Student Conduct Policies

Introduction

Students enrolling in the college assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the college’s function as an educational institution. As a result, reasonable policies, procedures, and regulations have been developed to guarantee each student’s freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others.

Each student’s attitude and deportment must conform to standards inherently necessary to advance the educational process. Failure to observe these standards may result in referral of a student’s behavior to the Office of Community Standards for appropriate determination. If a student does not respond to the request to meet with the Office of Community Standards or designee, a hold is placed on the student’s record, thereby preventing access to transcripts, diploma or degree, grades, registration, course add and drop, and other college activities, including graduation. The hold is not removed until the student meets with the vice president or designee and an outcome appropriate to the nature of the unacceptable behavior is determined.  Depending on the nature of the unacceptable behavior, the consequence could range from a disciplinary warning up to and including suspension or dismissal from the college. Student who fail to comply with the regulations of Boston Conservatory at Berklee may be dismissed from the college at any time with no reimbursement of fees. The college may withdraw scholarship funds from students who receive disciplinary sanctions.

Student Code of Community Standards

As an institution of higher education, Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides academic programs within an environment that enhances students’ professional and personal development, preserves the rights of individuals and organized groups, and encourages individuality while affirming a commitment to the community dimensions of campus life. Boston Conservatory at Berklee endeavors to provide a living and learning environment in which students can meet their creative, artistic, and personal goals. All members of the community are responsible for preserving an environment conducive to the pursuit of the college’s mission and programs.

By enrolling in Boston Conservatory at Berklee, students accept the responsibility to become fully acquainted with the college’s regulations, to comply with the college’s policies and authority, to respect the rights and property of others, and to recognize that student actions reflect upon the students involved as well as upon the entire college community. Berklee also exists in a larger society, and therefore, local, commonwealth, and federal laws will be upheld. Additionally, Boston Conservatory at Berklee strives to be a good neighbor and recognizes the importance of maintaining amicable relations with local residents and businesses. Therefore, students should be aware that the jurisdiction of the college extends beyond the physical boundaries of the campus. Activities that harm the reputation of the college, cause problems for members of the greater community, or suggest that an individual may pose a threat to others will result in disciplinary action. Being a Boston Conservatory at Berklee student is a privilege, and with that privilege comes the expectation that students will uphold the standards and values set forth by the college and will conduct themselves as individuals who contribute positively to the college community.

The college determines, publishes, and makes known its rules and regulations concerning the standards of conduct in the Student Code of Community Standards. These regulations should be read broadly and are not designed to define prohibited conduct in exhaustive terms.  The Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity, and Inclusion/Chief Equity Officer is designated by the college President to be responsible for the administration of the Student Code of Community Standards.

We expect each student and officially recognized student organization at Berklee to read, understand, and uphold the standards of conduct outlined in this and other official college communications to students.  In addition, unfamiliarity with college policies will not exempt any persons or groups from the conduct process. The college will take appropriate disciplinary action for any conduct that violates the Student Code of Community Standards, whether such conduct occurs on- or off-campus or online. The Student Code of Community Standards is reviewed on an annual basis with input from students. We encourage you to share with college officials and the Student Government Association ideas and concerns regarding these policies and their implications.

To review the complete Student Code of Community Standards, please visit Berklee's Community Standards page

Weapons

Possessing a concealed or unconcealed firearm, weapon, or other hazardous material is specifically forbidden:

  • On the campuses of Berklee and Boston Conservatory at Berklee at Berklee
  • On premises owned or within the control of the college
  • At functions sponsored by the college.

Items covered by this policy include, but are not limited, to:

  • Guns and firearms of all types
  • Stun guns, air guns, and spear guns
  • Machetes, swords, and knives, except for pocket knives with blades less than three inches and knives normally used for cooking or dining
  • Billy clubs, metallic knuckles, and martial arts weapons
  • Bows and arrows
  • Slingshots
  • Fireworks and incendiary devices, and explosives of any types
  • Any other types of dangerous weapons.

