12.0. Introduction

In all instances when a complaint is filed against a student for violating community standards set forth in this Student Code of Conduct the Community Standards Adjudication Process (CSAP) or the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process (SMAP) (see Section 13) will be used to investigate and resolve conflicts.

All communications and notices required by these procedures may be made electronically, in hard copy, or in person. Conflict Resolution Processes will primarily be communicated to students through their official College e-mail address. Students are expected to check their official College e-mail on a regular basis.

At all times, the privacy of the parties will be respected and safeguarded, with records maintained in accordance with Section 19, Student Records.

Any question of interpretation regarding the Student Code of Conduct will be referred to the Dean of Students or designee for final determination.

The Director of Community Standards, the Dean of Students, or designee may extend any deadline associated with the CSAP.

12.1. Terms in the Community Standards Adjudication Process

Note: These terms in Section 12.1 apply to Section 12 of this code. Some terms also exist in Section 13, but may be defined differently as required by policy and law.

Advisor: Any person from the Amherst College community (current faculty, staff, administrators, or students) can serve as an Advisor to the Complainant or the Respondent. Advisors may be present with their respective party during the hearing and at related meetings outside the hearing. Advisors do not address the Community Standards Review Board, nor do they speak on behalf of their party. Advisors may assist their party in preparing for the case and provide support throughout the process, from the initiation of a complaint through resolution. Advisors are present not to act as legal counsel, but to assist and support their party and to give advice to their party on procedural matters. In the Community Standards Adjudication Process and Advisor may not be a privately-retained attorney (this restriction does not exist in the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process) (see Section 12.11.3).

Alternative Attendance: A Complainant or Respondent may request participation in a hearing by suitable means that would not require physical proximity to the other. This can include, but is not limited to, partitioning a hearing room or using technology to facilitate participation. The Dean of Students or designee may also allow for witnesses to appear through technological means rather than in person attendance. All requests to participate in the hearing other than in person must be submitted in advance of the hearing to the Dean of Students or designee (see Section 12.11.7).

Business Days: All days, except Saturdays and Sundays, not listed as holidays by the Office of Human Resources. Floating holidays and religious holidays not designated as holidays by the College are considered business days. College holidays during the 2017-18 academic year are: Labor Day (September 4, 2017), Thanksgiving (November 22-24, 2017), Christmas (December 25, 2017), New Year’s Day (January 1, 2018), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15, 2018), and Memorial Day (May 28, 2018).

Calendar Days: All days on the calendar, including weekends, holidays, recesses, class days, and business days.

Class Days: Days on which the College Calendar indicates that classes are in session. Final exam periods and, for imminent graduates, the period between final exams and the date of degree conferral are considered class days. College holidays or other closures during which classes are suspended and recesses are excluded from class days. https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/college-catalog/1617?mmtid=489858

Community Standards Meeting (CSM): An informal discussion between one or more students and an employee of the College that addresses community standards. A CSM is not an adjudication, and no sanctions result. Records of CSMs are retained in accordance with Section 19, Student Records, and may be consulted in future CSMs or adjudications.

Community Standards Review Board (CSRB): The CSRB is the College’s adjudication board for allegations of intellectual responsibility violations and for other violations that do not relate to the College Sexual Misconduct Policy. Comprised of a pool of students and faculty, a panel of the CSRB will be convened if a Respondent does not accept responsibility and (1) wishes to be heard before a panel (instead of a single adjudicator) or (2) if a Respondent’s responsibility determination suggests a sanction that is potentially in excess of one semester of suspension.

Complaint: This document initiates the Community Standards Adjudication Process between a known, willing Complainant and a known, student Respondent. Section 12.4.5 describes the conversion of a report into a complaint.

Complainant: An aggrieved person of known identity who willingly seeks the adjudication of an Amherst College student in the Community Standards Adjudication Process or an official or agent of the College who is filing a complaint on behalf of the College.

Designees: All references to the Dean of Students and the Director of Community Standards in the Community Standards Adjudication Process include the dean or their designee. Each constituency in the College has access to a particular procedure for resolving violations of the Student Code of Conduct or other forms of adjudication. All alleged violations by students of the Student Code of Conduct fall within the jurisdiction of the Dean of Students, the Director of Community Standards and Student Affairs administrators to whom the director delegates cases, the Community Standards Review Board, or the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board.

Harassment: The creation of an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. Note: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts definition of harassment differs, and is not operative in a Community Standards Adjudication Process.

Honor Code: The Honor Code, represented in this document in Section 1, and authored by the College Council, is our core values language that authorizes the creation and stewardship of specific community standards and procedures that adjudicate alleged violations of those standards.

Institutional Action: A sanction issued to a student by the Community Standards Adjudication Process or the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process that separates a student from the College by suspension or expulsion, or a decision issued by the Committee on Academic Standing that separates a student from the College by dismissal (see Section 14, College Sanctions).

