VII. OTHER UNIVERSITY POLICIES
These policies are periodically revised; therefore, since the descriptions that follow may not accurately reflect recent revisions, current policy should be consulted when needed.
A. Academic Grading and Student Classification (AOP 12.12)
For information concerning the following topics, refer to the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Mississippi State University:
Classification of Students
Dropping of Courses (see also IV. E.)
Withdrawal from the University (see also IV. E)
Additional information can be obtained from one's dean, department head, or from the University registrar.
Mississippi State University has four policies dealing with affirmative action. They are OP 03.02 Equal Opportunity Statement, OP 03.03 Harassment Policy and Procedures, OP 03.04 Harassment Training for Supervisors, and OP 03.05 The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Reasonable Accommodations in Employment.
Mississippi State University is formally committed to the principles of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity. Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran's status is a violation of federal and state law and MSU policy and will not be tolerated. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of MSU policy and will not be tolerated. This nondiscrimination applies to all programs administered by the University.
Responsibility for communicating, interpreting, and monitoring the University's affirmative action policies has been assigned to the Office of Diversity and Equity Programs. The office is located on campus in 106 McArthur Hall. For additional information concerning the university's equal opportunity policy, call 662-325-2493.
C. Laboratory Animal Welfare (OP 79.05)
The use of laboratory animals is essential to teaching, testing, and research, and must be considered a privilege, not a right, of the academic and scientific communities. To ensure that animal care and use on campus are in compliance with local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and policies, the University Laboratory Animal Veterinarian (ULAV) has been established in the Office of the Vice President for Research. This unit is a university-wide resource that provides or oversees health care, and technical and scientific support and compliance oversight for MSU programs using animals in biomedical research, testing and teaching.
The ULAV is advised on a university-wide basis by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, a standing committee reporting to the Vice President for Research. The committee is charged with (1) establishing and reviewing compliance with standards and procedures relating to laboratory animal welfare, and (2) advising individuals and agencies dealing with such animals.
University instructors and researchers planning projects that utilize vertebrate animals in biomedical research, testing, and teaching must submit their proposed protocol to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for review and approval of animal care and use aspects, including animal costs, during the planning process. Also, researchers seeking outside funding for projects that utilize vertebrate animals must obtain IACUC a pproval before funding can be awarded.
The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and Biosafety Officer (BSO) ensure the protection of workers who generate, process, and dispose of potentially hazardous biological materials at Mississippi State University. This oversight is also intended to ensure the welfare and safety of the surrounding community and environment.
Primary and secondary containment will be accomplished in a manner compliant with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (59 FR 34496). This document has been revised to reflect current research in whole animals and whole plants, as well as in vitro work. Containment is provided by adherence to standard and special microbiological practices using appropriate equipment in properly designed facilities. Information concerning such practices, techniques, equipment, and facilities at four biosafety levels is detailed in Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL). Proper manipulation of blood and other tissue/fluids within the context of "universal precautions" is summarized in the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens, Final Rule.
Any individual planning to use (a) microorganisms, biological toxins, or other materials which may pose a biological hazard to humans, animals, plants or the environment, for which biosafety level 2 or greater practices, techniques, equipment, or facilities are required, or (b) employ r ecombinant DNA technology must do so with IBC approval. The Biosafety Office should be contacted prior to proposal submission or, in the case of non-funded research, prior to study initiation. All laboratories and animal facilities certified to be biosafety level 2 or above are to be inspected by the BSO on a periodic basis.
Individuals planning to obtain materials referenced above for which Biosafety level 2 or greater practices, techniques, equipment, or facilities are required must contact the BSO prior to receipt of such materials.
Agricultural field work with transgenic crop species for which USDA-APHIS notification guidelines are applicable does not require IBC approval because it must be performed in a manner compliant with USDA-APHIS guidelines Researchers should, however, inform the IBC of the proposed research by submitting a copy of the proposal to the Biosafety Office for filing. The BSO will forward a copy to the IBC Chair who will notify pertinent members of the intended work. Agricultural field work with all other transgenic plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates, as well as genetically modified microorganisms, must be submitted to the IBC for approval.
It is the responsibility of laboratory directors to provide adequate biosafety training for laboratory personnel under their supervision. The NIH Guidelines stipulate that principal investigators (i.e., laboratory directors) must have adequate training in standard microbiological procedures. Furthermore, the laboratory director is responsible for providing laboratory staff with (a) protocols describing potential biohazards and appropriate precautions, (b) training in methods and manipulations to ensure biosafety, (c) training in general biosafety principles and practices including accident response, and (d) information regarding precautionary medical procedures. The Biosafety Officer is available to assist laboratory directors with all aspects of such training.
Please refer to OP 79.02 for additional biosafety requirements and to OP 79.07 for information related to crisis planning for biosafety.
E. Conflict of Interest (OP 70.9) (HRM 60-416)
In accordance with federal regulations, the University has a responsibility to manage, reduce, or eliminate any conflicts of interest that would reasonably appear to be affected by a financial interest of an investigator. Thus, the University requires that investigators disclose any significant financial interest that may present an actual or potential conflict of interest in relationship with an NSF or NIH sponsored project.
In addition, Mississippi statutory law requires that state employees abide by certain ethical standards. No university employee shall use their official positions to obtain pecuniary benefit for themselves other than that compensation provided for by law, or to obtain pecuniary benefit for any relative or any business with which they are associated. No employees may intentionally use or disclose information gained in the course of or by reason of their official positions or employment as a public servant in any way that could result in pecuniary benefit for themselves, any relative, or any other person, if the information has not been communicated to the public or is not public information.
