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V. Prohibited Conduct
VI. Student Conduct System
VII. Interim Administrative Action
VIII. Maintenance and Review of Community Standard File
IX. Interpretation and Revision
Wheaton College is dedicated to fostering a living and learning environment that promotes discussion and collaboration between and among its community members – an environment that empowers and enriches every student. The students of Wheaton College developed an Honor Code which has created an ethos of mutually shared respect and offers individual freedom to explore interests and learn in an open and collaborative environment. The Community Standards have been formulated to reaffirm those ideals and principles encompassed in the Wheaton College Honor Code. Specifically:
As members of the Wheaton community, we commit ourselves to act honestly, responsibly, and above all, with honor and integrity in all areas of campus life. We are accountable for all that we say and write. We are responsible for the academic integrity of our work. We pledge that we will not misrepresent our work nor give or receive unauthorized aid. We commit ourselves to behave in a manner which demonstrates concern for the personal dignity, rights and freedoms of all members of the community. We are respectful of college property and the property of others. We will not tolerate a lack of respect for these values.
As Wheaton’s Honor Code mandates, all members of the Wheaton community are expected to behave in ways which demonstrate care and respect for the personal dignity, rights, and freedoms of all members of the community, and to demonstrate care and respect for College property and the property of others. As members of the Wheaton community, we all share responsibility for safeguarding the rights and freedoms of other members and for maintaining community standards. Specifically, these shared expectations and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- To observe the Honor Code and Community Standards and to comply with appropriate requests and to adhere to them;
- To accept responsibility for and monitor the behavior of guests and visitors; and
- To address violations of the Honor Code and Community Standards.
Wheaton College assumes that students are adults and responsible for their own conduct. The fact that the College takes proactive steps to address violations, actions, or activities that may pose a risk to the well-being of the community does not absolve students from taking responsibility for their own behavior. As such, students and student organizations, teams, and groups who breach the trust and values of the Honor Code shall be held accountable for their actions. This document, known as the Community Standards, defines the rights and responsibilities of students and provides a process for responding to allegations of student misconduct in a way that accords with the values of the College.
Any behavior that adversely affects the College community or the pursuit of its objectives or calls into question the suitability of a student as a member of the Wheaton College community is subject to the College’s Student Conduct Process. All matriculated students at Wheaton College are considered members of the Wheaton community and therefore must adhere to the Honor Code and Community Standards.
- Each student shall be responsible for their conduct from the time of admission through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment (and even if their conduct is not discovered until after a degree is awarded). The Community Standards shall apply to a student’s conduct even if the student withdraws from the College while a Community Standards matter is pending.
- Each Student Organization may be held responsible for the conduct of any of its members or guests in addition to any sanctions received by any student member in their individual capacity.
- Generally, College jurisdiction shall be limited to conduct that occurs on or about College premises or in connection with College-sponsored, College-supervised or College-affiliated events, programs, and activities (including students involved with off-campus internships, study abroad programs, and recognized or unrecognized Student Organizations). However, the College may apply the Community Standards to students, Student Organizations, and unrecognized Student Organizations whose misconduct may have an adverse impact on the College, members of the College community, and/or the pursuit of College objectives regardless of where such conduct may occur.
- Student Conduct proceedings may be initiated against a student or Student Organization charged with conduct that potentially violates both the criminal law and Community Standards (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. Proceedings under the Community Standards may be carried out prior to or simultaneously with civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA), or Designee. The College cooperates with law enforcement, or other agencies, in the enforcement of laws on campus and in regards to its students. This includes providing information requested by subpoena or as otherwise permitted by law.Determinations made or sanctions imposed under the Community Standards shall not be subject to change because criminal charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of college rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant.
- Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct, including but not limited to, sexual assault and sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and gender-based harassment are prohibited by the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and are adjudicated under those procedures.
- Violations involving Academic violations of the Honor Code will be adjudicated under the procedures set out in the Faculty Handbook.
- Generally, the influence of drugs and/or alcohol on a student’s judgment or behavior will not be accepted as a mitigating factor with respect to the resolution of an act of misconduct.
- Students are responsible for the consequences of their actions even when the conduct may have been influenced by their physical or emotional state (irrespective of any medical of clinical diagnoses). Students seeking an accommodation are encouraged to review Section VI.3.I: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities of this document for additional information.
- Students are responsible for the contents of their rooms, cars, lockers, or person regardless of claims of personal ownership. Students may also be held responsible for shared common areas.
- Students and Student Organizations are responsible for the conduct of their guests and should be with guests at all times. Guests may be removed from the College at the discretion of Public Safety.
- If an incident report involves more than one charged student, or if there is more than one incident involving the same student, the VPSA, or designee, in their discretion, may determine whether an Administrative Hearing concerning each incident will be conducted either separately or jointly.
- Student Organizations
- Student organizations may be held accountable under the Community Standards for the Student Organization’s misconduct and/or for the misconduct of any one or more of its leaders, members, guests, or other representatives.
- The Student Organization must designate one Student Organization Representative by written notice to the VPSA or designee within 3 days of being sent notice of alleged violations of the Community Standards. The Student Organization Representative will represent the Student Organization during the student conduct process.
- Review of allegations of misconduct of individual student members will be determined under the Community Standards prior to determination of Student Organization alleged violations.
- Student Organizations are prohibited from conducting their own disciplinary proceedings prior to resolution of alleged violations of the Community Standards.