Interim and Emergency Measures: Prior to or during any formal or informal conflict resolution process the Dean of Students, Director of Community Standards, or designee may assign interim and emergency measures or restrictions  when it is believed that a student’s continued presence on campus, or in certain locations on campus, may endanger the physical safety or emotional state of others or may disrupt the educational process.

Such measures include, but are not limited to: no-communication and limited proximity orders, academic modifications, housing assignment modifications as appropriate and when reasonably available, and the removal of a student from campus (see Section 12.8, Interim and Emergency Measures).

No-Communication and Restricted Proximity Order (NCRPO): The purpose of this College-issued order is to eliminate direct contact and reduce chance encounters between parties in conflict. Simultaneously, this document is intended to provide sufficient structure and strategies for both parties to navigate their campus as regularly as possible. The NCRPO may or may not be the result of a College adjudication process and, therefore, may or may not be considered a sanction (see Section 12.8, Interim and Emergency Measures).

Official or Agent of the College: Any Amherst College employee or student designated by an employee while serving in a role or function in support of a College program. For example, Resident Counselors and Orientation leaders are agents of the College when engaging in activities directly related to those roles’ responsibilities.

Report: A written disclosure by an identified or unidentified person about other identified or unidentified persons. A report does not automatically initiate an adjudication process (see definition of Complaint in this section). Reports may be made at www.amherst.edu/go/reporting

Respondent: An Amherst College student about whose behavior a complaint has been filed for adjudication in the Community Standards Adjudication Process.

Sanction: A status change, restriction, or requirement assessed by the Community Standards Review Board or a Student Affairs administrator as the result of a finding made by the Community Standards Adjudication Process in which the Respondent accepts responsibility (or is determined to be responsible) for one or more allegations of a community standards violation. Section 14, College Sanctions, describes common sanctions in detail.

Student: Any person who matriculated at the College and is pursuing a degree from the College and any person who is not officially enrolled for a particular semester, but who has a continuing academic relationship with the College. Student status terminates when a person who has not yet had a degree conferred by Amherst College matriculates at another institution of higher education, on the date when the Amherst College faculty votes to confer a degree to a person, or upon the date of the expulsion of a person as the result of a College adjudication process.

12.2. Jurisdiction

Amherst students have a responsibility to adhere to local, state and federal laws while on campus or off campus. The College cannot protect Amherst students from the consequences of violations of local, state, or federal law.

Amherst students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct whether they are on campus or off campus.

Amherst College has joined with Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts to form the Five Colleges. Amherst College students, when studying or visiting on the campus of one of the Five Colleges, will be subject, in addition to the standards set forth in this Code, to the regulations and procedures of that institution. Students will also be subject to the regulations and procedures set forth in domestic or international study abroad programs.

The College reserves the right to initiate or carry out its own adjudication proceedings, regardless of the prospect or the pendency of civil or criminal proceedings, against a student accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct, even if legal sanctions have already been incurred and whether or not the Respondent participates in the College proceedings. A Respondent who is also facing a criminal charge or the possibility of a criminal charge is advised to seek legal counsel at the student’s expense before participating in any College proceedings.

Students who withdraw from the College in order to defend themselves in off-campus civil or criminal proceedings arising from events which are also the subject of a complaint being heard by an Administrative Adjudicator, the Community Standards Review Board, or the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will not be allowed to re-enroll, pending the outcome of College adjudication proceedings.

Students who withdraw from the College after a complaint has been filed for an alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct, but before the complaint has been resolved in accordance with a College adjudication process, will be allowed to re-enroll only at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee.

12.3. Resources

When a report is filed against a student for violation of the Student Code of Conduct or when a student is considering the initiation of an adjudication process, the student may turn for consultation or advice to one or more of the following individuals and College support systems: Dean of Students; Director of Community Standards; Class Deans; staff of the College Health Center; Health Education or Counseling Center; Amherst College Police; Title IX Coordinator; Title IX Deputy Coordinators or a member of the Title IX team; Faculty; Assistant Directors of Residential Life; Resident Counselors; and Peer Advocates. See Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, or a more comprehensive list of resources for cases involving sexual misconduct.

Students considering the initiation of a complaint against a member of the faculty or the administration or a member of the College staff may consult with, in addition to those enumerated above, the Dean of the Faculty or Director of Human Resources,  respectively. Students considering the initiation of criminal charges against another student may consult with Amherst College Police, the Town of Amherst Police or the office of the Hampshire County District Attorney, in addition to those potential resources listed above.

