The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs convened Monday afternoon for their second-to-last meeting before newly elected members take office on May 1. The committee reviewed the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities and adopted an edited version of the SACUA Guidance on Grievability.
SACUA member David Potter, a Classical Studies professor, discussed two main takeaways from attending a recent luncheon sponsored by the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution.
He noted the types of statement violations reported to the University and the potential of adding an additional honor code to supplement the statement.
Potter said 600 statement violations were reported within the last year, and the University issued no expulsions or suspensions during that time. He added that of the 129 reported sexual misconduct cases, 68 of which were classified as sexual assault and 34 as sexual harassment. There were 14 cases of stalking, 11 violations for other matters and two for retaliation.
“There were a significant amount of cases that were reported where the survivor did not wish to pursue matters further,” Potter said.
The second item of note — the creation of an honor code — is also under consideration by Central Student Government. In February, CSG President Bobby Dishell, a Public Policy senior, commissioned a task force to consider writing an honor code, which would cover topics such as academic integrity and student rights.
“The aim of the task force, and eventually the honor code, will be to encourage and motivate students to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Dishell wrote in a February press release. “Currently there is not one place where students can turn to in order to know what our community stands for. It’s important that, as students at Michigan, we understand our roles as the leaders and best both on and off campus.”
At the luncheon, Potter said attendees suggested that any new honor code also provide procedures for handling violations of the code.
He also noted the strength in a single Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities governing all of the University’s schools and colleges. At the luncheon, Potter said OSCR officials clarified that it is important to maintain this consistency. Though all units are governed by the current Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, not all have honor codes that provide clear expectations of behavior for members of the University community.
The body also adopted a new SACUA Guidance on Grievability, which is designed to provide resources for faculty filing a complaint through the University’s grievance procedures.
After reviewing the final guidance, SACUA member John Lehman, a professor of biology, made a motion to adopt the document and revisit it annually. The motion was passed unanimously.
“If the hearing board decides that the complaint is not grievable, the grievant can appeal the decision to SACUA,” SACUA Chair Scott Masten, a professor of business economics and public policy, wrote in an e-mail interview after the meeting. “After receiving such an appeal last fall and overruling the grievance board, we decided that it would be useful if grievance boards had a document that explained how we interpret the grievance procedures so that they would be less likely to make an error. The document that we approved today is that document.”
During the meeting, Masten said he plans to give an update on SACUA’s report on the University’s Office of Institutional Equity when the full Senate Assembly meets next week. Masten said the decision making process will carry over into May because of the provost’s schedule.
A report filed by SACUA last month pointed to several flaws SACUA found within OIE. The report’s central concerns were the adequacy of due process protections in OIE procedures and OIE’s application of those procedures in the specific cases of three faculty members who submitted complaints to SACUA.
The last SACUA meeting of the 2014-2015 academic year is scheduled for April 27.