The following terms are used during judicial proceedings. Students should familiarize themselves with these terms in the event that they must participate in this process as a complainant, witness, or respondent.


A written petition for a reconsideration of one’s case. Only one appeal per case is allowed. Specific guidelines need to be met for an appeal to be granted. See the complete explanation of appeals later in this section.

Various hearing officers and panels may hear cases on appeal.

Written documentation of an incident that alleges violation(s) of College regulations and/or community standards. Campus Safety Reports (and their addendums) may only be submitted by a campus safety officer.

Any person who initiates a complaint against a student alleging violation(s) of college regulations via a report or written statement.

Trinity College designates the Deans in the Office of Student and Community Life to supervise the administration of the College’s Academic and Social honor Codes. In those parts of the policy that refers to actions by “the dean,” readers should note that they also refer to such persons designated by the dean to administer and resolve judicial cases.

Formal closure to a judicial case. The decision will include the findings of the hearing officer or panel in terms of respondent responsibility and may include any sanctions imposed if applicable. Decisions may be delivered by letter to student’s mailbox, via e-mail, or directly to the respondent. Written decisions are not ordinarily delivered to the complianant.

Any administrative staff member designated by the Office of Student and Community Life who is assigned to hear cases of alleged student misconduct.

A group of elected and trained students who serve a one-year term. A hearing panel or appellate board is comprised of members from the Honor Council. Each member of the panel has a vote in determining respondent responsibility and in the recommendations of sanctions. The dean or his designee will advise the panel on judicial procedures but does not have a vote.

Written documentation of an incident that alleges violation(s) of college regulations and/or community standards. Any College official, administrative staff member, faculty member, or student may submit incident reports.

Each case that has been adjudicated by the College is considered to be a Judicial Record. The Office of Student and Community Life maintains these records. Records are kept confidential, with the exception of the statistical reporting required for the Campus Security Act, the Parental Notification Policy and summary information to the Trinity community. Information on a student’s judicial history may be released with the permission of the student or in such circumstances as permitted by law. Judicial records are maintained on file for a period of seven years after a student terminates studies at the College or permanently when there are sanctions of permanent censure, suspension, or expulsion.

The policies and procedures contained in this handbook, governs all aspects of our residential living and learning community for students enrolled at Trinity College.

A student who is charged with an alleged violation of college regulations and/or community standards.

Formal reprimands imposed on a respondent who is found responsible for violating college regulations. Please refer to a non-exhaustive list of sanctions later in this section.

