Middlebury

General Disciplinary Processes


Overview

As noted in Middlebury's Community Standards, a balance of individual and community health and growth guides the College's approach to all endeavors, and to the policies that support those endeavors.

This section describes the disciplinary process that is normally followed when violations of Middlebury’s Student Life policies are alleged. Where other College policies specify separate processes, those processes will apply. See, e.g., the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy; the Sexual Misconduct Policy; the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy; the Hazing Policy; the Academic Honesty Policy; and the Inter-House Council policies (found in the IHC Handbook). The handbooks for other Middlebury College schools and programs contain additional information about policy violations by participants in those programs.

The dean of the College, dean of students, Commons deans, and judicial affairs officer may issue letters of warning, reprimands, probationary status, or official College discipline when they determine that student life policies have been violated. They may also issue additional restrictions of College privileges, including but not limited to housing lottery participation or guest privileges, and assign educational sanctions, including but not limited to research or reparative community service, as appropriate. Commons Residential Advisors (CRAs) may issue letters of warning, which Commons deans may increase or augment as appropriate. Students may appeal the issuance of official College discipline by a Commons dean to the Community Judicial Board; they may not appeal unofficial sanctions.

The judicial affairs officer may additionally issue sanctions of suspension or expulsion through the Disposition without Hearing process (see Judicial Boards and Other Procedures), as well as other academic sanctions as noted below (see Sanctions: Academic Offenses). The dean of students may issue sanctions of suspension through the Disposition without a Final Determination process (see Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy).  The dean of the College and other Middlebury officials have additional sanctioning authority in emergency circumstances; see Emergency Withdrawal, Suspension or Dismissal.

Except where other policies designate a different process, the Community Judicial Board generally reviews cases in which non-academic policy violations may result in a sanction of official College discipline, suspension or expulsion, and cases that have had an especially broad or negative impact on the community. Allegations of academic dishonesty are generally reviewed by the Academic Judicial Board.

No Contact Orders

When a verbal or physical altercation, sexual misconduct, stalking, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or hazing has been alleged, or when otherwise deemed appropriate under the circumstances, the dean of the College, dean of students, Commons deans, judicial affairs officer, human relations officer, and members of the Public Safety staff have the authority to issue No Contact Orders to the persons involved, whether or not disciplinary action is taken. A No Contact Order is used to restrict encounters between individuals. While a No Contact Order is not a disciplinary sanction, and will not appear on a student’s disciplinary record, refusal to adhere to the order after written or verbal notification of its terms is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

Legal Proceedings

College disciplinary action is distinct from and not dependent upon the outcome of any legal proceedings involving a student, although conduct that forms the basis for legal proceedings may also warrant disciplinary action by the College, and conviction of a crime may in itself justify disciplinary action. If the College determines that the complaint will not be heard on campus, there may be an avenue for redress through legal action (civil and/or criminal). 

The College may offer assistance to a student facing civil or criminal legal proceedings by apprising the student of sources of legal counsel, for example, but the College will endeavor not to interfere in any such proceedings. Students should also be aware that College officials and other students may, like all persons, be compelled to give testimony or evidence if subject to the subpoena power of a court.

While students are enrolled at the College, they must inform the College of any occasion on which they are charged with a felony by state or federal authorities. Failure to do so may itself result in disciplinary action.

 


 

Judicial Boards and Other Procedures

All parties will be provided procedural rights as outlined below or as outlined in Middlebury’s Sexual Misconduct Policy or Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy, as applicable. Alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy are adjudicated through separate processes; please consult those policies for more information.  Since the College lacks full judicial authority, such as the power to subpoena or place witnesses under oath, a student's rights cannot be coextensive with or identical to the rights afforded someone accused in a civil or criminal legal proceeding. However, the procedures outlined below and in the Sexual Misconduct and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policies are designed to provide fundamental fairness and to protect students from arbitrary or capricious disciplinary action. All judicial boards, human relations officers and other disciplinary authorities of the College shall conduct their proceedings in the spirit of these principles. If exceptional circumstances dictate variation from these procedures, the variation will not invalidate a decision unless it prevented fundamental fairness.

A. The Judicial System
The judicial system at Middlebury College consists of three judicial bodies:  the Community Judicial Board, the Academic Judicial Board, and the Judicial Appeals Board. The judicial process is overseen by the Judicial Affairs Officer.

1. Community Judicial Board

a. Jurisdiction
The Community Judicial Board normally adjudicates charges of significant non-academic conduct infractions.

