Section I: Honor Code and Code of Conduct
Honor Code | Honor Code Commission |Honor Code Violations
Student Code of Conduct | Jurisdiction | Violations of Law | Standards of Conduct
The Skidmore Student Conduct Process
Established at the request of the student body in 1921, the Skidmore Honor Code defines the guiding principles of honesty, respect, and integrity that should inform all choices and behavior patterns in the Skidmore academic and social communities. Each student, in matriculating at Skidmore College (or engaging in any Skidmore-sponsored activity or program as a non-matriculated student), agrees to the following code:
I hereby accept membership in the Skidmore College community and, with full realization of the responsibilities inherent in membership, do agree to adhere to honesty and integrity in all relationships, to be considerate of the rights of others, and to abide by the College regulations.
It is the responsibility of every student and every member of the faculty and staff, both by example and by instruction, to encourage students to embrace the standards of the Honor Code. If a student is aware of a violation, he or she is honor-bound to speak to the student, and if necessary, to report the student to the Dean of Student Affairs (DoSA) or other appropriate member of the staff or faculty. (Note: All references to the DoSA include the Dean or his/her designee.) If a member of the faculty is aware that someone has committed an academic violation, faculty legislation requires that the faculty member report the violation to the Associate Dean of Faculty for Academic Advising. It is only through a combination of ethical commitment, guidance, and sanctions that the Honor code can become a living set of principles for our community.
As one regular manifestation of the Honor Code at Skidmore, at the end of each examination students must write and sign the following statement:
I have not witnessed any wrongdoing, nor have I personally violated any conditions of the Skidmore Honor Code while taking this examination.
This statement, provided by the instructor and transcribed by each student, should be included in every exam. Failure on the part of a student to write and sign this statement makes it incumbent upon the faculty member responsible to speak to the student about a possible Honor Code violation.
The Honor Code Commission
The Commission is a committee of the Student Government Association established to help educate students about the values, responsibilities, and consequences of the Honor Code. The commission also works with other areas of the student governance system and the deans of the College to recommend changes in the Honor Code system.
Honor Code Violations
The goal of the Honor Code is to help all members of the Skidmore community develop as individuals as well as to assure the growth, safety, and ethical conduct of the community as a whole. While this Handbook focuses, as is appropriate, on student responsibilities and rights, the faculty and administration of the College also pledge to live by the principles of the Honor Code and to honor a host of professional standards as well. The faculty and staff are, however, generally answerable to codes and processes defined by the faculty and administration of the College, not to the hearing processes defined in this Handbook.
Student Code of Conduct
Basic College regulations are vital to community welfare, student safety, and supporting high standards of ethical integrity. Skidmore College expects all members of the community to conduct themselves in a manner supportive of its educational mission. The College considers violations of these regulations as breaches of the College Honor Code that may lead to various sanctions, up to and including expulsion. In addition to following basic College regulations, community members are also obligated to observe the laws and ordinances of local, state, and federal governments. The College may press charges against community members engaged in criminal activities on or off the campus. All currently enrolled Skidmore students are required to report any circumstance that results in their arrest (including but not limited to non-custodial or field arrests) to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Administrator within 72 hours after release.
Respect for the person, property, ideas, and perspectives of others and a commitment to intellectual and personal growth are values essential to membership in the College community. The policies listed below are illustrative only, not exhaustive; the College has the right and obligation to act upon conduct not in accord with the informing principles of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct, whether or not expressly proscribed below.
Students are provided a copy of the Student Handbook annually in the form of a link on the Skidmore College website. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct.
(The Skidmore College Student Code of Conduct is partially adapted from The NCHERM Group Model Developmental Code of Student Conduct and is used here with permission.)
The Honor Code, the Code of Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individuals who are considered students from initial enrollment through the actual awarding of a degree, even though conduct may occur before classes begin or after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. The College retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student's ability to re-enroll and/or obtain official transcripts and/or graduate and all sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled but reported after the accused student has graduated, the College may invoke these procedures and should the former student be found responsible, the College may revoke that student's degree.
The Honor Code and Code of Conduct apply to behaviors that take place on the campus or at College-sponsored events, and may also apply to conduct occurring in other locations when the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial College interest. A substantial College interest includes, but is not limited to:
- Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present or be indicative of a danger or threat to the health or safety of others in the campus community; and/or
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of others in the campus community or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission, operations and/or interests of the College.
The Honor Code and Code of Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic medium. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if the violations occur, or if evidence of policy violations is posted, online. The College does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when College officials become aware of such information.
The Honor Code and Code of Student Conduct apply to guests of community members. Community members who host guests are expected to take reasonable precautions to ensure that their guests comply with the Honor Code and the Code of Conduct, and are subject to discipline if they fail to take such precautions. Visitors and guests may seek resolution of violations of the Code of Conduct committed against them by students of College.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for College officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations. Though anonymous complaints are permitted, the nature of anonymous reports makes investigation, determination, and remediation more difficult and, at times, impossible. The College therefore encourages persons reporting violations to provide their names and contact information whenever possible. College email is the primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their College email address.
