Policies & Statements

last modified April 2014

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to Sam Starks, Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice).

 

 

Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

The University of Pennsylvania’s special character is reflected in the diversity of the Penn community. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of its mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. We seek talented faculty, students and staff who will constitute a vibrant community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity along dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran status, interests, perspectives, and socioeconomic status.

Grounded in equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action, Penn’s robust commitment to diversity is fundamental to the University’s mission of advancing knowledge, educating leaders for all sectors of society, and public service.  The University of Pennsylvania prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class. 

Penn is committed to ensuring that its academic, social, recreational programs and services as well as opportunities for admission and employment are available on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis without regard to an individual’s legally protected class status. Penn also has written affirmative action programs to address any underrepresentation of women, minorities, people with disabilities, and qualified covered veterans. The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, in collaboration with the Division of Human Resources and the Office of the Provost, oversees the implementation and administration of the University’s equal opportunity, affirmative action, and nondiscrimination policies and programs.

“Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” Applicants to and employees of most private employers, state and local governments, educational institutions, employment agencies and labor organizations are protected under Federal law from discrimination. For details regarding your rights, please view the “EEO is the Law” poster. Questions or comments may be directed to the Office of Affirmative Action at 215.898.6993 or oaaeop@pobox.upenn.edu.

The University recognizes the right of members of the community to raise questions and pursue complaints of discrimination and adheres to a strict policy that prohibits retaliation for doing so. Questions, complaints of alleged discrimination, or concerns regarding these policies or their implementation may be directed to the Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, Suite 228, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106, (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).

Security Policies, Procedures & Statistics

The federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, as amended, requires colleges and universities to provide information related to security policies and procedures and specific statistics for criminal incidents, arrests, and disciplinary referrals to students and employees, and to make the information and statistics available to prospective students and employees upon request.  Federal law requires institutions with on-campus housing to share with the campus community an annual fire report.

In addition, the Uniform Crime Reporting Act requires Pennsylvania colleges and universities to provide information related to security policies and procedures to students, employees and applicants; to provide certain crime statistics to students and employees, and to make those statistics available to applicants and prospective employees upon request.

To review the University’s most recent annual report containing this information, please visit: www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/clery/report or www.upenn.edu/almanac/crimes-index.html

You may request a paper copy of the report by calling the Division of Public Safety’s Special Services Department at 215-898-4481.

Sexual Harassment Policy

I. Conduct

Our community depends on trust and civility. A willingness to recognize the dignity and worth of each person at the University is essential to our mission.

It is the responsibility of each person on campus to respect the personal dignity of others. We expect members of our University community to demonstrate a basic generosity of spirit that precludes expressions of bigotry.

Penn properly celebrates the diversity of its community. We come to Penn from many different backgrounds and include different races, religions, sexual orientations, and ethnic ancestries. Learning to understand the differences among us, as well as the similarities, is an important dimension of education, one that continues for a lifetime. Tolerance alone, however, is not enough. Respect and understanding also are needed. We should delight in our differences, and should seek to appreciate the richness and personal growth which our diversity provides to us as members of this community.

The University is committed to freedom of thought, discourse and speech, and the attainment of the highest quality of academic and educational pursuits and daily work. Policies and regulations implementing this commitment include the Statement on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, the Guidelines on Open Expression, and the Code of Academic Integrity.

The University also has established policies on behaviors that interfere with these freedoms. Foremost among these policies is the University’s Statement on Non-Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual preference, religion, national or ethnic origin, handicap or disability.

The University also has adopted the following policy concerning sexual harassment. The terms “harassment” and “sexual harassment” as used throughout are defined as a matter of University policy, and are not necessarily identical or limited to the uses of that term in external sources, including governmental guidelines or regulations.

II. Purposes and Definitions

A. Purposes
For many years the University has stressed that sexual harassment is not tolerated at Penn. As an employer and as an educational institution, the University is committed to eradicating sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in any context is reprehensible and is a matter of particular concern to an academic community in which students, faculty, and staff must rely on strong bonds of intellectual trust and dependence.