- Nothing in the Community Standards shall preclude holding students who are members of a Student Organization responsible for their individual violations of the Community Standards committed in the context of or in association with the Student Organization’s alleged violation of the Community Standards. Both the Student Organization and individual students may be found responsible for violations of the Community Standards in connection with the same behavior.
- The Student Organization Representative is required to notify the advisor of Student Organization of any alleged violations of the Community Standards and any sanctions imposed.
- Parental Notification.
As permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the College may notify parents/guardians when students under the age of 21 have been found responsible for violating the College’s alcohol or drug policies.
- Inter-departmental Notification.
As permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the VPSA may notify other College officials with a legitimate educational interest. Therefore, the VPSA may notify other offices and departments, including but not limited to, Athletics, SAIL, Academic Advising, and Global Education in situations with potential impact on a student’s ability to continue their education at Wheaton College.
Administrative Hearing. A formal meeting between a Respondent and a Conduct Officer, to determine if a violation of the Honor Code or Community Standards has occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence.
Advisor. Any person who accompanies a respondent or a complainant, for the limited purpose of providing support and guidance. An advisor of your choice may not directly address the Conduct Officer or Appellate Officer question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the Community Standards process. Typically, requests to change proposed meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s schedule will not be considered.
Appellate Officer. The Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee.
Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct. Person designated by the VPSA to be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the Student Conduct Process.
Business Day. Any day, Monday through Friday, that the College is open.
Conduct Officer. A College official designated by the VPSA or designee, to facilitate an Administrative Hearing, determine responsibility of alleged violations of the College’s Community Standards and impose sanctions.
College. Wheaton College.
College Official. Any person authorized by the College to perform administrative, instructional, or professional duties.
College Hearing Board. A board comprised of students and faculty to adjudicate alleged violations of the Honor Code assigned by the VPSA.
College Premises. All land, building, facilities, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the College.
Community Member. Any student, faculty, College official, alumni, or any other person employed by the College. The VPSA, or designee, will determine a person’s status.
Community Standards File. Any printed/written/electronic file which may include but is not limited to incident report(s), correspondence, academic transcript, witness statements, and student conduct history.
Complainant. The College or any individual who believes they experienced a violation of the policies outlined in the Honor Code and/or Community Standards and becomes a party to the student conduct process.
Designee. A staff or faculty member who is responsible for implementing the student conduct process or administering the Community Standards system, in part or in whole, at the direction of the VPSA, or other College official.
Disciplinary Hold. An administrative hold placed on a student’s record or on a Student Organization’s activities or privileges when the student or Student Organization Representative does not respond to the request of a College official to attend an Administrative Hearing, has not completed an assigned sanction, or, with respect to a student, has withdrawn from the College while a conduct matter is pending.
Guest. A non-student who is an associate or invitee of a student and/or Student Organization.
Honor Code. The Honor Code serves as an ethos of understanding on how the Wheaton College community should act in all areas of campus life.
Incident Report. A written summary of an incident.
Interim Action. Non-disciplinary, immediate action taken by the College to protect its community when there is information to indicate that alleged behavior is threatening the health or well-being of a community member or the community at large. Interim decisions may include but are not limited to, an Order of No Contact, interim restrictions, removal from campus, relocation within the residential system, etc.
May. A term that is used in the permissive sense.
Preponderance of the Evidence. Determinations of responsible or not responsible are based on the preponderance of evidence (i.e., “more likely than not”), either through an Administrative Hearing or the College Hearing Board.
Public Safety. Responsible for the general safety of the Wheaton community. More information can be found on the Public Safety website.
Respondent. A student alleged to have violated the Honor Code and/or Community Standards and who becomes a party to the student conduct process.
Shall and Will. Words that are used in the imperative sense.
Safety Always Matters Most (SAMM). Student health and safety is a responsibility shared by all members of the Wheaton community and it is our obligation to act with care and respect for each other. Students who seek appropriate medical aid due to an incident of intoxication (alcohol or other intoxicants) either for themselves or for other students generally will not be subject to disciplinary action through the Student Conduct Process.
Sanction(s). Assigned outcomes that a Respondent must abide by and/or complete when found responsible for violating the Honor Code and/or Community Standards.
Student. Any person who has been admitted to, registered or enrolled in, or attends, attended or attending the College, any College course, or College conducted program.
Student Organization. An association or group of persons, including, but not limited to, any student organization, team or club, that has complied with the formal requirements for College recognition or are recognized by the College.
Witness. Any person with knowledge of an alleged violation of the Honor Code and or Community Standards and may become a party of the student conduct process.
V. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
The following list of behaviors is intended to represent the types of acts that constitute violations of The Student Code. Although the list is extensive, it should not be regarded as all-inclusive. All community members are responsible for knowing and observing all Policies.
1.0 Abuse of Student Conduct System
Abuse of the College Student Conduct Process and Community Standards system, including, but not limited to:
- 1.1 Disruption or interference with the orderly conduct of a Community Standards proceeding.
- 1.2 Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information to a Administrative Hearing officer or the College Hearing Board.
- 1.3 Influencing or attempting to influence another person to commit an abuse of the Community Standards system.
- 1.4 Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the Community Standards system.
- 1.5 Attempting to intimidate or retaliate against a member of a review body, a complainant, respondent or witness, prior to, during, and/or after a Community Standards proceeding.
- 1.6 Institution of a Community Standards code proceeding in bad faith.
- 1.7 Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under the Community Standards.
