__Pilchen and Hopkins call for “same academic unit” clause to be removed in hopes that students will gain more rights when facing judicial charges__
The Student Assembly proposed a change in a current policy that only allows students “from the same academic unit” to represent another student facing judicial charges.
p. An academic unit refers to how students are sorted into either the undergraduate student unit or the graduate student unit. The current wording stipulates that, for example, an undergraduate can only be represented by another undergraduate in a judicial case.
p. “Each year, approximately 10 percent of students face judicial charges, so this will give them more options to settle the charge,” Valerie Hopkins ’09, vice president of the SA and former Undergraduate Judicial Council member, said.
p. Zach Pilchen ’09, president of the SA, recommended the policy change to Sam Sadler, vice president of Student Affairs, at a Board of Visitors meeting Thursday.
p. “[Sadler] informed him that he would be recommending to President Nichol that he adopt our policy proposal [to remove the “same academic unit” clause], hopefully to take effect at the start of the spring semester,” Hopkins said.
p. “Everyone expressed a lot of support for our initiative,” Hopkins said, when asked about consensus on the new policy change. Pilchen singled out Scott Morris ’10 as a leader in initiating the policy change.
p. Hopkins and Pilchen both expressed interest in increasing student knowledge about their rights on campus. “We are going to work to get [the Student Legal Services] some more publicity, so students can have more knowledge of the College’s complex judicial code as well as state law,” Hopkins said.
p. “Right now, one of the main initiatives of Student Rights [is working] with [law student] Matt Forgue ’08 and the other students in SLS to develop an easy way for students charged with judicial violations to get the help they need from SLS,” Pilchen said.
The change in policy that Pilchen recommended to Sadler is seen by SA members as a step forward for student rights, which has been a big initiative in their agenda this year.