Source page: https://catalog.williams.edu/academic-policies/
Williams prohibits the abuse of alcohol and expects members of the College community to abide by federal, state, and local regulations concerning the possession and use, purchase, and distribution of alcohol. The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized use of prescription drugs.
At the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, the College rolled out updated Responsible Party Standards that made it easier for students to hold small and safe events while at the same time discouraging students from holding parties that involved high-risk behavior (such as the presence of hard alcohol, large numbers of students in one common space, large amounts of alcohol per student, unregistered parties).
With this in mind, here are some key points to remember when it comes to safe and responsible alcohol consumption at social events:
- Hard alcohol and common source alcohol (kegs, punch, etc.) are prohibited
- Providing alcohol to anyone under 21 is prohibited (and illegal)
- Parties of more than 20 people must be registered
- Party hosts must adhere to safe room capacity and safe drinking standards (no more than 120 servings of beer or wine permitted, or up to twice the room capacity, whichever is less)
Go here for more details.
Campus Safety and Security provides a key role in maintaining a safe environment. Officers conduct checks for registered parties and will help hosts keep the party safe and in compliance. Unless the registered party becomes unsafe, CSS will work with the host to keep the party open.
CSS Officers also conduct “hotspot” checks in areas that have exhibited patterns of unsafe/irresponsible behaviors. If CSS comes across an unregistered party or a situation involving violations of the responsible party standards (even if it’s registered), they will collect ID information from students involved and will report the incident to the Office of the Dean of the College for their action.
Violations of the Responsible Party Standards and the Code of Conduct will result in response from the Office of the Dean of the College, sanctions for which range from various types of warnings to disciplinary action including suspensions and expulsions. See the Sanctioning Rubric. The college also has a Medical Amnesty Policy: We recognize that there may be times when excessive drinking and/or drug use becomes a medial emergency. Under this policy, if an individual seeks medical attention (for themselves or for someone else) due to such an emergency, student conduct disciplinary action will not be taken against the student for consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs. For more information on the alcohol policy and learn about the Medical Amnesty policy.
Acting in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the College reserves the right to contact parents or legal guardians under the age of 21 regarding alcohol and other drug violations. Parental notification is issued in order to provide support for a student’s health and safety. Specifically, parents are notified when a student has been transported to a medical facility as a result of using alcohol or other drugs (this may include alcohol poisoning, severe intoxication, or hospitalization).
An alcohol overdose is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. It is important to call for help right away if you see any of these signs of alcohol overdose:
- Irregular breathing (8 breaths a minute or 10 seconds or more between any two breaths)
- Vomiting while passed out and they don’t wake up while vomiting or afterward
- Skin is pale, cold and/or bluish-purple
Call 911 or Campus Safety and Security at x4444. Don’t wait. Minutes can be critical.
- Williams Health Services
- Williams Health Services’ Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs
- 2017 Williams College Biennial Review of Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
- 2019 Williams College Biennial Review of Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
For help with alcohol and/or other drug problems, call the Health Education Office (x3165). Information on Narcotic’s Anonymous is available from the Berkshire Council on Alcohol and Addictions.
Federal, state, and local laws make illegal use of alcohol and drugs serious crimes. Convictions can lead to imprisonment, fines, and/or required community service. Courts do not lift prison sentences to allow convicted persons to attend college or continue their jobs. A felony conviction for such an offense can prevent you from entering many fields of employment or professions.
Controlled Substances: Illegal or illicit drugs are not allowed on campus. Whenever evidence of drugs of any quantity or related drug paraphernalia are discovered on campus, the College will notify the police department, except as follows: if the college discovers marijuana in amounts that comply with state law, Campus Safety & Security will confiscate the drugs and any related paraphernalia but will not call the police.
Common examples of controlled substances, as defined by law, are cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, LSD, and other hallucinogens. Federal law makes the distribution of drugs to persons under age 21 punishable by twice the normal penalty with a mandatory one year in prison. If death or serious injury results from use of the substance, the prison sentence could be lengthened.
