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Handbook Outline


Policies relating to students, teaching, and the classroom. 

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

The University of Chicago is an academic community with high scholarly standards. It is contrary to the ethics, academic integrity, and spirit of intellectual inquiry to submit the statements, ideas, or work of others as one's own. Such conduct is punishable under the University's disciplinary system.

Instructors have a range of options in dealing with academic dishonesty. It is within the discretion of the instructor to use evidence of plagiarism or academic dishonesty as grounds for failing the student in all or part of the course. The area dean of students may be asked to speak with the student to issue a formal warning or to consider disciplinary action. For example, in the College, the Dean of Students will frequently open a confidential file, to be used only in the event of repeated abuses, for first offenders when the case is not serious. Faculty are urged to report any incident to the student's dean of students, even when the dean of students is not expected to take direct action. In that way, the dean of students will be aware of multiple offenses and be in a position to respond to them appropriately.

With the internet an integral part of academic research and the ubiquity of word processing methods, the opportunity to lift and reformat texts has greatly increased and ambiguity about the boundaries of legitimate collaboration has been introduced. It is advisable for faculty to discuss these issues in classes early in the quarter and to be explicit about acceptable practices on joint projects, problem sets, and other collaborative efforts. One of the functions of teaching is to educate students in the norms and ethics of scholarly work, as well as in the substance of the field.

For more information about this and other academic policies, please visit the University of Chicago Student Manual site. 

Assistance for Students with Disabilities

The University of Chicago is a community of scholars, researchers, educators, students, and staff members devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago, in admissions, employment, and access to programs, considers students on the basis of individual merit and without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or other factors prohibited by law. The University strives to be supportive of the academic, personal and work related needs of each individual and is committed to working with students with a disability to become full participants in the life of the University. In all cases, the usual standards of judgment and assessment of students' overall academic performance apply. Neither the community nor the students concerned are well served by applying special or lesser standards of admission or of evaluation.

Students concerned about accessing any University facilities, classes, programs or activities, should contact Student Disability Services at: 773-702-6000, or disabilities@uchicago.edu, as soon as possible. In the interactive process of determining accommodation, Student Disability Services works with students to identify how best the University can assist them to become full participants in the life of the University. This process may require up to three weeks. When a student submits a request, s/he and the area Dean of Students will maintain contact as appropriate for ongoing efforts to provide accommodation for the student.

See the Student Disability Services site for more information.

Disability Assistance

Faculty and other academic appointees with disabilities who would like to request a reasonable accommodation should contact the Office for Access and Equity. Please contact Bridget Collier for any Americans with Disabilities Act/504 related grievances or appeals.

Graduate Education

To learn about graduate education programs at the University of Chicago as well as the career resources, programs, events, and fellowships available to all graduate students, please visit the Graduate Education site.

Handling Student Emergencies

We are all a part of the broad network of support for our students. Your willingness and ability to recognize and respond to students who appear to be distressed or who have an emergency is invaluable to the University. The following procedures have been developed to respond to a student in distress or a student who is seriously injured or has died. Any such situation may have complicating or extenuating circumstances, but the procedures described below are generally applicable. Please remember that when in doubt, trust your instincts and contact your Dean of Students for guidance on how to proceed.

Students in Distress

If you are concerned about one of your students because she or he has expressed distress or thoughts of self-harm or inflicting harm to others, contact your Dean of Students, the student's Dean of Students and/or the Student Counseling Service (SCS) directly (773-702-9800).

Some tips for helping a student in distress.

  • Arrange a quiet time and place to talk with the student.
  • Discuss the observations that led to your concern. Keep your tone supportive, reassuring, and empathic. Avoid being judgmental or making assumptions about the cause of the apparent distress.
  • Let the student respond to your concerns — Listen.
  • Students do not have to struggle with their issues on their own. Mention that there are people on campus who can help and offer to assist the student in making these contacts.
  • Stress that receiving services at the SCS is strictly confidential.
  • Though the student may reject your offer of support or referral, remain supportive.
  • Encourage the student to talk to his or her Dean of Students. You also might want to contact the Dean of Students to share what you know about the student.

