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October 16, 1998 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-16

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 16, 1998


My general sense

is that the fullest way to produce civility is through education and that a code can

at best try

to protect an environment.

English and religion Prof. Ralph Williams










O n a mnumentaI day in the history of the Cod of Student Conduct.L ,O0 stu - and making it clear that enrollment in the University carried with it obligations in regard to student con-
de staedaproest at the Flemn Adinisation B i and marched t duct.
form r'nivesity idet Jaes dseAs chanted, they "The University is a voluntary community," Hartford said. "Membership is a privilege. We set rules that
set up a podium on his ftront por-k may be different than in other communities. And the rules may not be so big of an issue in other communi-
"Like most events, it started onaday of the (Univsy Board of Regents metngC ties. They are a big deal here."
dsaid, desibng the time in the '9s when his fnt Irn bame a As the nation completed its second world war, the University's
campground f sof the C and its po battle with policies - which to discard and which to keep - con-
cls tinued full strength. "It's always hard to have a black-and-white
As the evening approached, the swrin mob of anr students &g holes ii issue," said Sean Esteban McCabe, assistant to the vice president of
Duderstadt's yard to symbolize what they felt was theUniversty's attempts to student affairs, about the Code and its implementation. "You can't
cover hp studentffoel al9stFrs always say 'If X, then Y."
e ts weulgravesifordrlstudentrigd"eaingClass of 1951 graduate Barbara Ritter laughs when she recalls
Dudeotadt said."T h students tdtoswith intoxicants the University's strict rules governing her undergraduate years -
night on my lawn." Duderstads response to the912 and harmful making the implementation of a student code seem a fond memory.
t tmove across town to send h "Oh, it was so obvious - very obvious - what the rules were,"
sr spass first byaw Ritter says, chuckling as she remembers the regulations she and her
Although some students spent the enti night capig n'atn a mre college chums faced. "Mostly, they were connected with dormitory
-t w, hi formudc behavior. Certainly no males were allowed above the lobby, not even
nd hptes w stdB dfathers or grandfathers."
he w-lneverf the event--a symb& Of the V-By this point in the University's history, the handbook began to
g battless list "Specific Standards of Conduct" - a prelude to the current Code
fbr more than a century. of Student Conduct.


Looking now at the list of violations and policies included in the Code,
it is hard to imagine a time - as recently as 1992 - when its imple-
mentation was uncertain.
Physically, the Code of Student Conduct - a list of guidelines out-
lining student behavior - has evolved from a
tiny black, passport-sized book in the 1920s to
a complete compilation of student rules mailed "2:Uipnie rsity orms eComerre o
to first-year students in the '90s. Dlptleto hear ss rated to
More significantly, administrators and stu- aculty
dents have gradually altered the content of stu- Commitee on
dent rules and regulations to match the values Student Affairs N
of the times. heard group
"In some aspects, it is necessary to change ses
the Code," said Maureen Hartford, vice presi- Rules includ-
dent for student affairs. "There is far more gov- ed mandatory
emment intervention in higher education now meiorization of
than in the past, and this interaction is always te "Yellow an
changing." B3u" andcoass
But even more than this are the emotions loyalty.
that the evolution and implementation of the
Code have stirred.
"I cannot say that the Code has produced
greater civility: I do not know," said English and religion Prof. Ralph
Williams. "It outlaws certain forms of activity; whether the fact of 4 Updated.
the Code actually reduces the activity it prohibits, I do not know. version Of 1938
Most of the students I know are profoundly civil people, intending
to be so, and so their lives are not likely to be much inflected by it publshed
- save as it might help them see possible unintended characteristics opertclesf
or consequences of their ways of thinking and speaking." wats rro s tefi
How it started
Although myths exist about periods of time when the University
had no code of conduct, old student guidebooks - worn and faded
- survive to testify that rules and regulations have always played a
part in the lives of University students.
Office of Student Affairs graduate student
assistant Charles Kawas wrote in a report on
the Code that the University took a "parental" : d for $tudents
role in governing its students as early as the tubleti t# n rulesigdvern r
19th Century. Student faonuCi ce Presdet fr
Although students today are accustomed to Stuet Affairs
strict disciplinary procedures, those who
attended the University in the early I 900s were resn for
subject to a more unstructured disciplinary rulasiforingn-
atmosphere. In 1912, the Regents passed its rcademc
first bylaw stating that "the discipline of stu- conduct."
dents ... shall be administered by a Board con- Strict curfews"
sisting of the president and the deans of the espeialyfor women were enforced.
department in which the student is registered."
"For the first 70 years, under the leadership
of presidents such as James Angell and Henry
Tappan, scholastic and department marks were
read aloud to students and faculty," Kawas wrote. "Delinquent
students were dismissed."
By 1922 - following the conclusion of World War I - more 1.9; Te
students were admitted to the University, calling for the forma- University outlines
tion of the Committee on Disciplines. The group worked with the policies on sexual
Office of the Dean of Students to enforce the University's rules harassment,
and regulations. including defrnitions
"My guess is that in the '20s ... students were expected to and procedures for3
memorize the guidelines," Hartford said! "The consequences of reptingviolations
disobeying at the time were so severe."
In a small black book labeled "Freshman Handbook" in tiny
white letters, the foreword - in a compilation of guidelines and
instructions tremendously different from the Code today -
served as an invitation to its readers.
"It is to be hoped that all of you will carefully and thoroughly
read the book through from cover to cover," the foreword states.
"For only by realizing the proper attitude to assume ... can you
be assured of assimilating yourselves to your best advantage, and
The first pages scanned by the new class
in 1928 include letters from now-recognized
names Joseph Bursley and C.C. Little.
"In your choice be wise, courageous and
idealistic," Little wrote, as his portrait stares l9: ttrnt Cde'
at readers from the opposing page. "If you are, ofSudn COnduct
Michigan will provide the setting for a period enfor'ed, outUning
of four of the happiest and finest years of your p' e fPet
life. "wtr academic1
Although the text of the 1928 handbook baver, including4
claims "Michigan does not tie down the mem- M-Card tampering,
bers of her freshman class by countless ridicu- and amption
lous and complicated regulations" - basic s haln
guidelines for student behavior are listed onsd eats
page 30.
The regulations listed for students included
learning the alma mater, "Yellow and Blue"
Iahnina Ivty,It, their plc, - mnre-


