Graduate Student Academic Appeals System

A.10 Academic Standards and Integrity

A.11. Waiver of Requirements. Any member of the Graduate Faculty or any graduate student may petition the Graduate School concerning exceptions to the provisions of this manual. Petitions requesting exceptions to or appeals from the provisions of this manual shall be addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School. Such petitions should include the rationale for the request. It is important to note that only the Graduate Council, or in discretionary cases, only the Dean of the Graduate School may alter or grant exceptions to the provisions of this manual. In particular, the provisions regarding admission to graduate study, advanced standing, transfer credit, and approval and amendment of programs of study all explicitly require the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. (See also A.2l, A.22.)

A.12. Grades. Regulations concerning grades and grade point averages are presented in Section 10 of this manual.

A.12.1. Only grades of C(2.00) or better in courses numbered 500 and above and grades of B- (2.67) or better in courses numbered below 500 shall be credited toward degree requirements. If a candidate receives a grade of D, F, or U in a course, or grades of C+ (2.33) or lower in more than one course below the 500 level, or does not maintain a cumulative average of B (3.00) or better, her/his status as a graduate student will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with appropriate faculty member(s) in the Department. Such review may result in being placed on provisional status, being suspended or being dismissed. (See Section A.26.1 for appeals procedures.)

A.12.2. For continuation in graduate degree candidacy and for graduation an average of B (3.00) in all work taken is required except for courses specified as entrance deficiencies, approved for no plan credit prior to registration for the course, or automatically considered for no plan credit under the provisions of Section 9. It is the responsibility of the student's plan committee to determine a reasonable maximum of C and C+ grades in courses numbered 500 or above which may be considered acceptable in her/his total program. A student exceeding the specified number of these grades will have her/his status reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with appropriate faculty members in the Department. Such review may result in suspension or dismissal. (See Section A.26.1 for appeals procedures.)

A.12.3. Changes in Record. The University Manual indicates that "No grade shall be changed after it has been reported to and recorded by the Registrar except upon written request by the instructor to the Dean of the instructor's college and approval by the Dean." (See UM 8.56.10.)

A written explanation for the reason for the change in grade should accompany this request. Approval for a change in grade normally will not be granted solely for additional work submitted after the semester is completed.

A.12.4. Incomplete. According to the University Manual, a graduate student "shall receive a report of 'incomplete' instead of a grade in any course in which the coursework has been passing but has not been completed because of illness or another reason which to the opinion of the instructor justifies the report. An 'incomplete' not removed within one calendar year shall remain on his permanent record, except that the instructor with his department chairperson's knowledge may extend the time limit, or in the instructor's absence, the department chairperson may extend the time limit by which the incomplete work must be finished. (See UM 8.53.20, GSM 10.42.)

"The instructor shall accompany a report of 'incomplete' with a written explanation and file a copy of the explanation with his department chairperson. The student receiving 'incomplete' shall make satisfactory arrangements with the instructor, or, in her/his absence, with the instructor's chairperson to remove the deficiency and the new grade shall be immediately reported to the Registrar and the department chairperson." (See UM 8.53.21.)

A.12.5. Students admitted to Teacher Certification Programs (TCP) must earn grades of C or better in all courses numbered 100 or above. If a TCP student receives a grade below C (2.00) or grades of C+ (2.33) or lower in more than one course or does not maintain a cumulative average of B (3.00) or better, his/her status will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School n consultation with appropriate faculty members in the Department. Such a review may result in the student being placed on provisional status or being dismissed. (See Section A.16.1 for appeals procedures.) The provisions of Section A.12.2 shall apply for continuation and completion of certification requirements in the TCP plan.

A.13. Plagiarism

A.13.1. The University Manual lists the expectations of the University concerning academic integrity as follows:

A.13.2. "Students are expected to be honest in all academic work. Cheating is the claiming of credit for work not done independently without giving credit for aid received, or any unauthorized communication during examinations." (See UM 8.27.10.)

A.13.3. "A student's name on any written exercise (theme, report, notebook, paper, examination) shall be regarded as assurance that the work is the result of the student's own thought and study, stated in the student's own words and produced without assistance, except as quotation marks, references, and footnotes acknowledge the use of other sources of assistance. Occasionally, students may be authorized to work jointly, but such effort must be indicated as joint on the work submitted. Submitting the same paper for more than one course is considered a breach of academic integrity unless prior approval is given by the instructors." (See UM 8.27.11.)

A.13.4. "In preparing papers or themes, a student often needs or is required to employ sources of information or opinion. All such sources used in preparing to write or in writing a paper shall be listed in the bibliography. It is not necessary to give footnote references for specific facts which are common knowledge and have obtained general agreement. However, facts, observations and opinions which are new discoveries or are debatable shall be identified with correct footnote references even when restated in the student's own words. Material taken word for word from the written or oral statement of another person must be enclosed in quotation marks or otherwise clearly distinguished from the body of the text and the source cited. Paraphrasing or summarizing the contents of another's work usually is acceptable if the source is clearly identified but does not constitute independent work and may be rejected by the instructor." (See UM 8.27.12.)

