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Understanding Your Rights and Obligations

Graduate students must abide by the Student Code of Conduct outlined in the Hilltopics student handbook. This handbook can help you understand your responsibilities while studying at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In the event that you find yourself in a situation where you are in conflict with the institution, its faculty, or your fellow students, the following can help you understand your rights. The Graduate Catalog is also an indispensable resource for academic policies and requirements.

Academic Honesty

The Hilltopics student handbook presents the Honor statement, a pledge taken by all students at UT. This statement clarifies the university’s commitment to maintaining and atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty:

“As a student of the University, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.”

Academic Appeals

Graduate students can appeal two types of academic decisions to the Graduate Council through the Appeals Committee. In one situation, a student may have a grievance concerning the interpretation of and adherence to university, college, and department policies and procedures as they apply to graduate education. The second situation is one in which the student has a grievance concerning grades. The Appeals Procedure details your rights and the process for filing a complaint with the Graduate Council.


 “The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomes and honors people of all races, creeds, cultures, and sexual orientations. The University values intellectual curiosity, pursuit of knowledge, and academic freedom and integrity”

This statement from the Office of Equity & Diversity is a clear statement of the desired environment for the university. The Office of Equity & Diversity clarifies the university’s position on discrimination and provides procedures for filing a complaint in the event that you find yourself discriminated against while studying at UT.

Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking

“The University of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are committed to creating and maintaining a learning, living, and working environment free from all forms of sexual misconduct and relationship violence, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. If you are a survivor of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking, please know that you are not alone.”

The Office of Equity and Diversity provides the Title IX devoted to providing support for members of the UT community who are survivors, those who wish to help survivors, and those needing to know their obligations to report and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking.