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VI. Community Standards Procedures

Incident Reporting | Interim Suspension / Measures | Processing Complaints | Community Standards Sanctions | Reprieve from or Reduction Sanctions | Appeals | Parental Notification | Policy on Disciplinary Conduct Records | Additional Resources

We review "The Pathfinder" on a yearly basis and make changes as appropriate; this version of our policies and procedures applies to the 2016-2017 academic year.

The following procedures apply when a student is alleged to have violated the Community Standards, the Freedom of Expression policy or any other College policy which does not have its own separate procedures.  A student also may be subject to discipline arising out of the same or related facts and circumstances under the Honor Code, the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Procedures, and/or the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence Policy.  The College will decide how to address a situation which potentially involves violations of multiple policies.  

Please refer to the procedures for violations of the Honor Code, the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Procedures, and the Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures.

A. Incident Reporting

Any person, including students, College employees, or third parties (visitors, neighbors, etc.), may report an incident of alleged misconduct by a student or group of students.  The person reporting the incident can be the alleged victim or a witness to an incident, or someone who otherwise has sufficient information to submit a report.  An incident report generally leads to the initiation of a complaint by the College.

A report may be made to the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, Senior Associate Dean of Students, the Assistant Dean of Students, the Director of Residential Life & Campus Activities, the Assistant Director of Housing & Conferences, a Residential Life Coordinator, a faculty member, or any staff member designated by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, the Senior Associate Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Students.  Complaints may also be initiated by the College upon receipt of information that a student or group of students has engaged in alleged misconduct.  (For example, if Campus Safety notifies the Assistant Dean of Students of alleged misconduct by a student or group of students, a complaint may be initiated by the College against such student or group of students.)  

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B. Interim Suspension / Measures

The Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, Senior Associate Dean of Students, or their designee, has the authority to impose an Interim Suspension, which requires a student to leave College property pending the outcome of the complaint process.  During this time, the student is subject to all of the terms of Interim Suspension and any additional provisions outlined in writing to the student.  During an Interim Suspension, the student generally cannot participate in any College activities such as academic coursework, student employment, student activities, or College events.  The student cannot be on College property for the duration of the Interim Suspension.  An Interim Suspension may be imposed:

  • To ensure the safety and well-being of the College community or preservation of College property;
  • To ensure the student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being; and/or
  • If the student poses an ongoing threat of disruption of, or interference with, the operations of College.

The Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, Senior Associate Dean of Students, or their designee, may impose additional or alternative interim measures pending the outcome of the complaint process, which may include no-contact orders, counseling, or other requirements determined necessary in light of the complaint.

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C. Processing Complaints

The designee of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students (currently the Assistant Dean of Students) will review each complaint and determine the appropriate procedure for addressing the complaint.  In deciding the appropriate procedure for addressing a particular complaint, the Assistant Dean of Students may consider, among other factors, the nature and severity of the alleged misconduct, the prior conduct record of the accused student(s), and the impact on individuals or the community of the alleged violations.

As necessary, Colorado College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate or streamline conduct proceedings without receiving a formal complaint by a victim or community member.

Unless it is determined that no action is required on the complaint, the student will be notified of the complaint, and if appropriate, offered the opportunity to meet with a support person. 

If the student admits the alleged misconduct and wishes to negotiate a resolution of the alleged misconduct, the appropriate College official (whether a Residential Life Coordinator, the Assistant Dean of Students, the Senior Associate Dean of Students or the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students), will determine if a negotiated resolution is appropriate, and then will work with the student to determine if an appropriate response or sanction can be agreed upon between the student and the College.  This is referred to as an “admitted and negotiated resolution” and the student’s participation must be voluntary, and a condition of such a resolution is that it cannot be appealed. 

If a student admits the alleged misconduct but does not want to negotiate a resolution, or the student does not admit the alleged misconduct, the complaint may be assigned for further processing, which may include:

  1. Notifying the Senior Associate Dean of Students—who is also the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for complaints involving students—that the complaint falls under the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Procedures, or the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures. The Senior Associate Dean of Students will then ensure that the procedures set forth in the applicable Policy are followed.

