General Regulations

Students are expected to be familiar with those rules and regulations covered in this handbook that apply to them. Furthermore, it is the expectation of the Graduate School that all students, whether or not they are currently enrolled degree candidates, will behave in a mature and responsible manner. This presumption applies no less to a student’s academic performance than to his or her social behavior. In the words of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on April 14, 1970, “By accepting membership in the University, an individual joins a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change.” Thus, plagiarism, sexual and racial harassment, the use of physical violence, or lying to an officer typifies violation of the principles on which the University is founded and requires disciplinary action.

Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities

On April 14, 1970, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities. Because of its far-reaching implications and significance to all members of the University community, the full text of this resolution is provided below:

“The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching, research, and scholarship. By accepting membership in the University, an individual joins a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change. The rights and responsibilities exercised within the community must be compatible with these qualities.

“The rights of members of the University are not fundamentally different from those of other members of society. The University, however, has a special autonomy, and reasoned dissent plays a particularly vital part in its existence. All members of the University have the right to press for action on matters of concern by any appropriate means. The University must affirm, assure and protect the right of its members to organize and join political associations, convene and conduct public meetings, publicly demonstrate and picket in an orderly fashion, advocate, and publicize opinion by print, sign, and voice.

“The University places special emphasis, as well, upon certain values that are essential to its nature as an academic community. Among these are freedom of speech and academic freedom, freedom from personal force and violence, and freedom of movement. Interference with any of these freedoms must be regarded as a serious violation of the personal rights upon which the community is based. Furthermore, although the administrative processes and activities of the University cannot be ends in themselves, such functions are vital to the orderly pursuit of the work of all members of the University. Therefore, interference with members of the University in performance of their normal duties and activities must be regarded as unacceptable obstruction of the essential processes of the University. Theft or willful destruction of the property of the University or its members must also be considered an unacceptable violation of the rights of individuals or of the community as a whole.

“Moreover, it is the responsibility of all members of the academic community to maintain an atmosphere in which violations of rights are unlikely to occur and to develop processes by which these rights are fully assured. In particular, it is the responsibility of officers of administration and instruction to be alert to the needs of the University community; to give full and fair hearing to reasoned expressions of grievances; and to respond promptly and in good faith to such expressions and to widely-expressed needs for change. In making decisions that concern the community as a whole or any part of the community, officers are expected to consult with those affected by the decisions. Failures to meet these responsibilities may be profoundly damaging to the life of the University. Therefore, the University community has the right to establish orderly procedures consistent with imperatives of academic freedom to assess the policies and assure the responsibility of those whose decisions affect the life of the University.

“No violation of the rights of members of the University, nor any failure to meet responsibilities, should be interpreted as justifying any violation of the rights of members of the University. All members of the community—students and officers alike— should uphold the rights and responsibilities expressed in this Resolution if the University is to be characterized by mutual respect and trust.”


“The Faculty regards it as implicit in the language of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities that intense personal harassment of such a character as to amount to grave disrespect for the dignity of others be regarded as an unacceptable violation of the personal rights on which the University is based.”

The Administrative Board of the Graduate School

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has delegated to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School power for the enforcement of the regulations of the faculty relating to graduate education and for the conduct of all ordinary matters of administration and discipline. In practice, the deans handle the day-to-day administration of the Graduate School, relying on the board for guidance in many matters. However, the board receives reports on exceptions made to the rules, and it considers all matters of discipline.

The Administrative Board may initiate proposals for new, or modifications of existing, legislation affecting graduate students. Such initiatives move from the board to the Committee on Graduate Education, which has responsibility for considering all legislation affecting graduate education. The Administrative Board has no jurisdiction over departmental academic rules and regulations except a concern that they be fairly administered and do not conflict with the rules and regulations adopted by the faculty. The board serves as the academic department for all students in ad hoc degree programs.

Appeals procedure: Graduate students may appeal decisions of their departments and of the Graduate School Administration to the Administrative Board. In addition, the board considers appeals of decisions concerning teaching fellow appointments and financial aid. Student members of the board sit only when financial aid and teaching fellow appeals are being heard.

The Administrative Board is composed of the dean of the graduate school (chair), the administrative dean (vice-chair), seven teaching members of the faculty (from each of the three major areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences), the registrar, the dean for student affairs, the dean for admissions and financial aid, and the assistant dean of student affairs, who acts as secretary. Up to four graduate students serve on the Board when it is considering appeals of financial aid and teaching fellow appointment decisions.