B. Definitions
For the purposes of University policy, the term “sexual harassment” refers to any unwanted sexual attention that:

1. Involves a stated or implicit threat to the victim’s academic or employment status;

2. Has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance; and/or;

3. Creates an intimidating or offensive academic, living or work environment.

The University regards such behavior, whether verbal or physical, as a violation of the standards of conduct required of all persons associated with the institution. Accordingly, those inflicting such behavior on others are subject to the full range of internal institutional disciplinary actions, including separation from the University. Likewise, acts of retaliation will be subject to the same range of disciplinary actions.

As noted in the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators, Policies and Procedures, the Academic Bulletin, and other University publications, persons engaged in such harassment within the University setting are subject to the full range of internal institutional disciplinary actions, including separation from the institution.

Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily will be considered as harassment and/or a violation of the University’s standard of conduct. In determining whether an act constitutes harassment, the totality of the circumstances that pertain to any given incident in its context must be carefully reviewed and due consideration must be given to the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom and advocacy.

III. Resources
School and administrative units should make known to all of their members the available resources and the informal and formal procedures for resolving complaints of sexual harassment within the unit or at the University level. These resources include the following:

A. Information, Counseling and Support
The following University resources are available to members of the University community who seek information and counseling about University policies on sexual harassment, standards of behavior, informal and formal mechanisms for resolving complaints and resources for complainants and respondents.

Deans and directors may also make referrals to these resource offices:

• Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs

• African-American Resource Center

• Penn Behavioral Health Employee Assistance Program

• Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center

• Division of Human Resources, Office of Labor Relations

• Office of the Ombudsman

• Division of Human Resources, Office of Staff Relations

• Division of Public Safety, Special Services

• Penn Women’s Center

• Student Health Services

• Counseling and Psychological Services

• Office of the Vice Provost for University Life

B. Informal Mechanisms for Mediation and Resolution
The Ombudsman, the Office of Affirmative Action, the Penn Women’s Center, all other offices named as resource offices in this policy, the Office of Student Conduct, the Office of Residential Living, department chairs, deans and administrative directors, the provost, and the vice presidents are available to assist in the informal resolution of complaints.

C. Formal Mechanisms for Resolution and Adjudication
When informal resolution is not chosen or is unsatisfactory, complainants are urged to use appropriate formal mechanisms described below:

1. Complaints of sexual harassment against a faculty member, instructor, or teaching assistant may be brought by a student, staff or faculty member to the department chair or dean of the faculty member. The department chair or dean who receives a complaint is then charged with pursuing the matter. While the process depends on the particulars of the complaint, normally the department chair or dean interviews the faculty member. If the matter is not resolved informally, the department chair or dean either conducts an investigation or requests that the Ombudsman, the Office of Affirmative Action, the Office of Staff Relations or the Office of Labor Relations do so. If the results of the investigation persuade the dean or department chair that sanctions are warranted, he or she consults with faculty members—without disclosing the identity of the individuals involved—to aid in determining an appropriate sanction, including whether there is substantial reason to believe that just cause exists for suspension or termination. If it is determined that action should be taken to suspend or terminate, the dean should follow the procedures set out in Section II. E.16 of the Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators (seewww.upenn.edu/assoc-provost/handbook/ii_e_16.html).

2. Complaints of sexual harassment against a staff member may be brought by a student, staff member or faculty member to the supervisor of the person complained against. The supervisor who receives the complaint is then charged with pursuing the matter. While the process will depend on the particulars of the complaint, normally the supervisor interviews the staff member. If the matter is not resolved informally, the supervisor either conducts an investigation or requests that the Ombudsman, the Office of Affirmative Action, the Office of Staff Relations, or the Office of Labor Relations do so. If the result of the investigation persuades the supervisor that sanctions are warranted, he or she consults with his or her colleagues or supervisor—without disclosing the identity of the individual(s) involved—to aid in determining an appropriate sanction. A staff member who believes that his or her rights have been violated directly by another staff member or administrator may file a grievance by contacting the Office of Staff Relations within the Division of Human Resources under the University of Pennsylvania Staff Grievance Procedure.

3. Complaints by students of sexual harassment may be made to the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life. Grievances associated with sexual harassment in student employment may also fall within the purview of the Vice Provost for University Life.

