Other Official Policies and Procedures | Hartford Seminary

Other Official Policies and Procedures

The relationships and conduct of students, faculty and staff at Hartford Seminary are expected to be consistent with the purpose and mission of Hartford Seminary as stated in the catalogue and in keeping with local, state and federal law. On rare occasions, questions may arise about whether the conduct of an individual or individuals is compatible with the nature and purpose of the Seminary.  The policies and procedures in the Official Policies section of the catalogue have been developed to specifically address such issues or situations should they arise.

It is the responsibility of all students to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the purpose and mission of the Seminary as stated in the catalogue. It is the right of all students to address any concern, issue or grievance informally as well as formally in keeping with the appropriate policies and procedures for any given issue or situation as stated in the catalogue. Students may also consult directly with the Academic Dean for assistance or guidance regarding any issue that may arise.

Computer Use Policies

Hartford Seminary is committed to providing computing services to support the needs of students, faculty, and staff of the Seminary. The policies below are to: 1) ensure the security and integrity of computer resources available on campus; 2) to assure that users have reasonable access to the facilities; and 3) to ensure that the action of any one user will not adversely affect any aspect of the work of another. The Seminary reserves the right to control, evaluate and monitor all student computers and electronic telecommunications except as may be prohibited by Federal or State Laws.

The following activities constitute unauthorized use of computer resources and are expressly prohibited.

  1. Unauthorized access: Attempting to gain access to another user’s programs or account without that user’s express permission.
  2. Passwords: Sharing your student ID or password with any other person.
  3. Harassment: Using seminary computer resources to harass or annoy others, or prevent them from legitimately using the facilities. Note: Using electronic mail to send other users unsolicited messages of obscene, demeaning, and/or menacing content constitutes harassment.
  4. Changing settings on seminary computers: Altering system software or hardware configurations without authorization, or disrupting or interfering with the delivery or administration of computer resources in any way. Downloading software (including games, wallpaper, and screen savers) from the Internet unless authorized specifically by the Seminary.   Copying, renaming, altering, examining, or deleting the files or programs of another person without permission.
  5. Games: Using seminary computing facilities for non-academic purposes.  Academic work always takes precedence over recreational use. An individual must quit playing computer games, writing non-academic email, using the Internet or any other non-academic computer activity when any person is waiting for use of any computer intended for student/public use. There is a one-hour time limit on the use of the public computers in the lower level of the library whenever others are waiting to use them, even if one is doing required academic work.
  6. Compliance with federal, state, and local laws: Using any part of the computer resources of the seminary in any activity that violates federal, state, or local laws.
  7. Commercial use: Using the seminary’s computing resources for personal business or commercial use, such as the posting of commercial web pages and the distribution of unsolicited advertising.
  8. Tampering/viruses/worms:  Deliberately attempting to tamper with, disrupt, delay, or endanger the regular operation of the seminary ‘s computing resources. Creating or propagating computer worms, or viruses, or the distribution of electronic mail or software intended to replicate or do damage to another user’s account, hardware, software, or data.
  9. Network Monitoring: Monitoring and/or sniffing of any network traffic, passwords, email or any other network communications.
  10. Pornographic material: Using seminary computing resources to view or transmit material with prurient content. For purposes of this document “prurient content” is defined as material unrelated to a legitimate academic purpose and intended for the arousal of sexual thoughts or desires of the recipient and/or the sender.

Access to Hartford Seminary’s computing facilities and resources is a privilege and student responsibilities accompany that privilege.  All students affiliated with Hartford Seminary, or those guests using the library services, are expected to use good judgment when using computing resources, including Internet access and e-mail.  This also includes appropriate personal behavior while using the computers.

Being granted access to the seminary’s computing resources does not provide the user with a guarantee or warrantee of any kind regarding system reliability, nor does it guarantee or warrantee the user that any information obtained from its electronic communications system is correct and free of errors.   Hartford Seminary is not responsible for any personal damage as a result of loss of data, inaccuracy of data, delays in processing of data or non-delivery of data over its electronic communications system.

Copyright Infringements

All students should recognize that information obtained through electronic methods might be protected by copyright laws of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (H.R. 2281), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  As such, any student in violation may be prosecuted under the terms of the law.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand the laws pertaining to copyright infringement.

Credit Hour Policy

Federal regulation defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than: (1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or (2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Hartford Seminary follows the common understanding in academia that “one hour of classroom” or a Student Hour is equivalent to a 50-minute session.  Therefore, 3-credit courses require the equivalent of 37.5 clock hours of instruction and 75 clock hours of out-of-class student work per term.  The courses at Hartford Seminary require approximately 42 clock hours of engaged time and approximately 70 clock hours of out-of-class student work per term.

