Standards of Conduct

Summary of Policy

Standards of Conduct govern the behavior and activities of students and student organizations on or off campus.

Affected Parties

All Students

Policy Statement


Students and student organizations at Dartmouth College accept membership in an academic community dedicated to the pursuit of intellectual and personal growth. Dartmouth seeks to provide educational opportunities of excellence, both in and outside the classroom, to help students develop critical thinking, integrity, judgment, appreciation of cultural and ethnic diversity, as well as social and ethical values necessary for community life. Dartmouth College expects its students and student organizations to conduct themselves in a manner which is consistent with the institutional community's pursuit of its educational objectives. The integrity of the Dartmouth community depends upon students' and student organizations' acceptance of individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others. All Dartmouth students and student organizations must abide by College policies as soon as they arrive on campus until graduation, separation, or resignation.

The College has developed a set of Standards of Conduct which govern the behavior and activities of individual students and student organizations on or off campus. Violation of the Standards set forth below may subject individuals or recognized organizations to disciplinary action. Changes in the enumeration or definition of these Standards may take place from time to time and such changes take effect upon appropriate notice to the Dartmouth community by the Dean of the College.    

Students and recognized organizations have an obligation to obey the rules and regulations governing disciplinary proceedings of the Committee on Standards (COS), the Organizational Adjudication Committee (OAC), the Dean of the College, and other College authorities having disciplinary responsibility. Further, individuals and recognized organizations are obligated to obey the decisions of the COS, the OAC, the Dean of the College, and the Undergraduate Deans and to meet, on, with the deans, the staff of the Community Standards & Accountability office, and other College officials in the course of an investigation.

Dartmouth's undergraduate disciplinary system is not intended to address every social ill or every grievance one member of the community may have against another. There are many behaviors that most members of the community would find rude, disrespectful or obnoxious that violate no College regulation and are, therefore, not adjudicable under the disciplinary system. The fact that many behaviors are not adjudicable does not mean that the College does not take them seriously or fails to appreciate their negative impact on individuals or on the community. For example, the College has developed the "Principle of Community" which in itself is not adjudicable. In this context, there are responses which are more effective and more in keeping with the aspirations of an academic community: expressions of disapproval in the exchange of different ideas through free and open discussion and debate, mediation, or other restorative processes.

Nevertheless, the College has established community standards of conduct which are adjudicable. The purpose of these standards and the system for implementing them is not simply to prohibit misbehavior and to punish violations of regulations. All communities, including academic communities like Dartmouth, have the need to articulate standards of conduct; to educate people about behavior and traits of character that the community wishes to promote or discourage; to protect members of the community from unwarranted interference or harm; to hold individuals and groups responsible for their actions and the consequences of their behavior; and to cultivate an environment conducive to the achievement of the community's purposes, in this case, the purpose of learning. In other words, codes or standards of conduct and disciplinary systems exist to articulate, preserve, and enforce the values of the community.

Students should recognize that student membership in the Dartmouth community is a privilege, and that certain types of misbehavior will result in temporary or, where appropriate, permanent revocation of membership. Students who have disciplinary cases pending are not eligible for a degree until the case has been resolved and the student has been restored to good standing. In any case in which penalties are imposed, the case is not resolved until the suspension, period of probation, or other penalty has been completed. Additionally, some disciplinary infractions may result in the revocation of certain student privileges including, but not limited to, driving College vehicles for college-sponsored activities, representation of the College as an athlete, or participation in an off-campus program.

Standard I

Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior which causes or threatens physical harm to another person or which would reasonably be expected to cause physical harm to another person "consensual" or not.

Examples of such behavior include but are not limited to:

Standard II

Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior that threatens the safety, security or functioning of the College, the safety and security of its members, or the safety and security of others.

Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Disorderly conduct. The College requires orderly conduct of all students while in Hanover and its environs, as well as at any College-related function or activity, whether in Hanover or elsewhere (including, for example, students on off-campus programs or players and spectators at "away" athletic contests). Any disruption of the orderly processes of the College.
  • Coercion, harassment or hazing.
    • Harassment is defined as abusive behavior or conduct that is targeted at an individual or group and is ordinarily repeated.
    • Coercion refers to the use of authority, intimidation, or threat to compel a person to engage in an activity against that person's will. Coercion threatens a substantial harm to the other person's membership or status in the community; personal relationships; professional or academic reputation or opportunities; extracurricular opportunities; or financial security. Such behavior directed towards a third party, such as an immediate family member or close friend, may also constitute coercion. Coercive behavior may include, but is not limited to, threatening to accuse someone of illegal activity; threatening to expose a secret that could subject the person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule or otherwise compromise that person's standing in the community; threatening to disseminate sexual images of the other person; or use of a position of authority to take or withhold action against the other person.
    • Hazing is defined in Dartmouth's Hazing Policy.  Harassment is defined as abusive behavior or conduct that is targeted at an individual or group and is ordinarily repeated. (See Hazing Policy.)
  • Stalking. Stalking is defined as a course of conduct (i.e., a pattern of behavior of two or more acts over a period of time) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress. (See Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy)
  • Students may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. (See Alcohol Policy.)
  • Students may not possess any falsified instrument of identification.
  • Students must comply with the College policy on weapons concerning the possession or use of conventional firearms, air guns, gas-powered guns, slingshot devices, knives, swords, fireworks, or other explosives.
  • Tampering or interference with, as well as destruction or misuse of, fire-safety, fire-prevention, or other emergency equipment is prohibited.
  • Tampering with locks to College buildings, unauthorized possession or use of College keys or access cards, and the alteration or duplication of College keys or access cards is prohibited.
  • Unauthorized entry or presence in private rooms, offices, or other restricted areas including campus construction sites and roofs. This standard applies to sporting events as well, where unauthorized presence in reserved, restricted, recognized and/or posted areas, on athletic playing surfaces, tracks, or sidelines is prohibited. (See Buildings and Facilities Policy)
  • Misappropriation (theft or unauthorized use) of, negligent damage, or intentional damage to personal or College property is prohibited.
  • In general, any conduct which interferes with the College's responsibility to protect the health and safety of its members or visitors, to protect College property or the property of others, to carry out its functions, or to provide its members and others with services would also be in violation of this standard.

