Sanctions and Other Measures

Sanctions and Other Measures

Sanctioning attempts to balance consistency across similar cases while acknowledging the specific circumstances of each case.  

In all College disciplinary actions, sanctions may be imposed that are deemed appropriate and well-suited to the circumstances presented. Although this list is not meant to be exhaustive, the following are some potential sanctions and the characteristics attributed to them.

Bowdoin maintains a record of a student’s disciplinary history, in most cases, for six years after graduation or permanent separation (resignation, permanent dismissal, matriculation at another institution, etc.). For the full schedule of record retention, please visit this link. For information on how the Office of the Dean of Students reports disciplinary action, please see Policy for Reporting Disciplinary Matters.

A. Factors in Sanctioning

Factors relevant to sanctioning may include, but are not limited to, the nature of the offense, the Respondent’s intent, the impact of the Respondent’s actions, acceptance of responsibility, remorse and forthrightness, prior disciplinary history, precedent from similarly situated matters, and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from the violation.

B. Disciplinary Sanctions

A student may receive one or more of the following for violating College policy:

Informal Disciplinary Sanctions: The following outcomes may apply to minor violations of College policy and do not result in a formal change of status:

  1. Reprimand: A reprimand is a written warning, and it is most typically used for minor violations of the Code of Community Standards or other College policy may receive a reprimand from the College.

    A reprimand can be made either with or without notifications (see below) and it is considered informal College discipline. However, Reprimands are considered in determining future disciplinary outcomes and may serve to make further violations of College regulations more serious.

  2. Reprimand with Notifications: In some cases, parents or guardians may be informed when a student receives a reprimand. A student’s athletic coach or student activities advisor may also be notified of the violation.

    According to College policy, Reprimands are generally not reported as part of a student’s disciplinary record.

  3. On Notice: A temporary status during which the student may receive an elevated disciplinary outcome should further infractions of College policy occur. A student is put “On Notice” when either the number or nature of their policy violation(s) is sufficiently concerning that an additional policy violation will most likely result in a change of status (see below).

    On Notice provides students with an opportunity to avoid a formal change of status outcome (like disciplinary probation) by demonstrating improved conduct, respect for community standards, and adherence to College policies. If students commit new policy violations while On Notice, formal disciplinary sanction(s) will be assessed (see below). If a student completes their “On Notice” period without further incident, the conduct will not be considered reportable.

    Students returning from disciplinary leaves will be automatically placed On Notice for one semester upon return.

Formal Disciplinary Sanctions:

  1. Disciplinary Probation: Students may be placed on probation for a period of time when either the nature or number (three or more) of their College policy violation(s) is sufficiently concerning. While on probation, students are not permitted to study away.  
    Probation is a change of status reflected in a student’s record. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the violation, students may lose certain College privileges while on Probation, including but not limited to:

    i. the ability to live on-campus, including temporary or summer housing;
    ii. permission to live off-campus;
    iii. certain on-campus jobs;
    iv. on-campus car or parking privileges; or
    v. Participation in student leadership (e.g., Bowdoin Student Government, organization leadership, or campus departments leadership); etc.

    The Office of the Dean of Students will notify students’ parents or guardians of the status change and, when appropriate, academic advisor(s), the director of student activities, and coach will also be notified.

    Students who commit further violations of College policy while on Probation will either have their Probation extended or will be referred to the Conduct Review Board, which could result in suspension or dismissal. Typically, a student may not be placed on Probation, or have a period of Probation extended, more than three times before they are referred to the Conduct Review Board and/or an Administrative Hearing. 

  2. Suspension: For some serious violations, a student may be separated from the College for a specified period of time with minimum conditions to be eligible for consideration for re-enrollment. Suspension is a change of status.

    The Office of the Dean of Students will notify students’ parents or guardians, and academic advisor(s), and coach or student activities advisor (when applicable) of any violation resulting in Suspension.  When students are suspended, they are required to be away from campus and lose privileges; after the designated period, students may apply for re-enrollment to Bowdoin, which is not guaranteed.

    Suspended students, unless otherwise authorized by the Dean of Students, 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 their suspension. Suspended students may not transfer academic credit to Bowdoin for coursework taken during Suspension, unless permission is granted by the Dean of Students. Except in cases of immediate suspension, a term of suspension will typically begin on the last day of the academic term for the semester in which it is given.

  3. 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. The Office of the Dean of Students will notify students’ parents or guardians, academic advisor(s), and coach (when applicable) of any violation resulting in Permanent Dismissal.

Additional Sanctions: Depending on the nature and circumstances of the violations,  additional sanctions may be assessed in combination with any other sanctions described herein. These include, but are not limited to:   

  1. Community Service: Community service as a sanction allows a student to positively impact the College community and work toward repairing harm, as well as providing a student the opportunity to develop and foster a positive relationship with other members of the campus or Brunswick communities. Unless otherwise specified by the outcome letter, the student may choose for themselves the nature of the community service project. Students may not volunteer for programs, projects, or non-profits owned or run by family members, except with advance written permission from the Dean of Students.

    A student should work with on-campus resources such as their class dean, the McKeen Center for Common Good, athletic teams, or other student groups to identify an appropriate project and fulfill their obligations. However, ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to finalize the project and complete the community service hours within the timeframe specified by the outcome letter. Failure to complete the community service may result in additional disciplinary action including, but not limited to, referral to the Conduct Review Board.

