AMS releases discipline review at AGM

The outgoing and incoming AMS councils gathered for their annual general assembly in the Lower Ceilidh of the JDUC on Tuesday night.
The outgoing and incoming AMS councils gathered for their annual general assembly in the Lower Ceilidh of the JDUC on Tuesday night.
Photo by Willem Nieboer

Following a five-month “thorough and complex review” of the Queen’s non-academic discipline system, the AMS released its report and recommendations on the system at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) Tuesday night.

“It’s a good step forward to trying to make the non-academic discipline system more relevant with students and the community,” Jeremy Opolsky, AMS chief prosecutor, told the Journal.

Opolsky was part of the nine-member committee that conducted the review, which was mandated by the Principal’s Task Force on Community Relations last summer. The Task Force was created in November 2004 to investigate off-campus student behaviour, in light of rising tensions between students and permanent city residents. According to the new report, the system “needs remodelling, not demolishing.”

AMS President Ethan Rabidoux, who chaired the committee, told AMS Assembly that one of the most innovative recommendations is introducing mediation to the system.

The mediation process could be useful in a situation such as an ongoing conflict created by students who host loud parties on a regular basis that disturb neighbours. Mediation would seek to resolve disputes from such a case by creating an atmosphere in which the student (called the respondent) and the neighbour (the complainant) are assisted by a trained AMS prosecutor to work out a mutually satisfactory arrangement.

“If we can get students to sit down with their neighbours and share their opinions, it may change their views of each other,” Opolsky said. “It might help to alleviate some of the tensions.”

Other recommendations in the report include updating the University Code of Conduct to make it “more understandable to the average Queen’s student,” developing closer ties with the Kingston Police and the Kingston City Council, improving training for the students who are involved in administering the system and creating a user-friendly guide that explains the system to the public.

The report also recommends that the AMS Chief Prosecutor give a mandatory five to 10 minute presentation to each faculty society during Frosh Week explaining the system. Students who break the Queen’s Code of Conduct are prosecuted by the AMS Judicial Committee (JComm), which is composed entirely of students.

At the meeting, JComm Chair Steve Dickie, another member of the review committee, said that theoretically, the system applies to students anywhere in the world.

“[But] realistically, we’re talking about campus, the Ghetto, Kingston and special circumstances, such as school trips,” he said.

The committee’s report will be presented to the University Senate at its March 30 meeting. If passed by Senate, the AMS will work towards implementing its recommendations.

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