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Policies and Ethical Codes

Equal Opportunity and Harassment Policies

People are GSE’s most important resource and we are committed to creating and sustaining learning and working environments that take full advantage of our diversity and are respectful of differences. Cross-cultural conversations and interactions help to ensure that GSE is educating leaders who will be successful in both local and global settings. The University has policies and resources to underscore its commitment to equal opportunity in a community that also values open expression and academic freedom, including those listed below.

The University is also committed to providing a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment. Management and supervisory personnel, at all levels, are responsible for taking reasonable and necessary action to prevent sexual harassment. The University and GSE will take seriously all sexual harassment complaints and respond in accordance with its Sexual Harassment Policy; take appropriate action to provide remedies when sexual harassment is discovered; impose appropriate sanctions upon individuals who have been found to be in violation of the University's policy; and, to the greatest extent possible, protect the privacy of those involved in sexual harassment complaints. 

The University of Pennsylvania is also committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression and to creating an environment that encourages the active exploration and exchange of ideas. The University's discrimination and harassment policies are not intended to impair this freedom, nor will they be permitted to do so. Prohibited discrimination and harassment, however, are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street, 4th floor, Room 421. You can also contact them via phone: (215) 898-6993 or email:

Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Penn is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and activities are available on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class. View the University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy.

Respect for Others in the Workplace

Penn recognizes that people are the most important resource for achieving eminence in accomplishing our mission in the areas of teaching, research, community service, and patient care. Penn is an institution that values academic freedom, diversity and respect for one another. Penn is committed to the principle of nondiscrimination and does not tolerate conduct that constitutes harassment on any basis, including sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender harassment. For additional information, view Penn's policies, statements, and guidelines on respect for others in the workplace.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

The University defines sexual misconduct as: "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes harassment when:

  • Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or participation in academic activities;
  • Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or study environment.

View the School's Sexual Harassment policies.

View the University's Sexual Misconduct policy, which includes resources available to respond to questions, provide support or investigate complaints.

Consensual Sexual Relations Between Faculty and Students

The relationship between faculty and student is central to the academic mission of the University. No non-academic or personal ties should be allowed to interfere with the integrity of the faculty-student relationship. Consensual sexual relations between faculty and student can adversely affect the academic enterprise, distorting judgments or appearing to do so in the minds of others, and providing incentives or disincentives for student-faculty contact that are equally inappropriate. Read the University's Policy on Consensual Romantic and Sexual Relations in the Workplace and Educational Setting.

Policy Against Retaliation

University policy prohibits retaliation for, among other things, making a good faith report regarding a possible violation of its policies, including those related to on equal opportunity or sexual harassment. Read the University's Policy Against Retaliation.

University Resources for Resolving Informal Complaints

The University has resource offices that will provide information, support and advice to individuals who have questions or concerns regarding University policy.  See confidential resources below.

Formal Complaints and Reporting Offices

An individual who wishes to report an allegation of discrimination or harassment may contact anyone on the list below, his/her manager, or one of the designated University resource offices. If a report is made to any of these individuals/offices listed below, the staff of that office is responsible for ensuring that appropriate action is taken by the University.

Complaint regarding Staff:

Complaint regarding Faculty:

Complaint regarding Students:

Confidential Resources for Information, Counseling, and Support:

Exceptions to Policies

GSE Committee on Degrees

The Graduate School of Education Committee on Degrees considers petitions from students seeking exception to the school’s academic policies or procedures. The Committee is made up of GSE faculty and administrators and reviews individual requests during the fall and spring semesters. The Committee on Degrees meets once in the fall and once in the spring.  Students who are seeking an exception to a policy should fill out the Committee on Degrees form online online with the requested information.

For assistance and/or advocacy in navigating the entire process, please contact GSE’s Office of Student Services.

Policy on Secular and Religious Holidays

No secular or religious holidays are formally recognized by the University’s academic calendar. However, in setting the academic calendar for each year, the University does try to avoid obvious conflicts with any holidays that involve most University students, faculty and staff, such as July 4th, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Christmas New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day. University policy on secular and religious holidays is available in the Pennbook.

Poster Policy

Penn GSE values open expression. There are bulletin boards located at the 3700 Walnut Street building on the west side of each floor. Posters or messaging relevant to the GSE community should be posted there. To enable out of date items to be easily removed, please attach posters using push pins. Items that are out of date will be removed from bulletin boards. If you have need to post in a place other than the bulletin board, please seek permission from the Office of Student Students. In order to maintain an orderly appearance and to prevent damage, no materials should be taped to the doors or walls.

Contact the Penn GSE Office of Student Success

Office of Student Success

Ann Tiao

Assistant Dean of Student Success
(215) 898-7019

Whitney Jones

Coordinator for Student Success 
(215) 898-6456

Leland McGee

Senior Associate Director of Student
(215) 746-2007