It is the belief of Amherst College that those engaged in education should be responsible for setting, maintaining, and supporting moral and intellectual standards. Those standards are assumed to be ones which will reflect credit on the College, its students, and its guests.
The College reserves the right to exclude at any time students whose conduct or academic standing it regards as unsatisfactory; in such cases fees are not refunded or remitted in whole or in part, and neither the College nor any of its officers consider themselves to be under any liability whatsoever for such exclusion.
All are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the principles set forth in the following three statements, which together comprise the Amherst College Honor Code. Failure to do so may in serious instances jeopardize the student’s continued association with the College.
A. STATEMENT OF INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY AT AMHERST COLLEGE
Every person’s education is the product of his or her own intellectual effort and participation in a process of critical exchange. Amherst cannot educate those who are unwilling to submit their own work and ideas to critical assessment. Nor can it tolerate those who interfere with the participation of others in the critical process. Therefore, the College considers it a violation of the requirements of intellectual responsibility to submit work that is not one’s own or otherwise to subvert the conditions under which academic work is performed by oneself or by others.
Article I: Student Responsibility
Section 1. In undertaking studies at Amherst College every student agrees to abide by the above statement.
Section 2. Students must review the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility via the Registrar’s Webpage at the beginning of each semester. It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand this Statement and to inquire as to its implications in his or her specific courses.
Section 3. Orderly and honorable conduct of examinations is the individual and collective responsibility of the students concerned in accordance with the above Statement and Article II, Section 3, below.
Article II: Faculty Responsibility
Section 1. Promotion of the aims of the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility is a general responsibility of the Faculty.
Section 2. Every member of the Faculty has a specific responsibility to explain the implications of the statement for each of his or her courses, including a specification of the conditions under which academic work in those courses is to be performed. At the beginning of each semester all members of the Faculty should review the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility via the Registrar’s Webpage; they are reminded of their duty to explain its implications in each course.
Section 3. Examinations shall not be proctored unless an instructor judges that the integrity of the assessment process is clearly threatened. An instructor may be present at examinations at appropriate times to answer questions.
B. STATEMENT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND DISSENT
Amherst College prizes and defends freedom of speech and dissent. It affirms the right of teachers and students to teach and learn, free from coercive force and intimidation and subject only to the constraints of reasoned discourse and peaceful conduct. It also recognizes that such freedoms and rights entail responsibility for one’s actions. Thus, every student bears the responsibility to protect the rights of all to express their views so long as there is neither use nor threat of force nor interference with the rights of others. Demonstrated cases of disruption of classes (whether, for example, by the abridgement of free expression in a class or by obstructing access to the place in which the class normally meets) or similarly of other academic activities will be regarded as serious breaches of this Statement and community standards and will receive appropriate sanctions.
C. STATEMENT OF RESPECT FOR PERSONS
Respect for the rights, dignity and integrity of others is essential for the well-being of a community. Actions by any person that do not reflect such respect for others are damaging to each member of the community and hence damaging to Amherst College. Each member of the community should be free from interference, discrimination, intimidation, sexual harassment or disparagement in the classroom; the social, recreational and residential environment; or the work place. Any behavior which constitutes sexual harassment or other verbal or physical abuse of any member of the community for reasons that include but are not limited to race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic identification, age, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation, gender, economic status or physical or mental disability will be regarded as a serious violation of the Honor Code, and anyone found guilty of such behavior will be disciplined.
Amherst College does not condone harassment of any kind, against any group or individual, because of race, religion, ethnic identification, age, handicap, gender or sexual orientation. Such harassment is clearly in conflict with the interests of the College as an educational community and in many cases with provisions of law.
The Title IX Committee, appointed by the President, completed a comprehensive review of College sexual harassment statements and definitions. Effective May 2013, a detailed Sexual Misconduct Policy, including conduct procedures, definitions and resources, can be found at the Student Conduct Code Section 3.
