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Code of Student Conduct

Contribute, Cultivate, Care.

Students at Smith should expect to be challenged by a diversity of thought, experience and expression. The diversity of Smith is essential to creating a robust culture for living and learning, both on campus and beyond. Each member of our community is encouraged to inquire freely and to express ideas and criticism in a civil manner, while also recognizing the opinions, cultures, traditions and individuality of others, and their right to maintain them. Everyone in our community should be able to both speak and be heard while abiding by our conduct expectations. Matters involving discriminatory harassment are addressed separately pursuant to the College’s Discriminatory Harassment Policy. These matters will be referred to the college’s Office for Equity and Inclusion.

The Code of Conduct and Social Responsibility is a social contract identifying the expectations of our learning community at Smith.  It is premised on taking responsibility for how an individual’s actions affect others.

Ethical student conduct is critical to a supportive and inclusive community that fosters learning and achievement. As noted in the Statement of Student Ethics, students have freely associated themselves with Smith College in a relationship based on mutual trust, personal respect and individual integrity. 

Joining the Smith community entails both rights and responsibilities. These include:

  1. to engage and experience a community that cares for its members and to assume each member’s best intentions;
  2. to cultivate one another's thoughts and ideas and to coexist in the discomfort of different viewpoints; and
  3. to contribute, discuss, negotiate and take responsibility for personal conduct and the conduct of one’s invited guests. 

Being dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the pursuit of truth, students, faculty and staff expect compliance with the policies of the college. The following behaviors, by individuals or groups, are prohibited:

  • Conduct That Threatens or Endangers a Person

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats of harm, intimidation, harassment, coercion and other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person or that unreasonably interferes with, impedes or harasses other students in the pursuit of their education. Such conduct may occur in person or via audio, visual, electronic or other means.

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  • Controlled Substances

    Alcohol: Use, possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages, engaging in drinking games or other potentially dangerous behaviors or encouraging others to do so, and/or public intoxication, except as expressly permitted by the law and college regulation.

    Illegal Drugs: Use, possession or distribution of narcotics, other controlled substances (including the distribution of prescription drugs) or drug-related paraphernalia, except as expressly permitted by law.

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  • Discriminatory Harassment

    Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct that is discriminatory on the basis of age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin/ancestry, religion, sex or gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, genetic information, or veteran status/membership in the uniformed services that unreasonably interferes with an individual's academic performance, adversely affects the targeted individual's or others' learning opportunities; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Discriminatory Harassment can violate the College's Discriminatory Harassment or the Equal Educational Opportunity Policy.

    Sexual assault is an especially egregious form of sexual harassment and discrimination. Matters involving sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and harassment, are addressed separately pursuant to the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. These matters will be referred to the college’s Title IX Coordinator. Other forms of sex or gender-based discrimination may fall under the college's Discriminatory Harassment Policy or the Equal Educational Opportunity Policy referenced above.

    Reports involving conduct within the scope of the above reverenced policies may be made via Ethicspoint.

    Sanctions will reflect the gravity of the offense, its impact on others, the student’s intentions and efforts to mitigate harm, and whether the misconduct continued even after objections or complaints. 

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  • Dishonesty

    Acts of dishonesty

    Examples include:

    1. Lying or furnishing false information to any college official, college office, or faculty member;
    2. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any official document, college key, identification, or record;
    3. Abuse of or interference with the Student Government Association’s policies and procedures, including tampering with the election of any college or SGA-recognized student organization.

    Any instance of Academic Dishonesty, such as plagiarism, is adjudicated by the Academic Honor Board.

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  • Disruption

    Substantial disruption or obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, college activities on or off-campus, or other authorized non-college activities when the act occurs on college premises or at college events.

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  • Five-College Policy and Off-Campus Conduct Violations

    While engaged in activities at any of the institutions that are part of the Five-College consortium or otherwise off-campus, Smith students are subject to the policies and regulations of the institution where the activity takes place, in addition to the policies of Smith College. The College Conduct Board and the administration reserve the right to conduct proceedings and impose sanctions for misconduct at other campuses or off-campus, independent of actions by courts or other tribunals outside of the college. The College’s conduct process may continue before, during or after proceedings at other institutions.

  • Failure to Comply

    Failure to comply with directions of college officials or law enforcement officers acting in the performance of their duties, and the failure to identify oneself when requested to do so; failure to comply with conduct hearing bodies. 

