Honor System

Disciplinary Appeals – Issues Other Than Sexual Misconduct

Appeals by Students Accused of Misconduct

Allegations of student misconduct with respect to the community’s standards of conduct or College policy are normally investigated and resolved by the Dean of the College, who may impose any of a number of sanctions, ranging from a letter of warning to expulsion from the College. A student who wishes to contest the factual basis of a Dean’s disciplinary decision or the appropriateness of a sanction may appeal the decision within ten days of receiving the Dean’s letter formally informing the student of the decision. Appeals are resolved by the Discipline Committee, which consists of eight student members elected by their peers, eight faculty members appointed by the Dean of the Faculty, and the Dean of the College ex officio. An appeal is initiated when the appellant informs both the Dean and the Chair of the Discipline Committee that he or she wishes to appeal. The Chair works with the Dean to convene a hearing by a panel drawn from among the members of the committee. Hearings are confidential. The panel hears the case in its entirety and reaches an independent decision as to whether the student has violated the community’s standards of conduct or College policy and, if necessary, determines an appropriate sanction. The panel makes its decisions without reference to civil or criminal court proceedings. Decisions of the panel are final; an appellant cannot afterwards choose to revert to the Dean’s initial decision.

Hearing Process for Appeals by Accused Students

A hearing should be held as soon as practicable. The appellant is apprised in writing by the Dean of the case to be made against him or her and of the witnesses who will appear against him or her, and is allowed a reasonable amount of time to prepare a defense and solicit witnesses on his or her behalf. The Chair appoints a hearing panel, drawing four students and four faculty from among the members of the Discipline Committee; the Dean attends ex officio but does not participate in the panel’s deliberations.

If the appellant feels that a member of the panel cannot hear the case objectively, he or she may challenge that member’s participation in the hearing. Members of the committee may ask to be recused if they feel unable to judge the case objectively. Acquaintance, ties of friendship, or previous knowledge of the case alone are not in themselves sufficient grounds for challenge or recusal. The Chair decides if there are sufficient grounds for challenge or recusal. If the Chair is challenged, the next most senior faculty member of the committee decides the challenge and assumes the chair if the challenge is agreed to. If challenges or recusals are accepted, the Chair draws alternates from among the members of the Discipline Committee; it is not necessary to have equal numbers of student and faculty to constitute a panel.

The appellant may be accompanied by an advisor drawn from among current faculty, staff, and students of the College; attorneys or other parties outside of the College community are not permitted to attend hearings. The appellant may consult with his or her advisor at any time during the hearing, but the advisor may not address the committee or witnesses. If an aggrieved party appears as a witness, he or she may also be accompanied by an advisor, subject to the same conditions.

The conduct of the hearing and decisions regarding procedure are at the discretion of the Chair, who is free to act flexibly within the confines of good order and fairness. The case against the appellant is presented by the Dean of the College (or by a designee), who may call witnesses and present evidence as deemed appropriate by the Chair. Both the appellant and the members of the panel may address questions to the Dean or to witnesses. The appellant may challenge any evidence adduced by the Dean or presented by witnesses. No witness may give testimony or present evidence in the absence of the appellant. However, the Chair may choose to accommodate any witness’s concern for personal safety or fear of confrontation by allowing testimony to be given live from a remote location or in writing, or by facilitating indirect questioning, so long as the appellant’s right to pose questions to the witness is preserved. The appellant may call witnesses and present evidence pertinent to the case. A limited number of character witnesses on behalf of the appellant are permitted, but it should be noted that the panel is interested primarily in the facts of the case, rather than in the appellant’s general moral character. The Dean and members of the panel may address questions to the appellant’s witnesses.Witnesses usually appear one at a time but may be recalled by the Dean, by the appellant, or by the panel to answer additional questions and may be informed of the testimony given by other witnesses.

After all evidence and testimony have been presented, the appellant is given a final opportunity to address the panel. The panel, excluding the Dean, retires to deliberate. The panel resolves three issues: whether the conduct of which the appellant is accused is a violation of College standards or policy; whether there is a preponderance of evidence that the appellant committed the conduct in question; and, if necessary, what sanction is to be imposed as a consequence. The panel has available to it the full range of disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, a letter of warning, a term of disciplinary probation, suspension from the College, and expulsion from the College. A majority of one-half plus one of panel members voting is required for a decision. A majority of three-quarters of members voting is required for expulsion from the College. The Chair of the panel informs the appellant, the Dean, and any aggrieved party of its decision. The Dean is responsible for enforcing any sanction imposed by the panel.

The appellant or the Dean may not petition the Discipline Committee for reconsideration except on the basis of grossly improper procedure or dispositive new evidence not available at the time of the hearing. The committee will decide whether to reconsider by majority vote. A decision to reconsider reinitiates the appeals process in its entirety.

