Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures
Admission and Registration
Admissions for Undergraduate Students
Please click here to read the Undergraduate Admissions policies. You may also visit the Undergraduate Admissions section of this catalog.
Academic Fresh Start Policy
Academic Fresh Start is a plan of academic forgiveness available to transfer and readmission students. Candidates may apply for Academic Fresh Start prior to admission or readmission as a degree-seeking student or at any time after enrollment. The student will need to contact the Office of Admissions to request an application for Academic Fresh Start. See the Admissions section of this catalog to view the complete policy.
Undergraduate Reverse Transfer
ETSU will participate in reverse transfer, a program in which degree seeking students who transfer from a community college to a four (4)-year institution prior to receipt of the associate’s degree can complete the associate’s degree requirements and be awarded associate’s degree. Please click here to read the complete policy.
Adding a Course
A course(s) may be added through GoldLink during the first week of classes without special permission, unless the course has reached the established maximum enrollment. To add any class that has reached the enrollment maximum requires a departmental permit. After the first week of classes, students must obtain special permission from the department in order to add any class. After census, the Late Add process begins which requires students to obtain permission from: the instructor of the course, the department chair of the course, the college dean of the student’s major, and the Registrar’s office to add a course(s). Permission during the Late Add process is only granted with extenuating circumstances. Please click here for help with adding courses.
Late Add Form
Dropping a Course
Students may drop classes from their schedule from the start of registration for the term through Census day, please see the academic calendar for Census for your part of term.
Classes dropped prior to Census, as noted on the academic calendar for the part of term in which the class meets, will not appear on the student’s permanent record.
Requests to drop classes can be completed from within GoldLink using Add or Drop Classes under Registration Tools on the Student menu. Classes must be dropped no later than the close of business on Census for the part of term in which the class meets, please see the academic calendar for Census.
Please click here for help with dropping a course.
Late Drop a Course
After the last day to drop a course with a ‘W’ grade without dean’s permission as noted on the academic calendar for the part of term in which the class meets, students may drop courses only when they can demonstrate verifiable, extenuating circumstances beyond their control, such as illness or accidental injury. Poor performance in a course is not an extenuating circumstance.
Students seeking permission to late drop a course must present a petition to the dean of the college or school in which they were majoring at the beginning of the term. Students who have not yet declared majors will present petitions to the University Advisement Center. If a late drop is approved, the student will receive a grade of W (Withdrawal) or WF (Withdrawn-Failing), to be determined by the dean.
- Students are permitted to enroll in regular university courses as auditors. Registration fees are the same for audit as for credit. Regular attendance is required. Audit enrollment will not be considered part of the minimum credits required for full-time enrollment. Audit enrollment will be counted in determining overloads.
- After the published “Last Day to Add a Course” students may not change their enrollment status in a course from credit to audit or from audit or credit. Instructors may administratively drop auditors for unsatisfactory class attendance.
Repeating a Course
- Students may repeat courses in which the final grade is C+ or lower for the purpose of increasing mastery in the course or raising the grade point average.
- Students may repeat a course in which they earned a grade of B- or higher only with the approval of the chief academic officer.
- ETSU uses repeated courses in calculating the GPA and total credits attempted as follows:
- If a student repeats a course once, ETSU uses only the most recent attempt (excluding I, W, or WF grades) in calculating the GPA.
- If a student repeats a course two or more times, ETSU uses all grades earned in the third and subsequent attempts in calculating the GPA.
- All courses repeated count in credits attempted.
- All courses repeated appear on the academic transcript.
- When a student repeats a course at another institution, ETSU will use its repeat policy to exclude the grade/credit originally earned.
Classification of Courses by Levels
All courses in the 1000 series are freshman courses, all in the 2000 series are sophomore courses, all in the 3000 series are junior courses, and all in the 4000 series are senior courses. All 4xx7 courses are for undergraduate credit, but may include students who are taking the class for graduate credit under a 5xx7 number. Graduate students shall be required to do specified work over and above that required of undergraduate students in these courses. All in the 5000, 6000, and 7000 series are graduate courses.
Student Proficiency in English
By the end of the freshman year, every student enrolled at ETSU is expected to have a command of the English language that is commensurate with the quality of speech and writing of educated adults.
International Students and Scholars- Insurance and Other Requirements
ETSU adheres to all United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State regulations in the admission, enrollment, and readmission of all international, non-immigrant applicants.
- Students enrolled pursuant to an F visa must have and maintain medical and hospitalization insurance as a condition of initial and continued enrollment at the institution.
- In addition, the following procedures have been established:
- In the letter of admission, in the I-20, and in the IAP-66, all international, nonimmigrant students will be informed of this requirement, of the extent of coverage required, which may vary slightly from year to year, and of the approximate cost to obtain the coverage.
- All international, nonimmigrant students will be required to enroll in the Student Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. The only exception to this requirement will be international, nonimmigrant students who have a scholarship that includes the purchase of an insurance policy on their behalf. This policy must meet or exceed the level of coverage provided to participants in the Student Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan.
- Students will be covered for twelve months. Exception to this rule will be made in the case of international students who abandon their F status, by leaving the U.S., by changing to another nonimmigrant status, or by adjusting status to that of an immigrant.