A.13.5. "Notebooks, homework and reports of investigations or experiments shall meet the same standards as all other written work. If any work is done jointly or if any part of the experiment or analysis is made by someone other than the writer, acknowledgment of this fact shall be made in the report submitted. Obviously, it is dishonest to falsify or invent data." (See UM 8.27.13.)

A.13.6. "Written work presented as personal creation is assumed to involve no assistance other than incidental criticism from others. A student shall not knowingly employ story material, wording or dialogue taken from published work, motion pictures, radio, television, lectures or similar sources." (See UM 8.27.14.)

A.13.7. "In writing examinations, the student shall respond entirely on the basis of the student's own capacity without any assistance except that authorized by the instructor." (See UM 8.27.16.)

A.13.8. "Instructors shall have the responsibility of insuring that students prepare assignments with academic integrity. Instructors shall do all that is feasible to prevent plagiarism in term papers or other written work." (See UM 8.27.16.)

A.13.9. "Instructors shall have the explicit duty to take action in known cases of cheating or plagiarism. The instructor shall have the right to fail a student on the assignment on which the instructor has determined that a student has cheated or plagiarized. The circumstances of this failure shall be reported to the student's academic dean. The student may appeal the matter to the instructor's dean, and the decision by the dean shall be expeditious and final." (See UM 8.27.18.)

A.13.10. "If the violation warrants more severe censure, the instructor may recommend additional action to the instructor's dean. Upon this recommendation, the dean may authorize the instructor to fail the student in the course. The student or instructor may appeal the dean's decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs whose decision on the appeal shall be final." (See UM 8.27.18.)

A.13.11. "Either the instructor or the instructor's dean or the student's dean may request judicial action (see 9.21.10) on an allegation vs. a student for cheating or plagiarism. Any of the judicial sanctions listed in sections 9.25.10-17 may be imposed after a finding of guilty. If the request comes from an instructor, it shall be accompanied by a statement of position from the instructor's dean (see 9.20.10 and 9.21.10)." (See UM 8.27.19, GSM A.24.2.7-9.)

A.20 Boards and Officers

A.21. Graduate Council. (See UM, 5.16.10-43.)

A.21.1. It is the responsibility of the Graduate Council to determine requirements for admission of students to graduate work, their candidacy for degrees, and awarding of degrees; to approve, subject to action by the Faculty Senate, all plans of graduate instruction and all courses carrying graduate credit; to act upon all petitions from graduate students relating to their academic work and degree requirements; to establish academic standards for all graduate work; to recommend to the Graduate Faculty those who have completed degree requirements; and to make recommen- dations to the Faculty Senate on all matters relating to teaching and research on the graduate level. The Council is the policy setting body of the Graduate Faculty.

A.22. Dean of the Graduate School. (See UM, 3.30.11-14.)

A.22.1. It is the responsibility of the Dean to administer the policies and procedures of graduate study set down by the Graduate Council. The Dean is to administer and enforce the regulations pertaining to the conduct of graduate work and the granting of graduate degrees.

A.23. University Ombudsman. (See UM, 2.45.10-20.)

A.23.1. The primary function of the ombudsman is to maintain a known center for the handling of individual grievances and complaints and to publicize her/his availability. This availability provides the individual, whether student, faculty member, or administrative official, with the knowledge that there is one independent party always available to receive complaints, inquire into the matters involved, pass judgment, and make recommendations for suitable actions. This individual therefore, can make appeals personally to an impartial official with broad perspective who has ready access at all levels to those involved in the grievance.

A.23.2. Although the primary function of the ombudsman is to handle grievances brought directly to her/his office, s/he will not be expected to concern her/himself with the normal operations of established procedures, as outlined in the Graduate Student Manual, except where it appears, in her/his sole judgment, that they are not functioning in their intended manner.

A.23.3. The Ombudsman can be contacted through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The student assistant Ombudsman is located in the Memorial Union.

A.24 The University Judicial System

A.24.1. The Office of Student Life administers the University Judicial System. Each student should obtain a copy of the Students' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, available at the Office of Student Life, that provides a detailed description of policies and procedures related to the Judicial System. The University Judicial System is designed to promote student growth and to preserve the atmosphere of learning necessary to the well-being of all students. Disciplinary action may be implemented only through referral of violations to the Office of Student Life. Where infractions of University standards and policies are involved, reports of violations or complaints shall be submitted to the Office of Student Life from the campus police or local police departments, from other students, and from faculty and staff in a timely manner. In all cases, the available facts shall be gathered from the accuser (complainant or the reporting agency) and a careful evaluation of these facts, as well as the dependability and character of the person reporting them, shall be made. If corroboration of the information presented is deemed necessary, further inquiry and investigation shall be undertaken. If, at this point, in the judgment of the Office of Student Life, there is insufficient evidence of a violation, or the case lacks merit, a decision not to refer the matter to the judicial system may be made. If a case is referred to the judicial system, it must be presented by the accuser. If the situation warrants it, the Director of Student Life may appoint special judicial boards in addition to the regular boards.

A.25 Committee on Academic Standards and Appeals

A.25.1. This committee is a standing committee of the Graduate Council.