2.0 Academic Policies
Students are expected to maintain high standards of integrity in their academic work and comply with the College’s Honor Code and Plagiarism Policy.
3.0 Acceptable Data/Network Use
Students are expected to maintain appropriate use of the Wheaton College campus data network, including in-room connection services in all residence halls, computer systems, and other electronic services, in compliance with all College, Town, County, State, and Federal laws and regulations. For further information, see the Student Acceptable Use Policy.
Students are expected to abide by the College’s Alcohol Policy. Specific violations include:
- 4.1 Persons under 21 years of age may not possess or consume alcohol.
- 4.2 Persons under 21 years of age will be held accountable for alcohol possessed or consumed in their room by other of-age or under-age students.
- 4.3 Persons 21 years of age or older may possess or consume alcohol in private spaces.
- 4.4. Persons 21 years of age or older may possess or consume alcohol in designated common spaces, but may only do so during events registered for alcohol. However, at these events, persons 21 years of age or older may only possess or consume alcohol that was registered and provided by the event hosts.
- 4.5 Persons 21 years of age or older are prohibited from purchasing alcoholic beverages for or distributing alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age.
- 4.6 No person may provide or distribute alcohol to persons who are intoxicated
- 4.7 No person may possess a common source* of alcohol unless it has been approved as part of a registered event in a designated space.
- 4.8 No person may use funnels or play drinking games, with or without alcohol.
- 4.9 Public intoxication and any problematic behavior is not permitted.
Students are prohibited from having pets for the safety, health and well-being of all residents, in all college residence halls and houses with the exception of small fish (in no more than a 10-gallon tank) and approved service/assistance animals as outlined by the Service and Assistance Animals Policy.
6.0 College Policies
Violation of any published college policies or rules whether or not specifically listed in the Community Standards.
Students are prohibited from, through actions or inactions, assisting, facilitating, or encouraging others to violate the Honor Code and/or Community Standards.
8.0 Damage and Destruction
Students are prohibited from intentional or unintended, reckless and/or unauthorized use of or damage to or destruction of College property or the personal property of another community member.
9.0 Disruptive Behavior
Disruptions of College operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other College activities, and/or other authorized non-College activities which occur on campus. This can include but is not limited to classroom or community disruptions (e.g., classroom outbursts, unreasonable noise, large parties, rude and abusive language or behavior).
Students are expected to abide by the College’s Drug Policy. In addition to the Drug Policy, misuse of medication or prescription drugs, including opiates/pain-killers and other psychoactive drugs, is prohibited. This includes taking medication or prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you, taking more than the recommended dose, sharing prescriptions, or the use of prescriptions for a reason other than the intended use.
While Massachusetts state law permits the use of medical and recreational marijuana, federal law prohibits marijuana use, possession, distribution, and/or cultivation at educational institutions. Therefore, the use, possession, distribution, or cultivation of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is not allowed in any Wheaton College residence hall or on any other premises; nor is it allowed at any College-sponsored event or activity off campus or any Student Organization event or activity. Anyone who possesses or uses marijuana at any College premises may be subject to civil citation, state or federal prosecution, and College discipline. In addition, no accommodations will be made for any student in possession of a medical marijuana registration card except that Wheaton College may release students from their occupancy license if approved as a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability requiring use or possession of marijuana for medical purposes.
11.0 Failure to Comply
Students are expected to comply with all Community Standards, and College officials (e.g., Residential Life staff, Public Safety, Faculty etc.) acting in their duties. Additionally, students are required to complete all sanctions issued as a part of the conduct process, and on their respected deadlines.
12.0 False reporting
False reporting of fire, bombs, or other emergency situations.
Knowingly furnishing or possessing false information or forged materials, documents, records, instruments, or identification.
14.0 Fire Safety
Students are expected to abide by the Fire Safety Regulations and Prevention policy, specifically:
- 14.1 The burning of incense, candles, sterno, kerosene or oil lamps, and use of non-safety matches is prohibited, even during a loss of electrical power. Even if unlit, these items are prohibited because they pose a potential serious fire hazard. Flashlights should be kept available for emergencies to augment emergency hall lighting. Light duty extension cords are prohibited (only UL approved heavy gauge extension cords with 3 prong connections are permitted).
- 14. 2 State regulations require any residence hall curtains or draperies to be of fiberglass or other non-combustible material and that upholstered furniture be flame-retardant. Mattress pads with exposed foam, commonly in an “egg shape” are prohibited.
- 14.3 Appliances such as hot plates, immersion heaters, electric space heaters, or any appliances with open heating elements are not permitted. Irons may only be used in laundry rooms. Cooking in student rooms is prohibited.
- 14.4 Halogen lamps are prohibited.
- 14.5 The use of paper or other flammable items as decorations is forbidden around lighting fixtures, exit signs, on hall doors or ceilings of rooms.
- 14.6 Smoke detectors, located in each room, should not be covered or otherwise obstructed with any type of cloth or other decorative material.
- 14.7 The use of live Christmas trees is prohibited. Caution should be used with any other holiday decorations. No string lights: wall coverings cannot exceed 25% of total wall surface (per wall); no items hanging from ceilings, lights, exit signs, pipes, or sprinkler heads, anything attached to the wall must be adhered at four corners.