Possession of drugs without valid authorization is illegal. While penalties for possession are generally not as great as for manufacture and distribution, the possession of relatively large quantities may be considered as intent to distribute. Under both federal and state laws, penalties for possession, manufacture, and distribution are greater for second and subsequent convictions.
Persons convicted of drug possession under state or federal laws are ineligible for federal student grants and loans for five years following the first conviction, ten years after the second, and permanently after the third conviction.
Although Massachusetts legalized recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and over, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Accordingly, no marijuana is permitted on campus or in connection with college programs or activities regardless of location. While the college will no longer consider the off-campus use or possession of marijuana in compliance with Massachusetts law to be a violation of college policy, marijuana remains illegal under Massachusetts law for those under 21 and under federal law for everyone. Marijuana remains illegal—and against college policy—on campus or in connection with college programs or activities regardless of location. It is also against the law and college policy to send or receive marijuana products of any kind through the mail. Williams cannot shield you from the consequences of any conduct that is illegal under applicable laws, and has an obligation to report evidence of criminal drug possession or distribution as is described above. Learn more about Williams' marijuana policy.
Massachusetts has criminal penalties for use of controlled substances or drugs, varying with the type of drug. In general narcotic, addictive, and drugs with greater potential for abuse carry higher penalties.
Massachusetts also makes it illegal to be in a place where heroin is kept and to be “in the company” of a person known to possess heroin. Anyone in the presence of heroin at a private party risks a serious drug conviction. In addition, the sale or possession of drug paraphernalia is illegal in Massachusetts.
Possession of drugs with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of school or daycare property is a very serious crime in Massachusetts and carries a mandatory minimum two year sentence in prison if convicted. Be advised, almost the entire Williams College campus fall into the legal definition of a school zone.
Williams prohibits the abuse of alcohol and expects members of the College community to abide by federal, state, and local regulations concerning the possession, use, purchase, and distribution of alcohol. The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of illegal drugs, or the unauthorized use of prescription drugs.
The negative physical and mental effects of the use of alcohol or other substances are well documented. Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including sexual assault.
Moderate to high doses of alcohol can cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described.
Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long–term consumption of large amounts of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.
For help with alcohol or other substance problems, call the Health Education Office at x3013. Additional information is available from the Brien Center (Northern Berkshire Counseling Center), 25 Marshall Street, North Adams, 664.4541.
In general, a 12 oz. can of beer equals a 1 oz. shot of 100 proof liquor, which equals one 5 oz. glass of wine. When mixing drinks these equivalencies do not always hold true. This becomes especially significant when mixing different kinds of alcohol to make punches. A glass of punch may have a much higher alcohol content than a straight shot or a can of beer. Also be aware that carbonated beverages may increase alcohol absorption, while food will decrease it, especially foods high in protein like cheese and red meat.
Any person under 21 years of age who purchases alcoholic beverages or who makes arrangements with any other person to purchase, or who misrepresents his or her age in order to purchase alcoholic beverages, is guilty of a violation of the Massachusetts State law and is subject to a fine of $300.00.
Any person to makes a false statement as to the age of another person who is under 21 years of age in order to procure alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of $300.00
Any person who uses a false liquor purchase identification card or alters or defaces a liquor purchase identification card in order to purchase alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of up to $200.00 or imprisonment of up to three months.
Any person under 21 years of age who willfully misrepresents his or her age or in any way alters, defaces or otherwise falsifies his or identification offered as proof of age in order to purchase alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating state law and is subject to a fine of $300.00.
Any person under 21 years of age who transports or carries alcoholic beverages is guilty of violating the state law and is subject to a fine of up to $50.00. A police officer may arrest such a person WITHOUT A WARRANT. If the person was operating a motor vehicle at the time, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for up to three months.
A host of a party may be liable for the injuries suffered by a third person if the host knew or should have known that his or her guest was drunk, and nevertheless gave or permitted the guest to take an alcoholic drink and thereafter, because of his or her intoxication, the guest negligently operated a car, causing injury to the third person. If the guest whose drunk driving causes an accident is a minor, the host who served the alcohol to the minor might be held liable to the injured third person even if the minor was not intoxicated when the host served the minor alcohol.
