At Middlebury, all of us—students, staff members, and faculty members—seek the delicate balance between focusing on the immediate challenges before us and reflecting more broadly on our values and long-term goals. Integrating these two is the core of our professional and personal work: my colleagues and I regularly explore the larger questions of the latter category with each other and with the students we support, as this directs us all in important ways in our day-to-day decisions.
This process has led us to some important insights, some of which are reflected in two key areas of Student Life. The first is the refinement of our Community Standards, an initiative we introduced last year. Middlebury has always been guided by a strong set of values, reflected throughout our Mission Statement, Handbook policies, and practices. However, we felt it would be beneficial to tease out and clearly articulate the most salient concepts that serve as the foundation of what we believe about creating and sustaining community. To that end, after several years of discussion, we developed our Community Standards, added them to the Handbook, and consulted them as a touchstone throughout the last year to see how well they worked. This summer, the entire Student Life staff contributed to refining the standards so that they reflect our shared goals as community members and the values that underlie those goals. I therefore invite you to review and reflect on these Community Standards and to offer your thoughts. Do they resonate for you? How might they be helpful to you as you navigate the successes and challenges of your life?
A second and connected area revolves around our response to students when they act in ways that undermine these standards. All of Middlebury’s Student Life policies have been developed to support our Community Standards. When students violate these policies, our response to them is designed to realign their behavior with the standards as effectively as possible. Therefore, we have enhanced our options of possible disciplinary outcomes with two new sanctions: Probationary Status and Official College Discipline.
|Old Sanction System||New Sanction System|
|Disciplinary Probation||Probationary Status|
|Suspension||Official College Discipline|
The Probationary Status option allows students whose actions place them in danger of receiving official College discipline to demonstrate improved behavior during a probation period. Combined with other creative educational elements, we hope this option will allow students the greatest chance at successful realignment with Community Standards and expectations without compromising their permanent disciplinary record. For more information, please see General Disciplinary Processes: Sanctions.
There have been other important updates to our policies that I encourage you to review. These include:
- A new Anti-Stalking Policy;
- The enhancement of our Sexual Misconduct Policy (including an expanded definition of the concepts of “consent” and “substantial impairment”);
- Expanded definitions within existing General Conduct policies, such as Respect for Persons, Respect for the Authority of Officials, and Retaliation;
- More streamlined General Disciplinary Processes.
Finally, our work to explore and highlight the values of our community extends to the academic arena as well. Every four years, an Honor Code Review is conducted to lead the community in reflecting on how to ensure and improve its effectiveness. This year is an Honor Code Review year, and I invite you all to play an active role in this robust community dialogue.
We will provide many opportunities throughout the year for community members to discuss and explore our Community Standards, our disciplinary system, and the Honor Code. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions.
—Shirley M. Collado