The goal of Dalhousie’s Code of Student Conduct is to help students understand the behaviours expected by the university to ensure a safe and welcoming space for all. So, it goes without saying that it’s important for students to be familiar with this document.
But getting students to engage with this code, to clearly understand its contents, and to be aware of the process of sharing an experience of non-academic misconduct can be a challenge.
For this reason, Dalhousie has recently released a revised Code of Student Conduct that includes straightforward and student-centred language; a section outlining students’ rights, responsibilities and expectations;an updated list of violations; and a clear and transparent complaint process.
In addition to releasing the revised code, the university has established a Student Conduct Office, located on the fourth floor of the Student Union Building on Studley Campus, as a resource for students, faculty and staff to ask questions and to seek out support surrounding the code.
A restorative approach
Melyssa Kerr, Dal’s manager of student conduct, says that revising the code is a way to reposition how Dalhousie responds to infractions. By adopting a restorative approach to handling complaints, the university aims to bring together those who have been affected, those who are responsible for the incident, and those who can support a way forward. This group can then begin to understand and address the harm that’s occurred, and the impact of the situation on interpersonal, social and institutional levels.
“Our approach to any code complaint is educational and restorative, and our hope is to create a system that allows people to take accountability for their actions in a meaningful way,” says Kerr. “The steps we take to resolve an issue allow those involved to reflect on their actions and the harms caused to others and their community.”
To support the revised code, the university has also revamped its Student Conduct website to include a Q&A section, a video tutorial and a new complaint submission web form. Also included is an instructional document for faculty, staff and anyone else whose role is to support students to guide them on how to respond when a student shares an experience of non-academic misconduct. These efforts have been put in place to ensure that everyone in the Dalhousie community can seek out advice and support related to the code.
“It’s important for students, faculty, and staff to know where to find the code, to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, and to understand that the code is here to support our Dalhousie community, not to punish,” says Kerr. “We want everyone to feel safe at Dalhousie.”
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to reach out to the Student Conduct Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions about the revised code or if they want to share an experience of non-academic misconduct.
comments powered by Disqus