Student Code of Conduct revisions

The Bellevue College Student Code of Conduct is being revised. The code applies to all students at BC. Student information meetings were set up on May 6, May 8 and May 14 to update all BC students and ask for their feedback before the final copy was sent to the board of trustees to be approved. Ana Blackstad, dean of student services, was the facilitator at these events and all students were invited to attend. There will also be a public hearing being held on June 23.
The new changes outline and define rules that were set in place such as cheating, plagiarism, bullying, stalking and cyber-stalking, hazing, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexual misconduct and harassment. All of this information is readily available online at the BC website as well as a link in the student handbook online.
Petri Mulhauser, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans* Queer and Questioning Resource Center says the “change that I think is significant is the policy on marijuana use […] However, I do think this change suffers from the same issue as the others; most students probably won’t be aware of the change unless they’ve violated the code.”
Although there wasn’t an incident to cause the change, Blackstad says that the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act that was signed by President Obama in 2013 “imposes new obligations on colleges under the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act. The BC code of conduct needs to be updated to meet these new requirements.” Also the new update will include policies related to facility use. This will become a “statewide effort to make conduct codes more alike between colleges and less confusing for students.”
“The changes that I think are most relevant to the Center are the sections on harassment and assault,” says Mulhauser. “Center members frequently face harassment on campus, and having that explicitly disallowed in the code of conduct makes it easier to deal with those situations. However, I am concerned that this may not make incidences of harassment any less frequent; I don’t think most students are aware of the code of conduct, so the changes may only affect things after the harassment has already occurred.”
“Because I was the student conduct officer at my previous institution, I knew that there was a statewide task force working on updating the Student Code of Conduct to be in line with the requirements of the SaVE [Sexual Violence Elimination] Act,” says Blackstad who started working at BC in Nov. 2013. “The vice president of Student Services, Dr. Ata Karim, asked me to take the lead on updating our code as part of my job as dean of student success.”
According to the Campus SaVe Act website, “most higher education institutions—including community colleges and vocational schools—must educate students, faculty and staff on the prevention of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.”
“I only knew about these changes because I’m in Student Programs all the time,” says Mulhauser. Before I was involved with campus activities, I didn’t even know we had a specific code of conduct.  I think it’s great that administration is offering the meetings so involved students can learn about the changes and give feedback, but I think there needs to be a bigger focus on getting this information to the wider student population.”

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