Hamilton College emphasizes the importance of individual responsibility and accountability in the lives of our students with respect to co-curricular activities. This policy establishes when the conduct of individuals functioning as affiliates such as members, leaders, officers, guests, representatives, or others (including potential new members and alumni) of a society, group, organization, or team (SGOT) may have consequences for those individuals as well as the group as a whole. This policy also outlines the process the College will use to investigate, adjudicate, and hold groups accountable for potential policy violations. The College reserves the right to apply this policy or another applicable college policy to address potential violations of the behavioral standards described in this policy and other college policies, rules, and regulations. One or more of the College’s policies may overlap with this policy in a particular situation.

The privilege of being affiliated with an SGOT at Hamilton College carries with it particular responsibility for the reasonable anticipation and prevention of foreseeable violations of college policies resulting from either deliberate or negligent behavior of SGOT affiliates. Affiliates have a responsibility to act to prevent violations of college policies, and at minimum to notify the appropriate administrator if they become aware of a potential violation of college policies or problematic behaviors. Failure to do so could implicate an individual in a potential violation. All SGOTs are subject to Hamilton College policies, including but not limited to the Harassment & Discrimination, and this policy. An SGOT may be charged and found responsible for violations of College policies in but not limited to the following situations, and Group Accountability policies, as well as the policies outlined in the Code of Student Conduct

An SGOT may be found responsible for violations of College policies in, but not limited to, the following situations:

  • The conduct in question is actively or passively endorsed or supported by the SGOT or its affiliates;
  • Affiliates had prior knowledge that the conduct was likely to occur and did not take substantive action to prevent it (e.g., canceling the event, notifying the College or local law enforcement, etc.);
  • Affiliates helped to plan, advertise, or promote the conduct;
  • The conduct is committed during an activity paid for by the College or personal funds of affiliates or Hamilton community members;
  • The conduct occurred on property owned, controlled, rented, leased, or used by the SGOT or any of its affiliates;
  • The purpose of the activity was related to initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in the SGOT;
  • Non-members of the SGOT learned of the activity through members, advertisements, or communications associated with the SGOT, or otherwise formed a reasonable belief that the conduct or activity was affiliated with or endorsed by the SGOT;
  • Affiliates of the SGOT attempted to conceal the activity of other individuals who were involved;
  • individual attempt to conceal the activity of SGOT affiliates; or
  • One or more officer(s) of the SGOTs had prior knowledge or reasonably should have known that the conduct would take place.

In determining whether an SGOT or its affiliates failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent or report potential policy violations or problematic behaviors , the College may take into account reports of other incidents involving the SGOT. 

Investigation Procedure

Hamilton College uses an investigation process to resolve reports of SGOT misconduct. The Director Title IX or designee will assign an investigator or investigators to coordinate the interviews of involved parties and witnesses and collect relevant information. The Investigator(s) is authorized to contact any relevant people and to gather any relevant records not otherwise prohibited by legal protections of privilege or confidentiality. The Investigator(s) is responsible for the custody and safekeeping of any physical or electronic records, documents, or other tangible items obtained during the investigation. The Investigator(s) will make every effort to conclude a thorough investigation in a timely manner. Should an individual choose not to participate in an investigation, the College may choose to move forward. The College may also decide that there is not enough information to proceed and conclude the investigation. If more information becomes available at a later date, the College may choose to move forward with the investigation.

If the investigation moves forward, the involved parties will be invited to offer or identify all information they would like to be considered through interviews, written or recorded statements, and other mediums. Involved parties may also recommend witnesses. Decisions about interviews and collection and evaluation of relevant information, physical or electronic documents, and other tangible items, however, are ultimately at the discretion of the Investigator(s) in the context of impartial treatment of all alleged parties. In the course of conducting interviews, the Investigator(s) will ask all persons to sign a statement attesting to, or otherwise verifying, the veracity of the information provided. Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator(s) will prepare a draft investigation report with all of the relevant information including evidence and statements and share it with the Director of Title IX. The Director of Title IX will review the report and determine whether an SGOT may have potentially violated College policies to the degree that if found responsible, could impact the SGOT’s status. If the Director of Title IX determines that this is the case, the executive leadership of the SGOT will be notified of those charges in writing. 

If the Investigator(s) determines at any point that additional investigation is necessary, new information will be gathered, added to a draft report, and shared with the Director of Title IX for review. Once finalized, the Director of Title IX will share it with the Group Accountability Review Panel (GARP). The GARP will review the report and if they find that they require additional information to consider with the report, they will follow up with the Director of Title IX. The GARP will make a determination of the SGOT’s responsibility using a clear and convincing standard, determine an appropriate sanction, and provide the decision in writing to the Director of Title IX. The Director of Title IX or designee will deliver the decision to the involved parties and executive leadership. Individuals who are reported to have violated College policies will be referred to the appropriate judicial process which may carry additional sanctions should an individual be found responsible for a policy violation. The GARP consists of the Director of Athletics or designee, the Associate Dean of Students for Student Engagement or designee, and the Director of Student Activities, or designee. The College will make its best efforts to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.


