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Student Code Of Conduct Task Force Shares Preliminary Recommendations

Following a meeting this week, Penn State’s Student Code of Conduct Task Force shared its preliminary recommendations with university administrators.

Penn State President Eric Barron tasked the group with responding to and discussing five key topics surrounding the code of conduct: the code’s purpose, appropriate use, legal restraints, strengths and weaknesses, and any necessary changes. Recommendations made by the task force aim to create a more equitable and inclusive code of conduct.

One recommendation suggests that under the Code of Conduct, students complete a mandatory module on inclusivity and equity. The task force also encourages the expansion and more specific definition of certain language and phrases.

Part of this language change aims to include physical and mental health under the definition of health and safety, as well as expand the scope of jurisdiction in the code to include off-campus conduct as well. 

Another recommended expansion would make an incident of bias a violation of the code. The task force also suggests new methods for healing and problem solving between parties. These suggestions include mediation services between two parties, educational classes, and community service. 

The task force also wants those in violation of the Code of Conduct to have more clarity and understanding about their responsibilities as students who must oblige by the code. Also recommended was a greater representation of staff members and volunteers from historically underrepresented groups in the Office of Student Conduct. 

During their weekly meetings, the university compared Penn State’s Code of Conduct to those of other Big Ten universities and also heard from experts on law, the First Amendment, and restorative practices. No recommendations made by the task force are final yet, as they need formal approval. The university will continue to discuss these suggestions and how to best implement any changes.

The code’s reconsideration was prompted following several reported incidents of racism and bias among Penn State students over the summer.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a junior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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