the Committee on Discipline: Professor
Munther Dahleh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Staff to the Committee: Christy Anthony (email@example.com)
This current copy of the rules and regulations of the Committee on Discipline is provided for the convenience of the MIT community.
Revised September, 2006
The mandate of the Committee on Discipline is to adjudicate cases of alleged misconduct by a student brought to its attention. In all cases, the Committee acts with power, including suspension, expulsion and revocation of a degree.
The Institute reserves the right to take any action that it deems as necessary or appropriate to protect the intellectual integrity, safety, and well being of the campus community. To that end, MIT students are expected to abide by the rules, regulations, and policies of the Institute, as well as city, state, and federal laws.
In addition, MIT students who cross-register at Harvard, or participate in the MIT-Wellesley Exchange Program, or in any other exchange program are expected to demonstrate good citizenship at those institutions as well. While students are in attendance at either Harvard or Wellesley, they are also governed by the rules, regulations, and policies of the host institution. Cases of alleged misconduct by an MIT student may be referred by the host institution to MIT for adjudication.
The Committee on Discipline is a Standing Committee of the Faculty. Its function and membership are prescribed by the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, paragraphs 1.71, 1.73, and 1.76.3.
1.71 "There shall be Standing Committees on the following: Faculty Policy, Graduate School Policy, Undergraduate Programs, Curricula, Academic Performance, Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, Student Affairs, Discipline, Nominations, Library System, Industrial Liaison, and Outside Professional Activities."
1.73 "Each of the Standing Committees shall, in addition to the specific duties listed, be responsible for (1) formulating and reviewing educational policies and other policies which relate to its work, (2) requesting any needed clarification of such policies from the Faculty Policy Committee, (3) recommending to the Faculty Policy Committee any changes of such policies which it deems to be advisable, and (4) performing such other duties as may be delegated to it by the Faculty Policy Committee or by the Chairman of the Faculty."
1.73.7 The Committee on Discipline shall consist of six elected members of the Faculty, three undergraduate and two graduate students, and the Dean for Undergraduate Education , the Dean for Student Life, and the Dean for Graduate Students, ex officio, or representatives as designated by the respective Deans. Past members who have completed their terms may, for a period of three years thereafter, be called to fill out a quorum for a particular hearing, only one such member to serve in a given hearing.
Consistent with rule 1.73, the Committee adjudicates cases within the framework of Institute policies. Revisions to such policies are properly the concern not of the Committee on Discipline, but of the office or committee that is responsible for considering changes in the policy. In connection with its consideration of a particular case, the Committee on Discipline may seek an interpretation or clarification of an Institute policy relevant to that case through the Faculty Policy Committee.
Except to the extent inconsistent with the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, the Committee, after consultation with the Faculty Policy Committee, may from time to time amend these rules and regulations.
The Chair may appoint Associate Chair of the Committee for a period of time, usually an academic year, who will be empowered to chair hearings.
Anyone directly aggrieved, may file a complaint against an MIT student. Complaints against students by individuals who are not members of the MIT community (including persons who are not currently students, faculty, or staff but who participate in or are members of an MIT organization) will be reviewed by the Chair on a case-by-case basis to determine whether such complaints should be pursued in an Institute process, and, if so, how the complaint should be resolved. Moreover, charges of misconduct as related to an Institute function may originate from individuals responsible for such functions or for a department. For example, a Dean, a Director of a laboratory, the Chief of the Campus Police, the Chair of the Faculty, an Administrative Officer, an Officer of the Student Government, an officer of student residence, and a manager of facilities may initiate a complaint against a student. Complaints against non MIT students, the Institute, faculty, staff, or administration are not covered by these procedures.
A COD Panel and a COD Hearing are governed by the COD rules and regulations. Administrative reviews, which are handled by a staff member of the DSL office in charge of student conflict and discipline and one student member of the COD without the necessity of a hearing, are not subject to the COD rules and regulations except as the rules specifically refer to such reviews.
Usually those who have a complaint seek guidance from the Office of Student Citizenship (OSC) regarding the options available to resolve the complaint and the steps to follow in each of them. Sometimes complainants decide in consultation with the OSC that a letter to the student, mediation, or other means of addressing concerns are sufficient. If a complainant decides to file a formal complaint, the OSC will provide guidance throughout the process. The complaint, information relevant to support the complaint, the names of any witnesses, and copies of any documents the complainant plans to present at a hearing in the event one is held are submitted to the OSC. As soon as a written complaint is received, the OSC staff member to the Committee will contact the student being charged.
