Publication: Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, 2006-07

I. University-wide Regulations

University Principles of General Conduct and Regulations


The central purposes of a University are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the teaching and general development of students, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to society at large. Free inquiry and free expression within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals. The freedom to teach and to learn depends upon the creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the campus as a whole as well as in classrooms and lecture halls. All members of the academic community share the responsibility for securing and sustaining the general conditions conducive to this freedom.

The primary purposes of regulations and discipline in a university are to protect the well-being of the community and to advance its educational mission by defining and establishing certain norms of behavior. At Princeton, disciplinary proceedings have a role that is subordinate to positive guidance, rational admonition, and reasonable appeal to members of the University to observe its stated norms. The disciplinary system establishes procedures for a fair hearing, including advising a person fully of the charges against him or her, affording him or her ample opportunity to speak on his or her behalf, and requiring a clear explanation of his or her rights of appeal. Disciplinary proceedings are instituted only for violations of standards of conduct defined in advance and published, or for actions that can be reasonably deduced as violations in light of those specifically defined as such. Regulations governing the conduct of members of the University community will be revised only after deliberations in which representatives of the appropriate groups are invited to participate.

Since rigid codification and relentless administration of rules and regulations are not appropriate to an academic community, the rules and policy statements that follow serve mainly to clarify commonly accepted standards of conduct within the University.

Academic Integrity

The ability of the University to achieve its purposes depends upon the quality and integrity of the academic work that its faculty, staff and students perform. Academic freedom can flourish only in a community of scholars which recognizes that intellectual integrity, with its accompanying rights and responsibilities, lies at the heart of its mission. Observing basic honesty in one’s work, words, ideas, and actions is a principle to which all members of the community are required to subscribe. (See pages 50–63 regarding the honor code and other academic regulations.)

Statement on Diversity and Community

Princeton University is a community devoted to learning. We actively seek students, faculty, and staff of exceptional ability and promise who share in our commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship, and who will bring a diversity of viewpoints and cultures. By incorporating a broad range of human experiences and a rich variety of human perspectives, we enlarge our capacity for learning, enrich the quality and texture of campus life, and better prepare for life and leadership in a pluralistic society.

As a community, we respect the dignity, individuality, and freedom of each member. At the same time, we strive to be a place where individuals and groups learn with and from each other. We aim to foster a sense of shared experience and common purpose, along with a collective responsibility for each other’s well-being and for the well-being of the University as a whole.

Although we acknowledge the difficulties inherent in creating a community of individuals who are different from each other, we remain unwavering in our commitment to both diversity and community in a context of academic excellence. We seek to enable all members of this community to pursue their educational, scholarly, and career interests in an environment that recognizes both the distinctiveness of each person’s experience and the common humanity that unites us all, and permits us to take full educational advantage of the variety of talents, backgrounds, and perspectives of those who live and work here.

Honesty in University Matters

Members of the University community are expected to be honest and straightforward in their official dealings with University processes, activities, and personnel. This obligation includes honoring contracts and agreements and providing accurate information on official forms and documents as well as to official University personnel, offices, and committees. Deliberate violations of this provision will be considered serious offenses; subsequent violations, or systematic violations in the first instance, will be considered extremely serious.

Confidentiality of Records

Any willful violation of the provisions of the Privacy Rights which appear under “Student Privacy Rights under Federal Law,” page 72, will be regarded as an extremely serious offense.

Range of Penalties

For violations of University-wide rules of conduct, members of the community are subject to several kinds of penalties. The applicability and exact nature of each penalty vary for faculty, students, professional staff, and employees; but in general the penalties, in ascending order of severity, are:

1. Warning

A formal admonition that does not become part of an individual’s permanent record, but that may be taken into account in judging the seriousness of any future violation.

2. Disciplinary Probation

A more serious admonition assigned for a definite amount of time, up to two years. It implies that any future violation, of whatever kind, during that time, may be grounds for suspension, required withdrawal, or in especially serious cases, for expulsion, from the University. Disciplinary probation will be taken into account in judging the seriousness of any subsequent infraction even if the probationary period has expired.

Disciplinary probation appears on an individual’s permanent record at the University (but not on the transcript) and may be disclosed by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School in response to requests for which the student has given permission.