In addition, other than for use as props in official Boston Conservatory at Berklee activities, this policy also prohibits individuals from possessing replica or “toy” weapons on-campus, and from possessing on-campus component parts that can be readily assembled into a weapon.

This policy does not apply to lawfully obtained self-defense chemical spray.  An individual may carry a chemical spray sold commercially solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical.

Off-Campus Disturbances

College jurisdiction and discipline shall be limited to conduct which adversely affects the college community or the pursuit of its objectives. The college may choose to review or initiate the disciplinary process against a student:

  1. If a student is charged with an off-campus conduct violation of federal, state, or local laws; or
  2. When a student’s behavior off-campus interferes with the rights of others, reflects adversely on the college, or results in a criminal charge.

The circumstances of the case shall be reviewed by the Office of Community Standards to determine whether the student may be subject to further disciplinary action and/or determine the status of the student.

Students may be accountable to both civil and criminal authorities, in addition to the college, for acts that constitute violations of law and of the Student Code of Community Standards.  Although the college may choose to withhold adjudication pending further investigation or resolution of civil or criminal charges, disciplinary action at the college will normally proceed, concurrently with these civil or criminal proceedings and will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.  When a student has been charged by a civil authority for violation of law, the college will neither request nor agree to special consideration for the student solely because of their status as a student.

Hazing

Boston Conservatory at Berklee supports all laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts governing “hazing” for all recognized student organization members.

The college supports the right of all recognized student organizations to recruit members but in no way condones any act of hazing.  The following is Massachusetts General Law Chapter 269, sections 17, 18, and 19, which prohibit the practice of hazing:

17.  Hazing: organizing or participating; hazing defined: Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing as defined herein shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 100 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.  

The term ‘hazing’ as used in this section and in sections 18 and 19, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.

Such conduct shall include whipping; beating; branding; forced calisthenics; exposure to the weather; forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substances; or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.

18.  Failure to report hazing: Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section 17 and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself/herself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.

19.  Copy of sections 17, 18, and this section; issuance to members and applicants of school groups or organizations: Each secondary school and each public and private school or college shall issue to every group or organization under its authority or operating on or in conjunction with its campus or school, and to every member, plebe, pledge, or applicant for membership in such group or organization, a copy of said sections 17 and 18, and shall sign an acknowledgement stating that such group, organization or individual has received a copy of said sections 17 and 18.

“Each secondary school and each public or private school or college shall file, at least annually, a report with the Board of Higher Education and in the case of secondary schools, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with the provisions of this section and also certifying that said school has adopted a disciplinary policy with regards to the organizers and participants of hazing.  The Board of Higher Education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.”  

The college will take disciplinary action against any individual(s) or organization(s) where sufficient evidence of hazing is found.  Sanctions may include probation, suspension, or dismissal.

Drug and Alcohol Policy for Students

Boston Conservatory at Berklee seeks to maintain a healthy, safe, and productive learning environment for students and all its members. Boston Conservatory at Berklee, therefore, strongly encourages responsible decision-making regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. Recognizing the detrimental impact of alcohol and other drug abuse, Boston Conservatory at Berklee offers counseling and educational programs for students. All Boston Conservatory at Berklee students are responsible for observing and abiding by international, federal, commonwealth, city, and Berklee regulations regarding the use of alcohol and other drugs.
                    
The college is committed to a clear, meaningful, and well-publicized set of limitations and consequences that hold students accountable for alcohol or drug-related behaviors (both on and off campus) and provide necessary educational, monitoring, and support elements. The complete alcohol and drug policy can be found by reviewing the Student Code of Community Standards. It is the responsibility of each student to review and comply with the expectations set forth by Berklee regarding alcohol and drugs.
                    
The college will not tolerate conduct that disrupts the campus or the academic or residential environment, or jeopardizes the safety of another person. The legal minimum drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 years old.
                    
