The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 23, 1994 - 3
After more than a year, the interim student conduct guide still hovers over campus
n the home, parents rule supreme. In
society, the legal system governs
and sanctions its citizens.
At the University, it is the code -
the Statement of Students Rights and
Responsibilities - that is paramount.
The 18-month-old code is an interim
series of guidelines that govern students'
non-academic conduct. Any student
action within a 30-mile radius of cam-
pus can be sanctioned under the code.
At the July Board of Regents meet-
ing, the Office of Student Affairs re-
leased a summary of statistics relating
to the code.
According to the statistics,
since the code's inception:
9 150 students have been investigated under
- 95 have been formally charged;
C 2 students have been expelled;
2 have been suspended;
8 24 served communityservice fortheiroffense;
3 housing leases have been terminated.
Student groups, as well as one Uni-
versity regent, have attacked the code,
saying it limits due process and restricts
"I don't see where the University is
given the authority to contradict laws es-
tablished by the U.S. or the state," said
Julie Neenan, president of the Michigan
Student Assembly. "That seems a little
ridiculous: 'We at the University ofMichi-
gan are going to teach you a lesson."'
University administrators, however,
remain its loyal defender, saying it pro-
tects students by laying out clear-cut
guidelines and sanctions.
"When serious misbehavior occurs
that can threaten the University, we have
a responsibility to step in," said Univer-
sity President James J. Duderstadt.
Before the code, Regents' Bylaw
2.01 permitted the University president
to sanction students.
"I don't like to be Solomon,"
Duderstadt said. "With the absence of
the code, the only authority we had was
through direct presidential action."
Without a defined code, the Univer-
sity did not offer any guidelines for
what actions could be cause for expul-
"Only the most egregious disciplin-
ary problems could be addressed on
campus," said Mary Lou Antieau, judi-
cial adviser to the code.
Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Ar-
bor), the only regent to vote against the
instatement of the code, said he would
like to see student conduct handled in
the traditional presidential manner. He
said an elaborate code is not necessary
since the president already has the au-
thority to handle discipline.
"I think the code should be a very
simple statement of the basic sense of
how a student should treat one and
} other," Baker said. "I think there is a
direct relation with the less restriction
on a student, the less burdensome it will
be on the student."
Although both Neenan and MSA
oppose the code, they do not seek a
return to unilateral presidential deci-
sions. "You don't want it to be up to the
discretion of one person," Neenan said.
Under the code, students may choose
between an administrative or a student
hearing. Of the 95 cases tried under the
code, 38 have been administrative hear-
ings, while the student panel has heard
only six. The rest were handled through
mediation, are still pending or have since
Antieau asserted students often
choose administrative hearing to expe-
dite the process.
"Some students do it because they
frankly don't want anybody else in this
world knowing that they've been in-
volved in this process," Antieau said.
At the beginning of each year, 50
students are chosen at random to serve
as student jurors. If students cannot
serve, they may apply for hardship fur-
Students may choose
not to serve on a
student panel for the
Students are compelled
to serve on the panel,
but may be excused in
A woman's past sexual
history is admissible into
a code hearing dealing
with sexual assault.
A woman's past sexual,
history is not relevant to
such a case.
Attorneys may not be
present during code
Students may consult
with an attorney at any
time, but the attorney
may not speak for the
On-campus murder is
under the code.
In an oversight, the code
does not specifically
In February, student jurors who attended the panel meeting agonize over the proposed amendments.
Key Proposed Amendments to the Code
The following is a list of some of the proposed amendments to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
I Criminal matters and off-campus violations will not be
prosecuted under the code, excepting offenses that
directly endanger the University community.
Attorneys may represent and speak for students
during the code hearing.
® Students have the right to an open hearing when
sexual assault or harassment is not charged, even if a
student complainant wants the hearing closed.
Students may be charged with an off-campus offense
U Suspensions shall be lifted for a person found
innocent in a court of law.
® The code represents the only non-academic student
sanctions with the exception of housing and
professional degree policies.
