University Policies

Student groups may include alcoholic beverages at official functions of the University provided the following guidelines are explicitly followed:

  1. The Student Affairs Office must approve the “Request to Serve Alcoholic Beverage” form, which must be submitted no later than three working days prior to any event where serving of alcoholic beverage is planned to

  2. All existing state laws are followed, including the authorized drinking age.

  3. Each event must have a faculty or professional staff person responsible for and in attendance for the duration of the event.  If event is a student run event, a student coordinator must also be responsible for and in attendance for the duration of the event.

  4. Alcohol cannot be consumed or distributed after midnight (12 AM).

  5. Persons wishing to drink alcohol must show ID.

  6. Only wine and beer may be served at functions. Food and non-alcoholic drinks, appealing and in amounts equal to alcohol, must be provided. No alcohol may be sold at any Samuel Merritt University function, either on or off-campus.

  7. The University’s guidelines for serving alcohol are as follows:

    • For catered events, the caterer must serve the beer and wine and must show proof of liability coverage.

    • For non-catered events, a contracted bartending service must serve the beer and wine (please see below). 

  8. Security may be required (about one guard per 100 participants), depending on the nature of the event. The group is responsible for paying for the guard. The Student Affairs Office will determine if security is needed.

  9. Samuel Merritt University and/or the person serving alcoholic beverages reserve the right to refuse to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone.

  • Student-Organized Event:  All student-organized events must be approved in advance by the Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.  In order to obtain approval, please complete the request form that can be found on SMU Pulse and it will be routed for approvals.  
  • Employee Organized Event:  Please contact the Contract Specialist, who will assist in determining what is needed for all employee-organized event(s) where alcoholic beverages will be served. 

Authorization to purchase within established signature authority is limited to administrative officers of the University, the chief administrative officer of each academic program, and designated program and administrative directors.

Designated members of the Student Body Association (SBA), such as class representatives, presidents of recognized clubs and organizations, and executive board members may represent the SBA; however, cannot represent or obligate Samuel Merritt University.


Numerous bulletin boards are located in each University building.  Students will be notified of policy changes and updates via email.  These updates will also be posted on the website.  Students are responsible for reading their SMU email for information regarding courses and registration. Bulletin boards are designated for specific purposes, i.e., Student Government activities, CNSA, and Financial Aid/Job Opportunities notices. Bulletin boards in the stairways and in the Peralta Pavilion Student Lounge are for students’ use to post any notices. Notices posted on walls, doors or other than on bulletin boards will be removed and discarded.  The University’s electronic bulletin boards also serve these purposes.

The university offers two commencement ceremonies each year. Students in good academic standing and with approval from their program director may walk in the commencement ceremony closest to their last semester for the following reasons:

  • A course (or courses are) is still In Progress or Incomplete and will be completed by the end of the semester following a commencement ceremony.
  • A student is in their last semester of a program that lands in or follows the date of a commencement ceremony.
    • For the time frame of January 1 through June 30, students will attend the spring commencement held in May.
    • For the time frame of July 1 through December 31, students will attend the fall commencement held in December.

*Participation in the commencement ceremony does not indicate graduation from the student’s program. Graduation and the conferring of degrees will occur after all program requirements have been successfully completed. Students are recommended to review departmental graduation criteria in their specific program policy handbooks.

It is the intent of Samuel Merritt University to comply with the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code, Sect. 101, et seq.).  The University directs faculty, staff, and students to refrain from copying copyrighted works unless the action is authorized by: (a) specific exemptions in the copyright law, (b) the principle of Fair Use, or (c) licenses or written permission from the copyright owner.

The Director of the John A. Graziano Memorial Library shall provide guidelines to ensure compliance with the law.

Vaccinations are recommended as a safety measure to help prevent serious illnesses, but SMU students and employees will no longer be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Students and employees are required to continue to comply with all other health and safety measures established by the University and the clinical/hospital settings as well as federal/state/local laws and regulations, as appropriate.

View the University's Free Assembly Policy.  

free_assembly_policy_.pdf(60.57 KB)


Fundraising by students must be for student-centered projects that are tied to education and/or student life such as ceremonies and learning experiences beyond the classroom.  Fundraising that benefits external non-profit organizations must be approved by the advisor to the student group and the Student Affairs Office.  When fundraising occurs through a third party or off University property, the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and the Student Affairs Office must approve the activity. These approvals must be in place a minimum of 30 days prior to the fundraising event.