Campus Service. Campus Service up to 10 hours per week may be added to disciplinary probation for a portion of or the duration of the probationary period. This penalty may be particularly appropriate in cases involving vandalism, disorderly conduct and alcohol-related infractions.

Relocation Within or Removal from University Housing. When appropriate to the infraction, particularly in instances involving anti-social behavior having a serious impact on the residential community, removal from University housing or relocation within University housing may be added to disciplinary probation for a portion of or the duration of the probationary period. In the case of a freshman or sophomore, removal from housing is not an option as all underclass students must reside in a residential college. Relocation within the residential colleges will be imposed only after consultation with the master of the student’s residential college.

3. Withholding of Degree

In cases involving seniors or graduate students, the University may withhold a student’s Princeton degree for a specified period of time. Often, this penalty is imposed instead of suspension. In such a case, the student may be permitted to remain on campus to complete his or her academic requirements for the degree.

4. Suspension

Removal from membership in, or employment by, the University for a specified period of time.

5. Required Withdrawal

Removal from membership in, or employment by, the University for at least the period of time specified by the suspension, with the suspension to continue until certain conditions, stipulated by the appropriate body applying this sanction, have been fulfilled. These conditions may include restitution of damages, formal apology, or counselling.

6. Expulsion

Permanent removal from membership in, or employment by, the University, without hope of readmission to the community. For members of the faculty, expulsion may involve revocation of tenure.

7. Censure

University censure can be added to any of the other penalties listed above, except warning. Censure indicates the University’s desire to underscore the seriousness of the violation and the absence of mitigating circumstances and to convey that seriousness in response to future authorized inquiries about the given individual’s conduct or character.

Circumstances Affecting Health or Safety

In circumstances seriously affecting the health or well-being of any person, or where physical safety is seriously threatened, or where the ability of the University to carry out its essential operations is seriously threatened, or impaired, the President or her representative, a senior officer of the University authorized by him or her, may summarily suspend, dismiss, or bar any person from the University. In all such cases, actions taken are subject to reasonably prompt subsequent review by regular University processes or authorities. If a review process is not otherwise specified, the Provost will act in this capacity if requested to do so.

University-wide Conduct Regulations

Respect for Others

Respect for the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of each other is essential in preserving the spirit of community at Princeton. Actions which make the atmosphere intimidating, threatening, or hostile to individuals are therefore regarded as serious offenses. Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of personal characteristics or beliefs or their expression, is subject to University disciplinary sanctions as described above. Examples of personal characteristics or beliefs include but are not limited to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and handicap. Making tolerance of such behavior or submission to it a condition of employment, evaluation, compensation, or advancement is an especially serious offense. Procedures for resolving complaints or grievances on such matters are discussed on pages 18–20.

Princeton University strives to be an intellectual and residential community in which all members can participate fully and equally, in an atmosphere free from all manifestations of bias and from all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. As an intellectual community, it attaches great value to freedom of expression and vigorous debate, but it also attaches great importance to mutual respect, and it deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group. The University seeks to promote the full inclusion of all members and groups in every aspect of University life.

Racial or Ethnic Bias and Harassment

Mutual respect requires special sensitivity to issues of race and ethnicity.

Expressions of racial or ethnic bias directed at individuals or groups undermine the civility and sense of community on which the well-being of the University depends. They devalue the distinctive contributions of the individuals affected and impair their ability to contribute their views and talents to the community and to benefit fully from participating in it. By alienating those individuals, they harm the whole community. The University calls on all its members to display the appropriate sensitivity and to challenge expressions of racial or ethnic bias whenever they encounter them.

The University is seriously committed to disciplinary action against racial or ethnic harassment, as defined in “Respect for Others,” above. Procedures for resolving complaints or grievances relating particularly to racial or ethnic harassment are described on pages 19–20.

Sexual Harassment and Assault

Every member of the University community should be aware that the University is strongly opposed to sexual harassment and assault and that such behavior is prohibited both by federal and state law and by University policy. It is the intention of the University to take whatever action may be needed to prevent, correct, and if necessary, discipline behavior that violates this policy.