The SCRS staff is always available to talk with you about possible courses of action and how to best help your student. In the case of an urgent situation you might want to walk a student over to SCS (5555 S. Woodlawn Avenue). Please call ahead if possible (773-702-9800).

Communication About an Injured or Deceased Student

If you learn that a student has been seriously injured or has died as a result of an accident, crime, or suicide attempt, immediately contact the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) (773-702-8181). The UCPD will inform either the Dean-on-Call or the Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call. The Dean-on-Call is the University official responsible for coordinating the University's response to student emergencies and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round. This person will follow an established University protocol. That protocol includes informing the Associate Dean of Students in the University's Office of the Vice-President and Dean of Students, the Dean of Students in the student's school or division, and, if appropriate, the Student Counseling Service (SCS) Therapist-on-Call and the Housing staff. The Dean of Students in the student's school or division will ordinarily inform the relevant Chair and Dean. The Dean of Students, Chair, and Dean will discuss the academic unit's response, what information to convey to the other students and faculty of the department or school, and how best to communicate the information. This communication should remind students that support is available from SCS, Rockefeller Chapel, and other campus ministries, and note the availability of the Dean of Students, Chair, and/or Dean to meet with students.

If an injured student asks the Dean-on-Call not to notify other University officials, the Dean-on-Call will honor this request as fully as possible and will inform the student of the extent to which such a request can be honored. The Dean-on-Call will also inform the student if the incident may result in a Safety Awareness Alert.

If you hear rumors about incidents concerning your students, please contact your Dean of Students for information and advice on how to proceed.

Whether an emergency involves a particular student's experience or the community's response to that experience, a swift, warm response by a school, division, department, and individual faculty members goes a long way towards allaying anxieties and easing a difficult situation. Please note that SCS has a useful website. The URL is http://counseling.uchicago.edu/

Important Phone Numbers

  • Student Counseling Service: M-F, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, 773-702-9800
  • Student Counseling Service: after hours, 773-702-3625
  • Dean-on-Call: 24/7/365, 773-834-4357 or through University Police
  • University Police: 123 from a campus phone
  • 773-702-8181 from any phone

Policy on Religious Accommodation for Missed Classes, Assignments and Exams

The University of Chicago is home to students of all the world’s major religions and, though firmly a secular institution, values the rich diversity of spiritual expression and practice found on campus. It is therefore the policy of the University that students who miss class, assignments, or exams to observe a religious holiday must be accommodated as follows: (i) absences may not be counted as a missed class in any course in which attendance is a measure of academic performance; (ii) reasonable extensions of time must be given, without academic penalty, for missed assignments; and (iii) exams must be reasonably rescheduled without academic penalty. Where a religious holiday occurs during the first week of the quarter, students who miss the first meeting of a class due to religious observance may not be dropped from the course roster, provided that they have given advance notice to the instructor of record of the need to miss the class due to a religious holiday.
Students must inform their instructors in writing of their need to observe a religious holiday reasonably well in advance of the absence, preferably at the beginning of the quarter. It is incumbent on the student who misses a class to catch up on any material discussed and assignments given during that class period. As a guide to students and to instructors in planning their courses and assignments, a list of religious holidays where observance may compete with the demands of the academic calendar can be found here. This list is not a designation of religious holidays recognized by the University; it is simply an aid for planning purposes.
Any instructor with concerns regarding either a given holiday or the academic implications of a particular student’s religious observance of holidays may seek guidance from the chair of their department; dean of their school; the Vice Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement, and Diversity; or the Dean of Rockefeller Chapel. Additional resources include the area Dean of Students and the director of Spiritual Life.

Policy on the Safety of Children in University Programs

The University of Chicago is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children who participate in University programs. This policy affirms that commitment by setting forth screening, training and conduct requirements for faculty, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, student employees, volunteers and others who staff University programs that serve children. This policy also restates the legal obligation borne by all University faculty, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff, student employees and volunteers to report known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child. Under this policy, a “child” or “minor” is any person under the age of 18.

