On September 19,  the Judicial Board (J-Board) released its annual report for the 2013-2014 academic year. The J-Board heard 15 cases from last year, as well as one additional case left over from the 2012-2013 academic year. Of the 16 total cases, nine involved allegations of Academic Honor Code violations and seven involved allegations of Social Code violations.

According to J-Board advisor and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Lesley Levy, there have typically been 10 to 15 cases each year. However, last year’s number of cases marks an increase from the seven cases heard in 2012-2013. 

“I think [the number of cases] was higher than the year before, but relatively, it was [on par with previous years],” Dean of Students Affairs Tim Foster said. “I certainly can remember years where the board was a good bit busier than it was this past year.”

The J-Board, which consists of faculty members and students, is split into two bodies that handle different types of cases. The board that hears cases regarding the Academic Honor Code consists of three students and two faculty members. The board that hears cases regarding the Social Code consists of five students.

Regardless of which code is allegedly violated, the professor or community member who believes that a code has been breached first discusses the case with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. If that person chooses to bring the case before the board, the board members must decide whether the student is responsible for a violation. If the board decides that a student has violated one of the codes, its decision is final. 
Typically, the board looks at past cases in order to decide whether an infraction has occurred. 

“We acknowledge that each case is unique and there are specific details that change the nature of each case, but we really do rely heavily on precedent and try to stay consistent with our sanctions over time,” said J-Board Chair Jacques Larochelle ’15. 

If the board decides that a student is guilty of a violation, it will then discuss consequences and sanctions. These sanctions are recommended to Foster, or his designee, who can either approve  or change them. 
Foster said he hopes that students read the report and understand how much time and effort is put into the J-Board’s decision making.

“I hope that the report provides a level of transparency, while still protecting the anonymity of those students who were involved,” said Foster. “It’s important that their confidentiality is maintained but that we share information so that members of our community—students and faculty and staff—understand the standards that we hold as a community and how those are upheld.” 

The J-Board publishes its annual reports with the hope that familiarity with the information contained in the document will lead to a decrease in the number of cases it hears each year. 

“[The purpose is] to educate and increase awareness of our community standards,” Levy said. “It’s really important for students to know what the standards are and what the ramifications are for violating the standards.”
The J-Board meets with first-year floors during Orientation to discuss the Academic Honor Code and the Social Code and to familiarize first years with the standards set by the College.

Larochelle believes that it is equally important for upperclassmen to reread the codes each year.

“Take time to actually read through the code at the beginning of the year to remind yourself of all the components of it, so you have a complete understanding of what it entails and how to follow it properly,” he said.

Meg Robbins contributed to this report.