Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities open to amendments

By Genevieve Hummer, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 9, 2015

The University plans to review its Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities during the 2015-2016 academic year, according to an e-mail from E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, sent to students, faculty and staff on Thursday.

The statement outlines student conduct expectations consistent with the University’s values, and suggests sanctions and disciplinary procedures if those expectations are not met.

“This community-owned document sets forth the University‘s values and expectations for resolving conflicts and is intended to maintain a campus climate that supports learning for all students,” Harper wrote. “Similar to policies articulating standards for academic behavior within the University's colleges and schools, the Statement sets forth the expectations for non-academic behavior for all students.”

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the timeline for amendment years is set by the Student Relations Advisory Committee, a committee of the faculty’s central governing body, the Student Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

“The SRAC committee sets the timeline — my recollection is that it has roughly been every three years,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it could be more frequently if there’s a reason.”

According to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution’s website, the last statement amendment cycle happened during the 2012-2013 academic year. At this time, five changes were made.

During the last review cycle, the statement was amended to reflect the current titles for Central Student Government and Information Technology Services and SRAC’s affiliation with the Senate Assembly — a governing body comprised of 74 elected faculty members from the University’s Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses.

In addition, bullying was included as a statement violation, the University’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy was reconciled with the statement and the Respect for Medical Amnesty was added as a related procedure. Respect for Medical Amnesty is a state law that seeks to remove barriers for minors voluntarily seeking medical help for themselves or another after drinking.

Fitzgerald said he’s not yet aware of what specific amendments might be proposed for the coming year.

“I’m not aware of any deep plans for amendments that people have in the works at this point,” he said. “As you can see it’s quite a thorough and long process so there’s plenty of time for people to consider amendments.”

In Harper’s e-mail, she wrote that opportunities for community input will be available from April 2015 until Nov. 2, 2015. The SRAC must receive all of the finalized amendment proposals by the end of this period. The committee will then conduct a formal review from November 2015 through January 2016.

The Office of Student Conflict Resolution held the first community dialogue on the statement on Thursday in collaboration with Central Student Government and Trotter Multicultural Center.

Though the event was open to all students, only current Business graduate student Michael Proppe, former CSG president, attended the event. Clyde Barnett III, CSG’s program manager and adviser, also attended the dialogue, along with OSCR personnel.

Shana Schoem, the program specialist at OSCR, and Stacy Vander Velde, the associate director at OSCR, led the discussion.

OSCR plans to hold more community dialogues in September.

“There are definitely things that we’ve heard already, but we haven’t had the chance to hear too much from students,” Schoem said. “Hopefully, that’s what (the dialogues) are for and we’ll see more people in the fall.”

Before the SRAC forwards their amendment recommendations to the Office of the President in March 2016, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel and the Civil Liberties Board will also review the proposals.

Final decisions will be announced in April 2016 and will go into effect on July 1, 2016.

Harper noted in her e-mail that CSG, SACUA and the University’s administration are the three bodies that can propose amendments.

Fitzgerald said granting these three groups the chance to amend the statement ensures that faculty, students and staff are all represented throughout the process.

“Typically CSG would have someone focused or some group focused at looking at the statement,” he said. “But then I think it’s important to note that there are vehicles for faculty, staff and students to initiate possible amendments.”

Daily Staff Reporter Tanaz Ahmed contributed reporting.