Ahead of Vote to Create a New Disciplinary System, Key Revisions Announced

Several of the revisions respond to criticisms from faculty senate members who found the first proposal too strict.

By Pete Grieve, Editor-in-Chief ('18–'19)

The faculty senate will vote next Tuesday on whether to implement a new disciplinary system for disruptive conduct. Components of the proposed system under consideration by the 51-member Council of the University Senate have just been revised in several major ways.

A provost-appointed committee made the revisions after a period of soliciting feedback. A number of the proposed revisions respond to criticisms from faculty senate members who found the first proposal too strict.

Notably, the involvement of the Board of Trustees has been put off until next year. The committee that produced the report recommended revisions to the University’s statutes, which only the Board can do, but now it is suggesting that a separate committee be tasked with statute updates.

In particular, the committee would consider revising Statute 21, which defines “disruptive conduct.”

The Additions

There is now a statement that most incidents will be addressed informally with “educational content” about free expression and boundaries.

There is a stipulation that the provost will select the faculty members who will hear cases from the pool of professors who have served on the faculty senate in the past five years. Students and staff members will be selected upon consultation with academic deans. Disciplinary committees will be comprised of three faculty members, a student, and a staff member.

It is stated that only suspension and expulsion will appear on a transcript.

The proposal now explicitly states the presumption of innocence. The University will make available a number of people knowledgeable of the University’s rules who would be willing to serve as “support persons” for respondents and complainants.

Language has been added stating that the system does not apply to individuals who are not affiliated with the University.

The Deletions

Degree revocation has been removed as a possible disciplinary outcome.  The “Official warning” sanction has been changed to just a “warning.”

Language stating that disciplinary committees can forgo hearings before issuing sanctions when facts are not disputed has been removed.

The system no longer says that disciplinary proceedings and outcomes must remain confidential. Six paragraphs of confidentiality rules were gutted, but it does say that comments made at disciplinary hearings must be kept confidential until the committee makes its decision.

The chair of the committee that produced the report and the spokesperson of the Committee of the Council Randal Picker sent a document to The Maroon highlighting the revisions and a memo describing the changes.