For Comment

Recommended Changes to the Charter of the Student Disciplinary System


In the Spring of 1999, the President and Provost convened a Working Group on Alcohol Abuse which, after an intensive series of meetings, set forth a comprehensive set of recommendations to address the issue of alcohol abuse on campus, particularly among undergraduates. The group's recommendations were far-ranging and, in general, advocated a proactive, educational approach to the problem. Among the many proposals, the Working Group addressed the issue of "responsibility and accountability".

In that context, a series of recommendations were made concerning "group responsibility and accountability." Among the recommendations was one which supported the concept that all student organizations should be held collectively responsible for compliance with University alcohol policy and with applicable laws. The question arose regarding the proper procedure to determine responsibility and impose consequences upon those organizations alleged to have knowingly violated such policies or laws. While some organizations are currently governed by existing procedures (i.e. Greek organizations), others were not. As a result of this perceived omission, an addition to the Student Disciplinary Charter was developed in order that all student organizations could be assured an effective mechanism for resolving disputes arising under the Code of Student Conduct, including the new University Alcohol and Drug Policy.

We invite your comments on the proposed changes (below) by December 1, 1999.

--Michele A. Goldfarb, Director, Office of Student Conduct (

-- Barbara J. Lowery, Associate Provost (

Proposed Changes

Jurisdiction: In Section I B, found on page 14 of the 1998-1999 Pennbook, a paragraph would be numbered I.B.4:

The Student Disciplinary System also handles complaints about alleged violations of University policy by student organizations. The disciplinary procedures applicable to student organizations are the same as those used for individual students, unless established written procedures already exist for resolving complaints against an organization (e.g. Fraternity and Sorority Board Judicial Charter). A student organization or its officers may be held collectively or individually responsible for the conduct of members which is knowingly tolerated by the organization and which is in violation of University policy. The officers/leaders or identifiable spokesperson for a student organization will represent the group during the disciplinary process.

Sanctions: In Section II H, found on page 19 of the 1998-1999 Pennbook, a new section would be numbered I.H.5 and inserted after the enumeration of the possible sanctions which might be imposed on individual students:

Sanctions for organizations may include:

  1. revocation, suspension or denial of University recognition;
  2. denial of use of University facilities;
  3. loss of other privileges (e.g. representation on other University bodies; ability to host or sponsor social functions, etc.);
  4. restitution for injury to persons or property;
  5. community service;
  6. fines;
  7. other appropriate sanction.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 11, November 9, 1999