Non-Discrimination Policy and Student Grievance Process

I. Statement of Non-Discrimination

Respect for the rights of all and for the differences among us is essential for the Bowdoin community. Discrimination and harassment have no place in our intellectual community. 

Bowdoin College is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful environment for all members of its community. Bowdoin complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination in employment, admission, or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, genetic predisposition, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities on the basis of disability, or any other legally protected statuses. 

If members of the Bowdoin community experience or witness any apparent incident of harassment or discrimination by students, faculty, or staff, they may discuss their concerns or request advice from deans, Student Affairs staff, academic advisors, proctors, or resident advisors. Such incidents violate both the ideals of the College and its Social Code and may be subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions. When such incidents violate State of Maine or Federal criminal statutes, prosecution may be pursued.

II. Student Grievance Process

If a student believes they have experienced any unlawful harassment, violence or discrimination, they should promptly report it pursuant to the procedures described here.  

For student concerns and complaints involving violations of Title IX, including sexual harassment please refer to the procedures of the Bowdoin College Title IX Policy. 

A. Student Grievances.

Bowdoin students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy are encouraged to bring these concerns forward. Concerns may be brought directly to one of the following Bowdoin officials:

Benje Douglas
Vice President and Interim Chief Diversity Officer, and Head of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity 
(207) 721-5189 

Katherine O'Grady 
Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance
Title IX Coordinator
(207) 725-3493 

Michael Pulju
Associate Dean of Students & Director of Community Standards
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students 
(207) 725-3866 

Lesley P. Levy 
Director of Student Accessibility 
(207) 798-4187 

For issues involving staff:  
Tamara Spoerri 
Vice President for Human Resources 
Deputy Title IX Coordinator  
(207) 725-3838 

For issues involving faculty:  
Stephen Perkinson
Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
(207) 725-3526 

For athletic inquiries regarding Title IX, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator is: 

Nicky Pearson 
Associate Director of Athletics & Senior Women’s Administrator 
Head Coach Women’s Field Hockey 
(207) 725-3329 

Initial Process  

Upon receipt of a complaint of discrimination, the Bowdoin official receiving the complaint will refer the matter to the Office of the Dean of Students within three (3) business days.  

The Dean of Students may either refer the matter to the Program for Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution (PNVCR) for confidential mediation with the goal of reaching a satisfactory resolution. If the student is not satisfied with the proposed resolution, the student may within three (3) calendar days of the completion of the mediation, file a Formal Grievance with the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs.   

In rare circumstances, the Dean of Students may refer the matter directly to the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs to initiate the Formal Grievance Process. 

Formal Grievance Process 

A formal grievance must be in writing and contain a statement of the underlying facts in support of the allegation.  Except in unusual circumstances, a Formal Grievance must be filed within 90 days of the alleged violation. 

The Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs or their designee will initiate an investigation via an outside investigator. Upon receipt of the investigator’s decision, the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs, or their designee, will issue a decision regarding whether discrimination occurred and, if so, the appropriate resolution. This decision will be issued within a reasonable time from the submission of the complaining student’s written submission to the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs, which will generally not exceed 30 days. Extensions of this timeline will be conveyed to the student.  The decision is final and may not be appealed. 

Possible sanctions if a student is found to have violated this Policy include the full range of disciplinary sanctions available at the College (see Sanctions). 

B. Student Grievances Involving Faculty. For matters involving faculty members,including issues related to grading, a student may bring their concern to the attention of the department chair or administrator in whose department the concern has arisen, or to the attention of the Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. The department chair, administrator, or dean who has been informed of the concern will then seek to discuss the issue with all parties concerned and attempt to achieve a resolution satisfactory to all. If unsuccessful and if the student wishes to pursue a formal grievance process, The Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs will follow the process outlined above.  

C. Student Grievances Involving Visitors. For concerns about visitors or other non-Bowdoin community members, students may contact any administrator named above, the Office of Safety and Security, Brunswick Police Department, and/or state and federal agencies. Typically, College investigations and hearings can occur simultaneously with external reviews. 

D. Confidentiality. When a report is made, the College will treat the identities of the parties and the substance of the claims as confidential, except as is reasonably necessary to carry out the investigative process and to ensure the safety of the community.

E. Retaliation. Bowdoin College policy explicitly prohibits retaliation, academic or otherwise, against students for bringing complaints of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct forward or for participating in good faith in the investigation of a complaint.  

III. Procedures for Other Grievances 

A student who has a grievance concerning a professor that does not otherwise fall under this policy should first discuss the matter with the professor involved, then with the student’s academic advisor. The concern may also be brought to the attention of a Student Affairs staff member, who may decide to handle it personally or may choose to refer the matter to the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs and the Senior Vice President Dean for Academic Affairs. In responding to student grievances, the deans must balance two considerations: (1) the importance of protecting the professor’s academic freedom and authority to conduct the class as they see fit; and (2) the student’s right to be fairly treated. The determination of the deans’ decision is final and may not be appealed.