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Members discuss discipline, rectors’ role

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Campus Life Council (CLC) passed a recommendation to keep discipline at the lowest administrative level, particularly at the level of the rector, whenever possible, at its meeting Monday.

Student body president Grant Schmidt said the overall message of the recommendation is “greater communication and greater consultation with the rectors.”

The Council drafted this recommendation in order to prevent a student from acquiring an unnecessary disciplinary record that could hurt his or her applications to post-graduate school. Under this policy, a rector could handle a first-time alcohol violation or similar offense without creating a record for the student in the Office of Residence Life and Housing (ORLH).

The Council recommended “the Office of Student Affairs and ORLH consult the rectors and provide greater attentiveness to the input of rectors when making disciplinary decisions,” the resolution said.

“One of the big words we wanted to focus on was ‘consult,'” Senate representative Elise Jordan said.

This distinction includes the rectors in the disciplinary process, but also leaves ORLH with flexibility and the power to have the final say, said Jordan.

CLC members were concerned in particular with first-time alcohol offenses that occur off-campus or in an area outside a residence hall, such as the Notre Dame Stadium.

“I think that [a rector] should be able to address a first-time offense even if it happens off-campus,” Schmidt said.

The Council plans to recommend that ORLH consult the student’s rector before opening up a disciplinary record when first-time alcohol violations occur off-campus or outside a residence hall.

“The whole idea of an off-campus violation is something that the rectors do not always want control over, but sometimes would like to handle themselves,” student body vice president Cynthia Weber said.

Judicial Council President Ian Secviar said the conversation between a rector and a student is “a very good pastoral moment,” which should emphasized.

At previous meetings, CLC members objected to creating a policy that would be too subjective. The rectors on the Council voiced concerns with the recommendation again Monday.

“This policy assumes that the rector stays and remains the rector,” Keough Hall rector Father Pete McCormick said.

If a new rector was placed in a dorm, the history between the previous rector and the members of that dorm could be lost, he said.

“It becomes very difficult and very subjective when every single issue is at the lowest administrative level,” Schmidt said.