Disciplinary Action

This section describes the disciplinary process that is normally followed when a student participating in a Middlebury Schools Abroad program allegedly engages in conduct that violates a Middlebury policy or policies. Where other Middlebury policies specify separate processes, those processes will apply. (See, e.g., Middlebury’s Policy Against Sexual Misconduct,  Domestic and Dating Violence and Misconduct,, and Stalking and  Middlebury’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy, and Middlebury’s Policy Against Hazing).  Moreover, where applicable law or the local university where the program takes place mandate different procedures or policies, those procedures or policies will apply.

Since Middlebury lacks full judicial authority, such as the power to subpoena or place witnesses under oath, a student’s rights cannot be coextensive with or identical to the rights afforded someone accused in a U.S. civil or criminal legal proceeding. However, the procedures outlined below and in the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking, Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy and Policy Against Hazing are designed to provide fundamental fairness and to protect students from arbitrary or capricious disciplinary action. All judicial affairs officers, human relations officers, deans, directors, and other Middlebury disciplinary authorities shall conduct their proceedings in the spirit of these principles. If exceptional circumstances dictate variation from these procedures, the variation will not invalidate a decision unless it prevented fundamental fairness.

Students found to have violated Middlebury policy may be subject to the full range of disciplinary actions, as applicable, up to and including expulsion from a Middlebury School Abroad or any other Middlebury program.

Alleged policy violations should be reported to the director of the School Abroad. The director or designee (hereinafter referred to as “the director”) is ordinarily responsible for disciplinary action. Except in cases of emergency removal, suspension, withdrawal or expulsion as described in this Handbook and applicable Middlebury policies, the following disciplinary process will apply. In the event that a complaint or report of an alleged policy violation is made against a School Abroad student, the accused student will be given notice of the alleged violation and an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to any determination or disciplinary action. The notice may be given orally or in writing. The “opportunity to respond” means that the student will be given an opportunity to meet and/or communicate with the director.

The director will then make a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether the student violated the policy at issue. Formal rules of evidence do not apply in Middlebury conduct proceedings. If a student is found responsible for a policy violation, the director shall determine what disciplinary or other action should be taken, if any. The director has the authority to take disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the program. If the director determines that the circumstances do not warrant immediate expulsion from the program, the director may take other action, including the issuance of warnings, reprimands, probationary status, official Middlebury College discipline, or suspension from the program. The director may also assign non-disciplinary action as appropriate, including the issuance of No Contact Orders, room changes, class changes, or other actions as needed. Disciplinary action may be accompanied by notification to the student’s undergraduate or graduate institution (or any other Middlebury program or non-Middlebury program in which the student is involved) and to the parents of dependent students. For more information, see “Scope of Oversight” under Student Conduct.

Nothing in this section shall preclude the host university (if applicable) from exercising its independent right to suspend, expel or otherwise discipline a student in accordance with its own procedures.

Appeals

The student may appeal the director’s decision to the provost or designee (hereinafter referred to as “the provost”) within three (3) business days of issuance of the director’s determination. Appeals may be granted on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:

  • Discovery of significant new factual material not available to the director that could have affected the original result; however, prior omission of factual information that the student knew or should reasonably have known about is not a ground for an appeal;
  • Procedural error where the error prevented fundamental fairness;
  • Extreme mitigating circumstances.

The student must submit evidence and/or arguments they believe support any of the three grounds for appeal listed above, and their explanation of the evidence or arguments.  The provost may deny the appeal, or if one or more of the appeal grounds have been met, may:

  • return the case to the director for reconsideration; or
  • appoint an alternate disciplinary authority, as appropriate, to review the case.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the provost will notify the student of the appeal decision within five business days of the appeal receipt deadline. This deadline may be extended if warranted by the circumstances, in which case the student will be notified at the time the extension is determined.

The decision made by the provost to grant or deny the appeal is final. Should an appeal be granted, the subsequent determination and/or sanction is/are final.

 

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