Draft Code of Conduct tabled

Debate over 13 proposed amendments pushes vote to April 24; committee may not make deadline

Senate on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD) Chair Georgina Moore says there’s no guarantee SONAD will have a recommendation ready for the Senate meeting on April 24.
Senate on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD) Chair Georgina Moore says there’s no guarantee SONAD will have a recommendation ready for the Senate meeting on April 24.

The University’s code of conduct was officially put under review two years ago, but students will have to wait at least another month before its revised version is finalized.

The Senate on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD) met on five occasions from November to January to discuss and revise the code.

Changes to the draft originally presented to Senate in response to student concerns include removing the clause requiring students to report misconduct or remove themselves from situations where it’s occurring; removing the sanction allowing a note on a transcript relating to non-academic discipline; the addition of the definition of a student for the purposes of the code; and adding a section outlining the University’s right to bar a student from certain places on campus if staff, student or faculty safety’s at risk by a student’s continued presence at the University.

At yesterday’s Senate meeting, Student Senate Caucus put forward 13 proposed amendments to the latest draft.

The proposed amendments include additions stating the University isn’t responsible for students’ “moral and social behavior;” prohibiting acts of discrimination; and a clause protecting “freedom of conscience.”

After more than an hour of discussion and debate, Senate voted to refer the original draft student code of conduct and the 13 proposed amendments to SONAD so they can evaluate the proposed amendments and return with a recommendation to Senate April 24, when Senate will vote on the final version of the code.

Student Senate Caucus Chair Quynh Huynh said she hopes the Student Senate Caucus and SONAD can work together on reviewing the amendments and making a recommendation.

Huynh said she’ll meet with SONAD chair Georgina Moore to discuss the Caucus’ role in reviewing the amendments.

SONAD Chair Georgina Moore said she received a copy of the 13 proposed amendments on Thursday morning.

Moore said having to review and vote on the code on the same day was frustrating.

“It’s unfortunate, and this has been ongoing for a long time now,” she said. “I guess at some point we have to say ‘this is it, we have what we have, let’s decide if we want it or not.’ It’s never a perfect thing.”

Moore said SONAD will have a hard time meeting the April deadline because of scheduling conflicts.

“I think the expectation that SONAD is going to be able to turn this around and give it the review it needs and bring it back in April is a very tough challenge,” she said. “I am very mindful of the fact that this is the end of term and exams will start and students will have to leave.”

Moore said there’s no guarantee SONAD will be able to finish reviewing the amendments and have a recommendation ready for the last Senate meeting April 24.

“It’s difficult enough to convene meetings of committees at any time of the year, and this is one of the worst times,” she said. “I’m not sure how successful we’ll be.

We’ll try.”

To see the 13 code of conduct amendments and the latest draft of the code, go to queensjournal.ca.

Changes to original draft code of conduct

  • Removal of Rule 11, which states, “students shall, as soon as it is reasonably possible, report misconduct (behaviour in contravention of rules 1 through 10, inclusive) to the appropriate authority or remove themselves from situations where misconduct is occurring.”
  • Removal of the sanction that involves “notation on transcript—an order for the notation on a student’s transcript for a specified period of time that the student committed an offence under the Queen’s Student Code of Conduct.” But it remains Senate policy that a notation will be made on a student’s transcript if he or she is required to withdraw from the University as a result of non-academic discipline.
  • The addition of a definition of a Queen’s student as bound by the Student Code of Conduct from the time of first registration at Queen’s University. This includes the period between sessional dates when the student isn’t officially registered. A student on exchange, registered in a non-degree program or a student registered at another University on a letter of permission is also bound by the code. Students remain bound by the code until they complete their degrees.
  • The addition of a section outlining the University’s “right to exercise emergency powers, including the issuance of a Notice of Prohibition. The University may exercise emergency powers if satisfied that the interests or safety of other students, staff, faculty, or members of the public would be endangered by the student’s continued presence at Queen’s University or specific part thereof or by the student continuing in a course or program.” A Notice of Prohibition may be used to bar a students from entering some or all of Queen’s University pending the outcome of a proceeding.
Jane Switzer

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