ST. LOUIS -- Many high schools have policies under which, if a student is cited for a disciplinary infraction as a freshman or sophomore, and isn’t a repeat offender, that infraction is expunged from the student’s record at the end of the sophomore year. What that means is that for two students who commit the same infraction -- even a serious one -- there is no assurance that colleges that seek disciplinary records during the admissions process will know about it.
This semester, Wesleyan University administrators modified the student Code of Non-Academic Conduct to ban the “misuse or abuse” of prescription drugs. This inclusion is not unusual; many colleges, including Wesleyan’s peer institutions, ban prescription drug abuse in their student codes. But the case of Wesleyan is an anomaly because of the ban’s origins.
In what appears to be the first decision of its kind, a Canadian court has ruled that universities can be considered government entities and their actions government actions, at least when it comes to their dealings with students. This is important because it means that the institutions can be held legally liable if they violate the rights of students.
This fall, Eastern Michigan University opened its dorms to students from nearby Washtenaw Community College, in order to earn some extra revenue while further encouraging students to transfer and giving them a taste of residential college life.
The institutions are a half mile apart, Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti and Washtenaw in Ann Arbor. The university is also the top transfer destination of students from the community college. But when Eastern Michigan had extra dorm space to spare, the two institutions drew even closer.
Hazing incidents have been alleged on at least three campuses across the country during the past month -- the Universities of Arkansas and Utah and Yale University -- lending credence to the assumption that hazing is endemic to college life.