The Community Standards Process
The College community standards process is not intended to be legalistic or punitive but rather a system that is educative and restorative. The community standards process should help the student or student group gain a better understanding of College policies and procedures, and established community standards. The College community standards process is very different from the criminal justice system. Differences include the level of proof required, the format, the adjudicator and the use of attorneys. The College community standards process is not designed to address innocence or guilt or concepts of right or wrong. The College community standards process evaluates behavior to determine if a student and or student group is responsible or not responsible for violating established policy, procedure or the honor code.
- The Vice President of Student Life/Dean of Students, or designee, oversees the community standards process, is authorized to enforce the Student Handbook and may appoint hearing and appeals officers. The Vice President of Student Life/Dean of Students, or designee, is responsible for periodic review and update of the Student Handbook.
- The Honor Code and Community Responsibility applies to student conduct that occurs at Mount Holyoke College and its properties, at the other four colleges within the Five College consortium (Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College and UMass Amherst, or any event sponsored by any of these institutions.
- The College reserves the right to take action based on any student conduct, regardless of location.
- The Honor Code applies to behavior that occurs online, via email, and through any other electronic or social media. Students should be aware that online postings are in the public sphere and can subject a student to allegations of Honor Code violations. The College may take action when such information is brought to it’s attention.
- For the purposes of the community standards process, the College considers an individual to be a student when they are accepted or enrolled in a College course or program. Each student shall be responsible for their personal conduct from the time of admission through the awarding of a degree.
- The Honor Code and Community Responsibility applies whether or not the College is in session.
- If a student takes a leave of absence or withdraws, the College reserves the right to initiate and/or resolve any pending community standards matters.
- In the event of alleged violation(s) committed while still enrolled, but reported after a student has graduated, the College reserves the right to initiate a community standards process. If the former student is found responsible, the College may trespass the individual from campus, revoke the student’s degree and/or impose other outcomes.
- The College reserves the right to pursue matters through the community standards process that may also be addressed in the civil or criminal legal system. Proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings.
- The College expectations are set forth to give students general notice and examples of prohibited conduct. The descriptions should be read broadly and are not intended to define expectations or misconduct in exhaustive terms.
- The Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students, or designee, may vary procedures with notice upon determining that a law or regulation requires policy or procedural alternations not reflected in the Honor Code.
- The Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students, or designee, may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially affect the integrity of the community standards process.
- Any question of interpretation of the Honor Code will be referred to the Vice President of Student Life & Dean of Students, or designee, whose interpretation is final.
Rights & Responsibilities
- Any student can have an advisor present during an administrative hearing or Honor Code Council Hearing. The advisor does not address the administrator or the panel during the hearing, nor do they speak on behalf of the student. Advisors may assist the student in preparing for an administrative hearing and provide support through the process. Advisors are not present to act as legal counsel, but to assist and support the student on procedural matters.
- Any student with a disability who is involved in the community standards process has the right to request reasonable accommodation(s) in order to ensure their full and equal participation.
- Students wishing to request reasonable accommodations should submit those requests to the hearing administrator.
- Accommodations are determined and implemented on an individual basis by the Disability Services Office Staff and/or the hearing administrator.