9.1 Introduction to Relations and Responsibilities Within the MIT Community

This policy was last updated April 6, 2022. See the update history page for more information.

Scope and Applicability

The policies in Section 9 Relations and Responsibilities within the MIT Community apply to all members of the MIT community – faculty, staff, students, fellows, individuals with visitor appointments, affiliates and any other individual who conducts business with or on behalf of the Institute.

These policies apply to conduct that occurs on MIT property, or when an MIT community member is representing or acting on behalf of the Institute, conducting Institute business, or attending Institute-funded or Institute-sponsored activities such as a conference. In addition, these policies may apply to conduct that occurs outside the MIT work or academic environment if that conduct affects the work or educational environment. In other circumstances, employees’ personal conduct is generally their own to regulate. However, if an employee engages in behavior that discredits the Institute or shows a serious lack of dependability or good judgment, it may be appropriate to review that employee's responsibilities at the Institute.

Sanctions for Violations of Policies  

The Institute takes seriously allegations of violations of its employment policies. In particular, violations of the policies against discrimination and harassment may undermine a person’s wellbeing and interfere with their work and academic progress or performance; such violations may also taint the work or educational climate for others, and may undermine the Institute’s ability to achieve its mission. Allegations of policy violations may be investigated and may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, expulsion, or other termination of the individual’s relationship with the Institute. In any investigation, the Institute strives to protect the rights of all individuals involved and to safeguard the welfare of everyone in the MIT community.

Complaint Resolution Process  

Community members who feel they have been discriminated against or harassed, or that any of the other policies in this Section 9 have been violated, are encouraged to raise their concerns with a resource in the MIT community. See Section 9.8, Complaint Resolution Policies and Procedures for information about the process for informal and formal complaint resolution, including filing complaints with governmental agencies. Special processes apply to certain sexual harassment allegations that fall under federal Title IX as defined in Section (“Title IX Sexual Harassment.”).

Academic Freedom

In an academic community, the free and open exchange of ideas and viewpoints reflected in the concept of academic freedom may sometimes prove disturbing or offensive to some. The examination and challenging of assumptions, beliefs or opinions is, however, intrinsic to the rigorous education that MIT strives to provide. The policies in Section 9.0, and in particular the personal conduct and harassment policies, are not intended to compromise the Institute’s traditional commitment to academic freedom or to education that encourages students to challenge their own views of themselves and the world.