University Policies

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Statement on Commitment to Community

The Cal Poly community values a broad and inclusive campus learning experience where its members embrace core values of mutual respect, academic excellence, open inquiry, free expression and respect for diversity. Membership in the Cal Poly community is consistent with the highest principles of shared governance, social and environmental responsibility, engagement and integrity.

As students, faculty and staff of Cal Poly, we choose to:

  • Act with integrity and show respect for ourselves and one another
  • Accept responsibility for our individual actions
  • Support and promote collaboration in University life
  • Practice academic honesty in the spirit of inquiry and discovery
  • Contribute to the university community through service and volunteerism
  • Demonstrate concern for the well-being of others
  • Promote the benefits of diversity by practicing and advocating openness, respect and fairness

Individual commitment to these actions is essential to Cal Poly's dedication to an enriched learning experience for all its members.

Statement on Diversity and Inclusivity

The following excerpt is taken from the Cal Poly Statement on Diversity and Inclusivity, which has been endorsed by the Cal Poly Academic Senate Resolution AS-807-15:

At Cal Poly we believe that academic freedom, a cornerstone value, is exercised best when there is understanding and respect for our diversity of experiences, identities, and world views. Consequently, we create learning environments that allow for meaningful development of self-awareness, knowledge, and skills alongside attention to others who may have experiences, worldviews, and values that are different from our own. In so doing, we encourage our students, faculty, and staff to seek out opportunities to engage with others who are both similar and different from them, thereby increasing their capacity for knowledge, empathy, and conscious participation in local and global communities.

In the spirit of educational equity, and in acknowledgement of the significant ways in which a university is transformed by, and can transform the lives of individuals and communities, we strive to increase the diversity at Cal Poly. As an institution that serves the state of California within a global context, we support the recruitment, retention, and success of talented students, faculty, and staff from across all social identities, including people who are from historically and societally marginalized and underrepresented groups.

We are a culturally invested university whose members take personal responsibility for fostering excellence in our own and others’ endeavors. To this end, we support an increased awareness and understanding of how one’s own identity facets (such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, social class, and nation of origin) and the combinations/intersections of these identities and experiences that may accompany them can affect our different worldviews.

Statement on Sustainability

In 1987, the United Nations’ World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as, “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In 2009, Cal Poly’s Academic Senate adopted a more academically focused definition of sustainability with the passage of Sustainability Learning Objectives:

“Cal Poly defines sustainability as the ability of the natural and social systems to survive and thrive together to meet current and future needs. Cal Poly students should be able to consider sustainability when making reasoned decisions. Students should be able to:

  • Define and apply sustainability principles within their academic programs
  • Explain how natural, economic, and social systems interact to foster or prevent sustainability
  • Analyze and explain local, national, and global sustainability using a multidisciplinary approach
  • Consider sustainability principles while developing personal and professional values”

As a comprehensive polytechnic university with a hands-on, Learn-by-Doing pedagogy, Cal Poly offers a wide breadth of academic programs in technical disciplines, the arts, and humanities. A Cal Poly education seeks to achieve two distinct but complementary goals – technical knowledge and proficiency in a chosen discipline to prepare for the workplace, and a transformative exposure to diverse cultures and critical thinking to create life-long learners and responsible global citizens.

By definition, sustainability seeks to balance three things - protection of the natural environment, healthy economy, and social justice and equity. As a framework in higher education, sustainability helps foster critical and systems thinking, development of personal and professional ethics, a commitment to environmental stewardship, and inspires students to make positive contributions to human society.

As a Charter Signatory to the Second Nature Climate Commitment, Cal Poly is committed to achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience as soon as possible, and is infusing this work into curriculum, research, and student experience.

For more information on sustainability at Cal Poly see Sustainability Practices.

Policies on the Rights of Individuals

Cal Poly is a community enriched by individual differences. The University is committed to respecting and protecting the rights of individuals. This section presents a summary of University non-discrimination policies and procedures for pursuing complaints under these policies. The Civil Rights and Compliance Office has been designated to oversee and coordinate implementation of compliance with campus non-discrimination policies.

Except where otherwise indicated, procedures for reporting incidents of discrimination can be found in “Reporting Guidelines.”

CSU Non-discrimination Policy and Procedure for Addressing

Protected Status: Age, Disability (physical or mental), Gender (or sex), Gender Identity (including nonbinary and transgender), Gender Expression, Genetic Information, Marital Status, Medical Condition, Nationality, Race or Ethnicity (including color, caste, or ancestry), Religion or Religious Creed, Sexual Orientation, and Veteran or Military Status.

