Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Judicial Board?

The Judicial Board is the regulatory body which hears cases regarding student misconduct.

What issues do the Judicial Board cover?

The Judicial Board, through the College Regulations Panel and College Regulations Appeal Panel, Academic Panel, and Student Conduct Panel, covers all issues stemming from Vassar College’s judicial system. The Judicial Board also convenes to hear intra-organization disputes and issues arising from potential violations to the VSA Governing Documents.

Who comprises the Judicial Board?

The Judicial Board is made up of seventeen elected students: four representatives from each class and one at-large representative who serves as the Judicial Board Chair. The VSA VP President of Operations serves as a non-voting Constitutional adviser.
How do you serve on the Judicial Board?

Almost always, representatives are elected during VSA Elections at the end and beginning of the year. Students vote for their 4 class representatives and the one Chair (who can be of any class year). Occasionally, students will be appointed to fill vacancies should such a situation arise.

How is the administration involved?

The College Administration and Judicial Board dynamic is one example of the College’s commitment to shared governance. Although the College–through the Dean of Students Office–processes cases and develops the charges that a student might face in the event of a potential violation of College Regulations, the members of the Judicial Board serve as a pool from which representatives volunteer to serve on panels. Depending on the type of panel, the Administration’s role is minimal. For example, the Student Conduct panel is made up of exclusively students that hears cases without the “say” of a College administrator.

How can I lodge a complaint against another student?

To lodge a complaint a student may approach Safety and Security, the Dean of Students, or a member of the Judicial Board. If one of these is unable to address your problem, then they will point you in the right direction. If your issue is related to the VSA Governing Documents and not the College Regulations, you should contact the Chair of the Judicial Board or the VSA President.

Can the Judicial Board write me up?

No. The Board is strictly a component of the College’s judicial system and does not engage in documentation or enforcement.

What is the college’s burden of proof?

The College’s burden of proof is “more likely than not,” also known as a preponderance of evidence. This contrasts with our country’s judicial system, where the burden of proof is “beyond reasonable doubt.” Vassar prefers a preponderance of evidence because issues of sexual misconduct are evaluated on this scale based on recommendations from the United States Federal Government. The College firmly believes the entire student conduct system should reflect this standard, thus explaining why we operate on a preponderance of evidence.

Do students sit on all of the College’s panels?

Almost always, every panel requires student representation. There are some instances, such as some IPV (Inter Personal Violence) cases, in which students may not be present.

What are the kinds of sanctions that I may face if I’m found responsible for a violation of the College Regulations?

The sanctions that students face if found responsible for a violation vary from the lowest severity of Warning to the highest severity of Expulsion. In between are a variety of options that the Judicial Board can use at its discretion, such as restitution, loss of privileges, probation, removal from housing, housing suspension, etc.

What if I know someone on the panel?

Board representatives that know a student involved in a panel will recuse themselves. Representatives are given the names of all students involved in an upcoming hearing, so this issue is almost always addressed before proceedings begin.

Can a Judicial Board representative serve for one semester, e.g. if they are going abroad for part of their junior year?

No. Students cannot run for a position on the judicial board if they plan on going abroad their junior year.

Can I run for both a position on the Judicial Board and a position in VSA?

No. Students who hold a position on the Judicial Board cannot simultaneously hold a position in the VSA.