Unsatisfactory Records

The degree candidacy of a student whose record is below the standards of the Graduate School or of the student’s department may, at the end of a given term, be terminated by the department in consultation with the Graduate School. In some cases, a student may be permitted to register subject to specific academic conditions which, if not fulfilled by the date specified, will result in the termination of candidacy. Such a student, upon the recommendation of the department, may be placed on formal academic probation by the Administrative Board. Probation establishes a definite period in which the student must achieve whatever academic goal has been established by the department and the Administrative Board.

In some cases, a student whose candidacy for the PhD is terminated may have the opportunity to receive a master’s degree. A student whose degree candidacy has been terminated for failure to meet academic requirements ordinarily may not apply for readmission until two academic terms after the date of termination.

Disciplinary Action

Failure to attend academic exercises regularly, failure to maintain a satisfactory academic record or to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, neglect of academic work or requirements, violation of the rules of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, lying to an officer of the University, cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty; theft of or damage to property of the University or others, possession of stolen goods, physical violence (including assault and sexual assault), harassment, or disorderly conduct; violation of law (including unlawful use or possession of controlled substances, firearms, or hazardous materials), and other conduct that departs from generally accepted standards of integrity and behavior will be dealt with by the Administrative Board, or the Student-Faculty Judicial Board. A detailed description of the procedures followed in disciplinary cases is contained in the document, The Administrative Board of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (PDF). The following actions may be taken:

  1. Admonition: a reprimand that becomes part of the student’s official record but is not considered a formal disciplinary action.
  2. Probation: probation is meant to serve as a serious warning to students whose academic performance or whose conduct gives cause for concern. A student on probation should be especially conscientious about all academic responsibilities. It is the hope of the Administrative Board that the sanction provided by probation will spur the student to resume satisfactory progress and/or behavior. A student placed on probation for disciplinary reasons will be relieved from probation if, at the end of a set period of time, satisfactory conduct has been maintained. A student placed on probation for academic reasons is relieved from probation if the student has maintained a satisfactory academic record during the set period of time. Failure to meet the conditions of probation is a grave matter and will ordinarily result in requirement to withdraw.
  3. Requirement to Withdraw: action that may be taken in the following circumstances:
    1. a student who has failed to achieve a satisfactory record;
    2. any student, whether or not previously on probation, whose record fails to meet the minimum departmental requirements;
    3. serious neglect of work, even though the student has met the minimum requirements;
    4. failure to meet deadlines set by the department or the Administrative Board;
    5. disciplinary cases.
    Requirement to withdraw normally is effective immediately upon the vote of the Administrative Board. A student who is required to withdraw, for whatever reason, is not in good standing until readmitted. In order to be readmitted after having been required to withdraw, the student ordinarily must be away from the Graduate School for at least two terms and must demonstrate an acceptable record of performance during the absence. In all such cases, the student must apply for readmission and the decision will depend upon the University’s judgment. In disciplinary cases, the Administrative Board as well as the department and the dean of the Graduate School must approve readmission.
  4. Dismissal: action taken in serious disciplinary cases that ends a student’s connection with the University by vote of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dismissal does not necessarily preclude a student’s return, but readmission will be granted only by a vote of the Faculty Council. A dismissed student is not in good standing until readmitted.
  5. Expulsion: the most extreme disciplinary action possible. It must be voted by the Faculty Council. A student who is expelled can never be readmitted and restored to good standing.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences does not record on a student’s transcript a vote of admonition. Both probation and requirement to withdraw appear on the student’s transcript during the length of the probation or the requirement to withdraw. Once the probation or requirement to withdraw is completed, the notation is removed from the transcript. The fact that a student was withdrawn for any length of time is permanently noted on the transcript, but the reason for the withdrawal is not. Dismissals and expulsions are permanently noted on students’ transcripts.

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board was established by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1987 in order to deal with alleged offenses that have broad implications for the community and on which there is no clear precedent or consensus in the community about the impermissibility of the actions or the appropriate response. The Judicial Board is charged with hearing cases in which the issues involved have special importance for the University community at large and the principles on which it is based. It is expected that it will be establishing community standards on the basis of its decisions.

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board has fifteen members: a chair, designated by the dean of the faculty, six additional faculty members chosen by lot and elected by the faculty, and six students (four undergraduate students and two graduate students) chosen by lot. The dean of Harvard College and the administrative dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are ex officio nonvoting members. Hearings of the Judicial Board, unlike those of the Administrative Board, may be open if requested by the student charged. However, the Judicial Board can close a hearing to the public by a two-thirds vote in order to maintain good order or to protect the rights of students involved.