Student organizations may engage in activities to raise funds for such things as class social events, ceremonies, conference fees, and scholarships.  

Other members of the Samuel Merritt University community, and off-campus groups may make arrangements with the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs to conduct charitable fundraising activities.


  1. All student fundraising events must be approved by a faculty or staff advisor. 

  2. The Student Affairs Office shall consult the Advancement Office to establish charitable intent, if needed.   

  3. All fundraising events to be held off campus must have special approval by the Vice President of Academic/Student Affairs and the Advancement Office. 

  4. Additional approvals may be required and if so, students will be informed by their event advisor. 

  5. If a student group wants donor contributions to be acknowledged: 

  • Contributions must come directly to the Advancement Office. Such checks need to be payable to Samuel Merritt University and have clear notation as to which student organization is the intended recipient. 

  • No goods or services are to be offered in exchange for or in recognition of contributions. 

  • The event/project must meet a charitable standard as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. Written IRS guidelines are available in the Advancement Office. 

Access to the University facilities is limited to current faculty, staff and students, and is maintained through swipe card access via campus identification badges.  Faculty, staff and students must wear their University ID (and campus identification badges if separate) while on campus and have it visible, above the waist, at all times.  During business hours, faculty, staff and students have access to University facilities via their swipe card.  During holidays, after business hours and weekends, access is limited or not permitted.  The Director of Facilities will provide updates prior to holidays on what access is available.  The University is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and special permission is required to be on campus during that time.

Please note that emergencies or extenuating circumstances may necessitate changes to any posted schedules.

Also please note that because the University shares facilities with various medical centers and office parks, some overlap of access by the public and medical center staff will happen.  In these areas, the public can use the space as a part of visiting the medical center, and the security team will take responsibility for security and access.

It is a violation to give an ID badge to another person for any reason.  Report lost badges immediately to Facilities.  The lost card will be deleted from the system and a new card will be issued.  There is a $5 charge for a new badge.  Please complete a New ID Request Form, which is available on the website, or in the badging office, 400 Hawthorne Avenue, #217.

Samuel Merritt University operates under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for the Protection of Human Research Subjects (Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46).   The Samuel Merritt University Institutional Review Board (SMUIRB) assumes full responsibility for review of research proposals involving human subjects and generated by Samuel Merritt University faculty, staff, and students.  The SMUIRB facilitates ethical research and ensures that research at SMU is conducted in full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of regulations designed to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects recruited to participate in research conducted under the auspices of SMU.  Operating Policies and Procedures for the Samuel Merritt University Institutional Review Board are available from the Institutional Review Board Administrator.


Students wishing to request consideration for which a specific petition process does not exist should file an Open Petition Request online.

The possession, sale, or the furnishing of alcohol on the University campus is governed by California state law.  Samuel Merritt University has been designated as “drug and alcohol free” and only under certain circumstances is the consumption of alcohol permitted.  The possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of any controlled substance is illegal under both state and federal laws.  Violators are subject to university disciplinary action, criminal prosecution, fine and imprisonment.  It is unlawful to sell, furnish or provide alcohol to a person under the age of 21.  The possession of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 in a public place or place open to the public is illegal.  It is also a violation of Samuel Merritt University policy for anyone to consume or possess alcohol in any public or private area of campus without prior University approval.

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) recognizes that many persons use first names other than their legal names to identify themselves.  As long as the use of this preferred first name does not violate the University’s codes of conduct and ethics, is not restricted by state or federal law, and does not have an impact on the ability of the University to comply with state or federal law, the University will use the "preferred first name" when possible in the course of University activities.


Therefore, it is the policy of the University that any current or former student may choose a preferred first name in addition to the legal name listed for that person within the University’s information systems.  The person's preferred first name shall be used in University communications and reporting, except where the use of the legal name is required (described below).

The University reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it is used improperly, such as, to avoid legal obligations or misrepresentation.

 Display of the Preferred First Name

Once established, the preferred name will be used throughout University systems, where possible.  The legal name will continue to be used for those University records, documents, and business processes where the use of the legal name is required by law or University policy.

 A student’s preferred name is used solely for SMU’s internal systems; external systems (such as licensure paperwork, official transcripts, enrollment verifications, timecards, etc.) will continue to use the student’s legal name.