If the Community Judicial Board cannot be convened because the College is in recess for the summer, a student charged with a non-academic disciplinary offense may choose  to have the matter resolved through the Disposition without Hearing process (see below), or to postpone a hearing until the Community Judicial Board can be convened in the fall. A student who chooses to postpone a hearing under these circumstances and who is subsequently suspended for the fall semester or expelled will receive a full reimbursement of tuition, room, board, and all College fees for that semester.

b. Organization

i. Composition
The Community Judicial Board consists of eight members: one Commons dean, one staff member, two faculty members, and four students. Each member has one vote. Any one of the five Commons deans may serve on the board for any hearing; generally, the Commons dean does not serve as co-chair. There will be one staff alternate, one faculty alternate, and two student alternates. Alternates will only substitute for absent members of their own constituency.

ii. Selection
The dean of the College or designee (“dean of the College”) appoints one staff or faculty member as the co-chair of the Community Judicial Board. The president of the College will appoint the staff representatives to the board, on the recommendation of the Staff Council. The Faculty Council will appoint the faculty members to the board. The student members will be appointed by Community Council in the procedure described below. Those making the appointments are encouraged to consider gender balance in the selection process. First-year students may not serve on the Community Judicial Board. A student who is a member of the Community Council may not serve at the same time on the Community Judicial Board. The Community Council will review the continued eligibility of a student member of the Community Judicial Board who has been found to have committed a serious infraction of College rules, and may require the member to resign from the Community Judicial Board. 

Early in the spring semester, a selection committee will be convened and led by the judicial affairs officer (“JAO”) including one Community Council student member, one Community Council staff or faculty member, one non-returning student member of the Community Judicial Board or Academic Judicial Board, and one staff or faculty member of the Community Judicial Board or the Academic Judicial Board. This selection committee will be responsible for advertising the availability of student positions on the Community Judicial Board and Academic Judicial Board; interviewing applicants; and submitting a slate of student members for each board to the Community Council for ratification. Whenever possible, at least one student member of the Community Judicial Board will have at least one year of prior experience. A student found guilty of a serious infraction of College rules by any College judicial authority will be eligible for membership only after review by the selection committee in consultation with the dean of students before the slate is presented to the Community Council.

iii. Substitution of Members
If there is a need to convene the Community Judicial Board and regular members cannot attend a hearing, alternates to the Community Judicial Board will be contacted first. If the alternates are unavailable, members of the Academic Judicial Board will be asked to serve. If for any reason a member of the Community Judicial Board has a conflict of interest in a particular proceeding, a replacement will be sought first from among the alternate members, then from the members of the Academic Judicial Board.

iv. Officers
After the Community Judicial Board has been selected, it will elect from among its members one student co-chair. The other co-chair will be appointed by the dean of the College. One of the co-chairs must be present to convene a hearing.

v. Accountability and Changes in Procedure
The Community Judicial Board is accountable to the Community Council and to the faculty, which has historically delegated its disciplinary authority. Reports consisting of an enumeration of cases heard, the nature of the charges, and the disposition, without disclosure of individual names, will be made annually by the judicial affairs officer  to the College community.  A member of the Community Judicial Board or the dean of students may recommend changes in rules, procedures, penalties, or any other part of the judicial process. The Community Council or faculty may also initiate such changes. Recommendations should be made jointly to the faculty and Community Council. The Community Council will submit to the faculty for final action a proposal for any changes the Community Council recommends. Final authority for changes rests with the faculty.

2. Academic Judicial Board

a. Jurisdiction
The Academic Judicial Board normally adjudicates charges of academic dishonesty.  If the Academic Judicial Board cannot be convened because the College is in recess for the summer, a student charged with academic dishonesty may choose to have the matter resolved through the Disposition without Hearing process, or to postpone the hearing until the full Academic Judicial Board can be convened in the fall. A student who chooses to postpone hearing under these circumstances and who is subsequently suspended for the fall semester or expelled will receive a full reimbursement of tuition, room, board, and all College fees for that semester.

b. Organization

i. Composition
The Academic Judicial Board consists of seven members: a member of the faculty or the academic administration appointed by the president, two faculty members, and four students. Each member has one vote. There will be one faculty alternate and two student alternates. Alternates will only substitute for absent members of their own constituency.

ii. Selection
The member of the faculty or the academic administration appointed by the president serves as the co-chair of the Academic Judicial Board. The Faculty Council will appoint the faculty members to the board. The student members will be appointed by Community Council in the procedure described below. Those making the appointments are encouraged to consider gender balance in the selection process. First-year students may not serve on the Academic Judicial Board. A student who is a member of the Community Council may not serve at the same time on the Academic Judicial Board. The Community Council will review the continued eligibility of a student member of the Academic Judicial Board who has been found to have committed a serious infraction of College rules, and may require the member to resign from the Academic Judicial Board.  