Violations of the Law
Alleged violations of federal, state and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Code of Conduct. The College may, but shall not be obligated to, delay its processes when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that implicate the Honor Code and/or the Code of Conduct are being investigated. College action will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.
The College reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint. Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held. The interim suspension may be continued if a danger to the community is posed and the College may be delayed or prevented from conducting its own investigation and resolving the allegation by the pendency of the criminal process. In such cases, the College will only delay its hearing until such time as it can conduct an internal investigation or obtain sufficient information independently or from law enforcement upon which to proceed.
Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from the College until the criminal charges are resolved. In such situations, the College procedure for voluntary leaves of absence is subject to the following conditions:
- The Responding Student must comply with all College investigative efforts; and
- The Responding Student must comply with all interim actions and/or restrictions imposed during the leave of absence; and
- The Responding Student must agree that, in order to be reinstated to active student status, they must first be subject to, and fully cooperate with, the campus conduct process and must comply with all sanctions that are imposed.
Any violation of the law should be immediately reported to Campus Safety and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs/Director of Student Conduct.
The Student Government Association provides students with the opportunity to receive one free legal consultation from the legal services of Richard F. Mullaney and Eleanor K. Mullaney, Attorneys At Law (518-584-8000).
Standards of Conduct
Good social conduct in the large majority of cases is a matter of common sense and the ordinary principles of fairness, respect, and honesty. Considering how we ourselves would like to be treated will usually provide guidance on how to interact with other members of the community. The social policies listed below cannot capture the essential value of a respectful and cooperative community. The items listed do, however, suggest some of the more serious issues that sometimes confront our community. Violations of the Skidmore College Honor Code and Code of Conduct include, but are not limited to, the following:
Integrity: College students exemplify honesty, honor and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
1) Falsification. Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments;
2) Academic Dishonesty. Violating the Academic Integrity Policy. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see http://www.skidmore.edu/advising/integrity/index.php;
3) Unauthorized Access. Unauthorized access to any College building (including but not limited to access through unauthorized use of keys, cards, etc.), unauthorized possession, duplication or use of means of access to any College building, or failing to report a lost College identification card or means of access (e.g., a key or card), propping of doors (of any kind) or unauthorized use of alarmed doors for entry into or exit from a College building;
4) Collusion. Action or inaction in concert with another or others to violate the Honor Code and Code of Student Conduct;
5) Election Tampering. Tampering with the election of any College-recognized student organization;
6) Taking of Property. Intentional and unauthorized taking of College property or the personal property of another, including goods, services and other valuables;
7) Stolen Property. Knowingly taking or maintaining possession of stolen property;
Community: College students build and enhance their community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
8) Disruptive Behavior. Substantial disruption of College operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other College activities, and/or other authorized non-College activities which occur on campus;
9) Infringement of Certain Intellectual Property Rights. Unauthorized use (including misuse) of the name, images, logos, trademarks or service marks, or other infringement of intellectual property rights, of the College or an organization recognized by the College;
10) Damage and Destruction. Intentional, reckless and/or unauthorized damage to or destruction of College property or the personal property of another;
11) Information Technology. Violating the College IT Policy. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see http://cms.skidmore.edu/it/policies/index.cfm;
12) Gambling. Gambling as prohibited by the laws of the State of New York. (Gambling may include raffles, lotteries, sports pools and online betting activities);
13) Weapons. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives (including but not limited to fireworks and ammunition), guns (including but not limited to air, BB, paintball, facsimile weapons and pellet guns), or other weapons or dangerous objects such as arrows, axes, machetes, nun chucks, throwing stars, or knives having blades in excess of six inches in length (except for culinary knives reasonably necessary for cooking in on-campus residences), including the storage of any item that falls within the category of a weapon in a vehicle parked on College property;
14) Smoking. Violating the College Smoking Policy. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, seehttps://www.skidmore.edu/dean-students/smoking-policy.php
15) Fire Safety. Violating the Fire Safety Policy. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see http://www.skidmore.edu/student_handbook/room_and_board.php#fire
16) Animals. Violating the Service and Therapy Animal Policies. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see http://www.skidmore.edu/accessibility/policies/index.php
Social Justice: Students recognize that respecting the dignity of every person is essential for creating and sustaining a flourishing campus community. They understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others and are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the community. They act to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to and/or diminish the worth of others. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
17) Discrimination. Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status (sex, gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or other protected status) that is sufficiently severe that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from College programs or activities. The College reserves the right to sanction discrimination even if the behavior in question does not rise to the level of legally recognized or actionable discrimination.
18) Harassment. Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected category constitutes violations of the Honor Code and Code of Conduct, but such violations are adjudicated under polices below rather than under the procedures described here.
