Breaking: Proposal to raise Code of Conduct’s burden of proof standard to “clear and convincing” approved
Tentatively signaling a major shift in University policy, the Disciplinary Review Committee today approved a change to the Student Code of Conduct that raises the burden of proof standard from “more likely than not” to “clear and convincing.” The change, which must now be approved by Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, would establish a more rigorous requirement to find a student guilty of a Code violation and issue necessary sanctions.
The DRC, comprised of students and administrators, is the primary body tasked with considering possible changes or amendments to the Student Code of Conduct. The current Code states that a student can be found guilty of a violation as long as it is “more likely than not” that he or she committed the offense. The amendment would require evidence of wrongdoing beyond merely the likelihood that a crime was committed.
Former GUSA President and Vice President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) and Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) spent their executive term fighting to pass the more rigorous “clear and convincing” clause. The two created a Student Advocacy Office as a resource for students facing disciplinary charges. “Our loftiest goal was to raise the burden of proof, something Georgetown as a student body has been trying to do for years,” former SAO coordinator James Pickens (COL ’12) said. “We’re hoping that [Dr. Olson] will consider the recommendations favorably.”
The current GUSA Executive, which has supported the efforts of their predecessors, hopes to see the proposal implemented in the fall. “This is a great first step in improving the adjudication process at Georgetown, and we encourage Dr. Olson to follow through on the desire of the duly appointed committee. This is the right thing for students,” GUSA Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS’ 13) said.
“Hopefully in the fall we can have it implemented,” GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) said.