A.25.2. This committee is to hear, at the request of the Graduate Council, student appeals on academic matters directed to the Council. It hears only those matters not involved in suspension or dismissal decisions.

A.25.3. In addition, the committee functions in an advisory capacity to the Dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Council on any matter relating to academic standards which may be referred to the committee.

A.26 The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board

A.26.1. Procedure

A.26.1.1. The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board was authorized by the Graduate Council. Jurisdiction of the Board is limited to hearing appeals of graduate students who are being suspended or dismissed for academic failure and to affirm or reverse the original decision.

A.26.1.2. If the decision is to suspend or dismiss, the Dean of the Graduate School shall notify the student by a letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The letter shall inform the student:

a. That the student is being suspended or dismissed, the reasons why, and when it takes effect.

b. That the decision may be appealed, and the procedure for filing an appeal.

c. The time limits for filing the appeal.

d. That the student is entitled to counsel of choice at the student's own expense.

A.26.1.3. A student who wishes to appeal suspension or dismissal for academic failure shall file a formal appeal within 15 business days after the return receipt has arrived at the Dean's Office. The Appeals Board and only the Appeals Board has the authority to grant an extension of time.

A.26.1.4. The grounds on which the appeal is based must be clearly stated.

A.26.1.5. A student who has filed an appeal concerned with suspension or dismissal for academic failure, may remain enrolled in courses, may enroll while the appeal is in process, and may receive credit for courses completed while an appeal is pending, but no degree shall be granted while an appeal is pending. A student whose dismissal or suspension is affirmed by the Appeals Board during a semester when the student is enrolled in courses may choose to finish the courses for transcript credit or withdraw with full tuition refund.

A.26.1.6. The grounds for appeal and the decision of the Appeals Board are limited to the consideration of those matters preceding the date of dismissal or suspension.

A.26.1.7. The Dean of the Graduate School shall inform the Graduate Council when an appeal has been filed.

A.26.1.8. The Board shall convene as soon as possible after receiving a request for appeal, and ordinarily no later than 14 days after the request has been received by the Chairperson of the Appeals Board.

A.26.1.9. The Board shall conduct hearings in full accord with conventionally accepted principles of due process. The procedure shall be developed in consultation with University legal counsel, and shall be stipulated in writing prior to commencing operations. The Board shall be empowered to invite specialists to supply information or consultation as needed, including "outside" specialists. All reasonable costs for such services shall be borne by the Graduate School.

A.26.1.10. The hearings of the Board shall be a matter of record. Stenographic, synoptic, or taped records are required, and these and the final report shall remain on file in the Graduate School Office for ten years. The final report shall be kept in the student's file as long as the file is kept.

A.26.1.11. Routine aspects of an appeal such as scheduling meetings, notifying members of the Board and the appellant of meetings, keeping records and typing the final report are solely the responsibility of the Chairperson of the Appeals Board.

A.26.1.12. At the time of the first hearing of an appeal, the Chairperson of the Board shall inform the Graduate Council, via the Dean of the Graduate School, that the appeal process has begun.

A.26.1.13. The final report on the appeal shall be transmitted by the Chairperson of the Board to:

a. The Dean of the Graduate School

b. The student

c. The student's Major Professor or Advisor, and Committee if the student has a committee

d. The Department Chairperson

e. The Graduate Council

f. President

A.26.1.14. If additional announcements are required, they shall be made by the Chairperson of the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board, and only by the Chairperson, and in strict accordance with URI policies and procedures governing news releases.

A.26.2. Composition of the Board

A.26.2.1. The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board shall be a standing body composed of three members of the Graduate Faculty, two graduate students, and an alternate member for each position.

A.26.2.2. The Board shall elect its own chairperson. The chairperson shall serve for one year and shall be eligible for reelection.

A.26.2.3. Two of the faculty members and two faculty alternates shall be elected by the Graduate Council. The third faculty member and faculty alternate, and the two student members and alternates shall be elected by the Graduate Student Association.

A.26.3. Criteria for Membership on the Board

A.26.3.1. Any member of the Graduate Faculty who holds a full time continuing appointment, and who is not a member of the Graduate Council may serve on the Board. A member of the Board whose status changes will be replaced by an alternate or by a newly elected member.

A.26.3.2. The faculty members and alternates elected by the Graduate Faculty must have tenure. The faculty member and faculty alternate elected by the Graduate Student Association may be tenured but are not required to be.

A.26.3.3. Graduate student members and alternates must be registered as full-time degree candidates during the Spring and Fall semesters that they serve on the Board and should be available but not necessarily registered during the summer.

A.26.3.4. Of the five members and five alternates, no more than two shall be from the same department, but no two members reviewing any one appeal shall be from the same department. In case of conflict, an alternate will serve or a new member will be elected.

A.26.4. Elections

A.26.4.1. Elections for members of the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board shall be held in October or November.

A.26.4.2. Consent of each nominee must be obtained before a nomination is made. Acceptance of a nomination implies that if elected, the member or alternate will be available most of the times when an appeal is likely to be made.