- For sexual and gender-based harassment definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy at http://www.skidmore.edu/student_handbook/sexual-misconduct.php
- For race and other identity-based harassment definition, policy, and conduct procedures, sees Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Anti-Harassment Policies and Procedures, found at http://www.skidmore.edu/student_handbook/equal-op-and-div.php.
19) Retaliation. Any intimidation, harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other adverse action against an individual as a result of that individual participating in, or cooperating with, College processes (including without limitation student disciplinary processes).
20) Abuse of Conduct Process. Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, College processes including student disciplinary processes, including, but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information;
- Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the campus conduct system;
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the campus conduct system;
- Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.
Respect: College students show positive regard for each other and for the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
21) Harm to Persons. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical or emotional harm or endangering the physical or emotional health or safety of any person.
22) Threatening or Intimidating Behaviors:
- Threat. Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable fear of injury to the physical or emotional health or safety of any person or damage to any property.
- Intimidation. Express or implied acts that cause a reasonable fear of injury to the physical or emotional health or safety of any person or damage to any property.
23) Bullying and Cyberbullying. Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally.
24) Hazing. Preface: Skidmore College has had few reported incidents of hazing over the last
few years; however, the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC) Subcommittee
on Student Affairs felt it was necessary to re-evaluate our current policy and create
one that is more complete and holistic. The following policy is a greater articulation
of how Skidmore College defines hazing in its entirety. The policy specifically highlights
aspects of hazing such as ‘Passive Participation,’ ‘Subtle Hazing,’ ‘Consent,’ which
we deem to be facets of hazing that are not touched upon as frequently as the facets
of hazing we have defined as ‘Harassment Hazing’ or ‘Violent Hazing.
The Skidmore College Hazing Policy:
*In this policy, a member of the Skidmore community is defined as any Skidmore student, staff, faculty, administrator; or a visitor accompanying any of the previously mentioned entities.*
Skidmore College defines hazing as any act committed by a person, whether individually or as a part of a group, against a member of the Skidmore community and which is intended to have the effect of, or reasonably be expected to have the effect of, humiliating, intimidating, demeaning a community member, or endangering the mental or physical health of a community member. Acts of hazing may involve: being initiated into, affiliated with, participating in, and/or maintaining membership in any organization, club, group, department, and/or team affiliated with Skidmore College.
Skidmore’s definition of hazing encompasses all acts of soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in any of the above acts regardless of intention or willingness to participate. Skidmore prohibits all hazing activities whether conducted on or off College property.
Every organization, club, group, department, and/or team can provide transformative opportunities for friendship, leadership, personal growth, and discovery. Hazing of any kind is antithetical to these goals; therefore, the College prohibits hazing activities, whether by an individual or an organization. Skidmore College is committed to providing a learning, working, and living environment that reflects and promotes personal integrity, civility, and mutual respect. Members of the Skidmore community have the right to be free from all forms of abuse, harassment, and coercive conduct, including hazing.
The organization, club, group, department, and/or team may be held accountable for actions of individual members.
Because of the socially coercive nature of hazing, implied or expressed consent to hazing is not a defense under this policy. Offering anyone an opportunity not to take part in an act that is or becomes hazing is not a valid defense of conduct.
Passive participation is defined as, but not limited to: witnessing hazing taking place as a group member, affiliate, or guest, or participating in or being present in person or via technology in discussions where hazing is being planned.
Subtle Hazing, Harassment Hazing, and Violent Hazing are outlined in this document to guide the respective Skidmore College conduct boards throughout their processes. The definitions of the three forms of hazing are intended to be fluid, and it is the responsibility of the conduct boards to evaluate alleged acts of hazing, but not necessarily to delineate the specific form of hazing.
Subtle Hazing is defined as behavior that emphasizes a systematic power imbalance between new members and other members of the organization, club, group, department, and/or team. These types of hazing are often taken for granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group (some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing). Examples include, but are not limited to: deception, assigning demerits, silence periods with implied threats for violation, deprivation of privileges granted to other members, requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members, socially isolating new members/rookies, line-ups and drills/tests on meaningless information, name calling, requiring new members/rookies to refer to members with titles (e.g. “Mr.” “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning terms, or expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession.
Harassment Hazing is defined as behavior that causes emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing may confuse, frustrate, and cause undue stress for new members/rookies (some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing). Examples include, but are not limited to: verbal abuse, implied threats of violence, requiring new members/rookies to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire, expecting new members/rookies to provide personal services to members (e.g. cooking, cleaning, carrying books, errands, etc.), sleep deprivations, sexual simulations, expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a schedule of bodily cleanliness, being expected to harass others.
Violent Hazing is defined as behavior that has the potential to cause physical, emotional, and/or psychological harm. Examples include, but are not limited to: forced or coerced drug or alcohol consumption, beating, paddling, and other forms of assault, branding, forced or coerced consumption of vile concoctions or substances, burning, water intoxication, expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals, sexual acts, nudity, expecting illegal activity, bondage, abductions/kidnappings, exposure to cold weather or heat without appropriate protection.
