Editorial: SGA committee hopes to reform OSCCR

After an unsuccessful attempt to implement reforms one year ago, a group of students in the Student Government Association (SGA) is recharged and back in action.
SGA members are implementing reforms to the student hearing process outlined in the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution’s (OSCCR) Undergraduate Student Handbook. This year’s proposals seem more promising than last year’s discussions.
Last week, SGA’s OSCCR committee presented a draft of a new ‘Student Disciplinary Bill of Rights’ to the senate. The bill outlines students’ rights and is a comprehensive list of what is written in the Undergraduate Student Handbook.
The Resident Student Association (RSA), who co-legislated the document with the committee, is expected to vote to approve the draft Wednesday. The SGA senate will vote Thursday.
The new Bill of Rights is a one-page document listing 12 rights for students summonsed by OSCCR. It was developed to act as a supplement to OSCCR’s Code of Student Conduct, a detailed 16-page document.
In October 2007, Derek Miller, a member of the committee, created the Facebook group ‘Respect Our Rights, Northeastern:’ Reform OSCCR,’ according to an article in the Nov. 8, 2007 issue of the Northeastern News. In the article, Miller said there was a general consensus among students that OSCCR needs reform and change. In Fall 2007, SGA hosted open forums to discuss proposals for OSCCR change, but seemed to lose interest in Spring 2008.
One of the first issues discussed was that many SGA senators said they felt the majority of Northeastern students were unfamiliar with the university’s Code of Student Conduct, which outlines standards of student behavior and explains the maximum punishment for offenses, according to the Nov. 8 article. Many said they felt the 16-page document was too vague and did not clearly delineate the punishments for each offense. The new Bill of Rights seeks to resolve these issues.
But the questions remain:’ Will the document be beneficial to students? Will students only read it when they are in danger of attending a conduct hearing? The committee wants the Bill of Rights to be concise, but will it be too much of a simplified version that will remain vague?
The committee needs to ensure that while the members stay concise with the document, the thoroughness is not lost. While this is a difficult task to endure, the document will be beneficial to students, if the committee members can pull it off.
SGA and members of OSCCR are working together to implement the changes. If approved, the bill will be presented to the OSCCR Code of Student Conduct Review Committee, and then it must be approved by university legal counsel.
Last time, members sat back and failed to implement change. We give a pat on the back to the members for getting it together this year.
Now that the bill has been drafted and presented to SGA, the members still have to prove to the students that actions have changed and they will follow through with the document and remain a part of the cause. This document can’t just be ideas; it has to continue to be supported by action.

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