- 14.8 Tampering with fire detection equipment, calling in false fire alarms, and possession of explosive or incendiary materials and devices are serious offenses subject to disciplinary action and/or criminal charges. The Norton Fire Department reserves the right to issue a $500 charge for responding to malicious false alarms. This charge will be assessed to the responsible parties or to the residents of the hall involved. Students found in possession of/or setting off fireworks or other incendiary devices are subject to a $100 fine and other possible disciplinary action by the college.
- 14.9 Any resident who fails to evacuate a residence hall immediately after a fire alarm or refuses to cooperate with hall staff members and/or Public Safety/Fire personnel, is subject to disciplinary action and may be suspended or removed from the residence hall.
- 14.10 The storage of furniture, motor bikes, bicycles and automotive equipment in corridors of College buildings and residence halls is prohibited.
15.0 Guest Policy
Students residing in Wheaton College residence halls are expected to follow all policies regarding guests as outlined in the Guest Policy. Any student that hosts a person on campus is responsible for their guest and ensuring that their guest knows and adheres to Wheaton College Honor Code and Community Standards.
16.0 Harming Behavior
Harming behavior, which includes, but is not limited to: the threat of or actual physical assault or abuse, and also includes harassment. Harassment is conduct by another person or persons against another person or persons based upon their legally protected class, or perceived power in balance, that adversely has the effect of: a. Unreasonably interfering with a person or person’s employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, or participation in the College programs or activities; or b. Unreasonably interfering with a person or person’s work or academic performance; or c. Creating an intimidating, hostile, oroffensive working or academic environment. This alleged conduct can be both in person and/or indirectly through electronic devices and third parties. In determining whether an act constitutes harassment, The VPSA will consider the full context of any given incident, giving due consideration to the protection of the members of the College community, and the individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom, and advocacy required by law.
Please note that not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily will be considered a violation of Community Standards. Alleged acts of sexual or gender-based harassment will be addressed through the Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy.
All students are expected to abide by the College’s Hazing Policy.
18.0 Hygienic living and learning environment.
Failure to maintain a hygienic living and learning environment
19.0 Invasion of Privacy
Attempted use or actual use of electronic devices that invade a person’s privacy.
20.0 Lewd Conduct
Conduct that is lewd, indecent, or disorderly such as public urination, public defecation, streaking, stripping, solicitation of a stripper, and/or participation in acts of a sexual nature publicly or in the presence of others that do not rise to the level of a violation of the Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy.
21.0 Physical Health and Safety
Any deliberate, negligent, or reckless actions that endangers the physical safety or well-being of a Wheaton community member. This includes, but is not limited to pranks, pushing, punching, kicking and/or any behavior causing harm or a safety concern.
22.0 Residential Life Policies
Any student residing in Wheaton College residence halls must follow all policies and procedures outlined in the Residential Life Policies.
Retaliation is the interference through intimidation, including threats, coercion, or unlawful discrimination, with an individual’s right or privilege secured under the law (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination laws, or other laws) or interfering with an individual’s right to make a complaint, testify, assist, or participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing, or to intervene to prevent a violation of this policy.
24.0 Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct
Students are expected to abide by the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. Alleged violations of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy are addressed by a process separate from the Student Conduct Process and can be found in the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.
Smoking of any substance is prohibited in all College buildings and facilities, including all campus residence halls and houses. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of bongs, hookahs, pipes, electronic cigarettes, and vaporizers.
Unauthorized taking of College or personal property of another.
27.0 Threatening Behaviors
The verbal or written threat to do violence, psychological intimidation, harassment or coercion of any member of the Wheaton community.
Unauthorized use (including misuse) of College name and trademarks in association with any work, regardless of the ownership of the work.
29.0 Unauthorized Entry
Misuse of access privileges to College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of, not limited to roofs, fire escapes, balconies, or windows.
30.0 Violations of Law
Evidence of violation of local, state or federal laws, when substantiated through the College’s conduct process.
Possession or the use of weapons (i.e. firearms or knives), ammunition, explosives or incendiary devices. This includes replica weapons, air-soft toys, and any other object that could be used to intimidate or threaten.
VI. STUDENT CONDUCT SYSTEM
This section outlines how the College will address reports of misconduct that could constitute a violation of the Honor Code or Community Standards and determine what, if any, interim measures are appropriate. Reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct are addressed through a separate process outlined in the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and do not apply to the conduct processes set forth in this section. Similarly, violations of the Honor Code involving academic integrity issues will be adjudicated via the process outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
1. Reporting an Incident
In an effort to promote a culture of reporting, the College encourages anyone to report potential violations of the Honor Code or Community Standards. Community Members can utilize a number of reporting options which include, but are not limited to:
- LiveSafe App. The LiveSafe app is available to the Wheaton community and provides a direct reporting line to Public Safety, allowing community members to anonymously report tips as well as seek help;
- Public Safety. Public Safety is located at 30 Taunton Avenue and reachable via telephone at (508) 286-8213 for non-emergencies or (508) 286-3333 for an emergency; and
- Residential Life Staff. Residential Life is located in Balfour Hood on the 3rd floor and reachable via telephone at (508) 286-8214. Each residence hall/residential area is comprised of a staff of Resident Advisors and an Area Coordinator who can help work through the issues associated with living in a community. All Residential Life Staff are responsible employees and must report concerns related to the College’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.
