DETERMINING OUTCOMES & DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
Outcomes are what are determined as a result of the formal or information resolution process. If a responsible outcome is determined, students will be assigned an accountability and community restoration plan. These plans are comprised of accountability measures that focus on addressing behavior and actions utilizing an accountability framework that is centered around providing care and support for individuals and the campus community, engaging in educational opportunities and dialogues, and participating in transformative experiences and interactions.
The standard used at Hampshire College and other colleges and universities across the country to determine whether or not a student is responsible for a community standards violation is ‘preponderance of evidence’. Preponderance of evidence means that based on the information available to the staff member addressing the violation or the community standards review board (CSRB) that the reported actions more likely occurred than not. Determining responsibility is also called determining a finding, and a designed staff member or CSRB will either come to a finding of “responsible” or “not responsible" based on the information presented at the time the matter is address either through the informal or formal resolution processes.
The college's method of addressing student accountability and use of preponderance of evidence is different from criminal proceedings where the standard is 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. The community standards process is not a criminal proceeding, and the terms “guilty” or “innocent” are not used. Students are not considered "responsible" until an informal or formal resolution meeting has occurred, however interim administrative actions may be put in place at the discretion of the dean of students office until alleged policy violations or community concerns can be address through the community standards process.
ACCOUNTABILITY & COMMUNITY RESTORATION PLANS
Accountability measures are assigned as part of a students accountability and community restoration plan when they are found responsible for a community standards policy violation. Some accountability measures are assigned that provide notice to a student and others may require students to complete specific assignments and engage in educational opportunities and interactions. Accountability measure definitions can be found in the accountability measures section.
Some community standards violations have accountability measure guidelines defined within the policy. For policies that do not have specified guidelines, designated staff members or the CSRB will consider the outcomes in similar cases as well as any previous community standards violations that students may have been involved in within the past. In determining whether or not a student’s behavior and actions meets the expectations defined in the Student Handbook and Resource Guide, a “reasonable person” standard may be applied. The term “reasonable person” takes on a different meaning, often depending upon the situation at hand. The reasonable person standard compares an individual’s behavior in a situation with the behavior of a hypothetical reasonable person in the same set of events. This is not the standard used for determining responsibility in a situation, however the reasonable person standard may be considered in determining an accountability and community restoration plan when a student is found responsible for a community standards policy violation.
COMPLETING ACCOUNTABILITY & COMMUNITY RESTORATION PLANS
Students who do not complete their assigned accountability measure(s) by the deadlines provided may have a community standards hold placed on their student account and will be referred through the informal or formal resolution process for a community standards violation of failure to comply. If a student is determined to be responsible for failure to comply, they will be assigned additional accountability measures with the goal of addressing their behavior, action, or inaction.
If a student leaves the College for any reason before completing their accountability and community restoration plan, the dean of students office and office of community standards and student accountability have the authority to determine next steps; which typically consists of students being required to complete their accountability and community restoration plan upon return to the College.
If a graduating student has not fulfilled their accountability and community restoration plan, a notation will be made on a student's record in the dean of students office and depending on the severity of the situation the student’s degree may be withheld and official transcripts may not be released. In this type of situation, the student will be issued an unofficial transcript, which will be stamped “issued to student” and “outstanding obligation.” Transcripts will not be issued to third parties.
 Except in cases of minor violations of policy and failure to comply with completion of sanctions where students may receive an outcome letter without a meeting with a designated staff member. Opportunity for a conversation with a designated community standards administrator is still available.