The President, upon recommendation of the Committee on Committees, shall appoint the Conflict of Interest Review Committee (CIRC) with one representative from each college or equivalent unit, and the University Research Ethics Review Officer. Term shall be for three years and shall be renewable. The Committee shall report jointly to the Vice President for Research and the Vice President of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, and have the responsibility for reviewing annually the Mississippi State University Conflict of Interest Policy; review all Financial Disclosure Forms where there is significant financial interest; oversee the review of projects where there is significant financial interest; and recommend action to the appropriate Vice President where the CIRC is unable to manage appropriately the conflict of interest.
Mississippi State University is devoted to the creation, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge to serve the public and is committed to complying with all applicable laws regarding intellectual property. That commitment includes the full exercise of the rights accorded to users of copyrighted works under federal copyright law. MSU has specific policies that relate to general issues of copyright in education and research (OP 1.20), to computer software (OP 30.02 and OP 30.03), and to student musical performances (OP 91.203).
G. Decals and Parking (OP 91.307)
Any individual who operates or parks a motor vehicle or motorcycle on the campus and streets of Mississippi State University shall register the vehicle at the beginning of each academic school year. Subsequent to the beginning of the academic school year, a vehicle must be registered within twenty-four hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after it is first brought on the university campus or streets, unless the individual has been issued a temporary or a special permit for the vehicle. The cost of a decal may be obtained by contacting the Office of Parking Services at 662-325-2661.
Further details related to parking and traffic rules and regulations can be found in OP 91.307.
H. Ethics in Research and other Scholarly Activities (OP 80.2)
Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results from research or other scholarly activities. Failure to comply with applicable federal requirements for protection of human subjects, the environment, the public, or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals or failure to comply with other applicable legal requirements governing research or other scholarly activities are covered under separate guidelines. Further, this document is not intended to relate to student conduct that is covered in the student handbook. (Care must be taken to differentiate between misconduct and honest errors and ambiguities of interpretation.)
Anyone having reason to believe that a member of the faculty, staff, or student body has engaged in misconduct in research or other scholarly activity should consult informally in person with the Research Ethics Review Officer. If the result of such discussion confirms the seriousness of the allegation, the matter then shall be reported by the Research Ethics Review Officer, in writing, to the department head of the respondent, his/her dean and vice president, the Vice President for Research and the respondent. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential during the inquiry.
The procedures for proceeding with an inquiry and investigation into any allegation are detailed in the Ethics in Research and Other Scholarly Activities Policy. The policy covers all faculty, staff and students (where not covered by other University policy). The Research Ethics Officer is the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. The policy is in full compliance with federal policies relating to the ethical conduct of research. The Office of Sponsored Programs homepage should be consulted for the current policy on this subject.
I. Federal Property (OP 70.05)
The State of Mississippi has stringent requirements with regard to use, inventory and disposal of property. In addition, the Federal Government imposes additional requirements for property furnished by, owned by, or purchased with federal funds under the Federal Acquisition Regulations - FAR-Part 45.
The Department Head and/or Principal Investigator(s) are responsible for the procurement, movement, maintenance, reporting and disposal for all federal property assigned to a sponsored project. The Property Control Office is responsible for maintaining a detailed listing of Government furnished and Contractor acquired property for all sponsored projects. All correspondence and property transactions are channeled through the Property Control Office. The Property Control Office will perform periodic property audits to verify that all federal property is property inventoried and accounted for.
Mississippi State University has published a "Property Manual for Government Property" which details procedures for the purchase, inventory, reporting and disposal of Federal Property. Non-compliance with the processes and procedures detailed in the manual can result in property audit exceptions, fines for serious or repeated non-compliance and suspension of Mississippi State University from receiving federal funds.
For additional information, contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 325-7404 or Property Control at 325-2545. The Office of Sponsored Programs homepage should be consulted for the current policy on this subject.
J. Guidelines for Student and Other University Organizations (OP 91.200)
- University Organization Definition
University organizations are those whose active membership is composed entirely of students, and/or faculty, and/or staff. They are subcategorized into the following types:
- Student Organizations - groups organized for students;
- Student/Faculty Organizations - groups organized for both students and faculty;
- Faculty and/or Staff Organizations - groups organized primarily for faculty and/or staff.
- Benefits and Privileges
The benefits and privileges of a registered organization follow:
- The opportunity to incorporate, as prescribed by university guidelines, the university name into the organization's name;
- Eligibility to reserve and use university facilities;
- Listing in publications such as The Reveille or found online at http://www.msstate.edu/web/security.html, and
- The privilege to participate in university events such as orientation, homecoming, organizational fairs, etc.
- Only those organizations registered with the university may conduct activity on the university campus.
- The university shall not be responsible for injury or damage to persons or property resulting from the activities of the organizations or for any debts or liabilities incurred by such organizations.
- Organizations shall not engage in or condone any form of hazing. Hazing occurs when a person or organization who, in the course of another person's initiation into or affiliation with any organization, intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or to a third person.
- Organizations shall be held responsible for the conduct and actions of each member of the organization while acting in the capacity of a member or while attending or participating in any activity of the organization.
- Organizations must comply with all policies, regulations, and procedures established by Mississippi State University and with all laws, regulations, and ordinances, whether federal, state, or local.
- An organization must represent the interests of its members and control of the organization must rest with the local campus group. The organization must not have a knowing affiliation with an organization whose aims and goals are illegal.