Definition of Sexual Harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other University activity;

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or

3. Such verbal or physical conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance, or living conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Definition of Sexual Assault. Princeton University defines sexual assault (including but not limited to rape) as committing any of the following acts:

1. Any sexual physical contact that involves the use or threat of force or violence or any other form of coercion or intimidation;

2. Any sexual physical contact with a person who is unable to consent due to incapacity or impairment, mental or physical. “Incapacity” or “impairment” normally includes but is not limited to being asleep or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The University defines rape as sexual assault involving an act of penetration and considers it to be an especially serious offense. Sexual assault includes both “stranger rape” and “acquaintance rape” (in which the assailant and victim know each other).

All forms of sexual assault and all attempts to commit such acts are regarded as serious University offenses which are likely to result in suspension, required withdrawal, or expulsion. New Jersey criminal law encompasses the offenses identified above, and prosecution may take place independently of charges under University regulations. Convictions under New Jersey law can result in imprisonment for up to 20 years; see “The University, the Law, and Property Rights” (pages 8–12).

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment or assault, consideration will be given to the totality of circumstances involved in the incident, including the nature of the sexual conduct and the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Procedures for resolving complaints or grievances relating particularly to sexual harassment and assault are described on pages 19–20. Details of University procedures for responding to complaints, including an explicit listing of victim’s rights, can be obtained from the Offices of: SHARE (University Health Services), the Dean of Undergraduate Students (West College), the Dean of the Graduate School (Nassau Hall), the Dean of the Faculty (Nassau Hall), and the Vice President for Human Resources (New South).

Peaceful Dissent, Protests, and Demonstrations

Free speech and peaceable assembly are basic requirements of the University as a center for free inquiry and the search for knowledge and insight. These rights involve a concurrent obligation on the part of all members of the University, guests, and visitors to maintain on the campus an atmosphere conducive to scholarly pursuits and to respect the rights of all individuals.

In view of Princeton’s obligation to promote the free expression of all views, the campus is open to any speaker whom students or members of the faculty have invited and for whom official arrangements to speak have been made with the University. The right of free speech in a university also includes the right to acts of peaceful dissent, protests in peaceable assembly, and orderly demonstrations which include picketing and the distribution of leaflets. These are permitted on the Princeton campus, subject to approval as to schedule and location, unless, or until, they disrupt regular and essential operations of the University or significantly infringe on the rights of others, particularly the right to listen to a speech or lecture.

All individuals and groups planning to engage in activities of the sort described in the previous paragraph should seek approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. Locations generally approved for these activities include, but are not limited to the following:

• the area adjacent to Chancellor Green Center (on the Firestone Library side);

• the area in front of Frist Campus Center on the north side, by the Frist “gateway”;

• the areas to the west and south of Alexander Hall, and to the east of Alexander Hall, between Stanhope Hall and West College;

• the area in the vicinity of the east entrance to the University Store;

• the area between Whig and Clio halls;

• the cobblestone area between Firestone Library and Washington Road;

• the area in the vicinity of the arch near the entrance to McCosh 50, Helm Hall;

• Scudder Plaza at Robertson Hall;

• the area adjacent to Shapiro Walk between the Department of Computer Science and Mudd Manuscript Library;

• the walkway in front of Nassau Hall;

• the area in the vicinity of the north entrance to Jadwin Gymnasium.

In asking groups and individuals to seek prior approval for schedule and location, the University’s goal is not to restrict free speech or peaceable assembly. Rather, it is to give the University the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the University community and those engaged in acts of speech or protest. The University reserves the right to determine the time, place, and manner of all such activities.

Whenever appropriate, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, with assistance from and in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, will designate clearly marked areas for protests and demonstrations from among the list that appears above. In addition to those on this list, other locations may be designated because of particular circumstances associated with a protest or demonstration (for example, to schedule a protest in the vicinity of a campus public lecture held in a location not near those on the list). The University reserves the right to refuse permission to use a particular area for protests or demonstrations, including those on the designated area list. When such a decision is reached, the University will provide reasons when asked.

It is a violation of these policies whenever any individual prevents, or willfully attempts to prevent, the orderly conduct of a University function or activity, such as lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, and public events; or blocks, or willfully attempts to block, the legitimate activities of any person on the campus or in any University building or facility.

Whenever a member of the University community, that is a member of the faculty, staff or student body, violates these policies, that individual will be subject to University discipline and/or arrest. Whenever a nonmember of the University community violates these policies, that individual will be subject to arrest. Decisions to invoke University disciplinary action or arrest in the course of a protest or demonstration will be made after due warning and, wherever possible, such decisions will be made by officers of the University (see the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees).