Individuals who are found responsible for violating this policy may appeal the finding as to responsibility or the sanction within seven (7) days of being informed in writing of the determination. Involved parties must submit a written request for an appeal to the Vice President and Dean of Students (referred to as Dean of Students). In the request, the party must identify the specific grounds upon which the appeal is based and must provide all of the details the party wants to be considered in support of the appeal. The Dean of Students will not consider submissions or information from anyone other than the parties themselves. The Dean of Students will inform the Title IX Director that an appeal request has been made. The Title IX Director will make the investigation report available to the Dean of Students. Grounds for an appeal are limited to: 

  • a sanction inconsistent with the severity of the violation or otherwise inappropriate;
  • procedural irregularity that affected the GARP’s determination or the determination regarding dismissal (the Dean of Students is not to substitute their judgment for that of the GARP); 
  • conflict of interest or bias (generally against a party) on the part of the investigator(s) or Review Panel member(s) that affected the GARP's determination or the determination regarding dismissal;
  • and/or the discovery of new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility and sanction was made that could affect the panel’s determination or the determination regarding dismissal. 

The Dean of Students may: 

  • uphold the original decision as to responsibility, sanction, or dismissal;
  • remand the matter to the GARP. The Dean of Students may (but is not required to) take this action when there is a procedural irregularity that could be corrected in a review or the presentation of previously unavailable relevant information that could significantly impact the result of the GARP’s determination; 
  • remand the matter to the GARP with a recommendation that the sanction be modified, together with an explanation of why the original sanction is potentially inappropriate; 
  • remand the matter to an ad hoc GARP composed of different administrators. This will be done only in cases in which the Dean of Students has concluded that bias exists, or otherwise, when they feel as though the matter would be best addressed by a newly constituted review panel. 

Any determination made following a remand of a matter is subject to appeal to the Dean of Students utilizing this same process outlined above. Decisions of the Dean of Students are final.

Records and Sanctions 

In general, reported organizational violations of College policies will be addressed at the individual and organization level. A record of SGOT sanctions will be kept on file in the College's Maxient database. A notice of sanctions (if applicable) and change of SGOT status will be sent out to the community by the Dean of Students or designee and will be stored in any database or website deemed appropriate by the College. The College may choose to notify the community of a change in an SGOT's status as frequently as is deemed appropriate. 

Sanctions include but are not limited to:

  • Removal/suspension of social hosting privileges
  • Removal/suspension of funding
  • Change of status by the College for a short period of time (1 month - 1 semester)
  • Change of status by the College for an extended period of time (1 semester - 1 year)
  • Permanent removal of the SGOT
  • Removal of other recognition benefits
  • Restorative or educational assignments
  • Restitutions
  • Additional alternative sanction(s)
Access and Status Levels

SGOTs access to College resources and benefits is dependent upon their registration status and status level. SGOT status can be changed as a result of violations of College policies, conduct investigation findings, or group actions out of accordance with the governing documents of the organization including administrative lapses. Status levels can be applied to individuals.

Status Levels Definitions:
  • SGOT has successfully completed the registration and approval processes with the governing college office or department and is fully recognized.
  • Access to SGOT benefits: Full access
  • SGOT has unsuccessfully completed the registration or approval process with the governing college office/department or has voluntarily and temporarily disbanded. The SGOT is no longer eligible to function in any form on campus, in any college-affiliated setting, physically or virtually, unless it completes the registration process of the governing college office or department.
  • Access to SGOT benefits: No Access
  • Individual students who are on leave from the College are considered Inactive and are ineligible to function in any form on campus, in any college-affiliated setting, physically or virtually.
  • Definition: SGOT is eligible to function in a limited capacity under close supervision of designated office, department, or administrator under terms set by the governing college office or department.
  • Access to SGOT Benefits: Limited or no access for a set period of time.
  • Definition: SGOT is no longer eligible to function in any form on campus, in any college-affiliated setting, or virtually for a set period of time. 
  • Access to SGOT benefits: No access until the SGOT satisfies requirements set forth by the College.
  • Definition: SGOT is no longer eligible to function in any form on campus, in any College-affiliated setting, or virtually. Status is permanently restricted.
  • Access to SGOT Benefits: No access indefinitely.

September 2021

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