- Students under Practical Training will not be required to purchase the coverage. Students under Practical Training, however, may purchase the coverage during the period of training.
- Once the insurance premium is paid, there will be no refunds.
- Academic Support and Other Student Services
- Orientation: ETSU will provide an orientation program that specifically addresses the particular needs of international students.
- Student Privacy: The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits institutions to comply with information requests from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE) in order to comply with the requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
Appeal for Readmission Following Suspension
When low grades are related to extenuating circumstances, students may petition to waive the period of suspension.
- The petition must describe the verifiable extenuating circumstances, which may include illness as evidenced by medical documentation; personal problems, such as divorce or serious domestic problems; accidental injury; or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.
- Upon receipt of the written petition, a current academic transcript, and any supporting documents, the office of student affairs will make a preliminary decision about whether extenuating circumstances warrant a formal appeal hearing. If granted, the student will be notified of the time and place of the appeal hearing before representatives of the office of student affairs and the dean’s office of the college of the student’s major. If the request for an appeal hearing is declined, the student may ask the dean of the college in which he or she is majoring to review the decision.
- If grades earned at other regionally accredited institutions during a period of academic suspension from ETSU make a student admissible as a transfer student, the director of undergraduate admissions may admit the student prior to completion of the academic suspension period.
Appeal process and petition available online.
||0 - 29.9
||semester hours earned
||30.0 - 59.9
||semester hours earned
||60.0 - 89.9
||semester hours earned
||90.0 and up
||semester hours earned
Master’s Candidate (MS): A student who has been formally accepted to graduate school for the purpose of pursuing a master’s degree.
Specialist in Education Candidate (SED): A student who has been formally admitted to graduate school and the Clemmer College for the purpose of pursing a specialist degree.
Doctoral Student, Early Stage (DE): A student formally admitted to a doctoral graduate program of study whose major academic endeavor consists of formal coursework directed toward fulfilling requirements for a doctorate.
Doctoral Candidate, Late Stage (DL): A doctoral graduate student who has passed the doctoral qualifying examination and whose principal academic endeavor consists of work toward completion of the doctoral dissertation.
Postdoctoral Student (PD): A student who has an awarded doctoral degree and is engaged in advanced academic study or specialty training beyond the doctoral degree.
Visiting Graduate Student (SPG): A formally enrolled graduate student from another institution whose coursework will be transferred back to the student’s home institution.
Graduate Non-Degree: A post-baccalaureate student who is not pursuing a graduate degree, is not a post-doctoral student, and is enrolled in graduate courses.
Undergraduate Special Student (SPU): A student who is not working toward a degree and is enrolled in undergraduate courses.
Visiting Undergraduate Student (SPU): An undergraduate student who is taking work to transfer to another school.
For information about fee refunds please visit the Bursar’s Office website.
Advisement, Retention, and Graduation
The purpose of mandatory undergraduate advisement is to promote student success and provide students with comprehensive advising services which also include accurate referrals for policies, procedures and resources. Please click here to read complete policy.
Academic Retention Standards
East Tennessee State University expects all enrolled students to maintain the required overall combined GPA for the number of credits they have attempted. Please click here to read the complete policy.
ETSU’s General Education program offers a liberal education that includes 41-42 credits of courses from across the university that address the General Education goals of critical and creative thinking, effective communication, lifelong learning, conflict resolution, problem solving, and understanding and appreciating cultural diversity. Click here to read the complete policy. Click here to review the General Education Requirements.
Undergraduate Degree and Graduation Requirements
The purpose of this policy is to define requirements for earning an undergraduate degree and graduating from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Please click here to read the complete policy.
Course Load: Undergraduate
The Course Load Policy defines the course load for fall, spring, and summer semesters, the winter session, course overload, and probationary load. Click here to read the complete policy.
Grad Point Average Calculation
|| * Freshman English courses, and Graduate Studies do not assign these grades.
Grades that do not influence Grade Point Average:
||P - Pass:
||Grade points are not assigned; credit hours are earned.
||CR - Credit:
||Grade points are not assigned; credit hours are earned. (Used to record credit established by nontraditional means.)
||I - Incomplete:
||Indicates a passing grade at the end of a semester, but an important part of course was not completed (e.g., term paper, exam).
||Au - Audit:
||Credit hours are not earned
||W - Withdrawal:
||(See Adding and Dropping Courses and Withdrawing from the university.)
||WF- Withdrawal Failing:
||(See Adding and Dropping Courses and Withdrawing from the university.)
||NR - Not Reported:
||Grade points are not assigned; credit hours are not earned.
Early Semester Progress Reports
Midterm grades are used as an early indicator of academic progress in undergraduate level courses. Early Semester Progress Reports are available to undergraduate students in GoldLink around the 8th week of the fall and spring semesters. If the grades are unsatisfactory, students should use these grades to start conversations with their instructors and their academic advisors, and to seek tutoring and other campus resources to improve their grades.
Grade reports are available through GoldLink to all students who complete registration each term. Academic departments are required to retain grade documentation for a period of one year. Specific student concerns regarding academic records, other than the Grade Appeal process described in the graduate catalog must be addressed within one academic year from the date of posting of grades for the term in question.
