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Code of Student Conduct

"Being a member of a community does not mean that we like everybody; it means that we work to sustain membership through shared standards of conduct, shared norms which we generally agree to uphold.”
Ruth J. Simmons, president of Smith College, 1994-2001

Smith is a community founded on individual integrity and respect for others.  Your behavior affects you, those around you, and the Smith environment.  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.  As a result, living successfully in this community will always depend on balancing the greatest possible freedom for the individual with a sensitivity to and respect for the rights of others.  This code is based on the conviction that ethical student conduct is crucial to a supportive and inclusive community that fosters achievement and learning.

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

  1. a willingness to discuss, negotiate and take responsibility for personal conduct and the conduct of one’s invited guests.
  2. a dedication to free inquiry and to the exchange of ideas and criticism, while maintaining respect for the opinions and individuality of others
  3. a commitment to the creation of a sustainable college and world
  4. an embrace of academic integrity and honest academic conduct

The provisions below describe unacceptable conduct and behaviors. Engaging in these prohibited acts violates the standards of individual integrity, self-respect, respect for the rights and property of others and the responsible behavior which are expected in the Smith College community.


Being dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the pursuit of truth, Smith College and its students, faculty and staff prohibit the following behaviors:


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

Related Policies:
College Policies Regarding Alcohol
Policy on Substance Abuse and Substance Use
Social Events


Violation of published college policies, rules or regulations

Related Policies:
Academic Honor Code (All cases are heard by the Academic Honor Board)
Academic Policies (All cases are heard by the Academic Honor Board)
Guest Policy
Residential Life Policies
Smith College Technology Policies
Smoking Policy
Student Handbook Policies


Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion and other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person or which 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.

Related Policies:
Equal Opportunities Policy
Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy
Bullying & Cyber-Bullying


    Discriminatory Harassment is unwelcome conduct directed toward a person based on one or more of the following categories age, race, color, 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.  Discriminatory harassment violates college policy the when the conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive such that it interferes with an individual’s college experience by creating a hostile environment.

    Examples of such conduct include:

    • Offensive or degrading remarks, verbal abuse, or other hostile behavior such as insulting, teasing, mocking, degrading or ridiculing another person or group;
    • Racial slurs, derogatory remarks about a person’s accent, or display of racially offensive symbols;
    • Unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact, comments, questions, advances, jokes, epithets or demands; and
    • Displays or electronic transmission of derogatory, demeaning or hostile materials.

    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 Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Matters will be referred to the college’s Title IX Coordinator.

    When sanctioning, the offensiveness should be measured by its gravity, whether it is intended to be offensive and not respectful, whether it is repeated even after the student engaging in the behavior has been clearly told that it is offensive to another, and by the effect the behavior has on the community and the student or students to whom it is directed.

    Related Policies:


Acts of dishonesty

Examples include:

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

Related Policies:
Illegal Downloading

Any instance of Academic Dishonesty is adjudicated by the Academic Honor Board.


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.

Related Policies:
Policies Concerning Freedom of Expression and Dissent
Statement of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression


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 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 judicial hearing bodies


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 on programs or activities authorized or sponsored by the College.

Related Policies:
Firearms Policy


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.

Related Policies:
Hazing - Prohibition Statute of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Pranks and Hazing Policy


Use, possession or distribution of narcotics, other controlled substances or drug related paraphernalia, except as expressly permitted by law

Related Policies:
Policy on Substance Abuse and Substance Use
Medical Marijuana


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


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


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 one’s economic status, race and ethnic background, 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, handling complaints of alleged misconduct by providing a timely response to incidents and helping students navigate other college procedures where necessary.

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 X of the Student Government Association Constitution and Article VII of the Bylaws. Violations of Academic Honesty occurring in a Five-College course are adjudicated by the host institution.

Through this process, a college administrator designated by the College Conduct Board hears a complaint of a code violation, meets with the student who is the subject of the complaint, and determines the appropriate corrective action. Participation in this process is voluntary. To participate, a student who is the subject of the complaint must agree to the administrative settlement process, accept responsibility for the alleged code violation(s), acknowledge that there is no new evidence for the college to consider, and acknowledge no evidence of bias or conflict of interest in having the designated administrator decide the outcome. Students participating in Administrative Settlement will sign an agreement (i) waiving their right to the College Conduct Board hearing and appeal process, and (ii) accepting the outcome of the Administrative Settlement. An Administrative Settlement cannot result in removal from housing or recommendation for suspension, dismissal or permanent separation.

Appeals of the decisions of the College Conduct Board must be submitted to the Appeals Board within seven days of the date on the board's decision letter. Extensions will be granted only for good cause in extraordinary situations, such as hospitalization. The Appeals Board is a three member committee consisting of the dean of students (or designee), a member of the SGA cabinet appointed by the SGA president and one additional member of the administration appointed by the dean of students. The Appeal Board reviews the evidence presented to the College Conduct Board and evaluates whether there are grounds for the appeal. The only grounds for appeal that will be accepted by the Appeals Board are (i) gross error in procedure likely to have affected the outcome, (ii) violation of the student's rights as defined in the student handbook, (iii) new evidence that was unavailable at the time of the College Conduct Board hearing, or (iv) bias demonstrated by a member of the College Conduct Board, other than a conflict of interest which could have been raised prior to the College Conduct Board hearing. Disagreement with the board's decision is not, by itself, grounds for an appeal.

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 penalties 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 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 X of the Student Government Association Constitution and Article VIII of the Bylaws.

When a formal complaint of an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct describes Discriminatory Harassment, an investigation is required and findings will be presented to the Community Conduct Board as part of the hearing process. According to the Student Government bylaws the Community Conduct Board will include two (2) Smith community members and three (3) Conduct Board members.

In such cases the normal procedures of the College Conduct Board will be followed. The normal procedures will include: referral of a case, review of the incident, notification of complaint, investigation, and hearing. The dean of the college’s designee will investigate the allegations (e.g. the institutional equity officer.)

In matters involving sexual misconduct, separate procedures will apply. Please refer to the Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct Policy or contact the Title IX coordinator.  Matters of Discriminatory Harassment in which a respondent cannot be identified should be reported to the Bias Response Team

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”). 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.

At any time the College Conduct Board may decide to invoke a formal investigative process in addition to receiving the complaint and the response from the parties involved in a matter alleging a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

An investigation generally will include interviews with: (1) the complainant; (2) the respondent; (3) witnesses, if any; and others as determined by the investigator. The investigator will also review documents provided by either the complainant or the respondent and will gather other relevant documents. Investigators will be trained and will treat all in the process with respect and with neutrality. The investigator is responsible for managing the process with reasonable speed under the circumstances.

All students are expected to cooperate fully in efforts to investigate and enforce this policy. Records of the investigation will be held by only the investigator until findings are made and shared with the College Conduct Board.

We recognize that disagreements and conflicts of various degrees of seriousness are inevitable. The college strongly encourages informal resolution of disputes or disrespectful interactions. Many issues are best resolved by direct communication between the individuals involved, sometimes with the help of a third party. Community members are expected to engage in good faith attempts to mediate their differences. To that end all members of the community are encouraged to consult with academic department chairs, deans, human resources staff members, residence life staff members, and student affairs staff members to discuss concerns and seek resolution to differences through mediation. Your consultation with us will allow us to guide you in whether or not mediation is a viable option to consider, as not all situations should be mediated.

If informal strategies do not result in a resolution the formal complaint process described above can be used.

Mediation is not appropriate for matters involving sexual assault.

Consistent with putting the student's health and safety at the forefront, 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, or hospitalization. The college may also contact parents/guardians should conduct result in a change to a student's status at the college.


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