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.
The sustenance of the Bennington College ethos, so eloquently described in the traditional commencement statement, is the result of our collective choices and behaviors. This is, after all, one of the central reasons you have chosen to participate in the Bennington “experiment,” which requires active participation to develop “habits of self-restraint” in lieu of limitations imposed by the institution.
In the effort to honor this principle, we have chosen not to present here an exhaustive list of harmful and unhealthy behaviors and their accompanying punishments. Rather, we remind you—and each other—why we are here: to learn and to grow, and to support each other in doing so. As members of the College community, we are therefore 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 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 students themselves, or whose behavior has resulted in damage to, or destruction of, College property, and/or violated College policy.
Student Conduct Procedures
The Dean students 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 director of community standards are responsible for administering the standards of student conduct. 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 director of community standards. Violations of the Student Conduct Standards, regulations, and policies are normally referred by the Student Conduct Committee to the director of community standards.
The Director of Community standards, or designee, will review any alleged violations and may, normally in consultation with the Student Conduct Committee:
- Invite the student for a conversation about the violation
- Handle the matter administratively (i.e., adjudicate the matter him or herself, and impose any sanction(s) for any offense as he or she deems appropriate); the student has the right to appeal should they so choose;
- Refer the matter to the Judicial Committee for adjudication; or,
- Refer the matter to Restorative Justice; or,
- Refer the matter to Mediation; or,
- Refer the matter to the Administrative Review Committee for adjudication.
(Please note that complaints and reports involving sexual harassment must be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and pursued under the College’s Sexual Harassment Policy.)
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 director of community standards and other relevant staff.
Director of Community Standards
The Director of Community Standards is responsible for administering the standards of student conduct. Violations of the Student Conduct Standards, regulations, and policies are referred to the director of Community Standards.
Student Conduct Committee
The Student Conduct Committee is comprised of the dean of students, the director of community standards, and the offices of campus safety, student life, psych services, and academic services. This committee hears reports from the office of campus safety about violations of community standards and determines outcomes of those violations.
Student Conduct Standards
The College’s Student Conduct Standards (and attendant Disciplinary Process) 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).
The following actions by students violate College standards of conduct, as do attempts to commit, or assistance in or facilitation of the commission of, any of these acts.
1. Violence. Causing physical harm or the reasonable apprehension of harm to another person on or off campus.
2. Harassment, abuse, coercion, or injurious conduct, including but not limited to hazing in any form. Physical or verbal abuse or threatening or intimidating behavior of any sort, including not only direct threats of any kind, but also psychological and sexual harassment.
3. Disruptive conduct. Behavior that, in the opinion of the College or any of its disciplinary officers or agencies, is disruptive to the processes or operations of the College or that interferes with its ability to carry out its functions or provide its members with services.
4. Unauthorized entry. Unauthorized entry into a private room, office, studio or other College space, or an electronic account, without having gained proper permission in advance. This also includes the unauthorized possession, duplication, or use of College keys, or tampering with College locks.
5. Theft. Theft or misappropriation of property and/or services (electronic or otherwise) of another person or of the College.
6. Fraud or otherwise providing false, inaccurate, or misleading information to a College faculty member or official.
7. Malicious mischief/vandalism. The intentional or negligent destruction, defacement, or alteration of property belonging to the College or another person. This also includes property stored electronically.
8. Endangering behavior. Behavior that, in the opinion of the College or any of its disciplinary officers or agencies, endangers the health and safety of oneself or others.
9. Unauthorized recording. The recording or photographing of an individual or group’s proceedings, performances, classes, lectures, programs, workshops, or other similar events without the specific authorization of the sponsoring individual, organization, faculty member, speaker, or other party related to the event.
10. Violation of law. Violation of local, state, or federal law. Violation of the law may subject an individual to separate disciplinary action at the College.
11. Failure to respond. Failure to respond to or comply with an instruction or request from a College official, faculty member, or any other College staff member.
12. Failure to comply. Failure to comply with, or the violation of, any College policy or rule.
13. Violation of sanction. Violation of, or failure to fulfill or comply with, any sanction imposed by the College.
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, reassignment, suspension or expulsion; disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion; restitution, restoration, or fines; mandatory counseling, testing, or assessment; community service; revocation of admission; and withholding or revocation of degree. Repeated violations are likely to result in progressively severe sanctions.
- 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. Student Conduct Standards.
Judicial & Restorative Justice
More information on Judicial and Restorative Justice practices at Bennington College, can be found here.