MUNFA IB 2006/2007:08
TO: All MUNFA Members
FROM: The MUNFA Executive Committee
DATE: October 13, 2006
SUBJECT: CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT
On March 23, 2006, The University administration, without wide consultation or publicity, put in place a "Code of Student Conduct" that replaced the "Code of Disciplinary Procedures for Students." It can be viewed at www.mun.ca/student/policies/conduct.php
MUNFA is very concerned about two aspects of the new Code, and want to take this opportunity to advise Academic Staff Members (ASMs) of the perils of participating in the process:
- An ASM who participates in the process as either a Complaints Officer, Investigation Officer, or Hearing Officer could be exposed to legal action as a result of his or her participation. A student who is disciplined could commence a civil action against various participants in the process, and there is nothing which would protect the participants from liability, or even guarantee that the University administration would provide them with representation or indeminify them against any award of damages. This differs from legislation such as the "Workplace Health, Safety, and Compensation Act," the "Labour Relations Act," and the "Human Rights Code," all of which provide protection from court action. Only when the "Memorial University Act" is amended will immunity from legal action be provided.
- Given that it is likely that from time to time, ASMs will lay complaints pursuant to the Code, and will thereby be Complainants as defined by the Code, there is a serious deficiency in their rights. A Complainant has a right to attend a hearing and participate, but he or she does not have the right to counsel. The Accused Student and the Hearing Officer have the right to counsel. A Complainant has a right to put forward witnesses, but the Complainant will have to question his or her witnesses without the assistance of counsel. The Accused Student and the Hearing Officer can then have the Complainant's witnesses cross-examined by counsel. If there is a right to participate in a hearing, that should always include the right to counsel.
Until these serious deficiencies can be addressed, MUNFA cautions ASMs concerning any involvement with the "Code of Student Conduct."
If you have questions or further concerns, please contact the MUNFA Office at ext. 8642 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.