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Queen's University
 

Non-Academic Discipline at Queen's

Approved by Senate May 21, 2003

The original guidelines for the system of handling non-academic discipline were endorsed by Senate on 31 March 1983. The document was intended as a reference to assist all parts of the Queen's community in understanding the system and making it work effectively. In November 2002, the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD) revisited the document and made substantial revisions to ensure that the guidelines are consistent with the rules of procedural fairness.

Introduction

At the March 2003 meeting of SONAD, this body reaffirmed the University’s commitment to peer-centered non-academic discipline. Peer-centered non-academic discipline at Queen’s is founded on two interdependent concepts: trust and tradition, a trust in the willingness and ability of the student body to discipline fellow students in non-academic matters and a tradition of more than fifty years born out of that trust. To date, with few exceptions, this confidence has been well founded and in the view of the Committee, the Senate should continue to respect the basic principle that students at Queen's ought to regulate and control their own behaviour. It is expected that any abuses that have occurred in the past will be avoided or limited in the future by adherence to the general guidelines outlined in this final draft, but this does not preclude the Senate's re-evaluating non-academic disciplinary procedures if circumstances should so warrant. Clearly it will require the support, trust and co-operation of all members of the community if each of the responsible bodies is to fulfill its role effectively.

AMS and SGPS Judicial Committees and the Residence Discipline Tribunal

The AMS and the SGPS Judicial Committees and the Residence Discipline Tribunal derive their authority and jurisdiction through the AMS and SGPS from the Senate. Senate Function 11 states:

To have responsibility for the well-being of students and to have final responsibility for their discipline including the power to dismiss students for cause. The Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students share responsibility for, and have the right to promote, the well being of their members. In the discharge of its disciplinary power, the Senate shall have regard to the initial responsibility of the Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students for the discipline of students in non-academic matters; the Senate may review the decisions of the Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, the Society of Graduate and Professional Students and the Residences with respect to the discipline of students, and may take such action as it deems appropriate.

The Faculty Boards of the Faculties and Schools are responsible, through the authority of Senate, for exercising academic discipline. They have jurisdiction over non-academic discipline of students when unacceptable behaviour occurs in the context of a specific component of the academic program in which the student is registered (i.e., field trips, laboratories, survey school, clinical settings) or in an academic or academic-related setting. In cases of discipline or behaviour not related to the academic work or program of the student, Faculty Boards will expect the Judicial Committee of the AMS and SGPS to serve as the initial disciplinary mechanism and must regard them as such.

While it is not possible to describe all the various situations, which would precipitate action by Faculty Boards or Judicial Committees, two hypothetical examples might be the case of a student assaulting a professor in the classroom and the case of a student assaulting a professor in one of the pubs. It would be expected that the appropriate Faculty Board would take action in the former case, while the AMS or SGPS Judicial Committee would take action in the latter. Should the appropriate Judicial Committee Clerk and the Chairperson and/or Dean of a particular Faculty Board not agree on the jurisdiction applicable to a particular case, the Chair of the Grievance Board would decide in which forum the case is to proceed. In cases where Faculty Boards have concern about the implications of an individual's behaviour on the academic life of a faculty or the University, they should initiate any action through the appropriate Judicial Committee Clerk to have the matter considered by the AMS or SGPS Judicial Committees. All Judicial Committees, as well as Faculty Boards, are expected to take into account the standards and expectations of the whole University Community and the impact of individual cases on that community when deciding cases and imposing sanctions.

The Code of Conduct, as stated in the Senate Statement on Grievance, Discipline and Related Matters, applies to all faculty and students of the University, in all circumstances. It is important, however, that the other rules and regulations of the various jurisdictions within the University also be carefully stated and publicized. It is the responsibility of the Senate, on the recommendation of the Senate Operations Review Committee, to determine that all such rules and regulations are consistent with the University's Code of Conduct.

All regulations will be published and made widely available to all members of the community of interest to which the rules apply.

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Procedural Fairness in a University Environment

It is expected that the Judicial Committees of the AMS, SGPS and Residences will function primarily as administrative tribunals. The proceedings of these tribunals are relatively informal compared to a court, but the procedures used should be interpreted and applied in a manner that is consistent with the rules of natural justice. The style and manner of the proceedings should be controlled by the chairperson, and special care should be taken to keep to a minimum the use of arguments and tactics, etc, based on legal precedent and terminology more characteristic of courts than of University tribunals.

