(The following applies to all disciplinary cases except those which fall under our Title IX Policy on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual-or Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment.)
Behavior: The Conservatory requires its students to behave responsibly, safely, and with full regard to the values of this community. It also requires them to follow the instructions of school officers. If you refuse a directive from a representative of campus security, Residence Hall staff, faculty, or administration, you violate regulations and may be subject to disciplinary action.
Destruction or Theft of Property: Students share in responsibility for the upkeep of buildings and equipment. Any student who damages or defaces school property or the property of others will be liable for damages and subject to disciplinary action. In the Residence Hall, common area damages are the responsibility of all residents of the floor on which the damage occurs, unless the responsible party can be identified. Residence Hall common area damages are billed collectively against the housing deposits for students on the floor in question.
Grievance Procedure: A student who feels unfairly treated by another member of the Conservatory community may seek recourse either formally or informally, through the following grievance processes. Students will not be reprimanded or discriminated against for initiating an inquiry or complaint in accordance with the processes.
Informal Grievance Process: The informal grievance process is an attempt to resolve a grievance by sitting down with the other party and discussing the differing points of view.
If the parties cannot resolve the problem, or if there is a complaint or suggestion you wish to make, it is important to know where to go and to whom you can speak. Here are some guidelines:
- In administrative areas, such as Admissions, Registration, Advising, Financial Aid, Building Operations, etc., you should take your concerns to the Director of that area. In some cases, you may find it easier to talk to one of the staff members in these offices.
- If in doubt about whom to approach, the Office of Student Services can refer you to the appropriate office or person. If the problem involves perceived sexual harassment or misconduct, you should refer to the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Department chairs play an important role as “third parties” when there is a problem with a faculty member or an instructor. While you are encouraged to approach the teacher first, some students find this difficult and prefer to ask the chair for assistance. If the problem is with the chairperson as a faculty member, you should address your concerns to the Provost and Dean of the College.
Formal Grievance Procedure: If the difficulty remains, the student should follow guidelines set forth in the Grievance Policy. (See Policy Statements)
The Provost and Dean of Students of the Conservatory has jurisdiction over all matters of student discipline and disciplinary procedure.
The purpose of these procedures is to provide a fair and orderly means to address violations of Conservatory rules and regulations, as defined in the Academic Catalog, this Handbook, the housing contract, and in notices posted or circulated by New England Conservatory.
C. Student Conduct
The Conservatory has regulations and traditions governing the behavior of its students. These are necessary to insure both the rights of individuals and the needs of the community. Students are responsible for understanding and following the Conservatory’s rules and regulations.
New England Conservatory expects students to act with maturity, honesty, and responsibility. Any behavior that infringes upon the safety, property, rights, or privileges of others, or which impedes the educational process, is not acceptable. As part of a larger community, the Conservatory also expects students to comply with its regulations, as well as local, state and federal laws both on and off campus.
The Conservatory reserves the right to require students to seek hospitalization when their behavior suggests an immediate threat to themselves or the NEC community.
D. Disciplinary Code
The Conservatory urges students facing a disciplinary action to inform parents or guardians, as Federal law permits the Conservatory, under certain circumstances, to report the results of disciplinary proceedings to parents and the community as a whole. The following conduct may subject a student to disciplinary action:
- Any violation of Conservatory rules and regulations.
- Any conduct that violates expectations for behavior at the Conservatory by disrupting the community or endangering any of its members, including oneself.
- Any act of academic dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, or knowingly furnishing false information (see Academic Integrity).
- Any violation of Residence Hall rules and regulations (see Residence Hall Policies).
- The theft or destruction of any property located on Conservatory premises, or belonging to any member of its community.
- The threat, or act, of physical violence against any student, faculty, or staff member.
- The use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or drugs in violation of local, state, or federal laws (see regulations, below).
- Any act of discrimination against another student, teacher, administrator, or Conservatory employee on the basis of race or ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Any conduct that constitutes a crime under law, whether occurring on or off campus.
- Any act of sexual misconduct (see Sexual Misconduct Policy).
- Lying to or bribing a Conservatory official, including faculty, staff, security guards, and student students at the Conservatory.
- Misuse of any Conservatory equipment, including instruments from the Instrument Library, Residence Hall furnishings, computer terminals, library materials, audio/visual equipment, etc., in a manner that violates the law or the property rights of the Conservatory and/or others.
- Failure to display an appropriate NEC ID to staff, faculty, staff, or security guards, or the falsification of one’s identity for the purpose of gaining access to an NEC building or in an effort to avoid accurate identification by any member of the Conservatory community.
- Behavior that repeatedly disturbs, interferes with, or otherwise interrupts the academic, musical, or cultural activities at NEC; examples include pager and cell phone interruptions in class, rehearsals, or lessons; excessive noise; or the use of other electronic or mechanical devices that are distracting in a classroom environment.
- Any act of inappropriate access to employment, financial, academic, or other records regarding one’s self or others at NEC, whether as a result of “hacking” or direct access, including efforts to alter one’s own billing charges, library fines, or other obligations to the Conservatory.
- Unauthorized use of the name, logo, or seal of New England Conservatory of Music by individuals or groups, or misrepresentation by individuals or groups as authorized spokespersons on behalf of New England Conservatory of Music or any of its offices, departments, or students.