- Registration of an organization (for other than a temporary period) will be on an annual basis and will be effective until the beginning of the next academic year (fall semester, unless rescinded sooner by the university). The registration of any organization shall be subject to renewal by the university for each ensuing year. Annual renewal of the registration shall be dependent on the organization's demonstration of compliance with its purposes, aims, and activities as stated in its constitution, and compliance with all rules and regulations of the university. Registration forms are located in the Colvard Union.
- Any registered student organization may be placed on probation, suspension, or restriction, or have its registration withdrawn by the Dean of Students after having been accorded due process in accordance with provisions found online at http://www.msstate.edu/web/security.html (see OP 91.100). Other registered organizations (with the exception of faculty organizations) may have their registration withdrawn at any time by the Vice President for Student Affairs after having been accorded appropriate due process. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for reviewing faculty organizations, and may withdraw their registration after affording appropriate due process.
- Registered organizations may build, buy, rent, or lease a house or other facility on campus only with the written approval of the university. Arrangements can be made through the Colvard Union.
- Student Organizations
Freedom and Responsibility of Registered Student Organizations
Freedom of action granted a registered student organization also implies a responsibility of the organization for developing the direction, scope, and character of the organization in promoting the total educational program of the university. The only limitations placed upon this freedom are those imposed by the stated purposes of the organization, by university and board policy, and by law.
The university, through the registration process set forth, seeks the freedom of existence for student organizations and ensures that designated privileges and support are readily available equally to all organizations that uphold the registration requirements. The university does not, however, automatically endorse the mission, goals, or purpose of any organization. Mississippi State University, while encouraging active participation in non-classroom activities, seeks to ensure that first and foremost students successfully meet their educational goals and requirements.
- Registration of Organizations
- Student, Faculty, Staff, and University Organizations
In order to obtain registration as an organization, a group must present their petition to organize to the Colvard Union, Division of Student Affairs. Applications and information are available in this office (325-3322). The five steps listed below constitute a petition for university registration:
- Hold organizational meetings. Groups may hold three organizational meetings.
- Elect officers. Fill out information requested on the application (submit 15 copies).
- Draw up a constitution and by-laws (submit 15 copies).
- Make a list of members' names and net IDs.
- Provide the name(s) of organizational advisor(s).
- All Organizations
- Submit a statement of assurance of compliance signed by an officer of the organization that it will adhere to all rules and regulations, policies and procedures of Mississippi State University and with all laws and ordinances, whether federal, state, or local.
- The petition is submitted to the Student, Faculty, and Staff Organizations Committee which renders a favorable or unfavorable decision. This decision is subject to review by the Vice President for Student Affairs, or in the case of faculty organizations, by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- The petitioning group is notified as soon as the final university decision regarding registration is made. Upon receipt of the letter of registration, the group may then assume all privileges and activities of a registered organization until registration expires or is withdrawn. All on-campus activities of the petitioning group, both before and after registration, must be registered in the Colvard Union.
- Student, Faculty, Staff, and University Organizations
- General Principles
- These guidelines are intended to describe illegal activities and to set forth rules regarding the use of the University's name, personnel, facilities, equipment, and supplies in connection with political campaigns.
- It should be emphasized that employees of the University have complete freedom, as individuals, to support candidates of their choice and to campaign for them, subject only to limitations imposed by federal or state statutes and regulations. Thus, political activities by an employee will not be prohibited at such times as the employee would not be ordinarily required to render services to the institution or if the employee elects to take and the institution grants leave of absence without pay.
- A key factor in these guidelines is that state or federal funds or other resources may not be utilized in any way, directly or indirectly, to advance or attempt to advance the cause of any political candidate or political party.
- The basic premise underlying these policy guidelines is that the University, as an institution, must be absolutely neutral in all political campaigns... In no way shall its endorsement, directly or indirectly, be given to any candidate or political party.
- It must be recognized that policy guidelines of the kind set forth here are not intended to deal with all possible political activities and situations.
- It is hoped, and expected, that all University employees will apply the basic principle of neutrality in all political activities involving them as representatives of the institution and in their utilization of the personnel, facilities, equipment, and supplies of the University.
- These guidelines apply to the institution as a whole and to each of its components, e.g., colleges, schools, divisions, departments, centers, institutes, laboratories, as well as to individual positions.
- Endorsement Issues
- Employees are free to endorse any candidate of their choice, but the endorsement (whether oral, written, or in graphic form) should never imply in any way that the candidate is endorsed by the University or a component thereof.
- In correspondence, statements, or other material relating to personal political activity, the University title of an employee shall be used only for identification. If such identification might reasonably be construed as implying either the support or opposition of the University with regard to such personal political purposes or activity, the identification shall be accompanied by an explicit statement that the individual is speaking for himself and not as a representative of the University or any of its offices or units
- The foregoing provision has particular application to candidates for public office who are presently employed or have been previously employed by the institution. In the case of an emeritus faculty or staff member, for example, it must be made clear that the candidate's affiliation with the University does not constitute endorsement or support for the candidate.
- The name, insignia, seal, or address of the University or any of its offices or units or a University telephone number shall not be used for personal political purposes or activity.
- A political advertisement should not list the title of an employee after the name, e.g., Jane Doe, Associate Professor of Anonymous Sciences, MississippiState University," if doing so will imply the support of the University for the party or candidate.
- Stationery bearing the letterhead of the University or any of its components should never be used in any correspondence, advertising, or in any other manner that indicates or implies endorsement of any candidate.
- Appearances on platforms or on radio or television.
- Employees should make every effort to make it clear that their appearance at a political gathering or on a speaker's platform, on radio, or on television, is as an individual and not as a representative of the University, e.g., attempt to persuade the person introducing an employee to avoid use of the title when introduced.