The California State University is committed to maintaining an inclusive community that values diversity and fosters tolerance and mutual respect. The CSU embraces our community differences in Age, Disability (physical and mental), Gender (or sex), Gender Identity (including nonbinary and transgender), Gender Expression, Genetic Information, Marital Status, Medical Condition, Nationality, Race or Ethnicity (including color, caste, or ancestry), Religion (or religious creed), Sexual Orientation, Veteran or Military Status. All Students and Employees have the right to participate fully in CSU programs, activities (including admission and access), and employment free from Discrimination and/or Harassment based on any Protected Status (see above), Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Retaliation pursuant to the Interim CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation. Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation Revised December 24, 2021 ( (hereinafter “Interim CSU Policy”) and any successor policy. State and federal laws, including the California Equity in Higher Education Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 which amends the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crimes Statistics Act, commonly known as the Clery Act) (VAWA) under its Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act provision (Campus SaVE Act), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, among other applicable state and federal laws, prohibit such discrimination. Interim CSU Policy (and any successor policy) is the systemwide policy and procedure for addressing allegations of discrimination, harassment & retaliation made by students, employees, and third parties against the CSU, a CSU employee, other CSU students or a third-party.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policy and procedure for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo:

Maren Hufton
Assistant Vice President for the Civil Rights & Compliance Office & Title IX Coordinator
Civil Rights & Compliance Office
Building 33 (Fisher Science), Room 290
1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
E-mail: or
Phone: (805) 756-6770

If you are in the midst of an emergency, please call the police immediately by dialing 9-1-1.

Cal Poly University Police Department (when you are on-campus)
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency: 805-756-2281
Location: Building 36

Local Police (when you are off-campus)
San Luis Obispo Police
Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: 805-781-7317
Location: 1042 Walnut Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(at the intersection of Santa Rosa)


Cal Poly Counseling Center


Cal Poly Health Services

Hearing or Speech Impaired: Call 711 (Telecommunications Relay Service)

Cal Poly Safer


Lumina Alliance (Formerly RISE & STAND STRONG)

805.545.8888 (24/7 Crisis & Information Hotline)

Safety of the Campus Community

Alleged victims and witnesses should not be deterred from reporting any incidents of Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking out of a concern that they might be disciplined for related violations of drug, alcohol, or other University policies. The University's primary concern is the safety of the Campus community; therefore, a person who participates as a Complainant or witness in investigations or proceedings involving Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking shall not be subject to discipline for related violations of the Student Conduct Code at or near the time of the incident unless the University determines the violation was egregious, including but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, academic dishonesty, or conduct that places the health and safety of another person at risk.

Protection from Retaliation

It is critical that individuals not be deterred from reporting potential policy violations. Interim CSU Policy prohibits retaliation against individuals for exercising rights under the non-discrimination policy, opposing discrimination, or participating in any related investigation or proceeding.

Information Regarding Discipline

Employees and Students who are found to have violated University non-discrimination policy shall be subject to discipline commensurate to the violation. If employee discipline is warranted, it shall be administered in a manner consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements, CSU policies, and legal requirements. Student discipline shall be administered in accordance with 5 Cal. Code Regs. § 41301 CSU Student Conduct Procedures, Executive Order 1098 Revised August 14, 2020 and any successor policy ( (hereinafter “Executive Order 1098”).

Further Questions

Individuals with inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policy at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, or seeking to file a complaint, may contact:

Civil Rights & Compliance Office
Fisher Science (Bldg. 33), Room 290
1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Phone: (805) 756-6770

Notice of Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender or Sex

The California State University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, which includes sex and gender identity or gender expression, or sexual orientation in its education programs or activities. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and certain other federal and state laws, prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation in employment, as well as in all education programs and activities operated by the University (both on and off campus), including admissions. The protection against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, dating and domestic violence and stalking.

Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the alleged to have experienced the conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in-person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed below for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person's verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policy and procedure, including Title IX complaints, for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:

Maren Hufton
Assistant Vice President for the Civil Rights & Compliance Office & Title IX Coordinator
Civil Rights & Compliance Office
Building 33 (Fisher Science), Room 290
1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
E-mail: or
Phone: (805) 756-6770

Questions may also be addressed to:

Office of Civil Rights
San Francisco Office
U.S. Department of Education
50 United Nations Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 486-5555
Facsimile: (415) 486-5570

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Academic Freedom

Cal Poly recognizes and supports the principle of academic freedom, by which each instructional faculty member, researcher, librarian and counselor has the right to teach, to conduct research, and to publish material relevant to that faculty member's discipline, even when such material is controversial.

