E-Mail from Dean of Students Richard W. Egley to Wisconsin Administrators

By on May 2, 2009

—–Original Message—–
From: Richard W Egley [mailto:egley@uwplatt.edu]
Sent: Saturday, May 02, 2009 11:29 AM
To: [REDACTED]
Subject: Revised version of Chapter 17 going to Board of Regents

Dear Colleagues,

On Friday morning, a news release was issued by UW System Administration regarding the changes to Chapter 17 that will be before the Board of Regents for their second and final review this Thursday and Friday, May 7 & 8 at their meeting at UW-Milwaukee.  The appropriate documents were sent to CSAOs and student reps by Dr. Cynthia Graham at UW System Administration yesterday.  Not being sure if all of us would receive the information from our CSAOs right away, I decided to sent this information to you as both a colleague and as a member of the task force that drafted the proposed updates to Chapter 17 that were submitted last October to the Board of Regents.  My hope is that your initial awareness of the latest changes to the proposals didn’t arrive through the media or some other form of transmission such as the proverbial “grapevine.”

I will place the URLs for the news release and for the full agenda and materials of the upcoming meeting of the Regents near the end of this message.  If you wish to read the materials relevant to the review and revision of Chapter 17, you will want to read or print pages 37 through 98 of the PDF file.  Those will be the page number references in your pdf toolbar.  The numbers printed on the pages within the pdf file as they appear on your monitor will not correspond to the numbers that you will want to read or print.

I am very disappointed in a significant number of changes to the proposals to revise UWS Chapter 17 that have developed in the weeks since we met in River Falls.  I am not sure as to the identity of the person or persons at UW System or from the Regents who have the ownership for these most recent revisions.

Changes of significance that have been made to the Chapter 17 documents going to the Board of Regents include:

1.  A student accused of a violation of Chapters 17 and 18 may have an attorney as his/her advisor at any misconduct proceeding and the attorney may represent (speak for) the student if the conduct officer is seeking a sanction of suspension or expulsion, or if the student is facing criminal charges for the same behavior that is the focus of the disciplinary proceedings (regardless of the sanction(s) sought by the conduct officer.)

2.  An alleged violation of a municipal ordinance will have to be serious “AND” repeated for it to be cause for disciplinary proceedings under Chapter 17.  The task force proposal was that the alleged violation of a municipal ordinance needed to be serious “OR” repeated for it to be actionable by the University.

3.  The language of the current version of Chapter 17 that gives students the option  to choose between a hearing examiner and a hearing committee in any misconduct case will be continued.

4.    The current language in Chapter 17 that permits a student to appeal any misconduct case to the Board of Regents, regardless of the sanction(s) imposed through an appeal to the Chancellor, will be retained.

5.  In this latest version of changes to Chapter 17, we will be authorized to use email to send disicplinary proceedings communications to students, but we will be obliged to also send this same information in hard copy to the student by personal delivery, placement in the student’s campus mailbox, or by use of the U.S. Postal Service.

6.  Language is added to Chapter 17 to state that nothing in Chapter 17 is meant to violate the Constitutional rights of students.

I do find it rather puzzling as to why a public, state system of higher education sees a need to state the obvious by declaring that we will respect the rights granted under “The Constitution of the United States of America” and the “Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.”

Perhaps the F.I.R.E. was in need of having a bone thrown in their direction.

All of the latest changes are technically not a done deal until the matter is voted upon by the full Board at Friday’s business meeting.  Having said that, I do have a strong sense that it will be truly remarkable, and perhaps miraculous,  if there is any modification made to the latest changes to Chapter 17 that the Board will consider.

To look on the brighter side and in an attempt to be fair, let me share with you the accomplishments that the task force has made, as identified by the chair of the task force, Jane Radue.  Yesterday, Jane wrote:

“Here’s what we accomplished:

–Strengthened the policy statement in UWS 17; –Improved definitions in UWS 17; –*Addressed off-campus misconduct*; –Incorporated municipal violations into the misconduct list; –Used other universities as a guide for adding other conduct to the UWS 17 misconduct list; –Added educational sanctions; –Clarified the settlement provision; –Improved the organization of UWS 17; –Incorporated a different standard of proof for sexual harassment and sexual assault; –Removed the confusing time periods for suspension and expulsion; –Streamlined the emergency suspension process; –Improved the organization of UWS 18; –Added new conduct to 18; –Enhanced the authority to prohibit unauthorized persons from university buildings and lands in UWS 18.”

I want you to know that Jane was a very strong advocate for the changes proposed by the task force and for the rationale offered in support of those changes.  When the proposals went to the Board from the task force last October, the content was no longer the exclusive domain of the task force and the task force no longer had any control of the content of the proposals.  In my opinion, Jane simply did not have adequate positional authority to counteract the latest revisions to Chapter 17 and my guess is that not everyone was grateful to her as a result of her advocacy for the positions taken by the task force.

I have served three times on a System task force to revise Chapter 17 in my career in Wisconsin.  I have indicated to my supervisor, to the task force chair and most members of the task force that I now have no interest in serving on any future task force formed to update and revise Chapter 17.  My position on this subject will at least provide an opportunity for another member of the conduct officers group to be a part of the next process sometime in the future.  Overall, I feel that a very high price will be paid through a much more legalistic code of conduct for students, in order to gain a clear statement regarding off-campus jurisdiction of the university for student misconduct.

Here is the URL for the news release:

http://www.wisconsin.edu/news/2009/r090501.htm

Here is the URL for the full agenda and documentation for the meeting of the Board:

http://www.uwsa.edu/bor/agenda/2009/may.pdf

 

Take very good care.

Sincerely yours,

Rich

p.s.  If United Council or the F.I.R.E. issue self-congratulatory publicity about winning the battle for student rights, I’m pretty sure that I will need to be peeled of the ceiling and then placed in restraints!   ;-D

 

Richard W. Egley

Dean of Students

University of Wisconsin – Platteville

1322 Pioneer Student Center

(608) 342-1160

(608) 342-1320 FAX

egley@uwplatt.edu

Schools: University of Wisconsin – Madison Cases: University of Wisconsin: Students’ Due Process Rights