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January 24, 2019

Codes and Judicial Committee to Make Campus Codes More Reader-Friendly

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This semester the Codes and Judicial Committee of the University Assembly will undertake a structural revision of the Campus Code of Conduct, the document that outlines the principles and policies that govern Cornell’s judicial system.

“Among the Committee’s various goals is making the Code of Conduct easier to read and understand, updating its provisions concerning harassment and stalking, and codifying various Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures,” said Matthew Battaglia law, chair of the University Assembly.

The code is a “living document that we look at every year,” said Joseph Anderson ’20, who serves as the vice president of the Student Assembly as well as the executive vice chair of the University Assembly.

While recent revisions have included a couple of minor amendments, including changes that updated the process to appoint judicial administrators and holding events on University property, this semester’s review will be very substantial, Anderson said. The code was last edited in August 2018 to extend the term of the current Judicial Administrator.

The committee is looking into “a reorganization of the campus code of conduct: how it looks, how it reads to students” with the goal of making the document less “legalistic” and more student-friendly, according to Anderson.

In addition to restructuring the code, drafted changes will include suggestions from the last year’s CJC’s working group, the Presidential Task Force, President [Martha] Pollack and “various other pieces of feedback received from the community,” Battaglia said.

The committee wants to use this semester’s revision as an opportunity to reintroduce the code to the student body so that students understand campus processes.

“I think it’s a good thing that students don’t interact with the Campus Code of Conduct because that means they’re not getting into trouble, but at the same time … it’s a negative thing because we want students to be educated about … how it works,” Anderson said.

“The foundation of the code is to ensure that students can pursue educational interests and also be a student without feeling infringed upon by someone else,” Anderson said, saying that if a student finds themselves in a situation that requires use of the Code of Conduct, they can be educated.

Anderson described effort of the committee as “collaborative,” and encouraged students to get involved.

“One of the really great things about amending the Campus Code of Conduct is that we have to hold forums and really publicize that we’re amending it,” Anderson said. At these forums, students can make their voices heard, and Anderson urged students to talk to their representatives on the Assembly.

“Come to the SA open mic and say, ‘Hey, how is the Campus Code of Conduct doing?’ and there’s enough people at the SA who can answer that question,” Anderson said.