Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Student Handbook 
2023-2024 Student Handbook [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION] Use the dropdown above to select the current catalog.

Student Rights & Responsibilities


Academics Preamble

It is the intent of the College to develop in its students the capacity for critical judgment and to encourage the independent and sustained search for truth. As an indispensable condition for this search, it is the policy of the College to secure and to respect freedom to teach and freedom to learn in the classroom and the laboratory and the extracurricular opportunities provided to the students. The College also expects each member of the College community to respect the right of other members to teach and to learn.

  1. Admission to Harvey Mudd College
    The primary criterion for admission to Harvey Mudd College is demonstrated intellectual accomplishment offering evidence of suitability for the work of the College. Because students learn from each other, consideration is given as well to a variety of backgrounds and interests in the selection of candidates for admission. The College shall not discriminate against applicants for admission on grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristics, veteran status or any other characteristic/status protected by applicable laws.
  2. Freedom of Classroom Expression and Academic Evaluation
    The professor in the classroom and in conferences shall encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. It is essential that freedom be maintained with respect to political, religious or controversial opinions, but each faculty member may establish certain standards of academic conduct when they are related to a course. It is the responsibility of the instructor to explain and clarify such standards at the beginning of any course. Student grades shall be determined solely on academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.
    1. Protection of Freedom of Expression
      Students shall be free to take reasonable exception to the data or view offered in any course of study, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course for which they are enrolled.
    2. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation
      Students shall be protected against prejudiced, capricious or otherwise unreasonable academic evaluation or academic standards by the right of direct appeal to the Scholarly Standing Committee (SSC) of the faculty. At the same time, students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
  3. Release of Information About Students
    1. Confidential Information
      Information about a student gained in confidence, or in an advising or counseling situation, by faculty or staff shall be kept in confidence; such information shall be released only with the express consent of the student unless compelled by law.
    2. Information Not Gained in Confidence
      Information not gained in confidence, including opinions of character and ability, may be provided as dictated by the judgment of the faculty or staff member.
    3. Records
      The U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. A detailed list of these rights appears in the Harvey Mudd College Catalogue and later in this handbook. A selection of rights is listed here for emphasis.
      1. An official transcript of a student’s academic record shall be released only with the written consent of the student whether they are then a student of the College or not. Transcripts, when appropriate, will note a student’s suspension or expulsion for academic or disciplinary reasons. In no other instance shall matters of conduct or discipline appear on the official transcript.
      2. The originals or copies of other student records of whatever nature shall be released only with the written consent of the student.
      3. The central files concerning the student shall be open to others only with the approval of the president of the College and those designated by him or her. Files shall never be available to individuals outside of the College community, unless released by the student.
      4. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, information concerning students and documents and files containing such information shall be released upon legal compulsion, as for example, upon receipt of a subpoena or in response to a government regulation.
    4. Records of Political Activities
      The College shall not maintain records concerning the political activities or beliefs of individual students.
    5. Destruction of Records
      Disciplinary records relating to conduct, including correspondence concerning discipline, shall be destroyed five years after graduation or withdrawal from the College; all other non-academic correspondence will be reviewed at this time and destroyed as determined by the Office of the Registrar and the Division of Student Affairs.

Information for Crime Victims

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, HMC will, upon written request, disclose to alleged victims of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for purposes of this policy.

