NAD policy passed

AMS Assembly passes sanctions for groups

The AMS passed the Non-Academic Group Discipline policy yesterday, amid some ambivalence at Assembly on the details of the policy.

Internal Affairs Commissioner Kristen Olver moved the policy to Assembly. In introducing the policy, she noted that it will be complaint-based and that sanctions will be given out by a third-party committee.

“We would never go after somebody,” she said.

The sanctions also can’t be so severe that they cause a group to disband, she said.

Olver received support from the AMS executive, with Vice-President (University Affairs) Thomas Pritchard taking a prominent role in the debate.

If the student group is a faculty society organization, Olver said, four representatives from that faculty, including the faculty society President, will be on the committee to ensure fairness.

Like individual non-academic discipline, she said, everyone running the program will be students, which is preferable to an outside body.

“It’s not an administrator breathing down your neck and telling you that you did something wrong,” she said. “Sanctions are positive. It’s not like we’re saying you’re never going to exist again. The sanctions are not detrimental, they are educational. We’re here to learn from our mistakes,” Olver said. Vice-president of the Nursing Science Society, Hannah Yassine, attempted to pass an amendment to change the definition of hazing in the document. She said it was too vague and could pose as a threat to frosh week activities.

The document currently defines hazing as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s consent to participate.”

Yassine‘s amendment would have changed the word “expected” to “required” in the document, since fairly harmless frosh events could be considered humiliating despite being optional.

Yassine’s proposed amendment failed to pass.

Alex Marshall, president of the Concurrent Education Student’s Association, addressed the AMS executive by stating that perhaps more conversation was needed about policy.

He stated that the “room was not comfortable with it” and that the policy “possibly requires reform.” Thomas Pritchard, vice-president (university affairs), stated to Assembly that last year’s team looked at the policy extensively, and it should have been passed earlier.

“It needs to go forward tonight,” he said. “We agreed to do group discipline … it was deemed necessary.”

Some students have claimed it violates individual rights by placing blame on a group in its entirety, possibly leading to guilt by association.

Assembly debated on whether an appeal process should be implemented so groups can possibly contest their guilt.

Olver said she wouldn’t be opposed to allowing student groups to appeal NAD’s disciplinary action.

“We would have to create a new body in order for students to appeal this process.

It’s definitely feasible, it would just take a good amount of time,” she said.

Olver said that by stating that it’s possible for groups to contest NAD’s sanctions without the AMS creating an appeal board.

This would be done by attending an open hearing to state their case.

She said that sanctions against a student group shouldn’t be viewed as entirely negative.

Member-at-large Brendan Goodman, ArtSci ’16, said the policy shouldn’t be passed until an appeal body is implemented.

“This can’t be passed tonight if we aren’t completely comfortable with it.

If change is going to take a long time why don’t we get it right the first time?” he said.

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