Student Rights & Responsibilities

Welcome to student rights and responsibilities. This area serves as a hub for students' understanding of their rights and responsibilities as a part of the Hampshire College community. Increasing student knowledge of rights and responsibilities allows students to make positive decisions around interpretation of policy and personal accountability for behavior. The office is located in the Merrill Student Life Center, 2nd floor. Please contact the senior director of student affairs, Shawn McQuillan-Krepps, if you have any questions about student rights, policies, resources, or if you are interested in getting involved in student support opportunities offered by the office. Many answers to your questions about the Norms for Community Living process can be found in the FAQ section below.

Student Rights and Responsibilities Purpose Statement

The purpose of student rights and responsibilities is to support the division of student affairs and College missions by engaging the campus community around issues pertaining to social responsibility, personal accountability, and transformative education.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

If I have questions about the student conduct process where should I go?
Check out the rest of the questions in this FAQ, and if you can't find what you're looking for or would just prefer to speak with someone, feel free to contact student rights and responsibilities at 413.559.6545 or You may also contact any residential life coordinator in residence life or the dean of students office.

To whom does The Hampshire College Student Handbook apply and when does it apply?
The Hampshire College Student Handbook and the Norms for Community Living apply to all currently enrolled students, including those on field study, exchange, and other short-term programs. Accepted students should also be aware of the guidelines in the Student Handbook when engaging in pre-College events, online groups, and any other Hampshire affiliated context. Five College students who attend classes at Hampshire or attend Hampshire sponsored events on or off of the Hampshire campus are also subject to the terms of the Hampshire College Student Handbook. The Norms for Community Living and Policies are expectations for student behavior regardless of the location of the alleged violation.

Who are Administrative Hearing Officers?
These are professional staff from the student life division who are trained to facilitate hearings and determine responsibility for alleged violations of policy and sanctions when applicable. The residential staff typically only review first time and/or minor policy violations and have the authority to administer general sanctions, alcohol, and other drug sanctions, deferred status sanctions, and housing sanctions (excluding removal from housing) as listed in the Student Handbook. Other staff designated assigned to adjudicate all types of violations and have the authority to administer sanctions up to and including expulsion from the College.

Questions from Respondents (alleged of a policy violation)

I just received an email saying I’m required to attend a hearing. What is it/what should I do?
This letter outlines an alleged violation and the corresponding policies and you should attend the meeting. The alleged violations match up with the language found in the Norms for Community Living and Policies in the Student Handbook. The letter also lists the dates of the alleged violation and when/where/with whom you’re expected to meet to discuss what happened. You are expected to be at this meeting unless you have a Five College course or medical/mental health appointment that conflicts with the meeting time. If you have one of these conflicts, you should respond to the person that sent you the email immediately to reschedule.

What happens if I don't attend my hearing?
The hearing administrator will make a decision in your absence and without your input. This means you will be found not responsible, responsible, or referred for a hearing with the Community Review Board (CRB). You will be expected to comply with the outcome and complete any requirements.

What will happen at a hearing?
The conduct process will be explained to you, and you will work with the hearing administrator to determine how you would like to come to a resolution. The hearing administrator will allow you the opportunity to review any information available and discuss the incident. The process is restorative and educational. You will discuss who has been harmed, how to repair the harm and work towards an educational outcome to help change the behavior/ re-occurrence.

How is it determined what hearing administrator I will meet with?
For first time and/or minor violations of policy you will typically meet with your RLC. If you live off campus, and have a first time and/or minor violation of policy, you will meet with a student life staff dependent on the availability of the staff. For repeated violations of policy and/or significantly egregious violations, you will be assigned to a director or dean based on the availability of staff. Typically the senior director of student affairs does not serve as a conduct meeting administrator, but may for any type of violation if deemed appropriate by the dean of students.

What if I don’t feel comfortable with the hearing administrator I’ve been assigned to meet with?
It can feel uncomfortable to talk about behavior, and hearing administrators understand that and want to listen to your story. If you have a legitimate reason to believe a hearing administrator cannot be objective, please contact the office of student rights and responsibilities at 413.559.6545 or at least one business day prior to your conduct meeting to discuss whether you can be reassigned to a different hearing administrator.

