A swirling tornado of confusion resulted from the University of Idaho’s attempt to modify the classification and compensation system. Many employees felt left out of the critical discussion of pay and job classification and in turn, criticized UI for failing to communicate. The dissatisfaction of staff resulted in UI backpedaling and adding an additional review process in early September.
The fact that a further review process is necessary may be a telling barometer for UI administration. In the initial process, the deans of colleges were given a mere hour to review the classifications for their colleges. A decision that has the potential to affect thousands of university employees should have allowed for more than an hour for dean approval.
One department at UI is not following the example set by the class and comp debacle and is going forth with a process that emphasizes communication and collaboration as it pertains to the student code of conduct. UI’s student code of conduct has not been updated since it was written in 1969, 44 years ago. Setting aside that it took 44 years and a recommendation from the Idaho State Board of Education for the long overdue update, UI is setting a precedent for future school wide policy changes that will affect every student for years to come.
The major improvements to the process exhibit transparency. Dean of Students Bruce Pitman and Associate Dean of Students Craig Chatriand presented a rough draft to the ASUI Senate last Wednesday for feedback. Pitman and Chatriand have dedicated the month of October to meeting with various student organizations in order to get student responses, and they have stated they will allocate more time if necessary. Furthermore, students that wish to see copies of the new student code of conduct can obtain one through the Dean of Students Office.
This is the collaborative process that is needed for large-scale policy decisions, especially when this decision will affect so many students.
By taking the time to meet with student organizations and students, Pitman and Chatriand will gain the necessary student input to improve code of conduct.
Despite the gesture of outreach by Pitman and Chatriand, it means nothing if students do not respond. One of the new modifications to the student code of conduct includes extending the code of conduct past the Moscow campus borders. Students need to take time to read the new code of conduct and understand the changes that are taking place. After all, students are the ones that have to live with these changes on a day-to-day basis.
If students approve or disapprove of the changes, now is the time to take action. Schedule a meeting with Pitman or Chatriand to voice an opinion. Take the time to sit in on a Faculty Senate or ASUI meeting to become educated about the issues, because after the new student code of conduct is passed, it will be too late to have input.
And from what we’ve seen thus far, these two are willing to listen.