Student Disciplinary Process
A. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs is responsible for the administration of the student disciplinary process at Bowdoin College. Any question of interpretation or application of the student disciplinary process shall be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs for final determination.
B. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will review all claims of alleged violations by Bowdoin students of both the Academic Honor and the Social Code. After reviewing the claims, cases will either be referred to a Student Affairs staff member to be handled as a Dean’s Review or to the Judicial Board for a formal hearing. Typically, minor violations will be resolved via Dean’s Review and allegations of major violations will be referred to the Judicial Board, but the Dean of Student Affairs reserves the right to act administratively in appropriate cases without a Judicial Board hearing. For a list of possible sanctions please see Section A "Potential Disciplinary Sanctions" under Additional Information Regarding Student Discipline below.
C. College disciplinary proceedings may be initiated against a student charged with a violation of a law that is also a violation of the Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code without regard to the status of civil or criminal proceedings. The College may conduct disciplinary proceedings prior to, simultaneously with, or after civil or criminal proceedings, including disciplinary proceedings initiated by another institution during a student's study away. This decision may not be appealed.
D. If a student believes that a disciplinary sanction issued by a member of the Student Affairs Staff is unfair, the student may elect to have the case adjudicated by the Judicial Board. In such cases, the Judicial Board will come to its own determination of responsibility and recommended sanction, without regard to the original administratively issued sanction. In cases where the Dean of Student Affairs has acted administratively in lieu of a formal Judicial Board hearing, the student may appeal directly to the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee, as described in Section F., “Appeal of Judicial Board Decisions.”
E. In both Academic and Social Code cases, the Judicial Board determination of responsibility is final, but the sanction is a recommendation to the Dean of Student Affairs. If the Dean of Student Affairs accepts this recommended sanction, it becomes the final decision unless an appeal is initiated. All Judicial Board sanctions are implemented by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
F. In the event that a student fails to comply with a sanction or sanctions, the student’s diploma may be withheld and degree deferred until the student has satisfied the terms of the sanction(s).
G. The College reserves the right to revoke a Bowdoin degree if, after a review, the College determines that the degree was awarded as a result of fraud, deceit or academic dishonesty.
THE JUDICIAL BOARD
When cases are referred to the Judicial Board, the Board must determine whether a violation of the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code or Social Code has been committed by a student. The Judicial Board is charged with the responsibility of determining what happened, ascertaining if what happened constitutes a violation of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code, and recommending to the Dean of Student Affairs what sanction, if any, should be imposed.
The Board consists of student members and faculty members. The Chair of the Judicial Board is a student member and presides over all hearings of the Board. In the Chair’s absence, the Vice-Chair will preside. If both the Chair and Vice-Chair are unavailable or need to recuse themselves, the Judicial Board Advisor will select a Board member to serve as the presiding chair. The Board hearing Academic Honor Code cases consists of three students including the Chair and two faculty members. The Board hearing Social Code cases consists of five students including the Chair. Cases that involve alleged Academic Honor Code and Social Code violations that are interrelated will be heard by the same Board. The composition of such a Board will be determined by the Dean of Student Affairs at the Dean’s discretion.
When five current Board members cannot be convened as needed, previous Board members may be called to serve.
Deviation from the stated number of Board members may occur only with the approval of the Respondent or, under certain circumstances, as determined by the Dean of Student Affairs and the Board Chair.
The Judicial Board Advisor will attend the hearing and the Board’s deliberations and may advise the Board on procedural matters but shall not vote. The Dean of Student Affairs may attend the hearing but not deliberations.
Newly-selected Board members, deans, staff, or members of the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee may attend the hearing and the Board’s deliberations for training or educational purposes.
C. Selection of the Judicial Board
The selection process is overseen by the Judicial Board Advisor (designated by the Dean of Student Affairs) and the current Chair of the Judicial Board. Nominations for student Board members will be solicited from students as well as faculty and staff, but all students in good standing are welcome to apply. (Student applicants on academic probation or disciplinary probation may not be considered.) Faculty members shall be recommended by the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs and appointed by the President.
All current student and faculty members of the Board will be invited to participate in the selection process. The names of the student applicants to the Judicial Board will be disclosed to the Student Government in an Executive Session, which the Judicial Board Chair and the Judicial Board Advisor will attend in order to solicit input from the Student Government regarding the applicants. Student members will be selected by the existing Judicial Board, the Judicial Board Advisor, and one Student Government representative who will be appointed by the Student Government President, Vice Presidents, and Treasurer. (The Judicial Board Advisor has veto authority.) The Student Government representative will present the newly-selected members of the Judicial Board to the Student Government at the conclusion of the selection process. The current student members of the Judicial Board shall select one student member to serve as the Chair and another to serve as the Vice-Chair for the following year.
