GWU History Department Graduate Student Rights

The George Washington University History Department is committed to inclusion, diversity, and safety for all its faculty, students, and staff. To that end it adopts the following statement of graduate student rights, to be made available to all graduate students when they join the program.

I. Rights to academic freedom and freedom from discrimination

  1. Graduate students in the GWU History Department have the right to exercise academic freedom in researching, learning, teaching, and participation in University programs and activities. See the university’s Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Code of Student Conduct.
  2. Graduate students have the right to pursue activities, collaboration, research, and publications to increase their academic and/or professional development without fear of discrimination, harassment, or other adverse conduct. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to:
    1. Ownership of and access to their intellectual property;
    2. Authorship and acknowledgment on scholarly publications commensurate with their contribution to such works;
    3. Take part in activities to foster their professional development including, but not limited to, internships, relevant conferences, volunteer experience, workshops, and courses;
    4. Professional and academic guidance from their advisor;
    5. Seek professional and academic guidance from faculty and staff other than their advisor;
    6. Change their faculty advisor.
  3. Graduate students have the right to report any discrimination and/or adverse conduct under the University’s Student Grievance Procedures, including the right to refuse voluntary mediation at the department level. The exception to this is if the matter involves sexual harassment or sexual assault, which shall be reported under the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy.
  4. Graduate students are entitled to due process regarding reports of unfair treatment or assault, either under the procedures in I.3, or as outlined in I.5.c.
  5. Graduate students have the right to work and study in an environment in which standards of professional conduct are observed:
    1. To be treated with courtesy and respect by faculty, administration, and other students;
    2. To refuse activities that are unrelated to their academic pursuit or professional development, particularly those that do not have a direct benefit to the completion of defined thesis, dissertation, or professional development, without adverse consequences from advisor or department;
    3. To accept voluntarily, for appropriate remuneration, scholarly activities in support of research or writing projects carried on by members of the faculty;
    4. To appeal any decision regarding academic progress and/or professional development. This appeal should be made in the first instance to the Director of Graduate Studies, or, if the DGS is involved in the matter or fails to act, to the Chair, who will convene the Graduate Studies Advisory Committee to review the matter. The student may appeal to the CCAS Dean of Graduate Studies if the issue is not resolved at the GSAC level.
  6. Graduate students have the right to reasonable accommodation for any disability, and to develop a reasonable accommodation plan with the GWU Disability Support Services Office.

II. Information and privacy

  1. Graduate students have the right to pertinent and essential information affecting their continued academic and professional progress, including (but not limited to):
    1. To be provided with clear, written information on the degree requirements, departmental requirements, expectations of students, and expected timeline for academic progress;
    2. To have their plan of study reviewed and approved by their advisor at least yearly.
  2. Graduate students with teaching duties have the right to essential information and resources necessary for their professional carrying out of their duties, including (but not limited to):
    1. Timely notification of the course and professor to whose section they have been assigned;
    2. Provision of necessary teaching materials such as textbooks, readers, and similar classroom materials in a timely manner, without cost to themselves;
    3. Provision of a clear statement in writing of contractual obligations attached to teaching assistant position.
  3. All graduate students have the right to privacy, including the right to:
    1. Keep any activity not involving the University private;
    2. Keep any accommodation under the University’s Disability Support Services private.