General College Policies

  1. Harassment
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Political Activities

Individual Rights and Community Responsibility

The Mission of the College

Mount Holyoke’s mission is to provide an intellectually adventurous education in the liberal arts and sciences through academic programs recognized internationally for their excellence and range; to draw students from all backgrounds into an exceptionally diverse and inclusive learning community with a highly accomplished, committed, and responsive faculty and staff; to continue building on the College’s historic legacy of leadership in the education of women; and to prepare students, through a liberal education integrating curriculum and careers, for lives of thoughtful, effective, and purposeful engagement in the world.

The Mount Holyoke Community

Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the college community.  The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned discourse.  The citizen’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly, and orderly protest extend to every member of the College.  So do the citizen’s responsibility to uphold the law and the civilized person’s obligation to respect the rights and feelings of others.

Our goal must be to build a community of students, faculty, and staff devoted to intellectual and creative freedom, critical inquiry, personal honor, ethical discernment, and responsibility. We must encourage openness and candor, dialogue and debate, and the creative engagement of all constituencies in building a genuine community.

A College does not become a community by so naming itself. Community is a dynamic condition, difficult and necessary to achieve, reached by active synthesis, by the consensus of free wills and free intelligences agreeing to pursue objectives in common, in an atmosphere of general sympathy, forbearance, respect, and trust. When such conditions prevail, there should be little occasion for coercion or violence, or for punitive response, and the very occurrence of such action will suggest that the community has failed, at least for the time, to achieve its common purposes. Ultimately, the quality of life in the College is the property of the conscience of all its members. 

Harassment Generally

Mount Holyoke College seeks to maintain free expression while protecting members of its community from harassment--including but not limited to harassment on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.  Such harassment that targets an identifiable individual or group is clearly in conflict with the interests of the College as an educational community and may be in conflict with provisions of the law.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual harassment is explicitly prohibited by College policy and by federal and state law.

Sexual harassment of students includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the provision of the College’s educational benefits, privileges or services or as a basis for the evaluation of academic achievement; or
  2. such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive academic or educational environment. [Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C]

Sexual harassment in employment is a form of illegal sex discrimination and is defined as:  unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment,
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive working environment. [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and parallel Massachusetts law]

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment may follow the procedures outlined under Resolution of Grievances.  In addition, individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment may file a complaint with either or both of the following government agencies: 

  1. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 1 Congress Street, 10th Floor, Boston MA 02114, 617-565-3200, and/or
  2. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), 424 Dwight Street, Room 220, Springfield MA 01103, -413-739-2145 or One Ashburton Place, Room 601, Boston MA 02108, 617-727-3990.

    EEOC and MCAD complaints must be filed within 180 days and six months, respectively, of the alleged harassment.

Political Activities