- Display on or within public areas of NEC property of any literature, films, pictures, images, advertisements, flyers, websites, or other materials that an average person applying contemporary community standards would find, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
E. Public Law
The Conservatory does not protect students from the consequences of violating federal, state or local laws, and public authorities may act independently to investigate and prosecute such violations. Students charged with legal violations committed on or off campus will also be subject to NEC disciplinary proceedings. The accused student, however, may request a suspension of disciplinary proceedings until the conclusion of a court case. The Dean of Students will then decide if such a suspension is in the best interests of the Conservatory and the student. Nevertheless, if the Dean determines that the student is a potential threat to the safety or security of individuals, he may suspend the student without prejudice to his or her record until the conclusion of the court case.
F. Disciplinary Procedures
- Filing a complaint:
Any member of the NEC community may report a violation of the student disciplinary code to the Dean of Students, or the Dean may initiate disciplinary action when he/she has reason to believe a student has violated that code.
After consulting with appropriate personnel, the Dean will either:
a. attempt to resolve the reported violation without a formal hearing; or
b. initiate formal proceedings.
In extreme cases in which the Dean determines that there is an imminent risk to the safety of community members or the ongoing functions of NEC and its community, the Dean may suspend or otherwise restrict NEC access for the accused student without prejudice to his or her record until the conclusion of the disciplinary proceeding.
- Internal Investigations and Proceedings:
The Dean of Students may proceed with an informal inquiry into an alleged violation of the
disciplinary code to try to determine if such a violation has occurred, or to attempt to resolve the matter. The inquiry may include any student, faculty, or staff deemed appropriate by the Dean.
As part of this inquiry, the Dean may:
a. determine that no further disciplinary hearing is required and so resolve the issue.
b. drop the case if he determines that there is insufficient evidence of any alleged violation.
c. accept an accused student’s petition, admitting to a disciplinary code violation and agreeing to
sanctions determined by the Dean.
d. hold the case for a reasonable time (up to four weeks) while seeking more information.
e. refer the case to the Student Disciplinary Committee for a formal hearing.
The student may appeal an informal sanction to the Discipline Committee.
- Student Disciplinary Committee:
The Dean has the authority to convene the Student Discipline Committee, consisting of the Dean or Assistant Dean of Students (chair), two faculty members, the Assistant Dean of Campus Life, a Resident Assistant or Graduate Assistant, and a representative of the Student Senate, as well as the chair of the student’s department. In addition, a student may elect to invite his/her studio teacher to be present at the proceedings. An accused student may challenge any Committee member for cause, which might include such matters as personal involvement, prior bias, or conflict of interest. Challenges for cause must be in writing and will be decided by the Provost and Dean of the College. A simple majority constitutes a Committee quorum. Discipline Committee hearings are closed to the public; only the Committee members, the person(s) bringing the disciplinary charges, witnesses, accused students and their advisors (one per accused student), and appropriate administrative and faculty personnel (at the discretion of the Dean of Students) are permitted to attend. In conducting its sessions, the Student Discipline Committee will follow these provisions:
a. Notice: an accused student will receive written notice of the hearing at least five working days before the date of that session, unless the Dean determines that circumstances warrant a hearing on shorter notice.
b. Advisors: an accused student may ask for an advisor from within the NEC community to help in preparing a response to the charges or in appearing at any hearing. Attorneys are not permitted, unless related criminal charges are pending in the courts, in which case the student’s attorney may be present but may not participate. In addition, any person bringing charges to the Committee may seek the assistance of any member of the Conservatory community.
c. Evidence, Testimony, Witnesses: an accused student and anyone bringing charges has a right to present relevant evidence, testimony, and witnesses; to know the nature and source of any evidence or testimony; and to question any such testimony. The Conservatory expects all participants to respect the confidentiality of its proceedings.
d. Committee Procedures: the Committee considers evidence, listens to witnesses, and interprets the disciplinary code. It reaches decisions by a majority vote.
e. Decision: an accused student will receive the Committee’s decision in writing within five working days of the completion of the hearing, unless specific circumstances preclude a decision within that time. This decision may include any sanction the Committee considers appropriate, including: warning, official reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion from the Residence Hall, or expulsion from the Conservatory. It may also make contingent requirements on a student, such as reasonable financial restitution, community service, or counseling that, if not adhered to, will lead to further disciplinary action.
The Dean or Student Disciplinary Committee may decide that a student’s disciplinary code violation is related to an emotional, behavioral or psychological problem. If that is the case, the Dean may propose counseling or psychological treatment and may suggest such assistance as an alternative to sanction(s). The student will be free to accept or reject such an alternative; if the student accepts it, the sanctions may then be suspended during the course of such treatment. If the student ceases such participation, though, the Dean may then re-implement the sanction(s).
f. Appeals: a student has the right to appeal any sanction imposed by the Dean or Disciplinary Committee. To do so, he or she must file a letter of appeal within one week of notice of the sanction(s). This appeal must be based on either procedural error or new evidence (that is, evidence not available at the time of the initial hearing) and must be addressed to the Provost and Dean of the College, who will consider and decide all appeals. An appeal does not presuppose a right to a new hearing, although the Provost and Dean of the College may conduct such a hearing if he wishes, or he may appoint a new committee, provided that it is conducted in accord with regular procedures.
The Provost and Dean of the College may affirm the Committee’s original decision, revise its sanctions, or direct that the case be reheard. The decision will be communicated to the student in writing no more than two weeks after the appeal is filed; such a decision is final.