D. Expectations of Judicial Board Members
Members of the Board are expected to uphold and exemplify the standards of the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code. Judicial Board members who are formally charged with an alleged violation of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code must dismiss themselves from their particular hearing. Board members found responsible for violating either Code may be dismissed from the Board.
Members of the Board are expected to respect and maintain confidentiality of all matters that come before the Board. Violation of this confidentiality will lead to dismissal from the Board.
All members of the Judicial Board must participate in a training program. The Chair, in concert with the Judicial Board Advisor, shall convene the Board for training each academic year. Judicial Board training will address proscribed conduct, procedures, and sanctions under the Academic Honor Code and Social Code.
JUDICIAL BOARD PROCEDURES
For the purposes of assuring fairness and consistency, the College adopts the following protections for students participating in Judicial Board hearings: adequate notice of hearings; advance notice of matters requiring student responses; an impartial Board and proceedings; the opportunity to provide evidence and witnesses; the availability of an appeal; and the right to have a member of the College community, uninvolved with the case, available for personal support at the formal Judicial Board hearing.
These procedures govern the Judicial Board process for adjudicating possible violations of the Academic Honor Code and Social Code.
A. Definition of Procedural Terms
1. A “Character Reference” is an individual who is a member of the College community and may speak or write on behalf of the personal integrity of the Respondent. Respondents are limited to a single character reference unless otherwise determined by the Chair.
2. The “Complainant” is the person(s) presenting a claim of alleged violation(s) of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code by the Respondent before the Judicial Board.
3. The “Judicial Board Advisor” is the designate of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs who advises the Judicial Board and is generally responsible for assuring the fairness and integrity of the hearing process.
4. The “Respondent” is the student(s) responding to the complaint of the alleged violation(s) of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code.
5. A “Supporter” is an individual who is currently a Bowdoin College student, faculty, or staff member, selected by the Respondent and Complainant, who may serve as personal support throughout the hearing process. The Supporter may not be a member of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs or Counseling Service or a member of the Judicial Board. The Chair may disallow a particular Supporter in cases where the Supporter might be a witness or where the Supporter’s presence, in the Chair’s sole determination, would be obstructive to the process. The Supporter is available for emotional and personal support before, during and after the hearing. The Supporter will not participate as an advisor and will not have an opportunity to make statements to the Board, ask questions of or to cross-examine any Complainant, Respondent, witness and/or other individual participating in the hearing. The Chair shall not allow a Supporter’s presence to inhibit the parties’ open testimony or the conduct of the hearing. Respondents and Complainants are limited to a single Supporter unless otherwise determined by the Chair.
6. A “Witness” is any individual(s) who can attest first-hand to the specific details of the case. An “Expert Witness” is any individual(s) who has expert knowledge that is relevant to the specific details of the case. Both the Complainant and Respondent are entitled to call witnesses, but neither the Complainant nor Respondent is entitled to call an Expert Witness. The Chair reserves the right to call a witness(es) if that might assist the Board in its work, including an Expert Witness. Witnesses will not have an opportunity to ask questions of or cross-examine any Complainant, Respondent, Witness, and/or other individual participating in the hearing.
B. Initiating the Judicial Board Process
1. When a student is suspected of a violation of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code, the person(s) bringing the charge should confer with a member of the Student Affairs Staff for advice. A disciplinary review may be initiated through numerous channels, the two most common being through a complaint filed directly with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs or through the receipt of a Security Report. Initial reports should provide all of the pertinent details of the alleged violation committed by the student(s) and must be filed with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs while the Respondent is a Bowdoin student. Please note, in cases when a student suspects a violation of the Academic Honor Code, the student is encouraged to bring the information to the attention of the instructor or the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
2. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will review all claims and refer those that require a formal hearing to the Judicial Board.
3. For cases that are referred to the Board, prior to the hearing, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will present the Respondent(s) with written charges describing the nature of the alleged violation, and the time and place of the hearing.
C. Judicial Board Hearing Guidelines
1. Hearings are confidential, and will be conducted in private.
2. The Board may make procedural rulings necessary to conduct its business within the guidelines of the judicial policies herein and in the spirit of fairness.
