opioid): 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.
- Fentanyl (synthetic opioid) is typically prescribed after surgery or to manage chronic pain for those who are tolerant to opioids. It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Its effects include sedation, slowed respiration, seizures, and unconsciousness. Fentanyl may be laced in counterfeit pills and cocaine which can lead to overdose deaths, due to its potency.
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 misuse 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 lack of personal hygiene)
- 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 offer to accompany the student to meeting or group
- Try to get the student to seek professional help
- Submit a Student of Concern Report to seek 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”
- Continue using alcohol or other drugs with student
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Chapter 7: Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence
Vanderbilt University's Sexual Misconduct and related policies effective August 1, 2022, which detail the Title IX Process are available on the Title IX Office website and below.
2022-2023 Sexual Misconduct Policy
2022-2023 Formal Grievance Protocol
Chapter 8: Student Discrimination
Introduction / Prohibited Conduct and Additional Definitions / Reporting an Incident / Investigations / Appeals / Resources and Support
Vanderbilt University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment.
Scope of Policy
This policy outlines the procedures for responding to reports that a student, as defined in the Jurisdiction section of Chapter 3 of the Student Handbook, engaged in prohibited discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation as defined below. This policy is applicable 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. Matters in which a non-student reports alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation by a student fall under this policy and procedure. The Equal Opportunity and Access Office (EOA) will address allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation by a non-student in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures.
EOA will apply the processes in the edition of this policy in effect on the date EOA receives the report of prohibited conduct irrespective of the date the reported incident(s) occurred. EOA will use the definitions, including prohibited conduct (see below), in effect on the date of the alleged incident. EOA will use the definitions section(s) of the relevant edition of the policy (or any predecessor policy) in effect at the time of the most recent alleged incident for reported conduct spanning more than one year. Questions about the policy and its applicability to any alleged conduct may be directed to EOA.
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. EOA will coordinate with the Title IX Office regarding allegations of prohibited conduct that fall under both this policy and the Sexual Misconduct Policy or Formal Grievance Protocol and will work with the Title IX Coordinator to determine, on a case-by-case basis, how the offices will address the allegations. Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct are addressed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.”
Vanderbilt encourages everyone affected by conduct prohibited under this policy, or who suspects or witnesses such conduct, to report the conduct to EOA and to seek help and support from available resources. The University will take prompt and effective action to address allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and to resolve reports in a timely and fair manner.
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Prohibited Conduct and Additional Definitions
The following conduct is prohibited ("Prohibited Conduct"):
- Discrimination: Treating someone differently because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law (“Protected Classes”) in the administration of Vanderbilt’s educational policies, programs, or activities. This policy also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that any person is a member of any of the Protected Classes or is associated with a person who is, or is perceived to be, a member of one or more of the Protected Classes.
- Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct, or conduct using technology, directed toward someone because of their membership in a Protected Class that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s educational or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, working, or academic environment. This policy also prohibits harassment based on the perception that any person is a member of any of the Protected Classes or is associated with a person who is, or is perceived to be, a member of one or more of the Protected Classes. A person's subjective belief that conduct is intimidating, hostile, or offensive does not make that conduct harassment. To constitute harassment, the conduct must from both a subjective and objective perspective be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives a member of the community of the ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities from the University’s education or employment programs or activities. In determining whether a hostile environment exists, EOA examines the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of incidents, as well as the relationships of the persons involved. Sexual harassment is addressed in Chapter 7, “Sexual Misconduct.” Please note: General harassment or uncivil conduct that is not based on a Protected Class does not fall within the purview of this policy or EOA. Such behavior may violate other university policies and should be reported to Student Accountability (for students), to Human Resources (for staff), or to the appropriate departmental leadership (for faculty).
- Retaliation: Action threatened or taken, directly or through others, intended to deter a person from engaging in Protected Activity (defined below) or done in retribution for engaging in Protected Activity. Action in response to Protected Activity is not retaliatory unless it (1) would not have occurred in the absence of the protected activity; and (2) has a materially adverse effect on the person, meaning the action was sufficiently harmful to deter a reasonable person from engaging in Protected Activity. Vanderbilt strictly prohibits retaliation and will take appropriate action to address reports of retaliation.
