View Bill 16-17-08
Senate Bill 16-17-08
|Name:||Code of Student Conduct Revision|
|Sponsor:||Andrea Goodwin, Director, Office of Student Conduct|
|Proposal:||It is the practice of the Office of Student Conduct to conduct a review of the Code of Student Conduct periodically to ensure that we are incorporating and maintaining best practices within the field of student affairs and student conduct at the University of Maryland. Over the past decade, updates have been made to amend the current Code of Student Conduct to reflect policy changes and updates, but it is our determination that a "top-to-bottom" revision should be made to this long-standing document.|
The Office of Student Conduct has begun to gather a multitude of resources to begin this process, including comparison information from peer/aspirational institutions, BIG 10 schools, and University System of Maryland institutions. It is our goal to revise our current Code of Student Conduct to remove some of the legalistic barriers and create a more inclusive, student-centered, and balanced approach to student growth and development through the disciplinary process.
Below we share a brief description (although not an exhaustive list) of several concerns with the current Code and hope to implement changes to be in line with best practices in our field which are also in line with University values of fairness, impartiality, and learning:
1. Create more expansive definitions under "Prohibited Conduct"
- Many current definitions under prohibited conduct do not reflect the constantly changing culture of college students and violations referred to the Office of Student Conduct. They are overly general, which leaves a wide latitude for interpretation for anyone reviewing its contents. This can lead to confusion, lack of consistency in enforcement, and an inability to hold students accountable for specific conduct which may not cleanly fall under one of those definitions.
- Ex: Part 10(r) -- Use or possession of any alcoholic beverage under the age of 21; knowingly providing alcoholic beverages to a person known to be under the age of 21. This particular policy does not encompass a realistic description of the behaviors which are typically referred to our office or are in line with local, state, and federal laws. We often review cases of excessive alcohol consumption, possession of open containers (over 21 years of age), and driving under the influence of alcohol, which do not specifically fall under this provision. Additionally, with the increased sales of alcohol from various campus venues, we believe it is imperative to reference more specifically the University's Alcohol Policy within this framework.
2. Adopt the standard of evidence to be "preponderance of the evidence" as opposed to "clear and convincing"
- In reviewing peer and BIG 10 institutional policies, we find that the University of Maryland is not consistent with this particular standard.
- ASCA has provided guidance regarding their recommendations for switching to "Preponderance of the Evidence" in line with federal guidance surrounding Sexual Misconduct http://www.theasca.org/files/The%20Preponderance%20of%20Evidence%20Standard.pdf
- The University has already adopted the "preponderance of evidence" standard in cases of sexual misconduct, and it would be incumbent upon us to align our university policies with one another in this manner
3. Advisor roles in the Student Conduct Process
- Currently the University of Maryland is one of the small minority of institutions that allow attorneys to fully participate as representatives in the Student Conduct Process.
- The Code of Academic Integrity and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures limits attorney roles to that of an advisor only
- Involvement of attorneys causes significant delays in case resolution time and often removes the educational development of students from the discipline process. This can cause undue stress for students going through the process, financial inequities among students who cannot afford private attorneys, and a focus on "legal loopholes" rather than student learning in the process.
- We would like to include attorneys as advisors only, similar to the structure as outlined by the Code of Academic Integrity, given that we have the unique resource of a free legal resource in the form of Student Legal Aid on campus.
4. Revise the structure of the Code of Student Conduct
- The Code is written in extremely dated and legalistic language. In keeping with best practices, we would like to change the format of our Code to be more easily understood by students and their families. This would increase transparency of our process, focus on the development and learning of the student, as well as increase the ability to hold students reasonably and fairly accountable for University policies.
- Our proposed structure would have approximately three (3) major components including: Student Rights and Responsibilities; Prohibited Conduct; and Student Conduct Process and Procedures
- Removal of annotations and unnecessary/outdated information. The annotations reference various court cases which have formulated the foundations of any code of student conduct however many are outdated and are irrelevant. We instead would incorporate relevant language and references to this information throughout the sections of the Code without them needing to be a separate list of guidelines.
Amend the current Code of Student Conduct to include these changes or redraft a new version.
|Under Review By:||Student Conduct Committee|
|Actions:||The Student Conduct Committee continued its review in April 2017. The committee focused its time on rewriting portions of the Code and ensuring that all aspects of the current Code were considered in its work. The committee consulted with the Office of General Counsel in summer 2017 regarding the proposed revisions. The committee reviewed feedback from the Office of General Counsel in fall 2017. The committee also received an addendum to its charge from the Senate Executive Committee, asking it to consider language related to sanctions for incidents motivated by hate and bias. The SCC began considering the charge addendum at its meeting in September 2017, and will continue to discuss it in October 2017.|
|Next Step:||SEC Review|
|Reviewed By:||Senate Executive Committee (SEC)|
|Decision:||The SEC voted to grant the request.|
|Actions:||The SEC reviewed the request at its April 7, 2017, meeting and voted to grant the SCC an extension until October 2017.|
|Next Step:||Student Conduct Committee|
|Reviewed By:||Student Conduct Committee|
|Decision Due By:||03/31/2017|
|Decision:||The committee submitted a request for extension.|
|Actions:||The Student Conduct Committee began reviewing its charge in October 2016. It reviewed the current Code of Student Conduct in depth, reviewed guidance on best practices from the Association for Student Conduct Administration, and reviewed extensive peer institution research. The committee consulted with representatives from the Office of Student Conduct and met with a representative of the Undergraduate Student Legal Aid Office in November 2016. The committee continued its review throughout the spring 2017 semester, but was unable to meet the original deadline. The committee submitted a request for an extension in March 2017.|
|Next Step:||SEC Review|
|Reviewed By:||Senate Executive Committee (SEC)|
|Decision:||The SEC voted to charge the Student Conduct Committee with review of the proposal.|
|Actions:||The SEC discussed the proposal for revision of the Code of Student Conduct at its September 27, 2016, meeting. The SEC voted to charge the Student Conduct Committee with review.|
|Next Step:||Student Conduct Committee Review|