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Notes From Council: Development of a new Academic Integrity Policy, speaker resubmits DIE Board complaint

In the August 9 Students' Council meeting, council discussed a new Academic Integrity Policy and voted for the speaker to resubmit a DIE Board complaint.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.

During the August 9 Students’ Council meeting, a presentation on the Academic Integrity Policy was given to council, and the speaker of council resubmitted his Discipline, Interpretation, and Enforcement Board (DIE Board) complaint.

Development of a new Academic Integrity Policy

Chris Hackett, acting director of student conduct and accountability, presented to council describing the development of a new Academic Integrity Policy.

In February, the Government of Alberta issued a letter to public institutions directing them to update their sexual violence policies. 

“The provost office struck a committee when that letter first came in [to ask]: what do we need to do with it? And we raised the [issue that] we can’t just change the non-academic [portion of the Code of Student Behaviour],” Hackett said.

Hackett noted that the current Code of Student Behaviour is an “artifact” of the 1990s, and that the University of Alberta is one of the only universities in Canada that has both “academic and non-academic [guidelines] in one policy.”

To develop the new policy, a working group generated a list of considerations to be addressed in the new procedures.

“What we’re hoping to do is build something that we can use when we look at a student with potential academic violations that can involve our educational, non-adjudicative processes. Then only in the more extreme cases, [we] use the disciplinary approaches,” Hackett said. 

Currently, a committee is being formed to work with Hackett, who is the primary drafter of the policy. Some members of the committee will include associate deans, Graduate Students’ Association, and Gurleen Kaur, UASU vice-president (academic).

Council votes for speaker to resubmit DIE Board complaint

Haruun Ali, an arts councillor, gave a presentation on his eligibility to serve on council.

Christian Zukowski, council’s speaker, submitted a DIE Board complaint on July 13 alleging Ali was in contravention of bylaw and requested the removal of Ali from Students’ Council. This complaint was retracted.

During Ali’s presentation, he said that Lucas Marques, the previous Students’ Union (UASU) chief returning officer (CRO), confirmed he was eligible to run for an arts seat.

Ali also expressed concerns about the process of how his eligibility was checked. The councillor stated that it was “reasonable to assume that this appears to be singling out [Ali from other councillors].” He also expressed his confusion as to how Matin Koohkan, the current UASU CRO, investigated when the complaint “should have been referred to the speaker.”

“[Koohkan] had no standing to request my academic information,” Ali said.

Ali then confirmed that he is enrolled in the faculty of arts in the coming Fall term. 

“If the concern here is my eligibility, [the confirmation] should more than enough solve this issue,” Ali said. 

Alex Dorscheid, undergraduate Board of Governors representative, then commented on the issue, stating that council is not in a position to be “picky” about who is on council.

“This is an unbelievable waste of time looking into all this,” Dorscheid said. “Council has vacant seats right now and now we’re wasting our time trying to get someone kicked off.”

Levi Flaman, a business councillor, then stated that Ali’s eligibility to run as a candidate confirmed by Marques does not constitute eligibility to sit as a councillor. He added that Koohkan’s process did not raise concerns.

“There’s nothing that indicates all councillors have to be informed of eligibility contravention simultaneously,” Flaman said. “Each individual councillor may be informed individually as the contraventions are uncovered. Whether one was informed before the rest were checked, is meaningless.”

“Really the only two questions that should be asked and answered are: from the beginning of the [councillor’s term to now], does the faculty enrolled match the faculty served?”

Milan Regmi, an arts councillor, also said the issue was a “waste of time” and “predictable” as himself and others voiced concerns “about the clarity of [bylaw]” when running campaigns.

“How does it make any sense to run for a faculty that you’re not going to be in next year?” Regmi said. “In my opinion, I think this whole issue that came up regarding [Ali’s] eligibility was something that could have been prevented months ago, if we [had] made the bylaws more clear.”

On behalf of the Council Administration Committee (CAC), Adrian Wattamaniuk, an engineering councillor and CAC chair, motioned to discuss a potential investigation into alleged violations of private academic information.

Flaman stated that he did not believe the UASU violated any privacy legislation.

“[Ali] was deemed to consent and provide implied consent for reasonable purposes when [they] voluntarily provided the information in order to contest the election.”

Daniela Carbajal Velez, a science councillor, moved for the speaker of council to resubmit the DIE Board complaint by August 9. 

“The quickest way to put this to bed is to send this to DIE Board and make a ruling,” Flaman said in support of the motion. “We can’t really decide between ourselves; we have people saying it’s bad and other people saying it’s not bad, but [the DIE Board] can definitively tell us whether it is or not.”

With 11 votes in favour, eight abstentions, and nine votes against, the motion passed.

Council approves bylaw restructuring and $51,375 to be released for projects in SUB

Flaman motioned, upon the recommendation of Bylaw Committee, approve Bill 1 to simplify and clarify governance documents.

“I am quite excited to bring both Bill 1 forward with the intent — if this passes — to simplify and clarify our governance documents,” Flaman said. “Our bylaws can be very long, confusing, and contradictory and that’s something that I’m hoping that this massive restructuring will hopefully correct.”

The motion passed.

Julia Villoso, UASU vice-president (operations and finance) then moved to release $51,375 from the Sustainability and Capital Fund for projects in the Students’ Union Building (SUB). This includes the initial design of a potential north entrance and schematic design work for a renovation to the food court area.

The motion passed.

Martin Bendico

Martin Bendico is the former 2022 - 23 News Editor. Martin has a major in business economics and law and a minor in strategy, entrepreneurship, and management. He is also working towards a certificate in real estate and a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to news, Martin also covers sports, photojournalism, videography, and podcasting.

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