- Report is any complaint or information provided to EOA alleging an incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- Complainant is generally the person who is reported to have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, 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 alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct; if the respondent is a student organization, EOA or Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity (“Student Accountability”) will designate a member of the organization to represent the organization in the investigation process.
- Protected Activity includes (1) reporting (internally or externally) or inquiring, in good faith, about suspected Prohibited Conduct; (2) assisting others in reporting or inquiring, in good faith, about suspected Prohibited Conduct; or (3) participating in an investigation or proceeding related to suspected Prohibited Conduct.
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Reporting an Incident
Any person may report Prohibited Conduct to 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 after reviewing the allegations EOA determines that a report should be addressed by another office, EOA will direct the person submitting the report to the appropriate office and will refer the matter to that office. To report to EOA, a person may do one or more of the following: (1) use the Online Reporting Form; (2) contact the office via (email firstname.lastname@example.org), mail, or phone; or (3) visit the office in person.
When making a report, it is helpful to provide all known relevant information, including: what happened, where, and when; names of all involved persons, 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. Everyone is encouraged to report Prohibited Conduct even if some or all relevant information is unavailable.
If the offense is criminal in nature, persons may also file a report with the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) or Metropolitan 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
Civil or criminal proceedings are separate from the University administrative process described in this policy. 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.
Anonymous reports may be submitted through the Online Reporting Form. In addition, Vanderbilt has established 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 at (844) 814-5935, or via the Make a Report tab on the EthicsPoint site. Please note that EOA’s ability to investigate or to implement remedial actions may be more limited for anonymous reports.
Vanderbilt encourages third parties to report Prohibited Conduct to EOA, VUPD, or MNPD, as applicable. Third parties may also report incidents through the anonymous reporting resources identified above. 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
When EOA receives a report of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, EOA will contact the complainant to identify support resources and supportive measures and to offer the opportunity to schedule a meeting to discuss the allegations and the EOA investigative process. If a person chooses not to participate in an investigation, EOA may move forward based on the available information but Vanderbilt’s ability to response may be limited.
EOA will assess whether the alleged conduct, as reported, could constitute a violation of this policy. If EOA determines the alleged conduct, as reported, could not constitute a violation of this policy, it will notify the complainant(s) of its determination not to open an investigation. EOA may also refer the conduct to another office or official, including for review to determine whether the alleged conduct could violate another University policy.
The Director of EOA or designee has the discretion to administratively close an investigation before reaching a determination. The Director or designee will consider relevant factors, such as 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 before deciding whether to administratively close an investigation. The Director or designee may also re-open an investigation based on a consideration of relevant factors, including, the time that has elapsed since the investigation was closed, any new or newly-identified information or allegations, and fairness to both parties.
The University will address all reports of Prohibited Conduct to the extent practicable under the circumstances, including instances for which there is not an identified complainant.
Notice of Allegations
If EOA determines that an investigation is appropriate, student respondents will receive a Notice of Allegations (“NOA”) from Student Accountability. The date the NOA is issued marks the official start of an investigation.
The NOA will identify the applicable university policies and state the allegations potentially constituting a policy violation. If at any point during the investigation EOA decides to investigate allegations that are not included in the original NOA, it will provide a revised NOA to the respondent. EOA may contact the respondent for the purposes of obtaining or sharing information before issuing the NOA.
EOA will promptly notify the complainant of the issuance of the NOA to the respondent.
The Investigative Process
During the investigation, an EOA investigator will meet with the complainant and respondent, separately, to explain the role of EOA, the 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 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 have not had formal legal training. Advisers to Vanderbilt Law School students are the only exception from the final requirement regarding legal training; those advisers may have legal training but must otherwise meet the requirements for advisers.
