General Regulations | Northeastern University Academic Catalog (2024)

Review the general regulations that follow as well as all other regulations or limitations included throughout this catalog. Your success at Northeastern University depends, in part, on understanding your rights and fulfilling your responsibilities.

  • Legal Rights and Responsibilities
    • Grievance Procedure—Sexual Harassment
    • Hazing
    • Use of Alcohol and Drugs
    • Use of Weapons
  • Policies and Procedures
    • Animals on Campus
    • Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources Policy
    • Behavior on Co-op, on Externships, and in the Neigh­borhood
    • Bicycles
    • CampusAccess
    • Copyrightable Materials
    • Copyrights and Patents
    • Demonstrations
    • Identification Cards
    • Jury Duty
    • Media and Public Appearances
    • Sales and Solicitations
    • Smoking
    • Tape Recorders
    • Textbooks

Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Grievance Procedure—Sexual Harassment

The university's complete Policy on Equal Opportunity is available at the University Policies site.

No employee, agent, supervisory personnel, or faculty member shall exercise their responsibilities or authority in such manner as to make submission to “sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” as an explicit or implicit term or condition of evaluation, employment, admission, advancement, or reward within the university. Neither shall any employee, agent, supervisory personnel, or faculty member make submission to or rejection of such conduct the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting any employee or student. Neither shall any employee, agent, supervisory personnel, or faculty member conduct themselves with respect to verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature where such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or classroom environment.

Though sexual harassment will not be tolerated, the university recognizes that it is difficult to regulate emotional relationships between consenting adults. However, a consensual relationship may be suspect in instances in which one of the individuals has authority over the other. Therefore, no faculty or employee involved romantically or sexually with a student may teach or supervise that person either individually or as part of a group in any activity connected to the university.

Any student, teaching assistant, employee, or faculty member who feels that they have been the victim of sexual harassment may bring the matter to the attention of the director of the Office for University Equity and Compliance. Copies of the sexual harassment grievance procedure can be obtained from the Office for University Equity and Compliance.


The university's Policy Prohibiting Hazing can be found at the University Policies site. Additionally,Chapter269of the Massachusetts General Laws also prohibits hazing and requires that the university publish the following statutory provisions applicable in Massachusetts:

Section17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment. The term hazing as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping; beating; branding; forced calisthenics; exposure to weather; forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substance; or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.

Section18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.

Section19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of postsecondary education shall issue to every student group, student team, or student organization that is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name and facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team, or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with the section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams, or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsem*nt of said unaffiliated student groups, teams, or organizations.

Each such group, team, or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team, or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team, or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen. Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of postsecondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full-time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.

Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of postsecondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams, or organizations and to notify each full-time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of regents and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution that fails to make such report.

Use of Alcohol and Drugs

The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in or on any Northeastern property. Any university employee or student determined to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The use of alcohol while on Northeastern property is prohibited except where specifically authorized by the university. No employee may report to work while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Violation of these regulations may be reason to require evaluation/treatment for substance abuse in coordination with the University Center for Counseling and Student Development and/or for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Northeastern works to provide a drug-free workplace for all university employees and students. The Center for Counseling and Student Development provides resources for treatment and referral for students and employees with substance abuse problems. Educational programs for students, employees, and managers are presented through Human Resources Management, the Office of Housing and Residential Life, the Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern, and University Health and Counseling Services and cover the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, the availability of assistance for counseling and rehabilitation, and penalties for violating university policies. To comply with federal law, the university requires that employees directly engaged in performance of a grant or contract must notify their employers of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after the conviction. The university must notify any federal contracting agency within 10 days of having received notice that an employee engaged in the performance of such contract has had a criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace. The university will take appropriate action up to and including dismissal and/or require participation in an approved abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

Use of Weapons

The use or possession on campus of firearms; explosive agents of any kind; as well as chemicals, mace, and tear gas, is specifically forbidden by the university Policy on Weapons on Campus. Violation of this university policy is cause for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. In addition, it is worth noting that Massachusetts law states: “Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded, in any building or on the grounds of any college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of said college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both. For the purpose of this paragraph, ‘firearm’ shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle, or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet, or pellet can be discharged by whatever means.”

Massachusetts general law prohibits the possession of nunchaku or karate sticks; switchblades; knives; starter’s pistols; ammunition; leather armbands or other clothing that has metallic spikes, points, or studs; or other dangerous weapons or articles. A student who possesses any articles for sporting purposes (for example, bow and arrows) should check with the University Police Department or the Department of Residential Life to determine whether such articles are among those prohibited by statute or university regulation. Northeastern also prohibits the possession of knives other than food utensils.

Policies and Procedures

Animals on Campus

Pets are generally prohibited in university buildings but may be allowed in outdoor areas on university property. Pets do not include service animals or assistance animals, which may be permitted as accommodations for persons with disabilities in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. The full Policy on Animals on Campus is available atthe University Policies site.

Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources Policy

The university Policy onAppropriate Use of Computer and Network Resourcesis available from the Office of Information Security.

Behavior on Co-op, on Externships, and in the Neigh­borhood

As an urban institution, Northeastern is a part of the vibrant community and business life of the surrounding neighborhoods. Maintaining amicable and considerate relations between the university and local residents and businesses is essential to the continued cooperation of the university and its neighbors in civic projects and issues and to the furtherance of the university’s broader mission to contribute to the general good of society. The university endeavors to foster conditions under which such beneficial relations exist. Consequently, the university must consider conduct on the part of members of the university community, whether on or off campus and whether isolated or continuing in nature, that is disruptive of these relations; that impairs, interferes with, or obstructs the lawful missions, processes, and functions of the university; or that is found by the university to be abhorrent or offensive to generally accepted standards of social behavior, as inimical to the university’s interests.

The university’s Code of Student Conduct governs student behavior on co-op, externships, and in the community surrounding the university. In addition, misbehavior in these settings may violate the law, policies of the co-op employer, or rules of the externship sponsor.


Wherever possible, students should use the bike racks available at various locations on campus. Bicycles should not be chained to fences, doors, trees, or other objects, and under no circ*mstances may bicycles be brought into any university building. The fire code dictates that all entrances, exits, corridors, and stairwells must be free and clear at all times. Bicycles found in violation of this code will be removed from the area.


Northeastern is a private institution that retains the right to determine the policies and protocols regarding access to university property and premises and the use of campus facilities. Northeastern may, at its sole discretion, deny members of the public access at any time for any reason not prohibited by law, including but not limited to reasons related to university business, public safety, and/or to accommodate university or private events. Moreover, certain facilities, such as residence halls, are intended for use by residence hall residents only, and classrooms and laboratories are intended for use by members of the Northeastern academic community only. Access to such facilities is permitted only in accordance with applicable policies and directives. Certain of Northeastern's campuses maintain additional restrictions and procedures for campus access, which may be reviewed at the University Policies site or on the campus's website. In all cases, the essential purposes of the university cannot be interrupted or disturbed by the access permitted to members of the public. The university reserves the right to rescind access privileges to any person who is violating or has violated university policy, protocol, procedure, practice, or applicable laws or regulations, regardless of whether the person is affiliated with the university.

Copyrightable Materials

It is the general policy of the university that student papers or projects submitted in partial fulfillment of course requirements remain the property of the student authors.

This policy does not apply to:

  1. “Work for hire” as defined by intellectual property laws
  2. Work derived wholly or in part from other patented or copyrighted material
  3. Work done as part of external grants or contracts in which the contracting documents or regulations define ownership
  4. Work in which the university or its agents or employees contribute substantial time or resources
  5. Work considered a thesis or dissertation

The university owns the copyright to any work created or developed by one or more students with the significant use of funds, space, facilities, equipment, materials, or other university resources. The university will not normally construe the payment of salary from unrestricted funds or the provision of office and library facilities as constituting significant use of funds, space, facilities, equipment, materials, or other resources of or administered by the university. Use of laboratory and/or computer facilities or assistance from one or more faculty or staff members to a student author specifically pertaining to the work constitutes significant use of university resources. In all cases, the provost or their designee shall make a good faith determination concerning significant use, which shall be final and binding on all parties.

In the case of a thesis generated by research performed in whole or in part by a student in the course of or pursuant to an agreement for sponsored research or other written agreement, including an agreement between the author(s)and the university, or utilizing equipment or facilities provided to the university under conditions that impose copyright restrictions, ownership or control shall be determined in accordance with such agreement or restrictions. In the absence of such agreement or restrictions, copyright ownership in such a thesis shall reside in the student. However, the student, as a condition of a degree award, must grant the university the royalty-free right to reproduce and publicly distribute copies of the thesis for limited and noncommercial purposes.

Where necessary to secure to the university an ownership of copyright, students shall assign such rights of copyright, or grant the specified rights of reproduction and distribution, to the university. The university reserves the right to employ, at its discretion, the materials or portions of any work created or developed in the course of an author’s relationship with the university, or otherwise covered by the university Patent and Copyright Policy, for promotional, professional, or noncommercial purposes on a royalty-free basis. Certain courses taught at Northeastern involve students in individual or group assignments or projects involving the creation of materials, objects, or techniques that may be patentable or copyrightable. These courses generally require extraordinary levels of faculty organization and participation and/or substantial university resources.

