Student & Organization Behavioral Policies

The following policies guide behavioral expectations for students—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—as well as all registered student organizations. The procedures for resolving alleged violations can be found in the Student Behavioral Procedures section of the Student Handbook.

Although the University values personal freedom, celebration, and recreation, the policies and regulations that apply to student conduct at Vanderbilt are also informed by principles that value the health, safety, and well-being of students and other members of the University community, as well as their academic and personal success. The University’s goal in establishing policies and holding students accountable for complying with them is to help students understand how their choices can affect not only their immediate neighbors, but also the University community as a whole. 

When students fail to meet University standards, they ultimately risk separation from the University community. Vanderbilt’s system of graduated sanctions and structured accountability action plans is designed to effect students’ voluntary compliance with the policies and regulations established to protect themselves, other students, and the community. Vanderbilt hopes that educational conferences, deferred probations, and probationary periods with accountability action plans will be sufficient to help students make better choices so that separation from the community never becomes necessary. 

The following behavioral policies align with The Vanderbilt Community Creed, and reenforce the University community’s commitment to being academic, neighborly, courageous, honest, open and respectful.

Behavior in the Academic Environment


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

Acts that compromise the integrity of academic work do not align with Vanderbilt students’ commitment to being academic. 

Honor Code Violations

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

Accordingly, acts that inhibit learning or that violate the Honor Code and thereby break the trust of the academic community are prohibited. Violations of the Honor Code are cause for disciplinary actions imposed by the appropriate Honor Council. 

General Violations

Possible violations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Giving and/or receiving unauthorized aid or attempting to give and/or receive unauthorized aid on an assignment, report, paper, exercise, problem, test or examination, presentation, film, or computer program submitted by a student to meet course requirements. Such aid includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • use or production of unauthorized aids, which may include cheat sheets, answer keys, or computer programs;
  • use of texts, papers, computer programs, or other class work prepared by commercial or noncommercial agents and submitted as a student’s own work;
  • copying from another student's work;
  • unauthorized collaboration;
  • unauthorized posting, sharing, taking, or distribution of past or present examinations or other course materials;
  • unauthorized advance access to examinations or other assignments;
  • compromising a testing environment or violating specified testing conditions;
  • unauthorized use of books, notes, websites, phones, watches, calculators, or other outside materials or devices during an examination;
  • soliciting, giving, and/or receiving unauthorized aid orally or in writing; or
  • any other similar action that is contrary to the principles of academic honesty.
  • Plagiarism on an assigned paper, theme, report, or other material submitted to meet course requirements. Plagiarism is defined as incorporating into one's own work the work or ideas of another without properly indicating that source. A full discussion of plagiarism and proper citation is provided in the section below.
  • Any action designed to deceive a member of the faculty, a staff member, or a fellow student regarding principles contained in the Honor Code, such as securing an answer to a problem for one course from a faculty member in another course when such assistance has not been authorized or providing false information in order to receive an extension on an assignment or to excuse an absence.
  • Any falsification of class records or other materials submitted to demonstrate compliance with course requirements or to obtain class credit, including falsifying records of class attendance, attendance at required events or events for which credit is given, or attendance or hours spent at internships or other work service.
  • Submission of work prepared for another course without specific prior authorization of the instructors in both courses.
  • Falsification of results of study and research.
  • Altering a previously graded examination or test for a re-grade.

Note: Schools, departments, programs, and individual faculty members, speakers, and artists may have policies governing the creation, use, and/or distribution of recordings—video or audio—of lectures, virtual course sessions, speeches, performances, and other activities. Individuals must obtain authorization prior to recording such activities, and to abide by the various policies governing their being recorded, including, but not limited to, policies related to use and distribution of recordings. Failure to abide by recording policies may be an Honor Code violation or may result in corrective action through the University’s accountability process depending on the circumstances. In addition, examinations and the questions therein, as well as lectures, teaching notes, scholarly writings, course handouts, assignments, and other course materials are the property of the individual faculty member. Copying or distributing any such materials without the permission of the copyright owner may constitute an infringement violation, and may result in a referral to Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity for corrective action. 

Honor Code and Preparation of Papers

Papers are to express the original thoughts of the student. If a topic for a paper has been discussed fully among students prior to an assignment, then the students should consult the instructor about writing on that particular topic.

Failure to indicate any outside source of ideas, expressions, phrases, or sentences constitutes plagiarism.

A change in wording (or insufficient paraphrasing), the use of a catchy word or phrase, undocumented paraphrasing, or word for word copying may also constitute plagiarism. Examples of these common actions that reflect plagiarism are explored further on the Undergraduate Honor Council’s resource page.

A student may not submit papers substantially the same in content for credit in more than one course, without specific and prior permission of all instructors concerned.

Utilizing unauthorized assistance in the preparation or writing of a paper, such as having other people, technologies like artificial intelligence, or other commercial or noncommercial agents produce text, whether in part or in whole, may constitute a violation of giving or receiving unauthorized aid.

Students should understand that sources of common knowledge can be plagiarized. Generally, an idea is considered common knowledge if it is encountered at least five times in separate sources during one's research into a particular subject. (Reprints of one source do not constitute separate sources.) Copying or close paraphrasing of the wording or presentation of a source of common knowledge constitutes plagiarism. What constitutes common knowledge may also vary by discipline so students should consult their instructors to determine whether a citation is needed.

Regardless of intent or premeditation, plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code. Students, therefore, must be conscious of their responsibilities as scholars under the Honor System, to learn to discern what is included in plagiarism as well as in other breaches of the Honor Code, and must know and practice the specifications for citations in scholarly work.

Any student who is uncertain about the application of the plagiarism and citation rules should consult the instructor. A student who plagiarizes out of ignorance is still guilty of an Honor Code violation.

Honor Code and Tests, Examinations, and Other Exercises

Students are on their honor not to ask for or give information pertaining to any portion of an examination before or after they have taken it, in such a way as to gain or give an advantage over other students. Additionally, students are required to comply with specified testing conditions or the outlined requirements related to the testing environment. Taking either of these actions constitutes giving or receiving unauthorized aid.

The written pledge (see also “Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge”) signifies that the work submitted is the student's own and that it has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the course as specified by the instructor.

Any student uncertain about the application of the pledge to a particular course requirement should always consult the instructor. The Undergraduate Honor Code Pledge, or an abbreviation thereof, should be included in all written work completed by the student and submitted for a grade. Any work handed in for credit, however, will be considered “pledged” unless otherwise stated by the instructor.

Honor Code and Group Work

  • Students should be accountable for group work submitted in their names for the fulfillment of a course, program, or assignment and may be responsible for Honor Code violations within the work.
  • Students should ask their instructors before collaborating on any assignment.
  • Students should ask their instructors if a tutor or other individual may help you with any assignment.

The guidelines for appropriate collaboration and task division pertaining to group work vary among classes and instructors. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to obtain a clear understanding of appropriate collaboration from the instructor. Completion of work outside of approved parameters for collaboration constitutes giving or receiving unauthorized aid.

Study Away Misconduct

Students are expected to comply with local laws when visiting or traveling to another country as well as with instructions of the Global Education Office (GEO), their respective program directors, on-site program staff, study-away program providers, foreign host institutions (in the case of exchange and direct-enroll programs), and facilities in which they reside. Students are responsible for complying with the provisions of the Student International Travel policy.

Vanderbilt’s behavioral expectations apply to students participating in Vanderbilt University study-away or remote overseas programs, including students from other institutions or who are not primarily registered at Vanderbilt, for the duration of the specific programs in which they are enrolled, and for any period immediately before or after that, should they extend their respective visits abroad.

Obstruction or Disruption of Teaching or Research

Teaching and research are the core of the academic curriculum. Obstruction or disruption of teaching or research includes, but is not limited to, shouting down or attempting to talk over others, engaging in distracting behavior such as moving about the room when required to be seated or making noise unrelated to the classroom topic, barring access to a classroom or lab, failure to follow required research protocols, or engaging in horseplay. A professor may choose to issue a warning in lieu of referral to conduct; failure to abide by the warning is also considered obstruction or disruption of teaching.

Student workers, such as teaching assistants, may not give access to course or laboratory material to others who would not normally have access.

Behavior in the Living & Learning Environment


Neighborly: Vanderbilt students strive to be ambassadors of goodwill within our campus and beyond. They serve, uplift, and empower the members of our global neighborhood.

Acts that are disruptive, infringe on another’s enjoyment of their residential space, place others in danger, or otherwise harm the goodwill and shared commitments of communal living do not align with Vanderbilt students’ commitment to being neighborly. 