The charge and its documentation are transmitted to the Chair of the Committee on Discipline. After a review of the documentation, the Chair will decide whether or not a hearing by the Committee on Discipline is warranted, and, if so, if such hearing should be by the full Committee (COD Hearing), a COD Panel, or an Administrative Review. The Chair may consult the Dean specified and/or the Chair of the Faculty in reaching this decision. However, the determination by the Chair whether or not to hear a case is final, and is not subject to appeal.
After a decision is reached, the complainant and accused student are then notified of the Chair's decision and advised of their rights. Both the complainant and the accused student have the right to have an advisor and witnesses present at the hearing. Each advisor must be a member of the MIT Community (non-family, non-attorney, non-member of the media). If a hearing by the Committee on Discipline is not warranted, the Chair may recommend that the complainant seek a resolution through either the Office of the Dean for Student Life or other Institute processes for resolving disputes.
Off-campus misconduct may be a basis for MIT action if the Institute considers that such misconduct impinges on the well being or functioning of the Institute. The Institute reserves the right to determine its jurisdiction on a case by case basis.
The Committee typically observes the following procedures (the Committee reserves the right to adjust these procedures as it deems necessary in appropriate cases, and at all times to take prompt action outside these procedures in situations where there may be an imminent risk of serious harm):
The accused student is also provided with a copy of the Committee on Discipline Rules and Regulations and given ten official Institute working days in which to prepare a response to the charges. To expedite the scheduling of a hearing, the accused student may waive the right to this ten day period. The waiver must be submitted in writing to the DSL staff member to the Committee. The accused student should respond to the charge in writing. Included in the response should be the name of the advisor, the names of any witnesses who will be testifying at the hearing, and copies of any documents that will be presented at the hearing. The written response of the accused student should be received by DSL staff member to the Committee at least three Institute working days prior to the hearing. At the discretion of the Chair, supplemental submissions from the Complainant, the accused student, or both, may be accepted.
A student may not graduate if subject to a pending discipline case, defined as one where formal charges have been brought and the case is pending. The restriction of graduation is limited to cases that are sufficiently serious that disciplinary action, if taken, would likely bring a sanction of suspension or expulsion. This judgment of seriousness will be made by the Chair of the Committee on Discipline after consultation with the Chancellor and the specified Dean.
In the event that a case is brought after graduation, for actions that occurred before graduation, academic degrees may be revoked. The revocation may be for a specified period of time, after which the degree will be reinstated (the equivalent of suspension from the Institute), or it may be without limit of time (the equivalent of expulsion from the Institute).
2. The complainant and the accused student each have the right to an advisor in preparation of his/her response and to attend the hearing who is a member of the MIT Community (as long as non-family, non-attorney, non-member of the press). If the complainant or student decide to seek assistance from an individual who is not a member of the MIT community, they should be aware that such a person will not be allowed to be present at the hearing. Members of the MIT Community for this purpose are Faculty members, students, and employees. The student may ask the DSL staff member to the Committee for a referral to an adviser within the MIT Community. The DSL staff member to the Committee will maintain a list of faculty and experienced members of the senior staff in the offices of the Deans for Student Life, Undergraduate Education, and Graduate Students suitable for the role. The advisor may speak at the hearing with the permission of the Chair of the Committee.
If a complainant is unwilling or unable to gather the materials necessary to file a complaint or present the complaint at a hearing, the advisor who is a member of the MIT Community may carry out those responsibilities, with the permission of the Chair of the Committee.
Attorneys for either the accused student or the complainant will not be allowed to be present at a Committee hearing. The Chair may allow the presence of an attorney to the Committee itself in cases in which the Chair decides that the Committee would benefit from receiving legal advice during the hearing. When there is significant concern with respect to self-incrimination because of potential or pending criminal charges, the Chair may defer the Committee hearing until after any criminal charges have been resolved. When the Committee has deferred the hearing until court proceedings have been resolved, interim measures, including temporary suspension, may be taken by the Dean for Student Life.