    To confirm completion of community service, the student must fill-out and submit the community service form to their dean by or before the assigned deadline. The form  must specify the project served, the number of hours completed, which may be more  than assigned but not less, and the form be signed by the organization’s volunteer  supervisor (or equivalent). The supervisor may not be a student’s parent, guardian, or sibling.

  2. Educational or Evaluative Conversations: Depending on the nature and context of a policy violation, a student may be required to participate in an educational conversation, such as BASICS, or an evaluative conversation with a licensed substance abuse counselor. Failure to complete this sanction may result in additional disciplinary action.

  3. Program for Non-violence and Conflict Resolution: Students may be referred to the Program for Non-violence and Conflict Resolution in addition to being educational in nature, PNVCR seeks to: (1) acknowledge harmful behavior or conduct and establish accountability; (2) repair the harm as much as possible; and (3) create an agreed upon plan for the future to prevent repeated violation. Mediation will result in a written resolution that outline clear steps individuals must take in order to address the conduct or repair the harm (educational component, apology letter, community service, etc). The agreement becomes part of the student record as a disciplinary outcome. Failure to honor the agreement could result in additional sanctions or additional disciplinary action.
  1. Academic Outcomes: Range of various penalties such as grading penalties, course failures, revisions of assignments.

    Students who receive a grade penalty of a D or an F may be subject to academic policies, such as academic probation or suspension, as provided for in the Bowdoin College Academic Handbook.

    If the outcome from a Formal Hearing regarding academic integrity does not include a grade penalty, a faculty member will grade the student in accordance with the faculty member’s established criteria and professional standards.

  2. Fines: Although the Office of the Dean of Students College does not assess monetary fines as punitive measures, some departments on campus may charge a student for the fee associated with costs assessed to the College as a result of the student’s conduct; for example, failure to evacuate during a fire alarm or the malicious discharge of a fire extinguisher. (Please refer to Bowdoin College Facilities Management policies for more information.)

  3. Restitution: Students who damage to College property will be required to make restitution commensurate with the cost of replacing or repairing property damage, destroyed, or taken. Restitution may also be assessed in the case of theft or misappropriation.

  4. Other Sanctions or measures: These may include, but are not limited to, written apologies, counseling, loss of College privileges (, participation in athletics, Study Away, or Senior Week activities; the ability to have a car on campus; etc.), reassignment of housing; continuation of a No Contact Order; or other sanctions or resolutions that reflect the circumstances of the case.
C. Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances.

Personal circumstances shall not excuse or nullify a student’s responsibility. However, in rare and exceptional circumstances, personal circumstances may mitigate or aggravate the resulting sanction.   

1. Mitigating Factors

In rare and exceptional situations, where a student’s judgment was impaired at the time of the violation, a sanction may be mitigated. In some circumstances, mitigating circumstances may be present, but do not warrant a change in sanction. The mitigating circumstance must be closely related in time to the violation.

Examples of mitigating factors may include, but are not limited to: 

  • The diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness of the student’s caregiver or siblings;
  • Death of the student’s caregiver or within the student’s immediate family;
  • Evidence of a serious mental or physical health impairment, which the student demonstrates caused a lack of sound judgment at the time the offense was committed;
  • A significantly impactful event, such as the loss of a parent’s employment, impending divorce or dissolution of the student’s parents/caregiver’s partnership within close proximity to the violation;
  • Personal trauma or victimization, such as assault or robbery.

The following circumstances are not considered mitigating:

  • The stress of being a Bowdoin student. E.g., having several tests or papers due at the same time, failure to balance work or academic expectations, social distress.
  • Adverse repercussions from a given sanction. E.g., loss of financial aid, the loss of a job or fellowship; delay in graduation; inability to obtain a security clearance for an internship.
  • The fact that it is a student’s first violation;
  • Where a student will be ineligible to participate in athletics or leadership positions.
2. Aggravating Factors

Certain situations may serve to aggravate, or increase, the original violation. Examples of aggravating factors may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Prior disciplinary record or prior findings of academic dishonesty.
  • Failure to be forthcoming and truthful during an investigation or hearing.
  • Multiple submissions of academically dishonest or unethical work, either within a single course or in multiple courses during one or more semesters.
  • Fabrication or destruction of evidence.
  • Attempted or actual obstruction of the disciplinary process.
  • Collusion with respondents, witnesses, or other parties involved in the hearing.

 D. Temporary Measures

  1. Immediate Temporary Suspension: If the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs believes that the continued presence of a student is contrary to the best interests of the campus environment, or if the suspected behavior of a student seriously jeopardizes the safety and/or welfare of the campus environment, the Dean or designee may immediately suspend the student from the College pending a formal disciplinary hearing. A student 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 Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs or Dean of Students receives information regarding a conflict or issue between or among members of the Bowdoin community, the Dean may immediately issue a No Contact Order (“NCO”) issued by the College to direct individuals to refrain from communicating with each other in person, by telephone, or by e-mail or other electronic means, as well as by trying to communicate through a third-party. It is the policy of the College to make all NCOs reciprocal.

    In appropriate circumstances, an NCO 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.

    An NCO should not be interpreted as a finding of any violation of College policy, and is not a sanction; however, the imposition of a NCO does not preclude disciplinary charges from being raised as a result of any past interactions, and a violation of an NCO by either party can result in disciplinary action. NCOs remain in place until they are expressly removed in writing by the Office of the Dean of Students.

    In addition to the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Gender Violence Prevention, the Department of Safety and Security, and the Office of Residential Life shall be informed about NCOs.