Building Safety

In order to provide a safe environment for all, students should not tamper, destroy, or otherwise impede the functioning of safety equipment. Such acts include, but are not limited to, the improper use of emergency exits (such as propping open doors or sounding alarms by exiting when no emergency exists), tampering with building access systems, tampering with smoke detectors, tampering with sprinkler systems (such as hanging items from sprinkler heads or damaging sprinkler heads through horse play), or tampering with surveillance cameras.

Safety is important both inside and adjacent to buildings. Accordingly, fire hazards—such as candles, paint, flammable liquids, electric scooters, skateboards, and similar—may not be stored in buildings. Similarly, firepits and other fire hazards are prohibited on campus. The University prohibits certain items from residence halls. Possession of such items is considered a violation. A list of prohibited items can be found in the Residential Life section of this handbook.

As emergency personnel need to know who is in a building to properly clear it, it is also a violation to change rooms without proper authorization.

Commercial & Promotional Activity

Students, faculty, and staff can expect their work and living environments to be free from unwelcome marketing. To that end, the University established the Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising policy. Individuals who fail to abide by the instructions provided in the policy may be held personally accountable for their activity. Such acts include, but are not limited to, going door to door within the residence halls soliciting, operating a business on University property, and similar. Students should review the Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising policy for a complete list of prohibited conduct.

Additionally, all marketing materials—posters, flyers, leaflets, etc.—should follow applicable campus posting policies, which includes identifying the name of the person or organization who posted the materials. More information can be found in the Notices, Posters, Banners, and Printed Announcement section of the Student Handbook.

Notices, posters, flyers, banners, social media posts, email invitations, etc., may not use logos or trademarks of alcoholic beverages, or mention or refer to alcoholic beverages or their availability at an event.

Activity that violates this policy is considered commercial whether or not it is for profit or money is exchanged.

Good Neighbor Policy

Vanderbilt University is dedicated to participating in the Nashville community in meaningful ways. To that end, the Good Neighbor Guidelines exist to assist students living off campus to be responsible neighbors.

All residents living in an off-campus residence who engage in behavior or allow guests to engage in behavior that contradicts the Good Neighbor Guidelines may receive a warning that continued acts will be subject to disciplinary action. Actions that adversely affect the University’s relationship with neighboring communities may be referred to Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity regardless of prior warnings.

In addition to sanctions assigned by Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity, residents found responsible for violating the Good Neighbor Policy may be restricted from living off-campus in future years.

Guest Violation

Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests while on campus. All guests should be registered for safety reasons. Accordingly, students violate the policies found in the Visitation and Overnight Guests section of the Student Handbook when they either fail to register guests, fail to accompany guest, or allow guests to violate the behavioral expectations of our community.

Noise Violation

Students are expected to keep noise to a reasonable level appropriate to the time of day regardless of whether the activity is taking place in the residence halls, on campus, or in the community. Information on quiet hours as well as other expectations within the residence halls can be found in the Residential Life section of the Student Handbook.

Pets and Other Animals in University Facilities

Animals may not enter campus buildings without prior authorization as an emotional support or service animal. Students who are seeking or who have received approval for an emotional support or service animal must abide by the expectations outlined in the Assistance Animal section of the Student Handbook. 

Unauthorized Entry and/or Use

In order to respect the property and privacy of others, students should not enter into residential rooms, offices, laboratories, rooftops, athletic playing fields or courts, or other areas of the University that are not commonly open to the public without express permission. Similarly, use of personal property or property belonging to the University—including, but not limited to, identification cards, cell phones, computers, construction equipment, or golf carts—without the permission of the owner or in a manner unintended by the owner is prohibited. Unauthorized use extends to violations of driver expectations for University sponsored travel. Engaging in sports, games, or activities in the residence hall that are not appropriate indoors is also prohibited.

Unregistered Parties

All events for which registration is required must be registered appropriately and receive approval or else are prohibited from occurring.

Violation of Residential Life Policies

Students living on campus are expected to abide by all residential policies. Students residing off campus are also expected to follow residential policies while visiting residential areas. Students are prohibited from living off campus absent prior approval from the University. Further information on those policies can be found in the Residential Life section of the Student Handbook.


