May 19, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2014-15 Undergraduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2014-15 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

University Policies


Universitywide Policies

Affirmative Action Policy

It is the policy and commitment of Fitchburg State University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, veteran status, marital status, or national origin in its educational programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies, and to comply with the requirements of Federal Executive Orders 11246 and 11375 as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Title IX of the Educational Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 402, Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and pertinent laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, directives of the Department of Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other applicable state and federal statutes.

Inquiries concerning the application of, or compliance with, the laws and regulations prohibiting such discrimination should be addressed to:

Jessica Murdoch, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, Payroll Services and Affirmative Action
(978) 665-3172

Inquiries concerning the application of, or compliances with, the laws and regulations prohibiting harrassment should be addressed to:

Designated Coordinator for Title IX, Section 504 and Title II of the ADA
(978) 665-3172

For inquiries regarding sex, gender, disability, age, race, color and/or national origin, you may also contact:

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights/ED
5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02109-3921

Telephone: (617) 289-0111
FAX: (617) 289-0150
TDD: 877-521-2172

Sexual Harassment Policy

It is against the policy of Fitchburg State University for any member of the university community, male or female, to sexually harass another employee or student. The university is committed to providing a working, living, and learning environment that is free from all forms of abusive, harassing, or coercive conduct. This policy seeks to protect the rights of all members of the university community (faculty/ librarians, administrators, staff, and students) to be treated with respect and dignity.

Sexual harassment consists of unsolicited verbal, non-verbal, and/or physical conduct, which has the effect of interfering with student or employment status or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. The university’s Affirmative Action Grievance Procedures will serve as a system of review and resolution for both formal and informal complaints.

Fitchburg State University Anti-Violence Policy

Fitchburg State University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy learning and working environment. Mutual respect, acceptance, and appreciation of all members of the university community, and a safe campus are essential for effective teaching, learning, service and work performance.

Violence is a serious concern on university campuses throughout the country. To address this problem, the University provides educational and preventative programs and services for individuals who have been impacted by violence and accessible, prompt and equitable methods of investigation and resolution.

The University commits to fostering a zero tolerance for violence and will take effective means to end any acts up to and including dismissal of the offending individual. These policies apply regardless of the sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, race, nationality, class status, ability, religion, or other protected class of the parties involved.

Violence refers to acts of interpersonal and relationship violence, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Examples of violence may include but are not limited to unwanted physical or sexual contact; striking; shoving; strangling; threatening to harm another or self, a third party, or property; verbal degradation; intimidation; hazing; verbal or physical harassment; and using technology or electronic resources to threaten or harass another individual.

Violence can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in a dating or intimate relationship. Men, women, or transgendered individuals can commit violence and it can occur between people of the same or different sex. Violence can involve any member of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Consistent with its commitment to addressing violence, the University complies with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in admission to or employment in its education programs and activities, and prohibits gender-based violence.

This policy provides guidance for individuals who may be the target of violence, outlines the University’s response to alleged incidents, and identifies relevant departments within the University responsible for managing the policy and programs associated with it.

Please refer to the Anti-Violence Policy in the Student Handbook for more information regarding this policy and applicable procedures.

Institutional Discrimination Complaint Procedures

The Massachusetts State Universities have established specific internal discrimination complaint procedures to help resolve claims and complaints of discrimination on the campus. These procedures will serve as a system of review and resolution for both informal claims and formal complaints of discrimination. Any member of the university community and/or any applicant for employment who believes they have been a victim of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or retaliation may initiate an informal claim or formal complaint as outlined in the discrimination complaint procedures.

Hard copies of the discrimination complaint procedures are available in the Human Resources and Affirmative Action Office. The discrimination complaint procedures are also available at:

Further advice or information regarding the university’s discrimination complaint procedures may be obtained by contacting Jessica Murdoch, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Affirmative Action, and Designated Coordinator for title IX, Section 504 and Title II of the ADA, at (978) 665-3172.

Privacy and Confidentiality Regulations

A Fair Information Practices Act (FIPA) administrator directs the Privacy and Confidentiality Regulations. Copies of the regulations as part of FIPA Chapter 766 (of the Acts of 1965) are posted on bulletin boards at the university and kept on file at the Registrar’s Office.

Students should note that if any of these regulations should conflict with applicable provisions of the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, or with any regulations promulgated pursuant to said act, the provisions of said federal act or federal regulations shall control.

Institutional Review Policy

The university has established an Institutional Review Board and Institutional Review Policy which reviews and approves the adequacy of protection provided for human subjects serving as research subjects. The university is cognizant of its responsibility to protect the privacy, safety, health, and welfare of such subjects. A copy of this policy may be obtained from the Human Subjects Committee website.

Drug-Free Environment

Fitchburg State University is in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989. Information regarding these acts and the university’s compliance with them is distributed to the university community yearly and is also available from the Office for Human Resources at (978) 665-3172.

Alcohol Policy

Fitchburg State University enforces all state laws and city ordinances regarding the possession, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages including those prohibiting drinking by individuals under 21 years of age. University policy restricts when, where, and how alcohol may be served and the amount of alcohol that a resident student may bring into the residence halls.

