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Summary of disciplinary hearing changes at Amherst College 

— Below is a summary of changes made to the Amherst College disciplinary hearing process last spring for handling cases of rape and sexual assault. The changes were directed by college President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin and approved by the College Council and the executive committee of the faculty known as the Committee of Six.

Since July, Gina M. Smith, a national expert on sexual misconduct, has been reviewing these and other procedures at Amherst and investigating specific student accounts of rape and sexual assault on campus.

Changes include:

∎ Alternative testimony options are available for Committee on Discipline hearings, such as Skype, providing students with full access to the hearing process.

∎ Complainant and respondent have the option of submitting impact statements to be considered by the committee while determining sanctions.

∎ A trained investigator will meet with the complainant, respondent and relevant witnesses, gather evidence and prepare a report for distribution to the two parties and the committee. Using an investigator permits a more complete investigation and lessens the burden on the complainant and the respondent in preparing their respective cases.

∎ The disciplinary hearing officer’s role has been eliminated, except in complaints on behalf of the college.

Source: Amherst College president’s office

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