4. A complaint of sexual harassment may be brought against a student by filing a complaint under the Charter of the University Student Judicial System, or, if the respondent is a graduate or professional student enrolled in a school which has established a hearing board or other decision-making body, with that body.

5. A tenured or untenured faculty member, whether full or part time, who believes she or he has been subjected to sexual harassment by a faculty member or by an academic administrator may file a grievance under the Faculty Grievance Procedure, Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators, part II E. 12, (see www.upenn.edu/assoc-provost/handbook/ii_e_12.html) provided the complaint constitutes a grievance as defined in Section I of the Procedure. This procedure is administered by the Faculty Grievance Commission. The panel makes its recommendations to the provost. In cases that involve reappointment, promotion or tenure, and in which the provost has declined or failed to implement the recommendations of the panel to the satisfaction of the grievant, the grievant may obtain a hearing before the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility on the actions of the provost.

D. Central Reporting of Sexual Harassment
1. The University’s decentralized system of resources is designed to encourage the reporting and resolution of complaints of sexual harassment.  However, in order to enable the Administration to identify patterns of sexual harassment in a particular location and the increased frequency of such incidents in a given area of the University, the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs shall, on a semi-annual basis, convene a meeting of representatives from the offices and centers listed in paragraph (A) of this section to review and report on sexual harassment across the University based upon the reports or complaints of sexual harassment that they have handled formally or informally within their area. Such information can then be transmitted to the appropriate deans or administrative supervisors as appropriate. Any reports will protect the privacy of the complainants and responsible parties involved in each reported case of sexual harassment. 

2. Based on the information shared at the semi-annual meetings discussed above, and any reports to deans or other administrative supervisors during the previous year, the Executive Director shall annually submit to the President, by September 15 of the academic year, a summary report describing the incidence of sexual harassment. This report may include recommendations based on the information as warranted. At the discretion of the President, the report may be shared with the University community early in the semester.

E. Education and Prevention
The prevention of sexual harassment and the establishment of effective procedures with due concern for all parties require a thoughtful educational program.

1. University resource offices will provide to the community information on: (a) available mediation and resolution resources; and (b) sources of support and information for victims and respondents.

2. Deans and heads of major administrative units are encouraged to discuss this policy and issues of sexual harassment at meetings of faculty and staff.

3. Training programs for residential advisors, senior administrative fellows, those who meet students in crisis situations and others serving in an advisory capacity to students will include training about referrals, resources and methods for handling instances of sexual harassment.

4.  An overall educational program for students that addresses issues of peer sexual harassment and also provides information, definition, support and the identification of sexual harassment resources has been developed by the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life, the Office of Affirmative Action, and the Penn Women’s Center in conjunction with the Office of Residential Living, the Council of College House Masters, and the Council of Senior Faculty Residents involved with the Freshman Year Program. Such an educational program is directed toward new undergraduate and graduate and professional students.

5. The University will publish annually the operative portions of this policy statement, including information about the resources available to advise, counsel and assist in the mediation of sexual harassment allegations. Information will explain how and where to contact University-wide and school-specific resources and will be posted in conspicuous locations. All members of the University should feel a responsibility to try to prevent sexual harassment whenever they observe it. Community members should report sexual harassment to appropriate University resources promptly for appropriate action.

F. Exit Interviews
Deans and administrative directors will periodically survey departing students, faculty and staff to measure the existence and frequency of reports of sexual harassment. Based on the data yielded by these surveys and the annual reports of the Executive Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, the University administration will determine, in consultation with the University Council, whether there is a need for further efforts to be taken on the issue of sexual harassment.

G. Implementation
Deans and administrative directors will be responsible for the implementation of this policy. The Provost and President will oversee the performance of deans and directors in the implementation of this policy.

Penn Sexual Harassment Handbook


Student Rights & Responsibilities

Structure for Facilitating Student Complaints/Concerns
The procedures for handling concerns about academic advisors, classroom instruction, and other issues related to student life are outlined below.