Initiation of Complaints

  1.  Whenever an individual believes that a student or student organization has violated the published regulations of the College or the principles of the Student Integrity Contract, he or she should bring a complaint to the Office of Student and Community Life. Complaints regarding offenses in residential communities should be reported to The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community. However, residential community offenses of such severity that College censure, suspension, or expulsion might result will be referred to the Office of Student and Community Life. Cases alleging sexual harassment (see Policy on Sexual Harassment) will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator. For cases concerning alleged academic dishonesty, refer to Intellectual Honesty section in the Student Handbook.
  2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the hearing officer assigned to the case will review the incident and conduct any preliminary investigation as appropriate. The hearing officer will  determine if there are sufficient grounds to pursue the complaint and to use the College’s grievance procedures to resolve the matter. It is the responsibility of the hearing officer to determine the appropriate process to hear the case—a formal hearing before an Honor Council panel or an administrative resolution. The hearing officer may consider the following before determining the process:
    1. The preferences of the complainant and respondent.
    2. Sensitivity of issues involved in the complaint.
    3. The stage in the semester at which the complaint is presented (note that the Honor Council adjourns after the last day of classes each semester).
    4. Whether or not the respondent wishes to contest the allegations.
    5. Circumstances where respondent was “caught in the act.”
  3. Administrative Resolution—Administrative resolutions are designed to be non-adversarial proceedings conducted in an atmosphere of informality and fairness. The process is designed to hear all sides of an incident and to have honest and open discussions. Students will meet with the hearing officer in his/her office or another private space. The hearing officer who is assigned to resolve a complaint may use his/her discretion in determining the appropriate means to come to a resolution, including inviting other hearing officers to be involved. The hearing officer may, at his/her discretion, meet independently with all the parties to a complaint or choose to meet collectively. In certain circumstances and at his/her discretion, a hearing officer may make an audio recording of portions or all of the conversations with students involved in the process. All administrative resolutions are designed to provide the respondent with the appropriate information to understand the complaint and properly prepare a response. If the respondent remains unsatisfied with the resolution, that person retains the right of appeal.
  4. Honor Council Resolutions
    1. Cases that are not resolved through the administrative resolution process shall be forwarded to an Honor Council Judicial Panel for adjudication. The associate dean will assemble the following materials for the panel as well as for the complainant and respondent:
      1. A formal written statement from the complainant, or an incident report complete with a detailed account regarding the nature of the alleged offense. The dean shall provide a copy of the complaint to the respondent within a reasonable period of time.
      2. Any written response that the respondent elects to submit in his/her defense.
      3. Any investigative report (may include photographs or witness statements).
      4. A copy of the grievance procedures.
    2. If the respondent does not reply within 48 hours, or if he/she does not pledge to attend and participate in the hearing, the dean will so inform the Honor Council, which reserves the right to conduct the necessary hearing without the benefit of the respondent’s input.
    3. A panel of five students from the Honor Council will constitute the judicial panel. The members of the hearing panel will designate a chairperson of the panel to serve as the presiding officer.
    4. The dean will inform the complainant and respondent of the hearing date, review the procedures to be followed, and give both parties such other information as seems pertinent.
    5. A member of the Office of Student and Community Life will serve in an advisory capacity to the hearing panel and, during the hearing, as a non-voting participant. In the event that the regular adviser to the hearing panel is a party to a complaint, or has relevant witness testimony, that person may not serve as an adviser in the hearing of that particular complaint. In such cases, the dean of students shall appoint another individual as adviser.
  5. Hearings – The following rules and procedures shall govern all hearings
    1. A member of the Honor Council shall recuse him/herself from a case if he/she is involved in the matter in some way.
    2. The complainant and respondent are expected to attend all sessions of the hearing, except that either may be excused at his/her own request by the chairperson of the hearing panel. No hearing session will be held without the complainant and the respondent having been given ample notice and opportunity to attend.
    3. The chairperson of the panel, the complainant, and the respondent have the right to name material witnesses and/or consultants and request their presence at the hearing. Each party to the case is responsible for notifying his/her witnesses of the time and place of the hearing and shall make all reasonable attempts to ensure that the witness is present during the hearing.
    4. It will be the chairperson’s responsibility, along with the hearing adviser from the Office of Student and Community Life, to interpret the College regulations; to inform the panel of correct procedures; to rule, with the panel’s agreement, on the relevance of questions asked by parties to the case; to rule on questions that are redundant; and to ensure that fair treatment and opportunity for civil and orderly participation are accorded to all parties.
    5. The hearing shall be recorded in its entirety (this does not include the panel’s deliberations) and shall be kept by the Office of Student and Community Life until the matter is concluded and no further appeal is possible. The confidential recording of the hearing is the property of the College and may not be copied or reproduced without the
      permission of the dean of students or his designee. In situations in which a decision of the hearing panel is granted an appeal, the appellant may request to review the recording. If the request is granted, the dean of students will arrange for the respondent to review the recording in the Office of Student and Community Life. The College will not provide a written transcript of the hearing to the appellant.
    6. Each party to the case may be accompanied by one adviser during each hearing session. Advisers may not participate directly in the hearing session, but they may consult freely with the person whom they are advising. All advisers must be members of the College community (i.e., current student, faculty, or staff). An adviser may not have formal legal training.
    7. Hearings will be private, and the proceedings kept confidential. Witnesses and consultants may appear individually; the latter may appear at any time in the proceedings that the chairperson thinks proper. When a consultant is called to provide medical or psychological information about one of the parties to a case, the consultant may, with the concurrence of the chairperson and dean, exclude from the hearing room the complainant, the respondent, or both.
    8. The chairperson and the dean may modify these procedures at their discretion to fit particular situations as long as any modification presents no advantage in favor of, or any bias against any party to the complaint.
  6. Hearing Sequence