All members of the press and media, both those affiliated with the University and those with no affiliation to the University, are fully subject to these provisions unless special arrangements for press coverage have been authorized by the University’s Office of Communications. Ordinarily, arrangements of some kind to permit press coverage will be made when circumstances allow, and will be administered by the Office of Communications.

Distribution of Written Materials by Members of the University Community

Free inquiry, free expression, and civility within this academic community are indispensable to the University’s objectives. Inclusion of the name, telephone number, and/or e-mail address of the University sponsoring organization or individual member of the University community on material resembling petitions, posters, leaflets distributed on campus, including materials disseminated using campus information technology resources or University internet access is encouraged, since such attribution promotes and facilitates civility as well as vigorous debate in the academic community. Anonymous public postings without sponsorship of a registered University organization shall be removed or deleted if a complaint by a member of the University is lodged with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Personal Safety

Actions that threaten or endanger in any way the personal safety or security of others will be regarded as serious offenses. The following offenses will be regarded as extremely serious:

1. Deliberate participation in a riot or general disturbance that threatens the safety, or seriously threatens the property, of either University members or townspeople.

2. Intimidation by violence, by a threat of violence, or by property damage, which seeks to interfere with the free expression of ideas, or attempts to punish such free expression.

3. The possession, storing, or use on campus of firearms (including paintball, BB, air, or other guns that shoot projectiles) or ammunition, or of any explosive or incendiary device (including firecrackers and other fireworks) that might threaten human life, except inoperative antique firearms used exclusively for decorative purposes.

4. The possession of weapons or the use or threatened use of weapons or objects capable of being used as weapons.

5. Any physical assault committed in the course of any University function or activity, or on the premises of the University.

6. Any other act that seriously endangers human life, or threatens serious physical or psychological injury.


Activities that take place in the vicinity of University residences, classrooms, the library, the chapel, and similar facilities must be conducted in such a way as to respect the necessity for maintaining a reasonable degree of quiet in such areas. (Consult the Orange Page 41 for further information.)

TigerCards (ID Cards)

TigerCards are issued to eligible members of the University community and are intended for campus use only. Members of the community are asked to carry their cards while on campus. TigerCards are non-transferable and must be presented on request to authorized University representatives. Possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of false identification of any sort is a violation of the law and of University policy.

The University, the Law, and Property Rights

Members of the University community are expected to act with respect for the safety, personal rights, and property of individuals and groups both within and outside the University, and in accordance with local, state and federal laws. Some laws, such as those governing equal opportunity and nondiscrimination, underlie fundamental University policy and have been discussed previously in this document. Principles and laws of particular importance to our academic community are discussed below.

On-Campus Misconduct and the Law

On-campus misconduct by members of the University will normally result in internal disciplinary action, although in some instances the University may deem it necessary to call upon external authorities and to file charges or claims in the courts. In particular, misconduct by members of the University or others that inflicts or threatens to inflict personal injury or serious damage to property, that severely impairs essential functions of the University, or that cannot be adequately handled by the University Department of Public Safety, may require the intervention of outside authorities. Outside authorities typically will be called only by a senior officer of the University or a specifically designated representative. In addition to the President and the Provost, authorized senior officers include the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean of the College, the Vice President for Campus Life, the Senior Vice President for Administration, the Director of Public Safety, and the General Counsel.

Persons on Leave of Absence; Persons Who Are Not Members of the University

1. On-campus misconduct by persons who are, for whatever reason, withdrawn, suspended, or on leave of absence from the University will be evaluated before these persons may resume their status as regular members of the University. In these instances, such persons will be granted the right to a full and prompt hearing by the appropriate University judicial body of any evidence relating to them. The results of such a hearing may have an effect upon their reinstatement as members of the University.

2. Incidents involving persons not subject to University discipline cannot always be handled by the University Department of Public Safety and may require the calling of outside authorities (under the conditions of the paragraph under On-Campus Misconduct and the Law). Members of the University involved in such cases, when their conduct is in violation of the law, cannot be guaranteed immunity either from arrest or prosecution. When persons who are not members of the University engage in serious misconduct on the campus, the University has no recourse but to press charges against them in the courts.