- Employees should make every effort to prevent the use of their University titles after their names in graphic presentations on television or in radio advertising.
- Appearances of Political Candidates on Campus
- For any event staged by a registered non-student organization, or any component of the University, the following shall apply:
- If any candidate who has qualified for an office is invited to make an appearance on the campus, every other candidate who has qualified for that office must be invited and treated with equality, no matter what the assessment of an individual, group or the media might be of that candidate's chances of election.
- Each candidate must receive equal billing, e.g., one must not be billed as "Principal Speaker" and the other as "Panelist" or "Respondent", etc.
- Each candidate must be given equal time to speak.
- Where multiple candidates are involved, the order of speaking must be determined in some random manner, e.g., by drawing.
- If it is desired to have only one candidate for an event, then each candidate who has qualified must be invited to subsequent events as nearly equal in terms of time, place, etc. as feasible. Negotiations in arranging these subsequent events with candidates must be on a thoroughly equal basis.
- Presiders, Moderators, Chairs, Etc.
- The presider, moderator, chair, etc. must treat each candidate in an equal manner.
- To the extent feasible, it would be highly desirable to have as the presider, moderator, chair, etc. , a person not presently or in the past closely associated with any of the candidates and one who has not publicly endorsed any of them.
- For any event staged by a registered non-student organization, or any component of the University, the following shall apply:
- Neither faculty nor students shall make use of courses or class time for organizing personal political activities.
- Political topics and materials are not exempt from the general rule that course instructors, as well as teaching assistants, are obligated to teach each course in reasonable conformity with the subject and course description announced in advance; academic freedom does not justify the introduction of a significant amount of extraneous subject matter, or of irrelevant discussion or activities, into the conduct of a class.
- In courses where contemporary political topics and materials constitute the subject matter itself, faculty and students should treat them as subjects of study and analysis in accordance with the accepted intellectual standards of academic inquiry and discourse. When such courses use "participant observation," "action involvement," or other comparable pedagogical techniques, care should be taken to avoid involvement in any collective political activity either on behalf of one candidate or on one side of an issue.
- Employees, when undertaking personal political activity in conjunction with other employees or students, shall establish clearly the voluntary nature of such activity and maintain the clear separation of personal political activity from the educational program and from University operations and resources.
- Protecting the academic integrity of classes is the responsibility of the class instructor. This authority or trust must not be delegated to others by, for example, allowing the subject matter or format of the course to be determined conclusively by a vote of the students or by allowing the course to be deflected from its intended aim by extra-academic pressures, political, social, or other.
- The display or distribution of political materials -- including political posters, notices, handbills, signs and banners -- shall conform to campus regulations.
- All candidates must be given equal opportunities for displaying materials in accordance with these regulations.
- If it is not feasible to give such equal opportunity, then no candidate shall be permitted to make a display, e.g., if it is not feasible to string banners over one of the University streets for all candidates who wish to have them, then no banner shall be hung.
- Lapel Buttons
While legally, employees may be free to wear lapel buttons at will as individuals, it is advisable not to wear them when performing an official university function, e.g., teaching a class, presiding over a meeting lest it may be construed as attempting to illegally influence another's vote as a state employee.
- Bumper Stickers
- Employees have full freedom to affix bumper stickers to their personal motor vehicles.
- No stickers or displays of any type may be attached to a University vehicle, even if temporary.
- Use of University Employees, Facilities, Equipment, Supplies and Services
University employees, facilities, equipment, supplies and services resources shall not be utilized in any way, directly or indirectly, to advance or attempt to advance the cause of any political candidate or political party.
The general principle is that it is illegal to utilize the time of any person or any material paid for by state or federal funds in support of a candidate for public office.
- Quoting from the policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, State of Mississippi (BT Minutes, 9/90), "In general it shall be the policy of the several institutions not to make available the buildings and other facilities of the institutions to outside organizations. Exceptions to this policy may be approved by the executive officer of an institution. No exception shall be approved for commercial enterprises, political or sectarian meetings, without specific approval of the Board." These prohibitions do not apply to "inside organizations", i.e., those organized within the University community commonly referred to as registered organizations.
- Auditoriums, assembly halls, conference rooms, gymnasia, classrooms, etc. may be made available to registered organizations for political gatherings which they sponsor in accordance with University policy for reservation and use of such facilities.
- University sites or facilities shall not be used for organizing and maintaining personal political activities.
- University offices shall not be used as a headquarters or office in connection with the organization of personal political activity.
- Parades, rallies, demonstrations, etc., on University grounds must be conducted in accordance with institutional regulations, including required advance permits, noise levels, etc., and all candidates for an office must be treated with equality in staging these events.
University equipment (such as vehicles, telephones, and computers) shall not be used to advance the cause of any candidate.
- Utilizing University supplies in support of a candidate is prohibited--specific examples: stationery, envelopes, tapes, labels, etc.
- University publications may be sold or given away to a candidate or his/her supporters provided this is done on the same basis as for any other purchaser or person.
- Food or drinks of any kind may not be provided to a candidate or his/her supporters except as regularly sold to the public.
Mail and other services, including databases, of the University may not be used in connection with political purposes or activity.
- Political Contributions
- No funds in any way supplied from University revenues may be utilized to support any candidate for office.
- University revenues means all funds received by the institution, from whatever source derived, including state appropriations, federal funds, auxiliary enterprise revenues, sales, etc.
- The prohibition includes funds of employee and student organizations which are derived from University revenues.
- Employees are free, of course, to contribute personally to candidates or parties of their choice.
- Contributions should in no way imply that the funds contributed were derived from a University source.
