Fall 2020 Proposed Amendments to the Campus Code of Conduct

PUBLIC FORUM VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPTS (11/12/2020)


The University Assembly was charged by the President to review the following recommended changes that were a result of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate:

  • Reworking the Code to have an educational and aspirational rather than punitive, quasi-criminal tone.
  • Significantly simplifying the Code and having it use “plain English”.
  • Narrowing its focus to students.
  • Separating standards of behavior from administrative procedures for managing misconduct.
  • Simplifying the administrative procedures.
  • Expanding the treatment of Harassment.
  • Permitting enhanced penalties for Harassment or Assault that are motivated by bias.
  • Considering moving less serious types of misconduct to the Office of the Dean of Students for resolution.

The Office of University Counsel has considered these recommendations into the proposals posted here for public comment. While reviewing these proposals, we ask that you keep these recommended changes in mind:

  • Do you agree or disagree with these changes?
  • Do you think the Office of University Counsel incorporated these changes well into its proposals or did it not go far enough with incorporating some of these changes?
  • Are there changes that aren't part of that list that you think we should consider as well?

All of your comments will help create a better Code for our community. Review and public comment by the Cornell community are welcomed and encouraged. The deadline for submitting feedback and comments is 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

**At its concluding meeting in the spring of 2020, the UA asked University Counsel to draft a new version of a Student Code of Conduct and associated procedures that would reflect input from several entities that had worked on versions over the past two years.  The newly posted documents reflect Counsel’s work reconciling these different versions and approaches and explicitly invite campus input on numerous issues, including what standard of evidence the community believes should be applied to cases arising under the Student Code of Conduct.


 
The items below are related to the substantive section of the Code revision. 

The items below are related to the procedural section of the Code revision.


This page contains comments posted by members of the Cornell community pertaining to General Comments in the current and proposed Campus Code and judicial system. Before posting to this forum, please read the comments below to make sure that the information you are providing is pertinent to the discussion and has not already been addressed before. Comments containing inappropriate language, including but not limited to offensive, profane, vulgar, threatening, harassing, or abusive language, are subject to removal.

Review and public comment by the Cornell community are welcomed and encouraged. The deadline for submitting feedback and comments is 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

Comments

** Commenting is closed.

This harms students and the university’s reputation

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Tue, 2020-11-17 02:54 (user name hidden)

Lowering the burden of proof harms students. The committee should focus on improving the school for everyone rather than pushing through wildly unpopular and unfair policies.

Please do not limit our voices

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Tue, 2020-11-17 02:01 (user name hidden)

Please do not lower the burden of proof. Protect student's rights and maintain a clear and convincing evidentiary standard.

Lowering the burden of proof

Submitted by Steven B Booth on Tue, 2020-11-17 01:00

It's interesting to see you seek to rework the code to have an "educational and aspirational rather than a punitive, quadi-criminal tone" while simultaneously increasing the power disparity between the OJA and students. I advocate against lowering the standard of proof. You're lowering the standard of proof to the lowest level required in civil law. In civil law, you have a defense being put together by lawyers whose livelihood depends on successfully defending clients. At Cornell, you have a defense being put together by full-time law students who are juggling dozens of responsibilities and already putting in countless hours of work towards other tasks. If you can't see the issue there, than the Student Assembly clearly doesn't advocate for the interests of the Student Body.

Do not lower the burden of proof

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Tue, 2020-11-17 00:58 (user name hidden)

You were the chosen one, SA! It was said that you would fight for students' rights, not destroy them!

Lowering burden of proof is anti-student.

Submitted by Will Terry Hintlian on Tue, 2020-11-17 00:52

Do not lower the burden of proof. Protect student's rights and maintain a clear and convincing evidentiary standard. Advisors should be present and assisting as a counsel in hearings.

Do not lower the burden of proof

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Tue, 2020-11-17 00:49 (user name hidden)

Lowering the burden of proof to a "preponderance of evidence" standard is lazy, shameful, and dangerous. The level of hubris required to try and push through such a wildly unpopular change to the campus code of conduct is truly distiopian--a nearly absurdist attempt. Acting on something because it is "more likely than not" should be regarded as a simple heuristic and not a standard of evidence.

Please do not lower the

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Tue, 2020-11-17 00:15 (user name hidden)

Please do not lower the burden of proof. Protect student's rights and maintain a clear and convincing evidentiary standard.

Do not lower the burden of proof

Submitted by Anonymous authenticated user on Mon, 2020-11-16 23:55 (user name hidden)

Please protect student rights and do not lower the burden of proof

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Submitted by Antonio Frank Saporito on Mon, 2020-11-16 22:14

The SA is supposed to be a group of people which represents the student body, its interests, and most importantly, advocate for the rights of the students. However, passing this resolution accomplishes none of that. By lowering the burden of proof, students will be more susceptible to unjust university rulings. Students will therefore succumb to this massive power imbalance and be at the thumb of university jurisdiction. The SA is, counterintuitively, advocating against student rights. They are lessening the ability for already stressed, underrepresented, and underprepared students to defend themselves against Cornell administration.

Burden of proof

Submitted by Anonymous Committee Member on Mon, 2020-11-16 22:03 (user name hidden)

Do not lower the burden of proof. There is no reason to make it easier to convict students and it could lead to more wrongful convictions. Most undergraduate students would disagree with the proposal to lower the burden of proof, so please listen to the student body. 

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