2. Statement of Rights
All students at Wheaton College have certain rights afforded to them through the Student Conduct System. These rights include:
- To be informed of any charges of the Honor Code or Community Standards;
- To request a copy of a redacted Public Safety report or Student Affairs incident report;
- To be given the opportunity to respond to the alleged charges within the parameters of this policy;
- To request additional accommodations, including, but not limited to the use of technology etc.;
- To provide the names of witnesses with direct knowledge of the incident who may appear at an Administrative Hearing or College Hearing Board. Character witnesses are not permitted;
- To be informed of the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding; and request an appeal of the decision in accordance with the appeal process set forth below.
3. Student Conduct Process
The following procedures are the procedures followed to adjudicate all violations of the Community Standards, except allegations of sexual and gender- based harassment and violations of the Honor Code involving academic integrity issues.
Conduct officers may involve or seek input from other College Officials in any or all parts of the Community Standards Procedures as they deem appropriate.
- Any person may file a report regarding any student or Student Organization alleging misconduct. To initiate the Community Standards process, reports shall be prepared in writing and directed to the VPSA, or a designee. A report should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct takes place
- The VPSA or designee shall determine if a complaint alleges or addresses a potential violation of the Community Standards and will notify the respondent of such allegations. The decision to continue a complaint through the Student Conduct process is the decision of the VPSA or designee.
- Generally, the VPSA or designee will assign a conduct officer(s) to the case who will schedule a hearing with the respondent(s) and other individuals as deemed necessary and appropriate.
- The VPSA, or designee, will determine what testimony, witnesses, or other information is relevant and may exclude information or witnesses that are deemed immaterial and/or irrelevant.
B. Informal Resolution/Educational Conference
- The VPSA, or designee, reserves the right to schedule an informal resolution/educational conference to discuss the behavior of students and its impact on the mission of the College. Conferences may result in an action plan agreed on by all parties to address the behavior. If the action plan is not honored, the College reserves the right to initiate a formal review under the Community Standards.
- Examples of incidents that may be adjudicated by an Educational Conference include, but are not limited to: minor disruptions and/or educational or behavioral concerns.
- Educational conferences are typically scheduled within ten (10) business days upon receipt of a report of a potential violation of the Community Standards.
C. Adjudication by Letter
- The VPSA, or designee, shall determine the appropriateness of adjudicating an incident by letter. In such cases, a student shall typically receive an emailed letter from the Conduct Officer outlining the violations, findings of responsibility, and sanctions within five (5) business days from receipt of notification of alleged violation.
- Students will have the opportunity to appeal said findings and sanctions within three (3) business days.
- If students choose not to appeal the decision communicated by letter, the findings and sanctions will be considered final.
- Examples of incidents that may be adjudicated by letter include, but are not limited to: off-campus incidents, violations of the Residence Hall Agreement, and minor alcohol/drug offences.
D. Administrative Hearings
- Administrative Hearings are a formal meeting between a respondent and a conduct officer to determine if a violation has occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence, and issue the appropriate sanctions(s). Administrative Hearings typically following the following steps outlined below:
- Notice to Respondent(s) of alleged charges and date of Administrative Hearing.
- An individual meeting between the respondent(s) and a conduct officer to provide evidence, testimonies, and any relevant information that may be pertinent to the allegations and determining facts of the incident reported
- The conduct officer is responsible for providing a summary of the Administrative Hearing including a brief statement of the facts, findings from the Administrative Hearing (responsible or not responsible) and any sanctions that have been issued.
- If a responsible finding is determined, past violations of the Community Standards and the Honor Code, and any sanctions, may be considered in determining current sanctions.
- The outcome of the Administrative Hearing will be made part of the student’s discipline record, and maintained by the VPSA.
E. College Hearing Board (from the Faculty Handbook)
If you need to refer the case to the College Hearing Board, you should submit a written, dated and signed report of the alleged violation to the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee. Sometimes circumstances are such that you may not be able to approach the individual directly or to submit a written statement (say, if you discover the violation after the end of final exams in the Spring semester, or if you are out of the country at the time). In such a situation, you should consult with the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee.
The Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee will promptly inform the Chair of the College Hearing Board of alleged violations. The Chair of the College Hearing Board, in conjunction with the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee, will then formulate the charges to be brought against the individual accused (the respondent) after reviewing the written report of alleged violations.
Once the charges have been formulated, the respondent (again, the person alleged to have violated the Honor Code) will receive written notification of the nature of the charge being brought against him and will be asked to prepare a written response to the charge, to be submitted to the Dean of Students Office no more than three (3) academic days after receipt of the charge.
Upon receipt of the respondent’s response to the charge, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee and the College Hearing Board Chair (or their designees) will review the allegations regarding the reported violation and the respondent’s response and determine if the College Hearing Board will hear the case or if it will be resolved in some other manner. The decision to present a case to the College Hearing Board is within the sole discretion of the College, through its Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee, based upon the nature of, and circumstances surrounding, the reported violation. No student has an entitlement or right to a hearing before the College Hearing Board.
If it is determined that the College Hearing Board will hear the case, the College Hearing Board Chair and the Office of the Dean of Students will determine the date, time, and place of the case hearing.
Upon determination of the date, time and place of the hearing, the Chair of the College Hearing Board or the Dean of Students Office will inform the Board of the date, time, and place of the hearing and nature of the case to be heard and will instruct them to read the materials pertaining to the case, in the Office of the Dean of Students, prior to the hearing. You and the respondent will both be notified in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing, and the assignment of procedural advisors to both parties. The notification will normally take place four (4) academic days prior to the hearing date in order to allow both parties sufficient time to prepare, and not 17 more than fifteen (15) academic days from the original receipt of the respondent’s statement in response to the charge.
