The response from students about the proposed Student Organization Conduct Policy, while admirable, is misplaced. Out of all the things on this campus to be up in arms about, the proposed organization policy shouldn’t be one of them.
Almost all formally recognized student organizations are already following the proposed Student Organization Conduct Policy because it is virtually the mirror image of the Student Code of Conduct, only the proposed policy is now holding all organizations to be treated equally. The only groups not under the current policy are Greek organizations that are governed by Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council.
A group of student leaders created the Twitter page Our Vision Matters to give students a platform to voice their opposition to the proposed organization policy, highlighting four main points of concern within the policy in a Twitter thread Nov. 15.
These concerns are campus strict probation sanctions, the possibility of double jeopardy, no amnesty and unequal representation on the student conduct board.
The only valid concern here is the unequal representation that gives faculty the simple majority. The other concerns are only an issue to those who do not fully understand the policy or those who want Greeks to have more judicial power than any other organization.
Campus strict probation is in place for “a student organization to remain recognized by the University in spite of a serious violation.” This is a possible sanction for the Student Conduct Board to use if they see fit in the case of a serious violation. The solution here is to not commit egregious violations against the University as an organization.
The concern of double jeopardy is that an organization can charge a student with a violation and then the University can turn around and charge the entire organization to which that student belongs for the same violation.
This is a misguided concern. For one, just because an individual belongs to an organization it does not mean that the organization will automatically be at fault for the individual's behavior. Also, that student being charged so chose to belong to that organization, agreeing to whatever policies set in place. The proposed organization policy will supersede any bylaw, rule or expectation created by a student organization.
Another concern floating around campus is that an individual found in violation of a University policy will indefinitely result in the entire organization in which that individual happens to belong to be held accountable for that individual's behavior.
In the proposed Student Organization Conduct Policy it says “A formally recognized student organization acts through its members, but the University understands that an individual can violate a University policy independent of the individual's affiliation with the student organization.”
This means that unless a person could look at that individual violating University policy and easily say that is a specific University organization event, then the entire organization would not be at fault, the individual would be.
In the proposed policy, the Amnesty Provision of the Student Conduct Code does apply to student organizations. Our Vision Matters claims the proposed policy says “If medical staff/emergency staff/public safety have to respond to an event associated with an organization, that organization will be sent to this conduct board.”
However, the proposed policy really says student organizations hosting an event where help is called to “may be held responsible,” not that the organization will automatically be required to go before the conduct board. The proposed policy also goes on to say that the student organization’s willingness to seek out assistance will be taken into consideration for a less severe sanction if taken to the conduct board.
If students actually read the policy they would probably not have very many concerns about the proposed policy anymore.
Student leaders have every right to serve as watchdogs of the Northwest community. At the same time, the whole picture should be considered.