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.
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.
Some academic offenses by students can be handled directly between the faculty member and the students involved. In some cases, it may be necessary for the department head to review, or otherwise to assist in, the resolution of the matter. When a dispute cannot be resolved satisfactorily within the department, or if it seems appropriate, a complaint against a student can be brought to the Committee on Discipline as explained in the section on Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures.
The Academic Integrity Handbook, a guide for students published by the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, contains additional information that may be helpful to students and faculty (http://web.mit.edu/academicintegrity/).
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 http://web.mit.edu/communications/hg/. General complaint procedures are described in MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 9.6, and on the website at http://web.mit.edu/policies/9/9.6.html.
In accordance with Massachusetts state law (Chapter 269:17–19), the Institute has adopted the following policy statement on the crime of hazing:
The term 'hazing' 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 of any 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.
Pursuant to the law, "any person who is identified as a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both."
[Any person who] knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined [above] and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to [MIT Police or] an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. [Any student who] fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.
The Office of Student Life Programs or the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation will provide a copy of the law to the heads of all groups, teams and student organizations. Each group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of the law 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 Office of Student Life Programs (with exception of varsity teams and club sports, that may deliver acknowledgements to the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation) an acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of the law, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of the law, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections 17 and 18. Copies of the law are available at the Office of Student Life Programs and the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation.
MIT considers acts of hazing to be extremely serious offense to the community and will treat offenders accordingly. The Institute considers the practice of "showering," in which students are placed in the shower against their will by other individuals, as a form of hazing; therefore, "showering" is prohibited.
All members of the MIT community are expected to conduct themselves with proper respect for one another and for each other's property.
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 will usually 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, 617-253-7848.
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 within the living group, department head, other appropriate venues or groups, or the Office of Student Citizenship (OSC), Room W20-507, 617-253-7848. Students may also bring concerns to the attention of an ombudsperson in the Office of the President.
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 in the MIT community—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 http://web.mit.edu/committees/cod/.
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 forms and instructions are available in the Student Services Center, Room 11-120. Information is also available at http://web.mit.edu/registrar/vote/.
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 http://web.mit.edu/policies/11/sip.html, or in printed form at the MIT Libraries and at the MIT Information Center, Room 7-121.
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.
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.
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.
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.