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 or harassment has 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 misconduct, including sexual harassment, or gender based violence, please refer to the procedures of the Student Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence 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: the Director of Gender Violence Prevention and Education/Title IX Coordinator; the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Community Standards/Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students; the Director of Student Accessibility; or the Vice President for Human Resources. At the student’s request, the Bowdoin official will refer the matter to the Dean of Students for mediation in an attempt to achieve a resolution satisfactory to all.

If the student is not satisfied with the College’s resolution of the matter, the student may file a formal grievance with the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs.  The student’s complaint must be in writing and contain a statement of the underlying facts in support of the allegation.  Except in unusual circumstances, a formal complaint must to be filed within 90 days of the alleged violation.

The Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs or their designee will investigate the complaint by interviewing the complainant and other identified witnesses and reviewing relevant written evidence. 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 Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs’ decision is final and may not be appealed. 

B. Student Grievances Involving Faculty. For matters involving faculty members, 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 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 no resolution is reached through informal negotiation, the department chair or administrator should inform the Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs.  The student alleging discrimination will be asked to prepare a written statement detailing the substance of their complaint.  The Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs, or their designee, will then investigate the complaint and 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. The Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs’ decision is final and may not be appealed. 

C. Student Grievances Involving Visitors. For concerns about visitors or other non-Bowdoin community members, students may contact an administrator from Student Affairs, 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. 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.  Possible sanctions if a student is found to have violated this Policy include the full range of disciplinary sanctions available at the College.

III. Procedures for Other Grievances

A student who has a grievance concerning a professor that does not 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 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.

Questions regarding the College’s non-discrimination policies should be directed to one of the following:

Benje Douglas
Director of Gender Violence Prevention & Education 
Title IX Coordinator
Dudley Coe Building, 1st floor
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 721-5189
bdouglas@bowdoin.edu

Katherine O'Grady
Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Community Standards
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students
Moulton Union, 2nd Floor
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 725-3493
kogrady@bowdoin.edu

Lesley P. Levy
Director of Student Accessibility
24 College Street
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 798-4187
llevy@bowdoin.edu

For issues involving faculty or staff:

Tamara Spoerri
Vice President for Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator 
216 Maine Street, 3rd floor
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 725-3838
tspoerri@bowdoin.edu

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
Buck Center, 2nd floor
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 725-3329
npearson@bowdoin.edu