Community Standards and Policy Overview

September, 2015

Community Standards

Middlebury College seeks to prepare students to be active citizens and leaders who will address the world’s most pressing problems. This mission is advanced through students’ experiences with successes and challenges, and is reflected in the following Community Standards:

  • cultivating respect and responsibility for self, others, and our shared environment;
  • encouraging personal and intellectual courage and growth;
  • manifesting integrity and honesty in all decisions and actions;
  • promoting healthy, safe and balanced lifestyles;
  • fostering a diverse and inclusive community committed to civility, open-mindedness and finding common ground.

Therefore, a balance of individual and community health and growth guides Middlebury’s approach to all endeavors, and to the policies that support those endeavors.

Student Life Policy Overview

The above Community Standards guide the College’s approach to policy, and to addressing policy violations.  The deans and judicial boards consider the totality of a student’s history, the impact on community, and the specific circumstances of the event when determining appropriate responses to policy violations. Consistent with the cultivation of an awareness of responsibility and accountability, students found in violation of College  policies and/or participating in prohibited acts will be held responsible, will be subject to College discipline, and/or will be charged for fines and associated costs (such as materials or labor costs for repairs; cost of impoundment; restitution, etc.) as appropriate. As with all College fees, students with unpaid charges may be restricted from registering for classes until their accounts are in order. Please see General Disciplinary Processes and Student Fines and Fees for more information.

Handbook policies are set forth in writing in order to give students general notice of our Community Standards, and of resulting prohibited conduct. The Handbook and its policies are intended to be read broadly and are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms. Attempts to commit acts prohibited in this Handbook may also lead to disciplinary action and sanctions.

Emergency Withdrawal, Suspension, or Expulsion

In addition to fostering the growth of its individual students, Middlebury College recognizes its obligation to promote the welfare of the College community as a whole and to take appropriate action when that welfare is jeopardized. To that end, the College reserves the right, notwithstanding and apart from the procedures described under General Disciplinary Processes, on an emergency basis, to suspend, expel, or require to withdraw any student whose presence at the College is determined by College authorities (the dean of the College; the dean of students, the vice president for Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs; the director of the Bread Loaf School of English; or the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, as appropriate) to pose a danger to the College community or its members or to be unduly disruptive of College life, or who appears to be unwilling or incapable of effectively and/or safely participating in the College’s academic or other programs and/or the residential life of the College. In cases of emergency suspension or required withdrawal, the conditions and procedures for readmission will be determined and communicated in writing to the student at the time of the student’s departure or shortly thereafter. 

The College recognizes that its students are citizens of larger communities—local, state, and federal—and enjoy the same rights of petition and freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly that other citizens enjoy. Faculty and administrative officials should ensure that College authority is not used to inhibit the intellectual and personal growth of students, fostered by the exercise of the rights of citizenship, both on and off campus.

Scope of Oversight

Students will be held accountable for policy violations that take place between the time they first arrive on campus to begin their Middlebury program and their graduation, or the College's confirmation of their resignation or expulsion. Conduct that takes place on or near Middlebury premises or property; occurs at or in connection with a Middlebury-related event; or occurs off-campus but may represent a threat to the safety of the Middlebury community or its members, the pursuit of its objectives, and/or the educational environment of others, may be subject to the College disciplinary process. In cases where a student is found responsible for a policy violation while participating in any Middlebury program, the finding of responsibility may also be referred to the appropriate authority overseeing any additional Middlebury program in which the student is or will also be enrolled for other action as deemed appropriate. This may include but is not limited to: further investigation; additional adjudication under existing policies (using only information gathered in the first disciplinary process, or using subsequently gathered information, or both, as deemed appropriate by the overseeing authority); disciplinary action; or other remedies or processes deemed appropriate by the authority overseeing the additional Middlebury program.

Pending Discipline

A student will not be permitted to graduate or receive academic credit (or certification, if applicable) for a program in which they are enrolled while a disciplinary matter is pending; the student’s graduation, credit or certification will be held in abeyance until the matter is resolved. Nor will a student ordinarily be permitted to withdraw with a disciplinary matter pending. If a student nevertheless withdraws with a disciplinary matter pending, the withdrawal will be considered a resignation from Middlebury, and the student will have given up the opportunity to return to Middlebury. Notation will be made in the student's permanent file that the student has withdrawn with a disciplinary matter pending, with a disciplinary sanction pending, or with an appeal of a disciplinary outcome pending, as appropriate. In extraordinary circumstances, however, the appropriate supervisory authority may, after appropriate consultation, a review of the case, and consideration of Middlebury’s best interests, grant permission for a student to withdraw from Middlebury when a disciplinary matter is pending. Should the student be readmitted to Middlebury, the disciplinary matter must be resolved either before the student's return, or immediately upon the student's return. See Student Status for more information.


Several Student Life policies include deadlines. Unless otherwise noted, “days” indicates calendar days, regardless of whether the majority of Middlebury’s administrative offices are open. “Business days” indicates days on which the majority of Middlebury’s administrative offices are open, and generally connotes Mondays through Fridays.