The University Record, November 21, 1995

Regents OK student code; will be reviewed in 3 years

By Rebecca A. Doyle

The Regents passed the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Code of Student Conduct last Friday by a vote of seven to one, with an amendment that it be reviewed again in three years. Regent Deane Baker was the lone dissenting vote.

An earlier proposed amendment suggesting the code expire in three years was discarded after discussion and objections of President James J. Duderstadt, who noted that he felt the University would be in violation of state and federal statutes and in jeopardy regarding accreditation if there were no student conduct code in place.

Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hartford said she expects the policy will go into effect Jan. 1, giving the University time to distribute the new policy. Hartford commended the student work group that drafted the document.

"This is a much better document than we've ever had in the past," she said. "I think we've gotten much more clear and much more aware about what due process is owed to students when they violate our codes of conduct."

The eight-student work group solicited input from the University community over a seven-month period using focus groups, electronic mail and open forums to gather comments, objections and suggestions.

"We talked personally with 500 students, and much of their input is what made this document the way it is," said Jack Bernard, now a graduate of the Law School. Bernard said the group worked very hard to make sure that everyone had a chance to make their views known.

"This document is a consensus, a compromise on everybody's part," he said. "We did what we could to make this code emphasize the educational aspects. This is a much more mediation-oriented document."

During the public comments portion of the Regents meeting on Thursday Anne Marie Ellison, an LS&A sophomore and chair of the Michigan Student Assembly's Student Rights Commission, urged the Regents not to adopt the code.

"This code fails to safeguard student rights, and I urge you not to put this policy in place," she said.

Ellison was joined by Devorah Adler, LS&A senior, in speaking against the code during the public comments. Adler said the code has a fatal flaw because "it is not the product of the student community it is intended to govern." Adler said that the work group acted as employees of the University while they were gathering input and were reluctant to debate the issues openly.

Mary H. Rave, president of the Washtenaw County Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Eugene Feingold, ACLU board member and professor emeritus of health services management and policy; and Sallie R. Churchill, also ACLU board member and professor of social work, all spoke against having a student code.

"The code deals with non-academic matters, with matters in which the University should not be involved," Feingold said. "Why should the University invent our own legal system?"

In addition to Bernard, students who served on the work group are Kimberly Wilson, a senior in education; Maggie Kinnear, who is not a U-M student this year; Emi Nakazato, LS&A graduate; Kenneth Sachs, LS&A senior; Chris Hodges, LS&A junior; Sean McCabe-Plius, graduate student; and Larry La Tarte, LS&A junior.

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Code of Student Conduct replaces an interim policy that has been in effect since November 1992.