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Community Behavior Guidelines

Each student at Sterling deserves to have a positive learning experience. We consider two guidelines to be critical to our functioning as an educational community. Students who do not abide by these guidelines will experience consequences that may include dismissal from the College.

1. Behavior that threatens the physical or mental health, security, privacy, property or learning experience of other members of the community will not be tolerated.

2. Students must abide by the drug and alcohol policy.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

By enrolling in Sterling College, or by accepting employment, individuals agree to abide by college substance abuse standards and certify awareness of this policy.

Possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs (including alcohol for those less than 21 years of age) is prohibited on the Sterling College campus. This policy includes being under the influence of such substances while on campus or participating in college-sponsored activities (such as classes, meetings, presentations, social events, etc.). Abuse of legal substances (including alcohol for those 21 years and older) which results in destructive behaviors will be addressed by the Dean of Community as a violation of the first guideline for Community Behavior. Supplying underage drinkers with alcohol is considered a serious offense by the State of Vermont and by Sterling College.

Sterling faculty and staff do not consider themselves to be police. It is important for faculty and staff to feel comfortable greeting students anywhere on campus, without fear of being confronted by policy violations. If substance abuse violations are found, we will proceed with the Sterling College Accountability Procedures.

Sterling College faculty and staff reserve the right to excuse students from class or other college-sponsored activities who appear, or may appear, to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Further discussion will take place between the student and faculty/staff member and may involve the Dean of Community.

At Sterling there are two alternatives for addressing drug and alcohol problems. The first is health and counseling services for those who voluntarily seek help with a substance abuse problem. The second is disciplinary action for students found to be in violation of the College drug and alcohol policy.

A student who is aware of his or her own potential for substance abuse or is concerned about a friend may approach the Wellness team for assistance without disciplinary penalty. The Wellness team will recommend appropriate treatment and provide insight on how a student’s insurance policy may help with covering the cost of further treatment. Information from these meetings will be part of the student’s confidential medical record and will not be shared with the Community Council.

NOTE: A student who has sought help voluntarily with a substance abuse problem but who is later apprehended in violation of the policy will be subject to the disciplinary procedure explained below.

Community Accountability

Community Council and Community Review are practices of accountability based on the values of restorative justice.  The Dean of Community will investigate accusations of violations of community behavior guidelines, and may bring cases to a Community Council if there are questions of fact in a particular case, and if the violations present a significant concern within the community as a whole.

A Community Council will convene when it is determined that deeper conversations around community behavior guidelines are necessary. Community Council is comprised of the involved parties, the Dean of Community (or designated Administrator), one member of the staff or faculty, two Community Advisors, and two students chosen at random. The Council will discuss the issue at hand by asking: What Community Guidelines have been violated? Who has been harmed? What are their needs? Whose obligations are these? and What should be done to repair the harm? This process allows all parties to express how they have been affected by the issue, and for the Council to hold itself accountable for the well-being, safety, and integrity of our community.

Occasionally, a result of Community Council will be that a student is placed on Community Review. A student on Community Review will work closely with the Dean of Community, and possibly other involved parties, to follow through on the recommendations of Community Council, or to establish a plan for reparation if no Community Council was convened. These individualized plans may include mediation, counseling, and service, and are reflective of the nature of the incident. A student may choose not to honor the conditions of the Community Review, and may be asked to withdraw from the College. Additionally, a student who chooses to consistently or frequently disregard Community Guidelines may be asked to leave the College.

Community Council

Community Council is a regular opportunity to engage in conversations around the state of the College and our strategic plan. All members of the College may join Community Council, and there is a core group of students, administrators and advisors who have committed to the concepts of restorative justice and community accountability. Additionally, Community Council will convene when it is determined that deeper conversations around community behavior guidelines are necessary.