Woolf presents new draft of Student Code of Conduct

OISE Open House

AMS Assembly Recap — March 31

Credit: 
Graphic by Ashley Quan

“Daniel, we’re back at it again,” AMS President Kanivanan Chinniah said as he introduced Principal Daniel Woolf to AMS Assembly. 

The March 31 Assembly meeting — the final meeting of the 2015-16 school year — began with a discussion of a draft Student Code of Conduct, with Woolf visiting to speak on the future of Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM) system.

Later in the night, students-at-large and members of the Assembly debated the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

The meeting lasted for six hours and included a closed-door discussion period at the end.

The incoming Chief Returning Officer, Chief Electoral Officer, Chair of the AMS Judicial Committee and Assistant Clubs Manager were also ratified by Assembly.

Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM)

Assembly was presented with a draft of the Student Code of Conduct, which provides details about a proposed NAM system.

If the drafted system were implemented, the Board of Trustees would be responsible for the NAM system in a Central Intake Office (the Office was created this year as part of the interim protocol). Non-academic discipline responsibilities would, for the most part, be removed from students in the AMS and placed in the Central Intake Office run by the Queen's administration.

Before the NAM review, the AMS, Athletics & Recreation, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) and Queen's Residences had their own NAM systems.

In the system described in the draft code of conduct, the administration's Central Intake Office would process all cases and delegate them to other bodies, including to a newly-created Student Conduct Office under the Dean of Student Affairs. Bodies other than Residences and Athletics & Recreation — such as the AMS and SGPS — would sign a formal agreement with the University to administer non-academic discipline. 

The Board of Trustees would also create a Sub-Committee on Non-Academic Misconduct (SONAM), which would include one or more student representatives.

During the discussion on non-academic misconduct, Principal Woolf fielded questions and concerns from students. He confirmed that the drafted Code of conduct — which hasn't yet been approved — will be brought to the Board of Trustees on May 6.

Lisa Newton of University Legal Council attended the meeting alongside Woolf to address legal questions from Assembly members and members-at-large.

COMPSA President Max Garcia asked about the accountability placed on the leaders of student groups, collectively or individually, for group members’ violations of the Code of Conduct.

In response, Newton said instances involving groups of students would be handled on a case-by-case basis and that leaders wouldn’t necessarily be held accountable for their groups.

After a student-at-large asked if the same body should be handling simpler sanctions, like providing alcohol to a minor, along with violations as serious as sexual assault, Woolf said both were serious enough to warrant involvement from the administration.

A proxy member asked if the apology sanction — which requires that a student submit a written or oral apology — was necessary and effective.

“My mother always taught me that the least you can do is say you’re sorry,” Woolf said. He said the sanction would be used in cases where there was no major harm done otherwise. 

Members of the Assembly were most concerned with student representation on the SONAM subcommittee, which many members felt was scant. The SONAM subcommittee would be responsible for policy oversight of the University’s non-academic misconduct system.

“You are accountable to everyday students,” Residence Society President Greg Radisic said. He asked Woolf to consider adding student representatives, even beyond student leaders. 

In response, Woolf said the issue of student representation on the SONAM committee will be addressed at the next Advisory Committee on Non-Academic Misconduct (ACNAM) meeting.

The Journal will report further on changes to the Non-Academic Misconduct system in the coming months.

Fall Reading Week

In Chinniah’s report, he said the Orientation Round Table has written to Senate about their concerns surrounding the current fall reading week proposal.

He said he’s still seeking approval for a motion to defer the SCAP proposal, which is scheduled to go to a vote at Senate on April 19.

Equity Strategic Plan

Social Issues Commissioner (SIC) Alex Chung presented her Equity Strategic Plan at the meeting.

The plan consists of recommendations for AMS employees to better serve and represent the diversity of the student population. According to Chung, the commission consulted widely before making 41 recommendations in their plan.

Chairman of the AMS Board of Directors Mike Blair, however, noted that the Board is usually responsible for assuring equity throughout the AMS. He said the Social Issues Commissions should have consulted the Board before creating the plan.

“The Board does not work for the Social Issues Commission,” he said.

Blair and Chung eventually agreed to disagree about the lack of consultation with the Board.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement (BSD)

The medical student Aesculapian Society Representative Zain Siddiqui moved to hold a discussion period about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement attempts to put economic and political pressure on Israel to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and ensure the equal treatment of Arab-Palestinian citizens within Israel.  

In February, Parliament passed a motion condemning attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement.

Members of AMS Assembly brought up concerns about whether or not the motion violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by limiting freedom of speech.

The discussion was intended to be a general discussion on how students felt about the federal government’s recent statement but quickly turned into a debate on whether the AMS should take a stance on the motion.

Chinniah said the AMS cannot take a stance on issues that affect the interest of students directly, but will always stand for the freedom of expression.

Representatives at the meeting said limiting students’ freedom of speech is in essence what the condemnation of BDS is about.

“The opinion of the federal government cannot be forced on students,” ASUS Representative Lucas Cohen said.

Incoming AMS President Tyler Lively spoke on behalf of the incoming executive, saying that “this is not an area that we want to dabble in.”

Siddiqui and other representatives suggested that the AMS form a committee to address concerns with the Parliament’s motion to condemn BDS.

The committee would discuss the ways BDS affects students and the AMS’s options for addressing the motion; the student government could either take a stance on the motion or release a letter explaining why it could not.

Siddiqui motioned to re-open the agenda to form the committee, but it was voted down.

AMS Assembly had not come to a consensus by the end of the discussion. As a result, the AMS will not be taking a stance on the Parliament motion condemning the BDS movement.

Corrections

April 15, 2016

Principal Woolf said the issue of student representation on SONAM would be brought up at the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Non-Academic Misconduct (ACNAM), not the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD).

The Journal regrets the error.

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