Grade Appeal Policy
||Basis for Appeal
||A student may appeal a course grade if the student has evidence that the grade was assigned in a malicious, capricious, erroneous, or arbitrary manner. The following steps provide a guideline for the appeals process. All persons concerned with this process should make every attempt to adhere to the time schedule outlined in the following description of the appeals process.
||Appeal to the Faculty Member for Review of the Assigned Grade
|Within 21 calendar days after the beginning of the next term, excluding summer school, the student should discuss the assigned grade with the faculty member. If it is found that the assigned grade is incorrect in the judgment of the faculty member, he/she will initiate the appropriate change. If the change is made at this point, the matter is concluded.
||If the faculty member is no longer with the university, the student should confer with the departmental chair who will then make every effort to receive written input concerning the matter from the former faculty member. If it is not possible to receive information from the former faculty member regarding the grade, then the student may appeal the grade as described below and the departmental chair will represent the interests of the faculty member who issued the grade.
||Appeal to the Department Chair
||If the question of the assigned grade cannot be resolved between the student and the faculty member, the student may appeal in writing to the chair of the department in which the course was taught. The written appeal to the departmental chair must be made by the end of the fourth week of the term. The student should include all known information relating to the appeal with the written appeal. After receiving such an appeal in writing from the student, the chair shall review with the faculty member the substance of the student’s appeal and seek to determine its validity.
||If the chair determines that the assigned grade, in his/her judgment, is inappropriate, the chair should recommend to the faculty member that the grade be changed. The faculty member may or may not concur with the chair’s recommendation.
||The chair will notify the student in writing, within 14 calendar days of the appeal, whether or not the assigned grade will be changed by the faculty member. If the grade is changed to the student’s satisfaction, the matter is concluded. If the grade will not be changed, the chair will also advise the student of the right of appeal to the dean of the college/school within which the grade was assigned.
||If the grade will not be changed, copies of all written communication mentioned above should be sent by the chair to the dean of the college/school as described below.
||Appeal to the College/School Dean
|If the grade is not changed to the satisfaction of the student at the departmental level, an undergraduate student may appeal the assigned grade, in writing, to the dean of the college/school within which the course was offered. With the written appeal, the student should provide all information possible relating to the appeal. The written appeal to the dean of the college/school must be made within seven calendar days of receipt by the student of the notice from the department chair.
|If the dean of the college/school, or his/her designee, the student, and the faculty member are unable to resolve the appeal informally, the dean shall request a review of the student’s appeal by a committee comprised of three faculty members and three undergraduate students, all of whom have voting privileges, and meet the approval of the student and faculty member involved. This committee will be appointed by the dean, unless a standing committee already exists, and will elect its own chair.
||The committee shall conduct a hearing and shall review all pertinent information presented by the student, the faculty member, and any others who may be called to assist the committee.
|In the case of all graduate students (including those graduate students enrolled in the M.S.-Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences within the College of Medicine), the appeal shall be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School. If the dean, the student, and the faculty member are unable to resolve the appeal informally, the dean shall convene an ad hoc committee, comprised of three members of the graduate council and three graduate students, all of whom shall have voting privileges. This committee shall elect a chair and hold a hearing concerning the appeal. At this hearing all material relevant to the appeal shall be presented by the student, faculty member, the department chair, dean of the college in which the course was taught, the Dean of the Graduate School, and any others who may be called to assist the committee.
|In the case of a medical student, the appeal shall be prepared by the student in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Medicine who shall convene an ad hoc committee comprised of three members of the Faculty Advisory Council of the College of Medicine and three medical students, all of whom have voting privileges. This committee shall elect a chair and hold a hearing concerning the appeal. At this hearing all material relevant to the appeal shall be presented by the student, the faculty member, the department chair, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the College of Medicine, and any others who may be called to assist the committee.
|In the case of a pharmacy student, the appeal shall be prepared by the student in consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs of the College of Pharmacy who shall convene an ad hoc committee comprised of three members of the Faculty Council of the College of Pharmacy and three pharmacy students all of whom have voting privileges. This committee shall elect a chair and hold a hearing concerning the appeal. At this hearing all material relevant to the appeal shall be presented by the student, the faculty member, the department chair, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and any others who may be called to assist the committee.
||Appeals Process Following Committee Review
|Within 21 calendar days of its constitution, the committee will submit to the appropriate dean a written report containing a recommendation for a specific course of action regarding the student’s appeal. The dean will, in turn, review the committee’s recommendation and reasoning. The dean may also confer with any of the parties involved. After consideration of all appropriate information, the dean shall accept, reject, or modify the recommendation. The dean shall notify he student, the faculty member, the chair of the appeals committee, the departmental chair, and the appropriate individuals of his/her opinion concerning the appeal. The dean shall forward his/her decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs who will hold the documentation for 21 calendar days, at the end of which time he/she will notify the Registrar of the disposition of the student’s grade, if it is to be changed.
||A written appeal of the decision of the dean may be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs within 14 calendar days from the time the dean reports his/her decision to the appropriate individuals.
