The University Assembly (UA) is requesting feedback from the Cornell community on proposed revisions to a new Student Code of Conduct; the deadline for submitting feedback is Nov. 17.
Two years ago, President Martha E. Pollack asked the UA to address the set of recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate, which suggested significant modifications to the current code. Pollack said it would be of enormous benefit to the entire university to undertake a comprehensive rewrite of the code, addressing several Task Force recommendations, including:
- reworking the code to have an educational and aspirational, rather than a punitive quasi-criminal, tone;
- significantly simplifying the code, making it less legalistic, with more use of “plain English”;
- narrowing the focus, applying the code to student conduct only;
- permitting enhanced penalties for harassment or assault violations that are motivated by bias;
- expanding the code’s treatment of harassment to include all categories protected under New York state’s Human Rights Law and aligning the code’s definitions of harassment with the way in which harassment is defined under Policy 6.4; and
- referring in the code to the university’s core values.
Said Pollack: “I consider the need to amend the code to be among our most important priorities. This is a community document, and I encourage everyone to review and respond to the code revisions under consideration. At Cornell, we value a collaborative process that results in a code revision that can be embraced by all.”
At its concluding meeting in the spring of 2020, the UA asked University Counsel to draft a new version of a Student Code of Conduct and associated procedures that would reflect input from several entities that had worked on versions over the past two years. The newly posted documents reflect Counsel’s work reconciling these different versions and approaches and explicitly invite campus input on numerous issues, including what standard of evidence the community believes should be applied to cases arising under the Student Code of Conduct.
Gina Giambattista is director of the Office of the Assemblies.