Student Group Disciplinary Process

Bowdoin College encourages student participation in athletics, clubs, organizations, and activities. These programs can enrich a student’s college experience and contribute to a student’s development. The College expects student leaders and members will uphold all aspects of the Code of Community Standards, the Club Leader Manual, the Student-Athlete Handbook, and other College policies when they are acting in their capacity as a member or leader of a student group.

Whether the relationship to the College is formal or informal, group membership and the benefits it confers on participants is a privilege, not a right. All students are expected to respect this privilege and abide by College principles and community values.

The College department with oversight for the student group has the discretion to address minor violations of College policy, as determined in the College's sole discretion, without referring the student group to this disciplinary process. Nothing in this policy shall prevent the College from referring individual members of a student group to the Student Disciplinary Process for parallel individual disciplinary action.


Students are accountable for their actions on and off-campus. The College may, at its sole discretion, exercise jurisdiction and engage this process for behavior that occurs on or off campus when the alleged misconduct:

  • Poses a threat to the safety or security of any individual or individuals;
  • Causes a significant disruption to the surrounding community and neighbors;
  • Results in damage to or destruction of private or public property; or
  • Otherwise violates the Code of Community Standards, local ordinances, or state or federal law.


All students are individually responsible for adhering to the Code of Community Standards, the Club Leader Manual, the Student Athlete Handbook, and other College policies during their time at Bowdoin. Student groups may be held collectively accountable for violating any College policies as a result of the conduct or actions of individual members who act in concert with or as representing the group, even if not all members participated.

Potential violations include but are not limited to: disregarding a directive from a College official or group advisor; hosting, assisting, facilitating, or participating in the planning or concealing of acts that violate Bowdoin policies; and failure to be forthcoming and truthful to any College official on matters related to the activities of the organization or its members.

Individual members can be held accountable for their specific behavior as part of a group if it is in violation of College Policy.

Students participating in groups that have been banned or previously removed from campus (e.g., fraternities, organizations that have lost a charter, etc.) will be referred to the Student Disciplinary Process.

Report and Investigation

Reports of misconduct by a student group shall be made in writing to the Dean of Students. A report may be a written email, anonymous report of hazing (see the Hazing Policy), anonymous report of bias (see Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment Policy), or a report from the Office of Safety and Security.

Reports should include a basic statement of facts of the alleged violation(s) and the name of the student group, and the name of individuals involved, if known, as well as the names of those with direct knowledge of the behavior in question. Except for reports of hazing or bias, report(s) must be submitted within two (2) years following the discovery of the alleged misconduct, unless an exception is granted by the Dean of Students or designee.

In some instances, the Dean of Students may direct the Office of Safety and Security to conduct an investigation in order to gather more information before additional action is taken.

Student Group Disciplinary Process

 Following review of a report of student group misconduct and any subsequent investigation by the Office of Safety and Security, a student group charged with violating College policy will receive written notice to the Group Advisor and to the student leaders of record, regarding the nature of the conduct in question and the basis for the allegation. The notice will include a brief statement of the basis of the charges, the date or period of time and the location(s) of the alleged incident; the College policy(s) and/or campus regulation(s) allegedly violated; and may include a request for individuals to meet with the Dean of Students, or designee, regarding the matter.

Depending on the number of individuals involved, the sensitivity of the issues addressed, and time constraints, information may be delivered electronically or virtually.

Before a decision is made in the matter, the student leaders of the group will have an opportunity to submit materials they believe are relevant to the matter for consideration by the Dean of Students or designee.

Based on consideration of the report, including any interviews and evidence submitted as part of the report or as part of any investigation by the Office of Safety and Security, any meetings between student group members and the Dean of Students, or designee, and any materials submitted by the student leaders of the group, the Dean of Students or designee will determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether the student group is responsible for violating College policy and whether disciplinary action is warranted.

The following criteria will be considered in determining whether to hold the student group responsible for the conduct of one or more of its members:

  • How many members engaged in or were aware of the conduct;
  • Whether the conduct occurred at an event planned, implemented, sponsored, or otherwise sanctioned by the student group;
  • The seriousness of the conduct in question;
  • Whether members of the student group have previously engaged in such conduct.


Group members are expected to attend and participate in any investigation into a report or charge of student group misconduct and to be forthcoming and truthful. Failure to be forthcoming and truthful will be a consideration in any sanction (group or individual) and may be judged by the dean to compound the gravity of the original charge(s).

If group members fail or refuse to cooperate, the Dean may allow the matter to proceed and the Dean may reach a decision based on the information gathered during the investigation.

Sanctions and Outcomes

If the Dean of Students, or designee, finds the student group responsible for violation(s) of College policy, or if the student group takes responsibility, the Dean may consult with the other professional staff familiar with the group (including but not limited to, the Athletics Department, Student Activities, or the McKeen Center) to determine an appropriate sanction.

In determining sanctions, consideration will be given to the context and seriousness of the violations, the willingness to be forthright and truthful, and acceptance of responsibility. Sanctions specific to group or organizational misconduct may include one or more of the following, but not limited to:

  • Official Reprimand: Written notice that continuation or repetition of the behavior found to be in violation of College policy will lead to more severe consequences.
  • Loss of Privileges:
    • Loss of College funding;
    • Loss of athletic season(s) or contest(s);
    • Membership restrictions for a specified period of time;
    • Loss of leadership positions and/or from participation in specified organizational programs and activities for a designated period of time to represent the College in any capacity;
    • Exclusion from specific areas of campus or from official College functions;
    • Loss of privileges and exclusion from activities; or
    • Inability to host events for a specified period of time.
  • Restorative and Rehabilitative Outcomes:
    • Referral to the Program for Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution (PNVCR);
    • Community Service;
    • Restitution;
    • Participation in designated educational programs, services, or activities;
    • Letter of Apology;
    • Defined plan to allow the student group to take steps to rehabilitate its standing.
  • Temporary Loss of College Recognition: This may include suspension of a group’s charter or recognition. The sanction letter will specify the amount of time of the suspension.
  • Permanent Revocation of College Recognition: This will result in a permanent ban of the student group from the College.

Failure to comply with any conditions imposed may subject the student group to additional disciplinary action.

Because action is taken against a student group, and not an individual student, Bowdoin does not consider disciplinary action against a student group to be reportable.

Interim Measures

Before a determination of responsibility is made, the Dean of Students, in consultation with other professional staff familiar with the group may impose interim measures depending on the nature of the alleged conduct.

This may include but is not limited to, restriction from operating as a student group, hosting programs, access to College resources, forfeiture of contests or competitions.


Please see the Student Appeals Policy.


Group advisor:  Most Bowdoin organizations, groups and teams have a sponsor, advisor, coach or other professional staff members who work, train, guide, and otherwise engage with the group in a range of capacities regarding the group’s activities and programs. For purposes of this policy, that person(s) shall be referred to as the “group advisor(s).”

Group member: Student group members include all student leadership, such as officers, chairs, captains, leaders, signatories, designated representatives, executive members, or committee members. It also includes individual students who identify as a member of the group.

Student group: For purposes of this policy, “student groups” include, but are not limited to:

  • Chartered student group
  • Athletic varsity teams
  • Intramural teams
  • Club teams
  • Student groups with a relationship to or sponsorship by an academic department or program, such as Residential Life, the McKeen Center or Outdoor Leadership Center, alumni group, and/or administrative department
  • Student-run media or publishing organizations

“Student groups” do not include administrative committees or boards, or student employees of the College, who may be held individually accountable for violating College policy through the Student Disciplinary Process or Student Employment.