Appeals by Aggrieved Parties

Any member of the college community—faculty, staff, or student—may bring a complaint of student misconduct to the Dean of the College. Such complaints are investigated and resolved by the Dean, who may impose sanctions as described above. Complainants who feel they have in some way been injured personally are considered “aggrieved parties.” Aggrieved parties are routinely informed of the Dean’s resolution of their complaints. An aggrieved party who wishes to dispute the Dean’s resolution of a complaint may appeal that decision within ten days of having been informed of the Dean’s decision. Appeals are resolved by the Discipline Committee by means of a hearing in much the same fashion as appeals made by students accused of misconduct (see above). The decision of the hearing panel is final; an aggrieved appellant cannot afterwards choose to revert to the Dean’s initial decision.

Hearing Process for Appeals by Aggrieved Parties

A hearing should be held as soon as practicable. The aggrieved appellant informs the Dean, the Chair, and the accused student in writing of the case to be made against the accused student, of the witnesses whom the aggrieved appellant will call, and of the nature of the testimony they will give. The accused student is allowed a reasonable amount of time to prepare a defense and solicit witnesses on his or her behalf. The Chair has broad discretion to rule out witnesses or evidence as irrelevant. The Chair appoints a hearing panel, drawing four students and four faculty from among the members of the Discipline Committee; the Dean attends ex officio but does not participate in the panel’s deliberations.

If the either the aggrieved appellant or the accused student feel that a member of the panel cannot hear the case objectively, he or she may challenge that member’s participation in the hearing. Members of the panel may ask to be recused if they feel unable to judge the case objectively. Acquaintance, ties of friendship, or knowledge of the case alone are not in themselves sufficient grounds for challenge or recusal. The Chair decides if there are sufficient grounds for challenge or recusal. If the Chair is challenged, the next most senior faculty member of the panel decides the challenge and assumes the chair if the challenge is agreed to. If challenges or recusals are accepted, the Chair draws alternates from among the members of the Discipline Committee; it is not necessary to have equal numbers of student and faculty to constitute a panel.

Both the aggrieved appellant and the accused student are entitled to be accompanied by an advisor drawn from among current faculty, staff, and students of the College; attorneys or other parties outside of the College community are not permitted to attend hearings. The aggrieved appellant or the accused student may consult with his or her advisor at any time during the hearing, but advisors may not address the panel or witnesses.

The conduct of the hearing and decisions regarding procedure are at the discretion of the Chair, who is free to act flexibly within the confines of good order and fairness. The case against the accused student is presented by the aggrieved appellant, who may call witnesses and present evidence as deemed appropriate by the Chair. The Dean, the accused student, and the members of the panel may address questions to the aggrieved appellant or to witnesses. The accused student may challenge any evidence adduced by the aggrieved appellant or presented by witnesses. The aggrieved appellant, accused student, and the panel may address questions to the Dean. No witness may give testimony or present evidence in the absence of the accused student. However, the Chair may choose to accommodate any witness’s concern for personal safety or fear of confrontation by allowing testimony to be given live from a remote location or in writing, or by facilitating indirect questioning, so long as the accused student’s right to pose questions to the witness is preserved. The accused student may call witnesses and present evidence pertinent to the case. A limited number of character witnesses on behalf of the accused student are permitted, but it should be noted that the panel is interested primarily in the facts of the case, rather than in the accused student’s general moral character. The Dean, the aggrieved appellant, and the members of the panel may address questions to the accused student and to the accused student’s witnesses. Witnesses usually appear one at a time but may be recalled by the aggrieved appellant, by the accused student, or by the panel, to answer additional questions and may be informed of the testimony given by other witnesses.

After all evidence and testimony have been presented, the aggrieved appellant is given a final opportunity to address the panel. The accused student is then given a final opportunity to address the panel in the absence of the aggrieved appellant. The panel, excluding the Dean, retires to deliberate. The panel resolves three issues: whether the conduct of which the accused student is accused is a violation of College standards or policy; whether there is a preponderance evidence that the accused student committed the conduct in question; and, if necessary, what sanction is to be imposed as a consequence. The panel has available to it the full range of disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, a letter of warning, a term of disciplinary probation, suspension from the College, and expulsion from the College. A majority of one-half plus one of panel members voting is required for a decision. A majority of three-quarters of members voting is required for expulsion from the College. The Chair of the panel informs the aggrieved appellant, the accused student, and the Dean of its decision. The Dean is responsible for enforcing any sanction imposed by the panel.

The accused student, aggrieved appellant, or the Dean may not petition the Discipline Committee for reconsideration except on the basis of grossly improper procedure or dispositive new evidence not available at the time of the hearing. The committee will decide whether to reconsider by majority vote. A decision to reconsider reinitiates the appeals process in its entirety.