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MIT Course Catalog 2014-2015

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Institute Regulations

Policies and Procedures

MIT expects that all students come to the Institute for a serious academic purpose and expects them to be responsible individuals who conduct themselves with high standards of honesty and personal conduct. Disappointments in this expectation have been rare. It is MIT's policy to maintain rules and regulations consistent with efficient administration and the general welfare of the MIT community.

Fundamental to the principle of independent learning and professional growth is the requirement of honesty and integrity in conduct of one's academic and nonacademic life. Maintenance of a healthy living and learning environment requires that all members of the community exercise due respect for the basic rights of one another.

Academic Integrity

Cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered serious offenses for which disciplinary penalties can be imposed.

Early in the term, the instructor should communicate specific expectations regarding academic conduct and collaboration in the subject. See the information on Term Regulations earlier in this section.

The Institute encourages faculty to take responses to academic dishonesty seriously, while also evaluating each case individually for the most appropriate response. In all cases, documenting the outcome with the Office of Student Citizenship ensures that records of student misconduct are maintained centrally at the Institute, preventing an individual student from committing several instances of academic dishonesty without accountability. The Handbook for Academic Integrity can be found at

Several degrees of response are available, all of which help uphold the integrity of the Institute and all students’ learning experiences. The Office of Student Citizenship is responsible for facilitating these responses for faculty, as well as maintaining documentation within the Institute on the incident and response. Information for faculty regarding the options for handling academic integrity violations is online at

Institute Policy on Harassment

Harassment of any kind is not acceptable behavior at MIT; it is inconsistent with the commitment to community that characterizes MIT's activities. MIT is committed to creating an environment in which every individual can work, study, and live without being harassed. Harassment may therefore lead to sanctions up to and including termination of employment or student status.

Harassment is any conduct, verbal or physical, on or off campus, that has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's or group's educational or work performance at MIT or that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational, work or living environment. Some kinds of harassment are prohibited by civil laws or by MIT policies on conflict of interest and nondiscrimination (see relevant sections of Policies and Procedures).

Harassment on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran's status, or age includes harassment of an individual in terms of a stereotyped group characteristic, or because of that person's identification with a particular group.

Sexual harassment may take many forms. Sexual assault and requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions constitute sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment may also consist of unwanted physical contact, requests for sexual favors, visual displays of degrading sexual images, sexually suggestive conduct, or offensive remarks of a sexual nature.

The Institute is committed under this policy to stopping harassment and associated retaliatory behavior. All MIT supervisors have a responsibility to act to stop harassment in the areas under their supervision.

Any member of the MIT community who feels harassed is encouraged to seek assistance and resolution of the complaint. To implement the policy on harassment, MIT provides a variety of avenues by which an individual who feels harassed may proceed, so that each person may choose an avenue appropriate to his or her particular situation. Institute procedures are intended to protect the rights of both complainant and respondent, to protect privacy, and to prevent supervisory reprisal.

MIT's policy on harassment appears in the guide Dealing with Harassment at MIT, which is available on the website at General complaint procedures are described in MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 9.6, and on the website at

Institute Policy on Hazing

MIT prohibits hazing by individuals or groups and defines it as follows: Any action or activity that causes or intends to cause physical or mental discomfort or distress, that may demean, degrade, or disgrace any person, regardless of location, intent, or consent of participants, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group, organization, or living community. Hazing includes, without limitation, behaviors that do or could emphasize a power imbalance between members of a group and behaviors that violate Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Sections 17-19.

Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts and constitute hazing as prohibited by this policy. Additionally, failure to report incidents of hazing is a violation of MIT policy and may be a violation of Massachusetts State Law (M.G.L. c. 269 Section 18). Students and other members of the Institute community must report incidents of hazing that they witness or for which they were present. Incidents of hazing shall be reported to an appropriate law enforcement official, as required by state law, and the Office of Student Citizenship.

Any retaliation against any person who reports, is a witness to, is involved with, or cooperates with the adjudication of hazing is strictly prohibited.

Hazing includes but is not limited to:

The sanction of disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion will be strongly considered for individuals or groups found responsible for hazing.