|The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs will then review the dean’s report and the other grade appeal documentation and endorse the dean’s decision, reject the decision, or modify the decision. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs shall then notify the student, the dean, the faculty member, the chair of the appeal committee, the departmental chair, and the appropriate individuals of his/her opinion concerning the appeal.
|In the absence of further appeal, the opinion rendered by the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs becomes final. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will wait 21 calendar days, at the end of which time e/she will notify the Registrar of the disposition of the student’s grade, if it is to be changed.
||Appeal to the President
||If either the student or faculty member believes that due process* has not been afforded, a written appeal may be made to the President; otherwise, the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice President for Health Affairs is final. Such an appeal, based on denial of due process and specifically identifying the failure of the process, must be initiated in writing within 14 calendar days from the time the dean reports his/her decision to the appropriate individuals.
||* The right to have your concerns reviewed by an impartial third party.
A grade of “I” (incomplete) indicates that a student was passing the course at the end of the semester, but due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, was unable to complete the course requirement. It also indicates that the student has received consent from the instructor to complete the work for which an “I” is assigned. The “I” grade cannot be used to allow a student to do additional work to raise a deficient grade or to repeat a course. An “I” grade must be removed no later than one calendar year from the time the grade is awarded. Time extension requests for removal of “I” grades must be submitted to and approved by the Associate Registrar before the allotted time expires. An “I” grade not removed under the guidelines noted above will be converted to an “F.” When an “I” grade converts to an “F” after one calendar year, the GPA is adjusted retroactively; consequently, a student may be subject to dismissal without a probationary term. A student cannot withdraw from or drop a course after a grade of “I” has been assigned or after one year has elapsed. To remove an “I” grade, the student must complete the work independently and must not register for the course a second time or attend the same course at a later time in order to complete the course requirements.
Pre-Finals Week Policy
The following policy will apply only to undergraduate courses taught during the fall and spring semesters.
Activities pursued within the classroom during Pre-Finals Week shall be at the instructor’s discretion within the guidelines set forth in the Academic Calendar policy at East Tennessee State University. Classes will continue to meet at their regularly scheduled time periods during the last week of formal classes. Under no circumstances will this week be used for final examinations. Exceptions shall be made for laboratories. It is recommended that at least some portion of the last week of classes be used as a review period, when appropriate. The scope and duration of such review will be determined by the instructor. Because communication between instructor and student is of utmost importance, faculty will strive to keep the student informed of his/her progress throughout the semester. This process will continue through the last week of classes as much as is possible for the instructor. Faculty will avoid unscheduled tests, quizzes, or other unscheduled work during this final week of class. Exceptions to this, of course, are make-up tests and make-up assignments.
Effective March 31, 2020, East Tennessee State University will implement an Emergency Grading Accommodation for undergraduate students. Undergraduate students may request the pass/fail option for some or all undergraduate courses in which they are registered in the Spring 2020 semester. Please visit the following link to Read the full policy for undergraduate and graduate accommodations.
The pass/fail (P/F) grading option allows qualified undergraduate students to explore, in a limited manner, their interests and abilities by receiving a pass or fail grade instead of a regular letter grade in a course. This section describes the P/F grading option available to individual students. The regulations cited here do not apply to the use of non-letter grades in entire courses.
Student Qualifications: Undergraduate students pursuing degrees must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to take a course on a P/F basis. All ETSU credits plus any credits earned elsewhere and accepted by ETSU for transfer are counted when calculating the GPA for this purpose. There is no GPA requirement for undergraduate students not pursuing degrees. However, if a student later decides to pursue a degree, the GPA requirement then applies.
Courses Excluded and Included: Undergraduate students pursuing degrees may not take general education core courses or courses in the major or minor on a P/F basis. If a student changes majors or minors and a completed P/F course is then in the new major or minor, the student may petition the dean of the college or school offering the newly declared major or minor to have the original letter grade earned substituted for the previously earned P/F grade.
Undergraduate students not pursuing degrees may take any course P/F, to a maximum of 12 semester credit hours. However, courses taken at ETSU and graded P/F which are then brought into a degree program at ETSU are subject to the regulations governing students pursuing a degree.
Registration Process: Undergraduate students pursuing degrees or not pursuing degrees must request the P/F grading option at the time of registration. Students may register for no more than one P/F course in a semester. Registration for the P/F option in a course must be approved by the student’s department or college advisor, who must sign the drop/add form to certify review of qualifications and other applicable limitations.
Students may not request the P/F option for a course that is added after the first week of classes. The regular letter option cannot be changed to P/F, nor can the P/F grading be changed to regular grading after the first five days of the semester.
The instructor will not know the identity of students enrolled on a P/F basis and will record letter grades for all students, which the Office of the Registrar will convert to P/F. P/F courses may be repeated for regular letter grades.
Credit Hour Regulations: Undergraduate students pursuing degrees may count no more than 12 credit hours earned on a P/F basis at ETSU toward graduation. Courses with P/F grades cannot be applied toward a major or minor.
P/F graded courses will be counted as degree credit hours earned. Failing grades (F) are computed in the student’s GPA. Pass grades (P) are not computed in the GPA. P/F grades awarded for departmental challenge exams or other advanced standing examinations are not counted as credit hours earned.
