Faculty Senate Approves Student Code of Conduct Revisions
The Faculty Senate addressed several items in its Feb. 16 meeting that affect student life at Georgia Tech.
The Student Regulations Committee proposed changes to the Student Code of Conduct based on a review that took place last year at the request of President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. The review panel, led by former chief legal officer and secretary to the Board of Regents Nels Peterson, issued recommendations in December.
Changes that were approved Tuesday fall into six areas:
- Definition and refinement of process. Language was modified to clarify that rules and procedures related to student sexual misconduct are governed by a separate document: the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- Technical and editorial changes. Language was updated for consistency and to reflect Institute organizational changes. The designation of a student suspected of misconduct is now “respondent” instead of “accused.” The definition of the word “advisor” was updated to mean “an individual chosen by the student or organization who assists a participant with the student conduct process.”
- Case investigation. Revisions clarify that a pre-charge review is limited to a determination of whether there are sufficient facts to initiate a conduct process. If a conduct process is initiated, the respondent is notified and an administrative conference is held with the respondent prior to further investigation of a report.
- Aggregation of unrelated cases. The revised code states that, under certain circumstances, multiple complaints against one respondent may be adjudicated together.
- Appellate rights. “Suspension held in abeyance” has been removed as a possible sanction. Sanctions that remain are: disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion. “Suspension held in abeyance” was removed because of problems that could arise with appeals to that sanction. Per the policy, the four remaining sanctions may all be appealed to the Georgia Tech president.
- Challenges to hearing officer bias. The revised code permits a respondent to request a different adjudicator if there is a perceived bias of the initial hearing officer.
The Student Code of Conduct has seen other revisions in recent years to comply with new rules and regulations, refine wording, and adapt to an ever-changing college landscape. View the full Student Code of Conduct (pdf) prior to this week’s revisions.
The Student Regulations Committee’s action items also included the addition of a new section to the Class Attendance Policy. The new section addresses religious holidays and observances and how students and faculty should handle those absences from class. Students will be permitted to be able to make up work that is missed because of a religious observance, provided the student arranges this absence with the instructor during the first two weeks of the semester. The section also states that the rights under this policy are subject to the Georgia Tech Honor Code.
This policy addition came from discussions with the Student Government Association about providing equal academic support across a diverse student body. During the meeting, concerns were raised among the faculty about policy abuse and administrative burden; conversely, others emphasized the role of the Honor Code, the fact that students must make requests early in the semester, and the need for Georgia Tech to support students’ freedom of religious choice. Ultimately, the addition was approved.
Other minor modifications were made to the Class Attendance Policy to provide for student-athlete event conflicts with Tech’s new final reading periods and final exam schedule, which is being implemented for the first time this semester.
Other Action Items
The Faculty Senate also addressed action items related to undergraduate and graduate curriculum at its Feb. 16 meeting. See other notes.