After receiving approval from University President Mary Sue Coleman, several changes to the leading governing document for students will be put into effect in July.

In a letter to Charles Koopmann, chair of the Student Relations Advisory Committee, Coleman wrote she would accept all of the six proposed amendments to the student code. However, Coleman noted two changes she wanted to make to the amendments before they are put into effect later this summer.

“I am pleased to report that I support all of the Student Relations Advisory Committee’s recommendations, with two important modifications,” Coleman wrote in the letter.

The first modification Coleman made will change the word “intervention” to “sanction,” which appears throughout the third amendment to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Coleman wrote in the letter that she wanted the change to be made because it undermined the University’s legal obligations.

“The Office of General Counsel advised that the component of this proposal that replaces the term ‘sanction’ with ‘intervention’ unintentionally undermines the University’s significant legal obligations to hold students accountable for serious misconduct proscribed by federal and state civil rights laws and higher education laws,” Coleman wrote.

Additionally, Coleman wrote that she believed law enforcement officers would better understand the word “sanction.”

“Furthermore, as investigative agencies are familiar with terms such as ‘sanctions’ rather than ‘interventions,’ it is to the University’s benefit to have formal policies align with the expectations of regulatory authorities when possible,” she wrote.

The rest of the third amendment, which is meant to bring the language of the student code in line with the University’s educational mission, was approved without changes.

Coleman also accepted a modified version of the fourth proposed amendment to the student code, which is meant to include an adaptable conflict resolution option for students in certain situations.

The proposed amendment listed two examples for when adaptable conflict resolution might be used — in roommate disputes or drug- and alcohol-related violations. But Coleman removed the two examples, saying it would tie the University’s hands to list the two specific situations.

“The Office of General Counsel advised that the sentence ‘These (adaptable conflict resolution) pathways may be available for a wide variety of conflicts, including roommate disputes and/or incidents related to alcohol or drug use’ codifies OSCR’s process and commits the University to a particular approach by listing examples of how adaptable conflict resolution is currently being used,” Coleman wrote.

However, Coleman supported the rest of the amendment, which means more general language about the possibility of adaptable conflict resolution will be added to the revised Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Four other amendments were approved by Coleman without any modifications, including an amendment to the student code amendment process and an amendment to make the student code document gender neutral.

Neither amendment makes policy changes to the document; rather, they make language changes so the document is more inclusive and clearer on the current process in place.

The other two amendments will make intimate partner violence a violation of the student code and will bring the student code’s nondiscrimination policy in line with the Board of Regents’ policy.

The changes, which will go into effect July 1, are expected to be announced to University students when they return to campus in the fall.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.