fbpx Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions | Harvard Kennedy School

Students are expected to comply with all disciplinary rules from matriculation until the conferring of the degree. A degree will not be granted to a student who is not in good standing or has a disciplinary charge pending. After a case is brought to the attention of the designated HKS disciplinary officer, he/she will consult with the faculty member(s) or other person(s) presenting the case and with the student(s) involved, and will collect written statements and supporting documentation from all parties. Disciplinary cases ordinarily are considered by the Administrative Board (Ad Board)—a body appointed by the Dean and composed of HKS faculty members and administrators—as quickly as is reasonably possible, given the Board’s schedule and the need to investigate matters carefully. Note that the Ad Board does not meet during the summer months.

If, upon review by the disciplinary officer and the chair of the Ad Board (or his/her designee), there is inadequate evidence to suggest an infraction of the HKS rules to justify review by the Ad Board, the case will not advance.

If, upon review by the disciplinary officer and the Ad Board chair (or his/her designee), there is adequate evidence to suggest an infraction, he/she will schedule a meeting of the Ad Board.

When it convenes, the Board will review all relevant materials and arrive at a conclusion as to whether there has been an infraction of the HKS rules and, if so, taking into account Board precedent and any mitigating circumstances, what disciplinary action is warranted. The range of actions the Ad Board may take is outlined in the section labelled “sanctions” in this handbook. All decisions require a vote of at least 2/3 of the Ad Board members present at the meeting (provided there is a quorum).

Procedures for Cases Involving Allegations of Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment

HKS has adopted the University-wide Sexual and Gender Based Harassment Policy (University Policy) and has incorporated the university’s Procedures for Handling Complaints Involving Students (University Procedures), including for purposes of student discipline. Harvard University’s Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution (ODR) has been charged with implementing the University Procedures, which include processes for initial review, investigation, and determination of whether there was a violation of the University Policy.

When the school receives an allegation of sexual or gender-based harassment against a student, either directly or upon notification from ODR, the senior associate dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs or the assistant dean for student services and programs will meet with the student respondent to explain, among other things, the disciplinary process that may take place following the issuance of ODR’s final report, and the range of disciplinary sanctions.

When the alleged conduct is found to violate the University Policy, the school’s Ad Board will consider the imposition of appropriate sanctions, as described below.

Regardless of whether the alleged conduct has been found to violate the University Policy, the Ad Board also will consider whether it violates other HKS rules and expectations for behavior. If so, the Ad Board will handle the case in accordance with its ordinary policies and procedures, as set forth above.

All members of the Ad Board will receive appropriate training in the handling and resolution of allegations of sexual and gender-based harassment. The respondent and complainant will be notified when a violation of the University Policy is referred to the Ad Board for consideration of discipline. Within three days of this notification, the respondent and complainant may each submit a written statement to the Ad Board solely for the purpose of addressing what, if any, sanctions each feels is appropriate. Neither is required to do so. The statements may not challenge the validity of the findings of fact and conclusions contained in the final report, and also may not introduce facts that could have been presented to the investigator or that conflict with any of the findings in the final report. The Ad Board will accept as final and nonreviewable the ODR report’s findings of fact and its conclusions as to whether a violation of the policy has occurred.

Sanctions

After review of the facts and circumstances in any case of misconduct, the Ad Board may take the following actions:

  • Charge dismissed
  • Admonition: a formal rebuke to a student whose behavior violates the rules or standards of conduct of the community. An admonition does not become part of the student’s official record.
  • Reprimand: a formal rebuke to a student whose behavior violates the rules or standards of conduct of the community. A reprimand does become a permanent part of the student’s official record.
  • Probation: a strong warning to a student whose conduct gives serious cause for concern. Probation is a formal disciplinary action and becomes part of the student’s official record. No student on probation may be recommended for a degree. Further, during the probation period, any further instance of misconduct will cause the Ad Board to seriously consider requiring the student to withdraw except in very unusual cases. The duration and terms of probation are set by the Ad Board.
  • Requirement to withdraw: action taken in serious disciplinary cases indicating that a student’s behavior is unacceptable in the community. Requirement to withdraw is a formal disciplinary action and becomes part of the student’s official record. Requirement to withdraw is ordinarily effective immediately upon vote of the Ad Board. The student’s transcript will show a permanent notation that the student was required to withdraw. Students who have been required to withdraw may petition for readmission under terms stipulated by the Ad Board. If a student is required to withdraw for academic or disciplinary misconduct, all scholarship and grant assistance is forfeited and assistance will not be renewed for subsequent periods of enrollment even if a student is allowed to re-enroll.
  • Dismissal: action taken in serious disciplinary cases whereby a student’s connection with the University is ended by vote of the HKS faculty (the action taken by the Ad Board is a vote of requirement to withdraw with a recommendation to the faculty that the student be dismissed). Dismissal is effective upon a 2/3 vote of the faculty; a second 2/3 vote of both the Ad Board and the faculty is required in order for the student to return. If a student is dismissed for academic or disciplinary misconduct, all scholarship and grant assistance is forfeited and assistance will not be renewed for subsequent periods of enrollment even if the student is allowed to re-enroll.
  • Expulsion: the most extreme disciplinary action possible. It signifies the student is no longer welcome in the community. Expulsion must be voted by the HKS faculty (the action taken by the Ad Board is a vote of requirement to withdraw with a recommendation to the faculty that the student be expelled). Expulsion is effective upon a 2/3 vote of the faculty. A student who has been expelled may not be readmitted. If a student is expelled for academic or disciplinary misconduct, all scholarship and grant assistance is forfeited.

Additional Policies>