Resolution: UA R6: Alterations to Codes and Judicial Committee Name and Function

ActionRejected by the President

The University Assembly By-laws must be updated after adoption of the Student Code of Conduct this academic year. As the CJC is no longer tasked with approval/rejection of all Resolutions, it will instead function as a non-judicial body providing an avenue for objective review of regulations of conduct across the entire Cornell population. Additionally, the CJC will undergo a name-change and role-clarification to reflect the structure of the new disciplinary hearing process and University Hearing and Review Panel appointment procedure.

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Dear Brandon,
Thank you for submitting University Assembly Resolution 6, “Alterations to Codes and Judicial Committee Name and Function,” for my consideration.
As you know, the Student Code of Conduct (SCC) adopted by the Board of Trustees in December 2020 was the result of a years-long effort that included a report from the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate and input from many campus constituents, including the University Assembly (and the Codes and Judicial Committee), the Student Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the Faculty Senate, the Judicial Codes Counselors, the Complainants Advisors, and university administration. That robust process led to the adoption of a modern statement of student rights and responsibilities built on contemporary student conduct best practices and aimed at achieving educational and rehabilitative goals by eliminating the Campus Code of Conduct’s prosecutorial model, increasing opportunities for mediation and alternative dispute resolution, and creating the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) to impartially and professionally administer the conduct system under the oversight of the Vice President for Student and Campus Life (VP SCL). Unlike the previous Campus Code of Conduct, the SCC only applies to students.
Ordinarily, the administration defers to the UA’s passage of bylaw amendments that govern its internal operations. However, UA6 is inconsistent with the Board of Trustees’ resolution adopting the SCC. Authority over the SCC and responsibility for its administration is vested with the VP SCL, with a participatory role for the Student Assembly and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly in reviewing applications for membership on the University Hearing and Review Board and considering amendments to the SCC. 
The UA’s areas of responsibility are defined by the delegations made to the UA by the trustees. UA6 nevertheless claims authority over areas that have not been delegated to it, including acting as a “non-judicial, non-administrative body authorized to receive and consider complaints” on a wide range of matters, including “the application of Cornell’s codes or regulations of conduct,” matters of freedom of speech, and collective bargaining issues. Oversight of these areas is appropriately handled by various administrative units of the university, and the UA cannot assume review authority over them.
For these reasons, I must reject this resolution. I do want to assure you that the VP SCL and the Director of OSCCS are committed to a fair and evenhanded application of the SCC, and to following the SCC’s provisions regarding the participation by specified assemblies in certain aspects of the implementation and amendment of the SCC.
Martha E. Pollack
Martha E. Pollack
President, Cornell University
300 Day Hall
Ithaca, NY  14853