    1. At the outset, the chairperson may read aloud the complaint and any response, written copies of which will be provided to members of the hearing panel and to the complainant and respondent. The chairperson or the dean will specify the College regulations involved in the matter.
    2. The hearing panel will first hear from the complainant, who may choose to make a statement, after which the panel may question the complainant. Then the respondent may question the complainant. Next, the respondent may make a statement, after which the panel may question the respondent. Then the complainant may question the respondent. In the event that there is more than one complainant and/or more than one respondent, the chairperson will determine the order in which parties are to be questioned.
    3. If witnesses have been summoned, they will next appear, in an order determined by the chairperson. Each witness may be questioned first by the hearing panel, then by the parties to the case. Witnesses may be recalled to the hearing as required.
    4. After all witnesses have appeared and been questioned, the hearing panel will question the complainant and the respondent. The complainant and respondent will also have a final opportunity to question one another and make closing statements.
    5. Within five business days after the hearing adjourns, the hearing panel will determine by majority vote of the members of the panel who have been present throughout the hearing whether the accused student has violated a College regulation and recommend a sanction that follows the guidelines for sanctions, below. The hearing panel may, at its
      discretion, consult with the adviser from the Office of Student and Community Life regarding an appropriate penalty. The hearing panel will use the standard of “preponderance of the evidence” (i.e., whether it is “more likely than not” that a violation has occurred) to make its decision.
    6. The chairperson of the hearing panel will refer its decision on any violations of College regulations along with any recommendations for a penalty in writing to the dean, who will, within five business days, review the panel’s findings for conformity to established policies and procedures. If the dean concurs, he will implement the decision. If the dean has substantial concerns regarding the recommendations on a penalty, he/she will return the case to the hearing panel within 48 hours with a rationale of these concerns for reconsideration. The panel will either affirm or alter its decision. The dean may not overturn the panel’s finding of a violation. The determination of an appropriate penalty is the responsibility of the dean of students (though he/she may entertain the recommendations of the hearing panel). After such reconsideration, the dean may not raise the same concerns a second time.
    7. The dean will notify the respondent of the decision and sanction.
  7. Appeals Procedures
    1. Respondents who have been found to have violated College community standards and have received a sanction(s) may appeal the outcome. An exception to this procedure relates to cases of sexual harassment where both the complainant and the respondent may appeal the outcome (see Policy on Sexual Harassment). If a student wishes to appeal the decision of a hearing panel or administrative resolution, he/she must notify the dean of students in writing within five business days of the initial decision. For those cases resolved through The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community, persons may elect to appeal directly to the Director of The Bantam Network in lieu of an appeals panel from the Honor Council. A judicial decision may be appealed only on the following grounds:
      1. Discovery of new factual information that was not known or available at the time of the adjudication and the presentation of which would have affected the original outcome. Omission of factual information that was known and available to the appealing party is not a valid ground for an appeal;
      2. Material procedural error that rendered the adjudication fundamentally unfair;
      3. Abuse of discretion in the issuance of a sanction, meaning that the imposed sanction was significantly disproportionate to the offense; or
      4. Evidence of bias in the adjudication.
    2. Upon receipt of the letter of appeal, the dean of students will review the appeal and determine whether the request meets the criteria for appeal. If the dean determines that there is no basis for an appeal, he will inform the student bringing the request of his decision, along with a rationale for denying any appeal. If he determines that reconsideration is warranted, he will invoke the following procedures:
      1. The dean will constitute the appeals panel, which will consist of two students chosen from the Honor Council who were not previously involved in the case and one faculty member chosen from the faculty jury pool.
      2. The appeals panel will be provided with all pertinent evidence, records, finding, and statements for review.
      3. The appeals panel may rehear a case in its entirety, following the procedures above, or the panel may solicit additional relevant information.
      4. After review(s) of relevant materials, or after rehearing the case, the appeals panel will determine that the original decision and sanction be upheld, or that the decision and/or sanctions be modified.
      5. The appeals panel will forward its findings to the dean of students, who shall, within five business days, review the panel’s findings. If the dean concurs, he will implement the decision. If he has substantial concerns regarding the sanction, he will return the case to the appeals panel within 48 hours with a written summary of these concerns for
        reconsideration. The panel will either affirm or alter its decision. The dean may not overturn the panel’s finding of a violation. After such reconsideration, he may not raise the same concerns a second time.
      6. The dean will notify the student of the appeals panel’s decision.
  8. Other Pertinent Information
    1. The Honor Council will function only during those periods when classes are in session at the College. At other times, the dean may either hold a complaint in abeyance until classes resume or he may take whatever other actions seem necessary. During the summer, the dean, or in his absence an appropriate officer designated by him, will hear complaints and take such disciplinary action as may be warranted.
    2. Requests for appeals of a disciplinary action may be submitted to the dean during a vacation or examination period. An appeals board will meet only while the College is in regular session. At other times the dean may hold requests in abeyance, or he may take such action as he deems necessary.
    3. At any time between the initial receipt of a complaint and the start of hearings, the dean may suspend temporarily, until the case has been adjudicated, any party to a case whose continued presence he believes would constitute a danger to the person himself/herself, to other members of the community, or to the well-being of the institution. Such temporary suspensions will not be entered on the student’s permanent record.
    4. Disciplinary action under these administrative procedures will be taken only when the complaint involves a published regulation of the College.
    5. In extreme cases in which a significant number of people are alleged to have violated College regulations in a single incident, the dean of students will use reasonable means to restore order and investigate the circumstances of the incident. He may invoke summary suspension, seek the aid of civil authorities, and take action under the law. If disciplinary proceedings are to be employed, they will be similar to those described above.
    6. All students who are involved in a College investigation/hearing are expected to provide all relevant evidence/information during the investigation phase and introduce all available information for consideration at the time of the hearing. A student may not appeal a hearing decision on a ground of new evidence/information if s/he elected to withhold relevant information at the time of the hearing.


