Changes were made to the Student Code of Conduct to protect students and service animals, and to clarify punishments.
Officials made three changes to the code of conduct this semester. These changes are the introduction of a medical amnesty policy, an animal neglect policy and the clarification of disciplinary sanctions.
“We wanted to make sure that students know the university’s expectations and that they are clearly defined in the code,” said Amy Ayres, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
The medical amnesty policy reads that if a student seeks medical attention for any drug- or alcohol-related emergency, the student will not face formal disciplinary action by the dean of students’s office for the possession or use of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if a student seeks help for another student during an emergency, neither of them will face formal conduct action by officials.
“It protects the students in these situations and can ultimately save lives,” Ayres said.
For a student to qualify for amnesty, the student must receive medical attention at the time of the incident, meet with a representative from the dean of students’s office within five days of the incident and agree to comply with the conditions set by the representative. If these conditions are met, there will be no case and the incident will not become part of the student’s record, according to the Student Code of Conduct.
“It sounds like a good safety measure,” said Kyndal Jones, dance management senior. “It takes the worry out of it.”
Students can only receive amnesty once. After the first incident the availability of medical amnesty is at the discretion of the dean of students.
“Ultimately, we are just looking for ways to provide the safest and best environment for our students,” Ayres said. “If this can help save one life in 10 years, then it’s worth its implementation.”
Another addition to the code of conduct is a policy against animal neglect.
The code reads, that if a student is found to have neglected their pet, they will be subject to disciplinary actions.
Ayres said this policy was implemented because more students have therapy and service animals in their dorm rooms than in past years.
Undergraduate students are only allowed to own animals with special approval from the university. They must provide official documentation from a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist prescribing the ownership of an animal.
Visit MediaOCU.com for more on therapy pets.
The final change to the code of conduct was clarifying some sanctioning policies.
A sanction is a disciplinary action that students might be subject to if they violate the code of conduct. Examples include warning, probation and fines.
Officials used the alcohol and/or drug assessment and fee sanctions frequently in the past, but it was listed under discretionary sanctions and not spelled out in the code.
“We just wanted to be more transparent,” said Lesley Black, assistant dean of students. “It wasn’t that we added the sanction we just clarified that we do use this.”
The alcohol and/or drug assessment is used when a student is called into the dean of students’s office several times for drug- or alcohol-related charges. The student will perform an assessment with the university counseling center to determine if the student might have a problem with drugs and alcohol.
“We don’t get the results of that assessment,” Black said. “But we do know that they took the assessment. We do this because they might think they don’t have a problem but they might be heading down that path and want to try to get them help.”
Visit MediaOCU.com to read the full code of conduct.