The University also guarantees to its faculty the same rights shared by all citizens, which include:

  • the right to free expression,
  • the right to assemble, and
  • the right to criticize and seek revision of the institution's regulations.

At the same time, the faculty should recognize an equally binding obligation to perform their academic duties responsibly and to comply with the internal regulations of the University.

Each faculty member is expected to recognize the right of free expression of other members of the university community.

Faculty shall not claim to be representing the University unless authorized to do so.

Cal Poly endorses the nationally recognized definition of academic freedom from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP): The 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretative Notes, is as follows:

  1. Teachers1 are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research, for pecuniary return, should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial subject matter which has no relation to the subject.2 Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of appointment.
  3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraints, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate they are not speaking for the institution.

Student Academic Rights & Responsibilities

The classroom (including laboratories, field trips, independent study, etc.) is the essential part of any university where freedom to learn should flourish. The instructor has the responsibility for the manner of instruction and the conduct of the classroom. The instructor should not act in any way that denies the rights of students as set forth below:

Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in courses. It is the responsibility of the instructor to take every precaution to ensure that what is presented is factual. If the instructor’s presentation is in the area of opinion, belief, or debatable fact, it is the instructor’s responsibility to make this clear to the students. Students may be required to know thoroughly the particulars set forth by the instructor, but they are free to reserve personal judgment as to that which is presented in the classroom.

The student has the right to substantial presentations appropriate to the course. Unjustified failure of the instructor to meet or prepare for classes, which results in incompetent performance, is a legitimate ground for student complaints against the instructor.

The student has the right to a statement at the beginning of each quarter providing: instructor’s name, office location, office telephone number, and office hours; texts and supplementary materials required for the course; purpose of the course; prerequisites; requirements for grading; frequency and types of tests; and other information to assure student’s understanding of the nature and requirements of the course.

A Fairness Board has been established to hear grievances of students who believe their academic rights have been denied or violated. The legitimacy of the process and procedure of evaluation in the course shall be the sole criterion of the Fairness Board. Students may contact the Academic Senate at 805.756.1258, for clarification of the description and procedures for the Fairness Board and the appeal process for grade disputes. Students should address grade disputes involving allegations of academic dishonesty to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities at 805.756.2794.  Students may also contact the University Ombuds at 805.756.1380 for informal assistance with grade disputes.

Academic Responsibilities

Students enrolled in a class are responsible for meeting standards of performance and conduct established by the University and the instructor. Students are given full control over their enrollment transactions through the Student Information System within the limits of the academic policies and dates as published. Therefore, it is the students' responsibility to ensure that all their enrollment transactions have been successfully processed in a timely manner. These transactions include, but are not limited to, adding, dropping, withdrawing, auditing, and choosing the desired grading basis when applicable. Students are also responsible to make sure that those enrollment transactions initiated after the add/drop period, during the course of the term, are successfully processed and appropriately reflected in their record before the end of the said term (e.g., course and/or term withdrawals).

Students are responsible for completing and submitting all class assignments, examinations, tests, projects, reports, etc., by scheduled due dates, or face penalties. If any problem arises regarding course work or attendance, the student is held responsible for initiating communication and contact with the instructor. In addition, students are held responsible for behavior and conduct adverse to the preservation of order as established by the University and the instructor. Students are responsible for meeting their degree requirements as provided in the university catalog.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Academic Dishonesty: Cheating and Plagiarism

The University does not condone academic cheating or plagiarism in any form. Faculty are expected to uphold and support the highest academic standards in this matter. Instructors should be diligent in reducing potential opportunities for academic cheating and plagiarism to occur. Students' rights shall be ensured through attention to due process, as detailed on the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities' webpage for Academic Integrity.
Definition of Cheating

Cheating is defined as obtaining or attempting to obtain, or aiding another to obtain credit for work, or any improvement in evaluation of performance, by any dishonest or deceptive means. Cheating includes, but is not limited to: lying; copying from another's test or examination; discussion at any time of answers or questions on an examination or test, unless such discussion is specifically authorized by the instructor; taking or receiving copies of an exam without the permission of the instructor; using or displaying notes, "cheat sheets," or other information devices inappropriate to the prescribed test conditions; allowing someone other than the officially enrolled student to represent same.
Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using the ideas or work of another person or persons as if they were one's own without giving proper credit to the source. Such an act is not plagiarism if it is ascertained that the ideas were arrived at through independent reasoning or logic or where the thought or idea is common knowledge. Acknowledgement of an original author or source must be made through appropriate references; e.g., quotation marks, footnotes, or commentary. Examples of plagiarism include but are not limited to the following: the submission of a work, either in part or in whole completed by another; failure to give credit for ideas, statements, facts or conclusions which rightfully belong to another; failure to use quotation marks (or other means of setting apart, such as the use of indentation or a different font size) when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, a sentence, or even a part thereof; close and lengthy paraphrasing of another's writing without credit or originality; use of another's project or programs or part thereof without giving credit.