Selection of student members for the Academic Judicial Board will follow the procedures outlined above under Community Judicial Board: Selection.

iii. Substitution of Members
If there is a need to convene the Academic Judicial Board and regular members cannot attend a hearing, alternates to the Academic Judicial Board will be contacted first. If the alternates are unavailable, members of the Community Judicial Board will be asked to serve. If for any reason a member of the Academic Judicial Board has a conflict of interest in a particular proceeding, a replacement will be sought first from among the alternate members, then from the members of the Community Judicial Board.  

iv. Officers
After the Academic Judicial Board has been selected, it will elect from its members a student co-chair. The other co-chair will be the member of the faculty or the academic administration appointed by the president. One of the co-chairs must be present to convene a hearing.

v. Academic Dishonesty Cases
A faculty member who believes a student has engaged in academic dishonesty shall submit a written statement of the facts supporting the charge to the judicial affairs officer, for transmittal to the Academic Judicial Board. The faculty member's statement will serve as the formal presentation of charges to the Academic Judicial Board, and therefore should be sufficiently detailed to enable all parties to prepare for the hearing. Accused students will be provided with access to the charge statement and all related materials that will be shared with the board in advance of the hearing. Normally, the hearing will be scheduled at least one week after the charge statement has been provided to the student. Shorter deadlines may apply in cases involving seniors at the end of their final term, or with the agreement of the accused student(s). The faculty member initiating charges shall participate in the hearing to explain the charges and to ask and answer questions. The faculty member and the student charged may each be accompanied by an adviser of his or her choosing from the College community.

vi. Accountability and Changes in Procedure
The Academic Judicial Board is accountable to the Community Council and to the faculty, which has historically delegated its disciplinary authority. Reports consisting of an enumeration of cases heard, the nature of the charges, and the disposition, without disclosure of individual names, will be made annually by the judicial affairs officer to the College community.  A member of the Academic Judicial Board or the dean of the College may recommend changes in rules, procedures, penalties, or any other part of the judicial process. The Community Council or faculty may also initiate such changes. Recommendations should be made jointly to the faculty and Community Council. The Community Council will submit to the faculty for final action a proposal for any changes the Community Council recommends. Final authority for changes rests with the faculty.

3. Judicial Appeals Board

a. Jurisdiction
The Judicial Appeals Board has jurisdiction, as specified in Section D., Appeals Procedures, below, to hear appeals of decisions of the Community Judicial Board and the Academic Judicial Board.

b. Organization

i. Composition
The Judicial Appeals Board consists of five members: a member of the academic administration, appointed by the president, who serves as co-chair; two faculty members selected from the Community Judicial Board or Academic Judicial Board who did not participate in the original hearing; and two students selected according to the procedure specified below.  Each member has one vote.

ii. Selection of Student Members
An attempt will be made to select two students from the same board who did not hear the original case; however, issues of conflict of interest or availability may dictate selecting students from the other board. One of the student members may co-chair the appeal as appropriate.

iii. Substitution of Members
If there is a need to convene the Judicial Appeals Board when both regular and alternate members are unavailable, the administrative co-chair may appoint substitute members. Priority will be given to students and faculty with judicial experience. If for any reason a member of the Judicial Appeals Board has a conflict of interest in a particular proceeding, a replacement will be appointed.

 


 

B. Hearing Procedures
The following procedures apply to hearings before the Community Judicial Board, the Academic Judicial Board, and the Judicial Appeals Board, except as otherwise specifically provided.

1. Judicial Charges
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 withdrawal or resignation. For more information, see Community Standards and Policy Overview, "Scope of Oversight" and "Pending Discipline."

The judicial affairs officer or designee (“JAO”), in consultation as appropriate, will determine when and whether policy violation charges that will result in judicial hearings are levied. The person or group initiating a charge is called the complainant; in most cases, Middlebury College serves as the complainant. The student responding to charges is called the respondent. All judicial charges are transmitted to the respondent through the JAO on behalf of the College. The respondent will be notified of the identity of the complainant and the names of any witnesses who will attend the proceedings. Respondents will be provided with the charge statement and with access to all hearing materials that will be shared with the board in advance of the hearing.

