GUSA plans to distribute a student rights pamphlet before spring break as part of its larger efforts to keep students informed about the codes regulating student behavior on campus.
According to Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12), the pamphlet will cover the campus judicial process, as well as the roles of the Student Advocacy Office, Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service, Department of Public Safety, Student Neighborhood Assistance Program and Metropolitan Police Department.
“It doesn’t deal with everything. It’s a condensed-down version of the code of conduct,” Laverriere said.
According to GUSA Chief of Staff Mike Barclay (COL ’12), the pamphlet is an attempt to update a similar publication that was put together by GUSA and The Corp in 2004.
“It gives people the resources they need to look for in the original code,” he said.
The pamphlet is currently under review by Director of Student Conduct Judy Johnson to ensure that its content accurately reflects the university’s code of conduct.
The student rights pamphlet, along with the Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities and revisions to the Student Code of Conduct, is part of GUSA’s effort to take a comprehensive look at the code and increase student awareness of their rights.
“With the student rights pamphlet and the Student Advocacy Office, we’re trying to provide two different resources that can make students more knowledgeable about the code and their responsibilities,”Laverriere said.
He added that GUSA’s experience with the SAO so far has reinforced the ongoing push to reform the code of conduct. The two most significant proposed changes to the code are increasing the burden of proof requirement and renewing the focus on communicating student rights throughout the judicial process.
The proposed revisions would raise the burden of proof of code of conduct violations from “more likely than not” to “clear and convincing” in all cases, with the exception of sexual assaults. The change of language is intended to protect students from being penalized in cases with limited evidence.
The reform would also require the Office of Student Conduct to notify students of the resources available to them in the disciplinary emails and to allow students on trial to pause an active session and consult with an adviser.
“Some may consider those as nominal changes, but I disagree,” Laverriere said. “Anything that you can put into the code of conduct to clarify the process that further increases and clears up what a student has the ability to do in a hearing or administrative action is very helpful.”
According to Laverriere, the revision process will continue after the election of a new GUSA president and vice president. All the proposed changes are still subject to approval by the university’s Disciplinary Review Committee.
“It’s a longer process than we originally anticipated, but it’s definitely a thoughtful one,” Barclay said.