Council February 21: Charter Challenged

Although it was not a formal agenda item, the Proposed Charter for the Student Judicial System (Almanac February 13) dominated the February 21 Council meeting. After the issue took up most of the clarification period following the standing reports, the Undergraduate Assembly's Lance Rogers requested and was granted two 20-minute extensions of discussion. The extensions supplanted two scheduled agenda items--one on representation in Council requested by the United Minorities Council, and the other on a draft policy on the privacy of electronic information, developed by the Committee on Communications.

Issues in the Charter

Advised in advance of objections to the proposal he released for information before taking it to the Undergraduate Schools for approval, Provost Stanley Chodorow devoted his opening report to a comparison, indicating areas where the new charter increases student involvement and decreases administrative roles. He gave some history of the Buckley Amendment on privacy of student academic records, and its federal interpretations, as the source of the confidentiality provisions that have become one of the major points of controversy in the new Charter proposal--one of four points raised in UA's proposed amendment to the Charter last fall, which UA redistributed last week:

  1. The Disciplinary Hearing and the Disciplinary Appellate Officer shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate.

  2. The student respondent's advisor shall have the right to speak, question, and call witnesses as well as be chosen at the respondent's discretion.

  3. In cases not involving alleged violations of the "Acquaintance Rape and Sexual Violence Policy," hearings shall be open to the public if the student respondent requessts, in writing prior to the hearing date, that the procedure be open to the public.

  4. The provost may only modify the sanction ruled by the hearing panel if such a modification lessens the sanction.

Dr. Chodorow said Wednesday that the charter's present language, which has provosts "impose" the sanctions recommended to them, should not be interpreted as allowing provosts to "set" those sanctions. This provision reflects that only an officer of the University, and not a committee, has the standing to "impose" the sanctions, he said. He offered to clarify the language before the document goes to the schools.

In debate on the latest confidentiality provisions, which make hearings confidential unless all concerned sign waivers, Dr. Anthony Tomazinis and Dr. Larry Gross were among those questioning the degree of confidentiality required under Buckley.

As the second extension ended, a UA motion sought to have the Provost return the Charter to SEC rather than forward it to the Schools. Moderator Will Harris ruled that the reduced "working quorum" could not take action on that motion but could vote on a motion to schedule the Charter for discussion at a future meeting; this motion passed.


February 27, 1996
Volume 42 Number 22

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