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September 05, 2001 - Image 31

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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STUDENT RIGHTS

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Wednesday, September 5, 2001--3B

d$u1Oai1**BUL,

Don't let 'U'fool you,
new Code still has old
face, same tricks

ABOUT THE SERIES

n March, The Michigan Daily's editorial board started a
series exploring the University's student discipline policies
once known as the Code of Student Conduct. This past
February, University President Lee Bollinger made a number
of changes to the Code, including renaming the policies the
Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
However, the changes implemented by Bollinger made to
make the process more fair barely scratched the surface. The
fundamental flaws of the Code are still there and the rights of
students are threatened.
* In 1988, then-interim University President Robben Fleming,
who was president for much of the 1970s, pushed a Code
through the University Board of Regents. The basic framework
of that Code is still with today's policies. Because of its serious
violations of the First Amendment, a federal court declared the
University's discipline policies to be unconstitutional. Fighting
the Code was major hotbed of campus activism in the early to
Snid-1990s.
But as Code revisions were bogged down in administrative
committees, student interest waned and until the debut of the
Daily's series, very few students understood the policies, admin-
istrative abuses and the ramifactions on student freedoms.
The Federal Education Rights to Privacy Act restricts the
University on the amount of information it can release on its
FROM THI

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VIEWPOINT
For most students, going to college is
an exciting time, offering previously-
unheard of freedoms. Fat parties!Alco-
hol! Staying up as late as you want! It's
quite a change from the days of parental
curfews and hall passes that many stu-
dents have left behind in high school.
But do not let your exuberance blind
you: College has some very real rules,
with some very real consequences
behind them. And while nobody will
nag you for wearing the same clothes
for three days straight, a few wrong
steps and you could find yourself on the
sixth floor of the intimidating Fleming
Administration Building trying to
explain yourself to a skeptical Universi-
ty administrator, who thinks the spots on
your pants are gross.
How can a savvy
student prevent this sit-
uation, or at Least be This ove
sure they are treated policy a
fairly if they are caught every stud
breaking the rules? Be LSA to SA
smart: Learn about the was onc
regulations formally a
At the University' of Studen
the administration cod- This pas
dles a gaggle of poli- University
cies - for freedom of lee B
speech, alcohol, sexual a r ed c
harassment, Internet appro d
use, hazing, even the old c
smoking on University re'nate
premises. All of these Statement
are available on the Righ:
website of the Office Responsitl
of Student Conflict res- don't be f
olution, (www. almost
umich.edu/~oscr) and respons
although it is important
that students are aware they exist, these
are only the icing on the cake. Only one
has disciplinary mechanisms: the infa-
mous "Code." This big kahuna of poli-
cies can require you to attend alcohol
education classes, kick you out of the
dorms, even suspend or expel you from
the University. This overarching policy
applies to every student - from LSA to
SNRE - and is formally known as the
Code of Student Conduct. This past
winter, University President Lee
Bollinger approved changes to the old
code, and renamed it the Statement of
Student Rights and Responsibilities. But
don't be fooled, it's almost entirely
responsibilities. This policy is printed in
a little blue book buried somewhere in
every student's orientation packet, and it
includes many things the laws prohibit
- assault, stalking, alcohol abuse by
minors and some things the law doesn't
cover: violating the University's com-
puter policy, disrupting classes,
obstructing the Code procedure, etc.
That's all fine and dandy, but why
should the Code matter if you don't plan
on doing any of these things? First, if
the Ann Arbor police issue you a minor
in possession of alcohol citation -
basically a ticket for being inebriated in
public, or possessing alcohol, they auto-
matically tell the University. After two
MIPs, the administration calls you in for
discipline, usually in the format of a
educational assignment: an essay to
write, a class to attend. Secondly, the
former Code has the potential for great

te
WN
iti
ed
~is

injustice.
This dual nature of the former code-
to both educate and punish - reveals a
major reason why it is flawed. The U/ni-
versity claims the Code is an education-
al process - but the Code includes both
educational and disciplinary punish-
ments: anything from alcohol work-
shops to expulsion. To an attentive
observer, the University uses the Code
for both disciplinary and educational
purposes - whatever they see fit.
Also, while ANY "... student, faculty
member or staff member may submit a
complaint alleging a violation of the
Code;" ONLY students can be punished.
Suddenly, all the talk about "community
standards" goes out the window - if
this policy only applies to students, why
doesn't the administration say so?
Although Department of Public Safe-
ty officers are technically University
staff members, before
last year they had never
arching filed charges against a
plies to student under the Code.
nt - from And justifiably so -
?E - and they are charged with
known upholding state and local
the Code law, not some adminis-
Conduct. trator's idea of what
winter, members of a "commu-
President nity" should do. In virtu-
linger ally all cases, DPS only
anger toprovides information for
anges to cases when another stu-
id the and dent files a complaint.
~ it the Last year a student was
Rf Student charged by DPS but.
Pand dropped legal charges
ities. But becausedof a lack of evi-
oled, it's dence. While there wa~s-
,ntirely n't enough evidence fo a-
bilities. real trial, apparently they
thought there was
enough evidence for a Code charge. To
make that story short, after the Daily's
editorial page covered the case exten-.
sively, the charges were dropped.
Throughout this fiasco, the Daily's
coverage of the Code has been excep-
tional, yet the administration remained
silent. When the administration cannot
defend themselves against full-page edi-
torial criticisms, students must conclude
that injustice is afoot. A few simple
changes can vastly improve the Code:
limiting its scope, setting a consistent
standard of proof and applying it consis-
tently.
Here's the bottom line: the University
has a discipline policy that they could
use to screw you over if you don't know
anything about it.
There is hope: the Student Rights
Commission of the Michigan Student
Assembly is involved in an ongoing
effort to amend the former code, ando
educate students about it. If you would
like to help us, or want to know more
about the code for any reason, please
email scr-core~umich.edu.
RoB GoODSPEED
LSA sophomore
- Goodspeed is afirmer member f
The Michigan Daily 's editorial board.
He is now an LSA representative to the
Michigan Student Assembly and serves
as co-chair of the Student Rights
Commission. Goodspeed can be
reached via e-mail at
rgoodspe@umich.edu.