Off-Campus Misconduct

In general, the University does not impose disciplinary penalties for misconduct off campus beyond the local vicinity. Note: All actions by a member of the Princeton University community that involve the use of the University’s computing and network resources from a remote location, including but not limited to accessing e-mail accounts, will be deemed to have occurred on campus.

Violations of Local, State, or Federal Law

Violations of federal, state, or local laws by members of the University community may put the individual in personal legal jeopardy. Also, they may trigger University disciplinary action regardless of where such violations occur, particularly if they are of a serious nature and clearly violate University standards of conduct.

The University will not seek special immunity for its members if they come in conflict with the laws of the civic community, national, state, or local. However, the University’s Office of General Counsel will, if asked, offer the names of attorneys in the event a community member desires to engage counsel upon being charged with a violation of the law. (Students should also consult page 49, under “Legal Assistance.”)

Individuals who contemplate actions that may be deemed illegal should be aware that they risk harm both to their own reputations and to that of the University, and should deliberate seriously and seek to reach an informed decision before acting. Even in situations where members of the University community seek advice from University representatives, responsibility for individual actions rests with the person or persons involved.

University Discipline and the Courts

When members of the University are faced with court proceedings for offenses committed either on or off the campus, and when University disciplinary proceedings are also appropriate, the University will normally make its own determinations promptly, whether or not court action has been brought to a conclusion.

University Safety, Security, and Law Enforcement

1. The University Department of Public Safety (DPS) serves to protect the rights, safety, and security of members of the University community. The Department works in conjunction with the local municipal police departments to provide general law enforcement services to the University community.

2. DPS officers have a major responsibility for ensuring that members of the University observe the basic standards of conduct and respect the specific University regulations and state and local laws. DPS officers are also responsible for assisting members of the University in emergency situations. In interactions with representatives of the Department of Public Safety, individuals are expected to comply with the requests and/or instructions of Public Safety officers. Failure to cooperate with a Public Safety officer may result in disciplinary action.

3. The Department of Public Safety consists of uniformed, sworn law enforcement officers who have the powers of arrest, and non-commissioned uniformed public safety officers who provide general security services. DPS personnel are not armed.

Regulations Regarding Security and Prior Restraint

Security Measures

Security measures taken at on-campus events must be adequate to provide for the maintenance of order and to ensure the safety of those attending or participating. Within the University, the Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Director of the Department of Public Safety are responsible for deciding whether security measures are necessary for a given event and for making appropriate arrangements. In consultation with sponsors of the event, they will make security arrangements which involve minimal interference with the scheduled event and with the privacy and freedom of those attending.

Prior Restraint

1. Normal access to facilities of the University and normal activities within the University should not be restrained merely on suspicion of disruptive intent, even when this suspicion seems well-founded. Normal access and activities should be restricted only in circumstances that affect the health and well-being of persons, that seriously threaten physical safety, that impair or seriously threaten to impair the ability of the University to carry on its essential operations, or that threaten serious damage to University property. Except in circumstances of very grave dangers of these kinds, which admit of no delay, restraint will be invoked only by the President or her representative, or by a senior officer of the University authorized by her.

2. “Normal access” shall be construed in this context within the following conditions and limitations:

a) Normal access to physical facilities is governed by existing practices and policies defining hours of operation, and categories and numbers of persons to be admitted in given circumstances.

b) Any University organization has the right to restrict attendance at any of its meetings to members and their invited guests; nonmembers have no normal right of access to such activities.

3. The imposition of a physical search of persons attending a University event as a condition for their entry to the event will be authorized only under the most extreme circumstances. A decision to authorize such a search will be taken only when the following conditions are met:

a) Either the sponsors of the event, the Department of Public Safety, or law enforcement authorities judge such a search to be essential to the safety of those participating or attending and request authorization from the President of the University.

b) It is the judgment of the President, in consultation with the University’s legal counsel, that the search is legal as essential to the safety of those participating or attending.

When a search has been authorized, steps will be taken to ensure that those who do not wish to be searched have the opportunity to leave without being searched. Whenever possible, the fact that a search will be conducted will be publicized well in advance of the event. All such searches will be conducted by the Department of Public Safety unless others, similarly accountable to the University or legally authorized, are requested by the President to act on behalf of the University.

