Revisions to the Proposed Charter of the Student Disciplinary System

To the University Community

Following the discussion of the disciplinary charter at University Council on February 21 and consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, the Acting Judicial Inquiry Officer, and members of the Judicial Reform Oversight Committee, we have made revisions in the charter text that was published in the February 13 edition of Almanac. The "we" here refers to the Provost, the members of the administration who have been working on the charter, and the leaders of the student judicial committee with which we have worked. In general, the new revisions relax the rules for opening hearings and reinstate, with some clarifications, the current charter's provisions regarding confidentiality. They also clarify the role of the Provost in the imposition of sanctions.

First, on the matter of opening the hearings (II.F.4.c), the text now reads:

Disciplinary hearings are held in private unless the respondent(s) and the complainant(s) agree in writing to an open hearing. The DHO may limit attendance at a hearing to ensure fair and orderly proceedings. If a hearing is opened in accord with this procedure, the DHO may, when necessary to maintain order or to protect the rights of participants, declare the hearing closed to the public. In a case involving important privacy interests, the DHO may close a hearing or part of a hearing that has been opened upon determining that the privacy rights of a participant may be jeopardized.

Second, we have reaffirmed the principle that a respondent is responsible for presenting his or her own case before the Hearing Panel (II.F.4.f), but in stating the exception to this principle we have deleted the words "in extraordinary cases," because we believe that the intention of giving the DHO discretionary authority to decide when the respondent requires extraordinary assistance from his or her adviser is clear without the qualifying phrase.

Third, we have rewritten the passage on the imposition of sanctions by the Provost (II.H.1) as follows:

Sanctions recommended against a respondent by a Hearing Panel or the DAO are imposed by the Provost, or his designee, and may include any reasonable sanction, including, but not limited to, the following:

Fourth, after reconsidering the University's obligations under the Buckley Amendment, we have revised the two sections on the confidentiality of disciplinary proceedings and their records. In sum, we have preserved the provisions of the current charter. The texts now read (III.F.2,3):

2. Confidentiality
Except as may be otherwise provided by applicable law, all disciplinary proceedings, the identity of individuals involved in particular disciplinary matters, and all disciplinary files, testimony, and findings are confidential, in accordance with University policies and federal law concernng the confidentiality of student records. However, no provision of this Charter or the University's policies on confidentiality shall be interpreted as preventing a student from seeking legal advice.

3. Violation of Confidentiality
Failure to observe the requirement of confidentiality of a disciplinary hearing by any member of the University community, other than the respondent, constitutes a violation of University rules and may subject the individual to the appropriate procedures for dealing with such violations. The respondent may disclose confidential information pertaining to him- or herself but may not violate the confidentiality of others. If the respondent discloses, causes to be disclosed, or participates in the disclosure of information that is confidential, any person whose character or integrity might reasonably be questioned as a result of such disclosure shall have the right to respond in an appropriate forum, limited to the subject matter of the initial disclosure.

We believe that these revisions to the published text respond to the concerns and criticisms heard both at University Council and in private communications. We now look forward to the completion of the approval process for the new charter through action by the University's schools.

-- Stanley Chodorow, Provost

-- Wilton Levine, Chair, Student Judicial Charter, Judicial Reform Oversight Committee

-- Ashley Magids, Chair, Academic Integrity, Judicial Reform Oversight Committee


March 5, 1996
Volume 42 Number 23

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