A.26.4.3. As far as possible the nominees will be selected from among individuals who will be available to serve on the Board during periods when appeals are most likely to be made. Ordinarily these are in June, August and February.

A.26.4.4. A special election may be held at any time, to fill a vacancy or to resolve a conflict of interest because of departmental affiliations.

A.26.4.5. The term of office of members and alternates shall normally begin and end on January 1, but if for any reason elections are delayed, members and alternates shall serve until their successors are elected.

A.26.4.6. A member or alternate elected at a special election to resolve a conflict of interest shall serve for the particular appeal only; but if elected to fill a vacancy, shall serve until the next regular election.

A.26.4.7. If an additional member (or members) is needed to complete the required number for an appeal during the summer, when nominations and elections cannot be carried out quickly, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall appoint a member of the Graduate Faculty or a graduate student to fill the vacancy.

A.26.4.8. The Office of the Dean of the Graduate School shall be responsible for keeping records of elections, terms of office of members and alternates, notifying the two electing bodies when elections are needed, and conducting the Graduate Council election.

A.26.5. Elections - Graduate Student Association

A.26.5.1. The Graduate Student Association shall elect two graduate student members and two student alternates from four different departments every year.

A.26.5.2. When the votes have been counted, the two nominees who have received the highest numbers of votes shall be declared members, and the next two, alternates. If there is a tie vote, the order shall be decided by lot.

A.26.5.3. The faculty member elected by the Graduate Student Association will serve one year as alternate, and as a member the following year. The alternate Graduate Faculty member will be elected every year from a slate that contains at least one nomination. If for any reason, the Graduate Faculty alternate elected the year before is unable to serve as a member, the nominating slate shall contain at least two nominees. The nominee who receives the highest number of votes shall be declared member, the next highest alternate. A tie vote shall be decided by lot.

A.26.5.4. Nomination and election of members and alternates by the Graduate Student Association shall take place in accordance with the procedures as described in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Graduate Student Association.

A.26.6. Elections - Graduate Council

A.26.6.1. The election by the Graduate Council shall generally be for two alternates; the faculty members elected as alternates shall serve as members the following year.

A.26.6.2. The slate of nominees to be elected by the Graduate Council shall be prepared by a nominating committee appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School and approved by the Graduate Council.

A.26.6.3. The nominating committee shall consist of three elected faculty members of the Graduate Council.

A.26.6.4. Members of the nominating committee shall be appointed by the first Graduate Council meeting of the academic year and shall serve a term of one year.

A.26.6.5. The nominating committee shall elect its own chairperson.

A.26.6.6. If for any reason an alternate is unable to serve as a member the following year, the nominating committee shall be informed that a member must be elected in addition to the two alternates, and the slate of nominees shall reflect this.

A.26.6.7. Prior to the second Graduate Council meeting of the academic year the Dean of the Graduate School shall inform the Graduate Faculty that nominations for the Appeals Board are being sought.

A.26.6.8. At the second Graduate Council meeting of the academic year, the nominating committee shall present a slate of candidates that will consist of at least two nominations for each vacancy.

A.26.6.9. Election by the Graduate Council shall take place at the third meeting of the year and shall be by written ballot.

A.26.6.10. Additional nominations may be submitted by any member of the Graduate Faculty 10 days prior to the meeting at which the election takes place provided the nominees satisfy the criteria specified in A.26.3.

A.26.6.11. When the votes are counted, the nominees who receive the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as members, if vacancies for members exist, and the next two nominees in order shall be alternates. Tie votes shall be decided by lot.

A.26.7. Restrictions

A.26.7.1. Any of the following conditions shall disqualify a Board member from participating in a hearing on a particular appeal:

a.When a Board member is enrolled in or is a faculty member of the same academic department as an appellant, or is a member of the faculty responsible for administering the student's plan.

b. When a Board member is also a member of a student appellant's advisory committee.

c.When a Board member feels that for any reason s/he cannot render a fair judgment in a particular case, s/he is required to disqualify her/himself.

d.When a Board member is directly involved in the matter under appeal.

A.26.8. Review

A.26.8.1. The procedures for the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board should be reviewed every five years and changes made as needed.


Policies for the Release and Disclosure of Information From Student Records

These guidelines incorporate the requirements of the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment). They are issues subject to revision as the law is changed or construed, and stated so that there will be the least disruption if contrary interpretations should prevail.


The University of Rhode Island maintains student records primarily for educational purposes, although student records are maintained for other purposes such as health and employment. Procedures for the release and disclosure of student records maintained by the University are in large measure governed by State and Federal laws. It is the purpose of these guide- lines to provide reasonable interpretations of the laws as presently stated and to protect the student's right to privacy. Where the law is silent, the University shall be guided by the principle that the privacy of an individual is of great weight and that all information in the student's file should be disclosed to the student upon request.


