Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

[Principal and Vice Chancellor]
[Principal and Vice Chancellor]

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Non-Academic Misconduct 

The following are frequently asked questions about the review process and the Advisory Committee on Non-Academic Misconduct (ACNAM). If you have additional questions, please submit them through acnam@queensu.ca.

This document will be updated throughout the consultation process.

Why is the university undertaking a review of its non-academic misconduct system?

Last fall, external auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers recommended that the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board initiate an independent review of non-academic student misconduct, with a focus on the current policies and procedures, and related issues, with the purpose of identifying any potential risks or exposures to the university.

Harriet Lewis, long-time general counsel and university secretary at York University, conducted the independent review and provided her advice in a report to the Board. The Report identifies several areas for improvement and makes recommendations for reforms so that Queen’s has the best system possible to ensure student safety, rooted in the long-standing traditions of the university and up-to-date with contemporary standards and practices.

Following its own consideration of the report, the Board directed the Principal to initiate the current review.

What will the current review entail?

The Principal has established the Advisory Committee on Non-Academic Misconduct (ACNAM) to undertake the review. During the first part of its consultations, the committee is meeting with several stakeholder groups, including AMS (Alma Mater Society) Assembly, Athletics and Recreation, Residences, the Senate Committee on Non-academic Discipline (SONAD), SGPS (Society of Graduate and Professional Students) Council, and Senate. A further round of consultations will be held in the winter term.

The committee will use the 2012 Review of Non-Academic Student Conduct Policies and Protocols as the starting point for its current review, given direction from the Board of Trustees to implement key recommendations from that report. It will also examine best practices from existing student conduct systems within Queen’s and from other universities, in the process of revising Queen’s student code of conduct.

The Principal will bring forward the recommended student code of conduct for approval by the Board at its May meeting and subsequent receipt by the Senate no later than May 31, 2016.

Will the current non-academic misconduct systems and/or the peer-to-peer component of them cease to exist?

It is not the intent of the review to eliminate current non-academic misconduct systems, nor would doing so coincide with the recommendations made in the 2012 Review of Non-Academic Student Conduct Policies and Protocols, which is the starting point for the current review.

This is about maintaining the long-standing Queen’s tradition of student involvement in non-academic misconduct while at the same time recalibrating the system to meet contemporary realities. The increased complexity of risk and conduct issues on university campuses, combined with a greater focus on student health and safety, have sparked many colleges and universities in Canada to review and update policies.

Why is it necessary to revise the student code of conduct?

The revised student code of conduct will reflect the changes that occur as a result of the review of the student non-academic misconduct system, and will be a comprehensive document that will include the policies and procedures for addressing non-academic student misconduct at Queen’s.

How can I contribute to the consultation process?

The committee will meet with a range of stakeholder groups during the consultation process. Additionally, any individual or group may submit questions and feedback via acnam@queensu.ca.

Why is an interim protocol necessary during the review of current policies and procedures?

The Board directed the university to implement an interim protocol while the review is conducted.

The safety and security of our students and the campus community is something the University takes very seriously. The independent Lewis Report indicated that a more coherent student non-academic misconduct system is required so that students, the administration and the community have a clearer path to make and pursue complaints through the university system. The interim protocol will provide a clearer and more coherent system on a temporary basis.

How does the interim protocol work?

Under the interim protocol, the university has established a central intake office for all cases of non-academic misconduct. The office, which reports to the Office of the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel, manages initial case intake, consultation, diversion as appropriate, referral, follow-up, incident tracking and record keeping.

Campus Security and Emergency Services and the various non-academic misconduct systems refer all cases to the central intake office. The central intake office reviews each case and refers it to the appropriate non-academic misconduct system. Each of these systems will, at the conclusion of its process, reports to the central intake office on the outcome of each case it receives.

While maintaining the current systems, the interim protocol also adds a process within the Provost’s Office for dealing with university-level misconduct cases, as well as a definition of what constitutes a university-level case.

Representatives of the four existing conduct systems are among the members of the oversight committee looking at the administration of the interim protocol.

Under the interim protocol, is it possible for students to receive academic penalties for non-academic misconduct?

No. The interim protocol establishes the central intake office, defines university-level misconduct, and adds a process within the Provost’s Office for dealing with university-level misconduct cases. There is no reference to academic penalties in the interim protocol. Academic considerations will only play a role if a student-at-risk is recognized, a diversion occurs, and the student needs academic accommodation.