During the investigation phase, the investigator will strive to collect all relevant information but cannot compel external sources to provide information they may have. Relevant information may include: the initial report, law enforcement investigation documents; medical records with the appropriate releases; relevant student files or records; electronic communication, such as text messages, emails, and messaging apps; internet or social media posts; screenshots; pictures; audio and video recordings; video surveillance; verbal or written statements; swipe records; and receipts. The investigator also may interview the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses. The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to provide information to investigator, including the names of people with relevant information. The investigator will consider the witness lists provided by the complainant and respondent when identifying witnesses for interview, but decisions about whom to interview are solely within the investigator’s discretion. The investigator retains discretion to limit the number of witness interviews conducted if the investigator finds that the witnesses’ statements would be unreasonably cumulative, if the witnesses are offered solely as character references and do not have information relevant to the allegations at issue, or if the witnesses are offered to render testimony that is otherwise inadmissible. As the investigation progresses, the investigator may conduct follow-up interviews as necessary. If the complainant or the respondent learns of, or recalls, additional information during the course of the investigation, that person should notify the EOA investigator promptly.
Persons are encouraged to exercise discretion in sharing information related to the investigation 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, including those who may support or assist them during the process.
EOA will record and transcribe interviews conducted as part of an investigation. EOA will provide interviewees with a transcript of their interview for their review and for accuracy. The parties will have three business days to review and offer corrections to the transcript. If corrections are not submitted within three business days, the investigators will proceed with the transcript as drafted.
Before making a final determination, EOA will provide the respondent the opportunity to review evidence that may be used to determine whether the respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct. 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. Comments may not exceed10 double-spaced pages, and pages must be formatted with one (1) inch margins and twelve (12) point font. Comments must be submitted either by hand delivery to EOA, 2100 West End Avenue, Suite 700, or by email attachment to the EOA investigator by no later than 5:00 p.m. on the tenth calendar day following the date the respondent receives the evidence. Requests for extensions must be submitted to the EOA investigator before to the expiration of the 10-day review period.
EOA will review comments to the evidence received from the respondent and will conduct any further investigation it considers necessary or appropriate. After the conclusion of any additional investigation, EOA will issue any additional evidence gathered 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 and subject to the formatting and time periods identified for the initial review.
EOA may investigate and make findings of fact regarding possible violations of other University policies (e.g., policies outlined in the Student Handbook) 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 office or official 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.
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 EOA Director or designee will decide in each case whether to receive evidence from experts or other witnesses. Polygraph evidence will not 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) the determination as to whether the respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct and the rationale the determination, and (b) if appropriate, any relevant recommendations. The final report will contain a summary of the evidence on which the final determination and any recommendations are based. The respondent’s response to the information gathered will be included with 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. EOA may share information about a determination or recommendation with appropriate offices or officials (e.g., Director of Student Accountability, Dean of the appropriate School) 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.
If EOA determines that the respondent violated this policy, Student Accountability will review EOA’s final report and will render an appropriate sanction. Student Accountability will determine the sanction 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 may also request clarifying or additional information from EOA to assist in determining the appropriate sanction.
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
EOA will maintain materials obtained during the investigation in accordance with applicable record retention policies.
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Respondents may appeal the EOA determination and the sanction issued by Student Accountability within 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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Any member of the Vanderbilt community who has experienced or been affected by Prohibited Conduct may seek assistance from one or more of the resources identified below.
Support Resources for Vanderbilt Students
- University Counseling Center: 615-322-2571 (CONFIDENTIAL)
- Center for Spiritual and Religious Life: 615-322-2457 (CONFIDENTIAL)
- Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: 615-343-2644
- Student Affairs: 615-322-6400
- Housing and Residential Experience: 615-322-2591
- 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: 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. Confidential resources may, however, have other reporting obligations under law. For example, healthcare providers are required to notify law enforcement when someone seeks treatment for injuries caused by a violent crime. And 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.
Supportive measures are non-disciplinary and non-punitive services designed to restore or preserve equal access to Vanderbilt’s education program and activities without unreasonably burdening other members of the Vanderbilt community. Some supportive measures are designed to protect the safety of parties and Vanderbilt’s educational or work environment, as well as to deter discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Vanderbilt may facilitate reasonable supportive measures on its own initiative or in response to a request from a complainant or respondent. Vanderbilt will maintain privacy with respect to any personal supportive measures provided to complainants, respondents, or third parties, to the extent that maintaining such privacy would not impair Vanderbilt's ability to provide the supportive measures (e.g., mutual no-contact directives require notice to others). Such measures will remain in effect as long as necessary, based on the relevant facts and circumstances.
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