Volume 94, Issue 37

Friday, November 3, 2000


NEWS

Schools scrutinize codes of conduct

Unruly student houses raise a stink

Ombuds office gives annual report card

Case closes on elections skirmish

Parliament Hill turns into Beverly Hills 90210

Memoial University still a ghost town

Schools scrutinize codes of conduct

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff



Administrators from Canadian universities are putting Western's Code of Student Conduct in perspective as they draft their own versions and re-tool established legislation.

Ron Byrne, director of student affairs at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick and co-chair of last weekend's Canadian Conference on Student Judicial Affairs, said his university has just started the development of a code of their own.

"St.Thomas has a fully defined academic disciplinary policy, whereas non-academic sanctions are still in their infancy," he said. "There is currently a 'basket clause' written that states all students on our campus committing a non-academic offence are dealt with by the Student Affairs office."

Byrne said the conference helped in determining the state of student conduct codes at other institutions around the country. He added the meeting helped the university move forward with its own student code initiative.

"What individuals forget is that we're dealing with people and that codes like this are being drafted to help students," he said. "Legislation like this is put in place to educate and make for a safer university – not to install a system of power.

"A code that is being drafted should be done with the idea of student advocacy in mind and while sometimes adversarial conflicts may arise, advocacy should be the basic premise of any code," Byrne explained.

Toireasa Jespersen Nelson, student advocacy co-ordinator at the University of British Columbia, said UBC's code of student conduct has been in place for over five years.

She said the UBC code is a small piece of legislation containing sections which deal with both academic and non-academic sanctions. "Under our legislation, the president [of the university] has the opportunity to take action against any individual in violation of the code."

Nelson said students should have a document in place that clearly addresses their rights and duties as students at their university. She added UBC's current code could use further development.

"A document of this magnitude requires a lot of thought. Universities have to be fair, because decisions under codes could effect your whole life," she said.

At Western, Brian Timney, chair of the vice-provost's advisory committee on the Student Code of Conduct, said the committee took a thorough look through at least 20 codes from other universities before drafting its own.

"We used ideas where the wording was the clearest. When you look at them all, they're pretty much the same," he said, adding most universities borrow from other schools' legislation.


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