Activities believed to be hazing should be reported to the Dean of Students/Vice President for Student Affairs, Director of Athletics (when relevant), the appropriate Department or Program chair or, in the case of student organizations and clubs, the Student Government Association Executive Committee. Hazing may also be reported anonymously on the Skidmore TIPS Hotline 580-TIPS (8477) or on the SGA hazing page (insert URL).
The current student conduct process can be found in the Skidmore College Student Handbook and those found in violation of this, or any Skidmore College policy, may be subject to that conduct process and the local, state, and federal criminal codes.
SGA clubs and officers may also be subject to the SGA Executive Board conduct process.
New York State Penal Codes state*:
S 120.16 Hazing in the first degree.
A person is guilty of hazing in the first degree when, in the course
of another person`s initiation into or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury.
Hazing in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor.
S 120.17 Hazing in the second degree. A person is guilty of hazing in the second degree when, in the course of another person`s initiation or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person.
Hazing in the second degree is a violation.
*Although these Penal Codes use traditional male pronouns, any member of the Skidmore Community, regardless of gender expression, is subject to these codes.
25) Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct, including dating violence, stalking, and sexual misconduct. In cases where a Responding Student is alleged to have violated the SGBM policy and other violations of the Student Code of Conduct during the same incident, the Conduct Administrator may charge the SGBM Administrative Hearing Board to adjudicate all of the alleged violations. For sexual and gender-based misconduct definitions, policy, and conduct procedures, see http://www.skidmore.edu/student_handbook/sexual-misconduct.php
Responsibility: College students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others and to the community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
26) Alcohol and Other Drugs. Violating the College Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy. For definition, policy, and conduct procedures, see;
27) Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the authorized directives of College officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so;
28) Financial Responsibilities. Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to the College, including, but not limited to; knowingly passing a worthless check or money order in payment to the College or to an official of the College acting in an official capacity.
29) Arrest. Failure of any student to accurately report an off-campus arrest by any law enforcement agency for any crime or offense (including but not limited to non-custodial or field arrests) to the Office of Student Conduct within 72 hours of release.
30) Other Policies. Violating other published College policies or rules, including but not limited to Residential Life policies;
31) Health and Safety. Creation of health and/or safety hazards (dangerous pranks, hanging out of or climbing from/on/in windows, balconies, roofs, etc.)
The Skidmore Student Conduct Process
The Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs (DoS/VPSA) is responsible for resolving student violations of social policies while the Dean of Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs (DoF/VPAA) is responsible for resolving student violations of academic policies. All references to the DoS/VPSA and DoF/VPAA include the applicable dean(s) or their designees, hereafter referred to as the Conduct Administrator (CA). Students and faculty should report an alleged violation to the student and to the CA within a reasonable period after the violation was committed. However, the College reserves the right to pursue disciplinary action whenever it learns about a violation of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct.
The CA will develop procedural rules for the administration of the conduct process that are consistent with this process. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made with reasonable notice to the parties involved. The CA may vary procedures with notice where the CA determines that the circumstances make such action necessary or advisable (for example, upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this process). The CA may, at any time, make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Questions of interpretation of the applicable rules or procedures may be referred to the DoS/VPSA for social policies and the DoF/VPAA for academic policies, who will have discretionary authority to resolve any disputed or ambiguous terms and whose interpretation is final.
The CA will appoint an investigator(s) for allegations under this Code, typically a Campus Safety Officer in the case of social policy violations, and the Associate Dean of the Faculty in cases of academic integrity. The investigator(s) will take the following steps:
- Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is a harmed party, a College representative or a third party;
- Conduct a preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies that
may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the alleged
incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;
a) If the harmed party is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation
of the harmed party
b) Notify the harmed party of whether the College intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the harmed party of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so
c) Implement appropriate action to maintain the safety of the campus community (or specific persons within the campus community) until the investigation and/or hearing process is complete, such as “no contact”
directives, removal from campus residence facilities, removing a student from a class or classes, or interim suspension from the College. A student subject to such interim measures may appeal the decision to
impose them to the DoS/VPSA within 3 business days after being notified of the decision;
- If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the CA, conduct a
comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that
the Responding Student violated College policy, and to determine what specific policy
violations should serve as the basis for the complaint;
a) If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action;
b) If there is sufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be referred for resolution as described below;
- The College may deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student is the subject of an ongoing investigation or has disciplinary charges pending.
A student accused of violating the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct meets with the CA to review the complaint and potential avenues for resolution (described below). The CA determines which of the available processes will be used in any given case based upon factors including, but not limited to, the seriousness of the alleged violation, the existence of a pattern of repeat or multiple violations, or issues of fairness and equity. If a student withdraws from the College while disciplinary action is pending, the College may proceed with resolution based on available information in the student’s absence, and include the finding in the student's permanent record. The student must resolve the disciplinary complaint before the College will consider readmission.
