Alex Heldrich, Reporter
Pierce College students are required to follow the Student Code of Conduct policy. This refers to disciplinary proceedings, the jurisdictions of the college to which the code of conduct applies, students rights, rules and regulations of the college.
Within the past few months, changes have been made to the code. The last time the Student Code of Conduct policy was amended was in 2009. The deans of student success from the Puyallup, Fort Steilacoom and Joint Base Lewis-McChord campuses said that it was time to make a few more changes.
“There is nothing ‘wrong’ with our current Student Rights & Responsibilities/Student Code of Conduct policy,” Alicia Serrano, administrative assistant to the dean of student success, said. “The policy has reached a time where a review is necessary in order to ensure we’re meeting current guidelines and best practices as it relates to code of conduct proceedings.”
A change that was made to the Student Code of Conduct policy is how sexual misconduct is processed based on Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act requirements.
According to the Pierce College website, “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is an all-encompassing federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funds.”
The new Code of Conduct will include authority, definitions, statement of jurisdiction, students abroad, statement of student rights, prohibited student conduct, disciplinary sanctions-terms-conditions, hearing procedures, discipline procedures for cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct and record keeping which will keep the college up to code with updated federal regulations.
In order to make such a change, many drafts and revisions must be made and approved.
Because the Student Code of Conduct is a part of the Washington Administrative Code, there are specific processes that must be followed in order for the revised code to be included in the WAC. WAC, according to the Washington state Legislature website, is explained as the “Regulations of executive branch agencies are issued by authority of statutes. The WAC codifies the regulations and arranges them by subject or agency.”
“During the process of revision, many different constituent groups are asked for feedback,” Serrano said. “The first draft of the revised Student Code of Conduct has been presented to the Student Advancement Council, the Learning Council and Cabinet, as well as a variety of different committees, councils and departments. Once a final draft has been completed, it’ll be presented for feedback to groups again with a specific emphasis on student groups.”
After the three deans of student success began the process of making changes to the Code of Student Success, a sub-committee of the Student Advancement Council continued revising.
“Most recently, the vice president of human resources and the dean of student success from Fort Steilacoom have been addressing feedback gathered and reviewing it line by line,” Serrano said.
Although the changes made to the Code of Conduct are about the students, there’s no student involvement in the process. Students were also not directly notified that the Code of Conduct was being amended.
“I think that it should be passed through the students before changes are made,” student Connor Staffen said. “Since it pertains to us, I think we deserve a part in it.”
The revisions to the policy are nearly complete, and once finished it’ll be made official and the current code on the Pierce College website will be altered to match the amendments.
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