Structure for Facilitating Student Grievances

Concerns About

Steps to Address Concerns

Educational Advisor

Step 1. Educational Advisor 
Step 2. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Step 3. Ombudsperson

Class Instruction

Step 1. Instructor
Step 2. Educational Advisor  
Step 3. Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Step 4. Ombudsperson

Field Placement / Mentorship / Internship

Step 1. Field Instructor/ Mentor Advisor /Supervisor
Step 2: (MSW program only) Practice Instructor
Step 2: (MSSP, NPL) Program Director
Step 3: (MSW program only) Director of Field Instruction 
Step 4. Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Administration

Step 1. Relevant Administrator
Step 2. Associate Dean for Student Affairs or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Step 3. Ombudsperson

Very Sensitive 
Concerns (i.e., sexual harassment and discrimination)

Step 1. Ombudsperson
Step 2. University Ombudsperson

Other students

Step 1. Student
Step 2. Instructor
Step 3. Educational Advisor
Step 4. Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Student Life Issues

Step 1. Associate Dean for Student Affairs (eg, housing, health, disabilities)

School-wide issues (eg, building/ equipment issues, curriculum, events, etc)

Step 1. Student Council Representatives
Step 2. Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Procedures for Dealing with Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
SP2 recognizes that harassment and discrimination are fundamental violations of the standard of conduct of persons associated with the School and the University. The School expects adherence to the University's Statement on Nondiscrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran.  (See inside front cover of handbook for the complete University of Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Statement.) With the aforementioned as a foundation, the School has established the following internal procedures for addressing complains of harassment.

SP2 Ombudsperson
An SP2 Ombudsperson is available to advise students who have a complaint or a grievance related to harassment or discrimination with which they would like assistance. The Ombudsperson is a member of the SP2 standing faculty.

Ombudsperson Procedures
The Ombudsperson has four functions:  consultation, data-gathering, mediation, and advocacy.  It should be clear that the creation of these procedures does not abridge students' freedom to pursue other alternatives.

Consultation
Students will initiate contact with the Ombudsperson.  The Ombudsperson serves as a consultant for students in the following ways:

The Ombudsperson informs the student of the purpose and function of the Ombudsperson and discusses the range of options open to the student.

The Ombudsperson hears the student's complaint and attempts to articulate the precise nature of the behavior in question and the extent to which it is covered by the University's and the School's policy on non-discrimination and harassment.

The Ombudsperson explores options with the student:  (1) the student may choose not to pursue the case further; (2) the Ombudsperson may help the student consider alternative strategies for the student's personal handling of the situation; (3) the student may choose to request that the Ombudsperson serve as a mediator between the student and the other party; (4) the student may choose to lodge a formal complaint.  The Ombudsperson's further involvement in the case will be dependent on which of the options the student chooses.

Mediation
If the student chooses the mediation route, the Ombudsperson gathers data relevant to the case and with the permission of the student, sets up a meeting with the person in question.  The student has the right to choose either to be present or not to be present at this meeting and the right to have her or his identity revealed or not revealed.

The goal of the meeting (or meetings) is to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the situation.  Any agreement so reached will not constitute a personnel action.

If no mutually agreeable resolution is reached, the student may choose to drop the case, to use the Ombudsperson's informal counseling or to proceed to a formal complaint. The request for mediation does not abridge the student's rights in this regard.

Formal Complaint
If the student chooses to file a formal complaint, the Ombudsperson advises the student of possible routes to take, and informs the student of the appropriate offices to contact (Dean of the School, University Ombudsperson, Women's Center, etc.)

If the student wishes to use the School's internal formal procedure, i.e., a formal complaint to the Dean, the Ombudsperson may choose to serve as the student's advocate in these proceedings.  This, however, will be at the Ombudsperson's discretion.  The willingness of the Ombudsperson to play this role will in no way abridge the right of the student to exercise her or his rights in this regard.

Dropping a Case
At any point in the process, the student may choose to drop the case.  Such a case will be included in the annual reports of the Ombudsperson, but the Ombudsperson will not proceed on a case after the student makes such a determination.  The Ombudsperson may advise a student to do so if she or he feels that no other resolution is possible or that the student's complaint does not constitute sexual harassment.  As above, such a determination by the Ombudsperson does not interfere with the student's right to proceed in any way she or he may choose, including the use of the Ombudsperson for informal counseling.

