The Georgetown University Student Association plans to release a draft of a student bill of rights this Monday as part of its efforts to reform the Student Code of Conduct.
In a meeting Sunday, members of GUSA’s executive branch laid out the main points of the bill, including a right to freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination and prompt notification of disciplinary action.
In order to be incorporated into the code of conduct, the bill must be passed by the Disciplinary Review Committee, a group that consists of GUSA cabinet members, the director of student conduct, the associate vice president for student affairs, two faculty members and two students appointed by the vice president for student affairs.
According to Michael Barclay (COL ’12), a member of the Student Code of Conduct Reform Committee and the chief of staff for the GUSA executive, the group hopes to gain student support for the bill by holding a campus-wide referendum. In many cases, the bill of rights would codify liberties that students already exercise, Barclay said.
“By adding the bill to the Student Code of Conduct, we hope to have the university explicitly recognize these rights and expectations of students,” he wrote in an email.
He added that the code of conduct reforms are also intended to give students a better understanding of their own rights and responsibilities.
The previous administration, under President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) and Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11), also attempted to revamp the Student Code of Conduct. Reform Committee member and Deputy Chief of Staff for the GUSA executive John Morris (COL ’13) said that during the last revision process, several people each reviewed a separate section of the code, making the final product jumbled and incompatible.
“Bringing them all together into one cohesive code of conduct was a nightmare,” Morris said.
The reform initiative failed to make significant progress before the administration changed hands.
In an effort to correct past problems, the current committee has fewer people working on the initiative than the previous one, and every member is reviewing the complete document, Morris said. He added that the group is also interested in studying documents created by the Alcohol Policy Working Group, an initiative that submitted five alcohol policy-related recommendations to the Disciplinary Review Committee in 2008 but ultimately failed to make any changes.
According to Morris, one of the primary goals is to clarify the expectations of the Student Code of Conduct.
“There’s very little common standard,” Morris said. “We’re hoping to flesh it out a little and make it more black-and-white.”