To qualify for the Dean’s List an undergraduate student must meet the following criteria for the term:
- Earn no grade below ‘B-’ in any course taken that term.
- Pass a minimum of 12 credits (excluding audits, incompletes, repeats, and pass/fail).
- Achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5000 for the term in applicable courses.
Student Conduct and Rights
East Tennessee State University is committed to developing the intellect and ethical behavior of its students. Students found to be in violation of policies on plagiarism, cheating, and/or fabrication will be held accountable for their actions. Any knowledge of academic misconduct should be reported. Students are expected to act with honesty, integrity, and civility in all matters.
By becoming a member of the campus community, students agree to live by the standards of the honor code and thereby pledge the following: “I pledge to act with honesty, integrity, and civility in all matters.”
Honor Code and Pledge as revised and adopted February 16, 2012
Complaint Policy and Procedures for Students
East Tennessee State University is committed to respecting all members of the university community and providing fair treatment regarding complaints by students. The objective of the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure is to ensure that concerns and complaints of undergraduate or graduate students are addressed fairly and are resolved promptly. Complaints usually involve actions affecting students that are alleged to be unjust, inequitable, or create unnecessary hardship. A student may pursue this complaint procedure if he or she believes a problem is not governed by other complaint or appeal procedures at the university. (Refer to Selected Appeal Policies.) The Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy have their own student complaint policies; complaints should be directed to appropriate personnel as identified by those colleges.
East Tennessee State University seeks to provide students, staff and faculty members with a safe and secure learning environment, free of crime and or violations motivated by discrimination, sexual and other bias-related harassment. There are two important complaint policies not governed by the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure; Sexual, Racial, and Other Harassment and Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incidents. These types of complaints should be filed with the Chief Equity Compliance Officer or, when a charge is by one student against another student, with the Dean of Students according to the procedures described in those policies. Direct complaints or concerns be made to the Office of Equity and Diversity, 205 Burgin Dossett Hall, (423) 439-4444.
When a concern occurs, the student is encouraged to discuss it with the appropriate faculty member or administrator. Often a resolution or an answer can be attained informally. If an informal approach is neither successful nor advisable, the student should use the Student Complaint Policy and Procedure. The procedure for filing student complaints governed by this policy is as follows:
To submit a complaint, a student must complete the official Student Complaint Form and send it via email attachment, within ten working days of the date of the initiating event, to the chair or director most directly involved (if the complaint is directed against the chair or director, it should be referred to the dean of the college or next level administrator). The chair or director will attempt to determine the validity of the complaint and, in the case of a valid complaint, seek resolution including administrative action. He or she will communicate his or her decision on the Student Complaint Form and make every effort to do so within ten working days from the conclusion of this process.
If a student wishes to appeal the decision made in Step 1, he or she must submit the Student Complaint Appeal Form A and the completed Student Complaint Form via email attachments to the appropriate dean or administrator within ten working days from the date of the decision. Undergraduate students submit the materials to the dean of the college where the issue(s) arose and graduate students submit to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. In the case of a complaint involving a director, the student submits materials to the next level administrator.
The student will be invited to discuss the complaint with that individual who will attempt to determine the validity of the complaint and, in the case of a valid complaint, seek resolution, including possible administrative action. He or she will communicate his or her decision on Student Complaint Appeal Form A and make every effort to inform the student within ten working days of the conclusion of the appeal.
If the student believes that he or she has not been afforded due process, the student must submit Student Complaint Appeal Form B together with Student Complaint Appeal Form A and the Student Complaint Form via email attachments to the vice president of the university division in which the complaint occurred within ten working days from the date of the decision. The vice president will make the final determination about the matter and communicate his or her decision on Student Complaint Appeal Form B and make every reasonable effort to submit his or her decision to the student within ten working days from the conclusion of this appeal. The determination will include reasons for the decision and direct a remedy, if any, to the student complaint.
A record of all complaints and their resolution will be documented at each level of the review process by the appropriate administrator. Revised March 2009
Complaint Resolution Policies and Procedures for Non-Tennessee Resident Students in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement States, commonly known as SARA.
Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws that involve distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution.
Complainants not satisfied with the outcome of the Institution’s internal process may appeal, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (https://www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/student-aid-and-compliance/postsecondary-state-authorization/request-for-complaint-review.html).
For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA or the laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards (https://www.nc-sara.org/content/sara-manual) have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA.
For a list of SARA member States, please visit the NC-SARA website (https://nc-sara.org/sara-states-institutions). Students residing in non-SARA states should consult their respective State of residence for further instruction for filing a complaint.
Students or prospective students who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation or regarding violations of state law not resolved at the institution may submit a Student Complaint Form by going on line and filing out the form electronically. Under Tennessee’s open records law, all or parts of complaints will generally be available for review upon request from a member of the public.
ETSU students or prospective students attending the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Virginia who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation or regarding violations of Virginia state law not resolved at ETSU may submit a student complaint to https://www.schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/resources/student-complaints.
ETSU students or prospective students attending the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies in Asheville, North Carolina who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation or regarding violations of North Carolina state law not resolved at ETSU may submit a student complaint form to https://www.northcarolina.edu/sites/default/files/documents/student_complaint_form.pdf.
