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B.2.a. Introductory Matters

The purpose of College policies and the disciplinary system in Middlebury’s academic community is to protect the well-being of the community and to advance our shared educational mission by establishing a range of appropriate behavior. Middlebury is a community of learners and as such recognizes and affirms that free intellectual inquiry, debate, and constructive dialogue are vital to Middlebury’s academic mission and must be protected even when the views expressed are unpopular or controversial. Middlebury’s Student Life policies are meant neither to proscribe nor to inhibit discussions, in or out of the classroom, of complex, controversial, or sensitive matters, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, ethnicity, religion, marital status, place of birth, ancestry, national origin, age, or disability, when in the judgment of a reasonable person they arise appropriately and are conducted with respect for the dignity of others. Middlebury also recognizes that verbal conduct can be used specifically to intimidate or coerce and to inhibit genuine discourse, free inquiry, and learning. Such abuses, including but not limited to conduct that violates Middlebury’s General Conduct Standards policies, Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy, and other Middlebury-Wide Policies, are unacceptable.

A balance of individual and community health and growth guides Middlebury’s approach to the policies that support its educational mission.  Generally, the student conduct policies are set forth in writing in order to give students general notice of expected conduct and sanctions for prohibited conduct. The Handbook policies are intended to be read broadly and are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms. Depending on their nature and severity, policy violations may be adjudicated and discipline may be assigned by several different administrators and judicial boards, as detailed in the Student Life policies in this Handbook section. The deans, administrators 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 as a member of a larger community, students found in violation of Middlebury policies and/or participating in prohibited acts will be held responsible, subject to discipline, and/or charged for costs associated with their behavior, as described further within this Handbook.

i. Community Standards

The ability of Middlebury to achieve its purposes depends on members of the campus community upholding our commonly accepted standards of conduct, which enable the highest quality of teaching and learning.  Broadly, these are referred to as our Community Standards.  Middlebury 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.

ii. Non-discrimination Statement

As described in the Middlebury-Wide Policies, the College complies with applicable provisions of state and federal law which prohibit discrimination in employment, or in admission or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities, on the basis of race, creed, color, place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, service in the armed forces of the United States, positive HIV-related blood test results, genetic information, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability and/or any other status or characteristic as defined and to the extent protected by applicable law. Middlebury also complies with all other anti-discrimination protections that might be provided by particular states in which it operates educational programs; questions about the scope of any such protections should be addressed to the Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator and/or the on-site administrative representative for the particular program at issue. The Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator coordinates Middlebury's efforts to comply with any and all federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of one or more of the protected characteristics listed above. Discrimination complaints are processed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Middlebury's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy.  Complaints about sexual misconduct, dating violence, stalking , etc. are handled in accordance with Middlebury’s Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking.  Information about the work of the Community Bias response Team is available here.

iii. 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 official program completion, or Middlebury’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 Middlebury’s  disciplinary process. In cases where a student is found responsible for a policy violation while participating in any Middlebury or non-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.

Middlebury retains sole discretion to determine whether to initiate an investigation and adjudication under this policy regardless of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by a non-Middlebury institution or program and/or the outcome of any law enforcement investigation or court proceeding.

iv. Pending Discipline

A student respondent will not be permitted to graduate from or otherwise be deemed to have officially completed a Middlebury program in which they are enrolled while a disciplinary matter is pending; the student’s graduation or certification will be held in abeyance until the matter is resolved. If a respondent withdraws with a disciplinary matter, sanction, or appeal pending, the withdrawal will be considered a resignation from Middlebury, and the student will have given up the opportunity to return to any Middlebury program. The student’s official status at Middlebury will reflect the point in the process at which they withdrew, and the nature of the finding and sanction, as appropriate. Examples include but are not limited to "Withdrawal with a Disciplinary Matter Pending," "Withdrawal with a Disciplinary Sanction Pending," and "Withdrawal with a Disciplinary Appeal Pending."

In extraordinary circumstances, the appropriate supervisory authority may, after appropriate consultation, a review of the case, and consideration of Middlebury’s best interests, grant permission for a respondent to withdraw from Middlebury when a disciplinary matter is pending. If the student is readmitted to Middlebury, the disciplinary matter must be resolved either before the student's return, or immediately upon the student's return (as determined by Middlebury). See Student Status for more information. Middlebury may also notify all institutions or programs in which the student is (or will be) enrolled of any pending or unresolved disciplinary matter pertaining to that student.

v. Deadlines

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. In computing any period of time referenced in this policy, the day of the act or event (e.g., notification of hearing, issuance of an outcome letter, etc.) from which the designated time period begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included if it is a business day; when not a business day, the period will conclude at the end of the next business day.