Written by: Srijani Datta, Assistant News Editor
The October session of the SFU Senate moved to revise the Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct into two separate policies — one for student academic integrity and another for non-academic student conduct.
The original policy dealt with cases of academic dishonesty and general student misconduct. However, with SFU’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support policy (GP 44) now in place, the university plans to address sexual violence cases through the newly split-off student conduct policy. Subsequently, the memorandum to change the Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct to reflect this intention was put in place.
The new policy also changes how cases of non-academic conduct are decided. The current one-policy system requires the students involved in any misconduct case, academic or non-academic, to appear before the University Board on Student Discipline (UBSD). Under the new policy, only matters of academic misconduct will mandate this. This is intended to make the process more sensitive to survivors.
The procedures under the new policy aim to address the behaviour in question “after a preliminary review by the university” and resolve issues informally where possible.
The new policy will also remove UBSD’s jurisdiction on issues involving non-academic student misconduct. The Senate Committee on Disciplinary Appeals (SCODA) will also not be involved in non-academic misconduct matters.
As both UBSD and SCODA include student representatives with other staff and faculty members in their panels, Senator Colin Percival opposed the motion and raised concerns that “it might bar students (involved in matters of non-academic misconduct) from being heard by other students if they so desire.”
However, the motion carried, and the resource team on the policy reiterated the reasoning from the Senate memorandum sent in by Peter Keller, SFU’s vice-president, academic and provost.
“In recent years the use of tribunals for conduct has been identified as a barrier for those reporting misconduct such as sexual violence as the survivor/complainant must face the respondent/perpetrator at the tribunal and there is an expectation of cross examination,” reads one section of the proposed procedural changes in the memorandum.
The revised policies will take effect on January 1, 2019.