Community Standards and Policy Overview

Last updated August 31, 2016

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.

Student Life Policy Overview

The above Community Standards guide Middlebury’s approach to policy, and to addressing policy violations.  Depending on their nature and severity, alleged Middlebury 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, students found in violation of Middlebury  policies and/or participating in prohibited acts will be held responsible, will be subject to 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 Middlebury 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.

Disciplinary outcomes issued in Middlebury’s undergraduate program may be referred to any other Middlebury program in which the student is or will be enrolled (see “Scope of Oversight,” below). The student’s ongoing or future enrollment in any other Middlebury program will be determined in accordance with that program’s policies and processes. Admission to any Middlebury program may be denied or withdrawn based on the student’s disciplinary history at any other Middlebury or non-Middlebury program.

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 recognizes its obligation to promote the welfare of the Middlebury community as a whole and to take appropriate action when that welfare is jeopardized. To that end, Middlebury 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 Middlebury is determined by Middlebury authorities (the vice president for student affairs/dean of the College; the dean of students; the vice president for academic affairs/dean of Schools; the dean of Language Schools, or program director, as applicable) to pose a danger to the Middlebury community or its members or to be unduly disruptive of Middlebury life, or who appears to be unwilling or incapable of effectively and/or safely participating in Middlebury’s academic or other programs and/or residential life. 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.  For more information on Student Status, please see “Academics: Student Status, E. Withdrawal.”

Faculty and administrative officials should ensure that positional authority is not used to inhibit the intellectual and personal growth of students.

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.

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.


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.

Academic Freedom

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 policies, Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy, and other policies are unacceptable. The "reasonable person standard" is to be used in judging whether a policy violation has occurred.