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.
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
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 the 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:
i. Residential Life Committee
The mission of the committee:
- 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.
- Bi-annually review, in alternating years, at the beginning of the year, the goals and purposes of each of the social houses and the academic interest houses and to ensure that the houses have realized their goals and purposes for the academic year and are in houses are in compliance with College policy.
a. Based on this review, the Residential Life Committee can recommend to Community Council that houses be continued; be continued with conditions (provisional status); or be discontinued.
- In addition to overseeing compliance with College policy, this subcommittee 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 addition to the fall and January reviews, the subcommittee will meet as needed. The committee will normally meet 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.
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. The Residential Systems Coordinator will also serve on this committee. 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.
i. Community Judicial Board. Early in the spring semester, the Community Council will appoint a selection committee comprised of one faculty member and two students from the Community Council, two nonvoting advisory members from the Community Judicial Board, and the associate dean of the College, to advertise for, interview, and select a slate of four student members and two student alternates to serve on the Community Judicial Board. The Community Council ratifies the slate of candidates.
ii. Academic Judicial Board. Early in the spring semester, the Community Council will appoint a selection committee comprised of one faculty member and two students from the Community Council, two nonvoting advisory members from the Academic Judicial Board, and the administrative co-chair of the Judicial Appeals Board to advertise for, interview, and select a slate of four student members and two student alternates to serve on the Academic Judicial Board. The Community Council ratifies the slate of candidates.
iii. Residential Life:
(a) Approves changes in guidelines and regulations for students in social houses, academic and special interest houses and super blocks proposed by the deans and the houses
(b) Considers house grievances
These responsibilities may be delegated to the Residential Life Committee.
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. Recommendations for 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.
The voting members of the Community Council are the dean of the College (or designate), three members of the administration appointed by the president, three members of the faculty appointed by the Faculty Council, the vice president of the Staff Council, two members of the staff appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Staff Council, the president of the Student Government Association, the student co-chair of the Community Council elected by the student body, and eight other students. The dean of the College and the elected student co-chair serve as co-chairs of the Council.
b. Appointment of Members
i. The three administration members are appointed by the president of the College.
ii. The three faculty members are appointed by the Faculty Council.
iii. The vice president of the Staff Council serves as the MCSC representative to the Community Council. The other two staff members are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Staff Council.
iv. The student members are appointed by the Student Government Association.