  2. Referring a complaint to a Residential Life Coordinator for investigation and resolution. The Residential Life Coordinator will determine what, if any, investigation is necessary in order to resolve the complaint.  For example, the Residential Life Coordinator may simply speak with the student about whom the complaint was made.  A Residential Life Coordinator is authorized to impose any sanction set forth below, with the exception of Deferred Sanction, Dismissal, Suspension, or Voluntary Withdrawal/Leave.

  3. Assigning a complaint to an investigator. Most complaints will not be assigned to an investigator as many complaints can be investigated by the Residential Life Coordinators or the panels described below, but if it is determined that further information is required, an investigator may be assigned.  The investigator will report their findings to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or the Assistant Dean of Students, and then the next appropriate step in terms of the processing of the complaint will be determined, which may include referral to a panel or referral to the Senior Associate Dean of Students for resolution.

  4. Referring a complaint to one of the following panels for investigation and recommendation of whether any violation has occurred to the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee (currently the Senior Associate Dean of Students) who then may impose one or more sanctions. In appropriate cases, a panel may also be asked to make a sanction recommendation.

    1. Student Panel – A panel made up of students and College staff, although the majority of panel members will be students and this panel is chaired by a student. The type of complaints that may be sent to a Student Panel typically involve cases that directly affect the student body or in which the student body has a particular vested interest. This type of panel cannot hear cases where dismissal is a possible sanction. 

    2. Administrative Panel – A panel of College staff and/or faculty. Recommendations from this panel are made to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or their designee, although the Senior Associate Dean of Students may also serve on this panel.  The type of complaints that may be sent to an Administrative Panel vary, but may include cases that involve a student with repeated violations or a lengthy disciplinary history, or cases that involve significant harm or impact.  This type of panel may hear cases where dismissal is a possible sanction.

    3. Community Standards Response Panel – A panel of faculty members, staff and students, co-chaired by a faculty member and a staff member.  The type of cases that may be sent to a Community Standards Response Panel will involve freedom of expression considerations.

Not all incidents of alleged violations or complaints will be heard by a panel; the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, retains the discretion to investigation, determine whether a policy violation has occurred, impose sanctions or otherwise resolve a complaint without referral to a panel.

If a complaint is assigned to a panel, the panel may schedule a formal meeting with the student to ask the student questions about the complaint and provide the student with an opportunity to share information with the panel.  The panel considers all relevant evidence, which may include information learned during the formal meeting with the student, and makes a recommendation regarding whether any violation has occurred and, if requested, a recommendation for sanction(s) to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or their designee. 

Ultimately, the designee of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students (currently the Senior Associate Dean of Students), makes a decision about the resolution of the complaint, including whether the student is found responsible for violating the Standards and the sanction(s) to be imposed, and the student is notified of the decision in writing.

The standard of proof needed to determine whether a violation of the Standards has occurred is a “preponderance of the evidence” meaning that the evidence shows that it is “more likely than not,” or more than a 50% likelihood that the student is responsible for the violation.  

Note: Just as students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in their classes and living environments and other aspects of their educational experience at the College, accommodations may be available for Community Standards procedures as well. Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources by calling (719)227-8285. 

To learn more about the Community Standards process, please visit the Preparing for the Community Standards Process page.

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D. Community Standards Sanctions

The following sanctions apply when a student is alleged to have violated the Standards, unless another applicable policy has its own sanctions for addressing the alleged misconduct.  Please refer to the procedures for violations of the Honor Code, the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Procedures, and the Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures.

If a student violates multiple policies arising out of the same or related facts and circumstances, the College will decide how to impose the appropriate sanction(s).

Although student conduct is usually addressed through the processes outlined in the Community Standards Procedures and/or other Colorado College polices, the College reserves its discretion to address student conduct concerns in any manner in which it deems appropriate, including assigning sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal when the conduct is regarded as being in severe conflict with the best interests of Colorado College or in severe violation of the Community Standards. Such sanctions may be initiated according to the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee. Among other factors, the need for confidentiality, for immediate action, or for protection of others may prompt such action. The College also reserves the right to grant a reprieve from, or reduce sanctions when circumstances warrant such a response.

Students may be dismissed from Colorado College by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee, if the student's conduct is deemed in egregious violation of these values and standards. The Student Honor and Community Standards and the outlined processes apply to the conduct of both individual students and groups of students (both informal and college-recognized groups).