The Fitchburg State University community recognizes the importance of personal and communal responsibility with regard to its alcoholic beverage policy. It assumes that any student who has consumed alcohol accepts responsibility for their consequent behavior. Being intoxicated will not be accepted as an excuse for erratic, irresponsible behavior either to an individual or others’ person or property. Any student found to be intoxicated will be considered in violation of the Alcohol Policy and will be subject to the Student Discipline System.

Massachusetts law forbids the possession of, use, and sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age. The law also forbids falsifying age and identification cards. The university enforces the law and expects all students, faculty, administrators, and staff to abide by it.

Use or possession of alcoholic beverages in public areas (campus grounds, athletic events, parking lots, academic buildings, dining hall, Campus Center) regardless of age, except at approved functions, is prohibited. Open containers of any alcoholic beverage is a violation of this policy.

A complete copy of the Alcohol Policy is available in the Undergraduate Student Handbook or from the Office of Student and Academic Life.

Substance Abuse Policy

In accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Fitchburg State University has adopted the following Substance Abuse Policy:

Only in an environment free of substance abuse can the university fulfill its mission of developing the professional, social, cultural, and intellectual potential of each member of its community. The use of illicit drugs and alcohol impairs the safety and health of students and employees, inhibits personal and academic growth and undermines public confidence in the university. For these reasons, it is the policy of Fitchburg State University that all university activities and university property shall be free of the unlawful use of drugs and alcohol.

Prohibited Conduct

The students and employees of Fitchburg State University shall not unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, or use controlled substances or alcohol. Any individual who violates this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action. Sanctions may include expulsion or firing from the university, mandatory participation in an alcohol/drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program, as well as referral of the matter to law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

Students and employees are required to notify the Human Resources Office (and, in the case of students, the director of financial aid) within five days of being convicted of violating a criminal drug statute in the workplace.

A complete copy of the Substance Abuse Policy is available in the Undergraduate Student Handbook or from the Office of Student and Academic Life.

No Smoking Policy

Effective July 1, 1994, Fitchburg State University became a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not allowed inside any university building, including residence halls.

Those members of the university community who have special difficulties in complying with a smoke-free environment are urged to seek the assistance of either the Human Resources Office or the Health Services Office.

Inclement Weather Policy

Whenever inclement weather, usually in the form of snow and/or ice, makes driving conditions exceptionally hazardous, classes for that day will be cancelled. In the event that day classes (on-campus and/or off-campus sites) are cancelled, all evening classes and programs for that date are automatically cancelled. Make up sessions are required.

Cancellation announcements can be heard on:

WPKZ 1280 AM Fitchburg
WBZ Storm Center 1030 AM, TV News 4 Boston
WCVB TV News 5 Boston
WFXT Fox TV News 25 Boston
WHDH-TV TV News 7 Boston
WXPL 91.3 FM Fitchburg State University Campus
Radio (after 8 a.m.)



In addition, Fitchburg State Alert will enable the university to notify you of important campus announcements.  Examples of such announcements are:  campus and regional emergencies and snow closures/delays.  Fitchburg State Alert is setup to send notifications to your Fitchburg State University email by default.  Mobile phones, land lines, and additional email addresses must be entered by the user.  To sign up for Fitchburg State Alert, please find more information on the Technology web site.

You may also call (978) 665-4003 or 4004 for a recorded message about school closures/delays. Course cancellations also appear on

The decision to cancel classes scheduled for weekends or holidays rests with the instructor. Students should consult with their instructors for their class cancellation and make-up policies.

Technology: Acceptable Use Policy

The Technology Department supports information systems and electronic resources for the faculty, staff and students at Fitchburg State University. Computer facilities and services are provided to support University business and its mission of education, research and public service. Uses that threaten the integrity of the system, privacy or safety of others or are illegal are forbidden. This policy sets guidelines regarding the issues of privacy and respect for property, ownership of data, system security, and misuse of the system.

The complete Acceptable Use Policy, and other Technology policies, can be found on our Web site at

Technology: Residential Network Usage Policy

The residential network at Fitchburg State University allows students residing in University resident halls and apartments to access network resources from their room. This policy identifies specific activities that are prohibited and details support options for our students. The complete Residential Network Usage Policy, and other Technology policies, can be found on our Web site at

Syllabus Guidelines/Course Information

Prior to the end of the first week of the semester, the instructor will distribute to each student in each course and section a written and dated course syllabus, which must contain at least the following information:

  • The instructor’s name, discipline, course number and title, semester/days/time of class, office location, office hours, email address and telephone number
  • Official course description
  • Course goals and learning objectives, as defined by the instructor
  • The instructor’s attendance and/or participation policies for the course (e.g. no attendance taken, number of absences allowed, any penalty for extensive absence, etc.)
  • A list of texts and/or additional resources such as software for the course, indicating which are required and which are optional
  • The course requirements for assessment, such as papers, projects, and examinations (with due dates if possible)
  • A statement regarding whether the instructor will include a final and the form that final will take (e.g. exam, project report, presentation, etc.)
  • A list of topics to be covered and the activities expected from the students
  • The method by which a student’s final grade in the course will be determined
  • The instructor’s policy on work handed in late and makeup examinations
  • Any special rules, regulations, or procedures of the course
  • A statement indicating each student is responsible for completing all course requirements and for keeping up with all activities of the course (whether a student is present or not)
  • A statement regarding the University Academic Integrity Policy
  • An informational statement about disability services available to students

Waiver of Academic Regulations

The university acknowledges that extenuating circumstances relative to rules, regulations, and programs occasionally require a waiver of regulations. Although students may petition for a waiver, they should understand that the justification for a waiver should be as exceptional as the granting of one.