- Donors must ensure that the contributions they make are credited to them in their individual capacities and not as holders of positions at the University.
- Organizations of employees of the University which raise funds independently of the institution are free to make contributions to candidates of their choice in the name of the particular organization, but care must be taken to assure that the organization is not viewed as representing the University.
- No funds in any way supplied from University revenues may be utilized to support any candidate for office.
- Dealing with Political Solicitation at Athletic Events on Campus
- The University will allow the following political activities at athletic events on campus:
- Signs on personal vehicles are permissible (even very large ones).
- Walking among the fans -- talking, waving, etc. is permissible.
- Wearing items of political persuasion on person is permissible except for University employees present in their employment capacity at the event.
- The University will not allow the following political activities at athletic events on campus:
- Attaching signs to university property (fence, ground, light pole, etc.).
- Activities that create an unsafe or disruptive environment.
- Registered student organizations such as the College Democrats or the College Republicans may choose to sponsor candidates on campus. Advance approval must be obtained as to time, manner, and place from the Dean of Students.
- The University will allow the following political activities at athletic events on campus:
- The complainant may confront the respondent in person regarding the conduct with or without the assistance of a unit head or appropriate representative as identified above.
- The complainant may confront the respondent in writing regarding the conduct with or without assistance of the appropriate representative.
- The complainant may ask the appropriate representative to notify the respondent of the complaint and seek to resolve the complaint.
- The complainant may ask the appropriate representative to have the complaint mediated between the parties.
- The University is not precluded from taking any action it deems appropriate, including informing the respondent of the allegations and pursuing an investigation even in cases when the complainant is reluctant to proceed or fails to reduce the complaint to writing.
- The manner and frequency with which the complainant will be updated about the status of the investigation.
- The need for a high level of discretion during the investigatory process.
- The specific allegations and a copy of the written complaint if the complaint is in writing.
- The manner and frequency in which the respondent will be updated about the status of the investigation.
- The need for all parties to exercise a high level of discretion during the investigatory process and the University’s policy with respect to retaliation.
- An opportunity to submit a written response to the complaint within 10 working days of notification of the complaint.
- The purpose of the investigation is to gather facts.
- Depending upon the facts of the case, an investigation may range from a one-on-one conversation between the investigating official and the respondent to an inquiry with multiple witness interviews. The investigator will produce a written finding of facts at the conclusion of the investigation.
- Investigations should normally be completed within 45 calendar days from the date the complaint was first asserted. If this is not reasonably possible, the investigator should make the complainant and the respondent aware of the status of the review and provide an estimated conclusion date.
- The dean of the college within which a respondent faculty member is employed, with a copy of the report submitted separately to the provost.
- The director of Human Resources Management (when the respondent is an employee other than faculty).
- The Dean of Students (when the respondent is a student).
- The dean of the college shall review the report and submit an initial determination to the provost that states that a violation of the policy either did or did not occur. If an initial determination is that a violation did occur, then the dean shall also submit an initial proposal to the provost stating what "prompt remedial action" the dean considers appropriate, including potential disciplinary action. The provost will make the final determination as to what actions, if any, be taken.
- The director, Human Resources Management shall review the report and forward it to the appropriate "administrative official" (the department head or higher level administrative official in the respondent's administrative chain). The administrative official shall review the report and submit an initial determination through administrative channels to the division head (vice president or other direct report to the president) stating that a violation of the policy either did or did not occur. If the initial determination is that a violation did occur, then the administrative official shall also submit an initial proposal to the division head stating what "prompt remedial action" the administrative official considers appropriate, including potential disciplinary action. The division head will make the final determination as to what actions, if any, are to be taken.
- The Dean of Students shall review the report and handle the matter in accordance with OP 91.100.
- A student who is currently found guilty of an alcohol policy infraction,
and who is not on probation for previous alcohol- related infractions will
face one of the following sanctions:
- The student will attend a meeting with the Dean of Students in which the student will receive a verbal admonishment and a description of the consequences for future infractions. This meeting will be followed by a letter which contains the same information. In addition, the student will be assigned to an online education class covering the health, safety, academic, and legal consequences of alcohol misuse. Furthermore the student will be required to pass a test on the information provide by the website. The student will pay a fee established by the University for the Online Course
- The student will be assigned to attend a class conducted by the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education (CADE) housed at the MSU Student Health Center and may be placed on probation for a year from the date of the occurrence.
- A student who is already on probation for alcohol infractions, and who is currently found guilty of any other alcohol policy infraction, may be suspended from the university.
- For a student who is already on probation for an offense not related to alcohol, and who is found guilty of an alcohol infraction, the Dean of Students' Office will have discretion to link the two offenses or not.
- If a student is under the age of twenty-one, a letter will be sent to the parent/guardian notifying them of the student's violation of Mississippi State University's alcohol policy.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, (FERPA) commonly referred to as the Buckley Amendment, protects the rights of students by controlling the creation, maintenance, and access of educational records. It guarantees students' access to their academic records while prohibiting unauthorized access by others.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) includes significant privacy requirements by creating national standards to protect personal health information.
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), while targeted at financial institutions, requires universities to maintain an information security program for the protection of financial information.
- The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Requirements apply to all members, merchants, and service providers that capture, store, process, or transmit credit card data.
Please see OP 91.200 for additional details.