The college realizes that drug or alcohol abuse can be harmful to the user’s health as well as his or her educational and professional career and that the user can become harmful to others. Therefore, the college attempts to educate all students as to the prevention and hazard of drug or alcohol use, to maintain support and referral services for drug and alcohol users, and to discipline those students who violate the rules of the college.
                    
Massachusetts state law, applicable to all students regardless of home state or country, makes it illegal for anyone under age 21 to purchase, arrange to have purchased, transport, possess, consume, or carry alcoholic beverages. Regardless of age, the unlawful use of alcohol, drunk and disorderly conduct (including assault and battery and property damage), and violation of any regulations listed below are considered serious offenses and will result in disciplinary action and possible sanctions through the Office of Community Standards. Alcohol or alcohol paraphernalia discovered pursuant to a violation of a regulation listed below will be confiscated and discarded. Moreover, the college reserves the right to confiscate alcohol, alcohol paraphernalia, and false identifications as circumstances require. Confiscated items will be disposed of and will not be returned under any circumstances. Confiscated false identifications will be submitted to the Public Safety Department. All students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the following alcohol regulations:

  • Alcoholic beverages are permitted for persons 21 years or older and shall be limited to beer, wine, wine coolers, champagne, cider, and malt beverages. The alcohol content of beverages must be below 22 percent alcohol by volume. Hard liquor, distilled spirits, and grain alcohol are prohibited.
  • Possessing,consuming,or being under the influence or knowingly in the presence of alcohol under the age of 21 is prohibited. Being under the influence of alcohol may be demonstrated through one’s actions, behaviors, or the results of a Blood Alcohol Content reading.                                                                           
  • Residents or guests of legal drinking age may not possess or consume alcoholic beverages if any resident of that room is not of legal drinking age or if any person under the age of 21 is present in the room. Alcohol is also prohibited in any designated substance-free area.                                              
  • Purchasing, providing, or serving alcohol to or for an underage person is prohibited. Manufacturing, distributing, or engaging in the sale of alcohol is also prohibited.                                     
  • Students may not possess excessive amounts of alcohol on campus. Students may not possess more than the equivalent of six drinks per number of legal-age residents in a campus residence. One drink is equivalent to a 12-ounce beer, wine cooler, malt beverage, or cider; or a five-ounce glass of wine or champagne. One standard (750 ml) bottle of wine is equal to five drinks. For the purpose of clarity, students are only allowed to possess one standard bottle of wine. The college reserves the right to limit and/or dispose of any excessive or unsafe amounts of alcohol at the discretion of college officials. This regulation is a limitation on possession and storage and in no way is meant to suggest that the consumption of six standard drinks or fewer during a single episode is safe, healthy, or appropriate.                                               
  • It is the college’s policy that students and student groups may not possess central alcohol sources (including kegs, beer balls, punch bowls, etc.) on campus or at student organization events that occur either on campus or off campus. However, this policy does not prohibit a student over the age of 21 from possessing a common source container off campus as long as that student is not in violation of other college policies or any law, regulation, or ordinance.                                          
  • Regardless of age, no one may drink from or possess an open container of alcohol in a public or common area on campus or participate in drinking games. Open containers of alcohol are prohibited on the streets of Boston and could result in arrests and court action.
  • Possession of empty alcohol containers and paraphernalia is prohibited. Paraphernalia specifically includes, but is not limited to, empty bottles and cans, flasks, beer bongs, funnels, boxes of wine, and kegs. Shot glasses and drinking glasses (such as beer steins and wine glasses) are permitted. Empty alcohol containers including, but not limited to, beer bottles/cans and bottles of wine, are not considered decorative and are not permitted.
  • Creation, possession, distribution or use of false identification is prohibited. False identification cards will be confiscated and turned over to the Public Safety Department.
  • The college reserves the right to confiscate alcohol as circumstances require. Confiscated alcohol will be disposed of; it will not be returned under any circumstances.             