2. Disposition without Hearing
Upon receiving written notification of the charges, respondents who do not contest the charges may request that the JAO adjudicate a final disposition of the charges.  In circumstances where the JAO determines that disposition without hearing is not in the best interests of the College, the request will be rejected and the case will go forward to a hearing.  In cases where the request for disposition without hearing is accepted, the JAO will assign sanction(s) appropriate to the acknowledged violation. The respondent may accept the sanctions, or may reject them, in which case the charges will be adjudicated by the appropriate judicial board, and the board’s finding and sanction will apply. The JAO will set a reasonable deadline by which the respondent must choose to accept the sanctions or reject them and pursue a hearing.

3.  Administration of hearings
The JAO serves as secretary to the judicial boards. The JAO assists in scheduling, provides required notices to the parties, witnesses, and board members, identifies the materials to be included in the hearing and provides access to them to the parties and board members as appropriate, identifies and approves witnesses, and otherwise performs administrative functions for the board.  The JAO does not participate in the deliberations of the board, but may be present during deliberations to assist with administrative tasks and provide procedural guidelines.  

4. Notification of Hearing
Notification in writing will be given to the respondent, the complainant, and any known witnesses called by the JAO. Notification will include the time and place of the hearing and must be given to the complainant and respondent at least two business days in advance of the hearing. The hearing will be scheduled not more than one week after the formal transmission of the charge, except where exigent circumstances require otherwise.

5. Attendance at Hearings
The respondent, complainant, and all required witnesses are expected to be present at the time and place of the scheduled hearing. Failure to appear at a scheduled hearing after proper notice may subject a student to disciplinary penalties up to and including suspension. Judicial proceedings take precedence over academic and nonacademic activities, and students shall be excused from other obligations to participate in the proceedings. Should a respondent who has been properly charged and notified of a scheduled hearing fail to appear, the hearing may proceed and sanctions may be imposed as if the respondent were present.

6. Disqualification
Any member of a judicial body who has a conflict of interest in a particular proceeding is disqualified from sitting on that case. If a member of the Community Judicial Board, the Academic Judicial Board, or the Judicial Appeals Board is disqualified, normally an alternate member from the same constituency will be selected to participate. If all of the five Commons deans are disqualified from sitting on the Community Judicial Board in a particular proceeding, the dean of the College will appoint a member of the administration to fulfill the duties of the representative from the Office of the Dean of the College. If the faculty or administrative co-chair is disqualified from sitting on the Academic Judicial Board or the Judicial Appeals Board in a particular proceeding, the vice president for academic affairs will appoint a member of the academic administration to perform the duties of the administrative co-chair in that case.

7. Quorum
Community Judicial Board hearings may be conducted with fewer than eight, but no fewer than six, members, at least three of whom must be students. If eight members are present, seven votes are needed for a finding of guilt. If seven members are present, six votes are needed for a finding of guilt. If six members are present, five votes are needed for a finding of guilt. In the event of a finding of guilt, sanctions shall be determined by majority vote.

Academic Judicial Board hearings may be conducted with fewer than seven, but no fewer than six, members present. If seven members are present, six votes are needed for a finding of guilt. If six members are present, five votes are needed for a finding of guilt. In the event of a finding of guilt, sanctions shall be determined by majority vote.

Judicial Appeals Board hearings may be conducted with fewer than five, but no fewer than four, members, at least two of whom are students, present. If five members are present, four votes are needed for a finding of guilt. If four members are present, three votes are needed for a finding of guilt. In the event of a finding of guilt, sanctions shall be determined by majority vote.

8. Audio recording
All judicial hearings will be audio recorded. The recording is the property of the College. In the event of an appeal, the recording will be available for the consideration of the appeal, as well as to the respondent. Copies made for the respondent must be returned once the appeal is filed and may not be used for other purposes. In cases in which students are found guilty, the recording will be retained for the duration of the statute of limitations and then destroyed. All other recordings are destroyed at the end of the academic year.

9. Participation in Judicial Proceedings
Normally, participation in or attendance at judicial hearings shall be limited to students and employees of Middlebury College. When others are involved in a case or can offer testimony that is directly relevant, a judicial body may permit those individuals to participate in a hearing.

