Community Standards

Expectations for student behavior at Vanderbilt are guided, in large part, by the students themselves. The oldest student statement on behavioral expectations is the Honor Code, adopted by the student body in 1875. More recently, the student body adopted the Community Creed to guide shared behavioral expectations both inside and outside of the classroom. As the University community and spaces continue to evolve, Student Affairs has partnered with students to promulgate the Good Neighbor Guidelines and Cyber Citizenship Statement.

Honor Code

Statement of the Honor Code

Vanderbilt University students pursue all academic endeavors with integrity. They conduct themselves honorably, professionally, and respectfully in all realms of their studies in order to promote and secure an atmosphere of dignity and trust. The keystone of the honor system is self-regulation, which requires cooperation and support from each member of the University community.

Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge

I pledge to pursue all academic endeavors with honor and integrity. I understand the principles of the Honor System, and I promise to uphold these standards by adhering to the Honor Code in order to preserve the integrity of Vanderbilt University and its individual members.

A short-form version of the Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge, to be signed on all tests, quizzes, and similar work is: “I pledge on my honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this examination.

For information regarding additional Honor Code Statements and Pledges that may apply to graduate and professional students, please consult the individual school or college and its Honor Council.

History of the Honor Code

The Vanderbilt Honor System was instituted in 1875 with the first final examinations administered by the University. Dean Madison Sarratt summarized the system as follows, “Let every individual who contemplates entering Vanderbilt University ask himself[/herself/themselves] first this important question: ‘Am I strong enough to give my word of honor and then live up to it in spite of every temptation that may arise?’”

The purpose of the Honor Code is to preserve and promote academic integrity. Ideally, a student’s personal integrity is presumed to be sufficient assurance that in academic matters one does one’s own work without unauthorized help from any other source. The Undergraduate Honor Council and the graduate and professional school Honor Councils are organizations that seek to preserve the integrity of the Honor Code at Vanderbilt University. Each council aims to secure justice for any student under suspicion of dishonesty, to vindicate his/her/their name if innocent and, if guilty, to protect the honor and standing of the remaining students.

The Honor System is one of the many layered structures provided to Vanderbilt students to aid in the development of creative thinking, intellectual maturity, personal accountability, and respect for honesty, integrity, and truth. The goal of the Honor System is to have all students leave Vanderbilt not only as graduates, but also as citizens of integrity.

The Vanderbilt Community Creed

The Vanderbilt Community Creed

The Community Creed is a student-initiated statement of the values to which the Vanderbilt community aspires. Individuals who join this community embark on a lifelong journey toward greater intellectual enlightenment and personal growth. By fostering the Creed’s principles, we anchor ourselves to the University's enduring tradition of excellence, united by a common set of values.

Academic - We strive to pursue intellectual knowledge with curiosity and humility. We engage in a partnership of learning and discovery, where the scholarly exploration of ideas is not only protected, but encouraged.

Neighborly - We strive to be ambassadors of goodwill within our campus and beyond. We serve, uplift, and empower the members of our global neighborhood.

Courageous - We strive to be courageous, acting with bold authenticity. We embrace taking risks, challenging assumptions, and persevering in the face of adversity.

Honest - We strive for honesty in our academic endeavors and relationships with others. We commit to integrity and accountability across all aspects of life—personally, professionally, and academically. 

Open - We strive to openly engage with ideas, experiences, and with one another. We welcome every background and story through celebration of the diversity that enriches our common experience and active participation in constructive conversations about our differences.

Respectful - We strive to promote a culture of civility grounded in equity, inclusivity, and respect. We hold each other’s passions and perspectives in high regard, endeavoring to live a life of personal growth and service.

Good Neighbor Guidelines

Good Neighbor Guidelines

Vanderbilt University is dedicated to participating in the Nashville community in meaningful ways. This includes positively contributing to the experiences of residents throughout the city. To this end, the University has developed the Good Neighbor Guidelines listed below in order to help foster good neighborhood relations for current and future students living in Nashville neighborhoods. While residing off-campus, students are expected to abide by these guidelines, as well as the policies and regulations delineated in the Student Handbook, which apply to all students enrolled at Vanderbilt.

If a student is living in an off-campus residence with one or more other students or non-students and the residence is found by the University to be violation of the Good Neighbor Guidelines or other policies and regulations or to be adversely affecting the University’s relationship with the neighboring community, all Vanderbilt students who are residents may be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, even if the conduct of an individual resident cannot be specifically identified. If authorization to live off-campus was granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments, it may be revoked at any time for good cause, including as part of a sanction imposed following a student accountability proceeding (refer to the Residential Life section of the Student Handbook for more information).

Introduce yourself

Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself to them when you first move in or early in the semester and exchange contact information.

Respect your neighbor’s lifestyle

Depending on your neighborhood, there may be other students, working adults, or families with young children living near you. Be aware and respectful of your neighbors’ daily schedule and remember that they may have to work, get up early the next morning, or have young children at home.