Complaints regarding accreditation should follow the ETSU Complaint Policy and Procedure for Students outlined above.
Complaints regarding accreditation can also be made by contacting the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia
30033-4097, telephone: 404-679-4500 (https://www.sacscoc.org).
State Law Violations
Complaints of Fraud, Waste, or Abuse may be made to ETSU.
The ETSU process for reporting fraud, waste or abuse is available at https://www.etsu.edu/intaudit/report-fwa.php.
Complaints of fraud, waste or abuse may be made by calling the Tennessee Comptroller’s Hotline for Fraud, Waste and Abuse at 1-800-232-5454.
General Policy on Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions
The ETSU Board of Trustees authorizes the University to take such action as may be necessary to maintain campus conditions and preserve the integrity of the institution and its educational environment. Institutional policies on this subject shall be subject to prior review and approval by University Counsel and Student Affairs. Click here to read the complete policy.
Misrepresentation of Academic Credentials
It is a Class A misdemeanor to misrepresent academic credentials. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing that such person:
- Has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education;
- Has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas from a particular institution of higher education; or
- Has successfully completed the required coursework for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited institution of higher education.
Academic Integrity and Misconduct
The Academic Integrity and Misconduct policy outlines the rights and responsibilities of the student, the instructor, the Dean/Designee, and other members of the campus community in matters of academic integrity and misconduct. Click here to read the complete policy.
The purpose of this policy is to define expectations for class attendance and provide guidelines for make-up exams and coursework necessitated by excused absences. Click here to read the complete policy.
Class Absence Authorization for Student Participation in a University-Sponsored Activity forms can be obtained from the Office of Student Affairs.
Withdrawals from the University
The purpose of this policy is to provide students with the opportunity to withdraw from the university for a particular term of enrollment. Please click here to read the complete policy.
The policy on closing the university due to inclement weather states that ETSU and its branch campuses will normally remain open during bad weather. The president of the university, under extreme conditions, may choose to officially close or suspend selected activities of the university or branch campuses. The decision to close the university or to cancel some or all classes will be made and announced as soon as possible to accommodate students who must commute. An official statement of closing will be broadcast over several area radio and television stations.
Students are to attend classes unless otherwise notified by local media. If a student cannot attend class, the student is to contact the appropriate instructor(s) if possible. If not, the student must contact the instructor(s) immediately upon returning to the campus to negotiate an excused class absence and make up any missed work. If a student is stranded on campus due to inclement weather, facilities are available in university residence halls for an overnight stay. Students should report to the campus security building on the east side of campus. Click here to read the complete policy.
Inclement Weather Policy for Students in Online Courses
This policy provides guidance for students taking ETSU online courses in the event of inclement weather causing emergency University closure or schedule changes. Please click here to read the complete policy.
Abandoned Personal Property
All property not otherwise covered by Tennessee Law that is held by East Tennessee State University in its ordinary course of business, and which has remained unclaimed for more than one year, is presumed abandoned. If you have lost personal property on campus, please contact the University Center at 439-4286.
Under Tennessee law, the holder of presumed abandoned property must collect, hold, and maintain such property in protective temporary custody until it is transferred to the State Treasurer. A “holder” includes any person in possession of abandoned or unclaimed property or property that is held in the course of the holder’s business that has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than one year.
East Tennessee State University must file a verified report with the State Treasurer on or before May 1 of each year which lists the presumed abandoned property in its possession since December 31 of the previous year.
If the holder has an address presumed to be accurate and the property is worth $50 or more, the holder must, within 120 days of filing the report with the State Treasurer, send written notice to the apparent owner at his/her last known address, informing him/her that holder is in possession of the property.
Tangible property should be held by the holder while the Treasurer reviews the report for 120 days after the report is received. When the report is filed, any unclaimed funds or intangible property reported must be delivered to the State Treasurer, including all interest and dividends due on the day the property is paid or delivered. Tangible property must be delivered within 120 days following submission of the report unless the holder has received notification to the contrary from the Treasurer.
Once the Treasurer receives the abandoned property, the former holder of such property is relieved of all liability to the extent of the value of the property so delivered. The Treasurer then takes steps to notify the apparent property owners of their possible ownership rights. This property is still presumed abandoned but remains in the protective custody of the Treasurer. Subsequent claims to the property are directed to the Treasurer.
Housing Fee Refunds
Students who are removed from university housing for disciplinary reasons or are suspended or expelled from the university are not eligible for a refund of housing fees or university tuition/fees.
Residence Hall Access
Students residing in the residence halls are required to follow the Student Housing Rules, Residence Hall Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions (Residence Hall Student Handbook).
All residence halls with the exception of Buc Ridge, Buc Village, and Davis Apartments, which have outside doors, are secured 24 hours per day. Access is gained through main entrance doors equipped with a card reader which uses the student’s ID card to unlock the door.
The Department of Public Safety and the Office of Housing and Residence Life operate night patrol each night in the vicinity of the residence hall and residence hall parking lots. These individuals are not police officers but are equipped with two-way radios and have a uniform. Duties include checking for propped doors, checking locked doors, watching for any unusual event, and checking parking lots around the residence halls.