Massachusetts has a “zero tolerance” law for blood alcohol level in drivers aged 16 to 21. For such drivers, any alcohol level greater than .02 (roughly equivalent to one drink or a beer) will result in one–the–spot revocation of the driving license. For adults over 21, the maximum permitted level in the law is .08. A first conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol carries with it a fine of $1,000.00, one year revocation of your driver’s license, and mandatory alcohol education. It may also include up to two years in prison.
No person shall drink, alcoholic beverages from an open container while on any public way or in a public place. No person shall carry an open container of alcoholic beverage while on any public way or in a public place. Violation of this Williamstown ordinance may result in a fine of not less than $20.00 nor more than $200.00.
Williams College seeks to protect the integrity of what transpires in the classroom among students and professor, any course materials prepared by the professor, and the privacy of students and faculty. With this in mind, Williams College prohibits any recording (audio or video) of lectures, seminars, or other classroom activities without the express permission of the instructor. Authorized recordings (including any made in order to accommodate ADA considerations) and all other course materials (including any materials posted on Glow or other Course Managements site) may only be used for the purposes of an individual’s (or group’s) study in the course, and may not be shared with any wider audience on or off campus unless the instructor has explicitly given such permission. Violations of this policy would be considered a violation of community standards and would fall under the disciplinary processes in place at the College.
As a residential college, Williams believes that for each student the experience of living with other students has an educational importance that should parallel and enhance their studies. For students to profit from living and working together, they must respect the rights of other members of the community in which they live and work—a community which includes students, members of the faculty and staff of the College, and other residents of Williamstown. The President, Trustees, faculty, and students of Williams College have established the codes of conduct described below to foster the learning that comes from living and studying with individuals of diverse backgrounds and from learning to honor opinions and beliefs that may differ from one’s own.
By enforcing the Code of Conduct, the College supports an environment conducive to intellectual, ethical, and civic development. Students are expected to respect the rights of others, their persons and their possessions, and refrain from any unreasonable disruption to the College or the community around it. The College will hold students responsible if they fail to maintain good conduct on the campus or elsewhere.
Williams College does not discriminate on grounds unrelated to its educational objectives; it is committed to being a community in which all ranges of opinion and belief can be expressed and debated, and within which all patterns of behavior permitted by the public law and College regulations can take place. The community is varied, including people of diverse races, religions, national or ethnic backgrounds, gender expressions and gender identities, and sexual orientations, and its members may from time to time disagree with one another’s ideas and behavior. The College seeks to assure the rights of all to express themselves in words and actions, so long as they can do so without infringing upon the rights of others or violating standards of good conduct or public law.
Accepting membership in this community entails an obligation to behave with courtesy to others whose beliefs and behavior differ from one’s own; all members and guests of this community must be free of disturbance or harassment, including racial and sexual harassment.
Students will be treated equitably and fairly under the Code of Conduct.
Wearing masks in all campus buildings except residence halls and dining halls (while eating)
No hosting of any guests in the residence halls who are not students who are currently enrolled at Williams (the only exception is that guests may assist you during your initial arrival/move-in process)
Complying strictly with all directives related to isolation/quarantine/testing provided by the Health Center
- Answering questions and otherwise cooperating as may be necessary for effective contact tracing
The College does not give students protection from the consequences of violations of federal, state, and local laws, and public authorities may act independently to investigate and prosecute any such violations. When students are charged with legal violations committed on or off–campus, the Dean of the College may also initiate disciplinary proceedings. The accused student, however, may request of the Dean of the College a suspension of the disciplinary proceedings until the conclusion of the court case. This request may be denied by the discretion of the Dean of the College. In addition, the Dean of the College may impose interim restrictions as provided in the following section. In the case of a graduating senior, in the event the College disciplinary proceedings are not concluded by Commencement, the degree may be withheld.
The College employs several processes to adjudicate violations the Code of Conduct. Allegations that a student has violated the Honor Code are investigated and resolved by the formal student conduct disciplinary process. For incidents involving sexual misconduct, refer to Investigation and Adjudication Process for Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Relationship Abuse.