12.4. Submitting Reports and the Initiation of Formal and Informal

Conflict Resolution

Both formal and informal conflict resolution opportunities exist in support of the Amherst College community. Amherst College students may be reported for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Most reports do not initiate formal conflict resolutions (adjudications), but instead serve to provide opportunity for individual and community discussions about interdependent living. A person may file a report at www.amherst.edu/go/reporting

12.4.1. Eligible Reporters and Complainants

Any person is eligible and encouraged to report concerning behavior of a student to the College. Any member of Amherst College, including students, faculty, administrators, staff members, (especially Amherst College Police Officers), or members of one of the constituent institutions of the Five Colleges, may elect to serve as a Complainant in the CSAP.

12.4.2. Report Contents

The report should contain sufficient information to permit the Respondent to understand the charges being brought so as to be able to adequately respond.

12.4.3. Reporting to other Agencies in Concert with College Reports

Persons who consider submitting a report about an alleged a violation that could also be considered a felony under the law are urged to discuss the possibility of filing criminal charges through Amherst College Police, the Town of Amherst Police, or the Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office.

12.4.4. Timing of Reports

It is in the interest of the College community that violations of the Student Code of Conduct be handled expeditiously. Any report should be submitted within 90 days after the alleged violation of the code occurs, or sooner if reasonably possible. However, in recognition that persons may have valid reasons that would inhibit or delay the initiation of a report, the Director of Community Standards may extend the period for submitting a report well beyond the normative 90-day framework. Examples of valid motives range from difficulties related to the calendar and absence from campus to possible impacts relating to allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment. However, in order for any report to be accepted, the Respondent must be a student at the time the report is made.

12.4.5. Report Analysis (report may convert to complaint)

A report is an account of concerning or problematic behavior of an Amherst College student. A report may convert to a complaint if the following are true:

  • The report names an alleged respondent(s) and
  • The report includes the name of the reporter or the College receives an anonymous report and exercises its discretion in Section 12.4.1 to initiate a complaint based on received information and
  • The report identifies behavior that is prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct and
  • The reporter wishes to formally adjudicate the alleged violations as a Complainant or
  • The Director of Community Standards or designee assumes the role of Complainant on behalf of the College or the aggrieved party.

The reporter should expect to meet in-person with the Director of Community Standards or designee to clarify the report and intentions regarding formal or informal resolution options.

12.4.6. Report Response and Retention

Reports that do not convert to complaints will be retained by the College but will not initiate any formal adjudication. Reported students may be required to consult informally with an administrator (see Community Standards Meeting in Section 12.1). No sanctions can be issued without a responsibility determination derived from a formal adjudication process.

12.5. Mediation (informal conflict resolution)

In cases where parties to a dispute wish to settle their differences through mediation as an alternative to initiating a formal proceeding (via a complaint) with the Director of Community Standards, and when the Director of Community Standards or designee concurs with this course of action, mediation may be attempted to resolve disputes. A report is required to initiate a mediation, but it is not necessary for the reporter to convert the report to a complaint.

The agreed-upon terms of a mediation will be recorded in a statement, which must be signed by the parties and the mediator(s). If a mediation comes to an impasse, the matter will revert to the Director of Community Standards or designee, who will then be guided by the options specified in Section 12.4.5, Converting a Report to a Complaint.

The rules of privacy that apply to all proceedings under the code apply equally to mediated negotiations and resolutions. Students electing to resolve conflicts through mediation should seek guidance from the Director of Community Standards, Title IX Coordinators, or a member of the Title IX teams, and/or other appropriate officers of the College and parties listed in Section 12.3, Resources.

12.6. Initiation of the Community Standards Adjudication Process via a Complaint (formal conflict resolution)

Upon receipt of a report and when the criteria in Section 12.4.5, Converting a Report to a Complaint are satisfied, the Director of Community Standards or designee will contact the reported person(s), now known as the Respondent(s) for an in-person meeting. If an in-person meeting is not possible alternative attendance by way of phone or video may be possible. If a Respondent fails to meet or cooperate with theDirector of Community Standards or designee the adjudication of the complaint will nonetheless proceed in accordance with the procedures in this section.

12.6.1. Conveyance Complaint and Response

The Director of Community Standards or designee will convey the complaint to the Respondent and will direct the Respondent to submit a written response within 3 business days of receipt of the complaint. The Respondent’s written response will in turn be conveyed to the Complainant. The Complainant and Respondent may work with an Advisor on preparing these documents (see Section 12.11.3 for more information about Advisors).

12.6.2. Inquiry Phase

The Director of Community Standards or designee will conduct an inquiry (in support of the Determination Phase) into all reports or complaints made in good faith. In the course of an inquiry, the Director of Community Standards or designee will usually interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and any other person whose testimony may be useful to the process of determining the merit of the complaint, including witnesses identified by the Complainant and Respondent. All relevant materials and evidence, including a list of witnesses, should be shared with the Director of Community Standards or designee immediately upon submission of the complaint or response.

12.6.3. Determination Phase

Usually, within 10 business days of the receipt of a complaint, the Director of Community Standards or designee will make one of the determinations listed below. This timeline may be extended for extenuating circumstances, such as case complexity or party or witness unavailability.