The following is a list of sanctions that are authorized by the College.


An immediate dispersal of room occupants (e.g., other than the residents of the assigned space).

A formal warning of the incurrence of serious blame; clarifies expected behavior in the future. Further misconduct may be treated with more serious sanctions.

Lottery points are added to a student’s existing lottery point total, which means they pick later than they would, based on their standing prior to the penalty being added to their total.

Notification to parents or guardians regarding a violation of college policy and disciplinary action taken as a result of a judicial process.

The taking or removal of prohibited item(s) from an individual’s or organization’s possession. Confiscated items are not returned and may be disposed of by the College.

Censure is the result of more serious blame than that for which admonition is given. Censured persons are not in good standing and may be automatically suspended or otherwise restricted if they receive a second censure. Residential censures are noted in a student’s file. Notice of College censure is placed on the student’s transcript, either permanently or for the length of time specified when the College censure is imposed.

Requirement of the student to perform a specified number of work service hours. The student will fulfill this sanction in a specified campus department as approved by the hearing officer who imposed the sanction. It is the student’s responsibility to assure that the appropriate documentation has been completed and submitted according to deadlines to avoid being fined.

Requirement of the student to perform a variety of educational sanctions. Educational sanctions may include, but are not limited to, any one or combination of the following:

  • special assignments (e.g., letter of apology)
  • educational posters regarding policies and/or student conduct
  • research papers/personal essays

Requires a student to meet with an individual at the Health Center to have a nonclinical assessment of his/her health and lifestyle choices. Students might also be referred directly to the Trinity Counseling Center as well (please note that confidentiality will be maintained). The Health Center and/or the Counseling Center may also choose to recommend further evaluation and/or participation in counseling services.

Requirement of the student to provide restitution for damages done or other payment for expenses incurred as a result of his/her actions. Restitution may be required to the College, a specific department, or a specific individual as designated by the appropriate hearing officer or board.

Levying of monetary fines payable to the Trustees of Trinity College for policy violations.

In instances where a student has been found to have violated health and safety regulations/policies, College officials may conduct unannounced inspections of the student’s room to ensure compliance with our regulations. These inspections are in addition to routine health and safety inspections.

Removes the student from his/her current residential assignment, reassigning him/her to a new room. Specific restrictions on access to one’s previous residential assignment may be imposed at the discretion of the hearing officer or board.

Restriction is imposed upon an individual to prevent participation in some aspect of the College’s operations and life. Restriction from The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community prohibits the student from residing in any College-operated residential building on either a temporary or a permanent basis. Students may reapply for housing after the stated period of restriction. Specific restrictions on access to residential communities during the period of suspension may also be invoked. Restriction usually includes forfeiture of any fee rebate for the remainder of the semester.

Suspension is a temporary separation from the College and may involve performance of specific tasks. A suspended student is physically separated from the College and may not, while suspended, participate in the academic and cocurricular activities of the College or earn credits toward a Trinity College degree.

Expulsion is dishonorable permanent separation.

Recognition may be withdrawn from an undergraduate organization if it, its officers, or its members fail to meet the requirements stated above and/or violate one or more of the College regulations.

When an undergraduate organization does not have recognition, undergraduates may be forbidden to participate in its activities. Failure to observe this prohibition may be cause for a more serious disciplinary penalty.

Note: Suspensions and expulsions are permanently recorded on the student’s transcript. Fines, pensums, restriction, and censure may be imposed upon student organizations, including Greek-letter organizations. The activity of student organizations, including Greek-letter organizations, may be suspended under certain circumstances and the College retains the authority to terminate the activities of any student organization.