Filing a Complaint
Any community member who suspects a violation of the academic honor code should promptly submit a report to the Academic Honor Board. Reports should contain a complete description of the incident and the identity of the alleged violator(s). Supporting material, if available, should be submitted to the dean of studies.
B. Notification of Charges
- The AHB will provide a written notification to the student accused of violating the academic honor code (hereafter the “respondent”). The notification will specify the alleged violation and the identity of the person filing the complaint (hereafter the “complainant”). The student must respond in writing to the charge within the time frame given in the notification.
- The College’s primary means of communicating with students is through their Mount Holyoke email accounts; students are responsible for reading and responding to all official emails sent by the College.
C. Investigation of Charges
- The AHB will review the complaint and any supporting material within two weeks and determine if sufficient grounds exist for adjudication.
- If the board determines there is insufficient evidence, the charges will be dismissed and the complainant and respondent will be so notified.
- If the board determines there is sufficient evidence, the dean of studies will communicate with the complainant and the respondent and proceed as follows:
- If the respondent accepts responsibility for the alleged violation and it is a first violation, the AHB will offer the option of an individual meeting with the dean of studies or a hearing before the full AHB to finalize adjudication.
- If the respondent denies the alleged violation or if it is a repeat violation, the dean of studies will schedule a hearing with the full AHB.
D. Procedure During the Hearing
- Hearings require the presence of the dean of studies, who serves as chair, at least two other members of the AHB, and the respondent. The respondent may request the presence of the appropriate class dean or academic advisor, but this person may speak only with the respondent during the hearing. Additionally, the AHB may require the complainant and/or additional witnesses to appear at the hearing.
- The chair will summarize the alleged academic honor code violation.
- The respondent will respond to the allegations.
- The complainant and/or witnesses (if present) will offer their account of the incident.
- The respondent may offer a rebuttal to the statements of the complainant and/or witnesses.
- AHB members may question the respondent, the complainant and/or any witnesses.
- The complainant and/or witnesses will have the opportunity to make final statements.
- The respondent will have the opportunity to make a final statement.
E. Resolution of Complaints
- The AHB shall meet in closed session immediately after the end of the hearing to deliberate and render its decision.
- The dean of studies shall communicate the AHB’s decision in writing to both the respondent and the complainant. The decision shall be communicated within two business days from the conclusion of the hearing.
- The AHB will resolve the complaint in one of the following three ways:
- No violation — A decision that the respondent did not violate the honor code.
- Warning — A decision that the preponderance of evidence does not clearly confirm a violation but the facts of the case raise sufficient concern.
- Violation — A decision that the accused student did violate the honor code as charged and is subject to sanctions.
- Violations of the academic honor code are among the most serious offenses that a student may commit at Mount Holyoke College. The AHB shall invoke penalties at its discretion, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the College. The number and nature of violations shall be taken into account in the deliberations of the AHB.
- If a complaint filed with the AHB involves a student’s work is associated with a course, the student may not take any action(s), for example, withdraw from a course or elect the ungraded option, until the complaint is fully adjudicated.
- For first violations: The AHB will consult with the faculty member in whose class the violation occurred concerning the choice of sanction, but the final decision as to which option is selected rests with the faculty member. The AHB will recommend one of the following sanctions depending on the nature and level of the first violation:
- An F (failing grade) for the specific exam, paper or other assignment; the student may elect to withdraw from the course by the appropriate deadline, and thus lose credit for the course.
- Expulsion from the course with a W (withdrawal) recorded on the student’s transcript.
- Expulsion from the course with an F (failing grade) recorded on the student’s transcript.
- For subsequent violations: The AHB will consult with the faculty member in whose class the most recent violation occurred, but the final decision regarding sanctions rests with the AHB. The sanctions that the AHB may impose include:
- An F (failing grade) in the course with no opportunity to withdraw from the course or to elect the ungraded option.
- Suspension from the College.
- Required withdrawal from the College.
- If a complaint submitted involves behavior that is not related to a student’s work in a course (e.g., marking, defacing or destroying library materials), the AHB will render the final decision and impose sanctions, if appropriate.
- Appeals of AHB decisions must be addressed in writing to the Office of the Dean of Faculty within three business days of the issuance of the AHB decision.
- The letter must state one or both of the following grounds for the appeal:
- Violation of fair process.
- Availability of new evidence not presented at the hearing.
- Sanctions imposed by the AHB will not be implemented until after the appeal is resolved.
- The Office of the Dean of Faculty will notify the student in writing of the outcome of the appeal. If the appeal is denied, the sanctions imposed by the AHB will be implemented, and the College will consider the case closed.