Courageous: Vanderbilt students strive to be courageous, acting with bold authenticity. They embrace taking risks, challenging assumptions, and persevering in the face of adversity.

Cultural narratives around the college experience can encourage high-risk use of alcohol and other drugs by normalizing misuse as mainstream. By making choices aligned with personal values as opposed to cultural norms, Vanderbilt students live lives of courage.


Evidence of High-Risk Alcohol Use

The risks posed from rapid consumption of alcohol necessitates additional conduct action when evidence of high-risk use exists when responding to an incident. Evidence of high-risk use includes, but is not limited to, funnels, vaporizers, beer bongs, common containers, the possession of pure grain alcohol, and failure to comply with the Alcohol Beverage Management Policy in the West End Neighborhood resulting in individuals having access to more than the allotted number of beverages for personal carry and consumption. 

Drinking games are also prohibited. Evidence of drinking games includes, but is not limited to, paraphernalia associated with drinking games, words or actions heard or observed by University officials, amount of alcohol present compared to number of people present, the level of intoxication of participants, as well as other circumstances leading a reasonable person to believe that drinking games have occurred.

Hosts of parties or gatherings where evidence exists to determine high-risk alcohol use occurred are responsible for the environment they created and/or allowed, which may result in heightened sanctions. 

Subject to statutory exceptions available under Tennessee law, alcoholic beverages may not be provided (served, distributed, furnished) to persons under the legal drinking age (21 years old) in the state of Tennessee.

As in our broader community, a student—regardless of age—may not furnish alcohol to a person under the age of 21 regardless of their affiliation with the University. Furnishing includes, but is not limited to, giving alcohol to another person regardless of whether money is exchanged.

Hosting an Event where Underage Persons Consume Alcohol

Hosting a social environment in which Individuals who are under the age of 21 consume alcohol is prohibited.


Due to the danger that intoxicated persons pose to themselves and to others, as well as to the disruption that intoxication can bring to the living/learning community, intoxication, regardless of age, is prohibited. Standard indicators of drinking to the level of intoxication may include, but are not limited to, lack of balance, loss of coordination, confusion, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, odor of intoxicant, and behavioral changes, such as confusion, aggression, rudeness, or overt friendliness. 

Liquor/Wine at Organization Event

Liquor is prohibited at all organizational events regardless of undergraduate, graduate, or professional affiliation without prior approval by the Vice Provost and Dean of Students or their designee (Dean of Students). Wine is prohibited at undergraduate organizational events or at graduate/professional organizational events where undergraduates are reasonably expected to be in attendance; certain exceptions may be made for religious purposes with prior approval from the Dean of Students.

Possession/Consumption of Alcohol where Prohibited

Possession of open containers of beer or other alcoholic beverages, regardless of the type of container, in the lobbies of residences or about the campus, including lawns and sports fields, is prohibited, except where expressly permitted. The only places on campus where students (who must be of legal drinking age) may routinely possess and consume alcoholic beverages are as follows (1) the rooms and apartments of students in upper division residences (with the exception of substance-free floors and buildings and Recovery Housing rooms), (2) designated facilities in the West End Neighborhood (with the exception of no liquor or wine being permitted), and (3) The Overcup Oak (beverages sold on the premises only).

Underage Possession and/or Consumption of Alcohol

Students under the age of 21 may not possess alcohol. Possession includes, but is not limited to, carrying on one’s person, unclaimed alcohol found in an underage student’s residential space, and alcohol held on behalf of an of-age individual.

Consumption of alcohol by students under the age of 21 is prohibited, except as permitted in the observance of religious activities.

Use and/or Possession of Common Containers

The possession, storage, or use of common or bulk containers of alcoholic beverages such as kegs, pony kegs, coolers, or punch bowls by undergraduates or at any student organization-sponsored event, to which undergraduates have been invited, or at which they are present, is prohibited.

Violation of Alcohol Beverage Management Policies

Hosts are expected to abide by the beverage management policies of West End Neighborhood, Student Centers, Residential Experience, or other applicable policies.

Other Drugs

Distribution or Provision of Illicit Drugs

Distribution of controlled and illegal drugs is prohibited. This prohibition includes distributing medications to one person that have been prescribed for another. The term distribution includes “sharing” of any drug and does not require the exchange of money. An attempt to distribute illicit drugs violates this policy regardless of whether drugs are actually exchanged.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Students may not possess drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia includes, but is not limited to, bongs, pipes, needles, grinders, weights, scales, rolling papers, as well as common smoking devises when used for the consumption of illegal substances such as e-cigs, vapes, juuls, and hookahs.