In addition to the foregoing, MIT adheres to and enforces Massachusetts State Law that prohibits the practice of hazing. Students are advised that the following is the Massachusetts State Law on hazing:

Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.

The term “hazing” as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include 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 which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.” M.G.L. c. 269 Section 17.

Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such a person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.” M.G.L. c. 269 Section 18.

Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.

Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the board of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of higher education and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report. M.G.L. c. 269 Section 19.

For further information about hazing and hazing prevention efforts at MIT, contact the Office of Student Outreach and Support in W20-507 or 617-253-3276.

Other Personal Conduct

All members of the MIT community are expected to conduct themselves with proper respect for one another and for each other's property. Students are expected to be familiar with the Institute’s expectations of them, which are found in this catalog, in the Mind and Hand Book (, and in the Institute Policies and Procedures (

MIT expects that members of the Institute community will not engage in behavior that endangers their own sustained effectiveness or that has serious ramifications for their own safety, welfare, academic well-being, professional obligations, or that of others. In situations where an individual student's physical illness or emotional difficulties affect not only the student, but also others in the community, it is the Institute's responsibility to consider the well-being of the community as well as the individual in care decisions.

Improper use of Institute property or facilities, including keys, computers, telephones, and so forth, or misuse of MIT's name, or violation of Institute regulations, may result in disciplinary proceedings within the Institute, or legal proceedings outside of MIT, or both.

Off-campus misconduct may be a basis for MIT action if the Institute considers that such misconduct impinges on the well-being or functioning of the Institute. The Institute reserves the right to determine its jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis. Student status in no sense renders an individual student immune from the jurisdiction of civil or criminal courts and other governmental authorities. MIT actions will take into account applicable law as well as the policies and procedures of the Institute and the standards of behavior expected of members of the educational community.

MIT handles internally some incidents that might give rise to civil or criminal liability. This is done with the understanding by the outside community that MIT deals seriously with such offenses. As is the case for many universities, local authorities often rely on MIT to resolve such issues as long as the internal policies and procedures are effective and adequate. MIT action by itself, however, does not preclude the possibility of other judicial remedy.

If an infraction causes a student to be involved both in Institute disciplinary proceedings and in criminal proceedings, and if an Institute decision might prejudice the court case, the Institute may hold its final decision in abeyance until after the criminal proceedings have been concluded.

For more information, contact the Office of Student Citizenship (OSC), Room W20-507,, 617-253-3276.

Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures

Students who believe that they have been treated improperly for any reason are encouraged to raise their concerns. Difficulties with other students can be pursued through the living group, department head, other appropriate venues or groups, and the Office of Student Citizenship (OSC), Room W20-507,, 617-253-3276. Students may also bring concerns to the attention of an Ombudsperson (

It is Institute policy that individuals will not be reprimanded or discriminated against for initiating an inquiry or complaint and that the rights of the individual against whom a complaint is made will be protected.

Anyone—including individual students, faculty members, and employees of the Institute—may bring a formal complaint against a student to the Committee on Discipline (COD). The COD reviews cases of academic offenses, violations of Institute regulations and standards, and other infractions alleged to have been committed by students.

A formal complaint against a student must be submitted in writing to OSC. The charge and its documentation are transmitted to the chair of the COD. After a review of the documentation, the chair will decide whether or not a hearing by the COD is warranted, and, if so, what the appropriate forum will be. The COD has the authority to impose any sanction it deems appropriate. Possible sanctions include placing a letter in a student's disciplinary file, informal probation, formal probation, suspension, and expulsion. Sanctions may also include educational and/or restorative components meant to address the wrongdoing and serve the larger community. Detailed procedures are available at

This procedure serves also as the grievance procedure for students as required by Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 with regard to grievances arising out of alleged discrimination on the basis of sex, and for disabled students alleging failure to comply with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Inquiries concerning the Institute's policies and compliance with applicable laws, statutes, and regulations (such as Title IX and Section 504) may be directed to the vice president for human resources, Room E19-291, 617-253-6512.