The sanction(s) that may be imposed when a student is found to have violated the Standards will vary. Multiple sanctions may be assigned for one violation. Sanctions of a housing restriction, disciplinary probation, or suspension may limit a student's opportunities and activities on and off campus, including but not limited to hosting, room selection, and study abroad/courses taught off-campus. Sanctions may not always be incremental; a student or group may receive the most severe response, even for a first offense.  The College may consider various factors when determining appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to the following:

  1. The nature and severity of the conduct, including whether the conduct involved a single incident or repeated acts;
  2. The impact of the conduct on the student, other individuals and/or the community;
  3. The student’s conduct history;
  4. How the College has sanctioned similar incidents in the past;
  5. Whether the student has accepted responsibility;
  6. Whether the student is reasonably likely to engage in the conduct in the future; and
  7. Any mitigating or aggravating circumstances with respect to any parties involved in the case.

The sanctions (in alphabetical order) that may be imposed on individual students or on a group of students include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Deferred Sanction: A sanction of suspension or dismissal may be deferred pending a student’s successful completion of conditions imposed by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee; these conditions may include other sanctions.
  • Disciplinary Probation: A formal notice that any additional findings of responsibility will likely result in suspension or dismissal from the College.
  • Dismissal: Permanent exclusion from the College, its premises, and all of its activities.
  • Educational Sanctions: Required attendance at an event or interview that is relevant to a specific topic. This is often accompanied by a reflection/research paper.  Participating and completing relevant educational programs or trainings, and paying the cost of such programs.
  • Fine: A monetary sanction issued in the form of a charge to a student account or a deduction from the Housing & Conferences housing damage deposit. 
  • Housing Restriction: Official notice from the College that any additional findings of responsibility will likely result in relocation to a different (usually more supervised) residential community.  Students sharing a room/apartment are responsible for the activities in that space and thus all students sharing a room/apartment may be placed on housing restriction, regardless of who was present at the time of an incident.
  • Official Conversation: A documented conversation with a College official.
  • Official Warning: A written notice from the College that the conduct is unacceptable.
  • Persona Non Grata: Prohibiting entry on campus (or at specific places on campus) and/or at College-related events, for a specific amount of time.
  • Reflection/Research Papers: A document requiring critical analysis and articulation of a specified topic.
  • Restitution: A monetary or service sanction required to pay for the cost of repairing or replacing physical damage or any other cost incurred as a result of the student’s conduct. 
  • Roommate Agreement: A mutually agreed upon written contract that students sharing a living space create and agree to uphold.
  • Room Change: Relocation to a different (usually more supervised) residential community.
  • Suspension: Exclusion from the College with the opportunity to rejoin after a designated time period.  During a suspension, the student generally cannot participate in any College activities such as academic coursework, student employment, student activities, or College events.  The student cannot be on College property for the duration of a suspension and will receive no financial refunds.  Return to campus may be contingent upon completing specified requirements.  Students who are suspended may not take classes at other institutions for credit.  In rare cases, the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, may make an exception.
  • Voluntary Withdrawal/Leave: Colorado College reserves the right to grant a Voluntary Withdrawal/Leave for a student in lieu of a formal conduct process and potential sanctions. Such a withdrawal/leave may or may not allow for the student's return. If return is allowed, an agreement will be made describing the conditions of the student's return, such as completion of a treatment program, medical documentation, etc. The student must request a Voluntary Withdrawal/Leave in writing to the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, prior to a scheduled conduct meeting.

The following additional sanctions (in alphabetical order) may be imposed on a group of students:

  • Disciplinary Probation: A formal written notice that any additional conduct violations could result in suspension of the student group’s status.
  • Social Probation: Limiting the student group’s social activities including, but not limited to, limitations on living units, Greek chapters, and student organizations.
  • Suspension of Status: Suspending recognition, registration, or chartering of a student group.

Note:  A student may be required to attend an assessment with a counselor or other appropriate professional to assess if further action by the College is warranted due to conduct impacting the sanctioned student or the surrounding community.  The sanctioned student will be responsible for the cost of the assessment.  If assessment results indicate a need for further action or follow-up, that will be required.  Students not facing conduct sanctions may still be required to participate in an assessment if there are concerns for student well-being. 