K. Code of Student Conduct (OP 91.100)
Mississippi State University recognizes students as adults who are expected to obey the law and the rules and regulations of the university, to take personal responsibility for their conduct, to respect the rights of others, and to have regard for the preservation of state and university property, as well as the private property of others. Some aspects of misconduct that are unacceptable include, but are not limited to: cheating or academic misconduct, vandalism, fraud, hazing, harassment (see OP 03.03), possession of firearms or explosive devices on campus, theft, gambling, trespassing, disorderly conduct, violation of traffic rules, disobedience to university officials, failure to pay financial obligations to the university, and violation of civil of criminal ordinances or laws.
The Dean of Students, by delegated authority, is assigned the responsibility of receiving and dealing with all disciplinary matters concerning the behavior of individuals, groups, and/or student organizations. The Dean, who has sole discretion, assigns cases based on the type of behavior, status, and case load of various councils and boards. The Dean of Students' Office also has sole discretion in the determination of sanctions for students, groups, or student organizations found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct.
Many teaching, research, and maintenance activities at the University generate hazardous waste. The definition for material that constitutes a hazardous waste is established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in 40 CFR Part 261. The USEPA strictly regulates the storage, handling, and disposal of regulated waste streams.
The Hazardous Waste Management Committee, a standing committee that reports to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, is responsible for developing and approving the procedures and policies for the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes on the University campus.
The Chemical Hygiene Officer is responsible for the collection, disposal, and shipment of hazardous waste. He/she develops training for campus personnel that generate hazardous waste. The Office of Regulatory Compliance is responsible for maintaining the required disposal records. Hazardous waste shipments must be approved by the Office of Regulatory Compliance before removal from campus.
Department and unit heads are responsible for the compliance of their organization by ensuring that all personnel and students generating a hazardous waste complete appropriate training. Live session and online training is available from the Office of Regulatory Compliance. University researchers seeking outside funding for projects that will produce hazardous waste must indicate that waste will be generated on Sponsored Programs Administration's Internal Approval Sheet prior to submission of a proposal to a funding agency.
The campus procedures and regulations applicable to the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes can be obtained from the Office of Regulatory Compliance located at 70 Morgan Avenue or by visiting the Office's web site at http://www.orc.msstate.edu .
M. Human Research Subjects (OP 79.03)
University policy and federal regulation require that all research involving human subjects be reviewed and approved by the University's Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research (IRB) prior to initiation of the research. This requirement applies to all human subject research conducted by faculty, staff, and students, on- and off-campus, regardless of the funding support, if any, for the project. Projects conducted by non-MSU affiliated persons at MSU facilities also fall under the auspices of this policy.
More details are provided in OP 79.03.
N. Intellectual Property (OP 76.01)
Mississippi State University (MSU) is dedicated to learning, service, and research. A primary means for implementing these three areas of dedication is the transfer and dissemination of knowledge to the public. MSU personnel recognize as two of their major objectives the development of new knowledge and dissemination of both old and new knowledge to the public. Inherent in these objectives is the need to publish scholarly and creative works and the need to develop intellectual property. Intellectual property is defined as any patentable materials, copyrighted materials, trademarks, software, art and creative endeavors, know-how, and trade secrets, whether or not formal protection is sought.
An Intellectual Property Advisory Committee will oversee and evaluate the Intellectual Property management program, review current procedures and practices and make recommendations for future directions, resolve conflicts of interest, arbitrate and recommend final decisions concerning ownership of Intellectual Property, and assist in mediating and resolving any disputes between the University and developers. A majority of the committee will be composed of faculty. The Committee on Committees will appoint the committee based on nominations by the deans/directors, with final approval by the Vice President for Research. Committee membership will include no fewer than four and no more than ten experienced faculty, administrative and professional staff members, one of whom shall be designated by the Vice President for Research to serve as Chair. Care will be taken to include representation from areas with major, constant involvement with intellectual properties. The Chair may add additional non-voting members as necessary. The MSU Director of Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing will be an ex officio, non-voting member of this committee.
The MSU policy on Intellectual Property covers many topics related to intellectual property such as disclosure of intellectual property, assignment of rights, distribution of possible income from commercialization, and the rights of inventors. Please consult the actual policy (OP 76.01) for the details.
O. Lobbying (OP 80.07)
As required under the Byrd Amendment 31 USC, Section 1352 (PL 101-121), Mississippi State University has a Lobbying Policy. The regulations were issued in 54 FR 52306-32, December 23, 1989 and clarification was issued in 55 FR 245-40-42 on June 15, 1990. The federal legislation was enacted to maintain the integrity of the process by which the federal government makes awards to recipients by reducing the impact of lobbyists unduly influencing members of Congress and officers and employees of the congressional and/or executive branch of government and federal agencies who might be in a position to determine funding priorities. The regulations were issued in interim form as a common rule for non-FAR agencies on February 26, 1990 (55 FR 6738ff). The regulations are applicable to all federal grants, contracts, loans or cooperative agreements entered into on or after December 23, 1989. It is applicable to both proposers and awardees and sub-proposers and sub-awardees. Specific certification is required for agreements exceeding $100,000.
No federal funds may be used for lobbying purposes. Requirements for compliance, disclosure, prohibitions, and other issues are covered in the MSU Policy (OP 80.7). The contact person for all questions related to potential lobbying is the Director of Sponsored Programs Administration.
P. Political Activities (OP 01.14)
While participation by employees of the University in various community and public affairs is expected and encouraged, it must be remembered that it is unlawful for any officer or employee of the University to influence or attempt to influence, directly or indirectly, any employee to vote or not to vote for any particular person or group of persons in any election. It is also unlawful for any administrator or supervisor to make any statement, public or private, or to give out or circulate any report or statement calculated to intimidate or coerce or otherwise influence any employee as to his or her vote. § 23-15-871, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Political activities by an employee will not be prohibited at such times as the employee would not be ordinarily required to render services to the institution or if the employee elects to take and the institution grants leave of absence without pay. Straughter v. Collins, 819 So. 2d 1244 (Miss. 2002).