Places Where the Preferred First Name is Used: 

  • ID Badge 

  • Email Account and Active Directory Authentication 

  • Canvas 

  • Directory Listing (unless a student has requested a FERPA Exclusion)

 Places Where the Legal First Name is Used: 

  • Background Check 

  • Financial Aid 

  • Responses to enrollment inquiries such as verification requests (unless a student has requested a FERPA Exclusion) 

  • Official Transcripts 

  • Licensure Paperwork

In consideration of the philosophical obligations inherent in being a University dedicated to the preparation of health care professionals and with concern for the effects of second-hand smoke, Samuel Merritt University is a non-smoking facility in all of its buildings and grounds.

Email is the official form of communication at the University, and students are required to access and manage their SMU email on a frequent and regular basis. Students are encouraged to communicate to SMU faculty and staff from their SMU email account. For help accessing email, students should contact the ITS Helpdesk by submitting a Helpdesk Ticket through TeamDynamix or send an email to  Submitting a ticket is the perferred method and will provide more expediant service. 

Students, alumni, and other members of the Samuel Merritt University community may make arrangements with the Office of the President to provide goods and services to the Samuel Merritt University community (e.g. symphony ticket sales). All solicitation and sales by non-campus individuals and groups must be registered and approved by the Office of the President.


Travel experiences are best undertaken by well-informed travelers. The University strongly encourages all students and faculty who are planning travel for educational or other purposes to review thoroughly the political, health, crime, and other safety-related conditions prevailing in any country or domestic locale to which travel is contemplated.  

Faculty participation is not required for student travel unless university credit is being awarded.  Since travel can present formidable logistical challenges, especially for the first time traveler to a remote destination, the University requires that students undertake travel as part of a recognized and experienced medical mission agency with well defined safety policies and procedures as well as relationships with local medical, social, housing authorities.  Agencies of this type include Global Medical Brigades, and the Center for Health Leadership and Practice.  If other similar groups are being considered, the University can assist in evaluating their services for approval.  If students choose to travel on their own, they cannot use the University’s name on materials, websites, fundraising posters, etc.  

All University students are responsible for their own safety when traveling.  SMU will not fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support travel to any country where the U.S. State Department has issued a warning that recommends U.S. citizens depart the country; advises U.S. citizens against all travel to the country; or recommends that U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to the country, or (very high) level threat. This restriction will apply through the date of departure. 

When applicable, all students must sign a Travel Abroad Release acknowledging their understanding of the risks of such travel, affirming that they have reviewed and understand relevant safety-related materials, and assume the risks related to their travel.  It is the responsibility of the student to submit the signed waiver to the program director/chair or dean who will, in turn submit the waiver to the Office of Academic Affairs.

What to do in an Emergency
If you encounter an emergency while traveling where serious injury or illness has occurred, immediately seek medical treatment at the closest medical facility. If medical service is not available, contact the nearest U.S. Consular service or Embassy.

Student Fundraising Associated with Your Trip

The University will not participate in any student travel fund-raising activity that is not sponsored by an approved group who provides students access to a modicum of safety related services such as health care and access to evacuation services.  Student fundraising, either through the University or approved sponsoring agency is managed by the Office of Development at the University.  Please refer to the Student Fundraising Policy.



Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and California Education Code, Section 66281.7. Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy, marital status, or parental status, is prohibited and illegal in admissions, educational programs and activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage. SMU hereby establishes a policy and associated procedures for ensuring the protection and equal treatment of pregnant individuals, persons with pregnancy- related conditions, and new parents.

Under the Department of Education's (DOE) Title IX regulations, an institution that receives federal funding "shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student's pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom." According to the DOE, appropriate treatment of a pregnant student includes granting the student leave "for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student's physician," and then effectively reinstating the student to the same status as was held when the leave began.

Students who are pregnant are entitled to accommodations and students with new babies, regardless of gender, are entitled to time away from school without penalty under Title IX and Cal. Ed. Code section 66281.7.

This generally means that pregnant students should be treated by SMU the same way as someone who has a temporary disability and will be given an opportunity to make up missed work wherever possible. Extended deadlines, make-up assignments (e.g., papers, quizzes, tests, and presentations), tutoring, independent study, online course completion options, and incomplete grades that can be completed at a later date, should all be employed, in addition to any other ergonomic and assistive supports typically provided by the Disability Resource Center. To the extent possible, SMU will take reasonable steps to ensure that pregnant students who take a leave of absence or medical leave return to the same position of academic progress that they were in when they took leave, including access to the same course catalog that was in place when the leave began. The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to determine that such accommodations are necessary and appropriate, and to inform faculty members of the need to adjust academic parameters accordingly.

