March 31, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 95  

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NEWS

Student code could impugn your transcript

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

This year’s review of the Code of Student Conduct has raised several issues concerning certain sections of the document — some of which students may not be aware of despite the potential effect it may have on them.

One of the issues brought forth to the review committee was the notation that would appear on student transcripts when suspended or expelled, said University Students’ Council President Paul Yeoman. “Our concern was what happens to a student who applies to a professional or graduate school,” he added. “That notation could blackball them.

“I brought it up in the code review — the committee felt the notation would remain in the code,” he said.

“It’s extremely rare for a student to be suspended or expelled for a breach of the code,” explained Western registrar and vice-provost Roma Harris, adding that in order to get a suspension, a student would have to commit a serious offense.

She added that students can go through an appeals process if they are suspended or expelled.

Yeoman said he also raised the issue of the difference between students and students leaders addressed in the code. He explained that a student leader can be reprimanded under the code for an offense that occurred off-campus, while students would not receive punishment for a similar offense off-campus.

“When is a student a student, as opposed to when a student is a student leader?” he asked. “It’s more of a reputation issue.”
“If a person is in a leadership role — they do have an influence that’s different than other students,” Harris said, citing the main issue is a student leader’s ability to potentially influence other students to partake in illicit activities, something that must be recognized in the code.

“We put an emphasis on informal resolutions,” Yeoman said, explaining that the process of informal resolutions usually involves warning or discussions without going through the code, and that has been emphasized more since the review.

“If there is a dispute that arises — it can be discussed and resolved before it goes through the code,” Harris explained. “It’s very helpful.”

According to Harris, this process would help resolve misunderstandings and allow problems to be resolved without going through the formalities of the code. “We figured that people could do it each individually, but they needed something to make them do it.”

Elgin Austen, director of the Campus Community Police Service, maintained that irrespectively, the code allows for a type of control against improper student conduct.

“There’s accountability and consequences behind what everyone does — that’s pretty much the bottom line,” he said. “I think people have to know that.”

 

 

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