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.), 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. A charge begins the Administrative Board’s investigation, but it does not assume misconduct has occurred. It simply identifies the section of the Handbook which is at issue in the concern. There is more information about this step here.
For more information about reporting an allegation, click here.
Responding to a Concern
Once you have been notified of the complaint and received the materials related to it, you will be asked to prepare a written statement responding to the allegation against you.
The statement is among the most important documents considered by the Board in a case and is the first opportunity you have to describe the event and respond to the allegation. Your statement should communicate your account of the incident and its context, as well as your reflections. If applicable, attach to your statement a descriptive list of all sources of information (e.g., persons, correspondence, records, etc.) that you believe the Board should investigate, along with a brief explanation of why you believe the inquiries would be relevant and helpful to the investigation. Once it is completed, you should sign, date, and submit your printed statement.
The Secretary will refer the case to the Board or, in some cases, to an independent fact finder and/or subcommittee of the Board for further investigation. Independent fact finders are typically professionals from outside the University. Subcommittees of the Board ordinarily consist of two or three people. The Secretary of the Board, subcommittee, and fact finder may obtain statements from and/or interview others (including, for example, those you identified as potential sources of information).
You will have the opportunity to review all documents and other information obtained by the Secretary of the Board and/or the fact finder and/or subcommittee appointed to investigate your case. Then you will be given the opportunity to meet with a subcommittee of the Board to discuss the alleged incident and to answer questions, if you choose to do so. If a fact finder and/or subcommittee was appointed in your case, then your meeting will be with them. There is no obligation for you to meet with the fact finder or subcommittee, and, if you do, you are free to participate to whatever extent you feel comfortable, within the bounds of standard Board procedures. The Board will draw no conclusions or inferences from your decision.
Report and Recommendation
At the conclusion of its investigation, the fact finder and/or subcommittee will issue a confidential report, called a Subcommittee Report. The Subcommittee Report describes the facts and circumstances of the case and may include a recommendation for disciplinary action. This recommendation is a starting point for the Board’s discussion in your case. In all cases, the Board is not limited in its discussion and has the full range of sanctions allowed by the Faculty available to it.
You will have the opportunity (typically one to three days) to read and respond to the Subcommittee Report in advance of the meeting at which the Board will decide your case. You may respond either in writing or orally to your Board Representative, who will be present when the Board hears the case.
Presentation of Case
At the conclusion of the investigation, your case will be presented to the full Board at one of its regularly scheduled meetings. All documents collected as part of the investigation will be distributed to the membership in advance of the meeting, including the Subcommittee Report and copies of the other documents obtained by the fact finder and/or subcommittee and deemed relevant to the allegations (such as police reports, court documents, or other records). During the presentation of your case to the full Board, your Board Representative will convey any other additional information that you wish the Board to know. More
Cases are decided by a majority vote of the members present and eligible to vote; however, an outcome of requirement to withdraw requires a two-thirds, rather than simple, majority. Once an outcome has been reached, your Board Representative will notify you of the Board’s finding, and your Resident Dean of Freshmen/Allston Burr Resident Dean will send a letter to you confirming the Board’s decision in writing. If the complaint against you was filed by a faculty member or other officer of the University, then he or she also will be informed of the Board’s decision.
After the case has been decided, all materials reviewed by the Board members are destroyed. Regardless of the outcome, a redacted copy of the confidential Subcommittee Report, if applicable, and all other materials will be placed in a sealed envelope in your College file. These documents are part of your educational record as defined and protected by federal law.