As with disability accommodations, information about pregnant students' requests for accommodations will be shared with faculty and staff only to the extent necessary to provide the reasonable accommodation. Faculty and staff will regard all information associated with such requests as private and will not disclose this information unless necessary. Administrative responsibility for these accommodations lies with the Title IX Coordinator, who will maintain all appropriate documentation related to accommodations.

In situations such as clinical rotations, labs, and group work, the institution will work with the student to devise an alternative path to completion, if possible. All SMU programs are cohort-model programs, and leaves under this policy will lead to a student joining a subsequent cohort when returning from leave.

Students are encouraged to work with their faculty members and SMU's support systems to devise a plan for how to best address the conditions as pregnancy progresses, anticipate the need for leaves, minimize the academic impact of their absence, and get back on track as efficiently and comfortably as possible. The Title IX Coordinator will assist with plan development and implementation as needed.

Students who are pregnant should consult their doctors. Some of the potential exposures as a student, particularly in the anatomy lab or certain clinical environments, could be dangerous. Courses involving labs with equipment/supplies that could be hazardous to students should include a disclaimer on the syllabus that if they are or plan to become pregnant, they should consult their medical provider.


This policy applies to all aspects of SMU's programs, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs and activities, extracurricular activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage.


  1. Caretaking: caring for and providing for the needs of a child.
  2. Medical Necessity: a determination made by a health care provider (of the student's choosing) that a certain course of action is in the patient's best health interests.
  3. Parenting: the raising of a child by the child's parents in the reasonably immediate post-partum period.
  4. Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Related Conditions: include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions.
  5. Pregnancy Discrimination: includes treating an individual affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition less favorably than similar individuals not so affected and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.
  6. Pregnant Student/Birth-Parent: refers to the student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons, regardless of gender identity or expression.
  7. Reasonable Accommodations: (for the purposes of this policy) changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enables pregnant students or students with pregnancy-related conditions to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy the equal benefits of SMU.


  1. SMU and its faculty, staff, and other employees will not require students to limit their studies as the result of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
  2. The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy will be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
  3. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any student with a short-term or temporary disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodations so that they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research and may seek assistance from the Title IX office.
  4. No artificial deadlines or time limitations will be imposed on requests for accommodations, but SMU is limited in its ability to impact or implement accommodations retroactively.
  5. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  6. Providing accommodations requested by a pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and/or the pregnancy (such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances);
  7. Making modifications to the physical environment (such as accessible seating);
  8. Providing mobility support;
  9. Extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences;
  10. Offering remote learning options;
  11. Excusing medically-necessary absences (this must be granted, irrespective of classroom attendance requirements set by a faculty member, department, or program);
  12. Granting leave per SMU's leave policy or implementing incomplete grades for classes that will be resumed at a future date; or
  13. Allowing breastfeeding students reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement.

Nothing in this policy requires modification to the essential elements of any academic program. Pregnant students cannot be channeled into an alternative program against their wishes.


  1. Students with child caretaking/parenting responsibilities who wish to remain engaged in their coursework while adjusting their academic responsibilities because of the birth or adoption of a child or placement of a foster child may request an academic modification period during the first two (2) months from the time the child entered the home. Extensions may be granted when additional time is required by medical necessity or extraordinary caretaking/parenting responsibilities.
  2. During the modification period, the student's academic requirements will be adjusted, and deadlines postponed as appropriate, in collaboration among the Title IX office, the student's program chair or director, and academic advisor (if appropriate).
  3. Students seeking a period of modified academic responsibilities may consult with their program chair or director or with the Title IX office to determine appropriate academic accommodations requests. The Title IX office will communicate all requests under this policy to students' academic advisors and coordinate accommodation-related efforts with the advisors unless the students specifically requests that their advisors be excluded. Students are encouraged to work with their faculty members and program chair or director to reschedule course assignments, lab hours, examinations, or other requirements, and/or to reduce their overall course load, as appropriate, once authorization is received from the Title IX office. If, for any reason, caretaking/parenting students are not able to work with their advisors/faculty members to obtain appropriate modifications, students should alert the Title IX office as soon as possible, and the office will help facilitate needed accommodations and modifications.
  4. Students can request modified academic responsibilities under this policy regardless of whether they elect to take a leave of absence.
  5. While receiving academic modifications, students will remain registered and retain benefits accordingly.