Faculty Rights
If a respondent feels that a complainant's actions have constituted a violation of the University's or the School's code of conduct, there are two means of redress:  The Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the SP2 or the University Judicial Inquiry Officer (JIO).  If the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the JIO deems the respondent's action frivolous, however, this will be considered intimidation and harassment and will constitute grounds for a separate complaint.  Retaliation against a complainant is prohibited and is a violation of Penn's non-retaliation policy.

Data Gathering
One of the major responsibilities of the Ombudsperson will be to report to the faculty on the functioning of the office.  A written annual report will include the number of contacts and consultations, the disposition of each case, and the nature of the complaints made.    

The Ombudsperson's report will be made public to students and faculty.  Therefore, it should include no information which might make it possible to identify a complainant or respondent.

As part of the data gathering function, the Ombudsperson will note any systematic pattern in the complaints.  If the Ombudsperson receives repeated complaints about the person, she or he will be required to set up a meeting to inform that individual of the pattern of the complaints and to seek to resolve the situation.

University Procedures for Dealing with Sexual Harassment and Discrimination (see the University’s PENNBook online at: http://www.upenn.edu/osl/pennbook.html)

The Grievance Committee will be composed of two students (to be elected by the student body) and three standing faculty (to be appointed by the Dean).  A grievance committee will be formed in April of each year for the following year.  The chairperson will be a faculty member who will be elected by the Committee. 

Grievance Procedure
Students are expected to read the following policies and guidelines before filing a grievance. Faculty are expected to be familiar with and to review the grievance guidelines before advising a student to file a grievance.

A grievance is a claim that action has been taken by a school representative which is:  (1) arbitrary and capricious; (2) discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran; (3) not in compliance with the School or University of Pennsylvania procedures or regulations. A student may file a grievance at any point in the program. An academic evaluation may not be the subject of a grievance.

The following steps should be included:

  1. In order to facilitate the resolution of any student's questions regarding the above, the student should first see his/her educational advisor.  If the question is not resolved through the educational advisor and/or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the student may request that the grievance be reviewed by the Grievance Committee. The student should send this request in writing to the Dean, who will ask the committee to convene. The Dean, at the time he/she decides to convene the Grievance Committee, will notify persons against whom the grievance is filed.
  2. Within a reasonable amount of time of receiving the grievance, the Grievance Committee will review the evidence to determine if the grievance has merit, and shall notify the respondent that a complaint has been filed, citing the regulations, rules, and/or policies that are alleged to have been violated. The committee will be authorized by the faculty to solicit information from all individuals and/or groups involved. The respondent has a right to be confronted with evidence against her/him, and to present her/his own evidence to the Grievance Committee.
  3. If the committee finds the grievance to have merit, the information and recommendations in writing will be sent to the Dean.  The Dean will make a decision based on these recommendations and will carry out appropriate action.  The Dean will notify the student, the respondent, and other school personnel in writing as prescribed by the situation, with a copy to the student's file.
  4. If the committee finds the grievance not to have merit, the committee will send the findings in writing to the Dean, the student, the respondent, the other school personnel as necessary, with a copy to the student's file.

Committee on Academic Standing and Dismissal Appeal Procedure The Committee on Academic Standing is composed of three members of the Standing Faculty, appointed by the Dean. The Committee on Academic Standing is convened to hear appeals by students who have been dismissed from any of the School’s masters programs for academic or non-academic reasons. A student may appeal the decision to be dismissed from the program by sending a letter stating the specific grounds for his/her appeal to the Dean within two (2) weeks from the date of the written dismissal notice. The Dean will then convene the Committee on Academic Standing to review the circumstances. The Committee on Academic Standing will make the final decision and notify the student in writing. Copies of the decision will be sent to the student, the Dean, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and the student record.

Code of Academic Integrity
Since the University is an academic community, its fundamental purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. Essential to the success of this educational mission is a commitment to the principles of academic integrity. Every member of the University community is responsible for upholding the highest standards of honesty at all times. Students, as members of the community, are also responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the following Code of Academic Integrity.