Informal dean meetings, warnings, and educational assignments do not become part of a student’s formal disciplinary record. This information is reported to the student and is kept on file in the Dean’s office until graduation, when it is removed. Students who receive these actions can answer negatively if they are asked if they have been subject to College discipline.
Disciplinary probation, suspensions and expulsions are part of the student's formal disciplinary record. Students who receive these sanctions must answer affirmatively if they are asked whether they have been subject to College discipline. In the case of suspension, The Dean of the College retains student records of probation and suspension for seven years from the date of the notice of final disposition. In the case of expulsion, the Dean of the College retains student discipline records indefinitely.
All non-disciplinary files in the Dean's Office will be retained for seven years from the date of the most recent update to the student record.
Learn about the Honor Code and its adjudication process, sanctions, and appeals.
Definitions of sexual misconduct, reporting, investigation and adjudication, support through the process, and affect on student records are all explained here.
Source page: https://facilities.williams.edu/cars-and-drivers/
Except in those cases where a grievance committee has found an assigned grade to have been the result of discrimination, nothing in the grievance procedure shall affect the responsibility and authority of individual members of the faculty to evaluate and grade the work of students in their courses. In the event of other allegations of improper or unfair grading, the Office of the Dean of the College may investigate and mediate, but final responsibility for grading rests with the instructor.
Grade Change Policy
All grades are considered final once they are submitted to the Registrar’s Office.
No change in grade may be made on the basis of retesting or work completed after a grade has been submitted other than in the case of an official incomplete.
If an instructor realizes that an incorrect grade was posted, the instructor must submit a grade change request to the Registrar’s Office by the last day of the full term following the term in which the course was taken
Final responsibility and authority for evaluating and grading the course work of students rests with the instructor, except in cases where a grievance committee has found an assigned grade to have been the result of discrimination.
In the event of other allegations of improper or unfair grading, the Office of the Dean of the College may investigate and mediate.
Source page: http://oit.williams.edu/policies/ethics/
Source page: https://catalog.williams.edu/degree-requirements/
Source page: https://student-life.williams.edu/events/
Source page: https://sec.williams.edu/dorm-room-safety/
Williams students may neither join nor participate in fraternities during their time at the College. This policy was first adopted in 1962, and it is strongly supported by the College community. The College will take disciplinary action against students who are found to be participating in such organizations. Penalties may include suspension or expulsion from the College.
To insure that all students understand the history of and reasons for this policy, the Board of Trustees of Williams College issued the following statement in June, 1989:
It has now been twenty–seven years since the Board of Trustees of Williams College determined that the academic aspirations of the College, and the educational and social needs of our students, would best be served by abolishing fraternities and inaugurating the residential house system. The Trustees note with particular pleasure the role the residential house system has played in insuring that all Williams students would be fully integrated into the life of the College. In making all important decisions over nearly three decades, the College has had as its central goal the sustenance of a community characterized by openness, academic vitality, and equality of opportunity.
Mindful of the College’s history and committed strongly to the College’s goals, the Trustees wish to reaffirm the policy that Williams students may neither join nor participate in fraternities during their time at the College. The Trustees’ views on this subject were most recently expressed in the statement appearing below, approved in October, 1976 and later endorsed unanimously by the faculty. In light of efforts to reestablish fraternities on other campuses, and of apparent interest among a handful of Williams students in reviving fraternal organizations here, the Trustees are reissuing and affirming that statement, and expressing full support for the officers of the College in their efforts, disciplinary and otherwise, to insure that it is understood and adhered to in the Williams community.
Statement of the Williams College Board of Trustees Concerning Fraternities (1976)
To avoid misunderstanding, we wish to make clear our support for the rights of students to form or join any of the many formal or informal groups that are appropriate to this college community and consistent with Williams’ educational program. But we remind all concerned that the regulations of the College prohibit participation by undergraduates in fraternities as a matter of educational policy and that violations will be subject to appropriate penalties.