  1. As long as students can maintain appropriate academic progress, faculty, staff, or other SMU employees will not require them to take a leave of absence, or withdraw from or limit their studies as the result of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, but nothing in this policy requires modification of the essential elements of any academic program.
  2. Enrolled students may elect to take a leave of absence for up to one (1) year because of pregnancy and/or the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. The leave term may be extended in the case of extenuating circumstances or medical necessity.
  3. Students taking a leave of absence under this policy will provide notice of the intent to take leave 30 calendar days prior to the initiation of leave, or as soon as practicable.
  4. Intermittent leave may be taken with the advance approval of the Title IX office and students' academic department(s), when medically necessary.
  5. Students who elect to take leave under this policy can elect to keep their health insurance coverage, subject to the payment of applicable fees, access campus and campus services (counseling, library support, etc.).
  6. To the extent possible, SMU will take reasonable steps to ensure that upon return from leave, students will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began, with no tuition penalty.
  7. There may be impact on financial aid, and the continuation of students' scholarship, fellowship, or similar SMU-sponsored funding during and after the leave term will depend on the students' registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status. Students should consult with the financial aid office regarding possible impact. Students will not be negatively impacted by or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship, fellowship, or similar SMU-supported funding by exercising their rights under this policy.
  8. The Title IX office can and will advocate for students with respect to financial aid agencies and external scholarship providers in the event that a leave of absence places eligibility into question.


  1. Harassment of any member of the SMU community based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, or parental status is prohibited.
  2. Faculty, staff, and other SMU employees are prohibited from interfering with students' right to take leave, seek reasonable accommodation, or otherwise exercise their rights under this policy.
  3. Faculty, staff, and other SMU employees are prohibited from retaliating against students for exercising the rights articulated by this policy, including imposing or threatening to impose negative educational outcomes because students request leave or accommodation, file a complaint, or otherwise exercise their rights under this policy.


Reporting: Any member of the SMU community may report a violation of this policy to any supervisor, manager, or to the Title IX Coordinator. All mandated reporters are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX office. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing complaints of discrimination involving pregnant and parenting students.

Inquiries about this policy and procedure may be made internally to:

Samuel Merritt University Title IX Coordinator

Maria Salas

Director of Wellness and Benefits, Office of People and Culture

Samuel Merritt University

3100 Telegraph Avenue

Oakland, CA 94609

510.879.9200 x 7993 


Inquiries may be made externally to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-1100

Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481

Facsimile: (202) 453-6012

TDD#: (877) 521-2172




San Francisco Office

U.S. Department of Education

50 Beale Street, Suite 7200

San Francisco, CA 94105-1813

Telephone: (415) 486-5555

Facsimile: (415) 486-5570


Complaints may be filed online, using the form available, at

Policy Overview

This policy sets forth University’s obligations under the 2020 Title IX Regulations. This policy also includes University’s obligations under the 2013 Clery Amendments pertaining to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Our Title IX Coordinator is:

Maria Salas
510-879-9200 Ext. 7339
450 30th St. Suite 2800
Oakland, CA 94609

Questions about Title IX may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator or to the assistant secretary for civil rights:

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

Any person may report conduct prohibited by this policy to the Title IX Coordinator or to Samuel Merritt University’s President. A complaint about the Title IX Coordinator may be made to Samuel Merritt University’s President.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities, including employment and admission. Complaints of discrimination based on sex will be handled under Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.


This policy applies to all persons who experience prohibited sexual harassment in University’s education programs or activities subject to the jurisdictional requirements of this policy described below. This includes locations, events, or circumstances over which University exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by university. University has other policies and procedures that may be applicable if the conduct does not meet the definition of prohibited sexual harassment under this policy or otherwise fall within the scope of this policy. Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.

The entirely of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy can be reviewed at the Title IX webpage.

In the interest of the safety and security of all faculty, staff, students, guests and visitors to the University, and in maintaining compliance with applicable Penal and Education Codes, the possession of:

1. firearms

2. weapons

3. any device, instrument, or item deemed to be a firearm or weapon or used in a threatening manner

4. fireworks and other devices of an explosive nature

is strictly prohibited on the Samuel Merritt University and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center properties.  Exceptions to this policy are members of federal, state, county, and local agencies authorized by specific law to possess firearms/weapons in the performance of their duties.  Persons found guilty of violating this policy are subject to suspension or dismissal from the University.