Since the dividing line between cases to be considered by the Administrative Board and those to be considered by the Student-Faculty Judicial Board is not a precise one, jurisdiction will ultimately be decided by a process that includes the student against whom charges have been brought, the Administrative Board, and the Judicial Board. All cases are initially raised at the Administrative Board. The accused student, after discussion with the dean for student affairs, may request, on the basis of the principles outlined above and by the Faculty’s legislation, that the case come before either the Administrative Board or the Judicial Board. Whenever, upon the basis of the same set of principles, the members of the Administrative Board agree with the student or students that a matter should be sent on to the Judicial Board or retained by the Administrative Board, such assignment is automatic. Whenever there is disagreement between the Administrative Board and the accused student about which board should have jurisdiction, the Judicial Board itself will make the final decision as to which cases it will accept. Once jurisdiction for a case has been established, appeals are not possible from one board to the other.

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board may take the same actions as the Administrative Board (see above). The Faculty Council is the only body with the power to dismiss or expel a student on the basis of a recommendation from one of the disciplinary boards. Also, only the Faculty Council can overturn or modify a decision of either the Administrative Board or the Student-Faculty Judicial Board. Each board is responsible for deciding whether to re-admit students whom it has required to withdraw, and is responsible for administering the conditions of probation for students whom it has placed on probation.

Commission of Inquiry

Any student, faculty member, or administrative officer who has an inquiry, suggestion, or complaint may address it to the Commission of Inquiry, c/o Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, University Hall, Ground Floor (617-495-1873). The commission will redirect the inquiry, suggestion, or complaint to the appropriate agency of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. When such an agency does not exist, the commission itself will attempt to aid in resolving the matter. Occasionally, the commission is instrumental in establishing a new agency for handling recurrent issues. Although the commission has no power to make rulings, it can play an advocacy role in pressing for the resolution of issues.

Ordinarily, the commission reports to the community on the matters that come before it, and in doing so, attempts to keep the community informed about factual background material and the resolution of matters of community concern.


 Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism

All work submitted for credit is expected to be the student’s own work. In the preparation of all papers and other written work, students should always take great care to distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from other sources. The term “sources” includes not only published primary and secondary material, but also information and opinions gained directly from other people.

The responsibility for learning the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student. Quotations must be properly placed within quotation marks and must be fully cited. In addition, all paraphrased material must be completely acknowledged. Whenever ideas or facts are derived from a student’s reading and research, the sources must be indicated.

The amount of collaboration with others that is permitted in the completion of assignments can vary, depending upon the policy set by the head of the course. If the syllabus or website does not include a policy on collaboration, students may assume that collaboration in the completion of assignments is permitted. Students must acknowledge any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work.

Students who are in any doubt about the preparation of academic work should consult with their instructor or the dean for student affairs before it is prepared or submitted. A guidebook entitled “Harvard Guide to Using Sources” is available online.

Students are expected to record honestly and accurately the results of all their research. Falsification of research results includes misrepresentations, distortions, or serious omissions in data or reports on research, and is considered a serious violation of academic honesty. Plagiarism or falsification of research results will ordinarily result in requirement to withdraw from the Graduate School.

The University is deeply concerned for the integrity of science by students and faculty and with sound and safe research practices. Student and faculty researchers are, individually and collectively, expected to safeguard and maintain the University’s policies and practices with respect to scientific misconduct. All researchers are reminded that sponsoring agencies also have such concerns, and that the University must inform sponsors of serious transgressions of sponsors’ policies as well as of any investigations related to sponsored research, and that sponsors may take action independent of the University.

Violation of Examination Rules

No communication is permitted between students during an examination, and no student is permitted to keep any books or papers during an examination except with the express permission of the instructor or proctor. Eating and drinking are not permitted in any examination room.

For violation of the examination rules or dishonesty in an examination, a student may be required to withdraw from the Graduate School. Students who fail to obey the instructions of an examination proctor are liable to disciplinary action.

Submission of Written Work

Students are responsible for ensuring that required written coursework is submitted and received on time. Written work should not be left in open mailboxes or other unattended places but rather given personally and directly to the head of the course or a responsible person acting on his or her behalf. Papers that are mailed to instructors should be sent by certified mail, and a receipt of delivery should be requested from the Postal Service. The student should keep both the postal receipt and a copy of the paper. If work is submitted electronically, students are responsible for confirming receipt.