To see the full text of the University's Policy on the Safety of Children in University Programs, please click here

To see FAQs about the University's Policy on the Safety of Children in University Programs, please click here

Student Disciplinary Systems

The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, the pursuit and cultivation of new knowledge, and the robust intellectual exchange among faculty and students. In support of this mission, every member of the University - student, faculty, other academic appointees, and staff - makes a commitment to strive for personal and academic integrity; to treat others with dignity and respect; to honor the rights and property of others; to take responsibility for individual and group behavior; and to act as a responsible citizen in a free academic community and in the larger society. Any student conduct, on or off campus, of individuals or groups, that threatens or violates this commitment may become a matter for action within the University's system of student discipline.

The University believes that students must take responsibility for their own conduct. Under some circumstances, students also must take responsibility for the conduct of a group, or individual members of the group of which they are part. The group may be informal, such as a study group, or formal, such as a student organization.

Groups are often bound by shared interests, values, and a mutual trust. Trust is also a critical underpinning of our community—trust between and among peers as well as trust between and among individuals of different rank or status.

Every student bears responsibility for his or her misconduct, regardless of whether the misconduct takes place in a group setting or as a member or a group. However, individual misconduct may also be, at least in part, the responsibility of other members of the group and the group leadership. Misconduct by individual members of a group thus may become a matter for disciplinary action against the individual, the group, and the group leadership.

The goal of the student disciplinary systems is to ensure a fair and orderly proceeding on questions of possible student misconduct. A disciplinary proceeding enjoys neither the advantages nor the limitations inherent in an adversarial proceeding of a court of law.

The University's disciplinary systems and the legal-judicial structures of the general society differ and are distinct in principle. Students who are subject to or involved in University discipline do not automatically abdicate any of the rights that are guaranteed to them by the civil society and, indeed, they remain at all times free to claim and assert those rights through the institutions, presumably judicial, of that society. At the same time, however, students must recognize that the University is a private enclave, dedicated to a purpose that imposes additional and special obligations while, at the same time, granting privileges to its members.

Student misconduct therefore may be simultaneously subject to external legal or administrative proceedings and the University's disciplinary system. Under those circumstances, the University's disciplinary system normally will proceed independently and notwithstanding the pendency of external processes. Furthermore, University disciplinary committees are not bound by external findings, adjudications or processes, and thus they make independent judgments about the extent to which (if at all) to consider such matters.

The University's disciplinary procedures therefore should not be confused with the processes of law: the University's regulations are applied to incidents that are not "cases," the bodies that hear and dispose of incidents are not "courts," individuals who may accompany a student in the course of a disciplinary proceeding are not "counsel" advocating on behalf of the student and scrutinizing procedures for compliance with "rules of evidence," and requests for review of disciplinary decisions are not "appeals." As a leading illustration of the sense of this statement, it should be understood that the relation of collegiality and trust that binds all members of the University community entails an obligation of truthfulness and candor on the part of everyone who participates in a disciplinary proceeding. An accused student, the accuser, and others must appear before a disciplinary committee if summoned and participate in a manner that helps the committee reach a complete and fair understanding of the facts of the incident at issue.

The University has four student disciplinary systems:

  • Area Admission Review Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School of General Studies address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students who have accepted admission but have not yet assumed the role of a student at the University. Area Admission Review Systems are described here.
  • Area Disciplinary Systems in the College, graduate divisions, professional schools, and the Graham School of General Studies address violations of University policies and regulations and other breaches of the standards of behavior expected of University students. Area Disciplinary Systems are described here.
  • University-wide Disciplinary System is a procedure for student offenses that involve unlawful discrimination or sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking). The University-wide Disciplinary System is described here.
  • Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct provides a set of processes and standards that ensure the fair and impartial investigation of allegations that a student has engaged in disruptive conduct, i.e., conduct that falls outside of the principles of free expression and meets the definition supplied by Statute 21. The Disciplinary System for Disruptive Conduct is described here.

For more information about this and other disciplinary policies, please visit the University of Chicago Student Manual site.