Generally, decisions of cases involving senior students will be rendered prior to the Commencement exercises of the academic year in which the alleged violation occurred. Cases involving underclass students generally will be continued to the following academic semester if reported during final exams. In some cases, however, such as where the respondent indicates he wishes the hearing to commence even if the hearing occurs before the third academic day following receiving notice of the hearing, the College, in its sole discretion, may decide not to continue the case to the next academic semester, assuming the Board is able to be convened on short notice.
After hearing a case, the College Hearing Board will deliberate in private and will decide whether there is sufficient proof that a violation occurred and whether the respondent is responsible or not. The Board will use the standard of preponderance of information to determine whether or not the respondent should be held responsible for the alleged violation.
If the College Hearing Board finds that there is not sufficient proof that a violation occurred or that the respondent is not responsible, there will be no record that the respondent was subject to an accusation. If the respondent is found responsible for an academic violation of the Honor Code or of a College policy, the College Hearing Board may issue one or a combination of the following or similar types of sanctions:
- mandated community service or educational sanction
- loss of credit or failure for the piece of work
- loss of credit or failure in the course for the semester in which the offense occurred
- parent/guardian notification of decision
- notation in academic file in the Academic Advising Center until graduation
- permanent notation in academic file in the Academic Advising Center
- recommendation to the President for suspension from the College for a specified period of time
- recommendation to the President for dismissal
The College Hearing Board will consider the prior disciplinary record of individuals found responsible for violation of the Honor Code in determining the sanction(s) in any particular case.
Because you, the faculty member, determine the student’s grade for the academic work in question as well as for the course, the Board will ask you for a recommendation on grading should the student be found responsible for an academic violation. The Board may then choose to assign additional sanctions if the student is found responsible. You may wait until resolution of the judicial proceeding before assigning a grade either for the assignment, test/exam, paper in question (INC) or the course (NG).
F. Determination of Facts Relative to an Alleged Violation
- The standard used in determining whether or not the respondent violated the Community Standards is a preponderance of the evidence (whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred).
- If the respondent is found responsible for violating The Community Standards, appropriate sanctions will be imposed. Sanctions are determined by considering the nature of the misconduct, precedent regarding such misconduct, the respondent’s complete educational record (including but not limited to; student’s academic transcript, and community incident reports and associated information), respondent’s present demeanor, the community impact statements and/or mitigating or aggravating factors. With respect to respondents that are Student Organizations, Community Standards officers will obtain recommendations of and other applicable College departments and offices. and may also include a review of the Community Standards history of individual members of the Student Organization.
- Sanctions for violations of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, are described here. Similarly, violations involving academic integrity issues of the Honor Code are described here.
- The College has a special concern for incidents in which persons are mistreated because of race, gender, disability, age, marital status, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, genetic information, or other personal characteristic. Such incidents damage not only individuals, but also the free and open academic environment of the College. More severe sanctions are appropriate for such misconduct.
- Some College policies specify sanctions for violations. See individual policies for sanctions required, if any.
- A campus department, separate from the VPSA, may place a restriction on a student or Student Organization found responsible for violating The Community Standards. Examples include, but are not limited to: Athletics, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, Residential Life, and the Office of Study Abroad.
- Sanctions such as Dismissal, Suspension, Permanent Residence Hall Suspension or Temporary Residence Hall Suspension may result in the forfeiture of certain monies.
- In addition to other mitigating and aggravating factors considered in connection with imposing sanctions, additional factors may be considered with respect to Student Organizations including, but not limited to:
- The role of leaders and the seniority of the members of the Student Organization involved in the behavior supporting the violation;
- Whether leaders had knowledge of the misconduct before or while it occurred and failed to take corrective action;
- The number of members of the Student Organization involved in the behavior supporting the violation and the extent to which members acted in concert in connection with such behavior;
- Whether the leaders of the Student Organization self-reported the behavior underlying the violation;
- The extent to which the Student Organization leaders and members cooperated, responded honestly to questions, and accepted responsibility for the behavior underlying the violation;
- The misconduct involves a violation of the College’s Hazing Policy, Alcohol Policy, Drug Policy, the Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy or the Harming Others Policy, or violation of law.
- The following sanctions may be imposed, individually or in various combinations, on any student found to have violated The Community Standards. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of sanctions:
- Recommendation to the Vice President of Student Affairs for College Dismissal: It is the recommendation of the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Board, that you be dismissed from the College. This recommendation will now go to the Vice President of Student Affairs who will offer the final determination.Permanent separation of the student from the College. A student who has been dismissed is prohibited from participating in any College activity or program. The individual may also not be in or on any College premises. Students found in violation of this restriction, including attempts to enter the lands or buildings of the College will be subject to immediate arrest for trespassing under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 120. Please be aware that the student’s academic record will be updated to reflect an dismissal, including any grade change which might be assigned.
- College Dismissal: Permanent separation of the student from the College. A student who has been dismissed is prohibited from participating in any College activity or program. The individual may also not be in or on any College premises. Students found in violation of this restriction, including attempts to enter the lands or buildings of the College will be subject to immediate arrest for trespassing under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 120. Please be aware that the student’s academic record will be updated to reflect a dismissal, including any grade change which might be assigned.