Submission of the Same Work (Dual Submission) to More Than One Course

Students who would like to turn in the same or similar work to more than one course must get prior written permission from both or all the instructors involved. Instructors expect that each paper or exercise turned in is written specially for that assignment. Under that assumption, failure to get prior written permission can be deceptive and students who do it may be required to withdraw. Instructors do not always give permission, and even when they do give permission, they may ask for a longer or a somewhat different paper than they expect from students who write a paper solely for the one course. Thus it is important to have these conversations well in advance of the paper’s due date(s).

Each instructor should write a letter to Patrick O’Brien, assistant dean of student affairs, GSAS Dean’s Office, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center 350, giving permission for the student to submit the material to meet course requirements in more than one class. The student may draft a letter giving permission for the paper to be submitted to both classes and have both instructors sign the letter. These letters, once submitted to the assistant dean of student affairs, will be placed in the student’s academic folder.

If a student is planning on submitting work completed for a previous non-Harvard course, the student should consult with the instructor of the current course.

Exclusion from a Course

A student who neglects any course may, after written warning by the instructor, be excluded from the course by the instructor. Exclusion from a course is equivalent in all respects to failing it. A notation of EXLD (excluded) on the transcript indicates that the student was not permitted to continue in the course and received no credit. Students may not withdraw from a course from which they have been excluded. Students excluded from a course are denied any right to further course evaluation, including final and make-up examinations.


Use of Computers and Networks

Using Harvard’s network to download or share copyrighted music, movies, television shows, or games without the permission of the copyright owner may result in legal sanctions, network termination, or both.

BitTorrent, Gnutella, eDonkey, and other file sharing programs can transmit files on your computer to others in violation of copyright laws, with or without your knowledge. If these programs are on your computer, you will be held responsible for any copyright violations that may result.

The basic rules for appropriate use of computers and networks are outlined below.

Students who are provided access to University computer facilities and to the campus-wide communication network assume responsibility for their appropriate use. The University expects students to be careful, honest, responsible, and civil in the use of computers and networks. Those who use wide-area networks (such as the Internet) to communicate with individuals or to connect to computers at other institutions are expected to abide by the rules for the remote systems and networks as well as those for Harvard’s systems.

Be advised that, in addition to violating College rules, certain computer misconduct is prohibited by federal and state law and is, therefore, subject to criminal and civil penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, intentionally intercepting electronic communications, and obtaining, altering, or destroying others’ electronic information. Similarly, serious legal penalties may result from the use of Harvard’s computers or network to violate copyright laws, as is possible with the use of peer-to-peer file sharing programs. Moreover, a student may be held responsible for misuse that occurs by allowing a third party access to the student’s own computer, account, or network connection.

Other policies are published in “Computer Rules and Responsibilities,” available at the Harvard University Information Technology website. Students are expected to abide by these rules and policies, and to consult an official of Harvard University Information Technology prior to any activity that would appear to threaten the security or performance of University computers and networks. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Use of Computer and Network Facilities

Computer and network facilities are provided to students primarily for their educational use. These facilities have tangible value. Consequently, attempts to circumvent accounting systems or to use the computer accounts of others will be treated as forms of attempted theft.

Students may not attempt to damage or to degrade the performance of Harvard’s computers and networks and should not disrupt the work of other users. Students may not attempt to circumvent security systems or to exploit or probe for security holes in any Harvard network or system, nor may students attempt any such activity against other systems accessed through Harvard’s facilities. Execution or compilation of programs designed to breach system security is prohibited unless authorized in advance. Students assume personal responsibility for the use of their accounts. Consequently, students may not disclose their passwords or otherwise make Harvard’s facilities available to unauthorized individuals (including family or friends). Moreover, the possession or collection of others’ passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), private digital certificates, or other secure identification information is prohibited. Use of Harvard’s computers and networks for business-related purposes without authorization is prohibited (see Student Business Activity in the Handbook for Students).

Privacy of Electronic Information

Information stored on a computer system or sent electronically over a network is the property of the individual who created it. Examination, collection, or dissemination of that information without authorization from the owner is a violation of the owner’s rights to control his or her own property. Systems administrators, however, may gain access to users’ data or programs when it is necessary to maintain or prevent damage to systems or to ensure compliance with other University rules.

Computer systems and networks provide mechanisms for the protection of private information from examination. These mechanisms are necessarily imperfect and any attempt to circumvent them or to gain unauthorized access to private information (including both stored computer files and messages transmitted over a network) will be treated as a violation of privacy and will be cause for disciplinary action.