The Department of Procurement and Contracts handles all the purchasing for the institution. Proper approval and/or authority must be in place before making any purchase. Specific information about all procedures can be found on the website of the Office of Procurement and Contracts.
R. Radiological Safety (OP 79.08)
Mississippi State University is committed to full compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in all radioactive material licenses and x-ray registrations issued to the University, the applicable sections of the Regulations for Control of Radiation In Mississippi, Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (or equivalent standards for shipments by air), and Title 40 Code of Federal regulations as applicable to campus work involving radioactive materials. The responsible department head or director shall assure that work conducted is in compliance with all applicable licenses and regulations. Compliance with the terms and conditions of x-ray and electron microscope registrations issued to Mississippi State University is the responsibility of the authorized users specified on the registration and the department head or director.
Most radioactive materials work on campus is conducted under Educational Broad Scope License MS-EBL-02. All proposed uses of radioactive materials under MS-EBL-02 must be approved by the University Radiological, Chemical, and Laboratory Safety Committee as required by the license. The University Radiological Safety Officer shall manage daily duties associated with the radiation safety program and other such duties as specified in license MS-EBL-02. The Vice President for Research is responsible for administrative matters associated with the license and other duties as required in the license.
The University Radiological, Chemical, and Laboratory Safety Committee members are appointed by the Vice President for Research. Members must satisfy the requirements of the license MS-EBL-02. The Chair of the Committee and Radiological Safety Officer shall present the Vice President a list of eligible University personnel annually. Efforts will be made to select committee members to represent the various departments on campus that use radioactive materials and to bring expertise to the committee necessary to thoroughly evaluate all proposed uses of radioactive materials.
The committee may review chemical or laboratory safety matters within its jurisdiction which have been submitted in writing to the Regulatory Compliance Office or the committee chair. A brief investigation will be conducted by the RSO and a report will be prepared. The Committee chair will determine if a full committee review or limited review is required. Upon completion of the review, the committee's written recommendations shall be made to the requestor.
The committee may appoint advisory members as needed to conduct chemical and laboratory safety reviews.
If the committee determines a safety matter under the jurisdiction of the committee poses an immediate hazard to property or persons, an immediate notification will be made to responsible parties and the appropriate vice president(s).
Waste generated that is both radioactive and also regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) radioactive waste will be managed at the MSU radioactive waste storage facility or at another designated waste storage facility if generated off the main campus. Storage precautions will be implemented based on chemical and radiological properties of the material.
Any radiological safety personnel handling the waste will be trained in both radiological and chemical response to safely to handle the material on campus and if necessary respond to spills or leaks of the mixed waste.
Any shipment of radioactive material from the MSU campus will comply with any applicable US DOT (or other applicable transportation regulations). Packages of radioactive materials must be packaged under the supervision of the Radiological Safety Officer. All packages containing radioactive materials must be inspected by the Radiological Safety Officer before being submitted to the carrier/transporter.
MSU employees are paid on a semi-monthly pay schedule. Checks and direct deposit confirmations are distributed on the 15th of the month (or on the preceding Friday if the 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday), and on the last working day of the month.
If you are a nine-month faculty member beginning employment on August 16, you may choose to be paid over nine months or over twelve months. If you choose payment over twelve months, you will complete a Faculty Pay Distribution Agreement, which should be sent to Human Resources Management, mail stop 9603, 150 McArthur Hall. If you choose to be paid over nine months, the University will calculate the amount necessary to continue your benefits during the summer months and deduct those premiums over the nine-month period you are paid. Please note that this election cannot be changed once your first check is issued.
As members of the University community, students, faculty, administrators, and staff have the responsibility to respect and not violate the rights of others and to show tolerance for opinions that differ from their own. However, nothing in this policy prohibits appropriate admonition, argument, and correction by a teacher in the conduct of his/her professional responsibility in the interest of maintaining order, upholding standards, stimulating thought, or promoting competence. Such action is, by definition, not a violation of this policy. Likewise, nothing in this policy precludes management's inherent authority to plan, direct and evaluate the activities of other organizational members in accordance with sound management principles and directives, including communicating, training and disciplining employees.
Harassment based upon race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment), national origin, age, disability or veteran status is a form of discrimination in violation of the law and will not be tolerated. Harassment based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is prohibited by this policy and also will not be tolerated.
Except where knowingly false, punitive action against any person complaining of harassment is prohibited by law or this policy and will not be tolerated.
All students, faculty and staff are expected to adhere to this university policy and will be held accountable for violating it. Mississippi State University will respond promptly to all complaints of harassment and retaliation. Violation of this policy can result in serious disciplinary action up to and including expulsion for students or discharge for employees. Disciplinary action for violations of this policy is the responsibility of an employee's unit head or other appropriate administrator, or for students, the Dean of Students.
Resolutions of complaints of harassment may be achieved using an informal or formal procedure. The procedures used by both processes are different, but the intent is the same – to stop the harassment, resolve the complaint in a timely manner, and protect individuals' rights. Both begin with notification of the appropriate office within 30 calendar days of the incident. Complaints should be made orally or in writing to the Office of Diversity and Equity Programs or one of the following: Dean of Students Office (respondent is a student), Office of Academic Affairs (respondent is a faculty member), or Human Resources Management (respondent is an employee other than faculty). The Office of Diversity and Equity Programs and the additional appropriate office will work in tandem.