Petitions for a waiver of regulations begin with the dean of student and academic life and/or dean of education or dean of graduate and continuing education.

The provisions of this catalog are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between the university and its students.

VALOR Act Academic Credit Evaluation Policy

In accordance with the VALOR Act, students may have their military experience, coursework or training reviewed to determine whether their training or actual job duties are commensurate with the content of courses offered at Fitchburg State University. Fitchburg State uses multiple methods for evaluating military occupation, training, experience and coursework for academic credit, including the ACE Guide to the evaluation of education experiences, CLEP and DANTES (DSST). All military transcripts are reviewed for transferability of credit in accordance with our university-wide policy. A maximum of 60 military credits can be applied to a degree at Fitchburg State. Students are aware of the VALOR Act credit evaluation policy through our website

Any questions related to the transfer of military credits can be directed to the Registrar, Linda Dupell, at (978) 665-4196.

Notice of Catalog Changes

The rules, regulations, policies, fees and other charges, courses of study, and academic requirements that appear in this catalog were in effect at the time of its publication. Like everything else in this catalog, they are published for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute a contract between the university and any student, applicant for admissions or other person.

Whether noted elsewhere in this catalog or not, the university reserves the right to change, eliminate, and add to any existing (and to introduce additional) rules, regulations, policies, fees and other charges, courses of study and academic requirements. Whenever it does so, the university will give as much advance notice as it considers feasible or appropriate, but it reserves the right in all cases to do so without notice.

Notice of Availability

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 clarified the information that universities must disclose to current students. The following Notice of Availability describes the kinds of information available and where you can gain access to it. You may request a paper copy of any information referenced below by contacting the office listed.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Description: FERPA is a federal law governing the privacy and disclosure of student information
Contact: Registrar
Phone: (978) 665-4196

FFEL/Direct Loan Deferments for Performed Services

Description: FFEL/Direct Loan deferments available for Peace Corps or volunteer service
Contact: Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (978) 665-3156

Financial Assistance Available

Description: Federal, state and institutional need-based and non-need based financial assistance available to students. Rights and responsibilities of financial aid recipients are also available
Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (978) 665-3156

Cost of Attendance

Description: Cost of attendance for undergraduate day students
Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Director of Student Accounts
Phone: (978) 665-4126

Cost of Attendance-GCE

Description: Cost of attendance for undergraduate evening and graduate students
Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education
Phone: (978) 665-3182

Return of Title IV Funds Refund Policy

Description: Policy regarding recipients of federal Title IV financial aid that withdraw from the University
Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (978) 665-3156

Withdrawal Policy

Description: Policy regarding students enrolled at Fitchburg State University who officially withdraw from the University
Location: Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Dean of Student and Academic Life
Phone: (978) 665-3130

Academic Programs

Description: Information regarding Fitchburg State University’s academic programs
Fitchburg State University Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalog
Contact: Registrar
Phone: (978) 665-4196


Description: Entities that accredit, license, or approve the university and its programs and procedures for reviewing Fitchburg State University’s accreditation, licensing, or approval documents
Location:, click on Facts and Figures
Contact: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phone: (978) 665-3185

Special Facilities and Services for Students with Disabilities

Description: Special services and facilities available for students with disabilities
Contact: Office of Disability Services
Phone: (978) 665-4029

Study Abroad

Description: Federal Title IV financial aid eligibility for students enrolled in a Study Abroad program
Contact: Director of Financial Aid
Phone: (978) 665-3156

Completion/Graduation Rates

Description: The percent of first-time full-time freshmen who successfully complete a baccalaureate program at this university within six years
Contact: Interim Director of Institutional Research
Phone: (978) 665-3482

Title II Institutional Report

Description: Required annual report on the number of undergraduate and graduate students who complete the university’s initial licensure programs, as well as additional information on the state of the university’s education preparation program
Contact: Dean of Education
Phone: (978) 665-3515

Campus Security Report

Description: The Department of Public Safety/Campus Police Annual Security Report which includes required policies and procedures and crime statistics
Contact: Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police
Phone: (978) 665-3584

Report on Athletic Program Participation Rates and Financial Support Data

Description: Data regarding athletic program participation rates of students at Fitchburg State University and related costs and revenues
Location: Athletics Department
Contact: Director of Athletics
Phone: (978) 665-3314

Report of Harassment/Discrimination

Contact: Assistant Vice President of HR/AA
Phone: (978) 665-3172

Location: Student & Academic Life
Contact: Dean of Student & Academic Life
Phone: (978) 665-3130