Student Affairs - Dean's Office
Student Handbook

University Standards and Regulations

  • Statement on Academic Freedom
    • Wesleyan University and the Wesleyan community are committed to the principles of liberty and equality. The University recognizes that the members of this community must be able to express themselves freely and at the same time expect tolerance and respect from one another; both are essential to our mission. Indeed, meaningful exchanges cannot occur in the absence of respect and tolerance. Intellectual vigor is best sustained when the free exchange of ideas is carried on within an environment supportive of human dignity and self-esteem. With freedom should come the wisdom and the responsibility to think before one speaks.

      For these reasons, the University condemns all forms of discriminatory interference with the exercise of the rights of an individual or of any group to which that individual belongs. Such abridgement of rights is particularly abhorrent when carried out by those who have power over the individual they are affecting—whether that power comes from an administrative, academic, or any other position on campus. On the other hand, the University does not believe the free expression of ideas can always take place without pain or discomfort either to those who speak, listen, read, or write. The intellectual process, by its very nature, can be distressing, but Wesleyan does not necessarily regard actions that are distressing as violations of its codes of conduct.

      In accordance, then, with the ideals of academic freedom, every member of the Wesleyan community should feel that he or she can enter into controversy without fear of being silenced or constrained. This community’s commitment to the free exchange of ideas and pursuit of knowledge requires a wide range of protections for speech and expression, even when noxious or offensive. Belonging to this community, however, carries with it the responsibility of extending respect and openness of mind to others.

  • Responsibilities of The University to Its Members
    • It is the responsibility of every member of the University to respect the rights and privileges of all others in the University as enumerated below.

      1. Freedom of assembly, speech, belief, and the right of petition, including the right of petition to the appropriate university authority, in the event of an academic evaluation or classroom situation considered by the petitioner to be prejudiced or untenable.

      2. Protection from discrimination and abuse:

      a. Wesleyan University is fully committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

      b. Also prohibited is any form of discriminatory harassment performed by a member or members of the University against any other individual or groups. Discriminatory harassment may include any action or statement intended to insult, stigmatize, or degrade an individual or group on the basis of the categories of discrimination listed in 2a.

      c. Sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, coercion, and threats or use of force, is prohibited. (See University Policies—Sexual Misconduct and Assault Policy, page 26).

      3. The right of privacy in university residence halls. The living quarters of members of the University are private, and without an invitation from the occupant, may not be entered unless an emergency arises involving the health or safety of the occupant; or for the enforcement of health or safety regulations; or in the event of a suspected violation of a university regulation, upon receiving permission from the vice president for student affairs; or, if for any other reason, upon 24 hours notice to the occupant. Where two or more individuals occupy the same living quarters, permission to enter from one occupant does not permit the entering person to assume that he/she has entered the quarters of anyone except the person who extended the invitation. This provision does not restrict entrance by custodial personnel and personnel retained by the University to provide services at scheduled intervals.

      4. The right to expect that communication between a student and a member of the university staff or faculty with whom the student has had a counseling relationship is confidential and without the consent of the student, may be disclosed by the counselor only when the health or safety of an individual is jeopardized or when compelled by legal process. In an instance involving the health or safety of an individual, disclosure will be made only to individuals in a position to assist the counselor or to alleviate the danger. In no case shall the content of such communication constitute a basis for disciplinary action or be introduced as evidence before the university judiciary.

      5. The right to enter into physician-patient or similar relationships with medical and other professional personnel of the University with the understanding and assurance that confidence will be maintained in accordance with the ethical standards of the professions.3

      6. The right to confidentiality of disciplinary records, which may be released to other than appropriate university personnel only upon permission of the student.

      7. The right to abstain from performing acts and the right to be protected against actions that may be harmful to the health or emotional stability of the individual or that degrade the individual or infringe upon his/ her personal dignity.

      Note: This language is directed at all forms of personal harassment including the use or threat of physical violence and physical or nonphysical coercion.

      8. The right to be protected by standards of justice and fairness in any proceedings with the University in accordance with the Guidelines for University Disciplinary Proceedings set forth in the appendix.

      Note: Fair and reasonable treatment should govern the access to and administration of all university facilities and programs.
  • Standards of Conduct
    •  The following statement by the president of Wesleyan University and the Joint Statement on the Rights and Freedoms of Students (available online at outline the standards, structures, and procedures for holding members of Wesleyan University accountable in matters of community standards and conduct.

      A Structure for Accountability

  • The Honor Code
    • The procedures outlined below describe the functioning of the Honor Board and Student Judicial Board.

      The Honor Code

  • Plagiarism
    • The Honor Code to which students subscribe upon entering Wesleyan is merely a special application of the unwritten code that governs all academic and scholarly affairs. Scholars on whatever level must represent their findings truthfully. This means, first, that they will not tamper with the truth as they see it. It means, second, that they will not offer as theirs what others discovered or wrote—will not be guilty of plagiarism. These responsibilities apply equally to professor, researcher, and student. Nearly all Wesleyan students mean to be honest, but some do not appreciate the extent to which plagiarism is dishonest. It is important to recognize that plagiarism is theft, not of ideas, which are in a sense the property of everyone, but of the credit for originating ideas. Plagiarism is also fraud—intentional deception in order to obtain what does not rightfully belong to one—for a student who plagiarizes attempts to get from the instructor an unearned grade and from the University an unearned degree. And, of course, the plagiarist also affronts the rest of the student body. Plagiarism, finally, is impersonation, since every piece of written work presents an image of its author.

      For this last reason, plagiarism is particularly damaging to the plagiarist. Just as an impersonator may get lost among assumed roles, a plagiarist will almost certainly have a false understanding of himself/herself, and of the education he/she is getting. "Theft," "fraud," and "impersonation" are harsh words, but they accurately represent the moral status of plagiarism and the severe prevailing attitude toward it. Students who use another’s ideas or language without giving credit violate the most basic agreement between students and the University; they attack the academic enterprise at its heart. If students realize this, they will hardly plagiarize intentionally, unless they are very cynical indeed. Unfortunately, the proper use of other people’s work is a delicate business, and students do sometimes plagiarize without intending to do so. Moreover, education consists almost entirely in the proper use of other people’s ideas, so that what the University asks you to do bears a certain resemblance to what it asks you not to do. Inevitably, and rightly, a large part of what any student can produce comes from books, from instructors, and from other students. Nearly as bad as plagiarism would be a total refusal to be influenced by what other people have written or said, i.e., to participate in the educational interchange. Thus it is necessary that all students familiarize themselves at the outset (if they are not already familiar) with the difference between legitimate and illegitimate borrowings. Those who are uncertain should find the following essay helpful.

      Click here for additional information.

  • University Policies