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Group continues debate on student handbook

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Campus Life Council (CLC) debated potential recommendations for changes to the du Lac student handbook — including the creation of a student medical amnesty policy and the handling of discipline for first-time alcohol offenses in residence halls — at its meeting Monday.

“The whole process in my opinion is very difficult because we are just giving recommendations instead of voting on policies,” student body president Grant Schmidt said.

The need for an established medical amnesty policy has recently gained traction in student government, he said. CLC is struggling with how to balance its desire for a medical amnesty procedure with the Office of Residence Life and Housing’s (ORLH) need for flexibility to deal with exceptions to the policy.

“In order for this to be effective, we do need it to be in du Lac and be clear to students,” student body vice president Cynthia Weber said.

CLC did not approve a specific recommendation for ORLH, but Monday’s draft will be clarified and presented again to the Council members.

“We need to clarify that assisting students would not be held liable except under extenuating circumstances,” Schmidt said.

Council members also recommended that in the case of a first time alcohol offense in a residence hall, the student’s rector would be responsible for discipline, instead of sending the case to ORLH.

Schmidt said this recommendation arose from a standard that is “already in place but should be stated clearly.”

The current du Lac policy allows for in-house discipline when the offense takes place within a student’s own residence hall, but the council wants to include offenses that occur elsewhere on campus in the language of this policy.

“One of [Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Bill] Kirk’s desires was that the policies in du Lac address current practice,” Weber said. “We need what is written to be adjusted accordingly for clarification.”

Many Council members hope to recommend the rector handle discipline before ORLH takes action.

“We are asking education to happen at a more localized level, which we consider to be more effective,” Weber said.

The issue of how discipline is handled is particularly important for students hoping to apply to graduate schools, Weber said.

Some of the rectors on the Council cautioned that setting up a policy with only loose definitions could cause confusion for students.

“If I were a student, I would want more structure on this,” Fr. Pete McCormick, rector of Keough Hall, said. 

Weber said because rectors have a strong connection to the average student, she thinks they should be allowed to handle discipline whenever possible.

“We can keep it at the level where it’s appropriate so as not to unnecessarily tarnish a student’s reputation or record,” Professor of Army Science Jon Crist said.

Discussion of this recommendation will continue at the Council’s next meeting. Other issues for upcoming CLC debate are recommendations on the undergraduate tailgating policy and drinking games.