In general, information that the owner would reasonably regard as private must be treated as private by other users. Examples include the contents of email boxes, the private file storage areas of individual users, and information stored in other areas that are not public. That measures have not been taken to protect such information does not make it permissible for others to inspect it.

On shared and networked computer systems certain information about users and their activities is visible to others. Users are cautioned that certain accounting and directory information (for example, user names and email addresses), certain records of file names and executed commands, and information stored in public areas, are not private. Nonetheless, such unsecured information about other users must not be manipulated in ways that they might reasonably find intrusive; for example, eavesdropping by computer and systematic monitoring of the behavior of others are likely to be considered invasions of privacy that would be cause for disciplinary action. The compilation or redistribution of information from University directories (printed or electronic) is forbidden.

Identification Cards

ID cards are the property of Harvard University and are intended for University purposes only. ID cards are required for admission to most Harvard activities and facilities including libraries, museums, dining halls, athletic buildings, and student residences. Some facilities may also require a sticker for entry. The front of the ID card and the magnetic strips on the back, however, must be kept free from stickers.

ID cards are not transferable; a student may not allow any other person to use his or her card for any purpose. Every student is responsible for his or her ID card and the consequences of its misuse. A student who alters or falsifies his or her University identification card or produces or distributes false IDs of any kind is subject to disciplinary action. Students must hand over their identification card or otherwise identify themselves upon request to any properly identified employee of the University. Lost cards should be reported immediately to the Campus Service Center, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center 807, or the Longwood ID Office, Kresge 119. There is a fee of $25 for each replacement.

Library Policies

A student who violates the lending policies of any library may be subject to disciplinary action. In particular, removal of a book from any library without authorization, or mutilation, defacement, or abuse of any library book or library resources will ordinarily lead to requirement to withdraw.


Intellectual Property and Copyrighted Materials

Computer programs written as part of one’s academic work should be regarded as literary creations and subject to the same standards of misrepresentation as copied work (see Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism, Chapter VII). In addition, attempts to duplicate, use, or distribute software or other data without authorization by the owner is prohibited.

All Harvard users must respect the copyrights in works that are accessible through computers connected to the Harvard network. Federal copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner, unless fair use or another exemption under copyright law applies. In appropriate circumstances, Harvard will terminate the network access of users who are found to have repeatedly infringed the copyrights of others.

Harvard University is committed to maintaining the integrity and availability of the Harvard network for the vital educational and research purposes for which it was designed and prohibits the use of its network to violate the law, including the U.S. Copyright Act. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, violates the Copyright Act and may subject you to civil and criminal liabilities.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or "statutory" damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For "willful" infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to ten years and a fine of $250,000 for an individual. For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ’s.

Harvard complies fully with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Users of the Harvard network found to have engaged in repeated infringement of copyright are subject to termination of their network access and may be reported to the appropriate Dean or Human Resources officer for disciplinary action. For more information on Harvard’s policy, process and peer-to-peer file-sharing see Policy and FAQs.

Participation Agreement

Individuals who perform research at Harvard and/or who may create intellectual property through the use of Harvard resources are subject to certain University policies and, in some cases, to the terms of agreements between Harvard and third parties (e.g., other institutions, organizations, or companies). Such policies cover, for example, the ethical conduct of research, publication of research results, retention of research records, and handling of intellectual property. Among these policies is the University’s “Statement of Policy in Regard to Intellectual Property” (or “IP Policy”), which governs patentable inventions, copyrightable works, and tangible materials made through the use of funds, facilities, or other resources provided by or through Harvard.

The Harvard University Participation Agreement is designed to help carry out the IP Policy and other research policies and to help Harvard fulfill its responsibilities relating to research.

Each person can access their GMAS record for the limited purpose of signing the PA via HUID login at: https://gmas.harvard.edu/gmas/participationagreement.


Office of Technology Development

Everyone, including students, is expected to notify and to disclose to the Office of Technology Development (OTD) any invention that they have made in connection with their University work. The University’s “Statement of Policy in Regard to Intellectual Property (the “IP Policy”), which provides additional details, is available from the OTD website.

When an invention is subject to the IP Policy, OTD determines whether a patent application should be filed (the cost of which is borne by the University) and undertakes a marketing effort to license the technology for commercial development into new products and services. Net Royalties received on account of licenses is shared with the inventors according to the formula provided in the IP Policy.


