Reporting Disciplinary Matters

While disciplinary sanctions do not appear on a student’s transcript, the Office of the Dean of Students does maintain a record of and report certain disciplinary action upon inquiry from authorized third parties such as outside agencies, potential employers or educational institutions.  The Office of the Dean of Students maintains a record of outcome of any formal disciplinary action taken where a student is found responsible for violating Bowdoin College policy resulting  in a sanction of Social Probation or greater. (Typical sanctions include, but are not limited to: Warning, Reprimand, Reprimand with parental notification, Social Probation, Suspension, 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 maintain a record of and report any finding of responsibility for and sanctions for academic dishonesty, regardless of the severity of the sanction. The College will also report if a student has resigned with disciplinary charges pending.

Case files for all disciplinary matters (which consist of, among other things, the physical case file and any electronic files) are maintained for six years from the date of graduation or permanent separation (including, but not limited to, resignation, permanent dismissal, or matriculation at another educational institution) from the College.  Records of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings leading to Social Probation, Suspension, and Permanent Dismissal are maintained permanently. For additional information on records retention, please see the Records Retention Schedule.  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, schools to which a student wants to transfer, 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 transfer, 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 any disciplinary information prior to the student’s graduation, even that 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.