Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you are accused of violating the Code of Community Standards, that means a Berklee student, faculty member, staff member, or another member of the community has submitted a complaint claiming that your behavior, as described in your alleged violation letter, is a violation of the Code of Community Standards. Know that the college, not that individual, is actually alleging the violations.
An alleged violation letter is a document, sent via email, which outlines to the student the alleged violation(s) of the Code of Community Standards. It also outlines an appointment time and meeting place for the hearing.
Please review the information in the Code of Community Standards to become more familiar with the process. Please contact us by email to confirm your appointment or call us at 617-747-2849.
If you fail to attend the hearing after additional follow-up from the conduct officer, a decision on the matter may be made in your absence. It is always in your best interest to attend the hearing and have your voice heard.
At the hearing, you will be informed of the alleged violation(s) and the conduct process. You will have the opportunity to respond to the alleged violations, ask questions, provide information, and offer your own account of the situation under discussion.
You are entitled to have an advisor. An advisor can be any person that you wish. The advisor's role is to support you during this process. Your advisor may not speak on your behalf during the hearing.
A sanction is determined on a case-by-case basis and reflects the needs of the individual student and the impact of the student's behavior on the community. Sanctions can range from an administrative warning to expulsion, as well as educational sanctions.
You are responsible for completing the sanctions that have been imposed. If you do not do so, a hold will be placed on your account which will prohibit you from registering for classes or making changes to your schedule.
The criminal justice system and the Code of Community Standards are not mutually exclusive. By virtue of being a student, you are responsible for upholding the standards of behavior in the Code of Community Standards.
The college has an interest in maintaining a safe community and appropriate standards of conduct for its students. This includes both on- and off-campus behavior, which can have an impact on the college community and the college mission.
Decisions with respect to student responsibility for alleged actions are made based on a preponderance of the evidence; that is, the hearing body or conduct officer will determine what is "more likely than not" to have taken place.
Policies are designed to support the college's educational mission. They are meant to support a safe environment where people can work, study and live. They are also designed to build and support the academic and social community, teach students about personal and community accountability, and challenge students to make moral and ethical decisions.
A student may request an appeal of a decision within five business days of the decision being made. The student must complete the online appeal form available on our website.
For an appeal to be considered, one of the following must apply:
- The student has new evidence available that was not available prior to the original hearing.
- The hearing process as outlined was not adhered to during the student's original hearing.
- The sanction is disproportionate to the violation for which the student was found responsible.
You can help to guide your student through the process and be supportive while holding them accountable to your expectations and the college's expectations. You can also help identify and provide necessary resources that will help your student be successful. Encourage your student to attend all meetings and complete any sanctions in a timely manner.
The student may have an advisor present, which can be any person desired, including a parent/guardian. The advisor's role is to support and advise the student, but the advisor cannot speak for or represent the student.
We may notify parents if their student has an alcohol violation or a drug violation, as allowed by the amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This act governs the release of educational records. We encourage students to speak with their parents and believe that, as adults, students should take responsibility for initiating the conversation. Students may also sign releases that allow us to speak with parents about a situation. In addition, you may be notified if there is an imminent risk to your student's health, safety, or welfare.
College is a period of exploration, experimentation, and testing of limits. Many students are transitioning into adulthood and may find themselves in new situations where they are testing boundaries. They may also be away from home and the daily influence of their parents/guardians for the first time. Students may make choices that are inconsistent with the values taught to them at home. Such testing is a normal part of the developmental experience. However, students must also learn that the choices they make may not be healthy and may have consequences. The Office of Community Standards balances the importance of holding students accountable for their actions with opportunities for learning, reflection, and personal growth.
Attorneys may serve as advisors during the student conduct process. However, they may not represent or speak on behalf of the student during the proceedings. If a student would like to have an attorney serve as their advisor, they must contact the Office of Community Standards to make them aware of this in advance of the meeting. Students are expected to represent themselves in all student conduct matters, whether or not they are also facing other proceedings related to the same conduct. Should the actions of an advisor become disruptive, they may be asked to leave. In addition, the Office of Community Standards will communicate directly with the student at all times, and not through any third party.
The Office of Community Standards is not attempting to determine whether or not a student has violated the law; we are trying to determine whether or not a student violated college rules and regulations. As such, the goals and the means of the criminal justice process and the student conduct process do not align. No delays are given to students to accommodate their interests in the criminal process. If a student chooses not to participate in the process, a decision on the matter may be made based on the information provided.
The student disciplinary system was not put in place to judge criminal guilt; instead, its role is to determine whether a student has violated campus rules. The courts have long recognized the differing interests of the college community from that of the criminal justice process. Although there are basic concepts of fairness that apply to student disciplinary proceedings, the student disciplinary system serves administrative and educational functions relating to the mission of Berklee. Many of the intricate rules and processes found in a court system are not necessary for the campus. The process at Berklee is less complex than the court system.