A complaint against anyone employed by MIT may go to the immediate or higher supervisor of the apparent offender, or to the Human Resources Office on campus or at Lincoln Laboratory.

A description of the complaint procedures for persons employed at MIT is included in Policies and Procedures. Refer to the guide Dealing with Harassment at MIT ( for the rules and regulations of the COD as well as procedures for formal hearings of the Office of the Dean for Student Life. Both publications are available in the Information Center, Room 7-121, and on MIT's website.

Voter Registration

Voter registration forms and instructions are available in the Student Services Center, Room 11-120. Information is also available at

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Privacy of Student Records

MIT's Student Information Policy governs the circumstances under which, and the persons to whom, student information may be disclosed, as well as students' rights to access their own records and to challenge their accuracy. As required by federal law, this policy includes the rights and privacy protections provided by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Title 20, US Code, section 1232g, often referred to as "FERPA" or the "Buckley Amendment").

The following summarizes in general terms the major student rights under FERPA. For more detailed information, the policy in its entirety should be consulted. The full text of MIT's Student Information Policy may be found on the web at, or in printed form at the MIT Libraries and at the MIT Information Center, Room 7-121.

Education Records

Under FERPA, education records include most tangible materials, including computer records, maintained by MIT that relate directly to an identifiable student currently or formerly enrolled at MIT. These include admissions records, grades, most coursework, exams, UROP records, disciplinary records, and financial aid records, as well as gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, and identification photographs. Education records do not include directory information, as described below, or those records of Institute faculty and staff members that are made for, and restricted to, their personal use. Other kinds of information, such as medical and law enforcement records, are also excluded from the definition of education records. These are sometimes governed by other laws and/or policies.


Under FERPA, a student has the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that it authorizes disclosure without consent.

Disclosure Within MIT. Under one FERPA exception, individually identifiable information contained in a student's education records may, without the student's consent, be disclosed within MIT to Institute officials with a legitimate educational interest, meaning officials who need that specific information in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities. A school official is a person employed by the Institute in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the Institute has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the MIT Corporation; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks. In addition, victims of crimes of violence will be informed of the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings about those incidents.

Disclosure Outside MIT. As a general rule, individually identifiable information contained in a student's education records may be disclosed to persons outside MIT only with the student's prior, written consent. MIT discloses education records without a student's consent to other schools in which the student seeks enrollment or is enrolled. The student has the right, upon request, to a copy of the records disclosed to another school. Although parents normally are not entitled to review students' education records without the students' consent, appropriate MIT representatives may consult with parents and others in emergencies when health and safety issues so require. Disclosure may also be made without consent to government agencies or in accordance with legal process only to the extent required by law.

Directory Information. A student's name, term and permanent home addresses, MIT office address, term phone number, term email address, Course, year and registration type, degrees received, dates of attendance, date of birth, honors and awards received, and for an intercollegiate athletic team member, height and weight, is designated as a student's "directory information." This information may be disclosed within and outside of MIT without a student's consent. Students have the right to require that some or all of their directory information not be disclosed (except as otherwise permitted under FERPA) by following the instructions on WebSIS. In order to prevent publication in the printed Student Directory published each fall this request must be made at the very beginning of the fall term.

Students' Access to Their Own Records

A student has the right to review his or her own education records within 45 days after making a written request to the department or unit that maintains the records, to the registrar, to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, or to the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, identifying the records the student wishes to inspect. The appropriate MIT official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the MIT official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. The right to access includes the right to obtain copies. The right does not, however, extend to portions of a student's education records that relate to other identifiable students.

Correction of Records

A student has the right to request the amendment of information in his or her education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Such a request may be made to the custodian of the record, to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, or to the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and should clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and state why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the requested amendment is not made, MIT will notify the student of this decision and that the student has the right to a hearing concerning the requested amendment. Additional information on the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when he or she is notified of the right to a hearing. If the correction is not made as a result of the hearing, the student may include his or her own statement in the record. Because grades and evaluations are the result of academic judgment, they are not subject to this type of challenge.

Right to File Complaint

A student has the right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by MIT to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC, 20202-5920.


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