12.6.3.1. No Merit

There is no merit to the report or complaint, in which event the complaint will be dismissed, the determination will be noted, and the College will take no further action.

12.6.3.2. No Violation

There is no dispute about the material facts of the case, but the act or acts committed by the Respondent do not represent a violation of the code. The report or complaint will be dismissed and no formal action is warranted by the Director of Community Standards or designee.

12.6.3.3. Acceptance of Responsibility for Charges in a Complaint

If a complaint has merit, and the Respondent accepts responsibility for all charges, a finding is warranted that the Respondent has violated the code. Guided by Section 14, College Sanctions, the Director of Community Standards or designee, usually within 20 business days following receipt of the complaint, will assess appropriate sanctions, which may include any  of the sanctions listed in Section 14, College Sanctions, except expulsion and suspension in excess of one semester (see Section 12.6.3.5, Potential for Significant Sanction).

The Director of Community Standards or designee will notify the Complainant and the Respondent of the determination, when appropriate, in consideration of privacy laws. Any sanctions resulting from this determination may be appealed by the Respondent to the Chief Student Affairs Officer (or to the Dean of the Faculty if the allegation is related to intellectual responsibility) within 10 business days of receipt of the director’s/ designee’s determination.

12.6.3.4. Denial of Responsibility for One or More Charges in a Complaint

If a complaint appears to have merit, but the Respondent declines to accept responsibility for at least one of the listed charges, the case will be (1) referred by the Director of Community Standards or designee to the Community Standards Review Board for adjudication or (2) adjudicated by the director or designee if the Respondent prefers an Administrative Adjudicator, barring exceptions listed in Sections 12.6.3.5, 12.6.3.6, or 12.6.3.7 below.

12.6.3.5. Potential for Significant Sanction

The complaint has merit, and, whether or not the Respondent accepts responsibility, a finding that the Respondent has violated the code could result in a sanction exceeding one semester of suspension from the College. Therefore the case will be referred by the Director of Community Standards to the Community Standards Review Board for adjudication (responsibility determination if responsibility is denied) or the assignment of sanctions (sanction hearing if responsibility is accepted).

12.6.3.6. Exceptional Circumstances

The complaint, which the Director of Community Standards considers to involve exceptional circumstances, will be referred to the Community Standards Review Board for adjudication. Exceptional circumstances may include allegations for which there is little or no adjudicative precedent or one in which the nature or complexity is uncommon.

12.6.3.7. Intellectual Responsibility Procedure

The complaint alleges a violation of the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility (see also Section 2.4), and it will be processed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 12.7, Alleged Violations of Intellectual Responsibility.

12.7. Alleged Violations of Intellectual Responsibility

Since grading is the province of the instructor of any course, the possibility of assigning a course penalty necessarily involves the instructor in the process of deciding consequences in cases of demonstrated violations of intellectual responsibility. The code allows for two methods of handling such cases, depending on the circumstances of the case:

12.7.1. Student Accepts Responsibility for Allegation

An instructor who encounters a clearly demonstrated infraction—that is, in which there is unambiguous and conclusive evidence of plagiarism or cheating— will usually speak to the student (if appropriate) and ascertain the circumstances of the incident.

12.7.1.1. If the instructor is able to communicate with the student and the student corroborates the facts and accepts responsibility for violating Section 1.1, Statement of Intellectual Responsibility (see also Section 2.4), the instructor will report the matter to the Director of Community Standards.

12.7.1.2. If the instructor does not communicate with the student, the instructor will refer the matter to the Director of Community Standards for appropriate response.

In either circumstance the student can expect to meet with the Director of Community Standards to discuss the incident, arrive at resolution (if required), and address the incident’s impact on the student’s College tenure and potential impact on future opportunities.

In the case of a first offense, the Director of Community Standards, after consultation with the instructor, will issue an appropriate non-grade sanction (see Section 14, College Sanctions), and will keep a record of the infraction and its resolution in a confidential student file. If the student has a previous infraction, the Director of Community Standards may assign a new, escalated sanction, or will refer the new case to the Community Standards Review Board for resolution, since the offense may warrant a consequence that exceeds a one-semester suspension (see Section 12.6.3.5, Potential for Significant Sanction).

12.7.2. Student Denies Responsibility for Allegation

In cases in which an instructor suspects that a student may have committed a violation of intellectual responsibility, the instructor will discuss the concern with the student if possible. If after the discussion the instructor maintains their suspicion, the instructor will report the case to the Director of Community Standards. In such instances, since the instructor and the student may disagree on the facts of the case—that is, on whether a violation of intellectual responsibility occurred—the Director of Community Standards will send the case to the Community Standards Review Board (CSRB). In all cases in which the CSRB finds a student responsible for a violation of intellectual responsibility, the CSRB will determine all sanctions except for course consequences, which are assigned at the discretion of the instructor. The recommended sanction for a first-time violation of intellectual responsibility, whether or not it is adjudicated by the CSRB, is failure in the course and some period of disciplinary probation.