3. The Chair has discretionary authority with regard to all procedural rulings, including participation by non-Board members and decisions on the relevance and/or admissibility of evidence.
4. Formal evidentiary rules do not apply in College judicial hearings; the Board may consider any evidence, such as pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements, it determines relevant and credible.
5. In cases involving more than one Respondent, the Board may conduct separate hearings for each Respondent or a combined hearing for all Respondents. In cases involving unrelated charges against a single Respondent, the Board may conduct separate hearings or a single hearing for the Respondent.
6. The Board shall determine, by a majority vote, whether the student has violated the Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code as charged.
7. A “preponderance of evidence” is the Board’s decisional standard when considering if the Respondent(s) violated the Academic Honor Code or Social Code.
8. If the Board concludes that a violation has occurred, it may consider the Respondent’s previous violations and sanctions in College disciplinary proceedings or civil or criminal cases when recommending appropriate penalties.
9. If the Respondent is found responsible for the charge(s), typically, within forty-eight hours of the hearing’s conclusion, the Dean of Student Affairs will meet with the Respondent and provide the Respondent with a letter outlining the Board’s recommendation and the Dean’s final decision as to what sanction, if any, shall be imposed.
10. Hearings may only be recorded by the College. This record becomes the property of Bowdoin College with access determined by the Dean of Student Affairs. Deliberations will not be recorded.
11. If the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs determines that a case cannot be resolved in a fair or timely manner, procedural options may be limited or result in the case being deferred until immediately prior to the start of the next semester.
12. In no circumstances will the College allow an impending graduation to compromise its adjudicative process. A conferral of a degree may therefore be postponed or deferred if necessary until proper resolution of charges, provided a hearing opportunity shall be diligently scheduled for the earliest practicable date that shall accommodate the Complainant, the Respondent, witnesses, and the Board.
D. General Guidelines for Respondents
1. Respondents shall receive from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs a written notice outlining the substance of misconduct charges against them, and including the date, time, and place of the hearing.
2. Respondents must have a reasonable period of time in which to prepare for the hearing, generally not less than five nor more than fifteen calendar days after the notification. Respondents may waive minimum time limits; the Judicial Board Advisor may use discretion in extending maximum time limits.
3. Respondents must schedule pre-hearing conferences with the Judicial Board
Advisor to review and discuss judicial procedures.
4. If Respondents wish, they may have a Supporter present at the hearing to provide emotional and personal support. The name of this person must be provided to the Judicial Board Advisor at least forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled hearing.
5. Respondents may have a single Character Reference speak on their behalf at the hearing or submit a written statement on the Respondent’s behalf. The name of the Character Reference must be provided to the Judicial Board Advisor at least forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled hearing. Character References should speak to the Respondent’s character and provide the context in which they know the Respondent. They should refrain from discussing the case at hand unless they have first-hand knowledge in which case they can participate as a witness at the appropriate time during the hearing.
6. Respondents may have an attorney present at the hearing only when independent criminal proceedings are pending; otherwise, attorneys shall not participate in the College’s disciplinary process. When attorneys are permitted, they are limited to advisory status to the Respondent with no opportunities to make statements to the Board, ask questions or cross-examine any Complainant, witness and/or other individual participating in the hearing. The Respondent must notify the Judicial Board Advisor that an attorney will be present at least forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled hearing.
7. Respondents may request the removal of a single Board member (names of members are available from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs) believed incapable of rendering an impartial decision. Respondents must submit a written petition to the Chair demonstrating a conflict of interest and justifying their request for such removal. The Chair and the Judicial Board Advisor will rule on such petitions. If Respondents wish to remove the Chair, they must submit a written petition to the Judicial Board Advisor, and she or he will rule on such petitions.
8. Respondents may examine all evidence scheduled for review by the Board prior to the hearing, including a list of witnesses and other individuals expected to attend. Individuals or groups shall not seek to influence or harass witnesses. Attempting to influence or harass a witness before, during, or after a hearing may result in serious disciplinary charges leading to a separate hearing or administrative action.
9. Respondents and Complainants and/or the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs must provide a list of their relevant witnesses/references, any written statements, and evidence to the Judicial Board Advisor at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing. In appropriate circumstances, the Chair may delay or continue the hearing to afford a Respondent or Complainant sufficient time to respond to any statements or evidence provided to the Judicial Board Advisor.
