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Student Handbook: Standards of Conduct in the Harvard Community

General Standards of Conduct

It is the expectation of the Harvard Graduate School of Education that its students, whether or not they are on campus or are currently enrolled as degree candidates, will behave in a mature and responsible manner, in accordance with HGSE’s standards of personal and professional conduct and accountability. In doing so, students help create a dynamic and inspiring atmosphere for learning and growth and demonstrate the core principles effective educators instill in their professional work and uphold in their daily lives. This expectation for mature and responsible conduct also encompasses accountability for one’s own well-being, including responsible decision-making regarding physical and mental health.

All HGSE students are expected to adhere to these overarching values:

  • Respect for the rights, differences, and dignity of others
  • Honest and ethical preparation and submission of all academic work
  • Honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the community
  • Accountability for personal and professional behavior

Specific examples of ways in which students demonstrate these values include, but are not limited to: regular and timely attendance and participation in all HGSE course, program and other required activities; respectful, attentive behavior within and outside courses; appropriate conduct, judgment and tact in all personal and professional situations; effective and timely communication with all members of the Harvard community; appropriate judgment in responding to unethical, unprofessional or dangerous behavior on the part of others; respecting and respectful behavior regarding the privacy of all members of the Harvard community; and maintaining appropriate boundaries when dealing with others at HGSE, including, for example, in regard to educator/student relationships. In addition, students may not provide false information to university officials or disrupt or obstruct teaching, research or other university activities, nor may they engage in any form of: physical violence or abuse; hazing; sexual misconduct; harassment, coercion or other conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person; threats involving deadly weapons, explosives, bombs, chemical or biological agents, or other deadly devices; theft, misappropriation, or unauthorized use of, destruction of, or damage to property; violation of published university rules or federal state or local law on university premises or at university-sponsored activities; and misuse of library or computer facilities. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age, ancestry, veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected basis is also prohibited. Because students are expected to show good judgment and use common sense at all times, not all kinds of misconduct or behavioral standards are codified in this Handbook.

Conduct in the HGSE Virtual Community

The HGSE virtual community is a space in which students communicate, collaborate, and connect with one another, and with faculty, staff, alumni, and affiliates, in a manner that is consistent with the School’s values. Maintaining professional and respectful behavior in the HGSE online environment is critical to ensuring that all students are able to fully participate in the learning experience and opportunities, and to achieve their educational goals. Whether participating in courses (toward a degree, as a special student, or as an auditor), community events, or other HGSE online forums (including but not limited to platforms like The Hub, Slack, YellowDig, Canvas, and HGSE Facebook pages), all students are expected to adhere to the Standards of Conduct in the Harvard Community outlined above. 
While HGSE faculty and administrators will monitor our virtual platforms, students remain agents of their own actions. Postings or comments that disrupt the learning experience or compromise the academic environment for other students will be removed. Violations of these Standards of Conduct in the Harvard/HGSE Virtual Community may result in disciplinary action by the HGSE Committee on Rights and Responsibilities. Students are asked to report any violations to the Office of Student Affairs

Note: non-HGSE students who are enrolled in HGSE courses are expected to uphold the policies set forth in the HGSE Student Handbook, including without limitation those related to academic integrity and the Standards of Conduct. Non-HGSE students include, for example, TAP students, cross-registrants, and voucher holders. HGSE may take any and all actions it deems necessary upon the discovery of a policy violation, including without limitation immediately requiring the non-HGSE student to withdraw from the course and notifying the non-HGSE student’s home institution, if applicable. Additionally, HGSE may preclude a non-HGSE student who has previously violated HGSE policy from registering in any future HGSE course.