3. The hearing is scheduled as soon as possible after the accused student's written response has been received by the OSC staff member. Once the hearing date has been established, any modification of the charge or additional charges must be submitted to the OSC staff member to the Committee and then to the accused at least three Institute working days prior to the scheduled hearing. However, the Chair may postpone a hearing or grant a continuance in any case for any reason deemed appropriate by the Chair.
The accused student has the right to be present at the hearing and to be heard by the Committee. However, refusal or failure by the student to participate in the hearing shall not prevent the Committee from proceeding with the hearing and adjudicating the complaint.
The accused student and the complainant may testify and present evidence in their behalf. They also may question witnesses presented by either party.
The Chair may call witnesses, including expert witnesses, to aid the Committee in its deliberations. Expert witnesses for the accused and the complainant will be allowed by the Chair only in unusual cases, and in such cases, the Chair should act to insure impartial expert testimony.
4. The Committee may hear cases in plenary session (a COD Hearing), a smaller COD Panel, or in an Administrative Review. Complaints of alleged misconduct that may lead to suspension or expulsion may only be heard by a COD Hearing. All other cases may be heard by a COD Panel, which shall consist of an Associate Chair of Committee (or in his or her absence, another faculty member of the Committee), an additional faculty member, two students, and a dean who is a member of the Committee or his or her representative.
No member of the Committee who had any involvement in the events relating to a particular case will sit on a COD Hearing, COD Panel, or Administrative Review that considers that case.
The hearing will be chaired by the Committee Chair or Associate Chair in the case of a COD Hearing, by the Committee Chair or Associate Chair (or faculty member serving in his or her absence) in the case of COD Panel, and by the OSC staff member in the case of an Administrative Review.
Members who have finished their terms on the Committee may, for a period of three years after their service on the Committee, be called to fill out a quorum for a particular hearing by a COD Hearing or COD Panel, only one such member to be at a given hearing.
The Chair of the hearing may decide to permit witnesses to be present at the hearing only during their testimony. The Chair of the hearing may make an official tape recording of the testimony, but not of the deliberations, for the sole use of the Committee and then destroyed after the deliberations are completed. No other tape recording may be made.
The Chair of the hearing shall warn any participant he or she deems to be disruptive or to be harassing or intimidating to any other participant and if he or she decides is appropriate, terminate that person's participation in the hearing, remove that person from the hearing, or take any other action deemed necessary by the Chair to ensure an orderly hearing.
The Committee's consideration and determination of complaints are confidential, and should not be discussed outside of the Committee process by members and staff of the Committee or by complainants, accused students, or witnesses. Confidential information includes the existence and substance of the complaint, the names of complainants, accused students, and witnesses, what is said at a hearing and by whom, and the findings made and sanctions imposed by the Committee. Any information regarding a complaint before the Committee or a decision by the Committee may only be communicated to other officials of MIT in order to permit them to fulfill their professional responsibilities, and only after consultation with the Chair of the Committee, to the extent it is feasible to do so.
Except as provided in Section VII of the Rules, the Committee's decision is final. The Chair of the Committee will usually meet with the accused student as soon as possible after the meeting. The decision will be transmitted to the accused student and the complainant in writing no later than ten days after the hearing.
As provided in Section VII of these Rules, a decision to suspend or expel a student, may be appealed to the Chancellor, and a decision by a COD Panel may be appealed to a COD Hearing.
The hearing will typically follow the order described below, although the Chair at all times has the discretion to vary the order as the Chair may decide is appropriate:
The Chair may call a brief recess at any time during the hearing.
Both parties are expected to offer their own testimony and the testimony of witnesses, if any, concerning the matters alleged in the complaint. Opening statements by the complainant and the accused student (#3) should normally not be interrupted with questions from the Committee. During actual testimony, questions should be limited to those asked for clarification purposes only. At any time, the Chair of the hearing can rule on the relevancy of any question or statement made or information provided by any party during the hearing.
After all the testimony and statements have been completed and all questions asked, the hearing is concluded and the Committee meets in executive session to reach its decision. The Committee shall decide either to dismiss the complaint or to impose sanctions in accordance with Section V below.
The Committee has the authority to impose any sanction it deems appropriate. Possible sanctions include, by way of example, reprimand, informal probation, formal probation, suspension, and expulsion. Sanctions may also include requiring direct restitution and/or designated service to the Community.
