Jun 14, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

IX. Graduate Student Responsibilities and Rights

Some of the regulations covered in this section are based on Graduate Council documents, while others have been established within the University but outside of the Graduate School.  Although administration of these latter regulations is not a function of the Graduate School, their summaries are included below because of their importance to graduate students.

Although graduate staff employment policies are articulated in Graduate Staff Employment Manual, graduate students with questions and/or concerns regarding voluntary leave, including leave related to pregnancy, parenting, medical needs, military obligations, or other situations, may contact the Graduate School, located in Young Hall 160 for assistance.

A. Student Conduct and Rights of Appeal

Graduate students, like all members of the University community, are subject to the regulations outlined in the University Regulations, found at this link http://www.purdue.edu/univregs/studentconduct/regulations.html.

Special attention is called to the section pertaining to student conduct.  This part of the regulations not only details standards of conduct expected of students, but also protections for their rights as individuals and as students.  A summary of these protections and statements are given below.

  1. Regulations Governing Student Conduct, Disciplinary Proceedings, and Appeals
    Graduate students are expected to be familiar with this section which outlines prohibited behavior as a student member of the University community.  Graduate students should pay particular attention to policies pertaining to academic integrity.
  2. Appeals Concerning Academic Standards
    Graduate students who wish to appeal decisions concerning matters of academic standards should review the following information based upon the type of appeal they are seeking. 
    1. Course Grades
      Graduate students who wish to appeal final grades (including grades received for 69800 and/or 69900 registrations) received in regular coursework may do so only through the grade appeals system.
    2. Departmental Graduate Examination Committee Decisions
      The Graduate School administers the preliminary and final (defense) examinations. Decisions by departmental graduate examination committees whose appointment does not require approval by the dean of the Graduate School (including, but not limited to, various departmental examining committees such as those for qualifying and gateway examinations) must be appealed within the relevant departments, rather than through the grade appeals system or to the Graduate Council.  The initial appeal must be filed with the department head charged with supervising the relevant graduate program.  The appeal must be in writing, must specify the grounds for the appeal, and must be filed within 30 calendar days after the issuance of the disputed decision.  Upon receipt of such appeal, the department head shall appoint a committee to hear the appeal and to make a determination. The appeal committee’s decision shall be final unless an appeal is made to the department head within 10 calendar days of the appeal committee’s decision.  For those matters so appealed to the department head, the decision of the department head shall be final.
    3. Graduate School Approved Examination Committee Decisions
      Appeals of decisions by graduate examination committees whose composition has been authorized by the dean of the Graduate School shall be handled by the following procedures.
      1. The initial appeal must be filed with the department head charged with supervising the relevant graduate program.  The appeal must be in writing, must specify the grounds of the appeal, and must be filed within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the decision of the examining committee.  The department head shall forward the appeal to the departmental graduate committee with instructions to consider the case and provide the head with a written recommendation.  Upon receipt of such recommendation, the head shall make a determination and, in writing, so inform the student.
      2. If the student chooses not to accept the decision of the department head, he or she may request, in writing, within 10 calendar days of the issuance of the determination of the departmental appeal, that the dean of the Graduate School appoint a review board.  Such a board shall be composed of five persons chosen at random from among current voting members of the Graduate Council.  Council members serving on the advisory or examining committee of the student, council members serving on the student’s departmental graduate committee, and council members otherwise judged by the dean of the Graduate School to be interested parties shall be ineligible to serve on the review board.  The review board shall consider the case and report its recommendation to the dean of the Graduate School, whose decision shall be final.

        The procedure outlined above means that a master’s student who fails a final examination, or a doctoral student whose graduate study is terminated for failing either the preliminary examination or the final examination, after having exhausted departmental appeals, may appeal to a specially constituted panel of the Graduate Council.

        All attempts to resolve student appeals will be done within a reasonable amount of time. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities if they encounter difficulties with the timeliness of the process.

B. Integrity in Research

Integrity in research is an essential part of Purdue University’s intellectual and social structure, and adherence to its spirit and principles must be maintained.  These principles include commitment to truth, objectivity, fairness, honesty, and free inquiry.

Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty.  The commitment of the acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of ghost-written papers, the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during an examination) is dishonest and must not be tolerated.  Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest update Plagiarism consists in using another’s words or ideas without clear and explicit acknowledgment.  Self-plagiarism consists in using one’s own previous work in a new context without clear and explicit acknowledgment of previous use.

Serious violations of integrity in research are rare.  However, those that do occur strike at the very heart of scholarship and the concept of the University.  The integrity of the research process must depend largely on self-regulation; it is the responsibility of all who engage in the search for knowledge.  Procedures to be followed in any situation related to research misconduct are presented in Purdue University Policy VIII.A.2.

All graduate students are required to complete the CITI RCR training module within 120 days of starting a graduate program and every five (5) years thereafter.

C. Rights to Privacy

In keeping with the intent of federal law, once a student has been admitted and registered, any part of a student’s educational record (except those parts specifically excluded under the law) may, upon written request by the student, be viewed by the student. See Executive Memorandum No. C-51, University Policy Regarding the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974” (as amended). Generally, applicants are not allowed to view their admission application file when it is in process of being reviewed for admission to graduate school. The law also contains restrictions on who, other than the student, may legitimately view the file.

If a student is denied admission to graduate school or otherwise fails to matriculate, the department might keep the credentials and documentation on file for a limited period of time to allow for any possible appeal by the student.  Once the original purpose of the documents has been served, the documents should be destroyed.