10. Expectations
Honesty is expected on the part of all members of the community who participate in the judicial process. The provision of false or misleading information to a judicial body may itself be grounds for disciplinary action.

11. Support Person and Character Reference
The respondent and the complainant may each bring a support person who is a student or employee of Middlebury College. This person may be consulted by the respondent during the hearing, but, unless specifically invited, may not otherwise participate in the proceedings. In addition, either party may bring one character reference. Details about permissible character reference content will be provided by the JAO. Prior to the commencement of the hearing, each student shall provide the chair with the names of persons serving as his or her support person and/or character reference. The names will be shared with the respondent and complainant.

12. Independent Expertise
If the case involves a technical matter that falls outside the expertise of the members of the judicial body, the chair or judicial affairs officer may invite an appropriate faculty and/or student adviser without voting privileges to assist the body during the hearing.

13. Rights of the Respondent
The respondent has the right to be present throughout the hearing and to hear adverse testimony. In no case should the board consider evidence against a student unless the source, author, and content of any statement or other evidence has been identified to the student, and the student has been given the opportunity to rebut the statement or respond to the evidence. All written evidence intended to be introduced at the hearing must be provided to the chair of the board prior to the commencement of the hearing. The chair reserves the right not to consider written evidence not provided in advance. Sanctions may only be imposed for the specific charge of which the student has been notified in writing.

14. Evidence Rulings
Formal rules of evidence do not apply in College judicial proceedings. The JAO will make rulings on evidentiary or procedural questions prior to the hearing. The chair of the judicial body shall make rulings on evidentiary or procedural questions that arise in hearings. A decision of the chair may be modified by a majority vote.

15. Burden of Proof
The burden of proof rests with the party bringing the charge.

16. Basis of Decision
In determining whether a policy has been violated, the judicial authority shall base its decision only on evidence introduced at the hearing of that case. Policy violation determinations will be made on the basis of a preponderance of the evidence.

17. Hearings
All hearings are confidential, except that the board may, at the advance request of a respondent and with the consent of the complainant, open a hearing to all members of the College community, subject to space limitations consonant with conducting a judicial hearing. If the judicial process is disrupted during an open meeting, the judicial body may close the meeting to the general community. In this event the respondent and complainant may each select two members of the College community as observers. The respondent may, with the consent of the complainant, permit a continuation of coverage by the College press.

18. Confidential Deliberations
All judicial board deliberations are confidential.

19. Decision
The JAO will normally give written notification of the decision to each party charged within two business days of the board’s determination. Failure to meet the time limitations in this section will not invalidate a decision.

2o. Record of Proceedings
If a judicial proceeding results in a finding of not guilty, there will be no record of the charges or the hearing in the student's permanent file.

 


 

C. Sanctions

1. General Nonacademic Offenses
Sanctions for non-academic conduct violations are assigned to meet any of several goals: to deter conduct that is harmful; to cultivate an awareness of responsibility and accountability to self and others; to make amends to harmed parties as appropriate; and to encourage education and growth.  Sanctions are recorded in the student's file, and are not reflected on the academic transcript, except that the dates of enrollment at Middlebury College are a part of the transcript record.

Sanctions that may be imposed on a student for a nonacademic offense include but are not limited to those listed below. Additional sanctions may include loss or restriction of College privileges and/or educational/reparative assignments as appropriate. Prior conduct and judicial history may be taken into account in determining sanctions.

Although discipline is cumulative at Middlebury, which may result in greater sanctions for repeated or accumulated violations, it is not progressive. That is, depending on the severity of the violation, a student may receive any of the sanctions below, even for a first offense.

a. Fines or restitution: Fines or restitution are commensurate with the nature of the offense. The monetary cost of the harm done may be taken into account in assessment of a fine or an order of restitution.

b. Warnings: A verbal or written warning may be issued when a student has violated Middlebury College policy. A warning is intended to educate the student about community standards, College policies and/or state laws, and the need to adhere to them. A warning is informal College discipline and is not part of the student's permanent record. Students who receive a warning can answer negatively if they are asked if they have been subject to official College discipline. A warning remains in a student's file until graduation, when it is removed. Warnings are taken into account in determining future disciplinary outcomes and may serve to make further violations of College regulations more serious.

c. Reprimands: A letter of reprimand may be issued when a student demonstrates an inability or unwillingness to abide by community standards by repeatedly violating College policy. A letter of reprimand may also be issued when a student has committed a violation of College policy that has had or may have had a negative impact on an individual or on the community, or has undermined Middlebury’s community standards. A reprimand registers strongly the College’s concern regarding the student’s actions and its firm expectations for immediate improved behavior.  

