Thursday’s Senate meeting started with a discussion of the proposed amendment to the Honor Board constitution. Dean Bailey spoke on the issue as the head of the Academic Standing Committee, and expressed his wishes for the constitution not to become bogged down in legal terms and technicalities. He furthermore stated that certain elements of the constitution were in opposition to the purpose of the board overall and opened the college to unnecessary litigation in the future.
“From the time the Academic Standing committee and the Honor Board began to deliberate in January, we on the committee were concerned about placing detailed language in the constitution about penalty appeal hearing procedures,” Bailey said.
The president is the chief spokesperson for the college and is responsible for dealing with issues involving the families of students who have been brought up on charges. He also must deal with lawyers who seek to challenge the decisions taken by either the Honor Board, or by him as the president when he reviews penalties.
“To provide detailed language of the procedures in the constitution is to invite litigants, and to invite those who seek to challenge the actions of the college to appeal on points of detail which have little or no real substance,” Bailey continued.
President Roger Taylor, when asked about his position, said that he would simply be echoing the words of Dean Bailey. In a roll call vote at the end of an extensive discussion, the amendment failed in a vote of five in favor, fifteen opposed, and ten abstaining.
Next on the agenda was the club budget approval. The motion was tabled until next week in accordance with the guidelines.
At the end of community business, Dean Romano took the floor to speak on ‘the white elephant in the room,’ the recent harassment of the Republican students on campus.
“There are students in our community who have been threatened for their beliefs and I am astounded that this is happing here,” Romano said. “I have been here for ten years and historically we have always been different. Something has happened recently that relates to our community. This is not about freedom of speech; it is about civility and community.”
Many of the remaining senators in the chamber agreed with the Dean and made observations of their own on the changing state of discourse on campus. Many proposed that some action be taken on the larger issue of civility between students. The discussion ended with a call for a forum for students to discuss this issue.