The University of Idaho Memes Facebook page posted an image on Oct. 8 that depicts ASUI as the creators of the new draft of the Student Code of Conduct — catching many students’ attention. When really, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The new code was actually drafted by the Dean of Students Office, and they are seeking student feedback from ASUI and other student groups on campus. Administrators briefed ASUI senators about the new student code of conduct, two weeks ago. ASUI has since formed a task force including six senators who will spend the coming weeks looking over and recommending changes to the Dean of Students on the new Student Code of Conduct.
The task force was set up at Wednesday’s senate pre-session and the senators started by making lists of the positives and negatives of the new code of conduct.
Senator Anthony Filicetti said he is taking a leadership role in the task force.
“Specifically there were clarity issues, there were parts that didn’t have enough detail and there were also a lot of issues that people on the senate just plain didn’t agree with,” Filicetti said.
Filicetti said while there are many issues to the draft, there are a few that specifically stand out to the senate — one of them being the consolidation of power.
“They want to get rid of the UJC, the University Judicial Council, which is made up by 11 people, five of which are students and one is a graduate student,” Filicetti said. “They want to replace that with just two people — the dean of students and their coordinator.”
Senator Bruno Bennett is part of the ASUI task force and is one of the five student members of the UJC. He said his biggest concern is that the transfer of judicial power to the Dean of Students Office undermines the students.
“It limits the rights of the students in terms of representation, in terms of overall due process, as well as transparency,” Bennett said.
Bennett said a consolidation of power is also troubling because he foresees negative consequences for the university if the change happens.
“I also am slightly concerned that the University of Idaho could even face lawsuits in the future from students who feel like they were not given their right of due process,” Bennett said.
Another issue the ASUI senators are going to address is the clause that states disciplinary action may be taken for off-campus conduct that adversely affects the university.
Filicetti said this is an issue that the senate seems to collectively disagree with, including himself.
“Personally, I would rather not have that and have it not written into the code of conduct,” Filicetti said. “However, there already actually is a law that allows that — a professor in the business school who heads UJC was telling me about it — so I don’t think that’s going to be something that we’re necessarily going to be able to avoid.”
Bennett said he goes back and forth with this part of the new code because while he sees the benefit of keeping the campus community safer, he said it has the potential to do more harm than good.
“I don’t want students to feel like they are being penalized twice, for maybe an MIP,” Bennett said. “The main purpose seems to be to have students less focused on drinking, especially underage, but I feel like it can have a lot of negative repercussions also.”
ASUI Vice President Taylor Williams said the senate task force will spend a lot of time over the course of the semester dissecting the new draft of the student code of conduct and recommending changes to the Dean of Students Office and the faculty senate.
“I think it has good intention but it’s a draft,” Williams said. “I think there are holes, or missing parts, and new wording that needs to be put in before I feel comfortable with it. The bottom line is that it’s a draft and there needs to be some changes made.”
In the meantime, Williams said she encourages any UI student with concerns, questions or comments about the new student code of conduct to stop by the Department of Student Involvement on the third floor of the Idaho Commons or attend a Wednesday senate meeting to speak at open forum.
“As senators we want students opinion and we want to know what students think and we’re elected to give the best representation of students,” Williams said. “But it’s always good to actually get feedback, especially on issues as important as the student code of conduct.”
Amber Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org