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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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SA Senate to evaluate student rights

A group of Student Association senators met this weekend to take the first steps in ensuring that student rights are a top University priority.

The committee, consisting of five senators, examined GW’s Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities, and created recommended edits and new clauses. The document governs student behavior, and consists of the Student Code of Conduct and the Code of Academic Integrity.

The senators will submit their findings to the full Senate Tuesday at the group’s final meeting.

“The fact is that when I opened this up I saw that it was the most ridiculous document on campus,” said Sen. Ben Traverse (U-CCAS), who chairs the committee.

During Saturday’s two-hour meeting, the senators integrated a Bill of Rights into the Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities, and condensed the documents to make all rules consistent. This is the first time a group of students met and defined the rights of students and organizations on their own terms.

“This is a revolutionary committee, and big things are happening today,” Sen. Asher Corson (U-CCAS) said.

If the Senate adopts the new document, the report will be given to the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students and then to the Board of Trustees for consideration this summer.

Policies outlined in the current guide overlap with other campus conduct literature.

“If you get caught drinking in your room, you can get punished under three different sanctions in three different separate documents that are inconsistent,” Traverse said.

Committee recommendations include re-organizing all documents in order of importance. The committee decided to cut and lift all text pertaining to the drug and alcohol policy into one document so that the rules are clear, consistent and found in one place.

The committee created recommendations for maximum sanctions for violations, such as sexual assault. Currently, the Student Code of Conduct only outlines a minimum sanction for these actions.

“If we write in too much new information, we will go nuts and fail to take in every circumstance,” Sen. Christopher Jenkins (G-CCAS) said.

The committee also proposed the creation of student membership on the Board of Trustees and amending the judicial hearing process. Amendments made to the judicial hearing process include allowing the SA to elect the members of the hearing boards.

Additionally, in light of the recent string of violations in the Greek-letter community, the committee suggested individuals, rather than entire organizations, should be held responsible for their actions, as long as other individuals of that organization had no involvement or prior understanding that a violation was to occur.

The Delta Tau Delta fraternity lost recognition earlier this semester for allegedly hazing pledges. The Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Sigma and Phi Sigma Kappa fraternities and the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority are on social probation.

“(Currently) the documents give rights to the University, not the students,” Traverse said.

Mark Levine, senior assistant dean of students, and Tim Miller, associate director of the Student Activities Center, will meet with the committee on Tuesday to review its suggestions and concerns, senators said. Neither official was available for comment as of press time.

Last summer, SA President Kris Hart published “The Dummies Guide to Students Rights.” However, Traverse said it is a navigating tool and not a binding document.

Despite their efforts, committee members said they are aware that it would take a great deal of persuasion for the Board of Trustees to accept changes.

“This is one small step for the SA, but one giant leap for the students of GW,” said Sen. Lee Roupas (U-At-Large).

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