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Group examines du Lac

Megan Doyle | Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Campus Life Council (CLC) hosted Jeff Shoup, director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing and William Kirk, associate vice president for Residence Life at their meeting Monday, and heard possible revisions to policies and procedures in the student handbook du Lac. 
Suggestions for revisions pertained to sexual assault, off-campus behavior and disciplinary sanctions. 
“I do not have texts of the language to be reviewed,” Kirk said. “My purpose is to give some sense of the direction that the drafting and revision will take in this process.”
While University Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Mark Poorman has the final say on revisions, Kirk said CLC’s feedback is important. 
The University’s handling of sexual assault was discussed at the meeting.
“That assault will result in suspension or dismissal from the University is not under review,” Kirk said. “Our direction aims for a separate procedural setup in dealing with sexual assault because of the delicate nature of those allegations.”
The discussion of these policies is geared toward a new, more specific and “more user-friendly” policy, he said.
This division of the reviews involves the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP). One of the considerations presented by CSAP was the role of mediation in the process of dealing with sexual assault victims. 
Student behavior outside of campus was also discussed at the meeting.
“Some of the disciplinary policies about off-campus behavior are not explicitly outlined,” Hall President’s Council co-chair Brendan McQueeny said. “Students are not always sure what to expect.”
Shoup also cited the need to clarify the handbook’s descriptions of discipline and the appropriateness of certain sanctions such as community service. 
“Philosophically, we think of service as a way to give back to the community when in violation of the community,” Shoup said. “But some see service as only for altruistic purposes and not appropriate for punishment.”
The revisions also focus on building a clearer outline and structure within the actual handbook. 
“The vast majority of this book contains campus resources plus about 12 pages of rules and regulations,” Kirk said. “It is very possible for this information to be easily organized so students can be more willing to read and better understand the policies.”
In order to make these rules more clear, the Office of Residence Life aims to realign the du Lac policies with actual University practice, citing parietal violations as an example. 
“We need to make sure that what we do and what we say in du Lac match,” Kirk said. 
Shoup reminded the Council that the Office of Residence Life and Housing does not function like a criminal court. 
“Our goal is for students to learn about how their behavior impacts themselves, others and the reputation of the University,” Shoup said. “In the disciplinary conference, we want to have a good conversation with the student about their behavior.”
CLC will meet in smaller task forces to collect feedback after Monday’s meeting, and these ideas will be presented to Kirk at the Council’s Feb. 8 meeting.
“We are not the ones to approve these policies, and we are not an advisory board,” student body president Grant Schmidt said. “But this is a great opportunity to provide our input.”
Kirk said the administration established a completion deadline for early June in order to be able to give hardcopies of the new edition to freshmen arriving in August.