Keep the noise down

Abide by local noise ordinances and avoid creating loud noises that may disturb your neighbors.

Keep your yard neat and picked-up

Practice proper yard maintenance and ensure you pick up any litter from your yard or the area around your residence.

Park your car in appropriate places

Learn the acceptable and legal places for parking at your house or apartment. In particular, it is a violation of a Metro Nashville ordinance to block a sidewalk, driveway, or fire hydrant with a parked vehicle.

Be responsible when hosting gatherings

Let your neighbors know in advance if you are planning a social gathering at your house. Keep the number of guests at a manageable level, determine a reasonable time for the gathering to end, and have plenty of trashcans available so guests can discard their litter as they leave. Promptly clean up after the event and do not leave a visible mess. Remember that all tenants of the house or apartment are responsible for behavior that occurs on the premises.


Invite your neighbors to contact you if there are any problems at your house and discuss concerns with your neighbors as soon as they arise.

Be familiar with state and local laws and University policies regarding alcohol and other drugs.

Cyber Citizenship Statement

Cyber Citizenship Statement

According to the Vanderbilt University Community Creed, Vanderbilt students strive to promote a culture of civility grounded in open, respectful, and neighborly interactions. This value extends beyond the Vanderbilt physical campus and into the digital environment where community members learn, work, and interact daily. This digital environment includes classroom learning platforms and social media platforms used for communication, including email, Zoom, Yik Yak, Twitter, GroupMe, Instagram, Greek Rank, Reddit, Tik Tok, Fizz, etc.

As defined by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), digital citizens “recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.” To this end, the University has developed the Digital Citizenship Guidelines below in order to complement the Community Creed and help create, promote, and sustain a virtual world that is civil and respectful while demonstrating an openness to engage in productive conversations and online exchanges that acknowledge and value difference of opinion in a respectful way. While using technology and operating in the digital environment, Vanderbilt students are expected to abide by these guidelines, as well as the policies and regulations delineated in the Student Handbook, which apply to all students enrolled at Vanderbilt.

The Digital Citizenship Guidelines are not considered a University policy. Behaviors that do not align with the Digital Citizenship Guidelines can be reported to Student Accountability. Reported behaviors will be assessed by Student Accountability for potential policy violations (i.e., disorderly conduct, harassment, threatening behavior, etc.). Any potential policy violations may be addressed through Student Accountability.

Digital Citizenship Guidelines

Consider how your interactions may or may not be furthering a community climate of openness/neighborly/respectful interactions:

Treating others with respect.

Refrain from offensive name-calling, using hateful language, sending intimidating messages, engaging in unsolicited contact with others, or publicly disclosing someone else’s personal information (i.e., doxxing). Additionally, always consider whether you have appropriate consent before using, reposting, or sharing the images of or content created by others.

Being mindful of statements you make related to your safety and the safety of others.

In order to ensure the safety and security of individuals and the community at large, any perceived threats to self or others, including hyperbole, emotional rhetoric, or those made in jest, must be taken seriously and may result in University response.

Utilizing technology resources and devices thoughtfully and responsibly.

When communicating and interacting with others in the digital environment, refrain from reckless behaviors including spoofing, creating fake profiles or generating content from an account that does not accurately reflect who is posting, messaging en masse, and sharing passwords.

Understanding, respecting, and abiding by the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

As a reflection of Vanderbilt’s academic mission and learning environment, properly cite and adhere to copyright laws in and outside of the classroom.

Being a helpful bystander.

Maintaining a respectful community is everyone's responsibility. Help stop the spread of misinformation by verifying content with reputable sources before sharing with others, utilizing the host platform’s reporting and safety features so that degrading and/or harmful content can be flagged, reviewed, and/or removed, and refraining from liking, sharing, or commenting on malicious or harmful information that has been posted about others.

Personal Safety Tips

As a user of technological resources and devices, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and mitigate risks in the digital environment including:

  1. Fully exploring and utilizing the privacy settings on your email, social media, and other online accounts to control who has access to you and your information.
  2. Utilizing the host platform’s reporting and safety features so that malicious and harmful content can be flagged, reviewed, and/or removed.
  3. Asking the offender to stop and then avoiding or ignoring further engagement with the person or the person’s content.
  4. Being aware of phishing and scam emails and taking care to verify messages before responding to messages, opening any links, or disclosing personal and identifying information.
  5. Preserving all evidence if you are the victim of harassment, including messages, emails, comments, postings, etc. If you would rather not continue to see these messages, consider allowing a trusted friend to handle this task for you.

Freedom of Expression in the Digital Environment

As an institution of higher learning dedicated to research, teaching, and service, Vanderbilt is firmly committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression and will maintain the conditions of freedom of inquiry, thought, and discussion on campus and in the digital environment. For more information, please refer to the Freedom of Expression policy.


Campus Resources

Resources, including options to report abuse or misuse of a system directly to a third-party social media platform, can be found in the Resources for Students who Experience Misconduct section of the Student Handbook.