Activities that have the effect or intention of interfering with education, pursuit of knowledge, or fair evaluation of a student’s performance are prohibited. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to the following definitions:

  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance, material, or study aids in examinations or other academic work or preventing, or attempting to prevent, another from using authorized assistance, material, or study aids. Example: using a cheat sheet in a quiz or exam, altering a graded exam and resubmitting it for a better grade, etc.
  • Plagiarism: using the ideas, data, or language of another without specific or proper acknowledgment. Example: copying another person’s paper, article, or computer work and submitting it for an assignment, cloning someone else’s ideas without attribution, failing to use quotation marks where appropriate, etc.
  • Fabrication: submitting contrived or altered information in any academic exercise. Example: making up data for an experiment, fudging data, citing nonexistent articles, contriving sources, etc.
  • Multiple submission: submitting, without prior permission, any work submitted to fulfill another academic requirement.
  • Misrepresentation of academic records: misrepresenting or tampering with or attempting to tamper with any portion of a student’s transcripts or academic record, either before or after coming to the University of Pennsylvania. Example: forging a change of grade slip, tampering with computer records, falsifying academic information on one’s resume, etc.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty: knowingly helping or attempting to help another violate any provision of the Code. Example: working together on a take-home exam, etc.
  • Unfair advantage: attempting to gain unauthorized advantage over fellow students in an academic exercise. Example: gaining or providing unauthorized access to examination materials, obstructing or interfering with another student’s efforts in an academic exercise, lying about a need for an extension for an exam or paper, continuing to write even when time is up during an exam, destroying or keeping library materials for one’s own use., etc.

Policy on Ethical Behavior in the Electronic Information Environment
The University by its very nature values openness and promotes access to a wide range of information. Campus information systems have been designated to be as open as possible and as such the University insists on responsible use of these systems. Computers, electronic information and computer networks are essential for information and research, instruction and administration within the academic community. Because the electronic environment is easily disrupted and electronic information is readily reproduced, respect for the work and rights of others is especially important. Any intentional behavior with respect to the electronic environment that interferes with the missions or activities of the University or members of the University community will be regarded as unethical and may lead to disciplinary action under standard University rules for misconduct and existing judicial, disciplinary or personnel processes.

The following activities are examples, but not an exhaustive list, of unethical behaviors with respect to the electronic environment:

  • intentionally damaging or destroying the integrity of electronic information;
  • intentionally compromising the privacy of electronic networks or information systems;
  • intentionally disrupting the use of electronic networks or information systems;
  • intentionally infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others in computer programs or electronic information, including plagiarism and unauthorized use of reproduction; or
  • wasting resources (human or electronic) through such actions.

Privacy of Student Information 
Penn is committed to protecting the privacy of students' personal information. Visit the Penn Privacy website for information about student privacy rights and choices at Penn.

Privacy rules that the University and/or SP2 adhere to include the following:

  • Grades may not be posted by name, SSN, or PennID.
  • Graded papers and exams should not be left in hallways or open areas.
  • All student papers and other sensitive material placed in student mailboxes must be enclosed in sealed envelopes.
  • Student information may be shared with University officials with a legitimate need to know.
  • In many cases, a student’s written consent must be obtained before disclosing the student’s information to potential employers and others.

Questions regarding student privacy issues may be directed to Lina Hartocollis, Associate Dean for Students at lhartoco@sp2.upenn.edu, (215) 898-5503; or  Lauren Steinfeld, Penn’s Chief Privacy Officer, at privacy@pobox.upenn.edu or (215) 573-4806.

Participation in Commencement (rev. 2/10/11)
Students who participate in commencement exercises must be in good standing (e.g., above a 3.0 cumulative GPA, paid all fees). A student who plans to complete his or her degree requirements (i.e., the MSSP program, international program, or one remaining course) in the summer immediately following commencement may participate in commencement exercises (i.e., the May exercises preceding completion of the work). For this to be allowed, there must be a reasonable expectation that the student will complete all degree requirements in the summer following commencement exercises. A reasonable expectation includes being in good standing and enrolled, at the time of commencement, in the summer course(s).

