Volume 95, Issue 24

Tuesday, October 16, 2001
 
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OPINIONS

Making sense of the Student Code

Protecting the president's groin area

Making sense of the Student Code

Code co-author sets the record straight



Brian Timney
Guest Columnist
Student Code of Conduct Co-author


Read the Student Code of Conduct for yourself!

If you don't, you won't find out that the kinds of things your student leaders are saying about it are sometimes misleading and sometimes just plain wrong.

What I would like to do here is give my own view of the Code as someone who was involved in its development.

First, it's important you know what the Code is not about. It does not apply to every aspect of your behaviour no matter where you are. It is there to define the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and protect your rights as a student.

You should be aware that any action taken under the Code was always available to the university on an ad hoc basis before the Code was implemented.

The difference is the Code explicitly describes activities not approved by the university, presents the process to be followed if an offense is alleged and provides an avenue of appeal.

None of this was available before.

The issue of legal liability at an event sponsored by an organization associated with the university is independent of the Code. The statement that "the Code is being used to prevent students from doing anything that has the potential of being legally bad for the university" is incorrect.

Your University Students' Council legal affairs officer has been quoted as saying "the Code is applicable to any student act, whether or not they are participating in a university-organized event on or off-campus."

This is simply not true.

If you are acting as a private individual, you are not subject to the Code if you misbehave off-campus. However, the Code will apply off-campus if your behaviour relates to your status as a student at Western.

The Code clearly describes when it applies to off-campus behaviour – you should know what these are. It applies to any off-campus facilities that offer Western courses. It also applies to any university-sponsored events, wherever they may be held and to off-campus behaviour when a student is acting as a representative of the university or a student organization at the university.

Finally, it applies if a student holds out that he or she is representing the university, even if the activity is not sanctioned by Western.

Students are not denied legal counsel. The Code states that in meetings with a dean or the vice-provost, the student may not be represented by a lawyer. This is to maintain a simple and collegial process and to try to resolve issues at the lowest possible level.

This practice has worked well when dealing with scholastic offenses. At the final appeal level, legal representation is explicitly permitted.

The Code gives you a way to deal with problems you may face. If your lecture notes are stolen or if someone disrupts a class because he's arrived drunk and your instructor doesn't do anything about it, the Code gives you a way to lodge a complaint.

The Code can work for you as well as against you. Find it at: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/board/newcode.html.


To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2001