Source page: http://sites.williams.edu/honor-system/
Information on Jury Duty in Massachusetts
According to the Office of Jury Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “Every U.S. Citizen 17 years of age or older who is a Massachusetts resident or an inhabitant for more than 50% of the time is eligible to serve as a juror. If you are a resident of another state but a student at a Massachusetts college, you are an inhabitant for more than 50% of the year and, therefore, eligible to serve as a juror in Massachusetts. ”
It is not unusual for students residing in Berkshire County to be summoned to serve as trial jurors. Jury service, on a short-term basis, can provide students with a good opportunity to fulfill one of their important responsibilities as members of the community. Williams College supports students in their fulfillment of this civic duty.
Students should carefully read all materials they receive with their summons to service, which contain helpful information about confirming, postponing, rescheduling, or relocating service, and address many of the most frequently asked questions. Jury duty is an important legal obligation, and those who fail to respond are subject to criminal prosecution.
Students who must miss class in order to fulfill their jury service requirement should notify each of their instructors of the summons and make arrangements to complete any missed work. The Dean’s Office will be able to assist you in making arrangements for missed class time due to jury service. Students may be required to furnish their summons notice or the certificate of service when making these arrangements.
If you have any questions about jury duty, including confirming, postponing, rescheduling, or limiting your service, please contact the Office of Jury Commissioner (l-800-THE-JURY/1-800-843-5879). Further information can be found on the Office of Jury Commissioner’s website at www.massjury.com
* It may be possible for you to request a change from the Pittsfield to North Adams Court (i.e., transportation is a hardship for you, etc.) by calling the Jury Commissioner’s Office (l-800-THE-JURY/1-800-843-5879).
Part A. Students exempt from jury duty in Massachusetts.
You are exempt from jury duty if any one of the following conditions are true. Note that if you are exempt, you still need to return your forms indicating to the Jury Commissioner the reason(s) for your exemption.
- You are under 18 years old.
- You are not a U.S. Citizen.
- You have served on a jury (anywhere in n the U.S.) within the past 3 years.
- You have committed a felony in the past 7 years.
- You will not be residing in Massachusetts for 50% of the calendar year. This means that any senior leaving the state by July 1 is exempt. (Indicate this exemption by checking box #5). Note junior year abroad students are not exempt and must serve jury duty.
Part B. Students Who are Not Exempt –How to Plan for Jury Duty
- Choose a day that is convenient for you. You are allowed one automatic postponement of up to a year. Keep in mind that 95% of jurors serve 3 days or less and it is most probable that you will only have to serve 1 day. This is because even if you do have to appear in court, you may not get selected as one of the jurors. In addition, at the judge’s discretion you can be dismissed from serving on trials lasting for more than one day.
- If you are on standby status, call the Courthouse in Pittsfield after 3 p.m. the day before you are scheduled to serve. Ninety-nine percent of potential jurors in Berkshire County are placed on standby status. Notification of status is through the mail about one week before your scheduled date. If you are placed on standby, call the Courthouse the day before your are scheduled to serve to see if it is necessary for you to appear in court. If you are not needed, you do not have to go to Pittsfield and you will have satisfied the jury duty requirement for one year. If you are needed, you will have to go to Pittsfield (see below). If you do not receive standby notification, you will automatically have to appear in court on your scheduled date.
- Arrange for transportation to Pittsfield. You will need to be at the Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. for an orientation meeting (a 20-30 minute film and brief explanation of procedures). Following this orientation you will have a chance to request that the judge limit your service to one day. (You might explain to the judge that you are a full-time student with a difficult schedule, transportation difficulties, grade problems, etc., – if applicable.)
- If you have further questions contact the Dean’s Office or call the Office of the Jury Commissioner (1-800-843-5879) or Pittsfield District Court, 43 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA (clerk’s office 413-442-5468).
Source page: http://registrar.williams.edu/name-change/
Source page: https://bursar.williams.edu/billing-payments/
Williams has many registered student organizations (RSO’s). If you can’t find an RSO you’re looking to engage in, you can apply to start your own. The links here include integral components for your RSO to exist & thrive at Williams. Be sure to read through everything carefully if you are looking to create, become a leader of, or get involved in, a Williams RSO.