Students are also responsible for knowing and abiding by the following policies regarding drugs and controlled substances:          

  • Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence or knowingly in the presence of any illegal drug or any controlled substance not prescribed to the user by a licensed medical professional is prohibited. The odor of marijuana or any other prohibited substances may suffice to constitute a violation of this policy.          
  • Use of substances for purposes or in manners not as directed, including use of prescription medication not prescribed to an individual and/or providing prescription medication to an individual to whom it is not prescribed is prohibited. All prescription medication should be stored in its original, labeled container.              
  • Use of any substance to provide an altered state of being, including huffing, snorting, smoking, or otherwise possessing or using legal substances in manners not as intended is prohibited.        
  • Possessing and/or using drug paraphernalia is prohibited.                
  • Manufacturing, selling, transporting, and/or distributing controlled and un-prescribed or illegal substances is prohibited.            
  • Possessing, consuming, or being under the influence of legally obtained medical marijuana while on-campus or during college events, activities, trips, or classes is prohibited.
  • While Massachusetts has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, Boston Conservatory at Berklee policies remain unchanged. The use, possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana in Berklee housing, on Berklee property, or at Berklee events and activities is prohibited.

Education and Sanctions

The Community Standards, Counseling Center, Health and Wellness, and Residential Education offices help to educate the college community about the threat of drugs and alcohol to students’ physical and mental well-being and the learning process. The Counseling Center and Health and Wellness in Boston provide extensive educational materials, such as pamphlets, resource information, and self-assessment materials, which emphasize the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

Students who violate the college’s rules on the use, possession, and sale of drugs and alcohol are disciplined according to the established disciplinary policies and procedures. Sanctions include but are not limited to warning, probation, suspension, and expulsion.
                    
In some cases, the college may also require a student to participate in a drug or alcohol abuse prevention and/or treatment program, such as BASICS, which could include but not be limited to meeting with a member of the Health and Wellness staff to assess need for regular meetings or referral to an external professional or agency.
                
While the college desires to help students who may have a drug or alcohol problem, it will not be so tolerant of those who are found responsible for selling or distributing drugs or alcohol. In the case of suspicion of selling or distribution of drugs or alcohol, local authorities may be contacted. Local, state, and federal sanctions against violations of the law may include fines, imprisonment, or both, and the loss of federal financial aid for the year for the first conviction.
                    
Further, in accordance with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, a student who is convicted of violations of any criminal drug statute which took place on college property or as part of a college activity must notify the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion/Chief Equity Officer no later than five days after such conviction.
                    
Consistent with recent changes in the federal October 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (Section 952) and its amendment to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974), and as a part of a disciplinary action if deemed appropriate, the Office of Community Standards or designee may contact the parents or guardian of a student under the age of 21 who has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to the use of or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Smoking/Tobacco Policy Statement

The use of all tobacco products in all property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by the college is prohibited. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of an exit, entrance, or operable window to ensure that environmental smoke does not enter the area through entrances, windows, ventilation systems, or any other means. “Property” for purposes of this paragraph, includes all buildings, as well as leased or rented transportation vehicles, including buses, vans, and shuttles. “Tobacco Products” means all forms of tobacco, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes, e-cigarettes (any device intended to simulate smoking), and smokeless tobacco products.  In recognizing the health risks of people who smoke and the hazards of involuntary smoking to nonsmokers, it is our expectation that all members of the college community comply with Berklee’s commitment to a smoke-free and tobacco-free community.

While Massachusetts has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, Boston Conservatory at Berklee policies remain unchanged. The use, possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana in Berklee housing, on Berklee property, or at Berklee events and activities is prohibited. As a reminder, the Student Code of Community Standards outlines the policies regarding drugs/controlled substances, as well as our smoking policies. Berklee is a smoke-free campus. We prohibit the use of tobacco and marijuana, including vaporizers.