Student Code of Conduct Gets a Facelift

By Danielle Garner

Revisions were made to the Student Code of Conduct to clarify the text and make it more user friendly. Two policies were removed, due process for academic honesty violations was improved and fines were implemented.

These changes took effect in June. Jennifer Pintar, judicial chair of the Student Academic Grievance Subcommittee; Eddie Howard, associate vice president of Student Experience; and Thomas Madsen, assistant professor in the department of mathematics and statistics; revised the code over the summer.

“I read the code from front to back, and thought it was confusing, which means students probably thought it was confusing, too,” Pintar said.

The Student Code of Conduct covers major offenses like drug usage, sexual misconduct and violence, but also covers bullying and academic dishonesty. Kelly Beers, associate director for Student Conduct, said the code affects every student on campus or in the vicinity of campus.

Another change involves academic dishonesty cases, where a student is accused of cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating data or using someone else’s work.

Previously, teachers would confront students in person. Now, they are advised to email the student and set up an appointment. Assuming the matter wasn’t a miscommunication, the student can either accept sanctions recommended by the faculty member or receive a hearing from the Student Conduct Board.

Previously, a hearing was only set up if the faculty recommended expulsion or suspension, but now every students has the chance to testify at a hearing. This improves due process and prevents students from being punished for something they didn’t do, Beers said.

Beers serves as the prosecutor in the hearings.

Previously, there wasn’t documentation detailing each case and whether or not a student accepted the sanctions. Now, forms are filled out after a meeting between a student and faculty member before a hearing, and the documents are stored permanently.

Storing the documents allows Beers to keep a record of these cases, so if she sees a pattern emerge with the same student, the punishment will be harsher.

The grievance policy was separated from the code. Howard said it didn’t belong in the Student Code of Conduct, because it outlines what happens when a student has a complaint against faculty.

“We took out all the things that were in the code that were not a part of what happens as a result of policy violation,” he said.

Another change allows the Student Conduct Board to administer fines to students who violate the code of conduct.

The fines depend on the severity of the offense, and they’re based on a three-tier system. Alcohol violations can result in fines ranging from $75-$175, and fines for drug or substance abuse can run from $100-$250.

Students who fail to appear at a conduct hearing can be fined $25.

Beers said a first offense won’t always result in a fine, but committing a second offense could result in paying both fines. For example, the second time someone breaks a rule about alcohol, they could pay $200 without paying the first $75 fine.

“Sometimes that’s scarier than a $75 fine upfront, and that’s why we’ll use the deferred fine system,” Beers said.

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