9.0 Relations and Responsibilities Within the MIT Community
9.7 Relations with Students and Student Conduct
All members of the MIT community are expected to conduct themselves with proper respect for one another and for each other's property.
Improper use of Institute property or facilities, including keys, computers, telephones, and so forth; misuse of MIT's name; or violation of Institute regulations may result in disciplinary proceedings within the Institute, legal proceedings outside MIT, or both.
Off-campus misconduct may be the basis for MIT disciplinary actions. 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 to the jurisdiction of civil or criminal courts and other government authorities. All MIT actions must conform to applicable law.
MIT handles internally certain incidents that might give rise to civil or criminal liability. This is done with the understanding by the outside community that the Institute deals seriously with such offenses. As is the case with 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 in both Institute disciplinary proceedings and criminal proceedings, the Institute may, at its discretion, hold its decision in abeyance until the criminal proceedings have been concluded.
Traditionally, MIT has placed considerable responsibility on student governing groups such as the Dormitory Council and the Interfraternity Conference to deal with problems within the student community. Nearly all Institute houses and independent residences have judicial procedures that deal with disputes and violations of rules and regulations occurring in their living groups.
Problems and disputes that cannot be resolved at the local level are referred to the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education for advice, guidance, or resolution. In some cases, the resolution may include placing a student on disciplinary warning or probation, prohibiting a student from living in an Institute residence, or taking other appropriate actions.
9.7.1 Advising and Counseling
An essential obligation of the academic staff is to counsel students not only in relation to their academic program but also concerning their professional standards and goals and their general welfare. Such a relationship between teacher and student is an integral part of the educational process. In this sense, all members of the Faculty become advisors and counselors to each of their students. However, to give a certain degree of formal structure to this advising and to provide a means by which registration procedures may be carried out, each student is assigned to an advisor who participates in one or more of the formal advisory programs. Each of the programs publishes a guide for its advisors, and the Committee on Academic Performance publishes general guidelines and information for all undergraduates and advisors.
Each first-year student is assigned to a freshman advisor. Although other members of the MIT community also serve as freshman advisors, members of the academic staff especially interested in interacting with freshmen are particularly encouraged to volunteer for this program, which is coordinated by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs section of the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education. Freshman Advisor Seminars, in which faculty advisors meet weekly with groups of eight to ten advisees, are particularly effective.
Each second-year student who has not yet formally designated a department is assigned to an undesignated sophomore advisor, who may also have been the student's freshman advisor. Coordinated by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs section, the group of faculty volunteers serving as undesignated sophomore advisors consists of individuals particularly sensitive to the issues related to choosing a major. Interested members of the academic staff are also particularly encouraged to volunteer for this program.
All other second-, third-, and fourth-year students are assigned faculty advisors in their respective academic departments. Each department is responsible for establishing its own advisory structure, and systems vary among the departments.
Graduate students are assigned to a graduate registration officer and, in addition, have research advisors. Because a close relationship develops between graduate students and their research advisors, this faculty member assumes an important role in both personal counseling and academic advising.
9.7.2 Participation in Student Activities
Student involvement in student activities is an integral part of the total Institute educational experience. Such activities provide learning opportunities not normally found in the classroom, enrich and broaden the individual, and, perhaps most importantly, allow a student to enjoy a change of pace and find enjoyment in the development of personal interests that are not strictly academic in nature.
Faculty members are encouraged to associate with students in nonacademic activities in order to share with students their knowledge and breadth of experience. Such associations may be through informal interactions or in more structured roles as advisors, associates, or affiliates of specific student activities or living groups. Through such associations, faculty can convey to students the qualities and attitudes that are necessary for leadership.
9.7.3 Student Absence for Religious Observances
Massachusetts state law regarding student absence due to religious beliefs has been adopted by the Institute, as follows:
Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of his or her religious beliefs is excused from any such activity. The student will be given the opportunity to make up the work that was missed, provided that the makeup work does not create an unreasonable burden upon MIT.
The Institute will not levy fees or charges of any kind when allowing the student to make up missed work. In addition, students will suffer no adverse or prejudicial effects because they have made use of these provisions.
9.7.4 Tutoring for a Fee by Academic Instructional Staff Members
Tuition payment entitles a student to reasonable assistance from the instructing staff without additional cost. Moreover, allowing any instructor to charge a fee for tutoring could have the general effect of discouraging students from asking for academic assistance. Therefore, no faculty member or other instructor may charge a fee for tutoring students in any subject. Graduate students who hold teaching assistantships may not charge a fee for tutoring in any subject for which they give classroom or laboratory instruction.