Parents or guardians are informed when students are reprimanded.  A letter of reprimand is informal College discipline and is not part of the student’s permanent record. Students who receive reprimands can answer negatively if they are asked if they have been subject to official College discipline. A letter of reprimand remains in a student's file until graduation, when it is removed. Reprimands are taken into account in determining future disciplinary penalties and may serve to make further violations of College regulations more serious.

d. Probationary Status: Students may be placed on probationary status when the number or nature of their College policy violation(s) is sufficiently concerning that an additional policy violation will most likely result in official College discipline (please see below).  Probationary status provides students with an opportunity to avoid this outcome. They may do so by demonstrating improved conduct, generally reflected in their sustained ability to respect community standards and adhere to College policies.

If students commit new policy violations while on probation, an appropriate course of action will be determined. Considerations may include the gravity and impact of the new infraction; the student’s response during and following the new infraction; and the student’s progress during the probationary period.  

Parents or guardians are informed when students are placed on probationary status.  Probationary status is informal College discipline and is not part of the student’s permanent record. Students who are placed on probationary status can answer negatively if they are asked if they have been subject to official College discipline. Although probationary status concludes after a designated period of time, a probationary status letter remains in a student's file until graduation, when it is removed. It is important to note that discipline is cumulative at Middlebury, and further infractions following the successful conclusion of the probationary period may still result in more severe outcomes.

e. Official College Discipline: Students may receive a letter of official College discipline when their actions have demonstrated disregard for Middlebury’s community standards and policies such that an additional infraction of College policy will most likely result in suspension from Middlebury. Official College discipline is intended to encourage immediate improved behavior, and acceptance of responsibility and growth by establishing this incident on the student's permanent record.

Official College discipline is a permanent part of the student's file.  Students who receive official College discipline must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been subject to College discipline.  Parents or guardians are informed when students receive official College discipline.

f. Suspension: Suspension is issued when a student commits a serious policy violation, or repeatedly violates College policy, thereby demonstrating an inability or unwillingness to behave in a manner consistent with Middlebury’s community standards.  The behavior is sufficiently egregious that the student is required to leave the Middlebury community for a period of time. It is intended to encourage acceptance of responsibility and growth by establishing this incident on the student's permanent record; to provide the student with an opportunity to consider and address the problematic behavior; and to develop strategies to ensure that the student’s eventual return to Middlebury will be successful for the student and for the community.

Suspension may be imposed for any length of time, but is normally imposed for a period no longer than one and one half academic years.  In determining the length of suspension, the adjudicating body will consider the student’s prior conduct history; the gravity of the violation and its impact on the community; and the need for sufficient time for the student to demonstrate that the concerning behavior has been satisfactorily addressed. When the adjudicating body feels that suspension for one and one half academic years is insufficient to allow for a student’s successful return to the community, expulsion will be the normal outcome, barring exceptional circumstances.  

Students who are suspended for four weeks or longer must apply for readmission through the Administration Committee, and must demonstrate readiness to return to Middlebury. Readiness to return is determined by a student’s adherence to the terms of the sanction and the deadlines of the readmission process; by the completion of any additional conditions that may have been established at the time of the student’s departure; and by the provision of satisfactory evidence that the problematic behavior will not recur. If a student is unable to demonstrate readiness to return at the stated conclusion of the period of suspension, the Administration Committee may deny readmission until it is satisfied that the conditions that led to the student’s departure have been appropriately addressed.

Suspension is official College discipline and is a permanent part of the student's file. Students who are suspended must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been subject to College discipline. Students who are suspended must leave campus and are prohibited from participating in all Middlebury College activities or programs, from College employment, and from using College facilities during the stated period of the suspension. When suspension prohibits students from completing a semester they have already begun, the comprehensive fee for that semester is not refunded. Parents or guardians are informed when students are suspended. For international students, suspension may affect immigration status; related questions may be directed to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

g. Expulsion: For particularly serious offenses, students may be permanently dismissed from the College. In cases where the penalty is expulsion, final appeal is to the president; please see Appeals Procedure below for more information.  In cases of expulsion from the College, no refund of the comprehensive fee is made. Parents or guardians are informed when students are expelled.

h. A sanction of suspension or expulsion is ordinarily stayed pending the outcome of any appeal authorized by the Handbook. However, if the judicial authority which imposed this sanction makes a finding that imminent danger to one or more members of the College community may exist, suspension or expulsion will take effect immediately regardless of the pendency of an appeal.