- Administrative Conference: The CA may conduct an administrative conference to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a board hearing, typically when the Responding Student admits to violating the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct. In an administrative conference, complaints will be heard and determinations as to responsibility and sanctioning will be made by the CA. Sanctions may include any sanctions available in connection with a formal board hearing (described below).
- Informal Resolution: If harmed parties are willing, the CA may ask students (and faculty and staff as
appropriate) to participate in mediation, conflict resolution circles, or restorative
justice conferencing as an informal resolution, which may obviate the need for a formal
- Mediation and Conflict Resolution Circles: The CA may recommend facilitated dialogues to help parties in a dispute find an agreement that best meets their needs. Students in conflict may be referred to mediation or a conflict resolution circle to find a mutually acceptable outcome. Participation in mediation or a conflict resolution circle does not require admission of a violation and agreements do not result in a conduct record.
- Restorative Justice (RJ) Conference. RJ is a collaborative decision-making process that includes harmed parties, Responding Students, and others seeking to hold Responding Students accountable by having them (a) accept and acknowledge responsibility for their misconduct, (b) to the best of their ability repair the harm they caused to harmed parties and communities, and (c) work to reduce the risk of further conduct violations by building positive social ties to the community. Trained facilitators guide the dialogue. After a discussion of the harm, the parties (rather than a conduct administrator or board) decide what steps the Responding Student can take to repair the harm. An RJ conference is a voluntary process used when a Responding Student has admitted to a violation. RJ agreements are included in the conduct record.
- Students participating in an informal resolution process may elect to withdraw from the process at any time. If the Reporting Individual or Responding Student withdraws, the matter will be addressed through an administrative conference or board hearing
- Academic Integrity Resolution. Faculty are required to report suspected academic integrity violations of the Honor Code to the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Policy & Advising. When a student acknowledges responsibility for a violation, the ADoF administers institutional sanctions as prescribed by faculty legislation and described in the Academic Integrity Handbook (found at http://www.skidmore.edu/advising/documents/AcademicIntegrityHandbook_Web.pdf); the instructor retains authority over the grade consequence. Most cases alleging academic integrity violations are resolved between the ADoF, the student, and the instructor but any party may bring the case to the Integrity Board. The Integrity Board is particularly important when a student contests the charge itself. If the student is found responsible, the Integrity Board cannot reduce or set aside sanctions imposed by the ADoF or modify a grade penalty determined by the instructor. The Academic Integrity Handbook describes further impacts of academic integrity violations and describes grievance procedures and the limited forgiveness policy. Questions about academic integrity may be directed to the ADoF or to the Director of Academic Advising.
- The Integrity Board (IB) or the Administrative Hearing Board (AHB) The IB/AHB meets with the Responding Student and determines if the Responding Student is in violation of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct and, if so, assigns sanctions. The IB/AHB requires a student who has violated the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct to be accountable for their misconduct and take steps to return to good standing. The procedures described below, which include fact-finding, discussion, complaint resolution, and assignment of sanctions, support these goals. The board depends on the participants' honesty, integrity, and commitment to resolving complaints, and decides each case according to its own merits and the disciplinary precedents that may apply.
Integrity Board/Administrative Hearing Board Structure and Process
Types of Boards
The Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs establishes the Integrity Board (IB) and Administrative Hearing Board (AHB).
- Integrity Board: An IB for a hearing includes three students, including the chair, one faculty member and one member of the College administration or staff. The IB operates during the academic year and may hear cases of social and academic violations with the exception of sexual misconduct. The IB is composed of students, faculty, and staff/administrators. The Student Government Association selects at least nine students to serve a one-year term through a willingness-to-serve process. The Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) appoints six faculty to over-lapping two-year terms. The DoS/VPSA appoints six administrators and staff to the IB. The CA schedules student, faculty and administration/staff for hearings as needed to properly comprise an IB for each case. The Conduct Administrator will act as non-voting advisor to the hearing process.
- Administrative Hearing Board: The DoS/VPSA may impanel the AHB to hear cases deemed unsuitable for the IB or when the IB is unable to meet, such as during vacation periods or study days. An AHB for a hearing includes three Integrity Board members from the administration, staff, and/or faculty appointed by the DoS/VPSA. In academic cases, the AHB will include at least one faculty member. The Conduct Administrator will act as non-voting advisor to the hearing process. The DoS/VPSA advises the IB chair(s) of all AHB cases.
Participants in the Hearing Process
- Conduct Administrator (CA): The CA provides the board with information and answers questions about policy and procedure and is responsible for board training. The CA receives reports of suspected violations and provides information about the applicable process to the harmed party, Reporting Individual and Responding Student. The CA also works with the IB/AHB chair to ensure an orderly hearing process and presents the investigation findings to the board. In most cases, the Dean of the Faculty for Academic Policy and Advising serves as CA for academic cases and an administrator from the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs Office serves as CA for social integrity cases.
