After spending more than two years under review, the finalized version of the University’s Code of Conduct was approved by Senate on April 24.
The draft code was tabled at Senate’s March 27 meeting, where Senate voted to refer the original draft student Code of conduct and the 13 proposed amendments to the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD ) to rework the proposed amendments.
SONAD revised and accepted five of the 13 tabled amendments, which state students are free to organize their own personal lives “subject to the law and to those University regulations that are necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the University;” students are valued members of the Queen’s community with a “valid interest in contributing to, participating in and remaining part of the University community;” the code applies to any student’s conduct that has a “real and substantial” connection to the University; acts of “discrimination or harassment based upon, but not limited to, race, religion, gender, ability, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation” are unacceptable and constitute an offence within the University community; and nothing in the Code shall prohibit “freedom of conscience and religion, peaceful assemblies, lawful demonstrations and picketing, or inhibit free speech.”
The code was last updated in 1991.
Harry Smith, director of dispute resolution mechanisms for SONAD , said a request was made to those who had expertise within their faculties to bring comments on the draft code to the March 27 meeting.
After the draft code was tabled, Smith aid SONAD met on March 31 and dealt with changes to the amendments, where University Legal Counsel was also in attendance to provide advice on legal aspects. SONAD then scheduled a meeting on April 7th and invited student senators to attend.
“A copy of the committee’s response to the proposed amendments was sent to the student senate caucus chair for distribution for the members so they could see the conclusions we came to, and they could come to the meeting and discuss any issues or questions that arose as a result of SONAD ’s earlier meeting.”
Student Senate Caucus Chair Quynh Huynh said that, in addition to comments made at the March 27 Senate meeting by faculty, staff and students, some senators also forwarded additional comments directly to SONAD regarding the proposed amendments.
Huynh said involving students was a challenge.
“I know there are still students out there who completely disagree with the idea of a code of conduct.” Huynh said that, although the process of reviewing and revising the draft code of conduct was one of the most important items she dealt with during her two-year term, she said most students have no idea what the Code of Conduct is.
“I think Queen’s students know there is a code of conduct but are unaware of its contents until they are faced by the system themselves,” she said. “However, I do think this year more students have been engaged by this process than otherwise.”
Huynh said she hopes the amendments that weren’t accepted will be discussed in the future because she believes they’re valid concerns among the student body.
“We need to remember and to emphasize that the student code of conduct is a living document and I hope to see it revisited for its practicality periodically.”
To see the new code of conduct, go to queensjournal.ca
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