The University Record, April 24, 1995

Students take complaints on code to the Regents

Students take complaints on code to the Regents

By Jared Blank

"We are peaceful, non-violent students who simply want to tell the Regents that we care and that the code is wrong," stated Flint Wainess, Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) president, as approximately 100 students entered the lobby of the Fleming Adminsitration Building last Thursday to protest the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, known as the "student code."

The code is the University's policy concerning non-academic conduct by students. It was instituted on an interim basis in January 1993 and has been reviewed by the Regents each year. They decided the fate of the code on Friday. (See related story on page 1.)

The rally and march to the Fleming Building were organized by a newly-formed coalition of student groups calling themselves "Students Against the Code" (SAC). The group's members included students representing a wide range of the ideological spectrum, from the editorial board of the Michigan Review on the right to the National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition on the other end of the spectrum.

The students argued that the code would be used to infringe on their First Amendment rights, silencing them rather than encouraging discourse. "The Regents have decided that the University is no longer a democracy," asserted Ben Novick, Residential College junior. "A vast majority of the student body is against it, yet they [the Regents] refuse to acknowledge that they cannot take away my rights just because I am a U-M student."

Residential College junior Jodi Masley felt that students should have a more direct role in the judicial process on campus. "Regents have unilateral power to make decisions which affect students. Students have little control over disputes between students," she said. Masley proposed that MSA's judicial body assume responsibility for handling student disputes.

Not all students in the SAC group agreed that MSA should handle these student conflicts. While in the Fleming Building lobby, many students were chanting that the courts should decide judicial matters and the University should stay out of the judicial system.

After nearly an hour of chants and cries of "let us in," most of the group was allowed into the Regents' meeting when it was officially opened. The students quietly filed in and listened as the Regents ran through their agenda. The Regents closed the meeting to the public to discuss legal matters and the students peacefully dispersed, reappearing to plead their case at the 4 p.m. public comments session in the Michigan Union.