For additional information concerning safety on campus, contact the Department of Public Safety, (423) 439-6900, the Office of Student Affairs, (423) 439-4210, or the Office of Human Resources, (423) 439-4457.
Personal Information and Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Click here to read about FERPA. The purpose of this policy is the establishment of policy to protect the confidentiality of records for students of East Tennessee State University. Click here to read the policy.
Directory Information Procedures
ETSU may release other “directory information. Other “directory information” is defined as: enrollment status, dates of attendance, classification, previous institution(s) attended, awards, honors (includes Dean’s List), degrees conferred (including dates), and sports participation information.
If students prefer not to have these items released, they may fill out a form to prevent disclosure of this data. This form is available at the Office of the Registrar and must be submitted no later than the last day to add a course for the Fall term. A new form for non-disclosure must be completed each academic year. A form submitted the last term a student enrolls will remain in effect until the student re-enrolls.
Other records offices in the university may have other definitions of directory information. Please check the Pharmacy or Medicine web sites for specific information as to their definitions.
This policy is intended to provide a process for official communication between East Tennessee State University (ETSU) faculty and staff with students. Faculty and staff are required to use the official ETSU assigned email address to communicate with ETSU students. Students are also required to use the official ETSU assigned email address to communicate with faculty and staff to ensure communication is with the person to whom the email account is assigned.
Email is an integral part of the academic process in which confidential information about ETSU students is often transmitted, including evaluations, grades, and financial information. Faculty, staff, and students must recognize that although there is an expectation of privacy, unencrypted email is not a secure means of transmitting information. While this policy does not prohibit student information from being transmitted by email, caution must be exercised regarding the content of messages.
ETSU provides each student, faculty, and staff member with an official university-assigned email account. All official university communications will be sent to the university email address. Faculty, staff, and students may assume that official ETSU email is a valid communication mechanism. Therefore, the university has the right to send communications to students, faculty, and staff via email and the right to expect that those communications are received and read in a timely fashion. Although students may choose to forward university email to an external email account, he or she is responsible for all information, including attachments.
Approved: Information Technology Governance Council
Reviewed: February 2017
Health and Safety
Medical and Health Policy
Students are responsible to provide personal medical insurance for themselves in the event of an illness or personal injury while attending the university. Students who do not have coverage under a family insurance policy or who want additional insurance information, please visit the ETSU Student Health Services website.
Failure to submit the appropriate documentation could prevent a student from completing the class registration process or could limit the number of credits in which a student is able to enroll. The State of Tennessee requires all students to meet the following immunization requirements:
- All enrolling students will be required to provide health information that, at a minimum, establishes the student’s compliance with rules promulgated by the Tennessee Department of Health regarding requirements for immunization against certain diseases prior to attendance and compliance with the latest standards for immunization for meningococcal disease as set forth by the recommended immunization schedule issued by the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization practices.
- Prior to full-time enrollment, the student must provide documentation of receipt of required immunizations or provide positive quantitative laboratory serology reports.
- New, incoming students who live in on-campus student housing must comply with the latest standards for immunization for meningococcal disease as set forth by the recommended immunization schedule issued by the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
- Admission to some programs may have additional requirements.
Responding to Hate Crimes and Bias-Related Incidents
Statement of Policy:
East Tennessee State University seeks to provide students, staff and faculty members with a safe and secure learning environment, free of crime and/or violations motivated by discrimination, sexual and other bias-related harassment. ETSU’s Institutional Policy Statement (0240-3-2-.01) specifically addresses student behavioral expectations: University students are citizens of the state, local, and national governments, and of the academic community, and are, therefore, expected to conduct themselves as law-abiding members of each community at all times. Violation of university policy may subject the student to disciplinary action by the institution whether or not such conduct is simultaneously violative of state, local, or national laws.
I. Definition of Terms:
- Hate Crime
Hate crime, as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice, is one which in whole or part is motivated by the offender’s bias toward the targeted person’s status. Hate crimes are intended to hurt and intimidate individuals, because they are perceived to be different with respect to their race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability. These acts of hatred can leave lasting emotional impressions upon their targets as well as upon the entire university community. Hate crimes are by definition Bias-Related Incidents.
- Bias-Related Incidents
Bias-related incidents are those that constitute an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the targeted person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age or disability and yet are not criminal acts. ETSU’s Policy On Sexual, Racial, and Other Harassment defines bias-related incidents “as any person’s conduct which unreasonably interferes with an employee’s or student’s status or performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.”
II. University Response:
To report a hate crime or other criminal activity on the ETSU campus:
The Department of Public Safety is open 365 days a year and utilizes Public Safety officers to patrol the campus 24 hours per day. A 24-hour emergency dispatch service is also maintained. Criminal actions, police emergencies, fire emergencies, and requests for ambulance service should be reported by telephoning 911, using the direct emergency telephones placed across campus, or by stopping by the Public Safety Office. Police non-emergencies should be reported by telephoning 439-4480. When a person seeks assistance or files a complaint, all pertinent information is obtained and is documented in an Incident Report. Incident Reports are maintained on file in the public safety office.