For further information concerning University Security Policy for persons who are not members of the University Community, see pages 79–80.


Members of the University community are expected to act with a considerate regard for the property of the University itself or individual persons. Examples of offenses that will be regarded as serious are:

1. Willful damage or destruction of the property of others, or of the University, including the deliberate defacement of library materials, buildings, sidewalks (including chalking), walls, or trees. The penalty for willful damage will ordinarily include replacement or repair.

2. The deliberate setting of fires, unless approved, including bonfires, on University property, even in cases in which there is no deliberate endangerment of human life. (See page 7 under “Personal Safety.”) Prior approval for bonfires must be granted by the Office of Physical Planning, the Department of Public Safety, and the local fire marshall, acting in consultation with the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Dean of the Graduate School, as may be appropriate.

3. Theft or unauthorized borrowing of property or services, or conspiracy to commit theft.

4. The unauthorized or fraudulent use of the University’s telephone system. Users of the limited-access telephone system are expected to be aware of, and to adhere to, the guidelines established by the Telecommunications Office.

Library Use

Because the library is uniquely important to the University, members of the University community are expected to act with particularly considerate regard for the security of the collections. Insofar as these collections play a crucial role in supporting the highest standards of academic excellence, the regulations governing library use require special attention. The theft or defacement of library materials cannot be tolerated in a scholarly community. Such acts will be viewed as very serious offenses; students should understand that their status in the University may be jeopardized by infractions of this nature. Normally, offenders may expect suspension for serious infractions. Faculty members, graduate students, professional staff, and employees may expect penalties of comparable weight.

Computer and Network Use

Princeton University makes available to its community members computing and network resources, including shared information technology resources that use text, voice, images, and video to deliver information. These resources are to be used in a manner consistent with University policy and the law.

All uses of the University’s information technology resources, whether administered centrally by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) or locally by individual departments, are subject to the regulations and policies set forth in “Princeton University Information Technology Resources and Internet Access – Guidelines for Use” (

The “Guidelines for Use” also provide information regarding copyright and other laws that are potentially applicable to certain uses of the University’s computing and network resources. Members of the University community are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the regulations defined in “Guidelines for Use.”

Members of the University community who engage in any illegal or fraudulent use of the University’s information technology resources, including infringement of copyright-protected materials, may be subject to disciplinary action, including the termination or suspension of network privileges. (See the section “Violations of Local, State, or Federal Law,” page 9).

Regulations governing use of the University’s name and property (page 12), and community use of University resources (page 75) also apply to use of the University’s information technology resources.

Members of the University community may not use University computer resources for commercial (including consulting) purposes; rather, they should use information technology resources, Internet service providers, and computer hosts outside the University.

Patent and Copyright Policies

The University’s policies concerning intellectual property are intended to further its central mission—the sustained production, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge—while exercising due care for its fiduciary responsibility for the resources it administers. The University Research Board (URB) is responsible for the general oversight and administration of the University’s patent and copyright policies as regards the University, its faculty, employees, students, and outside sponsors. The Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) is responsible for the implementation of the intellectual property policies. For information about these policies, see


No individual or organization of the University may use the name Princeton University or a name that suggests Princeton University, or the name of any Princeton University organization, except to the extent such individual or organization has been officially recognized by the proper University authorities or as permitted under trademark law.

The use of the seal of the university on publications, manufactured articles, and the like is prohibited, except when specifically authorized by the university. Applications for such authorization must be made to the Secretary of the University.

Deliberate misuse of the name or seal of the University by any member of the University community will be regarded as a serious offense.

Guidelines Relating to the Tax-Exempt Status of the University and Political Activities


A basic responsibility of the University is to protect its educational function and the resources accumulated over many years through the generosity of alumni and other friends of the University. There is a close interrelationship between maintenance of the legal status of the University as a tax-exempt institution and fidelity to the educational purposes for which it is chartered and for which it enjoys tax exemption.

No less fundamental is the opportunity for all members of the University community to exercise their prerogatives as citizens. While in some ways distinct, this concern also relates in important ways to the educational mission of the University. A basic principle of a residential university, such as Princeton, is that the education of the classroom is complemented and strengthened by the many opportunities for personal development and growth in a residential community. For this reason, Princeton University has over many years provided facilities for, and encouragement to, members of the University community who wish to pursue varied talents and interests beyond the classroom. The result is a wide variety of existing campus organizations, including political organizations of various sorts, publications, pre-professional associations, musical and theatrical groups, intercollegiate and intramural athletic teams, debating societies, and so on.

