Six proposed changes to handbook released for student comments

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April 19, 2012

9:41 PM

Every year, the campus community has the opportunity to voice what it thinks should be changed about policies at the College of William and Mary by proposing changes to the student handbook.

This year, there are six proposals, each of which focuses on different aspects of campus life.

The first proposal involves intellectual property rights and would prohibit students from selling professors’ slideshows, handouts, notes, etc. to other students or the general public. Dean of Students Patricia Volp said this proposal is merely putting something that is already assumed to be a rule into writing.

“A majority of people will look at that and say you’re kidding,” Volp said. “We’re filling a gap there.”

Another important proposal will ask students to report their arrests within 72 hours of the incidents, regardless of where they occur. The issue, according to faculty, was partially spurred by the death of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love and the involvement of George Huguely, another U.Va. student. The incident revealed the administration’s lack of knowledge of Huguely’s previous offenses, which resulted in the enactment of a similar policy at U.Va.

“U.Va.’s policy has, in fact, served as a guidepost,” Associate Dean of Students Dave Gilbert said in an email. “Their experience with the Yeardley Love murder caused many institutions to evaluate the advisability of an arrest disclosure policy in order to ensure the safety of all students and other community members. … The disclosure policy would augment the information we already receive from Williamsburg and William and Mary Police and other police departments in the area.”

The enforcement of the proposal, Volp noted, would depend mainly on  efforts by students.

“Students are expected to comply, but we’re not going to force them to comply,” Volp said.

Another proposal moved to rework the application process  and makeup of the Student Conduct Council.

The change broadens the applicant pool by expanding the number of possible positions for each grade, allowing the committee to choose the most qualified candidates from the whole group if there are not enough applications from a specific class.

“The issue is about changing the membership to give a better chance for having a really good council,” Volp said. “A little bit more flexibility is all that it asks for.”

Co-chairs of the Student Conduct Council Colette McCrone ’12 and Montana Young ’12 agreed with the changes this proposal could allow.

“There’ll be a time when we have more people applying from one class and not enough for another class,” McCrone said. “If you have a perfectly good candidate, it seems silly to turn them away and have a smaller council.”

The council currently follows a 6-5-4 distribution with six members of the council from the senior class, five from the junior class and four from the sophomore class.

Another proposal suggests a revision of the sexual misconduct policy and procedure, specifically the clause regarding the responsibility of the reporting party to investigate his or her own case and report on it. The proposal would assign the task to the case administrator.

The disclosure of incidents that received medical amnesty was the subject of a proposition put forth by the Student Assembly. The proposal suggests that the administration would not report incidents involving medical amnesty to College internal administration, such as campus employees, after a year has elapsed since the incident. The administration already does not report these incidents outside of the College community.

“It doesn’t disappear, but we wouldn’t report it internally [after a year],” Volp said.

In addition, the proposal seeks medical amnesty protection for organizations, which currently can face violations if someone attending the organization’s event seeks medical organization’s event seeks medical amnesty.

Young also spoke in favor of the proposed changes to the medical amnesty policy.

“The medical amnesty updates can be really helpful,” Young said. “Bulleting the policy will make it easier to read … They’re really trying to clarify the policy.”

The last proposal serves to put back wording accidentally removed during a previous review of the student handbook. The wording specifies certain areas of campus, such as the steam tunnels and window ledges, as places where students are not permitted.

In general, Volp hopes students look at the proposed changes and are aware of what the administration and their fellow students are trying to accomplish.

“It’s not as big a load as we’ve had,” Volp said. “I hope students will pay a lot of attention to the recommendations that we’re making there.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 will accept comments from the student population until June 1. She will then review the proposals throughout the summer and use this information to decide which proposals she will send on to College President Taylor Reveley.

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Meredith Ramey

Senior staff writer Meredith Ramey '15 is an English and History major from Longview, Tx. She was previously Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and News Editor.