Handbook policies undergo changes
The Rights and Responsibilities handbook, which is usually updated and published by the start of each academic year, has yet to hit the presses due to time-consuming “extensive revisions” to sections addressing sexual misconduct cases and their adjudication, according to Dean of Students Jamele Adams.
Adams announced this to the student body in an Aug. 23 email, adding that it would be sent to them “shortly.”
After asking Adams, as well as Director of Student Rights and Community Standards Dean Gendron and Associate Dean of Student Life Maggie Balch, for more information about the changes to the conduct code and why they were made, the Justice received a more specific email from Adams.
While he wrote that “a number of sections” throughout the code will be the subject of updates, some major changes in the realm of sexual assault and the Special Examiner’s Process are slated to include: a “Survivors’ Bill of Rights,” more specific definitions of types of sexual misconduct and clarification of the available options for sanctioning students found guilty of varying types of sexual misconduct.
“This includes specifying removal for any student found responsible of non-consensual intercourse involving physical force, threat, or purposeful incapacitation,” Adams wrote.
The code’s provisions for student privacy have also been substantially changed and expanded and are intended to protect students, “especially [those] who report sexual assault,” according to Adams.
While he emphasized that this portion of the revision was “still in draft form,” the current language of the draft specifies that any person may discuss “their own personal experiences that led to the initiation of the conduct process,” but “new information about those facts that is learned in a conduct process is not sharable.” The section Adams provided to the Justice concludes with the statement: “[t]his policy is not intended to discourage a Brandeis student from seeking advice or redress from oversight or judicial entities external to Brandeis.”
Adams added that “it is critical that students reporting violations of the code know that nothing in Rights and Responsibilities precludes them from discussions about their experiences, privately or publicly.”
Adams did not reply to additional questions for clarification of the proposed changes late Monday night.
Rights and Responsibilities is reviewed and edited every year by a committee that includes the director of student rights and community standards, the dean of students and “other administrators, faculty and students,” according to the web page of the Department of Student Rights and Community Standards.
Specifically, according to Adams, members of the Student Conduct Board are included in the review process, with input on specific issues sought from relevant student groups.
Rights and Responsibilities will be completed and available online and sent directly to students via email “in the coming weeks,” according to Adams’ emails.
—Rachel Hughes contributed reporting.