Student Columnist Slams University of Wisconsin’s Revisions of Misconduct Code

By on October 8, 2008

Following on the heels of criticism from UW faculty and the Badger Herald editorial board, another columnist in yesterday’s Badger Herald slams the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Board of Regents for passing the proposed policy revisions to the student misconduct code. Columnist Alex Gallagher reiterates the Herald‘s complaint that the Board of Regents greatly expanded the power of UW administrations over the lives of their students:

[T]he UW System Board of Regents granted an even greater arsenal of disciplinary actions for non-academic student misconduct. Through vague language and limitless jurisdiction, UW has just claimed the authority to punish you for a vast assortment of non-academic infringements.

Where previous university policy governing nonacademic misconduct was only concerned with violence, theft, and other serious crimes, current policy now

extends to conduct which ‘adversely affects substantial university interests.’ The new language does not preclude the university from being substantially interested in a whole variety of student activities.

Gallagher points out that the result of this change is an expansion of "the occasions when the university can act in loco parentis over an almost exclusively adult student population." FIRE has made the point many times that universities should not treat their students, the vast majority of whom are adults, like children. As adults at a public university, they must be accorded the due process protections and freedoms promised by the Constitution.