Information confirming the following items about individual students is public (the office listed is the office having the most accurate information):

-full name Registrar

-campus address Registrar

-home address Registrar

-telephone listing Campus Directory

-date and place of birth Registrar

-major field of study Registrar

-participation in officially Student Activities Office;

recognized activities and sports Sports Information Office

-weight and height of members of Sports Information Office

athletic teams

-dates of attendance Registrar

-degrees and awards received Registrar

-the most recent previous Registrar

educational institution attended

-class year Registrar

Public information may be released or published without the student's consent. Currently enrolled students may inform the appropriate office that public records should not be released or published (forms available from designated offices).


1. Nature of Confidential Records

All personally identifiable information relating to particular students used to make decisions about the student or for transmittal to others outside the institution other than public records as defined above is considered confidential information. This information includes but is not necessar- ily limited to:

- academic evaluation

- general counseling and advising records

- disciplinary records

- financial aid records

- letters of recommendation

- medical or health records

- clinical counseling and psychiatric records

- transcripts, test scores, and other academic records

2. Disclosure of Confidential Information to the Student

Right of Inspection and Review: A currently or previously enrolled student has the right to inspect and review official records, files, and data directly related to the student as a student. Access will be provided in the presence of a staff member. This right does not extend to applicants, those denied admission or those admitted who do not enroll. A student in one unit of the University, who applies for admission to another unit, but who never attends the other unit, has no right to inspect the records accumulated by the second unit. Where such information involves other students, the student is entitled to inspect or be informed of that portion of the information which pertains to himself or herself only. Requests under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 will be accepted as of January 1975 and will be responded to within forty-five days. Only in rare situations will the response period ever approach this limit. Offices may require that requests for access be submitted in writing and may ask for but not require the reason for the request.

Right to Obtain Photocopies: The right to inspect and review official records includes a provision for copying the records upon request (except where copies are already available to students under established University procedures, or are not available due to indebtedness or obligation to the University). Students may obtain copies by asking the appropriate office (maintaining the record) to complete a "copy payment form". The student must then take the form to the Bursar's Office for payment. The Bursar will collect the payment, stamp the form "paid", and return the student to the appropriate office where copies will be made. When the collected funds reach a total of $10 for any office, the Bursar will rebate the funds to the office's account through the Accounting Office. This section is not intended to allow pressure from third parties (see Section 4) to have students turn over their entire records.

Definition of Official Records: For purposes of this section, the term "official records, files and data" includes that material on students pertaining to their status as students held by any unit or department of the University which is intended for University use or to be available to parties outside the University. It does not include:

- Letters of recommendation or statements of reference for students obtained or prepared before January 1975 pursuant to written or documented promises of confidentiality or personally signed letters of recommendation to which students have waived their rights of access

- employment records of student as University employees

- campus law enforcement records held in the Campus Police Station

- clinical, medical, counseling, or psychiatric records (these records or copies thereof may be reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice)

- financial records of the parents of the student or any information contained therein

- private records kept by individual faculty or administrators possibly used as memory aids unless intended for transmittal to others

- institutional records of students which may be maintained by the University in a computer printout or similar format (so long as this computerized information is not intended to be distributed outside the University), as long as the original course of computer information is available in the office or department having original jurisdiction for the records (see definition of official records, Section 1).

Right of Explanation: A student is entitled to an explanation of any information contained in official records directly related to the student. The student has the opportunity for a hearing:

- to challenge the content of such records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights

- to correct or delete any such inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or inappropriate data

- to insert into the records a written explanation

The substantive judgment of a faculty member about a student's work (grades or other evaluations of work assigned) is not within the scope of such hearings. A student may challenge the factual and objective elements of the content of student records but not the qualitative and subjective elements of grading.

Hearing Procedure: The procedure to be followed should a student object to items included in her/his personal record is as follows:

- the student should discuss the objection with the individual responsible for the office where the student record is maintained

- if not satisfied, the student should discuss the objection with the individual to whom that person reports

- if not satisfied, the student should discuss the objection with the appropriate vice president of her/his designed

- if not satisfied, the student should file a written request for a formal hearing with the Office of the President

Upon receipt of a written request for a formal hearing, the Hearing Board on Student Confidential Records (two members appointed by the President and the Assistant to the President as Chairperson) must hold a hearing within three calendar weeks. The Hearing Board must allow a full and fair op- portunity for the presentation of evidence relevant to the reason(s) for the hearing request and must render a decision in writing to the requesting student within one week of the conclusion of the hearing. This section is not meant to require a formal hearing with rules of evidence, transcript of proceedings, presentation of sworn testimony, or cross examination of witnesses.

3. Waiver of Access

Students may be invited but not required to waive their right of access to confidential letters of recommendation for admission, honors or awards, or Career Services. Students will suffer no prejudice in admission, financial aid, or other University services by reason of not executing the waiver. If the waiver is signed, the applicant may request a list of all persons making confidential recommendations or statements.