Source page: http://chaplain.williams.edu/religious-holidays/
Process for student respondents.
Definitions of sexual misconduct, reporting, investigation and adjudication, support through the process, and affect on student records are all explained here.
Get Informed: Learn about College Policies
For concerns regarding actions of faculty or staff, see procedures here.
Source page: https://registrar.williams.edu/name-change/
Under federal law students may declare themselves residents of Williamstown if they wish to vote here. In compliance with Commonwealth of Massachusetts law, mail–in voter registration forms for students wishing to register to vote in Massachusetts are available online (http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleifv/howreg.htm). For students from other states who desire to vote in a state other than Massachusetts, the Federal mail–in affidavit or a mail–in form supplied by that state may be used. The student must contact the appropriate state election official to receive the state form, call or write the Massachusetts Elections Division for a Federal form, or download a form (http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx).
The rights and privileges of Williamstown voters are: to vote in all local, state, and federal elections; to attend and participate in Town Meetings; to serve on any town committee; to run for elective office; and to sign petitions and nomination papers. Before making the decision to become legal residents of Williamstown, however, students should inform themselves fully about certain implications thereof, such as: the possibility that their belongings at college would no longer be covered by their parents’ personal property insurance policy, the state law that requires all new residents with motor vehicles to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license and motor vehicle registration (with compulsory liability insurance and annual excise tax) within thirty days of taking up legal residence here, and the state income tax.
Temporary withdrawals from the College can take several forms. Students may choose to take a temporary leave for personal or medical reasons. In other cases, students may be required to withdraw temporarily due to a failure to maintain minimum academic standards, a medical issue that precludes the ability to safely and successfully participate in the educational program, or a disciplinary issue that warrants separation from the College. As a general matter, parents are notified about student leaves of all kinds.
Students may take 2 leaves during their course of study at Williams (this includes personal leaves, medical leaves, or leaves required by the Committee on Academic Standing, but not disciplinary suspensions; for more information on disciplinary processes, click here). A third leave will ordinarily be considered permanent. Students may petition for permission to return after a third or subsequent leave; such petitions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will only be granted in cases in which the student has been making clear and consistent progress toward a degree. Petitions to return after a third or subsequent leave will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of the College. That committee will be comprised of an Associate or Assistant Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College and a member of Student Health & Wellness Services. Additional individuals may be included when relevant. The student will be informed of the decision and, if readmission is denied, the reason(s) for this decision, in writing. A student who believes that a denial of readmission failed to take into account specific, relevant information that was available or applied an incorrect standard may appeal on that basis to the Dean of the College. Mere disagreement with the decision is not a basis for appeal. Any appeal must be delivered to the Dean in writing within one week after the student receives the decision denying readmission. The decision of the Dean of the College is final.
Student leaves vary in length from one to 6 semesters. Students who wish to return to campus after a leave longer than 6 semesters must reapply through the Admissions process. In exceptional circumstances, the College may waive this requirement.
The presumption for all leaves is that students will return at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. In exceptional circumstances, students may be permitted to return for Winter Study. It is required that students return to campus for a full and successful semester at Williams prior to embarking on a study away experience.
The college reserves the right to require a student on leave to meet with an ad hoc committee in order to determine their readiness to return.
Students are expected to vacate their rooms, including belongings, upon withdrawal from the College and follow all housing deadlines for departure.
Students may request personal leaves of absence and if granted, withdraw from the College. Such time away, often as a period of reassessment and self-evaluation, can prove to be educationally beneficial.
Students may request permission from the Dean’s Office to withdraw at any time (please contact your class dean to request the leave of absence form). If a student is granted a personal leave of absence after the semester begins, but before the end of the drop/add period, the transcript will list the date of withdrawal as the day before the term began. If a personal leave is granted after the end of the drop/add period, but before the end of the eighth week of the semester, the transcript will list the date of withdrawal, but the semester will not count toward the maximum of eight allowed to complete the degree. If a personal withdrawal is allowed after the eighth week of the semester, the transcript will list the date of withdrawal and the courses in progress, each with a W; the semester will normally count toward the maximum of eight allowed to complete the degree and the student will incur deficiencies that must be made up before returning to the College.