- Recommendation to the Vice President of Student Affairs for College Suspension: It is the recommendation of the Dean of Students Office, or the Board, that you be Suspended for a period of time from the College. College Suspension is a separation from the College for a designated period of time. Students who are suspended from the College are restricted from all College premises and activities, including but not limited to, course registration, class attendance, participation in co-curricular activities and College housing. Students found in violation of this restriction, including attempts to enter the lands or buildings of the College will be subject to immediate arrest for trespassing under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 120, as well as further sanctions from the College. Students who have been separated from the College for a period of time must meet with the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee two weeks prior to the next registration period for which the student is eligible to review any outstanding sanctions and the readmission process. Please be aware that the student’s academic record will be updated to reflect a suspension, including any grade change which may be assigned.
- College Suspension: College Suspension is a separation from the College for a designated period of time. Students who are suspended from the College are restricted from all College premises and activities, including but not limited to, course registration, class attendance, participation in co-curricular activities and College housing. Students found in violation of this restriction, including attempts to enter the lands or buildings of the College will be subject to immediate arrest for trespassing under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 120, as well as further sanctions from the College. Students who have been separated from the College for a period of time must meet with the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee two weeks prior to the next registration period for which the student is eligible to review any outstanding sanctions and the readmission process. Please be aware that the student’s academic record will be updated to reflect a suspension, including any grade change which may be assigned.
- Suspension from the College, held in Abeyance: Suspension from the College, held in Abeyance is a set period of time during which the respondent or student organization is given the opportunity to modify behavior, to complete specific assignments, meet with designated persons, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the College community in an effort regain privileges within the College community. Please be aware that a responsible finding for any violation(s) of any College policy during the probationary period will be viewed as a violation of probation, and will result in further disciplinary action being imposed, including, but not limited to, College Suspension or College Dismissal. Additionally, as students and organizations which are on Suspension in Abeyance are not considered to be in good disciplinary standing with the College, this may impact their ability to participate in intercollegiate athletics, represent the College, student leadership positions, study abroad opportunities, extracurricular and/or residential life activities.
- Disciplinary Probation: Disciplinary Probation is a set period of time during which the respondent or student organization is given the opportunity to modify behavior, to complete specific assignments, meet with designated persons, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the College community in an effort regain privileges within the College community. Please be aware that a responsible finding for any violation(s) of any College policy during the probationary period will be viewed as a violation of probation, and will result in further disciplinary action being imposed, including, but not limited to, College Suspension or College Dismissal. Additionally, as students and organizations which are on Disciplinary Probation are not considered to be in good disciplinary standing with the College, this may impact their ability to participate in intercollegiate athletics, represent the College, student leadership positions, study abroad opportunities, extracurricular and/or residential life activities.
- Admonition or Written Warning: A written notice that the respondent has violated College policy or The Student Code and a warning that another violation will likely result in more severe sanctions which could include College Probation, Temporary or Permanent Residence Hall Suspension, College Suspension, or College Dismissal or Loss of Recognition with respect to a Student Organization.
- Permanent Residence Hall Suspension: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
- Temporary Residence Hall Suspension: Temporary separation of the student from the residence halls for a specific period of time, after which the student may reapply for housing. Reapplication for housing does not guarantee immediate placement. Conditions for returning to the residence halls may be specified.
- Housing Probation: Housing Probation is a set period of time during which the respondent is given the opportunity to modify behavior, to complete specific assignments, meet with designated persons, and demonstrate positive contribution to the Residence Hall community and greater College community in an effort to regain privileges within housing. Please be aware that a responsible finding of any violation will result in further disciplinary action being imposed, including, but not limited to: Suspension from the Residence Halls.
- Relocation of Residence: As a result of the Student Conduct Process, the student I required to relocate their residence hall assignment to another residence area as determined by the Office of Residential Life, in consultation with the Dean of Students Office.
- Removal from an Athletic Team or Campus Organization: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Removal from a Campus Position or Leadership Role: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Restriction: Denial of access to any campus facility, activity, class or program. This includes No Contact Orders.
- Fines: A student will be required to pay a fee as a result of a violation to the Code of Conduct and Community Standards. Students not able to pay the fine may complete community service hours.
- Disciplinary Hold: A hold may be placed on a student’s account. This may impact the student’s ability to register for classes, obtain certain academic records, or register for housing.
- Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service or monetary or material replacement.
- Community Service: Assignment of an appropriate service project that will benefit the College community, responsible student or others.
- Assessment: A student may be referred to an appropriate office or local agency for consultation or assessment. These may include Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Assessments and Anger Assessments.
- Educational Program/Project: Participation in a health or safety program (the student may be required to pay a fee); seminar; and other assignments as warranted. Examples include, but are not limited to: BASICS, written research projects, or reflective essays.
- Revocation of Admission or Degree: Admission to the College or an awarded degree from the College may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or another violation of The Student Code committed during the course of obtaining the degree or for other serious violations committed by a student after admission or prior to graduation.
- Withholding Degree: The College may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the disciplinary process set forth in The Student Code, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.
- Notation in File: There will be a notation in the disciplinary file in the Dean of Students Office until graduation.
- Permanent Notation in File: There will be a permanent notation in the disciplinary file of the VPSA.
- Parental/Guardian Notification: Parent/Guardian will be notified about this incident, including the violations and/or sanctions which resulted.
- Loss of Credit or Failure for the Piece of Work: Loss of Credit or Failure in the Course for the Semester in which the Offence Occurred:
- The following sanctions may be imposed upon any Student Organizations found to have violated The Student Code. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of sanctions:
- Those sanctions listed above.