All faculty members are strongly encouraged to discuss suspected violations of intellectual responsibility with the Director of Community Standards. Faculty and the Office of Student Affairs partner to address students’ understanding of the  consequences of their choices. Faculty members are also encouraged to discuss these procedures with the Director of Community Standards if they have any questions about them.

In cases adjudicated before the CSRB, a faculty member may request the Dean of Students or designee to appoint an administrator to serve as the Complainant on the faculty member’s behalf. In such instances, the faculty member must appear as a witness at the hearing.

12.8. Interim and Emergency Measures

Prior to or during any formal or informal conflict resolution process the Dean of Students, Director of Community Standards, or designee may enact interim and emergency measures or restrictions when it is believed that a student’s continued presence on campus, or in certain locations on campus, may endanger the physical safety or emotional state of others or may disrupt the educational process.

Such measures include, but are not limited to: no-communication and limited proximity orders, academic modifications, housing assignment modifications as appropriate and when reasonably available, the temporary removal of a student from campus, or the prevention of a student from returning to campus from a leave until specific threat, medical, or other assessment affirms the student’s fitness to return and the Dean of Students or designee authorizes the return.

Only the Dean of Students, Chief Student Affairs Officer, or designee may authorize a removal from campus. Such removals may include geographic restrictions as well as an interruption in a student’s academic or co-curricular schedule associated with College-sponsored opportunities.

If a removal exceeds 3 class days, the Dean of Students or designee, who will act as the Complainant, must bring a complaint against the student before the Community Standards Review Board within 14 calendar days of the initial removal from campus, or as soon after as possible if extenuating circumstances exist. If the case falls at the end of the term, the case may be adjudicated at the start of the following term (see Section 12.10.2, Ad Hoc Panels).

12.9. Complaints on Behalf of the College

As set out in Section 12.2, Jurisdiction of this code, or if otherwise in the interest of the College, the Director of Community Standards or designee may initiate a complaint, adjudicate the complaint and assign sanctions, or refer it to the Community Standards Review Board for adjudication if necessary, consistent with the procedures resulting from Section 12.6. The Complainant will not also serve as the adjudicator.

12.10. Adjudication before a Panel of the Community Standards Review Board (CSRB)

Panels of the CSRB hear cases referred to it by the Office of Student Affairs that require responsibility and/or sanction determinations.

12.10.1. Composition of the CSRB

The CSRB is a pool comprised of Amherst College community members only—faculty, students, and staff. When a panel is convened, the Dean of Students or designee serves as a nonvoting Chairperson. The dean is joined by 5 voting panel members, 3 of whom are students, and 2 of whom are faculty. Section 12.10.2, Ad Hoc Panels, authorizes the Dean of Students or designee to convene ad hoc panels as necessary.

12.10.1.1. Faculty

The faculty members of the Community Standards Review Board will be elected during a meeting of the faculty after nomination by the Committee of Six or after nomination from the floor. They will normally serve 3-year terms, and their terms, when possible, will be staggered so as to maintain continuity from year to year.

12.10.1.2. Students

Student members of the Community Standards Review Board will be chosen by one of two mechanisms, election or appointment by the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) or selection by the Office of Student Affairs.

12.10.1.2.1. Association of Amherst Students Election/Appointment

In an election conducted by the middle of the second semester of each academic year. The Association of Amherst Students (AAS) will oversee the following procedures:

1. The election will be conducted according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Elections. The 4 candidates, with no more than two of the 4 candidates representing the same gender identity, who receive the highest number of votes will be elected. If this procedure cannot be followed because of an insufficient number of candidates, then the College Council will appoint a student to any position unfilled by election.

2. If one of the elected students resigns, the AAS will appoint an alternate, and the alternate will be of the same gender identity as the student who resigned when possible. In the event elected students are not available, and substitutes are required to maintain the quorum for a case, a substitute will normally be appointed by the Chairperson of the College Council. Student members will begin their two-year term on July 1 of the year of their election.

12.10.1.2.2. Office of Student Affairs Selection

A campus-wide inclusion-focused application process will be held during each fall semester. Selected students will be welcomed to the CSRB in the following spring semester. All currently enrolled students studying on the Amherst College campus, who will also be enrolled and studying on the Amherst College campus for at least one semester in the academic year  that follows their application, will be eligible to apply. The term of membership of students selected in this process will be 2 years.

