Student Handbook (to download or print)
This PDF may not be read by all adaptive technology. If you need a readable copy in a different format, please contact Latrina Denson, associate dean of students for community and inclusion.
The text below is Mount Holyoke College's policies on safety on campus and hazing, alcohol and drugs, weapons, leave of absence, nondiscrimination and sexual misconduct. Please review the PDF of the Student Handbook, posted above, for a complete listing of student policies. Related resources are also available in the menu listing on this page.
Safety on Campus
On occasion during the academic year, adverse weather conditions call for the delayed opening, early closing or cancellation of classes, programs, activities or services. In such cases, the College employs several methods to ensure the campus community is notified:
- Mount Holyoke College weather line: 413-538-2330
- Mount Holyoke College website: mtholyoke.edu
- my.mtholyoke for students, faculty and staff
- Community email announcements
- Mount Holyoke College’s official Facebook and Twitter channels
- TV: Channel 22 (WWLP), NBC TV affiliate; and Channel 40 (WGGB-TV), ABC affiliate
- Radio: WFCR, New England Public Radio
Our goal is to have a decision about any campus inclement weather delays made and posted immediately, or by 6:30 a.m. when the decision is made overnight.
Many factors go into the decision regarding opening and closing with primary consideration resting with the safety of students and employees.
Campus entrances, walkways and parking lots are cleared to provide broad access to the community. Priority is given to walkways, ramps, parking lots and building entrances that provide access to individuals with disabilities. Anyone encountering a barrier due to adverse weather, such as fallen tree limbs, snow or ice should contact Facilities Management at 413-538-2012 to report the location and condition of the barrier. Facilities Management is available between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. After hours, call Public Safety and Service at 413-538-2304.
Facilities Management consults with the Section 504 coordinator, AccessAbility Services and Human Resources to identify and prioritize walkways, entrances and parking specific to students and employees with disabilities.
These offices gather before and throughout the winter weather season to assess this information. Students and employees with specific routes, pathways or entrances of concern should speak with AccessAbility Services or the director of human resources, respectively. Visitors should speak with the Section 504 coordinator.
The College has also adopted a “snow team” to monitor weather forecasts with the potential of significant impact to campus. The constitution of the snow team is broad, including the president of the College, the Office of the Dean of Faculty, Human Resources and the Section 504 coordinator.
Fire Safety and Violation Policy
It is a violation of the honor code to refuse to leave during the fire drill, to partake in negligent behavior leading to a fire, or to engage in hazardous behavior such as possessing and/or using candles and incense or obstructing the sprinkler system. Students must assume responsibility for the behavior of their guests in residence halls and can be fined and held responsible for guests’ violations of these policies. For a list of approved and prohibited items, please refer to the campus packing list.
Candles, Incense and Open Flames
The most frequent causes of residence hall fires on campus have been candles and incense. Candles, oil lamps, incense, alcohol lamps and open flame burners are prohibited. The policy also prohibits listed items for decorative purposes. If found in rooms, candles and incense will be confiscated.
State fire regulations require that all paths of exit, including corridors and stairwells, be kept free of obstructions. Bicycles, boots, shoes, boxes, trash, suitcases, clothes, umbrellas, beds and furniture should never be left in corridors or stairwells. Any item left in the corridors or stairwells will be confiscated and may be thrown away. Students are financially responsible for any missing room furniture, including furniture confiscated from corridors.
Electrical Equipment and Appliances
All electrical equipment is subject to inspection throughout the year by the College electrician as part of Mount Holyoke’s continuing fire safety program. For example, before an electrician will reset a breaker or replace a fuse, they must first determine the cause of the electric overload and therefore must check all rooms on the involved circuit for problems.
All types of halogen lamps are prohibited.
Extension cords may be used, but they must be UL-approved. Multi-outlet extension cords are also allowed as long as they are UL-approved and have independent fuse protection. Extension cords should not be run under rugs, in travel ways or under furniture. Do not tack extension cords to baseboards or other areas of the room.
The storage and use of the following electrical appliances in student rooms are prohibited:
- Open heating coil
- Refrigerators measuring over 3.1 cubic feet
- Outside radio and television antennas
- Space heaters
- Heat-generating humidifiers or vaporizers
- Toaster ovens
- Electric grills/griddles
- Electric blankets
While most appliances are prohibited, there are a few exceptions, such as small blenders, coffee pots and electric kettles, rice cookers, and microwaves under 70 watts. Due to the limited capacity of the electric circuits, students are encouraged to limit electrical use. Appliances not in use must be turned off and/or disconnected.
Fire extinguishers are located on the main floor of each residence hall. Extinguishers should be used for their intended purpose only and should not be removed from their assigned location. Extinguishers should be used only after the alarm has been pulled and the fire department has been notified. Only then should a person try to control a small fire, if they can do so safely. Report fires of any size by dialing 911 or 413-538-2304 (Public Safety and Service).
Keep fire and smoke doors closed. These doors prevent the spread of smoke and fire, saving lives and minimizing damage to the building and personal property.
Fire Safety Inspections
In order to keep the residence hall free of fire hazards, fire safety inspections are performed four times a year: at the beginning of each semester, in November, and over the summer. Residential Life staff will follow up on any fire safety violations that are discovered during these inspections.
Flyers and Other Postings
Flyers and other wall postings make the spread of fire much quicker and easier. To increase the safety within the residence halls, the College asks that students post flyers and announcements in designated areas only. This is typically the corkboard on the room door and a community events board on the main floor of the residence hall lobby. Flyers placed on walls, glass of fire doors, or on entryways will be removed.
Gasoline and Other Combustibles
Any item with a gasoline engine is prohibited in residential buildings. Gas barbecue grills, charcoal and lighter fluids are also prohibited. Grilling on the campus grounds is prohibited. Students or groups wishing to host a barbecue should contact the catering services via the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center. They will review the cost and offer options.
State law prohibits the use of upholstered furniture in student rooms. Futons, waterbeds, lofts, beanbag chairs, upholstered storage ottomans, and hanging chairs are prohibited in College-provided housing. Decorations may not be hung from the ceiling or sprinkler pipes. All decorations throughout the building must be flame-resistant.
The following describes decorations that are approved under the conditions specified:
- Only fireproof artificial trees may be used in College buildings. Massachusetts law prohibits natural trees and other natural decorations.
- If a holiday tree is set up in a residence hall, decorations must be made of flameproof or fireproof glass or metal. Items must be labeled as fireproof, not assumed to be fireproof. Only UL-approved lighting sets may be used to decorate a tree.
- Balloons (filled with nonflammable gas).
- Aluminum foil and other metal decorations.
- Posters made of heavy cardboard or paper that has been treated with flame-resistant solution (check label for this information).
- Window decorations must be limited to the glass area and must remain completely inside the room. Only watercolor paints may be used. The steel or wooden frames of the windows are not to be painted or taped with any kind of tape. Windows must be cleaned at the end of the event or holiday season.
The following describes decorations that are prohibited:
- No decorations of any kind are allowed in corridors, stairwells or any means of exit. Doors (except for bulletin boards on doors) may not be decorated with cards, ribbons, wrapping paper or natural wreaths.
- Nothing may be posted or hung on the outside of a window, whether affixed to the glass or affixed inside the room. This includes but is not limited to signs, window paints, flags, birdfeeders, etc.
- No fires are to be lit in the fireplace when the mantel is decorated. Fireplace mantel decorations should be kept to a minimum.
- Cornstalks, hay, straw and related items are prohibited.
- Cut or live trees, wreaths and sprays may not be used in the building. They may be used on the outside of exterior doors.
- Items that may damage the interior paint or wallpaper of any building are prohibited.
- Paper lanterns are prohibited.
- Plastic film and coverings are prohibited.
Weapons and Firearms Policy
In accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269 Section 10J, weapons are prohibited on the grounds of the College with the exception of law enforcement officers duly authorized to carry such weapons. No person shall be permitted to carry firearms or other weapons, concealed or not concealed, with or without a concealed weapon permit, while on properties owned or controlled by the College or in the participation of a College-related course, activity or other business off campus. For the purposes of this policy, the term “weapons” includes, but is not limited to: firearms of any nature or description, including shotguns, rifles, pistols and revolvers; paintball guns or BB/pellet guns; firearm replicas; ammunition; martial arts-type weapons; explosives including fireworks, smoke grenades and paint bombs; bows, crossbows, arrows; slingshots; switchblade, double-edged, or hunting (pocket-style) knives with a blade length of 3 inches or greater; swords; pointed metal darts; unlicensed possession pepper spray and other self-defense spray; or any other destructive device or instrument that may be used to do bodily injury or damage to property. In addition, items that may be used as weapons, whether or not they fit the definition above, will be subject to seizure. Because these weapons may pose a clear risk to persons and property on the campus, violation of the regulations may result in administrative action from the College and/or prosecution under the appropriate state or federal laws.
No firearm or ammunition is permitted on the Mount Holyoke College campus. This prohibition includes the possession of all firearms, whether or not a lawful permit might have been issued under the law for ownership, possession, or use. This policy is consistent with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 269, and Section 10(j).
Hazing is a serious offense. The College encourages students to report such offenses promptly. Hazing is prohibited by both state law and the Mount Holyoke College Honor Code and will not be tolerated in this community of trust. All reported cases of suspected hazing will be investigated with a fair process. On November 26, 1985, legislation prohibiting hazing took effect in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although hazing is most commonly associated with induction into college fraternities and sororities, the practice can also occur in a number of other circumstances. The legislation states: “The term ‘hazing’ ... shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.”
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
Under the Massachusetts code, the failure to report hazing is also a violation. The Legislation states: “Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.”
Students should go to the following website for the complete text of the Massachusetts Hazing Law and review 269: 17, 18, 19: s-p.mit.edu/government/house_docs/docs/MA_Hazing_Law.pdf and malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269 .
What may seem like harmless fun to one person may be deeply humiliating to another person. Some ways to tell if an activity is hazing:
- A selected group is singled out for ritual.
- It results in behavior or pictures that a person would not share with parents, a coach, professors or an athletic director.
- The activity is humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and exhausting, and/or results in physical or emotional discomfort, involves harassment or ridicule, or which endangers the health or safety of any person whether on or off campus.
Distribution of Policy
All students receive a copy of this policy electronically from the dean of students (or designee). All student organizations are required to have each member of their group every academic year electronically sign a statement that they agree to abide by this policy.
The Anti-Hazing form is combined with the required Waiver and Release form on the Five College Risk Management system. Certain student organizations, such as the SGA, FPSA, and class boards that act as governing bodies or represent a constituency based upon enrollment in the College, require only the signatures of officers and other actively participating students, not the entirety of their constituency.
Additionally, all varsity student-athletes receive and review the policy with a staff member from athletics during a mandatory compliance and eligibility meeting at the start of the year/their season, and each student-athlete is required to sign a statement and agree to abide by this policy. During the mandatory preseason coaches meeting, all club sport head coaches and a representative from their teams are informed of the requirement for all club sport athletes to complete the Waiver and Release form, which is combined with an Anti-Hazing form, on the Five College Risk Management system. All club sport athletes from each participating team are required to complete the form prior to the first game competition of the season.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hazing
The following questions and answers can help students understand and respond to hazing:
Where can I make a report and/or receive support if I’ve experienced hazing?
Report hazing to the appropriate law enforcement individual and/or any of the offices below. Reports should include what happened, where it happened, when it happened and who was there:
- Division of Student Life
- Student Programs
- Athletics Department
- Public Safety and Service
- Counseling Service
- Ombuds Office
Can I make an anonymous report?