discipline policies. So the Code has remained a veiled mystery
for the most part. It is in the interest of all students to learn
about the Code and its abuses. More stories are to come this
semester. To read the "Unmasking the Code" series in its
entirety, go to www.michigandaily.comlcode.
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

SERIES

THE CASE OF
BRIAN MONTEITH ,_w. j

Recent Engineering graduate Brian
Monteith got a crash course in the
Code his freshman year and saw how
}administrators in charge of the disci-
pline process have the ability to abuse
their power
It was only until he was about to
graduate when Monteith came forward
and told the Daily about his experi-
ences with the Code.
While living in West Quad Resi-
dence Hall, someone living on his hall
launched apples via a slingshot toward
the Fleming Administration Building.
The apples crashed through the win-
dow of then-Vice President for Student
Affairs Maureen Hartford, splattering
apple bits all over her office.
Monteith told Mary Louise Antieau,
who then was the director of the Office
for Student Conflict Resolution, that he
was innocent. The only evidence she
found was that a West Quad house-
keeper heard his voice coming from a
room where the administration
believed the apples were launched
from. In later report, the housekeeper
retracted her statement, saying that she
wasn't sure at all if it was Monteith's
voice.
With little evidence, Antieau took
justice into her own hands. She found.
him guilty. Monteith had to pay for
part of the cost to clean Hartford's
chair.

At my next meeting
I asked how they
could charge me as
the only piece of
evidence was that
the housekeeper said
that 1 had been in the
room earlier in the
day. (Mary Louise)
Antieau at this time
told me in no
uncertain terms that
she knew I was
involved, she would
find me guilty if I pled
not guilty and that
the punishment would
be more severe.

PRESIDENT BOLLINGER'S EXPLANATIONS TO SOME
CHANGES TO THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT
There is nothing unfair about
using hearsay evidence in the
arbitration process.
Beyond a reasonable doubt is a
standard exclusively reserved for
criminal court proceedings, and has
no place in the educational process.
Allowing advocates (lawyers)
significantly reduces the educational
mission (of the Code).
The outcome of a civil or criminal
matter should not be determinative of
whether a complainant can pursue a
matter under the Code
(Punishing students for falsely report-
ing violations of the Code) may have
the effect of discouraging students
from filing complaints
While Bollinger's changes to the Code we're necessarily meant to attack stu-
dent rights, the policies as they stand - especially ones supporting double
jeopardy, limiting the rights of an attorney, allowing the use of rumor and gos-
sip and not going after students who file false reports, using the Code as a
revenge mechanism - do just that. Unless these particular areas of the policies
are changed, the "educational mission" of the Code will remain just a
superficial public relations buzzword, devoid of meaning.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

UNDER THE

CO D E

To read the Code of Student Conduct - now known as
the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, go
to the website of the Office of Student Conflict Resolu-
tion at w w umich.edu/~oscr or the Daily's special web-
site on the Code at wwWmichigandaily.com/code.

i

Knowing rights hinders
harmful consequences

KNOW

THE

LAWS,

KNOW

YOUR RIGHTS

RIGHTS
Continued from Page 1B
cludes seeing or smelling alcohol or
marijuana when you open the door to
speak with the police or housing, which
is a way they can get around not having
a warrant.
If you choose to speak to the police
or housing, the best advice is speak

while some people do get off, this is
often just a tactic used to get more infor-
mation. And remember, you can end the
conversation at any time.
One point to remember is that while
Ann Arbor does have relatively
relaxed marijuana laws, these do not
apply in the residence halls. Crimes
committed on University property
come under state jurisdiction instead

Don't have an open container of alcohol while on a
public sidewalk or street. If you are at a house party
off-campus, police often wait for someone to stumble
onto the sidewalk and then ticket them for an open
intoxicant violation.
While on University property, you are subject to
state laws regarding underage alcohol consumption
and drug posession.
In the city of Ann Arbor, marijuana possession is a
civil infraction. $25 for the first offense, $50 on the
second. In Ann Arbor, other common civil infractions
include:
Noise violation

N Police can only come into a private residence if they
have a valid search warrant or if they believe
someone's life is in danger or if there is a real
emergency. Police can also come in if you let them in.
Police or University Housing authorities will be
attracted to loud music, yelling and screaming and if
there is a large gathering.
At house parties, posting "You are only allowed to
drink if you are 21" signs helps only reinforce to the
police that you did not intend to serve alcohol to
minors, but does not get you off the hook.
You are not allowed to sell alcohol at parties
inlaccr~- vi Nav ' ,'a ,rni r Ii,'.tcr if t D. n ry' r an ha

RESOURCES
® Student Legal Services
2401 Michigan Union
763-9920
A service provided by the University
that offers free legal consultation
and services for all enrolled
University students.
* Michigan Student Assembly
Student Rights Commission
3909 Michigan Union
763-3241
src-core@umich.edu
The student government's
commission that looks out for stu-

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