From political activism to the proper use of technology and more, there are a number of policies that govern activity at HKS and the University.

This section will empower you with information about what services are available to you if you have a physical or learning disability or a service animal, as well as how you are permitted to present your affiliation with Harvard as you engage in political activity as a private citizen. You’ll also learn the rules around exchanging gifts with faculty and selling items on the HKS campus.

Students are expected to know and abide by all policies described in the student handbook.

Harvard Kennedy School retains the discretion to act as it deems necessary in extraordinary circumstances to protect the health and safety of the Harvard community. For these purposes “extraordinary circumstances” include, but are not limited to, public health emergencies, extreme weather events, and other conditions posing broad threats to community health and safety or significantly disrupting campus life or learning. Discretionary measures available to HKS may include, but are not limited to, making recourse to remote or hybrid instruction, suspending or limiting access to University-provided residential housing, limiting its provision of or access to certain activities and services, introducing or modifying mask and physical distancing mandates, and implementing compulsory testing and tracing programs as required conditions for accessing the Harvard campus or Harvard facilities.  

Harvard has established a policy that sets out guidelines and processes for University access to user electronic information stored in or transmitted through any University system. This policy is available on the Office of the Provost Web site. It applies to all schools and units of the University, including Harvard Kennedy School students.

Harvard Kennedy School understands students’ desire to make the world a better place through many avenues, including political action. There are some activities that are not permitted due to the nature or extent of their use of University resources or because they suggest that HKS itself has taken a political position. For example, it is not permissible to use the Harvard name or logos, or to use Harvard electronic platforms like listservs or Web sites, to campaign or fundraise for a political candidate. Putting up a candidate’s campaign poster on campus, or otherwise using Harvard property to promote a candidate’s political campaign, is also not allowed.

If you are located in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway (the “European Economic Area”), please see our Privacy Statement about ways that certain Harvard University schools, centers, units, and controlled entities—including HKS—may collect, use, and share information about you.

No pets are allowed on School grounds; however, service dogs—dogs that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, where those tasks are directly related to the person’s disability—are permitted on campus.

Emotional support, therapy, comfort or companion animals are not considered to be service dogs.

Service dog handlers are responsible for their care and supervision, including without limitation toileting, feeding, grooming, and veterinary care. If a particular service dog behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, then that animal may be excluded from campus. Service animals also may be excluded from campus if they are not housebroken.

As required under federal law, Harvard Kennedy School immediately will refer to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) any report of missing persons involving a student who lives in on-campus housing.

If any member of the Harvard community has reason to believe a student who resides in on-campus housing is missing, he/she/they should notify HUPD immediately at 617-495- 1212. If HUPD determines the student has been missing for more than 24 hours, then within the 24 hours following this determination, the School or HUPD will:

  1. Notify an appropriate external law enforcement agency, unless the local law enforcement agency was the entity that made the determination that the student is missing.
  2. Contact anyone the student has identified as a missing person contact under the procedures described below.
  3. Notify others at the University, as appropriate, about the student’s disappearance.

In addition to identifying a general emergency contact person, students residing in on-campus housing have the option to identify confidentially a separate person to be contacted by Harvard in the event that the student is determined to be missing for more than 24 hours. Students are not required to designate a separate individual for this purpose and if they choose not to do so, then Harvard will assume that they have chosen to treat their general emergency contact as their missing person contact.

Students who wish to identify a confidential missing person contact should notify the HKS Registrar’s Office. A student’s confidential missing person contact information will be accessible only by authorized campus officials and by law enforcement in the course of an investigation. In addition, if it has been determined that a student who is under 18 years of age and not emancipated has been missing for more than 24 hours, HKS or HUPD will contact that student’s custodial parent or guardian, in addition to contacting any additional contact person designated by the student.

Students are reminded that they must provide the HKS Registrar’s Office with emergency contact information and/ or confidential missing person contact information if they have not already done so.

Because of possible perceptions of undue influence, it is not permitted for a student to give a gift to a faculty member while the student is in the faculty member’s class or otherwise involved in an advising or evaluating relationship. In general, the School discourages the giving of gifts between students and faculty. Even if gifts are simply intended as a show of gratitude, students should be mindful of the potential for misunderstandings or appearance of impropriety, particularly between people when there is an asymmetry of power.