Possession and/or Use of Illicit Drugs

Possession and/or use of controlled and illegal substances consistent with federal, state or local laws is strictly prohibited.

In accordance with TCA 43-27-103, students may not possess or consume hemp or hemp concentrate when the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration exceeds three-tenths of one percent (0.3%). In addition, in accordance with TCA 39-17-1505, students under the age of 21 may not purchase or distribute hemp-derived cannabinoids, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol, when the concentration exceeds one-tenth of one percent (0.1%). Individuals under the age of 21 are also prohibited from using such products. 

Possession and/or Use of Medication

The misuse of prescription drugs is a serious concern on college campuses. For this reason, it is a violation of University policy for a student to be in possession of, or use, another person’s prescription medication. It is also a violation to misuse prescribed medication. 

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or other Drugs

Because of the danger that drivers under the influence pose to themselves and to others, the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is prohibited.


Honest: Vanderbilt students strive to be honest in their academic endeavors and relationships with others. They commit to integrity and accountability across all aspects of life—personally, professionally, and academically.

Acts that are dishonest or lacking the integrity expected of a Vanderbilt student are prohibited.

False or Misleading Actions

Engaging in dishonest acts is prohibited. Dishonest acts include, but are not limited to, altering University documents, altering University identification, forgery of any kind, fraud, impersonation of another person, use or possession of identification belonging to another person, use or possession of false identification regardless of age, providing false information to University Officials or members of the University community, misleading University Officials through the omission of information, lending to or using on behalf of another a Commodore Card, misuse of University Parking Permit, and altering or misusing University records, documents or materials.

Failure to Comply with University Officials

Failure to comply with authorized directives of a University official or representatives of the University acting in performance of their duties is prohibited. Failure to comply includes, but is not limited to, fleeing from an official or representative of the University, violating a no contact directive, and not following instructions.


In seeking to live lives of integrity, Vanderbilt students should neither attempt to violate university policy nor facilitate, aid, or abet others in violation of University policy.

Theft and/or Misappropriation of Property

Students may not take, withhold, or interfere with the property of another without express permission. Engaging in such actions is considered theft or misappropriation of property; these acts include, but are not limited to, the unauthorized access of private information, unauthorized possession of University property, possession of property of others, unauthorized use of property of others, and the use of trademarks, symbols, or other copyrights belonging to the University or others.

Schools, departments, programs, and individual faculty members, speakers, and artists may have policies governing the creation, use, and/or distribution of recordings—video or audio—of lectures, virtual course sessions, speeches, performances, and other activities. Individuals must obtain authorization prior to recording such activities, and to abide by the various policies governing their being recorded, including, but not limited to, policies related to use and distribution of recordings. Failure to abide by recording policies is a violation. In addition, examinations and the questions therein, lectures, teaching notes, scholarly writings, course handouts, assignments, and other course materials are the property of the individual faculty member. Copying or distributing any such materials without the authorization of the copyright owner may constitute a violation.

Individuals with access to University or student organization funds and who misuse those funds, purchasing cards, or otherwise violate University financial policies resulting in a financial loss may be responsible for theft and/or misappropriation of property.

Violation of Disciplinary Outcomes

Students who go through the University’s accountability process and are found responsible for policy violations are expected to abide by all assigned sanctions and accountability action plans. For students assigned disciplinary probation as a sanction, further violations of University policy during their probationary period are considered a violation of disciplinary outcomes. Similarly, students who are non-compliant with sanctions, terms of suspension, or requirements of accountability action plans are also in violation of disciplinary outcomes.


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

Acts that demean, dehumanize, or otherwise harm a person’s ability to participate fully and authentically in our community do not align with Vanderbilt students’ commitment to openness. 


Students may not engage in the abuse of another person, and abuse that causes a reasonable person to fear for one’s safety or bodily autonomy is a violation of this policy. Abuse includes, but is not limited to, unwanted physical contact of a non-sexual nature, striking or attempting to strike another person, intimidation through threats or other means, and words, symbols, graphics, or other communications that threaten violence. Additionally, the invasion of privacy through the filming or recording of individuals as well as going through private space without consent is considered abuse.

