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The number of reported incidents involving underage drinking and copyright infringement at the University decreased this past year, according to Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. Overall, violations declined slightly.

A summary of non-academic disciplinary proceedings for the 2008-2009 academic year, released recently, showed that the total number of alleged violations to the University's non-academic behavior policy was 3 percent lower than in the year before.

A total of 171 violations to the Standards of Student Conduct were reported between July 2008 and June 2009, down from 177 incidents the previous year.

Reported cases are addressed in hearings before the Peer Community Standards Board, a dean or administrator, the University Disciplinary Council or a University administrative hearing officer.

The majority of the cases from the past year were resolved in hearings with a dean. Dean's hearings are used to address incidents that do not result in separation — that is, suspension or expulsion — from the University, including those related to underage drinking, vandalism or first-time copyright violations for illegal file sharing or downloading.

Dean's hearings result in a written reprimand, a period of probation or a deferred suspension, during which a student may be separated from Brown in the case of an additional violation. During the past year, 83 of the 137 cases heard by a dean resulted in reprimands. While 22 resulted in no finding of a violation, in 17 cases students were put on probation.

Klawunn said the number of cases related to infringement of copyright laws has decreased significantly in the past year.

"We think that students are more aware of what constitutes a copyright violation," she said. "We have made increased efforts to make sure that people are aware of the policies."

Terry Addison, associate dean of student life, said students are also more aware of legal alternatives to downloading that would violate copyright policies.

Computing and Information Services "has done a good job of promoting legal use," he said. "They put a lot of information out and worked very hard at help desks, for example, when students brought in their laptops, to check that there was no illegal sharing or downloading equipment."

Klawunn also pointed to a decline in alcohol-related violations, which she said is not indicative of reduced alcohol consumption, but rather an increased effort by residential staff to intervene in student alcohol use before a violation has to be reported.

Another notable difference between this past year and the year before is the increase, from zero to 10, in the number of University Disciplinary Council Hearings, Addison said.

While University Administrative Hearings and UDC hearings both address serious violations related to physical assault, sexual misconduct, theft and drug use, the formats of the hearings are different. Only an administrative hearing officer and the student are present for an administrative hearing, while a disciplinary council hearing involves a panel of faculty members, students and administrators. Students have the option of choosing between the two types of hearings.

Klawunn said she could not explain why the number of UDC hearings increased.

"We're definitely interested in why that would be," she said.

In a high-profile case, eight members of Students for Democratic Society who forced their way into University Hall during an October 2008 Corporation meeting chose to have charges against them evaluated by the UDC in December.



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