The University Senate's leading committee began the process of updating the code of student conduct at its meeting Tuesday, due to concerns that the code is outdated and does not align with those of peer institutions.
The Senate Executive Committee charged the Student Conduct Committee to begin reviewing and revising the code of student conduct. Assistant Director of Student Conduct James Bond said the changes are much needed.
"We attend yearly meetings with our Big Ten colleagues, and our code, in that sense, is antiquated," Bond said. "It's very legalistic."
While amendments have been made to the code over time, the Board of Regents approved the original code in 1980. The most recent changes were made last year, but this will be a "top-to-bottom" revision, according to the SEC proposal.
"We want to make it more digestible by students," Bond said. "To talk more about the philosophy and values of the university and that should be reflected more clearly in the code."
One such change the committee will consider is changing the standard of evidence for disciplinary action cited from "clear and convincing" to "preponderance of evidence" — aligning with a common practice of most universities.
The SEC also approved a report that analyzed the issue of hiring diverse faculty members, which will now be introduced to the full Senate body on Oct. 6.
A joint task force, originally requested by Provost Mary Ann Rankin and University Senate chair Jordan Goodman, produced the report this summer. Stephen Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity, chaired the task force and presented its main findings to the SEC on Tuesday.
Thomas outlined the task force's conclusions, acknowledging there is a problem at this university with hiring and promoting diverse faculty.
"If you look at the campus overall, we certainly have some challenges," Thomas said.
He said the task force wishes to "build a cohort of faculty on this campus" and to support diverse candidates that could compete for associate or full tenure positions.
While there was no specific dollar amount committed by this university to this initiative, Thomas said there is a real commitment from administration to integrate this report's findings.
"This right here is a great tool to add your tool chest," said Willie Brown, former chairman of the senate.
The report has yet to be finalized and released to the public or to The Diamondback.
The SEC also extended the deadline for a policy that deals with preferred primary names and gender markers — a bill that was introduced to the senate in August 2014.
The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee asked the SEC to extend their deadline to give a final report on the bill, which was originally due by the end of this semester, Senate Chair-Elect Jordan Goodman said. The committee unanimously agreed to extend the committee's deadline.
Related documents are not made publicly available until they are finalized, Senate officials said, and were not available at the time of publication.
The SEC also set the agenda Tuesday for the full Senate meeting for Oct. 6.