4. Disclosure of Confidential Information to Third Parties

Definition of Third Parties: Third parties (including the URI Campus Police) do not have access to personally identifiable records or information pertaining to students as students without the written consent of the student specifying the records to be released, to whom the records are to be released, and the reasons for such release. Excepted from this restriction are:

- University officials (except Campus Police personnel) who require access on an internal need-to-know basis for legitimate educational purposes

- students in their official capacity as file clerks working in the University offices

- disclosure of appropriate academic records to officials of other educational institutions to which the student has applied and intends to enroll (on condition that the student is entitled to a copy of such records) if the student previously directed that the record be sent

- records released pursuant to judicial order (on condition that a reasonable effort be made to notify the student of the subpoena in advance of the records being released)

- records released in connection with the student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid

This policy does not preclude access to student records by authorized federal or state officials in connection with the audit and evaluation of federally supported education plans or in connection with the enforcement of federal legal requirements which relate to such plans.

Procedural Standards for Disclosure to Third Parties: Confidential information is transferred to a third party only on the condition that such party is informed that they may not permit any other party to have access to such information without the written consent of the student.

- no third party may have access to such records before signing and dating a written form indicating the legitimate educational or other interest of the third party. Such forms must be kept permanently on file and open to inspection by the student

- where third parties have requested access to records but where no access was granted, no written record of the request will be made

- the University is not required to release information to third parties upon the request of the student. This section simply permits such release under defined procedures.

- where University employees having a legitimate educational interest request access to records, no written record of the request will be made

- parents are considered third parties and are subject to the requirements of this section

- records may be released to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or others, provided the official releasing the records considers the seriousness of the threat to health and safety, the need for the information to meet the emergency, whether the third parties to whom the information is released are in a position to deal with the emergency, and the extent to which time is of the essence

- when students intend to transfer to another educational institution, the student must be notified that records have been released to another institution even though the student initiates the request for release


Students will be informed by their rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 by publication of these University guidelines annually in the student handbook.


All applications made by departments of offices of the University for Federal grants, loans or contracts will include an assurance of compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 or a reference to a previous assurance filed with Secretary of HEW.

List of official education records maintained:



- Academic records and Registrar's Office Registrar related correspondence Student's Academic Dean's Academic Dean Office

- Conduct records Office of Student Life Director

- Health records Student Health Services Director

- Counseling records and Office of Counseling and Director Career Planning records and Career Services

- Financial aid records Student Financial Aid Director

- Veteran's records Registrar's Office Registrar

- International student Dept. of International Director records Student Affairs

- Talent Development SPTD Office Director student records

- Tuition, fees and debts to Bursar's Office Bursar the University records

- Athletic records Athletic Department Director

- Meal book and dining Dining Services Office Director records

- Residence hall records Office of Residential Life Director


Institutional Review Board


(In situations where the principal investigator is a student, the decision regarding the exempt status shall be the responsibility of the student's major advisor and/or chairperson of the department in which the student is enrolled)


Safeguarding the rights and welfare of subjects at risk in any research, development, or related activity is the responsibility of the University. In order to provide for the adequate discharge of this responsibility, it is the policy of the University that no activity involving human subjects be undertaken until those activities have been reviewed and approved according to procedures established by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The process of review and approval includes the consideration of the methods to be used in the collecting of data, obtaining informed consent and in protecting the confidentiality of subjects. Since the "risks" to subjects are affected by these procedures, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator to be fully familiar with the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46, revised March 8, 1983) which govern the protection of human subjects and which form the basis for University policy. An assurance (copy attached) by the principal investigator that approved procedures will be followed in the conduct of activities involving human subjects is a requirement of the application process.

The "Multiple Project Assurance (MPA)" to be followed by the University, along with federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects can be reviewed in the Office of the Director of Research. There will be no tentative approvals. Materials not meeting the "multiple project assurance" requirements will be returned to the principal investigator with a statement of noncompliance. Materials must be submitted at least three (3) weeks prior to an IRB meeting in order to be considered. A calendar of IRB meetings will be published and distributed prior to the be- ginning of each semester.


Principal investigators and/or department chairpersons shall make a determination as to whether or not research will involve human subjects. When it is not clear whether the research involves human subjects as defined in 45 CFR 46:102 (Code of Federal Regulations, March, 1983), the investigator should seek assistance from the Coordinator of Research in making this determination. If it is determined that human subjects are involved, the principal investigator and/or department chairperson shall make a preliminary determination of whether the research involved is exempt from IRB review under the provisions of 45 CFR 46:101 (Code of Federal Regulations, March, 1983).

The proposal then shall be filed with the Coordinator of Research office. The proposal shall include copies of the proposal, informed consent, if applicable, and the rationale for the exempt status.

All proposals involving human subjects require a statement describing the process for obtaining informed consent as well as for the protection of the confidentiality of subjects.

If it is clear that there is no risk to human subjects and that University policy is being met, the principal investigator will be notified by the Coordinator of Research that he/she may proceed with the project.