Students who have received a grade reduction as a result of academic dishonesty are NOT eligible to receive a CR/NC, or to withdraw from the course in which the grade for the course has been impacted by academic dishonesty. All CR/NC will revert to the letter grade issued by the instructor for the course. For the complete policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism see Academic Programs and Planning.

For more information, please visit the Academic Integrity webpage by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

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Use and Release of Student Information
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. This federal law applies to all schools that receive funding under most programs administered by the Department of Education. The primary rights afforded each student are the right to inspect and review his/her education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records.

Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources

Information technology resources are provided to support the University’s mission of education, research and service. To ensure these shared and finite resources are used effectively to further the University’s mission, each user has the responsibility to:

  • Use the resources appropriately and efficiently
  • Respect the freedom and privacy of others
  • Protect the stability and security of the resources
  • Understand and fully abide by established University policies and applicable public laws

The Responsible Use Policy covers authorized use, data security, confidentiality and privacy, copyright infringement and more. All students, faculty and staff acknowledge the policy each time they change their passwords. It can also be viewed by visiting: IT Responsible Use Policy

E-Mail - an Official Means of Communication to Students

Campus email is an official method of campus communication to students, and may be used as the sole method of communication for some campus matters. Official university communications are sent to a student’s university-assigned e-mail address ( Students are responsible for receiving and reading official email communications in a timely manner and for taking necessary action when appropriate. This also applies when university emails are redirected to a non-university email account.

Campus policy permits colleges, departments, and faculty to use email to send official communications to students, for example, messages pertaining to the conduct of university business for academic or administrative purposes. Using email for such purposes is at the discretion of the sender and in no way precludes the use of other communication methods.

For more information about the campus email policy and related standards and practices, including frequently asked questions, visit

Accessibility of Cal Poly Electronic and Information Technology Resources

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that no qualified individual with a disability be denied access to or participation in services, programs, and activities at Cal Poly. This act applies to virtually all aspects of campus activities, including employment, teaching and learning, and services provided to the campus community.

It is the policy of the California State University system to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff, and the general public regardless of disability status. Cal Poly is committed to ensuring university information and services delivered electronically are made accessible and the needs of individual students and employees with disabilities are accommodated. For more information regarding Cal Poly plans and policies and related standards and practices related to accessibility, visit

Copyright Infringement and File Sharing: What Students Need to Know

In recent years, copyright holders, like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have stepped up legal efforts to combat infringement, which includes targeting college students with an increased number of copyright Infringement notices. Here’s what you should know:

  • Hundreds of Cal Poly students receive copyright Infringement notices each year.
  • You can receive a notice for downloading or for allowing others to upload content from your computer. If you have file sharing software on your computer, you may be distributing copyrighted materials anytime your computer is on the network.
  • If you receive a notice for inappropriate activity on the campus network, your network access will be temporarily disabled and you will be required to complete specific actions before access is reinstated.
  • Repeat offenders will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for further disciplinary action.

Please review these frequently asked questions to learn more about peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright infringement, the potential dangers and penalties you may incur from file sharing, and what you can do to protect yourself and your computer:

Information Security Program

Information security is everyone's responsibility. Only you can protect your personal devices and information. By following some basic security practices, you can help protect university data and devices you access, as well as your own; this includes using anti-virus and other technical safeguards (e.g., keeping software and operating systems up-to-date, using strong passwords, not responding to "phishing" emails, and avoiding unsecured network connections).

It is the collective responsibility of all users to ensure:

  • Confidentiality of information which Cal Poly must protect from unauthorized access
  • Integrity and availability of information stored on or processed by Cal Poly information systems
  • Campus compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies governing information security and privacy protection.

Cal Poly’s Information Security Office provides direction to the campus to accomplish the above while not inhibiting the sanctioned use of campus information assets as required to meet the university's core mission and academic and administrative goals. To help safeguard and secure campus information and information resources, all users and campus departments are expected to adhere to these policies and standards where applicable. Please report suspected violations and questions to

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