But policies familiar to students now -including penalties against
vandalizing property or making fake M-cards - remained overshad-
owed by rules stressing curfew times and procedures for curfew vio-
"We had strict curfews," Ritter said, adding that the times - 10
p.m. on weekdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays and 12:30 a.m. on
Saturdays (a "late night," she chuckles) - were some-
times difficult to abide by. "If we were late, we had to
1915: Women's make up five minutes of every minute. Our housemother
Judiciary.Council stood at the door and clocked you," Ritter grins. "Our
created to address housemother didn't allow any hanky-panky."
behavior of women. It may be hard to imagine being punished for not com-
ing home on-time - especially since students today come
and go as they please.
"I was late once," Ritter said laughing. "But there
always need to be rules, within the limits. They have to
bend with the times."



No Code?




"The code was always designed to be 'organic,' changing with the times
to respond both to student concerns and needs and to the changing environ-
ment of the University," Duderstadt said.
And indeed it is.
In days of the beat generation, the battles in Vietnam and the popularity
of the Beatles, rules developed to deal with increased drug use and the impor-
tant issues of the era.
"Throughout this tumultuous time, there still were University regula-
tions concerning student conduct and discipline," Kawas wrote.
But things were different than the decades before. The Joint Judiciary
Council, formed nearly 10 years earlier to enforce University policies, began
enforcing only selected rules and standards of conduct. Even worse - at
the time - was the change that allowed women to go unchaperoned into
men's residences.
The result? A feeling that there were no
rules at all on a campus that, only a few
years earlier, prided itself on the implemen-
ry tation of strict regulations.
"There were no rules that I was aware
of," said Jon Pack, who graduated in 1972.
His voice becomes louder as he recalls the
lost times of the days he describes as care-
free. "It was only 25 cents if you were
caught with grass. The cops would go
through the Diag with hats, collecting
change for the violation."
Pack said he enjoyed college in a time
when political correctness wasn't the big
issue - when students were treated with more respect than they
are in the 1990s.
"Now, the college is trying to be a parent, and that's not its
business," Pack said. "It's not their job to socially correct them."
Pack's memories of the days of "social experiment" are shared
by Class of '73 graduate Sherry Lessens, who said the University
didn't enforce strict regulations during the '60s.
"I don't even remember hearing about any code of conduct,"
Lessens said, laughing. " I though it was something new."
Lessens said the entire campus during the time was like "East
Quad is now. There were lots of drugs. Drugs were everywhere.
You could walk down the halls of the dorms and smell it."
But Hartford said administrators made extraordinary efforts in
'50s and '60s to control students. "We've always had codes at
the University - as early as 1902," she said. "I can't imagine
where these people were."
Positive feedback
The most recent code, implemented several years ago, clearly
defines the "standards that fit the academic values of the
University," Hartford said.
And student knowledge of the Code has increased with time,
Kawas said.
"As far as people not knowing that rules existed in the '60s,
that's understandable," he said. "It wasn't addressed properly.
Now students are starting to get aware of the new code. And the
^h University is trying to get the word out."
Those who have experienced the Code and its implementation,
said Pierpont Commons Director Michael Swanigan, see that the
Code allows the University to "deal with bad situations in good
Swanigan likes to tell about the time he was a part of the pun-
ishment - or "learning process," he said with a smile - because
of a student's violation of the Code.
"I worked with a student, one on one. I was asked to take on
the role of a mentor," Swanigan said. "We talked about things he
could have done differently."
In a monologue reminiscent of the power of communication
between Matt Damon and Robin Williams in the film "Good Will
Hunting," Swanigan said the relationship changed his life.





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