AU students are subject to new rules and guidelines set down in the revised Student Conduct Code, effective June 15, including more stringent rules about off-campus incidents, more leniency in the University’s holding of their disciplinary records and an updated drug policy.
The University now has the authority to take action against students for any alleged misconduct that occurs off campus, regardless of whether or not the misconduct violates local, state or federal laws.
The University previously needed a police citation to discipline off-campus students, The Eagle previously reported.
This revision is “consistent with measures taken by other D.C. institutions at the insistence of their neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Councils,” according to an announcement posted on the Office of Campus Life website on April 10 about the conduct code changes.
The Student Conduct Code also now includes a more comprehensive sexual assault policy. Revisions were made to previous definitions of rape, stalking and harassment, and the code now uses stronger language against sexual assault. For more information about the sexual assault policy changes, see the related report on page 7.
Over 3,175 undergraduate students are living off campus this year, according to numbers provided by Housing and Dining Programs and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.
So far, there have been no reported incidents of students breaking the new conduct code rules on or off campus, according to Rosie McSweeney, director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services.
|Note: This is not a scientific poll.|
Last year, the Student Conduct office saw 712 cases of “alleged violations of prohibited conduct,” McSweeney said. Of those 712 cases, only 12 were resolved with disciplinary hearings.
McSweeney noted that disciplinary hearings are rare because a student could be removed from housing, suspended or dismissed if they are found responsible for the alleged misconduct in the hearing.
Significant changes were also made to other parts of the code that deal with student misconduct.
The code has been expanded to include University housing relocation as a possible consequence for a conduct code violation. Relocation is now listed as the step taken before a student is completely removed from University housing.
Last year, five students were removed from housing, and one was suspended from the University, according to McSweeney.
The drug violation section of the conduct code was expanded to differentiate between disciplinary action for first-time drug sellers and first-time drug users.
First-time drug users could face a number of different disciplinary actions.
The sanctions include, but are not limited to, “disciplinary probation for a specified period, denial of visiting privileges in the residence halls, assignment to a drug education program, removal from the residence halls permanently or for a specified period, and suspension or dismissal from the University,” the code states.
But first-time drug sellers are subjected to stricter disciplinary action. They do not have the option of probation or any of the other lesser sanctions available to drug users. Their cases could result in removal from housing, suspension or dismissal from the University.
Another notable revision to the conduct code is the change in how long the University will hold a student’s disciplinary record. Previous guidelines stipulated that a student’s disciplinary record could be open to third parties for up to five years after the student graduates.
A student’s AU disciplinary record will now become inaccessible to third parties once they graduate from AU.
A full list of the Student Conduct Code revisions can be found at theeagleonline.com/policies.
from The Code
Revisions of the University’s jurisdiction expand AU’s authority, under specified conditions, to address alleged misconduct that occurs off campus. Public Safety now has the power to respond to off-campus incidents reported by residents of the surrounding community.
“... the university may take disciplinary action for off-campus infractions of the Code when a student’s behavior threatens or endangers the safety and well-being of the campus community; when a student is the subject of a violation of local, state or federal law; or when, in the judgment of university officials, a student’s alleged misconduct has a negative effect on the university’s pursuit of its mission or on the well being of the greater community.”
— A. University Codes, Policies, and Guidelines: Codes, Student Conduct Code, III. Jurisdiction. Page 50.
The sanctions section was updated to include University housing relocation as a penalty that could be used for certain violations.
“E. Relocation in University Housing – administrative reassignment to a different residence hall and/or room.” — A. University Codes, Policies, and Guidelines: Codes, Student Conduct Code, XVI. Sanctions. Page 56.
Once a student graduates, the university cannot release their disciplinary record to third parties unless that student was suspended, dismissed or withdrew from the school in the middle of a disciplinary hearing. The previous version of the Student Conduct Code had stated that the University could release a student’s disciplinary record to third parties up to three years after the student graduates.
“Release of disciplinary records to third parties is provided in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (FERPA) until a student has graduated from the university, or as required by law.
Records for a student who is suspended, dismissed, or who withdraws with a disciplinary case pending are maintained indefinitely; release of these categories of disciplinary records to third parties is provided in accordance with FERPA.”
— A. University Codes, Policies, and Guidelines: Codes, Student Conduct Code, XVIII. Disciplinary Records. Page 57.
The drug violations section was updated to make a clear distinction between disciplinary action to take against drug users and drug sellers.
“First time sale, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs and illegal drug paraphernalia may result in sanctions including, but not limited to, removal from housing, suspension, or dismissal from the university.
First time use or possession of illegal drugs or illegal drug paraphernalia may result in sanctions including, but not limited to, disciplinary probation for a specified period, denial of visiting privileges in the residence halls, assignment to a drug education program, removal from the residence halls permanently or for a specified period, and suspension or dismissal from the university.”
— University Codes, Policies and Guidelines: Alcohol and Other Drugs. Drug Policy. Page 88.