Public Safety and Security
Sex Offender Registration
The federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act and the Tennessee College and University Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2002 require that whenever a sex offender becomes employed, enrolls as a student, or volunteers at an institution of higher education in the state of Tennessee, he or she must complete or update the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) sexual offender registration/monitoring form and deliver it to TBI headquarters in Nashville. As defined in section 40-39-102 of the Tennessee Code, a “sexual offender” means a person who is, or has been, convicted in this state of committing a sexual offense or who is, or has been, convicted in another state or another country, or who is or has been convicted in a federal or military court, of committing an act which would have constituted a sexual offense if it had been committed in this state. A “sexual offender” means the commission of acts including but not limited to aggravated and statutory rape, sexual battery, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated prostitution, and kidnapping.
Both acts designate certain information concerning a registered sexual offender as public information and therefore amend and supersede the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other federal and state laws that previously prohibited the disclosure of such personal information. Since the laws require the publication of information pertaining to sexual offenders employed, enrolled or volunteering at an educational institution, said publication does not constitute grounds for a grievance or complaint under institutional policies or procedures.
Department of Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for campus security. The public safety office is located at the main entrance of the campus on University Parkway. The department is open 365 days per year and utilizes public safety officers to patrol campus by automobile and on foot 24 hours per day. A 24-hour dispatch service is also maintained.
Access to Campus
The campus and facilities of ETSU are governed by the East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees (BOT) and are restricted to students, faculty, staff, guests, and invitees of the university, except when part or all of the campus, its buildings or facilities, are open to the general public for a designated time and purpose.
All persons on campus are subject to all rules and regulations of the university and the BOT which are applicable to the conduct of students on campus, and to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. In addition, all persons who operate motor vehicles on campus agree by such operation to be subject to university and BOT rules, regulations, policies, and procedures on traffic and parking.
All persons on campus must provide adequate identification upon request to appropriate officials and security personnel of the university. Personnel and students of the university who refuse to provide such identification may be subject to disciplinary action, and other persons who refuse to provide such identification will be requested to leave the campus, and if they refuse, may be subject to lawful removal and prosecution.
The Department of Public Safety provides a crime prevention program entitled “Be Alert, Be Aware.” Through this program, students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to report any criminal or suspicious activity and are made aware of the need for each person to be responsible for his/her own security and the security of others. When a person files a complaint or applies for assistance, all pertinent information is obtained and is officially documented in an incident report. All incident reports are maintained on file in the public safety office. Reports are acted upon in a judicious manner consistent with departmental procedure. When criminal incidents occur that require multijurisdictional investigation, all applicable agencies are notified. Public safety officers have a close working relationship with the Johnson City Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, federal agencies, and the First Judicial District Drug Task Force. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation receive monthly statistics from the Department of Public Safety concerning crimes on campus.
Police emergencies, fire emergencies, and requests for ambulance service can be reported by telephoning 439-4480 or 911; by using the direct emergency telephones placed across campus; or in person by stopping by the public safety office. Police non-emergencies can be reported by telephoning (423) 439-6900.
Public safety officers are commissioned pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, 49-7-118. Commissioned public safety officers have all of the police powers necessary to enforce all state laws as well as rules and regulations of the BOT. They are also certified firemen and are first responders to any on-campus fire emergencies. Public safety officers may exercise their authority on all property or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the BOT and the university including any public roads or rights of way which are contiguous to or within the perimeter of such facilities or property.
The Johnson City Police Department furnishes the Department of Public Safety information concerning all offenses which occur off-campus at fraternity and sorority houses. The Department of Public Safety coordinates with the Johnson City Fire Department concerning all campus fires.
Pedestrian Safety Statement
The Department of Public Safety wishes to remind students and staff that bicycles, skate boards, scooters, and other similar vehicles or toys which are used on campus sidewalks or public through-fares must be operated in such a manner so as not to jeopardize the safety and well-being of pedestrians. The use of bicycles and other specified play vehicles is governed by state law. Violations of applicable statutes constitute a Class C misdemeanor.
Security and the Maintenance of Campus Facilities
The Department of Public Safety conducts a survey of outdoor lighting several times a year. In the months of July and December buildings on the main campus and university buildings located on Veterans Administration property are surveyed for hazardous conditions. Monthly fire extinguisher inspections are performed in all buildings owned or leased by the university. In addition, public safety officers routinely report all hazardous, unsafe and potentially unsafe conditions found to exist on campus.
Security Information Report
ETSU Annual Security and Fire Safety Report (AS&FSR)
The East Tennessee State University strives to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community. In order for individuals to make informed decisions about their personal safety, ETSU makes available to current and prospective students and employees the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This annual publication includes information on crime reporting procedures, policies, safety tips, prevention programs, and fire and crime statistics for the last three years. The report is available online at The Department of Public Safety website, where it can be downloaded for viewing or printing. Hard copies may also be obtained via US mail at no cost by calling Public Safety at (423) 439-6900, by writing to ETSU Dept. of Public Safety, Box 70646, Johnson City, TN 37614, or by emailing email@example.com.
For additional information concerning safety at ETSU, contact Public Safety, (423) 439-6900, Office of Student Affairs, (423) 439-4210, or Office of Human Resources, (423) 439-4457.