Yes. Make an anonymous report to any of the resources listed above.
If I am the witness of a hazing incident, what responsibility do I have to report it?
A witness of a hazing incident has an ethical and legal responsibility under the honor code and Massachusetts law to report it to an appropriate law enforcement official and a College administrator as soon as reasonably practical.
See the above list of where to report hazing.
What is the range of outcomes for reported hazing incidents involving Mount Holyoke community members?
Hazing is a serious offense. If it is determined to be a criminal offense, legal outcomes include fines of not more than $3,000 or imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both fine and imprisonment. If there is no criminal case, the range of outcomes at the College will depend on facts of the matter, as determined by the College’s investigation of the report.
The complainant may choose to pursue action against those involved with the hazing through the College’s Grievance Procedures or the Honor Code Council. Students also have the option to seek off-campus legal remedies.
The dean of students or other College officials may also take action to enforce College policy or comply with applicable law. The College may take appropriate protective and administrative action even in situations where the complainant is absent.
Outcomes may include, but are not limited to a mandatory educational project, social probation, suspension, required withdrawal or expulsion. Varsity student-athletes may be suspended or removed from the team. Club sports athletes may be suspended or removed from their club sport. In addition, varsity or club teams participating in hazing may lose the right to organize, play and/or compete for any period, including permanently.
Is it hazing?
These questions can help determine if an incident is hazing:
- Is alcohol involved?
- Will active/current members of the group refuse to participate with the new members and do exactly what they are being asked to do?
- Does the activity risk emotional or physical abuse?
- Is there risk of injury or a question of safety?
- Do you have any reservation describing the activity to your parents, a professor or College official?
- Would you object to the activity being photographed for the school newspaper or filmed by the local TV news crew?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the activity is probably hazing.
Image Release Policy
Image Release Policy
Mount Holyoke College may, on occasion, authorize its employees or agents to make still or moving images and/or audio recordings of students in a variety of College-related activities. These activities include but are not limited to participation in campus life, the classroom or College events. This material may be displayed or published by the College in locations including on the College website, in printed publications, on social media or in broadcasts. Students are responsible for notifying the Mount Holyoke's Office of Communications and Marketing in writing if they do not wish their images or recordings used by the College in any capacity.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Alcohol Policy Statement
Mount Holyoke College understands that each student makes their own choices regarding whether or not to engage in the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. Thus the College emphasizes the responsibility of each community member to be law-abiding, knowledgeable and thoughtful about any decisions regarding alcohol and drug consumption. The College expects all faculty, staff and students to become familiar with the laws and with the College’s policies governing substance use and to consider the penalties and risks that can result from violations. The law puts major responsibility, and therefore liability, on both the person who serves and/or the person who buys the alcohol, and the penalties for both the individual and the institution are very severe.
The College also recognizes that there are numerous health risks associated with substance use. Similarly, substance use can lead to legal consequences and poor academic performance in addition to having a greater impact on the larger community, contributing to a host of other potential consequences (e.g., violence, social conflict and property destruction). Therefore, the harmful use of substances is considered a public health problem and the College has identified resources to reduce the harmful use of substances at Mount Holyoke College.
With the help of the Be Well initiative, the College provides information regarding alcohol and drug use and urges all community members to take advantage of the opportunity to become educated and make informed choices regarding the use of substances. The College encourages those with concerns about their own or others’ difficulties with alcohol and/or other drugs to seek confidential assistance through Counseling Service. The College strives to provide:
- An atmosphere free of coercion for those who choose not to use alcohol and drugs. Information and education for all students to make informed choices regarding the use of substances.
- A community where the effects of alcohol and drug use are minimal and where problem behavior is reduced.
- Confidential and effective guidance and counseling for students with issues related to substance use.
The following policy outlines the importance of the health and safety of students, compliance with state and federal laws regarding the use, possession, purchase, sale and distribution of alcohol and drugs, and highlights the College’s educational mission to inform students so they can make responsible life choices regarding their use of substances.
Health Risks Regarding Substance Use
Any time alcohol or other drugs are used, the risk for health problems and/or impairment problems increases. These problems can cause personal harm, injury or even death. Impaired judgment increases the likelihood of an individual becoming aggressive and/or violent. The possibility of civil or criminal prosecution and liability increases. The use of substances has been linked to compromised academic success. It may also lead to unsafe and /or non-consensual sex, both of which increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and an unplanned pregnancy.
Alcohol and the Body
As a depressant, alcohol causes a feeling of relaxation in small amounts.
- In larger amounts, alcohol will cause intoxication, and will lessen inhibitions. When the brain is affected, motor skills, judgment, alertness, coordination and reflexes can all be compromised.
- Increased quantities will cause the body to give signals that toxicity has occurred including vomiting, passing out, hangovers and memory loss.
- People under the intoxicating effects will be at higher risk for accidents, fights, and driving while impaired.
- Alcohol mixed with other drugs (legal or illegal) will alter the effects of that drug often causing an increased risk that the individual will become ill or hurt.
- People who drink heavily risk developing an increased tolerance. When this happens, consumption of a constant amount of alcohol produces a lesser effect so that an increasing amount is needed to produce the same effect.
- Consistent and frequent use of alcohol can cause health problems including high blood pressure, increased memory loss, digestive and liver problems to develop.
- Anyone who is not 21 years of age may not be in a vehicle transporting alcohol. This will be considered in possession of alcohol, and are subject to arrest.
A Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is characterized by a failure to meet obligations, putting oneself in dangerous situations, and continuing to drink/or use drugs despite persistent problems. It is also characterized by an increased tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, large amounts of time spent obtaining alcohol/drugs, and unsuccessful attempts to cut down on one’s use.
Drugs in the Body
There is often an initial euphoria followed by drowsiness and nausea
- Users will have constricted pupils, watery eyes and a dazed look.
- An overdose of a narcotic will produce slow, shallow breathing, clammy skin, loss of appetite and weight, and possible death.
Depressants (Barbiturates, Tranquilizers)
The initial response by the body is relaxed muscles, calmness, and drowsiness
- This will follow with confusion, disorientation and slurred speech.
- An overdose of a depressant may produce shallow breathing, clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, coma and possible death.
Commonly used in date rapes
- When mixed with alcohol incapacitates victims
- Individuals may not remember events they experienced while under the effects of the drug
- May be lethal when mixed with alcohol and/or other depressants
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrates)
Often combined with alcohol
- Also known as Liquid Ecstasy
- Coma and seizures can often occur following abuse of GHB
- GHB has been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths
Can cause dream-like states and hallucinations
- A commonly used date rape drug
- At high doses Special K (Ketamine) can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems
Stimulants (Cocaine, Methamphetamine)
The initial response includes an increased heart and respiratory rate, elevated blood pressure, and decreased appetite.
- This will follow with blurred vision, dizziness, insomnia, and anxiety.
- High doses can cause physical collapse, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and possible death.
Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, Mushrooms)
The initial response will be illusions and hallucinations.
- This will follow with confusion, panic, anxiety, depression, and poor perception of time and distance.
- Risks include respiratory failure and deaths due to drug influenced behavior.
Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish)
The initial response will include feelings of euphoria, giddiness and increased appetite.
- This will continue with increased heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat. Often the user will have a feeling of paranoia.
- Use interferes with memory, speech, coordination, and the perception of time.
Alcohol Policy Guidelines
Mount Holyoke College’s Alcohol Policy is guided by and abides by law outlined by the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of South Hadley, Massachusetts. The acquisition, possession, transportation, consumption and distribution of alcoholic beverages is governed by statute and regulation. For full text of the law, please see malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter138.
- A person must be 21 years of age or older to purchase, possess, consume and transport alcoholic beverages.
- Use or possession of alcoholic beverages by any persons under the age of 21 years of age is prohibited.
- The presence, possession, or use of kegs by individuals or groups other than at a registered, approved event is prohibited on the College campus.
- Persons 21 years of age and over may use alcohol in the privacy of their rooms providing all guidelines governing guests, noise and appropriate behavior are followed.
- Consumption of alcohol in unapproved areas (e.g., residence hall public space, stairways, corridors, elevators, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, laundry rooms, academic buildings, etc.) will result in disciplinary action.
- Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public/common areas or on the grounds of the College, except at registered events or licensed facilities.
- Students requiring medical assistance and/or transport to the hospital for care for the overconsumption of alcohol, whether of legal age or not, is a violation of the alcohol policy and may qualify for medical amnesty.
- Students under the legal drinking age cannot serve or host alcohol in their residence hall room, including instances where the alcohol is in the possession of or is the property of a person of legal drinking age.
All student groups are also held to the Alcohol Policy and Guidelines for Student Events, which can be found in the Student Organization Handbook.
Drug Policy Guidelines
Members of the College community are expected to follow applicable federal and state laws regarding the use of controlled substances. For the purposes of this policy, controlled substances include over-the-counter medications, prescribed medication not used as indicated or prescribed, illegal drugs, and chemical substances not used for their intended purpose. Federal, state and local sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs range from probation and forfeiture of property to fines and imprisonment.
The use, cultivation, manufacture, sale, distribution, and/or possession of drugs or controlled substances in violation of federal, state, or municipal laws is prohibited by the College and is not permitted in the residence halls, on any College property, or while on College business.
Violations of the drug policy include but are not limited to:
- Possession or use of illegal drugs and controlled substances.
- The non-medical use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications.
- Failure to report the use, cultivation, manufacture, sale, distribution, and/or possession of illegal substances on any College property to a College official.
- Knowing presence during the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of substances.
Enforcement of the Drug Policy
The College recognizes that it cannot guarantee that this policy or the alcohol or drug-related laws will be honored by everyone. It must therefore rely on the good judgment of students, faculty, staff and other members of the College community to observe the laws and policies. Those who choose to violate them must be prepared to accept total responsibility for their individual or collective actions and should understand that possible outcomes include disciplinary action, personal liability, fines and/or imprisonment. Students who violate state or federal laws will not be protected by the College and their actions may be subject to civil or criminal complaints. Mount Holyoke College will not intervene on an individual’s behalf with campus, local or state law enforcement authorities. Public Safety and Service always have the option to arrest. In accordance with federal law, a conviction of a drug offense in any criminal proceeding may make a student ineligible for financial aid. For more information, students can visit studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#drug-convictions.
Violations of the alcohol and drug policies and dangerous or disruptive behavior that often come with alcohol and drug use will be handled by the usual general judiciary procedure under the honor code.
The involvement of alcohol and drugs with dangerous or disruptive behavior will be considered an exacerbating factor, not a mitigating one. If a student does not choose to follow these policies, the student may receive sanctions ranging from a written warning to suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense.
Violations and Sanctions Under 21
- Possession and consumption of alcohol under age of 21.
- Possession of alcohol or drug paraphernalia associated with dangerous consumption.
- Dispensing alcohol.
- Possession/use of illegal drugs or probable cause to believe there was use.
- Meeting with Residential Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Meeting with Residential Life or a dean in the Division of Student Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Disciplinary probation
- Possible parental notification.
- Meeting with a dean in the Division of Student Life.
Parental notification. Disciplinary Probation. Possible housing probation and suspension. Possible withdrawal.
- Selling/distributing illegal drugs.
- Meeting with a dean in the Division of Student Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Parental notification.
- Disciplinary probation.
- Possible withdrawal or suspension.
- Meeting with dean of students.
- Parental notification.
- Withdrawal or suspension.
Violations and Sanctions Over 21
- Open container.
- Drug paraphernalia associated with the dangerous consumption.
- Dispensing alcohol.
- Possession/use of illegal drugs or probable cause to believe there was use.