Persons who are put on financial hold cannot participate in the graduation ceremony unless they document that financial arrangements have been made through Student Financial Services (located in the Franklin Building) to meet their obligation. They will not have access to their diploma until the financial matters are settled.

The commencement program will indicate with an asterisk or some other designation that the student is not graduating but is recognized as being a member in good standing of the class and will complete degree requirements in the summer.  

This policy applies to all students in all masters programs in SP2.

Secular and Religious Holidays
The University recognizes/observes the following secular holidays: Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Thanksgiving and the day after, Labor Day, and New Year's Day. 

The University also recognizes that there are several religious holidays that affect large numbers of University community members, including Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first two days of Passover, and Good Friday. In consideration of their significance for many students, no examinations may be given and no assigned work may be required on these days. Students who observe these holidays will be given an opportunity to make up missed work. If an examination is given on the first class day after one of these holidays, it must not cover material introduced in class on that holiday. Faculty members are aware that Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the evening before the published date of the holiday. Late afternoon exams should be avoided on these days

The University recognizes that there are other holidays, both religious and secular, which are of importance to some individuals and groups on campus. Such occasions include, but are not limited to, Sukkot, the last two days of Passover, Shavuot, Shemini Atzerat, and Simchat Torah, as well as Chinese New Year, the Muslim New Year, and the Islamic holidays Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Students who wish to observe such holidays must inform their instructors within the first two weeks of each semester of their intent to observe the holiday even when the exact date of the holiday will not be known until later so that alternative arrangements convenient to both students and faculty can be made at the earliest opportunity. Students who make such arrangements will not be required to attend classes or take examinations on the designated days, and faculty provide reasonable opportunities for such students to make up missed examinations.

Emergency School Closing and Cancellation of Classes
Although a rare occurrence, the University may close due to severe weather conditions, or emergency situations.

Evening Class Closure Policy (4:00pm and later)
If the decision is made to cancel SP2 evening classes, a notice will be posted on the School’s and University’s websites by 2:00pm that day: www.sp2.upenn.edu; www.upenn.edu. The closure announcement will also be on the University’s (215) 898-MELT phone line by 2:00pm that day.

Daytime Class Closure Policy (before 4:00pm)
For day classes (before 4:00pm) the School will continue to follow University procedures for emergency closing due to severe weather—

If the University is open, the SP2 will be open.
When the University is closed, the SP2 will be closed.

For University closing information call: (215) 898-MELT, or check the University’s website at: http://www.upenn.edu.

Faculty members who cancel class when the School is open are responsible for notifying their students of the cancellation. Professors should also inform our Receptionist if their class is cancelled by calling the main School number: (215) 898-5512.

Students with Disabilities
The University of Pennsylvania and the SP2 are committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students, including students with disabilities. Penn does not discriminate against students with disabilities and provides reasonable accommodation to a student's known disability in order to afford that student an equal opportunity to participate in University-sponsored programs.

All students with disabilities who seek an accommodation at Penn have the responsibility to identify themselves to the responsible University office.  Within the School, Lina Hartocollis, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, is available to advise and serve as a liaison for students with disabilities. 

Students may also directly contact the University Office of Student Disabilities Services. The Office of Student Disabilities Services collaborates with the Office of Learning Resources to provide comprehensive academic support, including learning strategies that complement accommodations, academic adjustments, and the use of auxiliary aids. Realizing that the commitment to students with disabilities is a shared responsibility, the Office of Student Disabilities Services coordinates with schools, programs, and offices throughout campus to provide the best combination of services. Its professional staff is available to provide consultation to faculty and administrative staff as well as programs for specific groups on topics of interest or concern. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Student Disabilities Services at (215) 573-9235, or (215) 746-6326 (TDD). The Office is located in Stouffer Commons, 3702 Spruce Street, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

The following University resources are available to members of the University community who seek information and counseling about University policies on sexual harassment, standards of behavior, informal and formal mechanisms for resolving complaints and resources for complainants and respondents.

Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs

African-American Resource Center

PBH Employee Assistance Program


Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center

Office of Staff and Labor Relations


Office of the Ombudsman


Division of Public Safety


Penn Women's Center


Student Health Services


Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life