The University may resolve situations where there are mutual combatants and no clear aggressor outside the formal conduct adjudication process.


Discriminating against individuals on the basis of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law is a violation.

Prohibited Conduct includes:

Discrimination is defined as treating someone differently because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, age, disability, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law (“Protected Classes”) in the administration of Vanderbilt’s educational policies, programs, or activities. This policy also prohibits discrimination based on the perception that any person is a member of any of the Protected Classes or is associated with a person who is, or is perceived to be, a member of one or more of the Protected Classes.

Discriminatory Harassment is any verbal or physical conduct, or conduct using technology, directed toward someone because of their membership in a Protected Class that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s educational or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, working, or academic environment. This policy also prohibits harassment based on the perception that any person is a member of any of the Protected Classes or is associated with a person who is, or is perceived to be, a member of one or more of the Protected Classes.

A person's subjective belief that conduct is intimidating, hostile, or offensive does not make that conduct harassment. To constitute harassment, the conduct must from both a subjective and objective perspective be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives a member of the community of the ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities from the University’s education or employment programs or activities. In determining whether a hostile environment exists, Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA) examines the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of incidents, as well as the relationships of the persons involved.

Retaliation includes action threatened or taken, directly or through others, intended to deter a person from engaging in Protected Activity (defined below) or done in retribution for engaging in Protected Activity. Action in response to Protected Activity is not retaliatory unless it (1) would not have occurred in the absence of the protected activity; and (2) has a materially adverse effect on the person, meaning the action was sufficiently harmful to deter a reasonable person from engaging in Protected Activity. Vanderbilt strictly prohibits retaliation and will take appropriate action to address reports of retaliation.

 Additional Definitions:

  • Report is any complaint or information provided to EOA alleging an incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
  • Complainant is generally the person who is reported to have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation; if the complainant is a student organization, a representative from the organization will be designated to represent the organization in the investigation process.
  • Respondent is the person alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct; if the respondent is a student organization, EOA or Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity (“Student Accountability”) will designate a member of the organization to represent the organization in the investigation process.
  • Protected Activity includes (1) reporting (internally or externally) or inquiring, in good faith, about suspected Prohibited Conduct; (2) assisting others in reporting or inquiring, in good faith, about suspected Prohibited Conduct; or (3) participating in an investigation or proceeding related to suspected Prohibited Conduct.


Vanderbilt University expects students to refrain from conduct that is harassing toward another. Harassment is unwelcome verbal, physical, electronic, or other conduct toward another that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or participation in a University program or activity. A person's subjective belief that behavior is intimidating, hostile, or abusive does not necessarily make that behavior harassment. Students are also expected to refrain from conduct that otherwise unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the University community by any means, including through the use of electronic communications, social media, computers, or data networks, or by recording unauthorized video or photographic images in a location in which the other community member has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or by publishing such images. Such conduct is a violation of University policy.

Harassment of any individual based on sex, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable within the University is the harassment of any individual on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, or harassment because of one’s perception of another’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Harassment that falls within one of these protected categories is subject to referral for investigation and adjudication by EOA.


State law requires each college and university in Tennessee to adopt a policy prohibiting hazing. Hazing is defined in the law as “any intentional or reckless act in Tennessee on or off the property of any [college or university] by one (1) student acting alone or with others which is directed against any other student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger the student’s mental or physical health or safety. Hazing does not include customary athletic events or similar contests or competitions, and is limited to those actions taken and situations created in connection with initiation into or affiliation with any organization.”

While including the statutory limitations of hazing above (i.e., student acts directed at students on or off campus), the University expands its definition of hazing to include any act by an individual or an organization that may produce, or is intended to produce, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, or any acts that are humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning, or that endanger the health and safety of an individual or group of individuals regardless of their affiliation for the purposes of, but not limited to, recruiting, joining, pledging, initiating, admitting, affiliating, or retaining membership in an organization.  Such acts include—but are not limited to—the following:

  • violation of federal, state, provincial, local law, or organizational policy;
  • consumption of any food, liquid, alcohol liquid, drug, or other substance in any con-customary manner;
  • physical contact, including but not limited to, beating, paddling, branding, dangerous physical activity, or exposure to elements, or threats of such conduct;
  • exercise inconsistent with the mission of the organization;
  • adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual through acts such as sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in embarrassment, or threats of such conduct;
  • disruption of academic performance or class attendance, including early morning or late night work sessions,
  • designated driving programs;
  • personal or financial servitude;
  • publicly wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste;
  • engaging in public stunts,
  • morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; or
  • scavenger hunts.

