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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, October 2, 2023

Committee on Student Life holds feedback session on updated student code

Members of the Tufts community gather in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room to discuss revisions to the student code of conduct on Sept. 17.
The Committee on Student Life (CSL) hosted a feedback session and public forum to hear comments on the recently announced updates to the student code of conduct in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room on Monday night. A Among those present were Director of Community Standards Kevin Kraft, Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon and other student and faculty members of the CSL, all of whom answered questions on a variety of topics regarding the updated set of community standards that applies to both new and returning students. “Our purpose today is to have a community conversation about how people are feeling and what they’re thinking,” Kraft said in an opening statement before opening discussion to the whole room. He later said that feedback from the session would be reported to the CSL and the Dean of Student Affairs Office, and that those bodies would review the feedback for further consideration and possible implementation at the next regular policy review.  code of conduct, 31 email to the Tufts community, campus drug and alcohol policy, policy surrounding protests and demonstrations, and the school’s disciplinary policy  code of conduct February 2018 Dean of Student Affairs’ Office CSL a group comprised of students and faculty members seven students
CSL Graduate Student Council Changes to the university's student protests and demonstrations policy were a key concern for many students in attendance. The new policy states that students organizing a demonstration on campus must register their event through the Office of Campus Life (OCL) five days in advance, and may request an expedited authorization for spur-of-the-moment protests and demonstrations. Andrew Jeffries and Mia Lambert, both seniors, said they attended specifically to ask questions about these changes. “We heard buzz around the new gathering and protest policies and wanted some clarification” Jeffries said. While Kraft acknowledged students’ worries of censorship regarding on-campus protest, he affirmed that the policy was put in place to provide logistical assistance to student organizers, rather than allowing the school to prevent protests based on content or cause.  “What we really wanted to do was to clarify that the policies that apply in everyday life still apply in protests and eliminate many rules that were protest-specific,” Kraft said. Kraft added that all on-campus events are required to register through the OCL, and that by registering public demonstrations, the school can better accommodate them and keep protesters safe through measures like rerouting traffic or providing security. “Part of the ethos at Tufts is to support activism,” Kraft said. “It’s part of our spirit and our culture here to encourage that kind of thing, and we want that to be the case.” Another major point of discussion Monday night was the change from the old code of conduct's rigid enforcement policy, which outlined explicitly what punishments accompany certain violations, to a more case-by-case review system. The new policy also includes a list of student rights in disciplinary hearings, including the rights to adequate notice of a hearing, to respond to the infraction in writing and to appeal hearing decisions through the CSL. The changes in the policies surrounding disciplinary action and the university’s enforcement of the guidelines were another point of discussion during the session. Some students at the meeting raised concerns regarding transparency and fairness in deciding punishments under the new guidelines.

Past disciplinary actions against student groups and organizations are available through an annual report that can be shared upon request. Kraft pointed out that the report can provide useful context for those facing disciplinary action while still allowing the school to consider the unique details of each case. When asked further about the nature of disciplinary action in the discussion, he said that the CSL’s emphasis will tend to favor education over punishment.

CSL udent code of conduct