  1. Individual teachers or academic units may require that originals or copies of such papers or projects be retained either temporarily or permanently by the individual teacher or by the unit.
  2. A thesis is a student work representing significant original or independent research and for which the student receives a substantial amount of credit toward a degree or certificate. Where there is a question concerning whether or not a student’s work is a thesis, the provost or their designee shall make a good faith determination concerning same, which shall be final and binding on all parties.
  3. Copies of the university patent and copyright policies are available from the Division of Research Development, 405Lake Hall, 617.373.4587.

In accordance with university patent and copyright policies, in such courses the university is the owner of all rights in technology, computer programs, or other creative work that may be developed by the undergraduate or graduate student as part of the student’s work in those courses. It is the university’s intention, where applicable, to disclose and authorize the use of such technology, programs, or work to nonprofit organizations and to government agencies without a fee. The university may also have the opportunity to license such materials to a commercial enterprise, and in this event, it is the university’s intention to share any revenue from such a license with student contributors in an amount determined in accordance with the then-existing university policy or plan. Students are informed early in the semester if the course in which they are enrolled falls within this category and will be asked to sign a letter of agreement. Should the student decline to sign an agreement, they will be assigned to another course section—one in which such agreement is not required—or will be given alternative activities not involving such assignments or projects.

Copyrights and Patents

Any student who makes, as sole or joint inventor, an invention that involved significant use of university resources, including funds, space, facilities, equipment, or materials, or that is subject to terms of a sponsored research or other agreement between the university and another party, shall assign this invention and all associated applications and patents to the university or its designee unless the invention has been released to the inventor in accordance with the applicable provisions of the university patent policy. Any student, whether before or after terminating their association with the university, shall do whatever is necessary to enable the university or its designee to take out patents in any and all countries on such invention. The cost and expense of making such assignments and procuring such patents shall be borne by the university or its designee. When an invention is made by a student not involving significant use of funds, space, facilities, equipment, materials, or other resources of or administered by the university, the university will waive its rights, and the invention will be the exclusive property of the student, provided the student’s rights in the invention are not altered by the terms of any financial aid received, including external sponsorship, scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, thesis expenses, or other assistance, whether or not administered by the university and provided the invention is not subject to third-party rights.


The university supports as fundamental to the democratic process the rights of all members of the university community to express their views and to protest actions or opinions with which there is disagreement. A university is where individuals express diverse ideas and viewpoints in an atmosphere free of any physical force. The university insists that all demonstrations be peaceful and orderly and abide by university regulations.

  • Demonstrators must not block corridors or entrances or use loud noise to disrupt a conference, meeting, or assembly.
  • Demonstrations may not be conducted in faculty or administrative offices, classrooms, libraries, or study areas.
  • Moving picket lines in university corridors are prohibited. (Protests may be registered by individuals or groups standing in a single line against a corridor wall, but corridors must be kept open at all times for the free passage of other members of the community.)

Students, faculty, or other members of the university community who violate these regulations will be subject to disciplinary action; violators also jeopardize their right to remain in the university community.

Identification Cards

All students must have in their possession at all times the officially approved and properly validated photo identification card. It will be necessary to show this card as a means of identification when using the library and campus recreational facilities, at athletic contests, at student elections, at University Health and Counseling Services, at Student Accounts, at the Office of the University Registrar, to campus police, and elsewhere around the university. An official photo identification card will be issued to new students during their initial orientation and registration periods. Replacements for lost cards can be obtained throughHusky Card Services. All members of the community should be prepared and willing to identify themselves and their guests upon request by authorized personnel.

Jury Duty

Northeastern expects students to fulfill their civic duties; the university cannot interfere in this process. Students who miss classes because of jury duty must notify their professors in writing, explaining which classes will be missed on which days. The professors will work with students to make up missed assignments or exams. Upon completion of their jury duty, students must bring a copy of the documentation of their service to the appropriate professors. Students on co-op are expected to inform their supervisors if called to jury duty.

Media and Public Appearances

In all personal communications to newspapers or other media, as well as personal public appearances in which students identify themselves as members of the Northeastern community, it should be made clear that the opinions presented are a student’s own and not necessarily those of the university. Students who appear on public programs as representatives of Northeastern must be particularly careful to avoid language or presentations that could be considered in bad taste or offensive.

Sales and Solicitations

The university’s Policy on Non-Solicitation and Sales is available at the University Policies site.


All locations, campuses, buildings, and outdoor areas owned and/or operated by the university are smoke free and tobacco free; details of the Policy on Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus are at the University Policies site. The sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products is prohibited on campus. Smoking cessation information and programs are available. For further information, contact University Health and Counseling Services.

Tape Recorders

Students may not use tape recorders in the classroom without the instructor’s consent. Students with disabilities who need a tape recorder in the classroom may make arrangements through the Disability Resource Center.


Students should purchase or have in their possession the assigned textbooks, problem books, manuals, and other supplies that may be necessary in a classroom or laboratory.

General Regulations | Northeastern University Academic Catalog (2024)


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