- Meeting with Residential Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Meeting with Residential Life or a dean in the Division of Student Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Disciplinary probation.
- Possible parental notification.
- A meeting with a dean in the Division of Student Life.
- Parental notification.
- Disciplinary probation.
- Possible housing probation and suspension.
- Possible withdrawal.
- Selling/distributing illegal drugs.
- Meeting with a dean in the Division of Student Life.
- AOD-focused Educational Project
- Parental notification.
- Disciplinary probation.
- Possible withdrawal or suspension.
- Meeting with dean of students.
- Parental notification.
- Withdrawal or suspension.
Alcohol and Drug Policy Definitions
Possession: The evidence that alcohol consumption has occurred (e.g., empty beer bottles) or drug consumption has occurred (e.g., bong, pipe, etc.).
Intoxication: The College considers intoxication requiring medical assistance or a medical transport to the hospital a health emergency. If medical assistance is deemed necessary, the College expects the student to accept transportation to the hospital for medical attention.
Students who refuse transport will be placed into protective custody as outlined by state law. There may be instances in which the parental/emergency contact will be notified in response to intoxication. Please refer to the College’s Policy on Parent Notification noted earlier in this document.
In addition, the College prohibits students from attending class under the influence of alcohol or drugs and identifies such behavior as unsafe.
Students suspected of being under the influence of substances will be asked to leave the classroom and such an incident would warrant staff/faculty to document the behavior and actions taken. As a follow-up students may be referred to Counseling Service.
Violations regarding alcohol or drugs will be counted as a second offense when a first offense of either policy is already on the record.
Related Policies — Massachusetts State Law on Alcohol: malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter138/Section34.
The record of each offense remains on file for seven (7) years.
Alcohol & Drug-Free Environment
In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, Mount Holyoke College has developed this policy in an effort to provide a healthy environment by preventing the use of drugs or the harmful use of alcohol within the College community and in response to the federal drug-free legislation. The Drug-Free Schools and Campus Act, which became law in December 1989, mandates that institutions of higher education adopt and implement a program designed to prevent the unlawful possession, use, dispensation or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees and to provide certification to the Department of Education that such a program is in place.
Mount Holyoke College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of controlled substances and alcohol by any member of the faculty, staff or student body on College property or at any College-sponsored function, whether on or off campus, and requires the cooperation of the entire campus community in its pursuit to maintain a drug-free environment in all aspects of campus life. At certain sanctioned College functions, alcoholic beverages may be allowed but will be monitored.
Any employee or student who violates this prohibition, or who does not cooperate with the College in its attempts to maintain a drug-free environment, will face disciplinary action up to and including termination, expulsion or dismissal from the College and may be required, as a condition of continuing the faculty/staff/student relationship with the College, to enroll at their own expense in a substance abuse counseling and treatment program.
In addition, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that any employee (including student employees) working at Mount Holyoke College who is convicted under a criminal drug statute for conduct in the workplace must report this conviction to the College no later than five days after the conviction. Workplace in this instance is defined as a site for the performance of work done in connection with a particular federal grant or contract. Once the College is informed of such a conviction, the College is required by law to notify the federal contractor or grantor within 10 days after an employee’s conviction or within 10 days after it has actual knowledge of such conviction, whichever is earlier. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with resources available in the area for substance abuse, counseling and treatment.
The Higher Education Amendments
On October 7, 1998, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 became effective, making specific amendments to the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (20 U.S. C. 10920 and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)(20 U.S. C. 1232g). The following outlines the significant changes to these acts that influence the alcohol and other drug policies at Mount Holyoke College and all other private and public schools that receive federal funds.
The Amendments to the Campus Security Act expanded the scope of the reporting requirement. It must not only report arrests but also record the number of people referred for campus disciplinary action for liquor law violations, drug-related violations, and weapons possession.
FERPA generally provides that information about students be protected from disclosure. Generally, the student’s educational record is protected from disclosure. The Higher Education Act of 1998 added a provision that indicates that FERPA cannot prevent a school from releasing information to a parent or legal guardian regarding the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance by a student, if the student is under the age of 21 and the institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.
Medical and Recreational Use of Cannabis Policy
Massachusetts has instituted legislation under Massachusetts Act (Chapter 369) “An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana” which allows for the controlled use of medical cannabis in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Thus, citizens of the commonwealth may legally obtain a medical cannabis registration card from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Mount Holyoke College students, staff and faculty who legally possess a “medical marijuana registration card” are not permitted to possess and/or use any form of cannabis on Mount Holyoke College property or at College-sponsored events.
In addition, the commonwealth of Massachusetts through 935 CMR 500.00 has legalized the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes to individuals at least 21 years old. Although Massachusetts law permits the use of medical and recreational cannabis, Federal laws outlined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) have classified cannabis as a controlled substance, which prohibits the use, possession and/or cultivation of cannabis. Therefore the use, possession, cultivation or sale of cannabis in any form violates federal law. Mount Holyoke must comply with the Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act (DFSCA) (20 U.S.C.1011i; 34 C.F.R part 86) as well as the Drug-Free Workplace Act, which requires a drug-free campus environment. Institutions of higher education such as Mount Holyoke must comply with the Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act regulations or risk losing federal funding such as financial aid. Any student, staff or faculty member who violates Mount Holyoke College policy prohibiting the use and/or possession of illicit drugs (including medical cannabis) on campus may be subject to disciplinary action.
Medical Amnesty Policy
Because the health and safety of students are of primary importance, students are encouraged to take steps to ensure their health and safety, as well as their peers’. For students who choose to consume alcohol, they are expected to use in moderation to avoid compromising personal safety. The College acknowledges that there may be times when students may face medical emergencies involving alcohol and drug use. Therefore, immediate action should be taken when a person’s health and safety are threatened or appear to be in jeopardy.
Alcohol poisoning can occur with the consumption of alcohol and symptoms can include unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, disorientation or confusion, slow breathing, vomiting, and cool or pale skin. If the affected student is on campus, Public Safety and Service and/or the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) must be contacted (x2304; 413-538-2304) to evaluate the student’s need for medical assistance. If medical assistance is deemed necessary, the College expects the student to accept transportation to the hospital for medical attention.
In order to support students in this effort and decrease the risk that a student will hesitate to seek help in an alcohol- or drug-related emergency, the College has developed a Medical Amnesty Policy to remove concerns about disciplinary action. Students who actively seek help or medical assistance for themselves or when concerned about someone else’s use of alcohol and other drugs will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions.
The College provides amnesty of the disciplinary process for students who:
- Request medical assistance for themselves.
- Request medical assistance for another person.
When responding to such alcohol and drug violations, the College will consider the student’s decision to request medical assistance, and in most cases, view the act of seeking medical assistance as good judgment. Thus if it is determined that the Medical Amnesty Policy applies, the students involved will not be subject to violation of the policy, nor will they receive a violation on their disciplinary record. In follow-up with the student granted medical amnesty, the student will meet with the Be Well director to have an opportunity to review the incident, ask questions and/or engage in further education to support future good judgment.
This provision does not protect repeated, flagrant or serious violations, or violations that caused harm to another person or property. Abuse of the Medical Amnesty Policy may result in disciplinary action by the College. This provision does not preclude or prevent action by Public Safety and Service or other outside legal authorities.
Additional Information on Alcohol & Drug Use
No person shall receive a license or permit who is under 21 years of age. Whoever makes a sale or delivery of any alcoholic beverage or alcohol to any person under 21 years of age, either for his own use or for the use of his parent or any other person, or whoever, being a patron of an establishment licensed under section 12 or 15, delivers or procures to be delivered in any public room or area of such establishment if licensed under section 12, 15, 19B, 19C or 19D or any area of such establishment if licensed under said section 15, 19B, 19C or 19D any such beverages or alcohol to or for use by a person who he knows or has reason to believe is under 21 years of age or whoever procures any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age in any establishment licensed under section 12 or procures any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age who is not his child, ward or spouse in any establishment licensed under said section 15, 19B, 19C or 19D or whoever furnishes any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both.
For the purpose of this section, the word “furnish” shall mean to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age except for the children and grandchildren of the person being charged to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged. (See M.G.L., Ch. 138, ¶34.)
Serving Alcohol to Intoxicated Persons
Any person licensed to serve alcohol may not serve intoxicated persons. To do so may result in civil liability for injuries caused by the intoxicated person. (See M.G.L., Ch. 138, ¶69.)
Alcohol and/or Drugs and Driving
Transporting alcohol: It is unlawful for a person under 21 years of age to knowingly drive a car with alcohol in it or carry alcohol on their person unless accompanied by a parent.
Conviction is punishable by mandatory suspension of driver’s license for 90 days. Punishment also includes a fine of not more than $50 for the first offense and not more than $150 for a second or subsequent offense.
Open Container in a Motor Vehicle
It is unlawful for a person to possess an open container of alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle. The passenger area is defined as the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily available to the driver or a passenger while in a seated position, including, but not limited to, the glove compartment. Violation of this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500. (See M.G.L., Ch. 90, ¶ 24I)
Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence
If arrested, the driver will be detained by the police and read their rights. The vehicle will be towed and the driver taken in a police cruiser to the police station for a breathalyzer test. Refusal to take this test will result in automatic suspension of license for 120 days.
- If the breathalyzer test registers over .05 but below .08 the driver will be held, but there will be no presumption of driving under the influence.
- If the test registers .08 or over, the driver will be held, and there will be a presumption of driving under the influence. The driver will be kept in the police lockup until bailed out. Upon arraignment, the license of the defendant having a breathalyzer of .08 or above is immediately suspended for 90 days.
For persons under 21 years of age, there will be a presumption of driving under the influence if the test registers over .02. The driver will be kept in the police lockup until bailed out. Upon arraignment, the license of the defendant will immediately be suspended for 180 days. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 who refuse or fail a breathalyzer test must complete a Youth Alcohol Program (Y.A.P.) and suffer a 180-day license suspension. In addition, the law mandates a fine dedicated to the Trust Fund for Head Injury Treatment Services; allows out-of-state convictions to be used to calculate repeat offenses; and allows a court to look back ten years to calculate repeat offenses. For more information regarding offenses, including first–fifth offense conviction information, see M.G.L., Ch. 90, paragraph 24.
Homicide by Motor Vehicle
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and who operates that vehicle recklessly or negligently so as to endanger and who, by any such operation, causes death shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half or more than 15 years and a fine of not more than $5,000. Punishment also includes suspension of license for 15 years with first offense and lifetime suspension with subsequent offense.
Drug Enforcement Laws
An Act Providing for Drug-Free Schools
Effective July 11, 1989, anyone convicted of dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of an elementary, vocational, or secondary school faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence. It will not matter whether the dealer knew they were near a school, whether it is a public or private school, or whether the school is in session. The law pertains to drug distributors, manufacturers, or persons possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute it. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed but not in lieu of the two-year term of imprisonment.
An Act Providing for Suspension of a License to Operate a Motor Vehicle upon Conviction of Violation of the Controlled Substance Act
This law provides that a conviction of any drug offense shall result in the loss of the right to drive for a period of up to five years. A minor who does not yet have a driver’s license at the time of their conviction can lose the right to obtain a license until reaching age 21.
An Act Further Regulating the Misuse of Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards
This law makes a broad spectrum of activities related to false identification cards or licenses punishable by a fine or imprisonment. These activities include, but are not limited to, making, using, or carrying a false identification card or license; using the cards or license of another; and furnishing false information in obtaining a card or license. In addition, a conviction on any of these charges will result in an automatic one-year suspension of the license to drive.
