Revamping the student conduct code

That committing a sexual crime does not violate the student conduct code is distrubing.

One dedicated group of students is proving that with a bit of organization they can make a difference in University policy. The group’s crusade? Give the University the power to punish sex offenders who commit their crimes off campus.

Student Judicial Affairs cannot currently penalize these offenders, as they are technically not in violation of the student conduct code. As a result, the University cannot enforce restraining orders on campus – a fact the new activist group finds appalling.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between city law enforcement and University academic enforcement. Restraining orders should hold regardless of where the offender and the victim is – and if they share a class at the University, the victim must be protected first. One of the group’s arguments is that the University has gained jurisdiction over students who riot off campus. Why should sexual assault, or any other felony, be any different?

These students make a good point. The University should have the ability to punish – at least academically – students convicted of felonies. While one would hope city and state law enforcement could deal with such students, those who do not go to jail ought to face consequences at the University; especially felonies in which violence played a role.

The fact that committing a sexual crime is not in violation of the code is unfathomable. Currently, nearly all provisions in the code pertain strictly to activities on campus and do not extend beyond it. The Board of Regents should consider revisions to the code requiring that students remain upstanding citizens in the broader community – not just within University walls.

Any policy regarding sexual offenses off campus would need to provide for case-by-case evaluations. Sweeping generalizations – especially if an alleged offender has not been convicted – would be unfair.

The group fervently pushing for this policy change demonstrates the power of organized activism. These students are applying pressure through the correct channels and University officials are beginning to listen. If nothing else, this group should be commended for their efforts to make the University a better place for victims of a horrible crime.