- Board Chair: The chair assists with administrative oversight of the IB/AHB and is responsible for ensuring a fair and reasonable hearing. The chair manages the tone and pace of the hearing and leads the board through its decision-making process. The chair works with the CA to inform the Reporting Individual about procedures, inform the Responding Student and Reporting Individual in writing of the board's decision, and helps track compliance with sanctions. The chair decides, in consultation with the CA, what information and which witnesses will be presented and considered.
- Board Member: Board members are representatives of the Skidmore College community and are expected to be fair-minded and to promote the well-being of the community. Board members may ask questions of the various participants in the hearing and their decisions about determinations of responsibility and sanctions are by majority vote.
- Reporting Individual: The Reporting Individual is the person alleging a violation of the Code of Conduct or the Honor Code. In certain cases, the CA acts as the Reporting Individual on behalf of the College. For example, the College may pursue a violation of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct in response to an anonymous complaint.
- Responding Student: The student charged with violating the Honor Code or Code of Conduct.
- Advisor: The parties have the right to an advisor of their own choosing. The advisor may be any member of the Skidmore community (student, faculty or staff). The advisor has a limited speaking role and may not make a presentation or otherwise represent the Reporting Individual or Responding Student during the hearing; it is expected that Reporting Individuals and Responding Students will speak for themselves. If the advisor wishes to confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, clarify procedural questions with the chair or suggest questions to their advisee, they may request a recess, which may be granted or denied at the discretion of the board chair. A list of trained advisors is available from the CA.
- Support Person: The Reporting Individual and the Responding Student may each bring a support person to the hearing. The support person is a trusted ally who attends in order to provide a supportive presence. The support person has a limited speaking role and is not a character witness or advocate, and should not present information on behalf of, or otherwise represent, the Responding Student or Reporting Individual; it is expected that Reporting Individuals and Responding Students will speak for themselves. The support person may be any member of the Skidmore community (student, faculty, or staff).
- Harmed Party: The CA may invite, as feasible and subject to confidentiality restrictions under applicable law, anyone allegedly harmfully impacted by a violation. Harmed parties may be asked to specify how they have been harmed and ideas they may have for repairing harm and rebuilding trust.
- Witness: If and to the extent deemed appropriate by the Chair, Responding Students, Reporting Individuals and/or the CA may invite witnesses to the hearing to assist the board in their determination of responsibility.
- Resource Expert: The CA may invite, as needed, individuals with specific expertise, such as a counselor with knowledge about rehabilitation resources.
Referral to Boards
Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the CA to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given to the Responding Student at least three days before the hearing. Notice will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the CA; mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official College records; or emailed to the student’s College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:
- Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Code of Conduct and/or Honor Code (as applicable) and College procedures for resolution of the complaint.
- Provide notice of the time, date and location of the hearing.
Preparation for Board Hearings
- A meeting with the CA may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the Responding Student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the CA whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.
- The CA will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation is shared with the parties prior to, or if prior exchange is not feasible at the commencement of, the hearing. In addition, the parties will be given a list of the names of all board members in advance. Should any party object to any board member, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the CA immediately. Board members will only be unseated if the CA concludes that bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Additionally, any board member who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings. In either case, the CA shall appoint a replacement board member. A party who does not object to a board member prior to the hearing in accordance with this paragraph is deemed to waive any objection to the composition of the board.
- Responding Students are expected to participate in the hearing, but may submit a written statement to the board instead. If a student fails to attend the hearing, the hearing proceeds without the student present, and the board renders a decision based on the information available to it.
- At the discretion of the chair, Responding Students and harmed parties may participate by remote means such as phone or video conference.
- In hearings involving more than one Responding Student, the complaints may be heard jointly if all Responding Students consent, or if a joint hearing is otherwise determined by the CA to be appropriate if permitted by applicable law. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Responding Student.
- The College reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation. The College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations, when the College has determined a threat to health and/or safety necessitates such notification, or when otherwise permitted by applicable law.
The Board Hearing
- The IB/AHB decides every case on an individual basis, after considering the information presented to it. The board conducts hearings in a fair and reasonable manner, respecting the rights and needs of all participants, while also considering the importance of honoring the community value system.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the CA.
- Hearings will be closed to the public.
- All hearings are audio-recorded. The Reporting Individual and/or Responding Student may request to listen to the audio file as and to the extent permitted by applicable law. Deliberations are not recorded.
- Admission to the hearing of persons other than the parties involved will be at the discretion of the board chair, in consultation with the CA.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the board chair. Formal rules of procedure and evidence are not observed.
- During the hearing, Reporting Individuals and Responding Students have an opportunity to offer information, and to present materials and witnesses on their behalf, in each case at the discretion of the board chair.