Leave of Absence Policy
Mount Holyoke’s Leave of Absence Policy covers four types of leave: academic, medical, personal and mandatory. Students who are considering applying for an academic, medical or personal leave of absence should keep in mind the following:
- Students must be in residence at Mount Holyoke for at least four semesters out of their sophomore, junior and senior years to meet graduation requirements and they must earn at least 64 Mount Holyoke credits during these semesters.The 64 Mount Holyoke credits can include Five College credits taken during the academic year through the interchange (not while on leave).
- Financial aid recipients should visit the Office of Student Financial Services for information on financial aid and student accounts prior to applying for a leave of absence in order to understand how taking a leave might affect aid eligibility in future years, if there is any tuition account balance due, or if any student loans will enter repayment.
- Students taking a leave during their first seven weeks of the semester should speak with the Office of Student Financial Services about receiving a partial refund for tuition and room and board, based on the following schedule:
- Week 1 = 90%
- Week 2–3 = 75%
- Week 4–5 = 50%
- Week 6–7 = 25%
- International students attending the College on an F1 visa or other visa status must consult with the immigration specialist at the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before applying for leave, as a student’s immigration status will be affected by any leave.
- Typically an approved leave of absence is no less than one semester and no more than four semesters.
- Students should discuss a potential leave with their faculty advisor, academic dean, family members or other contacts, such as health or counseling staff.
- A student may be required by the College to take a mandated leave of absence.
- When a leave is effective as of the first day of classes or later, withdrawn courses will remain on the transcript with a W notation.
- A student on leave is not entitled to participate in any College program or activity, including student employment. Students may be restricted from visiting campus at the sole discretion of the College.
- Students must be in good financial standing in order to return from a leave of absence. All past due balances must be paid and student loans must be in good standing. Contact Student Financial Services with any questions.
Academic leave includes study abroad, all exchange programs, and full-time study at other U.S. colleges and universities.
Personal leave is for students who plan to be away for a variety of personal reasons that may include but are not limited to employment, travel and/or financial concerns. Students on personal leave may earn up to 16 credits per semester of academic credit at an accredited institution within the United States, with approval from the registrar.
Medical leave is intended for students who are temporarily unable to continue their studies due to their own health issues. During medical leave, students may earn up to 16 credits per semester of academic credit at an accredited institution within the United States, with approval from the registrar.
Mandatory leave is required time away from the College that is related to difficulty meeting Mount Holyoke’s academic or behavioral standards. Students on mandatory leave may earn up to 16 credits per semester of academic credit at an accredited institution within the United States, with approval from the registrar.
Academic leave includes study abroad, all exchange programs, and full-time study at other U.S. colleges and universities. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives coordinates all applications for study abroad. Contact the McCulloch Center for further information. The Office of Student Success and Advising coordinates all applications for full-time study in the United States. Contact the Office of Student Success and Advising to apply.
Programs of Study in the United States
A student may apply for an academic leave to participate in one of the following programs. Deadlines and instructions vary.
- Twelve College Exchange Program: www.mtholyoke.edu/academicdeans/twelve_college
- MHC Semester in D.C.: www.mtholyoke.edu/wcl/mhc-semester-dc
- Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory
- Other approved, accredited U.S. institution or program
To qualify for an academic leave a student must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a minimum grade point average of 2.7.
- Clear all outstanding registration holds (e.g., financial, health, etc.).
- Declare a major if applying to study away for all or part of the junior or senior year. Students applying to study away in their sophomore year are not required to declare a major in advance.
- Present a full-time plan of study at an accredited institution that will enhance the student’s academic program at Mount Holyoke and be suitable to the College’s curriculum.
- Obtain approval for the plan of study from the student’s faculty advisor, along with approval from the dean of studies in the Office of Student Success and Advising or the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, as appropriate.
A personal leave of absence is a voluntary leave from the College to attend to personal matters such as employment, travel, family and financial concerns. Students interested in taking a leave to address their own physical or psychological health concern should refer to the section on medical leave of absence below in this document.
Students interested in taking a personal leave of absence must complete the following steps:
- Set up an appointment to speak with their academic dean in person or via phone about the timing of the leave, the reasons for requesting the leave, plans for time away and for returning to the College, the impact on their academic program, and how the leave will figure into an overall graduation plan. Students who are away from campus can request a leave of absence by arranging a phone or virtual appointment.
- Complete the Personal Leave form, following the initial meeting, which requires an academic dean’s signature and includes the anticipated date of return.
- Submit the Personal Leave form to the Office of Student Success and Advising. Once the leave has been processed, students will receive a written confirmation from the College in their College email account, stating the terms and conditions of the leave. Students are responsible for reading all materials that are sent to them via their Mount Holyoke email address concerning their leave and for complying with the terms and conditions of the leave.
- Students are not eligible for personal leaves when they have taken more than four sequential semesters away from the College. If leave is denied, the student remains responsible for all academic requirements.
Important Additional Information on Personal Leave
Students should note the following additional information relating to personal leave:
- A personal leave of absence can typically be no less than one semester and no longer than four consecutive semesters. The College withdraws students after four consecutive semesters away unless they have requested and received an extension of their leave from the Office of Student Success and Advising. Students are encouraged to request a planned personal leave of absence by the dates listed below, although the College recognizes that situations may arise requiring a request after the suggested deadlines:
- May 15 for upcoming fall semester or full academic year.
- November 15 for upcoming spring semester.
Note: Personal leaves taken after the 50th day of the semester will carry forward to the following academic semester.
- When a personal leave is authorized on an immediate basis during a semester, students are withdrawn from the courses in which they are enrolled and receive W’s in place of credits and grades.
- The College will provide up to three days to remove belongings and vacate the residence halls when a personal leave is approved on an immediate basis. If additional time is needed, the student should speak with the director of Residential Life. Extending time in the residence halls may affect the amount of any refund, if applicable, or result in a late-stay charge. The College has a list of vendors who provide storage and shipping services: www.mtholyoke.edu/reslife/local_storage.
- International students should be aware that their immigration status may be affected by taking a personal leave and should therefore consult with the immigration specialist in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before applying for a personal leave.
- During the student’s approved personal leave, the Office of Student Success and Advising will send an official email outlining the steps needed for a return to campus. The email will be sent to the student’s Mount Holyoke College email address. Students on leave must follow the steps outlined in the email for a successful return to campus.
- During a leave, a student may decide to take courses at an accredited institution. See www.mtholyoke.edu/registrar/transferap for information about this option and consult with the registrar’s office.
Returning From a Personal Leave of Absence
Students will be expected to return to campus after the requested leave ends. An email will be sent to returning students outlining the steps to take for financial aid, housing and course registration. A student will be billed for the semester of expected return unless an extension of the leave is requested by submitting another Personal Leave form: www.mtholyoke.edu/sites/default/files/academicdeans/docs/nal_appl_2017_update1.pdf.
A medical leave of absence is a leave from the College to attend to the student’s own physical or psychological health concerns. Students must consult Health Services or the Counseling Service, as applicable under the circumstances, for all medical concerns resulting in a request for medical leave, including those arising from a chronic health condition or disability. Academic deans must refer all requests for medical leaves to Health Services or the Counseling Service, as appropriate under the circumstances.
Health Services or the Counseling Service will review the request for leave and notify the Office of Student Success and Advising of approved leaves. The notification to the academic deans will include the basic parameters of the leave, such as the effective date. Health Services and the Counseling Service will keep the details of the student’s medical condition confidential to the extent possible in compliance with relevant law. Students may be asked and/or choose to provide a written release of information permitting the disclosure of medical information to other offices at the College so that those offices can provide the student with the appropriate resources.
Important Additional Information on Medical Leave
The length of a medical leave will be determined by the nature or severity of the health concern. A student should allow sufficient time to regain the health and functioning required to manage a full-time academic load in a residential environment. However, a medical leave of absence can be no less than one semester and ordinarily no longer than four consecutive semesters. The College withdraws students after four consecutive semesters away. A student who is withdrawn from the College can apply for readmission.
Note: A request to withdraw from all classes or request for a leave of absence after the 50th day of classes in a given semester results in a leave of absence for the current semester as well as the following semester, absent extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the College at its sole discretion.
- Students should plan to meet with the appropriate academic dean to discuss their progress toward a degree, given their absence. Students can arrange this meeting by calling the Office of Student Success and Advising at 413-538-3610 and requesting an appointment.
- When a medical leave is authorized by the College on an immediate basis, students are withdrawn from the courses in which they are enrolled and given W’s in place of grades.
- International students should consult with the immigration specialist or the director of international student advising in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before going on medical leave to discuss the impact the leave may have on their immigration status.
- During a leave, a student may decide to take courses at an accredited institution. See www.mtholyoke.edu/registrar/transferap for information about this option and consult with the registrar’s office.
- When a medical leave is approved, the student will be allowed up to three days to remove belongings and vacate the residence halls. If additional time is needed, the student should speak with the director of Residential Life to request extended time to move out. Extending time in the residence halls may affect the amount of any refund due, if applicable, or result in a late stay charge. The College has a list of vendors, www.mtholyoke.edu/reslife/local_storage, who provide storage and shipping services.
Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence
Students who seek to return from a medical leave of absence must receive a written assessment of medical readiness from Health Services or the Counseling Service. Health Services or the Counseling Service, as applicable, will then notify the Office of Student Success and Advising of the student’s request to return. Students must complete the following steps for clearance and approval before they will be able to register for Mount Holyoke classes, request housing, complete an application for financial aid or return to the College:
- The treating physician or clinician must complete a Readiness to Return from Medical Leave of Absence form, located on the Counseling Service website, www.mtholyoke.edu/counseling/forms, for leaves initiated through the Counseling Service, and the Health Services website, www.mtholyoke.edu/health/hsforms, for leaves initiated through Health Services. This form must be submitted before the student makes an appointment to discuss clearance to return from leave.
- The student should set up an appointment over the phone or in person to speak with the director or designee of either the Counseling Service or Health Services, as applicable, to discuss the student’s return.
- If notified by the director of the Counseling Service or of Health Services that the student is medically ready to return to campus, the student will be referred to the Office of Student Success and Advising to complete the process to return to campus.
Students are encouraged to request a return from a leave of absence by October 30 to return the following spring semester and March 30 to return the following fall semester. Please note that a request after these dates may limit options for course registration, on-campus housing and/or financial assistance. The College encourages students to follow the steps outlined in the Return from Leave form.
Please note that additional holds or flags on a student’s record, whether disciplinary, academic or financial, may prohibit a return to campus. Students must clear those holds with the appropriate offices before returning to campus.
Students must be in good financial standing in order to return from a leave of absence. All past due balances must be paid and student loans must be in good standing. Contact Student Financial Services with any questions.
Appealing Return from Medical Leave Decisions
Students may appeal a denial of a return from a medical leave of absence to the dean of students. The dean of students may opt to convene an evaluation committee to review a student’s appeal request. The team may include any combination of the dean of students, dean of studies and representatives from Health Services, the Counseling Service and/or AccessAbility Services, among others. If called to participate in a review, the directors or designees of Health Services and the Counseling Service will comply with applicable law governing the confidentiality of student medical information. The student may be requested to complete a written release of information permitting the disclosure of confidential records, including medical records, in order to evaluate the appeal. Upon completing the appeal’s review, the student will receive written notification from the Division of Student Life regarding its outcome.
The College may require a student to take a leave of absence in response to significant concerns about academic progress or behavior.
Important Additional Information on Mandated Leave
Students should note the following additional information relating to mandated leave:
- Students on a mandated leave must request advance permission from the dean of students to visit campus or participate in any College-related or College-sponsored activity off campus.
