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Updated 10:30 AM October 8, 2004
 

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Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities
addresses identity theft


The Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) has released its biennial summary of violations under the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities for the year July 1, 2003-June 30, 2004.

As a result of the most recent cycle of this review process, a violation category covering identity theft has been added to the statement, says Keith Elkin, director of OSCR, which administers the policy. During this period, three students were found responsible for identity theft (see accompanying tables).

Nationally identify theft is rising at a great rate. It claimed 9.9 million victims and cost businesses, financial institutions and individuals nearly $53 billion in 2003, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Federal Trade Commission.

The University created a Web site last month offering students and others in the community tips for how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft (http://identityweb.umich.edu).

Proposals to amend the statement are reviewed every two years by the Student Relations Advisory Committee (SRAC). The committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, then passes its recommendations to President Mary Sue Coleman for approval.

To begin a new two-year period, an open forum for members of the University community to share ideas for amending the statement is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 13 in Anderson Rooms C&D in the Michigan Union. The forum is co-sponsored by OSCR and the Michigan Student Assembly.

In addition to the statistics on identity theft, Gwyn Hulswit, associate director of OSCR, notes two trends in violations. "Illegally possessing, using or distributing, manufacturing, or selling alcohol or other drugs was one of the more frequent offenses," she says. "This trend has remained consistent for many years."

Hulswit also says that the number of parking permit violations (theft or duplication of permits), after declining in 2002-03, increased in 2003-04.

The statement, designed to be primarily educational in nature and to involve students, faculty and staff, describes the values of the University community and outlines behaviors that are inconsistent with these values. OSCR is responsible for administering the procedures outlined in the statement for responding to such behaviors.

"The statement is a living document that aims to express the rights and responsibilities students have for themselves and for others," says Simone Himbeault Taylor, associate vice president for Student Affairs. "It is designed to describe the conditions for an optimal educational environment."

Besides administering the statement, OSCR handles complaints from members of the University community who feel that the action of a student has directly harmed them or other members of the community.

OSCR has begun utilizing a new online educational tool that addresses alcohol use and strives to empower students to make well-informed decisions about alcohol and better cope with the drinking behavior of peers. Twenty-seven students have completed this program.

"The statement is really about community-building," Elkin says. "However, it is just one tool utilized in fostering community at U-M." OSCR also provides a variety of conflict resolution services to individuals and groups, including mediation, structured dialogues and workshops, Elkin says. "The main role of the statement is to ensure that students are able to pursue their educational objectives in an environment of civility and mutual respect."

Faculty and staff are involved in resolving cases by serving as resolution officers, initiating the complaint process, appearing as witnesses and acting as advisers. They work with SRAC, a committee of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), during the bi-annual amendment process. Fiscal year 2005 represents an amendment review year, during which the Michigan Student Assembly, SACUA and the executive officers may bring forth proposed amendments for review by SRAC.

To learn more about OSCR, the statement or conflict resolution, go to the OSCR Web site at http://www.umich.edu/~oscr.

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