Middlebury

Community Council

The Community Council serves as a forum in which all the segments of the College community: administration, faculty, staff, and students, have a voice on nonacademic issues facing the College. With this representative membership, Community Council deliberations and decisions take into consideration the interests and concerns of the whole community. The diverse membership assures that each member of the council hears and understands the views of the other sections of the community, thus linking the four groups that compose the Middlebury College community.

The Community Council has a dual role in the College governance structure. Sometimes the council makes decisions and then implements those decisions as College policy. On certain matters, the council serves as an advisory body to the president and administration.

1. Authority

a. The Community Council considers policies and issues in all areas pertaining to the nonacademic life of the College in which students, faculty, and/or staff share mutual concerns.

b. The Community Council may make decisions about matters when it can be held accountable for the consequences of those decisions. Examples include student appointments to certain committees and considering house grievances.

c. The Community Council may recommend actions to the president and administration on matters in which the council has an interest, but cannot be held accountable (legally or financially) for the consequences of decisions made. Examples include handbook policy changes and creation/termination of social/academic interest houses.

2. Legislated Duties

a. Responsibilities

i. The Community Judicial Board, the Academic Judicial Board, and the Judicial Appeals Board are accountable to the Community Council.

ii. Oversight of residential issues: Charged with oversight of all residential programs, coeducational social house system and the academic interest house system and the implementation of changes mandated by the trustees in January 1990, the Community Council may hear an annual report from the Inter-House Council (IHC) early in the year concerning the role of each house in the residential system of Middlebury and biannually a report from each social and academic interest house's about their engagement with the College community and compliance with the College policy. (see Residential Life Committee below.)

b. Delegated Responsibilities

Residential Life Committee

The mission of the committee:

  1. Serve as a broad forum and advisory group for discussions of residential policy including but not limited to residential housing, off-campus housing, all gender housing policy, room draw, residential life staff and training, and social, special interest and academic interest houses including the super block system.
  2. Conduct reviews every other year, in alternating years, of the College’s Social House and Academic and Special Interest House systems. Reviews will include the house’s statement of goals, the programs the house has conducted in support of those goals, and the house’s compliance with College policy. Based on this review, the Residential Life Committee may recommend to Community Council that a house be continued; be continued with conditions (provisional status); or be discontinued.  
  3. In addition to overseeing compliance with College policy, this committee will take on special projects as requested by Community Council.

The Residential Life Committee may also make recommendations to the Community Council for updating guidelines and regulations for residential students, consider social and interest house grievances, and make appropriate recommendations to the Community Council in response to such grievances. In addition to house review meetings, the committee will meet as needed, normally twice each month during the academic year (October – May).

The Community Council will meet with the Residential Life Committee as needed to consider recommendations. When a recommendation has been made to discontinue a house, house members will be invited to the Community Council meeting for a full discussion. This does not preclude Community Council from taking independent action to sanction or recommend the discontinuation of a house.

The membership of the Residential Life Committee will be: one faculty member from the Community Council, one staff member from the Community Council, two student members of the Community Council, and the Residential Systems Coordinator.  The committee will be chaired by a designee from the Office of the Dean of Students.  In addition, the committee may have representation from the following areas: student residential life staff; Commons administrative team; Custodial / Facilities Services; Dining Services; Department of Public Safety; Inter-House Council; and SGA First-Year Senator, as appointed from time to time by Community Council.

c. Appointments

i.Community Judicial Board and Academic Judicial Board. Early in the spring semester, the Community Council will appoint one of its student members and one of its faculty or staff members to serve on the committee that selects the students members of the judicial boards. For more information, please see “Student Life: General Disciplinary Processes.”

d. Recommendations

i. The Community Council recommends to the president policies in all areas pertaining to the nonacademic life of the College in which students, faculty, and/or staff share mutual concerns. This includes changes to current College policy as presented in this Handbook.

ii. The Community Council convenes an Honor System review committee at least every fourth year, and it makes recommendations on changes proposed by the committee. Changes in the Constitution of the Undergraduate Honor System require approval by a referendum in which two-thirds of all students who are currently registered for classes vote, and in which two-thirds of those voting support the change, subject to ratification by the faculty. The Community Council will submit its recommendations for changes in other aspects of the judicial system to the Faculty Council for review and ratification by the full faculty.

iii. Community Judicial Board, Academic Judicial Board, and Judicial Appeals Board: The Community Council may consider or make recommendations about changes in the operation of the judicial boards. The Community Council will submit its recommendations to the Faculty Council for review and final approval by the full faculty.

iv. With respect to social houses and academic interest houses, the Community Council:

(a) Recommends action or changes in policy concerning the houses when the deans and one or more of the houses have an unresolved disagreement, or when a member of the community files a complaint against a house with the council or suggests policy changes.

(b) Recommends to the president the creation or termination of a house.

3. Other Duties

a. The Community Council may hear any proposals brought forth by members of the College community concerning nonacademic issues that affect members of the community. Action may be taken on submitted proposals according to the guidelines established in section 1 above.

b. The Community Council itself may initiate discussion on any nonacademic issue affecting the College community. Action may be taken according to the guidelines established in section 1 above or the council may encourage other appropriate groups to consider the issue in question.

4. Composition

a. Membership

    There are 19 voting members of the Community Council:

    i. The dean of the College (or designee)

    ii. Four administrative staff appointments

    iii. Three members of the faculty

    iv. The vice president of the Staff Council, who serves as the Staff Council representative

    v. The president of the Student Government Association

    vi. The student co-chair of the Community Council

    vii. Eight other students.

b. Appointment of Members

    i. The three faculty members are appointed by the Faculty Council.

    ii. The four administrative staff members are appointed by the president in consultation with the Staff Council.

    iii. The student co-chair is elected by the student body.

      iv. The additional student members are appointed by the Student Government Association.

The dean of the College and the elected student serve as co-chairs of Community Council.