Guidelines for Research

Guidelines for Research Conducted by Persons Affiliated with Hartford Seminary

It is expected that all persons who conduct research under the auspices of Hartford Seminary will treat everyone involved in the research with respect and care.  The following measures are intended to guide our efforts.

Informed Consent

  1. The principal investigator shall explain to subjects, prior to their participation,
  2. the objectives of the research;
  3. the procedures to be followed;
  4. the expected duration of the subject’s participation;
  5. any foreseeable risks or discomforts to the subject;
  6. any benefits to the subject or others which may reasonably be expected from the research; and
  7. the extent to which the confidentiality of the records identifying the subject will be maintained.

Where it is determined that the research involves no more than minimal risk to the subject (see below) and involves no procedures for which written consent is normally required outside of the research context, informed consent may be obtained either through a signed consent form or in an oral discussion.  All investigators are advised, however, to document their discussion of informed consent.

In circumstances of minimal risk, and where it is in the interest of the research not to provide full information before administering research instruments, the investigator shall provide subjects with additional pertinent information after their participation.

Investigators shall not use individuals as subjects unless satisfied that they, or others legally responsible for their well-being, consent to participation freely and with understanding of the consequences.  Subjects shall not be induced to participate by means or in circumstances that might affect their ability to decide freely.  It shall be made clear to subjects that they are free to withdraw from active participation in the research at any time.  Subjects who indicate a desire to withdraw shall be allowed to do so promptly and without penalty or loss of benefits to which the subject is otherwise entitled.


Investigators shall respect the privacy of subjects.  They shall protect confidential information given them, advising subjects in advance of any limits upon their ability to insure that the information will remain confidential.

Disclosure of Affiliation and Sponsorship

Investigators may indicate their position at Hartford Seminary, but (if indicating their affiliation) shall disclose whether or not the research is sponsored by the Seminary.  An investigator shall disclose to a subject, upon request, the source of support for the research.

Requirements for Review

Research that involves minimal risk shall not be subject to special review.  Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of physical or psychological harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

Research shall be subject to special review if it is deemed to pose more than minimal risk to subjects. The appropriate committee, as designated by the Dean of the Seminary, will conduct the special review.  Such risks include:

  1. responses or observations of the subject will be recorded in such a way that direct identification of the subject may be possible; and
  2. the responses or observations of the subject, if they became known outside of the research, could reasonably place the subject at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subject’s financial standing or employability; or
  3. the research deals with sensitive aspects of the subject’s own behavior, such as illegal conduct, drug use, sexual behavior, or use of alcohol.

Suspension of Research

Research shall be immediately suspended and reviewed if investigators observe that such risk factors are present or if they observe any adverse consequences that may be attributable to the research. (Approved by Hartford Seminary faculty on December 1, 1997.)

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Hartford Seminary is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act and the newly amended Drug-Free Schools and Communities legislation and wholeheartedly endorses national standards for prevention programs. Education assumes a healthy integrating of mind, body and spirit. Hartford Seminary joins with other institutions of higher education to eliminate substance abuse. The unlawful manufacture, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and unauthorized alcohol on its property or at any Seminary-sponsored activity, function or event is strictly prohibited.  Details on standard of conduct, implementation and disciplinary sanctions are distributed to all incoming faculty, staff and students.

Mental Health Policy

Hartford Seminary will reasonably accommodate students with depression and/or other mental health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations will be designed to enable the student to remain in school, meet academic standards, and maintain normal social relationships. A list of mental health service providers is available in the Student Services Office.

All services are provided on a voluntary basis and it remains the student’s decision whether or not to seek services.  In some circumstances, and as the law permits, Hartford Seminary may seek involuntary treatment of the student.

Counseling and mental health services are confidential.  Student Services will not share information about a student with faculty, staff, administrators, or others unless the student consents, except as required or permitted by law.  As permitted by law, Student Support may disclose information about a student to the extent needed to protect the student or others from a serious and imminent threat to safety, for example, by making disclosures to crisis intervention or emergency personnel.

In some situations, students may take voluntary leaves of absence for documented mental health reasons.  In the circumstance that a student cannot safely remain at Hartford Seminary or meet academic standards even with accommodations and other supports, Hartford Seminary may require the student to take a leave of absence.  The Administration may recommend an involuntary leave for safety reasons if it finds, after an individualized evaluation of the available information, that there is a significant risk that the student will harm him/herself or another or damage property, and that the risk cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level through accommodations. 