I received an email saying I’m responsible for violating policy, but I didn’t have a hearing, how can that happen?
Two things could have happened: 1) you did not appear at your scheduled time for a hearing and a decision was made in your absence or 2) for minor policy violations, hearing administrators have the authority to render a decision without a meeting. These most frequently occur for fire safety violations and failure to comply with completing sanctions.

What happens if I am found responsible for violating the Norms for Community Living and Policies?
If you are found responsible for a violation, you will be assigned the sanctions listed from here.
Our sanctions range depending on:

  • The nature of the violation (what you did)
  • Prior violations/previous disciplinary history (what have you done before)
  • Mitigating circumstances surrounding the violation (unusual circumstances)
  • Your motivation for the behavior (why you chose to do what you did)
  • Sanctions in cases involving similar violations (precedent)
  • The developmental and educational impact (how is this going to affect you)

What if I disagree with the decision?
You have a right to appeal a decision if you meet the criteria for appeal specified in the Appeals Policy. You have five business days to appeal from the day a decision is rendered to you.

If I don't complete my sanctions, what will happen to me?
You will receive additional sanctions for failure to comply, and may be referred for an additional hearing. If you are graduating and fail to complete sanctions by commencement, your diploma and transcripts will be held until the sanctions are complete.

I have a student conduct record. How will this affect my graduate school application?
Typically, graduate schools will inquire about your student conduct record during the application process via a Disciplinary Clearance Form. Questions on these forms vary. The only sanctions that mean you are not in good disciplinary standing are disciplinary status sanctions. Please consult with student rights and responsibilities to determine if you have a student conduct record and if so, what will be reported to a prospective graduate or professional school.

Will my parents find out?
Disciplinary files are considered part of your educational record and cannot be disclosed without your consent. In most cases, your parents will know only as much as you choose to reveal. In rare cases, such as if you are suspended or expelled, your parents will be notified, and you will be a part of that conversation. If you would like your parents or some other party to have access to information about your student conduct history, you must grant the College written permission to release that information. Contact student rights and responsibilities for information.

Will conduct information appear on my transcript?
No, outcomes and sanctions are not currently included on transcripts. Student rights and responsibilities maintains a student conduct file that is separate from your transcript. All information about your student conduct history is contained in this file. This information is considered part of your educational records and cannot be released to outside parties without your permission.

Questions from Complainants (reported someone else for a policy violation)

How do I report an incident/concern?
Use our online reporting form. This form is NOT for emergency reporting; if you need to report an emergency or hazardous situation please call 413.559.5424 for immediate assistance. Any community member may submit a report and will be contacted during business hours to follow up on the report. Submitting a report assures the concern will be reviewed and followed up on by the College; not all reports become a part of the student conduct process.

Can I report anonymously?
Yes, you can anonymously report incidents/concerns here; however, without the participation of the reporting party, the process may be limited, so you are encouraged to include contact information. 

What if an incident occurred with a group of students?
If the students are a part of a recognized student group and an incident occurred in relation to the student group, you can still file a complaint using our online reporting form. Be sure you specify that this is related to a recognized student group and someone from campus leadership and activities will contact you. If your complaint is against a group of students who are not a part of a recognized group, use our online reporting form and someone from student rights and responsibilities, dean of students office, or the residence life office will contact you.

What happens after I report that an incident occurred?
Student rights and responsibilities will review the report and conduct a preliminary review to determine the possible policies that may have been violated. This preliminary review may include meeting with the person who filed the complainant, the responding student, and/or any witnesses involved. If the process moves forward, there are several options for resolving the matter. See the Formal Conduct Process for an explanation of the next stages. If the student has not violated any policy, the complainant will be presented with options for Informal Resolution.

How do I find out the outcome?
As a complainant, you will only be notified of the outcome if the case is related to physical or sexual violence; under FERPA guidelines the College is not permitted to release any other types of outcomes to complaints (or any other information that's a part of a student's educational record). You can be informed that an outcome has been determined (just not the specifics of the outcome) if that is helpful to you.

Can I choose to have my report reviewed at a Community Review Board (CRB) hearing?
As a complainant, you can share your preferences; however, the respondent has the right to come to a resolution through a conduct meeting if the hearing administrator reviewing the case also agrees that is an appropriate way to determine an outcome. If it is determined that the case will be reviewed by the CRB, the complainant is encouraged to participate.