Note: Seniors in the final semester approved to take a personal leave of absence after the eighth week of the semester, must complete makeup courses off campus. See Off Campus Course Approval Form for instructions on obtaining approval for courses. Students have three years from their final term to complete degree requirements. Financial Aid recipients please refer to Financial Aid Course Makeup Grant form. Availability of funds may be limited to up to one year following the final semester.
Students who withdraw in good standing are readmitted with the approval of the Dean’s Office.
Students with medical and/or psychological conditions may request leaves of absence and if granted, withdraw from the College in good standing. Verification of the condition, along with a recommendation for the leave, must be provided from an appropriate professional. These types of requests should be made through the Dean’s Office.
If a student is granted a medical leave, the transcript will simply indicate the date of withdrawal without further explanation. If the withdrawal occurs after the start of a term, no courses in progress will be listed and the semester will not count toward the maximum of eight allowed for completing the degree.
Medical leaves may be granted at any time and readmission is contingent upon the condition being resolved or managed successfully. Therefore, there is no mandated minimum length for a medical leave. While on leave, it is advisable for the student to seek necessary medical attention and to document the steps taken and progress made. This information will be part of the readmission process along with assessments from appropriate medical and/or psychological professionals. If the written statement provided by a clinician is unclear or incomplete, the College will require a further statement or may request permission from the student to speak with the clinician directly. Additional information may be sought and might include a personal interview and input from family members, employers, or others who interacted with the student while on leave. In cases where there has been significant psychiatric or psychotherapeutic involvement, the student may be required to meet with a member of the College’s Student Health & Wellness Services. In addition, in order to judge the degree of recovery and readiness to confront the academic and social challenges of Williams, the student may be required to be evaluated by an outside mental health professional selected and paid for by the College as part of the readmission process.
The College will deny readmission to a student who does not provide or allow access to the information the College needs to make its decision about readmission and any conditions to readmission that might apply. Such conditions may include, for example, that a student be in treatment, be compliant with that treatment, and allow his or her clinician(s) periodically to confirm to the College whether the student is in treatment and compliant with that treatment.
The decision whether to permit the student’s return, and whether a return will be subject to certain conditions, will be made on an individualized basis, taking into account the clinical input and other relevant information that is reasonably available.
An otherwise qualified student will not be prohibited from returning from medical leave solely on the basis that they have a disability, have a record of having a disability, or are regarded as having a disability. An “otherwise qualified” student is one who, notwithstanding his or her disability, meets the academic and other standards for participation in the College’s educational programs either with or without one or more reasonable accommodations and does not present a direct threat of serious, imminent harm to self or others. The College will not deny readmission to an otherwise qualified student merely because the student continues to experience a medical or mental health condition or because the College may believe it would be in the student’s best interest to spend additional time away from the College.
The College will not treat students seeking to return from medical leave differently from students who otherwise are similarly situated.
Final decisions about readmission, including any conditions that may apply to readmission, are made by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of the College, which typically will comprise an Associate or Assistant Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College and a member of Student Health & Wellness Services. Additional individuals may be included when relevant. The student will be informed of the decision and, if readmission is denied, the reason(s) for this decision, in writing.
A student who believes that a denial of readmission failed to take into account specific, relevant information that was available or applied an incorrect standard may appeal on that basis to the Dean of the College. Mere disagreement with the decision is not a basis for appeal. Any appeal must be delivered to the Dean in writing within one week after the student receives the decision denying readmission. The decision of the Dean of the College is final.
In rare circumstances, the College may require a student to take a medical leave in the event the student has an illness or condition that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the student or others, renders the student unable to successfully participate in the educational programs offered by the College, or substantially disrupts the ability of others to fully participate in the educational or employment opportunities offered by the College
Ordinarily, the decision whether to require a student to take a medical leave will be made after notice to the student and after providing an opportunity for the student to be heard. The decision whether to require a student to take a medical leave and what conditions if any will apply in order for a student not to be placed on leave will be made by an ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of the College, which typically will comprise an Associate or Assistant Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College and a member of Student Health & Wellness Services. Additional individuals may be included when relevant. The student will be informed of the decision. A student who disagrees with the committee’s decision may appeal to the Dean of the College within one week after receiving the decision. The decision of the Dean of the College is final.
