Friday, May 7, 2010

ASUC Approves Resolution Against UCB Student Conduct Procedures

The bill was approved last night by the ASUC:
A Resolution in Critique of Student Conduct Procedures of the University of California

Authored by: Senator Patel
Sponsored by: Senators Patel, Gaurano, Kwon, Boone, Nava, Deleon, Saephan, Tang, Adem

WHEREAS, the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards is the campus body that enforces the Student Conduct Code; and,

WHEREAS, the stated mission of the Center of Student Conduct is, “the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards (a component of Campus Life and Leadership) works to promote and maintain a high degree of academic integrity and standard of conduct, which are crucial in preserving a safe environment for students to pursue and accomplish their scholastic and personal goals,”

WHEREAS, the administration uses the Center for Student Conduct as a judicial process completely distinct from that of Alameda County, creating an extralegal tribunal to adjudicate punitive matters. These criminal matters are processed by the Alameda County justice system in accordance with California law and due process protections. Unlike the Alameda County criminal justice system, the Center for Student Conduct handles criminal charges with a total lack of legal expertise and the process affords students little to no protection for their rights.

WHEREAS, the Center for Student Conduct and the administration of this campus have been holding the threat of severe punishments such expulsion and suspension over the heads of many students in connection with the political demonstrations of the past two semesters.

WHEREAS, the student conduct procedure has been blatantly abused and is already riddled with flaws in the following ways:
1. The OSC is still pursuing charges against students which were dropped by the Alameda County D.A. for lack of evidence. There is little to no evidence tying any specific student to any specific charge in many cases yet the charges are being pursued anyway. This is known as double jeopardy.

2. Currently, the timeline for all student conduct procedures has been suspended indefinitely. Usually all cases are dealt with in a 75 day period. This creates an often undesired wait time for students who are going through the Student Conduct process.

3. The current Student Conduct process denies student’s rights to representation in formal hearings. Currently, advisors are allowed, but are relegated to a non-speaking role, which removes any possibility of proper representation.

4. Whereas Due Process in the justice system requires an evidentiary standard and a high burden of proof, the Center for Student Conduct has wide discretionary powers. The evidentiary standard, or the guideline for what kind of evidence is acceptable, is very vague. The burden of proof for finding a student responsible is "more likely than not," which is, by definition, the lowest possible burden of proof.

5. Despite the semblance of a judicial process, the Dean of Students has input throughout the process, and the final say on each case. There are no checks on the power of the dean to make punitive decisions except that of an appeal to his superior.

6. In many cases, the Center for Student Conduct has not been forthcoming with documents which they claim as evidence.
WHEREAS, the abuses of the process, the threats of severe punishments, and the lack of transparency and consistency in the process create a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech serve as a deterrent for future political action, while promoting an atmosphere of hostility.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of the University of California is in solidarity with the expression of political opinion; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the ASUC calls for a suspension of the flawed Student Conduct process pending adequate revision, rather than a suspension of the students, resolving that:
(a) Due to serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and fairness of the Student Conduct process, all charges against students involved in any political demonstrations in the past year be dropped,

(b) the ASUC supports sincere efforts towards an independent and democratic student-run review and reconsideration of the role of the Center for Student Conduct on campus.

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