If it is determined that the proposal involves potential risk to human subjects, the Coordinator of Research will require from the principal investigator one (1) completed proposal, less any appended material not necessary to an understanding of the project. In addition the principal investi- gator will submit fourteen (14) copies of an abstract containing:

1. Title of proposal

2. Principal investigator/association with the University/address/telephone/faculty sponsor and/or department chair,

3. Other participants (individuals or institutions/agencies) and other IRB approvals

4. Subjects to be involved (describe fully, including how they are to be obtained

5. Project summary

6. Nature of the subjects' participation and a signed assurance form (see attached)

7. Informed consent

a) description of information given to human subjects involved in the project

b) description of risks and benefits to the subjects involved in the project

c) description of the procedures to ensure against violation of the subjects' right to privacy (maintain confidentiality)

d) provision for the subject to respond to the information

e) procedures for consent and contact with principal investigator

Completed proposals and additional material involving risk to human subjects will be forwarded to the Chairperson of the IRB by the Director of Research. All incomplete proposals will be returned to the principal investigator with recommendations regarding compliance with University procedures. The principal investigator should retain a copy of the submitted material.

The IRB Chair will assign one principal reviewer for each proposal. A minimum of two weeks will be necessary for review. Each member of the IRB will have a proposal abstract and associated materials for review. The principal investigator could be asked to clarify relevant issues, attend the IRB meeting or submit additional materials.

At the IRB meeting following the review, the principal reviewer will present the proposal to the Board with his/her recommendations. Following a discussion of the proposal the Board will determine the disposition of the proposal. The IRB chairperson will return the proposal and materials to the Director of Research with a signed report of action form and/or letter indicating the outcome of the review. The Director of Research will notify the principal investigator of the decision. Materials and IRB decisions will be placed on file.





I CERTIFY as follows concerning the above research in which I am the principal investigator:

(1) The rights and welfare of the subjects are adequately protected.

(2) Risks or discomfort to subjects (if any) have been clearly indicated and it has been shown how they are outweighed by potential benefits to the subject or by the importance of the knowledge to be gained.

(3) The informed consent of subjects will be obtained by appropriate methods which meet the requirements of the University's general assurance procedures.

(4) Any changes which may alter the investigational situation will be reported to the IRB.

Signature: __________________________________________

Date: __________________________________________


Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee


It is the purpose of this policy to assure the humane care, treatment and use of animals in research and education in the life science and to ensure that studies involving the use of animals have been carefully evaluated by competent reviewers and judged to be justified and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The University is committed to abide by, and comply with, PHS/HHS/NIH "Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" (NIH Publication No. 85-23) and the provisions of the Federal "Animal Welfare Act" (P.L. 89-544), as amended, along with other applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies.

It is important to recognize that research and teaching involving vertebrate animals, whether conducted by faculty or students, is subject to review and approval by the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). It is the responsibility of researchers and instructors to read this policy statement and be familiar with URI's guidelines governing any research and teaching using vertebrate animals.

The Vice Provost for Research is responsible for publishing regulations, policies and guidelines relating to animal care and use in research and teaching.


All proposals that include vertebrate animals in research and teaching, and any changes in existing animal research protocols, must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC, and must be sent initially by the principal investigator, course instructor or major professor to the Director of Compliance for recording and transmission to the IACUC. In addition, the Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health and USDA require an annual report of the status of each continuing project funded by the agency with respect to animal use protocols, and the use of vertebrate animals in research and teaching. These reports are then submitted to the Provost for review.

These policies and procedures apply to vertebrate animal use both in research projects and in the teaching laboratories of academic courses. The student's major professor and/or department chairperson or graduate plan director is responsible for the submission of the necessary materials under these procedures when the principal investigation or instructor is a student. Additionally, if the principal investigator is a student, a thesis or dissertation proposal must accompany the new protocol review form.

The Committee's review process will include consideration of the animal models to be used (number and kind), rationale for use of animals in the project, husbandry and health care of the animals, research protocols (especially animal experimental procedures), pain relief during experimentation, special animal needs and potential biohazards (the Committee will refer biohazardous and radiation issues to the appropriate University Committees if prior approval has not been obtained from them). The project director and the instructor have the responsibility to be knowledgeable of federal, state, local and University regulations governing the use of animals. Copies of these regulations are available at The Research Office, 70 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.

The IACUC will meet monthly and review all protocols submitted. Materials must be submitted to the Director of Research Office at least three weeks in advance of the desired review date. All incomplete proposals will be returned to the principal investigator, instructor or major professor with recommendations regarding compliance with University policies and copies of the complete proposal, and (12) copies of the New Protocol Review Form.

The New Protocol Review Form (available at the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and in the Graduate School Office) and other supplementary materials necessary to an understanding of the project. If additional information is needed by IACUC, the person(s) requesting approval will be contacted.


Intellectual Property

F.10 Copyrights and Patents

All members of the University community, including faculty, pre- and postdoctoral fellows, research associates, staff, and students, including graduate assistants and research assistants in any combination of study, research, and teaching, shall be subject to the University's Intellectual Property Policies. These Policies, which relate to patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property, are contained in the University Manual and are subject to interpretation and implementation by the University's Intellectual Property Committee, with the approval of the President of the University.


Scientific Misconduct in Research and Scholarships


G.10 Basis

The basis for establishing this policy is 42 CFR Part 50 and 45 CFR Part 689 (Code of Federal Regulations). Reports to the Federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or to the National Science Foundation will occur only when required by federal law or regulation or when mandated by grant or contract provisions.

