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October 10, 1984 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-10

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Page 4

Edite dmcbatTenity
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wednesday, October 10, 1984
The code's fo

Vol. XCV, No. 30

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board I

II: The administration's

F OR MOST OF this century, the
University told students how to
conduct their private affairs. Housing.
officials told students what time to be
home at night and forbade members of
the opposite sex from visiting each
other at odd hours of the night. Those
were the days of in loco parentis,
when the college official was able to
take the place of the parent in students'
lives, and to regulate the students'
conduct as if they were little children
without legal rights.
Since then, however, the age of
majority has been lowered in most
states and almost all college students
are legal adults. Today the legal basis
for in loco parentis has evaporated.
Most institutions now recognize that
students must be permitted to assume
responsibility for their private lives.
The University is no longer a surrogate
parent prescribing mandatory codes of
personal behavior or morals. That was
the case before last March, anyway.
In March, University President
Harold Shapiro and other top ad-
ministrators proposed the code for
non-academic conduct. These ad-
ministrators said they felt the current
means of punishing students for in-
dividual misconduct of a non-academic
nature wasn't effective enough. They
contended that the Rules of the
University Community set up in 1973
did not give the University a free
enough hand to punish students ac-
cused of such things as arson, theft, or
assault on University property or at
University sponsored events. Fur-
thermore, the officials claimed that
students commit so many crimes that
it is "unfair" to all the members of the
community to rely simply on the slow
criminal or civil justice system to
protect their interests. Administrators
argued the need for a mechanism to
quickly rid the campus of an alleged
rapist or arsonist.
The administration's reasoning is
flawed for several reasons. First and
foremost, the University community is
not a penal colony, it is an educational
institution within a civil society.
Students can and should be punished
for violating the educational prin-
ciples or procedures of the individual
schools and colleges or disrupting
class activities. Students can currently
be disciplined for improper actions
such as cheating, and dorms may
terminate an individual's lease if they
have broken a housing rule. The
University is interfering with the
authority of the local, state, and
federal courts, however, when it tries
to punish a student accused of, for
example, burning a building or raping
another student. Such cases can best
be remedied by the civil and criminal
courts. If necessary, civil injunctions
or criminal sanctions can be issued by
the courts to ensure the health and
safety of University students and
To show a need for the code, the
University incorrectly uses a study of
the conduct codes and procedures of 14

too. Several officials played up this
juvenile argument, one even going so
far as to say the University would be
the laughingstock of its peers if it could
not pass the proposed code.,
Young children often argue that they
ought to get a new toy because
everyone else on the block has it. But
adults know better than to be suckered
in by such appeals. Students realize
that the proposed code and its accom-
panying judicial system must be fair
and appropriate to this University and
do not wish to have their rights taken
away from them just because others
have had their rights revoked.
The administration claims students
don't have a good idea of what kind of
conduct is expected of them. They say
they will develop a manual of student
rights and responsibilities that will be
distributed to all students along with
the proposed code, judicial system,
and other policies on such things as
discrimination, hazing, and sexual
harassment. They believe that once
people know they can't, for instance,
set fire to the University without being
punished by the University itself that
students will moderate their behavior.
One flaw in this argument is that
most punishments enacted by the
University would be less, severe than
those imposed by the courts and thus
less likely to influence an individual's
behavior. Also, most students coming
into the University are quite aware
that it is wrong to burn down a building
or assault another person. There are
already laws on the books that forbid
this. The University should not set up
codes of non-academic behavior any
different from those in the society at
What the University will achieve
with its new code and judicial system
is a speedy proceeding where the
student accused of committing the of-
fensive act would be held at the mercy
of a hearing officer. The University's
process would undoubtedly be quicker
than the courts and they could easily
banish the alleged offender from cam-
pus. What the University cannot
guarantee are the same rights courts
give to the accused. including due
process - right to counsel, jury of peers,
and proper rules of evidence. This
could easily evolve into a kind of
vigilante justice, instead of a truly fair
If University officials really wanted
to teach students the values of law and
order, they would do well to stick to en-
forcing the laws already laid down by
society. They would show students the
importance of a democratic system by
assuring them that they will not take
away the Michigan Student Assem-
bly's power to reject regulations con-
cerning students.
Unfortunately, University officials
say they may go over students' heads
to adopt this proposed code and
judicial system. This threatened move
,__ v__I_, &. , a _ -. - r---

By Jonathan Ellis
The questions raised by the proposed
student code of non-academic conduct are not
new, even in the recent past on this campus.
However, students regularly stay four
years or less, faculty members rotate in and
out of leadership positions, and only a few
senior University administrators were in
their current jobs a decade ago.
THIS TRANSIENCE helps to explain
why the current debate about
the code has ignored serious campus work
done on these issues before. The following
excerpts from a letter sent a few months ago
to University officials and faculty and student
representatives, attempt to summarize the
results of earlier discussions in which I
The last time the subject of student non-
academic conduct was widely
deliberated at the University, some ten
years ago, a series of principles evolved
which represented a broad concensus
among student, faculty, and ad-
ministrators. Among those principles.
were the following:
1. Rules of conduct for students should
be written to apply to faculty and staff
members as well. Students are then
clear that the same standards of conduct
are expected of them and that the
University does not wish to regulate their
behavior more than that of other adults
on campus.
2. Academic penalties like suspension
or expulsion should be used for non-
academic offenses only in extreme
cases, i.e. those involving physical harm.
This both maintains the integrity of the
academic process and insures that
students canbe removed from our com-
munity only for the most serious
3. The broader interests of the Univer-
sity community are not served by asking
students to defend themselves against
charges brought both in a campus
judicial system and through the civil or
criminal courts. Penalties which are ap-
propriate to the crime can result in either
venue and need not be doubled up.