Amherst College is committed to establishing and maintaining an environment free of all forms of harassment. Sexual harassment breaches the trust that is expected and required in order for members of an educational community to be free to learn and work. It is a form of discrimination because it unjustly deprives a person of equal treatment. Sexual harassment can injure anyone who is subjected to it, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The College’s policy on sexual harassment is directed towards behavior and does not purport to regulate beliefs, attitudes, or feelings. It is based on federal and state law, which prohibit certain specific forms of sexual harassment; on the College’s Statement on Respect for Persons, which requires that a person’s sex and sexual orientation be treated with respect; and on the following statement on sexual harassment passed by the Faculty on May 23, 1985:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic work, or participation in social or extracurricular activities; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or demeaning working, academic or social environment.
The College believes that sexual harassment, besides being intrinsically harmful and illegal, also corrupts the integrity of the educational process.
Because it is possible for one person to act unintentionally in a manner that sexually harasses another, it is imperative that all members of the College community understand what kinds of behavior constitute sexual harassment. Hence, we provide here a general description of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment occurs when one person attempts to coerce another into a sexual relationship, or to punish a refusal to respond to or comply with sexual advances. Attempts to subject a person to unwanted attention of a sexual character, sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender also can be forms of sexual harassment. Thus, sexual harassment can include a wide range of behavior, from the actual coercing of sexual relations to the forcing of sexual attentions, verbal or physical, on a non-consenting individual. It is also possible that sexual harassment can occur unintentionally when behavior of a sexual nature has the effect of creating a hostile environment. In some cases, sexual harassment is obvious and may involve an overt action, a threat, or reprisal. In other instances, sexual harassment is subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.
Sexual harassment also occurs when a position of authority is used to threaten the imposition of penalty or the withholding of benefit unless sexual favors are granted, whether or not the threat is carried out. Sexual harassment, when it exploits the authority the institution gives its employees, or otherwise compromises the boundary between personal and professional roles, is an abuse of the power the College entrusts to them. The potential for sexual harassment exists in any sexual relationship between a student and a member of the faculty, administration or staff. Anyone in a position of authority should thoroughly understand the potential for coercion in sexual relationships between persons who are professionally affiliated. These relationships may involve persons in a position of authority over their colleagues (e.g., tenured faculty and non-tenured faculty; administrators and staff); or they may involve those who teach, advise or supervise students.
Sexual harassment also takes the form of unwanted attention among peers. Sexual harassment by peers may have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment. Sexual harassment by peers can occur between strangers, casual acquaintances, hall-mates, and even friends.
Because sexual harassment is a direct violation of the College’s “Statement on Respect for Persons,” Amherst College will seriously and thoroughly investigate any complaints of sexual harassment and will discipline those found guilty. Any student who believes they may be the victim of sexual harassment by a member of the faculty should consult the section on “Seeking Redress in Cases of Sexual Harassment” and “The Resolution of Student Grievances with Members of the Faculty or Administration” in the Student Code of Conduct. The Faculty Handbook gives further information about grievance procedures. Any student who believes they may be the victim of sexual harassment by a peer should consult the student-student grievance procedures in the Student Code of Conduct.
Consensual Sexual Relationships Between Faculty Members and Students
The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is at the core of Amherst College’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the faculty member, who in turn bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator, and evaluator. The college prohibits consensual sexual relations between faculty members and students who are enrolled at Amherst College and/or in Amherst College courses. Such relations compromise the integrity of the educational process and may place the student and sometimes the faculty member in a vulnerable position, reduce the instructor’s impartiality, and create a disruptive learning environment for all students. Simply having faculty members recuse themselves from supervising, evaluating, advising, or teaching students with whom they had or have consensual sexual relations is not sufficient; doing so deprives those students of educational, advising, and career opportunities and does not address the impacts on other students or other members of the educational community. Students who have general questions about this policy or concerns about a past or ongoing relationship may contact the dean of students.