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Code goes back to drawing board
By Wes Brown
A heated debate, presentations from both administration and the University Students' Council and a lengthy discussion period finally saw the Western Code of Student Conduct sent to a new committee at last week's Senate meeting.
Brian Timney, chair of the vice provost's advisory committee on the student code, began the recommendation by defending the points raised by an open letter from the USC in last Thursday's Western News.
"The university currently has the right to discipline students, this code is interested in 'how.' The code actually gives more rights to students that they currently don't have under the scholastic offences policy," he said.
Timney listed rebuttals to the USC's claim there is no formal mechanism of appeal in the current ad hoc system.
"The code is also not out to look at all of the behaviour students have off campus as private citizens," Timney said. "If a serious incident at a Saturday night party occurs involving Western students, they are not subject to the code. Those that will be subjected are events happening with university sports teams and sponsored events."
At the end of Timney's presentation, VP-administration Peter Mercer pointed out how nine other Ontario universities have regulations similar in nature to the proposed code.
He stated it is not the Senate but Western's Board of Governors who are enshrined with the responsibility to see what is in the university's best interests involving such issues as a code of student conduct.
USC president Dave Braun, said without the approval from Senate, the code would not be enforced.
He said the USC's board of directors researched 31 codes throughout the summer and stated excerpts from other university codes in both Canada and the United States depicting the power students have within their university's code of conduct.
"The urgency of this code remains in question," Braun said in front of faculty representatives, student senators and an audience of students.
"Time is an investment, not an expense," Braun said. "The USC is not proud of this code, students are not proud of this code. Let's start involving students. Let's use this as a good lesson, let's not have more bad BookStore proposals or more Orientation weekends. Let's start valuing students at this university."
Following the presentations, a discussion period ensued and USC VP-education Jeff Sutton put forth a motion to create a Code of Student Conduct Committee.
"The committee would consist of seven members with the chair to be chosen from among the committee. Two faculty senators, one affiliate, one at-large senator, two undergraduate senators and one graduate senator," he presented in the motion.
The Senate voted and passed the motion upon the completion of the discussion and Sutton said he hoped the new committee would be in place for the December meeting.