- Students on a mandated leave for academic or behavioral reasons will, upon return, lose eligibility for merit or other non-need-based scholarships awarded by the College.
Mandated Leave During the Semester
The dean of students, dean of studies, director of the Counseling Service and/or the director of Health Services may convene a confidential evaluation committee as part of the process to require a student to withdraw during the semester when the student:
- Presents a substantial risk of harm to self or others.
- Fails to carry out substantial self-care obligations.
- Significantly disrupts the educational or other activities of the College community.
- Is unable to participate meaningfully in educational activities.
- Requires a level of care from the College community that exceeds the resources and staffing that the College can reasonably be expected to provide for the student’s well-being.
The evaluation committee may request that a representative from the Office of Student Success and Advising, Division of Student Life or other areas of the College present information about the student’s experience. Other administrators may be added to the evaluation committee if expertise is needed that is not already represented, including but not limited to legal counsel for the College, a faculty advisor, etc.
The evaluation committee may ask the student, and their family, if appropriate, to participate in the review by inviting them to make a brief written or oral statement.
The evaluation committee may access the student’s educational records and may request that the student release their medical record as required for an appropriate review. If involved in a review, the directors of Health Services and the Counseling Service will comply with applicable law governing the confidentiality of student medical information.
The evaluation committee is responsible for informing a student and their parents or guardians of the result of the committee’s deliberation.
The evaluation committee’s decision following consideration of all relevant information will be the final decision of the College. The evaluation committee will communicate its decision to the student and the appropriate administrative offices.
Students may be suspended if they do not adhere to the College’s standards of social conduct or if the College otherwise determines, at its sole discretion, that a behavioral suspension is in the best interest of the College and/or the community. The length of a behavioral suspension will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The College may utilize a temporary and/or emergency removal process, pending completion of a threat assessment or disciplinary proceeding.
A student who has been suspended will generally be placed on disciplinary probation upon their return, if appropriate, and this is at the College’s sole discretion. The dean of students, in consultation with other College administrators, is typically responsible for reviewing whether violations of policy or a single behavioral issue is sufficiently serious to warrant a suspension. Additionally, the Honor Code Council may recommend suspension as an outcome of a hearing and the College may issue a suspension as an outcome of a grievance.
Students must comply with any restrictions and fulfill any conditions required by the College during the period of suspension in order to demonstrate readiness to return.
When a student is suspended for behavior with a disciplinary charge pending, the College may complete the disciplinary process while the student is on leave or after the student returns from leave.
Students may be withdrawn from the College if they do not adhere to the College’s standards of conduct or if they are determined to represent a significant threat of substantial harm to anyone in the Mount Holyoke community, including the student themselves. The dean of students, in consultation with other College administrators, is typically responsible for reviewing whether violations of policy or other conduct is sufficiently serious to warrant a withdrawal. The College may also withdraw a student as an outcome of a grievance. The Honor Code Council can recommend that a student be withdrawn for behavioral reasons.
Generally, a student who has been required to withdraw may apply for readmission to the dean of students after one semester has passed, depending on the circumstances. A student who returns to the College after a behavioral withdrawal will be placed on disciplinary probation upon their return.
Students must comply with any restrictions and fulfill any conditions required by the College during the period of withdrawal to demonstrate readiness to return.
When a student is suspended for behavior with a disciplinary charge pending, the College may complete the disciplinary process while the student is on leave or after the student returns from leave.
Appeals to Mandated Behavioral Leaves
Students may appeal a mandatory behavioral leave to the dean of students. An appeal must be in written form and submitted within three business days from the date of notice of suspension or withdrawal, unless the student can establish good cause for the appeal period to be extended. The dean of students will evaluate the appeal and provide the student with written notification concerning the appeal’s outcome. In cases of mandatory suspension or withdrawal involving a disciplinary process, students should consult the appeal process outlined under Appeals in the College Disciplinary Process section of the Student Handbook.
Requesting a Return from a Mandatory Behavioral Leave
Students should request a return from leave before the following dates:
- October 30 to return to the College the following spring semester.
- March 30 to return to the College the following fall semester.
Requests to return from a behavioral leave of absence should be sent to the dean of students. Using these dates as a guide will assist with providing sufficient time to obtain approval and review possible changes to financial aid, academic progress, housing, etc. Please note that requests made after these dates may not be approved for a return in the following semester. Requests made after these dates will also limit options for courses and may limit the opportunity to live in on-campus housing. The College encourages students to follow the steps outlined in the checklist that accompanies the Return from Leave form: docs.google.com/forms/d/18P7eYG2cUXJbhOyN4u9V7nDul_4ytfemARhyBLdee2g/edit.
The dean of students (or designee) will review the Return from Leave form and determine whether the return is approved. Students may be required to submit additional information to assist with the evaluation of the request to return and may be requested to complete a written release of information permitting the disclosure of confidential records, including medical records.
Please note that additional holds or flags on a student’s record, such as a disciplinary or financial hold, may prohibit a return to campus. Students must clear those holds with the appropriate offices before returning to campus.
Mandatory Academic Leave
Academic Suspension or Required Withdrawal
Students may be suspended or required to withdraw from the College in accordance with Academic Administrative Board (AAB) criteria for these actions, per its academic regulations, catalog.mtholyoke.edu/academic-regulations/#text. The AAB comprises the dean of studies, the registrar, each academic dean, and three faculty members, one from each academic division: humanities, science and mathematics, and social sciences. The board meets at the end of each semester to review all student records and determine the appropriate course of action to support each student’s progress toward completing a Mount Holyoke degree.
The AAB may suspend a student for one or two semesters or require a student to withdraw, based on the academic record in the semester under review, or the student’s cumulative academic performance. Students who are suspended or withdrawn by the AAB must follow AAB guidelines to return to the College. These guidelines may include required coursework away from the College to demonstrate readiness to return to the academic rigor of Mount Holyoke.
Students suspended by the AAB may be eligible for reinstatement after the mandated period of leave. A student who has been suspended for a semester or a year will be on academic probation for one semester after their return. During the suspension, the transcript will have the notation “Suspended for (period) for academic deficiencies.” This notation will be removed from the student’s official transcript when the student returns to the College or one year from the date the leave begins, whichever is sooner. However, the College will maintain an internal record with the notation of the suspension period.
Academic Required Withdrawal
A student who has been required to withdraw may apply to the AAB for readmission, but the student may not return to the College before one academic year has passed. The student’s official transcript will have the notation “Required to withdraw for academic deficiencies on (date). Eligible for readmission to apply after one academic year.” This notation will be removed if the student returns to the College. However, the College will maintain an internal record with the notation of the withdrawal period. Students who are required to withdraw and seek to re-enroll in the College must complete the steps to apply for readmission. See mtholyoke.edu/academicdeans/withdrawals-readmission. Questions about the readmission process should be directed to the dean of studies.
Appealing Academic Leaves
Students may appeal AAB decisions of suspension or required withdrawal to the dean of studies. It is recommended that students work with their academic dean in drafting a statement that describes new and compelling information that would affect the decision. Appeals must be in writing.
Access to Campus Resources While on Leave
When a student is on leave, the College will alert the appropriate offices across campus. This notification will prompt a change to certain College privileges, which may include, without limitation, campus employment, borrowing from the library, access to Kendall, health and counseling services and campus dining. The approval of a leave will also prompt Student Financial Services to perform required calculations according to the College’s refund policy. Students should contact Student Financial Services directly regarding refund requests.
Nondiscrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policies
Statement of Nondiscrimination
Mount Holyoke is committed both to its historic mission as a women’s college and to providing access to talented students from all backgrounds. The diversity within our students, staff, faculty, and curricula is a point of pride and a hallmark of the institution. The framework for our commitment to diversity sits within our active prohibition of discrimination in our educational policies, employment, campus services and activities on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran/uniform status, and all other classifications protected by law. This same principle applies to admission to our graduate and extension programs.
With respect to admission to our undergraduate degree program, Mount Holyoke admits qualified women without regard to age, color, creed, disability, national/ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran/uniform status.
— Approved by the Board of Trustees, fall 2015
Mount Holyoke College is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, that are free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. To ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity, the College has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected class status, and for allegations of retaliation.
Bias Incident Report/Cmty Insensitivity Reporting
The purpose of this section is to inform and educate members of the Mount Holyoke community on the processes and procedures related to bias incidents. Such incidents work contrary to the inclusiveness that forms the foundation for the College’s educational community, and so the College takes any reports of them very seriously. Mount Holyoke encourages students to review the content provided.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., is a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The code states “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (Pub. L. 88-352, title VI, Sec. 601, July 2, 1964, 78 Stat. 252.) Title VI protects Mount Holyoke students, faculty, staff and visitors from discrimination in any program, service, and activity offered by the College.
The following resolution was affirmed by the faculty in 1973: The faculty of Mount Holyoke College reaffirms its commitment to an academic environment free of racial discrimination in which all individuals are treated with a common standard of decency. It commits itself to a continuing effort to confront and resist racist attitudes and actions wherever they appear in the Mount Holyoke community, and to build a community useful and attractive to all individuals regardless of ethnic background. Please contact the Dean of Students with questions or concerns.
Protocols for Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes
The goal of these protocols is to help support a culture of open exchange in the spirit of mutual respect. These protocols operate within the context of the College’s values of community responsibility and the commitment to free inquiry. Please note that these protocols apply when students and/or their guests are the targets of a bias incident or hate crime. Faculty and staff who have been the target of a bias incident or hate crime should consult with the dean of faculty. Staff who have been the target of a bias incident or hate crime should consult with the director of human resources accordingly. If a student reports a bias incident or hate crime, they can expect that their concerns will be treated with respect and sensitivity and that each case will be taken seriously. However, it is important to remember that bias incidents and hate crimes are very complex and an incident may not be immediately recognizable as belonging to one of these two categories. The protocols laid out below should be considered a work in progress.
Bias Incidents at Mount Holyoke
A bias incident at Mount Holyoke is an act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation that occurs on the Mount Holyoke College campus that is directed at a member or group of the Mount Holyoke community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity/presentation, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, veteran status, or any combination of these or related factors. In a bias incident the perpetrator may be known or unknown. (adapted from Cornell University)
Note that there are broader categories utilized here than what appears in the College’s Statement of Nondiscrimination. The Statement of Nondiscrimination only focuses on categories that are protected by law, while the College’s bias incident definition covers categories that are not covered by law, but that are covered under College policies.
Hostile or hateful speech or other discriminatory behavior may be considered a bias incident, but under certain conditions may also be a hate crime.
Under Massachusetts law, hate crimes are those motivated by or against a person or group on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic/national origin, gender, and gender identity. Hate crimes encompass not only violence against people or groups, but also crimes against property, such as arson or vandalism, particularly those directed against community centers or houses of worship. Hate crimes can occur in any of the following ways:
- Intimidating or threatening behavior putting a person in fear of imminent physical harm (assault, threats to commit certain crimes).
- A physical attack (assault and battery, as well as other violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter and rape).
- Damage to property (arson, vandalism).
A targeted individual is the person or group against whom a bias incident or hate crime is directed. This may or may not be the same as the reporting party. The College recommends using one of these terms rather than the word victim.
Reporting Protocols for Students
Students may go to the following offices/departments to seek help with bias incidents/hate crimes and fill out a Community Insensitivity form:
- Public Safety and Service
- Office of Residential Life
- Division of Student Life
- Counseling Service
- Health Services
- Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Most of these offices have 24-hour on-call capacity.
