Rigid new UVM code of conduct

The Faculty Senate has proposed a resolution regarding student and faculty behavior inside the classroom. The Student Affairs Committee will draft and present the resolution to the senate as a whole. It was first drafted in March and was presented to the Faculty Senate during their last meeting. It will be voted on during the meeting in May. The new classroom code of conduct will give professors the liberty to pose disciplinary action on students that act unsettled during class. “Basically this means that if faculty feel a student is being disruptive, he/she may impose sanctions [on the student],” Professor Birnn from the Student Affairs Committee said. This does not mean that professors will be sending students to college detention. However, they will have the backing of the administration to ask students to leave class, lower grades, or other sanctions that the Student Affairs Committee decides on. “Students are expected to adhere to the Code and faculty may impose sanctions if they feel the need, but usually this will only happen with repeated infringement of the Code,” said Birnn. Considering the financial factor of college tuition, it is unlikely that students will be repeatedly disruptive under the new code The criteria of student and faculty expectation that was submitted by the Student Affairs Committee in their rough draft of the Classroom Code of Conduct Resolution states that, “Instructors and students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled classes, except for those occasions warranting an excused absence under the University Attendance Policy.” The criteria further states that, “Instructors and students will arrive for class on time and should expect to stay in the class for the full period. The student will alert the instructor prior to class if the student must leave early.” The rough draft of the resolution states, “In classes with internet access, students shall use the internet for valid academic purposes only. The student shall refrain from using the computer for non-academic purposes during class time.” This is the fourth of six criterion listed thus far in the resolution, and is subject to change. When asked if there has been any student input on the Classroom Code of Conduct Resolution, Birnn said “There are two students on the committee, one graduate student who was involved, and one undergraduate who had not attended meetings when the majority of the work was being done on the Code. He did get a chance to see the Code and did make comments about it.” According to the Faculty Senate minutes, the discussion of adopting a code of conduct dates back to May 2005 when Rob Kelly, Associate Dean of Students, “explained the need for a policy for dealing with the increasing number of incidents involving student classroom conduct.” The code is already listed in the University’s catalog and Advising Handbook, but is not a part of UVM’s official code of conduct yet. Todd Weinman from the Center of Health and Well Being said, “There is a lack of clear expectations, protocols, and procedures for dealing with disruptive students.” Rob Kelly is no longer at UVM. Jane Birnn said, “Initially the undergraduate student representative was dismayed that such a policy would need to be in place. It was explained to him that this policy provides ‘guidelines’ for faculty in dealing with disruptive students and as noted before, consequences would be issued only for repeated infringements.” The resolution has the same pertinence to faculty as it does to students. This resolution will not be up for re-discussion until May of this year, which is about the time that students will be vacating the campus The code, if passed will be put online under UVM’s official Code of Conduct policy, and also be on syllabi if faculty members wish it to be. The unofficial code can be accessed now through the University’s catalog.