All hearings conducted on behalf of the University must contain the following components of procedural fairness:

  1. Participatory Rights: “hear the other side”. The decision-maker must give a party an opportunity to present his or her case and respond to evidence and arguments.
  2. Rule against bias: “no one shall be a judge in his or her own case”

The Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline recommends the following participatory rights be observed in all tribunal proceedings:

  • Right to the notice of the hearing
  • Right to the discovery of evidence and information
  • Nature of the hearing: oral or written? A student appearing before a tribunal has the right to know the nature of the hearing in advance of the proceedings.
  • Right to representation 1
  • Right to an interpreter
  • Right to present evidence and arguments
  • Right to request an Adjournment. A student appearing before a tribunal has the right to request an adjournment when due to extenuating circumstances he/she was unable to prepare for the hearing and/or was unable to obtain the assistance of a University Grievance Advisor or other representation.
  • Right to have a matter decided based on the evidence/arguments presented at hearing
  • Right to reasons

The extent to which these procedures are observed should depend on the interests at stake in the hearing. Procedures for handling serious offenses which carry the penalty of sanctions that may have an adverse affect on a student’s academic career or on their ability to participate in the Queen’s community should be taken extremely seriously. Every effort should be made to ensure the participatory rights of affected individuals are upheld.

The procedure for selecting a Tribunal Chairperson and members, and for establishing a quorum will be specified. A time limit between an alleged offense and the consideration of the case will be specified (under normal circumstances the period for decisions will not exceed thirty days).

 

The Appeal Process

Decisions of the AMS and the SGPS Judicial Committees may be appealed to the Grievance Board by the parties directly concerned.

Decisions of the Residence Discipline Tribunal will be final although application for permission to appeal to the appropriate Judicial Committee may be made by the parties directly concerned to the appropriate Judicial Committee Clerk. The Judicial Committee will decide the question of whether the appeal will be heard.

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Procedures for Handling Serious Offenses which Affect the Broader University

All students, staff and faculty are subject to the same civil and criminal laws as any other citizen of Kingston. Being a member of the Queen’s community does not carry any special privilege before the civil or criminal codes regulating the behaviour of Kingston residents. Disciplinary action by internal University tribunals does not preclude action to be taken for the same offenses by jurisdictions outside of the University. The Judicial Committees of the AMS and the SGPS will normally take responsibility for handling serious cases with the exception of cases that fall under the jurisdiction of another body. All matters regarding sexual harassment or discrimination should be referred to the Human Rights Office, who may, at the request of the complainant arrange for a hearing before the Queen’s Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Board. The Student Non-Academic Adjudication Board will hear complaints concerning alleged non-academic offenses committed by students referred to it by the AMS, SGPS, Faculty Boards, the Administration or the Harassment Discrimination Complaint Board. In situations where jurisdiction is unclear the Chief Prosecutor, the SGPS Judicial Board Chair or the Residence Judicial Advisor will consult with the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms who will refer the case to the appropriate body. In situations, which give, rise to complex legal issues, including jurisdictional questions the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms will refer the matter to SONAD who will make a decision about referral.

 

Sanctions

A judicial system based on the idea of local jurisdiction themselves handling problems of student discipline whenever possible, has served Queen's well in the past. It should be noted, however, that although decentralized, it is a system conducted by students on behalf of the whole University. It is important, therefore, that the judgments made and sanctions imposed by the various disciplinary bodies be based on university-wide standards and criteria.

A range of sanctions is available to the Judicial Committees of the AMS and the SGPS including reparations, community service, fines, bonds, withdrawing of university-wide or local privileges, and recommendation to the appropriate authority for expulsion from a particular jurisdiction and recommendation to Senate for suspension or requirement to withdraw from the University. The sanctions available to the Residence Discipline Tribunal may range from reparations and fines up to a specified limit, withdrawal of privileges, to a recommendation to the responsible body for suspension or expulsion from the jurisdiction represented by the tribunal and suspension of local privileges or a specified University privilege.

Reports of all actions will be published widely as provided in by-law 12.01.24 of the AMS Constitution, which states "Every written decision of the Judicial Committee shall be published in the Journal as soon as possible after being rendered".

 

Local Disciplinary Tribunals: Authority and Jurisdiction

Queen’s University Residences operates a local Disciplinary Tribunal that shall be subordinate to the AMS or SGPS. Their regulations must be consistent with the University Code of Conduct and approved by Senate.

The jurisdiction of the Residence Discipline Tribunal will be confined to matters primarily of concern to that particular community of interest. Matters of broader concern such as assault, major property damage, major and repeated interference with the rights of others will be considered directly by the Judicial Committee of the AMS or SGPS (see above under Procedures for Handling Serious Offences which Affect the Broader University.)

There may be circumstances other than those involving serious offences, where residence tribunals may prefer not to deal with a case. In such an event they have the right to refer the case to the Judicial Committee of the AMS or SGPS.

 

Judicial Committees, The Residence Discipline Tribunal and the Senate

The Senate shall receive reports from the AMS, SGPS and the Residences annually and at other times when requested by the Senate or one of its constituencies. The annual report of the AMS will include a summary of actions from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and a summary of actions from the Judicial Committee. The SGPS Judicial Committee and the Residences will also submit a report containing a summary of actions from their respective tribunals.

Copies of decisions made by the Judicial Committees and the Residence Discipline Tribunal will be filed with the Coordinator of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms at the same time as they are filed with the Judicial Committee Clerks.

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1 For information on the type of representation available to students appearing before the Residence Discipline Tribunal please consult the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure located in A Student's Guide to Community Standards in Residence.

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