  • Firearms and Other Weapons

    No person shall be permitted to use, possess or carry firearms or other weapons, concealed or not concealed, with or without a concealed weapon permit, while on properties owned or controlled by the College or while at programs or activities authorized or sponsored by the College.

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  • Hazing

    Hazing is any act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation into, admission to, affiliation with or continued membership in a house, group or organization, regardless of whether the student consents to participating in the act.

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  • Theft or Abuse of Property

    The theft of, attempted theft of, and/or damage to the property of the college, the property of a member of the college community, and/or of other personal or public property. 

  • Unauthorized Entry or Use

    Unauthorized entry to or use of college premises, and failure to report lost or stolen keys or access cards.

  • Violation of College Policies

    Violation of published college policies, rules or regulations other than those cited above.

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Information Related to Procedures

At Smith College, we are committed to maintaining a community in which our diverse student body can live and work in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect for the rights and sensibilities of each individual, regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, political views, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or other personal characteristics and beliefs. The student-run College Conduct Board serves to uphold these standards by responding promptly and equitably to complaints of alleged behavioral misconduct.

Academic Honor Board

All Smith students are expected to abide by the standards of responsible behavior and honesty while engaging in academic activities. The Academic Honor Board is the committee of students and faculty responsible for upholding the Academic Honor Code and hearing cases of alleged infractions of academic rules and regulations. Its jurisdiction and procedures are outlined below and referenced in Article XV of the Student Government Association Constitution and Article XV of the Bylaws. Violations of Academic Honesty occurring in a Five-College course are adjudicated by the host institution.

College Conduct Board

The student-run College Conduct Board ensures that students uphold the standards adopted for the student community. The College Conduct Board hears cases of alleged infractions of non-academic rules and makes decisions about the outcomes of these cases. The College Conduct Board carefully considers the nature of the complaint and the board’s responsibility to the complainant, the student who is the subject of the complaint and the greater college community. The College Conduct Board has the authority to enforce decisions and to impose corrective actions or sanctions. The primary goals of such sanctions are restorative, focusing on education and rehabilitation.

The administration plays an important role in ensuring that the standards specified in the Code of Student Conduct, and this handbook, are maintained. Hearing advisors guide and provide continuity from year to year for the College Conduct Board. The administration generally refers cases of alleged infractions of the code to the Conduct Board, taking administrative action only when circumstances make that the best option (examples include (but are not limited to): when classes are not in session or private medical information may need to be disclosed) and following consultation with the College Conduct Board. The board may also refer cases to the dean of students for action. Its jurisdiction and procedures are outlined and referenced in Article XVI of the Student Government Association Constitution and Article XVI of the Bylaws.

The College Conduct Board Procedures can be found here.

A summary of College Conduct Board sanctions is available through the Dean of Students.

Interim Suspension

In addition to adjudicating certain violations, the dean of the college, or the dean’s designee, may impose a college or residential suspension prior to a student’s hearing before the College Conduct Board (sometimes referred to as an “interim suspension”). An interim suspension may be imposed when a student presents an unreasonable risk of harm to others or interferes with the operations of the college. During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to college houses, to the college campus (including classes), and/or to all other college activities and privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the dean, or the dean’s designee, may determine to be appropriate.

Informal Resolution and Restorative Practices

In a diverse community, disagreements and conflicts, with varying degrees of seriousness, are inevitable. The college strongly encourages restorative practices and informal resolution of disputes and conflicts. Many issues are best resolved by direct communication among the individuals involved, sometimes with the help of a mediator or other facilitator. To that end, students are encouraged to use the deans, academic department chairs, supervisors, and the staff members listed on this site to discuss concerns and seek resolution to differences.

The college recognizes that some situations are better resolved through formal complaint processes or with the assistance of law enforcement. If informal strategies do not result in a resolution or are not appropriate, students may pursue a formal complaint and/or contact the applicable law enforcement authority.

Parental Notification

Because student health and safety is our highest priority, the college reserves the right to contact parents/guardians in the event of significant health or safety concerns, including but not limited to alcohol or drug abuse, use, possession or use of weapons, violent behavior, self-harm or hospitalization. The college may also contact parents/guardians should this conduct result in a change to a student's status at the college.

Updated August 2023