A student on leave, whether voluntary or involuntary, may request at any time to return to Hartford Seminary as a student.  Hartford Seminary may require the student to provide documentation from a mental health professional that the student is fit to return to the academic environment.  When indicated, Hartford Seminary may seek a second opinion.

In the circumstance that a student does not meet the standard for imposition of involuntary leave but cannot safely remain in Hartford Seminary housing even with accommodations; Hartford Seminary may require the student to live in housing other than Hartford Seminary housing while enrolled.

Non-Discrimination Policy and Equal Opportunity Statement

Hartford Seminary subscribes to the principles and laws of the State of Connecticut and the Federal government pertaining to civil rights and equal opportunity, including Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.  Hartford Seminary policy prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religious creed, color, age, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, marital status, present or past history of mental disorder, mental retardation, learning disability or physical disability including, but not limited to, blindness or veteran status, or any other reason prohibited by an applicable law or regulation in the employment of faculty, staff and students; in the recruitment and admission of students; and in the operation of all Seminary programs, activities and services. Students with disabilities are eligible for special services when they are enrolled in courses for graduate credit or in certificate program courses required for the completion of the program certificate. Additionally, the Seminary will not condone acts of violence or harassment reflecting bias or intolerance of any of the above mentioned classes. Evidence of practices that are inconsistent with this policy should be reported to the Office of the Dean.

Procedures for Fire-Related Emergencies in Campus Offices and Classrooms

    • Activate the nearest fire alarm.
    • Keep room doors unlocked.
    • Always close the door behind you before exiting.
    • Walk quickly to the nearest accessible exit and leave the building (see emergency exit diagrams in each classroom and at elevators).
    • If there is smoke, crawl close to floor to avoid inhaling smoke.
    • Move away from the building to the closest parking lot.
    • Notify RA and staff members of missing persons after exiting (i.e., classmates, professor).
    • Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by a Seminary official.

Safety Responsibilities of Students and Staff

The cooperation and involvement of students and staff is essential in order to maintain a safe and secure campus.  Everyone should be alert to any unusual occurrences or suspicious characters and report them immediately.  Personal belongings and valuables should not be left unattended.  Cars should be parked in well-lit areas with valuables locked in the trunk.  A club locked on a steering wheel may deter thieves as well.  Most importantly, staff and students are encouraged to use good judgment when leaving any facility at night by walking in pairs.

Security Policies and Procedures

Confidential Security Procedures (dated October 2008) detail proper safety and security measures for all Seminary offices and classrooms. They are distributed to every employee and extra copies are on file in the office of the Director of Administration and Facilities.

A receptionist is on duty for evening classes between 5:00 – 10:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday. At 10:00 p.m. the front door is locked and all alarms are activated with the exception of side door #5. Students leaving afterward must exit from this door. All employees should always lock entrance doors to 80 & 76 Sherman & 60 Lorraine, and if a receptionist is not stationed at the desk of 77, that door should be locked as well.

Persons with physical disabilities and special needs should notify the Director of Administration and Facilities. Students with physical disabilities and special needs should notify the Academic Dean’s office prior to the beginning of the semester should special accommodations be required.

Victims of or witnesses to criminal activity on campus should report the incident to the Hartford Police (911 for emergencies or 527-6300 for non-emergencies) and to the Director of Administration and Facilities immediately. A Campus Crime Report Form should be completed which can be obtained from the Receptionist or the Director of Administration and Facilities.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Hartford Seminary observes the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (E.E.O.C.) Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Guidelines and strives to create a fair, humane and respectful environment.


Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature or relating to sexual orientation when:

1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s instruction, employment, or participation in other Seminary activity;

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or

3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment

Procedures for Handling Complaints of Sexual Harassment

A Sexual Harassment Task Force is appointed by the President of Hartford Seminary within two (2) weeks of the beginning of each academic year to address any complaints of sexual harassment that may arise. A list of the members of the task force will be distributed to all members of the Hartford Seminary community within the first three weeks of the new academic year. The Sexual Harassment Task Force shall be comprised of three appropriate parties.

      1. Informal actions: Several options are available to an individual to informally address an incident of alleged sexual harassment.

A.  The individual may attempt to resolve the matter directly with the alleged harasser.  Should the individual not be comfortable initiating a discussion on her or his own, she or he may discuss the issue confidentially with any member of the Sexual Harassment Task Force and receive guidance and support for attempting to resolve the matter directly with the alleged harasser.

B.  The individual may report the incident of alleged harassment to the supervisor (in the case of students, to the Dean of the Seminary) in an effort to resolve the matter.