Harvard Trademark Program

Harvard University’s Trademark Program is responsible for protecting and licensing Harvard’s various trademarks (e.g., “Harvard,” “Harvard College,” “Harvard Law School,” “the VERITAS shield,” etc.) worldwide. After covering operational expenses, revenue from the Trademark Program’s licensing activities is provided to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in support of that faculty’s undergraduate financial aid initiatives. Any student group wishing to reproduce any University trademark on products (e.g., t-shirts, mugs, etc.) should contact the Trademark Program in advance: the Trademark Program will provide guidance on how the marks may be used, can recommend licensed manufacturers, and advise when royalty exemptions apply. All student group names, logos, or names of student group publications incorporating “Harvard” or any other University trademark are owned by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and are used by permission of the University. The Trademark Program is also responsible for dealing with the unauthorized use of Harvard’s trademarks worldwide, provides advice on trademark related issues and assists schools, departments, and units in obtaining trademark protection for any trademarks they are using, whether or not they include the word “Harvard.” In addition, the Trademark Program administers Harvard’s “Use-of-Name” policies, which ensure that the University’s various trademarks (names and insignias) are used appropriately and accurately by members of the Harvard community and in accordance with the principles embodied in the policies. Students or student groups are permitted to use the names and insignias of the University or any of its schools or units only as authorized in the policy on The Use of Harvard Names and Insignias. In particular, references to “Harvard” or “Harvard University,” or suggestions of affiliation with any school or unit of the University in connection with any organization, publication, activity, or third-party is only allowable with advance permission of the Dean and, in certain instances, the Provost.


Discrimination and Harassment

It is unlawful, contrary to Harvard University’s policy, and clearly in violation of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran status, or disability unrelated to job or course of study requirements. The Faculty Council condemns all forms of discrimination or harassment, whether subtle or overt, and asserts that all members of the University community should join in assuring that all students are accorded the dignity and respect called for in the Resolution.

Students who believe they may be victims of any form of discrimination or harassment have recourse to grievance procedures developed by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. These procedures, which are consonant with public law and the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities, are summarized on the following pages.

Complaints of Discrimination

A student should first seek a resolution of a matter involving discrimination or affirmative action through an appropriate officer, such as a department chair, advisor, director of graduate studies, director of the Accessible Education Office, or the dean for student affairs. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved by informal methods, the student may lodge a formal complaint with the dean of the Graduate School. Depending on the circumstances, the dean may appoint a special committee to resolve the problem or may refer it to the appropriate agency or office for resolution.

If the matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved through these channels, either the student or the dean of the Graduate School may refer it to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for final resolution. The disposition of the dean of the faculty will be final. Students ordinarily are expected to exhaust institutional grievance procedures before seeking redress under public law.

Sexual Harassment

The Faculty Council has devoted considerable attention to the topic of sexual harassment. Two documents provide a full expression of the council’s views about this and related issues. Both documents are available from the dean for student affairs in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center and online at the FAS website.

The first document, entitled Sexual Harassment: Guidelines in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is a policy statement describing what constitutes sexual harassment. The statement begins thus:

“The Faculty of Arts and Sciences seeks to maintain a learning and work environment free from sexual harassment, including unprofessional conduct in faculty-student relationships and sexism in the classroom. These kinds of behavior are barriers to the educational, scholarly, and research purposes of the University.

“Any member of the FAS community who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed, or who would like clarification or information on FAS complaint and resolution procedures is encouraged to speak with an appropriate officer of the faculty. . . There are specific procedures for the resolution of sexual harassment problems. These cover situations involving individuals of different University status and individuals of the same University status. They range from informal counseling and mediation to formal procedures for disciplinary action.”

The statement goes on to define what constitutes sexual harassment, unprofessional conduct in relationships between individuals of different University status, and sexism in the classroom.

The second document, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Procedures for the Resolution of Sexual Harassment Problems, describes the options available to any member of the FAS community who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed.

Graduate students are encouraged to discuss problems, questions, and grievances with anyone in a supervisory position, such as a dean, director of student services, department chair, or director of graduate studies.

It is often the case that students themselves can take effective measures to stop inappropriate conduct by an instructor, and the officers just mentioned can be helpful in discussing these possibilities. For example, these officers might assist with informal resolutions including apologies and changes of advisory and instructional arrangements. Such adjustments of the teacher-student relationship are likely to be adequate responses only in those cases in which miscommunication or lack of communication played a significant part.

To make a formal complaint of sexual harassment by an officer of the faculty, a graduate student should consult the dean for student affairs in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center. The steps entailed in making a formal complaint are described in detail in the document Procedures for the Resolution of Sexual Harassment Problems.