No gift presented by a student to a faculty or staff member may exceed USD $50.

Students traveling to another country with financial support from Harvard Kennedy School and/or to engage in activities for which they expect to receive academic credit from Harvard Kennedy School must sign an Assumption of Risk and General Release form prior to their travel.

The School reserves the right to withhold funding for travel to countries where a student might be placed in serious danger. All students traveling for any reason and regardless of financial support should consider their travel plans carefully and assess risks, including by consulting the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisories.

Students also should refer to Harvard’s Global Support Services (GSS) for risk ratings and other information and consult with GSS about their specific travel plans. All students traveling internationally can obtain a Harvard Travel Assist membership card for medical emergencies and emergency evacuations, which can be used by individuals conducting Harvard business overseas (i.e., PAE research, student internship work). Note that this is not travel or medical insurance. Students must register their travel with GSS before traveling. Additional requirements about travel are available on the Student Life KNet site.

There are several rules associated with selling items on the Harvard Kennedy School campus.

  • Anything sold on the School premises must benefit the School or an organization recognized and/or supported by the School, and not the individual. Solicitations and subsequent donations for charitable organizations or relief drives will be considered on a case-by-case basis, provided they are sponsored by a recognized HKS organization or member of the HKS community.
  • Clearance must be obtained through the Office of Student Services before organizing a sale.
  • Graduation tickets may not be sold.

Students with questions or requests should contact the School’s disability coordinator to schedule an appointment. Students with disabilities—such as physical, cognitive, sensory, psychological, or chronic medical conditions—must meet with the School’s disability coordinator to initiate the interactive process to explore possible individualized accommodations. All incoming students requesting accommodation must submit a Disability Notification form and medical documentation from a health care provider that specifies the student’s functional limitations and the requested accommodations. Students experience a disability during the school year should follow this same process.

Read more about disability services.

The many bulletin boards located throughout the HKS campus are used by community members for a variety of important purposes. Research Centers use them to share their work, promote their research and publicize events; departments use them to post important information about resources, events and opportunities; and student groups use them to broadcast events. Our collective goal in filling these spaces is to convey information in an accessible manner and, in so doing, generate a stronger sense of community. In order to best support that end, the following rules govern the use of school bulletin boards:

  • Bulletin boards labeled with HKS Research Center or Department names are for the exclusive use of that center or department.
  • Bulletin boards not branded by a center or department are maintained by the HKS Office of Campus Planning and Operations and can be used for general event information in accordance with the following guidelines:
    - Fliers and posters must be for HKS or Harvard affiliated events only.
    - Postings should be affixed with push pins (not staples or tape) and cannot exceed 11x17” in size.
    - Postings should include the event or poster removal date.
    - Only one poster per event per board is permitted.

If you would like to post something using a metal sign holder rather than a bulletin board, requests can be made as follows:

  • If you have booked a space, please add one or more sign holders to your existing SpaceBook Reservation.
  • Faculty and staff members who do not have space booked can request a sign holder by submitting a Facilities Help Desk Work Order Request Form. Students should work with a member of the Degree Programs and Student Affairs team to request easels for their postings.

The HKS Office of Campus Planning and Operations also maintains a “Community Forum” bulletin board, located on the ground floor of the Wexner Building in the dining area for postings that are not event-related. This board is intended for expressions of opinion, advocacy, celebration and more, and is available for use by all members of the HKS community. All postings are expected to comply with the HKS Code of Conduct and the University’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities as outlined in the Student Handbook. Hate speech will not be tolerated. In order to ensure sufficient space for all forms of expression, the Community Forum board will be generally cleared on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

Note: HKS Facilities does not allow postings/event signage on any public doors, walls, columns, event spaces, etc. Any postings/signage left in one of these areas will be removed promptly and sent for recycling.

For questions, faculty and staff members are encouraged to call the Facilities Help Desk at 617-495-1306, and students should contact Melissa Wojciechowski St. John, Senior Director of Student Services, at 617-495-0860.

Community members who use scooters (or any other riding devices MOTORIZED OR NON-MOTORIZED other than any used to accommodate a disability) must ensure that they are secured outside of HKS buildings. These riding devices may NOT be walked, ridden, or stored inside HKS buildings including meeting spaces, classrooms, or hallways. 

There are many bike storage options located around the exterior of HKS buildings, which can also be used to secure them.​