Spread the Word

Most students probably couldn’t give a sure answer when asked what would happen if they were caught by the university for hazing a member in their organization, disturbing the peace on campus or selling unauthorized course lecture notes.

All information can be found in the Student Conduct Code, which recently underwent three years’ worth of revisions — and nobody really knows about it. Council is working on a resolution not to critique or publicize the changes, but to condemn former Chancellor Marye Anne Fox for not publicizing her 11th hour authorization of the code. But this resolution doesn’t address the main issue:  Many students are unaware that these changes occurred, or that a conduct code even exists.

Fox approved the code just before she stepped down this past July. The changes were made effective on Sept. 15, although students were not notified of the changes until Sept. 27 via an email from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. According to the introduction, “This Student Conduct Code underscores the pride and the values that define our community while providing UC San Diego students with a framework to guide their actions and behaviors.”

Essentially, this means that the code is a set of rules that will define our rights as students and the consequences of misbehavior. Every student should be familiar with the code, because there are many consequences that students are unaware of until they find themselves knee-deep in a violation.

According to Vice President of External Affairs Olamide Noah, the new code will have a huge impact on future student activism. There is a clause in the new code that cites disruptive activity on campus as a violation of university policy. The ambiguity of this wording, members of council have stressed, might prevent students from protesting on campus. Student protesters unaware of this clause might find themselves in trouble for doing something that they previously would not have been punished for, due to the vagueness of this new clause. This is an important example of how code revisions will have strong repercussions for students, while remaining unbeknownst to the majority of them.

It is important for students to know about the Code, because a violation will be on their record for years to come. Based on the Clery Act record-keeping requirements, student disciplinary records will be kept for seven years after a conduct infraction from the student’s last quarter of enrollment, up from the previous rule of three years. A.S.

Council should make the student body hyper-aware that code violations will be on students’ records for nearly double their time on campus before students consciously break policy. This knowledge might help prevent students from willfully committing violations in the first place — the whole purpose of a conduct code.

That being said, last year A.S. Council made efforts to educate students on the code. Before the 2012 Sun God Festival, A.S. Council held a “Know Your Rights” campaign to educate students on how to be  safe during the festival and their rights were according to the code. They passed out plastic cups that changed colors with temperature to encourage student participation in the campaign. The council gave away a lot of cups, but not a lot of information. Both the cups and the fliers encouraged students to learn about the code and seek more information. However, there was no elaboration on finer points that may affect and interest students.

To draw more student participation and interest in the code, A.S. Council should team up with other UCSD organizations and events: job fairs, culture shows, sporting events, rush week, etc., and use student attention to make a presentation or distribute literature that highlights some of the more relevant sections that students should know. The code is important for students to know on an individual level, and therefore should be emphasized.