Complaints about harassment of students by other students may be brought to the attention of the Administrative Board through the dean for student affairs.

The director of Student Services, Ellen Fox, is also available to consult with students on issues of sexual harassment.

Racial Harassment

The Graduate School seeks to maintain an instructional and work environment free from racial harassment. The Graduate School defines racial harassment as actions on the part of an individual or group that demean or abuse another individual or group because of racial or ethnic background. Such actions may include but are not restricted to using racial epithets, making racially derogatory remarks, and using racial stereotypes. Any member of the Graduate School community who believes that he or she has been harassed on account of race is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of the dean for student affairs. The director of student services also serves as a resource in these types of cases.

The procedures for dealing with incidents of racial harassment fall into two categories: informal resolution and formal complaint. The complainant will ordinarily be given the choice of formal or informal procedures. In certain circumstances, however, where the harassing behavior has become a matter of public information and concern, it may be necessary to use formal procedures of investigation and resolution. Cases of alleged harassment by graduate students will be adjudicated by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School or by the Student-Faculty Judicial Board.

The Graduate School’s investigation and adjudication process is designed to be careful and fair. No person will be reprimanded or discriminated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or complaint in good faith. The rights of any person against whom a complaint is lodged will be protected.

Gay and Lesbian Harassment

In May 1981, the Faculty Council affirmed that all members of the University community, regardless of sexual orientation, are to be accorded the respect and protection described by the 1970 Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities. So that the problem can be addressed and disciplinary action taken when necessary, any violation of these standards should be reported to the dean for student affairs or other appropriate office.

Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls

The placement of an obscene or harassing telephone call is a criminal offense, punishable to the full extent of the law in the courts. It is treated as a serious disciplinary issue within the Graduate School.

Information from the Harvard Police is available in the office of the dean for student affairs for anyone receiving such a call.


Harvard University promotes the health and well-being of its students and employees through its Health Services and other agencies. The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on Harvard property or as a part of any Harvard activity, is a violation of University rules as well as the law. Possession, use, or distribution of certain nonprescription drugs, including marijuana, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and nonprescription synthetics; procurement or distribution of alcohol if one is under twenty-one years of age; and provision of alcohol to anyone under twenty-one years of age are violations of law and of Harvard policy. The University holds its students and employees responsible for the consequences of their decisions to use or distribute illicit drugs, or to serve or consume alcohol. Further, it expects students and employees to create and maintain an environment for learning and work that is safe and healthy and encourages responsible conduct.

The use of illicit drugs and the misuse of alcohol are potentially harmful to health. In particular, synthetically produced drugs, which are readily available in the Boston metropolitan area, often have unpredictable emotional and physical side effects that constitute an extreme health hazard. In addition, students are encouraged to weigh the seriousness of potential loss of function that may come from ingesting illicit drugs or too much alcohol. Because of the considerable health hazards involved in drug and alcohol use, administrative, medical, and psychiatric help for students having drug problems or difficulties controlling their use of alcohol are available on a confidential basis from the GSAS Dean’s Office and other offices of the University, and at Harvard University Health Services. Any member of the University may make use of the Health Services on an emergency basis, day and night.

Attention is directed to the fact that the University is not, and cannot be considered as, a protector or sanctuary from existing laws of the city, state, or federal government. Students are reminded that there are heavy penalties, including imprisonment, for possession or distribution of illicit drugs and for selling or delivering alcohol to, or procuring alcohol for, someone under twenty-one. There are also serious penalties for anyone under the age of twenty-one who purchases, attempts to purchase, or arranges to procure alcoholic beverages, or to misrepresent his or her age or falsify his or her identification with the intent of purchasing alcohol; anyone, regardless of age, caught falsifying a driver’s license, or selling or distributing false IDs; and anyone, regardless of age, who operates a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with an open container of alcohol. In addition, the city of Cambridge prohibits consumption of alcohol on public property or on property open to the public.

Consistent with the legal sanctions for the inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol, the Graduate School will take disciplinary action when cases of this type come to its attention. Officers of the University will respond to the use of illicit drugs, underage possession or consumption of alcohol, serving of alcohol to underage individuals, and overconsumption of alcohol with warning and/or referral to health or counseling services. A pattern of behavior in violation of these rules may lead to a warning by the dean for student affairs, admonition by the Administrative Board, probation, or requirement to withdraw.