The Division of Student Life and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion process student-to-student Community Insensitivity Intake forms and reported bias incidents/hate crimes on campus. The Division of Student Life also collaborates with the Title IX and 504 Coordinator and the Chief Diversity Officer to facilitate the student-to-student process, based on the reported behavior.
These reports are kept in a confidential space and are not a part of a student’s file unless they progress to a formal grievance that results in a sanction.
Below are a list of off-campus resources that are available to provide support and information around bias incidents and hate crimes:
- Northwestern District Attorney’s Office
- Office for Civil Rights
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Anti-Defamation League
Section 504 & the Americans with Disabilities Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) are civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 29 U.S.C. § 793 states that “no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under” any program or activity that either receives federal financial assistance or is conducted by any executive agency or the United States Postal Service. Section 504 and ADA 42 U.S.C § 12101 ensure that the individuals with a disability have equal access to programs, services and activities of the College. Individuals with disabilities may request accommodations and modifications as a means to gain access to College programs, activities and services.
Under these laws, discrimination on the basis of a disability can be physical barriers or an inaccessible facility that prevents access to a program, activity or service, or denial of an approved accommodation. Section 504 and the ADA protect Mount Holyoke students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Students seeking a disability-related accommodation should contact the office of AccessAbility Services. AccessAbility Services is the only designated office at the College for students to voluntarily disclose a disability or disabilities, submit appropriate documentation for verification and request accommodations.
AccessAbility Services coordinates and provides accommodations and support services to students with all types of disabilities. Students seeking more information on services provided to students and/or information on requesting accommodations should contact AccessAbility Services at 413-538-2634. Students can also visit mtholyoke.edu/accessability, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the office on the third floor of Mary Lyon Hall.
The College has also designated a primary coordinator to respond to concerns of disability discrimination. The Section 504 coordinator is responsible for overseeing the College’s efforts to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act both for programmatic and physical accessibility. The Section 504 coordinator will respond to complaints of disability discrimination as well as identify and address patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints.
Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sex or gender based discrimination, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct, including stalking and intimate partner violence.
Title IX Coordinator
The Associate Director of Equity and Compliance serves as the Title IX & 504 coordinator and oversees implementation of Mount Holyoke College’s compliance with Title IX & Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Title IX coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating the College’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation prohibited under this policy.
Prohibited Conduct Covered Within This Policy
This section of the policy defines the specific behaviors prohibited within this policy. For purposes of this policy, gender-based and sexual misconduct includes sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, sexual exploitation, stalking and complicity.
Sexual or Gender-based Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following conditions outlined below are present.
Gender-based harassment includes acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or sex stereotyping when one or both of the following conditions below are present:
- Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, participation or enrollment at the College. This is often referred to as “quid pro quo.”
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s working, learning or living environment or limits the individual’s ability to participate or benefit from the College’s employment, education programs or activities by creating an intimidating, threatening, abusive, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive environment using both a subjective and objective perspective. This is often referred to as a “hostile environment.”
Sexual or gender-based harassment can take many forms. Reported conduct of this nature will be evaluated by considering the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual or gender-based harassment, a single incident, even if isolated, can create a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical or sufficiently serious. A single incident of sexual assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In addition, conduct that was initially welcomed may develop into a form of sexual or gender-based harassment depending on the circumstances. The conduct does not have to be directed at a particular person to constitute sexual or gender-based harassment.
Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual or gender-based harassment include but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, whether they involve physical touching or not.
- Sexual innuendos, jokes, written or verbal references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s own sex life, comments on an individual’s body, discussion or inquiry about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, activity, deficiencies or prowess.
- Displaying or circulating sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videos or cartoons, including via electronic communications.
- Threats or insinuations that a person’s employment or wages, academic grade, promotional opportunities, classroom work assignments or other conditions of employment or academic life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances.
- Repeated refusal to recognize or use a person’s stated gender pronouns, or outing someone as transgender with the intent to cause harm.
- Bullying or hazing based on sex or gender:
- Bullying is the repeated use by one or more people of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at another person that causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property, places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to self or damage of personal property, creates a hostile environment at the College for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at the College, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of the College.
- Hazing is any conduct or methods of initiation into student organizations, whether on public or private property, that willfully or recklessly endanger the physical or mental health of any person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment of forced physical activity that is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any person, or that subjects the person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Sexual assault, as defined under this policy, includes sexual contact and/or sexual intercourse without consent.
Sexual contact includes an intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part without consent. Sexual contact includes intentional touching of the mouth, breast, buttocks, groin or genitals whether clothed or unclothed, or intentional touching of another with any of these body parts, making another touch themselves or another with or on any of these body parts.
Sexual intercourse is any penetration, however slight, with any object or body part performed by a person upon another person. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; any contact no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person.
See the full definition of consent under Important Definitions in this section.
Relationship violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic, intimate, domestic partner, spousal, sexual or dating nature with the person subject to that violence. Relationship violence is also referred to as intimate partner violence, dating violence or domestic violence. The existence of a romantic, intimate, domestic partner, spousal, sexual, domestic or dating relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s characterization of the relationship and the following factors:
- Length of the relationship.
- Type of relationship.
- Frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Relationship violence includes but is not limited to:
- Physical or sexual violence.
- Emotional or psychological abuse.
- Economic abuse in the form of threats, assaults, property damage or other violence.
Relationship violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientation and does not discriminate by racial, social or economic background. Relationship violence may include other forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.
Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing harm, disability, injury or death. Emotional or psychological abuse is a persistent pattern or prolonged climate of domination or controlling behavior, often involving the use of verbal and nonverbal control over another person. Examples of emotional or psychological abuse may include:
- Name calling.
- Social isolation.
- Limiting access to transportation or money.
- Monitoring behavior.
- Threats of violence.
- Control of reproductive health or intentional deception about use of safer sex methods.
- Exploitation of vulnerabilities.
- Presenting false information with intent of making the person doubt their own memory or perception.
Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own sexual gratification, financial gain, personal advantage benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Prostituting another person.
- Taking and/or distributing nonconsensual photos, videos or audio recordings of sexual activity.
- Distribution of consensual recordings, photos or other sexual images without the knowledge or permission of the other parties involved.
- Letting others hide to watch one have consensual sex.
- Engaging in voyeurism (watching the private sexual activity without the consent of participants or viewing another person’s intimate parts, including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks) in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
- Knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without that person’s knowledge.
- Nonconsensual removal of a condom or other form of birth/disease control by a sex partner, sabotage to a condom or other form of birth/disease control by a sex partner without the other’s knowledge or consent, or false representation of the use of a condom or other form of birth/disease control.
- Inducing incapacitation to make another person vulnerable to nonconsensual sexual activity.
- Nonconsensual exposing of one’s genitals in nonconsensual circumstances.
- Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view pornography.
Stalking is the willful and malicious pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time that:
- Are directed at a specific person.
- Cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Make a threat with the intent to place a person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury.
Stalking includes two or more acts of unwanted or harassing behavior, such as following a person; appearing at a person’s home/residence hall, class or work; making or sending frequent unwanted phone calls, emails, text messages, etc.; continuing to contact a person after receiving requests not to; leaving written messages, objects or unwanted gifts; vandalizing a person’s property; monitoring or tracking a person’s activity; using third parties to monitor or track behavior or engage in other unwanted contact; and threatening, intimidating or intrusive behavior.
Stalking includes cyber stalking which is the use of the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact to pursue, monitor, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person.
Under this policy, complicity is any act taken with the purpose of aiding, facilitating, promoting or encouraging the commission of a Gender-based or Sexual Misconduct Policy violation of another person.
Mount Holyoke College believes that in any relationship all activity should be consensual, especially in sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary; it must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity and exist for each form of sexual contact. Consent given for a past sexual activity does not give consent for new activity. The existence of a current or prior dating or intimate relationship does not imply consent.
One demonstrates consent through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence or the absence of resistance does not imply consent.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time. The withdrawal of consent must also be mutually understandable using words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to stop the sexual activity. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately.
An individual who is incapacitated is unable to give consent.
Incapacitation is the lack of the ability to make informed, rational judgment to engage in sexual activity. A person who is incapacitated cannot offer consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs; when a person is asleep or unconscious or is unable to provide consent due to age, intellectual or other medical condition. Incapacitation is an extreme form of intoxication. A person is not necessarily incapacitated merely as a result of ingesting alcohol or other drugs. The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person; each individual may have a different level of tolerance or metabolism. One is not expected to be a medical expert in assessing incapacitation. Instead, one must look for the common and obvious warning signs that show a person may be incapacitated or approaching incapacitation. A person’s level of intoxication can change rapidly, and a person can reach incapacitation within a short time span. Although every individual may manifest signs of incapacitation differently, common markers of incapacitation can include the inability to control one’s physical movements such as stumbling or clumsiness, the lack of awareness of the current circumstances or surroundings, slurred or incomprehensible speech, the inability to communicate, combativeness, emotional volatility, vomiting or incontinence.
Voluntary intoxication by a respondent does not diminish the responsibility to obtain valid consent. The respondent’s knowledge will be viewed from the perspective of a sober, reasonable person under the same standard.
Consent can also not be obtained through the use of intimidation, threats, coercion or force.
Coercion is the improper use of pressure to compel individuals to initiate or continue sexual activity against their will. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats and blackmail. In evaluating whether coercion was used, the College will consider the nature of the pressure, the intensity of the pressure, the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and the frequency and duration of the pressure. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include threats to out someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or threats to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity.
Intimidation is any action used to influence another person to concede to a behavior by use of power or authority in a situation where the aggressor’s actions would cause a reasonable person to be fearful. Intimidation may occur by physical force, threat of violence, threat of outing someone, threat of disclosing personal information, or threat of removal from membership in a group or activity. Under this policy, an overt act must exist to cause a person’s feelings of intimidation. A person can be found responsible for intimidation due to their own direct actions or the known action of others on their behalf.
Retaliation is any act or attempted act to seek retribution from any individual or group of individuals involved in the reporting, investigation and/or resolution of a complaint of sexual misconduct or allegation of gender-based discrimination. Retaliation can take many forms, including continued abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation. Mount Holyoke College prohibits retaliation against a reporting party, survivor, witness, the accused, administrator, or any individual who participates or cooperates in the investigation or grievance proceedings. Retaliation is also prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Reports of retaliation are investigated separately from the initial incident. The sanction for an outcome of retaliation may include termination or expulsion.
Privacy & Confidentiality
Mount Holyoke College is committed to protecting the privacy of the parties involved in a report under this policy and will respect the wishes of the reporting party to the extent possible without impeding its investigation and/or its ability to end harassment and eliminate a hostile environment. When disclosing information about gender-based or sexual misconduct to a College employee, all community members should be aware of how their information may be shared with the College, based on the College’s Title IX obligations. The following discussion on privacy and confidentiality may help a reporting party or survivor make an informed choice.
The College recognizes that privacy is very important. All actions taken to investigate and resolve reports shall be conducted with as much privacy and discretion as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. All persons involved in an investigation are expected to treat the process with respect.
Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meaning under this policy.
Privacy generally means the information related to a report will be shared only with those College employees with a legitimate educational interest or with external individuals or entities only as permitted under College policy and applicable law. Members of the College community involved in reviewing a reported violation of this policy are expected to fulfill their obligation to share information only on a need-to-know basis to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.
