Student Handbook changes proposed

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April 29, 2011

1:16 AM

The Student Handbook will go through another round of changes this summer after students at the College of William and Mary have an opportunity to provide input.

The proposed amendments range from changing language to expanding the College’s policy on alcohol and drug use. Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 assembled the changes after she received suggestions from a variety of groups on campus.

“I appreciate the careful thought that has gone into crafting this year’s proposals for changes to the Student Handbook, proposals from staff across departments both within and outside of Student Affairs, as well as from members of the Student Assembly,” Ambler said in an email.

Ambler sent out a copy of the proposed changes to students Wednesday.

“At this point, I look forward to hearing what students think about the proposed changes,” Ambler said. “I expect that students will give consideration to what has been proposed and will share their thoughts with me over the coming weeks. Student input is essential and it will inform my decisions about what to recommend to [College President Taylor] Reveley.”

Major changes proposed include an update of the Sexual Harassment Policy, editing the policies regarding posters, banners, signs and decorations, and an addition to the policy concerning drugs and alcohol.
During the proposal stages last year, one suggested change was to the standard of proof required in student conduct cases — from “clear and convincing” to “preponderance of the evidence.” This created controversy over the evidence needed in student conduct trials, and Ambler decided not to include the policy in this year’s proposed changes.

“Last year’s proposal on modifying the standard of proof in student conduct cases got the most attention and the end result, in my view, showed how the system can work,” Reveley said in an email. “After much discussion with students and deliberation we decided last year against adopting that change. It was also not included in the proposal this year, though Vice President Ambler has outlined in her message to students how new guidance from the Department of Education may require us to revisit it.”

Another controversy that arose last year dealt with the fact that the comment period took place over the summer. This year’s comment period opened before the end of the school year.

Come June 1, Ambler will submit the proposed changes, as well as comments made by students, to Reveley for approval.

“In my view it is very important for students take part in this process and I hope [students] will carefully review the proposed changes over the next month,” Reveley said. “This is your handbook and it is important that you have a voice in any changes.”

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