Student Life

  1. Freedom of Association
    Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. They shall be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests.
  2. Recognized Student Organizations
    Recognized student organizations shall be those organizations chartered under the Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College (ASHMC) Constitution. These organizations are subject to the guidelines outlined in Article VII of the ASHMC Bylaws. The ASHMC Council should consult with DSA in regards to the chartering of any student organization.
  3. Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
    1. Students and student organizations shall be free to discuss all questions, to express opinions publicly or privately and to support causes by orderly means insofar as such actions do not obstruct or disrupt the regular and essential operations of the College.
    2. Students and student organizations shall not make their public expressions in such a fashion that the academic or larger communities are led to believe they speak for the College.
    3. Students may invite to campus and hear persons of their own choosing in accordance with the following regulations:
      1. Recognized student organizations, joint student-faculty/staff organizations and unrecognized groups of 10 or more full-time registered students may invite non-College speakers to address meetings on campus.
      2. All such meetings shall be chaired by a full-time registered student or faculty/staff member selected by the sponsoring group. It is the responsibility of the chair to state that the views expressed at such meetings do not necessarily reflect the views of the College.
      3. All such meetings shall be open to all Harvey Mudd College students, faculty and staff.
      4. The Division of Student Affairs shall be notified of any speakers coming to campus.
  4. Shared Governance
    Students have the right to organize a student body government and through that government to express views to the faculty and administration. Joint student-faculty/staff committees established by the students and faculty/ staff shall serve as a vehicle for the interchange of ideas and the promulgation of joint student-faculty/staff resolutions. Student resolutions may also be presented to the faculty at regularly scheduled or special meetings of the faculty. Faculty meetings are scheduled and agenda items are determined by the president, the dean of the faculty (or the Faculty Executive Committee) or on the request of any five members of the faculty.
  5. Student Publications
    1. If any student publication is published through a student-owned and -operated corporation, then such publication shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers shall be free to develop their own editorial policies, news coverage and financial support.
    2. If a recognized student organization, which is not a corporation (including joint campus publication groups), is the publisher of a publication, then all materials shall be subject to advance approval by the vice president for student affairs/dean of students or their designee. Restraints imposed by the College will be limited solely to those required to protect the College from possible civil or criminal liability.
    3. College facilities shall not be used by unrecognized student groups to print or publish publications unless the approval of the vice president for student affairs/dean of students is first obtained.
    4. Editors and managers of student publications shall in no case be subject to suspension or removal either from the publication or from the College faculty or administration because of College or public disapproval of content.
    5. All student publications shall state on the editorial page or other conspicuous place that opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the College or the student body.
  6. Right to Privacy
    Authorized persons are allowed to enter student rooms at reasonable times for the purpose of housekeeping, utility inspection or repair. On-campus premises occupied by students shall not be entered and the personal possessions of students shall not be searched except (1) when authorized by the vice president for student affairs/dean of students or an individual authorized by the vice president for student affairs/dean of students, who shall be made known directly to the students, upon probable cause that a serious violation of College policy has occurred; or (2) upon probable cause that immediate physical danger (to life or property) exists. The College shall not knowingly permit any device to be used secretly in the residences on campus to intercept or record speech, actions or electronic communications unless under legal compulsion.
  7. Publication of Standards of Conduct
    The College shall formulate and publish, in a publication generally available to all students, rules, policies and standards of conduct that it considers essential to its academic mission and its community life. All rules, policies and standards of conduct shall be promulgated by the president of the College or his or her delegate, but representatives of the student body shall be entitled to participate in a significant way in the formulation and review of such rules, policies and standards of conduct.
  8. College Authority and Civil Penalties
    A student shall not be subjected to discipline by the College unless they violate a College policy. If College policies are violated in the course of involvement with civil authorities, the College sanctions may not reflect greater punishment or discipline because of civil punishment.
  9. Status of Student Pending Final Action
    Pending a final determination of guilt, neither the status of the student nor his or her legal rights shall be altered unless the safety or well-being of the student or of the College community dictates otherwise. Such alterations of a student’s status shall be made only by the president, the vice president for student affairs/dean of students, or their delegates, and shall remain in force only as long as it is clearly necessary to meet a current emergency. Temporary suspensions undertaken for this purpose shall not be entered on a transcript of a student’s record. A student subjected to such temporary suspension shall be permitted to complete academic assignments and examinations missed during this suspension without penalty for lateness if completed within an interval immediately following the suspension not greater than twice the duration of the suspension.
  10. Appeal
    Students and student organizations may appeal decisions outlined in this section by submitting their appeal in writing to the ASHMC Council for preliminary hearing. Unless the ASHMC Council unanimously declares a complaint invalid, the complaint shall be forwarded, with the body’s opinion attached, to the president for the final decision and action.

Notification of Student Rights, FERPA

Per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students at Harvey Mudd College are guaranteed certain rights in regard to the privacy of information from their education records. An individual is considered a student on the first day of the first term they are enrolled. Student rights under FERPA are as follows:

The right to inspect and review the student’s education records. Students should submit a written request to the registrar identifying the record(s) they wish to inspect. The registrar or, at the direction of the registrar, another appropriate College staff member will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Applicants for admission who wish to review or to release to a third party their application documents (excepting letters of recommendation) should submit a written request to the Office of Admission identifying the records they wish to inspect (or have released to a designated third party).

The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or an invasion of privacy. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading or an invasion of privacy. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.

Hearings will be conducted by the appropriate College hearing body. Students also have a right to have their personal written statement submitted and retained by the record-keeper for as long as the objectionable record is retained. Should the objectionable record be disclosed, the record-keeper must also disclose the student’s statement. Grades are not covered by this right-to-request amendment.

The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the College, one of the other Claremont Colleges, or the Claremont University Consortium in an administrative, supervisory, academic (including faculty) or support staff position (including Campus Safety and Student Health Center staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a person assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Upon request, the College discloses education records without consent to officials of another school at which students inform the College that they seek, intend to enroll and are enrolled. Some scholarship donors will require that students authorize disclosure to them of information pertaining to the student’s academic progress. Acceptance of these scholarship funds from such donors will be considered as granting consent to the College to make these disclosures.

The right to request that the College not disclose directory information. At its discretion, Harvey Mudd College may confirm or disclose “directory information” to the general public. The College defines “directory information” in accordance with FERPA as follows:

  • Name
  • Hometown
  • HMC ID number
  • Campus mailing address
  • Major field of study
  • Dates of attendance and classification
  • Degrees and/or awards received
  • Previous academic institutions attended
  • Date of birth
  • Campus email address
  • Photo

Under certain circumstances, home and cell telephone numbers may be released. The CMS Athletic Department may also release information about a student in compliance with normal practices for “team rosters,” including height, weight and hometown.

Per the Solomon Amendment, the College releases recruiting information to military recruiters. Recruiting information includes directory information that has not been restricted and may include year in school, place of birth and telephone number.

Students may request that their directory information not be released by signing a non-disclosure form within two weeks of the start of any semester. All written requests for non-disclosure of directory information by current students will be honored until revoked by the students in writing. The College accepts requests for non-disclosure from alumni and honors such requests until revoked by the former student in writing. Harvey Mudd College assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of directory information indicates individual approval for disclosure.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaints should be directed in writing to the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920