The Student-Faculty Judicial Board

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board was established by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1987 in order to deal with alleged offenses that have broad implications for the community and on which there is no clear precedent or consensus in the community about the impermissibility of the actions or the appropriate response. The Judicial Board is charged with hearing cases in which the issues involved have special importance for the University community at large and the principles on which it is based. It is expected that it will be establishing community standards on the basis of its decisions.

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board has fifteen members: a chair, designated by the dean of the faculty, six additional faculty members chosen by lot and elected by the faculty, and six students (four undergraduate students and two graduate students) chosen by lot. The dean of Harvard College and the administrative dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are ex officio nonvoting members. Hearings of the Judicial Board, unlike those of the Administrative Board, may be open if requested by the student charged. However, the Judicial Board can close a hearing to the public by a two-thirds vote in order to maintain good order or to protect the rights of students involved.

Since the dividing line between cases to be considered by the Administrative Board and those to be considered by the Student-Faculty Judicial Board is not a precise one, jurisdiction will ultimately be decided by a process that includes the student against whom charges have been brought, the Administrative Board, and the Judicial Board. All cases are initially raised at the Administrative Board. The accused student, after discussion with the dean for student affairs, may request, on the basis of the principles outlined above and by the Faculty’s legislation, that the case come before either the Administrative Board or the Judicial Board. Whenever, upon the basis of the same set of principles, the members of the Administrative Board agree with the student or students that a matter should be sent on to the Judicial Board or retained by the Administrative Board, such assignment is automatic. Whenever there is disagreement between the Administrative Board and the accused student about which board should have jurisdiction, the Judicial Board itself will make the final decision as to which cases it will accept. Once jurisdiction for a case has been established, appeals are not possible from one board to the other.

The Student-Faculty Judicial Board may take the same actions as the Administrative Board. The Faculty Council is the only body with the power to dismiss or expel a student on the basis of a recommendation from one of the disciplinary boards. Each board is responsible for deciding whether to re-admit students whom it has required to withdraw, and is responsible for administering the conditions of probation for students whom it has placed on probation.