The presumption
til proven guilty, a
of justice, is bette
for one alleged off
4. The Univers
limit the scope of
essential areas.1
selves wherever p
and money it t
replicate all the ci
which exist in thec
based on elaboral
decades of precede
The University
concerned with1
knowledge and sh
justice system fun
best. Courts gra
render as few v
The proposeds
academic conduct
principles. Claim
staff conduct arec
student-only code
even-handedness 'w
the entire Univers
By permitting su
as a penalty for
deemed "grievou
vastly widens thea
non-classroom be
her academic reco
The proposed ne
system could fora
him or herself twig
The University'
den of operating
system with full du
in many cases f'
those with which th
The University n
use that systen
anytime a violatio
lest it be ac
The logical question
letter is: how relevan
principles which I des
of the University Com
which resulted fromt

The Michigan Dily
irgotten history
n of being innocent un- never used, the civil and criminal courts were
a bedrock of our notion certainly used in the last ten years, as alter- '
r served with one trial natives which the current University ruless
ense. specifically suggest.
ity should attempt to We do not know how relevant these prhi-
its judicial activity to ciples may still be because there has been no a
We should spare our- comprehensive description of the problem.
ossible the time, effort, THE CODE, while sometime in the making;
akes to attempt to was presented to the University community
ivil liberties protecting
civil and criminal law,
te mechanisms from The code ... was pre
entsaismbes whn sented to the University
ens at its best when
the advancement of community full blown,
hould let the criminal without an account of the'
iction where it is at its .
nt no degrees; let us specific needs which were
erdicts as absolutely in the minds of its draf"
student code of non- ters . ...
ignores each of these
ning that faculty and full blown, without an account of the specifi
covered elsewhere, the needs which were in the minds of its drafter;s,
fails to guarantee the barring a few sensational examples. We need
which a single code for a thorough, detailed, and public presentation
sity community would - minus any names or other details which"
would violate the privacy of individuals - of
uspension or expulsion just how and when the University or the cout-
any offense which is s were unable to act on alleged studet
s,' the proposed code misconduct in recent years.
area where a student's I am confident that presented with the
havior will affect his or problems for which the code is proposed as
ord and place on cam- solution, and with a full discussion of the pri -
ciples involved as well as alternative ways to
ew University judicial implement them, a concensus approach to
e a student to defend student conduct on campus can be achieve
e for the same offense, as it was ten years ago.
would assume the bur- One alternative to the proposed code, for
g a parallel judicial example, would be a Declaration of Student
ue process guarantees, Rights, drafted by elected student represen-
'or trivial offenses or tatives themselves, with whatever means 'df'
he courts deal readily. enforcement they found desirable.
might also be forced to However, such a Declaration of Student"
m against students Rights, or any other approach to student cons
n is seriously alleged, duct, could only work if students wanted it.'
cused of selective The prospect of a student code of non
academic conduct, passed in the absence of
n which follows from this real campus concensus, looks to me like a
t is the ignoring of these bigger problem than any we now might have.
scribe? While the Rules
nmunity now in effect -
these principles - were Ellis now works at Canterbury House,.
ITS (&v@oC36To \11V41 RoWPIDL-

Of another's mistake'
m reasonable. ding us of others' mistakes -
Williams' wounds were self- and, too often, profit in the
r- inflicted. The outcome was still process.
a tragic. The real tragedy, -Byron K. Roberts
'' however, is that people, like those October 5
of responsible for the Ensian flyers, Roberts is the President of
te take pleasure in forever remin- Alpha Phi Alpha.
r constructive campaigning
behind. Such a simplistic yet election fairly. It is the essence of
ly destructive act reminds us of the our political system that cam-
rs heckling which has greeted Mon- paigning be constructive not pet-
of dale and Ferraro virtually ty. -Daniel Mezger
rs everywhere they go. It is a pity Julie Garbus
n, that some Reagan supporters feel Bradley Gaskins
Lg no need to run this presidential October 5
Y by Berke Breathed
era m -.I I | 'P -5 I I ,.. -




A tragic reminder

To the Daily:
We denounce the Michigan En-
sian for taking a last-minute,
cheap shot against Vanessa
Williams, the former Miss
America. Such attacks now ser-
ve little purpose. Prospective
employees, seeking to work for a
quality publication, will not be
encouraged by poor taste in that
publication's recruiting flyers.
Williams represented her
nation well during her tenure.
She was confident and
courageous, at her peak and
during her downfall. She made a
mistake and paid the price. The
Ensian flyers, like the latest ef-
fort from Penthouse. intend to

we do not know the Ensian mem
bers involved in this incident.
Yet, in cases where a black pe
son is on "trial" before,
predominately white "jury,
history suggests a speculationc
unequal justice is quit
The need fo
To the Daily:
Mondale volunteers recent]
put up stickers and poster
around the University o
Michigan campus. Within hou
they had all been ripped dow
Reagan stickers remainin


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