G. 20 Applicable to:

All University employees involved in scholarship, research, research training or research related activities pursued at the University or under the sponsorship of the University. Also applicable to all University employees involved in science and engineering education projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Students who are not included in the above definitions, against whom allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship have been made, shall be subject to regular University procedure.

G.30 Responsibility

Vice Provost for Research, the Provost, and the President have primary responsibility for administration of the policy as specified below.

G. 40 Policy

It is the policy of The University of Rhode Island to foster a scholarship and research environment that discourages misconduct in all research, research training or research related activities pursued at the University or under the sponsorship of the University.

G.50 Definition of Misconduct

Misconduct in research and scholarship means: "fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the academic and scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data." Allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship must promptly be reported directly to the Vice Provost for Research. Acts of retaliation against those who, in good faith, make allegations of misconduct shall be deemed to be misconduct in research and scholarship. Allegations that are determined to have been made in bad faith shall be deemed to be misconduct in research and scholarship. In the interest of protecting the reputation and privacy of those who may be involved, it is important that allegations be treated with confidentiality. In the event of allegations of such misconduct, it is the policy of the University to initiate a preliminary inquiry into such allegations; to conduct an investigation, if warranted, and impose appropriate sanctions, if warranted; and, if appropriate, to report to the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI), a component of the Office of the Director of the National Institutes for Health, or to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the National Science Foundation. These actions will be undertaken in accordance with 42 CFR 50, Sec. 50.101-105, and 45 CFR Part 689 with the University's procedures set forth below, and with due consideration to the rights and reputation of the accuser and accused.

It is the responsibility of all persons at the University involved in scholarship research, research training or related research activities to familiarize themselves with these policies and procedures. Copies of 42 CFR 50, Sec. 50.101-105 and 45 CFR Part 689 are available from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research upon request.

A. Immediate Steps to be Taken when Allegations of Misconduct in Research and Scholarship have been made.

1. All allegations of misconduct shall be reported promptly in writing directly to the Vice Provost for Research.

2. The Vice Provost for Research shall advise immediately the Provost and the Dean or comparable administrative officer to whom the accused reports about the allegations.

3. The Vice Provost for Research shall determine immediately whether (a) an immediate health hazard is involved, (b) there is an immediate need to protect federal funds or equipment, (c) there is an immediate need to protect the accuser or the accused, (d) it is probably that the incident will become public, or (e) there is reasonable indication of possible criminal violation. If the Vice Provost for Research determines that any of these conditions may exist, the Vice Provost for Research shall immediately inform the Provost with recommendations for appropriate action in so far as is necessary to address the identified condition. The Provost shall notify the federal office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) (if the alleged misconduct has been performed under PHS sponsorship) of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the National Science Foundation (if the alleged misconduct has been performed under NSF sponsorship) within 24 hours, and report on action taken, if appropriate.

If at any state of the Inquiry or Investigation process, the Vice Provost for Research or the Provost determines that any of the above conditions exist, the Provost shall notify the OSI or the OIG within 24 hours, if appropriate.

4. The Vice Provost for Research may, within five days of the receipt of the allegations, appoint a person to serve as a mediator. The mediator's sole responsibility shall be to meet with the accuser(s) and the accused, individually or jointly, and/or other appropriate parties to the case to determine whether the matters at issue can, or should, be voluntarily resolved among the parties, and to facilitate that resolution. Bargaining unit employees are entitled to union representation at mediation sessions. Confidentiality shall be maintained by all parties throughout the mediation process. The mediator shall submit a confidential report of the results of his/her mediation efforts to the Vice Provost for Research within ten days of his/her appointment to the case; such report shall ONLY include that:

a. the parties have settled their dispute and the charges have been withdrawn, with a written statement to that effect signed by the accuser(s); OR

b. the mediation of the dispute was not resolved, and that the consideration of the charges should proceed to the Inquiry stage.

The mediator shall not make recommendations nor offer any commentary relative to the merits of the dispute within this confidential report. Thereafter, neither the mediator nor his/her notes or records may be used in any way whatsoever at any further stage of the "procedures" or otherwise, i.e. he/she may not give testimony or statements, nor may the mediator's notes or records be requested or demanded. Further, nothing said, done, implied or discussed within the mediation process may be heard or considered by those who may conduct an Inquire and/or Investigation in the case.

For a full description of the remaining procedures to be followed:

B. Preliminary Inquiry into the Allegations

C. Investigation of Alleged Misconduct

D. Procedures at the Investigation

E. Records

please refer to the University Manual or contact The Research Office, 70 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.


The Dean of the Graduate School has primary responsibility for administering the policies and procedures relating to advance study at the University of Rhode Island. Graduate School policy is made by the Graduate Faculty, acting through its delegate body, the Graduate Council. (See Section 5.16.10 ff. of The University Manual for details on the jurisdiction, membership, and procedures of the Council.) The Council meets at least once a month during the academic year. Requests for agenda items may be presented to the Dean of the Graduate School or to any member of the Graduate Council. Graduate Council members include the Dean of the Graduate School, 14 faculty members (12 elected by the Graduate Faculty; two appointed by the Dean), and four student members (three elected by the Graduate Student Association, one appointed by the Dean).