The University makes no distinction as to whether the acts occurred on or off campus. Willful or voluntary participation in hazing activities by a victim does not absolve the person or organization engaging in hazing from responsibility. Both organizations and individuals within organizations may be charged with hazing for actions stemming out of the same event or incident. The extent to which the form of hazing presents a significant threat to health and safety, including, but not limited to, forced alcohol or drug consumption, physical abuse that causes or could cause bodily harm, sexual misconduct, or deprivation of sleep, food, or water, will be taken into account in assigning sanctions and accountability action plans. Acts of aggravated hazing will likely result in suspension or expulsion on the first occurrence of such behavior.


Retaliation against any individual who files a complaint, testifies, or participates in any manner in a University investigation or proceeding is strictly prohibited. A person may be held responsible for retaliation when they either directly engage in retaliatory acts or encourage others to do so on their behalf, including failure to stop others’ actions when known. Retaliatory acts include, but are not limited to, intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against another. Vanderbilt will vigorously enforce this prohibition against retaliation up to and including expulsion.


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

Acts that demonstrate contempt or reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others as well as for the orderly operation of the community do not align with Vanderbilt students’ commitment to respect.

Animal Cruelty

Cruelty to animals is prohibited. Cruelty includes, but is not limited to, failing to appropriately care for an animal and intentionally or recklessly harming an animal when not done for the normal purposes of hunting or fishing.

Disorderly Conduct

Students should conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Riots or other destructive gatherings are never permitted.  Use of masks (other than those required for health-related reasons) or costumes that obscure participants’ identity, brandishing of weapons or items that could reasonably be believed to be weapons, words and actions that may incite violence, physical altercations, and any other act a reasonable person would believe is designed to intimidate or threaten others is prohibited.

Conduct that obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities is prohibited.

Conduct that impedes University events and activities—including, but not limited to, excessive noise, continually interrupting a speaker, preventing an audience from seeing/engaging with a speaker or participating in an activity, disrupting the viewing of a presentation or speaker, blocking entrances or exits, or impeding free movement—is prohibited.

Dangerous Conduct

Dangerous conduct is considered any course of action a reasonable person would understand to put themselves or others in harm’s way regardless of whether harm occurs. Any conduct that endangers health and safety is prohibited.

Damage to Property

Students should respect the property of others and not intentionally or recklessly cause damage. Damage includes, but is not limited to, vandalism, destruction of signs or banners hung with appropriate authorization, punching or kicking walls or similar physical structures, setting off fire sprinklers, and leaving windows in residence halls open during extreme temperatures.

Damage of University property or property of a University community member or campus visitor by a student or student groups in prohibited. Students found responsible for damaging property may be held financially responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.


All students must comply with all laws regulating gaming and gambling activity in Tennessee. Under Tennessee law, illegal gambling is defined as “risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance, or any games of chance associated with casinos, including, but not limited to, slot machines, roulette wheels and the like.” Tennessee law exempts certain state-run lotteries, fantasy sports contests, individuals age 21 or older who wager on sports in accordance with the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, and low-level sports entertainment pools with a total entry fee or buy-in of no more than less than $25 per participant and a total pool of no more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000), so long as the pool is managed by an individual and not by any type of business entity. Separately, Vanderbilt University prohibits:

  1. Possessing on one’s person or premises any card, book, or other device for registering bets for illegal gambling;
  2. Knowingly permitting use of premises, telephone, or other electronic communications devices for illegal gambling;
  3. Knowingly receiving or delivering a letter, package, or parcel related to illegal gambling; and
  4. Offering or accepting a bribe to influence the outcome of an athletic event.

Students may participate in “casino nights” or similar events in which individuals play roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, or other card games, dice games, board games, or video games so long as play is solely for entertainment purposes and nothing of value is paid, exchanged, or risked by any participant in exchange for any award, prize, or stake.  

