Disciplinary Action

(updated May 2017) Except in cases of emergency withdrawal, suspension or dismissal (see below), this section describes the disciplinary process that is normally followed when violations of Middlebury policies are alleged. Where other Middlebury policies specify separate processes, those processes will apply. See, e.g., the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy; the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic and Dating Violence and Misconduct, and Stalking; and the Hazing Policy. Moreover, where applicable laws where the program takes place mandate different procedures or policies, those procedures or policies will apply.

Since Middlebury 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 Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic and Darting Violence and Misconduct, and Stalking, Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy and Hazing Policy are designed to provide fundamental fairness and to protect students from arbitrary or capricious disciplinary action. All judicial affairs officers, human relations officers, directors, and other Middlebury disciplinary authorities 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.

Students found to have violated Middlebury policy may be subject to the full range of disciplinary actions, as applicable, up to and including expulsion from any Bread Loaf program or other Middlebury program.

Alleged policy violations should be reported to the Bread Loaf Director or designee (associate director or on-site director). The director or designee (hereinafter referred to as "the director") is ordinarily responsible for disciplinary action.

In the event that a complaint or report of an alleged policy violation is made against a Bread Loaf student, the accused student will be given notice of the alleged violation and an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to any determination or disciplinary action. The notice may be given orally or in writing. The "opportunity to respond" means that the student will be given an opportunity to meet and/or communicate with the director.

The director will then make a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether the student violated the policy at issue. Formal rules of evidence do not apply in Middlebury conduct proceedings.

If a student is found responsible for a policy violation, the director shall determine what disciplinary or other action should be taken, if any. If the director determines that the circumstances do not warrant immediate expulsion from the program, the director may take other action, including the issuance of warnings, reprimands, probationary status, official discipline, or suspension from the program. The director may also assign non-disciplinary action as appropriate, including the issuance of No Contact Orders, room changes, class changes, or other actions as needed. These sanctions are more specifically described in the “Sanctions Defined” section, below. Disciplinary action may be accompanied by notification to any other institution in which the student is, or will be, enrolled. For more information, see “Scope of Oversight.”

In the event that the student receives official discipline, or is suspended or expelled, the student may appeal the director’s decision to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Schools (or designee) within three (3) business days of issuance of the director’s determination. The appeal must be in writing (e-mail or hard copy).

Appeals may be granted on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:

  • Discovery of significant new factual material not available to the director that could have affected the original result; however, prior omission of factual information that the student knew or should reasonably have known about is not a ground for an appeal;
  • Procedural error where the error prevented fundamental fairness;
  • Extreme mitigating circumstances.

The student must submit evidence and/or arguments they believe support any of the three grounds for appeal listed above, and their explanation of the evidence or arguments.  The vice president may deny the appeal, or if one or more of the appeal grounds have been met, may:

  • return the case to the director for reconsideration; or
  • appoint an alternate disciplinary authority, as appropriate, to review the case.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the vice president will notify the student of the appeal decision within five business days of the appeal receipt deadline. This deadline may be extended if warranted by the circumstances, in which case the student will be notified at the time the extension is determined.

The decision made by the vice president to grant or deny the appeal is final. Should an appeal be granted, the subsequent determination and/or sanction is/are final. 

Sanctions Defined

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 policy. A warning is intended to educate the student about community standards, Middlebury policies and/or state laws, and the need to adhere to them. A warning constitutes informal 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 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 Middlebury policies 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 Middlebury policy. A letter of reprimand may also be issued when a student has committed a violation of Middlebury 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 Middlebury’s concern regarding the student’s actions and its firm expectations for immediate improved behavior.  

A letter of reprimand constitutes informal 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 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 Middlebury policies more serious.

d. Probationary Status: Students may be placed on probationary status when the number or nature of their Middlebury policy violation(s) is sufficiently concerning that an additional policy violation will most likely result in official 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 Middlebury 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.  

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 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 Discipline: Students may receive a letter of official discipline when their actions have demonstrated disregard for Middlebury’s community standards and policies such that an additional infraction of Middlebury policy will most likely result in suspension from Middlebury. Official 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 discipline is a permanent part of the student's file.  Students who receive official discipline must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been subject to discipline at Middlebury. 
f. Suspension: Suspension is issued when a student commits a serious policy violation, or repeatedly violates Middlebury 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. In determining the length of suspension, the director 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.

Students who are suspended for four weeks or longer must apply to the director for readmission to the Bread Loaf program 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 director may deny readmission until it is satisfied that the conditions that led to the student’s departure have been appropriately addressed.

Suspension is official 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 disciplined at Middlebury. Students who are suspended must leave campus; are restricted from all Middlebury owned or rented properties; and are prohibited from participating in all Middlebury activities or programs, from employment at Middlebury, and from using Middlebury 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. At the point of suspension, the director shall determine the student’s grade designation. 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 expelled from Middlebury. In cases of expulsion from Middlebury, no refund of the comprehensive fee is made. At the point of expulsion, the director shall determine the student’s grade designation. Expulsion is official discipline and is a permanent part of the student's file. Students who are expelled must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been disciplined at Middlebury.

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