The privacy of student educational records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Confidentiality exist in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative services related to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, and counselors, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Massachusetts law. When information is shared by an individual with a confidential employee or a community professional with the same legal protections, the confidential employee cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits the disclosure of such information. For example, the information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is an imminent threat of the individual causing serious harm to self or others; (iii) if the information concerns conduct involving the suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18, which must be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family’s Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-792-5200 or (iv) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.
Clery Act Reporting
Pursuant to the Clery Act, Mount Holyoke College includes statistics about certain offenses in its daily crime log and annual security report and provides those statistics to the United States Department of Education. This is done in a manner that does not include any identifying information about persons involved in the incident.
Federal Timely Warning Obligations
Parties reporting sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking should be aware that under the Clery Act, Mount Holyoke College must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to the institution that pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. Mount Holyoke College will ensure that a reporting party’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.
Mount Holyoke encourages all College community members to promptly report all incidents of gender-based and sexual misconduct; however, the College recognizes that sometimes an individual may prefer to initially speak with someone in confidence. Accordingly, for members of the College community who do not want details of their report of gender-based or sexual misconduct to be shared with the College’s Title IX coordinator, the College offers on-campus mental health counselors, campus health service providers and religious and spiritual life professionals.
Confidential Resources on Campus
Students can make confidential reports to the Counseling Service, Health Services, and Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project. These offices have a legal mandate for confidentiality as described above. These offices are not required to turn over identifying information to the Title IX coordinator but may provide anonymous data to the Title IX coordinator to fulfill the College’s security reporting requirements of the Clery Act.
Pattie J. Groves Health Center
Students can receive counseling services free of charge, including crisis intervention and trauma recovery services during the academic year. Year-round emergency services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling the Counseling Service Care and Support Line at 413-538-2037.
Pattie J. Groves Health Center
Students can contact Health Services for medical assistance and referrals. Assistance could include connecting with a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), providing emergency contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections or other screening for predatory drugs up to 96 hours after the incident. A clinician is on call 24 hours a day during the academic year.
Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP)
Students can contact the ADAP therapist for crisis intervention and to assist in trauma recovery.
Confidential Resources Off-campus
Center for Women and Community (CWC) 24/7 Hotline
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Main number: 413-545-0800
TTY: 413-577-0940 or Mass Relay: 711
CWC is a multicultural campus-based center that offers many services to meet the needs of the diverse cultural and linguistic populations of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Five Colleges and surrounding Hampshire County community. Services include crisis counseling in individual and group settings for survivors of sexual and relationship violence.
This statewide, court-based program provides specially trained and certified advocates to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking who are seeking protection. SAFEPLAN provides services to survivors free of charge. Advocates help survivors develop personalized safety plans, obtain 209A restraining orders (also called protective orders) and 258E harassment prevention orders from the court, and accompany the survivors to protective-order hearings.
SAFEPLAN Office — Hampden County
PO Box 1099
Holyoke, MA 01040
SAFEPLAN Hampshire County
YWCA of Western Mass., Inc
One Clough Street
Springfield, MA 01108
Safe Passage offers a variety of programs designed to support survivors of domestic violence. Services include support and advocacy; individual and group counseling; advocacy related to housing, welfare, medical and educational issues; safety planning; support for children who have witnessed violence; specialized services for immigrants; and legal assistance with divorce, child custody, and other probate and family issues. Safe Passage also has a 24-hour, confidential, toll-free hotline for crisis intervention and emotional support, and an emergency shelter.
43 Center Street, Suite 304
Northampton, MA 01060
Hotlines: (voice) 413-586-5066; (TTY/TTD) 888-345-5282
Employee Responsibility to Report Disclosure of Gender-based or Sexual Misconduct
Under College policy, all faculty, staff, administrators and student employees who are not deemed confidential as described above are considered responsible reporters. Responsible reporters include, but are not limited to, all supervisors, student organization advisors, faculty advisors, coaches, Campus Police, deans and Residential Life staff, community advisors and senior community advisors.
Responsible reporters must promptly report to the Title IX coordinator when they receive information directly from a reporting party or another individual — or when they observe or obtain other information that could reasonably raise a concern that gender-based or sexual misconduct may have occurred. Students who prefer to speak first with a responsible reporter may do so, knowing that the information will be passed on to the Title IX coordinator.
No employee can offer confidentiality unless that employee’s employment function holds a legal confidentiality mandate. The College can choose to designate public awareness events such as survivor speak-outs, candlelight vigils, protests or other public forums as reporting-free spaces.
Failure of a Responsible Reporter to Report
Failure of a non-confidential employee, as described in this section, to report an incident of which they become aware is a violation of Mount Holyoke College’s policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply.
The College strongly encourages prompt reporting of conduct that may violate the Gender-based or Sexual Misconduct Policy. Individuals may report prohibited conduct to local law enforcement and/or the College. Individuals are encouraged to make a report regardless of when the incident occurred, and to seek any necessary help from campus or community services.
Time Frame for Reporting
While there is no limit on the time frame for reporting violations of this policy to the College, the College’s ability to respond may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade and the respondent may no longer be affiliated with the College. The College cannot pursue disciplinary action against an individual who is no longer affiliated with the College; however, the College will provide reasonably appropriate remedial measures, assist the reporting party in identifying external reporting options and take reasonable steps to eliminate the gender-based or sexual misconduct violations.
Emergency/Immediate Reporting Options
The first priority for any individual should be personal safety and well-being. The College encourages all individuals to make a prompt report to law enforcement and/or seek immediate medical treatment in response to an incident in order to address immediate safety concerns and allow for the preservation of evidence and an immediate investigative response. The College will help any individual get to a safe place and will provide transportation to the hospital, coordination with law enforcement, and information about the College’s resources and complaint process.
Reporting to the College
All members of the community are encouraged to immediately report potential violations of Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy directly to the Title IX coordinator or a deputy Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinators are available during business hours using the contact information listed below. Upon meeting with the Title IX coordinator or a deputy Title IX coordinator, an individual can learn about options for filing a report with the College and with law enforcement and their rights under each process, discuss immediate safety needs and the option to secure a no-contact agreement, learn information about on- and off-campus resources and supports, discuss needed interim measures, and ask any questions before choosing to disclose information or file a complaint.
Assistant Dean of Students
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (students)
Blanchard Hall, room 205
Associate Director of Athletics
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (athletics)
Kendall Sports and Dance Complex, room 112
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (athletics)
Kendall Sports and Dance Complex, room 126
Associate Dean of Faculty
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (faculty)
Mary Lyon Hall, room 106
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (staff)
Provision on Amnesty
The College recognizes that the fear of disciplinary repercussions may deter reporting or requests for help. The College provides disciplinary amnesty for victims or third-party witnesses who, in the course of seeking support services or reporting a violation of the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy, disclose personal behavior that would also be a violation of College policy or the honor code. Students who report a violation of this policy, either as a reporting party or a witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such consumption did not and does not place the health or safety of any person at risk. The College may, nevertheless, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.
This provision does not apply to repeated, flagrant, or serious violations, or violations that caused harm to another person. Amnesty does not preclude action by Public Safety and Service or other outside legal authorities.
Obligation to Provide Truthful Information
All College community members are expected to provide truthful information in any report or proceeding under this policy. Submitting a false report or providing false or misleading information in bad faith or with a view to personal gain is prohibited and subject to disciplinary sanction. This provision does not apply to reports made or information provided in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are determined not to be accurate.
The College expects all of its community members to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of gender-based or sexual misconduct. Taking action may include direct intervention, calling law enforcement or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to exercise this positive moral obligation will be supported by the College.
The College recognizes that some community members or survivors may want to report anonymously. These individuals can make a report at mtholyoke.edu/diversity-and-inclusion/bias_incidents, which gives the option to include contact information or remain anonymous. Anonymous reporting can help the College monitor campus climate and inform its training, program planning and policy development. However, it can be difficult for the College to follow up on a specific incident without knowing the names of the parties involved.
No responsible reporter can take an anonymous report, as they are required by this policy to share all information with the Title IX coordinator.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
The College encourages all members of the College community and third parties to report incidents of gender-based or sexual misconduct to law enforcement when the incident may also constitute a crime under the law of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. Individuals have the right to notify law enforcement or decline to notify law enforcement and may do so directly to the appropriate agency or through the Title IX coordinator. Reporting incidents of gender-based and sexual misconduct may help protect others from future victimization, apprehend the alleged assailant and maintain options regarding criminal prosecution.
A report to Campus Police can be filed by going directly to Public Safety and Service in person or by calling 413-538-2304 from any phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Campus police or the Title IX coordinator can help identify the appropriate law enforcement agency if the incident occurred off campus. Incidents of gender-based and sexual misconduct reported to Public Safety and Service will be shared with local law enforcement with jurisdiction.
When individuals report to Public Safety and Service, a Public Safety and Service officer will take a statement regarding what happened. Public Safety and Service can help individuals obtain immediate medical attention, connect to a sexual assault nurse examiner, or take any other actions needed to preserve evidence. Public Safety and Service can connect individuals to on-call staff needed to provide immediate mental health support or interim safety measures. Public Safety and Service can also discuss options for pursuing criminal complaints, trespass orders, restraining orders or harassment prevention orders.
Under Massachusetts law, the reporting individual may request that their identity be kept confidential in law enforcement records; however, because Campus Police are employees of the College, information about the report, including personally identifiable information, will be shared with the Title IX coordinator. Filing a police report does not obligate the reporter to participate in criminal or campus proceedings.
To the extent permitted by law, the College will assist a reporting College community member with making a report to law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if the reporting party decides to pursue law enforcement action. Proceedings under the College’s Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus. Cooperation with law enforcement agencies may require the College to temporarily suspend its own investigation while the law enforcement agency gathers evidence. The College will promptly resume its own investigation as soon as it is notified that the law enforcement agency has completed its evidence gathering process.
The College’s definitions of gender-based and sexual misconduct, and its process and standards of proof for finding a College community member responsible for gender-based or sexual misconduct, differ from those used in a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, a reporter may reasonably seek resolution through the College’s complaint process or may pursue criminal action, or both, or neither. Law enforcement’s determination whether to prosecute an individual alleged to have engaged in gender-based or sexual misconduct does not determine whether the College will conduct a Title IX investigation. However, the College may take into consideration any criminal disposition or any information shared by law enforcement in the investigation and resolution of the report of gender-based and sexual misconduct.
In addition, individuals can also make direct reports to any of the following agencies:
Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office
One Gleason Plaza
Northampton, MA 01060
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
436 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA 01103
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
Region I Boston Office 8th Floor
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Main number: 617-289-0111
Upon receiving a report of a potential violation of the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the College will implement reasonable and appropriate immediate, interim measures to provide support and guidance through the initiation, investigation and resolution of the matter. These measures will be offered to the individuals involved and to the larger College community. These measures may be both remedial (designed to address a reporting party’s safety and well-being and continued access to educational or employment opportunities) or protective (involving action against a respondent). The College will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures. These measures will be available regardless of whether a reporting party pursues a complaint or investigation under this policy.
Reporting parties seeking an interim measure should speak with the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate and coordinate such requests on behalf of the reporting party. Protective measures, which involve restricting the rights of a respondent, may require participation in an investigation. When implementing interim measures, consistent with available information to support the reasonableness of the request, the College will seek to minimize the burden on the individuals seeking intervention. These interim measures may be kept in place until the end of any investigation and/or until further notice from the College.
The College will maintain the privacy of any remedial or protective measures provided under this policy to the extent possible and will promptly address any violation of the protective measures. All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure.
Even when a reporting party or respondent does not specifically request an interim measure, the College may choose to implement such an intervention at its discretion to ensure the safety of any individual or the College community. Interim measures may be modified by the College as circumstances change or new information is available.