2. Academic Offenses
Students found guilty of academic dishonesty offenses are subject to the penalties listed below.

Plagiarism, cheating, or any other violation of the Undergraduate Honor System is normally punishable by suspension. In 1997, the faculty reaffirmed its commitment to suspension as the normal outcome for violations of the standards of academic integrity. The adjudicating body is responsible for choosing the most appropriate length of time for suspension within the parameters noted below.

Students found guilty of academic dishonesty will normally fail the course in which the offense occurred.

On rare occasions, if compelling reasons exist for not suspending a student found guilty of academic dishonesty, the judicial body may issue no less than a reprimand and invoke either of the following penalties: a 0 or an F on the piece of work, or a 0 or an F in the course.

Penalties for academic offenses:

a. Reprimands: A letter of reprimand registers strongly the College’s concern regarding the student’s actions and its firm expectations for immediate improved behavior.  Parents or guardians are informed when students are reprimanded.  A letter of reprimand is informal College discipline and is not part of the student’s permanent record. Students who receive reprimands may answer negatively if they are asked if they have been subject to official College discipline. A letter of reprimand remains in a student's file until graduation, when it is removed. Reprimands are taken into account in determining future disciplinary penalties and serve to make further violations of College regulations more serious.

b. Disciplinary academic probation: Disciplinary academic probation is official College discipline and is a permanent part of the student's record. Students who receive disciplinary academic probation must answer affirmatively if they are asked if they have been subject to College discipline. Disciplinary academic probation extends for the rest of the student's College career.  A student found guilty of academic dishonesty while on disciplinary academic probation will be suspended. Parents or guardians are informed when students are placed on disciplinary academic probation.

c. Suspension: Suspension is issued when a student commits a serious policy violation, or repeatedly violates College policy, thereby demonstrating an inability to behave in a manner consistent with Middlebury’s community standards.  The behavior is sufficiently egregious that the student is required to leave the Middlebury community for a period of time. It is intended to encourage acceptance of responsibility and growth by establishing this incident on the student's permanent record; to provide the student with an opportunity to address the problematic behavior; and to develop strategies to ensure that the student’s eventual return to Middlebury will be successful for the student and for the community.

Suspension may be imposed for any length of time, and is normally imposed for a period no longer than one and one half academic years.  In determining the length of suspension, the adjudicating body will consider the student’s prior conduct history; the gravity of the violation and its impact on the community; and the need for sufficient time for the student to demonstrate that the concerning behavior has been satisfactorily addressed. When the adjudicating body feels that suspension for one and one half academic years is insufficient to allow for a student’s successful return to the community, expulsion will be the normal outcome, barring exceptional circumstances.  

Students who are suspended for four weeks or longer must apply for readmission through the Administration Committee, and must demonstrate readiness to return to Middlebury. Readiness to return is determined by a student’s adherence to the terms of the sanction and the deadlines of the readmission process; by the completion of any additional conditions that may have been established at the time of the student’s departure; and by the provision of satisfactory evidence that the problematic behavior will not recur. If a student is unable to demonstrate readiness to return at the stated conclusion of the period of suspension, the Administration Committee may deny readmission until it is satisfied that the conditions that led to the student’s departure have been appropriately addressed.

Suspension is official College discipline and is a permanent part of the student's file. Students who are suspended must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been subject to College discipline. Students who are suspended must leave campus and are prohibited from participating in all Middlebury College activities or programs, from College employment, and from using College facilities during the stated period of the suspension. When suspension prohibits students from completing a semester they have already begun, the comprehensive fee for that semester is not refunded. Parents or guardians are informed when students are suspended. For international students, suspension may affect immigration status; related questions may be directed to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

If a student has been found guilty of academic dishonesty and the suspension does not take effect until the end of the semester, no opportunity may be granted to make up or otherwise fulfill the requirements of the course in question, although the student may complete all other courses in which he or she is concurrently enrolled. In this case, the course grade will be recorded as an F.

