University News

Code of conduct review slated for spring

Policy review, which occurs every five years, will follow a 68 percent year-to-year rise in code violations

Contributing Writer
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The University is preparing for its regular review of the Code of Student Conduct next semester in the context of a sharp increase in the number of code violations from the 2012-2013 academic year to the 2013-2014 academic year, according to the community report released last month by the Office of Student Life.

The total number of violations increased by 68 percent, jumping from 141 reported incidents in the 2012-2013 academic year to 237 reported incidents last year, according to the report.

One hundred sixty-three of these violations were dealt with through Dean’s Hearings, which are reserved for violations that are more serious but do not warrant suspension or a permanent record. The number of these hearings is also up from the previous year, when there were 101, according to the report.

The number of violations fluctuates annually and depends on several factors, said Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, associate dean for student life. “It is within reason, and we’ve seen big jumps like this in the past,” she said.

One main factor influencing the number of violations is whether the Department of Public Safety reports an incident to the Office of Student Life, Castillo-Appollonio said. Another potential influence is the recent rise in the number of Community Directors, who are in charge of filling out reports for the residents of the buildings they oversee, she added.

Copyright violations due to illegal uploading and downloading may have also affected the fluctuation, as they vary each year and depend on whether companies report incidents to the University, Castillo-Appollonio said.

A task force convenes to review the Code of Student Conduct every five years, with the last review occurring in 2010. The task force this spring will include administrators from the Office of Student Life and will likely seek input from undergraduates involved with the Undergraduate Council of Students, the Brown Center for Students of Color and the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, as well as graduate and medical students, Castillo-Appollonio said.

“We will do community-wide presentations and take the community’s input before making our final recommendations,” Castillo-Appollonio added.

In response to last spring’s wide-spread discussion of sexual assault, President Christina Paxson decided to appoint a separate task force to review sexual assault policy, The Herald reported at the time.

The separate task force charged with reviewing sexual assault policy will keep the main task force apprised of its progress, said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services.

More sexual assaults have been reported since Bita Shooshani was hired as the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy in 2011, Klawunn added.

But the increase in reported sexual assaults should be viewed in a positive light, since it likely results from an increase in reporting rather than in incidents, Shooshani said.

Shooshani added that she believes students may feel more comfortable reporting incidents to her because “they know they have an advocate” when seeking her support.

“The statistics about the prevalence rates have stayed the same over the years … that one in five women and one in 33 men have experienced sexual assault,” she said.

While more incidents of sexual assault have been reported, the number of reported incidents of sexual misconduct has remained relatively stable since Shooshani assumed her role. There were three reported incidents of sexual misconduct — defined in the report as conduct that “involves non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature” or “includes one or more of the following: penetration, violent physical force, or injury” — in the 2013-2014 academic year. This number remained consistent with those reported  in the two prior academic years.

  • Kip Sumner

    It’s incredible. The deans run for cover. They do nothing else. They are so stupid that they cannot realize how obvious they are. If they did not have these dean jobs, what might they be doing with their sorry lives?