The University Record, February 22, 1999

Regents approve new amendment procedure for student Code

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Following an internal self-evaluation by the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, committee review, an external review by peer institutions and review by the Michigan Student Assembly committee, the Regents last week approved changes to the procedure in place to amend the University’s Code of Student Conduct.

Instead of being amended by a majority vote of the Regents, the Code now can be amended by the University’s president upon recommendation of the Student Relations Committee. The committee will consult with MSA, Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) and executive officers of the University before making its recommendations.

In proposing the change, Maureen Hartford, vice president for student affairs, said the new process will “encourage the evolution of the Code.”

Hartford praised all who were involved in the review of the Code, and asked three student representatives to speak to the Regents about other changes they would make to the document.

“The process has been very good for us, and good for the institution,” Hartford said when she told the Regents how much time had been spent on the mandatory evaluation. The Code of Student Conduct was adopted in 1995 with the stipulation that it be reviewed in three years.

“It certainly has expanded the knowledge among students of what the Code is,” she said, “and I think it has given us some very good feedback about the way we should communicate the Code in the future to students as they come into the institution.”

Brian Reich, LS&A sophomore, told the Regents there were three points that almost everyone agreed on when they reviewed the document.

“The first was that most are unaware of the Code of Student Conduct, at an alarming level,” he said. Although it has increased to some degree with the recent publicity the Code has received, in December only 8 percent to 10 percent of the people on campus knew there was a Code of Student Conduct, he said. “Still, far too many people are not aware of what’s gong on.”

Second, Reich said, was that the Code should be simpler and easier to communicate.

Third, the Code should be a “living, breathing document . . . that changes over time. The University changes over time, and we want to make sure the Code can change over time as well,” Reich said.

Reich, Abe Rafi and MSA President Trent Thompson presented Regents with a proposal that they said would make the Code all of those, including a short statement that would be an honor statement and summarize what it means to be a University of Michigan student. The honor statement would be concise enough to be included in or on all University-sponsored publications. Another two sections would detail procedures, violations and sanctions, and reference materials important to the Code process.

MSA representatives will continue to work with representatives from the faculty and administration to make suggestions for change, which will include changing the name from Student Code of Conduct to something students may see as more positive and less punitive.