C.  In the event that these informal efforts to resolve the complaint by the individual may not be wise, appropriate, or successful, the individual may request that the Sexual Harassment Task Force attempt to resolve the issue informally. A record of the complaint and its resolution will be maintained in the minutes of the Task Force, which minutes shall be kept confidential to the Task Force.

      1. Formal Proceedings:  In the event that an informal resolution does not seem possible or is not successful, and if the matter is not settled within ten (10) working days, the complainant and the Sexual Harassment Task Force will institute formal proceedings immediately to include the following steps:
        1. Gather oral and written statements from the parties involved in the alleged harassment, and from others who may have pertinent information, such as witnesses, qualified professional consultants, etc.  The respondent may appear before the Task Force and present witnesses in his or her behalf.
        2. Determine actions appropriate to resolve the matter; these may include (but not be limited to):
          1. the finding that sexual harassment has occurred, and that the appropriate body or officer of the Seminary is called upon to take action accordingly; such action may include one or more of the following:
            1. a formal reprimand, with defined expectations for changed behavior;
            2. recommending or requiring remedial action such as but not limited to psychological or psychiatric assessment, counseling or treatment, education and so forth;
            3.  probationary standing, with the terms of the probation clearly defined;
            4. suspension or dismissal from the Seminary
          2. the finding that no sexual harassment occurred

In the course of investigating the allegations of the complainant, the supervisor (if involved) and members of the Task Force shall contact only those persons whose participation is reasonably necessary to the investigation of the complaint, and shall otherwise keep the facts of the investigation confidential.

A written summary of the Task Force proceedings will be maintained in the minutes of the Task Force, which minutes shall be kept confidential to the Task Force.

      1. Appeal Process:
        1. If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the disposition of the matter by the Task Force, he or she has the right to appeal in writing, within 30 days, to the President of the Seminary who may review and affirm or alter the disposition.

B. The complainant or respondent may appeal the decision of the President by addressing an appeal in writing, within 30 days, to the chair of the Board of Trustees.  The chair shall refer the matter to the Executive Committee of the Board within 30 days and said committee will resolve the matter, with discretion to take any further evidence that it may deem necessary before making its final determination.

Standards of Conduct

Hartford Seminary strictly prohibits the unlawful manufacture, possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and unauthorized alcohol by students and employees on its property or at any Seminary-sponsored activity, function or event. Although the conditions of alcohol and drug dependency may be considered disabilities or handicaps under state and federal law and these groups will not be discriminated against because they have these disabilities, all are considered to be responsible for their actions and their conduct. Implementation: Hartford Seminary will annually distribute a copy of this policy statement with all attachments to all employees and to each student who is taking one or more classes for any kind of academic credit. Biennially, the Seminary will review its policy to determine its effectiveness, update requirements and enforce changes if needed. In addition, portions of this policy will be published in our faculty and staff handbooks and other appropriate literature. The Director of Administration and Facilities will be responsible for implementation of this policy with Seminary employees. The Dean will be responsible for implementation of this policy for students. Disciplinary Sanctions: Minimum sanctions to be imposed for violation of this policy normally include probation, suspension or separation from the institution and referral for prosecution. The Seminary may require the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program to be determined by the President on a case-by-case basis for various degrees of infractions. Hartford Seminary’s disciplinary procedures respect the rights of students and employees under State and Federal law.

Student Discipline Policy and Procedure

It is the policy of Hartford Seminary to conduct an impartial investigation of the facts, an impartial hearing and review of those facts and to make recommendations as to what action should be taken with regard to any issue concerning student conduct brought to the attention of the Dean in writing.


Any faculty member, staff member or student may bring a written complaint to the Dean of the Seminary.

The Dean will convene the Academic Policy Committee (APC) which is the committee designated by the Seminary to handle student disciplinary cases.  The committee will be convened within seven (7) working days. In the event a member or members of the APC are involved or named in the disciplinary situation before the APC, the Dean will appoint a replacement in kind (faculty, administrator, or student.) In the event the Dean is involved or named in the written complaint, the President will appoint a replacement for the Dean.

The committee will review the available information to determine the appropriateness of the case to its jurisdiction and charge.  If accepted, the case will be disposed of as quickly as possible, normally within thirty (30) days.  When a case has been accepted by the committee, the following procedure will be followed.


Conduct an investigation.  Should it appear to the committee that disciplinary action might be warranted if the preliminary information received is confirmed to the committee’s satisfaction, the committee shall conduct an investigation of the facts to the extent it deems necessary.


