Student Conduct Procedures

STUDENT HANDBOOK: Community Standards

The Provost and Dean of the College oversees the administration of all College rules, regulations, and policies as they apply to students. The Director of Campus Safety and the Associate Dean of Student Life are responsible for administering the standards of student conduct. Students are urged to report violations or potential violations of student conduct standards directly to one of them.

Director of Campus Safety

The Director of Campus Safety has primary responsibility for administering traffic and parking rules, guest and pet policies, and fire and life safety regulations, and also has the responsibility for investigating other violations and for reporting violations to the Associate Dean of Student Life and other relevant staff.

Associate Dean of Student Life

Violations of the Student Conduct Standards, regulations, and policies are referred to the Associate Dean of Student Life. The Associate Dean, or designee, will review any alleged violations and may:

  • Handle the matter administratively (i.e., adjudicate the matter themself, and impose any sanction(s) for any offense as he or she deems appropriate)

  • Refer the matter to the Judicial Committee for adjudication

  • Refer the matter to the Administrative Review Committee for adjudication

  • Refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator

The Associate Dean of Student Life, in consultation with the Provost and Dean of the College (or designee) and the Dean of Students, is authorized to determine which committee hears each referred matter on a case-by-case basis. The student’s advisor, any other appropriate College officials, and the student’s parents, may be notified of any violations and sanctions that are determined.

Note:

  • Complaints and reports involving sexual harassment; sexual misconduct, stalking or domestic violence must be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and pursued under the College’s Sexual Harassment Policy.

  • Suspension and expulsion may not be imposed as sanctions in cases handled administratively, except for immediate, interim suspensions (discussed below).

  • In certain circumstances, the Associate Dean of Student Life, or designee, may refer a case to the Provost and Dean of the College, or designee, who may impose penalties without hearing, when the Provost and Dean, or designee, has determined that the best interests of the College, its students, or employees warrant such action. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, cases of disruption of the ongoing academic responsibilities of the College, physical violence or serious threats to the physical or mental health of any member of the community, or other serious emergencies. The Provost and Dean, or designee, may take any action that he or she deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, immediate suspension from the College. The student(s) must comply with the terms of the suspension until the Administrative Review Committee has heard and determined the case, or until the Provost and Dean, or designee, determines that the reason for imposing the interim suspension no longer exists.

The Judicial Committee

The Judicial Committee consists of selected and trained members of the student body, faculty, and staff from which three to five members are designated by the Associate Dean of Student Life, or designee, to determine individual cases. A member of the Office of Student Life staffs the committee, but does not serve as a member of the committee.

Members will be excused from a hearing if a conflict or potential conflict of interest exists whenever possible, and the committee may proceed with the remaining members to which the Associate Dean of Student Life, or designee, may or may not designate substitutions. Current members of the Judicial Committee can be found on the Bennington College website.

The Administrative Review Committee

The Administrative Review Committee normally consists of three senior members of the administration, including the Dean of Students who serves as chair. In cases in which a member of the Committee is unable to participate (for example, if a conflict or potential conflict of interest exists), the Dean of Students will appoint a substitute member of the committee.

Procedures for the Judicial Committee

  • Pre-Hearing meeting. When possible, the Associate Dean of Student Life, or designee, will meet with the student charged to review the charges, the hearing process and answer any questions prior to the scheduled hearing.

  • Hearing procedures. The staff member convenes the committee and provides the student a copy of the allegations and charges. The student charged will be offered the opportunity to present an oral or written statement and the committee will have the opportunity to ask questions. The student charged will be given the opportunity to make a closing statement. This will conclude the hearing and the Committee will move into the deliberation phase.

Procedures for the Judicial and Administrative Review Committees (excluding appeals)

  • Pre-Hearing meeting. When possible, the Associate Dean of Student Life, or designee, will meet with the student charged to review the charges, the hearing process and answer any questions prior to the scheduled hearing.

  • Hearing procedures. The chair of the committee presides. The student charged will be offered the opportunity to present an oral or written statement and the committee will have the opportunity to ask questions The student charged will be offered the opportunity to present witnesses. The names of witnesses will need to be submitted in accordance with the timeline set in the hearing notification letter. The chair will determine whether it is necessary to hear from and/or question particular witnesses. The student charged must submit questions the student may have for witnesses, in writing, to the chair in advance of the hearing. Those questions will be asked by the chair at their sole discretion. The student charged will be given the opportunity to make a closing statement. This will conclude the hearing and the Committee will move into the deliberation phase.

Note:

  • The student charged may bring one member of the College community (i.e., a current student or faculty/staff member) to the hearing for support. Such support person in no case may be legal counsel, and may not participate directly in the hearing.

  • Hearings will not be open to the public and may not be recorded.

  • The committee has the authority to impose any sanction(s) for any offense as it deems appropriate.

  • If the student charged, after reasonable notification, fails to appear without prior written authorization of the chair, the student waives the right to appear and the hearing will proceed as scheduled. The committee may formulate its own rules and procedures insofar as they are not specified in this Policy. Hearings are not intended to mimic formal legal proceedings, and rules of process, procedure, and/or evidence, such as those applied in criminal and civil courts, will not apply.

  • Notice of decision. A written notification of the committee’s decision will be issued to the student. The notice will be given in person when possible. The student’s advisor, any other appropriate College officials, and the student’s parents, may be notified of any violations that are determined and any sanctions imposed by the committee.

Judicial and Administrative Review Committee Decision Appeals Processes

All appeals of Judicial Committee decisions and all appeals of disciplinary decisions rendered administratively must be made in writing within four business days of the decision to the Associate Dean of Student Life, or if the Associate Dean is involved in the hearing, to the Dean of Students.

All appeals of Administrative Review Committee decisions must be made in writing within four business days of the decision to the Provost and Dean of the College or designee.

Appeals of disciplinary decisions may be made only on the following grounds:

  • To consider new information, sufficient to alter the decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original proceeding, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original proceeding

  • Violations of hearing procedure that had a significant effect on the outcomes

  • Appeals of the sanctions imposed

  • The appeal officer may, at their sole discretion, affirm, set aside, or modify (increase, decrease, or otherwise change) the original disciplinary decision and/or the sanction(s) imposed, or may return the matter to the Associate Dean of Student Life  or committee for reconsideration of the original decision and/or sanctions.

The appeal officers have sole discretion for determining the manner in which any such decisions are reviewed, and their decisions are final.

Sanctions

Sanctions for violations of College policy may include, but are not limited to, the following, which may be imposed in any order, separately or in combination: written warning or reprimand; housing probation, housing reassignment, housing suspension or permanent removal from housing (these can be issued as immediate or deferred status); disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion (these can be immediate or deferred status); restitution, restoration, or fines; revocation of admission; and withholding or revocation of degree.

Repeated violations are likely to result in an increased level of sanction.

Note:

  • Students who are suspended (including temporary, interim suspensions) or expelled from the College at any time during the term will be responsible for the total College charges for that term. The College will not be responsible for any costs incurred due to such action.

  • Students suspended (including temporary, interim suspensions) or expelled from College housing at any time during the term will be responsible for that term’s total charges for room and board. The College will not be responsible for any costs incurred due to such action.

  • Unpaid fines, restoration costs, or restitution will be added to the student’s bill and become part of the student’s financial obligation to the College.

  • Suspension and expulsions from the College are effective immediately and are in effect during the appeal period.  As such, students are not permitted to attend classes, remain on-campus, or reside in campus housing once this sanction is issued.