A decision to place a student on probation must stipulate the time period for which probation is to be imposed. Only time during which the student is enrolled and attending classes at MIT counts toward the fulfillment of the probationary period.
Informal probation shall be noted only on the student's record within the OSC. Formal probation may be recorded on the student's official transcript.
Suspension is imposed for a definite period of time. At the end of a suspension period, the student must apply for readmission through the Committee on Discipline.
If a student is suspended, the OSC staff shall notify the student's faculty advisor and Housemaster (if any) and the Registrar, who will have the appropriate disciplinary notation placed on the student's official transcript.
Expulsion implies that the student should not consider MIT for further education. However, to give the student the opportunity to have the decision reconsidered in light of the student's subsequent circumstances and accomplishments, the Committee decision to expel must include a time period after which the student may request the Committee to review the case. If a student is expelled, the OSC staff shall notify the student's faculty advisor and Housemaster (if applicable) and the Registrar, who will have the appropriate disciplinary notation placed on the student's official transcript.
If new evidence becomes available that substantially contradicts the evidence that a COD Hearing or a COD Panel relied on in making its decision, that evidence may form the basis for a petition to the Committee to reopen a case, although the length of time between the original decision and the petition may be a factor in denying the petition.
Formal probation, suspension, expulsion, and termination of expulsion are noted both on the student's official transcript and on the student's internal grade report, but not on end-of-term grade summaries except by request of the Committee. At the time the Committee imposes formal probation, suspension, or expulsion, it shall set two time limits:
All appeals must be submitted in writing to the OSC staff member to the Committee by the accused student within ten Institute working days of the date the accused student received the letter advising him or her of the decision of the COD Hearing or COD Panel. There is no appeal from the decision of an Administrative Review.
A COD Panel decision may be appealed to a COD Hearing. Such an appeal may only be made on one or more of the following grounds:
The Chair of the Committee decides whether or not an appeal will be heard by a COD Hearing, based upon the accused student's written appeal, and so much of the record of the COD Panel's hearing of the case as the Chair determines it is appropriate for him or her to consider. If the Chair of the Committee decides that the case will be heard by a COD Hearing, the COD Hearing reviews the decision of the COD Panel based upon the accused student's written appeal, and so much of the record of the COD Panel's hearing of the case as the COD Hearing determines it is appropriate for them to consider.
A COD Hearing decision to suspend or expel a student may be appealed to the Chancellor. Such an appeal may only be made on one or more of the following grounds:
In all other cases, the COD Hearing decision is final.
The Chancellor decides an appeal on the basis of the accused student's written appeal providing the ground(s) the student is relying on for appeal, and so much of the record of the COD Hearing of the case as the Chancellor determines it is appropriate for him or her to consider. The Chancellor will consult with the COD Chair on all appeals. The Chancellor may also confer with other participants of the hearing, if necessary to consider a ground for appeal. Before modifying or overruling a decision of the COD, the Chancellor will meet, in person or telephonically, with available members of the COD who decided the case, and will make a final decision after consulting with them. The final decision will be communicated to the same people who received notice of the COD hearing decision, and to any other officials of MIT who need to be aware of it in order to permit them to fulfill their professional responsibilities. When it is reasonable, a member of the OSC staff shall meet with the parties regarding any appeal decision.
If the COD hearing decision imposes a sanction of suspension or expulsion to take effect before the time for the student to file an appeal has expired, or while an appeal is under consideration, the student may request in writing from the Chair of the Committee a postponement of the effective date of the sanction to permit the student to file the appeal and the Chancellor to decide the appeal. The Chair may approve the request with or without conditions relating to the student's remaining at MIT while the appeal is pending. If the Chair denies the student's request for a postponement of the effective date, the student may request the postponement from the Chancellor, who may approve the postponement, with or without such conditions, after discussing with the Chair the student's request and the reasons the Chair denied the request.
Early removal of disciplinary notations or sanctions may be considered by the COD. A student seeking early removal of a disciplinary notation or sanction may submit a petition to the Committee setting out the basis for the request. The Chair of the Committee will decide whether the Committee will consider the request, and if so, whether it will be considered by a COD Hearing or a COD Panel.