Reporting Disciplinary Matters

The practice of the Office of the Dean of Students is to report any formal disciplinary action taken against a student that results in a finding of “responsible” for a Bowdoin College policy violation and a sanction of Social Probation or greater. (Typical sanctions include, but are not limited to: Warning, Reprimand, Reprimand with parental notification, Social Probation, Suspension, Indefinite Dismissal and Permanent Dismissal, among others. Each infraction usually results in one of these actions combined with additional educational activities, restitution, or community service.) Furthermore, the College will report any finding of responsibility for academic dishonesty regardless of the severity of the sanction. The College will also report if a student has resigned with disciplinary charges pending.

Disciplinary records are part of a student’s permanent file, which is maintained for six years after the date of graduation or resignation, except for records related to Social Probation, Suspension, Indefinite Dismissal and Permanent Dismissal, which are maintained indefinitely. Disciplinary sanctions do not appear on a student’s transcript.

When the Office of the Dean of Students reports that a student has no disciplinary record, it does so under the parameters described above. If a student record is no longer on file because of the six-year limitation, the Office of the Dean of Students will note that.

Outside agencies, potential employers, or graduate or professional programs may ask a student to self-disclose all or certain disciplinary matters from their undergraduate career. Bowdoin recommends that students answer all such questions honestly even if the self-disclosed conduct would not be considered “reportable” by the College. Furthermore, the questions asked about disciplinary history on applications for graduate school, employment, licensure, security clearance, among other types of applications, vary significantly. Therefore, it is impossible to provide definitive guidance regarding whether to self-report minor or major infractions of College policy. We encourage students or graduates to be in touch with their dean with questions and will always recommend an honest and forthright approach. Lastly, some agencies may ask a student to waive their rights to their entire file at Bowdoin, particularly in cases of federal background checks for security clearances. Please note that if a student should waive rights to their entire file, the agency will have access to all disciplinary files prior to the student’s graduation, even those not normally considered “reportable” under the guidelines above.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Dean of Students (207-725-3149) with any questions about disciplinary reporting practices.