12.10.2. Ad Hoc Panels

Section 12.10 describes procedures for assembling panels derived from the membership pool of the CSRB. The CSRB is active only when classes are in session; there are no regularly scheduled hearings during final examinations or recesses. Occasionally, however, circumstances induce a Complainant or Respondent to desire an expedited resolution during a period when the CSRB is inactive. In these circumstances, the Dean of Students is authorized to provide voluntary, alternative mechanisms for conflict resolution, including the assemblage of ad-hoc panels, provided both parties to the conflict consent to the voluntary alternative. Ad hoc panels may be comprised of Amherst College students or faculty, whether they are derived from the CSRB or not. Panel compositions as described in Section 12.10 may be adjusted at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee. Ad hoc panel members will be familiarized with relevant policies and procedures prior to their service.

12.11. Preparation for a Hearing

Prior to a hearing before the Community Standards Review Board (CSRB), the Director of Community Standards will provide the opportunity to acquaint the Respondent and Complainant and their respective Advisors with the procedures followed by the Community Standards Review Board and will also inform them of the opportunities to which parties are entitled under these procedures. These opportunities, apply to both parties unless otherwise stated. They include:

12.11.1. The opportunity to participate in a fair and unbiased hearing.

12.11.2. The opportunity to receive a written statement of the complaint and response (respectively), a copy of the procedures of the CSRB, notice of the time and location of the hearing, a list of the members of the Board who will hear the case and the name of the Chairperson. This information should normally be received 7 calendar days in advance of any hearing. The Complainant or Respondent may petition the Chairperson of the Board for more time to prepare their case

12.11.3. The opportunity to select any person from the Amherst College community (current faculty, staff, administrators, or students) to serve as an Advisor (see Section 12.1, Terms in the Community Standards Adjudication Process).

It is the responsibility of a party to identify and communicate/coordinate with their Advisor, including the notification of meeting and hearing dates and times. A party intending to be accompanied by an Advisor must notify the Director of Community Standards of the identity of the individual at least 3 business days prior to the hearing. Delayed identification of an Advisor by a party will not be a valid reason to delay adjudication proceedings or scheduling.

12.11.4. The opportunity to consult with attorneys at their own expense. Attorneys cannot participate in hearings before the CSRB. Attorneys may be present on campus during a hearing; however, they are required to remain outside of any hearing rooms. If a party wishes to consult with their attorney during a hearing, they may do so by making a request to the Chairperson. If therequest is granted, such consultation must occur outside the hearing room. An attorney may be present to provide legal counsel to the CSRB at the discretion of the Chairperson.

12.11.5. The opportunity to have a hearing before the CSRB as soon as practicable, consistent with the right to 7 calendar days’ advance notice (see Section 12.10.2 for information about ad hoc panels).

12.11.6. The opportunity to challenge any member of the CSRB panel on the basis that they are unable to be impartial due to an actual or perceived interest in the outcome of the case. Prior acquaintance does not, in itself, constitute such “actual or perceived interest.” The challenge must be submitted in writing within 2 business days after receiving the list of CSRB panel members. The Dean of Students or designee will rule on the challenge and, if the challenge is accepted, take appropriate steps to secure a replacement. If the individual serving as Chairperson is challenged, the Chief Student Affairs Officer or designee will appoint a substitute Chairperson for the hearing.

12.11.7. The opportunity to be present at the hearing or to participate by way of alternative attendance (such as by video) (see Section 12.1, Alternative Attendance).

12.11.8. The opportunity to decline to answer any questions or make any statements during the hearing. The outcome of the hearing will be based upon the information presented at the hearing.

12.11.9. The opportunity to call witnesses of relevance to the complaint. A witness is a person who was either present during the incident in question, or who has information that is directly related to the facts of the incident in question. Individuals whose sole purpose is to serve as character witnesses or as expert witnesses will not be allowed to participate. A party intending to call witnesses must provide the names and contact information of the witnesses to the Director of Community Standards within 2 business days after receiving notice of the time and location of the hearing. When necessary, and with the advance approval of the Director of Community Standards, witnesses who are unable to appear in person may be permitted to participate via written statement or audio/video, if available.

12.11.10. The opportunity to hear and to question witnesses and to respond to all written testimony submitted.

12.11.11. The opportunity to present evidence of relevance. A party intending to present evidence should do so when submitting their complaint or response to the Director of Community Standards, but must do so within 2 business days after receiving from the Director of Community Standards the notice of the time and location of the hearing. The CSRB panel shall not consider evidence against a party unless the party has been advised of its content and source and given the opportunity to respond.

12.11.12. The opportunity to be judged solely upon the information available during the formal hearing of the Community Standards Review Board panel.

12.11.13. The opportunity to submit an appeal (see Section 12.15.1, Grounds for Appeal) to the Dean of the Faculty at the conclusion of a hearing before the Community Standards Review Board.

12.12. CSRB Hearing Procedure (Responsibility Determination)

The Chairperson will provide a copy of the complete materials of the case to both parties and to each member of the Community Standards Review Board (CSRB) panel selected to participate in a hearing.

