Members present: Fred Otte, chair; Cliff Carter; Ross Gagliano; Joseph Garza; Myron
Greene; Valerie Miller; and Katherine Stone. Also present were Bill Baggett, dean of students, and Bill Boozer, committee secretary.
Dr. Otte called the meeting to order and asked Dr. Baggett to describe the policies currently in place regarding the grades received for courses in which a student suspended by the committee is enrolled.
Dr. Baggett indicated that there is an average of two cases that come up for disciplinary action per year. In the past, he said , grade procedures have been determined on case-by-case basis, with the results depending on the time into the quarter that the suspension took place and the severity of the activity. Dr. Baggett said there had not been many “severe” cases in the university’s history, indicating that the university’s not having on-campus housing may be a primary contributor to that statistic. The University of Georgia has a specific administrator whose sole responsibility is to handle judicial incidents, he said.
Dr. Miller said that at her undergraduate institution, an elected, student board decided judicial matters.
Dr. Baggett replied that he didn’t know if the Board of Regents or the State would allow such a process at the university. Most of the rules that the university has in place, he said, are based on State laws and statutes.
Dr. Miller said that the issue was that the committee would like to have a standard policy regarding grades in place.
Dr. Baggett said that such a standard would need to be approved by the Student Life and Development Committee.
Dr. Otte asked if the committee felt it should recommend that the Student Life and Development Committee. Dr. Miller said the committee should do that.
Dr. Otte said he would ask Mr. Boozer to draft a letter to the Student Life and Development Committee, which will be distributed with the minutes of the meeting for approval of the committee members. Once the text was approved, Mr. Boozer will send it to the Student Life and Development Committee.
Dr. Baggett said that the Academic Integrity policy was called into question by a student because an instructor had caught the student cheating- Should he have received a failing grade or a failing grade with an indication that it was the result of a disciplinary action? The Student Code of Conduct does not list specific penalties to be imposed in cases of violation of Academic Integrity.
Dr. Miller said that it’s important that the committee and the student be able to see specific options for disciplinary action that are available. Dr. Greene emphasized the committee’s need to have a specific procedure for these matters: Either the student gets a “W” or a “WF,” the Dean of Students handles the matter, or someone else handles the matter.
Dr. Stone asked what has happened in the past when a student was suspended. Dr. Baggett replied that it depended on the severity of the act for which the student was being disciplined. Dr. Stone asked that if a penalty of suspension was being administered, doesn’t that mean the act was severe.
Dr. Miller said there just needs to be a consistency in the process. Dr. Greene suggested that the body adjudicating the matter should be responsible for determining the penalty.
Dr. Otte asked Mr. Boozer to include the concerns voiced when drafting the letter to the Student Life and Development Committee. He then asked Dr. Miller to briefly review the hearing procedures she had suggested.
Dr. Miller said that she had based the document on her department’s procedures and those of the College of Arts and Sciences. The text of the document follows:
- Hearing Procedures –
Quorum shall consist of three quarters (3/4) of the sitting members of the Committee, including the Chair.
Voting decisions will be determined by a simple majority of attending members, excluding the Chair. The Chair will vote only in the event of a tie.
An audio recording of the “open session” (this includes all parts of the hearing except the Committee’s deliberation) will be made by the Chair. This recording will be kept by the Chair in the event that an appeal is filed by the defendant. If no appeal is filed, the tape may be discarded or erased after a time period of not less than one quarter has passed. A copy of this recording will be made available to the defendant if he/she is willing to incur the cost of reproduction.
Legal counsel for both the defendant and the plaintiff are allowed. However, counsel shall not be permitted to question witnesses of either of the parties involved or to address the Committee.
Only members of the Committee, University legal office representatives, the defendant with his/her legal counsel, the plaintiff with his/her legal counsel shall be present in the hearing room through the entire portion of the “open session” of the hearing. All witnesses shall wait outside the hearing room until called to give evidence. After giving testimony, each witness shall be asked to remain outside the hearing room until the “open session” of the hearing is concluded or until they are excused by the Committee.
Each party shall be given thirty (30) minutes during the hearing to present respective positions, including testimony and questioning of witnesses. The plaintiff shall go first. Cross-examination of the party’s witnesses is not permitted. All statements are to be directed to either the Chair of the Committee or to the member of the Committee whose question is being answered. Additional time may be allowed at the discretion of the Committee.
Dr. Gaza said that it would be nice if the procedures could in some way encourage witnesses to avoid discussing the case amongst themselves prior to coming before the committee.
In regard to the thirty-minute time limit, Dr. Miller said the College of Arts and Sciences allots an hour for each presentation, but she felt that was unnecessary and indicated that the committee hap the option of extending the current limit if it felt doing so was necessary.
Dr. Greene said that the text should more explicitly state that only the committee members may question witnesses. He moved that the committee adopt the procedures with the addition of “Only Committee members are permitted to question the defendant, plaintiff, and witnesses.” Between the words “allowed” and “however” in the fourth paragraph of the text of the procedures, pending approval by the Legal affairs Office.
Dr. Miller suggested that the committee add a definition of witness that encompassed the defendant and the plaintiff. Dr Otte suggested that Dr. Miller refine the document to include Dr. Greene’s amendment and send a copy to Mr. Boozer and Faith Shoemaker of the Office of Legal Affairs for review. Following that review, he said, the committee wll have addressed all its concerns and be ready to prepare a final report for the president.
Dr. Baggett said that it is a good idea to have something on record, particularly in view of our obtaining campus housing in the near future.
The committee adjourned indefinitely.
Submitted for approval by Bil Boozer, Secretary