The Administrative Board will take serious actions, including probation and requirement to withdraw, in any case involving the possession in quantity or the sale or distribution of drugs, in cases involving a student falsifying his or her identification with the intent of obtaining alcohol, or when cases of drug and alcohol use involve danger to the community.


Massachusetts law expressly prohibits any form of hazing in connection with initiation into any student organization. The law applies to both officially recognized and unrecognized groups and to student conduct on and off campus. The law defines hazing as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, that willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.” The definition specifically includes “whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or that subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.”

Hazing is a crime punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. The Administrative Board of the Graduate School will review all reports of hazing, taking disciplinary action in appropriate cases, and will report confirmed incidents to appropriate law enforcement officials. A memorandum detailing the specifics of this law is available in the GSAS Office of Student Affairs in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center.


Fire: 617-495-1511

University Police: 617-495-1212

Fire Regulations

Violation of any of the fire safety or fire emergency regulations listed below, including those pertaining to the abuse of fire alarm, smoke detector, or fire extinguisher systems, can lead to requirement to withdraw.

1) Any abuse of, or tampering with, fire alarm, smoke detector, or extinguisher systems is strictly forbidden.

2) Falsely pulling any alarm or maliciously setting off a smoke detector alarm is illegal and may be punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment.

3) Corridor fire doors must be kept shut at all times.

There is a fine, equal to the cost of replacement, for breaking the glass that covers the lock of a fire alarm.

There is a fine, equal to the cost of replacement, for any damage to a smoke detector.

Emergency Procedures

Any smoke detector in a stairwell or corridor can initiate a general alarm when a predetermined concentration of smoke reaches it. This alarm has the same sound as the alarms initiated manually and is a signal to leave the building.

If the Alarm Sounds

1) Feel the door. If it is hot, do not open it. Stay in your room. Put a towel or blanket (preferably wet) under the door to keep the smoke out. If your telephone works, call the Fire Department at 617-495-1511. Also call the Harvard Police at 617-495-1212 to let them know where you are. Attract attention to yourself. Open the window if possible and hang a sheet or something else out the window. If the door is not hot, open it slowly as smoke and fire gases are deadly. If smoke and heat fill the hall, close the door, stay in your room, and wait for help. If you can safely leave your room, close your windows and door. Take your key. Knock loudly on the doors next to yours to alert your neighbors. Leave by the nearest clear Exit stairway. Never use the elevators since they may stall in the event of a power failure or deliver you to the floor where the fire is actually located. Failure to leave when an alarm sounds, unless there are safety reasons for not doing so, is a punishable offense.

2) If you encounter smoke on your way out, stay low and crawl if necessary. You are more apt to find breathable air close to the floor. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or wet handkerchief, if possible.

3) So that you may be accounted for, go to the predetermined gathering place. Do not attempt to re-enter the building until the Fire Department gives permission to do so.

If You Find a Fire

  1. Sound the alarm.
  2. Alert your neighbors.
  3. Leave the building immediately.

Do not try to put out the fire. Use your common sense. Your safety is more important than property.


Please take careful note of the following provision of Massachusetts law concerning bomb scares: Whoever, knowing the same to be false, transmits or causes to be transmitted to any person by telephone or other means a communication falsely reporting the location of any explosive or other dangerous substance or contrivance thereby causing anxiety, unrest, fear, or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one half years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment. [Massachusetts General Laws, c.269 §14(a)]


Possession and/or use on University property of firearms or ammunition, explosives, combustible fuels, firecrackers, and potential ingredients thereof is forbidden. Please take careful note of the following statute of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer, and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded, or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both. For the purpose of this paragraph “firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle, or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet, or pellet can be discharged by whatever means. Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college, or university failing to report violations of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars. [Massachusetts General Laws, c.269 §10(j)] In addition, Massachusetts law requires a permit or firearms identification card or compliance with other specialized rules (depending upon the type of weapon) for possession of any firearms. The definition of firearms is a broad one and includes pistols or guns operated by air, carbon dioxide, or other gases. Carrying any firearm (even if unloaded) in violation of the law is punishable by imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year, which cannot be suspended or reduced.

Students should consult the Cambridge Police if they intend to possess firearms on non-University property, in order to assure strict compliance with the applicable statutes.

According to Harvard’s legal counsel, the definition of “dangerous weapon” includes items designed to do bodily injury, such as a stiletto, ballistic knife, blackjack, brass knuckles, billy stick, switchblade knife, and martial arts items such as throwing stars, kung fu sticks, and nunchaku (sticks connected by a rope, chain, wire, or leather).

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