10. Respondents are expected to attend the hearing as scheduled by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. If Respondents fail or refuse to appear, the Chair may allow presentation of evidence to the Board in their absence. The Board will reach decisions based on the evidence presented.
11. Respondents may decide to actively or passively participate in the hearing. Active participation includes responding to questions, presenting arguments or evidence, etc., and passive participation includes not responding to questions, presenting arguments or evidence, etc.
12. At the hearing, Respondents may, in an orderly fashion, present evidence, make opening and closing statements, respond to questions from the Board, offer witnesses and a single character reference, question witnesses through the Board chair, and hear and question evidence brought against them.
13. Misrepresentations or falsehoods by Respondents constitute a further violation and may be judged by the Board to compound the gravity of the original charge(s).
E. General Expectations of Individuals Involved in Judicial Board Hearings
1. Complainants must attend the hearing unless Respondents consent to proceedings without Complainants present.
2. At the hearing, Complainants may in an orderly fashion, make opening and closing statements, respond to questions from the Board, offer witnesses, question witnesses through the Board chair, and hear and question evidence.
3. Witnesses and other resource individuals are not compelled to attend, produce evidence, or participate at a hearing.
4. Observers or other individuals present at the hearing are not allowed to participate actively in the hearing process unless permitted by the Chair. All questions and comments must be addressed to the Chair.
5. The Board expects truthfulness and honesty from all participants at a hearing. Purposefully misleading and/or false statements may result in serious disciplinary charges leading to a separate hearing.
6. Given the confidential nature of the College’s judicial procedures, witnesses and other individuals shall not discuss the case with persons not present at the hearing. Furthermore, Complainants, Respondents, witnesses and other individuals shall not share or distribute materials from the hearing without the consent of the Judicial Board Advisor. Doing so may result in disciplinary charges leading to a separate hearing or administrative action.
F. Appeal of Judicial Board Decisions
1. Respondents wishing to appeal must do so within five business days of receipt of the Dean of Student Affairs’ decision. Appeals of Judicial Board decisions are heard by the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee. Appeals should be written to the President of the College, who serves as the Chair of the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee. Respondents should accompany appeals with materials relevant to their argument. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs may provide a written statement to the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee in response to issues raised in the appeal. A case is limited to one appeal.
2. The Student Appeals and Grievances Committee will limit its review of Judicial Board decisions to a review of the record of the original hearing and supporting documents and any statements submitted by the Respondent and/or the response offered by the Dean of Student Affairs and determine if there are grounds for appeal. In order for an appeal to be granted, the appeal must demonstrate one or both of the following:
i. Procedural error(s) that may have prejudiced the Board.
ii. Evidence unavailable at the original proceeding which would likely have affected the decision.
The Respondent may not appeal solely on the basis of dissatisfaction with the sanction.
3. The Student Appeals and Grievances Committee will not be bound by the Judicial Board’s finding of responsibility or the Dean of Student Affairs’ sanction. The Student Appeals and Grievances Committee may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision and/or may eliminate, reduce or increase the sanction. If the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee grants the appeal, it may direct the Dean of Student Affairs to take appropriate action in light of its decision or direct the Judicial Board to reconsider the case with appropriate corrections, either of which could eliminate, reduce or increase the sanction.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING STUDENT DISCIPLINE
A. Potential Disciplinary Sanctions
In all disciplinary actions, sanctions may be imposed that are deemed appropriate and well suited to the circumstances presented. Factors relevant to sanctioning include, but are not limited to, the Respondent’s acceptance of responsibility and remorse, the Respondent’s present demeanor, the Respondent’s past disciplinary record, precedent of prior Judicial Board/Administrative cases, the nature of the offense, and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from the offense. Sanctioning attempts to balance consistency across similar cases while acknowledging the specific circumstances of each case.
Although this list is not meant to be exhaustive, the following are some potential sanctions and the characteristics attributed to them:
1. Warning: For minor infractions, a student may be given an official College Warning. This Warning will be called to the attention of the Board or administrator in the event of any future violations of either the Social or Academic Honor Code.
2. Reprimand: For an offense of a more serious nature, a student may receive an official Reprimand from the College. This Reprimand will be called to the attention of the Board or administrator in the event of any future violations of either the Social or Academic Honor Code. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs may notify students’ parents or guardians of the violation resulting in a Reprimand.
3. Social Probation: For an offense of an even more serious nature, a student may be placed on Social Probation. Students on probation may not participate in off-campus study. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will notify students’ parents or guardians of any violation resulting in probation. Students who are already on social probation will most likely be referred to the Judicial Board in the event of any further serious violations, which could result in suspension or dismissal.