0 The judicial adviser may only expunge data that
reveals the identity or addresses of the students
U In addition to students, organizations may face group
sanctions under the code.
only after they are found guilty in a court of
The code will remain an interim policy
until at least April, the Board of Regents
decided at a meeting last February.
Until that time, MSA, the Senate
Advisory Committee on University Af-
fairs (SACUA) and others will work on
preparing amendments to the code.
Amendments may be proposed
through these governance bodies, any
University executive, the panel consist-
ing of student jurors or a petition signed
by 500 students.
After the proposal, the amendments
are sent to the student panel - which
must have at least 26 of the 50 student
jurors present - for review. The stu-
dent panel may approve any proposal
with a simple majority.
Any amendments passed by the stu-
dent panel would go to the Board of
Regents for consideration. At the last
'It really sets up a court
system and I'm really not
comfortable with the
University judging every
action of a student.'
- Regent Deane Baker
Republican, Ann Arbor
through the code. But, both Neenan and
Baker said that is exactly what the Uni-
versity has done.
Baker said he thinks it is unfair for
students to face both criminal and Uni-
"It really sets up a court system and
I'm really not comfortable with the
University judging every action of a
student," he said.
Neenan shares a similar view. "It's
such a double whammy - some people
are being tried in regular court ... and
being tried at the University," she said.
In response to such concerns, through
SACUA, the Civil Liberties Board pro-
posed an amendment that would limit the
code to cases not being tried in the crimi-
nal court unless the action immediately
endangers the University's safety.
Green said he shares the worry that
students face double jeopardy - in the
courts and at the University. "I don't
think there should be separate Univer-
sity courts of law unless there are ex-
Even a student found innocent in a
court of law may still have to serve the
code's sanction, Antieau said. She said
the code has an appeals process and that
a student cleared of criminal charges
may file for a new code hearing.
"Our evidentary standard is differ-
ent and our purpose is different," Antieau
said. "In other universities where this
has been tested in the courts, they have
upheld the right of the university to
proceed administratively even if the
outcome was different."
Many students also worry about the
jurisdiction that the code covers. Any
offense within a 30-mile radius of campus
may result in sanctions under the code.
"Why is the University trying to
monitor behavior that does not affect
the University," Neenan asked.
Antieau asserted that the outside ra-
dius is necessary because of "the crazi-
ness of our campus structure." The cam-
pus is divided in many areas.
The 30-mile radius was chosen as
matter of practicality, Hartford said, not-
ing that the University cannot compel
non-students to testify at the hearings.
"Thirty miles, it is reasonable to as-
sume that people would come 45 min-
utes to an hour to make a statement. If
you got much beyond that we would
start losing students' access to people
who could make statements in their de-
fense," she said.
Another proposed amendment to the
effect for an individual had cover on-campus
to be our highest priority murder. Instead, it is
and it would be so com- covered by assault with
plex to add organizations intent to cause physical
to that." injury.
However, Hartford did MY TH
not rule out the possibility The student panel must
of including groups in the find an accused student
policy. guilty beyond a
Neenan said the inclu- reasonable doubt.
sion of groups in the policy FACT
would simply be more of a The evidentary standard
bad thing. "You cannot dis- under the code is "clear
count individual responsi- and convincing."
bility," she said. MYTH
Although Neenan said A student found innocent
she realizes that the code in a court of law is not
is probably now a perma- required to serve their
nent part of the Univer- code punishment.
sity, she added it is neces- FACT
sary to make some revi- Students found innocent
sions. in a court of law may
"A willingness to com- appeal the code
promise, a willingness to decision. However, the
work together and be fair decision may not be
about things would be a overturned and the
very good step in the right student will need to
direction," she said. complete the sanction.
Neenan added that stu-
dents need to become more
aware about the code and
its impact. "I think a lot of people think the code
doesn't affect them, and that's where the problem is."
Both regents and Duderstadt said they are ready to
listen to any changes the student panel puts forth.
"I don't think the policy will ever be cast in stone.
I think as the nature of the campus changes, the policy
changes," Duderstadt said.
Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) said
she is not ready to consider the amendments without
the approval of the student panel, even if obtaining a
quorum continues to be a problem.
"I don't think you want the Board of Regents getting
into it at that level," she said. "This is something that
needs a lot of input from the people who are affected."
The code may be one of the
University's best-kept secrets.
The University believes the tran-
scripts from hearings under the State-
ment of Student Rights and Responsi-
bilities are private student records,
under the provisions of the Family
Education Rights and Privacy Act
Mary Lou Antieau, judicial adviser
for the code, said facts from the hearings
may not be discussed.
"That's a violation of the state-
ment and the privacy act. Anything
that happens in a hearing is closed,"
Antieau said. "Both the complainant
and the accused are supposed to honor
In an attempt to supply information
on the code, the University originally
released a redacted transcript of the code
But a series of articles in The Michi-
gan Daily linked the hearings with pub-
lic criminal records of the incidents.
The articles published the names of the
individuals involved, prompting the
University to change its policy.
The University now prints code
records in an abbreviated form.
Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor)
said the synopses do not sound very
useful, although he has not yet seen the
"They certainly have to protect the
individuals," Baker said. "On the other
hand, they have an obligation to dis-
close as fully as they can."
Antieau said unless the incident is
sexual in nature, the complainant does
not receive information about the sanc-
"They just get the outcome. The per-
son is held responsible for violating the
statement or not responsible, but they're
not told what the sanctions are unless
it's necessary," Antieau said.
She noted, however, that in instances
such as stalking, she would need to tell
the complainant the sanction.
The Board for Student Publications,
which oversees the finances of the Daily,
the Gargoyle and the MichiganEnsian
yearbook, maintains the code hearings
are not subject to the non-disclosure
requirements of FERPA.
In a Jan. 26, 1994 letter to the
student panel member, board co-chair
Joan Lowenstein provided the posi-
tion of the board on the privacy of
"It is the Board's position that
charges, hearings, and sanctions im-
posed under the (code) are disciplinary
in nature and therefore not subject to the
non-disclosure requirements of
FERPA," Lowenstein wrote. "In fact,
1992 amendments to FERPA clarified
Congress' intent to exclude disciplinary
records from the scope of the Act, espe-
cially when those records are compiled
by university policy as the University of
Michigan's Department of Public
amendment hearing, only 18 of the nec-
essary 26 juror quorum attended; there-
fore the panel could not pass any pro-
posals on to the regents.
MSA, the Office of Student Affairs,
SACUA and two student groups have
each submitted amendments to the code.
Proposals put forth by MSA and
SACUA would allow attorneys to repre-
sent students at the hearing. Under the
current guidelines, students only may use
attorneys for consultation during the case.
Neenan said she feels the policy is
unfair, because students who choose not
to speak for fear of incriminating them-
selves are left without representation. "If
you choose not to speak, you cannot have
someone speak on your behalf," she said.
Daniel Green, chair of the Senate
Assembly's Civil Liberties Board, said
the right to an attorney is necessary
because of the lack of legal safeguards
in the code's hearing system.
"We think it's essential that a stu-
dent be represented by an attorney if the
student wishes," he said.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Maureen A. Hartford defended this as-
Bylaw governs faculty behavior
Students are not the only ones who face
University sanctions when they stray from the
straight and narrow.
Faculty members charged with wrongdo-
ings are subject to disciplinary hearings under
Regents' Bylaw 5.09. The bylaw covers crimi-
nal matters as well as other offenses such as
breach of academic integrity or false employ-
ment and promotion applications.
There has only been one such hearing in
the recent past. In 1983, the University found
a professor responsible for sexual harassment
and terminated his tenure. The case was up-
from the University. "We are independent and
we can take our own actions," said Kay
Dawson, assistant to the provost.
She added that the University has a differ-
ent standard of evidence than the "beyond a
reasonable doubt" standard used in the judi-
cial system. The information must be "clear
and convincing" to lead to a removal from the
University, which is the same guideline that
apply to students under the code.
Elsa Cole, general counsel for the Univer-
sity, said even though hearings under the by-
law are rare, that does not mean that the