The Chairperson of the CSRB panel will preside in all hearings. The Chairperson will work with the Director of Student Standards to maintain decorum during hearings and will be the final arbiter in questions of procedure. The Chairperson makes decisions about the admission or exclusion of evidence and witness testimony. The CSRB panel may consider any testimony or evidence it has reason to believe is trustworthy and relevant.

Hearings will be audio recorded. The recording will be the official record of the hearing. The Complainant and the Respondent will have access to the recording if needed in filing an appeal. The audio recording will remain the property of the College. All proceedings under the Community Standards Adjudication Process will be confidential to the extent practicable.

In general, Community Standards Review Board hearings will proceed in the order outlined below. However, the Chairperson retains discretion at any time to alter the order of the hearing process as needed.

1. Chairperson’s Welcome to All Participants

a. Introductions of all participants

b. Presentation of the CSRB Purpose Statement

c. Direction to all participants to read and sign the Confidentiality Statement

d. Opportunity for questioning about procedures
Note: Witnesses will leave the hearing room at this juncture.

2. Presentation by Director of Community Standards/Designee

a. Brief introduction of allegations

b. Brief introduction of response

3. Complainant’s Presentation

a. Opening statement by Complainant (optional)

b. CSRB panel members question Complainant

c. Respondent questions Complainant

d. Opportunity for additional questions by panel or Respondent

4. Respondent’s Presentation

a. Opening statement by Respondent (optional)

b. CSRB panel members question Respondent

c. Complainant questions Respondent

d. Opportunity for additional questions by panel or Complainant

5. Complainant’s witnesses appear individually

a. Opening statement by witness (optional)

b. Complainant questions witness

c. CSRB panel members question witness

d. Respondent questions witness

e. Opportunity for additional questions by parties or panel before witness is dismissed

6. Respondent’s witnesses appear individually

a. Opening statement by witness (optional)

b. Respondent questions witness

c. CSRB panel members question witness

d. Complainant questions witness

e. Opportunity for additional questions by parties or panel before witness is dismissed

7. Chairperson offers final opportunity for any additional questions to either party or any witnesses and reminds that no questions will be permitted during or after the closing statements. No new facts nor evidence may be brought forward by parties in their closing statements.

8. Closing statements

a. Complainant’s closing statement

b. Respondent’s closing statement

9. Closing remarks by Chairperson

a. CSRB panel will deliberate privately to determine responsibility

b. Parties and Advisor leave room, but remain available to receive decision
Note: All hearing materials must remain in the hearing room for collection by the Chairperson.

c. If the Respondent is found not responsible for all charges the CSRB panel will dismiss case, and the hearing is adjourned. Both parties will receive written notification of this outcome, typically within 48 hours.

d. If the Respondent if found responsible for one or more charges the CSRB panel will initiate a Sanction Hearing immediately or at a later date.

12.13. CSRB Sanction Hearing Procedure

If the Respondent is found responsible for one or more charges in a CSRB Hearing, or if the Respondent accepted responsibility earlier in the Community Standards Adjudication Process, recommendations and questions on sanctions are heard before a panel of the CSRB.
Note: If the Sanction Hearing was preceded by a CSRB Hearing to determine responsibility, the Chairperson may choose to skip to step 3.

1. Chairperson’s Welcome to All Participants

a. Introductions of all participants

b. Presentation of the CSRB Purpose Statement

c. Direction to all participants to read and sign the Confidentiality Statement

d. Opportunity for questioning about procedures

2. Presentation by Director of Community Standards/Designee

a. Brief introduction of allegations

b. Brief introduction of response

3. The Complainant offers recommendations to the CSRB panel regarding possible sanctions.

4. The Respondent offers recommendations to the CSRB panel regarding possible sanctions.

5. The CSRB panel may question the Respondent and the Complainant about their recommendations.

6. The Respondent, the Complainant, and Advisors are excused. The CSRB panel retains the discretion to deliberate immediately or to adjourn for later deliberations.
Note: All hearing materials are to remain in the hearing room for collection by the Chairperson.

7. The CSRB panel will deliberate on its decision about sanctions which will be documented by the Chairperson. Final sanction determinations will be communicated in writing to the Respondent and, when appropriate, to the Complainant typically within 48 hours.

a. The CSRB panel is provided with an account of Respondent’s past sanctions by the Director of Community Standards or designee.

b. Appeal procedures will be addresses in the final sanction/outcome letters to the parties.

12.14. Practices of the Community Standards Review Board and the Office of Student Affairs

The CSRB operates with the following standards during and after a responsibility determination hearing or a sanction determination hearing. Student Affairs receives records from the CSRB for retention.

12.14.1. College Complainant
Where a complaint is brought on behalf of the College, a College employee, who is appointed by the Dean of Students or designee, will serve as the Complainant.

