Every disciplinary case begins with an allegation in the form of a complaint or report made by an official of the University (a faculty member, teaching fellow, staff person, etc.), by another student (peer), or by another agency (such as the police or courts) or other interested party. While virtually anyone could bring a complaint against a student, any formal charges that may ensue are made by, and on behalf of, the College.
As a first step in the Board review process students will be informed of the allegations by the Secretary of the Board or another designee of the Dean of the College. In some cases, such as in peer disputes, students will be informed of the allegations in writing by the Secretary of the Board and will be given an opportunity to read the original complaint only after submitting a statement of their own. In other cases, students may learn of the allegations by reading the original complaint in the first instance. Where an allegation is made by an official of the University or by another agency (such as the police or the courts), the College ordinarily issues a formal charge at the outset of the review process. For peer dispute cases, where an allegation is made by another student, the charging process involves a preliminary stage that is described here.
The Secretary of the Board, or designee of the Dean of the College, will discuss the incident with the student (except in cases where the complaint alleges serious criminal behavior and the student is advised to seek legal counsel first). The College expects that in addition to being honest and forthcoming, students will take responsibility for their actions.
If, at this point, the Secretary of the Board can ascertain that the report is a matter of a misunderstanding and no wrongdoing has occurred, the matter may be dropped or the Board may hear the case with the likely outcome of “scratch,” a formal exoneration clearing the student of any wrongdoing. If the allegations cannot be set aside, then the Secretary of the Board, or designee of the Dean of the College, will outline for the student the College’s disciplinary process, after which the student will meet privately with his or her Resident Dean of Freshmen/Allston Burr Resident Dean to review the process and go over next steps.