If a student is admitted and registered, the Graduate School will maintain the official University record for the student, which contains the application, plan of study, examination requests and reports, and transcripts.  Recommendation statements related to the admission decision will not be made a part of this record.  It is the Graduate School’s policy to direct students and others who need a copy of any documents containing  FERPA-covered data to the Office of the Registrar.  Such a request must be made in writing by the student to the University’s FERPA officer, who is located in the Office of the Registrar.

Questions about FERPA policies should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.

D. Harassment & Discrimination

Graduate students are expected to be familiar with this section which outlines prohibited behavior as a student member of the University community.

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) supports Purdue University’s mission to promote human and intellectual diversity by providing equal access and opportunity through fostering an inclusive environment for all members of the University community. The office develops and directs the affirmative action program for the West Lafayette campus and serves as a resource and coordinator of Purdue University’s system-wide affirmative action activities, including the Fort Wayne and Northwest campuses.

The Office of Institutional Equity works with the Purdue University community in implementing and upholding policies and practices that are consistent with federal and state mandates as well as existing University policies regarding equal access, equal employment and educational opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, disability, or veteran status.

Vision Statement

The Office of Institutional Equity is committed to working cooperatively within the Purdue University and surrounding communities to provide leadership and quality service that fosters an equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus environment, that values the inherent worth of all individuals, at all times, and in all ways.

The Graduate School supports, vigorously, the University’s condemnation of harassment, as stated in Executive Memorandum No. C-33 (issued September 16, 1994) and in III.C.1 and III.C.2 of University Regulations. The following statement was approved by the Graduate Council on April 18, 1991. (The first paragraph has been updated to reflect Executive Memorandum No C-33.)

The dean and faculty of the Graduate School support all University efforts to protect its faculty, staff, and students from harassment in all forms, covering those with legally protected status for reasons of race, gender, religion, color, age, national origin, ancestry, or disability, as well as those who are harassed for other reasons such as sexual orientation.  Cases involving alleged harassment will be handled through established University procedures.  In any cases in which a faculty member has been found responsible for harassment, the procedure below will be followed at the discretion of the dean of the Graduate School.

The dean shall appoint a committee consisting of members of the Graduate Council.  The dean has the option to include a faculty representative from the department involved.  Any other person particularly knowledgeable about the case may be asked to contribute information to the committee.  The committee shall be charged with the following responsibilities:

  1. The committee will evaluate the Graduate School certification status of the faculty member.  The committee may recommend that certification be downgraded to any level.  (If implemented, the downgrade may be reviewed at a future time if a review is requested by the head of the graduate program.)

  2. The committee also will consider the impact of the incident on all graduate students under the direction of the faculty member.  The committee may make specific recommendations.

The committee should meet and produce a report in a timely manner.  The committee’s recommendations are to be delivered directly to the dean of the Graduate School.

E. Work Loads of Students with Graduate Staff Appointments

A graduate student employee’s work load should reflect both the work assignment and contractual obligations of the assignment.  The following statement of principle, endorsed by the Graduate Council on November 15, 1990, defines the mutual obligations of faculty employers/supervisors and graduate student employees:

The practice of employing graduate assistants is vital to the operation of Purdue, as it is to all large research universities.  A good assistantship program benefits everyone.  A student on a graduate appointment receives a salary, health and other benefits, tuition remission, and valuable experience in research and teaching.  The University is able to conduct classes and to staff research groups at levels that would otherwise not be possible.

For an assistantship program to be successful, certain goals and safeguards need to be kept in mind.  Whenever possible, duty assignments should stimulate the intellect and enhance the professional knowledge and skill of the assistant.  But in all instances, the duties of the assistant must be fairly and equitably assigned, and the demands placed upon the assistant must not be unreasonable.  The Graduate School claims neither the mandate nor the wisdom to direct the day to day interaction of professors and their assistants. However, we do seek to discover a rational frame of reference within which the wide variety of policies and practices may be calibrated and justified.

The generally accepted measure for setting graduate assistant assigned work loads is time.  Purdue, like many other major research universities, assumes that a half-time appointment entails 20 hours of service per week.  If an assistant’s duties are independent of the student’s coursework and research, the definition of the half-time work load is relatively straight forward:  not more than 20 hours per week.  Of course some flexibility is necessary, both because one individual may work faster or more efficiently than another and because the pressure of work to be done ebbs and flows across the semester. “Overworking” an individual whose assistantship tasks are distinct from his or her student tasks and thesis research has a double consequence.  Not only is the assistant being required to work without pay, the student is being deprived of time that might be spent in study and research.

When there is no clear distinction between the duties required by the assistantship and a student’s own study and research – when all or most of the assistant’s tasks contribute directly toward the student’s degree – judgements as to the reasonableness of a work load can be very difficult.  Under such circumstances, it would be foolish to encourage a student to think that a total of 20 hours of work per week would be likely to bring about the desired work product and to advance his or her intellectual and technical progress at an acceptable rate.  The very fact that individual cases differ makes it especially important for those who supervise graduate assistants to discuss work obligations with their students, early and often.

One final word.  The supervisor is often the assistant’s employer, counselor, advisor, mentor, examiner, and referee.  No other academic situation places such power in the hands of the professor nor requires a more thoughtful assumption of responsibility for the well‑being of the student.  The supervisor needs to be especially aware of the assistant’s health and sanity, of the dangers inherent in extended periods of high stress, and of the reasonable claims family, friends, and society have on the time and energy of the assistant.

Departments are urged to establish a formal mechanism by which students who feel they are being treated unfairly may receive counseling, guidance, and redress.