The Student Code of Conduct Review Committee is in the process of revising the Student Code of Conduct to include an “alcohol amnesty” policy for students.
Under the policy, a person misusing alcohol that reports a serious incident on campus would not be discredited or face consequences for intoxication when bigger issues are at hand. The proposed policy change is part of UAA’s Title IX compliance efforts to provide a more compassionate atmosphere on campus when it comes to reporting incidents.
According to Michael Votava, Director of Student Conduct and Ethical Development and Chair of the Alcohol Review Committee, the University of Alaska Student Code of Conduct does not currently have an amnesty policy in place.
“UAA does not currently have an amnesty policy for cases involving alcohol misuse,” Votava said. “The new rule would provide amnesty from minor policy violations when larger issues are at hand. The policy’s intent is to prevent someone misusing alcohol from not reporting something more serious.”
Votava also said the policy is not limited to instances of sexual harassment or assault, but that it extends to any instance where substance use may affect someone’s decision to call for help.
Residence Life Director Ryan-Jasen Anders Henne, is a member of the Alcohol Review Committee and said the policy is a step in the right direction.
“From a Residence Life perspective, we think it’s a good direction because it provides people within our community in the Residence Life spaces to get the help they need for people without real fear of consequences from conduct,” Henne said. “Again, there will be education and there will be conversation, but it will be different from a traditional conduct direction.”
Junior Ryan Jakubek gives his thoughts about how an amnesty policy would affect campus life.
“Its too bad that people wouldn’t report something because they feel like they’ll get in trouble. I like the idea of an amnesty policy.”
In 2012, The Dean of Students office underwent a self-study that found the Board of Regent’s Policy and Student Code of Conduct had not undergone major changes since 1998. There are currently 12 categories for Student Conduct — revisions will expand that number to 17 to account for advances in technology, growth on campus, and changes in case laws and federal regulations. The changes are also designed to be more easily understood and have more exact definitions of what constitutes a violation.
The draft of the proposed changes is currently under review by Scott Lewis, consultant for the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management.