Administration revises policy and procedures manual

    Controversy over the revision of the staff manual on student matters has risen after the manual received changes while the majority of students were not on campus this summer.

    Policy and Procedure Manual 160-2, which governs access to student records and hearing procedures at UCSD, was revised by Director of Student Policy and Judicial Affairs Nicholas S. Aguilar this summer in response to revisions made to the UC-wide student records policy by the University of California Office of the President. Aguilar said he made the revisions to comply with the UCOP.

    Members of the A.S. Council allege that Aguilar’s revisions were unfair to students because students were not informed that revisions were going to be made and because students were not included in the revision process.

    “”It is extremely inappropriate for the administration to make such large changes without consulting the students,”” said A.S. President Jenn Brown.

    Members of Associated Students claim that by making the revisions during the summer and failing to include student input, Aguilar was trying to keep students in the dark. However, Aguilar argues that his actions were not designed to usurp power from students.

    The reason for the revisions taking place this summer had to do with the timing of the UCOP revisions, according to Aguilar. “”The UC policy on student records was revised in April — last spring — and it literally took me from April to June,”” Aguilar said.

    Aguilar also said that he did not include students in the process of revising the manual because of the technical knowledge needed to revise it.

    “”This particular PPM is very technical … it requires legal expertise in reading of regulations,”” Aguilar said.

    After revisions were made, the A.S. Council and the leaders of the Graduate Student Association were e-mailed copies of the revised draft. Members of the A.S. Council responded to the revision with an extensive list of problems they wanted changed.

    A major concern for the A.S. Council was the procedure students must undergo to appeal disciplinary decisions.

    The initial draft of the manual set a procedure in which students dissatisfied with the decision made by the original administrator assigned to his or her case could have the case reevaluated by another administrator.

    The new decision, however, would then be either approved or denied by the original administrator.

    “”The basic nature of an appeal isn’t being acknowledged if the decision being appealed is being addressed by the same person,”” Brown said.

    After responding to the initial draft via e-mail, the appeals process has been changed so that appeals do not filter through the original hearing officers. Aguilar said that “”most”” of the changes presented by the A.S. Council were made, and all were addressed.

    Another change from the initial draft called for by members of the A.S. Council was the issue of student photos in the general directory.

    “”Although we could, we did not include photos as one of the items in directory information,”” Aguilar said.

    Initially, however, Aguilar did include photos as part of the directory. After meeting with members of the A.S. Council, the photos were removed from the directory.

    Currently, student photos can be accessed by faculty and staff members if the photo is needed to fulfill the staff or faculty person’s responsibilities.

    To access photos, a staff person would have to present his or her reason to the custodian of the photos before a photo can be accessed. Aguilar still does not know who the custodian of the photos will be or where they will be kept. This person, however, will be able to make decisions on a case-by-case basis as to whether or not a photo can be accessed.

    “”I don’t know who gets them or who keeps them or where, but whoever gets them or keeps them will be the technical custodian of that record,”” Aguilar said.

    The definition of what is an acceptable reason to access the photos is also a concern for members of A.S. Council.

    “”With no definition, there is no way to uphold the standard,”” Brown said.

    Arguing that photos should not be allowed to be accessed by anyone, members of A.S. Council believe that there is no relevant need for them.

    “”I am very against photos being accessible for faculty or staff,”” Brown said. “”Having photos accessible leaves students vulnerable to racial profiling and a professor’s whim.””

    Aguilar argues that photos should be accessible to staff for reasons like a professor wanting to make sure those taking an exam are the same students who are actually enrolled in the class.

    The new manual is currently scheduled to take effect Oct. 1. Questions about the manual can be raised with Aguilar.

    “”Anybody who has any questions about PPM 160-2 can feel free to contact me,”” Aguilar said.

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