AMS releases discipline memo

Executive and University come to a non-academic discipline agreement

A new Non-Academic Discipline (NAD) system at Queen’s will see more emphasis on peer enforced sanctions against student offenders.

NAD is a peer-judicial system that enforces sanctions for students who commit offences such as theft, illegal possession or consumption of alcohol, perjury and public disturbances.

An agreement between the AMS executive team and Principal Daniel Woolf was signed on Sept. 11 to revamp the system after 18 months of discussion between the AMS and the University’s Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD).

Changes to the system will have to be voted on during Senate on Tuesday.

A large part of the discussion process consisted of the AMS regaining judiciary control of NAD from Student Affairs, which had dealt with most non-academic discipline infractions since Skinner’s review was put forward to

Queen’s administration.

“We were able to come to an agreement with the University and it was a long and very time consuming process so I would say that we’re relieved that the system maintains the core feature of a peer judicial system,” said Mira Dineen, AMS vice president of university affairs.

The decision to review the system started after Coroner Roger Skinner recommended a review of Queen’s alcohol policies in 2011 following several student deaths on campus. Changes include establishing minimum sanctions for malicious blue light activation and rooftop and alcohol-related cases, with progressive sanctions for recurring offenders. 

NAD also plans to increase expediency of cases by establishing a 60-day deadline from the time a case is received to being closed.

Sanctions include fines of up to $1,000, community service of up to 50 hours, and written letters of apology.

Mandatory alcohol workshops offered through Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) will be a new sanction introduced as part of the review.

“Over the summer we were able to refocus the process on making genuine improvements to the system and we feel comfortable with the end result,” Dineen said.

Students offenders will be billed for sanctioned fines by NAD on SOLUS, allowing for greater efficiency when dealing with cases. 

Over the 2012-13 academic year, SONAD plans to implement a jointly-administered online database for offenders that will be accessible to all judiciary systems. 

The AMS also plans to increase communications to the Kingston and Queen’s community about how to use the system.

“We made a lot of, I would say, administrative changes that will increase the consistency and the effectiveness and the transparency of the system,” Dineen said.

After the NAD review committee met throughout last year, a report was submitted to the provost, and then left to the University to act on, she added.

She also said there had been extensive conflict between SONAD and the AMS over what changes should be included in the review. 

“We have disagreed throughout the course of discussions,” she said. “However, we were very pleased and appreciative that the University and us were able to come to an agreement.”

Principal Daniel Woolf said the revamped system reflects the importance of Non-Academic Discipline at Queen’s.

“We know how important this policy and the tradition of peer non-academic discipline is to students at Queen’s,” he said. “The agreement reflects the administration’s ongoing support for the system and all parties’ commitment to improving it.”

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