Encouragement of an interest in public affairs and the furthering of a sense of social responsibility have long been considered important elements of a liberal education. The University continues to consider self-chosen participation in political and social action by individuals and groups to be a valuable part of the educational experience it seeks to encourage. Such activities on the part of individuals or groups do not, and should not be taken to, imply commitment of the University to any partisan political position or point of view.

To serve these objectives, the following guidelines have been developed. The guidelines are believed to be consonant with the traditional role of the University and to be in keeping with relevant laws.


Members of the University community, as individuals and groups, have the right to exercise their full freedom of expression and association. The University, however, may not under federal law “participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office” and “no substantial part of the activities” of the University may be directed to influencing legislation. (Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.) These prohibitions apply as well to campus-based organizations. Therefore:

1. Campus-based organizations which devote no more than an “insubstantial” part of their activities to influencing legislation may be recognized by the University.

a. Such recognized organizations will have free use of University facilities and will be eligible to receive University funding.

b. Such organizations will not be permitted to use University funds to influence legislation and will not be permitted to solicit tax deductible contributions using the University’s name.

2. Campus-based organizations which devote a “substantial” part of their activities to influencing legislation or that participate or intervene in a political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office may be recognized by the University.

a. Such organizations may use University facilities free of charge for organizational meetings.

b. Such organizations may use University facilities free of charge to present lectures, seminars and similar programs which are open to the entire campus community and which provide opportunity for discussion and questioning.

c. Such organizations will be charged for use of facilities for the appearance of political candidates which are closed events or which do not provide an opportunity for questioning.

d. Such organizations cannot use University facilities for the purpose of fund-raising for a political candidate or in order to establish a campaign headquarters.

e. Such organizations will not receive funds from the University.

f. Such organizations are prohibited from using the University’s name to solicit tax-deductible charitable contributions.

3. While the University’s name has traditionally been used in limited ways for purposes of identification by individuals and/or organizations connected with the University, individuals and groups must take special care to make it clear that when expressing political views they are speaking only for themselves and not for the University.

4. The Office of Physical Planning will, as in the past, assign space which is not required for other purposes to campus-based organizations which have submitted requests for space through the appropriate office (normally the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students).

5. Any noncampus-based group wishing to use a University facility must obtain permission through the office of Conference and Event Services. The organizations concerned will be required to pay a reasonable rental charge for the use of the facility and to bear the cost of any unusual janitorial or other related expenses. Generally, off-campus groups that are not charitable in nature will not be permitted to use University facilities for fund-raising purposes.

6. The University’s information technology resources and Internet access are intended to serve the educational, research, and administrative needs of the University.

a. It is proper for the University’s information technology resources and Internet access to be used for bona fide academic research which may include projects related to current political issues and to the positions taken by various candidates for public office. Time for research of this kind, so long as it is consistent with accepted academic canons, may use centrally-provided or, with appropriate approval, departmental resources, and, with departmental authorization may incur normal computer-use or connection charges against departmental accounts.

b. Studies which in and of themselves might be bona fide academic research may also be designed for partisan political purposes. The University’s central computer resources cannot be used for such work nor to advance other causes not directly related to the mission of the University, unless it is paid for from non-University funds or at the regular rate plus the standard surcharge applicable to such work. Similar principles and rules apply to use of all University computer facilities.

7. Campus-based organizations claiming national or regional status must base off campus the portion of their activities that involve or employ people not members of the Princeton University community. Such organizations must also use off-campus mail addresses and non-University electronic resources, including Internet access, for non-Princeton activities.

8. Faculty, staff, and students have an obligation to fulfill all of their normal responsibilities at the University, and while they are free to engage in political activities, such activities must not be at the expense of their responsibilities at the University.

9. Campus-based organizations, no less than other organizations, should realize that they are subject to local, state, and federal laws and that they bear responsibility for compliance with these laws.

Questions about these guidelines should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Office of the General Counsel.

(c) 2006 The Trustees of Princeton University
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