When the investigation is completed, the committee will then hold a hearing that will:

Provide the student the opportunity to hear and have explained all of the information and evidence that the committee has received

Provide the opportunity for the student to offer a defense (to include the opportunity for the student to have witnesses appear on her/his behalf and to be accompanied by another party who may act as counsel.)

A written record of the disciplinary hearing proceedings will be made and kept on file in the Dean’s Office.


When the disciplinary hearing is completed the committee will make a final decision regarding the facts of the case and determine disciplinary action to be taken, if appropriate. In some cases the committee may deem it necessary to gather more information before reaching its final decision.  In this case, the committee will provide written notice to the student of any further information it gathers and provide the student the opportunity to submit further comment about the additional information or evidence gathered by the committee (under the guidelines in 2.a. and 2.b.)

Appeal Process:

The student may choose either to accept the committee’s determination in the case or appeal the decision to the President.

In the event of an appeal, the following procedure will be followed:

The case will be discussed and reviewed by the Faculty Council in executive session for purposes of the President gathering recommendations from the faculty.

The student will have the opportunity to submit written comments to the President prior to the President making her/his final decision.  With written permission of the student, these comments may be shared with the Faculty Council in its executive session.

In all cases, the final decision on the appeal shall rest with the President.

When an appeal is made, the case will be reviewed and a decision reached as quickly as possible, normally within thirty (30) days.

A written record of disciplinary hearing proceedings, determination, and appeal, if any, will be made and kept on file in the Academic Dean’s Office.

Student Grievance Policy and Procedure

It is the intention of this policy to encourage and facilitate resolution of a grievance that a student may have with a faculty member, supervisor, administrator, member of the staff, or another student. The desire is to resolve the grievance in the early stages of the procedure. However, the procedure does provide for full mediation in a fair, equitable and timely manner. Please note that the Student Grievance Policy does not apply to the resolution of matters related to sexual misconduct or harassment. Please see the Sexual Harassment Policy for more information.


A student who believes he or she has a legitimate grievance should meet promptly with the person immediately involved (i.e. the faculty member, administrator, supervisor or member of the staff with whom the student has an issue). Should the student not be comfortable with initiating such a meeting on her or his own, the Academic Dean is available, on a strictly confidential basis, to assist the student. The procedure is concluded if an acceptable solution is reached between the student and the other party. Should either person wish written documentation of the resolution, the two parties shall write such and each person will sign, date and retain a copy.

 If the grievance is not resolved, the student may pursue the matter as follows:

Within seven (7) days of the meeting, the student should send a written statement to the Academic Dean clearly stating:

      • the nature of the complaint
      • the steps already taken

As soon as possible after receipt of the written statement, normally within ten (10) working days, the Academic Dean will:

      • Meet with each party separately.
      • Meet with the parties together to attempt to resolve the grievance.

If the grievance is resolved, provide a written summary of the resolution within seven (7) working days (of the meeting with both parties together), which each party will sign. Copies will be retained in the Academic Dean’s Office. If the grievance is not resolved through the steps above, the student may make a written request, within seven (7) working days, to the Chair of the Academic Policy Committee (APC).

The Chair will convene a meeting to hear and resolve the grievance. The committee may request that additional persons be present for the hearing as it deems necessary and relevant (such as an administrator’s or staff person’s immediate supervisor, the Human Resources person, etc.).

The committee’s recommendations and action for resolution will be presented in writing to each party in the grievance within seven (7) days of the hearing, which each party will sign.

 Copies of the resolution will be retained, along with a written record of the hearing, in the Academic Dean’s Office (and by the Director of Administration, if appropriate).

 In all cases, the Committee’s recommendations and action for resolution will be final. In the event a member or members of the APC are involved or named in the grievance before the APC, the Dean will appoint a replacement in kind (faculty or administrator). In the event the Academic Dean is involved or named in the grievance, the President will appoint a replacement for the Dean.

To file a grievance with the Dean’s Office, please submit the Student Grievance form.

 In the event a resolution cannot be reached internally, students may appeal the Seminary’s accrediting bodies or the Connecticut Office of Higher Education:

The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
The Commission on Accrediting
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh PA 15275-1110

Phone: 412-788-6505

New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods, Suite 100
Burlington, MA  01803-4514

Phone: 781-425-7785

Connecticut Office of Higher Education
61 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT  06105-2326

Phone:  860-947-1800

Weapons Possession

The possession, use or sale of weapons is prohibited on all areas of the Seminary campus. Weapons include, but are not limited to, firearms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks and hunting knives.

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