All time limits outlined in this procedure are designed for the expeditious resolution of complaints. Lack of strict adherence to these time limits shall not be grounds for objection or appeal of findings by any party involved in this process.
Complaints of harassment may be resolved through informal resolution efforts, but should not normally extend beyond 10 working days from the initial date of complaint. A variety of informal options can be attempted with or without the aid of the identified representative from the appropriate office listed above. The option used is not limited to the following list.
If the complaint of harassment is not resolved informally or the complainant chooses the formal option at the outset, the claim should be put in writing and filed with the appropriate office discussed above. If this is a complaint that was unresolved informally, the appropriate office must be notified, within 5 working days, of the intent to pursue this through a formal process. A representative from the appropriate office will promptly designate a person to investigate the complaint. This representative may differ from the one assisting in the informal resolution.
Responsibilities of the Investigating Official
The person designated to investigate the allegation will inform the complainant that:
Submission of Investigative Report
Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator shall submit the report to the appropriate university official:
Final Determination and Action
Upon receipt of the investigative report, the appropriate university official, as defined above, shall take the following action:
Notification of Decision and Appeal Process
Upon conclusion of the determination process, the complainant and respondent will receive a written copy of the decision. The complainant or respondent may appeal the decision in writing, within 10 working days, to the President. The appeal must be based on new facts not previously available, the sanction is arbitrarily harsh or capricious, or procedures were not followed that substantially affected the result. The President will render a final decision within 15 working days. This decision completes the university process.
U. Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace (HRM 60.118)
Mississippi State University employees expect to work in a drug-free environment. The University expects its employees to be free from the effects of alcohol and drugs while on the job or in the workplace. Mississippi State University conducts a testing program pursuant to Sections 71-7-1, et seq., of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Ann., entitled "Drug and Alcohol Testing of Employees" (hereinafter referred to as "the Act"), and you are hereby advised of the existence of said Act. The use and abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol is a serious and growing problem throughout the United States. A substance abuse policy and substance testing policy has been implemented in response to concern that the use and abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol by employees in, and applicants for, certain employment presents, among other things, serious safety and security risks. The Mississippi Legislature has supported the implementation of drug and alcohol free workplace policies by enacting the Act.
If an employee believes that he or she has a problem with alcohol or drugs or if substance abuse is causing problems in his or her life, that employee is requested to please review the information regarding outside resources available to the employee as posted on the Human Resources Management Web site (www.hrm.msstate.edu).
Please refer to OP 60.118 for more details and to the following related policies: OP 60.119 Drug-Free Workplace, OP 60.120 Drug-Free Campus, and OP 60.121 Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use Testing of Employees with a Commercial Use Driver’s License.
V. Student Sanctions for Alcohol Offenses (OP 91.119)
It is the policy of Mississippi State University to maintain a safe and healthful environment for its students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, the university has established for students policies concerning alcohol use on campus. It is a violation of Mississippi State University Student Code of Conduct for a student to unlawfully possess, consume, or sell alcohol on campus. It is incumbent on students to become knowledgeable of these policies, whether for individual decision-making or for the planning of programs and events for student organizations.
W. Information Security (OP 01.10)
Mississippi State University is committed to protecting critical information in all forms for which it is the custodian and to maintaining a robust, proactive, and evolving information security program. This includes protection from a variety of threats such as fraud, embezzlement, sabotage, terrorism, extortion, privacy violation, service interruption and natural disaster. Information security is the responsibility of all individuals who access and maintain Mississippi State University information resources, i.e. students, employees, alumni, affiliates, contractors, and r etirees, and others as appropriate. Each individual must be aware of, committed to, and accountable for their role in the overall protection of critical information.
MSU is subject to numerous federal and state laws and regulations regarding the protection of data, among them:
Security of protected information is a complex issue, requiring a multi-faceted framework. While technology provides numerous tools to facilitate safeguarding of protected information, ultimately institutional awareness, commitment, vigilance, and persistence are the keys to a successful program.
In addition to personal accountability, other elements of MSU's information security framework include:
- The Information Security Program - The program identifies technologies, procedures, and best
practices to ensure ongoing institutional focus on the protection of information. Key elements of
the Information Security Program include:
- Data Classifications and Individual Responsibilities
- Risk Assessment
- Audit and Compliance
- The Incident Response Plan - The plan prescribes procedures to effect a timely and
appropriate response in the event of an information security breach. Key elements of
the plan include:
- Incident Reporting
- Forensic Analysis
- The IT Disaster Recovery Plan - The plan mandates procedures to effect the timely
and orderly restoration of information technology resources and services in the event
of a significant interruption or natural disaster. Key elements of the plan include:
- Organizational Preparedness
- Continuity of Critical Applications
- Restoration of Normal Operation
- The Committee for the Security of Protected Information - This body is charged with oversight and coordination of the Information Security Program, the Incident Response Plan, and the IT Disaster Recovery Plan. The committee will review significant security incidents and recommend appropriate action and remediation.
It is expected that the individual components within the overall policy framework will continually evolve in response to changing information security technologies, requirements, and threats.
Related Policies. The following are MSU policies which have relevance and application to information security:
- Access to Computing Resources OP 01.11
- Use of Computing and Network Resources OP 01.12
- World Wide Web Pages and other Electronic Publications OP 01.13
- Misuse of University Assets OP 01.19
- Social Security Number Usage OP 01.23
- Buckley Amendment AOP 10.06
- Electronic Communications Infrastructure AOP 30.04
- Records Management and Security HRM 60-109
- Credit/Debit Card Processing OP 62.08
- Student Use of Computing Resources OP 91.117