- The Reporting Individual, the Responding Student, the board, and the CA will have the privilege of questioning all present witnesses and questioning all present parties, at the discretion of the board chair.
- The board bases its decision on the information presented at the hearing. The standard of decision used by the board is preponderance of the evidence. In other words, board members must determine whether it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred. While the board members seek full consensus in reaching their decision, in disputed decisions a simple majority vote will decide the case.
- The board hearing has two parts: (1) finding of responsibility and (2) determination of sanctions. In the first part, the board reviews the allegations and determines if the Responding Student has violated the Honor Code or Code of Conduct. If a Responding Student is not found in violation, the hearing is adjourned. If a Responding Student is found in violation, the second part of the hearing is used to determine an appropriate sanction using the guidelines set forth below.
- The board may decide which parties may be present for some or all of the hearing with the exception of private deliberations by the board. Witnesses typically participate only in first part of the hearing (determination of responsibility), though the chair may permit witnesses during the sanctioning phase if he or she determines their testimony to be relevant for purposes of enabling the board to determine appropriate sanctions. Reporting Individuals, Responding Students, harmed parties, advisors, and support persons typically participate in both parts.
- The board usually informs a student of its decision immediately after reaching its determinations and to responsibility and (if applicable) sanctioning. However, if necessary the board may take up to ten business days to issue its finding.
Guidelines for Sanctions
Sanctions preserve individual and institutional integrity and, whenever possible and appropriate, help students to learn from their mistakes, make amends, and regain their standing in the community. The CAs maintain a record of all disciplinary hearings and sanctions applied, and these are admissible in subsequent student conduct proceedings involving the student(s) in question. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, those described below. Each listed sanction may be imposed alone or in combination with one or more others. Violations of the Honor Code may have an impact on eligibility for prizes and honors, eligibility to hold a leadership position, participation and/or status in the room selection process, graduate school applications, security clearances, etc.
Disciplinary Probation: The CA or board may sanction students found in violation of the Code of Conduct and/or the Honor Code in a variety of ways that protect the safety of the community, repair harm and/or rebuild trust. During the period from hearing to completion of sanctions, the student is on "Disciplinary Probation." If determined appropriate by the board or the DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA, a student on Disciplinary Probation may not be eligible to register for the ensuing semester of study at Skidmore or participate in Skidmore room selection or in the off-campus housing draw. In the case of graduating seniors, students may not receive diplomas or participate in the graduation ceremony until completion of all sanction requirements, unless specifically permitted by the IB/AHB. Note that some campus organizations, such as SGA, do not permit their members to serve in leadership positions if they are on Disciplinary Probation. Probation may also affect eligibility for study abroad, attending conferences, or representing the College at an official function, event or intercollegiate competition as a player, manager or student coach, etc.
- Warning: An official written notice that the student has violated College policies and that greater conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at the College.
- Apology: The board may require the Responding Student to provide a written apology to any
parties they have harmed. Apologies are to include:
- What Happened: A description detailing the harm caused by the incident.
- My Role: An acknowledgement that the student was responsible for the incident.
- How I Feel: An expression of remorse or regret in causing harm.
- What I Won’t Do: A statement of commitment to responsible behavior and causing no further trouble.
- What I Will Do: A statement of commitment to make amends for the harm caused.
- Restitution: Restitution is monetary payment or services that pay(s) for financial losses. Restitution is intended to compensate the harmed party for the estimated losses incurred by the harmed party. Restitution agreements seek to meet the needs of the harmed party, but may also take into account the Responding Student’s ability to pay. Sometimes services are substituted for payment.
- Community Service: Volunteering in the community is a way to be helpful to others, show that one is socially responsible, and rebuild the trust that is lost through misbehavior. Community service should be meaningful and rewarding, potentially serving as a platform for personal development. Community service serves two important goals: making amends to the community and demonstrating good citizenship. Rather than focus on specific hours, the board will help the Responding Student design a service project that best meets these goals.
- Counseling: A Responding Student may be required to engage in activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, anger management counseling, or similar evaluation and/or assistance. The CA or board does not diagnose psychological problems or specify treatment; however, they may require the student to seek consultation and follow any recommended treatment plan.
- Supervision: A Responding Student may be required to meet regularly with one or more members of the community for mentoring, support, and reassurance to the community that the student is complying with sanctions and College policies.
- Educational Program: The board may require the Responding Student to attend, present and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student or organization was found responsible. Students may be required to complete a research or reflection paper articulating the harm caused by their actions and/or strategies they may adopt to prevent further disruptive behavior.
- Grade Penalties: In academic integrity cases, the IB/AHB may make a recommendation to the appropriate faculty member about grade penalties. However, the faculty member has final say about any grade assigned in the course.
- Specific Restriction(s): The board may impose specific restrictions on an individual to prevent either access to an area of campus or participation in one or more College or College-recognized or sponsored programs or activities (e.g., commencement).