In situations that pose immediate risk, the Dean of the College may immediately place a student on an interim leave pending a further determination by the ad hoc committee.
Ordinarily a student who is placed on a mandatory medical leave will be required to spend at least one full semester away before re-entry is considered.
The fact that a student is placed on a mandatory medical leave does not insulate a student from the College’s conduct rules and disciplinary procedures. The College may pursue disciplinary action against a student while the student is on leave or after a student returns in the College’s discretion.
Federal regulations require that all educational institutions disclose their refund policy to all prospective students. In accordance with that regulation, here is the Williams College Refund Policy for the academic year.
It is the policy of Williams College not to permit a student to remain in residence after it has become evident that they are either unable or unwilling to maintain reasonable standards of academic achievement. At the end of each term, the Committee on Academic Standing reviews all academic records that fail to meet the following minimum academic requirements:
- For first-year students: Three grades of C- or better and no failures each semester, and at least Perfunctory Pass on the Winter Study Project
- For upper-class students: Four grades of C- or better, OR three grades of C- or better and a Pass each semester, and at least Perfunctory Pass on the Winter Study Project
Students whose records fail to meet these minimum academic requirements or whose records otherwise fail to show adequate progress may be required to resign.
Students who are required to resign from the College for academic reasons are normally not permitted to return for at least one year from the date of their resignation. A student who has been required to resign from the College may petition the Committee on Academic Standing through the Office of the Dean of the College for reinstatement. That petition must include (1) evidence that the student has made up all course deficiencies, (2) a letter to the Committee providing convincing evidence that the student is ready and able to complete work toward a degree at Williams.
Students who are required to resign due to failure to meet minimum academic requirements can appeal that decision by making a personal statement to the Committee on Academic Standing (in person, in writing, or via Skype/conference call). The CAS decision upon appeal is final.
When required to resign, students must vacate their rooms promptly. Financial aid students must also see the Director of Financial Aid before leaving to discuss loan repayment and renewal of aid in the event of readmission.
Students are expected to vacate their rooms, including belongings, upon withdrawal from the College and follow all housing deadlines for departure.
Transferring from Williams is considered a permanent withdrawal. If you should decide to return to Williams after you have officially withdrawn, you must request transfer back to Williams as part of the normal pool of transfers through the Office of Admission.
Students planning to transfer to another institution should request a form from Cyndi Haley ([email protected]).
Requests for readmission should be submitted (within three years from the term of withdrawal) to the Dean’s Office c/o Cyndi Haley, by e-mail ([email protected]) or fax 413-597-3507 no later than:
1 July if planning to return for the following fall semester
1 December if planning to return for the following spring semester
The presumption for all leaves is that students will return at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. In exceptional circumstances, students may be permitted to return for Winter Study (this request must be made with a CAS Petition). It is required that students return to campus for a full and successful semester at Williams prior to embarking on a study away experience.
Q: Are students who take a leave able to participate in Commencement with their original class?
Only students who have completed all degree requirements are able to participate in Commencement. This means that students who take a leave cannot participate in commencement with their original class. These students can, however, opt to participate in Senior Week, Ivy Exercises, and Baccalaureate with their original class if they so choose. Students who complete their degree requirements in December are invited to return to campus the following June to participate in Commencement exercises. Students who take a leave are able to choose which class they would like to affiliate with for reunion events post graduation.
NOTE: Williams was not able to host a commencement for students who graduated in the Class of 2021 due to COVID-19. We hope to offer these students the opportunity to participate in a commencement celebration when it is safe to do so. Any student from the Class of 2021 who has completed their degree requirements (including those who took a leave and completed their requirements off-cycle) will be included in this opportunity.
Learn more about Williams College Refund Policy