Volume 94, Issue 99

Tuesday, March 27, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Student code needs a trim

Editorial Cartoon

Student code needs a trim

While careful eyes watched, recommended changes to the Student Code of Conduct recently went through one of Western's upper governing bodies– the university Senate. Nine of the 10 passed and now the Code has only to jump over a couple more hurdles with the CCAC and the Board of Governors before its word is etched in stone, and offenders of the Western law will, presumably, no longer go unchecked.

But despite the ad hoc committee's recommendation to exclude a clause covering "student groups," something the committee believed to be superfluous, the controversial wording was left in the draft copy.

The clause in question is particularly noteworthy. Including "student groups" in the code increases its breadth and scope to the point that offenders may get more than themselves in trouble if something goes awry.

Consider this: If you're off campus, let's say, on a ski trip with a bunch of other students in a USC sanctioned club, when you make the mistake of assaulting someone on the slopes, not only can you be punished academically, but the club under whose auspices you gathered can also be penalized, and heavily, now that this clause is in place.

It seems that in its fear of narrowing the code's scope to the point of being benign and ineffectual, what Senate has done by including the section pertaining to student groups is to make the code too far-reaching.

If administration cares so much about what students do off-campus, why not start paying them to be Western ambassadors? Why not sponsor the said events with a little cash to help make them better? Perhaps that would instill a sense of obligation in students to act accordingly. Better still, forbid these student groups from even mentioning the fact that they are in any way related to Western, thus removing any danger of the offending parties from connecting back to purple soil and eliminating any possibility of sullying UWO's good reputation.

What the administration is obviously positing in its insistence on the clause is a law that borders on being Draconian. An apparent attempt to reduce the school's historically damaging 'party school' reputation by making the code so all-encompassing has led to a 'too-much-too-fast' implementation.

But who can you really blame them?

After all, associating Western with one big party will undoubtedly remove it from prospective parents' lists of schools they will allow their sons and daughters to attend. If administration's goal is to further their corporation, instilling a sense of timeless conservatism and tradition at this institution will attract a wider cross-section of students.

But what's more important is to leave off-campus stuff to off campus authorities. The criminal code is there to punish offenders. And if those offenders have committed crimes heinous enough to see them put in jail, then administration won't really have to worry about academic sanctions, will they? The cold, institutionalized setting of a jail cell will be more than enough to stop them from getting to class.

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