A student suspended for academic dishonesty normally may not transfer to Middlebury course credits earned at other institutions during the period of suspension. However, this part of the sanction may be modified if compelling reasons warrant such action.

d. Expulsion: For particularly serious or repeated academic offenses, students may be permanently dismissed from the College.  In cases where the penalty is expulsion, final appeal is to the president; please see Appeals Procedures below for more information.  In cases of expulsion from the College, no refund of the comprehensive fee is made.  Parents or guardians are informed when students are expelled.

e. A sanction of suspension or expulsion is ordinarily stayed pending the outcome of any appeal authorized by the Handbook. However, if the judicial authority which imposed this sanction makes a finding that imminent danger to one or more members of the College community may exist, suspension or expulsion will take effect immediately regardless of the pendency of an appeal.

3. Reporting on Disciplinary Actions
The outcomes of all disciplinary proceedings shall be reported by the judicial affairs officer in general terms to the community at least once each year. Such reporting will be done in a way that ensures the confidentiality of the proceedings and does not reveal the identities of involved individuals.

 


 


D. Appeals Procedures

Appeals are reviewed by different College officials than those who reached the initial judgment.

1. Appeals from the Academic Judicial Board and the Community Judicial Board.

a. A student found guilty by the Academic Judicial Board or the Community Judicial Board of an infraction of College rules has the right of appeal to the vice president for Academic Affairs on one or more of the following grounds:

i. discovery of significant new factual material not available to the board with original jurisdiction; however, the deliberate omission by the student of information from testimony will not support an appeal;
ii. violation of stated procedures when the violation prevented fundamental fairness. A determination that a material procedural error has occurred may result in a rehearing of the case using correct procedures, but a procedural error is not a factor in reducing a sanction when the appeal upholds a finding of guilt. Immaterial procedural errors will not be grounds for a rehearing;
iii. presence of significant mitigating circumstances.

b. If any of the appeal grounds above are present, the vice president for academic affairs or designee (the “VPAA”), in consultation with a faculty member and a student member of the Community Council may refer the matter to the Judicial Appeals Board for further consideration.  In cases where none of the appeals grounds have been met, the VPAA may deny the appeal.

2. Procedures
a. A student found guilty by the Academic Judicial Board or the Community Judicial Board may appeal the decision by submitting a written appeal to the VPAA within five business days of receipt of written notification of the board’s decision. The appeal will include a written statement of the grounds for appeal, including an outline of the supporting evidence.

b. The VPAA shall provide a copy of the written appeal to the JAO.  The JAO shall provide the records from the case to the VPAA. The VPAA may consult with the JAO and any other relevant individual regarding the appeal as appropriate.

c. The VPAA, in consultation with a faculty member and a student member of the Community Council, will make a determination whether the grounds for appeal are present, and if so, what kind of reconsideration is appropriate to address them. This may include but is not limited to a full rehearing; a limited rehearing; or new outcome and/or sanction deliberations. Notification of the VPAA's decision will be given to the student within seven business days of receipt by the VPAA of the complete records in the case, but failure to meet this notification deadline will not invalidate a decision.

d. Upon notice from the VPAAs that reconsideration of some kind has been granted, the administrative co-chair of the Judicial Appeals Board will convene the Judicial Appeals Board. It is the responsibility of the VPAA, in consultation with the faculty member and student member, to determine which aspects of the case merit reconsideration and what procedures should be followed, and to direct the Judicial Appeals Board accordingly. When a full or limited rehearing has been granted, notice will be given to those involved of the date, time, and place of rehearing, which shall be held within seven business days of the notice that the rehearing has been granted, absent exigent circumstances.

e. For periods of the academic year when the College is not in regular session, dates for addressing judicial matters will be scheduled at the discretion of the dean or administrator handling the hearing.

3. Finality
For all appeals,

a. If reconsideration is not granted, the original decision stands, to take effect as of the date specified in the decision letter.

b. All penalties are suspended during an appeal, except in emergency circumstances as discussed above.

c. The board hearing an appeal may reverse a decision or mitigate sanctions, but may not increase a sanction.

d. Decisions by the VPAA and the board hearing an appeal are final, except in cases where the penalty is expulsion, in which case the expelled student may appeal to the president.  The student must submit a written appeal to the president within five business days of receipt of written notification of the VPAA’s denial of the appeal or the appeal outcome upholding the expulsion. The president may reduce the sanction, if warranted, after consultation with the VPAA, a representative of the last adjudicating body, and any other relevant individual. Absent extenuating circumstances, the president will inform the student of the final decision in writing within 30 business days of receiving the appeal.