Examples of Interim Measures
Examples of interim measures include but are not limited to:
- A No Contact Order.
- An extension of time for assignments and/or rescheduling of an exam where possible.
- An approval for a reduced academic course load for one semester.
- A withdrawal from a course without penalty.
- A change to work schedules or job assignments where possible.
- A change of residence hall assignment or temporary removal from housing.
- Permission to live off campus.
- Assistance setting up initial appointment for counseling and/or medical services.
- A trespass order.
- Providing an escort.
- Assistance in obtaining a legal protective order or harassment prevention order.
- Arranging meetings with Public Safety and Service to discuss safety planning.
- An approval of a voluntary leave of absence.
- A temporary suspension during the investigation.
The College will consider any other remedy proposed to achieve the goal of safe access to College programs, activities and services.
The College will assist Five College students to the extent reasonably practicable and will coordinate efforts with the Title IX coordinator at the reporting party’s home institution to ensure resources and supports are provided to the reporting party. For example, the College can accompany the reporting party to a meeting with the home institution’s Title IX coordinator or to a court hearing, and can offer resources, support and remedial or protective measures available on Mount Holyoke’s campus. The College does not have the authority or ability to enforce remedial and protective measures or sanctions on other campuses. For more information on how to report to another one of the Five Colleges: fivecolleges.edu/riskmgmt/compliance1/title-ix.
In some cases, a student may choose to seek a leave of absence or a reduced course load; these actions may, in turn, affect a student’s immigration, visa and/or financial aid status. In such cases, the Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators and/or Division of Student Life staff will connect students with the applicable College department or unit so that they may obtain relevant information and assistance.
For more information, support and assistance, and the arrangement of a broad range of remedial and protective measures, contact the Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators or anyone in the Division of Student Life, located in Suite 205 of Blanchard Hall or by calling 413-538-2550. Dean of students staff members are responsible reporters and are therefore required to report information disclosed to them about the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy violations to the Title IX coordinator.
The College follows its Grievance Procedure as a mechanism to investigate and adjudicate a complaint of harassment and discrimination. The Grievance Procedure was established by the College to aid in resolving discriminatory and/or harassing behaviors, and to provide assurance that the College will take steps to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination and to correct its discriminatory effects on the target and others, as appropriate. Title IX imposes specific requirements to the adjudication procedures of a complaint of gender-based or sexual misconduct. The College will use the formal proceedings of the Grievance Procedure, with the required legal modifications, to resolve complaints of gender-based and sexual misconduct as mediation as other forms of alternative resolution may not be appropriate. Use of this procedure is not intended to impair or limit the rights of any individual to seek remedy available under state or federal law.
The following steps will be taken by the College to investigate and adjudicate a complaint of gender-based or sexual misconduct. For the purposes of this policy, the reporting party is the person who was harmed or is reporting the incident to the College and the respondent is the person who is accused of a policy violation. The reporting party and respondent will have equal opportunity to participate in the investigation process.
Statement on Time Frame to Resolve a Grievance
Complaints and reports of gender-based or sexual misconduct should be reported as soon as possible after the incident(s) in order to be most effectively investigated. The College will work efficiently and appropriately to resolve any notice of a grievance in a timely manner.
Standards of Proof
The preponderance of the evidence standard, or “more likely than not,” is used to make a determination that a violation of the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy has occurred.
Investigation and Adjudication Process
Step 1: Notice of the Complaint
The Title IX coordinator receives notice of a possible violation of the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy. This notice is given in a number of ways, including through a direct report from the reporting party, a third party, Public Safety and Service, or information shared with a responsible reporter.
Step 2: The Title IX Review
The Title IX coordinator will initiate a review to gather the details on the alleged violation, to stop any ongoing behavior, to mitigate the effects to the extent possible, and to determine any ongoing risks to the community. This review will also determine if an investigation and adjudication of a complaint is necessary.
The review process includes outreach to the reporting party or reporting party to determine what happened and the effects of the behavior. This meeting is the opportunity for the reporting party or reporting party to learn about supports available at the College, to request interim measures necessary to mitigate the effects of the behavior, and to express their preference for resolution. The Title IX coordinator will notify the reporting party of the ability to contact, or decline to contact, law enforcement if the conduct is criminal in nature and will assist them in doing so if desired. The Title IX coordinator will also discuss the availability of medical treatment to address physical and mental health concerns and to preserve evidence if applicable, discuss required actions under the Clery Act, and explain the College’s policy prohibiting retaliation. Students are welcome to bring an advisor or support person to this meeting. See Use of Outside Attorneys and Advisors, below.
Step 3: Determination of an Investigation
The Title IX coordinator, in consultation with others as necessary, will determine if an investigation of the complaint is required. The Title IX coordinator will give weight to the preferences of the reporting party. The Title IX coordinator will either close the case or move the matter to an investigation.
Individuals requesting an investigation and adjudication will be asked to submit a written complaint outlining the charge. The written complaint should include the reporting party complainant’s contact information, a full description of the behavior, the name of the respondent, a description of what efforts have been made to resolve the issue (if any), and a statement of the remedy requested.
When a Reporting Party Does Not Wish to Proceed
If a reporting party does not wish their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with federal law.
The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the College proceeds when the reporting party does not wish to do so. Note that Mount Holyoke College’s ability to remedy and respond to a reported incident may be limited if the reporting party does not want the College to proceed with an investigation and/or the resolution process. The goal is to provide the reporting party with as much control over the process as possible, while respecting the College’s obligation to protect its community.
In situations involving pattern, predation, threat, minors, weapons, and/or violence, or when the allegations involve serious or pattern student or employee misconduct, the College may be unable to fully honor a request for confidentiality and/or informal resolution.
In cases in which the reporting party requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the College to honor that request, the College will offer interim supports and remedies to the reporting party and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. If the reporting party elects to take no action, they can change that decision later if they decide to pursue a formal process at a later date. With formal reports, a reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by the College, and to have the incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.
Step 4: Notice to the Respondent
The Title IX coordinator will meet with the respondent in the matter to notify them that a complaint has been submitted and the allegation will be investigated. In this meeting, the respondent will have the opportunity to review the complaint, learn about support measures available at the College and request interim measures necessary to maintain access to the services and activities of the College. Students are welcome to bring an advisor or support person to this meeting. See Use of Outside Attorneys and Advisors, below.
Step 5: Investigation
The College will assign an investigator to review the complaint. The investigator selected will have prior training to handle Title IX investigations. The investigator will meet with the reporting party, respondent and any witnesses or other individuals identified by the reporting party and respondent. The investigator will also collect and review any other information including photos, written communication and electronic information. Both the reporting party and respondent can have a single advisor or support person for meetings with the investigator. The reporting party and respondent will also have equal access to submit materials to the investigator as well as knowledge of the date and time of witness interviews and the type of documentation submitted to the investigator.
The investigator will prepare and submit a report of findings to the Title IX coordinator.
Step 6: Review of the Report of Findings
Both the reporting party and respondent will have proctored access to review the investigation report. This review is the opportunity to see the materials the hearing officer will review to determine if a violation of the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy has occurred. The reporting party and respondent will also have the opportunity to provide any corrections to factual inaccuracies to their own statements as well as submit an impact statement to the hearing officer.
Step 7: Determination of Responsibility and Notice of Outcome
The hearing officer is a College-appointed official or body assigned to review the complaint, examine the facts presented by the parties involved, including the investigation report, determine responsibility, and if necessary impose disciplinary sanctions. The designation of the hearing officer is based upon the classification type (i.e., student, staff or faculty) of the respondent. Please note the hearing officers may differ for grievances that do not fall under the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Complaints with a student as the respondent are heard by the vice president for student life (or designee). Complaints with a faculty member as the respondent are heard by the dean of faculty (or designee). Complaints with a staff member as a respondent are heard by the vice president of their division (or designee as determined by the vice president and/or director of human resources).
The hearing officer will send written notice of outcome to the reporting party and respondent simultaneously. This notice of outcome will include findings, the sanction, the rationale for each and the time frames and process for appealing the outcome.
Right of Appeal
Both the reporting party and respondent have the right to file an appeal with the president of the College or their designee. Individuals may file an appeal based on findings, new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing, and/or sanctions. Appeals on findings are limited to claims of procedural errors only. Such an appeal must be received in writing by the Office of the President of the College within ten (10) calendar days after the date of the written notice of outcome. The appeal must include the grounds for the appeal. If either the respondent or the reporting party appeals, the president or their designee will notify the other party in writing that an appeal has been submitted, and the other party will have three (3) business days to submit a response in writing if they chose to do so.
The president’s or their designee’s decision will be rendered and notice of the decision will be sent within twenty (20) calendar days of the receipt of appeal unless there are significant extenuating circumstances. Both parties will be notified in writing if there is a need for an extension. The president or their designee can either affirm, reject or modify the decision of the hearing officer or body. This decision will be final and binding.
Use of Outside Attorneys and Advisors
Any individual participating in the grievance process or investigation of a report of gender-based or sexual misconduct may be accompanied by one advisor of their choosing to all meetings and interviews connected to an investigation as long as the advisor is eligible and available. While it is not advisable to choose as an advisor someone who is also a witness in the process, should a party decide to do so, the potential for bias and conflict-of-interest of the witness can and will be explored by the Hearing Officer.
The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other individual a party chooses to advise and consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity and in good faith. Mount Holyoke College cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the College is not obligated to provide an attorney.
All advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not address campus officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the investigators or other decision-makers.
The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf throughout the investigation. While the advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or quietly by passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks to step out of meetings to allow for private consultation.
Advisors may be given an opportunity to meet with the administrative officials conducting interviews/meetings in advance of these interviews or meetings. This pre-meeting allows advisors to clarify any questions they may have, and allows Mount Holyoke College an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take. Advisors will not be given information in advance that would not otherwise be provided to the parties under this process.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the College’s investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present.
Mount Holyoke College expects that the parties may wish to have the College share documentation and evidentiary information related to the allegations with their advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their advisor, or other individuals if they wish. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process. The College also provides a consent form that authorizes the College to share such information directly with the advisor. The parties must either complete this form or provide similar documentation consenting to a release of information to the advisor before the College is able to share records with an advisor.
Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the College. The College may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the Mount Holyoke College’s privacy expectations.
The College expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend College meetings when planned. The College does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The College will, however, make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.
A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not obligated to use the same advisor throughout. The parties are expected to inform the investigators of the identity of their advisor at least one (1) day before the date of their first meeting with investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The parties are expected to provide timely notice to investigators if they change advisors at any time.
List of Possible Outcomes
The outcome(s) for a person found responsible for a violation of this policy depends on the severity of the behavior and specific rights and privileges of the respondent. Sanctions may include one or more of the following:
- Required education task or training.
- A written warning or directive placed in the respondent’s discipline file, including remedial action.
- Housing reassignment.
- Removal from campus housing.
- Job reassignment.
- Workplace location/office reassignment.
- Loss of building access or campus privilege.
- Mandatory withdrawal from a course(s).
- Behavioral suspension.
- Mandatory withdrawal from the College.
- Employment termination.
- A no-trespass order.
- Other outcomes as deemed appropriate by the hearing officer.
- Student Handbook 2019–2020
- Student Handbook 2018–2019
- Student Handbook 2017-2018
- Student Handbook Spring 2017
- Student Handbook Fall 2016
- Student Handbook 2015-2016
- Student Handbook 2014-2015
- Student Handbook 2010-2014
Handbooks prior to the 2010/2011 Academic Year are available for review at Archives and Special Collections.