Standard III

Students and student organizations are prohibited from engaging in sexual misconduct as defined in the Dartmouth Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy (SMP). Allegations of sexual misconduct are resolved according to the process described in the Process for Resolving Complaints Against Students pusuant to the SMP .

The resolution of alleged College Standards that arise from the same facts and circumstances as an alleged violation of Standard III will be resolved using the Process for Resolving Complaints Against Students. Alleged violations of other College Standards unrelated to the alleged violation of Standard III will be reviewed and resolved according to the process described in the Disciplinary Procedures.

Standard IV

Students and student organizations shall abide by the College's Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy.

Standard V

Students and student organizations shall abide by the Academic Honor Principle. (See also Sources and Citations at Dartmouth)

Standard VI

Students and student organizations are subject to disciplinary action for violation of the laws of any jurisdiction, whether local, state, federal, or foreign. Evidence of a conviction, including a plea agreement, in a court proceeding, or written admission of a violation of this standard shall be conclusive as to a violation of law. Pendency of an appeal of a conviction shall not affect the application of this standard.

In cases where a student's criminal or court record is expunged, the student can petition to the Office of Community Standards & Accountability to have the sanction that resulted from the criminal record removed from the student's disciplinary file. Discipline that is a result of conduct that came to the attention of the College outside of the criminal process will not normally be removed from the file and any disciplinary action that followed the criminal activity will not normally be changed.

In some situations, conduct that may violate the law may also violate other Standards of Conduct. The possibility that a student may face criminal charges does not limit the CSA's ability to proceed with the disciplinary procedures set forth herein. The College will take independent action based on misconduct that violates College Standards of Conduct, regardless of the status or outcome of any criminal proceedings.

Standard VII

Students and student organizations must abide by College policies, rules, and regulations.

These include, but are not limited to, those policies, rules, or regulations published in the undergraduate Student Handbook or any other official College publications, as well as the operating regulations (both written and oral) of academic and non-academic offices, centers, classrooms, laboratories, and departments of the College.

Standard VIII

Students and student organizations must not intentionally disrupt, interfere with, or obstruct teaching, research, or College administration.

Actions among those considered to constitute intentional disruption of the orderly processes of the College include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The unauthorized entry into, or occupation of a private office, work area, or a closed and/or posted College building;
  • The failure to maintain clear passage into, out of, or to any part of a College building or passageway;
  • Conduct that interferes with normal activities or movements in a building, including the failure to vacate a building or office at its normal closing time (the presence of College employees or other authorized individuals in a building or office after hours does not alter the normal closing time);
  • Conduct that restricts or prevents College employees from performing their duties; or
  • Conduct (including by way of example, obstruction, noise, or the display of banners or objects) that prevents or disrupts the effective carrying out of a College function or approved activity, such as classes, lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, and public events.

Interference with fair and equal access to the computing and library resources of the College is also prohibited by this standard.

Students must also abide by the Spectator Policy for athletic events.

Standard IX

Students and student organizations must not intentionally fail to comply with the directives of the College nor misrepresent themselves to College officials.

Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to comply with the directions of law enforcement officers or College officials acting in the performance of their duties.
  • Knowingly providing false information or making misrepresentations to any College officer, College committee, duly-recognized College organization, or member of the College community acting on behalf of the College; or in any way misrepresenting to any individual or agency their status at, or relationship with, the College (e.g., enrolled, graduated, authorized to represent, etc.).
  • Students are obligated to provide College personnel with accurate identification upon request.
  • Students may not forge, alter, or misrepresent information presented during the admission or request to return process. They may not otherwise make false statements during the admission or request to return process.
  • Students may not forge, alter, and/or use or possess without authorization College documents, records, billing numbers, or instruments of identification.
  • Failure to complete mandatory community education programs.
  • Failure to comply with disciplinary sanctions imposed by the College.

In addition, students, including witnesses, must cooperate fully in the course of the investigation and disposition of possible violations of the Standards of Conduct. Cooperation may include meeting with or communicating honestly with Safety and Security, the Office of Community Standards & Accountability, deans, or other College officials as requested. Students, including witnesses, are expected to participate in disciplinary hearings as requested. It is an expectation of citizenship in this community that students with information about possible violations of community standards respond and participate when called. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary sanctions.

Effective Date

July 1, 2015

Last Revised Date

September 27, 2021

Office of Primary Responsibility