Judicial Board

1. Purpose

The Bowdoin College Judicial Board (“Board”) is a fact-finding body charged with determining whether a student is responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, including the Academic Honor Code and Social Code. The Judicial Board does not select the cases that come before it. Most typically, cases are referred to the Board by the Office of the Dean of Students.

Board Hearings are conducted by a representative Panel of Judicial Board members. The hearing process is conducted in two phases: (1) live questioning; and (2) deliberations. The live questioning portion of the hearing is attended by the Panel, the Respondent, the Judicial Board Advisor, the Dean of Students. The presiding Chair reserves the right to recall any witness during the hearing.

At the conclusion of the live questioning, the Panel will begin deliberations in private. The Judicial Board Advisor will attend deliberations to advise the Panel on procedure and precedent but does not vote.

If, at the conclusion of deliberations, the Panel concludes that the evidence demonstrates a violation has occurred, the Panel will recommend a sanction(s) to the Dean of Students and the dean has sole responsibility for assessing the appropriate sanction. The Dean of Students may accept or modify the Judicial Board’s recommended sanction but may not change the Board’s determination of responsibility. The Board’s determination of responsibility and the sanction imposed by the Dean of Students become final unless an appeal is initiated. (See Appeal of Judicial Board Decisions.)

2. Board Composition

The Judicial Board is a College administrative body that consists of student members and faculty members. The Chair and Vice Chair of the Judicial Board are student members and preside over hearings. If both the Chair and Vice-Chair are unavailable or need to recuse themselves, the Judicial Board Advisor may appoint another student member of the Judicial Board to preside over the matter.

3. Panel Composition

Academic Honor Code cases typically consist of a panel of five (5) members: The Presiding Chair, two student members, and two faculty members. Matters involving alleged violation of the Social Code are typically heard by a panel of five (5) student members.

In matters that involve interrelated issues of Academic Honor Code and Social Code violations, the composition of the Panel will be determined at the discretion of the Dean of Students. Cases that involve alleged Academic Honor Code and Social Code violations that are interrelated will be heard by the same Panel. In cases involving allegations of Social Code violations that relate to a particular course or within an academic department, the Dean of Students may convene a panel of three students and two faculty members to hear the case.

Deviation from the stated number of Panel members may occur only with the approval of the parties or, under certain circumstances, as determined by the Dean of Students and the Judicial Board Advisor. The Dean of Students may call on previous faculty Board members to serve as needed.

Newly selected Judicial Board members are required to observe a hearing and deliberations as part of their training, but they shall not vote. With permission of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Community Standards, staff members from Student Affairs or members of the Student Appeals Committee may observe a hearing for training or educational purposes, but they may not attend deliberations.

4. Deliberations 

The Panel shall determine, by a majority vote, whether the student has violated the Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code, as charged. The decisional standard is preponderance of the evidence.

5. Selection of the Judicial Board

  1. Student Members

    1. Student Selection Process

      New student members are selected by the existing Judicial Board student members and the Judicial Board Advisor annually during the spring semester. The selection process is overseen by the Judicial Board Advisor and the current Chairs of the Judicial Board.

      Any student interested in serving on the Board may apply, including students with disciplinary records. However, student applicants must be in good academic and social standing at the time of their application in order to be considered.

      The application process consists of two rounds: (1) An in-person interview with a representative committee of current Judicial Board student members and the Judicial Board advisor; and (2) for applicants who advance to the second round, an in-person group interview with three to four other candidates.

      All current Judicial Board members are eligible to vote in the selection process. In the event of a tie, the continuing Judicial Board student members and the Judicial Board Advisor shall have final decision-making authority regarding the slate of new members. The slate is subject to approval by the Dean of Students.

    2. Election of Chairs

      Following the selection During the spring semester, the current student members of the Judicial Board shall elect a current student member to serve as the Chair and another to serve as the Vice Chair for the following year. All current Judicial Board members are eligible to vote for Chair and Vice Chair, subject to approval by the Dean of Students.

  2. Faculty Members

    Faculty members shall be appointed by the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs.  

6. 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. Student members must be in good academic and social standing. 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 and serious disciplinary consequences.

If a Board member is formally charged with an alleged violation of the Academic Honor Code or Social Code, they must dismiss themselves from all Board activity until their case is resolved. Members who face disciplinary action for serious breaches of any Bowdoin College policy may be temporarily suspended from Board activity until the matter is resolved. Board members found responsible for serious violations either Code may be dismissed from the Board in addition to facing disciplinary consequences.

All members of the Judicial Board must participate in annual training program. The Judicial Board Advisor shall convene the Board for training each academic year. At a minimum, training will address the Code of Conduct, the Academic Honor Code, Social Code, policies and procedures, and sanctions.