Policies & Statements

This website is neither a contract nor an offer of a contract. The information it contains was accurate at the time of its posting. Fees, deadlines, academic requirements, courses, degree programs, housing availability and other matters described on this site may change without notice. Not all courses are offered each academic year. The School reserves the right to amend, modify or rescind any policy and to create new policies at any time in its sole discretion.

** 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

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:

Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs
Sansom Place East
3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106
215.898.6993 (Voice)
215.898.7803 (TDD)

Security Policies, Procedures, and 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.  The Campus SaVE Act of 2013 expanded these requirements to include information on and resources related to crimes of interpersonal violence, including dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. Federal law also requires institutions with on-campus housing to share an annual fire report with the campus community.

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

You may request a paper copy of the report by calling the Office of the Vice President for Public Safety and Superintendent of Penn Police at 215-898-7515.

Sexual Misconduct

The University of Pennyslvania sexual misconduct policy is available in the Pennbook.

Student Rights and 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 Students Grievances
Concerns AboutSteps to Address Concerns
Educational AdvisorStep 1: Educational Advisor
Step 2: Faculty Program Director or Associate Dean of Students Affairs
Step 3: Ombudsperson
Class InstructionStep 1: Instructor
Step 2: Educational Advisor
Step 3: Faculty Program Director or Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Step 4: University Ombuds
Field Placement/Mentorship/InternshipStep 1: Field Instructor/Mentor/Advisor/Supervisor
Step 2: (MSW program only) Practice Instructor
Step 2: (MSSP, NPL) Administrative Program Director
Step 3: (MSW) Director of Field Education
Step 4: Faculty Program Director or Associate Dean of Student Affairs
AdministrationStep 1: Relevant Administrator
Step 2: Associate Dean of Student Affairs or Dean
Step 3: Ombudsperson
Very Sensitive Concerns (i.e. Sexual harassment and discrimination)Step 1: University Ombuds or Office of Affirmative Action
Other StudentsStep 1: Student
Step 2: Instructor
Step 3: Educational Advisor
Step 4: Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Student Life Issues (e.g., housing, health, disabilities)Step 1. Associate Dean of Student Affairs
School-wide issues (e.g., building/equipment issues, curriculum, events, etc)Step 1: Student Council Representatives
Step 2: Associate Dean of Student Affairs or Administrative Program Director

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 Dean of Students, 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
  • 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:

Associate Dean for Students

Penn’s Chief Privacy Officer

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
  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving (and the following day)
  • Labor Day
  • 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.

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, the Dean of Students and the Associate Director of Student Services, are 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:

Office of Student Disabilities Services
Stouffer Commons
3702 Spruce Street, Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215.746.6326 (TDD)

Additional Resources

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.

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