4. Suspension: For some serious violations, a student may be separated from the College. When students are suspended, they are required to be away from campus and lose privileges; after the designated period, students may return to Bowdoin. Suspended students, unless otherwise authorized by the Dean of Student Affairs, must leave the campus and may not occupy or visit College facilities or properties. In addition, suspended students are forbidden to participate in Bowdoin-sponsored activities or represent the College in any manner or forum during suspension. Suspended students may not transfer academic credit to Bowdoin for coursework taken during suspension.
5. Indefinite Dismissal: For some serious violations, a student may be separated from the College for an undesignated period of time with recommended minimum conditions on readmission.
Students dismissed indefinitely, unless otherwise authorized by the Dean of Student Affairs, must leave the campus and may not occupy or visit College facilities or properties. In addition, students dismissed indefinitely are forbidden to participate in Bowdoin-sponsored activities or represent the College in any manner or forum. Students dismissed indefinitely may not transfer academic credit to Bowdoin for coursework taken during their dismissal.
6. Permanent Dismissal: For the most serious of violations, or for major misconduct following a prior suspension, a student may be separated from the College with no opportunity for future readmission.
7. Other Sanctions: Other sanctions might include a range of various penalties such as grading penalties, course failures, revisions of assignments, restitution, fines, community work, written apologies, counseling, loss of College privileges (e.g. participation in athletics, Study Away, or Senior Week activities; the ability to have a car on campus; etc.), reassignment of housing, removal from the residence halls without a refund, or other sanctions that reflect the circumstances of the case.
B. Students’ Records and Disciplinary Sanctions
Sanctions shall remain a part of students’ confidential records. All written documentation regarding the outcome of a hearing in which a student is found responsible for violating the Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code becomes a part of the student’s confidential file and the discipline record. Access to confidential files, maintained by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”).
In addition to other exceptions allowing for the disclosure of a student’s confidential records without prior student consent, FERPA permits institutions to disclose to anyone the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student violated the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense. FERPA also permits institutions to disclose the final results of such a proceeding to the victim of any crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.
C. Temporary Measures
1. Immediate Temporary Suspension: If the Dean of Student Affairs believes that the continued presence of a student or group of students is contrary to the best interests of the campus environment, or if the suspected behavior of a student or group of students seriously jeopardizes the safety and/or welfare of the campus environment, the Dean may immediately suspend the student(s) from the College pending a formal disciplinary hearing. A student or group of students under temporary suspension must vacate College premises and leave campus immediately upon notification by the Dean. Depending upon circumstances, the Dean may adjust specifics of the temporary suspension.
2. No Contact Order: If the Dean of Student Affairs comes to have information regarding a conflict or issue between or among members of the Bowdoin community, the Dean may immediately issue a No Contact Order to direct students to refrain from communicating with each other in person, by telephone, by e-mail or other electronic means, as well as by trying to communicate through a third-party. In appropriate circumstances, No Contact Orders will be put in place at the request of a student but may also be put in place at the discretion of the Dean and without regard to the preference of the student. No Contact Orders are typically reciprocal; however, they can govern the conduct of just one student in some circumstances. The Department of Safety and Security and the Office of Residential Life are informed about No Contact Orders in place. A No Contact Order should not be interpreted as a finding of any violation of College policy, and is not a judicial sanction; however, the imposition of a No Contact Order does not preclude disciplinary charges from being raised as a result of any past interactions and a violation of a No Contact Order by either party can result in disciplinary action. No Contact Orders remain in place until they are expressly removed by the Dean.
D. Additional Terms
Failure by the College to observe the time limits or other procedural requirements expressed in these procedures shall not constitute an abridgement of the rights of the parties so long as a fundamentally fair process is afforded to the parties.
Bowdoin College complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, admission or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability.
A. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, in consultation with Bowdoin Student Government, and Judicial Board, should conduct a review of the conduct codes and their administration on a regular basis. Representatives from the BSG and the Judicial Board may recommend policy changes and review procedures for Judicial Board student appointments by meeting with the Dean of Student Affairs.
B. The student disciplinary process may be amended, in writing, by the President or the President’s designee at any time.
Date of last revision: 2016
PUBLICATION OF PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS
The Judicial Board will periodically compile and print aggregate data regarding cases in publications of its choice. The reported information should not identify specific individuals and/or participants.