STUDENT HANDBOOK: Community Standards

Bennington College was founded on the principle that intellectual development cannot and should not be isolated from the development of the whole person. The College seeks to educate that whole person as a member of a community – a community with a particular ethos. 

A collective challenge is to navigate the inherent tension between individual freedom and general community well-being in our self-governing model. As the Bennington commencement statement reminds us, “Student freedom is not the absence of restraint, however; it is rather the fullest possible substitution of habits of self-restraint for restraint imposed by others.”

Bennington’s Community Standards assist in structuring and striving toward “creative and constructive membership in modern society.” These standards support the practice of conscious citizenship, through the cultivation of self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and communication capacities. It is through conscious engagement with and upon our choices, inside and outside of the classroom, that we chart our paths, defining and redefining who we want to be individually and as a community.

As members of the College community, we are expected to behave in a manner that supports the health, safety, and general well-being of both ourselves and of others. Everything follows from this.

The basic elements of the student conduct standards are described below, as are the student conduct procedures that the College adheres to when the standards, and indeed the ethos of the institution, have been breached. Students are hereby made aware that by enrolling in Bennington College they automatically accept its regulations and acknowledge the right of the College to take appropriate action when, in the opinion of the College, the behavior of students threatens, disrupts, or endangers the health, safety, or well-being of the College community or of any person, including the student themselves, or whose behavior has resulted in damage to, or destruction of, College property, and/or violated College policy.

The College’s Student Conduct Standards and Processes applies to conduct that occurs on or off the Bennington College Campus. All students are responsible for their conduct from the time of admission through the actual awarding of a degree, regardless of whether the conduct occurs before classes begin or after classes end (and even if their conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded).