General Principles

The principles and policies outlined in this handbook concern a variety of matters falling under the following headings:

  • Academic life, including the attendance of classes
  • Residence in the community (not limited to dormitory residence)
  • Procedures followed regularly in the operation of the college

First among the principles is this: the college expects every student to adhere to generally accepted standards of decent behavior, whether or not a specific rule in this handbook applies to a given case. Of particular importance to our community is honesty and plain dealing; hence any wrongful or prohibited conduct is aggravated when false statements or other attempts at concealment are made. Moreover, every member of the community is obliged not to conceal any harm done or potential for harm to the college and the members of its community.

Academic life at the college is regulated by the Dean, the Instruction Committee, the Assistant Dean, and the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program. The Dean, the Assistant Dean, and the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program are tutors at the college who serve for stipulated terms. This helps to ensure that administrative concerns serve the academic aims of the college. The Instruction Committee is comprised of six tutors who share responsibility with the Dean for the program of instruction. All matters of student welfare and conduct are the concern of the Assistant Dean and the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program.  The Assistant Dean refers some issues to the Director of Student Services.

The college exercises its disciplinary authority when its principles, policies, or rules are violated. In the exercise of this authority, it may become necessary to impose sanctions and penalties for infractions.  These are listed in the relevant sections of the handbook.  The college reserves the right to expel a student, after due process and consideration, for severe infractions.  When the actions of a dependent student have put that student’s enrollment or graduation at risk, the Dean, Assistant Dean, or the Director of Student Services may notify the student’s parents or guardians. The college acts in disciplinary matters primarily through the Dean, the Assistant Dean, the Director of Student Services, the Executive Director of Campus Wellness, or the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program. (For a more thorough account of the structure and governance of the college, consult the Charter and Polity of the College. Copies are available online and at the Office of the Assistant Dean.)

A student may appeal a disciplinary decision. Appeals are considered primarily on procedural grounds, or on the basis of relevant information that was not available to those who made the original decision.  Unless otherwise specified within the language of a policy, appeals of decisions made by the Director of Student Services may be made to the Assistant Dean.  Appeals of the Assistant Dean’s decisions may be made to the Dean, whose decision is final in most cases.  Further – and always final –appeal may be made to the President if the decision affects the student’s enrollment status.  Academic decisions may be reviewed by the Dean or, in the case of negative enabling decisions, by the Dean and Instruction Committee.  Students who feel that disciplinary actions have been taken against them wrongly should ask either for redress or for a full account of the reasons for the decisions.

A general principle is enunciated by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics: “Even ignorance is no protection against punishment if a person is thought to be responsible for his ignorance.” [1113b30]

Robert Abbott
Assistant Dean