12.14.2. Witness Availability and Obligations
The members of the Community Standards Review Board may question witnesses and may request the presence of any member of the College community as a CSRB panel witness. If witnesses are called by the CSRB panel, the Complainant and the Respondent will be afforded the opportunity to question them. Students called to give testimony before the Community Standards Review Board are obliged to provide testimony. The Director of Community Standards may make available to such student the testimony options offered to the Complainant and Respondent. A student called as a witness who fails to testify may be found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct (see Section 2.7).

12.14.3. Voting by Preponderance of the Evidence
When the hearing has concluded, the CSRB panel will convene to determine by majority vote whether there has been a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The CSRB panel’s determination will be made on the basis of the preponderance of evidence, that is, whether the alleged violation was more likely than not to have occurred.

12.14.4. Dismissal of Complaint
If the CSRB panel determines that the Respondent has not violated the Student Code of Conduct or its pursuant community standards, the complaint will be dismissed.

12.14.5. Assignment of Sanctions
If the CSRB panel determines that the Respondent has violated the Student Code of Conduct it will then determine what sanction(s) to assign. The CSRB panel will be guided by Section 14, College Sanctions in the assignment of sanctions. At this stage in the proceeding, the Chairperson will inform the Board of the Respondent’s student conduct record, if any. The Chairperson will provide information about sanctions assigned for violations in the past. This information will be used at the discretion of the CSRB panel. A statement of the panel’s findings and sanctions will be prepared by the Chairperson. After the statement has been approved by the CSRB panel, the Chairperson of the Board will notify the Respondent and, when appropriate, the Complainant of the outcome, generally within 48 hours after the CSRB panel decides on the case.

12.14.6. Records
A copy of the finding will also be kept in a confidential file in the Office of Student Affairs. The recording of the hearing will be deposited in the same confidential file in which the other records of the case are kept (see also Section 19, Student Records).

Normally only suspension, dismissal, and expulsion are recorded on a student’s transcript. Otherwise, except as otherwise permitted or required by Title IX,  the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or any other applicable law, a student’s conduct record is confidential and no information from this record will be released without a student’s consent. The College will respond to requests for information about a student’s conduct record which may not be released by explaining its policy of treating as confidential the existence of such information as well as the specific information itself.

12.14.7. Reports
The Director of Community Standards or the Dean of Students shall make reports to the Amherst College community summarizing the nature and number of complaints, whether these were settled with or without hearing, and the disposition of cases. The Director of Community Standards or the Dean of Students may publish similar reports which include summary descriptions of the complaints and the sanctions, if any, assigned, so long as such summary descriptions do not include personally identifiable information.

12.15. Appealing Formal Adjudication Decisions by Administrative Adjudicators and the Community Standards Review Board

Either the Respondent or the Complainant may appeal an adjudicative decision of the Community Standards Review Board (CSRB) panel, the Director of Community Standards, or designee. All intellectual responsibility appeals and any appeal of a CSRB panel are directed to the Dean of the Faculty. Appeals of non-intellectual responsibility-related decisions made by the Director of Community Standards or designee (administrative adjudicator) are directed to the Chief Student Affairs Officer.

12.15.1. Grounds for Appeal
An appeal may come forward based on the following grounds:

12.15.1.1. Bias shown during any part of the Community Standards Adjudication Process

12.15.1.2. Material procedural error

12.15.1.3. The inappropriateness of the sanction (available to Respondent only)

12.15.1.4. The discovery of substantive new evidence which was not available at the time the decision was made

12.15.2. Appeal Deadline
The Respondent or the Complainant must submit a written statement of appeal to the Dean of the Faculty or Chief Student Affairs Officer as appropriate (see Section 12.15), which must state the grounds and reason for the appeal, within 10 business days of the date of the written finding.

12.15.3. Response to Appeal
Upon receipt of the statement of appeal, the Dean of the Faculty/Chief Student Affairs Officer will review the official records of the Director of Community  Standards, the Student Affairs administrator, or the CSRB panel’s proceeding and other materials bearing on the case as necessary. The Dean of the Faculty/ Chief Student Affairs Officer may interview the parties to the dispute or anyone else involved in the hearing process, including the CSRB panel members.

For an appeal of an intellectual responsibility decision by the Director of Community Standards, the Dean of the Faculty may refer the case to a panel of the CSRB, consisting of two faculty members, one of whom will act as Chairperson, and one student. For an appeal of a decision by the CSRB, the Dean of the Faculty may refer the case back to the original panel with instructions or may direct that the case be reviewed or reheard by a different panel of the CSRB. In the case of any such referral, the panel of the CSRB will report its findings and recommendations to the Dean of the Faculty, who will resolve the appeal.

The Dean of the Faculty/Chief Student Affairs Officer will render a decision with such terms as they determine to be appropriate. The Dean of the Faculty’s/ Chief Student Affairs Officer’s decision is final, and no further appeal will be permitted.