Queen's Encyclopedia

Queen's Encyclopedia
Queen's Encyclopedia

Discipline of Students

Queen's Royal Charter gave the Senate responsibility for student discipline, but the Senate now delegates much of that responsibility to other bodies.

"Academic dishonesty," that having to do with plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty is now handled by individual faculties and schools, which have the final word except when they recommend expulsion or suspension from the faculty or university -- reprimands which require Senate approval.

"Non-academic discipline" includes all other kinds of misconduct by students, especially violations of the non-academic portions the Code of Conduct. Since 1898, the Senate has officially delegated much of the responsibility for non-academic discipline to the students themselves, giving Queen's a long tradition of student self-government that has become a distinctive feature of the University community.

The tradition actually started less formally in the 1880s. Principal George Grant, unsuccessful at eradicating the "Concursus," a mock court used by upper-year men to extract beer money "fines" from freshman, decided to co-opt it instead, officially sanctioning it to maintain order among students.

In 1898, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) took over that role and official responsibility for non-academic discipline of students was enshrined in its constitution and delegated to the "AMS Court." Changes in campus life and student government since then mean that the responsibility is now shared among several bodies: the former AMS Court, now the AMS Judicial Committee, responsible for cases involving undergraduates; the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) Judicial Board, responsible for cases involving graduate and professional students; and the judicial committees of the Main Campus Residents' Council and Jean Royce Hall Council, which have initial responsibility for cases originating in residences, although residence administrators can intervene directly when residence safety and security is involved.

In addition, Faculty Boards (or, in some faculties, a discipline committee designated by the Faculty Board) still retain jurisdiction over non-academic discipline when the misconduct occurs in an academic setting (during a class, field trip or lab, for example). Sanctions can range from fines and community service orders to a recommendation to the Senate for suspension and expulsion.

For most of these bodies, there are several levels of appeal. Students dissatisfied with decisions of the various residence judicial committees and appeal committees can appeal to the AMS Judicial Committee or SGPS Judicial Board.

Students dissatisfied with the decision of either of these bodies, or with a Faculty Board or Faculty Board discipline committee, can appeal to the University Student Appeal Board (USAB). In cases involving complex legal issues, complex jurisdictional questions, or the possibility of suspension or expulsion, the AMS Judicial Committee, the SGPS Judicial board, or Faculty Boards may decide not to hear the case and instead refer the matter to USAB.

Created through the Senate Policy on Student Appeals, Rights and Discipline, USAB normally consists of three members: the chair (from the Faculty of Law), a student senator, and a faculty senator.

USAB provides a final internal appeal process and is intended to have a relatively narrow jurisdiction, recognizing that decisions should generally be made by those who are most familiar with the context.

Another Senate body concerned with non-academic student discipline is the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD). It has no direct role in disciplining students; instead, it reviews the University's discipline policies and procedures, helps to train students and administrators involved in discipline processes, and advises if there is confusion about which body is to handle a particular case.