- Loss of Recognition: Loss of all College privileges for a designated period of time.
- Loss of recognition for more than two consecutive semesters requires a Student Organization to reapply for College recognition. Conditions for future recognition may be specified. Students may not continue to participate or associate in a Student Organization or accept further members during any Loss of Recognition.
- Disciplinary Hold. A hold may be placed on the Student Organization’s ability to use all or specified College privileges.
- A decision reached through an Administrative Hearing, where the student accepts responsibility and agrees to the sanctions, cannot be appealed by the respondent.
- Filing an Appeal: Within five (5) business days of receiving written notice of the decision on responsibility or sanctions, the respondent(s) or complainant(s), may appeal the decision by submitting to the VPSA, or designee, a letter stating why the party requesting appeal believes the determination of responsibility and/or the sanctions were inappropriate.
- Content for Appeal. A party may appeal on the following grounds:
- newly discovered material information that was not known to the appellant party during the investigation and during the hearing and which likely would change the finding of responsibility or the sanction imposed had it been available; or
- substantial procedural error that materially prejudiced the appellant party.
The party submitting the appeal must set forth in detail the grounds for review and must attach all materials that the party wished to have considered in the appeal process.
- Appellate Officer. The Appellate Officer will decide the merits of any appeal, and in doing so, may consult with the conduct officer, and any other individual that the appellate officer deems appropriate.
The purpose of the appeal is not to rehear the case; rather it is to determine if there is sufficient information presented that would require a reconsideration of the decision.
- Enforcement of Administrative Hearing Decision: Any action assessed or recommended at the Administrative Hearing may be enforced, in whole or in part, pending the outcome of the appeal at the sole discretion of the VPSA, including removal or suspension.
- Appeal Determinations. The Appellate Officer will review the appeal and render a decision within ten (10) business days.
The Appellate Officer may affirm all or part of the decision (which includes the sanction, as well as the determination of responsibility) or may refer the matter back to the Administrative Hearing for further consideration. If the matter is referred back, the Appellate Officer will provide specific instructions in the referral. In the event of a referral, the Appellate Officer may mandate such further proceedings as the Appellate Officer deems appropriate under the circumstances, consistent with the Community Standards.
The decision of the appellate officer will be provided in writing and is final.
All parties to an appeal will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the appeal.
I. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
- Students with disabilities must be afforded an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, all post-secondary education programs and activities. This includes any course of study, or activity offered. Rules or policies which would limit students with disabilities from participating fully in a program or activity may not be imposed. Academic standards should not be compromised, but accommodations must be provided, on a case-by-case basis, to afford qualified students with disabilities an equal education opportunity. For more information, please contact Accessibility Services.
- A student with a documented disability who desires a reasonable accommodation regarding an Educational Conference, Administrative Hearing, CBH, or Appeal Meeting must request an accommodation by following the procedure for requesting an accommodation through Accessibility Services. The staff in Accessibility Services will make a determination regarding the request and notify the appropriate parties. Please contact Accessibility Services to obtain for further information regarding the registration process.
VII. INTERIM ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION
The VPSA, or designee, may impose an interim “College Suspension,” an interim “Removal from Housing,” an interim “Loss of Recognition,” and/or other necessary restrictions on a Respondent prior to or during an Administrative Review of the respondent’s alleged violation. Such action may be taken when, based on the information provided and in the professional judgment of a College official, a threat of harm to persons or property exists, or to protect the safety of any person.
Interim administrative action is not a sanction. It is taken in an effort to protect the safety and well-being of the Complainant, Respondent, other members of the College Community, the College, or property. Interim administrative action is preliminary in nature; it is in effect only until an Administrative Hearing has been completed. However, violations of interim administrative action may result in additional violations and sanctions including Suspension, Dismissal, or Loss of Recognition.
VIII. MAINTENANCE AND REVIEW OF COMMUNITY STANDARD FILES
- Student conduct files are deemed educational records and are maintained separately from any other academic or official file at the College by the Dean of Students Office. Generally, information from the files is not released without the written consent of the student. However, certain information may be provided without a student’s prior consent to individuals within the College who have a legitimate legal or educational interest in obtaining it, and to individuals outside the College under certain circumstances.
- In the discretion of the College, sanctions of “Suspension” and “Dismissal” may be noted on the student’s official transcript. A suspension may be noted until graduation or seven (7) years following the end of the period of suspension, whichever occurs first. An dismissal may be noted permanently.
- A student conduct file is maintained chronologically by incident date and then by Respondent. A student may have more than one file. Generally, a Conduct File, including related documents, will be kept seven (7) years from the date of the incident. The student conduct file of an expelled student shall be retained indefinitely. Information contained in the incident database is maintained for seven (7) years from the date of the incident.
- In situations involving both a respondent and student who believes he/she was victim of a student’s misconduct, the records of the process, if any, will be considered to be the educational records of both the charged student and the student who believes himself/herself to be the victim because the educational career and chances of success in the academic community of each may be impacted.
- Records of student conduct actions are maintained in the Dean of Students Office in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).
IX. INTERPRETATION AND REVISION
- The Community Standards was most recently approved by the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs on January 14, 2019.
- Any questions or interpretation regarding the Community Standards shall be referred to the Dean of Students Office for determination. The determination is final.
- The Community Standards shall be reviewed every three years under the discretion of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Community Standards may be reviewed yearly by the Dean of Students Office.