Student Conduct Charter of 2023 goes into effect with final approval from president

May 7, 2023, 10:42 p.m.

Any new disciplinary concerns filed with the Stanford Office of Community Standards (OCS) on or after May 2 will now be reviewed under the Student Conduct Charter of 2023.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne approved the new charter on Tuesday, completing the consensus with four other University stakeholders required for such a policy to go into effect, which includes the Board of Judicial Affairs (BJA), the Graduate Student Council (GSC), the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) and the Faculty Senate. Ongoing disciplinary cases will continue to be processed under the Student Judicial Charter of 1997.

“The Office of Community Standards is currently in the process of updating its website and materials and will be ready to implement the new process for cases filed on or after May 2,” wrote Senior Director of Media Relations Stett Holbrook in a statement to The Daily.

Stanford first sought to reassess the Student Judicial Charter in 2020 and solicited input from students, faculty and administrators, though some alumni have been advocating for reform to disciplinary procedures on campus since at least 2012. One such group of alumni released a “case study” and “internal review” of student discipline at Stanford last August, alleging that OCS employees “routinely violate both the spirit and the letter” of the Student Judicial Charter.

While presenting the Student Conduct Charter at last week’s Faculty Senate meeting, Marcia Stefanick Ph.D. ’82, professor of medicine and faculty co-chair of the C12 explained the impact of the now-approved changes. “Anyone who’s doing something that we would consider a much lesser offense basically has another chance, and anyone who’s doing something that we would all agree was a major offense is still going to have the same system that was there before, essentially … the real changes were done in the middle ground,” Stefanick said.

Assistant Vice Provost and Deputy Dean of Students Mark DiPerna also participated in the presentation, saying, “One of the things we were trying to get away from was the criminalistic language and how [the Student Judicial Charter of 1997] was very strongly modeled in the criminal justice process … we really didn’t want to get rid of any rights by doing that.” DiPerna used to serve on the C12, as well as its predecessor, the C10. Prior to his current role, he was the director of OCS.

Meanwhile, Tessier-Lavigne is still considering the Committee of 12’s (C12) proposed changes to the Honor Code, according to Holbrook. The C12’s Honor Code proposals entail the creation of the Academic Integrity Working Group (AIWG) study into proctoring, in addition to revised language to the Honor Code, which defines the nature and scope of what is considered proper and improper academic conduct.

Less than a week ago, the Faculty Senate reclaimed authority to unilaterally change the Stanford Honor Code and subsequently passed an amendment explicitly allowing exam proctoring for the first time since 1921.

The GSC reaffirmed its support of the C12’s recommendations on the Honor Code on Tuesday; however, the UGS doubled down on its opposition to said recommendations later that same day, citing a breach of precedent and erosion of student trust. At the UGS’s meeting, UGS co-chair Amira Dehmani ’24 called on the Faculty Senate to retract the decision to unilaterally change the Honor Code and said that it was a “disrespectful” and “incredibly flawed” move.

Without UGS approval, any possibility of the C-12’s original recommendations to the Honor Code being passed remains gridlocked. As it currently stands, the Faculty Senate’s amendment from last week, which allows exam proctoring, will go into effect at the beginning of the 2023–24 academic year, unless the UGS approves of the C12’s recommendations. UGS approval of the recommendations would supersede the Faculty Senate’s proctoring amendment.

Matthew Turk ’24 is a Data Director for The Stanford Daily and is majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics. He has previously served as a desk editor in News, managing editor of The Grind and Chief Technology Officer. This past summer, he was a Software Engineering Intern at Apple. His novels, An Invincible Summer (2021) and Baba Yaga (2022), are in stores. Ask Matthew about astrophysics, football and the automotive industry. Contact him at mturk ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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