Students may host or participate in raffles so long as nothing of value is paid, exchanged, or risked for the opportunity to win a prize or stake A “suggested” donation may be stated for a raffle ticket, but it must also be stated with any “suggested” donation that there is no charge or fee required for participation in a raffle. Accordingly, any interested individual must be allowed to participate in the raffle without any entry fee or ticket charge. In addition, any payment, or lack thereof, to participate in a raffle cannot affect the odds or chances to win any prize, stake, or award.

Under no circumstances may “casino nights” or similar, raffles, or pools be used by a student to sell or lease goods, property, or services to others or to solicit the sale or lease of the same.

Good Citizenship

Students charged with a state, federal, or local criminal offense whether on or off campus violate this policy. The University may not wait for legal processes to conclude before resolving in an accountability proceeding. Given the evidentiary standard used in a criminal proceeding is different than the standard used in an accountability proceeding, a not guilty finding in legal processes has no bearing on a determination reached by the University.

Improper Conduct at Sporting Events

The University prohibits the throwing of objects from the stands and abusive language or gestures at athletic events. Student spectators who throw objects at athletic events will be ejected from the contest and may be subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process. Spectators who are not affiliated with Vanderbilt will be treated similarly by local authorities. The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages in undesignated areas is prohibited at athletic events, as is the use of tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and other nicotine delivery systems.

Improper Use of University Systems & Networks

Vanderbilt students who are granted access to the University’s IT systems, including computer centers or campus-wide internet services, are expected to ensure appropriate use of those systems, including by complying with the Student Computing Policy and The Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy.  Among other things, these policies prohibit sharing Vanderbilt University passwords, violation of copyright laws, including illegal file sharing, the transportation of obscene materials across state lines, and unauthorized access to private information, whether obtained through direct “hacking” or by “social engineering” methods.  University computers and data networks, including electronic mail systems, may not be used by students for commercial business purposes not authorized by the University or to harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated unwanted emails. In addition to sanctions through University accountability proceedings, computing and data network privileges may be revoked in appropriate circumstances.

Using services or accessing areas behind a Single Sign On of another Vanderbilt community member is prohibited.

Students should identify themselves to the persons contacted through University communications systems and may not use the systems to harass another by threats, obscenities, or repeated contact in which they fail to identify themselves. Harassment over communications systems may be a violation of state law.

Students may not improperly use the University's mailroom for shipping or receiving illicit packages. may not collect the mail of another, and should return all mail room equipment for the delivery of larger packages.

Violation of Purchasing Card Policies

Any use of a Vanderbilt purchasing card that is not in accordance with policies regardless of whether or not there was actual financial loss to the organization or the University is prohibited.


The use or possession of fireworks, firearms, other weapons, explosives, or any type of ammunition on University premises is prohibited in accordance with TCA 39-17-1309, except as otherwise provided in this policy.

Sports weapons must be kept in the custody of the Vanderbilt University Police Department, which is open twenty-four hours a day. It is a felony in the state of Tennessee to carry a weapon on a campus for the purpose of going armed. Air rifles and “BB” guns are considered to be firearms, the use and possession of which are prohibited on campus. The use and possession of realistic-looking or imitation firearms, other weapons, explosives, or ammunition, which may include water guns, paintball guns, etc., is also prohibited.  Students must claim a weapon kept in the custody of VUPD following correct procedures and timelines.

The use or possession of stun guns, flying Tasers, cattle prods, liquid stun guns, or other devices designed to disrupt the human neurological system for the purpose of incapacitation is prohibited. Knives of all types (except for knives used as common eating utensils and knives with small folding blades four inches or less and designed for personal use) are prohibited. The use or possession of any other device, object, or substance (or imitations and facsimiles thereof), designed to cause injury, or the use of any object capable of being a weapon as a weapon is also prohibited.

Student use or possession of these materials is prohibited off campus, as well, when such use or possession is illegal or may endanger the health or safety of members of the University community, or the community at large.

Vanderbilt University complies with Tennessee Code TCA 39-17-1313. In accordance with TCA 39-17-1313, the holder of a valid enhanced handgun carry permit or concealed handgun carry permit recognized in Tennessee may transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder’s motor vehicle if:

  1. The permit holder’s vehicle is parked in a location where it is permitted to be; and
  2. The firearm or ammunition being transported or stored in the vehicle:
    • Is kept from ordinary observation if the permit holder is in the vehicle; or
    • Is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person’s motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to the vehicle if the permit holder is not in the vehicle.