- “No Contact” Directive: The board may impose a prohibition against having any avoidable contact with one or more identified persons, in person or through telephonic, electronic, written or other means. A no contact directive may include additional restrictions and terms.
- College Housing Reassignment or Suspension: The board may reassign the student to another College housing facility, or may remove the student from College housing for a specified period of time, including permanent removal.
- College Suspension: The board or CA may recommend suspension to the DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA. During the suspension period, the student is prohibited from being present on or at College property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the CA. The board may also assign specific sanctions, such as community service, for completion during the suspension period. While suspended, students may transfer up 18 credits taken at another institution, subject to the usual review by the Registrar and with the approval of the IB or AHB and DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA. The College follows the refund practices for personal leaves. Further information may be found on the Bursar’s Office website at http://www.skidmore.edu/bursar/withdrawal/index.php. A decision for suspension constitutes a recommendation to the DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA, who will consider whether to accept or modify the recommendation.
- College Suspension in Abeyance: In cases of suspension, the board may decide that there are circumstances that mitigate against the immediate separation of the student from the College. For example, the board may allow the student to complete the current semester’s coursework and begin their suspension period at the semester’s end. However, should the student be found in violation of the Honor Code or the Code of Conduct during the period of abeyance, the abeyance may be lifted and the suspension shall take effect immediately and continue through the originally scheduled expiration date for the suspension (subject to any additional sanctions that may be imposed as a result of the new violation).
- Expulsion: The board or CA may recommend expulsion to the DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA. The student is prohibited from being present on or at College property, functions, events or activities. Expulsion is a permanent status. The Responding Student must leave the College immediately and cannot register again as a student without going through a full readmission process. A decision for expulsion constitutes a recommendation to the DoS/VPSA or DoF/VPAA, who will consider whether to accept or modify the recommendation.
- Degree Revocation: In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled, but found responsible after the Responding Student has graduated, the College may revoke that student’s degree. The student will be asked to return the diploma.
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the education record of the Responding Student and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or nonforcible sex offense, the College will inform the alleged victim in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether the College concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the Responding Student’s name, the violation committed (including both the College policy(ies) violated and the findings of fact supporting the conclusion that the violation occurred), and the sanctions assigned (if applicable).
In cases where the College determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or nonforcible sex offense, the College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. In addition, the College reserves the right to release information regarding disciplinary proceedings in other circumstances when required or permitted under applicable law, including but not limited to FERPA.
All conduct records are maintained by the College for seven years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension or expulsion), those that fall under Title IX, and violations of academic integrity, which are maintained indefinitely. Additional information about privacy, FERPA, and Skidmore student educational records can be found at this website: http://www.skidmore.edu/registrar/transcripts/index.php
A student involved in the conduct process as a Reporting Individual or a Responding Student may appeal any decision from an Administrative Conference, the Integrity Board, or the Administrative Hearing Board. Appeals will be considered on the following grounds: (a) a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the process (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.); (b) the discovery of new evidence, unavailable to the appealing party during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction; or (c) sanctions are disproportionate to the nature or severity of the violation or violations, taking into account the totality of the circumstances (including the cumulative conduct record of the Responding Student, if any).
Individuals who wish to appeal a decision must submit their request for review in writing to the DoS/VPSA (for social policy violations) or DoF/VPAA (for academic integrity violations) or the Associate Dean of Students/Director of Conduct (for cases involving only alcohol and other drug violations that were not heard by a hearing board) within five business days after receiving notification of the outcome being appealed. Upon receiving an appeal, the appellate officer may decline to consider the appeal if it is not based on one or more of the criteria listed above. If the appellate officer considers the appeal, he or she may review the record of the case and the Responding Student’s prior disciplinary history (if any), and may consult participants present at the initial hearing (if any) as he or she deems appropriate. If the appeal is granted, the appellate officer may alter the result of the case as to responsibility or sanctioning, remand the case to the original hearing board to reconsider some or all of the case, or direct that a Board of Appeals hearing be convened to reconsider some or all of the case. The decision of the appellate officer is final, subject to any further proceedings ordered by the appellate officer as described above.
Board of Appeals (BOA): At the discretion of the DoS/VPSA, DoF/VPAA or Associate Dean of Students/Director of Conduct, the BOA may review cases heard by Administrative Conference, the IB or AHB. BOA members are appointed by the appellate offficer from the pool of IB members who did not participate in the initial hearing (if any). BOA membership is as follows:
- For administrative conference and AHB social violations: three faculty and/or staff and chaired by the DoS/VPSA.
- For administrative conference and AHB academic violations: Two faculty and one staff and chaired by the DoF/VPAA.
- For IB social violations: one faculty, two students, and chaired by the DoS/VPSA.
- For IB academic violations: two faculty, two students, and chaired by the DoF/VPAA.