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E. Reprieve from or Reduction of Sanctions

The College encourages bystander intervention and proactive action such as seeking medical assistance when a student's health and safety may be in jeopardy, including when the danger arises due to the abuse of alcohol or drugs.  The College acknowledges behaviors that demonstrate care and concern for the members of our community.  Accordingly, the College reserves the right to provide a reprieve from, or reduction of, discipline to a student or group of students who exhibit responsible, proactive behavior in an effort to ensure their own or another student’s health and safety during an incident or situation that involves a violation of the College’s policies relating to consumption of alcohol or drugs.  Students involved in such circumstances should still expect to meet with College professionals to discuss the situation and any concerning behaviors.  A reprieve from, or reduction of, sanctions will only be granted by the College when the circumstances so warrant.  Generally, the College will not grant a reprieve or reduction if the conduct and behavior in question include acts of violence, vandalism, or result in harm to others. 

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F. Appeals

Any student who is disciplined may appeal such discipline, unless the student has agreed to waive their right to appeal as part of a negotiated resolution.  A student is limited to submitting one appeal per case. 

An appeal may be based on one or more of the following: 

  • New Evidence or Information:New evidence or information sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not known at the time of the original disciplinary process.

  • Failure of Process:Allegations that the Residential Life Coordinator, the panel, the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee (currently the Senior Associate Dean of Students or their designee), deviated from the Community Standards procedures in a way that unfairly affected the outcome of the complaint.

  • Bias in the Decision-Making Process:Evidence that a person involved in the decision making had a bias or conflict of interest which affected the outcome of the complaint.

  • An appeal may not be submitted because a student disagrees with the assigned sanction.

Appeals must be requested in writing by the student to the attention of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, within seven calendar days from the date of receipt of the letter (not including the date of receipt) advising the student of the finding of responsibility and sanction.  Appeal letters should include:  the stated grounds for the appeal (new evidence or information; failure of process; and/or bias in the decision-making process); any supporting documentation; and information and arguments relevant to support the appeal. 

The decision on an appeal will be made by the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee, based on the criteria listed above.  The decision may include affirming the sanction(s), referring the complaint to another panel or Residential Life Coordinator, or modifying or reversing the sanction(s) imposed.

Students should be aware that one potential outcome of an appeal could be additional findings of responsibility and/or increased sanction(s).

Note:  Sanctions are effective as of the date of the letter advising the student of the finding of responsibility and sanction(s).  Even when an appeal is requested, the sanction(s) will be imposed.  If a student wishes to have a sanction suspended pending the outcome of an appeal, the student must request this in their request for an appeal.  It is at the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students or their designee, to grant a suspension of a sanction.

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G. Parental Notification

At the discretion of the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, and in accordance with applicable law, including FERPA, the College may contact a student’s parent/legal guardian to inform them of the finding of responsibility and any sanctions in cases that so warrant, including but not limited to cases involving alcohol or drugs or where the student’s well-being was significantly endangered. 

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H. Policy on Disciplinary Conduct Records

When a student is found responsible for violating the Standards or another College policy, a disciplinary conduct file is created. This file contains information pertinent to conduct proceedings in which the student has been involved and found responsible. The conduct files are maintained by the Student Life Office. After a student graduates from the College, all recorded violations, except for those noted below, will be expunged from the student’s conduct file, unless the College is required to retain such files in accordance with applicable law. This means that the violations will no longer be officially part of the student’s conduct file for post-graduation reporting purposes (e.g., employment or graduate school admission). However, records of severe violations (those that result in suspension or dismissal) will be maintained by the College and will be considered part of the student’s conduct file for post-graduation reporting purposes for as long as the College maintains the record. The College destroys disciplinary records after ten years. In the case of a government agency requesting disciplinary records that the student has given permission to release (e.g., for employment), the full disciplinary record will be released. If a student has any questions about whether or they need to report any conduct violations for post-graduation purposes, that student should contact the Student Life Office.

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VII. Additional Resources

Parents, to assist your students with these Community Standards, please visit the Parent Role in Honor and Community Standards.

For recent data concerning violations and responses of Community Standards, visit the Community Standards Response Report.

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